One Minute Monologues 043

April 7, 2018 — June 20, 2018

  1. 04/07/2018 — Language builds and tears down,
    heals and makes well,
    attacks and destroys,
    opens up and closes down,
    expands and restricts,
    creates and eradicates creation,
    is bold and confident,
    terrified and insecure,
    gives birth and lays waste…
    there is nothing language cannot do.
    The more something is said
    the more acceptable it becomes,
    the more invisible,
    it is.

    How long were the Jews despised and denounced
    before the gas chambers were constructed
    and the ovens fired up?
    How long does it take
    to instill hatred and fear?
    Who are made to be evil, hated and feared?
    people of color,
    the old,
    the lame,
    the sick,
    the blind,
    the poor,
    all the ones
    who are not like WE are
    and the WE always know who the WE are—
    and the WE always uses language
    to their advantage.

    Who is setting themselves up
    at the expense of whom today?
    Who is the WE and who is the THEM today?
    Who is saying and who is being said about today?
    Who are you being asked to fear and hate today?
    Mindfulness leads the way.
    Wake up to how language is being used
    to create an environment
    in which atrocity can happen unnoticed/unseen/unknown—
    and speak the truth to lie.

    Call out the liars,
    and fiends.
    Use language to expose and reveal,
    not to misdirect,
    and destroy.

04/07/2018 — The right kind of silence
lends itself
to the right kind of living.
Who is to say
what is right
and what is wrong
on any level?
How do they know
when they are
right about what is right
and about what is wrong?
And when they are
wrong about it?
When Jesus reminded
his listeners of the saying
they all knew to be so,
“Wisdom is known by her children”
(And sometimes it is her grandchildren,
and great grand children),
He was saying,
“Time will tell.”
He was saying,
“The truth will be borne out in time.”
“The truth will stand out eventually.”
In the meantime,
we listen to our heart,
live attuned to what
resonates with us,
do all we can imagine
to foster
the right kind of silence,
go there often,
and take our chances.

04/07/2018 — Good faith is the bedrock
of all things human.
Bad faith is the bedrock
of all things inhuman.
Rumi said it well:
“If you are not here with us
in good faith,
you are doing terrible damage.”
The implications are clear.
Everything depends
upon each of us
living in good faith
with ourselves
and one another.
Beginning now,
and lasting forever.

04/07/2018 — I can’t tell you anything
you aren’t ready to hear,
and vice versa.
We waste a lot of time and effort
repeating ourselves,
raising our voices,
making threats,
And, if I say something
that strikes a cord with you,
resonates with you,
and results in
resounding agreement,
it has nothing to do with me.
It was there already in you
looking for an environmental nudge
to pop open your eyes
and dance you around the room.
The saying and the said
get too much the credit and the blame.
The heart of the matter
is the relationship we have
with our own heart,
and how attentive we are
to its needs and preferences.
Once we tune into our hearts,
we start hearing and seeing
like wild men and women
come to town.
We can’t get enough
of the things
that have been trying to get our attention
all our life long.
Oh, if we could only speed up
the time of our awakening
to our heart’s hunger
for our eager collaboration
in living the life that
remains to be lived!

  1. 04/08/2018— Dogwood 2018 01 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, April 6, 2018 I understand “Namaste” to be the bow,
    and when I bow to you,
    I am saying
    “The otherness in me
    honors the otherness in you.”
    When that respect is mutual,
    we live together
    in ways that allow
    the otherness of the other
    to dance,
    and laugh together,
    and rejoice in the wonder of being
    as one in our separateness,
    in our different-ness.
    Duality is the ultimate reality.
    “We are one,
    but we are not the same one.”
    Mindfulness holds the duality
    at the heart of mindfulness
    in awareness,
    and knowingly walks two paths
    at the same time.
    The Dali Lama’s bodyguards
    carry automatic weapons,
    and the Dali Lama lives
    under the protection
    of Pakistan’s army and nuclear arsenal.
    Compassion is ready to kill you
    if you threaten to kill compassion.
    The slippery slope,
    the razor’s edge,
    the dangerous path
    is the edge of the coin
    between the Me
    and the Also Me.
    We walk two paths at the same time
    by being constantly aware
    of the other path
    while traversing this path
    across the slippery slope—
    and are thus capable of being
    whomever we need to be
    in each situation as it arises.
    Life is an optical illusion.
    Two are one,
    and one is two,
    depending upon our perspective
    in any moment.
    Look, and you see one.
    Look again, and you see two.
    Which is it really?
    It depends upon how you look.
    Rumi said, “The darkness is the cradle of the light.”
    The darkness is the Mother of the light—
    the source, the origin, of the light. The darkness is not the light.
    From a distance,
    the earth appears to be one whole planet.
    The closer you get,
    the more the details become apparent,
    and the more it is clear that wholeness
    is not the whole story.
    The lion is not the antelope,
    except as the antelope becomes the lion
    by being digested—
    and the antelope is not likely
    to be happy with that representation.
    Oneness is multiplicity
    embracing its otherness
    and honoring the otherness
    of all the others
    at one in the joyful dance
    of the wonder at being a part
    of the ebb and flow of being.

04/08/2018 — It is popular, or was, to say
“God is not a Democrat or a Republican,”
That begs the question:
“Would God vote?”
If not, what is God doing in the conversation?
A god not involved in politics
is irrelevant to politics,
and has no place in politics
through God’s own choice to be distant/detached.
If so, whom would God vote for?
The people who vote
would say that God would vote for whom they vote for,
but that isn’t good enough.
They have to be sure whom God would vote for.
What makes them think so?
What makes them think that the way they think
is the way to think?
What are the full implications
for thinking the way they think?
Who is going to be harmed by the way they think?
Who is going to be helped?
Spell it out in complete detail!
How good is the good they call good?
Whom is it good for?
Whom is it bad for?
God wants to know we know
what we are talking about,
and not just spewing out words
that sound acceptable
to the people we want
to accept us.
We can’t be kidding ourselves
about what God wants and does not want.
Nothing but the big, fat, juicy truth will do.

04/08/2018 — We are responsible for directing our life energy
toward the things that are meaningful for us.
In the service of what shall we live?
Only we can know the answer to that question.
We know what is meaningful and what is not.
Our life has to take shape around that.

04/08/2018 — The mindfulness gurus have backgrounds in
Buddhism and Zen,
and will say often
that mindfulness is about
awareness, compassion and acceptance.
“Acceptance” doesn’t mean
what you might think.
It is not “being in accord with,”
“in agreement with,”
“agreeable to,”
like we might “grow to accept”
a new brother-in-law.
“Acceptance” in the mindfulness parlance
means simply “let be what is now”—
with “and do what needs to be done about it”
unstated but implied and assumed.
Mindfulness “accepts the moment”
as it is
and “holds it in awareness”
until “what to do about it,”
or “how to respond to it,”
becomes also present in awareness.
When we are able to “let the moment
be what it is,”
without reacting to it,
evaluating it,
or having an opinion about it,
we can “let what needs to be done in response,”
also “arise in awareness.”
Holding that in our awareness,
different possibilities may occur to us,
and we can allow the one most appropriate
to the occasion
direct our action,
much like the moment produces the action
fitting to the moment
in judo or tae kwon do,
where we do not “think, plan and decide,”
so much as “see and do.”
“Acceptance” is not “compliance,”
but “recognition of the facts of the situation”
so that response to it
can be free of emotional reactivity
(And the story of the samurai warrior
refusing to kill his opponent
because he spit in the warrior’s
face and incited him to anger
comes to mind).

  1. 04/09/2018 — Rock Garden 16 Panorama — Big Rock Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, Charlotte, North Carolina, April 2, 2018 The past is the best predictor of the future.
    If you want to know who someone will be
    look at who they have been.
    If you want to know what someone will do,
    look at what they have done.
    If you want to know what will be meaningful for you,
    look at what has been meaningful.
    If you want to know what to do with your life
    that will bring you joy,
    look at the things that have brought you joy up to now.
    People aspire to things
    they have no affinity for.
    People wish they were
    who they are incapable of being.
    Do not be persuaded by talk
    that is too much different from actions.
    When they tell you what they will do,
    ask them what they have done—
    and then ask those who have known them over time.
    The old saw says,
    “If you want to know who someone is,
    look at their parents,
    and their children.”
    We cannot change who we are
    without changing the way we live.
    Changing the way we live
    is the quickest way to change who we are.
    If you want to be different,
    you have to be different from the ground up.
    Carl Jung said,
    “Who we are is who we have been,
    and who we will be.”
    How different can we be?
    How mindfully aware of who we are can we be?
    How mindfully aware of who we are being can we be
    over the rest of time?

04/09/2018 — When the mindfulness gurus
talk about acceptance,
they mean the simple recognition
of the fact that something is
in a “This is the way things are here and now,
and this is what that means for you personally,
and this is what you can do about it
with your particular configuration
of proclivities, interests, gifts, genius, art, abilities, etc.—
apart from how you might feel about any of it.”
Mindfulness allows us to observe our life
the way a scientist might observe our life,
the way an emergency room physician
might observe our symptoms/injuries—
quite apart from emotional involvement
in the form of reactions,
and opinion.
Seeing things as they are
positions to do what can be done about it—
to do what needs to be done about it—
without the drama
that gets in the way,
and obscures the way,
and makes things more difficult
than they would otherwise be.

04/09/2018 — We can get so caught up
in the moment
that we lose sight of
the momentary nature
of the moment,
and treat it as though
it is the end of the world.
Somebody spills the milk.
Somebody goes too slowly
when the red light changes to green.
Somebody top off the toothpaste…
It doesn’t take much sometimes
for a day to go quickly to hell.
Mindfulness inserts itself as a buffer
between stimulus and response.
Will it be a flash of anger
or easy does it?
Only the mindfully aware
recognize these two options
and all the ones in between.
Practice seeing
with no opinion
about what is seen
until it becomes second-nature,
and then keep practicing
until you are practicing
without thinking about practicing.

04/09/2018 — The three most powerful words
in any language are
“I don’t know.”
Knowing that we don’t know
puts in the position
of wondering about what we don’t know,
reflecting on what we don’t know,
seeking to reduce the scope of what we don’t know,
and knowing more than we once knew.
Knowing that we don’t know
leads to asking questions
that lead to better questions
that result in discovering more things
that we don’t know.
Following questions
to see where they go
is the way of life
in every age.
Sitting at home
content with what
someone told us were answers
is death awaiting
official designation.

  1. 04/10/2018 — Dogwood 2018 05 Panorama — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, April 6, 2018 Spending money to do what is ours to do
    is money well-spent.
    Spending money to compensate for
    not knowing what is ours to do
    is the way money is generally spent.
    When our life unfolds around
    what is ours to do,
    it is a life well-lived.
    When our life has no relation
    to what is ours to do
    it is a life without direction or meaning.
    Life comes with knacks and proclivities attached.
    With interests and aptitudes included.
    We ignore them to our shame and lasting regret.

04/10/2018 — Everybody has access
to the same information.
What they choose to do about it
tells the tale.

We of this present generation,

stand as one

with those who have been

victimized by their rulers

and protectors through the ages

who chose to position and enrich

themselves at the expense

of their charges,

the people—

feigning sorrow,

blaming shadows,

promising prosperity tomorrow,

or perhaps the day after,

while laughing at the culpability

of the conned

and applauding the astute brilliance

of the conning—

never-minding that in the long run

we are all equally dead.

Their comfort and joy for the short-term

was all that mattered.

Being wrong about what is important

is the only sin,

and the absence of an accounting

requires the creation of heaven and hell

to balance the equation,

even things out,

and restore justice at last.

I would settle for a scenario

in which we have to face ourselves

at last,

and live with the knowledge

of what we did

and failed to do

with the time that was ours

through the unending darkness

of the sleepless night.


  1. 04/11/2018 — Flame Azalea 2018 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, April 7, 2018 We all got here, now
    by a curious route.
    Those of us who followed the rules
    and played it safe
    lost a lot in the bargain
    in terms of roads not taken
    and luck not trusted.
    And those of us who took our chances
    lost a lot in the bargain
    in terms of harsh lessons learned
    and hard trade-offs made.
    We all have our regrets
    and our sorrows,
    yet, here we are,
    replete with scars,
    and limps,
    and stories never told,
    with another day before us
    and choices still to be made.
    Knowing what we know,
    how mindful will we be
    in each moment we meet?
    I trust we have all learned
    to receive them well
    and treat them carefully,
    gifts inviting us
    to be who we are
    in service of the best
    we are capable of being—
    without trying to exploit anything
    to our advantage.
    Doing what needs us to do it
    with grace, compassion and gratitude
    for the work that is yet to be done
    and the opportunity to do it.
    Call it redemption, or celebration, or both,
    and hold nothing back
    in the time left for living.
    Do not die with gifts ungiven,
    with kindness unsown.

04/11/2018 — We settle out
according to our ability
to bear inevitable pain
and embrace legitimate suffering.
Our life is a developmental ritual
requiring these things of us.
We meet the next round
on the road we take to avoid it.
The trick is not to escape it,
but to get better at it.

04/11/2018 — The trick is not
to avoid, escape, deny
the grief, loss and sorrow
that constitute
legitimate suffering,
but to bear it well
throughout the days of our life.

04/11/2018 — Middle America is more of an extension of the South
than a meeting of East and West.
The Red States may not actually be
surrounded by the Blue,
but they feel like it.
They feel like the Blue States
are their enemy,
attacking their values,
threatening their way of life,
taking away their guns—
and their feelings and their fears
are constantly stoked and inflamed
by the rhetoric of Fox News
and AM America on the Right Wing talk shows of the land.
The Red States believe
they are being marginalized,
and discarded
by the liberal Socialists populating the Democrat Party.
And the GOP plays them like a War Drum,
with talk of secession
and Constitutional Conventions,
revolt and rebellion.
Middle America in the sense of
the mid point between extremes
has disappeared.
Polarity is all that remains.
How we— as a country—
deal with the reality
of the Disunited States of America,
and come together in ways
that honor the Constitution
and respect the human rights of all people,
immigrants included,
is the test we face together.
We take the first step
by realizing the differences
that separate us,
and sitting quietly,
holding the truth of those differences
in our awareness,
and noting the realizations that occur to us,
adding them to the contents of our awareness,
sitting with our breathing
and our awareness
for the time we have allotted
for the practice.
Then returning when we are able
to sit quietly
and repeat the exercise
once or twice a day,
for as long as it takes
for something to shift within us,
drawing us toward kindness and compassion,
and see where it goes,
as we continue the practice
of sitting quietly,
holding everything in our awareness,
and seeing where it goes.

  1. 04/12/2018 — Rock Garden 2018 10 Panorama — Big Rock Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, Charlotte, North Carolina, April 2, 2018 We have to change the way we deal with conflict.
    Which means that we have to teach ourselves
    how to deal differently with conflict.
    As it currently stands,
    there is My Way
    and there is Your Way—
    there is Our Way
    and there is Their Way—
    and settling conflict
    is a contest to see
    whose way is The Way.
    Getting Our Way
    is the Quest of the Species.
    We surrender Our Way
    at great cost
    and our eternal dismay.
    Or, we grow up
    and get over it. Growing up is for losers.
    The winners are always telling the losers
    to grow up and get over it.
    It is well past time for us
    to change the way we think
    about winning and losing.
    Which means changing the way we think
    about growing up.
    Grown ups do not win or lose.
    Grown ups settle regularly
    for less than they want
    and never press for more than they need,
    but they do not think of it as settling.
    They think of it as having enough
    to do what needs to be done
    in the service of what needs to happen
    in light of the true good of the whole.
    How far away from that are you?
    How amiable are you to growing up?
    Growing up is required of us all,
    and it cannot be forced on any of us.
    That is a problem all of us
    have to confront and solve
    for ourselves alone.
    On a scale of 10,
    with 1 being little and 10 being a lot,
    how grown up are you?
    Make it your focus to move up the scale
    by being aware of the scale
    in each moment every day.
    What is growing up asking of you here and now?
    Do not step into a moment
    without asking the question.

04/12/2018 — The essential conflict
is between an individual
and her, and his, times.
The times change in response
to individuals who will not
submit to the spirit of the times.
The price individuals pay
who are ahead of their times
is extracted by those
who like things as they are—
who think things must stay as they are—
and who will go to any lengths
to maintain things as they are,
or better,
as they used to be.

  1. 04/12/2018 — Partial Skyline 2018 06 — Charlotte, North Carolina, March 24, 2018 The foundational psychological law
    (And all psychological laws
    flow from and lead to
    all the others)
    is this:
    Become What You Need.
    Another way of stating this is:
    Become What You Seek.
    And another:
    Become What Attracts You.
    And another:
    Become What You Don’t Have Enough Of In Your Life. The idea is this:
    If you need/seek/are attracted to compassion,
    for instance,
    Become increasingly compassionate.
    In becoming what you find to be attractive,
    you become attractive.
    Don’t become attractive
    in order to be attractive.
    Become attractive
    in order to be what you find to be attractive.
    This is called being authentic/genuine,
    not exploitative.
    Compassion isn’t trying to get something
    by being compassionate.
    People can tell when they are being exploited.
    We sense something is not quite right
    when something is not quite right.
    Living in good faith
    and being transparent to ourselves
    are the two foundational psychological laws.

04/12/2018 — There is no consolation.
Nothing can make it up to us.
Our losses are losses.
It will never be what it might have been.
When something of value
is taken from us,
it cannot be replaced
by something else of equal value.
A future life with that which is lost
is lost forever.
We have to make our peace with that.
We have to bear the pain of that.
And we have to make our way
through all the days that follow
even so.
And, we will always walk with a limp.
and malice
create an atmosphere
of eternal destruction.
An eye for an eye for an eye for an eye…
ends only when there are no more I’s,
only the ruins of nuclear holocaust
as a silent testimony
to the refusal of humanity
to make its peace
with the absence of consolation.
“I’ll make you pay!”
“You will be sorry!”
“Damn you forever!”
are the words of those
who have lost something irreplaceable
and can think of nothing better
than making someone else suffer as they do—
and if everyone suffers,
it can’t be helped.
It can be helped.
We can bear the pain
of our grief, loss and sorrow
without passing it on.
The Dali Lama
and the people of Tibet
lost everything
without extracting compensation
or recompense
from anyone.
How could there ever be compensation?
The idea that there might be,
or should be,
is anathema.
You do not understand loss
if you think loss can be redressed or rectified.
Loss can be borne.
And must be—
in the service of the true good of all.
It is the price we pay
in serving the good.
“Virtue is only virtue in extremis.”
Realizing the place of darkness
is the source of light.

04/12/2018 — Mind,
we say these words
as though we have said something
when we say them,
but what?
What do they mean?
Where does one term stop
and another start?
We don’t know more
than we know,
and think it doesn’t matter
that we live as though
we know what we think we know.
Those who know,
know that it matters—
that everything turns
on our knowing that we don’t know
what we don’t know.
The difference between
knowing and not knowing
is a difference that makes a difference.
Big time.

04/12/2018 — My job in my life is three-fold:
I am to avoid distractions
and provide stability,
which are one thing.
Instability is very distracting.
I am to achieve and maintain
clarity, focus, and mindful awareness
in good faith and with self-transparency.
And, I am to secure and sustain
connection with the Psyche
which is the unconscious
(because I am not conscious of it)
foundation and source of life.
In collaborative partnership with the Psyche,
“I” (Quotation marks indicate the partial
nature of the conscious I) find and follow
the way that is my way
for me through the context and circumstances
of my life,
meeting what needs to be met
in each moment
the way only “I” can meet it,
doing what needs to be done in response
the way only “I” can do it—
with the gifts, genius, art, proclivities, abilities, interests, etc.
that are unique to “me,”
and bringing forth in my life
what can be expressed, exhibited, incarnated
of the Psyche
in the world of normal, apparent, reality.
My hunch is that your job is the same.
Understanding that we have the same job,
enables us to help one another
avoid distractions and provide stability,
secure and maintain connection with the Psyche,
and do what is uniquely ours to do
with the life that is ours to live.
That is as good as it gets
from my point of view.

  1. 04/13/2018 — Dogwood 2018 08 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, April 6, 2018 It helps to believe in what we’re doing.
    When we don’t believe in what we’re doing,
    it shows.
    Nothing has a thinner veneer
    than pretending to believe in something
    we don’t believe in.
    When our heart isn’t in it
    we are only fooling ourselves,
    and even then,
    we know something isn’t right somewhere.
    Integrity requires us to see
    who looks back at us in the mirror.
    When we don’t,
    symptoms arise
    in ourselves
    or those closest to us.
    If you have symptoms,
    or your spouse does,
    or your children do,
    check to see what you are doing
    that you don’t believe in.
    Check to see where your heart is,
    and isn’t,
    these days.
    Could be you need to find ways
    to get your heart back
    by doing things your heart
    loves to do.

04/13/2018 — Be quiet.
Pay attention to the moment.
To everything in the moment.
With no opinion about,
interest in,
evaluation of,
attachment to,
Hold it all in your awareness
just as the moment is holding all of it
in the moment.
Become one with the moment,
holding the moment,
holding you.
Maintain the practice
for as long as you have allotted.
Repeat the exercise
throughout each day.

04/13/2018 — I take a personal poll
from time to time
of people I’m talking with.
I ask them,
“Do the people you know
trust you to know what is good for you,
or, are they always
ignoring what you know is good for you,
and trying to get you to do
what they think is good for you?”
I’m amazed at the number of people
who cannot be trusted to know
what is good for them.

  1. 04/14/2018 — Foam Flower 2018 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, April 7, 2018 There are two kinds of religion,
    good and bad.
    Good religion doesn’t ask anyone
    about their religion,
    and doesn’t tell anyone about its own.
    And, that’s all I have to say about that.
    It would be against my religion
    to say more.

04/14/2018 — My plan is to live out my life
in the service of my gifts and interests.
If you have a better plan,
stick with it.

04/14/2018— We do not plant an acorn
and grow a zebra.
Cause and effect
are slippery concepts,
and mislead us
into thinking that there is
a regular,
linear order
to life
and the laws of nature.
and unpredictable
are also aspects
of our experience.
Things happen regularly
for no reason at all—
but not with a regularity
that can be predicted
or precipitated.
Pay attention.
Keep a record.
A list of impetuous things.

04/14/2018 — We all are figuring it out for ourselves.
We’ve been doing it all our life.
Even when people explained it to us,
and told us what to do when and how,
we had to figure out for ourselves
if they knew what they were talking about,
and decide for ourselves
if it worked or not.
Mostly, not,
in my experience.
I spent much of my life
unlearning what I had been taught.
Now, I say about everything,
“Maybe yes, and maybe no.”
“We’ll see.”
That’s the best I can do.
If you can do better, do.

04/14/2018 — If the people in Pompey
had known about volcanos
they may have spent less
time propitiating the mountain gods
and more time leaving town.
Fast forward to now.
If the people in the Trump administration
knew more about global warming
than they think they need to know
we all would be better off for it.
What we think we know
keeps us from knowing
what we need to know.
If you know someone
this might apply to,
tell them.

04/14/2018 — If I were more like I wish I were,
I would be better off
in a lot of ways.
Until then,
this will have to do.

04/14/2018 — All of the turns you have taken
at pivotal points in your life
to be here, now
were places where you acted
on the basis of something quite other than
reason, logic, and calculation.
I’m saying you did not think your way here, now.
In all of those moments
something mystical was going on.
You knew what needed to happen
beyond all explanation,
beyond all understanding.
You were gripped, seized,
by some will to act,
some urge to act—
and you felt yourself doing something,
watched yourself saying something,
and your life changed,
your course was set,
until the next turning point
which followed a similar pattern,
and here you are.
Our life isn’t something we think into being.
We are not separate from our life.
We are not apart from our context
and circumstances.
We take our cues from sources
we are not conscious of.
At least we can be conscious of that—
of knowing that we don’t know
what we are doing
when we do what we know we must do.
And we can wonder about that,
and live amazed at the experience
of being alive.
There is nothing to match it anywhere.

  1. 04/15/2018 — Nursery Photos Gerber Daisy 2018 01 — Pike Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, April 14, 2018 Security, safety, stability, sanity…
    These things reside in,
    and flow from,
    the bedrock core
    of values immune
    to the vicissitudes of time and place.
    When you look into the heart of things,
    what do you see?
    When you grasp the true nature of what matters most,
    what do you sense?
    When you recoil from,
    and shout “NO!” to,
    things as they are—
    when you declare “YES!”
    to things as they ought to be—
    what do you oppose?
    Be clear about
    what you seek/serve,
    where you stand,
    who you are.
    And grounded upon
    your own identity and authority,
    let the world come full bore upon you
    with the worst it can do,
    armed only with your “NO!”
    and your “YES!”
    Let it come,

04/15/2018 — We want to get things in place,
and walk away,
awash in the just-right-ness of being,
at one with the wonder of life in the world,
like Adam and Eve must have been
before their bright idea
of how to make their lives even better.
This is the foundation fantasy
of the species,
peace and harmony forever.
As we age,
we develop a refined version
of the fantasy,
thinking if we only lived
with people just like us,
we would be safe,
and confident in our future
at last,
and live to create enclaves
of Our Kind of People
where we repeat the catch phrases,
the doctrines
and dogmas
of Our Kind
in an endless repetition
of “This is who I am
and who we are,”
reassuring and being reassured
that at least together
things are as we need them to be.
We will never grow up
huddled in some collective,
some commune,
fending off the world.
Our work is to grow up—
to walk into each day,
and do there what the day requires
with the gifts, art, talents, proclivities, interests, abilities, spirit and chutzpah
that are ours to express, exhibit, share,
never taking a day off,
or wanting to,
as we do,
to the work that is ours to do
in the time and place of the doing:
Life as it is at its best,
available to us everyday.

  1. 04/16/2018 — Nursery Photos Gerber Daisy 2018 02 — Pike Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, April 14, 2018 Tell me about your darkness,
    and I will tell you about mine—
    and in the telling we will discover
    the sameness of the things we’re saying.
    Through all of the ages,
    across all of space and time,
    we have been running from—
    and to—
    the same things.
    Running from the darkness.
    Running to the light. Always running.
    Always searching.
    Joseph Campbell said,
    “That which you seek
    is found at the far back of the cave
    you most don’t want to enter.”
    So we settle for approximations.
    A surrogate will do just as well.
    “You got any of that ersatz treasure left?
    I hear it’s as good as the real thing!
    ‘Money’? What do you think, Honey?
    Maybe money will do!”
    We never get enough
    of what doesn’t satisfy,
    and so, look around.
    Nothing but dissatisfaction
    as far as the eye can see.
    They are all looking for the treasure
    they don’t have the courage to claim.
    Abraham set out for the Land of Promise.
    Jesus came offering the Kingdom of Heaven,
    and said in the Gospel of Thomas
    (which is said to be “apocryphal,”
    or “inauthentic,”
    as if any of Jesus’ words weren’t
    put in his mouth
    by those who had something to gain
    from what he had to say),
    “Even now the Kingdom of Heaven
    is strewn upon the earth
    and no one has what it takes to see it.”
    Odysseus went looking for self-knowledge
    (and if you are going to look for something,
    look for that)
    and could have stayed home to find it,
    except that was the cave he most wanted
    not to enter.
    Sit down.
    Be quiet.
    Engage your darkness
    and your light.
    Bear the full truth
    of your own duality—
    and discover the solution to polarity
    in the acceptance of your own paradox
    and contradiction.
    You will heal the world
    by being healed within the world.
    But, that might be the cave
    we most don’t want to enter.

04/16/2018 — We resolve polarity
by accepting paradox
and contradiction—
by bearing the pain
of the tension
of mutually-exclusive truths.
That is what grownups do.
Bearing that pain
will grow you up
against your will,
which is the only way
it happens.
And you will be sadder
and wiser,
which is the only way
that happens.
Sad and wise
is the price we pay
for standing face-to-face
and toe-to-to
with how things are
and how things also are
to the point of tears
and laughter.
Sad and wise
mean tears and laughter.
And life like it can only be lived
with sadness and wisdom.

04/16/2018 — Trump has no plan beyond money
for himself and those like him.
Money for Trump and those like him
is power to push their way
on everyone else—
for the purpose of making them
and squirm,
and dance,
and suffer,
and hop to do their bidding.
Sex and suffering
are all Trump’s money does.
It’s all he knows to do.
It is as close as he comes
to being alive.

04/16/2018 — We resolve polarity
by accepting paradox
and contradiction—
by bearing the pain
of the tension
of mutually-exclusive truths.
That is what grownups do.
Bearing that pain
will grow you up
against your will,
which is the only way
it happens.
And you will be sadder
and wiser,
which is the only way
that happens.
Sad and wise
is the price we pay
for standing face-to-face
and toe-to-to
with how things are
and how things also are
to the point of tears
and laughter.
Sad and wise
mean tears and laughter.
And life like it can only be lived
with sadness and wisdom.

04/16/2018 — The thing that is most wrong about us,
with us,
is denial.
We will not face the truth of ourselves
and our situation.
We will not see what we look at,
and we will not look long at anything
that might be a threat
to our preferred way of seeing and thinking.
We will not abide discomfort,
much less pain.
Which means we will not grow up,
see what must be seen,
and do what needs to be done about it—
what needs us to do what we can do about it.
So here we sit,
going through the motions of life
without being alive
because we do not have what it takes
to get up and do what must be done
about any of the things
that matter most.
Want to make the most difference in the world?
See what you look at.
Do what needs to be done about it.
With the gifts, genius, art, talent, skills, abilities, proclivities, interests, chutzpah, mindfulness, compassion, and grace
that are yours to work with.
In each situation as it arises.
All your life long.
Anything less than that
is just show,

04/16/2018 — Think of Archetypes as a collection,
or a complex (Think apartment complex)
of Norms stored away in the Psyche
waiting to be called into life
by environmental events that awaken (trigger) them.
Norms are experiential ways of responding to occurrences
that have proven to be effective and valuable over time—
over incredibly long stretches of time.
Archetypes are Norms that believe so much in themselves
that they will override all resistance and objections
to insert themselves into our life.
“Listen to ME!” they are saying.
“I have been here before! I know what I am doing!”
We are programmed,
you might sat,
by eons of experience
encoded in our DNA
to respond in a such-and-such way
to a thus-and-so situation in our life—
and pay a price for refusing to play along.
A man has a way of responding
to a certain woman,
and a woman has a way of responding
to a certain man
(with genders capable of being flexible).
A man has a certain way of being a man
and a woman has a certain way of being a woman
(with roles that have to be adjusted
to fit the times).
Etc. through all possible experiences and expressions
of our way with life
in the times and places of our living.
We have to work it all out.
Who is our past calling us to be here and now?
Who are we being asked to be
by our context and circumstances?
This is not easy, but.
The more conscious we are—
the more mindfully aware we can be—
of all the influences at work in each situation as it arises,
the better able we will be
to maintain our equilibrium,
and sanity,
and live in harmony within and without,
as we align ourselves with the forces at work
within and without,
and do all that can be expected of us
all our life long.

04/16/2018 — Intimacy is vulnerability.
Put that into practice
and you transform the world.
Try to be intimate
without being vulnerable,
and the world stays as it is.

04/16/2018 — Things mean what we say they mean.
We interpret.
We ascribe meaning.
We evaluate.
We declare value.
Is it good, or is it bad?
If it is like most things,
it will vary with the times.
I would prefer not to have arthritic knees, but.
They have slowed me down,
and that has been very helpful.
Things just are.
Perceiving things in their “such as it is-ness,”
in their “just so-ness,”
withholds judgment
and enlarges,
expands meaning,
transforms impact,
extends grace,
and makes the world a better place.
Give it a spin.

  1. 04/17/2018 — Foam Flower 2018 03 Panorama—Indian Land, South Carolina, April 14, 2018 I don’t have to worry about
    where to place the tripod.
    It’s a clear Yes or No.
    This not That.
    The same thing applies
    to “What’s for breakfast?”
    Or what to write.
    I know what is not the picture,
    what is not for breakfast,
    and what not to write.
    I usually have no idea beforehand
    what the picture or breakfast will be,
    or what I will write.
    And I would never be able to explain
    why this and not that.
    I simply know “This not That.”
    Something knows which I call “I,”
    and I know what “I,”
    what Something, That’s how it works with me.
    I have no idea
    of how it might work with you.
    I know it is best to not interfere with
    the knowing.
    Know what you know
    and leave it at that.
    Don’t be too perfect,
    too knowledgeable,
    too much able to
    and understand
    what you are doing
    or have done.
    Know what you know
    and what you don’t know,
    and let it go at that.

04/17/2018 — There is wanting,
and there is not wanting,
and there is wanting not.
And that’s it.
That is all there is.
our life,
all of life,
at every level,
from amoeba
to whatever is at the opposite end
of the spectrum,
winds around,
and through
not wanting,
and wanting not.
Every living thing
has preferences.
To live,
to die perhaps,
and everything in between.
What does wanting know?
Does wanting know what to want?
What not to want?
How to want what it ought to want
instead of what it does want?
Or, does it only know what it wants,
Without a clue about the importance—
the value—
of what it wants?
Our place in the mix
is to perfect the practice
of mindful wanting.
If we are going to want—
and surely we are—
let’s want mindfully!
Where do we begin?
Where it all begins—
in the silence.
Mindful wanting begins
with wanting mindful wanting,
and we get there
by being very quiet
and being very aware
of what arises in the silence,
and holding it all in awareness.
That’s the practice.
It will teach us all we need to know
about wanting,
not wanting,
and wanting not.
And there is nothing more to want
or to know
beyond that.
What we do about it
will be revealed to us
in the moment of doing
in each situation as it arises
according to the needs of the situation
in the service
of the good of the whole.
If you are ever going to
take anything on faith,
take this on faith,
and be quiet.

04/17/2018 — Our conscious attitude,
and will
make all the difference
in the work
to integrate
the unconscious contents
of the psyche
in, and through,
the way we live.
It is our place
to live as conscious partners
with the psyche
in the joint,
that is our life.
Our part is to
listen and to know
what is being asked of us,
and to bring that forth
in our life.
The psyche is always
inviting us into communion with it—
calling us to learn its language
and align ourselves with ourselves.
That life together
is the greatest of all adventures,
and begins with our saying,
“Okay, let’s go!”—
and meaning it.

04/17/2018 — Growth is growing up.
Personal growth is growing up.
Spiritual growth is growing up.
Emotional growth is growing up.
Growing up is doing things differently.
Growing up is…
Changing our patterns of behavior.
Changing our perspective.
Changing our mind about what is important.

Growing up is…
Assuming responsibility for our own choices and actions.
Acting out of our own authority.
Making up our own mind about what matters most.
Deciding for ourselves what needs to be done.
Facing the consequences and bearing the pain.

Growing up is…
Reflecting on our experience in ways that generate new realizations.
Exploring, examining, inspecting, investigating, inquiring, probing our inferences, and assumptions, and what makes us think something is so.

Growing up is too important
to think it “just happens,”
and needs the conscientious application
of focus and attention
to insure that it happens
for each one of us
throughout our life.

  1. 04/18/2018 — Queen’s Road West 2018 01 Panorama — Charlotte, North Carolina, April 17, 2018 Experience is all we have to work with.
    The work requires us
    to experience our experience.
    That’s the catch
    that stops the program
    before it can deliver us
    from our idea of life
    and the world
    to our life and the world.
    Our idea of how things are
    prevents us from knowing
    how things are,
    and that’s the end of the story.
    Seventy-five years of experience
    become one year (or less) of experience
    repeated seventy-five times—
    because we aren’t reflecting
    on our experience
    to the point of new realizations,
    new ideas,
    new ways of thinking,
    new ways of living…
    We settle into a narrative
    about life, our life, all of life,
    and the world
    and the way things are
    without ever calling it into question.
    No real questions are allowed,
    only rhetorical questions will do.
    We paint ourselves into corners
    we cannot escape
    without ruining our wonderful paint job.
    We think more of the job we have done
    on ourselves,
    than we think of the self in the corner
    longing for its life.
    Leave the corner!
    Seek out your life!
    By examining your experience,
    and questioning everything We do not know a thing
    about all that is to be known.
    It’s time we take up the quest!

04/18/2018 — Awareness! Awareness! Awareness!
There is no reason
for not knowing what we know—
what we have access to knowing
just by seeing what we look at,
just by paying attention.
Why walk through our life
not here, now?
Settle into the moment.
Open yourself to the moment.
Be here, now.
Notice when this moment
goes over into the next one.
Do it with every moment
in a day.
At least, notice when you stop doing it,
and start doing it again.
Take up the practice
of being alive in the life you are living.

04/18/2018 — We have to find an environment
that will support life—
an environment in which
we can live truthful lives.
It will probably mean
finding new friends.
If our old friends
could support,
sustain truthfulness,
we wouldn’t need
to find a different environment.
The same thing applies
to our family of origin.
Too much of where we spend our time
is not conducive—
is detrimental—
to life
in the deepest,
best sense of the word.
What questions are you
not allowed to ask?
What thoughts are you
not allowed to think?
What narratives are you
required to affirm
and maintain?
How are you being limited
and restricted
by the company you keep?
How are your “we’s”
preventing you
from expressing
discovering, your “I”?

04/17/2018 — The true good of the country
is not an impossible role
for government to play.
It would only require
that the members of government
lay aside their personal good
in service to the true good of the whole.
Why is that too much to ask
of Public Servants?
What does that title imply
beyond service to the public
over, above and beyond
service to oneself?
How good is the good
members of government call good?
Whose good is served
by the good they call good?
If The People will not hold
them accountable,
we cannot be shocked or surprised
that they live as rouges and thugs
beyond the law
as a law unto themselves,
with only themselves to indulge,
care for and serve.

  1. 04/19/2018 — Nursery Photos 2018 Gerber Daisy 03 — Pike Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, April 14, 2018 Christians are a recent example
    of religion/superstition
    (and one goes easily over into the other)
    imposing harsh penalties
    upon the general population
    based on propositions
    (doctrines and beliefs)
    they take on faith.
    There is no ground to their
    assertions beyond
    thinking makes it so.
    The unacknowledged aspect
    of all faith-based assertions
    is the self-validating nature of faith.
    Self-validation is the foundation
    of all religions/superstitions.
    Believing something is so
    gives it credibility
    which is given credence
    by life experience—
    which is borne out
    in thousands of ways daily,
    g., baseball players refusing
    to wash their socks
    during a winning streak.
    People sacrificed their
    first born sons and virgin daughters
    for centuries
    to appease the Sun God
    and bring the sun back
    during the winter solstice.
    It always worked.
    The tricky thing about experience
    is that it has to be interpreted,
    and we are capable of imposing meaning
    in the name of finding it.
    When we impose meaning on ourselves,
    it is bad enough,
    but when we impose meaning on everyone
    it is vicious and barbaric.
    Religion/superstition needs
    to stay out of the lives
    of people who don’t subscribe
    to the religion/superstition.
    We even have Hindus becoming Buddhists
    because Hinduism imposes harsh penalties
    upon its own adherents,
    who are waking up to the absurdity
    of the penalties.
    Oh, if everyone were so awake!
  2. 04/19/2018 — Peach Orchard 2018 30 — York County, South Carolina, March 1, 2018 Objective reality/facts
    has/have to be interpreted/understood/perceived subjectively.
    That’s the catch
    that tells the tale.
    We say what an experience means.
    We each are the self who determines
    what we believe about our experience.
    We all are self-determined.
    What WE say goes.
    Even when we affirm someone else’s evaluation,
    we are the ones who say
    “Yes! It is so!”
    It is so because we say it is so.
    WE say the one who is telling us what is so
    is saying what is so.
    But the loneliness
    of our own perspective
    gives some of us the willies,
    and we cannot bear
    the possibility of being wrong,
    so we herd together
    with those who agree with us,
    and all of us
    saying the same thing is so together
    provides each of us
    with self-validating affirmation
    and sustains us
    in our own view of reality/facts,
    keeping views that challenge our own
    safely caged behind bars labeled
    And the world turns.

04/19/2018 — One of the indelible lines
from Doctor Who (Season 5, Episode 4):
“There’s a difference between
dormant and patient.”
Everything, you might say,
is bidding its time
until the time of its coming forth
in “the fullness of time.”
Everything, you might say,
but us.
One time is as good as another
where we are concerned,
and now is the best time of all:
“There is no time
like the present!”
“Act now, or forever hold your peace!”
“Whomever hesitates is lost!”
loses sight of “Look before you leap!”
and we go leaping without looking
throughout our life,
wondering why things seem to be
so out of sync
and unwieldy.
“Stop! Look! Listen!”
Listen to your heart.
Listen to your body.
Listen to your nighttime dreams.
Listen to your psyche—
your unconscious
(so-called because we are not conscious of it).
How do you listen to your unconscious?
That’s the question
the answer to which
determines everything that follows.
Live to answer the question!
Put everything you have into it!
Your unconscious always knows
what time it is,
and what time it is not.
The two most important
things to know
at all times.

04/19/2018 — If we see/hear something
our life has not prepared us
to see/hear,
it will seem to be utter nonsense.
And, if we see/hear something
that is utter nonsense,
it will also appear to us to be utter nonsense.
This is to say that
utter nonsense does exist, but.
It may not be what we think it is.
do not rush to dismiss
what appears to you
to be utter nonsense.
Look closer.
Listen carefully.
And be prepared to grant
the benefit of the doubt.

04/19/2018 — The questions are not so much:
“What do we want?”
“How do we get it?”
“What is being asked of us?”
“What needs us to do it?”
In each situation as it arises.
All our life long.

  1. 04/20/2018 — Field Road 2018 01 B&W Panorama — Lancaster County, South Carolina, April 1, 2018 When the door opens,
    walk through.
    Will we know an open door
    when we see one?
    That’s the question.
    We can trust our luck,
    our we can do our homework
    AND trust our luck.
    Doing our homework
    consists of all the mindfulness stuff.
    If we aren’t living mindfully,
    we are pushing our luck,
    not trusting it.
    Everything comes to those
    who live mindfully—
    not as a way of getting everything,
    but as a way of being mindful.
    When the door opens,
    it probably won’t be the door
    we are hoping will open,
    but we will be mindful of that,
    and open to it.
    That means WE are the door that opens
    to the likelihood of doors opening.
    And we wait, watching, ready
    for anything.
    Some door is opening in each situation.
    What is the door that is opening here, now?
    What are we being asked to do here, now?
    What needs us to do it here, now?
    What needs to be done here, now?
    We walk through 10,000 doors
    on our way to wherever we will be
    when we get there.
    Each one leads to the next one.
    THE door is the one open now.
    Walk through.

04/20/2018 — Oppression.
All these
and more
are characteristic
of Trump
and his Administration.
is nowhere close to great.
And is getting worse
by the day,
thanks entirely
to Republican members of Congress
who will not do their job
of overseeing the Executive Branch of Government,
and preserving, protecting and defending
the Constitution
against all threats,
internal and external,
for their entire term of office.
The failure of Republicans
to fulfill their Oath of Office
is the bane of Democracy,
and the end of the American Dream.

04/20/2018 — Integrity.
These terms together
create a sense
of what our personality
strives for
between the conscious
and the unconscious
aspects of who we are.
Is is our place
to consciously assist
the process
through mindful awareness
with all things considered.
We cannot disregard,
without noting carefully
what we are doing
and examining,
the matter
with intense attentive focus
and acute reflection
seeking new realization
and increasing
Throughout our life.

04/20/2018 — No one can tell you
how to do
the symmetry,
It’s a matter of being
and mindfully aware—
and consciously endeavoring
to attend the unconscious aspects
of yourself.
The unconscious (also called the psyche)
has a stake in the life we live,
and our conscious side
has to take that into account
in deciding what we do,
when and how.
What does psyche have to say?
We have to live as one—
attuned to,
and aligned with,
both conscious and unconscious.
We work at it daily
over the full course of our life,
and learn how to do it
by doing it.

  1. 04/21/2018 — Pierson’s Glen 2018 13 — Colt Creek, Saluda, North Carolina, April 21, 2018 We cannot agree about what is good.
    We might agree that breathing is good, but.
    Put all of us together in a room and ask us to agree
    about the things
    we each think is good,
    and see how many of us agree about what is good
    item by item,
    and add up the number of unanimous votes.
    I want to know how many things
    any of us thinks is good
    is thought to be good by all of us.
    I’m thinking after the creaturely comforts—
    food, clothing, shelter, air and water, parental love and protection—
    there won’t be much common agreement.
    We cannot even agree ourselves,
    individually, personally,
    over time about what is good.
    What I once thought was good,
    I no longer think is good.
    Adam and Eve thought everything was good,
    until they had a better idea,
    and suddenly what they thought was good
    was evil.
    Good becomes bad, just like that.
    Making things better can make things worse.
    Where are we better off?
    Where are we well off?
    When are we well off enough
    to not want to be better off?
    Whomever never wanted to be better off?
    Where does it end—
    the idea that good has to give way to better?
    Not only that, but:
    Someone’s good is someone else’s bad.
    Good for the fisherman is bad for the fish.
    And vice versa.
    And how long before we change our mind
    about what is good and what is bad?
    We talk about the good,
    about this is good and that is evil.
    We go to war over it.
    We divorce our spouses over it.
    We ban and disinherit our children over it.
    And we change our minds about it.
    What kind of good is it
    that isn’t good forever?
    In all times and places?
    To all people at the same time?
    In the same place?
    How good can a good be
    that we cannot all agree is good?
    The next time you hear yourself
    saying something is good,
    think about it.
    How good is the good you call good?
    How long will has it been good?
    How long will it be good?
    What is keeping everybody
    from recognizing it to be good?
    How can there be differences of opinion
    about its goodness?
    How can good be up for grabs?
    Up for debate?
    Determined by majority vote?
    How do we know what is good?
    How can we change our minds
    about what we once knew to be good?
    How good can something be
    that we can change our minds about?
    What is good?
  2. 04/22/2018 — Pearson’s Glen 2018 06 HDR — Pearson’s Falls, Colt Creek, Saluda, North Carolina, April 21, 2018 How things are is just how things are.
    Our problem with that
    is the disparity between how they are
    and how we want them to be.
    What we want is the problem.
    If we want them to be the way they are,
    there is no problem.
    If we do not want them to be
    anything other than what they are
    (If we don’t care what they are),
    there is no problem.
    Wanting is the problem.
    Chuck wanting,
    we have no problems.
    The end of suffering
    is not caring if suffering ends,
    and not caring if it doesn’t end.
    Having no opinion of suffering
    disappears suffering.
    The problem with that is this:
    Life is wanting.
    Death is not wanting.
    Every living thing wants something. The more we want,
    the more problems we have,
    the less safe and secure we are,
    the more we are tormented
    by the idea of losing what we have
    and having what we don’t want.
    The lesson is clear:
    Limit your wanting
    to the things that are essential
    to your life and well-being—
    and be right about what is essential.

04/22/2018 — We have to adjust ourselves,
in one way or another,
to how things are
throughout our life.
The more consciously,
and deliberately
we can do the work of adjustment,
the more healed,
and whole,
and integrated,
and at one
we are.
The more unconsciously
and haphazardly
we do the work of adjustment,
the more fragmented
and out of sync,
and disconnected,
and dissatisfied,
and dangerous to ourselves
and to others
we are.
Another way to think about
the work of adjustment
is to call it “growing up,”
and consciously,
and deliberately
take up the work of growing up.

04/22/2018 — Bass Lake 2018 02 Panorama B&W — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, April 22, 2018

and their synonyms
are the ground
of reflection,
and their synonyms.
Swimming among
these synonyms
is the way
to life,
and light,
and peace.

04/22/2018 — We run from having to accommodate
ourselves to our circumstances.
We like to think changing our circumstances
will do the trick.
Accommodation is the only thing
that will do the trick.
We have to embrace the agony
and bear the pain.
How things are
is not how we want things to be,
and we are quite capable
of doing what needs us to do it
even so—
and that is the path
to making things
as good as they can be
in each situation as it arises:
The work of transformation.

  1. 04/23/2018 — Goshen Creek, Blue Ridge Parkway, Boone, North Carolina, April 22, 2018 We all take something on faith. Why take that on faith and not something else instead?
    That’s the question
    upon which every good thing depends.
    What do we trust to guide us through the deep unknown? Why that?
    How reliable is it?
    What makes us think so?
    Some people carry a lucky penny.
    They will tell you
    “It’s worked so far.”
    That’s as much as any of us know.
    So far, so good.
    And, how good is that?
    How well does it enable us to live?
    That’s the value
    of what we take on faith.
    How well does it help us live?
    We pick a door, and step through.
    How well do we live on the other side?
    Kindness is better than a lot of things.
    How kind are we
    in the service
    of what we take on faith?
    Who is better off
    because of it?
    Forget your own eternal fortune!
    You’re just making that up!
    Taking it on faith!
    What is the actual value
    in human terms
    here and now
    of what you take on faith?
    Who is better off for it?
    If a lucky penny
    makes things better
    for the people
    who are impacted by your life,
    keep carrying it.
    Take something on faith
    that helps you live better on the earth,
    and eternity will take care of itself.
  2. 04/23/2018 — Baxter Creek Bridge 2014 — Big Creek Campgrounds, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina, October, 2014 It isn’t too hard.
    Anyone can do it.
    Children do it best.
    Children feel their way
    into whatever they do.
    “Unless you turn and become
    like children,
    you will never enter
    the kingdom of heaven.”
    We can’t think our way there.
    We have to feel our way along.
    Carl Jung said,
    “We should not pretend to understand
    the world only by the intellect—
    we apprehend it just as much by feeling.”
    Practice knowing what to do
    by feeling it,
    not by thinking it.
    You probably already do that
    more than you know.
    You feel your way to knowing
    what’s for dinner,
    and what to wear on days
    when you are free to choose.
    Become conscious of feeling.
    Practice knowing by feeling.
    It is the first way of knowing.
    Babies know what’s for dinner
    right out of the womb.
  3. 04/24/2018 — Raven’s Roost 2018 04 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Boone, North Carolina, April 22, 2018 We do not get to choose our choices.
    We can only work
    with what we have
    to work with.
    The truth is the bed we sleep in at night,
    and the world we wake up to in the morning.
    What we do with it is our only business.
    Our work is taking what we have to give
    in one hand,
    and what needs us to give it
    in the other,
    and get the two hands together
    in ways that do right by each hand.
    Waiting is a major part of the work.
    We wait for doors to open.
    We wait for the light to dawn.
    We wait for the time to be right.
    We wait for revelation,
    And offer what is ours to offer
    in the service of what needs
    what we have to give,
    in ways appropriate to the occasion,
    in each situation as it arises,
    every day of our life,
    and let the outcomes
    be just something else
    to work with
    in the time that remains.
  4. 04/25/2018 — Moses Cone Manor 2018 07 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, April 22, 2018 There are big hearts
    and little hearts.
    Good hearts
    and bad hearts.
    Noble hearts
    and ignoble hearts.
    Brave hearts
    and faint hearts.
    Stout hearts
    and weak hearts.
    Kind hearts
    and hard hearts.
    Warm hearts
    and cold hearts.
    Benevolent hearts
    and self-serving hearts.
    Hearts that ring true
    and hearts that are deceitful and deceiving.
    Heartful hearts
    and heartless hearts.
    Mindful hearts
    and mindless hearts.
    And my questions are:
    How much movement
    is our heart-of-hearts
    capable of?
  5. 04/25/2018 — Skeleton Tree Overlook 2018 02 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville, North Carolina, April 21, 2018 An egoless existence—
    life without ego involvement—
    would be detached, disconnected, disinterested, remote
    and unavailable for engagement
    with life on any level.
    It would have no investment,
    no interest,
    in the affairs of life.
    Why, then,
    “eat when hungry/rest when tired”?
    What basis, then,
    for action or inaction?
    No passion
    and no passionate regard for dispassion.
    No caring
    and no hunger for not-caring.
    No hunger.
    No thirst.
    No partiality.
    No penchant for impartiality.
    Nursing home residents
    who sit staring into space
    have achieved egolessness
    and make nothing of it.
    And we don’t call them Master
    or think of emulating their example.

04/25/2018 — The country has lost its bearings
and is listing to starboard
without a compass
or a guiding light.
When those lodged
with the authority
to determine direction
and set course
are derelict or incompetent,
it falls upon individual citizens
to anchor themselves
to their own bedrock,
to ground themselves
in the authenticity
of their own lodestar,
to orient themselves
according to their own sense
of what is just and fair,
right and good,
and to live in ways
that declare,
and exhibit
the value
of doing unto others—
and the more other,
the more important it is
to do unto them—
as we would have them
do unto us,
in each situation
as it arises,
every day of our life,
and when in doubt,
be kind.
Whether it does any good
or not.
It is enough that it is good,
and being good for nothing
is always a perfectly find thing to be.

  1. 04/26/2018 — Pearson’s Glen 2018 11 — Colt Creek, Saluda, North Carolina, April 21, 2018 Our problem is what to do with our life.
    It has always been the problem.
    Food, clothing, shelter get the attention, but.
    What do we need them FOR?
    Once we take care of the “basic needs,”
    then what?
    You have to admit,
    a lot of us have the “basic needs” down,
    and we keep embellishing them
    because we don’t know what else to do.
    We create distractions/diversions
    to take our mind off the real basic need:
    Knowing what to do with the time that is ours.
    As it is, our idea of “really living”
    is having enough money
    to do anything we want
    (As though we know what to want!).
    And what do we want?
    generally in the form of
    and alcohol.
    And, with a lot of money,
    we can destroy things,
    which gives us a sense of
    power and control,
    but no sense of
    destruction in the service of what
    beyond the futile exercise
    of power and control.
    Take away money
    with which to acquire
    sex, drugs, alcohol
    and the illusion of power and control,
    and what is there?
    Boredom is another word
    for emptiness.
    For the complete absence of
    purpose, direction, meaning, vitality, interest, enthusiasm…
    There is no LIFE to our life!
    We are alive,
    but for what do we live?
    The answer, of course,
    is waiting to be found
    by those with the courage to seek, but.
    The search isn’t as easy
    as we want it to be,
    or as quick as we demand—
    and it requires that we go
    where we most do not want to go:
    Into the silence
    of the emptiness
    of the Void.
    The thing we fear the most
    and avoid at all cost
    is the solution we long for
    and the remedy we crave.
    In the quiet stillness
    comes the suffering
    and the end of suffering
    for those who:
    1) have the faith, hope and courage
    to be vulnerable,
    and available to
    life that has yet to be lived,
    that has waited all these years
    to be lived, and
    2) have learned they cannot think
    their way there,
    but must wait,
    a knowing beyond understanding,
    incapable of being comprehended,
    to lead them forward,
    and bring them home
    to “the still point of the turning world,”
    the bedrock,
    the foundation,
    of who they have always been,
    and who they will be,
    brought forth by,
    and exhibited in,
    the live they still may live.
  2. 04/26/2018 — Vance Birthplace 2018 01 Panorama — North Carolina Historical Site, Weaverville, North Carolina, April 21, 2018 If you ask Christians
    (Or the practitioners of any religion)
    what makes them think
    that what they say they believe is so,
    they will tell you they take it on faith.
    If you ask them why they take that on faith
    and not something else instead,
    they will pause for a moment,
    as though they have never thought about it,
    because, in all likelihood, they have never thought about it.
    I think about it quite a bit.
    We all take something on faith.
    The ground of our experience
    is deeper, wider, higher, older
    than our experience.
    There is nothing in our experience
    that can fully explain our experience.
    There is more to it than meets the eye.
    We can’t talk about it.
    We don’t have words for what we sense
    but cannot say.
    Abraham Joshua Heschel said,
    “We can apprehend more than we can comprehend.”
    Lao Tzu said,
    “The Tao that can be said, told, explained,
    is not the eternal Tao.”
    And Paul said in Romans,
    ” O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”
    We aren’t going to get there by thinking about it.
    We can experience more than we can say.
    We believe things are so
    because we have experienced them,
    but we cannot explain what we think
    or why we think it is so.
    We take it on faith.
    But why that, and not something else?
    Speaking for myself,
    it is because
    that which I take on faith
    grounds me upon the unshakeable bedrock of certainty,
    stands me at “the still point of the turning world,”
    reassures me that I am not alone,
    is the source of my peace, confidence, hope and conviction,
    and provides me with all I need
    to find what I need
    to face any situation or circumstance that might arise.
    What more is there to ask, or think, or imagine?
    I believe we all need to be able to same something similar
    about whatever we take on faith—
    and trust it with our life
    through all our days on the earth.
  3. 04/26/2018 — Tufted Titmouse 2018 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, April 13, 2018 I’m going to write a bit about who you ought to be.
    The first question I am going to address is:
    Who says so?
    The correct answer is:
    You do.
    You determine what you ought to do,
    and you decide whether you will do it.
    You are the sole authority
    regarding your life and how you live it.
    Your life is to be directed
    by an internal guidance system.
    External voices and authorities
    will try to override you at every point,
    and if they take over your controls
    it is because you stepped aside
    and allowed them to take charge.
    If you do that, you will pay a price,
    and the life you might have lived
    will never be lived,
    and the burden of The Unlived Life
    will be with you always.
    Once you accept that you are the authority governing
    what you ought to do,
    the next thing up is to decide what to do
    to find your life and live it.
    Carl Jung presents this formula:
    “You are who you always have been,
    and who you will be.”
    And he said:”
    “What did you do as a child
    that made the hours pass like minutes?
    Here is the key to your earthly pursuits.”
    What has always “come natural” to you?
    What still today “catches your eye”?
    There are clues to you in these things.
    I have always looked out the window,
    been attracted to the natural world,
    seen through BS and gotten to the heart of the matter,
    have been a writer
    and a poet/philosopher…
    These are the things I ought to do,
    and the things I do.
    What ought you be doing?
    Will you do it?
  4. 04/27/2018 — Yellow Wood Sorrel 2018 01 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, April 26, 2018 Wealthy people seem to me
    to be as greedy as any people,
    maybe more so.
    I say “maybe” because
    I don’t spend much time
    with any people these days,
    and don’t have any actual sense
    of how greedy anyone is.
    My observations are skewed
    and cannot be trusted,
    so I ask you to make your own.
    Plot the people you know
    and those with whom you associate
    on your own greed scale.
    See what you come up with.
    Who are the greediest people you know?
    Who are the most generous people you know?
    Who are the best people for other people?
    People of color are the best people I know for other people.
    The kindest,
    most compassionate.
    If I am going to trust a stranger
    to be good to me,
    to be good for me,
    to have my best interest at heart,
    it is going to be a person of color.
    My take is that
    the people in the shit hole countries
    have better hearts
    than the people in the high rises
    and the gated communities.
    But don’t take my word for it.
    Trust your own observations.
    See where you come out.

04/27/2018 — There are a lot of ways
to separate people out into
“two kinds of people.”
One of the more important ones
(I think THE most important one)
is this:
The kind of people who can handle the truth, and
The kind of people who cannot handle the truth.
The people of the first kind
have the ability to grow up—
to always be growing up.
The people of the second kind
do not have what it takes to grow up,
and are always creating situations
they have to run from,
and the people of the first kind
have to deal with.
It’s a problem for both kinds of people.
And one both kinds
stand helpless before.
Yet another example
of “One of those things”
that comes our way,
leaving us all to deal with it
the best we can.

04/27/2018 — There are non-negotiables.
Deal breakers.
The Constitution is crammed with them.
They are called The Bill of Rights
and they aren’t quite complete.
The Equal Rights Amendment
needs to be added,
with the understanding that women have the right
to their own bodies and own health care,
and shall not be forced to be or remain pregnant
against their will.
The right to bear arms needs to be clarified.
Human rights need to be expanded
and understood to mean no discrimination on any basis.
Freedom of religion needs to be clarified
to mean freedom from the imposition of religion in any form,
as well as the freedom to practice one’s own religion
within the limits of rights protected by the Constitution.
These are the common agreements
that I think serve
as the foundation
of our life together.
The further we are from agreement
the more tenuous is our life together.

04/27/2018 — We walk two paths at the same time.
This is the “Straight and Narrow”
(“Straight is the way
and Narrow is the gate…)
Jesus spoke of.
It is the “Slippery Slope,”
and the “Razor’s Edge,”
of Taoism and Zen
(Zen is what happened
when Taoism met Buddhism).
The duality is at the heart of life and being.
The way to walk two paths at the same time
is to always be aware of the other one
when walking on this one.
Never forget the other path!
Do not drift off into thinking
that this path is the only path,
and there is nothing to it,
we have it down
and it is such a snap.
That’s when we fly off the path
and find ourselves marooned in the wasteland.
Ruh Roh.
The watchword is: Equilibrium.
The Psyche/Unconscious is good for Compensation.
Consciousness is good for Imbalance
and Onesidedness.
“Make up your mind!” demands Consciousness.
“Get off the fence!”
Consciousness is always going off
into its version of How Things Ought To Be
at the expense of How Things Also Ought To Be.
How Things Are
is compensated by How Things Also Are,
and that is How Things Actually Are.
The Psyche is always shouting:
And sending us dreams that compensate
for our conscious imbalance.
If your dreams terrify you,
you are likely to be too bold
or too timid
in your conscious life,
and Psyche is trying to get you
to be aware of the other path
while walking this one.

  1. 04/28/2018 — Pearson’s Glen 2018 12 — Colt Creek, Saluda, North Carolina, April 21, 2018 From The Doctor’s Wife, Doctor Who, Season 6, Episode 4, written by Neil Gaiman: “Letting it get to you—
    you know what that’s called?
    Being alive.
    Best thing there is.” Everything should get to us,
    or what’s the point? We spend our life trying
    to get away from it
    when we should be
    opening ourselves to it,
    letting it get to us. We think it is about avoiding it
    when it is about engaging it.
    Embracing it.
    Immersing in it.
    Dancing with it.
    Loving it.
    All of it.
    Every last bit of it.
    The good and the bad.
    The wonderful and the awful.
    The wins and the losses. Sealing ourselves off from part of it
    seals ourselves off from all of it.
    Look closely at the people
    who wall themselves off.
    They have walled themselves in,
    and live alone
    with noting of life about them. They talk,
    but they say the same things,
    repeat the same phrases,
    never saying anything.
    Never experiencing anything.
    Never doing anything.
    Wondering why life is so flat
    and boring. It can’t help but be that way
    when you don’t let
    anything get to you.
    When you don’t let anything
    disappoint you,
    scare you,
    ask hard things of you,
    break your heart.
    And break it again. Only the dead are safe.

04/28/2018 — Between ideology
and experience,
go with experience.
Experience knows what is called for
and what can be done about it.
Ideology cares not for either,
and forces its idea of the good
on every situation that comes its way.
Ideology forces its will upon the world.
Experience looks and listens,
sees and hears,
knows and understands—
and acts in accordance
with what needs to happen
in light of all things considered.
Ideology considers only
how things are supposed to be
according to its idea
of how things are supposed to be,
never mind how things are
and what is fitting and appropriate
here and now.
Ideology knows how things ought to be.
Whether that is “fitting,”
or “appropriate,”
is insignificant
and beside the point.
Ideology thinks.
Experience feels.
Go with the feelings
and think about how to serve them best
in each situation as it arises,
ideology notwithstanding.

  1. 04/29/2018 — Pied Bill Grebe at Sunset 2012 01— Reedy Fork, Lake Brandt Greenway, Bur-Mil Park Access, Greensboro, NC, December 19, 2012 The brighter the bright,
    the darker the dark,
    which is why photographs
    are difficult
    on bright, sunny days,
    and better
    on cloudy or overcast days.
    The light then is less contrasty
    and more even,
    and things are more their true selves.
    Everything is just there,
    waiting to be seen,
    but we have a better chance
    of seeing what we look at
    if we see the light first
    and wait for the right light.
    That’s the advantage
    to taking photographs
    in your backyard,
    or close enough to your backyard.
    If you fly to Wyoming, say,
    and drive to the Grand Tetons,
    or to Yellowstone,
    and the light isn’t right,
    and won’t be for days,
    you are stuck with
    what you have to work with,
    which is rarely as good
    as what you need to work with.
    The Tetons in bad light
    will never compare with
    the Tetons in good light.
    Of course, bad light can become good light,
    if that suits your purpose.
    Then, if a Pied Bill Grebe
    disappears into its silhouette
    and is easily lost in the shadows
    it is just fine
    and all is well.

04/29/2018 — With the right perspective—
that would be a perspective
of openness,
of mindfulness,
of consciousness
regarding what is
and what might be tucked away
in what is,
our just beyond it,
out of sight,
unknown and unknowable,
but there,
waiting for someone
who is waiting for it,
and you are that someone
if you are waiting
for more than you know
or can know—
everything is just what it needs to be,
and we need to trust it to be so,
and wait,
not knowing what for,
but trusting ourselves
to know it when we see it,
and when the door opens,
to walk through
and step into a world
which would not have been there
if we hadn’t been waiting,
trusting that it would be
waiting for us.

04/29/2018 — All those who know,
know the same things:
The importance of
looking until you see,
listening until you hear,
asking until you understand,
seeing, hearing and understanding until you know,
and knowing what you know
in each situation as it arises,
then having no opinion about the way things are,
or what needs to be done about it,
having the courage to do what needs to be done,
and letting the outcome take its place in the way things are,
and start the entire process over—
and when you have done all
and given it your best
all the way,
to let it be because it is.

  1. 04/30/2018 — Goshen Creek 2018 02/03 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Boone, North Carolina, April 22, 2018 The failure of democracy
    is the refusal of the people
    to be democratic.
    Democracy can work only
    as a “democracy,”
    applying to “our kind of people”
    and not to all people.
    “All men” does not apply to all men,
    but to “all men like us”
    (and women do not count).
    People of color do not count.
    Poor people do not count.
    Nobody counts
    but the people— the men— doing the counting.
    When we try to apply democracy
    to everybody,
    even women,
    and people of color,
    and people with disabilities,
    and LGBTQ people,
    and immigrants,
    and Muslims,
    and poor people,
    and all of the Undesirables
    and Untouchables
    of every variety and possibility,
    democracy is denounced and dies.
    The hope of democracy
    is for a people big enough
    to be democratic from the heart—
    and mean all the people when they say,
    “We the people…”
    Until then, democracy will remain a dream
    whose time has not yet come.

04/30/2018 — “That’s not our problem,”
is how Republicans see the world.
“Our problem is keeping our base
(read: donors) happy,
and keeping them happy means
increasing their profit margins
at the expense of every other thing.”

If you understand this bedrock-level motivation
everything Republicans do
and fail to do
will make perfect sense,
and you will vote them out of office
and keep them out
every time you get the chance to vote
for as long as voting is done.

  1. 05/01/2018 — Bass Lake 2018 04 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, April 22, 2018 The fog moves in,
    or night falls,
    and when it lifts,
    or fades into dawn,
    it is a different world,
    with trees and cliffs,
    and bridges,
    and oceans
    where there were none,
    and none where they were.
    It is the nightmare world
    of disorientation,
    and unreliability,
    where memory is no guide.
    Your car isn’t where you parked it.
    You have no car.
    Your children aren’t in their rooms,
    or don’t come home from school.
    You have no past
    and the future is unknown
    and unknowable.
    Survive if you can
    where you do not belong
    and nothing belongs to you.
    Or wake up
    and realize it was only a dream,
    and in this world
    of reliable reality
    the past is essential,
    memories mean everything
    and the future is being built everyday.
    What future do you want
    the babies of this world to work with
    in shaping their own?
    Live to give them something they can use—
    something you could have used—
    more than you had.
    Starting today.

05/01/2018 — Meditation books are written for people who had rather read about meditation than meditate.

05/01/2018 — What are your grounding,
Your bedrock values?
The things that determine
where you draw your lines?
That decide what you will do and do not?
What are your guiding lights,
your lodestar realizations?
What sets your course?
Dictates where you drop anchor?
What makes you think
they are worth your service?
Your loyalty?
Your life?

05/01/2018 — How do you deal with
what life gives you—
wanted and unwanted?
Where do you go
to know what to do?
Something happens,
now what?
What has been your
pattern over time?
How long the gap
between the event
and your response?
What are you aware of
in that length of time?

  1. 05/01/2018 — Pearson’s Glen 2018 02 — Colt Creek, Saluda, North Carolina, April 21, 2018 I’ll never live long enough
    to get beyond the basics.
    How do I get better at:
    Paying attention?
    Looking, listening, seeing, hearing?
    Comprehending what my distractions trying to tell me?
    Comprehending what my life is asking of me?
    Remembering to be here/now?
    Receiving what is happening with little or no opinion?
    Reading my body’s signals?

    The list is long.
    I’ll have to leave mastery to the Masters,
    and keep plugging along.
  2. 05/02/2018 — Pink Wood Sorrel 2018 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, April 26, 2018 May you always find what you need
    wherever you are,
    however you look,
    whether it’s what you want or not!
    Our life has its own ideas
    about our life
    and compromise is generally
    out of the question.
    and alignment—
    in a “thy will, not mine, be done” kind of way—
    is the path to glory,
    though it wind
    through the back alleys,
    along the fringes,
    and outside the gates
    of high society,
    with glory understood
    as always residing
    in the eye of the beholder.
    In light of that,
    may you always see clearly,
    assess accurately,
    and evaluate precisely
    the value of your values
    and the truth of what is before you
    in each situation as it arises
    throughout your life!
  3. 05/02/2018 — Nursery Photos 2018 04 — Pike Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, April 14, 2018 Paying attention to the moment
    with no opinion of the moment
    is the heart of mindfulness.
    Sit with the moment,
    paying attention to your body
    and what is going on in your body.
    See where your attention is drawn to.
    Watch your attention as it moves from place to place.
    How does your body speak to you?
    What is your body saying to you?
    Our body is our largest sensory organ,
    picking things up from our environment
    and relaying its findings to us.
    What we call “intuition”
    is the body speaking to us
    on a level beyond seeing, hearing, smell, taste and touch.
    Teaching ourselves to consciously tune into our body
    increases our awareness of life’s impact
    and guides us in our response to it. Sit with the moment,
    paying attention to your immediate environment.
    Scan the area around you.
    What catches your eye?
    Explore the connection between that
    and your past experience.
    What memories are stirred?
    How does your body react to the memories?
    What connotations does the object/scene have.
    Is there any unfinished business there
    that needs to be considered? Simply being aware of your body
    and your immediate environment
    opens up worlds for reflection, examination, exploration.
    Just imagine what can happen
    when you begin to pay attention to your mind
    and its wanderings,
    and its fascinations,
    and its ruminations… We are worlds within worlds awaiting attention
    without opinion.
    Sit quietly and see where you go.
    Merely observing
    without engagement
    or opinion.

05/02/2018 — This is the bedrock of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s approach to mindfulness meditation:

“Meditation is not for the faint-hearted nor for those who routinely avoid the whispered longings of their own hearts.”

From, Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Meditation Is Not What You Think: Mindfulness and Why It Is So Important (p. 4). Hachette Books. Kindle Edition. — Put it on your reading list, and actually read it.

05/02/2018 — We have to know what comes first,
no matter what.
That is our bedrock value.
Everything else falls into place
around that.
And “First” does not imply “Only.”
There is not one Right
in the Bill of Rights,
for example,
that is more important
than all of the others.
We can have The Most Important Things
all of which come first,
no matter what.
And we have to know what they are,
and live in ways
which make their place in our life
clear and unequivocal.
Knowing what matters most
is what matters most.
What comes first with you?

  1. 05/03/2018 — Perfoliate Bellwort 2018 01 — McDowell Nature Center and Preserve, Chestnut Trail, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, Charlotte, North Carolina, April 13, 2018 The United States has to rise to the occasion
    and vote the fascists out.
    The Republican Party has been taken over
    by fascists.
    The word “Republican” does not mean
    what it once meant.
    It has become the Nazi Party of Adolf Hitler
    with it’s Desirables (Norway)
    and its Undesirables (The list is long),
    its Us and Them
    (The Enemies List grows longer each day).
    Bigotry and discrimination,
    hate and division,
    lying, deceitfulness and deception
    are in vogue.
    The Constitution and Rule of Law
    have been abandoned
    by the leadership of the Country.
    The Bill of Rights
    has been desecrated
    and discarded.
    The wealthy have distanced themselves
    from the Undeserving masses.
    People of color,
    and LGBTQ people
    are increasingly marginalized,
    and maltreated.
    It is the place of the people to say, “NO!”
    There is nobody to say it for us.
    We have to oppose the rush
    to autocracy and tyranny
    by being vocal,
    taking up the cause of Resistance,
    and voting against Republicans
    in every election great and small
    for as long as it takes
    to reclaim the values of democracy
    and keep them eternally safe
    from those who would destroy them
    from within.
  2. 05/03/2018 — Moses Cone 2018 04 Panorama — Cone Manor, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, April 22, 2018 We grow up against our will.
    We have created a culture of infantilism
    and denial
    to aid us in our refusal to grow up.
    and addiction
    keep us safe
    from the essential requirement
    of understanding,
    and bearing
    the pain
    of accommodation,
    and cooperation with
    the facts that define
    and limit our life—
    and deepen,
    and enlarge
    our mind,
    and spirit—
    enabling the grace
    and wisdom
    for the transformation
    of perspective
    and the alteration
    of perception
    necessary for the realization
    of the fullness and wonder of joy and life.

05/03/2018 — Here’s one for you—
chew on this:
Having things like we want them to be
keeps us from being
who we need to become.
Only the unwanted
can bring us forth.
“It took the Cyclops
to bring out the hero in Ulysses.”
— Joseph Campbell
What is your Cyclops?
May you never run out of them!

  1. 05/04/2018 — Pearson’s Glen 2018 07 HDR — Pearson’s Falls, Colt Creek, Saluda, North Carolina, April 21, 2018 Some of us can hear only
    what we have already heard. Some of can hear only
    what we want to be told. Some of us can hear
    what we know to be so,
    even though we have never heard it spoken. Some of can hear nothing at all
    because what we believe to be so
    drowns out all other voices. All of which speaks to the importance
    of consciously bearing the pain
    of legitimate suffering,
    for we can only hear
    what we can bear. Legitimate suffering that is not borne
    is repressed/suppressed/denied
    to the point of physical symptoms
    in ourselves or those close to us.
    It will be suffered! What we will not suffer—
    what we will not hear—
    is passed on.
    Pain will be borne,
    consciously or unconsciously.
    Physical pain
    may be compensation
    for emotional pain
    we refuse to acknowledge
    and will not feel. Our relationship to the pain of existence
    determines exclusively
    the quality/vitality of our life.

05/04/2018 — We have to be able to
stand up under the burden
of the sadness at the heart of life.
We have to bear the pain of being.
We have built a civilization—
and all civilizations are built upon
the same foundation—
of denial,
and circuses.
Our buffer,
our shield,
against the encroaching night
of sorrow beyond imagining.
All the gurus—
the real ones, I mean—
advise vulnerability.
Jesus said, “Put down your swords.”
The Buddha sat alone
under the Bodhi Tree.
Gandhi wandered the earth
wearing only a diaper,
symbolic of the helplessness
of a baby
(I just made that up,
but it fits my narrative).
The ones who know
know we have go go alone
through the agone of existence.
That is the threshold,
the portal,
to “the distant shore,”
which isn’t distant at all.
It is as close as our next breath.
It is a perspective.
A way of viewing/seeing/evaluating/interpreting/exegeting
We see through the pain.
The pain clears our vision.
Grows us up.
Enables us to apprehend the wonder of life
on the other side
of sadness and sorrow,
grief and anguish.
You have to trust me in this,
and put down all your weapons
against the realization of your pain.
Open yourself to it.
Hold it in your awareness.
And out-wait it.
It will be longer than you want it to be,
but not nearly as long as you are afraid it will be.
When you pop through,
you will be transformed
and find that you have become
the hope of the world.

05/04/2018 — Take up the practice
of stepping into
the next situation
as it arises
with no expectation
and no opinion—
with no attachment
and no stake.
No investment.
No preference.
Nothing to win.
Nothing to lose.

Too often, we step into
our situations
ready for battle,
intent on getting something
and/or protecting something.
Somebody seems
to be after something
from somebody,
or trying to keep something
from somebody
in every situation that comes along.
At day’s end,
we are worn out.
We need a new approach:
No opinion,
no expectation,

Become polished.
Go into every situation
listening, looking, seeing, hearing,
realizing and responding,
without trying to exploit
anything there for your own gain.
Understanding what is happening,
knowing what needs to happen,
and assisting its happening.
One situation after another.
It will change the world.

05/04/2018 — Everybody has to come to terms
with the downside.
It is one of the rites of passage
that recurs at different points
in our life
throughout our life.
We hit a low spot from time to time
and have to confront
the downside of parenthood,
of marriage,
of adolescence,
of getting old,
of, of, of…
Never ends.
We have to grow up some more again,
and step into the Developmental Task
by confronting the downside
whenever it appears.
The procedure is to
open ourselves to it,
to feel it to the very bottom,
recognize it for what it is,
hold it in our awareness
without opinion or evaluation,
and wait it out.
Growing up requires us to face
the downside of growing up.
It’s like a trade off.
We give up this to get that.
And that’s the downside of this.
We could run,
There’s a downside to that.

  1. 05/05/2018 — Rock Garden 2018 08 Panorama — Big Rock Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, Charlotte, North Carolina, April 2, 2018 The foundation of existence
    is assumed to be
    to our benefit/well-being/good-pleasure.
    If we want it,
    we have to have it
    and will do whatever it takes for it.
    We are afraid
    we won’t have what we need,
    and are obsessed with making damn sure we do.
    All of that changes
    with the realization
    that we have what we need
    to find what we need
    by working together
    to take care of each other.
    Did he just say “socialism”?
    My God, I think he just said “socialism”!
    I said “HUMANITY” dumb-ass!
    The whole frigging world
    is one big party,
    or would be
    without the idea
    of “I can’t help you
    until I am sure I have all I need”
    getting in the way. We cannot just take my word for it.
    We all have to sit ourselves down
    and hold everything in our awareness
    until our fear of scarcity
    and our refusal to trust ourselves
    to the benevolence of others
    show themselves to be
    the fuel of our self-centered flames,
    and open the possibility
    of shifting toward compassion
    and generosity
    for all people everywhere.
    Everything waits on
    the realization of awareness
    to change the drift of our heart and soul.

05/05/2018 — You may have missed this, from April 26, 2017:

I talked with a MRI technologist recently who told me, “Jim, all the organs in our body, all the blood and muscles, are sending out different signals. We are a range of frequencies held together by a range of frequencies.”

Which led me to wonder in several directions at once.

Could we invent a weapon to jam or scramble a person’s frequencies, and kill people more efficiently than with bullets and bombs?

Could we invent a redemptive device to realign a person’s frequencies, and heal people of diseases? Cure people of emotional trauma? Turn our enemies into friends?

Could we learn to read, decipher, discern a person’s frequencies and know whether that person would be a good employer, employee, spouse/partner/friend?

Could it be that we already do something along these lines when we “resonate” with a particular person, place, or thing?

Does that which has always been called “God” have a certain frequency range? And could that be what we sense when we talk of “being in the center of God’s will,” or “being in the flow,” or “being with the Force,” or “being in the groove,” of “being at one with the Tao,” of “having Buddha mind.” of things “being harmonious,” of things “humming right along”?

Perhaps we should develop the field of Octave Medicine in addition to Nuclear Medicine, or Octave Therapy alongside Psychotherapy, transforming frequencies, changing lives.

The entire universe is a range of frequencies held together by a range of frequencies.

Is a frequency physical or spiritual? A wave or a particle?

Do ideas and dreams have frequencies separate from the frequencies of the person who “has” them?

When we “tune out” and “tune in,” are we changing frequencies?

That was a conversation worth the price of a cup of coffee.

05/05/2018 — And, while we are at it, this is from April 27, 2017:

Drifting back to the idea that
we are a collection of frequencies
in search of a tuning fork,
I will point out that
Joseph Campbell said
(on the last page of the final chapter
of “The Power of Myth,”
the Bill Moyers’ interview on PBS
made into a book):

“When you realize the sound ‘AUM’
is the sound of the mystery
of the world everywhere,
you don’t have to go looking for it
because it is right here all around.
Just sit still
and experience it,
and know it (or words to that effect).”

He follows that with:
“‘AUM is a symbolic sound
that puts us in touch
with that resounding being
that is the universe
of which all things
are manifestations…
If you listen to Tibetan monks
chanting ‘AUM,’ you begin
to sense what that word means,
and perhaps resonate with the frequency
that vibrates eternally
through all things
(or words to that effect).”

We are never far
from that which we seek—
only a perception shift away
from making The Find,
and knowing
what we have always known.

  1. 05/06/2018 — Bleeding Heart 2018 01 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, April 13, 2018 What’s money for?
    Our answer tells all.

05/06/2018 — Here’s one from December 9, 2016…

How long can you tread water?
Hold your breath?
Maintain your perspective, attitude, balance, direction?
Live beyond the bounds of encouragement
and sustaining evidence of the value
of what you are doing?

How well can you live,
and go on living,
when it doesn’t matter how you live?

Your personal best in these things
may be put to the test.
Everything—every good thing—about you
may be put to the test.
The test is the strength of our connection—
our relationship—
with our heart and soul—
with the ground, center and foundation of our life.

We all have to be nurturing that connection—
that relationship.
It is only a matter of time
until we will have to live solely from
the still point
at the heart of each of us.

We have to go there often,
and know the place well.
When every foundation
we thought we had in place dissolves
like sand castles before the tide,
only the core will hold.

We have to know what that is
and how to find it,
in order to live out of it
through the long emptiness
between the last Good Time
and the next one.

Those who know what it means to say
“Mindfulness leads the way”
will have—and become—
a light in the darkness,
which will make all the difference.

05/06/2018 — Here is one from 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,
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

05/06/2018 — Jon Kabat-Zinn says…

“Meditation is really a way of being appropriately in tune with the circumstances one finds oneself in, in any and every moment.”

(Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Meditation Is Not What You Think: Mindfulness and Why It Is So Important (p. 44). Hachette Books. Kindle Edition.)

05/06/2018 — Jesus gets the spin
of being all about peace
and love,
and “Father, Forgive them,
they know not what they do.”
But there is hell
for everyone who doesn’t do it
Jesus’ way.
Peace, love and heaven
for doing it Jesus’ way,
and hell if you don’t.
What would you go to hell for?
Living for something
you love enough
to go to hell for
is a more honest,
and valid
kind of love,
than loving Jesus
in order to get into heaven.
And Jesus would have to agree:
“Why don’t you decide
for yourselves what is right?”
“Blessed are you
if you know what you are doing,
but woe unto you if you do not!”
Heaven and hell hang on
our being true to ourselves
and knowing what is ours to do—
because it is ours to do,
and not because Jesus
will like us if we do it.
We have to live authentic lives
straight from the heart
in light of what matters most,
and we better be right about it.
Who better than us
would know what is right for us?
Why be afraid to say
what we know is the truth?
Jesus even told a parable
that asked that question,
about a guy hiding his talent
because he was afraid to trust it.
Why not trust ourselves
to what we know is our talent,
our gift,
our genius,
our life?

  1. 05/07/2018 — Raven’s Roost 2018 03 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Boone, North Carolina, April 22, 2018 We have an entire lifetime to work it out,
    so what are we doing with our time?
    There is nothing beyond
    finding our life
    and living it
    to do!
    What did they think it was about,
    all those people
    who had their shot at us—
    Sunday school teachers,
    The entire gamut
    of gurus,
    and friends?
    Who were Jesus’ mentors?
    And the Buddha’s?
    Or, were they on their own
    like so many of us are?
    “There is nowhere to go!
    Nothing to get!
    Nobody to be
    you aren’t already!
    There is only this moment
    and the next one,
    and the one after that…
    Here it is.
    Right here,
    right now.
    Be you here and now!”
    If you were going to
    be you here and now,
    what would you do?
    Do it!
    Why doesn’t someone
    tell us that early-on?
    I had to run through a lot
    of someone else’s idea of me
    before I got to me.
    I expect you did, too.

05/07/2018 — The only way to enlightenment (Etc.)
is through reflection on your life experience
to the point of new realizations.
That’s how the Buddha did it.
That’s how Jesus did it.
That’s how it is done.
Sit still.
Be quiet.
Reflect on your experience
to the point of new realizations
(do not simply rehash
the same old conclusions).
Hold everything in your awareness
and wait.
See what occurs to you.
Repeat this practice
regularly for the rest of your life.

  1. 05/08/2018 — Moses Cone 2018 06 Panorama — Cone Manor, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, April 22, 2018 The antecedents of the future
    are strewn throughout the past.
    How often do we find ourselves saying,
    “I should have seen this coming.”
    “I knew this was going to happen.”
    “When will I ever learn?”
    The seeds of tomorrow
    are planted yesterday,
    and last year,
    and before we were born.
    I’ve always been a writer,
    and I was attracted to cameras
    in my childhood.
    It is all groundwork.
    Who you are
    and what you are doing
    has been simmering
    all your life,
    putting out roots,
    waiting for spring
    to push up through the soil.
    Clues are there for the clever eye.
    All it takes is paying attention.
    Are we listening to what we say?
    Seeing what we are doing?
    Cooperating with the forces
    at work in our life?
    Where do we think this is going?
    What is being asked of us?
    We aren’t just along for the ride!
    Participation is preparation!
    Learn to read the signs!
    Let your “Yes!”
    and your “No!”
    be informed by your grasp
    of what is going on
    and where you are being asked to go.
    Align yourself
    with the life that was yours
    before you were born!

05/08/2018— What determines what you do,
and do not?
What are the norms and standards
that direct your life?
Where do you draw the line?
Establish your boundaries?
Set your limits?
Say “No”?
I feel a shift underway in the way
the world works—
from knowing where the lines lie,
to letting the good times roll,
with everything depending upon nothing,
and whatever is convenient,
or expedient,
or desirable,
or fun
being always on the table.
If it appears to be profitable,
and capable of being exploited
in the service of our interests,
or just our mood of the moment,
we are all in.
The center has dissipated.
The foundations are collapsing.
The bedrock is a sinkhole.
We are in freefall
as individuals,
and it is up to us
to assert our authority
in determining what we do,
and do not.
Draw our lines.
Establish our boundaries.
Set our limits.
And say “No.”

  1. 05/09/2018 — Pearson’s Glen 2018 15 — Colt Creek, Saluda, North Carolina, April 21, 2018 The center of culture and society
    fails to hold
    because the people
    live without integrity
    and authenticity,
    and are not aligned
    with the bedrock values
    that define them
    and root them
    at their core
    to the way things ought to be
    with them individually
    and personally
    and the life they are living.
    They are living inauthentic lives,
    looking for smooth and easy,
    absorbed in entertaining pastimes,
    awash in addiction
    and denial,
    looking for something,
    to take their pain away
    and hide them
    from the contradictions
    and polarities
    that require them to grow up
    and be who their life
    needs them to be
    in serving a good beyond
    their own good,
    and living as beacons
    of liberty and justice for all—
    with “all” being
    Single. One.

05/09/2018 — Each of us can
make the world a better place
or a worse place
simply by the way
we live in it.
Which do you opt for?
Sit with your choice,
seeking clarity.
Why that one
and not the other one?
What background,
what experience,
do you have
that would make the choice you choose
the choice you chose?
What has happened
along your life’s way
to lead you to the choice you made?
Who have been your mentors,
your guides,
helping you to the choice you made?
How did the values
that led to the choice
become set in place?
What tilted you in the direction
of that choice?
What would it take for you
to have made the other choice?
Where do you think
caring comes from?
Why do you think
some people care
more than others?
Where would you place yourself
along a caring scale
from 1 (no caring)
to 10 (max caring)?
What could you do
to increase your
caring quotient?

  1. 05/10/2018 — Goodale Mirror — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015 I do best away from noise
    of all kinds.
    I do not watch TV
    because of the “noise factor,”
    and maintain an “Intensity Buffer,”
    moving away when things
    begin to drift in that direction.
    I avoid anything that
    hooks me emotionally—
    sporting events,
    novels, in an intense/suspenseful way.
    I am in charge
    of my own peace and serenity,
    and take my responsibility seriously.
    Silence and solitude have become
    my touchstones of grace and sanity,
    and cannot imagine
    operating in the day-to-day world
    of dust and noise
    without regular retreats into “The Void”
    that is “devoid” of such distractions.
    Carl Jung’s understood a hermit to be
    “A primitive person who trusts their unconscious.”
    And I have embraced that
    as a worthy goal
    well within the range of us all—
    even amid the whirl of daily life.
    We walk two paths at the same time,
    and learn the way of silence
    by observing noise
    without participating in it.
    Mindfulness becomes a retreat
    and a refuge in this way,
    allowing us to be aware
    of our surroundings
    without being engaged/immersed/absorbed/attached
    with/in/by/to whatever is happening there.
    A perspective shift can insert
    the distance of a “perception filter”
    between us and what
    is going on around us,
    and we can walk through the world
    as through a forest,
    or a glen,
    disappearing traffic, for instance,
    by being aware of being aware of it.

05/10/2018 — Spirituality is not about
getting to heaven
when we die.
The “afterlife”
(And the quote marks mean “so-called,”
because there is no evidence
except hearsay to suggest
there is an actual afterlife)
exists as consolation for those
who have made such little use
of this life
that they feel like they need
another one in which to live at last.
Live Now While You Can!
is the dominant message of spirituality.
Spirituality is about
bringing us to life in the life that is ours to live
while we are alive.
It is about getting our spirit/soul/heart
together with our body,
our psyche together with
our physical existence,
so that our physical life
is infused with our zest for life,
and the life we live
is lived wholeheartedly,
with nothing held back.
THAT is what we are working toward,
aiming at,
striving for,
when we talk about
the spiritual journey,
We are talking about coming to life,
about being alive in the time left for living.
And we do not get there
by way of theology and doctrine,
but through integrating
the drift of our soul
with the facts of our life
to the point of exhibiting
“the face that was ours
before we were born”
(The quotes indicate the phrase
does not belong to me)
with the conditions and circumstances
of the life we are living.
Get that down and you are
as alive as you can be
on either side of the grave.

05/10/2018 — You can tell how well someone’s
life is working
by the way they treat people.
The same rule applies to you.
We treat people in direct proportion
to how well our life is going.
The converse is also true:
The better we treat people,
the better it goes with our life.
In treating people well,
we have to step aside.
Stepping aside is also
the key to having our life go well.
It is also the primary characteristic
of maturity.
The more mature we are,
the more often we give way.
The kinder, gentler,
more generous and gracious
we are.
And the better our life works
and the better we treat other people.

  1. 05/11/2018 — Time and Chance 2018 01 B&W — Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 31, 2018 Some people can’t be happy
    until everyone is like them.
    It’s a problem for everyone.
    Being happy is being happy
    to be ourselves
    and no one else—
    being happy to be ourselves
    and not someone else.
    How many people do you know
    who are that kind of happy,
    including you?
    As long as you can’t be happy
    as long as some group of people
    (or some lone individual)
    are not (is not) like you
    you’re not going to be happy.
    As long as you think
    “It’s people like you
    who make people like me
    hate people like you!”,
    you’re going to be hiding
    from what you hate about you
    and the people like you,
    and taking it out on those
    who remind you who you are
    but cannot allow yourself to be.
    What you hate
    is a mirror revealing
    what you have
    cut yourself off from within.
    “Thou Art That!”
    We cannot be reconciled without
    until we can be reconciled within.
    “The best political,
    and spiritual
    work we can do
    is to withdraw the projection
    of our shadow onto others”
    (Carl Jung).
    We hate in others
    what we cannot acknowledge
    in ourselves,
    and it’s time to stop.
  2. 05/12/2018 — Partial Skyline 2018 05 — Charlotte, North Carolina, March 25, 2018 What would you need to do
    to be a better person?
    Where do you need to get to work?
    What part of your game
    needs to be improved?
    What does Lebron James need to improve?
    Yuja Wang?
    Wynton Marsalis?
    The people who are good
    at what they do
    never stop practicing.
    How long has it been since
    you practiced some aspect
    of being you?
    Do you spend more time
    improving yourself
    or improving others?
    Do you spend more time
    complaining about how
    poorly you do things
    or reducing the list
    of things you do poorly?
    Wishing you were better at something
    or practicing getting better at things?
    When did you stop developing
    aspects of yourself?
    What do you think
    the rest of your life
    is for?

05/12/2018 — How we respond
to our life
is the teller
that tells the tale.
Everything revolves
and falls into place
around how we receive
and react to our life.
It isn’t what happens to us
that matters,
but what we do about it,
in response to it.
We become the living image
of the collective responses
we have made
to the experience
of being alive.
The weight of life
and its impact upon us
is governed by way
we handle what happens.
The key is our degree
of mindful awareness
throughout the process.
Every aspect of our perspective
comes into play
in assessing the weight
and impact of our life.
The Event waits to be graded
and given a place in our life.
Too many are denounced
and denied,
as if that will disappear them.
They fade into the background
and influence our reaction
to everything that follows.
We do not rid ourselves
of any experience.
They all remain with us
as an active or inactive presence
shaping our response
to future experiences.
We moderate their ramifications
by experiencing them fully
and bearing consciously
the legitimate pain they bring up,
folding them into our life
as a contributing element
in our development over time.
Accepting everything as a part
of our experience
has a different impact
than rejecting, denying, resenting
experiences that are more
than we want to face and consider.
We determine our outcomes
far more than we might think,
and remain the primary determinant
regarding how things turn out
over the full course of our life.

05/12/2018 — This is from 04/24/2016.
All of the oldies are found
(or soon will be) in
One Minute Monologues
on my WordPress site…

One of the leading causes of depression
Is living an inauthentic life.
That is a life that is not you.
That doesn’t have enough room in it for you.
That doesn’t have enough places
for your soul to breathe.

If there is space in your life
for your soul to come to life,
Depression will not likely be
one of your chief problems.

How much soul-space is there in your life?
How much of Y-O-U shines through
each day in the life you live?
If you were to give your soul
what it needs tomorrow,
What would it be?

What are the chances of you doing that,
If not tomorrow, one day this week?
This month?
Too many of us are owned
by too many things
That are not things our soul enjoys.
We have to work our soul
back into our life.
We have to give our soul
room to breathe.
We have to bring ourselves to life in our life.

That is your mission—
Bringing your soul, yourself,
to life in your life.
How can you begin to do that
in what is left of today?

The rest of your life will be lighter,
and brighter, and more fun
When you devote some time
to playing with your soul,
And doing what your soul loves.
Live to close the gap between
you and authenticity.
Your soul told me to say that.

  1. 05/13/2018 — Raven Rock 2007 01 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Boone, North Carolina, May 6, 2007 Retirement affords me the luxury
    of going at my own pace
    in directions I deem
    to be preferable.
    I understand the limits and restrictions
    imposed on me
    by my place in life,
    and accommodate myself
    to them
    as well as I am able.
    There are things I enjoy doing,
    and things I hope to avoid,
    and nothing I agonize over
    having to do.
    Retirement is much better
    than the seventh grade
    with algebra,
    and seminary
    with Greek and Hebrew,
    and I am glad to be here, now
    doing what I do—
    in my own time,
    in my own way—
    and relish each day.
    I bring the things I have learned
    on my way to this point
    to bear on my continuing experience,
    and find that reflection
    is more about forming realizations
    than drawing conclusions,
    and is the path
    of making my peace
    with past, present and future,
    and when I am no longer able
    to hold a thought,
    there will still be
    the sun and the rain.
    I have always preferred the rain.
  2. 05/13/2018 — Getting There — Snail 2018 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, May 10, 2018 You can get anywhere
    if you go slowly enough.
    I know people who refuse
    to go back to school
    to get their degree,
    or an advanced degree,
    because they will be sixty-something
    by the time it’s done.
    They are going to be sixty-something anyway.
    Why not be sixty-something with the degree?
    What’s the problem
    with how long something takes?
    I planted trillium when we moved
    to South Carolina,
    with no idea of how long it takes
    for trillium to work their way
    into blooming
    (Just this side of forever).
    If I had known,
    I would have planted them anyway.
    And watered them.
    And waited.
    Nothing is wrong with waiting.
    It is what we spend
    most of our time doing,
    whether we are in a hurry
    or not.
    I miss something
    every time I’m in a hurry.
    Waiting is what I do best.

05/13/2018 — From 02/13/2016:

Jesus came healing on the Sabbath,
keeping company with the “unclean”
(People with leprosy
or some chronic illness
or injury,
or those simply too poor
to pay the Temple tax,
and obviously afflicted by God
for some unpardonable sin,
hence not to be acknowledged
for fear of becoming guilty by association),
with women and tax-collectors.

Jesus was out of accord with every book of order of his day,
yet, in the Sermon on the Mount, said,
“Do not think I have come to abolish the Law.
I have come to fulfill it.”
And then, he proceeds through the rest of the Sermon
to lay aside the Law with things like:
“You have heard it said…
But I say unto you…”

Jesus very deliberately lived
so as to abolish the letter of the Law,
the written Law,
so as to fulfill the spirit of the Law,
doing what needed to be done in each situation as it arose,
without regard to what was supposed to be done
according to Jewish Law or social code.

But that didn’t mean people were free to do
whatever they felt like doing.
“If you know what you are doing,” he said
to a man he found working on the Sabbath,
“You are blessed.
But if you don’t know what you are doing,
you are accursed and a transgressor of the Law.”

And he prayed for the people at his crucifixion saying,
“Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”
Everything revolves around knowing what we are doing—
around living a considered life—
around living consciously,
aware of the time
and place of our living,
and what is being called for there,
what is being asked of us there,
and complying in the moment
out of a heart that
and understands what is being asked of it.

As Jesus might have said,
“You all have a heart!
Go live in its service!”
It is never more difficult than that.

05/13/2018 — If I were speaking at graduation…
From 02/24/16:

There were two living generations before me,
My grandparents’ generation and my parents’ generation,
And their best advice to me was along the lines of,
“Keep your nose clean and to the grindstone.
Believe what you are told and do what we say.
Don’t ask any questions we can’t answer,
And for God’s sake, Jimmy, stop looking out the window!”

Nothing from any of them
About the importance of mindfulness.
They never said
“Be aware of everything.
Your awareness will teach you all you need to know.
Always ask the questions that beg to be asked,
And say the things that cry out to be said.
Develop a love for contradictions,
And struggle to reconcile what can be reconciled,
And to bear consciously and graciously the pain
Of opposites that must remain poles apart.
Be open to your experience
And let it lead you to the things you love,
And away from the things you do not love.
Trust your judgment in all cases great and small,
And when it becomes apparent that you made a bad call,
Let that judgment lead you to make amends
And to do better next time.
Don’t look for answers,
But for experiences that force reflection,
And lead to new realizations.
You are on your own with your life,
But you have all you need
To find your way into the company of those
Who are also figuring out who they are and what to do,
And can help by sharing with you what they know.
A large number of that company will be dead,
But their books will illumine their path,
And encourage you in your own path.
When your courage falters,
And your hope fades,
Be still and listen to your heart and your stomach.
They will always lead the way.”

It would have helped if they had been a little bit awake.
They didn’t know what to do with me,
But that is ridiculous!
I came from them!
They couldn’t help me
Because they had turned their backs on themselves.

05/13/2018 — From 03/09/2016…

We are responsible for separating ourselves
enough from the noise of life
To engage the silence necessary
for awareness and reflection to occur
In order to find the center—
Eliot’s “still point of the turning world”—
And live out of that foundation,
Letting our life fall into place around it.

Knowing what is central to us, for us,
Is the knowing that only we can know.
No one can tell us what that is.
We find it, know it, for ourselves.
We keep waiting for someone to tell us
What is ours to do.

  1. 05/14/2018 — Raven Rock 2018 06 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Boone, North Carolina, April 22, 2018 Helplessness is our default response pattern
    to things we don’t want to deal with.
    Rather than sit with a situation,
    assess it
    and decide what must be done about it,
    we immediately go over into
    “Nothing Can Be Done!”
    and wail,
    waiting to be rescued,
    or bail,
    leaping into escape/addiction. Emergency Medical Technicians
    coming upon an emergency event
    do not have those options.
    They look for what needs to be done,
    what can be done,
    and what they can do about it
    with what they have to work with—
    which includes calling in additional help—
    and do it.
    They don’t pop a six pack
    or guzzle gin straight from the bottle. Our life is too often an emergency event
    and we are the first responders
    resorting too quickly
    to the beer and gin
    (or their 10,000 equivalents).
    We don’t waste time with triage.
    We wail or bail. The situation calls us
    to Stop. Look. Listen.
    but we are Folding. Flopping. Fleeing.
    The funny thing is
    our life goes with us.
    We cannot get away.
    The situation we refuse to deal with
    becomes an escalating situation
    we still have to deal with. The beer and gin (etc.) become a part
    of what we now have to manage,
    and we come upon the indelible truth
    at the heart of the life experience:
    We can do what is hard initially,
    or we can do it the hard way forever.
    Either way, we don’t get the option
    of getting out of hard. Not what we want to hear.
    And we never listen
    to what we don’t want to hear.
    And that’s the path
    that leads to here.
    Now what?
    Our life is asking us to deal with it.
    What are we going to do?

05/15/2018 — Pink Wood Sorrel 2018 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, May 7, 2018

Do not go past Stop!
Back away from the edges.

What would push you past Stop!?
What would carry you over the edge?
You would test the limits
in the service of what?

What are legitimate boundaries?
What borders do you always acknowledge?
What leads you to override “NO!”?

Why do you go on a diet
and then ignore the restrictions
a diet imposes?

When, where, how do you live
as though it doesn’t matter how you live?
As though nothing will happen to you?
As though you are immune to consequences?
As though you do not care what happens?

What would enable you to care?
Under what conditions would you
observe the boundaries?
Honor the limits?
Live within the lines?

What pushes you past Stop!?

05/15/2018 — Everyone has access
to the same information,
and everyone decides
for themselves
what it means,
and what to do about it.

We all see the same facts,
and interpret them differently.
Look— there is a black person,
what do we see?
A gay person,
a woman,
a Latino,
a Jew,
a Muslim,
an old person,
a foreigner
a homeless person…
What do we see?

We are each one responsible
for what we see.
We all can look
at the same person
and see a different person,
and the person
will be different
from what each of us sees.

We categorize people
by ignoring the things
that make them different
and seeing only the things
that make them
the way we think they are.

We carry mental images—
of all people
of every brand
available on the market today,
and know who they are
based on who we expect
them to be.
And see only those aspects of them
that confirm our suppositions.

The facts simply trigger
our associations and assumptions,
then the facts disappear
and we relate to our ideas
about who stands before us.
Anything the fact might do
to try and be real for us
is ignored,
We know what the truth is,
never mind what the facts are.

Facts don’t stand a chance
with us.

  1. 05/15/2018 — Lunar Eclipse, February 20, 2008, Greensboro, North Carolina From 01/03/2016: I Thee Wed Lets say you are a woman and I am a man,
    and we fall in love with each other.
    Or one of us falls in love with the other. The experience of falling in love
    is not far from the experience of idolization,
    wherein we idolize the other as The Perfect One,
    all imperfections being unrecognized,
    denied, This does not mean we
    are well-suited for each other,
    and should marry,
    have many children
    and live happily ever after. And it does not matter
    if you actually possess the qualities
    and characteristics
    I ascribe to you
    (or you to me).
    You may not be courageous and kind at all,
    but the meanest coward who ever cut and ran.
    It is how I see you that causes me
    to fall in love with you
    (And it is who you turn out to be
    that causes me to divorce you, sometime later).
    Being in love is not related to reality in any way.
    The experience of being in love
    is no predictor of the viability
    of the relationship.
    Maybe, maybe not. The experience of being in love
    is an indicator that the other
    has stirred within us our unrealized
    potential for being The Perfect One
    we see exemplified in the other. We project what we do not recognize
    as needing to be developed within ourselves
    onto the other.
    The other stands before us as a mirror,
    reflecting back to us our own projections
    onto him, onto her,
    and we see in the other what is missing,
    but available to be realized,
    within us. You are the woman I need to become.
    I am the man you need to be.
    I need to become like you in ways
    I see you being you,
    and you need to become like me
    in ways you see me being me.
    My work is to become the woman
    I see you as being,
    Your work is to become the man
    you see me as being,
    My woman needs to be like you.
    Your man needs to be like me.
    I must spend my life working
    to bring you to life in me.
    You must spend your life working
    to bring me to life in you. In this way,
    we “marry” the other,
    plight “thee” our troth
    through sickness and health,
    wealth and poverty,
    good times and bad,
    ’til death do us part if then. Developing my feminine side,
    developing your masculine side,
    is the androgynous work of soul
    wherein the two
    sides of our personality,
    male and female,
    become one
    human being. It has nothing to do
    with merging two individuals
    into the same person
    (As if!).
    The merger is not an outer,
    physical fact,
    but an inner,
    which we pursue as a conscious work of soul
    over the full course of our life,
    whether we marry
    each other in real time,
    or not. Find what attracts you
    about everyone/everything
    you find attractive,
    and spend the rest of your life
    incorporating it into your life.
    Incarnate it in the way you live,
    so that you and it become one.
  2. 05/16/2018 — Moses Cone 2018 05 Panorama — Cone Manor, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, April 22, 2018 Do the work.
    Don’t worry about the outcome.
    The work is the outcome.
    “Do the work well,” said Lao Tzu,
    “and let nature take its course.”
    Let everything fall out as it will
    around the work. Your only concern
    is finding the work that is your work
    and doing it well.
    Being right about our work
    and spending our life
    in its service.
    “What I do is me,” said Gerard Manley Hopkins
    “for that I came.” I’ve identified my work
    as hermeneutics,
    exegesis, I say what it means—
    what I understand it to mean—
    and let nature take its course. And, you?

05/15/2018 — Our work is similar
around the circle.
We have to be interested
in our life,
in the life we are living
and in the life that is ours to live.

We have to be able to live them
with enthusiasm and vitality.
We have to live them
like we mean it.

That’s our work.
What do we need
to do our work?
What do we need
to live our life
like we believe in it?

I walk past people every day
who don’t seem to me
to be living a life they believe in.
I ask them,
“Do you believe in your life?”

I think they have never thought about it.
It stops them.
Or sometimes, I ask them,
“What’s the most meaningful thing
you do in a week?”

That stops them, too.
They say, “I’ll have to think about it.”
I say, “Think about it as long as you need to.
We can talk about it later.”

We have to start thinking
about these things.
What is meaningful about my life?
What do I believe in about my life?
We can’t just hang out
until we die.
What kind of life is that?
Hanging out?

  1. 05/17/2018 — Rock Garden 2018 19 — Big Rock Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, Charlotte, North Carolina, April 2, 2018 Following our interests
    (zeal, passion, enthusiasm, vitality)
    is the best way I know of
    for staying on track,
    grounded on what is important,
    and aligned with
    our life’s idea
    of what life is about. Joseph Campbell’s
    “Follow your bliss!—
    even when it tests your resolve
    with trials and ordeals!”
    is a good general principle, Self-transparency is essential
    in the service of our heart’s
    true desire. “True” is the operative word.
    Because fooling ourselves is
    what we do best. There are 10,000 things
    that present themselves to us
    disguised as our heart’s true desire.
    Alcohol, money, comfort, pleasure,
    and all the other entertaining pastimes,
    compete with legitimate claims
    in an “Is it real, or is it Memorex”
    kind of way. To know what we love,
    we have to know ourselves,
    and pay attention to the drift
    of heart and soul over time—
    in order to remain true
    (that word again)
    to ourselves
    and immune to the Sirens’ call.

05/18/2018 — Living is the lesson,
life is the teacher,

It all depends upon the student.
Can the student be taught?

Is the student open
to learning the lessons
life is teaching?
Will the student help life
help him, her?
Is the student capable
of listening to his, to her, life?
Can the student question
his, her, assumptions,
Is the student able to wake up?
Is the student content with—
condemned to—
sleeping through
all of the lessons
life is trying to teach?

The old Zen masters
recognized the problem,
and said:
“When the student is ready,
the teacher appears.”
Not that the teacher had not
always been there,
but that nothing can happen
before its time.

Thus, the teacher’s mantra:
“Perhaps today is the day.
Who knows?”

Not knowing keeps the teacher going.

05/17/2018 — It is as simple
as paying complete attention
to the moment—
this moment right now—
without evaluation,
without opinion,
just seeing,
just hearing,
just knowing,
just understanding

Do that often enough
and things will change
for the better
throughout your life
and around the world.

It only takes doing it
to know that what I say
is so.

05/17/2018 — From 01/05/2016…

In a 2007 talk at Google,
Jon Kabat-Zinn likened formal mindfulness meditation practice
(The Body Scan, for instance, or 45 minutes of Breath Counting)
to training wheels on a bicycle.
We practice formally to get our body
trained to do the work without
our having to think about it.

The idea is to ride the bicycle without thinking about it.
Mindfulness meditation is
how we live our life,
not what we stop living for 20 or 45 minutes to do.
It is being mindfully
(Paying attention on purpose to the present moment),
without evaluation
or opinion,
throughout our day
(And paying attention to our dreams at night).

Then, he takes the bicycle analogy a step further.
Bicycles can be ridden in races,
on pavement,
off pavement through potholes
and over tree roots in the woods,
fast or slow,
by small children
and octogenarians,
commuting to work and school,
around the block,
in the park,
for daily exercise,
or the simple pleasure of taking a ride.

There are as many reasons and ways
to ride a bicycle as there are bicycle riders.
And, so it is with mindfulness meditation.
There is no right way to do it.
We ride our own bike.
We live our own life.
We meditate the way we meditate.
If it is right for us, it is right.
We all find our own path,
and walk it.
Find our own work,
and do it

Alan Watts once asked Joseph Campbell,
“Joe, what form does your yoga take?”
Campbell replied,
“I underline passages.”
There you are.
What form does your meditation take?

It doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you do it.

  1. 05/18/2018 — Yellow Wood Sorrel 2018 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, April 30, 2018 We are the mystery! All gurus worthy of the title
    know this to be so,
    and content themselves
    with living the questions,
    not being the answers. “An answer is a step
    on the way
    to a better question.” All the dead and dying people
    have the answers.
    An no creativity.
    No imagination.
    No vitality.
    Nothing worth having. The people who are most alive
    live wondering what’s next:
    What will I think of next?
    What will I do next?
    What will happen next?
    And then what? When we are most transparently real,
    we are clear about the opaque nature
    of our inner being.
    We know we do not know:
    Why we do what we do.
    Where our values come from.
    What makes the important things important.
    What pilots our boat
    on its path through the sea. Why is it a camera for me
    and not a brush or a pencil?
    Oils or watercolors? Why is it free verse
    and not sonnets
    or paragraphs,
    or scriptwriting? How do we know
    when something is right
    and when it is wrong?
    Something knows,
    but we don’t know who knows,
    or what all it knows. And we are here to serve it,
    not compete with it.
    Honor it,
    not despise it.
    Listen to it,
    not ignore it.
    Follow its leanings,
    not impose our own will. Out of the silence
    we come into being
    to dance and play,
    alive with the
    wonder of being. Where in your life do you dance?
    Come alive? Where in your life are you silent?

05/18/2018 — When Paul Harvey said,
“Hello Americans,
stand by for NEWS!”
How did he know
what the news was?
By what authority did he
determine “This is news,
and this is not”?

The same goes for the media today.
All media outlets say
the same things are news,
except Fox News,
which has no idea what the news is.

What is news and what isn’t?
Who decides?
Why this and not that?
Stories that later turn into news
are buried initially
and come to light
only after other stories
reveal the value of the original ones.
Or, are never heard from again.

What’s the process by which
a report is deemed valuable or worthless?
By which a theme is established?
Gains momentum and visibility?
Commands world-wide attention?
Is ignored?

And where does the public’s interest
and infatuation
come into play?
The public will pay to be told what?
To what extent do
ratings determine what we hear/read/see?

We write the reports that are written.
We direct the cameras
that record the action.
The news is what we say is news.
And we don’t know what we are doing.

“Tell us this about climate change, not that!”
“Tell us this about immigrants and gays, not that!”
“Tell us what we want to hear,
not what we cannot bear to know!”
“Show us anything but ourselves!”
“Keep it all about those people over there!”
“Nothing bad about me and mine!”

We cast the news to please ourselves.
and create our reality
by what we emphasize and disregard.

05/18/2018 — Integrity may not be as
financially rewarding as
hustling and conning are.
Trump cheated and won,
and his complete absence
of integrity
brings in more wealth
than he would ever realize
as a person of honor
and a man of his word.
Hustlers and con-artists
can’t buy
what integrity bestows.

If voters vote for the people
evidencing authenticity,
and integrity,
the country will be
in good hands
after every election.

And the entire world
will be better off
and thankful to us all.

05/18/2018 — Silence and solitude
play a central part
in the lives of those
who find what
we all seek,
because it takes
reflection on experience
to the point
of new realizations,
which, as it turns out,
are new by virtue
of their impact upon us,
and not by virtue
of their never being
realized before.

Aha! moments are
for us when we have them,
but they have been had
by all of us who have them.

Those who know,
know the same things.
The Four Noble Laws
are “Of course.”

And the Bhagavad Gita,
and the Sermon on the Mount,
and the Tao te Ching
are not news
to anyone who knows.

Ask anyone.
They will tell you
at some time they
were all Aha! moments
for someone—
for everyone—
who experienced
silence and solitude
in the right way.

It isn’t preaching
that does it,
but silence and solitude.
And that will preach.

  1. 05/19/2018 — Pearson’s Glen 2018 14 — Colt Creek, Saluda, North Carolina, April 21, 2018 It takes time
    to work out
    what’s important.
    Long stretches of time.
    Too much time. We waste years
    in pursuit of the wrong things,
    thinking we are right
    about it all.
    We usually
    have to get to
    the end of our rope
    before we change our mind.
    Some don’t
    even then. Be conscious
    of how what you think
    is important
    keeps getting in your way,
    tripping you up,
    failing to come through,
    showing you
    it isn’t what you think it is. Learn to see what’s what
    before you get
    to rope’s end.
    Look closer.
    Change your mind sooner. It all comes down
    to being right
    about what’s important,
    and living as though it is. And don’t take anyone’s
    word for it.
    Figure it out on your own.

05/19/2018 — There are people
who just want
other people dead.
All of them.
Their life is lived
in the service
of the extermination
of the people
they want dead.
And they are willing
to die themselves
in killing as many
of the people they hate
as they can.

The rest of us
have to come to terms
with that,
and deal with it
as well as we can.
We aren’t doing
a very good job
on either score.

One of the idiot congressmen
(and it seems to be more
of a requirement than
it used to be
that politicians be idiots)
said in response
to the Santa Fe school massacre,
“Pray for a return to normal,”
or words to that effect

Several things are wrong with that.
Here is one:
“Normal” gave rise to the shootings.
“Normal” isn’t changing anything
about easy access to guns.
“Normal” means more of the same forever.

“Pray that things change
to prevent this from happening again!”
That would be a prayer
worth praying,
and a call to action
in the service of the end it envisions.
No congressman/woman espouses
that kind of prayer.

The NRA needs to be voted into
the margins of society.
We do that by voting
for politicians who receive
no NRA support—
who sponsor and support
sensible gun laws
and oversee their enforcement.

And all of the supporting
institutions of society
have to become conscious
of their place in developing
mindful awareness among
the general population
regarding the impact
the ways we live
has on our life,
individually and collectively.

What are we doing
to create a culture
that does not support life?
What do we need to do differently?
How mindlessly do we live?
What would living mindfully require?

We can begin living
to ask and answer
these questions right now.

05/19/2018 — There are developmental tasks
that cannot be avoided
or skipped,
but must be completed
on the way to the next
developmental task.

There is no end
to the developmental tasks.
We are progressing only
to the next one.

We do not graduate.
We do not win.
We do not finish.
there is always another, but.
We can quit at any point,
and many do.
Too many do.

In an ideal world
every baby would
have a nurturing,
in which to begin work.
Too many babies
have nothing of the sort.
Far too many.

The species is disadvantaged
from the start.
How many have what they need?
At the start,
and at each point
along the way
from birth to death?
A show of hands
would be disheartening.

We would be safe to say
we do not have what we need,
and are left with
doing the best we can
with what we have to
work with,
and hoping for the best,
or handing over hope

I am still doing what I can imagine
with my developmental tasks,
and hoping for the best,
I have lived with,
and around,
good people who have
handed over hope,
and are living with blank eyes,
just getting through the day,
developmental tasks long forgotten.

Jesus walked through the ranks
of those people in his day.
Buddha did the same thing in his.
You and I take our turn in ours.

Our place is to provide each other
and all people (ALL people)
with the best environment we
can provide—
the best health care,
the best wage level,
the best living conditions
with the greatest degree of safety
and educational opportunities
and job availability,
and encouragement,
and direction
as we are able—
understanding that we all
have to help others help us,
and live in good faith
with one another,
and let the outcome be the outcome.

05/19/2018 — The developmental tasks,
when completed successfully,
enable us to grow up
some more again,
and, in so doing,
move into closer alignment
with the way things are
in the conditions
and circumstances of our life,
and with the life our Psyche/Self
would have us live
in expressing/exhibiting/incarnating
the gifts and propensities
within our unconscious.

We bring forth the qualities
and character of our Self,
giving them concrete expression,
in the physical world
of space and time.

Maturation and ego-strength of consciousness
is required to make the translation
from inner to outer.
The trials and ordeals
of the developmental tasks
are uniquely suited
to bring us to the place
of being able to be who we are
in each particular time and place
of our living.

We think they are a
maddening inconvenience
keeping us from achieving
our goals and pleasures,
when they are actually
tests of our spirit
developing us,
preparing us,
to achieve goals not our own.

The foundational spiritual realization
is that there is more to us
than meets the eye—
any eye,
even our own.
The purpose of our life
is to introduce us to whom
we also are.
Our life needs our collaboration
and cooperation
in the process of our own becoming.

We are caterpillars
with the option
to decide not to become

  1. 05/20/2018 — Vance Birthplace 2018 02 Panorama — North Carolina Historic Site, Weaverville, North Carolina, April 21, 2018 Your adamantine allegiance
    is to whom?
    To what?
    To whom/what
    do you swear liege loyalty? How is that made evident
    in your life?
    Would even casual observers
    be able to guess
    the bedrock of your life? My allegiance and loyalty
    are to myself.
    My most shameful memories
    coalesce around acts
    and choices
    of self-betrayal
    and denial. Jesus’s so-called
    self-sacrifice on the cross
    was the very opposite of that.
    He died because he would not
    deny himself. The cross was his refusal
    to betray the values
    and qualities
    at the heart of who he was. Socrates drinking the hemlock
    is another example
    of dedication to oneself
    regardless of the price. Joan of Arc,
    Malala Yousafzai,
    the list is long
    of the women and men
    who have lived
    in the service
    of their deep truth. Your liege loyalty
    belongs to whom?
    To what?

05/20/2018 — Intervention…
Hold that thought.
and that one.
Get the two together.

Do they fit?
Do they belong?

If we were participating fully
in our life,
at one with our life,
not as the director,
or the Captains of our Destiny,
but as the liver—
as the one who lives—
our life,
would we ever need to
Even to set things right?

How could things go wrong
if we were full participants
at one with our life?
Merging will with
what needs willing
at every turn,
in every moment—
dancing extemporaneously,
with the music of the spheres?
Intuiting instinctively
what is called for
and responding
with what is needed
in each moment,
without regard for anything
but the response most fitting
for the occasion,
with all things considered?

Intervention would then
be reserved
for getting things
back on track
when we,
for whatever reason,
got out of sync
with our life,
and tried to make
things happen
out of turn,
out of place,
out of time,
so that the timing
was thrown off
and peace needed
to be restored.

And would consist
of listening to the moment
and taking our cue
from what was happening,
and what needed to happen,
and how we could help
with the gifts
that are ours to give
to the time and place
of our living,
as full participants
with nothing at stake
beyond bringing ourselves forth
to meet each moment.

No exploitation.
No working the angles.
No seizing the advantage.
Only full participation.
With nothing to gain
beyond giving what is
ours to give
to what needs
what we have to offer.
Living in good faith
with life as it is being lived
in each moment
of our living.
All things considered.

05/20/2018 — Let the fiddlers fiddle,
and the whittlers whittle,
and the quilters quilt,
and the tellers tell…

We do our best
and hope for the best,
and do it again tomorrow.

Tending our business,
working our side of the street,
and when someone
gets out of sync
with himself or herself,
and a disruption occurs
in the field of action,

so that the fiddlers quilt
and the whittlers tell,
the quilters fiddle
and the tellers whittle…

we do our best
to put things back
in their places,
and hope for the best,
and do it again tomorrow.

05/20/2018 — Things have to play out
according to their own
and relative importance
within the context
and circumstances
of their occurrence.

Everything out of its
time and place
creates a disturbance
in the field of action,
making waves
that generate reactions
that make more waves.

When things are out of accord
with the Tao,
the people have to step
out of time and place
in order to place themselves
in accord with the Tao
of their own life
so as to heal the breech
and restore the harmony
of everything in its own
time and place.

If you do not know what this
means for you,
experiment with your own
heart, soul, mind and body
in the silence,
waiting for the stillness
to settle
in the solitude,
and for peace and harmony
to find a home
in your being at one
with your life.

05/20/2018 — Your religion has implications for you,
but not for me.
And vice versa.
We do not impose our religion
on each other.
This is known as
Freedom Of/Freedom From Religion.

Our religion can guide us when we vote,
but voting to make our religious practices
the Law of the Land
is unconstitutional.
The Church is not the State.
The State is not the Church.

Evangelical Christians do not agree with
the principle of Separation,
and want the Government
to rule as the Church
would have it rule.

And wealthy Evangelical Christians
pay greedy politicians
to do it their way.
This is a Constitutional Crisis
that goes unnamed and undiscussed.

But the talk of a Constitutional Convention
is a thinly veiled effort
to re-write the Constitution
so that the Government becomes
an arm of the Evangelical Christian Church.

Democracy has enemies on every side,
and the enemies within the country
are a greater threat
than the enemies in foreign lands.

  1. 05/21/2018 — Oak Leaf Hydrangea 2018 01 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, May 18, 2018 What do you believe in
    about your life? What do you do
    that you believe in? What do you do
    with all your heart,
    and soul,
    and mind,
    and strength? What fuels
    your journey,
    your direction,
    your energy,
    your boat
    on its path
    through the sea? What do you do
    because you love it—
    even though
    it makes no sense,
    does no good,
    doesn’t pay
    the bills? What is the source
    of your vitality,
    the wellspring
    of your spirit,
    the cradle
    of your life? Are you its
    faithful servant,
    its steady
    its guardian,
    its steward,
    its embodiment
    in space and time—
    so that you
    and it
    are one?
  2. 05/21/2018 — String Lake 2011 Panorama — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming, June 24, 2011 The 12th Doctor Who says good-bye with: “Never be cruel,
    never be cowardly…
    Hate is always foolish,
    and love is always wise.
    Always be nice,
    and never fail to be kind.” He was also a good one
    for drawing lines
    and telling the bad guys
    to get,
    not only out of town,
    but also out of the solar system. Being kind
    does not mean
    being a pushover,
  3. 05/22/2018 — Time and Chance 2018 02 B&W — Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 31, 2018 The Constitution was written
    with the welfare of the people
    in mind. It was written by immigrants
    who had had enough
    with Big Government,
    and Big Business,
    and Big Churches
    running their life,
    and came to America
    to have a chance
    to pursue happiness
    in the freedom
    of their own decisions
    and choices,
    but quite ready
    to help one another
    in ways that would be
    truly helpful. Time passed,
    as time is wont to do,
    and Government
    became the arm
    of Business
    and Churches
    at the expense
    of the people,
    and we have
    created the world
    we left behind,
    because we assumed
    that people would
    be who they said
    they would be
    and do what they said
    they would do
    when they promised
    “to defend and protect
    the Constitution of the
    United States of America.” But the people who
    made those promises
    did not make them in good faith.
    They lied to position themselves
    to serve special interests,
    not the interest of the whole,
    and the idea of democracy
    described in/by the Constitution
    was ignored
    in favor of an autocracy,
    an oligarchy,
    run by the wealthy and powerful
    in pursuit of increasing
    their own wealth and power
    at the expense of the people. In November of 2018,
    the people will have their
    last chance to reassert
    their choice of Constitutional Democracy
    as the bedrock idea of the United States
    by voting out all of the Republicans
    running for office
    on every level of Government.
    Whether or not they do that
    will tell the tale.

05/22/2018 — We can wail
and rail,
and demonstrate,
will we vote
is the question.

Will we vote Republicans
out of office?
Out of every office—
local, state and national?
And vote to keep them out?
Until they realize
that the Constitution
is the bedrock
of our life together,
not religious theology
or political ideology,
but the rights of the people—
ALL of the people equally,
to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”?

That’s the question.

02/22/2018 — How we stand in relation
to something
the impact
we have on it
and it has on us.

Who is in charge of
how we stand in relation
to things?

Put anything in the space
next to you:

Now, put in your place
anyone you want:
John Wayne,
Eleanor Roosevelt,
Helen Keller,
Tina Fey…

Watch how the people
in your place
relate to the things
in the space next to them.

What accounts for the differences
in the way they relate
to their experiences?

What is keeping you
from relating to your experiences
in ways similar to
the ways Buddha, say,
relates to his?

What locks you into
your relating pattern?

How much freedom do we have
to change the way
we stand in relation to things?

  1. 05/23/2018 — Raven Rock 2018 06 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Boone, North Carolina, April 22, 2018 The Developmental Tasks
    are our path
    to self-realization,
    and comprise
    the full scope
    of the Hero’s Journey,
    which is also called
    the Spiritual Journey. We cannot save ourselves,
    or another,
    from the experience
    of developmental tasks,
    anymore than we could
    save a chick
    the trouble of breaking
    out of an egg,
    or a butterfly the work
    of escaping the cocoon. We each have to learn
    to bear our own pain
    and do our own work
    in experiencing
    what must be experienced
    and finding ways
    to deal with it
    from birth to death. No one can save us
    from learning to walk,
    or ride a bicycle,
    or any of the agonies
    of adolescence,
    or mid-life,
    or old age. The work is ours to do alone.
    And it must be done.
    No passing is allowed,
    no steps can be missed
    or skipped.
    Arrested development
    is dying
    before we are dead.
    To ride the ride
    we have to pay the price
    and bear the pain
    all along the way.
  2. 05/24/2018 — Rock Garden 2018 20 Panorama — Big Rock Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, Charlotte, North Carolina, April 2, 2018 Our breath anchors us
    to the present moment.
    Everything about the moment
    can open us to the moment
    or carry us away from the moment—
    can expose us to the moment
    or close us off from the moment.
    Our breath is with us in every moment.
    The doorway into each one. Being awake to our breath,
    to our breathing,
    is a step toward
    being aware of the moment.
    Each thing we are aware of
    can keep us from being aware of
    everything else.
    Our breath brings us back
    to being aware of the moment
    in its allness,
    in its fullness,
    in its just so-ness,
    in its just-as-it-is-ness. In every moment
    there is
    what is happening,
    what needs to happen,
    and what we want to happen
    And/or don’t want to happen.
    How much of that
    are we aware of?
    Why be aware of any of it?
    Why not simply “seize the moment”?
    Possess it?
    Grab it?
    Command it?
    Control it?
    Own it?
    Force our way upon it?
    Compel it to go our way? If we aren’t winning,
    we are losing, right?
    We have to know what we want
    and go for it, right?
    What does wanting know? We can go into every moment
    in the service of what we want
    from the moment,
    and wring what we want
    out of them all.
    How’s that working?
    How is having what you want going?
    Is that what we want?
    More of what we have?
    Fighting everyday for what we want?
    Exhausted by the effort
    to get,
    to have,
    to keep from losing?
    Can we call that “winning”
    on any level?
    We are losing by winning. We are losing our peace of mind.
    Our sense of purpose.
    Our connection to our life,
    to ourselves,
    to each other.
    We are going crazy
    and killing ourselves
    winning and getting what we want. Remember your breath.
    Your breath is your anchor
    to here, now.
    Here, now is the fulcrum,
    the swing point,
    the threshold,
    to everything that follows.
    It all begins here, now. How different will it be
    from what has led up
    to here, now?

05/24/2018 — I’ll be blunt:
You have to do
what you don’t
want to do.

Once you square yourself
up with that,
you will have it made,
as much as you can
have it made,
doing what you don’t
want to do.

05/24/2018 — The more specific the Good gets,
the worse it becomes.
Take any Good,
make it precise,
and apply it to all situations,
with no exceptions
or exclusions,
and you have hell in the making.

The best Good I can think of is
“Strive to do no harm.”
That’s perfection.
Live by that
and it’s better for everyone.

Begin to define “harm”
and it gets progressively worse
as the term becomes clearer.

Live to be generally good,
usually kind,
typically compassionate…
and let nature take its course.

That is the best
we can hope for.

05/24/2018 — I’m for affordable health care
for everyone,
even for people
who can’t afford anything.

It isn’t fair.
A lot of things aren’t fair.
This would be one of the best.

Don’t stand in the way of a good
that isn’t fair.
Stand in the way of fair
that isn’t good.

  1. 05/25/2018 — Koi Pond 2018 01 – Nursery Photos, Pike Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, May 24, 2018 When the Buddha says,
    “All of life is suffering,”
    and Joseph Campbell says,
    “Follow your bliss,”
    they are closer to saying
    the same thing
    than it sounds. “Suffering” from Buddha’s perspective
    is meaninglessness,
    to be without value,
    or interest. “Bliss” from Campbell’s point of view
    is living a life
    that is authentic,
    and real. “Suffering,” then,
    can be seen
    as the absence of “bliss,”
    and “bliss”
    as the end of “suffering.” Suffering is the experience
    of Campbell’s “wasteland,”
    where people are living
    inauthentic lives,
    doing what they are told,
    mired in a life
    that is not worth living,
    “going nowhere fast,”
    or, worse,
    incredibly slowly. Transforming suffering into bliss
    is the magic of mindfulness,
    being… Nothing changed about Buddha’s world
    except the way he looked at it,
    and that transformed everything. Buddha reinterpreted his experience
    of his world.
    He saw it differently.
    “Boom!” as John Madden would say,
    and like that,
    it was “a new world, Golda,”
    as Tevya would say. And that’s all there is to it.
  2. 05/25/2018 — Lake Oolenoy 2014 01 — Table Rock State Park, Pickens, SC, October 24, 2014 Everything turns on how we understand
    the business we are in—
    how we interpret it,
    think about it,
    what it means to us,
    and in what ways it exemplifies,
    who we are in space and time. How is our business us?
    How are we reflected in our business? Our business
    transcends our job.
    Our business is 24/7/365.
    It is what we are born to do,
    what we cannot
    not do. Our work is to be
    conscious of our business
    and to mindfully,
    be about our business,
    in season and out of season
    everyday of our life. Our job is what we do
    to pay the bills
    that allow us to do
    what is ours to do. How’s the work coming
    to identify and engage in
    your business? If you aren’t doing that,
    your life is on
    life support,
    and you are barely
    making it to the weekend—
    and have nothing to do there
    beyond taking your mind
    off your life.
  3. 05/25/2018 — No one can tell us what
    our business is.
    It comes with us
    from the womb.
    Was ours before
    we were born. Our business is our life,
    our life is our business.
    We live to find
    our business
    and do it. We get no help
    with this work.
    Our work is to find
    our business
    and do it.
    No one even tells us that.
    They do not help us
    because no one helped them. No one told them.
    Everyone assumes
    that life flows naturally
    like water going downhill.
    We are born.
    We marry.
    Get a job.
    Have children.
    Grow old
    and die. NO!
    Ignorantly difficult
    to the point of being impossible
    and not worth doing!
    If there is nothing more
    to our life
    than the paradigm
    we are expected to fulfill
    we will be the most miserable,
    species ever to evolve.
    And our addiction rate
    seems to suggest
    this is so. We need to know that our task,
    our work,
    is to find our life and live it—
    to get a job to pay the bills
    in order to live the life
    we pay the bills to do. We knew what our business was
    from the very first,
    and went about it
    without thinking about it,
    until we were shamed out of it
    and told to do this or that
    instead of what our
    heart knew we needed to be doing. And now, we have to find our way
    back to it,
    to what we have always known
    is our business.
    Our work is to find our business
    and do it. The Hero’s Journey.
    The Spiritual Path.
    Every person’s task.
  4. 05/26/2018 — Magnolia 2018 01 — Charlotte, North Carolina, May 24, 2018 We are on our own
    with our life—
    the one that is our business
    to live—
    the one that to live
    is to be immersed in our business,
    the business of being alive
    being who we are,
    doing what is ours to do.
    We are on our own
    with that. The right kind of people—
    the people who know what’s what
    and are themselves immersed
    in doing their work
    to find their business
    and live their life—
    the one that is theirs to live
    in the service
    of doing what is theirs to do—
    can help us in our work, As the old saying goes,
    “The harvest is plentiful
    (meaning there is a lot
    of work to be done
    in finding our business
    and doing it—
    in finding our life
    and living it)
    and the laborers are few.” And, finding the right kind of people
    to help us
    is as difficult
    as finding our life and living it,
    but. Our chances improve
    by our taking up the search.
    “When the flower opens,
    the bees appear.”
    “When the student is ready,
    the teacher shows up.” Taking up the practice
    of mindfulness
    by paying attention
    to the present moment
    in its just-so-ness,
    in its just-as-it-is-ness,
    and holding everything
    in your awareness
    without evaluation
    or opinion,
    and working
    to extend the length of time
    you do that
    is to “open the flower”
    and to “be ready”
    for the work
    that is yours to do.

05/26/2018 — Carl Jung said,
“Protection and security
are only valuable
if they do not
cramp life excessively.”

This puts things squarely before us,
and requires us to decide
if we are going to live to be alive
or live to be safe.
To be alive,
we have to take our chances,
deny the odds,
and trust our luck without pushing it.
“What a slippery slope this is!”
“It’s like a razor’s edge!”

05/26/2018 — How did we get into
the life we are living?
Here’s a hint:
Although we did not know
what we were doing,
we were doing the very things
that led us to this point.

This here, this now,
is what we have been
preparing ourselves for
all this time.

Here we are.
Now what?

Everything past
is holding its collective breath,
sitting on the edge of its seat,
biting its knuckles,
hoping it has not been wasted
upon someone so dense
as to not recognize
the importance
of the present moment,
and to sit quietly,
holding it all
in our awareness,
waiting to see
ourselves come into focus
and know what
has been cooking
through all the years
to prepare us
to champion our own cause,
be who we are,
and do what we love most
and do best
and has always been
and patient—
in the time left for living.

05/26/2018 — Evangelical Christianity is the one
institution that is blocking
the path to
life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
It has been against
every good shift in society
from its inception.

Morality and human rights
have been forced to overcome
the opposition of the church—
Protestant, Evangelical, Roman Catholic—
in serving the best interest
of humanity and civilization
across the centuries,
and it remains so today.

The church is always behind the times,
every good new thing
that human genius and morality

The common good
is served by human beings
being compassionate
and sensitive to human need—
without theology,
or creeds
to tell them what to do.

And the beat goes on.

05/26/2018 — The Spirit of the Times has a whiff
of the Whigs and Tories,
or the Patriots and the Loyalists,
about it.
Two groups of people
looking at the same pile of facts,
and interpreting them
in radically different ways.

Separating children from parents
at the U.S./Mexican border.
Anathema and Abomination
for many of us.
Just another day at the office
for many others—
doing whatever it takes
to keep the scum out of the country.

How can anybody think of anybody
as scum?
How can anybody think it is okay
to separate children from their parents?
How can thinking that way
possibly go on in people
with hearts and souls
and children of their own?
Or parents of their own?

Where does empathy and compassion
live in people like that?

People like me stand in horror
and disbelief,
yet we cannot deny that it is real.

How do we become so different?
How many different worlds are there
in this world?
Peopled by aliens
appearing to be human beings?
How do people in worlds
that far apart
“just get along”?

Before Trump,
we were held together
by the Constitution, but
Trump and the Republican
Members of Congress
have relegated the Constitution
and the Rule of Law
to the storage shed
and run things like they please.

Nothing now holds us together.
No common agreements bind us
against our will
to the other,
and force us to work out
our differences,
grow up
and come to terms
with what the law says has to happen.

There was no law binding
Whigs together with Tories,
and it was hell for both sides.
It feels that way to me,
here and now.

All because Congress
won’t do its job,
perform its duties,
assume its role,
play its part,
in calling the President to task,
issuing rebukes,
censuring actions,
blocking the implementation
of pronouncements and decrees.

Congress is killing Democracy
as we look on.
It is incumbent upon us
to put a new Congress in office
in November, 2018
and complete the task in 2020.
We cannot be derelict.
The country is in our hands.

05/27/2018 — Trump doesn’t like limits—
Who does?
Trump doesn’t abide by limits.
Trump is beyond limits.
Trump recognizes no good
beyond his own good—
his own idea of good.
Trump is a law unto himself.

That’s a problem.

The law reins in people
who are beyond the law.
There are none to impose
the law on Trump.

Republican Members of Congress
see Trump as an avenue
to the advancement of their own greed,
and believe money and power
will be theirs beyond imagining
if they coddle Trump
and nurture his ideas
of glory and grandeur unequaled
in human history.

It is a Feed Me Now addiction
gone wild.

We have to vote them all out
in November
if we have the courage,
and will for it by then,
and if voting is still allowed.

  1. 05/27/2018 — Yellow Wood Sorrel 2018 04 Panorama — Chestnut Trail, McDowell Nature Center, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, Charlotte, North Carolina, April 14, 2018 It takes a regular return
    to the silence
    to maintain our
    connection with the core,
    the bedrock,
    the foundation,
    the ground
    and center
    of who we are
    and what we are about. Knowing is sustained
    by experience
    and reflection,
    and understanding—
    all of which must be
    and continuing
    throughout our life. The practice of mindfulness meditation
    keeps knowing alive and well,
    and enables us
    to remain
    on the path
    of our own becoming. Return often to the silence
    to breathe
    and revisit
    the truth
    at the heart
    of life and being—
    that we might live
    in light of that truth,
    in service to it
    one day at a time.

05/27/2018 — People who can’t take No
for an answer
push their way
through their life
confident that they
know best.

How different the advise
from Lao Tzu:
“Do the work
that is yours to do
and let nature take its course.”

Yes may be worse than No.
No may be better than Yes.

Know what your work is
and what it isn’t.
Do your work
and let happen what happens.

Do your work
and get out of the way.

  1. 05/28/2018 — Koi Pond 2018 06 — Nursery Photos, Pike Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, May 24, 2018 When the Abomination of Desolation
    descends upon you,
    you better have somewhere
    to turn. Where have you always turned? “When I find myself
    in time of trouble,
    Mother Mary comes to me,
    speaking words of wisdom:
    ‘Let it be’” (Paul McCartney). Should be a hymn,
    and is a hymn
    for those who know
    the truth,
    and have been set free
    from the domination
    of all that pretends
    to be truth. The claimants to truth
    are myriad.
    Who is your Mother Mary?
    She was Paul McCartney’s own mother,
    and is, for me,
    a metaphor for my
    at the heart of who I am. With Mother Mary,
    I have all I need
    to find what I need
    to deal with whatever
    descends upon me. When the Abomination of Desolation comes,
    everything is going to depend
    upon who your Mother Mary is. Better find her now.
  2. 05/28/2018 — Brown-headed Cowbird, female, 2018 01 — Scenes From My Hammock, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, March 27, 2018 Our house sits on a corner lot
    at the end
    of a dead end street,
    facing east,
    with 40 feet of HOA property
    beside us on the north
    and behind us on the west. My hammock is set up
    about half-way into
    the 40 ft. plot,
    in a north/south line,
    swinging east/west.
    I face north,
    looking beyond the HOA land
    into the 22 acre woods. White oak trees probably 75 years old.
    Maple trees.
    with some large Cedar’s spotted throughout.
    Five varieties of fern,
    Wood Sorrel,
    and an assortment
    of vines and grasses
    grace the sloping landscape
    down to the bottom land
    and the seasonal creek
    which carries the rain water
    that doesn’t soak into the ground
    on its way to the Catawba River
    and the Atlantic Ocean. My hammock hangs
    about 20 feet from 3 bird feeders
    and two suit cages,
    and 10 feet from a forth feeder.
    The hammock functions
    as a photography blind,
    although I’m as visible
    as anyone is lying in a hammock.
    I don’t look like a human,
    stretched out horizontally,
    and if I make no quick movement,
    I’m part of the scenery. Once two Carolina Wren babies,
    exploring their new world,
    flew up and perched on the toe
    of my shoes,
    and gave me a through once-over
    before getting back
    to the business
    of seeing it all. The hammock is my idea
    of a retreat into silence
    and solitude,
    and I cannot imagine
    a setting more ideal
    for me,
    or more enjoyable.
    It’s a perfect place
    to spend a couple of hours,
    or more if life allows,
    and I will miss it terribly
    when time eventually carries
    me away.
  3. 05/29/2018 — Squirrel 2018 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, May 27, 2018 Love is a value
    and an emotion. “Love your neighbor as
    you love yourself,”
    “Love your enemies,”
    “Love one another,”
    pretty well covers it, It has nothing to do
    with love as emotion. Jesus is saying,
    “Treat everyone,
    including yourself,
    no matter how you feel
    about them.” Do the loving thing—
    in season
    and out of season,
    around the clock,
    in all weather conditions,
    whether you feel like it or not,
    whether you want to or not,
    whether you are in the mood for it or not,
    for no other reason
    than because
    that is the key
    to life together. And love as emotion
    does not come into play. Living lovingly,
    day in and day out
    all our life long
    is putting love as
    the highest value
    into play,
    and letting things
    fall into place
    around that.

05/29/2018— Protocol.

All have a place
in enabling us
to live together
by understanding
and honoring
what is called for
in particular circumstances
and situations.

Laws cannot be enacted
that cover all of the subtleties
and nuances
of the ways we interact.
Respecting the principles
of regular order
keeps the ways and means
of society and culture
running smoothly
and on time.

Predictability and dependability
are elements of stability and security
and are essential
in keeping chaos and turmoil at bay.

Would you please explain
this to Donald Trump for me?
He doesn’t seem
to understand the gravity
of the situation.

  1. 05/30/2018 — Carolina Wren 2018 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, May 27, 2018 We live out of our connection
    with our own foundation,
    ground, What secures us?
    Stabilizes us?
    Anchors us? That is our primary relationship.
    We have to establish,
    that relationship
    before we can begin
    to orient ourselves
    and find our way
    in the world of space and time. The word “spiritual”
    has come to mean
    but theology is a late comer
    to the world of things
    we are not conscious of. Help is available there,
    Can we be helped,
    is the question. Positioning ourselves
    to be helped
    is our responsibility.
    The National Forest Service
    has a slogan:
    “Your Safety Is Your Responsibility!”
    That can be an unbearable burden
    for those who don’t know
    what they are doing. The way out of all jams
    begins with where we are.
    Sit down.
    Slowly, deeply.
    Take stock.
    You have made it here
    without knowing
    you were being helped
    all along the way.
    Start paying attention
    to the help that got you here.
    That’s the help
    that will lead you on—
    “A very present help
    in time of trouble.” Count on it.
    Avail yourself of it.
    Open yourself to it.
    Consciously form a partnership
    with your Unconscious.
    Take up the practice
    of Mindfulness
    by stopping what you are doing
    and paying attention
    to the present moment
    on all levels of your awareness
    without evaluation or opinion—
    just seeing,
    just feeling,
    just noticing,
    just knowing,
    throughout your day everyday. You will be securing yourself
    to the foundation,
    the bedrock,
    of your own soul.
    And preparing your way
    through the wilderness
    of your own life.
  2. 05/31/2018 — Cardinal 2018 03 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, May 30, 2018 What to do about a situation
    depends upon
    and flows from
    accepting the situation as it is
    as a place to start. If you start from
    “NO! Not This!”
    Or from
    “THAT! THAT Over There!”
    you will create
    and spillover—
    and you will never
    get away from
    or “THAT!” “Here we are.
    This is,
    like it or not,
    our present,
    very real, Now what?”
    sits us down
    where we are,
    when we are,
    how we are,
    and invites
    mindful awareness
    to take everything
    into account,
    seeing what is happening
    and what needs to happen
    in response—
    regardless of the implications
    for us
    or for our ideas
    about how things ought to be. This is called
    putting ourselves
    in accord with the Tao.
    Then, it is only a matter
    of watching and waiting
    for doors to open
    inviting us to walk through—
    and walking through. We have to be watching and waiting
    in order to be ready.
    We cannot be knee-jerk-reacting
    out of “NO!”
    without making a bad situation
    worse for everyone. Making a bad situation
    worse for everyone
    is called The Terrorist Solution.
    When large nations’ armies
    become terrorist cells
    things take on gradations of worse
    that explode all notions of good
    over long stretches of time.

05/31/2018 — We could cut our opinions
by 90%
and still have too many opinions.

Opinions are the bane
of human relations.

Opinions are the driving force
behind the escapes
of entertainment
and addiction.

With fewer opinions
everyone would live happier lives.

At least,
that’s my opinion.

  1. 06/01/2018— Squirrel 2018 02 Panorama — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, May 31, 2018 The unconscious foundation
    of life,
    and of our life,
    has been dismissed,
    and denied
    in favor of our conscious zeal
    in the service
    of ends of our own design. Greed wins the day,
    and carries us away
    in rabid devotion
    to our own
    and aspirations. We are not built
    for the life we live, We don’t care.
    We care about
    the things we care about,
    and will do whatever it takes
    to have them
    no matter what. We are Adam and Eve
    in the Garden of Eden,
    choosing between lives,
    one conscious,
    the other unconscious,
    deciding which we will serve. Each generation
    makes the same choice
    through the long eons
    of time.
    The unconscious foundation
    of life,
    and of our life,
    is ignored
    in favor
    of what we think
    is most important:
    Having our way
    and forcing it
    upon the earth. We don’t know
    what we are doing.
    And don’t know
    that we don’t know.
    And, here we are.
  2. 06/01/2018 — Koi Pond 2018 07 Panorama— Nursery Photos, Pike Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, May 24, 2018 Spirituality is about the ground
    under our feet,
    the bedrock foundation
    under-girding our life.
    It has nothing to do
    with theology and doctrine. It has everything to do
    with what we know to be so
    because we have experienced it
    and have found it to be reliable,
    though unpredictable,
    and incapable of being exploited. This knowledge cannot be
    or proved,
    and is more on the order
    of confidence,
    and peace
    than a creed
    or set of beliefs. Our spirituality informs our decisions
    and guides our way
    in the field of action,
    leading us to respond
    as we do
    to the context
    and circumstances
    of our life. It is the quality of our connection
    with the unconscious
    source of life and being,
    and an ever-present source
    of encouragement
    and direction
    through the Dark Wood,
    along the Slippery Slope
    and across the Razor’s Edge.
  3. 06/02/2018 — Cardinal 2018 08 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 1, 2018 Withdrawal,
    have always been
    the strategic response
    of those who see
    to those who do not see. That is simply because
    no one can be forced to see.
    including insight—
    cannot be made to happen
    before its time. Lao Tzu walked into the forest,
    Jesus disappeared into Galilee
    and beyond…
    It is the way of seeing
    responding to unseeing.
    There is nothing else
    to be done. The blind lead the blind.
    It has been that way
    from the beginning.
    The prerequisite for
    being able to see
    is seeing nothing at all.
  4. 06/02/2018 — Red-bellied Woodpecker 2018 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, May 31, 2018 Putting ourselves in accord
    with the Tao
    is living at one
    with the way things are
    and with the way things also are. This is not a contradiction.
    It is recognition
    and acquiescence.
    It is understanding,
    and embracing,
    “This is way things are,
    and this is the way things also are,
    and this is what I can do about it,
    and that’s that.” Living with that orientation
    takes us out of the relentless struggle
    to subdue all opposition
    and overcome all obstacles
    in the service of our willful determination
    to prevail no matter what the price. Once we step back from our
    adversarial relationship
    with our life
    and with all of life,
    and observe what is happening
    without evaluation or opinion,
    we can see what is happening
    and what needs to happen in response—
    and either assist that
    or wait for propitious time to assist that. And let nature take its course
    from there.
  5. 06/03/2018 — Blue Bird 2018 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 2, 2018 Mother is feeding this year’s fledgling
    away from the nest,
    transitioning the baby
    into the role
    of finding its own food. We all grow up against our will. It is my privilege to be reminded
    of this solemn fact
    every spring
    as birds pass birding
    along to new birds. You don’t come out of the egg
    knowing how to catch insects
    and find worms,
    or whatever the preferred
    food source of your species is. I’ve watched young birds
    watching their parents
    make trip after trip
    from feeder
    or suet cage,
    or dead log,
    to their young charge,
    all of us waiting
    for the light to go on. Sometimes the morsel
    goes from parent directly to child,
    and sometimes the parent
    drops it before the child
    and waits for the child
    to do its own pecking. It is a tedious process,
    these field trips
    to the cafeteria line.
    Every transition is anguish
    for everyone concerned.
    The Developmental Tasks
    must be mastered
    in order for the next
    Developmental Task
    to have its turn at us. It’s just all one
    painfully agonizing adjustment
    played out
    over the full course
    of our life. It is all a work in progress,
    in process,
    in production,
    passing on into
    yet another phase,
    and another after that. There is no end
    to the journey.
    Jacob’s Ladder
    just goes higher. If you can make your peace
    with that,
    you have it made,
    as much as you can
    have it made,
    going as we do
    from one rung
    to the next forever. Making our peace
    with the eternal nature of life
    and our place in it
    is the trick
    to doing it
    as it needs to be done—
    as it needs us to do it—
    and finding in the doing,
    in the complying,
    in the acquiescing,
    the wonder and joy and beauty
    of it all. Hell Yes! We’re going to
    embrace the Developmental Tasks!
    One after another
    all our life long!
    Because that’s what is ours to do!
    It’s what we are built for!
    What we are equipped for!
    And can be,
    with a simple perspective shift,
    from resistance to peace,
    what we do best!
    Laughing with every turn,
    delighted at the prospect
    of what lies ahead. Drudgery or Pleasure,
    it’s our call to make.
  6. 07/03/2018 — White-breasted Nuthatch 2018 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 3, 2018 Meaning is conveyed
    by interest and enthusiasm. Meaning is as spiritual
    as it gets. Spirituality is nothing—
    if it is not meaning. The heart of meaning
    is our heart.
    If our heart isn’t involved,
    it isn’t meaningful,
    no matter how much
    we might protest
    and profess otherwise. We are swept away
    by what is meaningful—
    swept up in
    what is meaningful. If our lives are empty
    and we find ourselves
    drifting between
    ennui and depression,
    the cure is meaning. We have to feel our way
    into what is meaningful.
    We cannot think our way there.
    Sit with your heart
    and ask it what
    it yearns for,
    and see what comes
    to mind. If it is ridiculous or absurd,
    make sense of it,
    or trust yourself
    to it anyway. If it strikes a cord,
    be up and off with you
    in the service of
    what makes your
    little heart sing!
  7. 06/04/2018 — Downy Woodpecker 2018 03 — Doing That Owl Thing, Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 2, 2018 We are led all along the way. One thing sets us up for another,
    and our life takes on
    a life of its own
    as long as we follow
    with our mind on
    what we are doing,
    and mindfully choose
    the right door
    among those that open
    before us. If we stop following,
    or mindlessly allow ourselves
    to be pushed
    down courses of least resistance,
    the flow ceases,
    and life with it. We mingle with
    the dead and dying Zombies,
    who have been dead so long
    they cannot remember
    being alive. They say the same things,
    think the same things,
    do the same things,
    through long years
    of being afraid
    to follow their heart’s lead. We are surrounded by,
    immersed in,
    energized with,
    unconscious urges,
    feelings… The Unconscious World
    calls to us
    in a thousand ways,
    inviting us to come with it
    as a full partner
    in the creation
    of a life worth living. We would do well
    to treat it
    as an Invisible Friend,
    and spend the rest of our life
    exploring all it has in mind. Live mindfully,
    choose consciously,
    be well.

06/04/2018— We have to know
what is important
and serve it
with our life.

We cannot be holding back,
biding our time,
waiting to “make a difference,”
or “have an impact.”

We have to live
in the service
of what is important
in each situation
as it arises,
and let the outcome
be the outcome.

What is important
cannot be exploited
in the name of our own good.
Our good is not
the most important good.

The good of the situation,
the good of the whole,
the good of what is right
exemplifying the highest,
and best
that human beings
are capable of
is more important
than anyone’s personal good.

Know what is important
and be right about it,
and serve it with your life
in each situation
as it arises,
and let what happens
be what happens,
creating a new situation
in which you
serve what is important
with your life.

  1. 06/04/2018 — Hammock 2018 01 HDR — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 4, 2018 This is the lay of the land
    from my vantage point
    in my Nature’s Hangout Hammock.
    I’ve circled the now six bird feeders
    and the two suet cages. This is the most peaceful place
    in my experience,
    and it is the easiest way
    of taking photos
    that I’ve discovered.
    My idea of the perfect retreat,
    and I have no need
    to make it better. Adam and Eve should have stopped with
  2. 06/04/2018 — Cardinal 2018 12 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 4, 2018 From 11/11/2015: We give up too easily, we quit too soon.
    Instead of giving up and quitting,
    we need to simply hand it over,
    and let our heart take the lead. If we gave our heart the controls to our life,
    and willingly, in good faith, aligned ourselves
    with our heart’s drift and direction,
    no matter what that might mean
    for our wishes, wants, desires, aims and ideas,
    resurrection would be instantaneous and everlasting—
    as long as we didn’t say,
    “Oh wow! I feel better now,” and take our life back. Our role is to collaborate with our heart,
    and make no unilateral decisions
    about any matter, great or small. Take a Heart Reading several times a day!
    Checking-in with the Inner Consultant
    keeps things in harmony and balanced,
    all along The Way.
  3. 06/05/2018 — House Finch 2018 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 4, 2018 Do more of what works
    for you
    and less of what
  4. 06/05/2018 — Bluebird 2018 07 — Waiting For What’s Next, Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 3, 2018 The things that propell
    us through each day
    aren’t worth our time
    and attention. We only have to be mindful
    of what we are doing
    to know we are spending
    time and attention
    on things that don’t matter. How much TV do you watch? How often do you talk
    about the same things
    with the same people? Break your life down into
    Where do you spend
    most of your time
    and attention? How much do you do
    without being present? How much do you do
    fully invested in the action? What do you do
    with all your heart? What do you do
    wishing you were somewhere else,
    doing something else? How much of what you do
    matters to you?
    How much of your life
    is important to you?
    What do you do
    in a week
    that you believe in
    with all your heart,
    and soul,
    and mind
    and strength? Where are you going
    to go from here
    with what remains
    of your life?
  5. 06/05/2018 — Goldfinch 2018 05 Panorama — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 3, 2018 — This is a blended photograph. The Brown-headed Nuthatch and the Goldfinch on the lower right were merged from two separate photos. The world is falling apart
    in 10,000 ways
    and we cannot allow that
    to distract us
    from the work
    that is ours to do. We have to be able
    to walk through
    the fire,
    across the water,
    without losing our focus
    or forgetting who we are
    and what we are to be about. Our place is to remain anchored
    to the bedrock
    of our own values—
    or own individual sense
    of what matters most—
    and live in the world
    being tossed about
    on the heaving waves
    of the wine dark sea
    as though our values are valuable,
    as though what matters most
    matters most even now,
    even yet,
    no matter what
    is going on in the world
    around us. WE live in accord with the Tao
    whether anyone else is so tuned
    or not. Remember your breath.
    Remember the silence.
    We can be with the silence anywhere
    if we are detached enough
    from the noise
    and the anxiety
    in the world,
    and attached enough
    to the grounding foundation
    at the center
    of our own being.
  6. 06/06/2018 — Carolina Wren 2018 02 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 5, 2018 Speaking of bribes and extortion,
    I find the line to be fine
    between the two. Both are forms of bullying.
    Persuasion by reducing
    the range of available choices
    to “Please me or pay the price.” It seems to be the strong arm
    way to getting what it wants.
    When has a strong arm’s wants
    ever known,
    or cared about,
    what was good for the situation
    as a whole? To hell with you,
    says the strong armed one.
    All that matters to me
    is having/getting my way
    without pause or delay! We can do better
    with weaker arms. No bribery.
    No extortion.
    No bullying.
    No bait-and-switch.
    No tilting the table.
    No exploiting the advantage.
    Just straight up,
    “This is the way things
    seem to be to me,
    and this is what I can imagine
    doing about it,
    and this is what I prefer and why.
    What do you think,
    and how do things seem to be
    from your point of view,
    and how can we help each other
    toward an outcome
    we all can live with
    with a reasonable degree
    of satisfaction and peace?” This would be the end
    of politics as we know it.
    And the beginning
    of peace on earth
    and good faith
    among all people. What’s wrong with that?
  7. 06/06/2018 — Blue Jay 2018 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 5, 2018 Whatever is happening in our life,
    or not happening there,
    is simply the matrix,
    the Umwelt,
    the conditions and circumstances,
    within which we carry on the work
    of being who we are,
    where we are,
    when we are,
    how we are,
    why we are,
    what we are. Actors ply their trade
    through thousands of scenes
    and none of them
    do they stand apart
    and say,
    “Hmm… Things don’t seem
    to be going my way here…
    I don’t think I’m going
    to go on with this!” There is a distance between
    the actors and the role they
    are playing. When there is no working distance
    between who we are
    and what is happening
    in our life,
    and what that means for us,
    to the point where
    we think we can’t go on with it,
    we are too close
    to the action.
    We have lost the separation
    between who we are
    and what is happening
    in our life. We are not what is going on
    any more than an actor is
    in the scene they are playing.
    We have a role to play
    in every scene,
    in each situation
    as it arises. Our role is to be who we are
    here and now,
    no matter what—
    and to do it again in the next
    situation that arises,
    in the next scene that unfolds. Do not get caught up in the story!
    The story doesn’t have to go your way!
    You don’t quit if it takes a bad turn!
    If it is hard,
    rise to the occasion!
    It is all grist for the mill,
    and we are milling all
    of the wonderful old values
    of the species. What happens next
    is where those values come to life
    in us and through us,
    as we shape the world
    by our response to the world
    one situation,
    one scene,
    at a time.
  8. 06/07/2018 — Bluebird 2018 06 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 3, 2018 We come out of the womb
    into a whirl of bad and good,
    and spend the rest of our life
    working for good
    against bad. The history of humankind
    is the record of our attempts
    to subdue bad
    and cultivate good. Religion and superstition
    (and where does that line lie—
    mostly in the institutionalization
    of the practices, I think),
    were our earliest weapons,
    and then science,
    and technology came along. Buddhism offered
    (in my opinion)
    the best advice:
    “Reduce your expectations,
    increase your tolerance for the bad,
    and serve the good.” And mindfulness keeps us
    focused on the twin realities
    of what is happening
    and what can be done about it
    in light of our personal gifts
    and resources,
    and the best interests
    of the whole. But with all of that,
    and after all these years,
    we are still up against it,
    dealing with upheaval,
    and the relentless encroachment
    of evil
    upon our well-being
    and peace of mind. It is what is waiting for us
    when we leave the womb.
    We take our place in the long line
    of those who have gone before us
    and will come after us,
    and do what we can
    with what we have to work with
    in the company of the best support,
    and encouragement
    we can find—
    enjoying what can be enjoyed
    and serving what matters most
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long,
    and let nature take its course,
    which, of course,
    is what nature does,
    with our acquiescence
    or without it.
  9. 06/08/2018 — Bluebird 2018 02 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 2, 2018 Jesus said, “If you would be my disciple,
    pick up your cross everyday,
    and do it like I do it
    by doing it like you do it,”
    or words to that effect. Doing it like Jesus would do it
    by doing it like you would do it
    is bearing your cross daily
    in every situation that arises. You have to understand “bear your cross”
    as “bear your pain.” Where is your pain?
    There is your cross! Think of “the cross”
    as a “crossroads,”
    with each “arm,”
    each road crossing the other
    being the most important thing
    in your life to you,
    and you are standing
    in the middle of the intersection
    having to choose
    which is the most important. “What would Jesus do?”
    is one road.
    “What would I do?”
    is the other.
    Which will you do? There is a road like that
    for every occasion.
    Lying is a great one.
    “Never tell a lie” intersects
    “Lying, implied or stated,
    is essential for our life together.” We are not who we say we are!
    We lie to ourselves
    on a regular basis,
    and lie to each other more often
    than that.
    You are lying if you say you never lie. I was a minister (PCUSA)
    for 40.5 years.
    I am an introvert
    to the point of adopting
    semi-hermitude as my way of life
    at retirement.
    Guess who lied
    and did a good job of it
    for 40.5 years,
    pretending to be an extravert
    the entire time. I am the biggest liar there is
    ever was
    or ever will be.
    So are you.
    I lie consciously
    for the sake
    of the greater good You also lie for that same good,
    though you may not do it
    as consciously
    and as deliberately as I do.
    That just makes you
    a better liar than I am
    because you are lying to yourself. Find your crossroads!
    Stand in the center
    of the intersection!
    Bear the pain!
    Make a choice!
    In each situation as it arises,
    all your life long!

06/08/2017 — We think life is easy,
We think we plop
out of the womb,
do what our parents
tell us to do,
keep our heads down,
our nose to the grindstone,
walk the straight and narrow,
mind our manners,
get a well-paying job,
a spouse,
a couple of children,
a dog and a cat,
and live happily ever after.

That is a false narrative.
It is not the way it works.
Turns our that life is not
the way we are told it is.
Our experience does not fit
our expectations.
And we think something
is wrong with us.

Something is wrong with
our expectations,
which were nurtured
and nourished into being
within us
by an entire culture
that wishes it were that way.

The culture lies to us from the start.
And we “can’t handle the truth,”
so we turn to addictions
and escapes,
and never learn to live our life—
the life that is ours to live
from before we were born.

That is the great tragedy of our time,
of all time.

We are born with a life to live
that we don’t know we have,
and don’t know how to find,
but we know something is wrong,
and think it must be us.

It is not us.
The sense that something is wrong
is the surest indication
that WE are not wrong.
We know enough to know
something is missing,
but not enough to know
what it is,
or where to start looking.

And we drift like waifs
through the wasteland,
easy victims of every con artist
with a solution to sell,
hawking fixes
like barkers
at a one-ride carnival
for the low, low price
of complete obedience
and total devotion
to their program

We know things aren’t right.
Start there.
Listen to your nighttime dreams.
Listen to your heart.
Listen to your body.
Listen to your experience.
Filter everything that comes to you
as advice and direction
from outside of you
through the filters of dreams,
holding everything in your awareness
and waiting for new realizations
to form.

“Waiting” means
do not hurry the process.
And it means
believing in you
and what you are doing.

A shift will occur.
Doors will open.
Trustworthy guides will appear.
Meaning and purpose
will be your new best friends.
And your life
will take on a vitality
that has been missing
for a long time.

  1. 06/09/2018 — House Finch 2018 02 (Female) — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 5, 2018 It is a simple recipe,
    difficult to apply: Find what you believe in
    with all your heart. Do it,
    in season and out of season,
    around the clock,
    in all weather conditions,
    whether you want to or not,
    whether anything comes of it or not,
    whether anyone cares or not,
    whether anyone notices or not,
    because your heart loves it
    and it is your thing to do. “Get in there and do your thing,
    and don’t worry about the outcome!”
    — Joseph Cambell’s summation
    of the Baghavad Gita. Find your thing.
    Do it.
    With all your heart.
    For as long as life lasts.
    No matter what. Difficult.
    Do it.
    Your life depends on it.

06/09/2018 — The aim of all authoritarian regimes
is to take the heart
right out of you—
to dishearten you—
to destroy your will
to resist,
and if you want
to surrender your
will to live,
that is fine with them.

Our place is to refuse
to allow it to happen!

We say, “NO!”
by taking up the practice
of living on two paths
at the same time.

Our public life
might be hopeless,
and make no sense
Never mind.

Go through the motions
of being alive
by doing enough
to hold things together there,
and invest your energy
and attention
to nurturing
and nourishing
your vitality
by centering/focusing
on “the well spring of living water”
that resides within
us all:

The bedrock of values
that forms the foundation
of every heart,
and have from the beginning:
good faith,
right living,

Live to exhibit them
in the company of those
who are safe places to be
(The Community of Innocence)
that find one another
in the darkness of the times
in the public sphere,
and enable survival
until the dark times
fade and the light returns.

The light always returns.

06/09/2018 — We will never agree on values
and perspectives.
Arguing politics
is like arguing religion.
Republicans do not care
about people who don’t
“earn their way”
but that is a catch phrase
for poor people
and people of color
and other “undesirables”
Republicans have no use for—
all of whom are indeed earning their way
as well as they are able
with a substandard minimum wage
and no health care.

Republicans hate social programs.
Republicans hate people
who are not like they are.
And they say,
“Oh, we don’t hate anyone,”
the people they don’t hate
can’t tell the difference.
If you treat people like you hate them
you hate them.

And there is no way Republicans
will ever move away from their position
on “undesirables”
and social programs,
or provide federal funds
to benefit people
who aren’t their friends and donors.

isn’t going to do a thing.
We have to vote them into
a distant minority
every time an election
comes along.

If you aren’t willing to do that,
you may as well be a Republican.

06/10/2018 — “Who are the American people
better off with—
Democrats or Republicans?”

With affordable health care,
health insurance for children,
sensible gun control,
a livable minimum wage,
equal pay for equal work,
environmental protection,
college loans,
teacher pay,
respect for Constitutional rights
and the Rule of Law,
and similar areas of concern on the table,
“Who are the American people better off with?”

It isn’t close.

Don’t fall into “Whataboutism,”
or “They are Justasbadism.”

It isn’t close.

  1. 06/10/2018 — Bluebird 2018 12 Panorama — At the Mealworm Diner, Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 9, 2018 Animosity,
    Ill-will… The list is long,
    and can easily be ignited
    within all people
    of every race
    and nationality
    through the ages. No individual or group
    is immune to
    being swept up in
    “UsAgainstThem-ism.” Mob violence is a potential
    for us all
    in the right time and place. Compassionate,
    and commitment
    to the expression/embodiment/incarnation
    of the highest/deepest/best
    values of the species
    are essential
    in combating
    the drift into tribalism/nationalism
    and giving vent
    to the worst
    we are capable of. We cannot allow ourselves
    to be victimized
    by the spirit of the times. We can devote ourselves
    to the cultivation of,
    and service to,
    and Mutual-respect,
    in a One For All
    And All For One
    kind of way—
    and must live in the way
    required to do it. Every good thing
    hangs in the balance.
  2. 06/11/2018 — Blue Ridge Price Lake 2018 02 Panorama — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 10, 2018 Like everything else,
    truth has a dark side. Jesus was a champion
    of compassion and peace,
    granting everyone
    the benefit of the doubt,
    and recommending
    love for self,
    one another,
    and enemies—
    and coming down
    with full force
    on Pharisees
    and blind leaders. Don’t think grace and mercy
    are whipping boys
    for ruthlessness,
    and savage brutality. Nice people draw lines,
    say no,
    call out inhumanity,
    lying and liars
    with no hesitation
    or equivocation. Say what needs to be said!
    Do what needs to be done!
    Oppose what needs to be opposed!
    Endorse, advocate and support
    what needs to be promoted! Do not withhold the slightest effort
    in the service of the good! Live in every situation
    as though the future
    of the world
    depends upon the quality
    of your response
    to the moment of your living! Ask the questions
    that beg to be asked! Say the things
    that cry out to be said! Do what is to be done! And let everything fall out
    around that!
  3. 06/12/2018 — Blue Ridge Bass Lake 2018 02 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 11, 2018 When we miss a turn
    we set in motion
    the Karmic Snowball
    that makes it easier
    to miss the next turn,
    and all succeeding turns
    become increasingly easy
    to miss,
    until redemption is
    out of the question,
    and our only alternative
    is to stop
    and start over. We cannot possibly make amends,
    or return to the scene
    of the first missed turn
    and make things right. We have to allow things
    to be wrong,
    and begin right now
    making the turns
    that need to be made
    within this context
    and these circumstances
    to transform
    and reorder our life
    in accord with the Tao—
    with the inner integrity
    of our possibilities of life
    of living,
    of being fully,
    finally, Practically speaking,
    this means saying “No”
    to the things we need
    to begin saying “No” to,
    and saying “Yes”
    to the things we need
    to begin saying “Yes” to. We are turning the cargo ship
    of our life
    onto the course
    that remains possible
    given the wrong turns
    we have made to this point. We have the rest of our life
    to work out the details
    of how to do
    what needs to be done.
    Think of it as an ocean of time
    in which to make the corrections
    necessitated by our taking
    the path of least resistance
    up to now. The sooner we start,
    the more ocean we have to work with. The good news is,
    if we sit with the silence,
    and bear consciously
    the pain of the drift of our past,
    we discover we still know
    what turns to make
    from this point on. We know what needs to be “No!”
    and what needs to be “Yes!”
    Our first— and only— order of business
    is working up our courage
    to be, finally,
    at last,
    who we are.
  4. 06/12/2018 — Blue Ridge 2018 Ferns 08 Panorama — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 12. 2018 Truth is found between the hands.
    This is another aspect
    of the Dark Side of Truth.
    I want to be the best father
    in all the world,
    and I don’t want to be a father
    at all. We are rife with contradiction.
    “On the one hand this,
    and on the other hand that
    (and on a third hand that over there).” Those are the hands
    truth is found between.
    If we want to know the truth,
    that is where we must go. “The treasure you seek
    is found at the base
    of the wall
    far at the back
    of the cave
    you most do not want to enter.”
    — Joseph Campbell Which gives rise to Col. Nathan R. Jessup’s declaration:
    “You can’t handle the truth!” Truth is mindfully aware
    of its own Dark Side,
    and carries mindfully
    the pain
    of all its contradictions,
    dichotomies, You will never find truth
    paralyzed between
    mutually exclusive
    and equally unchooseable
    options. Truth bears the cross
    that is truth’s to bear
    and chooses—
    living consciously
    with the weight
    of the consequences
    of its actions. This is the reality people run from
    with their escapes and denials,
    their distractions and diversions,
    their bread and circuses.
    Truth is not for them. Truth is waiting for those
    who are willing
    to live between the hands,
    knowing well how things are
    and how things also are,
    and doing what needs to be done
    in response.
  5. 06/13/2018 — Blue Ridge Water Lily 2018 03 Detail — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 12, 2018 When Jesus says,
    “You shall know the truth,
    and the truth shall
    set you free,”
    he begs the questions: “Free from what?”
    “Free for what?”
    “Free from bondage to what?”
    “Free for bondage to what?” The Dark Side of Truth
    impales us upon the truth
    of our bondage to truth
    or falsehood. Freedom of the Will
    is merely
    the freedom to choose
    our Master—
    and everything rides
    on our choice
    of to whom
    our allegiance belongs. The truest truth
    is the bed we slept in last night
    and the world we woke up to
    this morning—
    every night,
    every morning—
    and what we will do about it How we live each day—
    in each situation as it arises
    in every day—
    is the truth of our life
    lived out before the world. We embody—
    make known—
    the truth of who we are,
    not by talking about who we are,
    but by the way we live our life
    in the midst of the truth of life,
    moment by moment,
    everyday. Knowing the truth
    sets us free
    to serve the truth
    here and now. What is happening?
    What is called for in response?
    What can we do about it
    with the gifts,
    the genius,
    the daemon,
    the Numen
    that comes with each of us
    into the life we are capable of living? We live to answer the questions
    in each moment
    of every day.
  6. 06/14/2018 — Blue Ridge Ferns 2018 02 Panorama — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 11, 2018 What are you looking forward to? Is it something you can live toward?
    Something you can work
    to actualize in your life?
    Something that regularly
    comes around,
    and you are waiting
    for it to arrive?
    Something that is promised,
    and you are anticipating its realization? How specific is it? If it is on the order of:
    Going to college,
    Graduating from college,
    Getting a real job,
    Being married,
    Having children… Make it clearer—
    what will doing,
    do for you? How will your life be better?
    How will it help you
    with your life?
    How will it BE your life? The things we look forward to
    tell us how things are
    with our life
    and what we think we need
    to be more fully alive. What are you looking forward to?

06/14/2018 — If you are a Republican,
you have to take a hard look
and the other things you say you are:

Christian? NOT!
Compassionate? NOT!
Kind? NOT!
Empathetic? NOT!
Decent? NOT!
Humane? NOT!
Loving? NOT!
Caring? NOT!
Altruistic? NOT!
Benevolent? NOT!
Sensitive? NOT!
Generous? NOT!
Considerate? NOT!
Neighborly? NOT!
Charitable? NOT!

Stop kidding yourself
about who you are
and about what being a Republican means
in the world Donald Trump is creating.

And decide whose side you are on.

06/14/2018 — Our place,
our role,
our responsibility,
our life,
consists of
and nurturing
our Numen,
our Core,
our Heart,
our Center,
our Soul,
our Foundation,
our Ground,
our Bedrock,
our Being.

Anything that distracts us from that,
interferes with that,
prevents that,
is Anathema,
The Abomination of Desolation.

Living out of our Bedrock, etc.,
is “to have life
and have it abundantly”—
regardless of the context,
and circumstances of our living.

To surrender
and be cutoff from
our Bedrock, etc.,
is to be empty of life
and dead
though to all appearances
we might be alive
and going about
the business of life.

Do not allow anything
to disrupt the flow
between you and your Bedrock, etc.!

Maintain that connection at all costs,
no matter what
all your life long!

Do not allow anything
to separate you from you!

06/14/2918— “It’s all grist for the mill,”
and we are milling our life
in the Karmic sense
of creating momentum,
and laying the groundwork
for the way we deal with
all that follows.

And the way we deal with
what is happening,
what happens next,
and creates the future
in a Karmic kind of way.

The moral is:
Be mindful of what is happening,
and of what needs to be done
about it
in light of all things
to be considered—
and allow right action
to arise from right awareness
in each situation that occurs
all your life long!

  1. 06/15/2018 — Price Lake 2018 02 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 10, 2018 We no longer have a two-party system
    in this country. We have entered a phase of development
    in which we are either for Donald Trump
    or against him. Trump is by far
    the most polarizing president
    the country has ever had. His embrace of values and policies
    that are,
    not only contradictory,
    but also mutually exclusive,
    to the Constitution
    and the Rule of Law—
    and his antagonistic
    and adversarial
    opposition to rights and privileges
    accorded to,
    and recognized by,
    people living under a democracy—
    set him apart
    from those who have gone before him
    as a president who is not a servant
    of the good of the whole,
    but an enemy of the government
    and of the citizens
    of the United States of America. The way forward is clear:
    Republicans and Democrats
    have to come together as one
    to vote against all Republicans seeking office
    on local, state and national levels
    in order to prevent a hostile takeover
    of the Republic,
    and restore equilibrium
    to the systems, agencies, and institutions
    of government on all levels—
    to reset the mechanism whereby
    the authority of the government
    is again derived from the consent of the governed—
    removed from propaganda
    and the rule of special interests
    of corporations and wealthy individuals. With the common cause
    of Democracy,
    the Constitution
    and the Rule of Law
    again in place,
    then we can return to the familiar ground
    of checks and balances
    and the two-party system
    serving the best interests
    of the country as a whole. Our immediate concern,
    as “one nation under God”
    is to ensure
    “liberty and justice for all,”
    beginning with the Mid-Term Elections
    in November.

06/15/2018 — Something happens
and we think something
about what happened.

What we think about
what happened
impacts us more
than what happened.

We can lessen the impact
of what happens
by the way we think about
what happens.

The easiest way of doing that
is by thinking about our thinking.

We can begin by practicing
throughout each day,
observing our thoughts,
thinking about our thinking.
Noticing how thinking
influences feeling—
how our emotions
flow from
and lead to
our thinking.

As we get better
at observing ourselves,
we get better
at observing everything.

Notice when observation
goes over into evaluation—
into opinion,
into reaction,
into reactivity—
and simply note that,
and return to observation.

We are lessening the impact
of what happened
by observing
our thoughts,
by thinking bout our thinking.

They should teach this in kindergarten.

If I had mastered the art
by the seventh grade
I would be a much different person.
Probably so would you.

So we are working to be
a much different person
by the time we are seven years older.

  1. 06/16/2018 — The Oak at Springer’s Point 2013 01 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, NC, October 17, 2013 Adults have to be able
    to act their age,
    and play like a child. This is the range
    between thinking
    and feeling
    that has to be mastered
    in order to be fully alive
    in ways appropriate
    to the occasion,
    without worrying about
    being graded
    and found to be lacking
    something essential
    on some social scale
    of evaluation. Living appropriately
    is one’s own call
    to make,
    and we have to be right
    about it,
    according to our own sense
    of right and wrong
    and our ability
    to live transparent
    to ourselves. We have to know
    what is right for us
    and what is wrong,
    and what is right
    in our context and circumstances
    and what is wrong,
    and live accordingly. Thinking modifies feeling,
    and feeling
    broadens We dance and feel
    all along the way.
    When we do what
    and how
    tells the tale.
  2. 06/16/2018 — Blue Ridge Water Lily 2018 04-B — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 12, 2018 I’ve taken to asking people
    what’s meaningful,
    and sometimes,
    what they enjoy doing. The answers are depressing. “I’ll have to think about that.”
    “Not much, really.”
    “I don’t have time.” What? Our life is grounded on
    and having our heart
    in what we are doing. If we are just paying
    the bills
    and distracting ourselves
    with entertaining pastimes
    until we die,
    we are already dead,
    just waiting
    on some coroner
    to make it official. What are you doing
    that is meaningful? What are you doing
    that you enjoy doing?

06/16/2018 — I cannot find much
in the culture
about finding your way,
your path,
the one with your name on it.

There are a lot of books,
about getting what you want,
but noting about
knowing what to want,
and certainly nothing about
how to want what you ought to want
and un-want what you ought not want.

Wants are sacrosanct.
If we want it,
so says the culture
in 10,000 ways,
we ought to be able to have it.


What does wanting know?
I wanted a rowing machine once.
Was sure that was my ticket
to the joy of exercise.
Halfway across the living room floor
on very first ride,
I realized that wasn’t going to do it.

How many rowing machines
have there been in your life?

Wanting our way through life
is no way to travel.
Yet, that is all the culture has to offer.

The entire economy is want-driven.
Commercial advertising is geared
to creating wants/demands
and satisfying them
for the low, low, price
of whatever they think we will pay.

Wanting has us exactly where we are.
And, like my rowing machine,
this isn’t it.

What is?
Take wants away,
and the culture has nothing to say
about meaning,
and foundation.

Ask anybody,
“How can I find my life
and what it takes to live it?”
and they will ask you
what you want.
Tell them you want
to find your life
and what it takes to live it.

Keep asking people
until you find someone who knows.
And if they don’t
try to swing you into some con job
about telling you how to have
what you want,
hear them out,
and see if there is
anything of value
in what they have to say.

All along the way:
Listen to your heart,
Listen to your body,
Listen to your nighttime dreams,
Listen to your experience.

Hold all that you hear
in your awareness
and wait for realization
to lead you into a new
line of inquiry.

Explore the possibilities
and see where they lead.

Your life is an adventure.
Do not let it lie unlived!

  1. 06/17/2018 — Price Lake 2018 09 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 10, 2018 Seeing begins
    with changing our mind
    about what is important. If we cannot allow ourselves
    to change our mind,
    we will never see
    what is to be seen, And may as well
    go through
    our life
    blindfolded For all the good
    our eyes are doing us.
  2. 06/18/2018 — Blue Ridge Price Lake 2018 05 Panorama — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 10, 2018 Those who know
    know the same things. Good religion is grounded
    in experience,
    and realization. Bad religion is grounded
    in doctrine,
    and theology. If what you know to be so
    is based on what someone else
    told you to be so
    it isn’t the same kind of knowing
    as that based on what you have
    realized to be so
    out of your reflection
    on your own experience. Good religion enables us
    to talk to each other
    out of our own experience
    about what we have found to be so,
    what we have done about it,
    and what has worked for us. No preaching.
    No oratory.
    No debating.
    No converting.
    No condemning.
    No denouncing.
    No ostracizing.
    No shunning.
    No shaming.
    No ridiculing. Just living
    and reflecting on life,
    and searching for what works best
    for the most people
    through the largest number of situations
    over the full course
    of our developmental stages
    throughout our existence.

06/18/2018 — Don’t be a Buddhist!
Be the Buddha!
As only you can
be the Buddha!

Don’t be a Christian!
Be the Christ!
As only you can
be the Christ!

Let everything fall into place
around this!

This is the sum total
of your spiritual practice!

  1. 06/19/2018 — Bass Lake 2018 05 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 10, 2018 Everybody is capable of reflecting
    on their experience
    in light of their experience
    to form new realizations
    and create new perspectives. Everybody craves stability,
    and security. New realizations
    and new perspectives
    shake up the customs,
    and routines
    that provide the predictable comfort
    of stability,
    and security. There is conflict at the core
    of human possibilities.
    The more we reflect
    on our experience,
    the less stable
    and predictable
    our life is. The more stable our life is,
    the less alive we are. To put it another way: We form our future
    with every choice we make
    in our present. We pay a price in our future
    for the choices we made
    in our past.
    We pay a price in our present
    for laying the ground work
    to our best possible future. How mindfully are you
    willing to live your life?
    What price will you pay?

06/19/2018 — This cannot be repeated too often:

Carl Jung said,
“It is the individual’s task
to differentiate himself/herself
from all the others
and stand on his/her own feet.”

Two year olds
do this quite well.

But parental and cultural
prohibitions and opposition
wear us down.

By the seventh grade,
fitting in
is more important
than standing out.

Our challenge is to make
the conflict conscious
and choose to be who we are—
or, who we are not—
and let the consequences
be the consequences.

  1. 06/19/2018 — Linville River Bridge 2018 04 — Linville Falls Picnic Area, Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls, North Carolina, June 11, 2018 Being the Buddha
    is not good for the economy. Neither is being the Christ. Mindfulness,
    good faith,
    are not the kinds
    of things
    commercial advertisers,
    want in the clientele
    they deal with. The Buddha and the Christ
    are not in it
    for what they can
    get out of it. Ask them what they want
    and they will say,
    “To see what I am looking at,
    to hear what I am listening to,
    and to respond to each situation
    as it arises,
    in ways fitting to the occasion.” That isn’t going to buy the latest
    model of the newest technology
    on the market. And there isn’t an App for it. The culture doesn’t have a place
    for the Buddha and the Christ—
    or those who would be
    present day incarnations
    of the Buddha and the Christ. Don’t think you can be spiritual
    AND dance to the tune
    the culture/economy are playing. Spirituality takes us out of that dance
    and asks us to see/hear/know/understand
    what is going on—
    and respond to it
    in ways appropriate to the occasion. Which isn’t what the culture/economy
    have in mind—
    and creates a new world
    that this world
    will not know what to do with/about.
  2. 06/20/2018 — Blue Ridge Overlooks Panorama 03 — Thunder Hill Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 11, 2018 Everything that happens to you
    has the potential
    of assisting you in,
    or preventing you from,
    and living grounded upon
    the bedrock of your life—
    which it will be
    depends entirely
    upon the perspective
    with which you see,
    and come to terms wit
    everything that happens to you. You are the Rosetta Stone
    that explains your life
    to you. What you say to yourself
    about your experience
    determines the impact
    of your experience,
    for good or for ill,
    upon you
    and your continuing experience
    all your life long. It is not what happens to you,
    but what you say about
    what happens to you,
    that sets your life in place
    and results in the life you live
    from the point
    of what happens to you The hermeniutical task
    for each of us is the same:
    To size things up
    and say what they mean
    for us and the life we are living,
    and what we are to do in response—
    and be right about it—
    and do it
    as it needs to be done,
    about everything
    that happens to us
    all our life long. How we interpret
    and respond to
    the events of our life
    sets the tone of our life
    and tells the tale.

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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