My Desiderata

Greetings, friends…

I wrote this list of meditative aspirations about two months after my late wife, Brenda Hollis (9/29/66-6/3/02), passed away on June 3, 2002. It’s a list of the things I wanted in life at the time. Now, more than twenty-one years later, most of these things have become so much a part of me that they’re no longer just meditative aspirations—they’re things I experience and enjoy regularly. That written, I don’t want to let my guard down. The enemies of my soul will, if I let them, steal everything I have. This is one of the reasons I’m sharing these things with you today (and, once again, too, with myself), for doing so reminds me of the things most dear to me. All of us need a Desiderata (a list of personal aspirations). As such, I encourage you to create one for yourself; and, once you do, to NEVER let it go!

And now, here’s My Desiderata…

“My Desiderata”

1. I wish to live a simple, open, abundant, and ordinarily extraordinary and extraordinarily ordinary life inspired by a great love for God and for other people and by an insatiable enthusiasm for life and for all that has life.

2. I will look to see, listen to hear, and touch to feel.

3. I will taste my food and drink.

4. When I speak, it will be to share my thoughts, feelings, and dreams. And, at times, even my complaints—but not very often.

5. I will indulge my sense of smell. And humor.

6. I will be okay with the mysterious and the unknown but never stop asking questions.

7. I will refrain from gossip, look for the good in other people and in other things, and defer to others by taking the last place in line.

8. I will be creative and allow the artist within me to emerge. Similarly, I will squelch the inordinate critic, who, at times, purports himself to be The Voice of Reason within me.

9. I will be genuine.

10. I will feel things deeply but be slow to take offense.

11. I will embrace paradox.

12. I will be kind-hearted and quick-to-forgive; I will look also for ways to empty myself into the people around me.

13. I will take things in stride and, like the willow, bend with the breeze and be at home in the presence of water.

14. I will make beautiful music my soul’s anthem.

15. I will be generous to those who hurt me.

16. I will climb—high.

17. I will tell those I love how much I love them and what they’ve meant to me in my life.

18. I will enjoy the quiet of my own thoughts.

19. When I dream, it will be of great things: Convertibles and off-road vehicles; hang gliders and kite planes; never-ending, never-failing, ever-giving Lovingkindness; spontaneous humor; exuberant playfulness; selfless generosity; deep, redemptive friendships; kind-heartedness; unending hardwood forests; big waves; white rivers; and vertical rock faces. I will dream also of true and lasting freedom.

20. I will find a way to enjoy the weather no matter how cold and rainy—or hot and blistering—it might be.

21. I will enjoy the sensations of breathing.

22. I will embrace the things I’m afraid of and push myself beyond my perceived limits.

23. I will read the letters of old friends and family members.

24. I will learn.

25. I will spend less than I make and work in such a way as to ensure the success of those for whom I work.

26. I will take time to write.

27. I will no longer hide my vulnerabilities.

28. I will set personal records.

29. I will express myself in ways children understand.

30. I will look back to that from which I came.

31. I will create shared memories with others.

32. I will think upon the love God has for me personally and, when my cup is full, allow my heart to weep its deep waterfall of tears.

33. I will reflect on the hurt I’ve caused in others.

34. I will move healthily, and do so often, and I will play at life; at a healthy and vibrant 104, I will be the oldest 11-year-old still bounding the face of this planet. In fact, I dream of one day being and becoming the oldest human being still living on planet Earth and, when I’m in my nineties, of being the most pliable, functionally efficient, and vibrantly healthy person I know.

35. I will share my heart with those nearest it and not just wait for things to happen.

36. I will not let life pass me by—I will pursue it with great abandon.

37. I will speak the truth in kindness and strive to make a difference in the lives of individual people.

38. I will enjoy my mornings and be grateful for what God has given me, striving ever to thank Him even in the midst of great loss.

39. I will not force myself upon others, but I will invite and welcome their company.


40. With patient endurance, I will run the race that’s set before me—for it will be MY race. I will pace myself, forever remembering the good things, until at long last I draw my final breath.

Today’s MRL Maxim: All of us need a Desiderata (that is, a list of personal aspirations to meditate upon).

Today’s MRL Call-to-action: Take the time to begin creating your own personal Desiderata; and, while and once you do, NEVER let it go!