One Minute Monologues 028

08/20/2015 — 10/26/2015

  1. 08/20/2015 — Tidal Pool 01 — Sunrise, Huntington Beach State Park, Murrell’s Inlet, SC, August 20, 2015

    Can you be mindfully aware of each situation as it arises,

    Without judgment, will or opinion–

    Seeing what is happening,

    And what needs to be done in response,

    And offering what you have to give

    For the good of the situation,

    And doing it again in the next one that arises?

    See the good,

    Do it.

    In order to see the good,

    We have to look with open eyes–

    That is with eyes not clouded

    By judgment, will or opinion.

    If you are going to practice something,

    Practice seeing with open eyes.
  2. 08/21/2015 —Sunrise 03 — Tidal pool runoff, Huntington Beach State Park, Murrell’s Inlet, South Carolina, August 21, 2015

    There are places that prevent you from being anywhere else.

    Algebra was not one of those places for me.

    School was not one of those places.

    I cannot remember being engaged at school

    The way I was engaged by the woods I walked through

    On my way home from school.

    The natural world nourishes my soul

    In a way that formal education

    (And formal religion, for that matter)

    Could not—and cannot—do.

    We take our peace where we find it.

    No one can hand it to us,

    Or tell us where it is to be found.

    Our heart/soul knows what it is, where it is.

    We only have to walk around

    With our eyes open

    Waiting for our heart to light up

    When we wander into the presence

    Of our soul’s true joy.

    It is our place to find all the places,

    And to return to them often.

    This is the way of life, and being alive.

    Some people light up with the slightest whiff

    Of algebra.

    There are many ways to life and peace.

    Find yours.

    Walk them
  3. 08/22/2015 — Sunrise 02 — Huntington Beach State Park, Murrell’s Inlet, SC, August 21, 2015

    We find our life and live it.

    Every day.

    Our life changes with the tides,

    Is different with the circumstances.

    We do not wake up in exactly the same world

    We went to sleep in.

    Sometimes, our world is radically, unrecognizably, transformed.

    We have to find our life, there, and live it.

    Our life is a reflection, and extension, of our circumstances.

    Our circumstances give us our life.

    Life without circumstances, would be exactly what?

    Our circumstances give our life shape and form and character.

    Step into your circumstances!

    Find your life again!

    Live it!

    How do we fit what we know of our life

    Into THESE DAMN CIRCUMSTANCES???

    That’s the test.

    It’s called The Cyclops Exam.

    It calls forth imagination, courage and creativity.

    And, shapes and forms our life,

    And produces character

    Like you would never believe.

    But.

    We have to participate willingly–

    We have to engage our circumstances

    With the right spirit–

    For the magic to happen,

    And we birth ourselves

    Again,

    And again,

    Forever.

    Endlessly becoming who we are

    Always.
  4. 08/23/2015 —Sunrise 04 — Huntington Beach State Park, Murrell’s Inlet, SC, August 21, 2015

    The enemies are:

    Laziness and Lethargy,

    Arrogance and Greed,

    Inflation and Deflation.

    The allies are:

    Imagination, Inventiveness and Creativity,

    Reflection, Realization and Insight,

    Patience, Resiliency and Courage.

    Seeing how things are

    Is knowing what needs to be done.

    Then, there is only waiting for the time to be right

    To act.

    Nature spends very little time acting,

    And a lot of time resting, playing, waiting, watching,

    And is always doing what needs to be done.
  5. 08/23/2015 —Tidal Pool 02 — Huntington Beach State Park, Murrell’s Inlet, SC, August 20, 2015

    There are people who are constitutionally prohibited from squaring up to the way things are,

    And constitutionally compelled to live in a fantasy world where things are what they are supposed to be, to their way of thinking.

    ”Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on? Could it be a faded rose from days gone by? And did I hear you say, he was meeting you today, to take you to his mansion in the sky?”

    Mark Twain observed that “people seldom fight a winning fight against themselves.”

    But.

    It helps to know what we are up against.

    The First Spiritual Law states: We have to live transparent to ourselves.

    Everything flows from there that can flow from there.

    The Second Spiritual Law states: In order to live transparent to ourselves, we have to perceive and receive ourselves without judgment, will, or opinion, and allow compassionate, mindful, awareness to work its slow magic over the full course of our life.

    The people who want to know what the rest of the spiritual laws are don’t fully appreciate what is required by the first two.
  6. 08/24/2015 — Sheldon Church Ruins, HDR 05 Panorama – Yemassee, SC, August 24, 2015

    James Hollis said, “Divorce doesn’t end a marriage, and death doesn’t end a relationship.”

    My father is as alive and influential in my life as he ever was.

    So is yours.

    The story of this old church “ended” years ago, but the beat goes on.

    Nothing ends.

    Books and movies run on and on–not just in terms of their impact on us,

    But also, in terms of what remains to be said of their characters

    And what they did with their lives–

    Or what influence they continued to wield

    In the lives of those who knew them–

    After the author quit writing, or the credits rolled.

    We speak of endings, happy or sad,

    And of moving on,

    Thinking we can leave home without carrying it with us.

    Part of me will be eight years old forever,

    And the other parts of me have to realize that

    And make allowances,

    Giving the eternally-eight-year-old room to work out his stuff

    In the safe company of the rest of us,

    Who think he is just great,

    And know we couldn’t have done our part without him.

    The past plays out in the present and future.

    We have to make it conscious,

    And play along like a good jazz ensemble

    Picking up on what the sax man is doing,

    Making him sound so sweet.
  7. 08/25/2015 — Harbor River Mooring HDR—St. Helena Island, SC, August 24, 2015

    All it takes is growing up.

    You can’t have a problem that growing up can’t handle.

    Refusing to grow up is the problem.

    THE problem.

    And YOU are the solution,

    Thinking, as you do, that you are grown up enough,

    And you don’t deserve any more problems,

    Trying to make whiskey your Mamma,

    Taking care of you one more day,

    Because those mean old problems won’t go away.

    Or, is it ice cream?

    Whatever it is that you are pretending is Mamma,

    Isn’t your Mamma,

    And you have to grow up.

    Again.

    The good news is that’s all there is to it.

    Get that down and you have it made.
  8. 08/25/2015 —Land’s End HDR 01 Panorama—St. Helena Island, SC, August 24, 2015

    I make my best decisions when I’m not trying to make a good decision,

    When I’m not even thinking that a decision needs to be made,

    Or, that I am making one.

    It’s like I walk into a good choice without choosing.

    All I’m conscious of is not choosing, not trying,

    Just seeing what I do, as an interested observer of my own life.

    It’s a strategy as old as Taoism,

    Which merged with Buddhism,

    To form Zen.

    Wu-wei,

    Doing by not-doing.

    It has been a life-long strategy
  9. That I didn’t contrive, but “fell into”

    By virtue of being unable to come up with anything better.

    I often say of my 40 years in the ministry

    That I don’t know any one who accomplished as much

    By doing as little.

    I get out of bed and see what happens,

    And spend much of my time

    Being dumbfounded and amazed by it all.
  10. 08/26/2015 — Garden City Beach 05 — Garden City, SC, August 21, 2015

    When we put ourselves in the service of our life,

    As a vassal in homage to a king,

    With an oath of fealty and liege,

    Things change.

    You are no longer in charge.

    You are responsible for listening,

    For sensing direction,

    But not for directing.

    Your life unfolds through you

    Within the circumstances that limit and define you.

    It is your place to align yourself with the life

    That is trying to live itself through you.

    It is a collaboration, a composition, a work of art–

    As much as a painting, or a symphony, or a ballet

    Is a work of art.

    Your life produces you,

    As much as you produce your life.

    You are the poem

    And the poet.

    The dancer

    And the dance.

    Stop working to make something happen,

    And start listening to what is trying to happen.

    Allow yourself to be led.

    Let yourself learn how to follow

    The guidance of an invisible guide.
  11. 08/27/2015 — In the Marsh 02 — Beaufort, SC, August 26, 2015

    If you have symptoms, you’re not listening.

    If you don’t have symptoms,

    Those around you are covered up in them,

    Because you are not listening,

    And they are not listening.

    If neither you nor those around you have symptoms,

    You and they are the next incarnation of the Buddha,

    Of the Christ,

    And live among us as Bodhisattvas,

    And are the hope of humankind.

    The symbol of the age

    Is the three not-so-wise monkeys,

    See-No-Evil, Hear-No-Evil, Speak-No-Evil,

    With “evil” understood as

    ”That which I do not want to acknowledge, much less confront!”

    We don’t want to see what we don’t want to see.

    We don’t what to hear what we don’t want to hear.

    We don’t want to say what we don’t want to see or hear.

    And, we have symptoms that know no end,

    And cannot be fixed.

    It comes back to the refusal to grow up.

    Growing up is seeing what needs to be seen,

    Hearing what needs to be heard,

    Saying what needs to be said,

    And doing what needs to be done about it.

    That is all that is standing between you

    And Bodhisattvahood.
  12. 08/28/2015 — The Ole Swimming Hole Panorama—Edisto River, Colleton State Park, Walterboro, SC, August 26, 2015

    When someone asks you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

    Tell them you want to be awake,

    Because being awake is the whole point of growing up

    And everything falls into place around that.

    And if they say, “I mean, what do you want to DO?”

    Tell them you want to see how things are,

    Which is Yin,

    And how things also are,

    Which is Yang,

    And both together is how things REALLY are,

    Which is Tao,

    And at-one with Tao,

    We DO, naturally, easily and spontaneously,

    What needs to be done

    About how things are

    In each situation as it arises,

    And no one can DO more than that.
  13. 08/28/2015 — Jenny Adams HDR Panorama—Harbor River, St. Helena Island, SC, August 25, 2015

    Living in the service of a heart

    That yearns to sing and dance

    Is the point and purpose of being alive.

    But.

    We have to pay the bills it takes to live.

    And, therein lies the problem.

    How much for singing and dancing,

    And how much for eating and sleeping?

    Negotiation and Compromise, Kid!

    Negotiation and Compromise!

    It helps if we incur the right bills.

    How do we know which are the right bills?

    I was hoping someone would ask that question!

    Observation and Reflection, Kid!

    Observation and Reflection!
  14. 08/29/2015 — Storm Clouds at Sunrise 06 — Huntington Beach State Park, Murrell’s Inlet, SC, August 20, 2015

    We live to make our little heart sing.

    That is our primary loyalty,
    ,
    Our chief concern,

    Our overriding allegiance,

    After survival.

    We live to make our heart sing, but.

    We have to be living for the singing to happen.

    We have to eat and drink.

    You know the routine:

    Food, clothing, shelter, education, health insurance,

    Dental care, tri-focals, and a retirement plan.

    We have to take care of business.

    Taking care of business,

    On one hand,

    Can mean neglecting what we take care of business to do,

    On the other.

    We are here to be sure it doesn’t.

    To balance things out.

    To remember why we are here.

    And do the things that make our little heart sing.

    How long has it been, by the way?
  15. 08/30/2015 — Hunting Island Panorama HDR 09 — Beach Erosion, Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, August 25, 2015

    On my best days,

    I’m the Buddha,

    And the Christ.

    So are you.

    We all are the Buddha, and the Christ, and Lao Tzu, and all the rest of the Holy Ones,

    On our best day.

    The Zen masters could say,

    ”If you meet the Buddha on the road,

    Kill him!”

    As a way of reminding their disciples

    That THEY are the Buddha,

    And THEY aren’t being the Buddha

    If they concede that honor to someone else.

    The key to being the Buddha, the Christ, etc.,

    Is having a singing heart.

    On our best days,

    We are doing what makes our heart sing,

    And bringing life to life all around us.

    Joseph Campbell said,

    ”The influence of a vital person is vitalizing.”

    The Buddha brings out the Buddha in everyone.

    The Christ brings out the Christ.

    They couldn’t keep it to themselves,

    Even if they tried.

    Especially, if they tried!
  16. 08/31/2015 — Sunrise 01 — Harbor River, Port Royal, SC, August 25, 2015

    It is enough to see ourselves as we are,

    And, as we also are–

    Without judgment, will or opinion–

    But with preference and direction,

    Imagination, creativity, patience, resiliency, perseverance and courage.

    It’s more than enough,

    And all we will ever need.
  17. 08/31/2015 — Live Oak Lane—St. Helena Island, SC, August 25, 2015

    We have to do our own work.

    We are on our own when it comes to listening, seeing, understanding, waking up.

    We are on our own when it comes to knowing what is important,

    And giving ourselves to its service.

    When I was in theological school,

    They told me that Greek and Hebrew were important.

    I knew Greek and Hebrew were not important,

    But had to bow to Those Who Knew Best And Had To Be Pleased.

    Jungian psychology was—and is—important,

    And would have been a great help to me in the ministry,

    But I had to get it on my own

    Because Those Who Knew Best

    Didn’t know what they were talking about.

    We cannot trust others to know what is important.

    We have to know what is important for ourselves

    And live in its service.

    And, if it turns out that we don’t know what we are talking about,

    We have to change our mind about what is important,

    And live in the service of what is important then.

    No one can do the important things for us.

    We have to do that work ourselves.

    And we are fearful,

    And somewhat lazy.

    We have to do the work of working through that as well.
  18. 09/01/2015 — “Growing up will break your heart.

    And there is no rational immunity against the experience–

    No intellectual shortcuts through the agony.

    Insight is no help.

    We can’t realize our way through it.

    The realizations come after we’ve popped out on the other side.

    But, on this side of that realization, it’s hell–

    Which we repeat throughout the lifelong process

    Of growing up.”

    I don’t remember who said that,

    But she knew what she was talking about.

    If it wasn’t MC Richards,

    It could have been.
  19. 09/01/2015 — Tropical Forest—Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, August 24, 2015

    Our symptoms,

    Our dreams,

    Our problems and our response to them,

    Other people and our response to them,

    And their response to us,

    Our job,

    What we do in our spare time,

    Our spouse or partner,

    Our children,

    Our pets…

    All of our life

    Is a mirror,

    A message to us,

    About us

    And the distance between how we are living

    And how we need to be living

    To exhibit and express who we are,

    And the gifts that are ours to share,

    And the life that is ours to live.

    The life we are living

    Is indicative of the distance between it

    And the life that is ours to live.

    May those with eyes to see, see!

    May those with ears to hear, hear!

    That’s all there is to it.
  20. 09/02/2015 — Johnson Creek Mooring 02 Panorama HDR—St. Helena Island, SC, August 24, 2013

    It will help if you take up the practice of having purpose, preference and direction

    Without judgment, willfulness, or opinion.

    Live your life like you are a kayaker in whitewater.

    Kayakers don’t have time to form an opinion

    About what the stream presents to them

    In each Now of their journey.

    They respond without willful insistence

    To whatever the moment requires of them,

    And then forget that moment

    In order to deal with the next one that is already

    Requiring their full attention.

    People who live poorly

    Have an opinion about every little thing.

    Generally, a negative opinion,

    Elaborately formed and loudly proclaimed.

    ”You won’t BELIEVE what just happened!”

    They have no life,

    They only have opinions,

    And “feelings” that are always being “hurt.”

    You don’t find them in kayaks on whitewater.

    But they are in kayaks on whitewater,

    And don’t know it.
  21. 09/02/2015 — Hunting Island Panorama 02 — Beach Erosion, Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, August 24, 2015

    Here’s what I like about the Buddha:

    It is said that he died from eating bad pork.

    How enlightened is that?

    If you can’t tell bad pork when you see it, smell it, taste it,

    How can you claim to be “the awakened one”?

    Not even the Buddha is the Buddha.

    And the Christ is not the Christ.

    The Messiah is not the Messiah.

    And, they all ARE who they are precisely because they are not!

    It’s wonderful,

    Because I’m not enlightened either.

    I fit right in.

    So do you.

    We don’t have to be who we are not.

    We only have to relax, and be who we are.
  22. 09/03/2015 — Bitter Weeds HDR—Fairfield County, SC, September 3, 2015

    We live between our potential

    And the possibilities for its realization.

    We can too easily concede to impossibility,

    And despair of ever finding a way

    Of being who we have it within us to be.

    We can push too hard,

    In the service of grandiosity and inflation,

    Where possibility does not exist.

    We have to find the Middle Way,

    Serving our Gift

    Within the limits governing its expression.

    We live to see what we can get by with,

    Without taking it personally,

    If it is less than we hoped for.
  23. 09/04/2015 — St. Simon’s Church—Peak, SC, September 3, 2015

    We have to work it out.

    We have to make it work.

    We stand between our gifts—our potential–

    And the context and circumstances of our life,

    And have to get the two together.

    We have to bring our gifts forth within our circumstances.

    We have to realize our potential within our possibilities.

    It is easier to go through the motions of living–

    To follow the cow in front of us

    From the barn to the pasture,

    And back to the barn.

    All our life long.

    We have to do what is hard.

    Every day for as long as we are alive.

    Whether we want to or not.

    Are in the mood for it or not.

    Feel like it or not.

    If we don’t do it, it won’t get done.

    We are here to serve our gifts

    And bring ourselves forth,

    Birthing ourselves.

    We are the Virgin and the Christ.

    Bethlehem is everyday.

    Golgotha is everyday.

    And there is no one to do our work but us.
  24. 09/05/2015 — The Old Brick Church Cemetery 07 B&W—Fairfield County, SC

    You have to marry your LIFE,

    The LIFE which calls forth your GIFTS,

    Makes your HEART sing,

    Makes YOU whole,

    And is THE WAY for you

    Among the 10,000 ways.

    The first task of life

    Is to find your LIFE,

    Fall in love with it,

    And marry it,

    Plighting your troth to it,

    Pledging your allegiance,

    Loyalty and fidelity to it,

    And promising to do right by it

    Through all the situations and circumstances of living

    ’Til death do you part.

    Amen.

    Get that down,

    And you have it made.

    Miss that step when it would have been “easy,”

    And you will have to go back for it,

    Encumbered by duties and responsibilities

    That will have to be taken into account

    Worked through,

    And lived around.

    But, that’s just how it is.

    It will give you purpose, focus and direction,

    And bring joy to your heart,

    Which finally gets to sing.

    It is never too late

    To marry your LIFE.

    Just a little awkward in places.
  25. 09/06/2015 — The Old Brick Church HDR Panorama 06 — Fairfield County, SC, September 4, 2015

    We cannot buy vitality,

    But we think money is more important,

    And sell ourselves in the service

    Of That Which Is Not Life

    In the name of Really Living,

    But the last time we lived

    Was in the sixth grade

    Playing hide-and-seek

    With our brother.
  26. 09/07/2015 — Cypress Knees 02 — Cypress Swamp, Colleton State Park, Walterboro, SC, August 26, 2015

    Carl Jung said he lived to ask, and answer to the extent that was possible, the “unasked questions of my ancestors.”

    That is the case with each of us.

    We are handed, at our birth, the unasked questions of our ancestors–

    The experiences unreflected,

    The assumptions unexamined,

    The facts grossly misinterpreted and arrogantly, ignorantly, declared to be explained,

    The lives unlived–

    And the ghosts of all who have passed before us

    Gather in the deliver room

    Hoping that we will be the one

    To deliver them

    From the burden of having failed themselves

    To summon the courage

    To see things as they are.

    May we live to relieve them of their shame

    By looking until we see,

    Listening until we hear,

    Inquiring until we understand,

    Taking nothing at face value,

    But examining everything

    And reflecting on every experience,

    Until we have mined the gold

    And become the Philosopher’s Stone.

    Shining the light of consciousness

    Into the deep darkness of being!
  27. 09/07/2015 — Hunting Island HDR 03 Panorama—Beach Erosion, Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC, August 24, 2015

    Start with what you don’t want to hear.

    Or, with what you don’t want to see.

    Start with what you don’t what to know.

    With what you don’t want to be the way it is.

    When the way things are

    Are not the way we want things to be,

    We will find a million ways

    To discount, dismiss, deny and ignore

    The way things are

    In favor of the way we want things to be.

    When we look at our life,

    We have to understand

    That we have done it,

    And are doing it,

    To ourselves,

    With what we allow,

    And don’t allow,

    Ourselves to know.
  28. 09/08/2015 — St. Simon’s Church 01– Peak, SC, September 3, 2015

    Too often, we don’t know what to do

    Because we don’t want to do what we know to do.

    We are afraid.

    We are comfortable amid a myriad of discomforts.

    When the door opens, we demur, delay, abstain.

    When the way appears before us,

    We turn aside, make excuse,

    Busy ourselves with what is not the way.

    We don’t want what we pretend to want,

    What we wish we wanted.

    We lack the courage of our convictions,

    And talk about “spiritual growth,”

    But read another book

    By our favorite guru, or the latest one,

    Instead of doing what needs us to do it.

    Maybe tomorrow.

    Maybe later.

    Or never.

    But definitely not now.
  29. 09/08/2015 — Harbor River Mooring 04 HDR Panorama—Port Royal, SC, August 24, 2015

    We can have purpose, preference and direction,

    But we cannot have power and control.

    Wherever, whenever, power and control are wielded,

    Problems arise.

    Try forcing your spouse, child, parent, etc.

    To exercise, lose weight, read books or play the piano.

    Tell me how well it works.

    Forcing anything leads to resistance and resentment,

    And sometimes, war.

    The more controlling, the less everything vital and valuable.

    Control your day, force your agenda, command your life

    And pay the price.

    Or, live with purpose, preference and direction,

    And allow the day to follow its own course,

    Negotiating, compromising, and taking no for an answer

    As the situation requires.

    Live in the service of what needs to happen

    When everything is taken into account,

    And with no kidding yourself about what needs to happen.

    Kidding ourselves leads to all manner of complication

    And grave difficulty.
  30. 09/09/2015 — Garden City Beach Panorama 01 — Garden City, SC, August 21, 2015

    Carl Jung said, “Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment, and especially on their children, than the unlived lives of the parents.”

    And, “The greatest tragedy of the family is the unlived lives of the parents.”

    I would add, the second strongest influence and second greatest tragedy on family and children is the lived lives of the parents.

    Children live as compensation for the lived and unlived lives of their parents,

    And/or as the continuation of the lived lives.

    We live to be who our parents were not, and/or to be who they were.

    There is not a child in the world, past, present, or future, who escapes that burden.

    None of us are free to live “our own life.”

    We have the lives of our parents to shadow, haunt, direct and guide the life that we like to think “is our own.”

    My mother’s recent death has put me to probing all the ways I live to compensate for, and continue, her life.

    The ways, they are legion.

    And when we pull my father into the picture,

    There is hardly room enough for me anywhere.

    I am my parents’ child

    No matter how I might object and deny.

    So, I bring them to life with me in my life,

    Live consciously—so far as that is possible–

    Of their on-going influence on me and my choices,

    Values, purpose and direction.

    And let it be with compassion and good humor,

    Because it is so,

    And I am living proof that it is.

    So see me is to see my reaction to my experience

    Of James and Katheryne,

    Even now, after all these years.

    We walk arm-in-arm into each day,

    And make of it what we can.

    Peace be with you, James,

    And with you, Katheryne.

    It is good to be with you both,

    And to make of you what I can!
  31. 09/09/2015 — Huntington Beach Sunrise 10 — Huntington Beach State Park, Murrell’s Inlet, SC, August 21, 2015

    The day has its own rhythm, its own flow.

    It has its own agenda,

    Its own terms of service.

    The day will let us know what it has in mind for us,

    What its need of us is.

    In its own time.

    In its own way.

    We can make our plans,

    Draw up our schedules of events,

    Sharpen our focus,

    Decide what is going to happen.

    But.

    The day has the last word.

    It is enough that we come to the day

    With purpose, preference and direction–

    And allow the day to amend,

    Or transform,

    Those as the day deems necessary.

    We live in service to the day.

    The day the day does not live in service to us.

    We don’t make the terms.

    We abide by them.

    Or not.

    There is no peace for those

    Who cannot make their peace

    With the day.
  32. 09/10/2015 — Lake Shamokin 02 — Camden, SC, August 19, 2015

    When we work out the right ratios

    Among Reason and Logic,

    Instinct and Intuition

    In each situation as it arises,

    And mix in the courage

    To do what we know needs to be done,

    And do it,

    We have it made.

    As much as you can have it made.
  33. 09/11/2015 — Past Prime 02 — Rountree Plantation Nursery, August 15, 2015

    The Buddha was not a Buddhist,

    The Christ was not a Christian,

    The Prophet was not a Muslim.

    Our work is to BE the Buddha, not a Buddhist,

    To BE the Christ, not a Christian,

    To BE the Prophet, not a Muslim.

    The work is simple:

    Grow up,

    Live transparent to yourself,

    See what you look at,

    Do what needs to be done

    In each situation as it arises

    With the gifts that are yours to give.

    Throw out Doctrine,

    Theology,

    Ideology—

    Live in ways that are true to your Deep Self

    And aligned with the life that only you can live,

    With nothing to gain

    And nothing to lose,

    Completely free to do what needs to be done

    In each situation as it arises,

    As you determine that to be

    After taking everything into account

    That can be taken into account.

    This is the work of a True Human Being—

    Which we are all called to be.

    Spitting image

    Of the Buddha, the Christ, the Prophet.

  34. 09/10/2015 — Past Prime 03 — Rountree Plantation Nursery, Charlotte, NC, August 15, 2015

    Each of us comes packed with gifts

    To bring forth in their time

    And meet the challenges,

    The trials and ordeals,

    Of our life,

    In each moment of our living.

    We are equipped to deal with

    Whatever comes our way,

    In becoming who we are called to be

    All along the way.

    The stories of the species

    Are about finding the very gift

    That is needed in all of the tight places

    To slay the giant,

    Or the dragon,

    Answer the riddle,

    Find the treasure,

    Win the day.

    The stories remind us

    Of what is so:

    We have the gifts needed for the journey,

    So, start walking!
  35. 09/10/2015 — Cypress Knees 01 — Cypress Swamp Trail, Colleton State Park, Walterboro, SC, August 26, 2015

    When NASA sends satellites beyond the solar system, it plots their course near planets and moons with enough gravitational pull to draw them close, and boost their forward momentum to propel them on their journey into the great beyond.

    Our life uses the right kind of people, places and experiences to do the same with us.

    We, like the disciples with Jesus, are always ready to move in, set up house, and stay for the remainder of our days in the company of those who are such good places to be.

    Our life needs us to move on, farther, deeper, into our own life and its journey into the great beyond.

    The right kind of people draw us close, so that we gain momentum, find what we need, and speed off on our way.

    There is no settling down on the spiritual journey.

    We are all satellites with our own, personal, individual mission,

    Helping one another gain momentum, find direction, and live their life.

    Marriage is like the merger of solar systems.

    If you have watched Cosmos, with Neil DeGrasse Tyson (And why would you not, if you haven’t???),

    You know that in just a few more cosmic calendar years the Milky Way is going to merge with Andromeda for one fine dance in the heavens, and a light show that will last earth years beyond counting—boosting each other’s momentum, stirring things up, and sending one another on our way.

    A marriage truly made in the heavens.

    And, how marriage out to play out on earth,

    With each partner helping the other with her, with his, own personal life throughout the time they are together in their joint life.

    How many marriages do you know of where that is happening?

    Where the partners even have an idea of their own personal life,

    Much less, are actively involved in living their life?

    You know how Paul the Apostle looked around and said,

    ”None are righteous, no, not one!”?

    We can look around and say, “None are living their life! No! Not one!”

    We begin to turn things around,

    And build momentum toward the good,

    By living our life, and helping others live theirs.

    Just like the planets, the satellites, and the solar systems.
  36. 09/13/2015 — Light Show—Sunrise at Sand Beach, Port Royal, SC, August 25, 2015

    It’s hard.

    It’s hard in every developmental stage of life.

    Leaning to talk, to walk, to pee and poop in the right place…

    All the way to walkers, wheelchairs and feeding tubes.

    It is all hard.

    Life is hard.

    Start there.

    Don’t expect easy anywhere.

    Look for what helps

    To deal with the facts of each stage,

    Without denying, escaping, or hiding

    From any of it, ever.

    We have what it takes

    To meet life straight on.

    We are uniquely equipped to come to terms with it all.

    We only have to lay aside

    Our wants, wishes, and desires

    And see what is being asked of us,

    And how creative we can be in adjusting ourselves

    To new realities

    All along the way.

    Our inner resources are incredible.

    Nothing can happen to us

    That we haven’t met as a species

    10,000 times before.

    Relax into the archives

    Of the cumulative experience of the species!

    For everything that comes up in our life,

    There is a gene for that!

    We only have to trust ourselves

    To life’s experience of life

    To find what we need to deal with life.

    Open yourself to ALL the possibilities!

    See what comes to you

    As an aid in handling what’s hard.
  37. Used in Short Talks on Contradiction, etc., 09/14/2015 — Schweinitz’s Sunflower 01 — Latta Plantation Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, Huntersville, NC, September 13, 2015

    Your demons are your contradictions.

    You want everything to be smooth and easy,

    And nothing is smooth and easy.

    In order to make everything smooth and easy,

    You have to deny that nothing is,

    And live in a world of make believe

    Where you can have what you want

    Even if you have no business having it.

    You spend your life wrestling to get things in place,

    When it is not the nature of things to be in place.

    You are swimming upstream or crosscurrent,

    Against your very own self

    And your very own life,

    Willing everything into being,

    Or caving in and capitulating

    In depression and despair

    To your demons

    That you refuse to recognize

    As the contradictory nature of things as they are,

    And do the work of recognition and reconciliation,

    Integrating your opposites

    And squaring yourself with the oppositional nature of reality,

    In becoming one with all things,

    Laughing at the very idea of smooth and easy.
  38. 09/15/2015 — The Watchman and the Virgin—Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah, May 2010, near Zion Pizza and Noodle Co.

    Any activity that absorbs you, centers and grounds you, focuses you and brings you back to the path, to the work that is yours to do.

    Practitioners of Zen sit zazen, in meditation, rake sand, paint with sand, conduct tea ceremonies.

    Children have coloring books, adults have Sudoku, cross word puzzles and pianos.

    If you haven’t done a coloring book in a while, a mandala coloring book can be engrossing.

    You are looking for a focal point of extreme concentration.

    Something to pull you in and absorb you fully.

    It’s a meditative practice.

    And will shut out the world of mindless activity and anxiety,

    Bring peace,

    And restore the connection with your soul.

    Once a day is not too often.

    Intentional focus on one thing over time cures many ills.
  39. 09/16/2015 — Schweinitz’s Sunflower 03 — Latta Plantation Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, Huntersville, NC, September 13, 2015

    Safety is the first thing.

    We can’t be anything until we can be safe.

    We have to trust ourselves to our environment,

    To our life,

    And to ourselves,

    In order to risk ourselves in the service of our life.

    We have to trust ourselves to risk ourselves.

    Trust comes from knowing

    We are safe with ourselves.

    How safe are we with ourselves?

    How kind are we to ourselves?

    How nurturing and nourishing?

    How gentle and tender?

    If we don’t get that from within,

    Where do we go to find it?

    If it does not reside within,

    How can we ever trust ourselves to it from external sources?

    Who can make us safe

    If we are not safe with ourselves?

    What is a conscious ego good for

    If not creating consciously a safe place

    For a developing psyche to be?

    Yet, we come down hard on ourselves

    For having an ego at all!

    To much so-called “spiritual literature”

    Calls for the eradication of the ego,

    As though without an ego, all our troubles disappear.

    Who is it that eradicates the ego?

    When we set ourselves against ego,

    We set ourselves against us!

    Safety is the goal,

    Not internal witch hunts and juntas!

    Befriend yourself.

    Make Rumi’s “The Guest House”

    Your foundational orientation.

    Live to be safe with yourself on every level.

    Safety first, you know.
  40. 09/16/2015 — National Cemetery Panorama—Beaufort, SC, August 27, 2015

    Forgiveness is the only thing that can restore relationships that have been decimated unintentionally, accidentally, or with reasoned deliberation.

    Those that have been destroyed with malicious intent are beyond the pale of forgiveness, because restoration of relationship is likely to be of no concern to the perpetrator of its demise.

    At stake in the experience of forgiveness are the matters of guilt, accountability, repentance, penitence, and dedication to the care of relationship throughout the future.

    Forgiveness does not occur in a vacuum, but within the bounds of a relationship that matters to those involved in its rupture and demise.

    To speak of “forgiving Hitler,” for example, does nothing to restore relationship with Hitler, because Hitler is dead, and because he would care nothing for relationship with those who are doing the “forgiving” if he were alive.

    We can talk of “consciously bearing the pain of Hitler’s guilt, and refusing to allow his guilt to consume us with hatred and desire for his eternal damnation,” as a way of freeing us from bondage to his “abomination of desolation,” but “forgiving Hitler” cannot be done apart from Hitler’s participation in the “sacramental restoration of relationship.”

    ”The sacramental restoration of relationship” honors the elements of guilt, repentance, penitence, forgiveness and dedication to the care of relationship throughout the future, and is grounded on all parties involved in the relationship consciously bearing the pain of guilt’s burden, and declaring their intent and determination to refuse to let that burden interfere with their relationship from this point on.

    Just as marriage consecrates two people and sets them on a path sacred to each other, forgiveness consecrates all those involved in the rupture of relationship, and sets them on a path sacred to each other.

    And, if someone doesn’t care enough about the relationship to forgive, or to be forgiven, forgiveness can’t do a thing to heal it, and it remains to those wounded to resolve to bear the burden of the pain of guilt alone for the sake of their future free from the grief of betrayal and treachery.
  41. 09/17/2015 — Hunting Island Beach Panorama 10 — Beach Erosion, Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC

    The pilgrimage to Mecca is a sacrament to Muslim’s worldwide.

    Those who are able, make their way annually to “the holiest of holy places,” year after year.

    Muslim’s have no corner on holy places.

    Make your list.

    Make your pilgrimages.

    Take up the practice of living sacramentally,

    That is, living consciously in touch with the holiness

    Of the places that are holy unto you–

    Living consciously in touch with the holiness of life.

    Life is sacramental–

    ”An outward, visible, sign of an inward, spiritual grace.”

    We are graced by unspeakable holiness

    In the births of our children,

    In the new birth of spring,

    In the colors of fall,

    Mountain vistas,

    Ocean rhythms

    The wonder of love,

    The wonder of life…

    When we wake up,

    We wake up to the wonder of life, living, being alive,

    And live sacramentally–

    Consciously aware of the holiness of life

    Through our communion with holy places

    All our life long.
  42. 09/18/2015 — Johnson Creek Mooring 02 — St. Helena Island, SC, August 24, 2015

    We carry the emotional luggage of our ancestors.

    It is difficult for us to be more awake, aware, alive and grown up

    Than they were.

    And I’m talking about ALL of our ancestors here,

    All the way back to the paramecium.

    It takes a long time for consciousness to develop,

    And then it takes a long time for consciousness to mature.

    Take Donald Trump and put him beside the Dalai Lama

    For an example of the disparity of the maturity level

    Of modern adults,

    Then put the entire human population of the world on the scales

    And they tip radically toward Donald Trump,

    Which explains his following.

    Maturity is sadly lacking in the species.

    And we each suffer the immaturity of our ancestors,

    Struggling to move beyond the legacy we have inherited in our genes

    To respond appropriately to our environment

    As emotionally mature human beings.

    It is a struggle worthy of the best we can bring forth.

    Make it a goal

    To be more conscious—more transparent to yourself–

    Than your parents were,

    And more emotionally mature in dealing with what comes your way–

    As a gift to generations yet unborn.
  43. 09/19/2015 — St. Simon’s Church HDR Panorama 04 — Peak, SC, September 3, 2015

    Life as we live it is an endless series of diversions and distractions.

    We live to be entertained.

    The way we live keeps us from thinking about our life.

    Thinking about our life depresses us

    Because we don’t know what to do with ourselves,

    So we lose ourselves in diversions

    To make life bearable.

    All this changes with courage and trust.

    We have to trust that we actually have a life,

    And have the courage to risk ourselves to it

    In stepping out in complete darkness

    As a way of seeing what is there.

    Our life is an adventure waiting to be lived.

    Waiting for us to make ourselves available to it–

    To swear our allegiance and loyalty to it–

    ”Forsaking all others,

    And being faithful to it,”

    For as long as we shall live.

    We have to live as though it is so

    To know that it is.

    Start with that commitment,

    And wait,

    Watching,

    Listening,

    Sensing,

    Feeling.

    Pay particular attention

    To your dreams and symptoms,

    And to the things that catch your eye,

    That resonate with you,

    That call your name.

    Live to find your life,

    And live it.

    Make the search for your life

    The center, ground and focus of your life,

    And the entertaining pastimes

    Will become a waste of time.
  44. 09/20/2015 — Harbor River Mooring 05 — Port Royal, SC, August 24, 2015

    Bear consciously

    The pain

    Of the discrepancy

    Between how things are

    And how you want them to be.

    It will make all the difference.
  45. 09/21/2015 — Watkins Glen 2015 01 — Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, NY, September 20, 2015

    When our focus is on finding our life and living it,

    All other considerations fall into place around that–

    And some fall out of consideration altogether.

    When our focus is on finding our life and living it,

    Our values are reshuffled,

    What is important is made apparent,

    And what is not important

    Is shown to be the empty pretender to High Value it is.

    We cannot live the life worthy of us

    And waste our time on trivial pursuits,

    No matter how acclaimed and flashy.

    Whether she loves me,

    Or loves me not,

    Will become clear in time.

    What my life is asking of me here and now

    Is my ultimate concern in each moment of my living.
  46. 09/22/2015 — Watkins Glen 02 Panorama—Rainbow Falls, Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, NY, September 20, 2015

    We turn it around by giving it a different meaning,

    By seeing it with a different perspective.

    Abandonment can be understood

    As an invitation to rely on our inner resources,

    Develop self-reliance,

    Independence,

    Confidence,

    And learn to trust the guides within–

    Resonance, Intuition, Instinct and Wisdom.

    Ascribing meaning is our superpower.

    The way we see things is our magic wand.

    We are never as lost and alone

    As we are afraid we are,

    Or will be.

    The power of perspective

    Is the gift of the gods.

    Failing to use it is stupid.
  47. 09/23/2015 — Watkins Glen 2015 04 Panorama—Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, NY, September 20, 2015

    Too often, all of us are subservient to compulsion, obsession and inhibition.

    Too rarely, any of us are free to see what needs to be done

    In the situation as it arises,

    And do it.

    The path to enlightenment

    Is the path of reflection and realization–

    The path from bondage

    To freedom:

    The freedom to see and to do.
  48. 09/23/2015 — Tupper Lake 2015 Sunset 01 Panorama—Tupper Lake, NY, September 22, 2015

    We are on our own,

    And we cannot do it alone.

    We need each other

    To be who we need each other to be,

    In each stage of our development,

    Throughout our life.

    We need each other to be the right kind of company,

    Offering the right kind of help,

    In the right kind of way.

    There are no rules to keep

    In becoming and being the right kind of company,

    Only general principals to observe and apply.

    Offer what you need!

    Become what you love!

    See what you look at–

    Without judgment, willfulness, or opinion.

    We all need encouragement.

    Learn how to be encouraging.

    We all need to be balanced, grounded, centered, honored, respected, accepted, treated lovingly

    (This is the important thing:

    You don’t have to love me to treat me lovingly.

    Treat me so lovingly that I can’t tell the difference

    Between being loved and being treated lovingly).

    We all need a quiet, safe, place

    That helps us reflect on our experience

    And form new realizations.

    We can create a therapeutic space

    Without being therapists or “doing therapy.”

    Live therapeutically!

    Should be a bumper sticker.

    Inspire it!
  49. 09/25/2015 — Eagle Cliff Falls Panorama 02 — See the eagle in the cliff? Havana Glen, Montour Falls, NY, September 20, 2015

    We have to seek out the counter-balancing perspectives and listen to them.

    This is tricky because counter-balancing perspectives

    Are much more than just opposing positions.

    The Tea Party has an opposite position to practically all of mine,

    But.

    They are not counter-balancing.

    And they are not true perspectives.

    They are contrary and oppositional positions.

    They espouse an ideological position,

    Not a clear and well-considered perspective.

    The Tea Party is against abortion,

    It is not for children.

    It is not for feeding children, sheltering children, educating children, keeping children healthy, and providing children with jobs and careers as they age.

    The Tea Party has no ideas about those things.

    It doesn’t care about them, or about children.

    It has a position on abortion,

    Not a perspective that takes the welfare of children into account.

    Counter-balancing perspectives are wonderfully refreshing

    When they come along,

    Because they air-out issues,

    And are not afraid to look at all sides,

    Or, hesitant to admit they don’t know when they don’t know.

    They are quick to ask questions they cannot answer,

    And can tell you what they think,

    Without trying to convince you they are right.

    And they are good for enabling you to fill out your own perspective,

    By listening to you without trying to prove that you are wrong.

    What a world it would be,

    If we could expand each other’s point of view,

    Without championing one at the expense and exclusion of all others.

    May we live so long as to see the day!
  50. 09/20/2015 — Bog River Falls 2015 05 Panorama—Tupper Lake, NY, September 24, 2015

    Love Unreturned is our Body’s, our Life’s, way of getting our attention,

    And showing us what it is like

    To be spurned, ignored, rejected

    By the one who holds the key

    To your life everlasting.

    We think it is the end of the world

    For our love to be unreturned,

    And contemplate suicide,

    Because who could live out a miserable existence,

    Cutoff for one’s True Love?

    That’s what our Body/Life feels like

    When we go off with eyes for something

    Other than the Destiny/Life that is ours to live.

    We are our Life’s Great Hope,

    And we squander our chance at being alive,

    Chasing after mirages and

    Building castles in the air.

    We do to ourselves

    What our Unreturned Loves do to us.

    If we were living our life,

    We would be looking for someone

    To partner with

    In bringing forth the Life in each of us,

    Instead of looking for Gods and Goddesses

    To sweep us away.
  51. 09/20/2015 — Moss Glen Falls 02 — Stowe, VT, September 25, 2015

    Our life is constantly speaking to us,

    Trying to get our attention,

    Hoping we will listen

    And align ourselves with its need of us

    In a “Thy will, not mine, be done,” kind of way.

    Everything is a message to us

    About the life we are living,

    And the one we need to live.

    Our body is our life’s trusted messenger,

    Sensing, intuiting, instinctively knowing,

    What needs to be done.

    Our symptoms and our dreams

    Declare without end

    How things are in our life

    And how they need to be.

    White rabbits wink at us

    In the events and circumstances of our life,

    Whisk away,

    But pause, looking back, to see if we are following.

    Each day is a letter to us from our life,

    Written again in hopes that we will read it

    And begin living the life that is ours to live

    In the time left for living.
  52. 09/20/2015 — Tupper Lake Sunset 04 — Tupper Lake, NY, September 22, 2015

    Everything falls into place

    Around finding our life and living it.

    The quest for our life

    Is the spiritual journey.

    It is the distance from our head

    To our heart.

    We do not find our life by thinking about it.

    We feel our way there.

    We dance our way there.

    When our heart begins to sing,

    And our feet begin to dance,

    We’ve found it.

    Keep the rhythm going

    And we have it made:

    Enlightenment, Nirvana, Heaven, the Elysian Fields, the Promised Land, and Glory Land.

    All for the low, low price of doing what we are here for

    In the time left for living.
  53. 09/28/2015 — Eclipse Sequence—This is a series of photos I took of the full Luna eclipse in 2008, or was it 2006? But. I cannot imagine how one full Luna eclipse could be distinguished from another. Throw pictures of them all in a pile, and ask me to sort them out, and I wouldn’t know where to begin.

    If our heart isn’t singing,

    It is breaking.

    We break our heart

    When we refuse to do what it loves to do,

    When we ignore it,

    When we take it for granted,

    When we treat it as though it is only a pump,

    And fail to understand that our hear is the source of life,

    And not just what sustains life.

    Our heart sings when we find our work and do it.

    Our heart leads the way to our work,

    Waiting on us to follow it.

    But, we have other ideas,

    And put heart off

    Until we have sown wild oats,

    And chased wild geese,

    And lived in pursuit of illusions of grandeur,

    And fantasies of happy ever after.

    And our heart is breaking,

    Dying to sing.

    Dying for us to wake up,

    Turn our life over to our heart,

    Find the life, the destiny, that is ours to live,

    And live it.

    With all our heart.
  54. Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 09/28/2015 — Blackeyed Susans—New Hampshire roadside, September 27, 2015

    Our work is to dance to the song our heart is singing,

    AND pay the bills!

    We walk two paths at the same time.

    This is the nature of the spiritual journey.

    We do what it takes to support ourselves and our family

    While we are doing what it takes to serve our heart’s true joy.

    This is heroic stuff.

    The stuff of legend and fable.

    Ulysses and the Cyclops.

    David and Goliath.

    Doing what cannot be done,

    By reconciling contradictions,

    Integrating polarities,

    Making peace,

    Creating wholeness,

    Amazing ourselves.

    If you are bored with your life,

    Depressed and hopeless

    Because of the lack of resources,

    And the absence of meaning, purpose and direction,

    Hand yourself over to your life.

    Let it direct your living.

    On two paths at the same time.

    And be amazed.
  55. 09/29/2015 — Bartlett Falls Panorama 01 — Bristol, VT, September 27, 2015

    What would be most helpful to you?

    What kind of help do you need?

    Being clear about what would be helpful

    Enables us to be clear about what we are seeking,

    And puts us on track to find what we need

    To do what needs to be done.

    We are responsible for seeking what we need,

    And for finding what we seek.

    We cannot sit back, prop up our feet,

    And wait to be rescued.

    We go in search for what would be helpful to us.

    If we don’t ask for the Tabasco Sauce,

    We can’t complain about the bland nature of the shrimp cocktail.
  56. 09/29/2015 — Watkins Glen 2015 09 Panorama—Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, NY, September 20, 2015

    We can start anywhere.

    We can start with:

    ”What needs to be done?”

    ”What needs us to do it?”

    ”What do I need to do?”

    The questions are not to be answered,

    But to be wondered about.

    We are really asking:

    ”What ALL needs to be done?”

    ”What ALL needs me to do it?”

    ”What ALL do I need to do?”

    We have to put it ALL on the table,

    And walk around the table,

    Considering the table.

    Of all that is on the table:

    ”What all needs to be done NOW?”

    ”What all needs me to do it NOW?”

    ”What all do I need to do NOW?”

    ”NOW is the time to do what?”

    Sit with the questions,

    With what needs to be done,

    And see what you rise up to do–

    Spontaneously, effortlessly, without willing yourself to do it.

    Simply watch and see what you do.
  57. 09/30/2015 — Chemung County Barn HDR 01 — Watkins Glen, NY, September 23, 2015

    We can’t hear anything we aren’t ready to listen to.

    We have to live our way

    To the life that is waiting for us to live it.

    No one can hand it to us before its time.

    All those mistakes, bad choices and wrong turns

    Are preparation.

    We find what is right for us

    By winding our way through a lot that is not right.

    Reflection and Realization, Kid.

    Reflection and Realization.

    Death and Resurrection, Kid.

    Death and Resurrection.

    We pay a hefty price for eyes that see,

    Ears that hear,

    And a heart that understands.

    But.

    Once we begin to see,

    Sign posts pointing the way are everywhere.

    There is hope in all the emptiness, anguish and angst.

    It’s grist for the mill, Kid.

    Grist for the mill.

    We are milling maturity and wisdom,

    Compassion and grace.

    We live our way to those things.

    There are no shortcuts on the road to life.
  58. 10/01/2015 — Jenne Farm HDR 01 — Reading, VT, September 28, 2015

    There is what we want to happen.

    There is what we don’t want to happen.

    There is what needs to happen.

    And, there is what can happen.

    The spiritual journey is learning to work out the ratios.

    We spend too much time and energy

    Wanting what we have no business having,

    Willing what cannot be willed,

    Forcing what cannot be forced,

    Refusing to make our peace with the way things are,

    Failing to put ourselves in accord with our life,

    Rejecting obvious paths because they are contrary

    To our desires,

    Oblivious to what is being asked of us,

    Living in denial,

    Wondering what is wrong.
  59. 10/01/2015 — Iconic New England 01

    Our work is a Good Work,

    And we have to embrace it as such–

    Marrying our work and plighting it our troth,

    In sickness and in health,

    As long as we shall life.

    This is the missing element in all of human life.

    We have no sense of Our Work.

    We think we are here to enjoy ourselves

    With entertaining pastimes,

    And take the smooth and easy path through life.

    We have no sense of belonging

    To something greater than we are–

    That needs us and our gifts

    In its service for the true good of all.

    We all are Adam and Eve,

    Trading Paradise for a passing pleasure,

    Or Esau,

    Trading his birthright for a bowl of oatmeal.

    We sell ourselves out for a brightly wrapped box of smoke,

    And never understand that it is about Our Work.

    Not what we do to pay the bills,

    But what we pay the bills to do.

    What are you doing with your life?

    We have to be able to answer the question.

    We have to spend our life

    Finding the work that is ours to do with our life.

    All the attractive options

    Are manifestations of the Forbidden Fruit

    Inviting us to leave the path,

    Turn aside from the search,

    Forget Our Work

    And enjoy their ephemeral delights.

    Their promise of splendor beyond compare

    Conceals the one-eyed reality of the Cyclops

    Luring another victim from life to empty wandering

    In the wasteland of our discontent.

    Only Our Work can save us.

    Our life consists of finding Our Work and doing it.

    Find it.

    Do it.

    With all your heart,

    And complete devotion.

    Your life depends on it.
  60. 10/02/2015 — Watkins Glen 2015 07 – Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, NY, September 20, 2015

    We have to complete the developmental tasks of each stage of life.

    We cannot move to the next stage until we have completed the developmental tasks of the present age.

    Want to guess how many of us are still hung up in jr. high? High school?

    Pay attention to your conversations through a day.

    Somebody did somebody wrong.

    Somebody is going to win another world series or super bowl.

    Somebody is being politically stupid.

    News. Weather. Sports. And woe is me, poor, poor me.

    Look around you at all the things we have devised to keep us where we are, unthinking, unreflective, unaware:

    Schedules, appointment calendars, computer games, TV shows…

    No quiet times for listening, looking, seeing, hearing, wondering, imagining…

    It is as though the culture—the world culture—has declared,

    ”To hell with developmental tasks!

    They are too hard!

    They hurt too much!

    I’m not moving past where I am!”

    Facing up to how things are and what needs to be done about them

    Is too much for us.

    Escape! Denial! Diversion! Distraction!

    Dismiss, disregard, ignore everything that makes you uncomfortable.

    God forbid that we should be uncomfortable.

    Understand this:

    The path to enlightenment, realization, awareness, maturity, wisdom, grace, compassion, peace and life pouring over, spilling out, blessing everyone

    Winds through the heart of Gethsemane

    And across the face of Golgotha.

    Let me translate that for you:

    We have to complete the developmental tasks of each stage of life.
  61. 10/02/2015 — Chemung County Barn HDR Panorama 01 B&W—Elmira, NY, September 23, 2015

    No one can give us our work,

    Any more than someone else can tell us what will make our heart sing.

    We find our own way to the heart that sings,

    And to the work that is ours to do.

    The two are one.

    Find one, and you find the other.

    But do not think your work has to stay the same, unaltered, forever.

    Just as “one book opens another,”

    So what makes your heart sing

    Will lead to what else makes your heart sing,

    And your work expands, enlarges, deepens

    Beyond anything you might imagine.

    And, do not think your work is your ticket to fame and fortune,

    Or even to a living wage.

    You are not here to profit from your work

    Beyond singing along with your heart.

    Pay the bills with a good day job–

    One that compliments your work, perhaps,

    But certainly does not contradict, or deny, it.

    Your gifts are uniquely suited to your work,

    And are not to be exploited for your own pleasure.

    You belong to your work.

    It is enough that you believe in it,

    And do it with all your heart,

    The way it needs you to do it.

    Let doing your work be your reward,

    And be glad to be able to do it–

    That is the key to fulfillment,

    And life everlasting.
  62. 10/02/2015 — Fall Fern 01 — Tupper Lake, NY, September 22, 2015

    An old truism asserts “Truth is reality.”

    And, because reality is subject to perception and interpretation,

    Truth is multifaceted, contradictory and ever changing.

    The fluid nature of truth

    Is reflected in several of the sayings of Jesus.

    ”I am the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father but by me”

    Is the one we always hear quoted.

    He also said, a few verses earlier, “No one comes to me unless the Father draws him (sic).”

    Jesus also said, “If you are not with me, you are against me,”

    And, “If you are not against me, you are with me.”

    Which way is it?

    Both ways.

    All ways.

    At the same time.

    Our rational, logical, brain flips out over this,

    But our intuitive, instinctive, creative, imaginative brain

    Says, “Of course,” or, better, “Duh!”

    The point here is that when we are confronted by

    ”The truth of reality,”

    We have to step back and remember the power of

    Perception and interpretation,

    And see what else we can see about what stands before us

    By walking around it,

    Making inquiries,

    Looking from all sides and angles.

    Asking, “What ELSE is true about reality?”

    Gives us a bit of leverage,

    And shifts things into a more manageable position,

    Opening doors, and providing options and choices

    We didn’t notice on first glance.

    Taking all things into consideration

    Enables us to work with reality,

    And transform the facts–

    To the astonishment of those

    Who only think they see “what’s there.”
  63. 10/03/2015 — Moss Glen Falls 03 — Stowe, VT, September 25, 2015

    The concept that “Your religious liberty ends where my constitutional rights begin” is foundational for life together.

    ”Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

    ”Liberty and justice for all.”

    ”All men (people) are created equal.”

    The constitution is a compilation of common agreements which bind us together in a republic governed (after Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address) “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

    We are free to live our life in any way that does not restrict the freedom of others to live their life.

    I work my side of the street, and you work yours.

    I stay out of your business, and you stay out of mine.

    We cooperate with each other in ways that honor our common interest—that serve the common good—and help each other define, and live, our own life.

    I live my life, and help you live your life—to the extent you are interested in being helped, and find what I offer to be helpful.

    And, the same goes for you, with me.

    All of this is grounded upon the necessity of a good faith commitment on the part of each of us to find our life and live it, to find our work and do it.

    Where that is lacking, nothing can be done for any of us.
  64. 10/03/2015 — Tupper Lake Sunset 03 — Tupper Lake, NY, September 22, 2015

    We have to live with intensity,

    With devotion, dedication, and determination.

    We have to live with our heart in what we do.

    We have to care about what we are doing with our life.

    We have to live like we mean it.

    What would it take for you to live like you mean it?

    Instead of just getting by?

    Just meeting the minimum daily requirements of being alive?

    Just being upright, intact, 98.6 and breathing?

    Just going though the motions?

    What would it take for you to live believing in what you are doing?

    For you to be owned by your life?

    To belong to your life?

    To love your life?

    With all your heart, and soul, and mind, and body?

    What would it take?
  65. 10/03/2015 — Iconic New England 03 — United Presbyterian Church, South Ryegate, VT, September 27, 2015

    Start with what you love.

    You don’t have to think about what you love,

    And you will never find your way to your ground,

    Your center,

    Your foundation,

    Your work,

    Your LIFE,

    By thinking about it.

    Start with what you love.

    With what engages you,

    Enthralls you,

    Captivates you,

    Moves you,

    Makes your heart sing,

    And takes you out of time.

    Work what you love into your life

    On a regular basis.

    Treat what you love as your best friend–

    As your secret lover.

    Make dates with it.

    A rendezvous.

    Bring it flowers and chocolates.

    Let it fill your heart with joy and anticipation.

    Follow it–

    As your love for things expands–

    With devoted allegiance–

    Into all of life,

    Transformed,

    And transforming all the world.
  66. 10/04/2015 — NO—Swiftwater, NH, September 25, 2015

    Things have a certain order about them.

    We put on our socks and pants before we put on our shoes.

    We hate the restraints order places on us.

    We take shortcuts.

    We run stop signs and lights.

    We have it OUR way.

    ”Damn the shoreline! Full speed ahead!”

    One of the developmental tasks in the early stages of life

    Is understanding the fundamental importance of the order of things,

    And submitting to the necessity of aligning ourselves

    With the proper sequence required by the situation as it arises.

    More often than not, where there are problems,

    Someone is not happy with the queue,

    Or the procedure,

    And is looking for a quick trip to happy and content.

    When we skip the developmental tasks

    It’s hard on everyone.

    Each of us has to bear the pain of the inconvenience

    And agony of existence.

    When personal pain is not properly borne,

    Corporate pain is increased across the board, around the table.

    The source of anguish, chaos, disruption and dismay

    Is generally someone who is not grown up enough to honor

    The necessary order of things and acquiesce to life as it is.

    Pain unborne spills over onto others every time.
  67. 10/04/2015 — Tupper Lake Sunset 2015 01, Day 3 — Tupper Lake, NY, September 24, 2015

    I’m amazed at how quiet I have to be to hear anything worth saying.

    The connection is fragile and easily lost amid the noise of life.

    Those who know, know the importance of maintaining the connection.

    What is the quietest place in your life?

    How often do you go there?

    How long do you remain?

    People want to know the answers to their questions,

    But they are the answer to questions being asked of them,

    Yet, they live too loudly to listen.

    What can you say to those who cannot hear?

    Who cannot turn off the noise in their life

    To tune into their soul?

    Some things we have to do for ourselves.
  68. 10/05/2015 — Iconic New England Collage—September 2015

    Looking for our life is like looking for our shadow.

    All we need is a little light of consciousness, shining on ourselves,

    And there it is.

    Notice the things that stir your soul,

    That move your heart,

    That catch your eye.

    You have been living your life, off and on, all this time—

    Or, almost living it.

    It has always been “right there,”

    Trying to get your attention.

    But you’ve had your eye on other things

    And didn’t see the things you weren’t seeing.

    Now, it’s a matter of seeing what you are not seeing.

    Once you develop that knack,

    ”Boom!” — as John Madden would say—

    There you are!
  69. 10/05/2015 — Woodlawn Cemetery Panorama 08 — Elmira, NY, September 21, 2015 — Woodlawn Cemetery is the burial site of Mark Twain and his family (not pictured here), and is an amazing place from an aesthetic and historical standpoint. The stories that lie buried here…

    If you aren’t having fun with your life,

    At least some of the time,

    In some of the scenes and situations you are in,

    Your heart isn’t singing nearly enough.

    If your heart isn’t singing,

    It isn’t YOUR life that you are living.

    Only YOU can do something about that!

    Beginning right now, determine to find ways to have fun with your life,

    Determine right now to find ways to let your heart sing.

    This is the crucial, critical, determining factor

    Regarding the quality and liveability

    Of your life from this time forth.

    Your have to reintroduce play into your life.

    You have to play with your life.

    Laugh, sing, and dance.

    Your life isn’t going to change until you do.

    It’s waiting on you to give it the go ahead.

    You can’t be waiting on it to turn some corner and become fun.

    Look. It’s like this.

    You can look for what there is to not like about anything.

    And you can look for what there is to like,

    You have the power of perspective and interpretation going for you.

    Swing for the fences!

    Laugh all the way around the bases!

    Then run them backwards, backwards!

    And do a couple of somersaults between first base and home.
  70. 10/06/2015 — Bog River Falls 2015 Panorama 01 — Tupper Lake, NY, September 24, 2015

    It’s such a strange, and undeniable, thing

    That living our life–

    The life that makes our heart sing–

    Requires such courage.

    Perhaps it is because no one else is doing it,

    And the rest of them don’t understand its importance,

    And think we are being uppity,

    Thinking of ourselves like that,

    When, of course, we should be thinking exclusively of them.

    Whenever anyone accuses us of being selfish,

    It is because we are doing something we want to do,

    And not something they want us to do.

    But we are being selfish.

    Weird, but real.

    Anyway, it takes courage to be who we are,

    Doing what brings us to life

    On one level,

    While doing what it takes to pay the bills

    One another.

    It doesn’t leave much time for those

    Who want us to do what they want us to do.
  71. 10/06/2015 — Covered Bridge Collage—Vermont and New Hampshire, September, 2015

    ”Invoked, or not invoked,

    The God will be present.”

    The Delphic Oracle spells it out for us.

    We will confront the truth of our life,

    Align ourselves with it,

    And live in its service to the end

    Or not.

    Either way, the God will be present.

    Will we be present with the God,

    Who is present with us,

    Is the question.
  72. 10/06/2015 — A Man and His Dog—Fish Creek Pond, Lake Clear, NY, September 24, 2015

    Our work engages us in the recovery of the sacred.

    What is sacred for you?

    What is holy?

    Sacrosanct?

    To be revered, honored, cherished and held in high esteem?

    My bet is that we have a very short list,

    If we have one at all.

    The culture is without a sense of the sacred.

    It’s all fair game for the one-liners of SNL and late night comedy routines.

    What will we not laugh at?

    Not deride?

    Ridicule?

    Defame?

    Denounce?

    Where does that leave us?

    When there is no holy ground to stand on,

    We are in freefall,

    Where even the laughter is empty.

    Only our work can save us–

    But.

    Our work must become holy unto us

    In order to connect us with all that is holy.

    In seeking our work,

    We are searching for a portal

    To sacred ground of existence,

    And must approach our task

    As pilgrims—disciples—on the path

    To a holy land of the heart,

    Uniting all of us in the realization of the sacred incarnate in each one.
  73. 10/07/2015 — Chemung County Barn HDR 04 — Elmira, NY, September 23, 2015

    We can’t agree about what is important.

    That’s because what is important is different for each of us.

    We perceive things differently,

    Give weight to things differently.

    We are different.

    At the core.

    Yet, we throw ourselves together in groups

    And clusters,

    And population centers

    And act as though we are one.

    And hate, expel, ostracize, castigate, despise and kill

    Those who are not like we are.

    Not even we are like we are.

    To deny that and pretend we are one

    Is to deny ourselves.

    We are one in the sense that we are many.

    We are one in that we are all different from the others.

    We have differentness in common.

    It goes down from there.

    We have to stop pretending,

    And start granting latitude.

    Making allowances.

    Blurring the lines,

    Or erasing them.

    You are not like they are.

    Stop acting like it.

    They are not like you are.

    Stop thinking they should be.

    Let differences stand,

    Without standing in the way.

    Understand “community”

    And “like-minded-ness”

    As being grounded upon the agreement

    Of mutual respect for each other,

    And a common commitment

    To help the other find, and be, who they are,

    In a “What is good for one is good for all” kind of way.
  74. 10/08/2015 — Falls Park Falls HDR 02 — Reedy River, Falls Park, Greenville, SC, October 8, 2015

    The three traditional contact points

    with the holy, sacred, numinous reality

    that is often called “god” are

    art (fine and practical), music and nature.

    To these three, I would add good conversation.

    Good conversation is hard to come by these days

    because we don’t go in much for reflection.

    All we have are opinions.

    No reflection.

    No examination.

    No inquiry.

    No thinking.

    Certainly no creative, imaginative, thinking.

    Only reactivity.

    We know what we like,

    and what we don’t like,

    and that’s as far as it goes with us.

    What more do you need?

    That’s opinion for you.

    Open and shut case for no thinking required.

    The way of the world in the 21st century.

    We all have opinions.

    And zero insight.

    And some are of the opinion

    that everyone should have guns.

    That’s a recipe for shootouts on every corner.

    That’s what not thinking will do for you.

    We have to start thinking,

    reflecting,

    creatively,

    imaginatively,

    seeking new realizations,

    cultivating insight,

    courting enlightenment,

    waking up.
  75. 10/09/2015 — Old Stone Bridge HDR 02 — Falls Park, Greenville, SC, October 8, 2015

    Our life is there before us,

    waiting for us to realize

    what has always been so,

    and become who we already are,

    making that evident–

    real-izing the inherent makeup of our being–

    by the way we live.

    We grow into ourselves,

    and exhibit the wonder we are

    by doing the things that are ours to do

    the way only we can do them,

    all our life long.

    If you missed out on this basic structure

    due to poor mentoring

    and bad preaching,

    you have a lot of living left to do,

    getting you together with your life!

    That’s the Hero’s Journey, you know.

    Our life always needs us

    to be its hero!
  76. 10/09/2015 — Early Morning Mist B&W—Tupper Lake, NY, September 23, 2015

    We can look at anything

    and see what to not like about it.

    We can look at anything

    and see what to like about it.

    The difference between these ways of looking

    is the difference that makes the difference.
  77. 10/10/2015 — Falls Park Spillway 01 — A retaining dam on the Reedy River running through downtown Greenville, SC, October 8, 2015

    I posted this a year ago, and thanks to Annie Oakley for reminding me, here it comes again:

    This is a paraphrase (because I don’t have permission to quote directly) of Carl Jung in a 1931 interview with Whit Burnett in the New York Sun, and found in “The Earth Has A Soul: C.G. Jung on Nature, Technology and Modern Life,” edited by Meredith Sabini and published by North Atlantic Books:

    The people of the United States must find the wherewith all to say NO! to the abounding temptations of the culture: The quest for things, for uniformity, for multitasking, for being like everyone in the neighborhood, etc., and to sit still in quiet contemplation until the realization dawns that contentment, peace, satisfaction, fulfillment and happiness are not to be found in the things the culture would have them pursue, and that trying to be like everyone else in the service of success and an increasingly higher standard of living is to be out of accord with the deeper dictates of heart and soul, and to be increasingly far removed from the personality and type of life that the individual possesses but ignores in seeking what she, what he, thoughtlessly buys into as being the solid ground and goal of their lives. The conflict between how they are living and how they need to live to satisfy their inner self will, sooner or later, result in some form of emotional disturbance, if not physical sickness and death.
    He goes on to say, again paraphrased:

    No matter how we deny it and pretend it is not so, we all, at different times and places in our life, have a sense of things being not right somehow. We yearn to be rid of the hustle, noise, conflict and confusion of our life, and to simply live. This realization is expressed in countless ways in our dreams, which warn of the outcome of living out of synch with ourselves. Our dreams are our body’s way of revealing to us what is going on in our psyche/soul/mind—the body’s best effort in saying in symbolic ways that something is wrong, or more to the point, what specifically is wrong in the life of each individual person. The dream is our body’s way of calling our attention to its instinctive awareness of what is out of accord and what must be integrated, reconciled and realigned. If we do not heed these warnings, we pay the price in one way or another.
  78. 10/10/2015 — Spider Web 01 B&W—Tupper Lake, NY, September 22, 2015

    Think of the number of stories

    across all ages, nations and religions

    about our getting in our way,

    and then think about the number of stories

    about our cooperating–

    our living in accord–

    with our way.

    Which list is longer?

    What is your story?

    How will you write what remains to be written?
  79. 10/11/2015 — Price Lake 2015 01 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, near Blowing Rock, NC, October 11, 2015

    We can make any situation better, or worse,

    by the quality of our perception of it,

    the quality of our participation in it,

    and the quality of our response to it.

    When we take everything into account,

    the path opens before us,

    and it only requires a willing (not willful) heart

    to do what needs us to do it

    in each situation as it arises.

    Seeing, hearing, understanding

    is knowing, doing, being.
  80. 10/10/2015 — Upper Falls Panorama 03 — Linville Falls, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

    Listening is the work of the conscious mind/Ego,

    reflecting on its experience

    and forming new realizations,

    which deepen its connection,

    its alignment,

    with the soul’s drift and joy.

    The work of the conscious mind/Ego

    is to place itself in accord

    with the soul’s song

    and to live in ways

    that bring the song to life in our life,

    so that we move to the rhythms of soul,

    and exhibit the values of soul

    and are the incarnation of soul

    in each situation as it arises,

    our whole life long.

    We dance to the music of soul,

    And our heart sings soul’s song.
  81. 10/11/2015 — Mallards Landing—Reedy River, Falls Park, Greenville, SC, October 8, 2015

    “What are you doing that you believe in?”

    “Why are you doing anything you don’t believe in?”

    The two best questions!

    # 3 is “What do you believe in?”

    Ask someone what they believe in,

    And they will get theological on you.

    They don’t know what they believe in.

    They know what they have been told to believe.

    If you don’t believe in your work,

    You have a job.

    If your work doesn’t inspire you, consume you,

    You have a job.

    If you don’t live into each day

    To better contribute to your body of work,

    You don’t have a body of work.

    You may as well be shopping each day,

    Or lolling on the beach.

    What are you doing that you believe in?

    Why are you doing anything you don’t believe in?

    Because it pays well?

    If you are not using your paycheck

    At least in part,

    In the service of what you believe in,

    You have sold out.

    Money cannot buy you anything to substitute for

    What you believe in.

    And you can have that for nothing.

    If you will wake up to what it is

    And serve it with all your heart.

    That’s your mission,

    If you choose to accept it,

    And, why would you not?
  82. 10/13/2015 — Still Green in the Foothills HDR Panorama—Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain, NC, October 11, 2015

    It’s all about the work.

    The key to life spilling over,

    Pouring out,

    Everlasting

    Is finding our work and doing it–

    Finding the things that make our heart sing and doing them.

    Living in ways that call forth and make manifest

    Who we are and what we are about.

    Doing what we believe in,

    What we know to be worth our time.

    Doing what we are here to do, what is ours to do,

    In the time left for living.

    Everything hinges on finding our work and doing it.

    So, why aren’t we looking?

    What’s with killing another day

    Doing things that are Not Us?

    Spend the day in search of the things that are Indubitably You!
  83. 10/14/2015 — Blue Ridge 2015 HDR 02 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain, NC, October 11, 2015

    We are what we need,

    We need only to be who we are.

    But. We can do that best

    In a community of those

    Who are being who they are.

    Nothing is more important

    Than keeping the right company.

    There is a direct relationship

    Between the people we run with

    And the quality of our life.

    How different can we be

    From those who form our In Group?

    We need a group/community

    That encourages individuality,

    Not one that inhibits and restricts it.

    If you have to be like WE are,

    WE aren’t a good place for you to be!
  84. 10/15/2015 — Middle Saluda River 01 — Jones Gap State Park, Cleveland, SC, October 15, 2015

    What do you know of God that you didn’t get from someone else–

    Including the Bible?

    The Bible gets all the credit

    For delivering God-As-God-Is

    Straight from God to us.

    That’s only what someone made up and spread around.

    Where did the people who wrote the Bible come up with what they came up with?

    Divine Revelation, right?

    Which ceased to exist 2,000 years ago,

    Conveniently timed to coincide with the rise of Ecclesiastical Authority.

    God doesn’t have to go to the trouble of talking directly to us any more.

    We have the Priests and Preachers to tell us what’s what.

    And where do they get it?

    The Bible, of course.

    And why can’t we all get it there?

    We might get it wrong and go to hell.

    THEY know how to read Greek and Hebrew.

    I’m here to tell you that everyone has equal access

    To what has always been called God.

    Intermediaries are not required.

    The Reformed version of Christianity

    Even had a doctrine called “The Priesthood of All Believers”

    Until the implications dawned upon the Authorities

    Who swept it into the dim regions,

    And never spoke of it again.

    Which leaves the question remaining to be answered–

    By you:

    What do you know of God that you didn’t get from some source other than yourself?
  85. 10/16/2015 — Footbridge Panorama—Jones Gap State Park, Cleveland, SC, October 15, 2015

    When it comes to what you know about what has always been called God,

    Don’t give me your opinions.

    Opinion is always being displayed as knowledge.

    Opinion is a cheap, cowardly, lazy surrogate for knowledge.

    Opinion is easy, loud, and theatrical.

    Opinion is ignorant, unthinking and incapable of reflection–

    Particularly self-reflection.

    Knowledge is lived experience.

    People who know crab cakes

    Grow up on the coast of Maryland.

    If someone starts talking about “good crab cakes,”

    Ask them where they grew up.

    If someone starts talking about God,

    Ask them what they lived through

    That revealed that to them.

    If they can only talk to you about “the Bible,”

    It’s like the crab cake person talking to you about a recipe book.

    We don’t know God by what we read or hear,

    Only by what we live through,

    By what we experience.

    Anything else is opinion.

    Or, worse, propaganda.

    Evangelism is the propagandalism of the world.
  86. 10/16/2015 — Bog River Falls Abstract 01 — Tupper Lake, NY, September 2015

    Make a pact with yourself to care more about the things you care about.

    Spend more time doing the things you care about,

    And less time doing the things you don’t care about.

    Care about the things you care about

    Consciously,

    Deliberately,

    Conscientiously.

    Live with—and toward—the things you care about

    In ways that everyone knows you care about them.

    Let the things you care about

    Become as important to you as they deserve to be.

    Nothing will reshape your life for the good

    Like caring about the things you care about.

    And not caring about the things you don’t care about.

    Square yourself up with the things you care about,

    And don’t care about.

    Your life will fall nicely into place around the things you care about.

    Which is how it should be.
  87. 10/17/2015 — Middle Saluda River Cascade 02 — Jones Gap State Park, Cleveland, SC, October 15, 2015

    We give our time and attention to our outer reality,

    Our appearance,

    Our pose,

    Our image,

    Our sex appeal,

    Our popularity,

    Our place in the lives of others,

    Especially in His Life,

    Or Her Life

    (You know who I mean).

    We’re all Out There,

    Trying to fit in,

    To belong.

    If we tend to our inner reality,

    Our outer reality will fall into place

    Around our center, core, ground, and foundation

    And all will be right with the world.

    Our inner reality is the key:

    Who we are,

    What we are about,

    What matters most,

    What is of highest value,

    What is ours to do in the time left for living

    Our talisman, guide, North Star, and friend.

    Our Self.

    Where we belong.

    What we belong to.

    The governing source and goal of our life.

    Why would we ignore that world

    In favor of mirages and happy fantasies?
  88. 10/18/2015 — Middle Saluda River 02 — Jones Gap State Park, Cleveland, SC, October 15, 2015

    Your life is your responsibility.

    Which means you decide how well it’s going,

    And whether you are “on the beam,” or off of it.

    And, if you are off of it, you decide what to do to get back on it,

    And stay there–

    Which includes who to listen to

    And when to stop listening to them.

    You know that by listening to you.

    If you were to listen to me,

    The first thing I would tell you is:

    Learn to listen to YOU.

    Learn to distinguish among the you’s vying for your attention

    And compliance.

    We all have a lot of voices within.

    Impulsive, compulsive, lazy, fearful, arrogant, prideful, willful, etc. voices.

    We have to listen past all the voices claiming to know what they are doing,

    To The Voice That Knows,

    And listen to it.

    All the others are pretenders to the title.

    The first step is to listen past all of them

    To The One Who Knows.

    Nothing happens for the good

    Until you can recognize the voice within of The One Who Knows

    And listen to it.
  89. Used in Short Talks on Good and Bad Religion — 10/18/2015 — Old Stone Bridge HDR 01 — Falls Park, Greenville, SC, October 8, 2015

    We don’t need theology or doctrine,

    Or some second-hand religion

    Passed along to us by Those Who Know Best And Must Be Pleased.

    We need only the truth of our own experience

    To validate for us

    The importance of compassion and kindness

    In a “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,

    Whether or not they return the favor and do unto you

    As you have done unto them” kind of way.

    The truth of our own experience,

    Reflected upon,

    And interpreted in light of the experience of the species,

    And the values at the heart of being human,

    Is all we need to square us up

    To how things are and what needs to be done about it

    In each situation as it arises.

    No religion that has ever been could do more for us,

    Or as much.

    Theology and doctrine are divisive.

    Good religion is unifying

    Like the encounter with awe, wonder, grace and beauty

    In art, music and nature–

    Like a cup of cold water on a hot day.

    Who could argue about any of those things?
  90. Used in Short Talks on Good and Bad Religion –10/19/2015 — Early Morning Mist 02 B&W—Tupper Lake, NY, September 22, 2015

    No one needs to be told what to believe

    In terms of doctrine and theology.

    Everyone needs to be told what needs to be done

    And given the freedom to figure out what works for themselves.

    All approaches to the experience with spiritual reality

    Are composed of the same elements.

    The basics are:

    Seeing (What you look at),

    Hearing (What you listen to),

    Understanding (How things are and how things also are),

    Knowing (What is happening in each situation as it arises),

    Doing (What needs to be done about it),

    Being (In accord with your life and with the way of life–

    Which includes bearing the pain of your experience).

    The tools are:

    Mindfulness Meditation (Jon Kabat-Zinn’s work is a great source for training),

    Silence,

    Living as an outlet of compassion and grace,

    Reflection and Realization,

    Practice (Discipline, Rituals, Routines),

    Participation in the right kind of company (Communities of Innocence, I call them),

    Diet and exercise.

    We cannot read a book,

    Attend a lecture,

    Go on a retreat

    And “be spiritual.”

    “Being spiritual” is a practice, a regimen, a way of life.

    Not a vocabulary or a set of beliefs.
  91. 10/20/2015 — Bog River Falls 2015 Panorama 02 — Tupper Lake, NY, September 23, 2015

    You have to find your voice

    And listen to it.

    You have to find your heart’s song

    And sing it.

    You have to find your life

    And live it.

    The disciple has to become like the Master

    In following no Master.

    Only you know what is yours to do.

    Only you know what catches your eye.

    Only you know what does it for you.

    The only guru worth following

    Is the one who won’t have you

    Chasing after her, or him–

    Who tells you:

    ”Listen to me when I tell you:

    ’DON’T LISTEN TO ME!

    LISTEN TO YOU!’”

    Listen to you.

    And, if it leads to a dead end,

    Keep listening to you

    To get you out of there

    Having gotten what you need from there,

    Which is learning that you have to listen to you,

    No matter what.
  92. 10/20/2015 — Fish Creek Pond HDR—Near Clear Lake, NY, September 25, 2015

    My mother died early in September, and her memorial service is slated to be held in a week. I am appropriately sad these days, as much over the life that was not as over the life that was.

    I would love to know how her life would have been if my mother had had what she needed.

    Of course, we can say that about ourselves, Terry Malloy, and everyone we know, but. This is my mother who has died, and I can excuse myself for deeply regretting what she missed because of all those in her life who, themselves, were operating with only deficits and deficiencies to work with.

    We come into the world set and primed for certain environmental conditions, much like an acorn drops from the oak expecting sunlight, soil and water. The world that greets us is not always what we need. And, we walk with a limp, or worse, because of it.

    Many, if not most, of us spend our life compensating for what did not meet us when we slipped from the womb. It helps if we know, consciously, that is what we are doing, and consciously search ways to work around what is missing in our life.

    Lacking that much awareness, we live, like my mother, against the odds, and do what chance and timing provide us in creating the life we live.

    I celebrate Katheryne’s resolve, courage, creativity and her heard-headed refusal to quit—and her life, which gave me and my siblings more of a life than we would have had if she had folded early-on, and left us as much to chance and timing as she was handed.

    Here, then, is to Nancy Katheryne Hamilton Dollar—for all she did with what she had to work with, and who she became in spite of finding little more than deficit and deficiency in the environment that received her slip-sliding from the womb into its welcoming arms.
  93. 10/21/2015 — Gaffney Icon—Gaffney, SC, October 8, 2015

    We can let our thoughts run away with us.

    That isn’t the thing to do with thoughts.

    We have them.

    They can’t have us.

    Hold us hostage,

    R-u-n-n-o-f-t with us,

    Over some cliff

    Into some abyss

    To torture us forever.

    We can create entire scenarios of despair

    All coming to the hopeless conclusion

    That we will never have a chance

    And it is pointless and futile to go on.

    This is where compassionate awareness

    Comes to our rescue.

    Compassionate awareness receives what we are doing to ourselves

    Without going along with us to the brink and over it.

    As we become aware of what we are doing

    We can wake up

    And say, “Wait a minute.

    ”I’ve been here before.

    ”I know where this is going.

    ”And I’m not going along again.”

    We stop our thoughts from running away with us

    By being compassionately aware of them:

    ”I’m scaring myself again.

    ”It’s what I do best.

    ”I’m going to stop now, and count my breaths.”

    Then we take a deep breath,

    And count the next 20

    Counting to five between one exhale and the next inhale.

    That will put our thoughts in their place as fast as anything will.
  94. 10/22/2015 — Spanning the River—Middle Saluda River, Jones Gap State Park, Cleveland, SC, October 15, 2015

    We are always having to pause and take stock

    to see where our enthusiasm lies.

    Enthusiasm for the task drifts away, over time,

    to some other task.

    We have to notice when it leaves,

    and pick up the trail before it grows cold,

    and we are left with a life

    we have to pretend to be living,

    but no longer have the heart for.

    Where do your enthusiasms lie these days?

    What are you doing to deepen their attachments,

    and follow their lead?

    Enthusiasm for life IS life!

    When it goes,

    we have to allow it to take us with it,

    or wander the back roads forever wondering

    whatever became of passion and bliss

    after the fire burned out.
  95. 10/22/2015 — Linville Cove Viaduct Panorama 01 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain, NC, October 12, 2015

    The optimal distance between people in relationship with each other is the point at which the “I’s” are supporting each other with their life and work, and no one has gone over into a “We,” where the boundaries separating individuals have dissolved and everyone is intent on being like everyone else—or, like they are “supposed to be” for the sake of the relationship.

    This is true for couples, congregations and political parties.

    ”We” exist for the good of the “I’s” composing the “we.”

    When the “I’s” exist for the good of the “We,” the optimum distance for relationship has been transgressed, and individuals are disappearing into the myth of the “We.”

    The myth of the “We,” in its most outlandish and ridiculous form is in the idea that corporations are individuals.

    Corporations are where individuals go to disappear.

    Where individuals are eaten alive.

    Where no one is responsible for anything because everything is done by the nebulous, and ostensibly non-existent, “We.”

    Two or more healthy, well-defined, consciously, compassionately aware “I’s” are essential for every “We.”

    No “We” can be healthier than the health of the least healthy “I” composing it.

    A healthy “We” is an intentional collection of healthy “I’s” who come together for the mutual support of each others life and work, and for the good of the larger community beyond the “We” so established.

    Healthy “I’s” are essential for the development of healthy “I’s.”

    Whatever contributes to the health of an “I,” contributes to the health of more than one “I.”

    The right kind of “We’s” produce the right kind of “I’s,” and vice versa.

    And that’s how we “I’s” save the world.
  96. 10/23/2015 — Freedom Bridge at Falls Park Falls—Greenville, SC, October 8, 2015

    We all are stupid in our own way.

    It helps the whole when we are the only one impacted by our stupidity.

    Some of us—too many of us—are stupid in ways that keep the world flame burning much lower than is good for any of us.

    We each do our part in serving the good of ourselves and the whole

    By taking up the practice of mindfulness meditation,

    And practicing daily.

    Simply being compassionately aware of everything happening and not happening

    In the present moment

    Without judgment, willfulness or opinion

    Shifts the moment toward the good of all.

    Compassionately seeing, hearing, knowing

    What is happening and not happening

    In each situation as it arises

    Without judgment, willfulness or opinion

    Changes everything.

    But.

    It takes doing it religiously over time

    To know

    That I know what I’m talking about.

    It would be stupid

    To be handed the solution to the mess we all are in

    And not practice it.

    Particularly when it asked no more of us

    Than sitting with the moment

    Once a day

    And being fully, compassionately, aware

    Of what is happening and not happening there

    Without judgment, willfulness or opinion.

    Wouldn’t it?
  97. 10/24/2015 — Fall Woods Road 01 — Indian Land, SC, October 23, 2015

    We cannot wake up before the time for awakening is upon us.

    Seeds sprout at sprouting time.

    The grain is harvested at harvesting time.

    It is the way of things.

    ”For everything there is a season,

    And a time for every unfolding and coming forth under heaven.”

    Nothing can be made to happen before its time.

    But.

    It’s time can be missed.

    The opportune time can come by,

    Looking for us,

    And we can be busy tending other matters.

    ”I cannot come to the banquet,

    Don’t trouble me now,

    I have married a wife,

    I have bought me a cow.

    I have fields and commitments,

    That cost a pretty sum,

    Pray hold me excused.

    I cannot come.” (Lyrics by the Medical Mission Sisters, “I Cannot Come To The Banquet”)

    We can be so preoccupied with having Our Way

    That we are never available to The Way,

    No matter how many times it returns,

    Calling our name.

    Our Yossarian is never available

    To the invitation of our life’s Orr.

    And the dead are left to bury the dead,

    While Life goes on without them.

    And so, the need to take up the practice

    Of looking and listening–

    Of being mindfully attentive to the moment of our living–

    So that we might see and hear

    When the time for seeing and hearing comes upon us.
  98. 10/25/2015 — Fall Woods Panorama 01 — Indian Land, SC, October 23, 2015

    The situation as it unfolds before us

    Will bring us forth to meet it,

    And if we refuse to come forth,

    Our situations will increase in intensity and insistence,

    Until we finally have no recourse but to come forth and meet them,

    Or fold up and “die” in one of the 10,000 ways to “die”

    Without officially, and finally, being dead.

    Our life is the place of our coming forth,

    And we WILL come forth,

    Or not.

    That being the case,

    Why not learn all we can about coming forth,

    About meeting our life,

    About assisting what is bringing us forth,

    And discovering how to be our life’s able assistant,

    Its ready partner in collaboration with it

    In the development and presentation of who we are

    In all of our glory,

    For our good,

    And the good of the whole?

    Why do it the hard way,

    Or worse, fail to do it at all?
  99. 10/25/2015 — Leaves of Fall 01 — Indian Land, SC, October 22, 2015

    Where do we go to find our peace,

    Restore our balance,

    Regain our equilibrium,

    Recover our sense of direction,

    Reconnect with heart and soul,

    Remember our center,

    Reestablish our foundation,

    Revive our connection with the source and ground

    Of life and being?

    You might try sitting still,

    And breathing,

    Intentionally attending the moment

    Of sitting and breathing,

    With compassion for all that is there with you,

    And without judgment, willfulness or opinion

    For any of it.

    Just sitting,

    Just breathing,

    With compassionate awareness

    Of and for the moment.

    What do you have to lose?
  100. 10/26/2015 — Price Lake 2015 02 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, near Blowing Rock, NC, October 12, 2015

    What is your relationship with reality?

    Contentious?

    Oppositional?

    Compassionate?

    Are you integrated with reality?

    At one with reality?

    At peace with reality?

    At odds with reality?

    In denial about reality?

    How harmonious is your relationship with reality?

    Upon what does your harmony with reality depend?

    Things going your way, perhaps?

    To what extent is reality an extension of you?

    To what extent are you an extension of reality?

    Where do you stop and reality start?

    Upon what does the quality of your relationship with reality depend?

    What can you do to improve the quality of your relationship with reality?

    What keeps you from doing that?

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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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