Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

Maple

Maple

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 the 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.

Changes

I haven’t been active here for a bit, recently moved from Florida back to Maine – my home.  Moving to Florida was a big change for me, the climate and the people are different there.  It was not where I wanted to be, but where I had to be.  I had to accept it and make the best of it. Still, I cried almost daily, thinking I would never return to my home.  It got me thinking though, about people who immigrate – to strange lands, strange people and language.  How strong they must be to leave their homes behind, sometimes forever.  I remember a story I read about Irish immigrants sailing across the Atlantic.  Older people who had survived horrific conditions on board would catch their first glimpse of the American coastline, and they would die.  Perhaps from the immense fact that hit them; they had finally, truly left their home and would never see it again, ever.  I can’t imagine the pain.

Yet we all go through painful changes, and we do survive. They are those things which we bear to strengthen our own souls, to gain compassion with others and to learn about life and ourselves.  I am grateful for the gifts I have now.  Back home I can say that I love a rainy day, carrying the faint wisp of the ocean in it’s midst.  The smell and colors of fall leaves as they blaze out and tremble in the wind.  I look forward to snow, sparkling like a carpet of diamonds under the moonlight.  These things are amazing to me now – and reminders too.  Never forget, the changes and the lessons they bring.

Expectations

flowers

Japanese print of chrysanthemums

Expectations are the motivators for our behaviors. We act with the intention of obtaining certain results. Because of this, we often find ourselves projecting ourselves into a future that does not exist along with all of it’s attendant feelings. These are emotions with no basis in reality! If I take action or decide not to based on the ”facts” of my expectations being fulfilled (or not being fulfilled) then I am living in an imaginary place. My expectations are exactly that and nothing more, they are motivators alone. What actually happens as a result of my action / inaction is ”in the hands of God” or whatever Power I believe is greater than myself. What a relief it is to know that I do not have to waste my emotions on things that do not exist in the here and now. I do not need to worry about results that have not happened, nor get overly excited with the possibilities of getting what I think I want. I do not set myself up for emotional failures this way, and find yet another pathway to the serenity necessary for a happy life.

Concerning the things we say or do…

I believe most of the time that people are quite unaware of the meaningfulness of the things they say and do.  Certainly, we can hurt people – we have done plenty of that in our lives, and often suffer greatly ourselves before we percieve the harm we have done.  But we also often neglect the small kindnesses – a smile, encouraging word, expression of concern like a hug or simply telling someone that you care for them.  When was the last time you said to someone, in person, that you really liked them and told them the good things you see in them?  Wouldn’t it be nice if someone said those things to you?  I know it would make me feel wonderful!  We are all of value in this world. There is a reason why we are here.  It may not be for us to know exactly what part we play in the grand scheme of things, but I think we all have some understanding of what is required of us, and that it is something good.  Listen to your heart, pray for guidance and you will find your way.  Peace!

Finding Happiness

I enjoy language and am fascinated by the source of words.  Recently, I looked up the word ”Happiness”.  The root of the word is ”Hap” which is an old English word meaning chance, luck or fortune.  This is the same root that shows in the words: perhaps, happen, happenstance – all relating to chance.  So it suddenly occurred to me that happiness, happens!  We cannot pursue it, search for it – hunt it down per se.  It is something that comes to us if we allow ourselves the peace of mind for it to enter us.  If at all possible, catch yourself smiling today..you will see how utterly simple and unexpected your happiness is.  It is all around us each and every day if we take that moment to pause and appreciate it’s brief, yet delightful wing taps on our soul.

And accept…

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

For me, serenity began when I learned to distinguish between those things that I could change and those I could not. When I admitted that there were people, places, things, and situations over which I was totally powerless, those things began to lose their power over me. I learned that everyone has the right to make their own mistakes, and learn from them, without my interference, judgement, or assistance!

The key to my serenity is acceptance. But “acceptance” does not mean that I have to like it, condone it, or even ignore it. What it does mean is I am powerless to do anything about it… and I have to accept that fact.

Nor does it mean that I have to accept “unacceptable behavoir.” Today I have choices. I no longer have to accept abuse in any form. I can choose to walk away, even if it means stepping out into the unknown. I no longer have to fear “change” or the unknown. I can merely accept it as part of the journey.

I spent years trying to change things in my life over which I was powerless, but did not know it. I threatened, scolded, manipulated, coerced, pleaded, begged, pouted, bribed and generally tried everything I could to make the situation better — only watch as things always got progressively worse.

I spent so much time trying to change the things I could not change, it never once occurred to me to simply accept them as they were.

Now when things in my life are not going the way I planned them, or downright bad things happen, I can remind myself that whatever is going on is not happening by accident. There’s a reason for it and it is not always meant for me to know what that reason is.

That change in attitude has been the key to happiness for me. I know I am not the only who has found that serenity.

From page 417 ”Alcoholics Anonymous – 4th edition”