One Minute Monologues 049

June 9, 2019–July 17, 2019

  1. 06/09/2019  —  Politics,
    as it is currently being practiced,
    is a way
    of guarding,
    protecting,
    enhancing,
    serving,
    promoting
    one’s personal beliefs
    and interests–
    at the expense
    of everyone else.

    Donald Trump is the best/worst
    example of personal gain
    being the prime motivation
    of political activity,
    but the large amount of money
    available for “campaign contributions”
    through political action committees
    is motive enough
    for many other “public servants.”
    And that there are strings attached
    in the form of votes
    and support
    in return for the donor’s investment
    is a small price to pay
    for the rewards to be reaped.

    Don’t think the politicians we elect
    as our personal representative in Washington
    have our best interests at heart
    in the bills they pass,
    and in the bills they keep from passing.

    The power of the office,
    any office,
    is also attractive to those
    who want to end abortion,
    advance the ideology of white supremacy,
    oppose gay rights,
    civil rights,
    women’s rights,
    the rights of workers,
    children,
    people of color,
    immigrants,
    Veterans,
    the homeless
    and the poor.

    As ridiculous as it is,
    a number of people running for office
    hate the idea of democracy,
    with its standards
    of Liberty,
    Justice,
    Equality,
    Truth–
    and will actively work against
    democracy
    and the Constitution
    if elected.

    “Promise them anything,
    and then do what you want,”
    is the subversive banner
    under which they run.

    We need a faster way to vote out
    who we vote in.

    Anybody exhibiting bad faith–
    whether politicians or judges,
    elected or appointed,
    needs to be removed and replaced immediately
    through enhanced recall petitions
    issued by Oversight Committees
    on national, state and local levels.

    The procedure and process for correcting
    political wrongs is far beyond
    needing to be overhauled and streamlined.
    We The People have been
    played the fool long enough.
    Business as usual
    cannot be allowed to continue.


  2. 06/09/2019  —  The Adventure Awaits The Traveler 2019-05 03 HDR — Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Auto Tour, Hardeeville, South Carolina, May 21, 2019

    You know when the dreads come upon you,
    despair winks at you from the corner,
    and depression sinks into your bones
    like the cold of winter’s long night?

    Sit up.
    Look around.
    Size things up–
    the things you see
    when you look around.

    What is not right there,
    with what you see?

    What is out of place?
    What doesn’t belong?
    What is crumpled,
    dirty,
    needs washing?

    Get up
    and take care of it.
    Make things right.

    When you are done,
    look around again.

    What is not right there now?
    If things are fine,
    then let things be fine.

    If there are things
    that are not fine
    that you can’t do anything about,
    let them be not fine.

    We have to square up
    with a lot of things
    that are not fine.
    It is an on-going task of life.

    We do not have to be emotionally “hooked”
    by things that are not fine.
    They are simply not fine.
    And we can’t do anything about them.
    So what?
    Now what?

    Seeing what is there
    without opinion or judgment
    or emotional involvement/engagement
    is accepting the fact of what is there,
    even though is is quite unacceptable itself.

    Take up the practice of emotional detachment,
    the perspective of emergency room personnel
    dealing with everything coming through the door.

    It is far from fine,
    and we will do what we can do about it
    as best we can.
    And that’s that.


  3. 06/10/2019—  Mississippi River 2019-04 05 — Mississippi Welcome Center, Vicksburg, Mississippi, April 22, 2019

    That Which Has Always Been Called God
    cannot do anything about, or with,
    That Which Has Always Been Called Stupid.

    And that is why
    we are where we are today.

    It takes cooperation–
    collaboration–
    for things to work
    like they need to work
    to be like they need to be.

    God is not almighty,
    all powerful,
    omnipotent…

    God is like someone
    who was born in a stable
    and died on a cross.

    Vulnerable.
    Impotent.
    Dependent.
    At the mercy
    of conditions
    and circumstances
    and available resources.

    Like yeast in the dough,
    or a seed in the ground,
    or a candle flame
    flickering in the wind.

    That Which Has Always Been Called God
    comes packed in the DNA
    or everyone.

    We all have equal access
    to That Which Has Always Been Called God.
    But.
    That Which Has Always Been Called God
    does not have equal access to each of us.

    Some of us are more accessible
    than others of us.
    Too many of us
    are not accessible at all.

    Everything turns on–
    depends on–
    flows from
    how accessible we are
    to That Which Has Always Been Called God
    over the full course of our life.

    “Invoked, or not invoked,
    God will be present.”
    But.
    Where will we be?
    Will we be present
    with That Which Is Present With us?

    In order to be present
    with That Which Is Present With us,
    we have to get ourselves
    out of the way.

    We have to stand aside.
    We have to stand apart from
    our agenda,
    our desires,
    our idea of how
    we want things to be.

    We have to step away from
    our wants,
    our will,
    our way–
    and wait,
    in the stillness
    and the silence,

    for a compelling vision,
    an urgent notion,
    a faint,
    mere hint of a possibility,
    to arise within
    and beckon us
    to take a step
    in the service
    of what calls our name
    on the adventure
    of being alive.


06/10/2019  —  When there is nothing
that can be done,
there is nothing to do.

It is called being helpless.

So, be helpless.

And wait for the tide to turn.
For the shift to happen.
For the circumstances to change.

And, while you are waiting,
be attentive to the moment,
moment-by-moment-by-moment.

Alert.
Expectant.
Ready.
For the time for what needs to be done
to be at hand.


  • 06/10/2019. —  Lake Chicot 2019-04 03 HDR — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, April 24, 2019

    Our distinguishing features include
    our physical attributes
    and our spiritual/psychic traits–
    our perspectives and perceptions,
    our preferences,
    proclivities,
    interests,
    values–
    and not merely the rank order of values,
    but also the weight each value
    has for us in any given situation–
    outlook,
    attitude in any given situation,
    talents,
    abilities,
    gifts,
    daemon,
    degree of awareness,
    degree of self-transparency,
    authenticity,
    etc.

    We are different
    colors,
    hues,
    textures,
    shades,
    frequencies…
    up and down the line,
    across the table,
    around the world.

    And,
    there are those of us
    who know better than
    the rest of us,
    who and how all of us
    ought to be.

    We are at war
    over our identity
    every single day
    of our life.

    Who will we be today?
    Who we are,
    or who somebody else
    wants us to be
    (from moment to moment
    throughout each day)?

    “THAT’S not who you are supposed to be!”
    How many times do we run into
    some variation of that declaration
    over the course of our life?

    We are fighting for ourselves–
    for our right to be who we are–
    in a world geared to forcing us
    into molds we do not fit.

    Or, we better be!
    The spiritual journey,
    the Hero’s Journey,
    is the trip to who we are,
    yet the church
    is one of the primary places
    where we are not allowed in
    just as we are
    (In spite of all the Everyone Welcome
    signs on the front lawns
    and entrance ways).

    Where do we go to be who we are?
    How often do we go there?
    How long do we stay?

    How will we ever know who we are,
    if we are never allowed to be who we are?

    Joseph Campbell says “The Primary Mask”
    is the one we are handed at birth
    and told to wear,
    so that we fit in
    and look like everyone else.
    He says “The Antithetical Mask”
    is our original face–
    “the face that was ours
    before we were born”–
    which we are to grow into
    over the course of our life,
    in a “Know Thy Self,”
    and a “To Thine Own Self Be True”
    kind of way.

    But, how do we do that
    if we are never allowed to experiment?
    If we are never permitted to be
    who we are not supposed to be?

    This is our problem
    to work out as we are able–
    to grow into who we are
    over the course of our life.

    We probably will not be able to do it
    if we hang out with the same people
    all our life long.

    Most of us will have to change
    the way we live
    in order to live the life
    that is our life to live.

    There is a price to pay to live that life,
    and there is a price to pay to not live it.
    Which price will we pay?


  • 06/11/2019—  Magnolia 2019-05 02 — Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Hardeeville, SC, May 21, 2019

    The Bread of Affliction
    is the Bread of Life.

    The Cup of Suffering
    is the Cup of Salvation.

    If we know and understand that,
    we have it made.

    It also can be known and understood like this:

    The slippery slope,
    the dangerous path,
    the razor’s edge,
    winds through
    the contradiction,
    dichotomy
    and paradox
    of Eden and Gethsemane,
    across the face of Golgotha,
    to the empty tomb
    and life beyond death.

    And like this:

    Dying is realizing what’s what,
    and doing what needs to be done about it.
    Which is the same thing
    as being alive.

    And like this:

    Sin is being wrong about what’s important,

    Salvation is changing our mind about what’s important.

    And like this:

    It is never any more difficult
    than growing up.


  • 06/11/2019—  11th Street Docking 2019-05 04 — Port Royal, South Carolina, May 20, 2019

    It doesn’t matter what you believe.
    I don’t care what your theology is,
    or what form your yoga takes,
    or if you have a theology,
    or practice any form of yoga.

    The only thing that matters is this:

    Do you have what it takes
    to size up the situation,
    see what is happening
    and what needs to happen in response
    in light of all things considered,
    and do it the way it needs to be done
    with the gifts,
    talents,
    abilities,
    traits,
    preferences,
    proclivities,
    daemon
    that are yours to offer–
    to the extent that would be helpful–
    as best you can
    in each situation that arises
    al your life long?

    Believe anything you want to believe,
    practice any form of yoga you want to practice,
    including believing nothing at all,
    and practicing nothing at all–
    as long as it enables you to
    do see what needs to be done
    and do it
    in each situation as it arises.

    All your life long.


  • 06/11/2019—  Tidal Creed 2019-05 00 Panorama — Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Townsend, Georgia, May 21, 2019

    It is as though we all
    are seeking to harmonize
    ourselves with our life–
    to be in tune with our life–
    to be in the flow of our life.
    To find where we fit,
    what suits us,
    where we belong…

    It is as though we are all
    blindfolded at birth
    and told to find the life
    that is our life to live,
    while all the adults
    are yelling conflicting
    directions at us,
    and enforcing arbitrary rules
    that are more hindrances
    than helps,
    and telling us things
    are important
    that have nothing to do
    with the task at hand.

    We are searching
    for what works for us
    while people are handing us
    a great variety of things
    they say is exactly what we need,
    and none of them work at all.

    We are looking for the aliveness
    of our life,
    and we get counterfeit,
    bogus,
    phony,
    imitation,
    stand-in,
    false,
    mock,
    sham,
    substitutes
    because nobody
    has a clue about
    the real thing.

    The only one who knows
    is locked away inside of us,
    and no one gives us the key
    to the door,
    or even tells us there is a key,
    or a door.

    And we spend our life
    getting hints whispered
    through the keyhole,
    in a language we don’t understand,
    with no one to translate
    or interpret
    what they mean.

    This is crazy.

    That is the first realization.

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

    That is the second
    and the third.

    From there,
    all the rest come into focus:

    We have to speak truthfully to ourselves,
    as contradictory,
    mutually exclusive,
    paradoxical
    and riddle-like
    as the truth always is.

    We have to trust ourselves to know
    what we are seeking
    even though we have no idea
    of what that might be.

    We have to provide our own foundation
    that allows us the freedom
    to feel our way along
    as we play the Hot/Cold game
    with ourselves.

    We can’t give up.
    We can’t quit.
    We have to believe
    in the value of the treasure
    we seek
    as we cull out dump truck loads
    of Not This, Not That, Not That Either stuff
    every day.

    We find clues everywhere.
    Wisp of memories of things that mattered,
    a tune we can almost remember
    playing in our head,
    white rabbits disappearing
    around corners…

    The chase is on!
    Follow every lead!
    We are getting closer all the time!
    To who we are,
    and what does it for us!


  • 06/12/2019—  Oktoc Dairy 2019-05 01 — Oktoc, Mississippi, May 1, 2019

    I never got it with trigonometry
    and organic chemistry.

    The structure of those disciplines
    and my own structure
    were/are incompatible to the core.

    I cannot speak their language.

    And you can’t make me.

    Tell me you are going to call my parents.
    Send me to Remedial Trig/Chem classes.
    I’ll still be looking out the window.

    I can hum right along
    with looking out the window.
    There isn’t a window
    I can’t look out of,
    don’t have an immediate affinity with.

    I belong with/to looking out the window.

    If they gave degrees in looking out the window,
    or offered jobs,
    with benefits
    and perks,
    I would have had it made,
    back when degrees and jobs were a thing.

    Now, just try to build a life
    around looking out the window.

    I did.

    Without knowing what I was doing.
    I just kept looking out the window.

    I stumbled onto a camera–
    was led there, actually,
    by The One Who Knows
    dwelling within us all–
    and the viewfinder was a tiny window,
    and my life smiled
    for the camera,
    and I took my tiny window
    with me everywhere.

    And lived happily ever after.

    P.S. I wouldn’t want you to think
    my camera pays my bills.
    My camera is what I pay my bills to do.


  • 06/12/2019—  Lotus Flower 2019-01 B Detail — Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, Green Pond, South Carolina, May 21, 2019

    There is no plan.
    All of this is the way it is
    because something else
    was the way it was.

    One thing led to another,
    and here we are.

    What’s the greater miracle–
    that everything is planned down to
    the particular mites on a bird’s feather,
    or that nothing is?

    That Which Has Always Been Called God
    is no planner in the sky.
    That Which Has Always Been Called God
    is right here in the thick of things,
    in the midst of us,
    in the center,
    at the core,
    of each one of us,
    loving the ride,
    seeing what can be done
    with *these* circumstances
    in every situation that comes along,
    just for the joy of it,
    for the wonder of not-knowing
    where it’s going,
    or what will happen next,
    and dying to find out.

    We live here, now,
    in each here, now,
    as the extensions
    of That Which Has Always Been Called God
    in the sphere of space and time.
    Playing with the possibilities,
    dancing with the music,
    loving life.


  • 06/13/2019—  Lake Chicot 2019-04 06 B — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, April 24, 2019

    So what?


    Now what?


    Are the two questions
    
that put us at the fulcrum

    and enable us to become the lever,

    shifting,
    
moving,

    transitioning

    the past into the future.

    It does not matter what just happened

    from the standpoint 
of its impact upon us,
personally.


    The question is now what?

    We are emergency room personnel
    
and the door just opened.

    Our reaction determines the future

    for everyone impacted 
by the event in question.

    Triage.

    Vital signs.

    Assessment.

    Evaluation.

    Interpretation.

    Response.

    Observation.

    Readiness.

    Awareness.

    No judgment,

    no opinion.

    Just seeing.

    Just knowing.

    Just doing what needs to be done.
In each situation
    as it arises.

    The door is always opening again.

    Get up.

    Be ready.
    
Here it comes.

    So what?

    Now what?


  • 06/13/2019—  The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 2015-01 05 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, January 28, 2015

    Take the alcohol away
    from a drunk,
    and what do you have?

    A wounded human being.

    I was never an alcoholic,
    but.
    I have always been
    a wounded human being.

    “I’m Jim,
    and I am a wounded human being.”

    Alcoholics are attempting
    to hide from their woundedness.
    AA helps with that.
    “Who the hell do you think you are,
    pretending to be not-wounded?”
    That’s the first question AA asks,
    with words to that effect.

    AA is the closest thing I know
    to being a Community of Innocence–
    Innocent in the sense
    of having nothing at stake
    in anyone being a member.
    If you think you don’t need them, fine.

    “Attraction, not promotion.”

    If you are promoting something,
    you are trying to get something.
    AA isn’t trying to get anything.
    If you are wounded,
    you are welcome.
    And who isn’t wounded?
    Everybody is really welcome in AA.
    AA is the most democratic institution in the world.
    Woundedness knows no boundaries,
    no limits,
    no restrictions to its range.

    We can be white and wounded
    (Far, far, from “supreme,”
    what a joke).
    Black and wounded.
    Brown and wounded.
    Gay and wounded
    (But, of course).
    Female and wounded
    (But, of course, again)..

    The list goes forever.

    The Buddha is said to have said,
    “Go find one person
    who isn’t wounded.”
    Nobody has turned up anybody yet
    (If you say you aren’t wounded,
    you are in denial–
    and you may be an alcoholic).

    And, what does woundedness need?
    A welcoming presence!

    Welcoming presences are hard to find.
    Nobody wants to be in the company
    of woundedness.

    Not the church!
    You can’t be wounded in the church!
    They will give you Jesus
    and demand that you be just fine.
    Smile, God loves you, you know.
    Oh, and they love you, too.
    Makes it all just fine.

    If you aren’t smiling,
    and show the least sign
    of woundedness,
    it means your faith is lacking.
    You can’t be wounded and faithful.
    You have to be triumphant
    if you are going to be faithful.
    “On Christ the solid rock I stand,”
    and all that.

    Where do you go to find
    welcoming presences?
    AA.

    AA doesn’t have anything to sell you.
    They aren’t trying to get anything from you.
    They are as wounded as you are,
    and glad to have your company.

    Our woundedness
    makes us all family,
    with nothing to be ashamed of.
    Because who isn’t wounded?


  • 06/13/2019—  Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies 2019-05 07 — Canada Geese, Catawba River, Landsford Canal State Park, Catawba, South Carolina, May 28, 2019

    Dreams are springboards into you
    and your life.

    Every dream,
    whether it is a nighttime dream
    or a daytime fantasy,
    is a reflection of you and your life–
    as if to say,
    “This is how it is with you right now.
    What are you going to do about it?”

    Look for puns,
    and for exaggerations,
    and inflations.

    For instance,
    if you dream you are flying,
    check your actual way of life
    to see if you have
    your feet on the ground.

    If you dream you are in a car
    with no breaks
    going downhill,
    check to see if you ever
    put the breaks
    on your enthusiasm,
    our on your push to have your way
    in your life.

    Every dream/fantasy
    is an invitation to muse
    about your life
    and how you are living it,
    and what you need to do about it,
    or what you need to have in it.

    As if to say,
    “Here you are.
    Now what?”

    Ask, “What does this say
    that I need to be aware of?”

    Mull things over.
    See where it goes.


  • 06/14/2019—  Nursery Photos 2019-05 06 — Sunflower, Pike’s Nursery and Garden Center, Charlotte, North Carolina, May 17, 2019

    Sobriety gives us ourselves,
    just as we are.
    What we do with the gift
    is up to us.

    Listen, I say.
    Look,
    Feel,
    Know,
    Do,
    Be.
    And go where that takes you,
    without having to know any more
    than what is called for
    in each moment of your living.

    No judgement!
    No opinion!
    No wanting more than you need
    to do what needs you to do it!
    Reading the situation,
    internally and externally,
    and letting that be your guide.

    Work with the givens
    tucked into every situation
    to give the situation
    what it is seeking
    by being who you are,
    then and there.

    Find your own balance,
    your own level,
    your own equilibrium,
    your own homeostasis,
    your own ecology,
    your own sanity,
    your own sobriety,
    and live out of that orientation,
    that perspective,
    that mode of being-in-the-world
    in responding to the world,
    and let nature take its course,
    let all things fall into place
    around that.

    Listen to your dreams.
    Listen to your body.
    Listen to your experience.
    Listen to what’s what.
    Listen to the silence.
    Listen to the stillness.
    See what emerges.
    See what compelling urge
    calls you to action.

    Reflect on everything
    to the point of arriving
    at new realizations,
    new ways of coming
    to life in the time and place
    of your living.

    See what you look at.
    Be who you are.


  • 06/14/2019—  Lake Chicot 2019-04 04 B — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, April 24, 2019

    What do your nighttime dreams
    say about your daytime dreams,
    aspirations,
    ambitions?

    When both sets of dreams
    are in accord,
    there is harmony
    and peace
    throughout our life.

    When there is conflict,
    contradiction,
    dichotomy,
    there is hell to pay.

    Our work is to create
    and maintain
    the alignment
    of inner with outer.

    Integrity
    is self-transparency
    at work
    to make us whole.

    Integration
    is the work
    of maturity
    and grace.

    Maturity *is* grace!
    There is no maturity
    without grace,
    no grace
    without maturity.

    Live to be whole,
    gracious
    and grown-up!

    Live to align inner with outer,
    so that your nighttime dreams
    bless and direct
    your daytime dreams/aspirations/ambitions!


06/14/2019  —  Start with the contradictions–
go where it leads.

Reconciling ourselves
to the irreconcilable contraries
of our life,
and bearing the pain
of their dichotomy–
and the synchronization,
the choreography,
of their dance–
is the essence of maturation
and grace.

We exist to harmonize
discordant realities,
and make peace
with all that is–
by seeing/feeling/knowing/being/bearing
the tension
that holds it all together,
and makes all things one.

Good/bad,
dark/light,
sickness/health,
yin/yang…

We walk two paths
at the same time,
coming and going
simultaneously,
creating
what we are trying
to destroy,
destroying
what we are trying
to create.

“This, too.
“This, too.”

Meeting what we are running from
on the path we take
to avoid it.

Let it be,
because it is.

Dance with it
because “there is only the dance”
(T.S. Eliot),
and the dance is all there is.


  • 06/15/2019—  Summerton Diner, Summerton South Carolina, June 14, 2019 — If you like country cookin’ and all that comes with it, it’s worth the drive! And, it’s cash only, so be prepared for that.

    “Monkey Mind”–
    where our thoughts run away with us,
    and leap about
    with no coherent pattern
    from one thing to another
    like monkeys from limb to limb
    and tree to tree–
    is not to be disparaged.

    It is simply another way
    our “Other Mind”
    (that would be the one
    we are not conscious of,
    sometimes called “The Unconscious”)
    is trying to get our attention.

    The Unconscious is always
    trying to get our attention.

    It has things to say
    about what we are doing
    and leaving undone.

    What we do is who we are.
    If we are always doing things,
    like Paul in the Bible–
    that we know better than to do,
    that we know not to do,
    that we wish we wouldn’t do–
    it’s because we aren’t sold on
    not doing it
    in spite of all of our protests
    to the contrary.

    We wish we didn’t didn’t to it,
    but.
    We don’t really mind if we do.

    Our lapses
    and inconsistencies
    speak volumes
    about our purpose
    and intentions.

    When we say one thing
    and do another,
    the absence of integrity
    is apparent.

    We aren’t who we say we are.
    We are who we pretend not to be.
    Our Unconscious Mind
    is not unconscious at all,
    but always awake,
    alert,
    tuned in to the ways in which
    we kid ourselves,
    and refuse to square up
    with who we are
    and what we are doing–
    and demanding accountability.

    The Unconscious is always
    the force for integrity
    and accountability.
    Our only purpose
    is to be one with who we are–
    to live in ways which exhibit
    the Unconscious Values
    at the heart of who we are,
    and to not be carried away
    by our wishes and wants
    for the things at odds
    with our best interest
    and highest good.

    Integrity is our best interest
    and highest good.

    Serving the gifts,
    the talents,
    the abilities,
    the daemon…
    that are ours to serve
    in the time and place
    of our living
    is ours to do 24/7/52.

    Who are we serving?
    What are we living for?
    The Unconscious demands
    that we be aware of the questions,
    and that we live in ways
    that declare whose side we are on
    in the daily give and take of our life.

    “Monkey Mind” is one way
    of calling attention
    to the helter-skelter,
    thoughtless,
    reckless,
    way we live our life.

    If we attend the random thoughts
    firing away in our “Monkey Mind,”
    we will begin to make connections,
    and see how this is related to that,
    and how all of it brings out the
    inherent contradictions,
    dichotomies,
    and incompatibilities
    of our daily fare.

    A theme runs through the thought jungle.
    Calling us to wake up,
    pay attention,
    see what is going on,
    and do the work
    of reflection
    and realization,
    reconciliation
    and reorientation.

    Make it your practice
    to watch your thoughts
    and wait for the trends
    to become obvious.

    Ask the questions
    that beg to be asked:
    What does this
    have to do with that?

    Notice how often the same thoughts occur,
    the same sequence,
    the same tone,
    the same old same old…
    and what that combination
    might be saying to you
    about you.

    A Thought Meditation,
    revealing that random
    is not so random at all.


  • 06/15/2019—  Mayfly Hatch 2019-06 01 — Santee National Wildlife Refuge, Lake Marion, Summerton, South Carolina, June 14, 2019

    Sin is being wrong about what’s important.
    Salvation is being right about what’s important.

    How often do you change your mind
    about what’s important?

    When was the last time you changed your mind
    about anything?

    Changing our mind
    is the primary requirement
    in growing up.

    We cannot grow up
    if we do not change our mind
    about what is important
    throughout our life.

    Each stage of development–
    of maturation–
    comes with its own list
    of what is important.
    If we do not get what is important right
    in each stage of development,
    we never progress past
    the most recent stage we attained
    in our understanding of what is important.

    Too many people are stuck
    in the pre-teen stage of development.
    What is important to them
    is burdening everyone else
    by their refusal to change their mind
    and grow up.

    We owe it to ourselves
    and everyone else
    to know what is important
    to where we ought to be
    in the stage of development
    commensurate with our current age group.

    And change our mind about what is important
    to reflect what ought to be important
    in the time and place of our living.


  • 06/15/2019—  Cypress Swamp 2019-06 01 Panorama B — Santee National Wildlife Refuge, Summerton, South Carolina, June 14, 2019

    I may be wrong about this but.
    That’s never stopped me.

    I think we have a finite pool
    of life-energy available to us and.

    It can be expanded and deepened
    through association with experiences
    which fill us with more energy
    and enthusiasm for life
    than they require in our pursuit of them,
    involvement with them.

    It can be diminished and depleted
    by our involvement with people and things
    which require more energy from us
    than they return to us.

    We can die before our time
    when our energy for life is exhausted.

    We can live beyond our time
    when our energy for life is replenished
    and restored.

    What kind of steward of life energy
    are you showing yourself to be?


06/15/2019  —  Reflection leads to new realizations.

Everything that holds an attraction for you
is a mirror reflecting you back to you,
hoping to spark realization
awareness
awakening,
connection,
insight
and more reflection.

This is a path
that has on end!

Be off!

See where it goes!


  • 06/16/2019—  Painted Bunting 2019-06 01 — Santee National Wildlife Refuge, Visitor’s Center, Summerton, South Carolina, June 14, 2019

    Sitting tight
    is always an option
    worthy of consideration–
    as long as it is not
    selling out!

    Sitting tight
    is *waiting* it out!
    *Waiting* for the door to open!
    *Waiting* for the shift to happen!
    *Waiting* for the time to be right!

    We have to know
    that we are waiting,
    and what we are waiting on–
    what needs to fall in place,
    what needs to happen–
    for us to be able
    to “move about the country.”

    We are sitting tight,
    waiting for moving time,
    action time,
    time to go.

    That could be
    waiting for the kids
    to grow up!

    We might need to sit tight
    for a long time!

    We couldn’t afford film
    and diapers (etc.),
    so the camera
    went on the shelf
    until our children
    graduated from college.

    Then, it came off the shelf.


06/16/2019  —  I know more about
being me now
than I did when I started.

In the beginning,
I thought it was about
being someone else’s idea of me.

I spent a long time
living within lines drawn
by other people.

Doing it the way
they said do it.

Not at all clear about
why do it at all.

There is a lot of learning to live
blindfolded,
following instructions
from people
who are also blindfolded.

This is crazy.

They speak and act
with such authority,
all those people
who don’t know any more
than I do
about who and how to be.

They say they know,
but they don’t know.

Nobody has known
for years past counting.
But everybody is doing
what somebody else
told them to do.

We need to call time-out,
and sit still,
and be quiet,
until we can sort it out,
and know where *they* stop
and *I* start,
and who really knows best,
and who is only pretending to know.

And we don’t need
to wait until retirement
to do that.


  • 06/17/2019—  Great Egret 2019-06 01 Panorama — Santee National Wildlife Refuge, Summerton, South Carolina, June 14, 2019 —

    The injured/diseased beak
    brings out the resolute,
    triumphant beauty
    of this grande bird,

    and calls us all to be
    who we can be no matter
    where we are,
    or how we are,
    or what has happened to us,
    or may happen to us…

    This wonderful example
    of Nature giving it
    the best she has to offer every day,
    robs us of all
    of our excuses,
    and requires us to get up,
    stand up,
    square up
    and step into each moment–
    doing there
    what is ours to do
    as only we can do it,
    without judgment
    or opinion,
    and refusing to allow
    anything to slow us down!


06/17/2019  —  Electric Peak 2011-06 01 Panorama — Yellowstone National Park, near Gardner, Montana, June 24, 2011

Find the things you love–
the things that are life for you–
the things no one can talk you out of loving–
the things you live to do,
the things you live to be with,
the things nobody can knock you off of,
the things you are grounded in
with all your heart,
and soul,
and mind,
and strength–
the things that are YOU!

Spend all of your available time
with those things.
Immerse yourself in those things.

That’s all the religion you need.

No theology.
No doctrine.
No dogma.
No having to take anything on faith.
No having to take someone else’s word
for what your grounding foundation should be.

Just you and the things/people
that are life itself for you.

Religion as it should be.
From the heart.
Of the heart.
With no doubt about it.


  • 06/17/2019—  Schwabacher Landing 2011-06 01 HDR — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Wyoming, June 26, 2011

    The closer we come to God,
    the less we can say about God.

    The Numen,
    the numinous,
    the ineffable
    is beyond words
    and thoughts.

    We can sense more than we can know,
    and we can know more than we can say.

    Thus, we fall back on
    art,
    music
    and poetry
    to express
    what nature reveals to us
    in regard to more than thoughts can think,
    and more than words can say.

    Which puts all theology,
    doctrine,
    dogma,
    ideology,
    creeds,
    tenets,
    canons
    and articles of faith
    in the category
    Joseph Camp
    bell called,
    “The fourth best things.”

    ““The best things cannot be told, the second best are misunderstood.
    After that comes civilized conversation;
    after that, mass indoctrination;
    after that, intercultural exchange.
    And so, proceeding,
    we come to the problem of communication:
    the opening, that is to say, of one’s own truth and depth
    to the depth and truth of another
    in such a way as to establish
    an authentic community of existence”
    (*The Masks of God*).

    And wherever that “authentic community of existence”
    is experienced
    (What I call “the Community of Innocence”),
    there is the Numen,
    at the heart
    of the wonder of it all.


  • 06/18/2019—  Mormon Row 2011-06 16 HDR — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming, June 23, 2011

    You can understand
    what I’m saying
    only if you know
    what I mean.

    Which means two things:

    1) We’re talking in code,
    and no one outside
    of The Inner Circle
    has a clue
    about what we are saying.

    2) I’m not saying anything
    you don’t already know,
    and all you have to do
    is hear it
    to recognize the “Well, duh!” factor
    in all that is being said.

    Hearing what we already know
    brings it into our conscious awareness,
    but it “clicks” with something
    that is just waiting to be heard
    in order to come to life within us,
    and bring us forth
    by coming forth itself
    into the light
    of realization.

    This is enlightenment–
    not hearing something we don’t know,
    but hearing something we already know,
    so that now
    we simply know
    what we have always known,
    but didn’t know we knew.

    Seeing what we look at,
    and knowing what we know,
    is all there is to it–
    “It” being seeing/knowing/living/
    being alive in the moment of living.

    That is all we are working toward–
    that is all we are living for:
    Being alive in the moment of our living.

    Money can’t buy it.
    Trying hard can’t achieve it.
    Believing what we are told to believe
    has nothing to do with it.
    We either do it,
    or do it not.

    The Truth is a secret code
    that those who don’t know
    cannot comprehend.
    And they cannot comprehend it,
    because they are looking
    for something that to be hard–
    and nothing is harder
    than simple
    when you are expecting hard.

    In AA parlance,
    “Easy does it.”


  • 06/18/2019—  Blue Grosbeak 2019-05 02 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, May 13, 2019

    Growing up is the sine qua non
    of the spiritual journey.
    It IS the spiritual journey.

    Growing up is squaring up
    to the contradictions
    at the heart of being alive.

    Paradox,
    polarity,
    dichotomy,
    irreconcilable,
    incompatible,
    antithetical…

    These things are the foundation of life.

    “Life Eats Life.”

    Things cannot be more at odds
    than that.

    In order for life to live,
    something has to die.
    Life lives on death.
    And the living
    have to make their peace
    with the fact
    that life is grounded upon death.

    We don’t grow up
    without coming to terms
    with this contradiction
    inherent in the process
    of being alive.

    Here is another:
    We grow up against our will–
    which means willing ourselves
    to grow up against our will.

    This is Jesus on the cross.
    And it is everyone
    who grows up.

    We die to our idea of life,
    of the way life ought to be.
    We not only live on the death
    of something else,
    we also live by dying ourselves–
    dying to our idea
    of what is important,
    to our idea
    of what it means to be alive.

    Everyone who grows up
    walks with a limp,
    and bears a terrible burden–
    the burden of being alive
    at the expense of life,
    and at the expense
    of our idea
    of what it means
    to be alive.

    Living is dying.
    Death is life.

    To understand that
    and embrace it
    is to carry the cross
    along the entire route
    of the spiritual journey,
    and to pay the price
    of growing up,
    again and again,
    all the way.


06/18/2019  —  We always have what it takes
to meet the present moment
on its terms
and do what can be done
with it
in light of what is good
for all concerned.

We can be who we are,
where we are,
when we are,
what we are,
how we are,
why we are,
for as long as we are.

We can give that up,
but no one can take it
from us.

We have what we need
to do what can be done.
When nothing can be done,
do that,
and wait for the circumstances
to change.


06/18/2019  —  Our perspective
has the ability
to change the meaning
of external reality,
and that transforms
its impact upon us,
and that alters
our response to it.
And that changes everything–
just by the power
of a shift in perspective.

Perspective is a superpower
we rarely ever bring into play.


  • 06/19/2019—  Lower Falls 2011-06 06 HDR — Yellowstone National Park, Canyon Village, Wyoming, June 30, 2011

    Our two most precious possessons
    are our time
    and our health–
    and they are intimately connected
    with each other
    and with the life we are living.

    What are we living for?
    What are we living to do?
    What are we living to do
    with our time
    and our health?

    What do time and health mean
    apart from a life
    that is worth living?

    What would it take
    for our life to be worth living?

    What interests would we serve?
    What would be the source
    of our enthusiasm?
    Zest?
    Joy of life?
    *Elan Vital*?
    Libido?
    Life energy?

    Time and health mean nothing
    without things in place
    which feed our interests
    and our joy in being alive.
    But.
    Our interests and our joy
    can be incubated,
    cultivated,
    cared for
    and tended
    in all situations
    and circumstances.

    *The Bird Man of Alcatraz*
    and Victor Frankl’s work
    on the survivors
    of prisoner of war
    and concentration camps
    in Hitler Germany
    are examples of people
    finding ways of investing
    themselves in their life
    in extreme conditions
    of deprivation
    and hardship.

    All it takes is intention
    and awareness.

    “So what?
    Now what?”

    “Here we are.
    What now?”

    If we live long enough,
    we lose everything
    that made life worth living.
    What makes life worth living then?

    Intention
    and awareness.

    Curiosity.
    Compassion.
    Grace.
    Mindfulness.
    Awareness of,
    and interest in,
    whatever is happening
    here and now.

    Homer lost his eyesight.
    Beethoven lost his hearing.
    Neither lost their enthusiasm for life.
    Both made meaning
    out of what they had to work with.
    Both found meaning
    in life as it was.

    The path opens before those
    who start walking
    with eyes that see
    (even if they are blind),
    ears that hear
    (even if they are deaf),
    minds that are alert,
    awake,
    and aware,
    and hearts that beat
    with the love of being alive.


  • 06/20/2019—  Smoky Mountain Stream 2013-11 01 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, November, 2013 — An iPhone Photo

    We make things what they are
    by responding to them
    the way we do.

    We react without thinking–
    without pausing to reflect,
    explore,
    examine,
    inquire,
    inspect,
    ask,
    seek,
    knock,
    wonder…

    We respond with our
    customized,
    stereotypical,
    pattern
    of behavior,
    and create
    the world we live in
    over time.

    If we want things
    and people
    to change
    in relation to us,
    we have to change
    in relation to them.

    The life we are living
    is the life we have put in place
    by the way we have lived it.

    We did it,
    as they say
    in the Deep South,
    to our own self.

    Changing things
    begins with sitting still,
    being quiet,
    and taking stock.
    Taking inventory.
    Watching ourselves in action.
    Imagining different ways
    of doing
    the things we always do
    the way we always do them.

    What are we holding in place
    by the way we respond to it?

    Who does what to whom,
    and then what happens?

    We want things to be different.
    How different can we be?
    Starting when?


  • 06/20/2019—  Sunflowers 2019-06 04 — Draper Wildlife Management Area, York County, South Carolina, June 20, 2019 — An iPhone Photo

    10,000 (The primitive world’s way of saying “An infinite amount) things are wrong.

    Racism is wrong.
    Cruelty is wrong.
    Discrimination is wrong.
    Brutality is wrong.
    Child abuse is wrong.
    Abuse of any kind is wrong.
    The list goes on and on…

    The only “two sides”
    to any of this
    is the Right Side
    and the Wrong Side.

    These things are not matters of opinion.
    People can agree or disagree,
    but that won’t change anything.
    Wrong is wrong.

    White supremacy is wrong.
    Thinking it is not wrong is wrong.

    Homophobia,
    Islamophobia,
    Xenophobia,
    Misogyny,
    are all wrong.

    And treating things that are wrong
    as wrong
    is right.

    Be clear about that,
    and step into each day.


  • 06/21/2019—  Schwabacher Landing 2011-06 02 HDR — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming, June 24, 2011

    How do you know when you are wrong?
    How often are you wrong in a week?
    What do you do about being wrong?
    How do you deal with it?

    I say, “Well, here I go again!”
    And tuck it away in my memory bank
    as a guide to How To Do It Well The Next Time
    It Comes Around.

    Wrong is just a step on the way to Right.

    Today’s Right is rooted in yesterday’s Wrong.

    The key to making good soup
    is making a lot of bad soup
    with your eyes open.

    My photography,
    and everything else about me,
    is developing solely because
    of the mistakes I make.

    No mistakes,
    no movement,
    no correction,
    no development,
    no life.

    Living well is moving
    from wrong to right.

    Wrong is where we have been.
    Right is where we are going.

    Receive your wrongs well.
    Welcome them into the family.
    Embrace what they have to teach you.
    And move on!
    Move on!


  • 06/21/2019—  Botany Bay 2011-11 01 Panorama — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, November, 2011 — an iPhone Photo

    Apparent reality consists of a combination
    of wave lengths
    and frequency ranges,
    which our eyes and ears receive
    and pass along to our brain
    for interpretation and classification.

    The outcome of which
    is “Tree” and “Beach” and “Ocean.”

    Reality is always being
    interpreted
    and assigned “meanings”
    based on our past experience.

    Color-blind people “see”
    a different world.
    Dogs, cats and owls “see”
    a different world.

    Which world is the Real World?
    The question presumes a reality
    that doesn’t exist in the real world.
    The real world is a multitude of realities–
    interpretations of wave lengths
    and frequency ranges.

    What anything means
    is what we say it means–
    what it means to us.

    We are the final authority
    determining what something,
    anything,
    everything,
    means.

    Whatever “it” is,
    it means what it means to individuals
    who are reading the wave lenghts
    and the frequency ranges
    and interpreting them
    in light of each individual’s experience.

    A photograph is a photographer’s interpretation
    of a scene,
    and represents a range of of light wave lengths
    available in the scene
    at the time the photograph was taken.

    The scene is different throughout the day
    and time of year.

    Light filters produce color combinations
    and contrasts among light and shadow areas
    that transform the appearance of the scene,
    but only change the relationships
    of elements within the scene
    when the shutter opened/closed.

    The length of time the shutter
    remains open before it is closed
    also alters the appearance of the scene,
    and is another factor expanding
    how the scene might be viewed.

    What a scene looks like
    depends upon who is looking,
    and how,
    at the time of day,
    and the time of year,
    they looked.

    How a scene really appears
    is dependent upon a number of factors.
    Every scene is a combination
    of wave lengths
    and frequency levels
    waiting to be interpreted
    more than “seen.”

    What we “see”
    is our perception/interpretation
    of the wave lengths
    and frequency levels
    available to us in the scene.


  • 06/21/2019—  Sunflowers 2019 06-20 03 –  Draper Wildlife Management Area, York County, South Carolina, June 20, 2019 – An iPhone Photo 

    There are developmental tasks
    that must be honored,
    and protocols that must be followed.

    Growing up is a slippery slope,
    a dangerous path,
    like a razor’s edge.

    ‘Fritz’ Perls said, “Every individual,
    every plant, every animal
    has only one inborn goal–
    to actualize itself as it is.”

    To not do that
    is to pay a price.

    To not do that
    is to violate internal norms
    and codes
    of crucial significance.

    We are *meant* to be
    a particular way!
    We cannot deviate
    from the path
    and think, “No big deal.
    Nothing will happen.”

    It is a very big deal.
    Something will happen.
    And we won’t like it.

    Look around.
    Walk down a street.
    Pay attention to the people
    you meet.
    Theirs is the demeanor
    of those for whom
    something has happened.

    They missed their appointments
    with destiny,
    and are living out the fate
    that befalls those
    who are not being
    who they are.

    They were flip
    and casual
    with their life choices.
    They didn’t even know
    they were making choices.

    They did not listen.
    Did not look.
    Did not know what
    was going on.

    They refused to grow up,
    and are stalled in a holding pattern,
    stuck in an eddy
    out of the flow of life,
    wandering in a wasteland
    of their own making,
    because they thought,
    “No big deal.
    Nothing will happen.”

    We have to find our way
    to our heart,
    and align ourselves
    with our heart’s true joy,
    and do what we can do
    with all our heart,
    and soul,
    and mind,
    and strength–
    and not kid ourselves
    about what that is.

    That is the path
    that will take us
    through the developmental tasks,
    and lead us to abide
    by the protocols–
    the trials and ordeals–
    of our own becoming.

    We will be birthing ourselves
    our whole life long.
    Coming to ourselves at last.
    Arriving at our own doorstep,
    to the welcoming greeting
    of “Well done! Well done!”


  • 06/22/2019—  Smoky Mountain Stream 2013-11 02 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, November, 2013 — An iPhone Photo.

    Enlightenment is not
    a steady state of being.

    There are no steady states of being.

    We ebb and flow,
    rise and fall,
    come and go,
    yes and no,
    throughout our life.

    Enlightenment is knowing
    what’s what
    in each moment
    all along the way.

    Enlightenment,
    realization,
    awareness
    are all the same thing.

    What we know
    is what’s what,
    when and where,
    here and now,
    and what to do about it–
    how to live in response to it,
    and how that leads
    to the next moment
    where we repeat
    seeing,
    knowing,
    doing,
    being
    again,
    moment-to-moment-to-moment.

    There is no place to be
    other than here/now.

    If we cannot be here/now,
    we cannot be anywhere ever.

    The place to be
    is right here right now.

    Know what’s what here/now
    and what to do about it,
    in response to it.

    Go where that leads
    and repeat the process
    forever.

    One moment at a time.

    That’s all there is to it.


  • 06/22/2019—  The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 2015-01 06 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, January 28, 2015

    We live our life in search of The Magic,
    looking for The Magic,
    waiting for The Magic to happen,
    wondering what’s happened
    to The Magic.

    The Magic can happen
    any time,
    anywhere.

    But.

    It does not happen all the time,
    everywhere.

    The Magic is a function
    of The Way.

    Any old way won’t do.

    The path opens before those
    who start walking–
    WHEN they are walking
    The Way that is right for them.

    For instance,
    we can’t marry just anybody,
    I don’t care how much in love we are.
    Being in love is no test
    of the validity of a marriage.
    Anybody can be in love with anybody,
    But nobody can be married
    to just anybody.

    How do we determine
    who is right for us?

    First things first.
    Who are we?
    What is good for us,
    and what is not good for us?
    What serves our best interests,
    and what is detrimental
    to our well-being?
    Where do we belong,
    and where do we have
    no business being?
    How much of ourselves
    do we have to deny
    in order to be with somebody else?

    We can’t know whom to marry
    until we know who we are
    and what we are about–
    until we know what is right for us,
    and what is wrong for us.

    If we are living out of a
    “What the hell, why not?”
    orientation,
    The Magic will be waiting for us
    along a different path.
    And we will keep running
    into dead ends
    and blind alleys,
    missing turns
    and running through stop signs,
    wondering where The Magic is,
    only finding where The Magic isn’t.

    The Magic begins
    when we start looking
    in the right places.

    Listen to your heart,
    listen to your body,
    listen to your belly,
    listen to your bones,
    listen to your nighttime dreams,
    listen to your experience,
    listen to how you respond
    to what is happening
    listen to what you feel,
    to what you sense,
    to what you intuit,
    to what resonates with you,
    to what calls your name,
    to what is you
    and what is not-you,
    to what makes your little heart sing,
    to what you love to do,
    to how you love to spend your time,
    to what you can do with all your heart
    and see what that tells you
    about who you are.

    And don’t marry anybody
    who interferes with these things.
    And don’t spend your time
    with anything that runs contrary
    to these things.
    The further you get from these things,
    the further you will be from The Magic.

    But.

    The Magic will always be waiting
    for you to start listening
    your way back to the path
    with your name on it,
    and feeling your way toward
    what is right for you.

    It is never too late
    to start doing
    what is right for you.


  • 06/22/2019—  Nursery Photos 2019-06 04 — Lotus Flower, Pike’s Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, June 22, 2019, An iPhone Photo

    We all are seeking a meaningful life–
    or have given up on ever finding one.

    The lack of a meaningful life
    is the root of all of our problems.

    We assume meaning is going to
    just be there
    once we can pay our bills
    and settle into a comfortable routine.

    Alcoholics assume once they achieve sobriety,
    it will all come together for them,
    fall into place,
    and they will live happily ever after.

    There needs to be a 13th step.
    After sobriety, what?
    What besides chopping wood
    and carrying water,
    and the doing the laundry?

    When does meaning come into play?
    Where is meaning to be found?

    After we can pay the bills
    and settle into a comfortable routine;
    after we are sober
    and living responsible lives–
    where is the *meaning*?

    A child with an ice cream cone
    isn’t bothered by the meaning question.

    What is the adult equivalent of an ice cream cone?
    It isn’t another car,
    or a larger TV set…

    Where can we, as adults,
    be as happy in the moment of our living
    as a child with an ice cream cone?

    What did we do as a child
    that absorbed us completely?
    So that, not only did we not worry
    about meaning–
    we didn’t worry about anything,
    did not think about anything,
    did not know what time it was,
    did not care what day it was…

    Where did we lose ourselves
    in what we were doing
    as children?

    How long has it been since
    we did that as adults?

    We answer the meaning question
    by doing what is meaningful.
    I’m writing these words.
    I took the photo attached to these words.
    I make the best jalapeno-pimento-cheese
    in the world.
    I watch the birds while I’m photoing them…

    Don’t talk to me about meaning
    while I’m doing my thing!

    What’s your thing?
    How much time do you spend
    doing it,
    in a day?
    In a week?


  • 06/23/2019—  Sunflowers 2019-02 01/02 Panorama — Draper Wildlife Management Area, York County, South Carolina, June 20, 2019 — An iPhone Photo.

    At the core,
    there is no separation.

    When we are living from our core,
    we are One with everyone else
    who is living from their core.

    From the beginning,
    all of those who have lived from their core
    have known the same thing:
    “All things are one.”

    We are one at the core,
    but on the periphery,
    we are at war!

    Jesus and the Buddha and Allah
    are one.

    Their disciples are at war.

    How get people out of their ideology,
    out of their theology,
    out of their doctrine,
    and creeds,
    and credo,
    and into their core–
    now, that’s a problem!

    Everybody wants to talk, talk, talk
    about what they believe is Truth.
    Nobody wants to BE the Truth
    at the core of themselves!

    To sink into the core
    is to disappear from
    the periphery.
    It is to lose the face
    that has been ours from birth,
    and to wear the face that was ours
    before we were born.

    People identify with the wrong face.
    And hate other people
    who are apparently/obviously different from them.
    This is a problem!

    So much ambition!
    So much hunger and thirst
    for power!
    So much greed!
    So much the quest for wealth
    and dominance,
    for superiority
    and separation!

    At the core,
    there is no separation!
    And that’s a problem
    for all of those who desire separation!

    The way to deal with all of these problems
    is to have nothing to do with them!

    Seek your own core!
    Live out of your own core!
    Let that be your only problem!

    That is the only problem
    any of us are equipped to solve–
    and we solve it by being still and quiet,
    and living in accord
    with that which arises/emerges
    from the silence.

    And allow everything
    to fall into place
    around that.


  • 06/24/2019—  Nursery Photos 2019-05 07 — Gerber Daisies, Pike’s Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, May 17, 2019

    Somebody has to be the grown-up
    in each situation.

    That person is not necessarily
    the oldest in the group.

    Maturity is not age-dependent.
    It has no association with age at all.

    And the mature one
    in this situation
    may not be the mature one
    in the next situation.

    Our maturity level fluctuates
    based on 10,000 factors,
    but is enhanced
    and augmented
    by attention
    and awareness.

    The more aware we are–
    and the more we are aware of–,
    the more mature we will be
    in any situation,
    in all circumstances.

    Our degree of awareness
    is not a function of age.
    It is entirely dependent
    upon the mystery
    at the heart
    of life and being.

    Why do we do what we do?
    Like what we like?
    Decide what we decide?

    What guides our boat
    on its way through the sea?

    We are not in charge of ourselves.
    And, if we listen
    and align ourselves
    with inclinations
    and urges
    arising within,
    we will find ourselves
    doing things
    we cannot account for
    or understand–
    or begin to be able
    to explain,
    defend,
    justify
    or excuse.

    The urgencies
    directing our living
    have an origin
    beyond our ken.

    We are being led
    by gentle forces
    along paths we cannot see,
    toward destinations we cannot envision,
    through experiences we would not have chosen,
    to realizations we could not conceive
    on our own.

    We are not on our own.
    Everything about us
    is a gift,
    not of our own devising.

    So what is with
    the willful determination
    to have our way?
    That is just another husk
    we have to shed
    on our way
    to maturity and grace
    and simply being.


  • 06/24/2019—  Family Outing 2019-06 01 Panorama — Canada Geese, Catawba River, Landsfort Canal State Park, Catawba, South Carolina, May 28, 2019

    Things happen to us all the time.
    How we respond to them
    makes all the difference.

    We are the fulcrum,
    the pivot point,
    between past and future.

    We shift past into future.

    I don’t care what our past has been,
    we determine what our future will be
    by the way we respond
    to what life has given us
    in each moment,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    How we read the situation;
    how aware we are
    of all the factors inherent
    in the situation;
    how thoroughly
    and objectively
    we evaluate the situation;
    how emotionally detached
    we can be from the situation;
    how disinvested in the outcome
    we are in the situation;
    how open and available
    we are to the good of the situation;
    how nonjudgementally
    and compassionately
    we can be in assessing the situation;
    all goes into
    how well we will be capable
    of responding to the situation.

    We have to live apart
    from the life we are living
    in order to live it
    as well as we can.

    We have to take it seriously enough,
    we have to care about it enough,
    we have to be engaged with it enough,
    to do what needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises.

    But.

    If we are too much attached to the outcome
    we lose our leverage,
    and our balance
    on the slippery slope,
    the dangerous path,
    the razor’s edge
    that is our life–
    and have to pick ourselves up,
    again,
    and work to do better next time,
    again,
    all our life long.


  • 06/24/2019—  Biedler Forest 2019-06 01 Panorama — Four Hole Swamp, Francis Biedler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, June 23, 2019

    Here’s what:

    Find the path that is your path,
    the way that is your way.
    The one you *know* is your path,
    your way,
    the one nobody can knock you off of–
    using the gifts that are your gifts,
    the interests that are your interests,
    the proclivities that are your proclivities,
    the talents that are your talents,
    the traits that are your traits,
    the knacks that are your knacks–
    and stay on that path!

    Be true to the self that is yours to be
    and the life that is yours to live
    in whatever circumstances
    the day delivers.

    Day in and day out.
    All your life long.


  • 06/24/2019—  Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies 2019-06 18 Panorama — Catawba River, Landsford Canal State Park, Catawba, South Carolina, June 24, 2019

    Of course, it’s all hopeless,
    meaningless,
    useless,
    senseless,
    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.

    So what if nothing matters
    (And, if nothing matters,
    why act like it matters
    that nothing matters?
    If it matters that nothing matters,
    something else might also matter,
    like wearing sunglasses
    on a bright day!)

    The fish are continuing to swim.
    The birds are continuing to fly.
    The rivers still flowing to the sea.

    What’s the problem?

    Hopelessness,
    meaninglessness,
    etc.
    doesn’t change a thing.
    And living as though it doesn’t matter
    whether anything matters or not,
    changes everything!

    Give it your best
    in each situation that arises!
    No matter what!
    All your life long!


  • 06/25/2019—  Francis Biedler Forest 2019-09 21 Panorama — Four Hole Swamp, Francis Biedler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, June 23, 2019

    Our guidance
    and direction
    come to us
    in one of three ways,
    or as a combination of them:

    Urgency,
    Urge,
    Realization.

    And,
    it is impossible
    to distinguish
    The Way
    from The Way To The Way.

    We are always on one
    or the other.

    The best advice
    always applies
    in every situation:

    Sit still,
    be quiet,
    and see what emerges.


  • 06/25/2019—  Nursery Photos 2019-06 03 — Frond, Pike’s Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, June 22, 2019

    Being aware
    of what emerges,
    arises,
    occurs to us
    is salvific awareness.

    Acting on it,
    living in light of it,
    is salvation.


  • 06/25/2019—  Cypress Swamp 2019-06 06 Panorama — Santee National Wildlife Refuge, Cuddo Unit, Summerton, South Carolina, June 14, 2019

    The visible, physical world
    is concrete, literal, actual, tangible, real.

    The invisible, spiritual–
    “spiritual” meaning “of the spirit,”
    “of the heart,”
    “of the soul”–
    is metaphorical, abstract, intangible
    and also real.

    Ancient peoples understood
    the visible world
    to proceed from,
    and to be grounded upon,
    the invisible world.

    But, over time, “real” came to mean
    that which can be counted,
    weighed,
    measured,
    quantified,
    fenced in,
    walled up,
    owned,
    bought
    and sold.

    Our nighttime dreams
    cannot even be ordered up
    beforehand–
    how can anyone
    think they are real?

    And, if we consider them at all,
    we take them to be literal.

    We dream we are flying
    and think that supports
    our conviction
    that we are masters of our destiny,
    captains of our ship–
    that we can do anything,
    and are bound by nothing.

    We never consider
    that the dream may be
    making the observation
    that our head is in the clouds,
    and our feet don’t touch the ground.


  • 06/26/2019—  Sunflowers 2019-06 08 — The Vine Place, Van Wyck, South Carolina, June 25, 2019, an iPhone photo.

    Doing no harm
    is the first step
    in creating a well-lived life.
    There has to be
    more to it than that.

    I was talking to an elderly gentleman
    in a nursing home
    in one of the parishes I served.

    “What did you do with your life?”
    I asked.

    Without hesitating, he replied,
    “I’ve been sober for 52 years!”

    “What did being sober enable you to do?”

    “It kept me from drinking!”

    “I get it,” I said.

    “And you didn’t do any of the things
    you would have done
    if you had been drunk.”

    “You got it!” he said.

    “Well,” I said,

    “I didn’t do any of the things
    I would have done
    if I had been drunk, either.”

    And we laughed into the night.

    But.

    We cannot build a life
    on what we didn’t do,
    or on what we are not doing.

    A well-lived life does things,
    as well as not-doing other things.

    What are we *doing* with our life?

    Joseph Campbell said,
    “A mature person is a wheel
    rolling out of its own center.”

    Toward what?

    “Toward its own realization and expression,”
    I imagine him saying in reply.

    Self-realization.
    Self-expression.
    Self-transparency.
    Self-determination.
    Self-examination.
    Self-correction.
    Self-redirection…

    All in light of serving
    that which *is* who we are
    in our life.

    We are servants of ourselves–
    and we cannot live any old way at all
    in doing the work
    of being who we are.

    We are *this way*
    and not *that way.*
    And we have to know
    what *this* is
    and what *that* is,
    and not blur the line
    between them,
    and never, ever, cross it!

    To live like that
    is to live a well-lived life.

    Let’s to it!


  • 06/26/2019—  Beidler Forest 2019-06 16 — Four Hole Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, June 23, 2019, an iPhone photo — In 1989, Hurricane Hugo devastated much of the south east, and Beidler Forest suffered significant damage, with huge Cypress trees falling, and many taking sections of the board walk down as they fell.

    From the Guidebook (Which you can download from the Audubon Center & Sanctuary website): “Our philosophy was simple: Beidler Forest is a natural area and Hurricane Hugo was a natural force—not so much an instrument of destruction as a carrier of change. The swamp is still a swamp: downed trees rotted, thick brush has thinned out, and wildlife adjusted, just as it always has. Life goes on here; it simply looks different.”

    +++

    It should be self-apparent
    that all people have an innate right
    to their own lives–
    as long as they do no harm
    to the lives of others.

    That needs to be the first article
    in our Covenant of Agreement
    with every person world-wide.

    And the methods and practices
    of finding our life and living it
    ought to be a foundational aspect
    of education from childhood to adult
    in every country.

    People begin taking our right
    to our own life
    away from us at birth,
    and no one knows
    how to find their life
    and live it.

    And that is the root
    of all of our problems,
    across the table,
    around the board.


  • 06/26/2019—  Landsford Canal State Park 2019-06 01 Panorama — Catawba, South Carolina, on the Catawba River, June 25, 2019, an iPhone photo.

    There are people
    who have given up on their life.

    They haven’t learned the difference
    between solitude and isolation.

    They are isolated.
    Cut-off.
    Disenfranchised.
    Relegated to the periphery of society.
    Lost,
    probably alone,
    without hope in the world.

    The faces of lifetime poverty
    have the life drained
    out of them.
    Poverty will do that to you–
    if you don’t have the resources
    to develop an immunity
    to the reality of your situation,
    and to live grounded
    in a different reality–
    that of solitude
    and inner vibrancy.

    We are back to the Marianne More quote,
    “The cure for loneliness is solitude.”
    The cure for everything is solitude.

    Solitude fosters a relationship
    with our inner self,
    with our core,
    with The Core,
    The Source,
    The Grounding Foundation,
    of life and being.

    There are people who have never
    had people in their life
    who understood the important things
    and talked with them
    about what matters most
    and how to draw on it
    for all matters
    great and small.

    Everybody needs a Community of Innocence
    that can talk to them about
    the grounding realities.
    AA is as close as it gets,
    and AA generally stops
    with keeping people sober.

    The 13th Step
    is getting people into their life,
    into the life that has their name on it,
    the life that no one but them can live.

    We all need help taking
    the 13th step.
    Jungian Analysts are the only people
    I know of who are doing this,
    and they are doing it
    one person at a time.

    There aren’t enough Jungian Analysts.


  • 06/27/2019—  Green River Canyon 2008-09 01 — Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah, September, 2008

    “Anything can happen,
    if you let it!”
    (The Wisdom of Mary Poppins).

    Mary Poppins is an apt metaphor
    for our Psyche-Self within,
    and we
    (Who we mean when we say,
    “I’m going to get a drink of water”)
    are all of the characters in the play/movie,
    from Burt to the bankers.

    And.
    We have to be at
    a certain place in our life
    before we can change our mind
    about what is important.

    And.
    We have to change our mind
    about what is important
    at every transition point
    along the way.

    Along The Way.
    And.
    Along The Way To The Way.

    Which means, of course,
    at every shift-point in our life.

    And.
    How many shift-points are there?
    How large is our awareness?
    How big is our soul?

    We are always capable
    of more
    than we can ask,
    or think.
    or imagine.

    So.
    What’s with the refusal
    to change our mind
    about what is important?


  • 06/27/2019—  Beidler Forest 2019-06 17 — Four Hole Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, June 23, 2019, an iPhone photo — More Hurricane Hugo (1989) damage.

    Where does Mary Poppins go when she leaves?
    What does she do while she is gone?
    How does she spend her time
    on her day off?

    The questions abound.

    The only thing really important
    about Mary Poppins
    is that she is always here/now with us
    when we need her.

    Where are we?

    We have to be here/now
    to be available to Mary Poppins
    when she pops in.

    If no one answers the door
    when she knocks,
    she may as well not knock,
    not pop in,
    not show up.

    We have to show up
    if we expect Mary Poppins to show up.

    Psyche is only available to help us
    if we are available to be helped.

    No one can be helped
    against their will.
    And we all have to grow up
    against our will.

    So.
    Who is going to help us with that?

    We have to answer that question
    for ourselves,
    and open the door
    for Mary Poppins.


  • 06/27/2019—  Red Barn and White Fence 2019-06 01 — Chester County, South Carolina, June 25, 2019, an iPhone Photo

    We have to find our own way
    to The Way,
    and The Way
    is always trying to find us.

    The Way is always calling our name,
    winking and waving to us,
    flashing across our path
    and disappearing around corners
    and down rabbit holes,
    looking back to see
    if we are following.

    And we are always saying,
    “What? Me? No way!”
    Or,
    “Maybe later.
    Maybe tomorrow.
    Maybe next week.
    Maybe next time.”
    And going our own way,
    which, of course,
    is the way to The Way,
    but we drag out the time
    of our awakening,
    and do not cooperate
    with That Which Is
    Always Working
    In Our Behalf
    To Wake Us Up
    And Transform Our Life.

    We could speed the time
    of our awakening
    simply by being aware
    of how we are delaying things forever.


  • 06/27/2019—  Beidler Forest 2019-06 09 Panorama — Four Hole Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, June 23, 2019, an iPhone photo

    There are antecedents
    to most things,
    but not reasons
    for everything.

    Looking for “reasons why”
    is a waste of time
    and life energy,
    and opportunities
    to ask better questions
    and to respond
    in more appropriate ways
    to our present situation.

    “This is just how things are.
    What are you going to do about it?
    How are you going to respond to it?
    How will you dance with how things are
    in this situation,
    in these circumstances?”

    Every “Why?” question
    eventually–
    and sooner rather than later–
    leads to
    “I don’t know.”
    Or to
    “That’s just the way it is.”

    Here we are,
    now what?

    So what?
    Now what?

    Our response to the situation
    is always the most important thing
    about the situation,
    preventing a really terrible mess
    from escalating
    into a complete global catastrophe.

    Keep that in mind
    the next time something happens.


  • 06/28/2019—  Blackberries 2019-06 03 — The Vine Place, Van Wyck, South Carolina, June 27, 2019, an iPhone Photo.

    Carl Jung thought
    that individuals
    finding and living their own life
    are the hope of the world.

    The trick is
    that individuals
    finding and living their own life
    require a support community.

    Have you ever tried finding
    one of those?
    AA is the only legitimate
    support community
    I know of,
    and even AA tends
    to disappear the individual
    into the “We”
    of the particular group
    and the AA Doctrine.

    We need support communities
    in which the “I”
    is not absorbed
    into the “We.”

    My support communities
    have never been more
    than the two or three
    Jesus mentioned,
    and even then,
    we all didn’t meet together.

    Three people take on a different hue
    than two people,
    and five people quickly
    become a mob.

    “Group think”
    and “going along with the group”
    is the easiest way I know
    of not listening to ourselves.

    Listening to–
    and hearing–
    ourselves
    is the path
    to life everlasting.
    And our support groups
    have to enable us to hear ourselves,
    or they replace ourselves
    with the group image
    of how we ought to be.

    Nobody knows how we ought to be,
    not even ourselves–
    and, thus, we have to listen to ourselves!
    We have to know what *we* know
    at our heart,
    core,
    center.
    And, we cannot get there
    by being told.
    We get there by being heard.

    We need support groups
    that listen us
    into being able to hear ourselves
    saying what we need to hear.

    We need a support group
    that has nothing at stake in us–
    that doesn’t need us at all.
    Not to contribute our money,
    not to sing in its choir
    or teach its Sunday schools,
    not to set up beforehand
    or take down and cut out the lights
    at the end…

    We need Communities of Innocence–
    innocent of motive,
    innocent of agendas,
    innocent of having to further
    its own existence…
    with no reason to exist
    beyond hearing one another
    into listening to ourselves.

    We are quickly back
    to finding two or three others
    who can provide the mutual support
    we all need
    to find and be who we are.
    And, they have to be
    the right kind of people.

    Which means *we*
    have to be the right kind of person.
    In order to be the right kind of people,
    we have to be the right kind of person.
    It all starts with us.

    We start with solitude.
    And trust ourselves
    to find others like us
    to support us
    in being who we are,
    by being who we are.

    In so doing,
    we become
    the hope of the world.


  • 06/28/2019—  Nursery Photos 2019-06 06 — Ferns on Black, Pikes Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, June 22, 2019, an iPhone Photo

    Seeing things as they are
    changes everything.

    It takes a lot of looking
    to be able to see.

    Illusion is seeing
    that fails to see itself seeing.

    Letting someone else tell us what to see
    is the root of all that ails us.

    It starts with seeing for ourselves–
    the foundation of enlightenment.

    Seeing for ourselves grounds us
    and stabilizes us.

    Seeing for ourselves orients us,
    guides and directs us.

    As we orient and stabilize ourselves,
    we disorient and destabilize structures and relationships.

    Nothing threatens our structures/institutions
    like seeing our structures/institutions.

    Nothing threatens our relationships
    like seeing our relationships.

    What is good for us is bad for our social structures.
    What is good for our social structures is bad for us.

    Working it out means walking two paths at the same time.
    And it means bearing the pain of our own becoming.

    When we ground ourselves in our own seeing,
    we threaten the way things are.

    We have to bear the reaction of our surroundings
    to the shift in our way of being engaged with them.

    It is a time of testing–
    a time of trial and ordeal.

    We respond by seeing with awareness and compassion,
    and living out of our own ground and foundation.

    Gradually, the world shifts back into relationship with us–
    with a different orientation and direction.

    Our place is to see it through.
    See?


  • 06/29/2019—  Sunflowers 2019-06 12 — Draper Wildlife Management Area, Brattonsville Road, McConnells, South Carolina, June 28, 2019

    Seeing things as they are
    is the ultimate revolution.

    Seeing things changes things.

    Nothing can be what it was
    once it is seen
    for what it is.

    Seeing is knowing.
    Knowing is transforming.

    Knowing transforms the knower.
    A transformed knower
    transforms their life
    and their world
    and all worlds
    impacted by their world.

    Resistance is generated,
    backlash is automatic,
    repercussion is encountered,
    hatred is unleashed
    and the game is on!

    This is how things are.
    Seeing how things are
    changes how things are.
    But.
    Not easily.
    Not quickly.
    Not smoothly.
    Not without disruption,
    disorder
    and chaos.

    Things are as they are
    because someone is benefiting
    from things being that way–
    and will do whatever it takes
    to keep them that way,
    including not-seeing
    what they are doing.

    Seers create not-seers by seeing.

    So, don’t be surprised
    if people take issue
    with you for seeing,
    and ask you to leave town,
    or crucify you
    for being a trouble-maker,
    a rabble-rouser,
    a blasphemer,
    a heretic,
    a fiend
    and the anti-Christ.

    Christ was a lot of people’s idea
    of the anti-Christ.

    That’s a potential side-effect
    of seeing things as they are,
    and keeps people from looking
    at what’s there.


  • 06/29/2019—  Beidler Forest 2019-06 10 Panorama — Four Hole Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, June 23, 2019, an iPhone photo.

    Seeing is knowing.

    Knowing is doing.

    Doing is becoming/being.

    Being is seeing…

    This is the process
    of enlightenment.

    Seeing is action
    in the field of action,
    which leads to reflection
    which leads to seeing
    which enlarges,
    expands,
    deepens,
    being.

    We become who we are
    by seeing what’s what,
    which includes what is to be done in response,
    and doing it.

    We do not become who we are
    by thinking about it,
    or by believing anything.

    See. Know. Do. Be/Become.

    If we do not act
    upon what we know
    needs to be done,
    we forsake our calling,
    betray ourselves,
    and are all people
    most to be pitied.

    The most time spent
    on the spiritual journey/quest
    is in the service
    of working up our courage
    to do what needs us to do it.

    If we do it,
    that is time well-spent.


  • 06/29/2019—  Beidler Forest 2019-06 06 — Four Hole Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, June 23, 2019, an iPhone photo.

    What is important changes over time,
    but.
    Always reflects what is important
    at the bottom of it all
    in each time and place of our living.

    James Joyce (In *A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man*)
    said: “Pity is the feeling which arrests the mind
    in the presence
    of whatsoever is grave and constant
    in human sufferings
    and unites it with the human sufferer.

    Terror is the feeling which arrests the mind
    in the presence
    of whatsoever is grave and constant
    in human sufferings
    and unites it with the secret cause.”

    The realities of “whatsoever is grave and constant
    in human sufferings”
    (Which I take to be the experience
    of being alive as a human being),
    and “the secret cause,”
    are a part of every moment,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment–
    and are quietly revealed to us
    over the full course of our life,
    transforming what we take to be important
    at any point in our life.

    What is important
    is that we serve–
    live aligned with,
    and in accord with–
    “the grave and constant”
    and “the secret cause.”

    Gaining a sense of,
    a feel for,
    what those things are
    is a part of The Way,
    The Path,
    from the beginning,
    and is described for us
    by Aeschylus:

    “He who learns must suffer.
    And even in our sleep
    pain that cannot forget
    falls drop by drop upon the heart,
    and in our own despair,
    against our will,
    comes wisdom to us
    by the awful grace of God.”


  • 06/29/2019—  Resources for The Journey/Quest
    In addition to Jon Kabat-Zinn’s
    YouTube videos (The shortest ones first),
    Ann Weiser Cornell offers
    a wealth of sources focused on, well,
    Focusing.

    Focusing was developed by Gene Gendlin
    of the University of Chicago in the 1970’s and 80’s.
    Ann Weiser Cornell was one of his students,
    and has developed her own approach to Gendlin’s methods.

    If you do an internet search for her, you will have
    a number of sites to peruse.

    She offers free PDF downloads on one site, which
    are excerpts from her writings and teaching.

    Focusing is about listening to your body–
    particularly attending your body when it responds
    to something that strikes a cord, catches your eye,
    calls your name, resonates with you, piques your interest, or otherwise gets your attention.

    Where there is rapport, there is likely to be something
    you can use for The Journey/Quest.


  • 06/30/2019—  Neely’s Creek ARP Church, Rock Hill, South Carolina, June 28, 2019, an iPhone Photo

    By now, we all ought to know
    the questions to ask.

    If we aren’t asking them,
    there’s the reason
    things are as they are
    in our life.

    We find the way forward
    by asking all the questions
    that beg to be asked
    in each situation
    as it arises
    all our life long.


  • 06/30/2019—  There should be a lot of people
    who know more than we do
    about finding our life
    and living it,
    who could serve as guides
    and mentors to us
    all along The Way.

    But.

    “They are few and far between,”
    as the old saying goes.

    They should be everywhere.

    I know of Jon Kabat-Zinn
    (His YouTube videos are free)’
    and Ann Weiser Cornell
    (She offers free PDF downloads
    from her web site).

    Some Yoga teachers
    and acupuncturists
    qualify.

    Every Jungian Analyst is a candidate
    (That’s what Jungian Analysts do best!)

    What should come naturally
    to everyone,
    and what every parent
    and social institution
    should pass along
    to each generation,
    has been lost to most of us,
    and has to be sought out
    as another part of the process
    of seeking our life
    and the face that was ours
    before we were born.


  • 07/01/2019—  Cypress Swamp 2019-06-04 Panorama — Santee National Wildlife Refuge, Cuddo Unit, Summerton, South Carolina, June 14, 2019

    In finding our life
    and living it,
    we become servants
    of something greater
    than we are,
    and are removed/delivered
    from the daily struggle
    for the advantage,
    the gains,
    the benefits,
    the profits
    and the perks–
    and simply enjoy
    the grace
    of being able
    to do our work
    and step back.

    We still have to pay the bills,
    but.
    We no longer have
    to have it made.
    We have it made.

    Having it made has nothing to do
    with having more than enough
    to pay the bills,
    and everything to do
    with knowing what
    we are paying the bills to do.

    Striving to be better off,
    seeking to exploit our prospects
    while protecting our investments,
    and avoiding any losses,
    becoming proficient
    in the art of thrust and parry,
    maintaining constant vigil
    and courting continual favors…
    are replaced
    with seeing what is happening
    and knowing what to do in response
    in light of the true good
    of the whole
    in every situation
    and all circumstances,
    with the genius,
    gifts,
    daemon
    that are ours to employ
    in the work of being who we are,
    where we are,
    when we are,
    how we are
    for as long as we are
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    It is a different way of living,
    and flows from the heart
    of being alive.
    May it be so
    with us all!


  • 07/02/2019—  Veins 2019-06 01 — Nursery Photos, Lowe’s Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, June 30, 2019, an iPhone Photo.

    I like,
    admire,
    am attracted to,
    and impressed by
    competence combined with confidence.

    There are people who own
    certain aspects of life,
    and know it,
    without fanfare–
    who are good at
    what they do,
    and do it well–
    gracing everyone
    with their offerings
    and righting
    their three square feet
    of the world.

    They do their work
    and step back,
    letting nature
    take its course.

    There is a lot
    they can’t do at all.
    You might not want them
    singing at your wedding,
    for instance,
    unless they own singing
    at weddings,
    and then,
    you wouldn’t want
    anyone else.

    They don’t allow
    what they can’t do
    interfere with what they can do.

    They know their place,
    and laugh at the idea
    of a Renaissance Man or Woman
    with nothing they don’t know
    or can’t do,
    and nothing left to learn
    or explore.

    “They have their life,
    and I have mine,”
    they say,
    “and we all need to do
    what we can.”


  • 07/02/2019—  July Sky 2019-07 01 Panorama — Union County, North Carolina, July 2, 2019

    When those who make the law,
    and those who enforce the law,
    feel as though they don’t have to obey the law,
    the center is failing to hold
    and the foundations are cracking.

    When that happens,
    we have to be still and quiet,
    reaffirm our own foundation,
    find our own center,
    and live out of our connection with both.

    We have to be grounded
    in our own integrity,
    balanced by our own
    sense of right and wrong,
    responsibility,
    duty
    and obligation.

    Our identity
    sees us through
    the chaos
    of the heaving waves
    on the wine-dark sea.

    The blind poet Homer,
    who knew something
    about foundations
    and balance,
    and sanity,
    had Odysseus say,
    “I will stay with it and endure
    through suffering hardship /
    and once the heaving sea
    has shaken my raft to pieces,
    then I will swim.”

    That is what knowing
    your own identity,
    being grounded on your own foundation,
    and living out of your own center
    will do for you.

    Homer knew that,
    and has passed it on to us.
    It is up to us to remember it,
    so that when “the heaving sea
    has shaken (our) raft to pieces,”
    we will do what needs to be done
    by being who we are
    no matter what.


  • 07/03/2019—  Queen Anne’s Lace 2019-07 01 Panorama — Union County, North Carolina, July 2, 2019, an iPhone photo

    Our individuality flows from our identity
    and our identity is rooted in our ability
    to say “This is me, and that is not me.”

    “This attracts me, that repels me.”
    “This interests me, that disinterests me.”
    “This is where I belong,
    and that is where I have no business being.”

    We know who we are,
    and who we are not.

    Which leaves us with
    knowing what we know.

    How many of us are devoted
    to knowing what we know,
    and living out of that knowledge?

    When we fail to honor the “I,”
    refuse to heed the guidance
    of The One Who Knows,
    allow ourselves to be led
    about by the whims
    and interests of someone else,
    where does that leave “us”?

    Disconnected,
    disoriented,
    adrift,
    aimless,
    lost,
    at the mercy
    of events and circumstances,
    waiting for someone
    to tell us what to do,
    what to think,
    believe,
    see,
    hear…

    What do “we” say?
    What do “we” think?
    What do “we” feel?
    What do “we” see?
    What do “we” hear?
    What do “we” believe?
    What do “we” know?

    It starts with trusting ourselves
    to know what we know.

    Faith in ourselves,
    in our judgment
    and in our choices,
    is fundamental,
    foundational–
    the grounding element
    in being able
    to find the way to The Way,
    through the situations
    and circumstances
    of our life.

    And, no one can give that to us.
    We develop it on our own,
    within the nurturing presence
    of the right kind of others.

    The wrong kind of others
    are a blight upon the world.


  • 07/03/2019—  Lake Andrew Jackson 2019-07 02 Panorama, Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, July 2, 2019

    “What’s the meaning of life?” is not the question.

    “What does your life mean to you?” is the question.

    In the grip of a meaningful urgency,
    we can handle any set of circumstances.

    Without a meaningful relationship
    with anyone or anything,
    we lose all sense of purpose,
    and are undone by hangnails
    and hot weather.

    What does your life mean to you?

    How we answer that question
    tells the tale.


  • 07/03/2019—  Blackberries 2019-06 04 — The Vine Place, Van Wyck, South Carolina, June 26, 2019

    The contradictions which come upon us
    out of nowhere,
    giving us no time
    to adjust ourselves
    to the inescapable,
    irreconcilable,
    and mutually exclusive
    nature of their alternatives.
    force us to choose
    an unchooseable choice–
    and to spend the rest of our life
    beneath the weight
    of their burden.

    We are going to do something
    in response,
    and it is going to be wrong,
    and we are going
    to have to live with that.

    How well we do that–
    how well we come to terms
    with the unwinnable character
    of the circumstances defining
    all of our transition points(
    (And, by that very fact,
    creating the transition
    from one attitude/orientation to another)–
    determines how well we adjust
    to life itself–
    to the way things are–
    and how well we live our life,
    given the fact
    that we do not get
    to choose our choices,
    and must make the best
    of things as they come to us.

    If we can square ourselves up with that,
    we have it made,
    as much as one can have it made,
    given what faces us
    when we step forth from the womb!


  • 07/04/2019—  Beidler Forest 2019-06 14 — Water Moccasin, Four Hole Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, June 23, 2019, an iPhone photo.

    Order is simply the rearrangement of chaos.

    That’s where we come in.

    We have the eye
    to see things as they are,
    and to see things as they need to be.

    The problem is
    that we also have the eye
    to see things as we wish they were.

    This is the story of the Garden of Eden.

    It is the story of two people,
    representing the species,
    standing before how things need to be
    and how they wish they were,
    and going with how they wish they were.

    We too often fail to exercise the discipline
    to do things as they need us to do them
    in favor of exploiting them
    in light of our own idea
    of how they ought to be–
    generally with our personal gain in mind.

    We bring order out of chaos,
    but in the service of what?

    How far from
    viciousness,
    hatred,
    rage,
    cruelty
    and greed
    do we live?

    Given the power we crave,
    who is safe in our company?
    And who better run for their life?

    With us in charge,
    whose idea of the way things ought to be
    is implemented?

    Who listens beyond
    “I want that to be like this right now!”?

    Who cultivates stillness,
    nurtures silence,
    and lives to serve what emerges
    spontaneously,
    extemporaneously,
    unprompted
    and unbidden,
    of its own accord
    from the quiet source
    of life and being?

    Whose motive for living
    is ever actually,
    “Thy will, not mine, be done!”?
    With no concept whatsoever of the “Thy”?

    The “Thy” whose will we “do”
    is always some god whose will
    we are striving to bend
    to serve our idea of our own good,
    with prayers and votive offerings
    to earn merit
    and get what we want.

    Just to sit still,
    be quiet,
    and serve what emerges–
    without knowing why,
    and where it’s going,
    and what good it will do–
    is absurd beyond measure,
    and we are much too savvy for that.

    Instead of order,
    we stir the chaos,
    and wonder what we have to do
    to get things to go our way.


  • 07/04/2019—  Mormon Row 2011-06 02 HDR — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming, June 23, 2011

    We are artists all,
    arranging the elements in each scene
    (That would be the circumstances
    in each situation as it arises)
    according to our felt-sense of what is right
    within the limitations of what is fitting and proper
    for the terms and conditions
    of the moment at hand.

    Negotiation and compromise, Kid,
    negotiation and compromise.

    And, the necessary symmetry,
    balance,
    harmony,
    consonance,
    resonance,
    and accord
    can be demolished in a flash
    by imposing our will for the scene
    upon the scene–
    or our father’s will,
    or our mother’s will,
    or the will of Those Who Know Best…

    We can destroy
    easier than we can create.

    We can live to serve discord,
    dissonance,
    cacophony,
    dichotomy,
    hostility,
    antagonism
    and incongruity
    easier than we can be servants of peace
    and stewards of the common good.

    What is our motive
    for doing what we do?
    What are we trying to achieve?
    Whose good is served
    by the good we call good?
    Whose good is reduced,
    decimated,
    obliterated by the good we call good?
    How good is the good we call good?

    In light of what do we live?

    Who/what guides our boat
    on its path through the sea?

    All of this becomes clear in the silence.

    Sit still.
    Be quiet.
    See what emerges.
    Or, what causes you
    to break off the engagement
    with the source
    of life, and light and being within.

    It is all grist for the mill.

    And we are milling ourselves
    over the full course of our life.
    “We are the sculptor,
    and we are the stone”
    (Alexis Carrel).

    Artists or Anarchists?
    What say we all?


  • 07/04/2019—  Grand Prismatic Spring 2011-06 03 Panorama — Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, June, 2011

    Knowing who we are
    and what matters most to us,
    and what is ours to do
    is essential knowing.

    Everything else falls into place
    around that.

    Those things constitute our bedrock.

    Solidly grounded
    in who we are,
    what matters most
    and what is ours to do–
    so that nothing
    and no one
    can knock us off that foundation–
    positions us
    to withstand any situation
    and all circumstances
    that come upon us
    in our life.

    We secure the connection
    through the silence
    of mindful awareness,
    so that returning to the silence
    is returning to ourselves
    and the truth of who we are,
    what matters most
    and what is ours to do,
    in every situation
    and all circumstances.

    Return to the silence
    and be who you are–
    the response to all of your trials and ordeals
    every day.


  • 07/05/2019—  Blueberries 2019-06 06 — The Vine Place, Van Wyck, South Carolina, June 30, 2016, an iPhone Photo

    Unconditional love is a toxic concept,
    setting us up for abuse and neglect,
    and an endless string of accusations
    on the order of,
    “If you loved me, you would/wouldn’t…
    “I thought you loved me!
    “I knew you didn’t love me!”
    “You said you loved me!”

    Love is conditional from the start.

    It is conditional on seeing and being seen.

    The idea that “love is blind”
    has no idea of what love entails.

    It entails seeing what you look at,
    and being capable of being seen
    for who you are.

    There is no intimacy
    without vulnerability.

    There is no vulnerability
    without transparency–
    which is grounded upon
    self-transparency,
    self-reflection,
    self-acceptance,
    self-love,
    self-confidence…

    We cannot love and be loved
    without first loving ourselves.

    We spend our lives
    looking for someone to love us,
    but.
    We have to go first.
    Hoping someone else
    will be able to do
    what we are incapable of doing
    is beyond reasonable and customary.

    There is no kidding ourselves
    in love and loving and being loved–
    and no kidding the other person.

    “Kidding” is another word for “lying.”
    There is no lying in love.

    Instead of spending our time
    looking for love,
    we would be better served
    spending our time
    developing lovable attributes.

    Honesty.
    Dependability.
    Compassion.
    Sensitivity.
    Empathy.
    Integrity (Being who we say we are),
    Patience.
    Good Faith.
    Generosity.
    Grace.
    Awareness.
    Kindness.
    Etc.

    We should be what we seek.

    And allow things
    to fall into place
    around that.

    And toss the idea
    of unconditional love
    into the bin
    with delusion,
    illusion
    self-deception
    and wishful thinking.


  • 07/05/2019—  Nursery Photos 2019-06 05 — Pike’s Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, June 23, 2019, an iPhone photo.

    We all know what to do.
    Doing it is not a matter
    of knowing something we don’t know.

    We could start with diet and exercise.

    Then, there is
    alcohol,
    tobacco,
    sugar
    and salt.

    The list is really long.

    Mindful awareness,
    meditation,
    silence,
    solitude…

    Whose side are we on?
    Who are we kidding?
    Where would we be
    if it weren’t for
    lethargy
    and self-deception?


  • 07/05/2019—  Swan Lake 2019-07 05 Panorama — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, July 5, 2019

    Our life is a collection
    of people, events and circumstances.
    How we deal with it
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    makes all the difference.

    I recommend dealing with it
    mindfully,
    compassionately,
    non-judgmentally.

    When the dog throws up on the carpet,
    clean it up
    without emotional involvement.

    Recognize how you feel about it
    on every level,
    and add that
    to the collection
    of realizations
    carried in your awareness–
    without allowing any of it
    to spill over
    into the situation.

    Your awareness has it.
    You are conscious
    of how you feel.
    Clean it up
    and take care of the dog
    the way the dog needs
    to be taken care of.

    When you spill the milk,
    or forget to buy it,
    same process.
    Note it.
    Feel it.
    Note your feelings.
    Hold them in your awareness
    and clean up the milk,
    or go buy some
    at your earliest opportunity.

    Eat dry cereal,
    or with yogurt and apple juice.

    That’s dealing with it,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.


  • 07/06/2019—  Swan Lake 2019-07 12 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, July 5, 2019, an iPhone photo.

    *The Swan Lake Iris Gardens is home to all eight known species of swan and a large variety of Japanese Iris. It was a gift to the city of Sumter by Hamilton Carr Bland, who developed the Gardens, beginning in 1927, as a private sanctuary and fishing pond–with the stipulation that the Gardens remain open to the public free of charge.*

    We are here to feed our soul,
    to follow our heart,
    and to offer our gifts to the moment
    by responding to each situation as it arises
    in ways appropriate to the occasion,
    and in light of,
    and service to,
    the true good of all concerned.

    In this work,
    grace and compassion
    lead the way.
    And we give equal value
    to our needs
    and the needs of others.

    Living well is simple enough
    for a child to do it,
    and for an old person to keep doing it.

    Greed,
    fear,
    resentment,
    jealousy,
    selfishness,
    laziness
    and mindlessness
    wreck the process
    and destroy the framework
    of life together–
    and we owe it to ourselves,
    and to each other,
    to live out of the center
    of silence and stillness,
    with awareness
    reflection,
    and self-transparency
    leading to realization,
    direction,
    and self-correction
    all along the way.


  • 07/06/2019  —  Field Corn 2019-07 01 — Draper Wildlife Management Area, McConnells, South Carolina, July 6, 2019, an iPhone photo.

    We cannot tell anyone anything
    they are not prepared to hear.
    Or, better,
    we can tell them
    but their eyes won’t light up.

    Yet, in telling them
    before they can hear it,
    we prepare the way
    for them to hear it,
    “in the fullness of time.”

    So, say whatever you have to say,
    and let those who can hear it,
    hear it.
    And trust the rest to hear it
    when the time is right.

    Or, as Lao Tzu, would say,
    “Do your work and step back.
    And let nature take its course.”


  • 07/07/2019—  Sunflowers 2019-07 06 Panorama — Draper Wildlife Management Area, McConnells, South Carolina, July 6, 2019, an iPhone photo.

    We are born
    with the tools/weapons
    we need
    for living well
    the life that is ours to live.

    If we insist on a different life,
    we will have to find different tools/weapons.

    The tools/weapons
    that are ours from the start
    are:
    Looking.
    Listening.
    Seeing.
    Hearing.
    Asking/inquiring.
    Seeking.
    Knocking.
    Searching.
    Feeling.
    Sensing.
    Intuiting.
    Trusting the guides and guardians
    that are with us
    every step of the way.
    And all those like these.

    Not what we want our tools/weapons to be.

    We want invincibility.
    Invulnerability.
    Indestructibility.
    Immunity.

    We want to be indomitable.
    Unassailable.
    Almighty.
    All Powerful.
    Unstoppable.

    And we want the tools and weapons
    that will give us what we want.

    We have what we need, but.
    We don’t want what we need.

    And here we are.


  • 07/07/2019  —  Swan Lake 2019-07 07 — Black (Australian) Swan, Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, July 5, 2019

    Silence and solitude
    are the solutions
    to all of our problems today
    and every day.

    And.
    Silence and solitude
    are the source
    of all of our problems today
    and every day.

    We create our problems
    because we cannot bear
    the weight of silence and solitude.

    Silence and solitude
    bring to mind
    all of the things
    we hate and fear
    about our life–
    and we have to do something fast
    to relieve ourselves
    of the burden of being us.

    Enter the problems
    which add to the burden of being us.

    It is such a wonderful conundrum!

    The solution to our problems
    is the source of our problems.

    No.
    Not really.

    The source of our problems
    is our inability to bear the pain
    the solution to our problems
    brings to mind.

    The source of our problems
    is our desire to escape,
    avoid,
    deny
    what must be faced,
    and felt,
    and borne forever.

    We cannot escape who we are.
    We can only be who we are–
    by embracing with compassion
    and awareness
    who we also are.

    When the silence brings us
    something we do not want to acknowledge,
    we open the door,
    and say,
    “Come in, come in,
    I’ve been waiting for you to show up.
    It’s time I made my peace with you”
    (After Rumi’s “The Guest House”).

    Life begins
    when we begin to bear the pain
    of what our life has been–
    and not been.

    This is the cross Jesus was talking about
    when he said,
    “If you want to be with me,
    you have to pick up your cross daily,
    and come along for the journey.”

    There is no living without dying.
    No being alive without
    doing what is hard beyond imagining.

    The source of our pain
    is the solution to our pain.

    And it is never too late
    to start being alive.


  • 07/08/2019—  Sunflowers 2019-07 11 Panorama — Draper Wildlife Management Area, McConnells, South Carolina, June 6, 2019, an iPhone Photo

    Lao Tzu said, “Do your work
    and step back.
    Let nature take its course.”

    Native Americans were known to say,
    “It’s a good day to die.”

    They are saying the same thing.

    It is a good day to die
    because we have done our work
    through all the days
    previous to this one,
    and we can step back
    and let nature take its course.

    Doing our work–
    the work that is ours to do–
    the work that no one but us can do–
    every day
    makes any day
    a good day to die.

    If we have never done anything
    that somebody didn’t tell us to do,
    we have the time left for living
    to start doing it.

    There is nothing behond
    finding our work and doing it–
    finding our life and living it–
    to have or to do.

    If we haven’t done it up to this point,
    today is a good day to begin.

    It is a good day to be alive
    at last.


  • 07/08/2019—  Path to the Sunflower Field 2019-07 02 — Draper Wildlife Management Area, McConnells, South Carolina, June 6, 2019, an iPhone Photo

    We aren’t going anywhere.
    Where do we think we are going?
    What makes us think we are going anywhere?

    Charles Schultz nailed it.
    In the comic strip *Peanuts,*
    he had Snoopy say,
    “We had dreams of escape
    at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm,
    but once you are over the fence,
    you are still in the world.”

    So, sit down,
    be still,
    and quiet.

    Square yourself up with who you are
    and what is yours to do–
    with what makes your little heart sing
    and your little toes dance–
    and do that right here,
    right now.

    And go on doing it,
    being who you are
    to the best of your ability
    day in and day out,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    in every situation as it arises,
    no matter what the circumstances are,
    for as long as life lasts.

    Be here, now.
    Do your thing.
    And let nature take its course.


  • 07/08/2019—  Hay in the Field 2019-07 01 Panorama — Rembert, South Carolina, June 5, 2019

    There is looking until we see,
    listening until we hear,
    knowing what we know
    and living in light of it.

    Moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    That’s all there is to it.

    If you are looking for more than that,
    go get in the gold line
    along with everyone else.

    And, good luck with that.


  • 07/08/2019—  Swan Lake 2019-07 01 Panorama — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, July 5, 2019

    Ah, but.
    If it were only so simple,
    finding our life and living it.
    Finding our work and doing it.
    Finding our inner guides and guardians
    and serving them
    with fealty and devotion
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    Negotiation and compromise, Kid,
    Negotiation and compromise!

    What a slippery slope this is!
    It is a dangerous path!
    Like a razor’s edge!

    The way before us is replete
    with contradiction,
    complexity,
    complication,
    polarity,
    incompatibility,
    dichotomy…

    We are damned if we do
    and damned if we don’t.

    How can we proceed along this way?

    Only by being damned and done with it!

    We choose the unchooseable choice–
    again and again.

    We may be able to live our own life, but.
    Living our own life while paying the bills
    is the best trick in the Book of Tricks.

    Living our own life,
    doing our own work,
    while being married with children
    is out of the question.
    Don’t be ridiculous.

    The Orientals from long ago
    recognized the absurdity
    of living our own life,
    while paying the bills,
    and raising our children,
    and having a family
    and meting our social obligations and duties.
    And reserved living our own life
    for retirement and old age.
    That was the time for spiritual practice
    and devotion to the inward obligations and duties,
    fulfillment and peace.

    Before retirement
    we practice awareness,
    and work in small gestures
    to our inner guides and guardians–
    acknowledging as we are able
    the source
    and the bedrock
    of our life and being, but.

    We walk two paths at the same time
    by keeping our eye always on the other path
    while treading the one we are on,
    and not kidding ourselves
    about the difficulty
    of managing two lives
    with one body.

    Negotiation and compromise, Kid,
    Negotiation and compromise!


  • 07/08/2019—  Sunflowers 2019-07 07 — Draper Wildlife Management Area, McConnells South Carolina, July 6, 2019, an iPhone Photo.

    The dialectic within which we live out our life
    is between what Joseph Campbell called
    the Primary Mask
    and the Antithetical Mask.

    The Primary Mask is the one
    family, society and culture hand us
    when we are born,
    and comprises all of the roles
    we are expected to play
    in the first half of life–
    paying the bills,
    establishing our career,
    having a family, etc.

    The Antithetical Mask
    is “the face that was ours before we were born.”
    It is who we are built to be.
    It is what makes our little heart sing
    and our little toes dance.
    It is who we are when no one else is around,
    and we have complete liberty
    to be and do exactly whatever arises within
    and calls us into its service.

    These are the roles innate to each of us,
    which we are called to bring out
    in the second half of life
    when the requirements imposed on the first half
    can be relaxed,
    or set aside.

    The problem is there is no clearly marked
    demarcation point
    between the first and second halves of life.
    No one tells us,
    “You are now free to live your own life.”
    We have to decide for ourselves
    how much for family, society, culture
    and how much for us,
    and when we are to begin
    following the beat of our own heart
    in the way we live our life.

    How well we work things out
    tells the tale.


  • 07/08/2019—  Swan Lake 2019-07 04 Panorama — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, July 5, 2019, an iPhone photo

    A Jungian Analyst would be a great help/guide/mentor
    in learning the language of the soul
    and reading the signals coming from your Body-Mind
    to lead you along the path
    of your own unfolding.

    Trial-and-error will get you on the path,
    and get you back on the path,
    and get you back on the path,
    but why not help yourself
    in every way you can?

    We have less time to live
    than when we started.
    The sooner we start collaborating
    with That Which Knows within,
    the more fully we will be able
    to express/discover ourselves
    in the time left for living.

    Jungian Analysts are short cuts
    to self-realization,
    or “Individuation,” as they like to say.

    And, while we are on the subject
    of Jungian Analysts,
    I’ll say that it is my vision of the future
    of enlightenment
    for 3 to 5,
    or 5 to 7 like-minded people
    coming together to form
    a Community of Innocence,
    with each one agreeing
    to work with a Jungian Analyst individually–
    maybe the same Analyst,
    maybe different Analysts–
    and meeting together to share their experience
    and provide encouragement
    for the work of being who they are
    where they are,
    when they are,
    helping one another stay on the path
    and keep to the way.


  • 07/09/2019—  Igottago-Imgoing-Imgone 2012-12 01 — Charlotte, NC, December, 2012, an iPhone photo.

    Self-reflection,
    self-examination,
    self-realization,
    self-confidence,
    self-transparency,
    self-regulation,
    self-discipline,
    self-correction,
    self-guidance,
    self-trust,
    self-direction,
    self-acceptance,
    self-protection,
    self-defense,
    self-help,
    self-consolation,
    self-development,
    self-expression,
    self-awareness,
    self-admiration,
    self-love…

    We know what we need
    and what we don’t need.

    We know what is good for us
    and what is not good for us.

    We know what is right for us
    and what is not right for us.

    We are perfectly capable
    of caring for ourselves,
    of looking after ourselves,
    of looking out for ourselves,
    of finding our own way
    to the way
    that is our way
    of living
    our life.

    How often do we enter the silence,
    sit quietly,
    receiving what meets us there,
    with compassion
    and without judgment,
    or emotional reaction,
    knowing what we know,
    reflecting on what we know,
    listening to what is speaking to us,
    holding everything in our awareness,
    asking the questions
    that beg to be asked,
    saying the things
    that cry out to be said,
    seeing what emerges?

    Imagine the source
    of infinite knowledge and wisdom
    as being contained
    in a black bowling ball,
    or a rock,
    or a piece of wood,
    or anything that would serve
    to connect you
    with your own knowledge and wisdom.

    Sit quietly in the presence
    of your imagined source
    of knowledge and wisdom,
    and ask it anything,
    or tell it anything,
    and wait for its response
    to come to you in reply.

    Engage in a probing dialogue,
    as you might with Yoda
    or Obi-wan Kenobi,
    or the Delphic Oracle,
    talking,
    listening,
    wondering,
    inquiring…

    And see where it goes.


  • 07/09/2019—  July Sky 2019-07 04 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, July 7, 2019, an iPhone photo

    If I were going to a costume party,
    I would go as an animal,
    not any of the varieties of human beings,
    or of the superheros,
    but a mammal,
    because all animals are just what they are,
    and I don’t like to swim,
    or fly,
    or live in the ground,
    and of the mammals,
    a raccoon seems to fit my personality.

    They wear a mask
    as if to say,
    “There is more to me
    than meets the eye,”
    and they are clever,
    and well-adapted to doing
    whatever the situation requires,
    and don’t appear
    to take themselves too seriously.
    And, they are always up to something.

    If I were to have a totem animal,
    of my own choosing,
    it would be a raccoon.

    What would yours be?


  • 07/10/2019—  Swan Lake 2019-07 11 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, July 5, 2019, an iPhone photo

    We can create moods
    by the things we choose
    to think about,
    and the things we choose
    to do.

    We can change our mood
    by thinking and doing differently,
    consciously,
    intentionally.

    There are places,
    and odors,
    and sounds,
    and sights
    that foster moods,
    that trigger moods,
    that immerse us in moods,
    that drown us in moods…

    We have to know what they are
    and avoid them when possible,
    and, when impossible,
    we have to put their impact
    in our awareness,
    and counter-act them
    by grounding ourselves
    in the here and now
    through our breathing
    and by attending the moment
    with deliberate focus
    and total presence.

    Our moods can own us,
    and we can own them back,
    by sealing them off in our awareness,
    and shutting them out of our life.


  • 07/10/2019—  July Sky Panorama 2019-07 05 — Union County, North Carolina, July 5, 2019, an iPhone Photo

    Taking stock,
    that is,
    taking all things into account,
    at this point in my life,
    my assets outweigh my liabilities.

    As I get older,
    the scales will begin to balance,
    and then to tip toward the liabilities,
    and then my assets
    will increasingly disappear
    until it’s time to go.

    I am very much aware of the scale,
    and very much aware of the implications,
    and very much aware of living
    with life in mind
    while I can.

    Carl Jung spent a lot of time
    reflecting on, what he called, “individuation,”
    becoming the individual
    we are created with the potential of being.
    Life, for him, was the arena
    of our becoming who we are–
    who we are capable of being.

    For me, “really living,”
    means really doing the things
    that express who I am,
    that reveal who I am,
    that make me known to me
    and to all who know me.

    That is what we do with the last half of life,
    if we are being true to ourselves
    and aware of our obligation and responsibilities
    to the potential
    we steward
    and carry within.

    May we all live
    so as to be alive
    in the time left for living!


  • 07/10/2019—  Ocracoke Lighthouse 2012-10 02 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Outer Banks, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, October 26, 2012

    We come from the stillness,
    and to the stillness we shall return.

    We come from the silence,
    and to the silence we shall return.

    It is called the stillness,
    yet it is moving with the rhythm of life.

    It is called the silence,
    yet its heart beats in time
    with the music of the spheres,
    and the AUM of life and being
    reverberates through the endless Now of then.

    And, if this sounds nonsensical,
    mindless
    and meaningless
    to you,
    you might try spending some time
    with the stillness,
    with the silence,
    with the AUM,
    with the Now–
    and see where that leads.


  • 07/11/2019—  Swan Lake 2019-07 09 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, July 5, 2019, an iPhone photo

    One person who is grounded
    upon who they are,
    and right about
    what matters most,
    can make all the difference
    in every situation that arises.

    Everybody says
    they want to make a difference–
    without understanding
    that’s all it takes.


  • 07/11/2019—  Lake Andrew Jackson 2019-06 01 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, June 30, 2019

    The source of all good things
    is the unknown stillness/silence
    from which everything emerges/arises/appears
    on its own
    “out of the blue.”

    Creators do not create so much as
    look/listen
    see/hear.

    Creators create out of an interior awareness
    that perceives the value
    in attending the voice within,
    and the sense of a compelling urgency
    recognizing “This, right here, right now is IT!
    Do what must be done about it!”


  • 07/11/2019—  Swan Lake 2019-07 03 Panorama — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, July 5, 2019, an iPhone photo

    Self-deception is the original sin.
    It is the only sin.
    It is the Unforgivable Sin.

    The life-shattering realization is
    not that we are not who we say we are,
    but that we are not who we think we are.

    This is the great comeuppance
    from which we arise
    like some Phoenix out of its own ashes
    to step with humility and self-effacement
    toward an uncertain future
    which we find our way to
    by trusting ourselves
    to the grace that brought us here
    to this place
    of believing there is more to us
    than meets the eye,
    and seeking to discover
    who that might be
    in the time left for living.

    Who are we?

    That is the question we live to discover
    through compassionate,
    non-judgmental
    mindful
    awareness
    observing our actions,
    wondering
    in light of what do we live,
    toward what do we live,
    and deciding if that is the best we can do–
    or if we might find a better grounding foundation
    and serve that with fealty
    and liege loyalty
    all our life long.


  • 07/12/2019—  July Sky 2019-07 06 — Union County, North Carolina, July 2, 2019, an iPhone Photo

    Sit still.

    Be quiet.

    Wait for the way to emerge.

    Listen in the stillness.

    Watch in the silence.

    Wait for the way to become apparent.

    Like a white rabbit
    winking at you from across the road
    and disappearing behind the congestion
    of rush hour traffic.


  • 07/13/2019—  Cypress Swamp Panorama 2019-07 02 Panorama — Santee National Wildlife Refuge, Cuddo Unit, Wildlife Drive, Summerton, South Carolina, July 12, 2019

    “Keep looking until you see,”
    is the best advice
    I’ve ever had.

    Seeing leads to a certain future,
    not-seeing leads to a different future.

    Both futures ask hard things of us, but.
    Seeing is life.
    Not-seeing is death.

    Between the two,
    choose life–
    and live to be alive
    in the time left for living!

    Keep looking until you see–
    and ask all of the questions
    that beg to be asked
    in each situation as it arises
    all your life long.


  • 07/13/2019—  Anhinga 2019-06 01 — Santee National Wildlife Refuge, Cuddo Unit, Wildlife Drive, Summerton, South Carolina, June 14, 2019

    Consciousness–
    awareness–
    realization–
    enlightenment–
    seeing what we look at–
    knowing what’s what–
    and what it implies–
    what it means–
    what is happening–
    what needs to be done about it–
    so that we might do it–
    is the whole point.

    It is important
    because it furthers
    the whole show.

    There is an evolutionary advantage
    to being conscious–
    but, beyond that,
    beyond improving our survive-ability,
    consciousness transforms the nature
    of the natural world.

    Nature can only go so far
    without becoming/being conscious,
    and needs conscious awareness of itself
    in order to transform itself,
    and take evolution beyond
    the same-old-same-old.

    In order for evolution to be evolutionary,
    nature evolved into consciousness
    so that those who are conscious
    might–by being conscious–
    create new expressions of life
    beyond anything that has been,
    or could be,
    without consciousness.

    Consciousness is its own reason for being.
    By being conscious,
    we produce more than can be imagined,
    or thought.
    We live our way toward what,
    we do not know,
    by being conscious of our choices
    and choosing consciously
    what seems to draw us,
    attract us,
    resonate with us–
    without understanding why it should.

    We “realize” ourselves in this way.
    We become who we are–
    in light of all things considered,
    negotiating and compromising
    with our circumstances–
    we express ourselves,
    we unfold
    and reach toward our innate potential
    by growing toward that which calls us forth.

    Sunflowers do the same thing.

    Every living thing aspires to live toward
    that which brings it forth.

    Consciousness enables us to better become
    who we are
    by knowingly seeking and serving
    that which brings us forth.
    And it is all such an individual matter.

    What works to bring me forth
    will not be the same thing
    that works to bring you forth.

    All sunflowers are the same over time.
    Lions can only do what lions do.
    Human beings can follow different routes
    to self-realization,
    and expand the meaning–
    and the possibilities–
    of being human thereby.

    So, wake up!
    Wake up!
    Wake up!

    Pay Attention!

    Be Aware!

    The future of the species requires us
    to see and know we are seeing–
    and to do what must be done in response!


  • 07/13/2019—  Sunflowers 2019-07 09 — Draper Wildlife Management Area, McConnells, South Carolina, July 06, 2019, an iPhone Photo

    Everything about us is geared to bringing us forth.
    We live to be who we are capable of being.
    The focus of our entire invisible world
    is assisting,
    enabling,
    abetting
    us in the process of our own development,
    self-expression,
    self-realization
    in the time we have available to us,
    in response to,
    and in spite of,
    the circumstances within which we live.

    Our worst decisions/choices
    work to wake us up to the work of becoming who we are,
    just as our best decisions/choices do–
    except that our worst ones take more time
    to bring us back to the path
    and put us back on track,
    and that is less time we have overall to work with,
    and time is the crucial element
    limiting our growth into who we may yet be.

    It is to our advantage
    to cooperate with that which is calling our name.

    To do that,
    we have to learn to listen,
    intuit,
    sense,
    feel,
    reflect,
    examine
    and realize
    how our invisible, unconscious, side
    is striving to get our attention
    and keep us on the way to being/becoming
    who we have the potential of being.

    Our dreams are daily reports
    of how it is with us in our life
    and how we need to self-correct
    and adjust our aims and methods
    to better be ourselves.

    Information comes at us from all sides,
    begging to be seen, heard, appraised, interpreted, applied.

    How receptive we are to the guidance
    that is being offered
    tells the tale.


  • 07/13/2019—  The House and the Barn 2019-07 01 — Lancaster County, South Carolina, July 10, 2019

    What does what’s happening have to do
    with who we are,
    with who we show ourselves to be?

    What do our circumstances have to do
    with who we are,
    with who we show ourselves to be?

    Why don’t we spend more time
    living in light of what is truly important:
    Being who we are!
    Living in ways which express and make plain
    who we are!

    We try to shape ourselves in ways
    we hope
    will result in rewards
    and glory beyond measure.

    We dismiss ourselves
    in hopes of bending events in our favor.
    We sacrifice our virgin daughters
    and our firstborn sons
    to secure the benefits,
    gain the advantage,
    earn merit
    and have it made.

    As though having it made is more important
    than ourselves,
    our daughters
    and our sons!

    We have lost our minds,
    and our foundation,
    and are awash in nonsense
    and absurdity.

    We have to ground ourselves
    in our own center,
    and live in ways that declare
    what is truly valuable
    and the only thing
    that can right the world
    and put things in accord with the Tao
    of life and being.

    Living out of our own center
    is the missing element
    in a world searching for purpose
    and direction,
    grace
    and hope.

    Put that in place,
    and everything else
    falls into place around it.


  • 07/13/2019—  Beidler Forest 2019-06 00 — Water Moccasin, Four Hole Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, June 23, 2019

    How we live in the present
    strongly influences
    what happens in our future.

    If you want to be a photographer,
    you better be taking pictures.

    If you want to be a writer,
    you better be writing–
    and reading.

    Trying to do it like the people
    you admire do it.

    Whether photographs,
    or poems,
    or prose,
    copying the styles
    of your idols
    improves your chances
    of becoming someone else’s idol,
    or at least,
    successful in the field.

    But.
    Don’t just be talking
    about being a photographer
    or a writer.
    That’s one thing photographers
    and writers don’t do much of.

    Jesus never talked about
    being Jesus,
    or Moses,
    or King David.
    Jesus never talked about
    being anyone other than himself.

    Jesus did Jesus the way he would do Jesus.
    You do you the way you would do you.

    How well you do that in your present,
    sets you up for doing it very well in your future.

    Practice being you.
    Knock their eyes out.


  • 07/14/2019—  Day Lily 2019-06 03 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 2, 2019

    The purpose/function of Psyche/Soul in our life
    is to enable our development
    as fully-functioning human beings.

    Our unconscious is present
    to set us upon the path
    that is our path
    and help us remain there
    throughout our life.

    The path is that of our own unfolding,
    coming forth,
    for the good of each other
    and the entire world.

    Carl Jung thought that “individuation is the process
    by which every living thing becomes itself–
    what it was designed to be by the unique configuration
    of its inherited qualities and capabilities
    from the very beginning.”

    We are here to be the self
    we are capable of being.
    And have the internal equipment
    we need
    for the task of finding our life
    and living it.

    All it takes
    is the commitment
    to collaborate with our unconscious
    in constructing the life
    that only we can live.

    This is the adventure
    of being alive.


  • 07/14/2019—  Wildlife Drive 2019-07 01 Panorama, Cuddo Unit, Santee National Wildlife Refuge, Summerton, South Carolina, July 12, 2019, an iPhone Photo

    I once asked a physician friend
    how he bore the stress
    of a steady flow of people
    who had no grip on their life.

    He laughed and said,
    “If they ever get a grip on their life,
    I’ll be out of a job!
    For me, it’s job security!”

    I joined in the laughter,
    and said, “It’s the same for me!”
    (I was a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA
    for 40.5 years)

    Getting a grip on our life
    isn’t about being in command and control
    of our life,
    ordering it around,
    making sure it does exactly
    what we want it to do
    when we want it done.

    It is about stepping aside
    and allowing our life to live us,
    to direct us,
    to show us the way
    and lead us along it.

    Having a grip on our life
    is understanding how things work
    with us and our life–
    knowing our part,
    our role,
    and playing it to the hilt.

    We are here to collaborate
    with our life,
    to read the signals/directions
    coming to us from our unconscious,
    and align ourselves
    with the drift of our soul,
    so that we are one with our life,
    dancing with our circumstances
    to the music of the spheres.

    If you understand that,
    you won’t need much doctoring,
    and no preaching at all.


  • 07/14/2019—  Cypress Swamp 2019-07 01 Panorama — Santee National Wildlife Refuge, Cuddo Unit, Wildlife Drive, Summerton, South Carolina, July 12, 2019, an iPhone photo

    People like to talk about other people.

    Some like to talk about themselves
    in terms of their trials and ordeals
    (But never want to consider
    the messages that may be contained therein).

    I break up the game by asking,
    “What do you love about your life?”
    “What are you here do do with your life?”
    “What makes your little heart sing
    and your little toes dance?”

    I’m generally put off and dismissed,
    so I go in search of someone else
    to play with.

    Finding the right company
    is an essential part
    of finding the right life.


  • 07/14/2019—  MC Escher Does Waxhaw, North Carolina 2019-07 01 Panorama — July 14, 2019

    I feel as though MC Escher
    has been doing
    life in the United States
    for the past going on three years.
    This is what is happening
    to Waxhaw, NC.

    Actually, I gave Photoshop
    two perfectly normal picts of downtown Waxhaw
    and told it to give me a panorama.
    The magic happened,
    and here we are.

    This and last month’s waterfall
    on the Catawba River
    are making me think about
    taking up cross-word puzzles.

    Sometimes, the world is like that.
    Can we dance with it
    is the question.
    All of the transition points
    are this way.

    We are expecting life to be one way,
    and whamitsnot.

    We have to sit with the shock
    and sort things out.
    Get our feet under us.
    Find our center,
    and feel our way along
    for a while,
    until things settle back
    into a dependable configuration,
    which sets us up
    for the next time
    things go upsidedown
    with no warning.

    When you find yourself
    free-falling again,
    take it as a sign
    that you just stepped
    into a transition zone,
    and settle into the Adjustment Period.

    Things will come back
    into focus momentarily.


  • 07/15/2019—  Cypress Swamp 2019-07 04 Panorama — Santee National Wildlife Refuge, Cuddo Unit, Wildlife Drive, Summerton, South Carolina, July 12, 2019, an iPhone photo

    Jesus said,
    “Love your neighbor as you
    Love yourself.
    Love your enemies.
    Love one another.
    Do unto others
    as you would have them
    do unto you.”

    There can be no question
    about where Jesus stood
    on the matter
    of our relationships
    with other people.

    Donald Trump does not stand with Jesus.

    Jesus does not stand with Donald Trump.

    Jesus said,
    “Let the children come to me!”
    Donald Trump said,
    “Put the children in cages!
    Treat them like dogs!
    No! Treat them worse than dogs!
    That will show them who is Boss!”

    Donald Trump does not stand with Jesus.

    Jesus does not stand with Donald Trump.

    Where do we stand?

    You cannot be a Republican
    and stand with Jesus.

    Where do you stand?


  • 07/15/2019—  Mama Ricota’s 2019-07 01 — Charlotte, North Carolina, July 15, 2019, an iPhone photo

    Our loves
    and our hates
    open us,
    as we open them,
    to the secret depths
    of our soul
    where reside
    the qualities we seek,
    and the ones we seek to grow beyond
    in the work
    to become who we are
    in the land of life and death
    before night comes.

    What attracts you?
    What repels you?

    Sit with individual members
    of each category
    and get to the bottom
    of love
    and hate.

    What do you love
    about what you love?

    What do you hate
    about what you hate?

    What are the characteristics you admire
    and those you detest?

    What was the path by which
    you came to admire and detest?

    What are your early memories
    of each traitc
    and what they represent?

    How did your opinion/judgment
    develop over time?

    Stand before each as though it were a mirror.
    What do they reflect of you–
    your deficits and excesses over time?

    What does your emotional response to each
    say about your lived experience–
    and about what is asking you to bring to life
    in the life you are living?

    Our loves
    and our hates,
    and the emotional reaction
    they trigger
    are pathways of reflection
    leading to new realizations,
    new behavior,
    new life.

    Don’t let them pass
    without mining them for their gold.


  • 07/16/2019—  Beidler Forest 2019-06 04 Panorama — Four Hole Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center and Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, June 23, 2019, an iPhone photo.

    The way opens before those
    who dedicate themselves to it
    and start walking.

    But, there is a catch.

    The catch is
    we have to dedicate ourselves to it
    in a “Thy will, not mine, be done”
    kind of way.

    The “Thy” in that phrase
    is the way itself.

    The way has a will for us
    that is often contrary
    to our will for ourselves.

    “It is MY life
    and I can do whatever I want!”
    is not how it is.

    It is only my life
    in the sense
    that I am uniquely suited for it,
    and it for me,
    and I belong to it
    as surely as a Canada Goose
    has to fly south for the winter,
    and north for the summer.

    But, just as bird feeders
    and loss of habitat
    are interfering with migration patterns
    world-wide,
    so “the dust of the world”
    can interfere with the ingrained,
    archetypal, patterns
    calling us to align ourselves with them
    in making the choices and decisions
    that determine our life.

    “Whose side are we on?”
    Is the question that pins us to the wall.
    Adam and Even answered it one way
    in the Garden of Eden.
    Jesus answered it another way
    in the Garden of Gethsemane.

    The Way is a harsh taskmaster.

    “Straight is The Way
    and narrow is the gate
    that leads to life,
    and those who walk it are few,
    while broad is the way
    and wide is the gate
    that leads to death
    and those who walk it are many.”

    “What a slippery slope this is!
    It is a dangerous path!
    Like a razor’s edge!”

    That’s our life they are talking about,
    and the way that opens before us
    in each moment,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    leads us to it
    or away from it
    depending on whose side we are on,
    and the clarity and mindful attentiveness
    with which we choose our choices
    and decide our decisions
    that determine the life we live.


  • 07/16/2019—  Beidler Forest 2019-06 07 Panorama — Four Hole Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, June 23, 2019, an iPhone photo.

    We have to be seeking
    our own center,
    core,
    base,
    bedrock.
    foundation,
    ground
    in order to hear
    or see
    the pointers
    guiding the way.

    The old alchemist’s dictum applies:
    “One book opens another.”
    But.
    We have to be reading.

    We walk past white rabbits
    all the time
    with our thoughts on other things.

    The jump out in front of us,
    waving their little hands,
    whistling,
    blowing horns…
    We never glance their way,
    lost as it were
    in our affairs and concerns
    that have nothing to do with soul.

    Life without soul
    is what we see being lived out
    all around us.
    The culture is soulless.
    Society is soulless.
    Churches are soulless.

    Alcoholics Anonymous is the only place I know
    where soul may yet be found.
    The sober drunks who gather there
    were drinking themselves to death
    because their soul was dying
    and they were without a bulwark for their life.
    They come together to seek their way
    to more than money can buy.

    Jungian Analysts deal daily with a similar population.
    People at the end of their rope,
    at the bottom of another wall,
    come one-at-a-time
    to learn the language of soul,
    become attuned to its symbols
    and learn the secrets of searching with purpose
    for that which is reaching out for them
    and for us all.

    If you don’t know what I’m talking about,
    I’m surprised you are reading this at all.
    But, since you are here,
    you may as well take a moment
    to sit quietly
    and see if something is stirring within,
    or perhaps waving a flag,
    blowing a whistle,
    calling your name.


  • 07/17/2019—  Wildlife Drive 2019-07 01 Panorama — Cuddo Unit, Santee National Wildlife Refuge, Summerton, South Carolina, July 12, 2019, an iPhone Photo

    Consciousness is a function of brain,
    but.
    How much brain can we lose
    and still be mindful?

    I feel as though mind
    is before brain,
    operating as a directing,
    knowing,
    force prior to thinking,
    reasoning.

    I feel as though mind
    is old,
    ancient-old,
    and got us to the point
    in evolution
    of being brain-centered.

    Mind has more to do
    with heart
    and soul,
    intuition
    and insight,
    and guides us in areas
    brain knows-not of.

    Dr. Spock could be logical
    but not savvy,
    and his emotional intelligence
    was sadly lacking.

    Mindfulness takes us beyond thinking,
    carries us into mystery-and-wonder-knowing.
    We feel our way to what.
    We think our way to how.

    If you have been putting off
    Jon Kabat-Zinn
    and Ann Weiser Cornell,
    they are experts
    in body-mind-knowing,
    and time is short.


  • 07/17/2019—  Hay in the Field 2019-07 02 Panorama — Rembert, South Carolina, July 5, 2019, an iPhone photo.

    If talking could do it,
    it would have been done by now.

    If thinking could do it,
    it would have been done by now.

    That leaves us
    with seeing/hearing,

    Which takes us
    to looking/listening.

    Beyond words and appearances.
    To the stillness beyond silence.

    And the realizations that emerge
    to bless patient waiting.

    How much looking
    does it take to see?

    How much listening
    does it take to hear?

    We owe it to ourselves,
    and to one another,
    to find out.


  • 07/17/2019— 


One thought on “One Minute Monologues 049

  1. akital@aol.com says:

    Hello Jim Dollar!

    Great hearing from you! I have a request. Please befriend me on Facebook and post your messages. I would love sharing “Your” thoughts and messages which are so prevalent for my friends to read. Currently, “It’s needed and necessary.” ☺

    Thank you in advance for fulfilling my request.  Looking forward to seeing and sharing your post on my Facebook, as I have done in the past.😍

    Sincerely and Take Care,

    Kitty Harrigan

    Sent from AOL Mobile Ma

    Like

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