What a Wonderful World

So. It’s that time of year when people talk about making resolutions they know damn well they won’t keep. I’m glad that I stopped that crap years ago. But I won’t deny the fact that the new year brings a time to reflect and maybe strengthen habits I’ve already put in place. I’ve thought a lot about it over the last few days and keep coming back to something I read a couple decades ago. It is my life mission to follow its advice. So I think I’ll take this time (and this blog) to break it down.  Bear with me. This might be painfully long.

Desiderata

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

 

Let’s break this down.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. I think I’m good on this one. I like silence. I like sitting in silence. I fiercely guard my meditation time and space like a boss. I’m so good on this one.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Not so good on this one. Well, the “as far as possible” gives me some wiggle room, right? I’ll readily admit that I am definitely not on good terms with idiots, morons and my ex-husband. But I do try to see the good in people…even idiots. So I’m a work in progress. Sue me.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Oh, I speak. Let’s leave that there. Listen to others? Even the dull and ignorant? OK. Work in progress still.  

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. This is truly one that I guard with all of my heart and soul. People who are loud for loud’s sake bother me. First, I must admit, I swear my ears are hypersensitive. I have bionic hearing. Ask our son. He can whisper something upstairs and I can hear it downstairs even with music playing in the background. So it’s somewhat unfair to call semi-loud people loud when I can hear the whir of a hummingbird’s wing. Now, having said that, I am not exactly a quiet person by nature. I am the youngest of five children and growing up, I’d have to scream to be heard. So my voice carries. It carries far. Again, you can verify this with our son! But this sentence I like to think of as a reminder to avoid obnoxiously loud and nastily aggressive people. I like to think of myself as assertive, not aggressive. Outspoken, not loud. No comments from the peanut gallery, please.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Indeed. I’m good on this one, too. I can honestly say that I am happy with my life and happy when others are happy with their life…no matter what that means. I’ve never understood the keeping up with the Jones’ crap. Who the hell are the Jones’ anyway? I don’t care. I live my life in the best way I know how. I assume that others are doing the same. If not, you’re in for a whole lot of disappointment and time wasting. I abhor wasting time.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. I’m completely unsure if I’m ok on this one or not. I have a never ending list of plans/goals and once I’ve achieved one, I add two more. I do enjoy my achievements. I love the outline of plans I have laid out for myself. In fact, I may be a serious geek who enjoys planning plans. I’m a planner. I’m a doer. I love all that doing. And planning the doing. And doing the planning. Yeah. Guess I’m good on this.

Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Easy. I love being a nurse. But I haven’t always been a nurse. I’ve been a caterer. I’ve sold sandblasting and paint equipment. I’ve been an insurance claims adjuster. I’ve sold property & casualty, life and health insurance.  I was Marketing Director for our local United Way. I worked as a Human Resources assistant in a Fortune 100 company. I was an advocate and volunteer coordinator for a county coalition against domestic violence. I’ve been a secretary. Being a McDonald’s cashier was my first job after babysitting for slave labor wages. Each and every position has molded me into the person I am today. But it wasn’t until nursing that I found my true love. It’s a good fit for me. I’d happily do it every day if my body would keep up with me. I love caring for others and making them feel comfortable when they are at their most vulnerable. I am honored to be able to insert myself into their life and truly hope that I can help make it better, if only for a moment. So I think I’m ok on this one.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. Epic fail. I’ve had the wool pulled over my eyes more often than not. Work in progress. There are some tricksy people out there. ^^See idiots and morons above.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Indeed there is heroism everywhere. Just open your eyes to it. Each day, I try to find one way to do a random act of kindness. Sometimes it is as big as feeding the homeless. Sometimes it is as small and simple as allowing someone to move ahead of me in traffic, or complementing the grocery cashier’s hair. I also seek it out in others. I look for it. When the gentleman held the elevator door for me yesterday, I noticed. Of course, I thanked him. But it was that little gesture, that little act of heroism, that restores my faith in humanity on a daily basis. I strive to do my part.

Be yourself. I’m me.

Especially, do not feign affection. Yep. Don’t know how to. I’m not particularly good at pretending to like you if I don’t. ^^See idiots and morons above.

Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Oh my. This was a hard one for me. After a horribly horrible marriage, I truly had no plans to ever put my heart out there to be trampled on again. But then Paul. Then my wonderful friend and confidante, my soulmate, my heart….he came along and BOOM. My critical, cynical, I’m never-gonna-love-again heart turned into a pool of jelly. Dammit. I was actually pissed off at him for months because I was in love with him. But Ehrmann got it right. Love is as perennial as the grass. After a long dormancy phase, I blossomed into this silly-in-love, schoolgirl crush kind of 40-something that was madly and deeply in love. Crazy in love. Colors started looking brighter. The world was a nicer place. Blah blah blah. Love love love. Mushy crap. Whatever. I’m a fool in love and I love it.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Do I have a choice? My body creaks and resists me. My mind goes a bazillion miles a minute while my body has slowed to the pace of a snail. Constant friction, my body and me. Gracefully? Screw that. I’m going kicking and fighting all the way!  Apparently, I need some help with this one.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Amen and amen.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. Oh so so so so hard. I’m my own worst critic. I’m not going to elaborate because I think in the process of elaborating, I’m not being gentle with myself. I will, this year, develop a new mantra: be gentle with myself, be gentle with myself, be gentle with myself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. You’re damn right. We all belong here. Until the next Ice Age or meteor or zombie apocalypse…then we won’t belong here anymore. But until then, we’re good.

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. Sometimes I’m not completely thrilled with what the universe unfolds into my life. (Yep, see idiots and morons above.) But I am at peace with my God. I think I would be more at peace if the world were at peace. But the world is a work in progress so I’d better just stick to my own backyard. Meditation has helped me be at peace. Love has helped. Having a child has helped. Yes. The universe is unfolding as it should.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy. Yes. It is a wonderful world (cue the Louis Armstrong song). OH!  Just found the title of this blog!

If you stuck with me this far, thanks. That was completely self serving. All about me. It’s my new year’s resolution of sorts. A reminder to remember all that is said in this beautiful piece of writing. It’s my blog, sue me. It began as a journal entry and I decided to share. I have a lot more to say, but I’ll save it for future posts. So now it’s your turn. What are your resolutions, goals, hopes, desires, dreams? Chime in.

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