One Minute Monologues 020

08/04/2014 – 09/19/2014

  1. 08/04/2014 — We are born packed with potential

    And born into a family who, and a culture that, determines what about us can stay and what must go—and how we must fit into what awaits us whether that fits us or not.

    You see the problem.

    We are separated from ourselves at birth.

    Told who we can be and who we cannot be, never mind our potential for being more than can be asked, or thought, or imagined.

    We are squeezed into the mold of the perfect son or daughter,

    The man or woman, the citizen, the worker, the world needs us to be.

    And are cut off from all that we could have been

    But are not allowed to be.

    All that we could have been—some of which we might yet be—

    Does not just disappear.

    It was born to live,

    And desires even now to live—

    Repressed, suppressed, denied and ignored,

    It yearns still to be free.

    We are the threshold through which all that we might yet be enters the world.

    Our work is to be who we are, even now, even yet.

    To take up the cause of our disenfranchised qualities and character, knacks and interests, abilities and aptitudes—

    And see what all we might yet do—

    Who and how we might yet be.

    There is yet potential still waiting within,

    Hoping for a crack at life,

    Praying for a chance to show us

    What we’ve been missing all these years.
  2. 08/05/2014 — Baxter Creek Bridge 01 — Big Creek Campground, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, NC/TN, November 2008

    Doing right by other people works only in an environment in which other people are striving to do right by you.

    Otherwise, they take advantage of your kindnesses, impose upon your generosity, and take your graciousness for granted.

    They will transgress your boundaries, ignore your needs, and call you all hours of the day for meal money and taxi service.

    They will force you to say “NO!”

    And make you say, “I SAID NO!”

    I say this from the vantage point of having done 40 years of hard labor in the ministry, dealing with the homeless—and with those with homes, jobs, families and fortunes.

    You cannot live a life of your own without drawing lines and guarding your borders.

    The Old Testament commandment, “Thou shalt not remove thy neighbor’s landmark,” is the one most frequently ignored.

    Leaving it up to us to know how much to put up with

    And when to say, “NO! I SAID NO!”

    And mean it.
  3. 08/05/2014 — Country Cemetery 05 — Indian Land, SC, July 12, 2014

    There are the facts, and there is our interpretation of the facts.

    At times, it is difficult to know where the facts stop and the interpretation starts.

    Not only that, but.

    We generally interpret the facts based on prior experience with the facts, or with similar facts.

    Where does Then stop and Now start?

    These facts here and now may have nothing whatsoever in common with Those facts then and there.

    They just remind us of them.

    Flash us back to them.

    Trigger something in us that compels us to

    See Now and respond to it

    As though it were Then.

    It gets crazy fast.

    What to do?

    Put it all on the table

    And walk around the table.

    Consider the table.

    Contemplate the table.

    Separate the contents of the table,

    Insofar as that is possible,

    Into Outside things and Inside things.

    What are external, objective, outside, tangible reality-facts,

    And what are internal, subjective, inside, emotional-psychological reality-facts?

    Don’t kid yourself.

    Make sep
  4. arate piles,

    And see what occurs to you.

    What do you make of it?

    What are you going to do about it?

    Repeat the process in response to what happens when you do it.

    You will never again have a reason to be bored with your life.
  5. 08/05/2015 — On Roan Mountain 27 — Cherokee National Forest at Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014

    We can invent torture chambers in our heads, particularly when we have something at stake in a situation, when to gain or to lose has significant and lasting implications, and we cannot stand to think of what might happen—surely it cannot happen, or, surely it will happen, Oh, it must not happen, Oh it has to happen…

    We imagine the worst, no a million times worst than the worst, or the best, and everything rides on the outcome.

    The Buddhists would shake their heads and say, “Remember your breath. Breathe in, breathe out. No attachment to any outcome. Bring yourself into the moment. Feel your breath. Scan your body. You are here, now. Consider the moment of your living. Bring yourself into the moment. Accept the moment. Accept your making yourself crazy—but do not add fuel to the fire. Trust yourself to respond appropriately to whatever happens in the future, and practice that by responding appropriately to what is happening here, and now. And do not let future possibilities intrude in this moment or interfere with your ability to respond appropriately to what is happening here, now.”

    Jesus would say, “The days own troubles are sufficient for the day.”

    Why would you ignore Jesus and the Buddhists?
  6. 08/06/2014 — False Kiva Panorama — Islands in the Sky District, Cloudlands Canyon National Park, Moab, Utah, May 14, 2010

    How much better off are we for all of our planning, scheming, strategizing, concocting, devising, conniving and arranging outcomes to our advantage?

    How much better off are we with everything contributing to our advantage?

    What’s the advantage of having the advantage?

    What do we do with an advantage that makes it so worth having?

    With the so-called “advantage” firmly secured, we smoke cigars and drink whiskey.

    That kind of person would certainly know what to do with an advantage, all right.

    We should just go straight for the whiskey for all the good winning the advantage has done for us.

    How do we position ourselves to have the best possible life under the circumstances?

    Stop negotiating for the advantages, and go straight for living the best possible life under the circumstances.

    Everything hinges on how we understand the term, “best possible life.”

    Our leaders have the wrong idea.

    World wide.

    We should stop following them all,

    And listen to our own heart and soul, mind and body.

    They are the kind of leaders we all would do well to follow.
  7. 08/06/2014 — Buck Paysour Hand-Tied Popper 2008 — Greensboro, NC — Buck Paysour died on July 7, 2001. He was an outdoor writer for the Greensboro News and Record before his retirement, and an avid fisherman. He never understood why I took up a camera and put down my fishing rod. Telling him that I had caught enough fish just didn’t register. “How can a man catch enough fish, Jim?” We would chuckle together and go on to the next topic. A year before his death, Buck took me on my last fishing trip—a float trip down the James River in Virginia catching small mouth bass with every cast. It was on that trip that I realized I’d caught enough fish. Buck gave me these poppers before he died, thinking they might get me back in the spirit of things, but they stayed in the box they came in until I realized I could photograph them and give them to his wife, which is what I did. I would never have used them to fish with, even if I were still reeling ‘em in. —

    Everyone endeavors to do the right thing—as he or she assesses right. The Tea Party and President Obama have different ways of thinking about what is right. How would we ever decide who is right?

    That’s the problem with right. It’s easier to determine after the fact. Sometimes, long years—ages and epochs—after the fact, than in the heat of the moment of decision.

    I’ve never been more wrong than about the things I was so sure I was right about.

    It’s a wonder I’ve lived this long.

    But, I’ll say this to my credit: I’ve always realized my mistakes. I think that’s why I’ve lived so long.

    It’s the people who are never wrong who are such a threat to themselves and others.

    Only time will tell who is right about what is right. But, when time tells, we all ought to listen.
  8. 08/07/2014 — Linville Falls HDR Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, NC, July 13, 2012

    Cultivating your relationship with yourself is your primary work/practice.

    The rest of your work/practice flows from there.

    If you don’t like yourself,

    If you are at war with yourself,

    It’s up to you to do something about it.

    Wake up.

    Apologize.

    Make amends and restitution.

    Seek forgiveness.

    Repent and begin again.

    All the Biblical injunctions and proclamations

    About getting right with God

    Are about getting right with yourself.

    Who do you think God is, if not

    The voices within that you keep dismissing, discounting, ignoring and shunning.

    Or, do you think there is some Other Voice somewhere

    Calling you to wake up, grow up and get with the program?
  9. 08/07/2014 — Colors of Fern 01 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, September 2, 2008

    Whenever you step into any major life transition—going off to college, surgery, job loss or gain, retirement, marriage, divorce, etc.—you enter a process, and encounter forces, over which you have no control.

    But, even there, you exercise considerable influence over the outcome.

    We are always thinking that absence of control is the end of us,

    And forgetting about the influence.

    Influence packs a wallop.

    Attitude is not accidental.

    It does not ebb or flow automatically in response to circumstance.

    It responds to our intention, will and direction.

    Perspective, outlook, an orientation toward the positive and away from the negative, a cooperative spirit, the determination to help those overseeing our care and convalescence help us, a willingness to listen to our body and allow it to show us what it needs from us, an openness to—and an awareness of—whatever we are experiencing in each moment and letting that be because it is…

    These things are the intangibles that turn a bad situation into a better one, and make wherever we are more livable than it would be without them.

    That’s the least you can expect.

    They have been known to make all the difference in determining outcomes and transforming futures.

    We play our hand as well as we can,

    And take our chances.

    But, “The harder we work, the luckier we get.”
  10. 08/08/2014 — On Roan Mountain 26 — Roan Mountain Highlands, Cherokee National Forest at Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014

    Life is a learning curve.

    Steep, steady, and always waiting, winking, and calling our name.

    When we hit the wall,

    It’s only the flat edge of the learning curve

    Inviting us to find a handhold

    And start climbing.

    That sucker is so big it looks straight.

    So sheer it looks to be unmanageable.

    That’s life for you.

    It will teach you what you think you know,

    And grow you up.

    If you aren’t learning, you aren’t growing (up).

    You may be growing out,

    And growing weary,

    And growing short on patience,

    And thinking you are old enough to be grown up by now,

    But life is just laughing,

    And planting more walls in our path,

    Waiting for us to hit them

    And start climbing.

    We grow up all the way to the grave.

    And, for all we know, that’s just another wall.
  11. Faries-Colthrap Cabin — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Dairy Barn Access, Fort Mill, SC, July 26, 2014

    When we get to the bottom of things, all we find are values.

    All of the facts that constitute apparent reality are grounded on abstractions.

    The heart of creation is a swirl of more than words can say.

    What does “love” mean? Whatever you say it means, there is more to it than that.

    All of the values are symbols of more than can be said.

    What do we mean by wonder?

    The best we can do is hold up a flower.

    The flower is a symbol of a symbol.

    Nothing is the thing.

    In that sense, nothing is at the heart of creation.

    But, it’s a special kind of nothing.

    The kind that takes your breath away.

    Like a baby patting YOU on the shoulder as you rock her.

    You can’t say what that means,

    Or why the memory of it brings tears to your eyes.

    The heart of creation is just like that.

    People crying and laughing at the same time,

    And enjoying the wonder of mutual understanding and love

    In that good place,

    Which is wherever we are with recognition and awareness

    Of the values at the heart of creation.
  12. 08/09/2014 — Nova Scotia 2008 01 — Peggy’s Cove, September 2008

    Appearance should not be a stopper.

    Little people, big people, short people, tall people, fat people, thin people… you get the idea.

    All shapes and sizes, colors and facial features

    Are exactly the same distance from the values at the heart of being and life.

    And, whomever gets there first

    Blesses the rest with the beauty and grace of her or his presence.

    Get the inside right—

    Live aligned with the values that are truly valuable—

    Grounded in, and at one with, what matters most—

    And live in ways that exhibit the inside on the outside,

    And you transform the world.

    And you don’t have to be Barbie or Ken to do it.

    We need institutions that stress the importance of heart and soul,

    Understand the process of connection and expression,

    And give people the gifts they are born to embody.

    Did somebody say, “Schools? Churches? Sororities? Fraternities? Apple? Amazon? Google? Like that?”

    Ah, but. Where are the administrators who know what’s what?

    Who teaches the teachers and turns things around?

    You cannot fake good faith.

    Compassion isn’t something you can use to get your way.

    Values aren’t stepping stones on the path to wealth and prosperity.

    They are the heart of the matter.

    We begin to get that across by understanding it ourselves,

    And living as though it is so.
  13. 08/09/2014 — Lake Martin Swamp B&W — St. Martin Parish near Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, February 8, 2014

    We all have to make our peace with what we have done, and with what has been done to us.

    And make our peace with who we have become because of it.

    And let it all be, because it is.

    And live—to the best of our ability—

    From this point on to be mindful of each situation as it arises,

    And offer what is needed from what we have to give,

    And let that be enough,

    Because it is all we can do,

    Given where we have been,

    And who we have become

    Because of what we have done,

    And what has been done to us.
  14. 08/10/2014 — On Roan Mountain 30 — Roan Mountain Highlands, Cherokee National Forest at Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014

    The Revolution is led by those who adopt the following as their agenda and serve it with their life:

    We live to be helpful in ways that are truly helpful in each situation as it arises—seeing what is happening and what needs to be done in response to it, and doing it, so far as we are able, to the best of our ability, with the gifts, skills, and abilities we possess—in allegiance to, and service of, the values at the heart of life and being, in light of all things considered, all our life long.

    Living in this way requires us to lay all other agendas aside,

    To stand aside from ourselves and every other interest

    In order to see clearly the situation unfolding before us in each moment of our life,

    So that we become aware of what is happening within us and without—

    taking in the internal and the external worlds of which we are a part—

    Sifting through our options,

    And allowing the right response to arise in us and flow from us,

    Without blocking it, or inhibiting it, out of fear or desire,

    But authentically being/serving the values we are to exhibit in that situation,

    For the true good of all,

    Regardless of how it might appear,

    Or what implications it might have.

    If you are willing—and have what it takes—to learn to live like this,

    Take up the work,

    Beginning with your next situation,

    Trusting that doing it will teach you how to do it.

    You have joined the Revolution.
  15. 08/11/2014 — Through The Window — Ocracoke Coffee Company, Ocracoke Island, NC, September 2008

    Live experimentally.

    In each situation, some responses are better than others.

    Get off autopilot.

    Stop reacting instantaneously, mindlessly and automatically to whatever stimulus pushes your buttons.

    What do your buttons know about what is best in a particular situation?

    How you respond to what is happening is going to influence what happens next.

    I don’t care how serious the situation is, play with it.

    Play with it in the sense of trying out ways of responding to it

    That are different from your normal, predictable, routine

    Response patterns.

    Get out of normal, predictable, routine.

    Get into finding what works to help happen what needs to happen.

    Get into discovering what you are capable of.

    Stop trying to arrange a particular outcome,

    And live to see what is helpful—

    Whether or not it serves your agenda.

    Make it your agenda to be good for the situation—

    Which may mean walking away from the situation.

    Being done with something is one way of moving on.
  16. 08/11/2014 — Sunflowers 2014 03 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Hwy. 21 Access, Fort Mill, SC, July 26, 2014

    Carl Jung, Robert Johnson and a host of others have written extensively about Active Imagination. A Google search will turn up a wealth of information. It would be wrong for you to not find out what you can and make use of what you know.

    Active Imagination is a way of accessing the wisdom of the inner self.

    Carl Jung said, “There lives within each of us another, whom we do not know.”

    He called this inner other “The Old Man,” “The Old Woman,” and though of him, of her, as the collected experience and insight of our ancestors over the vast epochs of time.

    You can see how it would be wrong for you to walk around with that kind of resource within, just waiting for an invitation to collaborate with you about what to do with the rest of your life.

    Unless, of course, you think you have done such an outstanding job with it up to this point, you don’t need any help with what is left to be lived.
  17. 08/12/2014 — Thunderhead — Indian Land, SC, June 9, 2014

    It’s all useless, hopeless, pointless, futile, absurd and coming to a very bad end—

    And, how we live in the meantime makes all the difference.

    How should we live in the meantime?

    I was hoping someone would ask that question!

    We should live

    Mindfully,

    Imaginatively,

    Compassionately,

    Lovingly,

    Joyfully,

    Playfully,

    Peacefully,

    Patiently,

    Beautifully,

    Kindly,

    Trustingly,

    Hopefully,

    Exhibiting and expressing in our life

    All of the wonderful old values at the heart of being and life.

    Wait a minute!

    You just said it was hopeless!

    Now, you are telling us to live hopefully???

    What kind of sense does that make???

    Wait a minute, yourself!

    I also said it was senseless (or words to that effect)

    And you’re expecting me to make sense?

    What kind of sense does that make?

    No, YOU, wait a minute!

    What good does it do to do any of these things?

    To live in any of these ways?

    To live at all?

    Great questions—I was hoping you would ask them!

    The only good that has ever done any good at all

    Is the kind of good

    That is good for nothing!

    If you are going to believe anything, believe this.
  18. Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 08/12/2014 — Polly’s Cove Cypress 11 — Lake Marion near Santee, SC, May 3, 2014

    Our symptoms are evidence of dichotomy dismissed, discounted, denied, ignored.

    Incongruence cries out to be recognized, reconciled, made congruent, whole, complete.

    We live our life at the expense of being alive—

    Unaware of the polarities and contradictions at the heart of our emptiness, discontent and pain.

    We keep trying different doctors, new pills, and the latest exercise regimen to mold us into a life we do not fit.

    It is amazing how stupid smart people can be.

    What are your conflicts?

    Don’t forget the ones so deeply buried you’ve forgotten them,

    And no longer notice the odor of Zombie Discord terrorizing your life.

    Oh wait!

    Before you do that, deal with the protest:

    “But if I face my conflicts, I’ll have to change my life!”

    And decide whether to grow up

    Or remain forever Two, trying to have it all.
  19. 08/13/2014 — Roan Mountain Barn 02 B&W — Roan Mountan, TN, June 16, 2014

    Hope is what we have and do in the face of abject hopelessness.

    Hope does not depend on the chance of a reasonably good outcome.

    Hope does what needs doing to serve the deep values—

    Anyway, Nevertheless, Even so.

    Smiling, as though it knows something.

    It knows what it does not know:

    That there is more to it than meets the eye.

    Hope hopes best when there is no hope.

    No hope in the normal, rational, reasonable and customary

    Sense of the word.

    That’s when hope stirs and stretches,

    And gets ready for action,

    Doing what it does best:

    Living from the heart against all odds,

    Doing what is needed in the service of the old values,

    And bringing life to life in the lives of others,

    And light to life in the darkness of being—

    Past all reasons to embrace the senselessness of death

    As though it is the only thing that makes sense.

    Hope makes no sense.

    And laughs at the very idea,

    Pulling good out of the air

    To the everlasting chagrin of those chanting the chant

    Of hopelessness through the ages:

    “So what? Who cares? What’s the use? What difference will it make?”

    Giving cups of cold water to thirsty souls,

    And warm blankets of encouragement

    To those who can be encouraged,

    Pushing back the night,

    And making things better

    In the apparent absence of good. 
  20. 08/13/2014 — Steele Creek Trestle 2014 01 — Norfolk Southern crossing Steele Creek, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Field Trials Access, Fort Mill, SC, August 13, 2014

    Carl Jung said, “One book opens another.”

    Every interest works that way. One interest leads to another.

    We start with what attracts us, and see where it goes.

    Our life has its own rhythm, its own direction and flow.

    It will lead us along.

    We trust ourselves to the journey, and follow our interests along the way.

    We wake up in our life and have no idea of what to do with it.

    Listen to it!

    Your life knows what it is about, just like a seed knows what it is to be.

    What derails us is seeing something we want and chasing off after it,

    Or seeing something we fear and trying to avoid it.

    Our life knows what it is doing and what it is built to do.

    Our place is to know what we know

    And to trust ourselves to more than we know.

    We start with what attracts us, and see where it goes.
  21. 08/14/2014 — Wild Goose Island, B&W — St. Mary Lake, Glacier National Park, September 2006 

    Getting better means changing something about the way you are living.

    Everybody wants to get better while doing things exactly the way they like to do things.

    You can get better and change the way you are living,

    Or, you can live the way you are living.
  22. Used in Short Talks On Good And Bad Religion — 08/14/2014 — Lake Martin Sunset 13 — St. Martin Parish near Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, February 7, 2014

    I believe there is more to it than meets the eye.

    If pushed to say more, I would say, “I believe the visible world is grounded upon, and supported by, the invisible world—the world of numinous, transcendent reality.”

    If pushed to say more than that, I would say, following Joseph Campbell who gave me the idea with a quote from Heinrich Zimmer, “I believe the best things cannot be known, and the second best things can be known but not said, and the third best things can be known and said in the language of symbol and poetry, and the fourth best things can be known and said in the language of story and parable, and the fifth best things can be known and said in the language of everyday discourse.”

    This is in line with Sheldon Kopp, who said, “Some things can be experienced, but not understood, and some things can be understood, but not explained.”

    If pushed to say more, I would say, “I believe we do our children a grave disservice when we hand them theology and doctrine in the name of religion.

    “I believe we should hand them mystery, and invite them to wonder, with us, about the best things and the second best things,

    “And that we should teach them the language of symbol and poetry, story and parable,

    “And send them off to find their life in the world.”
  23. 08/15/2014 — Lady Bug Hatch — Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Hatchlings, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Field Trials Access, Fort Mill, SC, August 14, 2014

    You can take anything bad and make it worse by the way you respond to it.

    Or better.

    It’s up to you, where it goes from being bad.

    At some point, you have to square up to the fact that your parents weren’t what you needed them to be,

    Or that you weren’t the parent your children needed you to be,

    And take full responsibility for what you have done with your life,

    Or what your children have done with theirs,

    Given your/their poor start,

    And stop throwing everything at the feet of your parents,

    Or allowing them to throw everything at your feet.

    You start making your own decisions and choices—

    And your children do—

    When you say—

    Or they do—

    “I can’t make a good decision or choice because of my bad parenting.”

    That’s your first bad decision or choice,

    (Or theirs)

    And you

    (They)

    Made it all on your

    (Their)

    Own.

    At some point, we all have to grow up a little, and say,

    “No matter how I got here,

    I have to make my way,

    With all I carry from where I’ve been,

    Through all I face where I am,

    And all I will face where I’m going,

    And do what I can observe about it

    And imagine doing with it,

    So I better start doing what I can

    With my Observer

    And my Imaginer

    Because that’s all I have to work with—

    No matter where I started,

    Or where I am,

    Or where I’m going.
  24. 08/15/2014 — Nova Scotia 2008 03 — Peggy’s Cove, September 2008

    The sham, the show, the mask keep us from living in authentic alignment with what the Inner Woman, the Inner Man, the Inner Other, knows to be true, good, right—and needs to be done.

    The teen culture requires teens to behave according to the codes of the culture, never mind what is right for individual teens.

    The culture of Google, Apple, IBM, Bank of America, Corporate USA, requires employees to toe the line and be a Good Company Woman, Man, never mind the price individuals pay in the bargain.

    The culture of the church requires no cursing, even when a swear word is the only word that fits the occasion. Swallow it, and smile.

    Obey the culture, not the inner sense of what is right and good, and appropriate to the situation as it arises.

    Jesus and the Buddha, and every uniquely holy person in every age, were counter-cultural to the core, and lived out of their core, in setting their own course through the codes and mores of their day.

    There are no Good Company Women and Men in the company of the spiritually attuned and authentically at one with themselves and their sense of good, right, and needed.

    They all act as individuals, and they all know when a cup of cold water is the thing to offer—no matter whose hand reaches for it or whose mouth says “Thank you.”

    The cultures that require us to not see thirst in the faces of Those People, and not offer water when it is called for, or kindness when only kindness will do, kill the hearts and souls of all who follow their dictates and bow to their ways.
  25. 08/16/2014 — Through the Kudzu 01 — Norfolk Southern 7105, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Field Trial Access, Fort Mill, SC, August 14, 2014

    There are moments to transform—

    Using only our presence and charm.

    We enchant situations,

    Simply by seeing them as they are,

    And offering what is needed,

    Out of the gifts that are ours to give.

    What do we mean thinking

    Our lives are boring

    And empty?

    Life is magical!

    We are magicians!

    Bringing death to life

    Just like that,

    By the power of mindful,

    Caring,

    Attention!
  26. 08/17/2014 — Banner Elk, NC Poster — State Highway 194 to Banner Elk, NC, June 16, 2014 

    This poster brings a number of slogans to mind: Banner Elk: Always Just Around The Next Corner; Banner Elk: Where One Good Turn Always Deserves Another; Banner Elk: Once You Arrive, You’ll Want To Stay Forever; Banner Elk: Well Worth The Journey; Banner Elk: The Light At The End Of The Road; Banner Elk: Getting There Is Just The Beginning…

    This poster is also an apt metaphor for the spiritual journey, where there is always another turn in the road.

    We don’t begin the work of making the unconscious conscious and coast into Beulah Land.

    It’s the trip from Egypt to the Land of Promise: Endless wandering and wondering if it’s worth it.

    Even when we arrive, we aren’t there yet, and have to continue the work of growing up, waking up, standing up and squaring ourselves up with some other unwanted aspect of our life all the way to the grave.

    It isn’t like the Tele-Evangelists promise. We don’t turn everything over to the Inner Other and receive riches, prosperity, glory and happiness everlasting.

    We don’t even turn everything over to the Inner Other. We remain at the table as a full partner in our own development, participating fully in each decision about what to do and how to do it.

    We are responsible for our own life, for better or worse, all our life long.

    The road to the Land of Promise winds through the heart of Gethsemane and across the face of Golgotha.

    You have to be up for the journey that has no end,

    And understand that getting there IS arriving—

    The end is always here, with us now,

    And going on before us into Galilee and all the world.
  27. 08/17/2014 — Marshlands 02 — Hunting Island, SC, May 2, 2014

    Above the door to his home near Zurich, Switzerland, Carl Jung inscribed a quote from the Delphic Oracle: “Invoked or not invoked, the god will be present.” But for what purpose? For the god’s own purpose.

    This is echoed in the Bible with the rain falling on the just and the unjust and God having mercy on whom God will have mercy, and who is Job to whine and complain because God is going to do what God is going to do.

    This is also the gist of Taoism, Zen and Buddhism, with the Way being the way it is and that’s the way it is.

    The point here is to not think in terms of getting God on our side with  offerings and sacrifices, penitence, repentance and contrition—but of getting on God’s side in a “Thy will, not mine, be done,” kind of way.

    This is to say our aim is to be that of doing what needs to be done in a situation, regardless of its implications for us personally—

    That we are not here to tend our advantage, increase our gains and reduce our losses, but to give ourselves to the service of that which needs doing, no matter what.

    From this standpoint, religion would be concerned about finding the path to God—not theoretically and abstractly, but experientially and concretely—and not finding the way to heaven.
  28. 08/18/2014 — Cades Cove 16 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Townsend, TN, February 28, 2014

    Two things form the ground of our experience with the Invisible World: Faith and magic.

    Faith is belief in what we love and in what is important to us (They are the same thing).

    Magic is what happens when we live in the service of what we love what is important to us—

    And do what needs doing in the service of what we love and what is important to us.

    You would do anything for your children, right?

    Magic happens when you do what needs doing in the service of your children.

    You can’t tell me you haven’t transformed your life and theirs by loving them and doing what needed to be done in their behalf.

    You can’t tell me your life would not have been radically different and poorer if you had not loved them and lived as though you did.

    You have other children.

    You have to mother, to father, them just as you did your actual, flesh and bone, children.

    What do you love now? What is important to you now? There are your children.

    Take care of them, tend them, love them with the way you live,

    Believe in them.

    Magic will happen.

    A caveat: You cannot predict what form, shape, or direction magic will take. You do not control and direct magic. It may not be what you want. Let go of what you want. Magic sweeps you away in the service of a good that is better than the good you imagine to be good. When you start living in the service of what you love and is important to you, faith creates magic—then you have to have faith in the magic, and stay with it, no matter where it goes, what it does, or what happens in response. It took Jesus on the road to Jerusalem, to the garden of Gethsemane and to the hill of Golgotha and beyond. Do not think what I am espousing here is the quick way to the life of your dreams. It is the only way to LIFE. You have to get out of your way if you are going to be alive in the time left for living. So, what’s it going to be: Your life as you want to live it, or LIFE with the wind of the spirit that blows where it will forever in your hair?
  29. 08/18/2014 — White Fringed Phacelia 02 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Gatlinburg, TN, Aril 11, 2014

    We cannot still ourselves to the point of being able to listen to ourselves.

    We have things to do, places to be, people to see.

    Everything depends upon our experiencing our experience,

    Noticing what is happening and what kind of response that elicits in us and others,

    And thinking about these things.

    What pushes our buttons?

    Where do our buttons come from?

    We have to be quiet and listen for the answers.

    It is a game we are uncomfortable playing.

    We have to turn up the music, or turn on the TV, and have a drink.

    We will do anything to address the emptiness of our life,

    Find meaning, purpose and direction,

    Except the things we must do

    To establish relations with ourselves,

    And get to the bottom of us, or, at least, beyond the places

    That are too shallow to splash.
  30. 08/19/2014 — On Roan Mountain 28 — Roan Mountain Highlands, Cherokee National Forest at Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014

    I wasn’t supposed to be lonely, angry, afraid, inquisitive, sad, loud, quiet, exuberant, moody, festive, smart, talkative, anxious, obnoxious, nervous, irritated, unpleasant, resentful, cross, sulky… The list is long.

    I was supposed to be considerate, appreciative, grateful, helpful, and out of the way until I was needed.

    I could have used more help than was available—but the right kind of help was in short supply for everyone during my childhood and youth. Everyone was trying to do what they were supposed to do—and failing at it.

    We were all in the same situation, and it would have made all the difference if we could have recognized it, and said, “The hell with this. Let’s start over by being kind, compassionate and accepting with one another, and see where it goes.”

    I don’t know where it would have gone, but it would have gone a lot better with all of us, and we wouldn’t have as many tics, scars and open wounds trying to heal.

    We never out-grow where we’ve come from, or get over having had parents—but it helps to recognize the lingering influences, and to counteract them now with the things that were missing then, as compensation for what we didn’t have, or had too much of.

    It’s never too late for kindness, compassion and acceptance to work their wonders. We can grant those things to ourselves and others, and keep company with those who grant them to us.

    It will be a little like starting over and doing it the way it should have been done way back when.
  31. 08/19/2014 —  Evening Ferry 2008 — Pamlico Sound, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, NC, October, 2008

    We whine, moan, complain and curse about—run and hide from—the things that pull us forth, draw us out, force us to do the things we do best, require us to be who we are.

    The things we would change about our situation are the things that are saving us from disappearing into the routines of living, becoming lost to our life, wondering where meaning is to be found and what to do with our days.

    So. Look at the things you hate for the things they ask of you which you really do well,

    And focus on the importance—to you and those around you—of bringing those things forth as gifts to bless and grace all things.

    And, thus, be blessed and graced by the things you consider to be curses and blights without equal.
  32. 08/19/2014 — In The Fog 01 — Lake Townsend, Greensboro, NC, September 2008

    Take a photograph of everything you love as soon as possible.

    (Love everything you love as much as possible, as often as possible.)

    It won’t be there long.

    Neither will you.
  33. 08/20/2014 — Spring on the River — Oconaluftee River, Cherokee, NC, April, 2008

    When Yoda says, “Try? Do or do not! There is no try!” he is speaking for all those who know and have known through the ages.

    The foundational principle of Taoism and Zen is “wu wei,” the act of not acting with intention, determination, persistence and zeal—in other words, with the spirit of the dominant culture of every culture that has ever existed, or will exist.

    “Wu wei” is what happens when an athlete is “in the zone.” She is not thinking, not planning, not scheming, not desiring, not trying. She is doing—what needs to be done, exactly when and how it needs to be done, without thinking about it or trying to execute what she thinks needs to happen. She is simply doing what needs to be done, with the gifts, skills and ability she has honed with practice and preparation.

    It’s what a cook does without consulting a recipe book, yet producing a wonderful dish, because he knows cooking, and simply does what the dish he is serving, and is about to serve, needs to have done.

    It is what the servant, at one with the master’s will, does in compliance with the master’s wishes, when and how it needs to be done, because he knows the master.

    What do you know so well that you do without thinking about it? Without trying to do it? Driving to work. Tying your shoes. Brushing your teeth. The list is long.

    When you first learned to drive, you had to think about it. You were practicing driving. Now you drive without thinking about what you are doing. You make turns, take curves, and park without the jitters and tension of not-knowing how it’s done. You do it.

    The art of “wu wei” comes from practicing the art of “wu wei” — the art of reading the moment and supplying what it needs — until we don’t have to think about what we are doing, we trust ourselves to respond to the moment out of our knowledge/experience of what is happening and what needs to happen, so that we flow like the stream meeting an obstacle, be it a boulder, a tree, or a cow, and making the necessary adjustments and flowing on.

    This is the art of mindful attention—not anxious attention, not fearful attention, not angry, forceful attention, but loving, compassionate attention. Seeing into the heart of things, knowing how things are and what that means for you, the stream, in the moment of your living.

    This is our practice: To see things as they are and to respond appropriately in ways that are fitting to the occasion.

    No doctrine. No dogma. No theology. No ideology. No trying. Just seeing/doing and dancing with the moments of our living.
  34. 08/20/2014 — Queen Anne’s Lace 01 — Mecklenburg County, NC, June 8, 2014

    Living together in good faith is the only healthy way to live together, but.

    There is no cure for bad faith.

    Unilateral good faith is bad faith’s dream come true.

    You can see where this is going.

    We are going to be living together in ways that are not healthy in no time at all.

    See if I’m wrong about this.

    Bad faith is the one problem keeping all of this from being really great.

    Fix that, and you will be remembered forever.
  35. 08/21/2014 — Country Cemetery 06 B&W — Indian Land, SC, July 12, 2014

    Everything turns on your finding good company and spending lots of time there.

    Your best shot at finding good company is being good company.

    Being good company means living in good faith with yourself and others,

    Living mindfully in each moment—being consciously present in the time and place of your living—

    Not running, hiding, discounting, dismissing, denying what is happening,

    But seeing what you look at, hearing what you listen to, feeling what you feel, sensing what you sense, intuiting what you intuit, experiencing what you experience, thinking what you think, understanding what can be understood, and knowing what you know

    In every moment and situation that comes your way—

    And, being grown up about it all.

    There is no good company that is not on its way to being grown up about it all.

    You are on your way to growing up

    When you can “let be what is,” and do what needs to be done about it

    In each situation as it arises.

    Live like that and good company will seek you out.
  36. 08/21/2014 — Walking on a Country Road — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Field Trials Access, Fort Mill, SC, August 13, 2014

    All we need is a sounding board.

    Someone to listen to us in a way that enables us to hear what we are saying.

    You might think we could just talk to ourselves.

    Keep a journal.

    Write ourselves letters.

    You know, like that.

    When we talk to ourselves we hear what we have always said.

    We never say anything new.

    We answer the questions we ask.

    We never ask any new questions.

    We let ourselves off the hook.

    We kid ourselves.

    We tell ourselves what we want to hear.

    The circle goes round and round forever

    With us saying the same things we always say.

    We never have to explain anything to ourselves.

    We know what we are talking about.

    We collude with ourselves

    To keep things exactly as we say they are.

    We need a sounding board

    Who will call us out.

    Force us to look at our refusal to look at things we don’t want to see.

    Who will catch us in contradictions,

    Point out our conflicts and polarities,

    And ask us to clarify things to her, or his, satisfaction.

    Know anyone like that?

    Ever wonder why not?
  37. 08/22/2014 — Goshen Creek 23 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone, NC, July 3, 2014

    We are helpless, impotent, powerless and vulnerable.

    Babies fresh from the womb.

    Dependent on the world being nice to us.

    All our life long.

    Growing up is coming to terms with our vincibility.

    Which is not a word, but should be.

    If invincible is a word, vincible should be a word.

    Another thing we are helpless to control.

    They are all over the place,

    The things that prove our vincibility.

    And growing up means coming to terms with them all:

    The bullies, the thugs, the rapists, the terrorists, the heartless, ruthless, invaders of our life, destroyers raiding, pillaging, laughing, mocking, laying waste to all that is good, ransacking our world, all worlds.

    A Viking ship is always sailing into some harbor.

    Boko Haram is always on the way to some village.

    Some kid is always taking a gun to school.

    Try to be safe, secure, off-limits, out of danger,

    Behind high walls with gated, and guarded, entrances,

    And the prospect of danger keeps you awake every night.

    We may as well live in a ghetto with no locks on the doors,

    Except for the illusion of security our high walls bring.

    How do we make our peace with that?

    Come to terms with that?

    Live with that?

    Buy guns? Dare them to break down our door?

    Kill all of those who would kill us?

    Vincibility is a beast, eating us all alive.

    I recommend reasonable precautions

    And ruthless responses to ruthlessness

    With regret,

    But without qualms or hesitation,

    As acknowledgement of the way things are,

    And concession to realities beyond our control.
  38. 08/22/2014 — Mill Dam — Banner Elk, NC, June 16, 2014

    Something directs us through our days.

    What determines whether we go to a bar or a museum?

    Whether we get up and go to work or hit “snooze” and sleep in?

    Why do we do what we do and not something else?

    Think what we think?

    Believe what we believe?

    Jon Kabat-Zinn says we see with our ideas, opinions and beliefs—not with our eyes.

    We already know what we will see before we look.

    What we see when we look merely confirms what we know.

    Who is in charge of our life?

    Who is directing our steps?

    Who is making our choices?

    How did we become so locked into auto-pilot?

    What do we need to do to take over our life

    And live it in ways we consciously decide to live?

    We can live mindfully or mindlessly—or somewhere in between.

    Begin to be mindful of where you are on the continuum.

    Catch yourself in the act of mindless living.
  39. 08/23/2014 — Lake Haigler 2014 01 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Hwy. 21 Access, Fort Mill, SC, August 22, 2014

    The source of stability, reliability, constancy, consistency—

    The ground of life and being—

    Amid swirling chaos and the heaving waves of the wine dark sea,

    Is the ground of life and being

    At the center, the core, the source of who we are.

    We live out of who we are, in light of who we are, to be who we are,

    Not out of any realistic hope of a bright and vibrant future,

    Where no one needs what we have to give

    Because they are surrounded by the endless comforts

    And entertainments of life.

    The worse things become in the outer world

    Of normal, apparent, reality,

    The more we have to be grounded in the unmovable reality

    At the heart of the inner world.

    We are to live in every circumstance to bring forth there

    The character and values that make any circumstance livable

    And humane:

    Courage, good faith, compassion, kindness, humor, hope, resiliency, justice, mercy, love, honor, respect, devotion, patience, generosity, gentleness, self-discipline and all the rest.

    The more our outer world is swept up in fear, insecurity, instability, unrest and despair,  

    The more we have to sink into and live out of

    Our inner world of good faith, hope and love.

    The destructive forces that destroy the foundations of life in the outer world,

    Have no impact upon the foundations of life in the inner world.

    Remembering who we are, where we come from and what we are about

    Keeps us centered in what is central and focused on what is needed

    In each situation as it arises

    Regardless of the circumstances and conditions of life in the outer world.
  40. -8/23/2014— Pine Cones — Cowan’s Ford Wildlife Refuge, Neck Road, Mecklenburg, County, NC, August 17, 2014

    Everybody is right in her, in his, own eyes.

    This is what makes relationships interesting.
  41. 08/24/2014 — Historic Brattonsville Site — Revolutionary War battle area, York County, SC, August 23, 2014

    Now what?

    The primary question.

    Know how to answer “Now what?”

    And you have it made—

    To the extent you can have it made,

    Given the nature and circumstances of your life.

    But knowing “Now what?” gets you started.

    Then, all you have to figure out is “Now what?”
  42. 08/24/2014 — On Roan Mountain 22-2 Black & White — Roan Mountain Highlands, Cherokee National Forest at Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014

    What is your greatest conflict at this point in your life?

    Being clear about what your conflicts are is the next best thing

    To being free of conflict.

    Since you will never be free of conflict,

    Make it your goal to always be crystal clear

    About what your conflicts are.

    Do not settle for knowing what your conflicts are,

    As in “Oh, I KNOW what my conflicts are!”

    KNOW what your conflicts are.

    Make the case for all sides of every conflict.

    Get to the bottom of them all.

    Know them all the way to the bottom.

    All of them.

    Always.
  43. 08/24/2014 — Into the Forest — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Hwy. 21 Bypass Access, Fort Mill, SC, August 22, 2014 — The path parallels the old Nation-Ford Road for a hundred yards, or so, and we walk alongside the footprints of early settlers—and of Native Americans before there were settlers. I live in Indian Land, SC, so named because it was deeded to the Catawba Indians by England for their help in the French and Indian War—but all land in the US is Indian Land, and needs to be remembered and honored as such.

    We come into the world knowing the difference between being loved and being not-loved.

    We know a good place to be when we see one,

    And know where we have no business being.

    We know what resonates with us—

    What strikes a cord,

    Rings true,

    Stirs a memory, or a yearning, we didn’t know we had,

    And brings us to life,

    Just by reminding us of what we do not know.

    We come packed with essential knowing.

    And are capable of appreciation, gratitude and reciprocation.

    We know what we need to know to live together

    In the right kind of community

    Without anyone saying a word,

    And did,

    For thousands of years

    Until we figured out words

    And started teaching ourselves whom to hate,

    And whom to ignore,

    So that, now, knowing anything about the inner world

    Requires us to unlearn more

    Than it requires us to learn.
  44. 08/25/2014 — Bitter Weeds and a Locked Gate — Cowan’s Ford Wildlife Refuge, Neck Road, Mecklenburg County, NC, August 22, 2014

    Those who can be big must be big,

    And those who cannot be big, must be as big as they can be.

    Everything depends on it.

    When we allow ourselves to be reduced,

    By the context and circumstances of our living,

    To being as little as we can be,

    It disintegrates into fragments too small

    To be reassembled

    Into anything any of us would be proud to call our own.
  45. 08/25/2014 — On Roan Mountain 30 — Roan Mountain Highlands, Cherokee National Forest, Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014

    Loss of soul is loss of meaning, zest, vitality, enthusiasm, joy of life…

    It’s depression.

    Lethargy.

    Not caring.

    Because nothing matters anyway,

    So why try?

    The fix, of course, is a simple shift of perspective.

    Not caring if nothing matters anyway

    (If nothing matters, it can’t matter that nothing matters),

    And choosing to give it our best

    Anyway,

    Nevertheless,

    Even so,

    Regardless,

    Always

    And forever.

    For no reason.

    And, like that, soul’s back—

    Wondering why it took us so long

    To come to our senses.
  46. 08/26/2014 — Goshen Creek 24 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone, NC, July 3, 2014

    It is amazing what it has taken to be where we are.

    Ego consciousness is a flat out miracle,

    And gets absolutely no credit at all ever.

    All the Indian-Buddhist and Judeo-Christian effort is to get rid of ego consciousness all together.

    Disappear into pure oneness with being, just being now,

    Or into sinless eternity

    Forever.

    That’s crazy.

    Get rid of your ego and you get rid of you.

    Who is left to be alive in the time that is ours to live?

    The idea is to work it out.

    All of it.

    For ego consciousness (The I who says, “I’m going to bed.”)

    To collaborate with the unconscious world within (Who keeps up with things like what time it is to eat and sleep, and what matters most right now)

    In producing a life worth living

    In each moment—

    In each situation as it arises.

    That’s a lot to work out.

    A lot of work to do.

    A lot of balances to strike,

    A lot of interests to recognize, reconcile, harmonize, appease—

    A lot of things to consider,

    Matching up outer with inner,

    And inner with inner,

    And outer with outer.

    Wow.

    We don’t give ourselves enough credit.

    We don’t love ourselves enough.

    Not nearly enough.
  47. 08/26/2014 — Dogwood Stream 2008 — Above Tremont, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Townsend, TN, April 2008 

    Think of God as the personification of all the values.

    Think of values as the personification of God.

    When you think of God and values,

    Think of them as one thing.

    When we incarnate God, we are incarnating values.

    You can’t be God without bringing the values

    At the heart of life and being to life in your life.

    Stop thinking of God as some invisible entity in charge of the whole show,

    And start thinking of God as all of the values there are

    And ever have been

    And will be

    Dying to be given actual, physical, expression—

    A chance to come to life,

    And be alive.

    Hoping you might be the one to help them out.
  48. 08/27/2014 — High Falls 2008 — Little River, DuPont State Forest near Brevard, NC, May 2008

    We are here to see what we can do,

    And to see what we can do with it.

    We don’t know what we can do,

    Or what we might be able to do with it—

    With what we find waiting for us when we are born,

    And with what comes along after that throughout our life.

    It’s all a learning process.

    We are learning who we are and what we can do.

    So, why hold back?

    Why not give ourselves the reins and find out what’s there?

    Why not let us show us what we are capable of before we die?

    We owe it to ourselves to be limited by actual limits,

    And not self-imposed ones

    Set in place out of the fear of what we might not be able to do.

    Live to surprise yourself every day!

    Starting with this one!
  49. 08/27/2014 — Blacksmithing — Historic Brattonsville Site, Revolutionary War battle area, York County, SC, August 23, 2014

    You can understand why Cro-Magnon rose to the top of the evolutionary heap—and why Neanderthal and all the others didn’t stand a chance.

    The urge to conquer, conquest, triumph, vanquish, annihilate, humiliate, destroy and eradicate lives deep within us all.

    War is what we do best, and wail, as it is said of Alexander, when there are no more worlds to ransack and plunder.

    And if that is too strong for you, then try this:

    Forcing our way is our way—

    Seizing the moment,

    Taking advantage of the advantage,

    And turning every gain into a greater one.

    And there is the Buddha,

    Who gave it all up

    To pursue the Four Noble Truths

    And the Eightfold Path,

    And Jesus,

    “Who did not think equality with God

    Was a thing to be exploited.”

    And we inherit the genes of them all.

    They live within us, and within our government—

    Every government—

    Conquest, and victory and Death to Our Enemies

    And Compassion,

    And acquiescence to a will greater than our will,

    And Loyalty to a love greater than our power to love.

    Polarity to the core.

    Waiting for us to wake up to the burden we bear,

    And bear it consciously—

    Working it out again in each situation as it arises:

    Whose good is served by the good we call good?

    In the name of what do we live?
  50. 08/28/2014 — The Fence 02 — Indian Land, SC, July 12, 2014

    I recommend curiosity about the resistance.

    There is always resistance.

    James Hollis talks about the twin demons, “Fear and Lethargy,”

    Opposing us at every turn.

    There is also Resentment, Jealousy, Defiance, Arrogance,

    And a host of others rising up to thwart our best efforts,

    And knock us off track.

    We like the idea of weight loss and exercise, but.

    The 10,000 things interfere,

    And we are overwhelmed by resistance.

    The same thing happens with meditation and silence—

    With writing regularly,

    And replacing unhealthy habits with healthy ones…

    What’s the deal?

    Whose side are we on?

    Who is opposed to the side we are on?

    Why the constant, unrelenting, opposition to that which is undeniably in our best interest?

    Why DO we shoot ourselves in the foot,

    Undermine our good intentions,

    And keep ourselves from making any progress

    Along the path with our name on it?

    What gives?

    Become intently curious.

    Invite the Opposition to the table.

    Make inquiries.

    Listen for the answers.

    Pay attention to your dreams.

    See where it goes—

    And what comes along to derail the process.

    Be curious about that.

    Get to the bottom of who is not on your side.

    What is resisting, right now, your taking up this project

    And finding out?
  51. 08/28/2014 — On Roan Mountain 32 — Roan Mountain Highlands, Cherokee National Forest at Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014

    Honor the resistance.

    Respect the resistance.

    Mindfully attend the resistance.

    Receive the resistance with compassionate concern.

    What fear fuels the resistance?

    What needs motivate the resistance?

    All of the tales and legends about heroes journeys deal with the resistance.

    The Cyclops, Medusa, Scylla and Charybdis, etc. stood in the way of Odysseus. Harry Potter had Voldemort. Frodo had a pantheon. And so it goes.

    The heroes had to vanquish, defeat, overcome, destroy, conquer and disappear their resistance.

    As if.

    The truth is it isn’t that easy.

    The resistance is not Out There so much as In Here.

    Force and will power will not work.

    You have to see your resistant side, in all of its myriad manifestations, as a frightened child,

    Begging you to not grow up and abandon her, abandon him.

    Your task is that of befriending, parenting, reassuring the resistance that you will not push her, push him, away and be rid of her, of him, forever—

    But that you will be attentive to her, to his, concerns, anxieties, and fear always.

    And make good on your promise by checking in with your resistant side on a regular basis—whether she, he, is being a problem child or not.

    Befriend your resistance, and hear her, hear him, out.

    You will find that she, he, has some valid points to make, some concerns you will to well to take into account—that you probably would never have been aware of on your own.

    Your resistance is a potential confidant and collaborative partner in the unfolding of what remains of your life.

    A strong source of assistance—believe it or not—on the work yet to be done, waiting on your invitation to join your Inner (in both senses of the word) Circle of advisers and friends on your path.
  52. 08/28/2014 — After and Before — On the path around Price Lake, Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, May 19, 2014 — The new bridge across the wetlands area at the end of Price Lake, and the old bridge. Thanks be to federal assistance to the Park Service.

    Do not live in an adversarial relationship with your adversaries.

    Jesus said, “Love your enemies.”

    One of the esteemed principles of Zen is, “Thou Art That.”

    A caveat is in order:

    When your enemy just wants you dead, and will go to any extreme to insure your death—even if it means killing himself or herself in the process—then you have an enemy unlike any Jesus ever encountered, and all rules are off the table.

    The same thing applies with all the Zen principles, and all the principles there ever were, are, or will be. You have to take everything into account, and determine for yourself, based on your own experience, your read of the situation, and your sense of what needs to be done, and on the strength of your own personal authority alone decide what to do, and do it. Now, back to where we were:

    Do not allow your adversary to force you to be adversarial.

    This is particularly so with internal adversaries—with your internal resistance, for example, or your inner critic and judge.

    See, hear, and understand your adversaries (inner and outer). Know who stands before you, what her (or his) interests are, what her (or his) purpose and goal are, what she (or he) has at stake in opposing you, what she (or he) stands to gain or lose, etc.

    Consider them with compassion, and let your response to them flow from, and express, your compassionate regard for them. Let compassion lead the way and see where the way takes you.

    Who knows where it will go, but.

    Do not be your enemy’s enemy.
  53. 08/29/2014 — On Roan Mountain 33 — Roan Mountain Highlands, Cherokee National Forest at Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014 

    Our life will teach us what is important—

    IF we live with our eyes open,

    IF we are not so invested in what we think is important

    That we are unable to change our mind

    When what is important comes along.

    We can be so dead to the life we are living

    That we cut ourselves off from the life that is to be lived.

    The unlived life that we refuse to live

    Is unable to bless us and the world around us

    With its gifts and wonders,

    Because we think the life we are living

    Is plenty good enough for us.

    What is important cannot get to us

    As long as we are locked into the service and adoration of

    What is of no importance.

    The god we call God is always

    Trumping the god who IS God.

    What is important doesn’t have a chance

    Until we can see things as they are.
  54. 02/29/2014 — Country Cemetery 09 B&W — Indian Land, SC, July 12, 2014

    We have to make it our own.

    Our life.

    Our approach to living.

    Our way of living our life in the time and place of our living.

    We cannot take anyone else’s way and copy it.

    We cannot let someone else tell us how to do it.

    We come from a point of origin where everyone was into telling us how to do it,

    And how to not do it,

    And what to most certainly not do at all.

    We have to take it all under advisement,

    And decide for ourselves how WE will do it.

    We make our life our own

    By choosing how we will do it from among the choices available to us,

    And working with our options and possibilities,

    To produce our idea of how our life should be

    Out of our personal experience,

    In light of our interests and aptitudes,

    Gifts and abilities,

    Joys and enthusiasms—

    Bringing ourselves forth into the world

    As our very own work of art.
  55. 08/30/2014 — Cosmos 02 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, July 28, 2014

    Jon Kabat-Zinn says that being cured is having your symptoms removed, disappeared, so that you no longer have cancer, for instance.

    He says that being healed is coming to terms with your symptoms, so that they no longer consume your attention and keep you from the life that is yet to be lived—even under the influence of your symptoms, so that, while you still have cancer, the cancer doesn’t have you.

    He recommends mindfulness training as a pathway to healing, and has written a number of books which serve their readers as mindfulness training guides.

    Mindful awareness is the practice of being alive in the moment of your living—attuned to what is happening, what needs to happen, what is blocking or opposing or resisting what needs to happen, and what needs to be done about it.

    Knowing is doing. Doing is being expressed in action. Mindfulness is transformative at the interface, at the threshold, where we meet our life, and where our life meets the moment of our living.

    You can’t be more alive—and more counter-cultural—than by being mindful of the time and place of your living.

    Every religion should teach prayer as the art of mindful living.

    Until we get to that point, we are left with learning the practice of living mindfully on our own.
  56. 08/30/2014 — Urban Sprawl 01 — June 9, 2014 
    Urban Sprawl 02 — August 30, 2014
    Mecklenburg County, NC
    To be continued

    The Dalai Lama said not long ago that all he wanted was to be a simple Buddhist monk.

    We are all swept up in a life that isn’t built for us.

    We insist on a finer life with more comforts and toys.

    It isn’t the developer’s fault that the money is in development,

    Or that the prevailing economic principle is

    If a profit can be made, a profit will be made.

    He’s just doing what it takes.

    Aren’t we all?

    Though, many of us might long,

    From time to time,

    For the life of a simple monk.

    But here we are,

    Riding the bull,

    Broken out of the arena,

    Twisting and snorting through the landscape.

    We want off,

    But think we better hold on.

    And hope for the best.

    With no idea of what that could be.
  57. Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 08/31/2014 — Lake Haigler 2014 04 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Hwy 21 Bypass Access, Fort Mill, SC, August 22, 2014

    When you start listening, there is no telling what you will hear.

    Keep listening.

    When what you hear brings up conflicts, contradictions

    And questions you can’t answer,

    Keep listening.

    Keep asking questions you can’t answer.

    Notice what you do to stop listening.

    Listen to what led you to stop.

    Listen to the resistance to hearing what needs to be heard.

    To knowing what needs to be known.

    Listen to your fear.

    Don’t jump for some obvious solution

    Or some quick conclusion.

    Keep listening.

    Over time.

    Be slow to act,

    Long to listen.

    Keep listening.

    The culture tells us it’s all about action.

    Getting things done.

    Doing something, anything, to escape the pain

    Of not knowing what to do.

    Listening is doing the right thing.

    Keep listening.

    Listen with your eyes.

    Listen with your ears.

    Listen with your mindfulness.

    Listen with your body.

    Listen to the bottom of everything that needs to be heard.
  58. 08/31/2014 — Front Porch — Historic Brattonsville Site, York County, SC, August 23, 2014

    We are working some scheme, some plan, some angle, trying to get what we want and avoid what we don’t want before we die.

    This is exactly the wrong path.

    The wrong direction.

    The wrong thing to do.

    The idea is to not have a scheme, plan, angle, or to be living in the service of what we want.

    No Wanting!

    Just Seeing, Hearing, Understanding, Knowing, Doing/Being!

    Try selling that on some street corner—

    Or on some internet web site.

    It is an absurd thing to think, an absurd thing to say, and an absurd thing to try to sell (You can’t give it away).

    The entire culture of the west, and most of the east, is based on, solidly grounded on, wanting.

    If we cannot want with a realistic chance of having, we may as well be dead.

    Now, that’s absurd, but it is an abounding and abundant conviction.

    Try changing those minds.

    Here’s what to change them to:

    We are not here to get what we want, but to do what needs us to do it.

    To wake up to our gifts and how we might apply them to the situation as it arises all our life long—

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

    We are here to align ourselves with That Which Needs Us—

    That would be the nature and circumstances of our life which needs us to be who we are, offering what we have to give, within them, to them, all our life long.

    But, what’s in it for us?

    We have to grow beyond asking the question

    In order to live the life that waits for us to live it.

    If you want to want something,

    Want to grow up.
  59. 09/01/2014  — Buck Paysour Hand-tied Popper 03 2008 — Greensboro, NC — There’s a note at “Buck Paysour Hand-tied Popper 01” above that gives some background to this.

    There is real time and there is dream time, and the two times are one time.

    Real time is where we incarnate the truth and value—the true value—of dream time,

    And dream time is where we are drawn back to the path, reminded again of what is important—of what has true value for our life—and are invited to incarnate that into the actual, real time, life we are living.

    We dream our life into being.

    We live our dream into being.

    And we can visit dream time without being asleep.

    We can seek direction, encouragement, comfort, assurance, hope, love, mercy and anything else we need to live well the life we are living,

    Simply by turning to our imagination and seeing what we have to say to ourselves in the here and now of our life.

    Tune in, turn on, drop out, as they say, only this time without any help from your “friends,” and wake up.

    Tune in to the frequency of the inner, invisible world.

    Turn on the movie of your mind.

    Drop out of the world of normal, apparent reality.

    Wake up to the truth and value of what you have to say to yourself about what needs to be done in the life you are living.

    This is the path of Active Imagination.

    Carl Jung and Robert Johnson and many others talk about ways to carry out the practice of tuning in, turning on, dropping out and waking up.

    An internet search for the term will drop a wealth of information into your lap.

    Then, it will be only a matter of making regular, continuing, on going connection between Real Time and Dream Time,

    And enjoying the journey.
  60. 09/02/2014 — Smoky Sunset — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Maggy Valley, NC, September 1, 2014

    Self-reflection and self-determination go hand-in-hand.

    One without the other is a bird without wings.

    Without the freedom to realize and determine our own path

    We are as well-off not knowing who we are

    And not caring what we do,

    Or who directs our steps.

    No path worth walking

    Has ever been trod

    By those unaware of what is important

    Or unconcerned about expressing and serving it with their life.
  61. 09/02/2014 — Light Rays at Water Rock Knob Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway near Maggie Valley, NC, September 2, 2014

    You know those dry spells? The empty places? The points where you know something has to change? The periods of transition from one way of living (married to divorced, perhaps, or between jobs, or from graduation to working, etc.)?

    Open your eyes. Listen to everything. Wonder about it all. And do not force your way into the next thing—anything—just to be done with the anxiety of floating in the air from one trapeze to the next one.

    Trust that the next trapeze is on its way, and it will be there for you in its own time.

    Trust that in the meantime, your destiny is cooking you.

    Slow cooking you.

    Simmering you, marinating you, stewing you to a nice, tender, perfect you,

    And will serve you up to you in good time,

    As if to say, “Here, Honey, this is a little something I put together for you. I hope you enjoy it.”

    And some of your friends will say, “Wow! I didn’t know you had it in you!”

    And you’ll say, “Neither did I! I had no idea I was capable of anything like this!”

    And others of your friends will say, “I knew you could do something like this—in was in you all the time!”

    And you will say, “So did I! I’ve always known this has been hidden away in me, just waiting for me to give me a chance to show me what I’m made of!”

    And all you did was wait for the trapeze.

    And cooperate with it’s arrival by preparing for its appearance,

    And being ready for it when it came swinging along.

    What exactly is preparation?

    That’s where opening your eyes, listening to everything, and wondering about it all comes in.
  62. 09/03/2014 — Light Beams 01 — Water Rock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway near Maggie Valley, NC, September 2, 2014

    Put “Love your enemies,”

    And, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,”

    And, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”

    On the table.

    And put the Book of Revelation on the table.

    Now, put yourself on the table,

    And live on the table—

    Deciding when to do what.

    We live among the possibilities,

    And decide which to bring forth to meet the present moment.

    Sometimes, we do it this way—

    And sometimes, we do it that way.

    Which is the Right Way?

    The way that is appropriate to the time and place of our living.

    How do we know what that is?

    Hear what is being said.

    See what is happening and what needs to happen.

    Understand what is important.

    Know what is being asked of you.

    Act in ways that take all of this into account.

    In each situation as it arises.
  63. 09/04/2014 — Water Rock Knob Sunset — Blue Ridge Parkway near Maggie Valley, NC, September 2, 2014

    There is the kind of should-ought-must-supposed to that is locked into doing what some significant and highly respected other tells you to do.

    And there is the kind that some significant and highly disrespected other tells you to not do.

    When we do what we should-ought-must-are supposed to—or, are not supposed to, we do what we do to please someone, or to displease someone.

    Either way, someone else is directing our doing, controlling our living.

    Directing our boat on its path through the sea.

    When we live like this, we are robots on auto-pilot.

    To live the life that is our life to live

    Aligned with,

    In collaboration with,

    The Inner Guide,

    Doing in each setting—in each “time” of our life—what is organically “us,”

    And what is fitting, proper, and appropriate for that particular “time” and place in our life.

    To get there and do that,

    We have to live mindfully at one with ourselves and with the time and place of our living.

    If you aren’t there yet,

    You have found your practice.
  64. 09/04/2014 — Eastern Brook Trout — Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Maggie Valley, NC, September 2, 2014

    We never stray far from the character that comes with us from the womb.

    “The face that was ours before we were born”

    Is the unique combination of values, qualities and characteristics

    Orbiting around the core of the self that is ours to be.

    This is the truth that “will out”—

    That will “shine through.”

    We will be who we are.

    This is the Thy

    In “Thy will, not mine, be done.”

    Our Invisible Twin

    Is our inner link with more than we can ask, or think, or imagine—

    Which seeks expression/Incarnation in our outer life and being.

    We can live to align ourselves with it—

    Seeking that which is seeking us—

    And being who we are with mindful awareness and intention.

    Or not.

    But, why not?
  65. 09/05/2014 — Sunset, Morton’s Overlook — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Maggie Valley, NC, September 1, 2014

    We’re going about it the wrong way.

    And there is no way to turn it around

    Because doing it the right way

    Hinges on our realizing that we are doing it the wrong way,

    And no one can wake up those who think they see.

    The Dalai Lama said,

    “The forces in control have their own momentum,

    And what’s going on will continue

    Until that momentum is exhausted.”

    Or words to that effect.

    Those who see

    Can only be awake

    In the land of those who do not see,

    And go about it the right way

    In their own way,

    And wait.
  66. 09/05/2014 — Caldwell House 01 — Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Maggie Valley, NC, September 2, 2014

    It takes a wall to wake us up.

    No one ever woke up

    As long as there was a reasonable chance of things going their way.

    Waking up as a ploy to have things go our way

    Is not waking up.

    “If I wake up, then I will be happy,

    Things will go my way,

    And I will have it made,”

    Is not waking up.

    Thinking that your peace and happiness

    Is contingent on things going your way

    Is not waking up.

    Walls are for waking up.

    If we spend our life avoiding walls,

    Denying walls,

    Ignoring walls,

    In hot pursuit of having our way at last,

    We will never wake up.

    Waking up is handing over our way.

    Laughing at the very idea of having a way—

    As though we know which way is the way to have!

    And what is in our best interest.

    And what is not.

    We can’t make ourselves happy

    Anymore than we can make ourselves awake.

    But, we can’t realize that all the way to the bottom,

    Just hearing it.

    It takes a wall.
  67. 09/05/2014 — Oconaluftee River 09/2014 01 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC, September 1, 2014

    I’m working on my goals for what remains of my life. Here’s what I have so far:

    1) To be worth talking to.

    2) To see what I’m looking at.

    3) To hear what I’m listening to.

    4) To ask the questions that beg to be asked.

    5) To say the things that cry out to be said.

    6) To understand what is happening in each situation as it arises.

    7) To know what to do in response to what is happening in each situation as it arises.

    8) To have the wherewithal to do it as it needs to be done.

    9) To feel my way forward each step of the way.

    10) To trust myself to my instinct, intuition, hunches and body signals all along the way.

    11) To live with the wind of the spirit that blows where it will forever in my hair.
  68. 09/06/2014 — Around Lake Haigler HDR 01 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, September 5, 2014

    Lay aside your expectations, ambition, desire, plans, goals, dreams and happy fantasies—

    And see what you can do with it.

    Stop dissin’ it.

    Complaining about it,

    Wishing it were different.

    Waiting for something to change about it

    In order for it to be enjoyable—if not delightful—

    And full of prospects.

    See yourself as the agent of transformation—

    And live what remains of your life

    As only you can live it.

    This doesn’t mean some Bucket List

    Of things to see-and-do

    Before you die.

    It means bringing forth the gifts that are yours to give

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

    It means see what you can do with your life

    Here and now,

    Beginning right here, right now.

    See what you can do with it.

    See what you can do.

    Don’t die not knowing

    What you could have done.
  69. 09/06/2014 — Smoky Thunderstorm — Great Smoky Mountains National Forest near New Found Gap, September 1, 2014

    Who is guiding your boat on its path through the sea?

    The wheel house can get crowded.

    We are responsible for restricting it to those we recognize

    As meeting the qualifications for official access

    And are capable of full collaboration with all of the Inner Guides.

    Begin with an inventory.

    Who are the people, past and present, whose opinion of you matters?

    Who has helped shape your idea of who you should be,

    Of what you should do,

    Of what you should not do?

    Name them all.

    Decide who has a legitimate place at the table deciding your future.

    Invite Heart, Mind, Soul and Body to the table,

    As well as Instinct, Intuition, Insight, Realization, Understanding,

    And Knowing that has nothing to do with education or training.

    Your place is to listen to all the voices you allow to be a part of the conversation,

    And to choose your course based on the guidance of those you respect.

    Continue the consultation and collaboration

    In a regular and deliberate way,

    As you chart the course for your boat on its path through the sea.
  70. 09/07/2014 — Smoky Storm Panorama — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near New Found Gap, NC, September 1, 2014

    We live in some kind of relationship with every single thing.

    We have a relationship with our experience.

    The quality of our experience

    Hinges on the quality of our relationship with our experience.

    What kind of relationship do you have with your experience?

    Are you mostly agreeable with your experience?

    Disagreeable?

    Critical? Judgmental? Accepting? Welcoming? Afraid? Shy?

    Snarly, Grouchy, Joyful, Delighted, Sad?

    How we greet our experience makes all the difference.

    If you want to begin improving your life,

    You couldn’t find a better place to start

    Than with improving your relationship with your experience.
  71. 09/08/2014 — Top of the Valley Panorama — Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Maggie Valley, NC, September 2, 2014

    Preaching is about saying what you need to hear.

    It isn’t about telling anyone anything.

    It is about listening for what needs to be heard,

    And trusting the words to lead you to the heart of your self,

    And to the center of your life

    (The life that is your life to live).

    The congregation is just eavesdropping.

    If they find something that is helpful, fine.

    That’s the role you’re playing here.

    Your presence is encouraging.

    Thanks.
  72. 09/08/2014 — Oconaluftee River 09/2014 07 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC, September 1, 2014

    Reassurance is inner work.

    We can hear “You are loved, safe, secure,” and even know it is so, on one level, but there be other levels.

    When in the early years those things were absent, there is part of us that cannot take it to be so, because that part of us knows that what is said does not always match up with what is done, and that part will always be insecure, uncertain, afraid.

    So, the other parts of us have to be compassionate and accepting of that part of us, knowing as we do, where that part has been, because the rest of us were there as well, and remember, too.

    So we have to know that no matter what happens, we have made it this far—that cannot be denied—and that we have what it takes to make it all the way, to play it out to the last breath: “And when the heaving sea has shaken my raft to pieces, then I will swim!”

    We counter the “I’m afraid of all that might happen,” with “And then I will swim!”

    This is the point of inner-confidence that swings things in our favor, and we get up and do the thing that needs to be done.

    No one can give it to us. We have to work all of this out for ourselves.
  73. 09/08/2014 — View from Clingman’s Dome 01 — Actually, this is a view from the parking lot serving Clingman’s Dome. The view from the Dome overlook is somewhat short of photo-worthy, as Elaine of Seinfeld might have said. They should have built the viewing platform on the rocks above the parking lot. Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC, September 1, 2014

    The way we face and deal with the onslaught tells the tale.

    It is squarely up to us to face and deal with it.

    No one can do that for us.

    We are quite on our own there.

    We have to work it out for ourselves.

    Summoning the courage.

    Stepping into our fear.

    Trusting ourselves to figure it out,

    Bit by bit.
  74. 09/09/2014 — Looking East 05 — Water Rock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway near Maggie Valley, NC, September 1, 2014

    Our life—the life that is our life to live within the life we are living—waits for us to assume the responsibility for living it.

    We are waiting for some magically wonderful life to drop on us out of the sky,

    And the only life that has any magic about it is waiting on us to begin living it.

    Nothing is going to happen here until something else happens first.

    We hold the key that gets things rolling.

    But there is a catch.

    We can’t do it hoping for the magic to happen on our terms.

    It won’t be our kind of magic.

    And it all rides on our being good sports about it,

    And taking what comes as though it were our idea all along.

    What comes will be magical, and wonderful, and transforming,

    But it won’t be anything like what we have in mind:

    Soft, easy, lush, plush, wealthy, privileged,

    And off-limits to anything troublesome or intrusive.

    Oh, and we have to live it with all our heart,

    Like we mean it—

    When the only thing we get out of it is living it.

    If we can do that,

    The magic happens

    And it will be wonderful,

    Transforming everything.

    It starts by transforming our interest

    In a fantasy life that keeps us from doing anything.

    But we have to be willing to let it go.

    We have to be a little grown up to grow up

    And be who we are

    So the magic can happen.
  75. 09/09/2014 — Main Street — Fort Mill, SC, August 30, 2014

    Our life begins to move toward us when we begin to move toward our life.

    We know enough about what our life is

    And what it is not

    To begin living toward our life

    Right now.

    Why wait?
  76. 09/09/2014 — Split-Pea Soup — Historic Brattonsville Site, York County, SC, August 23, 2014

    So much time was devoted to staying alive, our ancestors didn’t have much left over in which to ponder what life is for.

    Just as well.

    Life is for living.

    If you aren’t living, you’re dying.

    What are the life-giving, life-enhancing, life-enabling

    Things that bring you to life?

    How often do you do them?

    We are here to serve life—

    Our own and that of others.

    Well?
  77. 09/10/2014 — Sun Beams 02 — Water Rock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway near Maggie Valley, NC, September 2, 2014

    We like this,

    And we don’t like that,

    And we can’t see how anyone could manage to tolerate that over there.

    We want this,

    And we want not-that,

    And we can’t see how anyone could possibly want anything remotely resembling that over there.

    That’s the sum total of the human condition.

    Liking, Not-Liking, and liking no one who likes some things.

    Wanting, Not-Wanting, and wanting no one to want some things.

    And, to make things interesting, we change our minds.

    Now, throw us all into the same world and watch the action.

    Another proof debunking the possibility of Intelligent Design.

    Intelligence comes to life in the midst of the mess

    In an attempt to make things work,

    Given the contraries and polarities that came with us into the world.

    We have to order, structure, limit, restrict and outlaw

    The myriad possibilities of human conduct,

    Taking into account the validity of individual rights and freedom,

    And the good of the whole—

    And work it out—

    Without the cooperation and collaboration of all parties concerned.

    This is not easy.

    Some of us cannot even eat Thanksgiving Dinner together.

    You see the problem.

    Show a little patience,

    Exhibit good faith,

    And do what you can.
  78. Cataloochee Valley 01 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Maggie Valley, NC, September 2, 2014

    Mindfulness is connecting our heart, soul, mind and body with our life,

    So that we live as one.

    This is the essence of wholeness—

    And is the practice that saves the world.
  79. 09/10/2014 — After Sunset — Water Rock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway near Maggie Valley, NC, September 02, 2014

    Don’t let it stop you.

    Don’t even let it slow you down.

    Joseph Campbell told of a Native American tribe where the Elders instruct the young people who are going out into the world to find and live their life:

    “When you leave home on your path, the birds of the air will plaster you with their droppings. Do not pause to wipe it off.”

    We meet something in the form of being splattered with bird droppings on a fairly regular basis.

    Don’t let it stop you—or even slow you down!

    The key to being able to remain on the path and true to our work

    Is to be doing our work,

    The work that flows from heart, soul, mind and body—

    The work that is OURS to do.

    No one else can tell us what that is.

    It has to burn in us like a fire—

    Drive us beyond all reason to do the thing that needs us to do it,

    And do it well.

    It is the inner compulsion to bring forth our gift, our art, our genius, our work

    That pushes us through resistance and past opposition.

    We can be blocked from some fascination with glory,

    Or some fond dream of success,

    But we cannot be stopped—cannot allow ourselves to be stopped—

    From being who we are and expressing it in our life.

    So. We have to be centered in what is of central importance to us,

    And resolutely loyal to living in service to it all our life long.
  80. 09/11/2014 — Silhouettes — Water Rock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway National Park near Maggie Valley, NC, September 2, 2014

    We are stopped so easily, so often,

    Because we have no impetus, no momentum, no motivation.

    There is no meaning to our life

    Because nothing is meaningful to us.

    We are just hanging out here,

    Looking for something to take our mind off our emptiness,

    To give us a little zip between rounds with depression and anxiety,

    Fear and loneliness.

    We have no idea of who we are,

    Of what we are about.

    It’s the culture’s fault.

    We come into the world knowing—

    With all we need to know—

    And it is taken from us by a world offering us

    Glass beads and plastic toys—

    Like Mardi Gras is the only thing to live for.

    We have to work to get our own soul back.

    We have to work to get back to our own soul.

    The good news is enough of us are looking

    For help to be available for those who are looking,

    But. You have to look for it.

    Just knowing what you’re looking for

    Gives you direction, meaning, momentum, motivation.

    It’s harder to stop someone who is actually moving.
  81. 09/11/2014 — Cataloochee Footbridge Panorama — Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Maggie Valley, NC, September 2, 2014

    We have to trust one another to do right by our life—

    By the life that is ours to live—

    And be what help we can be to each other

    In the work that is ours each to do.

    And, we have to live in good faith with each other

    In all times and places.

    This is the fundamental human contract,

    Broken in 10,000 ways each moment.

    Nevertheless, it remains ours to honor

    And abide by in all of the moments that remain.
  82. 09/11/2014 — Around Lake Haigler 02 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, September 5, 2014

    We coordinate heart, soul, mind, body, life.

    We can’t allow mind, brain, head, reason, logic, thinking to direct the show.

    It’s a team effort.

    All of our input sources have equal access to us.

    We attend them all,

    And make sure they grant each other respectful consideration.

    We are all in this together,

    And have the best chance at a life worth living,

    When all of us are honored by the rest of us

    And what we do is the result of a collaborative effort

    On the part of all the parts.

    It’s up to us to see that it happens that way.
  83. 09/12/2014 — Half-Moon Rising — Clingman’s Dome Parking Lot, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC, September 1, 2014

    You have to do your part.

    Your part is handing over your way in a “Thy will, not mine, be done” kind of way

    And consciously, compassionately, making the connections among

    Heart, soul, mind, body and life—

    And living aligned with the deep drift of that consortium

    Throughout what remains of the time left for living.

    The questions that are your responsibility to answer

    In each situation as it arises are:

    “What is happening?”

    “What needs to happen in response?”

    “Where do I fit in with the gifts that are mine to give?”

    “What is being asked of me, here and now?”

    “How can I help this situation in ways that are truly helpful?”

    Notice that nowhere are you being asked to ask:

    “What do I want?”

    “How can I get it?”

    Your part for the rest of your life

    Is to ask the right questions,

    And answer them.
  84. 09/12/2014 — Approaching Roan Mountain Panorama — Cherokee National Forest near Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014

    No one ever took up the practice of seeing things as they are

    With Compassionate Awareness (aka, Mindfulness)

    In the midst of a life with everything going their way.

    Everyone who has ever taken up the practice of Compassionate Awareness (Mindfulness)

    Has done so sitting, or lying, at the bottom of some wall—

    Helpless, vulnerable, stripped of hope, purpose and prospects—

    With nowhere to turn

    And no idea of what to do next.

    The practice of Mindfulness is not for everyone at any point in her or his life.

    The practice of Mindfulness IS for everyone at SOME point in her or his life.

    Everyone hits a wall.

    Then what? is the question.
  85. 09/12/2014 — On Roan Mountain 25 — Roan Mountain Highlands, Cherokee National Forest at Carver’s Gap, TN, June 15, 2014

    Don’t tell me—let me guess:

    One of your problems is that you think you, or something about you, needs to be fixed.

    Another of your problems is that you think if you tried harder things would change.

    If I’m wrong, quit reading.

    If I’m right, stop thinking that something needs fixing and that trying harder will produce the results you seek.

    If your problem is pain, heart-ache, fear, depression, sadness, loneliness, grief, loss, sorrow, insecurity, or the like,

    Sit with it.

    Receive it with compassion—

    Like a loving parent would embrace a child in the throes of the same problem—

    And bring compassionate awareness to bear on the depth and fulness of the problem.

    Hold the problem gently.

    Lovingly embrace the problem.

    When you feel as though it is time,

    Tell the problem you will return to give it your loving attention

    At a time that is convenient for you and that you will be able to keep the appointment with your problem.

    Promise you will be back then—and keep the promise.

    Repeat the same process at that time.

    For as long as the process needs to be repeated.
  86. 09/13/2014 — Around Lake Haigler 03 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, September 5, 2014

    You have to be able to take it.

    That’s the primary requirement.

    If you can’t take it—

    Or refuse to—

    Nothing can be done for you,

    And your loss will be felt by all of us.

    You have to have what it takes

    To come to terms with helplessness and vulnerability.

    If you can’t take

    Being vulnerable and helpless,

    Your only alternative is to hide out

    In escape and denial forever—

    Leaving it to the rest of us to cover your absence

    And to compensate,

    As we are able,

    For your refusal to do your part,

    In bringing yourself forth in our lives,

    And sharing the gifts that are yours to give,

    And making things better for all.

    It would mean the world to us,

    If you would give yourself permission

    To grow up,

    And take it.
  87. 09/13/2014 — Marsh Lands 01 — Hunting Island near Beaufort, SC, May 2014

    Are you clear about your conflicts?

    Reconciled with them?

    Integrating them with each other

    And into your life?

    At peace with the way things are?

    If so, you are on the path to true human being-hood.

    If not, take comfort in the fact

    That none of the rest of us are, either.

    And take up the work

    Of being clear about your conflicts,

    Reconciling them with each other and with yourself—

    Integrating them with each other and into your life—

    And making your peace with the way things are.
  88. 09/14/2014 — Graveyard Beach Panorama 03 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, May 10, 2013

    What’s your hurry?

    There’s a saying:

    “The shortest way through is the long way around.”

    Settle in for the ride—

    For the dance—

    For the wonder of being alive—

    And let your life teach you all you need to know.

    To do that,

    You have to restructure your life.

    You have to start listening.

    Looking.

    Seeing.

    Hearing.

    Takes time.

    Take the time.

    It’s the fastest way to where you are going:

    Waking up.

    Being alive.

    Being you.

    Being who you are, where you are, when you are, how you are.

    Here and now.

    In every here and now that remains.

    And the way there

    Is the way of compassionate awareness

    Of everything within your field of perception—

    Which is, of course, everything.

    Takes time.

    Take the time.

    To listen, look, see, hear—

    Everything.

    Starting now.
  89. 09/14/2014 — Viaduct Panorama 01 B&W — Linn Cove Viaduct, Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain State Park, NC, May 2014

    The practice of Mindfulness (aka, Compassionate Awareness) will transform your life.

    That doesn’t mean it will provide you with your fondest wishes, wealth and privileges, fame and glory.

    It means it will grow you up.

    We grow up when we respond appropriately to our situation regardless of the implications for us personally.

    We grow up when we do what needs us to do it because we see it as ours to do with the gifts and skills we possess.

    We grow up when we don’t even think about what we are doing, but just respond naturally to the situation as it arises.

    We grow up when we find ourselves in the middle of doing the right thing without having intended it, thought it through, factoring in all the advantages, benefits, and reasons why.

    Becoming mindful—seeing, hearing and understanding what is happening and what needs to be done about it, and doing it insofar as we have what it takes to do it—provides the necessary foundation for growing up and offering what we have to give to the circumstances that need what we have to offer.

    And it is the solution to all of our problems today.

    And tomorrow.

    And all days following.

    Google the term, and check out Jon Kabat-Zinn’s work.
  90. 09/15/2014 — Hay Rake — Patten, ME, September 24, 2012

    We all need to be received well—

    To be greeted with compassionate awareness—

    To be honored and respected,

    And helped to live the life that is ours to live.

    Why is that such a rare occurrence?

    Why do we live in such a snarly, hard, harsh

    Environment,

    When we all need a soft place

    To be nurtured and nourished,

    Encouraged and sustained?
  91. 09/15/2014 — Green River Canyon Panorama — Canyonlands National Park, Moab, UT, May 13, 2010

    Mindfulness is allowing your mind to wander—and seeing where it goes.

    It won’t go just anywhere.

    Notice where it chooses to wander.

    Why there and not somewhere else?

    What spirit does it engender with its meanderings?

    Does is stir up regret?

    Sadness?

    Judgment?

    Condemnation?

    Happiness?

    Gratitude?

    Joy?

    What memories does it seem to enjoy resurrecting?

    Why those and not some others?

    What is your mind up to with its wanderings?

    What is its game?

    What does it mean, going where it goes?

    Make inquiries. Invite explanation.

    Accuse your mind of wandering with a purpose.

    Ask it to clarify for you what that purpose is.

    Probe the direction, theme and intent of its ruminations.

    See what your mind has to say

    About the paths it prefers to tread.
  92. 09/16/2014 — Cataloochee Bridge 01 — Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Maggie Valley, NC, September 2, 2014

    We have motives and moods we will never understand.

    We do not generate all that we experience.

    There is more to us than meets the eye.

    Any eye.

    Mind and Psyche are as old as it gets,

    And carry vestiges of time, and place, and impact

    Far removed from the time, and place, and impact

    Of our own life

    We feel things we have not known.

    Urges float through us not anchored to anything we have seen

    Or encountered.

    We are the crest of a wave

    At one with the ocean’s depths.

    We come out of, swim in, and merge again with

    The entire matrix of life.

    We feel things that are not of us,

    Are moved by things beyond imagining.

    And so, the importance of allowing things to flow through us

    Without being swept along in currents we don’t create.

    And so, the importance of being Here, Now—

    Focusing on the time and place of our living—

    Being mindful of the moment in each situation as it arises,

    Seeing what is happening in our current experience,

    And what needs to be done about it,

    And doing it with the gifts that are ours to give

    In the time left for living.

    We anchor ourselves in our life,

    Knowing that there is more to our life—to us—than we will ever know.
  93. 09/16/2014 — View from Clingman’s Dome (Parking Lot) 03 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC, September 1, 2014

    It comes down to tuning in.

    Tuning in to our life.

    Tuning in to the moment we are living.

    Tuning in to ourselves.

    And seeing where that leads.

    To do that, we will have to lay our agenda aside,

    And watch, listen—

    Quietly, attentively—

    Open to, and present with,

    The time and place of our living.

    Once we learn to get out of the way,

    We will be amazed at all we have been missing.

    And we will be stunned at how well our life can be lived

    With no agenda,

    No time table,

    No check lists,

    No progress reports.

    I’m scaring you now, aren’t I?

    You are afraid you can’t get that much out of the way, aren’t you?
  94. 09/17/2014 — Dome Sunset — Clingman’s Dome (Parking Lot), Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC, November 2006

    The line between immaturity and stupidity is nonexistent.

    Immaturity expresses itself as stupidity.

    Stupidity struts around in the throes of immaturity.

    As we become more mature

    We become less stupid.

    Since no one ever achieves full-blown maturity

    Everyone is stupid until death do they part.

    But, we do our part to save the world

    From relentless tsunamis of stupidity

    By waking up,

    Growing up,

    Facing up to how things are,

    Standing up and doing what needs to be done about it,

    With the gifts that are ours to give—

    Regardless of how we feel about it—

    In the time left for living.
  95. 09/17/2014 — Around Lake Haigler 08 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, September 5, 2014 

    We don’t think our life into being, or think it forward.

    We listen our way there.

    We feel our way there.

    We know our way there in an intuitive sense,

    So that we know what is right for us, and what is wrong—

    And we know when we are dismissing, discounting, overlooking, ignoring

    What is right for us and what is wrong,

    And call our hand:

    “Wait a minute! What are you doing? That is wrong for us! THAT is right!”

    The goals we are handed and told are worthy

    Are plastic

    And will not hold up long after the attaining.

    Worthy goals are not achieving, acquiring, having, holding goals.

    They are all being goals.

    Being kind.

    Being compassionate.

    Being awake.

    Being real.

    Rumi said, “One glimpse of a true human being and we are in love.”

    That’s a worthy goal.

    Live your life in such a way that the whole world falls in love with you.
  96. 09/18/2014 — View from Clingman’s Dome (Parking Lot) 05 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC, September 1, 2014

    Some people cannot be cooperative.

    Some people cannot be compassionate.

    Some people cannot be kind.

    Some people cannot be loving.

    Some people cannot be who they are desperately needed to be.

    Some people cannot be mature enough to help anyone with her, with his, life.

    These people help us with our life by not helping us with our life.

    They force us to grow up, square up with the facts, stand up and do what needs to be done about them, like it or not.

    We have to stop expecting things to be different than they are,

    And do what we can with them as they are,

    With what we have to work with,

    In the time left for living.
  97. 09/18/2014 — Valley Overlook — Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Maggie Valley, NC, September 2, 2014

    Soak it up.

    The experience of being alive, I mean.

    You don’t do that by rushing through life,

    Trying to squeeze in all the experiences possible

    Before you die.

    You do it by experiencing your experience—

    Each individual experience—

    Every day.

    Experience your oatmeal.

    Refueling your car.

    The clouds.

    Children playing.

    Children.

    Old people.

    People.

    At each day’s end,

    Know where you have been,

    And how it impacted you.

    Do not die without having lived

    Each moment

    Between now and then.
  98. 09/18/2014 — Owl Bathing 03 — The Bog Garden, Greensboro, NC, Spring 2013

    We walk through the world preoccupied,

    Thinking,

    Planning,

    Scheming,

    Worried,

    Anxious,

    Afraid,

    Barely breathing.

    Not seeing,

    Not hearing,

    Not feeling,

    Not knowing where we are

    Who we are

    What we are doing,

    When all we have to do is wake up

    To be alive in the moment of our living.

    To be alive.
  99. 09/19/2014 — Owl Bathing 01 — The Bog Garden, Greensboro, NC, Spring 2013

    People who are good at what they do—

    Dancing, say, or telling a story—

    And enjoy doing it,

    Make all the difference.

    Do what you do well,

    And enjoy it.

    And let that be enough.
  100. 09/19/2014 — Looking East 02 — Water Rock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway near Maggie Valley, NC, September 2, 2014

    When we take everything into account,

    We make better decisions

    Than when we make assumptions,

    And live out of our fear that things are as we take them to be.

    We owe it to ourselves to find out if we have anything to be afraid of.

    We can’t just lie there in the dark at 2 AM

    And assume our fears are justified.

    Our fear is based on what facts?

    What conclusions are we rushing to?

    How else might the facts be interpreted?

    What don’t we know that we are acting like we know?

    What are we failing to take into account?

    What are we treating as a fact that is a fear in disguise?

    Things may look better after breakfast.

    Wait at least until then before making life altering decisions.

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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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