I was sorting through my old Firefox bookmarks and found this from like five years ago. I am wondering how it resonated with me at the time, because I don’t remember coming across it, but reading it now, man. I feel this, and agree with this, and believe this, at this age more than ever.
And–surely because I just finished schooling (again)–this sounds so much like a graduation speech to me. Well, okay, more like how I want a graduation speech to be. Supposing I attend our graduation in April and the commencement speaker, instead of the generic “inspirational” drivel, or even the Class of 2019 valedictorian, instead of the usual congratulations and thank you’s and good luck’s, chooses to to read this poem? I would cry.
(transcript follows. every line is special but my extra-favourites, i noted in bold)
I choose to end the compulsive habit of thinking and speaking insecurities. These are not my insecurities. They were habitual thoughts passed down to me. The foundation I’ve lain for myself is noble and true of heart and must be treated as such, with compassion and clarity.
I choose to be quiet and let forthcoming answers reveal themselves without manipulation. The hyper intellectualization, wordiness, passion and superlatives (which have often driven the engine in my ego) serve to fuel distortions of a happy life, or burn up happiness altogether. I choose to not put another log on that fire.
I choose patience under pressure.
I choose to stay present, to unlearn how to unlove, to love, and to practice my worthiness of it.
I choose equanimity.
I breathe deep into the center of my heart.
I surround myself with friends and professionals achieving like-minded success.
I am led to consistently speak with good purpose, react as a gentleman, not instigating or projecting any foul thing, and to not internalize the negativity of others so that my presence is constantly powered by goodwill and grace. Lead me to right choices and right action, not to participate in any lies about love, and to leave helpful writing on the wall so that I might pull the next one up. Lead me to pull the next one up with real peace in my spirit, humor in my peace, and this spinal cord I bummed off a cephalopod. Jus’ kiddin’, cephalopods don’t have spinal cords. They are bilaterally symmetrical though, and they collectively possess nearly every super power known to man, including shape-shifting, pseudo-morphing and possible teleportation.
I choose to savor this moment.
I choose ending knee-jerk reactions to that which I deem negative, including parking enforcement, cilantro and the back-up beep on commercial vehicles. For that matter,
there is no need to knee-jerk-react to the positives either.
Enjoying them is enough.
I choose an unassuming nature.
I choose to be held accountable.
Thank you for the vast experiences with which this life has built me.
I am thankful for what is being built.
I know it to be a fine building.
It does not stand in vain
even when it’s riddled with mirrors.
Thank you for the Serenity Prayer, and the courage to follow through with right action, with listening, with learning and with stillness.
I choose to release my hope for a better past, to discontinue boasting past glories, and to not justify any poor choice with having lived a hard life.
I choose to speak with kindness and acceptance, even to myself.
I choose to be unapologetic for healthy living.
I choose to be unapologetic for living.
I choose to politely ask myself to step aside if I am in my own way.
If I do not get out of my own way, I choose to call a friend who will have me removed.
I choose to observe how I may best serve today, and then do so.
I choose to better understand service and to live less selfishly.
I choose the nature of giving not greed, stability not desperation, safe passage as opposed to craving and clinging.
I witness gifts in the lives around me.
You really are incredible, ya know.
Good gravy just look at ya.
I choose big me big you.
I choose chin up, best foot forward, stick my landings.
I choose a safe place to land.
I choose feeding myself joy over beating myself up.
I choose not to beat myself up if I trail off course, rather, gently redirect my breath so that these standards I’ve accepted for myself are not buried under any unnecessary weight of any perceived shortcoming.
“I choose to not let come out of my mouth that which would contradict the blessing that is happening in my life.” – Michael Bernard Beckwith
I’m giving myself a break.
I choose to be enough.
No more ten thousand hours of more more more.
Not by force.
This work will not save me.
I release me.
Go and have some fun.
I’ve spent so much energy becoming better.
I choose to now live with the better, to yield to the better, to show you the better, and to let the rest unfold.
I will show up every day.
My failures have led to successes.
It is a time for practicing these successes, and for rest, and for clear reception.
I may make no decision based on panic.
Lead me away from telling lies, exaggerating truths, bragging, or manipulating people’s perceptions of me. These are disservices to my practice.
I choose to breathe all known and forthcoming truths at once, deeply and consistently, inhaling and exhaling reassurance and understanding, joy and equanimity, wonderment and revelation, acceptance and integrity, commitment and flexibility, balance and ownership, staying present with the moment, observing my environment, yielding to all that is.
And when I do not do all of these things forever without fail, may I be banished to an unforgiving lake of lava shit for the devil’s fat eternity.
…Or, treat myself to a good meal, some sound sleep, and another deep breath.
…Or, call mom, tell her what’s goin’ on, and agree with anything she might say just to know that I have a mother.
I release my need to be right.
I know that this is the key to living life as is.
I choose as is.
Let God be God.
And let me be still
until thy will is revealed.
Nothing is against me.
— Buddy Wakefield, Amplified Stillness (Start Again), from Gentleman Practice