One Minute Monologues 024

01/25/2015 — 03/11/2015

  • 01/25/2015 — Mill Pond Trail 04 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 13, 2014

    We cannot live any old way and have a life worth living.

    We have to consciously, consistently, live toward the best we can imagine,

    Expecting the best of ourselves,

    Intentional and deliberate about showing others,

    And finding out for ourselves what we can do,

    Through all of the reasons to lay it aside and “grab the gusto,”

    Or just sleep in and not worry about it,

    Because we are funny that way—

    Determined to give it our best effort,

    And see where it goes.
  • 01/25/2015 — Young Buck 03 — James River, Richmond, VA, November 6, 2014

    Your focus is to live grounded upon the Foundation Stone,

    The Philosopher’s Stone,

    The unifying, integrating, intention

    That forms the core of your heart and soul.

    Your charge is to live out of that which is most YOU,

    Toward that which is most YOU—

    So as to bring YOU forth in your life,

    And be who YOU are

    As a blessing and a grace upon all who come your way,

    Rippling through them to all sentient beings everywhere.
  • 01/25/2015 — Charlotte 01 — A portion of downtown (Okay, they say, “Uptown.” Why, I do not know) Charlotte, NC from Marshall Park, January 25, 2015

    You make a splash by being you.

    The way you carry yourself.

    The way you interact with others.

    The way you help people feel.

    The mindset you carry with you into your life.

    The mood you create.

    You step into your life and create ripples.

    You are a wave machine.

    You make tidal waves.

    Tsunami’s.

    Washing over the world.

    Making all things new.

    Leaving life in your wake

    You’re hosing ‘em down with living water.

    Just by the way you walk,

    And talk,

    And treat the people in your life.

    Look at you!
  • 01/26/2015 — Young Andrew Jackson 02 BW — 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.

    Our heart might be in it at the beginning—whatever “it” may be.

    But then, we come upon drudgery, and opposition, and a lack of cooperation.

    It stops being fun.

    It isn’t easy.

    We have to call upon courage and resolve, determination and resiliency, to see us through.

    And those horses have been let out to pasture,

    And are nowhere around when we need them.

    We discover that heart is the easiest thing to lose,

    And the hardest thing to find.

    So it is said, “Those who put their hand to the plow and look back are not fit for the kingdom of heaven.”

    Why pour the foundation if we aren’t going to build the building?

    Can we do it, is the question.

    Will we do it, is the other question.

    We can know all about what needs to be done, and how to do it.

    The theory and the blueprint for success are not the problem.

    Toughing it out is the problem.

    Doing the work is the problem.

    Living with heart through all the tedium, detours, delays, and dead ends is the problem.

    We are the solution to the problem.

    Will we see it through,

    Or cut our losses and go back to the house?
  • 01/26/2015 — Common Tern 07 — Huntington Beach State Park, Murrell’s Inlet, SC, January 17, 2015

    The will to do and to be is difficult to sustain over the long haul.

    We are worn down by the weight of time and circumstance.

    All of us are.

    And all of us must find the source of our own rejuvenation,

    And make the pilgrimage to it often.

    Where do you go to “recover from the past and store up for the future”?

    What does it take to revitalize your heart and soul?

    The experience of beauty in art, music and nature does it for many.

    Touching the earth, and being touched by it, in Hugh Prather’s sense of the term,

    Is restorative and enlivening for those who return regularly to receive it’s blessings.

    The grace of symbols and ritual can carry us beyond the apparent finality of the facts that define our existence—

    And, in transcending the obvious end of hope and courage,

    We know there is more to it than meets the eye,

    Take heart, and join forces with the Force Beyond All Thought And Reason,

    And do what needs us to do it, the way it needs to be done—

    Which we could not have done

    Without our return to the source of life and being.

    May we return often, and be of good courage, and strong hearts,

    For the long haul.
  • Used in Short Talks On Good And Bad Religion — 01/27/2015 — Beach Erosion 14 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, December 6, 2014

    All of the symbols of the Christian church—and of any church—are beautifully, wonderfully appropriate for every age, but. They have to be reinterpreted for each age.

    The current symbols of the Christian church were partially updated in 1643 by the Westminster Divines as the Westminster Confession of Faith, and are no more appropriate for today than a medical textbook of that period would be.

    Each age must find its own way to God with symbols and metaphors and myths that are appropriate to the age.

    We do that by reinterpreting the symbols, metaphors and myths of previous ages—by re-imagining them in light of our present experience and world-view.

    There was no Garden of Eden in an actual literal sense, but. The Garden of Eden remains vibrant and valid through all ages as the launch pad of spiritual life and understanding.

    No one approaches the need for a Spiritual (Hero’s) Journey, or the search for the Land of Promise (another metaphor that has to be updated and reinterpreted), except from the standpoint of the loss of the blissful state of innocence where everything was in place and made sense.

    It is only when we wake up to the realization that the way we have been told things are is not how things are, that we begin the Agone, the Agony, of finding our way to a unifying vision that holds it all together, makes sense to us, and fills us with vitality and enthusiasm for our life.

    Every Biblical metaphor, every symbol of that Old Time Religion, has to be reformed, rethought, reimagined, reshaped, reformulated and reclaimed in order to serve us as food for our soul, and sustenance for the journey.

    And every one of those metaphors, of those symbols, has the power to do that—to be exactly what we need to be who we need to be in the life we are living, “from this time forth, and forever more.”

    As we do the work of bringing them to life, they return the favor and bring us to life, and it becomes “a new world Goldie,” for everyone.
  • 01/30/2015 — Scott Creek Sunset Panorama 03 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    The trick is to live knowingly.

    When we live knowingly, we live transparent to ourselves.

    When we live transparent to ourselves, we live “transparent to transcendence” (A phrase Joseph Campbell attributed to Karlfried Graf Durkheim).

    When we live transparent to transcendence, we are as good as God, as one with God as Jesus was.

    And that would be something.
  • 01/31/2015 — The Ghost Trees of Graveyard Beach at Sunrise 02 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, SC, January 28, 2015

    Live knowingly.

    Knowing what you are doing doesn’t mean knowing how to do it, or how it is to be done, or what you are supposed to be doing, or how you are supposed to be doing it.

    It means knowing that you are doing what you are doing, and that you are doing it the way you are doing it, and why you are doing it the way you are doing it, and what is happening as you are doing it.

    It means seeing yourself in action, doing what you are doing, and being aware of everything in the field of the action surrounding what you are doing, internally and externally.

    If you know that much, you will transform your life, and the world.

    You can’t know what you are doing without changing things—without things changing.
  • 01/31/2015 — Sheldon Church Ruins HDR 03 — Yemassee, SC, January 27, 2015

    Jesus said, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”

    And, to a man working on the Sabbath, he said, “If you know what you are doing you are blessed, but if you don’t know, you are cursed and a transgressor of the law.”

    Jesus said, “When you give to the needy, don’t do it to be seen. Do it in secret so that no one knows—let it be so secret that your left hand doesn’t know what your right hand is doing.”

    In other words, do what you do knowingly—and, knowingly, take no notice of it. Know what you are doing and don’t make anything of it. Just. Do. It.

    If you know what you are doing, in the sense of knowing what is happening as you do it, internally and externally, in the field of action surrounding you and what you are doing—you will be hiding nothing from yourself and making nothing of yourself.

    You will just be doing what you are doing, being who you are, and that will be that.

    This is mindfulness in action. Mindfulness in every day life. All it takes to transform the world.
  • 02/01/2015 — Edisto Beach Sunrise 07 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    At every stage in our life—

    At every transition point—

    We are an egg waiting to hatch.

    We hate waiting for anything.

    DON’T JUST DO SOMETHING—STAND THERE!!!

    They all say that when you just stand there.

    Just standing—or sitting—there is not permitted.

    Is anathema.

    Is a scandalous outrage.

    Is the desolating sacrilege.

    The unforgivable sin.

    You can do anything but nothing.

    Chicks spend a lot of time doing nothing,

    Waiting to hatch.

    Waiting to know what to do.

    Waiting to know when to do it.

    Waiting for clarity and direction.

    At every stage in our life—

    At every transition point—

    We are an egg waiting to hatch.
  • 02/01/2015 — The Grove HDR 01 — The Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Adams Run, SC, January 29, 2015

    There are a lot of people who cannot hear what I have to say.

    But.

    I keep talking.

    That’s what I do.

    It’s my work.

    Saying what I have to say.

    And, I repeat myself a lot.

    Trying to say better, or differently, or just again,

    What I have to say.

    I believe in it.

    I’m talking about life, mine and yours.

    I’m talking about living.

    About being alive.

    About living our life as a full, whole, true human being.

    If you’d rather do something else, okay.

    A lot of people had rather do something else.

    I have to say it nonetheless.

    That’s the way it is with our work—our life.

    It’s our work—our life.

    And we have to do it, live it, no matter what.

    In one way or another,

    We all say, along with each other and Captain Jack Sparrow,

    “I have no say in the matter, Gibbs—It’s the pirate’s life for me. Savvy?”
  • 02/02/2015 — The Ghost Trees of Graveyard Beach at Sunrise 03 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, SC, January 28, 2015

    In the grip of strong emotion. we do the damnedest things.

    Remember your first marriage? And your second?

    We are slow learners when it comes to strong emotion.

    “How can something so wrong feel so right?”

    The lemming’s rush to the sea

    Is just another mass movement gone awry.

    It’s what mass movements do best.

    The anti-vaccine movement is the latest in a long line.

    Emotion disguises itself as thinking—

    Parades around as Rational and Logical,

    As Absolute Truth,

    Innocently shrugging off the devastation in its wake.

    We smoothly justify anything we feel strongly about.

    It’s the emotional high that does it.

    We will do anything to ride that wave—

    To be gripped by that conviction.

    There is no better antidote to the uncertainty and insecurity,

    To the fear, agony and angst, of life on the edge of the Void.

    It feels just like being alive.
  • 02/02/2015 — Scott Creek Panorama 03 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    I have to play the introvert card more often these days.

    People, either too many or too long, disrupt the inner harmony and disturb the quiet waters of my soul—

    Something the extroverts in my world cannot comprehend.

    So, I leave them to make sense of it as well as they can,

    And find a quiet corner,

    In which to sit for a while.

    I cannot tend internal affairs and keep up my end of the conversation

    About the drama surrounding politicians, movie stars, family members and neighbors—

    None of whom I can impact in any way,

    So why bother with the latest of who has done what to whom and what might happen next?

    But, that’s where all the world goes to have its social needs met.

    When I die and go to hell, God is going to put me on a Carnival Cruise Ship through the universe for eternity.
  • 02/03/2015 — 02/03/2015 — Edisto Beach Sunrise 02 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    May you rise to every occasion,

    And do what is asked of you by each situation that arises,

    In ways that bring forth who you are

    As a blessing and a grace

    Upon the occasion and the situation.

    If you go into your occasions and situations

    Doing what is expected,

    You are not seeing what is being asked of you—

    You are merely a functionary fulfilling a role.

    If you go into your occasions and situations

    Looking to exploit them to your advantage

    You are not seeing what is being asked of you—

    You “on the make,”

    “On the prowl,”

    Scouring the landscape for your next kill.

    Your occasions and situations are not there

    For your dutiful service,

    Or for your good pleasure.

    They are there to grow you up and bring you forth—

    To reveal you to you,

    To show you who you are and what you have to give.

    To bless you and grace you with you.

    Often, against your will.
  • 02/03/2105 — The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 06 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, SC, January 28, 2015 

    You are being forced to do something that is—to live in ways that are—killing you.

    Don’t tell me you are not.

    All of us are.

    Our life is killing us.

    Look around. Everyone you see is living a life that is killing them.

    It’s how things are.

    We have to wake up to it and come to terms with it, or die.

    There are 10,000 ways to die.

    Each one is some form of addiction, diversion, distraction, despair, and/or denial.

    The only alternative is awareness, reconciliation and transcendence.

    We have to do what is killing us mindfully, knowingly.

    We have to embrace it as Jesus embraced the cross,

    And willingly, even joyfully, accept the circumstances and conditions of our life—

    Participating fully in the experience of living our life on its terms,

    And doing everything that is required of us exactly as it ought to be done—

    Knowing what we are doing, embracing it and loving it because it is our lot,

    Because it is how things are,

    Because, “This, too. This, too,” is our life,

    And cannot be rejected because it is part of the whole—

    “The whole catastrophe” of life, living, and being alive.

    Those who know the secret of doing what kills them

    Live through dying—live through death—to resurrection,

    And life and peace eternal and everlasting,

    Beginning here and now in this life that they are living exactly as it is.

    This is the shift in perspective that is at the core of all Bodhisattvas,

    And it lifts us to a level of living that is beyond anything having our way in the world has to offer.
  • Used in Short Talks On Contradictions, etc., 02/03/2015 — The Old Sheldon Church Ruins HDR 07 — Yemassee, SC, January 27, 2015

    What does thinking about sex keep you from thinking about?

    What do imaginary lovers help you avoid facing about your actual life?

    What quandaries, contradictions, dead-ends, fixes, messes, plights, predicaments and difficulties do you

    switch off when you switch on a tryst with the hunk or the babe?

    It’s your life you are escaping.

    Your life that is calling you to live it by facing what must be faced, dealing with what must be dealt with,

    oing what must be done and growing up.

    If you are going to imagine something, imagine that!

    Your life is the Cyclops, and you are Ulysses.

    You don’t get anywhere saying, “Oh, but this is too hard!”

    Or, “I know I need to grow up, but…”

    There is no but.

    There is your life that needs you to live it—

    By doing what is hard,

    And facing what must be faced,

    Deciding what needs to be done about it

    And doing it

    About all of the things you want to run from, and hide where you can’t be found.
  • 02/04/2015 — Edisto Eagle 02 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    Carl Jung said, “What is not brought to consciousness, comes to us as fate.”

    FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

    When we live unconscious of how our fear is driving us, we create something to Really be afraid of.

    It was Hitler’s fear of the Jews that led to the destruction of Germany, not the Jews Hitler feared, and thus hated.

    The anti-vaccine crowd is afraid of imagined monsters, but, rather than deal with their fear, they are creating the Real possibility of an epidemic that is certainly something to be afraid of.

    Alcoholics are created as much by the people who cover for them and squelch their fear of what might happen to them if the alcoholic is ever found out, as by their unquenchable thirst for a place to hide from their own fear.

    Unconscious fear, greed, despair and laziness—the unwillingness to face, confront and deal with all that is unconscious—drive us and create Real Life situations that force us to meet our demons, which, by then, are Truly demonic.

    Moral: Face the fact of unconscious reality, and deal with it early-on. You will reduce the level of corporate pain by bearing consciously your personal pain, and the world will benefit greatly from your courage.
  • 02/04/2015 — ACE Basin Collage — The Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Adams Run, SC, January 29, 2015

    When you are standing grounded on the Foundation Stone, no one can knock you off.

    The Japanese word for this position—this connection with the heart of Being—is Hara.

    “Hara” in Japanese means “belly.”

    It is the body’s center of gravity—the fulcrum, the pivot point, “the still point of the turning world.”

    Grounded at that point, we are one with the Way for us and all of creation.

    And we cannot be moved.

    Find your center of gravity—your connection with the Foundation Stone.

    What is it that is so YOU that no one can knock you off of it?

    That no one can laugh you off of it?

    That no one can shame you off of it?

    It is so YOU that you cannot imagine life apart from it—would not consider it—will not budge?

    This is one of your grounding realizations.

    What is another one? What are the other ones? The places you are so YOU nothing can budge you?

    Practice realizing your YOU-NESS in those places, around those things.

    Develop your sense of being anchored to YOU there—

    Of being one with the ground of Being.

    Live out of that sense of groundedness as you go through your day.

    Be grounded in YOU.
  • 02/04/2015 — The Village of Edisto Beach, SC Panorama — Scott Creek, Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC

    When our first granddaughter was 4 years old, she called my wife EZ. My sister-in-law took it upon herself to correct Katy, and teach her the proper way to address her grandmother.

    “This is Grannie,” she said, “Can you say ‘Grannie’?”

    Katy said, “Grannie.”

    “That’s RIGHT!”, said the sister-in-law. “Grannie! This is Grannie!” (pointing to my wife).

    “Now, who is this?” she asked, pointing again to my wife.

    “You say ‘Grannie,’ said Katy, “but I say EZ.”

    That’s living out of your own authority.

    When your center of gravity is zeroed in on the Foundation Stone,

    Nothing can bump you off.

    Your task is to find what is Truly YOU,

    And say what YOU say,

    And do what YOU do,

    Within the terms and conditions,

    Context and circumstances of your life,

    And nothing can touch you, in the sense of destroying your foundation, or causing you to lose your way.
  • 02/05/2015 — The Grove 05 — The Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Adams Run, SC, January 29, 2015

    Listen to your stomach,

    Not to your heart.

    Your heart can be taken in by glass beads and silver mirrors,

    Or by the forbidden fruit on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

    The heart is open to the serpent’s logic:

    How can something this good be bad?

    Not only that, but also, heart is the easiest thing to lose,

    And the hardest thing to find.

    Heart is all exuberance and enthusiasm at the start,

    But let things drag out,

    Let the going get tough.

    The people thought the trek to the Promised Land was going to be a lark,

    But at the first sign of inconvenience, they are ready to head back to Egypt.

    The heart, above all things, is deceitful and easily corrupted.

    Not so, the stomach.

    “Gut feelings” are to be trusted in all situations great and small.

    Check things out with your stomach before launching some crusade,

    Or marrying some dark haired doozy your heart just flipped over.

    Follow your stomach into war, or out of the job interview.

    Your stomach aces stuff your heart doesn’t grasp,

    And has the heart for things your heart can’t stomach.

    Listen to your stomach.

    Your stomach knows.
  • 02/06/2015 — The Ghost Trees of Graveyard Beach Sunrise 01 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, SC, January 28, 2015 

    Get your life under you!

    If we were riding horses, we couldn’t go anywhere until we got our horse under us.

    Here’s one for you: We are riding horses.

    We have to get in the saddle.

    And commune with our horse.

    Remember the book/movie “The Horse Whisperer”?

    We all have to become horse whisperers where our life is concerned.

    Our life is our horse.

    Try telling a horse what to do.

    Try bossin’ a horse.

    Try willing a horse to do your will.

    Milton Erickson tells a story about taking a lost horse home.

    A horse showed up at his family’s farm one day, and Milton’s father told him to take the horse home.

    The horse was a strange one. Milton had no idea where the horse belonged.

    Milton got his horse under him, and kept the horse from eating grass.

    The horse took himself home.

    Your life is your horse, and you have no idea where home is, what the goal is, even where the path is.

    Your horse knows.

    Get your horse under you,

    And start listening to your horse.
  • 02/06/2015 — Scott Creek Sunset Panorama 02 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    We are not tourists on some Orient Express,

    On some Carnival Cruise Line tour of the world,

    Talking about what we like and don’t like along the way.

    We are heroes on a mission to live our life and transform the world.

    You cannot deny that how you live your life transforms your world.

    You have the power to redeem and save,

    To destroy and discard.

    How you live makes all the difference—

    To you and to the people impacted by your life.

    And you have no way of knowing who all is, and is not, impacted by your life.

    We are all Jimmy Stewart in “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

    We all face the options he faced,

    To spit on our life and give up on the thing,

    Or to take it as it is and do what we can with it—

    Being exactly what our life needs us to be whether it appears to be doing any good or not.

    There are 10,000 ways to run from your life,

    But, if you live it, you’re going to have to learn to hit a curve ball.
  • 02/06/2015 — The Old Sheldon Church Ruins HDR 01 — Yemassee, SC, January 27, 2015

    God is not a fact.

    Theologians during the Middle Ages came up with the formula:

    “God is a circle whose center is everywhere, and whose circumference is nowhere.”

    How factual is that?

    God is a symbol for more that can be said, or thought, or comprehended, or grasped, or imagined.

    God is a metaphor of Transcendent Being itself.

    Whatever that is.

    We do not know.

    We are unconscious of it.

    It is The Unconscious.

    God is the source of light which dwells in deep darkness—

    As the Good Book might say—

    As near as our next breath (or our last one),

    And as distant as the boundaries of our soul,

    About which Heraclitus said,

    “You would not find out the boundaries of the soul, even by traveling every path: so deep a measure does it have.”

    Nor could you find a God worthy of the title who could be defined, explained, clarified and made plain.
  • 02/07/2015 — Coot Scoot — Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, part of the ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve, near Bennett’s Point, SC, January 29, 2015

    John Redhead said, “God has no grandchildren.”

    And Thelma Foster said, “Each generation has to find its own way to God.”

    Each of us has to find our work and do it, and find our way to God, working out for ourselves who God is and how we and God are one in each situation as it arises.

    We had rather the preacher’s do the work for us.

    “Just tell us what to believe, Preacher!”

    “But be sure to leave the way, turn aside from the path, and tell us no more of the holy one of Israel!”

    Who is always out before us in the wilderness (or in Galilee, which is another kind of wilderness), waiting for us to catch up and apply ourselves to the task of finding our work and doing it—or, in the terminology of the Bible, of finding our way to the Land of Promise.

    And we want nothing of it.

    “Just tell us what to believe!”

    We don’t believe anything someone hasn’t told us to believe.

    We wouldn’t think of living our way into our own beliefs.

    How lazy is that?
  • 02/07/2015 — Birds of a Feather — Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    Insight is realization gained through reflection on experience.

    It is the experience of experience.

    It is the probing, inquiring, exploration, investigation of experience.

    We have to think about what happened, what is happening,

    And think about our thinking about what happened, what is happening,

    And make connections with what has happened before,

    And what we have thought before,

    And been told before,

    And how that stacks up against what is happening now.

    No unexamined assumptions, or presumptions, or inferences allowed!

    It is in making new connections, transforming or discarding old connections, that we see things differently and change the way we live.

    It is how we think about our experience that opens us to experience and makes all things new.
  • 02/07/2015 — Edisto Beach Sunrise 04 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    We are better observers of reality than we are interpreters of reality.

    Something happens, or doesn’t happen, and we are all over it with conclusions, judgments and verdicts about the worthless state of our affairs, and the complete non-existent status of our prospects.

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

    So why wait, we think, let’s just end it now!

    No one ever in the entire history of the universe has been in greater need of a perspective transplant than we are much of the time.

    We have to evaluate our experience from a standpoint different from what it means to our wants and desires that our life is going the way it is.

    What we want and desire is a skewed way of determining what something means.

    The table is tilted. The deck is stacked. Against us. The house—that would be us—is going to lose much more often than not.

    We have to start with a different assumption.

    Here’s one: We aren’t here to have our way and get what we want—we are here to find our life and live it.

    And our life has nothing to do with what we want. It has entirely to do with what is being asked of us—with what is ours to do.

    Now, it doesn’t matter what happens or doesn’t happen—it matters what we do about it, in response to it.

    It matters how we dance with what happens or doesn’t happen so as to rise to the occasion and bring forth the character, gift, genius, art, daemon, that is ours to unfurl in each situation as it arises, in doing right by the situation and the highest good of all concerned.

    It isn’t a question of what happens or doesn’t happen.

    It is a question of what we need to live our life—the life that is our life to live—within the life we are living, and meeting well all that is happening, or not happening there.

    What do we need to meet the day well, and offer what is needed to the situations that come our way?
  • 02/08/2015 — Scott Creek Sunset Panorama 04 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    We think there is a recipe.

    We think if we can just find the right ingredient,

    And add it in the right amount

    At the right time,

    We can tweak the recipe just enough to make all things grand.

    There is no recipe for grand.

    For escaping the grind of living our life as it is each day.

    There is only coming to terms with the way things have been,

    And with the way things are,

    And of finding the way of living today the way today needs to be lived,

    And letting that be that.

    There is only waking up to how things are,

    And doing what you can think to do about them,

    In light of what needs to happen,

    While living in good faith with yourself and with all sentient beings.

    And letting that be grand,

    Seeing that it is beautiful too, just as it comes.
  • Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 02/08/2015 — Blue Ridge Moon — Julian Price Memorial Park, Price Lake and Grandfather Mountain, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, April 2007

    How frequently do you have fresh realizations?

    Realizations are the products of reflection on experience.

    If we aren’t pondering, examining, exploring, questioning, thinking about, looking at—and into—our experiences, convictions, assumptions, inferences and suppositions, we aren’t creating new realizations.

    We are going through the motions of living without being alive.

    Look at everything until you see it, and then look for what else there is to see about it!

    All conclusions are tentative!

    The Foundation Stone is, itself, rooted in a world that is, itself, whirling about the Sun that is, itself, whizzing through the galaxy, that is, itself, blazing through the universe,

    Which makes stability a nice, comforting, aspiration tucked safely away in its own little castle in the air.

    Turn everything over again, looking endlessly for new realizations.

    Find a nice pair of contradictions, and refuse to leave them alone until they share the realizations they have to offer.

    Relish conundrums for the realizations that hide under their wings.

    Pray for encounters with mutually exclusive truths.

    Your life is lived from one realization to another.

    They are the steppingstones to life,

    Way stations on the path to the Promised Land.
  • 02/08/2015 — Balcony House Ladder 02 — Mesa Verde National Park, Mesa Verde, CO, September 2007

    We have to find our horse and ride it for the rest of our life.

    Our horse is my metaphor for our LIFE—the life that is ours to live—

    The life that only we can live.

    Everything else in our life serves as the supporting cast to our LIFE.

    All of our responsibilities, duties, obligations, wounds, traumas, memories, etc.,

    Have a place—a role to play—in preparing us for our LIFE

    And bringing it forth into the time and place of our living.

    Your life has been preparing you to live your LIFE all your life long.

    Get into the saddle and RIDE!
  • 02/08/2015 — Fall Leaves 2008 — Greensboro, NC, November 2008

    Living your life will save your life.

    It’s the only thing that can.

    When you are at the end of your rope,

    With nowhere to turn,

    Turn to your life.

    Not the life you have been living.

    Look where that got you.

    The life that is your life to live—

    The life that only you can live—

    The life that has been waiting for you to get to this point,

    So you can get your other life out of your system

    And get yourself lined up with the life that has been yours from the start.

    Turn to that life,

    And say, “Okay. I’m all yours. Let’s go.”

    The only catch is that you have to mean it.

    Like you have never meant anything else. Ever.

    And then what, you say?

    Wait. Watch. Listen. Look.

    For something to shift.

    For the door to open.

    When it does, walk through.

    It may not look like much.

    It’s testing your will and your spirit,

    To see if you have what it takes,

    Because it will ask hard things of you,

    And you have to have a willing, willful, spirit

    To keep faith with your LIFE.

    If you’ll throw in with it for the duration,

    Your LIFE will save your life.

    It’s the only thing that can.
  • 02/09/2015 — The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 07 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, SC, January 28, 2015 

    Joseph Campbell wrote a book titled, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces,” that would be me and you, and it’s a lot more than a thousand faces.

    He also wrote a four volume work called “The Masks of God.” That would be “the very present help in time of trouble” that helps all of us heroes along the way. There are more than a thousand masks of God, too.

    Jesus called God, “Father.” Carl Jung referred to God as “the ten million year old man (or woman)” inside each of us. The Greeks and Romans, and the Hindus, come closer to the God behind the masks with their pantheons. They never met a God in other cultures they couldn’t fit into their compilation of the Masks of God.

    God is help for the journey, and IS the journey, just as WE are the journey, underscoring the truth that Jesus invited us to embrace: The Father and I (and you, and you, and you over there) are one!”

    You’ll never begin to understand what I’m saying by thinking about it.

    You will not have a clue until you take up the journey, start out on the path, thinking, maybe, you are going to some far off Promised Land, when you are actually going home. To you. To God.

    But that, too, won’t make much sense until you pick up your walking stick and hie out along the way that is your way home to you. To God.

    Abraham, you know, had to leave home to find home. So do we all. Discovering, as we will, as Carl Jung said, “We are who we always have been, and who we will be.”

    And throughout the way, we will be led by invisible hands, guiding us along the strangest possible path, into the company of people you would never peg as the right kind of people, to the very heart of ourselves, which is the very heart of God, and there we are.

    It will be good to see you. What a time we will have! All along the way!
  • 02/09/2015 — Glade Creek Mill 01, Babcock State Park near Fayetteville, WV, October 2007

    Jesus called God “Father,” and Carl Jung said God was the “Two million year old man” within. And Friedrich Nietzsche said “God is dead.” Who is right?

    Jesus said what Jesus had to say. Carl Jung said what Carl Jung had to say. Friedrich Nietzsche said what Friedrich Nietzsche had to say…

    What do YOU say, is the question.

    If you say, “What Jesus said is the TRUTH!”, I’ll ask you what leads you to believe what Jesus said was the TRUTH—that is, more truthful than anything anybody else has ever said, or will ever say, or could ever say?

    And after some hemming and hawing, you’re likely to say, “I take it on faith!” At which point, I will ask you, “Why do you take that on faith and not something else instead?”

    And we’ll go round and round, but come out at the point where someone you know, or know of, told you Jesus said the TRUTH, and WAS the TRUTH because he said he was,” and they said it in such a convincing way that you took it for the truth and have believed it ever since, and have been confirmed and validated in your choice of what to take on faith from that point on.

    Fine. Jesus said what he had to say, and whomever told you that what Jesus said was the TRUTH said what he, or she, had to say, and you now say about all that what you have to say.

    And what YOU say is what matters most.

    Your word is the only word that matters. What YOU say goes, for you. So, it’s to your lifelong advantage to weigh carefully what you say and leave unsaid, and not just take someone’s word for something that you haven’t thought through on your own.

    What you “take on faith” is your business. We all have to say what matters to us—and live as though it does. We all have to say what WE have to say.

    What do YOU say, is the question. Never mind what somebody else might say. It is what YOU say matters that matters.
  • 02/09/2015 — Glade Creek Mill, 02 —  Babcock State Park near Fayetteville, WV, October 2008

    We are all millers, and “everything is grist for the mill.”

    We are milling our life here.

    We are milling maturity, realization/insight, compassion and grace.

    We are milling enlightenment and understanding.

    We are milling character and integrity.

    And the rule we live by is: “Whatever it takes!”

    Whatever it takes to wake up—

    To realize who we are and what we are about—

    To see what is happening,

    And know what needs to be done about it,

    And get up and do the thing,

    With the gifts, art, genius, knack, ability, flair, faculty and aptitude

    That set us apart and make us us.

    It took being where we have been to be where we are,

    So no whining, no moaning and complaining

    About bad breaks and rotten starts, and disastrous turns of events!

    Our life has been preparing us to live it!

    We have exactly what it takes to step into our future,

    And be there what is needed there.

    So gather yourself for the journey that begins in this moment,

    And look forward to the adventure of a lifetime!
  • 02/09/2015 — Mud Stones 03 — Zabriskie Point, Death Valley National Park, California/Nevada, February 2007

    Bill Hamilton tells of going to visit his friend Alan Stacell and finding him bringing paintings on stretched canvas out of his storage shed, loading them in the back of his pickup to haul to the dump—to make room to store his newest work.

    He told Bill, “I paint like a dog wags its tail.”

    And he wasn’t into keeping and selling what he painted.

    Alan understood the nature of the work that is ours to do.

    We aren’t in it for what we might get out of it.

    We do it because we have to—not because we want to—because we cannot Not do it,

    Anymore than a dog can Not wag its tail.

    What do you do because you have to? Because you cannot Not do it? Working in the yard, maybe, cooking, maybe, riding horses, maybe…

    The list of possibilities is a long one.

    As you look for your work, you are looking for something you have to do.

    Like a dog wags its tail.
  • 02/10/2015 — Edisto Beach Sunrise 08 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    I’m looking for invisible religion. It’s hard to find. I can’t get past people waving it in my face. They want me to know they are religious, because I would never guess if they didn’t tell me.

    I’m looking for invisible religion. Until I find it, I’ll have to content myself with practicing it.

    My idea is to forgo all of the trappings of religion, and content myself with practicing good faith presence—

    Which would be the same thing as being transparently present—

    In the lives of others.

    And having little to do with those who don’t return the favor.

    Finding good faith is likely to be as difficult as finding invisible religion.

    The two are the same.
  • 02/10/2015 — Spruce Tree House Ladder — Mesa Verde National Park, Mesa Verde, CO, September 2007

    There are 10,000 possible ways to live our life—and 10,000 is just a symbol for infinity. We have an endless array of options. At least to start with. We have fewer as time goes by, because our physical abilities begin to decline, but, even then, we have thousands of ways to live our life.

    What are we going to do with the time that is ours to live?

    Find the thing that is yours to do, is my suggestion. And do it!

    Find the thing you have to do—the thing that won’t leave you alone. The thing you must do.

    I stop the car and turn around to get the picture.

    And if I’m in the house, I get my camera, get in the car and go out looking for the picture.

    Or, if I’m on the way to take a nap, and think of something that needs to be written, I delay the nap and go write the thing.

    You have to be seized by something, by the thing that is yours to do.

    You have to be grabbed by it, compelled to do it. You have to be obsessed with the thing. Possessed. Haunted. Hounded.

    You have to find the thing that won’t leave you alone until you do it, and then won’t leave you alone until you do it again, and again.

    You can’t just play bridge, or golf, or bingo until you die. You can’t just pass the time.

    You are here to burn yourself alive—to ignite and be ablaze in the service of your work.

    You can’t be dragging though another day of not knowing what to do with yourself, day after day, hoping maybe the undertaker will come for you today. That isn’t what “It’s a good day to die” means!

    Live so that there is nothing left to bury when you die! Burn yourself up!

    And, if you don’t know where to start finding something you can do with all your “heart and mind and soul and strength,” sit still and see what comes up in your imagination. Follow it, and see where it goes.

    Or imagine that you are in a place you enjoy being, and see what meets you there and what happens.

    Or, before you go to sleep tonight, ask your dreamer for a guiding dream, and see what comes.

    Don’t try to think of something. You can’t think this up. This is the kind of mythological thing, the kind of mystery, that cannot come from you. It has to come upon you. You just have to place yourself in liege to it and allow it to carry you away.
  • 02/01/2015 — Green River Mesa — Green River Canyon, Canyonlands National Park, Moab, UT, September 2007

    People think they can dial up an adventure.

    They buy a rucksack and go hitchhiking across Europe.

    Big whoopee.

    That’s no adventure. That’s avoiding your responsibilities and thinking how cool you are.

    Read all the stories. No adventure starts out with somebody buying a rucksack and going in search of an adventure.

    Adventures come out of nowhere and nail someone who has something else in mind.

    Luke Skywalker says, “Not me. I got a life.”

    Moses says, “Not me. Take Aaron.”

    Adventure is the last thing on a hero’s mind.

    Even Indiana Jones isn’t after adventure. He’s after treasure: “Fortune and glory, Kid. Fortune and glory.” Adventure tracks him down.

    That’s the way it is with adventure. It looks you up, and says, “Let’s go.”

    The people with the rucksacks hitchhiking across Europe looking for adventure, miss the adventure that is looking for them back home at the place they used to work.
  • 02/11/2015 — The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 08 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, SC, January 28, 2015 

    There are lulls even on the Journey.

    “Action packed” is only in the movies.

    In real time, we move into doldrums and the dog days of summer,

    Even in the winter,

    And have to remember that we don’t run the show,

    Just like at the movies.

    In the whirling mist of the adventure of our LIFE,

    We have to wait for instruction,

    For inspiration,

    For revelation,

    For direction,

    For The Time To Act—

    For there is a time to act and a time to refrain from all action.

    A time to sit and rest,

    A time to cook dinner,

    A time to go for a walk,

    While we wait to be grabbed again,

    To be seized with incentive,

    And hurled again into That Which Needs Us To Do It.

    The time between the times of our visitation

    Has its place.

    We spend that time “recovering from the past,

    And storing up for the future (Robert Ruark).”
  • 02/11/2015 — The Grove HDR Panorama 01 — The Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Adams Run, SC, January 29, 2015

    Alan Watts once asked Joseph Campbell, “Joe, what form does your Yoga take?” Campbell replied, “I underline passages.”

    Some Yogis are cut out for all the positions.

    Some are cut out for underlining passages.

    Jesus said, to a man he saw working on the Sabbath, “If you know what you are doing, then you are blessed—but if you do not know what you are doing, you are accursed and a transgressor of the Law” (Luke 6:5, Codex Bezea).

    We have to know what we are cut out for, and be right about it, and do it.

    Nobody can hand us our Yoga and tell us to do it.

    We find it for ourselves.

    And we know it when we see it, but.

    We can’t just grab this, or that.

    We can’t just settle for any old life.

    Pick one off the sales rack, put it on and wear it right out of the store.

    We have to know what we are doing.

    Which means, we have to pay attention to what we are doing.

    Does the life we are living fit us?

    Is it right for us?

    What life would be right for us?

    Not some lazy, sitting on the beach and drinking beer life—

    Not some escape from life, some way of avoiding life,

    But of living it to the fullest?

    What would you be doing to live your life to the fullest—

    Putting all that you are into it,

    So that it was the fullest possible expression of YOU?

    What would you be doing to exhibit your loves, interest, gifts,

    And be YOU to the hilt?

    How can you begin to work that into the life you are living?
  • 02/12/2015 — Kisatchie Falls 2009 – Kisatchie Creek, near, well, Kisatchie, LA, July 26, 2009

    My sister Ellen says “No one is where they are.”

    Everyone is somewhere else.

    In check-out lines, they are talking to their friends at the beach.

    At the beach, they are back with their friends in check-out lines.

    How can we hope to live well without being mindfully present in the moment,

    in the time and place, of our living?

    We are never “here, now.”

    We are always relieving ourselves of the present moment

    in favor of different company,

    another time,

    another place.

    “Anywhere but here, now!”
  • 02/12/2015 — Norfolk Southern 9026 02 — Steele Creek Trestle, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, February 12, 2015

    If you’re talking, you’re not listening.

    Listen more, talk less.

    Give up preaching/lecturing/giving your personal testimony about the value of doing it your way.

    Be quiet for long stretches of time.

    Listen.

    Look.

    See.

    Hear.

    Do only what needs to be done.

    The world will shift toward the good overnight.
  • 02/13/2015 — Edisto Beach Sunrise 06 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    Willpower gets all the press, but Awareness is the key.

    You don’t have to will yourself thin.

    You have to be aware of what you are doing.

    Sit with eating, and see it for what it is.

    Rigidity is the enemy.

    Flexibility is the friend.

    All of our symptoms are rigid systems of living unconsciously.

    Compulsive is rigid, is unconscious.

    Obsessive is rigid, is unconscious.

    Flexibility is fluid and conscious.

    We move from rigid to flexible by way of awareness, not will.

    Once we see how things are, we adjust ourselves appropriately, automatically.

    “Oh, NO we don’t! I KNOW when I am gorging!”

    When is the last time you talked with gorging? Listened? Understood.

    Knowing what you are doing in the sense of “I KNOW when I am gorging!” is knowing THAT you are doing something.

    There is more to be known.

    Gorging the rigid, automatic, unconscious response to what?

    Make what you don’t know known.

    Explore what you think you know in order to discover all you don’t know about it.

    Get to know all you don’t know.

    Be sure you understand what it is trying to do for you—

    How it is attempting to help.

    All of our internal enemies—including rigidity in all forms—are trying to help.

    They are just offering the wrong kind of help in the wrong kind of way.

    Make what is unconscious conscious.

    Transform rigidity into flexibility throughout your life.

    With awareness. Not willpower.
  • 02/13/2015 — Beech Trees HDR — Greensboro, NC, October 2009 

    The best way to be human is in service of the gifts, genius, art, daemon, aptitude, interests, knacks, talents, loves, abilities that came with us into the world.

    What’s your thing? Do it!

    What are you built for? Do it!

    What is your heart’s true love? Do it!

    Where is your life found? Do it!

    If you don’t know the answers to these questions, meditate on them until enlightenment awakens you to YOU.
  • 02/14/2015 — Oregon Inlet Sunset — Herbert C. Bonner Bridge, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Nags Head, NC, October 24, 2010

    Life is motion. When living things are still, it’s because they are waiting for something, watching for something, like dinner.

    A cat, for instance, can be very still with a bird in sight.

    They can be still when they are sleeping.

    A dog, for instance, can be still for hours.

    Otherwise, they are in motion.

    We think the idea is to freeze our life in place—

    To get things just like we like them, and yell, “FREEZE!!!”

    We like things nice and rigid.

    The more inflexible and unbending, the better.

    We want it done the way it has always been done.

    We want it done the way God wants it done.

    We put up the Ten Commandments all around town.

    Get everybody in line and freeze them in place.

    That’s our idea of really living.

    No worries, no pain.

    So what if we are mostly dead?

    Life calls us away from the comfort of safety and security,

    And knowing what you are supposed to do in every single moment of your life.

    “Wing it, Baby!”

    Like a bird in the air.

    All your life long.

    A still bird is dinner for the cat.
  • 02/14/2015 — Edisto Beach Sunrise 10 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto, Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    We are here to offer ourselves to the world—

    To bring ourselves forth and BE who we are, who we are capable of being.

    We do that by following our interests and doing what we love,

    By being alert to what has life for us and what doesn’t—and staying with what does.

    By sitting with things until we see what we are looking at,

    And hearing what is being said to us—

    Looking beyond the apparent to the real—

    So that we know what we know,

    And live in ways that are appropriate to the occasion.

    Why hold anything back?

    Why not live like it is our only shot at life?

    At seeing what we are made of,

    And showing ourselves what we can do?

    Why die not knowing what we could have done?
  • 02/15/2015 — False Hellebore 2009 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Meadows of Dan, VA, April 30, 2009

    We have to hear what we are saying to ourselves, and do what needs to be done about it.

    We ignore, dismiss, discount, deny what we tell ourselves on a regular basis.

    And, it’s killing us.

    We are killing ourselves by living as though we do not exist.

    We make ourselves invisible to us by refusing to see ourselves jumping up and down, waving frantically, placing stop signs and red flags in our path and holding up flashing neon arrows pointing to The Way.

    We think we know what we have to say.

    And we think we can’t do anything about it.

    We don’t want to listen because we are so hellbent on doing it our way,

    Or so helpless to do it any other way.

    It takes courage, imagination and faith in ourselves to listen to ourselves and do what needs to be done about what we have to say.

    Courage comes from living courageously.

    Imagination comes from sitting quietly with The Situation and playing with the possibilities.

    Faith in ourselves comes from believing there is more to us than meets the eye, and trusting ourselves to what we do not know.

    There isn’t a better way to live the life left for living.
  • 02/15/2015 — Price Lake Sunset — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC, June 2008

    We think it’s about being reasonably happy and contented, with plenty of pastimes and entertainments, and enough friends to keep us company.

    Ask anybody what life is about and they will tell you it’s about having enough money to live on and be able to enjoy your life until you die.

    Nowhere in this wildly popular scenario is any mention of responsibility to an Inner Other Whom We Do Not Know.

    There is no idea of having an actual, specific, particular life to live that we have to discover and endeavor to approximate if not actualize in and with the life we are living.

    We think our life is up to us, and we have complete freedom to design and live it with, well, reckless abandon—being “anything we want to be.” Doing “anything we want to do.”

    You think Sisyphus had a tough job. How about mine? Convincing you that you have an Inner Other with a specific life in mind for you, and that it is your task to bring your life into alignment with the life that is yours to live. Sisyphus wouldn’t consider trading.

    He would just laugh and ask me, “How’s it going?” I’d have to admit it’s a hard sell.

    Telling people they have innate qualities, values, character, temperament, perspective, etc., that are theirs to incarnate and bring to life in the way they live.

    That they are here to give shape and form to their particular ratio of human traits and attributes,

    And bring them forth in specific ways in a specific life.

    I’m generally interrupted in mid-sentence with, “Have you seen my skateboard? I keep forgetting where I left it.” Or something equally relevant.
  • 02/16/2015 — Crabtree Falls Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway near Little Switzerland, NC, May 2008

    We have to do the work—live the work—of communing with the Invisible Other Within and consciously incarnating the invisible world, the values, qualities and character exhibiting who we Really Are, in the visible world of normal, apparent, reality.

    We have to bring ourselves forth to meet the world every day—intentionally, with mindful, compassionate attention to both the inner and the outer worlds.

    We have to work it all out. We have to make it work.

    We—our conscious self—are the contact point between worlds, and have to make the connection come alive, with sparks, and fire, and “What was that?” by the way we live with a foot in each world.

    It takes thinking and it takes doing. We have to practice doing what we know needs to be done: Listening to the inner world via dreams and fantasies, slips of the tongue, wrong turns, mistakes, insight, symbols, etc.

    We have to be always looking for ways to make our gifts, genius, daemon, art real in the outer world, bringing ourselves forth into the light of day, and being who we are.

    This is the work that cannot be put off until a more propitious and favorable time.

    At the same time, we have to be aware of “the times,” and that what is called for here isn’t called for there, and living so as to be and do what is appropriate in each situation as it arises—and true to ourselves across all situations.

    Attention, awareness, mindfulness and compassion are always in season, and we have to be attentive, aware, mindful and compassionate through all circumstances, in every situation: What here? What now?

    We can’t just think about doing the work—though we must think about it—we have to do it.

    The work of being who we are, where we are, how we are, when we are—in each here-and-now of our life is not to be neglected or delayed
  • 02/16/2015 — Repair Work — Deer Isle, ME, October 2009

    To see what needs to happen in a situation, we have to see the entire situation.

    And, we have to be committed to serving motion, movement and flow—

    Not rigid, static, unbending, immobile policies, procedures, positions and practices.

    That would be maintaining the status quo at all costs.

    We cannot do that.

    We cannot go into a situation thinking, before we know anything about the situation, that it is our place to keep things in place and to prevent anything from happening.

    To see what needs to happen in a situation, we have to see the entire situation, and be strong in the service of helping happen what needs to happen.

    The attitude of Alabama’s Chief Justice is NOT the kind of attitude that situations need.

    We have to read the times, and know when they are a-changing—

    And, more than that, know when they need to be changed even before anyone else catches on,

    And serve the need for change in ways that help it become apparent to all that the times need a-changing.

    We have to be so sensitive, so alert, to each situation as it arises that we see what is going to be necessary before anyone sees the necessity of what we see.

    This is the place of prophets who are, by definition, ahead of their times.

    Whoever heard of a prophet who was behind the times?

    We are to see what needs to be done, and live in its service, and let the world wake up to the truth that was true long before it became obvious to anyone.

    Seeing what is happening, and what needs to happen, is the kind of vision we work for and serve, taking up the legacy of the prophets of lore, and changing the world.
  • 02/17/2015 — The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 04 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, SC, January 28, 2015 

    Seeing, hearing, understanding and knowing how things are

    Lead to doing what needs to be done about them

    And being who we are.

    Being is realized, exhibited, incarnated and expressed in doing.

    We don’t know who we are until we see ourselves revealed in what we are doing.

    Doing brings us forth—often against our will.

    We think we are what we have done in the past—generally, the far distant past.

    “That isn’t me,” we say, as though we know what all is me and what all is not me, and dare not offend any gods by besmudging ourselves with the Not Me in the least little way.

    No one ever became Me except through experimentation with Not Me. Lots of endless, on-going, experimentation.

    We lead ourselves to Me by trusting ourselves to do what needs to be done even if that entails a brush with Not Me, and risking a rendezvous that transforms the way we think of ourselves.

    The people who are rigidly encased in Me and refuse all escapades with Not Me are dead long before they die—citizens of Zombie Nation, going through the motions of living without being alive.

    Doing expands being, enlarges and deepens being, and wakes us up to who we Also Are.

    None of which we will into place.

    All of which we allow and encourage simply by Seeing, Hearing, Understanding, and Knowing what is happening and what needs to be done about it.

    Awareness is the ground of doing and being.

    Only those who don’t see are safe from the requirements of life.
  • 02/17/2015 — The Grove HDR Panorama 07 — The Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Adams Run, SC, January 29, 2015 — The Big House now serves as the office of the refuge.

    We have a numinous core, but we can be distracted—consumed—by the 10,000 things. This, you might say, is the heart of the problem.

    We have divided allegiances.

    On the one hand, we want to be at peace with ourselves,

    And on the other hand, we want everything else as well.

    What’s it going to be?

    It has all devolved into the current mess of our own making.

    We want spiritual oneness with the heart of the universe,

    And we want all our little heart desires.

    Show of hands here: Anybody ever heard of making a choice?

    We give up this to get that.

    We can be spiritually attuned to the numinous core of life, but.

    That means living aligned with—serving and exhibiting—qualities, character and values at odds with what passes for “the good life.”

    That would be the life hawked by the culture of capitalism, commercialism and consumerism.

    Name me a legitimate prophet, master or guru with a big screen TV.

    Jesus is ROTFL. NO! Throwing up. NO! Crying. All the churches these days have big screen TV’s.

    The life you are living is interfering with the life that is waiting to be lived.

    We can be spiritually aligned with our numinous core and still pay the bills, but.

    They will be different bills.

    When we change our mind about what is important, everything changes.

    What’s it going to be?

    Don’t tell me—let me guess.

    We are going to say this is important and live as though that is.
  • 02/18/2015 — Otter Point Morning — Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME, September 2009 

    My best advice to us at this point in the day:

    Get on top of your game!

    Realize who you are, where you are, when you are, how you are, why you are, what you are and what’s going on around you at all times!

    Know what is happening and what you are doing about it, and what needs to be done about it!

    Don’t miss anything!

    Pay attention!

    Be awake! Aware! Alive!

    To the moment you are living and the time that is at hand!

    What you need to know is plain before you in each situation as it arises! Don’t walk past it unknowing!

    What you do about it is your business.
  • Used in Short Talks On Good And Bad Religion — 02/08/2015 — Alligator Pond B&W — The Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Adams Run, SC, January 29, 2015

    Good hands you spirituality without any theology, dogma and doctrine attached.

    Good religion hands you spirituality straight from the heart—

    From the heart of good religion straight to your heart—

    Without any of the embellishments, improvements, alterations and enhancements

    That bad religion is so proficient in producing and providing.

    I wish we had another word for “spirituality,”

    Because that is so encumbered with theological augmentation

    That you can’t possibly be a spiritual person without “good theology,”

    As though what we think is more important than what we know.

    Spirituality is knowing that can’t be thought, told, defined or explained as in:

    “The Tao that can be said is not the eternal Tao.”

    Spirituality is our connection with the Invisible World—

    With the Unconscious World.

    It is unconscious because we are not conscious of it—

    Because it is more than can be made conscious,

    Except through symbols and metaphors.

    We have to talk about the unconscious world of Spirit,

    Of Spiritual Reality,

    With symbols and metaphors because we cannot say directly

    What we know to be so,

    Because what we know cannot be said.

    So we talk about “the wellspring of living water,”

    But it isn’t an actual well,

    Or actual water,

    And how can water be alive, anyway?

    The entire vocabulary of spiritual discourse is such

    That you have to know what I mean

    Before you can understand what I’m saying,

    And without the experience of the Invisible World,

    There is nothing that can be said

    To enable you to understand

    What I’m talking about.
  • 02/18/2015 — Scott Creek Silhouette Panorama — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, January 28, 2015

    Carl Jung said that we have to feed the Inner Person—

    That, unfed, She, He, begins to rumble and stir around,

    Looking for something to eat,

    And creates all manner of trouble in the outer world of normal, apparent, reality.

    We feed the Inner Person by consciously participating in the Mystery of Symbol and Metaphor.

    Systematic Theology has exorcised Mystery from its rich trove of symbols and metaphors

    By carefully explaining and defining each one.

    The Cross is no Mystery.

    It is where Jesus died to save us from our sins.

    Nothing more to say.

    And so it is with every last symbol in the church’s possession.

    The Bread, the Wine, the Water of Baptism…

    Our place is to recover the symbols and the Mystery at the heart of each one.

    And to participate consciously and wondrously

    In their Resurrection from the Dead.

    They all mean more than they have ever been said to mean—

    But to explore the world of  “more than words can say”

    We have to abandon Good Theology

    And swim in the waters of pre-theology,

    Which, of course, would be Paganism from the theologians point of view.

    True Belief, from mine.
  • 02/18/2015 — Mud Stones 01 — Zabriskie Point, Death Valley National Park, California/Nevada, February 2007

    How many stop signs do you generally run through before the crash?

    How many crashes do you think it will take to get you to start heeding stop signs?

    Our guides are present and reliable, but.

    We. Have. To. Read. The. Signs.
  • 02/19/2015 — The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 16 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, SC, January 28, 2015 

    What is your idea of optimal living? Better have a clear one to guide you to what you are doing here, and to direct your choices about how to live your life.

    Here’s mine. We’ll call her Marion. She lived just off a gravel road in the rural deep south. She was in her late fifties, early sixties. She had been in the Peace Corps, had worked as an activist, had a PhD, had been a therapist, and left it all to come live in a barely standard wooden frame house in the deep south.

    Her life consisted mostly of piddling around, cooking, doing chores, growing vegetables. She made pottery and sold some. Fed the birds. Weeded her garden. She was the local therapist and helped people more as drop-bys than as having a scheduled appointment. She took a fee if it were offered, but it might come in the form of eggs or tomatoes or squash.

    She was completely who she was, centered and grounded upon the foundation of values that had proven themselves to be valuable to her through the course of her life. What she believed to be important and how she lived were one thing.

    She was present and aware without being pushy or willful. She lived her life and let life be lived about her without trying to interfere or insert herself into life in any way. She was quite content to let the world go the way of the world, while she went the way of Marion.

    She enjoyed what was to be enjoyed about every day. Grieved what was to be grieved. Mourned what was to be mourned. Rejoiced in what was to be rejoiced in. Did what was needed to be done. Participated in life to the extent she felt like her participation was called for, and lived as one appropriately engaged with her life and her world, responding to each moment in a way that was proper for the moment.

    She had a life that would bore most people, and would appeal to very few, and it was just right for her. Quiet, compassionate, reflective, present, secluded-but-engaged.

    It’s a life I have been living toward, without consciously intending it, all my life. Now, I am consciously intending it.

    Find the people who are doing it the way you think it ought to be done, and see how much like them you already are.
  • 02/19/2015 — Steele Creek Trestle Panorama 02 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, February 12, 2015

    When I am doing what is legitimately My Thing,

    And you are doing what is legitimately Your Thing,

    We are doing the same thing.

    The sameness of the thing will be the unifying factor uniting all things,

    In one of those miraculous kind of ways.

    The sameness of the thing may well be at first imperceptible.

    It may appear that the two things are poles apart and mutually exclusive.

    They come closer together the closer we look,

    And as we talk about Our Things, we will immediately find ourselves saying, “Me, too!” “That’s right!”

    The same with me!”

    And the fact that you are riding horses and I’m writing these little snippets will recede into the distant background,

    And what will be the same One is the two of us who are doing our thing.

    A note on legitimacy.

    Our thing is legitimately our thing when it is no one else’s idea.

    When we aren’t doing it to be like someone else,

    Or to be liked by someone else,

    Or to make someone else happy,

    Or to get something other than doing it from it.

    It is our thing when it springs from us like a sprout from an acorn.

    It is our thing when it grabs us by the nape of our neck and hurls us into its service, against our will and better judgment.

    It is our thing when it charms us with its spell and steals our heart as true love at first sight.

    It is our thing when we wake up to its claim upon us, and spend our life in liege to its service.

    If you have something like this going for something, it is Your Thing.

    Do it.
  • 02/20/2015 — Edisto Beach Sunrise 12 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, January 29, 2015

    We have to make our peace with our life each day.

    We make our peace with the day each day.

    Each day brings some other inconvenience, some additional wrinkle, something else to adjust to, to work around and fit into our life.

    We don’t get it smoothed out and in place just like we like it.

    We constantly work with “the whole catastrophe,” with the gestalt, the overall “situation” of our life, fitting ourselves into it anew each day.

    That is part of the work of being alive.

    Being alive today is different than being alive yesterday.

    Today asks new things of us.

    Or, old things come back around, to be dealt with again.

    Growing up requires us to take it all in stride,

    To take what the day brings and do what needs to be done about it, as though for the first time.

    We are not to be surprised, shocked, undone, overwhelmed that this is how it is,

    Because this is how it is.

    It’s like breathing.

    We have to breathe all the damn time.

    One breath after another, every day, why doesn’t it leave us alone?

    Breathing, breathing, breathing, always breathing, why don’t we get a break from breathing?

    All the inconveniences and disruptions are part of the framework, like breathing is.

    Accept it, because it isn’t going away, make your peace with it, step into it, and do what you can with it today.

    Tomorrow is coming with it’s own armload of inconveniences and disruptions.

    You have to get over, and deal with, today’s today.
  • 02/20/2015 — Scott Creek Sunset 01 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    The Unconscious is geared to helping us express who we are.

    We realize who we are in the act of expressing who we are—

    Not by thinking about it.

    My fifth grade teacher told my mother in one of those parent-teacher conferences,

    “Jimmy spends a lot of time looking out the window.”

    I still do.

    What we do shows us who we are—

    Not what we say we will do,

    And not who we say we are.

    The Unconscious’ only mission is to bring us forth,

    By having us do the things that bring us forth.

    The Unconscious only wants us to be who we ARE,

    Not who we pretend to be,

    Not who we wish we were,

    Not who we say we are,

    Now who we will ourselves to be,

    But who we ARE.

    The Unconscious is with us to birth us into being.

    We cannot use the so-called “power of the Unconscious”

    For any other purpose.

    We can align ourselves with the Unconscious

    Or oppose it all the way to the grave.

    Carl Jung said, “We count for something only because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted.”

    The Unconscious is with us to see that we do not waste our life

    But we can trump the Unconscious by willfully serving our own ends.

    To live our life or waste our life is our call to make.
  • 02/21/2015  —  Edisto Beach Sunrise 01 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    Our life is wasted if it doesn’t wake us up.

    Our life is wasted if it isn’t waking us up.

    Awake is not a steady, static, state of being.

    Awake is the path of awareness

    That winds through the heart of Gethsemane

    And across the face of Golgotha

    To the empty tomb.

    May all of our tombs be empty!

    The path there is the one that tells that tale!

    How awake were we on the path carrying each of us to the tomb?

    That question is the cross we carry,

    That each must answer for herself, for himself,

    All along the way.

    If you think you are awake, take up Sudoku.

    That will wake you up to how much you are missing

    That is right before your eyes.

    There is nothing to Sudoku if you see what’s there.

    Same with being alive, with being awake.

    The two are one.

    We are alive to the extent that we are awake,

    And awake to the extent that we are alive.

    A lot of people wake up just enough to be hopeless and despondent.

    How awake is that?

    But you can’t wake them up any more than you can wake up those who are sound asleep.

    “We SEE!” they say, “And it is SOOOO HOPELESS!”

    Everything is a doorway, a threshold, to seeing something else, something more.

    Hopelessness is just another doorway, just another threshold.

    Keep looking. Keep listening.

    There is always more than meets the eye.

    Any eye.
  • 02/21/2015  — Two Rocks B&W — Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine, September 2004

    Art and literature, music and nature

    Are how we experience and express numinous reality.

    If you are empty, burned-out, dejected and depressed,

    And can’t remember the last time you were alive,

    You have to reconnect with the numinous

    Through art, literature, music and nature.

    It will help if you are quiet, mindful and reflective

    Throughout, and following, the experience.

    It is also essential that you return regularly

    To participate in the wonder and beauty of the experience

    In what remains of the time left for living.

    Throw in good food and good conversation

    And you’ll be rolling in life abundant in no time.
  • 02/21/2015  — Cypress Fire — Down East North Carolina, November 2004

    Here is an example of how I work with my dreams. This is from last night:

    A group of us are concerned about launching an undersea rescue operation to release an undetermined number of people encased in a large bubble somewhere under water.

    There is a plan to send a navy submarine to penetrate the bubble and save the people, but we don’t know how many people there are, or what impact on the bubble the submarine’s penetration would have—and the whole affair seems absurd to me.

    We don’t know if the people want to be saved, or how they got there, or if they prefer life in the bubble to life on the surface. I’m for leaving them to their fate, no matter what that might be.

    Upon Reflection (after awakening):  The sea is the unconscious and the bubble is consciousness doing its part to make the unconscious conscious.

    I can imagine the people in the bubble with their faces pressed into the surface of the separating membrane, straining to see what they can of the contents of the unconscious as they swim in and out of view.

    They enlarge the bubble by the work they are doing to be attentive to, aware of, and engaged with the unconscious contents—to the extent that they are able to do that.

    We, on the surface, are surface consciousness with our theories and intellectual understanding being limited to perceived threats and dangers, talking about sending a military vehicle on a rescue mission—an arc of salvation to save those who don’t need saving.

    What would happen, I wonder, if we, individually, began to swim out to see, diving underwater in search of the bubble?

    Would we find that we have our own individual, personal, bubble that would keep us breathing while we made our way to the larger, corporate bubble of consciousness?

    We won’t know by thinking about it. We have to take the plunge to find out.

    I do this king of thing each morning with the dreams of the previous night, some times pondering the dream throughout the day to see what occurs to me. Writing it down soon after awakening makes it possible to remember it and return to it during the day.
  • 02/22/2015  —  Sunrise at Schwabacher Landing — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming, September 2004

    We commune with our life and live it.

    Our life is not something we think up.

    Our life is like an idea.

    We do not think up our ideas.

    An idea is not the result of a rational, logical process.

    We don’t list all the possibilities of ideas,

    And then make a list of all the pros and cons of each one,

    And decide by a process of elimination

    Which idea is the best idea to have.

    An idea comes to us from beyond us.

    We are had by our ideas.

    An idea possesses us, blessing us, graces us, transforms us.

    That’s the way it is with our life.

    Our life is an idea with our name on it—

    That claims us for its own,

    And enlists us in its service for our lifetime.

    We make ourselves available to our life

    By realizing it isn’t what the culture tells us it is,

    And looking at possibilities we have rejected, dismissed, discarded

    Because they weren’t going to provide us with wealth and security

    And the admiration of our friends.

    What are we fighting to keep from doing?

    What do we know that it is and hope that it isn’t because someone wouldn’t like it if it is?

    We have to commune with our life and live it.

    Pay the fare, and ride the ride.
  • 02/22/2015  —  The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 13 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, SC, January 28, 2015 

    I’m developing a routine that is conducive to my life. To the life that is my life to live.

    You’ll probably have to wait until the kids are out on their own and you’re retired from the world of necessity, obligation and duty before you will be able to do something similar.

    And, if the world of necessity, obligation and duty follows you into retirement, it’s your own fault, and  your place to do something about it.

    Not that necessity, obligation and duty don’t encroach, but they sure don’t run, and ruin, every day.

    The Japanese of lore held that spiritual development was the task of old age, with youth and middle age reserved for family and career.

    It remains a good model to follow—giving old age a purpose beyond golf and bingo, drinking heavily and sleeping late.

    Old age has its own business to tend, its own work to do: Living here and now in ways that enable us to enjoy the moment,

    And bringing ourselves forth to meet the challenges, trials and ordeals of the last part of our life,

    No longer are we consumed by the responsibilities of life in the working world—now our LIFE is our responsibility, and we have to live it in the way it needs to be lived so as to express who we are, and to do what is ours yet to do.

    How shall we live to serve our LIFE in the second half of life? That’s our problem to work out for ourselves, and we have to be about it with intensity and intention, because we are running out of time.

    We have to develop a routine that takes our life into account, and is more than just filling up empty hours.

    I recommend working into each day time for meditation, silence, recollection and reflection—in order to foster new realizations that transform our perspective and provide shape, substance and form to the life that we have yet to live.

    And, while you cannot devote yourself full time to this kind of work until you retire, you can honor it with gestures in its direction—small segments of time devoted to focusing yourself on the life that upholds, sustains and waits beyond this life, as true love might keep you going to the happy reunion at last.
  • 02/23/2015  —  Scott Creek Sunset 02 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    In developing a routine conducive to your life—to the life that is your life to live, and not the one you just fell into—

    You have to develop your sensitivity to what is your life and what is not.

    It’s the Hot/Cold game of childhood:

    Now you’re getting warmer, oops, now you are getting colder, oh, you are freezing to death now, now you are on fire…

    You feel it. You know it. Nobody can talk you out of it.

    “I’m freezing to death here on the beach in 90 degree weather.”

    “I’m blazing away here on the ski slopes in 28 degree weather.”

    Or something like that, in times and places appropriate to you.

    You know where you are fully alive and where you are quite dead.

    Tune into that,

    And know when you are on the beam, and when you are off of it.

    And, develop a routine for living that is conducive to life on the beam.

    You won’t get much cooperation.

    You will get a lot of opposition and resistance.

    From within and from without.

    Jesus said it: “Straight is the way and narrow is the gate that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Broad is the way and wide is the gate that leads to destruction, and those who find it are many.”

    It is easy to be dead. It is difficult to be alive.

    You are your own salvation and your own damnation.

    You are the key to life or death—to living in ways that bring you to life or to living in ways that are death all dressed up like the Life of the Party.

    You develop and serve the routine that leads to being alive or that leads to being mostly dead.

    What you say goes.
  • 02/24/2015  —  Black Birch B&W— Rocky Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway, Vernon, VA, March 2005 

    Our life is the most direct route to God.

    Our life is the ONLY route to God.

    Our life is the ONLY way to LIFE.

    God and LIFE are one entity.

    You can’t get to God except by way of your LIFE,

    And you can’t get to your LIFE except by way of God.

    You can’t get to God, or think of God, using the terms and concepts of Orthodox Christian Doctrine.

    Or any doctrine,

    Of any religion.

    Here’s what Carl Jung has to say about God:

    “The Absolute, the Eternal, is transcendental. It is something we cannot grasp at all, for we are not yet eternal, and, consequently, can say nothing about eternity, our consciousness being what it is.”

    “We can only form an opinion about it (the eternal), with the help of the unconscious.”

    Our idea of God is an opinion based on our experience with unconscious (because it is beyond consciousness), numinous (because we sense it to be holy/divine and beyond words) reality.

    And, we live our way there IF we live with our eyes open.

    “Asking, seeking, knocking,” to use Jesus’ expression.

    Those who don’t ask, seek or knock—who don’t have eyes to see, ears to hear, or hearts that are capable of understanding, and minds that are capable of knowing more than they have been told—are simply sitting around, waiting for a miracle.

    They are “Waiting for Godot.”

    Our life—our LIFE—is where we experience as much of God as can be experienced on this side of eternity.

    If we are going to know God, here and now, we are going to have to be alive to our life—the life that is LIFE for us—and live it to the fullest, doing our best by it—and not kidding ourselves about what our best is—every day throughout the time left for living.
  • 02/24/2015  —  The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 09 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, SC, January 28, 2015

    I think Mindfulness Meditation (Check out Jon-Kabat Zinn’s books on Mindfulness Meditation and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) offers the best process for finding your life and living it.

    Mindfulness is a way of being aware of what is happening and what needs to be done about it—and what your part is, or could be, in doing what the situation calls for.

    “The Situation” could be anything from a leaking roof, to how you pay the bills, to whom you marry and whether you have children. It covers everything.

    You cannot think your way through these things. You have to live your way through them, trusting yourself to know what to do after you have thought yourself into a cul-de-sac and can find no exit—in a “I’ll know what to do when I find myself doing it” kind of way.

    Thinking has its place. Reason, logic and intellectual consideration play an important part in the process of finding and living our life. Good judgment, like mindfulness, takes everything into account. Every. Thing.

    And allows what needs to happen to percolate up from the depths of unconscious knowledge as the right fit for this here and this now.

    We cannot wait for a problem to begin meditating. We prepare the way for the life that needs us to live it by doing the things that nurture it into being: Meditation, working with dreams and symbols, and practicing mindfulness.
  • 02/25/2015  —  Zabriske Point Panorama 01 — Death Valley National Park, California, April 2006

    There is no protection, immunity or indemnity.

    We are on our own, alone, and up against the Powers and Principalities at work in the world,

    Represented by members of our own family (The Aunt, The Brother, and The Sister-In-Law, etc. — You know the ones I mean, unless they are you, and then you have no idea what I’m talking about, which is an indication that you need to re-examine your interaction with family members and all other people).

    Simply put, we are all victims, or potential victims, of all that is mean, heartless, ruthless, cruel and evil at work in our world.

    We need help. And, wouldn’t you know it, like that, help is at hand. But. It asks hard things of you.

    God is a very present help in time of trouble.

    Now, you need to read back over a few of these recent posts to find the one where I talk about God, so that we are clear about what I mean when I use the word. It isn’t what they told you in Sunday school. But.

    “Invoked or not invoked, the God is always present.”

    In order to enjoy the full protection, for what that is worth, of the God who is always present, we have answer the question:

    How do we live so that our relationship with the God, and with ourselves, is exhibited and expressed—made plain—by the quality of our relationship with all other sentient beings?

    We answer the question by the degree of good faith and integrity of being that we exhibit and express in our relationship with all sentient beings.

    We have to live in good faith with ourselves and all sentient beings,

    And we have to live with integrity of being—transparent to ourselves and to all sentient beings.

    As we do that, the God is with us for good in all things—

    And our best line of defense is sensing early on and staying far away from the people and places that lack good faith and integrity of being.

    If we hang out with the wrong people and/or in the wrong places, not even the full presence and protection of the God is going to keep bad things from happening to us.

    We will, as they say in the deep south, “have done it to our own selves” by running the stop signs, and red lights, and through the road closed barriers to our own sorrow and remorse.

    The National Park Service motto is fitting for every life situation:

    Your Safety Is Your Responsibility.

    The more we live with good faith and integrity of being, the better able we are to sense that in other people—and to sense the absence of it in other people.

    We are to hang with those who have it and avoid those who don’t.

    And, if you choose to ignore the truth of what I’m saying here, and live like you want to, it is only a matter of time until “you will have done it to your own self.” Again.
  • 02/05/2015  —  Mesquite Dunes and Grapevine Mountains 11 — Death Valley National Park, California, April, 2006 Sit down. I’m sure you are not ready for this.

    We sometimes wonder what God would have us do in a particular situation, what God has in mind for our life, what it would take to make God happy.

    Here it comes. Straight from God to me to you.

    When you are living transparent to yourself, at one with who you are, exhibiting on the outside who you are on the inside, with full integrity of being and in good faith with yourself and all living things, you are, ahem, God.

    You are doing you better than God could do you.

    In Jesus’ terminology, the Father and you are one.

    Then your life is coming right out of you in response to the time and place of your living.

    You are spontaneously being you doing what you need to do in the dance with what is happening now.

    You don’t have to get it from God.

    It would disrupt your flow if you called time out and had a prayerful chat with God.

    God doesn’t want to talk to you.

    That would be like some ice skater in the Olympics stopping her routine to go talk with her coach about the next jump. What???

    It’s YOUR life! YOU do it just exactly the way YOU would do it if it were you doing it.

    It IS YOU doing it!

    Don’t worry about what God would like or not like.

    You focus exclusively on getting you into your life, being fully who you are, so that body, mind, heart and soul are one and you are all synched up and aligned inner with outer, and you are doing what is truly you without a hitch in your stride.

    You get you down and do it the way you would do it, and God is going to be just fine.

    That’s the way Jesus did it.

    And the way Jesus did it is the way to do it.

    Get in there and be YOU.

    Ride the bull the way YOU would ride it, ‘til the bell rings.
  • 02/26/2015  —  Edisto Beach Sunrise 11 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    We are always waking up.

    Our life is always circling back around,

    Looking to see what we are ready for now.Looking to see how much we can take,

    What we can see,

    Now.

    We live our life—the one that is ours to live—in stages,

    A little at a time.

    We never are fully-blown-at-our-prime-who-we-are.

    We are always more-or-less-who-we-are-in-the-process-of-becoming.

    Yet, we are always hiding in there—in the life we are living—somewhere,

    And, if you know what to look for,

    You can see us through all that is Not Us

    In an “Oh, THERE you are, Peter!” kind of way.

    But we would never win an Oscar

    For the closeness of our approximation

    Of the me we are striving to be.
  • 02/26/2015  —  Cathedral Rock Panorama — Yosemite National Park, California, April 2006

    Check me out on this.

    Run your own experiment.

    Here’s the theory that has been so far borne out in my life,

    But that’s a small population sample,

    And I have no idea if what I’m saying applies to anyone but me:

    Knowing how things are and what is happening—

    Insofar as that can be known—Both internally and externally,

    Leads automatically, spontaneously,

    To doing what needs to be done in response.

    All we have to do is get out of the way,

    And allow the right response to flow from us to the situation as a hole.

    The less we think about what to do, the better.

    Thinking about what we ought to do to achieve some correct outcome

    Interferes with our ability to simply see what is going on

    On all levels.

    It’s the right seeing that leads to right action.

    Knowing is doing—

    If we don’t get in the way with our idea of how things ought to be done,

    Or what outcome needs to be THE outcome.

    Be aware of everything you can be aware of—

    Internally and externally—

    And get out of the way in terms of imposing your preferences on the situation.

    Be aware of your preferences along with everything else,

    And see what you do,

    And how things turn out.

    It’s an experiment with life,

    And a way of connecting with—

    And trusting yourself to—

    The Other World of invisible, intangible, unconscious

    (Because we are not conscious of it)

    Reality
  • 02/27/2015  —  Once a Pier — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, SC, January 28, 2015

    Carl Jung said, “Only the symbolic life can express the need of the soul … And because people have no such thing, they can never step out of the mill.”

    We have to understand that “the mill” supports us in living “the symbolic life.”

    We settle for too little

    We work at “the mill” to make money to pay for food, clothing and shelter—and our entertainments and pastimes—

    And think about retirement, which consists of nothing but entertainments and pastimes—

    Ignoring “the symbolic life” altogether.

    We put aside the essential,

    And live in the service of the non-essential,

    And our life becomes a mechanism for denying the emptiness of our living.

    We have to recover our original purpose,

    Find and live “the symbolic life”

    With all our heart, soul, mind and strength—

    With all our heart and soul, body and mind—

    As though everything depends upon our living symbolically,

    Alive to the symbols that uphold, sustain, direct and guide us,

    Because it does.
  • Used in Short Talks On Contradictions, etc., 02/28/2015  —  Cypress Morning — Down East North Carolina, November 2004

    We live between doing what is “right,” that is, what is expected of us,

    And doing what is Right for us—what is instrumental to us and “food for our soul.”

    We have responsibilities to the external world and to the internal world,

    And it is our place as conscious human beings to make it right with both worlds—

    To live in the space between worlds

    And bear consciously the pain of the tension of the contradictions, contraries, discordances and dichotomies between the worlds,

    And make peace—

    Working things out, reconciling, integrating, aligning, synchronizing, creating harmony and good will—

    Between incompatible aims, interests and desires.

    That’s a task worthy of the title Mission Impossible.

    And, it’s great!

    It is who we are, what we do, making peace between the worlds,

    And bearing in our bodies the pain of the cross of contradictions.

    We all have a life that cannot be lived,

    And, yet, we have to live it—a life that is at odds with itself.

    And we need help doing that—being conscious, aware, mindful of that—

    We need help remembering “This can’t be done!”

    And we need help doing it.

    The kind of help that helps is to acknowledge the absurdity,

    and to know that we belong to the world of our soul,

    and are only living in the world of normal, apparent reality, with its rules and structures.

    We live out of one world, with our heart in that world, belonging to that world,

    And we live in the other world—

    and we have to know where we belong.

    We have to be grounded in the invisible world

    as we do what is necessary to pay the bills in the visible world.

    But the visible world does not own our soul—

    it does not own us.

    We are of the other world, in this world.

    And have to remember that, and work it out.
  • 02/28/2015  —  Dorys — Rockport Harbor, Maine, September, 2004

    Do not force your way upon the world,

    Or willfully pursue your good at the expense of the true good of others,

    But live in the service of that which is trying to come forth

    In the times and places of our living

    As blessing and grace upon all who live there with us.
  • 02/28/2015  —  Edisto Beach Sunrise 05 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    You can’t coach heart.

    You can’t give heart to someone who doesn’t have it.

    But, you can lose heart just like that.

    Heart is the easiest thing to lose,

    And the hardest thing to find.

    Heart and soul are inseparable,

    And loss of soul is right up there with death itself

    For being the end of life on every level except the 98.6 and breathing one.

    Without heart and soul we are as good as dead.

    You would think there would be more in the way of instruction

    Regarding the care and feeding of heart and soul.

    What nourishes heart?

    What nurtures soul?

    That should be the stuff of graduate degrees,

    At the very least, a class required of all entering freshmen.

    Instead, there is nothing.

    We are all left to our own devices,

    With a heart and soul already thinking about wandering off

    In search of a more considerate host

    Dedicated to their well-being.
  • 03/01/2015 —Pamlico Sky — Pamlico Sound, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, NC, October 2006

    We have this idea that if everything would just go our way, we would be fine.

    Our way never includes anything that would require us to grow up.

    Or change our mind.

    Or see things differently.

    We can be wrong about every single thing and still be “fine” with everything going our way.

    And everybody thinks that way.

    Which means we are always running into people who have a different idea about the way things should go.

    It’s a hot item these days just to kill those people.

    It isn’t as though you are actually killing someone.

    They are all Nobodies with ways like theirs!

    It doesn’t hurt to kill people like that.

    The world would be better off without them in it.

    OUR world would be.

    So we X them out.

    That’s the CIA Solution.

    Except that in the Kremlin it has a different name.

    And it’s called the ISIS Solution in the Middle East.

    It’s been around for a long time,

    And it doesn’t work, but everyone believes in it.

    Just kill the people who aren’t doing it your way,

    And soon, only your way will remain.

    I’m here to talk you into stepping back from your way.

    I’m here to talk you into seeing how Not Your Way

    Is trying to get you to see, hear, think, BE different.

    It isn’t like you have always thought it is.

    Wake up.

    Change your ways.

    Accommodate yourself to your life.

    Waking up means growing up.

    It means being friends with the opposition.

    So that no one is X-ed out,

    And everyone enjoys the company of everyone.

    And everyone is waking up,

    And growing up.

    And loving being alive.

03/01/2015  —  Eclipse Sequence — Greensboro, NC, 2008 

An idea has to hit us between the eyes for it to be worth anything.

We have to feel it.

We have to be moved by it.

If we have to be talked into it, it is no good.

Every doctrine formulated by every religion in the world falls into the category of an idea we have to be talked into.

Revivals are where you go to be talked into ideas that miss everyone   by a wide margin and would not move us at all if it weren’t for the people yelling at us.

Give me an idea that has merits of its own, which are immediately obvious, strike a cord and inspire us to action.

“Anybody feel like pie and ice cream?”

There’s an idea whose time has come!

  • 03/02/2015  —  The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 10 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, SC, January 28, 2015

    Immortality has been an intriguing concept from the start.

    A lot of people have put a lot of stock in living forever.

    And have tried to find the secret of the Fountain of Youth through the ages.

    But.

    All of the people who have wanted to live forever have wanted to live on their terms.

    Forever on some terms would be unbearable.

    Hell, for example, is not what the seekers of life unending have in mind.

    Life is no good without the accompanying stipulations.

    Adam and Eve thought the Forbidden Fruit would be a good thing to add to the list.

    Everybody has their own ideas.

    Some people think in terms of sex forever.

    “What would life be without that?”

    Whatever constitutes “that” for us is the heart of the matter.

    It isn’t so much life forever as it is “that” forever.

    What is your “that”?

    What is it that life without would be hell, or just not worth the trouble?

    There is your meditative focal point for the day, or several.

    Ponder “that” if you will.

    See what is at the heart of the matter for you,

    And what you think of “that” as your core.
  • 03/02/2015  —  Zen Sun — Wayna Bald, Nantahala National Forest, near Franklin, NC, October 2004

    I can’t find anything in my experience more sacred than conversation.

    But, don’t think that is commonplace.

    We spend a lot of time talking.

    Very little conversing.

    Conversation is where I listen as you talk about you,

    And you listen as I talk about me—

    And neither of us butts in to change the flow of the conversation,

    Or to co-opt it entirely in an “I know just what you mean, let me tell you about MY mother-in-law (foot surgery, root canal, etc.) kind of way.

    Conversation is listening as much as talking.

    Where do you go to be heard, these days?

    If we were talking, I would like to know what is working in your life right now,

    And what is not working.

    Where your deepest joy is found

    And your greatest fear/dread/anxiety.

    What do you know to be true that no one has told you?

    In what ways have things turned out to be different than what you expected them to be?

    Than what you have been told they would be?

    What would have helped to know early-on about how things are?

    What are the conflicts that you are working to reconcile, integrate, accept?

    What are your gifts that you are living to bring forth in your life?

    And all the other questions, and all the questions that come as follow-ups to all the questions.

    We could talk a long time.

    Every time.

    Without ever once mentioning the weather,

    Or Those People over there. And there.

  • 03/03/2015  —  Medicine Lake Bed — Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada, September 2007

    You know how John Wayne was always John Wayne, no matter the movie?

    And Cary Grant? And Jimmy Stewart? And Audrey Hepburn? And Bette Davis? And Katharine Hepburn?

    That’s the idea.

    You have to be YOU, no matter the movie!

    You have to get so into YOU, into YOUR character and qualities—

    Into your ESSENCE—

    Into the Essential You,

    That you are YOU no matter what.

    Win the lottery as YOU.

    Lose your job as YOU.

    No matter what happens, or fails to happen,

    There YOU are!

    Play your part, your role, the way only YOU can do it

    In every scene that comes your way in a day.

    Be the YOU at work that you are on the beach.

    Be YOU everywhere you go.

    Sink into, and live out of, the solid core of YOU

    Through all of the times and occasions of your life.

    Get YOU down.

    Do YOU all over town.

    There is nothing more to it than that.

  • 03/04/2015  —  Moraine Lake Panorama — Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada, September 2009

    You are the focal point of your life.

    Your life revolves around you.

    You—your tastes and interests,

    Your aptitudes and abilities,

    Your gifts and genius,

    Your knacks and proclivities,

    Your enthusiasm, heart and soul—

    Are the organizing principle of your life.

    Your life takes shape around you—

    Assumes the form that is YOU.

    Your life does that with your conscious participation and will

    Or with your unconscious absence of willing collaboration on your part in its production.

    Your place is to willingly align yourself, inner with outer, with the life you are living,

    So that the YOU visible and apparent in your life

    Is the same YOU invisible and seeking expression within your heart and soul.

    YOU are comprised of the Who, the What, the How, the Where and the When.

    It is your place in your role as your conscious, willing, self,

    To coordinate, choreograph and orchestrate

    The production of YOU in your life.

    You integrate the Who, the What, the How, the Where and the When.

    And bring YOU forth in your life every day.

    And, if you are not doing that, it’s time you started.
  • 03/04/2015  — Hatteras Sunset — Along the Outer Banks, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, NC, October 2004

    You are going to live on separate tracks—

    What you do to pay the bills is not likely going to be what you pay the bills to do.

    This is called walking two paths at the same time.

    The key is to do that consciously, willingly, deliberately and intentionally.

    Changing diapers is not likely to be the way you would prefer to come forth in your life, but.

    When the baby needs to be changed, change the baby.

    This is also called walking two paths at the same time.

    And you do come forth in your life by the way you do what you do to pay the bills,

    And the way you change diapers.

    There is You and there is Not-You,

    And you, your life, is a swirling blend of both worlds.

    Swirl consciously, willingly, deliberately and intentionally.

    “Now I am being ME!”

    “Now I am being NOT-ME!”

    Know who you are—and who you are not—at all times, in all places.

    Willingly, willfully, even joyfully, participate in your life in all of its shades and variations of You and Not-You.

    This is called being you even when you are not being you.
  • 03/01/2015  — 03/01/2015  —  Yellowstone Canyon — Canyon Village, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, September 2005

    When the dichotomy is too great among the Who, the What and the How in the When and the Where of your existence, you have a problem.

    Your primary role in your life is to oversee, integrate and align

    The Who, the What, and the How within the When and the Where of your living.

    You coordinate who you are with what you are doing and how you are doing it within the time and place of your living.

    You do that consciously, mindfully, compassionately, deliberately and intentionally.

    When you accept your role and play it well, things go well.

    When you do not accept your role and refuse to play it,

    Or when you do not play it well,

    Things go less well.

    So …

    How are things going?
  • 03/04/2015  —  Edisto Beach Sunrise 14 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    Our life is not ours to do with as we will.

    It is not as though the whole world is filled with possibilities at our disposal.

    Our life exists as a potential independent of us—

    As a potential expression of who we are at the core of our being—

    At the foundation—

    Of who we are essentially,

    In our essence,

    The essence of who we are.

    Our life exists as a potential expression of who we are capable of becoming,

    Of what we are capable of doing.

    But the master mechanic says, “I think I’ll be a surgeon,”

    And the landscape artist says, “I think I will paint houses,”

    And the ballet dancer says, “I’m going to be a bull fighter.”

    All close, but no cigar.

    And most are not even close.

    Yet, WE are the one who has to get who our life needs us to be

    Together with our life.
  • 03/05/2015  — Trains 07 — Morant’s Curve, Banff National Park, Canadian Rockies, Alberta, Canada, September 2009

    Once a mother (father) always a mother (father), but.

    You have to ease up on the mothering (fathering) over time.

    You have to push the babies out of the nest and tell them to go find their life.

    You have to model what you mean by finding and living YOUR life.

    Your children are not your life.

    You are not their keeper.

    Like every other role we play,

    Mothering (fathering) is a dance with pace and timing.

    It is not fixed, static, rigid and unbending.

    You have to grow up if you expect your children to grow up.

    If you don’t expect anyone to grow up,

    You’re interfering with the natural process,

    Damming the river,

    Stopping the flow of life,

    Creating lasting problems for a lot of people.

    And there is nothing that can be done for you,

    So, you can quit reading this now,

    And I will talk to the people who know what I’m saying.

    You have to grow up if you expect your children to grow up.

    You have to find and live your life,

    And refuse to let them get in your way.

    They have had their time with you,

    And now it is your time with you.

    Tell them good-bye and become a different kind of mother (father),

    Mothering (fathering) yourself in the right kind of way,

    Growing up and living your life over what remains of your life.
  • 03/01/2015  —  The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 15 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, SC, January 28, 2015

    I am in your life to help you live your life.

    You are in my life to help me live my life.

    That is the limit of our responsibility to the other,

    And the only reason we have for being with the other.

    If we are not helping each other live our respective life.

    We are helping each other escape our life.

    We are kidding ourselves and each other,

    And wasting our time,

    Which is all that is left for us to do

    If we are not living our life and have no intention of ever living our life.

    Intending to NOT live our life ever

    Is a complete waste of life, yours, mine and everyone’s.

    Our first obligation to ourselves and each other

    Is a good-faith assessment of our intentions,

    And a frank declaration of them to the other.

    Are you here to grow up, find and live your life no matter what?

    Not to talk endlessly about it,

    But to do it, by doing what it takes to do it, beginning now?

    If yes, then what needs to change about your life?

    What can you do beginning now to live in the service of that change?

    Knowing that change means change?
  • 03/05/2015  — Beaver Pond — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, NC, May 2009

    If we are depressed, we are trapped.

    We are stuck with mutually exclusive options.

    Awash in conflict and contradiction.

    Unable to do anything because everything depends on that not being done.

    And nothing can happen until something else happens first.

    Damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

    No exit.

    Our depression is something trying to happen.

    It’s the only acceptable response available to us in our situation.

    We cannot allow ourselves to be down on being down.

    Anyone would be down dealing with what we are dealing with.

    Fear on every side.

    No place to turn.

    Nowhere to go.

    We have to admit, that’s depressing.

    The way is the way of being depressed.

    Consciously, deliberately, courageously bearing the pain of our place in life—

    And NOT taking our own life!

    Our place, sorry to say, is not to escape the agony,

    But to embrace it and bear it consciously, mindfully, intentionally.

    ANYONE would be depressed being where we are,

    And we can’t be anywhere else because of the 10,000 things keeping us where we are.

    So, we square up to them.

    Each one.

    Every one.

    Of the things preventing anything from happening to shift our circumstances and lighten our load.

    We can’t do anything because of what?

    List all of the things standing in the way.

    Spend time with each one of them.

    Getting to know our jailers.

    And all—ALL—of the things keeping the things in place that are keeping things in place.

    We can’t just FEEL it. We have to KNOW it. ALL of it.

    Quick—and this is the most important part—what is your reaction to this idea?

    What is the source of your resistance to doing this one thing that can be done,

    because you aren’t doing anything but getting to know things fully, as they are?

    Why not do that?

    Because it won’t do any good?

    So?

    Not going it won’t do any good either.

    So do it.

    The one thing you can do.

    Do it.

    Get to know all of the reasons you can’t do anything.

    Not just list them. KNOW them. All about them. Understand them. Have compassion for them.

    Have compassion for all of the things keeping things in place.

    That’s doing something without doing anything.

    We can’t possibly be threatening to the stability of the situation

    that is keeping us from doing anything by regarding it with compassion.

    Now, you think I’m crazy don’t you?

    Anything to keep things as they are.
  • 03/05/2015  — Alligator Pond — The Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Adams Run, SC, January 29, 2015

    Let’s say you are on a basketball team with a losing record toward the end of the season, and the team has completely lost heart.

    There is no chance of post season play.

    No chance of a winning record.

    Who are we kidding?

    Why try?

    Why play with heart?

    What good would it do?

    Just play it out and get it over with.

    How do you restore heart when heart is lost?

    How do you get a basketball team back on the beam?

    Back playing its best basketball?

    When the importance, or even the likelihood, of winning isn’t there?

    We have to play it out the way it needs to be played out—

    The way it needs us to play it out—

    No matter what.

    We are back to my foundational hypothesis:

    It is all useless, hopeless, pointless, futile and absurd—

    And coming to a very bad end.

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

    Why wouldn’t you believe that how you live makes all the difference—and live as though it does?

    Why would you prefer to believe that how you live makes no difference at all—and live as though it doesn’t?

    Back to the basketball team.

    Forget restoring the team’s heart.

    Forget getting the team back to life.

    Get your own heart in your game, in your part of the game, in playing your part well.

    Dribble, pass, guard, shoot and rebound to the absolute best of your ability—

    And don’t kid yourself about it being the best you can do.

    That’s your work.

    Your work is to do your job the way it needs to be done no matter what.

    “Get in there and do your thing, and don’t worry about the outcome” (Joseph Campbell).
  • Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 03/06/2015  — Athabaska Valley — Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada, September 2009

    The trick is to be conscious of all that is unconscious.

    That’s the best trick in the entire book of tricks.

    And, since all that is unconscious is beyond knowing,

    We will never pull it off, but.

    That’s what we are about: Becoming conscious of all that is unconscious.

    I suggest we start with dichotomies, anomalies, contradictions—

    The things that don’t add up,

    That don’t square up,

    That don’t feel right.

    Children and dogs (and cats) are good about sensing these things.

    Adults say one thing, and children (the dog, the cat) sense something is wrong with this picture.

    Adults say, “I love you,” when they are physically abusing the child (the dog, the cat).

    Adults see no disconnect.

    Children (the dog, the cat) are bludgeoned by the contradiction.

    Adults get by through ignoring all that is unconscious,

    Pretending theirs is the only world,

    Even as they move between worlds.

    One world has nothing to do with the other worlds.

    But they come down hard on children for having invisible friends.

    Invisible friends are more trustworthy than the kind who live in the adult world.

    But, adults are so out of it, they can’t begin to understand the place of invisible friends.

    If we are going to become aware of all that is unconscious,

    We are going to have to “turn and become like children.”

    And open ourselves to all we don’t know

    Because we wouldn’t know what to do with it if we did.
  • 03/06/2015  — Charlotte Panorama 02 — View from Marshall Park, Charlotte, NC, January 25, 2015

    My hypothesis (or one of the many)

    is that our life needs to be a collaboration among all the sides of us

    we think of as being who we are,

    and all the sides of us we also are.

    We are influenced by an unknowable number of Also I’s.

    We need (according to the hypothesis)

    to know as many as possible over the course of our life,

    and invite them to the table (The Round Table, of course)

    to discuss, contemplate, decide how we are going to live our life.

    This means we have to live a well-considered life,

    And not just whiz around the room like nuclear powered ping-pong balls.

    It means we have to slow down and pay attention—

    Looking, listening, seeing, hearing, knowing, understanding on all levels, visible and invisible.

    We have to live (according to the hypothesis)

    conscious of what is normally unconscious,

    making the unconscious conscious,

    Taking the unconscious (what we are not conscious of) into account,

    And being aware of not being aware,

    and becoming aware of more than we are generally aware of.

    Reconciling contradictions, integrating opposites, honoring polarities,

    And living in ways that take all of it into account.

    That would change things, for sure.

    Maybe for the better.
  • 03/07/2015  — Jasper Wetlands Panorama — Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada, October 2009

    The more people you have in your life,

    The more you have to fight for your life.

    The more people you have in your life,

    The more difficult it is to live your life.

    “Oh, But! People ARE my life!”

    People are NOT your life!

    People are escapes from your life!

    Distractions from your life!

    Substitutes for a life of your own!

    People can be YOUR life only to the extent

    That it is a deliberately reciprocal arrangement

    And YOU are THEIR life,

    And you all are intent on living your own, personal, life.

    You and your life partner have to be living

    So as to say the other one is getting the best deal—

    And you both have to be right about it.

    Children are a different matter.

    With children, someone is going to be squeezed.

    There are too many people, too close together,

    With too many competing needs, interests and desires.

    With children, you have to make sure that you are the one

    Who is squeezed.

    But not squeezed out.

    Even with children, you have to work out how much of you for them,

    And how much of you for you.

    And you have to be squeezed consciously, deliberately, voluntarily.

    It has to be a realized sacrifice that you are making,

    Setting yourself aside for their sake

    FOR THE TIME BEING!

    After high school, you begin to get yourself back.

    You may have to take yourself back.

    After college, you are yours and they are their own responsibility.

    Make sure they know that early on,

    And remind them of it often.
  • 03/07/2015  — Castle Mountain 01 — Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada, September 2009

    Here’s the thing about self-sacrifice—

    It has to be conscious, deliberate, intentional, willing, willful, and voluntary.

    You lay your life down, AND

    (And this is the part that is never discussed, recognized, realized)

    You take your life up.

    It is self-sacrifice on both ends.

    It applies to your marriage, to parenthood, to your job, and to all that your life impels you to do.

    Let’s take your children as an example of what is required of you.

    When you have children, you hand yourself over to your children

    Until they are at the age of being responsible for themselves, then they have to take themselves over.

    They sacrifice themselves, then, to take care of themselves, and so it is passed.

    But, you also have to sacrifice yourself again, then, and get out of their way so that they can, must, have to, sacrifice themselves.

    You pick your life back up when it is time,

    And go your way, and let them have their life, and let them go their way.

    It’s like sending them off to day care or pre-school or kindergarten.

    It’s like dying all over again,

    For you and for them.

    Self-sacrifice is always like dying.

    It is a real sacrifice.

    And it has to be done with full realization, willingly, willfully, voluntarily.

    We are always sacrificing ourselves to our life—

    To what our life is requiring of us in the time and place of our living.

    It is the nature of growing up that it requires us to die again and again.

    We like to think it ends with our actual, physical, death.

    We are probably wrong about that.
  • 03/07/2015  —  Sleepy Elk Sequence — Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada, October 2009

    We make amends by making changes.

    We redeem our past by the way we live in our future.

    I look at old photographs

    And think, “I should go back there and take it like I should have taken it then.”

    But the time for taking it was then, when the clouds were right,

    And the light was right, and the wind was right,

    And the only thing wrong was the shutter speed.

    Waiting for all that to be right again just for the sake of that photo

    Would not be worth the trouble.

    I’ll redeem that one with the next one similar to it that I take.

    And every one after that one.

    Let your past transform your future.

    It’s the only thing that can.
  • 03/08/2015  —  Adrift — Penobscot Bay, Deer Isle, Maine, October 2009

    As I devote myself to creating a routine conducive to living my life, I am increasingly taken by the regimen of holy orders through time, around the world, in all religions and spiritual practices.

    We cannot live any way at all and be alive to that which is striving to come to life in us.

    Without a steady routine, we are at the mercy of whim and chance, and have no basis for living out of a foundation that grounds us and an orientation that directs us.

    Our physical routine is a centering, focusing, aid to living centered and focused afloat on the crashing waves of the wine dark sea.

    I recommend, for starters a 12 to 14 hour fast each day. That simply means, don’t eat after 7 PM or before 8 AM—and adjust the hours to fit what your schedule may require/allow.

    Our routines have to fit our schedules.

    “Routine” sounds rigid, inflexible, unbending, but routine has to take “schedule” into account.

    We have to fit our LIFE into our life, our routine into our schedule.

    We have to regulate what can be regulated upon the heaving waves of the wine dark sea.

    Start with a daily fast.

    Work in time for quiet reflection.

    Work in additional time for meditation—count your breaths for rounds of ten or twenty inhales and exhales, or whatever the waves permit.

    Read something meaningful.

    Write down your dreams and revelations/realizations.

    Take a walk—short or long, but walk for exercise and not to go to the bathroom—each day.

    Fold in the things that are grounding, centering, focusing, directing for you.

    Do this regularly, religiously, every day.

    And listen for what is trying to come to LIFE in your life.
  • 03/08/2015  —  For Rent — Lake Louise, Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada, September 2009

    Your life is your witness.

    Your life says all that is to be said about you,

    Pro or con, Yea or Nay, for you or against you—

    Not from the standpoint of how you measure up against social, cultural, and religious norms and standards,

    But how you measure up against yourself.

    Your Self—

    The Who it is yours to exhibit and express,

    Become and to be.

    Your are not yours to make up and drape with costumes of your own design.

    You are yours to wake-up to, realize, acknowledge, incarnate and serve.

    We live to realize and reveal who we are through the life we live.
  • 03/08/2015  —  The Oak at Springer’s Point — Teach’s Hole, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, Outer Banks, NC, October 2009

    I don’t know how to break this to you.

    You aren’t going to like it:

    You have to start doing what’s hard.

    I know, I know:

    “My whole life is HARD!

    Easy is nowhere to be found!

    If you knew how hard my life is, you would change your tune!”

    You have to start volunteering to do what is hard,

    And stop whining, moaning, complaining, griping about it.

    Do what is hard consciously, deliberately, intentionally, willingly, willfully, voluntarily, sacrificially!

    Because it is going to deepen you, expand you, enlarge you, raise you from the dead, and help to grow you up.

    If the dishes need washing, go wash the dishes.

    You get the idea.

    Opening your arms to what is hard,

    Welcoming what is hard into your life,

    Embracing what is hard,

    Dancing with what is hard,

    Doing what is hard,

    Puts you in right relationship with what is hard,

    And understands what is hard as the threshold to being fully alive.

    Jesus said, “If you want to become my disciple, pick up your own cross every day, and carry it like I carried mine.”

    He meant, “Do what is hard the way it needs you to do it.”

    It is the path to realization, understanding, enlightenment, wonder and LIFE.
  • 03/10/2015  —  Mallard Hen Landing — Bog Garden, Greensboro, NC, March 09, 2015

    Growing up is hard.

    We have to come to terms with everything.

    Square ourselves up to how things are,

    And how things also are–

    See what we look at,

    Know what we know,

    Rise to every occasion,

    Stand up and do what needs us to do it

    The way it needs to be done.

    If we aren’t living our life in this fashion,

    We are escaping our life.

    Andy Dufresne said, “Get busy living or get busy dying.”

    If we aren’t living, we are dying.

    Pretending to be alive and well.

    When we grow up, we stop pretending,

    And step into our life just as it is,

    Such as it is,

    And live it exactly as it needs to be lived,

    As it needs us to live it,

    As we need to live it–

    And, like that, our life becomes our LIFE,

    All because we began to live it the way our LIFE would have us live it.

    The only things that changed were our attitude

    And our way of living.
  • 03/10/2015  —  Big Creek Fall 2004 A — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN/NC, November 2004

    My ideal form of government would be a small group of people of   compassion and good will, who liked and cared about each other, and who were non-religions

    (Because religious people are incapable of good judgment and sound decision, and the more religious they are the more toxic they are for themselves and others, and the more incapable they are of seeing what they look at, understanding what they are dealing with, and being free to do what needs to be done in each situation as it arises),

    And free of ambition and greed, and therefore incapable of corruption, and beyond exploiting circumstances for their own personal good or ideology,

    And completely capable of seeing things as they are,

    And listening to all sides with a stake in each situation that comes along,

    And issuing judgments based on their best sense of what needs to happen in the service of the true good of those concerned.

    I wonder why Congress can’t be like this.
  • 03/10/2015  —  Cypress Light — Down East North Carolina, November 2004

    What are the meaningful aspects of your life?

    How does your life revolve around them?

    Flow from them?

    How often do you engage in doing the things that are meaningful to you?

    How would I know they were meaningful to you by looking at your life?

    When is the last time you did something that was meaningful to you?

    What can you do to work time spent with what is meaningful on a daily basis?

    When will you start?
  • 03/11/2015  —  Goose Landing — Bog Garden, Greensboro, NC, March 9, 2015

    Religious people have an agenda—THE Agenda—God’s Agenda,

    And live to impose it upon all the world.

    The Tea Party is composed of those who at heart are religious fanatics who Know Best And Must Be Pleased,

    And are engaged in a holy war

    Against the Infidel in their own country

    And around the world.

    Jihadists in business suits

    Justifying all means necessary in the service of their end,

    Which is clearly in sight and well-within their grasp.

    Comes to mind Paul Simon’s song:

    “The nearer your destination/The more you’re slip-sliding away.”

    We all are within reach of a wider, broader, world—

    A slight perspective shift away from seeing, hearing and understanding—

    In the service of agendas and ends not worthy of us,

    Certain that our way is The Way,

    Lost in a wasteland of our own making,

    Sitting on our ox looking for our ox.
  • 03/11/2015  —  The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 14 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, SC, January 28, 2015

    You have to find your own life and live it

    Within the life you are living.

    The life you are living is the container—

    The crucible—

    Of your other life, your LIFE, the life that is yours to live,

    The life that only you can live.

    The life you are living is your fate—

    The life that met you at birth:

    When and where you were born, your genetic, sexual, racial makeup,

    Who your parents were,

    What your resources have been and are,

    And your prospects,

    The life you go to sleep in every night and wake up to each morning.

    The LIFE that is yours to live is your destiny,

    The adventure that has been waiting for you to be ready,

    The calling that is perfectly suited for your character and qualities,

    Your gifts and proclivities:

    YOU are waiting for you to show up and say, “Let’s go.”

    Your mission is to bring forth your destiny within your fate,

    By finding what you can do with all your heart, and doing it,

    And riding that ride the rest of the way.
  • 03/11/2015  —  Canada Geese 01 — Bog Garden, Greensboro, NC, March 9, 2015

    You find your LIFE, your destiny, by finding what is meaningful to you and doing it.

    When you incorporate meaning into your life by doing what is meaningful to you—

    By giving yourself to what has meaning for you—

    And not letting yourself by knocked off that horse

    By those who laugh and make jokes about “that old nag,”

    And wonder why you aren’t spending your time on something important—

    Not letting them shame you, or ridicule you, or shun you

    Into being as they are,

    Into being who they think you ought to be,

    But living your own life in your own way,

    With your rhythm, and your sense of timing and direction, and sense of flow, and sense of meaning,

    Doing what is important to you because why would anybody do what is unimportant to them?

    Then your life will lead you straight away to your LIFE,

    And you will discover that you have been living your LIFE all along,

    Realizing your destiny by doing what is meaningful to you

    Whether anyone else sees its value and congratulates you on your choice.

    You are the one—the only one—who knows what is YOU,

    And what is NOT YOU.

    It’s your life. Live it like it is. Smiling, like you know a secret

    They don’t know.

    You do.

    They don’t.
  • 03/11/2015  —  Hatteras Morning — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Outer Banks, Ocracoke Island, NC, October 2004

    No one ever wondered–you could Google this–about the meaning of life who was doing what was meaningful with her, or his, own life.

    The question of the meaning of life doesn’t mean anything to someone whose life is meaningful.

    Ask a kid who is skateboarding or playing soccer what the meaning of life is and she will be polite but care nothing for your question.

    It just doesn’t matter, because something else does.

    If it’s a problem for you it’s because your life is empty and you aren’t doing what has meaning for you.

    You solve the problem of the meaning of life the instant you begin living your life in a way that is meaningful.

    If nothing means anything to you, spend some time remembering the last thing that had meaning for you.

    Wander around in your memory of that thing.

    See what begins to stir to life within you.

    Let the last meaningful thing point the way to the next meaningful thing.

    And cooperate with the process!

    Don’t resist the movement with some sour, wet-blanket, you can’t make me happy so don’t even try response to the last meaningful thing.

    Be a sport here. Be gracious and kind, generous and compassionate.

    To yourself.

    Let yourself show you where meaning is yet to be found,

    Even given all your losses, defeats, sorrows and grief.

    Meaning will live again in your life if you let it.

    Let it, won’t you?

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Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters, three sons-in-law, and five granddaughters, and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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