10.06.2020 Desiderata is still relevant

Date: 9th June 2020
Location: Isle of Wight
Category: Love of words / Un-learning journey


Desiderata is one of my favourite written pieces. In my younger days when I did calligraphy, I wrote it out a few times as gifts for family, including one of my sister’s who is no longer with us. I wonder what happened to it? Never mind.

My older sister had a vinyl LP by Des Crane, who had set the piece to music – it was such a sweet, clear rendition and when I listen to it, I’m transported me straight back to my childhood. If you want to feel joyful, do yourself a favour and have a listen here.

Just last week I listened to it narrated as a bedtime mediation by Andrew Johnson on the Insight Timer meditation app. And then it popped up as a post in the Joyspotters Society on Facebook.

It would seem that I need to pay attention to it again

And why not ? It is full of good advice. Perhaps it is extremely relevant in these strange times. It is a perfect reminder of how to approach living a life with meaning.

Listen to others

In light of what is going on in the world at the moment with the Black Lives Matter movement, protests and more, I feel that the phrase “Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others” is a timely reminder of what I am trying to do in my un-learning journey.

The full text version is below.

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 Ā© 1927
Original text

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