10/22/2016 — If everything in your little world has to be Just So, or else, your little world is a hard place to live for everyone in it. Especially you. Latitude and pliability will accommodate a wide range of life experiences, and position us to make fitting responses to whatever the day brings– and are another fringe benefit of mindful, compassionate, awareness.
10/22/2016 — Blue Ridge Fall 2016 15 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, October 16, 2016 Here’s a novel solution for dealing with bad feelings: Feel them. All the way to the bottom. Do not deny them, mask them, numb them, run from them, or hide. Welcome them. And sit with them for as long as they need to be felt. Perhaps your son or daughter died and grief washes over you out of nowhere, or is triggered by 10,000 things and takes your breath away. It was your son or daughter who died. His or her loss cannot be denied its rightful place in your life. “But it’s been 15 years, or 50!” you say. There is no statute of limitations on mourning, and the feelings have to be felt when they come upon you. Or there is the weight of the Unchooseable Choice. Hopelessness and depression, panic and terror… Trapped with no way out. Sit with the agony and feel it in its fullness. Feel. Your. Feelings. Weep, wail, moan, sob… Wait for the feeling to begin to shift. All feelings pass. You can gauge their intensity, and time their duration. Watch as the feeling wells up inside. Notice how it impacts your body. Where does your body carry most of the emotion? Feel it in its depth, and notice as it begins to diminish, leaving you perhaps worn out, wrung out, exhausted. Acknowledge the experience with a ritual appropriate to the occasion and dedicated to life lived with the reason for the feelings. We will live, and we will feel the impact of life– our commitment to life and to each other, from this time forward.
10/22/2016 — Grandfather Mountain 2016 13 — Grandfather Mountain State Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Banner Elk, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 Jeremy Taylor says (In his book, “Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill,” used hardbacks available from Amazon for 1 cent plus $3.99 shipping, just saying) that living wholeheartedly in the service of anything will transform your life and ground you in your own authenticity and identity much better than anything else we can name. People who live wholeheartedly to play bridge, or lower their golf score live better and are likely to be healthier than people who have nothing that commands their wholehearted allegiance and commitment. How wholeheartedly do you live? It doesn’t matter what you pursue with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, in spite of what the theologians might tell you. But it matters that you pursue something that way, all your life long.
10/23/2016 — Around Bass Lake 2016 12 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 Our unconscious–so called because we are not conscious of that aspect of ourselves– seems to be interested in our being true to ourselves within the context and circumstances of our life, while our conscious egos– that would be the self we are conscious of– seems to be interested in doing whatever it takes to succeed in and triumph over the context and circumstances of our life, to the point of denying, betraying, ignoring, repressing and rejecting ourselves in the service of our agenda, plans, dreams and idea of how our life should be lived. Our unconscious is calling us to be who we have no desire to be. That’s the impasse that has to be made conscious and worked through if we are to have any chance at living the life that is waiting for us to live it in the time left for living.
10/23/2016 — Around Price Lake 2016 01 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016, Our dreams call us back to the center– to the grounding truth of the life that is ours to live– and the life that we are living– by showing us nightly skits, spoofs, parodies, satires, dramas, and comedies with the same story line: This Is How It Is With You Now! Or: Wake Up And Get Back On The Path! We think they are about snakes in the attic, or monkeys in the basement, or cars that won’t stop, or exams we aren’t prepared to take. They are all about us and the life we are living, and the life we need to live. It would be smart of us to heed our dreams. If we ignore them, symptoms and walls and cliffs are waiting in the wings. We want to begin listening before we start running into walls and off cliffs.
10/24/2016 — Blue Ridge Fall 2016 5/6 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 Living wholeheartedly in allegiance to the things most important to us limits the amount of time and attention we give to other things. We cannot “do it all,” or even half of it all. We have to conserve our energy and resources, and “spend” ourselves in the service of that which reflects most clearlly where our heart lies. We don’t apologize for our heart! We can’t be anything less than committed and dedicated to what we love! And we have no one to keep happy other than our own soul! We sell ourselves out when we do anything asked of us and go wherever the crowd we run with goes. Who are we? What does it mean to be true to ourselves? Where does our soul find its joy? What makes our little heart sing? Go there! Do that!
10/24/2016 — Boone Fork 2016 18 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 Being true to ourselves within the context and circumstances of our life puts us at odds with what is required, expected and assumed in each situation as it arises– and at odds with what we desire or fear in those situations. We grow into the mindset of the culture during our childhood and adolescence, and live to exploit the situation to our advantage, gain and profit. We readily forsake, betray, and/or abandon any concern for what is true to ourselves in favor of doing what we need to do to get what we want– wanting things that have no affinity with what would ring true to our heart and soul. You see the problem. We are divided within and incapable of living with our best interest at heart. We want what we want, and will have it or die trying to get it. We will do anything but the one thing necessary to put ourselves in accord with ourselves and live as one toward the good of each situation and the good of the whole. we will not change our mind about what is important to us. Our mind can change, of course, but not by effort of the will– ours or someone else’s. That puts us in the place of being mindfully, compassionately, aware of what’s what, and seeing how it goes.
10/24/2016 — Around Price Lake 2016 08 Panorama — Grandfather Mountain, Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 Readiness for realization is the requirement for realization. Asking, seeking and knocking— and to go on asking, seeking and knocking— have been long recognized as reflecting the needed disposition for seeing, hearing and understanding. We do not order up revelation, insight, enlightenment. We recognize our paucity in these things and wait in the darkness for the light— mindfully, compassionately, aware of our need and of the wholeness— the allness— of our life situation, and looking at everything as a vehicle of illumination and awakening, asking of each thing, “What does this have to say to me of truth and discernment?” Always bearing in mind two aphorisms of Joseph Campbell: “Where you stumble and fall, there lies the treasure.” “The cave you most don’t want to enter contains the treasure you seek.”
10/25/2016 — Grandfather Mountain 2016 08 — Grandfather Mountain State Park, Banner Elk, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 Everything is a symbol of transcendence and transformation. It only takes seeing how the thing you are looking at is like you and/or your life. Thou Art That in terms of our identity with the divine and sublime– and in terms of our identity with the profane and mundane. The line between transcendent and imminent is so thin it is non-existent, and hinges entirely on how we see what we look at. How we see what we look at is the key that opens the door to the life we live.
10/25/2016 — Blue Ridge Fall 2016 04 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 There is no immunity. No impunity. No exemption, exception or exclusion. Only vulnerability and pathos, or denial for as the long as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. One of my hunches is that we cannot sit quietly because in the stillness and silence pathos encroaches from all sides. In my case, I am transported to my maternal grandparent’s home in Itta Bena, Mississippi. It is winter, I only remember cloudy days in winter there. The gas stoves have no pilot light, and are not permitted to burn through the night. A Folger’s 1 lb. coffee can half-filled with water sits on the brown vented top to hydrate the air, and through the glass panes of the window in the front bedroom, I watch Coots swimming in Roebuck Lake. Watching me watch the Coots, I suffer the sadness of my generation, knowing what we had to deal with, and how poorly I think we managed our affairs. It would be wrong for me to run from this, so, I treat it as a dream, and enter into it to speak to my child-self and tell him to have courage, and to live in good faith with himself, and I promise to be with him all the way, even now and on into the future that lies before us— that lies before us all.
10/26/2016 — Around Bass Lake 2016 30 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 With no affinity for complexity and uncertainty, and no patience with complications and confusion, we leap for solutions that are more apparent than real, and a bad situation quickly becomes out of hand. I recommend adopting “Yes and no,” as a way of managing all of life’s problems and options. Everything–every choice, every decision– has its upside and its downside, its advantages and its disadvantages, its pluses and its minuses. “Yes and no,” puts it all in perspective, and keeps us from thinking there could ever be a Final Solution and this might be it. “Do you think we ought to (fill in the blank) sell our house here and buy one there?” “Yes and no.” And then, carefully examine all of the yes factors and all of the no factors, remembering to include the intangible “How thinking about it makes me feel inside” aspects. “Do you want cereal for breakfast?” “Yes and no.” It’s all yes and no! Anything that appears to be completely yes or no has another side we aren’t seeing. Life is a mixture of yes and no. Stir things up! Keep things in solution until you can see it for what it is– for ALL it is! Do not rush to the finished line! When we take the time necessary to take everything into account, the right action arises on its own. All we did was poke around, examining options, asking questions.
10/26/2016 — Around Price Lake 2016 03 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 All the action/adventure and westerns movies, and many other genres as well, are about the Good Guys demolishing the Bad Guys. Good vs Evil is a common theme in the stories we tell and read. The Good sees Evil for what it is and puts it in its place, which generally means Good destroys and disappears Evil forever. We will never see the Avengers or the Jedi Knights working to right social wrongs, to bring justice to life in human relationships, to establish racial and sexual equality, and create a global culture that values the contribution of all people to the good of the whole. We will never find them working out their own personal conflicts and ambivalences, and coming to terms with the Shadow within themselves, or seeing themselves as the enemy they seek to destroy again and again in different external manifestations. As the song says, “There ain’t no good guy, There ain’t no bad guy– There’s just me and you And we just disagree.” And we see in each other whom we cannot see in ourselves.
10/26/2016 — Footbridge to Rough Ridge 2016 01 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 The journey we all have to make– as individuals, as a nation, and as a world of nations– is the journey from the periphery to the center, from the extremes to the heart of life and being. We do this by seeing the enemy as a friend who is holding up a mirror reflecting us as we also are back to ourselves to recognize and reconcile ourselves to. We are also what we hate. The Bad Guys and the Good Guys share the same body. We have to do the work of seeing that it is so, and come to terms with the fact that the qualities we despise in others are quite at home in ourselves. We will never live at peace with one another until we are at peace with ourselves.
10/27/2016 — Around Price Lake 2016 30 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 There is what we care about, and what we ought to care about, and what we ought not care about. We step into each situation that arises with the option of caring about what we ought to care about in that situation, or to care about what we have no business caring about. How we play the Caring Card makes all the difference.
10/27/2016 — Boone Fork 2016 24 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 When it comes to decisions, I recommend putting everything on the table– and by everything, I mean everything that it is possible to be aware of pertaining to the decision– and contemplating the table. Sit quietly before the table, looking it over, taking it in, becoming fully aware of the contents of the table. Simply sit with that awareness until you feel in your body that you know what is there, then get up and walk away. Don’t think about the table any more. Be free of the table. Allow the part of you that you are unconscious of have the table and its contents. Ask that part of you to speak to you when it has something to say, and turn your attention to part of you that you are conscious of tend to other matters. Don’t worry about the decision– don’t think about the decision. Trust the part of you that you are unconscious of to work with the table while you take care of business on the conscious level. And wait for the light to come on.
10/28/2016 — Grandfather Mountain 2016 9/10 Panorama — Grandfather Mountain State Park, Banner Elk, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 Jesus and the Buddha agree on what is important: “You better know what you are doing!” But, since everybody thinks they know what they are doing We catch Jesus and the Buddha winking at each other and laughing when they say “You better know what you are doing!” They mean, “You better know that you don’t know what you are doing!” Adding, “And do it with your eyes open, knowing that we do everything not knowing what we are doing. Jesus advised, “Ask, seek, knock,” Because we know we don’t know what we are doing. The Buddha advised, “Sit in quiet contemplation and wait until the right action arises from within.” Knowing that we don’t know, and allowing that to modulate our behavior in the field of action, saves us from the smug assurance that discounts all signs and signals, rejects all hints and suggestions, and refuses all invitations to reconsider any decision in our rush to have our way, like we know what way to have.
10/28/2016 — Blue Ridge Fall 2016 11 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 Jesus said, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” I say that the Will to Profit destroys everything in its path. We live to exploit every relationship and every situation to our advantage. We think turning a profit is our life’s sole goal. It isn’t our soul’s life goal. Or, if it is, our soul understands “profit” in ways the culture would look upon as an absurd waste of time. Our soul is a poet, a dancer, a singer, a child. Our soul is at complete odds with what the culture thinks is important. Which puts us at cross-purposes with ourselves. Putting ourselves in accord with our soul is a death-and-resurrection experience. People think a cross is a piece of jewelry, or a wall decoration, or a bumper sticker. They all think the cross is something Jesus did for us– not comprehending that it is something each of us has to do for ourselves. Dying to the cultural idea of what we are about and living to our soul’s idea of what we are about is Gethsemane/Golgotha and Easter Morning. Which is repeated continually throughout our life. We live between what we think is important and what is important.
10/29/2016 — Around Bass Lake 2016 17 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 If you are going to see anything, see what’s what. See what’s happening, and what needs to be done about it, and do it. See how things are, and how things also are. See what you look at. See yourself seeing. See what matters, what is important, what is essential, in the situation as a whole. See what you’re not seeing. See what else there is to see. See into the heart of things, to the bottom of things. And don’t quit looking until you see.
10/29/2016 — Around Bass Lake 2016 37 (Hydrangea Gardens) — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 We serve ends that are not legitimate ends, purposes that are not our purposes. We make up a life for ourselves and strive to make it fit. We live inorganically, inauthentically, out of touch with heart and soul, willing our life into being– the life we have created around our idea of how our life ought to be. Our Other Life calls to us with dreams and symptoms, but we heed no other, and damning all notions of a different way to live, we damn ourselves to a life without life, hollow people with empty eyes, filling the wasteland with our garbage.
10/28/2016 — Around Price Lake 2016 33 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2017 We cannot hurry things along, speed things up, make things happen according to our agenda and timetable. We assist the unfolding/becoming of things in their own time, in their own way, by being mindfully, compassionately, aware of the moment of our living, open to what is happening then and there, and to what needs to happen in response, and doing what we can do about that with the gifts and genius that is ours to employ for the good of the whole, and letting that be that. So, why have agendas and timetables? Even the question sidetracks us from attending what is happening and what needs to happen in response in the time and place of our living.
10/30/2016 — Boone Fork 2016 05 Panorama — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2017 You have what you need to find what you need to do what needs you to do it and dance with your life. Well?
10/30/2016 — Around Price Lake 2016 05 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2017 The church cannot be the church because it has to pay the bills. Just like Christians cannot be Christians because they have to pay the bills. Jesus had no bills he couldn’t pay out of the pittance of contributions he received begging in the streets. Jesus had no children, no house mortgage, no car notes, none of the things we carry with us through our life. Having to pay the bills cants us toward the cultural belief in the central importance of wealth, privilege, and profit. Financial freedom is the only kind of freedom, It locks us into a life that is lived in bondage to the work to pay the bills, and “we owe our soul to the company store.” We have to keep the truth of our condition at the forefront of our mind. All the talk about “Sweet Jesus,” comes to grief upon the fact of having to pay the bills, and the mystery at the heart of mystery is that we walk two paths at the same time. The only way to pull that off is by walking the path we are walking fully aware of the other path we are walking. All our life long.
10/30/2016 — Red-breasted Nuthatch 2016 01 — The Red-breasted Nuthatch returns to its winter range, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, October 21, 2016 — This image is a composite of 10 photographs blended together.
We talk about God as though we know what the word means. We get into arguments about God as though we know what we are talking about. We go to war over the ways and will of God as though we know precisely who God is and is not. When, in truth, everything we think we know about God and can state with unequivocal certainty and conviction was made up by someone who didn’t know any more than we do about God. Everything we can say about God, even, “There is no God,” comes right out of the depths of someone’s imagination, perhaps our own. All of the doctrines of God– all of the theology and creeds about God– are the products of someone’s efforts to make sense of their experience and to articulate what they believe to be so. But, why believe that to be so and not something else instead? Especially in light of the fact that someone believes something else instead with as much assurance as we believe what we believe. If we are going to “take something on faith,” and we have no choice in the matter, at least let us do so remembering clearly that it has no more foundation than what anyone ever has, or ever will, “take on faith.”
10/30/2016 — Grandfather Mountain 2016 10/11 Panorama — Grandfather Mountain State Park, Banner Elk, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 Our work is the recovery of the sacred– the recovery of our sense of that which has supreme value, and which seizes us with a claim upon us which cannot be denied. The ocean does that for some people. What does it for you? What is the vehicle of the sacred– of supreme value– in your life? Begin to nurture your relationship with whatever it is. Place yourself ritually, religiously, in its presence, regularly, I cannot think of a national park that does not stand out as sacred for me, or a season of the year. The birds I feed and photograph, and the flowers, and waterfalls, and Cypress Trees… Make the sacred your quest. Find what is holy for you and allow it to restore your soul.
10/30/2016 — Around Bass Lake 2016 16 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 We never outgrow some disappointments and betrayals. We live forever in their shadow’s reach– to be swept away when memory is triggered, or anniversaries come around. We carry the scars of old wounds, and walk with a limp, reminders of how things also are, to be accepted along with the rest of the landscape of our life, to be lived with, and through.
11/01/2016 — Blue Ridge Fall 2016 14 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 What things mean to us is what we say they mean. It’s how we see them, what we make of them. Our interpretation of reality sets reality up to mean what it means to us. We filter things through our experience of things. Through the clusters of complexes– the collection of thoughts, images, feelings and memories– that constitute the meaning the things have for us. Things mean what they have come to mean over time. We generate meaning out of our experience with reality– responding to today’s experience out of that of days long gone. The presence of the past colors our present, and where we are is haunted by where we have been. Sitting quietly seeing is the path to living here and now mindfully aware of the impact of then and there– as close to freedom as we have ever been.
11/02/2016 — Boone Fork 2016 16 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 The Hero’s Journey consists of walking two paths at the same time. We are always on one path or the other. We walk one intently aware of the other one. The overriding rule of the Hero’s Journey is: Do Not Kid Yourself! Living transparent to ourselves brings everything to light, puts it all on the table, and requires us to live without pretense or denial, taking the whole into account at all times– living in this world in ways that honor that world– bringing the life that is ours to live to life within the life we are living. What brings you to life? Do that to offset the things draining you of life– the things you do to pay the bills to make life possible. The two paths modify and moderate each other, and pull us forth as the champion of each, bearing in our body the tension of the polarity, and making the two one in the life we live.
11/02/2016 — Moonshine 2016 03 — Indian Land, South Carolina, October 15, 2016 Donald Trump’s true gift to his followers is permission to not care about people they already don’t care about. Donald Trump says, in word and deed, that it is okay to not care about: Anyone who has had, is having, or will have an abortion, Women (Even the women who follow Donald Trump don’t care about women!), Black People, The LGBTQ population and their families and supporters, Latinos, Muslims, Immigrants, The Special Needs population and their families and supporters, The Poor, The Homeless, Children Minimum Wage Earners Union Members And anyone else Trump wants to add to the list at any time. Donald Trump is not a man to admire on any level. He is not a man who is capable of being President of the United States. Vote for Donald Trump at your peril and that of tens of thousands of innocent people.
11/03/2016 — Grandfather Mountain 2016 09/10/11 Panorama — Grandfather Mountain State Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Banner Elk, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 If Donald Trump wins the election, the French should ask for their statue back. At the very least, the tablet with Emma Lazarus’ sonnet declaring: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” should be shrouded in black, and the idea of “Liberty Enlightening the World” should become the source of grief and mourning for all good people of every nation forever. There will be no golden door— high thick walls of odious hatred will line these shores, and all will know the hope of Democracy is no more.
11/03/2016 — Fall Leaves 2016 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 2, 2016 If we live in the service of our will, seeking to exploit situations to our advantage, and parley “this” into “that,” we will have a certain life. If we live open to the flow of the moment, each moment, one thing will lead to another, much like “one book opens another,” and we will feel like we are being guided by some benevolent intelligence through our days. And, we will have a different kind of life. We can think of the flow as the Tao, Maat, Dharma, or the will of God. Which is it really? I like to think of it as being guided by our psychic compass toward one life and away from others as we direct our boat on its path through the sea. There is that which knows more than we do, and to live open to it, in collaboration with it, is to have a life that has more life about it than any other life I can think of.
11/04/2016 — Around Price Lake 2016 16 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 It comes down to concentration and focus, to aim and attention, because we are easily corrupted, led astray, shanghaied by the 10,000 things– which, in reality, are only four things: Panic, Greed, Rage and Duty, to be offset, countered, turned aside by four things: Concentration, Focus, Aim, and Attention. No life lived aimlessly and accidentally is worth living. We become who we are by being who we are in each situation as it arises with deliberate allegiance to alignment and expression. We get there with practice– sitting quietly in stillness and silence grounded in, and centered upon the importance of being grounded and centered in who we are and what we are about.
11/05/2016 — Boone Fork Panorama 2016 18-B — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 It matters how we live. It matters that we live in ways that are true to our sense of the best we have to offer. It matters that we remain loyal to our vision of that which is best about us, and incarnate that vision in each situation as it arises. It matters that we rise above that which is base and low, detestable, despicable and deplorable, and live in the service of the highest values that have ever stirred to life in the hearts of human beings. It matters that we live our best life when it seems as though nothing matters at all. Anybody can not care how they are living, and offer less than they are capable of, and say it doesn’t mater. It takes no effort to live like that. The challenge is to live like it matters anyway, nevertheless, even so, no matter what, just because. Doing it that way makes all the difference.
11/06/2016 — Blue Ridge Fall 2016 05 — Grandfather Mountain and the Linville Cove Viaduct, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 The first working concept is: We Walk Two Paths At The Same Time. The second is: Our Life Is Filled With A Multiplicity Of Double Paths. There is what we do for a living, and what we live to do. There is what is life for us and what is life for our spouse/partner, children/parents, etc. There is what we want and what we also want. There is the center of our conscious ego and the center of our psyche Self, and there is the Shadow side of both ego and Self. This could quickly get out of hand. But, we keep it manageable by being aware of the double paths we walk and walking them intently aware of both. We do not kid ourselves about the other one, and we do not tell ourselves we must get rid of the other one and walk only one to glory. There is not only one anywhere, any time. To think there is is to be shrouded in denial, pretense, wishful thinking, illusion. That’s the other path to thinking there is one path. There are two paths everywhere. We have to walk them both. At the same time.
11/06/2016 — Lake Crandal 2016 07 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Way, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 6, 2016 Nothing is worse than reality. Or better. Our place is to square up to it and trust ourselves to it just as it is– for better and for worse. No running, no hiding, no denying. No hanging on past letting go to some joyful experience. No being dragged against our will to do what must be done. Reality is a bitter pill to swallow. And the grandest adventure ever to ask us to take a ride. Don’t miss it for anything.
11/07/2016 — Lake Crandal 2016 06 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Way, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 6, 2016 We have to know what we are doing and be right about it. We are the ones who decide, who choose, who do and leave not done, who say what’s what, what gives, and what’s up and down. We live with an ear tuned to the inner world with an eye on what goes on there, but the psyche is no internal director with megaphone in hand yelling minute-by-minute instructions regarding when to do what, how and why. We familiarize ourselves with the inner world, get the gist of its nature and mode of operation, put ourselves in accord with our understanding of flow and direction, and make up our own mind about what we need to do in each situation as it arises. We make the calls. We say yes. We say no. We live out of our own authority in light of what we declare to be the center, ground and foundation of our life. Nobody can tell us what that is or what it should be. We alone know what is a true expression of who we are.
11/07/2016 — Goodale 2016 03/04 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 7, 2016 Our life is like a Rubik’s Cube, only it is more like a hexagon than a cube, and instead of colors, we have to line up our affinities, aspirations, aptitudes, attitudes, faculties, proclivities, interests, inclinations, tendencies, dispositions, propensities, proficiencies, penchants, tastes, talents, flairs, knacks, gifts and genius– and synch that up with the context and circumstances of our life. We have to align ourselves with ourselves, and fit ourselves into our life. Every day.
11/08/2016 — Goodale 2016 08/09 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 7, 2016 It doesn’t matter to our inner world what we do with our life— It matters profoundly how we do it. We are to lived aligned with who we are— outer with inner. We can do that any way the context and circumstances of our life permits/requires. We can be who we are anywhere, any when. Except that a poet has to poet, a dancer has to dance, a singer has to sing, a logician has to logic, a scientist has to science, a talker has to talk a listener has to listen, all the way down the line. We live to bring who we are forth within the nature and conditions of our life. When we refuse/fail to do that The inner world—the psyche/soul within— begins to rumble and make itself known, as if to say, “Hey! Wake up! Put yourself in accord with the ALL of you! Bring us to life in your life!” If we refuse, there is hell to pay.
11/08/2016 — Congaree 2016 05 — Congaree National Park, Hopkins, South Carolina, November 7, 2016 Who, okay, whom, do you trust to tell you what the truth is? Where do you get the information you use to form your opinions, establish your positions, shape your perceptions, form your biases and prejudices, feed your fears? What is the foundation of your convictions? Where do you get your ideas? What makes you think that what you think is so? Here’s what I think: We have to be responsible for gathering our own information from the source. No hearsay evidence is allowed. We don’t take what anyone says is the truth as the truth. We ask probing questions of all truth-sayers: “How do you know that what you say is so?” “What makes you think that your interpretation of the facts is reliable?” “What makes you think the facts you say are factual are the only facts pertinent to the conclusion you have drawn?” “What are you leaving out of the picture you have drawn?” “What else is so that you are not saying is so?” “How is it to your personal advantage that I believe what you are telling me and do what you want me to do?” If you want to know the truth about anything, or anyone, go to the source, and make inquiries.
11/08/2016 — Lake Crandal 2016 10 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Way, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 6, 2016 Our soul lives to be expressed in the life we are living. Our soul doesn’t care if we get paid for it, or are rewarded in any material way. Our reward is doing what our soul enjoys– being who our soul relishes being. That’s it. That’s all we get out of it. We get to relish, to delight in, the life we live together with soul. With Psyche. Our place is to put soul first– To understand that we are here to serve soul, not to be served by soul, and to live in ways that are aligned with, in accord with, the heart that beats at the center of ourselves. Our work is to life like soul likes to live. What do you love to do? Where do you come alive? What are the things you do best? How do you fit all of that into the life you are living?
11/09/2016 — Goodale 2016 23 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 7, 2016 This is the best I can do: Standing before the unfathomable and obscene, Ground yourself upon the foundation stone of your own deep truth, upon what you know to be true about you, upon your identity, upon your heart and soul and their eternal core and their high human values, and live out of your knowledge of what makes you you and calls you to live and to do according to its good pleasure, and hold fast to your center, ground and foundation by sitting quietly and remembering what is best and truest about you every day. That’s the first thing. The second is this: Know what you can get by with and what you cannot get by with, and live to be sure you are correct without pushing your luck more than necessary to call attention to what is wrong and do what is right in each situation as it arises for as long as the blight shall last.
11/09/2016 — Congaree 2016 02 — Congaree National Park, Hopkins, South Carolina, November 7, 2016 It’s all the same to soul/psyche. Landscape, environment, context, conditions, circumstances… It’s all the place soul/psyche is expressed and comes to life in the life we are living. The nature of the life we are living is of little concern to soul/psyche– it is just the matrix, the gestalt, the backdrop of soul/psyche’s coming forth and dancing its Snoopy’s joyous dance with life. We are the ones weighed down by our circumstances, by the reality of life in the material world. Soul/psyche waits for us to square ourselves up with how things are, and get with the program of bringing them into our life by the way we live it wherever, whenever, however we are.
11/09/2016 — Goodale 2016 15 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 7, 2016 When I was, let’s say, seven years old, my buddy David and I walked to downtown Itta Bena, Mississippi with a plan. We were going to pool our money and buy a rope, bring it home and tie it to a limb in my grandmother’s oak tree, and take turns swinging like Tarzan all afternoon. Each of us plopped down a quarter on the counter of the hardware store and got 10 feet of quarter inch manila rope at 5 cents a foot. We were in business, and talked all the way home of the delight and wonder we would bring ourselves being Tarzan and Cheetah all afternoon. We got to the tree and it dawned on David that his rope would hang on MY grandmother’s tree, and wanted his half then and there. I’d never been so shocked and dismayed, and rarely so since. Out came his pocket knife, fizz when the dream. That was an early lesson on how difficult it is to get all, or most of, the people on the same page and keep them there– and how easy it is to talk about good faith, and how hard it is to keep it with one another.
11/10/2016 — Lake Crandal 2016 20 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Way, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 6, 2016 If it feels like oppression, it may as well be oppression. If it seems as though there will always be more Republicans who will do anything to avoid change and reject the rights of people who are not like they are, and for whom the center is more extreme than they can tolerate, it may as well be so, because that is my reality at this point in my shock and consternation, and I could do with a gathering place of Democrats for consolation and encouragement, and the enlargement of perspective, the nurturing of hope, the mutual care of bent reeds and flickering flames. There should be communities for the recovery of voting citizens suffering from lost dreams and broken hearts. Where do we go for anything approaching kindness, compassion and understanding when we are surrounded by Republicans? I’ve Googled It, and can find no evidence of the existence of a kind, compassionate, understanding Republican– which makes no sense at all. There has to be one somewhere. You would think.
11/10/2016 — Goodale 2016 01 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 7, 2016 It is not OKAY. “Okay” means “That’s fine with me.” There are things that are not fine with me, and never will be. Things don’t have to be okay– particularly things that are not, and never will be, There is that which is not-okay, and always will be. The Hero’s Journey, the work of being human, growing up and facing our life just as it is, means confronting and dealing with all of the things that are not-okay, and never will be. And the way to do that is to not pretend that things are different than they are, but to see things as they are, bear the pain, and do what needs to be done about it.
11/11/2016 — Lake Francis 2016 03 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Way, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 6, 2016 You cannot awaken those who are sleeping the sleep of the dead. Everyone thinks they are awake. Everyone thinks the way they see things is the way to see things. Everyone thinks they know what they are doing. Those who know know they don’t know, and are open to how things might be different from the way they think things are, or want them to be. No woman should be forced to be pregnant against her will. There are women who are pregnant at this moment who cannot carry their pregnancy to term. How safe are those women in your view of the world? Who has no place in your world view? Who does not belong? Who is not welcome? Who has to do it your way or die? Because you know best and must be pleased. We are entering a period in the country’s history where the common assumptions that held us together have disappeared. There is no longer any separation of powers. The executive, legislative and judicial branches have been taken over by Republican ideology. One Ring To Rule Them All. There is no longer any separation of church and state. Evangelical, right-wing, Christianity has sacked the state and runs the show. There is no safety from the rampant idiocy Of Those Who Know Best And Must Be Pleased.
11/11/2016 — Lake Haigler 2016 14/15 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Way, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 10, 2016 I weep with grief for all that was lost with the election of Donald Trump. Let me explain. In controlling both the house and Senate and the Presidency, and the Supreme Court, the Republicans have an open door to reverse the gains that have been made in guarding rights and liberties of all people, and to see that none of the Favored Ones are inconvenienced in any way. Donald said, “I will drain the swamp!” and, “I will bring jobs back!” and, “I will build the wall!” and, “I will lower taxes (meaning on the wealthy)!” And the people cried, “Yea! Merrily May It Be So!” without inquiring, “How do you propose to do these things?” and, “What is your time table for doing them?” think, of course, that Donald has a magic stick and will do it all instantaneously upon inauguration. When you are fed up and desperate, you vote for the big talk and hope for the best, never minding all that hangs in the balance. Why care about anything but the chance of making life better for yourself?
11/11/2016 — Congaree 2016 01 — Congaree National Park, Hopkins, South Carolina, November 7, 2016 Just as, according to the old saw, “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it,” the only way to get rid of grief is by grieving. There is no hurrying grief along. It leaves in its own time. In its own sweet time. Any time we lose something that, or someone who, was like life itself, we have to let grief have its way with us. We have to feel what has been lost all the way, for as long as it takes. Even if it is inconvenient, and gets in the way. We have to consciously, mindfully, intentionally be with our grief, spending time with it, We think about the things that “make us cry.” We don’t change the subject in our minds, or “talk about happy things.” We assist our grief, encourage our grief. We don’t strive to be rid of it. We do not run from reality. We run to reality. Immerse ourselves in reality. Swim in it, become one with it, alive to it. Grieving and mourning all the while. As a testimony to the lasting value of the person, place, or thing, and the impact of his/her/its loss on our life.
11/12/2016 — Goodale 2016 29 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 7, 2016 We are individuals and we are not independent. (Here we go again, get ready, it’s coming)– we walk two paths at the same time. Too often, we erase the individual path in favor of the dependent path, and live like the group, the community, the mass, but, occasionally, we erase the dependent path, and shun all communal responsibilities and connections in “doing our own thing,” “being true to ourselves,” “being who we are,” We have to be true to ourselves in relationship with one another (and all others). Some of us don’t go home for the holidays because we cannot be true to ourselves and be a part of our own family of origin. It’s a problem. It might be the only problem, being an individual and being a part of the wider community. We walk two paths at the same time (remember) by keeping both clearly in mind when walking either. It is a dialectic, a dynamic, a polarity, that keeps us working to be balanced, to be in harmony, in sync, connected and alive. Erasing the tension in favor of either path cuts us off from both paths and delivers us to the wasteland where we are neither a self, nor a community, just isolated and alone, aimless without foundation or direction. We have to be a self in relationship with other selves, even though it is the hardest thing in the world to do.
11/12/2016 — Around Bass Lake 2016 06 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 I am always stunned and amazed that people can look at the same fact and draw such widely different conclusions. Two men, or two women, kissing. Black and white children attending the same public school. People of different religions, and of no religion, and races, and physical ability, and gender identification, and ethnic origin, living together with mutual respect and good will. Repugnant to some, beautiful to others. The right of all people to be free to make their own health care decisions. To equal pay for equal work. To affordable child care and health care. Essential to some. Unnecessary to others. And reprehensible and wrong-the-point-of-being-evil-to still others. How can we be this far apart in our apprehension and evaluation of reality? What is messing with our mind?
11/13/2016 — Lake Crandal 2016 04 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Acces, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 6, 2016 When the people think they are doing good when they are doing abject evil, and call idiocy “brilliant,” “astute,” “gifted,” and “clever,” the world is off its foundation and the would be king is wearing no clothes, and the joke is on us all.
11/13/2016 — Around Price Lake 2016 06-C —Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 —This is a manufactured reflection. You can check out the original by digging it out in an earlier post in October. We bear our own grief, and carry our own sorrow, and square up each day to life as it is that day. And it helps to do that in the company of those who are also doing it. We strengthen each other by being strong ourselves. We encourage each other by being courageous ourselves. Joseph Campbell said, “The influence of a vital person vitalizes.” Each of us is to be that person– vitally alive in the face of the awful truth of the day, anyway, never the less, even so, doing what can be done about what needs to be done every day. All the way. Freedom Road needs some determined travelers again, walking together on the long road to freedom for every man, woman and child of every race and variety of humankind. Start by seeing what you look at, and listening to whom you are talking– beyond their words to their heart and soul struggling to be heard and understood.
11/14/2016 — A Walk in the Woods 01 Panorama — Fall Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, November 13, 2016 People are marching in protest against Trump. How many of them voted? I vote even though my vote doesn’t matter (The Electoral College cancels out my blue vote in a red state– SC voted for Barry Goldwater, and went blue only for fellow-southerner Jimmy Carter). The people who didn’t vote, or who threw their vote away on a 3rd party (as if) candidate, handed us what we have, thank-you very much. One vote added to all of the other ones creates the future. Forget the candidates as people to love or hate. The question is always “What kind of future do you want to live in?” Vote for the person who has the best chance of delivering that future– and do not fail, or refuse, to vote! We have a clear vision of Trump’s future for the U.S. and world, and it is very ugly. It is a wasteland that even hopelessness would avoid. How to deal with that reality on this side of the election will be a daily test of our resolve and commitment to the good. The Dark Side has won the day and turned it into the darkest night.
11/14/2016 — Super Moonshine 2016 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 13, 2016 If you aren’t aware of, or following, Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League, you are missing the story of the age, and the symbol of the new age that is dawning before our eyes. Prescott is the hero the modern world had no idea it needed. He is focused on being who he is wherever he is, period. Nothing distracts him. He has been described by sports writers as having the presence and poise of a Zen monk. He doesn’t get knocked off center. He doesn’t lose sight of his purpose. He is remarkably, consistently, the same in every situation, regardless of the circumstances. Michael Lombardi, an ex-GM in the NFL, describes his leadership style as being “intolerant of everything but winning.” Says Lombardi, “He doesn’t allow anything to get in the way of that.” Now, change winning, or understand it, to be “living in the service of the good,” and you have exactly the prescription for what needs to happen in the life of each one of us. We need to be intolerant of everything but the service of the good in each situation as it arises. We cannot allow anything to get in the way of that. What is the greatest good you can think of? If it isn’t winning, what is it? Live possessed by, and focused on, that in every circumstance and condition of life. And get to know all you can about Dak Prescott. He is who we all need to be in our own way.
11/15/2016 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 08 — Sumac, Indian Land, South Carolina, November 13, 2016 Our life consists of facts and our response to them. We are responsible for forming our own perspective, for deciding for ourselves what the facts mean that bear upon our life, for interpreting what happens and determining what to do about it. When we don’t know what to make of our life and what is happening there, instead of sitting quietly and waiting for clarity, we rush to unwarranted conclusions, jump to embrace some dynamic personality brimming with conviction, and throw our lot in with the masses chanting slogans and offering direction– anything to avoid the anxiety of not-knowing what things mean and what action to take. We don’t think things through, sort things out, get to the bottom of anything, wait for the muddy water to settle, in order to see what’s what, and know what might be the best of all available options. If someone tells us he is going to make America Great Again, that sounds fine to us, never mind the price to be paid, or how Great can be not-so-great for some, and absolutely devastating for others. We will follow anyone to be free of the burden of seeing, hearing, understanding, knowing and doing what needs to be done– based on our reflection on our experience and our examination of the evidence available to us. Which, of course, creates a situation in which others have to wait for things to settle so that they might have enough clarity to see, hear, understand, know and do what needs to be done about our failure to be responsible for our own perspective and our own response to the facts impinging upon our life. When we refuse to do right by our responsibilities, someone has to take up our slack, and we increase the burden other people must carry. When we don’t bear our own pain, we increase the level of pain that others must bear.
11/15/2016 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 28 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 15, 2016 When Jesus talked about new life everybody thought (and still think) he was talking about life after our physical death, about “bodily resurrection” with heaven on the other side. I hate to be the one to break the news, but. He was talking about a shift in perspective, a transition to a new way of seeing. It was/is as radical as the difference between old wine skins and new ones, as the difference between darkness and light, and life and death. “Those who seek their life will lose it, but those who give up their life for my sake and the gospel’s will find it.” “My sake and the gospel’s” is the perspective that sees things as they are. “I am the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father but by me.” The “I” and the “me” are both the perspective, the way of seeing, that Jesus had and was. Jesus was the way he understood things to be, the way he saw things. That is what fueled his life, his being, in the world. It was his perspective, his understanding, his knowing, that made him the Christ– and that is what makes us the Christ, as only we can be the Christ, after him. Believing in Jesus isn’t going to transport us from old wine skins to new. “Even the demons believe–and shudder.” “Lord, Lord, didn’t we believe in your name, and do mighty works in your name…?” Seeing things the way Jesus did– seeing what is important the way Jesus saw what was important– is going to make all things new on this side of the grave. The other side will take care of itself.
11/16/2016 — Fall Woods 2016 33 — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 16, 2016 It helps to be clear about what is important. Everything settles out around that. Trump says he will lower our taxes. Sounds great to a lot of people. He says he will get rid of Obamacare. Sounds great to a lot of people. He doesn’t say anything about how and what then. No one seems to care. Turns out he will lower taxes by also getting rid of Medicare and Medicaid (or cut spending to them which is equivalent to axing them). Turns out he has nothing to offer in the place of the Affordable Healthcare Act. That Trump is some kind of clown act with tricks up every sleeve. It helps to get all the information out in front of us before jumping on some bandwagon racing down the mountain to the cliff and jagged rocks below. Be clear about the important things. All good things start with what matters most.
11/16/2016 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 38 — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 13, 2016 “Don’t go in that hole!” Perfect advice for this time and place. We make the darkness darker by extolling the awfulness of every aspect of gloom and despair. This is the way things are, and this is what we can do in response. One of those things is to refuse to go in that hole. Another of those things is to sit quietly in the silence, holding everything in awareness without judgment or opinion– simply seeing what we look at and acknowledging its presence as a part of the allness, as a part of the just-so-ness, of this moment– and living in this moment out of our own center, ground and foundation. Our of our own identity and character. Out of what is true about us in this situation. The situation doesn’t dictate to us who we will be or how we will live. We bring ourselves forth to meet the moment every moment, no matter what the moment presents to us. That is our challenge in every moment all our life long. Nothing changes who we are or how we bring ourselves to bear upon the time and place of our living.
11/17/2016 — Around Bass Lake 2016 18 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 Our situation too much dictates who we are in that situation. We are to live so as to be who we are across all situations, so that who we are in one is who we are in all– responding in each situation as who we are in ways that situation needs us to be. The situation does not govern who we are, or make us into someone we are not– into someone we will be ashamed of being. The situation provides us with a framework in which we are pulled forth and challenged to be who we are in ways we will be proud of being. In order for that to be the case, we have to step into each situation centered and grounded in our identity, looking forward to seeing how the situation may grow us into who we also are capable of being, for the good of ourselves and the good of the whole.
11/17/2016 — Lake Haigler 36 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2016 Bringing the best we have to offer to bear on the situation as it arises– engaging the situation with the truest expression of who we are– brings authenticity and integrity to life there, and stirs to life the hope of the world. We will wonder why we waited so long.
11/18/2016 — Lake Haigler 2016 18 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2016 Sit with whatever is happening until you can see it for what it is. Seeing things as they are moves us from the center of consideration, and keeps us from seeing things solely in terms of their impact on our life. Things do impact our life, and we will have to make adjustments and alterations, and that will be facilitated by our ability to see things as they are and make an accurate determination about the best response we can make in terms of what needs to happen in response for the good of the whole after taking everything into account. Dismissing/ignoring the good of the whole skews everything in favor of our good alone, disrupts the flow, creates discordance in the ought-to-be-ness of things, produces resistance, and yields really bad karma all because we took the path of refusing to respond appropriately to the occasion.
11/18/2016 — November Orchard 2016 10 — Springs Farms, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, SC, November 17, 2016 How can there be such dramatic disagreement among us as to what is Good and what is Evil? How can some of us– more than a small minority– think that white supremacy is the greatest good? That racism, sexism, misogyny, xenophobia and religious discrimination are not only acceptable, but are to be applauded and embraced? How can Good be perceived as Evil, and Evil as Good? And how can we talk to one another without common agreements about the basis of life together?
11/19/2016 — Lake Haigler 2016 24 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2016 If I were going to establish a totalitarian regime in the U.S., I would act quickly upon assuming the office of President. I would shut down the internet and the so-called “free press,” which hasn’t been free in how long? (Are there any independent news publications left?) And institute emergency measures– which would amount to a police state– to “keep America safe.” I would dispatch my enemies through a series of well-placed poisonings (the Russian way) and assassinations. And just like that, my way would then be The Way. Of course, to justify the whole show, I would have to stage an attack or two in cities harboring the highest number of anti-me fiends, but that would be easily done, and everything would then be in place for ID-ing everyone, and putting checkpoints and border guards in all states. The talk about the wall would have been my little joke concealing what I really had in mind. Everyone would be amazed at how easily it all came about. You would be a fool to vote for someone like me for President.
11/19/2016 — November Orchard 2016 05 — Springs Farms, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 17, 2016 It is the role of consciousness to be conscious. When consciousness refuses its role— because it is too painful and asks too much of us— escaping into diversion, distraction, and denial, that of which we are not conscious directs our life and we call it fate, or bad luck.
11/19/2016 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 15 Panorama — Spanning 12-mile Creek and the state line — This suspension bridge connects Lancaster County, South Carolina and Union County, North Carolina, November 19, 2016 See what you look at. Look at everything.
11/20/2016 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 02 — Waxhaw, North Carolina, Union County, November 18, 2016 The Huns, Vandals and Goths have sacked Washington from the inside: How the South finally won the Civil War. Once Donald fills the empty federal judgeships, the take-over will be complete. The liberals will remonstrate, castigate, moan and bewail to no avail. Liberals are good at protesting and bad at voting, and by the time elections roll around in four years, voting rights will have been restricted and erased, radically reducing their chances at anything more than mere tokenism in all races nationwide. And there goes the 200+ year experiment with democracy– lost through a pronounced lack of passion for its continuation. If you can take it for granted, it’s already gone. And, just like that, the white supremacists, racists, bigots and evangelical Christians, k.a the Huns, Vandals and Goths, win the day. But winning the day and governing the country are to different horses. The Ignorant Ruling Class (and ignorance has nothing to do with intelligence or education, but everything to do with insight, awareness, perception and perspective) has to be more than crafty and guileful. We’ll see how their take-over plays out over time.
11/20/2016 — Lake Crandal 2016 08 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 7, 2016 If anyone is to be registered, it is gun owners– not Muslims. Why is that so difficult for some to see? How can Republicans be slick, sly and crafty, but not perceptive, astute and aware? And there is still no evidence in support of the contention that a person can be Republican and compassionate. Evidence consists of eye-witness accounts of those who are not Republican.
11/20/2016 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 25 — Union County, North Carolina, November 20, 2016 The ground rock of democracy is the promise of “life, liberty and the pursuit of what it takes to make your little heart sing.” All citizens in a democracy are free to find and live their own lives in ways that do not interfere others finding and living their own lives. Your religious beliefs have to do with you and your life, not me and mine. Your religious beliefs cannot be imposed on me as restrictions on my life. You have to respect my right to be different from what your religion allows you to be. The constitution trumps religion when it comes to what rights I am allowed. We cannot restrict Muslims from living free of the imposition of Christianity upon them. Christianity is not the religion of state. There is no religion of state. Politicians are sworn to uphold the constitution, not to champion anyone’s version of the Christian religion. Banning the expression of Islam by its adherents is a disgrace and is disallowed in a democracy. Christians don’t get to thump their chests and have their way. They have to honor ways that make others’ little hearts sing.
11/21/2016 — Around Price Lake 2016 07 — Grandfather Mountain, Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 Somebody’s good is somebody else’s bad. Someone’s right is someone else’s wrong. Good and bad (evil), right and wrong, are not absolutes. God is a monster. So is Mother Nature. So is life itself. So are you. So am I. So let’s be done with the illusion of Moral Perfection, and live alive to the moment and what it needs of us in terms of being in full accord with what is called for there, then. There is no ideology! No recipe! No formula! For right living! What is right here and now, may well be wrong then and there. Everything is preparation for the next thing, or the thing after that– for what is coming, for what will be, for what is being born even now as we act here with something else entirely in mind. Donald Trump was produced by the Civil Rights Movement. The seeds of tomorrow’s wrong are planted in today’s right. And vice-versa. It is the way of things, and cannot be avoided, but must be recognized, made conscious, lived mindfully, by those who know their role is to offer themselves to the service of what is called for in light of all things considered in each situation as it arises– to decide for themselves what is right, and what justice and compassion demand, here and now in the time and place of their living, and do that thing with all their heart, and mind, and soul, and strength, realizing that they may be doing something entirely different in the next situation that comes up in response to this one.
11/21/2016 — Grandfather Mountain 12/13 Panorama — Grandfather Mountain State Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Banner Elk, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 Everything that happens is preparation for what’s coming, and needs to be understood as such– reflected upon, explored, probed, mined for the gold, and understood as a gift from the gods to be used in preparing the way through the wilderness that lies ahead. It’s all a test of our ability to be present with what is present with us in seeing, hearing and understanding what is happening and what needs to happen in response in order to know what to do in being who we are in each situation that arises, that we might shine there as lights in the darkness and encouragement to one another along the way.
11/22/2016 — Lake Haigler 2016 08 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 11, 2016 Trump has awakened a Great Evil, given it validity and handed it the powers of the Presidency. Racism, Bigotry, Hatred and Fear (The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse) now have permission from on high to destroy the pillars of Democracy and replace them with the laws of the jungle. The Rule of Law is now officially over– none of the laws in place to protect the people and the environment will remain in place or be honored– except as it pleases those in power. Separation of Powers has been laughed out of town, with Republicans in firm control of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. Separation of Church and State has been supplanted by the Religious Right’s version of Evangelical Christianity forming the core of Republican ideology. The takeover is complete. Implementation is underway. We all have awakened to a new world. The way we thought things were, and assumed things to be, is no longer how things are. The earth has dropped away, and we are in free fall as a nation, as a world. We regain our footing, our foundation, by developing an inner life and becoming reflective, introspective, mindful and aware. Mindfulness leads the way (Jon Kabat-Zinn’s You Tube videos). We have to see what we look at and look at everything. We have to sit quietly and take stock every day. What remains in place remains in place within. Our heart/soul/self is untouched by context and circumstance. Our deepest/highest values may be invalidated without, but they are forever sacrosanct within. Our work is to recover our grounding foundation and center, and to live in light of what we know to be good and true– incarnating it in the way we go about our business in each situation as it arises throughout the dark days that lie ahead.
11/22/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 51/52/53 Panorama — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 4, 2015 We can be who we are in any situation, through all circumstances. We can face any event “in character,” respond to any condition of life exactly as we would do it. Nothing can happen to us that could rob us of our ability to live “out of ourselves” in responding to it. That being the case, you might think that we would practice the art of putting ourselves in accord with ourselves, grounding ourselves in our essential identity, and being true to ourselves in all times and places. It would certainly be time well spent.
11/22/2016 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 40 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 13, 2016 I wish there were a law applicable to all people worldwide: The Individual’s Right To Self-Determination Shall Not Be Infringed. And that the world would assist us from birth in assuming the responsibility and growing into who we are, have been, and will be, all our life long. If I ever get three wishes, that’s going to be the first.
11/23/2016 — Goodale 2016 10/11 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 7, 2016 We are swept along by events and circumstances well beyond our control. The forces shaping our life come out of nowhere to startle and dismay, surprise and delight, as we scurry around putting things in some semblance of order and predictability until the next wild wind blows up from the Void. We live with a mess or between messes. You would think we would be more comfortable with our role by now, with less in the way of shock and consternation at having to get up again and re-order our life.
11/23/2016 — Congaree 2016 05 — Congaree National Park, Hopkins, South Carolina, November 7, 2016 In order to be who you are– in season and out of season, when it is convenient and when it is inconvenient, in each situation as it arises all your life long– you have to be your own sounding board. You have to hear what you are saying to yourself in all times and places. What are your dreams saying to you about you? Your slips of the tongue? The way you spend your money? The way you spend your time? What you like and don’t like? What you do and refuse to do? What you must do and what you can’t make yourself do? What are you saying to yourself about who you are throughout your day, each day? You have to begin listening to yourself talking to you about you. Taking up the practice of mindful awareness won’t hurt a bit, on any level.
11/23/2016 — Super Moonshine 2016 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 13, 2016 Do your work. Tend your business. It will carry you into perceiving the all-ness of the situation as it unfolds before you, and responding to it with your particular gifts and proclivities in protesting what must be protested, affirming what cries out to be affirmed, and standing with those who are vulnerable, marginalized, at risk and without enough advocates and friends. Doing our work means working to enable all people to do their work free of fear, oppression, humiliation, violence and intolerance– “one nation under God with liberty and justice for all.”
11/24/2016 — Footbridge to Rough Ridge 2016 02 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 The first thing is this: We have to know who we are and be right about it. This is the foundation. The second thing is not far behind: We have to know what our work is– what our business is– and be right about it. The third thing follows naturally from the first two: We have to do our work, tend to our business– through all times and places, situations and circumstances, contexts and conditions. Everything else takes shape around these three things. Integrity is knowing who we are and being right about it– and living in ways that are aligned with, incarnate and express, the ground and center of our being. This is the foundation upon which we stand, unmoved and unmoving,
11/25/2016 — Lake Haigler 2016 16/17 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 10, 2016 If people could grow up on command (“Grow up!” “Act your age!” “Get over it!” “Stop being such a baby!”) what a difference it would make. Growing up is not a “once and done” experience. There is no static state of being “grown up.” We are always “in process,” growing up all our life long 94-year-olds have as much growing up to do as they had when they were 34, or 64. The farther we go, the more things spread out before us and the work expands exponentially, with both the rate of change required, and the amount of change required, increasing as we age. Simply sitting with, and being aware of the implications, of that fact alone will require us to grow up. Life is no place for slackers and lay-a-bouts.
11/25/2016 — Around Price Lake 2016 22 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 It is all useless, pointless, hopeless, futile, absurd and coming to a very bad end– and how we live in the meantime makes all the difference. How we live in the meantime is the only thing that matters. It is what we do with sadness, sorrow, suffering, despondency, gloom and depression that transforms everything. Call it willful caring, compassionate, transcendence. We look the drooling Cyclops in his ugly red eye and say “Out of my way Pretty Boy–you are nothing to me!” We will ourselves to the expression, exhibition, incarnation of caring and compassion, transcending the facts of every situation, to live there as outlets of goodness and grace, anyway, never the less, even so. And the world is blessed by the way we choose to live in it. That’s doing it like it needs to be done.
11/25/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 50 Panorama — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 4, 2015 The power of the psyche is the power to be and to do– to be who we are and to do the things that express/incarnate who we are within any situation, context, circumstance, condition of life. We collaborate with the psyche’s coming forth in our life by becoming conscious of who we are and what is ours to do, which is often not at all who we want to be or what we wish we could be doing. This is the theme of the Garden of Eden being worked out in the day-to-day experience of our life– and the Garden of Gethsemane. Eden and Gethsemane are the same garden with different outcomes. Gethsemane is how Eden should have played out, in the old “Thy will not mine be done” kind of way. We are always in one garden or the other, standing before the questions “Who are we?” “What is ours to do?” in each time and place of our living. How we answer them each time, each place, tells the tale.
11/26/2016 — Boone Fork 2016 03 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 Consciously care about what you care about. Know what you care about and serve it with your life, allowing what you care about to lead you to other things to care about. This is what Joseph Campbell meant with “Follow your bliss!” Our life is grounded in and flows from what we care about, from where our passion lies. Life IS passion for life, living, being alive. Passion IS life, living, being alive. When we allow our life to separate us from our passion for life, life destroys life. Our old life destroys our new life by refusing to allow us to live out of our passion for life– because it isn’t proper, it doesn’t fit, it won’t do. Our new life of passion for what we care about is a threat to our old life of following directions doing what we are told, refusing to think for ourselves and staying inside the lines. Our new life of passion for what we care about destroys our old life of keeping up appearances. We choose between lives. Which one will we live?
11/26/2016 — Lake Haigler 2016 49 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2016 Neither awareness nor ignorance has anything to do with intelligence or education. They have everything to do with perception– what we see or think about and perspective– how we see or think about. How we see what we see and how we think about what we think about determines what we do in response to what is seen and thought. Everything depends on the degree of our awareness and the degree of our ignorance. We will be ignorant of everything of which we are not aware. Ignorance, not awareness, elected Donald Trump. Ignorance always puts us in a hole that only awareness can lead us out of. The practice of mindful awareness is as simple as sitting quietly and being aware of what we are aware. And it is the long-term cure for what ails us, individually and collectively. So, sit quietly. Be aware.
11/27/2016 — November Orchard 2016 08 — Springs Farms, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2016 We don’t know what we do not know, but we do not know that we do not know it, and proceed as though we know of which we speak regarding everything. The antecedents of Christianity, and of Judaism, are traceable to Mesopotamia and distant lands beyond ca. 3,500 BCE— but, it is as though everything Jews and Christians believe was dictated to those who wrote the Bible straight from the mind and mouth of God. Christians are certain that Jesus’ reported virgin birth was the only reported virgin birth ever— and certainly the most factual of those that may have ever been believed. They don’t know what they don’t know, and simply assume that what they think they know is as valid as anything they do know. We don’t think to get beyond what we think are facts to the facts that are facts. Confusing how we think things are with how things actually are is one of the things we do best, and most frequently. We walk about in such non-existent worlds that it is amazing we can find our way around at all in this world of normal, apparent, reality.
11/28/2016 — Goodale 2016 05 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 7, 2016 To will and to do, to do and to be— willing, doing and being are one thing. The three are one, flowing from an orientation to express, exhibit, incarnate t he best we have to offer in each situation as it arises for the good of the situation as a whole. We will to do and to be who we are here and now, then and there for the good of all. We will the good, do the good, are the good, that we seek to incarnate, to find, to share and enjoy. Without living intentionally with this purpose of willing, doing and being in mind, we respond reactively, out of the mood-of-the-moment, to whatever comes our way. Will to do and to be what is needed. It is the cure for a multitude of ills.
11/28/2016 — Lake Francis 2016 01 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 8, 2016 A large number of people advise looking at the bright sunshine and away from the dark shadows behind you. I say look at everything. See your life as it is, and what is possible, and which possibilities are necessary and essential, and give yourself to the achievement of those things. See what is actual, and what needs to be done about it, and do it. Forget flighty philosophies and airy advice, and get up and do your thing in places it can have a positive impact for the good of the whole situation (Not just for your good, or the good of people like you) in every situation. Your entire life long.
11/27/2016 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 09 — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 13, 2016 Oswald Spengler (in “The Decline of the West”) said, “What IS is something that HAS BECOME.” Spengler is right in that we ARE more than we have ever been, and not yet what we will be. And Carl Jung is right when he said, “Who we are is who we always have been, and who we will be.” The White Oak Tree is what every White Oak Tree is, and what only that specific White Oak Tree can be–and will become. There is stability and there is freedom of movement. We can change without losing our essential identity. We can be different and still be true to ourselves. The idea that we have to be rigid, static, immobile and inflexible or we are betraying ourselves and disobeying God is one of the thoughts that no one has any business thinking. Life is dynamic. We shift and sway, dance, fly, flip, dive and soar. It’s called being alive. Live to see how different you can be in the time left for living!
11/29/2016 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 03 — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 13, 2016 Oswald Spengler said, “Soul (Psyche, the Unconscious) is possibility. The world is actuality. And life is the process by which what is possible is actualized.” Or, words to that effect. Our work is to incarnate Soul– to express, exhibit, make real the Unconscious potential that seeks to be actualized in the time and place, context and circumstances, of the life we are living. The incarnation/expression of Soul is not a mass production event. It is the imperceptible work of each individual over the course of her, of his, entire life. We do that work by consciously, conscientiously, bringing ourselves forth to meet our life in each situation as it arises– refusing to shy away, or hold back, from doing what needs us to do it with the gifts that are ours to offer in each here-and-now that unfolds before us. Ready-Set-GO! Here/Now!
11/30/2016 — Boone Fork 06 Panorama — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 The people you mingle with and walk, or drive, past everyday have their own agendas, their own aims and their own means of achieving them. They have their own ways of spending their money and their time. They are preoccupied with their own concerns. They have their business– and their life– and you have yours. We share this world, but we live in different worlds. You couldn’t go home with them any easier than they could go home with you. We all need a place to go where it is just us and our kind– like-minded people with whom we are safe to be ourselves. We all need people in our life who are happy to help us live our life without meddling in it– a Community of Innocence with nothing at stake in us beyond being glad to see us and willing to listen to us to the point of enabling us to say what we need to hear. We are all self-regulating and internally guided, with goals unique to us. We need only a small group of people with no interest in us beyond assisting us in knowing what we know and reflecting on what to do about it. Who are the people who listen you to knowing and reflection? Spend time with those people.
11/30/2016 — Grandfather Mountain 2016 04 — Grandfather Mountain State Park, Blue Ridge Park, Banner Elk, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 The old adage, “Reason can’t uproot what reason didn’t plant,” means we cannot talk to hatred in ways that transform it into grace and compassion, but. We can certainly denounce it to its face and call it out when it shows itself. We can put hatred in its place and give it no reason to think it is justified, validated, excused and encouraged. Hatred and bigotry cannot be encouraged! And silence is encouraging! We cannot be “nice” when hatred is stirring– and we must not be quiet! Justin Normand carrying his sign at the Texas Mosque is the symbol a right response to despicable wrong. Here’s the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/texas-man-sign-muslims_us_583edc1ae4b04fcaa4d5d6eb and may his tribe increase exponentially!
12/01/2016 — Around Price Lake 2016 11 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 “Yes, but…” is the polite equivalent of “NO!” “Nothing but…” reduces the point that was just made to the infinitesimal insignificant and dismisses it as utterly unworthy of consideration. The next time someone says, “Yes, but…” to you, smile sweetly and say, “That’s nothing but NO!,” sweetie. The next time someone says, “That’s nothing but…” to you, smile sweetly and say, “Yes, but…” sweetie. After trading a few “Yes, but’s” and “Nothing but’s,” we will have found someone we cannot talk to, and are free to excuse ourselves permanently from any future conversation, and go in search of someone we can talk to, feeling incredibly unburdened and free.
12/01/2016 — Around Bass Lake 2016 14 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016 Poets cannot talk to accountants, and need accountants to help them with financial realities they cannot conceive. Accountants cannot talk to poets, and need poets to envision a truth they cannot imagine. We have to know our limits, and how we need one another to deepen and expand us, and to help us with affairs we cannot manage on our own. Poets cannot damn accountants to hell because they aren’t poets. Accountants cannot damn poets to hell because they aren’t accountants. Each of us needs the rest of us to be who we cannot be and to show us a deeper, truer, truth than we could ever envision on our own. The poet is eyes, ears and understanding to the accountant, and the accountant is the same to the poet. Putting ourselves in accord with this truth about truth will help us put ourselves in accord with our life, which is the work of poets, accountants, and everyone else worldwide.
12/01/2016 — South Carolina Bison 2016 02 B&W — Kershaw County, South Carolina, November 7, 2016 Creative life energy feeds and flows from the freedom of aim and purpose. Without aim and purpose and the freedom to realize them, we sit looking at the wall until we die. Native Americans sentenced to a reservation. Elephants chained to a post. Dogs in a cage. Your Aunt Susan in a nursing home. POW’s kept themselves vitally alive by planning their escape and digging tunnels. Without aim, purpose and freedom we are dead, or may as well be. To be alive, we have to intend something and serve it with our life. We have to will and to do in order to be. What are your aims and purposes? What is keeping you from being free to serve them with your life? What can you do to gain your freedom? To help others gain theirs?
12/02/2016 — Fall Leaves 2016 04 — Indian Land, South Carolina, October 20, 2016 Maintaining our focus, living from the center of our integrity, remaining grounded on our foundation, secure in who we are and what we are about, requires regular retreats into stillness and silence in order to enhance mindful awareness, reconnect with the allness of time and place, and put ourselves in accord with reality on all levels. Stillness and silence enable fitting responses to events and circumstances in the field of action.
12/02/2016 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 05 — Union County, North Carolina, November 18, 2016 Jesus wasn’t a Christian. But he was widely recognized as the Christ. If you’re going to be something, don’t settle for being a Christian. Be the Christ as only you can be. We become the Christ when we get out of the way with our ideas of how things ought to be (That was Adam’s mistake, and Eve’s, remember), and live in accord with the Self at the center of ourselves, who knows what’s what and what to do about it, who is the “Thy” in “Thy will, not mine, be done.” Jesus called the Self “the Father,” and said, “The Father and I are one.” That’s the spirit! When we live at one with the Father/Self at the heart of who we are, we are the Christ and can trust ourselves to do what we know to do in each situation as it arises like Jesus did, healing on the Sabbath and associating with those society considered to be Unclean. The church tries to steer us away from this kind of radical living with its ideology, doctrines, theology, and long list of behaviors approved and unapproved, but the Father/Self within knows what’s what and what to do about it, and that’s who we better throw in with and follow because integrity is everything when it comes to being the Christ, and we don’t want any outside authorities interfering with the signals and getting us off the path.
12/02/2016 — November Orchard 2016 02 — Springs Farms, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, November 17, 2016 Jeremy Taylor said “Dreams are the magical mirror of folklore, reflecting clearly who we are and how things are in our life.” Or words to that effect. Dreams come to us that we might see, hear, understand, know, acknowledge, act in appropriate response, and become who we are needed to be. When we refuse to receive our dreams well, we are rejecting a “dear and glorious communion” with Psyche regarding our life and how we are to live it, and have only ourselves to thank when things aren’t what they could be there. If we don’t remember our dreams, or think that we don’t dream, we might take stock and examine the possibility that we don’t trust ourselves, don’t believe in ourselves, don’t have faith in ourselves, and cannot imagine an inner authority that knows what it is doing residing in US of all people. Could it be that we need to revisit and revise long-held convictions regarding our worthiness, and begin treating ourselves with respect and kindness hitherto unknown? That’s the first time I have ever used “hitherto” in a sentence. I would bet, if I still did that kind of thing, $20 that that’s one more time than you have ever used it.
12/03/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 2015 64 — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 4, 2015 It helps to be aware of the flow of our life, and to know when we are in the flow and out of it, and to do the work of finding and maintaining our place in the flow. Everything has flow, even agitation, disruption and heaving chaos. Our place is to be aware of it and participate in it in ways that serve our balance, harmony, peace, sanity, and ability to respond to the conditions and circumstances of our life in ways that are appropriate to the occasion in each situation as it arises. We start by noticing the flow of our day and its impact on us, and what we do to enhance flow, and what we do to disturb or interrupt the flow. For instance, getting dressed has it’s flow. Things go more smoothly when we put our pants on before we put on our shoes. We can do shoes first but that’s asking for trouble. How often do we ask for trouble throughout our day? How often do we cooperate with the requirements of flow? Mindful awareness is a flow-enhancing practice. We live better just by being aware of how we are living.
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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