One Minute Monologues 017

01/01/2014 — 02/21/2014

  1. We aren’t being graded.

    We don’t earn—or lose—merit.

    No one is keeping score.

    We aren’t competing for some prize.

    We aren’t trying to get anywhere.

    There is only the opportunity to be alive.

    We either live our life or waste it.

    It’s never too late to live it.

    No matter how much of it we think we’ve wasted, it was all necessary to get us to the place of living it.

    How much life can you live in the time left for living?

    That’s the question.

    You are the answer.

    And don’t think of living what remains of your life in terms of bucket lists and grabbing gusto.

    Think of it in terms of bringing forth what is yearning to be brought forth in your life—of being who you have yet to be—of living so as to discover who you might yet be, what you might yet love to do.

    Live your life exploring how your life would like to be lived.
  2. Hwy 74 Spring 02 — Near the Pea Ridge Road exit, NC, April 3, 2014

    The task is to find the life that is your life to live hiding away in the life you are living.

    The trick is to find yourself—the self that is yours to be—tucked away in the self you are being.

    Some things will have to change.

    Some things will have to go.

    Some things will have to come.

    You won’t like it at first.

    It won’t be your idea of how things should play out.

    You will have to rearrange your life.

    Your priorities.

    Your customary way of doing things.

    To acknowledge the old that has passed away,

    And to make room for the new that is coming.

    And you will do this over and over again

    Throughout the time left for living.

    As you become increasingly who you are

    And live more fully the life that is yours to live.

    To everyone’s amazement

    And consternation.

    Even your own.
  3. Scotland Avenue Sunrise 01 — Indian Land, SC, April 5, 2014

    Let’s say you are writing your life the way an author would write novels.

    You could approach your task with the idea in mind of writing a best seller, or, perhaps, a string of best sellers, with the newest one in the series out selling all of the previous ones, so that you set, not only, personal records, but world records with each publication.

    That’s one way to do it. Drove a lot of famous writers to drink and to an early death.

    Trying to be better than anyone ever—always trying to best your own best efforts—will not lead you to the kind of personal success that you pursued with such diligence and failed so completely to attain.

    Actors who make Oscars the goal of their career don’t generally fare well as actors, and certainly not as human beings.

    My point is don’t strive to make it big with a splashy arrival, and a continuing splashy stay.

    Endeavor to make your body of work worthy of praise and emulation.

    You may not have a New York Times Number One Best Seller in your work, yet your work may be reliably and unquestionably of the highest quality throughout your life.

    Live with your body of work in mind, and fashion each day as another worthy of you—in the way you carry yourself, treat other people, and do your thing.

    Stop thinking about being Somebody, and be you as only you can be you. Stop thinking about catching the big break, having the big hit, making the big time, and do all things well, with your heart in what you do, and your soul leading the way.
  4. Spring Dogwood 2008 BW — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN, April 2008

    Some people have nowhere to turn.

    Millions of people have nowhere to turn.

    The GOP has cut food stamps and ended unemployment benefits.

    Every time the GOP has the chance, they vote against the poor, people of color, minorities, immigrants, the LGBT community and women.

    If you belong to one of those groups, or if you care about the people who belong to one of those groups, there are two things you must do:

    You must vote every time you get a chance.

    And you must not vote for a Republican.

    If you don’t vote, or if you vote for a Republican, you join those who are firmly against those who have nowhere to turn.

    And where, exactly, does that leave them?
  5. Cades Cove Primitive Baptist Church B&W HDR 03 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Townsend, TN, March 1, 2014

    We are not here for our own glory.

    We are not even here for our own benefit, gain or advantage.

    We are here to serve the work—to do the work—that is ours to do, for the good of all life everywhere.

    In doing so, we remind those who share the planet with us that they are here to serve the work that is theirs to do, for the good of all.

    Laziness is the enemy.

    Let Someone Else Do It is the dragon at the gate.

    The TV remote stands between us and the life that calls us to come out and play.

    Not Now Maybe Later is the song of the sirens on the lips of their slaves.

    Our work lies forgotten and lost.

    The land is desolate and lifeless.

    Entertaining pastimes and empty calories—the modern equivalent of bread and circuses—consume our time,

    And we dream of lives worth living,

    Ignoring the life that dies waiting for us to live it.
  6. Hwy 74 Spring 01 — Near the Pea Ridge Road exit, NC, April 3, 2014

    May you find within the qualities and values you need to face and deal with the things you find without.
  7. Spring Beauty 2014 02 — Landsford Canal State Park, Forest Lawn, SC, April 5, 2014

    Don’t let what you don’t have keep you from bringing forth what you do have, and blessing the world with your gifts, art, genius.
  8. Lake McDonald B&W — Glacier National Park, West Glacier, Montana, September 2005

    Life can be a terrible burden if we think of it as our responsibility to bear

    Alone, with no more help than we have.

    Ours to figure out

    To wrestle into place

    Against all odds.

    We are better served to admit—confess—at the start that we don’t know a thing

    About being alive,

    And listen.

    Listening is generally the first thing that goes.

    All that noise!

    The confusion!

    Complexity!

    The complications do us in.

    But, we’ve already said we can’t make sense of any of it.

    We have to stick to our guns,

    And listen.

    For the “still, small, voice.”

    Quieter than a whisper.

    More of a feeling—a stirring—within.

    An urge to some unseen good,

    Calling us to its service

    With no more to work with than came with us into the world.

    It starts that way with all of us.

    With all of us who listen.

    And follow the path of the inner guide.
  9. Star Chickweed 2014 04 — Along the trail to Pearson’s Falls, Saluda, NC, April 2, 2014

    How meaningfully do we live?

    How hooked to someone else’s idea of what is meaningful?

    How solidly linked to the meaningful ground of our own life?

    Walk through your life—through your day, week, month, year—through your dwelling place.

    How meaningful are the things you find there?

    Where is meaning to be found in your life?

    How much time do you spend there?

    Develop a meaningful scale, and rank each activity, undertaking, pursuit in terms of its meaningful quotient.

    Work the less meaningful things out of your life, and work in meaningful things in their place.

    And don’t kid yourself about what is meaningful and what is not.

    If it is supposed to be meaningful, but isn’t, it isn’t meaningful.

    The supposed to be’s come to you from the outside.

    Meaning is an inside job.

    Live your life from the inside out.
  10. Adirondacks — Inverary Resort, Baddeck, Nova Scotia, September 2008

    Nothing is more important than consciously working out our conflicts of interest–our conflicts of value–our internal pulls in opposite directions–every time they demand resolution in the practical, down to earth, matters of everyday life.

    For example.

    We need our patterns of life. Our patterns of life are like the Great Mother, the Ideal Father, nurturing us, nourishing us, shaping our days, structuring our life, keeping us safe from–immune to–the shocking intrusions and disorienting upheavals of disordered chaos and pandemonium.

    On the other hand, nothing is more deadening than an endless repetition of the same old, same old.

    We need the invasion of novelty, the encounter with outlandish and unheard of ideas, the experience of the distressing, uncomfortable, disturbing.

    We are called forth by the objectionable, distasteful, unpleasant or abhorring–by what we would normally avoid or refuse.

    No one ever grows up having her, having his, way.

    We have to recognize the importance of sameness and of novelty–and work out which to give weight to in each situation as it arises, all our life long.

    And that is only one of the opposites we have to reconcile consciously and deliberately, again and again, along the way of life.
  11. Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., Dante’s View 02, 2006 — Death Valley National Park, Death Valley, CA, March 2006

    Conflict, opposition, contradiction, polarity go to the heart of being and of life.

    The unconscious is as conflicted as the conscious ego.

    The unconscious wants to come to the light, to order and know itself, and be seen and known as it is.

    And it is repelled by the very idea—resists being known, and will not surrender to the probing queries of introspective consciousness.

    Thus, it brings itself forth in fits and starts, hints, glimpses, clues, dreams and visions.

    We know consciously what that is like.

    We want to remain safe, protected, innocent and simple.

    And we want to venture forth, experience life in its fulness, explore what the world has to offer—to test ourselves amid the heaving waves of “the wine dark sea” and see what we are made of.

    The way out of this jumble of contradiction is through it.

    Consciously bearing the polarities that curse us and are our salvation, resolving those that can be resolved, reconciling those that can be reconciled, and living in the agony of the tension between those poles which must be honored as the source of life and the ground of being.

    Do not run from the pain of your contradictions. They are your life.

    So live them! Dance with them! Love them! And see what they have to show you about life, living and being alive!
  12. Used in Short Talks On Contradictions, etc., Tunnel View 02 — Yosemite National Park, CA, April 2006

    Everything is held in place by 10,000 things, for good or ill.

    If you want something to change, you have to change the things keeping things as they are.

    The search for those things brings to light the contradictions that hold things in place.

    If we change this, that happens—maybe not to our liking.

    We cannot grow up without letting go the things that must go when we grow up—without letting come the things that must come when we grow up.

    We choose whether to let go and to let come every step of the way.
  13. Rue Anemone 04, Blue Star Trail, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, April 6, 2014

    Everybody has to do their part—which includes covering for somebody who has encountered a complication and cannot do her or his part—for the whole to function as well as it needs to in caring for the parts that make up the whole.

    A family comes to mind, or a Pub.

    A smoothly running Pub is a delight to behold. The kitchen does its part, the servers do their part, the cleanup crew does its part, the bartenders do their part, the customers do their part—it’s marvelous.

    And it falls apart when someone slacks off, or drinks too much and creates a scene.

    When it is humming, the flow is steady, the dance is beautiful, all is in harmony with the Tao.

    When it is not humming, it’s a mess.

    Our life works the same way. On track, in tune, it’s a wonder.

    Pushing, shoving, grabbing, snatching, moaning, whining… it’s a burden and a pain.

    How to keep it in place? Just do what needs to be done without trying to keep anything in place!

    No shortcuts! No skipping a step, or three! No hurrying what cannot be hurried! No ignoring what cannot be ignored!

    Seeing what you look at! Saying what you mean! Doing what you say!

    This is not hard, and everything hangs on it happening as it needs to happen, on our being who we need to be, in each situation as it arises.

    We have a part to play—a role to perform—in every situation that comes our way. It is crucial that we rise to every occasion, and play our role well.
  14. Bluets 2014 01 — Blue Star Trail, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, April 6, 2014

    When you think of a baseball player, one thing stands out.

    Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle hit home runs.

    Greg Mattux and Sandy Koufax could make a good hitter look bad at the plate.

    Baseball players who do all things well—playing their position, running the bases, hitting in the clutch, keeping the game in its place—are very hard to find.

    Complete players fall into the “Who cares about that?” category.

    Complete human beings: Who cares about that?

    Wealth, prosperity, happiness, success, power… These are the ways we rank human beings.

    A complete human being is probably someone no one has ever heard about.

    Or met.

    Who is the most complete human being you have ever known?

    The most mature human being?

    I don’t think of a complete human being being immature, or a mature human being being incomplete.

    It’s one thing, completion, maturity.

    We live to be wealthy, or at least, prosperous, successful, powerful and happy.

    Complete and mature are not on our list.

    Our list says it all.
  15. Wisteria 2014 01 — Indian Land, SC, April 9, 2014

    Everybody thinks life is automatic, natural. You grow up (which has nothing to do with growing up, just getting older), get a job, a life partner (which may, or may not, be for life), kids, a place to live, have fun on the weekends until you retire and then everyday.

    What’s to that?

    Nothing.

    Ask anyone who is doing it what they are doing with their life, and they will tell you, “Nothing.”

    They are hanging out until they die.

    Living is not automatic, natural.

    We have to consciously align ourselves with our life—not the life we are living, but the life that is our life to live.

    The life we are built for.

    The life no one can live but us.

    How do we know what that is?

    How do we find our life?

    Good questions.

    Be sure to ask them.

    And answer them.
  16. Yellow Jasmine 2014 01 — Indian Land, SC, April 9, 2014, The State Flower of South Carolina

    Where has your life failed to measure up to your expectations?

    Where have you thought one thing, and discovered another?

    Where have you been disappointed by life?

    Betrayed?

    These are the crises that make you by breaking you.

    If you are game.

    These are the rites of initiation.

    They strip you of your romantic, idealistic, innocent, simple equations,

    “If I do this, that will happen,”

    And force you to reconsider all that you have ever thought

    And been told

    About the way things are.

    It’s a new world, Goldie, that greets you

    In the aftermath of the loss of your old world.

    You have to make the shift.

    “Here we are, now what?”

    Now begins the complete revision of everything

    In light of your personal Abomination of Desolation.

    It’s a new chance at life

    If you are game.

    The test is this:

    Can you maintain your innocence

    In light of your complete loss of everything?

    Can you believe in something worth believing in

    When everything you ever believed in has been destroyed?

    Can you laugh again?

    And smile?

    And step into your life willing to see what you can do there

    Anyway, nevertheless, even so?

    Can you avoid the Scylla and Charybdis of Depression and Cynicism?

    Can you maintain the tension

    And live wise as serpents and innocent and innocent as doves?

    That’s the test.

    Let’s see how we do.
  17. The Barn — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, April 9, 2014

    There are situations in which what we want to happen is what needs to happen.

    There are other situations in what what we want to happen is not what needs to happen.

    We need to recognize what needs to happen, and work to have it happen.

    What we want to happen is irrelevant, unless we want to have happen what needs to happen—regardless of what else we might want.
  18. Birdsfoot Violet — Nature Trail, Cheraw State Park, Cheraw, SC, April 8, 2014

    The Dalai Lama doesn’t always know what day it is, or what the date is, yet he is widely esteemed for the depth of his awareness, for the quality of his enlightenment, and rightly so.

    Awareness and enlightenment mean you aren’t burdened with the weight of meaningless things.

    You don’t have to know all the details of everything.

    You only have to know what is important, and tend to that.

    The birthday of your grandfather’s best friend’s second-cousin’s (on his mother’s side) hair dresser does not command your attention.

    But the matter of what is happening here and now, and what needs to happen in response to it, and what you are being asked to do about it, with the gifts-art-genius that are yours to share for the good of all, seals you off from the things that would distract you, and focuses you on Now What?—and calls for you to act in accord with yourself and the needs of the moment.

    Every moment.

    Can you be present with yourself in the moment?

    Can you separate what matters most from what doesn’t matter at all?

    Can you bring forth who you are to meet the here and now?

    If so, the Dalai Lama has nothing on you, and the world will be infinitely better off with you in it.

    I feel better just knowing you are thinking about it.
  19. Squirrel Corn 2014 01 — Cove Hardwood Nature Trail, Chimneys Picnic Area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Gatlinburg, TN, Aril 11, 2014

    We have an unlived life waiting to be lived.

    It takes courage and determination to find and live our life—the life that is ours to live.

    No one can tell us where to find it, but we have always known what it is.

    We only have to know what we know.

    And do what is waiting to be done.

    The adventure of a lifetime is still ours to claim.

    All it takes is courage and determination.
  20. Woodlands Spring 2014 01 — White Fringed Phacelia and Large Flowered Trillium, Cove Hardwood Nature Trail, Chimneys Picnic Area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Gatlinburg, TN, Aril 11, 2014

    The single most significant thing you can to to turn your life into what it needs to be—to live the life that is your life to live within the life you are living—to be who you are within a context and circumstances that demand you be who you are not—is change your mind about what is important.

    Changing your mind about what is important shifts everything.

    It moves you out of being immobilized by your conflicted ambivalence—being unable to do what needs to be done and being ashamed of yourself for not doing it—

    and rescues you from your self-destructive high expectations of yourself and all others—condemning yourself and all others to life as it is because you, and they, cannot possibly achieve what you consider to be Life As It Ought To Be.

    Geez.

    Let your life show you what it can be, and quit dissing it because it will never be able to match up to your high standards of A Life Worth Living!

    Get off your back and out of your way!

    Live to serve your life in the time left for living!

    No conditions or self-imposed requirements allowed!

    Aligned with, and complete trust in, the life that waits for you to live it!

    Without hurrying, pushing, grabbing, insisting, demanding, forcing, trying to make it achieve what you think it ought to achieve.

    Just living the life that is yours to live.

    Just doing what it needs you to do.

    No expectations or judgments allowed.

    Oh, the life you will live!

    When you let go of your insistence that it be what you want it to be.
  21. Dutchman’s Breeches 2014 01 — Porter’s Creek Trail, Greenbrier District, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Cosby, TN, April 12, 2014

    Everybody has her, has his, own idea of how things should be. And most of us are quite happy with our idea.

    Enter, The Problem.

    There is no movement without compromise.

    We can’t grow up without changing our mind about what is important.

    Without changing our idea about how things should be.

    Reality would be great for waking us up, if we could be awakened.

    How many walls do we have to hit?

    Before we say, “Oh, NOW I see. Things are not like I expected them to be!”

    There aren’t enough walls for some of us.

    We get up, shake it off, and run into another, and another, and another… Wall without end, Amen.

    That’s one way to do it.

    Our method of evaluating our experience could use some evaluation.

    We keep trying to make what isn’t going to work work.

    We have to change our mind about how things should be.

    About what is important.

    Until then, the future is going to be a rerun of a bad movie.
  22. Smoky Mountains Panorama 2014 01 Detail A — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Cherokee, NC, April 12, 2014

    No one is keeping score.

    Or taking names.

    Or handing out citations.

    We aren’t being graded.

    No one is going to call our parents.

    Or send us to detention.

    Or put us in Time Out.

    So.

    What is keeping us from making up our own mind about what needs to be done, and doing it?

    With the gifts, art, genius that are ours to bring forth in meeting our life,

    And being who we are asked to be

    By the time and place of our living?  
  23. Painted Trillium 2014 02 — Nature Trail, Bud Ogle Cabin, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, April 13, 2014

    How often do you live out of your own authority?

    How often to you take your cues for living from someone else?

    You cannot hope to be who you are, living aligned with the life that is your to live, without being anchored in your own sense of what needs to be done in each situation as it arises.

    Growing up is living out of our own take on things, our own feel for what is appropriate to the occasion, and our own willingness to be wrong in serving our idea of what is right.

    This is an essential principle in the process of maturation: We have to make our own mistakes!

    You will not learn to make your own mistakes looking to someone else for the answers to your questions.

    Take up the practice of living out of your own authority and making your own mistakes.

    It is the sure path to enlightenment.
  24. Roaring Fork Creek 2014 01 — Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN, April 13, 2014

    We have to deal with immobilizing complications and a complete lack of cooperation.

    It would be nice if the Cyclops never showed up, or politely got out of the way.

    The Cyclops presents himself as an immobilizing complication, and a complete lack of cooperation.

    The modern equivalent of the Cyclops are everywhere.

    We have to see them for what they are, and deal with them as another manifestation of the Cyclops standing in our path.

    And step forward.

    Again.

    There is no turning aside, or turning back, on the journey to who we are.

    There is only being who we are, in doing what needs us to do it, in each situation as it arises, for as long as there are situations.

    And, when the opportunity for rest, recovery and renewal comes along, we take it.

    Because, that needs doing, too.
  25. Woodlands Spring 2014 02 — White Fringed Phacelia along Porter’s Creek Trail, Greenbrier District, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cosby, TN, April 12, 2014

    Photography, for me, is not lucrative at all, but it is meaningful and satisfying to a depth and degree that money cannot buy.

    Meaning transforms our values.

    What is meaningful calls us beyond what is good or right, and requires us to transcend that which normally passes for a life worth living.

    Maslow’s Hierarchy of Values, or Needs, a sequential levels of values from physiological, to social, to psychological and the highest, “self-actualization,” is the first thing that goes, said Joseph Campbell, “in the grip of a mythical vision.”

    A mythical vision is transcendent of all ideas, and ideals, of value, and is the experience of meaning itself.

    We don’t get there with dialogue and discussion.

    We are transported there by an encounter with more than words can say.

    And how do we arrange for that kind of event?

    How do we make a date with destiny?

    Be aware of the time and place of your living, and look closer at everything that catches your eye.
  26. Colt Creek 2014 02 — Along the trail to Pearson’s Falls, Saluda, NC, April 14, 2014

    When the Buddha held up the flower and Mahākāśyapa smiled, that was the experience of meaning beyond words.

    Meaning is more than words.

    Words point to meaning, but meaning is not in the words.

    Poetry is as close as words can come to meaning.

    There is a gap between the word, or the flower, and the meaning beyond the word, the flower, which is called enlightenment, or realization, or awareness, or awakening.

    We can look at a flower and see a flower, and we can look at a flower and see the truth.

    What’s the difference between seeing the flower and seeing the truth?

    Now you see it, now you don’t.

    Truth is an optical illusion on the spiritual level.

    We are spiritual beings on a par with God, at one with God, God, when we grasp the truth behind/beyond a turtle in the mud.

    We are the turtle in the mud when we just see a turtle in the mud.

    What’s the difference between being God and being a turtle in the mud?

    Seeing beyond what we see is the difference.

    Seeing through what we see to what is beyond what we see is the difference.

    See?
  27. Pearson’s Falls 2014 03 — Saluda, NC, April 14, 2014

    We do not reason our way to meaning.

    We don’t think our way there.

    Meaning smacks us with a big, juicy, wet one right on the kisser when we are thinking about something else.

    Reason and logic are fingers pointing to the moon.

    Meaning IS the moon.

    You can’t explain meaning any more than you can enjoy ice cream by reading your mother’s recipe.

    Illusion is thinking meaning is found in thinking.

    The meaning of an apple is found in eating the apple.

    Or, better, in planting an apple seed, tending the tree as it grows, picking the fruit when it is ripe and then eating the apple.

    There are no shortcuts to meaning.

    We live a meaningful life by doing the things that are meaningful to us, that have meaning for us.

    We are the only one who knows what is meaningful for us.

    No one can tell us the way to a meaningful existence.

    We have to find the way ourselves. On our own. By doing what has meaning.

    How much time to you spend doing what has no meaning for you?

    How much time can you take away from those pursuits and devote to what has meaning for you?

    That’s the path to a meaningful life. No one can walk it for you.
  28. Yellow Trillium 2014 01 — Porter’s Creek Trail, Greenbrier District, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cosby, TN, April 12, 2014

    Our practice includes knowing what we know, seeing what we look at, feeling what we feel, sensing what we sense and trusting ourselves to respond in ways appropriate to the occasion in each situation as it arises all our life long.

    Do not have to be right.

    Do not have to know what you are doing.

    Do not have to defend, explain, justify or excuse your decisions, choices, and actions.

    Do not be ashamed of wrong turns or unfavorable outcomes.

    Tomorrow’s right is rooted in yesterday’s wrong.

    The meandering of the river is no threat to the sea.

    We learn to make exquisite vegetable soup by making a lot of bad soup with our eyes open to what we are doing.

    Mistakes are the mother of invention.

    Get in there and do your thing—and do it better with time, grace, compassion, humor and playfulness.

    And if anyone complains about your not taking things seriously enough, and having too much fun, tell them you’re just warming up—still in the practice phase of living your life.
  29. Pearson’s Falls 2014 04 — Saluda, NC, April 14, 2014

    Our life unfolds according to its own good pleasure.

    We can inhibit its coming forth

    By forcing what we think ought to happen,

    Or by resisting, or refusing,

    What is trying to happen.

    To listen to our life

    And follow its lead

    Through the wild tangle of time and circumstance

    Is to dwell in the land of promise,

    And to drink from the holy grail,

    All along the way.
  30. Where The Road Once Ran — The Alfred Reagan Place, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN, April 13, 2014 

    We think the key is trying harder.

    We think we must consciously commit ourselves to a particular outcome,

    and strive constantly to achieve it.

    The key is not trying at all.

    The key is getting out of the way

    and allowing our life to live us,

    the way the music plays the musician,

    and the dance dances the dancer.

    I’m not talking about being lazy.

    It takes a lot of work to play a musical instrument,

    but the real work comes

    in letting the instrument play itself

    through the musician.

    When the musician and the music are one, magic happens.

    When the living and the life are one, magic happens again.

    Trying not to try is still trying.

    We don’t try to breathe.

    Live like you breathe.
  31. Cove Hardwood Spring Panorama 03 — White Fringed Phacelia along the Nature Trail at Chimney’s Picnic Area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN, April 11, 2014

    My dreams over the past year have all been about accommodating myself to my life—the one I lived before retirement.

    I retired at the end of January in 2011, and am now approaching my 70th year. I’m dreaming about the previous 67, or so years.

    I’d like to know if all older people do that—if a large part of being retired is squaring up to the life we have lived, as if to say, “Okay. Now I see how it was, how it fit together, how it created me even as I lived it. And I am fine with it all—with all of the steps it took to be where I am, here and now.”

    The theme I find running through the dreams is “It’s all path. Everything is grist for the mill, and you (that would be me) were/are milling YOU.”

    We talk about “our life,” as though it belongs to us to do with as we will, but we belong to our life, and our life is turning us, shaping us, forming us, giving us US, making us who we are.

    We are our life’s gift to us.

    And in our later years, our task becomes that of squaring ourselves up with the life we lived, and the person we have become.

    The more consciously we live our life while we are living it—the more we work at bringing ourselves forth, and being who we are in the midst of the nature and circumstances of our living—the closer we come to living a life we would be proud to live, to being the kind of person we might wish ourselves to have been.

    Our life’s work—the task of life—over the course of our living is to be who we are.

    To reconcile ourselves with ourselves, and to live our life the way only we can live our life, the way our life must be lived with us at the helm.

    So that our choices are OUR choices, and not something thrust upon us by time and circumstance, or Those Who Know Best And Must Be Pleased.

    WE have to come forth consciously, intentionally, deliberately, and be championed by, mentored by, served by ourselves.

    We swear allegiance to US, and work to be US in, and through, the grub-work of the day-to-day decisions, choices and actions that make up our life.

    Or not. And have to live with our refusal to do the work that is ours to do, with our failure to have been who we are.

    The agony of those aged ones is the missed opportunities of their youth. Their dreams are nightmares that haunt them without end.
  32. Jonathan Creek Rapids 2014 03 — Maggie Valley, NC, April 12, 2014

    What is the meaning of this?

    Where does this come from? What is its purpose in my life? How am I to understand it? How am I to properly accommodate myself to it? How am I to use it in becoming who I am to be?

    These are the questions to be asked, and answered, of every life experience.

    This is called “Mining Our Life For The Treasure Hard To Find.”

    We rarely pause to wonder.

    We relish the good and reject the bad.

    Embrace the one and are repelled by the other.

    And never ask the salvific questions.

    And here we are.
  33. Catesby’s Trillium 01 — Shady Hollow Trail, McDowell Nature Center and Preserve, Mcklenburg County, NC, April 17, 2013

    We make the call concerning our life.

    All of the calls.

    If someone else tells us how to live, it’s because we allow them to do so.

    We are in the driver’s seat, even if no one is driving.

    How do we decide what to do with the time that is ours?

    How do we know when to say yes, and when to say no?

    How do we determine what is important, and what is not?

    Since we are making the calls about all of these things,

    you would think we would think about them,

    and not knee-jerk our way through all of our choices.
  34. Smoky Mountain View 03, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC, April 11, 2014

    If you can work out the Detachment-Investment Polarity, you have it made.

    We can be too close to our life, and too far away.

    Optimal distance is difficult to establish.

    Caring enough without caring too much is tricky.

    Holding on too tightly for too long is as unhealthy as having no attachments at all.

    We are after freedom of movement.

    The ability to change direction with each shift in the situation as it arises.

    To dance with the music of our life.
  35. White Fringed Phacelia 01 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Chimneys Picnic Area, TN, April 11, 2014

    The loss of a purpose in life is a loss of interest in life.

    Eros—passion for life—is essential for life.

    Where is your passion? Live it!

    We have to open ourselves to Eros

    and FEEL passionate about some aspect of our life.

    We have to throw ourselves at the feet of our passion

    with loyalty, allegiance, devotion and good faith.

    We foster the Erotic in our life by feeling what we feel.

    What attracts us? Repels us?

    What catches our eye? Piques our interest?

    What are the things that stir our soul?

    That command our attention?

    Compel our participation?

    Live to lengthen the list!

    Living erotically is the foundation of a life well-lived.

    It has very little to do with sexual expression,

    but is the essence of being alive.

    We honor our feelings by living in the direction they lean.

    We discount them to our peril and shame.

    Life apart from Eros is death putting on airs.
  36. Crossing Porter’s Creek 03 — Porter’s Creek Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Greenbrier District, near Cosby, TN, April 12, 2014

    There are external environments that are toxic to our spirit, our soul. We have to be alert to them, and steer clear whenever possible.

    It’s important to be conscious of what manner of spirit you are—and to live in ways that nourish and nurture your fundamental make up.

    My spirit is quiet, soft, gentle, kind… And I seek those things in the external world. I wilt in places that are loud, noisy, hard, harsh, brutal, violent, abusive, unknowing, uncaring…

    We have to consciously work at a creating an external environment in which we can live—carving out spaces that receive us well, revive us, restore us, and sustain us as we step into, and deal with, environments that are hostile to our nature.

    Live to find or construct spaces that are good for your soul, and go there often.
  37. Lake Haigler Falls Detail — Lake Haigler Loop Trail, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, April 18, 2014

    Oh, the work it takes to do nothing!

    To sit quietly, listening.

    To walk slowly, looking.

    To turn over experience, reflecting on what has happened and what we have done about it, and coming up with new realizations.

    To accommodate ourselves to the circumstances of our living.

    To reconcile ourselves with the contradictions that are rampant within and without.

    To see, hear, and understand—and to understand anew everything we thought we understood—throughout the course of our life.

    To know nothing—and do nothing—while everyone else is talking about all they know and all the great things they are doing.

    To grow up—again—through every stage of life.

    These things are too hard.

    Who would think of doing them?
  38. Dogwood and the Middle Prong of Little River 2008 — Tremont Area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Townsend, TN, April 2008

    What are you doing with your life that means the most to you?

    What do you anticipate doing with the time that remains until you die?

    What is the most meaningful (to you) way you can imagine spending it?

    What can you do now to begin working that into your life?

    How can you raise the meaningful (to you) quotient in your daily life?

    Well?
  39. Cove Hardwood Spring Panorama 02 — White Fringed Phacelia along the Nature Trail at Chimney’s Picnic Area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN, April 11, 2014

    We spend our week earning money to pay the bills, and spend our weekends recovering from the work we did during the week.

    Where does living fit in?

    We live our working life not knowing what we are living for beyond paying the bills, retire, and have no idea what to do with what remains of our life.

    So we hang out at some mall, or some golf course, or on some cruise ship until we die.

    Having never lived.

    We have to live to live—to be alive to the life that is ours to live, and live it—and let everything else fall into place around that.

    The life that is ours to live is the life we are passionate about, the life that fill our hearts brim full, the life that our soul is here to live.

    Make that life the center, focus and ground of your living and you’ll never spend a minute casting about for meaning and purpose, or wonder why go on with it, or what to do in retirement.
  40. Smoky Mountain Views 06 — Lickstone Ridge Overlook, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC, April 12, 2014

    We have to live the mystery of our own life—

    Living to discover who we are

    And what we are capable of—

    What is ours to do—

    In the time left for living.

    We cannot impose an order on our life (a form, a structure) that is not conducive to live.

    We live from the inside out—not from the outside in.

    When we try to force something to happen that is not “in the cards,”

    When we do not take the time, or go to the trouble, to ‘read the writing on the wall,”

    We know it but

    The conflict is not recognized—it is ignored, discounted, discarded—and goes underground, where it ferments and stews and creates problems beyond counting in our surface life because we have rejected it and are living against ourselves without knowing it.

    We have to live so as to make our conflicts conscious.

    We have to open ourselves to the mystery of our own being,

    And allow our life to show us who we are,

    And what it needs from us

    In the time left for living.
  41. The Peacock 01 — Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston, SC, April 20, 2014

    It’s Easter, so let’s talk about life and death.

    There is no life without death.

    Death is the end of one life and the beginning of another.

    There is life after death, but the life before death is just a preparation for death.

    Life begins, not at birth, not at conception, but at death.

    Our death can be literal, as it was in the case of Jesus, Socrates, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr, and countless others.

    And our death can be metaphorical, as it was in the case of Helen Keller, every shaman or medicine man, every alcoholic or drug addict that sobered up and stayed that way, and countless others who grew up—who grew into life—by doing what killed them on one level and enlivened them on another.

    In the case of our literal death, we live on in the lives of those transformed by our dying. This is the metaphor of the wheat dying and producing more wheat by its death. Live springs from the death of those who die in the service of life.

    In the case of our metaphorical death, our life is transformed and becomes more than we could imagine before dying in the service of that which is greater than we are.

    Either way, death is the springboard of life to life.

    When we spend ourselves in trying not to die, we shoot ourselves in the foot and fail to live.

    When we understand that death is the threshold to life, we stop worrying about dying, and do what it takes to live fully in the cause worth everything we can give it, and live though we die.

    That’s my take on Easter.

    Death and resurrection is about us all.
  42. Smoky Mountain Views 02 — Newfound Gap, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC, April 12, 2014

    Feeling is not like a mood,

    Or an emotion.

    Feeling is not like touch.

    Feeling is like direction.

    Meaning.

    Purpose.

    We feel what is important.

    What matters.

    What must be done.

    And must not be.

    You cannot find anything worth having

    Without listening

    And looking

    With your feeling

    Not with your ears

    Or your eyes.
  43. Grotto Falls — Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN, April 13, 2014

    There are two things you have to believe in, starting now:

    You have to believe in yourself.

    You have to believe in the work that is yours to do.

    You have to believe in you, and in what you are about—what you are to be about.

    Above and beyond what you do to pay the bills, or what you do to make someone else happy with you.

    That’s it.

    You can believe anything else your little heart fancies.

    As long as it doesn’t interfere with your essential commitment and allegiance to yourself and the work that needs you to do it.
  44. Pilgrims at Grotto Falls — Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN, April 13, 2014

    People are looking for relief.

    For some balm in some Gilead.

    Something to lift their burden.

    Ease their pain.

    End their suffering.

    Jung said the misery of our time, all time, any time, every time is the result of people trying to escape their legitimate suffering.

    Or words to that effect.

    As the Good Book says, “Running from a bear they take refuge in a lions den. Fleeing a serpent, they slam the door to their house and a spider bites them.”

    Or words to that effect.

    The avoidance of pain and suffering results in pain and suffering.

    Turn and face the beast!

    Pick up your burden and shoulder it faithfully!

    Bear the pain!

    Consciously!

    With the resolve to see it through!

    It will change everything.

    For the better.
  45. Hail Mary, Full of Grace — Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Charleston, SC, April 21, 2014

    Do not force resolution of your conflicts!

    Bear the pain of them consciously,

    and wait for a shift to happen,

    for a door to open.

    Summons your courage

    and walk through.

    Repeat as needed throughout the time left for living.

    You make the connections among the disparate realities.

    YOU harmonize chaos by fitting together

    the fragmented pieces of the whole.

    This is like that,

    and metaphors are everywhere

    to eyes that see,

    ears that hear,

    and hearts that feel meaning

    pulsating through the mirrors of truth.
  46. Winter Grass — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill SC, April 6, 2014

    We are here to become true human beings through the way we live our life.

    We birth ourselves into who we need to be—and thus, become who we are—in meeting the circumstances that greet us in each situation as it arises all along the way.

    We rise to every occasion and, in so doing, grow into who we are to become.

    Or not.

    All are called, but few choose to heed their calling.

    Most of us think we have better things to do.

    We reject the very idea of dealing with one manifestation of the Cyclops after another throughout the time left for living.

    Our entire life is an initiation process into true human beinghood.

    Everything we encounter is here to grow us up.

    There are eighty year old people in nursing homes all around the world throwing tantrums this minute because something didn’t go their way.

    Or, they would be if it weren’t for high doses of medication.

    We have to help our life help us—by going to meet it with the attitude of heroes going to encounter the challenges of their journey.

    Looking forward to many adventures.

    Eager to prove our mettle.

    And see what we are made of—

    Who we are capable of becoming.
  47. Anhinga and Duckweed — Audubon Swamp Garden, Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC, April 22, 2014

    Everything about our life wakes us up, grows us up (the two are one), or not.

    Everything rides on how we see—how we interpret—the events of our life.

    Everything depends on our work on the art of hermeneutics.

    “Hermeneutics” is the art of interpretation, of translation, of understanding.

    The word is from Hermes, the Roman Messenger of the Gods.

    The Greek word for Hermes is Mercury.

    Mercury is also quicksilver.

    You can’t pin him down.

    He’s all over the place.

    Sometimes he’s like this, and sometimes he’s like that.

    Which way IS he?

    Which way IS it—our life?

    The way things are?

    Sometimes, it’s this way, and sometimes, it’s that way.

    And we have to read the times, and the circumstances, and the mood of the moment, in order to know what to make of things here and now, in THIS moment of our living.

    That’s the place of interpretation in our life.

    Saying what things mean here and now.

    Never mind what they meant then and there.

    Everything in our life has the potential of waking us up, growing us up (the two are one)—but,

    we have to do the work of seeing things as they are,

    and telling ourselves the things about them

    that wake us up, grow us up, and help us along the way.
  48. Calla Lily 02 B&W — Audubon Swamp Garden, Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC, April 22, 2014

    Without pushing, shoving and forcing our way, the world would be a quite different place.

    Without caring about the things that aren’t worth caring about, the world would be a quite different place.

    Without, fighting over things that aren’t worth having, the world would be a quite different place.

    We live in the service of the wrong ends.

    We embrace and espouse the wrong values.

    We declare allegiance to the wrong idea of what is good.

    And wonder why the emptiness and dissatisfaction.
  49. Great Blue Heron 2014 02 — Audubon Swamp Garden, Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC, April 20, 2014

    Fine is the line separating confidence from arrogance.

    Don’t withhold yourself from confidence fearing arrogance.

    Risk the line!

    Know when you step over it.

    Step back.

    Apologize when appropriate.

    Risk the line again!

    Risk all of the lines!
  50. Nest Building 01 — Great Egret, AKA Large White Heron, Audubon Swamp Garden, Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC, April 20, 2014

    Our life pulls us forth if we go to meet it.

    We have what it takes to rise to every occasion,

    And we don’t want to rise to any occasion.

    Smooth and easy is our idea of really living.

    With the right kind of action thrown in

    to provide a taste of being alive.

    We have to to better.

    We have to step into our life

    Consciously, deliberately, intentionally, willfully,

    And do there what needs to be done,

    What needs us to do it,

    Because we are not our own.

    We carry the mission of the ages on our backs.

    We are to be alive in the time and place of our living.

    Everything is riding on it.

    All of the old stories say so.

    Why would they lie?

    We grow up, wake up, only in squaring up to our life

    And living it as it needs to be lived

    With the gifts, art, genius that are ours from birth

    To use in the service of that which sends us,

    And pins its hopes on us

    For the salvation of its world.

    We seek the Holy Grail—

    Not for ourselves, but for the good of distant worlds.

    It’s that or hanging out at the mall until we die.

    How do you choose to see it?
  51. Oconaluftee River 05 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC, April 13, 2014

    In order to see things as they are, we have to get out of the way with our expectations, preferences, wants, desires and ideas of how things are supposed to be.

    We have to let it go in order to let it be.

    Seeing things as they are means allowing things to be as they are.

    The oak tree is in the acorn. And in the stump. And in the rotting log.

    All along the way, from acorn to stump and rotting log, the oak tree is exactly what it needs to be in each moment.

    Seeing the oak tree as it is in the moment allows us to respond to the oak tree in that moment, apart from our idea of what an oak tree is supposed to be across all moments.

    We are, then, free to be with the oak tree in the moment without judgment, opinion, or idea, interfering with our being present with the oak tree–and are able to respond to the oak tree in the moment in a way that is true to the moment and the tree.

    When we can respond to our life in a way that is true to the moment of our living, we are at one with the moment, and awash in true human-being-hood.

    Then we are as much us in tune with the moment of our being as the oak tree is in tune with the moment of its being throughout its life.

    Beat that if you can, but I don’t know how you would.
  52. Carter Shields Cabin 04 B&W — Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN, April 12, 2014

    We can work it out.

    We can make it work.

    That is nature’s way.

    It’s what nature does best.

    And we are a product of nature.

    We have nature’s nature coursing through our soul.

    We are one with it all.

    We’ve done what it takes to get here.

    How could there be anything that requires more

    Than getting here required?

    The ancestors are wondering

    What’s the problem.
  53. The Good Shepherd — Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Charleston, SC, April 21, 2014

    We are the good shepherd.

    We shepherd our own becoming.

    We oversee our life.

    We guide our development into full human-being-hood.

    We attend our going out and our coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

    We are our own charge.

    We make our own way through the wilderness,

    And deal with each day’s deliveries

    With the resources at our disposal—

    Seeing, hearing, understanding, knowing, doing, being—

    In the service of what needs to happen,

    All things considered,

    Here and now.
  54. The Rooster — Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC, April 20, 2014

    The day has its own rhythm and its own flow.

    We have our own nature—our own gifts, art, genius.

    We meet each day as it is, as we are.

    And dance.
  55. Albino Peacock 01, 02 — Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC, April 22, 2014

    The moment is its own gift.

    Mine it for the treasure.

    Do not let it go unseen, disrespected.
  56. Atamasco Lily 01 B&W — Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC, April 22, 2014

    There’s a parable in the Good Book about a man who buried the talent (a sum of money in NT times) his master gave him, rather than invest it and risk losing it. The fellow didn’t come off so well when his master asked for an accounting.

    The upshot of the parable is this: Live your life!

    Not like someone else thinks you ought to live it—like YOU think you ought to live it!

    Don’t run from the responsibility, the burden, of living your own life and the fear of messing it up.

    Live! Your! Life!

    How much of your life as it is currently being lived is your idea for your life?

    Is being lived the way YOU think it ought to be lived?

    How would you do it differently if you were in control?

    You may have to wait for control.

    When that door opens, walk through.

    Start making your plans for living your life the way you would do it now.

    You never know when the door will open.

    Be ready.

    Watching.
  57. Smoky Mountain Views 2014 01 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC, April 12, 2014

    I see me through the viewfinder.

    Not that I’m nature, or a natural landscape, but that I’m reflected there.

    What is before the camera is a mirror, reflecting me to me.

    Or, I see through what I see to me.

    It’s oneness of being, being experienced through a camera,

    In a Thou Art That kind of way.

    I take pictures to transcend the world of normal, apparent, reality,

    And glimpse the world beyond,

    Through the world I photograph.

    That awareness centers me, grounds me, focuses me,

    And assures me that there is more to it all than meets the eye.

    I find consolation—and take courage—in that knowledge,

    And turn from the camera, to meet the world of the day-today,

    And live there as a conscious, aware, representative of the world beyond time and space,

    Perceived through a camera.
  58. Yellow Iris 01 — Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC, April 22, 2014

    Silence is a gift I can give myself.

    Detachment is another.

    Together, they help form perspective, which is still another.

    People who live noisy, enmeshed, lives,

    attached like Siamese twins to outcomes they have to have or else,

    cannot begin to grasp what I’m talking about.

    You have to know what I mean

    in order to understand what I’m saying.

    Or, as Jacob Bronowski put it,

    “In order to know the truth,

    we have to live in certain ways.”

    We have to be open to the possibility

    of being wrong

    to have any chance of being right.

    Until we can consider different points of view,

    we are stuck with how things are

    forever.
  59. Bud Ogle Cabin 05 B&W — Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN, April 12, 2014

    We have to live in sync with ourselves.

    We have to believe we have a self with whom to be in sync.

    We have to establish a relationship—a dialog—with our inmost self,

    And learn to read the signals, the signs, arising from within,

    Adjusting our life according to the drift of our soul-self—

    So that our external life reflects the qualities and character of our inner self.

    And,

    We have to pay the bills.

    It helps if we only incur the right bills.

    We have to decide what the right bills are

    In light of all of the relevant factors.

    We place all of it on the table,

    And consider the table.

    And decide in each situation as it arises,

    What is called for here and now.
  60. Jack-in-the-Pulpit 2014 01 — Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC, April 22, 2014

    It’s too hard.

    It’s enough that we have to think about paying the bills

    And juggling all of our responsibilities,

    Running our errands,

    Taking care of business,

    And finding a little time for letting the good times roll,

    As they are able.

    It’s too much to expect that we would work in

    Getting to know an Invisible Self,

    And aligning ourselves with our Self,

    Living so as to exhibit who we are at the core.

    That’s the last thing on our mind.

    We have enough trouble just keeping ourselves sane.
  61. Wood Stork 03 — Audubon Swamp Garden, Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC, April 22, 2014

    I should apologize.

    To you.

    For the intrusion.

    I have no business making inquiries

    Regarding your business.

    What am I doing here, asking you what you are doing here?

    I should explain myself,

    But I have no excuse.

    There is no justification

    For my violation of your sacred space

    Beyond the obvious, “If I don’t do it, who will?”

    Here’s my defense:

    I see emptiness everywhere.

    I can’t take a step without wading through

    The shallowness of other people’s lives.

    And, on the other hand, fullness is on every side.

    Life lies unlived all around them.

    But, they don’t have time to be alive—

    They are too busy living.

    The Road to the Final Four,

    NASCAR

    The Masters

    The Super Bowl

    The World Series

    Dancing with the Stars

    It’s a long list.

    Don’t forget Vegas and Broadway and the Movie of the Week,

    The Beach and The Mountains,

    And all that passes for Really Living,

    Keeping us from the questions of the meaning and purpose

    Of our life:

    What are we doing here?

    What is our business?

    What is the nature of the journey

    From being empty

    To being fulfilled?
  62. Calla Lily 04 B&W — Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC, April 22, 2014

    Waking up begins here and now, where you are in your life.

    Your dream last night was a depiction of how your life is.

    You have two choices after you understand what the dream is saying about your life: Embrace it or change it.

    When you wake up, you wake up to your life as it is and as it needs to be.

    You cannot wake up without getting up and doing what needs to be done (without the assistance of Powder Milk Biscuits).

    You have to find your own courage.

    We manufacture courage by acting courageously.

    Fake courage is as good as the real thing.

    No one can tell the difference.

    Not even you.

    It takes courage to wake up to your life as it is, and either embrace it or transform it, in doing what needs to be done.

    It starts with that dream you had last night.

    Or with the one you will have tonight.
  63. Green Heron 2014 02 — Audubon Swamp Garden, Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC, April 22, 2014

    We imagine ourselves into being. Or, not.
     
    Our future contains potential that must be imagined and lived toward if it is to be real.

    Accidental lives are lives we settle for, and are more often someone else’s idea for our life and not our own.

    This isn’t to say we don’t wind up in a different place than the one we had in mind.

    All of our lives are accidental to that extent. But.

    We are party to our own development.

    We do not become who we are without our imprint, if not our design.

    We start out toward something, with some impetus, intention, direction.

    The beginning sets the course to some end—which will be altered by time and chance into something no one could have, or, perhaps, would have, envisioned, along the way. But.

    Our willful participation creates a spirit and a vitality that, otherwise, would be lacking,

    And our life takes on a quality of “us-ness” that is crucial to its designation as Our Life.

    So.

    What kind of life do you imagine for yourself, even now, even yet?

    What future do you intend?

    What manner of spirit and degree of vitality may yet be yours?

    Do not settle for the life you have lived up to this point.
    Imagine yourself into being over the time left for living.

    The future has a life of its own

    That the past has not tainted or touched.

    Do not sell yourself short, or withhold yourself from the life that is yet to be.

    Our future always contains potential that must be imagined and lived toward if it is to be real.

    We owe it to ourselves to find out who we may yet be.
  64. Great White Egret 02 — Lake Marion, Santee State Park near Santee, SC, April 28, 2014

    Religion in all forms, across the ages and continents,

    Is a hedge against reality—

    An escape from the weight of how things are.

    Illusion is thinking things are not what they are.

    Step seeing into your life.

    Experience the truth of your experience,

    And of your reaction to your experience.

    Where does your reaction to your experience

    Begin to alter your experience?

    Shape it?

    Color it?

    Limit it?

    Force you into a perspective that is contrary

    To the fullness of experience

    Because you have restricted what you can experience

    To how you think things are?

    What do you not see because of what you have seen?

    Because of what you cannot allow yourself to see?

    Because it would challenge your categories,

    And your way of structuring reality

    in order to hide from reality?

    What do you tell yourself about your experience

    To manage your experience

    And save yourself from the truth of your life?
  65. Cooling Her Eggs — Caught in mid-flap, an Osprey hen works to maintain the proper temperature of the eggs she is hatching, Lake Marion, Santee State Park, Santee, SC, April 28, 2014

    We seek to live in accord with ourselves—

    Whether we know it or not.

    This is what Augustine meant when he wrote,

    “Our hearts are restless, until they rest in Thee”—

    Whether he knew it or not.

    We are not at peace until we are at one with ourselves.

    This is what Jesus meant when he said,

    “Thy will, not mine, be done”—

    Whether he knew it or not.

    We seek union within—

    With the divine connection with more than words can say

    within.

    And we look without.

    We think what we seek is out there,

    Over there,

    Up there.

    It’s here, with us, within us, what we seek—

    Seeking us even as we seek it.

    All it takes are

    Eyes that see, ears that hear, and a heart that understands

    To know the truth of what I’m saying,

    And take up the work of getting out of the way—

    So that The Way of Life might lead us to Life,

    And we might be one with who we are
     
    In the time left for living.
  66. Cupola, B&W — Lake Martin, Santee, NC, April 28, 2014

    When we take up the work

    Of becoming who we are,

    We threaten all of the structures

    And relationships of our life.

    They all like us to remain in our place.

    We cannot be who we are without becoming someone else.

    Our true place is somewhere else,

    Emotionally and psychologically, if not physically—

    Metaphorically if not actually,

    Figuratively if not literally.

    We cannot be who we are without being different.

    Scary, to all who are comfortable with things as they are.

    Well.

    We aren’t abandoning our essential obligations, duties and responsibilities,

    But.

    We are shifting our priorities

    And changing the way we spend our time,

    And.

    That will shake the foundations—

    As we work out for ourselves

    What it means to live OUR life

    Within the context and circumstances of the life we are living.

    They have to trust us—

    And we have to trust ourselves—

    To find a way to honor all that needs to be honored,

    As the old patterns of life shift into new ways of being.
  67. Skeleton Trees of Graveyard Beach — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, May 1, 2014

    No one can show you how to see.

    No one can tell you how to be seized by the moment of your living,

    Grabbed by the heart,

    And thrown to the ground,

    Stunned into eternal silence

    By a slight brush with truth.

    The Full Monty—Truth In The Raw—will leave you speechless forever.

    No one can look into the face of God and live to tell it.

    Everyone who looks into the face of God tells it by living it.

    You know those who know God—who have encountered truth in the moment of their living—by the way they live their life.

    And that’s how they looked into the face of God,

    Were seized by the Angel of Truth in the moment of their living—

    By the way they lived their life.

    We live by seeing,

    We see by living.

    The way to God is the way of God.

    If you want to know what this means,

    You have to live in certain ways.

    With your eyes open,

    And your mouth shut.

    With your heart open,

    And your rational faculties shut.

    With the right things open,

    And the right things shut.

    Practice opening and shutting until you figure it out.
  68. Barn Swallow 01 — Santee State Park, Santee, SC, April 30, 2014 

    Joseph Campbell said:

    “You are more than you think you are.

    There are dimensions of your being,

    And a potential for realization and consciousness,

    That are not included in your concept of yourself.

    Your life is much deeper and broader

    Than you conceive it to be.

    What you are living is but a fractional inkling

    Of what is really within you—

    What gives you life, breadth, and depth.

    But you can live in terms of that depth.

    And when you experience it, you suddenly see

    That all the religions are talking of that.”

    (From “The Power of Myth” with Bill Moyers)

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.
  69. The Road to the Lighthouse — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, May 1, 2014

    The primary decision is whether you will participate in the experience of your life—of life—regardless of the degree of separation between how things are and how you want them to be, or wish they were.

    Will you say “Yes!” to your life—to life—with all of its limitations and contingencies?

    Will you embrace your life—life—as it is and do what you can imagine doing with it—within the terms and conditions that are in place?

    Will you accommodate yourself to the inevitables, and the unchangeable, realities of your life—of life—and work to make wherever you are a good place for all others to be?

    Will you do what you can to soften the impact of life upon the living by embracing, serving and expressing, the values that set human beings apart, and nurture/nourish the best we have to offer in making your contribution to the bold experiment of consciousness/awareness, and bear well the responsibility that seeing, hearing, understanding and knowing imply for doing and being?

    Will you live so as to make the world a better place for your having been here, no matter what?

    If so, you have the right orientation and intention. May you have the courage and determination to carry it out—in season and out of season, in all weather conditions, whether you feel like it or not, whether it is convenient or not, whether you want to or not, in every situation as it arises throughout the time left for living.
  70. Catch of the Day — Osprey and catfish over Lake Marion near Santee, SC, May 3, 2014

    Not only do we have to put ourselves into accord with ourselves,

    We also have to put ourselves into accord with the way things are.

    Life eats life.

    That is the Abomination of Desolation to top them all.

    How can we square the essential values—

    Love, joy, peace, kindness, compassion, grace, mercy, tenderness, etc.—

    With the foundational fact of existence?

    We have to kill to live.

    And don’t think the vegan lifestyle is the way out.

    Something has to die for something else to live.

    And we have to come to terms with that which contradicts all we stand for and love—

    And LIVE the contradiction!

    We have to live all of the contradictions!

    Consciously!

    Life is lived—and truth is found—between the hands.

    On the one hand, this, on the other hand that.

    There we are.

    We have to bear in our bodies

    The pain of doing what must be done.

    This is called picking up our cross daily

    And doing the work of true-human-being-hood:

    Knowing this is true and that is true—

    But this can’t be true if that is true!

    And that is true!

    And, that’s the way it is.

    LIVE the contradictions!

    Consciously!

    Every day for the rest of your life!
  71. Great Blue Heron 02, Santee State Park, Santee, SC, May 1, 2014 

    Our circumstances bring us forth in the act of restricting us.

    Uninhibited, unrestrained, we would need nothing more than the craving de jour to guide us,

    And nothing to wait for but the next inclination.

    Circumstances force consciousness into being as the choreographer of urge and ethics,

    The arbitrator between value and desire.

    We have to choose how we live,

    And pay the price.

    Unbounded by circumstances, we would live toward wherever the mood of the moment carried us,

    But our life would have no weight—and bear none,

    And we would live without meaning, direction, purpose or hope.
  72. Santee Sunrise 09 — Lake Marion, Santee State Park, Santee, SC, May 3, 2014

    I don’t know where I stop and any of the rest of it starts.

    Where is the line between me and my Shadow?

    My Anima?

    My Psyche?

    My Self?

    Between me and the ingrained patterns of human-being-hood:

    Mother, Father, Warrior, The Wise One, The Simpleton, The Innocent Child, The Hero, The Goat, and all the rest?

    Who is leading this parade?

    Driving this bus?

    Steering this boat?

    Directing this play?

    Guiding this quest?

    Who is in charge of this production?

    Who is the “I” writing these lines?
  73. Goodale State Park 06 B&W — Camden, SC, May 4, 2014

    Stop thinking you know anything.

    That’s my best advice.

    Live like a rookie.

    Wonder about everything you think you know.

    Take it all under advisement.

    Live looking.

    Your life is an experiment in living

    From birth to death.

    Re-examine what you think you have figured out.

    Re-explore the old maps.

    Revisit the old assumptions.

    Rethink your thinking.

    Let your life show you again

    What is good and what is not.

    Surprise yourself.
  74. Polly’s Cove Lily Pads 01 — Lake Marion near Santee, SC, May 3, 2014

    We step forth out of our own imagination

    To meet ourselves,

    And inspire us to a life beyond anything we think we are capable of living.

    To get a sense of the difference between

    Imagining something and thinking something up,

    Think up a story about yourself going to the beach,

    And notice when something happens

    That didn’t come from you—

    That you didn’t think up or intend,

    But there it is.

    That something is coming to you from you,

    From the you, you know nothing of.

    Open yourself to your imagination,

    And there you are,

    Wondering what took you so long.

    Now what are you going to do?
  75. Cattle Egret 01 — Cuddo Unit, Santee National Wildlife Refuge, near Summerton, SC, May2, 2014 (The Summerton Diner in Summerton, SC, is worth the drive. I don’t care where your starting point is. Just saying…)

    At times, in playing solitaire—

    and in every other situation in life—

    it can be to your advantage to miss a move.

    Missing a move can be your best move.

    So, when you miss a move,

    you can’t be sure what it means.

    We cannot be so smart

    as to not need a little grace in our life

    from time to time.

    Grace is another name for luck.

    If there is a difference,

    you can’t tell it,

    and I don’t care what you call it,

    Everybody benefits from it.

    It is the X-Factor that cannot be figured into our life,

    and we cannot live without it.

    So, who can swagger around

    like they don’t need the magic of grace,

    or luck,

    chiming in at just the right time

    to open a door

    and lend a hand?
  76. The Skeleton Trees of Graveyard Beach 16 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, May 1, 2014

    Flipping through the pages of
     
    The History of Print Advertisement

    Will lead you to wonder about

    The maturation rate of the species over time.

    How many generations before we see through

    The shimmer and sheen of promise and glory,

    To the empty truth of how things are

    They dangle before us and smile?

    What are they selling that we buy so willingly?

    What don’t we have that we hope their flashy products will supply?

    We aren’t getting it in the institutions of the culture—

    And it would be bad for the economy if we were.

    Where would we go

    For what we don’t have

    That we forever seek in the newest edition of the latest thing?
  77. Hunting Island 01 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, May 1, 2014

    We know this isn’t it.

    Everything flows from this primary realization.

    Depression.

    Hopelessness.

    Emptiness.

    Suicide.

    Bummed out by the unavailability of the it this isn’t.

    Ambition.

    Inspiration.

    Incentive.

    Motivation.

    Drive.

    Inspiration.

    Aspiration.

    Ever seeking the it this isn’t.
  78. Footbridge — Limestone Trail, Santee State Park, Santee, SC, May 2, 2014

    What do you know to be true

    That you didn’t get from some other source?

    That no one told you is true?

    What is your lived experience of truth?

    One thing I know to be true

    Because I’ve lived it.

    Felt it,

    Seen it,

    Touched it and been touched by it,

    Is that we are here by virtue of the help

    We receive from others along the way.

    We are here to help one another.

    No one does it alone.

    Every thing depends upon

    Our being who/what someone needs us to be.

    Don’t shut anyone out of your life

    Lightly,

    Without reason.
  79. The Skeleton Trees of Graveyard Beach 09 B&W — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, May 1, 2014

    Know the difference between running from your life

    And being alive.

    And do not live a life you do not believe in.

    Or, if you don’t believe in the life you are living,

    But have to live it

    Because your circumstances require it,

    Live it consciously,

    Under protest—

    Knowing that you don’t believe in it.

    Bearing the pain of that contradiction.

    Bring out all of your contradictions

    In this way!

    Live them!

    Dance with them!

    When you catch yourself running from your life,

    Ask what the contradictions are

    That you are refusing to face.

    Face them!
  80. The Skeleton Trees of Graveyard Beach 19 B&W — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, May 1, 2014

    Water flows downhill.

    Maturity has to descend to immaturity.

    Maturity cannot raise immaturity to maturity’s level—

    Preaching, chiding, ridiculing, chastising, etc.,

    Are worse than useless.

    Maturity walks among the immature,

    Listening and making inquiries.

    “What makes you think that what you think is so?”

    “How does this position which you hold

    square with that position which you hold?”

    “Who told you that?

    How do you know they know what they are talking about?”



    Do not push a point.

    You are not trying to win a debate.

    No one was ever argued into waking up, growing up

    (The two things are one thing)

    You are trying to open doors.

    Not wide open.

    Just a crack will do.

    Let the questions do their work
    .
    Keep floating questions down stream,

    Sinking answers.
  81. Sinkhole Slough 01 Panorama — Sinkhole Pond Trail, Santee State Park, Santee, SC, May 2, 2014

    Joseph Campbell said, “If you see a poisonous snake

    About to strike someone, kill the snake.

    But don’t hold anything against the snake.

    The snake us just being what it is.

    If you aren’t there, and the snake strikes and kills the person,

    Well, that’s that.

    That’s the way it is.

    You don’t launch a pogrom against all poisonous snakes,

    Or, worse, against all snakes, poisonous and non-poisonous alike.

    The world is just the way it is.

    You don’t change the world because you don’t like the way it is.

    You soften what you can soften.

    You bring kindness and compassion to bear
    Where you are able.

    You ameliorate what can be ameliorated,

    And let the rest be because it is.

    You don’t turn your back on it,

    Or shut yourself off from it.

    You’ve got to say yes to this miracle of life as it is,
     
    Not on the condition that it follow your rules.

    Otherwise, you’ll never get through
     
    To the metaphysical dimension.”

    Or, words to that effect.

     (In The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers)
  82. Bridges 01 B&W — Lake Marion, Santee State Park, Santee, SC, May 2, 2014 

    You can’t have the truth any way you like it.

    The truth is that there are women who are pregnant right now who cannot, for whatever reason, carry their pregnancy to term.

    You cannot change that by saying it ought not be. It IS. And that’s what we have to work with, THE IS, not the ought to be, or the I wish it were, or the wouldn’t it be nice if.

    Just because you are against abortion, and contraception, and every other human right to self-determination and a future she, or he, can live with, doesn’t mean you can ignore the truth of other human beings in imposing your ideology upon everyone except your rich friends, associates and family members.

    Your conscience has no business in my business, or in the business of those who need the freedom granted by the Constitution of the United States in shaping the life that is theirs to live.

    If you are against abortion, pass, support, and defend legislation making contraception available and accessible to everyone—providing affordable health care for all people, not just members of congress and their families—providing a livable minimum wage to everyone—providing high-quality child care to everyone—guarding everyone’s right to a livable and sustainable life and future for themselves and their children—etc.

    And stop forcing your ideas of how life ought to be upon those who don’t share your ideas, or your resources, or your PollyAnna view that the life you enjoy is available and accessible to everyone who tries hard and works for it.

    Wake up for once in your life, and see how it IS for the vast majority of human beings—and work to make it better for us ALL, trusting us to know what “better” means for us once we have the means to live our life in the service of our own, personal, vision of the good.

    If you are ever going to hear and understand anything, hear and understand what I’m saying here. Everything depends on it.
  83. Late Light 01 — Lake Marion, Santee State Park, Santee, SC, May 3, 2014 

    We have to let ourselves

    Show us what we are capable of,

    Who we can be.

    We don’t know what we know,

    Or what we can do,

    And we have the time left for living

    To find out.

    We have to get out of the way,

    And give ourselves new experiences,

    New adventures,

    New missions, projects, assignments,

    And see what happens,

    Where it goes,

    And what new experiences, adventures,

    Missions, projects, assignments

    Open up along the way.

    One thing will lead to another,

    As something outrageous and unheard of

    Catches our eye,

    Stirs our soul,

    And we are off again,

    To see what else we can do,

    How else we can be,

    While the light lasts.
  84. The Skeleton Trees of Graveyard Beach B&W 14 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, May 1, 2014

    Joseph Campbell said, “It is an absolute necessity

    For everyone to have a sacred place.

    You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day,

    where you don’t know what was in the news papers that morning,

    You don’t know who your friends are,

    You don’t know what you owe anybody,
     
    You don’t know what anybody knows you.

    This is a place away from your normal concerns of day-to-day existence.

    It is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be.

    This is the place of creative incubation.

    A place for meeting, and spending time with, your imagination.

    At first you may find that nothing happens there.

    But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.

    Something that will bring you to life in a way that nothing can in normal world of the day-to-day.”

    Or words to that effect.

    (In The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers)
  85. Hunting Island Lighthouse 03 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, May 1, 2014

    Joseph Campbell speaks of the importance of being centered and grounded in a place that is OUR place—of being oriented in time and space, and knowing where we are, and knowing that this is where we belong.

    When we live grounded in our identity, there is no fear of losing anything, or of what may happen to us.

    Then, we are being who we are in the sense of Gerhard Manley Hopkins’ line, “What I do is me/For that I came.”

    In that place, nothing can prevent us from being who we are, from doing what is ours to do.

    We are at-one with ourselves.

    To live there is to be at “the still point of the turning world.”
     
    It is to be at the center of all of creation—at one with all things—and to act out of our own being,

    In accord with transcendent mysteries that are more than we can conceive, or say.

    Being centered in our own, personal, identity unites us with all of life.

    That’s the truth we live to realize in the time left for living.

    We move into and through ourselves to all things beyond.

    That’s the hero’s journey.

    Do you have a better idea for the time left for living?

    Golf, maybe?

    Shopping?
  86. Goodale State Park 05 — Camden, SC, May 4, 2014

    The Emancipation Declaration
    Opened the door,
    But.
    The real work
    Is an inside job.
    The Declaration freed slaves
    From the humiliation and agony
    Of servitude,
    But.
    Freedom to be ourselves
    Is each person’s burden
    To carry alone.
    How free are we
    To be who we are
    Where we are
    When we are
    How we are
    No matter who is watching,
    Or what we stand to lose
    For not being who,
    How,
    We are supposed to be?
    Until we can be who we are
    And who we also are,
    Where we are,
    When we are,
    How we are,
    Emancipation is a declaration
    Awaiting confirmation,
    Activation,
    Actualization,
    Individuation,
    You!
    Me!
  87. Great Egret 2014 02 — Port Royal Cypress Wetlands, Port Royal, SC, May 9, 2014

    The sure path to invincibility is vulnerability.
    When you don’t need to be invincible,
    You can’t be touched.
    Embracing our vulnerability
    Is being exactly as exposed,
    Defenseless,
    And in harm’s way
    As we are
    In each moment of our life—
    And not being afraid.
    What’s the trick to not being afraid?
    I was hoping someone would ask that question!
    Being who you are
    And being willing to pay any price
    To be who you are
    And BEING vulnerable
    Because that is what you are.
    If you are afraid,
    You aren’t vulnerable.
    You are afraid you are vulnerable.
    Being afraid of being vulnerable
    Isn’t the same as being vulnerable.
    Practice being vulnerable.
    Because that is what you are.
  88. The Skeleton Trees of Graveyard Beach May 02 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, May 9, 2014 — This is the future of every beach with trees near the high tide line, as global warming (AKA That Which Is Not Happening) and beach erosion take their toll. Those beaches with buildings near the high tide line will have a somewhat different appearance.

    We all know that what we’re doing is wrong for us,
    Yet, we persist.
    Everybody else is doing something quite similar.
    How can everybody be wrong?
    Besides, what else is there to do?
    Everything we’ve ever done was wrong for us.
    What chance do we have of doing what is right for us?
    So, we stay where we are,
    Doing what we are doing,
    Hoping one day to bump into what we are looking for,
    Even though we have no idea of what that might be.
    There is nothing about the life we are living
    That would be mistaken for life.
    It’s all prefab, polished and handed to us
    By a culture serving the economy, not us:
    Here, take this, wear it with a smile,
    It will look good on you.
    We can’t wait to stumble into a life worth living—
    We have to go in search of it,
    Like a prospector seeking gold.
    We start the search by sitting down,
    And listening within—
    For as long as it takes for something to stir,
    Perking up,
    Thinking maybe, at last, we might be calling its name.
  89. Exploring Their World — Wood Ducks paddle through Duck Weed, taking their chances with turtles and alligators in the Cypress Wetlands of Point Royal, SC, May 10, 2014

    Israelis and Palestinians both get hungry and have to eat.

    Would an Israeli serve a Palestinian?

    Would a Palestinian serve an Israeli?

    Would a Palestinian eat what an Israeli served him, or her?

    Would an Israeli eat what a Palestinian served him, or her?

    At what point does our humanity win out over our politics and our religion?

    When does being human override being Israeli, being Palestinian?

    Instead of “Israeli” and “Palestinian,” write in your polarity of choice.

    When does being human beings with each other become the most important thing?
  90. Great Egret Plumage 01 — Cypress Wetlands, Port Royal, SC, May 10, 2014

    Live with as much awareness of your experience as possible.
    This includes awareness of your response to your experience—
    Of what you experience in response to your experience.
    Our experience is always a mixture of outward events or circumstances
    And internal reactions, or responses, to what meets us on the outside.
    It’s all one experience.
    What is outer?
    What is inner?
    What sets us up to respond inwardly as we do to outer experience?
    Become interested in, and aware of, all that goes on within you
    As you respond/react to what goes on around you.
    Your awareness will become something else to respond to,
    And how you respond will become something else to be aware of.
    This apparent circle will lead you—
    If you follow—
    Straight to the heart of all things.
    And that is where it gets veerrrry interesting.
  91. Green Heron in Flight 01 — Cypress Wetlands, Port Royal, SC, May 10, 2014

    Your identity is the ground of your being,
    And the single most important thing about you.
    You have to know who you are
    In order to be who you are
    With consciousness, deliberation, cooperation, determination and intention.
    Your identity has no necessary connection
    With what you want
    Or with what you fear.
    You have to be who you are in spite of what you want, or fear.
    Coming to terms with who we are,
    Aligning ourselves with who we are,
    And living in accord with who we are—
    Within the context and circumstances of our life—
    Is the Hero’s Journey.
    They wouldn’t call it the Hero’s Journey,
    If it were easy, fun, pleasant, smooth and easy.
    Being you is the hardest thing you will ever do.
    And the most necessary.
    And the most (ultimately) rewarding.
    The leap of faith people are always talking about
    Is believing in you,
    And trusting yourself to you,
    Disregarding all of the delights and pleasures
    Vying for your allegiance and your life.
  92. Roseate Spoonbill 01 — Alligator Farm Rookery, St. Augustine, FL, May 11, 2014

    Living can take the heart right out of us.
    We have to be prepared for that,
    And work recovery time into our life.
    We do the work of recovery by remembering what is true:
    We cannot look to life to justify the effort it takes to live.
    We have to look at life as the opportunity to bring forth who we are
    Regardless of the impact and outcomes of our living.
    What is your thing?
    Your life is where you get to do it!
    Your thing it not—cannot be—contingent on the impact it has
    On the way life is lived.
    The world is the way the world is,
    And you get to do your thing in it!
    If teaching is your thing, TEACH!
    Without the stipulation that your students care about learning,
    Or that their lives suddenly blossom
    Because of the impact of your teaching.
    You teach because you are a teacher!
    Your life is where you get to teach!
    Live it! Teaching!
    Live to do your thing—not to profit from your life.
    You profit from the way you live—
    From the way you do your thing.
    Living in the joy of the service of your thing
    Is what you get out of life.
    You can’t top that.
    That’s what you have to remember in recovery.
    Who you are, what you are about.
    Be you doing what you do
    Anyway, nevertheless, even so, no matter what—
    And let that be enough,
    Because it is.
    And it is all the world needs from you,
    Even though it may not acknowledge that,
    Or thank you.
  93. Hunting Island Lighthouse HDR 04 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, May 9, 2014

    You have a council of elders within—

Women and men who go back to the dawn of consciousness—

Who have been around, as the saying goes.

Who have seen it all.

Literally.

The ancestors live on within each of us

In the invisible, unconscious, world.

We make it murkily conscious

By opening ourselves to it

And seeking the guidance of the Elders.

This is a meditative practice,

The opening,

The seeking.

Do not treat it lightly.

And do not attempt to use the Council

To your own advantage,

To get what you want,

As a secret source of your own personal power

And prestige.

Our life is not for our gain.

Our life is for coming alive—

For being who we are

And bringing forth the gifts

That are ours to give

For the good of all.

We each are Jesus,

Giving the gift of ourselves to the world.

That’s how it works,

Regardless of what you may have been told.

The Council is ready to go to work with you

In behalf of your gifts and the world.

You would be wise to invoke them

To aid you with their guidance

And good will.

You’ll have a blast.

I give you my word.

  • Joseph Campbell said, “Our myth is what we tell ourselves about the way things are that enables us to live with the way things are.”

    He said, “That’s the way myths have always worked. They accommodate us to the facts of life, and allow us to live with the vicissitudes of time and chance which happen to us all.”

    And, “Thinking in mythological terms helps to put you in accord with the inevitabilities of this vale of tears. You learn to recognize the positive values in what appear to be the negative moments and aspects of your life. The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure—the adventure of being alive.”

    He goes on: “The myths by which we live must support us through our personal crises in life. They have to sustain us and enable us to go forward with our lives. When we find what sustains us through those crises, we find our myth.”
    “We have to live out our story in light of a Greater Story that holds things together for us and enables us to make sense of things.”

    “What is it that supports us in the face of total disaster? To know that, is to know your myth.”

    “Our lives are in the state they are in because we do not know what our myth is, and are not consciously living our myth out in our life.”

    Or words to that effect.

    (From “The Power of Myth” with Bill Moyers, and “Living Your Personal Myth”—an audio cassette)
  • Bellowing Gator 01 — The Alligator Farm Rookery, St. Augustine, FL, May 12, 2014

    We have to live erotically.
    This has nothing to do with sexual expression.
    Eros is the Life Principle.
    Eros is life itself, feeling alive.
    Eros is exuberance, enjoyment, exhilaration over the experience of being alive.
    Eros is investment, commitment, participation, identification.
    Eros is loving life, living and being alive—being life loving life.
    Eros is loving your life, just as it is, all the way, with nothing held back, because it IS.
    What do you love with your whole being?
    Live to expand the list.
    The people who hate their life don’t find anything to love about their life.
    Live to love everything about your life!
    Start by finding one thing to love,
    And loving it with all your heart, soul and being,
    Letting it lead you to something else to love,
    Etc., until you are loving the whole Monty,
    Life in the raw, fully naked, just as it is, right out of the box,
    With all your heart, soul and being.
    “That ain’t working (or even trying)! That’s the way to do it!”
    You aren’t living if you aren’t loving your whole life,
    Just as it is, starting right now.
  • The Tree Bones of Skeleton Beach 01 HDR — Jekyll Island, GA, May 13, 2014 — Jekyll Island is a Georgia State Park with year-round residents, hotels, restaurants and shops, but sharply restricted and occupying roughly 35% of the Island. The rest is as it ought to be.

    Jesus healed on the Sabbath and said, “Everything serves the need of the moment,” or words to that effect.

    He also identified himself—not with wealth and privilege, but with the very least of the social order, the unclean, women, the poor, and those “despised and rejected” by the masses.

    Somehow, his statement, “Insofar as you have done it to the least of my brothers and sisters, you have done it unto me,” has been lost in the press for purity and piety, merit and reward (Things Jesus had very little use for).

    The Buddha and Jesus saw eye-to-eye on all the important things, and stand in firm agreement regarding how little their words and actions are understood and honored by those who call themselves followers.
  • Twinzies 01 — Or, Whose Head Is Whose?, Alligator Farm Rookery, St. Augustine, FL, May 13, 2014

    The GOP is being led by Evangelical Christians—
    Whose version of Christianity
    Is being forced upon us all,
    Via their political functionaries.
    Whose Christianity is the Real Christianity?
    “True Belief” has been debated from the start.
    You know, the Martyrs?
    The Inquisition?
    Persecution?
    All conceived and implemented by someone with a theory of God
    They wanted everyone to subscribe to.
    The Catholic Church used Caesar
    And the Roman Legions in the early days.
    Early Protestants used German Kings and Princes.
    Missionaries had the US Calvary,
    And then the Navy, Air Force and Marines.
    All the churches have had their political armies,
    Assured of merit and heaven
    For their service to the church.
    True Christianity is the one
    With no political clout
    And no aspirations of any.
    That’s a church worthy of the name of Jesus.
    Finding one of those
    Is like starting your own.
  • Great Egret 2014 03 — Alligator Farm Rookery, St. Augustine, FL, May 12, 2014

    I’m not guilty of—and refuse to apologize for—things I’m not responsible for.

    Being right-handed, for instance, or brown-eyed, or grey-haired (Or is it gray?), or being a bad speller, or a mis-pronouncer…

    Or introverted.

    The entire extroverted (Or is it extraverted?) world wants me to be like it is—and thinks it is wrong of me to not try.

    Well.

    There you are. Here we are.

    It’s a standoff.

    A contradiction.

    Irreconcilable different-ness.

    I’ll deal with it in my way.

    That would be quietly, without explaining, excusing, justifying, defending or apologizing for, my way of letting differences stand.
  • Horton House Ruins 01 — Jekyll Island, GA, May 13, 2014

    The directions for embarking upon and completing the Hero’s Journey can be condensed into a simple sentence: See what you look at.
    You can start anywhere. The next thing you look at, say. See it.
    As it is.
    In all of its complexity.
    On every level.
    Including its relationships with every other thing.
    Here’s a hint for you:
    You will never get to the bottom of it.
    But don’t let that stop you.
    See what you look at.
    It is a meditative practice.
    Look at you.
    See you.
    Look at your lover.
    Your dog.
    The people, or person, you most can’t stand.
    Seeing what we look at
    Keeps us from rushing to judgment.
    Keeps us looking for what else is true.
    For what else is there.
    Deepens us, broadens us, expands us.
    Makes us increasingly compassionate
    And curious
    And kind.
    We will be transformed,
    Just by seeing what we look at.
  • Roseate Spoonbill 03 — The Alligator Farm Rookery, St. Augustine, FL, May 13, 2014

    Joseph Campbell said, “In the Middle ages, the idea of the supernatural as being something over and above the natural was the idea that turned the world into a wasteland—a land where people were living inauthentic lives, never doing a thing they truly wanted to because the supernatural laws required them to live as directed by their clergy.”

    He said, “The big moment in the medieval myth is the awakening of the heart to compassion, the transformation of suffering (as in the passion of Christ) into compassion, mercy for all of life—for everything about life, even the suffering, agony and pain.”

    “So, as Abelard explained, the Son of God came down into this world to be crucified in order to awaken our hearts to compassion, and turn our minds from the gross concerns of raw life in the world, to the specifically human values of self-giving in shared suffering—to live as Christ lived.”

    “It’s as though Christ were saying, ‘This is how you do it, see? Don’t let pain and suffering stop you from doing your thing! Don’t even let it slow you down!’”

    “By doing his thing in defiance of the way it was supposed to be done in his day, Christ evokes compassion and brings a dead wasteland—even one imposed, ironically enough, by the church that misses the radical, iconoclastic nature of Christ’s life, and the life he calls his followers to live—to life.”

    Or, words to that effect.

    (From The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers)

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Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters, three sons-in-law, and five granddaughters, and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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