When I was growing up, a framed picture of Desiderata hung in our hall way. It was closely written text as in the picture, and although I passed by it every day, I don’t think I really fully comprehended it’s powerful message at the time. I must have taken on it’s meaning by osmosis though, because seemingly unconsciously, it encapsulates how I live my life now – with equality, respect, authentically and knowing that each of us is perfect just as we are. My mantra is “do what you say you are going to do and be kind to others”. Be kind to yourself too, be prudent, keep learning, smile and be happy.
The opening words have always stayed with me, ‘Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence’ – not only do I cherish my daily mindfulness, but anyone who has experienced my coaching will know the value I attribute to listening to my clients, with palpable attention, silently and without interruption, and how profound that experience is for unlocking clarity, creativity and comprehension.
GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and the 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 to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or 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.
Be yourself. 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 in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
By Max Ehrmann © 1927