One Saturday after a really bad week, I found myself walking in the park, then around my neighborhood and finally sat down to find that I was facing a poem (below) by Max Ehrmann. It was a part of a mural. (I am beginning to believe more and more each day that in life there are no coincidences.) As I sat facing the words on the wall, I read them over and over again. Nothing was more fitting to provide comfort to me.
Today I did not walk in the park, nor walked in my neighborhood. In fact I have completed a lot less than I thought that I would before I started my vacation last week. As I was beginning to beat myself up about what I didn’t do, this poem came to me just like it did some weeks ago. “Go placidly among the noise and haste.” Let go and open yourself up to something bigger than what is on a list.” Remember what peace there is in silence.” “Remember what peace there is in silence.”
– Max Ehrmann
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 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.