Listening today on youtube, the musicality of the recording is rough, but it was air to my struggling teenage self. When it played, I stopped and breathed in every word. It was salve to my soul.
In these last weeks, my own version of Desiderata came out of me. This artwork was born of an epiphany in thought that I had. What really amounts to a seismic shift. A shift in how I see the world. It crept up on me. I have written about equanimity and being in the moment. About yoga and the mental gymnastics I do in the studio. And more and more, these have influenced my view.
I have noticed this shift most recently in how I view my physical self and it’s ever changing nature. Somewhere in my being I had started to think about my body as a separate entity. My body hurt. My body didn’t heal fast enough. Eh, my body was getting older. I felt disappointed that I couldn’t run without my hip hurting. I needed medication to keep things working right. Annual physicals didn’t always come back a-ok.
When things weren’t working right, when I was “sick,” it was easy to think that my body was letting me down. And then something changed. I was able to take stock and realize that for decades, my body has been this miraculous creation that has offered me so much. The ability to see a butterfly. To feel sand under my toes. To give birth to my children. To write these words.
And then the epiphany—my body has never let me down. My body has been amazing and maybe at moments of imperfection, my body needs nurturing. Some gratitude. My body, my frailties are not the enemy. We are one. My body is me. It will fail. It will become sick. It will need my nurturing of my spirit and mind to heal it. Just as my body has helped heal my mind in yoga. We are one. Body healing mind. Mind healing body. What a powerful and happy thought. Moreover, what a happy and powerful way to live.
And so I started with my art. My desire to be more loving of all of me. To express that marriage of my mind and body. And this art of Desiderata was born. It speaks at many levels of humanness in the universe and the blur of lines between it all. The undefined lines between nature and being. And it speaks to the child and parent within ourselves and how we wish to be in the world. At a time when people expect so much from themselves and each other, I wanted to slow it down and create my gratitude and my version of self love. A reminder that being loving in the world starts with yourself. Allowing both your body and mind to heal together and each the other.
When Max Ehrmann wrote Desiderata in 1927, he was 55. He was trained in law and philosophy from Harvard. But it is his Desiderata that he left his legacy. He once wrote, ”Perhaps, even when I’m dead, some browser in libraries will come upon me and see that I was not altogether unworthy, will resurrect me from the dust of the forgotten.”
Today, I celebrate Max Ehrmann and his reminder of what is important to living a thoughtful, rich life. I celebrate my miraculous, yet fallible body. My miraculous mind in its ability to change in thought and grow in spirit. And I hope to bring more gentleness to it all—to myself and to my other relationships. Namaste’