One Minute Monologues 019

06/21/2014 – 08/04/2014

  1. 06/21/2014 — Our life has a life of its own.

    We spend our life looking for our life, much like the Zen definition of Zen as a woman wearing her sunglasses looking for her sunglasses.

    It’s right THERE, but we don’t see it, looking, as we do, for a life we would like to live—trying to make the life we have in mind for ourselves be the life that is ours to live.

    So we ignore all the clues, and remain haunted by the nagging sense of having missed something significant.

    It’s never too late to start living our life in the time left for living.

    All it takes is moving in the direction of what is meaningful for us.

    It’s a sad thing to realize that we can live a long life and not know what is meaningful for us.

    That comes from doing what was expected of us, what we were told to do, or what we thought we were duty-bound to do, or what we thought was in our best interest to do, and never noticing what brought us joy, or what called our name.

    We live to be dutiful sons and daughters, wives and husbands, and never know what our interests are, or where our knacks and talents lie.

    Time to call a halt to that, and to start listening to our heart, sensing the drift of our soul, and taking our orders from an inner source of guidance and direction.

    It may feel weird feeling our way into living our life instead of thinking our way along.

    Feel weird, then. Feel everything. And go with the things that feel right, joyful, and meaningful. It’s called being alive.
  2. 06/21/2014 — Roan Mountain 15 Panorama B&W — Cherokee National Forest at Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014

    The life that is your life to live is tucked away in what tugs at you.

    You aren’t going to be asked to do something that holds no value to you at all.

    Like I’m going to build lawnmowers. Or use one. Right.

    So. Play around with what tugs on you.

    Spend time with what pulls you.

    What among all that qualifies as a tugger or a puller, stands out something you know (somehow) you need to incorporate into your life as you are living it?

    Incorporate it.

    See where it goes.
  3. 06/22/2014 — Blue Ridge Morning 04 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain, NC, May 20, 2014

    We could do a better job of encouraging our children to develop their interests,

    their sense of timing (As in when it is time to do what),

    their love of life,

    their faith in their own sense of direction,

    their awareness of, and trust in, in their own gifts, inclinations, aptitudes and abilities,

    their recognition of their own inner voice,

    their respect for the inner, invisible, world,

    their appreciation for the mystery, and wonder, of being,

    their grasp of the concept of “more than meets the eye,”

    their awareness of—and their love for—their own depth

    their curiosity about the things they do not know, and the things they think they know,

    their delight in the differences in preferences, perspectives and proclivities among all people

    their comfort with living in ways that make no sense, but have a strong appeal and a fascinating degree of vitality about them

    their affinity for, and relationship with, beauty in art, music, nature, good conversation, good company and good food and drink,



    You know, like that.

    We could transform the world in one generation

    just by doing right by our children.

    Ah, but.

    It takes adults who know

    to develop children who know.

    And how many adults do you know, who know?

    Live to be one

    by treating yourself like the child

    you were never encouraged—or allowed—to be!
  4. Roseate Spoonbill 02 — Alligator Farm Rookery, St. Augustine, FL, May 12, 2014

    There are different ways of thinking about—

    of seeing—

    of assessing the value of—

    every single thing.

    Some people would say some ways are more right than others.

    That’s one way of seeing it.

    I would say, some ways work better for some people than others.

    And some ways work better for all of us at different times and places in our lives than at other times and places.

    And how do we know what works and what doesn’t work?

    I was hoping someone would ask that question!

    How did you know your spouse, or life partner, was the one for you?

    There is an affinity for the things that work.

    They resonate with us.

    We recognize them from across the room,

    and know from the start,

    “That works for me!”

    We only have to know what we know,

    and trust it

    to be an expression of the grounding core

    of who we are at the center of our being

    and, thus, central to the expression of who we are

    in the life we are living—

    at least for here,

    now.
  5. On Roan Mountain 05 Panorama — Flame Azalea, Cherokee National Forest at Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014

    Our life has a life of its own.

    We spend our life looking for our life, much like the Zen definition of Zen as a woman wearing her sunglasses looking for her sunglasses.

    It’s right THERE, but we don’t see it, looking, as we do, for a life we would like to live—trying to make the life we have in mind for ourselves be the life that is ours to live.

    So we ignore all the clues, and remain haunted by the nagging sense of having missed something significant.

    It’s never too late to start living our life in the time left for living.

    All it takes is moving in the direction of what is meaningful for us.

    It’s a sad thing to realize that we can live a long life and not know what is meaningful for us.

    That comes from doing what was expected of us, what we were told to do, or what we thought we were duty-bound to do, or what we thought was in our best interest to do, and never noticing what brought us joy, or what called our name.

    We live to be dutiful sons and daughters, wives and husbands, and life-long partners, and never know what our interests are, or where our knacks and talents lie.

    Time to call a halt to that, and to start listening to our heart, sensing the drift of our soul, and taking our orders from an inner source of guidance and direction.

    It may feel weird feeling our way into living our life instead of thinking our way along.

    Feel weird, then. Feel everything. And go with the things that feel right, joyful, and meaningful. It’s called being alive.
  6. Elk River Rapids 02 — Elk Park, NC, June 16, 2014

    What do you enjoy about your life?

    About each day?

    About yourself?

    Whose company do you enjoy?

    What times of the day do you enjoy?

    What activities do you enjoy?

    Do you spend more time escaping your life or enjoying your life?

    What interferes with your enjoyment of your experience of being alive?

    What can you do to increase the amount of enjoyment in your life?

    Do it.
  7. 06/23/2014 — Side Street Scene 04 — Blowing Rock, NC, May 22, 2014

    Some days you have to grind it out.

    Some days you don’t feel like doing it.

    Doing anything.

    Some days you just aren’t in the mood.

    Even on those days, the baby’s diaper needs changing.

    The dog throws up on the carpet.

    The toilet won’t flush.

    The kids miss the bus.

    The car won’t start…

    Life keeps coming at you.

    Grinning.

    Winking.

    Saying, “How ‘bout this one, honey?”

    Planting a big, juicy, wet one right on your kisser.

    And you have to gather yourself again,

    And do what needs you to do it again,

    In the spirit,

    Attitude

    And manner

    With which it needs to be done.

    You don’t have to feel like

    Being a good sport

    To be a good sport.

    Fake it.

    Play the part.

    Act the role.

    Like a good character actor on a bad day.

    Because it all rides on you

    doing it the way it needs to be done.

    You are the only thing preventing

    The complete collapse of very nearly everything.

    So.

    Grab Life by its slimy green furry throat,

    Yank it close

    And plant a big, juicy, wet one right on its kisser.

    Wink.

    Smile.

    And say, “How’d you like that one, Honey?

    There’s more where it came from.”
  8. 6/23/2014 — Dugger’s Creek 01 — Linville Falls, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC, May 23, 2014

    We are looking for insight, understanding, realization, revelation, awareness, awakening, enlightenment.

    We are looking for it in our life—and in our response/reaction to our life.

    We use our life—our experience with life—as a meditation practice.

    Pull some aspect of your life out from all the rest—could be a symptom, or a mood, or an event, anything—and put it on the table, and consider the table.

    Put on the table all of your assumptions, inferences, interpretations and conclusions about the item on the table. Consider the table some more.

    You are more interested at this point in what you have said about the item on the table, than you are in the item on the table.

    What makes it easy for you to think what you think about it? To feel the way you feel about it?

    What do you gain for thinking/feeling about it the way you think/feel about it?

    How does thinking the way you think and feeling the way you feel about this item keep things in place in your life?

    What don’t you have to change about your relationship with this item as long as you can continue thinking/feeling the way you think/feel about it?

    Consider the possibility that you could be wrong about the way you think/feel about the item, and that if you change the way you think/feel about it, you could change the impact it currently has on you and on your life.

    What other ways can you think of to think about the item on the table? To feel about it?

    See what occurs to you during the rest of the day about this process.

    See what you may dream tonight and how the dream may speak to the table and all that is thereon.

    It’s a meditative process. Mediation stirs the compost pile. So do dreams. Look at your life as a compost pile, and as a dream. Interpret your life as you might a dream. Turn it over as you might a compost pile.

    See what comes to mind.

    Don’t be thinking about doing anything, like solving your problem with the item on the table. Let what happens arise spontaneously from your rumination, realization, understanding, enlightenment.

    It will give you something else to put on the table.
  9. 06/24/2013 — On Roan Mountain 06 — Cherokee National Forest at Carver’s Gap, TN, looking into NC from Jane Bald and the Appalachian Trail, June 15, 2014

    We’re all looking for something, and in a tear to find it, so that we can finally get it all together, and put everything in place, relax and enjoy our life.

    It starts with relaxing and enjoying our life.

    Actually it starts with enjoying our life.

    Living engaged with the things we enjoy and find meaningful—and the two are one, we enjoy what we find meaningful and we find meaningful what we enjoy—enables us to relax, and delivers us to what we are looking for.

    And, Puff, like that, we are where we wish we were.

    So.

    Stop looking for the book, the guru, the master, the teacher that/who can put you in right relationship with your life,

    And start living toward the things you enjoy and find meaningful.

    The Meaning of Life is tucked away in the things that are meaningful to us, which are also the things we enjoy.

    Our ticket to peace, contentment, wholeness and well-being.

    Enjoy what you enjoy. Do what you find to be meaningful. The path to life.
  10. 06/24/2014 — Barn Swallow Set — Charlotte, NC, June 24, 2014

    We tend to take reality too seriously.

    We make too much of it.

    We treat it as though it is all there is.

    All we have to do is get a life to know life is more than reality.

    But, there’s a catch.

    We can’t get just any life.

    We have to get the life that is our life to live.

    We get it by “getting it.” Get it?

    By understanding that our LIFE is OUR life, the life WE are cut out for, built for—

    And that it is more than we can ask, or think, or imagine.

    Certainly more than the Real World can touch with all of its shiny plastic beads and silver mirrors (or whatever the current equivalent is in the life we are living).

    If we took our LIFE as seriously as we take reality, it would blow reality back into proportion, and radically transform the world as we know it.

    It’s an amazing adventure just waiting for us to give it the go-ahead.

    What are we waiting for?
  11. 06/25/2014 — Blackberries 01 — Indian Land, SC, June 22, 2014

    Our life is up to us.

    We actually have to live it.

    Why hold anything back?

    Why try to save ourselves from that which can save us?

    Only one thing means anything: Living our life!

    At the end of the movie, Jersey Boys, Frankie Valli, reflecting on his career, said, “They ask ya, ‘What was the high point?’ The hall of fame, sellin’ all those records, pullin’ Sherry outta the hat? It was all great. But the first time the four of us made that sound under the street light, our sound, when everything dropped away and all there was, was the music…that was the best.”

    The challenge for each of us is to find our music, and live it—to let the music live us—and see everything that happens to us, both positive and negative, as an opportunity to further align ourselves with the music, dance with what life brings us, and become who we are.

    You are afraid of that,

    And think there is something better than that—

    Like safety, and security, and never stepping out of line—

    Because you’ve never stood under a street light

    And made your music.

    But the music is there waiting

    For you to show up.
  12. 06/25/2014 — Polly’s Cove Cypress 10 — Lake Marion, Santee, NC, May 3, 2013

    We have to work it all out.

    All of it.

    What to do.

    About all that is ours to do.

    When.

    How.

    What to do after that.

    We’re juggling plates and toasters

    And somebody off stage is throwing in bowling pins

    And microwave ovens

    And refrigerators

    And 18 wheelers.

    It’s crazy.

    So, what to do about being overwhelmed?

    Something else to do!

    Geez.

    But here’s my Big Idea:

    Factor doing nothing into your day.

    You can’t work it all out

    Without working nothing into each day.

    Sit, or walk, doing nothing.

    Everything comes from nothing.

    You’ll be amazed at how much work you’ll get done

    Doing nothing.

    If you’re wondering how much time to spend doing nothing each day,

    You’ll have to work it out for yourself.
  13. 06/25/2014 — Queen Anne’s Lace 10 — Lancaster County, SC, June 22, 2014

    We spend our life getting together with our life. Or not.

    It should be easier, but everyone thinks our life is automatic.

    If you are breathing, you are alive.

    Now, all you have to do is figure out a way to pay the bills.

    That’s all there is to it.

    It is hard to get together with our life because everyone thinks living is easy—

    It’s paying the bills that is hard.

    No. Deciding what to do with ourselves after the bills are paid is hard.

    Where do we get help with that?

    No one knows what to say when we say we don’t know what to do with ourselves.

    They act as though they have never thought of that one.

    It’s easy for them. They just do what someone tells them to do.

    Or, they just do what they have always done.

    Either way, they don’t think about it.

    But, if we don’t fall into some routine that lasts a lifetime,

    What do we do with ourselves?

    With the time left for living?

    How we know?

    How do we decide?

    It isn’t about a job to pay the bills—it’s what do we pay the bills FOR?

    Oh, you know, to pass a good time.

    No. That’s running from the problem.

    The problem of what to do with ourselves.

    The problem of how to get together with our life.

    That’s our problem.

    Solve that one—and be right about it—and you have it made.
  14. 06/26/2014 — Mission San Jose Courtyard 05 — San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, San Antonio, Texas, February 6, 2014

    By now, if you have a feel for anything, you have a feel for your life.

    For what it is, and for what it isn’t.

    You know where you are alive, and where you are dead.

    My fifteen year-old granddaughter, on a hike in Yosemite, said, “Seriously, who would think this is fun? Who would pick this over Netflix?”

    Exactly.

    She may change her mind over time, but for here, for now, she knows where her life is, and isn’t.

    We all do.

    And it is all very much a reflection of where we are, psychically, physically, emotionally at any point in our life.

    But, that’s where it starts.

    The path to who we are, and who we also are, begins under our feet.

    Don’t try to be who you are not, or not-yet, because you think it’s admirable.

    Live to be who you are, here and now, and see where it goes.
  15. Blown Away — Lancaster County, SC, June 8, 2014

    By now, if you have a feel for anything, you have a feel for what works, and for what doesn’t.

    So.

    Why do persist in doing what doesn’t work?

    Why do you not pour all of your energy, put all of your focus, into what does work?

    Just wondering.
  16. 06/26/2014 — Dandelion 01, B&W — Lancaster County, SC, June 8, 2014

    We seek distraction and diversion.

    Take away our amusements and entertainments, and all that is left is drudgery, duty, angst, and boredom.

    Anyway you look at it,

    We have no life.

    It’s all fluff, weariness, and worry.

    You might think we would do something about it, but.

    Lethargy sets in.

    We see no point in making the effort.

    We don’t know what we would do if we were interested in doing something.

    No one else is doing anything.

    We are all circling in the same direction.

    So, we settle into the routine, looking for some action,

    Any action,

    And try not to think about it.

    We have to think about it.

    And bear the pain.

    Bearing the pain of being alive separates the living from the living dead.

    Trust that there is something within—call it The One Who Knows Within—that is waiting for our attentive cooperation/collaboration in living the life that is ours yet to live.

    And yield to The One Who Knows Within.

    And see where it goes.

    There isn’t a better way to spend what remains of your time.
  17. 06/26/2014 — Around Price Lake 14 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, June 19, 2014

    The secret is you.

    You trusting you to work it out—

    To find your way to a life worth living

    By living and reflecting on your life as you live it,

    And discovering the life that is your life to live.

    Reflecting on our life is the path to life.

    Without persistent and unrelenting reflection on our experience—

    And reflection on our reflection—

    We wander,

    Lost in circles,

    And never find the way to life that is always underfoot.
  18. Dugger’s Creek 02 — Blue Ridge Parkway at Linville Falls, NC, May 20, 2014

    Live to increase the compassion quotient in your life and in the world.

    Live to allow people to be different from you.

    Live to allow your own different-ness to stand in relation to other people—with kindness and compassion for their inability to tolerate your being different from them.

    Live to express gentleness and compassion in the work to work things out for the true good of all.

    Live to help people with their life—as you are able, and as they will welcome your assistance.

    Live to stand aside, to make room for everyone, and to defend the right of the helpless, powerless, defenseless and invisible to be treated as persons worthy of a place in the family of humanity and equal access to goods, rights and services.

    Live to be a friend to all people while maintaining your own borders and boundaries and protecting yourself from unwarranted intrusion into your business and life-space.

    Live to care about others without caring less about yourself, and to care about yourself without caring less about others.

    Live to be a servant of compassion as you go about the work of finding the life that is your life to live, living it, while being who you are (and also are), and working out all that must be worked out, in each situation as it arises all your life long.
  19. 06/27/2014 — Roseate Spoonbill 04 — Alligator Farm Rookery, St. Augustine, FL, May 11, 2014

    The Dalai Lama can’t act worth a damn.

    If you are a producer with an Academy Award winning script, you don’t want the Dalai Lama playing your leading man.

    Even if the movie is about the Dalai Lama.

    The Dalai Lama can’t coach football, and he certainly can’t play football.

    If you own, say, the Dallas Cowboys, you don’t want the Dalai Lama coaching your team, or playing quarterback, no matter how enlightened he may be.

    The Dalai Lama can’t drive an 18 wheeler, or back one up, or park one.

    If you run a shipping company, you want to pass on the Dalai Lama’s application for employment.

    The Dalai Lama has his business.

    And you have yours.

    So, don’t be dissin’ yourself because of anything on your list of things you can’t do.

    The Dalai Lama’s list is as long as yours.

    And re-think the things on your Can Do List.

    Take pride in some of them.

    Spend time with them.

    Settle on a few that are really you, and polish them up.

    Shine a little, like only you can, when you get into being you,

    And let yourself go.

    Do your thing the way the Dalai Lama does his thing.

    Why hold anything back?
  20. 06/28/2014 — Water Lilies 02 B&W — Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, McBee, SC, May 27, 2014

    An egg that hatches before, or after, its time is not a good thing for the chick.

    Some things, like a stuck door, have to be forced.

    Most things, like eggs hatching and tomatoes ripening, have to be allowed to happen in their own time.

    Our life is one of those things.

    Kairos is the opportune time, the favorable moment.

    The fullness of time, time.

    The time to act, and the time to refrain from acting.

    How do we know?

    We know when to go to the restroom,

    And when to go to bed,

    And whether it’s time for a glass of wine,

    Or a walk in the woods.

    We know what time it is.

    We only have to know what we know.

    We have to stop pushing:

    “How much L-O-N-G-E-R???”

    “It it time yet? Is it time yet? Can we go now?”

    Relax into the arms of God,

    Or into the eternal flow of the Tao,

    And wait, watch,

    Trusting that you will know when the time is at hand—

    That you will act without thinking,

    Like the chick cracking the egg,

    Or leaving the nest.
    Used in the revision of A Handbook for the Spiritual Journey, 06/12/2015 – jd
  21. 06/29/2014 — Lost World — Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, June 29, 2014

    We can want what we do not value—what has no value.

    That is the distance of the spiritual journey.

    From what we want to what we value—to what has value.
  22. 06/29/2014 — Goodale State Park 2014 01 — Adams Mill Pond, Big Pine Tree Creek, Camden, SC, May 4, 2014

    See what you look at.

    Feel what you feel.

    Know what you know.

    Think what you think—and think ABOUT what you think.

    Listen to what you say.

    Do what you can do about what needs to be done in each situation as it arises.

    And see where it goes.
  23. 06/30/2014 — Rosebay Rhododendron 02 — Bass Lake, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, June 30, 2014

    Name your five most important values—

    The qualities that most attract you in other people—

    The principles that you seek to serve and exhibit in your life.

    To what extent would those who know you guess that they are your top five?

    What do you do each day that declares the value of your top five values?

    What do you do that belies their value?

    How are they expressed in your relationships with your family, friends, at work, shopping, driving, living?

    When are you most conscious of laying your Top Five aside because of the prevailing necessities of life?

    To what extent are the values you espouse all show and no life?

    All talk and no do?

    A box of smoke?
  24. 06/30/2014 — Lake Martin Sunset 07 — St. Martin Parish near Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, February 7, 2014

    What would it mean to have help with our life?

    Money, right?

    That’s all we need, right?

    With enough money, what’s the problem with our life?

    We’ll hang out with celebrities and pass a good time until we die.

    Really living at last all the way.

    If you’re there, I’m going to be no help to you with your life.

    If you’re not there, what do you need to find the life that is yours to live, and live it in the time left for living?

    Don’t let me put words in your mouth, but. I need conversation.

    Honest, authentic, conversation, straight from the heart, about things that matter—including the questions that need to be asked (Most of which cannot be answered), and the things that need to be said about how it is with me, and how I feel about it, and what I can imagine doing in response, and what I think is the best of all my options.

    And, I need people who are on my side in the sense of understanding what I’m saying, feeling, and not telling me I shouldn’t be feeling that way or saying those things, and then telling me what I ought to be feeling, saying, thinking and doing.

    I think if I had that, I could figure my life out and work up the courage to live it.

    May we all find the help we need to take up what is ours to do, and do it, while the light lasts!
  25. 07/01/2014 — Around Price Lake 28 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, May 19, 2014

    We have to live out of our own center—out of what is central to us in terms of value and meaning.

    We have to know what is valuable to us—what is meaningful to us—and live in light of that, even if the Cyclops, the Minotaur, Smaug, and all of their best friends stand in our way.

    Even if the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—the Father of Jesus Christ His Only Son Our Lord—opposes us, we have to say, “Sorry, Pop, you have to go.”

    If anyone or thing comes between us and our deep sense of meaning and value—our Lodestar, North Star, Guiding Light, Touchstone and Guide—we have to remain unerringly loyal to the ground of our life and being.

    We are in the mess we are in because we have sold out to lesser guides and louder voices over the course of our life, and now we are at the point of putting things right.

    No. Matter. What.
  26. 07/01/2014 — Goodale State Park 03 — Adams Mill Pond, Big Pine Tree Creek, Camden, SC, May 4, 2014

    When people go wandering around the world in search of themselves, it would help them to know what they are seeking.

    They are seeking to find the treasure of true value—to find what is meaningful beyond all else.

    That is to say, they are looking for what is valuable to them, for what is meaningful to them.

    Put what is valuable to you, and what is meaningful to you (They will be the same things—it can’t be valuable if it is not meaningful, and it cannot be meaningful if it is not valuable) in the center of the circle, and walk around the circle.

    You are the circle, and that is your center.

    Make sure you live your life with those things as the center of your life.

    Make sure you live your life in close proximity to the things at the center of your circle.

    You have found yourself. There you are.

    Now.

    It is important not to freeze yourself in place, and keep things static, rigid and unchanging forever.

    What was at the center of your circle when you were 16 is not what was in the center of your circle at 35.

    Some things stay the same forever. Some things change by and by.

    Let come what’s coming and let go what’s going.

    And let stay what’s staying.

    And know what’s what.

    What’s in the center.

    What’s leaving the center.

    What’s coming into the center.

    Who you are is what is important to you and how you express its importance in your life.

    That’s how you find yourself, and be who you are.
  27. 07/02/2014 — Grandfather Mountain and Price Lake 02 Panorama — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, May 19, 2014

    If you are doing anything By The Book, you are doing it incorrectly.

    Throw The Book away.

    Even The Good Book.

    Especially The Good Book.

    Any book that pretends to know how you should live your life is keeping you from living your life.

    Oh, wait. I know. You want to do it right. Right?

    You don’t want to make any mistakes.

    You don’t want to take a chance on being found at fault.

    You don’t want to be responsible for how your life turns out.

    You want someone else to tell you what to do.

    You want some book to be the authority by which you gauge when to come in and when to go out, and what to do, whether you are in or out.

    Throw away The Book.

    Wing it.

    You can’t dance By The Book.

    You can’t play the piano, or the saxophone, etc. By The Book.

    And you can’t live By The Book.

    The Book takes away your responsiveness to the moment of your living.

    It removes your responsibility for attending the moment, reading the moment, taking the nuances of the moment—each moment—into account, and responding to the moment out of the moment’s need for you and what you bring to the moment.

    If Jesus had done it By The Book, he would have never healed on the Sabbath.

    If you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t learning to read the moments as they come to you.

    You are missing your opportunities to be alive.

    Get your nose out of The Book, and dance with your life!
  28. 07/02/2014 — Yellow Trillium 01 — Blowing Rock, NC, May 21, 2014

    There is not a spiritual person of any religion or persuasion from the beginning to the present moment who did not engage in regular pauses for silence, solitude and reflection.

    It isn’t what you know. It’s what you do with what you know.

    It’s the old joke about how you get to Carnegie Hall: Practice, practice, practice.

    My bet is that you have read enough books, heard enough sermons, listened to enough lectures, attended enough retreats, workshops and seminars, and know enough–and you just need to practice, practice, practice

    Working regular pauses for silence, solitude and reflection into your life.

    Am I wrong?
  29. 07/04/2014 — Wood Stork 08 — Taking a leafy branch to the babies for breakfast, The Alligator Farm Rookery, St. Augustine, FL, May 13, 2014

    Recognition is validation.

    Attention is enlivening.

    You can do the most good in the world simply by seeing, attending and receiving well those who are invisible to everyone else.

    You will be astounded at how many invisible people there are, once you begin paying attention.

    You may be one of them, and are hoping someone will take the time to see you, to know you, before you die.

    The old formula is: Be What You Need.

    See. Hear. Understand.

    You carry the salvation of the world—of someone’s world, anyway—around with you every day.

    Ask them how their day is going.

    Make kind inquiries.

    Listen with your ears and eyes.

    How hard is that?
  30. 07/04/2014 — Two of a Kind — Blowing Rock, NC, July 3, 2014

    My take on things is that living in ways which express Compromise, Compassion, Justice, Kindness, Attentiveness and Balance, etc, does nothing to inspire those things in the people you live with.

    They are glad to take it for granted in you, glad to take advantage of you, glad to be blessed by your presence, and eager for you to dish out more of what you do best.

    There is no reciprocation built into the process. It’s a unilateral operation all the way.

    If we can make our peace with that, we have what it takes to live out our life being compromising, compassionate, just, kind, etc., with nothing in it for us beyond being what the situation needs us to be.

    That’s a rocky road, but, that, I think, is how it is.

    Accepting the situation is like having a nice pair of walking shoes for the rocks on the road.
  31. 07/04/2014 — Rosebay Rhododendron 03 — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, July 3, 2014

    Carl Jung said, “The life that I could still live, I should live, and the thoughts that I could still think, I should think.”

    Our life—the one that is ours yet to live—is always ahead of us.

    There is always more to us than meets the eye, even our own—especially our own.

    Develop your curiosity about your life—about what it is, what it could yet be, if you opened yourself to the possibilities lying latent in your genes, waiting for a little courage and a yen for adventure to give it a chance to show you who you are.

    See what your life has to show you.

    Unless you would prefer to spend the rest of your days playing Bingo or Bridge, watching TV, going shopping and wondering what’s for dinner.
  32. 07/05/2014 — Goshen Creek 19 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone, NC, July 3, 2014

    The life of a True Human Being brings together all of the opposites from every direction, including above and below, and works out the conflict of interests of all parties.

    Sometimes she does it like this, and sometimes she does it like that.

    One day he is this way, and one day he is that way.

    She, he, is who—does what—the situation calls for, and is quite capable of living in appropriate ways to every occasion under the heavens.

    That’s your mission.

    You have to be rigid about some things and flexible about others.

    You have to be firm in your position regarding who you are and what is yours to do—and able to change direction on a whim, and do things you’ve never done, and never imagined.

    You have to be on the beam and know that means following the white rabbit in the most un-beam-like of ways.

    The recipe you follow so carefully calls for you to live with abandon when abandon is called for, and with iron-clad allegiance to the things that need to happen in their own time, in their own way.

    You can’t write a book about when to do what, how and where—and you spend your time telling people what to do and what not to do in bringing themselves forth and being who they are.

    You are a walking, breathing, laughing, loving, living contradiction in terms.

    People would spin themselves sick doing it like you do it.

    If you can do it like that, you are doing it like it needs to be done.
  33. 07/05/2014 — Rosebay Rhododendron 05 — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, July 3, 2014

    I get my hair cut at one of the national chain salons, with six chairs and 3 to 6 stylists working whenever I’m there.

    I don’t know what the total number is of stylists assigned to one salon, or what the turnover rate might be, but, I rarely have my hair cut by the same person, and each one cuts it differently, and they all achieve a satisfactory outcome.

    I’ve made inquiries. They say they are taught general hair cutting, shaping, principles at Beauty School, what a term, and then each person develops her, or his, own style, finds what works for him, or her, and does it her way, or his.

    Each person in the salon has her, his, own approach—his, her, own way of doing things, and each person would be miffed if the person in the next cubicle intruded into their space and declared, “You aren’t doing that correctly! The Book says do it like I AM doing it!”

    Regimenting hair cuts and styles to The Right Way To Do It would suppress individual flare and expression, and reduce everything to the same old, same old, with people going about their business like cows chewing cud.

    Take this train of thought from the hair parlor to your life, and mine.

    What do Those Who Know Best And Must Be Pleased mean by intruding into our life and telling us how to live it? How to do what is ours to do?

    They have no business in our business! And, although, we will never secure their realization of their transgression, we, at least, must recognize it, and draw a line—internally, if, because of balance of power considerations, we are unable to draw it externally.

    We must know we have full rights to our cubicle—to our life—and intruders will be blocked and prevented from implementing their ideas for our life upon our life. We will smile and go on cutting hair the way we cut hair.

    The entire industry depends upon it.
  34. 07/06/2014 — Rosebay Rhododendron 04 — Price Lake, Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, July 3, 2014

    You are on your own.

    You are your own authority when it comes to living your life.

    You are in charge of you.

    Responsible for you.

    But.

    This doesn’t mean you have to think up anything.

    You don’t have to figure out your life.

    You don’t have to know what you are doing.

    It means you don’t have to answer to anyone.

    Or explain yourself to anyone.

    Or justify or defend yourself to anyone.

    You don’t have to come up with reasons or excuses

    For doing or not doing

    What you do or don’t do.

    You only have to be aware of everything.

    The way opens before those who are aware of everything.

    When we free ourselves from having to be right

    We can relax into ourselves, and into the moment

    And see what needs to be done.

    A surgeon who has to please a medical examination team

    Is more prone to mistakes

    Than a surgeon who is one with her patient

    And the situation as it unfolds as the surgery progresses.

    Live to be at one with who you are

    And with the situation as it unfolds.

    What you do will be as natural as a stream flowing down hill.
  35. 07/06/2014 — Goshen Creek 20 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone, NC, July 3, 2014

    It is an old saying, rephrased in a number of ways, and credited to many sources:

    “You will never win an argument with reality,”

    But, dancing with reality is a song with a different tune.

    We all dance in our own way with the different realities at work in our life.

    How many are there?

    We live in worlds based on worlds—each one a threshold to more worlds!

    There is the way things are, and the way things also are, and the way things are in addition to all that.

    Each of us is depth beyond sounding.

    Infinity encased in skin and bones.

    It only takes sitting down and shutting up to know it is so.

    Try it, right now.

    See how long you can be still and quiet.

    And, when you have had enough and must be up, making noise, doing something, anything to get away from the silence,

    Ask yourself what was going on there, or about to, that chased you away.

    Whatever it was—a memory, perhaps, a sense of foreboding—is a glimpse of a world beyond this world.

    And how many are there to deny, run from, and hide?

    We all live on the edge of forever

    And despair, or rage, because we think this life we are living is all there is.

    Realities beyond imagining are calling us to dance,

    Inviting us to explore the possibilities for living life still holds for us

    If we have the courage to see what we might yet see while time allows.
  36. Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 07/06/2014 — Waiting to Fall B&W — Sim’s Creek, Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, June 29, 2014

    We have to make our peace with ourselves,

    And trust ourselves to ourselves.

    An adversarial and contentious relationship with our own inner world

    Is no way to foster the kind of alliance necessary to make our way

    In the outer world.

    All of our conflicts and contradictions are striving for the same end:

    The ultimate good of the whole.

    All of our parts have the good of the whole at heart.

    It takes an overseer with nothing at stake in the process or the outcome to bring it all together and coordinate the efforts of each aspect of our personality in the service of the Self we each are.

    That would be the role of consciousness.

    That would be the result of growing up,

    And being able to live conscientiously and reliably

    Out of an orientation of “Thy will, not mine, be done”—

    With the “Thy” being the consensus of the parts in service to the whole,

    And the “mine” being the individual parts making up the whole.

    So.

    Our place is to realize our role in our life

    And establish diplomatic relations with the inhabitants of the inner world,

    Initiate conversations,

    Honor views,

    Request cooperation,

    Promote respect

    And establish connections within that serve the common good,

    And see where it goes.
  37. 07/07/2014 — Horton House Ruins 06 — Jekyll Island State Park, Jekyll Island, GA, May 14, 2014

    We have to pass through all of the developmental stages.

    We can’t skip any steps.

    There are no shortcuts to maturity and grace.

    We have to live open to life.

    We cannot close ourselves off,

    Consoling ourselves with sex, drugs, alcohol and/or religion

    Until Jesus calls us home (And makes everything up to us,

    And treats us like we deserve to be treated,

    And sends all our tormentors to hell where they belong).

    We have to do it ourselves.

    Grow up.

    By facing what must be faced

    And doing what can be done about it

    And letting the rest of it be because it just is.

    Living with what must be lived with

    In the spirit of those who have what it takes to rise to any occasion—

    Being big about it,

    Receiving it well,

    Allowing it to pull us forth,

    Against our will, perhaps,

    And show us what we are made of,

    By bringing out qualities and character

    We didn’t know we possessed,

    As grace and blessing upon all who come our way,

    All our life long.
  38. 07/07/2014 — Lake Martin, SC — Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, McBee, SC, May 14, 2014

    The trials and ordeals enlarge us,

    Expand us,

    Deepen us,

    And bring us forth.

    Or not.

    We can refuse the challenge.

    We can close ourselves off.

    We can resist our own development.

    And remain stuck at any stage in the process.

    It requires courage to grow into who we are,

    We find our way to courage

    By being courageous.

    And, it’s okay if we fake it.

    Fake courage is as good as the real thing,

    If we fake it so well no one knows if we are faking it.

    The trials and ordeals of a teenager

    Are not the trials and ordeals of a twenty-something,

    Are not the trials and ordeals of middle age,

    Are not the trials and ordeals of early retirement

    Are not the trials and ordeals of old age.

    It takes courage all the way.

    Or the willingness to fake it well again,

    With each new test that comes along.
  39. 07/07/2014 — Around Price Lake B&W 23 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, May 22, 2014

    Trials and ordeals are the path to life.

    Why would I lie?

    We think life is about avoiding, escaping, evading trials and ordeals.

    We turn to spirituality and religion for immunity to, and deliverance from, trials and ordeals.

    Like Odysseus could have been the hero without Cyclops, Circe and Calypso.

    The things that grow us up are the things we have Mamma to save us from.

    Mamma comes in many forms.

    Money is Mamma.

    Drugs. Alcohol. Entertainment. Sex. Religion. Spirituality.

    If it isn’t helping us with our life, it’s a diversion from our life.

    Say goodbye to Mamma and step into your life.

    Into your trials and ordeals.

    You have an invisible world of resources within.

    And gifts, qualities and character that are wasting away for lack of use.

    Trust yourself to yourself,

    And let yourself show you what you can do.

    Your trials and ordeals are the path to you,

    And the life that is yours to live.

    Why would I lie?
  40. Mountains Panorama 02, Detail B — Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain, NC, May 21, 2014

    Meet your life with compassion.

    If you are going to practice anything, practice compassion.

    If you are going to practice anything else, practice tenderness and kindness.

    Tenderness, kindness and compassion are the three watchwords of life. And the first watchword is compassion.

    Start with you.

    Swaddle yourself in compassion.

    Have compassion for everything about you.

    Inside and out.

    When you get that down, move on to your life.

    Have compassion for everything about your life.

    When you get that down, move on to other people.

    ALL other people.

    Jesus said, “Love your enemies, love your neighbors, love yourself, love the least—the most inconspicuous, the infidel, the despised and rejected—of society’s flotsam and jetsam.” Or words to that effect.

    So, who does that leave out?

    Who does Jesus think isn’t worth loving?

    And, if your enemies, your neighbors, yourself, and the least of those left can’t tell by the way you treat them whether you love them or not, you don’t love them.

    And, don’t even bring the Dalai Lama into the conversation!

    He’s just a broken record of compassion, compassion, compassion.

    Better yet, become the Dalai Lama!

    All talk and all action.

    Doing compassion unto everyone who comes your way, including the one staring back at you from your bathroom mirror.

    Then, when you get that down, extend compassion to all of life.

    Every, single, bit.

    When you get that down, smile.

    You have arrived.
  41. 07/08/2014 — Past Prime — Large Flowered Trillium, Blue Ridge Parkway near Little Switzerland, NC, May 24, 2014

    Evil is more than the absence of good.

    More than some oversight or temporary loss of manners or bearing,

    Evil is the malicious and willful joy in ruthless, wanton, devastation and destruction—

    The thrill of seeing things hurt—

    The addiction to dealing out pain, misery, suffering and death.

    Evil is a sickness of the soul.

    Since we all participate in soul,

    We all fall out somewhere along the continuum from Jesus, Buddha, Dalai Lama good to Hitler, Pol Pot, or pick your petty murderous tyrant evil.

    How to live together in ways that keep us safe from us is a problem with only time-limited solutions.

    There are no permanent fixes.

    Each generation takes up the work of restricting evil,

    And making the world as safe as it can for one more generation.
  42. 07/09/2014 — Roaring Fork Falls Panorama 01 — Pisgah National Forest near Grandfather Mountain, NC, May 20, 2014

    It is our place to take the context and circumstances of our living—

    And each situation as it arises—

    And bring forth there what needs to come forth there

    For the true good of all.

    This requires us to stand apart from our wants, wishes and desires

    For ourselves,

    And see what is happening from the standpoints of all impacted and involved—

    And feel the full import of the moment,

    And what needs to happen in response,

    From the point of view of all concerned.

    And, taking all of that into account,

    Choose the course that needs to be taken

    And let the outcome be the outcome—

    And repeat this process again in the next moment

    Immediately following this one,

    And so on,

    For the rest of our life.

    That will make a hero of you,

    If you aren’t one already.
  43. 07/09/2014 — Santee Sunrise 07 — Lake Marion, Santee State Park, Santee, SC, May 3, 2014

    If you want to know God, you have to forget all you think you know of God.

    You have to abandon all of your ideas about God.

    You have to put aside the Bible and the Books of Doctrine,

    And everything you have heard of God.

    The only thing you can know of God is that you know nothing of God.

    Stand, knowing nothing of God,

    And wait.
  44. 07/10/2014 — Bass Lake Lily 02 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, July 3, 2014

    Let your interests and your enthusiasm for life guide you.

    Stop wondering what you’re “supposed” to do with your life,

    And start living it—

    In the direction of the things that stir your soul

    And bring you to life.

    Don’t dismiss anything.

    The deeper the interest, the better—no matter what it is!

    One thing will lead to another

    And you will find yourself far away from anything you ever imagined doing with your life.

    This is called being owned by your life,

    Or belonging to your life,

    Or, simply, the way of life.

    Your life is a train of associations

    Waiting for you to get on board

    So it can leave the station.
  45. 07/10/2014 — Alligator Lake 02 — Santee State Park, Santee, SC, May 2, 2014 — This is actually an unnamed lake between the Boy Scout Campground and the picnic area. It was closed several years ago due to the presence of alligators, a presence that continues today. So, I christened it “Alligator Lake.”

    We grow through our fear.

    No one can do that work for us.

    Joseph Campbell said, “In the darkest cave, that you are most afraid to enter, lies the treasure that you seek.” Or words to that effect.

    We don’t find the treasure—we do not grow into the self we are capable of being, or live the life that is ours to live—without doing things we are terrified to do.

    We stand in our own way, blocking the path to our own fulfillment, scaring ourselves into remaining in place with countless renditions of imagined horrors that will surely happen if we do the thing we intend to do—the thing that needs to be done—the thing that needs us to do it.

    I have been afraid all my life.

    And it hasn’t stopped me, yet.

    But, there is always another cave.

    Beyond this present point in our life, there always be dragons.

    And, we can stop growing at any stage in our development for fear of them.

    May we not, ever!
  46. 07/11/2014 — Done for the Day, B&W — Hunting Island, SC, May 10, 2014

    The economy depends on making garbage.

    Walk through Wal Mart or Macy’s. Costco. Bed, Bath and Beyond. If It’s Plastic… Everything you see on the shelves and show room floors is headed to the dump.

    New computers, smartphones, automobiles, cameras… come out every year.

    It’s good for the economy to keep us buying.

    It’s patriotic to keep goods flowing.

    It’s un-American to be frugal.

    Buy it, handle it, throw it away! It’s the American Way.

    Capitalism at its best.

    The revolution is anti-all-this.

    Buy what you need to do what needs you to do it.

    Let the rest stay on the shelves.

    So much for a high standard of living,

    And why spirituality will never sell.

    A few individuals will carry the light,

    As monks and hermits have always done,

    While the rest keep the garbage trucks—and the economy—going,

    and no one asks, “Where are we headed?”
  47. 07/11/2014 — Wood Duck 02 — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, May 14, 2014

    The life that you are living doesn’t need you to live it.

    It has its own structure, routines, schedules and duties.

    All you have to show up, come in on cue and leave on time.

    Jump through the hoops and pay the bills.

    You may call it Your Life, but anybody could live it.

    Even you can live it without being you at all.

    Without showing up at all.

    How often are you actually present in the life you are living?

    My point exactly.

    You don’t have to be present in the life you are living.

    The life that is yours to live is a different matter.

    No one can live that life but you.

    If you aren’t there, it goes unlived.

    And, if it is unlived, you aren’t living.

    You aren’t alive if you aren’t living the life that is your to live—

    I don’t care how high you are.

    I’m here to get you together with your life.

    That’s what I do. That’s my life to live.

    Getting people together with their life.

    Nobody else knows what I’m talking about.

    How can they do it?

    I’m pretty much all you have in your corner.

    You are not even in your corner!

    I’m there all by myself, shouting, “Hey! You!

    Come over here and let’s get this thing going!

    Stop spending all your time with the life you are living

    (As if! You’re not there half the time!)

    And let the life that is yours to live show you

    What it has to show you in the time left for living!”

    You have nothing to lose,

    And more to gain than you can imagine!
  48. 07/12/2014 — Wood Stork 07 — Alligator Farm Rookery, St. Augustine, FL, May 13, 2014

    Do not spit on what the day brings.

    We think we know what to throw away, and what to keep, and what to enshrine, and pay homage to, but.

    Nothing good comes from Nazareth, and

    The stone the builders reject becomes the chief cornerstone.

    Receive well what comes and see what you can do with it.

    See what it does with you.

    The Second Highest Quality/Value after Compassion is Imagination.

    Receive what comes with compassion,

    Work with it with imagination.

    Your life will be transformed with nothing more than that.

    The path to you is not difficult

    And it is the hardest thing you will ever do.

    Because you have your own ideas

    Of what is path

    And what is you.
  49. 07/12/2014 — Country Cemetery 01, B&W — Indian Land, SC, July 12, 2014

    The initiation rites worldwide, in all locations and ages, had/have one over-riding purpose:

    Say good-bye to Momma!

    You are on your own now!

    You make it, if you do make it, on the strength of your own strength,

    Ingenuity,

    Creativity,

    Genius,

    Gifts,

    And luck.

    Nobody can live your life for you!

    It’s up to you to live it,

    Or die trying.

    We don’t have anything like that in our culture.

    And we spend our life looking for surrogate Mommas

    Who will Momma us the way we want to be Momma-ed.

    But, the truth remains:

    We have to say good-bye to Momma,

    And take care of ourselves.
  50. 07/13/2014 — Dugger’s Creek 08 — Linville Falls, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC, July 3, 2014 

    The world is awash in idiocy.

    It always has been.

    And will be.

    I understand idiocy as being

    Oblivious to what is happening

    And to the impact of one’s action

    In response to what is happening.

    It is living without a clue.

    As far from awareness—

    As far from eyes that see, ears that hear and a heart that understands

    As one can get.

    The polar opposite of who we need—

    Of who we are needed—

    To be,

    Around the table,

    Across the board.

    The struggle for the future—

    Individually or collectively—

    Is always between

    Being clueless and being savvy.
  51. 07/13/2014  — Santee Sunrise 06 — Lake Marion, Santee State Park, Santee, SC, May 3, 2014 

    When you are weary of it, worn out with it, find a place to be still for a while and be weary.

    Be worn out.

    Feel what you feel.

    In and appropriate place.

    At an appropriate time.

    In an appropriate way.

    Stuffing your feelings.

    Repressing them.

    Suppressing them.

    Only brings them forth in inappropriate places, times and ways.

    You’ll save yourself a lot of grief and remorse

    If you will allow yourself to feel what you feel.

    Don’t look for any meaning in what you feel.

    When you are fatigued, you feel tired.

    When you haven’t eaten, you feel hungry.

    That’s what those feelings mean.

    Nothing dramatic,

    Just real and here and now specific.

    Feelings are what you feel.

    They aren’t coded messages to quit your job, divorce your partner/spouse, leave your kids, or send your dog to the pound.

    You can be weary and worn out with all of those things without ridding yourself of them.

    Just be weary and worn out when you are weary and worn out.

    In appropriate times, places, and ways.
  52. 07/14/2014 — Peaches 2014 01 — York County, SC, July 12, 2014

    The work is to develop an attitude—and live in light of values—that will serve us well.

    The phrase “serve us well” needs to be understood in light of the values we serve.

    “Serve us well” in the sense of aligning us with the life that is ours to live, and the values that are ours to serve, and the qualities that are ours to exhibit.

    What is the life that best expresses who we are—that best brings forth and utilizes the gifts that are ours to give?

    What are the values/qualities that best exemplify the good in terms of the true best interest of all concerned?

    The work is to develop an attitude that will serve that life and those values/qualities.

    Who we are is exhibited in what we do.

    If we get the who right, the what will take care of itself.
  53. 07/14/2014 — Spider Web 01 BW — Indian Land, SC, July 12, 2014

    Our life is an experiment with being alive—with coming to life.

    We live and reflect, live and reflect, live and reflect…

    Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”

    Sheldon Kopp said, “An unlived life is not worth examining.”

    There you are.

    Living and reflecting on the life we are living wake us up to the life we are living,

    And enable us to be increasingly alive

    Through paying attention to what we are doing, thinking, feeling, intending, etc.,

    In light of how well it works.

    It’s a practice hardly anyone follows.

    You can tell by looking at how well things are working.
  54. 07/15/2014 — Osprey Nest 02 — Beaufort, SC, May 12, 2014

    The clearer you can be about—and the stronger you can life in the service of—what is important to you, the better your chances of living around—and centered upon—the heart of being and life.

    The strength of our connection with the heart of being and life is dependent upon the strength of our connection with the heart of OUR being and life.

    If you are not living out of an authentic connection with what matters most to you, you are kidding yourself about living aligned with the heart of being and life.

    Carl Jung said, “Freedom of the will is the freedom to do gladly that which needs you to do it,” or words to that effect.

    We can’t know what is important if we don’t know what is important to US.

    Are you a mountain person or a beach person?

    A morning person or a night person?

    A person who lives to party or a person who finds life in solitude and silence?

    A person who likes to be with a lot of people or who prefers the company of one or two people at a time?

    A person who makes lists of things to do or a person who feels what needs to be done?

    A “go getter” or a “wait and seer”?

    A movie person or a book person (or neither, or both)?

    A follow the recipe person or a make it up as you go person?



    Find your gait, your knack, your tendencies, and consciously live to honor them—not at the expense of your other side, but in conversation with your other side, so that everyone at the table is served.

    And see where it goes.
  55. 07/16/2014 — Country Cemetery 04 B&W — Indian Land, SC, July 12, 2014

    When you are grounded in who you are (and also are),

    At one with yourself,

    Centered upon, and aligned with,

    The things that matter most,

    You have no need of super powers.

    You are immovable,

    Invincible

    (As in unphased by anything that happens to you)

    Immune to all that would distract you

    From the business that is your business,

    From the work that is your work,

    From the task of being who you are

    In every situation and circumstance

    That comes your way,

    For the good of those situations and circumstances,

    All your life long.

    Super You!
  56. 07/16/2014 — The Cypress Pond 01 — Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC, April 25, 2014

    I have to believe in what I’m doing—in the value of what I’m doing (to me or to those I care about)—in order for my heart to be in what I’m doing.

    You can’t just give me some assignment and have me leap to do it with joy and enthusiasm for the task.

    We are saddled with doing too much that we don’t believe in.

    We have to compensate for that by working things we do believe in into our life.

    We can do so much that we don’t believe in for so long that we lose our capacity to believe in anything.

    This is called hopelessness.

    Try living a life you don’t believe in for a while, and see what it does to you.

    Just kidding. Don’t do it.

    Don’t do one more thing you don’t believe in that you don’t have to do to pay the bills.

    Force yourself to begin doing things you believe in.

    If you don’t believe in anything, start doing something you used to believe in.

    Or start doing something you wish you believed in.

    We have to bring our spirit to life by investing it in things that are life-giving—

    That bring us to life by the quality of our association with them.

    We can’t sit around watching TV, waiting to feel like being alive.

    The undertaker will come instead.
  57. 07/17/2014 — Turk’s Cap Lily 02 — Indian Land, SC, July 12, 2014

    We have to know what needs us to do it—what needs US to do it—and do it.

    That’s all there is to it.
  58. 07/17/2014 — On Roan Mountain 22-2 — Cherokee National Forest at Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014 

    All the protection we need is found in the center of ourselves.

    This is the “still point of the turning world.”

    When we stand there—

    When we live out of that center—

    At one with who we are (and who we also are),

    Knowing what matters most

    And sworn to live in ways that allow that to shine through

    Regardless of the conditions and circumstances

    That define our living,

    We are steadfast, immovable, invincible,

    Even though we be awash in vulnerability and hopelessness.

    Living out the truth of who we are (and also are)

    Is a life boat

    On the heaving waves of the wine dark sea.
  59. 07/7/2014 — Roseate Spoonbill 08 — Alligator Farm Rookery, St. Augustine, FL, May 15, 2014

    We aren’t seeking direction so much as value.

    Adam and Eve in Eden made a mistaken assessment of value.

    Sin is being wrong about what is important.

    How do we know what to choose and what to leave unchosen?

    We are seeking to know value when we see it—

    And to know an empty mansion when we see one.

    The stone the builders rejected became the chief cornerstone.

    The pearl of great price gathered dust in the flea market bin.

    Eyes that see know what they seek.

    And know what they know.

    Carl Jung said, “Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, ‘Something is out of tune.’ ”

    Work to see what you look at,

    And to listen to the depths.
  60. 97/18/2014 — Tortoise 03 — Alligator Farm, St. Augustine, FL, May 11, 2014

    Stupidity trumps everything.

    Idiocy is an advanced form of stupidity.

    Not looking, not listening, not seeing, not hearing, not understanding, not learning, not paying attention, not caring…

    “Damn the shoreline! Full speed ahead!”

    Oh, the damage caused by those intent on their agenda at the expense of everyone’s interest!

    There is no protection against the fallout of rampaging idiocy.

    No immunity to marauding stupidity.

    The Dalai Lama said, regarding the Chinese occupation of Tibet:

    “If, in any situation, there is no solution, there is no point in being anxious. If the forces at work have their own momentum, and what’s going on now is the product of what went before, and this generation is not in control of all those forces, then this process will continue.”

    Hope for asylum.

    If the Dalai Lama has to run for it, and Jesus is nailed by it,

    Who are we to think we will be safe from it?

    Who escaped the Dark Ages?

    Find sustaining company,

    And wait it out. 
  61. 07/19/2014 — Six Mile Creek Road 01 — Indian Land, SC, July 12, 2014

    Think in terms of compensation.

    Your deficits compensate for your excesses.

    Your excesses compensate for your deficits.

    Your deficits can be seen as excesses.

    Your excesses can be seen as deficits.

    You have to find the middle ground

    And dwell there.

    Our strengths compensate for weaknesses.

    Our weaknesses compensate for strengths.

    Strengths are weaknesses.

    Weaknesses are strengths.

    Find the still point.

    Live out of the center.

    Bring yourself into focus.

    What you like about yourself,

    You like too much.

    What you hate about yourself,

    You hate too much.

    Be okay with all about yourself.

    Like the You,

    And like the Also You.

    Love your enemies,

    And your neighbors,

    As you love yourself.

    Don’t enshrine anything.

    Don’t send anything into exile.

    You are an amalgamation

    Of the best and the worst.

    Make too much of any of it,

    And you create problems for all of it.

    Live and think in such a way

    That everyone is welcome at the table.

    You are the table.
  62. 07/19/2014 — On Roan Mountain 08 — Roan Mountain Highlands, Cherokee National Park at Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014

    What we have to work with is us and our experience.

    For it to work, we have to experience our experience,

    Examine it,

    Reflect on it,

    Mine it,

    Explore it,

    Probe it,

    Question it,

    And allow it to lead us to new realizations.

    It doesn’t work

    When we box it in,

    Lock it up,

    Worship it,

    And allow what we have experienced

    To keep us from experiencing

    Anything New, different or contrary to what we have experienced.

    Experience is only good for leading us to new experiences,

    Which includes experiencing old experiences in new ways.

    Life is the lesson and living is the teacher—

    When the student is willing to let experience lead her, or him,

    Into new ways of seeing, hearing, understanding,

    Thinking, knowing, doing, and being.
  63. -7/19/2014 — Daisies — Blowing Rock, NC, July 3, 2014

    The work is ours alone to do.

    The right kind of support is essential

    From the right kind of friends and family members, but.

    It is up to us to recognize that we are alone with the work that is ours to do.

    Seventeen-year-olds recovering from back surgery have to face their fear,

    And bear their pain,

    Alone.

    They meet Scylla and Charybdis, the Cyclops, Balrog and  Smaug

    Every night,

    And find their way to hero-hood like all heroes do—

    Alone.

    Never mind the supporting efforts of a great cast of the right kind of people.

    We have to have heart for the work.

    We find heart by getting up and stepping into the next task waiting.

    That’s all there is to it,

    And no one can do it for us.

    So.

    Pick yourself up

    And step into the thing you most dread.

    Like all the heroes before you.
  64. 07/20/2014 — Elk River 01 — Elk Park, NC, June 22, 2014

    Multitasking kills your soul.

    Well. It kills your connection to soul.

    And if your connection is dead, soul may as well be.

    Except that with soul alive and waiting,

    The hope for a renewed connection is always there.

    Make a place in your life—

    One more damned thing to do (But what is that to a true multitasker?)—

    For the work of renewing/restoring your connection to soul.

    Where do you go to be quiet?

    Go there often.

    Can you be quiet?

    It feels wrong, scary, unnerving to be quiet in a culture as noisy,

    As loud, as rushed and hurried

    As this one is.

    You have to befriend silence

    In order to hear “the still small voice” of soul.

    Where do you go to be graced by beauty?

    Go there often.

    Deepen your awareness—

    Your appreciation of

    And love for—

    Beauty in art, music, nature, good company, good conversation, good food and drink.

    Where do you go to be creative?

    Imaginative?

    Lost in the work of your hands?

    In the work of your mind?

    Go there often.

    Make a place in your life for what your creative side loves to do.

    Cooking, perhaps.

    Sewing, gardening, writing, woodwork, knitting, weaving, painting, drawing…

    Don’t focus on the product, on production.

    Concentrate on the process of creation.

    Don’t have to be good at it.

    Be regularly at it.

    Let it be for you a threshold to soul.

    And life.

    Where do you go to be alive?

    Go there often.
  65. 07/20/2014 — On Roan Mountain 11 Panorama Detail A — Roan Mountain Highlands, Cherokee National Park at Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014

    The Greek Poet Homer, who knew something about enduring hardship, had Odysseus say, in the Odyssey, “I will stay with it and endure suffering hardship/and once the heaving sea has shaken my raft to pieces, then I will swim.”

    That’s what it takes.

    We can’t be floundering, giving up, surrendering to helplessness and hopelessness, sinking beneath the waves.

    We can’t be looking about, and, seeing no good happening anywhere, find no reason to go on with it, and give up.

    “Oh, the wars, the cruelty, the stupidity, the insensibility and insensitivity of those in power… It’s all so bleak, so barren, why try? Why go on? Why perpetuate the madness?”

    “Oh, the waves, the waves… They never end. Why try? Why swim? Who are we kidding?”

    We aren’t kidding anybody. We know what the deal is. The heaving sea has shaken our raft to pieces. And now we are swimming.

    So, shut up about how wet you are, and how dark the night is and how endless the waves are.

    Swim!

    Why?

    Because it is yours to do.

    Don’t be asking for some work that makes sense.

    That has a big payoff attached.

    That is the kind of work you would pick if you got to pick your work.

    Do what is yours to do in the time and place of your living,

    And don’t be saying, “Nobody could live this old life, here in the wine dark sea with nothing but heaving waves forever! Give me a better life. I’ll live that one.”

    This is your life.

    Live it.

    The way it needs to be lived.

    Swim as long as the waves last.

    Then walk through the desert until the sand runs out.
  66. 07/20/2014 — On Roan Mountain 11 Panorama Detail B — Roan Mountain Highlands, Cherokee National Park at Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014

    When Jesus died, the world was a mess.

    It’s still a mess.

    You can’t look at the world as it was, or as it is, and see any obvious impact of Jesus having lived.

    It was a mess before he lived.

    It was a mess after he died.

    It’s a mess now.

    It will be a mess tomorrow.

    The lesson I draw from this is: “Don’t let the impact of your living determine the way you live.”

    Don’t live to “make a difference.”

    Live to bring your gifts to life in the lives of others, and in the time and place of your living, and let that be that.

    Or, as Joseph Campbell said, condensing the message of the Bhagavad Gita, “Get in there and do your thing, and don’t worry about the outcome!”
  67. 07/21/2014 — On Roan Mountain 11 Panorama — Roan Mountain Highlands, Cherokee National Park at Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014

    Our trials and ordeals pull us forth.

    Or not.

    Jesus said, “Many are called, but few are chosen.”

    The rich young man turned away, and the crowd that shouted, “Crucify him!”, and all the others.

    Everyone looks, few see.

    Everyone listens, few hear.

    We know what we know.

    No.

    That’s the problem.

    We know what we THINK we know.

    We DON’T know what we know.

    And we don’t know that we don’t know what we know.

    So we think we know

    What we are looking at,

    What we are hearing,

    And we know trials and ordeals are to be avoided at all costs.

    And, if we cannot avoid them, we wail and moan

    “Poor me! Poor me! Why me??? Why me???”

    And miss what they have to offer.

    Trying to keep things as they always have been,

    We miss what might be

    If we open ourselves to ourselves,

    And allow our trials and ordeals to show us aspects of ourselves we don’t know are there.

    But.

    We don’t want to grow into who we are.

    So we “leave the way,

    Turn aside from the path,”

    And have nothing to do with the trials and ordeals

    That could bring forth the gifts

    We don’t know we have.
  68. 07/21/2014 — Country Cemetery 03 — Indian Land, SC, July 12, 2014

    In most situations, we have the ability to keep a bad situation from deteriorating into a really awful mess through the leverage we apply by the quality of our response to it.

    I say most situations because I have a close enough association with abusive relationships to know when people are into crazy—and I understand crazy to be extreme and erratic behavior (so that there is no way of predicting what’s coming next)—any response is likely to send them deeper into nutsness, including no response at all.

    Situations that aren’t that far gone can be redeemed through the right kind of response.

    We learn the art of the right kind of response by living with our eyes open,

    And by thinking about what we see.

    Experience and reflection on experience lead to new realizations.

    We become a master of the art of life by living a long time with our eyes open.

    Until we get it down, it’s hit-or-miss, sink-or-swim, take-your-chances-and-run-if-it-doesn’t-work.

    Recipes and formulas are just something else to take your chances with.
  69. 07/22/2014 — On Roan Mountain 13 — Round Bald, Roan Mountain Highlands, Cherokee National Park at Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014

    What you do with your life is your own business.

    I hope you will do it consciously,

    With intention and reflection.

    I hope you will live in in the company of those

    Who can help you with your life,

    Who can be helped with their life,

    Who understand the preciousness

    Of the treasure we steward

    And the importance of the service we are asked to render,

    Who take nothing about living for granted,

    And see life as a laboratory

    For learning how to live,

    Relishing each moment,

    Enjoying the wonder of the experience—

    Of each experience—

    Laughing with joy,

    And splashing around in both success and failure.

    Life, living, being alive is a treat and a gift.

    Don’t miss it!
  70. 07/22/14 — Tortoise 02 — Alligator Farm, St. Augustine, FL, May 11, 2014

    It isn’t what you say, it’s what you do.

    It isn’t what you do, it’s how you do it.

    If you can’t do what you do in the right spirit,

    Find what you can do in the right spirit

    And do that,

    So that words, action and heart

    Are integrated

    And the outward you and the inner you

    Are one.
  71. 07/22/2014 — Lake Martin Sunset 11 B&W — St. Martin Parish near Breaux Bridge, LA, February 7, 2014

    I can’t speak for you but

    I had no one to take me by the hand and make things clear.

    “When this happens, you will be tempted to do this, but if you do it,

    That will happen.

    I recommend doing this, instead.

    In this situation, be aware of this, this and this.

    It’s okay to take your time before saying or doing anything.”

    I could have benefited from the experience

    Of those who had gone before me.

    I didn’t know anyone who spoke out of her, of his,

    Own experience.

    They told me what they were supposed to tell me.

    What I was supposed to do, and leave undone.

    I grew up among people who did not experience anything.

    They did as they were told.

    As the preacher told them.

    As the Bible told them.

    As their Momma and Daddy told them

    (Who got it from THEIR Momma and Daddy).

    I needed to know, “What works?”

    “Doing what the Bible says works!”

    You can see where that left me.

    I’ve been finding my way all my life.

    I’ve had failures, snafu’s and faux pas’s

    To haunt me forever.

    So, I spend my time writing these little vignettes,

    Saying to whomever is reading

    What no one said to me.
  72. 07/23/2014 — Goshen Creek 16 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone, NC, From the Archives

    The Masters of the Art of Living were all of one mind.

    Each was herself, himself.

    None tried to be like another.

    Every one tended her, tended his, business—

    Worked her, worked his, side of the street—

    And left the rest for someone else to tend, to work.

    The didn’t spend their time telling others who, and how, to be.

    They did what they thought was best,

    The way they thought was best to do it,

    And didn’t meddle in the affairs of other people.

    They didn’t try to change the world,

    But lived in the world as the difference they would have sought

    If they were trying to make the world different.

    They relished silence and solitude,

    But they did not exclude themselves

    From good company, good conversation, good food and drink.

    They were not eager to impress,

    Nor were they bound to inflated ideas of importance.

    They were content to live in the service

    Of what they found to be valuable,

    And would have been surprised

    To hear that someone thought of them

    As Masters of the Art of Living.
  73. 07/23/2014 — Dugger’s Creek Falls 07/14 01 — Blue Ridge Parkway at Linville Falls, NC, July 6, 2014

    To speed up we have to slow down.

    Life goes faster every fifteen minutes it seems.

    It’s an old saw that to remain a viable hire option in the business world, we have to “reinvent ourselves every five years” (And that may be every two years by now).

    IT people who started working 25 years ago are quitting because they can’t keep up with the tidal wave of new technologies coming their way every 6 to 12 months.

    Compare that with our stone age ancestors who made the same exact arrowhead according to the way that was passed along from generation to generation for 10,000 years.

    Our psyche—our psychological development—was shaped through long eons in which nothing different ever happened.

    Now, things change dramatically overnight.

    We have to consciously and deliberately make the ongoing transition from the world we have evolved to live in to the world we live in.

    To do that, we have to remember this world is not home.

    We are all “strangers in a strange land,” around the world, across the board.

    We have to slow down and feel the impact of where we are—not run to keep up unaware of why we are having to run.

    We have to take time to feel the tension between where we have come from through the long distant ages, to where we are.

    We have to realize anew the great gap we are being asked to span, and know that the pace of life—and the noise level, and the stimulation level, and every level of life—are not what we have evolved to cope with.

    We are being required to swim in waters our ancestors never waded in.

    We have to proceed slowly, and realize where we have come from, and where we are.
  74. 07/23/2014 — Summer Fern 03 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Sims Creek, NC, June 30, 2014

    Maybe we should just quit what we are doing

    And write songs and poetry.

    We place too much emphasis upon the wrong things,

    And lose the way to the important things.

    We are preoccupied with wealth and privilege.

    But with all the wealth and privilege we could stand,

    There would be little to do with our time

    That would be more helpful or enjoyable

    Than writing songs and poetry,

    And we can do that now, exactly as we are!

    What does wealth and privilege have to offer

    That we do not already have?

    Songs and poetry are bridges to other worlds,

    To all the worlds,

    To the worlds that lie forgotten and unvisited,

    But there, waiting, hoping that we remember them

    And return, to wander their lanes and smell their flowers.

    Imagination! Fantasy! Rumination! Reflection! Walk-A-Bouts! Play!

    Oh, the paucity of those who engage not in the play of imagination!

    What are we thinking?

    That’s the problem.

    We are thinking.

    We need to start dreaming.

    And writing songs and poetry.
  75. 07/24/2014 — Jekyll Island Marsh 04 — Jekyll Island State Park, GA, May, 14, 2014

    The experience of God is the same in every time and place.

    Whether it is God, Yahweh, Shiva, the Tao, Alla, or the Buddha Mind,

    The experience is the same experience.

    It’s doctrine that makes the difference.

    Doctrine is what we do to explain experience—

    To make sense of experience.

    We all experience the same experience

    And argue/fight over what the experience means.

    The more we talk about the experience,

    The farther removed from the experience we become.

    Soon enough, we are talking about the fine points of doctrine,

    Explaining how this doctrine can be true

    In light of that doctrine.

    The experience is lost in words about words.

    When we lay the words aside

    And live out of the experience alone,

    The world is better for it.

    We should be working, not to make disciples,

    But to re-experience the experience,

    And suggest ways for others to experience the experience.

    Where would you go to experience the transcendence of God?

    What would you do?

    Go there, do that.

    Often.

    Let the wonder of the experience

    Show forth in your life.
  76. 07/24/2014 — Trunk and Roots B&W — Graveyard Beach, Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, May 1, 2014

    Think of stress as turmoil that embroils you in the turmoil.

    Turmoil, noise, confusion, chaos—

    The roiling boil of life.

    Knowing how to live in the stress without being stressed by it

    Would change our life.

    Think of happiness, not as something to get—

    One more damned thing to strive for within the heaving seas of our life—

    But as something to be, anywhere, any time, any how.

    Happiness is a skill to be learned, perfected and applied,

    Like hitting a curve ball,

    Or playing an alto sax.

    Knowing how to live happily amid the turmoil of our day

    Would change our life.

    Negative, depressed, angry, resentful, critical, judgmental people

    Create an environment which is death to the soul.

    Joseph Campbell said, “The influence of a vital person vitalizes.”

    Knowing how to move from death to life

    Would change our life.

    With so much to know,

    What are we doing not knowing?
  77. 07/24/2014 — Door Panel — Mission San Jose, San Antonio Missions National Historic Park, San Antonio, Texas, February 7, 2014

    There is a knowing that knows,

    Which thinking and being afraid,

    Or craving,

    Keeps us from knowing.

    Babies know,

    Before they learn to fear, or crave, or think.

    Thinking thinks of its advantage,

    Of what it stands to gain or lose,

    Of where it’s best good lies.

    Thinking interferes with knowing,

    Keeps us from knowing,

    From knowing what we know,

    From seeing what we look at,

    From hearing what we listen to,

    From feeling what we feel,

    From sensing what we sense,

    And cuts us off from the immediacy of our own experience,

    And keeps us from being alive

    In the time and place of our living.

    Finding our way past thinking to knowing

    Is the Hero’s Journey,

    And the Deep Need of the times—

    All times.
  78. 07/25/2014 — Big Thicket Swamp — Big Thicket National Preserve, Kountze, Texas, February 7, 2014

    William Butler Yeats described every transitional period in history—for individuals, societies, nations and cultures—with his poem “The Second Coming.”

    There, Yeats wondered, “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last/Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

    In the chaos of transition from one way of being to another, it is impossible to tell.

    JRR Tolkien, in “The Lord of the Rings,” had Legolas say, “Few can foresee whither their road will lead them, till they come to its end.”

    And, in the same work, he had Hama say, “Yet in doubt a man of worth will trust to his own wisdom.”

    And had Gandalf say, “You chose amid doubts the path that seemed right.” And, “Go where you must go, and hope!”

    All of which sums up where we are, at those places in our life, and in the life of nations, where the old is passing away, and the new is not-yet come.

    When the world in which we live is adrift without foundation or direction, we have to be able to sink the pilings that will support our life in the center of our own life and being.

    We have to know who we are and what we are about—

    What is central to us, what is the core, the heart,

    The source and goal and essence of us—

    And live in ways that express, exhibit, and honor that

    Through the long days of uncertainty and unknowing.

    What ARE we certain of?

    What DO we know with assurance and conviction?

    What matters most?

    What are the values at the ground of who we are?

    Bring forth the lodestone,

    And follow it unerringly through the dark morass

    Of the in-between times,

    And hope!
  79. 07/25/2014 — Carter Shields Cabin HDR 05 — Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, March 1, 2014

    How is your life working?

    What is your vitality level?

    How much energy do you have for the tasks of life?

    What saps your energy?

    What renews your energy?

    What’s working best?

    What’s not working at all?

    To what extent do you believe in what you’re doing?

    To what extent are you doing things you don’t believe in?

    How can you work more of what you believe in into your life?

    To what extent does the life you are living reflect the values and qualities you value?

    How much time for silence, meditation and reflection do you work into each week?

    Where are you most alive? How much time do you spend there each week?

    Your life is your work.

    How is it working?
  80. 07/26/2014 — HWY 145 — Through Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, near McBee, SC, May 14, 2014

    Make yourself familiar with the moment of your living.

    We rush through our moments on the way to some other, more desirable or necessary moment.

    We don’t have time for THIS moment!

    We have to be in THAT one in 10 minutes!

    We pass through our moments as though they were steps

    To some hoped-for treasure

    That will make us happy at last

    And life all worthwhile.

    Stop! Look! Listen!

    We are missing it by looking for it somewhere else!

    Become familiar with each moment before moving into the next one.

    If you think your moments are coming at you too fast

    To attend,

    You have to learn to attend faster.

    It starts with attending slowly.

    And that starts with getting out of the way

    With your hurry up gotta be there yesterday way of living.

    Lay your judgmental conditioning aside

    By being aware of it,

    Then looking for the next thing to be aware of.

    What catches your eye?

    Take your time with it.

    Board the train of associations and see where it takes you.

    Then come back to the moment.

    What else—what all—is there?

    Being where we are is the prerequisite for going somewhere else.

    If you are always where you are, you will be ready for anywhere.
  81. Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 07/26/2014 — Sunflower on Black 2014 — York County, SC, July 26, 2014

    The Dalai Lama has armed bodyguards.

    You have to make your peace with the contradictions at work in your life.

    The closer you look, the more you see,

    And the less things are like what you thought they were.

    Stop being ashamed of your contradictions!

    Stop thinking you are supposed to be one way only.

    Integrity is the integration of your opposites.

    You integrate your opposites when you say,

    “I’m like this,”

    “And I am also like this.”

    This is true about us,

    And its polar opposite is also true about us.

    We are yin-yang to the core.

    So is the Dalai Lama.
  82. 07/27/2014 — Sunflower on White 2014 — York County, SC, July 26, 2014

    It isn’t about being natural.

    Authenticity and genuineness and integrity don’t require us, or even ask us, to follow the course of least resistance, and sink into the habits and outlooks and ways of being that come easy and ask nothing of us.

    I know someone who is becoming a mean-spirited and humorless old woman.

    It doesn’t have to be so.

    But it will be so without awareness of what is easy, even natural, and the conscious intention to be some way else instead.

    This is integrating the opposites.

    “I tend to be this way, but I choose to be that way.”

    Different worlds vie within for expression without.

    We recognize them all, and align ourselves with the ones that we deem to be appropriate to the occasion.

    We age as we choose to age, taking all the options into account,

    And walking among them

    As one who recognizes the potential of them all

    And lets them be

    Without allowing any to consume us without permission.

    We have to continue the work of growing up

    All the way to the grave.
  83. 07/27/2014 — Sunflower on Yellow 2014 — York County, SC, July 26, 2014 — Okay, this is it. The entire color wheel would be ridiculous. It was fun (for me) while it lasted. When you’re 70, you take your fun where you find it.

    You have to live out of your own authority—

    Out of the center of what you know to be valuable,

    Important,

    Beautiful,

    Good,

    And true.

    Jesus asked his disciples who people said the was,

    And they answered with “Some say this, and some say that,”

    (Or words to that effect,)

    Then he nailed them with, “And who do YOU say that I am?”

    Not “Who does the Bible say that I am?”

    Or “Who does the church, or the preachers, or orthodox Christian Doctrine, say that I am.”

    We could take his approach and apply it across the board, around the circle, about every matter of life and living.

    What do YOU say is important, worthwhile, needs to be done?

    Don’t be saying and doing what someone else says should be said and done.

    What do YOU say?

    That’s what you need to be saying and doing.
  84. 07/27/2014 — Elk River Rapids 01 — Elk Park, NC, June 16, 2014

    Make it a part of your practice to pause at various points in each day to ask, “What is my heart, mind and body saying to me right now?”

    And listen attentively and non-judgmentally for the answer.

    Allow knowing to lead to doing.

    That’s all it takes to get your life on track and keep it there.
  85. 07/28/2014 — Country Cemetery 02 B&W — Indian Land, SC, July 12, 2014

    There are different ways of viewing meditation. One way is to see it as removed from the world of ordinary mental activity.

    The Buddhists say, “Focus on your breath to keep your thoughts from wandering into Monkey Mind. And when it wanders, bring it back to your breath.”

    I say: “Focus on everything and let your mind do it’s thing, so that when it wanders, focus on it wandering. Pay attention to where it goes and be curious about what that may have to say about your current life situation.”

    Meditation is focused attention.

    It doesn’t matter what your focus is.

    I focus on my mind, and listen to, see, what it would show me, say to me.

    And if it goes to worrying, fretting, being anxious and fearful about what may happen, I see that as a gentle nudge to ponder what thinking about those things is keeping me from thinking about—and see what comes to mind.

    The same thing for daydreaming about delights and wonders and the life I wish were mine: What is thinking about these things keeping me from thinking about?

    What would my mind, body, heart and soul have me think about?

    I open myself to that and see what comes.

    Whatever comes is an invitation to an inner dialogue.

    “Why are you (mind, body, heart, soul) giving me THIS to think about? What does THIS have to do with me?” And see what comes.

    If I am open and non-judgmental, pliant and not resistant, a dialogue takes shape, with me being the voice of mind, body, heart, and soul—and the voice of me, myself and I (which we might call Ego).

    Ego is not a bad thing. We cannot be a conscious, willing, self without being Ego. Aligning Ego with mind, body, heart and soul is the trick, so that we are all one, working together toward the true good of all.

    We do that through meditation, through awareness, and the knowing produced thereby, and understanding what we all have to say, and agreeing as to what is to be done about it.
  86. 07/28/2014 — Cosmos 01 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Hwy 21 exit, Fort Mill, SC, July 26, 2014

    How many times can you get up?

    And step back into it?

    And have another go?

    Knowing you’re going to have to get up again,

    And do it some more?

    Let me explain something to you.

    If you get this,

    And understand your role,

    And accept it,

    And play it out all the way to the end,

    Doing it just like it’s scripted

    And you’re an actor playing your part,

    You will have it made,

    And nothing will be able to untrack you,

    Ever.

    Here it is:

    Life is a stone wall,

    And it is your place to run into it full bore

    In the service of the things that need you to do them—

    And get up and do it again.

    Everything depends on you doing it.

    I depend on it.

    You depend on me doing it.

    Let’s don’t let each other down!
  87. 07/29/2014 — Black-Eyed Susans 01 — Indian Land, SC, July 20, 2014

    Jon Kabat-Zinn said, “The important question is ‘How are you going to handle it?’. In other words, ‘Now what?’”.

    In order to answer the question the way it needs to be answered, we have what he calls “direct contact with your life.”

    That would be:

    Seeing what we see,

    Hearring what we hear,

    Touching what we touch,

    Tasting what we taste,

    Smelling what we smell,

    Sensing what we sense,

    Feeling what we feel,

    Thinking what we think,

    Knowing what we know,

    Doing what we do, and

    Being who we are—and also are.

    In each situation as it arises,

    From moment to moment

    Throughout the time left for living.

    If you are going to practice anything, practice that.
  88. 07/29/2014 — On Roan Mountain 09 — Pilgrims on the Path (The Appalachian Trail between Jane Bald and Round Bald), Cherokee National Forest at Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014

    Things are not the way we have been told that they are.

    Things are not even the way we say they are.

    Our idea of the way things are has no connection with the way things are.

    There is more to it than meets the eye.

    There is more to it than we can imagine or conceive.

    We devise our theologies and our doctrines,

    Formulate our ideologies,

    And dance around the latest rendition of how reality is really,

    As though what we say, or what someone says, goes.

    And then we hit that solid rock wall,

    And our convictions dissolve in the heaving waves

    Of the wine dark sea,

    Leaving us quite lost and out of sorts.

    But even there, someone is at work devising

    The next great rendition of how reality works.

    It should go like this:

    All we know for sure is that we don’t know anything for sure.

    So, it would be smart if we didn’t try to be too smart,

    And honored the reality of more than words can say

    Or thoughts can think,

    And simply open ourselves to,

    And place ourselves in the service of,

    The mystery of numinous transcendence beyond our grasp.

    And see where it goes.
  89. 07/30/2014 — Goodale State Park 06, revised — Adams Mill Pond, Big Pine Tree Creek, near Camden, SC, November 1, 2013 

    Jon Kabat-Zinn said, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: On purpose, to the present moment, non-judgmentally. This kind of attention nurtures greater awareness, clarity, and acceptance of present-moment reality…It is about stopping and being present, that is all.”

    We cannot know what to do about what is happening until we can see what is happening.

    We cannot see what is happening until we can see what we are looking at—meaning, taking into account everything antecedent to what is happening, where it comes from, what instigated it, what it is responding to, what it is attempting to accomplish, what it means…

    We cannot change anything until we can see it for what it is and accept the implications it has for our life, and the lives of others, and determine what needs to be done in light of all things considered.

    We rehearse for the big things by practicing on the little things: Paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment, non-judgmentally, in every moment.

    (Jon Kabat-Zinn’s books, “Full Catastrophe living” and “Wherever You Go There You Are,” grew out of his work as director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center)
  90. 07/30/2014 — Stained Glass Grapes 07 — Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, Greensboro, NC, 2008

    In response to the question, “How can we find our calling, discover our destiny, and align our life with the life that is our life to live?”

    James Hillman replied, “It’s important to ask yourself, ‘How am I useful to others? What do people want from me?’ That may very well reveal what you are here for.”

    I can’t remind you often enough that Carl Jung said, “We are who we always have been, and who we will be.”

    Our core is the Essential I within.

    It is the drift of our soul toward one kind of thing and not any other kind of thing.

    I’ve always written—and wanted a typewriter as soon as I learned to type—and wandered in the woods, and floated on lakes and streams, and wondered about the contradictions apparent on every hand.

    I have always seen into the heart of things and listened to what was said, and how it was said, and what wasn’t being said, and held it all in solution awaiting clarification, understanding, interpretation.

    I made a career of serving those things, and am still in the thick of them, relishing the joy of their company, and wondering what we’ll be up to next.

    The camera is my magic wand, my totem, the vehicle of my art, my gift, my genius, and the means of my coming forth in my life and the world.

    The computer is both my brush and my canvas—displaying me to you, and making concrete the abstract notions of self and service.

    And you have a similar story to tell about you and your life and the things that bring you forth, and let you shine.

    They are potential to us all, awaiting only the freedom, and the courage and the chance to break out into the light of life, and offer themselves to the good of all who come within the scope of their grace.
  91. 07/31/2014 — The Other Lone Cypress 2008 — Reedy Fork, Lake Brandt, Greensboro, NC, November 2008

    Right action (right doing) flows spontaneously from right seeing, right hearing, right understanding, right knowing, and right being.

    We generally think our way into acting in response to what we perceive to be our best interest, our highest good, our greatest advantage.

    Never mind what the situation is calling for, or what needs to happen for the good of all concerned, or in the service of a compelling sense of duty or obligation.

    We know what we want, and we are going to pursue our way at the expense of all that is in our way.

    This is called profit at any price.

    In the fine tradition of Adam and Eve, we trade paradise for something more appealing.

    Those who know take the time to see, hear and understand.

    Those who are in a hurry say, “I’m hungry and that soup smells delicious. What’s a birthright to someone in my condition?” And make the trade (The story of Esau and Jacob if you want to look it up).

    It takes a lot of looking to be able to see. A lot of listening in order to hear. A lot of inquiry in order to understand. And we have things to do, so apparent good will have to suffice.

    We have to take the time to sense what is before us, and know what is on the line.

    Stop. Look. Listen. Make inquiries. Catch the drift of heart and soul. Feel your way into the awareness of what is being asked of you in each situation as it arises. Let your doing flow of its own accord in light of all things considered.
  92. 07/31/2014 — Beach Sunrise 2008 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, NC, October 2008

    James Hillman asked, “Why is there such a vast self-help industry in this country?

    Why do all these selves need help?

    They have been deprived of something by our psychological culture.

    They have been deprived of the sense that there is something else in life,

    Some purpose that has come with them into the world.”

    There is more to it all than meets the eye.

    More to you and me than meets even OUR eye!

    Some purpose came with us into the world,

    And waits even now,

    As a hidden treasure waits

    To bestow its gifts upon those who seek

    To make visible the invisible

    By incarnating the wonder and mystery of their own being.

    The great adventure

    And hero’s journey

    Is becoming who we are.
  93. 08/01/2014 — Smoky Dogwoods 2008 01 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlingburg, TN, April 2008

    The observation, “It rains on the just and the unjust,” means the good rain that brings the harvest, and the bad rain that washes away the newly planted seed, comes upon the just and unjust alike.

    It means there are no strategies for guaranteeing the right kind of rain and avoiding the wrong kind.

    It means your lucky charms, and your Prayer of Jabez, and your Power of Attraction, and your efforts to please whatever gods there may be are only ways of tricking yourself into false feelings of security.

    The Universe makes no deals and plays no favorites.

    It goes better for us only when we all work to serve the true good of all.

    The help we get comes from realizing we are all in this together and do what we can to offer the right kind of help in the right kind of way to one another—

    Without withholding help from, or making things difficult for, those who aren’t doing it our way, and, therefore, aren’t our kind of people.

    The Universe works as well as it can work when we all help all kinds of people.

    When we don’t draw lines and separate people out according to the prevailing idea of who does, and who does not, deserve to be helped.

    Straight people and gay people help one another.

    Tall people and short people help one another.

    Male people and female people help one another.

    And so on, around the circle, throughout the world.

    There are no differences between Palestinians and Israelis,

    Between rich and poor,

    Among people of color (We are all some shade of human).

    Doctrine divides.

    Ideology is death to body and soul.

    Compassion heals.

    Loving kindness makes well.

    Living together in good faith is the only magic we will ever need.
  94. 08/01/2014 — On Roan Mountain 16 — Cherokee National Forest at Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014

    If we listen for our hunches, for our sense of pace and timing, and do what we feel needs doing when we feel it needs to be done, we will get better at feeling our hunches and getting our timing down.

    And that will make all the difference.
  95. 08/02/2014 — Viaduct Fall 2008 03 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain, NC, October 2008

    In The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien has Gandalf say, “It is only by musing on all that has happened that I have at last understood.”

    Joseph Campbell said, “It is through reflection upon experience that we arrive at new realizations.”

    We cannot be alive without “musing on all that has happened.”

    By reflecting on our experience, we make connections between, among, discordant realities, and lay the groundwork for insight, understanding, enlightenment, by forming “new realizations.”

    And, like that, our world is transformed, and nothing is as it was.

    This is called growing up.

    It is also called the hero’s journey.

    It waits for us all.
  96. 08/03/2014 — The Fence in the Fog — Indian Land, SC, July 12, 2014

    The world is a mess.

    Things are increasingly chaotic and out of control.

    Everyone is trying to force their idea of how everyone else ought to be onto everyone else.

    It’s a circus

    With no headmaster

    And only clowns to run the show.

    What to do?

    Live out of that which is deepest, best and truest about you.

    Express the values that are truly valuable.

    Do your thing with compassion and kindness—

    Trusting yourself to your own sense of balance and direction—

    Integrating your own opposites,

    Asking the questions that beg to be ask,

    Saying the things, with kindness and compassion, that cry out to be said,

    Living out of the center of what is of central importance to you

    And to each situation as it arises,

    Refusing to be swept up in fear and madness,

    But sustaining those who can be sustained

    With the qualities and character of caring presence

    And unrelenting good faith

    Through all the trials and ordeals of these days—

    As though it is your moment of glory

    And your time to shine,

    Because it is.
  97. 08/03/2014 — Great Blue Heron 2008 01 — Pamlico Sound, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, October 2008

    We have to help ourselves become the right kind of help in each situation as it arises

    By doing what we can to be healed and whole, grounded and present in each situation as it arises.

    And availing ourselves of the help that is available to us

    In living the life that is ours to live

    And doing what needs us to do it in the time left for living.

    Robert Johnson’s book, “Inner Work,”

    Robert Johnson’s and Jerry M. Ruhl’s book, “Living Your Unlived Life,”

    James Hollis’ book “Hauntings,”

    Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book, “Full Catastrophe Living,”

    Ann Weiser Cornell’s book, “The Power of Focusing,”

    Parker Palmer’s books, “Let Your Life Speak,” and “A Hidden Wholeness,”

    Serve to orient us toward—and direct us in—the work of recovering

    And living out of

    The center of life in being.

    What kind of false pride

    And abounding arrogance

    Would refuse what is offered,

    Reject available guides,

    And go it alone?
  98. 08/03/2014 — Pink Flame Azalea — Blue Ridge Parkway at Linville Falls, NC, May 26, 2014

    You have to do the work every day for the rest of your life.

    The work of living your own life,

    Of being who you are,

    Of doing it the way only you can do it.

    Alexis Carrel said, “We cannot remake ourselves without suffering, for we are both the marble and the sculptor” (Or words to that effect).

    So, enough with book studies, and Bible studies, and lectures, and discussions, and workshops, and seminars, and talk, talk, talk!

    Step into your life and live the thing as well as you are able—

    And let it teach you what you need to do to better be who you are

    In each situation as it arises.

    Don’t have to know what to do before getting started!

    Jump in there and figure it out as you go!

    Let your mistakes and failures guide you into the full experience and expression of the wonder of you!
  99. -8/03/2014 — Stained Glass Grapes 02 — Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, Greensboro, NC, 2008

    I would not be surprised to learn that every living thing structures its time in ways that put it in accord with its life—that is to say with the larger rhythms of which it is a part.

    I sit on our porch in the cool of the evening—which is one of the ways I structure my time—and watch night fall. Some mornings when my rhythms dictate an early rise, I sit and watch daylight come.

    In the evenings, two or more rabbits gather in our back yard to nibble blades of grass. Our yard is about forty feet from the porch to the woods. We live on a dead end street in a neighborhood of about 125 houses bounded by woods on three sides of the development. The woods themselves are bounded by other developments, and wildlife does what it can to fit itself to its shrinking habitat.

    The deer have moved to larger stands of forest, leaving our woods to the rabbits and raccoons, mice and voles, which are taking what they have to work with and making it work.

    If they wake up to rain, they make it work. Snow, same thing. Heat, drought, bulldozers—same thing. They restructure their life to take the new wrinkle into account and go about their business as well as they can.

    No opinion. No despair. No depression. No anger. No malice. No emotional response (I’m making all of this up) beyond initial consternation and confusion as they try to make sense of things and find their way in a world that has changed overnight.

    They restructure their life to fit their new world, and are back in business to the extent that they can be, filling their tummies and having offspring in service to the larger rhythms of which they are a part.

    It is what life does. Restructuring itself to take a new world into account. Finding a way to keep things going. Going about its business as well as it can.

    We are built for that as much as the rabbits and raccoons are. That’s what got us here. That’s what keeps us going. We can trust it and our ability to restructure our life, and find a way to be about the business that is our business in every new world that comes along. How can you think not? It’s what got you here, and keeps you going.
  100. 08/04/2014 — On Roan Mountain 23 — Jane Bald, Cherokee National Forest at Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014

    There is something to not like about every single thing.

    It’s a little too much this, a little too little that.

    Why be happy ever with the way things are?

    They won’t last.

    Some people have the knack of knowing what’s wrong about it all.

    And emphasize it at the expense of their ability to be content and at peace with their life.

    Let go what’s wrong if you’re just going to talk about it.

    Let be what’s right even if it isn’t perfectly right.

    Make the allowances that need to be made,

    And make the alterations that need to be made,

    And stop the whining.

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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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