One Minute Monologues 021

09/19/2014 – 11/01/2014

  1. 09/19/2014 — Life begins here, now.

    Just as the path begins under our feet.

    It doesn’t wait until some far off time,

    Or some far away place.

    The path is the path to life

    We will never be more alive than we are here, now.

    We will be more aware of the life we are living,

    But, we are as alive as we can be, here, now.

    We can only be more aware of how alive we are,

    Of how alive everything is around us.

    The color of the sky,

    The movement of clouds, and ants,

    The taste of coffee,

    The sound of laughter and conversation…

    Native Americans 200 years ago were more alive than we are.

    Primal tribes were more alive than we are—

    With no iPhones or iPads or Sexting or Tweeting,

    No career plans and no maxed-out bank cards.

    Our life is dying to be lived.

    The path begins under our feet.

    Wake up.

    To life.

    Here.

    Now.
  2. 09/20/2014 — Saturated Sunset 02 — Pamlico Sound, approaching Ocracoke Island, NC from Swanquarter, NC, October 2008

    All we have is each other.

    To be lost and alone is to have no one who cares about you,

    Who cares for you,

    Who knows you,

    Listens to you—hearing with understanding what you have to say,

    Who looks in on you,

    Checks in with you,

    Brings you Little Nothings,

    Invites you to go get pizza

    Or a cup of coffee

    To catch up on how things are

    And enjoy the time together.

    We need to be fostering that kind of relationship—

    By being the kind of person we need in our life

    Among all those we know,

    And see who responds.

    If no one does,

    We need to meet some more people.
  3. 09/20/2014 — View from Clingman’s Dome (Parking Lot) 07 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC, September 1, 2014

    How much do you enjoy about your life?

    How often do you do the things you like to do?

    Why don’t you live to enlarge the answers to both questions?
  4. 09/21/2014 — Looking East 06 — Water Rock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway near Maggie Valley, NC, September 1, 2004

    Living appropriately

    In response to the all-ness of the situation

    As it unfolds before, and within, us

    Requires us to step away from expectations,

    Rules, codes, laws, traditions, dictates, conventions, customs, mores,

    Habits, routines, policies, rules, regulations and common practices,

    In order to do what needs to be done

    In each here-and-now of our living.

    Those who see, hear, understand and live accordingly,

    Live in the “no-man’s-land” of personal authority and responsibility—

    Out of accord with every Book of Order of their day,

    And in apparent league with Satan,

    Or the current equivalent

    Of the appalling, obscene, unheard of, abominable and abhorrent.

    Got it in you?

    If so, give them something to talk about!

    In each situation as it arises!
  5. 09/21/2014 — Woods Pond HDR 01 — Ribbonwalk Nature Preserve, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, September 21, 2014

    We are responsible for our response to the moment of our living.

    We are responsible for facing up to the facts of the situation as it arises.

    We are responsible for coming to terms with the nature and conditions of our life.

    No one can do these things for us.

    Everything rides on our doing them on our own.

    Everything.

    Every.

    Thing.
  6. 09/21/2014 — Around Lake Haigler 04 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, September 5, 2014

    It’s all practice.

    We are practicing making peace with our life.

    I have failed to be what the situation needed me to be,

    And I have been exactly what the situation needed me to be.

    One does not cancel out the other.

    I am forever haunted by my failings.

    I am forever grateful for my nailing it.

    Failing or nailing could either sweep me up

    In despair or inflation.

    I have to make my peace with each

    And be available to the situation that is arising—

    Not lost in any situation that has come and gone.

    When a memory of failing comes over me,

    I have to make my peace with it.

    When a memory of nailing pays me a call,

    I have to make my peace with it.

    Same with fear, anxiety, desire, dread…

    We recognize all of the emotions that would distract us and un-track us—

    And make our peace with them.

    Same with external opposition and resistance,

    Disrespect, disappointment, lack of cooperation, etc.

    We acknowledge it and make our peace with it.

    We PRACTICE making our peace with it.

    We PRACTICE not allowing it to distract and untrack us.

    Each day offers additional rounds of practice.

    We even have to practice making our peace

    With wishing we could skip a day or to,

    Or graduate and be at peace without having to practice.

    We practice making our peace with practice.

    It’s all practice.
  7. 09/22/2014 — Compass Pond 02 — Along Golden Road near Millinocket, ME, September 25, 2012

    How will we live our life?

    That’s the foundational question.

    How will we live our life today?

    In every moment?

    In each situation as it arises?

    In light of what shall we live?

    Toward what shall we live?

    What will guide our boat on its path through the sea?

    What will guide our response to the time and place of our living?

    What shall we live for?

    What shall we live to do?

    In the service of what shall we live?

    Every day

    Every moment

    Every situation

    The question is the same one.

    How shall we live

    Here and now?
  8. 09/22/2014 — Heavy Seas 18 — Otter Point, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME, September 29, 2012

    We talk, read, study, take courses, attend seminars and workshops,

    And put off doing anything about changing the way we are living

    By talking, reading, studying, etc. some more

    To make sure we understand what needs to be done

    And how to do it.

    Meanwhile, our life—the life that needs us to live it—waits untended,

    Wilting for lack of attention.

    Every lecture, book, course, seminar, workshop, etc.

    Is about changing our life.

    If our life were working, we wouldn’t be talking, reading, studying, etc.

    For our life to start working

    We are going to have to stop living like we are living

    And start living like we need to be living.

    We are going to have to begin DOING things differently.

    We are going to have to CHANGE.

    And we know that.

    So, we talk, read, study, take courses…

    Glad that there is always another book to read,

    So that we can think longer about what we need to do

    Without having to do it.
  9. 09/23/2014 — Baxter Creek Bridge 02 — Big Creek Campground, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC, November 2008 

    We aren’t trying to get somewhere

    We are trying to wake up to where we are.

    Trying to wake up is a different kind of trying

    Than trying to get somewhere else.

    Trying to wake up

    Is trying to be here, now—

    Fully aware of all that is here, now—
  10. Inside and outside—

    Without interfering with any of it,

    Without judgment

    As condemnation or criticism

    Or as commendation and admiration.

    Wanting something to go

    Or wanting something to stay

    Keeps you from simply seeing it as it is

    And interferes with your seeing what else there is

    In the moment

    Other than the thing despised/adored.

    Waking up is seeing what you look at

    And seeing all of the emotions it stirs in you

    Without identifying with any of them

    Without becoming any of them

    Just seeing, just knowing.

    Waking up is seeing, knowing, what is there.

    All that is there.

    In every moment.

    You haven’t gone anywhere,

    But you have transformed the moment—

    And yourself—

    Just by seeing/knowing what’s what.

    If you think that’s easy, give it a spin.

    It isn’t easy.

    That’s why it’s called “Practice.”

    We practice seeing/knowing

    Because nobody just sees and knows.

    Everybody interferes with the process

    By wanting, not-wanting.

    By liking, not-liking.

    To see/know,

    We have to have compassion for everything,

    Just as it is.

    Everything.

    Every.

    Single.

    Thing.

    You can’t do it without practice.

    Start practicing.

    Beginning now.
  11. 09/23/2014 — Bridge to Rough Ridge — Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, July 6, 2014

    Photography is the worship of light.

    Ancient peoples worshiped, not so much the sun, but sunlight.

    Sunlight gave them life.

    Gave them everything that was conducive to life.

    Was life.

    Photography takes up the worship of light that is life,

    And relishes the wonder,

    And shares the joy,

    Of life,

    And light.

    For all to see,

    And be moved.

    Amen!

    May it be ever so!
  12. 09/24/2014 — Oconoluftee River 04 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC, September 1, 2014

    We cannot live any way at all.

    We cannot live dumb.

    We cannot live stupid.

    We cannot live with our eyes closed.

    We cannot live however we feel like living—

    Insensitive to the implications,

    And ramifications,

    And impact of our living.

    Jesus told a man who was doing the same exact thing

    Jesus had done,

    “If you know what you are doing, you are blessed,

    But if you don’t know what you are doing,

    You are cursed and a transgressor of the Law.”

    It isn’t enough to know what Jesus would do.

    You have to live in ways that are appropriate to the occasion

    Whether Jesus ever did it or not.

    Jacob Bronowski said, “If you want to know the truth,

    You have to live in certain ways.”

    He meant you have to live truthfully.

    You have to live with your eyes open to the truth–

    “The whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

    You can’t be blindly following the rear end of the cow

    In front of you—

    Or blindly obeying the mood of the moment of the cow

    Inside of you.

    You have to be alert to what is happening around you and within you,

    And do what needs to be done about it,

    In response to it,

    Out of your sense of—your feel for—the Allness of the situation

    In every situation—

    Regardless of what you want to do,

    Are in the mood for,

    Or feel like doing.
  13. 09/24/2014 — Lake Martin Sunset 09 B&W — St. Martin Parish near Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, February 7, 2014

    There is what we say we believe in,

    And there is what we believe in.

    Carl Jung said, “Don’t tell me what you believe in—

    Live so that I see it!”

    Or words to that effect.

    What do you believe in?

    Could someone look at your life and know you believe in it?

    How does your life reflect and serve what you say you believe in?

    What does your life exhibit, express and disclose to be what you actually believe in?

    How does what you say you believe in square with what your life says you believe in?

    How do you manage the discrepancy?
  14. 09/24/2014 — Looking East 07 — Water Rock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway near Maggie Valley, NC, September 2, 2014

    We have to believe in who we are,

    And what we are about—

    In doing the work that is ours to do—

    That only we can do

    The way we can do it.

    We have to believe that we are essential to our work,

    And that our work is essential to us.

    We have to know that our work is our life,

    And live to do it—

    And that we are the only hope of our work

    In all the world.

    We nurture our work,

    Our work nourishes us,

    And together we shine.

    Our work is not across the sea,

    That we should go in search of it,

    Or across some desert,

    Or high up on some mountain,

    That we should pay some handsome price,

    Physically and financially,

    To find it.

    It is as close as our heart,

    As near to us as our soul,

    Waiting for us to wake up

    And realize who we are,

    And know the deep joy of our heart,

    And bring it forth:

    The work that is ours yet to do,

    The life that is ours yet to live.

    The song that is ours yet to sing.
  15. 09/25/2014 — Atlantic Dawn — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, NC, October 2008

    We coordinate the interests of heart, soul, mind and body.

    If we take sides with any of them at the expense of the rest of them,

    We end up in very bad place.

    Heart can’t say to Mind, “If you would just listen to me,

    We all would be better off!”

    Mind can’t say to Body, “If your nose weren’t so big, we all would be better off!”

    Every element of our being has to be aligned with all the other elements of our being

    For our being to have elegance and grace,

    Experience meaning,

    Serve purpose,

    And be one with the way of life

    That flows through all.

    Our role is to oversee the relationships,

    And to serve the good of the parts and the whole—

    Which means we have no vested interest,

    And can only be a mindful observer—

    Calling attention to all that we see,

    And insisting that we work out conflicts of interest

    In light of the true good of all concerned.

    As it is then within,

    So it is without,

    And we live as a medium of peace and reconciliation

    In the world of space and time.

    Though we do nothing

    And are no one of special importance,

    We transform our surroundings,

    And save the world.
  16. 09/25/2014 — Smoky Sunset 02 — Approaching Morton’s Overlook, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC, September 1, 2014

    Our practice is being mindful—being compassionately aware—of the moment we are living.

    We are a part of two worlds in each moment:

    The external world and the internal world.

    We are where two worlds meet.

    The quality of that meeting is determined

    By the quality of our awareness of both worlds

    In the moment of their interaction.

    Our practice is improving the quality of our awareness—

    And allowing everything to flow from there—

    To fall into place around that.
  17. 09/26/2014 — Fall Reflections — Price Lake, Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, October 2008

    “Plugging away” is another term for the practice of seeing what is happening and doing what needs to be done about it, in response to it, in each situation as it arises, all our life long.

    We plug away.

    We pick ourselves up and get ready for the next play.

    We live in light of what is important, no matter what.

    The Cyclops and all of his chums are arrayed against us.

    We accept that as the way things are,

    And refuse to let them slow us down.

    We have work to do.

    Our life needs us to live it—

    Needs us to be who we are—

    Needs us to offer the gifts we have to give—

    Even if no one is interested in,

    Or cares about,

    What we have to give—

    Or even if they love us

    And want to treat us like royalty.

    Treating us like royalty is just another manifestation

    Of the Cyclops,

    Stopping us in our tracks,

    And keeping us from doing the work that is ours to do.

    Our work isn’t being a celebrity.

    Our work is being who we are in EVERY situation as it arises.

    Plugging away requires us to plug away

    Through the bad AND through the good,

    Doing our thing in season and out of season,

    Living our life as only we can,

    For the good of the parts,

    And the good of the whole.

    We aren’t trying to get somewhere.

    We are trying to be who we are,

    Where we are,

    When we are,

    How we are,

    No matter what.

    It’s all plugging away at the task of being a true human being.

    Today is another day for the work of being who we are!
  18. 09/26/2014 — Spanning the Potomac 01 — Harper’s Ferry, WV, September 26, 2014

    The trick is to recognize that we have a way

    Without having to have it—

    But having it often enough to be a person of character,

    With a definite shape and style.

    Having a way sets us apart as individuals in our own right.

    We are not cookie-cutter people,

    Interchangeable with all the other cookie-cutter people.

    We have individual preferences, inclinations, yens and needs

    That have to be honored and respected by the rest of us.

    But.

    We don’t throw tantrums

    Or pull strings

    Or tilt tables

    To get our way at the expense of anyone else.

    We have our own way,

    And everyone else does as well.

    We all recognize and respect that,

    And tread carefully, with compassion,

    Lest we break bruised reeds

    And extinguish dimly burning wicks—

    In disregarding those with ways as important to them

    As ours are to us.
  19. 09/27/2014 — Lake Abanakee Reflection Panorama 02 — Adirondack Park, Near Indian Lake, NY, September 27, 2014

    We work through our emotional responses to the moment—

    Often overriding our emotional responses to the moment—

    In order to offer what the moment needs.

    We do that talking to the policeman who pulled us over,

    To our boss who asks us to work late,

    And to the committee who has asked us to rewrite portions of our dissertation.

    Happens all the time.

    We react one way, and act another way.

    Smart cookies.

    Then, on other occasions, in more equal relationships,

    Or, in those where we wield the power,

    We feel like we are being hypocritical to hold back our emotions,

    And not be true to how we feel.

    Slinging hot hash to those who have it coming.

    Point is, we exercise emotional control when we need to

    For the sake of the situation,

    But, when we think we have nothing to lose,

    Or, don’t care what we lose,

    Anything goes.

    I’m here to talk you into understanding the situation needs you help

    To keep EVERY situation from deteriorating into being worse than it has to be

    For anyone in the situation.

    Save the situation!

    Trust me when I say it matters.
  20. 09/27/2014 — Hudson River Fall 01 — Adirondack Park, Near Indian Lake, NY, September 27, 2014

    Personal Growth is simply growing up.

    Growing up is simply coming to terms with the way things are—

    And doing what can be done about them

    In ways appropriate to the occasion.

    Growing up is the solution to all of our problems today—

    Every day.

    There never was a spiritual guru, master, teacher, adviser

    Who wasn’t well on her way to growing up.

    No one is ever all grow up.

    Everyone is always in each moment somewhere on a moving scale

    Between immaturity and maturity.

    Everyone is always less mature in his family of origin

    Than anywhere else in her life.

    Everyone is always less mature when she is tired, hungry and dehydrated,

    Than at any other time in his life.

    Our level of maturity in any moment

    Depends upon a number of factors at work in the moment,

    But. A general rule applies:

    If you want to grow up

    All you have to do is get out of your way.

    Getting out of your way is the solution to all of our problems today.

    Every day.
  21. 09/28/2014 — Along NY Hwy 30 HDR Panorama 01 — An unnamed pond in Adirondack Park on the way to Long Lake and Tupper Lake from Johnstown NY, September 28, 2014

    When you take up the practice of mindfulness—compassionate attentiveness—your work is becoming aware of everything, within and without, in each moment.

    When you are aware of everything, you become aware of what is being asked of you—of how the situation is asking you to respond to it.

    Instead of forcing your agenda on the situation, the situation is asking you to take its agenda—what is happening and what needs to be done about it from a siutational standpoint—into account and allow your life to take shape around that.

    The situation as it arises shapes your life.

    You don’t mold situations to suit yourself. You adjust yourself to be what the situation needs you to be.

    And, what of your own purposes, goals, objectives, aims and desires? Be aware of all of them. Be aware of everything.

    And work it out.
  22. 09/29/2014 — Tupper Lake Sunset HDR 01 — Tupper Lake, NY, September 28, 2014

    Tevya, in Fiddler on the Roof, is my ideal of human perfection.

    Not the Buddha, not the Christ, because they had no clue about how to be perfect, married, with kids, and all the interfering obligations, responsibilities, and complications of The Full Catastrophe (Which is how another of my favorite characters, Zorba The Greek, spoke of his life).

    Tevya fed his chickens, milked his cow, and tended the affairs of home, business, and villiage—exactly as it needed to be done—exactly as it needed him to do it—every day.

    And when persecution of the Jews forced him out of the routines of his life in Russia, he migrated—as an immigrant—to the US, and took up the equivalent of feeding his chickens, milking his cow, and tending his new affairs, amid the new routines of his new life—doing it all just like Tevya would do it.

    There you are. The model for your life, in the times and places of your living.

    Feed your chickens, milk your cow and tend your affairs as they need to be tended, as only you can tend them, every day for the rest of your life.
  23. 09/29/2014 — Horseshoe Lake HDR 05 — Adirondack Park near Tupper Lake, NY, September 29, 2014

    You know all of those problems that weigh you down,

    And cause you grief, pain and agony?

    I recommend being still and quiet

    And becoming intently aware of everything.

    Everything about the problems,

    And everything about everything else as well.

    Awareness, mindfulness, compassionate attentiveness

    Is the  solution to all of our problems today.

    Or any day.

    Is the solution to all of the problems there are.

    Or the foundation of the solution.

    And, if you find yourself thinking,

    “What good is being aware of everything about my problems

    Going to do?

    How is that going to solve anything?”

    Simply be intently aware of your impatience and anxiety—

    Your fear and exasperation.

    And be intently aware of what you do to ease your pain

    And calm yourself down—

    At how addicted you are to running from your problems,

    Escaping your pain,

    And calming yourself down.

    Be intently aware of it all.

    And wait for things to begin to move.
  24. 09/30/2014 — Along NY Hwy 30 HDR 01 — Adirondack Park near Tupper Lake, NY, September 28, 2014

    You know what you like and what you don’t like,

    What is good for you and what is bad for you,

    What is You and what is Not You,

    What is life for you and what is death itself,

    Where you belong and where you have no business being.

    So, what’s the problem?
  25. 10/01/2014 — Moose Pond HDR Panorama — Horseshoe Lake, Adirondack Park near Tupper Lake, NY, September 29, 2014

    Plugging away becomes a dreary, hopeless, pointless, impossible task over time—

    If we are not plugged into heart, soul, mind and body,

    And doing the things that matter most to us

    Along with the things that have to be done to pay the bills

    And grease the wheels

    That make life possible.

    But, we must be making LIFE possible!

    We must be plugged into the things that are life,

    And bring us to life,

    And infuse us with life!

    We must be plugging away in the service of the right things.

    We can’t just plug away.

    We have to believe in what we are doing,

    In the life we are living,

    In the work that is ours to do.

    If somebody else gives us some work to do,

    And tells us to plug away,

    It’s like they give us a shovel,

    And tell us to dig our own grave.

    We have to plug away in the service

    Of the life that is our life to live,

    Doing what LIFE requires.

    We have to take care of the business

    That is our business to take care of,

    And tend it like a baby

    That is our baby,

    Through all the spit-ups

    And dirty diapers

    And colicky nights.

    That’s plugging away on the service of LIFE!
  26. 10/01/2014 — Ithaca Falls HDR 01 — Finger Lakes Region, Ithaca, NY, October 1, 2014

    If you despair because the life you are living is nothing like the life you wish you were living, and you have no hope of ever being anything other than stuck forever where you are, doing the things you hate doing everyday, all day long, for the rest of your sorry life,

    I’d ask you to tell me about the life you are not living—

    Your unlived life—

    The life that is truly your life to live,

    The life that needs you to live it,

    The life that only you can live,

    The life that you are uniquely cut out to live

    With the skills, interests, gifts and abilities that you have,

    And love to use,

    Whenever you are able to use them

    In this life that doesn’t value them,

    And has little place for their expression,

    And none for their development.

    What would you do that you can’t do

    In serving the gifts that are yours to serve?

    What needs to happen for you to begin doing it?
  27. 10/02/2014 — Taughannock Falls 01 — Finger Lakes Region, Ithaca, NY, October 1, 2014

    Anybody can quit

    Sink into despair

    Or addiction

    Go through the motions of being alive

    Dying long before they are actually dead.

    That’s no way to live

    Quitting

    The only way to live

    Is living

    With courage

    And bold exuberance

    In the service of life

    At the raw wonder of being alive

    Determined to see what we can do

    With the time left for living

    And to find out what

    We can get by with

    Even yet
  28. 10/02/2014 — Watkins Glen HDR 01 — Finger Lakes Region, Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, NY, October 2, 2014

    The American Dream seems to revolve around wealth, privilege and carefree living.

    I’ll put forward Enron, the Banking/Housing Scandals, and Wall Street’s ability to stack the financial decks in their favor as supporting evidence for my contention.

    Living responsibly and compassionately in service to the common good is asked to leave the room.

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was a popular movie for another time, a different country. Our times give us The Wolf of Wall Street.

    What to do?

    Live in protest.

    Support the Quiet Revolution.

    Don’t buy into the cultural gospel, preached by Madison Avenue (which has been replaced by Silicon Valley and internet entrepreneurs).

    Don’t have to have the latest gadget.

    Live centered in your life—who you are, what you are about.

    Let your core direct your living: How you spend your money and how you spend your time.

    Take your life back.

    Who owns you? Really. Who controls how you spend your money and how you spend your time?

    Reclaim yourself, your life, from those who own you.

    Unplug your TV sets.

    Plug into yourself.

    Develop your own interests.

    Live your own life.

    Find your own way.
  29. 10/03/2014 — Watkins Glen 04 — Finger Lakes Region, Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, NY, October 2, 2014

    We don’t have a problem that growing up won’t transform.

    All of our problems are invitations to grow up,

    Stand up,

    Square up to the way things are,

    Come to terms with our life as it is,

    And do what needs to be done in each situation as it arises—

    Regardless of what we want to do instead—

    With the gifts that are ours to give,

    And compassionate attentiveness

    For everything to be considered.

    We take it all into account

    And do what needs to be done about it

    All our life long,

    And let that be that.
  30. 10/03/2014 — Eagle Cliff Falls 01 — Finger Lakes Region, Havana Glen near Elmira, NY, October 2, 2014

    Imagine the life you need to live that you don’t need  a Big Break to live it.

    Terry Malloy speaks for us all: “I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.”

    We need a break

    We got no hope on our own.

    It all depends on something beyond us bestowing the life of our dreams upon us.

    It has nothing, in our mind, to do with us taking what we have to work with and turning it into the life that we need to live exactly where we are with exactly the gifts that are ours right here, right now.

    Nobody could do anything with this old life.

    So, we will have to be excused for bumming around,

    Waiting for a miracle,

    Burning daylight.
  31. 10/04/2014 — Fillmore Glen 01 — Fillmore Glen State Park near Elmira, NY, October 3, 2014

    We are all approaching the end of some line.

    Transitions and adjustments, Kid, transitions and adjustments.

    My knees are telling me I’m approaching the end of the line of long hikes and steep steps.

    If we live long enough, we lose it all—hair, teeth, eyesight…

    It’s a short list, as lists go, but an important one…

    Family, friends, memory…

    How we approach approaching the end of our lines

    Makes all the difference.

    We represent the line of all those who have gone before us,

    And live not only for ourselves, but for them as well.

    We live to ask our questions, and theirs.

    Our life is an answer to their unasked questions,

    And redemption for the lives they left unlived.

    We live for them, and for ourselves.

    What of your unasked questions?

    Your unlived life, or lives?

    Face up to them!

    Grieve what must be grieved!

    Mourn what is to be mourned!

    Celebrate what is to be celebrated!

    Know what is to be known!

    And live to make the most of the time left to be lived!

    How would you do that?

    That’s one of the questions you have left to answer!
  32. 10/05/2014 — The House on the Lake 01 — Lake Abanakee, Adirondack Park, Adirondack Park, Near Indian Lake, NY, September 27, 2014

    Our heart has to be in what we do.

    Our practice is bringing our heart to bear on the moment of our living.

    If our heart isn’t in what we are doing,

    We have to go get our heart and bring it fully into this here, this now, with us.

    If our heart won’t come, we have to quit what we are doing,

    And go live with heart, wherever it is.

    We cannot live without heart for what we are doing.

    We have to play with heart, work with heart, practice with heart, live with heart.

    We have to live like we mean it.

    If we cannot live like we mean it,

    We have to fake it like we mean it—

    So that no one—not even ourselves—can tell if we mean it

    Or if we are pretending to mean it.

    If we are acting like we mean it,

    We have to live so that no one—not even ourselves—can tell the actor from the role the actor is playing.

    We have to BE what we are doing—

    To be one with what we are doing—

    To do it all the way.

    With heart.

    If we can’t do what we are doing like that,

    We have to do something else.

    So, our practice is to infuse what we are doing with heart,

    And if what we are doing it too far removed from our heart for that to happen,

    We have to find something we can do with all our heart,

    And do that.
  33. 10/06/2014 — Tupper Lake Shoreline 01 — Adirondack Park, Tupper Lake, NC, September 28, 2014

    When I get to the end of the main line, I will wish that I could do it all over again, guided by the intuitive awareness of how things are that I have developed this time—knowing what I know about how to know what is important and how it needs to be served.

    We are all born knowing that, but it is discounted, dismissed and rejected by the culture that welcomed us from the womb—because the culture itself has lost its soul, and doesn’t know how to recognize soul when it sees it, and replaces every soulful thing with the culture’s idea of how things ought to be: Buying, spending, amassing, and consuming its way to peace and glory.

    And we spend our life finding our way back to what came with us from the womb: Guidance, direction, peace and glory, innate and everlasting.

    I’d like to go back and do it over again in the company of my own soul all the way from start to finish, safe from those who would save me with some truth learned by rote.
  34. 10/06/2014 — Autumn Maple 01 — Adirondack Park, Lake Placid, NY, September 28, 2014

    We have to serve the god we say is God.

    When Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do YOU say that I am?”

    Peter identified Jesus out of his own, lived, experience with Jesus

    As God in flesh and bone:

    “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!”

    And who do you say God is, Peter?

    Peter’s answer has to come out of his own, lived, experience with God.

    It cannot come from a book, even a Good Book,

    Certainly not a Book of Doctrine—

    Or from a sermon, or a whole lifetime of sermons.

    We don’t know God by hearsay.

    God is who we experience God to be.

    Not who we have been taught, or told, God is.

    What is your experience of God?

    Where do you go to experience God directly?

    How often do you go there?

    What do you know of God that you didn’t derive from some source other than your own experience?

    Who do you say God is?
  35. 10/06/2014 — Lows Lake at Bog River Lower Dam HDR 01 — Adirondack Park near Tupper Lake, NY, September 29, 2014

    A healthy psyche and well-adjusted ego would equal a true human being, a Bodhisattva, a Buddha, a Christ, a mature-in-the-best-sense-of-the-word whole, authentic, genuine and real person.

    Who we are all striving to become.

    Right?

    Why take up a practice and not practice with this in mind?

    What? We are just trying to be happy? Why short-change ourselves?

    Swing for the fences!

    A healthy psyche and well-adjusted ego would sleep in our bed each night, put on our shoes and step into our world each morning, knowing exactly what her, what his, chances are of effecting change and transforming life as it is lived around her, him—

    And she, he, would not pause in resuming the work remaining from yesterday,

    Laying bricks, shoeing horses, driving buses, serving tables, teaching students, feeding chickens, milking cows…

    Enjoying the work of her, of his, hands,

    Relishing sunrises and sunsets, rainbows, cloud formations and the colors of fall,

    Eating and drinking with gratitude and relishing the moments of life with thanksgiving,

    And allowing things to be what they are

    Without loss of hope, or heart, or courage,

    But with resolution and dedication to the work of being human

    In this world just as it is.
  36. 10/07/2014 — Along NY Hwy 30 HDR 05 — Adirondack Park near Tupper Lake, NY, September 28, 2014

    We keep trying to get something,

    To get somewhere,

    When it’s about being who we are,

    Where we are,

    When we are,

    How we are—

    Living alive to the moment we are living,

    Seeing what is happening,

    And doing what needs to be done about it

    With the gifts that are ours to give—

    In each situation as it arises,

    All our life long.
  37. 10/08/2014 — Tupper Lake Reflection HDR 02 — Adirondack Park, Tupper Lake, NY, September 29, 2014

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

    He meant that you have to live truthfully.

    Living a truthful life is the heart of life.

    It is the essence—the foundation—of a true human being.

    You cannot hope to become a true human being

    Without living truthfully.

    Living truthfully is living mindfully—

    Living with compassionate awareness,

    Compassionate attentiveness,

    To every single thing,

    Within and without.

    When you live truthfully,

    You see what you look at,

    And you look at everything.

    And it all flows from there.
  38. 10/08/2014 — Lake Ontario, Black & White — Lakeside State Park, Waterport, NY, October 1, 2014

    What don’t you like about your life?

    What can you do about it?

    What’s stopping you?
  39. 10/08/2014 — Bog Stream Reflections HDR — Adirondack Park near Tupper Lake, NY, September 29, 2014

    I have an Inukshuk, or stone figure resembling a human being, that I made from stones gathered in Canada,

    And a Buddhist singing bowl, or bell of mindfulness, blessed by Buddhist monks on two separate occasions,

    And a digging implement used by an early Native American tribe, rescued from a site before its inundation by the Tenn-Tom Waterway.

    All are symbols that connect me to the invisible, numinous, world of mystery beyond imagining—the source of us all.

    All are pregnant with divine presence, and invite reflection and rumination—and openness to worlds beyond this world of normal, apparent reality.

    Symbols are physical objects that speak to you on a level beyond words, connecting you with more than words can say.

    They are imbued with divine presence, with numinous reality, and are alive with meaning that must be sensed and felt and experienced—but not understood or explained.

    What are your symbols?

    Where do you go to experience symbols that connect you with the numen, with the divine?

    To be carried away by That Which Cannot Be Said?

    If nothing comes to mind, you have your mission—if you choose to accept it.
  40. 10/09/2014 — Lows Lake Panorama HDR — Adirondack Park, Bog River Lower Dam near Long Lake, NY (and Tupper Lake, NY), September 29, 2014

    The culture represents our idea of life:

    A increasingly higher standard of living,

    And an economy that is based on increasingly higher sales of the things that make a high standard of living worth having.

    If you can’t see the stupidity of that tail-chasing-dog, nothing I say is likely to connect with you

    And you should go stand in the next Hot Apple Product line.

    I say that typing on a Macbook Pro.

    We make use of what the culture offers in living our life, but.

    We live to serve our life, not the culture.

    The culture exists to serve the lives of its members—

    Not to enslave them to serve the ends of the culture’s economy.

    The right order of things is the essence of the Tao.

    In order to order things rightly,

    We have to recover our awareness of—

    And reverence for—

    Our Life,

    And live to live it at all costs, no matter what.

    What assists our living? What inhibits it? Prevents it?

    We have to be able to answer these questions and those like them,

    And live in ways that honor the answers.

    Returning to the way of life that is life for us

    Is the ultimate revolution,

    And it is very quiet—

    Which is the nature of the way that is the way of life for all people.
  41. 10/09/2014 — Autumn Fern 01 — Along the road to Bog Stream, between Long Lake and Tupper Lake, NY, Adirondack Park, September 29, 2014

    Those who know, know the same things.

    Good religion is at one with itself in all of its manifestations.

    Theology is death, Doctrine is divisive, but Knowing knows

    Without being able to convert those who Don’t Know,

    So, what’s Knowing good for?

    Knowing doesn’t know.

    It just knows that Knowing is Good,

    And lives to know what it Knows and to serve it with its life.
  42. 10/09/2014 — Along NY Hwy 30 02 — Adirondack Park near Long Lake, NY, September 28, 2014

    Let’s say you’re an accountant, or an engineer, and you deal with abstract realities, numbers and measurements all day every day.

    You have to plant potatoes and grow tomatoes on the weekends.

    You have to dig in the earth.

    You have to sit in the sun and watch the play of light on leaves or water.

    You have to listen to birds sing,

    And watch the moon rise,

    And connect in tangible, actual, ways to the physical reality of the time and place of your living.

    The more disconnected from nature we are—

    And the more we live in highrise apartments with no place to call our own—

    The more isolated we are from the natural world and our own heart and soul.

    Our psyche comes out of millions of years of walking unshod over the stones and through the marshes of this earth.

    The natural world is our place of origin, our home.

    We cannot live and work divorced from the smells and sounds,

    Textures, ebbs and flows

    Of that world

    Without marking its loss with symptoms and signs of our privation.

    Work the physical world into your life.

    Make it the central component of your universe.

    Be alive to the reality of your ancestral home.
  43. 10/10/2014 — Autumn Maple 05 — Catskills, Cooperstown, NY, September 27, 2014

    It’s about doing it.

    Not reading about it, talking about it, attending lectures and seminars and workshops about it, and understanding it, and grasping it, and lecturing about it.

    It’s about doing it.

    The work is to be DONE.

    Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hear what I’m saying and DO IT!”

    We have to get out of bed every day and step into our life,

    And deal with what we find there

    In the spirit,

    And with the attitude,

    Of those who can quickly size things up,

    See what is happening and what needs to be done about it

    And come to terms with it

    And DO IT—

    Never mind what we want to do,

    Or would rather be doing instead—

    In each situation as it arises

    All day long.

    And do the same thing the next day.

    And all the days after that.

    How are you doing so far today?
  44. 10/10/2014 — Bog River Falls HDR 02 — Adirondack Park near Tupper Lake, NY, September 29, 2014

    Our future is restricted by our past, to the extent that we do not face, square up to, and come to terms with our past and its impact on our life throughout our life, from then to now.

    We cannot live free to do what needs to be done in each situation as it arises as long as we are triggered to respond in certain ways to present events by past traumas.

    We have to work with our past in order to have a future.

    This consists of being compassionately aware (mindful) of what happened to us and how that impacted us and continues to haunt us.

    Three books I have found to be helpful in coming to terms with my own ghosts, wounds, scars and memories are:

    Hauntings: Dispelling the Ghosts Who Run Our Lives, by James Hollis

    Inner Work, by Robert A. Johnson

    Full Catastrophe Living, by Jon-Kabat Zinn

    We can’t go into the fight without being armed for battle.
  45. 10/10/2014 — Hudson River Fall 07 — Adirondack Park near Indian Lake, NY, September 27, 2013

    Here are three things about falling in love to keep in mind when you fall in love, or someone falls in love with you.

    #1. It doesn’t mean what you (or they) think it means.

    #2. Rumi said, “One glimpse of a true human being and we’re in love.” We all should be living in such a fashion that the entire world falls in love with us. And we should not take it seriously when it does.

    #3. When you fall in love with someone, all the qualities you admire in them—and everything you think they will bring to life in relationship with you—lie latent in yourself, and wait for you to bring them forth. You are falling in love with aspects of yourself you can’t see in yourself and refuse to believe you are capable of. You are falling in love with you. Your task is clear: You must become who you think they are.

    That takes the thump-thump-thump out of the old ticker, doesn’t it?

    So stop walking around in a dreamy, smitten, fog, and take up the work of bringing you forth in your life in specific, concrete, tangible ways, using your love interest as a model for your own life.

    Once this catches on, popular music and romance novels and movies are going into a tailspin.
  46. 10/11/2014 — Along NY Hwy 30 06 HDR — Adirondack Park, Tupper Lake, NY, September 28, 2014

    It’s just you and the situation as it arises before you all your life long.

    Your life consists of one situation after another—

    And how well you respond to each one.

    The path before you winds through one situation at a time.

    The Hero’s Journey consists of one situation at a time.

    Stop thinking it’s about your goals, and plans, and dreams,

    And realizing your advantage,

    And pursuing your ends,

    And amassing, achieving, acquiring, attaining.

    It’s about you being you in each situation as it arises

    For the good of the situation.

    It’s about you living out your life

    In each situation as it arises

    In a “Thy will, not mine, be done” kind of way.

    Of course, your interests have to be taken into account

    Along with the interests of the situation.

    When you need attention—get it!

    You have to take care of business,

    And your business is part of the business you take care of.

    You balance your legitimate needs

    With the legitimate needs of the situation.

    You are not here to be the lackey of the world.

    Part of serving the needs of the situation is to call slackers to task,

    And make sure everyone is doing their part.

    It’s a team effort,

    Saving the world,

    One situation at a time.
  47. 10/11/2014 — The Wild Center Pond HDR 05 — Adirondack Park, Tupper Lake, NY, September 29, 2014

    There are no throw-away situations.

    There are no people who cannot benefit from kind, caring, compassionate attentiveness.

    There are no people we can dismiss without seeing,

    Discount without a thought,

    Discard, ignore and treat as invisible

    And unworthy of being noticed.

    Be present in each situation for the good of that situation—

    For no reason beyond being present for good in that situation.
  48. 10/11/2014 — Spanning the Potomac 03 — Harper’s Ferry, WV, September 26, 2014

    You have to love the game.

    You have to do it for the love of the game.

    You have to let your love for the game consume you,

    Burn you alive,

    So that you don’t care about anything but the game.

    Winning and losing will have their turns,

    But the game has to have your heart and soul.

    When you do it for the love of the game,

    Without concern for winning or losing,

    You play without fear—

    Because winning can’t beat this,

    And losing can’t diminish it.

    The game is everything.

    And “perfect love casts out fear,”

    Because loving the game

    And being one with the game

    Is IT

    And nothing can take that away from  you,

    So there is nothing to lose

    And nothing to fear.

    Find what you can love so much that you can do it

    For the love of it,

    And do it with all your heart and soul.

    Live for it.

    Live off your love for it.

    Live for the game.

    Let it burn you alive.
  49. 10/12/2014 — Bog Stream Reflections HDR 02 — Adirondack Park near Long Lake, NY, September 29, 2014

    We’re talking about a change of life.

    We’re talking about you changing the way you are living.

    You can’t do it any other way.

    You have to align your life with the way of life for you

    In the time and place,

    Context and circumstances,

    Of your living.

    You cannot live like you are living

    And be at one with who you are.

    And you know it.

    And don’t want to think about it.

    Don’t want anything to do with it.

    You want to live like you are living

    And have everything fall into place

    And feel good about all of it.

    Who are you kidding.

    There is a price to be paid for a life worth living.

    Mind and body,

    Heart and soul,

    Don’t come together for the deep good of all

    Without you changing the way you are living

    And serving the deep good of all

    In every situation that arises

    In a “Thy will, not mine, be done” kind of way.

    And who is the “Thy”?

    Mind and body, heart and soul.

    The ones who know who you are

    And are waiting on your cooperation to bring forth who you are

    In everything you say and do

    In the time left for living.
  50. 10/12/2014 — Around Bass Lake 02 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park near Blowing Rock, NC, October 12, 2014

    We do not command heart.

    We cannot force ourselves to love what we do not love,

    Or not love what we do love.

    We have no say in the matter.

    Savvy?

    So.

    That leaves us with opening ourselves to what has heart for us—

    To what our heart loves—

    And love it ourselves,

    Like good caretakers of heart,

    Which is what we are.

    If we are going to take care of our heart,

    We have to start listening to heart,

    Honoring heart,

    Following heart,

    Tending heart,

    And letting heart guide and direct our living.

    We have to get our head out of the Lead Dog position,

    And let heart have the reins.

    Head can figure out how to live with heart

    And pay the bills

    (That starts with incurring only the right bills).
  51. 10/13/2014 — Buttermilk Falls 03 — Finger Lakes Region, Ithaca, NY, October 1, 2014. There are two Buttermilk Falls in NY State. The other is in Adirondack Park near Long Lake.

    It seems that we have such a small part to play, why play it?

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

    In playing our part—

    In living with heart,

    Loving the game,

    And living as though we do,

    Every play,

    No matter what the score is

    Or how insignificant the players or the game seem to be—

    We influence those who can be influenced for the good of all.

    Making a difference and having no impact

    Are not our calls to make

    Loving the game and playing our heart out every play—

    Doing what matters to us because it matters to us—

    Whether it matters to anyone else or not—

    Makes all the difference

    To us and our life.

    Waiting to be sure we are making a difference

    Before doing anything

    Is capitulating to the Cyclops

    Standing before us saying,

    “Nothing you do matters.”

    Spit in his eye, and say:

    “Then I don’t guess you’ll mind getting out of my way,”

    And plow right through him,

    Living the life that matters to you,

    And letting nothing stop you

    Or even slow you down.
  52. 10/13/2014 — Bridge to Rough Ridge Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, October 13, 2014 

    You make the call.

    Everyone of them.

    How much here.

    How much there.

    How much for them.

    How much for you.

    Where to go.

    How long to stay.

    What to do.

    What to leave undone.

    What to embrace.

    What to eschew.

    Whom to take into account.

    Whom to ignore, partially or completely.

    Who and what is healing, restorative.

    Who and what is toxic and destructive.

    Like that, around the table, across the board.

    You say so.

    What you say goes.

    You the one.
  53. 10/13/2014 — Cowsheds Falls HDR 02 — Fillmore Glen State Park near Ithaca, NY, October 2, 2014

    Stop thinking your way along,

    With good reasons

    And careful planning

    That justifies, defends, excuses, and explains

    Every decision you ever made—

    Many of which stink to this very day—

    And those long lists of pros and cons

    That lay everything out

    With all the advantages and disadvantages

    In neat little rows to be tallied,

    With the Answer unmistakable in its flashing neon light garb

    Dancing and doing back-flips as it leads you along the way.

    Be still and quiet and feel what you’re feeling.

    Throw in with heart and soul for a change.

    You don’t have much time to waste on being right.

    Throw it all into being alive—

    And don’t be surprised if being right comes along

    As a part of the package.
  54. 10/14/2014 — Behind the Visitor’s Center Panorama 01 — Lynn Cove Visitor’s Center, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC, October 13, 2014

    We are capable of good and evil.

    Thus, the importance of knowing what we are doing,

    And refusing to kid ourselves about any of it.

    Compassionate awareness of everything—

    Within and without—

    Is the path to reconciliation, harmony, integration, grace, mercy and peace.

    There is no ideology that is above ruthlessness and devastation.

    We cannot think that the way we think/believe is beyond violating

    The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

    Of other human beings—

    Of other citizens of our own country.

    Ideology is a way of thinking that has nothing to do with seeing,

    Hearing, understanding, knowing, doing, being.

    Live from your heart,

    Granting everyone the benefit of the doubt,

    And see where it goes.

    Cultivate compassion and grace,

    And practice extending loving-kindness to all people.

    Don’t talk.

    Do.
  55. 10/14/2014 — Price Lake Fog Panorama — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, October 13, 2014

    It starts with being aware of being aware,

    And leads to being aware of what you are aware of after that,

    And after that…

    Within and without

    From the periphery to the core and back to the periphery,

    And back to the core…

    Being aware of everything.

    And seeing what that asks of you,

    And what you do about it.

    That’s all there is to it.

    It’s as simple as it is difficult as that.

    Take up the practice.

    It will delight and amaze you.

    Which will be something else to be aware of.
  56. 10/15/2014 — Blue Ridge Fall 01 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Julian Price Park, near Blowing Rock, NC, October 13, 2014

    Authentic living

    Is mindful living.

    It is living with compassionate awareness for all things

    In each situation as it arises,

    Seeing what is happening,

    And doing what is yours to do about it

    With the gifts that are uniquely yours,

    Which will carry you into the next situation as it arises

    Where you will do the same thing,

    And follow unfolding situations through the long years

    Of the time left for living.
  57. 10/15/2014 — Boone Fork Fall 01 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, October 13, 2014

    It’s about doing what you love to do.

    NOT about making money doing it.

    NOT about becoming a celebrity doing it.

    NOT about achieving eternal status among the gods and goddesses doing it.

    We are not here to position ourselves to receive accolades

    And favors unending

    By the way we exploit what we love to do.

    EXPLOITATION is the unpardonable sin.

    Turning your gift into a source of fame and fortune,

    Wealth and privilege

    Is tarnishing your gift.

    Is turning what you love into some cash cow,

    Some golden goose,

    As though it’s value lies in the benefits and advantages

    That accrue and are accorded to you

    As the Great Gifted One.

    Knocks you off the beam.

    Leads you away from the path.

    Where you wander forever, lost in the mist

    Of faded glory.

    You are the bearer of the gift,

    The steward—the caretaker—of what you love.

    What you get out of doing what you love is loving what you do.

    What you get out of living is being alive to the wonder of it all,

    In each moment—

    Each situation as it arises—

    In the service of what you love.

    Live to do what you love as it is to be done,

    And let that be that.

    Do not be distracted,

    Do not lose your focus,

    Do not forsake the center and ground of your heart, soul, and being

    In the pursuit of wealth and glory,

    As though they are better than doing what you love.

    Nothing is better than doing what you love.
  58. 10/15/2014 — Beach Pebbles — Lake Ontario, Lakeside State Park, Waterport, NY, September 30, 2014

    If you aren’t consumed by what you love,

    You are being disloyal,

    Deceitful,

    Faithless,

    And untrue.

    You are philandering.

    Cheating.

    Playing around.

    You are committing adultery.

    Heresy.

    Blasphemy.

    Sacrilege.

    Desecration.

    And think “What of it?”

    As you spit on your life,

    Laughing.

    You have to let what you love

    Burn you alive.
  59. 10/15/2014 — Autumn Fern 02 — Adirondack Park near Tupper Lake, NY, September 29, 2014

    You have to love the work—

    The work that is yours to do.

    You have to love doing the work.

    You can’t think of it as something to perfect,

    To get down,

    So that you can do it without being there,

    Never making mistakes,

    Turning out results without effort,

    Reaping the glory

    Of being a Master at what you do.

    The trick is to always be a novice.

    To always be a rookie.

    To always be working the work,

    And never grandstanding,

    Or showboating,

    Or masquerading,

    Or exploiting the work

    For your own ends.

    The work is your practice.

    You practice to get better at the work you do.

    The better you get,

    The more the work expands, deepens, enlarges

    To expand, deepen, enlarge you.

    The work is never done.

    You are never done.

    You belong to the work.

    The work brings you forth.

    You don’t achieve perfection.

    The path is endless development.

    We are always a rookie.

    There is always more to know, do, be, become.

    The work is our life.

    May it be so.
  60. 10/16/2014 — Beaver Dam 01 — Boone Fork, Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, October 13, 2014

    The spiritual realities we call “heart,” “soul,” and “mind,” need physical expression—need “body.”

    “Body” is more than body. “Body” is the physical form of “heart,” “soul,” and “mind.”

    “Body” is more or less body.

    Body’s task is to become “body.”

    People have always recognized the spiritual vitality, alive-ness, of certain places in the physical world.

    There have always been what Parker Palmer calls, “Thin places,” where the physical world goes over easily into the spiritual world,

    Where visible and invisible meet and merge.

    When we come upon such a space in our life, we need to mark it in our memory, and return there often.

    It becomes a holy place for us, a contact point with the numinous, with the divine.

    Mecca, the Taj Mahal, Chartres Cathedral, Muir Woods, the cave paintings at Lascaux, and the Wailing Wall are traditional places of pilgrimage for individuals or for people of particular religious traditions for centuries,

    But we each are capable of finding our own holy places,

    And making our own pilgrimage

    As often as we are able,

    In connecting the invisible world with the physical world,

    In taking the things that move us to the places they like to be—

    And, in this way, taking seriously our role of being the pathway between worlds,

    Joining our spirit with the spirit of the place in all of the “thin places” of our experience.

    In honoring both spirits, we make each real,

    And become, ourselves, physical incarnations of spiritual reality.
  61. 10/16/2013 — Dugger’s Creek Falls Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway at Linville Falls, NC, October 13, 2014

    We have to make it work.

    We have to take who we are in one hand,

    And the time and place of our living in the other,

    And fit them together.

    The prophets who are ahead of their time

    Have to live in their time—

    Have to come to terms with the dichotomy

    Between who they are and how they see and the world in which they live—

    Have to consider that world with compassion and grace

    In a “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”

    Kind of way.

    They can’t help seeing the way they see.

    The prophets can’t help seeing the way they see.

    Those who see have to see those who don’t see, can’t see,

    With eyes of compassion and grace—

    And do their thing,

    The thing that is theirs to do

    The thing that depends on them to do it

    The thing that must be done

    If any are ever to see more than they currently see.

    It’s hard to wake up

    Without reflecting on your experience—

     Examining your common inferences and assumptions

    And cherished ways of thinking—

    And forming new realizations

    Based on the heretical and blasphemous

    Reliance on your own authority.

    And not all have that courage.

    Those who do must challenge the old ways of seeing

    With compassion and grace for those who do not,

    And lay the foundation for the next “brave new world.”
  62. 10/13/2014 — Sassafras Leaves 01 — Blowing Rock, NC, October 12, 2014

    Expectations and agendas rank with inferences and assumptions as four of the primary sources of all that is wrong with the world.

    When you throw in arrogance and stupidity, you have it all right there in one small bundle.

    All we need now is some spell, charm or incantation to disappear it forever.

    Barring that, it will take the conscientious practice of mindfulness by every single person to rid the world of these blights of humanity.

    Starting with each one of us.

    Now.
  63. 10/17/2014 — Around Bass Lake 07 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, October 13, 2014

    Jesus didn’t sit around wondering how Moses, or Elijah, or one of the prophets would do it.

    He didn’t ponder, “What would John the Baptist do?”

    Jesus simply walked around, stepping into each situation as it arose, doing it the way he felt it ought to be done then and there.

    He didn’t have a manual of operations,

    Or a Book of Order,

    Telling him how to do it,

    And telling him if he wanted to do it differently,

    He had to get permission,

    By following the prescribed procedures

    And having everyone vote on his request,

    And waiting for a 2/3’s majority vote

    Before, say, healing on the Sabbath.

    What’s the equivalent of healing on the Sabbath in your life?

    Go do it!

    See how many times you can do what needs to be done

    Before it catches up to you.

    Then see how many times you can rise from the dead.
  64. 10/17/2014 — Bridge to Rough Ridge 03 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Linville Falls, NC, October 13, 2014

    We have to get together with the Ancient One Within—

    The million-year-old woman, or man, who started walking,

    Out of Africa to here and now.

    The Ancient One Within brings wisdom gleaned through the ages

    To bear on every new age,

    And has a take on things—

    Assesses things, reads things, sees things, senses things—

    That is relevant even today,

    And would ground us in,

    And focus us on,

    That which is central to us over time,

    And of essential value in determining

    How we live and what we do.

    What is good for us, and what is not?

    What is right for us, and what is wrong?

    The Ancient One Within is the resident expert

    On such matters.

    An ongoing and recurring consultation

    Would align worlds,

    Restore harmony,

    And make for peace.
  65. 10/18/2014 — Around Bass Lake 09 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, October 13, 2014

    The right to self-determination and expression shall not be infringed.

    If I were in charge, we all would work to make that the starting point for all.

    The right to imagine, form and live our own life is the essential, integral, minimum human right.

    Which, of course, we spit on, transgress, violate and ignore in 10,000 ways every day.

    We want nothing to do with it.

    Too much responsibility.

    Arranged marriages and the caste system in India—the home of enlightenment—reflect how little we think of living our own life.

    And that is not imited to India.

    I have lived my life in the deep south where the ideal is to be no more than mamma and daddy are—

    Living in mamma’s and daddy’s backyard (if not house),

    And doing it, thinking it, being it, like it has all ways been done, thought and been for as long as anyone can remember.

    I’ve seen the same thing exhibited in all the places I’ve visited and read about through the years.

    We are looking to escape our life with addictions, diversions and distractions,

    And want to avoid our own life as much as possible all our life long.

    Addressing all of the social ills begins with the individual’s passion for her or his own life

    You cannot help someone out of poverty, or drug addiction, or homellessness/hopelessness, etc.

    Who isn’t gripped by the compelling necessity of living her, or his, own life.

    Impoverishment is a spiritual ill before it is a social ill.

    We have no life. We want no life.

    We want comforts, entertainments, amusements and pastimes until we die.

    We do not want to grow up and be who we are,

    And stand on our own two feet and live the life that is our life to live.

    And you can’t make us.
  66. 10/18/2014 — Around Bass Lake 10 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, October 13, 2014

    I live among people who’ve got it.

    Whose life exemplifies they’ve got it.

    The way they are with their spouses and their children,

    The way they live their life,

    The way they are when they are alone and no one is watching,

    What they do and how they do it,

    Day in and day out

    In all life situations and circumstances

    Declares to anyone, everyone, who is interested enough to look

    That they’ve got it.

    Their only trouble lies in remembering they’ve got it,

    And being okay with that,

    At peace with that,

    When they are tempted to buy into the cultural pronouncement:

    YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH AS YOU ARE!

    YOU NEED MORE OF THE LATEST THING TO BE HAPPY!

    And feel down and depressed because their life isn’t paying off

    They way the culture says it must pay off

    To be worth living.

    We have to live in the culture

    And against the culture

    At the same time.

    The culture helps us maintain our vital signs,

    But it is not the source of vitality and life abundant.

    We bring those things out of our own heart and soul,

    Much to the culture’s dismay,

    Because people who are grounded in themselves and their life,

    And living as a blessing upon all who come their way,

    Are not good for the economy.

    Physicians are pushers

    Helping people feel better about lives not worth living,

    And helping the economy be robust and healthy.

    The culture has to keep us looking for what we need

    Somewhere other than where it is.

    What is good for us is bad for the culture.

    Whose side are we on?
  67. 10/18/2014 — Buttermilk Falls HDR 05 — Adirondack Park near Long Lake, NY, September 30, 2014

    People don’t know what to do with themselves.

    They are bored.

    They have to be entertained.

    That’s crazy.

    And, that is the heart of the matter.

    We live—but you can’t really call it living—cut off from our heart,

    Without direction or purpose,

    Adrift on the sea of life

    Unlived, unseen, unknown,

    All about us.

    When all we have to do is wake up

    And dive in.
  68. 10/18/2014 — Along NY Hwy 30 HDR 03 — Adriondack Park near Tupper Lake, NY, September 28, 2014

    Even when we are “just sitting,” we are not just sitting.

    We are responding to sitting.

    We can’t experience our life without responding to our experience.

    The experience and the response are so close together in most of us that we cannot separate one from the other.

    The trick is to become so aware of our response that we know exactly where experience goes over into response.

    We get to that point by watching for it.

    By watching our response to the events of our life throughout the day.

    Sit, watching your response to sitting.

    The phone will ring, a plane will fly over, a dog will bark, an itch will attack you, your mind will wander…

    Watch your response to it all.

    Watch your response to your experience and be aware of exactly when your response moves you to action.

    You answer the phone, you shake your head at the plane, grimace at the dog, scratch the itch, get lost in the wandering of your mind…

    Experience, response, action…

    Follow the movement throughout your day.

    Just watching.

    Just watching yourself watching.

    Seeing what is happening and what is happening in response to what is happening.

    Looking at everything.

    Seeing what you look at.

    Living with awareness.

    Becoming mindful.

    Practice every day.
  69. 10/19/2014 — Along NY Hwy 30 HDR 04 — Adirondack Park near Long Lake, NY, September 28, 2014

    Our state of mind determines—or strongly influences—everything.

    Except the cat.

    Cats are beyond it all.

    Thanks to THEIR state of mind.

    We need to be more cat-like.

    They have a state of mind that takes all of it into account

    Without becoming over perturbed by any of it.

    They have a way without having to have it.

    “Okay, FINE!” they say,

    Going on about their business.

    As though nothing just happened.

    It’s hard to catch a cat bearing a grudge,

    Or bemoaning its plight.

    Or stressing out about its future.

    Cats have there business and are about it,

    No matter what.

    Our state of mind, on the other hand, is determined—or influenced by—the 10,000 things.

    I Want! I Don’t Want!

    I Like! I Don’t Like!

    This, This Way! That, That Way!

    We are environmentally directed.

    Even having everything just so is no guarantee that our state of mind will be: “Peace At Last!”

    We can imagine losing it all in the next five minutes, and THEN WHAT???

    Our imagination works against a healthy state of mind.

    We are un-cat-like to the core.

    What to do?

    Wake up, of course.

    Pay attention.

    Be aware of when,

    Like the cat,

    We stroll up to the sleeping dog of our peaceful state of mind,

    Give him a swipe across the nose,

    And disappear.

    And tell ourselves to go mind our own business

    And leave our healthy at last state of mind alone.

    Deviling ourselves has to stop.
  70. 10/19/2014 — South Fork Mountainside 01 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Brevard, NC, October 19, 2014

    We are out of synch with heart, soul, body and mind.

    We are not living aligned with our life—the life that is our life to live.

    We are living some other life instead.

    We are not at one with the Tao.

    And it shows.

    Addictions, symptoms, OTC and prescription medications …

    The list is long.

    The old sign proclaimed “Get Right With God!”

    If you get right with you,

    You’ll be fine with God.
  71. 10/20/2014 — Mirror Lake HDR 01 — Highlands, NC, October 20, 2014

    Once upon a time one of my sisters gave the guy she was dating at the time a copy of the Tao te Ching, and asked him to read it so they could talk about it. A while later he gave the book back to her, saying, “If you can show me one shred of truth in this book, I’ll eat it cover to cover.” She never dated him again.

    We cannot help the way we see things.

    The way we see is the way we see.

    It is one of the most fundamental things about us.

    We will see the way we see until we change our mind or die.

    If we change our mind,

    We will then see the way we see until we change our mind or die.

    We change the way we see all the time, but.

    You can’t change the way I see,

    And I can’t change the way you see, but.

    When we are ready to change the way we see,

    Anything can do it.

    Bingo! Enlightenment!

    But.

    You can’t dial up enlightenment.

    Awakening comes.

    And maybe it doesn’t come.

    If it comes, it comes in its own time,

    And it will not be hurried.

    But.

    We can’t see without changing the way we see.

    And.

    We cannot command ourselves to change the way we see,

    But.

    We change the way we see all the time.

    Well.

    Some of us do.
  72. 10/21/2014 — Estatoe Falls HDR 02 — Rosman, NC, October 20, 2014

    He said, “Hell, Jim, this isn’t the way I SEE things! This is the way things ARE!”

    I said, “That’s one way to see things.”

    There is the way things ARE.

    It’s raining. It’s cloudy. It’s 52 degrees Fahrenheit…

    But the fact that it is rainy, cloudy, and chilly, does not mean that my neighbor put a Bad Weather Curse on me and I am therefore justified in burning her at the stake because she is unmistakably a witch.

    We too often confuse the way we see things with the way things are.

    We have to remember: There is the way I see things, and there is the way things are. And there is no necessary connection between the two.

    When we take the way we see things for the way things are, there is hell to pay—by everyone concerned, including ourselves, across the board, around the table.

    Learning to differentiate between the way we see things and the way things are is one of the tasks of maturity, wisdom, grace, compassion, peace, enlightenment, awareness and understanding.

    It is the art of life that enables life to be lived, across the board, around the table.

    How are you coming with it? 
  73. 10/24/2014 — Dry Falls 2014 Black & White 01 — Nantahala National Forest near Highlands, NC, October 22, 2014

    Carl Jung said, “We are who we always have been, and who we will be.”

    This is our lodestone, our guiding light, our North Star.

    When we are lost, confused, unclear about it all and don’t know what to do next or where to turn,

    We only have to sit quietly, breathe slowly and deeply,

    And remember who we are and where we come from,

    And become who we are—serving that and expressing it—

    Throughout the time left for living.

    The details will fall into place around that central focus.
  74. 10/24/2014 — Cullasaja Cascades 2014 03 — Nantahala National Forest near Highlands, NC, October 22, 2014

    We make our own luck

    By living in the service of the gifts we have to give—

    Which includes our perspective, insight, and sense of direction—

    And holding nothing back

    (Out of concern for what it might mean

    For our chances and prospects)

    In light of what needs

    The things we have to offer,

    In each situation as it arises

    All our life long.

    This is called

    Not letting the concern for our advantage

    Over-ride the opportunity to be who we are

    In the time and place of our living.
  75. 10/25/2014 — Around Bass Lake 11 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, NC, October 12, 2014

    If we aren’t dancing with our life, we are fighting with our life—

    Or sulking, bitter, or hopeless,

    Waiting for it to just be over.

    We have to dance all the way to the last breath.

    And the music keeps changing.

    Every stage of life has a different rhythm,

    A different beat.

    We get ourselves squared up

    With the problems associated with infancy,

    And here comes Kindergarten.

    What? Who said anything about staying in line?

    It’s like that all the way.

    Achieving a modicum of peace with one stage

    Has no carryover to the next stage,

    And no one there is impressed that we can tie our shoes.

    So, we dance with the new limitations

    And requirements,

    And a completely different set of partners

    Called The Way Things Are.

    How well we dance

    Through each stage

    Is the Teller that tells the tale.
  76. 10/25/2014 — Along NY Hwy 30 09 — Near Tupper Lake, NY, September 29, 2014

    We live to escape the demands and requirements, restrictions and limitations, obligations, responsibilities and duties of each stage of life.

    Old men marry young women to remain forever (in their fantasies) in the halcyon days of their youth.

    Young women marry old, wealthy, men to avoid the hard realities of the work-a-day world, and enjoy a lifestyle they would never, otherwise, attain.

    Ours is a culture of escape, denial, diversion and distraction because everyone is escaping something,

    And no one wants to deal with the myriad manifestations

    Of the Cyclops and Trolls blocking their way

    Through the stage of life they must travel.

    Yet, we must face up to, and come to terms with—

    We must dance with—

    The tasks of life presented by each phase of life.

    The path of maturation, enlightenment, understanding, realization, wisdom, compassion and grace

    Winds through the Garden of Gethsemane

    And across the face of Golgotha

    For each one of us

    At each stage of our development.

    If you understand that,

    And make your peace with it,

    And take up the work that is yours to do

    In each period of your life,

    You have what it takes

    To return to Eden.
  77. 10/25/2014 — Blue Ridge Fall 06 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, October 14, 2014

    There are developmental tasks that must be completed in each stage of our life.

    We live amid people who are stuck in their teens and early twenties well into their fifties and sixties and beyond.

    They didn’t have what it takes to make their peace with their life and move on.

    We have to do what is required in each stage in order to move on to the next stage,

    Or remain stuck forever in a world our body soon outgrows,

    While mentally and emotionally we remain 17.

    In each stage we have to do what is asked of us.

    We have to stand up and face what must be faced.

    We have to come to terms with our life as it is,

    And consciously bear the pain of the discrepancy

    Between how things are and how we want them to be,

    And do what we can do about it,

    And let the rest of it just be.

    We all have to make our peace with The Unlived Life

    In each stage of our life.

    It’s a damn shame we didn’t have enough money to go to college,

    Or that the war came along and interfered with our prospects,

    Or the car wreck, or the cancer, or the fill-on-the-blank

    That turned us from what could have been to what was, and is.

    We grieve what must be grieved,

    Mourn what is to be mourned,

    And live what is to be lived—

    With compassion and grace for it all,

    And courage and hope for what can still be even yet,

    With the gifts and perspective that we have to work with,

    And the time that remains for what needs to be done.
  78. 10/25/2014 — Mud Creek Falls 02 — Dillard, GA, October 21, 2014

    No matter what just happened on the last play,

    We have to pick ourselves up and get ready for the next play—

    And put all our effort—body, mind, heart and soul—into it

    As though it is the last play and everything rides on the outcome.

    How do we do that if we are in the middle of a 17 game losing streak

    And down 42 to 14 with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter?

    How do we give our best effort in a losing cause?

    When it is like, in that old metaphorical excuse for doing nothing,

    “Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”?

    We have to love the game, no matter what the score is,

    Or what our prospects are.

    The game has to own us body, mind, heart and soul.

    The game is our life.

    Our life is the game.

    Everything hinges on the life we are living

    Being the life that is ours to live.

    And if it is not, then we play it as though it were.

    We live it so that no one can tell whether it is or is not

    The life that is ours to live.

    So, no matter what just happened in the last play,

    We have to get up and get ready for the next play—

    And put all our effort—body, mind, heart and soul—into it

    As though it is the last play and everything rides on the outcome.
  79. 10/25/2014 — Hanging Rock 2008 02 — Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury, NC, October, 2008

    We are on our own.

    It is all up to us.

    And we cannot do it alone.

    This is one of the fundamental paradoxes of our life.

    Carl Jung said that no one can become a true human being

    Cut off from all others in a cave in a Tibetan mountain.

    And, he said that if we surrender our individuality

    And become one with the masses,

    We have no hope of ever being a true human being.

    We all need enough of the right kind of community—

    Of the right kind of company—

    Of the right kind of help.

    We need validation, affirmation, confirmation,

    And we need a sounding board,

    A devil’s advocate,

    And a reminder to return to the source

    Of breath and silence.

    It’s a mystery of the path

    That brings us the companions we need

    When we need them most.

    At our lowest ebb,

    Help appears from places we would never expect.

    Be most alert at the point of giving up.
  80. 10/26/2014 — Dry Falls 2014 04 — Nantahala National Forest near Highlands, NC, October 21, 2014

    The right kind of help is the hardest thing to find and the easiest thing to overlook.

    In Joseph Heller’s book “Catch 22,” Yossarian was a bomber pilot in WW2 who wanted more than anything to get out of the war alive. His friend Orr was also a pilot who was shot down—and rescued—on a very high percentage of missions. Orr was always trying to get Yossarian to fly co-pilot with him. “Are you crazy?” Yossarian would ask. “You crash all the time! I want to avoid crashing at all costs!” And he did. He never got out of the war before it ended.

    Orr, on the other hand, was practicing crash landings in the Mediterranean, looking for the right currents to carry him and his life raft to Sweden—which he did, languishing in peace and freedom until war’s end. Yossarian passed up the right kind of help because it appeared to be the opposite of what he had in mind.

    What we have in mind can keep us from seeing the path that opens before us.

    We all are Yossarian and we all are Orr.

    We all play Yossarian to someone else’s Orr.

    And we all play Orr to someone else’s Yossarian.

    And we all have to wake up, recognize when we are in our Yossarian mode, and take the help some Orr is offering.  
  81. 10/26/2014 — Around Lake Haigler HDR 07 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, September 5, 2014

    Let’s start with the premise that we don’t know what we are doing—

    That we have not the faintest glimmer of an idea

    Of what we should do with what remains of our life.

    That all we have are opinions, inferences, notions, conjectures, intentions, interests, desires, wishes, wants, sentiments, presumptions, assumptions and the way it is being done around us for guides—

    Any of which we will leap to embrace

    In order to avoid the discomfort, anxiety and anguish

    Of knowing that we don’t know what to do with our life.

    We have to bear the pain.

    And listen within.

    We have to find the way back to heart/soul/body/mind.

    We have to get out of our heads

    And embrace the insolubility of our problem,

    And wait in the silence for some strange notion,

    Some aberrant inclination,

    Some rogue intuition,

    On a mission from Nazareth

    To lead us to the Land of Promise,

    Hoping that we will know a good thing when we see one,

    And follow along.
  82. 10/26/2014 — Cullasaja River Panorama 02 — Nantahala National Forest near Highlands, NC, October 21, 2014

    Distractions abound.

    The old Taoists referred to them as “the dust of the world.”

    The cure, of course, is to live grounded in what is important,

    Aligned with Heart/Soul/Mind/Body.

    At one with the Tao,

    Compassionately mindful of all things—

    Which we are kept from doing

    By our attachment to the dust of the world.
  83. 10/27/2014 — Long Shoals 02 — Little Eastatoee Creek, Pickens, SC, October 24, 2014

    We force what we cannot have—

    What we have no business having.

    We make happen

    What does not need to happen.

    Therein lies the problem.

    Knowing what needs to happen,

    Knowing what can happen,

    And living within those restraints

    Is the path to peace,

    But we see it as surrender,

    And want nothing to do with it.

    So, here we are.
  84. 10/27/2014 — Along NY Hwy 30 Panorama 02 — Near Tupper Lake, NY, September 29, 2014

    All those who have seen,

    Have seen in the midst of those who have not seen.

    Thus, the prophet can proclaim,

    “O land, land, land! HEAR the word of the Lord!”

    And Jesus can vent,

    “How long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear you?”

    And Lao Tzu can leave the Province

    To live out his days in the solitude of the forest.

    Idiocy thrives on not-seeing, not-hearing, not-knowing.

    Try to wake them up and they have you

    Committed, shunned, excommunicated or killed.

    It’s a conundrum worthy of the Buddha.

    His was the worst fate.

    They paid him homage,

    And ignored every word.
  85. 10/27/2014 — Dry Falls Black & White 05 — Nantahala National Forest near Highlands, NC, October 22, 2014

    Living with integrity has nothing to do with living aligned with someone else’s idea of how our life ought to be lived.

    It has everything to do with living aligned with the drift of our own Heart/Soul/Body/Mind—doing what we know to be 100% right for us from the ground up, and the inside out.

    Integrity is living in synch with what is integral to us at the core.

    It is being who we are in ways that are appropriate to the occasion,

    Even though some people in authority might deem them to be highly inappropriate,

    Outrageous, scandalous, blasphemous, wicked and evil.

    Like healing on the Sabbath, or it’s equivalent in our own culture.

    In this sense, integrity is the highest value—

    Though, at the point of highest value, it’s impossible to separate the high values.

    Compassion, kindness, authenticity, justice and peace

    Are certainly in the mix.

    They all live at the heart—

    And are evident in the life—

    Of true human beings everywhere.
  86. 10/27/2014 — Around Bass Lake 01 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, NC, October 12, 2014

    Where do ideas come from?

    Or values?

    No group of people ever had an idea.

    Think Tanks expand, enlarge, elaborate the ideas of individuals.

    Only individuals have ideas.

    Only individuals have values.

    Corporations talk about their “core values”

    And their “mission.”

    As if.

    Individuals within the corporations come up with the values and the mission.

    And groups pay lip service to them.

    Individuals are the hope of the world.

    And individuals know they don’t know where their ideas and values come from.

    It’s a mystery.

    Only individuals can be awash in—and awed by—mystery.

    If you can sense the mystery at work within you,

    You are not far from catching a glimpse of the numen—

    The numinous

    The divine—

    And there lies the gold,

    Which only individuals can recognize, honor, and receive

    As blessing and grace,

    And the ground of life and being.
  87. 10/27/2014 — Looking Glass Falls 02 Black & White — Nantahala National Forest near Brevard, NC, October 19, 2014

    When you pick up something I’m laying down here,

    Don’t think it’s interesting,

    Or makes sense,

    Or resonates with how you have always thought and felt.

    And let it gather dust in some back corner of  your mind.

    Turn it over.

    Expand it, deepen it, enlarge it, shine it up, put your own spin on it

    And pass it along.

    Keep it going.

    Don’t hide the light under a basket.

    Put it on a lamp stand.

    Shine it in everyone’s eyes.

    See who sees it, and smiles.

    Tell them to pass it on.
  88. 10/28/2014 — Lake Oolenoy HDR 02 — Table Rock State Park, Pickens, SC, October 24, 2014

    You have the power to transform your world

    But

    You have to be you to do it.

    You have to live YOUR life in the midst of the life you are living.

    You have to dance your dance.

    Sing your song.

    Work your side of the street.

    In the face of enormous opposition

    And pressure—both subtle and brutally direct—

    To leave the way

    Turn aside from the path

    And speak no more of the truth you know to be true.

    You have to believe in you and the life that is yours to live,

    And dare to follow your own intuition and interests

    And your sense of the good

    Wherever they lead

    Determined to see if there is anything to what I’m saying,

    Or if it’s all just a box of smoke.
  89. 10/28/2014 — Cataloochee Elk 02 — Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Maggie Valley, NC, October 28, 2014

    A Zen proverb says, “The ability of the archer to hit the bull’s eye varies in inverse proportion to the size of the prize.”

    The more we have at stake in the desired outcome, the less capable we are of achieving it.

    So here’s the solution, whether you are a football team seeking a big win, or a job applicant on your way to an interview:

    As the size of the prize grows, you have to grow with it.

    You can’t be a little girl, a little boy, afraid of losing, hoping to win.

    You have to be a grown woman, a grown man, focused on bringing forth the best you have to offer in doing the work that is to be done.

    How do you do your best? Live from your center! From your core! From your heart! From your soul!

    When your mind strays to the prize, to all that winning it would mean, bring your mind back to the center, to the core, heart and soul of who you are.

    Live from there.

    Be the best you you are capable of being

    By living aligned with your center, core, heart, soul in everything you do.

    All of your outcomes will fall into place around that.
  90. Water Rock Knob Sunset HDR 01 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Maggie Valley, NC, October 28, 2014

    Carl Jung said, “We are what we do.”

    We talk a good line.

    We know the right things to say.

    We position ourselves to look like we can be trusted

    To live in good faith with one another—

    To be who we say we are.

    Words are not deeds.

    Who do we show ourselves to be

    In the course of living our life?

    The best predictor of what someone will do

    Is what they have done.

    Words conceal.

    Actions reveal.

    We shape who we are

    By acting in ways that are commensurate

    With who we mean to be.

    We live our way to true human being-hood.

    We do not talk our way there.
  91. Fall Woodscape 01 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN, October 29, 2014

    We have been entrusted with a life that only we can live.

    The Hero’s Journey is the work

    Of placing ourselves in the service of that life,

    Aligning ourselves with it,

    And bringing it forth in the life we are living.

    This is the stuff of myth and legend.

    The Odyssey and Star Wars,

    The Bhagavad Gita, the four gospels,

    The Tao te Ching, and the stories about the Land of Promise

    Are guides for getting together with our life,

    And living it as it needs to be lived.

    The adventure waits.
  92. Road Through Fall — Greenbrier District, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Gatlinburg, TN, October 29, 2014

    We stand in our own way,

    Blocking our own path,

    With our ideas, plans, schemes, standards and agendas.

    We live to exploit our life.

    We are Judas

    And our life is the Christ.

    We’ll sell the whole wad

    For thirty pieces of silver.

    What’s it going to take to wake us up?
  93. 10/30/2014 — Cataloochee Valley Fall HDR 01 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Maggie Valley, NC, October 28, 2014

    The quality of a gift depends entirely upon the perception of the recipient.

    All gifts mean exactly what we say they mean.

    You can’t give someone anything they are not ready to receive.

    Everything means exactly what we say it means.

    What something means is what it means to us.

    Until we are ready to see things as they are,

    We make up the meanings that shape our life.

    What we say about things

    Forms the world we live in.
  94. 10/31/2014 — Ramsey Creek Fall 01 — Greenbrier District, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Gatlinburg, TN, October 29, 2014

    Your symptoms are here to wake you up.

    They are your path to enlightenment, realization, awakening, awareness.

    Stop being an adversary—or seeing them as adversaries—and embrace them.

    Honor them.

    Listen to them.

    They come packed with metaphorical truth.

    As does everything else in your life.

    We will keep getting symptoms

    Until we begin to “get” them.

    Get it?

    This isn’t saying “getting” your symptoms

    Is the way to get rid of them—or to quit getting them.

    It’s to say that they are the threshold to the life that is your to live,

    And that when you start living that life,

    Your symptoms will be transformed.

    And, this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t try to get rid of your symptoms.

    Walk two paths at the same time.

    Treat your symptoms, look for the causes and change the way you are living,

    AND embrace, honor, listen to your symptoms.

    They are the way to life

    For those with eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart that understands.

    If you waste, or trash, a good symptom,

    It will go get three or four of its buddies

    To help it open your eyes, ears, and heart.
  95. 10/31/2014  — Haywood County Barn 02 — Near Maggie Valley, NC, October 30, 2014

    “Use the Force, Luke.”

    Here’s the way to do it:

    1) Understand that using the Force is not the way to having your way, getting your way, arranging what your want, having life like you like it. Using the Force is actually aligning yourself with the Force and letting nature take its course. For better AND for worse.

    Everything is always for better AND for worse. What’s good for one is bad for another. What’s good here and now for you is going to be bad then and there for you. It’s a trade-off. We give up this to get that. We hand everything over to the Force and relax into the way-ness of how things are, understanding this is just how things are here and now, and they are on the way to being different in a “We can’t step into the same river twice,” kind of way.

    2) Within each of us there is a Seer (the Force) that Just Sees. Everything. As it is. Without emotional attachment or reactivity. When emotions are present, the Seer just sees the emotions without being attached to them or overwhelmed by them. The Seer sees without anything interfering with its vision, its knowing.

    3) The trick is to get out of our own way and allow the Seer to show us what He/She/It sees. It happens all the time. Athletes are always seeing and responding to things they aren’t consciously directing, and they are always said to being “acting unconsciously.” They are using the Force.

    4) You can practice using the Force by wondering what you will do in a situation, by being interested in what you will do, and by allowing yourself (the Force) to show you what you will do by doing it. “I don’t know what I’ll do. I’m going to wait and see.”

    Our life is over-planned, over-thought, over-analyzed, under-lived. We have to bring ourselves back to the level of instinct and intuition (the Force) and trust ourselves to That Which Knows.

    5) Practice, practice, practice.
  96. 10/31/2014  — Baxter Creek Bridge 2014 01 — Big Creek Campground, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Waterville, NC, October 30, 2014

    Here’s my take on the Virgin Birth.

    We are all pregnant with the future—

    Our own and that of all that is.

    We are all pregnant with our life—

    The life that only we can live—

    The life that is ours to live—

    If we will.

    We are the Virgin Mary, called to deliver,

    And we are The Christ, struggling to be born.

    How we live in each moment

    Makes that the moment of delivery,

    With us bringing the invisible world forth

    Within the physical world of space and time.

    Or not.
  97. 10/31/2014 — Smoky Cascade 02 — Big Creek Area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Waterville, NC, October 29, 2014

    We have to recover the symbol.

    We have to revive metaphor.

    Facts are lies in that they misrepresent truth

    By claiming to be “the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

    Never was a fact that couldn’t be improved by seeing through it

    To what is also true.

    Your migraine is a fact.

    What does it mean?

    Your fear is a fact.

    What is it saying?

    Your dreams have no factual, literal reality.

    Your wife is NOT having a fling with your best friend.

    What is it telling you about the TRUTH of your jealousy,

    And how you are creating the environment conducive

    To the very thing you fear by being afraid of it,

    And accusative,

    And suspicious,

    And angry?

    Your dreams are a snapshot of YOUR relationship

    With YOUR soul/heart/mind/body.

    Are you listening?

    Are you looking for the symbolic

    Tucked away in all that is actual, tangible, factual, concrete and real?

    Symbol and metaphor are realer than real.

    Seek them out.

    They are everywhere.

    Waving their hands,

    Hoping you won’t miss them.
  98. 11/01/2014 — Little Pigeon River Cascades 01 — Greenbrier District, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN, October 29, 2014

    Look for ways your life is like the Odyssey. Or Star Wars. Or the world of Harry Potter, or The Lord of the Rings.

    Look for the Cyclops barring your way,

    For the Dark Side coming to meet you.

    Practice living metaphorically,

    Seeing symbolically.

    Become the hero striving with demons and monsters.

    The life that is yours to live needs you to live it

    As surely as the Republic need Luke, Hans and Leia.

    All the things standing between you

    And the full expression of your life within the life you are living

    Take on the role of Death Eaters and the Dark Powers of Middle-Earth.

    You are living an epic adventure!

    Everything rides on you bringing you forth to meet your life,

    And live your life,

    Within the limits and restrictions that are yours to surmount

    In restoring Right and putting Wrong in its place.

    You are the Hero on the Hero’s Journey!

    Be who you are!
  99. 11/01/2014 — Bridal Veil Falls 2014 01 — Nantahala National Forest near Highlands, NC, October 20, 2014

    You will know what to do.

    IF you approach the question

    Open to all of the possibilities,

    Without expectation or agenda,

    Or an idea of how to exploit the situation

    And turn it to your advantage

    And everlasting benefit.

    Step listening and looking—

    Hearing and seeing—

    Into each situation as it arises.

    Allow instinct and intuition access to you.

    You will know what you know

    Instead of dismissing, discounting, ignoring it.

    And be amazed.
  100. 11/01/2014 — Around Bass Lake 03 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, October 18, 2014

    “The master sees things as they are, without trying to control them,”

    Reads the Tao te Ching.

    “She lets them go their own way, and resides at the center of the circle.”

    “The Master does his work and then stops.

    He understands that the universe is forever out of control,

    And that trying to dominate events goes against the current of the Tao.”

    See what needs to happen in each situation as it arises—

    And offer what you have to give in its service.

    And let that be that.

            We practice being who we are

For the good of each situation as it arises–

Meeting it,

And everyone in it,

With compassion and grace–

And letting nature take its course.

This is called

Preparing the present moment

For what lies ahead.

            We complicate things by trying to work them to our advantage–

By living to parlay everything into something

That will serve our immediate benefit,

And our long term self-interest.

When we live to exploit our life,

We impose our values on our life—

But, what do we know of value?

“Buy! Spend! Amass! Consume! Achieve! Accomplish! Conquer! Succeed!”—

These are the driving forces in the pursuit

Of something worth doing with our life.

But, what is worth doing?

What is worthy of us?

We know what we want,

But we don’t know what we ought to want.

And, we have no idea of when to lay our wants aside—

In a “Thy will, not mine, be done,” kind of way.

Who is the “Thy” in that phrase?

We have no idea.

“God the Father, Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth,”

Is what we have been told,

But those who told us knew no more than we know

About the grounding values of their life.

Look at the way they lived—pillaging, plundering, destroying…

What is the value of what they called valuable?

What did they know about living in light of what’s important?

It is up to us to go where they refused to venture,

And find the “Thy” of true and lasting value.

And serve it with what remains of the time left for living.

Here’s a hint: Listen for what calls your name.

            What to do with what remains of our life

Is ours to work out

In the time left for living.

Doing is a function of—

An expression of—

Being.

What we do is who we are

In that moment.

Who do we want to show ourselves to be?

Who do we want to become?

We have to do our way toward that end.

Living so as to express who we are

And who we are to yet be—

Who we are to become.

All worthy action flows from,

And leads to,

Reflection.

We live in light of who we see ourselves to be

When we stop doing

And reflect,

And listen,

And look,

And know

What is important,

What matters most,

What the values are that seek expression

In, and through, who we are

And who we have yet to be.

We live to serve the values

That seek expression in,

And through,

Our life.

What are you going to do with the rest of your life?

Who will you be in the time left for living?

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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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