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Desiderata (“Desired Things”)

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 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 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 critical 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 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. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

– Max Ehrmann, 1927

One of the most empowering poems I have ever read. “Desiderata” is Latin for “desired things”. It really is a beautiful world, isn’t it?

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3 comments on “Desiderata (“Desired Things”)

  1. It is easy to be cynical about the world when we base our opinions on the negative experiences and ignore the beauty and wonder all around us. We sometimes need to focus more on the forest instead of the dead leaves on the forest floor.

  2. As much as i butted heads with my sweet mom, Desiderata was the one “spiritual” writing we ever agreed on. It is beautiful. I think she read it every day. Thanks for posting it: It’s good to rejuvenate the soul. Simple, beautiful, and practical. Love it! melis

  3. It is a lovely word and an even lovelier picture

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