One Minute Monologues 027

06/10/2015 — 08/19/2015

  1. 06/10/2015 —  Lake Chicot Panorama 03 — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, March 22, 2015

    Each stage of life comes replete with responses

    To the situations that arise during that stage,

    That are appropriate to the situation,

    And appropriate to our stage in life.

    It is our place to play the part we are asked to play,

    In ways appropriate to the situation,

    And appropriate to our stage in life.

    It takes observation and reflection

    To know what is being asked of us,

    And how we need to respond.

    No matter how long we live,

    We never out-live the importance

    Of working introspection, silence, solitude and reflection

    into our life–

    And living out the revelation/realization revealed to us

    In the time and place of our living.
  2. 06/11/2015 — Water Lily Panorama 01 — Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, McBee, South Carolina, June 4, 2015

    There is no hurry.

    It isn’t like we are going somewhere.

    When we fully arrive,

    And have complete understanding,

    The only thing that can give us

    Is the gift of being completely present in the present moment.

    All there is to get, to have, to achieve, to acquire

    Is here, now.

    When you wake up, you wake up to where you are,

    When you are,

    How you are,

    What is happening,

    And what needs to be done about it.

    You see what you look at.

    You hear what you listen to.

    You know what you know

    On all levels of knowing,

    That no one can tell you,

    Because it is the full awareness

    Of your own direct, personal, experience

    That is the foundation of the kind of knowing

    That transforms your life,

    And turns you into a true human being.
  3. 06/11/2015 —  Duck Pond Panorama 01 — Freedom Park, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, June 11, 2015

    We can make things better than they would be without us.

    And, we can make things worse than they would be without us.

    Why don’t we go for the first option,

    In each situation as it arises–

    As a unilateral commitment to the good of the world?
  4. 06/12/2015 —  Damselfly 01 – Indian Land, South Carolina, June 10, 2015

    Immaturity is the refusal to adapt, adjust.

    Maturity is the art of adaptation, adjustment.

    There is always something else to place ourselves in accord with.

    The Cyclops stands in our path

    In myriad manifestations–

    Each one asking us to grow up.

    The spiritual journey is never any more difficult

    Than doing what is hard,

    Here and now.
  5. 06/13/2015 —  Schwabacher Landing 2004 B&W—Grand Teton National Park, WY, September 2004

    Solitude is not isolation.

    Solitude is being where you are,

    When you are,

    How you are,

    Who you are.

    Solitude is oneness with the time and place of our living.

    Solitude is our origin,

    And our goal.

    Seeing, hearing, understanding, knowing, doing, being

    Are functions of solitude.

    Experiencing our experience,

    Reflecting on our experience,

    Receiving new realizations, revelations,

    Are possible only in solitude.

    Silence is required to hear what is happening,

    To see what you are looking at,

    To know what you know.

    For long eons of evolution,

    There was nothing but silence and solitude.

    Now, we can’t get away from the noise of life.

    There is no sanctuary from the amplified disruptions,

    Intrusions, violations of the boundaries setting us apart.

    It’s madness everywhere we turn.

    We take medication to sleep.

    We live too loudly to listen

    Even to our bodies.

    What are you going to do?
  6. 06/14/2015 —  Old Stone Cemetery 04 — Chester County, South Carolina, May 30, 2015

    Do your thing with mindful awareness,

    Seeing what you look at,

    Hearing what you are saying,

    And what is being said to you,

    Knowing what you know.

    That’s all there is to it.
  7. 06/10/2015 —  Mountain Laurel 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, May 17, 2015

    We have to be able to separate ourselves from our life.

    We cannot take any of it personally,

    So that we are unable to differentiate between

    Something happening,

    And something happening to us,

    And us.

    Something happens that has implications for us–

    It’s raining, say, and we wanted to work in the yard–

    And you would think it is the worst thing that ever happened to us.

    Our entire day is ruined.

    This is not a mature reaction.

    Maturity understands that

    Distance is leverage,

    And perspective is the lever.

    If we can stand back from our life and what is happening there,

    Observe it from a place of detached interest,

    And see what is called for, what needs to happen in response,

    And do it–

    Without drama or emotional upheaval–

    We will transform the world.

    Our world, anyway.
  8. 06/16/2015 —  Queen Anne’s Lace 02 Blended—Indian Land, South Carolina, June 14, 2015

    What would it take for things to be “well with your soul”?

    I would need a salt water marsh where I could take photographs of waterbirds, wading, swimming, flying,

    And a way to share the photos and my reflections and realizations.

    I’m close to being there, and actually am there several times a year.

    What is your soul asking of you?

    Where does it need for you to be?

    What does it need for you to be doing?

    When have you been most clearly aware of the connection

    With your soul?

    Where have things been well with it?

    Your place is to carry your soul where it needs to go,

    And do what it needs to do.

    You are just along for the ride.

    Once you understand your role,

    And live to fulfill it,

    Things will be well with both you and your soul.
  9. 06/18/2015 —  Summer Flowers 01 — Tickseed Sunflowers, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 15, 2015

    Look in all of your mirrors,

    See who looks back at you from each one.

    Start with the bed you wake up in.

    What does the bed, and the bedroom, and the bathroom, and the house,

    Say about you? What do they reveal of you?

    Proceed from there throughout your day.

    What do you wear?

    How do you greet the first person you meet? The fifth?

    Who do you show yourself to be in each scene of your day?

    Who is the YOU that shines through in each of the roles you play?

    Are there some YOU’s you don’t allow to shine through in some roles?

    How many YOU’s do you keep in seclusion, unavailable to public viewing?

    It is crucial that YOU are aware of all the you’s there are,

    And that YOU work with them all,

    Consciously, mindfully, compassionately, over time,

    To integrate, reconcile, harmonize, choreograph into a whole

    That is completely transparent to you,

    So that all of you knows, and is comfortable with, all of you.

    Don’t hide anything about yourself from yourself.

    And no pretending to be not pretending!

    Nothing happens for the good in your life

    Until you integrate the whole,

    And step as one into your day.

    Each day.
  10. 06/18/2015 —  Queen Anne’s Lace 03 Blended—Indian Land, South Carolina, June 14, 2015

    I am appalled and aghast at the murder of nine good people in Charleston, SC, last night, and at the rampant, escalating hatred of black people by white people in this country.

    White supremacy is an evil beyond evil. Apartheid is a sickness of the soul unto death. Those who wave the Confederate flag, and decorate themselves, and their vehicles, with one, have no heart, and their mind belongs to a movement with only hatred as a vital force.

    I cannot imagine what it is like to be black and know you are hated to the point of your death, and the deaths of the loves of your life. And to look at the white people on the bus with you, or in the sidewalk crowd as you walk to work, or white visitors to your church with it’s “Everyone Welcome” sign on the front lawn, and wonder which of these bastards it will be with the gun blasting away. And to wonder that every day, your entire life long.

    And white politicians who encourage the hatred by tut-tutting it instead of railing against it, and making it crystal clear that disparaging, belittling, insulting, reviling, maligning, ridiculing, making fun of, or in any even slight way disrespecting a black person will not be tolerated any time ever, are guilty of creating an environment, and a culture, of hatred—and must be challenged to become the kind of leaders who exhibit, by the quality of their life, their commitment to the cause of “liberty and justice for all.”

    I do not know how to bring truth to bear upon those who have embraced a lie and call it God. I am as dumbfounded by it as Jesus was, who could only advise walking on to the next town, and leaving the dead to bury the dead. If they were content to bury their own dead, that would be one thing, but their life is consumed by their obsession with killing people innocent of everything but having black skin.

    There is no protection against stupidity, no immunity against rampant, willful, idiocy. But we will not grant them the floor, and will call them out at the slightest racist slur. They cannot be allowed to think that everyone is as they are. Silence is encouragement, and is viewed as acceptance. We will be noisy in our objection to white supremacists and their despicable racist ways. In every time and place.

    We good white people wonder why good Islamic people don’t oppose Islamic fundamentalism. Here is where we show them how, by opposing white supremacy at every turn—especially with those who are “only joking.”
  11. 06/19/2015 —  Duck Pond Panorama 02 — Freedom Park, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, June 11, 2015

    We have to understand that we get out of bed and go to work every day.

    This is not some lark.

    We are not on vacation except for the time we spend at our job.

    Our WORK is 24/7/12 with NO vacation, and time off only for meditation, reflection, realization, and rededication.

    We have to be alert to the situation as it unfolds before us,

    Attending what is happening and what needs to happen in response,

    Doing what needs to be done and getting ready for the next situation to unfold around us.

    What is appropriate here, now?

    What is missing here, now?

    What is called for here, now?

    What now? What next? Now what?

    There is no time to waste not knowing, not seeing, not hearing, not understanding, not doing what needs to be done.

    Our life needs us to live it the way it needs to be lived every moment.

    Mindfulness leads the way.

    We don’t think about it–

    We apprehend it.
  12. 06/18/2015 —  Pitcher Plant 08 — Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, McBee, South Carolina, June 4, 2015

    We have to work with the impact of our experience with life.

    It helps to work with the impact of our experience with life,

    In light of the life that is our life to live–

    In light of the way life is to be lived.

    Nature’s way is the way of least resistance.

    Consciousness complicates the “natural” flow of life’s tendencies,

    By finding things to take into account that introduce complexity

    Into what appears to be the way of least resistance,

    And makes it more tangled and thorny than it seemed at first glance.

    ”Kill all your enemies!” seems to be the course of least resistance to peace and security, but

    When we work with the impact of our experience with life,

    In light of the way that life is to be lived–

    For instance, with liberty and justice for all–

    That puts a different spin on things,

    And we have to look for a path with a second, or third,

    Degree of resistance to it,

    But which is now less resistant than the first path.

    We have to work with everything in this way–

    Taking everything into account, and finding the response

    That serves liberty, justice, kindness, compassion and peace,

    And complicates things,

    And slows things down,

    And makes things better for all concerned.
  13. 06/20/2015 —  Smith Creek Panorama 05 – Anna Ruby Falls, Unicoi State Park, Cattahoochee National Forest, Helen, Georgia, April 15, 2015

    One of the things I hate about photography is how it disrupts the flow of my life.

    I have to be there when the light is.

    The photograph doesn’t wait for a time,

    And is not found in a place,

    That is convenient to me.

    It asks me to lay my life aside in order to live my LIFE.

    That is ridiculous.

    Why can’t they be more compatible?

    Why can’t my LIFE be as smooth and easy as I like my life to be?

    Why does what I love to do require me to do what I hate to do?

    Here’s the lesson:

    We don’t love all there is to love about what we love.

    We have to make sacrifices and concessions

    In the service of what we love.

    We can’t let what we don’t love keep us from doing what we love.

    We have to grow up,

    And do what needs to be done,

    Whether we want to or not.

    This applies to the things we love,

    And to the things we do not love.

    Growing up is the solution to all of our problems today.

    And tomorrow.
  14. 06/20/2015 —  In the Rain—Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, McBee, South Carolina, June 4, 2015

    When I get in the car and drive off the backroads into traffic, it makes all the difference if I drive without will or opinion.

    I still drive with direction and preference, but without willfully insisting upon my rights, or imposing my desires—and without having any opinion of, or personal reaction to, what other drivers are doing.

    It’s like driving through a rain storm, or heavy fog, or ice and snow.

    We respond to the driving conditions without will or opinion.

    We do what is called for by the situation as it arises without will or opinion.

    And, when we arrive at your destination, and get out of our car,

    We carry the perspective of living without will or opinion with us through the day.

    Or better,

    When we leave home each morning, we check our will and opinion at the door.

    And when we come home in the evening, we tell them to visit us in our dreams,

    Because there isn’t much of a place for them in our life.
  15. 06/21/2015 —  Blackberry Foliage B&W Blended—Indian Land, SC, June 14, 2015

    We’re always dreaming.

    When we are walking along and slip over into a happy fantasy–

    Even if we begin by seeing a girl playing catch with her father,

    And are snatched back to playing sandlot baseball

    Behind the TV station (KNOE) in Monroe, Louisiana

    When we were in the 8th grade

    Things happen in our fantasy that never happened then and there,

    And, before we get to the house, the fantasy has morphed

    Thirteen times at its own direction

    With us just immersed in the show.

    The brain dreams constantly,

    We’re just too distracted by the business at hand when awake

    To notice.

    We are always processing experience,

    Turning things over,

    Rehearsing, rehearsing, rehearsing,

    Adjusting, adjusting, adjusting,

    Getting over the past,

    And preparing for the future,

    Trying to get our legs under us,

    And ready for what’s coming.

    We help things along by paying attention,

    And being conscious of themes played out over time.

    Our selves are talking to us here.

    The least we can do is listen

    With compassionate awareness

    To what is being said.
  16. 06/21/2015 —  Water Vapor—Duke Power Hydroelectric Dam on Lake Wylie, and the Catawba River, Tega Cay, SC, June 14, 2015. This photo was taken at 98 degrees Fahrenheit, and 94% humidity. A normally blue sky was graced with the haze of humidity, a deep south delight. Not!

    We can be mindful just by practicing being aware of what is happening within and without in each situation as it arises—without judgment or opinion.

    We can relax simply by focusing on our breathing—and exhaling slower and longer than we inhale.

    We can do more of what we like each day and less of what we don’t like.

    We can spend time with things we enjoy.

    We can indulge ourselves with music, art and nature.

    We can remember to see what we look at and hear what we listen to.

    We can ask the questions that beg to be asked, and say the things that cry out to be said.

    We can listen to our body, particularly to our stomach, and learn to read its signals.

    We can write down our dreams, and reflect on what they might be saying to us.

    We can enjoy what is to be enjoyed about each day.

    See how many of these things you can do in what remains of today,

    And how many you can work into tomorrow.
  17. 06/22/2015 —  Duck Pond Panorama 02 Detail—Freedom Park, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, June 11, 2015

    We have to take the initiative and start living our life the way we feel our life needs to be lived.

    Our life will take over from there,

    But we have to start the process.

    We cannot wait passively for our life to come ask us to dance.

    We have to decide what is “it” for us–

    And it may be what we wish were “it,”

    What we want to be “it”

    Or, even, what we are afraid might be “it.”

    It doesn’t matter what “it” is that we feel is our work,

    We just have to start in some direction,

    And allow our work to lead us along the way,

    Changing directions,

    Opening doors we never knew existed,

    Surprising us again and again with new ways

    To think of, and live, our life.

    But, nothing happens until we get up and go toward something,

    And then get out of the way.
  18. 06/23/2015 —  Trumpet Vine—Indian Land, South Carolina, June 14, 2015

    When I was in the preaching business, I was paid to talk to people about God.

    But.

    They didn’t want me to tell them anything they hadn’t already heard.

    I would try to work in something new.

    ”That’s not right!” they would protest.

    ”Tell it like it IS, Preacher!”

    Made for interesting times.

    They wanted to hear about the Christian God.

    Or, at worst, the Judeo-Christian God.

    They didn’t want to hear about God before God became a Jew.

    Or, after God gave up on Christianity.

    What did they think God was doing all that time waiting around for the Children of Abraham to make the scene?

    Who was God talking to then?

    They didn’t want to think about it.

    They just wanted to be told again “the old, old (But no older than that!) story.

    They were sure they would go to hell if they listened to anything else.

    The bad preaching got to them first.
  19. 06/24/2015 —  Lake Haigler Falls 2015 02 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, SC, April 25, 2015

    When we talk we have to talk about how it is with us and our work, the work we came to do.

    We have to talk about how we are working with the conditions and circumstances of our life in order to accommodate ourselves to our working conditions so that we might do the work that is ours to do.

    We are forever caught between our “situation” and Our Work.

    Our “situation” is the field of action, Our Work is what we are to do on the field of action as we are also “taking care of business” with regard to our “sitz im leben,” our “setting in life.”

    This is called Walking Two Paths At The Same Time.

    We have to take care of business on two levels.

    The baby needs to be changed and fed, the dog needs to get to the vet, we have a project report to make for our job, and duties and obligations to meet, all related to our setting in life.

    And we have to live there in certain ways—in ways that take into account the gifts, art, genus that are ours to bring to life in our life—in ways that do the work that is ours to do in and around the demands of our setting in life.

    We cannot relax this tension. We must bear consciously the pain of our twin responsibilities.

    We cannot r-u-n-n-o-f-t and join the circus, or the circuit of like-minded-world-renouncing-communes, or conversations, where we repeat our mantras and wait for the world to end.

    When we talk, we have to talk about our work and our setting in life and the difficulties we are having getting them together.

    Our setting in life is the matrix within which we do our work.

    It is necessarily difficult because the real work here is to grow up.

    Our work will grow us up IF we do it within our life setting.

    If we r-u-n-n-o-f-t to do our work, we abandon our work, and remain stuck repeating our mantras, our truisms, our trite, worn, sayings that have no meaning apart from our setting in life.

    Our conversations are to keep our “feet to the fire” and help us do the work that is ours to do.

    If they are helping us escape, deny, discount, discard either the work or our setting in life, they are doing harm, not helping us maintain the tension and work with what must be worked with on the two levels—not helping us “work it out.”

  20. 06/25/2015 —  Pearson’s Falls 2015 05 — Saluda, NC, April 18, 2015

    It takes being quiet to hear what is being said.

    We are always talking to ourselves, but we are not always listening.

    Our mind is on other things.

    10,000 other things.

    10,000 is the Taoist way of representing infinity.

    We never run out of things to think about that aren’t what we need to be thinking about.

    We need to be thinking about what we are saying to ourselves.

    We have to be quiet for a long time to get past the noise in our life

    That is jamming the signals and keeping us from knowing

    What we need to know

    To be doing what we need to be doing

    With our life in the time left for living.

    It takes a lot of listening to be able to hear.
  21. 06/25/2015 —  Smith Creek Panorama 03 — Anna Ruby Falls, Unicoi State Park, Cattahoochee National Forest, Helen, Georgia, April 15, 2015

    Our work is to align our conscious ego with our unconscious Psyche,

    So that they collaborate as one in the unfolding of our life,

    Within the terms and conditions of the time and place of our living.

    Get that down, and you have it made.
  22. 06/26/2015 —  Soque River 04 — Mark of the Potter, Clarksville, Georgia, April 14, 2015

    Our conscious ego has to be mature enough to see itself—to be transparent to itself.

    Nothing can happen until our conscious ego can be aware of itself.

    Can see itself acting,

    Hear itself speaking.

    Feel itself feeling,

    Observe itself wanting, hating, loving, resenting…emoting,

    Know itself.

    Once the conscious ego is capable of knowing itself,

    It is capable of knowing its Other Self.

    That’s when the fun begins.

    Everything is waiting for the conscious ego to wake up to itself,

    And to its Other Self,

    And say, “Let’s do it!”
  23. 06/27/2015 —  Lake Chico 02 Panorama—Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, May 22, 2015

    It’s the same work that has to be done every day:

    Look, listen, see, hear, understand what is being asked of us.

    Do it with compassion and grace.

    Be who we are, and who we also are.

    All of this without will or opinion.

    Live with direction and preference,

    Not will and opinion.

    That’s the most important thing.

    Repeat the process all day long,

    Within the terms and conditions,

    Nature and circumstances,

    Of our life.

    When you don’t know what to do,

    Look, listen, see, hear.

    Works every time.
  24. 06/28/2015 —  Carolina Jasmine 2015 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, April 6, 2015

    Meditation is the process whereby we, as conscious ego, seek alignment with ourselves, as unconscious psyche/self.

    We are seeking communion with the two million-year-old person (Carl Jung’s phrase) within.

    It is our place to learn the language of our inner self,

    And build a collaborative relationship with her, with him,

    So that our life becomes an expression of who we are capable of being,

    And we assume the roles of both mother and mid-wife,

    Of sculptor and stone,

    Birthing ourselves again and again

    Throughout the time left for living.

    Together with our invisible Other,

    We craft a life,

    And live the adventure of being alive.
  25. 06/29/2015 —  Cypress Swamp Panorama B&W 06 — Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, March 2015

    Adjustment and accommodation, Kid. Adjustment and accommodation.

    Life is the art of putting ourselves in accord with our life–

    Both of them: The one we are living and the one that is ours to live.

    We find ourselves saying, “Whhaatt? Not AGAIN!” all the time.

    Our capacity for adjustment and accommodation

    Is a measure of our maturity.

    The people who cannot adjust and accommodate themselves to their life,

    Do not live very well,

    And do not enable others to live very well.

    When life has to be This Way, NOT That Way,

    It is going to be a long time to peace and contentment.

    Life is the art of finding out what you can get by with.

    Life is the art of finding out how much you can give up,

    And still have a good time.

    Life is the art of considering your possibilities,

    Not your misfortunes.

    Life is the art of seeing what you can do

    With what you have to work with,

    Today.
  26. 06/30/2015 —  Lake Haigler Summer Panorama—Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, SC, June 29, 2015

    I live in the midst of a developing nation.

    Development is everywhere.

    I awaken to the sound of bulldozers, dump trucks and earth moving equipment

    Clearing the land,

    Making progress.

    Actually, they are making a profit

    At nature’s expense.

    There are earthquakes where earthquakes were not

    Because progress (Read: Profit) requires fossil fuel

    And fracking is the cheapest, fastest way to feed the beast.

    Of course, voices of protest have been raised over the course of time,

    But if a profit can be made, a profit will be made,

    And the economy grows lusty,

    And calls for M O R E N O W ! ! !

    The Sierra Club and Greenpeace can’t keep up.

    The only break came when the housing bubble burst.

    It takes a systemic shock to shut down rabid insanity

    Because we, as a species, lack the self-reflection-and-restraint

    Necessary for survival,

    And it’s an all-or-nothing world.

    But.

    The ice caps are melting.

    And the honey bees are disappearing.

    Nature’s way of reclaiming lost ground,

    And recovering from the failed experiment of homo sapiens.
  27. 06/30/2015 —  Cypress Swamp Panorama 08 — Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, March 2015

    Just look.

    Just listen.

    Just see.

    Just hear.

    Just understand.

    Just know.

    Just do (what needs to be done in response to the above)

    Just be (the best person you are capable of being with the qualities and characteristics, gifts and abilities you possess, within the nature and circumstances of your life).

    And the world will be a better place,

    Because of you.
  28. 06/30/2015 —  Peaches 2015 04 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, SC, June 29, 2015

    We come into the world packed with all the help we need

    To meet our life square-up and deliver the goods

    (That would be what we have to offer)

    In each situation as it arises

    All our life long.

    How many babies have you known who didn’t know their own mind,

    And didn’t mind expressing it?

    We begin to lose our confidence and self-assurance

    All along the way,

    Until, by the seventh grade, we are looking around to see

    How it’s supposed to be done,

    And doing it like everyone else is.

    Too many of us never wake up

    And find our way back to ourselves,

    But die never having had an authentic thought in adulthood,

    Or acted on a personal urge for self-expression.

    And the help we need is always “right there,”

    Waiting to be turned to,

    And asked for assistance and direction.
  29. 07/01/2015 —  Lake Haigler Summer Panorama 02 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, SC, June 29, 2015

    Introspection, reflection, solitude.

    The watchwords for the second half (maybe the last third) of life.

    Carl Jung said, “For a young person it is almost a sin . . . to be too much occupied with himself; but for the aging person it is a duty and a necessity.”

    We have to reconcile ourselves to our life–

    To the life we have lived and the one we are living,

    And to the one we are called, even yet, to live.

    We have to see how things have fit together,

    And recognize the recurring imprint of grace at work throughout our life.

    Making our peace with the way things are,

    And living with gratitude for all that is and has been,

    Opens us to the offerings of each day,

    And to the wonder of life yet to be lived.
  30. 07/02/2015 —  Lake Haigler Loop Trail 04 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, SC, June 29, 2015

    Lions come with a built-in pattern for being a lion in place.

    And, they are born into a pride in which everyone there is doing it

    The way lions do it.

    No lion ever got confused about who it was or what it was supposed to do,

    And never even dreamed about being an elephant or an antelope.

    No lion ever had big ideas for itself and wanted to move to the city

    And be in the zoo.

    Lions live out their life, quite content to be a lion,

    With no one ever asking it, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

    It’s different with human beings.

    We can override every human thing about us

    And live like we are pigs or parrots if we want to.

    Overriding the patterns in place from the womb,

    And imposing our idea of us on us,

    Creates problems.

    Can you imagine John Wayne

    Trying to be Momma’s Little Darling

    All his life long?

    The people with the best chance in life

    Are being who they are.

    Not who they wish they were.

    Where do you fall out along that continuum?

    How close to the patterns do you live?
  31. 07/03/2015 —  Sandhills Grasslands—Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, McBee, South Carolina, June 7, 2015

    There are three aspects of the spiritual journey,

    Which is also the Road to Maturity and Grace:

    There is who we are.

    There is what we do.

    There is how we feel about it.

    The work of the journey and the Road

    Is integrating these three things

    So that they merge together and are one.

    What we do is who we are,

    And we are at peace with who we are and what we do.

    Negotiation and compromise, Kid.

    Negotiation and compromise.

    And living transparent to ourselves,

    In each situation as it arises.

    We are the knight and the dragon and the treasure,

    The sculptor, the chisel, and the marble.

    The bard and the tale.
  32. 07/04/2015 —  Peaches 2015 02 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, SC, June 29, 2015

    It starts with what you care about.

    Your life begins there.

    The Spiritual Journey, A.K.A. The Road To Maturity and Grace,

    Starts there.

    Nothing happens until you care about something.

    It could be anything, but.

    You have to care deeply about it.

    You have to care deeply enough about it to do what you hate doing–

    What is inconvenient, exasperating, and no fun–

    To do what you care about.

    If you don’t care about anything deeply enough to do anything to do it,

    There is nothing I, or anyone else, can do for you.

    We are all standing around,

    Waiting for you to care about something deeply enough,

    To sacrifice yourself in its service.

    Until you are doing that,

    We are wasting our time with you.

    And none of us have enough of it to throw any of it away.

    Neither, of course, do you.

    So why are you wasting time not caring about anything enough

    To die for it?

    That kind of death is the path to resurrection and new life.

    You are already dead–

    Too dead to care about anything.

    Caring about something enough to die in its service

    Will raise you from the dead,

    Like nothing else will.

    But, you have to do it to know what I’m talking about.
  33. 07/05/2015 —  Faires-Coltharp Cabin Panorama—Anne Springs Close Greenway, Dairy Barn Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, April 30, 2015

    Your reactions to the events and circumstances of your life

    Are a mirror reflecting you to you

    (And to everyone else).

    What you do is you.

    How you react is, too.

    You are calling your attention to what needs attending

    About you,

    And you think it is the events and circumstances of your life

    That need attention, alteration–

    That your reactions are normal, reasonable and sound,

    And it is your life that is out of round.

    There is nothing wrong with you

    That having more things go your way

    Wouldn’t cure.

    Your life keeps sending you messages,

    You keep yelling at your life.

    Everything waits for you to wake up–

    For the shift in perspective

    That changes everything.
  34. 07/06/2015 —  Mingus Mill—Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee, NC

    When we live in sync with ourselves,

    integrated within and without,

    It is a smooth fit and flow.

    We are “in the groove,”

    ”On the beam,”

    ”At peace” with ourselves and our lot in life.

    There is nothing to fight against,

    So resistance disappears,

    And we respond as needed

    To each situation as it arises,

    With an offering appropriate to the occasion.

    What’s wrong with that for a way to live?
  35. 07/07/2015 —  Yellow on Black—Sunflower Fields, Draper Wildlife Management Area, York County, South Carolina, July 4, 2015

    Notice everything.

    Notice what impresses you.

    Let the things that impress you be things like sunrises and sunsets,

    Moon rises and moon sets,

    Cloud formations,

    Rainbows,

    Natural things.

    Ask yourself, “What’s so impressive about

    Celebrities,

    Awards,

    Prestigious affiliations,

    And things money can buy?

    What’s so impressive about money?”

    Live to be impressed by things

    Worthy of your attention.
  36. 07/07/2015 —  Yellow on White—Sunflower Fields, Draper Wildlife Management Area, York County, South Carolina, July 4, 2015

    We have to take our solace where we can find it, but.

    I recommend art—including literature and poetry—music and nature

    Over drugs, sex and alcohol.

    If you have been lost in the latter,

    Poke around a bit in the former.

    See if you can find something there

    That comes upon you as a blessing and a grace,

    Soothing your soul,

    Healing old wounds

    (And helping you avoid new ones).

    If your life isn’t working as is,

    Look at where you are spending your money,

    And where you are spending your time.

    I’ll bet it isn’t in the areas of art, music and nature.
  37. 07/08/2015 —  Sunflower 2015 04 — Sunflower Field, Draper Wildlife Management Area, York County, South Carolina, July 4, 2015

    We need objective, expert witnesses, not only in the justice system (Why is it “criminal justice system” and not just “justice system”? Criminals aren’t the only ones in need of just and fair treatment), but throughout our life.

    We need someone to witness what is happening in our life, to share our experience, to confirm or correct what we perceive to be happening.

    We are thoroughly capable of responding appropriately to the situation IF we interpret what is occurring there correctly.

    We need an expert, objective witness with whom we might consult in determining the correctness of our understanding of what is happening.

    In the absence of such a helpful aid in time of trouble, we are on our own in the work to assess and evaluate what is going on and what needs to be done about it in each situation as it arises.

    It takes me a while to see things as they are.

    I don’t walk around being savvy, tuned-in and with it.

    I get blindsided and react defensively, aggressively, personally, and rarely recover from one event before the next one is unfolding before me.

    We need more time between situations.

    Time to recover, reflect, reconsider and regain our perspective—which is the emotional/physical distance required to see what the deal is from all sides, and determine what response would be most fitting to the occasion.

    We can’t do that “like that.”

    And, that’s the “whole problem,” as I see it.

    We are asked, no, required, to size things up and respond appropriately in no time at all.

    That’s ridiculous. Ain’t no way.

    It takes time to know what is going on and what to do about it.

    You tell them I said so.
  38. 07/09/2015 —  Yellow on Blue—Indian Land, South Carolina, July 8, 2014

    Most of what passes for conversation is deigned to keep from having to say anything.

    How much reflection goes into your conversations?

    How much new ever comes out of them?

    You may argue often,

    But how much insight is gleaned?

    How often do minds change?

    Enlarge?

    Expand?

    Deepen?

    How often do you follow worn paths to familiar destinations?

    Like cows,

    Going from the barn to the pasture,

    And back to the barn?

    Conversation is a cow path,

    From nothing to nowhere and back,

    Again and again,

    Everyday.
  39. 07/10/2015 —  Atlantic Dawn 02 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, NC, October, 2008

    There are two of us,

    The one we are conscious of,

    And the one we are unconscious of.

    The one we are conscious of

    Is composed of the one I see and know,

    And you see and know,

    And the one you also see and know,

    But I do not see and know.

    And the one I see and know,

    But you do not see and know.

    The one we are not conscious of

    Is composed of the one we can become conscious of

    And the one that is there, and real, and impacts our life,

    But is beyond our ability to know,

    And the multitude of unconscious “contents”

    That influence us and make life interesting.

    We need to be told all of this early on,

    And taught how to relate to all that we are,

    And also are,

    For the good of the whole,

    Individually and collectively.

    We have to know what we know,

    And what can be known.

    Everything depends on it.
  40. 07/10/2015 —  Yellow on Blue with Green—Indian Land, South Carolina, July 8, 2015

    Every man has to be the best man he can be,

    And the best woman he can be.

    Every woman has to be the best woman she can be,

    And the best man she can be.

    The ideal male has to be compensated by the ideal female.

    The ideal female has to be compensated by the ideal male.

    Each of us works to get the ratios right among

    Reason, logic, practical, expedient, ambitious,

    Aggressive, devoted, empathetic, compassionate, accepting,

    Nurturing, understanding, receptive, open, imaginative,

    And all the other characteristics that comprise the species.

    We can be too much the man

    And not enough the woman,

    Too much the woman

    And not enough the man.

    We have to be balanced by our opposites,

    And seek the middle ground between the extremes,

    Bringing, Logos and Eros,

    Animus and Anima,

    To life with each of us,

    Neglecting neither,

    Honoring both
  41. 07/11/2015 —  Sunflowers 2015 02 — Sunflower Fields, Draper Wildlife Management Area, York County, SC, July 4, 2015

    We have to know what our place is,

    Where we belong,

    What our business is,

    And is not,

    Who our kind of people are,

    And are not.

    We have to work our side of the street,

    And trust the others to work their side of the street,

    And know where the line lies,

    And honor the line.

    When we blur the line,

    Or erase it,

    To earn the favor of those who won’t like us if we don’t,

    Or to exploit our position,

    And gain some advantage,

    We lose the way,

    And wander in a wasteland of our own making.

    We have to know what our work is,

    And do it.

    Everything flows from there.

    Everything stops flowing

    When we neglect our work

    In favor of some other consideration,

    And blur the lines,

    Or erase them.
  42. 07/12/2015 —  Atlantic Storm 05 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, NC, October 2008

    The National Park Service motto, “Your safety is your responsibility” applies across the board, around the table.

    Your life is your responsibility.

    That could be an AA motto.

    We are on our own with the problem of finding and living our life.

    Nobody can do it for us.

    Nobody can tell us how to do it.

    All the coaching and instruction in the world can’t tell us what we need to know in order to do what is ours to do.

    The group, the community, can encourage us, and can lead by example, doing its own work, living their own life, but.

    In the darkness at 2 AM, it’s just me and my life and the question of what am I going to do. What now? What next? Now what? I alone answer those questions.

    And the group, the community, encourages me to trust myself to find my own way to the life that is mine alone to live. They cheer me on. We cheer each other on.

    But, we do the work alone.

    The books on mindfulness don’t enable us to be mindful. We take up the practice, we do the work, on our own.

    The books on meditation don’t enable us to meditate.

    The books on sobriety don’t enable us to be, and remain, sober.

    The books on Spiritual Practice don’t enable us to reflect on our experience to the point of new realizations, or follow a healthy diet, or exercise regularly, or become transparent to ourselves…

    We do the work on our own.

    Talking about doing the work is not doing the work.

    Reading another book about doing the work is not doing the work.

    Are we doing the work is the only question.

    If not, why not is the other only question
  43. 07/12/2015 —  Baxter Creek Bridge 01 — Big Creek Campground, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Waterville, NC, 2008

    I’ve had enough of the stupidity of the deep south.

    I know stupidity isn’t a regional thing, but

    I’ve had enough of it in the deep south.

    There doesn’t seem to be much of it in Vermont

    And Oregon.

    I wish the deep south were more like Vermont

    And Oregon.

    The Affordable Health Care Act is a good thing.

    For everybody.

    What’s with not seeing that?

    Not understanding that?

    Not being all for that?

    Stupid willfulness is the only explanation.

    And, that is only one example.

    There are myriad more.

    All built upon the premise

    That “Ours Is The Right Way To See And Do Everything!”

    Or, as it is sometimes stated: “Nobody Can Show Us Nothing!”

    I can’t get far enough away from that.

    Not even Vermont and Oregon

    Are far enough away from that.
  44. 07/13/2015 —  Sunflower 2015 03 — Sunflower Fields, Draper Wildlife Management Area, York County, South Carolina, July 4, 2015

    Our life is an operating manual detailing how to live our life.

    We discover everything we need to know about living by living.

    But.

    There is a catch.

    We have to live mindfully, compassionately, aware of what is happening (within and without us),

    And what we do in response,

    And what happens next.

    We have to experience our life,

    And our response to our life.

    We have to pay attention.

    Without judgment, will or opinion.

    Only preference and direction are allowed.

    That’s it.

    If you follow these instructions,

    You will have everything you need

    To live the life that needs you to live it,

    And follow the thread with your name on it,

    Through the circumstances of your living.
  45. 07/14/2015 —  Sunflowers 2015 05 – Sunflower Fields, Draper Wildlife Management Area, York County, South Carolina, July 4, 2015

    It begins with what we care about–

    With caring about what we care about–

    With allowing what we care about

    To lead us into other things to care about.

    Caring about the things we care about

    Is the path of soul to soul by way of soul.

    Soul is here to express its love

    For the things it loves.

    We block the expression of soul in our life

    When we refuse to love what we love,

    And do not care about the things we care about,

    Because “it would hurt to much,”

    Or because “it would be too hard.”

    Or because of the ten thousand other reasons

    To wall ourselves in

    And not give a damn.
  46. 07/15/2015 —  Black-Eyed Susans and Purple Cone Flowers—Blowing Rock, NC

    Saying “YES!” to the way things are,

    And working with them

    To see what we can do with them

    In the time left for living,

    Transforms everything,

    And opens us to possibilities

    We never knew existed.

    This is the “transcendent function” (Carl Jung)

    Of imagination coming to life in our life,

    And the power Perspective Shifts

    To move mountains

    And to create doorways

    In the walls

    Boxing us in.

    We all are magicians in this way.

    We all are the magic wand we wish we had.

    Waiting for the jailer to let us out,

    We become the jailer keeping us in,

    Holding the key,

    Wishing we had a key.
  47. 07/16/2015 —  Dairy Barn HDR 03 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, Dairy Barn Access, June 4, 2015

    The truth within us has to recognize,

    Validate,

    And resonate with

    The truth outside of us.

    We are actively engaged in the transmission of truth.

    Truth doesn’t reside “out there,”

    To be “proclaimed” by the gurus,

    Masters,

    And disciples of the gurus and masters.

    Truth is as much “in here,”

    Waiting to be awakened,

    Deepened,

    Expanded

    By our engagement with what we find “out there.”

    When the truth within meets the truth without,

    Truth translates truth,

    Truth transforms truth,

    Truth merges with truth.

    Inner is affirmed and enlarged by outer.

    Outer is given shape and form,

    Made tangible, practical, actual and real by inner.

    And we complete one round

    In the process of realization,

    Recognition,

    Enlightenment,

    And make ready for the next.
  48. 07/17/2015 —  Falls Park Panorama—Reedy River Falls Park, Greenville, SC, July 16, 2015

    If we have a Father Complex,

    We either hate our father,

    Or adore him,

    And live trying to please him,

    Or displease him.

    Our father is continuing to mess with our life,

    After all these years.

    How do we get over “dear old Dad”?

    ”Mindfulness leads the way.”

    We make dear old Dad conscious–

    We become conscious of how living here and now,

    Is really living there and then,

    And how Dad’s influence is still

    Running, and ruining, our life–

    And that to live contrary to Dad’s influence

    Is still living under Dad’s influence.

    The only way out from under Dad

    Is to become consciously aware

    Of our own heart and soul,

    And to know what would be

    Genuinely, authentically, US

    Apart from Dad.

    That’s all there is to it.

    Becoming intently conscious

    Of the way things are,

    Transforms the way things are.

    It works with our Poor Old Mother, too.
  49. 07/17/2015 —  Greenhouse Orchid 09 — Campbell’s Greenhouse and Nursery, Charlotte, NC, April 21, 2015

    Consciousness—mindfulness—without judgment, will, or opinion,

    but with compassionate, gracious, acceptance,

    Covers a multitude of ills.

    If you want to change something,

    Particularly about yourself,

    Become conscious of it.

    Know all there is to know about it.

    Be curious about it.

    Explore it.

    Interview it.

    Wonder what it is concealing,

    And what it is revealing.

    And, if you think you “know all about it,”

    Ask yourself what you don’t know about it.

    See how much you DON’T know.

    Ask it to reveal itself to you,

    And to reveal yourself to you in so doing.

    The world will change before your eyes.
  50. 07/18/2015 —  Reedy River Falls 03 — Greenville, SC, July 16, 2015

    The difference between being self-conscious and being self-aware

    Is the difference that makes the difference.

    Being self-conscious is seeing yourself with judgment and opinion.

    Being self-aware is seeing yourself without judgment or opinion.

    It is not enough to see yourself.

    Everything rides on “Then what?”
  51. 07/19/2015 —  Heron Dance—Bog Garden, Greensboro, NC

    ”To Thine Own Self Be True.”

    There is no better advice.

    It all starts with being who we are.

    But, we are a multiplicity of personalities, moods and dispositions!

    Will the real “us” please stand up!

    And, of course, they all stand up,

    And come forward,

    To claim us for their very own.

    It’s a joke being true to “our own self.”

    We wouldn’t know where to begin,

    And have no idea of how to find our way

    Back to “the face that was ours before we were born.”

    But.

    We know what we like and don’t like,

    What’s right for us and wrong,

    What’s good for us and bad,

    Where we belong,

    And where we have no business being.

    Start there.

    With what we know to be so about us.

    Be true to that.

    Notice when we override that

    For the sake of “appearances,”

    Or to keep things smooth and calm.

    Notice how often we are in Override Mode.

    Notice what we are doing

    That is not true to ourselves.

    See what happens.
  52. 07/19/2015 —  Reedy River Falls 10 B&W—Falls Park, Greenville, SC, July 16, 2015

    Focus and concentration, Kid. Focus and concentration.

    We cannot live accidentally.

    Intention and dedication, Kid. Intention and dedication.

    Our work requires more effort

    Than hitting a golf ball, or a baseball.

    Attention and devotion, Kid. Attention and devotion.

    Athletes practice.

    Musicians practice.

    Chess masters practice.

    Ballet dancers practice.

    Our work is our life.

    Allegiance and fidelity, Kid. Allegiance and fidelity.

    We cannot do what is ours to do–

    We cannot live the life that is ours to live–

    When nothing better is available,

    When the mood hits us,

    When we feel like it.

    Fealty and liege, Kid. Fealty and liege.
  53. 07/19/2015 —  Colors of Fall 07 — Bog Garden, Greensboro, NC, November 21, 2011

    What do you do wholeheartedly?

    How often do you do it?

    How long has it been since you have done it?

    Can you remember the last time you did something wholeheartedly?

    We measure “vital signs” by checking our blood pressure, temperature and pulse rate.

    That tells us that we are alive,

    But it doesn’t tell us how fully, completely, alive we are.

    We take our “vitality signs” by noting the number of things we do wholeheartedly,

    How frequently we do them,

    And how long it has been since the last time we did them.

    We cannot be partially alive.

    If our heart isn’t wholly in anything we do,

    We are only pretending to be alive.

    We may be 98.6 and breathing,

    But we aren’t dancing,

    We aren’t singing,

    In the rain, or anywhere else.

    Find what you can do wholeheartedly,

    And do it.

    Frequently.

    Often.

    Forever.
  54. 07/20/2015 —  Reedy River Falls 01 — Falls Park, Greenville, SC, July 16, 2015

    We find our life and live it amid the 10,000 distractions.

    Sex, drugs, alcohol, wealth and prosperity

    Present themselves to us as “really living,”

    Purport to be “what life is all about,”

    Rob us of our attention and focus,

    And leave us wondering what happened

    To all the bright dreams

    In the wasteland of our discontent.

    It doesn’t turn out as planned,

    And, that’s what we get for thinking we have a better idea

    For our life

    Than our life’s idea for itself.

    ”Be Quiet And Listen!”

    Should be the first lesson upon leaving the womb.

    But, by then, we already are not listening,

    And have to live a long time

    In the wasteland of our own making

    Before we know we don’t know as much as we think we know,

    And are ready, finally,

    To be quiet and listen—

    Past all of the distractions—

    To the faint beating

    Of the heart of life and being.
  55. 07/20/2015 —  Colors of Fall 02 — Bog Garden, Greensboro, NC, November 2011

    Look closely at the meaningful things in your life.

    Everything in your life is a mirror, reflecting you to you–

    A threshold inviting you to step across into you–

    Pathways to who you are, and who you are to become–

    Particularly, the things most meaningful to you.

    Make a list of the meaningful things in your life.

    Explore them slowly, individually, imaginatively, over time.

    Let them become living symbols of you.

    What do they say about you?

    How do they express, exhibit, you?

    What can you see about yourself

    Examining at the things that mean the most to you?

    As you see more clearly who you are,

    Work consciously to become who you are–

    To bring you forth more fully into your life.

    Live into the life you are living,

    And become there,

    Who you are,

    Who you show yourself to be,

    In the things that mean the most to you.
  56. 07/21/2015 —  Reedy River Falls 04 — Falls Park, Greenville, SC, July 16, 2015

    At each stage of life we have to decide

    What to carry forward,

    And what to leave behind–

    What to keep,

    And what to throw away.

    Too many of us try to keep everything,

    And never throw anything away.

    And the mental age of the culture is,

    What would you say,

    12? 13?

    How are we ever going to mature,

    Individually and collectively,

    If we never look at our life

    And decide what is valuable,

    And what is valueless?

    If the kingdom of heaven

    Is like fishermen culling the day’s haul,

    Deciding for themselves what has value

    And what does not,

    Where does that put us?

    When are we going to sit around our life,

    And keep this,

    And throw back that?
  57. 07/22/2015 —  Reedy River Falls 02 — Falls Park, Greenville, SC, July 16, 2015

    Sit and listen.

    And evaluate what you hear.

    Evaluating what you hear

    Means listening deeper, further, additionally.

    We’re always stopping too soon,

    In a “I Get It-This-Ain’t-Getting-It-Done-Let’s-Go!” fashion.

    Gotta get it done, you know.

    Now.

    It’s the American Way.

    Nothing is wrong with sitting and listening,

    And listening further.

    If you aren’t listening yourself into a quandary,

    You aren’t listening long enough.

    You have to listen yourself to the other side.

    When you can make equally strong cases for all sides,

    THEN you are ready for the next step.

    Sitting in the middle,

    And waiting to see

    What you decide

    Needs to be done.

    It takes time.

    It is not the American Way.

    It is counter-cultural as it gets.

    Sitting and listening.
  58. 07/22/2015 —  Colors of Fall 04 — Bog Garden, Greensboro, NC, November 21, 2011

    Facts are to truth as words are to music.

    There is how things are (yin),

    and how things also are (yang),

    and that is how things are (Tao).

    Yin plus yang equals Tao.

    We live on the boundary between yin and yang,

    embracing contraries,

    integrating opposites,

    reconciling contradictions,

    serving/producing Tao.

    When we do not serve/produce Tao,

    there is the way things are,

    and there is the way we wish things were,

    the way we want things to be.

    When we serve the way we want things to be,

    we produce a world we cannot live in,

    and wonder, “Why?”

  59. 07/24/2015 —  Horseshoe Falls 01 — Musgrove Mill State Historic Site, Clinton, SC, July 23, 2015

    If we were going to create the church as it ought to be,

    We would have to start of with the right kind of people.

    It takes the church to make the church.

    You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken poop,

    As they like to say in the deep south,

    Or, words to that effect.

    In order to be the church,

    The people who make up the church

    Have to be busy being the church,

    And I don’t mean singing in the choir,

    Teaching Sunday School,

    Attending Bible studies,

    Witnessing to other people about Jesus,

    And going on mission trips.

    I mean working their own, individual, personal program.

    You have to be working the program.

    The program is

    Seeing, Hearing, Understanding, Knowing, Doing, Being.

    Start with seeing.

    You have to practice seeing what you look at,

    Particularly when you look in the mirror.

    Not just once or twice a week,

    When you think about it,

    Or feel like it,

    But, all of the time.

    You’ve heard of “praying constantly”?

    Well, seeing constantly is equally important.

    While you are doing that,

    You have to hear what is being said,

    And hearing what you are saying.

    You have to understand what’s what.

    You have to know what the deal is on every level.

    You have to do what needs to be done in response

    To the situation as it arises,

    And you have to be who you are

    In ways appropriate to the occasion.

    You don’t have a church

    Until everyone there is working this program.

    You will notice,

    There is nothing here about theology and doctrine.

    That isn’t an oversight.
  60. 07/24/2015 —  William Henry Gist Family Cemetery—Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site, Union County, South Carolina, July 23, 2015

    William Henry Gist was the 68th Governor of South Carolina, serving from 1858 to 1860. He was a leader of the succession movement in South Carolina, and was one of the signers of the Ordinance of Succession on December 20, 1860, which initiated the Civil War.

    William Gist owned over 160 slaves at the start of the War, and represents well those whose life was a failure of justice, compassion, imagination and courage, and whose legacy was “willfully wrong and never in doubt.”

    His mansion and family plot remain today as reminders of the airs evil can put on in pretending to be other than it is—and of the blanket of denial that wealth, privilege and aristocracy bring with them into the lives of all who serve them—calling all visitors to vigilance, self-awareness, self-examination, and reflection in being transparent to ourselves—and just, compassionate, courageous and imaginative in our relationships with all others, in every situation and circumstance of life.

    We remember so that we will not repeat, so help us God.
  61. 07/25/2015 —  Black-eyed Susans—Indian Land, South Carolina, July 23, 2015

    We fight to free ourselves

    From the presumptions, assumptions, inferences, conjectures, speculations, suppositions, deductions, judgments, opinions and conclusions

    That form our perspective,

    Force us to live in a world we generate from within,

    And prevent us from seeing things as they are.

    Compassionate, mindful, awareness

    Transforms everything it perceives.

    May we all live to be so free.
  62. 07/26/2015 —  Yosemite Falls 02 B&W—Yosemite National Park, CA, April, 2006

    Everybody is dealing with something,

    Bearing some burden.

    Each one of us is struggling

    To come to terms with the way things are,

    Making our peace with the truth of our life.

    This is the work of maturity,

    The singular task of the spiritual journey.

    We are all growing up.

    The more conscious we are of the process,

    And of our place in it,

    The better it is for everyone.

    We do our part

    When we put ourselves in accord with our life,

    And live it as fully as it can be lived,

    Anyway,

    Nevertheless,

    Even so.

    I don’t mean lie down

    And let it run over you.

    I mean do what can be done

    About what needs to be done

    With the gifts that are yours to use–

    I mean “get in there and do your thing”–

    Every day for the rest of your life,

    And let that be that.
  63. 07/26/2015 —  Sunflower 2015 12 — Sunflower Fields, Draper Wildlife Management Area, York County, South Carolina, July 6, 2015

    The white side of the south has a fascination with it’s “heritage.”

    That’s like Christians being all pumped up and proud of the heritage of Adam and Eve.

    Our southern, white, heritage is one of shame and disgrace.

    It is a heritage of evil, dispassion, oppression, cruelty, bigotry, injustice, brutality, hatred, intolerance, discrimination, homophobia, xenophobia and racism.

    We who are white and southern, have inherited attitudes, perspectives, proclivities, tendencies and demeanor that are consistent with privilege and entitlement, on the one hand, and with condescension, superiority, disdain and disparagement, on the other.

    Our white, southern, ancestors were wrong to not only condone, but to also cherish, these qualities and characteristics that they so unashamedly passed along to us.

    It is our place to right those wrongs.

    To throw off the “heritage” of treating other human beings in ways other than honorable, respectful, compassionate, kind, just, merciful, and evidence of good faith and a deep desire to be helpful and encouraging across the board, around the table, to every human being without exception.

    To do that consciously, deliberately, intentionally, dependably and constantly—in every situation as it arises.

    And, in so doing, to create a heritage for our descendants they would be honored to maintain throughout the far and distant future.
  64. 07/26/2015 —  Colors of Fall 05 — Bog Garden, Greensboro, NC, November 21, 2011

    Every night our dreams show us how it is in our life,

    As if to say, “This is how it is—what are you going to do about it?”

    Every night, the same question:

    ”This is how it is.

    What are you going to do about it?”

    We grow up

    By facing up to how it is with our life,

    And doing what needs to be done about it.

    Every night we get a mirror:

    ”This is how it is in your life.”

    And a question:

    ”What are you going to do about it?”

    Every day, we get another opportunity

    To look in the mirror,

    And work out our answer to the question.
  65. 07/27/2015 —  Empty Tracks—Union County, South Carolina, July 24, 2015

    The Dalai Lama is not best friends with a lot of people.

    And, there are people within Buddhist splinter groups

    Who are on his Bad List.

    Differences to the point of division, discord, estrangement and alienation

    Exist even within the hallowed halls of peace and compassion.

    If there, then everywhere.

    We all do better when not in someone’s company,

    And when we are in the company of “our kind of people.”

    Be glad there are those who receive you well

    And enable you to breathe,

    Find your center and your ground,

    And live out of the truth of who you are,

    And of who you are not.

    And be wary of those who don’t.

    That’s my take on irrefutable and irreconcilable differences.

    I don’t know what the Dalai Lama would have to say about them.
  66. 07/27/2015 —  Reedy River Falls 05 — Falls Park, Greenville, SC, July 16, 2015

    A purpose beyond our purpose

    Works like gravity and time

    To fill the sea

    Regardless of what civilizations rise and fall,

    Or which country’s Conquistadors

    Wreak chaos and havoc on which countries,

    The Purpose is at work

    Calling us back to the source and ground of our life,

    To the Tao of Eden,

    To the Eden of Tao,

    To “the face that was ours before we were born.”

    To what purpose?

    As though there could be a purpose

    Beyond knowing

    And being

    Who we are!
  67. 07/28/2015 —  Sunflower 2015 01 — Sunflower Fields, Draper Wildlife Management Area, July 4, 2015

    People who carry guns

    Are afraid, easily intimidated and lack confidence and self-esteem, or

    They are bullies who have to dominate, or

    They are insecure and have to imagine

    They are heroes looking for a chance to prove it

    In order to belong and have a place, or

    They enjoy hurting things

    And inflicting pain or the threat of pain.

    The west was won

    By the wholesale slaughter of American Bison,

    And the genocide of Native American tribes,

    And by having guns handed over upon entering towns

    And reclaimed upon leaving.

    The right to bear arms

    Did not apply to bars, restaurants, school houses, churches, movie theaters, air ports, hotels, train stations,

    Or other places of social interaction.

    Fear and insecurity create an atmosphere

    Which fosters fear and insecurity,

    And the circle is completely crazy.
  68. 07/28/2015 —  Horseshoe Falls 04 — Musgrove Mill State Historic Site, Canton, SC, July 23, 2015

    We all have been recipients of grace beyond comprehension,

    And we all have been victims of failures of grace beyond mention.

    Grace is what befell the Jewish man beaten and robbed and left to die in a ditch, when the person Jesus called the Good Samaritan—age old enemies of the Jews, then and now (The modern term for Samaritan is Palestinian)–came along, tended his wounds and paid for his recovery.

    A failure of grace would have been the story without a Good Samaritan in it.

    Our lives are filled with places without a Good Samaritan anywhere to be found.

    People have their agendas, and their plans, and their timetables, and their Manuals of Operation, and things must be done by the book, or else, you know, so no exceptions can ever be made, and no exemptions can ever be granted, and if you are beaten and in a ditch, you will just have to make out the best you can.

    We have to be open to the possibility of grace at work in our life.

    The Samaritan could have passed on by. He had his business to attend and the man in the ditch was a Jew, of all things. But, the Samaritan was open to the possibility of grace at work in his life.

    And, being open, he was moved by forces no one understands, to stop and tend the man in the ditch. And lives were changed forever.

    May we be blessed by the presence of those who are open to the possibility of grace at work in their life!

    And may we be those who are open to the possibility of grace at work in our life!

    Manuals of Operation and officially sanctioned ways of doing things notwithstanding.
  69. 07/29/2015 —  Cat Tails—Indian Land, SC, July 2015

    We walk two paths at the same time.

    We have responsibilities to the time and place,

    The context and circumstances,

    Of our living–

    Family, extended family, job, pets, bills etc.–

    And we have responsibilities to our deep Self,

    And to the gifts that are ours to bring forth and serve

    In expressing/exhibiting who we are

    Through the way we live our life

    In the time and place, context and circumstances, of our living.

    The two paths are one path when walked mindfully.

    The path of time and place is exactly what we need

    To awaken ourselves to who we are and what we are about

    In the deeper sense of Self and Gifts.

    We serve Self and Gifts when we live conscious of them

    In the time and place, context and circumstances, of our living.

    We do not abandon one path for the sake of the other.

    We bring both paths together in service to both

    By the way we see and accept

    What is true and what is also true,

    Integrate the opposites,

    And do the work of reconciliation,

    Knowing how things are,

    And being at peace with it,

    Laughing, with a foot in each world.
  70. 07/29/2015 —  Sunflowers 08 — Sunflower Fields, Draper Wildlife Management Area, York County, South Carolina, July 4, 2015

    Fred Craddock said, “The message of the Messiah is, ‘There is no Messiah!’”

    The Messiah is NOT the Messiah!

    Our life is our responsibility.

    We have to find our life and live it,

    With none to help or point the way.

    Well, not quite.

    We have all the help we need to find the way–

    IF we will but attend it!

    IF we will but open ourselves to it!

    IF we will but learn its language,

    And spend the time necessary

    On a regular basis

    To listen!

    All the help we need

    Is as close as a heartbeat,

    As near as our next breath.

    But.

    There is a catch.

    We have to give up our way

    In order to be guided to the way.

    We have to hand over our quest

    For the life we have in mind for ourselves

    In order to live the life our Self has in mind for us.

    It is a dilemma as old as the ages

    From whence we come.

    All are called,

    But few have what it takes to heed the directions

    And find the way

    To the life that is theirs to live

    In synch with the heart of life and being.
  71. 07/30/2015 —  Iron Bridge — Tygre River, Union County, SC, July 23, 2015

    There is us, and the life we are living, and the life that needs us to live it.

    That’s it.

    We have to be aware of it,

    And get the ratios right–

    How much for us,

    How much for the life we are living,

    How much for the life that is ours to live.

    How much what?

    Time and attention,

    Devotion and loyalty,

    Focus and concentration–

    You know, that kind of thing…

    We get to work at the points of conflict.

    We generally don’t want anything to do with conflict,

    So we dismiss, discount, deny and ignore it,

    Thinking we can disappear it that way.

    But.

    Conflict denied becomes symptoms overnight,

    And it goes downhill from there.

    To disappear our symptoms,

    We have to be intently, and intensely, aware of conflict—

    Dig into it,

    Explore it,

    Examine it,

    Know it fully.

    Bear the pain,

    And work it out.

    Make it work.

    One conflict at a time.

    Our conflicts are the path

    To reconciliation, integration, unification, wholeness and peace—

    When walked with mindful, compassionate, awareness.

    It will kill us to deal with our conflicts,

    And it will bring us to life.

    It’s like death and resurrection.

    You’ll have to trust me in this.
  72. 07/20/2015 —  Sunflowers 2015 09 — Sunflower Fields, Draper Wildlife Management Area, York County, South Carolina, July 4, 2015

    The culture is killing us.

    Mean Old Culture!

    That we create, demand, insist on, worship, serve and adore.

    The culture doesn’t force big screen TV’s on us.

    Or mobile phones.

    Or our addictions to action, plastic and noise.

    The culture is us.

    Is who we are.

    Take the culture away from us

    And we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves.

    We are killing ourselves

    With a culture of our own creation.

    That’s stupid.

    We are the problem to which we seek solution.

    We seek to be saved from ourselves.

    That puts us in charge of our own salvation.

    We are killing ourselves

    And it is up to us to stop.

    What is stopping us from stopping?

    Momentum?

    Karma?

    Laziness?

    It is easier to die by our own hand

    Than to live the life that is the source of life

    For ourselves and all living things.

    We get out of bed each morning

    With the choice

    To live toward life that day,

    Or toward death.

    And we make the call.

    Everyday.
  73. Used in Short Talks on Good and Bad Religion — 08/01/2015 —  Patchwork Dogwood Panorama—Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Gatlinburg, TN, April 2008

    We have to have something we are living to do—

    Something we will work the job we are working

    In order to pay the bills required

    To do it.

    We have to have something we care about,

    That we are in love with,

    That we can do with all our heart,

    That we can’t get enough of.

    Drinking beer and doing drugs don’t qualify.

    Meth labs and crack babies

    Are symptoms of a culture gone bad.

    We don’t fix that with a new round of politicians.

    We fix a broken culture

    By being who the culture needs us to be.

    It takes the right kind of people

    To produce the right kind of culture.

    We produce the right kind of people

    By making over ourselves.

    This is the new religion.

    Becoming who we need to be

    To live the life that needs us to live it.

    It starts with listening to your dreams.

    You can still get a hardback copy

    Of Anthony Stevens’ book, Private Myths

    For one penny plus $3.99 postage

    From the Used Books on Amazon.

    If you aren’t willing to do that, never mind.

    I’m talking to the people who are.
  74. 08/02/2015 —  Reedy River Falls 06 — Falls Park, Greenville, SC, July 16, 2015

    We look for the payoff.

    For the profit,

    The benefit,

    The advantage.

    We look for what we are getting out of all this.

    For compensation for all our troubles.

    We are looking for wealth and privilege so we won’t have any more troubles.

    The wealthy and privileged are looking for wealth and privilege.

    So they won’t have any more troubles.

    What is it with troubles?

    We are all running from our troubles,

    Running to Nirvana.

    We know it’s out there somewhere.

    We are sure we are only one major purchase away.

    Or one lottery win away.

    Or one mighty baptism in the Big Time away.

    We want our life to pay off for us.

    So we can be trouble-free.

    Sit down.

    Let me explain something to you.

    Life is trouble.

    Death is trouble-free.

    Stop looking for relief,

    And start looking for LIFE.

    And, go to any amount of trouble to find it,

    And live what is left of it,

    While the light lasts.

    Oh, here’s a hint:

    It’s not Out There like a bucket list item.

    It’s tucked away In Here,

    Hoping you will find a way to express it Out There.

    The life you seek is in you,

    Waiting for you to live it.

    Don’t pause to notice the trouble.
  75. 08/02/2015 —  The Warehouse—Chester, SC, July 23, 2015

    One of the surprising realizations upon entering retirement is that there isn’t enough time left.

    Specifically, there isn’t enough time left to spend with me.

    To listen to me.

    To get to know the unknown aspects of me.

    There isn’t enough time left for dreaming,

    For reflecting,

    For realizing,

    For reflecting…

    And there are too many people in my life,

    And it is my responsibility to give myself silence.

    Aloneness.

    Solitude.

    What I need is solitude.

    The soft places had their place,

    And filled a great need.

    Now I need listening room.

    Room in which I can listen to me,

    Spend time with me,

    Loving, attending, me.

    It’s great.

    The blog I’m putting together comes out of that.

    The photo work I’m doing on the computer comes out of that.

    And there is so much more to come.

    I relish looking forward to it,

    And I’m running out of time.

    And when I’m thinking about what someone else

    Wants me to think about,

    I’m not thinking about what I want to think about,

    Or reading what I need to read,

    Or doing what I need to do,

    So I don’t stop and chat with the neighbors.

    I have my appointed rounds,

    And I look forward to making them each day.

    Gifts of the day, from the day, to me.

    It’s good.

    Creation continues.

    And it continues to be very good.
  76. 08/03/2015 —  Sunflowers 2015 10 — Sunflower Field, Draper Wildlife Management Area, York County, SC, July 4, 2015

    What makes your heart sing?

    How long is your list?

    Live to lengthen it–

    To find ALL the things that make your heart sing.

    Live to let your heart sing as often as not,

    Then, more often than not.

    What would it be like

    To be your heart and never sing?

    A sad heart spills over

    Into all of life.

    So does a singing heart.

    When you live to let your heart sing,

    Your life sings along.
  77. 08/04/2015 —  Red Sky at Night—Blue Ridge Parkway from Rough Ridge, near Grandfather Mountain

    There are two things

    That are interrelated,

    And are the Two Most Important Things:

    We have to be compassionately, mindfully, aware

    To the point of being Transparent To Ourselves,

    And to the point of Doing The Work That Is Ours To Do–

    The Work That Makes Our Heart Sing.

    A quick self-inventory

    Will tell you

    Whether you have reached the point

    In your practice of compassionate, mindful, awareness

    To be living in ways which honor

    The Two Most Important Things,

    Or, if you need to be more intentional and deliberate

    In your practice.
  78. 08/04/2015 —  Lake Wylie Hydro-electric Dam Panorama HDR B&W—Catawba River, Tega Cay, SC, August 3, 2015

    If I could change one thing about my life,

    I would have better memories–

    Which, of course, would change everything,

    Including parents and point of origin,

    And then, at this point in that life,

    I would probably want better memories,

    And change all of that.

    Ad, as they say, infinitum.

    The whole karma thing

    Is about arranging to have better memories,

    And, eventually, coming up with a set of perfectly fine ones.

    I understand the necessity

    Of a lot of times around the block.

    In his later years, Joseph Campbell said,

    ”I remember the damnedest things.”

    The worst kind of things.

    And he had a charming life,

    A charmed life.

    If Joe Campbell can’t out live his memories,

    The rest of us don’t have a chance.

    My advice is welcome them to the table,

    And treat them well.

    They could use the kindness and compassion

    That were so completely lacking the first time around.
  79. 08/05/2015 —  Patchwork Dogwood Panorama B&W—Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN, April 2008

    It’s ridiculous to think that Jesus actually said, “Make disciples of all nations.”

    He didn’t “make disciples” of his own disciples.

    He followed the AA guideline: Attraction Not Promotion.

    That’s the way to do it.

    Start living your life and see who gravitates to you.

    Talk them into living their life and see who gravitates to them.

    Gravitation is the glue that sticks “disciples” together.

    And Jesus told his own disciples to grow up,

    Start living their own life,

    And stop looking to him for all the answers.

    He said, “You’ll do things I never imagined!” or words to that effect.

    ”Disciples have to become like the master in following no master.”

    That’s one of the 10,000 Spiritual Laws.

    We don’t find the way by walking in someone else’s foot steps.

    Throw away doctrine, theology and ideology.

    Do what makes your heart sing.

    That’s all the direction you will ever need.
  80. 08/05/2015 —  Sunflowers 2015 13 — Sunflower Fields, Draper Wildlife Management Area, York County, South Carolina, July 4, 2015

    Make an inventory of the things that mean the most to you.

    Consider each one.

    Does it enable you to live your life

    Or escape from your life?

    Is it a defense against life?

    A substitute for life?

    Does it connect you to life,

    Or protect you from life?

    What does each item represent for you?

    Do for you?

    Help you do?
  81. 08/06/2015 —  Lake Wylie Hydro-electric Dam 01 — Catawba River, Tega Cay, SC, August 3, 2015

    If you practice playing the piano,

    You will play the piano better

    Than if you don’t.

    Same goes for tennis, golf, basketball, walking, running, and cartwheeling.

    Same goes for living.

    We have to practice living with our eyes open.

    We don’t just climb out of bed each day and fall into our life.

    We have to work at living our life as though it were a piano.

    Living well is harder than playing the piano.

    Takes more practice.

    We spit more often that we practice living our life.

    We spit more often that we are aware of how we are living our life.

    If I ask my fourth-born granddaughter

    What she needs to do to improve her time in the breast stroke,

    She has a ready list of things she is working on,

    From entering the water, to breathing, to turning, to touching at the end.

    If I asked you what you need to do to improve the way you are living our life,

    You would change the subject.

    What do you call a blind deer?

    No eye-deer.

    We can’t live like a blind deer.

    We have to have an eye-deer of what we are doing,

    And what we need to do,

    To be awake, aware and alive.

    We have to practice living

    Intentionally, deliberately, consistently.

    Like we are playing a Rachmaninoff piano concerto.
  82. 08/07/2015 —  Woods Pond Panorama 02 B&W—Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, McBee, SC, August 6, 2015

    ”How do you get to be larger than life?”

    ”Answer the question:

    ’How good is the good you call good?’”

    ”What’s the answer?”

    ”Your life is the answer.

    Some questions can’t be answered

    With an explanation,

    Or a definition,

    Or a recipe.

    ’What is love?’

    You have to live it to know it.

    ’What is Zen?’

    ’What, or who, is God?’

    All the good questions have to be lived to their answers–

    Insofar as they can be answered.”

    ”How good is the good YOU call good?”

    ”I’m still trying to get to the bottom of it.”

    ”Why don’t you ever answer a question?”

    ”I’m still trying to get to the bottom of all the good ones.

    The not-so good ones aren’t worth my time.

    Everybody is hung up on the not-so good questions.

    Nobody is larger than life.”
  83. Buddha on Black — Charlotte, NC, August 7, 2015

    Life keeps throwing things at us

    That we don’t like,

    Don’t want,

    And can make no sense of.

    How we deal with it

    Makes all the difference.
  84. 08/09/2015 —  Thunder Storm Panorama — Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, McBee, South Carolina, August 6, 2015

    There is only one cure for vulnerability:

    Making your peace with it.

    Coming to terms with our vulnerability

    Is the sine qua non of a rich, full life well-lived.

    We hold ourselves back from life, trying to be safe, secure.

    We wall ourselves in,

    Kill our enemies before they kill us,

    Wash our hands 42 times before getting out of bed…

    We build our life around avoiding all,

    And warding off all evil,

    And being off limits to all untoward things.

    The Buddha died from eating poorly cooked pork.

    Jesus died from saying what needed to be said.

    They both said:

    “Come follow me and I’ll show you how to do it!”

    And we say, “But will we be safe and secure?”

    They laugh and walk on, arm in arm,

    To whatever their life has in store for them,

    Living all the way.
  85. 08/10/2015 —  Low Water Bridge Panorama — Once was a logging road for hauling out pine logs and turpentine, exposed by the draw-down of Pool H, Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, McBee, SC, August 6, 2015

    It would be such a help if we wanted to do what needs to be done.

    Or, even, if we could fake it really well.

    We are stuck with not wanting to do what needs us to do it.

    And that’s the problem of a lifetime.

    How we work with it

    Through long years of negotiation and compromise

    Tells the tale.

    The theme of the Road to Maturity

    (AKA, The Spiritual Journey, The Hero’s Journey, The Spiritual Quest, and The Road Through Hell)

    Is doing well what needs us to do it whether we want to or not.

    To refuse to do that is called The Road To Hell,

    Because it’s hell to pay either way.

    Which one we choose for our life’s path

    Is a mark of our character,

    And a sign of grace at work in our life.

    Or not.

    Some people seem to have no character,

    And no grace at work in their life.

    Ponder that.

    What must that be like?

    That would put the rest of our problems to shame!
  86. 08/11/2015 —  The Window — Indian Land, SC, August 10, 2015

    All of the movies, plays, novels, history books, mythology, fairy tales and stories

    stick with the same basic themes,

    and no matter how it’s dressed up

    as Guilt and Redemption, Lost and Found,

    Death and Resurrection, Sickness and Health,

    Good and Evil, and whatever others there may be,

    it comes down to this:

    Who will stand up and step forward,

    and who will shrink back and turn away?

    Who will go forth and meet their destiny,

    and who will succumb to the empty hopelessness of their fate?

    It is the question we are born to answer.

    Will we ask the questions that beg to be asked,

    and say the things that cry out to be said?

    Or will we blame The Breaks,

    and cry out with Terry Malloy, “I coulda had class,

    I coulda been a contender, I coulda been somebody,

    instead of a bum, which is what I am”?

    We play to audiences unseen,

    and answer the question a dozen times a day.

    It is up to us to play our part consciously,

    and know when we are stepping forward,

    and when we are shrinking back
  87. 08/11/2015 —  Sunflowers 2015 11 — Sunflower Fields, Draper Wildlife Management Area, York County, SC, July 4, 2015

    What are you doing with your life?

    I don’t want your long range goals.

    I want to know what you are doing that needs you to do it,

    That you know needs to be done,

    Whether or not anyone else recognizes it.

    I don’t want to know about your job.

    I want to know what you do with the money you earn.

    What do you use money to do?

    What are you here to do?

    Not, what are you paid to do?

    Life is a function of living in the service of what you have to do.

    If there is nothing you have to do,

    And if you don’t know what to do with yourself if you aren’t at your job,

    The way is plain before you:

    You have to find what is yours to do, and do it.

    If anyone asks you what you are doing with your life,

    Tell them you are looking for what is yours to do–

    And mean it.

    Be diligent in the search

    And dedicated to it.

    The search for your life must become your life.

    You are looking for what is worth your life.

    You are not here to idle your time away,

    Lolling by the pool,

    Drifting into some movie,

    Texting your way through another day.
  88. 08/12/2015 —  After Papa Died 01 Panorama HDR — Union County, NC, August 11, 2015

    The key to being what is needed in each situation as it arises

    Is getting out of the way.

    With you out of the way,

    You are still a part of the situation,

    And your needs rank as high as any need there,

    But

    Your needs rank no higher than any need there.

    The key to being what the situation needs us to be

    Is equal need across the situation.

    No bias, no prejudice, no favoritism.

    No judgment, no will, no opinion.

    Seen objectively, what needs to happen in the situation?

    This is the way things are.

    What needs to be done about it?

    What does the situation call for?

    Money and power are leverage

    Tilting situations in the direction of those

    With money and power.

    If we have money and power,

    We get more of what we need,

    And they get less of what they need.

    That’s the name of the game.

    Living to be what the situation needs us to be–

    To offer what is called for by the situation

    Out of the gifts we have to give–

    Changes the game.
  89. 08/12/2015 —  McLeod Peaches — McLeod Farms, McBee, SC, August 6, 2015

    We will never figure it out

    Or be able to work it to our advantage.

    But, we can engage it as full participants

    In the action,

    And live in ways that serve the good of all

    At the expense of none–

    Regardless of whether that catches on,

    Goes viral,

    And renders all other ways of doing things

    Obsolete overnight.
  90. 08/13/2015 —  Daises — Pike Nursery, Charlotte, NC, August 7, 2015

    We all come complete with an Archetypal Companion

    Whose task is to steer us onto the right path

    Through all of the stages of our lifelong development.

    We each have a life that can be–

    And is to be–

    Lived out within the context and circumstances of our living,

    as an expression of innate capacities,

    Qualities and characteristics,

    The unique blend of which makes us

    The irreplaceable individual we are capable of being.

    When we frustrate the inner design

    By making choices incompatible with our life’s path,

    We generate what has been called “bad karma,”

    And live disorientated, aimless and empty,

    Among symptoms that know no end.

    It all goes so much better

    When we go to the trouble of aligning ourselves

    With ourselves,

    And living in accord with our life,

    Which our Archetypal Companion is more than willing

    To help us do

    With guiding dreams, nudges, notions and inclinations,

    When we acknowledge her/his presence,

    And place ourselves in the service of his/her direction.

    We generally have to be at the end of our rope

    To grasp for this one remaining straw,

    Because it seems too ridiculous to consider

    Until we have run out of rational options.
  91. 08/13/2015 —  Charlotte Skyline 02 Panorama — Charlotte, NC, August 13, 2015

    We are trying to squeeze into a life that doesn’t fit.

    We aren’t built for civilization,

    And the roles civilization requires us to play.

    When is the last time you did something that was purely YOU?

    That made your heart sing?

    Those things exist,

    But.

    We have to work them in–

    Consciously, deliberately, seek them out.

    Or pay the price.

    The price is complete loss of soul.

    And heart.

    We have to know

    We are being squeezed into a life that doesn’t fit.

    And compensate ourselves

    For the anguish of that experience,

    By immersing ourselves in what does fit,

    And relishing the wonder of a singing heart.
  92. 08/15/2015 —  Purple Cone Flowers 01 — Nursery Photos, Rountree Plantation Nursery, Charlotte, NC, August 13, 2015

    You will be amazed at how smoothly your life will flow

    Once you stop caring about the unimportant things.
  93. 08/16/2015 —  Past Prime 01 — Nursery Flowers, Rountree Plantation Nursery, Charlotte, NC

    We are always rushing to judgment,

    Jumping to conclusions,

    Hatching explanations that will neatly mesh

    What is happening with our expectations,

    And keep things in place,

    And unexamined,

    In our life.

    Heaven forbid that we should have to do something

    We don’t want to do,

    Like revise our understanding of the rules

    That govern our existence.

    We like the idea that thinking positively,

    And believing the right beliefs,

    Are all we have to do to arrange the universe

    To our satisfaction,

    And that somewhere, upstairs, perhaps,

    There is a man behind a curtain,

    Turning dials, pushing buttons, flipping switches, pulling levers,

    And arranging circumstances

    To our complete satisfaction and everlasting joy.

    It is just a matter of waiting for it all to be revealed to us.

    Until then, we will be pleased by our anticipation,

    If not by our experience.

    We are so glad this is the way it is,

    Because growing up is not what we have in mind.
  94. 08/16/2015 —  Succulent Display 02 — Nursery Photos, Rountree Plantation Nursery, Charlotte, NC, August 13, 2015

    If I were going to stand in some line for superpowers,

    I would ask for self-transparency,

    And the knack of going about my business

    Without needing to call attention to myself–

    My way of being unseen.

    Visible to myself.

    Invisible to others.

    If that caught on

    It would be a different world.

    Just being visible to ourselves would change the game.
  95. 08/16/2015 —  Veins 02 — Nursery Photos, Rountree Plantation Nursery, Charlotte, NC, August 13, 2015

    Every night before getting in the shower,

    I take a moment to mark the passing of time

    And reflect on the end of another day,

    As a way of keeping myself mindful of,

    And squaring myself with,

    The fact that I am–

    As we all are–

    Living toward the last one.

    Some nights are heavy with sadness,

    And some simply recognize

    That “none of us are promised tomorrow,

    Or even the rest of today.”

    Whatever the mood, the ritual is important

    As a way of being conscious

    Of living my way toward dying.

    I hand over another day

    (And soon, another year),

    And reflect on how much of the day has been mine,

    Serving ends that I cherish,

    And doing what is important to me–

    As a way of remembering that tomorrow is coming,

    And I need to be ready for it,

    Aware of it,

    For as long as tomorrows last.
  96. 08/17/2015 —  Charlotte Skyline Panorama 01 B&W — Charlotte, NC, August 13, 2015

    It’s like golf.

    Your life, I’m talking about.

    It’s you and the ball and 18 holes.

    Your role is clear:

    Get the ball in the holes with as few whacks as possible.

    The people who can do that

    Are better golfers than the people who can’t do it.

    Do do it well,

    You have to get everything else off the course

    But you and the ball and the 18 holes.

    When I say “off the course,”

    I mean “out of your head.”

    Your work is to clear your head of everything

    But you and the ball and this hole right here, right now.

    Or, it’s like photography.

    Your work is to clear away everything

    Standing between you and the camera and this scene,

    Right here, right now.

    You get together with your life

    Like it is a golf ball

    Or a camera

    And live it,

    Like it needs to be lived,

    Right here, right now
  97. 08/18/2015 —  Greenhouse Panorama 01 — Nursery Photos, Rountree Plantation Nursery, Charlotte, NC, August 13, 2015

    Romance is denial in that it takes our mind off our life,

    And enables us to think our true love

    Is the solution to all of our problems.

    It must be so,

    Because just thinking about our true love

    Makes our problems go away.

    That’s what denial does for us.

    Think of Honey,

    Or pop a top,

    And, POOF, no problems.

    As we grow up, we recognize

    That WE are the solution to all of our problems today,

    And tomorrow.

    Shelton Kopp said,

    “We solve our own problems every day

    For the rest of our life.”

    Jesus said, “Who made me your Keeper?

    Work out your own problems!

    Who do you think solves mine?”

    Or words to that effect.

    Denial just delays the inevitable.
  98. 08/18/2015 —  After Papa Died 03 — Union County, NC, August 11, 2015

    The Dalai Lama doesn’t watch TV.

    Tells you something about the Dalai Lama,

    And something about TV.

    The relationship between TV and our life is exactly what?

    If it isn’t helping you live your life,

    It’s keeping you from living your life.

    That rule applies to everything about our life.

    The rule has meaning

    Only to those who are living their life.

    Without a life,

    Nothing can help us live it.

    Our first order of business

    Is knowing what our business is,

    And tending it.

    Finding our life and living it

    Is the highest priority.

    The Dalai Lama understands that.

    And does it.

    It’s an idea whose time has come.
  99. 08/18/2015 —  Fern Panorama 01 — Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, McBee, SC, August 6, 2015

    We have to care about what we care about.

    To fail, or refuse, to do so is commit high treason

    Against ourselves.

    We have to be strong in our own behalf

    Our entire life long.

    Denying our heart’s true song,

    And rejecting its plea to sing along,

    Is the unpardonable sin,

    And no amount of remorse and sorrow

    Will ease the grief of abject disloyalty

    To soul’s deep drift.
  100. 08/19/2015 —  Atlantic Storm 01 — Huntington Beach State Park, Murrell’s Inlet, SC, August 19, 2015

    There is what we cannot do,

    And, there is what we cannot help doing.

    We all live with these restrictions.

    Our life is lived between the limits

    Of what we cannot do and what we cannot help doing.

    These limits are generally the gifts of our parents unto us.

    PTSD actually stands for:

    Parentally Triggered Stress Disorder.

    It is experienced as what we cannot do

    And what we cannot help doing.

    Our place is to become conscious of our limits,

    And live to reduce the things we cannot do

    And cannot help doing,

    Counteracting the parental influence,

    And parenting ourselves the way we should have been parented

    By those who needed to be parented

    The way they should have been parented.
  101. 08/20/2015 —

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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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