November 01, 2014 – December 9, 2014
- 11/01/2014 — We have to believe in the life we are living,
And live it with intensity and with passion.
Burn-out is the inevitable result of doing what you don’t believe in—
Of living without your heart in your life.
We can get by with that as long as it is paying the bills
And, thereby, enabling us to do what we believe in
With intensity and passion for the work of our hands and heart.
This is called walking two paths at the same time.
But, if we are working for a paycheck to pay bills
To do things we don’t believe in,
And don’t care about.
it’s a problem.
We have to find a life we can believe in
And live it with intensity and passion.
Everything else flows from there.
- 11/02/2014 — Confluence 07 — Greenbrier District, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN, October 29, 2014 — In this small area, Bird Creek, Big Bird Creek, and the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River come together to form the Little Pigeon River. I may have the names all wrong, but. This is how water works in doing what it does. If we were as proficient and consistent in coming together to do what true human beings do, it would be a different world. For the better different.
Do not get ahead of yourself.
This should be one of the commandments.
I don’t know why there are only ten,
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
It’s easy to do.
Installment purchases, for example.
We buy things we hope one day to have the money to pay for.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves.
We are at the limit on six credit cards, or is it a dozen?
Buying toys and pretties and entertaining pastimes and enduring distractions
To take our minds off the emptiness and pointlessness of our life—
Trying to be somewhere else,
If only for a little while.
Getting ahead of ourselves.
Away from ourselves.
Living ahead, away.
Thinking what we have to do now to be there,
Sooner than later,
Because now is no place to be,
Living now to get away from now,
Dead to the world,
To the time and place,
The here and now,
Of our living.
If we only had that,
If we only lived there.
We do not understand,
Or care to hear about,
Being present with and open to
The time and place of our living.
We have looked around.
There is nothing here for us.
We have to be leaving now, here,
For some hoped for there, then.
But, it is ourselves we are trying to get away from.
It is ourselves we are trying to get to.
We cannot get there getting ahead of ourselves—
Only by being with ourselves.
Present with and open to ourselves.
Here and now.
- 11/02/2014 — Ramsey Prong Bridge 01 — Greenbrier District, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Gatlinburg, TN, October 29, 2014
Know what you know
And integrate it into your life.
- 11/02/2014 — Around Bass Lake 04 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, NC, October 12, 2014
We think “God’s will” is for the imposition of morality and right religion on the world—and that we are God’s agents in making that happen.
“Onward Christian Solders,” you know, “Marching off to war.” Holy war. Making them do it right, or else.
It is nauseating how wrong people can be who know they are right.
- 11/02/2014 — Clouds at Clingman’s Dome HDR 02 — Clingman’s Dome Parking Lot, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC, October 29, 2014
Some of us have been told that if we don’t please God, we are going to hell.
And we have been given long lists of things to do to please God.
Nothing on the list is about enjoying anything.
The people who tell us about God and hell tell us that if we enjoy anything, we are going to hell.
Well. They are working their side of the street.
I’m working mine.
I can’t imagine a god worth the title being displeased with anything that pleases our soul.
Our soul is as close to God as we can get.
When we are one with our soul, we are one with God.
Who can argue that?
Our soul is enraptured with the joys and pleasures of physical experience.
A hot shower. A walk in the woods. Digging in the earth. Laughter. Good food and drink. Good conversation. The aroma of baking bread.
Simple things done well.
God is happy to walk along with us through the world, enjoying the wonder of being alive.
Take God for a walk some time soon.
- 11/02/2014 — Bog River Falls HDR 01 — Adirondack Park near Tupper Lake NY, September 29, 2014
The one thing you can do that has implications for good beyond anything else you can do
Is to put yourself in accord with your life and live there no matter what.
Joseph Campbell said, “We know when we are on the beam and when we are off.”
Carl Jung said, “We all know somewhere within when things are not right somehow.”
And, we know when they are.
Know what you know.
Listen to your Body/Soul/Heart/Mind.
Align yourself with the way of life for you in each situation as it arises.
In so doing, you will live “at the still point of the turning world,”
And the angels will cheer and weep tears of abounding joy.
You wouldn’t want to miss that, would you?
- 11/03/2014 — Cullasaja Cascades 02 Panorama — Nantahala National Forest near Highlands, NC, October 21, 2014
In my view, idiots are people who don’t see, don’t hear, don’t know, don’t think, don’t understand and spend their life doing what someone else has told them to do—and telling everyone else what to do.
They have no authority, responsibility, or accountability of their own, yet they speak with the voice of God, and even say they are saying what God told them to say, but it is never their fault that the world goes to hell around them, and they are oblivious to the harm they are doing.
Idiots are like hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes and floods in that they cannot be stopped or turned aside, but have to be dealt with and lived around, and through.
Their impact for ill is enormous, and we are left with having to find ways of mitigating the blight of idiocy.
We do that best, I think, by living in accord with our own life and responding to each situation as it arises out of our sense of what needs to be done there, with the gifts that are ours to offer.
There is no global solution to the tidal wave of idiocy. “Reason cannot uproot what reason did not plant.” What works and what does not work becomes clear with time—but it may be a long time, and in the meantime, we have to make things as civil and livable as we can given the toxic environment that idiocy creates, encourages and allows—both literally and metaphorically.
So, recognize that idiocy is the elephant on the path, and step aside, doing what needs to be done to offset and repair—insofar as that is possible—the upheaval and injustices in the wake of rampaging idiocy.
- 11/03/2014 — Table Rock Reflection — Table Rock State Park near Pickens, SC, October 24, 2014
Every moment, each situation, calls for a particular response from us.
“For everything there is a season under heaven.”
What time is it now? What is it time for now? What is being asked of us now?
In every moment, in each situation, there are cues to clue us into the part it is time for us to play—the part that we are uniquely suited to play in that moment, that situation.
Too often, we sleep through our cues.
We miss the opening.
We don’t know what time it is,
Or even that it might be time sometime
For us to step forth and shine.
We should be rehearsing our lines,
Polishing our potential parts,
Expecting to be thrust into the spotlight
At any moment,
In each next situation.
We can’t be thinking our time’s over,
We missed our time,
Our time never came.
We have to be looking for the openings,
Listening for the cues,
Ready to step forth and shine,
Offering what we alone have to give,
To any moment,
In every situation,
Perhaps the next one.
- 11/03/2014 — Blue Ridge Fall 08 — Julian Price Memorial Park Picnic Area, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, October 14, 2014
We do not grow up automatically, accidentally.
We mature through our association with those more mature than we are.
We see how they do it.
They model for us a mature and responsibly appropriate way of being in the world.
It is essential that parents be more mature than their children.
When parents have an 8th grade developmental age,
The children aren’t going to be the next Dalai Lama.
And they are going to have children with an 8th grade developmental age.
The Dalai Lama was separated from his natural parents
And educated in the art of life by monks mature enough for the job.
All of the spiritual masters and gurus are exceptionally mature individuals emotionally and psychologically.
If you are going to grow up,
You are going to do it in the company of those who are more mature than you are.
Which is yet another reason to establish Communities of Innocence
And encourage participation across all cultures, ages, races and other typical barriers to full inclusion.
We need caring relationships with those less and those more mature than we are
So that all of us have a chance at growing up, waking up, and becoming who we are.
- 11/04/2015 — After the Storm from Clingman’s Dome 02 — Clingman’s Dome Parking Lot, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC, October 29, 2014
Constant encouragement would be a good thing.
Heart is the easiest thing to lose,
And the hardest thing to find.
“Loss of soul” was the primal person’s way of talking about depression, ennui, hopelessness, despair, being adrift without direction or purpose, lost and alone in the world.
Our entire culture suffers from loss of soul.
Soul’s last hope was Jimmie Carter.
Soul’s Waterloo was George Bush.
Soul has no chance in this culture,
Run by the corporate drive for profit at any price,
And the complete disdain for anything soulful,
Where money and mindlessness carry the day.
Vestige of soul hides out in small pockets of revolutionaries–
The 7,000 knees that have not bent to Baal–
The Jedi’s with the dream of The Republic
(Where Human Rights are honored by all people
And all know the priceless value of soul)–
The ones who are left of Those Who See, Hear, Know And Understand,
And keep the spark of life glowing
In the cold winds blowing up from the Void.
What to do?
With consideration for what we are doing:
Keeping soul alive through service to soul,
And keeping company with one another
To remember who we are and what we are about,
Through honest conversation and mutual encouragement
In dry times covered by the dust of the world.
- 11/04/2014 — Baxter Creek Bridge 2014 04 — Big Creek Campground, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Waterville, NC, October 30, 2014
The best we can do is often not the best we can do,
And therein lies the problem.
We don’t give it our best.
We go through the motions.
We do things we don’t believe in.
We strike a pose,
We act the part,
We pretend our heart is in it.
We don’t know where our heart is.
What does heart have to do with it?
Just put on a happy face
And let the good times roll.
We have to do our dead level best at aligning ourselves
With That Which Knows within—
In each situation as it arises,
All our life long.
We have to do our dead level best
To know what we know—
To sense what we sense,
And read our unconscious leanings
And follow our heart.
We cannot kid ourselves here.
Nothing matters like this matters.
We have to do our best.
- 11/04/2014 — Wright’s Creek Falls 03 — Lake Jocassee, Salem, SC, October 23, 2014
This is so simple we all can do it.
All we have to do is put ourselves right with ourselves–
Right with our life–
Right with the situation as it arises–
In each moment of our living.
We only have to live right here, right now, as we need to–
As this moment needs us to live it.
What we don’t do is impose our will for the moment on the moment.
To live willfully in hell bent devotion to our idea of how things ought to be
Is to not be in accord with the moment or our life.
To impose our will for the moment on the moment is to rise above the moment,
To live beyond the moment,
To become God of the Moment.
“The son of man came not to be served but to serve…”
The term “son of man” is a generic phrase that could be rendered “true human being.”
True human beings are here to serve the needs of the moment with the gifts they have to offer.
What’s the time and place of your living,
Right here, right now,
Asking of you?
Needing from you?
Bring it forth
In this moment and in all of the moments following this one.
When we put ourselves right with ourselves and the time and place of our living,
We transform the world.
There is no cause and effect at work here.
We didn’t do it.
We aren’t trying to manipulate the moment in any way,
We aren’t slyly imposing our will for the moment on the moment.
We’re only putting ourselves right with ourselves and with the moment.
The shift does itself.
You’ll have to see it to believe it.
- 11/05/2014 — Eye on the Prize 01 — James River Eagles, Richmond, VA, November 5, 2014
It comes down to doing right by ourselves,
And the situation as it arises—
Over the full course of our life.
Doing right by ourselves
Has nothing to do with
Positioning ourselves to exploit
Our gifts, other sentient beings, or our situation.
It has everything to do with
Aligning ourselves with
The leanings, flow and direction
Of that which we generally have no conscious awareness—
That is to say, the Unconscious.
We have to know what we don’t know
(And what we do know but don’t know that we know—
Because we aren’t paying attention).
Mindlessness has to go.
Mindfulness has to come into its own.
Doing mindfully right by ourselves,
And the situation as it arises,
Would put things right.
Wouldn’t that be something?
- 11/06/2014 — Off to Dine — James River Eagles, Richmond, VA, November 5, 2014
You only need enough money to pay the right bills.
The right bills enable you to live and do the work that is yours to do.
The work is being awake in the land of the blind.
It takes a different form with each of us.
We each have our own work to do within the larger work of being awake in the land of the blind.
When you are awake in the land of the blind,
It is easy to go over into despair, hopelessness, depression.
Our work counters the obvious uselessness of doing the work
By being OUR work.
OUR work casts all objections aside.
We LIVE to do OUR work
Even though there are no olives on the trees,
And no grapes on the vines,
No rain for the fields,
No livestock in the barns.
Even so, OUR work enlivens us
And must be done.
So, when the idiots carry the day,
We say, “Hmm, the idiots carried the day,”
And get back to work,
Seeing in the land of those who do not see,
And immune to the Cyclops’ favorite stoppers:
“So what? Who cares? Why try? What good will it do? What’s the use? What difference will it make? What’s the point? It’s a waste of time!”
No child in a stand box or on a swing, quit doing what she, what he, was doing because it was doing no good and making no sense.
OUR work is our sand box, our swing.
We only need enough money to pay the right bills—
The bills that enable us to do OUR work.
- 11/-6/2014 — Got ‘Im 02 — James River Eagles, Richmond, VA, November 5, 2014
We all see what we see—
And don’t see what we don’t see.
The work is to see what we see AND what we don’t see.
The idiots don’t see that they don’t see.
They only see what they see.
And have no interest in seeing—
And no capability to see—
What they don’t see.
We cannot allow the idiots who don’t see
To keep us from seeing what we don’t see.
Always the work is the same:
Making the unconscious conscious!
Making the unknown known!
Seeing what we do not see!
It is never enough to see—
We must be constantly engaged in the work of seeing what we do not see—
Asking, seeking, knocking,
Looking, listening, making inquiries,
Wondering, imagining, creating,
Playing, laughing, dancing,
Singing, cartwheeling, loving life.
We can’t let the idiots slow us down,
Or distract us from the work that is OURS to do.
- 11/06/2014 — Around Bass Lake 05 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, NC, October 12, 2014
We are the magic we seek in the world.
We look for a magic wand to wave things into what they ought to be.
Consciousness is the magic wand that the Unconscious invented
To get things right.
Consciousness has to work with the Unconscious—
Reconciling conflict and opposition,
Bringing order out of disorder,
Harmony from chaos
And making all things one.
We cannot make the Unconscious human,
As though it is some loving father,
Some wise and compassionate mother,
With our best interest foremost in her heart.
Consciousness humanizes the Unconscious!
Consciousness is the magic the Unconscious
Needs to become kind, loving, compassionate
And all the other values at the heart of being human.
The Unconscious is Nature at its best and worst.
We step into that turmoil and make peace,
And serve the true good of all.
That’s the gift of consciousness engaged with the Unconscious
In the work of bringing forth awareness—
In the service of the true good of all.
There is not some solution to this mess!
We work it out everyday over time!
Over long eons of time!
Magic is not instantaneous!
Magic is the slow evolution of consciousness
Over the full course of human development!
We grow up into who we are—
Into who we are needed to be—
As individuals and as a species
Over epochs and ages.
We slow things down by trying to hurry things along,
And failing to do our part.
- 11/06/2014 — Behind the Visitor’s Center Panorama 01 — Linville Viaduct Visitor’s Center, Blue Ridge Parkway, near Linville Falls, NC, October 13, 2014
The idiots believe in what they are doing.
Misguided zeal is worse than no zeal at all.
We all are idiots to some degree.
We all believe we are right and someone else is wrong.
We all have changed our mind about what we once thought was right.
And will do so again.
The trick is to not let the idiots divert us from the work that is ours to do:
Seeing, hearing, understanding—and living as though we do.
There is always more that we don’t see than we do see.
Always more to be seen than has been seen.
We can’t settle down with what we see
Thinking we’ve done something.
- 11/06/2014 — On the Wing 05 — Canada Geese, James River, Richmond, VA, November 5, 2014
Carl Jung said, “You should be absolutely at one with yourself.”
We cannot be kidding ourselves.
We cannot work against ourselves.
We cannot ignore ourselves,
Or try to give ourselves a life we are not suited for.
A cow has to be a cow.
A lion is a lion.
A turtle is a turtle.
Only human beings are capable of “putting on airs,”
Of pretending to be someone other than who they are.
What are our dreams saying?
Dreams compensate for our waking life
If we are only a little bit off the path.
Dreams offer dire warnings
If we are living in a direction completely contrary
To our inner drift of soul.
We have to be completely honest in facing up
To the deep truth of soul.
James Hollis said, “We are what wishes to enter the world through us.”
IF we cooperate.
If we refuse to cooperate, we make quite a mess of things.
- 11/07/2014 — Eye on the Prize 02 — James River, Richmond, VA, November 5, 2014
Everything goes better with someone to blame.
We will always need witches, it seems.
And the Infidel.
Someone to burn at some stake,
Or launch some crusade against.
Someone to blame for the way things are,
Or the way we fear things will be,
If we don’t kill them all
And propitiate some god.
It always goes better when the gods are propitiated.
Human sacrifice continues
Without the smoke and flames.
Gay people cause hurricanes, you know.
And poor people.
Drug users—as though the witch hunters aren’t heavy
With prescription medication and alcohol.
People of color.
The list is long of people whose fault it is.
Whose sin is bringing the wrath of some stupid god
To bear upon us all,
As though gods have nothing better to do
Than vent their wrath
And long for propitiation.
- 11/08/2014 — In Formation — Canada Geese, James River, Richmond, VA, November 5, 2014
Hell is when politicians think they are teachers!
Hell is when politicians think they are scientists!
Hell is when politicians think they are theologians!
Hell is when politicians think they are preachers!
Hell is when politicians think they know what they are doing!!
Hell is when politicians think they know everything!
Hell is when politicians think they are gods!
Hell is when politicians forget they are politicians!
Hell is when politicians forget they are human beings!
- 11/08/2014 — Eagle in Flight 01 — James River, Richmond, VA, November 5, 2014
Live the mystery!
Be at one with the mystery!
Dance with the mystery!
Live aligned with—in synch with—the mystery!
Don’t have to know how it works!
Don’t have to figure it out!
Above all, don’t try to exploit it!
Don’t turn the mystery into some path to your own personal advantage—
Or the advantage of your family,
Just live the mystery!
Of every day,
For the rest of your life.
- 11/09/2014 — Adams Mill Pond Panorama 01 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 9, 2014
Wade right into whatever manifestation of the Cyclops is blocking your path
And have it out.
No more denying, dismissing, discounting, ignoring, pretending, refusing to face
And doing what needs to be done about it.
This is called growing up.
That’s the name of the path to the Land of Promise
The Cyclops enables us to travel
By standing in our way.
- 11/09/2014 — Adams Mill Pond 04 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 9, 2014
Go, or don’t go.
Do, or do not.
You will have to deal with the consequences
No matter what you do, or don’t do.
It isn’t about getting everything in place,
And carefully keeping it safe
And enjoying it forever,
Just as it is.
It is about dealing with whatever comes up
The way it needs to be dealt with,
And doing it again with the next thing that comes up.
Things will come up, you know.
We work our lives out
One situation at a time.
Don’t think you can avoid the work
By going or not going,
Doing or doing not.
- 11/10/2014 — Adams Mill Pond 08 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 9, 2014
Nourish your curiosity.
Live to satisfy it.
Spend as much time in your imagination
As you spend in your logical, rational, mind.
Flirt with the possibilities
And let them bless you with impossible wonders.
Allow your life to live you.
- 11/10/2014 — Adams Mill Pond 16 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 10, 2014
The Most Important Thing
Is how you respond to what happens in your life.
That being the case,
You would think we would be more mindful
Of what is happening
And how we are responding to it.
That would be the response
That transforms our responses.
Which would make it a miracle cure
No one uses.
- 11/10/2014 — Adams Mill Pond 25 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 10, 2014
We do not become who we are by accident.
The Hero’s Journey is the work of a lifetime.
We become who we are—who it is ours to be—over the full course of our life—
By aligning ourselves with the values at the heart of being human,
And forming our character around those values,
Bringing ourselves forth by the way we respond
To the minute particulars of daily life.
We PRACTICE mindfulness,
And faithfulness to the task,
And all the other qualities that epitomize a true human being.
It is WORK being who we are,
Unrelenting, uncompromising, unceasing.
We WILL ourselves into being human—
In a “Thy will, not mine, be done” kind of way—
All the way to our last breath.
If we aren’t doing it that way,
It’s time we started.
- 11/11/2014 — Eagle in Flight 02 — James River, Richmond, VA, November 5, 2014
The key is to not give a damn in the right way.
To care at a distance.
Caring is tricky.
The trick is establishing optimal caring distance.
You can be too close—as in the deep South—
And you can be too far away—as in New Jersey.
The Buddha and Jesus had it figured out:
“Who put me in charge of you?
You have to work out your own problems!
You work your side of the street,
And I work mine!”
We have to know where we stop
And someone else starts.
This is harder for them to know
Than for us to know.
They don’t want to know it.
They want to us to care for them.
Caring for them means taking care of them to them.
“I ain’t ‘cha Momma!”
Say that to them.
Even if you ARE their Momma.
Nobody volunteers to grow up initially.
Those who grow up on their own initiative
Are those who see, hear, and understand.
That’s really all there is
To see, hear and understand.
“We have to work out our own problems
Every day for the rest of our life.”
Sheldon Kopp said that.
He was right.
- 11/11/2014 — Mud Creek Falls Detail — Dillard, GA, October 21, 2014
Our life is the matrix out of which we are born. The question is whether we will come forth to be who we are, or someone else.
We do not have to be who we are. Freedom of the will means we can give our will to whomever we choose. We can will the wrong things.
We can will ourselves into being the opposite of who we are. We can live contrary to the nature, purpose and direction of our life all the way.
There is a “just so-ness,” a “such as it is-ness,” a “thus-ness,” or “such-ness,” about each one of us—which we can embrace and fulfill—or deny, denounce, abandon, at will.
But, even “despised and rejected,” our “such-ness,” our essential identity or integrity, remains ingrained within us as much as the oak is in the acorn.
The acorn has no choice but to realize its “oak-ness,” but we can live in ways that are contrary to our “such-ness” all our life.
Yet, all along the way, there is that which calls us back to who we are—which calls us to be who we are, finally, at last, even now, even yet, to the very end.
We know when we are living in the flow, “at one with the Tao,” and when we are living at odds with our innate drift and direction. We know what is right for us, and what is wrong.
We don’t care when we are wrong about the life we are living. We have our “eye on the prize,” and are going to do it our way even when our way has nothing to do with the way that is truly ours.
What’s it going to take to wake us up? Living on. If we can wake up, life will do it for us, if we live long enough.
Reality is the only thing that has a chance of waking us up. Keep running into walls! That’ll do it. If it can be done.
- 11/11/2014 — Fog on the Mountain 03 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain, NC, October 13, 2014
The Tao is the such-ness at work in our life and in all of life, and in the universe as a whole. Life being life wakes us up to our life.
IF we can be awakened, life being life will wake us up to our life—to our such-ness, which is seeking our alignment with its way of being in us, and through us, in the world of physical, visible, reality.
Physical, visible, reality wakes us up to spiritual, invisible, reality.
When we are living our life, exhibiting our such-ness within the life we are living, all is well even though it may be a mess, and running wildly out of control.
Living our own life is not a trick for getting life to go our way. It is to live our way in the midst of life gone awry. It’s a trick for being just fine when the world is going to hell around us.
“Isn’t that just the way it is, though?”
We rise to the occasion, and do what needs to be done about the way things are, with the gifts and resources available to us, and let that be that.
When we are living our life, we are grounded, focused, centered and at peace, though the world is awash in the waves of the wine dark sea.
Putting ourselves in accord with our life, and living out of our such-ness in all of our coming and going, is our gift to the world, and is really all we ever have to offer, though being who we are will mean doing what we can do in the service of what needs to be done in each situation as it arises.
Whether the world can receive the gift is not our problem. If the world misses its blessing, it’s too damn bad—but some will be blessed.
Live to be a blessing by putting yourself in accord with your life, and letting those who are blessed be those who are blessed.
We aren’t here to see that everyone, or anyone, is blessed. We are here to live in accord with our life and exhibit our such-ness throughout our life.
Like oak trees blowing in the wind or surrounded by the fog.
- 11/11/2014 — Cataloochee Footbridge 01 — Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, September 4, 2014
It comes down to seeing, hearing, understanding and applying.
Get that down, and you have it made.
As much as you can have it made
In a world that doesn’t see, doesn’t hear, doesn’t understand, and doesn’t intend to.
- 11/11/2014 — Eagle in Flight 04 — James River, Richmond, VA, November 5, 2014
We don’t know how to live a meaningful life.
We think money is all we need, but.
What do we need money for?
We buy escapes and entertainment–
To take our mind off the emptiness of our life!
Money doesn’t know anything about meaning.
The assumption is that career paths and social advancement
Are somehow inherently meaningful.
What do we DO with ourselves that means something to us?
We ignore the natural guides:
Dreams, intuition, instinct, imagination
In favor of the latest thing,
With no idea of what to do with ourselves that would mean something to us.
- 11/12/2014 — Adams Mill Pond Reflection — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 9, 2014
What’s more important—
Putting men on the moon,
Or putting homeless people into houses?
We are into domination and control,
And spare no expense in serving the national interest,
Which is always what is good for the economy,
And let all other values
Find a place as well as they are able
Behind an ever-increasing standard of living,
And infinitely expanding economic development.
Carl Jung said, “Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking.”
Compassion is the first thing we notice about a true human being.
Who can name five compassionate politicians
Or corporate executives?
We start turning things around
By turning ourselves around,
And serving with compassion what needs to happen
In each situation,
Instead of imposing our will,
And forcing outcomes,
Like we know what we are doing.
- 11/12/2014 — Lake Haigler Fall HDR 01 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 11, 2014
Consciousness is good for a lot of things,
But not for all things.
The most important things are beyond the reach of consciousness,
And the more consciousness knows of those things,
The more there is to know.
Answers are steps on the way to additional questions.
All it takes is seeing, hearing and understanding,
But, that means seeing what we have seen,
As well as what we are seeing—
Hearing what we have heard,
As well as what we are hearing,
Understanding what we have understood,
As well as understanding what we do understand.
Consciousness makes all things new,
It is the conscious reflection upon our experience
That creates new realizations.
We see things differently once we begin to look.
There is no explanation,
That is beyond elaboration,
What we see, hear and understand
Are preludes to what we will see, hear and understand.
Who we have been and who we are
Are only prototypes of who we are becoming.
Life is fluid, flowing, evolving.
Death is static, rigid, always as it was forever.
Live beyond where you are,
Toward possibilities you cannot imagine,
By seeing, hearing and understanding
All that is to be seen, heard and understood.
- 11/13/2014 — Adams Millpond Panorama 09 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 10, 2014
When you know what you know—
and know that what you know is only a grain of sand, a drop of water,
on the beaches, in the seas,
of all that is to be known—
you know what everyone who has known has known.
Then, it is only a matter
of asking, seeking, knocking, seeing, hearing, understanding, and applying—
in each situation as it arises
all your life long.
Our life will teach us what we need to know—
what is to be known—
IF we live with our eyes open.
WE are the sutra,
living the sutra,
reading the sutra,
hearing the sutra,
knowing the sutra
being the sutra,
waking up to who we are.
- 11/13/2014 — 11/07/2014 — The day after a full moon, so it rose late enough for no residual light, and if it hadn’t been for the cloud cover, the moon would have been a white dot in a black sky. Taken from my driveway.
I don’t get people being disappointed in people.
Why should you be disappointed in you, or in me, or in anyone?
We are all trying to figure it out and find our way.
We all need the right kind of help.
Mistakes and failures qualify for being the right kind of help—
Painful, excruciating, aggravating and inconvenient though they be.
We’re all hiding important stuff from ourselves,
And our work is to find it—
To know what we are refusing to know—
And incorporate it into our life.
Mistakes and failures are important clues
To truth about ourselves we had rather not face.
All of our dreams show us things about ourselves
We would prefer avoid confronting.
We like not-knowing what we need to know
In order to change our life and align it with our soul’s deep purposes.
We want to live like WE want to live—
Not like heart and soul want us to live.
It’s a problem.
We spend way too much of our life dancing around the problem,
Refusing to address it.
But, there is no point in being disappointed in ourselves
Even for being the way we are.
Heart and soul know what they are up against,
And will keep throwing consequences at us
Until we decide to grow up and do it
The way heart and soul want it done.
- 11/13/2014 — Lake Haigler Fall 02 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 11, 2014
We have to learn to live metaphorically.
Our life is the Odyssey.
We are awash in conflicts that are like the heaving waves of the wine dark sea.
Our dreams are metaphors.
Dreaming of death is a metaphor of something being death-like about the life we are living—
Calling us to wake up to the reality of a life-that-is-death,
And take up the work of resurrecting our life while life is left.
We have to start looking at our day-to-day experience
As exemplifying the great themes of literature through the ages.
That lifts us from the “dust of this world,”
And places us in the roles of heroes of lore.
We have no reason to feel as badly as we do
About the life we are living—
This is epic stuff!
We have to be drawing ourselves up
And sallying forth each day,
To right wrongs and serve justice and goodness.
The world hangs in the balance!
- 11/13/2014 — Baxter Creek 2014 01 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Big Creek Campground, Waterville, NC, October 30, 2014
We are in search of the treasure of meaning and life.
We are the treasure we seek,
And we are the dragon guarding the treasure.
We have to get through us to us.
We project the resistance within
Upon some poor old Cyclops without
And blame him for our failure to be who we are
“I coulda been a contender.
I coulda been somebody.
Instead of this bum, which is who I am—
If it weren’t for that mean old Cyclops,
Who kept me from being who I coulda been.”
Who is keeping us from being who we are?
How are we going to deal with THAT Cyclops
Standing in our way?
- 11/14/2014 — Fall from Clingman’s Dome — Clingman’s Dome Parking Lot, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC, October 29, 2014
There are people who don’t do anything the Bible doesn’t say do,
And don’t do anything the Bible says don’t do.
They take their cues for living from 2,000 years ago.
Here’s the only proof text you need:
“You have heard it said, but I say unto you…”
Jesus lived without any scriptural or traditional authority
For saying and doing what he did.
Time and again in the gospels it is said
He lived out of his own authority
In saying what he said and doing what he did.
Anybody knows what is called for in a particular situation.
Anybody knows what would be good for her or him there.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,”
And don’t worry about what the Bible says is good or bad.
Decide for yourself what is called for
Out of your own sense of what would be good for you
In their place—
Let your compassion guide you,
And your disdain for anything that would keep you from doing
What needs to be done when it needs to be done,
Like healing on the Sabbath,
Or its equivalent in today’s world.
- 11/14/2014 — Adams Mill Pond 40 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 10, 2014
We live in a fast-paced, noisy, multi-tasking, outcome-oriented world.
We got our start in a world where we could hear a lion walking softly through tall grass.
Now, we are in the belly of the beast before we know what happened.
We slow things down by being aware of them.
We see what is happening by remembering to be present in the moment of our living.
We ground ourselves in the service of heart and soul by hearing what is being said and seeing what is being done.
We can live anywhere as though we were at peace with the universe by being “at the still point of the turning world” (Eliot).
- Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 11/14/2014 — Downpoint Sign — Ocracoke Island, NC — David O’Neal is a master carver and has quite the collection of decoys. Be sure to pay his shop a visit on your next trip to the Island.
I drove up to find the gutter guy sitting atop his ladder, studying, as we say in the deep south, the situation.
“What’s up, Steve?” I asked, getting out of the car.
“I’m adjusting myself to what has to be done,” he replied.
A simple fascia board replacement had turned into soffit repair and extensive gutter work.
Steve had to adjust himself to the additional workload on an already crammed job list, and I had to adjust myself to the additional cost of the operation.
We both had to put ourselves in accord with our life.
Putting ourselves in accord with our life is a matter of facing up to what has to be faced up to, and doing what needs to be done about it.
We run from the truth of our life at every opportunity.
Conflict and contradiction are things we do not handle well.
Denial and escape are our favorite means of handling the things we do not want to face up to and deal with.
Putting ourselves in accord with our life is acknowledging the discordance between how things are and how we want them to be, and adjusting ourselves to the truth of our situation and what has to be done about it—and doing it.
Failure to take that simple step every time it needs to be taken is the only thing standing between us and the completion of the hero’s journey.
- 11/14/2014 — Field Road HDR 02 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 13, 2014
Make conscious your conflicts.
Bear consciously the pain, the agone.
Do what needs to be done about each one,
Taking everything into consideration.
Integrating what can be integrated,
Reconciling what can be reconciled,
And living with what must be lived with.
This is called carrying your own cross
Along the way of life—
And is the way of life
For all people.
- 11/15/2014 — Adams Mill Pond HDR 01 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 10, 2014
To live with integrity
Is to live at one
With who we are
And with who we also are—
To live in full accord with our life as it is
And our life as it is built to be.
It is to be the oak in the acorn,
Shaped by its environment
Into the only oak like it in the worlds
Visible and invisible,
It is no small thing to live with integrity.
That is why it is the work of a lifetime.
It begins with being who we are,
And who we also are,
No system of belief.
And the next,
And all the ones following,
Like it needs to be done,
Like only we can do it.
- 11/15/2014 — Lake Shamokin 01 — Near Camden, SC, November 9, 2014
We have to come to terms with ourselves
And with the situation—
What it is asking of us,
What it needs from us,
And what the implications are for us—
In each situation as it arises
All our life long.
We grow up
Situation by situation.
We don’t come to some grand realization—
We don’t hear some sparkling revelation—
We don’t turn some corner
And have everything fall into place forever.
Every day is a new challenge
With seeing, hearing, understanding, knowing and applying.
Every day is the first day of the journey.
We are rookies every day.
All those masters you are always hearing about?
They were rookies every single day,
Remembering again what to do and how to do it.
Going with the flow
Is going against the grain.
We intentionally, mindfully, willfully
Submit to the will of That Which Knows—And Needs Us,
And enter the flow
In each situation as it arises.
Every. Single. Day.
- 11/15/2014 — Eagle in Flight 03 — James River, Richmond, VA, November 5, 2014
If we live long enough, we will face all of the hard questions.
Illness, financial stability, the deaths of those we love, our own dying…
We have between now and then to develop and deepen our personal capacity for facing up to, and dealing with, the worse life can do.
Fear and desperation,
Anguish and agony,
Are waiting in the deep night along the path.
We prepare for their visitation
By grounding ourselves in the knowledge of our own heart and soul,
By following sound health practices for body, mind and spirit,
And by balancing our one-sided interests and emphasis with an equal investment in opposite pursuits—
That is, if we are outwardly focused, we have to develop inward activities, and vice versa.
If we are into escape, denial and addiction—into running from the truth of our life—we have to stop the flight into the Void, turn and face the Cyclops.
We have to practice facing the truth and finding practical ways of working things out with the facts of our life—we need the skills for what’s coming!
And, we have to find—or develop—communities of the right kind of people to serve as sources of balance, sanity and encouragement through the dark places in our life.
This is not to be put-off or dismissed. We need a regimen that will bring forth in us what we need to remain centered and focused on living the life that is ours to live through the storms and terrors-of-the-night that lie ahead.
- 11/16/2014 — Adams Mill Pond 01 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 9, 2014
If you practice running and hiding from your life,
You will be good at running and hiding,
And denial will be your constant companion.
If you practice facing and dealing with your life—
Squaring up to how things are
And what needs to be done about them,
And doing it,
The way it needs to be done,
With the spirit and attitude fitting to the occasion,
You will be good at living your life.
And grace and mercy will accompany you along the way.
- Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 11/16/2014 — Adams Mill Pond 42 B&W — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 10, 2014
We find our life—the one that is our life to live, that is struggling to be born in us, to come to life through us—not by thinking about it.
We do not think it up, as though it is ours to create, or imagine, into being. It is already right there, fully complete, waiting for us to “throw in with it,” and do right by it.
We find that life by facing the life we are living. By squaring ourselves up to the facts of that life—to the facts of our limits, our conflicts, our contradictions, failures, successes, fears, desires, etc—and doing what needs to be done about them, about the facts that define, restrict, form and shape the life we are living.
In that confrontation and discipline we stumble upon, or over, or into, the life that is ours to live.
This is the age old theme of death and resurrection being worked out in the particulars of our own life.
Joseph Campbell said, “One thing that comes out in myths is that at the bottom of the abyss comes the voice of salvation. The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light.”
The light (life) we are seeking lies in the darkness of the life we are living. We must step into it and do right by it, do what it is asking us to do, and there a door will open where we didn’t know a door existed.
Just when we are at the point of giving up on our life, there it is, and we discover that we have lived our way right into it.
- 11/16/2014 — View From Clingman’s Dome 04 — Clingman’s Dome Parking Lot, Great Smoky Mountians National Park near Cherokee, NC, September 8, 2014
We live to escape the life we are living.
All of the self-help books are about how to get away from what we don’t want and get what we want.
What we want got us what we don’t want.
Now we don’t want it and want something else.
What does that tell you about having wanting for a guide?
Nothing good comes from Nazareth, you know.
The stone the builders reject becomes the chief corner stone.
The pearl of great price is found among the cheap knock-offs in the flea market display case.
And we want nothing to do with the life we are living.
The life we are living is the threshold to the life that is ours to live.
We only have to live the life we are living the way it needs to be lived—
The way it needs us to live it—
In order to be delivered unto the life that is ours to live.
The path to be trod is under our feet,
Waiting for us to walk it with our eyes open
To what it has to offer.
- 11/17/2014 — Adams Mill Pond 50 B&W — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 10, 2014
There are certain realities we have to honor and adjust to in living our life.
Joseph Campbell called these realities “the inevitables of time and place.”
The cost of living is one of those realities.
We have to be able to pay the bills.
Some people get jobs to pay the bills.
Some people rob banks.
Some people marry well.
The bills require some response from us.
Our life requires some response from us.
We have to bend ourselves to serve our life’s will for us.
It is essential that we not “kick against the goads,”
That we take the inevitables into account,
And live in ways which honor the requirements of the the realities
Which limit and restrict our living.
This is called growing up.
We have to bear the burden of responsibility for our life in both worlds—
The visible world of space and time, rent and income taxes,
And the invisible world of values, purpose, meaning and mystery.
We have to do what is asked of us by the time and place of our living.
This is called putting ourselves in accord with our life,
Taking care of business,
Working our side of the street,
Doing the work that is ours to do—
Whether we like it our not,
Want to or not,
Are in the mood for it or not.
It all hinges on our willingness to live
In a “Thy will, not mine, be done” kind of way.
- 11/17/2014 — Fall Woodscape 03 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN, October 29, 2014
We have to be grounded in the life that is ours to live.
Our life has to be unto us as a lover might be,
Or a god.
We have to know that we are here to serve our life,
To live it with loyalty, devotion, dedication, allegiance
Above all else.
Our only problem is that we are living without
A connection to our life.
There is nothing that we HAVE to do,
There is no driving force behind what we do.
We live without impetus or direction.
We are just hanging out here,
Waiting on the undertaker,
Wondering what’s taking so long,
And what we are going to do in the meantime.
- 11/18/2014 — Along NY Hwy 30 11 — Near Tupper Lake, NY, September 29, 2014
You have to love your life more than anything else but,
You have to take everything else into account,
And do right by it all.
This is called walking two paths at the same time.
I knew the camera was life for me when I was 20,
And I put it on the shelf because we couldn’t afford film and diapers
Until the daughters were out of college.
Then the camera took over.
When we left the church in Batesville, MS to move to Greensboro, NC,
The Mississippi congregation gave me and my wife a trip to Yellowstone National Park as a way of saying good-bye.
Why go to Yellowstone without a camera?
Without the gift, who knows how it might have worked out?
But that’s how it worked out.
Your life comes back around, is what I’m saying.
You have to take care of business,
But, your Real Business never goes away.
You have to be quiet enough,
And still enough,
And open enough,
To realize what your Real Business is,
And take it up as soon as the way becomes clear.
- 11/18/2014 — Wild Center Pond 01 — Tupper Lake, NY, September 29, 2014
The best preparation for one’s own death is a life well-lived.
The Native American phrase, “It’s a good day to die,” is true when all the days leading up to this one have been lived well.
We haven’t held anything back,
We haven’t been hesitant, timid, afraid to see things as they are,
And do about them what needed to be done.
Sometimes, of course, there was nothing we could do about some things,
Nothing that could be done.
Except let them be,
And try to take cover as we were able.
But even did, what we did in response to not being able to do anything about some things,
Was the best we could do in those situations.
We have done all we could think to do
In living as well as we could imagine living.
We have been “as ruthless as truth and nature” (Carl Jung)
In doing right by ourselves, our loved ones, and our life.
All that makes any day “a good day to die.”
It’s the only thing that does.
- 11/19/2014 — Adams Mill Pond 29 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 10, 2014
We have to live at one with ourselves.
This is called living with integrity.
Our two million year old self is seeped in the deep drift and flow of our nature.
Our modern, up-to-date, fresh-off-the-tree self is in tune with the rhythm and beat of today’s world.
We get them together,
And live as though it were Then and Now.
Because it is.
“Some things never change,
And some things do.”
We live to serve what needs to happen
In the time and place of our living,
Taking all things into account.
We live with a foot in both worlds,
And make the call
About what to do
In each situation as it arises.
Everything depends on it,
And flows from it.
Worlds without end.
- 11/19/2014 — Fall Orchard Panorama 01 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 13, 2014
Carl Jung said, “Natural life is the nourishing soil of the soul. Anyone who fails to go along with life remains suspended, stiff and rigid, in midair.”
Our life naturally flows through developmental stages.
We crawl, we walk, we skateboard. You know. Like that.
Each stage of life has its requirements for development peculiar to that particular stage.
Childhood has it’s requirements, adolescence has its requirements, young adulthood, middle age, retirement, and old age all have theirs.
A walker is just as much a mark—and a rite of transition, of initiation—in its age as a driver’s license is in its age.
As we move through the stages of life, we leave behind attachments and activities of one stage and embrace different attachments and activities of the next stage.
In one stage, we attend our friends’ weddings. In another stage, we attend their funerals.
We have to participate fully—willingly, willfully—in the progress of our life through the stages of its development.
Each new stage has rites of initiation, which we might encounter as “hitting the wall.” Going to college and moving away from home can be exhilarating, and terrifying—exciting and depressing.
We have to go along with our life. We have to do what needs to be done at each stage in our development. To refuse to move on is to become stiff and rigid—dead before we die.
We all know people who are stuck in their past, talking of their glory days. Old people drive little fast cars—as though they can get in and out of them! We are kidding ourselves, and refusing the tasks waiting for us to take them up.
The idea is to live all the way to the end of life—by moving into each stage of our life in its turn. “Going along” with our life, allowing it to take us into the experiences that will deepen us, soften us, expand us, produce us and present us to us, a whole, complete and fully human being.
- 11/19/2014 — Field Road HDR 6 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 13, 2014
The more preferences we have, the more conflicts we have.
We reduce the number of conflicts by reducing the number of preferences.
Think of your preferences as socks in your sock drawer.
Thin them out.
How many of them do you really need to get through your day?
Which ones are holey, worn, and have out-lived their usefulness?
Which ones rob you most of your peace when they aren’t realized?
Which ones are helping you live your life,
And which ones are robbing you of life?
Narrow your preferences down to the ones that matter most.
See how few you can get by with.
You’ll spend a lot less time being conflicted and in a stew.
- 11/20/2014 — Adams Mill Pond Panorama 09 B&W — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 10, 2014
Trust yourself to the road you are on.
If it becomes impassable, trust yourself to the path you take around the impasse.
Know the difference between pushing and flowing —
Between willing your way,
And following the way that is your way to walk.
Just because something is hard
Is no indication that it is toxic.
Stay away from the things that are death to your soul.
Stay with the way that is life for you
Even if it is difficult.
The butterfly needs the struggle
To escape the chrysalis.
It takes strenuous effort
To be more than a caterpillar.
Our trials and ordeals pull us forth,
Enabling us to become who we are.
Is it a chrysalis or a spider web?
Is it death or is it life?
Do you keep it up or walk away?
Is the struggle to stay or to go?
What you say yes to, and no to, tells the tale.
- 11/20/2014 — Cataloochee Elk 06 — Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Maggie Valley, NC
There is a “golden thread” connecting us with “our soul’s true joy” and some tangible aspect of the physical world.
We do things that bring our soul to life—
That are positively, undeniably, charged with life energy for us.
I pick up my camera or sit down to write
And all is right with the world.
Not really, but, for me, I am at-one with the heart of existence.
We put the world right by being aligned with what brings us to life—
With what is ours to do.
Of course, that’s ridiculous.
The world is in worse shape than it has been in for years.
And yet, and yet,
The hope of the world in every age
Resides in individuals who live centered in a life that brings them to life—
At one with the life that is truly their life to live—
In the midst of a world going straight to hell.
We balance the craziness and the excess of a world gone awry
By being in accord with the truth and value of our own life.
If you can be in accord
While the world around you is out of accord,
You will moderate the chilling effect of life without
Purpose, meaning or direction,
And calm the frantic beast seeking reassurance
That the center is holding
And will hold,
Without saying a word.
- 11/21/2014 — Confluence 04 — Greenbrier District, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlingburg, TN, October 29, 2014
When it’s a fight, take it as a sign that you are out of the flow of your life.
Joseph Campbell said, “The adventure you get is the one you’re ready for.”
It is probably not the one you have in mind.
The one you have in mind takes you out of the flow of your life
And places you in the swirling boil of willing what cannot be willed.
We cannot will our adventures.
They happen of their own accord,
When we least expect it,
Requiring journeys we had not planned,
To regions we had never considered,
Or swore we would never be found in even dead.
It’s a fight to impose our will on a situation we create
In the service of what we want.
The adventure brings its own form of help
To assist us in facing the trials and ordeals along the way.
The magic happens, and we find what we need—
But no more than we need—
To meet the day.
- 11/21/2014 — Lake Haigler Fall HDR 04 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 11, 2014
Carl Jung said, “It is the body—the feelings, the instinct—that connects us with the soul.”
Joseph Campbell called the body “a vehicle of consciousness.”
Body unites Mind and Soul.
Campbell said, “They myths and rites were means of putting the mind in accord with the body, and the way life is lived in accord with the way that nature dictates.”
We facilitate the mind-body-soul connection with mindful awareness of the connection, and compassion for both sides of the collaboration.
When it knows, Body knows what Mind knows and what Soul knows—
And we work out what is to be done—how life is to be lived—in light of “all things considered.”
We have to convene regular meetings of the Council—Body, Mind and Soul—on a regular basis—as regular, say, as each morning to talk about the dreams of the night before,
To hear what needs to be heard and adjust our life accordingly.
- 11/21/2014 — Overexposure B&W — Haywood County Barn near Maggie Valley, NC, October 28, 2014
Everything is grist for the mill.
We are milling ourselves here.
We are milling a true human being.
We are milling a full, complete and whole person.
We are milling who we are.
And everything that happens to us is exactly what is required
To call us forth,
To pull us out,
To birth us and enable us
To step into that time and place
As the source of the values at the heart of humanity—
As a Champion of the Good and Noble, the Just and Right—
And shine there as only we can,
Milled to perfection in that moment—
A bright flash of blessing and grace.
- Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 11/22/2014 — Cataloochee Elk 08 — Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Maggie Valley, NC, October 28, 2014
Dance with the contradictions.
Live the contradictions.
By that I mean, make the contradictions conscious, and live among them, between them, admiring them, humbled by them, at peace with them.
It’s like this:
Nothing is more ruthless than a woods pond.
Nothing is more ruthless than a turtle.
And, a turtle is a symbol for the entire pond ecosystem.
Everything in the pond is a ruthless master in the art of eating.
Everything in the pond eats each other.
The pond is a symbol of life.
Ruthlessness is required for survival.
Tenderness is a class of people, not a quality.
We tenderly hold the woods pond in our mercy—
Hold our own ruthlessness so—
Tenderly, ruthlessly, dancing on.
Consciously dancing the dance,
Participating in the ruthlessness of dancing tenderly, knowingly.
Living the contradictions.
- 11/22/2014 — Lake Crandall Fall HDR 02 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 13, 2014
Everybody is an artist.
Everybody is after money.
The value of anything is how much money it is worth.
For the great majority of us, our art is worthless.
No one would buy it.
We have no use for anything that is not capable of making us wealthy.
We renounce our art for the love of other, more lucrative, pursuits.
Or other, more pleasurable, addictions.
Nothing is more hopeless or pitiful than an artist who has abandoned her/his art.
Our soul doesn’t care how much money our art is worth.
To our soul, our art is priceless beyond compare.
Our soul lives to do our art—to do its art through us.
Artists are expressions of their soul’s inexpressible truth,
Living to incarnate their soul’s deep joy in the work of their art.
We think money is meaningful, and our life is empty because money is empty.
Our art is where it’s at.
We cannot forsake our art and find ourselves.
And have a self worth finding.
- 11/22/2014 — Snapping Turtle — Bog Garden, Greensboro, NC, May 23, 2013
A turtle is just what it is.
All of life is just what it is.
Until consciousness comes along.
With consciousness comes self-consciousness.
Suddenly we don’t measure up as we are,
Or, we are afraid we don’t, or won’t,
So we live to be some other way,
We live to be someone else.
A turtle never thinks about being someone else.
How to make this work is a turtle’s only problem.
How to be itself in a way that works for it,
Which means in a way that enables it to eat
And go on living.
We have higher aspirations,
More abundant preferences.
It is not enough for us to be us on and on until we die.
Things have to be better for us than they have been and are—
Or life isn’t worth living.
It never occurs to a turtle that life could be not worth living.
Be the turtle you are.
Be who you are, and be fine with that,
- 11/23/2014 — Boundary — James River, Richmond, VA, November 5, 2014 — There are four eagles in this photo, two pairs of mates—one pair at the end of their territory, the other pair at the beginning of theirs, making sure everyone knows where the boundary lies. Would that we all were so clear about where we stop and another starts.
Being who you are
Does not mean doing what you feel like doing when you feel like doing it for as long as you feel like doing it and then doing whatever you feel like doing for the rest of your life.
Being who you are
Means living in the service of Body, Mind, Heart and Soul.
It means living aligned with the deep current of the life that is your life to live—in the midst of the life you are living.
It is to consciously, deliberately, intentionally be two people collaborating on living one life.
There is the Two Million Year Old person within with a keen sense of direction and purpose, flow and timing—
And there is the up-to-date, modern, child of the culture within who knows the rules and requirements for life in the world of here and now.
They both have their own ideas of what needs to be done and how to do it.
We have to listen to each,
And work it out.
If you think that is a snap,
Climb on and tell them to open the chute.
- 11/23/2014 — Adams Mill Pond 31 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 10, 2014
Step into your life!
All of the old stories—all of the hero’s journeys—from Abraham going forth from his father’s house, to Moses leading the children of Abraham’s child out of the land of Egypt, to Odysseus’ adventures in the Odyssey, to Luke Skywalker’s epic movies, to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, etc—are about YOU stepping into YOUR life.
Your life brings you forth by presenting you with trials and ordeals that require you to discover things—depths and abilities—about yourself you never knew were you.
The Also You lies latent—as a seed in the earth lies dormant waiting for the warmth of the sun and the rains of spring—waiting for some great cause to awaken it and invite it to action.
The rites of passage—of transition—from one life stage to another are exactly our ticket to the transformation, maturation, wholeness and completion that are required for true human being-hood.
We hold onto the past and want it to be forever as it has been. “No!” we say, “Send Aaron! He is much better at this than I am!” (Exodus 4:13) Leave us alone with this nice little life that we have grown accustomed to.
All babies cry angrily when thrust from the womb. It is a tendency that stays with us throughout our life.
But, our life is just what we need to grow us into who we are, and also are.
Step into your life again and again all your life long.
Face up to, and deal with, all that you find there. You are bringing yourself into being, one trial, one ordeal, at a time.
- 11/23/2014 — Field Road HDR 08 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 14, 2014
When a hero’s story resonates with us, and we feel, “Of course! That’s how a hero would do it!” it isn’t because someone told us how heroes do things. We KNOW that’s how it ought to be done. You might be able to argue us out of our conviction, but we would then feel guilty for betraying our inmost sense of what is right and what is wrong.
The deep values are there when we come from the womb. We know then when we are being mistreated and when we are being treated well. We know when our mother loves us and when she does not.
We know what love is even though we don’t have words for what we know.
Not only that, but we also resonate with certain scenes and photographs. Icons, we call them. Sunrise at Schwabacher Landing, and at the Maroon Bells, draw photographers from around the world. We know IT when we see it, and have to photograph it.
The values, ideas, ways of doing things that we sense from the core as being Yes! or No! are, in Jung’s term, archetypical, having existed in us from the earliest times.
Heroes have always done it the way heroes do it. Never has a hero been recognized as such for exhibiting villain behaviors.
We know what fits and what does not fit.
We know what fits a grandfather and what does not—what fits a grandmother and what does not.
We know what fits the roles people have played through the ages.
Stereotypes and archetypes differ to the extent that stereotypes are not “spot-on,” but skim the surface. The way “Americans are” may not fit even most Americans, but the way of a grandfather is the way of a grandfather, and the way of a hero is the way of a hero.
All of this is to say that we know how it is to be done—how we are to do our life, how we are to do grandfathering and grand mothering, and all the other roles we perform. And when we don’t do it the way we know, deep within, it is to be done, there is a price to be paid.
We should take more care than we do to keep the Archetypes happy.
- 11/23/2014 — Evening Ferry — Pamlico Sound, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, NC, October 2008
When something resonates with us,
We say it “strikes a cord.”
We vibrate in sync with it the way strings on a violin or harp might pick up the “vibes” of a neighboring string.
Something within us recognizes the “IT-ness” of something outside of us.
How do we know IT when we see it, hear it?
How did the “idea,” the “sense,” of IT get there?
It’s always been there, Sweetie.
We are connected at the level of the heart with IT.
And when we live in ways that are not cognizant of what we know—
When we don’t know what we know—
Things do not go so well with us.
We are out of rhythm, out of sync, out of touch, out of tune
With the vibrations of heart and soul,
And nothing resonates with us.
We are all head and no body.
Time to get head back together with body.
- 11/24/2014 — Love Birds — Barred Owls, Bog Garden, Greensboro, NC, April 2013
If we can sustain each other
In doing what is ours alone to do—
In living our own life
And working our respective sides of the street—
The circle will be complete,
And we will be doing what needs to be done,
In, and with, our life.
No relationship could ask for,
Or provide us with,
- 11/24/2014 — Mill Pond Trail 02 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 13, 2014-
Think of Archetypes as The Way To Do Things,
Or, The Way Things Are To Be Done.
The Ways Things Are To Be Done are universally approved and recognized as such.
When the North Carolina Tarheels football team is not satisfied with beating the Duke Bluedevils on the football field 45-20, knocking Duke out of the championship game of the ACC, they also have to trash the visitor’s locker room, spray painting it beyond recovery.
That’s not the way things are to be done.
And everybody knows it.
When bankers stop acting like bankers and start acting like thieves,
When policemen stop acting like policemen and start acting like thugs,
When politicians stop acting like politicians and start acting like tyrants and demigods…
When the structures holding things together,
And the standards keeping things in place,
Are despised and rejected,
And the Archetypes are shunned and disregarded,
Then, “Turning and turning in the widening gyre,
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart, the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”
(From The Second Coming, by William Butler Yeats
When the Archetypes are ignored,
Things don’t go so well.
There are reasons things are to be done the way things are to be done.
When they aren’t done that way,
The plan is to take cover and ride it out
As well as you can.
- 11/25/2014 — Hanging Out On Hanging Rock — Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury, NC, October 2012
When The Rule of Law is supplanted by those
Who change the laws (as in voter registration and women’s rights),
Or who change the way the law is interpreted and enforced (as in gun control and environmental regulations),
To suit themselves in a God’s-Little-Acre kind of way,
You have anarchy masquerading as democracy.
When you live in a culture
Where the Rule of the Day
Is hypocrisy and lie
You better have the right people
For stability and sanity,
Because you live in an abusive, toxic, environment,
And nobody can do that for long
Without questioning their own orientation,
And feel for what is right.
- 11/25/2014 — Kahtadin Range Panorama — Sandy Stream Pond, Baxter State Park near Millinockett, ME, September 26, 2010
Our preferences define us and disclose who we are.
And our values, which are preferences, in a way.
In the same way that our preferences are values.
Where do they come from, our values and preferences?
They are there from the start.
They come with us from wherever we were before we got here.
They are points of contact with the invisible world,
And guide our living in the visible world.
It’s best that we pay attention to what we value and what we prefer,
And let that lead us along the path to wherever it is that we are going.
- 11/25/2014 — Stonington Harbor Sunrise — Stonington, ME, September 2010
Our soul is here to express itself through us,
Which is to say that we are here to express ourselves.
We express ourselves through our art, whatever form it might take,
And through honest conversation about the things that matter to us.
How many of us have someone we can talk to straight from the heart about the important things?
How often do we engage in that kind of conversation?
We are here to know ourselves—
And we cannot do that apart from expressing ourselves.
We discover who we are and what is important to us
By hearing ourselves say who we are and what is important to us—
And are often surprised to hear ourselves saying what we say,
And saying it with the intensity and emotion that it comes wrapped in.
We never know what we might say if we start talking.
The greatest gift is to be heard at a level that enables us to hear ourselves.
If you don’t know anyone you can talk to straight from the heart about the things that matter,
You need to meet more people—
And work to become the kind of person that other people can talk to.
- 11/26/2014 — Blue Ridge Fall 10 — Approaching Water Rock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway near Maggie Valley, NC, November 2014
Compassionate, mindful, awareness is the solution to all of your problems today—
To all of your problems that can be solved—
And, it is the solution to all of the ones that cannot be solved,
That are beyond solution,
In that it allows you to recognize them for what they are,
And live your life around them,
Waiting for something in the situation to shift,
And for the problem to disappear in its own time.
All problems disappear eventually,
But, it takes compassionate, mindful, awareness
To realize that and stop burning yourself out
On things that have to go away on their own.
If you are going to practice anything,
Practice being compassionately, mindfully, aware
Of your situation in life,
Doing what can be done about it,
And letting the rest have the time it needs to be gone.
- 11/26/2014 — Eagle in Flight Panorama — James River, Richmond, VA, November 5, 2014
One of my good memories—to offset a number of bad ones—is when our oldest granddaughter (of 5) was about to enter the 9th grade, and, on ending a family visit to our house, made a request of me as they loaded up for home:
“Pops, hold me like a baby, one last time!”
Now, who can miss the import of that plea? Certainly not me!
So I lifted her and held her across both arms, her arms around my neck, with me swinging her slowly, back and forth, as I might have when she was in infancy and early childhood.
That kept up for a while, maybe two minutes. Long enough for me to begin to wonder how long I could keep it up, being in my early 60s, and how this moment should properly end,
When her mother, who had been a witness to the event’s unfolding, said, “Okay. Time to get moving. Your life is waiting!”
It was beautiful. Start to finish.
And stands for me still yet as a reminder to all of us
Who want to linger at the threshold of what is to be done,
Wishing we could stay in the comforting arms of the way the past
“Okay. Time to get moving. Your life is waiting!”
- 11/27/2014 — Cataloochee Elk 05 — Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Maggie Valley, NC, October 28, 2014
I’m sure gay people had a hard time of it back in biblical times.
Women had a hard time of it in biblical times.
They treated women in biblical times the way they treat women in Islamic countries today.
You wouldn’t have wanted to be a woman in biblical times.
You wouldn’t have wanted to be a gay person in biblical times.
To do it the way they did it in the Bible is to fail to do it as well as it needs to be done.
They could have done better than they did it in biblical times.
That’s what Jesus told them.
“You can do better than this!”
They killed him for it.
People are still killing people—and shamefully treating people—for saying “You/we can do better than this!”
They had slaves in the Bible.
They thought it was just fine to have slaves in the Bible.
They thought people who were born with physical deformities,
Or who became cripple, or blind, after birth,
Were afflicted by God,
And treated them shamefully,
Calling them Sinners (Obviously they were sinners because God was punishing them) and Unclean, and Untouchable, and not letting them enter the Temple, which women could also not do.
That’s the way they did it in the Bible.
We can do better than that.
Stop letting the Bible be the blueprint for how it ought to be done.
What the Bible says has to be reevaluated in light of what our own experience discloses to us about what is good, and true, just and beautiful.
What YOU say is more important than what the Bible says.
And those who say we have to do it the way the Bible says do it?
Well, that’s just what THEY say.
I say we can co better than that.
What do YOU say?
- 11/28/2014 — Along NY Hwy 30 11 — Adirondack Park near Tupper Lake, NY, September 29, 2014
The Bible is a cache of eternal truth in the form of symbols and metaphors that connect us with the heart of being and life.
“You must be perfect as God is perfect.”
“The kingdom of heaven is within you.”
“Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
The virgin birth (every spiritual birth is a virgin birth),
Death and resurrection (The story of our life)
From bondage to freedom (The story of our life)
And it doesn’t take thinking or believing to know that all of this is so.
Is how it is.
We know innately and eternally when something is right and when something is wrong.
Joseph Campbell said, “We know when we are on the beam and when we are off.”
Carl Jung said, “Deep inside, something knows that something is wrong.”
We know all we need to know. We only need to know what we know.
We need to get out of the way.
After my hernia surgery, I had to pee before being released for home. I stood behind the curtain, just me and the toilet, trying to pee. The nurse was on the other side of the curtain directing the action: “Just breathe deep, Mr. Dollar.” In other words, “Get out of the way Mr. Dollar. You know how to pee. Stop thinking about it.”
That story should be a parable in the Bible.
Things are exactly perfect exactly as they are. It only takes realizing it to know it is so. That is all enlightenment is. Waking up to the perfection of how things are, and always have been, and always will be. Here and now. Right here. Right now. “Just breathe deep, Mr. Dollar.”
- 11/28/2014 — Beach Still Life — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, NC, October 2008
When you go to bed tonight ask for a guiding dream.
Is there any inner resistance to that suggestion?
Any sense of “Why ask for guidance when I know what I’m doing”?
Your Dreamer may be forced into Warning Mode, with Guidance being OOTQ.
The dreams we get are the dreams we ask for one way or another.
Warning dreams come in droves to those who know exactly what they want and how to get it—
Or who have no hope of ever having a life worth living,
And are past cooperating in putting forth good faith efforts in their own behalf.
Only those willing to be guided get the Guidance Dreams.
Let’s see what kind of dream you get tonight.
- 11/29/2014 — Frosty Leaves 01 B&W — Blue Ridge Parkway near Maggie Valley, NC, October 30, 2014
Frustration is my predominant emotion.
I have a will for my life—and for the way life is being lived around me—
That isn’t being realized in my life—or the way life is being lived around me.
There is a discordance between how I want things to be—between how I wish things were—and how things are.
My work is not to make things like I want them to be,
But to make my peace with how things are.
By distancing myself from my will for my life, and all of life,
And letting things take their own course—letting nature take its course—
Assisting what needs assisting,
And resisting what needs to be resisted,
Weeding what needs to be weeded,
And fertilizing and watering what needs to be fertilized and watered,
And letting that be that—
All of which is living in the service of my will for my life, and all of life—
Assisting, resisting, weeding, fertilizing according to my view of what needs to be done in each situation—
But without trying to impose my will on each situation.
It’s the difference between living willfully,
And willing participation in life as it is—
Between living willfully,
And willing what needs to be done in each situation.
We don’t live without a will for our life, and all of life.
We live with our will aligned with what is conducive to our life, and all of life.
The difference makes all the difference.
- 11/29/2014 — Adams Mill Pond 44 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 10, 2014
We have to deal with detours and dead ends.
We have to get ourselves adjusted to what needs to be done,
And do it.
I recommend breathing deeply and taking your time.
We cannot hurry recovery and adjustment.
When something happens,
We don’t just bounce back in Bozo the Clown Punching Bag fashion,
Like nothing happened.
When we lose the world we lived in,
And/or the future we had every right to think was ours,
We have to breathe deeply and take our time.
We have to lie there and wait for things to come back into focus.
Recovery and adjustment come in their own time.
In the meantime,
We practice compassion for ourselves and others
(Particularly the ones who wonder why we aren’t back to normal yet),
And mindful awareness of what we’re feeling and of what we have lost,
And grieve what must be grieved,
And mourn what is to be mourned,
And bear the pain of our time and place,
And wait for the shift to happen
That lets us know adjustment and recovery are underway.
- 11/30/2014 — Dugger’s Creek Panorama — Linville Falls, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC, October 14, 2014
Each situation is a mirror, showing us who we are,
And who we need to be.
How we respond to our life is a reflection of our degree of depth,
Compassion and awareness.
We are always being asked to wake up, grow up, stand up, and square up
To what is being asked of us in each situation as it arises.
We never get to the place of being able to get by with what worked before.
We are always having to make new connections,
Come to new realizations,
In matching our past experience with the particulars of our present experience.
We cannot do it like it has always been done,
Or like it is supposed to be done according to some playbook for the ages.
We have to rise to each occasion as though for the first time,
And decide again what to do here and now about what is being asked of us,
In light of all things considered.
We are always growing up,
Never grown up.
- 11/30/2014 — Adams Mill Pond 53 B&W — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 10, 2014
We’re aligning ourselves with our life here.
We do that by being open to the possibilities inherent in the life we are living,
And by seeing, hearing and understanding what is to be seen, heard and understood,
And by knowing what we know—but don’t know that we know.
All it takes is paying attention,
And looking closer at the things that catch our eye.
The work that we are here to do
Is more like play than work,
So don’t rule out things that look like
They may be too much fun to count.
- 12/01/2014 — Spread Eagle — James River, Richmond, VA, November 5, 2014
The theme of “the rightful heir” is found throughout the literature of the world: A young prince or princess is kidnapped, or lost in the forest and found by a poor couple and raised as their own…
In the Bible, this comes forth in the Songs of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah, the wait for the long awaited messiah, the hope for the Coming One.
The Suffering Servant is “despised and rejected” by everyone, yet upon him/her is “the chastisement that makes us whole,” and “by his/her wounds we are healed.”
How does that work, exactly? It works when The One Who Knows lives in this world, knowing that she/he belongs to the other world, redeeming this world by the quality of her/his life here, which is enabled and fueled by her/his living here as though she/he were there.
This kind of life can be redemptive—or arrogant, vain, snobbish, pompous, condescending and crazy—depending upon the attitude and demeanor of The One Who Knows.
If the Suffering Servant embraces her/his role as being here but belonging there, and living here as life here needs to be lived her/his life is redemptive and enlivening, in the sense of Joseph Campbell’s observation, “The influence of a vital person vitalizes.”
Our vitality is based on our knowledge of our origin and our roots—and by our ability to live here with the heart and soul of one whose home is there. We live in two worlds at the same time, and transform this world by the quality of our life in it, enabled by our connection with that world.
We are the Suffering Servant, the Messiah, the Coming One, the Christ, the King/Queen of Israel—and every other country there ever has been or will be.
Our soul is royal stuff. We are of God. And we are shoveling out barns. So, the trick is to shovel out the barn with the light of God twinkling in our eye, and the keen sense of God for who and what needs our compassionate attention in the barn world of our here and now—and live here with the care we would give there if we were there.
Get that down and you transform the world by the way you live in it.
And you can deny your heritage if you choose to do so, but I know who you are. And here’s looking at you, Kid.
- 12/01/2014 — Adams Mill Pond Panorama 12 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 10, 2014
The most important thing is making peace with your life—
Coming to terms with your life—
Reconciling yourself with your life.
Both of them: the one you are living and the one that is yours to live.
You may not be thrilled with either.
You may want a different kind of life on both fronts.
You may despair because of the way life is,
You may hate your life (either or both).
You may despise the day you were born.
That does not bode well.
Your work before you can get to your work is
Making your peace with your life,
Coming to terms with your life,
Reconciling yourself with your life.
And, here is the really bad news.
It’s not “once and done.”
It’s an on-going process,
Always being at peace with our life.
Our life can turn on us in an instant.
What was just fine a second ago,
Becomes an unlivable horror just like that.
We start the work all over again—the work to get to the work.
We cannot live a life we hate.
And, if you’ll just look around,
You will see that this is the only life you can live.
If you are going to live, you are going to live the life you have to live.
Both of them.
The work that waits, before the other work begins,
Is making your peace with your life,
Coming to terms with your life,
Being reconciled with your life.
It’s the most important thing.
- 12/01/2014 — Lake Crandall Fall HDR 01 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 13, 2014
Carl Jung thought the human psyche (soul) evolved to its present state, just as the human body did, and vestiges of the earliest stages are still present in both.
The patterns of behavior that set humans apart from the animals are a part of our inheritance. We don’t make up in each generation how things ought to be in that generation. They are passed on from previous generations in behaviors learned from parents and grandparents, and also in instinct and intuition—and, I would say, values—at the heart of the psyche.
When we behave in ways that violate both learned and instinctive “ought-to-be’s,” trouble is brewing. The mass extinction of the American Bison and Homing Pigeon did more damage (so goes the theory) to our psyche than the loss of two more species did to the natural order. Our attitude was—and still is—at odds with our instincts.
That’s a problem we can’t remedy with prescription medication and exercise. Or with drugs and alcohol.
The psyche calls us back, back, as individuals, and as a culture, with symptoms and dreams, but we make our plans, and serve our agendas, ignoring the harmonies, and our sense of what resonates with us, and is right for our life.
You see where this is headed.
We can save ourselves a lot of misery and heartache by recognizing the objective reality of psyche/soul, listening to—and aligning—our heart/body/soul/mind, honoring instinct and intuition to the same degree that we honor reason and logic, and living our life in light of all things considered toward ends that serve the good of the planet and its people.
- 12/02/2014 — Eagle Cliff Falls 02 — Adirondack Park, Upstate NY, Finger Lakes Region, Havana Glen near Elmira, NY, October 2, 2014
We are alone with how things are.
What we do about it is up to us.
This is the Good News—
The Heart of the Gospel—
Who Jesus was and the message he came to deliver.
Take it or leave it.
What you do about it is up to you.
I’ll be happy to tell you what I do about it.
I—sometimes against my will—become as clear as I can be
About how things are,
And then, I decide what to do about it.
And it isn’t ever nearly enough,
So, don’t think you are going to clean things up,
Nice and tidy,
Sit back and have it made.
- 12/3/2014 — Bridge to Deer Isle — Deer Isle, ME, September 26, 2012
My heart is in fewer things these days, and saying, “My heart isn’t in it,” is a good enough for me reason to sit it out.
I’m withholding myself from things that don’t have heart, and giving myself to things that do.
It’s my way of getting old—honoring the things with heart with mindful, attentive, compassionate presence.
Like a cup of coffee and a fire in the fireplace, with Georgia Kelly’s harp in the morning and my favorite Christmas music in the afternoon and evening.
I’m letting the things that catch my eye catch my eye, and foregoing the things that don’t—forgetting the things I’m supposed to care about, and caring about the things I care about.
Think of Libido and Eros as life energy that is not limited to the sexual sphere. My LIbido/Eros has dropped off as I have aged, and I’m conserving my effort for things that matter.
And getting myself talked into things that don’t. I have to adjust myself to things that need doing whether my heart’s in it or not. Being social, for example—which is more time consuming than being cordial—or backing up my computer when I would prefer using my computer for other things.
Carl Jung talked about his time with African and Native American tribes, noting that they spent considerable energy in dancing and rituals designed to get them into a state of doing what needed to be done—whether it was going to war with another tribe, or going on a hunt, or harvesting the crops. Working up their Libido. Viagra for life.
I have to do that with yard work. My ritual consists of thinking it out for a couple of days, and waiting for the weather to be right—getting my mind adjusted to the idea of going without heart into a wasteland of weeds and rocks.
I treat social engagements that I can’t get out of the same way. Living where life is not takes preparation and planning.
And living attentive to where life is, and relishing being there, is one of the great gifts of the aging process. I’m clear about what matters, and give myself to it with joy and delight. Searching for photos. Writing these sentences. Seeing the light as it changes in intensity and color throughout the day. Dancing with new ideas, improving old recipes… The list is a string of simple pleasures that my soul seems to love, and I am glad to devote myself to my soul’s tender care as I step into my last decade or two.
- 12/03/2014 — Fall Lane — Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, October 13, 2014
I have my work to do, and you have yours.
I mean work as in “art,” “gift,” “heart’s true love,”
Not as in “how we earn our living.”
Our work is what we earn our living to live to do.
I have mine and you have yours.
That should give us enough to talk about to never have a break in the conversation.
Trouble is, too many of us have no idea what our work is,
Or what to say about it.
We have lived our life cutoff from that side of ourselves that knows exactly
What our work is, and is dying to get into it.
We have the rest of our life to get together with ourselves and our work.
We start by believing the side of ourselves that knows exists,
And that our work exists as well—
And making a good faith promise to be open to both,
And commit ourselves to getting to know both and to doing the work.
I said “good faith.”
That means you mean it.
That is all there is to it.
You make the promise and commitment, and carry through on your end,
Listening to dreams, hunches, nudges, winks and watching what catches your eye,
And you will be in the thick of your life’s work before you know it,
And we will be able to talk for days without pausing to breathe.
- 12/03/2014 — Dugger’s Creek Bridge — Linville Falls, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC, October 13, 2014
We experience loss of soul when we give ourselves into the service of things that are not of our soul.
The disconnect with our soul then becomes so great that we cut ourselves off from our soul and live soulless.
The cure, of course, is to do the things our soul loves,
The things that cause our heart to be glad.
When we do the things we love, and that love us back,
We quickly recover lost ground,
And our soul and we are as one.
When I say that the things we love must love us back,
I mean that some people love beer, partying hearty, and cocaine,
The things that love us back are the things that,
As we do them,
Things fall into place that have no business falling into place.
Strange things happen.
People say Yes to us when by all rights they should say No.
Doors open where there shouldn’t be doors.
And synchronicity sprouts up all around.
We are in the flow—in love with the things that love us back.
And our soul is as happy as it can be.
- 12/04/2014 — Adams Mill Pond 30 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 10, 2014
You are the magician! The magic happens through you!
You participate in the miracle of magic
When you are at one with your life,
Living it to the fullest of your abilities.
Throw yourself into your life as though it were your wand.
Live it and watch the wonders unfold!
And if you refuse to live it because it won’t make you wealthy,
How many wealthy magicians do you know?
Wealth and the idea of wealth, the hope of wealth,
Are keeping you away from the magic.
It’s the Dark Side’s way of buying your soul
With only the thought of wealth.
Throw in with your life!
Let your magic loose in the world!
- Owl Sees Owl 02 — Barred Owl, Bog Garden, Greensboro, NC, 2013
What’s good for the soul is bad for the economy.
We have created an economy as a soul substitute, a surrogate soul.
Who needs a soul when the apples on all the trees are so bright and shiny?
Such a delight to behold! So delicious to the taste!
And soul requires such constant attention!
It’s like mind reading to divine its leanings and dowse its good!
Who has the time?
More attractive options abound,
And they are ripe for the picking!
Let the good times roll!
Let the good times roll!
- 12/05/2014 — Cataloochee Elk 04 — Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Maggie Valley, NC, October 28, 2014
Here we are—now what?
In making the assessment and asking the question,
We are adjusting ourselves to the unfolding of our life,
The way rock climbers and white-water kayakers adjust themselves to the changing conditions and circumstances of their life in the moment of their living.
Here we are—now what?
The question cuts through our likes and don’t likes, hates and loves—which we don’t have time for on the mountain or in the current—and focuses us on the situation at hand,
And enables us to dance with our life.
- 12/06/2014 — Old Sheldon Church Ruins 01 HDR B&W — Yemassee, SC, December 5, 2014 — The church that won’t die. They were set up for a wedding in what was once the sanctuary—a regular occurrence.
I am here to help people with their life. I do that by listening to them until they are clear about what they are saying. With clarity, they have everything they need to find what they need to live their life. No one can give someone else clarity. Anyone can help someone else realize what they do have—and what they might do with it, about it.
We think meaning in life has to do with ideology, formulas, recipes, content—as though we can know, rationally and logically, “what it’s all about,” “get it together,” and live fulfilling, satisfying, happy lives.
Go and learn what this means: “Shall not the judge of the universe do right?” “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “Love your enemies.” “In as much as you have done it to one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you have done it unto me.” “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” “I am the way, the truth and the life—and so are you.” “The Father and I are one—and so are you” (The “so are you’s were implied, if not stated). Etc.
Knowing what any one of the statements means, means knowing you cannot explain it. Words fail to communicate the depth and breadth of truth. Enlightenment is not understanding anything that can be explained. “The Tao that can be told/said/explained/defined/articulated is not the eternal Tao.”
Truth is not accessible to logic and reason. Clarity cannot be communicated—it can only be realized. Once we are clear about how things are and what needs to be done about them, in response to them, we become a blessing and a grace upon the world. We have achieved saint-hood, bodhisattva-hood, and can live free and clear (which is the only way to be free).
- 12/06/2014 — Sand Art 02 — North Beach, Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014 — A production of water and sand, created as the waters of high tide drained back to the sea.
The National Park Service has one of the best mottos in the Book of Mottos:
“Your Safety Is Your Responsibility.”
The extensions and implications are endless.
Your Peace of Mind Is Your Responsibility.
Your Physical Health…
Your Mental Health…
Your Balance and Sanity…
Your Being Grounded in What Matters Most…
Your Love of Live…
Your Spirit, Enthusiasm, and Fire for the Journey…
- 12/07/2014 — Low Tide Panorama — Johnson Creek, St. Helena Island, SC, December 6, 2014
If corporations are people, are individuals, then people, individuals might be legitimately considered to be corporations.
The corporate characteristics that make a corporation a person, open the way for personal characteristics to make a person a corporation.
Eric Garner was killed, as I understand the facts, for tax evasion by NY Policeman Daniel Pantaleo, in a city where corporations enjoy tax shelters keeping them from having to pay taxes on local, regional and national levels.
New York has to be held accountable for its failure to guard and protect Mr. Garner to the same degree that it guards and protects the entities and firms of Wall Street from unwarranted intrusion into their affairs.
The nation-wide protests of Mr. Garner’s death need to be understood as meetings of the corporation—and individuals participating in those protests have to understand their place in those meetings as being to establish connections and relationships that will enable their voice to continue to be heard by those who already are listening to the Lobbyists and advocates for business.
The people have to get Government’s attention, and sway political support to their cause for individual, civic, and corporate rights.
The people have the power of the vote.
When only 37% of registered voters vote in elections with local, regional, national and international implications, Government and politicians and corporations have a free ride to destinations they select by means they choose.
The people have to register to vote, inform themselves of the stakes in each election, and vote at every opportunity.
If you aren’t registered to vote, and if you are registered to vote but don’t vote, I’m talking to you.
Pass the word. The corporation must speak if its voice is to be heard.
- 12/07/2014 — High Tide Panorama 01 — Johnson Creek, St. Helena Island, SC, December 7, 2014
Our primary responsibility is to serve, guard, defend, protect and champion our heart.
Our heart might demand that we sacrifice our responsibility for guarding our heart in service to our heart—
And so follow the path of the prophets and martyrs of every religion in every age—
But, our heart is our highest concern, our deepest value.
We owe loyalty and devotion to our heart
The way the knights of the middle ages pledged their troth to their lady and work her colors into battle and into life—
The way Mary pledged her troth to the baby she carried, though Simeon’s prophecy promised “a sword will pierce through your own soul.”
Our response is to be, as hers was to the angel, “May it be as you say,”
As we take up the work of bringing our heart forth into our life,
And going where it leads, no matter what.
- 12/08/2014 — Beach Erosion Panorama 13 B&W — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014
Play like a rookie.
Live like one.
That’s the opposite of playing like a robot,
Stepping into each day repeating the successes
And avoiding the failures
Of all previous days—
Living with an agenda in one hand,
And The Book of How to Do It in the other.
All business, no play.
All head, no heart.
Following the program from start to finish.
Nothing spontaneous permitted.
Only scheduled fun allowed.
Able to defend, excuse, explain, justify
Play like a rookie
Live like one.
Don’t have to know what you’re doing.
- Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 12/08/2014 — At the Dock 01 — Shrimp Boats on Battery Creek, Port Royal, SC, December 5, 2014
Our contraries, contradictions, discord and disharmony all have to be recognized, addressed and reconciled.
We are awash in ambivalence and opposition.
We have to wade into it and make peace.
We do that by being conscious of it and bearing consciously the pain, the discomfort, the unsettling reality of our more-than-one-minded-ness about nearly everything.
On the one hand this and on the other hand that and on still other hands, that, and that”, and that over there.
Col. Nathan R. Jessup (The Jack Nicholson character in “A Few Good Men”) nails us even yet: “You can’t handle the truth!”
We can’t. And, we have to.
We have to look until we see, listen until we hear, inquire and explore until we understand: Who we are, and who we also are, and who we needed to be in the time and place of our living.
Something is going to be neglected, disallowed, sat aside.
We have to stand aside in the service of causes and needs greater than we are.
What else can “Thy will, not mine be done” mean?
There will be unlived lives and roads not taken all our life long.
We have to recognize that and come to terms with it—make our peace with it—reconcile ourselves to it.
One life and many possibilities means we have to choose—means we have to decide—what we will do and what we will leave undone.
And grow up about it.
This is where our conscious ego earns its keep.
- 12/08/2014 — Looking South — Hunting Island State Park beach, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014
Starving artists are starving because they think their art is going to support them, when they are here to support their art.
All artists need a day job.
Carl Jung said that we are all artists:
“Give (the artist within) a chance to bring to light the pictures (he or she) carries within, to free the unwritten poems that are shut up inside, and even though the work produced will hardly ever amount to anything technically and artistically, it has helped to cleanse and release the tensions within the psyche.”
We are here to clarify what is important and live in light of it. Our art, in whatever form it takes, brings clarity through expression and articulation.
We have to do what it takes to know what matters and then we have to do what needs to be done about it.
That’s all there is to it.
- 12/08/2014 — Horseshoe Lake HDR 02 — Adirondack Park, near Tupper Lake, NY, September 29, 2014
When we live without taking our soul into account, there is trouble.
There is hell to pay.
In 10,000 ways.
Not that we can avoid trouble, and live peaceful and quiet little lives.
It’s trouble, working soul into our life,
But it is life.
Leaving soul out of our life is death.
In 10,000 ways.
Carl Jung said that we have to find out what we are hiding from ourselves, face it, square ourselves up to it, and integrate it into our life.
This is the work of becoming a true human being—standing between two worlds and bringing them together in ourselves.
This is the work of mediation, of incarnation, of reconciliation.
It is the work of the Christ—whom we all must be if we are to become true human beings.
- 12/08/2014 — Bridge to Rough Ridge 07 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, October 12, 2014
We don’t want to grow up. We want Mamma to take care of us.
The church of our experience said, “Come here, Baby, I’ll take care of you.”
Or, it said, “Give yourself to Jesus. He will take care of you”—
Ignoring the fact that Jesus said, “I don’t come bringing peace, but a sword. I’m going to cut your little heart right out and eat it in front of you! (Or words to that effect).”
The new life in Christ eats our old life alive.
What Jesus actually is said to have said is, “If anyone wants to be my disciple, they have to pick up their cross every day and follow me.”
As with the Master, so with the disciples.
There ain’t no Mamma going to save us from our life.
We have to step into that thing every day and do what needs to be done with it,
And get ready to do it again tomorrow.
- 12/09/2014 — Beach Erosion Panorama 11 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014
A good conflict never goes away, but.
There is no conflict so persistent and difficult that it can’t be outgrown.
We look to resolve our conflicts.
Conflict resolution is a big money making business
For consultants and therapists
Who don’t do anything but buy time
In which the parties involved may, or may not, grow up.
Conflicts are not subject to solution.
A shift is the only thing that works.
The name for the shift is “growing up.”
When we grow up, we change in relation to our father or mother,
Or brother or sister,
And Thanksgiving Dinner isn’t the agony it once was.
All our conflicts are seated at some table,
Just waiting to get into it with us.
Each one is only a slight shift away from becoming tolerable.
Our conflicts grow us up,
If we can grow up.
Otherwise, we will be flaring up in their presence,
And getting drunk anticipating their arrival
and distancing ourselves from their memory,
And paying some therapist to hold our hand
Through our refusal to make the necessary shift.
One Minute Monologues 017In “One Minute Monologues”
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