One Minute Monologues 046

December 03, 2018 — February 22, 2019

  1. 12/03/2018 — Carolina Thread Trail 2018-11 05, Millbridge Access, Waxhaw, North Carolina, November 34, 2018When Paul says,
    “Let us run with endurance/perseverance
    the race that is set before us,”
    he uses the Greek word “agona”
    for “race.”

    “The AGONY that is set before us.”

    This is no walk through the lilies of the valley.
    No picnic with gentle breezes
    by quietly flowing streams.

    AGONY is the word
    for what we are doing,
    for what we are facing,
    for what is calling our name.

    Joseph Campbell said,
    “We must be willing to let go
    of the life we planned,
    so as to have the life
    that is waiting for us.”

    Campbell also said,
    to students who asked him
    if he thought they could be a writer,
    “I don’t know.
    Can you endure ten years
    of disappointment
    with nobody responding to you,
    or, are you thinking
    that you are going to write a best seller
    the first crack?”

    The business about “doors opening”
    has to be read in light of having
    “the guts to stay with the thing
    you really want, no matter what.”

    The doors won’t open
    until you prove you are serious
    about being a bliss follower.
    And, even then,
    the doors probably won’t open
    to fame and fortune
    but to a deeper level,
    a greater competence,
    in the area of your bliss,
    in the area of what has meaning
    and life for you.

    We pay the price required
    to live the life
    that is truly life for us.
    And if we do not live that life,
    we pay a price for that choice as well,
    and die having never lived.

    The agony calls us from death to life,
    but it is life at a price.
    The life we live
    must have life for us,
    must be wrapped in meaning for us,
    must be a source of vitality
    and confirmation that this
    is what we are here for,
    this is what we are to be about.

    It can’t be about fortune and glory,
    but about true life,
    spilling over,
    pouring out.

    We endure any agony for that bliss,
    and nothing can compensate us
    for our failure of courage
    in refusing to bear the pain
    of being alive to the life
    that needs us to live it.

  2. 12/03/2018 —  Pond Ice 2012-01 01 — The Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina, January 05, 2012Our thoughts are only thoughts.

    Just because we think something
    doesn’t make it real,
    valid,
    or true.

    Same thing goes for feelings.

    Thoughts and feelings assume a level of reality
    they have no legitimate claim to.

    We can think our father–
    or our Heavenly Father, for that matter–
    is all-powerful,
    wise,
    and must be obeyed.

    Not so.

    The world will go on tomorrow
    as it did yesterday
    if you disobey either father today.

    And the same thing applies
    to all those other thoughts and feelings
    that direct your life
    and restrict your living.

    How do you know what is good for you?
    How do you know what is right for you?
    Who do you trust to know these things
    more than you trust yourself?

    If you were to trust yourself completely
    to know these things,
    how would your life be different?

    What is keeping you from experimenting
    with trusting yourself
    to know what is good and right for you?

    What are afraid might happen?
    Can you deal with the consequences
    if you do and it does?

12/04/2018  —  Moonlight 2012-01 01 — Greensboro, North Carolina, January 02, 2012

The energy for doing what needs to be done
comes from knowing what is important.

If nothing is more important
than anything else,
nothing is important.

What’s important stands out.
Lights us up.
Propels us into the service
of what’s important.

Depressed people can’t do anything
because nothing matters.

Nothing matters to a lot of people
who aren’t thought of as “depressed,”
because they are surrounded
by a lot of people
for whom nothing matters.

It is a way of life
in too many communities.

Pot, pills and alcohol
keep too many of us going–
for more pot, pills and alcohol.
The only things that matter.

We live in the service
of what matters most to us.
Nothing much matters
to too many of us.

And we are the only ones
who can do anything
about that.

We can take up the practice
of a several times a day
meditation/reflection
on “What Matters Most,”
by simply being
mindfully-compassionately-nonjudgmentally
aware of what matters most
to us right here right now
throughout the day, each day.

And see where it goes.

12/04/2018  —  The tasks of life
are the same
for us all.

We have to pay the bills.

We have to find what is meaningful
and do it.

We have to put ourselves
in accord with the context
and circumstances of our life.

We have to come to terms
with how things are
as that changes over time.

We have to adjust ourselves
to the time and place,
nature and conditions,
ebbs and flows,
highs and lows
of our living
over the course of our life.

Etc.

How well we do this
depends upon ten thousand factors,
and determines the quality
of our experience,
and the value of our place
in the lives of others.

Doing it consciously,
mindfully/compassionately/nonjudgmentally aware
of doing it
will make all the difference
in terms of the process
and the outcome.

12/05/2018  —  Lake Francis 2018-11 5/6 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 10, 2018

All those who know,
and have known through the ages,
know the same things–
and have no idea
of how to get
those who don’t know
to know what they know.

Those who don’t know
are the bane of civilization.

Ask anyone who knows.

Those who know,
know what they know,
and what they don’t know.

Those who don’t know,
not only don’t know
what all they do know,
but also
have no knowledge whatsoever
of what they don’t know.

12/05/2018  —  “Attraction, not promotion”
is an AA tradition
we would do well
to adopt nation-wide,
individually and corporately.

I don’t see it happening, but.

It needs to happen.

12/05/2018  —  Ignorance and fear
combine to form
the willful refusal to face the facts
and come to terms with how things are,
which goes by the name of “denial.”

Denial trumps everything.

Truth has no impact on denial.
Doesn’t know what to do with denial.
Can only wait it out.

How long O Lord?

12/05/2018  —  Sit quietly
with nothing to distract you
from the experience
of the present moment
on both external and internal levels.

Notice how long it takes
for you to think a thought
you have never thought before.

Notice how long it takes
for a question to occur to you
that you have never asked before.

Repeat this exercise at least daily,
or, preferably, several times a day,
for the rest of your life.

  1. 12/06/2018 —  Ginkgo Grove 2018-11 01 — Ballantyne Commons, Charlotte, North Carolina, November 25, 2018I’m for doing all that can be done
    to make life livable for all people everywhere.

    We all need help in sustaining our life,
    improving our prospects,
    and doing what we are called to do.

    “Called to do” needs some clarification.

    What do you do that is so important to you
    that you would pay to be able to do it?

    Chances are it isn’t what you do
    to pay the bills.
    It is what you pay the bills to do.

    You are already paying to do
    what is important to you.

    And if I tried to pay you to not do it
    you would tell me
    that I don’t have enough money
    to pay you to not do
    what matters most to you.

    They don’t make enough money.

    That is what you are called to do.

    We all need help doing what
    needs us to do it–
    often, we need help
    just knowing what that is.

    We cannot do alone
    what is ours alone to do.

    We need to be upheld,
    encouraged,
    supported
    by a community
    that calls/challenges/enables us
    to do what we are called to do,
    by what we do not know.

    What calls you to marry
    the person you marry
    and not her brother
    or his sister?

    We know whom to marry
    and whom not to marry,
    and whom we should have married
    and whom we should not have married.
    And nobody tells us these things.
    We know it,
    without knowing how we know it.

    We know what we are called to do
    in the same way–
    without knowing who calls us
    or why.

    We are simply, and surely, called–
    beyond all reason–
    to do the thing we have to do
    with all our heart,
    and soul,
    and mind,
    and strength.

    And we need the encouragement,
    help
    and support
    of the larger community
    to do it.

    We all need to assist one another
    in doing it–
    around the circle,
    throughout the world.

    And I’m for doing that.

  2. 12/07/2018 —  Vineyards 2012-09 35 — Sheldon Vineyards, Dobson, North Carolina, September 09, 2012Death is easier than life.

    Dying is easy,
    living is hard.

    Death is doing what’s easy.
    Life is doing what’s hard.

    What is harder than growing up?

    When we grow up some more again,
    we grow up against our will.

    Nobody wants to grow up.
    Nobody feels like growing up.
    Nobody thinks growing up is fun.
    Nobody looks forward
    to growing up some more again ever.

    We grow up against ourselves.
    We grow against our own grain,
    against the drift of our own preferences
    and desires.

    It would be easier just to die.
    And a lot of us do die,
    some more again,
    by refusing to grow up
    some more again
    every time we are given the choice.

    We walk past the dead and dying everyday.
    The question is,
    are we among them,
    or merely walking past them?
    Are we one of them,
    or only passing through them?

    The question is whose side are we on?

    If we are on our side,
    we are against ourselves
    at every point of transition–
    refusing to do what’s easy,
    committed to doing what’s hard,
    some more again
    every time we get the option.

  3. 12/08/2018 —  Colored Circles 2018-12 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, December 8, 2018Colored circles
    in a triangular formation
    suggest what
    to you,
    and to you,
    and to you…?

    Stir what up
    in you,
    and in you,
    and in you…?

    Who among us
    is in control
    of what comes
    “to light” in us
    in response to
    colored circles
    in a triangular formation?

    We all think something.
    We all feel something.
    We all respond somehow
    to colored circles
    in a triangular formation.

    Why that
    and not something else?
    What generates/conditions
    our responses
    to our life?

    And what governs
    our response
    to our responses?

    Who is in charge here?
    Who is guiding
    our boat
    on its path
    through the sea?

    What makes us think
    we know
    what we
    are doing?

    What is being
    asked of us
    that we aren’t
    even hearing?

    Why do we hear
    what we hear–
    see what we see–
    feel what we feel–
    think what we think…
    and not something else
    instead?

    If we got
    to the bottom
    of it,
    what would we know
    that we don’t know now?

    Why would we not
    get to the bottom of it?
    Of what is shaping us
    to be who we are
    without our knowledge
    or permission?

    Propaganda presents itself
    as the truest truth.
    It is never anything more
    than colored circles
    in a shape conducive
    to elucidating
    a particular response.

    Who is behind
    what we see,
    what we think,
    what we feel,
    what we do?

    Who is flipping our switches,
    pulling our strings?

    Why do we respond
    the way we respond
    to the things we respond to?

    Why not get
    to the bottom
    of it all?
    Of us?

    With mindful,
    compassionate,
    nonjudgmental
    awareness
    of the entire production?

  4. 12/07/2018 —  Vineyards 2012-09 20 — Chateau Morrisette Winery near Floyd, VA — September 10, 2012The moments stack up,
    assume momentum,
    take on a direction,
    exhibit a theme,
    develop characteristics,
    become a life,
    our life,
    lived moment by moment
    from start to finish
    with how much awareness
    of what we are doing
    at any point
    along the way?

    Why live one more day–
    one more moment–
    without mindful,
    compassionate,
    nonjudgmental
    awareness
    of where we have been,
    how that has impacted us,
    and is strongly influencing,
    if not directing,
    what we are doing,
    how we are doing it,
    and where that is taking us?

12/08/2018  —  If you are eating/drinking sugar
it’s your own business,
but why?

Do yourself the favor
of googling “sugar in inflammation,”
and reading what comes up.

And consider a tall glass
of iced Roundup
several times a day instead.

  1. 12/08/2018 —  Vineyards 2012-09 26 — Chateau Morrisette Winery near Floyd, VA — September 10, 2012The path to clarity and direction
    winds through
    solitude and silence.

    Native Americans took to the wilderness
    for their Vision Quests.

    There was nothing to distract them
    from hearing their own thoughts
    in the desert.

    Distraction is our favorite pastime.

    The entire culture suffers from
    attention defect disorder.

    It is no wonder
    that we do not know
    who we are,
    where we are going,
    what we are doing…

    Where do we go to be quiet?
    How often do we go there?
    How long do we stay?
    How long has it been?

    What’s the point of silence?
    Being quiet.
    Paying attention.
    Seeing what occurs to you.
    And how it impacts your life.

  2. 12/09/2018 —  Vineyards 2012-09 42 — Grove Vineyard, Guilford County North Carolina, August 17, 2012We cannot grow up
    without being able
    to take No! for an answer.

    We cannot grow up some more again
    without being able
    to take No! for an answer some more again
    for as long as life lasts.

    The people you cannot live with
    cannot take No! for an answer.

    If no one can live with you,
    you cannot take No! for an answer.

    The foundation of grace and compassion
    is being able to take No! for an answer.

    Everything flows from that,
    around that,
    with and into
    how things are.

    Coming to terms
    with how things are
    is the pivot point
    upon which everything turns,
    upon which everything depends,
    upon which it all hangs.

    We cannot come to terms
    with how things are
    without being able
    to take No! for an answer.

    There are choices
    we do not get to make
    because the circumstances
    disallow them.

    War and pancreatic cancer
    take nearly all of our choices
    away from us
    and hand us choices
    we do not want to choose.

    No! to those.
    Yes! to these.

    And our life is filled
    with other situations,
    for all practical purposes,
    as choice-limited
    as those two are.

    We have to fit our life
    into and around Life
    as it must be lived
    in the “this is the way things are”
    sense of the word “Life.”

    How well we accommodate ourselves
    to life as it is
    and is to be lived
    depends upon
    how well we can
    take No! for an answer,
    and go on with living
    the best way we can
    anyway,
    nevertheless,
    even so.

    The art of living well
    is our capacity
    to take our life in one hand
    and life as it is to be lived–
    with the choices and options
    available to us–
    in the other hand,
    and get the two hands together
    by putting our life into accord
    with the way life is to be lived
    in the time and place,
    context and circumstances,
    of our living.

    Doing this allows us
    to achieve clarity and direction,
    knowing what can be done
    and cannot be done,
    and what needs to be done
    in light of how things are,
    whether we like it or not,
    in the times that are at hand.

    Then it is only a matter
    of having the courage to do it
    in the way it needs to be done–
    without resentment or hostility,
    bitterness or acrimony–
    with wholehearted acceptance
    of our place in the here and now
    of our living.

    We have to live
    doing what is ours to do
    as though it is entirely our idea,
    doing it as it is to be done
    with all our heart,
    and mind,
    and soul,
    and strength.

    Joseph Campbell said,
    “The best advice
    is to take it all
    as if it had been of your intention—
    with that, you invoke
    the participation of your will”
    in the life we are living.

    This is called
    “Taking No! for an answer!”

12/09/2018  —  Lobbying is explicit conflict of interest.
Members of Congress have
to protect themselves against
having anything to gain personally
on matters coming before them
for consideration.

Draining the swamp
means outlawing lobbying
in any way–
and ending corporate donations
to political parties and candidates.

Until that is done,
we can change the names
of the people who hold office
year after year
without having any impact
on the way government works.

Government now works
as a system of handouts
from corporations and industries
to members of the House and Senate.

12/09/2018  —  At least one study
has shown
that congratulating yourself
for something you did well
works the same
in lifting your spirits
as when someone else congratulates you.

Celebrate your worthy efforts!
Take yourself out for lunch!
Be aware of the things you do
that are worthy of commendation,
and commend yourself!
Every time!

  1. 12/09/2018 —  Vineyards 2012-09 28 — Chateau Morrisette Winery near Floyd, VA, September 10, 2012All of our problems revolve around,
    flow from,
    are generated by,
    the discrepancy between
    how things are
    and how we want them to be.

    Or between how we want them to remain
    and how we are afraid they will soon end.

    Oh, if we only knew how to get and keep
    what we want!

    Having what we want
    is way overrated.

    Remember your first marriage?
    And your second?
    Maybe your third?

    Wanting might do it for us
    IF we knew what to want
    and how to want it, but.
    We are stuck with wanting
    what we want
    whether it is worth wanting or not.

    I suggest we lay aside
    wanting as the source,
    and acquiring as the goal,
    of our motivation.

    Our path to peace
    is found in taking an oath
    of liege loyalty and devotion
    to What Needs To Be Done–
    What Needs To Happen–
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long,
    and serving it without fail
    or hesitation.

    Never mind what we want.

    If we do that one thing,
    it will transform our life
    and right the world.

    No kidding.

  2. 12/10/2018 —  Vineyards 2012-09 38 — Sheldon Vineyards, Dobson, North Carolina, September 09, 2012Being in accord with the Tao,
    aligned with Dharma,
    standing on the bedrock of our existence
    at one with the flow of life
    is a slippery slope,
    “like the razor’s edge.”

    Maintaining our focus
    and concentration,
    our clarity,
    peace,
    balance
    and direction,
    is under constant threat
    by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse:
    Fear,
    Lethargy,
    Diversion,
    and Distraction.

    We guard our connection
    with the Source
    through mini-retreats
    into silence and solitude
    and absorption in
    the protecting routines
    of a regular order of the day.

    With the steady intrusion
    of the ten thousand things,
    we “go over the wall
    without leaving our post,”
    “walk two paths at the same time,”
    “hold everything in awareness,”
    as those who are
    “in the world but not of the world,”
    living out of the Silence
    within the din of discordant notes
    of life in the wrong key
    and far off pitch.

    We get to that place
    the same way we get
    to Carnegie Hall:
    Practice, practice, practice!

    Beginning here, now.

12/10/2018–Nothing is better
than sugar and butter.
Or worse.
Well.
Tobacco may be worse.
But,
Tobacco isn’t better.
Certainly not
when used instead
of sugar and butter
in an oatmeal cookie recipe.

12/10/2018  —  We don’t know
what is important to us
by thinking about it.

We know
what is important to us
by thinking about
how we react
to our experience.

The important things
impact us physically/emotionally.

It is only by experiencing
our experience–
by reflecting on our experience–
that we come
to new realizations
about what things mean
and what they mean to us.

When we react to our experience
without reflection–
without being mindfully,
compassionately,
nonjudgmentally,
aware of our experience
and its impact on us–
we exhibit what is important
without consciously
assessing its value
in light of all our other values,
and determining how important
it actually is
with all things considered.

Importance is not to be lightly conferred
or automatically presumed.

What matters most governs
how we spend our energy
and how we spend our time–
and determines what we do
with our life.

In reflecting on our experience–
on what is happening
and how we are responding–
we ask the questions
that beg to be asked,
and say the things
that cry out to be said,
ruthlessly transparent
to ourselves,
with nothing hidden
and nothing held back,
gauging how This
can be important,
if That, That, and That
are also important,
and deciding
what to keep
and what to throw away.

  1. 12/10/2018 —  False Hellebore 2012-05 01 — Blue Ridge Parkway, May, 2012It doesn’t take much to disconnect us
    from the Tao,
    the Dharma,
    the flow of the moment-to-momentness
    of our life.

    The dust of the world,
    the noise of this time and place,
    the ten thousand things,
    the uncertainty
    of what’s going to happen
    and what are we going to do about it?

    We go from being in sync
    and on the beam
    to being lost in the trackless wasteland
    in the pause between breaths.

    The practice is becoming skilled
    at letting that be
    because it is–
    and holding even that in mindfulness,
    as we bring ourselves back
    to the business of inhaling
    and orienting ourselves
    in this here, this now
    as the focal point of our awareness
    and the beginning place
    of a new dance
    with the Tao,
    with the Dharma,
    with the flow of the moment
    unfolding before us
    until the next disruption
    demands to be included
    and allowing the dance
    to take it in…

    This is called the way
    of losing the way
    without losing the way
    (By letting losing the way
    become a part of the way).

    No harm, no foul.
    Just breathing.
    Just seeing.
    Just hearing.
    And letting all things be,
    here, now…

  2. 12/11/2018 —  Blue Ridge Parkway 2012-06 01 HDR — Near the Mt. Jefferson Overlook, June, 2012Harmony,
    symmetry,
    balance,
    peace,
    in tune,
    on key,
    pitch perfect,
    in sync,
    in the grove,
    at one with the flow,
    Tao,
    Dharma,
    Vitality,
    ..

    We are looking for “just right.”
    We are stuck in “not quite it.”
    Some of us are “nowhere close”
    and “without a clue.”

    It would help
    if we knew
    what the deal is
    from the start.

    Nobody tells us nothing.

    They don’t know themselves.

    We are all lost in the wasteland
    desperately seeking home.

    Home being not where we live
    but where we belong.

    Everyone of us knows
    where it is not.

    “Not this, not this…”

    Everyone of us has resonance
    as our guide.
    Very few of us
    know how to listen–
    how to listen to our body
    and know what it knows.

    Our body knows.

    Our body is a tuning fork
    seeking resonance.

    Seeking harmony,
    symmetry,
    balance…

    It would help to know that
    from the beginning.
    And to have the Wisdom of the Elders
    to guide us along the way.

    They hand us the Ten Commandments
    as though that’s something,
    because that’s what they were handed,
    and told to ask no questions.

    Asking questions is the heart
    of the matter!
    And trusting ourselves
    to know what is right for us,
    and what is wrong.

    Those two things were anathema
    in the culture of our birth.
    And we were given careful instruction
    in the Way of Death.
    “Do what you are told, or else!”

    Not many of us could say,
    “I’ll take whatever else there is,”
    and walk off to find our own way
    along the path of trial and error.

    But, that’s what we were left with.
    The lucky ones listened
    to their body.
    And still are.

    Seeking harmony,
    symmetry,
    balance…

    With resonance as their guide.

  3. 12/11/2018 —  Vineyards 2012-09 02 — Chateau Morrisette Winery near Floyd, VA — September 10, 2012The best advice I’ve received
    when asking strangers
    if they have any advice for me
    (Most haven’t been able to think of anything),
    came from a department store clerk,
    who replied without hesitation,
    “Sit tight!”

    Beautiful!

    It so comes down to sitting tight!

    When I am overwhelmed,
    terrified,
    anxiety-ridden,
    tempted to do something-anything
    to escape the agony
    of what might happen,
    or what has happened…
    the best move by far is
    to sit tight.

    Just wait.
    Wait for clarity and direction.
    Wait to see exactly what I have to fear.
    Wait to see if I am right
    about how bad it is going to be.
    Wait to see what I have to deal with.
    Wait to see how I deal with it.
    Wait for the time to be right to act.

    Sit tight!

  4. 12/11/2018 —  Our original nature
    is our natural mind,
    our Buddha mind,
    our Christ mind–
    the one Paul was talking about
    when he said,
    “Have this mind among you
    that you have in Christ…”It is “the face that was ours
    before we were born.”

    Before greed and exploitation
    entered the picture.

    It is what we strive to get back to
    through Buddhism’s 8 Fold Path,
    through being in accord
    with the Tao and the dharma,
    through Christianity’s aligning ourselves
    with God’s Will…

    Call it what you will,
    it amounts to a return to the state
    of integrity and self-transparency,
    where we are at-one with who we are
    and living in ways which incarnate that
    in each moment.

    It has nothing to do with getting our way
    and having what we want.

    It has everything to do with responding
    to what is happening
    by bringing forth what needs to happen
    with the gifts, genius, daemon
    that are ours to use
    in the service of the true good of the whole.

    Our original nature is a blessing
    and a grace,
    waiting for us to come home.

12/11/2018 —  Light comes from darkness.
You have experienced that
in your own life
in numerous times and places.

Rumi said, “Darkness is the cradle of light.”

And light that is too bright
is as darkness itself.

Total light is as bad
as total night.

“The dark night of the soul”
is occasioned by being bathed in,
and desiring only,
the wonder and glory of light, light, light–
nothing but light.

That leaves us with being fine
just as it is,
just as we are.
No matter what our circumstances
might be,
we are just fine,
finding our way,
here and now.

Holding everything in awareness
and listening to the silence,
waiting for light to arise
in the darkness
and direct us to action
that is appropriate
to the occasion–
and repeat the process,
moment-by-moment-by-moment
throughout our life.

This is a worthy plan.
Don’t spit on it.

  1. 12/12/2018 —  Goodale 2018-11 04 Detail — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 6, 2018Know what needs to be done
    in light of your own best interest,
    the best interest of your family,
    your tribe,
    your country,
    and all sentient beings.

    Decide whose interest
    you are going to serve
    here and now.

    Do it.

    Repeat the process
    in each situation that arises
    for as long as life lasts.

    Doing what we can do
    about what needs to be done
    in every situation
    and doing it
    is all that can be asked
    of any of us.

    Why hold anything back?

    Knowing is the process
    of seeing what we look at
    (Particularly when we look in a mirror),

    hearing what is being said
    (Particularly what we are saying to ourselves),

    reflecting on our experience
    to the point
    of forming new realizations,

    knowing what we know
    (But tend to ignore),

    and what we don’t know
    (But tend to assume,
    think,
    believe,
    act as though,
    we know),

    and what needs to be done about it.

    Then, the question becomes,
    “Do we have what it takes
    to do it?”

    Jesus in Gethsemane.
    The Buddha under the Bodi Tree.
    Rosa Parks in the front of the bus.

    In every situation,
    the future pivots
    on our knowing what is happening,
    what needs to be done about it,
    and doing it,
    or not doing it.

    The future depends up us
    in every situation.

    We are the hope of the world.

12/12/2018  —  We each make our own assessments
about how valuable our life
is to us
and what we value most
about it.

That is what guides our boat
on its path through the sea.

We live to serve what matters most to us.

We know what matters most to us
by examining what we have served
with our life
up to this point.

What have you been serving
by the way you have lived?

Is it worthy of your loyalty,
fidelity,
devotion
and service
from this moment forward?

That is the pivot
upon which the future
turns.

12/12/2018 —  When things don’t go
as planned,
expected
or desired,
what?

That’s where we come in!

How do we handle the moment–
the situation–
when things get off track
and become
Not How We Want Things To Be?

Anyone can do well
when things are going smoothly
and easily
their way.

Doing well when they are not
is the mark of those
who are one with themselves
wherever,
whenever,
however
things are.

Our stability,
peace,
balance,
harmony,
congruity–
our being in accord
with the Tao–
is not conditional
on our circumstances!

It is conditional
on our being
mindfully,
compassionately,
nonjudgmentally,
kindly,
aware of what is happening
and our place in the picture.

The right response emerges
out of that awareness.

When our life goes to hell,
we do not have to go with it.

The way of not going
is the way of realizing
we don’t have to go.

12/12/2018  —  Jesus said,
“The love of money is the root of all evil.”
What he didn’t say is
that money loves money.
Money cannot get enough money!
Money craves money!
Lusts after money!
Is addicted to money!

Money monetizes everything,
turns everything into money.
Money doesn’t have anything to do
with anything
that cannot be turned into
more money.

All money wants is more money.
Money itself is evil.

Greed consumes the world.

The government—
every government,
all government—
governs at the pleasure of money.
Money owns government.
The people may get to vote,
may get to elect their own representatives,
but money runs the show.

New people are elected every few years.
Nothing substantive changes.
Change isn’t good for the economy.
Isn’t good for money.
Isn’t allowed to happen.

Money rigs elections.
Money buys votes.
Money gerrymanders districts.
Money propagandizes the electorate.
Money wins the day.

And what if it doesn’t?
What if the people pull off the coup?
Elect the right people?
Who cannot be bought off?
Who make new laws,
And put money in its place?

Who will enforce the laws?
What is to stop money from buying
the law enforcement officials?

Or from launching its own coup
and taking over the government?

Governments are clubs
in the fists of thugs.
The Mob runs the world.
Money runs the Mob.
Money runs the world.

But.
Money is not all-powerful.
And is certainly not all-wise.
Money has a weakness.
Money loves money,
and cannot live within its means.

Money has zero self-discipline.
It cannot spend money
on anything that doesn’t make money.
And spends money on anything
that does make money.
Fossil fuel makes a lot of money.
Guess what money likes.
Guess what money buys and sells
to make more money.
Guess what is going to happen
to all that money
When That Which Is Not Happening
disappears the world as we know it.
Money disappears with it.
And it all starts over—
maybe with a different outcome.

That’s the only hope we are left with.
Thanks to money.

  1. 12/12/2018 —  Roaring Fork Falls 2012-09 03/04 HDR Panorama — Pisgah National Forest, Burnsville, North Carolina, near the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Mt. Mitchell, September, 2012You have only two primary tasks
    to be completed in your lifetime:

    1) Saying what you need to hear.
    2) Hearing what you have to say.

    The first primary task is the easiest.
    You will naturally,
    automatically,
    spontaneously
    say what you need to hear.

    Everything you say,
    you need to hear.

    That gets us to the hard one.
    You have to hear what you have to say
    every time you speak.

    When you hear what you are saying,
    you will likely call BS a lot.

    You will definitely
    ask the questions that beg to be asked,
    and say the things that cry out to be said.
    And see into the heart of who you are,
    and who you are pretending to be.

    In order to hear what you are saying,
    you have to listen
    (Here come some of the secondary tasks,
    get ready)
    compassionately
    and nonjudgmentally.

    Nonjudgmental compassion equals kindness.

    You have to listen to yourself with kindness,
    which implies
    compassion
    and nonjudgment.

    It is the hardest thing to be kind to yourself.
    Yet, you cannot hear what you have to say
    without being kind to yourself.

    There is a big, fat, juicy plus
    to being kind to yourself.
    It allows you to be kind to others.

    Kindness transforms the world.

    The world has put kindness
    on the block lately.
    That would be the chopping block.
    We need each other’s help
    in bringing it back to life,
    by bringing it back to life in our own life
    through treating ourselves with kindness,
    and hearing what we have to say
    every time we speak.

    This is the pivot point
    to a wide range of futures.
    We make everything better
    when we hear what we have to say.

    But, as you know with sugar and butter,
    better is worse.

    Worse means having to face the truth
    of who we are
    and of how things are with us
    and of what we need to do about it
    and of getting to work
    and working hard
    in every situation as it arises
    to hear what we are saying
    and do what needs to be done about it.

    If you will do that,
    you will have it made.
    Not even Jesus or the Buddha
    could do more.

12/13/2018  —  I am definitely not suited
to be anything but
what I am.

Neither are you.

We think we should be
something else
because of the money,
fame
and glory, but.

We are kidding ourselves,
and have to come to terms
with the fact
that the best we can hope for
is a near-compatibility
that will allow us
to walk two paths at the same time
while paying the bills
and working ourselves
into our life
as best we can.

12/13/2018  —  I’m not here to tell you
what you need to hear.

I’m here to tell you
what I need to hear.

What I have to say
has nothing to do with you.

What you have to say
has nothing to do with me.

When we talk to each other
we have to hear what we are saying.

Our value to each other
is to be a sounding board
for the other.

We each are the master
and the student,
teaching ourselves
who we need to be
by telling ourselves
what we need to hear.

  1. 12/13/2018 —  Goodale 2018-11-11 01 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 06, 2018We are here to be who we are
    and to do what is ours to do
    within the time and place,
    conditions, context and circumstances
    of the moment-by moment unfolding
    of our life
    in the here and now
    of our living
    all our life long.

    We are brought forth by our life
    as we bring ourselves forth to meet our life.

    We have to cooperate with our coming forth
    by placing ourselves in accord with our life
    through adjusting ourselves to our life
    and our life to ourselves–

    We have to submit to–
    to will ourselves to surrender to–
    the life that needs us to live it,
    and not willfully impose our idea
    of the life we want to live
    onto the life we are living.

    “What do you want to be
    when you grow up?”
    is not the question.

    “Will you be able to do
    what needs to be done
    when that is not
    what you want to do?”
    is the question.

    We have a life in mind for ourselves
    that is exactly what we want to do
    with our life,
    and a war comes along,
    or an economic depression,
    or we get pregnant,
    or get somebody pregnant,
    or somebody dies,
    or something happens,
    and our plans are derailed…

    It happens all the time.
    We are not in charge of the circumstances
    within which we have to live.
    We do not get to choose our choices.
    We have to come to terms
    with how things are every day.

    It’s called growing up.
    It’s called making the best
    of a bad situation.
    It’s called doing what must be done,
    what needs to be done,
    what needs us to do it.

    Within the context of what can be done,
    we have to do what needs to be done,
    in ways that serve the gifts, genius, daemon
    that are/is ours to serve
    with fealty,
    fidelity,
    loyalty,
    devotion
    and a noble heart
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    We walk two paths at the same time.
    Live at the intersection
    of two worlds colliding,
    and make peace–
    make our peace with our task,
    our work,
    and make peace between
    the two worlds.

    We are the peace makers making peace
    by allowing things to be what they are
    and doing what needs to be done
    in response,
    as only we can do it.

    This is the grand adventure of being alive.

  2. 12/14/2018 —  False Hellebore 2012-05 10 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia, May, 2012Everything we have done
    or failed to do–
    everything that happened to us
    or failed to happen–
    played a part
    in our being where we are.

    It is our history,
    our present
    and our future.
    What we did with/about it then
    and what we do with/about it now,
    continues to play a part
    in who we are
    and what we become.

    James Hollis said,
    “Divorce doesn’t end a marriage,
    and death doesn’t end a relationship”
    (Or, words to that effect).

    Carl Jung said,
    “The unlived life of the parents
    continues to impact their children
    long after the parents have died”
    (Or, words to that effect).

    What we do and fail to do
    carry us
    and those close to us
    far into the future
    we have together and apart.

    And thus, the importance
    of squaring up to all of it,
    making our peace with it,
    coming to terms with it,
    welcoming it to the table,
    and living mindfully
    (compassionately,
    kindly,
    nonjudgmentally)
    aware of its impact upon us
    and our relationship with it–
    holding it,
    along with everything else,
    in our awareness,
    and letting it be
    because it is.

    The meaning our life
    has for us
    and for others
    is being ferreted out,
    reflected on,
    perceived anew
    reinterpreted
    and integrated
    into new realizations
    that deepen,
    expand,
    enlarge us,
    and make us
    “more like we are now
    than we were when we got here.”

    “The stone the builders reject
    becomes the chief cornerstone,”
    and the treasure is found
    by those who see what they look at.

12/14/2018  —  Where do you go for kindness?

Where do the people around you go?

Live so that they come to you!

By being kind,
we raise the level of kindness
in the world–
and reduce the level
of corporate misery and suffering.

So, why not?

12/14/2018  —  This is the way things are,
and this is what can be done about it,
and that’s that.

What can be done about it
comes down to:

Change it.
Accept it.
Deny it.
Escape it.
Work with it.

There is an upside
and a downside
to each option.

I recommend the fifth one,
working with it.

Working with it is holding
everything in our awareness,
and waiting for the shift to happen.

The shift is likely to be a shift in perspective
that changes how we relate
to how things are.

And that changes everything–
but softly, gently, kindly, magically,
leaving everyone,
even us,
wondering what happened.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 12/14/2018 —  A Walk in the Woods 2018-11 08 — 22 Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, November 8, 2018I stood in line at the Post Office
    twice this morning–
    buying Christmas stamps
    and then, later,
    mailing a package.

    And fell in love with the experience.

    Standing in line
    is the most democratic experience
    this country has to offer.

    Everyone knows what the rules are.
    No police are on hand
    to enforce the law.

    Everyone is equal in line.

    It doesn’t matter what your income is
    or how much money you have
    in the bank
    or in off-shore investments.

    It doesn’t matter what your skin color is,
    what your religious preference is,
    what your sex or gender identification is…
    You have a place in line,
    and it is your place,
    and no one is going to take it from you,
    or break in in front of you,
    or tell you you don’t belong there.

    And it is all self-governing.
    We all do the right thing in line.

    I love it about us.

    And wonder why we don’t think
    to transfer that attitude and behavior
    to other areas of our life.

    It works in line.

    It could work anywhere.

  2. 12/15/2018 —  Green River Canyon 2010-05 01 — Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah, May, 2010We stand helpless before our life–
    before it all–
    vulnerable and impotent,
    unable to choose our choices,
    or to do what must be done
    to make the world
    like it ought to be.

    It is out of our hands.

    The things that matter
    are beyond our control.

    What we do about that,
    how we respond to it,
    tells the tale.

    We get to choose our response
    to being unable to choose our choices
    or do anything about the way things are
    or about the things that matter
    and need to be done.

    We can run through a lot of options
    without finding something
    that beats
    the silence.

    The silence is the weapon of choice,
    the tool of highest value,
    in meeting what faces us
    in any moment
    of our life.

    Receive it in silence.
    Greet it with silence.
    Fold it into the silence.
    And wait.

    The silence takes it all in,
    and lets it be because it is,
    and transforms it all
    by not making it worse
    than it is,
    and waits.

    In the stillness of silent waiting
    stirs to life the action
    appropriate to the occasion.

    On our own,
    we are nothing.
    In the silence,
    we find resources
    we don’t know we have.

    We are not one.
    We are many.
    We are the multitude.
    We are what we need,
    what the situation needs,
    what the moment cries out for.

    In the silence,
    we become “the still point
    of the turning world,”
    changing everything
    by the way we receive it,
    and transcend it,
    and rise above it,
    and dance with it,
    in the silence
    of knowing nothing
    about what to do,
    and being unable to do
    anything that matters
    about anything that matters.

    Everything that matters
    flows from the silence.

    Return to the silence
    and wait
    for the dance to begin.

  3. 12/15/2018 —  False Hellebore 2012-05 19 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway in rural Virginia, May 01, 2012If I still did that kind of thing,
    I would bet each of you reading this
    $20.00 that we all–
    those of us writing this
    and those of us reading it–
    do more things right
    than we do wrong,
    and have done so
    all our lives long.
    And the scales are not even close.

    We are not bad people
    and we are not going to hell
    for what we have done
    and left undone.

    Pass the word,
    particularly to every preacher you know.

    Where we need to get to work
    is along the slippery slope,
    the razor’s edge,
    the dangerous path,
    between being able
    to exhibit/incarnate/express
    our fundamental integrity
    (“The face that was ours
    before we were born”)
    and being able to pay the bills
    and live out our life
    in the world of everyday.

    The work is to be who we are
    within the time and place,
    context and circumstances,
    of our living.

    Anyone can be true to themselves
    in a cabin in the woods,
    but pull that off
    with a spouse,
    three children,
    two cats and a dog,
    and all that goes with it,
    and you are slighting
    a lot of people
    and at least three animals,
    or, you are kidding yourself.

    It is a balance
    best achieved
    through holding everything
    in awareness
    and bringing forth
    what is needed
    to meet each situation
    as it arises
    on its own terms
    throughout what remains
    of the time left for living.

    And, if we don’t manage
    to pull that off,
    we still don’t go to hell.

12/15/2018  —  “Simply stop trying
to make things different.

–Segal, Williams and Teasdale in their book,
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression.

And don’t try to stop trying.
“Simply stop.”

  1. 12/16/2018 —  False Kiva 2010-05 01 — Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah, May 14, 2010Changing our relationship
    with our life
    is a matter of stopping
    the way we think
    about our life
    and thinking a different way instead.

    Our relationship with our life
    has us exactly where we are.

    If where you are is perfectly swell
    with you,
    keep doing what you are doing.

    If where you are is making you crazy,
    depressed,
    sad,
    surly,
    mean-spirited,
    confused and uncertain
    about what to do,
    at the end of your rope,
    ready to hang it up,
    thinking anything would be
    better than this,
    then you need
    to change your relationship
    with your life
    by changing the way
    you think about your life.

    That’s what Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
    and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy
    will do for you.
    Google the terms.
    Google the name Jon Kabat-Zinn.
    Watch all of his YouTube videos
    (beginning with the short ones).
    Read his books.
    Take up the practice of Mindfulness.
    Change your life
    by changing your relationship with it
    by changing the way you think about it.

    What’s in it for me?
    A better us.
    A better world.
    Through mindful,
    compassionate,
    nonjudgmental,
    kind and gracious
    thinking and living.

  2. 12/16/2018 —  Big Creek 2008-11 01 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Big Creek Campgrounds, Waterville, North Carolina, November, 2008Synchronicity is an experience
    with the flow of life
    on a level beyond anything
    reason and logic
    can enable us to comprehend.

    “Oh, that’s synchronicity,” doesn’t explain anything,
    but it recognizes what it experiences,
    and embraces it with joy and delight.

    Trying to figure it out
    in a way that allows us
    to understand it
    misses the point.

    The point of flow
    is to be in it,
    not to talk about it.
    “To talk about water
    is to not know water!”

    There resides within each of us
    a body of wisdom
    that is capable of perceiving synchronicity,
    and of placing us in a position
    to experience it–
    a body of wisdom
    beyond the ken of reason and logic.

    And, beyond the grasp
    of wanting,
    willing,

    To tap into the wisdom within,
    we have to live differently–
    and lay aside any ideas
    or aspirations
    of using it to advance ourselves,
    socially or financially,
    in the life we have chosen
    for ourselves.

    We do not get to choose our life.
    Much like the wand chooses the wizard,
    our life chooses us.

    When we say yes to that life,
    wisdom comes along
    as a part of the bargain.

    And synchronicity is a regular event.

  3. 12/17/2018 —  Acadia Ferns 2012-09 01 — Sieur de Monts, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine, September 28, 2012We can want what we cannot have–
    and what we have no business having.

    We can want to avoid what we cannot escape–
    and what we have no business escaping.

    This is attraction/attachment
    and avoidance/aversion.

    On the one hand, this,
    on the other hand, that.
    Yes! to this,
    No! to that.

    We live like a badminton birdie
    batted back and forth
    between one or the other
    of these emotional states of being.

    We have no peace
    and not a moment’s rest.

    We love this,
    we hate that.
    And desire more than anything else
    a world we cannot live in.

    And so…
    we come up with heaven,
    where all desires are met
    and no fears reside.
    The Happy Hunting Ground
    for those who are incapable
    of growing up
    and facing the fact
    that we cannot have what we want,
    and have to come to terms with that
    here and now–
    because that, and that alone,
    determines where we go from here
    and what happens next.

    How we respond
    to wanting and wanting not
    forms, shapes, conditions, strongly influences
    what happens and happens not.

    And the world of what happens and happens not–
    the world of “what’s happening now”–
    is the world in which we live, and move, and have our being.

    The world is as it is
    because of what we want and want not,
    and cause to happen and happen not
    out of what we strive to have and to avoid.

    No striving to have!
    No striving to avoid!
    What a difference that would make!

    What is the alternative?
    If we aren’t striving to have and to void,
    what?
    What is left?

    The world as it ought to be.
    The world as it could be
    without our constant striving to have and to avoid.
    The world as it needs to be.

    Step into the next situation that arises
    without having anything
    to strive to have there,
    or to strive to avoid there.

    No having, no avoiding.
    What do you do then?
    How do you live in the situation
    without trying to get something
    or to avoid something?

    Stop! Look! Listen!
    See! Hear! Feel!

    What is happening there?
    What needs to happen in response
    to what is happening?
    In light of what?
    Toward what end?

    Sit, or stand, in,
    or walk through,
    the situation,
    looking and listening,
    seeing and hearing and feeling.

    Being aware of everything there
    without attraction/attachment
    without avoidance/aversion.
    Just seeing.
    Just hearing.
    Just feeling.

    Hold it all in your awareness
    and wait for the shift,
    wait for the turning.

    Wait for the realization to arise
    regarding what needs to happen.

    Wait for the right action
    in response to the situation as it is
    to act itself
    through you–
    the way the dance dances the dancer,
    or the song sings the singer–
    in rising to meet the occasion
    in ways appropriate to the time and place,
    conditions and circumstances,
    of your lived experience in the moment.

    If you meet an elephant coming toward you
    on the path,
    you get off the path.

    If the building is on fire,
    you get out of the building.

    If the baby’s diaper needs changing,
    you change the diaper.

    If you spill the milk,
    you clean up the spill.

    Etc. in each situation that arises
    all your life long.

    And, just like that,
    “It’s a new world, Golda!”
    A brand new world.

  4. 12/18/2018 —  Goodale 2018-11 39 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 6, 2018The next time you are discouraged,
    consider the challenge you are meeting,
    the contradictions you are encountering,
    the flagrant lack of cooperation
    that characterizes your life,
    and understand fully
    how right you are to be discouraged.

    Smarter people would have quit by now.

    But no.
    Not you.
    You plug on against all odds–
    and expect that you should feel great about it.

    If it helps you feel better
    knowing that you don’t feel nearly bad enough,
    take it and run with it–
    because that’s about the best
    you can hope for,
    given all that you are dealing with.

    I give myself this little talk
    every year about this time–
    not because it’s Christmas,
    though that is plenty-enough reason
    for a lot of people,
    but because it is the cusp
    of tax season,
    and I have to take up the work
    of putting our affairs in order
    to be able to fill out the IRS forms
    so that the people
    on the state and federal levels of government
    will be happy with me one more year.

    I look at as being one tax filing closer to death–
    when I will be free at last forever
    from having to get the right numbers
    in the right blocks.

    That thought generally perks me up
    and sees me through.

    Carl Jung can say what he wants
    about the importance
    of strengthening our “lesser functions,”
    but he can have it.

    Numbers have no leeway about them,
    except to the degree that,
    like that,
    they can become letters
    without warning
    and for no apparent reason.

    Numbers come with tight little restrictions
    concerning their use
    that only accountants,
    engineers
    and number scientists comprehend.
    1+1 always = 2.
    Clearly indicating to me
    and all who agree with me
    that neither of the 1’s has any imagination whatsoever.

    What if one of the 1’s is pregnant?
    Why can’t 1’s ever be pregnant–
    and maybe deliver just before the = is in place?

    Numbers cannot ever have any fun,
    staying as they must,
    within very rigid lines,
    and always coming out
    as they are destined from all eternity to do
    every single time.

    It gives me the willies
    to step into the world of numbers,
    and discouragement abounds
    because I do not belong there,
    with all the restrictions and restraints,
    rules and regulations.

    I’m built for poetic license.
    I can invent words on the fly,
    and spell them in ways that are different every time
    and yet, you can still read them.

    No one has ever invented a new number.

    No one ever even tries.

12/18/2018 —  The notion
idea,
belief,
conviction
that we need more than we have
to be who we are
and do what is ours to do
in each situation as it arises
is the root of all our problems.

  1. 12/18/2018 —  False Kiva 2010-05 HDR — Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah, May 14, 2010Not-being in the moment of our living
    is equivalent to being dead
    to the moment of our living–
    is equivalent to being dead.

    We spend too much of our time
    as the Walking Dead.

    When we come alive,
    we are alive to the time and place,
    the here and now,
    the present moment
    of our living.

    Too often, we live to be somewhere else,
    some time else.
    The future,
    the past,
    fantasy land,
    tuned out,
    turned off,
    drifting away
    from here and now.

    Being alive
    means being here, now.
    Because there is no other place
    to be alive.
    If we are not alive here, now,
    we are only hanging out,
    waiting for then, there.

    In the meantime, we are as good as dead.

    We spend too much of our time
    being as good as dead.

    Ah, but…
    Who can live this old life
    in this old same old same old?
    We have to have some
    flash, crackle, spark!
    We have to have some action,
    any kind of action!
    And there is nothing approaching action
    in most of our here and now’s.

    We live as those who are mostly dead
    looking for some action.

    We are looking for life to leech off of.
    We are parasites looking for a host.
    We call it “looking for action.”

    We are looking for life
    because we are dead.
    Hoping that something
    somewhere,
    some time,
    somehow,
    will bring us to life.

    We are corpses
    waiting for life to come along
    and ask us if we need a lift.

    This is the wrong approach.

    Our life–
    the one that is ours to live–
    the one no one but us can live–
    is waiting for us to live it
    beginning right here, right now.

    This is the place,
    now is the time.
    What is the hold up?
    What are we waiting for?

    Sit quietly.
    Ask, “Now what?”
    See what comes up.
    Open yourself to the wisdom within.

    We come to life
    when our inner guide comes to life.
    Our inner guide comes to life
    when we place ourselves
    in his — in her
    service
    with a pledge of fealty,
    loyalty,
    fidelity
    and devotion,
    and trust ourselves
    to her — to him
    in every here and now
    for the rest
    of the time left for living.

    Starting here, now.

  2. 12/19/2018 —  False Hellebore 2012-05 17 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, rural Virginia, May, 2017Success and failure
    are not as important
    as how we handle success and failure.

    How we receive it.
    How we respond to it.
    How we manage it.
    How we fold it into our life.
    How we live around it,
    with it.
    How we step into the next thing,
    and the thing after that,
    and all the things that follow.

    The weight we give it
    in determining how we deal
    with everything else.

    Our life consists of what happens
    and what we do about it.
    What we do about it
    sets the stage
    for what happens next.

    We form tomorrow
    by how we live today.

    This moment has implications
    for the next moment
    and all those that follow.

    And what happens in this moment
    is less important
    than how we handle it.

    Making our peace
    with the way things are
    and what needs
    to be done about it–
    what we are being asked
    to do in response to it–
    is the platform for peace

  3. 12/19/2018 —  Baxter Creek Bridge 2008-11 01 HDR Panorama — Big Creek Campground, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Waterville, Tennessee, November 11, 2008Our opinion about things–
    what we think and feel about things–
    gets in our way
    when it comes to seeing things as they are
    and knowing what to do about them.

    We can know what to do about something,
    and not do it
    because of the way we feel about it.
    Because of what we think about it.
    Because of the opinion we hold about it.

    Prejudice and discrimination work that way.
    Prejudice and discrimination
    are opinions about things
    that have nothing to do with
    how things actually are.

    Our opinions of things
    prevent us from seeing things as they are
    and doing what needs to be done
    in response to them.

    When we do what our opinions
    and prejudices direct us to do,
    we fail to care about
    what actually needs to be done,
    and are not responsive
    to what is being asked of us
    by the situation unfolding before us.

    We have eyes to see,
    but do not see–
    ears to hear,
    but do not hear–
    because our opinions and prejudices
    are interfering with our seeing and hearing.

    When we look,
    we have to see everything.
    When we listen,
    we have to hear everything.
    And hold everything in our awareness,
    waiting for direction
    from an inner wisdom
    that is beyond opinion and prejudice,
    leading us into
    right doing and right being
    in each situation
    that comes along.

    The willingness–
    the willfulness–
    to see, hear and understand
    in order to know what is happening
    and what to do in response
    (As called for by the situation),
    is an aspect of the grace of maturity–
    the mystery at the heart
    of life and being.

  4. 12/20/2018 —  Cadillac Mountain 2012-09 01 — Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine, September 24, 2012We don’t know when
    we are going to leave,
    or how,
    so we better be ready
    to say goodbye everyday.

    Some Native American tribes
    knew this from the start.
    “It’s a good day to die,” they said,
    and may still be saying it.
    They certainly should be,
    and we along with them.

    “It’s a good day to die” means
    we are all caught up,
    our affairs are in order,
    we have done
    all that needs to be done
    in a day each day
    up to this one.

    We haven’t held anything back,
    we haven’t put anything off.

    We have asked the questions
    that beg to be asked,
    and have said the things
    that cry out to be said,
    and have lived
    with the wind that blows where it will
    forever in our hair,
    and are now ready
    to leave or not.

    And are readily available
    to any option
    that requires our attention,
    in living each day
    the way it needs us to live it–
    the way it needs to be lived–
    all the way to the last one.

    If this one turns out
    to be the last one, fine.
    It not, fine.
    Tomorrow will be
    an equally good day to die–
    just as yesterday was.

12/20/2018  —  There are things
that energize us,
and things
that deplete us.

Sit with those things.

See what is there.

Get to the bottom of them.

What is energizing?

What is depleting?

What is vitality and life for you?

What is exhaustion and death?

What is the ratio
of vitality to exhaustion
in your life?

What can you do
to add more vitality
and reduce exhaustion?

What is keeping you
from doing it?

  1. 12/20/2018 —  Fence Row 2012-01 — Blue Ridge Parkway, rural North Carolina, January, 2012 — Take up the practice
    of stepping into each situation
    without judgment,
    without opinion,
    without seeking your advantage,
    or striving to have things your way.Move into each one,
    just seeing,
    just hearing,
    just receiving the situation
    into your awareness,
    taking everything into account–
    evaluating and interpreting
    all things considered
    in light of what is being called for
    and what the situation is asking of you
    in the service
    of the good of the situation as a whole.

    Rise to meet the occasion,
    with what you have to give
    out of your store of resources,
    abilities,
    knacks,
    and skills,
    bringing your genius,
    gifts
    and daemon into play,
    and leaving the situation
    better than it would have been
    without your contribution,
    striving to serve the good
    and do no harm.

    If the dog throws up on the carpet,
    clean it up
    without chastising the dog
    or cursing the day
    or bemoaning your lot in life.

    Meet the situation on its terms
    as best you can,
    and move on to the next situation.

    Jesus couldn’t do better than that.
    Nor could the Buddha,
    Gandhi,
    or Mother Teresa.
    Which will put you
    in very good company.

    Nice going!

12/20/2018  —  If you ever find yourself in a hole,
and think your life has passed you by,
that it is all useless, hopeless, pointless, futile, absurd
and nothing matters,
consider this:
You’re feeling bad about it
because it matters to you
that nothing matters.

Oops.
Something matters.

It matters that nothing matters,
which opens the door to the possibility
that something else might matter,
and that if you weren’t taking the hopelessness, etc.,
of your situation/circumstances so seriously,
you might catch a whiff
of fresh bread baking,
and that might matter…

We now have a line of thought leading to a long list
of things that matter.
One of the biggest things that matter
is how we live in the hole
where it feels as though nothing matters.
It matters how we respond to that feeling.
It matters how we deal with it.
It matters what we do in the hole
to begin making our way out of the hole.

Here’s one way of doing that.
Sit down in the hole.
Be quiet.
Pay attention to your breathing.
Listen.
Listen for all the questions that beg to be asked.
Listen for all the things that cry out to be said–
to be heard.
Listen for what is being said.
Listen for what is being asked.
Explore the ground of your disappointment
and your discouragement.
Hold it all in your awareness,
including your response/reaction to all of it,
and see what occurs to you,
what arises from the wisdom within.

  1. 12/21/2018 —  False Kiva 2010-05 03 HDR Panorama — Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah, May 14, 2010Do not think you know
    what you are doing.
    Endeavor only to know
    what needs to be done
    and what you can do about it
    and do that.

    Let that be enough.

    In each situation as it arises.

    And let the outcome be the outcome–
    which is nothing more
    than another situation,
    another set of circumstances,
    in which something needs to be done,
    and there is something you can do about it.
    So, know what it is,
    and do it,
    and let the outcome be the outcome…

    Like that,
    for the rest of your life.

    Your life consists of situations
    and circumstances
    and you,
    and your response
    to the situations
    and circumstances
    of your life,
    creating additional situations
    and circumstances…

    There is no plan.
    There are no dreams.
    There is only you
    knowing what needs to be done
    here and now,
    and what you can do about it,
    and doing it,
    and seeing where it goes.

    None of us is here, now,
    because we dreamed it up
    and planned it out,
    and here we are.

    Every one of us here, now,
    is here, now
    by way of fumbling and bumbling
    our way all along the way
    from then, there to here, now.

    We’re just lucky to be here.

    Another work for luck is magic.
    Another word for luck and magic is karma.
    Another word for luck and magic and karma is grace.

    I like grace.

    We are here by the grace
    of, call it what you will,
    God, Tao, Dharma…

    I call it The Grace Of The Way Things Are.
    We are here/now by
    The Grace Of The Way Things Are.

    Any situation,
    any circumstances,
    is/are grace in the making.
    Magic being made.
    Luck waiting to be acknowledged.
    Karma working itself out in our life.

    And all of it depends
    upon the response we make
    to the situations and circumstances
    of our living.

    Respond one way,
    and we have one outcome–
    one set of situations and circumstances.
    Respond another way,
    and we have a different outcome–
    a different set of situations and circumstances.
    And it is all luck, magic, karma, grace
    in the making.

    There is no right way of doing it.

    One way of doing it
    is going to have better outcomes and futures
    than another way of doing it,
    but better in terms of what?
    One person’s better
    is another person’s worse.

    It is a mix.
    It is magic.
    It is luck.
    It is karma.
    It is grace.

    And it cannot be dreamed up
    or planned out.

    This here and now
    and these circumstances
    comprise your situation.
    How you read them,
    see them,
    understand them,
    will lead you to respond to them
    in a particular way.
    And that will have a particular outcome.
    And that will lead to a new here and now,
    which will have a particular set
    of circumstances
    comprising a particular situation
    that you will have to interpret
    and respond to…

    Luck,
    magic,
    karma,
    grace
    in the making,
    being produced
    by the way we respond
    to the mix.

    And we do not know what we are doing
    in any of it.
    We are being carried along
    by the evolutionary nature of life itself,
    self-creating its way
    to one outcome after another.
    It is
    luck,
    magic,
    karma,
    grace
    all the way down.

    We read each here and now
    that comes along,
    and make our best assessment
    of the situation/circumstances,
    and respond as appropriately
    as possible,
    and take our chances–
    letting the outcome be the outcome,
    which is never anything more
    than a new situation/circumstances,
    and the dance goes on and on,
    and, “There is nothing but the dance.”

12/21/2018  —  I bake my applesauce pineapple bread
and drink my coffee,
while the world goes to hell
all around me.

It is what old men have done
throughout the ages.

Old women do similar things.

That is how it is.

If you think you can change this scenario,
alter this narrative,
have at it.

That is what young men
and women have done
throughout the ages.

We take our place in line,
and the applesauce pineapple bread
and coffee
wait their turn.

This is how it is.

If you can come to terms with it,
you have it made.

Coming to terms with how things are
is the work of being human.
How well you do that tells the tale.
IS the tale!

  1. 12/21/2018 —  Vineyards 2012-09 04 — Chateau Morrisette Winery near Floyd, VA — September 10, 2012Experiencing our experience
    without beliefs,
    opinions,
    judgments,
    preferences,
    prejudices,
    desires,
    wanting,
    or willfulness
    inserting themselves
    between us and our experience
    would be just us experiencing,
    like birdwatchers might watch birds,
    or an old Zen master
    might watch the clouds.

    What’s the advantage?
    Why would we want to do that?

    What’s the advantage
    of living from advantage to advantage?
    Why do we have to have a reason,
    or a motive,
    for everything we do?

    There is nothing to be gained
    from looking out the window–
    and everything to be had.
    But don’t do it to get everything–
    do it to look out the window.

    Disappearing into our awareness,
    so that we are seeing
    without being an “I” seeing–
    hearing without being an “I” hearing,
    knowing without being an “I” knowing–
    is to be participating
    in the movement of life
    like a dancer being lost in the dance,
    or a musician being one with the music.

    When we are knowing without being conscious
    of how we are knowing,
    of who is knowing,
    the “who” and the “what” are one,
    and our life is living us
    as much as we are living our life.

    Then we find ourselves doing
    what needs to be done
    without thinking of motive,
    or of advantage,
    or of benefit,
    or of gain.

    We are being helpful
    without thinking of getting
    anything out of it.
    We are just responding
    to the need of the moment
    with the gifts we have to offer,
    moment by moment.

    Think of it as nature naturing.

    A tree takes water and nutrients
    from the soil
    and makes bark
    and limbs
    and branches
    and leaves,
    knowing and doing
    what needs to be done
    without knowing what it is doing.

    Our bodies do that.
    Our minds can do it, too.
    If we can stop the willing,
    wanting,
    opining,
    judging,

    and simply see, hear, know, do, be.

  2. 12/22/2018 —  False Hellebore 2012-05 02 — Blue Ridge Parkway, rural Virginia, May 01, 2012We cannot just be
    awake,
    aware,

    We have to practice,
    practice,
    practice–

    with regular retreats
    to the silence,
    breathing
    and attending the breathing,
    and bringing our attention
    back to the breathing
    when our mind wanders
    to more pertinent,
    pressing,
    things.

    The world does not encourage
    mindful,
    kind,
    compassionate,
    nonjudgmental,
    awareness,
    or quiet,
    attentive,
    breathing.

    We practice receiving the world
    as it is
    into our awareness,
    and attending our breathing
    and our body.

    Holding everything in our awareness,
    with our attention on the breath,
    in the silence,
    is practice for holding everything in our awareness,
    while attending our breathing
    in the din of 10,000 things
    demanding our attention.

    Seek the silence.
    Attend the breath.
    Practice.
    Practice.
    Practice.

12/22/2018  —  Not-the-path
is the-path-to-the-path-
the-long-way-around.

The-path-to-the-path
is the path.

Not-the-path
is the path.

All paths are the path
for those who are faithful
to the path.

Take a path
and be faithful to it
until it requires you
to take another path,
then take it.

And so on.
Never thinking
you are on the Real Path
at last.

12/22/2018  —  There is right living,
and there is wrong living.
And wrong living,
if pursued in the right way,
leads to right living.

There is dharma,
and there is adharma.

There is “neti neti,”
and there is “Thou Art That.”

There is yin and yang
and there is the Great Oneness of All Things.

There is chaos
and there is balance, harmony, symmetry and bliss.

Make sense of it
if you must and can.

Or walk among it
accepting it,
making your peace with it
and being at home in it.

12/22/2018  —  The content of our belief–
what we believe–
is always validated
by our experience.

This is the ground of superstition
and religion
(And where *does* that line lie?)

Our faith is validated by our experience.
Faith precedes enlightenment,
and is its ground and foundation.

We find what we look for,
hear what we know to be so,
see what we recognize immediately as truth.

The way is always prepared
by our work to find the way.

12/23/2018  —  Donald Trump wants to be loved
on his terms.

He wants loyalty and love from all people,
and treats everyone in terrible ways
in order to test their love and loyalty,
and separate those who love him
from those who don’t.

At this point in his life,
he is still looking for someone who does.

But, the minute he finds them,
he will lose all respect for them
and have no use for them,
because who can love anyone
who lets someone treat them
anyway at all
without walking away
and slamming the door
on the way out?

He loves the Tough Guys
who love no one.

It’s quite the quandary.
Paradox.
Contradiction.

You can’t make sense of it.
It is completely crazy.

That’s the way it is
with everyone
who wants to be loved
on their terms.

In order to be loved,
you have to be loving.

Trump has never had a loving relationship
with anything in his life.

He doesn’t have a dog,
or a cat,
or a goldfish.

The only things he loves
more than himself
are the spotlight and money.
He will do anything for them.
He loves them on their terms.

Bless his heart.

  1. 12/23/2018 —  Colors of Fern 2008-09 02 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, September 5, 2008Letting it all fall away
    is to be like the wind
    that blows where it will.

    That may work for the wind,
    but for human beings,
    not so much.

    Human beings need
    food, clothing, shelter
    and loving, caring, relationships.

    We cannot let everything fall away
    and still be alive.

    “Eat when hungry,
    rest when tired,”
    said the sage.
    If we let everything fall away,
    there goes eating,
    there goes sleeping.

    There goes everything.

    Nothing remains.

    It has all fallen away.

    I suggest
    we work to develop
    the right-relationship
    with everything.
    and let the idea
    of everything falling away
    fall away.

    The right-relationship
    with everything
    is “a slippery slope–
    a dangerous path–
    like a razor’s edge!”

    It takes constant attention,
    continual work–
    holding everything in our awareness,
    and tending it all
    the way it needs
    to be tended
    as best we can.

    Having the right relationship
    with everything
    requires everything to understand
    that some things
    are going to be ignored
    and neglected
    in favor of other things.

    Tending it all
    “as best we can”
    means we aren’t going to tend
    some things at all.

    We are going to be aware of that.
    We aren’t going to kid ourselves.

    We are going to say “No!”
    to most things
    and “Yes!” to the few things
    we can actually work into our life
    and establish a right-relationship with.

    Those things will be symbolic of all things.
    We will take care of our relationship with them
    as we would with all things
    if we were physically capable
    of having right-relationship with all things.

    We are going to have to leave it
    to others to have a right-relationship
    with the things
    we cannot get around to–
    and trust that they will treat those things
    as we would
    if we could.

    When everyone is doing that,
    all things will be they should be,
    and all will be well.

    Until then, we have to do what we can
    as best we can
    to do right by the people and things
    we can do right by–
    living in right relationship
    with the people and things
    (including ourselves)
    in each situation that comes up
    all our life long.

    Beginning here, now.

12/23/2018  —  Let go
of letting everything go,
and do what needs
to be done
as best you can
in each situation
as it arises
all your life long.

To do that,
you will have to
let some things go.

What we let go
and what we
hold onto
tells the tale
we are here to tell.

Know the things
that matter most,
and serve them
with your loyalty,
fidelity,
allegiance
and devotion
all your life long.

Keep faith
with the things you believe in.
Keep faith
with yourself.
And dance with your life.

  1. 12/24/2018 —  Goodale 2018-11 29 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 6, 2018Buddhism came into being
    in response to the Three Realizations:
    Life is pain.
    Life is empty.
    Life is a lie.

    Buddhism offers liberation
    through enlightenment
    from the burden
    of the endless wheel of life
    by offering novices
    something else to think about–
    meditation, koans, etc.

    Having something else to think about
    is always a relief
    from the weight of our life.

    It is the gift of all of our addictions.

    We have created an entire culture
    of diversion, distraction and denial
    to take our mind off
    things we don’t want to think about.

    In that sense,
    we are all Buddhists at heart.
    And all religion is a bulwark
    against the encroachment
    of unwanted things to think about.

    “Pie in the sky by and by”
    captures religion’s strategy
    of giving adherents
    something else to think about
    by offering heaven’s bliss
    and life everlasting
    to counter the endless hopelessness
    of oppression and angst.

    Against this plight of the ages
    and its refrain of Woe And Relief From Woe,
    the Blues arose
    from the soul of the people
    who had had enough
    as a music form that is
    anti-religion and anti-woe
    to make fun of–
    and serve as an alternative to–
    the entire enterprise:

    “I’m gonna lay my head out
    on some railroad track,
    but when I hear that train coming,
    I’m gonna snatch my head back!”

    Here is the freedom!
    The release from bondage!
    The enlightenment!

    “What the hell?
    If things are as bad
    as I think they are,
    I’m going to quit thinking
    and start living
    as best I can,
    anyway,
    nevertheless,
    even so!”

    That’s snatching our head back,
    and saving ourselves
    from all who would save us–
    and refusing to let our present plight
    get us down!

  2. 12/25/2018 —  Jordan Pond 2012-09 01 — Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine, September 23, 2012The Christmas Hope is for realization
    breaking into our world
    to transform,
    re-order,
    amaze,
    and wake us up
    to the wonder we all are,
    and each other is.

    We are the Child coming forth
    and we are the Virgin giving birth
    to the Child,
    and Christmas is an annual reminder
    of the process of becoming who we are
    that reunites us with the Coming One,
    and calls us to take up our work in
    Annunciation,
    Incarnation,
    Birth,
    Life,
    Death
    and Resurrection.

    We “are both the marble and the sculptor”
    (Alex Carrel),
    and Christmas is our summons
    to the labor of birthing ourselves
    into our life
    where there is no room for us,
    and it is our problem
    to find the ways of making it happen.

    The Good News is that it happens all the time.

    The Way is everywhere the same:
    “It is a slippery slope,
    a dangerous path,
    like a razor’s edge!”

    And help is on every side,
    in every situation,
    for those who see what they look at,
    and hear what is being said,
    and receive everything
    as the stone the builders reject,
    and are eager to explore
    their own unfolding
    in the world of space and time.

    Join the celebration of your own birth,
    and take part in the wonder
    of your own becoming–
    as a witness to,
    and a participant in,
    the process of being who you are
    in the time and place of your living!

    Merry Christmas!

  3. 12/25/2018 —  Crabtree Falls 2012-09 02 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Little Switzerland, North Carolina, September 5, 2012The situation carries with it
    the seeds of its own eventual
    resolution/solution.

    In order to initiate and assist
    the process of resolution/solution,
    we have to read the situation
    and accurately assess what is happening
    and what needs to happen
    in response,
    in light of all things considered.

    A key ingredient in that process
    is the response we make to the situation,
    which includes the way
    we come to terms with the circumstances
    at work there,
    and make use of the resources
    available to us–
    all of which depend on our
    looking until we see,
    listening until we hear,
    inquiring/reflecting until we understand,
    and having the courage
    to act upon what we know
    in the service
    of the good of the situation as whole.

    What the situation needs
    will likely be present in the situation.

    Our place is to connect the situation
    with what it needs
    by being what it needs
    to find what it needs.

    Where our needs fit into the situation
    is a judgment call.
    Maybe we step aside,
    and maybe we stand firm,
    hold our ground,
    and refuse to budge.

    We see.
    We hear.
    We understand.
    We know.
    We decide.
    We act.
    And we repeat this formula
    in the situation
    arising from this one.

    Throughout the time left for living.

12/25/2018  —  If nothing needs to change,
don’t change anything.

If something needs to change,
change it.

If you can’t change it,
change your attitude about it.

Accept the fact that you can’t change it,
and let it be.
Because it is.

Live around it as best you can
and go on with your life,
such as it is,
without judgment,
without opinion,
without despair or dismay,
but always looking
to do what you can do
about what can be done
about what needs to be done
for the good of the whole
in each situation as it arises,
your entire life long.

This is called
coming to terms
with the facts that govern
your life,
and living as fully as possible,
anyway,
nevertheless,
even so!

  1. 12/26/2018 —  Vineyards 2012-09 39 — Sheldon Vineyards, Dobson, North Carolina, September 09, 2012There are the circumstances/conditions
    within which we carry out our business,
    do our work,
    exhibit and express who we are,
    and there is our business,
    our work,
    who we are.

    We can carry out our business,
    do our work,
    be who we are
    better
    within circumstances/conditions
    that are conducive
    to life in the fullest
    sense of the term
    than in those that are not.

    We all would be better off
    in a more suitable environment.

    So.

    Too much of our attention
    is devoted
    to arranging our environment
    to suit our needs.

    Some of us have to work two,
    or more,
    jobs for example,
    just make ends meet.

    How much time does that leave us
    for attending the other things
    that need to be done
    before we can devote
    any time to silence and breathing?

    Yet, without silence and breathing,
    how can we hope to know what we know
    and exert our attention
    to serving our gifts/genius/daemon
    in influencing our circumstances
    and altering our living conditions?

    This gets us to the central phrase
    in the mindfulness lexicon of phrases:
    “As best we can.”

    Doing what needs to be done
    as best we can,
    without judgement or opinion,
    and with compassion
    for ourselves,
    all others,
    and all things–
    including the circumstances/conditions
    of our life–
    is the sine qua non
    of all mindfulness practice.

    When we bless ourselves
    with a little compassion,
    it makes everything a little better.

    A lot of compassion
    makes everything a lot better.

    Start there,
    and live your life
    paying attention to each moment,
    moment-to-moment-to-moment,
    one situation at a time,
    as best you can.

  2. 12/26/2018 —  Maine Moon 2012-09 01 — Stonington, Maine, September 27, 2012Trust yourself to the moment.
    Pay attention to the moment.
    See what you look at.
    Hear what you listen to.
    Remember that we owe fealty
    to the moment–
    moment-by-moment-by-moment–
    and live to do right by each moment
    as they unfold before you
    and present themselves to you.

    Our loyalty,
    fidelity,
    devotion,
    faithfulness,
    love
    and allegiance
    belong to the moment of our living.

    There are no throw-away moments.
    Each moment takes its place
    between moments
    to shape our life
    and carry us into
    the development
    of the story we are writing
    one moment at a time.

    The present moment
    is the only time we actually have.

    The past is past,
    and the future is only a promise
    hinging on the moment
    that is now.

    How we live here influences
    what happens next,
    where we will influence
    what happens after that.

    And a few sunrises and sunsets later
    we are drawing our last breath.

    So, why hold anything back?
    Why not live now as though it matters?
    Why not treat now as though
    it is the only thing that matters?

    If we don’t do right by the present moment,
    when will we start?
    How many present moments
    will we throw away
    before we begin to cherish them?

  3. 12/27/2018 —  False Hellebore 2012-05 05 — Blue Ridge Parkway, rural Virginia, May 1, 2012Seek the spark.
    Tend the flame.
    Honor the flow.
    Stay on the beam.

    What would you pay to do?
    Pay to do it!

    How many ways
    can you think of “paying”?
    Pay up on every one of them!

    People ask me what I do.
    I tell them I write
    and take pictures.
    They ask me what I do with it.
    I tell them I do more of it.
    If they ask me why I do it,
    I ask them why they do
    what they have to do.

    I can’t make a living
    with my writing,
    or my pictures.

    I owe my life to them.

    That’s seeking the spark,
    Tending the flame.
    Honoring the flow.
    Staying on the beam.

    We do it for the sake of our life.

    I don’t know what it is for you.
    You are the only one who does.
    Know what you know.
    Serve it with your life.
    With your liege loyalty.
    With an oath of fealty.
    With all your heart,
    and mind,
    and soul,
    and strength.
    Because it *is* your life,
    and apart from it
    you are as good as dead.

12/27/2018  —  Hold everything in your awareness
and see what you do about it.

Hold everything in your awareness
and see what spontaneous action
arises within you
as a response to the moment
of your living.

Don’t have to know what to do.

Trust yourself to do what you know to do
on a deeper level
than what you know
on the logical,
rational,
reasonable level.

Trust yourself to the deep knowing
that is generally called wisdom.

Our body is infinitely wise.
Listen to your body.
Know what your body knows–
and patiently
(or impatiently)
waits for you to recognize
and incarnate/incorporate
into your life.

What do you have an affinity for?
There are “strange attractors”
at work in our body.
We are drawn to some things
and drawn away from others.

I am attracted to stones,
and to tables,
and clouds,
and looking out windows…
the list is long.
I serve the list–
and in so doing,
discover things not on the list,
and add them to it.
And feel better when I’m serving the list
than when I am forcing my way
through the day.

The day has it own rhythm and flow,
and I do well when I am in sync with it,
and not-so-well when I am not.

When I catch myself being out-of-sync,
I remind myself to hold everything in my awareness,
and see what I do about it.

The beam is a slippery slope
that our body is built to manage.
Our place is to trust ourselves
to our body and to the beam–
as irrational,
illogical,
inexplicable
and stupid
as that may seem.

12/27/2018  —  We have to do the work.

There is no one
who can open the door
to our life for us.

There is no Mama
or Daddy
to take care of us.

We are on our own
and it is all up to us.

Try selling that from some pulpit.

Why would people
go to church
to hear that?

Why go anywhere to hear that?

The culture preaches
being taken care of.
Being relieved of the burden
of living our own life.
Letting someone else
tell us what to do.

All of the self-help books
are sets of instructions
on how to live our life.

“Self-help.” Really?
It is more like,
“Shut-up and listen to ME!”

Who tells us to listen to ourselves?
And what kind of sense would that make?
Why do we need somebody
to tell us to listen to ourselves?

A community that is not composed
of independently
thinking,
reflecting,
perceiving,
knowing,
doing,
being,
living
individuals
is a hen-house
waiting to be
tended,
fed
and cared for
by Those Who Know Best–
a herd of cows
following each other
from the barn
to the pasture
and back to the barn.

We are individuals
with a life all our own.
It is up to each of us
to find our way to it,
and live it.

We are all on a vision quest,
looking for ourselves.

We have to do the work
of seeking,
knowing,
doing,
being,
living
on our own.

There is no one else
to tell us
how to be who we are.

12/27/2018  —  We can’t tell anyone anything.
We especially can’t tell anyone anything
they aren’t ready to hear.
That they don’t want to be told.
That they refuse to listen to.

But.

We can remind everyone
of things long forgotten.

Things longed for unremembered.

Things connecting us
in spite of ourselves
to ourselves.

And to each other.

To all others.

We come from the same womb.

The things we yearn for
and the things we fear
are the same things.

You cannot spit on the difference
between us,
among us,
though the differences be stark
and many.

We all sleep and pee,
laugh and cry,
and die,
wondering
why we didn’t do more living
before we died–
more of the right kind of living,
more of the right kind of caring,
more of the right kind of being
who we are
and have always been,
waiting for a chance
to come forth
and dance.

12/27/2018  —  There is a time to stand aside,
and there is time to stand our ground.

Knowing what time it is
and acting accordingly
is the most important thing
in the Great Book of the Most Important Things.

Practice that,
until you get it down.

Ask continually,
“What time is it for now?”
“Now, what time is it for?”
and listen for the answer
from your internal well of wisdom.

Learn to recognize the voice of wisdom
in your body,
in your “gut feelings,”
in your bones,
and in what you find yourself doing automatically
in response to your asking,
“What time is it for now?”
“Now, what time is it for?”

And don’t stop asking,
and listening for the answer.

  1. 12/28/2018 —  Moon 2018-12 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, December 23, 2018Only you knows what matters most to you.
    And what you do about that
    is up to you.

    Our priorities define and reveal us.

    Who says you have to live your life
    the way you do?

    You do.

    You say so.

    Your life is your life because of you.

    I knew a guy
    whose personal hygiene
    was about at the level
    of pond scum.
    He wondered why no one
    would have anything to do with him.
    I told him.
    He huffed up and said,
    “They aren’t going to determine
    how I live my life!”
    “Yes they are,” I said.
    “What do you mean?” he said.
    “By living to be free of them,
    you are binding yourself to them,
    and you can’t bathe
    because they would like it if you did.”

    We are in charge of our life
    even when we live it
    to displease others,
    or to please them.
    We make them lord over us,
    and we can take ourselves back
    by being conscious
    of what matters most to us.

    But–how much for us
    and how much for them?
    Where do we draw the line?

    Who do you live to please?
    Whose opinion of you
    matters most to you?
    What governs what
    you choose to do?

    If there were no others,
    how would we live?
    How would we live
    if no one were looking?

    What matters most to you
    apart from what matters at all
    to anyone?

    How do you work out the conflicts
    between what matters most to you
    and what matters most to the others
    in your life?

    Solitude and silence are high on my list
    of what matters to me,
    *and* I have to take others into account.
    I have to work it out.
    How much for me
    and how much for them,
    and where do I draw the line?

    You have to do the same thing
    about the things that matter to you.
    Where do you draw the line?
    How do you work it out?
    How much weight do you give to you
    and how much do you give to them?

    How much of a voice do you have
    in living as you do?
    What determines whether
    you begin to have more of a voice,
    or less of a voice?

    What matters most to you?
    In light of what do you live?

12/28/2018  —  The word “Greed”
keeps coming at us
from all sides
as the bane of humankind—

though I have seen greed
also at work in Hummingbirds
and in Robins.

Last summer,
a large Ruby-throated Hummingbird
laid claim to my Hummingbird feeder,
and spent time throughout the day
keeping the other Hummingbirds away.

And a grizzled old Robin
kept the Bluebirds
(and other Robins)
from the mealworm feeder.

I don’t know how it is
with all species,
but greed rules
and ruins
life with too many of them.

Sharing the bounty
must have no evolutionary advantage.

Compassion,
kindness,
gentleness,
generosity…
have nothing about them
to slow the rapid advance
of ruthlessness,
cruelty
and greed.

Democracy
and the Rule of Law
were invented
to give the soft values
a chance.

But Democracy
and the Rule of Law
depend upon
the good faith
and integrity
of their stewards
and defenders.

The Founders
could not have imagined
the sums of money
that would be available
to buy good faith
and integrity,
and pay the stewards
and defenders
of Democracy
and the Rule of Law
to look the other way.

It seems every good thing
is for sale to the highest bidder.

The modern equivalents
of Genghis Khan
and Alexander the Great
have dirty money
to give away—
with no realization of,
or concern for,
the short-term nature of greed.

Once you have it all,
it’s gone.
Stupid.

  1. 12/29/2018 —  Goodale 2018-11 06 Detail — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 6, 2018The Six Guardians of Life are:
    Seeing,
    Hearing,
    Understanding,
    Knowing,
    Doing,

    The Four Enemies of Life are:
    Anger,
    Fear,
    Desire,
    Duty.

    The Enemies block the Guardians.
    The Guardians dissipate the Enemies.

    We are the swing point
    between Life and Death
    in each moment.

    If we aren’t living,
    we are dying.

    Where we direct our attention
    tells the tale–
    one moment at a time.

  2. 12/29/2018 —  Harvest Moon Landscape Blended 2018-10 03 — Thunder Hill Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 23, 2018 — “Blended” means I moved the moon from a more easterly direction to a more south-easterly direction, and took the moon at 560 mm and the landscape at 140 mm because it suited me to do so.”Enlightenment” means
    allowing things to be as they are–
    which means
    accepting that our work
    to change things into what they need to be
    is as it is,
    and understanding that may mean
    changing our perspective/understanding/interpretation
    of how things are,
    and not changing how things are.

    Enlightenment changes things,
    but we may be what is changed
    and not the things themselves.

    Changing our relationship with things
    changes things.

    But exactly what is different
    is not ours to determine/decide.

    Seeing things changes things,
    but what is changed
    remains to be seen.

    Too many of us prefer
    going to war
    over changing our mind
    about what is important.

    We see changing ourselves as defeat,
    and changing others as victory.

    Before we can change what we see,
    we have to change how we see,
    which means changing our mind
    about what is important.

    Which means we have to be defeated
    in order to be victorious.

    Which means vulnerability
    is the key to triumph,
    and the courage to be vulnerable–
    and the willingness to die
    in the service of our vulnerability–
    is the ultimate weapon
    in the entire arsenal of weapons.

    This is the true message of Jesus on the cross.

    Those who understand and apply it
    rise from the dead and live,
    though they be “crucified, dead and buried,”
    and those who denounce and reject it
    are dead,
    never to live on either side of the grave,
    though they be 98.6 and breathing
    for long years to come.

    Whether we are alive or dead
    depends upon how we see things,
    and what we do about what we see.

    That’s enlightenment.

12/29/2018  —  You can know what the fingering is
for all the cords on a guitar,
or all the notes on a flute,
but you can’t play the guitar or flute
because you can’t get your fingers to do
what you know they are supposed to do.
Because You Do Not Practice!

Knowing what to do
isn’t going to enable you to do it
if you don’t practice.

You know all there is to know
about the importance of breathing,
silence,
the awareness of your body,
and your attention being
fully on the present moment.
But.
You don’t do it
because you don’t practice doing it.

You let knowing about it
become the equivalent of doing it.

You wouldn’t want a surgeon
who knew how to remove an appendix
but had never removed one
trying to remove your appendix.

If we know what it takes,
but don’t do what it takes,
we are no better off for our knowing.

“Oh yeah, I know that.”
Is just an excuse for doing nothing.

Practice doing the thing
until it becomes as natural
as breathing.

Thinking about it isn’t practice.
Talking about it isn’t practice.
Reading bout it isn’t practice.

There is no substitute for practice.

Practice!
Practice!
Practice!

  1. 12/30/2018 —  Maine Canoe 2012-09 01 — Stonington, Maine, September 24, 2012All religion is a projective device–
    a mirror of the soul–
    composed of dream-like images
    reflecting us to us,
    exposing what is most important to us,
    showing us who we are,
    what we want,
    what we aspire to,
    and exhibits the desperation at work
    for something more than “this”
    at the ground of our being.

    We need help,
    so God is a very present help
    in time of trouble.

    We are powerless,
    so God is Almighty,
    Invincible,
    Victorious
    whose Great Name We Praise.

    God will do for us
    what we cannot do for ourselves
    IF we are deserving…

    We invent the entire scheme
    and call it “revelation,”
    and worship it as though it is.

    We are at the heart of all our religion.

    That being the case,
    the least we can do
    is do it consciously,
    and dedicate ourselves
    to the mindful effort
    of finding what we need
    within to help ourselves
    be who we are.

    “We are the marble and the sculptor.”
    The chisel and the stone.
    The virgin and the babe in her womb.

    We bring ourselves into existence
    by seeking the face that was ours
    before we were born–
    by knowing who we always have been,
    and who we will be,
    and becoming who we are built to be.

    We need a structure
    to give our work
    shape and form,
    guidance and direction,
    foundation and authority,
    rituals, rites, ceremonies and sacraments.

    We make it all up
    right out of the air–
    which is where all religions come from.

    I recommend starting
    with three stones
    to represent you,
    with you being the fourth
    to bring it forth.

    Four is also a universal whole,
    and all good religion
    is universal wholeness and completion.

    Find three stones
    that are right for you.

    I like mine to be stackable
    and somewhat uniform,
    but yours have to be “you.”

    You are creating a sacrament–
    “an outward, visible, sign/symbol/form
    of an inward, invisible, grace.”

    The “grace” is you.
    You are the mystery
    seeking shape and form.

    You are bringing you forth
    into the world of light and being.
    Who you are,
    and how you incarnate you,
    is the mystery at the heart of life.

    The stones connect you to you,
    and ground you in the work
    that is yours to do.

    Happy rock hunting!
    I’ll get back to you.

12/30/2018  —  The stones that you are seeking
(See my previous post),
stacking,
arranging in a pattern
that is right for you,
represent the mystery
that you are,
that life is.

They are your tangible connection
with the you that is more than you are,
that is coming to life
in you and through you–
the mystery that is yours
to incarnate in the sphere
of space and time.

You–we–cannot be just anyone.
We know who we are,
and who we are not.
Our role is to be who we are,
and to not be who we are not.

The stones you select,
are these specific,
individual,
stones.
Not some other stones.
You are not some other person.

Your authority to be you
is unquestioned
and beyond dispute.
No one else can be you,
and you cannot be
your mother’s or your father’s (etc.)
idea of you.

You cannot even be
your own idea of who you are!

You have to find and be who you are.
The rest of us have to find and be who we are.
And we all have to support one another
in the finding and the being.

The stones are central to us all.

The mystery is central to us all.

Before the stones,
we contemplate the mystery
of who we are,
of how we have to be
to be who we are,
to be what is deepest,
truest,
and best about us.

Best about us.

We cannot live any old way
and be who we are.

Living any old way
is giving up the work,
the struggle,
to chisel away
all that is no us
so that the truly us
can come forth
as a blessing and a grace
upon all of us.

To live in ways that are detrimental
to ourselves and others
is to betray our purpose
and our calling,
and to perpetrate a great wrong
upon the time and place of our living.

We owe it to ourselves
and to one another
to bring forth the best
we are capable of being
in each situation as it arises–
to live “as best we can”
in every moment.

It is our oath of fealty,
our liege homage and loyalty,
to live “as best we can.”

Just as the stones before us
are the best stones they can be,
shaped and formed,
as they are,
by the forces of time and chance,
as we all are,

so we incarnate the mystery
at the heart of life
into the life we are living,
as best we can:

Anyway!
Nevertheless!
Even so!

12/30/2018  —  Grace is another term
for magic,
for good luck,
for synchronicity,
for being in the flow,
for being in accord with the Tao,
for being in sync with the Dharma,
for being in harmony with the natural order…
for the mystery at the heart of life and being.

We assume something is behind it all.

It is an unnecessary assumption.

This is simply the way of things.

If you are alert to, aware of,
what is going on
and what needs to happen in response,
and do it as well as you are able,
things will click in a way
that is beyond expectation
or explanation.

What is that “click”?
It is grace, etc.
And it can be counted on
to the extent that we can be counted on
to read the situation
and respond to it
in ways that are right for it.

Can we count on that?
If so, we will lived a charmed existence,
and the world will be charmed by us
and our place in the world.

12/30/2018  —  There is chaos wherever Trump goes.

Everything is wrong about him.

Count the people who are worse off
because of him,
and the people who are better off.

That is all you need to know about Donald Trump.

And that is not going to change.

  1. 12/31/2018 —  Carolina Thread Trail 2018-11 09 — Millbridge Access, Waxhaw, North Carolina, November 24, 2018Stability grounds us,
    roots us,
    in the comforting assurance
    of past, present and future.

    We know where we have been,
    where we are,
    where we are going,
    what we are doing.

    Instability is the loss of everything
    that can be counted on.

    We need a focal point,
    a center of interest
    and activity,
    an unmoving foundation
    anchoring our life
    through all the upheavals
    of time and place.

    We have to know what
    the bedrock of our life is
    and be attached to it–
    unmoved by,
    and unafraid of,
    the raging waves
    of the wine-dark sea.

    Have you found your stones?
    The three stones,
    stacked or arranged,
    are your focal point,
    centering you,
    grounding you,
    establishing you,
    upon the infinite,
    eternal
    and ever-present
    mystery of YOU.

    You have unplumbed depths
    untouched by
    any possible circumstance of life.

    Heraclitus said it this way:
    “Traveling on every path,
    you will not find
    the boundaries of soul
    by going,
    so deep is its measure.”

    That is you he is talking about.

    The three stones
    are a portkey,
    a threshold,
    a doorway
    to the unknown–
    unconscious–
    dependable,
    stabilizing,
    grounding,
    everlasting,
    depths of you.

    The three stones
    are an object of meditation,
    a reminder
    that there is more to you
    than meets the eye,
    any eye ever,
    “so deep is (your) measure.”

    Sitting before the stones,
    returning to the stones,
    we are present
    with the mystery we are,
    open to the wisdom within,
    at one with the bedrock
    of human being
    in a world of threatening circumstances
    and tumultuous possibilities–
    trusting the core,
    unmoved,
    unafraid,
    arising to live from the core
    in assessing what is happening
    and what needs to be done in response
    in each situation that develops,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    through all the days of our life.

12/31/2018  —  Circumstances and moods
change like that.

Do not think in terms
of lasting happiness.

Think in terms of receiving the moment
as it is
with compassion,
and without judgment/opinion–
simply holding it s it is
in your awareness,
seeing what is called for
and providing it as best you can
out of your store
of gifts,
talents,
knacks,
skills,
wisdom,
grace
and charm–
and doing the same things
with the next moment.

That’s all there is to it.

Your happiness
will come and go
throughout the New Year.

Have nothing at stake
in anything
other than being
what each moment needs you to be
as best you can,
all year along.

12/31/2018  —  There is no deal with God,
or with life.
No “If I do this, you will do that.”
No “If you do that, I will do this.”

The only deal is with yourself:

“I will live in the service
of kindness, goodness, justice, truth,
wisdom, compassion and grace–
doing what needs to be done
in each situation
as best I can
with the gifts, genius, daemon and attitude
that are mine to share–
anyway,
nevertheless,
even so,
no matter what.”

Make that deal
and do it,
and the world will be a better place
for it.

12/31/2018  —  Circumstances and moods
change like that.

Do not think in terms
of lasting happiness.

Think in terms of receiving the moment
as it is
with compassion,
and without judgment/opinion–
simply holding it as it is
in your awareness,
seeing what is called for,
and providing it as best you can
out of your store
of gifts,
talents,
knacks,
skills,
wisdom,
grace
and charm–
and doing the same things
with the next moment.

That’s all there is to it.

Your happiness
will come and go
throughout the New Year.

Have nothing at stake
in anything
other than being
what each moment
needs you to be
as best you can,
all year along.

  1. 01/01/2019 —  Vineyards 2012-09 33 — Sheldon Vineyards, Dobson, North Carolina, September 09, 2012We cannot grow up
    without living through the pain
    of growing up.

    We grow up against our will.

    Because it is the only way
    we can disentangle ourselves
    from the burden
    of the illusion
    of the value–
    or even the possibility–
    of having our way.

    Our way is not the way.
    Coming to that realization
    is the culmination
    of the struggle
    to have our way
    when our way
    cannot be had–
    because we do not get
    to choose our choices.

    Having this
    means not having that.
    And there we are.
    What will it be?

    Wanting mutually exclusive things
    leaves growing up
    as the best available option.
    Another term for “enlightenment”
    is “growing up.”

    There is how things are,
    and there is how we wish things were.

    And that is how things are.

    Growing up is coming to terms
    with the fact
    that life is lived on terms
    other than our own.

    That means making our peace
    with living on terms not our own–
    within circumstances and conditions
    at odds with how we want them to be.

    And being fine with that
    because that’s the way it is.

    Our life is a trade-off–
    one trade-off after another.

    We give up this to have that.

    We bargain,
    negotiate,
    deal,
    barter,
    choose,
    settle for,
    give in,
    surrender,
    acquiesce,
    make-do,
    adjust,
    adjust,
    adjust,
    and let things be what they are
    because they are.

    Letting things be what they are
    because they are
    is growing up.

    It is the on-going work
    through all of the
    stages of development,
    and all of the conditions
    and circumstances
    of our life.

    There is always
    another adjustment to make.

    If we can come to terms
    with that,
    we have it made.

    As much as we can have it made
    in a world
    that is not
    what we wish it were.

    The work to change,
    transform,
    accept and adjust
    is the work of life,
    the nature of the journey.

    And it is never more difficult
    than realizing that,
    coming to terms with it,
    and growing up some more again.

  2. 01/02/2019 —  Backyard Sunset 2019-01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, January 1, 2019 — Sunrise is worse. I live forever away from sunrise, and real sunsets. But, I soldier on.I’m fascinated by “the right attitude.”
    “The right spirit.”
    When everybody is “in tune,”
    “on key,”
    “on the right cord,”
    “on the same beat,”
    “harmonizing,”
    “at one with everybody else.”

    That’s what we are aiming for.
    To be in sync with ourselves
    and everyone else.

    That’s the slippery slope,
    the dangerous path,
    the razor’s edge.

    Now you have it,
    now you don’t.

    Frankie Valli, in “The Jersey Boys,” said,
    “The first time the four of us
    made that sound,
    our sound,
    when everything dropped away
    and all there was,
    was the music…
    that was the best.”

    “When everything dropped away.”

    Try making that happen.
    Yet, it happens all the time.

    Chorus lines,
    jam sessions,
    sports teams,
    dancing partners,
    sex partners…
    the list is forever long.

    Everybody is trying to find the flow,
    the sweet spot,
    the magic,
    the wonder…
    “It.”

    “It” comes and “It” goes.

    But “It” is the key to everything else!
    Why can’t we master “It”?

    Because everything has to drop away.
    And making it happen
    is the first thing to go.

    Mindfulness leads the way to the way.
    We let the music take over,
    whatever form “the music” is taking
    in the moment.

    Football teams make “music,”
    just like rodeo performers do,
    riding bulls and throwing steers.

    Everything drops away
    when something else takes over.
    What is the “something else”?

    Sometimes, it is writing for me,
    or photography,
    or conversation,
    or reflection,
    or cooking…

    Whatever I’m doing has to take over.
    In order for that to happen,
    I have to disappear.

    If I were bull riding,
    it would be the same thing.
    I would have to disappear
    into oneness with the bull.
    Not trying to get anything,
    not trying to do it better
    than it has ever been done,
    not trying to win the prize…
    Just me and the bull,
    making love to each other
    while the crowd and the clowns
    look on.

    In Zen In The Art Of Archery,
    Eugen Herrigel says that
    the ability of the archer to hit the bullseye,
    varies in inverse proportion
    to the size of the prize for doing so.
    The larger the prize,
    the smaller the chance.

    Once it matters,
    it becomes impossible.

    Once dancers begin to try to dance well,
    they begin to dance poorly.

    The entire chorus line has to drop away
    in order for the music and the rhythm of the beat
    to take over
    and become all there is.

    The football team has to drop away,
    for championship form to emerge.

    Want to win?
    Don’t care about winning.
    If you win, that’s fine.
    If you lose, that’s fine, as well,
    because you and the bull
    made beautiful music
    the crowd and the clowns
    will never forget.

01/02/2019  —  A jam session has four rules:

In tune,
Right cord,
Keep up with the beat,
Stay in your place.

It works with chorus lines,
football teams,
families,
restaurants,
herds of horses,
school systems
and every aspect of life
for every variety of life.

We all need a pitch fork
for maintaining the flow,
and being in sync
with ourselves
and one another,
in each situation that arises
throughout each day.

It is that simple,
and that impossible.

01/02/2019  —  How big can the center be
is my question.
A center big enough for us all is crucial,
without anybody thinking,
“My way is the way for everybody.”

Or one group forcing everybody
to do it the group’s way.

Functional families make room for everyone.
In dysfunctional families,
everybody has to do it The Right Way.

The right way is the way that is right
for each individual
with consideration and accommodation
for everyone else.

When did consideration and accommodation
become apostasy?
That’s when we lost the center.

How do we get it back?
Calling out Those Who Know Best
for starters.
Putting evangelical, fundamentalist, religion
back in its box.
Making strict, legalist, hardliners apostasy.
Honoring everyone’s right
to think for themselves–
with consideration and accommodation
for everyone else.

01/02/2019  —  How are you coming
with the search for stones?

(See previous posts)

I can’t make a big-enough deal
about this,
so I will keep coming back to it.

And, I’m going to encourage you
to find stackable stones,
and stack them.

Stacked stones have been with us
from the beginning.

Cairns exist throughout the world
as boundary markers,
markers for grave sites
and sacred places,
landmarks,
guiding people through
the trackless wilderness,
across barren plateaus,
over mountains
and mountain ranges…

In the Arctic regions,
from Alaska to Greenland,
stones stacked in the form of a person
are called “Inuksuk,”
and serve not only
as landmarks,
but also stand
as a substitute for human company
in the wind-blown tundra,
and an encouragement
for lonely travelers,
declaring, “Others have been here before,
and wait ahead.
They left me to comfort you
and guide you on your way!”

We have been stacking stones
as long as we have been
*homo sapiens,*
and, perhaps, before.

Stacked stones represent
more than words can say:
The mystery at the heart
of human being,
the mystery at the heart
of you.

Stack your stones
to represent you,
to remind you of you,
to call you to engage you,
reflect on you,
listen to you,
honor you,
be loyal to you,
be compassionate to you,
to recognize you
as your best invisible fiend…

Your stacked stones
are an invitation
to the infinite world
of your other side,
the depths of you,
of which you are unconscious,
unaware,
tucked away in your DNA
to surprise and amaze.

  1. 01/03/2019 —  Walnut Creek 2018-11 05 Panorama — Walnut Creek access to the Carolina Thread Trail, Indian Land, South Carolina, November 24, 2018Security,
    Stability,
    Integrity
    are my essential three elements
    in the work
    of finding our life
    and living it.

    We are looking for a life
    that expresses,
    exhibits,
    incarnates,
    brings forth,
    makes actual,
    tangible
    and real
    “the face that was ours
    before we were born,”
    the Dharma that is ours
    to follow
    and to serve,
    the Tao that is ours
    to acknowledge
    and embrace,
    the Who that we
    are built to be.

    Without security,
    stability,
    integrity,
    we are in worse shape
    “than a Fiddler on the roof!”

    We gift ourselves
    with all three elements
    by the way
    we consider
    the conditions
    and circumstances
    of our life.

    Take very little seriously.

    Have very little
    in the way of an opiniion
    about anything.

    Spend very little time
    worrying about how you are doing,
    and how much others like you,
    and what you can do
    to succeed and be happy.

    Be like a,
    here it comes,
    steady yourself,
    get ready…
    a stone in the sun
    and the rain.

    If it rains
    on the stone,
    so what?
    If the sun shines down
    with all its power
    on the stone,
    so what?
    If a cow pees or plops
    on the stone,
    so what?
    The stone goes on being the stone
    through it all.

    And provides itself
    with its own security,
    stability
    and integrity.

    Enjoys its own face
    that has been its
    through the ages.

    Relishes its own Dharma.
    Dances with and delights in
    its own Tao.
    And is always exactly
    and perfectly
    the Who it is built to be.

    Be the stone!

01/03/2019  —  Those who know
know the same things,
and have—
and will—
through the ages.

There are no secrets,
and nothing is hidden.

If you want to know
what those who know
have always known,
sit down,
be quiet,
pay attention.

  1. 01/04/2019 —  False Hellebore 2012-05 18 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway near Floyd, Virginia, May 1, 2012Sanjay Kabir Bavikatte tells me
    this is a line
    in the Bhagavad Gita:
    “It is better to do your own dharma even imperfectly
    than to do succeed in the dharma of another.”

    This puts everything perfectly in place.

    Remember all those people
    throughout your life
    who told you what to do
    and how to do it?
    They thought their dharma
    was asking them to demand
    that you do it their way–
    when, in truth, their dharma
    was only testing you
    to see if you have what it takes
    to listen to,
    and serve,
    your own dharma.

    All those old Zen masters?
    Those Taoist sages?
    Those Buddhist legends?
    Those Yogi gurus?
    Those theologians/ministers/evangelists/saints
    of all religions?

    They are people confusing their dharma
    with ours–
    just like our parents,
    our preachers,
    our teachers,
    our spouses,
    our children
    and our friends
    have done forever.

    Everybody thinks they know our dharma
    better than we do,
    and can do a better job
    of directing us in it
    than we can do on our own.

    Our dharma requires us to draw the line–
    and do what our dharma leads us to do
    whether they want us to or not.

    Living in accord with the Tao,
    being aligned with the Dharma,
    in any situation,
    is simply living
    mindfully,
    compassionately,
    nonjudgmentally,
    aware of ourselves
    and of the situation–
    seeing what is happening there,
    and what needs to happen in response,
    and doing it
    with the gifts, daemon, talents, skills, abilities, etc.
    that are ours to serve,
    without exploiting the situation
    for our own advantage or benefit,
    and letting the outcome be the outcome.

    It is living with integrity
    (us aligned with us)
    in each situation
    for the good of the situation,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    sitution-by-situation-by-situation.

    It is living in harmony with ourselves
    and with the situation.

    It is living balanced,
    secure,
    stable,
    and steady
    in light of what we are good for,
    in light of what we do best,
    in light of who we are
    and what needs us to be who we are
    in doing what needs to be done,
    one situation at a time.

    Breathe.
    Be here, now.
    Trust yourself
    to respond to the situation
    in ways that are appropriate
    to the situation,
    from one situation
    to the next,
    all your life long.

    It is that simple.

    And that difficult.

01/04/2019 —  We complain about things
we have control over,
and we complain about things
we have no control over.

Neither of which makes any sense.

Do what needs to be done,
and let it go.

To do anything else
is to not do what needs to be done.

And why do that?

  1. 01/04/2018 —  Guardians and Guides 2019-01 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, January 04, 2019The way is not always clear,
    courage is not always at hand,

    We never stop breathing
    until we stop breathing.

    When the way is obscured
    and/or courage is in short supply,
    remember your breathing.

    Count your breaths as you exhale
    and pause before you inhale.

    To a count of ten.
    Then repeat.
    Three times.

    Then sit without counting,
    listening in the silence.

    As you become aware of things
    just be aware of being aware of them
    without thinking about them,
    without being hijacked by them.
    Add them to your awareness
    as they come up.
    Hold all of it in your awareness.

    When you are ready,
    take a deep
    filling up your belly breath
    in through your nose,
    and blow it out through your mouth,
    step back into your life,
    and be well.

01/04/2019  —  The Achilles’ Heel—
the Kryptonite—
of Democracy
is its grounding assumption
that people will act in good faith
in carrying out the duties
the Constitution imposes
on citizens (voting)
and on politicians (oath of office).

When the people and politicians
act in bad faith,
the promise of Democracy
becomes a box of smoke
opened in a high wind.

01/04/2019  —  A lot of people
are impressed by
the wrong things.

Jesus said,
“They have their reward,”
implying that the others
have a different, better, reward.

I think he is right.
There is a reward
for being impressed
by the wrong things,
and a different reward
for being impressed
by the right things.

The rightest thing
is to be impressed
by nothing at all–
in the sense
of being impressed
by very little.

Clouds
and the wind that moves them.

Children being themselves.

The sound of rain
coming toward you
through the woods.

The things that impress us
set us apart,
and set us on the course
through our life.

Is it our dharma that impresses us,
or our idea of what our dharma ought to be?

Time will tell–
or, if we are content with our reward,
that will tell, too.

  1. 01/05/2019 —  A River Runs Through It 2019-01 Panorama — The Glen on the Edge of the 22-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, January 4, 2019There is nothing to say beyond
    what needs to be said,
    nothing to do beyond
    what needs to be done,
    nowhere to be beyond
    where we need to be,
    to be in accord with the Tao,
    aligned with our Dharma,
    at one with the time and place
    of our living.

    There is liberation in being
    bound to the role
    we are asked to play
    here and now,
    relying on nothing more
    than our original nature
    to see us through
    the conditions and circumstances
    that meet us in each moment–
    to those that meet us i
    n the following moment.

    There is nothing hard about it,
    and it is impossible
    to will into being.

    Our place is to trust ourselves
    to ourselves
    and get out of the way.

    It takes a lifetime of growing up
    to get that down.

    But, what’s the hurry–

    Even though there is
    no time to waste?

01/05/2019  —  There is bad coffee.
And there is not as bad as that coffee.
And there is a range of coffee
all the way to really good coffee.

There is not common agreement
about which coffee
belongs where
on the list,
but.
We all know
where we would put
coffee on the list,
from all coffee is bad coffee,
to there is no such thing as bad coffee.

Know your coffee.
Put it where it belongs
on your list.

Do that with every other thing.

When you complete all of your lists,
you will have oriented yourself
in time and space.

You will know what you know,
and be free
to operate
accordingly
in the times and places
of your living.

  1. 01/06/2019 —  Timberland 2018-11 01 Panorama — Kershaw County, South Carolina, November 4, 2018The path opens before
    those who start walking
    with their eyes open.

    If you are going
    to take something
    on faith,
    take this.

    And open your eyes,
    and start walking.

    We do not think our way
    onto the path
    with our name on it.

    In fact,
    there is no path
    with our name on it
    other than the one
    we make by walking.

    The path we make by walking
    does not exist
    before we start walking.

    If we walk a path
    made by another–
    even the Buddha,
    or the Christ–
    we betray our own daemon,
    ignore our own guide,
    and fail at the tasks
    that are ours to perform.

    So the old Buddhists could say,
    “If you meet the Buddha on the path,
    kill him!”
    And the early Christians could say
    that the Christ said,
    “Greater things than these
    that I have done
    will you do!”

    We do not follow doctrines
    and dogmas,
    sutras and sermons,
    to the path.
    We create the path
    that is our path
    by following our own inner sense
    of what is happening
    and what that calls for
    in each situation as it arises
    every step of the way.

    Open your eyes
    and start walking.

01/06/2019  —  When we settle into our life,
we settle into the things
that are life for us,
the association with which
constitutes our
order of the day
every day–
the disruption of which
leaves us out of accord with the Tao,
and looking for a return
to business as usual.

My business of the day
revolves around
cooking,
reading,
writing,
photography,
walking,
napping,
errands,
reflection,
meditation,
and coffee.

Anything else is a distraction
and a diversion–
and I don’t have as much time
as I once had.

Neither do you.

01/06/2019  —  “Essential-nature.”
“Original-nature.”
The Face That Was Yours
Before You Were Born.
The Sweetness At The Heart
Of The Pie…

It’s all the same thing:
You Being You!

You settling into your natural life.

We are steadily seeking ourselves
and the life that flows naturally
from our being who we are.

This is your work and mine.

Let us apply ourselves to it
with the diligence due
the importance of the task!

01/06/2019  —  When we act mindlessly
in the service of our advantage
to secure our good
and exercise our will
in a situation,
with arrogant and callous
disregard for the outcome,
we create a disturbance
in the flow of life,
are out of accord with the Tao,
in opposition to the expression
of our dharma,
and invite a rebound effect
of negative karma
that will cloud our days
until we make our peace
with the offended forces.

When we act mindfully
in accord with the Tao,
as a faithful servant of our dharma,
and let the outcome be the outcome,
we assist and encourage
the flow of life,
and contribute to the experience
of grace and peace for all people.

Everything is the result
of how people approach their life
and the ends toward which they live.

  1. 01/07/2019 —  Backyard Sunset 2019-01 05 — Indian Land, South Carolina, January 01, 2019Intimacy,
    tenderness and
    vulnerability
    are three essential
    emotional needs
    that are rarely fulfilled–
    and we live
    to compensate
    for the deficit
    in addictive,
    maladaptive ways.

    Sex is a popular substitute
    that fails to provide
    adequate experience
    with any of the missing three.

    Sex is such a natural extension
    of the essential three
    that it is easy to think
    we are being intimate,
    tender and
    vulnerable
    when we are being sexual–
    and it is not necessarily so.

    What can’t you talk about
    with your sex partner?

    What is it that needs to be said
    that cannot be said?

    Where do you go
    to be vulnerable,
    honest,
    well-received,
    understood and
    safe?

    Where can we expose ourselves
    without boundaries
    yet still be within boundaries
    that are tenderly honored
    and respected?

    We need relationships
    that are intimate,
    tender,
    vulnerable and
    self-transparent–
    whether sexual or not.

    And we are back
    in the realm
    of the slippery slope,
    the perilous path,
    the razor’s edge.

    With something else
    to be mindfully aware of
    as we make our way
    through the tangle
    of needs and pitfalls
    along the path we tread.

    My hunch is that
    we will be forced
    to settle for compromise
    as the only available solution
    to mutually exclusive options,
    realizing again that we get by
    as best we can
    in a world where
    the ideal and the real
    are forever separate
    and rarely,
    if ever,
    the same.

01/07/2019  —  There is a continuum,
not a hierarchy.

No one has ever attained perfection.
No one ever will.

We are all growing up.
We are always growing up.

No one is grown up.

The work to accommodate
ourselves to our life
is on-going and forever.

There are no masters of the art.
No gurus.
No sages.
No virtuosos.
No maestros.
No adepts…

Everyone is always alone with their life,
and their life is always teaching them
what they need to know.

We are, at best,
dharma brothers and sisters–
upholding,
supporting,
encouraging,
sustaining,
guiding and being guided,
directing and being directed,
by each other
all along the way.

We all need to hear
what we all need to hear–
and there is no one who
doesn’t need to hear it,
or who no longer needs to hear it.

So, out with the image
of disciples sitting at the feet
of the Swami-Maharishi.

In with beggars
telling one another
where they have found food.

  1. 01/08/2019 —  Maine Silhouette 2012-09 01 — Stonington, Maine, September, 24, 2012It is not what we do
    in terms of accomplishments,
    achievements,
    awards,
    rewards,
    recognition,
    acknowledgement
    and success.

    It is what we do
    in terms of how well that
    reflects who we are–
    and how we do everything we do
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    We are here to perform the roles
    that are ours to perform
    the way they need to be performed,
    in the time and place,
    the conditions and circumstances,
    of our living,
    all our life long.

    How well are we doing that
    is the only question,
    and has nothing to do
    with success,
    fame
    and fortune,
    but with the way
    we bring ourselves forth
    in meeting what meets us
    each day
    and doing what needs
    to be done
    because our gifts,
    talents,
    daemon
    and the pace
    and timing of our life
    demand it.

    It is how we meet
    the time and place
    of our living
    that is the sole determinant
    of the quality of our life–
    not what we have to show for
    having lived.

    It is George Bailey
    of It’s A Wonderful Life
    showing us the way
    of the Buddha/Christ
    we all are to be.

    Just doing our work,
    just living our life,
    just being who we are,
    just loving what we love
    and letting nature take its course.

01/08/2019  —  I believe I have
everything I need
to find what I need
to do what needs to be done
in any situation–
among any circumstances–
that comes my way.

All it takes is believing
to know that it is so.

Experience confirms faith.
Across the table,
around the world,
in all times and places.

This is the basis of superstition,
Voodoo,
Astrology,
Religion,
Witchcraft,
Black Magic,
Etc.

This begs the question:
“Why do we take on faith
the things we take on faith,
and not something else instead?”

And the only acceptable reply is:
“Because it suits me to do so!”

We are the basis
of our own orientation
in time and space.

We pilot/guide our boat
on its path through the sea–
no matter how we try to escape
the responsibility.

Our life is our own.
Our path is the one
we choose for ourselves.
Because it suits us to do so.

We are up to us.
What we say goes.
We are the final authority
over our own life.

Blame whomever you like.
You are the one who allowed them
to influence you the way they did.

It is all on us.

And what we do about it
is up to us.

We have the remainder
of the time left for living
to work it out
in a way
that is consciously, intentionally, mindfully
suits us as well as we can be suited,
given the context and circumstances
of our living.

01/08/2019  —  Some of you have heard
this before.
All of you will hear it again–
in some manifestation…

It is all useless, hopeless, pointless,
futile and absurd–
and coming
to a very bad end
(We all are going to die).

And, how we live in the meantime
makes all the difference.

If your response to this
is something on the order of:
“Ha! It makes no difference!
It does not matter how we live!
Telling ourselves that it matters
is a cruel self-deception!
It is an illusion and a lie
to say that it makes a difference
on any level,
in any way!”

I would respond to your response
with,
“You can spit on your dharma
and refuse the role
your life is asking you to play,
and sit,
refusing to eat,
looking at the wall,
until you die,
if that is your choice,
but in so doing,
you betray the hope
that you are here to bring to life,
and reject the truth
voiced by Joseph Campbell
that ‘The influence of a vital person vitalizes!’

And, if you scoff, ‘Toward what end?’
I will answer,
‘It is the place of the river to flow,
without worrying about where it is all
going to end up,
or about the uselessness of a cycle
that at doesn’t end up anywhere,
but just goes from rain,
to ocean,
to evaporation,
to rain…
forever and ever
until the collapse of the universe
and the next Big Bang
and the next repetition
of the next round of the cycle.

The river flows because that
is what rivers do.
They cannot renounce their role
based on their judgment
of the senseless nature
of the cycle.

Our place is to do what is called for
in the situation that is at hand–
without judgment or opinion,
but with compassion and grace–
and let the outcome be the outcome,
trusting that how we do that
makes all the difference.”

  1. 01/09/2019 —  Lake Francis 2018-11 07/08 HDR Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 11, 2018It’s hard.

    We want it to be smooth and easy.

    That’s a problem.

    Squaring ourselves up to Hard
    when we expect/want/desire/demand
    Smooth And Easy
    is the only problem.

    Hard is the Cyclops
    blocking our way.

    Hard sends us into
    addiction and depression.

    Hard puts us into a tailspin.

    Hard sends us running.

    Hard breaks us down.
    Overwhelms us.
    Undoes us.
    Leads us in endless choruses of
    “What’s the point?”
    “What’s the use?”
    “What difference does it make?”
    “Why try?”
    “Who cares, anyway?”

    Heart is the easiest thing to lose
    and the hardest thing to find.

    Because it’s Hard
    everywhere we look.

    And we keep expecting/wanting/desiring/demanding
    Smooth And Easy.

    The measure of maturity
    is how smoothly and easily
    we stand up
    and do what’s Hard
    as though there is nothing to it.

    That is what growing up
    comes down to.
    Doing what’s Hard
    as though it is Smooth And Easy.

01/09/2019  —  The problem
is the problem
we make of problems.

We mount massive
objection,
resistance
and opposition
to the inevitable,
the inescapable,
the unavoidable,
the indisputable
and often quite predictable
events
and circumstances
of our life.

There are rarely
any new problems
in the field
of human endeavor.

Practically all of them
have been catalogued,
described,
studied,
experienced,
written up,
discussed,
feared
and dreaded
for a lifetime
or more.

Talk to any therapist
or physician.
Ask them how long it has been
since they have heard
of a new problem.

So, what’s the problem?
Why aren’t we better able to handle
the problems
we have always had to handle?

Why aren’t we growing up?
Coming to terms
with the way things are?
Doing what has to be done
without going on and on and on
about how awful and unfair our plight is?

After all the drama,
we still have to do the thing
that has to be done.

Why not just do it
and get it over with?

01/09/2019  —  What is the grounding
reality of your life–
that which you are
most sure of?

That which you can count on
when you have nowhere else to turn?

As for me…

The rivers will always flow to the sea,
as long as there are rivers,
as long as there are seas.

And even without rivers
and even without seas,
there are nature’s great rhythms
keeping time through the ages,
and the eons,
through dark matter
and black holes
the beat goes on.

Something is coming,
something is going,
we can count on that–
and light travels fast
from stars long dead
coming and going
from that which is gone.

I’ll count on the light
from burned-out stars,
to be going, still going,
long after I’m gone.

I take heart in that,
and laugh at the idea,
that the light will be going
when all else is gone.

Long live the light!
To the light!
To the light!
it will still be going
even after it’s gone!

  1. 01/10/2019 —  Sunrise 2012-01 01 — Thunder Hill Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, January, 2012We are here to live our life
    and to help all others live their life,

    They have to help us help them,
    and we have to help them help us.

    The best help
    is a good-faith commitment
    to the life that is ours to live.

    If we aren’t committed
    to living that life,
    no one–
    not Jesus,
    not the Buddha,
    not nobody,
    not nohow–
    can help us live it.

    If we aren’t committed
    to living that life,
    everything is a diversion,
    a distraction,
    a delusion,
    an illusion,
    enveloping us in denial
    and addiction.

    We are living a lie
    and calling it truth.
    And have the symptoms
    to prove it,
    and to serve as excuses
    to maintain it
    and prolong it
    because who can hope
    to live any kind of life
    with all of these symptoms
    keeping us down?

    Help is not on the way.
    There is no help
    for those who reject their life
    and deny their rejection.

    “What do you think you will do with your life?”
    I asked.
    “Well,”
    came the lifeless reply,
    along with a blank expression,
    “I like snowboarding.”

    I like weak coffee,
    but it isn’t a life.
    Some would tell me
    it isn’t even coffee.

  2. 01/10/2019 —  Cadillac Mountain 2012-09 02 — Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine, September 24, 2012.In every situation our dharma
    has a certain role for us to play,
    and the Tao has a certain way
    for us to follow.

    When everyone is in accord
    with the Tao,
    and at one with their dharma
    in any situation,
    the good of that situation
    is served,
    and it has a feel
    of “just rightness”
    for all involved.

    All would attest
    that it was a magical moment,
    with a spirit of oneness
    and unity,
    charity and grace,
    that words could not begin
    to convey.

    And each person would wonder
    how that magic might be
    continued into the next
    situation,
    and all those that would follow.

    It is done by not trying
    to make the magic happen,
    but simply seeking
    to align ourselves with
    what is happening
    and what needs to happen
    in response,
    and doing it,
    changing our response
    in response to the responses
    of others,
    like we might dance
    in relationship with the music
    and with the dancing of others,
    or sing in relationship
    with the pitch, key, melody and tempo
    of other voices.

    Situations are not opportunities
    to work things to our advantage,
    or places to make things happen
    according to our idea
    of how they ought to be.

    What needs to be has its own
    impetus,
    energy,
    force,
    direction,
    thrust,
    power
    and strength.

    We read it,
    apprehend it,
    sense it,
    realize it,
    know it
    and assist its coming forth
    in the time and place
    of our living–
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    situation-by-situation-by-situation.

    When we are all doing that
    as best we can,
    the magic happens.

    But we are not magicians.
    We are just people
    following our sense
    of what needs to happen
    here,

    And letting nature take its course.

01/10/2019  —  In any situation,
there is what is happening,
what you want to happen,
what someone else wants to happen,
and what needs to happen.

Your role is to allow
mindfulness to lead the way,
by being compassionately,
non-judgmentally,
aware of the situation
and of all of the elements
and dynamics
within the situation.

Hold all of that in your awareness
waiting for a door to open,
or a shift to take place–
perhaps within you,
perhaps within the situation.

When the door opens,
or the shift happens,
walk through–
in the service
of your gifts,
genius,
talents,
daemon,
muse,
guide,
spirit,
and the wholeness,
balance,
harmony,
good
of the situation.

Some situations are not
amenable to doors opening
and shifts happening.

The United States Congress
is one of those situations.

Wherever self-transparency
and good-faith are absent,
that situation is being held hostage
by the forces of power at work
through anger, hatred, greed and fear.

Jesus left the dead to bury the dead,
and walked away
to those who could receive
what he had to offer.

You will have to decide for yourself
what your best course of action is
under the circumstances.

And when the door opens,
or the shift happens,
walk through.

  1. 01/11/2019 —  False Hellebore 2012-05 13 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Floyd, Virginia, May 01, 2012It is more important
    to be helpful
    than to be right.

    What is helpful here and now?
    What is in the best interest
    of this situation?
    Of this moment?
    What is called for?
    What is needed?

    We do not think up the answers
    to these questions.

    We feel the answers.
    How does it feel
    in your body
    when you know
    what is needed,
    what is right–
    because it is right,
    and not because
    someone told you?

    How often are your spontaneous,
    automatic,
    improvisational
    responses exactly what needs
    to be done,
    needs to be said?

    In those times,
    we do not think-act,
    we see-act,
    we hear-act,
    we sense/feel-act.

    The right action
    flows naturally
    from right seeing,
    right hearing,
    right sensing/feeling,
    right being,
    right knowing.

    In order for that to happen,
    we have to step back,
    in terms of our analytical,
    intellectual,
    logical,
    rules-bound,
    recipe-laden,
    approach to the moment,
    and allow ourselves
    to see what is happening
    and to sense what is called for–
    and trust ourselves
    to ourselves,
    in allowing ourselves
    to lead ourselves–
    making adjustments
    as we go–
    dancing with the situation
    for the good of the whole.

    Living mindfully attuned
    to the time and place
    of our living,
    is living organically,
    from the ground up
    and the inside out.

    Living out of some playbook,
    where ‘this” is always
    the right thing to do
    in “that” situation,
    is to live inorganically,
    from the top down
    and the outside in,
    imposing “ought to be’s”
    and “should be’s”
    where creative,
    inventive,
    sensitive,
    compassionate,
    situation-specific
    responses are required.

    To live like this
    is to be open to,
    and present with,
    the unfolding,
    developing,
    shifting,
    becoming
    nature of the time
    that is at hand.

    What here?
    What now?
    It takes not-knowing
    to know
    and to trust ourselves
    to live with the wind
    of the spirit that blows
    where it needs to be
    and does what needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises
    forever in our hair.

01/11/2019  —  In any situation,
there is what is happening,
what needs to happen,
and what has no business happening.

We decide
what we are going to do about that–
where we are going to come down–
what role we are going to take,
in light of what?

What guides our response
to the situation
as it presents itself to us?

What are our options?
What are our choices?
How do we go about
determining what response
we will make?

Mindfulness leads the way.
Compassionate,
non-judgmental,
awareness,
awareness,
awareness,
is the sine qua non
for knowing what to do
in every situation that arises,
with all things considered.

Take a breath.
Take stock.
Take it all in.
Hold everything in awareness,
and see what you do.

That will create a new situation
in which you follow
the same procedure,
applying mindful awareness
to the situation as a whole,
and seeing what you do
in light of the true good of the whole,
here and now.

And so on,
forever.

Knowing that where we have been
is essential for where we are,
and where we are,
is the foundation
for where we will be,
and what we do here/now
has implications
for everything that follows
and flows from here/now,
and must also
be taken into account.

What do we risk?
What chances do we take?
In light of what do we live?

01/11/2019  —  How do you handle despair?

Nothing lights up
what is important to us
like the loss
of all that is important to us.

Here we are.
Now what?

In light of what do we live
with nothing to live for,
or live on?

What keeps us going?

Toward what?
Because why?

Bear the pain of not knowing!

Do not escape
into distraction,
diversion,
denial,
addiction!

Feeling better is no substitute
for getting better.

Getting better
means feeling worse!

Allow mindfulness to lead the way.

Welcome despair,
hopeless,
futility,
sadness,
discouragement,
misery…

Accept them with compassion
because they are,
and have every right to be.

Who wouldn’t experience all these things
in your place
within the nature and conditions,
context and circumstances,
of your present situation?

Invite them in,
sit among them.
Here we are.
Now what?
Wait to see.
Wait not-knowing
what you will see–
not-knowing
what you are waiting on,
waiting for.

Sit with the truth
of your life as it is,
and wait,
watching,
for something to stir,
for something to rise up
out of the gloom,
for some door to open–
not into escape and denial,
but into possibility
and direction–
and invite you
to look closer
and see where it might lead.

In the meantime,
wait,
watch,
with, and beyond,
all that is true
about your life
for that which also
may prove to be true.

And see where it goes.

01/11/2019  —  Politics, commerce and warfare
are not fertile fields for spirituality.

Wherever agendas swirl
and wills are exerted in their service,
soul shrinks and fades.

The dharma and the Tao
bide their time
and wait for the right time
the propitious time,
the fullness of time–
knowing that one time
is not as good as another,
and all things have to happen
in their own time,
and a terrible price is paid
by those who act too early,
or too late.

The spiritual world
is patient and kind,
awake and aware,
without designs
or ambition,
ruthlessness,
greed,
anger,
hatred,
jealously
or revenge.

It’s boring, actually.
Though peaceful,
and joyous,
if quiet and reflective,
with people strolling about
and laughing together
with their children
and their parents
and grandparents.

Life unfolds in each moment
without striving or strife,
without dominion or domination,
without shame or humiliation.

People just being themselves
with no one to give them grief
because of who they are.

People serving their dharma,
living in accord with the Tao,
at one with that which
has always been called “God,”
greeting each day
and sending it to bed each night
as those who look forward
to tomorrow
throughout their life.

You may think that sounds nice,
but you wouldn’t go to the movies
to watch it lived out on film.

It cannot compete with the thrill-a-minute
action-adventure life
of those who need more
that being themselves,
and think surely there must be more somewhere,
and go looking for it
with the help
of politics, commerce and warfare.

  1. 01/12/2019 —  Backyard Sunset 2019-01 04 — Indian Land, South Carolina, January 01, 2019Until people can be still and quiet,
    see what they look at–
    particularly when they look in a mirror–
    hear what they listen to–
    particularly what they are saying themselves–
    know what they know–
    particularly what they are already sure they know–
    and put it all together
    in a coherent
    and unified whole,
    which is apparent in,
    and reflected/incarnated by,
    the life they are living,
    things will remain as they are
    for as long as there are people.

01/12/2019  —  As I walk through my day,
I look for people who are present
and mature beyond their years.

The two go together,
presence and maturity.

A mature person
has come to terms
with their life,
made their peace
with the way things are,
and is content
to be here, now.

The more immature a person is,
the more they cannot
be anywhere ever,
but always have to
be somewhere else,
no matter where they are.

Maturity and presence
are the solutions
to all of our problems today.

And every day.

The twin tasks of life are:
Grow up
and Be where you are.

The two are one.

01/12/2019  —  “Not This! Not This!”
is paired eternally with,
“This, Too! This, Too!”

And, we live forever
on the border
between the two,
balancing things out,
making things whole.

We are the Tao–
walking the slippery slope,
the perilous path,
the razor’s edge,
with yin and yang.

Embracing contradiction
is what we do best–
when we are doing
what is ours to do.

01/12/2019  —

Annie Dillard, in her book The Writing Life, relays a story about Ferrar Burn, who lived on an island on Haro Strait in Washington state with its “fierce tides,” coming and going twelve hours apart. Ferrar saw an Alaska cedar log floating in the channel during the slack time between tides, and rowed out in his skiff, tied onto the log, and began the short trip back to his house on the rocky beach. And the tide started going out, catching the log and dragging it south, with Ferrar and his boat attached.
Ferrar kept rowing. He was rowing north and moving south. About six hours of that left Ferrar a good distance from home. He felt the tide go slack, and he began to make headway rowing back north. Then he felt the tide going with him, and he kept rowing, only now the log was alongside him, and keeping pace with him. He kept rowing. Six hours later, the tide carried him home.  Dillard writes, “His wife, June, saw him coming; she’d been curious about him all night.”
The point of it all being, when the current has you, keep rowing. You know the tide will eventually turn. Row on, row on, and wait for the turning.
We are all “waiting for the turning,” whether we know it or not. The important thing is to know it—consciously, intentionally, intensely! We have to believe in the turning—to stake our life on the turning—to know in our bones the turning will happen, the turning will come, and dedicate ourselves to the work of rowing on, and being alive to relish it when the turning comes.

01/12/2019  —  The Coen Brothers, Ethan and Joel, have put together six vignettes ripped from the pages of life in the Old West, and called it “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”

You don’t go to the Coen Brothers looking for lite fair, feel good, and happy ever after. They tell a raw tale. And they tell it better than anyone in my experience. The acting, directing, cinematography, and scenery are all outstanding. It is a brilliant production, and, if you are of a tender spirit, it will disturb you greatly. If you choose to watch it, it is on Netflix, and watching it is on you.

In the segment entitled, “The Gal Who Got Rattled,” a wagon trail guide named Billy Knapp said, “I don’t think (uncertainty) is a defect at all. Oh, no. Uncertainty–that is appropriate for matters of this world.

“Only regarding the next are we vouchsafed certainty.

“I believe certainty regarding that which we can see and touch, it is seldom justified, if ever. Down the ages, from our remote past, what certainties survive?

“And yet, we hurry to fashion new ones, wanting their comfort.

“Certainty…is the easy path.”

But, the scene closes with, “Straight is the gate, and narrow the way…”
~~~~~~~~~~~

Uncertainty is the slippery slope, the perilous path, the razor’s edge. We take our chances and step into the moment–into each moment–into the situation that is at hand, into our life.

We can improve our odds by asking, seeking, knocking. By seeing, hearing, and understanding. And we owe it to ourselves to do the best we can, but. We have to trust our luck without pushing it, and face what comes straight up, and do with it as we are able.

Mindful, compassionate, non-judgmental awareness that takes everything into account and lets it all be because it is, and there is no denying that, though plenty try, certain they have found the magic elixir with just the right mixture of illusion and delusion–yet, “What certainties survive?”

Coming to terms with our life as it is, and accepting it–letting it be–because it is, puts us at the place of allowing our life to be our life, and taking up the role (our dharma role) of being the liege servants of our life, the one we are living and the one we are asked to bring to life within the one we are living. That’s walking two paths at the same time.

And it is an art reserved for those who see what they look at, who hear what is being said, who know what is happening and what to make of it in each situation as it arises, and who respond to it with the gifts, genius, daemon, spirit, talents, skills and proclivities at their disposal in the service of the true good of the whole.

“Straight is the gate, narrow the way.”

Squaring up to that is the price of admission.

  1. 01/13/2019 —  Linville Falls 2012-07 02 HDR — Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls, North Carolina, July 13, 2012The natural life
    has its own
    rhythm,
    direction,
    joy
    and charm–
    and the one
    most charmed by it
    is you.

    When you live,
    not to be successful,
    wealthy,
    admired,
    adored,
    liked
    and loved,
    but to be alive–
    vibrantly,
    vitally,
    invested in what
    you are doing–
    your life takes on
    a life of its own,
    and carries you along
    a path of its own making,
    down roads you would
    never consider walking
    if you were doing
    the directing,
    and the choosing,
    and the doing.

    All you are doing
    with all the doing
    is following,
    is going where you are led–
    asking the questions
    that beg to be asked,
    saying the things
    that cry out to be said,
    seeing where it goes
    from one moment to the next.

    You are carrying
    the camera and the tripod,
    but something beyond you
    is guiding you
    to where you place it
    and what becomes of it.

    What becomes of it
    is never fully known
    or understood.
    The unfolding is always
    unfolding,
    and we are just
    along for the ride.

    The journey stops
    eventually
    for all of us,
    but it never ends.
    It flows on
    in different shapes and forms
    in the lives of people
    who touch our life,
    and are touched by ours.

    Life brings life to life
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    by doing what needs to be done
    the way it needs to be done,
    the way only we can do it,
    here and now,
    with no goal in mind
    beyond doing what
    we need to do
    and what needs us to do it,
    right here,
    right now,
    and then what,
    who knows?

    “The influence of a vital person vitalizes”
    (Joseph Campbell)–
    not so much by what is done,
    as by how it is done,
    and by whom it is done.

    A successful life
    is a life
    whose dharma roles
    are lived out
    in each situation
    that comes up,
    in an unending
    and everlasting
    dance with the Tao
    to the music of the cosmos
    all along the way.

01/13/2019  —  What do we need
to get to the bottom
of what we need
to be doing
to be who we are,
living in light
of what needs
to be expressed,
exhibited,
incarnated,
brought to life
in us
and in our life
through the way we live?

We are midwives
of our own becoming,
of our own coming forth,
of our own development…

How are we assisting
the process
of our own unfolding?

How are we preventing it?

How are we getting
in our own way?

With proper nourishment,
a tree becomes itself over time.

A duck becomes a duck–
not just any duck,
but THE duck it is capable
of becoming.

A seal becomes a seal…

And, like that,
through the entire catalog
of living things.

Except for human beings.

We can interfere with the evolution
of our own self.

What is helpful?
What is harmful?

How is our idea
of who we are
and who we are to be
tampering with
who we are
and who we are to be?

Are we living our life?
Are we wasting our life?
Who is to say?
How do we know?

How do we get
to the bottom
of what we need
to be doing
to be who we are?

01/13/2019  —  When you walk around
with a camera,
people think you are a tourist.

When you walk around
with a camera and a tripod,
people think you are
a professional photographer.

“Who are you working for?”
asked a guy walking along the Greenway
as I peered through the viewfinder
seeking the composition
in the scene.

I came up for air,
laughing,
and asked,
“Who are you walking for?”

He said, “Good one!”
and kept walking,
extending his right arm
straight into the air above his head
for a backward wave
around the bend.

We all do things
for the sake of doing them
for no reason other
than the doing.

Money cannot buy,
or pay for,
what you derive
from the doing alone.

May you have as many
of those things in your life
as you can find time for,
for as long as you are alive!

01/13/2019  —  What line of work are you in?

I’m not talking about
what you do to pay the bills.

I’m talking about
what you pay the bills to do.

I’m talking about
what you would pay to be able to do.

That’s your line of work.
That is what you live to do.
What’s it?

Everything hinges upon,
and flows from,
you knowing what that is.

If you don’t have any idea,
then that is your work.
Your work is knowing
what your work is.

I suggest you start here:
Sit quietly
with your attention
focused on your breath.

Inhale normally,
and pause for a count of four
before exhaling.

Do six rounds of inhaling and exhaling
with a four second,
or four heart-beat,
pause between inhale and exhale.

One more inhale
and during the pause,
think the question, “What is my work?”
and exhale.

Do six rounds of inhaling and exhaling
with the question, “What is my work?
between inhale and exhale.

After the sixth round,
simply breathe normally,
pausing between inhale and exhale
and listening in the silence
for whatever occurs to you.

Take whatever comes to mind
as an object of meditation,
and reflect on how this
could possibly be related
to your line of work.

When it is time for you
to end the reflection,
carry it with you into your week,
contemplating it several times a day.

See where it goes.

01/13/2019  —  My work as a writer
is finding words to say
what needs to be said.

It’s like when you walk
into a situation
and size things up.

You see what is happening
and decide what to make of it–
what it means–
and what needs
to be done about it,
and you do it
out of your personal store
of what is available to you
in the moment.

This includes your natural gifts
and talents,
your wealth of experience,
and all that you carry around
with you though each day.

Writing is a situation.

I walk into it,
size things up,
see what needs to be done
and do it as best I can.

Then, I wait for the next situation
to come along.

Writing is a lot of waiting.

01/14/2019  —  Vineyards 2012-0931 — Sheldon Vineyards, Dobson, North Carolina, September 09, 2012

There are circumstances,
and situations within them,
that are out of our control.

What is always within our control
is the attitude we take toward
the circumstances and situations
governing our life
and the response we make to them.

We have an internal gyroscope
that always orients us to
the good of the whole,
the best that can happen,
within any circumstance
or situation.

But.

We have to consult that gyroscope,
know what we know,
and align ourselves with the good
that can be done
within the circumstances
and the situations
of our present time and place–
and have the courage to do it.

Knowing what we know
requires self-transparency,
mindful awareness,
and the willingness to see
everything that is going on
in every here and now.

No denial.
No looking away.
No pretense.
No kidding ourselves.
No telling ourselves
what we want to hear.

We have to be able
to live straight up
to all that comes along,
and come to terms
with our life exactly as it is
in each moment,
in a “This is the way things are,
and this is what I can do about it,
and that’s that,
so now what?”
kind of way.

We have to get our feet
under us
and stand on them,
face what must be faced,
and do what we can about it.

We have to bring who we are
to meet how things are
in every situation and circumstance–
and let the outcome be the outcome,
understanding that every outcome
simply sets the tone
for the next round of situations and circumstances
which call us forth
for the ongoing work
of being who we are
within the situations and circumstances
of our life.

There are no permanent outcomes.

We cannot live to arrange
certain outcomes
and to avoid others.
We have to live to be who we are,
sacrificing ourselves
in the service of our highest values
and the best that can happen
in the moment
in every moment
forever.

And if the Nazis win,
the Nazis win,
but that will be after the fight,
and in the full confidence
that they will not always win.

Liberty, Justice, Equality, Truth
will survive Hatred, Viciousness, Violence, Rage,
and Good will not be subservient to Evil–
because we and those like us
will live in and through
every situation and circumstance
to see that it is so
throughout what remains
of time and place.

We stand here, now,
in this time and place,
and declare that we will.

01/14/2019  —  Prayer is a mirror
reflecting the truth
of who is praying
to all who are paying attention.

If you want to know
what is important to you,
listen to your prayers–
or to your refusal to pray at all.

What do we mean by praying,
or by having nothing to do with prayer?

What does our stance regarding prayer
say about who we are
and what is important to us?

To pray or to pray not
are equally revealing
about the person
praying or not praying.

What does it say?
What do you hear it saying?
What does it say to you?

Prayer exhibits the truth of who we are,
the truth of how things are with us,
and is a doorway,
a threshold,
between us and our soul–
between us and our Self–
between us and our Unconscious
(Those aspects of us of which we are not conscious).

Everything about us
is a message from us to us.
We are always trying
to get our attention–
to show us who we are
and what is important to us
in this time and this place
of our living–
so that we might better align ourselves
with what matters most
and allow our life to take shape
around that ground,
that center.

We have to take every action and reaction,
every response we make
to our situation in life,
as a gift to us from us
to be received,
opened,
reflected upon,
unpacked,
mined,
probed,
investigated,
explored,
perceived,
understood
and acted upon
in being who we are
in this here and this now.

Integrity is the goal of soul.

Integration.
Embodiment.
Incarnation.
Expression.
Exhibition.
Realization.
Coming forth…

We are always being born
into our life,
into the moment of our living.

We are the marble and the chisel,
the sculptor and the stone
(Alexis Carrel),
the Virgin and the Bebe Jesus…

Nothing is more important
than knowing what is important
and living in ways
which bring it out in our life.

Listening to our prayers,
or to our refusal to pray,
helps get to the bottom
of who we are
and bring that forth
in the world of space and time.

01/14/2019  —  Carl Jung said,
“Neurosis is always
a substitute for legitimate suffering.”

When we refuse to bear
the pain that is ours to bear,
we transfer it
to the shoulders of others,
and require them to carry
both their pain
and what would have been ours.

Donald Trump arraigned to have
5 draft deferments
during the Viet Nam war
which reflects his life-long commitment
to bearing no pain
of any kind
ever.

He has been the source
of immeasurable pain
to countless others
throughout his life–
with no empathy,
no compassion,
no concern at all
for what he is doing.

“Neurosis is always
a substitute for legitimate suffering.”

Trump pays the price
of his lack of integrity
with a life of neurotic suffering
by his own hand.

He is not a happy,
well-adjusted,
human being,
with only himself to blame.

His refusal to accept responsibility
for his own life
keeps him exactly
where he is.

01/14/2019  —  You and I are at once
who we are
and who we also are.

We are ourselves,
individually unique,
as set apart and differentiated
from each other and all others
as our fingerprints and our irises. .

And,
we are one of,
and one with,
the whole,
the species,
“the collective unconscious”
of life encoded in our DNA.

We stand with one another
as a reminder
that we stand on our own–
encouraging each other
to listen to ourselves
and not follow the loudest voice,
or the most reassuring guidance
from Those Who Know Best.

Our allegiance is to ourselves
in light of the precedents,
the codes,
conventions
and mores,
set in place and followed by
our ancestors.

We decide when to override
and when to comply,
when to obey
and when to reject,
how to interpret
and what to do,
in each situation as it arises
all our life long.

Our judgment directs our life.

Those who do not affirm
our right to our own independent judgment
and our own life,
have lost their connection
to their own independent judgment
and their own life–
and have been swallowed alive
by the “We,”
in forsaking their calling
and their responsibility
to be an “I” in relationship with,
and a representative of, the “We.”

The nature of the relationship
between the “I” and the “We,”
is the slippery slope,
the perilous path,
the razor’s edge
between yin and yang
that we each must navigate
throughout our existence.

It is the Hero’s Journey–
the abandonment of which
is the unpardonable sin,
and the completion of which
is the height of human achievement,
and its own great reward.

  1. 01/15/2019 —  Goodale 2018-11 08 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 4, 2018Sports pundits often talk
    about the “it” factor.

    Some players (of any sport) have “it,”
    and the others do not.

    Some of the players who have “it”
    know how to honor “it”
    and use “it”
    in their service to their sport,
    and others who have “it”
    abuse “it,”
    neglect “it,”
    take “it” for granted,
    waste “it”
    or use “it” to get
    what they think they want
    that has nothing to do with “it.”

    My theory is that we all
    have some version of “it”
    waiting for the right circumstances
    to bring “it” forth.

    We each have a specialty
    that needs only to be recognized
    and served.

    We each have some area
    in which we would have
    as much right to say,
    “Give ME the ball!”
    as any master of any sport.

    We denigrate our gift
    because it is nowhere near
    someone else’s gift
    in some other area,
    and take the stance:
    “If we can’t be LeBron James
    or Serena Williams,
    we have no gift
    of any value at all!”

    Whose side are we on?

    Why aren’t we on our side?
    If we aren’t on our side,
    who will be?

    We have to believe in
    the gift that is ours
    to serve–
    and serve it
    with our devotion and loyalty,
    time and attention.

    Tend the spark!
    Honor the flame!
    Let “it” shine!

01/15/2019  —  To take over the government
of the USA,
you would need
an extensive organization
to cover all the bases.
to take care of all the details.
to line everything up,
in order to knock everything over.

What better place to begin
than with the International Mafia?

And what better friend to make–
what better ally to have–
than the apex of Mafia operations worldwide:
Russia?!

Did the GOP initiate the contact with Russia,
or, did Russia see the vulnerability
exposed ever so clearly
in the GOP’s right-wing drift,
and make overtures?

I lean toward the latter.
The GOP isn’t smart enough
to think through the takeover,
and lacked the money necessary
to get the attention
of all the players
who would need to be
put in place
for the con to go down.

Russia gets the crown!
Brilliant! Thorough! Masterpiece!
Putin will be revered by all the bad guys,
and studied by all the good guys,
from henceforth
throughout all of the ages to come,
though they be few
because bad guys
have nothing to offer
to sustain and grow
a viable future.

They can knock down,
but they cannot build up,
destroy, yes,
create and develop, no.

But that doesn’t concern them.
They like to burn things,
and boast,
strut about
and order people around.

Rape and pillage,
and eat hamburgers
and pizza
in the State Dining Room.

01/15/2019  —  We all approach the same situation
differently.
We read it differently.
Interpret it differently.
Have a different take on what it means
and what it needs,
and what needs to be done about it…

We have different perspectives,
different points of view.

We come at things from where we have been,
and what has happened to us,
or failed to happen,
and what we have done in response.

How something impacts us
is unique to us.
How we feel about it
and what we do about it
is also unique to us.

We are known by how we act
in the situations and circumstances
of our lives.
Who we show ourselves to be there
is who we are.

Our dharma role–
the role that is ours to play–
the role the situation–each situation–
needs us to play–
varies from person to person
and from situation to situation.

We are not robots
enslaved and bound
to act in the same way,
fulfilling the same role,
in the same manner,
through every situation,
throughout our life.

In each situation,
our dharma role
is the role we are asked to play there,
the one only we can play
the way we can play it.

I cannot play your role,
you cannot play my role.
Our roles are not interchangeable.

But, there is a catch.

We are not free to live any way at all
in any situation.
We cannot live in any situation
with an eye on
what is in it for us–
with an agenda for turning things
to our advantage,
and getting things
to go our way.

We cannot play the situation
with our good,
our benefit,
in mind.

And, we cannot live in any situation
out of mindless emotion
carried away by vengeance
or hatred,
or rage,
or violence,
or drunken stupidity…

We cannot live in any situation
without compassionate,
non-judgmental,
care-filled,
regard for the situation as a whole.

The situation is more like
an emergency ward
than a battlefield.

It is more like
a nursery
than a war room.

People need to be seen,
and heard,
and helped–
not treated like herds
of disgusting,
or dangerous,
beasts.

We cannot impose our idea
of how things ought to be
on any situation.

We have to be open to every situation
in light of what is happening
and what needs to happen,
and what our role needs to be
and how we can play it
for the highest good
of all things considered.

It is not an easy thing
to align ourselves with ourselves,
with our gifts,
with the best we have to offer,
and with the situation as it arises.

Living out the role that is ours to play
in the moment-to-moment
flow of our life
is the slippery slope,
the perilous path,
the razor’s edge.

And no one can do it but us alone.

  1. 01/16/2019 —  Tanawha Trail 2018-10 01 A B&W — Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Cove Viaduct, Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina, October 1, 2018It takes intense focus and concentration,
    staying on the beam,
    in the flow,
    aligned with our dharma role,
    being in accord with the Tao,
    in the center
    of what has always
    been called “God’s will,”
    at-one with our
    gifts,
    daemon,
    genius,
    heart,
    spirit,
    interests,
    abilities,
    skills,
    ..
    and how those things
    can be helpful
    in the service
    of the good of the whole
    in each situation
    as it arises,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    all day long,
    every day,
    for the rest of our life.

    We will have to slow down
    in order to do that.

    And change our mind
    about what is important.

    And live in light of different ends.

    The alternative
    is to live an accidental life,
    mindlessly unaware
    of how we are being influenced
    and directed,
    led along
    in ways that betray
    the center,
    ground
    and truth
    of who we are
    and what we are about.

    We can do what’s hard,
    or we can do things the hard way.

    What’s your pleasure?

01/06/2019  —  Shel Silverstein pointed out that
“Some kinds of help
is the kind of help
that help is all about–
and some kinds of help
is the kind of help
we all could do without.”

You see where that leaves us.

What kind of helpful are we?

When does helping
become intruding,
invading,
influencing,
invalidating,
violating,
enabling?

Where does wanting to be helpful
go over into needing to be helpful,
into having to be helpful,
into being in the way
and out of place?

How much bad is done
in the name of doing good?

Where ARE those lines?

When we aren’t sure
where the lines lie,
we have to watch our step.

01/16/2019  —  Whether it dies before us,
or we die before it,
there is going to be a handing over,
a giving up.

My choice is to let it die
before me,
and hang onto very little
as though it is life itself.

It’s all going.
Why hang on?

Comes a time to let go what’s going,
and to let come what’s coming,
knowing that it will soon-enough be going as well.

Live this moment
as though it is the last moment,
and be surprised
to be doing it again
in the next moment.

Let it all take you by surprise.

01/16/2019  —  We call it multi-tasking.

We could call it hyper-activity.

Or attention-deficit.

Or distraction.

It comes down to
thinking too much
about too many things
too much of the time.

Stop it.

Sit quietly for ten minutes
at times scattered
throughout the day.

You cannot do it
without not-doing
something else.

Don’t do something else.

How much television

do you have in your life?

People get by with none.

How much time do you spend
on the phone,
talking or texting?

Online?

We have to tune out
in order to tune in.

How much time do we spend
listening to ourselves
each day?

Listening to our heart?
To our body?
To our instincts?
To our intuition?

Reflecting on our experience?

Exploring the grounding,
directing,
values at work in our life?

Sit still.

Be quiet.

Regularly.

01/16/2019  —  Let’s say you are enlightened,
you still have to pay the bills,
or find someone to pay them for you.

The chores and the errands
remain pretty much what they were
before enlightenment,
along with the obligations and responsibilities,
except that now,
you have a different attitude.

Enlightenment sets us
on our own two feet,
and squares us
up to the world.

We don’t spend our time
being anxious, depressed, over-wrought,
fearful, angry and hate-filled–
and we are better able to be here now,
and to come to terms
with the way things are there and then.

The Enlightened Perspective
puts us in the position
of being a cork
on the heaving waves
of the wine dark sea,
“in the world but not of the world,”
transcending the whirlpools
that, otherwise, might pull us under.

People have been enlightened
through time
simply by growing up,
changing their mind
about what is important,
seeing things as they are,
doing what can be done about them
and letting that be that.

Reading books might help,
but people have been enlightened
who couldn’t read.
That was just something else
they had to come to terms with.

If you seek to be enlightened,
practice coming to terms
with how thing are.

Get that down,
and “Boom!”,
as John Madden would say,
there you are.

01/16/2019  —  The only valid test
of a belief system–
whether religious,
spiritual,
psychological
or philosophical–
is the degree to which
it enables believers
to square up with their life,
come to terms with the way things are,
see what is happening
in each situation as it comes along,
and what needs to be done in response,
in light of what can be done,
and what they can do about that
with the gifts, genius, daemon, spirit,
heart, talents, skills, aptitudes, interests, etc.
that are theirs
to express, exhibit, incarnate, bring forth, share, etc.
and do it in that situation,
and repeat it in all situations
for as long as they are alive.

If a belief doesn’t do that,
it isn’t worth believing–
I don’t care how many heavens
it is said to qualify them for.

  1. 01/17/2019 —  Timberland 2018-11 04 — Kershaw County, South Carolina, November 4, 2018We are all cruising along
    to The Event That Changes Everything,
    and we can’t let that stop us,
    or even slow us down.

    We are all standing in some line
    with What We Won’t Like
    at the end,
    and we can’t allow that
    to impact,
    or even color,
    how we conduct ourselves
    in the line.

    In the meantime,
    we play it like it needs to be played!

    We live out our role
    like it needs to be lived–
    like the present moment,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    needs us to live it.

    We give it our best
    all the way along the line–
    even though it is coming
    to an Awful, Terrible, Very Bad End.

    I have known a number of people
    who have died on the way to dying.
    Even though dying had not entered the picture.
    Even though dying was years away.
    They were tired of waiting.
    Tired of dreading the end.
    Hurried it up,
    brought it forward,
    raised the bottom,
    just to get it over with.

    Not the way to do it!

    Live! Live! While You Can!!!

    Bring your best to each day–
    to each moment in each day!
    Do it like the moment needs you to do it!
    Live like you are never going to die!
    Live as though there is no end
    to this line!
    Be shocked and surprised
    when that moment comes!
    And live it like it ought to be lived!

    As long as you are navigating
    under your own steam
    and still have your looks,
    put on your dancing shoes
    and dance with your life!

    We are going to be dead a long time.
    There is no point in allowing
    that inevitability
    to rob us of one second in the sun,
    or to keep us from living
    the way our life needs us to live it
    while we can!

01/17/2019  —  There is part of us
that knows what it is doing,
and part of us
that thinks it knows what it is doing,
and part of us
tasked with getting the second part
synced up with the first part.

The path is simple:
Sit down and shut up!

The second part
doesn’t like to be told what to do.

The second part
thinks it is the boss.
In charge of its own destiny.
Captain of its own ship.
You know the kind.
You are the kind.
We all are.

We have part of us
that refuses to listen
to the other parts of us,
and our job,
as the third part,
is to take sides with the first part
in getting the second part
to sit down and shut up.

We have an advantage.
Part Two can’t do anything
without Part Three’s permission.
And if Part Three is aligned
with Part One,
it is only a matter of time
until Part Two has to come around.

The trouble is Part Two is tricky,
and has the hot emotions
under its sway.
Anger, wrath, rage, fury.
Anxiety, fear, terror, panic.
Guilt, shame, remorse.
Desire, passion, greed.
Etc.
And can quickly hijack, co-opt, kidnap, enslave
Part Three into a wide variety
of devious plots
all built around getting our way
and having it made.

Part Three has to be very wary,
alert, attentive and aware
in order to catch Part Two
in the act of mutiny
and withstand its best efforts
to seize control,
crying something on the order of
“Damn the shoreline! Full speed ahead!”
in quest of its latest vision/version
of exactly what it needs
for all its dreams to come true.

“Sit down and shut up!”
cannot be ordered too quickly
or too often.
And Part One depends on Part Three
to maintain close oversight over Part Two
so that we all might
come together
in knowing what we know
and doing what needs to be done
about it.

This process is the heart of all religion.
In Christianity,
it is played out in the story of the Garden of Eden,
Jesus in the wilderness
and again in Gethsemane.
In Buddhism,
it is Gautama under the Bodi Tree.
In Judaism,
it is Abraham and Isaac
and Moses and the burning bush
and Jonah and the whale…

All of the stories are about Number One
and Number Three
teaming up to wake up Number Two
in a “Sit down and shut up!” kind of way.

Everything hinges on and flows from
Number Two sitting down and shutting up
long enough to know Number One
knows what it is talking about
and willingly,
joyfully,
wholeheartedly,
taking its place as the liege servant
of Number One,
with Number Three being the lifelong
mediator between the two.

And here we have the Holy Trinity
in human form,
devoted to the restoration/salvation
of the world/cosmos
through the realization
of the truth at work
in the heart of each person.

Three becoming one
in each person
for the good of the whole.

All people working together
in the service of Number One,
and becoming One with all others.

In the work to be individually One,
we all become collectively One,
in a oneness which is not imposed
or orchestrated
(That would be the way Number Two
would do it),
but emerges over time,
organically,
from the inside out
and the bottom up,
naturally exhibiting
Liberty, Justice, Equality, Truth, Compassion, Peace
for all people everywhere.

We only have to live it out
to know it is so.

We start by sitting down and shutting up.

01/17/2019  —  We shift the future
by the quality of our presence
in the present.

What we do
and how we do it
here and now,
influences and impacts
what happens
then and there.

We walk through the day
altering what would have been
without us,
depending on
how we react/respond
to what is happening
in each situation
as it arises.

We can change the future
by the way we live in the present.

We have super powers.

Why not use them mindfully,
intentionally,
in the service of compassion,
justice,
equality,
truth,
freedom
and peace?

Every day.

In each situation that comes along.

01/18/2019  —  Cadillac Mountain 2012-09 03 — Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine, September 24, 2012

Rumi said,
“Darkness is the cradle of light.”

I see darkness
as the source of light,
the friend of light.
Light’s best friend.
Light in hiding.
Concealed light.
Dark light.
Light’s light–
revealing itself
to those
who have eyes to see.

Not at all the enemy of light.

Light itself is the enemy of light.
“The angels of light”
are the enemies of light.

Light that is too light,
too bright,
is blinding light,
preventing us from seeing
what it conceals–
or from even looking
by pretending to be
all the light there is.

If we look into the sun
for a second or so
we won’t be able to see
anything ever again.

There is not some sacrosanct
Source of Light
that must be hallowed,
revered,
worshiped
and adored.

Each of us,
all of us,
are Bringers of Light
we find in the darkness
by taking what is dark,
unconscious
and unknown
and mining it for the light
it contains,
bringing it forth
to share with one another.

Light is in the darkness,
just as darkness is in the light,
to be discovered,
uncovered,
exposed,
revealed
by those who are not afraid
of the darkness,
but live by it,
drawn to it,
loving it for its mystery,
depth,
wonder
and the role it plays
(its dharma role)
as the Philosopher’s Stone of light–
always available for us to sit with,
play with,
ponder,
explore,
adore,
relish,
rejoice in
and receive
what it has for us
here, now,
gifting us again
with its blessings
and its grace.

01/18/2019  —  It is amazing,
how we firm up
over time.

We cannot be
other than we are–
other than we have
always been.

We have always been
hiding out in ourselves,
hoping to be recognized,
known,
affirmed,
finally,
at last.

It takes so long
because it can no longer
be denied.

We are who
we show ourselves to be
over the full course
of our life.

What we do over time
is who we are.
Looking back over our life,
what can we find
that isn’t us peeping through?

01/18/2019  —  The best people
are who we would be safest with.

The worst people are safe places
for very few to be.

It has not so much to do with
what is believed
but with how we treat one another.

Believe whatever it takes
to treat each other well,
and we all will be just fine.”

01/18/2019  —  I can talk to my dentist.

He says the people
who work for him
are working with him.

“They aren’t clones,
but we all could
sing in the same choir.”

I could sing with them
in that choir.

Who can you sing with?
Who can you not sing with?

Spend time with the former.
Not so much with the latter.

01/18/2019  —  If we only ask the questions
that beg to be asked,
and say the things
that cry out to be said,
we will not stray far from the way.

Too often,
we follow the policy
of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,”
as it pertains to asking the questions
that cry out to be said,
and telling what we think
needs to be said.

We “Mum up,”
and don’t say a thing.

We cannot know
what we have to say

if we don’t say it
and won’t ask it.

Not asking,
not saying,
is the formula
for not moving
beyond where
we have always been.

The way winds on
and we stay behind,
obediently not asking,
not saying.

“Ask, seek, knock,”
said Jesus.

We don’t ask
and we don’t say.

And stay stuck
where we have been
forever.

  1. 01/19/2019 —  Backyard Sunset 2019-01 03 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, January 01, 2019Marianne Moore said,
    “The cure for loneliness
    is solitude.”

    Isolation,
    silence
    and solitude
    will open you
    to you,

    You have to be
    ready for it.

    Able to handle it.

    When I retired,
    I entered a self-imposed
    semi-exile/hermit state,
    from which I have not emerged,
    conversing only with my tribe
    consisting of our three daughters
    and their families,
    who live in a rough rectangle
    with us at one corner,
    about 20 minutes from each one.

    All other personal contact
    is limited to doing what business
    I need to conduct in the world–
    haircuts, errands,
    dentist and doctor appointments,
    etc.

    The computer and the camera
    are my tools
    for self-expression and reflection.
    I see myself as the eternal student,
    talking about what I’m learning.

    One of the things I learned early-on
    is how much sadness and regret
    I carry for having to make the journey
    from not-knowing anything,
    to knowing what I don’t know,
    and having a growing sense
    of what I need yet to know.

    It is a terrible thing to remember
    what you have done
    and failed to do–
    and what has been done to you
    and not done to you–
    and what you have done about
    those things.

    Bearing the truth of our own life
    is not for the easily disheartened.

    Isolation,
    silence
    and solitude
    brings it all up for review.

    We meet ourselves,
    and cannot get away
    from ourselves.
    We have to be able
    to take it.

    We have to be strong enough
    to see what we look at
    without looking away.
    Five years into it,
    and I still regret
    much of what I remember,
    but.

    I’m better able to hold it
    in my awareness
    and let it be–
    and also be aware
    of how all of the regrets
    were/are essential elements
    in the tapestry of my past
    that formed the grounding foundation
    of my present.

    Without that then, there,
    there is not this here, now.
    I would be somewhere else,
    but this is where I am,
    who I am.
    This is where I get to work.

    And so, the ambivalence,
    the contradiction,
    the dichotomy:
    It took all of where I have been
    to be where I am.

    Same with you.
    Aqui estamos, ahora que?
    Here we are.
    Now what?

    How we answer that question,
    redeems the past,
    transforms the present,
    and rocks the future.

    Or not.

01/19/2019  —  The pendulums are a metaphor/mirror
reflecting us to us.

We respond in our own way
to the events and circumstances
of our life.

And need the room/permission
to do that
while granting all others
the room/permission
to do that in ways that are their own.

And all of this,
without harming anyone,
or interfering with anyone.

Families that are functioning optimally do this.
Those functioning less than optimally,
serve as lessons in the need for it,
but the lesson learned,
more often than not,
is “Stuff it!
Don’t let it show!
Do not be yourself ever
under any circumstances!”
Or, “Bully them all into
doing it your way!”

Passivity and aggression,
and passive-aggression,
flow from families too fragile
for everyone to have a place
and be respected/honored
for who they are.

Can we parent ourselves
the way we needed to be parented?
All it takes
is practice, practice, practice.

01/19/2019  —  The pendulums move
from being aligned, harmonious
and in sync,
into apparent chaotic disorder,
with each following
its own path,
its own swing pattern,
dancing its own dance,
then coming back into flow,
into symmetry and harmony,
then back out,
then back in…
choreographing themselves
in a ballet of the spheres.

When we are in sync with ourselves,
living out of our core
in response to the moment,
appropriately aligned
with the needs of each situation
as it unfolds around us,
we move with our life
as the pendulums move with theirs.

When we try to exercise control,
impose our will,
make happen what
we want to happen
in exploiting the situation
for the good
of ourselves,
we create a rebound effect
that reverberates
in unpredictable ways
for time unimaginable.

We are closer than we think
to a life at one with life,
and live at odds with life,
at war with life,
adversaries to the end,
because it is the only way we know.

There are other,
better,
approaches to living.

The pendulums
point the way.

01/19/2019  —  Hatred is surprisingly
popular and widespread,
given the physical
and emotional
costs of sustaining the perspective.

Hatred destroys the hater
from the inside out.

But don’t take my word for it.

Google something on the order of
“The physical/emotional toll of hatred.”

Sit back,
prop up your feet,
and read away.

01/19/2019  —  People know what’s what
all around the world,
in all walks of life,
from all religious perspectives
and non-religious points of view.

Joseph Campbell said,
“We know when we are on the beam,
and when we are off.”

So, why are we off
so much of the time?

Oh, you know,
competing interests,
better ideas,
wanting what
we have no business wanting,
much less having…

We are at odds with ourselves,
and know when we are off the beam,
and don’t care.

And, I don’t care
who you are,
you can’t save anyone
from themselves.
Including you!

We have to get tired
of our life not working
to have a chance,
but even then,
we might choose
feeling better
over getting better,
and opt for some
of the 10,000 addictions,
or just get it over with
and take our own life.

Why not get back on the beam?
Why not care about the things
we need to care about?
Why not align ourselves
with ourselves?

And see where it goes?

We’ve see where it can go
with us directing the action.
Why not see where it can go
with us being directed
by something other
than our willing, wanting, self?

  1. 01/20/2019 —  Hydrangea 2012-10 01 — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 12, 2012Carl Jung said,
    “”We are living in what
    the Greeks called
    the right time
    for a ‘metamorphosis of the gods,’
    e. of the fundamental
    principles and symbols.”

    That right time
    always comes along
    when the current
    conditions and circumstances
    can no longer support the present
    presumptions and assumptions
    about “the gods”–
    and those presumptions and assumptions
    have to be expanded/enlarged
    in order to take new realities
    into account.

    The things we tell ourselves
    about how and why things are
    have to be adjusted from time to time
    to better fit and explain
    how things are,
    and enable us to deal with them.

    “The fundamental principles and symbols”
    are the metaphors and projections
    which mirror or reflect
    the aspects of ourselves
    we cannot experience,
    express,
    interpret,
    articulate,
    understand
    directly.

    Alone with our experience,
    we can only curl into a fetal position
    and wail
    because it is too much for us
    and what chance do we have?

    So, we make things manageable
    by telling ourselves stories
    about the way things are
    that give us some hope
    and control,
    and provide us with a means
    of adjusting to them,
    living with them.

    Money has become the primary
    “principle and symbol”
    of our times.
    Money is for us
    “a very present help
    in time of trouble.”
    But, “the times,
    they are a-changing.”

    Too many of us are seeing through
    the proclamations
    and declarations about money.
    Money is over-rated.
    It cannot provide meaning
    in the madness,
    any more than child sacrifice could–
    but what will take its place?

    We are going to have to
    grow up some more again,
    by taking back our projections,
    and looking into the mirror
    of all of our symbols
    in order to see ourselves looking back,
    and know ourselves
    for the first time–
    in a “Here we are, now what?”
    kind of way.

    Zen and Taoism are two aspects
    of the same ancient path
    that offers direction
    and encouragement
    for taking the way things are
    in one hand,
    and what we can do about it
    in the other,
    and getting the two hands together.

    The way is the way
    of realization,
    acceptance,
    humor,
    and practical adjustment
    of our wants,
    needs
    and wishes
    to the possibilities,
    options
    and opportunities
    available
    in the time and place,
    situations and circumstances
    of our living.

    “This is the way things are,
    this is what we can do about it,
    and that’s that.”

    How imaginative,
    creative,
    resilient
    and accepting
    can we be
    in each moment
    that comes along?

    That is all there has ever been to it.

    Nothing has changed
    from the beginning,
    though everything is always changing,
    as “the metamorphosis of the gods” continues,
    and we wring our hands
    wondering what to do now.

01/20/2019  —  I’m looking forward
to photographing
the super blood wolf moon tonight.

It looked like it would be overcast
earlier in the week,
but the clouds have moved away
and it is clear all the way
to the far side of the universe.

I call that a nice coincidence.
Everything is.

I’ve tried to take full moon pictures
for the past 25 years.
There are clouds often enough
to make it interesting every time.
Maybe yes.
Maybe no.
It’s all coincidental.
Synchronicity.
Serendipity.
A fortunate interplay of events–
full moon,
clear sky.

And the fact that I live where I live,
and have a camera.

It’s all quite magical.
And missed entirely
by those without an eye
for these things–
which are going on
all the time,
everywhere.

We all should be agog
with the wonder of it all,
stumbling over things,
spilling our coffee.

  1. 01/21/2019 —  Lunar Eclipse 2019-01 01 Panorama – Super Wolf Blood Moon, Indian Land, South Carolina, January 20, 2019Both myth and metaphor
    are ways of saying
    what cannot be said.

    Theology and doctrine
    are ways of defining,
    explaining,
    saying,
    what cannot be said.

    Between the pairs,
    go with myth and metaphor.

    And let the wonder,
    the angst,
    the glory,
    the pathos,
    the splendor
    and the agony
    of life
    have its way with you.

    Be alive in the time left for living!

    Know it because
    you tasted it,
    felt it,
    touched it,
    saw it,
    heard it,
    experienced it,
    lived it,
    and not because someone
    told you about it,
    or because you thought about it,
    and talked about it.

    A lot.

01/21/2019  —  Some people sail alone to Hawaii
to find the solitude they need
to hear themselves think.

I bought a hammock.

A sail boat effectively disappears you.
You have to draw hard lines
around yourself
to disappear in a hammock.

I’m good with lines,
so I could avoid the expense,
and the work,
of a sail boat.

The downside of a hammock
is heat,
humidity,
insects,
and allergies.

After 2 and 1/2 hanging seasons
in the hammock,
I moved inside,
and hang out now in a recliner.

The recliner invites writing,
which is thinking out loud,
and reading,
which is like being social
and listening to what someone else
has to say,
with the added convenience
of being able to shut one book
and open another
whenever that seems appropriate.

Plus, it is close to the toilet
and to the coffee maker.
It is temperature controlled,
low humidity
and insect free.
And I don’t have to put it up
and take it down.

A recliner is a lazy person’s hammock.
Make sure they say that about me
when I’m gone.

01/21/2019  —  We are stuck with our perspective,
and are where we are
because of it–
for better or for worse.

And our life won’t change
until our perspective does.

So, if you are waiting for your life to change,
and blaming someone else
for that not happening,
you are holding the wrong person accountable.

It is how you see things
that makes things as they are!

You can test this out
by changing your mind
about what is important
and seeing what happens
over time.

Or,
you could go on blaming other people
for your woes
and see what happens
over time.

It works equally well either way.

  1. 01/22/2019 —  Rock Garden 2018-04 09 Panorama — Big Rock Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, Charlotte, North Carolina, April 2, 2018Jesus was a contradiction in terms
    (He raised the dead
    and left the dead to bury the dead).

    So was the Buddha
    (The Enlightened One died
    from eating bad pork.
    How enlightened was that?)

    And so is the Dalai Lama
    (The spokesperson for peace,
    compassion and non-violence
    has bodyguards
    who carry automatic weapons).

    And so are you
    (You know what I am
    talking about).

    So am I
    (Let me count the ways).

    Our life is a dance
    with the contradictions!
    We are living,
    breathing,
    eating
    (Life Eats Life! How contradictory is that?)
    contradictions in terms!

    And we pretend it is not so.
    If it weren’t for denial,
    where would we be?

    Being Who We ARE!!!
    That’s where!

    Our contradictions
    show us who we are,
    and who we also are!

    Our contradictions lead the way–
    and the way between our polarities
    is the slippery slope,
    the perilous journey,
    the razor’s edge!

    It is the narrow gate,
    the straight way,
    and those who find it,
    and navigate it,
    are few.

    Live to be found among them,
    and you will have it made.

    And, you will live
    with a twinkle in your eye,
    and joy in your heart.
    But, of course, it will
    break your heart, as well.
    Being the contradiction it is.

01/22/2019  —  We only have the present moment
to work with.

What we do now,
and how we do it,
have implications
for what we do next,
and how we do it.

The better we do now,
the better our options/choices then.

The worse we do now,
the worse our options/choices then.

Now is the most important time
in our life.
What we do here
and how we do it
have a bearing
on the rest of our life.

There are no throw-away moments,
ever.

01/22/2019  —  The present sets the tone
for the future.

In each moment,
we are creating momentum
that will carry us
into the next moment,
and all those following.

In each moment
we are generating karma–
putting ourselves on some
self-perpetuating path
calling itself into being
with every step we take
into our future.

We are molding our identity,
shaping who we will be
by the choices we make
and the actions we take
without thinking things through
or being conscious of what we are doing,
or knowing that we are doing anything.

We do not intend
to turn out as we do.

And that is all it takes
to produce who we become.

Action becomes tradition,
becomes history,
becomes the way we are,
becomes intractable,
becomes unchanging,
rigid,
predictable,
unfailing,
mindless…
death-producing-death
before we are dead.

Because of the way
we live now.

Might want to take care
of this moment.

It will set you up
for the next one,
and it will be over
before you know it.

01/22/2019  —  It’s a good life strategy
to show up.

For work.
For class.
For exams.
For interviews.
For appointments.
For our children.
For our spouses.
For our parents…

You know.
Like that.

To be where we are supposed to be.
When we are supposed to be.
The way we are supposed to be.

Not drunk.
Or high.
Or enraged.

To show up
and be ready
for what’s coming.
Whatever that may be.

We create unnecessary problems
for ourselves
when we fail to show up.

The first rule is
Show Up.

01/22/2019  —  Jungian therapists
don’t call themselves therapists.
They are brilliant that way.

They call themselves analysts.
But.
They don’t analyze their clients.
They teach their clients
to analyze their relationship
with their life.

They get their clients
together with their life.

Our life is always talking to us.
A Jungian Analyst can help us
learn how to listen
to what our life is saying–
to what our body is saying–
to what our dreams are saying–
to what we are saying
to ourselves through the ways
we react to situations, events, circumstances, people…

A Jungian Analyst
is like having Yoda on your side.

  1. 01/21/2019 —  Goodale 2018 11-11 09 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 4, 2018When something has to give,
    something always does.

    And then comes the business
    of picking up the pieces
    and making the best
    of a bad situation–
    made bad
    because someone
    had an idea of the good
    that wasn’t good at all.

    The current manifestation
    of this process of life
    was brought on by Donald Trump
    and those who elected him,
    and by those who follow him around,
    doing his bidding
    like mindless Mafia
    chumps and goons.

    Trump’s idea of the good
    is his own good,
    and it isn’t good at all
    for the rest of civilization.

    Something has to give.

    And then, the cleanup.

    Life goes on.

    Like it or not.

01/23/2019  —  The White Supremacists
are in control of the White House,
in control of Trump.
Trump is a White Supremacist.

White Supremacists hate people of color,
which means they hate immigrants,
which means the border wall
as a symbol of white supremacy.

The wall is the hangman’s noose
of this age.
It is a message to people of color:
You are not welcome here!
Stay away!
There is no place with us
for your kind!

Trump will shut down the government
and keep it shut down until it crumbles,
and then replace it with the Right People
(Wink, wink).

They are planning on it being done
by 2020
and having no elections.

Then it’s only a matter
of ridding themselves
of the undesirables
and America will be Great Again.

Of course, this is completely absurd,
and could never happen,
but.

How sure of that
can you be?

01/23/2019  —  Here’s a theory
that I take on faith.
I call it “The Core Theory.”

It goes like this:

The natural world lives from the core.
Living from the core
puts it in accord with the core.

The lives of everything
in the natural world
are aligned with the core,
and hum along
with the core frequencies
of the universe.

When Ecclesiastes writes,
“There is a time for every purpose
under heaven.
A time to be born
and a time to die…”
he is talking about
the harmonies associated
with the core.

When the Zen/Taoist sages advise,
“Eat when hungry,
rest when tired,”
they are speaking from
their experience with the core realities
of their time
and of all times.

The animal world is a core-based world.
Animals are core-driven.
They do not do anything
that is out of its time,
either ahead of time,
or behind time.
Animals are always on time.

So are human beings
who live on “Island time.”
They are always on time,
never ahead or behind,
but always doing exactly
what needs to be done
right here, right now.

But.
You can’t set your watch by it.
Tomorrow it will be different,
but it will be just right
for tomorrow.

The core is just right
in all times and places.
The eagles and the swans and the geese
migrate according to the core.
So do butterflies
and Gold Finches.

The natural world is in sync with its dharma,
in accord with the Tao,
and at one with the core.

If you want to approach
living aligned with the eternal harmony,
take up the practice
of establishing/deepening
your relationship with the core.

When you are at one with the core,
you are at one with all things
at one with the core,
humming the “Aummm” of the Cosmos,
dancing the dance of the seasons,
ebbing and flowing with the tides of infinity.

  1. 01/24/2019 —  False Hellebore 2012-05 12 — Blue Ridge Parkway, near Floyd, Virginia, May 01, 2012Find the core.
    Live out of it.
    All there is to it.

    Except for the catch.

    The catch is
    we cannot live out of the core
    with any idea or inclination
    about exploiting
    our relationship
    with the core
    for our own benefit
    or advantage.

    Association with the core
    requires us to lay aside
    personal ambition.

    This is what the old Yogis,
    Hindi’s
    and at least one school of Buddhism
    refer to as “ego.”

    Ego is the conscious self
    we depend on to navigate
    the terms and conditions of life.
    We can do that serving life,
    doing what needs to be done
    regardless of its implications
    for us, personally.

    Or we can do that serving
    our personal ambition and desire.

    The core has nothing at stake
    in the size of our house
    or the cut of our clothes.
    Our place in life
    has to be comfortable enough
    to not be in the way.

    Then, we are free to focus
    on the core
    in doing what needs to be done,
    when,
    where
    and how.

    Once we shift away from
    what the moment needs of us
    to what we need of the moment,
    we lose connection with the core,
    and are off on our own,
    arranging things according
    to our own interests and preferences,
    will and wants.

    And that has us where we are,
    needing to seek and find the core,
    and live out of our relationship
    with it.

    “What does the core have in mind,
    and what does that mean for us?”

    Those questions are the ones that matter.
    Ask them often.

01/24/2019  —  If you aren’t depressed,
you are in denial
and are not paying attention.

Depression is a sign of the times.
It is solid evidence
that you are alert and attuned
to the time and place
of your living,
maladjusted,
out of sync,
out of tune,
out of step
with what is going on.

Who would want to be adjusted?
Who could possibly defend being
in sync,
in tune,
in step
with life on a daily basis?

The culture during the best of times
was geared to providing
diversion,
distraction
and entertaining pastimes
to those whose lives were devoid
of meaningful work,
and were looking for something
to take their mind off
the wasted boredom
of their days.

But *these* days
rule out any possibility
of escape from the pressing emptiness
at work in what is happening–
and the devastating cruelty
of the things we cannot help
being witness to!

Nobody in our experience
is meaningfully alive!
What the hell is this place
if not some anteroom of hell itself?

And who can live here
without developing the skills
to not be here
in any of the ways
that has always been done?

We have to find methods
of managing our life
on the basis of a different
ground and foundation–
in light of a different
goal and direction–
than has been in the purview
of the past five, or so, generations.

“It’s a new world, Golda.”
Everywhere you look.

  1. 01/25/2019 —  Lunar Eclipse 2019-01 02 Panorama — Super Wolf Blood Moon, Indian Land, South Carolina, January 20, 2019There are people
    who are good for us,
    and people
    who are not so good,
    and people who are terrible
    burdens on our soul.

    There are places
    that are good for us,
    and places
    that are not so good,
    and places that are terrible
    burdens on our soul.

    We only have so much time
    in a day
    and in a life.

    Why spend more time than we have to
    with the not so good
    and the terrible?

    Seek out the good people.
    Take them to lunch.

    Seek out the good places.
    Visit them often.

    Enjoy all that is to be enjoyed
    about the days
    of your life.

    Being with the good
    makes all things better.

    Do what you can
    to be with the good–
    and to recognize the good
    that is with you–
    every day.

01/25/2019  —  We have to make the effort.

Living takes the will to live
away.

One day at a time.

Incentive dwindles.

Motivation departs.

Comes a point
where one more breath
isn’t worth the trouble.

And we ease over
into “that good night.”

In the meantime,
we have to make the effort!

Whatever the effort is
required
by the terms and conditions,
nature and circumstances,
of our life.

Dying is easy,
living is hard.

Every time we are tempted
to not make the effort,
recognize death’s
slow approach,
and turn the tables.

Say, “Maybe tomorrow,”
to Death.
“Maybe next week.
“Some other time.”

And get up.
Do the thing that needs to be done.
The thing that needs you to do it.
The thing you need to do.

Make the effort.

01/25/2019  —  The bread of affliction
is the bread of life.

The cup of suffering
is the cup of salvation.

Carl Jung said:

“A psycho-neurosis must be understood, ultimately, as the suffering of a soul that has not yet discovered its meaning.”

And:

“There’s no coming to consciousness without pain.”

From Aeschylus:

“He who learns must suffer.
And even in our sleep
pain, which cannot forget,
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
until, in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom through
the awful grace of God.”

And Jon Kabat-Zinn
launched Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
for patients at University of Massachusetts Medical Center
seeking relief from acute or chronic pain,
helping them discover
that the way out
was the way in,
and through,
and with
all their lives long.

Suffering is the doorway to awakening,
enlightenment,
realization,
wisdom,
nirvana…
IF it is approached
in the right frame of mind–
with compassionate,
non-judgmental,
openness,
receptivity,
reflection,
interest,
curiosity,
and a willingness
to follow the path

that opens before us
and discover where all
it might lead.

01/26/2019—  See what you look at.

Do what needs to be done.

Jesus couldn’t do any better.

Nor could the Buddha.

Nor could the Dali Lama…

  1. 01/26/2019 —  Tobacco Barn 2012-01 03 HDR — Guilford County, North Carolina, January 27, 2012The natural woman,
    the natural man,
    live out of their core.

    Aligned with the core,
    in accord with the core,
    at one with the core,
    they go about their business,
    do their work,
    relish the wonder
    of being alive,
    and let nature take its course.

01/26/2019  —  Our view of God
(and everything else)
is confirmed or denied
by our circumstances.

If confirmed,
no problem,
and things proceed
smoothly
until circumstances come along
that deny our view of God
(or whatever).
Then,
we have to expand/elaborate
our view of God
(etc.)
to take the denial
into account.

Our view of God
(etc.) grows to fit
our circumstances,
and all is well with the world.

Except that God,
“infinite, eternal, unchangeable,”
is always changing.

Not so fast:
“It isn’t that God is changing!
It is only that our views of God
are catching up with God!”

Ohhh. Well. That changes things.
So, now, the door is open
to understanding God has always
had the best interests of LGBTQ people at heart,
and it is up to us
to change our views accordingly.

And, so on, like that,
around the table,
across the board.

  1. 01/27/2019 —  Linville Falls 2012-07 04 HDR — Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls, North Carolina, July 13, 2012Now is all we have to work with.
    Now is all there actually is.

    But we of fully functioning brains
    are always forgetting this,
    and living Now in the grip
    of the Has Been
    and the Will Be.

    Animals,
    and people of less than fully functioning brains,
    not so much.

    Everything that is happening
    is happening right Now.

    We who remember the past
    and anticipate the future,
    are living now
    as though the past still is
    and as though the future already is.

    With us, past and future
    crowd into now,
    and we have such a hard time
    keeping them sorted out
    and separated,
    with each in their own place and time.

    It is all happening Now!
    Thanks to our fully functioning brain.
    Won’t somebody please make it stop?

    That somebody would be us.
    Ourselves.
    We are all we have here, now.

    Our fully functioning brain was a step up
    in a lot of ways,
    but not in all ways–
    and we have to realize that,
    and remember to take it into account–
    in a “That was then,
    and that is not yet,
    and this is now,”
    kind of way.

    Now is the space
    between the Has Been
    and the Will Be.
    How large a space
    depends upon
    how well we use our fully functioning brain
    in the service
    of our own well-being
    and that of the rest of the world.

    We do that well by determining
    what is happening here with us right now
    that needs our attention right now.

    What is happening NOW?
    What needs to happen in response NOW?
    What is being asked of us NOW?
    What is the most appropriate response we can make
    given what is needed and what we have to offer,
    NOW?
    How do we act NOW in light of everything
    we are aware of NOW?

    People with fully functioning brains
    can whiz through these questions
    in no time at all,
    and dance with the moment
    in ways that astound and amaze
    everybody including themselves,
    once they step into the space
    between the Then and the Not Yet
    and own it.

    To do that,
    we have to free ourselves
    from the burden
    of the past and the future
    and Be Here Now
    Present,
    Receptive,
    and Open For Business.

    That is what a fully functioning brain
    is good for
    once we learn how to use it.

    Why not get started NOW?

01/27/2019  —  Christian is as Christian does.

The same could be said for:

Baha’i.
Buddhist.
Confucian.
Hindu.
Jain.
Jew.
Muslim.
Shinto.
Sikh.
Taoist.
Yogi.
Zoroastrian.
Etc.

It isn’t what we believe.

It is how well we integrate/incarnate
what we believe into our life.

If it is invisible,
it is non-extant.

If you want to know
what my religion is,
don’t ask me.
Ask the people who know me.

If they cannot distinguish
one religion from another
based on what they know of me,
perhaps there are no distinctions
worth making.

And we should leave it at that.

01/27/2919  —  Joseph Campbell said
that Alan Watts once asked him,
“Joe, what form does your yoga take?”

Campbell said he replied,
“I underline passages.”

The form our religion takes
is the form we give it
when we are being true
to what matters most to us.

What we serve with our life
is our religion.

If we are not conscious
of the central, grounding, bedrock myth
at the core of our life and being,
we should do the work
of becoming conscious
of that which directs our life
and provides us
with meaning, direction and purpose.

What are we endeavoring to incarnate?
To bring forth?
To exhibit?
To serve?

01/27/2019  —  We go from being engaged
to being disengaged
without noticing the shift.

Our interest slips.
Our attention wains.
Our intensity languishes.
Our mind wanders.

We are going through the motions.

We are 98.6,
upright and intact,
and breathing,
but.

We aren’t here, now.

We have drifted away.

The trick is to wake up
to being asleep at the wheel,
and bring ourselves back
to where we are
and what is going on.

The moment calls for re-engagement.

For stepping back into our life,
and living with our heart in what we are doing,
and our mind on the business at hand.

If there is nothing here for us to engage with,
that is a different problem,
but one that is ours to address,
nonetheless.

What engages you?
How long has it been?
What are you going to do about it?

  1. 01/28/2019 —  Cadillac Mountain 2012-09 04 — Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine, September 24, 2012The idea of Telos
    is the end is present in the beginning.

    The idea of Tao
    is the way is embedded in the path.

    The idea of dharma
    is the purpose is always served.

    Carl Jung said,
    “We meet our destiny
    on the road we take to avoid it.”

    Paul the Apostle heard,
    “It hurts to kick against the goads!”

    We can work with our life,
    or against it,
    but we cannot avoid
    what is being willed
    through us
    into the world.

    Joseph Campbell said,
    “Chance,
    or what might seem to be chance,
    is the means through which
    life is realized.
    The problem is not to blame,
    or explain,
    but to handle the life that arises.
    The best advice
    is to take it all as if it had been
    your intention—
    with that, you invoke
    the participation of your will…

    Voluntary participation
    in the world is very different
    from just getting born into it.”

    We assist Telos, Tao, Dharma
    by aligning ourselves
    with the core truth
    identifying and defining us,
    and living to
    interpret,
    incarnate,
    reveal,
    express,
    exhibit,
    explore,
    bring forth
    the meaning
    of who we are–
    surprising ourselves
    in the process,
    and letting the outcome
    be the outcome.

 

 

  1. 01/29/2019 —  A Walk in the Woods 2018-12 01 Panorama — The 22-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, December 31, 2018Every living thing
    does its thing
    as well as it can
    within the time and place,
    terms and conditions,
    nature and circumstances
    of its life,
    as long as it lives,
    until it dies.

    That is the deal.

    It is our contract with life.

    We all live
    to see what we can do–
    even now,
    even yet,
    even so–
    in the time left for living.

    And–
    as far as human beings
    are concerned–
    our ability to do that,
    and to keep on doing it,
    depends entirely
    how we understand
    the “we” to be
    who does its thing
    in the time left for living.

    Who is the “we”
    who lives to see
    who the “we”
    can be–
    even now,
    even yet,
    even so?

    Our philosophy,
    theology,
    etiology,
    psychology
    of the “we”
    determines exclusively
    how well we do
    what we do
    in the time left for living.

    Who is the “we”
    who can make meaning
    of anything–
    even life in the face of death?

    That is the “we”
    we need to be clear about,
    and get to know.

    Because there is no one
    here but “us,”
    and what “we” do–
    and do not–
    makes all the difference.

01/29/2019  —  We will never be
what we might have been
without Donald Trump.

We can only be
what we can yet become
because of Donald Trump.

The malicious,
atrocious,
detestable
and contemptable
can swing history to the good
as much as the best can.

What becomes of us
is up to us.

01/29/2019  —  Nothing is more important
than meaningful work.

What are the most meaningful
aspects of your life?

Chances are, you aren’t being paid
to do any of them.

What we are paid to do
is not meaningful
beyond providing the wherewithal
to pay the bills.

What do we pay the bills to do
beyond doing the work required
to pay the bills?

How do we fit meaning
into our life?
Where do we encounter meaning
in our life?
What is meaningful
about the life we are living?

What is the most recent
meaningful thing you have done?

What is the most meaningful
thing you could do
in the next week?

How many meaningful things
can you work into a week?

We are here to do what is meaningful,
whether we get paid or not.

What changes will you have to make
in order to align yourself
with what is meaningful,
and serve it with your life?

And continue to pay the bills?

Engaging in meaningful work
and supporting our spouse/partner,
children,
parents,
friends
in their work
to find meaningful work
and work it into their life
are your mission
for the time left for living.

These are the most important things
you can do for yourself
and all others.

Make it happen!

  1. 01/30/2019 —  Goodale 2018-11 10 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 4, 2018The book for our times
    is “Teaching As A Subversive Activity,”
    by Neil Postman and Charles Winegardner.

    It’s about crap-detecting,
    and question-asking,
    and truth-saying–
    without being afraid
    of where it might go
    or what it might lead to.

    Mostly, it is about meaning-making.

    It was written in 1969
    for today’s world.

    And is available as a Kindle book.

    (Here’s the catch):

    It needs to be read devotionally,
    meditatively,
    mindfully,
    slowly,
    like eating raisins
    one
    at
    a
    time.

    Because it is about
    fixing you,
    and you,
    and you,
    and me–
    placing ourselves
    in accord with the Tao,
    knowing that the world
    can’t get back on track
    until we do.

    The answers aren’t for
    forcing onto someone else.
    They are for incorporating
    into our own life.

    We live mindfully.
    We live in good faith.
    We live in the service
    of meaningful work.

    And let the outcome be the outcome.

    And let nature take its course.

    In the meantime,
    we live mindfully.
    We live in good faith.
    We live in the service
    of meaningful work.

    Asking the questions
    that beg to be asked.
    Saying the things
    that cry out to be said.
    Doing the things
    that need to be done.

    Moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    Read the book.

    Live your life.

    Moment-by-moment-by-moment…

    By the mantra:
    “If it is meaningful, do it!”

    Now!

01/30/2019  —  The great thing
about getting back
on track
is that we
can start anywhere.

The great thing
about staying on track
is that we
can start anywhere.

We don’t have to
go anywhere in particular,
or do anything special.

We only have to
be where we are.

The track is right here,
right now.

We are standing on it.

The next step is the crucial step.

Here we are.

Now what?

That’s all there is to it.

Step-by-step.

Moment-by-moment-by-moment.

Babies do it.

Ducks do it.

Clouds do it.

No baby,
duck
or cloud
has ever been off-track.

Or, has had to be told
by some other baby,
duck,
or cloud,
to “Get with the program!”

When we lose our place,
we only have to
be here now
to find it.

How hard is that?

01/30/2019  —  What to do is not difficult.

Doing it is difficult.

We had rather talk about doing

than do.

Read about doing.

Go to lectures about doing.

Watch documentaries about doing.

Understand doing.

We love to understand doing.

And to know all there is to know about doing.

Doing?

Not so much.

01/30/2019  —  Save us, O God,
from those who
know what is best!

Give us, O God,
those who
do what is best!

Why is that
such a hard
shift to make?

Why do we know
so many people
who know what is best,

And so few people
who do what is best?

01/30/2019  —  What is money for
beyond paying the bills?

What do we pay the bills
to do?

The bills buy tools or props.

Tools allow us to live our life.

Props support a surrogate life.

Are we living our life
or living a stand-in for the real thing?

There isn’t enough money
to compensate us
for having never lived our life.

01/30/2019  —  What do you do
that is meaningful
in a day?

In a week?

What will you do
that is meaningful
tomorrow?

Think of your activities
in terms of their meaning quotient.
Let meaning be your guide.
Live to reduce
the number of things in your life
that are not meaningful,
and to increase
the number of things
that are.

Mindfulness of meaning
leads the way.

  1. 01/31/2019 —  False Hellebore 2012-05 23 — Blue Ridge Parkway, near Floyd, Virginia, May 01, 2012There is a three-pronged approach
    to making things as good
    as they can be:

    1) Come to terms with
    how things are.

    2) Do what needs to be done
    about it.

    3) Repeat as necessary.

  2. 02/01/2019 —  Corn Field 2018-11 03 Panorama — Indian Land, Lancaster County, South Carolina, November 18, 2018More people are talking today
    without knowing what they are saying
    than ever in the history of the species.

    Filter out the opinions and judgments,
    and the reports based solely
    on what other people have said,
    and the repetitions
    of what has always been said
    and assumed to be so,
    and of what we think is
    supposed to be said,
    and the impulsive blurting out
    of whatever will attract attention
    and have an impact…

    And the world becomes
    a very quiet place.

    In the silence,
    we become aware
    of a world
    we run from
    into the noise–
    any noise will do–
    because it is an unknown world,
    and we are frightened by it.

    Our distant ancestors
    knew that world very well,
    and felt that the physical world
    of normal,
    apparent,
    reality,
    was grounded upon,
    flowed from
    and supported by
    the invisible,
    spiritual,
    world of voices and visions,
    inclinations and directions,
    warnings and invitations…

    That of which we are unconscious
    is greater than that of which we are conscious.
    And we know it
    only as a place to avoid.

    Yet, everything we see and do in this world
    arises from that world.

    It is the origin of art
    and music,
    of moods
    and meaning,
    ideas
    and inclinations…

    And we know it not.

    Why?
    Why know it not?
    Why not know it
    as the source of life
    and being?
    The end of all our striving?
    The goal of all our searching?
    The home we all come from,
    and to which we all belong?

    Why all the noise?
    All the talk
    to keep from knowing
    what we don’t know?

  3. 02/01/2019 —  Grand Prismatic Spring 2011-06 01 — Yellowstone National Park, Midway Geyser Basin, Teton County, Wyoming, June 24, 2011″No one will learn anything
    they do not want to know.”
    (“Teaching as a Subversive Activity,”
    by Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner)

    If you aren’t asking the questions,
    or intrigued by them,
    the answers will be wasted on you.

    I have been guilty all my life
    of talking to people
    about things they were not
    interested in hearing–
    and, therefore, could not understand.

    If you have been with me for a few years,
    you have heard me say,
    “Every congregation I served
    during my career
    as a Presbyterian (USA) minister,
    paid me to talk to them about God–
    but they did not want me
    telling them anything
    they had not already heard.”

    I couldn’t square myself up
    with repeating what they
    had been told.
    So, I walked on thin ice
    in some places,
    and on water in others,
    and welcomed retirement
    as a distance runner
    welcomes the finish line.

    I’m still looking for those
    who can hear what I have to say,
    but am no longer burdened
    by those who don’t know
    what I’m talking about.
    We can wish each other well,
    and go our separate ways.

02/01/2019  —  A sermon should help us
with our life.
Not with the Afterlife–
with the here-and-now life.

We all should have things
in our life
that help us
with other things in our life.

Our life should be helpful!
To us and to others!

Here is one thing
that would be helpful:

Listening to our life!

What is our life saying to us?

Our life is talking to us all the time!

Our body is talking to us all the time!

Listen to your life!
Listen to your heart!
Listen to your body!
Listen to your experience!

Those four sources
tell us everything we need to know
from the other sources/resources
in our life
to meet what needs to be met
and do what needs to be done.

02/01/2019  —  If you are going to get rid of something,
get rid of greed.

Greed is the root of all evil.

Greed is having to have more
than we have any business having.

More of anything.

More of everything.

Possession for the sake of possession.

An ever-increasing standard of living.

An ever-increasing appetite
for all that catches our eye.

Greedy is pathetic.
Greedy is empty.
Greedy is incapable of being filled
with anything.

Nothing says we have to be greedy.

Or that we cannot be gracious
and kind.

Put greed down.
Lay it to rest.
Walk away.

Nobody has ever
benefited from it
in any way.

Google it.
You’ll see.

02/01/2019  —  Enjoy convenience,
tolerate inconvenience.

Let come what’s coming
and let go what’s going.

The old Zen story about
The Lost Horse Returns
puts us in the center
of here and now,
and cautions us
that failing to honor the center
is to choose the slippery slope.

One evening, the eldest son neglected
to secure the gate to the corral
and the family’s lone work horse
wandered off into the night.

The next day the boy was distraught,
castigating himself
and shame-bound,
he kept crying out,
“Oh no, oh no.
What will we do? What will we do?
The work will never be done!”

His father counseled,
“We will see. Time will tell.”

The following day,
the horse returned
with two mares and a colt.

The son was overjoyed,
delighting in the family’s
new possessions,
he gloated about the possibilities
of a now-bright future.

His father counseled,
“We will see. Time will tell.”

A few days later,
the son was thrown
from one of the mares
he was trying to ride,
and broke his leg.

Again the woe and the wailing.

Again, “We will see. Time will tell.”

In a week, the King’s servants
came through the village
conscripting young men
for the army
in its war against invaders
on the frontier.
The son was passed over,
and his joy was unbounded.

His father, responded,
“We will see. Time will tell.”

02/02/2019  —  Fraser Snowden said,
“The only true philosophical question
is, ‘Where do you draw the line?’”

It is also the most important question.

And the question we most need
to answer correctly.

When Lester Maddox
was Governor of Georgia,
he is said to have said,
“The only thing wrong
with the Georgia penal system
is that we need better prisoners.”

Georgia certainly needed
a better governor.

A better governor
would have drawn better lines.

The people who denigrate
“political correctness,”
fail to understand where the line lies
between political correctness,
and just plain, ordinary, everyday correctness.

Their idea of what is correct
and what is not
plays to their crowd,
but it has no connection
with what is correct.

There is being right
about what is correct
and there is being wrong
about what is correct.

How do we know which is which,
and where the line lies
between the two?

How do we know
what is worth knowing,
and what is not?

How do we know
when we are right
and when we are wrong?

Where do all the damn lines go?

Who is to say?

We do.

We have to know.

And we have to say.

And we have to be right about it.

Everything depends on it.

Every.

Thing.

02/02/2019  —  What’s worth knowing?
What matters most?
Who says so?
How do we know
they know
what they are talking about?

We don’t.
We take everything on faith.

All of the important stuff–
and all of the unimportant stuff–
is made up.
We make it up.
And say it is important.
Taking something on faith
means making it up.

Jesus saves.
Somebody made that up.
How does anybody know that is so?
Nobody does.
Anybody that says they do
is making it up.

We make up the whole thing.
Just like we made up pianos
and Swan Lake.
Baseball,
airplanes
and apple pie.

Look around.
Everything you see
that wasn’t here before we were
came right out of our imagination.

You are making up your life
as you go.
I am making up my life.

That being the case,
we are free to wiggle a little.
Put in a new move.
Dance.
Improvise.
Do something we have never done.
Something that has never been done.
Try something we have never tried.
Invent a recipe.
Or a thousand.

Why not?

We are making it all up.
Why not see what we can do?

  1. 02/02/2019 —  Lake Crandall 2018-11 06/07/08 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 10, 2018We all have to be better
    at being who we are.

    We all have to be better
    at sizing things up
    and coming to terms with them,
    and responding to them
    in ways that are appropriate
    to the occasion–
    and true expressions,
    exhibitions,
    incarnations,
    of who we are.

    Self-improvement
    is improving our ability
    to be who we are
    for the good of the situation
    in every situation
    that comes along.

    Growing up
    is becoming better
    at being who we are
    for the good of the whole
    in each moment
    throughout our life.

    It is being here, now,
    for the sake of the here and now
    as only we can do it–
    and being better at doing it
    in each here, now,
    that is here, now,

    It is all practice.

    And getting better at it
    is all there is to it.

  2. 02/03/2019 —  Lake Crandall 2018-11 09/10 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 10, 2018If we saw the moment–
    each moment–
    for what it is
    and offered to it
    what we have to give
    that it needs,
    that would be right seeing,
    right doing,
    right being.

    It is that simple.

    Do.
    Be.

    C. D. B.

    Practice that
    in each moment
    that comes your way
    today,
    every day.

    You will get better at it
    as time goes by.

    And all of your occasions
    will be better off for it.

02/03/2019  —  How much time and effort
goes into justifying
our existence?

Proving our value?

Establishing our worth?

And how much time
do we spend thinking
about that
when we are lost
in some creative pursuit?

And how often does thinking
about that
prevent us from engaging
in creative pursuits?

Why do we think
we have to
defend,
explain,
excuse,
legitimize,
who we are
and what we do?

What are we trying
to “measure up to”?
Why?

Who has to be happy
with how we spend
our time and effort?

What’s wrong with
living our life
the way we think it
needs to be lived,
in each situation
as it arises,
and letting that be enough?

  1. 02/04/2019 —  Lake Crandall 2018-011 07 Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 10, 2018Living fearlessly is the exclusive domain
    or those who are adept
    at coming to terms
    with the way things are,
    squaring up to what is happening
    and what needs to be done about it,
    stepping into the moment
    and dancing
    with their circumstances
    in living their life
    aligned with their dharma,
    in accord with the Tao,
    at one with their core,
    with nothing to gain
    and nothing to lose
    in every situation that comes along.

    Living fearlessly is a function
    of growing up,
    being here, now,
    doing what needs to be done
    about it,
    and letting nature take its course.

    It is one of the outcomes
    of living the life that is ours to live
    within the terms and conditions
    of the life we are living.

    The path to who we are
    winds from the Garden of Eden
    through the heart of Gethsemane
    and across the face of Golgotha.

    Don’t let that slow you down.

    “Oh No! Oh No!”
    “Not This! Not This!”
    “Why me? Why me?”
    Becomes,
    “This too! This too!”
    “So what? So what?”
    “It is nothing!
    Pay it no mind!”
    Along the way.

02/04/2019  —  How’s it working?
Your life, I mean.

What overall grade
would you give it?

How would you grade
each section/aspect?

Where does it need
to be improved?

What are your plans
for improving
what needs improving?

What are the problems?

How are you addressing them?

How’s your relationship with your life?

What are the questions
that beg to be asked there?
What are the things
that cry out to be said?

What needs to happen
for you to be at one with your life,
and for your life to be at one with you?

02/04/2019  —  May the road carry us
all the way to where we are going!

If you are going to believe in anything,
believe in the road!
In the power and magic
of the road!

The road has gotten us to this place–
we can trust it to continue
carrying us the rest of the way,
even if it be forever!
sTo the Road!
And to its Travelers!
May the journey
be exactly what we need
it to be
on every level,
always!

02/04/2019  —  In their book, “Teaching As A Subversive Activity,”
Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner
say that it is practically impossible for one person
to learn anything important from another person,
and even where that can be done,
everything depends upon something akin
to a caring/loving relationship between the two.

Teachers who do not care for their students
cannot teach anything to them–
no matter how well-versed the teacher is
in the subject matter.

PhD’s do not help.

In order to be helpful,
we have to be capable of being helpful.
Wanting to be isn’t enough.
We have to be.

Which means,
we have to become
who we need to be.

We are all teachers.

We are all students.

Postman and Weingartner
have some great tips
on becoming who we are
in ways that help others
become who they are.

Postman and Weingartner
are the Buddha and the Christ
of their time and place,
writing and speaking
to those who have
eyes to see
and ears to hear.

02/04/2019  —  How’s it working?
Your life, I mean.

What overall grade
would you give it?

How would you grade
each section/aspect?

Where does it need
to be improved?

What are your plans
for improving
what needs improving?

What are the problems?

How are you addressing them?

How’s your relationship with your life?

What are the questions
that beg to be asked there?
What are the things
that cry out to be said?

What needs to happen
for you to be at one with your life,
and for your life to be at one with you?

02/04/2019  —  What’s important?
Who is to say?
Who is to say who is to say?
We are at the center
of the circle.

It comes down to us.
To what we say.

If we say,
“But WE don’t know!
WE can’t say!”
We say who is to say.
We say what to do
because who we say knows
says to do it.

We are the one who says
what’s important.

What’s important?
Everything turns
on what we say–
on our being right
about what we say,
about what is important,
or about who knows what is important.

Everything turns
on our being right.

What’s important?

  1. 02/05/2019 —  Timberland 2018-11 02 — Kershaw County, South Carolina, November 4, 2018We don’t know where this is going,
    or how much farther it goes,
    or what will happen next,
    or what we will do in response.

    We live to find out.

    There is more to it
    than just being along for the ride.

    What we make of it is up to us.

    We don’t get to choose our choices,
    but the choices we make
    from among those that are ours to make,
    serve to identify
    and clarify
    who we are
    and what is important to us.

    We are defining ourselves
    with every choice,
    every decision,
    saying, “This is who I am,”
    and, “This is who I am not,”
    and, “This is what matters to me!”

    Living to be who we are,
    consciously,
    deliberately,
    intentionally–
    not to win
    (as if),
    or to have it made
    (as if again),
    or to exploit our opportunities
    and serve our advantage–
    within the terms and conditions,
    context and circumstances,
    of each day’s deliveries
    sets us apart,
    brings us forth,
    exhibits,
    expresses,
    incarnates,
    declares,
    makes known
    who we are
    and what is important to us
    within the times and places
    of our living.

    Remember the rocks?
    The stones?
    How’s that going?

    I asked you a few weeks ago
    to find some rocks,
    and stack the stones,
    as a metaphor of you
    for you to keep before you
    as a reminder
    of what’s what
    in the work
    of becoming who you are.

    The rocks represent
    your bedrock,
    your center,
    your core–
    that which is undeniably real
    and valid
    about you.

    The stacked rocks
    are your inner you,
    grounding you,
    orienting you,
    directing and guiding you.

    A very present help
    in time of trouble.

    “Though the mountains shake
    and tumble
    into the heart of the sea.”

    You remain you,
    and live to express, exhibit, etc. you
    throughout the entire experience
    of your life upon this earth.

    Whatever happens,
    wherever it goes,
    for however far
    and however long,
    we live to be who we are
    throughout what remains
    of the time left to be lived.

    The terms and conditions,
    context and circumstances
    are nothing ever more
    than the stage upon which
    we explore and experience,
    express and make known,
    who we are,
    by making the choices
    that are ours to make,
    and living in light
    of what is important to us
    in the here and now
    of each present moment
    all along the way.

    Bring your best forth
    to meet each day,
    and rest well every night,
    knowing you have met the day,
    offered what was
    yours to give,
    and let the outcome
    be the outcome–
    and will do it again tomorrow.

02/05/2019  —  If you have a dog,
or have had a dog,
you know that you
are able to read your dog,
and know what’s what
(and that your dog
is able to read you
and know what’s what).

This is called
“Reading what is going on
and knowing what’s what.”

The only thing that is different
between you and your dog
and you and every other aspect
of your life
is that with your dog
you aren’t concerned
about being right
with your read of the situation.

With your dog,
you know what’s what,
and you don’t second-guess yourself
or worry about what if you are wrong.

With every other aspect of your life–
particularly where other people
are concerned–
there is anxiety about
whether you are correct,
and what may,
or may not,
happen if you are,
or are not…

It gets complicated quickly,
and you save yourself
from the pain of anxiety
by cutting yourself off
from what you know
about what’s what
in every other context
except the one between you and your dog.

Begin to treat all situations
as though they are you and your dog.

Trust yourself to intuit/know what’s what,
and act accordingly,
particularly in places
where you have nothing to lose
(e.g., where your boss is not around).

Learn to trust your dog-sense
to guide you in your responses
to what is happening
and what needs to be done about it.

Know what you know
about what’s what,
and act on the basis of that
in responding to the need of the moment.

Free yourself up
to dance with your life.

02/05/2019  —  You know how it is
when the flow of our life
is disturbed–
when there is a
“disruption in the force”
holding things together,
guiding things along.

Everything is out of sync,
out of harmony.
Our grove is gone.
All the traffic signals are red.
All the check-out lines are long.
Nothing is as we need it to be.

Some people seem
to live that way
all of the time.
I don’t know how.

I do so much better
when my life has a natural order
about it,
when I observe the circadian rhythms
0f the day,
with meal times,
nap time,
reading/writing time,
active time
bath time
and bed time
flowing into and out of
each other
throughout the day.

When that is interrupted
by illness
or travel,
my entire system
feels the shock,
and it takes easing
back into the order of the day
to get my feet
back under me
and be “at myself” again.

The “natural order”
is not to be messed with
without paying a price.
We cannot live any way at all
and live well.

Find your gait.
Walk at your own pace.
Honor the flow.
Be with the force.
Maintain the rhythms
and the harmonies
of the tides
and the cosmos.

Live with filial loyalty
to the invisible world.

It is our place
to acquiesce
to things we experience
but do not understand.

02/06/2019  —  Sheldon Kopp said that
we can experience
more than we can understand,
and we can understand
more than we can explain.

I would add that
we can know
more than we can say.

And that the work of being human
is knowing,
understanding,
experiencing–
and living as though we do–
through all of the stages
of our life.

Knowing deepens our understanding
and transforms our experiencing.

But, there is a catch.

We have to be old enough
to understand this
so that we might know it
and experience it
as though for the first time.

Knowing transforms all of our experiencing
and reforms all of our understanding.

And it is all contained in the
unending,
life-long,
process of growing up.

“Growing pains” is the phrase
the adults in my world
used to describe the agony
of the shifts required
through all of the transitions
from childhood to adulthood.

What they failed to grasp
is that adulthood has its own growing pains.

We are always adapting
to the limitations and requirements
commensurate with the time and place
of our living.

We have to adjust ourselves–
that would be our expectations and desires–
to the demands
of the life we are living
and of the life that is ours to live.

Nobody asks our permission
before any of the restraints and obligations
that comprise “our cross to bear”
are applied.

We grow into them all
and, if we are lucky,
through them–
only to find ourselves
in the company of others
just like them only worse
through all of the years of our living.

What the hell
are all of these new disseminations
of hell doing in our life?

“They are just growing pains, Honey.
Put on your rubber boots
and wade right through them.”

Rubber boots are no help
with the raging waves
of the wine-dark sea.

We are on our own
with the work
of being who we are
where we are,
when we are,
with what we are up against,
every day.

Adaptation and adjustment, Kid.
Adaptation and adjustment.
The work of being human.

  1. 02/06/2019 —  Timberland 2018-11 03 — Kershaw County, South Carolina, November 4, 2018It takes being quiet
    to know what is going on
    and to know what to do in response.

    There have to be quiet times
    in each day
    for perceiving and reflecting.

    Not so much for thinking
    as for realizing–
    for seeing, hearing, understanding.

    Sit with your breathing
    and allow things to emerge
    into your awareness,
    and to ferment there
    into recognition,
    discernment,
    comprehension,
    right action.

    We rarely think our way
    into knowing what to do.
    We realize our way there,
    and think of how best to do it.

    We feel our way to what,
    and think our way to how.
    Sitting quietly,

02/06/2019  —  Life goes on.
Much like it always has.
Exactly like it always has.

People wake up all the time,
and change their life.

And nothing changes.

The headlines remain constant
over time.
Over centuries
and throughout millennia.

Revolutions are always
changing who is in charge
with nothing changing.

I’m looking for a place
where I can get help
with finding my life
and living it,
and offer help to others
in finding their life
and living it–
without anybody
interfering with anybody
in their work
to find their life and live it.

Why is that hard to do?
Why is that asking too much?
It is barely asking
anything at all.

02/06/2019  —  Technology is always
making our life easier
and more comfortable,
more convenient
and entertaining.

But not more meaningful.

Meaningful seems to live
outside the bounds
of technological advancement
and industrial production.

Why can’t someone brew
a meaningful beer?
Or grow a meaningful variety of apples?

Why can’t meaning be ordered
from Amazon,
or found on the shelves
at Walmart,
or on the racks
at Nieman Marcus?

Where do we go for meaning?

What do we do about meaningless lives?

02/06/2019  —  Everything is better
with meaning scattered about
throughout it.

Alan Watts asked Joseph Campbell,
“What form does your Yoga take?”

Campbell replied,
“I underline passages.”

The question,
“What form does your meaning take?”
would elicit what from you?

If you are drawing a blank,
you have work to do.

Find the things that are meaningful for you,
and work them into your life!

If you already have a long list
of things that are meaningful
for you,
work them into your life!

If your life is already filled
with things that are meaningful for you,
crammed to the brim
every day,
you are blessed beyond measure,
and your way is safe from all harm.

Carry on, carry on!

02/06/2019  —  Soen Sa Nim,
the first Korean Zen master
to teach in the west,
said, “Open your mouth
and you are wrong!”

Was he right?

Was he the only one
who could open his mouth
without being wrong?

If you open your mouth
and shout, “FIRE!”
when the building you are in
is burning,
are you wrong?

And if we don’t mind
being wrong,
and say what we have to say
anyway,
nevertheless,
even so,
letting nature take its course,
without trying to please anyone,
but being content
with saying what we have to say,
does it matter
what Soen Sa Nim says?

Who is to say
that what he says
is a better thing to say
that what someone else says?

Or, if it matters?

Speak your truth!
Bear witness to your awareness
of how things are
and what needs to be done
about it–
and let the outcome
be the outcome!

  1. 02/07/2019 —  Corn Field 2018-11 06 — Indian Land, Lancaster County, South Carolina, November 19, 2018Mindful awareness and compassion
    will kill you just as dead
    as mindlessness and ruthless hatred.

    They will kill you with measured restraint
    after determining that you need to die.

    From your standpoint,
    it won’t matter.
    But.
    From the standpoint
    of your friends, family, and neighbors,
    it will make all the difference.

    Mindful awareness and compassion
    draw lines where lines need to be drawn,
    the way lines need to be drawn,
    when lines need to be drawn,
    without apology or remorse.

    It is your responsibility
    to stay within well-marked
    and traditionally established
    boundaries.

    And, when you transgress
    those boundaries
    and violate the venerable borders
    of individuals
    or nations,
    you must be prepared
    to pay a price commensurate
    with your transgression.

    The Dali Lama’s bodyguards
    carry automatic weapons.
    The Bodhidharma is credited
    with the creation of the martial arts.

    Stay on your side of the line.

02/07/2019  —  “A bent reed
he did not break,
and a flickering flame,
he did not put out.”

But.

He left the dead to bury the dead,
and created hell
for everyone who did not do it
his way.

Jesus stands as a wonderful example
of the contradiction
at the heart of truth,
and calls us all
to embrace our own contraries
and to dance with the opposites within
in responding
to each situation as it arises
with exactly what is needed
in light of all things considered.

Everything is always on the table,
and we are free to choose
from among the available choices
in serving as faithful stewards
of what matters most
here and now–
without being bound
by what just happened,
or what happened long ago,
or what happens next,
or next week.

What is our best choice
in this moment?

We only have to choose it,
and be right about it–
and be willing to go to hell for it.

Being willing to go to hell for it
means we believe in it
with all our heart,
and soul,
and mind,
and strength,
and serve it with our life.

It means we know what we are doing
to the extent that is possible,
and live with everything on the line
in light of the best
we can see and do.

Who could ask for more than that?

To do less than that
is to hedge our bets
hold ourselves back,
play it safe,
and exploit any excuse
in serving our own advantage
and tending our good
at the expense of the good
of the situation as a whole.

Sin boldly!
Put it all on the line!
Live like you mean it!
And let the outcome
be the outcome!

02/07/2019  —  It does not matter
if you are
brilliant or stupid,
beautiful or incredibly grotesque,
tall or short,
good or bad,
male or female,
straight or gay,
wonderful or not so much,
rich or poor,
wise or witless,
mindful or mindless…
you get the idea.

All that matters
is that you answer
this question correctly
in every situation that arises:

Here we are–
now what?

02/07/2019  —  It does not matter
what I say.
What matters
is what you say.

What you say
is the hinge
upon which
your future turns.

What do you say?

Everything hangs in the balance.

02/07/2019  —  Trust the power,
wisdom,
and magic of the road,
and start walking.

The road will teach you
everything you need to know.

Keep walking.

  1. 02/08/2019 —  Corn Field 2018-11 04 — Indian Land, Lancaster County, South Carolina, November 19, 2019The road is the journey,
    and the journey never ends.

    The journey is seeing,
    hearing,
    understanding,
    knowing,
    doing,

    Not getting,
    having,
    possessing,
    owning,
    amassing,
    controlling,
    directing…

    Finding our life
    and living it,
    at one with the dharma
    of our original nature,
    with the Tao of all things,
    with the needs of the moment
    and the movement of the cosmos
    and the music of the spheres–
    bridging the worlds
    of inner and outer,
    and holding in our awareness
    the wonder of now
    in the endless nature
    of a drop of water,
    and the wind in the pines…
    the endless nature
    of nature knowing itself
    through our knowing it.

    And laughing…

    Longing always
    to do it some more again.

    Longing for the journey.
    Longing for the road.
    Through life and being
    that never ends.

02/08/2019  —  We talk about outcomes
as though something
is ever over.

I can’t be done with the fourth grade.

Or with having had parents.

No one who was there,
or didn’t go,
will outlive Viet Nam.

Or the Civil War.

Or the conquest of the Americas.

All of the outcomes
are still coming,
still being played out,
still impacting all that is
forever.

The past is not only prelude.
It is also future.
Junking up the lives
of those who think
cause can be separated from effect–
and the lives of those who know not so.

The moral is walk lighter,
with more kindness,
gentleness
and compassion.

Because you are making foot prints
on the future
with each step you take now.

02/08/2019  —  Trump and his base
have to grow up.

And if they will not,
they have to pay the price
of their refusal/failure to grow up.

As it is, they are asking
the rest of the world
to pay the price
of their refusal/failure to grow up.

The choice–
or the inability/failure to choose–
is on them.

They bear the weight
of the cross
of their refusal/failure to grow up.

That is the way of things.

And it is the place of the rest of us
to cooperate with the way of things,
and make our way without them,
if they will not make their way with us.

That, too, is the way of things.

02/09/2019  —  At one with our body-mind–

Where does that line lie?
Any line? All lines?
The line between our body and our mind.
The line between us and our body-mind.
The line between us, our body-mind,
and all things…

All the lines that ever were and will be,
where do they all lie?
If we don’t know/can’t say,
what leads us to believe they exist?

What keeps us from believing
that we are the bridge,
the interface,
creating lines by perceiving lines,
and holding all the lines
and what the lines separate
together in our mindful/conscious
compassionate awareness?

We make the lines,
we disappear the lines.
Now we see them,
now we don’t.
Yes they are real.
No they are not real.
Which is it?

Where is the line between Yes and No?
Who says so?
We do!
How do we know?
We make it up!
Maybe Yes.
Maybe No.
Now it is Yes,
Now it is No.

Yes when it works.
No when it does not work.
Yes when necessary.
No when not necessary.
Yes when convenient.
No when convenient.

Always Yes and/or No.

Both/And.
Either/Or.
Where does that line lie?
Who says so?

We walk two paths at the same time.
Noing/Not-noing.
Yesing/Not-yesing.
Knowing/Not-knowing.

All the lines separate the two paths.
That’s a lot of paths.
We walk them all.
Two-at-a-time.

We do that by keeping the “other” path in mind
while we walk “this” one,
knowing that we are playing
a game with ourselves,
a game necessitated by
the nature of what we call “reality,”
which is grounded on the perception
of sequence
(We can only say one thing at a time),
of duality
(We can only see things
as we distinguish them from other things)
of opposites
(“This” is “Not That, “A” is “Not B”)
of contradictions,
contraries,
dichotomies,
etc.

That is the real world.
AND the world that is Also Real
is the world beyond the lines
that make this world real.

We have to learn to see
beyond the lines
separating “things”‘
in order to see things as they Also-are,
in walking two paths at the same time.

So.

At one with our body-mind,
we bridge the opposites
and create oneness,
wholeness,
completion
and peace.

Yin/Yang.
Ha (Sun)/Tha (Moon)
Light/Dark
Body/Mind
Me/You
Inner/Outer…

We bridge the worlds
by seeing the lines
as temporary conveniences
and seeing no-lines
as the way things Also-are.

The path to oneness with our body-mind
is the path of meditation,
being quiet,
simply breathing,
simply seeing,
simply hearing,
simply holding everything in our awareness
without judgment or opinion
letting everything be
because it is
and walking all the paths at the same time…

  1. 02/09/2019 —  False Hellebore 2012-05 22 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Floyd, Virginia, May 01, 2012Trust the road
    that is under your feet
    here and now.

    It got you here.
    It will get you beyond here
    to whatever is next,
    and beyond that
    to whatever is after that.

    Your role is to not get ahead
    of yourself.

    Do not go where you think
    the road is going.
    Do not try to make the road
    go where you think
    it ought to go.

    Be here now.

    Open yourself to what is happening,
    and to what is being asked of you.
    Listen.
    Look.
    Wait.
    Watch.
    For “Now what?”
    to be revealed to you.

    Wait for clarity.

    And allow your attention
    to rest on the “Hatha” region
    of your body
    just below your navel.

    “Hatha” is two words in Sanskrit,
    “Ha” for Sun,
    “Tha” for Moon.
    Opposites.
    Contradictions.
    Polarities.
    Swirling within each of us
    in a spiral of knowing
    at the center,
    pointing the way.

    Our Hatha region
    is our anchor point
    to the road
    under our feet.

    It guides animals
    to food and water,
    and moves flocks of birds,
    and herds of bison,
    and schools of fish
    along their paths
    to wherever they are going.

    It works the same with you and me.

    It brought us to this place together.
    It brings us to the very book
    we need to read,
    the very movie we need to see,
    the very song we need to hear…
    at the very moment we need
    to read, see, hear…

    It is the magic at work in our life,
    and it works best
    when we get out of the way
    and listen,
    look,
    wait,
    watch
    for “Now what?”
    to be revealed to us.

    Everything in its own time.
    What is it now time for?

    Listen.
    Look.
    Wait.
    Watch.
    And go where you are led.

    Repeat regularly forever.

02/09/2019  —  When you know the truth,
you know the absurdity
of “making disciples of all nations,”
or of making a disciple of anyone,
and are set free
from being/making a disciple
and set free
to stand on your own two feet
and walk the road
that is beneath them
to wherever you are going
and whatever you will pass through
along the way.

Truth is freedom from illusion,
from deception,
from self-deception,
to seeing things as they are
and doing what needs to be done
in response,
in each situation as it arises,
all our life long.

Truth is not a function of thinking,
but of seeing,
hearing,
understanding,
knowing,
doing
and being.

We know the truth
without being told the truth,
but when we say the truth,
or hear it said,
we know it when we hear it.

We resonate with truth.
We vibrate with truth
when we are on the same pitch,
the same frequency
in the same key.

How do we get there?
By being aware of where we are.
Tuning in to this moment
is tuning inn to the truth of this moment,
and there you are.

Once you are where you are,
go where it leads.
Follow where it goes.
Moment-by-moment-by-moment.
Blowing freely with the wind
that goes where it will,
secure in the knowledge
that you will not be left in the lurch
as long as you are in tune with the truth
of this moment
right now.

In touch with the Hatha region,
anchored to the road under our feet,
we are completely free
to deal appropriately
with whatever comes our way.

We never need more than that.

What could be more than that?

02/09/2019  —  Change anything
and you change everything.

Sometimes the smallest shifts
have the greatest impact.

If your life isn’t working,
is deadening,
is killing you,
the biggest change
you can make
is in your relationship
with your life.

Changing your relationship
with your life
transforms you
and your life.

We begin the work
of changing our relationship
with our life
by becoming aware of it.

This is the first change
for you to make:
becoming aware of your relationship
with your life.

Watch every YouTube video
by Jon Kabat-Zinn,
beginning with the shortest ones.

Practice what he suggests
and develop your affinity for,
and skill in,
being mindfully,
compassionately,
non-judgmentally,
aware of the present moment.

As you become able to do that,
begin to practice
becoming mindfully,
compassionately,
non-judgmentally
aware of your relationship
with your life
in every moment.

Learn to watch yourself
living your life.
Just observe
with compassion,
without judgment.

Watch yourself in action.
You don’t have to do anything.
Just watch.
Just observe.
Just notice.
Just know.

By this point,
your life has already begun to change.
You have already begun to change
your relationship with it.
Things have already begun to shift.

Keep watching
as things begin to happen
that have never happened.

Don’t interfere by trying to make them happen.
Don’t interfere by trying to keep them happening.
Your role is to watch,
to see,
to know,
compassionately
and non-judgmentally
what is happening
and then what happens.

Watch.
See.
Know.

Your life will be forever changed.
And you, along with it.

02/09/2019  —  When someone tells you
to “Wake up!”
and “Get in the game!”
they are suggesting
that you become aware
of what is happening
and what is being
asked of you
in the situation
that is unfolding
around you,
and to respond to it
in ways appropriate
to the occasion.

That’s all that is ever asked
of any of us.

And, it is asked of all of us
in each moment.

Moment-by-moment-by-moment.

  1. 02/10/2019 —  Goodale 2018-11 11 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 4, 2018Everything is a portkey to the self–
    to the unknown Knower within.

    There is more to us than meets the eye,
    any eye,
    and it is our place to know more
    at the end of our life
    than we knew at the beginning.

    “Know Thy Self,”
    and
    “Be True To Yourself,”
    are the twin goals of life.

    We live to know who we are,
    and to express,
    exhibit,
    bring forth,
    incarnate
    our own true nature
    by learning to read
    how our true nature
    is naturally bringing itself forth
    in the ways we are already
    living our life–
    and consciously,
    mindfully,
    deliberately,
    intentionally
    adjusting our life
    to be increasingly in accord
    with the life that is
    striving to be lived through us
    in the life we are living.

    It is all about waking up
    and being who we are,
    who is–
    as Carl Jung said–
    “Who we always have been,
    and who we will be.”

    It is crazy magical and mysterious
    how we all
    are always
    “Becoming who we always have been,
    and who we will be.”
    Why is that so difficult?
    Why is it so hard being
    our natural self?

    We have our ideas, you know.
    We aspire to be more than we are,
    to be different than we are.
    Who we are isn’t good enough for us.
    We want better.

    Grander.
    Finer.
    In a “Fortune and glory, Kid.
    Fortune and glory,”
    kind of way.

    Our life collides with our desires
    for our life,
    and therein lies the rub.

    Any life that is not our life
    is never good enough–
    yet, we throw away
    the good-enough life
    because it is not good enough
    to suit our fantasy of The Good.

    In this way,
    “The Best is the enemy of The Good.”
    And we serve the wrong master.

    It takes a long time to get
    the proper allegiances and loyalties
    worked out.
    Repentance,
    penitence,
    atonement
    and amends
    have to be observed,
    honored,
    fulfilled
    and memorialized.

    This is the religious obligation
    of the species,
    requiring a sacrament
    of death and resurrection
    wherein we reenact the story
    that begins in the Garden of Eden
    and continues to Gethsemane,
    Golgotha
    and the Empty Tomb.

    It is our story–
    the story of each of us,
    of all of us,
    making the journey
    back to who we are.

    “We shall not cease from exploration,
    and the end of all our exploring
    will be to arrive where we started
    and know the place for the first time.”
    — TS Eliot

  2. 02/11/2019 —  Cherry Blossoms 2019-02 02 -Ballantyne Commons, Charlotte, North Carolina, February 10, 2019Who do you admire?
    Trust?
    Appreciate?
    Are grateful for?

    Number among your people,
    consultants,
    directors,
    advisors?

    Right you,
    ground you,
    center you,
    comfort you,
    encourage you,
    keep you going?

    Make a list.
    Keep it handy.
    Refer to it often.
    Add to it as needed.

    As a reminder
    that you are not alone,
    or on your own,
    but stand in a great company
    of those who have stood
    in a great company
    of those who have…

    All of whom have had
    enough of what it takes
    to help one another
    find what it takes
    to find their life and live it
    under all the circumstances
    ever faced by the species
    over time.

    We come from good stock,
    belong to good stock,
    are good stock.

    Take heart!
    Be of good courage!
    Live on!
    Live on!
    By facing what must be faced,
    coming to terms with how things are,
    seeing what is happening
    and what needs to happen
    in each situation as it arises,
    and doing what you are able to do
    as best you can
    in the service
    of that which needs
    what you have to offer
    and let nature take its course.

    Which is all any on the people
    on all of the lists
    did in all of the moments
    (or enough of them)
    of their life.

    Gather yourself and live on!
    To them!
    To Life!
    As only you can!

02/11/2019  —  I received way too much training
in the Art of Right and Wrong
during my impressionable years.
My saving grace
is that those years
did not last long.

I’ve always possessed,
or been possessed by,
a reliable BS Detector,
and know Wrong
when I see or hear it.

I also know Right
when I see or hear it,
but did not see or hear
much of it in the early years,
say, the first two decades.

Graduation from Seminary
thrust me into the preaching business,
and into the search for what the hell is Right?

It has been a long walk,
requiring me to toss practically all
of what was generally held to be Right,
but upon examination
turned out to be Wrong.

When you don’t find
what you are looking for,
keep looking.

I looked by observing life
being lived about me,
and by reading,
following the old alchemists’ dictum,
“One book opens another.”

Then, people began to materialize
out of nowhere,
confirming the Zen principle,
“When the student is ready,
the teacher appears,”
to serve as guides
and help along the way.

And the last 50 years
have been filled
with all of the things
the first 25+ were lacking.

Why don’t we start earlier,
saying what is so,
instead of repeating
what we have been told is so?

Told to evaluate everything we hear
in light of our experience
and our own take on things?

Why aren’t we trained to see
what we look at
and to hear what is being said?

No Absolutes–including this!
Why aren’t we told that early-on?

And to trust our own depths?
Why aren’t we told we have depths?
That are trustworthy?
Instead of being told
we are empty, stupid and wrong,
and lucky to have Elders
to tell us what’s what?

02/11/2019  —  I received way too much training
in the Art of Right and Wrong
during my impressionable years.
My saving grace
is that those years
did not last long.

I’ve always possessed,
or been possessed by,
a reliable BS Detector,
and know Wrong
when I see or hear it.

I also know Right
when I see or hear it,
but did not see or hear
much of it in the early years,
say, the first two decades.

Graduation from Seminary
thrust me into the preaching business,
and into the search for what the hell is Right?

It has been a long walk,
requiring me to toss practically all
of what was generally held to be Right,
but upon examination
turned out to be Wrong.

When you don’t find
what you are looking for,
keep looking.

I looked by observing life
being lived about me,
and by reading,
following the old alchemists’ dictum,
“One book opens another.”

Then, people began to materialize
out of nowhere,
confirming the Zen principle,
“When the student is ready,
the teacher appears,”
to serve as guides
and help along the way.

And the last 50 years
have been filled
with all of the things
the first 25+ were lacking.

Why don’t we start earlier,
saying what is so,
instead of repeating
what we have been told is so?

Told to evaluate everything we hear
in light of our experience
and our own take on things?

Why aren’t we trained to see
what we look at
and to hear what is being said?

No Absolutes–including this!
Why aren’t we told that early-on?

And to trust our own depths?
Why aren’t we told we have depths?
That are trustworthy?
Instead of being told
we are empty, stupid and wrong,
and lucky to have Elders
to tell us what’s what?

02/11/2019  —  Call it a weapon
or a tool,
all we have to work with is
perspective/interpretation/hermeneutics.

Something happens
and we say what it is,
what it means,
what it implies,
what it requires,
demands,
necessitates,
needs,
and respond accordingly.

Which leads to something else happening,
and the same sequence ensues.

Etc. until we die.

It helps to be reasonably right
about what we think
is going on.

Which means paying attention,
being aware–
mindfully,
compassionately,
non-judgmentally
aware of our situation
and of our response to our situation,
on every level.

All our life long.

Interpretation/response
is such a central, foundational, feature
of being alive,
you would think
we would spend more time,
energy,
and attention
in the pursuit of expertise
in the service
of interpretation and response–
teaching ourselves
to be mindfully aware,
and being dutiful in its practice.

Perspective/interpretation/hermeneutics
is our only weapon/tool.
You would think
we might learn how to use it.

02/11/2019  —  We started killing the planet
when we evolved a brain big enough
to enable us to survive
with time on our hands.

What do we do with time on our hands?
We invent ways to fill the time.

Break all of those ways down
into ways that are good for the planet
and ways that are bad for the planet
and see what you come up with.

“Hey, Y’all! Watch this!”
will be the epitaph of Planet Earth.

02/11/2019  —  There is the way things are,
and there is the way things also are,
and that’s the way things are.

There are people with XX chromosomes,
and there are people with XY chromosomes,
and that’s the way things are.
But.
That’s only part of the story.
The way things also are is like this:
Some people with XX chromosomes are male,
and some people with XY chromosomes are female.

Say what you will about that,
that’s the way things are.

You can’t explain it.
You can’t believe it.
And you can’t deny it.
It’s the way things are.

Reality is like that,
up and down the line,
around the table,
across the board,
throughout the universe.

Gravity is real reliable
except when it isn’t.

Matter behaves exactly like
it is supposed to.
Except when it doesn’t.

Space once was thought of as empty
until dark matter and dark energy
came along.

Light sometimes acts like a particle,
and light sometimes acts like a wave,
and light sometimes acts like neither.

Everything we say about reality
is at risk of being contradicted
by something else we say about reality,
or will say once we know more about reality.

There is more to all of it
than meets the eye,
so it would not behoove any of us
to think reality can be boxed in,
tied down,
locked up,
and put way.

“That’s the way it is,
and that’s reality!”
Has to take into account
“That’s the way it also is,
and that, too, is reality!”

Wait long enough,
and everything you once thought
has to be rethought.
That’s the way things are.

  1. 02/12/2019 —  Cherry Blossoms 2019-02 01 — Ballantyne Commons, Charlotte, North Carolina, February 10, 2019Solitude is the solution
    to all of our problems
    today,
    tomorrow,
    and every day following
    forever,
    or would be
    except,
    but,
    only
    for the fact
    that it creates
    so many problems
    of its own.

    Like providing a venue
    for all of the ghosts
    of the past
    to drop into
    our present
    all at once.

    And being an unending source
    of pain brought up by the silence
    of memories long-buried
    but never close to being dead.

    All of our failures,
    shortcomings,
    deficiencies,
    under-achievements
    and oversights
    that cannot be forgiven ever
    because they are
    undeniably our fault
    and we should have known
    and done
    so much better
    come to mind,
    settle in,
    and refuse to leave.

    And we will need a case of beer
    or two hands full of pills
    to have a chance
    at being normal again.

    Solitude is no place
    for people like us.

    Except that it is.

    Exactly the place
    for people like us.

    There’s a catch.
    We have to approach it
    with the proper degree
    of respect for its power
    to be the birth place
    of our soul.

    You have heard about labor pains,
    I’m sure.
    Perhaps, you have even
    experienced them.
    You don’t bring you forth
    without effort commensurate
    with the need
    to finally at long last
    be who you are!

    And.

    There is a trick to be had
    that all adventurers into solitude
    know about and utilize–
    and only people of virginal purity
    can manage the silence without.

    The trick is
    mindful compassionate nonjudgmental awareness
    of this moment right now just as it is
    in all of its fullness wretchedness wonder and glory
    with no armament shield or protection
    other than awareness itself.

    You can learn all you need to know
    about the power and practice
    of mindful awareness
    by watching ALL
    of the Jon Kabat-Zinn YouTube videos,
    being sure to watch the shortest ones first.

    And you would be stupid
    to stride right into solitude
    without the companionship
    of mindful awareness by your side.

    Solitude is no place for stupidity.
    Truth is no place for rookies.
    And solitude is the birthplace of truth–
    of the truth of you.

  2. 02/13/2019 —  Orchid 2019-02 01 — Nursery Photos, Pike’s Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, February 9, 2019We are responsible
    for knowing what is important,
    and being right about it,
    and living in its service
    with loyalty, allegiance and devotion–
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    That kind of knowing
    is grounded in solitude
    and in the practice
    of mindful awareness.

    The doorway
    to life as it could be.

02/13/2019  —  The road opens before those
who are open to the road.

Before that psychic shift occurs,
everything is a struggle,
a fight,
an agony,
with terror and anguish
tossed in to spice things up.

After it happens,
it is all like,
“Oh. Okay.”

The shift from
“NO! NOT THAT! THIS!!!”
to
“Oh, Okay.”
is the shift
from
death to life.

Everything waits for the shift to happen.
And everything is transformed
when it does.

  1. 02/14/2019 —  Tufted Titmouse 2019-02 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 9 2019Nobody told me anything
    about the importance of listening
    beyond yelling,
    “Listen to me when I talk to you!”
    when I was growing up.

    I hate them all for that.
    They owe me big time.
    I will never forgive them.
    I don’t care that they did not
    know themselves.

    I figured it out on my own,
    why didn’t they?

    The road to maturity, wisdom and grace
    is the path to learning how to listen
    and listening
    to the point of hearing–
    learning how to look
    and looking
    to the point of seeing–
    learning how to
    ask, seek, knock
    and make inquiries
    to the point of knowing
    and understanding
    (or understanding
    and knowing,
    as it sometimes works).

    When this listening/looking/asking/knowing/understanding
    process works like it
    is designed to work,
    doing what needs to be done
    is automatic,
    spontaneous,
    natural
    and right.

    And being who we are
    within the conditions
    and circumstances
    of our life,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    is being who we need to be
    in each of those moments–
    and no one can ask
    more of us than that,
    or expect more than that,
    or hope for more than that.

    That is simply IT.

    If you are there, relish it
    in every moment.

    If you are not there,
    get to work,
    learning to listen/hear,
    look/see,
    inquire/know/understand/do/be.

    Moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    That is IT.

    My responsibility with you is now fulfilled.
    It is all on you from this point on.

    I wish someone had told me
    to listen to myself–
    and encouraged me to do that,
    and not punished/belittled/ridiculed me
    when I did.

    Don’t you?

02/14/2019  —  I write all the time.
I cannot get it all said.
And, I don’t have anything to say.

By that I mean
I can’t tell you what I have to say.
For two reasons.
I forget what I said
as soon as I say it.

And I could not begin
to condense what I’m saying
into a sentence or two
to give you the essence
of what I’m about.

Anything I say about what I’m saying
would have to be expanded,
elaborated,
explained,
foot-noted
to the point of evolving,
just like that,
into all I’m saying.

I can’t say anything about what I’m saying
without saying everything I’m saying.

It doesn’t “boil down” to anything.

It all has to be said.

So, I write all the time.

02/14/2019  —  My work each day
is to say today
what needs to be said today,
in light of,
and in spite of,
everything I have said up to today.

I can’t make sense of that.
I don’t have time to try to.
I don’t have enough time as it is.

Being alert to,
aware of,
what needs to be said today
takes up the day,
and it is tomorrow
before I know it.

And, since no one knows
how many tomorrows remain,
we all have to do today
what is to be done today,
so that we end each day
with nothing held back,
and nothing remaining
to be said or done that day,
looking forward to tomorrow
and what will need to be
said and done then and there.

02/14/2019  —  I am built for looking out the window.

For staring off into space.

Pondering the unthinkable.

Exploring what lies beyond thought,
past understanding,
incapable of being comprehended,
known,
explained,
said,
told.

To do that,
you have to lay thinking aside
and give yourself over
to feeling,
listening,
looking,
sensing,
apprehending,
asking,
seeking,
wondering…

And then, thinking
about what comes up
in light of all that has come up,
and shifting back into
feeling,
listening,
etc.

Letting it marinate,
ferment,
work its magic
in the darkness of unknowing
until realization dawns
and there is something else
to reflect on
in light of everything else…

And that’s what I do.
I do it because
that is what I do.

It is who I am.

I look out the window.
I stare off into space.
I balance contradictions.
Harmonize polarities.
Acknowledge discrepancies.
Reconcile opposites.
Recognize dichotomies.
And dance with the wonder of being.

What do you do
that expresses who you are?

Here is to you and your things
from me and my things!

May it be well with you
in all that you do
to express who you are
forever!

02/14/2019  —  What do you think the chances are
of AA having successful
membership drives
by sending missionaries
into bars
with the message:
“What all you people need
is AA in your lives!”?

AA gets it.

The Christian Church
doesn’t have a clue.

The ache in the center
of all of us
is that of an emptiness
that cannot be filled.

That is what sends us running
after every likely thing.
It is the ground of all of our addictions.
The object of all of our seeking.

Emptiness seeking Fullness
Dissatisfaction seeking Satisfaction
Anxiety seeking Peace
Incompletion seeking Completion
Fear seeking Confidence
Alienation seeking Reconciliation
Or whatever dichotomy
makes sense/feels right
to you…

We are all there,
or have been there,
looking for the way
from this to that,
thinking we have to find it
“Out there.”

The old definition of sacrament is
“An outward, visible sign
of an inward, spiritual (that is, invisible) grace.”
Nobody can tell us what our sacraments are,
but we all know what connects us
to the reality of grace at work in our life.

Photography, for me, is a sacrament.
So is writing.
So is rock stacking.
So is reading.
The list is long.
I am grounded, centered, focused, reminded, etc.
by, in and through all of these things
to/with the grace of the invisibles
upholding the visibles
within which I live.

You have to find your own touchstones,
but for now,
hold the idea of “sacrament” and “grace” in mind.

When we are talking about the above dichotomies,
we are dealing with the polar opposite
of grace and sacrament.
We are in the arena
of hopelessness/despair/desperation
and the “outward, visible sign”
signifying the escape from all these things.

Perhaps a joint, or a needle, or bourbon/beer/gin/wine
(That list, too, is long),
which, too, would be experienced
as the grace of relief/release,
but only to rebound back into
hopelessness/despair/desperation
when the high wears off.

But, even there, we have had the experience
of the invisibles on the far side of the visibles.
We know that relief is possible.
We need a source of relief
that is everlasting and beneficial.

We have to shift from the “out there”
to the “in here.”

We have been looking in all the wrong places,
in all the wrong ways.

The emptiness we feel within
is not ours to fill
by some attachment to something “out there.”

The emptiness is symptomatic
of the separation that exists within
between Us (Our ego-conscious-self)
and our Soul Self (Of which we are unconscious,
until we become conscious
of that which is also so about us).

We are seeking ourselves, our Soul Self.
We are looking for home,
for where we belong,
for who we belong to,
for the peace that comes
with being where–with whom–we need to be.

We are always “right here, right now.”
We only have to find and utilize
the methods of reflection,
recognition,
realization
and reunion
in order to live at one
with the dharma of our original nature,
in accord with the Tao,
and aligned with our Soul Self
in the work of being who we are
and also are,
in the time left for living.

Those methods are spelled out
in a number of places,
these daily posts being one of many.

02/15/2019  —  It is easier to believe
the solution to our situation,
personally or planetarly,
will be found outside of us.

The aliens will rescue us;
technology will find a way;
the stars will align;
a genie will appear;
the rapture will occur…

We are certain
the Great Fixer-Upper
is external to us,
Other Than us.

God has always been
the Almighty Momma-Daddy god,
who is going to come save us any day now.
The End is always near,
certainly “nearer now than when we first believed!”

No one is coming.

There is no man.
There are no stairs.

It is all up to us.
The Savior resides within–
not Other Than Us,
Also Us!

The Savior is our Psyche,
IDed by Carl Jung,
encoded in our DNA,
packed with super powers
eager to come to our aid.

There is just one catch.

We have to let go of
our ideas for our life,
and embrace our life’s
ideas for us–
in a “Thy will, not mine,
be done,”
kind of way.

Forget: “If it be thy will,
a new car and a big screen TV
would sure be nice!”
Meet: “Here we are, now what?”
For each situation that arises,
moment-by-moment-by-moment
for the rest of our life.

Following Psyche-Self’s lead
will require a lot of silence
and mindful awareness,
as we learn to intuit
the drift of soul,
and find our way
to the life that needs us
to live it.

If you are like everybody else,
your life is going along fairly smoothly,
as it is,
and you don’t see any reason
to throw it into a spin
in order to listen for what needs
to be done
moment-by-moment-by-moment.

It generally takes a crisis
to get our attention,
and I understand the environment
is about to send a duzzie our way.

When we lose all our bearings,
we’ll have to remember
our Psyche-self’s eagerness
to come to our aid–
for the low, low price
of acquiescence and collaboration,
Kid, acquiescence and collaboration.

  1. 02/15/2019 —  Downy Woodpecker 2019-01 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 9, 2019Our mind has a mind of its own.

    I think of “Mind”
    as the field of consciousness
    merging into Unconscious.

    Stuff comes “to mind”
    that has no correlation
    to anything that is going on consciously.

    I sit looking out the window
    and am carried away
    into regions I haven’t thought about
    in years.

    Or ever.

    “Imagination” is a function of “mind,”
    but what is either?
    And what controls both?

    What is at the core
    of our personality?
    What guides our boat
    on its path through the sea?

    I look out the window.
    Where does that come from?
    I cannot not look out the window!
    I cannot take an automobile engine apart
    and put it back together!
    My “cans” and “cannots”
    are not mine to choose!

    We all are similar,
    and we all are quite different.
    We are “of” different minds.
    “Of” different drifts of soul.

    And where does “soul” start
    and “mind” stop?

    There is enough here
    to sit us down
    and shut us up
    for a while.

    We do not sit down
    and shut up
    often enough–
    or remain there long enough!

    Imagining.
    Intuiting.
    Sensing.
    Feeling.

    There is more to us
    than meets the eye.
    There is more to us
    than we know.
    And we don’t even
    know what we do know!
    (Like where we put
    the car keys)

    Our mind has a mind of its own.
    The unconscious regions
    have more to tell us
    than consciousness
    is able to consider
    or comprehend.

    In light of that,
    we might allow “mind”
    an independent existence,
    and honor its potential
    as a pathway to who we are
    and who we might yet become.

    And live open to what “mind”
    has to say
    and show us
    all along the way.

02/15/2019  —  It’s all practice,
and preparation.

No one is keeping score,
or recording grades.

None of the time we have spent
getting to here, now,
was wasted.
It got us to here, now.

That is what the past is good for:
the future.

All that we have been through–
all that we have done,
and left undone,
all that has happened,
and all that failed to happen–
was instrumental
in getting us here, now.

Everything comes down to this:

What now?

This moment is the springboard
into the next one,
and the next one positions us
for the one after that.

This is the future
we have created
up to this point.
What we do here, now,
helps create the future
that is yet to be lived.

The past got us here, now.
The present time
is the only time that matters.

Now what?

  1. 02/16/2019 —  Black-capped Chickadee 2019-02 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 15, 2019Hope doesn’t care what its chances are.

    Hope has a mission,
    a purpose,
    a reason to live
    beyond all that passes
    for missions,
    purposes
    and reasons to live.

    Hope gives itself
    to the service of what it loves
    and serves
    with filial devotion,
    liege loyalty,
    and insane crazy allegiance–
    against all odds,
    in season and out of season,
    in all weather conditions,
    in spite of every reason not to,
    no matter what,
    because it knows
    what it loves
    is what matters most:

    MEANING,
    TRUTH,
    JUSTICE,
    LIBERTY,
    EQUALITY,
    COMPASSION/MERCY,
    MINDFUL AWARENESS,
    SELF-TRANSPARENCY,
    AND ALL THAT FLOWS FROM
    AND LEADS TO
    THESE THINGS.

    Hope is grounded
    upon the bedrock
    of True Value,
    and will not betray its faith in that
    for any competing purpose.

    Hope is what it does,
    and what it takes on faith
    (see above)
    is visible in everything it does.

    Hope knows what it is doing
    even when it doesn’t know
    what to do,
    because it is living in the service
    of what matters most
    as best it can
    in every moment,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    and trusting that to be enough,
    because it is all it has to offer.

    If you can beat that
    for a standard to live your life under,
    by all means do!

02/16/2019  —  We have to know
what serves our life
and what disrupts our life.

We have to know
where to draw the line,
and draw it.

What is our life?

Do we know that much?

What is meaningful
to the point of overriding
every other concern?

Do we know that much?

How meaningful is something
that is overridden by every other thing?

So, what is meaningful?

What cannot be overridden by anything?

That is what we exist to serve.

The things that serve our life
serve our ability to serve
the things that are meaningful
to the point of overriding every other thing.

We have to know what those things are,
and draw the line around those things.

What is keeping that from happening?

02/16/2019  —  If playing the harmonica,
or the drums,
or soccer,
etc.
is IT for you–
the solid rock of meaning
in your life–
then play the harmonica,
or the drums,
or soccer,
etc.

And trust that to be the road for you.
And trust it to lead you
from one thing to the next
all along the way.

And, while you are doing that,
also do what it takes
to pay the bills.

Walk two roads at the same time.

  1. 02/16/2019 —  Inuksuk 2009-10 01  —  An Inuksuk (Inukshuk, in English) is a cairn of stones stacked in the shape of a human being by the Inuit and other peoples of the Arctic region, to point the way through the tundra with few landmarks to guide travelers.I have co-opted the idea
    of these stone figures
    to represent the ground
    of our own being–
    our Psychic Self,
    our Soul Self,
    who is always with us
    as comfort, guardian and guide.

    The stacked stones exemplifies
    who we also are–
    the bedrock
    and foundation
    of our life.

    What we seek throughout our life
    to fill the emptiness,
    the void,
    the lostness,
    the aimlessly drifting everywhere we go,
    the hunger for something more
    than the world has to offer…
    is found as the
    centering,
    orienting,
    directing
    source of value,
    solidarity
    and security
    at the core of us all.

    Getting together with ourselves
    is the task of life,
    and it helps to know
    what we are doing.

    The Inuksuk is a reminder
    pointing the way.

    We trust ourselves to the path,
    and to our inner guide,
    listening to our nighttime dreams,
    our heart,
    our body,
    our experience.

    Asking the questions
    that beg to be asked,
    and saying the things
    that cry out to be said.

    Seeing what we look at
    (Particularly when we look
    in the mirror),
    hearing what is being said
    (Especially what we say to ourselves).

    And holding it all in our awareness,
    as we wait to see
    what is happening,
    and what we have to offer
    that may be of help
    in each situation as it arises,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    all our life long.

    So find some rocks,
    and stack them together
    as a companion
    on the journey
    and a reminder
    of the help
    that resides within.

02/16/2019  —  Where is the meaning
in your life?
What is meaningful?
Where is there meaning?
Why isn’t there more meaning?
There is no search
for meaning
that doesn’t begin
with:
“What used to be meaningful?”
“What all has been meaningful?”
“What happened to meaning?”

Revisiting the last thing to have meaning
in our life
is a good way to recover the trail.

Sit with the memory of that thing
and see what occurs to you.

Are there things that thing suggests
that might be meaningful?

Playfulness is required in the search
for meaningful things/experiences.

Play itself is meaningful for those who play.

If you were to spend an hour,
or an afternoon,
playing,
what would you play?
Where would you play?

I would play in the kitchen
inventing recipes.
I invented pumpkin pancakes tonight.
Meaningful AND delicious.

  1. 02/17/2019 —  Cherry Blossoms 2019-02 08 — Ballantyne Commons, Charlotte, North Carolina, February 14, 2019There is nothing wrong with you
    that changing your mind
    about what’s important
    won’t fix.

    That statement begs at least
    three questions:

    1) What is wrong with you?
    2) What is important?
    3) What is “fixed”?

    Answer those three questions correctly,
    and your life will be forever
    transformed for the better.

    1) What is “correctly”?
    2) Who says so?

02/17/2019  —  If you are 50 years old, or older,
and haven’t thought for yourself
in the last 50 years,
you aren’t going
to think for yourself
in the next 50 years.

You are locked into
having someone else
do your thinking for you.

That is where Those Who Know Best
come in.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is
that Jon Kabat-Zinn
has a method of ending
the reign of Those Who Know Best,
and putting you in charge of yourself,
no matter how old
(or young)
you happen to be.

I call his method
“No Thinking Allowed!”

No kidding.
There is a path to living
without thinking.
Okay, without thinking first.
Without thinking being
the first thing we do.

And, when we do think,
we think for ourselves.

His method wakes us up
to the business of living
without thinking first–
and that opens us to a world
of possibilities
never before considered
by any of those who think first–
and invites us to be fully alive
for the first time in our life.

Jon’s book, “Full Catastrophe Living,”
was published in 1990,
and his book, “Wherever You Go, There You Are,”
was published in 1994.
I recommend starting with “Meditation Is Not What You Think,”
but, before reading any of his books,
watch all of his YouTube videos,
beginning with the shortest ones.

And practice what he preaches.

You will be making
all things new
for yourself
and those whose life
is touched by yours.

And no one will ever again
do your thinking for you.

You will be in the center
of your own life,
living straight from the heart–
your heart–
every day,
all the way.

  1. 02/18/2019 —  Cherry Blossoms 2019-02 09 — Ballantyne Commons, Charlotte, North Carolina, February 14, 2019In retirement, I have been reading
    college textbooks on world history.

    It is depressing.

    Every civilization has ended by its own hand,
    or the hand of neighboring civilizations,
    or the hand of raiding parties
    and marauding bands of looters
    seeking the wealth of civilizations
    without going to the trouble of being civilized.

    “Seeking wealth” is the operative term.

    All civilization ends in someone’s
    pursuit of opulence and greed.

    After all these years,
    that’s the best we can do.

    We all want more
    because this isn’t enough.

    Because this isn’t it,
    and we think more of it,
    or of something similar
    would do it.

    Yesterday, I read on Twitter
    that income/economic disparity in the U.S.
    is greater than it was in the 1920’s,
    and growing.

    In the early days of Obamacare,
    I overheard a conversation
    in which a physician and his wife
    were venting about the new regulations
    and the paperwork that would require
    additional staff,
    increase workload,
    and reduce income,
    and how it wasn’t fair
    because they weren’t
    going to be able to buy
    another boat for their
    place on the beach,
    and “Why can’t we have
    as many boats as we want?”

    “Boats” have since become “yachts,”
    but the sentiment remains the same.

    How many will it take?
    What is money for?
    If not for buying what we want,
    and more of it?

    Civilizations are not built
    upon reflection and realization.
    Do not value it.
    Have little use for it
    except as it pertains
    to increasing wealth
    in the exercise of power
    in the service of acquisition,
    possession,
    opulence
    and greed.

    It is the best we can do.

    Yet, more of what is not satisfying
    is not going to satisfy.

    Money cannot buy meaning.
    Money is not meaningful.
    Money is a substitute for meaning,
    a stand-in,
    a replacement.
    a lie,
    and a distraction
    from the absence of meaning
    in our life.

    We find ourselves alive
    with time on our hands
    and no foundation,
    no purpose,
    no direction,
    no goal,
    no reason to be alive
    and have to invent those on our own.

    Money,
    power,
    acquisition,
    possession,
    opulence
    and greed
    are the best we can do.

    Genghis Khan summed it up this way:

    “Man’s highest joy is in victory–
    to conquer one’s enemies,
    to pursue them,
    to deprive them of their possessions,
    to make their beloved weep,
    to ride on their horses,
    and to embrace their wives,
    and their daughters.”

    I also read yesterday
    that the Russians have developed
    a long-range artillery shell
    that is laser-guided
    with pin-point accuracy.

    Regardless of who imagines,
    designs,
    produces,
    deploys
    and employs
    such weapons of war,
    whatever is at work
    in all of that
    is not much different
    from what was at work
    in Genghis Khan.

    Money,
    power,
    acquisition,
    possession,
    opulence
    and greed
    cannot do better than
    lording it over one’s enemies
    (and friends).

    It is the end of all civilizations.

    And, we are left
    with the lament of the prophet:
    “O land, land, land,
    Hear the Word of the Lord!”

    And the Word of the Lord:
    “You are a hard-headed
    and stiff-necked people!
    What am I to do with you?
    How long am I to bear with you?”

    What is money for?

    Paying the bills.

    What are bills for?

    Buying the wherewithal
    to do what is ours to do.

    What is ours to do?

    That is the question
    upon which the future turns.

    What is ours to do
    is not about making money!

    It is about spending money
    in the service of what is ours to do–
    but what is ours to do?

    We each must answer
    for herself,
    for himself.
    And we must be right about it.

    Everything depends on it.

    If you are going to take anything
    on faith, let it be this:

    Everything depends upon
    our knowing,
    and living in the service of,
    what is ours to do.

    If we don’t know what is ours to do,
    we have to be figuring it out.
    It is essential that we do it–
    and we cannot let
    the downfall of civilization
    get in our way!

    We are the hope of the world!

    The hope of the world is lodged
    with us doing our thing
    and letting the outcome be the outcome–
    letting nature take its course–
    for better or for worse,
    letting better and worse
    simply be the context
    within which we do our thing,
    the thing that we are here to do,
    the thing that is ours to do,
    and let the outcome be the outcome.

    We give ourselves to the service
    of what is ours to do,
    and let everything fall out
    around that,
    no matter what.

    I am here to look out the window
    and see where it leads,
    and see where that goes.

    And, you?

02/18/2019  —  What is worth knowing?

What are the questions
the question above
begs to be asked?

Make a list,
then ask what the questions are
that each of those questions
begs to be asked.

Start asking people
what questions
their statements/questions
beg to be asked.

Instead of arguing about statements,
seek to ask the questions
the statements beg to be asked.

You will be transforming the world.

  1. 02/19/2019 —  Carolina Wren 2019-02 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 18, 2019There is no time to waste!

    We have to start wasting time
    in the pursuit of finding our life
    and living it.

    Sitting quietly.
    Doing nothing.

    Looking.
    Hearing.
    Seeing.

    Asking the questions
    that beg to be asked.
    And asking the questions
    that beg to be asked
    of the answers.

    Taking no one’s word
    for anything.

    Exploring our own experience,
    mining our own reactions,
    investigating our own interests,
    and fears,
    and assumptions,
    and inferences,
    and convictions,
    and doubts…

    Paying attention!
    Learning to see,
    hear,
    know/understand
    what is happening
    in each situation
    as it arises,
    and what needs
    to be done about it,
    and how we can be helpful
    with the gifts,
    genius,
    daemon,
    perspective
    that go with us
    into every situation.

    Wasting time
    in the service
    of being who we are,
    and, thereby,
    being exactly who
    the times are dying for.

    There is no time to waste!
    We must begin to waste time wisely!

    NOW!!!

02/19/2019  —  Hopelessness,
despair,
despondency
and desperation
are going to follow us
throughout our life.

Haunt our nights
and days
like Zombie Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Money will have no impact.
High walls will not keep them away.
All of our escapes
and addictions
will become avenues
the Four Ghostly Ghouls
use for access to,
and ownership of,
our soul.

Once they move in
and take possession,
we are left with
going through the motions
of living
with no life about us
until we die.

Our best option
is to learn the way
of dealing with them
early on,
and turn to it regularly
and often
in restricting them
to their archetypal roots,
and freeing us
to meet the crises
of each day
in a manner appropriate
to the occasion.

That way
is the way of mindful awareness,
welcoming them as age-old
responses to unwanted
and devastating realities,
and inviting them to take their place
among all things considered,
as we take stock
and imagine our best response
to the current manifestation
of the Cyclops standing in our path,
and wonder how to answer
the “Now What?” question
in each situation as it arises
all our life long.

“Now What?”
is a prayer of contemplation,
reflection,
meditation,
grounded in the confidence
of those whose foundation
is the source of creative response
to every condition and circumstance
of life.

We came out of nowhere,
with nothing!
And here we are,
with grand pianos
and transcontinental airliners!
Don’t tell me
we don’t have what it takes
to meet the moment of our living!

So, sit down and shut up,
and LISTEN!

What are the questions that are begging
to be asked
by the situation we face
here and now?

Ask them!
And ask the questions that beg
to be asked
by the answers!

And see where that takes you!

It will not be awash in hopelessness,
despair,
despondency
and desperation!
That’s the cheap and easy
way to go,
with the highest price
and emptiest outcome
hidden from view
at the start.

02/19/2019  —  I cannot condense it.
There are no shortcuts.
It cannot be boiled down
to three or four,
or three or four dozen
or thousand
sequential steps
to wherever it is
you think we are going.

Where DO you think we are going?
What WOULD it take
for you to have
exactly what you think is missing?
What DO you think is missing?

Here’s what I think.
I think we are seeking
“The still point of the turning world.”
Whatever that means.

I think we are seeking
“The face that was ours before we were born.”
Whatever that means.

I think we are seeking
the bedrock foundation of true value.
Whatever that means.

I think we are seeking
what matters most.
Whatever that means.

T.S. Eliot said it best:

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”

I think we are seeking to be able
to rise from a good night’s sleep
and step into the day,
meeting what we find there
with the confidence of those who know
we have what it takes
to find what it takes
to respond to each situation
in ways appropriate to the occasion,
and go to sleep each night
knowing that we have done right by the day,
and that all is well.

And there are no quick and easy methods
of arriving at that destination–
although all it takes is opening our eyes
and seeing what we look at,
and doing what is asked of us
by the situation at hand.

02/19/2019  —  It is raining like it means it,
and I’m looking out the window,
wondering if there is
a common view of what is valuable–
a commonly agreed upon recognition
of what matters most–
among people with similar
years of practice with meditation
and/or mindfulness.

And, if so, why that kind
of recognition
has had such negligible impact
upon political,
social
and cultural
ideas of what matters most.

Jesus, the Buddha and the Dalai Lama
can preach compassion
all their life,
and compassion will still be absent
in the way politics is done
in the way society works,
and in the way the culture
does its business.

Knowing what matters most,
and having that recognized
and served
on all levels of life
is beyond our ability
to orchestrate.

Even churches and religious organizations
operate more like politics,
society
and culture,
than like the vehicles of true value
and the servants of what matters most.

I can’t make sense of it.
I can only dedicate myself
to the service of what matters most,
and take my chances.

It is raining like it means it.
I take that as a sign
to live like I mean it,
and let that be that.

  1. 02/20/2019 —  Wood Thrush 2019-02 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 18, 2019Be aware.

    Be loving.

    Be patient.

    Be kind.

    Be self-transparent.

    Be faithful to your sense
    of what matters most…

    How does this compare
    to the list you would make?

    What questions beg to be asked
    by each item on our combined lists?

    Use this exercise
    for reflection in the service
    of new realizations.

    And see where it goes.

02/20/2019  —  In any moment,
we stand between
darkness and light.

What tips us toward one,
away from the other?

Momentum,
history,
karma
play a role.

Trends tend to continue.
Paths become ruts.
Ruts become graves.

The past is prelude,
and then, like that,
the past is postlude,
and the middle
is just a matter
of going through the motions,
pretending to be alive.

Life in the moment
requires our participation
in the moment,
and our awareness
of standing between
darkness and light,
and choosing again
which it will be
here, now.

02/20/2019  —  Thinking about the questions
that beg to be asked
by my last post
about standing between
darkness and light,
brings me to the place
of joy and delight
at life being rife
with paradox,
irony,
contradiction,
conflict,
dichotomy,
opposites
and incompatibilities.

Darkness and light
merge and blend
like yin and yang,
each containing elements
of the other,
with darkness never being
absolutely dark,
and light never being
absolutely light.

“There is enough bad
in the best of us,
and enough good
in the worst of us,
that it does not behoove
any of us
to talk about the rest of us.”

And yet,
in each moment,
we stand between darkness and light,
and lean toward one
and away from the other.

And the more aware we are
of the true nature of each,
the more difficulty we have
being smug and complacent
about the goodness
of our choices.

Yet, still we have to choose!
Knowing that no Real Choice
is possible.

Remaining in the center
is preferable to either extreme.
There is the wholeness
that makes us whole!

We are One in the mindful awareness
of Two,
and in the freedom to be either
in response to what the situation dictates,
and in the mind of whomever
might be watching.

02/19/2019  —  I understand that there is going
to be a demonstration
in Oxford, Mississippi
by Confederate sympathizers
(Which I take to mean white supremacists)
with some hard things to say
about “political correctness.”

One of the questions that beg to be asked
of the demonstrators
is “What varieties of correctness
are acceptable to you?”

“Political correctness”
is as correct as any form of correctness
I know about.

Is there any type of correctness
likely to be recognized immediately as such
by, say, a three year old child
anywhere in the world
that would approve of despising anyone
based on their skin color,
or on their sexual preference,
or on their gender identification,
or on their place of origin,
or on their religious preference,
or on their physical abilities,
intellectual capacities,
age,
etc?

Justice has a particular shape and form
in every corner of the cosmos.

And injustice stands out everywhere
it is expressed.

The Confederate flag is a symbol of injustice
and oppression,
which are as incorrect as anything I know.
It was as wrong when it was created
as it is now.
And it is not going to get better with time.

Live toward the best
and away from the worst
in all that you do.

Let that be the correctness
that guides your way,
by whatever name you choose to call it.

  1. 02/21/2019 —  Goodale 2018-11 12 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 4, 2018When you are in the grip of a divine imperative,
    act on it!

    Our “Categorical Imperatives”
    cut across (and through)
    all categories!

    They are crazy as hell.

    No one can understand them,
    least of all, those in their power.

    But our duty is clear:
    Do It!

    This is a Mythological Vision,
    a vision of mythological proportions.

    Joseph Campbell said,
    “Maslow says that people live for five things:
    Survival, Security, Personal Relationships,
    Prestige, and Self Development.

    These are precisely not the values
    that a mythically inspired person lives for.
    A person who is really gripped
    by a dedication,
    by a zeal,
    will sacrifice all these things
    for the sake of his or her own passion.

    These five values
    are the values people live for
    who have nothing to live for.
    Nothing has seized,
    caught,
    or driven these people
    ‘spiritually mad.’
    These people aren’t worth talking to.
    These people are bores.”

    When a Mythological Vision
    comes calling,
    trust the road
    that opens before you,
    beckoning,
    and go for a ride!

    The ride of your life!

  2. 02/22/2019 —  Downy Woodpecker 2019-02 02 – Scenes from my hammock, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 18, 2019We all live to answer the same questions:

    What matters most?
    What’s the most important thing?
    How does my life serve that?
    Who am I?
    How does my life conceal/reveal who I am?
    What am I running from?
    What am I living toward?
    What burdens do I carry?
    How mindfully aware of all things to be considered do I live?
    What am I not seeing?
    What am I refusing to look at?
    Who am I kidding?
    What will I do with the time left for living?

    We live our way into asking these questions,
    and we live our way into answering them.
    No matter how we have answered them
    up to this point,
    what is important is how we answer them
    from this point forward.

    We can’t waste our life in remorse.
    We live our life in redemption and atonement.
    All things work together
    for the good of the next thing,
    or not–
    depending on our response
    to this here
    and this now
    of our living.

    Every present swings our future
    toward integrity
    or away from integrity.

    Everything hinges upon,
    and flows from,
    how we live now,
    on what we do here.

    Each of us has to answer
    for himself,
    for herself,
    but for me,
    at this moment in my life,
    integrity matters most,
    is the most important thing.

    How is who I am capable of being,
    in the best sense of the term,
    being served by who I am being,
    here and now?

    What is generally missing
    in our life
    is who we are capable of being.

    We are all awash in who we are,
    with no sense of direction,
    or accomplishment,
    or intention
    of living to effect
    and to serve
    our genius,
    gifts,
    daemon,
    heart,
    soul,
    essence
    in the day to day experience
    of each here and now.

    We live only to serve
    our impulses and desires of the moment
    in each moment,
    with more of the things that pleasure us
    and less of the things that don’t.

    Sacrifice, redemption and atonement
    mean nothing to those intent on
    escape, denial, and a pain-free existence.

    The turn-around point is absolute hell.

    But, we are turning back to ourselves,
    back to “the face that was ours
    before we were born.”
    Back to “the still point
    of the turning world.”
    Back to living here and now
    in each situation that arises
    to serve who we are capable of being
    in the life we are able to live,
    given the context,
    conditions
    and circumstances
    of our life–
    by asking and answering
    the questions
    we live to answer
    all our life long.

    May it be so
    for each of us
    always.

02/22/2019–The older I get,
the less inclined I am
to push my luck.

Trusting our luck,
is one thing.
Pushing it,
is another.

Knowing when trusting
is going over into pushing
is critical knowing.

Everything hangs in the balance there.

As I get older,
I am less inclined
to live with things
hanging in the balance.

Which means
that I stay out
of what I consider to be
harm’s way.

As Jesus liked to say,
“Why ask for trouble?
The day is going to present you
with enough of its own,
without you adding to the pile
by being stupid!”

 

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