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  • Writer's pictureRichard Southworth


Updated: Oct 4, 2020

Photo by Winnie Southworth

I have been struggling and feeling driven, as I go from one thing on my todo list to another. I have snapped at my wife and son when I make demands on them trying to get things done, and they get upset with me. As I have shared elsewhere , this has been an ongoing problem as I strive to live my calling in my day-to-day life. I know that I need to practice self-presence as I go about my day. I need to be aware of the many compulsive thoughts, emotions, and impulses I experience. I need to remember I am always responsible for both my inner and outer reactions to those individuals and activities. Always! No exceptions! I am responsible to respond thoughtfully and in a caring and loving way regardless of the circumstances or who is right and wrong. I know that, but I am still struggling to incarnate that in the reality of my daily activities.

As I was struggling with this issue, I remembered the first few words on the following piece: "Go placidly amid the noise and haste", and I went searching on the internet for the whole thing. when I found it it spoke so clearly to me that I wanted to share with you. I also ordered a printed copy to hang on the wall in my bedroom as a reminder.

So here it is:


Max Ehrmann c.1920

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 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 perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to 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.Desiderata

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

See: for more information about Max Ehrmann.

Also, see my post entitled My Zen Things at

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