Desiderata

A poem to help you quiet the noise.

A photo I took while traveling through Sri Lanka last year.

A photo I took while traveling through Sri Lanka last year.

As much as we like to be confident/ artistically-savvy vixens all of the time, The Tonic is also a place to talk about the darker, weirder sides of ourselves as artists–the shadowy underworlds of self-doubt and cryptic confusion in which all is uncertain and every day seems a winding road (#90s). The last few weeks have been like that for me. Without going into specifics, I’ve got some major artistic decisions to make, and I’m struggling with them. Though they’re only good choices I’m sorting through, they’re still stressful ones, and there have been moments where I feel truly lost.

In case anyone else is in the same boat, I thought I’d post a poem I’ve been reading lately that’s been helping me stay sane and keep things in perspective. I first became aware of this beautiful piece when J posted an excerpt to our former tumblr (this is why she is perfect). It’s since become a favorite I find myself returning to whenever I need to sort through the noise in my head.


Desiderata

Max Ehrmann

(the date this was written is not known for sure, but the copyright is from 1927)

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.

xox E

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