Words ~ The Desiderata

There are words that stay with us. It is a gift to unwrap them carefully from time to time, hold them gently and breath them in deeply.


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


Max Ehrmann

Author profile

Max Ehrmann (September 26, 1872 – September 9, 1945), an attorney from Indiana, was best known for writing the prose poem “Desiderata” (Latin: “things desired as essential”) in 1927.Ehrmann, who was of German descent, received a degree in English from DePauw University, followed by a degree in Philosophy from Harvard University. He then returned to his hometown of Terre Haute, Indiana to practice law. Eventually this led him to work in his family’s meatpacking business and in the overalls manufacturing industry. Finally at the age of 41, Ehrmann decided to forget such work and become a writer. At the age of 55 he wrote Desiderata, which achieved fame only after his death.
(excerpted from Good Reads, 10.29.14)


Two or three weeks ago, I read and responded to a blog post on the topic of friendships. That posting began succinctly with a statement to the effect that strangers can become best friends, but that best friends can become strangers or worse – people who hurt or betray us. The gist was that friendships change and we must be prepared to adapt, while remaining kind, honest and loving.

With these words as the impetus, I spent a long morning in thought. I wrote as I meditated on friendships, relationships, and our need for connection with others. And because I put so much of myself into it, I wanted to include it in my own blog.

Our friendships are more numerous than our romantic relationships and are as varied as the people we share them with. They begin and are based on so many factors – where we live, activities we participate in, where we work, go to school, or exercise ~ each circumstance, a jumping off point from casual acquaintance to the possibility of true life-long friendship.

One thing about people that doesn’t change is that they change – not necessarily in big ways – but we are all changing. Every day our experiences and interactions adjust our knowledge, our feelings, and our beliefs. We are still ourselves, but we have a changed view of the world and the people we share it with. Because we are each involved in the same process, there is the possibility that some differences will begin to effect relationships.

Sometimes, also, relationships are formed around a developmental task the individuals are working on. Their relationship is part of their unconscious push to work on that task. When one or both complete that task, then the relationship dissolves. If someone continues to form relationships that result in the same sort of challenges, that can indicate where an individual is striving to grow. This also explains why some friendships fade away at certain times in our lives – early childhood, grade school, young adulthood, etc. Those are natural boundaries in life’s progression.

Just like romantic relationships, some friendships can be life-long bonds between soul mates. Losing a friend like that can be as life-changing as a divorce or a death. I lost my best friend through death. Nothing could ever change our history, our mutual respect, the experiences we went through together, or the unconditional love we shared, but with every passing year we were changing. She was very deeply immersed in a life focused on a fundamentalist religion while I was pulled in a completely different direction spiritually. Though she is gone now and I’ll never know with certainty, I believe our friendship would have survived these differences, but some of our closeness would have been lost, because our beliefs were no longer shared in common. (I think particularly of her today – her birthday was October 13.)

Though it probably sounds rather cynical, it seems life is composed of one loss after another. We strive continually for love, peace and happiness, but those greatest of desires are elusive and fleeting. Despite our disappointments and losses, we get up, brush ourselves off, and with hope as our inspiration we fight onward. If we’re fortunate, our lives are a series of serene interludes seasoned with the blissful highs of exuberant happiness and breathtaking love and our lows only the briefest of punctuations, the poignancy that underlines the sweetness of our highs.

And friendship ~ it is the best and dearest of what our lives can hold. It’s our friendships that make our lives. And how happy I am to learn that despite a busy schedule and limited social outlets, there is still the hope of great friendship.

What I’ve learned in this wondrous world of cyber connectedness is that time, age, circumstance, and geographic separation do not constitute barriers to friendship; it takes curiosity, respect, a mutual desire for connection, and a willingness to invest the self. Cyber friendships are a pen-pal kind of friendship, but I have great faith in that mode. Much of my best friendship was based on letters. My best friend and I were apart geographically more years than we lived near one another.

Written words can be a more precise and deliberate mode of communication. The act of writing itself creates a secure and open atmosphere. It lends an intimacy that makes it easy to reveal the authentic person. Within the bounds of such trust and sharing lies the basis of lasting friendship.

In my life I have many relationships ~ family, friends, coworkers. Despite the numbers of them, none come even close to the kind of friendship I shared once upon a time. I have to wonder why. Is it my time of life? Have I changed so much that such closeness is not possible? Was it a developmental task or a series of developmental tasks that kept us in tandem for so long? Whatever it may be, I am enjoying the friendships I am building in the ether. They offer me the opportunity to experience other cultures and lives. There are a couple that I really care about, though I must admit, I feel more like an aunt, than a friend. Perhaps this is my way of holding onto youth. Certainly, there is much more room for reflection here.

I will wind this up by sharing some songs. My best friend and I had a custom of “giving” each other songs from time to time.

I gave her this one:
You’ve Got a Friend by James Taylor

She gave me this one:
That’s What Friends are For by Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight & Elton John

And I will leave you with a newer one I enjoy very much:
Hi, Friend by DeadMau5


The Value Of Lions

Here is a poem about lions living out their lives in cages. I’ve often spent time thinking about the plight of elephants in captivity, but any animal spending its life in a cage is beyond sad. This poem reminded me of the Lion of Lucerne, though it was not exactly the same topic, it is about loss.  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~(Here are links to a couple of elephant sanctuaries I follow: https://www.elephants.com and https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/.     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Also, here is info on the Lion of Lucerne monument: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lion_Monument)

How to Forget – The Irony!

I want to remember this and read it again and again, so I am adopting it.

I loved a poem about how to forget and linked to it and reblogged it, but then (I assume), the original blogger removed it.  So, it will, indeed be forgotten.

What I can remember about it (ha!) is that it takes a lot of remembering to know what to forget. I thought it was quite insightful. I’m sorry the words were removed, but I am glad to have read them.

How to Forget – The Irony – Part 2

How to Forget.

I want to remember this and read it again and again, so I am adopting it. You may click the link immediately above to view the poem at The Mirror Obscura.

I just learned how to reblog, so you will see the actual poem in a subsequent posting.  🙂

I loved a poem about how to forget and linked to it and reblogged it, but then (I assume), the original blogger removed it.  So, it will, indeed be forgotten.

What I can remember about it (ha!) is that it takes a lot of remembering to know what to forget. I thought it was quite insightful. I’m sorry the words were removed, but I am glad to have read them.