This month we would like to share the classic Desiderate – inspiring words of wisdom for all times, but especially now in the age of Covid-19! Max Ehrmann (1872-1945), a lawyer from Terre Haute, Indiana, wrote this poem around 1921, as a reminder that life is often a struggle… but approached properly, philosophically, spiritually… a Beautiful one! It is an inspiration to strive for high ideals, to treat others kindly, to accept who they, and we are, and ultimately, to be gentle with ourselves along the way!
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy!
– Max Ehrmann, circa 1921-
One Day At a Time…TOGETHER WE CAN!
And finally, here is a link to a YouTube video version of a popular song from 1971 by Les Crane, inspired by the Desiderata… may it be a reminder to you, as it has been for me every time I’ve heard it over the years, that, though it may not always be clear to us in the moment… We matter, and it is, in fact, A Beautiful World… Filled with Breathless Acts of Heroism… that can serve as inspiration for us all to dig deep, and tap into our own Greatness!
Andrew Goodman, Owner
Center for Healing Arts