Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A poem about how I want to be

Oliver, Silas, Eliza and I spent the holiday weekend (and longer thanks to the rain and snow that made our return journey a lot longer than planned!) visiting my sister Saydi at the farm she and her family are living on in Northern California. What a gorgeous and green and wet place full of adventure and work!

On the way home in the car, Eliza was working on homework and we discussed the "Poem of the Week" that she needed to analyze for school. The poem really resonated with me - made me think about how I handle things, how I'd like to handle things and about who I really want to be and things I need to work on. I thought others would also find it helpful so here it is:


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!

- Rudyard Kipling

I want to be able to do all the things Kipling talks about in this poem so I can find more peace in my life and so that my kids will have a good example to follow. It's such a challenge to "keep my head" when life gets really stressful and bad things happen. It's so hard to plow forward with saying and doing what I feel is right regardless of what anyone thinks. It's so important - and difficult - to throw my whole heart and effort into the things I feel I must do and work towards my dreams but somehow keep from being too attached to things turning out the way I envision they will. And when things go wrong or turn out really differently than planned, it's so hard to move forward with hope and without the baggage of regret. But how I admire and want to be like those who are able to do these things!

Now I just need to figure out the how...


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