Holiday season is around. It is the season for festivities, celebrations and reunions. It is also the time to look behind and beyond for we are at the threshold of a brand new year. There is a lot of turmoil all around the globe. Am sure there are a lot of good things that happen around the world. But we get to know more of the bad and the ugly possibly because the media absorbs them like a sponge and showcases them in all limelight.

Let us introspect for a while. How good was 2012 for you? Can you list the 5 best things that happened to you? Or the worst that has happened to you / what went horribly wrong? What could you have done better this year? Why did things go the way it went? Before an event we plan everything so that the event happens smoothly, without hitches and glitches. So it is with the new year.
Plan ahead.
Pay attention.
Do your best. Leave the rest.
Have Hope and Faith.
Believe in yourself and in everything you do.
Smile a lot. It is good for your body and spirit.
Silence the inner critic in you. Be kind most of all to yourself.
Let go of the past. The hurts. The troubles and travails.
Forgive and forget. It will release the demon, the prisoner in you.
Be compassionate. Judge not. You or others.

Finally let me leave you with this very positive credo for life. I came across this thanks to a dear friend Giribala Menon, way back in 1988, while working as an English Teacher in Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Pallavur. Those were troubled times for me personally and the lines were like a soothing balm on my frayed nerves. I must have read them hundreds of times! Called “Desiderata“, it was written by Max Ehrmann, a poet and lawyer from Terre Haute, Indiana, who lived from 1872 to 1945. It has been reported that Desiderata was inspired by an urge that Ehrmann wrote about in his diary: “I should like, if I could, to leave a humble gift – a bit of chaste prose that had caught up some noble moods.”

The word Desiderata, a noun, is the plural of desideratum (1650s), from Latin, lit. “something for which desire is felt,” from pp. stem of desiderare “to long for”. It means things wanted or desired. May these lines be a beacon of light whenever you walk along dark alleys and ride on troubled waters.

(I am using red and green for those are the colours of the festive season!) 🙂


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 cheerful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927



6 thoughts on “Desiderata

  1. Hi Ma’am ! This article has given me a lot of hope and confidence . Yes ! We need to see the positive side of our life.We need to count our blessings and thank Almighty for the mercies he has showered on us. It is important to balance our emotions and stay positive in all situations to enjoy life. May your family members and you have a wondeful time during this festival season.

    Best wishes


  2. Thank you so much for the article, Asha teacher. I remember having read this in a magazine while at CVP by Bala Aunty if my memory goes right.
    Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!


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