Monday, 5 July 2010

Bonus Blog - A Mantra for Mondays...

I have always loved poetry and prose - something about the composition of mere words, carefully chosen and put together in just that special order, which creates a whole that is greater than the sum of it's parts.  If you get what I mean.

Many people are familiar with the piece of prose "Desiderata" - maybe not knowing it by it's title, but certainly recognising some of the phrases within it - especially since it was used not too long ago in a certain advertising campaign.

It is often mistakenly thought to have been written as far back as 1692 - but regrettably, this is is inaccurate - the fault lying with a rector who handed it to his congregation in 1959, with his church's name upon the top of the sheet, followed by the date 1692 - but this being the date that the church itself was founded - ooops!

Anyway, I'm not going to get all philisophical and deep and meaningful on you - I shall merely tell you that the prose itself was actually written by a gentleman by the name of Max Erhmann, who lived between 1872 and 1945, and who wrote these lines towards the end of his life.

Whatever the provenance, or indeed the intended meaning, of this delightful piece of poetry I believe that it is as relevant today as whenever it may have been written; and serves well as a personal "note to self" on keeping our heads in this ever maddening world.

Please read, take a moment to reflect on each verse, enjoy, take a deep breath, and try not to hate Monday's quite so much...!


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.

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 with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

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