Monday, 10 March 2008

No Less

I discovered the second philosophy of my life when I was 14 years old in a small book shop somewhere in the United States.  I get ahead of myself, I first need to share with you my philosophy of life which I learned at my parents knees.

When I was growing up these were the common things I would hear and see put into action:

.  You are no better than anyone else.
.  No one is better than you.
.  Treat others how you want to be treated.
.  Judge no one.

As an adult I still hold these to be truths.

My discovery at 14 of Max Ehrmann's Desiderata only reinforced what I already held to be true.


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.

The first philosophy of my life is engraved on my soul.  The second
philosophy of my life is on a painting that Angelique bought
me, which hangs in my computer room so I am able to look
at it every day.  It too is engraved on my soul.


Elizabeth said...

you, Mrs. Khan, and the lessons and love you have taught me, are engraved in my soul forever...

Deborah said...

Wow. Didn't Ces recently put this into one of her amazing sketches? It makes me even happier to know that it was yours all along. Even at 14, you chose well.