advice · gratitude · inspiration · music

Be Gentle with Yourself

The music of the 1970’s was unlike the music of any other preceding decade. And whilst it was a time when heavy metal bands blared out their raucous sounds, men grew their hair longer than women, wore more makeup than women, and everyone was wearing platform shoes, (much to the disgust of the older generations), some surprisingly sensitive songs beamed across the radio airwaves as well.

As an alternative to the Glam Rock, we enjoyed the soothing sounds of David Gates and Bread, Lobo, Carly Simon, James Taylor, The Bee Gees, Olivia Newton John, Chicago, The Hollies, Tele Savalas…Tele who?

What? You don’t recall the top rating television series Kojak, a detective show centred on a bald headed guy, Theo Kojak, played by Tele Savalas?

Don’t worry, I’ve been left out of the loop too, I have never watched an episode of Kojak; all I remember is the beautiful hit “song”, “Desiderata”.

Unless you heard Tele Savalas’s version of “Desiderata” during the 70’s, you will probably have no idea whatsoever what I am talking about here!

Tele Savalas was an actor, not a singer, however he did own a deep toned, smooth-as-silk speaking voice, and he talked his way all the way through a hit song, “Desiderata”.

As a teenager, I worked in a newsagency and bookstore. Wall posters were very “in” at the time and the newsagency carried a huge range, including one containing all of the verses of “Desiderata”. My interest was piqued.

There appears to be some debate as to the origins of Desiderata. The most popular belief seems to be that it was copyrighted in 1927, by Max Ehrmann, although further debate exists as to whether or not this copyright is still valid.

Regardless, it is a beautiful piece of writing, offering inspiration in all aspects of life, the words still as valid today as they were when Desiderata was apparently penned in the early 1900’s.

I would like to share “Desiderata” here with you today. Even if you have read through the words before, read them again now; an overdose of inspiration never hurt anyone. 🙂

Let me know how you feel about “Desiderata”, whether it is your first, or one-hundred-and-first reading. I especially love the words, “Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself”.

And always remember to be gentle with yourself. 🙂



Go placidly amid the noise and the 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 to 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 to 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.

Be yourself. 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 council 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 labours and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.


6 thoughts on “Be Gentle with Yourself

  1. Joanne, I have taken the liberty of sharing your blog post (with a link to your blog) in a note on fb. I tagged 30 friends that I felt would read and benefit from it. It is very inspiring and this is the first I have ever heard of it. I have watched Kojak as a child and am very familiar with Tele Savalas. Do you have a link where we can hear him singing this?


  2. Unfortunately I can’t find a link to him singing the song, only a mention that he did, with someone asking in a forum if anyone has a link to the song!

    I agree with you, the words are so inspiring. I especially wanted to share it here for anyone who hadn’t read Desiderata and you’ve taken it one step further by sharing it on Facebook ~ that’s fantastic! Thank you, Heather. 🙂


  3. Here are a few of the responses I got….

    Beth Wheeler Pizzo Very well said..
    · .Maxcom Maximillian i remember little thing about the kojak,and i need to get desiderata mp3.thank you for the tag,it’s the knowledge 🙂

    .Isobel Sharkey There was poster shop chain in the UK during the ’70s that used to sell bucket loads of posters of this.

    · .Moses Baca Absolutely Beautiful ?…I just can’t get rid of the resounding “WHO LOVES YA BABY?” in my head!

    .Heather Willis Niewadomski So true, Shannon!! Good one…how about the sucker?

    .Moses Baca RIGHT!!!

    .Natasia Niewadomski Champion Timeless words


    1. It’s timeless advice and a great source of inspiration to many. I hope your wife enjoyed discovering “Desiderata” for the first time. 🙂


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