08/22/2016 — Ego gets a bad rap. Hinduism and, to some extent, Buddhism Plot Ego as the Bad Guy behind the mess. We suffer, it is said, because of Ego. Ego is the source of fear and desire, Which are the root of the problem, And the cause of all suffering. Get Ego out of the way And there is only bliss and harmony forever. Who desires bliss and harmony? Who fears suffering? Who wants Ego gone? Who is left when Ego goes? Every religion has it’s problems. And it’s said that Buddhism is not a religion, But. It has its prayer flags and votive offerings, And it has the idea of earning merit at its core. Who is hearing the prayers? Who is pleased with the offerings? Who is keeping score? Ego is not the problem. Ego is a full partner with Psyche In living the life that is ours to live– In getting off of the wrong track, And getting on the right one. Ego is the protector, defender, hero, friend of Psyche. And only needs to wake up, And be about the business it is to be about, For all to be well with our soul.
08/22/2016 — Goldfinch 2016 20 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 22, 2016 Why isn’t important. What is the only thing that matters. Why something happened to you is a distraction. What you are going to do about it is your proper focus. Why you should do what is right isn’t the issue. What you are going to do in response to what needs you to do it Is the only question. I don’t care what your motives are. When the baby needs to be fed, Feed the baby– And feed the baby in such a manner That the baby can’t tell if you want to or not. Your life needs you to live it. Don’t worry about why. Decide what. Can your life count on you or not? What you do in each moment Says yes or no to your life in that moment.
08/23/2016 — Brown-headed Nuthatch 2016 07 — A composite photo combining three images of two different Nuthatches. Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 22, 2016 When we live faithfully trusting ourselves to what we take to be our life, our life becomes increasingly apparent in the life we are living. We don’t have to know what we are doing. We only have to have a good faith commitment to putting ourselves in accord with the life that is ours to live. It’s like this: Mountain Goats are suited to mountains, and Antelope are suited to grassy plains. Plop Mountain Goats and Antelope down in the piedmont between mountains and plain, and they will figure it out without knowing what they are doing. We will gravitate to where we belong and take the shape our life requires of us simply by giving ourselves to the search in a “Me? or Not Me?” kind of way.
08/23/2016 — Mourning Dove 12 Silhouette — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 21, 2016 We owe it to each other As a sacred trust To remain a steadfast source strength and encouragement All the way to the end of our natural life. I’ve watched a lot of children eating ice cream. I have never seen one get halfway to the end, Look at the cone, or bowl, Say, “What good is this doing? What’s the point in this–or anything?” Throw it down in disgust, And stalk away in a disgruntled, miserable, slouch. Adults need to live their life Like children eat ice cream. We all are helpmates for one another. Robin Williams’ suicide impacted me more Than he ever imagined. Every suicide leaves its mark. We owe each other better Than quitting because it is hard And makes no sense. Ice cream makes no sense, And no one asks it to. “Do you want some ice cream?” “Ice cream! What kind of sense does that make?” Demanding that our life make sense, Makes about the same kind of sense As demanding that ice cream make sense. Our place is to live well Whether that makes any sense or not. It will make all the difference, And that needs to be enough.
08/23/2016 — Carolina Wren 2016 22 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 23, 2016 Carl Jung said, “We are who we always were, and who we will be.” The seed, the core, the kernel has been there from the start, And will be there all the way, but. What Carl Jung did not say, But is equally true, Is that who we are is different from any way we have been, And is who we have yet to be. There is always more to us than meets the eye. We live our way into our own unfolding, emerging. We surprise ourselves. Live so as to be amazed At who you discover yourself to be.
08/24/2016 — Summer Tanager 2016 01 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 24, 2016 We cannot grow up without Squaring up to, Coming to terms And dealing successfully with The things we don’t like about our life. You might think we would get more help With this along the way. Did someone say “Help with this”? That’s strange, I was just thinking about that. The Jon Kabat-Zinn videos on You Tube Will provide you with all the help you need. Watch them all. Then watch them all again. And put them into practice in your life. Nothing can happen to you that you won’t be able To face up to and deal with. He calls the practice he espouses “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.” A better title would be “How To Face Up To And Deal With All You Don’t Like About Your Life.”
08/25/2016 — Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2016 20 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 22, 2016 Evolution doesn’t know what it’s doing. It doesn’t have a goal in mind. “Goals” are our gift to the matrix, Along with “beauty” and “justice,” And all the values that have been identified Over the course of human existence. We now find ourselves with 80 +/- years In which to explore the experience of being alive– “Doing our thing” in light of the best we can imagine, With self-transparency and compassion Guiding us along the way. Small rafts of awareness Upon the heaving surface Of the wine-dark sea. We each have the opportunity Of being something that has never been And will never be again, Of bringing to light what can be brought to light Within the time and place of our living. It was dark before we came along. Why not let our light shine while we can– As only we can? And not worry about “Why?” Or “Where it’s all going”?
08/25/2016 — Mushroom 2016 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, August 23, 2016 All the instruction for life we need: Get in there every day and do your thing– The thing that brings you to life, The thing that you are most vibrantly alive And immersed in the moment as you do it– And don’t let anything knock you off doing it. See what you can stir to life Just by being alive.
08/26/2016 — Eastern Towhee 2016 07 Juvenile — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 22, 2016 The only plan Is for us to be who we are Within the context and circumstances of our life. Beyond that, It’s all up in the air, Falling out in unique and unpredictable configurations, With everything moving over to make room For something else. We have to take it all in, Figure it all out, Along with how to be who we are In the midst of it. Sounds like a Hero’s Journey to me. All we have to know is who we are And how to work that into the life we live In response to what is being asked of us By the nature and conditions of the way things are. What do we need To be who we are Here and now In each situation as it arises? That’s the question that is ours to answer.
08/27/2016 — Black-and-white Warbler 2016 13 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 25, 2016 Occasionally, we get a mirror shot of who we are that wakes us up to a side of us that is real and true, and never-before realized and appreciated, understood and embraced. Fifteen-or-so years ago, I was given a faded red board with white lettering picked up at a flea market by a member of the congregation I was serving who knew me well. It was a quote from “The Wizard of Oz”: “Nobody Gets In To See The Wizard– Not Nobody, Not Nohow!” A perfect fit. No one is more reserved, reticent, private and unavailable for public viewing than I am. It comes from having never been accorded a position of security and respect by the adults of my childhood, I’m sure, but. It is definitely who I am and always have been, and always will be. If you miss stability, security and respect in the early developmental phase where those things are essential, you miss them, and, “Nobody Gets In To See The Wizard– Not Nobody, Not Nohow!”
08/27/2016 — Brown Thrasher 2016 09 Juvenile — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 25, 2016 We want to be the wrong kind of hero. Invincible, Indomitable, invulnerable, unshakeable, unsinkable, indestructible, unflappable… You know, like that. Always on top of things, in charge of things, knowing what’s what and what to do about it, and doing it. Compare that to the Suffering Servant of Isaiah: “He was despised and we esteemed him not… A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief… like a root out of dry ground, there was nothing to commend him…” Other images crowd in– The stone the builders rejected, A candle flickering in the wind, A baby born in a manger, An immigrant without papers, A refugee with no advocate, A homeless mother with a child in her arms… You know, like that. Vulnerable, at risk, ambivalent, afraid, uncertain, .. Yet, willing to seek the way through the darkness, And to step into each situation as it arises, Looking and listening for her, for his, best sense Of what is happening And what needs to be done in response– Ready to put herself, himself, On the line in the service of a good Beyond her, beyond his, own good, And, perhaps, beyond her, his, ability To explain or understand.
Used in “Fate and Dynasty,” 08/28/2016 —Black-and-white Warbler 2016 17 — And Black-and-white-stripped Caterpillars, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 25, 2016 People generally live out their lives with no idea of what they are doing. Following orders. Doing what they are told. At one with the crowd from the barn to the pasture, back to the barn. We do not live in the grip of a vision of mythic proportions. We do not know who we are, what we are to be about. And, we don’t care about knowing. We’re just looking for a little action— it doesn’t matter what kind of action. Just looking to pass a good time. Party? Did someone say “Party?” We’re always ready to party. We always find what we are looking for, Which is never what is looking for us. We forsake our destiny, and settle for our fate, and wonder why our life is empty, and our eyes are blank.
08/29/2016 — Summer Tanager 2016 05 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 24, 2016 We are here to find our life and live it. The process includes time spent in quiet reflection and realization. How much time in your day is currently spent sitting quietly, reflecting on the life you are living and the life that is yours to live? Reflecting on last night’s dreams and what they say about the life you are living, and the life that is yours to live? Reflecting on what you are doing, and what you might be doing differently, in addition to, or instead of, what you are doing? Wondering what the life you are living has to do with the life that is yours to live? Wondering what you would be doing if you were doing exclusively what is yours to do? How often do you sit quietly, reflecting on the questions you need to be asking about the life you are living and the life that is yours to live? How often do you sit quietly?
Used in “Short Talks on the Hero’s Journey” 08/23/2016 — Brown Thrasher 2016 10 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 28, 2016 Carl Jung said, “We are who we always have been, and who we will be.” Jim Dollar said, “I had to be who I was in order to be who I am, and I have to be who I am, in order to become who I will be.” Jung and Dollar are both correct. There is continuity through all of the phases and periods of our life. A theme runs through every scene, every developmental stage. And everything goes into the production of the person we are, and become. As an increasingly older person, I think back on the follies, mistakes, wrong turns and poor decisions of my youth, and sigh. Here. I. Am. I got me here by the only means available at the time: Me. I am confident that the same truth applies to you. It took being who we were to be who we are. Who we also were was working to moderate, rein in and grow up who we were, And kept us from becoming who we might have been. That which is constant within us Works with what is actual, potential and possible To create who we become. The degree to which we consciously cooperate With our own becoming By mindfully putting ourselves in accord With the center, ground, and foundation Of our life and being, Within the conditions and circumstances of the life we are living, Constitutes the range and reach of the Hero’s Journey.
08/30/2016 — Brown-headed Nuthatch 2016 09 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 29, 2016 We live absentmindedly. Distracted by “the 10,000 things.” Lost in “the dust of the world.” To be mindful of this Is to be ignorant of that. We can only see– Only hear– Only fully attend One thing at a time. We can never hope to be fully mindful– And mindfully keep ourselves grounded In what can, and cannot, be. To hold everything in our awareness, Just as it is, And as it is becoming, And as it is ceasing to be, Is ridiculous. There is more to be aware of Than can ever be perceived. So, we hold that in our awareness, And go on with our life. We have to live with our limitations in mind, Mindlessly living toward mindfulness Is the best we can manage. Being mindfully aware of how mindless we are, And letting it be because it is, Is mindfulness.
08/30/2016 — Brown-headed Nuthatch 2016 10 Silhouette–Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 30, 2016 To be alive is to have a live worth living. A life worth living comes from knowing what has life for us, and what does not, and going with the life bearers. The things that have life for us are the important things, the life or death things. With them, there is life, without them, there is death. A soul dies when it loses its connection with the things that are life for it. We kill our soul when we withhold from it the things that bear life for it. What has life for you, lights up your soul. Why not go where the life is?
08/31/2016 — Downy Woodpecker 2016 15 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 30, 2016 In a perfect world, our job would be what we do to pay the bills, and our work would be our life– what we pay the bills to do. In the world as it is, our job is often called our work, and we do it to pay the bills, but the bills we pay buy distractions and diversions and addictions which we use to take our minds off the job/work we have to do to pay the bills. Life doesn’t fit into the picture. Our work is to get life into our life by finding what brings us to life and fitting our life in around it. What brings us to life has to be central, and we have forgotten what that is. We have to be mindfully attuned to the search for what is central to our life–to our being alive– And bring that to life in the life we are living. This is called putting ourselves in accord with the right order of things.
09/01/2016 — Goldfinch 2016 24 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 1, 2016 Finding our life and living it– Aligning ourselves with it, Placing ourselves in accord with it, And living in ways that express what is life for us– Is the opposite extreme From what the culture encourages us to do, Which is to know what we want And to devise a step-by-step plan, Along with a timetable And a check list, For achieving it. Living soulfully is as counter-cultural And revolutionary As it is possible to be. Which means we are as on our own As it is possible to be. Not only is the culture no help, But, it also is set up to oppose us Throughout the process. People who think for themselves And listen to their heart’s guidance Are a threat to the economic structure And the political framework So supportive of capitalistic aims and assumptions. Individuals are impossible to herd And are a threat to the status quo on every level. Our work is, As they say, Cut out for us. Begin by sitting quietly for 20 – 30 minutes Once or twice a day, And being mindfully aware of all That arises in the silence. Let this be your practice For six months. Your life will change.
09/02/2016 — Mourning Dove 2016 15 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 30, 2016 Some things don’t need to be fixed. Some solutions are worse than the problem. Having to have everything “just so,” can be “the fly in the ointment.” We have to know when to stop, and when to go. No book can tell us the important things. Sitting quietly with the problem, waiting to see it in its allness, can open doors we didn’t know were there— and can mark the doors that need to remain closed.
09/02/2016 — Goldfinch 2016 26 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 1, 2016 Sitting quietly, contemplating the things that arise in the silence, welcoming everything and honoring it with our attention, positions us to perceive perception and interpretation, evaluation, judgment, opinion and reaction, as other things that arises in the silence– to be welcomed and honored along with, and equal to, everything else. So that it is just us seeing things as they are– and seeing what to do about them, in response to them, as something else that arises from the silence, and leads us to enter the field of action to do what needs to be done. Appropriate action is the result of appropriate inaction.
09/03/2016 — Waiting for Godot — Brown-headed Nuthatch and Goldfinch, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 30, 2016 — A composite photograph blending two images into one Everything enjoys the freedom to become exactly what it is, within the terms and conditions, context and circumstances, of its life. Can you think of anything that consistently becomes less than it can be other than human beings? Everything I know of lives to match its potential with its reality. Nothing I know of quits before it realizes itself as completely as it is able. Except human beings. Human beings sell their birthright for what appears to them to be smooth and easy, warm and dry. Everything else is struggling for its full expression. Human beings are neglecting their calling, ignoring their gifts, doing as they are told. “Dead fish float with the current, live ones swim against the stream.”
09/03/2016 — Red-bellied Woodpecker 2016 20 Silhouette — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 30, 2016 The only motivation for seeking our life and living it is hitting some wall and realizing “This isn’t it.” Our life as it is has to stop working. Signs that it has stopped working appear long before the realization. Signs come to us as symptoms. Addiction, depression, physical ailments, inappropriate behavior, etc., stand before us as mirrors showing us ourselves wrapped in denial, distraction, diversion, with blinders on, refusing to see, hear and understand what’s what and what we are being asked to do about it. The path from this point is clear and painful. Carl Jung said, “There is no coming to consciousness without pain.” The most painful thing is facing ourselves, what we have done and failed to do, and living from this point on transparent to ourselves. No kidding ourselves without knowing we are kidding ourselves. This is what makes sitting quietly so difficult. Flashes of who we are keep emerging from the silence. We are forced to take stock, and make amends– to ourselves and to all the others. It would be easier to go back to the bottle, or wherever we were hiding. The path to finding our life and living it is a bear, eating us for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our motivation waivers. We think “Maybe not. Maybe later. Maybe some other time.” This is the turning point. Everything rides on our summonsing our courage to “rise and grind.” To do so is to continue sitting quietly, doing our inner work (Robert Johnson has a book with this title), working with our dreams (Anthony Stevens has a book on dreams, Private Myths: Dreams and Dreaming. A Jungian analyst would be great if we can find one. As we start on the path, help will come from surprising sources, and we will be most surprised to discover that it has become fun and we have come back to life– our life, the one that has been waiting all this time for us to live it.
09/04/2016 — Brown-headed Nuthatch 2016 11 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 3, 2016—A composite photograph blending five images into one. The right thing to do in a situation is not always the thing we want to do, feel like doing, or even are sure of it being the thing that most needs to be done. There are 10,000 excuses for not doing it. The Cyclops stands before us in every situation, grinning. There must be at least 10,000 variations of the Cyclops, but the one thing they all have in common is that they represent something we most certainly do not want to do.
09/05/2016 — Summer Tanager 2016 09 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 4, 2016 Greed, Fear, Wrath and Hatred are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the Four Chord Opera sung by everyone who wants what they cannot have, don’t want what they can have, and won’t square up to how things are, and look for a way to do what can be done with what they have to work with in the time and place of their living.
09/06/2016 — Goldfinch 2016 27 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 4, 2016 Look around you. Everything you see that was made by human beings originated in someone’s imagination. Our imagination comes alive– for better and for worse– in the stillness of utter silence. Never mind that “utter silence” is impossible to come by. Quiet enough is all it takes. And we have to be able to separate the better from the worse. We can imagine things that will sink the boat. Any boat. If we act on them as though they are real. There are other things. And if we don’t act on them as though they are real The boat sinks as well. The realest things are imaginary. And the frightfully deadly illusions are also imaginary. We have to know which is which. Turning our backs on the one, And living in light of the other. It’s the Hero’s Journey, remember.
09/07/2016 — Mourning Dove 2016 13 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 30, 2016 We get to choose our pain. We don’t get to avoid it. The choice we make, tells the tale. Choosing our pain is at the heart of every turning point in our life. At each one, we decide again between doing what is hard, or doing it the hard way. What guides us in those moments? Do we rise to the occasion, or turn away– run away– from the burden of the moment, and spend our time between then and the next such moment hiding, denying, trying to forget, that one? The nature of the pain we bear is the determining factor in deciding the quality of our life. It says who we are more clearly than anything else we do. Never is it more crucial that we choose wisely and consciously the way that stands before us,
09/08/2016 — White-breasted Nuthatch 2016 11 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 7, 2016 We are here to serve our gift without seeking to exploit it to our personal gain or advantage. We are not here for what we can get out of it, but for what we can bring to life within it. We are here to be alive by being who we are and bringing forth what we have to give in each situation as it arises. Who we are is what we have to offer the time and place of our living. Finding our life and living it, is finding our gift and giving it. And if there are no takers? We come alive in the giving, not in the reception of the gift.
09/08/2016 — Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2016 21 — This is the chunkiest hummingbird I’ve ever seen. I thought it was a young sparrow doing a poor hummingbird imitation before it perched. Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 7, 2016 San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick doesn’t understand that the National Anthem and the Stars and Stripes, are not the Republic for which they stand. The Republic is an idea– the grandest idea of all time– an ideal, which is always, and forever will be, leagues out in front of its realization in time and space. It is an idea that is always being approximated and never achieved. The reality is always being improved and perfected in light of the ideas upon which it is based. Equality comes, over time, to apply to women as well as the men who are “created equal.” And it comes to mean the right of gay people to marry, and the right of Transgender people to the gender they seem to themselves to be. And it surely means as well, the right of black people to live out their lives free from the racist bigotry of white supremacists– whether they be police officers or fellow citizens. And it means that Muslims are to be free from the religious persecution that led our forebears to establish the separation of church and state, and to look upon “freedom of religion” as “freedom from religion,” as well as “freedom to practice religion,” as each feels led to do. And it means that immigrants and Naturalized Citizens enjoy the protections that are the right of all people who inhabit this land. There is much to be done to align the Republic with the ideals that are its potential, and the people have to hold those who would be their leaders accountable for implementing the democratic standard of Liberty And Justice For All in every age and epoch through all generations.
09/09/2016 — White-breasted Nuthatch 2016 10 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 7, 2016 Throughout my 40.5 years in the ministry, I was paid to talk to people about God. And they didn’t want me to say anything they hadn’t already heard. Which is strange, given the fact that Jesus never said anything about God that had already been said. “You have heard it said,” he said, “but I say unto you…” Jesus ate with outcasts, touched the untouchables, hobnobbed with “sinners and tax-collectors,” told his disciples to follow him, and said, “When I’m gone, I want you to do it better than I ever did it” (Or words to that effect). That leaves us with pushing beyond where anyone has ever been with their thinking about God and godliness. One-upping Jesus Is no walk in the park.
Used in Short Talks On The Hero’s Journey, aka, Growing Up, 09/10/2016 — Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2016 23 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 8, 2016 Neither the Universe Nor the Hero’s Journey Are anything to fear. We have all the necessary tools and gifts at our disposal, waiting for the situation to arise that calls them forth and actualizes them as sources of wonder and grace in the time and place of our living. We have no idea where life comes from, or where it goes, or if it goes anywhere. Not one of all the atoms which make us up is alive. Cosmic dust is just dust. How does life get into the mix? One. Knows. And it is readily apparent that every living thing comes into this world knowing its business and how to do it. Everything from Humpback Whales, to Garden Spiders, to Long Leaf Pine Trees, to Ruby-throated Hummingbirds comes with a psychic blueprint embedded in its cellular DNA lying latent and waiting to be realized at the right time and place to the astonishment of onlookers and the individual involved alike.
Used in Short Talks On The Hero’s Journey, 09/12/2016 — Birds on a Limb 2016 01 Silhouette — Mourning Doves, a composite image combining five poses of the same bird, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 11, 2016 Religion calls its theories “doctrines,” and presents them as factual truth, which have to be “taken on faith.” That should be enough to turn all thinking people away, but, religion also tells us that if we believe its theories (that is, take them on faith), we will be accorded heaven’s everlasting glories when we die (another theory), and if we don’t, we will be punished with hell’s eternal agonies (another theory). And, then there is the one about blessings and merit being bestowed on believers both in this life and in the life to come. It all adds up to “What do you have to lose?” But, “What do you have to lose?” is not the same thing as a vision of mythic proportions propelling us into the service and expression of the life that is ours to live. Theories/doctrines are not necessary– and are profound impediments– to the experience of being gripped by an encounter with the Numen and claimed by a will not our own. This is the out-breaking of the genetic imprint of who we are to be encoded in our DNA, and waiting for the right conjunction of time and circumstance to wake up and call us forth to embrace our destiny. If you are going to adopt a theory, adopt this one. And explore its possibilities for your life like Luke Skywalker finding his way to Jedi knighthood. No heaven, no hell, just your life needing you to live it.
Used in Short Talks On The Hero’s Journey, and in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 09/12/2016 — Blue Jay 2016 10 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 10, 2016 The Psyche is divided at the core. Ambivalence and contradiction reside at the level of our heart and soul. We want contrary things– what we want, and what we ought not want, and what we ought to want. Each of us is a split personality, with the mission of reconciling the opposites, integrating the polarities, and exhibiting oneness, wholeness and completion throughout our life. This is the work of the Hero’s Journey, undertaken with mindful, compassionate, awareness, and the capacity to simply be with whatever is– without being taken over by it, but waiting for the right action to arise “in the fullness of time,” out of “the middle way,” of transcendence and harmony. In the meantime, we bear consciously the agony–the agone– of being afraid when we have nothing to fear, of having to have when there is nothing we need, of wanting to hide when we only need to face what is before us… The psychic path encoded in our DNA calls for us to make conscious the irrational forces at work within, in the service of the inner evolution of the species.
Used in Short Talks On The Hero’s Journey, 09/13/2016 — Brown Thrasher 2016 11 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 8, 2016 There are Psychic expectations/assumptions encoded in our DNA that are commensurate with our idea of the developmental stages of the maturation process. The Hero’s Journey is about growing up. Growing up is about waking up, and getting up, and stepping into the midst of the things we most do not want to do and doing there what needs to be done in realizing/serving/expressing the Psychic expectations/assumptions that lie at the heart of every individual of the species. We live to actualize latent potential– to incarnate the Psychic possibilities we carry within– bringing them forth, making them real– within the concrete situations of everyday life. This is the Hero’s Journey that awaits us all.
Used in Short Talks On The Hero’s Journey, 09/03/2016 —White-breasted Nuthatch 2016 08, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 8, 2016 The Buddha said, “There is a lot that we cannot do anything about.” Or, words to that effect. We are inundated, besieged, hemmed in and battered by all of the things we cannot do anything about everyday from all sides. None of that can keep us from being who we are on the heaving waves of the wine dark sea of things we cannot do anything about. We can meet it head on as who we are. Jesus said, “Be who the situation needs you to be, and don’t worry about the outcome!” Or, words to that effect. If you can find better advice, take it!
Used in Short Talks On Politics, 09/14/2016 — Goldfinch 2016 31, Juvenile — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 13, 2016 Everyone has a right to expect police and law enforcement personnel to be dedicated to the service of peace and justice on all levels, all the time. We only have to look no further than the oaths of office the officers take to be justified in our expectation. promising to “protect and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States” and the particular state in which they serve– which include protecting and defending “liberty and justice for all.” We have every right to expect the police to police themselves, and for law enforcement personnel to honor and abide by the laws they have sworn to uphold. What’s the problem with you expecting–and depending upon–me to do what I promise you I will do? Who enforces the enforcers? Why the breakdown? We only need to be who we say we are going to be. Why lie about that?
Used in Short Talks On Politics, 09/14/2016 — Downy Woodpecker 2016 17 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 13, 2016 Black Lives Matter exists as a movement because black lives don’t matter in the culture and society. Donald Trump’s ascendancy to this close to the throne has exposed the racist, bigoted, hate-filled hearts and spirits of much-too-large-of-a-percentage of the US population. All Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter exist to detract attention from the truth of the need to emphasize that Black Lives Do Indeed Matter, so that business might go on as usual with racism ruling the day everyday. Trump’s unrelenting effort to normalize and legitimize racism and white supremacy is a blatant, arrogant, attack on the foundation of democracy, where all people are seen as equal, worthy of respect and treated with honor, by virtue of their citizenship in the Republic that is “of the people, by the people and for the people.” We stand together with all of our fellow citizens in a “one for all and all for one” kind of way. Black lives have to matter– and Hispanic lives, and Muslim lives– as much as any life matters. Until that is the case, the country fails to be who it says it is. And that lack of integrity is the ground of all our woes.
09/15/2016 — Brown Thrasher 2016 12 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 9, 2016 We have to do the work. We hate work. We love smooth and easy. We love talking, discussing, listening to lectures, making sure we understand, believing, Bible studies (How many Bible studies will it take before we can say, “Okay. I got it. Now what?”). The Bible talks about the absurdity of believing without doing anything about it, without doing the work. “Anybody can believe,” says the Bible, “But only those who hear these words and DO them have what it takes to make the journey.” That would be the Hero’s Journey. The one we are all called to take up and complete– facing down our demons, dealing with the dragons guarding the treasure, integrating our opposites, living transparent to ourselves, becoming who we are built to be… We stay too busy to be anything other than busy thinking and believing and understanding and getting it all down so we can past the test on Judgment Day. Studying for the test, we fail the test, which is how well we live our life– the life that is ours to live– and be who we are in each situation as it arises every day.
09/16/2016 — Rountree Orchid 2016 01 — Nursery Photo, Rountree Plantation Greenhouse and Garden Center, Charlotte, NC, September 15, 2016 The psychological expectations embedded in our DNA have to compete with expectations on every level– personal, familial, social, cultural, etc.– for our time, attention and willful cooperation. We can be stuck in any state of development, lost forever to the path that bears our name. Our life is the haystack and we are the needle. It is our calling to find our calling– to discover who we are and do what is ours to do– in the time left for living. Hints and guides are everywhere. Help is near at hand. What we seek is well within our reach, yet it exceeds our grasp, because we don’t know what we are looking for, and think it must have to do with our dreams of fortune and glory, else what’s a destiny for?
Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, 09/17/2016 — House Finch 2016 09 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 13, 2016 We give up this to get that. The art of the trade-off is the foundation of life. Everything comes down to, and revolves around, “Negotiation and compromise, Kid, negotiation and compromise.” We are raging opposites at the core, ambivalent and torn among attractive options at every turn. The degree to which we recognize, integrate, reconcile or transcend our conflicts and polarities– or simply bear consciously the tension of our contradictions– is the determining factor in the creation of our maturation, wisdom and grace. I have reached the place in my life of being generally contented with where I am. I don’t have to be somewhere else, doing something else. I am fine with being here, now, most of the time. The downside of contentment— or, the flip-side, we might say— is complacency and a pronounced lack of incentive. Inertia. Lethargy. Indolence. Sloth. Indifference. I am disinclined to do anything out of my preferred order of the day any day. It is in recognizing and wrestling with our opposites that we clarify our values, identify what is important, know who we are and where our foundation stone lies, and live centered and grounded in what truly matters. Knowing who we are is knowing who we also are— and what that means for how we live our life.
09/17/2016 — Rountree Orchid 2016 04 == Nursery Photo, Rountree Plantation Greenhouse and Garden Center, Charlotte, NC, September 15, 2016 I get out ahead of myself from time to time. All the time. It is what I do best. Or among a clamoring hoard of things not to do that I do equally well. I’m here, now, wondering what to do about the photographs of fall. And then, there is the chronic anxiety about what’s going to happen and how will I ever handle it. You know what I mean. All the lines I could be standing in as I wait, wait, wait for the next shoe to fall. How many shoes are there? Always another, stacked up for eternities waiting there turn at me waiting. I wake up to that, and reel myself in, remembering the only real question: “What now?” “What needs to be done now?” “Nothing?” “Then do that. It is what you really do best.” And, I ease back into remembering my breath, and the moment of my breathing. Seeing it for what it is, and letting it be, glad that nothing is being asked of me here and now, and confident that I will rise to the occasion, then and there, when I have to do something that needs me to do it. But not rushing to imagine what that might be and prepare ahead of time for an event that isn’t actually coming my way.
09/18/2016 — Mourning Dove 2016 17 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 15, 2017 We are limited, restricted, by our options and our choices. We don’t get to choose our choices, and that’s the bump that ruins the ride. We have to work with the options we have to work with. How many of them, really, will take us where we want to go? We don’t get to bail out of this life with these choices into some other, bigger, finer, better life with better choices. Coming to terms with our options, and making the best choices possible among those that are available to us, is the heart of the Hero’s Journey.
09/18/2016 — Downy Woodpecker 2016 16 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 3, 2016 It’s easy to lose our focus– to forget who we are and what we are about– to think being who we are doing what we are about is natural, and we don’t have to think about, or even keep our eyes open. Or to think that who we are doesn’t matter, and what we are about isn’t important– and blow both off as absurd considerations that have no significance for our life. We have to believe in ourselves and our art, our gift, our genius, our specialty. We have to keep faith with ourselves– to live in good faith with ourselves– and do what is ours to do. Everything depends on it. That is our focus and our life. We cannot look away without drifting off track, and waking up in the Wasteland, wondering what happened and what to do about it. Remember the focus. Do the work. Matter. What.
Used in Short Talks On Politics, 09/19/2016 — Bird on a Wire 2016 01 — Immature Goldfinch, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 12, 2016 Rumi said, “If you are not here with us in good faith, you are doing terrible damage.” When we live like we want to, not caring how our life impacts the lives of others, we do terrible damage. When we refuse to grow up, become transparent to ourselves, see what we are doing, and leaving undone– by refusing to do, failing to do, neglecting to do– we are doing terrible damage. We have to grow ourselves up. Take responsibility for ourselves– for our own becoming– for our own work to be who we are capable of being, who our life needs us to be. No one can do this for us. We have to do it for ourselves, on our own. When we fail to do it, we are doing terrible damage. The mess that is the country and the world is the direct result our refusal to grow up as individuals, as a nation, as a world. We are doing terrible damage. We begin righting the wrongs that are being done and have been done by living in good faith with ourselves and one another. The simple steps are the most difficult and the most essential.
09/19/2016 — White-breasted Nuthatch 2016 12 Silhouette — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 12, 2016 We have to catch ourselves in the act of thinking in terms of Good and Evil (or Bad), and stop it. There is no Good that is not Evil from some perspective, and no Evil that is not Good from some perspective (Everything Hitler ever did was Good from Hitler’s point of view). Thinking Good and Evil (or Bad) keeps us from seeing things simply as they are: good and evil, good and bad, a mixture held in solution that will not settle out into beautiful, mutually exclusive, absolutes We expose the fact of the relative nature of Good and Evil (Bad) with statements like “You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.” “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” “Collateral damage is the price we have to pay to win the war.” Yet, we continue to think, act, and live out of the deluded, and self-enhancing, perspective that We are Good and They are Evil. The alternative is living in good faith with ourselves and all others, mindfully, compassionately, aware of each situation as it arises, seeing what is happening and what needs to happen. Taking everything into account, and responding to the moment in ways that are appropriate and fitting to the occasion— striving neither to serve the Good nor to defeat/destroy the Evil (Bad), but to do what is right here and now in this time and place, regardless of its implications for us and our desires. To live like this is to be grounded in the beauty of the statement, “Thy will, not mine, be done”— with the “Thy” in that sentence being the good of the situation as a whole in every situation as long as there are situations.
09/20/2016 — Rountree Orchid 2016 03 — Nursery Photos, Nursery Photo, Rountree Plantation Greenhouse and Garden Center, Charlotte, NC, September 15, 2016 What is the ground of your authority? Where do you look for direction, permission, assurance, foundation? Your life is centered on whose idea of how your life should be lived? Who sets your limits and defines your boundaries? Who prescribes for you who you are to be, and who you are to not be? Do you know what is good for you and what is bad? What is right for you and what is wrong? What is life for you and what is death to your soul? How do you know these things? Who tells you so? And not so? Whom do you consult to know if something is good for you or bad– right for you or wrong– life for you or death for your soul? What is the ground of your authority to determine how your life is to be lived, and not lived? Who says what is so and not so about you? What is to be so and not so about your life? Who says so? Not so?
09/20/2016 — Yellow-breasted Chat 2016 02 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 9, 2016 If I don’t do anything more for you than convince you that you are not alone when you feel most alone and lost, without hope or purpose, direction or incentive, I will have done all you need to have done to give you all you need to find what you need to find your way out of the wasteland back to the path that is your life– the one that is yours yet to be lived. Carl Jung said, “There is within each of us another whom we do not know.” Several others actually, all with something to offer in the work to discover and express who we are. We have to know that, and know how to enter the deep communion with the wealth of resources we have within in order to orient ourselves and begin the adventure that waits to be lived.
09/20/2016 — Jesus was fond of saying, “Those with ears, let them hear!” This was like saying, “Listen to me!” Or, “Hear what I’m saying to you!” The Buddha “said” the same thing when he held up the Lotus flower and Mahakasyapa smiled, then laughed. In every group, there is the possibility that some will hear. When we speak, we are looking for those who can hear what we have to say. When we speak, we are, at that moment, a Lotus flower, and are looking for those who smile. If there are none who smile, we simply move on and keep talking, looking for those who can hear what we have to say.
Used in Short Talks On Good And Bad Religion, 09/21/2016 — Veins 2016 04 — Nursery Photos, Rountree Plantation Greenhouse and Garden Center, Charlotte, NC, September 15, 2016 We have to form our own religion in order to save ourselves from both religion and the culture– which would separate us from ourselves and our own authority for our life, strip us of our own life and make us subservient to their idea of our life for us. Good religion is the Psyche’s defense against the mindless fanaticism of bad religion. Rational reflection and moral exhortation can do nothing to save us, that is, restore us to ends worthy of us. Belief not grounded on the inner experience of the Numen disappears as soon as we begin reflecting on it. But, by reflecting on the symbols of bad religion, we redeem and reclaim them through the acquisition of new realizations and awareness. We always must know more than we can understand. When understanding supplants knowledge, as, for instance, in the creeds, doctrines and dogmas of bad religion, we are left with the appearance of religion without the substance. The path to the Land of Promise must be trod by individuals up to the task in each generation. No one can hand us an experience of the Numen. We open ourselves to that experience even as we place ourselves in its service, seeking what we do not know amid the ruins of mythological metaphors, in order to establish ourselves firmly upon the foundation of our life and being, and know what those who know have always known: More than can be asked or said, explained or understood.
09/21/2016 — McDowell Barred Owl 02 Detail — Four Seasons Trail, McDowell Nature Center & Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, March 24, 2016 Growing up is doing what you don’t want to do when it needs to be done the way it needs to be done, so that no one knows you didn’t want to do it. Jesus called this not letting your right hand know what your left hand is doing. Jesus’ entire existence was about growing up. Gethsemane and Golgotha were about growing up. When Jesus said, “If you want to be my disciple don’t worry about believing any of the doctrines and creeds that will come along. Just pick up your cross every day and grow up.” Or, words to that effect. Growing up is carrying the cross we are asked to carry in each situation as it arises, as though it were the thing we most want to do. Never mind that it is like dying, that it would be easier to die. Growing up is about dying. The cross is about dying. The two things are one. There is no growing up without bearing our cross. There is no bearing our cross without growing up. Here’s the gold at the bottom of the septic tank: There is no life without growing up and bearing our crosses. No empty tomb without Golgotha. Growing up, bearing our crosses, are the threshold to life– to being fully alive. There is no living without dying to wanting to have life the way we want life to be. Growing up is saying yes to life as it is, and doing what needs to be done in each situation as it arises. And that opens the door to life on a different level than we have ever lived. Every situation presents us with what needs to be done about what is before us. Every situation is a mini Gethsemane, Golgotha. A cross waiting for us to pick it up, and grow up, by doing what is being asked of us the way it needs to be done. And we are the ones who decide what that is. And do it.
09/22/2016 — Waiting for Godot 02 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 12, 2016 Take the phrase, “Thy will be done,” and the phrase, “May God’s will be done,” and let them refer to the same entity, so that “Thy” and “God” are the same. Now, tell me who decides what God’s will is? Who decides what needs to be done? How do you know what to do? How do you determine what is to be done in any situation that may arise? What guides your actions? Your choices? Your decisions? Who decides what God’s will is? Whose will is being done? Who is the authority who says, “This, not that, is God’s will”? Are you going to tell me the Bible? Who decides what the Bible means by what it says? Who interprets the Bible? Are you going to tell me the traditional understanding of the Bible stands forever as the official determinant of God’s will? Remember when drinking alcohol was against God’s will? As was allowing women to speak in church (Never mind that women always taught Sunday School)? And treating black people as human beings? And recognizing gay people as equal to straight people in every way? Remember when drowning witches was God’s will? And locking away the handicapped and mentally ill? How is it that traditional understanding of God’s will could be so blatantly wrong through all the years it has held sway? Why continue to think that “What the Bible says is what the Bible has always said,” when that is so clearly not so? The Bible is obviously no reliable rule “to faith and practice”! What is? What tells us when the Bible is wrong and when it is right? How do we know? How do we decide? Who says what the Bible says is so and not so? What God’s will is and is not? How do you decide what needs to be done and what to do about it?
09/22/2016 — Bird on a Wire 2016 04 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 19, 2016 Jesus said (Luke 12:57), “Why don’t you decide for yourselves what is right?” That’s putting the burden exactly where it belongs. We look to church, society, and culture to tell us what to do. We do not want the responsibility of deciding for ourselves. Deciding when to go to the toilet is the only decision we want to make on our own. Beyond that, we want somebody, anybody, who speaks with a tone of authority and certitude, to tell us what to do. We crave, in the words of Carl Jung, “That gentle and painless slipping back into the kingdom of childhood, into the paradise of parental care, into happy-go-luckiness, and irresponsibility, where all thinking and looking after are done from the top; to all questions there is an answer; and for all needs the necessary provision is made.” Deciding for ourselves what is right does not fit into our plans.
09/23/2016 — Northern Yellow-banded Flicker 2016 03 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 17, 2016 How do you know what to do, when to do it, how to do it? What leads you to do what you do? What guides you in doing what you do? What do you take into account in determining what is to be done? What directs your boat on its path through the sea? Through “the heaving waves of the wine dark sea”? Carl Jung says, “We do not think of distrusting our motives or of asking ourselves how the inner man/woman feels about the things we do in the outside world.” We find our way through the morass of life in consultation and collaboration with the man, with the woman, within– by learning the language of the Psyche, and deepening, expanding, enlarging our awareness of our instinctive, intuitive, side. How long has it been since you sat quietly and listened to what the inner woman, the inner man, has to say?
09/24/2016 — Rountree Orchid 2016 04 — Nursery Photos, Nursery Photo, Rountree Plantation Greenhouse and Garden Center, Charlotte, NC, September 15, 2016 The work to place ourselves in accord with the inner woman, the inner man, and live in ways that incarnate, express, exhibit and bring forth our center, ground, foundation, core within the life we are living, is more like play than work. We don’t have to try– to strive, to struggle, to force, to compel, to conquer, to defeat, to win… We only have to open ourselves to that about us which is waiting to be enjoyed, and enjoy ourselves. Our inner woman, man, is waiting to dance with us. To laugh with us. To relish being us with us. It is so easy a child could do it.
09/25/2016 — Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2016 24 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 8, 2016 Money is for paying the bills that enable us to do what is ours to do, that allow us to live the life that is ours to live, that cover the cost of life in this world connected at the level of the heart with the other world– the inner world of Psychic assumptions and expectations. We are to bring forth, to make conscious, to birth into realization– both mentally and actually, concretely, physically, practically– the Psychic assumptions and expectations we carry with us encoded in the DNA of every cell of our being. Why doesn’t someone tell us this early-on? Why do we have to live into our fifties, or later, before we figure it out on our own– if we figure it out at all? Why don’t we know what we are doing after all these years of not getting it done?
09/25/2016 — Red-bellied Woodpecker Silhouette 2016 21 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 18, 2016 In order to do right by the moment, I have to be in the moment– I have to be attentive to the moment, alert to the moment, aware of the moment– I have to be living the moment. I cannot be with the moment and not with the moment at the same time. When I am not with the moment, I am with something that is taking me away from the moment, asking me to attend something that is not the moment. It could be anxiety, fear, anger, or the anticipation of another moment, or some fragment of a memory, or a conversation, or just another person’s presence, that inserts itself into the moment, requiring me to be with something besides the moment. It does not take much to take me away. I assume that’s one reason all those old oriental masters lived apart, or established monasteries with their strict Rules of the Day. Reducing disruption increases focus. But, even then, we have to be self-aware enough to know when our awareness has been shanghaied and enslaved by some stray thought that ransacks fledgling focus just for the fun of it– and remember to breathe our way back to where we are.
09/26/2016 — Blue Jay 2016 12 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 17, 2016 What’s your focus— the focus of your life— what you mean with your life, what you intend by the way you live? Or, are you just bumping along, looking for a break, hoping nothing bad happens? What comprises your core, your center, your ground, your foundation? What is the essential nature of your identity— the things about you— the things you do— that are indisputably, unmistakably, YOU? In what ways are you serving the central things— the things that are integral to who you are— with your life?
09/26/2016 — Two at the Feeder 2016 01 — Red-bellied Woodpecker and Summer Tanager, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 26, 2016 There are psychic assumptions, expectations, intentions embedded in the DNA of all living things. That is how all living things are guided to meet their destiny. Live Oaks and Dogwoods become Live Oaks and Dogwoods, with roots that go down into the soil, and limbs and leaves and blooms and branches that go up and out into the air. Their DNA expects it, and expects soil and air to be there in its behalf. We are here to serve our psychic assumptions, expectations, intentions– and to refuse to do so is to create a backlog of assumptions, expectations, intentions that are running out of time to be realized, expressed, brought forth. The developmental stages are set to flower, mature and disappear at specific intervals along life’s way, and if we stop cooperating at any point, it produces problems for all the other points. We see it with people who did not have good enough parenting. They have a hard time getting caught up. Catching up requires us to enter into conscious communion with our psyche in order to better align ourselves with it, and cooperate with its process of our own development. This is no more difficult than paying attention to our dreams each night. Carl Jung held that each night’s dreams are a snapshot of how it is with our life at any point. As if to say, “This is how it is with you and your life. What are you going to do about it?” Everything hangs on how we answer the question.
09/26/2016 — Summer Tanager 2016 09 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 26, 2016 We cannot allow ourselves the privilege of NOT voting because one of the candidates is obviously unfit for the office of President of the United States and incapable of anything remotely approaching the vision, wisdom, compassion, values and mindful awareness required by the office, and “no one in their right mind could possibly vote for him, so I don’t have to bother with voting for her.” Being “in one’s right mind” Is not a prerequisite for voting, and the voters Trump speaks for and gives voice to, will stand in long lines, pouring rain, and driving snow to vote for the man who says the things that ignite their rage and encourage their hate. The rest of us have to be so dedicated and determined in turning out, showing up, and voting for the woman.
Used in Short Talks On Contradictions, etc., 09/27/2016 — Cardinal 2016 28 — The molting is over and the colors are bright, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 27, 2016 When we become conscious, we become conscious of the allness of the whole, and how we might work out the contradictions and make peace. One of those contradictions is between the life we are living and the life that is our life to live– even now, even yet. And, we live to find ways to work our life into our life. Our dreams help with this. Each night, our dreams point to a place in our actual life where our real life needs to come forth. If we keep a written record of our dreams over time, we see threads and themes being played out in our sleep, calling us to consciously “Attend this!” “Attend this!” Of course, we have to remember that our dreams are metaphors, including puns and plays-on-words, not to be taken literally. Losing your pocketbook has nothing to do with your pocketbook, but with your identity, your values, the core and foundation of your life. If you dream of losing your pocketbook, work to find the your center and ground, and live out of it in living the life you are living.
Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 09/28/2016 — Mushrooms 2016 05 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 27, 2016 Anthony Stevens said that dreams heighten our awareness of the total situation– making us conscious of how things are and how things also are, and placing us at the crux, at the fulcrum, at the point of doing what is ours to do, what no one but us can do, reconciling the opposites, integrating the polarities, synthesizing the contradictions, harmonizing the discordances at work in our life, and making peace.
09/28/2016 — Sleeping Birds 2016 01 — Immature Goldfinch, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 27, 2016 Carl Jung coined the word “complex” to refer to a cluster of thoughts, images, feelings and memories that form around our life experiences. Our experience of our mother or father form our “Mother Complex,” and our “Father Complex.” So it is with every life experience we have. A complex is the overall idea of the experience the cluster of thoughts, etc. create when they come together. I know my mother as I experienced her. If you had known her, you, perhaps, would have known an entirely different woman. It may be that I unconsciously project onto other women my idea of my mother, and, hence, my expectation that they will be like her– or, my hope that they might be the antithesis of her, and treat me like I wish my mother had treated me. My work is to make the cluster of thoughts, etc., that form my idea of my my experience with my mother conscious, and to expand them to take into account who else– who all– my mother was. And, to reconcile myself consciously with the impact the woman had on me, and to be conscious of my tendency to carry that impact into my relationship with other women, expecting them to be, or hoping they will not be, who my mother was. And, then do that with all of the clusters of thoughts, etc. that form around all of the “emotionally hot” ideas my experience has generated over the course of my life. That should keep me busy, don’t you think? And you, too, if you want to get a handle on the complexes that run your life.
09/29/2016 — Red-bellied Woodpecker 2016 23 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 27, 2016 Our experience impacts our experience, for good or for ill. Our past influences, or determines, our experience of our present, and our response to it. We carry with us expectations and anxieties fostered by encounters and incidents along life’s way. Our life sets us up to expect our life to be as it has been. The work of consciousness is that of being aware of the unconscious assumptions that precede us and shape the future we step into– locking us into the patterns we exhibit, and preventing different, perhaps, more appropriate, ways of dealing with what we find there. The watch words for the journey are: Consciousness, consciousness, consciousness! Awareness, awareness, awareness! Waking up is seeing where we have been and what residual effects continue to form our perceptions, and dictate our decisions. How much time, in a week, say, do you spend reflecting on your experience– both past and present– in order to form new realizations? What do you do specifically intended to increase your level of consciousness, your degree of awareness, the extent to which you are awake to what is happening and what its antecedents are, and what alternatives exist to consider in each situation as it arises? What program are you following? What plan are you implementing? You are not just drifting along, hoping for the best, are you?
09/29/2016 — Bird on a Wire 2016 05 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 19, 2016 Our dreams are a selection of metaphors and symbols brought together in story form, disclosing how in is in our life at the time of the dream to those who take the time to mine the metaphors and symbols for their meaning. Use the methods of free association with each of them in a dream: “What comes to mind when you think of _____?” Be alert to puns and plays on words. Continue the dream upon awakening via Active Imagination to see where it might go and what else it might have to say. Bringing the metaphors and symbols to life is to come to life ourselves. Anthony Stevens says that by consciously formulating dream images, we step into the flow of unconscious images and are nourished by the meanings we find there, but, we have to dig our own well in order to tap into the well-spring of living water.
09/30/2016 — Face-off at the Feeder 2016 01 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 28, 2016 We can understand the process and familiarize ourselves with all the concepts and terminology, but. We have to work the program and practice the art. We have to sit quietly and face what finds us in the silence on a consistent and regular basis. We have to reflect on past and present experience. We have to record and meditate on our dreams. We have to think about our thinking, see ourselves seeing, hear ourselves listening, observe ourselves in action, until we become transparent to ourselves, and catch ourselves in the act of kidding ourselves every time we do. We have to know who we are and who we also are, what is important, what drives us, what our ground, center, and foundation are. What we mean with our life, what guides our boat on its path through the sea. Knowledge Not Understanding! Should be a bumper sticker.
10/01/2016 — Cardinal 2016 30 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 28, 2016 Joseph Campbell said that there are two ways of thinking about all religions, and that each religion may be thought of in both ways at any time. There is that which represents “what is permanent and universal in human nature,” and that which is unique and peculiar to a particular folk, nation or civilization at a certain place and time in history. He said that when the orthodox priest and preachers who emphasize the historic foundations of their religion “talk and write of God, the nations go asunder,” but, “When the mystics talk (no matter what the historical ground of their religion is), their words in a profound sense meet–and the nations too.” He said further that the historic manifestations of the Numen must shed its historical skin so that the names Shiva, Yahweh, Alla, Buddha and Christ “lose their historical force and come together as adequate pointers of a way all must go in transcending their time-bound, earth-bound faculties and limitations.” (From The Masks of God, Vol. 1, Primitive Mythology) And I say, wouldn’t that be something?
10/01/2016 — A repeat from June 2013 — Carolina Wren 2016 23 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 23, 2016 There are three primary steps involved in finding your way to the life that is yours to live, the work that is yours to do: 1) You have to be transparent to yourself. 2) You have to bring out your contradictions and polarities, make them apparent, experience them fully and bear the pain of integration and synthesis. 3) You have to get out of the way. Being transparent to yourself is not kidding yourself, not playing games with yourself, seeing how you are and how you also are, and not trying to be better or different than you are and also are. You have to see you with compassionate eyes. This will show you some contradictions and polarities. You have to be thoroughly aware of your contradictions and polarities, your paradoxes and ambivalence—without rushing to resolve them, disappear them, deny/ignore them and get them out of the way. You are here to make your contraries conscious—and to bear the pain of that transaction. This is the key to growing up, awareness, enlightenment, realization, nirvana… The right kind of pain is the path to peace. You don’t want to pay the price of peace. You want to save yourself. You have to save yourself by not trying to save yourself—by not saving yourself. You have to get out of the way with your incessant search for solutions, and answers, and recipes, and happiness ever after. You have to not know what to do and be awash in anguish while you wait on the shift in perspective that perceives the opening. When the door opens, walk through. Until it opens, wait in the darkness you are sure will never end for the light you are sure is never coming. And. Get. Out. Of. The. Way.
10/02/2016 — Brown-headed Nuthatch 2016 12 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 25, 2016 We live to get who we are together with the context and circumstances of our life. We live to thrive no matter what. We do that, not by imposing our will on the time and place of our living, but by seeing, hearing, and understanding how what we have to offer can be exactly what is needed here and now. We are the treasure we seek. We have to stop thinking about our own wealth and privilege and start thinking about the privilege of being who we are where we are and the value of enjoying the wonder of our soul’s resplendent beauty.
10/02/2016 — Sleeping Bird 2016 05 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 29, 2016 How is life— how is your life— how are you like a game of solitaire? A wilted rose? A walk on the beach? A cobblestone? A hot air balloon? … Aristotle said, “The best interpreter of dreams is the person who can best perceive similarities.” And the best maker of symbols. When we can see ourselves mirrored in the things that lie about us— particularly those that are emotionally charged, that “stand out” for us— we gather clues, gain insight, form new realizations, wake up, come to life… All for the one low price of playful reflection.
10/02/2016 — Cardinal 2016 33 Silhouette — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 30, 2016 There is resonance and there is dissonance, attraction and repulsion, positive energy and negative energy. And we know if something resonates with us, attracts us, creates a high level of positive energy within us– and if it does not. Why don’t we trust ourselves to what we know, instead of trying to think our way toward what has life for us?
10/03/2016 — Mushrooms 2016 06 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 27, 2016 Sit quietly, attending everything that comes up in the silence. Anyone can sit quietly, mindfully aware of the silence. Why doesn’t someone do it? Regularly, dependably, consistently, no matter what is going on in his/her life? Why don’t you do it? The silence is the source of imagery similar to our nighttime dreams. If we are swept away in a fantasy occurring in the silence, it is the same as a dream. Observe everything about it. See what happens. Meditate reflectively on it as though you would with a dream. See what you do in the silence in your mind. See what the silence does to you. What is your unconscious using the silence to say to you about you? About your life? About what is happening? About what needs to happen? Give your unconscious access to you frequently. Listen to what you have to say to you. Brave the silence, armed only with mindful, compassionate, awareness for what you find there. You will return, over time, to your center– to your ground and foundation– to yourself.
10/03/2016 — A repeat from October 2013, Molting Lasts Forever, Sigh 2016 01 — Goldfinch, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, October 2, 2016 Here’s my idea of 5 rules to live by: See what you look at. Know what you know. Throw away doctrine, theology, creeds and ideology, and embrace the truth of beauty in art, music, nature, good company and good food and drink. Wake up and show up for the life that needs you to live it with the gifts that are yours to give– whether you feel like it or not, whether you are in the mood for it or not, whether you want to or not, whether it is convenient or not— understanding that it is like this: You are playing the lead character in a movie about you, and the script calls for you to live your life by doing what is called for in each scene, in each situation that arises. If you were an actual actor playing the part of you, you wouldn’t get to say, “I don’t feel like it today. Maybe tomorrow. Come back in a week. Maybe I’ll be ready by then.” No, you would play your part, to the hilt, striving for an Oscar worthy performance. So? Live your life to the hilt! Offering what is called for in each scene, regardless of how you feel! That was a long one. Pick up where we left it with this: square up to the way things are and what needs to be done about it, and do it in each situation as it arises for as long as there are situations– without having to profit from it in any way. Bear consciously the pain of your contradictions (like the difference between the way things are and the way you want things to be) without trying to escape it (in diversions and distractions) or deny it, or disappear it by resolving things quickly with a solution that solves nothing. Suffer the lack of solutions and let the problem, the conflict, become an image for you. Work with the image. Paint it. Write it. Sculpt it. Draw it. Make it into music. Dance it. Interview it. Express it in ways that deepen, expand its reality and make it real. Then wait for the shift to happen. When the door opens, walk through. If you think that turns out to be more than five, think of the overage as lagniappe. I’m only charging you for five.
10/04/2016 — White-breasted Nuthatch 2016 13 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, October 3, 2016 The life of the Dalai Lama would not be exciting, or even entertaining. If you followed him around for a week, or, heaven forbid, a month, you would likely be bored into numbing despair. Mother Teresa has been declared a saint. You wouldn’t want to live like she did. All the holy people you could name lived lives you wouldn’t have– lived lives that would stall the economy if a large portion of the population became holy as they were holy. Yet, Christians believe they are to convert the world and make everyone like Jesus. That would be the end of the world as we know it. We are selling a spirituality that has nothing to do with the life of a spiritually-attuned person. It’s all head-stuff that we are hawking. We talk theology and doctrines and creeds. Being faithful is believing what we are told to believe. It has nothing to do with trusting ourselves to the life we know is our life to live– because we know it and not because someone told us– and living it no matter what, following our own heart, finding our own way, and letting the outcome be the outcome.
10/05/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 2015 11-C Panorama — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 4, 2015 When we take the whole situation into account, we perceive a different– and more fitting, more appropriate way of responding to it, than if we simply consider it from the standpoint of our own interests, desires and needs, and look at it as something to manipulate to our benefit and advantage. The wholeness– the allness– of the situation calls for a response from us that we are not normally attuned to. Siting, quietly reflecting on the situation presents options beyond our own narrow fears and desires, and points the way to that which obviously needs to be done– which we would never be aware of without opening ourselves to the wholeness of the whole.
10/05/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 2015 54-55 Panorama — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 4, 2015 Listen to your life! Stop trying to pound how you want things to be into place, and simply listen to the allness of your life. Listen to the whole thing. Without interrupting. Listen to all your life is saying to you, on every level. Your life will tell you everything you need to know about living the life that needs to be lived in the time left for living. This is not about what you can do to make things go your way. It is about what you can do to align yourself with what your life needs from you in order to be what it yet may be. You are not striving to have things the way you like them. You are striving to be what your life needs you to be in order for your life to be what it is capable of being. That might not have anything to do with your idea for your life, but, it will be a fitting and wondrous completion to the life you have lived to this point– and it will likely delight and amaze you in surprising ways. It will definitely be worth your time and trouble, and you wouldn’t want to miss it. So, listen to your life!
10/05/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 2015 60 — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 4, 2015 Our work, in part, is to discover our personal myth. Our life is lived in the service of that myth. It rules our life unconsciously until we make it conscious and transform it in ways that allow it to take all we are and are called to be into account. We have to consciously enlarge our personal myth to encompass the allness— the wholeness— of the life that is our life to live, and live that life in conscious service to the myth that is now worthy of it. So, what’s your myth? The hidden beliefs and assumptions that shape, that form, the life you are living? A written record of your dreams over time will provide a framework for identifying your myth. You may catch a glimpse of it by completing this sentence: “I am the type of person who…” Then, you might live conscious of that statement over the next week or so, looking for things you do to bear out the truth of it, and for things you do that refute it completely. Our personal myth has to be made conscious in order for us to incarnate the Self at the core of our being. The game is on!
10/06/2016 — Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., Rose-breasted Grosbeak, immature, 2016 01 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, October 5, 2016 When we bear our conflicts, our contradictions, bravely and consciously, so that this is the way things are and that is the way things also are, and they do not cancel each other out, even though they are entirely contrary and mutually exclusive, and one cannot possibly be true if the other is true, because two people that far apart cannot possibly share the same body, and being this way by definition excludes everything even mildly connected with being that way, yet, here we are, together, like peas in a pod, perfectly exemplifying the greater truth that contradictory thoughts, feelings, positions, actions are complimentary in very essential ways, with one supporting the other, allowing for the other, making room for the other, permitting the other to co-exist as a separate and inviolable entity at-one with its mate, its polar-opposite, as long as we bear, bravely and consciously, the tension corresponding to their polar repulsion, and enabling one to recognize the other in its own heart and soul, thus softening itself, humanizing itself, and growing itself up into the other, in spite of the other, so that the two become one and contrariety and complexity become playfully simple as children grow up to be childlike but are no longer capable of being childish, and know out of their experience with themselves the wonder of maturity and grace, compassion and peace, and are able to extend to all what they know to be true, and also true, and absolute truth by having lived themselves into the apprehension of that which cannot be comprehended or explained or understood, but which can unmistakably be known and must never be denied, serving as it does as the crucible of our own soul-making, of our own becoming, and is the foundation and heart of our very own self.
10/07/2016 — Bird on a Wire 11 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 30, 2016 Symptoms are a sign of discord between who we are and the life we are living. Living out of sync with ourselves will manifest itself in ways ranging from subtle to dramatic. Either we will know when things are not right with us and our life, or everyone around us will know, and we will be oblivious to what is going on. The things that need to be addressed will show up in our dreams and in the silence when we sit quietly. Regularly stepping out of “the action,” to reflect on how things are with us and our life— and with us and our body— will bring out the red flags and reveal the places we need to make adjustments to put ourselves in accord with the life that needs us to live it— which is the work that is ours to do in the time left for living.
10/08/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 2015 38 — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 4, 2015 You know what brings you to life, or what once did, and you know what takes the life right out of you, leaving you empty, depleted, exhausted and soulless. Life restores your soul. Not-life leaves you soulless. We are here to serve our soul, and our soul “is here for its own joy,” said Rumi. When we refuse the things that bring joy to our soul, we are the worst kind of people, and our life begins to smell like it over time. There is still time. It is our place to devote ourselves to the service and care of our soul throughout the time left for living. This means doing what brings us to life and not doing what drains us of life. It means doing what is ours to do, and not doing what is not ours to do. It means doing our work, tending our business, and refusing to be consumed with other matters. We have to know where the line lies between Us and Not Us, and honor the line. Why is that so hard? Do we not understand what is at stake? Do we not care that we are killing our soul?
10/08/2016 — Rountree Orchid 2016 07 — Nursery Photos, Rountree Plantation Greenhouse and Garden Center, Charlotte, NC, October 6, 2016 I play in the kitchen, creating recipes out of the air with what ingredients we have on hand. I play on the computer creating images that make me smile, and writing phrases and paragraphs that capture ideas that come to life as I read and reflect and endeavor to explore and express pathways between worlds. I play with my camera and hammock and hiking boots using nature as a springboard into awareness and life. I play with books and commune with authors inaccessible, delighting in avenues of wonder they open up for me and invite me to travel. In what ways do you play with your life? How often?
10/09/2016 — Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2016 03 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, October 5, 2016 Everybody has the potential of being the Christ, and no one pulls it off quite like Jesus did. But, don’t let that dissuade you. No one will pull it off quite like you do, either. We all bring our own style to the role, and live out the character of the Christ the way only we can do it. When we are most completely the Christ, we are most decidedly ourselves, or, our Self, as Carl Jung would say. We are being whom only we can be in ways that also incarnate the grace, tenderness, compassion and rock-solid authenticity of a person grounded in her (his) own personal authority– who takes it all into account and responds to it in ways that astound and enlighten everyone, including herself (himself). Jesus was always surprising himself. There was no script. He made everything up in response to the conditions and circumstances of his life as they changed moment-to-moment The Christ is not a rigid set of principles, no ideological idol, no graven image, but a fluid, dynamic, matrix of being engaged in the continual process of bringing itself to life in the time and place of its living. Anybody can do that by taking who they are in one hand and where they are in the other, and get them together in ways that transcend and transform each in every moment.
10/09/2016 — Broad-winged Hawk 2016 22 — The 2-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, October 9, 2016 The work to be conscious of the impact and influence of the emotional cluster of memories, images, thoughts and feelings attached to significant life experiences– usually referred to as “complexes.” The father we had leans us in a particular direction when it comes to dealing with men (or being one), as does the mother we had when it comes to dealing with women (or being one). We do not do the work of consciously placing ourselves in accord with the complexes that shape our life by thinking about it or rationally agreeing that our parents (and other meaningful relationships and events) continue to affect our life. We have to be conscious of the power of their presence and see the result that power exerts on our life even now– and feel the feelings associated with the realization of their continued presence in our life. And do it again the next time they insert themselves into our life, and the time after that, and the time after that… We never out-grow having had parents, and we place ourselves in accord with that fact slowly, over a long stretch of time. The Hero’s Journey is not quickly done. The hero has to be in it for the long haul.
10/10/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 2015 42 — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 4, 2016 We are old enough to think for ourselves, to live out of our own authority, to be grounded on the foundation of our own sense of right and wrong, good and bad appropriate and inappropriate called for and uncalled for in each situation as it arises– to be guided by our own feel for what resonates with us, rings true, strikes a cord, stands out over time after reflection and review. We are old enough to speak for ourselves, out of our own experience and to evaluate what we say in light of our on-going experience, making adjustments and corrections that take new information into account. We have what we need to know what we need to do what needs us to do it. We do not live as though it is so. And that is where our work begins.
10/10/2016 — Rountree Orchid 2016 10 — Nursery Photos, Rountree Plantation Greenhouse and Garden Center, Charlotte, NC, October 6, 2016 Carl Jung, with an eye on fads, trends, rages and movements, said, “Nothing has happened at all unless the individual changes.” The newest most dynamic personal transformation guru may cast a wide spell, but. How different are the people who follow their every word, and how long has their differentness lasted? I’ve lost count of the latest things in spiritual development that have rolled through the times of my life like waves on the sea, but there have been many. Nothing has changed. Many of the individuals involved have hopped from one Teacher to another, “feeling the power,” each time, without changing ever. “Personal transformation movements” imply change at the very least– measurable change over the course of our life. Living in accord with our own inner sense of what our life needs us to do, and not out of someone else’s recipe for how our life ought to be lived is the kind of change I would look for. So that we become consciously responsible for the choices we make and the turns we take, instead of closing our eyes and hoping for the best. Who is guiding my boat on its path through the sea, if not me in consultation and collaboration with me?
10/11/2016 — Moonshine 2016 02 B&W — Indian Land, South Carolina, October 10, 2016 Living in accord with our life– with the life that is ours to live– with the life that only we can live– with the life that is our destiny and our soul’s one true joy is not automatic. We have to think about what we are doing– not as in thinking about it, but as in reflecting on it, being mindfully, compassionately, aware of it, seeing, hearing, and understanding what is happening and what we are being asked to do in response to it in each situation as it arises, in order to bring forth who we are then and there as the physical incarnation of the gifts, art, grace, wonder that come with us from the womb and lie fallow through all the years of waiting for us to wake up, tune in and turn on to the truth of who we are and live it out in the time and place of our living.
10/11/2016 — Northern Yellow-banded Flickr 2016 07 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, October 11, 2016 Joseph Campbell said, “The influence of a vital person vitalizes.” Carl Jung said much the same with more words: “Anyone who has insight into his/her own actions–and has thus found access to the unconscious–involuntarily exercises an influence on his/her environment. The deepening and broadening of his/her consciousness produce the kind of effect which the primitives call ‘mana.’ It is an unintentional influence on the unconscious of others, and its effect lasts only so long as it is not disturbed by conscious intention.” We influence change in others by being changed ourselves. People are always trying to change other people without changing themselves. Parents command children to change without changing one bit in relation to the children. Spouses do the same with spouses. Bosses with employees. The list is long. The moral of this story is “We work on ourselves. And leave others to work on themselves as they will.” The deeper we go into the work, the more the work widens, or broadens, and it is always as though we have just begun. Keeps us from thinking how great we are, slacking off, and coasting while we look for someone to improve.
Reelfoot Lake 2015 05-2 – Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 4, 2015 Donald Trump says he will make America great again. He says he will bring jobs back. He says he will build walls to keep us safe. And then he says women can never be safe, but we dismiss that as “bad boy talk,” and wink, and laugh, and look forward to being great again. He says he will send out of the country everyone who is not like we are. He doesn’t say exactly who we are. He assumes we know he’s talking about us when he says we. We do. He says it’s fine to bully anyone, everyone, who is not like we are, and we know who we are. He says hating people who are our enemies– who don’t think like we do, or believe like we do, or dress like we do– is not only acceptable but is also essential and explicitly required. The right kind of insanity can interpose itself upon the masses simply by giving voice to their resentment, fear, rage, hatred and greed, and recasting the reprehensible and appalling as good business practice, regrettably necessary under the circumstances and a small price to pay in order to be great again.
10/13/2016 — Goldenrod 2016 01 — Lancaster County, South Carolina, October 12, 2016 My personal myth is contained in my personal creed: Wake up! Grow up! Stand up! And live your life! I began this process, which includes the realization of the process, and the conscious, mindful, embrace of and participation in, the process, in the Mississippi delta– Itta Bena, Inverness, Morehead, Greenwood, Leland… then moved lower by moving to Louisiana. The eastern and southern portions of Louisiana are mostly protected by levy systems to keep the water out, and are an apt metaphor for the provincialism of the entire Ark-La-Miss. Growing up is hard to do wherever we start, and we all have the same thing in common: We don’t get enough variety in our early years. Everybody is like we are. And, too many of us remain there until we die. We build our lives building levies and walls to keep the truth out. Truth grows us up. Or not. Too many of us grow older without growing up, thinking, “How ’bout Not?!” Nothing frustrates truth like ignorance and stupidity– which have nothing to do with the level of our education, but have everything to do with the quality of our courage, curiosity and imagination. Our life waits for us to make a pact with it, agreeing at long last to Wake up! Grow up! Stand up! And live our life!
Used in Short Talks On Conflict, etc. 10/13/2016 — Rountree Orchid 2016 09 — Nursery Photos, Rountree Plantation Greenhouse and Garden Center, Charlotte, NC, October 6, 2016 Add this to the long list of propositions I have submitted to you for your consideration: All of our dichotomies are false dichotomies. All of our polarities and contradictions are illusions. Dichotomies, polarities and contradictions do not stand in a posture of mutual exclusion or negation, but exist, like dance partners, tennis players, and sections in orchestras, to complement and compensate each other– to deepen, broaden, enlarge, expand and complete the other. We each are but parts of the whole, and need the others– all the others– to help us become all that we are capable of being. Thou Art That– not only in terms of transcendence and divinity, but also in terms of finding what is missing about us reflected in, and expressed by, all the others. We find ourselves in our contraries and opposites, and they find themselves in us. Walt Kelly’s observation that “We have met the enemy, and they are us” is as valid as any observation ever. Knowing how this is so, will transform how we think about, and treat, our opposition on every level. Our enemies are not to be hated and killed, but seen, heard, understood, known, honored, respected and perceived as mirroring for us aspects of ourselves that we reject, deny, repress and ignore– and we, them– so that we find in each other compensating and complimenting aspects of ourselves, and acknowledge the amazing oneness of the whole.
10/14/2016 — Cotton in the Field 2016 01 — Lancaster County, South Carolina, October 12, 2016 Carl Jung though that “Dreams are the guiding words of the soul.” In our dreams, we are talking to ourselves. The Self we are at the core is speaking to the self we are on the periphery. It is past time for the self we are on the periphery to attend the Self we are at the core– and to take up the work of integration, placing the life we are living on the periphery in accord with the life we are capable of living from the core, our self becoming one with our Self at last.
10/15/2016 — Broad-winged Hawk 2016 10 — The Two-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, October 10, 2016 — The Two-acre Woods border our house to the west, the Zen Glen and the Three-acre Woods border it to the north, which is part of the Twenty-two-acre Woods that has recently sold for development and will soon become paved streets and houses, replete with box stores and fast food chains. The hawk and I can hardly wait. Silence and reflection are essential for mindful awareness– and everything depends upon that. We don’t get past Start without being mindfully aware of who we are, where we are, when we are, how we are, why we are, what’s happening, and what needs us to do it, in each situation as it arises, all our life long. How much time in a day do you allow yourself to spend in silent reflection in the service of mindful awareness? You cannot give yourself a better gift, or one with a greater impact for good in the lives of everyone else. Well?
10/16/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 2015 09-2 — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 4, 2015 Joseph Campbell’s four volume series, “The Masks of God,” should be required reading in every seminary and church/synagogue/monastery membership class in the world. It is the history of religion from before there were religions. Campbell said there are two approaches to what has always been called God, based on whether a tribe/culture was plant and farming and, hence, matriarchally based or hunting/gathering, patriarchally based. The first approach is grounded in awe and wonder. The second approach is grounded in atonement and sacrifice. The second approach won out (in the west, at least) because men are bigger, stronger, and meaner than women. And the rest is, as they say, history. But, the way remains open, to those who are interested in pursuing it, to living in accord with the Numen via awe and wonder. It only takes sitting quietly and opening our eyes, and our souls, to the presence of more than can be told or said or understood, but is there to be known– even by the smallest child.
10/17/2016 — Grandfather Mountain 2016 01 — Grandfather Mountain State Park, Banner Elk, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 In addition to being the best man he is capable of being, each man must also strive to be the best woman he is capable of being. In addition to being the best woman she is capable of being, each woman must also strive to be the best man she is capable of being. We are androgynous, and have to embrace that, and live to exhibit it in our life. If you can understand this, and apply it, you will be amazed at the difference for good it will make in the world.
10/18/2016 — Around Price Lake 2016 04 Panorama — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 We cannot be who we want to be and be who we need to be. We cannot be who we ought to be by being who we think we ought to be. We carry with us a blueprint of who we think we are– which is who we think we ought to be– and of how we think the world ought to be, and live in the service of our idea of the who and the how, completely out of accord with the actual who and the actual how. We have to put the blueprint aside, and stand apart from our idea of how things ought to be in order to be who we are needed to be, and do what needs to be done in each situation as it arises. Listening/hearing looking/seeing knowing/being allows the right action to arise spontaneously– like going to the toilet, or yawning, or sneezing– when it is called for. We will live alive to the time and place of our living, allowing what ought to be done to be done without imposing our ideology, theology, will or way on the conditions and circumstances of our life.
10/18/2016 — Around Bass Lake 2016 02 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 Living centered in and grounded upon who we are and what is important isn’t something we do on the side, like yoga or going to church. It is transformative and life-changing. Things are never what they were. New birth requires a completely new set of preferences, habits and behaviors. “The old has passed away, and, behold, the new has come.” Knowing what we are doing changes what we do. Mindful awareness— simply paying attention to the moment we are living— radically alters reality.
10/19/2016 — Grandfather Mountain 2016 02 — Grandfather Mountain State Park, Banner Elk, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 We have to work it out. Our work is to work it out– to make it work. To make sense of it. To find the meaning in it. To find what it means to us that this is the way things are, and not some other way. It is as though we wake up in a dream that we are dreaming– as though we are characters in our own dream– and have to figure it all out from the standpoint of what it means that this is the dream we are dreaming about ourselves, that this is the life we are living. Why this life, and not some other life? Why this story, and not some other story? We have the rest of our life to get to the bottom of it, of us. To get to the heart of the matter. To get to our heart– our core, center, ground and foundation, using the life we are living as our only clue.
10/19/2016 — Blue Ridge Fall 2016 03 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 Awareness and reflection don’t take a day off. Seers see. Observers observe. Perceivers perceive. Of. The. Time. There is nothing to “get,” “understand,” “comprehend,” in order to get back to the business of amassing wealth, exploiting position, exercising power, and enjoying privilege. The life that needs us to live it needs us to be present with what is present with us, and to respond to what is needed with the gifts, genius, creativity, compassion and awareness that are ours to bestow upon each moment that arises. All. Of. The. Time. We can’t be looking for the benefits, boons, gains and advantages, AND see what is happening in the situation as a whole, or hear what is calling us to act in the service of the true good of all. We sacrifice self in our allegiance to Self.
10/20/2016 — Around Price Lake 2016 02 – Grandfather Mountain, Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 I wonder why we cannot focus on living beautiful lives and celebrating our own dying the way we gather to rejoice in the deaths of so many leaves in the fall.
10/21/2016 — Around Price Lake 2016 31 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 Play with your life. Play with each moment, with each situation as it arises. Step playfully into the seriousness which surrounds you. See what you can do with it by treating it with less seriousness than it thinks it deserves. Know when to take No for an answer, and when not to. Be aware of the normal, typical, usual, traditional ways of responding to particular scenarios and situations, and don’t respond in any of those ways. Be irreverent. Be creative. Be unbound to the expectations, assumptions and suppositions that control life on the planet, and risk yourself to unconventional responses to what appears to be asked of you. Take nothing for granted. Live to see what happens if you do this or that. Play. With your life.
10/21/2016 — Around Bass Lake 2016 11 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 Enlightenment comes with a price. They don’t mention that in all the talk about being enlightened. The Buddha gave up everything prior to sitting under the Bodhi Tree. Jesus was killed in the service of his understanding– as if to say, “See? This is how it is for those who would follow me.” His disciples put a different spin on it, saying, “Jesus died so you won’t have to!” Nothing could be farther from the truth. Dying is the way to the truth and the life. Enlightenment transforms the lives of the Enlightened Ones. Who wants to live like the Dalai Lama? Or Yoda? Enlightened living is a different kind of life. How different are you willing to be?
10/22/2016 — Boone Fork 2016 01 Panorama — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 More people would be awake if it weren’t so much trouble. If it didn’t bring up so much pain. If it were easier and more convenient. If it didn’t require so much of them. If they were more awake. Waking up is growing up, Standing up, Seeing and doing what needs to be done. Being awake is hard. Being dead is easy. Jesus said, “Leave the dead to bury the dead, but you do the work that being awake and alive require– every day for the rest of your life!” Or, words to that effect. You could start with watching the Jon Kabat-Zinn videos on Mindfulness on You Tube. And take up the practice of sitting quietly regularly. How hard is that?
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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