One Minute Monologues 025

03/12/2015 — 04/22/2015

  1. 03/12/2015 — Scott Creek Sunset 03 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    You find your life and live it by finding and doing what has life for you.

    If it brings you to life, DO IT!

    If it once brought you to life, but you put it aside because it was interfering with your life, pick it back up.

    See what happens, where it leads.

    In addition to giving yourself to the things that bring you to life,

    Immerse yourself in art, music and nature.

    Art, music and nature are the language of soul—ARE soul.

    You can’t get closer to soul than art, music and nature.

    If you can’t “do” art or “play” music,

    Allow yourself to be stopped by art, by music.

    And wander around in nature, allowing yourself to be stopped by what you find there.

    “Aesthetic arrest” James Joyce called it.

    Seeing, hearing, is knowing, feeling, being alive and swept up in the wonder of living.

    Relish that experience.

    Deepen, expand, enlarge it.

    Come alive to the LIFE that is all around you,

    Waiting for you to come to life in its presence

    So that it might baptize you in its waters

    And restore your soul,

    And lead you along the way of life everlasting.
  2. 03/12/2015 — Large Flowered Trillium — Blue Ridge Parkway near Little Switzerland, NC, May 2008

    You are in charge of your life.

    That means you are in charge of handing yourself over to your life.

    It means handing over your control of your life.

    It means noticing how much time you spend arranging your life according to your ideas for your life—

    Working to make this happen and to keep that from happening,

    Manipulating, controlling, directing, choreographing, managing, forcing what you think ought to, and ought not to, happen—

    And how much time you spend assisting, nourishing, nurturing what needs to happen,

    Tending, cultivating, guarding, protecting what is trying to happen.

    How much of what you call living is spent in the flow of your life,

    Toward what, you do not know,

    And how much is spent trying to direct the flow of your life toward ends and outcomes that are attractive to you?

    Your life has a life of its own,

    And it is your place to align yourself with your life’s life,

    And take it where it wants to go.

    You are in charge of your life,

    AND you are just along for the ride.

    Your responsibility consists of giving yourself over to your life,

    And getting out of the way.
  3. 03/12/2015 —  Trout Lily Panorama 01 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster, SC, March 12, 2015

    Nobody—you could look this up—ever grew up apart from trials and ordeals.

    Carl Jung said, “No one comes to consciousness without pain.”

    We have to be booted out of one way of looking at things into another.

    Nobody every volunteers for a change in perspective.

    We live our way into maturity, acceptance, peace and grace.

    The single indispensable element in the process of maturation is compassion.

    Without compassion, no one ever grows up, it doesn’t matter how many trials and ordeals they go through.

    There is nothing magical about trials and ordeals.

    They can send you into depression and a sour disposition in spite of heavy doses of medication,

    As easily as they can enlarge your perspective, transform your attitude and grow you up.

    Compassion is the key.

    If we could increase the compassion quotient of the species,

    What a wonderful world it would be.
  4. 03/12/2015 — Cane River Pier — Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, July 2004

    There are no shortcuts, crib sheets, Cliff Notes, fast tracks, accelerated courses, or any way around living through all it takes to wake up.

    Talking about waking up isn’t waking up.

    There is no substitute for stepping into your life and dealing straight up with everything that comes your way.

    There is no path to enlightenment, understanding, realization and awakening that does not involve doing what is hard.

    You know every thing you have been through?

    That’s the only way you could be where you are.

    You know where you need to be?

    Get your dancing shoes on.

    You’re going to a party.

    With the Cyclops.

    He loves to dance.
  5. 03/13/2015 — Emerald Lake  01 — Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canadian Rockies, September 2009

    We just tough it out. Or go through the motions. Or cave in. Or quit.

    Those are ridiculous options.

    We need the way to LIFE and we get Netflix.

    The next best thing.

    Look around.

    Everything you see is “the next best thing.”

    You don’t see LIFE anywhere.

    That’s because it’s inside you.

    On its knees.

    Praying that you will open the door and let it out.

    You are what you seek.

    You are looking in the wrong places.

    Sit down. Shut up. And listen.

    To all of the voices.

    Just listen.

    Until you hear the one speaking the language of your soul.

    You remember your soul, don’t you?

    We all start out with soul,

    But we lose the connection early on,

    And spend the rest of our life finding our way back to where we started.

    Life is play.

    How long since you played?

    Your soul wants to play with you.

    You are listening for the voice of play and laughter.

    What could be the most fun you can imagine having?

    Go there, and listen.
  6. 03/13/2015 — Elk 02 — Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canadian Rockies, September 2009

    When things are right with us, we feel it.

    We sense it, we know it.

    And when things are not right with us, we feel it, sense it, know it.

    We know, when we stop to know what we know,

    When things are “a little off,”

    When things are “not quite right,”

    When “something is missing,

    Or “out of harmony,”

    Or “a bit off center” with us.

    We know when we are “in the flow,” “on the beam,”

    And when we are out of it, off of it.

    That’s all we need to know.

    When we are off track, get back on track.

    Let your Knower guide you.

    Follow your “feeler,” your “sensor,” your “knower,”

    From being “out of the flow,” and “off center,”

    To being “in the flow,” and “centered” in, “grounded” in what is LIFE for you.

    It all goes so much better for you when you are there,

    And so much worse for you when you are not there.

    Be there. Live there.

    As much as possible.

    That. Is. All. There. Is. To. It.
  7. 03/13/2015 — Flyover — Canada Goose, Bog Garden, Greensboro, NC, March 9, 2015

    We take what we need from each other and move on.

    We have to remember to move on.

    The disciples prefer the company of the master,

    To doing their own work.

    “Tell us once more what ‘enlightenment’ is,” they say.

    Talk, talk, talk keeps them from doing anything.

    Oh, they have the chores and rituals of monastic life to keep them busy,

    But. They don’t have to deal with life on their own.

    “Tell us again what Zen is, we can feel ourselves almost comprehending the matter.”

    Talking about the doctrines, studying the scriptures, reciting the catechisms

    Keep the pupils from the experiences that would transform them into teachers.

    Truth is not in the books, lectures, discussions, sutras, sermons…

    Truth is found in the lived experience of day-to-day life,

    On our own,

    Far from the comforting presence of the master.

    Discomfort is the teacher.

    Living our own life is the lesson.

    Life is the teacher.

    Living is the lesson.
  8. 03/14/2015 — Forsythia 01 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, SC, March 12, 2015

    If you are not working with your dreams, you are missing the best part of you.

    Your dreams are symbolic of you. If other people you actually know, or situations that are actual situations, appear in your dreams, the dream situation does not depict the reality of those people or situations.

    Your mail delivery person is NOT having an affair with your husband or wife.

    The people and situations in your dreams represent your own tendency, potential, for viewing or responding to them, or the way you actually view or respond to them.

    Your dreams are about YOU, saying, “This is who and how you are,” or, “This is how it is in your life right now.”

    A dream is a nocturnal snapshot, or mirror, of your current life—unless it stirs something deep emotionally within you (an horrific nightmare, say), when it is probably not about you at all, but a view of a larger, perhaps impending situation, with collective implications for your society, culture or world. It would represent something that a lot of people are facing—homelessness, poverty, oppression, war…

    Your dreams are hints and guides showing you how it is with you and suggesting that you need to take what you dream into account as you wake up and step into your life.

    Your dreams generally compensate for your actual attitude and behavior, and could be encouraging to you if, for example, your actual fear during the day is inhibiting your ability to live appropriately.

    But, if you are living arrogantly and insensitively, your dreams will take a different tone, perhaps casting you as a drug dealer, or a prostitute.

    So, play the opposite game with your dreams, and consider that the dream is saying the opposite of how things actually are in your life to call you to see “the other side” of your daytime personality.

    Don’t miss what your dreams are offering you as balancing and guiding your waking life, and getting you back in synch with who you need to be.

    You get what you need for your life every night in your dreams (And if you don’t remember your dreams, or even remember that you dreamed, take it as a sign that you are close to perfection and don’t need to be counter-balanced by the invisible world).

    So wake up, pay attention, receive the gift!
  9. 03/14/2015 — Beach Still Life 02 — Outer Banks, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, NC, October 2008

    In light of the video below, The Incredible Power of Concentration—Miyoko Shida:

    I’m balancing my feather,

    And you are balancing yours.

    Don’t try to help me with mine.

    I won’t try to help you with yours.

    For sure, don’t create turbulence for me,

    Cutting on fans,

    Spraying me with water from some garden hose.

    I’m balancing my feather.

    You balance yours.

    It is enough that we know what each other is doing,

    And what we are doing,

    And do it.
  10. 03/14/2015 — Pyramid Mountain 04 — Athabasca River, Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park, Alberta, September 2009

    In light of the video below, The Incredible Power of Concentration—Miyoko Shida:

    The Cleveland Cavaliers have a catch-phrase that guides them through their life: Stay With It!

    One of AA’s motto’s is: Work The Program!

    Be centered in what is important, grounded in what is important, focused on what is important, concentrating on what is important, at-one with what is important:

    No. Matter. What.

    No matter what is happening, or not happening, or how you feel.

    You balance your feather!

    You live your life!

    You do your work!

    You do your best in each situation as it arises and don’t kid yourself about what your best is.

    You (in the words of Joseph Campbell) “get in there and do your thing, and don’t worry about the outcome!”
  11. 03/15/2015 — Trout Lily 06 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, SC, March 12, 2015

    Mindfulness is necessary in the work to build a relationship with your life.

    You have to watch what you are doing to know what you are doing.

    There is nothing like attentive, compassionate, presence—you being present in your own life—

    To get you where you are going.

    We all love attentive, compassionate, presence when it is directed to us.

    It is a rare experience, and we seek it out, and don’t want to leave it.

    Attentive, compassionate, presence is requisite for intimacy.

    And intimacy is requisite for awareness,

    And awareness is requisite for seeing, hearing, understanding, knowing, doing, being.

    Life flows from attentive, compassionate, presence.

    And we know that instinctively, and are drawn to it, seeking life—

    Seeking the security required to find and live our own life—

    But we don’t know consciously what we are seeking,

    We are simply starving for attentive, compassionate, presence,

    And are drawn to it from far away.

    What attracts us is striving to come forth from within us

    (That is one of the 10,000 spiritual laws—the laws of spiritual development, of maturation, of growing up and being who we are,

    Which is the spiritual task, the spiritual journey, the Hero’s Journey,

    The journey to the Land of Promise, etc. that awaits each one of us).

    We have to become an attentive, compassionate, presence to ourselves—

    And as we practice it with ourselves,

    It spills over and graces all of our relationships.

    As we become gently, mindfully, present with ourselves,

    We become that way with others.

    And life comes to life within and without,

    And the desert becomes a swamp, teeming with life,

    And the wasteland becomes the Promised Land,

    Where everyone finds what they seek and become who they are.
  12. 03/15/2015 — Scott Creek Sunset 05 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    No unexamined assumptions!

    No untested hypotheses!

    No unanalysed inferences!

    Make these three rules with no exceptions allowed—

    And vigorously uphold the high standard you have pledged to maintain!

    Live to bring mindfulness to bear upon each assumption, hypothesis, inference as  you make it.

    Inspect each one for its degree of validity with all things fairly considered,

    And the quality of good faith in your effort at seeing the validity of what you are saying.

    That, alone, will make more difference than you can imagine

    In the quality of your life,

    And in the caliber of your impact upon life around you.
  13. 03/16/2015 — Vicksburg Sunset 01 — I-20 Bridge, Mississippi River, Vicksburg, Mississippi, March 16, 2015

    Heart seems to me to be the Spirit with which we do things—

    The enthusiasm, dedication, determination, willfulness, good faith effort that we make in the service of what is important.

    How completely we are into what we do.

    Soul, or Psyche, seems to me to be our connection with the unconscious (because we are not conscious of it), invisible world

    Body is our collection of physical and psychological senses which orient us in relation to the physical and psychic worlds.

    Head, or Mind is our logical, rational way of figuring out what to do about what we sense/feel/intuit/know needs to be done.

    When we have Heart, Soul, Body and Mind aligned and working in sync, we are at one with all that is holy and divine.

    We can all say, “The Father and I are one,” and be right about it.

    And, if they say we are true human beings, they will be right about it.
  14. 03/17/2015 — American Buddha — Southern Cemeteries, 2015

    Being transparent to ourselves means knowing how we feel about our life.

    Not knowing how we feel about our life,

    Or denying that we feel the way we feel,

    Or immersing ourselves in the behaviors of denial

    (Generally referred to as “addiction”),

    And not knowing—or caring—how we feel,

    Or pretending that we feel some way other than the way we feel,

    And refusing ever to sit down with ourselves and feel what we feel,

    And know what we know,

    And decide what that means for us,

    And what we are going to do about it,

    Is the single thing keeping us from aligning ourselves with the life that is right for us,

    And working it into the life we are living,

    So that the life that is wrong for us has to make room for the life that is right for us,

    And the life that is right for us begins to redeem and transform the life that is wrong for us,

    And we become the savior we seek in all the wrong places,

    In all the wrong ways.
  15. 03/18/2015 — How Many Hopes — Southern Cemeteries, 2015 — “How many hopes like buried here.” Engraved on the tombstone of Anna Smith Bridgforth, January 28, 1873 – December 6, 1894

    We hate in others what we cannot face in ourselves.

    We love in others what we cannot see in ourselves.

    Strong emotion in an indicator of something not recognized in ourselves.

    The other people in your life will show you you—

    If you have the courage to look.

    The people who are always trying to clean up society?

    The Prohibitionists, the Teetotalers, the Abstainers?

    And their modern-day equivalents?

    A threat to every living thing—

    Because they do not see the Enemy in themselves.
  16. Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 03/18/2015 — Kisatchie Falls 01 — Kisatchie Bayou, Kisatchie, Louisiana, March 18, 2015

    Contradictions run through the heart of life.

    God is conflicted and torn between justice and love,

    And, if you buy into Orthodox Christian theology,

    Jesus paid the price of God’s inability to find a way out of the corner he painted himself into.

    In the deep south, we would say to God, “Well. You did it to your own self! Don’t be asking us to be responsible for your shortsightedness! You should have seen this coming, what with omniscience, and omnivision and all.”

    My point is the contradiction is the heart of reality, both visible and invisible.

    And it is the gift of consciousness to be aware of it—

    To bring it to light, and reconcile what can be reconciled and to manage what cannot be reconciled.

    This is bearing our cross, and coming to terms with how things are and with how things also are, and squaring ourselves up to the facts that will not be squared up with each other.

    This is the work of growing up. It is the work of spiritual development. It is the work of psychological maturation. It is the work of wholeness.

    And it doesn’t get the press it deserves.

    It is the most important thing.
  17. 03/19/2015 — Cypress Swamp Panorama 02 — Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, March 19, 2015

    We have to live out of our own personal authority in determining what is good for us, and what is bad,

    What is right for us, and what is wrong,

    What is now for us, and what is not yet, or never.

    What is life for us, and what is death.

    No one can hand us our life.

    We alone know where life is to be found.

    We have to trust ourselves to us,

    And do what we know needs doing.
  18. 03/20/2015 — Kisatchie Panorama 02 — Red Dirt District, Kisatchie National Forest, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, March 18, 2015

    We have to foster our own relationship with whatever we choose to call it, because no name suffices—

    The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao.

    If we don’t want to take the time, make the effort, and go to the trouble of fostering our own relationship with Transcendent Presence, we make a joke of it.

    “Just tell us what to believe, Preacher!

    Just tell us what to think!

    Just tell us what to do!

    (But don’t make it too objectionable,

    And make sure it doesn’t interfere with our life!)

    Because we don’t want to get it wrong,

    And end up in the Bad Place for eternity!”

    Save me from those who would have me save them!

    Children in a room filled with toys have no trouble figuring out how to play,

    And it would be a violation of all that is good and right

    For adults to give them instruction in the matter:

    You play with this toy like this, not like that,

    And be sure not to play with those toys over there—they are Bad Toys!

    (What is it exactly that makes Bad Words bad?)

    We don’t have to be told how to pray

    Any more than children have to be told how to play.

    We are quite capable of figuring out our relationship with Transcendent Reality

    All by ourselves.

    All it takes is paying attention, being mindfully aware of all connects us

    With the Source and Ground of Life and Being.
  19. 03/20/2015 — Trout Lily 08 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, SC, March 12, 2015

    I don’t know what you are going to tell those inner accusers when they ask you (again) why you didn’t do better with the options, resources and prospects that were yours to work with,

    But, I tell mine, “I was, am, and will be, finding my way!”

    It isn’t as though I am deliberately screwing up,

    Misreading the signs,

    Shooting myself in the foot,

    Wandering off the path,

    Being stupid…

    It’s that I’m still figuring it out—

    How things are and what to do about it.

    This is not easy.

    And I wonder why my Inner Accusers wait for me to miss a cue to pounce.

    Why don’t they come forth with timely suggestions and directions BEFORE I miss the turn?

    “You would have a lot less to complain about,”

    I tell them, again,

    “If you would speak up ahead of time,

    Instead of waiting until after the fact

    To voice your opinions of my decisions and choices!”

    Shuts them up for a while.
  20. 03/20/2015 — Valley Hill — Westbound US Hwy 82 meets the Mississippi Delta approaching Lefore County and Greenwood, Mississippi, March 16, 2015

    What are you doing to nurture and nourish your life?

    To foster and enhance your relationship with your life?

    To be mindful of your life

    And of what your life is asking of you

    In each situation as it arises?

    Lao-tzu said, “The Tao adjusts excess and deficiency

    So there is perfect harmony.”

    It is our place to cooperate with the Tao,

    And maintain the harmony of our own life,

    Keeping excess and deficiency

    Within an acceptable range of balance and harmony.

    How much time and attention for you,

    And how much for everything else?
  21. 03/21/2015 — Vicksburg Sunset 05 — I-20 bridge and Old US 80 bridge and railroad trestle, Vicksburg, Mississippi, March 16, 2015

    We are here to grow up.

    And, we do that by not running from our life.

    We grow up by coming to terms with, facing, squaring up to and dealing with the trials and ordeals of life in space and time.

    There is no other path to the treasure.

    The trials and ordeals foster realizations that transform perspective and perception in ways that are referred to as “growing up.”

    Growing up is a way of seeing that produces a way of living that is recognized as being grown up.

    The trials and ordeals that result in one person’s maturation, result in another person’s flight into escape and denial.

    Living separates those who have what it takes to come to life and be alive from those who do not.

    Will there be life after birth is the question we all live to answer.
  22. 03/12/2015 — Yazoo River Delta Farmland Panorama — Midnight, Mississippi, March 16, 2015

    A sense of the transcendent source of life and being

    Is experienced as an encounter with the numinous, holy, sacred, invisible world beyond words, space and time,

    Through such thresholds as music, art, literature and nature.

    It can be as varied as planting tomatoes

    And translating the works of Aristotle from Greek texts.

    It has been described as a moment of “aesthetic arrest” by James Joyce,

    Wherein we are stopped by awe, wonder, beauty and held entranced,

    Not knowing how long we have been enthralled

    By the engagement with more than can be explained or understood.

    This is the ground of true religion,

    And has nothing to do with doctrine or dogma, theology or beliefs,

    But exists as a connection between the worlds of conscious, logical, physical, rational reality

    And unconscious (because we are not conscious of it), invisible, irrational reality.

    If you are going to go in search of something,

    Go in search of places that serve as thresholds to a reality beyond reality.
  23. 03/21/2015 — Never Had A Flat Tire — Vintage John Deere Tractor, the first one owned by Tay (Octavia M.) Parker, Tay Parker Place, Midnight, Mississippi, March 16, 2015

    Kindle a flame.

    Keep it burning.

    Dark times are a Tea Party away.

    Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and his appointees on the State College Board have decided to not renew the contract of Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones, who has worked successfully to remove vestiges of the Old South Confederacy from the image of the University.

    A glance at every Tea Party controlled state reveals regression.

    If you aren’t progressing, you are regressing.

    Let’s all gather around the book burning barrel, and raise our hymns of praise to the God of Regressive Religion and Politics!

    No, let’s not.

    Let’s realize what we are up against. Register to vote. Vote every time we get the opportunity (Increasingly restricted though they be), and Do Not Vote Republican!

    If you’re a RE-publican, you are RE-gressive.

    Should be a bumper sticker.

    Kindle a flame.

    Keep it burning.
  24. 03/22/2015 — Lake Chicot 01 — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, March 22, 2015

    If we look and listen,

    We hear and see us everywhere.

    Everything is a message about us, to us.

    What we see and how we see it—

    How we react to the experience of our context—

    Tells us all we need to know about us,

    In order to change what needs to be changed and do what needs to be done.

    It is as though we are living in a dream,

    And the dream is trying to tell us what we need to know about ourselves

    So that we might get our feet under us,

    And live grounded in what is important,

    Toward what is important.

    We have to interpret the dream

    And put ourselves in accord with it,

    In order to be who we are,

    And live as our life needs us to live it.

    All we need to know is “right there’

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

    We have to learn to read our life as a message from us to us about us.

    It takes reflection on our experience to form new realizations

    And shape our life according to our life’s idea of itself.

    When we serve our life’s need of us

    Things go better for us than when we try to wrestle our life

    Into alignment with our idea for it.
  25. Used in Short Talks On Contradictions, etc., 03/23/2015 — Kisatchie Falls Panorama 01 — Kisatchie Bayou, Natchitoches Parish, Kisatchie, Louisiana, March 18, 2015

    Disparity makes us whole.

    It is wrong to try to erase our contradictions, our discordances—

    To hide them (or hide from them), deny them, pretend them away.

    Pull them into the light.

    Acknowledge their existence.

    Honor them for the part they play in making you who you are

    (And forcing your to recognize who you also are),

    And become aware of the strengths

    That each brings to life in your life.

    We are oppositional to the core.

    Wholeness is polarity, recognized and embraced—

    And allowed to work its magic

    In helping us find the way of life

    Through life, into life, for all of life,

    To our everlasting astonishment and admiration.
  26. 03/24/2015 — Little Eva Plantation Panorama — Pecan Orchard, Natchitoches Parish, Cloutierville, Louisiana, March 23, 2015

    We have to be strong in our own cause.

    We are in charge of finding and living our own life—

    Of taking care of our own business.

    We can expect very little in the way of assistance and cooperation,

    And very much in the way of resistance and opposition.

    We prove ourselves to be worthy of assistance

    By being undaunted by resistance.

    Those of us who quit over hangnails and stumped toes

    Don’t begin to have what it takes to manage

    “The heaving waves of the wine dark sea.”

    We have to guard our own borders

    And draw our own lines,

    And be strong in our own cause.
  27. 03/24/2015 — Cypress Swamp Panorama 05 B&W — Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, March 19, 2015

    Our life takes shape around what is important to us.

    If your life isn’t working as it is—

    If you don’t feel at-one and at-peace with your life as it is—

    You change your life by changing what is important to you.

    Look at your list of “Non-Negotiables,”

    The things you aren’t changing for anything ever no matter what.

    That’s the list that is hanging you up.

    You are stuck in the life you are living because of the things you won’t change about it.

    Your life as it is currently is working out to your advantage.

    You get to whine, moan and complain about things being the way they are,

    And you don’t have to do anything to make anything different

    About the way you are living.

    That’s a deal worth dying for.
  28. 03/24/2015 — Lake Martin Sunset 02 2015 — Breaux Bridge, St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, March 24, 2015

    How’s this for a political platform?

    Those we can help have to help.

    Those who need help have to be helped.

    Whatever it takes to put that into effect is what we elect politicians to do.

    Government exists to help the people.

    Of the people, by the people, for the people.

    This was before corporations were people.

    And the Right To Life folks have to understand

    That Right To Life extends beyond birth to ALL of life—

    That babies and their mothers have a right to a full life,

    Including proper nutrition from birth through childhood and youth and adulthood,

    So that no one is without available food,

    And that affordable child care and health care are part of every child’s future,

    And part of every family’s foundation.

    Government starts with this basic premise,

    And this basic promise to all citizens,

    Inclusive and without exception.

    I don’t see anything debatable about this,

    Or why anyone would want to argue with it.
  29. 03/26/2015 — Fishing Pier Panorama B&W — Hayes Coulee, Avery Island, Louisiana, March 25, 2015

    Good in the extremes becomes evil.

    Take a good person and have him, have her, become proud of his, of her, goodness.

    Pride becomes inflation, becomes arrogance, becomes evil.

    I won’t say that evil becomes good, but I will say that

    Evil produces good in opposition to evil,

    And that some of the effects of evil’s impact are good.

    The idea of Absolute Good and Absolute Evil is a fiction

    That we are often asked to embrace as truth.

    Perhaps, we should think instead

    Of the blessings and grace of both good and evil.

    We are blessed by our experience with grace

    In the unfolding of our life.

    Do not think in terms of “good” and “evil,”

    But in terms of blessings and grace.

    We are blessed by the grace of evolving realization

    Through our reflection on our encounters with “good” and “evil.”

    We grow up in ways we could never have otherwise managed

    By our brush with “good” and with “evil.”

    Growing up is the ideal

    We grow up when we come to terms with life as it is,

    When we enlist ourselves in the service of what is important,

    And work to bring into being what needs to happen

    In each situation as it arises.

    Both “good” and “evil” enable us to grow up in this way,

    Sometimes “evil” produces better results than “good.”

    Life is strange that way—

    And countless others.

    We are blessed by the grace of our experience

    As we open ourselves to our experience,

    And reflect on it in ways that take everything into account.

    This kind of reflection is the heart of life and being,

    And is waiting to bless all who practice it

    With the grace of realization,

    Which is also called Enlightenment.
  30. 03/26/2015 — Egret Ballet 01 — Great White Egret, Avery Island Egret Rookery, Avery Island, Louisiana, March 25, 2015

    The compassionate acceptance of everything—

    Including our dispasionate refusal to accept anything—

    Is the foundation of life and peace,

    And the source of the transformation of the world.

    Everything that has happened to us

    Is exactly what we need to be who we are.

    And is exactly what we need to bring to life the good

    That is capable of coming to life in us and through us into the world.

    We are the artist.

    Our art is our life.

    We shape and form the gift we are to offer to the time and place of our living.

    We come not to receive, to get, to have, acquire, attain, achieve,

    But to give ourselves in the service of values worthy of us:

    Grace, mercy, kindness, peace and good faith with all living things.

    We bring our art into being with the compassionate acceptance of everything.
  31. 03/27/2015 — Egret Ballet 04 — Great White Egret, Avery Island Egret Rookery, Avery Island, Louisiana, March 25, 2015

    We feed the horse that carries us to meet our fate

    Or to serve our destiny.

    Our outcomes—and those generated by forces quite beyond us—

    Are the cooperative consequence between horse and rider.

    Some horse and some rider.

    Alcoholism and drug addiction are not accidental.

    Both evil and beneficence have long histories

    Of precedent and intention.

    We do not live in a vacuum.

    Our antecedents precede us,

    And carry us to destinations we acquiesce to in advance

    With indifference, disinterest

    And absent-minded neglect of our own purpose and direction.

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

    Why aren’t we in the wheelhouse?

    Exerting conscious influence over our life

    By the way we hold the reins?
  32. 03/27/2015 — D U C D B? — Hovering Carpenter Bee, Lake Martin Rookery boardwalk, Breaux Bridge, St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, March 25, 2015

    You have to live out of your own personal authority—

    Out of your own sense of what is relevant and meaningful to you—

    Out of your own feel for what is valid and vital, good and right for you.

    When you catch yourself wandering without direction or purpose,

    Stop and listen within.

    The guidance you seek is there—

    You simply have to make yourself available to it.

    Where is the noise coming from in your life?

    What is drowning out, jamming, overriding, the signals from within?

    Your place is to listen to the You That Knows—

    NOT to the You That Wants.

    Learning to distinguish between those two You’s,

    And following the lead of the You That Knows,

    Will set you on track,

    And center you in the path with your name on it.

    The going may not be smooth and easy,

    But it will be exactly what you need to become who you are,

    And live as a blessing and a grace upon all who come your way.
  33. 03/27/2015 — Cypress Swamp 10 Panorama — Lake Martin, Breaux Bridge, St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, March 24, 2015

    It is a popular self-help-spirituality notion to boo the ego.

    Bad ol’ ego is the root of all our problems,

    And if we just get rid of the ego, everything will be fine.

    This is called the Doctrine of the Evil Ego.

    “Ban the Ego and Be Well!”

    The ego is though of as “illusion.”

    Well. Who is it that is thinking the ego is “illusion”?

    Get rid of the ego and who is there to think at all?

    The conscious ego is all there is to connect us with conscious reality.

    To get rid of the ego is to blink out of consciousness,

    And to cease to exist as a conscious, willing, being.

    Who is there to be enlightened if there is no ego?

    Who is there to change the baby and feed the dog?

    Getting rid of the ego is not going to help us in any way.

    Waking the ego up is the path to take.

    Whom does the ego serve, is the question.

    The awakened ego can very well enlist itself in the service of mind, body, heart and soul—

    In the service of the good of our entire being.

    We can be one with that which is good for us,

    With that which is right for us,

    With that which is who we are and what we are to be about.

    An ego that is in full accord with highest good of mind-body-heart-soul

    Is my idea of a True Human Being,

    And well worth having around.
  34. 03/28/2015 — S! I C D B! D U? — Hovering Carpenter Bee, Lake Martin Rookery boardwalk, Breaux Bridge, St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, March 24, 2015

    The most important thing is self-reflection, self-realization.

    The two are one.

    Self-reflection fails if it does not result in self-realization.

    Then it is like looking in the mirror and not seeing what is there.

    Self-reflection/realization is the essential act of being and becoming who we are.

    Self-reflection/realization is a solitary pursuit.

    The gurus can’t make a buck off of you if you are into self-reflection/realization.

    They have to block your way to the truth of who you are by telling you who you are—

    And who you are supposed to be.

    You are nothing if you aren’t paying to listen to some guru tell you The Truth,

    And explain to you the doctrines and sutras of their religion/philosophy/theology,

    And make you as they are.

    Where do you think the first guru got it?

    Self-reflection/realization.

    That’s enlightenment.

    Realization.

    Awakening.

    So.

    Go for a walk with yourself,

    Or, go sit down with yourself,

    And reflect on who you are and what you are about and how it is with you and what you are doing about it because of it,

    Until realization dawns

    And there you are.

    Now what?

    B. U.

    C?
  35. 03/28/2015 — Great Egret in Flight 01 — Lake Martin, Breaux Bridge, St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, March 24, 2015

    Each of us has a nature that is peculiar to us, and partially shared by those who are similar to us.

    It goes better for us when we live in ways that are consonant to our nature,

    And it goes less well for us when we live in ways that contrast with our nature.

    If our job requires us to be an extravert,

    And we tend naturally toward introversion,

    We will be wise to factor in quiet time after hours

    To nourish and nurture that part of us which is tortured without mercy during the workday.

    Now that I am retired, I play the introvert card with abandon,

    Refusing to wear a watch, answer the phone, or return calls until it suits my fancy, as they probably still say in the deep south.

    I have a lot of catching up to do, and enjoy being slow about it.
  36. 03/29/2015 — Cypress Swamp Panorama 13 B&W — Lake Martin, Breaux Bridge, St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, March 24, 2015

    The solution to all of your problems—and the origin of all of your Real Problems—with life is to find what you can do with passion, and do it with all your heart.

    When Jesus said, “Pick up your own cross every day, and follow me,” he was saying, “Don’t be surprised if it is hard to live your own life—do what is hard in the service of your life, as you see me doing that.”

    When Jesus died on the cross, it was as though he was saying, “Do not let anything keep you from living with integrity—that is living aligned with the life that is yours to live—living the life you can live with passion and purpose. Remember me when you think it is unbearable and that you must quit in the service of what needs you to do it, and do what is hard No Matter What!”

    When Jesus said, “Those who seek to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake and the gospel’s will find it,” he was saying, “There are 10,000 ways to die. Make sure all of your deaths are all in the service of your life—the life that needs you to live it. And understand the gospel to be: Do what is hard in the service of what needs to be done, with the gifts that are  yours to give, and let the outcome be the outcome, because the way to life is doing what is hard in the service of life.”

    Jesus said and did what all those who know what he is talking about and doing have said and done.

    Yet, Jesus is preached by those who do not understand what he was talking about or what he was doing.

    And so, the mess that passes for religion and for life.

    But the solution to all of your problems—and the origin of all of your Real Problems—with life is to find what you can do with passion, and do it with all your heart. No matter if it is hard. No matter what.
  37. 03/29/2015 — Cypress Swamp 02 — Lake Martin, Breaux Bridge, St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, March 24, 2015

    Ideally, your life will take shape around your general disposition.

    If you force yourself to “be who you are not,” and live in ways that are out of accord with the natural drift of your interests and spirit, you will be symptomatic and no fun to be around (even though you may be the center of all the parties you can squeeze into a weekend, or week).

    What do you enjoy and detest? How do you like to spend your money and your time.

    Plop yourself down in a shopping center with every store imaginable tucked into a ten acre plot, and which stores will you browse through and which will you avoid entirely?

    Or walk into the magazine section of a book store. Which magazines do you gravitate to, and which do you walk past without pause?

    Are you a morning person or a night person? Beach person or mountain person? Pet person or non-pet person?

    Do you thrive in a group of people, or do better with one-on-one conversation, or prefer the quiet pleasure of your own company?

    What are your tendencies and proclivities?

    Choose your beliefs according to how well they work with your disposition. No belief is authoritative and absolutely without question True Belief. All belief is opinion all decked out in its finest attire. So, choose beliefs that fit you well.

    If the spiel of orthodox fundamentalism strikes a cord with you, go with it, no matter who looks askance at the idea.

    If it feels better to believe in life after death, or the joys of heaven and the everlasting agonies of hell, than to believe death is just cutting out the light, have at it.

    Or have at it the other way, if that has a calming effect on your soul.

    You are in charge of listening to your body—it got here first, you know. You came along some time later. Let your body and your body’s disposition guide you in your living. You could pick worse guides, and they are aplenty.
  38. 03/30/2015 — Rosette Spoonbill Collage — Along the approach to Rip van Winkle Gardens, New Iberia, Louisiana, March 25, 2015

    As long as you have your wits about you, it is never too late to start living the life that is your life to live.

    It is never too late to start living mindfully aware and true to yourself—

    Transparent to yourself and

    In accord with both inner and outer realities.

    You only have to bear the pain of realization

    In order to receive the grace of realization,

    And, “Get in there and do your thing,

    (With compassion for “the whole catastrophe”)

    Without worrying about the outcome.”
  39. 03/30/2015 — Kisatchie Falls Panorama 03 — Kisatchie Bayou, Natchitoches Parish, Kisatchie, Louisiana, March 18, 2015

    We laugh or cry in the presence of truth.

    We generally say of truth that it is beautiful.

    The beauty of truth, the truth of beauty: One thing.

    What do we call it? Truth? Beauty?

    The experience is what we know and can’t say.

    Truth or Beauty as a word is far removed from the impact of the experience.

    We laugh or cry in response to the experience,

    But we rarely ever laugh or cry in response to the word “Truth,” or “Beauty.”

    The experience of Truth/Beauty, Beauty/Truth is an experience with the ineffable, the inexpressible, the numinous, the divine.

    It is an encounter with as much of God as we can encounter.

    Beauty is God is Truth.

    God is Truth is Beauty.

    Truth is Beauty is God.

    The words do not contain the experience, but point to it,

    As if to say, “Oh, you know, THAT!”

    THAT which brings forth laughter and tears.

    You know, THAT.

    You know?
  40. 03/30/2015 — Trout Lily 12 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 30, 2015

The path we follow is Nature’s path.

It isn’t something we make up,

Some goal we set for ourselves.

“I think I’ll be a ballerina. No! A chef! No! A professional bowler!”

We can’t be just anything, or something different every year.

Our compass is an internal gyroscope

Tuned to the Lodestar with our name on it from before we were born.

An acorn grows into an oak.

What’s your seed?

There you are.

Live against the grain and you won’t like it, or last long.

Put yourself in accord with your inner drift of soul

And you will reap benefits that have nothing to do with salary levels

Or signing bonuses.

If you wonder if a particular direction is right for you,

Sit quietly for a while, listening to your body.

Your stomach knows the things

Your mind is trying to figure out.

  • Used in Short Talks on Contradiction, etc., 03/31/2015 — Rue Anenome 2015 01 — McDowell Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 30, 2015

    We have to work our life into our life.

    We have to honor the life that is ours to live AND live the life we are living.

    We live with a foot in each world,

    Walk two paths at the same time.

    It’s the original form of multitasking.

    We have to fit who we are into who the life we are living requires us to be.

    I looked out the window a lot when I was in school,

    But I was in school,

    And I knew I needed to be outside with the woods and streams,

    Lakes and ponds,

    And I knew staying in school was the path that served my path—

    Even as it denied access to it.

    Our contradictions are not always antagonistic.

    Perpendicular paths may form a circle of wholeness.

    We have to work it out,

    Doing this with that in mind,

    Never losing sight of the Lodestar,

    Never cutting ourselves off from the center of life and being,

    We do what sustains our life on two levels.

    We stay in school and look out the window a lot.
  • Used in Short Talks On Politics, 03/31/2015 — Bayou Boeuf Panorama — Lecompte, Louisiana, March 22, 2015

    When Jesus said, “Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of my brothers and sisters, you have done it unto me,” and “Inasmuch as you have not done it to the least of my brothers and sisters, you have not done it unto me,”

    He sets aside the idea of religion in any way freeing us from our responsibility to be helpful to those who need our help—no matter who they are or what we think of them.

    Those who can help have to help.

    Those who need help have to be helped.

    No one can be free from the obligation to be helpful.

    No appeal to “religious freedom” can remove us from the requirement of a cup of cold water to those who are thirsty,

    From the burden of coming “not to be served, but to serve” regardless of how inconvenient or distasteful that might be.

    Or from the call to “love one another,” to “love your neighbor as yourself,” to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    What kind of religion is it that frees us from the fundamental concern for the well-being of other human beings?
  • 04/01/2015 — Round-Lobed Hepatica Panorama — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 12, 2015

We all have concerns, and we all appear to be unconcerned about them.

The commercials so people happily going about their lives, unconcerned about their concerns.

We seem to think that the idea is to live unconcerned about our life, enjoying ourselves, and looking for the next party or the next wonderful thing to buy.

I think we are here to deal responsibly and appropriately with our concerns.

Life is a full-time concern.

What are your concerns?

How are you facing them?

Dealing with them?

Caring about them?

What help do you need in facing, dealing with, and caring about them?

Where do you find the help you need in managing/living your life?

Where do you go to talk about your life,

What you are concerned about,

Afraid of?

People talk all of the time and say nothing of anything important about themselves and their life.

There is no place in our life to be concerned about our life.

Diversion, distraction, escape and denial are our primary concerns.

Netflix and a working remote are all we need.

  • 03/31/2015 — Cypress Panorama 13 — Lake Martin, Breaux Bridge, St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, March 24, 2015

    Where had you rather be?

    What had you rather be doing?

    The answers to those questions open the door to who you are.

    When you find the place where you don’t want to be anywhere else,

    Doing anything else,

    You are at the center of who you are,

    Grounded upon your Foundation Stone,

    Anchored in your Self/Soul,

    Doing the work that is yours to do,

    In the service of your own business.

    There you are.

    Go there often.

    Do that.

    See where it goes.
  • 04/01/2015 — Forsythia 02 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 30, 2015

    Compassion is a way of knowing that surpasses all other forms.

    Via compassion, we know another, ourselves, all sentient beings.

    Without compassion, we think we know.

    With compassion, we know.

    Compassion cannot be faked.

    Scam artists can tell you what you want to hear,

    But they have no sense of YOU beyond your general similarity with others of your ilk.

    How YOU stand apart from the rest, they have no idea.

    And they don’t begin to hear you, see you, understand you, know you.

    And they certainly don’t care about you.

    How often in your life have you been cradled in the eyes of compassion?

    Heard with a heart that understands?

    We usually remember where we have found compassion.

    Have we learned to practice it, is the question.

    To be a source of it?

    To grace the world with compassionate presence?

    The world is dying for it, you know.

    Why would the world be different from the rest of us?

    Live to bring compassion to life in your life.

    And know the time and place of your living—yourself and your neighbors—

    Like these things cannot be know any other way.
  • 04/02/2015 — Cypress Swamp 03 B&W — Lake Martin, Breaux Bridge, St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, March 24, 2015

    My doctor and acupuncturist are always asking, “How’s your energy level?”

    I’m always responding, “I have plenty of energy for the things I like to do and none at all for the things I don’t like to do.”

    There is where we belong,

    And, there is where we have no business being.

    What is your business? What is not your business?

    Where do you belong? Where are you out of place?

    Of course the catch is that what we have to do to pay the bills works against what we pay the bills to do.

    We do what we don’t like to do in order to do what we like to do.

    This is the essential conflict.

    And we have to make our peace with it.

    One way of life kills us and the other way of life restores us to life.

    Think of the way of life that is killing you as the sacrifice you make

    To live the way of life that enlivens you and is your soul’s true joy.

    Walk two paths at the same time.

    Consciously, deliberately, willfully, mindfully.

    And, when you don’t have to do what you don’t like to do—

    Don’t do it!
  • 04/02/2015 — Bluits 2015 01 — McDowell Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, April 2, 2014

    There should be a rule:

    We have to face our own ghosts

    And call out our own demons.

    No running, escaping, hiding, pretending, ignoring, dismissing, discounting, denying.

    How much of our life has been spent under the burden ghosts and demons

    Unacknowledged, unnamed?

    Enough!

    Who are they?

    Drag them out in the open

    Look them in the eye

    And tell them how it is:

    “No more overt operations!

    My eyes are on you all and I will know when you are making my life hell—

    And I will call a stop to it!”

    We will never out live our past,

    So we must out-grow it.

    Face it. Square up to it. Acknowledge it. Accept the fact of it. What happened (or failed to happen) happened )or failed to happen).

    Now what?

    In what ways is that going to continue to impact your life from this point forward?

    In what ways is it NOT going to haunt you, inhibit you, harass you or harm you ever again?
  • 04/03/2015 — Bloodroot 2015 01 — McDowell Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, April 2, 2014

    Wealth is a waste.

    Money is only good for a grubstake in the service of creativity and imagination—

    Which I take to be the essence of spirituality.

    Spirituality apart from creativity and imagination is as much of a waste as wealth apart from creativity and imagination is.

    Yet, think of how impoverished both wealth and spirituality are in the world as it is.

    You don’t look to wealth or to what passes for spirituality/religion to provide creativity and imagination.

    Spirituality is all bound up with rules, doctrines, disciplines that pass along The Way exactly as it was received 10,000 years ago, unaltered and unchanging.

    True Belief is Old Belief.

    It’s the way they did it way back then.

    Wealth is concerned only with producing more wealth and maintaining the wealth that has been produced.

    Both wealth and spirituality are closed circles, maintaining themselves, without point or purpose over time.

    In this way, they become like dragons guarding the treasure. Dragons never do anything with the treasure—what’s a dragon going to do with jewels and gold or virgins?

    The dragon is just there to make sure nothing ever becomes of the treasure it guards.

    That’s wealth and spirituality for you.

    Creativity and imagination are in the hands of the artists, and artisans, musicians, writers, poets, and stand-up comedians (the court jesters) of every age—

    Who dry up and shrivel away once they become wealthy or hailed as the spiritual artist and master of the age, and everybody starts doing art the way Whomever does art.
  • 04/03/2015 — Rue Anemone 2015 02 — McDowell Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, April 2, 2015

Ah, where would we be without our conflicts and concerns!

Ours is the on-going, eternal, never-ending task

Of making our peace with our life,

And no matter what our future holds,

We’ll have to make our peace with it,

On and on, song without end, amen.

Once we make our peace with having to make our peace—i

Instead of thinking, “This song should be over by now,”—

The quicker we get down to the business of making our peace

With whatever is the present source of conflict and concern,

And let nature take its course,

Through the trials and ordeals of our days.

We are forever growing up, it seems,

So we give ourselves over to it,

And are carried along by the currents of our life,

Like a cork on the water, enjoying what can be enjoyed of the ride,

And letting what cannot be enjoyed go without regret

When the time appointed for its leaving arrives

(Which sometimes cannot come soon enough!).

  • 04/01/2015 —
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  • 04/04/2015 — Peach Blossoms 2015 01 — Springs Farms Orchard, Fort Mill, South Carolina, April 2, 2015 

    Carl Jung said, “Aging is not a process of inexorable decline, but a time for the progressive refinement of what is essential.”

    As we get older, we have time for fewer things.

    We have to decide what is important—what is essential—and what is not.

    “How important is this to me?” is a filter everything must pass through.

    We cannot do it all.

    The choices we make regarding how we will spend our time

    Are “the bard that tells the tale”

    About who we understand ourselves to be,

    And what we understand ourselves to be about.

    We are about “the progressive refinement of what is essential.”

    We are getting down to the heart of the matter.

    We have a wealth of life experience to guide is away

    From what is apparently important to what is actually important.

    We have to decide, consciously, for ourselves what matters most to us,

    And spend what remains of our life in the service of those things,

    Continuing to progressively refine our idea of what is important

    About the things we think are important

    Until we find the gold,

    The Grail, the Philosopher’s Stone,

    At the end of the Quest.
  • 04/0w/2015 — Dogwood Branch 2015 01 B&W — Indian Land, South Carolina, April 4, 2015

    We have to develop, and live out of, our relationship with the Self within—

    The Person at the heart of our soul,

    The center of our psyche.

    You would think they would tell us about this early on,

    And help us with the process.

    If anything, they hand us theology and doctrine

    And tell us to believe what they tell us.

    How much of what they told you to believe has been helpful?

    How much of it has been borne out in your experience?

    I’ll speak for myself:

    The way they told me things were

    Is not the way things are.

    We spend much of our life unlearning the things we were taught,

    And figuring out on our own

    How to find and live the life that is our life to live.

    Which starts with developing, and living out of, our relationship with the Self within.
  • 04/05/2015 — Peach Blossoms 2015 02 — Springs Farms Orchard, Fort Mill, South Carolina, April 2, 2015 

    They don’t tell you that life can beat you to death,

    Beat you to wishing you were dead,

    Beat you beyond caring whether you live or die.

    They don’t tell you anything that enables you to live

    With life running over you with 18 wheelers and locomotives,

    And smashing you with one disappointment,

    One loss,

    One devastating tragedy,

    One heartbreaking catastrophe

    After another.

    They don’t tell you that living can take the life right out of  you,

    And what to do about it when it does.

    All they say with their bright, cheery, smiles,

    Is that God loves you,

    And to prove it, he sent Jesus to die in your place

    So he could get over being rejected by Adam and Eve

    (Never mind what that has to do with you, and don’t push them

    About that because it gets really sketchy there)

    And welcome you to heaven when you die

    (Which can’t come soon enough

    With all the things that are worse than death that keep coming your way).

    I have a different take.

    Jesus didn’t die to save you from your sins so you wouldn’t have to die

    (What’s that all about? Of course, we die!)

    Jesus died as an audio-visual aid,

    A living symbol,

    Saying throughout the ages,

    “This is how it is. Don’t think it won’t happen to you. How you take it makes all the difference.”

    Jesus did not sacrifice himself on the cross to pay any ransom.

    Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross

    Because self-sacrifice is the nature of life in this world.

    Self-sacrifice is the victory of life over death,

    Not just for Jesus, but for each one of us as well.

    We all give ourselves up for the sake of those who need us—

    For the sake of That Which Needs Us.

    And receive ourselves back,

    To give ourselves up again and again

    Throughout our life

    In a “Pick up your own cross every day and follow me” kind of way.

    In a “Those who seek to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake—because they understand my death to be their death, and theirs, mine—will find it” kind of way.

    When life kills us, we die, and are raised from the dead as a testimony

    To all who witness our living and dying and living again

    Declaring: “This is how it works!

    We die as a self-sacrifice in the service of LIFE!

    We give ourselves to That Which Needs Us—

    And do not let the savage nature of That Which Meets Us

    Slow us down!

    This is how to do it! Come on! Follow me!”
  • 04/05/2015 — Wisteria 2015 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, April 4, 2015

    Given three wishes, spend the first one wishing to know how to best use the two remaining.

    We have to get over thinking we know what is best,

    What needs to be done,

    What to wish for.

    There is a reason magic wands do not exist.

    Rearranging the world according to someone’s provincial, subjective, mood-of-the-moment idea of how the world ought to be

    Gives us a world that needs to be rearranged again.

    Quickly.

    It is better that we step into this world just as it is,

    And live here, now,

    In ways that serve the best we can imagine

    In each situation as it arises—

    And allow our experience to enlarge, expand, deepen, transform

    Our idea of what needs to be done,

    So that we change as much as we wish the world would change,

    And become who we need to be

    Over the course of our life

    In the world just as it is.
  • 04/01/2015 — Chickweed 2015 01 — McDowell Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, April 2, 2015

    Here is essential conflict:

    My wife has always been faster than I am (except when it comes to walking through nurserys and shoe stores),

    And, is always saying to me, “Come on! I don’t want to miss anything!”

    And, I am always replying to her, “Slow down! I don’t want to miss anything.”

    Nobody is wrong. Everybody is right. What are you going to do?

    Well, what I do is walk at my natural pace,

    And, what she does is walk at her natural pace,

    And we haven’t lost each other yet.

    You have to be true to your own nature AND negotiate the conflicts that arise along the way.

    Negotiation and compromise, Kid. Negotiation and compromise.
  • 04/06/2015 — Carolina Jasmine 2015 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, April 6, 2015

    Wisdom sees what it looks at and knows what to do about it,

    And when to do it,

    And how to do it.

    And does it.

    We live our way to wisdom by living with our eyes open,

    And reflecting on our experience

    To form new realizations–

    By trusting ourselves

    To know what our business is and what it isn’t,

    And what works,

    And what doesn’t work.

    Wisdom understands that life is more about enjoyment

    Than achievement,

    And enjoys being alive

    Through all of life’s comings and goings,

    Laughing without teeth,

    Dancing without music

    Or wine.
  • 04/07/2015 — Dogwood Branch 2015 02 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, April 6, 2015

    The Zen story, “The Lost Horse Returns,” exemplifies how luck is either “bad” or “good” depending upon our perspective at the time something happens. Given more time, our view of what is good luck or bad changes.

    A young boy forgets to secure the gate to the corral one evening and the family’s lone work horse escapes during the night.

    The neighbors upon hearing of it all lament, “What a shame! What terrible luck.” And the father replies, “Time will tell.”

    That afternoon, their horse returns leading two mares and a colt with them.

    The neighbors proclaim “What good fortune,” The father says “Time will tell.”

    The son, trying to rid the colt, is thrown and breaks a leg. “Bad luck,” say the neighbors. “Time will tell,” says the father.

    A group of men come through the village conscripting young men to serve in the army. They pass on the boy with the broken leg. “Good luck,” say the neighbors. “Time will tell,” says the father.

    And so it goes.

    The moral seems to be, “Just do your work, and luck will take care of itself.” Time will tell how good, or bad, our luck is. Our place is to see to it that our work is good, no matter what.
  • 04/07/2015 — Country Dogwood Panorama 03 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, April 6, 2015

    I care about the things I care about,

    And I’m not interested in the things I don’t care about.

    I’m quite contented with leaving it to others to care about those things.

    I don’t spend time with the things that drain me, deplete me, exhaust me–

    Like cocktail parties,

    And board games.

    If you wanted to get up a game of charades, I’d have to leave the room,

    Maybe the house.

    But, if you wanted to talk about what you care about–what you are interested in–

    I would be happy to be a part of that conversation.

    What are your primary concerns? Interests? Passions?

    I would stay in the room for that.

    But not for some TV show. Any TV show.

    Or talk about news, sports and weather.

    And I would be interested in pursuing how our interests and aversions

    Speak to us about us.

    What can we find out about ourselves by looking at what repels us, fascinates us, attracts us?

    Where are we hiding in what we love and hate?

    In what absorbs us, or captivates us?

    How are we trying to reveal ourselves to ourselves,

    While we play charades to keep from guessing who we really are?
  • 04/08/2015 — Peach Blossoms 2015 04 — Springs Farms Orchard, Fort Mill, South Carolina, April 2, 2015

    Republican opposition to the nuclear arms treaty with Iran is grounded solely on the Religious Right’s (Evangelical Christianity’s) understanding of Armageddon and the Apocalypse, and the need for a nuclear war in the Middle East to usher in the End Times they think are predicted in the Book of Revelation.

    We aren’t dealing with rationality here,

    But with religious zeal and holy war “christian” jihad fervency.

    These people cannot be talked out of their position–

    They can only be recognized for what they represent

    And voted out of office.

    You have to register to vote–

    And talk everyone you know into registering to vote.

    Vote in every election great and small

    (Do not miss a single opportunity)

    And do not vote for a Republican in any of them.

    The Republican Party, thanks to the Tea Party influence,

    Has been captured by Evangelical Christianity and the Religious Right,

    And it is up to You, and You, and You, and Me

    To see to it that they do not capture the entire country (and destroy the world) as well.

    We are all that stands between them and the brink of total disaster.

    I wouldn’t kid you about this.

    If you are ever going to listen to me about anything,

    Listen to me here. And now.
  • 04/08/2015 — Carolina Jasmine 2015 04 — Indian Land, South Carolina, April 7, 2015

    Personal growth always means growing up.

    We grow up through the pain of changing the way we see things,

    Think about things,

    Do things.

    We grow up by doing things we don’t want to do, don’t like, and have nothing good to say about.

    Being happy, contented, and having everything going our way is not conducive to growing up.

    We have to be confronted with a problem that only growing up will solve.

    We never run out of such problems.

    We grow up forever.

    Another term for growing up, in addition to personal growth, is coming to consciousness.

    Realization, awareness, understanding, enlightenment are all synonyms for growing up.

    We once thought like that, and now we think like this,

    And the transition period was where we grew up a bit.

    Where we came to consciousness,

    Realized a thing or two,

    And changed the way we looked at things.

    All because we hit a problem that wouldn’t budge,

    So we had to–

    Budge that is.

    Another term for growing up.
  • 04/09/2015 — Bloodroot 2015 03 — McDowell Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, April 2, 2015

    I love learning and I hate being taught.

    Being taught entails someone teaching me what they want me to know.

    Learning entails seeking out those who know what I want to know and asking questions.

    It is pointless for me to be taught things I have no use for–

    For which I have no application.

    I’ve been taught tons of Photoshop and Lightroom techniques

    Which I vaguely remember “learning”

    But cannot begin to utilize when an occasional need appears.

    It is a wast of time for me to watch Instructional Videos

    That do not address my here-and-now needs.

    It’s better to be able to find what I need when I need it.

    I so doing, I pick up some things (like keyboard shortcuts) I can use every day and didn’t know existed.

    So, there is carryover from particular to general,

    But it starts with me seeking particular answers to peculiar questions.

    If we are not seeking answers to questions that are pertinent to our situation,

    We will be ignorant corks floating on the sea of knowledge all our life long.
  • 04/08/2015 — Wisteria 2015 03 — Rural North Carolina, April 9, 2015

    The Christian church needs to be more like Alcoholics Anonymous,

    With people gathering, not around the need to be free of their addiction,

    But around the need to find the life that is theirs to live and live it as it is meant to be lived,

    Within the life they are living.

    It would be a simple matter to come up with twelve or fifteen steps

    Around the themes of silence, reflection upon experience, new realizations, kindness and compassion, respect for all living things, transparency to oneself, the language of the unconscious, the mirror of strong emotion, the guidance of the body,

    The essential place of integrity as living aligned with that which is central to us,

    The primacy of living in good faith with ourselves and one another.

    The regular practice of experiencing beauty in art, music, literature and nature.

    The ethical imperative of living as a neighbor to all people,

    Of honoring the Golden Rule

    And of loving that which has always been experienced as God, self and one another.

    And whatever else that might be helpful in living the life of a true human being–

    Which would emerge organically, from the bottom up and from the inside out,

    And not be forced upon anyone via commandments and ordinances,

    Restrictions and obligations.

    No theology. No doctrine.

    Simply the quest for what works in living in accord with the inevitables of life and of the life that is ours to live.

    What’s Christian about that?

    It is what was Christian about Jesus!
  • 04/10/2015 — Wisteria 2015 Panorama 01 — Rural North Carolina Piedmont, April 9, 2015

    To get to truth,

    You have to throw away all you think you know about truth.

    Not that all you think you know about truth is wrong,

    But enough of it is wrong

    To keep you from realizing what you need to realize

    About the truth you already know,

    And from realizing what you need to realize

    About the truth you have never considered.

    We have to put all of it aside

    In order to be open to all of it.

    You cannot come to truth

    Thinking you know anything of truth.

    You particularly cannot come to truth

    Thinking you know all you need to know of truth.

    The more you think you know,

    The less you know that is worth knowing.

    Which puts all authorities, experts and consultants

    In their place,

    And underscores the significance of Jesus’ statement,

    “Unless you turn and become like children,

    You will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
  • 04/10/2015 — Wild Geranium 2015 01 — McDowell Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, April 10, 2015

    We have to help people help us,

    And they, following suit, have to help us help them.

    Try to help someone who isn’t helping you help them.

    Call me up when you are about to.

    I want to watch.

    People aren’t as interested in being helped as you would think.

    Being helped means being changed a good bit of the time.

    It means taking some responsibility most of the time.

    It means accepting and agreeing to live on terms other than your own all of the time.

    That’s the part I’m most interested in observing.

    I can’t wait to see how you do.
  • 04/11/2015 — Foam Flower 2015 01 — McDowell Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, April 10, 2015

    Insight and realization, Kid. Insight and realization.

    New ideas are the stuff of L I F E.

    If you are stuck in the eddy of seeing what you have always seen

    And thinking what you have always thought about it,

    And never pushing beyond what you have been told,

    You have to sit quietly with your life in your lap

    Until a question occurs to you that you have never considered.

    Don’t look for answers.

    Look for better questions.

    Let your questions generate questions.

    Good questions are answers to previous questions.

    Work up to the Best Questions in the history of questions.

    By then, you will have encountered insight and realization

    Beyond imagining,

    And will be wise beyond your years,

    All because you have asked some really good questions.
  • 04/11/2015 — Rue Anemone 2015 05 — McDowell Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, April 10, 2015

    It all comes out of the struggle, don’t you know?

    We would be nothing without the struggle. The Struggle.

    What would there be to pull you forth,

    Call you out,

    Force the best from you,

    If sliding by could do it?

    Athletes would not develop past the “getting by” stage

    If they weren’t contending with other athletes for the prize.

    It is the struggle–The Struggle–that gives us ourselves.

    We whine and complain about having to go forth again today,

    Every day,

    To meet The Struggle of job, or job search,

    Of relationships

    Of parenthood,

    Of childhood,

    Of life.

    Yet, in going forth each day, we come forth,

    We shine,

    We show ourselves to be who we are

    In the work that is ours to do

    And in the effort we make to do it,

    To meet The Struggle

    And give it our best–

    Without kidding ourselves about what our best is.

    Our life is The Struggle.

    Let’s live to be worthy of it,

    And to come forth in it,

    And shine,

    Shall we?
  • 04/11/2015 — Peach Blossoms 2015 03 — Spring Farms Orchard, Fort Mill, South Carolina, April 2, 2015

    It’s about The Work.

    It all comes down to The Work,

    And flows from The Work,

    And revolves around The Work.

    Who you are cannot be separated from The Work that is yours to do–

    That is you doing/living your life.

    This is not typically what you do to pay the bills.

    It is what you pay the bills to do.

    Ah, but, you don’t know what your work is, perhaps.

    We are separated from our work soon after birth,

    And handed all manner of diversions, distractions

    That take our mind off who we are and what is ours to do,

    But it is there, yet,

    Waiting, hoping, praying

    That we don’t die before we turn and become who we are,

    Doing what is ours to do,

    Living the life that is ours to live.

    So, we either take up our work and do it,

    Or we take up our search for our work and find it,

    And then take it up and do it.

    My work is looking/listening/seeing/hearing.

    And so the photography and the writing,

    And the reading and the questioning and the seeking, seeking, seeking.

    Your work is waiting for you to know it for what it is,

    Embrace it, love it, serve it

    With all your heart and soul and mind and strength

    Through all the moments that flow from this one,

    For ever and ever.

    Amen. May it be so. Amen.
  • 04/12/2015 —  Flame Azalea 2015 01 —  McDowell Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, April 10, 2015

    I cannot imagine a scenario in which I would volunteer to be a house guest, or to host one.

    I’ve been that way from the start.

    Our character is remarkably consistent that way.

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

    Psychotherapy can help us past the stuck places,

    Where we cannot do the things that truly need to be done,

    And need US to do them,

    But there are other things we never have any business doing,

    And psychotherapy can help us recognize those things,

    And stay away from them.

    We have to come to terms with ourselves–

    With who we are and who we are not–

    And make our peace with that,

    And let it be because it is,

    And live what remains to be lived of our life

    In light of that.

    Our soul would relish that

    And be glad.
  • 04/13/2015 — Bootlegger’s Last Run Panorama – Amicalola Falls Panorama 01 – Amicalola Falls State Park (which also boasts the Trailhead to Springer Mountain, the southern end of the Appalachian Trail), Dawsonville, Georgia, April 13, 2015

    You take your circumstances in one hand,

    And your character, values, nature, tendencies, proclivities and temperament in the other hand,

    And you fit them together in a life that honors what is in both hands.

    Throughout the time left for living.

    That. Is. All. There. Is. To. It.

    Why would I lie?
  • 04/14/2015 — Amicalola Falls Panorama 01 – Amicalola Falls State Park (which also boasts the Trailhead to Springer Mountain, the southern end of the Appalachian Trail), Dawsonville, Georgia, April 13, 2015

    You have to know what your business is

    And what it isn’t.

    Your business is your life.

    Your life is minding your business,

    Tending your business,

    Taking care of your business.

    Everything else about your life supports and sustains your business.

    You live to do your business.

    That is living with integrity,

    And having things ordered properly,

    And your priorities nicely arranged.

    If that is not how it is with you,

    Your first order of business

    Is to get your business front and center in your life.

    Start with knowing what your business is,

    And what it isn’t.

    Things will come together in time

    Around that central focus:

    Is.

    Isn’t.
  • 04/15/2015 — Spring Barn Panorama 01 – White County, GA, April 14, 2015

    Live out of your own sense of how your life needs to be lived–

    Always with an eye on what is happening

    Without and within,

    And what you think needs to be done about it–

    How you think you need to respond to it–

    Regardless of what anyone else thinks,

    Including God.

    What do YOU think is the question.

    What are YOU going to do is the other question.

    Live to know what you know,

    And to do what you know needs to be done–

    And let all your outcomes instruct you

    In the art of knowing what you know

    And doing what needs to be done about it

    All your life long.
  • 04/15/2015 — Amicalola Path Panorama – Amicalola Falls State Park (which also boasts the Trailhead to Springer Mountain, the southern end of the Appalachian Trail), Dawsonville, Georgia, April 13, 2015

    You know what resonates with you

    And what does not,

    Where you belong

    And where you have no business being.

    Know what you know.

    Know when you are overriding what you know,

    And when you are dismissing what you know.

    When you are discounting what you know.

    When you are denying what you know.

    When you are conflicted over what you know

    And what you also know.

    But, know what you know,

    And decide what to do about it,

    In light of all things considered.

    That is being consciously, mindfully, responsible

    For who we are, what we do, and how we live.

    If we all lived that way,

    It would be a better world overnight.
  • 04/16/2015 — Flame Azalea 03 – Amicalola Falls State Park (which also boasts the Trailhead to Springer Mountain, the southern end of the Appalachian Trail), Dawsonville, Georgia, April 13, 2015

    I have my work to do,

    My business to tend,

    My life to live,

    And, you have yours.

    If I can do what is mine to do

    In ways that help you do what is yours to do,

    Fine.

    If you can do what is yours to do

    In ways that help me do what is mine to do,

    Fine.

    If we do what is ours to do

    In ways that are of no help whatsoever to the other,

    Fine.

    It is enough that we do what is ours to do

    And, in so doing, help those who can be helped,

    Without trying to be helpful

    In ways that would be harmful

    To what someone needs to be doing.

    Ours is the old song’s refrain:

    “Take what you can use,

    (In the work that is yours to do)

    And leave the rest behind.”
  • 04/16/2015 — Spring Barn Panorama 02 – White County, GA, April 14, 2015

    The voice of change and transformation has always had an audience,

    Though not, necessarily, a large one,

    And it is generally a tough gig,

    Transitioning from one way

    Of hearing, seeing, thinking, doing and being to another.

    But the Word is a living Word,

    And new ideas have a way of outliving the opposition—

    Stout and determined and armed with atrocities though it be.

    The antecedents of every new age

    Are tucked away in the present age

    Waiting for the time of their coronation

    To be at hand.
  • 04/16/2015 — Anna Ruby Falls Panorama 01 – Unicoi State Park, Cattahoochee National Forest, Helen, Georgia, April 13, 2015

    Who you are shows through.

    “Truth will out,” they say,

    Which is a strange way of saying

    Truth will be apparent over time,

    No matter how we try to conceal it,

    Deny it,

    And pretend it is not so.

    And people pick up on the discrepancy

    Between who we are and who we are pretending to be.

    They get a funny feeling that something is not right somehow–

    Off center,

    Out of sync,

    Off key,

    Not what it appears to be.

    And they will spend more time out of your company

    Than in it,

    Because they are uncomfortable around you

    Without knowing why.

    On the other hand,

    If you are who you are,

    In tune and in sync with yourself,

    People will enjoy being around you

    For no apparent reason,

    And dogs will follow you home,

    Even if you don’t like dogs.
  • 04/16/2015 — Catesby’s Trillium 2015 01 — McDowell Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, April 16, 2015

    Your life is your gift.

    As in your gift to you from the murky depths of the unconscious–

    Because we are not conscious of it–

    Origin of life,

    And, as in your gift to all living beings–

    What you offer to them to lighten their load

    And help them along the way.

    Receive your gift,

    And offer it,

    Mindfully aware of it

    As a blessing and a grace

    Upon you and all others–

    Intent on living so that it is exactly that.
  • 04/17/2015 —  Spring Barn Panorama 03 – White County, GA, April 14, 2015

    Can you do what it hard

    And necessary?

    Will you?

    All of our tests are tests for everyone associated with us,

    Even in the most remote kind of way.

    We are all either

    Having what it takes

    To do what needs to be done

    In the situation as it arises,

    Or not.

    What we do,

    Or do not,

    Has implications for everyone,

    Now and in generations yet to be born.

    If you are going to do something not,

    Do not live lightly.

    Live in the light,

    Cognizant of what you are doing,

    And doing not.
  • 04/17/2015 — Pearson’s Falls 2015 03 – Near Tryon and Saluda, NC, April 17, 2015

    There is the unforeseeable, and there is the unforeseen.

    Living mindfully enables us to see what we are

    Overlooking,

    Ignoring,

    Dismissing,

    Discounting,

    Denying–

    And saves us from avoidable grief, agony, anguish and suffering.
  • 04/17/2015 — Yellow Trillium 2015 01 — Pearson’s Glen, near Tryon and Saluda, NC, April 17, 2015

    We suffer from misplaced loyalty and allegiance.

    We plight our troth to the wrong thees.

    Our life is our rightful love.

    The life that is ours to live.

    The life lived around the character that is ours to cultivate,

    The nature that is ours to develop

    With conscious awareness of who we are

    And how that needs to be expressed

    Within the time and place of our living.

    We are to be true to ourselves

    In ways that are appropriate to the occasion,

    And, compassionate, gracious and kind–

    And, strong in the service of a good beyond our good.

    If we think something else is more important,

    We need to go sit quietly

    And sort things out.
  • 04/17/2015 — Wake Robin 2015 01 — Pearson’s Glen, near Tryon and Saluda, NC, April 17, 2015

    The task of maturation and the goal of the spiritual journey (Maturation IS the spiritual journey, and vice versa)–the way to the Land of Promise–

    Is waking up to the truth of how things are and how things need to be–

    To the truth of who and how we are,

    And of who and how we need to be,

    And undertaking the work of transitioning from one way of doing/being to the other way of doing/being.

    This is called “repentance,”

    And there is no avoiding it on the part of those who would grow up

    And be whole.
  • 04/18/2015 — Columbine 2015 01 – McDowell Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, April 16, 2015

    If you aren’t taking it to nature

    And seeing what nature can do with it,

    You only have yourself to blame.

    All those conflicts you’re walking around with?

    All those things you can’t do anything about?

    Go walk slowly through some aspect of the natural world.

    Sit by a waterfall,

    Or a stream,

    Or the ocean.

    Water is good for quenching thirst on more than one level.

    Do not run from your conflicts.

    Take them to nature.
  • 04/19/2015 — Dwarf Crested Iris 2015 01 — McDowell Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, April 18, 2015

    Knowing the truth is knowing the truth about ourselves,

    Is knowing the truth of the way things are

    And the way things need to be.

    Knowing the truth

    Is a divine imperative

    To do something about it.

    Jesus said, “Those who hear these words of mine

    DO something about them!”

    Or words to that effect.

    We can’t just “know the truth.”

    The truth sets us free from bondage to the way things are,

    And puts us in motion,

    Doing what needs to be done about the way things are,

    Breaking the chains of oppression,

    Injustice,

    Discrimination,

    Bigotry,

    Intolerance,

    Racism,

    Sexism,

    Homophobia,

    And honoring all people for the wonders they are.

    So don’t be bragging about “knowing the truth,”

    If you aren’t doing something about it

    In a way that sets us all free

    To do something about it in our own way!
  • 04/19/2015 — Peach Blossoms 05 — Springs Farms Orchard, Fort Mill, South Carolina, April 2, 2015

    We say we want help with our life,

    And believe it.

    That’s what makes alcoholics and addicts so convincing

    When they say they want to be sober.

    They believe it themselves.

    We all believe we want help with our life.

    But.

    What we want is escape.

    Deliverance.

    We want to tag out

    And let someone else be us

    While we go off into the bliss of being responsible

    For not one thing.

    Sheldon Kopp said,

    “We have to solve our own problems every day for the rest of our life.”

    That’s putting it to us.

    We don’t want help with solving our own problems.

    We want to be rid of problems.

    We want someone else to solve our problems for us.

    That’s the hidden joke behind all self-help groups and books.

    Self-help is a smoke screen.

    We aren’t interested in self-help.

    We are interested in self-deception.

    Saying we want help when we want out is deception.

    We want out.

    Our life waits for us to wake up,

    Realize it is up to us,

    Summon the courage to step into the life that is waiting for us,

    And live it as it needs to be lived,

    Solving our own problems as they arise

    Every day for what remains of the time left for living.
  • 04/19/2015 — Spring Fern 2015 01 — McDowell Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, April 18, 2015

    Knowing the truth puts us on the path of setting things right–

    Of “getting right with God,”

    So to speak.

    Of putting ourselves in accord with the way things are,

    Aligning ourselves with how things need to be,

    And living in the tension

    Between how things are and how things need to be–

    Striving to bring forth the Ought To Be within the Is.

    This is the work of integrity, harmony and wholeness.

    It is the task of true human beings in every age,

    And become true human beings through the work of reconciliation.
  • 04/20/2015 — Toccoa Falls 01 — Toccoa Falls, Georgia, April 15, 2015

    Your conflicts are your salvation.

    You are saved when you wake up

    To how things are

    And who you are

    And what is important

    And what needs to be done about it

    And do it.

    Your conflicts save you

    By forcing realization and awareness on you

    Perhaps, against your will.

    But, what do you know?

    Your conflicts are here to show you

    There is more to know than you think–

    There is more to it all than meets the eye–

    And, you have to keep looking if you are going to see.

    And seeing is the point–

    Seeing, hearing, knowing, doing, being–

    Growing up and being who you are,

    Where you are, when you are, how you are–

    Being you, here and now,

    Doing what is yours to do

    (Which is always more than you have in mind,

    Or want to have anything to do with)

    About what needs to be done.

    And your conflicts are the threshold to all of it.

    It is the conscious struggle with your conflicts

    That open the door to new realizations

    And realization is the path to the Land of Promise.

    Don’t let a conflict go

    Until you have gotten the good out of it,

    And thanked it for its time.
  • 04/20/2015 — Dogwood Branch 2015 04 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, April 6, 2015

    I have a long list of things I enjoy,

    And I indulge myself often.

    I had more fun in my younger days,

    Going faster and farther,

    Doing more,

    Relishing sugar in all of its myriad manifestations.

    All of which has been relegated to the class of distant memory,

    Soon, no doubt, to be lost altogether.

    But, I am enjoying more as an older person.

    I enjoy practically everything

    That isn’t forced on me

    As obligation, duty, responsibility.

    And, can even enjoy those things as intrusions

    That make their absence a cherished delight.
  • 04/21/2015 — Violet Wood Sorrel 2015 01 — McDowell Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, April 18, 2015

    A “gathering of sojourners,”

    Or a “community of innocence”

    (Innocent in the sense of having nothing

    At stake in one another,

    And nothing to gain from one another,

    Beyond the mutual benefit of

    Help for the journey)

    Coming together around the uniting focus

    Of each person finding her, finding his, own life and living it

    Would be a welcome aid in the work that is ours to do.

    I imagine a covenant of agreement

    Wherein we would commit ourselves

    In good faith

    To the practice of being transparent to ourselves

    Through dreamwork,

    Reflection on our experience,

    Exploration of personally meaningful symbols,

    Examination of our individual tendency for projection

    And of our emotional responses to our environment—

    All with the goal

    Of seeing, hearing, knowing and understanding

    What we are saying to ourselves

    About what is happening in our life,

    What needs to happen in our life,

    And what we need to do about it,

    In order to be who we are,

    And live the life that is ours to live

    In the time left for living.

    If you can put together a community like that,

    You will have something

    We all could use in our own life.
  • 04/21/2015 — Greenhouse Orchids 02 Panorama — Campbell’s Greenhouse and Nursery, 209 McDonald Ave., Charlotte, North Carolina 28203, (704) 331-9659 — One of the hidden wonders in Charlotte, this is worth a walk-through even if you don’t need a plant. Tell them I said so.

    Your life will turn on you. Turn with it.

    Dance.

    Your life leads. You follow.

    You start out with a plan, a war comes along.

    The stock market crashes.

    The bottom drops out of the housing market.

    The unforeseeable stops by for a visit.

    Everybody has a plan until they step out the door.

    From then on, it’s “Now what?” to the end of the line.

    Trust your life to know what it’s doing,

    And look for the openings.

    See what you can you do with what you meet

    On the other side of the door.

    Bring your imagination into play.

    Enough already of despair and hopeless resignation!

    Where’s the creativity and the quest to know what you’re made of?

    Get in there and do your thing with compassion for all of life,

    And bear the pain of all your conflicts consciously,

    And magic will happen.

    You will be amazed.

    You owe it to yourself to find out if I’m right.
  • 04/22/2015 — Greenhouse Orchids 03 Blended – Campbell’s Greenhouse and Nursery, 209 McDonald Ave., Charlotte, North Carolina 28203, (704) 331-9659 – One of the hidden wonders in Charlotte, this is worth a walk-through even if you don’t need a plant. Tell them I said so.

    We have to read each situation as it arises

    And will what is right for that situation,

    And enlist ourselves heart, mind, body and soul

    In the service of our will-to-good,

    Regardless of the implications for us personally

    (Although sometimes what needs to be done

    Will be done in the service of what is good for us personally).

    Each situation is better off in some ways than in others,

    And it is our place to make things right–

    Insofar as that is possible–

    Using the gifts that are ours to give

    In the service of what is fitting and appropriate

    To the situation,

    All things considered.

    What is right here and now?

    What is called for here and now?

    That is all we need to know,

    And do.
  • 04/22/2015 — Fleabane Daisy 2015 01 Blended — McDowell Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, April 18, 2015

    The magic happens only when our will for our life

    Is aligned with our life’s will for our life.

    We have to hold in highest esteem

    Our life and what needs to be done in service to our life.

    We “Forsake all others”

    And “Plight Thee our troth”

    In a holy marriage to the life that is our life to live,

    Living in each situation as it arises

    In ways that serve our life

    With loyalty and allegiance

    Above and beyond all other interests and concerns.

    This is the courtly love of the troubadours,

    And the knights with their ladies,

    And the ladies with their knights,

    Properly understood.

    It is taking our life

    As The Bride of Christ

    And living in its service

    At whatever cost,

    No matter what,

    For as long as life as possible–

    And love lived like this never ends.
  • 04/22/2015 — Bloodroot 2015 02 — McDowell Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, April 2, 2015

    The watchword for living well is

    Awareness Awareness Awareness.

    Seeing/Hearing is Knowing is Understanding is Doing is Being.

    Mindful awareness is the solution to all of your problems

    With knowing what your life is and how you need to live it.

    Whenever you catch yourself wondering what to do,

    Become mindfully aware of your situation as a whole.

    The path will open before you.

    I’m not saying you will want to have anything to do with it.

    Not knowing what to do is often used as an excuse

    For not doing what we don’t want to do.

    Mindful awareness takes all things into account,

    Leaving us without excuse.
  • 04/22/2015 — Greenhouse Orchids 12 — Campbell’s Greenhouse and Nursery, 209 McDonald Ave., Charlotte, North Carolina 28203, (704) 331-9659 — One of the hidden wonders in Charlotte, this is worth a walk-through even if you don’t need a plant. Tell them I said so.

    We have to grow ourselves up.

    This is the spiritual journey.

    It isn’t knowing the teachings of the masters that does it,

    But doing what is hard.

    Doing what needs to be done.

    Doing what needs us to do it.

    Being the right kind of mother or father, for instance,

    Or the right kind of son or daughter.

    The right kind of brother or sister.

    The right kind of person in the role our life is asking us to play.

    It’s John Wayne or Betty White playing John Wayne or Betty White

    The way only John Wayne or Betty White could play those parts.

    It’s you playing you the way only you can play you

    In the improvisational situations that crop up throughout your day.

    We have to grow up in order to be ourselves the way we need to be ourselves in all of the situations that come our way.

    No pouting, whining, moaning, complaining, not showing up allowed!

    And we have to be the one who sees to it that we show up

    And do the right thing in the right way.

    That will grow you up like nothing else will.

    Certainly not memorizing the books of the Bible in order.
  • 04/23/2015 — Dwarf Crested Iris 2015 02 – McDowell Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, April 18, 2015

    You have to wrestle with your own alligators.

    Your life is an alligator come to eat you alive,

    And will do it in a minute if you let it.

    Don’t be thinking that your life is some soft, friendly, cushy

    Loll by the pool.

    There are alligators in the pool, and sharks, hoping for a chance at you.

    Your life is not some walk through the park,

    Some stroll through the meadows of spring.

    Some lap dog eager to do your bidding.

    You have to live your life like you mean it,

    Like you are the Boss of your life come to show it a thing or two

    About how living is done.

    You have to climb onto your life and tell them to open the chute.

    You are here to ride the thing through all eternity,

    Not just some eight seconds on some stop watch.

    If you can’t stay with it longer than eight seconds, why bother?

    Just roll over and go back to sleep.

    Don’t be looking for soft and easy

    Laughing with a beer in hand looking for good times to roll with.

    You are here to roll with the punches,

    And to manage the rolling waves of the wine dark sea.

    Your attitude has to be that of Homer,

    Who said through Odysseus:

    “I will stay with it and endure through suffering hardship / and once the heaving sea has shaken my raft to pieces, then I will swim!”

    Homer was a blind poet

    Who knew life was a Cyclops come to eat him alive.
  • 04/23/2015 — White Violets 2015 01 — Unicoi State Park, Cattahoochee National Forest, Helen, Georgia, April 13, 2015

    No one can save you but you.

    You save yourself by waking up, growing up, squaring up with how things are and how things need to be, getting up and doing what needs to be done about it.

    Every day for the rest of your life.

    You have to find your own life and live it.

    You keep thinking it should be easy.

    And fun.

    It is hard and not much fun, but.

    Every minute is to be enjoyed–

    As a jolt that wakes you up, if nothing else.

    You keep painting yourself into corners.

    The corners are there to wake you up.

    What you are doing isn’t working.

    The corner reminds you of that.

    You have to stop painting when you reach a corner–

    And reflect on how you got there.

    And stop doing that.
  • 04/23/2015 — Greenhouse Orchids 15 — April 21, 2015, Campbell’s Greenhouse and Nursery, 209 McDonald Ave., Charlotte, North Carolina 28203, (704) 331-9659 – One of the hidden wonders in Charlotte, this is worth a walk-through even if you don’t need a plant. Tell them I said so.

    Let your life live you.

    Your life knows what it likes,

    What it needs.

    You don’t have to think any of it up.

    Just listen.

    Just pay attention.

    Your life is constantly trying to catch your eye.

    You are so the servant of your agenda–

    Of your idea for your life–

    That you dismiss, discount, ignore

    The signals you are sending yourself.

    Call time out from time to time,

    Sit down

    Become mindful

    Of what has been happening,

    Of what you have been missing.

    Filter it for the gold.

    Every day the gold washes through your life,

    But you aren’t panning for it.

    You have eyes for other things.

    Pan the gold.

    Let your life live you.
  • 04/24/2015 — Trout Lily 13 Blended — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 30, 2015

    Everybody wants it done the way they want it done.

    Nobody wants to reflect on what needs to be done and how they need to do it.

    Parents dictate to children.

    Children dictate to parents.

    Husbands dictate to wives, wives to husbands, partners to partners.

    The news of the day is about someone pushing their way onto someone else

    And someone else pushing back.

    Push, shove, dictate, force, compel, berate, lambast…

    Drones and suicide bombers are delivering explosives as I write–

    Blowing up what they hate in the name of what they love.

    The hatred is apparent and real.

    The love is pretense and charade.

    Nobody owns their hatred,

    Everybody professes their love.

    “I don’t hate gays,” they say,

    But the gays can’t tell the difference.

    You may as well hate me if I can’t tell that you don’t by the way you treat me.

    Everybody is kidding themselves.

    No one is transparent to themselves–

    Radically honest with themselves.

    No one lives in good faith with themselves.

    Everyone hates everybody–

    Including themselves.

    To change the world

    We have to start with ourselves.
  • 04/22/2015 — Rosette Spoonbills in Flight — Rip van Winkle Gardens, New Iberia, Louisiana, March 25, 2015

    We go to war to force our way on others,

    Or to keep others from forcing their way on us.

    Anybody can see there has to be a better way.

    Why are we blowing each other up?

    What’s the good of thinking if we can’t think up something better than what we have?

    We think up better ways to kill people.

    What are we thinking?

    Any thinking person can see this is stupid.

    What are we living to do?

    Have our way and keep from having someone else’s way forced on us?

    Past that, what are we living to do?

    What do we have to do that is so important we will kill everyone who stands in our way?

    What. Are. We. Living. To. Do. ?

    You can see, if you think about it, that we aren’t living to do one damn thing.

    We’re just killing people who aren’t doing it our way.

    But, if they were all dead, we wouldn’t be doing anything.

    We. Wouldn’t. Be. Doing. Anything.

    Which means, we are just here to kill people.

    That’s all we do.

    Kill one another.

    Killing and avoiding being killed absorbs our life,

    Supports our economy,

    Keeps the world running.
    Where is it going?

    What are we doing?

    This is stupid.
  • 04/24/2015 — Cypress Swamp 02 B&W — Lake Martin, St. Martin Parish, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, March 24, 2015

    What are you doing with your life?

    With the time that is yours for living?

    What are you living to do?

    Life is not a spectator sport.

    You are not here to observe, take notes, drink beer, make jokes.

    What is the most meaningful thing you do?

    The most meaningful thing you have done?

    The thing that means most to you?

    How often in a week do you do what is meaningful to you?

    How long do you do it?

    What can you do to increase the frequency and duration?

    We are alive to the extent that we are meaningfully engaged with our life–

    To the extent that we are immersed in meaningful work

    (Which is not necessarily what we are paid to do,

    But what we live to do).

    If you don’t know what that might be,

    You have the time left for living to find it,

    And do it.
  • 04/22/2015 — Duck Weed on Silver Creek 02 — Midnight, Mississippi, March 17, 2015

    The Quest is for our life

    And the courage to live it.

    To do what is ours to do

    The way only we can do it.

    We have to understand that we have a gift,

    A genius, a daemon, a holy spirit, within

    Which begs expression.

    Carl Jung said, “There is within each of us

    Another whom we don’t know.”

    Our invisible twin desires to be known,

    To be brought forth,

    In the life that is common to both of us.

    We are the conscious, thinking, evaluating,

    Logical, reasoning part of the equation,

    And our invisible other

    Is the sensing, feeling, knowing, guiding, creating, imagining part.

    Together, we are a True Human Being

    With a world to transform.

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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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