12/09/2014 — 01/25/2015
- 12/09/2014 — At the Dock Panorama 01 — Shrimp Boats on Battery Creek, Port Royal, SC, December 5, 2014
All religion is a system of denial.
Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and all the others that ever have been, are, or will be, are our attempts to adjust ourselves to the status quo without having to do anything about it.
Everything Buddhism doesn’t like is an “illusion.”
If you don’t like it, just close your eyes
and make it go away.
Christianity disappears everything it doesn’t like
By saying, “Have faith and wait to die and go to heaven.”
Death is the final answer to all of life’s conflicts and difficulties
For Christians who are sure it will all be made up to us in heaven.
Religion is the Great Mother,
And we are all babies on the Great Mother’s lap,
Refusing to grow up,
Face what must be faced,
And do what can be done about it
In the time and place of our living.
Denial is the solution to all of our problems today.
- 12/10/2014 — Beach Erosion 01 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014 — Rising ocean levels and high tides are destroying the barrier islands of the Atlantic Seaboard. Where the waves once stopped is no longer where they stop, and they are creating an increasingly new coast line before our eyes. My Beach Erosion series depicts the changing of the landscape via wind, tides and time.
Nothing is more basic and essential to life than the land we walk on, the air we breathe, the water we drink.
Nothing is more conducive to our death than taking our life for granted.
Science serves us as eyes and ears. We cannot deride scientists and denounce and deny what they report because it is not what we want to hear—or set science aside in favor of what our religion says about how things are when we are living in a world our religion never faced, imagined or conceived.
The old has passed away, behold, the new has come.
And everything hinges upon the response we make to it.
That is much more than an inconvenient truth.
It is an essential truth that each of us has to understand and honor—
- 12/10/2014 — Beach Erosion 03 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014 —This is how it works. The wave action at high tide washes away the supporting sand and soil, and the trees topple. This one survived, but the next high tide may have done the job.
We have to do the work of finding our live and living it—of listening to our soul: seeing, hearing and understanding the things soul is saying to us—and joining soul in in the collaborative effort of bringing soul forth in the life that is ours to live, in the time and place of our living.
This is high adventure and great fun—a lot better for us and more important for the world than anything we can think up on our own.
We could begin by paying attention to, and interpreting correctly, tonight’s dream (or dreams).
- Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 12/11/2014 — At the Dock Panorama 02 — Buccaneer, Shrimp Boats on Battery Creek Dock, Port Royal, SC, December 5, 2014
I am most conflict-free in the early morning with music and writing,
and in some scene with the camera.
Peace is watching the light play on water, or change color during the day.
It seems to be a solitary thing, peace, and the absence of conflict.
And that can end when I am aware of needing to be doing something else,
or a conflict of interests occurs between scenes, for instance,
and I have to work it out.
With people, there is conflict everywhere to be recognized and negotiated,
integrated and worked out
again and again.
As far as I can tell, that’s the nature of relationships,
negotiation and compromise over conflicts of needs and interests
Carl Jung said that no one can become a complete, a true, human being in a Tibetan cave, cut off from human interaction.
Our conflicts bring us forth.
Our contradictions make us real.
Grow us up.
Give us shape, and form, and substance—
and the qualities worthy of the term “human being.”
A turtle is conflict free
and completely at one with its place in life
all the time.
A turtle doesn’t work anything out.
It just does what it does.
A turtle gets older but it never grows up.
- Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 12/12/2014 — Beach Erosion Panorama 22 —Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014
We are on our own and it is all up to us—
And we cannot do it alone.
This is one of the conflicts, contradictions,
At the heart of life and being.
We stand between equally true and mutually exclusive—
And mutually dependent—polarities,
Understand how they are extensions of one another,
Make our peace with them,
And make peace between them,
And enjoy the wonder of a life that is richer and fuller
Because of the opposites, the contraries, that make life possible
And bring life forth.
All of our dichotomies are false dichotomies:
Good and Evil,
Darkness and Light,
Right and Wrong,
High and Low,
Rich and Poor,
Smart and Stupid,
True and False…
Wait for us to make the connection,
See how one flows into and out of the other,
And dance with them joyfully all along the way.
- 12/12/2014 — Carolina Girl Panorama 01 — Shrimp Boats on Battery Creek, Port Royal, SC, December 5, 2014
We come into the world connected to God at the level of the soul.
The connection remains in place throughout our life.
It can be enhanced and deepened through compassionate, mindful, attention.
It can be diminished to the point of disappearing through callous, uncaring disregard.
We create a vibrant, vital, connection with God by establishing a vibrant, vital connection with our soul—
Learning the language of soul (symbol, image and metaphor),
And the avenues by which soul communicates (instinct, intuition, hunches, bodily sensations, dreams and visions, serendipitous events, synchronicity, flights of fantasy, inspiration…the list is long),
And honing our ability to apprehend and interpret soul’s drift and leanings,
And apply them appropriately in the world of normal, apparent, reality by the way we live.
The primal peoples always understood the spiritual world to be the foundation of the physical world,
And knew the physical to be an extension of the spiritual world,
Upheld and supported, guided and directed, by invisible means and influence.
William James, in The Varieties of Religious Experience, said it only takes believing in the validity of the spiritual world to know it is so (or words to that effect).
Well? What exactly do you have to lose, in living as though the invisible world is real?
- 12/13/2014 — Beach Erosion Panorama 01 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014
The test of our faith–
Of what we say we believe–
Of what we say is the fundamental truth upon which we base our life–
Is how well it enables us to live our life.
Is how well it enables us to meet the day.
Is how well it enables us to stand up and do what needs to be done
The way it needs to be done
As often as it needs
For as long as it needs to be done
And needs us to do it–
Whether we feel like it or not,
Whether we want to or not,
Whether we are in the mood to do it or not.
The quality of our faith–
Of our realization of the truth that is fundamental to life–
Is expressed, exhibited, incarnated, made known, realized,
In, by, and through
The quality of our life.
How well we are living is an indication of how well we are believing.
It isn’t what we say we believe,
It’s what we do,
We can believe anything we want to believe,
As long as it enables us to keep getting up,
And doing what needs to be done
The way it needs to be done–
The way it needs us to do it–
Every day for the rest of our life.
- 12/14/2014 — Adams Mill Pond 51 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 10, 2014
Complete peace is found in not caring about anything—not even whether we live or die—the essence of a drug-induced high—taken away from it all to a blissful state of being, which is non-being, which is not being at all, because to be is to care deeply about being.
To not care is to not be.
We can live peacefully, and be peaceful, by caring about the right things and not caring about the wrong things.
We care about way too many things.
Most of which are not important.
The highest state of being is clear about its values and lives in light of them—lives to serve them—while not caring at all about the things it has no business caring about.
Live your life caring about the right things, and not caring at all about the wrong things.
How much of your peace right now, at this very moment in your life, is being disturbed by the wrong things?
Joseph Campbell ran track for Columbia, and returned there for a track meet in his later years—and said about that experience that he couldn’t do that again because it stirred up the wrong emotions in him. It robbed him of his peace.
Athletic events cause us to care about things that don’t matter—to will outcomes that can’t be willed, for one thing, and have no significance for another (beyond being able to talk about our glory days, and give us a little bit of an escape from a life that is, itself, not worth our time—because we are not giving ourselves to the things that ARE worth our time).
People bet large amounts of money on athletic events, and other things that don’t matter—because their life doesn’t matter, and they are escaping that reality by giving themselves, heart, mind, body and soul to something else that doesn’t matter.
Caring about the wrong things is at least caring about something—giving us some reason to get out of bed each day.
We care about the wrong things because we don’t care about the right things.
The spiritual journey is the trek to values that matter.
The spiritual journey is the trip to things that burn us alive, that consume us with intensity and purpose and drive and compassion and LIFE.
To things that give us peace by destroying our peace in the service of the right things:
“The peace of God/It is no peace/But strife closed in the sod/Yet, brothers (and sisters) pray for but one thing/The marvelous peace of God” — William Alexander Percy
Let LIFE kill you! Let LIFE kill the lifeless life you are living! Let LIFE bring you alive and break your heart, and pierce you like a sword through your heart, and wring you out, until there is nothing of you left to burn!
Care about the right things as though they are the only things!
Because they are.
- 12/13/2014 — Orchard Fall 02 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 13, 2014
Jesus knew what was important—what mattered most—and lived his life in the service of it.
That’s all you need to know about Jesus.
Throw away everything else you know about Jesus
And live your life in the service of what is important—of what matters most.
It’s as simple as that.
Joseph Campbell said, “When we forget the deities, we build a life on a program run by the head. The energies coming from the body are ignored, and become threatening to the head values, which we have chosen to live for.”
The problem is, we don’t know what to live for, so we make up something: money, power, status, prestige, privilege and all of the things we live for that do not satisfy.
Our body knows. Our heart knows. We feel what is important in our body. And what is unimportant. The body knows what matters.
We have to take our life back from the things that don’t matter, and live in the service of the things that do matter.
The spiritual quest is the search for the things that matter.
Nobody can tell us what matters. Nobody can tell us what should matter. What matters to us is a question that only we can answer. If it doesn’t matter to us, what does it matter if it matters to everyone else?
The things that mattered to Jesus didn’t matter to anyone else in his world. That didn’t keep him from serving the things that mattered to him. He didn’t do what somebody else told him mattered. He did what he knew mattered.
That’s all you need to know about Jesus. Go and do likewise.
- 12/14/2014 — Fripp Inlet Sunset 01 — Hunting Island, SC, December 5, 2014
Joseph Campbell said ideally, we would spend the first half of life collecting experiences, and we would spend the second half of life exploring and reflecting on those experiences in order to form new realizations and gain a spiritual sense of meaning and purpose with which to face the inevitable end of our days.
Of course, it doesn’t work that way.
But, the potential exists. It only takes sitting and reflecting. Or standing. Or walking. And reflecting.
I would add confession and repentance to the process. Reflection begs confession and repentance. And forgiveness. Contrition and absolution.
This is a crucial step that is missing from all of our lives.
We do not live 70 or 80 or 90 years on this earth without accumulating a wealth of “shortcomings and offenses.”
Our sins of omission and commission litter the path from past to present. “We have not done those things we ought to have done, and have done those things we ought not to have done, and there is nothing we can say in our behalf.”
We have betrayed our deepest loyalties, disappointed our highest hopes, and not kept faith with ourselves or our neighbors.
We cannot sit remembering for ten seconds without wincing in remorse and leaping to vacuum or to wash the car—anything to keep from facing the truth of the past!
We “can’t handle the truth,” yet we must.
So, we remember and make a full confession—to ourselves. We are both condemned and accuser AND penitent and priest granting remission and pardon.
We face ourselves—and forgive ourselves.
And to those who protest that only God can forgive sins, I’ll posit this one: Is it easier for God to forgive you or for you to forgive you?
Besides, Jesus laid to rest for all time the contention that “only God has the power to forgive sins.”
You, knowing all you have done and not done, face yourself as often as it takes for the truth to be heard, and declare from the heart, “Your sins are forgiven!”
And see what happens.
- 12/15/2014 — Steele Creek Trestle Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, December 4, 2014
When you are out of rhythm, and the flow isn’t there, and you keep stumbling into walls and encountering obstacles,
Be one with the absence of rhythm and flow.
Be one with the walls and the obstacles.
Be in sync with being out of sync.
Receive the day as it is,
Not asking it to be more than it is.
The day has its own sense of rhythm and flow.
We have to dance with the day.
Let the day play itself out,
Taking its natural course.
Without trying to force anything.
Get out of the way.
Read a book.
Take a nap.
Be like the tree with wind.
The tree doesn’t shout orders:
That’s too hard!
From the wrong direction!
This isn’t how you are supposed to do it!
I like it steadier!
You’re being too gusty!
I don’t like all these lulls!
I’m loosing leaves here!
I liked you better yesterday!
Oh, I wish tomorrow would come!
Be with your day like a tree with the wind.
- 12/15/2014 — Four Girls II Panorama — Shrimp Boats on Johnson Creek, Gay Shrimp/Fish Company Dock, St. Helena Island, SC, December 6, 2014
The conscious mind has its business:
Paying taxes, mowing the lawn, preparing dinner…
The unconscious mind has its business—
Of which the conscious mind knows very little.
The unconscious mind evidently has an interest in—
And something at stake in—
The conscious mind and the time and place of physical experience.
What, we do not know.
It goes less well with us when we ignore the reality
Of the unconscious mind,
And live as though the intent and purposes of our conscious mind
Are the only reality.
It is as though unconscious energies seek physical expression—
Seek to become conscious,
With concrete, tangible, actual existence.
When we live in ways that ignore, dismiss, and disregard
The unconscious mind’s drift toward recognition and realization,
We have only fear and desire to guide us,
And have a sadder, emptier, life than we might have had.
Our destiny is to align ourselves with the unconscious mind’s
Intention for us—
To consciously embrace the unconscious,
Seek to align ourselves with its ends,
And collaborate with it in the joint production of a life
We can be proud to have lived.
- 12/15/2014 — Sand Art 03 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2013
We have to tend the fire—
The creative flame that burns us alive in the service
Of our art, our work, our gift and passion.
We can’t turn it on when we feel like it,
When we are in the mood for it,
When it is convenient and we don’t have anything else to do.
I know people who don’t write
Because they don’t know what to write,
And are waiting for an inspiring idea to grab them
And hurl them at the keyboard.
They sometimes call it writer’s block.
I think writer’s block is trying to write what doesn’t want to be written.
If you have writer’s block, try writing what wants to be written,
Whether you want to or not.
We have to know what it takes to feed the flame,
And feed it.
Your art is you.
It is not your path to fame and glory,
Riches and privilege.
It’s your path to you.
Practice your art for you.
Because it is life for you.
Let it have you.
- 12/16/2014 — Old Sheldon Church Ruins Panorama — Yemassee, SC, December 5, 2014
When the Christ says, “I am the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father but by me”
(An aside here. Jesus also said, a few verses before this, “No one comes to me unless the Father draws her or him.” Put the two together and you get: The way to God is the way of God, and in order to know God, you have to be godlike. Which gets us where we are going here and now)
And, “I am the wellspring of living water, and whomever drinks of me will never thirst again,”
He’s saying: “Find your LIFE and live it!”
Jesus is not talking about himself as a single individual—Joseph Campbell said, “The heart of idolatry is mistaking the symbol for the reference,” for what the symbol represents
Jesus is talking about the way to the heart of God being who he is, that is, the single-minded pursuit of the life that is our life to live.
We do it the way Jesus did it in terms of being absolutely devoted to the work of finding our work and doing it—
Of finding our life and living it.
Campbell said the virgin birth “is the realization that there are aims in life other than the maintenance and reproduction of our animal species”—that “You are It.” We are what we seek and the way to life is the way to our own heart and soul—and when we live connected with the heart of who we are, and live to exhibit that in the life we are living, we are at “the still point of the turning world,” and no one can take that from us, and nothing can knock us off that center—we are at-one with the wellspring of living water and will never thirst again.
When we are centered in the truth of ourselves, and living the life that is truly our life to live, we touch the numinous within, and are divine-and truly-human beings, the son and the daughter of God, talking to people who aren’t there about things they can’t understand until they wake up and realize there are aims in life beyond their own personal goals and ambitions—that there is a life with their name on it and their task is to find it and to live in its service.
It is as simple and as difficult as that.
- 12/16/2014 — The Gracie Belle HDR Panorama B&W — Beaufort waterfront, Beaufort River, Beaufort, SC, December 7, 2014
Why aren’t you living your life?
The life that is your life to live?
The life no one but you can live?
Why aren’t you living that life?
These are the questions our unconscious mind—the aspect of our mind we are unconscious of—asks us incessantly.
Wake up and answer me!
What is it going to take to wake you up and get you to live the life that is your life to live?
We are our unconscious mind’s worst nightmare.
Imagine all your hopes for the conscious realization of your unconscious energies and potential riding on you.
That is the burden our unconscious bears to our grave.
Our unconscious will do anything to get our attention.
Will use anything to wake us up.
All of the Biblical descriptions of Israel apply to us:
“A hard-hearted and stiff necked people”
“They made their hearts as hard as flint”
“O Land, Land, Land! HEAR the word of the Lord!”
That’s our unconscious mind speaking, pleading with us to turn and align ourselves with the life that is waiting even yet for us to live it.
Why won’t you live your life?
Why won’t you live it?
- 12/17/2014 — Peggy’s Cove 2008 — Nova Scotia, September 2008 —
We have to live privately as we live publicly.
We can’t be racist or sexist or homophobic anywhere.
We can’t “just be kidding” anywhere.
What do we think?
That it doesn’t matter how we live when no one is looking?
It MATTERS how we live!
There has to be a direction and flow to our life—
A current declaring who we are—
Throughout our living!
We cannot pretend to be one way there
And be who we are really here.
Who do we think we are kidding when we are “just kidding,”
When we are “not really” being who we are?
What is the point of not really being who we are?
Why would we waste time not being who we are?
What do we mean not being who we are?
It is NOT OKAY to belittle, ridicule, deride, denigrate, disparage anyone!
It is NOT OKAY to make fun of anyone!
It is NOT OKAY to have fun at anyone’s expense!
If you do it, stop it!
If you hear someone else doing it, call them out.
Tell them that’s not the way to do it.
Tell them they can do better than that.
We cannot allow inhumanity to pass by unchallenged.
When we do, we participate in inhumanity ourselves,
Regardless of who we are really.
- 12/17/2014 — Late Light in the Smokies HDR 01 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC, November 2, 2014
Is what you are doing living your life or escaping your life?
How is what you are doing helping you live your life—the life that is your life to live?
What are you doing, doing things that are not LIFE for you?
Doing things that are not helping you live your LIFE?
“If it ain’t life that you’re doing, it’s a waste of life!”
“If you ain’t livin’, you’re dyin’! And you may be dead!”
—The Lost Sayings of Jesus
- 12/18/2014 — Beach Erosion 05 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014
A true human being lives with complete freedom to do what needs to be done in the moment of her, of his, living—
Has the ability to dance with his, with her, circumstances,
Rise to every occasion,
And respond appropriately to any situation as it arises.
She, he, is not bound by some everlasting code of behavior,
Or stuck to following the dictates of ancient commandments
Or contemporary social codes
In reading the moment of her, of his, living—
Taking everything into account—
And acting in ways that are right for that time and place—
And acting in ways that may be entirely different
In the next time and place,
Though conditions there may appear to be the same
As they were in the present one.
This is called the freedom to be inconsistent
In responding to what needs to be done
In every here and now of our living.
The only catch is you have to know what you are doing
And be right about it being the right thing to do.
- 12/18/2014 — Atlantic Afternoon — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, NC, October 2008
You’re missing the point if you think your art is supposed to support you and your family, and pay your way.
Your art is not here for you.
Your art is not here to serve you.
You are here to serve your art.
The worst thing you can do for yourself and your art
Is to think it is good,
Or, even worse, is to try to make it salable.
An art director told me, “Jim, you’ll never sell any of your prints. There is too much blue in them.”
She was apparently right.
There is still too much blue in them.
And they are not selling.
Too bad. My Eye seems to love blue.
To spit in your own Eye for the sake of selling a few prints
Our Art is here for the soul’s own joy.
Our Art is our soul’s avenue of self-expression.
If someone wants to buy it, fine.
That falls into the category of “Don’t muzzle the ox.”
But, we aren’t here to sell our art.
We are here to serve our art by bringing it forth,
For our soul’s own joy and delight.
Our art is our soul’s way of saying,
“Look what I’ve found! Look at the beautiful blue!”
- 12/19/2014 — In the Fog 01 — Lake Townsend, Greensboro, NC, September 2008
The Law of Compensation is always at work in our lives.
Somebody has to suffer the pain, carry the weight, bear the load.
If everyone is not shouldering their fair share,
Someone else is doing double duty.
If the husband is Mr. Do It All Right And Never Flinch Or Complain,
The wife is likely to be a mess.
Or one of the children.
Or the people who work for him.
You see it all the time in Preacher’s Kids.
The Dad (or Mom) is the shining example of How A Real Christian Ought To Be
And his (or her) children are beyond redemption.
Understanding how it worked,
My daughters turned out just fine
Because the communities we lived in were appalled at MY behavior.
Somebody has to be the scapegoat.
This means you have to suffer your own pain,
Carry your own weight,
Bear your own load.
I’ve known people who were workaholics,
Having to get there early and stay late to serve their clients.
Their office workers were wrecks and the turn-over was high—
Because the spill-over was pouring out all over the place.
We have to be responsible for the wake we create,
Or others will be drowning in it.
We have to see what we are doing beyond what we see we are doing.
And bring ourselves back to the center,
Away from the extremes.
They may not all say “Thank you!”,
But they will all be relieved
(Of the burden of you).
- 12/19/2014 — Beach Erosion 06 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 06, 2014
All there is is experience
And interpretation of experience.
The keys are
How fully we experience our experience—
That is, how fully aware we are of what we are experiencing—
And how accurately we interpret our experience.
If we are fully aware of our experience,
And interpret it accurately,
We have all we need to know
To respond to it in an appropriate manner.
That is all that can be asked of us ever.
- 12/19/2014 — The Catch — Great Blue Heron with brunch. James River, Richmond, VA, November 5, 2014
We have to put ourselves in accord with our life.
It is hell.
We cannot do it without swearing or crying, or both.
It is such an agony to adjust ourselves—to accommodate ourselves—
To that which is not to our liking,
But is, nevertheless, the way things are.
We do not live well at odds with the way things are.
We’ve all known people who have done it,
Who pouted or whined and moaned, or resented and hated,
Their way all the way to the grave.
They lived in protest against the way things are—
As if to say, “If I can’t have things the way I think they ought to be,
I’ll have nothing to do with any of it!”
And were of no help to anyone.
That’s one way to do it.
Withdraw and scowl, or mourn.
Better to come to terms with what we don’t like about our life,
And do what we can to make things as good as they can be.
Better to live so that other people are glad to see you coming,
And sorry to see you going.
Those who live in accord with their are sources of blessing and grace
Unto all of life,
And make every circumstance a softer, kinder, place
By the quality of their presence.
If you are going to be some way, be that way.
- 12/20/2014 — Lighthouse Light 02 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014
My greatest fear, dread, and source of angst is becoming abstruse and unintelligible.
Makes sense for me to be afraid of making no sense.
Nonsense is anathema to those striving for clarity and discernment.
Hermes was the Greek god of interpretation, the god of meaning, the messenger of the gods, making clear to one god what another god had said—had intended to be heard and understood.
Hermeneutics has always been my thing.
It was natural for me to be a preacher, clarifying obscurity and getting to the point of things week in and week out—something I continue to bang away at with these little soliloquies and vignettes.
And, if they make sense to no one else, at least they make sense to me.
To stand on the brink of a future which could well hold strokes, dementia, and total disorientation is to balk at taking on THAT manifestation of the Cyclops on my way to wherever it is that I’m going.
But, that may be where I’m going.
We don’t get to choose our choices, or our destinations, no matter how much effort we put into willing what cannot be willed or guaranteeing what cannot be made certain.
We have to go trusting into the night. And allow ourselves to be carried along by forces we do not direct or control, determined only to make the best of things no matter what they are.
So, if you should ever hear that one who has spent his entire life finding it has lost it, say simply, “That’s a damn shame,” and know that’s the way it is sometimes.
But don’t let that stop you from pursuing your thing, and living in the service of it, all the way to the end of the line, however that may turn out to be.
- Wrapped in Wire — Haywood County Barn near Maggie Valley, NC, October 28, 2014
There is a psychological shift that may be experienced as a physical “click”—
As when things “click” into place, or when you “click” on a light in the darkness—
When we move from one way of experiencing reality into another way of experiencing reality.
Joseph Campbell talks about the “joyful, voluntary, participation in the sorrows of the world,”—the willing, joyous, embrace of life just as it is.
Before it’s all woe-is-me-ain’t-it-awful-living-as-we-all-must-in-this-vale-of-tears,
And, then, with the decision to LIVE there by God, and do it RIGHT,
exactly as it ought to be done—and DOING it, in each moment, no matter what,
Death goes over into life,
And we are no longer at the mercy of a “cold, cruel, world.”
Now WE are in charge of the way we respond to our life,
We are LIVING in the same world we always lived in,
But it is transformed by the nature of our life,
And nothing is as it was, or ever will be again.
This is resurrection to life being lived out in our life.
Resurrection does not wait on our physical death,
But hinges on our psychological death,
On our moving from one way of perceiving our life,
Into a different way of perceiving our life.
With the shift in perception, in perspective,
The world shifts,
And life becomes possible where, before,
There was only suffering, misery and death.
We can’t pretend to embrace life as it ls,
And act as though we are living there as though we mean it.
We have to mean it.
From the heart.
And that’s the kink in the hose.
But, get that kink worked out, and it’s a “New World, Goldie!”
- 12/21/2014 — Four Girls II Panorama 01 — Low Tide, Gay Shrimp/Fish Company Dock, St. Helena Island, SC, December 6, 2014
You better know what your interests are and pursue them.
If it is watching the Weather Channel, you missed something along the way,
And better go back and pick it up.
Our life can be taken from us by the way we live it.
As we age, we have to get our life back,
Or pay the price.
If you are in your eighties and worried about your golf swing,
You missed a turn.
You drove through a rite of passage,
Maybe two. Or three.
You have to do some sitting and reflecting—
Some coming to terms with the life you lived,
And with the life you didn’t live.
Go where it is most uncomfortable to be,
And look around.
Square yourself up with that time and place.
Come to terms with it.
Be clear about the mistakes you made,
The missed chances to grow up.
Make a full and compete confession,
It’s too late to be who you would have been
Without your mistakes and failures,
And refusals to grow up.
But you can be who you are with them in full view.
And make amends where you are able,
And stop looking to golf to take your mind off your business.
The business of squaring yourself up with your life—
The one you lived, and didn’t live, and still may live yet.
- 12/21/2014 — Watkins Glen 02 HDR B&W — Watkins Glen, NY, Adirondack Park, October 2, 2014
Our task is to find our life and live it–not our idea for our life, but our life’s idea for itself.
Our life is constantly calling us—
And an aside here to say that we talk about “being called” in terms of God’s Call To Do This Or That For God. We need to rethink the whole calling thing. To be called is nothing special. We are all being called by our life to live in ways that are aligned with our life’s idea of itself. Our LIFE is calling us. All the time, to do this, not that, or to do that, not this—
To wake up and begin living the life that is our life to live, that only we can live, that no one but us can live,
The life with our name one it, the one uniquely designed for us.
We have to learn to listen to our life and align ourselves with it.
If you can afford it,
Find a Jungian analyst in your neighborhood,
Tell her, tell him, you need help finding your life and aligning yourself with it.
You can avoid the expense by taking up the work of becoming compassionately, mindfully, aware of all that is happening in your life and inside of you as you live your life.
You probably can’t be that attentive on your own,
But you can take up the practice of becoming attentive.
You can’t find your life without being attentive to your life.
A Jungian analyst would cut down the time it takes you to be attentive on your own.
- 12/21/2014 — Smoky Cascade 03 — Big Creek District, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Waterville, NC, October 31, 2014
Don’t tell me.
Let me guess:
Everything is just fine in your life—
You’ve found the right dosage to keep your symptoms manageable,
You have a job you like,
The kids are making good grades and aren’t into drugs,
Your dreams are crazy and beyond anybody’s comprehension,
But all you need is to get to the beach more often
For things to be exquisite.
The clock is ticking,
Your life—the life that is your life to live—is drumming its fingers,
Looking at the time,
And you’re thinking
Your next bonus is going for a larger TV.
Tick… Tick… Tick…
- 12/22/2014 — Dawn Silhouettes 01 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014
It’s easy to let your life go, thinking you are a failure and a washout in true Terry Malloy fashion (“I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.”)
It’s easier to let your life go, thinking you are somebody because you are the champ of the world.
The trick is to live your life
Through it all.
- 12/22/2014 — Sand Art 01 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014
Some people have a hard time being where they are.
They are in a hurry to be where they are not.
Fresh Market is a wonderful place for me to be,
Especially this time of year,
With treats of every imaginable configuration
Stacked high on tables creating isles for holiday shoppers.
I’m thrilled and amazed,
And stroll gleefully agog among the wonders.
Who would think there could be so many ways to deliver sugar
To the adoring masses?
Past me in my state of awe push people with their carts
To some more important place to be.
They have to get to the bread isle,
And they can’t be at the bread isle,
Because they have to get to the meat counter,
And they can’t linger at the meat counter,
Because they have to get to the coffee section,
Or, perhaps it’s the hair dresser,
Or, or the oil change station…
Wherever they have to be, it’s somewhere other than where they are.
And there you are.
Who is ever anywhere long enough to relish the good
- 12/22/2014 — Nova Scotia 2008 06 — Peggy’s Cove, September 2008
The silence of sacred places is innate and required.
You whisper there, if you speak at all,
And walk through the reverence of generations of pilgrims
Quietly honoring the touch of holy land upon the heart.
We build churches and install organs—
each with a new record for pipes and stops—
And play them at full volume,
Or build mega-churches with commercial entertainment systems
Guaranteed to be louder than the ones down the street
Or across town.
Old people have to wear hearing protection
To sit through a service,
And young people should.
But, if you make it loud enough, they think they have heard something.
- 12/22/2014 — Beach Erosion 11 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014
Getting older isn’t a matter of thinking about getting older and following some prescribed pattern—a recipe for aging.
It’s a matter of paying attention—
Of attending the ebbs and flows,
And the drift of soul.
What is happening and what needs to be done about it
Will become apparent in its own good time.
The important thing is to not pretend that nothing is happening,
To not live in denial of the facts, of the reality, of the time and place of your living.
Live to see what you can get by with.
Don’t stop eating—just stop eating what you can no longer eat.
And let things go when the time for going is upon you.
And let things come when the time for coming arrives.
This is called recognizing the fullness of time
And receiving it well,
Allowing it to play out in your life as it will.
Step into your later years with no expectations,
No stipulations or demands.
Go with curiosity and imagination,
With creativity, playfulness and an abiding sense of humor—
And you will do just fine.
- 12/23/2014 — Price Lake and Grandfather Mountain 2008 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, October 2008
Live from the center.
Your center is found between the poles—the extremes—that pull you in opposite directions.
Find your conflicts, then find the center.
Stand/live consciously between the conflicts at work in your life.
You want to lose weight and you refuse to eat wisely and exercise.
Square up to the reality of each pole,
Listen fully to the truth of each one—
Paying attention to your dreams as you do the work of listening—
And move to the center.
You can’t live in one extreme and listen to it,
Much less, listen to the other extreme.
Simply honoring your extremes begins the shift to the center.
When we consciously take our place
In the center between extremes,
We initiate the shift in perspective,
That relaxes tension and enhances understanding.
The center is the place of seeing, hearing, knowing and understanding.
The extremes are the place of war and sabotage.
Recognize and respect the extremes,
And live from the center.
- 12/24/2014 — Late Light C — Edisto State Park, Edisto Island, SC, November 16, 2013
We all have to learn to hit a curve ball.
In each situation that arises, we are coming to bat in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and the bases loaded down one run, facing a pitcher who only walks a batter to set up the next hitter and throws a mean curve ball.
My situation, here and now, is knowing that everybody has to learn to hit a curve ball, and having only a limited number of sentences to work with in order to hook you into allowing me to tell you what I know about hitting curve balls and, thus, helping you hit your own curve ball in each situation as it arises the rest of your whole life long.
Here we go. I’m standing at the plate now. The pitch is on the way.
There are three kinds of people. The kind that know what they are doing, like Dick Cheney, say, and are intent on working the system in their behalf and in behalf of their friends and loved ones, and never saw a curve ball they couldn’t crush. But, here’s the problem: They think they are hitting a curve ball, and they are striking out. Knowing what you are doing is the most persistent illusion—and the greatest curve ball—in the book of illusions and curve balls (All the really good ones are the greatest ever). Gets ’em every time.
And the kind that know they don’t know what they are doing—and believe it doesn’t matter, because the game is stacked against them and they don’t have a chance with every pitcher throwing mean curve balls to them at every at bat.
And the kind that know they don’t know what they are doing and are eager to know more of what they don’t know in order to work a broken system to serve the needs of all concerned, and keep swinging at every curve ball, connecting often enough to keep swinging.
We all work with a terribly broken system. The system has always been broken. It will always be broken. We have to work with a broken system. It’s the pitcher with the meanest curve ball in the business.
Michael Brown—and now Antonio Martin—Eric Garner, Officer Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu are the most recent victims of a system that isn’t working—and that is what we have to work with: a terribly broken system.
That’s the meanest curve ball in the book of curve balls.
Here’s how we do it: We live out of our own integrity in each situation as it arises.
Integrity is living in ways that are integral with what is deepest, truest and best about us.
We hit curve balls by living out of our own integrity in facing what faces us, and dealing with it in ways that do right by ourselves and right by the situations and circumstances of our living.
To hit curve balls, we have to know who we are, and who we also are, and who our life is asking us to be in each situation as it arises, and bringing forth what we have to offer there apart from any agenda, ideology, fear or desire that might be impinging upon us and at work in the time and place of our living.
The system is broken. All systems are broken. The Tao is ignored. We are out of accord with the way things are and with the way things need to be. And we only have ourselves to work with.
Our practice is learning to hit curve balls in each situation as it arises.
That is the hope of the world.
- 12/25/2014 — Price Lake Sunset — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, July, 2008
Everyone has to hit a curve ball.
Each one of us has to do her—has to do his—own work.
No one can do anything for anyone else other than listen with compassionate understanding to the struggle and anguish—
And ask the right questions in each situation as it arises.
The work of learning to hit a curve ball
Includes the work of reclaiming the images of the Bible for ourselves
In each new age of our life.
The images of the Bible are not about then and there, but here and now.
They are not facts that have to be revered and adored and believed with all our heart.
They are symbols and metaphors which open us to the fact of the work of our own awakening, realization, becoming and being.
Where is the manger to be found in your own life?
Where are you facing the prospect of bringing yourself forth—birthing yourself—in inhospitable conditions, circumstances, situations?
Where is your Mary being asked to give birth to your Jesus?
Where is your Jesus being asked to sacrifice his ties to the comfort and pleasures of life in the here and now
For the sake of his own integrity—living in ways that are integral to that which is deepest, truest and best about him—in bringing his own life forth in the midst of the way life is being lived about him?
The baby born in the manger is YOU. The man dying on the cross is YOU continuing to birth YOU into a life not so conducive to your living. The cross is just another manger.
And YOU are hitting another curve ball as you move through different lives at different ages in your life into the life that is required of you—offered to you—in that age.
We are always being born symbolically, metaphorically—and we are always dying to the things that would keep us from being born.
Birth is death. Death is birth. Again and again. Throughout our life.
Merry Christmas! Again! And again!
- 12/25/2014 — The Watchman and the Virgin — Zion National Park, Springdale, UT, May 20, 2010
It begins with a good faith commitment to find our life—the life that is our life to live—the life that no one but us can live—and live it.
That good faith commitment implies learning to hit curve balls.
When life—the life within which we find and live our life—throws us a curve ball, we hit it out of the park.
We deal with it better than Jesus or the Buddha—better than Jesus AND the Buddha, operating as a tag team—could deal with it.
Living our life means mastering curve balls.
It takes swinging at a lot of curve balls to get it down.
Our commitment is to keep swinging until we know what we are doing—
And do it like there is nothing to it.
And we have to have the chutzpah, the courage, the audacity, the heart for the task—
Why kid ourselves about it?
It isn’t as though our life doesn’t know we don’t have what it takes,
And will sink it’s last dime into outfitting us for a journey we will never take.
Our life knows us well by now.
It’s in if we are, but there is no hedging or holding back.
We have to mean every word if we say, “Okay. Let’s do it.”
- 12/26/2014 — Dawn Silhouettes 02 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014
If you are going to understand anything, understand that other people are not like you.
If you are going to understand anything else, understand it is not your place to make them as you are.
If you are going to understand anything else, understand that you are not like other people.
If you are going to understand anything else, understand that it is not your place to become like them.
If you get those four things down, you will be where you are,
And they will be where they are,
And that’s how it needs to be.
When someone comes at you with a Plan Of Salvation, or an agenda of any kind for your life,
Tell them you have to go feed the horses,
And walk far away.
All those signs saying “Everyone is welcome!” in front of all those churches means
“Everyone is welcome to be as we are!”
Don’t walk into any crowd thinking you can be different.
You only need a handful of the right kind of people
To help you stay connected with what you know to be so,
Grounded in what is important,
Centered in your heart’s true sense of direction,
Balanced and aware of your own polarities,
Focused on bringing yourself forth in the work that is yours to do
By living in ways that are integral with what is deepest, best and truest about you,
And bringing forth what you have to give to each situation as it arises.
When someone begins to interfere with any of that,
Tell them you have to go feed the horses.
- 12/26/2014 — Atlantic Dawn — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, NC, September 2008
You have to say no when no needs to be said,
And you have to take no for an answer when no needs to be heard.
When you get this down, you will have it made,
As much a you can have it made.
In spite of anything else I may tell you,
This is all you need to know.
- 12/26/2014 — Before Dawn — Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse, Nova Scotia, September 2008
Everything starts with a purpose.
Honor your purposes, no matter how absurd, foolish, outlandish, weird and indefensible they may be.
You owe it to find out where they lead.
If it’s riding bulls, give it your best shot.
You are looking closer at what catches your eye.
Maybe it isn’t riding the bull so much as doctoring bulls
And you wind up in Vet school.
You don’t know where you are going when you allow your purposes to lead you into your life.
Pay attention to the things that stir your heart.
Your soul is whispering to you from the back of a bull.
Start with that.
Trust yourself to it.
See where it goes.
- 12/27/2014 — Before Dawn B&W — Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse, Nova Scotia, September 2008
You are what you seek.
Be what you need.
- 12/28/2014 — Beach Erosion Panorama 07 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014
What are the sources of discord, discordance, discontinuity in your life?
These are the places you are being asked to grow up, face what must be faced and do what needs to be done.
But. Do not rush to war.
And do not seek peace at any price.
Do not assume that you know what needs to happen.
Sit with the situation.
In any situation, there are the things that can be changed,
And the things that will never change,
And the things you assume can be changed,
And the things you assume will never change.
The trick is to know which is which.
What is the greater miracle:
Standing up and walking,
Or accepting the fact that you will never walk again?
Are you willing what cannot be willed?
Forcing what cannot be forced?
Or willing what must be willed?
Forcing what must be forced?
What is at stake in the situation?
The places of discord and disharmony are the most important places.
Do not hurry through them to some appearance of peace.
Listen to them.
Let them work their magic.
Allow them to bring forth what needs to come forth—
And don’t assume you know what that is.
- 12/28/2014 — Grotto Falls 2008 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN, April 2008
What are you doing–and what does that have to do with the life you need to be living?
With the life that is yours to live?
With the life that no one but you can live?
How is what you are doing enabling you to live that life?
If it isn’t helping you live that life, why are you doing it?
- 12/28/2014 — Price Lake and Grandfather Mountain 02 2008 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, October 2008
Joseph Campbell (in The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers) said, “If the work you are doing is the work that you choose to do because you are enjoying it, that’s your life.”
But, he said if your life catches your eye and “you think, ‘Oh, no! I couldn’t do that!’ that’s the dragon locking you in.”
He goes on to say that in living our life, we save the world. “The influence of a vital person vitalizes, there’s no doubt about it. The world without spirit is a wasteland. People have the notion of saving the world by shifting things around, changing the rules, and who’s on top, and so forth. No, no! Any world is a valid world if it’s alive. The thing to do is to bring life to it, and the only way to do that is to find in your own case where the life is and become alive yourself.”
Find what has life for you and live it!
Now, you have to evaluate every invitation and opportunity that comes your way in terms of its Life Quotient. “Is this life or an escape from life?”
The Forbidden Fruit wasn’t growing on the Tree of Life—and a lot of things that look like life are death in disguise.
So, look closely at the things that catch your eye.
If it is life that looks back at you, climb on and go for the ride of a lifetime, and don’t let anything knock you out of the saddle!
- 12/29/2014 — Four Girls II Panorama 02 — High Tide, Johnson Creek, Gay Shrimp/Fish Company dock, St. Helena Island, SC, December 7, 2014
We are scattered, at loose ends, looking for something we don’t have, settling for anything bright and flashy, noisy and loud, to take our minds off our emptiness, our hollowness, the absence of a grounding foundation to our lives.
Money won’t do it.
Money and entertainment are all we know.
It’s time to shift the focus of our search.
The entire culture is outwardly focused.
It’s out there, up there, over there, back there…
Anywhere but here, now.
And don’t ask us to look within.
There is nothing there.
That’s what they said about Nazareth.
The stone the builders reject becomes the chief cornerstone.
Sit down. Shut up. And get to know who you are.
The spiritual quest is for a life worth living.
A life worth living is not found out there, over there. No one can tell us what is worth our time. Only we know that—and we know it by listening, by looking, within.
Joseph Campbell said, “The spiritual quest is to find the inward thing that you basically are.”
The theme that runs through all of our stories from the beginning is the search for the organizing principle of our life—for what is “I,” “ME”—for who, for what, “I AM”—for what resonates with me and pulls me forth into its service, its expression, so that my life is the conscious incarnation, the conscious coming forth, of Who I Am into the world of normal, apparent, reality.
Now, of course, we all know what it is that we are, that we seek. We know it when we see it, when we hear it, “out there, over there.” We are attracted to it all our life, but we do not recognize its true value. We do not incorporate it into the life we are living—we are too busy living like we are supposed to live, in the service of money and security or fame and glory.
But we know who we are, and only have to know what we know, by listening and looking within.
- 12/29/2014 — Viaduct Fall 2008 03 B&W — Linville Cove Viaduct, Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville, NC, October 2008
All of our problems are personality problems.
If we had a different personality, we would have different problems.
Even the problems which seem to have no relationship with our personality—environmental, say, or genetic, etc.—are the problem they are because of our personality—because the way we perceive and respond to “the problem” makes it the problem it is for us.
We cannot solve, or fix, our problems without adjusting our personality—without becoming a different person in response to, in relationship with, the problem.
We cannot live our life—the life that is our life to live—without a “personality adjustment,” perhaps a “personality transplant.”
We cannot grow up without changing, without becoming a different person—a recognizably different person.
Our life—the one that is our life to live—changes us even before we begin living it, and continues to change us throughout what remains of the time left for living.
It is the grandest of all adventures—becoming who, okay, whom, we are.
- 12/29/2014 — High Falls 2008 — Little River, DuPont State Forest near Brevard, NC, May 2008
Marvel Comics has the ideal of the Hero down to the last scene. The Avengers are how all heroes ought to be.
This is to say there is a universally recognized standard for heroes, and the Avengers are squarely in the center of the bell-shaped curve.
May it be said so of all of us in all the roles we play.
Or, may it be said, that we were just enough off-center to make it interesting and lively for everyone.
There are norms at work governing the way we are to perform all of the parts we play.
Moms and dads, grandmothers and fathers, bosses, employees, thieves and scoundrels, lovers and friends…
All of the roles have a normal distribution of behaviors and attitudes associated with each one.
We know how to be a teacher, for instance, even though we have never taught a class. We know how teachers are ‘spozed to do it.
And auto mechanics. Auto mechanics are not supposed to put sugar in gas tanks. And surgeons are not supposed to leave scalpels in their patients.
When we depart from the normally accepted standards governing our behavior and attitude, we enter a state of imbalance. We are “on the edge,” “out of sync,” or just, “out there.”
Everyone knows it. Including our own psyche/soul.
Now, our psyche/soul is interested in our living aligned with its idea of a normal distribution curve for the life it has in mind for us—for the roles it would have us play if we were living in sync with its ideal.
But, living aligned with psyche/soul may well put us at odds with our family and culture—as it did with Jesus and the Buddha and all the other real life heroes that ever have been or will be.
We have some choices to make: Who is guiding our boat on its path though the sea? How well do we collaborate with the guide in piloting our boat, in living our life? Whose idea of a normal distribution curve do we recognize as normative for us?
Our life is our answer to these questions.
- 12/30/2014 — Beach Sunrise 2008 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, NC, October 2008
“Getting back to the center,” “Being centered and grounded,” “Centering ourselves,” are all about aligning ourselves with the mid-point of the normal distribution curves governing our behaviors and attitude for our current place in life.
We have “lost the center”—across the board, around the table. Around the world.
We don’t know who we are, what we are about, or who we are supposed to be, what we are supposed to be about.
And we want finding it all to be smooth, soft and easy.
Just take the idea of “growing up,” or of being a “grown up”—or the idea of a “true human being.” How far are we all (across the table and around the world) from the center of one of those normal distribution curves?
We all are Adam and Eve, refusing the roles we are asked to play, to live, and seeking the things that are “good for food and a delight to the eyes,” and are off and running, away from the center, and into the far extremes of self-gratification and profit—and pleasure—at any price.
All of the mid-points of all of the normal distribution curves require us to be self-disciplined in the service of the values and principles that are to be honored, respected and up-held by the standards governing behavior and attitude at work in those particular roles and ways of being.
To be more specific, the mid-points of those normal distribution curves require us to live with the intention and purpose at the heart of those roles and ways of being.
We cannot live any way we choose and be centered, grounded, whole, and at-one with ourselves and at peace with one another.
We have to recognize the value of the values at the heart our roles and ways of being, embrace them with our will—our intention and purpose—and serve them with our life.
Or drift without direction or foundation through the rest of our days.
- 12/31/2014 — In the Fog 03 B&W — Lake Townsend, Greensboro, NC, October 2008
There are romantic, idyllic, roles and images, like a Norman Rockwell painting, and there are practical, down-to-earth, how-it-is-in-real-life roles and images, like a day in the life of Tevya in Fiddler on the Roof.
We can try to shape our life into a Norman Rockwell world—which exists only in a nostalgic reformulation of the way things never were but could have, might have, should have, been.
And we can live, as Tevya did, in spontaneous response to the trials and ordeals of our life—in light of purposes and intentions aligned with what needs to happen there for the true good of all.
A true human being is not interested in imposing a prefab order on the situation as it arises,
But in serving the good of the whole within the limits and conditions of the time and place of this here and this now.
Chances are somebody will be left out of that good.
We all take our chances, and we all live to see to it that no one is left out of the good consistently, dependably, reliably, in a “they are used to it,” or a “that’s the way it is,” or an “it can’t be helped,” or a “that’s what they deserve,” kind of way.
Compassion is the cross every true human being bears and lives to serve.
Not ideology or romanticism, or sentimentality.
- 01/01/2015 — Dawn Silhouettes 05 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2017
We have to live with intention and purpose.
We cannot just hang out at the mall until we die,
Or live from party to party,
Just wanting to have fun,
Rolling with the good times as long as they last.
Our life is the canvas and we are the brush.
We paint ourselves into being through the way we live our life.
We will paint ourselves into some variety of being.
The idea is to do it with intention and purpose,
Meaning to find what is our to do—
To find what is who we are—
And do it so as to be it, to become it,
And express ourselves, incarnate ourselves, reveal ourselves
Through the quality and character of the life we are living.
We will do that intentionally or unintentionally.
It goes better for us and for all concerned when we live
With the intention of being who we are
In and through the life we live.
- 01/01/2015 — Sunrise — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, NC, October 2008
Here’s all you will ever need for a New Year’s Resolution:
“I will consciously strive throughout the year
To see what I look at,
And to live like I mean it!”
- Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 01/01/2015 — The Watchman and the Virgin 02 — Zion National Park, Springdale, UT, May 2010
In a few days, I will enter my seventh decade, quite aware that it could be my last.
My family and friends do not like to hear me say that,
In a, “No Jim, this shall not happen to you!” kind of way.
“You don’t know that,” they say. “Don’t say that! Don’t talk like that!”
I say we have to live toward our death
In a “Don’t waste my time arguing with me, I have things to do before I die” kind of way.
This is not a Bucket List of things to do, as in sights to see, airplanes to jump out of, and beer to sample before I die.
It is a clear awareness that I only have a short time left in which to see what I may yet see, and say what I may yet say.
So I have to give myself to what needs me to do it while the light lasts.
I have to be looking, listening, seeing, hearing, pondering, realizing, grasping, understanding, making connections, exploring contradictions, coming to terms with the discrepancy between how things are and how I wish they were, and growing up.
There is much yet to be grown up about.
In doing what is mine still to do, I have to be alone.
My work is solitary work,
As was Beethoven’s and Michelangelo’s, and all the artists and musicians and poets there ever have been or will be.
Solitude is not isolation.
It is not exclusion or banishment.
It is the environment of perception and perspective, examination and realization.
After seventy years, I have a lot to think about, to mull over, to explore and reexamine, and make sense of.
I can’t do that if I am chatting about news/weather/sports, or listening to the latest episode in the “you won’t believe what just happened” drama of somebody else’s life. They have their life to live. I have mine.
I have to go feed the horses in order to be grounded in what matters most to me in the last, or the next to last, or the next to the next to last, decade of my life.
There is much to be done, and too little time—no matter how much that may turn out to be—left in which to do it!
- 01/02/2015 — Adams Mill Pond Panorama 07 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 10, 2014
Your place is to coordinate the needs of your heart, soul, body and mind, and the time and place of your living—
To collaborate with heart, soul, mind and body in respecting and living within the conditions and circumstances of your life.
In pulling this off, you have to be aware of the different manifestations of WILL at work in your life.
There is your personal will.
There is the will of your culture, your society, your family—extended and nuclear, your job/boss, the individuals who play a part in your life, the will of your heart, soul, body and mind, the will to live—to be alive, and the will beyond all these wills calling you to a particular work—or expression of the art of you in your life.
The trick is to align your will with the will of your heart, soul, body and mind and with the will willing itself to life, to expression, through you in the midst of all of the other wills at work in your life.
Placing your will in the service of the will of heart, soul, body and mind is to connect yourself with the will willing itself to life through you.
Then you have to negotiate your way through the maze of conflicting wills imposing their idea for your life on you.
Your will, intention, purpose aligned with the will, intention, purpose of the will willing itself to life through you is a power to be reckoned with—but it is a power you participate in.
You do not own or direct it, and it is not yours to use in the service of your idea of how things ought to be.
Your place is to learn what it means to say, “Thy will, not mine, be done.”
And say it.
And live it out in your life.
- 01/02/2015 — Miss Lily Panorama B&W — High Tide, Gay Shrimp/Fish Company Dock, Johnson Creek, St. Helena Island, SC, December 7, 2014
Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate…for the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
The Tao and Zen speak of “the razor’s edge,” “the slippery slope,” and the “dangerous path.”
The flow of my life as I experience it is faint and unobtrusive, and requires mindful, compassionate (as opposed to willful and demanding) attention to ascertain the indistinct, soft, gentle, “still, small voice,” saying, “This is the way for you, here and now.”
Distractions abound. Diversions are abundant. Or as Jesus would say, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and those who find it are many.”
We live meditatively, taking all things into account—considering carefully the input from body, mind, heart and soul—and proceeding attentively and conscientiously along the way.
Confirmation and compensation, or correction, are as close as each night’s dreams, and we we would do well to honor them as communion from body, mind, heart and soul, and adjust our living accordingly—noting trends and themes over time, rather than letting one dream determine major life decisions.
We go slowly to way-points throughout our life, reading the signals, interpreting the signs, and walking the razor’s edge.
- 01/02/2015 — Eagle in Flight 05 — James River, Richmond, VA, November 5, 2014
Our willful, wanting, self is always inserting itself into the driver’s seat, demanding to take the wheel, certain it knows where to go and the best way to get there.
Our sensing, knowing, self is always listening, looking, feeling, waiting to read the signals from heart, soul, body, mind in order perceive the way as it opens before us and proceed slowly, mindfully, attentively and compassionately along the path.
We have to be alert to our tendency to forge ahead, forcing our way—OUR way—in the service of our willful, wanting, self,
And wait for the other guides to report in,
As we pick our way through our options in search of Ariadne’s Thread to lead us through the maze in living the life that is our life to live within the life we are living.
“A dangerous path this is,” this life-within-life-to-life, and one to be walked conscientiously, and intentionally—lest emotion and enthusiasm consume us, and lead us into one disaster after another.
- 01/03/2015 — Adams Mill Pond Panorama 06 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 9, 2014
It could be that we don’t want to know who we are.
It could be that we don’t what to go to the trouble of knowing who we are.
It could be that we don’t want to go to the trouble of being who we are.
It is certain that we don’t know who we are,
And that we have created elaborate social and cultural mechanisms to save us from having to know who we are.
We live on escape and denial.
Ask anyone, “What do you work in order to do?”
They will say, “What do you mean?”
Follow up with, “What is your life—what do you live to do—that you work in order to do?”
They will say, “I’m just doing good to get from pay check to pay check.”
They work to work.
They don’t have a life.
They have no idea of the life that is theirs to live.
If they won the lottery, they would spend it all on escape and denial.
Life is just what happens to you between birth and death.
What we do there doesn’t matter
Beyond being good so we will go to heaven when we die.
It all starts after death.
Being enraptured for eternity
And going to angel concerts.
- 01/03/2015 — Field Road HDR 01 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 14, 2014
If I could give you one thing it would be silence.
It all starts with silence, flows from silence.
If you have a problem with your life, you aren’t being quiet enough.
Things happen in the silence.
Things like realization, awareness, awakening…
The word “Buddha” means “The Awakened One,”
Or “The One Who Woke Up.”
Guess what he was doing when the Great Awakening happened.
He was being quiet. Very quiet.
A noisy environment doesn’t get much good press
As a place where awakening is likely to occur.
Unless waking up to your need for silence counts.
Meditation is at least 20 minutes of silence every day.
Go for at least that much, but don’t call it “meditation.”
Call it “Quiet Time,” or “Time Out.”
“Daddy/Mommy is in Time Out.”
Just sit quietly. No reading. No music. Nothing.
For 10 minutes twice a day.
Or for 15 minutes twice a day if you can make that work.
Let your mind wander as it will, but if you start a train of thought, ruminating, worrying, problem solving, list making, stop and consciously bring yourself back to the silence.
Silently count each inhalation. Silently think the word “And” with each exhalation.
If you fall asleep, no problem. Just, I can’t help it, wake up.
- 01/04/2015 — Adams Mill Pond Panorama 11 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 10, 2014
Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
When our unconscious directs our life consciously—
That is, when we live consciously, intentionally, deliberately—
When we seek to align ourselves with the unconscious,
And willfully lay aside our will in a “Thy will, not mine, be done” kind of way–
We call it destiny.
Joseph Campbell said, “Your fate is the vehicle of your destiny.”
And, “Your life evokes your character.”
Our life, unconsciously lived, is our fate, bringing us forth, against our will,
Asking us again, and again, throughout our life,
“Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Are you waking up yet? Are you awake at last? What’s it going to take to wake you up?”
Our life, consciously lived, is our destiny,
Is who we are,
Is what we are built for,
Is what we are called to do.
We can live with our eyes closed, or with our eyes open.
The life we are living is doing its best
To open our eyes to the life that is ours to live
In the time left for living.
- 01/04/2015 — Young Buck 02 — James River, Richmond, VA, November 5, 2014
The Hero’s Journey always winds between polarities.
What we want to do is offset by what we need to do, what ought to be done.
The good is countered by the also-good.
The right thing to do is opposed by another right thing to do.
And we don’t know what to do,
Yet we must choose,
And the future hangs in the balance.
“A dangerous path this is, like walking the razor’s edge.”
Who can make such a decision?
One after another?
No wonder there are so few heroes these days.
“Let’s go bowling, Dude!”
- 01/05/2015 — Dawn Silhouettes 06 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014
Waking up is waking up to what is ours to do,
And to what is not ours to do.
We have to work our side of the street,
And leave the other sides of the street to someone else.
“Being all things to all people” has to do with compassion,
Not with minding, or taking care of, their business.
We come alive in different places, in different ways.
No one can thrust their way on us,
Or we on them.
We each find our own life, and live it, tend it,
Doing the work that is ours to do
With the gifts, art, talent and proclivities that are ours to bring forth
As blessing and grace
Upon all who are capable of being blessed and graced
By who we are and what we have to offer.
- 01/05/2015 — Immature Bald Eagle 02 — James River, Richmond, VA, November 5, 2014
The darkness we see so well in others resides in ourselves.
We begin to reconcile ourselves to the fact of our own darkness,
And take up the work of integration—
Do not think you can destroy the darkness within, or will it away,
Or be ever free of it, for it is who we also are,
And has a definite place in our life, and a role to play
In the work that is ours yet to do—by becoming aware of our darkness,
And being ever mindful of its presence within.
Rumi thought of darkness as “the cradle of light,”
And the darkest dark is found in those
Who aspire to be nothing but light.
We live best in the center of all dichotomies.
As we move toward one extreme,
The other shadows every move.
We are kidding only ourselves when we think we are
Incapable of evil of any kind.
Our families know, and our best friends, and total strangers.
We gain nothing by denying our dark potential,
And need to invite a new member to the Inner Council
Which guides our daily path,
Honoring all available wisdom in the work of finding our way.
- 01/06/2015 — Adams Mill Pond 36 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 10, 2014
We are just along for the ride.
We don’t have to worry about making anything happen.
We are responsible only for being who we are—
For bringing forth what is ours to offer
And offering it
Without trying to exploit it, or pave our way with it, or make it pay off.
We are here to serve—
In both senses of the word—
The gifts that are ours to give—
And collaborate with the guides
In finding the best path down the mountain—
And enjoy the ride.
- 01/07/2014 — Adams Mill Pond 50 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, December 10, 2014
We have to believe in our work—in the work that is ours to do—and do it.
This is the heroic task on the hero’s journey.
This is the work that puts everything in order,
That returns everything to its proper place,
That restores harmony, heals divisions, reconciles extremes and makes peace.
We have to believe that believing in our work and doing it
Is the Philosopher’s Stone,
The long sought elixir of life—
And live as though it is.
We are creating momentum here,
Turning the tide,
The World Mind is lost, hopeless, aimless, adrift, without foundation, intention, purpose, compassion or any affiliation with the values that make us human.
We have to change that Mind, that Drift, that Orientation.
We do that by engaging our purpose and serving the High Values
Through finding our life and living it—
Believing in our work and doing it—
In every situation as it arises,
No matter what.
Living with focus, direction, clarity and mindful devotion
To the life that is our life to live
Is the contribution of the individual part
That transforms the whole.
It only takes one person living with direction
To change the direction of the world.
If you don’t believe that,
Live as though you do,
And you will change your mind
In the act of changing the Mind of the World.
And that will change everything.
- 01/08/2015 — Adams Mill Pond 24 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 10, 2014
Joseph Campbell said that we are seeking experiences in our physical life that resonate with us at the level of our innermost being and deepest reality.
We are seeking, he said, the experience of being fully alive, so that our inner being and reality are at one with our external being and reality:
One being, one reality, one life.
Jesus said, “The Father and I are one.”
Jesus said, “I came that you might have life, and have it abundantly.”
Oneness with the Father and oneness with our LIFE is one thing.
There you are.
How do we get there?
The way is at once easy and difficult.
It is as easy as knowing what resonates with us and what does not—
As easy as knowing what has heart for us—for where our heart comes to life—for what we can do with all our heart—and what does not.
And it is as difficult as being still and quiet, paying attention to what we are attending, and being mindfully aware of each situation as it arises—and doing what we sense needs to be done in response to it.
Where have you lived with all your heart in what you were doing lately?
How aware are you of what is going on within you in each situation as it arises?
How aware are you of what is happening there and what needs to be done in response?
That’s how close you are to being at one with yourself and at one with your life—
To being fully, completely, alive.
Get that down and it will be quite a New Year.
- 01/08/2015 — Beach Erosion Panorama 10 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 9, 2014
It takes faith in what we are doing to do it, and go on doing it, in spite of the lack of supporting evidence as to its value.
Believing in the value of what we are doing in the face of its obvious lack of value is crazy.
Either way, to continue in its service is to risk looking bad in the eyes of Those Who Know Better And Let You Know It.
And, it doesn’t help to know that we could be wrong in 10,000 ways.
We owe it to ourselves to find out if we are wrong.
And to know the jury may be out deliberating that verdict long past our lifetime.
We are building blocks of transformation.
How many people lived their life in the service of the conviction
That slavery was wrong before the Emancipation Proclamation?
In the service of the conviction that human rights are the highest values
Before the Civil Rights Movement and Selma?
Do. Not. Quit. In. The. Service. Of. Your. Heart.
No matter what Those Who Know Better say.
- 01/09/2015 — Dawn Silhouettes 03 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 06, 2014
We have to take our life in our own hands and live it all the way.
To do that, of course, it has to be our life we are living—
The one with our name on it—
The one no one else could possibly live—
The one that needs us to live it.
And we have to live it with compassion and respect for all.
What’s a life without compassion and respect?
Without recognizing and living as though
“Thou Art That”—
Without understanding we are all the Christ, the Buddha,
That we are the other and the other is us?
- 01/10/2015 — Adams Mill Pond 01 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 9, 2014
We negotiate our way through all of the facts defining, limiting, enabling, expanding, deepening, enlarging our living.
The facts of life are at once a wall and a door, a dead end and a threshold to limitless possibilities.
Heraclitus said “If you went in search of it, you would not find the boundaries of the soul, though you traveled every road-so deep is its measure.”
That is exactly the scope of our life.
We are in search of soul, seeking soul,
And the facts of our life are springboards, stepping stones, on the journey.
A fact is nothing but a doorway to soul,
But it takes being soulful to know that that it is so.
We have to live soulfully to know soul.
Soulfulness starts with seeing facts for what they are:
Optical illusions flashing glimpses of soul.
Joseph Campbell said that facts evoke our character—
Connect us with our character—
Bring forth our character.
Character and soulfulness are the same thing.
No one has ever been soulful who didn’t have character.
No one has ever been in full possession of their character
Without being soulful.
When you find soul, you find YOU.
When you are soulful, you are YOU.
YOU and soul are one thing.
One beautiful thing.
Don’t let the facts of your life stand in your way.
Walk through them to worlds beyond worlds,
Laughing, dancing, singing in the rain.
- 01/10/2015 — Beach Erosion Panorama 21 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014
We cannot hear what we are not ready to hear,
No matter how much those who are speaking may be ready for us to hear it.
Hearing cannot be forced before its time.
Readiness is a matter of maturation and grace.
Both are incalculable factors in human development.
The time may be right for some but not for others.
Those who speak can do nothing more than say what they have to say,
And let nature take its course.
Those who hear can no more give credit to those who said what they needed to hear,
Than to all of those who prepared the way for it being heard.
Hearing is no more the result of speaking than it is of listening.
Who gets the credit, then, for hearing?
Who gets the blame for not hearing?
Not having heard is preparation for hearing at last.
Everything is grist for the mill,
And nothing can happen apart from maturation and grace.
- 01/10/2015 — Cooperstown Cemetery B&W — Cooperstown, NY, September 27, 2014
What stands in your way?
On every level?
What is holding you back?
Keeping from the full realization of your potentialities?
Of your innate possibilities?
Preventing your coming forth?
Arresting your development?
Refusing the discovery of your own voice?
The exercise of your own authority?
The living of your own life?
The exhaustive search for what stands in your way
Is an appropriate focus of meditative concentration
For as long as it takes to get to the bottom of things.
Don’t dismiss the assignment
In an “Oh, I know it’s the trauma of childhood,
Or Viet Nam,
Or my fear of failure,
Or of success…”
KNOW all about all the things that stand in your way.
KNOW exactly what is keeping you from the fullness of your own life
In a Who, What, Where, When, How, Why, And Now What kind of way.
- 01/11/2015 — Adams Mill Pond 02 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 9, 2014
There is no immunity, no escape, no exit—
We are on our own with our life.
We transcend, and transform, our situation by trusting ourselves to it
In a “Thy will, not mine, be done” kind of way.
Our life needs us to live it.
Our gifts need us to give them.
Our heart needs us to serve it.
And we want smooth and easy.
Everything waits for us to say,
“Okay! I’ll do it YOUR way,”
And mean it.
Everything waits for us to find our life and live it,
To know the YOU within who wants us to do it her, his, way,
And step into the future that has been waiting for us
Since the day we were born.
- 01/11/2015 — Field Road HDR 05 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 14, 2014
Our life is an experiment with living our life.
We’re on the beam, we’re off the beam.
Now we’re getting warmer, now we are cooling off, now we are a block of ice.
We attend each moment.
We listen to the guidance of The One Who Knows within.
We look for the signals and signs in dreams and symptoms.
We are sensitive to the nudges of instinct and intuition.
And we meditate on the flow and direction of our life
Throughout each day.
It’s all part of the practice of being who we are
In the time and place—
The here and now—
Of our living,
And evidence of our devotion
To the work that is ours to do
In bringing forth the gifts that are ours to give
For the true good of all.
- 01/12/2015 — Dawn Silhouettes 04 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014
Make your LIFE your life!
Live to live your LIFE!
We live in a culture that would have us live to take our mind off of our LIFE—and off of our life.
We live in a culture that would have us believe life is not worth living as it is—
That we can’t live our life, and have no LIFE, until we can afford the luxury of entertainments around the clock.
To live is to be entertained in this culture,
And, more than that, it is to talk, talk, talk, about the great time we are having,
The great times we’ve had
And the great times we are going to have in the very near future.
Let the great times roll.
We invented Viagra so the great times could roll right up to the end.
Our work is cut out for us.
We have to separate ourselves from the culture
And from the thinking that pervades the culture.
We have to isolate ourselves—seclude ourselves—from the impact of the culture,
So that our LIFE might find us,
So that we might find our LIFE.
We don’t believe we have a LIFE.
We have to believe we have a LIFE
And lie in wait,
Watching for it,
So that we might rush to meet it when it comes along,
As it does every do often, just to check on us,
Just to see if we are ready yet,
And live it with all our heart
Throughout the time left for living.
- 01/12/2015 — Lake Crandall Fall 03 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 13, 2014
Don’t think your life is the means to some end.
Happiness ever after (Or just happiness).
Don’t think you are going somewhere.
You are BEING somewhere.
If you can’t be here, now, why not?
Where do you have to be when in order to be there, then?
If you can’t be here, now,
What makes you think you can be there, then?
You’re kidding yourself.
If you can’t be here, now, when you get there, then,
You’ll be afraid of losing it and won’t be able to enjoy it.
The fear of it being taken away takes it away.
Where can you simply enjoy being here, now?
What’s keeping you from being able to enjoy being Here, Now?
Your life is for the enjoyment of living.
If you aren’t enjoying living, why not?
How do things have to be different for you to simply enjoy
The experience of being alive?
What would it take for you to simply be alive to the experience of being alive?
Here and now?
- 01/13/2015 — Adams Mill Pond 03 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 9, 2014
There are people who have never been listened to in a way that allowed them to be heard,
Looked at in a way that allowed them to be seen.
There are people who live unknown and unknowing.
Live your life so as to reduce the number of those people.
Start with yourself.
Listen to yourself. Look at yourself. Know Thyself.
Make it one of your life goals—your life’s work—to see you, hear you, know you before you die.
Start with The Five True Statements.
Write five things that are true about your life.
And five more things that are true about life in general.
Take each of those statements and write five things that are also true about each statement.
You are creating a mental picture of your life.
You are seeing how you see things.
Hearing how you think about things.
You are asking yourself, “What is true? And what is also true?”
And listening to what you have to say.
Every time you make a statement about yourself, your life, or life in general,
Catch yourself in the act of saying what you take to be so,
What you hold to be true about yourself, your life, or life in general,
And ask, “What is also true?”
Expand what you know to be true to take into account what you also know to be true.
You are creating polarities, realizing polarities, looking for what else is true—for what ALL is true—about you, your life, and life in general.
We don’t know who we are until we know who we also are.
Look until you see. Listen until you hear. Ask, seek, knock until you know and understand.
Do not die unknown and misunderstood.
- 01/13/2015 — Catawba Trestle — Norfolk Southern crossing the Catawba River near Rock Hill, SC, April 2, 2011
What would it mean for you to “stand on your own two feet,” living on the basis of your own authority, with your heart fully in what you are doing?
How often do you do that?
What is preventing you from doing that more often?
What would it mean for you to live in ways that expressed and exhibited—incarnated—who you are, in ways that are exactly YOU, for all to see?
How often do you do that?
What is preventing you from doing that more often?
- 01/14/2015 — Beach Erosion 03 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014
I know at least this much about you:
You spend too much time caring about the wrong things,
And you spend too little time caring about the right things.
You are swamped and overwhelmed by the wrong things.
And you are frustrated because you can’t get to the right things
With all the wrong things in your way.
I have only this to offer in the way of a fix:
Your priorities are your responsibility.
You have to decide for yourself what is right for you and what is wrong.
And, you have to live more toward what is right for you,
And live less toward what is wrong for you.
This goes for the people in your life as well.
Spend more time with the people who are right for you,
And less time with the people who are wrong for you.
Spend more time caring about the right things,
And less time caring about the wrong things.
The way to do that is simple:
Become increasingly mindful of, conscious of, aware of,
What the wrong things are,
And what the right things are.
Know when you are caring about the wrong things,
And when you are caring about the right things.
Knowing is good.
Not-knowing is bad.
Knowing is the right thing.
Not-knowing is the wrong thing.
Know what is good and what is bad,
And watch what happens.
- 01/14/2015 — Pawley’s Island Moon — Pawley’s Island, SC, December 16, 2013
I have observed that, for the most part, people are not who they say they are—
And they are afraid to say—to be—who they actually are.
And the discordance between who they say they are and who they are
Is the source of much grief, pain and suffering.
But, it is not a simple thing, dropping the pretense, and being who you are.
Thus, I recommend moving slowly, imperceptibly,
Yet, steadily and irresolutely,
Over the rest of your life,
Away from the act and toward the reality.
Live to be who you are.
Live to get your appearance aligned with your heart and soul,
So that who you say you are is who you are
And everyone can take you at your word,
And know your part of their world is firmly set on the foundation stone.
- 01/14/2015 — Maine Fern — Stonington, on Deer Isle, ME, September 2010
Trust yourself to your life—not to your feelings about your life.
There is more at stake in your life than you can know or imagine.
Trust that to be so, and do not think that you see all there is to see,
Or that your assessment is accurate.
Assume that you don’t know what to make of things,
And hand yourself over to your life—
Making your best effort to do right by your life,
And determining to ride it out, to see it through.
Commit yourself to the long haul,
In an, “I’m in it for the long haul,” kind of way—
And let your life show you what you are capable of.
Don’t let your feelings determine what you do.
- 01/15/2015 — Adams Mill Pond 05 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 9, 2014
We aren’t looking for the gold ring (or the brass one)
In order to grab it and have our dreams come true.
We aren’t here in the service of our dreams.
We are looking for our life
In order to live it—
In every time and place,
Context and circumstance,
Of our living.
We are here to live our life.
Not the life that serves our dreams.
The life that exhibits, incarnates, expresses, reveals
Our heart, soul, character, essence.
We are here to bring ourselves forth,
To birth ourselves anew,
In each situation as it arises
All our life long.
Our dreams and desires notwithstanding.
- 01/15/2015 — Field Road HDR 07 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 13, 2014
Think of Karma as a mindset that quickly, in no time at all, becomes a way of life, or a lifeset.
Karma as attitude, as orientation, as the way we see and act and are.
There’s the Good Time Charlie mindset/lifeset.
The Head In The Sand mindset/lifeset.
The I’ll Deal With It One Day…
The Mamma Says/Daddy Says…
The I’ll Do It My Way Or Else…
The list is long.
We create what meets us
By the way we approach our life.
Be aware of your mindset/lifeset.
Be aware of what you set in motion by the way you deal with your day.
- 01/16/2015 — Beach Erosion 04 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014
Do not judge your work by existing standards and measures of success.
Let the vitality found in and flowing from the work create its own enthusiasm for the work, and let that be enough.
You can kill the vitality and enthusiasm for the work by expecting more of it than vitality and enthusiasm.
Expecting results, for instance. Expecting recognition, honors, standing room only…
The work is its own reason for being. It is not a means to some other end. It is good in itself.
It is good for you. It is good for you to do it.
And the experience of that goodness is enough reason to keep it going.
The right work is good for your heart and soul.
It is self-validating, self-affirming, and a source of vitality and life.
Here’s a hint for you, a place to get started in living the work that is yours to do—the life that is your life to live:
Find something you can do with all your heart, and do that.
Find something that you love to do to such an extent that you lose yourself in it, and you don’t know what time it is, or how long you have been doing it, and do that.
Find something you enjoy so much that you can’t believe it’s been forever since you’ve done it, and do that.
See where it goes. Go with it.
- 05/16/2015 — Pelican 02 — Murrell’s Inlet, SC, January 16, 2015
We make it harder on ourselves than it needs to be.
We could always do better.
Be more like somebody else.
More like we ought to be.
Less like we are.
Nothing like we are.
See what I mean?
Whose side are we on?
Our life would be better in a snap
If we just got off our case about how much better we have to be.
It’s like this:
When you are wading in the surf you’re doing that as well as it can be done.
You aren’t grading your beach walking.
You’re just enjoying walking on the beach.
Now, look at everything you do as though you are wading in the surf at the beach.
Enjoy it if it can be enjoyed, and if it can’t be enjoyed do something as soon as you can that CAN be enjoyed and enjoy it fully.
And. Get. Off. Your. Back.
- 01/17/2015 — Moon Rise Sun Rise 01 — Huntington Beach State Park, Murrell’s Inlet, SC, January 17, 2015
If you aren’t enjoying your life, why not?
What are you waiting on?
Things to fall in place?
Mr or Ms Right to come along and find you to be Mr or Ms Right?
You are here to enjoy your life—
In every context and circumstance of living.
Enjoyment does not depend upon things being just peachy across the board, around the table.
If you don’t automatically, spontaneously, find things to enjoy about your life every day,
You are going to have to take up the work of conscientiously, determinedly, relentlessly seeking out things to enjoy about your life every day.
Instead of looking at your day to find things to support you in your contention that yours is a sorry lot,
And you can’t possibly be expected to find anything to enjoy about it,
Because the gods who oversee such matters
Might think you are not suffering enough in payment
For your shortcomings and deficiencies,
And increase the degree of misfortune and tribulation in your life.
Help yourself out here.
Take up deliberate enjoyment as a daily exercise in noticing
And acknowledging the things that provide a lift
And a sense of grace at work in your day.
- 01/18/2015 — Winter Landscape Panorama 01 B&W — Indian Land, SC, January 15, 2015
You have to be ruthlessly honest with yourself on every level,
You cannot hide anything from yourself.
You have to see yourself as you are and as you also are.
No secrets allowed!
Where are you kidding yourself?
Where are you failing to keep good faith with yourself?
In a, “I am fastidious, you are somewhat anal, he/she/it is excessively rigid and overbearing to the core,” kind of way?
This is called The Declension of Self-Deception.
“I am pleasantly plump, you are a bit overweight, he/she/it is a waddling fatso.”
Get the idea?
Practice it with yourself relentlessly and regularly—
In order to catch yourself in the act of deception and denial,
Looking the other way, sticking your head in the sand,
And pretending that what is so with you is not so.
You cannot hope to find the path with your name on it,
Or the life that is yours to live,
With your eyes closed tightly to how it is—and also is—with you.
- 01/18/2015 — HB Pelican 01 — Huntington Beach State Park, Murrell’s Inlet, SC, January 16, 2015
Concert pianists practice diligently, intensely, and then think they can live their life without thinking about it.
So do football players, and basketball players, and tennis players, and soccer players…
Everyone thinks there is nothing to living their life.
Playing the piano is hard but living is automatic.
We are in the mess we are in, personally, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally because we think we don’t have to think about our life, much less treat it as something that requires practice.
“What are you trying to do with your life?”
“What’s working right now about your life?”
“What isn’t working?”
Make it a, ahem, practice to work these questions into your conversations.
See where it goes.
Answer them yourself.
We have to start thinking about the life we are living,
And putting ourselves into it as much as we put into developing our golf swing,
Or our backhand.
- 01/19/2015 — Through the Grass 01 — Great Blue Heron, Huntington Beach State Park, January 17, 2015
Forgiveness is way overrated.
Accountability is the crux of the matter.
Don’t waste my time talking to me about forgiveness.
Let’s see some accountability.
Bad faith relishes forgiveness.
Good faith recognizes the necessity of accountability.
Forgiveness hinges on the demonstrated experience of good faith over time.
We earn forgiveness by being worthy of it—
By exhibiting repentant behavior
And demonstrating our accountability and good faith
Oh, but Jesus FORGAVE our sins on the cross and we should do the same!
How about, “Depart from me! I never knew you evildoers!”?
Or, “Leave the dead to bury the dead!’?
Or, “Go—and sin no more!”?
And if sinning no more is an option, forgiveness isn’t what keeps us out of hell, but accountability!
Jesus demanded accountability.
“Throw them into the Outer Darkness!” he said, “Where there is only weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
“Take his talent and give it to the one who lived up to the task,” he said.
“I curse you to your roots for not bearing fruit—don’t give me any excuses,” he said.
“Show me what you got!” he said (Or words to that effect).
In yourself and everyone else.
It’s how we live from this point on that tells the tale—
Not whether we are forgiven for past wrongs.
Show me some accountability,
And we’ll see about forgiveness.
- 01/19/2015 — HB Great Blue Heron in Flight 01 — Huntington Beach State Park, January 17, 2015
I was walking carefully along a frosted-over board walk on the way to a sunrise, an hour or so before this photo was taken, thinking I wouldn’t trade the pleasure of slipping along to a sunrise for anything I could bring to mind.
And sitting with a camera, waiting for a wading bird to fly by is to be above time, beyond time, in the timeless state of the Eternal Now.
Eternity breaks into temporal time, to be experienced here and now, by those who find the doorways and walk through.
I don’t know what your door is, but I know you have one. And, it’s up to you to find it. It would be wrong of you if you didn’t.
The Unpardonable Sin, you might say.
- 01/19/2015 — Adams Mill Pond 06 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 9, 2014
Acceptance is seeing things as they are—which includes seeing how we feel about the things we see.
Our emotional reaction to things as they are is a part of things as they are.
“This is how things are, and I don’t like it one little bit! And that’s how things are!”
If we can see that as it is and let it be as it is without repressing it, suppressing it, denying it, hiding from it and trying to escape it in addictions and symptoms, that’s acceptance.
Acceptance doesn’t mean we are happy and festive or pleased that things are as they are in some Polly Anna “This is how things are and it’s just swell” kind of way.
It means we can see that “This is the way things are, and this is what can be done about it, and that’s that—and I don’t like it one bit,” and let that be because it is.
We have to accept the FACT of the disagreeable reality, and adjust ourselves (and our life) to it—and accept the FACT of our emotional response to it.
Acceptance of these FACTS doesn’t mean we are in favor of having them as a part of our life, but that we accept not wanting to have anything to do with them without allowing that to spin us out into denial, addiction and escape.
We don’t like how things are, and we have to deal the fact of how things are, and with the fact that we don’t like it.
And, we gather ourselves and go do what needs to be done about it. About all of it.
- 01/20/2015 — HB Sunrise 01 — Huntington Beach State Park, Murrell’s Inlet, SC, December 17, 2015
New realizations are the pathway to the Promised Land.
The Promised Land being the place of our maturation, our coming forth, our being fully awake and who we are.
It isn’t an actual place, like heaven, or Israel, but it is an actual time, like a perfectly ripe tomato. But then, it isn’t an actual time because we are never fully ripe. We are never finished. We are always on the way to true human being-hood. So we don’t have to worry about being “past our prime.” It’s always ahead of us. The Journey continues.
The Journey continues via ever-new realizations.
New realizations are the products of new experiences, or of old experiences revisited and mined again—yet again—for the gold, by way of reflection, examination, exploration, inquiry and rumination.
We turn things over to see what we have missed.
We open ourselves to new things to see what they have to show us.
We continually make connections that transcend old conclusions.
You can see how theology, and dogma, and doctrine are stoppers, blocks, to the flow of life.
All the talk about the Promised Land stops all progress toward the Promised Land.
Pilgrims become settlers.
And that’s that.
- 01/20/2015 — Winter Landscape 01 — Indian Land, SC, January 15, 2015
All conclusions are tentative, awaiting further review, awaiting additional information, awaiting new evidence to the contrary.
The contrary is the hope of the world—and of all that is in the world.
We are brought to life by way of visitations—of Annunciations—by The Contrary.
Without the contrary, we are stuck fast in the Same Old Same Old forever.
And so the prayer, “O God, shatter our assumptions! Demolish our conclusions! Destroy our formulations! Decimate our sacred dogmas! Lay waste to our Temples of True Belief! Burst our old wine skins! And make all things new! Again!”
- Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 01/20/2015 — Lake Haigler Fall 05 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 11, 2014
We should all stand and observe a moment of silence in honor, and in memory, of Thomas Kuhn, who coined the phrase “paradigm shift,” in his book “The Structure of Scientific Revolution.”
Kuhn’s thesis is “thesis/antithesis/synthesis” applied to scientific theory and process, with implications for every living thing.
He says, in a manner of speaking, that we start out with a theory, and the value of a valuable theory is that it cuts through extraneous considerations to hone in on the heart of the matter, which it reveres as The Gospel Truth.
The Catholic Church had its theory, its Gospel Truth, until Galileo came along. Newtonian mechanics had its Gospel Truth until quantum mechanics came along. And so it goes.
The “paradigm shift” occurs when one Gospel Truth gives way to the next Gospel Truth—when one theory is superseded by another theory.
And what occasions the shift? The extraneous considerations every theory considers to be extraneous.
The anomalies. The exceptions. The discontinuities. The discordances. The abnormalities. The incongruities. The irregularities. The contraries. The contradictions.
When a theory bumps into something that calls the theory into question, the tendency is for the theory to expand to take the exception into account, to explain the exception in terms of the preferred way of seeing things.
Some creationists, for example, explain the fossil record and continental drift, etc., as “God’s way of testing our faith.” No kidding. Some paradigms, unlike continents, are beyond shifting.
But scientific paradigms have to shift or cease being scientific. Scientific theories have to examine themselves in light of the things that don’t fit the theories. They cannot enfold themselves in a viewpoint that proclaims, “Never mind what the facts are—we know what the TRUTH is!” Which is where science parts company with bad religion.
- 01/20/2015 — Around Bass Lake 08 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, near Blowing Rock, NC, October 12, 2014
I’m asked occasionally if I consider myself to be a Christian.
I reply that I consider myself to be the Christ.
That usually ends the conversation, but if they tell me I’m going to hell for talking like that,
I say, “That’s what they said about Jesus.”
Or, if they ask me what I mean,
I say that the word “Christ” means “Anointed one,” and that Jesus was anointed by God to do the work that was his work to do—
And that I am, like each one of us is, anointed by God to do the work that is my work to do.
That makes me the Christ.
It makes you the Christ as well.
The catch is, we have to actually be doing the work that is our work to do.
- 01/20/2015 — Dry Falls, 2014 03 — Nantahala National Forest near Highlands, NC, October 21, 2014
James Hollis said, “Ultimately, we are what wishes to enter the world through us.”
Of course, we can say no.
We can put a stop to that.
Not without paying a price.
It would make things so much better for everyone concerned,
If we said, “Of course! My pleasure! How can I be of help?”
And spent our life in concentrated focus on being helpful
- 01/21/2015 — Pelican Silhouette 02 — The Marshwalk, Murrell’s Inlet, SC, January 17, 2015
Being, Seeing, Knowing and Doing are all one thing.
Your knowing flows spontaneously, automatically from your seeing, which flows automatically, spontaneously, from your being at-one with who you are and at-one with the situation—completely present with yourself and with the time and place of your living—and your doing flows automatically, spontaneously from having these three things in place, but the four are one.
You can’t see what is here, now, if you are not here, now.
Being here, now is the most difficult art to master, and from it flows all of the other arts.
We probably should call them “graces” and not “arts,” because you can’t master grace, you can only receive it and participate in it, share it, and be swept up in the, well, grace of grace.
We participate in the grace of Being, Seeing, Knowing, Doing. We don’t MAKE any of it happen. It happens through us.
And so, we’re back to the Jim Hollis quote: “Ultimately, we are what wishes to enter the world through us.”
The Grace of Being/Seeing/Knowing/Doing enters the world through us,
And the world shudders at the wonder of it all.
- 01/21/2015 — Caldwell House 06 — Caldwell Fork, Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Maggie Valley, NC, September 4, 2014
It’s referred to as the Hero’s Journey, not because only heroes make it, but because we are all called to be heroes of our own life.
We guard, defend, oversee, enable, encourage, nurture, sustain, bring forth, cultivate, and care for the life that is ours to live.
Our life is under our protection. We owe it our loyalty and allegiance, and give ourselves to its service.
If you haven’t done that, it’s time you did.
Your life needs you even yet.
Needs you to live it.
As fully as it can be lived in the time left for living.
Male or female, the task before you is the same one:
To find your life and live it.
The two requirements are that you have a gentle heart, a noble heart,
And that you allow it to lead you along the way.
Our heart is our life and we are its hero,
Sallying forth on the adventure of a lifetime.
- 01/22/2015 — Beach Erosion 06 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014
Live with intention.
Mean something by every day.
Mean something by the way you live your life.
The meaning of life is not the meaning you find in life,
But the meaning you ARE in life—
The meaning you bring to life in life.
The meaning of life is what you mean by your life,
By the way you live your life.
Live in ways that are meaningful to you.
Live for something,
In the service of something.
Live to do something.
Don’t just hang out,
Waiting for something to happen.
YOU are something!
Every chance you get.
- 01/22/2015 — Last Light — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, November 18, 2013
We have to know what is ours to do,
And what is not ours to do.
We have to know what our business is,
And what our business is not.
We have to work our side of the street,
And leave the other sides of the street,
And the other streets,
To those whose work is to be carried out there.
There are always those who want us to do their work for them.
We have to know where we stop and they start.
And we have to know that it is essential that we do our work,
And that it won’t be done without us.
We aren’t doing our work if we are doing someone else’s.
- 01/22/2015 — Lake Haigler Woods 01 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 16, 2014
There are four things that turn us aside from the path:
Fear, despair, desire and laziness.
These things originate within us.
We are afraid of all that might happen.
We are afraid we can’t do it.
We are afraid of failing, of looking foolish, of being wrong about this being the path, of not knowing what we are doing…
We sink into despondency because we don’t seem to be getting anywhere.
We see no progress.
Nothing is happening.
We haven’t lost weight, we don’t feel any better about ourselves, we aren’t where we thought we would be, we must be wrong about this being the path.
We find ourselves in the grip of more attractive possibilities.
Life would be so sweet with that guy, that gal.
Or with a new house, or a trip to Europe…
Interesting asides, exciting possibilities, dreams and visions…
And it is so hard! The path requires WORK!
We would prefer to talk about the path,
To read another book about it, to attend more lectures…
What is The Path, and what is Not The Path?
It takes being quiet, sitting still, to see things as they are,
To hear the small, soft, voice of heart and soul.
How quiet can you be? How long can you sit?
In order to know what your business is, and what it is not?
- 01/23/2015 — Moonrise Sunrise 02 — Huntington Beach State Park, Murrell’s Inlet, SC, January 17, 2015
We are awash in metaphors.
We have to learn to live metaphorically.
There are worlds within worlds,
And we have to live with a foot in all of them.
The next time we hear ourselves, or anyone,
Talking about The Real World
We have to snap awake
And remember there are more Real Worlds than one.
We have to be sure we are living in all of them.
For instance, where in your life is your Jesus side
Confronting your Peter side, and vice-verse?
Where is your Cyclops side blocking the way of your Odysseus side?
Where is your Dragon side keeping your Hero side from finding the gold?
Where is your Darth Vader side overpowering your Luke Skywalker side?
How is feeding yourself physically substituting for feeding yourself spiritually, emotionally?
What is spiritual food and what is psycho-babble?
There are worlds upon worlds to explore
And to live in—
To realize you ARE living in,
Whether you know it or not.
The trick is to know it,
And to be alive in every world.
- 01/23/2015 — Adams Mill Pond 07 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 9, 2014
We follow the thread of our life through the maze of our life, throughout our life.
We have to find our life and live it in all contexts and conditions, situations and circumstances.
Living with integrity means living at one with our life—incarnating the qualities, character, gifts, genius, daemon, and values that are required by, and essential to, the life we are built and called to live.
Joseph Campbell said, “We know when we are on the beam and when we are off it.”
Carl Jung said, ““Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, something is out of tune.”
And, “The artist can only obey the apparently alien impulse within and follow where it leads, sensing that his work is greater than himself.”
And, “We only gain merit and psychological development by accepting ourselves as we are, and by being serious enough to live the life we are entrusted with.”
And, “In the final analysis, we count for something only because of the essential that we embody. If we do not embody that, life is wasted.”
And, “Trust that which gives you meaning and accept it as your guide.”
What more is there to say?
All that remains for us now is to will, and to do.
Following the thread of our life though the maze of our life, throughout our life.
- 01/24/2015 — Andrew Jackson, Teenager 01 BW2 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, SC, January 24, 2015 — Lancaster County is the birthplace of Andrew Jackson, born March 15, 1767, and became the 7th US President.
What do people see when they see me, or you?
What do they think of when they think of me, of you?
What image, or images, do they carry of me, of you?
These are the real things, the lasting things, the things that matter.
And “I” (whether we are talking about me or you) don’t have much to do with what they make of “me,” receive from “me,” take to be who “I” am.
“I” don’t control the “me” “I” am perceived to be.
The “face” “I” “put on,”
the spin “I” give “myself” may fool people for a while,
but, over time, the spin will be apparent
and my need to put a spin on “me”
will part of the image they put together of “me.”
What they remember of “me” will become who “I” am,
Regardless of who “I” spent all that time and energy pretending to be.
- 01/25/2015 — Beach Erosion Panorama 08 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 9, 2014
We have to be able to stand our ground, and we have to be able to stand aside.
Knowing when to do what is the key to the door of a life well-lived.
We have to be able to say NO! when NO! needs to be said, and we have to be able to take NO! for an answer when NO! needs to be said to us.
There is no rule for determining when to do what, where and how.
We are on our own when it comes to knowing what is called for in each here-and-now of our living.
We cannot dance reading the manual or asking Mama what to do, or letting Daddy do it for us.
Schizophrenics cannot say NO! to the voices they hear, but they say NO! readily to the norms and standards of society and culture. They are only knowing when to say NO! away from living a regular life.
Regular people say NO! readily to the voices they hear, but they let who they are “Supposed To Be” govern their behavior and keep them from being the individual they are capable of being. They are only knowing when to say NO! away from living the life that is theirs alone to live.
It’s a tricky business, being responsible for our own life, and living it in a way that honors the need of society and culture for structure and security and predictability.
It’s too much for most of us, and we say the hell with it, and live in one extreme or another, because we don’t want to bother with knowing when to do what, where and how.
Those who are on the path to true-human-being-hood know they have to work it out for themselves, when to do what, where and how.
They listen to their voices within and take them under advisement, without being compelled to obey hypnotically, robotically.
They understand the need for social and cultural mores, rules and regulations, negotiating and compromising their way to living with their integrity intact within ways of doing things that would rob them of their values and their individuality.
It’s a masterwork, putting together the life that is ours to live. It asks hard things of us, and gives us life abundant, spilling out, pouring over, for our time and effort.
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