One Minute Monologues 052

November 08, 2019 – December 22, 2019

  • 12/05/2019  —  Last Days of Fall 11/03/2019 02 — Boone Fork at the Blue Ridge Bridge, Blue Ridge Parkway, near Blowing Rock, North Carolina, November 3, 2019

    Silence is a retreat,
    an oasis,
    a vantage point,
    a listening post,
    an observation platform,
    a gathering place,
    a workroom for recognition,
    realization,
    integration,
    acceptance,
    accommodation,
    adjustment,
    alignment,
    wholeness,
    oneness,
    authenticity,
    self-transparency,
    self-development,
    growth,
    coming forth,
    wellness,
    maturation,
    wisdom,
    courage,
    and a very present help
    in time of trouble.
  • People who live
    out of a silent well
    of depth and stillness
    have something
    the rest of us could use.

    “That which we seek
    lies far in the back
    of the cave
    we most don’t want to enter.”
    (Joseph Campbell)

    How often do you
    find yourself in a quiet place
    in a day,
    or in a week?

    How long do you stay there?


  • 12/06/2019  —  Parkway Overlooks 10/29/2019 11 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Bedford, Virginia, about MP 82, October 29, 2019

    Complexes, in the psychological sense,
    are clusters of related memories/emotions/experiences
    attached to a “trigger” word or image
    which brings to mind
    the lived environment
    which impacted us so deeply
    as to remain alive within
    to be brought up by the “trigger,”
    so that “then” is now,
    and we react to now
    as though it is “then.”

    “Mother” or “Father” can be such a trigger mechanism,
    and we have associations
    with those words
    which color our actual,
    here-and-now world
    because of our experiences
    with our parents in our childhood.

    We cannot out-live where we have been,
    and what has been done to us,
    or not done.

    Our work is to square-up to it,
    to what has happened,
    or failed to happen,
    and see how it is continuing
    to impact our life
    after all that time.

    Awareness buffers,
    softens,
    our response/reaction to “now,”
    when we realize “now”
    has “triggered” us back to “then.”
    But.
    We walk with a limp,
    and will never be completely free
    of “then,”
    and able to live “now”
    as though “then” never happened.

    Wherever we have been
    impacted emotionally/physically
    by our life–
    positively or negatively–
    remains a sensitive area for us
    throughout our life.

    Mark Twain said,
    “A cat once burned
    will never again sit on a hot stove.
    Or a cold one.”

    Humans are a little more discerning,
    but not a great deal more.

    We carry our complexes/clusters with us always.
    Recognizing that,
    and being aware of how ours affect our life,
    will help us remain balanced,
    but we will still have to avoid
    some situations/circumstances,
    or deal with our psychic/somatic reactions
    to those which trigger our innate response mechanism
    warning us to beware.


  • 12/06/2019  —  James River 10/29/2019 01 — Big Island, Virginia, October 29, 2019

    People in this country are not thinking through
    the implications of their desires
    and choices.
    They think they know what they want,
    without recognizing what getting/having means.

    What we want generally comes
    with what we do not want attached.
    There is a trade-off involved.
    We give up that to get this.
    “We can’t have our cake
    and eat it, too.”

    The country’s founding statement–
    The Declaration of Independence–
    begins,

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

    When we pledge allegiance to the flag
    and to the republic for which it stands,
    we are affirming our commitment to these words.

    Do we mean it?
    Are we aware of what we are saying?
    Do we understand what that implies
    for the way we live?

    Equality is not a fond aspiration.
    It is a goal we work toward,
    commit ourselves to,
    by the kind of life we live.

    We do not live to “win,”
    to be “one up” on “the competition,”
    to advance ourselves
    at the expense of anyone else.
    We do not think of anyone
    as “deserving”
    or as “undeserving.”
    We do not demean,
    denounce,
    denigrate,
    anyone or any group of people.

    Pledging allegiance to the flag,
    standing for the flag,
    means standing for what the flag stands for.
    We evidently do not understand that.
    We evidently think that we can pay lip-service
    to the flag
    and live in ways that are contemptuous
    of the Constitution
    and the Rights the founders
    fought and died to put into place.

    We cannot.

    We have to be who we say we are
    when we pledge allegiance to the flag.
    Everything depends on it.


  • 12/06/2019  —  Thunder Ridge 10/29/2019 05 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 74.7, Virginia, October 29, 2019

    We have no power at all over the major events in our life,
    and would not know how to exercise it if we did.

    We can only use the power we have
    in the service of our wants and desires–
    but we want sugar and ice cream,
    alcohol and opioids.

    What does wanting know?
    We want what we want,
    not what we ought to want.
    We desire what we desire,
    not what we should desire.
    And we certainly don’t have the power
    to want what we need to want,
    to desire what we need to desire
    or to do what needs to be done.

    That would be the kind of power worth having.
    And that is not the kind of power we want to have.

    So, it is just as well that we have no power at all
    over the major events in our life.
    Better, actually, that we are as powerless as we are.

    Our true work is not that of acquiring power,
    but of embracing our vulnerability.
    And simply being fine with who we are.

    Living from the center of compassion and grace,
    from the core of integrity and self-transparency,
    from the source of heart and mind,
    without opinion or agenda,
    without ideology or theology or doctrine or creed.

    Just being a natural woman,
    a natural man.
    Doing what needs us to do it
    with no particular stake in the outcome,
    and everything riding on how well we respond
    to the situation as it arises,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    There is real power
    in being as powerless as we are,
    and glad to not be a superhero
    with the burden of knowing what to do
    with all that power at their disposal,
    and no more wisdom than we have
    to determine how to use it.

    We have wisdom enough for the power
    at our disposal,
    and that is all we will ever need.


  • 12/07/2019  —  Beidler Forest 11/22/2019 06 Panorama — Four Holes Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, November 22, 2019

    Annie Dillard, in *Pilgrim at Tinker Creek*, I believe,
    admired the fecundity of life.
    She might as well have said,
    “There is too much of it everywhere!”

    Because life knows it lives on the edge,
    and is living toward death.

    Life may as well be death
    for all the good it gets out of living,
    burdened, as it is,
    from the beginning
    with the reality of it’s soon-to-be demise.

    Ducks have broods of 8 to 12 ducklings
    because they “know” turtles dwell in the water,
    and boys with BB guns prowl the shoreline,
    and grown men with shotguns
    wait with retrievers in reeds
    and blinds.

    And what chance do they have?
    So they hatch too many,
    hoping that one or two survive
    to carry on the legacy of the species.

    Toward what?
    Why bother?
    The questions occur only to us.
    Every other living thing
    devotes itself enthusiastically
    to the business of being alive.
    Only human beings throw away
    their life energy asking,
    “So what?
    Who cares?
    Why try?
    What difference will it make?”
    And turn their face to the wall with,
    “It is all useless,
    hopeless,
    pointless,
    meaningless
    and absurd–
    and coming to a bad end
    much too soon
    to be worth the effort
    to pay the price
    for nothing.”

    Everything else looks at us like,
    “Are you crazy!
    We are already running out of time!
    We have to live while the light lasts!
    The end is always near–
    and has always been near!
    So what!
    Who cares!
    Give it your best
    while you can!
    Why hold anything back?
    The Night is coming!
    The Night is coming!
    Live while you can!
    Bring forth what you have to offer
    while there is still time!
    Don’t you dare die before you are dead!
    To LIFE!
    To LIFE!
    We are too soon dead
    to lose a second in anticipation and dread!
    When you go off
    to seek your fortune
    and show your stuff,
    the ghouls of the Night
    will pummel you with
    hopelessness and qualms,
    misgivings and cynicism–
    do not pause
    to give it your attention!
    Live as though everything depends
    on your enthusiasm and zeal
    for life and living and being alive!
    Because everything depends on it!
    If you are going to believe anything,
    believe that–
    against all evidence to the contrary!
    If you are going to take anything on faith,
    let it be that!
    Against all odds!
    Regardless of your prospects!
    LIVE NOW!
    LIVE NOW!
    The Darkness is too soon upon us!
    Do not leave anything unlived within you!
    Bring it forth in every moment
    in every day!
    YOU are the gift we all need you to be!
    Do not leave it unopened and unshared!
    NOW is all we have!
    LIVE NOW!
    LIVE NOW!
    While you can!”


  • 12/07/2019  —  Lake Crandall 11/19/2019 04 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 19, 2019

    All facts are neutral.

    They become what we make of them
    by our opinion,
    our evaluation,
    our judgment,
    our interpretation,
    our assessment,
    our appraisal,
    our verdict,
    our conclusion…

    All of which are colored by
    what we have at stake in the matter.
    By what we stand to gain or lose.
    By what the facts mean to us.
    By what we want to happen.
    By our investment in the situation.

    What is good for the lion
    is terrible for the antelope.

    We are batted around by facts
    all day every day
    by way of what we think about them.

    We free ourselves from the tyranny of the facts
    by viewing them in light
    of what they are asking us to do,
    and doing it the way it needs to be done
    with the best we have to offer
    without an opinion about any of it.

    The baby needs to be fed.
    Feed the baby.
    You spilled the milk.
    Clean up the mess.
    The neighbor’s dog
    won’t stop barking.
    Breathe slowly and deeply
    with a count of five between breaths
    for ten minutes.

    Meet facts with facts,
    not with the drama
    of emotional reactivity.


  • 12/08/2019  —  Landsford 11/25/2019 08 Panorama — Landsford Canal State Park, Catawba River, Kayak/Canoe Launch, Catawba, South Carolina

    Wanting takes a back seat
    to Being and Doing.

    Doing is done in service
    to Being,
    not Wanting.

    Doing/Being is synonymous
    with Being/Doing.
    It is one thing.
    Integrity on display
    in how we live
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    Wanting/Desiring is not a worthy guide.

    Seeing/Hearing/Knowing/Understanding
    integrate and guide us
    in Being and in Doing.

    We act and evaluate our action
    in light of its resonance
    with who we are.

    Right action resonates with us
    and leads us along the path
    of Being/Doing.

    We find the way
    by knowing what resonates with us
    and what does not.

    Joseph Campbell said,
    “We know when we are on the beam,
    and when we are off it.”

    We know what resonates with us
    and what does not.

    Wanting can skew this arrangement.
    We want what we want
    whether it is right for us or not,
    whether it resonates with us or not.

    We live out of what we crave–
    “This–NO! THIS! NO! THIS!
    NO! ALL OF IT! EVERYTHING! NOW!”

    What we crave overrides
    what resonates with us.
    Our addictions and desires
    rule our life.

    We lose connection with The Beam,
    and live from one desire of the moment
    to the next.

    The Way of Life
    is the Way of the Beam.
    Finding our way back to it,
    and living with the discipline
    required to walk it,
    is the Quest for Life,
    is the Quest for Being/Doing,
    is the Quest for Integrity,
    for Resonance,
    for Who We Are,
    for The Face That Was Ours Before We Were
    Born.

    We live to find ourselves
    and live the life that is ours to live
    in the time left for living.


  • 12/09/2019  —  Otter Creek 10/29/2019 04 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Big Island, Virginia, October 29, 2019

    Truth is not a fact.

    Truth can be perceived
    but it cannot be counted,
    weighed,
    measured,
    locked away,
    fenced in,
    barred and banned,
    tarred and feathered,
    chased out of town,
    or hung by the neck until dead.

    Truth cannot be found,
    and it cannot be hidden,
    and it will not go away.

    Here’s truth for you:
    God is not a fact.
    God is truth.
    Shimmering and shining,
    winking into and out of sight.

    We cannot say anything reliable
    about God.
    We cannot talk about God.
    We can only experience God.
    And the God of our experience
    does not declare us to be forgiven.
    God does not say, “I Love You
    And You Are Forgiven!”
    Forgiveness doesn’t talk that way.
    Forgiveness says,
    “Are you ready to get to work?”

    God is all about getting to work.
    If we are going to sit around,
    talking about God,
    believing about God,
    thinking about God,
    arguing about God,
    God is going to get up and go.
    And leave us with nothing to do
    but talk about God
    and wait for God to show up.

    God isn’t showing up.

    If we want to know God,
    we have to begin living in godly ways.
    The only way to bring God to life in our life
    is to begin being God,
    declaring to God:
    “Look at me!
    I am ready to get to work!”
    But, we have to mean it.
    We can’t fool God.

    But, we can fool ourselves.
    So, if we want to know God,
    we have to know ourselves,
    and catch ourselves in the act
    of fooling ourselves,
    and saying things we don’t mean.

    God doesn’t fool around with people
    who say things they don’t mean,
    and do things for show.
    Those people can’t be forgiven,
    and never hear the words,
    “Are you ready to get to work?”

    They don’t know when
    they are ready to get to work
    and when they are pretending
    to be ready to get to work.
    God waits for them to get to work.
    They have to begin being God,
    and cry out:
    “Look here!
    I’m ready to get to work!”
    But, they have to mean it.
    They can’t fool God.


  • 12/09/2019  —  Peaks of Otter 10/28/2019 01 Panorama — Peaks of Otter Lodge, Blue Ridge Parkway, Bedford, Virginia, October 28, 2019

    We can trust ourselves to know
    what is good for us
    and what is not good for us,
    what is good for others
    and what is not good for others,
    what is good
    and what is not good.

    What more do we need to know?
    What needs to be done,
    and what needs to be not done.
    We can trust ourselves to know that.

    And if we do not know that,
    we can trust ourselves to discover it
    by doing something
    and seeing what happens.

    We can find everything we need to know
    by doing something
    and seeing what happens.

    The only thing standing between us
    and not knowing
    is not wanting to know,
    is wanting to know not,
    is wanting to not know.

    Wanting/desiring is not bad in itself.
    Every living thing has preferences.
    It is what we want
    and don’t want
    that tells the tale.


  • 12/10/2019  —  Lake Haigler 11/24/2019 01 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 24, 2019

    The hardest thing to believe
    is that we don’t need anything
    we don’t already have.

    Which is to say,
    we don’t need anything.

    The right kind of company
    is the next best thing,
    but thinking it all depends on that
    keeps us from finding
    and enjoying
    our own company.

    So we run through our life
    looking in the face of strangers
    for what we can find only within.

    Affirmation,
    confirmation,
    love,
    affection,
    direction,
    completion…

    No one knows better
    than we do
    when we are on the beam
    and when we are off it,
    when we are where we need to be,
    and when we are where we don’t belong.

    If you only had what,
    you would be fine?
    “Just give me this, Lord,
    and I will be happy at last,
    I swear!”
    What?
    What would it take
    that you haven’t always had?

    What do you need “the Lord” for?
    When has “the Lord”
    ever done anything for you
    you didn’t do for yourself?

    For that matter,
    when has Satan
    ever done anything to you
    you didn’t do to yourself?

    And what does it take
    other than growing up,
    to put you more
    in the company of “the Lord”
    than in the company of “Satan”?


  • 12/10/2019  —  Last Days of Fall 11/03/2019 32 — Puckett Cabin, Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 189.9, Hillsville, Virginia, November 3, 2019

    What does it take?

    Sitting still,
    being quiet,
    paying close attention
    to the present moment,
    right here,
    right now,
    breathing,
    listening,
    watching,
    waiting,
    (Did I mention breathing?),
    for what arises of its own accord,
    emerging from the silence,
    occurring to you from out of nowhere,
    striking you with a compelling urgency,
    leaving you with a profound sense
    that something just happened,
    wondering what to do about it.

    Doing something about it.

    What you do
    tells the tale.


  • 12/11/2019  —  Chester 11/25/2019 06 Panorama — Chester State Park, Chester, South Carolina, November 25, 2019

    If the tide is not coming in
    or going out,
    it’s turning around.

    That’s all you need to know
    about your life
    and living it.

    It is it not coming it,
    or going out,
    it’s turning around.

    My mother stayed married
    to my father
    because she didn’t have
    any place better to go.
    She had to wait for the turning.
    A lot of times,
    that is our only choice.

    The Dalai Lama
    can’t do anything about
    the Communist Chinese takeover
    of Tibet.
    He has to wait for the turning.

    The Resistance is working mightily
    to turn Donald Trump out of office,
    but their success depends
    upon factors outside their control

    Donald Trump could manufacture food riots
    with his taking food stamps
    from 700,000 people
    (A staggering declaration of the evil
    he is capable of,
    and yet another of his
    Crimes Against Humanity),
    declare a national emergency
    and “suspend” the 2020 elections.

    Donald Trump represents the potential
    Russian takeover of the United States
    (Deny it to your own chagrin).
    That will leave us all,
    and our children,
    and perhaps our children’s children,
    waiting for the turning.

    Sometimes, we can assist the turning.
    Sometimes we can only wait for it.
    Knowing what can be done
    and having the wherewithal to do it
    is one of the key tasks of life.

    May it be said of us all
    that we were up to the task!


  • 12/11/2019  —  Treetops 12/10/2019 01 Black & White — Indian Land, South Carolina, December 10, 2019

    Between 30 and 40% of the U.S.
    wants to burn the Constitution.
    Leaving us where?
    With what?
    What grounds us,
    directs us,
    guides us,
    declares to us
    what we can expect,
    and what is expected of us,
    what we can count on,
    what protects us–
    and tells us,
    reminds us,
    who we are
    and what we are about?

    They want to burn the Constitution
    and destroy democracy
    because of what?
    They aren’t fulfilled?
    They aren’t satisfied?
    Their lives are empty
    and meaningless?
    And they just want to burn something?
    Smash something?
    Vent their rage
    and their frustration
    and their hopelessness
    of ever having anything worth having?

    Between 30 and 40% of the people
    in this country
    are at the end of their rope,
    and they don’t care what they do.
    They want to feel like they matter,
    that what they do matters,
    and all they can think to do
    is burn the country down.
    That makes as much sense to them
    as anything does.
    And they don’t care if it makes any sense
    or not.
    Hate drives them.
    They hate their lives
    and they hate everyone
    who threatens the life they have.
    They hate,
    and they are enraged,
    at having nothing to show
    for having lived,
    and for having nothing to live for,
    so why not burn it down?
    And put nothing in its place?
    Answer them that.
    Why not?
    Why should they care?


  • 12/12/2019  —  Beidler Forest 11/22/2019 12 — Four Holes Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, November 22, 2019

    There are people stirring things up
    in this country
    to serve there own personal/political agenda/interests
    and have every incentive
    and intention
    to keep the lies
    and the conspiracy theories
    and the false charges
    going forever
    because turmoil suits their purposes
    and the Constitution is in their way.

    They will not cooperate
    with any effort
    to return to regular order.
    They are in mutiny against it,
    and diligently endeavor
    to arouse and inflame
    the people under their sway
    to violence and hatred,
    ruthlessness and destruction.

    When the center fails to hold
    everybody looks for the Second Coming
    (W.B. Yeats),
    as though it is going to take
    some miraculous deliverance
    to put things right once again.

    That is wrong.

    It is going to take individuals
    putting themselves in accord
    with themselves.

    Living out of their own sense
    of what is called for
    in responding appropriately
    to each personal situation
    that arises,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment–
    living in each here-and-now
    from their own heart,
    from their own center,
    their own foundation,
    their own bedrock
    of direction and value.

    Even in the desert–
    in the wasteland of remorse
    and anguish–
    we still know right from wrong
    and good from evil,
    and we live in each moment
    away from wrong and toward right,
    away from evil and toward good,
    in each personal situation
    as it arises,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    If the baby’s diaper needs changing,
    change the baby’s diaper
    the way it needs to be changed,
    in right relationship with the baby.

    If the dog needs to go outside,
    take the dog for a walk
    in right-relationship with the dog.

    We restore balance
    and regain harmony
    in the time and place of our living
    by living there the way
    life needs to be lived there
    one moment at a time.

    Do each thing well.
    One thing after another

    Live from your own heart,
    from your own center…
    by taking the time to connect
    to your heart,
    to your center…
    and to know who you are
    and what you are about,
    no matter what
    the context,
    conditions
    and circumstances
    of your life happen to be.

    Restore peace and sanity
    by being what you need–
    by being the source
    of peace and sanity
    in your response
    to the moment,
    moment-by-moment.

    Starting here,
    and now.


  • 12/12/2019  —  Lake Crandall 11/19/2019 05 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 19, 2019

    No drama.
    No suspense.
    Nothing hidden
    or denied.
    Appropriate transparency
    and good faith
    (Keeping faith with one another
    and with ourselves)
    around the table,
    across the board,
    world-wide.

    No one would go to a movie
    with this storyline.

    A lot of–if not most–people
    would be bored to the point of suicide
    with this as a way of life.

    Yoda was a highly advanced
    spiritual being
    who lived in a hole in the ground.

    Obi-wan Kenobi was a highly advanced
    spiritual being
    who lived in a cave in the desert.

    The Buddha was a highly advanced
    spiritual being who denounced riches
    and took a vow of poverty and service.

    Jesus was a highly advanced
    spiritual being who was born in a stable
    and died on a cross.

    The Taoist and Zen masters
    lived simply
    with little in the way of possessions.
    Complexity
    and “the noise of the world”
    had no place in their life.

    No drama.
    No suspense
    Nothing hidden
    or denied.
    Appropriate transparency
    and good faith
    (Keeping faith with one another
    and with ourselves).

    How can we move toward
    that way of life
    in the time left for living?


  • 12/12/2019  —  Anne Springs Close 11/24/2019 01 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 24, 2019

    When we are at one with the situation
    to the point of responding
    spontaneously to what is unfolding
    here and now
    without thinking about what we are doing,
    or should be doing instead,
    or even being conscious of what we are doing,
    we are like the dancer with the music,
    the gardener with the flower bed,
    the artist with the brush,
    the photographer with the waterfall,
    the actors at the improv…

    Now, to translate that experience
    of the lived now
    into our daily life
    and live there as though we are
    the dancer,
    or the gardener…

    To live simply in response to the moment
    without trying to bend it to our will,
    or work it to our advantage,
    but to live it as a poet dancing a poem
    into existence
    in such a way that the poem writes itself
    through the poet.

    So that our life lives us
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    and we are doing
    without knowing what we are doing,
    or even that we are doing,
    as a dancer being danced
    by the music.

    Don’t know what you are going
    to have for breakfast
    in the morning.
    Watch what you find yourself eating.

    Trust yourself to the source
    of your original actions,
    and let yourself be lived
    by the life that is living you,
    or would be
    if you stepped back
    and allowed yourself to be lived
    like the dancer allows herself to be danced.


  • 12/13/2019  —  Cotton in the Field 11/22/2019 05 — Hwy 267, Lone Star, South Carolina, November 22, 2019

    Trump thrives by saying he is doing
    what he is not doing,
    and that he is not doing
    what he is doing.

    Fox News repeats his assertions
    as though they are so,
    and his GOP enablers/accomplices
    in the House and Senate
    follows suit
    so that all Republicans present
    a unified front
    in contending that what isn’t is,
    and what is isn’t.

    They deal in nonsense
    because it is the only way
    they can stay in business.
    And the business they are in
    is verrryyyy profitable.

    It is the same way Putin stays in business.

    It is the way all autocrats/dictators/mobsters
    stay in business.

    I don’t know what to do about it.
    There is nothing I can do about it.
    There is nothing you can do about it.
    If we were married to an abusive partner
    who denied being abusive
    we could get a divorce.

    We are fortunate enough to be able
    to impeach the President,
    but we cannot remove him from office
    because his GOP co-hearts in the Senate
    will vote to keep him there forever.
    It is a perfectly mad, mad, mad world.

    Trump is systematically and systemically firing
    everyone who opposes him in government agencies,
    and replacing them with people who will please him,
    even though they aren’t capable of doing the job
    they are supposed to be doing.

    Trump is setting in place a crime syndicate
    pretending to be the United States Government.

    This will not end well.

    In the meantime, what?

    1. Be very clear about what is going on.
    2. Call it out in every way you can.
    3. Vote in every election great and small
    (While you can–elections are on shaky ground).
    4. Never vote for another Republican ever.
    5. Mourn the destruction of the Constitution
    and democracy through the rest of time.
    6. Carry on under the circumstances as best you can.


  • 12/13/2019  —  Anne Springs Close 11/17/2019 03 Panorama — Steele Creek, Dairy Barn Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2019

    The disciples must become like the Master,
    in following no Master.

    When Jesus said,
    “I am the way, the truth and the life,
    and no one comes to the Father but by me,”
    the disciples should have interpreted it
    as meaning,
    “You have to do it the way I am doing it,
    and become the way, the truth, and the life
    yourselves, on your own, quite apart from me.”

    He said as much when he said,
    “Greater things than I have done,
    will you do.”

    If our way is not working
    to our satisfaction,
    we are not to adopt someone else’s way,
    but to make adjustments in our way,
    tweaking it until it works
    to our satisfaction.

    What is it about your life
    that you think/feel needs
    to better exemplify,
    reflect,
    express,
    incarnate,
    the life you intend to live?

    What is stopping you from
    living the life you intend to live?

    The key to the Way
    is to “act purposefully
    without striving,”
    without forcing,
    pushing,
    conniving,
    insisting,
    demanding…

    To know what is needed,
    and to serve what is needed,
    as circumstances allow,
    waiting for doors to open
    when the time is right,
    and then walking through.

    This is called living in accord
    with Tao,
    Kairos,
    Dharma
    and Grace.


  • 12/13/2019  —  Swan Lake 10/25/2019 20 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, October 25, 2019

    Joseph Campbell’s observation,
    “That which you seek is found far in the back
    of the cave you most don’t want to enter,”
    speaks to the heart of the matter.

    We do not want to do what must be done
    to live in collaboration with ourselves
    and in community with one another
    for the true good of each of us
    and the true good of the whole.

    We sell ourselves on substitute purposes and goals,
    on ends “just as good as” that which we seek.

    We “leave the way,
    turn aside from the path,
    and have nothing to do”
    with that which lies
    “far in the back of the cave (we)
    most don’t want to enter.”

    We refuse to die
    in the service of that which
    is life itself.

    This is not dying in an actual, literal, physical sense,
    but in a figurative, metaphorical, spiritual sense.
    It is “like dying” to step into the cave
    we most don’t want to enter.

    Where has that cave been for you?
    Where is it now?
    You will do anything to be “healed
    and whole,
    and saved,
    and well”
    but the one thing that you most need to do.
    Which has been what?
    Which is now, what?

    What is the cave you do not most want to enter?

    As a nation,
    that cave has been
    a reduction in our standard of living
    and a reduction in military spending.

    Donald Trump is taking food stamps–food–
    away from 7000,000 people.
    He is not reducing the budget of the Pentagon.
    He is not giving up his fantasy of an invincible wall.
    He is not recouping his tax reduction
    to the top 1% income earners in this country.

    We all have a cave we most don’t want to enter.
    And what we seek lies far in the back of that cave.

    We will make-do, won’t we,
    without what we seek.

    We will make-do with Opioids and alcohol
    and all the other diversions and distractions
    that get us by.

    We will die literally
    before we die metaphorically.

    What does that say about what is important?


  • 12/14/2019  —  Goodale 10/25/2019 06 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, October 25, 2019, an iPhone Photo

    We have to pick ourselves up
    and step into the day
    every day,
    sizing things up,
    knowing what’s what
    and what needs to be done about it,
    and doing it as best we can
    with the resources available to us,
    in each situation as it arises,
    from one situation to another,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    day-by-day-by-day
    for the rest of our life.

    That is all there is to it,
    and that is all there ever is.

    We don’t get to tag out.
    There is no time off for good behavior.
    We don’t get a break.

    We bring the best we have to offer
    to meet each situation
    in each day
    every day.

    There is no end to it,
    except for the very end.
    We get no accolades,
    or commendations,
    or recognition for a job well done,
    or a parade
    with fireworks.

    There is only the next damn situation
    for as long as there is.

    We seek relief.
    We seek release.
    We seek escape.
    We seek freedom.

    We want to make a quick run to glory,
    and let the good times roll.
    We grow weary of situations,
    and long to quit.
    But.
    That is just another situation.

    We want things to be different,
    better,
    more fun,
    with less to do
    and lots of days off.

    Like Adam and Eve
    in the Garden of Eden.

    There is only the path
    with our name on it,
    leading from one situation
    to the next.

    And woe be unto us
    if we get off the path!


  • 12/14/2019  —  Chester 11/25/2019 13 Panorama — Chester State Park, Chester, South Carolina, November 25, 2019

    Joseph Campbell said,
    “The reason for our discontent
    is the failure of the vitality
    under which we are supposed to live.”

    Our religions do not connect us
    with the source of life and being.

    Used to be that religion
    ushered us into
    the direct experience of God.
    Nowadays, religion hands us
    a catechism,
    a book of doctrine,
    a book of creeds,
    theology,
    ideology,
    talk, talk, talk
    and tells us
    to believe, believe, believe
    and come back next week
    when we will hear
    believe, believe, believe
    and come back next week..

    No life.
    No vitality.
    No reality.
    And no one knows,
    or knows anyone who knows,
    how to engage God
    in the direct lived experience of God.

    But.
    Everybody does that
    from time to time
    without realizing what is happening,
    or reflecting on what just happened,
    or drawing from it
    the way to build a life
    centered on it,
    flowing from it,
    growing up around it.

    From the beginning
    the places to experience
    the Numen,
    the Ineffable,
    the Unspeakable,
    which is usually referenced as “God,”
    directly
    have been limited to
    Art,
    Music
    and Nature.

    If you are looking for God
    somewhere else,
    you are looking in the wrong place.

    Open yourself to,
    spend time with,
    Art,
    Music
    and Nature.

    The more time the better.
    The more often you frequent
    those places,
    and the longer you remain there,
    the better–
    the more likely you are to experience
    the wonder,
    the awe,
    the majesty,
    the magnificence,
    the words-are-useless-here-ness
    of these places.

    You come alive to the realness of God.

    And you cannot say what you experienced.
    You cannot tell anyone.
    And you cannot arrange another one
    any time you feel like it.
    You can only return to the venue
    of Art,
    Music
    and Nature.
    Without expectation,
    or agenda,
    or willful insistence upon reward
    for your effort.

    Go with the right quality of openness,
    of presence,
    and wait–
    looking,
    listening
    for vitality to claim you
    and direct you along the path
    of its own choosing.

    What happens then,
    is up to you.


  • 12/14/2019  —  Horse Barn 11/19/2019 03 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Horse Barn Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 19, 2019

    We cannot control
    much about our life,
    but.
    We can control the quality
    of our awareness
    in each situation
    as it arises,
    by practicing being aware
    of this moment
    right now
    several times
    throughout each day.

    Everything rides on,
    and flows from,
    the quality of our awareness
    from one situation
    to another.


  • 12/14/2019  —  Beidler Forest 11/22/2019 06 — Four Holes Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, November 22, 2019

    I would teach religion
    without reference to theology
    by helping people
    find ways of opening themselves
    to the source of life and being.

    The old Taoist,
    and Zen,
    and Buddhist Masters
    were religious
    without theology or doctrine.
    The Alchemists
    were religious
    and lived on the edge
    between Psyche and Physical–
    and Astrophysicists encounter
    similar mysteries today.

    Mystery is the ground of religion.
    We can know there is more than can be known.
    We have questions we cannot answer.
    Live with the questions!
    Relish the mysteries!

    Theology’s impiety is providing definitive,
    conclusive answers,
    with unwavering conviction,
    that have to be taken on faith.
    Anathema!
    Obscenity!
    Abomination!

    Replacing mystery
    with glib assurances
    and shallow explanations!

    Stand silently before
    more than can be known,
    before more than words can say!

    The silence is alive with the sounds of life!

    Be still and know God!
    Knowing that we know nothing of the God we know!

    Allowing mystery to ground us in the awareness of religion,
    is as religious as we need to be.


  • 12/15/2019  —  Anne Springs Close 11/17/2019 05 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2019

    We talk about “free will,”
    “freedom,”
    “liberation,”
    “being able to do whatever we want,”
    but.

    We are bound,
    limited,
    constrained,
    conditioned,
    and confined
    in 10,000 ways.

    And, we cannot free ourselves
    to be whatever
    the situation
    asks/needs/requires us to be.

    We are not free to be
    anything other than as we are.

    We cannot help,
    or do anything about,
    the way we see things,
    how we feel about things,
    what we like,
    what we don’t like,
    what we want,
    what we don’t want,
    what we prefer,
    what we disdain,
    what is right,
    what is wrong.
    what is good,
    what is bad/evil,
    who we love,
    who we despise…

    The list is long.

    So.
    Rather than argue without ceasing
    about how things are,
    we might spend our time
    with the people we talk to,
    exploring what leads us
    to see things as we do.

    “Rational minds can look at
    the same facts
    and see them differently.”

    We interpret “the facts”
    through filters–
    memories, beliefs, intentions, desires, etc.-
    that constitute “emotional complexes”
    which compel us to see/fee/think/believe/perceive, etc.
    the way we do.

    We are free to be who we are,
    as we are,
    the way honey bees
    are free to make honey.

    The only difference between us
    and the honey bees,
    is that we are free
    to be aware of what binds us,
    and they can only fetch the nectar
    and produce the honey.

    Awareness is the doorway
    to being as free as we can be
    in relation to the emotional complexes
    that drive us through our life.
    How free we are
    depends upon how aware we are
    of our lack of freedom.


  • 12/15/2019  —  Goodale 11/22/2019 03 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 22, 2019

    No one sees things as they are.

    Everyone sees what they look at,
    conditioned by 10,000 things.

    No one sees unconditionally,
    objectively,
    without bias,
    prejudice,
    partiality…

    Our mind is conditioned from the start
    by everything that happens.
    We are impacted by every experience.
    Where we have been,
    what we have seen,
    heard,
    felt…
    influences where we are,
    what we see,
    hear,
    feel…

    We are where we have been
    and what that has done to us,
    and how we have responded/reacted.

    We are not free from our past.
    We are not free.

    “The unconditioned mind”
    does not exist.
    It is an illusion to think
    that it does.
    It is an illusion to think
    that we see
    and everyone else is blind.

    We are all blind to what blinds us.
    Arguing about elephants
    we cannot see.


  • 12/16/2019  —  Andrew Jackson 11/24/2019 02 –Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, November 24, 2019

    The Tyranny of the Now
    oppresses us all
    with it’s unrelenting call
    to Be Here Now!

    We discover how difficult that is–
    how intolerable that is–
    by attempting it.

    It is impossible.
    And unendurable!

    Being here, now.
    Seeing here, now.
    Knowing here, now
    what’s what
    and what needs to be done about it
    with the gifts,
    and abilities,
    and resources
    that are ours to give,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    with no time off,
    and no timeout,
    and nothing but the next damn moment
    to look forward to,
    every moment
    for the rest of our life!

    Nobody can do that!
    Can stand that!
    Can bear that!

    Nobody.

    Everybody wants smooth and easy.
    That’s all anybody ever wants.
    Alcoholics know that,
    and will tell you that.

    They speak for us all
    when they say,
    “You take your here and now
    and go to hell,
    and leave us with our longing
    for smooth and easy!”

    What is heaven all about
    but smooth and easy?
    Everyone wants to go to heaven
    when they die.
    And what does heaven offer?
    Smooth And Easy Forever!!

    And, what does hell offer?
    Endless torment, endless torture–
    Here And Now Forever!

    The Tyranny of the Now
    is a taste of hell,
    and we want no part of it.

    Give us happy fantasy!
    Give us entertaining pastimes!
    Give us wonderful delusions!
    Give us soft illusions!
    Give us a break!

    Do not make us
    step into this moment,
    here and now,
    with our eyes open
    and our heart in it,
    ready to do what needs to be done,
    what needs us to do it,
    again,
    and again,
    and again…

    There has to be more to life than that!


  • 12/16/2019  —  A Walk in the Woods 11/23/2019 10 — 22-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, November 23, 2019

    Global warming is a metaphor
    surpassing that of The Garden of Eden
    for explaining the plight of humankind.

    We cannot reduce our carbon footprint
    by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases
    we release into the atmosphere
    and warming the earth
    like rolled-up windows warm a car
    sitting in the sun–
    because that would drastically
    interfere with our life.

    And, if we don’t do it,
    that will also drastically interfere with our life,
    to the point of eradicating it altogether
    in one great near-total extinction
    (leaving just enough single-cell organisms
    to start the whole thing over).

    One thing we don’t know
    is how many times has it started over.

    All of it, I mean.
    Not just life on earth,
    but the universe as a whole.

    How many Big Bangs have there been?
    It is a common thing to assume one–
    but, with eternity to play with,
    universes can come and go
    like the tides,
    and the music of the spheres
    fades like the pause between AUM’s,
    to return with the BOOM of AAAAAUU…
    coming and going
    for time after time.
    We will never know,
    any more than we will know
    how to balance the atmosphere
    for the good of the planet
    and all of life on the planet.
    Not that we don’t know that,
    but that we can’t apply what we know
    for the good of the whole.
    Because we are just that way.

    We don’t sacrifice our comfortable way of life
    for the sake of the continuation of life.
    Self-sacrifice is not our thing.
    We take.
    We do not give.

    The wealthier we become,
    the less we want to contribute our fair share
    to the common good.
    “I got mine (as if),
    let them get theirs!”
    is the old refrain.

    “I will work to reduce my carbon footprint
    when they reduce theirs!
    And the cows! What about the cows?”

    It doesn’t take many of us assuming the position
    of “Not me, THEM!”
    for too little to happen
    to make enough difference
    to stop the world from going Kaput.

    So the globe is getting warmer
    and we can’t get our act together
    to cool things down,
    because there is money to be made
    from things that heat it up,
    and Profit At Any Price
    drives human beings
    past the point of no return
    time-after-time-after-time.

    Just ask Adam and Eve.


  • 12/16/2019  —  Christmas Tree 12/16/2019 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina. December 16, 2019

    If we are not living our life
    the way Rafa Nadal plays tennis,
    we may as well stay in bed,
    or, at least, declare ourselves
    to be too lazy to flush,
    and stop flushing
    as a testimony
    to our absence of zeal,
    passion,
    fervor,
    dedication,
    devotion
    and filial loyalty
    to the work that is ours to do,
    the life that is ours to live.

    And, if we have not even
    a faint glimmer of a notion
    as to what it would be
    that could seize us by our heart
    and compel us into his service
    the way tennis has gripped Rafa Nadal,
    then I would suggest to us all so not moved
    that we are in woeful need
    of a Vision Quest
    like the Ancient Ones
    took up upon advancing
    to the Age of Discernment,
    and had to successfully complete
    before taking their rightful place
    as the servant of the vision.

    It is a lot easier these days
    than it was in those,
    but it will still ask everything of us
    and offer everything to us,
    and we may not be equipped for the journey
    until we reach the end of our rope,
    and have nowhere else to turn.
    Save these instructions for then,
    and go about life as usual
    waiting to run out of rope.

    We will be waiting, either way.
    The other way,
    the way of the Vision Quest,
    requires us to sit still and be quiet,
    breathing slowly, silently and deeply,
    and wait in the silence
    for something to arise in the stillness,
    emerge in the darkness,
    occur to us from out of nowhere,
    that impounds our heart
    and commandeers our allegiance
    for life.
    This would be The Vision of Mythic Proportions,
    knocking us on our duff
    and establishing us forever
    on The Beam,
    The Path,
    The Way
    and providing us with the courage
    and the desire required to compete the journey.

    And, if we wait until dinner time,
    and nothing like that has transpired,
    we have to get up and tend to our affairs,
    but.
    We do not abandon the sitting,
    the breathing,
    the silence
    and the waiting.
    We carry that with us in our awareness,
    while we go about our business
    in the world of the everyday.
    This is called Walking Two Paths At The Same Time.

    The Vision we seek will come in its own time.
    We must trust that to be the case,
    and take care of our end of the arrangement
    by being true to our role as Seeker,
    and doing what is demanded of us:
    Watching, Listening, Waiting in Awareness.

    The Vision will not come until we are ready.
    The Task we are given
    is the Task we are suited to serve.
    Meanwhile, the circumstances
    and conditions of our life
    are preparing us for the life
    we will be asked to live.
    And it is our place to tend carefully
    our responsibility as Seeker,
    and to do right by each life situation
    as it arises,
    that we might prepare ourselves
    for the work that is ours yet to do.

    That is all there is to it.
    We do our work
    and wait
    for our work
    to be revealed to us.


  • 12/17/2019  —  Christmas Tree 12/16/2019 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, December 16, 2019

    Shakespeare (*The Merchant of Venice*) seems to be
    the origin of the phrase “Truth will out,”
    but it may as well have come to life
    with the first of us
    able to discern what’s what
    against a background
    of more preferable possibilities.

    Truth will come to light.
    Truth will emerge.
    Truth will be known.
    Truth will emerge.
    Truth will appear.
    We will know the truth eventually.
    Whether it sets us free or not
    depends upon the circumstances
    from which it arises.

    Circumstances are the birthplace of truth.
    What’s what is a matter
    of who, where, when, how and why.
    A matter of who is seeing,
    interpreting,
    assessing,
    evaluating,
    comprehending,
    understanding,
    saying,
    conveying
    what is to be seen,
    where, when, how and why.

    The truth of a cow
    is one thing to the woman with a pail,
    another to the boy with a slingshot,
    and another to the bull in the pasture…
    So, what’s the truth of a cow?

    The truth of “We all have to kill our parents,”
    has a literal and a figurative meaning,
    and cannot be taken at face value.
    The facets of truth are fascinating
    and give rise to philosophy,
    theology,
    epistemology,
    fistfights,
    lawsuits,
    divorce
    and war.

    Hermes was the Messenger of the Gods.
    His Latin name was Mercury.
    That’s the truth about truth.
    We can’t nail it down,
    pick it up,
    fence it in,
    lock it in place…

    My specialty is hermeneutics.
    Truth telling.
    Interpretation.
    Meaning making.
    Getting to the heart of things.
    Saying what’s what.
    And what’s also what.
    And how to make sense of it all.

    I am well-suited for my work,
    in that I can let everything be just what it is,
    and what it also is,
    without taking any of it seriously,
    and enjoying the wonder,
    and the absurdity,
    and the hilarity
    of what is going on.

    Facts are always being interpreted
    to suit our fancies.
    “The truth,
    the whole truth,
    and nothing but the truth”
    is a failure of nerve,
    and a refusal to consider
    particles and waves.


  • 12/17/2019  —  Lake Francis 11/19/2019 01 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 19, 2019

    At what point does the Prodigal’s father declare,
    “You are no son of mine!
    Get off of my property,
    and out of my sight!” ?

    At what point does the Good Samaritan say
    to someone lying in a ditch,
    “You are nothing more than a slimy piece of filth,
    undeserving of anything good ever,
    lie in that ditch until you rot,
    and to hell with everyone like you!”?

    I would say at no point ever.

    I would say these two parables
    do away with the concept of hell,
    Satan,
    damnation,
    and anything to do with divine punishment,
    temporal or eternal.

    I would say these two parables
    do away with the need for theology,
    ideology,
    doctrine,
    dogma,
    creeds
    and the church of our experience,
    and religion as we know it.

    And, that religion as it ought to be
    comes down to seeing what needs to be done
    in light of all things considered,
    being right about it,
    and doing it the way it needs to be done,
    in each situation as it arises,
    all our life long.

    I honor your right to make up your own mind
    in the matter.

    But, don’t waste your time trying to make me
    change mine.


  • 12/18/2019  —  Christmas Lights 12/25/2013 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, December 25, 2013

    We have to trust ourselves all the way.

    This is the one thing lacking
    in our work at self-development.
    And self-development is our only work.
    We are here to grow ourselves up
    into the person we are capable of being.
    There is nothing beyond that
    for us to do.
    But.
    Doing that entails doing all that needs to be done
    in all of the areas of our life
    as only we can do it.
    We can’t let anything slide by unseen,
    undone.

    This is the work of being who we are
    in each situation as it arises,
    all our life long.

    What is the situation asking of us?
    Requiring of us.
    We cannot walk away from a situation
    without fulfilling our obligation
    to the situation.

    Our obligation to the situation–
    every situation–
    is to do what needs to be done there
    the way only we can do it
    in serving the best interest of the situation.

    Sometimes, that means
    walking away from the situation
    without doing anything more than exiting on cue.

    It does not mean allowing ourselves to be used
    by the situation,
    or by those in the situation with us.

    It means drawing appropriate lines
    and letting the fallout be the fallout.

    That is one place trusting ourselves all the way
    comes into play.

    People will use us against ourselves.
    “Awww–you hurt my feelings.”
    “Awwsw–you have to take care of me
    the way I want to be taken care of!”
    “Awww–you can’t ever say ‘No’ to me!”

    We have to defend our obligation to ourselves
    and tend it on a plane equal
    to our obligation to the situation.
    Sometimes, we sacrifice ourselves.
    Sometimes, we sacrifice the situation
    (Or someone in the situation).

    We make the call.
    We trust ourselves to make the call.
    We trust ourselves all the way.
    We do it the way we would do it,
    and leave it at that.
    Letting the fallout be the fallout.

    Trusting ourselves to know what we are doing
    when we clearly have no idea what we are doing
    is the true test of our relationship with ourselves.
    We step into the silence,
    listen for directions,
    sense a course of action,
    and take a chance
    on ourselves–
    without giving ourselves down the river
    about what happens next.

    We are learning to listen to ourselves.
    It takes a while.
    We stay off of our back
    and trust ourselves to find the way,
    learning as we go,
    one situation at a time.

    Self-development
    is developing our relationship
    with ourselves.
    One situation at a time.


  • 12/18/2019  —  Otter Creek 10/29/2019 01 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Big Island, Virginia, October 29, 2019

    The term,
    “Keep the faith!”
    means,
    in my lexicon,
    two things:

    “Keep faith with yourself!”
    “Be true to yourself!”
    “Honor what you know to be honorable!”
    “Do what you know to be good.”
    “Keep your word!”
    “Know Thyself!”

    Because only then
    can you
    qualify for part two:
    “Keep faith with others!”

    On these two things
    hang all the Law and the Prophets,
    and the Gospels.

    If we do not keep these two,
    it doesn’t matter what we do
    with all of the others.

    And if we keep these two,
    all of the others
    will fall nicely into place
    around them.


  • 12/19/2019  —  Curves 10/29/2019 06 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Fallingwater Cascades, MP 83.1, near Bedford, Virginia, October 29, 2019

    We got to wherever we are,
    and will get to wherever we are going,
    the way pin balls get
    to wherever they are
    and to wherever they are going.

    We are in charge
    the way “the deaf, dumb and blind kid”
    is in charge.
    “How do you think he does it?”
    “No distractions.”

    Living at one with the moment,
    doing what needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises,
    without allowing the process,
    or the outcome,
    influence the response
    necessitated by the circumstances
    at hand,
    right here,
    right now.

    Living spontaneously,
    improvisationally,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment–
    with no agenda
    and no opinion,
    and only,
    “Here we are, now what?”
    as a guide.

    That is one side of the dynamic
    of living successfully
    in the world.
    The other side
    is seeing/hearing/knowing/understanding/doing/being–
    paying close attention to everything,
    and living intently/intentionally
    mindfully aware of it all.

    Seeing and not even looking,
    hearing and not even listening,
    knowing and not even asking,
    understanding and not even caring,
    doing and not even moving,
    being and not even breathing–

    the dichotomies,
    contradictions,
    paradoxes
    and polarities
    of living between
    the conscious
    and unconscious
    aspects of reality,
    with a foot in each world.

    Here we are.
    Now what?


  • 12/19/2019  —  Beidler Forest 11/22/2019 23 — The Meeting Tree, Francis Beidler Forest, Audubon Center and Sanctuary, Four Holes Swamp, Harleyville, South Carolina, November 22, 2019

    Jesus said,
    “Why don’t you
    decide for yourselves
    what is right?”

    Thomas Cleary said,
    “It comes down to this:
    Waking up.
    Seeing for yourself.
    Standing on your own two feet.”

    That is enlightenment.
    That is salvation.
    That is the treasure hard to find.
    That is the end of the Spiritual Quest.
    That is “what it is all about.”

    Another term for it is
    “Growing Up.”

    The aim of all religion
    and spiritual practice
    worldwide
    through the ages
    is to produce
    grown-up men and women.

    Religion and spiritual practice
    worldwide
    through the ages
    has gone about it the wrong way.

    It has produced immature,
    self-centered,
    subservient,
    deferential,
    submissive,
    dependent,
    malleable,
    inauthentic,
    disingenuous,
    childish
    crowds
    who would never consider
    thinking for themselves,
    and are completely incapable
    of deciding for themselves
    what is right.

    If we are ever going to turn things around,
    we are going to have to
    Wake up.
    See for ourselves.
    Stand on our own two feet.
    And decide for ourselves what is right.


  • 12/20/2019  —  Road Through Fall 10/28/2019 03 — Blue Ridge Parkway, southern Virginia, October 28, 2019

    Thomas Cleary said,
    “Start where you are.
    Eventually, you will come
    full circle.”

    There is no beginning.
    There is no end.

    Carl Jung said,
    “There is no linear evolution; t
    here is only a circumambulation of the self.
    Uniform development exists,
    at most, at the beginning;
    later, everything points toward the center.”

    “Circumambulation” means
    “To walk in circles.”
    All circles have a center.

    “Where are we going?”
    is not the question.
    “What is at the center?”
    is the question.

    The Self is at the center.
    We do not get there directly.
    “There is no linear evolution.”
    There is no beginning.
    There is no end.
    There is no starting point.
    There is no stopping point.

    It doesn’t matter where we start.
    What matters
    is that we keep going.

    T.S. Eliot said,
    “We shall not cease from exploration,
    and the end of all our exploring
    will be to arrive where we started
    and know the place for the first time.”

    All roads lead to the Self.
    To who is walking.
    To who we are–
    to who the “we” is
    that is walking.

    The Zen masters say,
    “The road to enlightenment
    begins anywhere.
    Begins everywhere.”

    There is no wrong road,
    no wrong path,
    no wrong way.
    There is only
    walking every road,
    every path,
    every way,
    with our eyes open.
    Seeing what we look at.
    Knowing what we know.
    And that we don’t know
    what we don’t know.
    And being comfortable
    with not knowing,
    understanding it to mean,
    “We don’t know that yet.”

    And keep walking.
    With our eyes open.
    Allowing things to fall into place
    in their own time,
    in their own way.

    Our place is to keep walking,
    with our eyes open.
    And let nature take its course.


  • 12/20/2019  —  Beidler Forest 11/22/2019 22 – Francis Beidler Forest, Audubon Center and Sanctuary, Four Holes Swamp, Harleyville, South Carolina, November 22, 2019

    Even when it is easy,
    it is hard.

    We have to come to terms
    with how hard it is
    time-after-time-after-time.

    The process of growing up,
    of maturation,
    is the process of continually
    coming to terms
    with how hard it is
    over time.

    The cumulative weight
    of this on-going,
    never-ending,
    process bears down on us
    like some demonic form
    of Chinese Water Torture,
    and we either
    learn to laugh
    and take it in stride,
    or we sink into
    an ever-deepening state
    of hopelessness
    and depression.

    I heartily recommend laughter.

    The ground of laughter
    is the realization
    that this is how it is.

    It is the backdrop,
    the background,
    the context,
    the milieu,
    the sitz im leben,
    the umwelt,
    the environment,
    the atmosphere
    of our life.

    It is hard.
    Breathing is hard.
    We don’t realize how difficult
    the next breath is
    until we have been on a respirator
    for a month,
    and have to learn to breathe
    on our own again.

    Living. Is. Hard.

    That is the on-going,
    perennial,
    lesson of life.

    We have to pay the bills
    and we have to have a reason
    to go on with it.
    And those are only two of the things
    that make life hard.

    Life is lived within the parameters
    that permit and limit our living.
    Coming to terms with the limits
    is the ongoing work of being alive.

    We have to bear the pain.
    The pain of limits in general,
    and the pain of our particular limits in particular.

    We have to acknowledge it,
    square ourselves up with it,
    come to terms with it,
    make our peace with it,
    and go on with our life.

    Why go on with it?
    Because everything depends on it!
    We let ourselves
    and everyone else
    down when we don’t go on with it.
    We increase the level of corporate pain
    when we refuse to bear the pain
    that is ours to bear.

    Why should we care?
    Because everything depends on it!

    Everything depends on
    our getting up
    and meeting the day,
    each day,
    and doing what is ours to do in it.

    If you are going to take anything on faith,
    take this on faith.
    If you decide it doesn’t matter what you do,
    you are taking that on faith!
    Between the two choices,
    we all are better off
    if you choose to believe
    everything depends on what you do
    in each situation as it arises
    all your life long–
    all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

    Believe that it is so
    and live as though it is!
    And you will make all the difference
    in the lives of those living with you!

    And, if you don’t,
    you will, at least,
    have done no harm–
    and that in itself is good!


  • 12/21/2019  —  Cotton in the Field 10/25/2019 03 — Rural SC between Sumpter and Camden, October 25, 2019

    I was in the ministry
    of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
    for 40.5 years.

    Moses was in the wilderness
    for 40 years.

    Moses has nothing on me.

    We both knew where we were going–
    The Land of Promise.
    Neither of us had a map,
    or any idea
    of how we would get there,
    or know when we had arrived.

    We trusted ourselves
    entirely to the process–
    being content
    to “let each day’s trouble
    be sufficient for the day,”
    and doing each day
    what needed to be done that day,
    allowing one day
    to lead to the next,
    enjoying everything that could be enjoyed,
    grieving what was to be grieved,
    mourning what was to be mourned,
    and bearing the pain
    and the wonder
    of it all,
    waiting for the doors to open
    and walking through
    all along the way.

    Walking on water when we had to.
    Stepping carefully along the slippery slope,
    the dangerous path
    like a razors edge
    most of the time.
    Carrying the treasure that is hard to find,
    and walking with
    That Which Knows More Than We Do
    every step of the way.

    At the end,
    we both understood
    that we will die
    10,000 times
    before we get there–
    and that not one of them
    will be the last time.

    Death and resurrection, Kid.
    Death and resurrection.


  • 12/21/2019  —  Colored Circles 12/25/2018 01 B Blur — Graphic Art, Indian Land, South Carolina, December 21, 2019

    We cannot hear anything we don’t already know.
    We know things
    we don’t know we know
    until we hear it.

    When we do,
    it “rings a bell,”
    it “strikes a cord,”
    something stirs within,
    and we know “This is IT!”

    Resonance
    is the grounding foundation,
    the bedrock,
    the unshakeable source
    of our life.

    We feel our way along,
    guided by what resonates with us,
    saying, “Here it is!
    This way!
    Over here!
    NOW!
    Come ON!”

    When I was 18,
    I saw a 35mm single lens reflex camera
    as a prop in a made-for-TV movie
    staring Robert Wagner,
    and was smitten.
    My entire being resonated
    with that camera.
    BOOM, as John Madden would say.
    And I have spent my entire life
    figuring out what that is all about.
    With me,
    a camera is much more than “just a camera.”

    Resonance
    means something is there before us.
    Something “is planted” within,
    “waits” within
    for the right signal
    from the context and circumstances
    of our life
    to wake it up,
    like the oak tree in the acorn,
    and we come to life
    around that
    all our life long.

    All the things that resonate with us
    carry us along on their shoulders,
    guiding us from one thing to the next,
    leading us along the way.

    And we wait with them
    for the next thing to come along,
    flashing us like some lurid white rabbit,
    winking at us,
    and laughing,
    and the game is on.


  • 12/21/2019  —  Goodale 10/25/2019 15 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, October 25, 2019

    An ancient bit of wisdom goes,
    “After 60, we age every year.
    After 70, we age every month.
    After 80, we age every week.
    After 90, we age every day.
    After 100, we age by the hour.”

    This is generally followed by advice
    regarding the importance of stewarding
    our vitality, energy, and spirit.

    How do you tend
    your vitality, energy and spirit?

    What do you do that depletes those things?

    How do you recover and replace those things?

    It has also been said,
    “Everyone likes life,
    but not the path to long life.
    Everyone dislikes death,
    but not the things conducive to death.”

    Followed by the recommendation:
    “Change your attitude as soon as possible.”

    Pithy.

    I wish there were a pill for that.


  • 12/22/2019  —  Peaks of Otter 10/29/2019 01 — Peaks of Otter Lodge, Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 86, Bedford, Virginia, October 29,2019

    The way we see things
    fails to take everything into account–
    or even half of everything.
    How can we say we see things?

    We serve opinions about the way things are
    that ignore–
    how much would you say?–
    99.99% of what is before us.

    We talk about “The way things are!
    The way things are!”
    in complete oblivion
    to the way things ALSO are!

    What are we doing,
    getting so wrapped up in opinions,
    that we fail to see
    what we are failing to see?

    White Nationalists look at People of Color,
    Jews and LGB-ETC people,
    And scream,
    “It is people like YOU
    who make people like US
    HATE people like YOU!”
    Which leaves the White Nationalists
    completely off the hook,
    and helplessly at the mercy
    of their feelings–
    and utterly not responsible for them.

    If they were looking only
    at the DNA of other people,
    they would not know whom to hate.

    We see selectively
    based on our opinions
    of what we look at.

    And see practically nothing
    of what is to be seen.

  • 11/08/2019  —  Graham Cabin 08/29/2019 01 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Dairy Barn Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, August 29, 2019

    Letting things happen,
    responding in ways that are helpful,
    remaining centered in ourselves,
    grounded in who we are
    and what is ours to do,
    seeing what we look at,
    hearing what is being said
    on all levels,
    knowing what we know,
    and what we don’t know,
    trusting what we know to be trustworthy,
    doing what needs to be done
    while remaining true to ourselves
    as best we can
    within the givens of time, place and circumstances,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    is all that can legitimately be asked of any of us,
    and often more than we can manage.

    But.

    It remains a worthy goal,
    and a daily meditation,
    throughout our life.


  • 11/08/2019  —  Last Days of Fall 11/03/2019 12 — Linville Falls Picnic Area, Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls, North Carolina, November 3, 2019

    We draw our own conclusions.
    We make up our own minds.
    We decide what we are going to believe,
    how we are going to behave.

    If we take someone else’s word for anything,
    it is because we choose to take their word
    over someone else’s word,
    over our own considered (or not so considered)
    opinion in the matter.
    It remains our decision,
    who to believe about what.

    We are the ones who say so
    even if we say
    “What he said is so!”

    We don’t get off the hook.
    There are no free passes.
    We live our own life.
    Who we are was not done to us.
    We got us where we are.
    We will get us where we are going.
    We are accountable and responsible.

    That being the case,
    you might think
    we would be mindfully aware
    of what we are doing
    when we operate on autopilot
    and follow the herd
    from the barn
    to the pasture
    and back to the barn,
    and begin to consciously
    choose from among our choices,
    asking the questions that beg to be asked,
    and saying the things that cry out to be said,
    instead of allowing someone tell us what to think,
    what to do,
    because it is easier,
    or because we think we are too stupid
    to think for ourselves.

    We have the time left for living
    to work with.
    Why not get to work,
    forming and shaping the life we are living
    in light of the life we think we ought to be living?

    Who ought we be?
    Who says so?
    WE do!
    What say we?


  • 11/09/2019  —  November 4 11/04/2019 10 — Saddle Mountain Union Baptist Church, Ennice, North Carolina, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 221/222

    There are guides and companions
    all along the way.

    We do not travel alone.
    Help is always near at hand.

    “Let the Force be with you!”
    may not be an actual line
    from Star Wars,
    but.
    It’s validity verifies its value
    as a pointer directing us
    to the truth it proclaims
    throughout time.

    It only takes relaxing into
    “the everlasting arms”
    to know we are being led,
    or carried,
    to destinations undreamed of,
    along passage ways never imagined.

    I mean, here we are!
    Who saw *this* coming?
    Me and you, here, now?
    Who meant this?
    Who devised this?
    Who woulda thought it?
    Our entire life is this way!

    We can trust ourselves
    to the strange combination
    of Tao/Dharma/Kairos/Grace
    and all the other words
    for that which can be experienced,
    but not said/told/explained–
    “apprehended but not comprehended”
    (Abraham Heschel)!

    It is as real as a toothache
    or “an angel’s kiss in spring”
    (Lee Hazlewood).
    And it only takes
    “letting the force be with us”
    to know that it is.


  • 11/09/2019  —  Peaks of Otter 10/28/19 04 — Peaks of Otter Lodge, Blue Ridge Parkway, Bedford, Virginia, October 28, 2019

    What it’s all about is growing up.

    Growing up is all there is.

    There is nothing beyond growing up,
    nothing besides growing up,
    nothing in addition to growing up.
    It is growing up all the way down.
    And up.
    And left.
    And right.

    Growing up is our eternal task.
    We live to grow up.
    There is nothing more than growing up
    to ask,
    or to want,
    or to imagine.

    “But there is a catch,”
    as Joseph Heller is wont to say.
    The catch is
    that we grow up against our will.

    No kidding.

    We cannot will ourselves grown up.
    We cannot think our way there.
    We cannot believe our way there.
    We have to live our way there.
    Against our will.

    It is the most wonderful joke
    in the entire encyclopedia of jokes.
    And the joke is on us!

    We work against ourselves all the way.

    We spend our life
    in pursuit of eternal childhood.
    We live looking for a surrogate Mamma,
    for the Daddy who will take care of us forever
    (And substitute God the Father Almighty
    for the earthly parents,
    and parental surrogates,
    who are always disappointing us).
    We will not grow up!

    Which is, of course, perfect.
    Because it sets us on the course
    of growing up against our will.

    “The cave we most don’t want to enter”
    (Joseph Campbell)
    is the way of suffering through
    the pain and *agone*
    by growing up through the life-long experience
    of bearing the tension of the cross
    of mutually-exclusive contradictions,
    dichotomies,
    anomalies,
    dualities,
    and polarities that defy reconciliation
    to the place of transcendence
    and enlightenment–
    which is the point
    of all koans and conundrums,
    and is the unavoidable
    essence of life itself,
    the sacramental ground of existence:

    The Bread of Affliction
    Is the Bread of Life!
    The Cup of Suffering
    Is the Cup of Salvation!

    And the process of growing up
    carries us all from death to life,
    and the miracle
    of being alive to being alive.

    If we will but cooperate
    and follow–
    against our will–
    all the way.


  • 11/10/2019  —  Otter Creek 10/29/2019 02 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Big Island, Virginia, October 29, 2019

    Ignorance rules all.

    Just try bringing understanding,
    realization,
    knowledge
    to life in the world.

    Jesus didn’t waste his time,
    and left the dead to bury the dead.

    The Buddha held up a flower before the masses.
    only Mahākāśyapa smiled.

    So cultivate insight in yourself,
    and be of good courage
    as you conduct your business
    among those who see not,
    know not,
    care not,
    and think the way they think
    is the only way to think.

    “The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness cannot put it out.”

    But the darkness will always be
    the dwelling place of light.

    Let it be so because it is so,
    and go about your work,
    anyway,
    nevertheless,
    even so.


  • 11/11/2019  —  Peaks of Otter 10/29/2019 06 Panorama — Peaks of Otter Lodge, Blue Ridge Parkway, Bedford, Virginia, October 29, 2019

    Awareness clears the way
    to appropriate action
    in response to what is happening
    in the situation at hand.

    Sometimes we do it this way,
    and sometimes we do it that way.

    Right action is of the moment,
    and cannot be imposed
    upon the situation from beyond the situation.

    Awareness leads the way
    as right action arises
    in the moment
    it is called for–
    occurring to us,
    not dictated to us by others
    or through doctrine/dogma,
    sutras or sermons!

    We do not think our way to right action,
    we live our way there
    out of our awareness
    of the situation as a whole.

    Positive/negative meet,
    as Ortega y Gasset might say,
    “at the edge of the coin.”
    Striving to avoid being negative,
    and to always be positive,
    imposes an artificial element
    on the situation,
    and we act with “doing it right”
    in mind,
    instead of acting
    to do what is needed here and now,
    regardless how right or wrong
    it might seem to someone else.

    Awareness is distance from all concerns
    and interests weighing upon the moment.

    The more aware we are,
    the more distant we are from the outcome,
    and the better able we are to assess the situation
    objectively, as a nonpartisan player,
    with nothing at stake to gain or lose–
    which is the truly fulcrum position in every situation!

    Of course, the “signs of success”
    are not ours to enjoy and flaunt.
    Flaunting in particular is negated by awareness,
    so we have to be wise about who we marry.


  • 11/11/2019  —  James River 10/29/2019 04 — Big Island, Virginia, October 29, 2019

    Where does the line lie
    between the dreamer and the dream?

    Between the seer and the seen?

    Between the hearer and the heard?

    Between the knower and the known?

    Between the doer and the done?

    Between the beholder and the beheld?

    Between the judgment and the judge?

    Between the thinker and the thought?

    Between the good and the bad?

    Between me and you?

    Between you and me?


  • 11/11/2019  —  Parkway Overlooks 10/29/2019 06 — Blue Ridge Parkway north of Otter Lake, Virginia, October 29, 2019

    The religion at the heart of being human
    cannot be scripted,
    or codified.
    or canned,
    or frozen for all of time
    in a steady-state of doctrine and dogma,
    creeds and beliefs,
    theology and ideology,
    prayers and rituals.

    “The spirit is like the wind
    that blows where it will.”

    Jacob Bronowski said,
    “If you want to know the truth,
    you have to live in certain ways.”

    We have to live truthfully and compassionately.

    It doesn’t matter what we believe
    or how we think about religious matters.

    Believe anything you want–
    think whatever it takes–
    to live truthfully and compassionately.

    Do the things that make for peace
    and open the way to awareness of all things
    on all levels:

    “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
    “Love one another.”
    “Love your enemies.”
    “Listen to your body.”
    “Listen to your heart.”
    “Listen to your stomach.”
    “Listen to your bones.”
    “Listen to your dreams.”
    “Hear what is being said to you
    from every thing
    on all levels.”
    “See what you look at.”
    “Know what you know.”
    “Notice what you are dismissing,
    discounting,
    disregarding,
    discarding,
    denying,
    ignoring.”
    “Eat when hungry.
    Rest when tired.”
    “Chop wood,
    carry water.”
    “After enlightenment, the laundry!”
    “Dance with your, with the, contradictions!”
    “Embrace the opposites,
    the dichotomies,
    the anomalies,
    the polarities!”
    “Bear the pain!”
    “Suffer it through!”
    “We grow up against our will!”
    “The bread of affliction is the bread of life!”
    “The cup of suffering is the cup of salvation!”
    “Sit silently.
    Be still.
    Wait quietly
    for what arises in the heart of stillness.”
    “Do what occurs to you–
    give that more weight
    that what you think you should do,
    that what you believe you ought to do.”
    “Our unconscious is always communing with us,
    calling us to commune with it.”
    “The contemplative vision
    is direct communication
    from the heart of being human.”
    “Do what you love.”
    “Be what you seek.”
    “Be what you need.”
    “Do what needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises
    with the gifts that are yours to bring forth
    and serve.”
    “Pay full attention to the present moment,
    receiving it with compassion
    and without judgment,
    holding it,
    honoring it,
    with your awareness,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    and let your response to the moment
    flow spontaneously from your knowing
    into doing
    as the moved in response to the mover.”

    And on and on, like that, forever.


  • 11/11/2019  —  Thunder Ridge 10/29/2019 03 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 74.7, Virginia, October 29, 2019

    The world as we know it
    is dying before our eyes,
    and we aren’t doing
    anything about it
    because it would cost too much.

    It is going to cost more
    to not do anything about it.

    In ten years, there won’t be any beaches.
    In less than thirty,
    the coastal populations worldwide
    will be displaced.
    What will become of them?

    You know how the vegetation
    in California
    is drying out and burning?
    And how the oranges in Florida
    are being destroyed
    buy a bacteria that loves warm weather?
    It is going to be like that
    with everything we eat.
    Food sources around the world
    will be depleted.
    We can’t eat money.

    We won’t be able to drink the water,
    or breathe the air,
    because it cost too much
    to have clean water and air.
    It would cut into corporate profits.
    It hurt the bottom lines
    of big companies.
    It would ruin the economy.

    How is the economy going to do
    with no food to eat,
    no water to drink,
    no air to breathe.

    Capitalism is killing the planet,
    with its motto of
    “Profit At Any Price!”
    And its guiding principle:
    “If a profit can be made,
    a profit will be made.”

    Living with both eyes on the wrong prize
    is very short-sighted indeed.


  • 11/12/2019  —  Last Days of Fall 11/03/2019 23 — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, November 3, 2019

    Oppression is as old as life itself.

    The Law of the Fishes reflects how it is:
    “The big fish eat the little fish,
    and the little fish hide.”

    A Buddhist observation states the same truth:
    “When you meet an elephant
    coming toward you along the path,
    get off the path!”

    The freedom of self-realization and self-expression
    is a rare occurrence in the annals of time.

    Hiding and getting off the path
    is more often the case.

    Democracy sought to change that,
    but it soon became evident
    that people who think for themselves
    are not good for the economy.

    Wealth requires poverty
    to sustain its eternal quest
    for higher profits
    and lower costs.

    Government “of the people,
    by the people,
    for the people,”
    became over time
    Government of the wealthy,
    by the wealthy,
    for the wealthy.

    Democracy failed
    as an idea unable to sustain itself
    due to a lack
    of free and independent funding
    because taxes were not
    equitable and fair
    across the full range of incomes.

    Too many loopholes,
    too many ways to rig the system
    to benefit the few
    at the expense of the masses.
    And too much permission required
    to change the structure
    to serve the true good of the whole.

    What to do?
    History is not encouraging.
    Nobody volunteers to surrender
    their privileges and advantages
    for the sake of those who have none.

    Wars and plagues,
    uprising and rebellion,
    revolution and massacre
    result in new people at the top,
    but the disparity between the top
    and the bottom remains locked in place.

    The cycle repeats
    without anything changing.
    And we are on the brink
    of a repeating cycle.
    When the dust settles,
    the big fish will own the seas,
    and the elephants will own the paths.


  • 11/12/2019  —  Sumac 10/28/2019 02 — Blue Ridge Parkway, near Roanoke, Virginia, October 28, 2019

    There is no consolation.
    There is no balm in Gilead,
    or anywhere else,
    for the ache
    for that which cannot be.

    We all walk with a limp,
    and bear wounds beyond healing–
    that have no business healing–
    because of what has been done to us,
    or not done at all,
    and because of what we have done,
    and failed to do.

    The work of growing up
    is the work of seeing things as they are
    and letting them be
    because they are,
    and going on with our life,
    doing the best we can
    with what meets us in a day,
    nevertheless,
    even so,
    come what may.

    We live life on life’s terms
    to soften what can be softened,
    and to make right what can be made right,
    and to suffer it through
    all that cannot be softened or made right.

    We can make our burdens
    as light as they can be,
    or heavier than they need to be,
    by the way we respond to them
    and deal with the very idea that we
    should be burdened.

    Everybody is.
    Why should we expect to be spared?
    Of course it is all hopeless,
    pointless,
    useless,
    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!

    The meantime is where we come in
    to do our thing
    “without hope,
    without witness,
    without reward”
    (Dr. Who).

    And leave things better
    than we found them
    in the lives of all who come our way.


  • 11/12/2019  —  Goodale 10/25/2019 06 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, October 25, 2019

    The choice–
    the primary choice,
    the fundamental choice,
    the essential choice–
    is between living with integrity
    and living without integrity.

    We are not instructed
    in the art of integrity,
    and are misled about it
    from the start.

    We are led to believe
    that integrity is living
    aligned with the moral principles
    of the day–
    doing what is right
    as “right” is understood,
    defined,
    and expected of us
    by the culture.

    Keeping the Ten Commandments.
    And the Boy Scout Law.
    Keeping your nose clean
    and to the grindstone.
    Being upright,
    a team player
    and a Straight Arrow.

    We are not told that integrity
    is about being true to ourselves,
    and living aligned with the voice of our soul,
    with the directives of our unconscious,
    no matter what that might mean
    for the appearances the culture
    would like for us to keep intact
    and spotless.

    We are not told how to listen
    to the voice of our soul
    and the directives arising
    out of our unconscious.

    We are certainly not told to trust
    our unconscious.
    We are told to have nothing to do
    with the inner voices,
    and many of us are led to believe
    those voices are of the devil.
    Because they often direct us
    against the instructions of the culture.

    Growing up involves being inculcated
    with the voice of the culture,
    and learning–
    on our own–
    to listen to
    and follow
    the voice of soul.
    And understanding that integrity
    requires us to live aligned
    with the leading of the unconscious–
    living in sync with our inner self.

    How well we are developing
    our ability to do that
    is an indication of how well
    we are aging
    and coming to trust ourselves
    to ourselves
    in doing what needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises,
    as only we can do it.


  • 11/13/2019  —  Swan Lake 10/25/2019 16 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, October 25, 2019

    Donald Trump is pathological,
    toxic,
    unhinged
    and dangerous.

    And the people who back him
    either don’t know what they are doing,
    don’t care what they are doing, or,
    are fully cognizant and responsible
    for what they are doing
    (in which case they are exactly as he is,
    and he is simply acting out
    the behaviors they wish
    they had the powers to perform).

    Which leaves the rest of us
    with the problem
    of what to do with all of this
    that we have been given.

    I have a suggestion:
    Become innately,
    even insanely,
    curious and aware.

    Curiosity and awareness
    are the twin ways out of this mess.

    How can “their” values
    be so different from “ours”?

    Stephen Miller, for instance,
    and the entire Nazi/WhiteNationalist/WhiteSupremacist Party–
    How can they be so filled with vitriol
    and raw hatred
    for everybody who is non-white–
    and for all the white people
    who are not like they are?
    What is the foundation
    and origin
    of that world view?
    What life experiences contribute
    to “them” being like “they” are?
    What all separates “them” from “us”?
    How can we all ever be together
    in ways that are good for the country
    and the world?
    What would be the ground of our commonality?

    It appears to me
    that racism and white nationalism
    are at the bottom
    as the root cause
    of our divide.
    How can that division
    ever be healed?

    Pack “us” all up
    and send us to some far-distant planet,
    and “they” would still be unable to sleep nights
    knowing that “we” were alive
    somewhere in the universe,
    and “they” would still live
    in the service
    of tracking “us” down
    and killing “us.”

    Which suggests to me
    that “they” can’t stand “themselves,”
    and have to have “us” to hate
    to take their minds off “themselves”
    and “their” complete absence
    of a life worth living in-and-of itself.
    And there is nothing “we” can do about that
    without “their” cooperation.

    Which leaves us at odds eternally,
    polarities forever.
    And how are we going to live together
    with “them” hating “us,”
    and “us” trying to find ways
    for this to work?

    That is a doozie
    for us to be curious about
    and aware of
    while we seek ways
    to guarantee the well-being
    of all people
    in the midst
    of the best conundrum ever.


  • 11/13/2019  —  Curves 10/29/2019 07 — Blue Ridge Parkway from MP 86 to the Buena Vista exit, Virgina, October 29, 2019 — Notice they are all curving to the left. It is a sign of encouragement and hope everlasting.

    What do you do
    with steadfast earnestness?

    No joking,
    laughing,
    smiling,
    fooling around?

    So that everybody knows
    it is a seriously important matter
    to you?

    How many of those things
    do you have in your life?

    Things that you take
    with steadfast earnestness?

    I’ll bet we don’t have enough!

    I’ll bet we take too many things
    with an inappropriate degree
    of lightness and frivolity.

    Lightness and frivolity smooth the way.

    Steadfast earnestness makes waves.
    Upsets apple carts.
    Turns over the money-changer’s tables.

    We can be steadfastly earnest
    without scowling and raising our voice.
    Without slamming down our coffee cup
    and stalking out of Starbucks.
    Without losing our cool
    or sharpening our tongue.

    “Is that what you just said?”
    “Is that what you just did?”
    Will do it.
    “What did you mean by that?”
    “You were just joking?”
    “I don’t get the joke.
    Could you explain it to me?”

    We’re drawing lines
    by calling attention
    to what just when over the line.

    We have to honor the lines.
    Everything depends on it.
    It is a matter
    of steadfast earnestness.


  • 11/14/2019  —  Parkway Overlooks 10/29/2019 18 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, north of Peaks of Otter, Virginia, October 29, 2019

    The Council of Nicaea in 325 AD
    marks the moment
    the religious right
    took over the Christian Church.

    The Canon was officially closed
    not long after that,
    weaponizing theology
    against the heresies of the day
    and authorizing the Church
    to massacre “non-believers”
    and enemies of the cause.

    The Reformation began the turnaround,
    and here we are,
    slogging around in myriad variations
    of the right way to think/believe/see
    in a bitter war of perspective
    waged over long eons
    and set to last
    for the rest of our time on earth
    or beyond,
    into the solar system
    and throughout the universe.

    You might think we could do better.
    You would be wrong.

    We are locked into our way of seeing things,
    and cannot get outside of our point of view
    in order to consider things
    from an entirely different standpoint.
    And that’s the tale
    that wags the dog.

    The best we can hope for
    is to see at least that much,
    and refuse to take any of it seriously
    because it is completely absurd
    to think that any one of us
    has the right to impose
    how we see things
    on anybody.

    But.

    There is a problem.

    How we see things leads naturally
    and spontaneously to
    what we do about things.
    And that leads to what we allow
    and what we disallow.
    And that leads to persecuting people
    who are not like we are.
    And that leads to where we are.

    No one I know is going to allow
    child sacrifice
    or headhunting.


  • 11/14/2019  —  Thunder Ridge 10/29/2019 04 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 74.7, Virginia, October 29, 2019

    How do we know how to think about something?
    How do we know how to look at something?
    How do we know what to believe?

    We all think, see and believe
    as though we know what we are doing.

    “You can fool all of the people some of the time,.
    and some of the people all of the time–
    but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

    What’s the difference between being fooled
    and knowing what we are doing?

    What’s the difference between knowing
    and thinking we know?

    How do we know how to think about something?
    How do we know how to look at something?
    How do we know what to believe?


  • 11/14/2019  —  Otter Lake 10/29/2019 03 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 60.9, Virginia, October 29, 2019

    Why do we react the way we do?

    How many response options
    do we consider
    before selecting one
    that we deem to be appropriate
    to the occasion?

    Our varied is our pattern of responses
    to the things that meet us
    throughout the day?

    My parents never surprised me
    with their responses
    to my behavior.

    I endeavor to be surprising,
    not predictable.
    I typically surprise myself.
    I find myself saying things
    that do not come from me–
    from my consciously,
    deliberately intentional side.
    And I enjoy discovering
    what I’m capable of.

    I trust myself–
    my unconscious self,
    the self I am not conscious of–
    and look forward to discovering
    what I’m capable of.
    I spend a lot of time
    staying out of the way
    in order to see
    what I come up with.
    What will I think of next?
    The question pulls me
    into the next moment
    all day long.


  • 11/15/2019  —  Peaks of Otter 10/29/2019 12 — Peaks of Otter Lodge, Milepost 86, Bedford, Virginia, October 29,2019

    Every moment is a transition point to some future.
    How we live there makes all the difference.
    We are the fulcrum
    and the lever,
    and the counterweight.

    If we approach the moment
    as though there is nothing there for us
    and we are just passing through,
    hopefully in very short order,
    we will make very little of the moment,
    and the moment will mean nothing to us,
    and we will mean nothing positive to it.

    If we approach the moment
    as an opportunity to parlay
    what we find there
    to our advantage,
    we will be piranhas,
    swimming through each moment
    in search of something to devour
    in the service of our own good,
    at the expense of the moment
    and those who are there.

    If we approach the moment
    as those curious about the needs of the moment,
    and what is trying to happen there,
    and what we might do to assist what is going on
    for the good of the moment,
    we will be enlisting ourselves
    in the service of the best interest of the moment,
    looking for how we might best help
    the movement of the moment
    toward its best possible future.

    How we view the moment,
    and listen to it,
    makes the moment what it is,
    and what it can be.


  • 11/15/2019  —  Last Days of Fall 11/03/2019 31 — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, November 3. 2019

    What lies at the boundary between
    willful purposefulness
    and lackadaisical arbitrariness?

    Find that place!
    Live there!
    Let it be your dwelling place
    moment-by-moment-by-moment!

    To be without will or purpose
    and without indifference or hopelessness
    is to be what?

    I call it being curious,
    interested,
    alive,
    unafraid.

    Whatever it is for you,
    be that!

    This is the fulcrum,
    the pivot point,
    the transition place
    transcending
    the physical world
    and ushering us into
    the metaphysical world
    of Tao,
    Dharma,
    Kairos,
    Grace.
    The world of spirit and truth.
    Miracle and magic.
    Transformation and wonder.

    And it is always right there,
    right here,
    right now.

    Waiting for the perspective shift
    that allows us to see
    the cornerstone
    in the stone the builders reject.
    The pearl-of-great-price
    in the bin of costume jewelry.


  • 11/15/2019  —  Road Through Fall 10/29/2019 02 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia, October 29, 2019

    When we are free-falling,
    the ground is under our feet.
    We have to bring ourselves
    to where our feet are.
    And be here.
    Now.

    Being here now,
    fully and intentionally
    is the time-tested
    and time-honored
    cure for anxiety and depression
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    What will happen,
    what might happen,
    meaninglessness,
    hopelessness,
    uselessness,
    futility,
    fear,
    dread,
    angst
    and agony.

    Being where our feet are
    and breathing–
    slowly and deeply–
    counting our breaths,
    and being aware of the ground
    under our feet
    and truth of our physical senses
    removes us from
    the terrors playing out in our mind.

    Be here, now, breathing,
    slowly and deeply,
    pausing between breaths
    to a count of five,
    counting our inhales,
    counting to five between breaths
    is grounding the free-fall,
    is centering ourselves in the present moment,
    is focusing on what our physical senses
    are presenting to us in this present moment.

    Paying attention
    on purpose
    without judgment
    to this moment right now
    frees us from the angst,
    anguish,
    agony
    and anxiety,
    and invites us to just be,
    just breathe,
    here and now.

    An oasis of calm
    created by simply
    being were our feet are
    when we are feeling
    like we are endlessly falling
    through empty space.

    We can ground ourselves
    anywhere,
    any time,
    for as long as we want.


  • 11/16/2019  —  Mabry Mill 10/30/2019 02 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Meadows of Dan, Virginia, October 30, 2019

    One of the tasks of maturity
    is recognizing what’s what
    and knowing what to do about it
    and being right about both
    and doing it.

    Denial plays the devil
    with all three steps.

    “Here, Sweetie, have a bite!
    It’s delicious!”

    The serpent within
    plays with our quest
    for smooth and easy,
    and that’s that.

    Knowing what’s what
    is an internal thing
    before it can be
    an external thing.

    We have to become conscious
    of as much that is unconscious
    as we can be.
    No one grows up
    without being self-transparent
    and savvy about themselves.

    Contemplating our navel
    is a good and necessary exercise
    as long as it is a part
    of the regular routine
    of contemplating everything else
    about us as well.

    If we don’t know what’s what
    about ourselves,
    we cannot hope to know what’s what
    about anything.

    We have to be able to say,
    “That is so like me!”
    “That is just like me!”
    “There I go again!”
    “What are we going to do with me?”
    “What will I come up with next?”
    As one who knows
    our tendencies,
    proclivities
    and preferences
    better than anyone else in the room–
    and where they come from,
    and what we are up to,
    and what we can do about it
    in the service of the true good
    of ourselves and of the whole,
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    “Who am I?
    What am I about?
    How did I get to be this way?
    Where do I go from here,
    in doing what needs to be done
    in light of the best that can be done,
    here and now,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment?”

    As we become the subject
    of our own contemplation,
    we become conscious
    of things that are unconscious
    about us,
    and that changes everything.


  • 11/16/2019  —  Last Days of Fall 11/03/2019 15 — Linville Falls Picnic Area, Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls, North Carolina, November 3, 2019

    I think as a species
    we appreciate recognition
    and acknowledgment
    for work well done.
    We do not do well
    treated as though we are invisible,
    shunned,
    excluded
    and left alone.

    On the other hand,
    monks and hermits
    have learned the secret
    of living well apart from the crowd.

    Marianne Moore said,
    “The cure for loneliness is solitude.”
    She meant the perspective
    of finding another within–
    the companion/guide/psyche/soul/self,
    the Knower who knows
    what is unconscious to us
    about us,
    and speaks to us
    through dreams and visions,
    insight and revelations,
    hunches, notions and realizations,
    symbols, metaphors, paradoxes…
    as a life-partner
    seeking us as a collaborator
    in the joint production
    of the life we are capable of living.

    We each have work to do
    in deepening, enlarging, expanding, developing
    the conscious awareness of the species.
    By bringing ourselves into consciousness,
    we contribute to the psychic evolution of humanity.
    The highly conscious individuals
    of the past
    have accelerated the coming to consciousness
    of the whole,
    and we are all better off for their having lived.

    Just so, those in our sphere of influence
    are, and will be,
    better off for our having lived in the service
    of our own realization and enlightenment.

    We owe it to one another
    to attend our life,
    our circumstances,
    each situation
    with as much mindful awareness
    as we can muster.
    And develop our relationship
    with ourselves
    in the work of being who we are,
    consciously and intentionally,
    before we die.


  • 11/17/2019  —  Marby Mill 10/28/2019 01 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway near Meadows of Dan, Virginia, October 28, 2019

    The task that belongs
    to each one of us
    is avoiding distractions
    all our life long.

    “Is it real,
    or is it Memorex?”

    Knowing what’s a distraction
    and avoiding it,
    is all there is to it.

    The catch is
    distractions
    may be part of the path.

    And they also may lead us
    far afield from the path.

    Are alcoholics better off
    for their years
    in the bottle–
    or worse off?

    The path can use anythng
    we give it
    to wake us up.

    And some of us are so dead,
    we are only good for
    burying the dead.

    So.
    Is this the path
    or not-the-path?

    That is all we
    need to know.


  • 11/17/2019  —  Curves 20/28/2019 01 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Puckett Cabin, Virginia, October 28, 2019

    Self-awareness,
    self-reflection,
    self-examination,
    self-realization,
    self-transparency
    are the essential ingredients
    to deepening,
    expanding,
    enlarging
    consciousness,
    and developing our ability
    to live aligned with ourselves
    in-and-through
    all situations and circumstances,
    conditions and contexts
    of our life.

    They are the basis of integrity.
    The foundation of being rooted in
    the bedrock realization
    of who we are
    and who we are not,
    of what our work is
    and what our work is not.

    They are the very essence
    of life itself.

    We are alive to the degree
    that we are “working the program”
    that results in the realization
    and expression
    of the essential ingredients of life.


  • 11/18/2019  —  November 4 11/04/2019 09 Panorama — Doughton Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 238.5 – 241, Virginia, November 4, 20129

    Politics at its worst
    is me getting the best of you.

    Politics at its best
    is finding ways
    to live together
    in ways we both like.

    Politics at the mid-point
    is me keeping my eye on you
    and you keeping your eye on me.

    Politics is the art of the deal.
    It is the art of the trade-off.
    The art of the possible.
    The art of giving up this
    to get that.
    Tit-for-tat.
    Quid pro quo.

    Successful politicians
    are skilled in the practice
    of one-up-man-ship,
    of always coming out on top,
    of always landing on their feet,
    of always besting their opposition.

    The worst politicians
    are often the best,
    in the sense of being successful
    in getting what they want,
    without giving away anything
    they also want,
    and are well-schooled
    in the Dark Arts:
    Collusion,
    Extortion,
    Bribery,
    Blackmail,
    Con-games,
    Slight-of-hand,
    Bait-and-switch,
    Lying,
    Cheating,
    Stealing,
    Slander,
    Intimidation,
    Murder,
    And anything necessary to come out on top.

    The line between politics
    and the Mafia
    at times can disappear.
    The worst politicians are Al Capone.
    The best politicians are Jimmie Stewart.
    Or Tom Hanks.

    All social and cultural institutions
    are political
    in the sense that they are involved
    in getting/having things go their way
    at the expense of someone else’s way.
    Religion is as political as real estate,
    or sales and marketing.

    Marriage is political.
    Parenting is political.
    The playground is political.

    We all are politicians.
    Making trade-offs.
    Giving up this to get that.
    Trying to have our way,
    without giving up too much
    in the bargain.

    Are we more like Al Capone,
    or Jimmie Stewart and Tom Hanks?


  • 11/19/2019  —  Anne Springs Close 11/17/2019 04 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2019

    I have a friend, Martin,
    who is depressed.
    Martin and I look at the same things
    and agree 100% about what we see
    but we can’t agree about what any of it means.
    And we feel quite differently about it all.

    We look and see and say,
    “It’s all useless,
    hopeless,
    pointless,
    meaningless,
    senseless,
    futile
    and absurd.
    Nothing matters,
    and there is no reason to go on.”

    But.
    Martin says that as though it matters
    that nothing matters,
    and I say it as though it doesn’t matter
    that nothing matters.

    Martin assumes that
    “No reason to go on”
    is reason enough to quit.
    There is no reason to quit either.

    Much of what we do,
    we do without a reason
    for doing it.

    I call my wife “Woody”
    for no reason,
    and have no idea why
    I do most of the stuff I do.
    Why do I enjoy photography?
    I have no reason to enjoy what I enjoy.
    And I don’t enjoy it because of anything
    other than because I enjoy it.
    I live irrationally that way.

    Martin cannot appreciate,
    enjoy,
    delight in,
    relish,
    love,
    adore,
    worship
    and live in complete devotion
    and loyalty to
    the paradox
    of it mattering that nothing matters.
    Of doing things for no reason.

    If *nothing* matters,
    it cannot possibly matter
    that nothing matters.
    But.
    It matters to Martin.

    Martin’s problem
    is not how things are.
    It is what how things are mean to him.
    It is a problem of interpretation.

    It is meaningful to him
    that it is all meaningless.
    And the wonder of that paradox
    is wasted on him.

    He cannot interpret the world
    in ways that are helpful to him
    because he is insisting the world be
    what it is not
    And he cannot allow the world to be
    as it is.

    He demands that things make sense.
    I tell him I don’t make sense,
    never have,
    and never hope to.
    Making no sense is what I do best.
    I have always made no sense.
    It is what I love best about me.
    And, that makes no sense.
    See?

    All my life, I have talked to people
    about God.
    I was a minister before I retired,
    and the people in the five congregations I served,
    paid me to talk to them about God.
    But.
    They did not want me telling them anything
    they had not already heard.
    Make sense of that if you can.
    It makes no sense.
    I could do it because I didn’t care
    if it made sense or not.

    Martin cares that things make no sense.
    Why does Martin care?
    It makes no sense!
    Why do I not care?
    It makes no sense!

    It is a paradox!
    It is all paradoxical!
    If you cannot let that be
    (because it is),
    you are not likely to enjoy
    much about how things are,
    not even dessert–
    which I enjoy but do not allow myself to eat
    because what is good
    is not always good for us.
    So, is it good or not?
    Dessert is a paradox.
    Like everything else.

    How we evaluate,
    interpret,
    perceive,
    understand,
    etc.
    the paradoxes in our life,
    makes all the difference.

    What life means to us
    depends on what we make of
    how we see it.
    On how we see
    what we look at.

    That’s the engine
    that pulls the train.


  • 11/20/2019  —  Lake Crandall 11/19/2019 01 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 19, 2019

    There are things we do well,
    and things we don’t do at all.

    Each one of us is a unique blend
    of interests,
    proclivities,
    talents,
    skills,
    abilities,
    deficiencies,
    inhibitions,
    values,
    curiosity,
    courage
    and the remaining collection
    of the 10,000 things
    that make us who we are.
    And there are things
    that even James Bond cannot do.

    How we put us together
    over the course of our life
    tells the tale–IS the tale.

    Growing up is learning
    what we are capable of,
    what we enjoy,
    what we gravitate toward
    and away from,
    and how to use
    what we have to work with
    to satisfy whatever it is within
    that seeks satisfaction.

    Throughout that process,
    we are the moved
    moving more or less
    in sync with–
    in relationship with–
    the mover.

    The more conscious we are
    of being the dancer
    being danced
    by the choreographer
    through the situations
    and circumstances
    of our life,
    the better our chances
    of satisfying
    what seeks satisfaction within.

    “We know when we are
    on the beam and when we are off”
    (Joseph Campbell).
    We know what resonates with us
    and what repels us.
    We know what is right for us,
    and what is wrong…

    And knowing what we know–
    and living in light of it–
    is crucial knowing.
    And nobody tells us that,
    much less, tells us how to do that–
    how to know what we know.

    How to pay attention to ourselves
    dancing the dance
    we are capable of dancing
    through the situations
    and circumstances
    of our life.

    We need more help than we get,
    but.
    We always have what we need,
    to be still,
    sit quietly,
    see what arises,
    what emerges,
    what occurs to us
    in the silence–
    and to follow its lead
    into knowing and knowing not,
    doing and doing not
    through the situations
    and circumstances
    remaining
    in the time left for living.


  • 11/20/2019  —  Afternoon Light 11/19/2019 01 — Anne Springs Close Stables, Horse Barn Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 19, 2019

    Enlightenment is not a steady state of being.
    Enlightenment is not a global,
    always and forever
    attainment
    of wisdom,
    insight,
    realization
    and perspective.

    Yoda can be fooled.
    Obi-wan Kenobi can be taken to the cleaners.
    And even forget what day it is.

    Enlightenment is not some place to get to,
    an achievement with benefits overflowing,
    pouring out
    for years beyond counting.

    Enlightenment is entirely here and now.
    Exclusively situational,
    momentary,
    like a flash of inspiration.
    And then, it’s back to
    picking the kids up from school,
    and forgetting the grocery list,
    and wondering what’s for dinner.

    Don’t be thinking it would be different
    if you were enlightened.
    That’s like thinking it will be easier
    when you are grown up.

    We are always growing up.
    We never arrive.
    To sit back,
    prop up our feet,
    and bask in the glory
    of grown-up-ness.

    Enlightenment is just seeing
    how it is
    and knowing what to do about it.
    Moment-by-moment.

    Dr. Spock didn’t have all the answers.
    Dr. Who only had a sonic screwdriver,
    and practically none of the answers at all.
    Ever.


  • 11/20/2019  —  Lake Crandall 11/19/2019 12 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 19, 2019

    When we are agitated,
    anxious, angry, afraid,
    our breathing is rapid
    and shallow.
    When we are calm,
    our breathing is slow
    and deep.

    When we are agitated,
    anxious, angry, afraid,
    we can restore
    our equilibrium
    and calm ourselves
    by breathing slowly
    and deeply.

    Our breath can be a mirror
    reflecting our emotional state,
    or a regulator,
    reducing agitation
    and increasing calm.

    Count to five
    between exhalations
    and inhalations.

    The pause between breaths
    can become the fulcrum
    shifting outcomes,
    serving peace.


  • 11/21/2019  —  Anne Springs Close 11/17/2019 02 Panorama — Steele Creek Sunstar, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Dairy Barn Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2019

    Racism is born and fed,
    nurtured and nourished,
    by hanging out
    with the wrong people.

    “Natural born racism”
    is one of the fantasies
    the wrong people manufacture
    to nurture and nourish
    their racism.

    Racism is born of resentment,
    jealously,
    insecurity,
    fear
    and the need to find someone to blame
    for the slights and blights
    of our life.

    Everything is better
    with someone to blame
    for the way things are
    with us.

    The right people
    take no solace
    in blaming someone else
    for their difficulties,
    and deal with the events
    and circumstances
    of their lives
    as those who consistently
    and relentlessly,
    pick themselves up
    and do what can be done about
    what has to be dealt with,
    and help each other
    do what can be done about
    what has to be dealt with,
    in each situation as it arises,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    and let that be that.

    The right people bear no grudges,
    carry no rancor,
    tolerate no vitriol,
    permit no incivility,
    and require kindness
    and consideration
    for all people at all times.

    If the people you run with
    require vilifying other people
    as a condition for life together with them,
    find someone else to run with.

    Everybody will be better off for it.


  • 11/21/2019  —  Anne Springs Close 11/17/2019 08 — Faires Coltharp Cabin, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Dairy Barn Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2019

    What are the values
    that inform,
    drive
    and direct
    our actions
    through each day?

    What do we value to the point
    of serving with our life?

    We do what we do
    out of service to what?
    In devotion to what?
    In allegiance to what?
    In honor of what?

    We rarely think through
    any of this.
    We rise and go through our day
    much as we did yesterday,
    and will do to morrow,
    without being aware
    of any value driving us,
    directing our actions–
    but.
    It is no accident that we do
    the things we do
    the way we do them.
    We are as we are
    because we value
    being as we are
    over being some other way instead.

    What is at the center
    of the things we do
    and the way we do them?

    What is at the ground of our being
    and doing?

    What is the value we place
    on the things we do?
    Why those things
    and not something else?

    We are shaped by invisible values,
    by values we are unaware of.
    We serve invisible,
    unconscious,
    values.
    We are being led through our life
    by what,
    we do not know.

    What is guiding our boat
    on its path through the sea?

    It is time we took the trouble
    of finding out.


  • 11/22/2019  —  Lake Crandall 11/19/2019 06 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 19, 2019

    Religion is second-nature to us.
    Religion lives in the heart of each of us.
    Religion is the mid-point
    between physical and metaphysical.
    Between reality and imagination.
    But.

    It is religion without theology,
    without ideology,
    without doctrine,
    without dogma,
    without creed,
    without creedo,
    without words.

    Sheldon Kopp said,
    “Some things can be experienced,
    but not understood.
    And some things can be understood
    but not explained.”

    I would add,
    “Some things can be known,
    but not told.”

    That is religion.
    That is as much as can be said
    about religion at the heart of things.

    But that won’t stop me:
    Religion is perspective-that-is-perception.
    Religion is how we see what we look at.
    What we see is a reflection of how we look,
    of how we see it.
    And what-is-seen
    is always only-what-is-seen.
    What we see as it is
    is always beyond seeing.

    We cannot see anything as it it.
    There is about everything
    more than we can see–
    more than can bee seen,
    and, hence, more than can be said.

    Religion at its best,
    religion-as-it-is,
    sees that,
    and knows that,
    and is silent.

    But, it is not an empty silence.
    It is filled with more than words can say,
    spilling over,
    pouring out.

    This is called a religious experience.
    It is the experience of religion
    at the heart of things.
    It is perception of the heart of things.
    And it is too much for us.

    We cannot look into the face of God.
    We can only look at the backside of God.
    As God leaves us to deal
    with the here and now
    of things-as-they-are
    in the situation at hand,
    in the world of physical,
    actual,
    tangible,
    concrete,
    reality-as-it-appears-to-be.

    How well we do that
    tells the tale.


  • 11/23/2019  —  Cotton in the Field 11/22/2019 01 Panorama — Hwy 267, Lone Star, South Carolina, November 22, 2019

    Everybody wants things to be better
    without anything changing.
    Particularly, taxes.

    We all want an abundance
    of goods and services
    without paying for any of them.

    Affordable higher education
    Affordable housing
    Affordable health care
    A livable minimum wage…
    The list is long.
    How do we pay for it?
    Without raising anybody’s taxes?
    Especially the wealthiest of the wealthy?

    I’m going to change the subject on you.

    As long as lobbyists are writing the bills
    that Congress passes into laws,
    whose benefit do you think is being served?
    If you didn’t guess corporations,
    you are wrong.
    Corporations get tax breaks
    like I get the dry heaves
    thinking about the absurdity
    of loopholes written into tax laws
    benefiting the wealthy
    and protecting the bottom line
    of corporate America.
    And the bottom line
    of corporate America
    is the income of CEO’s,
    Boards of Directors
    and investors.

    Graft and Corruption is a high stakes business,
    and Congress is aiding and abetting it
    by being a part of it
    by receiving kickbacks
    in the form of campaign donations
    and speaking fees (etc.)
    keep feeding the people
    “fueling “the economy.”

    “Bad for the economy”
    means bad for the people
    running the economy.
    You can change anything
    as long as it doesn’t threaten
    the profit margins
    of those in charge of the economy.

    The catch is that everything
    is so finely balanced
    in favor of corporate bottom lines,
    it all has to remain as is.

    We can move the pieces,
    but we can’t change the game.
    Because the game is running the game
    and controlling the controllers.

    Unionizing the workers
    to include all workers,
    and the unions of the workers
    to include all unions,
    would give the people
    a voice in the corporate decisions
    impacting the people,
    would give the people
    a bargaining chip they don’t have now,
    but.
    There isn’t a system that can’t be rigged
    to favor the people rigging the system.
    And that’s the elephant in the room.


  • 11/23/2019  —  Beidler Forest 11/22/2019 01 Panorama — Four Hole Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, November 22, 2019

    In squaring ourselves up
    with how things are,
    and grounding ourselves
    in our own authority
    and values
    in forming our response
    to our circumstances–
    because there is no one else
    to rely on
    who knows more than we do
    about who we are,
    and what we are capable of doing,
    in light of what we determine
    needs to be done–
    in each situation as it arises,
    we come to know things
    no one can tell us.

    We are the source of our own wisdom
    in this way.
    We learn from our life
    how to live our life.
    Our life is the teacher.
    Living is the lesson.

    Put on your boots
    and walk into the day,
    every day.
    Learn as you go
    by going.
    Trust yourself to know
    what works
    and what doesn’t work,
    and how to make the adjustments
    required to get things to work
    and they need to work
    in light of all things considered.

    Members of AA
    learn by drinking
    not to drink any more.
    That’s the way it is
    with all of the important things.


  • 11/23/2019  —  A Walk in the Woods 11/23/2019 01 Panorama — 22-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, November 23, 2019

    If we sought our work
    and applied ourselves to it
    with the same zeal
    and devotion
    that we apply ourselves to
    diversions
    and distractions,
    our life would be different-better
    in every way.

    We seek to take our minds off
    things not going our way
    by entertaining ourselves
    with engrossing pastimes.
    It has always been that way.
    Seeking our life and living it
    doesn’t occur to us.

    Silence isn’t alive for us.
    It is deadening.
    We talk of “dead silence,”
    as though only dead people
    have any business being silent.
    Sitting silently
    on a regular basis.
    The idea nauseates us.
    “What would we DO?”

    Look.
    Listen.
    See what arises,
    emerges,
    occurs.

    And, do it again tomorrow.

    Start with twenty minutes,
    and extend it if you need to.
    There are no rules.
    Just being silent.
    Present.
    Available.


  • 11/24/2019  —  Scotland Avenue 11/23/2019 02 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 23, 2019

    The Bible is an instrument of oppression
    crafted by the Religious Right of its day
    following the Council of Nicaea in 325,
    to cleanse the Church of heresies
    and false doctrine
    in order to usher in the Apocalyptic purification
    and the End of the Days.

    It is still being wielded as such
    by those who think they
    are the pure and deserving ones,
    with all those not-like them
    destined for hellfire and damnation,
    and their place is to hurry the infidel
    along their way.

    The catch is that there are cracks
    in the Bible that “let the light in,”
    and it is plain to those
    who have eyes to see
    that the one who said “Love your enemies,”
    and told the parables of the Prodigal Son
    and the Good Samaritan,
    could never be the one
    to send people to the everlasting fires of hell
    for failing to believe
    believing in him as the Son of God
    and the Savior of Sinners
    is the way to life eternal,
    and that those who don’t
    are hell-bound forever–
    which the spokespersons of the church
    used as their leverage
    in weaponizing the “good news”
    to their advantage and glory,
    and to the disenfranchisement
    of Jews,
    people of color,
    LGBTQ people,
    etc.
    throughout the ages.

    Well.

    The Bible is a two-edged sword.
    “A slippery slope,
    a dangerous path,
    like the razor’s edge.”

    And those who use it
    for their own ends,
    consign themselves
    to the outer darkness,
    which is the final refuge
    for those who have missed
    the point of their life.

    It all turns on
    how we read–
    on how we interpret,
    how we understand–
    what we find there.

    The other catch is
    that we have to be right
    about what we say is right.
    And who is to say?
    WE are.

    And, if we are wrong?
    No problem.
    We only have to see that we are wrong,
    and change our mind
    about what is right.

    The outer darkness
    is where people dwell
    who refuse to see they are wrong,
    and will not change their mind
    about what is right–
    who remain one slight perspective shift
    away from taking their place
    with the Children of Light,
    who see what they look at,
    and know what to do about it.

  • 11/25/2019  —  November 4 4/11/2019 06 Panorama — The Cascades, E.B. Jeffress Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 272.5, Wilkes County, North Carolina, November 4, 2019

    How much longer do we have?

    Not as long as we would like.
    Not as long as we would like to think.

    The people on Ocracoke Island, NC
    are already faced with the daily fact
    of not having a future they can count on.
    The ocean is making life tenuous
    to the point of impossibility.

    The people in Australia have a future
    that is nothing resembling
    their recent past.

    The people in California are
    coming to terms with the same reality.

    Life as we know it
    has little in common
    with life as we are coming to know it,
    like it or not.

    All roads lead back to the mindless
    Republicans/Nazis/WhiteNationalists/Russians
    who are the present-day manifestation
    of Adam and Eve.

    Adam and Eve had Paradise
    and thought they could make it better
    with just a tweak or two.

    “Let’s get rid of the people of color,
    and the LGBTQ’s,
    and the immigrants,
    and the foreigners,
    and the people with the wrong religion,
    and the old,
    and the sick,
    and … (The list is long),
    and let’s disappear/ignore
    all of the rules and limitations
    that restrict our freedom
    to have and do what we want,
    and ignore distasteful realities,
    and make ourselves wealthy
    beyond imagining!
    Then things will be perfect at last!”

    All their ideas of perfection
    carry them to a world
    they can’t live in.

    This is the unavoidable destination
    of all who will not grow up.

    Growing up is one damn adjustment/adaptation/accommodation
    after another
    all our life long.
    We grow up against our will,
    or refuse to grow up
    and create a world no one can live in.

    Which is where we currently stand.
    In a world where tomorrow
    has an increasingly uncertain configuration.

    A world in which those of us
    who are growing up
    have to adjust/adapt/accommodate
    ourselves to
    realities/restrictions/limitations/absurdities
    handed to us
    by those who refuse to grow up at all.

    That is our work.

    The good news is
    “So what?”

    Our work is always the work
    of those who are growing up!
    It is the same work
    we had before the Nazi’s
    took away one future
    and thrust another on us.
    The only difference is
    that now we have to do it
    in light of a different/worse future.

    I hope you are with me in this!
    Good company makes all things–
    anything–
    bearable!

    We are here for one another!
    To support/sustain/enable/encourage
    each other in the work of growing up
    in a world that is just what it is.

    The path plays out forever.
    Living our part of the path together
    is much better
    than trying to live it alone!

    We pledge ourselves to each other,
    and see what we can do with the day.

    Every day!

  • 11/25/2019  —  Lake Crandall 11/17/2019 14 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2019

    Practice seeing what you look at
    without opinion or emotional reaction.

    Practice hearing what you are listening to
    without opinion or emotional reaction.

    Practice seeing what you are thinking about,
    and listening to what is going on inside
    your body and your mind.

    Without opinion or emotional reaction.

    If you notice that you are a constant whirl
    of opinions and emotional reactions,
    become interested in that,
    curious about that.
    Watch it.
    Listen to it.
    Without opinion about your opinions.
    Without emotional reaction to your emotional reactions.

    And write down your dreams.

    Without opinion or emotional reaction.


  • 11/26/2019  —  The Horse Barn 11/19/2019 02 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Horse Barn Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 19, 2019

    We are born vulnerable,
    insecure,
    uncertain
    and afraid.

    Where would we be without Momma?

    We grow up seeking Momma substitutes,
    surrogates,
    stand-ins,
    proxies,
    replacements.

    And if Momma isn’t available,
    Daddy will do.

    Which is to say,
    we don’t grow up at all.

    Look around.
    Everything you see
    is the result
    of our life-long search
    for the way
    back into Momma’s arms.

    Or Daddy’s.

    Donald Trump is the Daddy
    we are sure will save us
    from all of life’s threats
    and terrors.

    And the Democrats
    (Demon-cats)
    are all we fear.

    Our life is a rite of passage,
    forcing us to grow-up
    against our will.
    Or not.

    Dependence or independence?
    The more autonomous we are
    the less we are attracted to
    autocracies,
    autocrats,
    authoritarianism.

    And the more we seek ways
    of helping one another
    find what we need
    to do what needs to be done
    about the problems we all face
    in living our own life
    along the path
    that is ours alone
    to walk.


  • 11/26/2019  —  Goodale 11-22-2019 01 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 22, 2019

    Godliness is doing what needs to be done
    the way it needs to be done
    when it needs to be done.

    That is all we ask of God.
    That is all God asks of us.

    What is stopping the flow
    of godliness into the world?

    Into our life?


  • 11/27/2019  —  Chester 11/25/2019 14 — Chester State Park, Chester, South Carolina, November 25, 2019

    Doing what needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises,
    as it needs to be done,
    is all we need to do.

    Jesus couldn’t do it better than that.

    God couldn’t do it better than that.

    And, we don’t need theology,
    ideology,
    doctrine,
    dogma,
    creeds
    or credos
    to do that.

    We only need to see what we look at
    and know what we know,
    to know what’s happening
    and what needs to be done about it,
    to know how we might help things
    toward that end
    with the gifts,
    daemon,
    talents,
    abilities,
    proclivities
    and perspectives
    that are ours to offer
    the situations
    and circumstances
    of our life.

    Then comes only
    having the courage
    to do it.

    “There is no try,”
    said the Yoda.
    “Do or do-not.”

    Religion is what we call
    the experience
    of knowing
    we are standing on the line
    between the Physical
    and the Metaphysical,
    and living there,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    in each situation as it arises,
    seeing what we look at,
    knowing what we know.


  • 11/27/2019  —  Chester 11/25/2019 17 — Chester State Park, Chester, South Carolina, November 25, 2019

    What is the bedrock
    that grounds your life?

    You live to do what?
    In the service of what?

    What can you count on?
    On what can you rely?

    What do you turn to
    when you have nowhere to turn?

    What are the things
    that are so YOU,
    nothing can talk you out of them,
    or knock you off them–
    no even Jesus threatening you
    with the eternal fires of hell
    can move you off the ground
    of your being.

    What is that?
    What do you belong to like that?
    Where do you belong like that?
    Once you find it,
    don’t leave it for anything.


  • 11/28/2019  —  Beidler Forest 11/22/2019 11 — Four Holes Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, November 22, 2019

    Don’t know what you cannot do–
    live to find out.

    We sell ourselves short–
    and out–
    too much of the time.

    “I’m not good at that kind of thing.”
    “I can’t do that.”
    “I’ve never been able to do things like that.”

    Live to find out what we can’t do!

    People on crutches can’t dance.
    It’s always,
    “Throw down your crutches,
    and dance!”
    announcing the miracle
    of being able to do without crutches.

    It is never,
    “Pick up your crutches and dance!”

    Crutches can be just another prop
    to dancing,
    like, say,
    a walking cane,
    or a top hat.

    Experiment!
    Find the music
    crutches are built
    to dance to!

    How can crutches fit into
    the rhythm and flow
    of movement with music?

    Crutches can be an assist!
    Not a hindrance!
    Not a block!
    A door,
    not a stone wall!

    Live to find out what you can do!
    And don’t stop
    until you run out
    of imagination
    (As if)
    for fitting what you can do
    into what needs to be done!

    Don’t take “NO!” for an answer
    too early in the process
    of discovering
    what your limits actually are.


  • 11/28/2019  —  Chester 11/25/2019 04 — Chester State Park, Chester, South Carolina, November 25, 2019

    What is the origin
    of our perspectives
    and preferences?

    What informs our positions
    and direction?

    Why do we see things as we do?
    Feel as we feel?
    Think the way we think
    about what we think about?

    Why do we think about
    what we think about
    and not something else instead?

    “Freedom of the will”
    is absurd.
    We are not free to not-will
    what we will.
    And we are not free
    to will what we will.

    We are at the mercy
    of forces quite beyond us,
    and don’t have a clue
    about why we do what we do,
    want what we want,
    feel what we feel,
    see as we see,
    think what we think.

    What is the source
    of our “unconditioned mind”?

    Our mind has us
    more than we have it.
    Where does our mind
    get its ideas?
    We are just carrying its water,
    waiting for it to tell us
    what to do with it.

    Inflated with the fantasy
    of being the captain of our ship,
    the master of our destiny,
    free to do what we want.

    We are unable to want
    what we don’t want,
    and are more the victims
    of our wants
    than the Lord of our wanting.

    What is guiding our boat
    on its path through the sea?


  • 11/29/2019  —  Lake Crandall 11/19/2019/07 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 19, 2019

    Life is death,
    living is dying.

    Dying is coming to terms
    with the limitations imposed on us
    by being alive.

    Dying is the discrepancy
    between what we want
    and what we can have–
    between how we wish things were
    and how things are.

    Dying is acquiescing to the way things are.

    Dying is “letting be what is”
    and “doing what needs to be done,”
    when that is the right thing to do
    in light of all things considered.

    Dying is taking no for an answer
    when that is appropriate to the occasion.

    Dying is acknowledging a higher good
    than our own good.

    Dying is sacrificing our own best interest
    in service to the interest of someone else,
    or of all those concerned.

    Dying is self-limitation and restriction
    in light of our own self-development
    or the needs of others.

    Dying is submitting to the imposition
    of limitations and restrictions
    to/upon our own freedom and desires
    for the sake of others.

    Dying is growing up,
    standing aside,
    giving way
    and living in accord with
    a good other than our own.

    Freedom is the willingness
    to submit to be bound
    by the obligations,
    duties
    and responsibilities
    of relationship with ourselves
    and with one another
    and what that implies
    for all of us
    and our life together
    upon the earth.

    Life is the willingness to die,
    again and again,
    for the sake of one another
    and our life together
    upon the earth.

    There is no freedom without bondage,
    there is no life without death.

    Paradox and irony,
    contradiction and conflict,
    dichotomy and discordance,
    anguish and agony,
    are the heart
    and ground
    of life and living.

    Coming to terms with that
    is walking with a limp,
    and bearing the burden
    of being fully alive.


  • 11/29/2019  —  Landsford Canal 11/25/2012 11 Panorama — Landsford Canal State Park, Catawba River, Canoe/Kayak Landing, Catawba, South Carolina, November 25, 2019

    I can say what is so.
    So can you.
    And we have no way
    of forcing it upon each other
    or anyone else.

    Parents can tell their children
    what is so,
    and have no way of forcing their children
    to recognize that it is so,
    and live as though it is.

    Children can tell their parents what is so,
    and are helpless before their parents’
    lack of acknowledgement.

    What is the good of seeing if saying
    is so ineffective?

    Keep looking, I say,
    not that it will mean anything to you,
    and keep saying,
    because the more we say what we see,
    the more we are able to see,
    and the more we see,
    the more our seeing will impact our own life,
    and other lives will be impacted
    by the way we live,
    even if they are completely unmoved
    by what we say.

    If they hear what we are saying,
    fine,
    if they don’t hear what we are saying,
    fine.

    Keep seeing,
    and keep saying.
    It will improve your life.


  • 11/30/2019  —  Lake Haigler 11/24/2019 04 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 24, 2019

    Start walking along a path you love.
    Signs and guides will appear,
    perhaps directing you to another path.
    What happens then
    is up to you.

    In every time and place,
    there are people
    who are good for you,
    and there are people
    who are bad for you.
    Who you hang with
    is up to you.

    Each day begins with
    opportunities,
    options,
    possibilities
    and choices.
    How each day ends
    is up to you.

    We step into each
    situation
    and circumstance
    armed with eyes to see
    ears to hear,
    “Yes,”
    and “No.”
    What happens there
    is up to us.

    In every moment,
    we are alone
    with who to listen to
    and what to do.
    How we respond
    is up to us.

    We live our life
    out of the relationships
    we have with our life
    and with ourselves.
    We are the one responsible
    for the quality
    of those relationships.

    Every occasion
    brings with it
    the possibility
    of doing things differently
    in light of all that
    has gone before.
    We are the swing point,
    the fulcrum,
    between past and future
    at every point.

    Momentum creates inertia,
    change takes energy
    and effort.
    What we do
    is up to us.


  • 11/30/2019  —  Beidler Forest 11/22/2019 09 — Four Holes Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, November 22, 2019

    There is what happens
    and there is
    how we respond to what happens.

    The space between event
    and response
    is where we have the chance
    to make the biggest difference
    in terms of what happens next.

    We have to be quick.

    Which means we have to be alert to,
    and aware of,
    the time that is ours to work with
    in each situation as it arises.

    And, we have to
    practice, practice, practice.
    Which includes,
    rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

    Part of the practice and rehearsal
    includes delaying our response time
    to all events.

    We slow things down
    by being conscious of our breathing
    and deepening our awareness
    of the moment of our living,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    This is all a part of practice
    and rehearsal.

    Work it into your day
    throughout the day.

    We prepare for the unexpected
    by developing our skills
    with the commonplace and routine.


  • 12/01/2019  —  A Walk in the Woods 11/23/2109 13 — 22-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, November 23, 2019

    What keeps us going?
    Don’t worry about it!
    We are built to go!

    Every living thing goes!
    And goes,
    and goes,
    and goes.

    In spite of the odds.
    Regardless of the chances.
    No matter what the prospects are.

    It is what we do.
    It is what we all do
    It is what every living thing does.

    We are being true to ourselves
    when we go.
    We are being faithful servants
    to the cause of life.

    We are inspiring,
    encouraging,
    one another,
    and surprising ourselves.

    Live to surprise yourself
    and to inspire,
    encourage,
    others!

    “Get in there
    and do your thing–
    and don’t worry about the outcome!”
    (Joseph Campbell’s summation
    of the Bahgavad Vita)

    Stand up and step into the day,
    and do what needs to be done there–
    in spite of the odds,
    regardless of the chances,
    no matter what the prospects are!

    It’s what we do.
    Don’t waste your time
    with why.
    It will only slow you down.


  • 12/01/2019  —  Andrew Jackson 11/24/2019 03 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, November 24, 2019

    From the beginning,
    the Religious Right
    have believed
    their purity and devotion
    will be rewarded
    with the return of their
    hoped-for Messiah
    and the everlasting damnation
    of their critics,
    opponents,
    enemies–
    all of whom are the Infidel
    and Evil-doers
    and deserve the eternal fires of hell.

    This narrative is being played out today
    with the GOP
    and right-wing legislation
    ending abortion rights,
    LGBTQ rights,
    immigrant rights,
    religious rights to all religions
    but fundamentalist Christians,
    etc.
    with the end of creating
    a white nationalist enclave
    of True Believers
    awaiting the Rapture
    and the descent
    of the angelic army
    of their Savior Lord
    to launch the apocalyptic cleansing
    at the End of Days.

    The Essenes at Qumran
    lived under a similar delusion.

    The idea has devotees
    in every age.

    “If we just get rid of
    everyone who is not like us,
    we will be blessed forever.”

    The self-righteousness
    and vanity
    of True Believers
    is a blight upon all lands.


  • 12/01/2019  —  Anne Springs Close 11/17/2019 01 — Lake Haigler, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2019

    We do not need the resurrection
    to ground us
    upon the bedrock
    of the life of Christ,
    and live to be the Christ
    as only we can be the Christ.

    Jesus was the Christ
    as only Jesus could be the Christ,
    and we are to be the Christ
    as only we can be the Christ.

    With the understanding
    that the cross is the natural outcome
    of every life as the Christ
    (“If you would follow me,
    pick up your cross every day,
    and come along!”).

    The cross was Jesus’ end
    from the beginning.

    The sermon on the mount
    was his declaration
    of his intent
    to die in the service
    of his vision.
    And the message of the cross
    is his announcement,
    “This is what you can expect
    if you live aligned
    with the truth
    of the sermon on the mount!”

    The life of the Christ
    is the life of those exhibitint
    the truth of the sermon on the mount.
    We cannot live like that
    without paying the price
    of living like that.
    And that price
    is the cross,
    experienced metaphorically,
    if not actually, physically.

    The life of the Christ
    is the life of integrity,
    lived in full accord
    with what it holds to be of highest value.

    That is the heart of Christianity
    at its best.
    Believing whatever it takes
    to live that way
    is all the theology/doctrine/creed
    that brand of Christianity
    has any use for.

    But, beware!
    The new life in Christ
    will eat your old life alive.
    Which is another aspect
    of the cross’ place in our life.

    At the beginning,
    at the end,
    and all along the way.

    Is there any wonder
    that people turned away
    when they realized
    what was what?


  • 12/01/2019  —  Chester 11/25/2019 02 Panorama — Chester State Park, Chester, South Carolina, November 25, 2019

    “The moon is a white marble
    floating on a black velvet sea.”

    Is that statement true or not?

    Factual truth is one variety of truth
    Metaphorical truth is another.

    Metaphor can be more real than fact–
    more meaningful than fact.

    The Garden of Eden
    and the Resurrection are metaphors,
    not facts.

    The Cross is a fact
    that is also a metaphor.

    As metaphors,
    all three can have meaningful impact
    upon our present lived-experience.
    They can connect us
    with a truth beyond fact,
    with meaning,
    with reality,
    that fact cannot touch.

    As metaphors,
    all three join us
    at the meeting place
    between physical and metaphysical,
    enabling us to transcend the physical
    and engage the metaphysical–
    which is the role,
    and the place,
    of the right kind of religion
    from the beginning of religion.


  • 12/01/2019  —  Goodale 10/25/2019 07 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, October 25, 2019, an iPhone photo

    I don’t get more than two miles
    from the car these days.
    That’s a four mile round trip,
    and that is pushing it.
    I much prefer one mile out
    and one mile back.
    “Adjustment and accommodation, Kid.
    Adjustment and accommodation.”

    That is the theme of our later years.
    We make room for our frailty,
    our loss of agility,
    and ability,
    and stability,
    and flexibility,
    and stamina,
    and quick recovery.

    We keep going,
    but we don’t go as far
    or as fast–
    and I like to be home
    before dark.

    So sunsets are of the past,
    and sunrises have lost their appeal.
    There are younger people
    with cameras.
    I see them all the time.
    I will trust them to do
    my early and late work,
    and the star trails,
    and the milky way–
    though I did get out
    for this year’s lunar eclipse,
    lying in a reclining lawn chair
    on my driveway
    and going inside to warm up
    between shots.

    Some of this accommodation business
    isn’t all that bad.


  • 12/02/2019  —  Goodale 10/25/2019 11 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, October 25, 2019

    AA works to get–and keep–
    people sober.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses work to keep
    people from going to hell.

    After sober, what?

    After, “I’m not going to hell,” what?

    What are we going to do with our life?
    What is our life asking us to do
    with the time left for living?

    After sober,
    after hell,
    WHAT?

    Stay sober!
    Stay out of hell!
    I get it.
    AND DO WHAT?
    With the time left for living?

    The next thing.
    The next thing that needs doing–
    that needs us to do it–
    with the gifts and tools
    we have to work with.

    The next thing that calls our name.

    The next thing that catches our eye.

    The next thing that interests us.

    The next thing that meets our requirements
    for acceptable (to us) ways to spend our time.

    How do we know what’s next?
    How do we know what questions to ask,
    and what questions to lay aside?

    How do we know what we need to know
    to know what needs to be done,
    and to do it?

    Jon Kabat-Zinn’s YouTube videos
    (the shortest ones first)
    are good for attending the present moment,
    for listening in the silence
    for what is begging our attention,
    for holding in our awareness
    all that meets us there,
    and seeing what emerges,
    arises,
    occurs to us
    with an urgency and energy about it
    that we cannot ignore.

    The right kind of silence
    can lead to the right kind of life.

    Ann Weiser Cornell’s web site
    has free PDF downloads
    for what she calls “focusing”
    (after Eugene Gendlin),
    which is a way of listening
    to our body’s guidance
    and following its lead.

    These two sources offer all we need to know
    to know what needs to be done.

    Then it is up to us to do it.
    Throughout what remains
    of the life left for living.


  • 12/02/2019  —  Swan Lake 10/25/1019 12 Panorama — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, October 25, 2019

    Plugging into our life
    begins with understanding
    our life has a mind of its own.

    We cannot live any life.
    Our life comes built-in,
    ready to unfold
    and bloom
    when the conditions necessary
    for its development
    call it forth.

    If we cooperate with our life
    by serving and assisting
    it’s incarnation
    things flow,
    Kairos is a steady companion,
    Karma is a blessing,
    Grace and Synchronicity
    are experienced frequently,
    and wonder is a regular occurrence.

    If we ignore the needs of our life,
    and impose our own agenda
    on the situations
    and circumstances
    of our living,
    events will take a different turn,
    and produce
    the “square peg in a round hole” effect
    regardless of what we do
    to improve our lot.

    Change involves a fundamental transformation
    of our relationship with our life.

    We feel our way to what.
    We think our way to how.

    *What* does our life need to be,
    become,
    do?

    *How* do we serve those ends
    within the time and place,
    nature and conditions,
    of our living?

    We come alive in the work
    to be who we are
    in this here
    and this now,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    our entire life long.

    We are the gardener tending the garden.
    We are the winemaker producing the wine.
    The sailor reading the currents
    and the wind
    and the weather patterns
    in order to reach the harbor.

    The plants,
    the grapes,
    the destination
    are all givens
    we have inherited,
    and we live to serve
    what we have been handed.

    Understanding our role
    in assisting our life
    in its own becoming,
    as a liege servant
    with filial loyalty
    shifts things into place
    and hum along
    in tune
    and on key.


  • 12/02/2019  —  Beidler Forest 11/22/2019 14 Panorama — Four Holes Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, November 22, 2019

    We are alone with our life.

    It is a terrible responsibility,
    and no one can help us with it.

    All of the choices and decisions
    are ours to choose and decide.

    And most of us live out our days
    without availing ourselves
    of the help
    that is closer than our next breath.

    I am talking about the Psychic reality
    our our Unconscious Mind.
    We think we are conscious,
    willing,
    thinking,
    rational,
    logical,
    emotional
    self.

    And dismiss entirely the other self
    we also are.

    Our Other Self speaks to us in dreams
    and symptoms,
    slips of the tongue,
    compelling urges,
    visions,
    moods,
    experiences with grace,
    wonder,
    synchronicity,
    Kairos…
    as if to remind us
    that there is more to us
    than meets the eye,
    in hopes that we will
    follow the threads
    and do the work
    of developing our relationship
    with our inner companion
    on our joint life journey.

  • 12/03/2019  —  Beidler Forest 11/22/2019 04 — Four Holes Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, November 22, 2019

    What role does distraction play in your life?
    How does distraction help you get through the day?
    To what extent do you live
    from one distraction to another?
    To what extent do you live to be distracted?
    Where would you be without your distractions?

    What does distraction
    keep you from thinking about?

    I think of distraction
    as a hook
    that keeps us from being conscious
    of things that are painful
    to think about.

    Some things are triggers
    that hook us into thinking
    about things that are painful
    to think about,
    and we distract ourselves
    from the pain
    through distraction,
    diversion,
    and denial.

    What is the difference between
    distraction (diversion and denial)
    and disengagement?

    For me, disengagement
    is a quality of conscious awareness
    that allows us to be mindful
    of our hooks
    without being hooked.

    Disengagement can be
    appropriate and inappropriate.

    Disengagement to the extreme
    is out of touch
    with all aspects of reality.

    Disengagement to the far extreme
    is catatonia.

    Appropriate disengagement
    is being aware of our conscious
    state of being
    without being hooked into
    engagement with what we are aware of.

    We can be aware
    of distraction (diversion and denial),
    and aware of the painful thoughts
    distraction saves us from thinking,
    without being engaged in
    either distraction or painful thoughts.

    This is called being aware of being aware
    by holding everything in awareness
    and being appropriately disengaged
    from it all.

    I can be aware of the refrigerator humming
    without going over into
    “What’s wrong with the refrigerator?
    How much will it cost to fix it?
    What if I have to buy a new refrigerator?
    Why do things like this always happen to me?
    Etc.”

    It is part of my practice
    to be aware of being aware.
    And I am always aware
    of my amazement
    at being hooked into engagement
    with the painful aspects of my life,
    shanghaied and hauled away
    into an imaginary drama
    that is as hopeless as it is endless,
    of my own making
    until I wake up to what I am doing,
    and bring myself back
    to just being aware of being aware,
    in a “This, too. This, too,” kind of way.


  • 12/03/2019  —  A Walk in the Woods 11/23/2019 22 — 22-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, November 23, 2019

    “Turning the light around”
    is switching from thinking
    to awareness of thinking–
    without thinking of our
    awareness of thinking.

    Just awareness!
    No thinking!

    Thinking,
    moods,
    judgment,
    engagement,
    evaluation,
    opinion,
    reason,
    logic,
    desire,
    repulsion,
    etc.,
    pull us into
    thesis,
    antithesis,
    synthesis,
    and the adversarial relationship
    with our life
    that we are certain
    is just the way things are.
    We are wrong again.

    From awareness-without-thinking
    emerges,
    arises,
    occurs to us
    visions/calls to action
    with such an urgency about them,
    we give ourselves to them spontaneously
    and act without thinking
    because we must.

    Is it madness or grace?
    Only time will tell.


  • 12/04/2019  —  November 4 11/04/2019 05-A Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway Overlooks, Boone, North Carolina, November 4, 2019

    Democracy is the heart of our life together.

    The old Superman motto
    needs to be modified to reflect that:
    “Truth, Justice, and The Way of All People!”

    We all need to be able to find
    our own way in the world.

    The way to ourselves.
    The way to who we are.
    The way to growing up
    by developing and sharing
    the gifts that came with us
    into the world.

    We cannot do that
    and fit into anyone else’s idea
    of who we ought to be.

    People of Color cannot be who they are
    because they are the wrong color.

    LGBTQ people can’t be who they are
    because they are LGBTQ.

    Etc.

    You are on the list,
    I assure you!

    We all need the freedom to be who we are
    without interfering with anyone else’s
    freedom to be who they are.

    “Your religious freedom
    cannot interfere with my Constitutional rights!”
    (Barack Obama)

    We all need to live where that is true–
    and enforced!

    That is what “Democracy”
    needs to mean for us all!
    Us ALL!


12/05/2019  —  November 4 11/04/2019 07 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway Overlooks, The Lump, MP 264.4, Wilkes, County, North Carolina, November 4, 2019

In each situation
there is what needs to be done
and what needs to not be done.

Discerning which is which
is the true work of enlightenment.

Enlightenment is not a steady state of being.
It is entirely
moment-by-moment-by-moment.

What needs doing now?
What needs us to do it now?
What do we need to do now?

Enlightenment is not concerned with
thinking, believing.
It is concerned only with
seeing, doing.

Right acting flows naturally,
spontaneously,
from right seeing.

Enlightened living
is enlightened seeing/doing,
moment-by-moment-by-moment.

Thinking/believing
can keep us from
seeing/doing.

Mindful,
compassionate,
non-judgmental,
non-thinking/believing,
awareness
is the path to seeing/doing.

Opinions regarding
what needs to be done,
prevent us from
knowing what to do.

Out with opinions,
In with knowing.
Out with thinking/believing,
In with seeing/doing–
and with the awareness
that fosters enlightenment
in the silent stillness
of perceiving things as they are,
moment-by-moment-by-moment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.