If by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!
Robert Frost (1874–1963). Mountain Interval. 1920.
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Our Deepest Fear
by Marianne Williamson from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Life is like a great bicycle race, whose aim is to fulfill one’s Personal Legend – that which, according to the ancient alchemists, is our true mission on Earth.
At the start of the race, we’re all together – sharing the camaraderie and enthusiasm. But as the race progresses, the initial joy gives way to the real challenges: tiredness, monotony, doubts about one’s own ability. We notice that some friends have already given up, deep down in their hearts – they’re still in the race, but only because they can’t stop in the middle of the road. This group keeps growing in number, all of them pedaling away near the support car – also known as Routine – where they chat among themselves, fulfill their obligations, but forget the beauty and challenges along the road.
We eventually distance ourselves from them; and then we are forced to confront loneliness, the surprises of unknown bends in the road, and problems with the bicycle. After a time, when we have fallen off several times, without anyone nearby to help us, we end up asking ourselves whether such an effort is worthwhile.
Yes, of course it is: one must not give up: Father Alan Jones says that, in order for our soul to be able to overcome these obstacles, we need the Four Invisible Forces: love, death, power and time.
We must love, for we are loved by God.
We must be aware of death, in order to understand life.
We must fight to grow – but not be fooled by the power which comes with growth, for we know it is worthless.
Finally, we must accept that our soul – although it is eternal – is at this moment caught in the web of time, with all its opportunities and limitations; so, on our solitary bike race, we must act as if time existed, doing what we can to value each second, resting when necessary, but always continuing in the direction of the Divine light, without letting ourselves be bothered by the moments of anxiety.
These Four Forces cannot be dealt with as problems to be solved, since they are beyond our control. We must accept them, and let them teach us what it is we must learn.
We live in a Universe which is both vast enough to contain us, and small enough to hold in our hearts. In every man’s soul, dwells the soul of the world, the silence of wisdom. As we pedal on towards our goal, we must ask: “what is lovely about today?” The sun may be shining, but if it is pouring with rain, it is important to remember that this also means that the black clouds will soon disperse. Clouds come and go, but the sun remains the same, and never fails – at times of loneliness, it is important to remember this.
So, when times are tough, we must not forget that the whole world has endured such moments, regardless of race, color, social standing, belief, or culture. A beautiful prayer by the Sufi Dhu ‘l – Nun (Egyptian, died 861 AD) perfectly sums up the positive attitude necessary at such times:
“Oh Lord, when I pay attention to the voices of animals, the sounds of the trees, the bubbling of the waters, the chirping of the birds, the howling wind or the crashing thunder, I perceive in them evidence of Your unity; I sense that You are the supreme power, almighty, the supreme wisdom, supreme justice.
“Oh Lord, I recognize You in the trials I am enduring. Allow, Lord, Your satisfaction to be my satisfaction. May I be Your joy, that joy which a Father sees in his son. And may I recall You with tranquility and determination, even when it is difficult to say that I love You.”
Sonnets from the Portuguese,
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
from eric musselma’s bloh here:
“Two Sets of Threes” –
1. Never lie.
2. Never cheat.
3. Never steal.
1. Don’t whine.
2. Don’t complain.
3. Don’t make excuses.
Joshua’s personal Seven Point Creed
1. Be true to yourself.
2. Make each day your masterpiece.
3. Help others.
4. Drink deeply from good books, including the Good Book.
5. Make friendship a fine art.
6. Build a shelter against a rainy day.
7. Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.
Four things a man must learn to do
If he would make his life more true:
To think without confusion clearly,
To love his fellow-man sincerely,
To act from honest motives purely,
To trust in God and Heaven securely.
—Henry Van Dyke
This crowd on Earth, they soon forget, the heroes of the past.
They cheer like mad, until you fall and that’s how long you last.
But God, He never does forget, and in his Hall of Fame,
Inscribed up there beyond the stars, engraved you’ll find your name.
I’ll tell you friends I wouldn’t trade, my name however small,
Inscribed up there beyond the stars in that celestial hall.
For any famous name on earth or glory that they share,
I’d rather be an unknown here and have my name up There.
A Dream Deferred
by Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?