Wednesday, April 18, 2012



I just felt the need to revisit this poem today.  I first heard it years ago when I worked in Activity Therapy at the State Hospital.  One of the teachers that trained me to teach classes was wheelchair bound and one of the most positive people I have ever met.  His name was Jim Potter....I wonder where he is now?  I was always amazed at how positive he was all the time in spite of his disability.  He could have been so negative and sorry for himself....instead he was an inspiration to every one around him, including the patients and employees at Big Spring State Hospital.  

This poem was a part of his curriculum for the Stress Management Class for the patients. He read it with the greatest emotion and feeling and then the group would discuss the meaning of the poem. It touched me so and I have revisited it so many times.  I used it in my son's graduation from high-school scrapbook.  I have hung it in many places to remind me to be a better person.

I hope if you have never read it, you will pay attention to the words and it will also inspire you.  It's like a ripple effect from Jim Potter-and even from the author of the poem (Max Ehrmann 1927).  

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 careful. Strive to be happy.
© Max Ehrmann 1927

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