Tuesday, May 28, 2013

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. -Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

Sometimes it's just hard to be totally positive and see the silver lining in everything. Sometimes you just feel beat down, and anxious, and confused. There are so many choices to be made, and so many people to consider. One image that has always hit home for me was the fig tree described by Sylvia Plath. Here's the short of it..click here for the whole passage:

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked.  I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

I really can't think of a more accurate way to put the sensation of choosing a life path. Impressive. Unfortunately, she doesn't offer any advice on how to conquer the paralysis. Of course, we just have to take it day by day - a near impossible task. I can live like that for a few days at a time, but then the figs start winking at me again and I lose my zen attitude. I don't believe in a higher power, so I can't rely on that...I have to say I agree with the quip in Woody Allen's Match Point, "Faith is the path of least resistance."

More than anything, I like to collect quotes that remind me why life is beautiful and that it really isn't that hard. Max Ehrmann's Desiderata does a fabulous job of quieting the nervous buzz that sometimes overtakes my mind:

"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."

And now, some images to serve as further reminders. 

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