One of the delightful things about blogging is how interacting with others running similar sites can be both stimulating and informative. I’ve mentioned before about Priscilla Palmer’s personal development list.

But I was initially irritated when Bob Clubbs posted a comment on my Affirmation Software post (as it wasn’t relevant to what I had written!) – but now I have commited myself to writing a post for his blog. Bob had put up the poem Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, which he said said was close to his personal philosophy on life. He wanted others to volunteer to write about particular sections of the poem that appealed to them. Here is the poem:-

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.

The line I have selected to write about (on October 20th) is “do not distress yourself with dark imaginings” – which I interpret as “stop worrying”! Although I had heard of the poem, I couldn’t remember reading it properly until Bob brought it to my attention.

I will look forward to reading the postings of everyone who has volunteered to write. I congratulate Bob on having such a great idea – he should stimulate much thinking and reflection.

Bob September 23, 2007 at 8:21 pm

Sorry to have brought you some irritation, David. I felt bad doing that bit of “spamming” to people’s blogs to get the word out about the project, but I knew that Priscilla’s list was the best avenue to try.

Glad you’re excited about the project now. I can’t wait for those posts to start rolling in. I think it’s going to be so great to read everyone’s insights… much better than just a whole month of my opinions, anyway! 🙂

Hope you’re having a great weekend.

David September 23, 2007 at 8:28 pm

No problem – like most blogs my contact details are buried and not easy to find, so there isn’t any other way to communicate. I’m trying to think of a similar idea to try!

David B. Bohl at September 23, 2007 at 9:13 pm

I love Desiderata. I included it to a poem to my son when he was embarking upon his college career. It’s beauty cannot be diminished.

David B. Bohl at September 23, 2007 at 9:16 pm

“Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.”

“there is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” ~ Herbert Spencer

Monika @ The Writers Manifesto October 18, 2007 at 1:20 am

Wow David,

I have pinned the desiderata in front of me in the office since about 1 year. While I sit on my computer I can look straight at it and often when my gaze wanders the eyes rest on this beautiful poem. Every time I read it it reminds me to stay humble and respect others as they are.

Thank you

Judy Martin October 19, 2007 at 3:34 am

Kudos for getting past your irritation, as it allowed a sharing of the Desiderata. I’ve always been fond of the wisdom delivered in just a few short words. It brings us all down to earth in the midst of chaos. And as Monika stated it is humbling. It’s so easy to judge, much more difficult to suspend it. Oh, thanks Bob.
Best, Judy

denny k December 19, 2007 at 1:36 am

I have found that, as a recovering alcoholic, I need to feel connected to the “powers that be.” Call it the universe, higher power, or the physical laws of nature. I need to feel that connectedness.
This poem is as close to my personal philosophy as anything I have yet discovered. It has allowed me to find that connectedness in life. I especially enjoy the part of it that starts… “You are a child of the universe…” and ends with “Keep peace in your soul…” That says it all to me.

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