Desiderata: A Poem
Desiderata, the name of the beautiful poem below, means “things that are desired.”
The last few years have been fruitful, wonderful, rewarding, rich, enlightening, fulfilling, and…incredibly challenging. Such is the plight for most solopreneurs.
And I wouldn’t have done anything differently.
Things were fruitful, wonderful, rewarding, rich, enlightening, and fulfilling because they were challenging.
I’m so fortunate to have a wonderful husband and daughter (really, I couldn’t be happier with my home life), a thriving business, access to good food and clean water, close friends, good health, and the resources to pay for support when I need it. I count my blessings every day.
I turn 50 this year.
After taking care of others for so long (a child, my clients and course participants (I’m going on 13 strong years), ailing parents (in all truthfulness, given that I lived two states away, my sisters did much of the heavy lifting as my parents were fading a few years ago)), I’ve largely turned inward the last few months and asked myself—what do I want? What do I desire?
And I’ve engaged in a lot of self-care (massage, craniosacral work, guided EFT) as I’ve slowed waaaaay down and listened to that still small voice.
The answers haven’t always come easy. I love my work—I really enjoy it. But I’ve worked way too much and I don’t desire to keep going like this.
I get to choose.
Anyone who tells you that making it as a health coach is “easy” is full of BS. And there are plenty of tricksters out there telling you just how easy it is. (Rolls eyes.)
I’m tired of the noise.
I’m tired of the shenanigans, manipulation, and contentiousness in the health and wellness industry. But I’m not jaded…yet.
One of my friends—a longtime rock star player in this arena, is out. She’s done. She’s got other plans. Good for her.
I went mostly quiet during the holidays and into early January while I witnessed many in the health and wellness community get loud and aggressive, blasting people with holiday and new year’s messages of lack and inferiority, just like the year before and the year before that. Or maybe I should say…superiority.
Lack of the right body. Lack of the right diet. Lack of the right supplements. Lack of the right relationship with food. Lack of the right…life.
When does it stop?
As my very close friend and fellow “quiet influencer,” Laura Halpin, recently said about 2018:
“You have stretched and pushed and been challenged on many different fronts. You have been the recipient and the giver of love and miracles.” Yes, Laura. Yes to all of this.
She continues, “On a cellular, energetic, spiritual, and emotional level, you are not the same person you were when you began the year. You were shaped by your thoughts, actions, and circumstances. At the same time, you shaped your thoughts, actions, and circumstances.
“Not only have you changed, but the world has changed in response to your presence.
“Let the life you’ve lived in 2018 settle into every cell of your body. Welcome in the wisdom, the strength, the fatigue, the disappointment, the joy, the fear, the courage, whatever frustration or ecstasy you’ve experienced. Say ‘yes.’ Allow it all to marinate. Recognize that everything you’ve experienced in 2018 has changed you.”
Yes, 2018 changed me. And I welcome all of it.
Later, she wrote, “I’m still noodling on [my intention for 2019], but I’m circling around the word ‘magnetism.’ To me, this word implies drawing what I need (an encounter, opportunity, etc.) toward myself rather than striving, pushing, or forcing.
“What if I just allow?
“I know I’ve landed on the right one because when that right word comes to me (and it usually does), it makes me feel light inside, not like I have work to do. It doesn’t make me feel heavy or like I’m in trouble.”
Thanks, Laura. I like that word, magnetism. Thanks to you, I’ve been noodling on it, too.
When we’re still long enough, we can draw it in. We become a magnet for all the good stuff. If we’re flitting about, moving from thing to thing and moving too quickly, how is it possible to become a magnet? We can’t—we’re a moving target.
I’m fortunate that I’ve built a successful business on being a quiet influencer. I haven’t had to shout from the rooftops about what I do, thank goodness, because I’m a hard core introvert. Nor do I have it in me to get disengenuous and smarmy in my marketing—how some people do that is beyond me. Like, don’t you have any self-respect?
Luckily, clients find me and most want to work with me. And I’m happy to work with them because I feel that they came to me for the right reasons—I was available and I have a good reputation, not because I lured them in with some cheesy Facebook ad and then offered them a “free session,” only to market the crap out of my services at the end. Sorry, but these conversations aren’t “free”—they cost you and the person on the other end of the line your integrity.
I am prone to taking on too much and getting overwhelmed. It’s a pattern I’m working to break. Although I know it’s not good for me, it’s difficult to actually break the pattern because I’m easily excited and enthusiastic and I have the capacity to take on a lot. But just because I have the capacity to spin a lot of plates doesn’t mean that I should.
I’m committed to doing less and what that looks like will continue to unfold.
Paul Jarvis recently said, “This year, less relates to not feeling like I have to take on everything. I need to take on less responsibility. A focus on less doesn’t mean there will be a lack or void in any area. It simply means that I need to take a dose of my own medicine and remember that ‘better’ doesn’t always mean ‘more.’”
I came across this poem on my aunt’s Facebook page. This sums up the last part of 2018 for me and how I’m viewing this fresh and oh-so-exciting new year. I’m committed to moving forward as placidly as possible.
By Max Ehrmann, 1952
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.
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.
Strive to be happy.