The Bible is a treasure trove of metaphorical truth
which we miss entirely in our hysterical insistence
that everything must be factual, literal, actual, tangible and concrete
in order to be real and true.
Abraham left home,
left everything that was familiar and comfortable,
and wandered in the wilderness in search of the Land of Promise,
which he never found.
We are Abraham on our own journey to the Promised Land,
a destination we will never reach in this physical universe,
which is the full realization of who we are and also are,
and of our destiny, our work, what is ours to do,
the life that is life for us, that is ours to live.
The Promised Land does not have latitude and longitude
any more than the Garden of Eden did,
but it is what we are born for, where we are going.
It is who we are, what we are about,
what we are called to undertake in the time left for living.
Be aware of what you throw away.
Notice every time you dismiss something
that catches your eye,
or reject something that appears to be useless or repulsive.
Every variety of light is the perfect light for some subject.
The work of photography is finding the subject
that is suited for the light we have to work with.
Photography reminds me of the task that is mine, ours, to do.
Stepping into a scene, into a day,
and finding the photograph, no matter what.
Any light is the perfect light for some subject.
I have to find the subject
that is waiting for me in this light,
saying, “How ‘bout me, honey?”
We have to find the gold in each moment.
And, we may find it
deciding this light is more suited for a cup of coffee and a piece of pie
than a photograph.
The gold can be anywhere,
but it isn’t everywhere.
Everything has a hidden side.
Our task is to find the blessing.
The key to vitality, exuberance, enthusiasm and LIFE
is to look closer at the things which catch your eye.
We dismiss, discount, ignore those things too easily.
The rule is:
Be aware when you are disregarding things that catch your eye—
and look closer, instead!
Examine the interest,
no matter how faint.
Give it the full benefit of the doubt.
Let your first assumption be
that something knows more than you do
and is trying to get your attention.
You are here to take instruction,
to be guided,
to be led along the way to the treasure hard to find,
the precious jewel,
the heart of life itself.
On our own,
we are a leaf being blown by the wind—
maybe this, maybe that, maybe that over there.
We have to trust ourselves to something.
My recommendation is that we trust ourselves
to the white rabbits that wink at us,
and nod, and sometimes call our name.
Photography is about going back to the good places,
looking again at what you have seen a hundred times already.
Don’t think you have seen anything worth seeing
just because you’ve looked it over once or twice.
Anything worth seeing once is worth looking at again.
See what happens.
It’s your arrogance that lets you get by
with thinking you know what you will see and it won’t be much.
Allow yourself to be fooled.
Again and again.
What we see is a function of how we look,
of what we look at,
of what we look for,
of the filters we place between ourselves
and what’s there,
waiting to be seen.
We have to be receptive
to receive what is being offered to us.
We walked our way,
as a species,
to where we are today.
Walking is what we do.
What we have always done.
Why don’t we do more of it?
The Aborigines restored their connection with soul
by taking a walkabout,
not necessarily going anywhere—
but looking for,
We get lost when we don’t walk.
We lose our direction,
sitting at home.
We drift away from soul
driving five miles an hour above the posted speed limit,
thinking we are going somewhere.
We live faster than we can process,
than we can accommodate,
than we can adjust ourselves to,
than we can be aware of.
We are built for walking.
Two miles an hour,
We don’t walk,
and wonder why our lives are unlivable.
Every pursuit has its rules.
Horseback riding is done in certain ways.
So is getting dressed.
Pants on before shoes.
There are no exceptions.
We don’t play basketball the way we play chess.
That Which Has Always Been Called God is approached via
The Rules for Approaching That Which Has Always Been Called God,
and they aren’t the ones we have been told about.
We’ve been handed the wrong set of rules for doing a lot of things.
We spend our lives figuring out what the rules really are.
Horses and cameras will straighten us out in no time.
Too bad more of life isn’t that way.
Dogwood trees and May Apples,
have their business—
making the most of what they need of the things that come their way.
Their focus is narrow:
light, water, pollination, reproduction.
Wars and weddings and who wears what to the Oscars all go unnoticed.
There are worlds within worlds,
each with its own rhythms and necessities.
May we be as right about what we think is important
as Dogwoods and May Apples are about what they think is important!
Folks are still farming in the region along the Blue Ridge Parkway,
growing cabbages and pumpkins,
Doing what it takes to live their life.
Life is the most persistent force in the universe.
Life does not quit.
Life finds a way.
If we are going to be alive,
that’s the attitude we have to adopt.
We cannot sit around,
waiting for life to please us
Before we live it.
We have to step into our life
just as it is
and find a way to make it work.
It’s all up to us and we cannot do it alone.
We need the right kind of company to have a chance.
All the heroes on all the journeys
have help with golden threads through the maize,
and sorting the beans,
and figuring out the name.
No one does it alone.
But, as Shel Silverstein said,
“Some kind of help is the kind of help that help is all about,
and some kind of help is the kind of help we all can do without.”
Finding the right kind of company is a trick.
The key is being the right kind of company ourselves.
The rule is:
Be what you need!
Become what you seek!
Other people are likely to need it,
and seek it, too.
Before you know it,
a community forms in the desert,
and the dry land becomes an oasis.
the life that is our life to live,
that only we can live—
is the hero’s journey.
Finding our way to the life that waits for us to live it,
and living it,
is on par with the Iliad and the Odyssey,
the Search for the Holy Grail,
the Lord of the Rings,
and Harry Potter.
It is epic stuff that we are about.
If we think otherwise,
it is because we have not allowed ourselves
to be gripped by a mythic vision—
that is, a vision of mythic proportions—
and hurled against our will into
the destiny that is ours to fulfill.
Don’t put off the call to action unless you have to,
that’s my best advice.
I had to wait to take up photography
until the daughters got out of college
and I could afford to buy film.
There are good reasons to wait,
but too often we don’t wait because of a good reason—
we wait because it’s easier that way.
We demur and delay until it’s too late.
Many of the photos I’ve taken are no longer there to be taken.
If I had waited, I could have easily lost the chance.
Life is passing us by!
Start doing the things that you don’t want to die having not done!
The days are flying past!
Begin living each one as it comes—starting today!
We can look at a Trillium,
or a waterfall,
or a sunset
and either see it or not see it.
Walking through a scene
is no guarantee that we will notice the scene.
Walking through wonder does not mean we will be awestruck,
arrested in mid-stride,
stunned into silence.
In order to see what is before us in each moment,
we have to see what stands between us and seeing what is before us.
What are we “seeing” when we look
that keeps us from seeing what is actually there?
Where are we instead of being here, now?
Only we can bring ourselves into the moment,
and be present with the moment.
There is much to take the moment from us,
but a moment unseen, unlived, is lost to us forever.
The National Park Service has a slogan:
Your Safety Is Your Responsibility!
It doesn’t stop there.
Our life is our responsibility.
If we do not live it consciously,
intentionally in each moment,
it remains unlived
until we wake up,
and become who we are,
here and now.
We think life is automatic, natural—
that if our vital signs are normal
and everything is operational,
we are alive.
We can be 98.6 and breathing,
and be deader than dead.
How to be vibrantly alive in the time left for living
is our problem, our responsibility.
We bring ourselves to life
by connecting with that which is life for us.
We know what brings us to life and what kills our soul.
We know where we belong and where we have no business being.
Are we waiting for someone to make it easy for us?
For someone to invite us to be alive?
Our life is up to us every day.
We have to bend and stretch ourselves
to accommodate the facts of our life—
and we must not do that all glib and smiley-faced.
We must consciously bear the pain of accommodation—
without being sour, bitter, woe-be-gone and doleful.
It is an art,
an art that we are not taught to develop.
We are taught to pretend that what is so, isn’t.
We are told that all of the things we don’t like about our lives
are so much better than the things someone else has to tolerate,
that we have no business complaining.
So, we dismiss our complaints.
Deny the burden we carry.
Put on a happy face,
and pretend our way through life.
When we fake it this way,
our body keeps score—
or someone in our family bears the weight of our denial.
Weird how that works, but real.
The spiritual law is this:
Pain will be borne,
consciously or unconsciously,
by ourselves or by someone who loves us.
How well we bear the pain of our life
is an indication of our maturity, grace and awareness—
and a measure of how well we are living.
Lethargy keeps us in place with its deadly questions:
“So what? Who cares? Why try? What difference will it make? What good will it do? What’s the use?”
Instead of following the white rabbits on the adventure that is our life,
seeing where they take us and what we can do with our lives along the way,
we watch TV,
read about the lives of movie stars,
and go shopping until we die.
We lack incentive, motivation, ambition, enthusiasm.
We are as good as dead.
What will it take to get us moving?
From whence comes the kick in the rear?
We dream of magical interventions (winning the lottery),
and dismiss the simple magic of moving our body out of its accustomed routine
into new patterns of life,
and allowing the white rabbits to have a chance at us.
We need a sounding board as much as anything—
a place to air things out,
to talk our way to clarity, vision, direction and peace.
The best therapists offer this kind of safe, caring, space,
and invite us to explore our unrest, discomfort, conflicts,
or the sense of things being not quite right somehow.
We talk ourselves to the truth of how things are,
and what needs to happen,
and into the courage to do what needs to be done.
The right kind of conversation restores our soul—
restores us to our soul—
by allowing us to say what needs to be said, seen, realized, understood, done.
Who do we know who invites and allows
the kind of search for the truth that is at the heart of our lives?
We may need to meet some new people.
Think of your soul as a child
who wants to see, taste, touch, smell, hear, feel, dance, inquire, explore, play, laugh, run, hug, tumble, roll, laugh and not keep score.
Give your soul what it wants
for a minimum of thirty minutes once a day
for the rest of your life.
I’m as serious as I can be.
My soul is laughing—and dancing—
at the very idea of you doing that for your soul.
At the very idea that I have a soul that is mine and you have a soul that is yours.
My soul thinks that is delightful.
But my soul is that way.
What way is your soul?
I have to stop now.
My soul is laughing so hard I can’t type.
You cannot be spiritual
and spend most of your time being rational, logical, reasonable, intellectual, left-brained.
Soul is a right-brain experience.
Our right-hemisphere divines the path to soul.
We dowse soul as though it were water (which has always been a metaphor for soul/psyche).
We are as dead as we are spiritually
because we think we can think our way to being spiritually alive.
We have to live our way there
by trusting ourselves to our right-hemisphere,
and seeing where it takes us.
The child we are within leads the way to soul,
and is soul.
Stop thinking about what to do,
and go play with your soul!
My soul likes to play a game called
“Get the camera and let’s go looking!”
“Going looking” is one of the things my soul loves to do.
It’s always up for it, and always calling out,
“Stop the car! Turn around! Let’s look closer at that!”
So, my soul and I are always out there looking for something to see.
My hunch is that all photographers share the same soul.
We may all share the same soul for all I know.
Why should there be separate, individual, personal souls?
Why not one soul with many interests and possibilities?
Like facets on a diamond?
How many souls are there?
How many minds are there?
We talk about being “like-minded,”
well how many different minds exist among us?
We share the same sky, the same galaxy,
why not the same mind, the same soul?
Soul mates, all!
We should pretend that is the case, and act like it is.
It would make for a better world in a lot of ways.
We are never more than a perspective shift away from enlightenment,
from waking up,
from seeing things as they are and also are,
from being healed, and whole, and saved (that is restored to ends worthy of us) and well.
Seeing is everything.
And living aligned with that which has need of us,
and the gifts we bring to each situation as it arises.
This perspective entails comprehending what it means to say
“Thy will, not mine, be done,”
and putting ourselves in the service of That Which Knows What’s What.
Who is this “Thy”?
It doesn’t matter.
Call it God.
Call it Tao.
Call it the Great Mother.
Call it the Sacred Source of Life and Being.
Calling it anything is problematic
because once you call it something,
you’ve laid the foundation for creating a set of doctrines
around the thing you call it,
and you have gotten away from
“Thy will, not mine, be done”—
and getting away from the experience of alignment and accommodation
is what we do best,
and keeps things nicely unchanged and unchanging forever.
When we aren’t trying to make happen what we want to happen,
or keep from happening what we don’t what to happen,
what are we doing?
When we aren’t invested in serving our agenda,
what are we doing?
How do we spend our time when we aren’t trying to make, or keep, things like we want them to be?
Gardening? Yard work? Sewing? Cooking? Reading? Writing? Walking? Drawing? Painting? …
These pursuits “between causes” have “soul value”
in the sense of being things we do “for no reason” beyond the pleasure we derive
(our soul derives) from doing them,
and are, therefore, refreshing and restorative on a spiritual/emotional/psychological (Where DO those lines lie?) level.
And, they could be a better indicator of where life is found for us
than the things we do to “wrestle life into submission.”
We might be pouring life energy into the wrong things,
trying to force something that cannot be forced,
only recognized and enjoyed.
We live to serve the center, the core, the foundation.
Everything else is busywork.
It may pay the bills, but if they aren’t the right bills, we’re kidding ourselves.
If we aren’t paying the right bills, we are living the wrong life.
The right bills serve the center, the core, the foundation,
and bring forth who we are and also are,
and help us do what is ours to do.
Finding our way to the center (etc.)
the quest for the Holy Grail, the spiritual journey, the search for home, for where we belong.
We can be distracted from that task
by the glass beads and silver mirrors—
“the 10,000 things,” “the dust of the world”—
that mesmerize and promise eternal bliss,
but we will not be satisfied until we live to serve the core (etc.)
in a “Thy will, not mine, be done” kind of way.
Your work is to find the work you believe in, and do it.
This may not be the work you are paid to do.
And so, we have to learn to walk two paths at the same time.
Lois Hamilton was paid as a bookkeeper, but she believed in Tatting.
Tatting kept her going.
What keeps you going?
You have a happy fantasy of winning the lottery
and quitting the work you get paid to do because you don’t believe in it.
What will you do then?
Drift around? Hang out at the resorts, on the cruise ships?
Pass the time merrily until you die?
Our work is to find our work, and do it,
while we are working to pay the bills
that enable us to do what we pay the bills to do,
and throughout retirement.
Every test along the way comes down to “Whom do you trust?”
Will we trust ourselves to our idea of the good: “No Lord! This should not happen to you!”
Or will we trust ourselves to the work that is ours to do, the life that is ours to live no matter what:
“Thy will, not mine, be done!”
Laying aside our work, our life, in favor of our idea of the good is an ongoing temptation,
and the nature of every test along the way.
We never get beyond thinking we know what we are doing—
thinking we’ve got it now—
thinking if they would just do it our way it would be a quick run to glory—
thinking there is a place to be and we have the map.
And we serve our idea of our life rather than our life’s idea of our life.
There is never a better good than doing the work that is ours to do,
living the life that is ours to live—
and we can do that anywhere, in any context, any circumstance, anytime, any place.
One place is as good as another for doing the work that is ours to do,
for living the life that is ours to live,
for living in the service of the good that is good.
If we are going to know anything, know that!
If we are going to do anything, do that!
We are here to do what is ours to do,
to live the life that is ours to live.
We think it’s about doing what we want,
but it is about aligning ourselves with what wants us.
We think money is about doing what we want to do.
Money is about buying the tools that assist us in doing what is ours to do,
in living the life that is ours to live.
We never get a day off—or take a holiday from—
being who we are called to be,
from doing what is ours to do.
Our work—to the extent that it is truly our work, the work we are called to do—is our life.
If our life is empty, meaningless, boring and stale,
it is because we are not doing the work that is ours to do.
Our work is interesting, meaningful work, but.
It probably isn’t what we have in mind.
It probably isn’t what we want to do.
What do you think it means to say,
“Thy will, not mine, be done”?
Communities of innocence are innocent in the sense
that the community doesn’t have anything to gain or lose—
it doesn’t have anything at stake—in its members.
The community doesn’t have an agenda it is trying to serve at its members expense.
The community doesn’t try to talk its members into being this way and not that way,
except to the extent that it says, “Be who you are and who you also are!”—
and it does its best to assist its members in doing that.
Communities of innocence listen us into hearing what we have to say.
They are therapeutic in that they serve the self-development and self-determination of their members,
connecting us with who we are and also are,
and helping us live that out in our lives,
but they are not therapy groups.
They do not advertise or charge for their services.
They exist to serve the cause of wholeness, integrity and peace of their individual members.
Your best chance at finding the right kind of community
is to start it by being the kind of person
who offers the right kind of help in the right kind of way to those who come your way—
listening them to recognition and awareness, not telling them a thing.
The spiritual journey comes down to being who we are and also are,
and to fulfilling our destiny by doing what is ours to do, living the life that is ours to live.
We complicate things by having big ideas, and dreams of glory.
The life we have in mind for ourselves is not the life our self/soul has in mind for us.
What we wish were ours to do has little connection with what is ours to do.
You see the problem.
We are divided within, at odds with ourselves over who is going to guide our boat on its path through the sea.
The story of how we resolve the conflict is the stuff of epic poems, Star Wars, and the Lord of the Rings.
It’s enough to keep us awake nights, wondering how it is all going to turn out.
We want what we have no business having.
That is as succinctly as The Problem will ever be presented.
It is the story of the Garden of Eden,
and it is the Achilles’ Heel of humankind.
All of our aches and agonies can be traced back to this fundamental kink in our makeup.
Great Blue Herons have their business.
We have our business.
Herons have no aspirations or interest in anything that is not their business.
You couldn’t sell them on the business carried out by Snapping Turtles.
We, on the other hand, are a wiggling, wanting, ball of aspirations for, and interests in,
everything we can imagine that is not our business.
Our life’s work is putting ourselves in accord with the ground, center, core and foundation of our life,
saying “Yes!” to that which is our business and “NO!” to that which is not our business.
We think being smart is the solution to all of our problems today.
Being lucky is the solution to our problems any day!
We cannot be lucky if we don’t take chances!
We are here to align ourselves with our business and do it, but we aren’t sure what our business is.
So, we have to guess! Guess and go!
Only do it in good faith.
Good faith is the hinge upon which it all turns.
You can’t do just anything and say you are guessing it is your business.
It has to be your best bet.
You can’t get by with saying, “Oh, maybe this, maybe that.”
You’ll never have the right kind of luck
if you don’t go through life making your best bet
about what is and is not your business.
Kidding yourself is not allowed.
All we have to work with
are the moment and the gifts we bring to the moment—
the moment and the resources available to work with the moment.
What are we trying to do?
We are trying to see what can be done in light of our mutual interests—ours and the moment’s.
We place all the needs on the table—
what needs to happen here and now in this moment as it unfolds?
Then we walk around the table considering the table,
until something stirs,
separates itself from the pile,
and shows itself to be what obviously needs to be done.
Then, we do it.
We do not step into the moment to show the moment who is boss.
We step into the moment to assist the moment with what needs to happen in that moment.
We live in response to the moment and everything that is present there with us.
We are not separate from our life,
or from the moments of our living,
any more than a stream is separate from its channel.
Our moments carry us where we are going,
as we serve them with the gifts we bring to each one.
I will go to great lengths and unreasonable expense to put myself in a scene—
to have a chance at a photograph.
This is, at once, brilliant and stupid, my shame and my glory.
I do not know where the line lies between an addiction, a compulsion, and a calling.
I cannot begin to explain, justify, defend or excuse what I do for a living—
I don’t mean what I do to EARN a living.
I mean what I do to have a life, to be alive.
This makes me one with all of you who know what I mean,
and quite to be pitied by all of you who have no idea of what I’m talking about.
I have to go look for a photograph the way Columbus had to go look for India.
That which has always been thought of as God is experienced as outside of us,
in a “more than words can say” kind of way.
This is called transcendence—
An encounter with a numinous experience transcends us and our world of normal, apparent reality.
Anything can be a doorway to the Numen,
the threshold to transcendence—
dogwood blossoms, a waterfall, the birth of a baby, an expression of adoration and wonder on a child’s face…
The list is endless.
The experience is timeless.
And then, like that, we are snapped back into our present circumstances,
left with the memory of the transcendent moment
and the dream of its hoped-for return.
Our scenes are our scenes.
Other photographers have better scenes to work with,
and will take photographs we will wish we had taken.
Our work is to take the photographs that are ours to take—
to take them as well as they can be taken—
and let that be that.
Doing our best with what is ours to work with,
and letting that be that is the real key to successful living.
Other people have better options, more resources.
Ours are ours.
We get up each day and step into our lives exactly as they are,
and do what can be done with them—
live them as well as they can be lived—
and let that be that.
Squaring ourselves up with our scenes,
and doing our best with them,
and letting that be that
is to be as successful with our photography and with our living as anyone has ever been.
Loss of soul in ancient societies was the loss of conscious, self-determined, existence.
The person would be “taken over” by forces beyond her, or his, control.
Addiction might be a modern equivalent,
and religion is as addictive as alcohol or gambling.
“You have heard it said, but I say unto you,” said Jesus.
And he asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”
And, “Why don’t you decide for yourselves what is right?”
What do we know of God that we haven’t heard from some other source?
How much of what we say of God comes from the common pool of religious platitudes,
and how much comes from our own experience and reflection?
We can lose soul talking about soul when we only say what is being said around us,
when we only think what we are told to think by “those who know best” (Truman Capote).
Doing our part entails cultivating all the old values—
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, gentleness, self-discipline, grace, compassion, tenderness, hospitality, etc.—
and living in ways which express them appropriately throughout our lives.
Hospitality means being open and receptive to a wide variety
of ideas, perceptions, perspectives, ways of seeing and doing things.
It is the opposite of smugness and arrogance,
and is one of the necessary ingredients in developing eyes that see, ears that hear and a heart that understands.
It means knowing we don’t know half of what there is to know,
and more than half of what we think we know.
Thinking like this makes us a lot more fun to be around.
Jacob Bronowski said, “If you want to know the truth, you have to live in certain ways.”
We have to live truthfully,
with a spirit of free and open inquiry about us—
not living in the service of an agenda,
trying to prove the validity of something we believe to be true, need to be true.
We cannot make up our minds about what is true,
and then try to find evidence supporting our contention.
That isn’t living truthfully.
It’s living with an end in mind.
It’s stacking the deck.
Living truthfully is knowing what we don’t know,
and being up front about it.
It is being as ignorant as we are,
and asking, seeking, knocking our way to eyes that see, ears that hear and a heart that understands.
There are forces in nature that do not have our best interest at heart.
That do not care a thing about us.
Tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, breast cancer and anacondas, for example.
The list is long.
The idea that the universe is a friendly place,
and is here to help us toward wealth and prosperity
is a happy fantasy that ignores the facts.
The universe has no interest in us so we better be interested in ourselves and one another!
We are all we have!
That being the case, start noticing how often you set yourself aside.
You cannot do that and live truthfully.
Living truthfully means, among other things, embracing the truth of you,
being true to yourself,
bringing yourself forth into the time and place of your living—
not repressing, suppressing, denying yourself,
and stuffing yourself into some dark corner
because you are not suitable for the light of day.
Whose side are you on?
We have to have the freedom of our own life.
Our symptoms suggest that we are not fee.
We have to examine our symptoms, and ask where the constraints are.
Where are we being held captive by the life you are living?
How do we keep ourselves from thinking about the life we wish we were living,
the life we could, maybe, one day live?
We can be held hostage by legitimate responsibilities,
but the most abusive guard at the prison with no bars
is our fear of what might happen if we walked away.
We are, too often, our own jailer.
Symptoms suggest invisible bars.
Our work is to become conscious of all that is keeping us
bound to a life that is not conducive to being alive.
We begin living truthfully as we face the truth of how it is with us.
The truth of how things are
Invites us to consider how things also are.
There will be doorways and thresholds we haven’t begun to imagine.
Look around you.
Note everything that has a human origin.
All of it is just made up.
Everything you see began as a figment of someone’s imagination.
Pianos? Someone imagined a piano, if you can imagine that.
Everything we have created over the history of the species originated in our imagination.
That being the indisputable case,
what is more real, concrete, or the imagination that imagined concrete into existence?
Why do we think the world of concrete and steel is the Real World,
and that anything to do with our imagination is frivolous and inconsequential?
Why do we dismiss imagination and emphasize logic and reason
to the exclusion of instinct and intuition at every opportunity?
God lives on the right side of our brains.
The length of the spiritual journey is the distance
from the left side of our brain to the right side of our brain.
I’m making all this up, of course,
but that doesn’t mean you can throw it away.
We are here to do right by ourselves and by each other,
and conflicts of interest abound.
My good is often your bad.
Your good is often my bad.
How do we do right by everyone in the room,
in the world?
We have to work it out.
One important aspect of working it out is recognizing early on what can be done,
and cannot be.
There are people whose good is the only good,
who must be coddled to or else.
These people are abusive and toxic to our souls.
I recommend giving them a wide berth.
We desperately need the presence of those
who understand and honor the nature of LIFE—
the importance of doing right by ourselves and each other,
and working out the differences,
the conflicts of interest,
to everyone’s mutual satisfaction
across the board and around the table.
When you meet people like that, make them your friend.
Suicidal thoughts and impulses may indicate that something needs to die
but that something is definitely not the person with the thoughts and impulses.
The thoughts and impulses are not to be taken literally,
They generally come upon us at the transition points in our lives
(adolescence, divorce, job loss, kids leaving home, etc.),
and point to the fact that the way we have been living needs to be “laid to rest.”
We have to die to our idea of how life ought to be lived—
we have to change our minds about what is important—
so that we might live the life that we are being called to live.
So that new ideas and new perspectives may emerge.
Our thoughts and fantasies of suicide
may indicate that we are at a transition point,
that we are being asked to grow beyond,
to move beyond,
where we have been,
and live in light of where we are going
with a different goal, a different purpose.
Our life is calling us forward,
and we are being asked to let go of the past,
that the adventure might begin.
This is the way things are.
This is what we can do about it.
And that’s that.
Trying to avoid legitimate suffering by refusing to recognize,
accept and live in a world that is not how we wish it were
is the source of all our suffering.
“Where there is a will, there is a way!” we say,
re-doubling our efforts to make the world and our life how we want them to be.
What does wanting know?
Wanting the wrong things is what we do best.
And we cannot un-want what we want,
or want what we do not want.
We want what we want, and are determined to have it, regardless of the price.
Our wanting is part of the way things are,
and we can’t do anything about it.
And that’s that.
Well, not quite.
We can do something about it.
We can be aware of it.
We can know the degree to which we are enslaved to our reckless, wanton, wanting.
However, with consciousness comes suffering consciously.
Bearing the pain of our bondage to wanting what we have no business having—
And waiting for the shift to happen.
Our work is finding our work and doing it, finding our life and living it.
We facilitate the search by learning the language of soul.
Soul speaks in metaphor, relishes paradox, loves images, approaches us playfully, through imagination, instinct, intuition, paradox and irony.
Soul loves the role of devil’s advocate,
and is always compensating for over-developed states of ego-consciousness,
so that if we dream we are a pig wallowing in the mud and are horrified by that image,
we might wonder if we are not trying to be a bit too pristine and pure in our actual life.
If we relish the pig image, it’s a different matter,
and we might look for where we are overdoing it,
or wishing we had more freedom for personal expression.
The same dream can have quite different meanings at different stages of our life.
Soul speaks a language that is quite context and situation specific.
Soul is very much here-and-now, present and real—
As if to say, each night,
“This is how it is in your life right now!”
Which is meant to help us in the work to find our work,
and to live our life.
In becoming who we are called to be, we never get far from who we already are.
The “journey” is just a slight shift in perspective that takes a lifetime to pull off.
The work is to be ourselves, within the context and circumstances of our life—
to integrate who we are and who we also are,
to reconcile the opposites,
square up to the conflicts,
integrate the polarities,
welcome all sides to the Guest House (Rumi),
and enjoy the party.
Harmony, wholeness, completion, genuineness, authenticity, integrity, oneness, peace—
these are terms that describe the end result of the work that is ours to do,
work that is facilitated, made possible,
by grace and compassion for ourselves and our situation.
This is the work that takes a lifetime to complete.
And, we’ll never get it done if we don’t get started!
Our work is our work, and not the things we get paid to do.
We do the things we get paid to do to do the work that is ours to do—
to buy the tools and the goods (food, clothing, shelter you know) we need to do our work.
Our work is our destiny,
what we are built for
(You wouldn’t want me doing your small engine repair),
what is ours to do.
Life has a way of separating us from our life,
from what has life for us, from our work.
The 10,000 things are offered as substitutes for the things that bring us to life, and are life for us.
There is little to assist us in doing the work that calls our name,
but there is enough.
Something stirs within us,
something catches our eye.
We move toward the thing that moves us,
and find just enough help to keep going
in the service of what we live to do.
Trust yourself to the faintest glimmer of hope still smoldering within.
Blow gently on the coals.
Believe in the fire.
We walk into a scene, looking, hoping.
We step into our life with our eyes open.
Looking for what is there.
Trying to see things as they are.
Open to what truly needs to be done and what we can do about it.
We bring with us what we have to offer to the scene,
to our life,
hoping to find a way to offer what we have to give as a grace and a blessing upon what is before us.
We are not here to plunder the scene,
to pillage our life,
to loot, ransack, rifle, exploit
and move on to look for more treasure somewhere else.
We are the treasure we bestow upon the scene,
upon our life.
We are here to give what we have to offer for the good of the whole.
Our perspective, our presence, can transform for good or for ill.
Our challenge is to tread lightly,
and leave kindness in our wake.
Not one of us is here, now, as the result of careful planning and minute attention to detail.
Yet, not one of us can deny that here we are right now.
We don’t know where we will be tomorrow or in 5 years,
but that doesn’t stop people from asking, “Where do you think you’ll be in 5 years?”
Like 5 years ago we could have told them we would be here, now.
The other thing is that we all have come through some bad stuff to get here.
We never thought we would make it.
But now, here we are.
These two facts will be true throughout our future.
We won’t get there by planning it out,
and we will get there by dealing with some bad stuff.
We have done it already.
The fact that we are here, now, is proof enough
that we have done in our past what we will need to do in our future.
You can trust yourself to the care of that which has delivered you to this point in your life.
If that’s not having it made,
it’s the next best thing.
We all know how nice it would be to have help from on high (or anywhere)
in dealing with the deep needs of life,
like food and water and encroaching Bad Guys.
We all need a sanctuary where we can express our fear and anguish,
and invoke the benevolent powers to intervene in our behalf.
Where do you go to find help with what you need?
Carl Jung said whenever we encounter something mysterious
we project our own assumptions onto it.
We tell ourselves things about it that make sense to us—
and have nothing whatsoever to do with what we experience.
We create a religion and talk about “the man upstairs.”
There is no man.
There are no stairs.
Jung also said, “In each of us there is another whom we do not know.”
He is speaking of the Deep Self in the unconscious psyche.
We project outward what is inward, and seek “out there” beyond the cosmos,
the source of consolation and reassurance—
that ever-present help in time of trouble—
that dwells within.
To access The One Who Knows within,
we have to learn the language of soul,
and become friends with silent reflection,
holding in our awareness,
the full truth of the present moment,
and see what occurs to us,
what draws us forth into the field of action.
Nature’s timetable leaves a lot of time between the times for action.
If you have a pet, you know what I’m talking about.
There is a lot of sleeping and lying about going on.
The animal world doesn’t live by the clock, or keep a full social calendar.
Migrations happen on a more or less fixed schedule.
The search for food and water is on-going.
Sex happens when it needs to.
Beyond that lies waiting.
Between the times for action, we wait.
When we wait, we get bored.
We cast about, flip through the channels, look for some entertainment, some diversion, some distraction to take our minds off waiting.
Looking for some action, we miss the time for action when it comes upon us
We are distracted by the 10,000 diversions we have created to fill up the empty time,
and don’t know what to do or when it is time to do it.
All time is not empty,
but it may as well be, because we fill all of it artificially,
and cannot tell “the fullness of time,”
the time that is “right,”
from “ordinary, empty, dullsville, boring” time.
We have lost the art of waiting.
Don’t even know that we are waiting.
We think life is passing us by when it is waiting for the time to be right to call our name.
No one ever had a problem with things going her or his way.
It’s when things don’t go our way that our troubles begin.
When things don’t go our way, we respond in a way designed to get things to go our way.
This is called Refusing To Take No For An Answer.
It is sometimes called Flailing About Helplessly.
It comes from not being clear about the nature of things.
Let me explain it to you:
Things will not go our way, and how we respond to that makes all the difference.
We begin to improve our responses by being mindfully aware of how we are responding.
We grow ourselves up this way,
And transform our part of the world.
Who knows where it will end?
Yes and No are all we have to work with.
We step into each day with only Yes and No at our disposal.
How we apply them determines the outcomes of our days.
The process is complicated by our ambivalence about many things.
On the one hand, Yes, on the other hand, No.
We have to come to terms with our ambivalence—
not so as to get rid of it, but to bring it forth, relish it, delight in it, explore it.
All of our decisions would be better decisions
if we didn’t rush past ambivalence
on the way to decision.
Recognize ambivalence when it is upon you!
Splash around in it!
Let the magic work!
The magic is the heart of life.
We don’t know what to do with our Yes’s and No’s.
We’re lost, with nothing but Yes and No to work with.
Everything depends on the magic,
and the magic requires us to be as ambivalent as we are for as long as it takes for the magic to work.
So, sit with ambivalence, bring it forth, explore it, inquire of it, listen to it, live it.
Put everything on the table and consider the table.
Walk around the table.
Waiting to see, hear, perceive and know,
in light of the whole shebang,
what is Yes! and what is No!
Our lives unfold, emerge,
in a dance with our circumstances and our proclivities.
The place of consciousness
is to bring ourselves forth in light of what we know of ourselves
at every point in our living.
We are mostly unconscious,
known and made conscious by the one who knows us best—
that would be us—
within the context of our life.
Think of our context as fate—
what we are born into,
the things we can’t do anything about,
the time and place of our birth, for instance,
the constraints and opportunities that define our days.
Think of our self,
the person we are capable of becoming,
as our destiny—
who we show ourselves to be through the process of living our lives.
We embrace and bring forth our destiny within the confines of our fate.
We can succumb to our fate
and be who we are told to be by our circumstances
and Those Who Know Best (Truman Capote’s term).
Our task is to unfold ourselves,
and redeem our circumstances as a boon to the world.
The Hero’s Journey.
We live such discordant lives!
We are torn between a myriad of emotions and values!
Contradiction and ambivalence prevail!
And our work is to integrate the whole,
to reconcile the opposites,
Be at-one with ourselves and our life.
Makes us crazy.
Wears us out.
Sends us into neuroses and addiction.
All of which adds to our workload.
Now, we have more opposites to reconcile,
making this square with that!
Carl Jung says the mandala is the soul’s way of soothing itself,
holding itself together in torn and broken world.
Life is, well, modern art, all jagged and off-center and out of sync,
layers of contrasting colors, loud, ugly.
Soul yearns for peace, oneness, wholeness, completion,
and takes refuge in creating/coloring mandalas—
making complimentary what could be contradictory and negating.
using a rectangle or a square instead of a circle,
to bring the elements of the photo together into a harmonious whole,
grounding and soothing my soul,
When you find yourself doing work that you love to do,
don’t be surprised to discover
that you are making mandalas
in one way or another.
Nothing makes us happier than busting it
in the service of that which needs what we have to offer,
and needs to be done,
whether it is convenient, easy, fun and enjoyable or not.
We think happy is the natural outcome of convenient, easy, fun and enjoyable.
We will not be happy until we change our mind about what constitutes happiness.
We are in the mental, emotional, physical state we are in because we will not,
under any circumstances,
change our mind about what we think is important.
Our life has been banging us against the wall of unrelenting reality all our lives long,
and we have been just as unrelenting in our insistence
that what we say is important IS important!
The first lesson of the spiritual journey,
which is the journey to wholeness,
which is the journey to maturity,
which is growing up,
which is seeing things as they are,
which is being clear about what truly needs to be done and doing it—
the first lesson of that process is this:
How we see things isn’t how things are.
How we wish things were isn’t how things are.
We have to change our mind about what is important a lot along the way.
It is easy to be distracted and overwhelmed by the events and circumstances of our life.
No connection is easier to lose than the one with the invisible world.
Yet, it is only a perspective shift away in any time, any place.
Every moment is a threshold to the other world for those with eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart that understands.
We only have to open ourselves to the all-ness of any situation in order to see what else is there.
Stuck in traffic, we can see that we are part of the great river of life,
with everyone going her, his, way,
and also participating in the same experience of life
that all people in every time and place have experienced,
with each of us serving ends quite beyond us
that we don’t know anything about,
locked in, as we are, to what is important to us individually.
As we begin to wonder what else is important and how we know,
we are close to opening ourselves to the presence of our inner guide, our invisible twin—
close to being conscious of that partnership which transforms our ordinary life
into a magical tale of epic proportions.
We transport ourselves from being stuck in traffic
to being in the company of our inner guide on the Hero’s Journey
with only a slight shift in perspective.
We are not here as a tourist walking through our life,
liking this, not liking that, wondering what’s for dinner and what’s after that.
We have business here.
What is your business?
What truly matters?
What are the things that you are to be about,
that you are here to serve with your life?
What is satisfying?
What is interesting?
What is meaningful?
No one can answer these questions for us.
They are our questions to answer for ourselves.
We would not trust anyone else to order our desert for us.
Why do we trust anyone else to tell us what to do with our lives?
Our life is our responsibility.
We cannot do just anything with it, as though it does not matter how we live.
“Maybe I’ll go snowboarding today,
or sit by the fire and read a good book.”
The day is not ours to do with as we please!
We have work to do,
bringing ourselves forth as a blessing, a grace, a gift to the world.
We cannot be casual, indifferent, clueless.
We have to take up the work of knowing what our work is,
and doing it in the time left for living.
We cannot think one choice is as good as another.
It is important to know what is important, and what is not.
It is important to know what our business is, and what it is not.
These things change with time and circumstance.
One here and now is not another.
What is important here, now, has no value there, then.
Our business is like the wind that blows where it will, but.
It is always our business to know what our business is,
what is important,
what needs us to do it,
in each situation as it unfolds—and to do it.
Formulas, rules, recipes, laws, conventions are no guide.
They are shortcuts at best,
evidence that we will work harder to avoid the work that is ours to do
than doing the work the work requires—
listening, looking, seeing, hearing—
and responding courageously to what is being asked of us
in each here and now that comes along.
How do we know what is being asked of us?
We have to risk being wrong!
We have to take a chance with everything on the line!
That’s the heroic part of the Hero’s Journey.
Play like a rookie.
That’s my best advice.
Everybody wants to be seen as an Old Pro.
Everybody one-ups everybody else,
wants to know more than anybody else has ever known.
Do better than anyone has ever done.
Do everything as though it is the firs time.
That’s my best advice.
Look at the world as though you have never seen the world.
Listen like you have not heard the first thing.
Ask, inquire, of everyone about anything.
Hunger and thirst for understanding—f
or RIGHT understanding.
Everyone can teach you something
if you consider them with eyes that see, ears that hear, a heart that comprehend.
Everything you know can be known differently,
has other sides,
can be seen in other ways.
Be open to what the world has to show you.
Be receptive to what the world has to give to you.
Be eager to learn all of it all over again
fresh every day from the ground up
just like a rookie.
We are born with everything we need.
We have what it takes but.
It takes nourishing and nurturing our connection with what it takes—
with the resourcefulness and resolve that comes with us out of the womb.
Apart from a nourishing, nurturing, environment—
and the creation of that environment is as much our responsibility
as it is that of those whose charge we are.
We cannot place the burden of a failed environment entirely on the shoulders of others—
we have a part to play in the crafting of a life of soul.
We have to learn the language of soul,
tend to the affairs of soul,
live soulful lives.
When we take care of our relationship with soul,
that relationship provides us with all we need to do what is ours to do—
to do what truly needs to be done—
in each situation as it arises but.
That is not what we have in mind.
We want more than soul has to offer.
Soul can only provide us with an interesting, meaningful life.
We want the lights and action, you know.
The stuff sold by Madison Avenue,
glass beads and silver mirrors and promises of happiness ever after.
Given a choice between euphoria, or interesting and meaningful,
go with interesting and meaningful.
Your soul will be euphoric.
We wake up when we see how things are and how they also are.
We grow up when we square ourselves up (reconcile ourselves)
with the contradiction between how things are and also are,
and how we want them to be (how we wish they were).
We wise up when we align ourselves with the core, the center,
and live in ways which exhibit/express who we are and also are
in serving what truly needs to happen in each situation as it arises.
This is all there is to it, waking up, growing up, squaring up, wising up.
It all comes down to laying ourselves aside in a “Thy will, not mine, be done” kind of way but.
We are the ones who say what is “Thy will” and what is “my will”—
we don’t take anyone else’s word for these things.
We are the ones who conceptualize the “Thy”—who say who or what the “Thy” is.
And we—only we—know the difference between
What we know the Thy wills
And what we will.
We live on the basis of our evolving understanding of what constitutes life—
of what being alive and really living are all about.
And what that asks of us.
It is our task to be as alive as we can be
in each situation as it arises.
May we hold nothing back in that work,
and amaze ourselves in increasingly wonderful ways!
Joseph Campbell, and T.S. Elliot, talked about The Wasteland.
The Wasteland is dry and tasteless and barren.
It is where people go through the motions of living, but are dead.
It is the place Jesus talked about when he said,
“Leave the dead to bury the dead.”
They are dead because they have no life of their own.
They do what they are supposed to do, what somebody else tells them to do.
They think what they are supposed to think,
believe what they are supposed to believe,
vote for who they are supposed to vote for.
They never have an idea or an inclination of their own.
They never say anything they haven’t been told to say.
They paint by the numbers, and stay carefully within the lines, and all of their paintings look exactly alike.
They carefully step in the black footprints laid down by their ancestors,
and do not deviate in the slightest from how things have always been done
because that is they way they are supposed to be done.
They are afraid to do it any other way because they have been told they will go to hell if they do.
They are in hell because they believe in hell,
And will do anything to avoid going to hell.
They have sacrificed their life in the here and now
in the hope of escaping hell in the then and there, that is, after they die.
But their lives are hell.
What would you be willing to go to hell for?
Don’t let anything stand between you and the life that is yours to live,
particularly the idea of hell.
We are on our own here.
It is all up to us.
And we cannot do it alone.
We need the right kind of help from the right kind of company.
We need the supportive presence of the right kind of community to have a chance.
All of the heroes have help.
Where would Harry Potter be without the people who keep coming forward to assist him along the way?
Or Luke Skywalker?
But the right kind of help is hard to find.
We increase our chances of finding the right kind of company
by being the right kind of company ourselves.
The kind of company I have in mind
is a community of innocence with no interest, investment, or stake in its members—
it doesn’t need us, we need it.
We need it to listen to us until we say what we need to hear.
to ask the questions which lead us into the struggle of articulation—
and deepen our own understanding of what we are trying to say
by helping us make conscious what is true,
and what is also true about our situation in each moment of our lives.
Awareness, consciousness, mindfulness,
is our only tool in the work to be who we are (and also are),
to see what needs to be done and to do it.
Communities of innocence are our hedge against the darkness.
We create them as much as find them
by being what we need,
and attracting those who are looking for what we are looking for,
so that we help each other along the way.
We grow up against our will.
We do not easily accommodate ourselves
to a life that is not lived on our terms,
or we accommodate ourselves too easily—
handing ourselves over early on,
surrendering compliantly to the dictates of Those Who Know Best And Must Be Pleased,
going where we are led,
doing what we are told to do,
all our lives long.
For the sake of peace and harmony.
We make no waves, rock no boats, just go along.
To grow up,
we have to have a will,
and have to experience the agony of setting our will aside
in the service of a greater will,
which is, strangely enough, also our own.
The struggle is within,
over which good we will serve with our lives.
This is the Transforming Ambivalence
out of which we are born into the life that is our life to live,
acquiescing in a “Thy will, not mine, be done” kind of way.
Who is the “Thy” we experience as “other”?
My theory is the “Thy” is “Also Us,”
Carl Jung’s “Within each of us, there is another, whom we do not know.”
This Other resides in the unconscious part of ourselves,
and knows more than we do about who we are and what is ours to do.
It is our place as a conscious ego to reconcile our perspective,
our take on things,
with that of unconscious psyche/soul/self within—
physical with spiritual—
and live in this world in full partnership with the other world.
What enlightenment is all about.
At some point, we have to let our life come to us
in a “Here I am! If you want me, come get me!” kind of way.
Of course, we have to mean it.
This is no game we are playing.
We are in or we are out.
What’s it going to be?
Our life is not lived on our terms.
This is the hinge upon which our future turns.
Are we up for it or not?
Don’t be flirting with your life with eyes on some other, finer, life.
Shirley, you’ve lived long enough by now
to know you don’t know what you’re doing—
even if your name isn’t Shirley.
Your best bet is trusting yourself to your life
and seeing where it goes.
So, when you say, “Come and get me,”
you have to be ready to go wherever it takes you no matter what.
Whose side are you on is the fundamental decision.
Be clear about it.
Our life is as responsible for finding us as we are for finding it.
It is not all up to us to run here and there, “Maybe this, maybe that!”
We wait and watch for that which resonates with us,
winks at us, calls our name—
and we ask when it does, “Are you the life that is mine to live, or shall I wait for another?”
And, perhaps we won’t have to ask.
Our life may grab us by the neck and hurl us into living it.
It’s hard to say anything definitive
about The Mystery of Life and Being.
If you start with whatever is important to you
and honor that with your time and attention,
it will lead you to something else that is important to you.
Keep serving what is important to you
and allow yourself to be passed along from one important thing to the next.
One important thing will lead to another,
and you are just along for the ride in the service of what is important.
Over time you will develop your ability to rank things in their order of importance,
and increasingly serve things of greater importance.
Serving what is important will also grow you up
by forcing difficult choices on you.
You cannot do what is right for you and what is easy for you.
What will it be?
A word of warning:
This exercise fails if you remain stuck
with things you like to do but are not important,
that do not call you out of your comfortable haze
into doing what needs to be done in the service of what is important.
If you think being comfortable is more important
than doing what is important,
you may be live out your life with the sofa and TV.
Jesus came asking, “Who do You say that I am?”
and “Why don’t You judge for yourselves what is right?”
but we let Them tell us what to think, believe, say and do.
Those Who Know Best And Must Be Pleased direct our lives.
No one directed Jesus’ life.
Jesus thought and acted out of his own authority all the way to the grave.
Jesus did what he thought needed to be done in each situation as it arose,
healing on the Sabbath,
associating with the wrong kind of people,
touching the Unclean…
We go where we are led and carefully color within the lines.
What do we know to be true—
what do we know to be right—
that we did not hear from someone else?
What is it about our life that is Ours?
We even allow Them to tell us what questions we can ask,
and get permission before we do any new thing.
How alive is that?
Never risking disapproval?
Never taking a chance with our own preferences and interests?
Never trusting ourselves to what resonates with us?
Never going where They tell us not to go?
Who shame us with, “What would Jesus think?”
What would Jesus think of Them shaming us in his name,
and in so doing desecrating all that is holy and untamed?
We are over 4,000 years removed from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
and over 2,000 years removed from the God of Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus sets the tone for us by seeing God with his own eyes,
and not with the eyes of traditional religion.
Jesus’ God was alive in the moment with Jesus,
and that God’s spirit was like the wind, blowing where it would.
There is no nailing that God in place,
locking that God up in dogmatic decrees,
chaining that God to doctrines and creeds.
Jesus introduces us to the God of our own experience,
our own perceiving,
and calls us to have the courage to wake up, open our eyes and see—
and live toward as much as we can intuit of God in each moment of our living.
To do this, of course, we have to live truthfully.
We cannot be kidding ourselves about who we intuit God to be,
and who we intuit God asking us to be,
in the here and now of our living.
Yet, kidding ourselves is what we do best.
No! Telling ourselves what we want to hear is what we do best.
No! Letting ourselves off the hook is what we do best.
No! Shooting ourselves in the foot is what we do best…
We are the work that is ours to do.
May we have what it takes to do it as it ought to be done!
We don’t find the path with our name one it—
we don’t live the life that is our life to live—
without taking chances.
This is a problem.
We fear being wrong worse than we fear dragons and giants.
Our fear of being wrong IS a dragon
and a giant with whom we must deal.
All of the old epic themes play out in our work to be who we are,
where we are, when we are, what we are, why we are, how we are (and also are).
This is heroic stuff we are about,
so we can’t let the fear of being wrong,
of looking stupid,
of everyone knowing we don’t know what we are doing, etc.
stop us from taking chances.
We make our best guess about what is our business—
and what is not our business—and see what happens, and where it goes.
The wrong kind of help is everywhere.
It is up to us to choose our advisers and supporters.
It is up to us to attend the helpers and guides that come our way.
It’s all up to us to know whom to look to for guidance.
Everything is exactly as it seems,
and nothing is as it appears to be.
(Your left brain can’t handle this paradox,
so you are going to have to learn to see, hear and understand with your right brain—
but bring your left brain along for when you need what it has to offer.)
In learning to discern the helpers who are helpful,
you are creating for yourself a community of innocence
that can receive you well
and listen you to the truth of how things are,
and also are and what you need to do about it—
without telling you what to do!
There is no advising, or criticizing, or sympathizing, or proselytizing
in a community of innocence—just very deep listening with the right kind of questions
and a good bit of the right kind of laughing.
It’s a very safe place without answers,
except for those you come up with on your own.
And exactly what we need for the work that is ours to do!
You are the magic you seek.
You want help with your life, direction, courage, stability… The list is long.
You are the source of all that you need.
All you have to do is trust it to be so and, this is the hard part, GET OUT OF THE WAY!
The conflict is within.
We are Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort,
but our situation is more difficult because in our case, neither must die.
In our case, we have to work it out—
not in a once-and-for-always kind of way,
but in an ongoing, unending, constant and continuing kind of way.
We do that by making the conflict conscious,
and bearing the pain of negotiation and compromise all the way.
The key ingredient is good faith on the part of all parties.
Rumi said, “If you are not here with us in good faith, you are doing terrible damage.”
We negotiate, not for what we want to happen,
but for what truly needs to happen.
We seek the truth of how things are and how things need to be.
We lay aside everything that interferes with the search for, and service, of truth—
the truth of how things are and the truth of what needs to be done in response.
We acquiesce and let it be.
“Thy will, not mine, be done,” you know—
with the “Thy” being the Transcendent Reality
beyond our personal good, gain, benefit, perspective and ideas of how things ought to be.
It’s a trick to pull this off, but when we do, magic happens.
When we reach the end of a rope,
we cast about, anxiously wondering, “What am I going to do?”
This, believe it or not, is a very good place to be.
Here, our lives crackle with possibilities,
and are as magical as they will ever be—
because comes the answer to the “what am I going to do” question:
“Whatever you say!”
We make the call.
There is no one but us to say what now, what next.
We think we are here to settle down, to get cozy and comfortable and enjoy our life.
No settling down.
No getting things just right, propping our feet up, and smoking cigars.
Life is movement.
We live on the move,
passed along from one thing to the next.
Whatever we decide to do next, it will carry us to what is next after that.
Everything leads somewhere else.
We do what seems like the best thing to do under the circumstances,
and that will lead to different circumstances,
and we do what seems like the best thing to do there,
and magic begins to happen.
Things we could not predict or imagine
carry us along to waypoints (not destinations)
we would not have chosen.
It is awesome, wonderful, magnificent,
better than anything we could have ordered off the menu,
and we couldn’t be more alive.
All because we didn’t quit there at the end of our rope,
but decided what was next.
What we see is a function of how we look,
and where we look,
and what we look at.
We have to be looking if we want to see—
not looking for anything in particular,
but looking at everything,
open to what may be hiding there.
There is more to everything than meets the eye.
The entire world is an ink blot,
concealing and revealing at the same time—
reflecting our projections back to us,
laughing at us, saying, “Can you see me now, Mr./Ms. Know It All?”
When I tell people “Christ is a metaphor,”
they hear me say, “Christ is JUST a metaphor,”
as though metaphors aren’t real
and I’m taking something away from Christ by suggesting the image is a metaphor.
Metaphors are more real than real.
Metaphors are the heart of reality itself.
Metaphors are divine.
We’ve lost the ability,
of seeing beyond the thing we are looking at to what else, to what all, is there.
We go for explanations,
and our lives are too shallow to splash.
We look but we do not see.
To see, we’re going to have to change the way we look.
How we do it makes all the difference.
If you get the how down,
the what will come around in time—
and if it doesn’t it won’t matter.
The teachers you remember you remember for how they were with you, not what they taught you.
Give the people in your life a how they will never forget.
If you play second base,
you spend a lot of your time waiting for the ball to be hit or thrown to you.
Most of your doing is waiting.
Your life is like playing second base.
You are waiting to offer what you have to give to the situation as it unfolds around you.
It helps to be clear about what you can do and cannot do,
so that you don’t try to play all the bases,
and the outfield,
just to prove your value to the team.
You are waiting to offer what you have to give.
Be alert to what is being asked of you.
The next ball could be hit to you.
When we are “in the groove,”
we meet the moment with exactly what the moment needs,
and live without effort toward ends all recognize as worthy.
Then, something shifts,
and we are back into pushing, and pulling,
and resisting being pushed and pulled—
and live with the memory of “the groove,”
and the dream of its hoped-for return.
No one can tell us what our work is.
We find it for ourselves.
It is a solitary quest made in the company of unlikely helpers and guides.
Our life has a drift about it,
toward some things,
and away from others. I’ve never been interested in engine repair.
But I have always looked out windows.
Carl Jung said, “We are who we have always been, and who we will be.”
The themes are there,
the tune is familiar,
a thread runs through it all.
What are the recurring themes in your life,
the abiding interests,
the things you find yourself doing in each stage of life?
You’ve been living the life that is yours to live all along.
Live it consciously now,
intentionally bringing it forth as fully as you’re able.
Everything you need to know is in the moment with you.
It only takes waking up to know that it is so.
There are no secrets.
All is in the open,
waiting to be seen.
What’s to be seen is a function of seeing,
of how we see,
of the way we look,
of what we are aware of when we look/see.
What’s to be seen is a function of our degree of openness to what is to be seen,
of our receptivity to what all is there.
To see properly,
we have to be able to play well,
to dance well.
Seeing is dancing,
Those who don’t laugh can’t see.
May we be open to the presence of truth
flowing through our lives,
coming to us out of nowhere,
when we least expect it,
showing itself to us in the most unlikely places,
beckoning to us from people who would never be type-cast as those where truth resides,
undoing everything we have ever thought to be truth,
saying to us,
“These old wineskins can’t hold the new things I have fermenting for you!”
May we risk everything in the service of truth
that is nothing like anything we have ever heard,
and live in the wonder of the surprising nature of truth
as those who have nothing to lose,
with the wind of the Spirit that blows where it will
carrying us to places we would never imagine going!
We think we have to get it right,
but we have no idea what would be right,
so we take ourselves out of the picture,
and follow the lead of those who sound like they know what they are talking about.
We do what Those Who Presume To Know Best tell us to do.
And miss the point.
The point is not being right.
The point is putting ourselves on the line.
The point is saying and doing what WE think is right,
and evaluating the quality of our choosing
in light of the consequences of having chosen.
The point is making OUR best guess about what is right,
and doing that,
and seeing where it goes.
Seeing where it goes is the point.
Don’t worry about getting it right.
Do what you think is right,
and see how right you are.
And see where it goes.
If you are wrong, it will lead to being right next time or the time after that.
We are practicing finding our own way,
hearing our own voice,
reading our own intuition,
following our own instinct.
So what if we are wrong?
We’ll get better at it with time,
and we’ll learn to trust ourselves along the way.
The best we can do is rarely the best we can do.
Generally, it’s the best we care about doing.
We get by with less than our best nearly always.
We have to disappear for our best to come forth,
to get out of the way,
to stop interfering with our spontaneous response to the situation as it arises.
Once we start thinking, willing, scheming, planning, strategizing, weighing our options
and looking for the most advantageous route this situation to the destination of our choice,
our best goes on the back burner, or out the window.
Our best comes forth when we live instinctively, intuitively,
without an eye on what’s in it for us.
How do we get ourselves out of the picture?
How do we live without ourselves in mind—
beyond concern for our good, our gain, our advantage, our interest, our desire?
How do we get to the point of living in light of the good of the situation as a whole,
in light of the good of the whole?
The fix is not quick.
Mindfulness leads the way.
We live to be aware of the extent to which we get in our own way,
and see where it goes.
As we look at the desert menu,
or stand before a display of best sellers at the local bookstore,
we are pulled toward some selections,
and pushed away from others.
Our life is filled with equivalents of a desert menus or a list of best sellers.
Some things attract us,
other things repel us,
and the rest don’t move us at all.
Notice the things that strike you as positive, negative or neutral
as you go through your day.
Notice if you jam or override the signals,
resisting, forcing, criticizing, interfering,
by insisting on what you are supposed to do, like, feel, think
to the exclusion of your inclinations.
Observe the extent to which you mess with your life.
Live as a hidden observer of your own living.
See where it goes.
We quit too easily,
we stop too soon in the work to bring forth our gift, our genius,
in the service of our destiny,
doing the work that is ours to do.
“It’s too hard!” we say.
“We don’t have enough help!
We can’t do it!”
Heart is the easiest thing to lose.
The questions that stop us,
which we always use as an excuse to not do what is ours to do—
So what? Who cares? Why try? What’s the point? What difference does it make?—
have to be answered with other questions
that set the Stoppers on their heels,
and send them running:
So what if I can’t say what?
Who cares if no one but me cares?
Why not try?
What’s the point of having a point?
What difference does it make if nothing makes a difference?
Then, we pick ourselves up,
and turn back to the task of finding what we need
to do what needs to be done in each situation as it arises,
offering our gifts for the good of the whole,
anyway, nevertheless, even so!
Things are not what they appear to be.
The work is getting past appearances to the heart of the matter.
What we see are reflections of projections
of how things are with us
that we cannot admit to be so.
The old saw applies:
We hate in others what we cannot see in ourselves.
It also works like this:
We love in others what we cannot see in ourselves.
Attraction and repulsion
are indicators of projection in action.
Something in here is projected out there
and reflected back to us with an emotional charge, positive or negative,
that stirs our emotions and gets our attention.
Anything with a charge to it requires a closer look.
Where are we hiding in the object of our affection/aversion?
Let’s say you fall in love.
We are always falling in love it seems.
Falling in love is what we do best.
When we fall in love it is not about the honey or the hunk we fall in love with.
It is about us, ourselves.
About what is concealed in us that we can’t believe is there.
What do we see in the other that is hidden, lying latent, in ourselves?
What are the qualities we admire in the other beyond her or his physical charms?
Those are the qualities that are missing from our repertoire,
and are the very ones we have to work to bring forth in ourselves.
We have to become like the other is in these ways.
The same strategy works with repulsion.
Those are the qualities that are hidden in us,
that everyone knows is there but us,
and it is up to us to become conscious of the ways
they are seeping through to taint our relationships.
The world is an inkblot.
In seeing it as such,
we come to see ourselves.
Then the work begins.
The things we hate about our lives
are the things that bring us forth,
bring us out,
and require us to be who we are—
against our will,
in spite of ourselves.
We rise to the occasion—
to the occasion we despise—
and do what needs to be done,
and are deepened,
enlarged in the process.
We are better people
for the things we have had to accommodate,
fold into our lives.
The next time you find yourself resenting this,
look closer for the qualities this or that
brings out in you,
requires you to exhibit,
in response to one or the other—
and how those qualities are your deep strength,
existing as a blessing and a grace upon all who come your way,
making the world a better place for your being in the world.
And here you are,
wishing you were disappeared from this world
and plopped into another, better, world,
where you didn’t have to do anything you didn’t like to do.
We find the way by wandering around,
looking closer at the things that catch our eye,
noting when we are on the beam
and when we are off of it,
letting what has life for us draw us from one thing to the next,
until the realization dawns
that this approach doesn’t lead to the way,
but is the way,
and has always been the way.
We think religion,
is the way to better, smoother, easier lives.
How easy did Jesus have it?
Or the disciples?
doesn’t do anything for us in terms of lightening our load,
or easing our way.
helps us carry our load.
It does not make our life easy.
It helps us do what is hard.
If it doesn’t, it isn’t real religion, enlightenment.
Ask anyone who knows.
They will tell you real religion,
helps you live your life the way it needs to be lived.
It doesn’t give you some easy, soft life that anybody could live,
that nobody would need religion or enlightenment, to live.
Your life needs you to live it the way only you can live it.
It doesn’t need you bailing out of it
in favor of some life anybody could live,
I would love to have someone tell me what to do and be right about it,
To lift the responsibility for decision and outcome from my shoulders
so that I would know I had done the right thing,
the thing that truly needed to be done,
the thing that was without doubt the thing to do?
That would be great.
And, there are those who would rush to fill the position of Advisor First Class.
Who believe they know what’s best for all of us.
And, because they are convinced, they are quite convincing,
and we who would love to be relieved of the burden of knowing which orange juice to choose,
lean toward handing ourselves over.
There’s a test I propose for these people to pass before we trust them with our lives.
Have them choose your dessert for you.
Have them make your coffee.
That should tell you something about how much they know what they are doing.
If they cannot be trusted in small things,
they most certainly cannot be trusted in large ones.
Like it or not, our lives rest squarely upon our shoulders.
And if the cumulative weight of decision making wears us down,
we have to find the things and places
that restore our soul
and allow ourselves to enjoy them often.
What are those things and places for you?
How long since you availed yourself of them?
How regularly can you work them into your life?
You have to be the help you need.
The care and tending of your own soul
is the chief responsibility on our list of responsibilities.
Soothing your soul lightens our load
You know where that leaves us.
Soothing our soul is a gentle art
and in great need of being revived.
Addiction is the fast tract to distraction, diversion, denial—
which hides us for a while from the press and stress of life,
but does nothing to help us live amid the maddening swirl
as a calming influence, a blessing and a grace.
We can only live that way in the service of soul—
tending to the needs of soul
and the affairs of soul
in an environment that is a soulless wasteland.
Our first order of business is
becoming an advocate, a champion, of soul.
Where in our life are the places soul loves?
How often do we go there?
How long do we stay?
What are the grounding, centering practices that we pursue?
When are we most attuned to soul?
How conscious are we of the presence of soul—
the drift of soul—
the preference of soul—
throughout our day?
In what ways do you honor,
soul with the way you live your life?
We cannot live any old way at all,
and enjoy the company of a healthy, vibrant soul.
Everybody wants to bail out from time to time,
to eject from this world,
and float happily down into some other, better, world.
The Buddha got his start wanting to escape this world.
Jesus said, “How long must I bear with you? I can’t wait until I’m out of here!” (or words to that effect).
It’s a universal human malady,
not wanting what we have,
wanting what we can’t have—
what we have no business having.
Something we all have to square up with,
over and over at different points in our life.
So, we need one another to remind us
that it is the most natural thing in the world to feel this way,
and to encourage us to look our life in the eye,
and see it as another manifestation of the Cyclops standing in our path, laughing.
Here comes the mantra you have to embrace, understand, comprehend, believe and recite:
“It is hopeless, meaningless, useless, pointless, futile, absurd—
and it is coming to a very bad end (we all die, you know)—
and how we live in the meantime makes all the difference!”
Look at the difference the Buddha made, and Jesus.
And they didn’t change one thing about the world they didn’t like.
It is still just like it was when they didn’t like it.
So, we have to rearrange our thinking about the influence for good we have in our world,
and pick ourselves up and live our life as only we can live it,
with the right attitude and right spirit about us,
as a blessing and a grace upon all who come our way.
We have to remind one another to do this,
because we all want to bail out from time to time,
and how we live through that makes all the difference.
We need the company of the right kind of others
to remind us that we have what we need,
our sense of direction,
our “feel for the game,”
our intuitive grasp of the situation as it unfolds/arises,
our sense of flow and timing,
our realization of what resonates with us,
and what “rings true,”
our instinctive notion of what is right for us and wrong,
good for us and bad,
our heart/spirit for holding on,
and hanging in,
and doing what needs to be done no matter how hard or how long,
and our resilience,
and our trust in ourselves to “rise to the occasion”
and “take care of business” that is truly our business
in ways appropriate to the circumstances…
We need to be reminded of these things from time to time,
and we need to hang out with people who can be our reminders—
and not try to make us dependent on them to do our living for us.
We can do our living for ourselves with the kind of help that says,
“You can do your own living,
and if you are afraid you can’t,
we’ll keep you company until you see that you can.”
The Trail will ask as much from us as it offers to us.
If we walk the Trail, unbent, unbowed, unchanged—
just all triumphant and smiley—
you missed something crucial along the way.
The Trail requires us to accommodate ourselves to the Trail,
to hand ourselves over to the Trail,
to become one with the Trail.
It’s like this: There is what the Trail asks of you and what you ask of the Trail.
The Trail is all Ups and you want all Downs.
Something has to give.
It’s like this: There is your one-year-old daughter and there is you.
The needs and interests of one conflict with, clash with,
the needs and interests of the other.
You both have to do your fair share of giving in to the other.
Each of you is the Trail for the other.
It’s like this: Life is an optical illusion,
the old woman is also a lovely young maiden.
The Trail is a mean SOB and it is the way of life, light and peace.
We sit with an optical illusion
until we can see the opposites
and how the opposites are one illusion.
The two are one.
You have to sit with the Trail,
or your daughter
until you can see that you and the Trail are one,
and you and your daughter are one,
merging, flowing, into and out of each other.
This is not about winning and losing,
but about accommodating ourselves,
acquiescing to what needs to happen in each moment.
It is not surrender and defeat
but growth and becoming.
We are better people for having walked the Trail, f
or having the daughter,
without having imposed our will on either.
If we are here to bring forth and make conscious and visible the high values of the invisible world,
we could be doing a better job.
The high values are often lost in the effort to have things our way—
a problem identified as long ago as the early chapters of the Book of Genesis.
This is not called making headway.
The problem is compounded by each of us having to wake up to the problem individually
and work it out alone.
The church in all of its incarnations
is evidence that there is no corporate solution,
and we are left with the realization that it is up to us, personally,
to wake up, grow up and get to work cultivating compassion, civility, grace, mercy, love, kindness, justice, awareness, insight, generosity, beauty, patience, joy, and all their companion values—
bringing them forth in our lives,
making them visible, tangible, real and ever-present in all of our moments of all of our days.
This is the work that saves the world,
and it is ours to do alone.
We tend to opt for the easiest life possible under the circumstances,
which is to say the life most fully ruled by diversion, distraction, denial.
We run, escape, hide from the pain of emptiness, meaninglessness, hopelessness, frustration, futility, grief, loss, sorrow and boredom
in a regular and recurring way.
“Giving them circuses” (or it’s equivalent, drugs, sex, alcohol and all forms of plastic)
keeps the masses,
that would be us,
from roaming the countryside
bent on aimless destruction, rioting and mob violence
because they/we can’t think of anything else to do.
Facing up to and bearing the pain of being alive
would be something else to do.
We have a life.
What are we going to do with it?
With the resources at our disposal?
In this context?
We have been sentenced to life in this here and this now as it is.
What are we going to do about it?
We have no idea.
So we run for the circuses in all forms
to take our mind off the problem
of what to do with our life and the givens we have to work with.
And all the while, the invisible world—
that would be the world of our soul/Psyche/Self—
waits for our cooperation, collaboration.
We have all the help we need “right here.”
It only takes waking up to it to know that it is so.
Perspective is the best tool in the whole toolbox.
With the slightest shift in perspective, everything changes.
Seeing, hearing, understanding transforms our world—
and we live to transform the entire world of normal, apparent reality.
We save the world by becoming awake, aware, alive in our world,
in this here and this now—
by becoming awake, aware, alive
to the other world, the invisible world, the world of soul/Psyche/Self.
To do that, we have to look beyond circuses and plastic
to see what else there is, here, now.
Every living thing has something to worry about,
whether it knows it or not.
The trick here is not to arrange our lives so as to be worry-free,
with things like high walls,
a physician on call at all times,
and more money than we can count.
The trick is to trust ourselves to deal appropriately with whatever arises.
We’ll find a way.
It’s something else we have in common with every living thing.
How much money would we have to pay you to not do what you love to do?
I hope they don’t make that much money.
You couldn’t pay me to not take photos.
A lot of us don’t do what we love to do because we cannot sell it, market it, make money from doing it.
That’s like being paid to not do it.
It’s being bought off.
It’s a betrayal of soul.
There cannot be a monetary value to a spiritual endeavor.
We should write poetry, draw, paint, teach children to read or just read ourselves, walk the dog in the woods, ride horses, play golf, fish, swim, run, etc.,
because we love to even though nothing is going to “come of it.”
Carl Jung was quite the amateur artist,
but he was careful not to market any of his paintings—
and refused to call them art—
because that would cheapen their value,
detract from their true worth,
and tempt him to be in it for what fame and fortune could be squeezed out of it.
He was in it for the connection painting provided to his soul,
and the work it enabled him to do
in understanding his soul
and what his soul was communicating to him by way of symbols and images.
What we love to do is soul stuff.
Do it because you love it and see where it leads you—
not in terms of financial profit and reward,
but in terms of insight, understanding, grounding, centering, focusing, meaning, purpose, direction and the expression of the high values of the invisible world.
Pay the fare and ride the ride, that’s my best advice.
What are we holding back for, saving up for?
So far as we can tell this is our one shot at life.
Why not live while the time for living is upon us?
We are afraid of what, exactly?
Where is it you have never been that you have always put off going?
What is it you have never done that you have always put off doing?
How is it that you are refusing to live the life that is waiting to be lived?
Why are you keeping it on hold?
When do you expect to start living?
To move beyond the normal routines,
the familiar patterns,
the cow track from the barn to the pasture and back to the barn?
You think you are safe and secure not venturing out into the life that is dying for you to live it?
Lightening could hit the barn tonight!
It’s all going up in smoke eventually.
Make a routine of shaking up your routine.
Create a pattern of life that includes
wiggles, whizzes, slides and splashes.
Invite the unknown,
the startling and
into your life.
See what happens.
We think with enough money everything else will fall into place.
This is a happy fantasy implanted by a culture grounded on a capitalist economy.
It’s a mindset.
A foundational assumption.
And we serve it with our lives.
We would be better off serving our life with our lives—
the life that has a mind of its own,
the life that has its idea of how we should be living,
which is not dependent on having a lot of money.
But we think our life is what we do with money.
We have no grasp of life apart from our ideas of how we spend our money.
We have a life separate from our ideas of our life
which has ideas for us and the way we need to live.
Cut off from our life’s idea of itself,
we are left on our own to invent a life for ourselves.
The smart thing to do would be to find our way back to our life
and its idea for itself and for us.
Of course, that would be hard to do,
but to not do it is to do things the hard way.
Eventually, we get to the point of doing what’s hard
and wonder why we didn’t do it that way in the first place.
Our life has been wondering that all along.
An art dealer told me my photos don’t sell because there is too much blue in them.
“People don’t buy blue,” she said,
“certainly not bright blue.
They are looking for something to go with their sofa, their carpet and their walls.”
A quick perusal of my photos will turn up dump truck loadsthat will never sell.
The Paleolithic paintings on the wall of the cave in Lascaux, France didn’t sell for 17,000 years.
How’s that for not selling?
And it didn’t stop the artists from painting.
The soul loves an image, it seems.
I’m serving my soul with my photography.
I’m doing with my photographs
what the cave artists did with their pigments, charcoal and chipping stones.
I’m soothing myself,
calming myself, making it right, somehow, with my soul that things are as they are.
When I gather up the camera,
we go settle me down by finding images that restore my equilibrium and still my soul.
I’m particularly fond of blue.
And if not one of them ever sells,
when you factor in what I’ve saved in psychotherapy bills,
you’ll see that I come out way ahead in this game,
and we haven’t taken into account the cost of prescription medication
I haven’t had to take.
If you want to come to life in the life you’re living,
to be alive in the deepest, fullest sense—
vibrant, alert, aware of the moment and loving everything about it—
you have to find the symbols that grab you,
and be grabbed by them.
A symbol represents something that cannot be said.
A sign is just what it is.
A stop sign is nothing more than a stop sign.
Our symbols have been turned into signs.
In the Christian church, for instance, the cross and the communion table,
mean just what we have been told they mean.
That’s that. Period. End of story.
The symbol has become a sign.
Not a good thing to have happen to your symbols.
In order to bring us to life, our symbols have to be alive—
they have to have infinite depths
which are capable of being eternally explored.
In order for that to happen,
we have to rediscover our symbols
and the mystery behind them—
and immerse ourselves in the wonder of more than words can say.
In order to do that,
we have to say what is true for us about the symbol
using words that have never been said.
But, here’s the catch.
For our symbols to come alive for us in this way,
we have to free them and ourselves from the explanations
—the theology, dogma, doctrines and creeds—
we have been handed and told to believe.
We have to sit with our symbols
and let ourselves imagine what there is about them that is also true
which we have never been told is true.
This is resurrecting the symbol.
As we bring our symbols to life,
they bring us to life,
and we dance with them through the rest of our days.
What makes us think that the right man or a woman
would make all the difference in our life?
That romance is the solution to all of our problems today and everyday?
After romance, there’s the laundry,
the yard work,
the cat to the vet,
and life is back to what it was before romance.
Romance is a happy interlude between all the things
that demand our time and attention.
Romance is not all it is cracked up to be.
But, everything, romance included, is an opportunity to look closer,
to dig deeper,
to wake up to the depth, and breadth, and wonder of life.
Falling in love is an amazing aspect of being alive—
an invitation into the depths of life—
and we would be crazy to pass it up,
to dismiss it as nothing more than a “happy interlude.”
It is an opportunity to explore the questions that lead to wherever it is that we are going:
What do we need the right man or woman for?
What do we need him or her to help us do?
What do we imagine the right man or woman will bring into the relationship with us?
What characteristics and qualities will he, will she, exude?
Who can we count on him, on her, to be?
What are the deficits in ourselves that he, that she, will counteract?
From what will he, will she, save us?
How will our life be different with him, with her in it?
In what ways do we need to bring to life in ourselves
the qualities we hope to find in the right man or woman—
so that we become the right man or woman we hope to find in someone else?
And, here’s the jewel, What does thinking about him or her keep us from thinking about?
While you wait for the right man or woman to come along,
consider the questions.
Follow them out.
See where they lead,
what other questions they raise,
how they change your life.