In times of worry, anxiety, “Go placidly amid the noise and haste”

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Many people that I have been in conversation with during this election season have expressed a feeling of anxiety and even abject fear regarding what they perceive as “the world falling apart.”

I do not share this worldview for I see every ending as a new beginning, but I do empathize with those who are feeling the winds of change and are experiencing a feeling of being overwhelmed with the events occurring around the globe, especially around our nation’s upcoming presidential election, the Brexit vote in the UK, terrorism, saber rattling by the militaries of various nations (ours included) and climate change.

Perhaps the words below can steady us for the times ahead. The author is American poet Max Ehrmann and this was written in 1927. It was originally published in 1948 and is known as the Desiderata. These words of wisdom are for everyday life and especially during times of change (perfect for this election season and the times our planet and species will be facing in the future).

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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 to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious 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 you 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 in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

~ Michael Carter