One Minute Monologues 047

February 23, 2019 — May 4, 2019

  1. 02/23/2019 —  What’s missing is the best self
    we are capable of being.
    Our conscious “I,”
    our “ego-self,”
    is responsible
    for creating a space
    in the world of normal,
    apparent,
    reality,
    and for shepherding
    our unconscious,
    foundational,
    self into being.

    Only, ego-self has airs.
    A better idea–
    and decides
    to cut itself off
    from the guide within,
    and serve only
    it’s own interests
    and desires,
    in doing as it pleases.

    But something is missing.
    Has always been missing.
    And we cannot escape
    the emptiness
    no matter how we try
    to fill it with every attractive thing.

    We seek wholeness
    in every place but the right one,
    and will do anything
    but the one thing it takes
    to be at peace at last.

    We will not align ourselves
    with the One Within
    and live in ways
    commensurate with the aims
    and values
    at the heart of who we are.

    Our unconscious seeks
    conscious realization
    and expression.

    And all of the joys
    money can buy
    will not compensate us
    for having failed
    to be who we are.

    The world and the life
    we have created
    are the best we can do
    on our own,
    but.

    They are nowhere close
    to the best that can be done
    in partnership with our inner Self.

    Jesus’ idea of that best
    was spelled out in the Sermon on the Mount.
    The Buddha’s idea of that best
    what expressed in The Eight-Fold Path.
    Our idea of that best
    is waiting to be discovered
    and brought forth in the time left for living
    through our seeking to find
    the life that is our life to live,
    and to live it in conjunction with,
    in collaboration with,
    the One Who Knows within.

    We have to learn the language of soul,
    and attend the drift of soul,
    and serve the interests of soul,
    with the dedication,
    allegiance
    and loyalty
    of those who know their last hope
    when they see it,
    and live with the passion
    of mission and meaning
    at work in our heart
    and life.

02/23/2019  —  Can you meet the day
on the day’s terms?

Can you get up and do
what needs to be done?

Or keep your seat
if that needs to be done?

Do you wait for clarity
before acting,
or act first
and ask questions later?

Do you ever ask questions?

Can you say “No!”
when “No!” needs to be said?

Can you take “No!” for an answer
when that needs to happen?

Can you ask for help
when you need to?

Can you offer help
when help is needed?

What would be helpful
at this point in your life?

When you sit and think,
what do you think about?

How often do you sit
without thinking?

  1. 02/24/2019 —  Bluebird 2019-02 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 22, 2019 Those (like me) who seek and share,
    will keep seeking
    and sharing
    because that is what we do.
    We can’t help it.
    But illumination is a partnership
    with those who are on the road. We all play Alice
    to someone else’s white rabbit,
    and we all play the White Rabbit
    to someone else’s Alice. That is one of the eternal cycles.
    (We also play Yossarian
    to someone else’s Orr,
    and Orr
    to someone else’s Yossarian,
    but that’s another story.) Those who are not on the road,
    can’t hear/see a thing,
    and no one can get
    somebody else on the road. The road calls everyone,
    but only some know their own name
    when they hear it,
    and say,
    “Hey, something is calling my name!
    I have to find out what!”
    And, poof, there is the road,
    and there they go. White rabbits are everywhere,
    but only the Alice in us
    sees the one calling our name
    flashing down the rabbit hole. If we don’t have Alice in us,
    we have to find what we are doing
    to close her out,
    and stop doing it. Then the road appears. Until then,
    there is only the wilderness
    and the noise of the world. Thanks for calling this forth!
    You are playing the White Rabbit
    to my Alice!
    (The Alice within us is always
    playing the white rabbit
    to someone else’s Alice.
    We call each other forth,
    and none of us knows
    what we are doing. “Doing by not doing”
    is the old Zen-knowing.
    ‘Wu-wei’ they called it.
    Those who know,
    know this,
    and don’t try to do anything.
    We all do by not doing.
    Whether we know it
    or not!)

02/24/2019  —  I served five congregations
in 40.5 years of ministry
in the Presbyterian Church (USA),
all five congregations
were held together
by what I think of as
Rocks Of Life And Being.

These were people
who knew who they were
and who were who they were.

They were clearly defined
and solidly grounded
in their life,
in their role,
in the part they played
in each situation as it arose.

None of them
would have been able
to articulate that.
They would not have said it
about themselves.
Most of them
would not know
what I am talking about
(Which was par
for the course
of our time together).

But.
They all exhibited it
in the way they lived.

I was talking about
the importance
of being who they were,
and they thought
I should be talking about Jesus.

They were being Jesus
in their own way,
and they thought
I should be telling them
to be Jesus
the way Jesus was Jesus
with all the theology and doctrines,
and the getting to heaven
and avoiding hell,
“Amazing Grace,”
and “How Great Thou Art,”
religious gaga,
religious blah, blah.

I disappointed them bigly,
but.
I loved them,
and they loved me
(mostly),
and I gleaned from them
the realization
that people can honor
and respect each other
without understanding
each other
or agreeing with each other
on matters regarding
what is essential
and what is superficial
or insignificant,
or understandable.

Joseph Campbell said
that one of his mentors,
Heinrich Zimmer said,

“The best things cannot be told,
the second best are misunderstood.
After that comes civilized conversation;
after that, mass indoctrination;
after that, intercultural exchange.

And so, proceeding,
we come to the problem of communication:
the opening,
that is to say,
of one’s own truth and depth
to the depth and truth of another
in such a way as to establish
an authentic community of existence.”

When the relationship
permits “the opening
of one’s own truth and depth
to the depth and truth of another,”
magic happens.

And I relish the wonder
of the Rocks Of Life And Being
I have known and loved
along the way.

02/24/2019  —  I’m reading world history
text books in my retirement.
It is my way of atoning for my sins
as a college student.

It is clearly spelled out in those works
that success as a civilization
is the direct cause of failure as a civilization.

The wealthy owners of property and industry
become complacent and greedy
and don’t want anything to change.

They build walls
and isolate themselves
in order to protect what they have,
while outside the walls
the world is transformed
by new ideas
and perspectives,
which foster new perceptions
and a new world,
which leads to a new civilization
where the old civilization
no longer fits or belongs.

The things Trump and his cronies
hate and denounce
are the future.

And in denying global warming
and climate change–
and refusing
to take the steps necessary
to prevent it–
Trump and his minions
are saying,
“If we can’t have the world
as we want it,
you can’t either!”

It is the irony of evolution
that the least fit
have survived to the point
of destroying life planet-wide.

And the hope of evolution
is that eventually
we will get it right.
It’s only a matter of time.

  1. 02/25/2019 —  Goldfinch 2019-02 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 24, 2019 We don’t write
    (Paint,
    Sew,
    Sculpt,
    Cook,
    Dance,
    ..
    every mode
    of expression
    in the category)
    to say what we have to say. We write
    (Etc.)
    to see what we have to say. Expressing ourselves
    exposes ourselves
    to ourselves
    and shows us who we are. It is like standing
    before a mirror. Everything we do
    is a reflective/projective device. We are showing ourselves
    to ourselves. We have to be aware of that
    and become conscious of it,
    and live to see
    what we have to say–
    and become the road
    we seek,
    leading us home.

02/25/2019  —  The psychology
of Trump’s appeal
to those he appeals to
is revealing and concealing.
It shows us who we are,
if we care to look,
and enables us to deny who we are,
if we don’t want to see.

Why would anybody side with the demagogue?
What is in it for them?
Therein lies the tale.

There is always,
it seems,
a man who is right
for the times.

The times call forth the man
who is right for the times.
What does the man
say about the times?

Why do we live unconsciously
out of touch with the times
within which we live?
Why do we not know
what we are doing
to ourselves?

When did our lives become
meaningless and hopeless
to the point of manufacturing enemies
to hate/despise/blame/persecute/kill
because if it weren’t for them
we would be happy at last?

If Trump is the answer,
what is the question?

Why are we not aware of The Question
when it stirs to life?

What is the advantage
of living mindlessly oblivious
of what is going on
within us,
and around us?

What are we gong to do
to become aware of–
and responsible for–
finding meaning
and serving it
with our life
in every situation as it arises,
all our life long?

Trump has no place
in a world
where everyone
is living a meaningful life.

Why is not meaning
the first thing we learn to do,
and the last thing we do
with our life?

02/25/2019  —  Hermeneutics
is the search for meaning.

From Hermes,
the Greek name
for the Messenger of the Gods,
sent to say what is so
to the other Gods and Goddesses.

Would that it were that simple.

In Latin,
the Roman name for the same god
is Mercury.
Quicksilver.
Impossible to pin down,
nail down,
fence in,
pick up,
hold,
examine,
define,
explain,
know,
understand…

What is so depends entirely
upon who says what is so.

Interpretation is a spin job.

Early in my career (Presbyterian minister),
I was asked,
“What does the Bible say about homosexuality?”
I said,
“Do you want the Pro or the Con?”

Everything the Bible says
is interpreted to fit/serve the views
of the one who says
what the Bible says
(And is offset
by something else
the Bible says).

As is everything else.
The Constitution and the Rule of Law
come immediately to mind.

And so, the importance
of asking the questions
that beg to be asked
about every single thing.

It is no surprise
that we live in a time
in which follow-up questions
are disallowed at the highest level.

The only way to get to “the truth,”
is to ask, and go on asking,
seek, and go on seeking,
knock, and go on knocking,
and say all there is to say
about what is true
and what is also true
about the subject/object at hand.

The hermeneutical principle
is to always take ambivalence into account,
and settle into an on-going exploration
of the implications and possibilities
of what needs to be said.

The Delphic Oracle is
Hermes in the raw,
playing to our tendency
to hear what we want to hear,
and insulate ourselves against
what we do not want to hear–
and requiring us
to be responsible
for our own takes and spins
on “objective reality.”

We are always the one who “says so.”

02/25/2019  —  How do we know
what is actually going on?

Coca Cola tips the scales
away from soft drink sales
and childhood (or adulthood) obesity.

The Sugar Industry tips the scales
away from studies revealing
the toxic and addictive nature of sugar.

The Fossil Fuel Industry tips the scales
away from global warming
and the need for environmental protections.

Everybody has an interest to serve,
it seems.

Who is for Reality Straight Up
And In Your Face every day?

And, if you are,
where are you going to find it?

Remember the gunboat attack
on the US Navy destroyer
that started the Vietnam War
and never happened?

Remember the weapons of mass destruction
that started the Iraq War
and never existed?

And the Grave Danger we are in
at our southern border?

Who benefits from what is said
and the way it is reported?

How do we know whom to trust
for the facts?

Whose agendas are driving the news?

That’s the crisis at the root of all the crises.

Who is getting to the bottom of that one?

  1. 02/26/2019 —  Carolina Wren 2019-02 06 — Scenes from my hammock, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 24, 2019 Everybody has their own idea
    of how things ought to be. Everybody has the capacity
    to change their mind–
    and has actually changed their mind
    about some things
    over the course
    of their life. Everybody has the capacity
    to allow,
    honor,
    respect
    and tolerate
    differences of opinion
    regarding how things ought to be. When everybody
    is quiet/silent
    alone with themselves,
    they are much more likely
    to realize and affirm
    the three statements above,
    and make accommodations
    for differences of opinion
    about how things ought to be Than when they are
    under the influence
    of those who are passionate,
    convinced,
    and insistent
    in pushing the idea
    that differences of opinion
    are anathema,
    evil,
    of the devil
    the root of all evil,
    and must be disallowed,
    punished,
    penalized,
    disenfranchised,
    shunned,
    shut-out,
    beaten,
    tortured
    and killed. Regular
    and frequent
    retreats into silence,
    reflection,
    and realization,
    balance out
    the disproportionate influence
    of other people,
    organizations,
    advertisements
    and propaganda,
    and give us the chance
    to catch our breath,
    and breathe. Breathing is essential
    to a life well-lived. May you be aware of your breathing,
    and of all things to be considered,
    in every situation that arises
    for the remainder
    of the time left for living.
  2. 02/26/2019 —  Brown-headed Nuthatch 2019-02 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 24, 2015 Sin is being wrong
    about what is important. That’s where changing our mind
    comes in. We fill the world with drama. Requiring remorse and sorrow,
    penitence and recompense,
    heaven and hell,
    God and Satan
    and the everlasting sacrifice
    of God’s Only Son Jesus Christ Our Lord. (What if Herod had plucked him
    from the manger
    and murdered him
    along with all the male children
    under two in Bethlehem?
    Would that have counted?
    If not, why not?) We make it so complicated. Just change our mind
    when our mind needs to be changed! How will we know when that is? We live our way into knowing
    right from wrong.
    We don’t think our way there.
    And the “wise guides” who would tell us,
    often don’t know themselves–
    so who are we going to trust
    to know what they are talking about? Live on! Live on!
    It will become clear in time.
    When it does,
    change your mind,
    if it needs to be changed. If it doesn’t,
    live on! It will need to be changed
    a thousand times
    on any road you take. Live on!
  3. 02/27/2019 —  Mockingbird 2019-02 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 26, 2019 Having things exactly
    as you want them to be
    is as simple
    as being fine with things
    exactly as they are. The distance from
    “Not This! Not This!”
    to “This Too! This Too!”
    comprises the full length
    of the spiritual journey. Nothing changes
    until we accept it
    as a fact defining
    and limiting
    our circumstances,
    and requiring us
    to act in ways
    that are a response
    appropriate to the occasion
    in each situation as it arises. Understanding this
    and living in light of it
    in every moment
    is the sine non qua
    of mature spirituality. It is not what we believe
    that puts us there,
    but how we live. And how we live
    is not grounded
    upon what we believe,
    but upon what we know to be so
    because we have lived it
    into being
    and know it is so. And no one can talk us out of it
    because it is so. Live in light of what
    you know to be so
    until something happens
    to change your mind.
    And then,
    live in light of what
    you know to be so
    until something happens
    to change your mind. Getting this down
    is having it made,
    and being fine
    with things exactly
    as they are.

02/27/2019  —  True religion
has nothing to do with
what we believe
to be so–
and has everything
to do with
what we know
to be so,
and being right about it.

People know things
to be so
that are not so.
This is false religion.
And to live grounded upon it
is to live in error.

This is the difference
between heaven and hell.

It is the difference
between being right
about what is important,
and being wrong
about what is important.

We all live in light
of what we know
to be important.

Why not be right about it?

02/27/2019  —  We all know
that our experience confirms
what we believe
to be so.

Believe that gratitude
makes all the difference,
and gratitude will
make all the difference.

Believe that money
is all important,
and money will be
all important.

Belief determines perspective,
perspective produces perception,
perception creates the world
we call “real.”

How we look determines
what we see.

We are the tour guide
to our own journey.

In only takes seeing,
to know this is so.

So.
We have to see our seeing
in order to see
all there is to see,
and to know
that we don’t know
any more than
what we think we know.

That moves us beyond knowing
into knowing that we don’t know,
and to the point
of knowing what we don’t know,
a little at a time.

When we know that we don’t know,
we are ready
to sit quietly,
looking and listening,
seeing and hearing,
feeling and sensing
our way into knowing
more than we can say,
or explain,
or understand
of the world we don’t know
anything of at all.

And that will change how we live
in this world
of normal, apparent, reality.

02/27/2019  —  The United Methodist Church’s
decision to neither marry
nor ordain
people who are gay,
is a clear call to division
and separation.

It is like unto excommunicating
people who are gay.

Which is like unto excommunicating
people who have had abortions.

Which is like unto excommunicating
people of color.

Which is like unto excommunicating
people we don’t like.

Which is like unto the creation
of the Church For Our Kind Of People.

Which, of course,
is not the kind of church
Jesus would be welcomed to join.

Why would anyone join
that kind of church
other than those who would?

02/27/2019  —  A meaningful life
is a life spent
doing meaningful things.

Not things that are
supposed to be meaningful.

Things that are
meaningful to you.

There are things that do good
that are not meaningful
to some of the people
doing them,
but they do good
to/for others
and they need to be done.

Just like work we get paid to do
needs to be done.

And the chores we do
and the errands we run
need to be done,
so we do them,
without experiencing much
that is meaningful
in doing so.

Riding a horse
can be the most meaningful
thing in your life.

Or lying in a hammock
taking pictures of birds
that are indistinguishable
from the ones you took last year,
or yesterday.

We cannot often
defend,
explain,
justify,
or excuse
the time we spend
doing things that are meaningful
to us.

Do not let that stop you!

Go sit at that loom!
Stand before that canvas!
Open that book of poetry!

Do not be shy or embarrassed
about serving what
has meaning for you
as often as you can!

We don’t have much time left!
Make the days count for something!
Live each one as meaningfully
as possible!

  1. 02/28/2019 —  Yellow-rumped Warbler 2019-02 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 25, 2019 No theology.
    No doctrine. What do you know
    of That Which Has Always Been Called God
    out of your own experience? What do you know
    of TWHABCG
    that has not been derived
    from some other source,
    including the Bible? The Bible says,
    “That which can be known
    of TWHABCG
    has always been known.” It is not privileged information. It is all “right there.”
    To be seen,
    and known,
    and understood,
    by the youngest child. “The still, small voice,”
    is not available to only those
    who believe the right things,
    and none of the wrong things. It is there for all
    who take the time
    to sit quietly
    and listen. The natural world
    is the source
    of all the religion
    we need. And what do we need religion for,
    beyond reconnecting
    to the truth of our own experience,
    knowing what we know
    of that which is beyond knowing,
    trusting ourselves
    to the guidance
    of our inner guide,
    and being at one with
    all those who know,
    and all those who
    have always known,
    to be goodness,
    mercy,
    virtue,
    kindness,
    beauty,
    gentleness,
    generosity
    and love–
    and exhibited those things
    in the way they live?
  2. 02/28/2019 —  Broad-winged Hawk 2019-02 02 — Scenes from my hammock, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 28, 2019 There’s a Zen saying: “If you see an elephant
    coming toward you
    along the path,
    get off the path!” The elephant metaphor
    has a lengthy list
    of modern equivalents. The National Park Service motto states: “Your safety is your responsibility.” We have to know
    where we belong
    and where we have
    no business being. What is good for us
    and what is not. Where we are safe
    and where we are not. Who the right people are
    and who the wrong people are. What is life for us
    and what is death to our soul. You know,
    like that. Our body is always talking to us. We could avoid a lot of trouble,
    just by listening to what our body
    has to say.
  3. 03/01/2019 —  Urban Wetlands 2019-02 07 Panorama — Mecklenberg County, Charlotte, North Carolina, February 28, 2019 What are you seeking? What would it take? To settle you down,
    calm your anxiety
    ease your dis-ease,
    restore your balance,
    produce harmony,
    set you on the path,
    align you with your dharma,
    put you in accord with the Tao,
    bring peace,
    and allow you
    to simply be here, now
    in each situation that arises,
    regardless of the circumstances,
    throughout the time left for living? Being clear about that
    is the kind of clarity
    we all need
    to live out of
    every day of our life. What are you seeking? What would it take?
  4. 03/01/2019 —  Broad-winged Hawk 2019-02 03 — Scenes from my hammock, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 28, 2019 I go out with a camera and the hammock
    for 45 minutes between rain showers
    after lunch
    and the hawk shows up
    with a carryout,
    and his mate shows up
    (in the next photo)
    hoping to be included,
    but no such luck.
    Everyone is on their own
    in the world of hawks
    and other living things. The entire episode
    is an encounter with synchronicity.
    What are the chances?
    You can’t plan these things,
    or count on them.
    But, if you don’t show up,
    ready and waiting and watching
    for anything,
    you have no chance at all. We have to put ourselves in the path
    of propitious events,
    and be prepared for them
    when they show up. And, in order to do that–
    the thing with the path
    and with the preparations–
    it helps to trust our unconscious
    and go with our intuitive sense
    of what needs to be done. We know more than we know we know. We would be wise
    to take that on faith,
    and to live as though it is so. Nothing has ever been more so.
  5. 03/01/2019 —  Broad-winged Hawks 2019-02 04 — Scenes from my hammock, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 28, 2019 — Somebody found lunch, and somebody is still looking. Meaningful is not always profitable. Most of us have to work to pay the bills,
    in order to give ourselves
    to the things in our life
    that ground us in meaning and purpose. My list is short,
    but all seasonal
    and weather proof,
    and has served me well
    throughout my years
    (And I am almost two months into
    my 75th.
    My wife says that means I am 74.
    I say it means I am in my 75th). The following is in no particular order. Everything is Most Important. I find meaning and joy
    in looking out the window
    (or into the fire). In reading and writing,
    taking photographs
    and working with them
    using processing software. In cooking and inventing recipes. In being in the natural world,
    with the natural world,
    attuned to the natural world.
    Watching, listening, enjoying, loving, laughing… In meditation. In the practice of mindful awareness. In asking the questions
    that beg to be asked,
    and saying the things
    that cry out to be said. In listening to music. In being a part of family gatherings. In stacking rocks
    and finding stackable rocks. In observing life being lived
    around me. In reflection and realization. Become aware of the sources
    of meaning in your own life,
    and give yourself to some
    of the things on your list
    every day.

03/01/2019  —  Photography is being
in the right place,
at the right time,
with a camera
and knowing
what to do with it.

Except for the camera part,
life is the same way.

03/01/2019  — I need some help
knowing what is socialism
and what is not.

If people working for minimum wage
cannot work enough hours in a week
to pay for what it costs
them to live that week,
are helped by the Gov.
with food stamps,
childcare,
transportation costs,
health care
and affordable housing
is that socialism?

And if the Gov. raises the minimum wage
to an hourly rate that provides
a livable wage,
is that socialism?

And if the Gov. pays for,
or supplements the cost of,
healthcare,
meals,
childcare,
transportation
and housing,
for members of Congress
and the armed forces,
is that socialism?

If we pay for public education
through the 12th grade,
and that is not socialism,
how is paying for public education
through a PhD,
or an MD,
socialism?

03/01/2019  —  I am the grateful recipient,
in my 75th year,
of a Central and South American
invention:
The poncho.
And it’s next of kin,
the shawl/wrap/open-front-poncho/cape.

Why were they not made available
to me
in any of the previous 74 years?

I lived in so many drafty,
chilly,
cold
houses
without either!

Blankets we wear!
What could be more brilliant?
Or practical!

Except, of course, a hammock,
which they also knew about
in those other Americas.

I have to learn Spanish
in order to thank them all,
and their ancestors,
appropriately.

Spanish would be a good thing
to learn anyway,
for no reason.

  1. 03/02/2019 —  Black-eyed Junco 2019-02 04 — Scenes from my hammock, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 28, 2019 We are all innocent
    in our own way,
    except when
    we are kidding ourselves. We fail to be self-transparent
    too little, too often. We have bought the narrative
    and live out of the script
    we have written for ourselves
    without knowing what
    we were doing/are doing. The narrative
    is the weight of our life–
    the feeling in our stomach
    when we think about ourselves,
    our past
    and our prospects–
    all of that
    without taking our other self
    into account. The one that has been
    along for the ride
    all this time.
    The one we have closed out
    of our life
    by refusing to be
    self-transparently aware
    of ALL there is about us. We bought the narrative,
    and the narrative doesn’t mention
    our other self. There are two of us
    in each of us: The conscious, ego, us
    we mean when we say,
    “I’m going to get a cup of coffee.” And the unconscious
    (because we are not conscious of her/him)
    other Carl Jung had in mind
    when he said,
    “In each of us,
    there is another,
    whom we don’t know.” The Other Beyond The Narrative. Beyond the Narrative
    is where our life lies. It’s scary there.
    We feel our way along there.
    We learn as we go there.
    Nothing is spelled out there. “It’s a perilous path!
    A slippery slope!
    Like a razor’s edge!” And it is the Hero’s Journey. What the hell? It’s more of this,
    or that. What do you say?

03/02/2019  —  It all rides
on how far out,
or how close in,
we zoom.

Nothing matters
on a cosmic scale.

Or on a microscopic scale.

It is in-between
that things get interesting.

If we are not interested
in our life,
we have zoomed out too far,
or in too close.

When we adjust the focus properly,
everything shifts into view,
and we are alive for the first time
since we closed ourselves off
from that which matters.

03/02/2019  —  Our perspective
is all we have to work with.

Change that,
and everything changes.

Every. Single. Thing.

So.

No wonder everyone
locks things in place
as quickly as possible,
and never thinks anything
they haven’t always thought.

Who could blame them?

Death is so much safer than life!

03/02/2019  —  Everybody thinks how they see things
is how things are.

Things begin to shift
once we begin to see
how we see things.

Nothing shows us what’s what
like seeing our seeing.

Take a look at how you are looking,
and you will see what I mean.

  1. 03/02/2019 —  Cherry Blossoms 2019-02 12 — Lancaster County, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 28, 2019 The work,
    the practice,
    is ours to do
    or do not. We cannot get by on “believing,”
    no matter what we believe. Will we do the work,
    is the question. Will we take up the practice,
    and commit ourselves to it
    as faithful servants,
    swearing our liege loyalty
    and filial devotion
    to living transparent to ourselves,
    aligned with ourselves
    and faithful to ourselves
    in each situation as it arises,
    all our life long? Can we look ourselves in the eye,
    and commit ourselves
    to the work,
    to the practice,
    of being One–
    each day of our life?

03/02/2019  —  Self-transparency requires more of us
than looking and seeing.

Everybody believes they
are completely self-transparent,
never kid themselves,
and are incapable
of carrying out clandestine operations,
or keeping secrets from themselves.

Projective techniques enable us
to catch ourselves unawares,
in a “Thou Art That” kind of way.

Projection and Transference
are two psychological “doors” or “windows”
offering insight into who we are.

Projection is ascribing to others
characteristics those who know us well
easily see in us.

“We hate in others what we cannot admit in ourselves,”
or, “We love in others what we cannot believe
is in ourselves.”

Other people show us who we are
when they “carry” our projections
and elicit strong feelings of attraction or repulsion from us.

Transference is seeing the here and now
as though it is a flash-back to then and there.
Something here reminds us of something
from somewhere else.
Or something here triggers a reaction in us
as though we were in our past.
And we live here as if it were then.

When the past is present in this way,
or when we experience an emotional reaction
to people, places or things,
it’s time to sit, explore and reflect
in getting to the bottom
of what is going on with us.

Writing,
painting,
drawing,
dancing,
making music,
spending time with nature,
woodworking,
or going for a walk
can be ways of expressing
thoughts and feelings
that rise to the surface
when we begin to probe the depths.

If you have take up the practice of mindful awareness
(Jon Kabat-Zinn YouTube videos are helpful here),
you know the procedure
of holding everything in your awareness
without being emotionally embroiled
with any of it.

Welcome whatever comes up.
Invite it to have a seat,
and to say whatever it has to say–
while you simply receive
all of it with awareness,
without reaction
in a “Thank you for your input,”
kind of way.

Seeing requires looking.
Hearing requires inquiry.
Knowing/Understanding require reflection.
Doing and
Being arise from realization,
and mindful,
compassionate,
non-judgmental,
awareness
is the path through it all.

  1. 03/03/2019 —  Fort Mill, South Carolina 2019-02 — February 28, 2019 All of the forces at work in our life
    are mitigated by mindfulness. Obsessions,
    compulsions,
    impulses,
    fears,
    dreads,
    anxieties,
    all the disorders,
    all the cultural trends,
    all the pop movements
    all the things we find ourselves doing
    that everybody else is doing,
    all the things we find ourselves thinking
    that everybody around us is thinking… Racism,
    sexism,
    ageism,
    homophobia,
    xenophobia,
    … Any of the things that push us,
    mold us,
    make us,
    force us
    to be,
    think,
    do,
    say,
    the things we are, think, do, say… Everything about all of us
    is transformed by mindfulness. Mindfulness changes everything
    that touches it
    for the better. So why are you putting off
    taking up the practice? Jon Kabat-Zinn YouTube Videos
    and books. But, don’t even wait that long! Start right now, this moment,
    with a three-minute
    breathing break. Take a deep breath in through your nose,
    blow it out through your mouth,
    and pause before your next inhalation
    for a count of five.
    Then breath normally through your nose
    to fill your lungs to their capacity,
    moving your stomach out behind your navel.
    Exhale normally through nose.
    Hold the next inhale for a count of five.
    Repeat these breaths for three minutes,
    counting each breath.
    When your mind wanders
    just note the wandering
    without engaging the thoughts,
    and coming back to counting your breathing.
    At the end of three minutes,
    take a deep breath in through your nose,
    blow it out through your mouth,
    and be well. Do three three-minute sets
    throughout your day–
    or as many as you like. You are on the path.
    Mindfulness is no more difficult than that.
    It is simply being intentionally
    aware of the moment,
    this moment right now,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment. And we breathe in every moment.
    By remembering our breathing,
    we ground ourselves in the moment.
    Breathe and be aware of the moment.
    What is going in within and without,
    without judgment,
    with compassion,
    and acceptance of the fact
    that the moment is just what it is,
    and is calling for just what it is calling for,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment. Respond to what the moment
    is calling for
    as best you can
    with the gifts
    you bring to the moment
    in ways that are appropriate to the moment,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment. Poof. Like that. You are living mindfully. You can supplement
    the three-minute breathing break
    with a ten-minute body scan,
    where you sit, or lie,
    and bring your mindful attentiveness
    to your body,
    moving slowly from head to foot,
    from foot to head,
    being aware of what your body
    is feeling,
    letting your body speak to you,
    hearing what your body has to say,
    learning to live from your body
    in responding to the world,
    learning to let your body
    be your guide. The body scan is graduate level mindfulness. Being mindful of your breathing
    and of your body
    in each moment
    and how the moment is impacting both
    and how each are asking you to live
    in response to the moment
    is all you need to know and do. Why aren’t we told this from birth?
  2. 03/04/2019 —  Folk Art 2019-03 01 — Lancaster County, Indian Land, South Carolina, March 3, 2019 Yesterday was a day devoted
    to taking photos
    of things I have always wanted
    to photograph,
    but never wanted to enough
    to go to the trouble
    of photographing them. They are in inaccessible places. Access is everything in photography,
    and normally,
    when I see inaccessibility,
    I drive on and let it go. When I drive past inaccessible photos
    every week or so for five years… Yesterday was foggy and misty,
    and yesterday was the day.
    This photo is one of the lot.
    My wife drove at 40 mph,
    and I took two photos
    on the first pass,
    and one was in focus. And I am posting it here,
    and storing it on an external hard drive
    to be forgotten about forever. Why bother?
    I don’t know.
    I cannot explain it.
    I see photos,
    or go look for photos,
    and take photos
    that satisfy something deep within,
    and that’s all I know. I live in the service
    of the satisfaction
    of something deep within. Something knows a photo needs to be taken
    and I take it,
    and something is satisfied. Something knows what needs to be written,
    and I write it.
    And something is satisfied. No amount of thinking
    is going to get
    to the bottom
    of this. Thinking is the root
    of all of our problems. We try to think our way
    to satisfaction. We try to think
    of what we want
    that will make us happy. We should listen instead. Listen to our body
    before our body
    becomes addicted
    to that which does not satisfy
    but which shuts us off
    from how unsatisfactory
    our choices and decisions are. We have to experience unsatisfactory,
    and pay the price of satisfying
    what needs to be satisfied. This is the death side
    of the death/resurrection experience. Aligning ourselves–
    our life–
    with That Which Seeks To Be Satisfied
    is at the heart/ground/center/core
    of “Thy will, not mine, be done.” Living in accord
    with That Which Seeks To Be Satisfied
    with the life we are living
    is to serve our dharma
    and our Te
    in honor of the Tao
    of life and being. These words do not mean anything
    to anyone who has not experienced
    the truth of what I am saying. So, just go with this:
    Seek the guidance
    of That Which Seeks To Be Satisfied within,
    and know when you are on the beam,
    and when you are off of it.
    And live to be on the beam. That is all there is to it.
  3. 03/04/2019 —  Still Life with White Chairs 2019-03 01 B&W Panorama — Lancaster County, Indian Land, South Carolina, March 3, 2019 Thoughts are not facts,
    and it would be helpful
    if we stopped reacting to them
    as though they are. Circumstances are facts,
    which are judged/interpreted/perceived
    in ways which generate feeling-reactions,
    which generate thoughts. Experience-feel-think
    is our normal procedure
    for coping with our life. Thoughts are feelings put into words/images. Every thought is a feeling,
    or a cluster of feelings,
    treated as a fact
    creating more feelings,
    swamping us in a cycle
    of feelings creating thoughts creating feelings…
    leading us to respond to things “in here”
    as though they were “out there”
    and making things intolerable
    for ourselves
    and others
    because the internally-generated
    world of our imagination
    is more real for us
    than the external world
    of ordinary reality. We have an alternative. We can develop the practice
    of living from awareness–
    not judgment/interpretation/perception. We are capable of experiencing our circumstances
    non-judgmentally,
    non-reactively,
    by receiving our experience
    with awareness-without-engagement. This is the way of emergency room personnel,
    and the way of kindergarten teachers. We can walk into a situation
    without being possessed by the situation. We can deal with circumstances
    without being overwhelmed by the circumstances. We can receive everything with awareness,
    and hold it all in our awareness,
    watching what happens,
    sensing what needs to happen in response,
    and responding in ways
    appropriate to the occasion
    as the occasion moves on
    into the next situation,
    and that unfolds
    into the next situation,
    without our adding anything
    to any situation
    that is not called for by the situation–
    all because we saw what was happening
    and responded to what was happening,
    not to what we felt/thought
    about what was happening. We can live out of our awareness
    of what is going on
    in all that we do. With practice.
    Emergency responders practice.
    Kindergarten teachers practice.
    We can practice.
    Every day is filled with practice sessions.
  4. 03/05/2019 —  Homeplace 2019-03 01 Panorama — York County, South Carolina, February 3, 2019 — Notice that the hitching post is closer to the house than the garage/carport. We have different ways of doing the same things. There is nothing to have,
    or acquire,
    or get,
    or attain,
    or amass,
    or hoard,
    or hold,
    or own,
    or do,
    or achieve… There is only
    getting together
    with ourselves,
    and living in ways
    which bring forth
    the best in ourselves
    and in one another,
    in each situation as it arises,
    moment-to-moment-to-moment,
    all our life long. When we honor
    the Beloved Other within,
    with time and attention,
    we align ourselves with ourselves
    and with our joint dharma/Te/Virtue Power,
    live in accord with the Tao of Time and Being,
    at peace with how things are,
    and enjoy the wonder of the whole show. If you think you can do better,
    swing for the fences! We all have to find out for ourselves
    what works for us,
    and satisfies something deep within.
  5. 03/06/2019 —  Cala Lily 2019-03 02 — Lancaster County, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 5, 2019 Hope doesn’t care about winning. Hope cares about living in the service
    of what matters most
    to the best of its ability
    in each situation as it arises
    no matter what. Hope doesn’t care what its chances are. Hope is here to live hopefully,
    faithfully true to its task
    of doing what needs to be done
    moment-to-moment-to-moment
    in each moment,
    regardless of the circumstances,
    its whole life long. Hope doesn’t care if it goes to hell. Hope knows exactly what it will go to hell for,
    and where it will draw the line,
    and therefore is ready for whatever comes–
    unmoved,
    unthreatened,
    unafraid–
    just seeing,
    just knowing,
    just doing
    what is called for,
    when it is called for,
    the way it is called for,
    and letting the future be
    what the future will be
    flowing from a present
    that is what it should be. The world is dying because people
    hope for things
    that are the very things
    that are in hope’s way–
    clutching things
    that are the first things
    that have to go
    in the service of what matters most
    and calls our name.
  6. 03/06/2019 —  Peach Orchard 2019-03 03 — Springs Farm Orchard, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, March 03, 2019 From The Chuang Tzu: “If you are open to everything you see and hear,
    and allow this to act through you,
    even gods and spirits will come to you,
    not to speak of people.” And: “Only a wise person is not concerned with results–
    and is therefore unaffected by the outcome.” Everything necessary arises
    from knowing/seeing/understanding
    how things are
    and what needs to happen in response–
    and acting spontaneously from there,
    without attachment to the outcome. As soon as we are attached to the outcome,
    it is all over,
    and things hasten to become
    what they are now.

03/06/2019  —  If we have our feet under us,
and are standing on the foundation
of what matters most,
with complete confidence
in our ability to live out of this stance
in dealing appropriately
with what comes our way,
we have it made.

This is all there is to it.

Most problems are fabricated
by the culture
for their drama quotient,
and because problems
are very good for the economy.

The drug industry would be nothing
without problems driving their products.

The best thing you can do
to make a difference
is get your feet under you
and stand on the foundation
of what matters most.

Everything else will fall into place
around that.

  1. 03/07/2019 —  Cala Lily 2019-03 01 — Lancaster County, Indian Land, South Carolina, March 5, 2019 We are a partnership,
    a collaboration. Each one of us
    is two of us.
    Is all of us–
    stretching back through time
    to the beginning of us. We are a corporation. The entire species
    looks back at us
    from every mirrored surface,
    from every other person. We are one with all living things. The implications are enormous. For one thing,
    each of us is capable
    of everything
    any of us has ever done. For another thing,
    this realization is the end of racism,
    sexism,
    all the _isms
    and all the phobias… We are who we hate,
    and who we love. For another thing,
    the wisdom of the species,
    no–of life–
    is accessible within,
    and experienced
    as the “ground of being”
    upholding us all. Our DNA is packed
    with this.
    Our Unconscious
    (All that we are not conscious of)
    is the source of every single thing
    about us (All of us). We share the same Unconscious. We are individuals
    and we are The Collective.
    The Whole Show. We are different
    and we are identical. That reality is the source
    of compassion
    and empathy. Peace.
    Harmony.
    Resonance… We are anchored
    in each others’ harbor.
    We eat
    at each others’ table.
    We swim
    in each others’ soul. We are The Other.
    The Other is us. The practice is living
    in light of the reality
    at the heart of each of us,
    as though it is so,
    because it is. Slow down.
    No!
    Stop!
    See who you look at!
    See who is looking at
    who you look at! What you call different–
    about you or them–
    is not only different.
    It is also inherent
    in both of you,
    in all of us. We can look at anyone,
    including ourselves,
    and see differentness,
    and we can look at them again
    and see sameness. Everyone is who they are,
    and who they also are,
    and who they might be even yet,
    given the chance. We can deny it,
    but.
    We will be kidding ourselves. Why not live as though it is so,
    and see where it goes?

03/07/2019  —  Carl Jung said,
“We meet our destiny
on the road we take
to escape it.”

Joseph Campbell said,
“What we seek
is found far back
in the cave
we most don’t want
to enter.”

Campbell also talked about
the importance
of “following our bliss.”
What he didn’t say straight-out
is that our bliss
will eat our life alive.

He did, however, put it like this:
“If you have the guts to stay
with the thing you really want,
no matter what happens,
then, go ahead…
But, are you going to think
of fortune (and success),
or, are you going to think
of serving your bliss?”

This is the conflict
of mutually exclusive
values and ends.
What matters most?
It will demand/require
complete obedience,
absolute faithfulness,
unwavering devotion,
and will eat your old idea
of your life alive.

“Whomever puts their
hand to the plow
and looks back
is not fit for the kingdom of heaven
(or for whatever that phrase represents
in our own life/experience).”

This is no lark we are on.
This is our life we are fashioning,
and it is fashioning us in return.
So don’t be surprised
if it turns out to be
the hardest thing you have ever done,
this following your bliss.

The only thing more detrimental
to us and to our life
is to not follow it,
but to choose instead
the way that is smooth and easy.

“What a dangerous path this is!
It is a slippery slope!
Like the razor’s edge!”

It isn’t called “The Hero’s Journey”
for no reason.

  1. 03/08/2019 —  Cala Lily 2019-03 05 — Lancaster County, Indian Land, South Carolina, March 6, 2019 Each of us has to find our own way. Joseph Campbell said, In “Transformations of Myth Through Time”: In The Quest of the Holy Grail…there occurs in the Old French text a passage…that seems to me to epitomize the whole sense of this Grail symbolism. “They agreed that all would go on this quest, but they thought it would be a disgrace”—and that’s the word used—“to go forth in a group.” Think of the group psychology that the Oriental tradition represents—“they thought it would be a disgrace to go forth in a group, so each entered the forest”—the forest of the adventure—“at a point that he, himself, had chosen, where it was darkest, and there was no path.” (p. 211) Now, all of you who have had anything to do with Oriental gurus know that they have the path, and they know where you are on the path. Some of them will give you their picture to wear, so you know where you are to get to, instead of your own picture. This is the difference, and this is Europe. (p. 211-212) The knights entered the forest at the point that they had chosen, where there was no path. If there is a path, it is someone else’s’ path, and you are not on the adventure. Now, what are you to do about instruction? You can get clues from people who have followed paths, but then you have to carom off that and translate it into your own decision, and there is no book of rules. (p. 212) On this wonderful quest—it’s a marvelous romance, with each knight going his own way—when anyone finds the path of another and thinks, “Oh, he’s getting there!” and begins to follow that path, then he goes astray totally, even though the other may get there. This is a wonderful story: that which we intend, that which is the journey, that which is the goal, is the fulfillment of something that never was on earth before—namely your own potentiality. Every thumbprint is different from every other. Every cell and structure in your body is different from that of anyone who has ever been on earth before, so you have to work it out yourself, talking your clues from here and there. (p. 212) By what kind of magic can people put God in your heart? They can’t. (God is) either there or not there, out of your own experience. (p. 213) Who gave you your path?
    Who leads you along your path?
    Who tells you are doing a good job?
    Whose opinion of your path
    matters more than your own? There is a Zen saying: “If you meet the Buddha on the road,
    kill him!”

03/08/2019  —  We are to live in ways
that are true to ourselves,
AND appropriate to the occasion.

There is an out:

Who determines
what is and is not
appropriate to the occasion?

WE do!

There is a catch:

We have to be right about it.

  1. 03/09/2019 —  Cala Lily 2019-03 01 A — Lancaster County, Indian Land, South Carolina, March 5, 2019 Societies and cultures follow the same path
    through history,
    and end in the mindless decadence
    of wealth for wealth’s sake. We seek money,
    get money,
    want more money
    and tilt the rules of society/culture
    to favor the acquisition
    of money for the wealthy
    at the expense of everyone else. All we have to live for is money. What is life for but making money? What is money for if not making more money? Who are we apart from our money? When being rich/wealthy
    is the best society/culture
    has to offer,
    it is over,
    and we are whiling away the decades
    until the collapse
    of the institutions
    and structures
    holding things together
    makes it official. When our identity
    is tied
    to how much money we have,
    have made,
    are making,
    will make,
    we have no identity,
    only an insatiable appetite for–
    an addiction to–
    escape,
    denial,
    diversion,
    distraction,
    amusement,
    entertainment
    that money masks and serves,
    at the expense
    of everything truly valuable. That leaves us with waking up,
    and grounding our life
    on the foundation
    of what matters most–
    which is something
    money cannot buy–
    and living
    out of our recognition of,
    and service to,
    the heart of true value
    in each situation as it arises
    throughout the time left for living.

03/09/2019  —  Self-awareness,
self-transparency,
is the heart,
foundation,
ground,
center,
core,
of a life worth living.

Everything flows from there,
leads back to there,
and the seeing,
hearing,
knowing,
understanding,
doing,
being,
living
that is
what life is all about.

We are not aware
until we are aware
of ourselves
being aware
of ourselves
and of what we mean
by what we do–
and of what we mean
for all sentient beings.

Who we are
is what we mean.
How we live
is what we do,
is who we are,
is what we mean.

How intentionally do we live?

How self-transparent are we?

03/09/2019  —  There are addictions
and entertainments
to take our minds
off our circumstances.

And there are approaches
and processes
to open our minds
to our circumstances.

Denial is a way of coping
with our circumstances
without coming to terms
with them.

How we stand
in relation to our circumstances
reveals all that needs
to be known
about us–
or can be.

  1. 03/10/2019 —  Bamboo Impressions 2019-03 01 — Lancaster County, Indian Land, South Carolina, March 10, 2019 Courage and clarity
    are ours to generate
    and to serve. No one can give us either. Everything rides
    on our seeing
    and doing
    what needs to be seen
    and done. Lack clarity? Be quiet. Listen.
    Look. What are you keeping
    yourself from seeing?
    Hearing?
    Knowing?
    Understanding? Where are you afraid to go? Courage and clarity
    go hand-in-hand. One is in your right hand,
    the other is in your left. The path opens before you
    when you start walking.

03/10/2019  —  Bamboo Impressions 2019-03 01 — Lancaster County, Indian Land, South Carolina, March 10, 2019

Courage and clarity
are ours to generate
and to serve.

No one can give us either.

Everything rides
on our seeing
and doing
what needs to be seen
and done.

Lack clarity?

Be quiet.
Sit.
Listen.
Look.

What are you keeping
yourself from seeing?
Hearing?
Knowing?
Understanding?

Where are you afraid to go?

Courage and clarity
go hand-in-hand.

One is in your right hand,
the other is in your left.

The path opens before you
when you start walking.

03/10/2019  —  We have everything we need
to find what we need
to do what needs to be done.

What is stopping us?

03/10/2019  —  All of our problems
stem from
not seeing
what we look at–
from
not hearing
what we are being told.

03/10/2019  —  We create the future
by the way
we respond
to the present
under the influence
of the impact
of the past.

Seeing all
that is to be seen
changes everything.

03/10/2019  —  See what you look at.
Hear what is being said.
On all levels.
In each situation
as it arises.
Decide what is to be done about it
in light of all things considered.
Do it.
Repeat.

All there is to it.

03/10/2019  —  Have a way
without having
to have your way.

That’s the way!

  1. 03/11/2019 —  Bradford Pear 2019-03 02 — York County, South Carolina, March 3, 2019 — An invasive species taking over the world. The Kudzu of trees. Do not welcome them to your neighborhood! One becomes ten thousand in your lifetime. A little exaggeration never hurts a point that needs to be made. We know where our interests lie,
    or think we do. Bradford Pear trees are beautiful in the spring,
    never mind that they don’t know
    where to stop.
    Let’s buy a dozen
    and line our driveway
    like all our neighbors. What else are we doing
    without thinking
    because someone is?
    What else are we doing
    without thinking
    because it’s pretty
    and we want it? Self-awareness,
    self-transparency,
    are useless,
    pointless,
    ridiculously absurd
    without self-discipline
    drawing lines
    and saying no,
    or insisting on yes,
    do it now,
    whether you want to or not. We know what to do
    (diet and exercise,
    no sugar or salt,
    alcohol or tobacco),
    and don’t do it. We are funny that way.
  2. 03/12/2019 —  The Icon 2019-03 02 — South Carolina’s State Image. I took the photo of the moon from my driveway in Indian Land, SC, and I took the photo of the palm tree in Mt. Pleasant, SC, and I put the to together on my computer in Indian land. It is all South Carolina. March 12, 2019. Of course,
    it is all useless, pointless, hopeless, futile, absurd
    and coming to a very bad end:
    We all die. How we live in the meantime
    makes all the difference–
    or, as Doctor Who said
    in one of his/her earlier incarnations,
    “That’s where we come in.” We step into the scene
    as the bearers of hope. As the bearers of hope,
    we don’t give a damn about
    our chances. We don’t care what our chances are.
    It doesn’t matter what our prospects happen to be. We are here to BE hope
    in a world that eats hope alive
    before breakfast,
    standing up to it
    and the worst it can do,
    spitting in its face,
    taunting it with truth–
    the truth of who we are–
    saying,
    “Give me the best you got!
    The world isn’t big enough
    for both of us,
    and I’m not going anywhere!” Rosa Parks!
    Harriet Tubman!
    Martin Luther King, Jr.!
    Helen Keller!
    Anne Sullivan!
    … The list is long.
    Can you think of a better list
    for your name to be on? “Oh, but the circumstances!
    It’s like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic!
    Not this! Not This! Not THIS! NOT THIS!!!
    We can’t do anything with THIS!” Oh, please!
    THIS is what we are built for!
    THIS is why we are here!
    THIS is where we come in! Joseph Campbell said,
    “It took the Cyclops
    to bring out the hero
    in Ulysses.” The worse it gets,
    the better we like it!
    The more fun we are going to have! Put on your dancing shoes!
    We’re going to a party! “Oh, but! Oh, but!
    We’re singing a song
    to people who don’t even like music!” It isn’t about them!
    It is about us!
    We have a song to sing!
    And we aren’t singing for the applause!
    Much less, the standing ovations! I don’t care who is reading this stuff.
    I’m here to write it.
    What are you here to do?
    Do it!
    No.
    Matter.
    What.

03/12/2019  —  People talk all the time
without saying anything.

Without saying anything
that hasn’t been said
10,000 times and counting.

Today’s conversations
will be a repeat
of yesterday’s conversations.

No new topics will be broached.
No new ideas will surface.
Our talk is the same old same old.
Our life is the same old same old.

No wonder addiction
is the foundation of the economy.
We have to have something
to take our minds off
our situation
and these damn circumstances.

With nothing ever to say
that hasn’t been said
10,000 times and counting?

Here’s an idea:
Talk about the last meaningful
thing you have done.
Ask about the last meaningful
thing the person you are talking to has done.

What is the most meaningful thing
you can think of doing here and now?

What is keeping you from doing it?

Don’t talk about anything
that isn’t meaningful to you personally
when you are not engaged
in the business that has to be done.

No idle talk.
No chatter to fill up the time.
If it isn’t meaningful,
walk away.

03/12/2019  —  You can’t be a writer
without having something to say.

Your stock goes up
if it is worth being said.

That doesn’t mean you will profit handsomely
from saying it.

It means you will never run out of things to say.

Because one thing leads to another,
and when you have things to say
that need to be said
saying them generates an atmosphere
in which you show yourself things
you would have never seen
if you hadn’t said the first thing–
and you keep “talking” until you die.

If J.R.R. Tolkien were still alive,
he would still be writing.
Sigh.

03/12/3019  —  We have it within us
to rise to any occasion.

We have done so countless times
over time.

Life is that way.

Life finds a way.

Grounded in, upon,
who we are,
where we have come from,
what we have been through
to be here, now,
makes every here and now
just another place
where we do our thing,
show what we are made of,
become who we are
as a springboard
to the next thing.

Circumstances don’t matter
to those who know
they have what it takes
to find what it takes
to do what needs to be done.

03/12/2019  —  Addiction is the foundation
of the economy.

If we all begin to face our life
straight-up every day,
and took up the practice
of coming to terms
with the way things are,
it would bankrupt the country.

Money is the biggie.
Sugar is next.
Then the rest
in no particular order:
Religion.
Self-help.
Exercise.
Alcohol.

Fill in the rest of the list at your leisure,
if you have any leisure
without a favorite form of addiction at hand.

We are living as hard as we can,
but can’t say why,
and think it has to do with ever-increasing income.

The practice I mentioned above is crucial.
Anything that connects us
with our deeper self,
sometimes called our “higher power”–
so that we consciously collaborate
with another we generally are
not conscious of,
but is always right there,
accessible and ready
to partner with us
in the joint life that is ours to live–
will be exactly the ticket we need
to a life that is addiction-free.

The economy will get along fine
without us.

  1. 03/13/2019 —  Round-lobed Hepatica 2019-03 01 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 11, 2019 Our original nature–
    “the face that was ours before we were born”–
    who we were born to be–
    spends all our life
    shining through everything we do,
    leading us to itself. We think we know what we are doing,
    and walk on,
    ignoring the one who knows
    who walks with us,
    waiting for us to wake up
    to who’s who
    and what’s what. We could save ourselves
    a lot of time and trouble
    just by seeing what we look at,
    and hearing what is being said
    on all levels,
    in each situation as it arises,
    starting with this one.

03/13/2019  —  We carry the book we need to read
unread within,
looking everywhere
for what we refuse
to look at
or even consider.

We are the Buddha
looking for the Buddha.

The Buddha
found the Buddha
by sitting quietly,
opening the book
he carried within,
and reading himself awake.

  1. 03/14/2019 —  Round-lobed Hepatica 2019-03 02 Panorama — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 11, 2019 “Next Year In Jerusalem!”
    is a lie.
    It actually means, “Never In Jerusalem!” Just like “Next Year In Mecca!”
    means “Never In Mecca!” Just like “We shall overcome some day,”
    means “We will never overcome
    all that needs to be overcome, ever!” Let me explain. “Next Year In Jerusalem/Mecca/Etc.”
    means what, exactly? Who exactly is welcome next year
    in Jerusalem/Mecca/Etc.? Those who see as I do, as We do. “Next Year In Jerusalem/Mecca/Etc.
    For All Those Like Me!”
    Because “There Is No God But My God!
    And Yahweh Is His Name!”
    “NO! ALLAH Is His Name!”
    “NO!! ______ (fill in the blank) Is His Name!” Here is my personal nomination:
    “The tao that can be told
    is not the eternal Tao.
    The name that can be named
    is not the eternal Name.” And:
    “The Tao is hidden but always present.
    I don’t know who gave birth to it.
    It is older than God.” And:
    “Since before time and space were,
    the Tao is.
    It is beyond *is* and *is not.*
    How do I know this is true?
    I look inside myself and see.” And:
    “There was something formless and perfect
    before the universe was born.
    It is serene. Empty. Solitary. Unchanging.
    Eternally present.
    It is the mother of the universe.
    I do not know its name,
    I call it the Tao.” It is spelled “Tao” and pronounced “Dow.”
    It is the heart of contradiction/opposition.
    It is the essential essence of Yin/Yang
    at its very core.
    In this sense, it is flawed at the core.
    Just like you and me. Jerusalem/Mecca/Etc.
    does not–cannot–exist
    because they rule out contradiction/opposition. There are no Muslims in Jerusalem!
    No Palestinians will be found there!
    There are no Jews in Mecca!
    No Christians will be found there!
    There are no Muslims or Jews in the New Jerusalem!
    Only Christians will be found there! You see the problem. Here is the problem:
    We are opposites at war
    internally/eternally.
    Contradiction at the core.
    And cannot bear the truth
    of who we also are,
    so we must have enemies
    to carry the evil that lives within. We cannot be one with each other
    without being one with ourselves. Stand before a full-length mirror
    and look at who looks back at you
    until you can see who is standing there
    and bear the full weight
    of who you are
    and also are. Silence will do that to you.
    We cannot sit quietly for long
    without being horrified
    at what we have done
    and are capable of doing. So, we do not sit quietly,
    and lose ourselves in our favorite addictions
    to fill up our time
    and avoid knowing who we also are. What is the solution? Sitting quietly.
    Welcoming everything–everyone–
    into our awareness.
    Knowing “This, too. This, too.” “This, too. “This, too.”
    is the only doctrine. Welcome everyone, everything,
    all that you are,
    just as you are,
    just as it is,
    “This, too! This, too!” Sitting in the silence,
    welcome all things. And live as though all are one,
    because all are one,
    and all are flawed at the core,
    and it is well with us all.
  2. 03/15/2019 —  Bamboo Impression 2019-03 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 15, 2019 What are you excited about? Hold that thought. The Obi-wan Kenobi blessing,
    “May the Force be with you,”
    is half of the equation.
    “May you be with the Force,”
    is the other half,
    and the most important,
    in that, the Force is always with us,
    but we are rarely ever with the Force. That is our work,
    and the reason for our practice. Our practice is putting ourselves
    in accord with the Force,
    with the Tao,
    with the Way
    that is always right there,
    waiting for us to get in the game. One of the doorways
    to the Force-Tao-Way
    is excitement
    that is too easily dismissed
    because we cannot
    defend, excuse, justify, explain
    our participation in,
    or even our affinity for,
    the things that call our name. How often do you serve
    the things that excite you? How often do you talk yourself out of them
    because they aren’t logical, reasonable, rational,
    convenient, practical or realistic? Excitement tends to override
    our normal pattern of life
    and lead us into areas that are at odds
    with the way things are supposed to be done. Stifled excitement is the most frequent
    cause of death of the spirit. And letting what excites us guide us
    is the quickest antidote
    to the lethargy and listlessness of our existence–
    and a way of finding our way
    back to the Way, the Tao, the Force
    that is with us always,
    waiting for us to get in the game.

03/15/2019  —  If we want something to change
in relation to us,
we have to change
in relation to it.

How different can we be?

Start with listening
until we can hear.

Looking until we can see.

Waiting for the right time to act
calls forth the right action
from somewhere within us
that knows what to do
and when to do it,
and has nothing to do with thinking,
or understanding,
and everything to do with knowing–
even though we can’t say
how we know what we know,
or defend,
excuse,
justify,
explain
what we do.

And it may be some time
before we understand
why this,
why now,
if we ever do understand.

Waiting to understand
why,
when,
what,
where
and how
before we act
misses
the door as it opens
and the way
that beckons us
to act now.

  1. 03/16/2019 —  Peach Orchard 2019-03 02 — Springs Farms, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, March 5, 2019 My Doctor’s daughter fell in love
    with a flute when she was 7 years old. Not with an oboe,
    Not with a guitar,
    Not with a clarinet
    or a saxophone… With a flute. The flute is her ground
    and her foundation,
    and she cannot be moved
    by promises of heaven
    or threats of hell. She would go to hell
    before she would forsake
    her flute
    for a grande piano. What would you go to hell for? Something within us all
    knows what our ground
    and our foundation is.
    And we ignore its guidance
    and direction
    to our everlasting
    chagrin,
    regret,
    and dismay. The good news is
    we can pick up the flute
    at any point in our life. We can’t kid ourselves
    about our ground
    and our foundation.
    We have to know what it is. Maybe it’s a skateboard
    or a sailboat
    won’t do.

03/16/2019  —  Life is lived in favor of something
and in opposition to something else.

In favor of eating,
in opposition to starvation.

In favor of sleeping
in opposition to sleep deprivation.

You know, like that.

We live in favor
of what we call good,
and in opposition
to what we call bad or evil.

In favor of mindfulness
and compassion,
in opposition to mindlessness
and ruthless cruelty.

The Dalai Lama’s bodyguards
carry automatic weapons.
The Dalai Lama stands ready
to draw a line against
threats to his life.

Where we draw that line
defines the demarcation point
between good will and ill will.
We do not all agree
where that point lies,
but we all have such a point–
a point where someone dies
so that someone else might live.

Utter pacifists will sacrifice/kill
themselves
so that their attackers might live
and go on killing the innocent,
and not-killing is killing nonetheless.

We can choose who dies
and who lives,
but there comes a point
at the divide between
good will and ill will
where somebody lives
and somebody dies.

The Dalai Lama will do all he can
to find common ground
with all people,
but no one can compel
people of ill will
to embrace the good.

And there lies the problem.

Education,
compassion,
and clear lines
with no legitimacy granted
to extremist positions,
and a life dedicated
to the service of the good,
will do what can be done.

After that, the rule of law
faithfully enforced
is all that stands between
the civilized
and the barbaric.

That is as it always has been,
and always will be.

Blurring the line
for the sake of personal gain
is the end of civilization
as a hedge against evil.

The Wall is the Rule of Law.

  1. 03/17/2019 —  Bamboo Impressions 2019-03 03 — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 16, 2019 Money is a shield and protector,
    a buffer,
    a cushion,
    a bulwark
    against the encroaching
    trials and ordeals
    of the hard life. Without money,
    we are out of luck
    and up against it,
    without hope in the world. Money is our drug of choice,
    our Mother Addiction
    ensconcing us safely forever
    in the Elysian Fields
    and the Happy Land of Denial
    where nothing can get us there. Nothing can get us there
    because it does not exist
    and money is a lie. Money is only good for
    paying the bills
    that buy the tools
    and supply the wherewithal
    to do the work that is ours to do. And we think that with enough money
    we will never have to work again. Meaningful work
    is the ground and foundation
    of our life. And we rarely find a job
    that supplies it.
    Our jobs pay the bills
    that allow us to find
    and do
    the work. The work allows us
    to live in the world
    just as it is
    without the need
    for denial. Meaningful work is the end of addiction. That’s the good news.
    The bad news is
    that it requires us
    to face
    and come to terms with
    the truth of life
    just as it is. Meaningful work makes that possible
    just as it makes that necessary. Money is a more attractive option.

03/17/2019  —  Answers are stops.

Answers stop the free flow of questions.

Answers cut off exploration,
experimentation,
curiosity,
playfulness,
dancing,
wondering,
laughing…

Cradle my soul
in the bosom of questions
without end!
That is where life come to life.

Answers are where life goes to die.

The person who said,
“An answer is just a step
on the way to better questions,”
knew what they were talking about.

Every answer begs questions to be asked
about the answer.

If we ask every question
that begs to be asked,
we eventually get to
“I don’t know.”

That is the best answer
in the entire Book of Answers!
“I don’t know” opens the world,
the universe,
and whatever is beyond it all,
before us
and invites us to walkabout.

Be sure to pack a lunch.
You may be a while.

03/17/2019  —  The most therapeutic
thing you can do
is ask the questions
that beg to be asked
about the situation
that is giving you
the most trouble
at any/every point
in your life.

What is the most traumatic event
in your personal experience?

Start there.

Or start with the most recent
traumatic event.

It doesn’t matter where you start.

Sit quietly in the presence
of the impact
of that experience,
and listen/feel.

What are the questions
that beg to be asked?
Ask them.
Do not pause to answer them–
allow one question to lead to another.
Ask all the questions
that each question
calls forth.

When you reach the end
of the time allotted
for this meditation/reflection/exercise,
do your three-minute breathing meditation
(I posted that here not long ago)
and step back into your life,
promising to return to the silent quest
for questions–
and always, always, keep your promises
to yourself.

03/17/2019  —  I’m running out of time.

So are you.

More time is one of the many things
money cannot buy.

After a certain tilt-point,
the time we spend making money
is time we are wasting
in the pursuit of that which cannot satisfy.

All of the satisfying things
come from deep within.
Something within yearns to be satisfied,
and we are its vehicle for satisfaction.

Our role/place/purpose
is that of listening/feeling
for the urges that arise within,
and thinking how best
to serve/satisfy them
within the time and place,
conditions and circumstances,
of our living.

We feel-think.
We feel and think about our feelings.
Listening for what our feelings
are saying.

Our feelings are mirrors
reflecting us to us.
And they are guiding lights
pointing the way.
And they are thresholds
to inquiry and exploration
inviting us into the depths
of human experience.

What are your predominant feelings?
How much time do you spend
listening to them
exploring them,
thinking about them,
asking the questions that beg to be asked
in response to them?

If you are going to meditate
on something,
meditate on your feelings
and what they are saying
about what needs to be satisfied
and what it would take to satisfy it.

There isn’t much time left!
Just think of how much we have spent
just getting to this point
of knowing what to do with it!

Come on!
Come on!
Go! Go! Go!
Sit quietly!
Listen!
Feel!

  1. 03/18/2019 —  Trout Lily 2019-03 03 Panorama–Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 15, 2019 William Blake said, There is no progression without contradiction (With words to that effect). Carl Jung said, “There is no coming to consciousness
    without pain.” Aeschylus said, Those who learn “must suffer,
    and even in our sleep
    pain that cannot forget
    falls drop by drop upon the heart,
    and in our own despair,
    against our will,
    comes wisdom to us
    by the awful grace of God.” We cannot grow up
    without coming to terms
    with the truth of our situation
    in each moment,
    moment-by-moment
    every day of our life. We are vulnerable,
    fragile,
    powerless,
    helpless
    and exposed. The more immature we are,
    the more likely we are
    to respond to our plight
    with either
    rage and hatred
    in the violent refusal
    to acknowledge our impotence,
    or with
    the complete surrender
    and capitulation
    of those who take to their beds
    with their face to the wall,
    comatose and compliant
    until their inevitable end
    that cannot come too soon. The maturing among us
    look this manifestation of the Cyclops
    standing in our path
    in his ugly red eye,
    and say,
    “Is hopelessness all you got?
    I eat hopelessness raw for breakfast
    each morning
    and spit out the bones.
    Now git out of my way.
    I have things to do.” And we step into the circumstances
    that constitute the time and place
    of our living,
    and live there as fully as possible
    for as long as possible,
    doing what can be done there
    about what needs to be done
    with what we have to work with,
    and let that be that–
    anyway,
    nevertheless,
    even so. Because that is who we are,
    and that is what we came to do,
    and we are going to do it,
    no matter what. So I take these pictures
    and write these words
    every day. And you?
    What is yours to do?
    Do it!
    And don’t let anything
    stop you from doing it! It is the work of hope
    in a dry and barren land
    that brings life to life
    and takes pleasure
    in the goodness of small things
    and kind gestures
    that make no difference
    and are all the difference in the world.

03/18/2019  —  We have to walk two paths
at the same time.

We have to know what we are doing
to the extent that is possible,
and know that we don’t have a clue
at the same time.

We have to have a plan,
and serve an agenda,
and intend certain things
with our lives,
favoring particular outcomes
and eschewing others,
while being open to possibilities
beyond conceiving,
and ready to drop everything
in the service of urges
arising from the depths
inexplicable urgency.

We are this way
and we are also that way
simultaneously.

And that is the way we are.

This is not ambivalence.
Ambivalence suggests uncertainty:
Maybe this, maybe that.
No!
With us it is:
This! And That!
Opposites that are one within us!

What shall we do?
This when this is called for,
and That when that is called for.

We listen within
and see what is happening,
and do what is called for.

It is easy,
once we get the rhythm down
and learn to listen to the music.
And forget about rules
and consistency
and expectations.

03/18/2019  —  We are responsible
for our own development.

Nothing can grow us up
that we do not permit,
and we all grow up
against our will.

We are set against ourselves,
and for ourselves,
from the start.

Whose side are we on?
Whose interest do we serve?
Whose good is nurtured
by the good we call good?

How good is the good
we think is good?

We harmonize the balance
of inverted opposites–
Yin/Yang–
at the center of ourselves,
and carry out our business
within the time and place,
conditions and circumstances,
of our living
by holding the opposites
at work in every choice
in our awareness
in a “Not this, not this!
This, too, this too!”
kind of way.

Smiling at our duplicity,
and doing what we decide to do
in light of the place
of what we decide to not do–
and serving the oneness of all things
in our life over the full course of time.

  1. 03/19/2019 —  Dandelion 2019-03 01 Panorama — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 15, 2019 There are always people
    who don’t like other people. Genocide is at the top
    of somebody’s list. Somebody thinks
    if only they could kill all
    of certain types of people,
    then all would be well at last. Their enemies are their only problem.
    Get rid of them,
    and, poof, like that, no problems. There have always been people
    who have felt that way
    about other people. Their modus operandi is:
    “It’s people like you
    who make people like me
    hate people like you!
    And you have to GO!
    Or I can’t be happy!” Some people hate the Dalai Lama.
    Some people can hate anybody.
    I don’t know what to do about that. We invented the Rule of Law
    to slow down the massacres,
    but the Rule of Law hinges
    on enforcement,
    and everything is iffy
    at the hinges.
    The US Congress underscores
    the validity of that observation. What to do?
    How do we make the world safe
    for everybody?
    People have been asking that question
    for as long
    as there have been questions,
    or people. The people who kill people
    think they are making the world safe
    for people like themselves.
    And the people who are being killed
    need a world that is safe
    from people who are killing them. Everybody is trying to be safe at last.
    Killing people does not make the world safe. Pass the word.

03/19/2019  —  We need help
with finding our life
and living it.

I don’t know why we need help.

Pine trees never
wonder who they are
or what is theirs to do.

Walruses don’t have a problem
with it.

Zebras and Bowfin Tuna
do fine.

Only human beings lose their bearings
and can’t find their way
to who they are
and what is theirs to do.

We can envision/imagine
a better world
than the one
we belong to.

Paradise wasn’t good enough
for Adam and Eve.
A little tweaking
would get it just right.

We need help getting back
to where we started.

If we find ourselves hanging out
with people like us,
we need to find someone else
to talk to–
someone who knows more than we do
about finding the bedrock
of our life
and getting our feet under us.

My guides are Carl Jung,
Joseph Campbell,
Ray Grigg,
and Jon Kabat-Zinn.

It helps to know
who your guides are.

03/19/2019  —  I don’t know why
there is such a wide range
of opinion regarding
what is good.

Whose word are we going to take?

And why is everyone
trying to impose their idea
of the good
on everyone else?

No one knows what is good for me
better than me!

What is wrong with a society
having a very short list
of what is good for everybody
and a lot of latitude
for each person
to live in light
of their own idea
of the good for themselves?

The idea that nobody
can be gay,
or Muslim,
or Jewish,
or Latino
etc.
is outlandishly absurd.

Those Who Know Best
For Everyone Else
need to leave everyone else alone.

  1. 03/20/2019 —  Brown-headed Nuthatch 2019-03 02 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, March 14, 2019 We could do with less
    in the way of judgment
    and opinion
    regarding people
    and things
    in our lives–
    and more in the way
    of recognition
    and acceptance
    of the fact
    that the way
    of people
    and things
    in our lives
    has an impact
    on us
    and the way our life
    is to be lived
    in response to them,
    without unduly encumbering ourselves
    with the drama
    and the thrashing about
    stemming from
    excessive emotional reaction
    to “the very idea”
    that we should have
    to be so inconvenienced
    and put out
    by their inconsideration
    and outlandishly absurd
    or ruthlessly cruel
    and unjust
    way of being in the world. We oppose all that must be opposed
    and affirm/endorse/support/serve
    all that must be so encouraged
    without going on about
    the appalling nature of having to. We have to. We have to call out
    white supremacy,
    homophobia,
    xenophobia,
    misogyny,
    racism, and take relentlessly strong action
    against all expressions
    of these things
    in the world. If we have an infection,
    we take antibiotics
    without railing on about it. We meet injustice
    and inequity,
    atrocity,
    abomination
    and bad manners
    in the same way. Every time,
    every place,
    always
    and forever.
  2. 03/20/2019 —  Goodale 2018-11 40 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2018 Saying yes to life just as it is
    means saying yes to no.
    It means saying yes
    to the actions we have to take
    in response to life just as it is
    to make life more like it ought to be
    than it is. So, we pipe water to our houses
    to keep from having to haul water
    from the well
    or from the stream.
    And install inside toilets
    to save ourselves the trouble
    of trips to the outhouse
    in all weather conditions
    and light availability. Saying yes to life as it is
    means saying yes
    to the steps we have to take
    to deal with life as it is. All of this is “how it is.”
    Yes is saying yes to the no
    that is necessary
    to make things
    as good as they can be. In every moment,
    there is the way things are
    and the way things ought to be
    and what we have to do
    to make things
    more like they ought to be
    than they are. It was natural for people
    to have short lifespans
    throughout most of human history.
    It would be stupid
    to insist on dying earlier than need be
    because “that’s the way
    it was originally done.” It was done that way originally
    because we had no choice.
    There were no other options.
    We figured out a better way. Central air and heat
    is a better way. Opposing injustice,
    inequality,
    discrimination and racism
    is working in the service
    of a better way. Accepting our work
    and doing what is called for
    in light of the good of the whole
    is saying yes to life as it is–
    to the fact of doing what is called for
    in response to life as it is
    to make life more like it ought to be
    than it is
    is accepting life as it is,
    and is to be.

03/20/2019—  My “poor man’s” definition
of Capitalism is,
“Profit At Any Price!”

And an off-the-cuff
way of looking at Capitalism is,
‘If A Profit Can Be Made,
A Profit Will Be Made!”

Donald Trump exemplifies
the creed of the Capitalists,
“Profit At The Expense
Of The People Responsible
For Profit!”–
in that many of the contractors,
lawyers,
and laborers
involved in his real estate deals
have never been paid
what they are owed.

And all of this casts new light
on the alarmed outcry
damning the specter of socialism.
The very idea that profits
could be used
to pay for social programs
is anathema to all Capitalists
with their fantasies
of wealth beyond counting
fueling their drive
to die with the most toys ever.

No one who is living
in the service of profit
is going to be able
to talk objectively
and honestly
about the place of profit
in the life of the country,
and the Constitutional interest
in the good of the commonwealth,
the good of the whole.

But.
The time for that conversation
is upon us,
and the elections of 2020
are an wonderful opportunity
to examine the opportunities
and the possibilities
flowing from imagining
how profit might have broader,
deeper,
better
implications for the many
than for the few.

  1. 03/21/2019 —  Trout Lily 2019-03 02 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 15, 2019 My role in your life
    is to help you
    find your life
    and live it. I do that by helping
    to connect you
    with your belly
    and your bones. We talk about our “gut feelings,”
    and about what we
    “know in our bones.” There you are. We all come perfectly equipped
    to find what we need
    to do what needs to be done
    in each situation
    as it arises
    all our life long. Our belly and our bones
    are our super powers. In right-relationship with them,
    we know what we know
    and have everything we need
    to find what we need
    to meet
    and rise above
    any and all circumstances,
    and be ready
    for anything that happens. The outer forces
    which sweep over us
    cannot threaten or touch
    the inner strength
    and reliance
    which sustain us. Our vulnerability is inescapable,
    and we are never more
    than a shift in perspective away
    from the bedrock
    of our core identity
    enabling us to be who we are
    no matter where we are
    or what is happening in our life. A stream constantly encounters
    circumstances beyond its control,
    and has to find ways over,
    under,
    around
    and through
    all obstacles
    and hindrances,
    without knowing
    what it is doing
    or where it is going.
    Yet it always goes
    exactly where it is
    supposed to go. Listen to your belly!
    Follow your bones! Ray Grigg said,
    “For people to be fulfilled,
    they have to follow
    the wisdom that arises
    within their own nature.” Let the Force be with you
    in all times and places.
    It is always right there,
    waiting to guide you
    where you have no intention
    of going,
    and take you
    where most don’t want to be. Our life is funny that way.

03/21/2019  —  Know where your lines lie,
and live within the lines!

And, when your lines
need to be redrawn,
redraw them!

That’s all there is to it!

03/21/2019  —  I’ve picked up a few follower’s recently,
and decided to put up a list
of where I am to be found.

I quit talking to people when I retired,
because the only helpful thing
to offer others in conversation
is to listen to them.
But.
When I am listening to them,
I am not listening to myself.

And, when I listen to myself,
I discover that I have
a lot of things to say.

So, I write a lot,
and put it out in the following places.
That is, I post what I have to say
in all of the following places,
more or less,
and it is there for you to peruse
as you will.

There are three sites on Facebook:

“Jim Dollar’s Photography Page,”
where everything goes first,
along with a photograph, or two,
sometimes three,
each day.

“The Non-Subscribing Church
of What’s Happening Now” page,
which is my idea of the church
as it ought to be,
where I post things that are mostly
not political,
but have to do with our spiritual
orientation to guidance and direction,
encouragement and support.

And my FB Timeline where I post
a repeat of the Photography Page
daily writings without the photograph
for people who don’t want an extra
click in their life.

I have a WordPress site
where what I post on FB eventually
ends up under “One Minute Monologues,”
in addition to all of my published pieces,
and an assortment of other collections.

I am regularly revising and updating
everything on the WP site,
and look forward to that continuing
throughout my remaining time on the planet.

I also post the daily photograph
and the writing attached to it
on Tumblr,
and everything I write
is linked to Twitter.

My published work is available
through the Kindle Store on Amazon,
and you can Google my name
at both WordPress and Amazon
for the link to each place.

I’m happy to have you with me on the path,
and hope you find what you need
to find what you need
all along the way.

  1. 03/22/2019 —  Round-lobed Hepatica 2019-03 04 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 17, 2018 The terms “prayer” and “worship”
    direct our attention
    to a god “out there, up there,
    over there somewhere
    on the Yonder Shore.” That which has always been
    called “God”
    comes packed in our DNA. Carl Jung said,
    “There is in each of us
    another whom we do not know.” We are Inner and Outer,
    Darkness and Light,
    Yin and Yang… And, we don’t get enough help
    figuring this out,
    knowing what’s what,
    and living in accord
    with the Tao of life and being. “Tao” is a wonderful word.
    I think of it as “play.”
    We play around with the possibilities.
    We never get them ordered,
    lined up
    and mastered. That would be our idea.
    “Master of the Universe”
    would be our preferred meaning
    of homo sapiens,
    which actually means “wise men and women,”
    or, even better,
    “Those who know and know that they know.” The problem is
    we don’t know at all.
    We only think we know.
    We have to forget
    what we think we know,
    and get out of our own way,
    so that we might,
    at long last,
    know what we know: “There is within each of us
    another whom we do not know.” This casts a different light
    on “prayer” and “worship.” The “dear and glorious communion”
    is with ourselves,
    seeking to align ourselves with,
    and live in service to,
    the Other “whom we do not know.” The Tao is at the heart
    of the entire operation. We cannot say what Tao means,
    or is,
    any more than we can say
    what play means or is. We can play,
    but we can’t talk about playing
    in a way
    that captures the wonder of playing. What are we doing when we play?
    The question requires that the hearers
    walk away.
    It’s absurd.
    We kill the spirit of play
    when we try to define it,
    understand it,
    explain it.
    Forget all of this
    and “Go outside and play!”
    That’s the only way to know play! The same applies to the Tao,
    and to knowing the Other Whom We Do Not Know. At this point “prayer” and “worship”
    enter the world/universe/multiverse of play.
    We leave thinking at the door,
    and step into the wonder
    of the Tao of life and being. If we spend the rest of our life
    learning how to do that,
    it will be time well spent!
  2. 03/23/2019 —  Bamboo Impressions 2019-03 B&W — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 18, 2019 If something is missing
    (And something always is),
    something else is always
    near at hand. What. You. Need. Quit cha bellyaching. Basketball teams,
    and I could name a few,
    can be bad about
    waiting for someone else
    to step up,
    take up the slack,
    make a play–
    the stop or the basket–
    that gets them
    the national championship. The game is always
    opening and closing.
    Each player has to be looking/seeing,
    and capable of saying,
    “Gimme the BALL!”
    when the opening opens,
    and of passing the ball
    to the person with the best chance
    of making the play
    when that person’s opening opens. We all have the innate potential
    of being an entire basketball team
    in our own “game of life.”
    We are a bundle of possibilities
    looking for opportunities–
    for openings–
    and can distribute the ball
    as needed
    to whomever within
    has the best shot
    at completing the play
    that needs to be played
    in each situation as it arises. What do we need
    that we don’t have (without)
    here and now?
    What does that
    call for (within)
    here and now? What are our present circumstances
    asking of us?
    What are we holding back? If something is closed off,
    something else is opening up.
    What are you missing?
    Listen to your belly!
    Listen to your bones!
    Know what you know!
    See what you can do! The path is always under our feet,
    waiting for us to take the first step.
    What now?
    What next?
    Belly!
    Bones!
    To the rescue!

03/23/2019  —  I sprained an ankle recently,
and caught a glimpse
of looming decrepitude.

It isn’t so bad.

Just one more thing
to come to terms with.

Another Cyclops
in a long line of Cyclops’
waiting their turn.

Bring ’em on.

The quest is always the same:
To find what we need
here and now
to do what needs to be done
here and now.

What here?
What now?

And the path is always the same:
Sit quietly.
Look.
Listen.
Wait for the way
to arise from the depths
and become apparent
in an obvious
kind of “Why didn’t that occur to me before?” way.

It takes the Cyclops
to bring out the hero in Ulysses
(Joseph Campbell).
The hero resides in all of us.
We all are waiting
for the next Cyclops.
Smiling.

03/23/2019  —  Drama is always about
the struggle to have our way
against all odds.

It can be summed up,
“Oh No! Oh No!
Not This! Not This!
Poor Me! Poor Me!”

We should make that
our mantra against drama
in our life.

At every point
where we are tempted
by our circumstances
to respond
with a hand to our mouth
and flailing about,
we should dramatize
the tendency to be dramatic
with, “Oh No! Oh No!
Not This! Not This!
Poor Me! Poor Me!”

It would snap us awake,
set us on our feet
and step us into
meeting what must be met
without all the drama.

03/23/2019  —  We all have what it takes
to meet the day,
every day.

There is an unchanging stillness within
that receives everything
and waits
for the response
appropriate to the occasion
to arise from the heart,
core,
center,
ground,
foundation
of life and being.

We are connected by the unchanging stillness
with all we need
to find what we need
to do what needs to be done
in every situation that comes up,
through all conditions
and circumstances.

Tending our connection
with the stillness
positions us
to meet the day,
every day.

  1. 03/23/2019 —  Round-lobed Hepatica 2019-03–Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 17, 2019 There is the silence,
    and there is the stillness
    beyond the silence. The stillness is the unchanging essence of life. I do not know if that is so,
    but if you are going to take anything on faith,
    take this on faith.
    Let it be so with you. The unchanging stillness is the source of everything.
    But don’t call it God.
    The word “God” has too much baggage
    attached to it
    to be useful on any level.
    It means too much to be meaningful. I am not here to change your opinion
    about that–
    I am not here to change any
    of your opinions.
    I am here to talk you out
    of having any opinions at all–
    even to the point of having no opinion
    about having opinions. I am here to get you to the place
    of just seeing,
    just hearing,
    just knowing–
    with no opinion about any of it. Begin with no opinion about the silence.
    Follow that with no opinion about the stillness. There is the silence,
    and there is the stillness beyond the silence. And, of course, there is me
    and there is you,
    and there is all of us,
    and there is the noise of the 10,000 things,
    and there is the dust of the world… The silence and the stillness beyond the silence
    help me and you and all of us
    do the work of balancing,
    harmonizing,
    all of the polarities,
    dichotomies,
    contradictions,
    pulls and tugs,
    pushes and shoves,
    that rock our world
    moment-by-moment. We cannot balance anything
    if we are caught up in it. Spending enough time in the silence
    to become aware of the stillness
    beyond the silence,
    enables us to be silent and still
    within the madness
    of the moment-to-moment-to-moment. Awareness of the madness
    stills the madness
    in our own perception.
    From the vantage point
    of silence/stillness,
    we are a part of the madness
    and separate from it
    at the same time. This is called having leverage.
    It is also called being in accord with the Tao.
    From that point,
    we begin to influence
    the moment-by-moment-by-moment
    flow of life,
    and things change
    without anybody doing anything
    to change anything. Seeing things as they are
    changes things as they are
    and transforms the world. All because we spend enough time
    in the silence
    to become aware of the stillness
    beyond the silence. I hope this is interesting enough
    for you to test it out
    in your own experience.
  2. 03/24/2019 —  Trout Lily 2019 03 04 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 17, 2019 All things have a rightness about them.
    Everything is right
    in its own time.
    What time is it right for here and now? We do not answer that question
    by thinking about it. Is it time for a hamburger,
    or spaghetti pie,
    or something else? Thinking doesn’t know.
    We feel our way
    into what the times call for,
    into what is necessary
    and appropriate
    here and now.
    Into what the situation demands,
    requires,
    needs, How do we know?
    We know
    by knowing what we know.
    By knowing what all we know.
    By listening.
    Feeling.
    Sensing.
    Intuiting. We like to think
    one time is as good
    as another,
    and live to force things
    before their time. Living out of time
    is living out of accord
    with the time that is at hand–
    out of accord with the Tao
    of time,
    and life,
    and being. Our life is what it is
    because of that,
    and will be quite different
    when that is corrected. Start treating time and place
    as you might treat a puppy,
    or a baby. Learning how to read a puppy
    or a baby
    is the first requirement
    in being what the puppy,
    what the baby,
    needs. We guess a lot in the beginning,
    and read the signals
    we are being sent.
    It takes time,
    knowing what time it is–
    what time it is for,
    and not for.
    Time spent in the service
    of knowing what time it is,
    is time well-spent. Learn how to read time and place.
    Listen.
    Look.
    Sense.
    Feel.
    Intuit your way into knowing
    what’s what,
    and what is crying out to be done
    in each situation as it arises
    all your life long.
  3. 03/24/2019 —  The strategy is
    to know
    that we don’t know
    what we are doing,
    and to feel our way
    along the way,
    checking with the Source
    before taking
    the next step. Stop feeling bad
    about not knowing
    what we are doing,
    and rest confidently
    in the not-knowing,
    listening,
    waiting for the next step
    to arise from within.
  4. 03/24/2019 —  Lethargy,
    laziness
    and greed
    are the core
    and ground
    of Congress’ problem
    with upholding the Constitution
    and providing stewardship
    and oversight
    to the country. Let the corporations
    take over,
    and thank them
    for their benevolent donations
    to the coffers,
    or wherever it goes. Government of business,
    by business,
    for business.
    Capitalism at its best.
    “Profit or Perish”
    has never been
    such a prime motivator. If money can’t buy it,
    who needs it?
  5. 03/24/2019 —  The problem with the Constitution
    is that it gets in the way of profit-making. Capitalism serves profit first.
    That is the problem with Capitalism. The Constitution requires Capitalism
    to submit to the Constitution. Capitalism pays politicians
    to ignore the Constitution. And there you are.
  6. 03/25/2019 —  Cala Lily 2019-03 01 B&W — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 22, 2019 Here is my 100% effective
    cure for everything that ails you: Listen to your heart.
    Listen to your belly.
    Listen to your bones.
    Listen to your nighttime dreams.
    Listen to your experience.
    Listen to The One Who Knows Within. Step away from the barrage
    of mindless rumination
    occupying your time
    and attention
    by taking up coloring
    in an adult (or child’s) coloring book. Stack stones. Play a musical instrument. Draw, sketch, paint. Work with wood. Do anything that requires
    your mind and your hands
    to work together. Focused concentration
    requires you to be
    fully here and now. Everything that ails you
    takes you away
    from here and now. Attend your breathing. Practice the three-minute
    breathing exercise
    I’m re-posting here next. Expand it to ten minutes.
    Three times a day. Do more
    of what you like to do
    and less
    of what you don’t like to do. Explore your resistance
    to doing these things.
    See where it goes. Ask all the questions
    that beg to be asked
    about your disinclination,
    and all the questions
    the questions raise,
    without stopping to answer
    any of them. Your answers are part
    of the problem.
    Ask all of the questions
    your answers
    beg to be asked. You are about to be
    never bothered again
    with what ails you. But, if you ever miss it,
    just stop doing these things,
    and it will be back
    like a long-lost friend
    moving in to keep you company.

03/25/2015  —  A three-minute breathing exercise:

Take a deep breath in through your nose,
blow it out through your mouth,
and pause before your next inhalation
for a count of five.

Then breath normally through your nose
to fill your lungs to their capacity,
moving your stomach out behind your navel.

Exhale normally through your nose.

Hold the next inhale for a count of five.

Repeat these breaths for three minutes,
counting each breath.

When your mind wanders
just note the wandering
without engaging the thoughts,
and coming back to counting your breathing.

At the end of three minutes,
take a deep breath in through your nose,
blow it out through your mouth,
and be well.

  1. 03/26/2019 —  Redbud 2019-03 3/4/5 Panorama, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, March 25, 2019 We can never step in the same river twice,
    declared Heraclitus.
    Yet, the river is always there. The river is ever-moving
    and never going anywhere,
    or always going to the sea
    and never moving
    to a different location. Things are always the same
    and always different
    everywhere we look.
    We see sameness,
    or differentness,
    as it suits our purposes. Our purposes are always changing
    and always quite recognizably the same.
    “We are who we always have been,”
    said Carl Jung,
    and who we will be.” How different can we be?
    What constitutes the unchanging core
    we need to honor
    and express
    forever? We owe ourselves the kind of changing
    that reveals
    and serves
    the unchanging
    and unchangeable
    nature of the self we are within. We live to be in accord
    with that which lives in us
    and through us,
    bringing our “just so-ness”
    to life in our life,
    and honoring our deep identity
    with our decisions
    and choices
    and ways of being in the world. How well are we doing that?
    How sure can we be?
    How dedicated are we
    to the search
    of finding and being
    who we are
    in each situation as it arises? Our bones and our belly,
    specifically,
    the region just below our navel,
    are our contact points
    with our original nature. By listening to them,
    we know when we are on,
    and when we are off,
    “the beam.” How much time do we spend listening?
    How much do we trust ourselves
    to what we hear?
  2. 03/26/2019 —  Still Life with White Chairs 2019–03 02 Panorama, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 26, 2019 Everybody falls into a hole
    from time to time. The Buddha died, it is said,
    from eating bad pork.
    How enlightened is that?
    If enlightenment cannot
    tell bad pork when it sees it,
    what is the advantage of seeing? There is no advantage!
    What is the advantage
    of advantages?
    We all get out of bed
    and take our chances.
    We all have to deal
    with the day’s deliveries.
    We all dance to the music
    of our lives. Sometimes a war comes along,
    or an earthquake,
    or drought and famine…
    The burdens of time and happenstance. Trials and ordeals, Kid,
    trials and ordeals. Take it all in.
    Welcome everythng
    as though it was your idea
    from the start.
    See what it has to show you,
    how you deal with it,
    where it leads. Nothing happens for a reason.
    Nothing is given to us by the universe,
    or fate,
    or destiny.
    What anything means
    is only what it means to us,
    and what we do with it
    in light of all things considered. Everything is an invitation
    to listen and look,
    to see and hear,
    know and understand. Nothing is better at those things
    than anything else.
    Everything is an equal opportunity
    to be aware of what is here, now,
    and to respond to it
    in ways that are
    appropriate to the occasion. What we want
    is no better
    than what we do not want
    in bringing us forth
    and enlisting us in the service
    of the gifts
    that are ours to serve. Rise and meet the day
    with compassion and awareness,
    and you will be just fine
    every day.
  3. 03/28/2019 —  Still Life with White Chairs 2019-03 04 Panorama B&W — Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 27, 2019 There has to be a reckoning. Without a reckoning,
    we keep cycling around,
    circling back,
    living redundant lives,
    going nowhere fast. Awfully fast.
    Mighty fast.
    The faster the better. Going fast leaves us with the impression
    of movement,
    the sense of something happening,
    as in,
    “We’re finally getting somewhere now,
    at last!” How do we mark progress? Accomplishment.
    Success.
    Money.
    Travel.
    Entertainment.
    Popularity.
    Going.
    Doing.
    Experiencing.
    … Progress is action oriented.
    You don’t get anywhere
    without actually going somewhere.
    You cannot make progress
    without movement,
    without having more,
    or less,
    of something. What?
    More of what?
    Less of what? There has to be a reckoning.
    A measuring.
    A taking stock.
    A squaring up.
    An owning up.
    A looking.
    A seeing.
    A knowing. What are we doing?
    How is it working?
    In light of what
    do we determine how it is working?
    How do we evaluate what we are doing
    and how it is working?
    What is the measure?
    The standard?
    How do we know? How much silence can we stand? Start by sitting quietly–
    no reading,
    no music,
    no TV,
    nothing.
    Nothing to focus on.
    Nothing to think about.
    Close your eyes.
    Watch what happens. What do you think about
    when you have nothing to think about? Sit quietly and see.
    See where your thoughts go.
    Categorize the thoughts you think
    in 20 minutes of sitting quietly. Do that once a day for a week.
    Examine your categories.
    What do you think about?
    What never enters your mind? What do you think about that? How do you feel about that? What does how you feel
    about what you think
    when you have nothing to think about
    say to you about you? What are the questions
    that beg to be asked? Write them down.
    See what thoughts come to mind
    around the process
    of thinking about your feelings about
    your thoughts,
    and your thoughts about your feelings. See what dawns on you.
    What insights occur.
    What realization results
    from your reflection. If you find yourself being overwhelmed
    at any point,
    to the point of fleeing the scene,
    flee into the three minutes of breathing exercise. Focusing on your breath
    brings you back.
    Awareness of your breath
    is an ever-present retreat
    from the ghosts that haunt your mind. Breathing gets your feet under you.
    Stands you on the solid ground
    of here and now.
    Gives you a vantage point
    for approaching the panic produced
    by hearing what you have to say.
    And, provides a sense of direction
    in the work of finding your life
    and living it. Work that begins with a reckoning. In addition to fleeing into breathing,
    the second strategy for dealing
    with the panic of seeing too much too soon
    is to trust all of it to the safekeeping
    of our awareness. Our awareness holds everything,
    allowing us to walk two paths at once. We can walk the path of our daily life,
    aware of our awareness of everything else,
    without any of that spilling over
    and causing us to stop on green
    and go on red. “This, too, but not now,” sorts things out
    into what is helpful and appropriate
    here and now,
    and what is not. All of our reckoning
    requires the discipline
    of keeping our reaction to our reckoning
    in check with awareness and breathing,
    as we accommodate ourselves
    to all of the realities
    impinging upon the here and now,
    and decide how best to live here and now
    in light of all things considered.

03/27/2019  —  The reckoning
is a facing up to
what’s what,
across the board,
around the table.

Self-transparency.

Knowing what we know
on all levels.

No self-deception allowed.

If you think that’s easy,
climb on the bull
and tell them to open the chute.

If you think you can get by without it,
climb on THAT bull,
and tell them to open the chute!

We are going to ride the bull.

Which bull is up to us.

  1. 03/29/2019 —  Redbud 2019-03 1/2 Panorama — Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, March 25, 2019 Inspirations come upon us
    at times,
    in places,
    that are seemly
    to inspiration. They may well be inconvenient,
    outlandish,
    ridiculous
    and absurd
    to us. What would you
    go to hell for? Inspirations are high on my list. That doesn’t mean I drop everything,
    leave my family,
    quit my job,
    buy all the equipment,
    and set off to become
    a landscape photographer. It means I make a gesture
    in the direction of the inspiration. I buy a book on photography,
    and a camera well within
    my price range,
    and let nature take its course. 20 years later,
    I’m still not making enough money
    from photography
    to pay for my travel expenses. But my life has been rewarding
    past imagining
    in the service of taking photos. Our inspirations know
    more about us
    than we know. Lead us down paths
    we would never consider taking
    on our own. Provide meaning,
    purpose,
    direction
    and foundation
    we could not achieve
    by thinking our way
    to any of those things. If you are going
    to believe in anything,
    believe in your inspirations. If you are going
    to take anything seriously,
    let it be your inspirations. If something has always
    drawn your interest,
    called your name,
    consider picking it up,
    looking closer,
    and let nature take its course.

03/29/2019  —  Growing up
is coming to terms
with our vulnerability.

A wall will not keep us safe.
The other bad guys
are on the inside.

Standing on the bedrock
of our own resiliency
is where we find
the wherewithal
to step into the next situation,
and do there
what can be done.

Our resiliency is
itself grounded
on the unchanging stillness
(Ray Grigg’s term,
following Lao Tzu)
that upholds all things.

Rooted in the stillness,
we can withstand
all threats to our well-being,
and respond out of the source
of infinite durability,
in a “This, too. This, too,”
kind of way.

In a world that never
runs out of things
to throw at us,
we respond with a spirit
that keeps taking what comes
unmoved in our relationship
with the unchanging stillness.

Belly-breathing
with a pause between breaths
connects us with the silence
and the stillness beyond the silence.

At one with the source,
unafraid in the world.

  1. 03/30/2019 —  Bamboo Impressions 2019-03 07 — Graphic Art, Indian Land, South Carolina, March 29, 2019 “You can’t coach attitude,”
    is an old sports saw. You don’t have to play it. As the coach,
    you can sit attitude
    on the bench
    until it improves
    and becomes what it needs to be
    to get into the game. Attitude is the crucial element
    in how every game is played. The catch is
    that we are both coach
    and player. As player/coaches in our own life,
    we have to recognize
    when our attitude
    is the weak point
    in our game,
    and sit ourselves “on the bench,”
    until we can “play the game”
    the way it needs to be played
    in each situation as it arises. “On the bench”
    can be a three-minute
    breathing exercise
    and a short dip
    into the pool of awareness
    in order to see
    what is happening
    and what needs to happen
    in response. Stepping back
    with our breathing,
    and holding all things
    to be considered
    in our awareness
    until the right action–
    done with the right attitude–
    arises of its own accord
    as “an outward, visible sign,
    of an inward, spiritual grace,”
    and we are “back in the game,”
    with exactly what is needed,
    when, where, and how it is needed,
    in the service
    of the true good of the whole. With awareness at work in our life,
    we all become deserving
    of the Coach of the Year Award
    every year.
  2. 03/31/2019 —  Cala Lily 2019-03 07 — Nursery Photos, Home Depot Garden Center, Pineville, North Carolina, March 29, 2019 What are your symbols?
    The things that symbolize you?
    The things that are characteristic of you?
    The things that have YOU
    written all over them? The things that you know to be YOU,
    might not be the same things
    that your family
    and your friends/acquaintances
    (And where *does* that line lie?
    Not only between friends and acquaintances,
    but also between family and friends)
    know to be you.
    (It would be instructive,
    and “I-opening,”
    to make inquiries.
    Ask your family and friends/acquaintances
    what things they think symbolizes/characterize you.
    And get ready for the truth
    to flatten you
    like a steamroller and Wiley Coyote.
    It might be instructive
    as to why we never
    have serious conversations
    with anybody
    about things that matter–
    “We can’t handle the truth!”) Work with the gap between
    your perceptions of you
    and their perceptions of you. If you spend the rest of your life
    getting to the bottom of you,
    “connecting the dots” forming you,
    it will be time well spent.
    You can’t spend time better. What are your symbols?
    What are the things you love?
    The things that attract you
    “for no reason”? An aside:
    What are all the things you do
    “for no reason”?
    Laughing, for instance.
    How often do you laugh
    for no reason?
    Or dance?
    Probably not enough,
    I’m thinking. And the related question,
    but important for different reasons:
    How often do you laugh
    when nothing is funny? “I can’t remember a thing any more!
    Ha, ha, ha…”
    That isn’t funny,
    and we brush it off
    with a “Ha, ha, ha…” How much do we brush off in a day?
    We are saying things to ourselves all the time,
    serious things
    that we need to be listening to,
    being aware of,
    getting to the bottom of,
    and we walk right by
    as though nothing is happening,
    “Ha, ha, ha…” Our body,
    our life,
    ourselves
    are always addressing us,
    trying to get our attention,
    and we don’t have a clue. It’s time we clue in. What are your symbols?
    The things that shout “YOU!”
    to you? They are doorways into YOU.
    Find the doors.
    Open them.
    Walk through.
    Sit with the symbols
    that show you you. Ask the questions that beg to be asked.
    Make the connections.
    Connect the dots.
    Get to the bottom of it.
    Of you. Build a relationship with you
    from the ground up,
    and tend it on a daily basis
    for the rest of your life.
    Your time cannot be better spent.

03/31/2019  —  You are the most important
person in your life.

And you listen to you less
than you listen to anyone.

You dismiss yourself more
than you dismiss anyone.

Put everyone you know
in the room with you,
and you give them all
more attention
than you give you.

“Joy is Jesus first,
Others second,
You last.”

The person who came up
with that
is last,
for sure.

03/31/2019  —  There are people
who spend their lives
trashing values
that are valuable
in the service
of values
that have no value.

Make sense of that
for me,
if you can.

03/31/2019  —  Beto O’Rourke says we are Americans first.

I say what that means
is that we serve the Constitution
and the Bill of Rights
above every other concern

or consideration.

Money being one of those concerns/considerations.

Religion being another.

We cannot chunk the Constitution
and the Bill of Rights
in service to any other value
and be Americans.

I don’t know what Beto O’Rourke has in mind,
but if it isn’t this,
he is wrong.

03/31/2019  —  You are lying
if you stand for the flag
without standing
for what the flag stands for.

You are lying to yourself,
and you are lying to everyone else.

You cannot be a Capitalist
and be an American.

Being an American means
service to the Constitution
and the Bill of Rights comes first,
before all other concerns
and considerations.

The oath of office
for the president
and members of Congress,
to “preserve, protect and defend
the Constitution of the United States
to the best of my ability”
is taken as representative
of all the citizens of the USA.
When they say, “I do!”
they are saying it for all of us.

We cannot serve two masters.
Who’s on first?

The sine non qua of Capitalism
is Profit At Any Price!
There is no higher value,
no holier ground,
than ever-increasing profits!
Democracy is for sale to the highest bidder
under a Capitalistic framework.

When the end justifies the means,
we better be right about the value of the end.
The value of a thing
is assayed by virtue of the things it cannot buy.
The value of Truth, Justice, Liberty, Equality
can buy every other valuable thing.

Money cannot buy any other valuable thing.
Money declares there is no other valuable thing.
Which is ridiculous
because we cannot eat money,
or drink money,
or breathe money.
Money cannot buy life or time.

Truth, Justice, Liberty, Equality,
on the other hand,
are the essence of life and time.
What are life and time
devoid of Truth, Justice, Liberty, Equality?
Who can live in that place?
For how long?

You cannot be a Capitalist,
serving the Capitalist values
of Profit At The Expense Of Everything Else!
and be an American
sworn to preserve, protect and defend
the Constitution and Bill of Rights
to the best of our ability,
so help us God.

03/31/2019  —  Disenchantment
is another form
of enlightenment.

Knowing that what we know
isn’t so
begs all of the questions
worth asking,
and all of those that are not.

Learning to distinguish between
the two sorts of questions
is the task of a lifetime,
and leads to knowing
what’s worth knowing,
and what isn’t.

Which is all enlightenment
has to offer.

03/31/2019  —  Arrogance is at the root
of all despair.

“I know nothing is worth living for!”

You can’t touch that for pomposity
gone too far.

03/31/2019  —  We are here to serve the good
of the situation as it arises,
balancing what is good for us
with what is good for everyone else.

We are always balancing,
never balanced.

The status quo is moving
with the music
according to the needs
of the moment.

Sometimes this,
sometimes that,
sometimes that over there,
or over there…

We are harmonizing
with one another
and with the music
of the times,
this time,
here and now.

It helps to step
into the situation
out of a regular practice
of paying attention
to our breathing,
to our bones,
to our body.

Out of a regular practice
of developing our awareness,
our seeing,
our hearing,
with our ears,
with our feelings,
with senses
beyond the big five.

Without such a practice,
we are dancing in the dark
with nothing to guide us,
pushing our luck
instead of being able to trust it.

We can do better.
Living as best we can
requires us to do it.
Why wait?

  1. 04/01/2019 —  Cala Lily 2019-03 08 B&W — Nursery Photos, Home Depot Garden Center, Pineville, North Carolina, March 29, 2019 All religion is big into explanation. Buddhism ranks as pure religion
    because it is as much into explanation
    as all of the rest. Yoga is in there. The magical branch of Taoism is there. All of the self-help fads. The only time we get “I don’t know”
    from religion
    is ruined by “but one day
    we will understand everything.” Understanding everything
    is big with religion. They may talk about
    “taking everything on faith,”
    but the big thing they take on faith
    is understanding everything one day. A religion with “I don’t know”
    as its foundation
    is no religion at all. Classic Taoism
    is the only approach
    to spirituality
    grounded upon “I don’t know.” The inverted opposites of contradiction
    (Yin/Yang)
    is the heart and foundation
    of Taoism
    (and of Zen, which is Buddhism
    with its explanations removed–
    which happened when Buddhism
    met Taoism). A religion that embraces
    Nothing and Not-Knowing
    is my kind of religion!

04/01/2019  —  Tao te Ching 2019-03 01 — Graphic Design, Indian Land, South Carolina, March 31, 2019

Everybody stands in line.

Standing in line is the only place
in our life
where we experience total equality
and complete justice.
Human rights are respected universally
standing in line.

Gay people,
Transgender people,
People of color,
People of all religions
and of no religion,
Old people,
Young people,
All people
are one people standing in line.

No one is discriminated against.

“Next up”
applies equally
to whomever is next up.
No one is told,
“Not you.
The next one who measures up
is up!”

Why can’t we apply
the spirit of standing in line
to every aspect
of our life?

If we can do it in one area of life,
we can do it in all areas of life.

Why don’t we?

04/01/2019  —  The meaning of meaning
is that once we know
the meaning of something
we no longer have to think about it.

We live so as to not ever
have to think about anything–
so we assign meanings
to everything,
and relieve ourselves
of the burden
of wrestling with
contradictions,
contraries,
conundrums,
polarities,
opposites,
uncertainty,
confusion
and meaninglessness
in all forms.

All of our questions
have answers,
and none of our answers
beg a question
we cannot answer.

And we settle into a life
completely free
of the need
to actually be lived.

Where one day is
exactly like the one
before it,
and nothing happens
that doesn’t always happen.
And everything is so perfect
we have no idea why
we are miserable.

But, we dare not stop
to think about it.

  1. 04/02/2019 —  Tao te Ching 2019-03 02 – Graphic Design, Black on White, Indian Land, South Carolina, March 31, 2019 Joseph Campbell liked to say,
    “We know when we are on the beam,
    and when we are off it.” This is essential knowing. It is knowing beyond understanding. It is knowing beyond comprehension. Knowing beyond being able
    to explain,
    defend,
    justify, It is pure and irrefutable knowing. It is the knowing we need to trust
    with all our heart,
    and mind,
    and soul,
    and strength. It is the knowing
    at the center of the center,
    at the heart of the heart,
    at the ground of the ground
    at the core of the core
    of what is deepest,
    truest
    and best about us. It is the knowing we know
    when we know what we know,
    and remain steadfast to it,
    true to it,
    with filial devotion
    and liege loyalty,
    no matter what. Live to know when you are on the beam
    and stay there
    through it all. This is the true and eternally lasting message
    of Jesus on the cross. When the beam
    becomes your cross,
    stay on it!
  2. 04/03/2019 —  Wood Thrush 2019-03 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, March 31, 2019 There is Good and there is Evil.
    There is Right and there is Wrong.
    There are not two sides to these stories. There are two sides to Good,
    in that the Best for most
    is definitely Bad for some,
    and there is an upside
    and a downside to every Good
    in the book. There are two sides to Evil,
    in that the worst for most
    is definitely good for some,
    and there is an upside
    and a downside to every Evil
    in the book. But, between Good and Evil,
    there is no ambivalence.
    No demurring.
    No hesitation.
    It is like the difference between
    a hot egg over easy
    and a day-old cold egg over-easy.
    There are not two sides to that story. Two-side-ism is Evil pretending
    to be Good,
    hoping it can get by
    by kicking up dust
    and gaslighting the nation. Two-side-ism is itself Evil,
    like a day-old cold egg over-easy
    covered with flies.

04/02/2019  —  You should strive to be savvy
amid all situations and circumstances.

“Savvy” comes down to being aware
of the facts
and their implications
for the possibilities,
which means being
also aware of the possibilities–
this is the important part–
without judgment or opinion,
beyond an abiding interest
in the true good of the situation
as a whole.

What is best
of what is possible
here and now?

If we are savvy enough
to know that,
and savvy enough
to know what
we can do about that,
we are savvy enough.

All that remains is courage.
But, why be savvy
without courage?
It is impossible to be savvy
without courage!
Courage is the basis of savvy!
Without courage,
we don’t have what it takes
to look closely enough
at the situations and circumstances
of our life
to know what is happening
and what needs to be done about it!

We would have to look away,
and content ourselves
with entertaining pastimes
and self-deceptions
until we die.

So, strive to be stout-hearted
and savvy
amid all situations and circumstances.

The world will be better off for it,
and your life will be much better off for it!

04/02/2019  —  Why wouldn’t we seek
to live aligned
with the wisdom and ways
of the Guide within?

“There is within each of us
another whom we do not know”
(Carl Jung).

“We know when we are on the beam
and when we are off it”
(Joseph Campbell).

And we know other things
that we have no way of knowing–
things that we don’t know how we know.

The work is knowing what we know
and living in light of it.

But.

It is real work
that requires:
Attention. Attention. Attention.
Awareness. Awareness. Awareness.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
Moment. By. Moment. By. Moment.
All our life long.

And.

We have things to do.
Interests to tend.
Desires to serve.
And, are certain that
some door will open soon
to a life that is perfect and glorious
beyond imagining,
if we just tweak this,
and try that…
“and all the stars that never were
are parking cars
and pumping gas…”
oblivious to the Guide within,
and to the life that remains
a mere perception shift away
all their life long.

Jesus said, “Many are called,
but only a few ever hear the phone ringing”
(Or words to that effect).

All those parables
about the pearl of great price,
the treasure hidden in a field,
the stone the builders reject,
nothing good coming from Nazareth
and people not knowing the time
of their visitation,
are as apropos today
as they were then.

How many hundreds,
or thousands,
or millions,
or billions of us live our lives
wondering if this is all there is,
and if we might have missed
something, somewhere, along the way?

Why die as one of those people?
Why not take up the work
of establishing a relationship
with the Guide within?
Living to know what we know,
and to live in accord with the ways
of the One Who Knows
by simply trusting ourselves
to the stillness
and waiting to see what arises
from depths we cannot plummet
with thinking, logic or reasoning?

Why die not knowing what we know?

  1. 04/03/2019 —  Trout Lily 2019-03 01 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 17, 2019 We all have access to the same facts.
    How we choose
    to live in response to them
    tells the tale. Everything rides
    on our interpretation
    of the facts
    that define, enable, limit
    our life. Our interpretation of the facts
    determine the meaning the facts
    have for us. The meaning of the facts
    is strictly a matter
    of our perspective and perception. Our perspective enlarges
    or restricts
    our perception. How we see enlarges
    or restricts
    what we see. The first fact we need to see
    is the fact of how we see
    what we look at–
    and the second is
    what impact that
    has on our life. Once we begin to see our seeing
    and the impact
    how we see
    has on what we look at
    and what we see,
    our life changes like that
    for the better. To see what we look at,
    we have to see how we look at it. Why that way and not another?
    Why that interpretation
    and not some other? Why do things mean
    what they mean to us
    and not something else instead? What keeps our meanings
    locked in place? Nothing changes
    until the meaning
    it has for us changes. Look at all the facts
    that impinge upon your life.
    Look at all their meanings.
    Why those meanings
    and not other meanings? Things mean what you say they mean.
    Things mean what they mean to you.
    Changing things
    is changing the way
    we think about things–
    changing the meaning
    they have for us. Nothing changes until
    we begin to think about it
    in different ways. How we think about things
    keeps things locked in place.
    Refusing to think about our thinking
    keeps our thinking locked in place.
    Thinking about our thinking
    changes what we think
    and how we think. And the world in which we live. Do we take the chance?

04/03/2019  —  The world has gone off the rails.

It does that sometimes.

Quite a few times
over the course
of human history,
and even before.

We experience the social equivalent
of the Yellowstone caldera
blowing its top
from time to time.

Europe and the Middle East
have been quite the mess,
with practically nothing
in the way of
lasting peace
and good times for all.

Good times for all
has been a happy fantasy
and a wistful dream
for most of our days
upon the earth.

When the world goes off the rails,
we lower our sights,
and aim for riding it out.

The people in charge
won’t take charge
and quarrel among themselves
about things like
whether climate change is happening
and whether a giant wall is the answer.

People in charge are always stupid
when it comes to making the decisions
that need to be made.
They are only really good at making money
on the sly.

Like money is going to be worth anything
when the climate changes dramatically,
and no wall can be big enough to hold off
the cataclysm that is rounding the bend.

The beat goes on
to the tune of
“When will they ever learn?”
When have they ever learned?
Why won’t they ever learn?

How do the least capable people
always rise to the top?

How do the liars always
lie their way to the driver’s seat?

We can mull over the answers
when the electricity goes off
and there is no heat in the building.

  1. 04/04/2019 —  Trout Lily 2019-03 04 Panorama B&W — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 17, 2019 Questions are the answer. When we have asked all of the questions,
    we will know all of the answers. Answers are obvious
    when all of the questions are asked. Answers are implicit in the questions.
    Questions are implicit in the answers.
    A good answer leads to a better question. At the end of all our questioning
    there is knowing, laughter and rejoicing
    throughout the universe. If you don’t have the answers,
    it is because you haven’t asked all of the questions–
    and probably none of the right questions. What are the questions begged
    by needing to know the answers? Start with what you know without question.
    What are the questions your answer begs to be asked? If you don’t have time to seek out and ask the questions,
    all of your answers are partial
    and without value. The value of an answer,
    any answer,
    is the questions it raises. If you seek answers,
    seek instead to live in the service
    of better questions. Learn to love questions more than answers.
    The answers will fall into place around that. They will be only provisional and temporary answers
    that raise increasingly better questions. If you cannot be happy
    until you have no more questions,
    you will never be happy–
    or you will simply stop asking questions,
    and be content with the answers you have.
    That is the ground of everyone’s happiness
    who cannot be happy asking questions.
    They stop asking questions
    and settle for insufficient answers. The answers that disallow questions,
    screaming, “No More Questions Allowed!”
    beg questions:
    Why not?
    Why now?
    Who says so?
    Why?
    What are they afraid of?
    What are they unwilling to look at?
    What’s in it for them?
    … Learn to love and serve questions more than answers. Your life will be complete,
    your future will be secure,
    and you will be afraid of absolutely nothing,
    because you have questions nothing can answer–
    so walk right up to it,
    into it,
    and ask away! And don’t quit until you are done!

04/04/2015  —  Where are we safe
to be transparently authentic?
That is the most valuable place
in our life.

This is the ground
of all successful psychotherapy.

An environment in which we are free
to be transparent
is all we need.

Self-transparency is the doorway
to everything that matters.

We are where we are
because of kidding ourselves
about everything that matters.

What won’t we look at?
What don’t we see?

Look!
See!

It all starts with,
and comes down to,
looking until we see,
listening until we hear,
knowing what (all) we know–
and bearing that truth
with compassion
in making our way
through the world.

04/04/2019  —  You have heard this from me already,
but, somethings you can’t hear often enough:

It is all hopeless,
useless,
pointless,
futile
and absurd–
and coming to a very bad end
(We all are going to die).

And, how we live in the meantime
makes all the difference.

The meantime is all we have.
This is the meantime:
Here and now.

If the baby’s diaper needs to be changed,
change he baby’s diaper.
Change it the way it needs to be changed.
With all your heart
and your undivided attention.

Just. Change. The. Baby’s. Diaper.
In. The. Right. Way.

What is so hard about that?
What could possibly be more important?
That will mean all the world to the baby.

Never mind:
So what?
Who cares?
Why bother?
Why even try?
What difference will it make?
What’s the use?
What’s the point?

Just. Change. The. Baby’s. Diaper.
In. The. Right. Way. Here. And. Now.

What needs to be done here and now?

Do it in the right way!

Past all objections,
protests
and reasons why not!

“Get in there and do your thing–
and don’t worry about the outcome!”

(Joseph Campbell’s summation
of the Bahgavad Gita)

Everything depends on it.

And, even if everything doesn’t depend on it,
so what?
Who cares?
What’s the point?
Live as though it does!

That will make all the difference!

04/04/2019  —  If we know what to do
and don’t do it
(And who doesn’t?
Diet and exercise,
for starters),
it is because
we lack the courage
of our convictions.

And no one can help us
with that.

We can only wait
for the courage
to do what needs to be done,
and hope that
we do not run out of time.

04/04/2019  —  We equip ourselves–
and our children–
as best we can
for the task
of living our own life,
and hope for the best,
understanding that the outcome
is out of our hands,
and letting that be
because it is.

04/04/2019  —  How do you seek the stillness
from which everything arises,
and put yourself in its service,
listening, hearing,
looking, seeing,
knowing, doing?

How often do you do it?

04/04/2019  —  If Republicans were only people of integrity and awareness!

They say things and act in complete
disregard for what they are saying.

Let’s get words and deeds aligned
and in happy accord with one another!

The world will be a better place!

Take “Right To Life!”
Live it out!

Once a fetus is born, life begins!

Step in then, Republicans!
Make that baby’s life possible
in the fullest sense of the word
from that point on!

Nutrition!
Safety!
Education!
Livable wages!
Health care!
Affordable housing!
A nurturing and nourishing environment!

The Right To Life Spilling Over,
Pouring Out, Blessing All Forever!

Why not?

Be who you say you are, Republicans!

If you are not going to do that,
stop talking!

04/04/2019  —  What is the evolutionary advantage
of stupidity?

I think it must be that stupidity
spends its time having sex.

Sex is the original mechanism
of escape and denial.

Stupidity never has anything
better to do.

The gene pool is large
and the odds are great
that stupidity will be passed along
forever.

04/04/2019  —  Proper nutrition,
hydration
and rest
are basic.

How many people
do you know–
including yourself–
who get enough
of the right kind
of nutrition,
hydration
and rest?

Tell them it all starts there.
How can you expect
anything to be better than it is
without that?

You have to get your feet under you
and start doing the things
that are right for you
from the ground up
and the inside out.

Everything falls into place
around that,
flows from that,
depends upon that.

And you thought it had to do with what?

04/04/2019  —  Take the foundational principle
of Capitalism to be,
“Profit For Profit’s Sake,”
and you won’t be far wrong.
And that begs the question,
“Who profits from the profits?”

If your answer is something on the order of
Royalty,
Owners,
Chief Executives,
Under Executives,
and Shareholders,
you will have moved away
from Capitalism
into Cronyism.

Capitalism takes profits,
which it calls growth,
and turns it into higher salaries
for workers,
investment in infrastructure,
research,
development,
support for entrepreneurship
and start-up companies,
and programs that serve
the advantage of the greatest number of people–
including education and health care–
all of which depend upon
a proper tax structures.

Cronyism is not a fitting goal of Capitalism.
And when Cronies buy politicians and judges
to favor Cronyism,
the system collapses
within two generations.

At this point in the world economy,
Capitalism is at a swing point.
Everything turns on what happens next.

04/04/2019  —  We all are streams
seeking the straightest route
to the sea.

Negotiation,
compromise,
adjustment
and readjustment
are all required
in their own time
by the nature
of the circumstances
which changes
moment-to-moment-to-moment.

The streams stay out of the way
with judgment and opinions
about the lay of the land,
and simply allow gravity
and the force
of their own momentum
to find the path
to the course of least resistance
from the highest elevation
through the swamps
and wetlands
to arrive at their destination
at the precise moment
of their appearance.

Meticulous planning,
with timetables
and contingencies
taken into account
and calculated into
the final draft,
could not produce
a more efficient routing
than the ones the streams
find naturally,
simply by doing what streams do
in response to what
needs to be done,
moment-by-moment-by-moment.

  1. 04/05/2019 —  Urban Wetlands 2019-02 01 Panorama — Mecklenburg County, Charlotte, North Carolina, February 28, 2019 It is said that Lao Tzu became disgusted
    with how things were being done
    and went off into the wilderness
    to live out his life in harmony
    with the natural order. I’m taken by the master
    of letting things come and letting things go
    and trusting nature to take its course
    growing disgruntled
    and seeking a better place to be. This is the wonderful contradiction
    at the heart of embracing contradictions.
    Always the contradiction! Yes to life as it is
    becomes at some point Yes to No. “This, too! This, too!”
    becomes, in time,
    “Not that! Not that!”
    And so, Zen masters take to whacking
    their students who sleep during zazen,
    or flub their answers to koans. Walt Whitman’s response,
    “Do I contradict myself?
    Very well, then, I contradict myself!
    I am large! I contain multitudes!”
    shows us the way. It is the way of being who we are,
    where we are,
    when we are,
    how we are
    in constant relationship
    with circumstances in flux
    moment-by-moment-by-moment. Living in ways appropriate to the occasion
    requires us to live differently in this occasion
    than we lived in the last occasion,
    and differently again in the next one. People who are always smiling,
    bright and happy,
    will be inappropriately responding
    to a lot of circumstances. Read the time and place of your living
    and accordingly,
    not-knowing what you are going to do
    until you find yourself doing it–
    and trusting it to be right
    even if it is wrong. Everything deepens our experience,
    and better prepares us to respond
    appropriately to the next moment,
    or to the one after that. The only way that is always the right way
    for every occasion
    is the way of seeing, hearing, knowing
    what is happening
    and what is to be done about it,
    and doing it as best we can
    with the resources available to us then and there,
    and moving on into the situation
    emerging from this one–
    never knowing what will be called for,
    never applying a standard way of responding
    to any circumstance,
    but being surprised ourselves
    at what we say and do.

04/05/2019  —  God’s good
is always the good
we say is God’s good.

God is always
who we say God is.

Our interpretation of God
is always the valid interpretation.

What we say goes.

The natural world cares nothing
for ethics and morality.

“The big fish eat the little fish,
and the little fish better hide.”

What is good for the lion
is bad for the antelope.

Morality and ethics are our ideas
which we impose upon the world
until they get in our way
and then we find ways around
our own rules governing behavior.

The Rule of Law
is interpreted to serve the interests
of those interpreting the Rule of Law.

Used to be slavery was the law,
and drowning witches was good
for everyone but the witches.

What changed?
The times changed.
The times are always changing.
Who is in charge of the times?
Who tells the times
what it is time for now
and what it is time for no longer?

How good is the good we call good?
Good for what?
Good for whom?
Good for how long?

The least we can do
is to stop kidding ourselves
about the good we are serving
and the God we call God.

04/05/2019  —  We are never grown up,
always growing up,
or refusing to grow up at all.

We can assist the process
by sitting
and holding how things are
in our awareness
until a shift occurs.

  1. 04/07/2019 —  Yin/Yang 2019-04 01 — Computer generated graphic, Indian Land, South Carolina, April 6, 2019 The Yin/Yang symbol
    of inverted opposites
    is Jesus on the cross. Jesus on the cross
    is you and me and all the others on the cross. We live at the crossroads
    between heaven and earth,
    right and wrong,
    “us” and “not-us,”
    Yin and Yang… When we make the cross about Jesus
    we miss the deeper truth
    that the cross is about us,
    just as the Yin/Yang symbol is about us.
    *Is* us! We, the entire universe,
    all of existence,
    is opposites,
    contraries,
    contradictions,
    polarities,
    dichotomies,
    ..
    at the very core. We live to harmonize
    the inverted opposites,
    to bear the cross
    of utter, undying, opposition,
    to balance the “this too/not this,”
    of everyday life. We are always harmonizing,
    balancing,
    never enjoying the fruit of our labors.
    Now we have it,
    now we don’t. Balance is not static.
    Harmony is not rigid.
    We don’t get it right,
    and tip-toe on egg shells forever.
    We move in and out,
    we flow with and not with
    as the waves come in and go out,
    as the tides rise and fall,
    breathing is forever
    until it isn’t,
    and then it is over. So don’t live too tightly to be alive!
    Dance!
    Dance!
    Dance!
    Move!
    Move!
    Move! Do not over-think it!
    Any of it!
    Let come what’s coming
    and let go what’s going,
    and pray for the wisdom
    to know the difference! Stay on the beam–
    even though we all know
    we are going to fall off,
    drift away,
    find our way back…
    lost and found forever,
    like the rhythm of the tides
    and the waves
    on the deep blue sea… Stay on *that* beam!
    On and off forever!
    Enjoying it,
    not worrying about it,
    not agonizing over it. Bearing the pain!
    And allowing the pain
    to come and go,
    along with everything else. The rhythm of breathing,
    the rhythm of live and being. Learn to love it!
    To sing
    and dance
    and be joyful
    in the midst of it! Be alive in the time left for living!

04/07/2019  —  We cannot say, “This!”
without simultaneously saying, “Not That!”

“Yes” to this is “No!” to that.

Duality and contradiction define us.

If you say that’s all an illusion,
you are creating a duality
by denying duality.
“Illusion/Enlightenment.”

On the one hand this,
on the other hand that.
We live between the hands.
Like it, ahem,
or not.

04/07/2019  —  Healing hurts.
Bear the pain.

We think pain is the problem.
Pain is the solution.

We escape pain
and create pain.

We run from pain
and run into pain
on the road we take
to avoid it.

Research shows
that taking painkillers
increases the time required to heal.

Healing itself is painful.
My sprained ankle has been healing itself
for into the 4th week now.
My body is doing amazing work in my behalf,
but the work is painful.
And inconvenient.
My place is to stay out of the way,
and assist the process
with ice packs and elevation.

I could take pills
that would allow me to function
almost normally,
and increase the swelling,
and delay the healing.

And then there is the possibility,
and, in some cases, the likelihood,
of addiction to the pills
that make me feel a lot better than I am.
And extend indefinitely the path to getting better–
which is another pain to have to deal with.

It’s my call.
How do I want to play out
healing my ankle?
Living my life?

04/07/2019  —  Jesus said,
“Ya git what ‘cha got comin’!”
(Or, words to that effect).

He actually said something
on the order of,
“They have their reward.”

The two statements mean the same thing.

We live toward some end
in each situation that arises,
and create karma in the process
that will carry us,
into situations we do not intend
and cannot anticipate,
for better or for worse–
for better and for worse.

Better on some level
is worse on other levels.
Worse on some level
is better on other levels.

Where are we better off?

We are better off right here,
right now,
living in light of what is happening
and what needs to happen,
and doing what we need to do about it
in each situation as it occurs,
and letting the outcome be the outcome,
and letting nature take its course,
and letting the chips fall where they may,
and doing it all over again
in the situation that arises from this one,
and so on,
all our life long.

There is no having it made.
There is always only doing this
in response to that,
and seeing where it goes.

And we get what we have coming.
What we do with it tells the tale.

What needs to happen,
here and now?
Answer that question correctly
always,
and that’s having it made.

04/07/2019  —  Hermeneutics is my thing.

Interpretation.
Perspective.
Perception.
Understanding.
Comprehension.
Realization.
Inspiration.
Enlightenment.
Clarity.
Knowing.
Seeing.
Hearing.
Doing.
Being.

I went to seminary
and served 5 congregations
(Presbyterian Church USA)
over 40.5 years
to hear what I have to say.

I write these things every day
to hear what I have to say.
To see what there is to see.
To know what there is to know.
To do what needs to be done.
To be who I have yet to become.

I will be living in the service
of hermeneutics until I die.

Our life is an ongoing encounter
with the Delphic Oracle.
Our nighttime dreams
and our lived daily experience
are messages delivered at Delphi.

We have to decipher the code.

It is coded because we
are out of accord with the Tao,
so everything has to be interpreted correctly
in order to know what’s what
and what to do about it.

Every situation is another place
to listen,
hear
and understand,
or not.

To look,
see,
and know,
or not.

See/Hear/Understand/Know/Do/Be
is the process.

Be what?
Aligned with the Dharma.
In accord with the Tao.
In tune with the Holy Spirit.
At one with the will of God.

All of those phrases
mean the same thing.
They all attempt
to say what the deal is,
what it is all about.

Getting any one of them right,
gets all of them right.

The best we can hope for
is getting it right
one situation at a time.

Hermeneutics is my thing
in each situation
that comes along.
All the way to the end of the line.

Our life is always on the line
to the end of the line.
What we do here/now tells the tale.

Redemption and atonement, Kid.
Redemption and atonement.

  1. 04/03/2019 —  Dogwood 2019-04 07 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, April 07, 2019 I pair vulnerability with hospitality. Hospitality is the source of safety
    and restoration
    that vulnerability requires
    to face what must be faced,
    and to do what needs to be done. Where are you safe? It starts with you. How hospitable are you with you?
    How dependable are you
    as a place for you to be with you?
    How much do you trust yourself
    to be a reliable source of solace and comfort,
    guidance and direction,
    your rock and your salvation? We are the center of our own circle,
    and we must have a self-reliant relationship
    with ourselves. This could start with Jon Kabat-Zinn’s
    Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
    YouTube videos. From ourselves as the center of our own hospitality,
    we move outward to our Inner Circle.
    Who are the people you trust most with you?
    These people are your refuge in time of trouble,
    your hedge against vulnerability,
    who help you get your feet back under you
    and ground you upon the bedrock
    of your deepest/highest values
    and your confidence in your ability
    to face the heaving waves of the wine-dark sea,
    and when your raft is destroyed,
    knowing then you will swim
    (Re. Homer and Odysseus in the Odyssey). We do not stand alone
    against the dark night’s terrors.
    We have an inner world,
    and an Inner Circle in the outer world,
    to uphold and sustain us
    in the Vortex and in the Void.
    We only need to turn to the hospitality at hand
    to draw strength and courage
    for another round on the field of action.

04/08/2019  —  We cannot assume
“Fair winds and following seas.”

We have to be prepared
to abandon ship,
lose the life boat
and swim.

The military has basic training
and boot camp
to prepare its women and men
to face what might be waiting.

Civilians are not so lucky.
We are on our own
in the work to find what we need
to deal with whatever comes our way.

That’s ridiculous.
We need much more help than we get.

Life comes at us without letup,
moment-by-moment-by-moment.
Where do we find
the tools,
skills,
practices
required to step into the day every day
and meet what faces us
with the confidence
of those
who know
they have what it takes
to do what needs to be done
in each situation that arises
all our life long?

No escapes!
No denial!
No addictions!
Just ourselves and our life,
day in and day out forever!

Why don’t we get life-skills training
beyond balancing the checkbook
and installing apps
to distract us from what’s waiting for us?

We need a practice
and a philosophy
and an orientation
that are reality-based
and BS proof.

12-Step programs
are a start
but need to be more intentional
about graduating people
from dependence to independence
and self-reliance
in the service of a life worth living.

The goal can’t be sobriety
any more than the goal of Zen
can be enlightenment.

After sobriety, what?
After enlightenment, what?
Living day-to-day,
moment-by-moment,
toward what end?
Serving what purpose?

Our life–the life we are living–
provides us with everything we need
to live with enthusiasm for the tasks
required by being alive.

Where is that enthusiasm?
Where is the joy of life?
Where is the *elan vital*?
What is our “categorical imperative”?
What is our “mythic vision”?
What are we doing here?
And were do we go to find help
answering these questions?

04/08/2019  —  Of what does your life consist?
What is life for you?
What is the ground–
the core–
of your life?
Around what does your life revolve?

Or, to put it another way,
What would you go to hell for?

What is so important to you
that you would serve it no matter what?

Where do you find your joy?
Where do you find your peace?
What makes your little heart sing and dance?
How long has it been since your little heart sung and danced?

If you were to take your little heart singing and dancing,
where would you go?
What would you do?

If you know, go!
Do!
Often!
With regularity!
And dependability!

If you don’t have a clue,
your work is cut out for you.

Your mission is to spend the rest of your life
in search of what makes your little heart
sing and dance.

And take it singing and dancing
often,
regularly,
dependably.

There is nothing more to it than that.

04/08/2019  —  The media outlets elect the people
running the country.

What they say about the people
who are elected,
elects the people,
or not.

What they emphasize,
what they highlight,
what they repeat, repeat, repeat.

What they ignore.

Who they ignore.

If you are a media darlin’
you are ahead of the pack.
Doesn’t matter if you are Right or Left,
Democrat or Republican,
if they love you,
you are IT.

To be IT
you have to have IT.
Call it “curb appeal.”
People gotta like you
just driving by.
If people like you,
the media outlets love you.
If the media outlets love you,
everybody likes you–
or enough do anyway.

You can’t just be competent
and capable.
You have to wow them,
the people and the media.
Get the wow down
and you have it made.

Everybody likes to be wow-ed.
Until the wow-er starts running things.

“What have you done
that qualifies you to be President?”

Let’s see the media
live in the service of that question.

Asking it.
Investigating it.
Fact-checking it.
Asking it again in light of the evidence.
Hammering away at it.
Not letting up
until every candidate
is standing on her or his record
in public service.

Forget the glitz and the hype and the image!

What have they done
that qualifies them to be President?
How have they run their life
that exhibits how they would run the country?
What can we count on from them,
expect of them,
based upon the way they have lived their life?

Dig in there, Media!
And get to work!

  1. 04/09/2019 —  Below the Beaver Dam, Schwabacher Landing, Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming, June 26, 2011 There are people who have done things
    to you or to others,
    and there are people who have failed to do things
    to you or to others. You can hold it against them,
    or you can not hold it against them.
    Temporarily,
    or forever. It’s your call,
    the stance you take
    in regard to the people
    who have done things,
    or failed to do things,
    in your life. Some things I hold against people,
    and will always do so.
    John Wilkes Booth, for instance,
    will never find himself in my good graces. He will never be dead long enough
    to be welcome in my company. And there are people who have done
    a lot less than he did
    whom I am glad
    to not have in my life. I am not about forgiveness and making up
    across the table,
    around the circle.
    There are some lines
    that cannot be crossed
    without a price,
    eternal and everlasting,
    to be paid.
    If someone does,
    I will hold it against them forever. There aren’t many lines like that
    with me. I don’t know,
    or care,
    how it is with you. We draw our own lines. I am saying that it is our call to make,
    whether we hold it against someone forever,
    or not. And, I will also say,
    that the more people we have on our Bad List,
    the less fun we are to be around.
    And the more likely we are
    to hold it against people
    for not wanting to be around us. We draw our lines,
    and they draw theirs.

04/09/2019  —  There is only the present moment
and our relationship to it.

This is where we live or die.

Whether we are alive or dead
turns on how we respond
to this here,
this now.

We can live with the right attitude,
or we can live with the wrong attitude.

Living with the wrong attitude
is being dead
to the time and place of our living.

How many people do you know
who are not alive
to the time and place
of their living
because their Now sucks,
and they will have none of it?

They pine for a Now that is then,
or for a Now that is not yet
(and never will be).
“Any Now but This Now!”
is their motto.
Also stated as,
“Not This! Not This!”

The only thing wrong
with those people
is that they are not growing up.

Growing up requires us
to come to terms
with this here
and this now
every time a new
here and now
rolls around.

There is only the present moment
and our relationship with it.

How we live here and now
makes all the difference.

It is the only thing that does.

When are we going to stop
throwing away our present moments,
and get down to the business
of living each one
the way it needs to be lived
beginning with this one,
here and now?

04/09/2019  —  We open ourselves
to the here and now
by asking of each one,
“Here we are, now what?”

“Here we are, now what?”
positions us to look and listen,
see and hear,
what is happening here and now,
and what needs to happen in response.

Asking, “Here we are, now what?”
invites us to hold
the entire situation
in our awareness
and wait for the shift to happen,
for realization to occur,
for something to arise,
unbidden,
from the stillness
out of which all things come,
and beckon us to action–
without knowing anything more
than what needs to be done.

What needs to be done
is all we need to know.

Doing what needs to be done
is all we need to do.

Moment-by-moment-by-moment.

All our life long.

04/09/2019  —  We all would be
better off somewhere else.

We would always be
better off somewhere else.

Here we are, now what?

Don’t let where you are not
keep you from being where you are.

Victor Frankl was in a POW camp
in Hitler Germany.
He did what he could there
to make things as good as they could be,
and waited for his circumstances
to change.

Sometimes, that is all we can do.

It is incumbent upon us
that we do that much.
Anything less than that
will not do.

What can we do about where we are
here and now?
Do it,
and look to see what else might be done,
while waiting
for your circumstances to change.

If they change, good.
If they don’t change, well
that’s the way it is sometimes.
Don’t take it personally,
just do what can be done
and let that be that.

  1. 04/09/2019 —  Limbs and Branches 2019-04 01 B&W A, Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, April 3, 2019 We have enough information. It is not a matter of reading another book,
    or listening to another lecture,
    or watching to another video. We don’t have to go across the sea to find it,
    or traverse the country searching it out. There is no need to seek an audiance
    with the latest pop guru. We need to form a new relationship with our life.
    We need to allow the information we have
    to settle.
    We need to stop thinking,
    and start simply being with ourselves
    in the moment,
    opening ourselves to ourselves
    and to the moment,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment. Listening to our body–
    to our heart,
    our belly,
    our bones. Listening to our nighttime dreams. Listening to our experience. Listening in the silence
    to the stillness beyond the silence, and waiting to see what spurs us to action. A sense of direction,
    and, perhaps, of urgency,
    will arise out of the stillness
    and compel us to do something. We wait to see what. And where that might lead. Shifts start to happen.
    Things fall into place.
    Our life takes shape
    around inner calls to action. We don’t know why we are doing
    the things we find ourselves doing.
    We feel something
    and do something about it.
    Feel/Do
    is different from Think/Do. We are a different person feeling and doing
    than we are thinking and doing. If you haven’t started watching
    the Jon Kabat-Zinn YouTube videos,
    today would be as good a day as any to begin.

04/09/2019  —  What’s after sobriety?
What’s after enlightenment?

Attitude!

We do the same things
as before
with a different frame of mind.

We chop wood,
carry water.

Wash the laundry,
dry it,
fold it,
iron it,
hang it,
and put it away.

We take care of the business of life,
and offer what is needed
in each situation as it arises.

And we do it as those who care about it.
As those who are invested in it.

When I cook
I cook because I love to cook.

When I water the lawn and flower beds
I do it because I love doing it.

Love doing what you do,
and do it with your heart in what you are doing!

Not wishing you were somewhere else,
anywhere else,
doing anything else
but being where you are
doing what you are doing,
loving what you are doing.

It takes a while to work loving your life
into your life,
particularly when you don’t love it.

Start with what you do love about it.
Find things to love about it
and love them.

Watching the rain,
the wind in the trees…
I don’t know what it might be,
but you know what it is.

Start with the things you love.
Notice them.
Do them.
Rejoice in them.
Celebrate them.
Love them.
Deeply.

Deep love spill over into the rest of your life.
It softens you.
Grace happens.
You become loving.
Once you become loving,
it’s a snowball rolling downhill!

Loving your life becomes easy
once you become loving,
once you are love in action.

After sobriety, love!
After enlightenment, love!
Boom!
Everything you do is love doing!
Is love loving!
Nothing could be better!

It’s the same old life
done with love,
transformed by love,
made new through love.

A loving attitude remakes the world.

04/09/2019  —  I hate watching Donald Trump
and Stephen Miller
rip the heart out of the Constitution
and trash democracy
with their white supremacist,
Nazi,
fascist,
philosophy,
propaganda,
methods,
procedures,
techniques,
strategy,
system
as the Republican Senators
sit idly by,
looking the other way,
talking about being gravely concerned,
while aiding and abetting
the takeover of America
by doing nothing to stop it.

This is an atrocity
unmatched by anything
in our history.

It is treason.

Traitors run the country
who can’t run a casino.
And the entire Republican Party
is betting on them.

I don’t know why.

  1. 04/10/2019 —  Dogwood 2019-04 13, Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, April 9, 2019 I know people whose
    likes and don’t-likes command their life,
    control their attitude,
    run (and ruin) their days. There is nothing to match
    stepping into your morning
    with Opinion Before Seeing
    leading the way. When you already don’t like the gift
    before you remove the wrapping paper
    and open the box,
    you are going to have a hard time
    with the thank-you note. And it puts
    “Okay, now what?”
    way down on the list
    of preferred responses. “Okay, now what?” needs to lead the way. It is an entirely neutral way
    of greeting whatever is standing
    on the other side of the door. It’s a way of saying,
    “I don’t know a thing about
    what is here, now,
    and I’m going to look things over,
    and size things up,
    before doing anything else.” Taking stock is always a good first move.
    Everything flows from there.
    Opinions color the day
    before the sun comes up.
  2. 04/10/2019 —  Dogwood 2019-04 12 Panorama — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, April 9, 2019 We are guided too much by what we want. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” What does wanting know? Native Americans would go on vision quests
    because their elders knew
    nobody wants to grow up,
    and that we have to be guided
    by a vision of mythic proportions
    through and past all we don’t want
    in order to serve what must be served
    whether we want to or not,
    whether we are in the mood for it or not,
    whether we feel like it or not. Our wanting comes to us as a continuum,
    as a hierarchy of wants.
    We want this and we want that,
    and we want that over there…
    We want this more than that,
    and that less than that,
    and it goes forever,
    this or that,
    this and that,
    and we spin ourselves dizzy
    trying to decide/determine
    what we “really want.” Mythic visions put wanting in its place,
    and we HAVE to serve the vision
    that has nothing to do with what we want. There are the things we want to have and do,
    and there are the things we need to have and do
    because they are essential to our peace
    and well-being. What are the things we must serve?
    The things we must do?
    Even against the things
    that are rational,
    logical,
    make sense,
    and stand to reason? Those are the things that call us forth
    and serve us as lasting guides
    throughout our life.
    And one of our life-long tasks
    is to know how to read the signs
    and know when stand before
    an offer that cannot be refused
    in spite of all the reasons to walk away. Why aren’t we told this early on?
    Why are we led to believe
    that doing what we want is the highest good?
    Why aren’t we instructed in putting wanting aside
    and listen for the voice rising in the stillness
    from the depths of our body
    to seize us
    and compel our service
    to its mystical ends forever? At least, we have this going for us:
    It is never too late to launch a vision quest,
    and listen beyond the silence
    to the stillness at the heart of life.

04/10/2019  —  I do not know how to define “Democracy”
in a way that is true to traditional definitions
and true to current facts.

I say the facts say democracy
is no more extant
in the United States
than leprechauns and unicorns are.

Government of the people,
by the people,
for the people,
the Rule of Law,
Constitutional oversight,
and human rights
have all ceased to be
the way things are.

Corporations
and white supremacists
are running things
to their satisfaction.

Trump and Stephen Miller
are in charge of the Trump Administration,
and do whatever they want to do,
with the Republicans in the Senate
carrying out every whim
to the satisfaction of their keepers.

And not one in the entire lot
cares one bit
for Liberty, Justice, Equality, Truth.
No.
Not one.

04/10/2019  —  People have a right to their own lives.

Which means people do not
have to have our permission
to live their life the way they do.

We all have to be true to ourselves
in ways that do not interfere
with other people being true to themselves.

We are fee to be who we are
in ways that do not prohibit or limit
other people from being free
to be who they are.

This is a basic human right,
which is easily recognized as valid
by everyone not determined
to impose their idea of the way
everyone else should be
on everyone else.

Those people are carriers
of the Jehovah Syndrome.
They think they are the Lord God Jehovah
and everyone has to do what they say.

If you meet one of them
coming along the path toward you,
get off the path.

  1. 04/10/2019 —  Dogwood 2019-04 11, Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, April 6, 2019 Physicians and the entire medical establishment
    do only one healthful thing:
    They help us listen to our body. Doctors and nurses,
    technicians and physical therapists,
    and all their supporting cast
    tell us what our body is saying. Interpret for us what our body
    is trying to tell us. And we don’t want to hear it. We want a pill
    that will enable us to live like we want to live,
    to hell with our body! We live at odds with our body
    and expect medical science
    to assist us in that endeavor–
    or better,
    to enable us to triumph in that endeavor. We want to live forever
    the way we want to live forever! Diet and exercise, Kid.
    Diet and exercise! And no added sugar or salt!
    Or fried food!
    Or processed meat! The last time I looked,
    hotdogs and bacon,
    and cold cereal
    that is nothing more than
    a sugar delivery system
    were still selling well. So, we have doctors, etc.,
    and we have a culture
    that keeps doctors, etc.
    in business,
    and they are working
    against each other,
    and the culture is winning. I have one thing to say about that:
    LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!! Our body is telling us all we need to know! And our doctor is telling us
    what our body is saying. And we live like we want to live
    at the expense of our body.
    So much for what wanting knows. We aren’t going anywhere
    until we acknowledge
    that we are here to serve our body–
    and all that our body connect us with. And we do not fit into this picture
    as a wanting, grasping,
    pulling, pushing,
    forcing, demanding, insisting, directing,
    ordering, commanding, dictating
    Captain of Our Ship,
    Master of Our Destiny,
    In Charge of Our Own Life, We are servants of what we do not know,
    and our body is its messenger. Everything waits for us to know our place,
    assume our role,
    align ourselves with our dharma,
    put ourselves in accord with the Tao of Life and Being,
    and say,
    “Okay, now what?”
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    all our life long.

04/11/2019  —  What we say goes.

We live our life
the way we think
our life needs to be lived.

Even if we live exactly
as someone else tells us to live,
we are living the way we think
our life needs to be lived–
that is, as someone else tells us to live it.

The catch is
that we have to be right about it.

How right are we
about what we say is right?

Time will tell.

My father was wrong
about smoking and drinking,
just to mention two things
he was wrong about.
And, he was wrong all his life long.
He didn’t care if he was wrong.
He was wrong about that, as well.

We have to live our life
in light of all things considered–
and take stock regularly
and religiously,
without kidding ourselves,
as those who are
as self-transparent
as it is possible to be.

Being right about what we say is right
is the most important thing to be.

It takes a lot of looking
to be able to see.

04/11/2019  —  There is what we want,
and there is what we ought to want,
and there is what we need to want,
and there is what we have no business wanting.

The question is what are we going to do?

In light of what are we going to live?

How good is the good we call good?

  1. 04/12/2019 —  Dogwood 2019-04 11 B&W — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, April 6, 2019 A feeling becomes a mood by way of thoughts
    generated around the feeling. The feeling sparks a memory.
    A memory is a thought about something,
    some event in the past,
    and triggers related memory/thoughts,
    creating a mood
    that is a cluster of memory/thoughts/feelings,
    impacting our behavior,
    our actions,
    producing reactions
    on the part of family and friends,
    initiating a cluster of actions,
    perhaps involving drugs and alcohol,
    guns and death.
    Because something jarred a feeling
    that sparked a memory
    that led to thinking
    that led to more feelings
    that led to a mood
    that brought about the apocalypse. There ought to be a rule:
    No feeling!
    No thinking! That would never work. How about this for a rule:
    When feeling these feelings,
    think only these thoughts,
    not those! Or this one:
    When feeling all feelings,
    think about the thoughts
    arising from the feelings,
    and engage them in extended dialogue! Extended dialogue involves
    asking all of the questions
    the feelings and the thoughts
    they generate
    beg to be asked. Ask the questions,
    listen for the answers/responses.
    Ask all the questions the answers/responses
    beg to be asked.
    Listen for the answers/responses… You see why this is called “extended dialogue.”
    It is important to stay with it.
    We are breaking the cycle,
    and we are getting to the bottom
    of a lot of things,
    getting a lot of things out in the open,
    probing,
    inquiring,
    exploring,
    experiencing,
    confronting,
    reflecting,
    fostering new realizations,
    waking up,
    growing up
    some more
    .. There is nothing wrong with any of us
    that growing up some more again
    can’t make better. We grow up some more again
    by facing up to what we are facing.
    By squaring up to what
    is standing in our way.
    By coming to terms with the way things are,
    and have been,
    and will continue to be
    until we engage it all
    in extended dialogue. You can spur the dialogue along
    by imagining the feelings/memory/mood
    as an image or an object.
    If the feelings/memory/mood
    were a physical object or scene,
    what would it be?
    What physical object or scene
    do they/does it
    remind you of? What comes to mind
    as you consider the object/scene?
    What questions does it beg to be asked? Instead of running and hiding
    in escape and denial,
    as a way of avoiding
    what the feelings (memory/moos)
    are calling to mind,
    exorcise the demon
    by dancing it out,
    jogging it out,
    painting it out,
    drawing it out,
    writing it out,
    singing it out
    (The Blues started here),
    sculpting it out… Turning the feelings,
    the mood,
    into physical activity
    translates internal
    into external
    and vents the emotions
    that need to be expressed,
    not suppressed or repressed,
    denied and ignored. We are growing up some more again here.
    That’s the most important thing we can do
    with the rest of our life. Every good thing flows from that,
    and falls into place around it.
    Nothing good happens
    if that is not happening.
    Keep the dialogue going
    and see where it leads
    by asking all of the questions
    that beg to be asked
    about everything
    forever.

04/12/2019  —  Inflammatory speech
controls and directs emotions,
blocks/prevents thinking,
and reduces the likelihood of awareness
on the part of those
caught up in listening
to inflammatory speech.

There are people
who live to be inflamed emotionally.

Trump plays to that crowd.

He gets nowhere with the Dali Lama.

Listeners control the impact of speakers
by the way they listen
and what they do with what they hear.

Trump controls his base
by not allowing them to take
an emotional breath.

It is a dozen (or more) things a day
with Trump.

People inflamed emotionally
feel empowered,
charged up.
It is a religious fervor
Trump’s crowds seek.
It is the only place in their life
they feel alive.

A Trump rally is an old time revival.
Fire ’em up!
Get the chants going!
Get the Red Rally Hats waving!
Make them feel like something is happening!
They will love you forever!

Trump is Billy Sunday with orange hair.
And just as the Amen Corner
determines what the preacher says next
by cheering what he just said,
the MAGA Hats determine what Trump says
by whooping it up over what he just said.
He talks about things and people they hate,
resent,
fear–
and things they love.

He dances to their tune,
they call all his songs.
No one is in charge.
Everyone is getting charged.
It’s great.

It’s the end of the world.

04/12/2019  —  Listen to me!

This is all you need to know about abortion:

There are women right now,
this moment,
who are pregnant
who cannot carry their pregnancy to term.

That is the only fact that matters.

Every other fact relative to abortion
flows from this foundational fact,
and takes its place
around this central,
abiding,
unchanging,
unchangeable,
unalterable,
ultimate,
absolute fact.

When life begins does not matter.
When the fetus becomes a person,
does not matter.
What God thinks or doesn’t think,
does not matter.

The fact essential
to the consideration of abortion
is the crucial importance
of its availability
to the women who are pregnant,
now or at any point in the future,
and who cannot carry their pregnancy to term.

And that is all that needs be said.

  1. 04/12/2019 —  White-breasted Nuthatch 2019-04 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, April 12, 2019 A couple of old psychological saws,
    which we could call “spiritual laws,”
    go like this: 1) We hate in others what we fear in ourselves. 2) We love in others what we value, but believe to be
    absent in ourselves. Hating and loving are both about ourselves. Rumi said, “One glimpse of a true human being,
    and we are in love.” True human beings are such a rare sighting,
    that we can apply the rule as a “true-enough human being,”
    in the sense that “close enough” counts. The “being in love” is exactly on the money. We wonder where “in love’ comes from,
    it comes from being attracted to what we find
    to be attractive–
    in terms of abiding values
    and desirable characteristics.
    Values and characteristics which reside
    in us but are unrecognized by us,
    so we see them in someone else,
    confuse the values with the person,
    and fall in love with the person. But we are in love with the values/characteristics
    we see exhibited in the other person. Now, they may not actually have any
    place in the other’s life,
    but we think they do,
    and are hooked,
    and then begin to see the other person
    as they are over time,
    and are disenchanted,
    dismayed,
    feel betrayed,
    and blame the other person. We fooled ourselves
    but never wise up,
    and do it again and again,
    never seeing any of the other people
    as a doorway into ourselves. Well, here’s your chance to break the spell,
    and see that it is you you seek with all your heart!
    It is you you are showing yourself,
    saying, “Look! Look! There you are!
    Behold Thyself! Thou Art That!
    Become Who Thou Art!” The deep stillness uses all the tricks to wake us up.
    We sleep walk to the grave.
    But the hope of the stillness
    is that one day we will get it
    in an “AHA!” kind of way,
    and bring the true human being we are
    to life in the life we are living,
    by being what we love
    and seeing that we hate
    what we are afraid we might be.
  2. 04/13/2019 —  Dogwood 2019-04 06 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, April 6, 2019 Two things matter most:
    Integrity and Good Faith–
    and they are the same thing. We can’t have Integrity
    without Good Faith,
    and we can’t have Good Faith
    without Integrity. One thing matters most:
    Integrity and Good Faith. The Delphic Oracle still points the way:
    Know Thy Self!
    To Thine Own Self Be True! Self-transparency is the heart of the matter. Who we are at the core
    and who we are at the fringes
    has to be identical–
    and has to be identical
    with who we say we are,
    and with what we say we will do,
    and not do. Start there. Make it happen!

04/13/2019  —  “Without hope,
without witness,
without reward.”

Steven Moffat’s (In Doctor Who)
summation of integrity–
of who we are
and what we do–
rocks the world.

What do we do
when no one is watching?
When nothing good comes of it?
When it doesn’t matter what we do?

What do we do
“without hope,
without witness,
without reward”?

There is who we are.
There is what matters most
to us–
whether it matters to anyone else
doesn’t matter.

It matters if it matters to us.

What matters to us
is apparent to all
when we serve it
“without hope,
without witness,
without reward.”

Live in the service of what matters to you
as though it matters
to everyone
everywhere
throughout time–
and particularly
as though it matters to you!

  1. 04/13/2019 —  Merrybells/Large Flowered Bellwort 2019-04 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, April 13, 2019 Water seeks its on level. It does not ask
    “What’s the point?”
    “Why do I have to seek my own level?”
    “Is this all there is?”
    “What’s in it for me?”
    “What am I getting out of all this?”
    “What is the meaning of it all?” Seeking its own level
    is the nature of water. Water’s dharma.
    It’s original nature. In seeking its own level,
    water is doing what water does. What is your nature?
    What is your personal equivalent
    to water’s seeking its own level? Water seeks its own level
    because it is water,
    and that is what water does. What do you do because you are you
    and that is what you do? I do hermeneutics.
    I seek meaning,
    right interpretation,
    right translation,
    right comprehension,
    right knowing,
    right doing,
    right being. I also seek my own level
    in searching for balance and harmony,
    symmetry and peace
    in my relationships with myself,
    my life,
    and with other people. I do not like being out of sync,
    out of place,
    out of rhythm,
    out of flow. These things are my original nature.
    They are the face that was mine
    before I was born.
    They are who I am.
    What I do. I seek these things
    like water seeks its own level. And you?
    Who are you?
    What do you do
    that is you?
    Like seeking its own level is water?

04/14/2019  —  Dogwood 2019-04 05 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, April 6, 2019

Don’t think of libido
strictly as sexual energy.
Expand the possibilities
to include all of life.

Allow it to become
energy for life.
The life force.
Interest in bringing to life
what brings us alive.

Curiosity,
wonder,
beauty,
play,
colors,
textures,
shapes,
sounds,
odors,
sights,
the entire gamut
of life experience.

The aliveness of living,
of being alive…

A wonderful woman in her nineties,
reflecting on how she had spent her time,
and what she wished she had done instead
told me,
“I wasted all that time on sex!
Life is so much more than sex!”

That is an idea
the culture has no time for.

Which calls into question
the foundation of a culture
with nothing but sex on its mind.

Why do we think
there is nothing better to do?
That we are nothing
without an active,
continuous,
unrelenting,
nonstop,
sex life?

“Sex sells”
because it is the best we can do.
Because we refuse
to allow ourselves
the privilege
of all the other possibilities–
of all that could have life for us,
that could bring us to life,
if we weren’t
“wasting all that time on sex.”

Give the rest of life a chance!
Explore where your other interests
might lie
if sex weren’t supposed to be
all there is.

  1. 04/14/2019 —  Chipping Sparrow 2019-04 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian land, South Carolina, April 12, 2019 You know all those things you do
    not wanting to? Pause long enough
    to get wanting/not-wanting out of the way. Wanting/not-wanting destroys our life. If we could live
    doing what needs to be done
    without wanting/not-wanting,
    the world would be transformed
    like that. We have it within us
    to rise to every occasion,
    and when we do that,
    we rise above
    wanting/not-wanting. Living neither wanting nor not-wanting
    is to have the freedom
    and the fluidity
    to do what needs us to do it
    with no impediments,
    barriers
    or restrictions
    in our way. We can give ourselves fully–
    whole-heartedly–
    to the task before us,
    and step into the next task
    without emotional backwash
    from the last task
    to have to wade through
    on the way. It does not matter what we want
    or don’t want!
    It matters how we do what is asked of us
    by the circumstances
    of our situation in life! Coming to terms
    with our circumstances,
    and handling them well,
    forms the basis of a well-lived life–
    and that is the goal!
    Not having what we want
    and avoiding what we don’t want.
    That is the goal of the Terrible Twos.
  2. 04/14/2019 —  Goodale 2018-11 32 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 4, 2018 Get your feet under you.
    Consider the moment. What is being asked of you?
    What does the moment need of you?
    What do you have to offer the moment?
    The here and now?
    The time and place of your living? What is happening?
    What needs to happen in response?
    In light of what?
    How do you determine what needs to happen?
    What do you consider in answering the question?
    Consider it all!
    Take everything into account!
    The situation in its totality!
    And do not decide!
    Listen!
    Look!
    Allow your response to come foth
    spontaneously,
    thoughtlessly,
    from the stillness beyond the silence. Be surprised at what you find yourself doing! Let the moment itself lead you to act
    in response to the moment. Do not know beforehand
    what you will do
    moment-to-moment-to-moment. Listen to the moment.
    Dance with the moment.
  3. 04/15/2019 —  Shooting Platform 2019-04 01 Panorama — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, April 13, 2019 John O’Donohue has written: Live “Like a river flows,/ Carried by the surprise/Of its own unfolding.” We don’t have to know what we are doing. We can wait to see what we will do–
    about anything, We can surprise ourselves
    at every turn. Rivers don’t know what’s next,
    or worry about it. The wonder of it
    is enough to keep them going.
  4. 04/15/2019 —  Dogwood 2019-04 05 B&W — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, April 12, 2019 We do better
    with a sense of reliability
    about our life. When we are able
    to get our feet under us
    and walk with our own volition
    toward destinations
    that are important to us–
    the bathroom, say,
    or the kitchen. We like for things to be
    reasonably steady,
    comfortable,
    predictable
    and secure. I like knowing my books
    are going to be
    where I left them,
    and that my computer
    is going to start up
    when I switch it on. Stability and dependability
    are important aspects
    of health and happiness. What can we count on? The answer is increasingly uncertain. An unstable President,
    Administration,
    Regime,
    create an atmosphere of instability
    throughout the institutions
    and structures
    and infrastructure
    holding things together
    for the entire society
    and the whole world. The systems are not what
    we need them to be. What can we count on? We need a President we can count on!
    In ways that are crucial to the experience
    of life as it ought to be! This President cannot even count on himself.
    He says he didn’t say things he just said.
    He says he didn’t do things he just did.
    That is a reliable definition of “crazy.” And, when the fail-safe systems
    governing the reliability of the system
    don’t work,
    solid ground becomes shifting sand,
    becomes quicksand,
    just like that. And we begin to look at each other,
    wondering who we can trust,
    and what is real,
    and how we can know,
    and be sure of what we think we know. The rule is reassuring
    in all times and places:
    Be What You Seek! We all have–
    each one of us has–
    a center,
    a core,
    of unchanging stillness All of us are bound together
    by the same center/core
    of unchanging stillness. Living from the center/core,
    we are who each other needs–
    we are who we need–
    and find what we need
    in the presence of each other: The knowing,
    grounding,
    sustaining
    affirmation
    that we have what we need
    to find what we need
    in ourselves and one another
    in each moment,
    in each situation,
    in all circumstances,
    in every here and now,
    by being one with the unchanging stillness,
    and trusting ourselves to it,
    and what emerges from it,
    to comfort and guide
    moment-to-moment-to-moment
    forever. What we can count on,
    whom we can trust,
    is a perception shift away
    in all times and places. Remembering our breathing
    can take us there. The unchanging stillness
    at the center/core of being
    is “a very present help
    in time of trouble,”
    and the source of confidence
    and courage
    through all situations and circumstances. And we carry it with us
    wherever we go.
    It only takes breathing
    with mindful awareness
    to know it is so.
  5. 04/15/2019 —  Brown Thrasher 2019-04 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, April 15, 2019 The loss of Notre Dame Cathedral is felt by every sensitive soul everywhere. “There has been a disturbance in the force.” We are less for it on many levels. We were a grander, more splendid species yesterday, and this morning. We had more to be proud of, more to take courage from, more to find solace and consolation in. Now, we are bereft. We have been wounded deeply. We are not the same, nor will we ever be the same. Our spirit has been reduced by 800 years of beauty, aspiration, reverence, holiness, goodness and truth
    shining through the centuries as an exhibition and a declaration of what human devotion and fealty can do. The symbol that was Notre Dame, and the symbols she gave home to were together statements of who we are and who we are capable of being. Notre Dame was an extension of the Best Self of the species, calling us beyond ourselves to aspire to more than we can ask, or think, or say, or imagine. She was our dream of ourselves and of more than ourselves, calling us beyond ourselves. She was our equivalent of Lascaux and Chauvet and the other sites that speak to all times of that which is at the heart of every time. And we are left with no words to say what she said with her space, her art, her beauty, her presence. We are bereft. Without solace or consolation. The world has lost a connection with its soul.
  6. 04/16/2019 —  Mockingbird 2019-04 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, April 15, 2019 We pick ourselves up and step into another day.
    Every day.
    Why?
    What’s the point? I asked Nida Roberts–
    Nida, at the time,
    was 86 years old.
    She had fallen the night before
    onto her bedside night stand,
    and then the floor.
    The right side of her face
    was a huge bruise,
    a bandage covered her left eye,
    another wrapped her left arm
    from wrist to elbow,
    which was in a sling,
    hampering her movement. She lay in bed
    in the nursing home
    that had been her home
    for twelve years,
    and had just recounted
    her losses and woes
    from a lifetime
    of picking herself up
    and stepping into another day. “And now,” she had said,
    “just look at me.
    I can’t sit up.
    I can’t go to the bathroom.
    I can’t see to watch television
    or read the newspaper,
    I can’t get about.
    I can’t chew
    what they bring me to eat.
    The coffee is terrible.
    I ring for help
    and by the time
    someone comes,
    I’ve forgotten what I needed
    help with…” She was about to continue
    her litany of troubles
    when I interrupted to ask,
    “Nida. What keeps you going?” She stopped.
    Her right eye stared off
    into the distance
    beyond the ceiling.
    A minute passed.
    She laughed.
    And said,
    “I don’t know!
    I just go!” We just go.
    “Without hope,
    without witness,
    without reward”
    (Steven Moffat). And how we go makes all the difference.
    Go laughing!
    Go playing!
    Go unprophylactically,
    without reasons
    to serve you,
    guard and protect you,
    into the great unknown
    of the day
    everyday! What the hell?
    It’s only another day!
    How many has it been now?
    You have done them all!
    Why stop now?
    If you were going to stop,
    why not years ago?
    Saving yourself all that trouble?
    You’ve come this far,
    you may as well finish what you started!
    See what you can do with it!
    With another day!
    See what you can get by with!
    Make it up as you go!
    Just go!
  7. 04/17/2019 —  Fiddlehead 2019-04 01 — Christmas Fern, Indian Land, South Carolina, April 13, 2019 Jim Hollis said,
    “Death doesn’t end a relationship
    anymore than divorce ends a marriage.” Joseph Campbell said,
    “Ancient peoples have always known
    that the invisible world upholds
    the visible world,
    and the visible world is grounded upon
    the invisible world.” Carl Jung said,
    “Psychic reality is ultimate reality.” Lao Tzu said,
    “The Tao is the mother of all things.” I say,
    “As we live our life,
    we draw lines that intersect with one another’s lines,
    and connect us with the lines
    of all those who have ever lived,
    and ever will live.” Our experience makes us one with everyone
    who is living,
    has lived,
    or will ever live. To be one with our ancestors
    is to be one with everyone’s ancestors,
    and with everyone’s progeny. We don’t know what we are doing,
    but we are all doing it together,
    and the beat goes on. The Psyche is the fabric of the universe,
    and we are its children.
    Living our own lives,
    we weave a psychic tapestry
    with patterns we never imagine. The forces of Nationalism
    destroyed native cultures
    throughout the world,
    beginning about 1500,
    and the “destroyed” cultures
    have been regrouping
    and reforming
    worldwide ever since,
    forming “nations” within the nations
    that “destroyed” them,
    living to the beat of their own drummer. And the beat goes on. Kill it here, it pops us here,
    and there. Donald Trump and Stephen Miller
    and white supremacists/nationalists
    hate immigrants/people of color,
    and would kill them all.
    The more they kill,
    the more they create
    what they despise
    and would destroy–
    because they are fighting against
    a psychic reality
    that uses their efforts at destruction
    to expand its range
    with immigrants fanning out in all directions
    to regroup and reform world wide
    as nations within nations. And the beat goes on. Psychic reality–
    the Tao, the Dharma–
    is foundational reality.
    We can cooperate with the Way,
    or we can denounce,
    despise
    and “destroy” the Way.
    Either way, the Way weaves its way
    through the circumstances
    of time and space. And the beat goes on. Take heart!
    Have courage!
    Help one another
    find what we need
    to do what needs to be done
    where we are,
    in recognition of
    and service to
    the Way that is the way of all things–
    as it was before the beginning,
    is now and ever shall be,
    psychic world without end.
    Amen.

04/17/2010  —  “What’s money for?”
Ask them that.
Republicans, I’m talking about.
Ask Republicans,
“What’s money for?”

Republicans are all about money.
The more the better.
The people who print money
can’t print enough money
for Republicans.

Republicans turn their backs
on their oath of office,
forsake their duty to God and Country,
abandon their post,
betray their command,
look the other way,
and take their orders
from those who give them money
for their votes,
and for their refusal to vote.

How much money will it take?
How much money is enough money?
What’s all that money for?

Do they think money can buy them
clean air to breathe?
Clean water to drink?

When they kill,
or jail,
or lock out
all the immigrants,
who is going to mow their grass?
Haul off their garbage?
Do the work that is far beneath
anything White Privilege would
ever consider doing?

“Make America Great Again”
means “Restore The Good Times!”
(When white people had status
and enjoyed position
and held authority,
and people of color
did all the menial labor
and dirty work).

Well, look around Republicans,
and choose from among your white voters.
Who of them will be your Toadies
and your Go-Fers?

And think about that,
those of you who vote Republican.
Who do you think is going to do the work
of your adored Republican elites,
when there are no immigrants
or people or color
around to do it?
That would be YOU,
Toady.
Go-Fer.

They will probably pay you well,
but what is money for?
And who will you pay
to relieve you of your burdens?

You better rethink this whole money thing.
It doesn’t mean what you think it means.

04/17/2019  —  Look around you.
Nothing you see
that has been produced
by human beings
was there in the beginning.

Where did it come from?
The imagination of some human being.
The collective imaginations
of a number of human beings.

Our imagination is a function of our psyche.
The psyche is the source of everything you see
apart from the natural world–
which has a psyche of its own,
or is a part of the collective psyche
of all living things
(Where *does* that line lie?).

The psyche is the ground of life and being.

Where does it come from?
Where does life come from?
Find the source of one
and you have found the source of the other.

Lao Tzu called it “Tao.”
“Dharma” is another name
for our original nature.
The names, they be many.
All pointing to “That which cannot be said.”
Call it “God” if you would like.
What have you said when you say “God”?
“More than we can ask,
or think,
(or say),
or imagine!”

04/18/2019  —  Wild Geranium 2019-04 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, April 17, 2019

The high cost of living
is the price every other living thing pays
due to our being alive.

We are a threat to the entire earth.

And we think it is our right.

We think it is our right to make as much money as we can
at the expense of every living thing.

Arrogance and greed
are the essence of being human.

Humility and kindness
are the work of being aware of being human.

If we are going to live as a threat to every living thing,
the least we can do
is do it with awareness,
and grief,
sorrow
and regret.

Remorse isn’t too much to ask
for our destruction of the planet.

Recognition and realizaton
would soften our tromping through the world.
Lighten our step.
Reduce the size of our footprint.
Give us pause.

Pause would be a good thing.

We should take more pause with us
into each day.

And less stomp.

04/18/2019  —  I can only say what I have to say
and move on
to what else I have to say.
I can’t waste any time
demanding,
insisting,
arguing,
haranguing,
compelling
those who cannot hear what I have to say
to hear it.
I can only say it and move on.
I don’t have much time left.
Not enough, anyway.
Not nearly enough.
And there is so much to be said.

04/18/2019  —  Every recipe in the world
is a suggestion.
What you do with it
is your business.
You decide if the recipe
in question is right
according to your tastes
and interests.
You filter every recipe
through your idea
of how things ought to be.
You have to be true to yourself.
That is your secondary obligation.
You have to be right about it,
about the self you are being true to.
That is your primary obligation.

What is right for you?
How do you know?

What guides our boat
on its path through the sea?

What governs what we do?
What leads us along the way?
In light of what do we live?

Here is my recipe for Pimento/Cheese:

2 TBS chopped jalapeno peppers
1 2oz jar diced pimentos
Drained.
“Drained” means different things.
I drain the jalapenos and the pimentos,
put them together in my mixing bowl
and blot them dry with a paper towel
because I do not like “juicy” pimento-cheese.
Each to their own.
4 TBS mayonnaise
You may prefer 6 or 3
2 Cups finely shredded Cheddar cheese
Mix well
Have at it

I have two fold-over pimento-cheese
breakfast sandwiches most mornings.
You will do it your way.

Which is the point.
Knowing and doing it your way.
In light of The Way.

We cannot get to The Way
without going by way of our way.

When our way is The Way,
there we are.

04/18/2019  —  There is our way,
and there is The Way.

Our way has to blend into The Way,
has to merge into The Way.

No way The Way can be forced
onto our way!

No way our way can be compelled
to be The Way!

You can’t put the Ten Commandments
or any number of commandments
on school walls
and government buildings
and achieve anything thereby.

You cannot command people
into/onto The Way!

You cannot order them there!

Your Mama,
your Daddy,
your God,
cannot make you walk the way
that is The Way!

The way to The Way is your way
becoming The Way on its own
over time.

The Way has to be a natural,
spontaneous,
automatic,
unconscious,
instinctive,
inherent,
intuitive,
genuine,
authentic
extension
of our way.

Our way becomes
of its own volition
The Way
through living conscious of,
mindfully aware of,
our way
and the alternatives to our way
which we are completely free to chose
throughout the course of our life.

We become who we are meant to be
by living our way there
moment-by-moment-by-moment–
not by thinking our way there,
not by being directed there,
not by being required to be there,
but because there is the right place
for us to be,
no doubt about it,
from the inside out,
from the bottom up,
because it is who we are.
And we are right about
it being right for us.
Because it is.

Dharma.

Tao.

Grace.

Lived into being over time.

04/18/2019  —  Live out of the stillness
that is the foundaton
of all things–
in response to the call to action
arising from the source of knowing
what is to be done
here and now.

Thinking our way forward
is not the same
as feeling our way forward.

And feeling our way forward
is not the same
as knowing our way forward.

What does the knowing know?
How does the knowing know?
How do we know what the knowing knows?

Mystery is the heart
of what matters most.

Trusting ourselves to the mystery
of knowing what we know
is the path to the adventure
of being alive.

04/18/2019  —  Joseph Campbell said,
“What is it that supports us
in the face of total disaster?
To know that is to know your myth!”

And:
“Our myth is what we tell ourselves
about the way things are
that enables us to live
with the way things are.”

And:
“What is our mission?
For what would we sacrifice ourselves?
What is it that ‘works’ for us?
to answer these questions
also is to find our myth.”

And:
“The problem is to find within ourselves
the thing that moves us,
that we are really pushed by.”

What calls us,
draws us,
compels us to act in is service,
to live on its behalf?
There is our myth!

I serve the well of living water
which I envision as an endless,
both in breadth and depth,
eternal,
pool of still water
at the center of all of us
that is the source
of life and being.

From this stillness arises
all that motivates us,
inspires us,
grips us,
compels us,
urges us
to action
in our daily lives.

This is my myth.
Living water courses through our life.
Carrying us where we go,
calling us on
through all of the times and places,
situations and circumstances,
of our living.

We are never alone,
but are always buoyed up
by the waters of life.

This is what the Sacrament of Baptism misses,
and what it can easily be understood to be about.

The Church Of Our Experience
has always been just this close to
the Church As It Ought To Be.
And yet, so far away!

  1. 04/19/2019 —  Wild Geranium 2019-04 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, April 18, 2019 Meaningful work is absent
    from the lives
    of the vast majority
    of people alive today. Meaning alone has disappeared.
    And work is a drudgery,
    a grind
    and a chore. People are cut off from themselves,
    seeking satisfaction
    settling for distraction,
    living wanting to die–
    and are dead
    at 98.6 and breathing
    because they don’t want to do
    what must be done. The path to the path
    to how things need to be
    is always right under our feet,
    waiting for us to wake up
    and be aware of how things are. Our problem with that
    is that it is too painful. “Oh, the pain, the pain!
    Anything but the pain!” We run from the pain
    into the pain
    of diversion and denial,
    telling ourselves it is not so bad
    and will be better soon. We believe in magical deliverance,
    and will not do the work
    required to be delivered. Meaningful work, I’m talking about.
    The work of squaring up
    to how things are
    and doing what needs to be done
    about it. The work of awareness. The work of attending the moment,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment. The work of seeing what we look at,
    hearing what we listen to,
    feeling what we feel,
    knowing what we know,
    being who we are,
    doing what calls us forth
    onto the field of action
    moment-by-moment-by-moment. Awareness
    leads to reflection
    producing realization
    resulting in action
    fostering awareness
    leading to reflection
    producing realization
    resulting in action… The key to it all
    is our ability to bear the pain
    of seeing, hearing, feeling, knowing, being, doing–
    and the courage to trust ourselves
    to the path that opens before us. Excuses abound.
    Right action is rare.
    Here we are.
  2. 04/03/2019 —  Cala Lily 2019-04 01 — Computer generated graphic, Indian Land, South Carolina, April 18, 2019 The basis of all authority
    is a foundational attachment
    to the bedrock
    of the truth of existence. People who speak with authority
    know the truth of which they speak,
    and their authority is recognized
    by those who hear
    because they resonate
    with the frequency and timbre
    of what is being said. Jesus spoke “as one with authority,”
    because the people recognized
    the truth of what he was saying. His words struck a cord.
    Woke something within.
    Stirred them to reflection
    and recognition.
    Called them forth.
    Demanded that they live in ways
    aligned with,
    in accord with,
    at one with
    the heart of life and being. “The father and I are one,”
    he said.
    And he told his disciples,
    “I am in my father,
    and you are in me,
    and I am in you.” “The father” is the source of life and being. Lao Tzu called it “The Great Mother,”
    and pictured it as the Yin-Yang symbol
    of the full moon and the dark moon
    reflecting eternally the creative tension
    animating all things. We live and speak with authority
    when our life and our words
    flow from our connection
    with the source of life and being. Absent that,
    we seek power to enforce our will,
    and effect our desires,
    and establish our way upon the earth. People respect authority
    and fear power. Authority is based on integrity and truth.
    Power is based on arrogance, fear, anger and greed. Power rules in the absence of authority.
    Authority threatens the rule of power. Yin-Yang.
    The creative tension at the heart of life.

04/19/2019  —  There is no rush to truth.

We like our life
to be cut and dried.
This or that.
Good or bad.
Right or wrong.
One way or another.

Truth cuts through all of that
with its,
“Sometimes it is like this,
and sometimes it is like that,
and that’s the way it is.”

Truth asks us–
No! Requires us–
to decide for ourselves
what truth is asking–
No! Requiring–
of us
moment-by-moment-by-moment.

That is too much.

“Just tell us what we expect to hear,
Preacher,
and be quick about it.
I tee-off at 12:15!”

Our tee times rule our life.
Truth better be what we expect it to be.
Anything else gets in our way.

04/19/2019  —  Truth will not be quiet.

Truth will not stand aside.

Truth will not sit down.

Truth will not look the other way.

Truth will ask the questions
that beg to be asked.

Truth will say the things
that cry out to be said.

Continuously.

Dependably.

Consistently.

And let the outcome be the outcome.

04/19/2019  —  Charlotte Joko Beck said,

“There is nothing but being in right-relationship with whatever is happening in each moment.”

There you are.

Right-relationship is
just seeing,
just hearing,
just feeling,
just sensing,
just attending,
just being with,
just knowing
the present moment

without opinions,
without judgment,
without agendas,
without ideas,
without plans

and with compassion,
with openness
with trust in yourself
to deal with the moment
in ways that are appropriate
to the moment
and responsive
to what the moment needs
in light of all things considered.

Ready to do it again
in the next moment.

That’s all there is to it.

Being here now
never takes a day off.

04/19/2019  —  Charlotte Joko Beck said,

“If from morning to night
we just took care of one thing after another,
thoroughly and completely
and without accompanying
evaluations and judgments,
then that would be sufficient.”

04/18/2019  —  We show up every day
and see what is waiting for us,
ready to rise to meet the occasion,
and discover qualities
about ourselves
we didn’t know we had.

We show up every day,
looking forward to seeing
who is going to show up
with us.

And every day,
we learn anew
that there is more to us
than meets the eye–
any eye,
especially our own!

  1. 04/03/2019 —  Morning Dove Panorama 2019-04 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, April 18, 2019 To Republican Members of the House of Representatives: When you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t, be damned and be done with it! And deal with the consequences! Trust yourself to the consequences and to your ability to deal with them! Show some fire! Some passion in the service of what needs to be done! DO IT! Impeach the Imposter posing as President! He has defiled the office and defied all codes of conduct! He has desecrated the flag, spit on the Constitution and turned Congress into his Water-carriers! If you don’t impeach him, you deserve to be impeached yourselves! DO IT!

04/20/2019  —  Everything is just what it is.
And, what needs to be done
about it is just what it is.

Let be what is,
and do what needs to be done
about it.
Which also is.

  1. 04/21/2019 —  Red-bellied Woodpecker 2019-04 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, April 16, 2019 The practice of being present
    in the moment
    is an important element
    in being able to be fully alive
    in our life. Living our lives fully
    goes well beyond
    meeting the demands of the day. We enter here the spiritual dimension
    of finding and serving
    the thing that is ours to do
    above all the other things
    that command our time and attention. Beyond chopping wood
    and carrying water,
    and doing the laundry–
    what??? Joseph Campbell talks about the Primary Mask
    and the Antithetical Mask.
    I think of them as callings rather than masks.
    Our Primary Calling is to meet the duties,
    requirements,
    obligations,
    expectations, etc.
    of the culture and society–
    paying the bills,
    being a good father/mother/spouse/partner/son/daughter,
    doing what we are supposed to do
    whether our heart is in it or not,
    living the life we are supposed to live
    whether it fits us or not. The Antithetical Calling is the calling
    with our name all over it.
    It is the thing we, individually and personally,
    are best suited to do. We can never live our lives fully
    without embracing the Antithetical Calling
    and serving the things
    we are built to serve,
    beyond all reason. This is the world of the mythical/mythological vision,
    where we are seized
    and hurled,
    beyond all want and will,
    into the adventure of our life! Being fully alive
    is living the life
    that is ours to live–
    utilizing every bit
    of the gifts,
    genius,
    talent,
    abilities,
    proclivities,
    interests,
    enthusiasm,
    joy
    and delight
    that comes packed
    within us from the womb. That is what we live
    to find and to serve
    in the time left for living!
  2. 04/21/2019 —  Dogwood 2019-04 08 Panorama — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, April 14, 2019 The practice of mindfulness awareness
    is nothing more difficult
    than being attuned to the present moment,
    aware of all that is happening
    right here,
    right now. And, if you think that is easy,
    give it a spin. See how long you can “be here now,”
    before you drift away
    and zip off to somewhere else. How’s this?
    Just count your breaths.
    See if you can inhale and exhale,
    pause for a count of 5.
    That’s one breath.
    Do it again and see how far you get
    until you forget what count you are on.
    See if you can get to ten. Teaching yourself to be in the present
    is crucial
    because the present moment is the pivot point,
    the fulcrum,
    to all moments that will follow. This is the only time we have to work with.
    What is happening?
    What needs to happen in response?
    What considerations must be taken into account
    in determining what needs to happen? In what ways does the future impact the now?
    In what ways does the past impact the now?
    The now does not exist in a vacuum!
    It has antecedents
    and it has consequences!
    All are valid in taking all things into account—
    in being aware of all that is to be aware of here and now. Awareness is the agent of the Great Stillness,
    and is how the Great Stillness
    impacts the here and now,
    the past and the future. Awareness takes everything into account,
    and waits
    for Right Seeing,
    Right Hearing,
    Right Feeling,
    Right Knowing,
    Right Being
    and Right Doing
    to arise from the Stillness
    and call us forth onto the Field of Action
    to assist what needs to happen
    in transforming perspectives,
    and shifting perceptions
    that change the impact of the past
    and alter the shape of the future. Here and now is where it all comes together
    and flows into what is next—
    where we repeat the process
    in receiving
    and bringing forth
    all that is to come.

04/21/2019  —  When our perspective–
how we see–
changes,
our perception–
what we see–
changes
and the impact
of what we took to be
the rock solid facts
of our life
changes.

When our interpretation
of the rock solid facts
changes,
the meaning
of the rock solid facts
changes
and the rock solid facts
are no longer what they were.

How rock solid
is anything
you think is rock solid?

What do you think disillusionment
and disenchantment
are about?

What do you think enlightenment
is about?

The transformation
of rock solid facts
is what they are all about.

Happens all of the time.

Reality changes.

Like that.

  1. 04/22/2019 —  The Grove 2015-01 01 Panorama — Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Beaufort, South Carolina, January, 2015 If perspective
    and perception
    can play at will
    with the rock solid facts
    of our life,
    what can we count on? Right Seeing,
    Right Hearing,
    Right Knowing,
    Right Being
    Right Doing.
  2. The constant is seeing, etc.
    What is seen,
    and the meaning of what is seen
    changes over time. Yin/Yang
    Ebb and flow,
    wax and wane,
    contradictions,
    dichotomies,
    contraries,
    coming/going,
    hot/cold,
    right/wrong, are the heart of reality. Right Seeing, etc.
    flow from the Source of reality,
    the unchanging,
    un-moving
    Stillness–
    the Tao,
    the Dharma,
    the Way… Engaged with,
    in accord with,
    aligned with
    the Source,
    we participate in the flux of life
    without being touched by it. We are the congruity
    the world seeks.
    We synchronize,
    choreograph,
    orchestrate,
    arrange,
    produce,
    harmonize
    the discordant wails
    into the symphony of life,
    the music of the spheres,
    by the way we are
    with the world. We are what we seek.
    Stabilizing
    and orienting
    the chaos
    of conflicts of interest
    and desire at odds with desire
    by the way we receive
    and hold in awareness
    all of the 10,000 things,
    and wait for Right Action,
    Right Doing,
    Right Response,
    to arise from the Stillness
    and serve the Way
    in this here,
    this now–
    and do it again in the next one. There is no Master Plan,
    no steady state of being.
    There is only the Dance.

04/22/2019  —  There are people
who respond to how things are
out of what they think
should be done.

There are people
who respond to how things are
out of what they feel
needs to be done.

People in one group
will never talk
the people in the other group
so see and do things their way.

We can hope–
and work toward–
people in both groups
recognizing that people
in each group
have different ways
of seeing/interpreting
and responding to reality–
and let that become
a part of the reality
they see,
interpret
and respond to
in the manner
that comes naturally
to them.

04/22/2019  —  Accepting things just as they are means
accepting that we have to do what needs to be done
about things just as they are—
not enabling things to remain
just as they are indefinitely.

Integration not segregation!
Gay Rights not homophobia!
Etc.!

We accept what needs to be done about the way things are,
and do it,
to make things more like they ought to be
than they are.

Cups of cold water to the thirsty.
Bread and soup to the hungry.
Alms for the poor.
Etc.
We act here and now
in light of what needs to be done here and now.

Accepting things as they are
means accepting the responsibility
to act in the service
of what needs to be done
in response to the way things are.

The way things are is always calling us to action—
and the action may well be non-action,
as we wait for the time to be right
to do what needs to be done.
Waiting is acting.
Watching is acting.
Listening is acting.
Looking is acting.
Hearing is acting.
Seeing is acting.
Biding our time is acting.
In the service of what needs to be done.

  1. 04/23/2019 —  Mississippi River 2019-04 01 — Mississippi Welcome Center, Vicksburg, Mississippi, April 22, 2019 The river is always changing.
    The river is always there. Yin/Yang is everywhere we look. Inverted opposites
    composing wholeness,
    creating oneness,
    defying separation
    or eradication,
    demanding realization,
    integration, Harmony is the arrangement of contradiction,
    the orchestration of polarity,
    the dance of life.
  2. 04/23/2019 —  El Sombero 2019-04 01 — Vicksburg, Mississippi, April 22, 2019 We all start out with similar choices. The choices we make
    lead to a gradual separation
    of the choices available to us. The accumulation of choices
    creates its own momentum
    over time,
    and produces choices
    either restricted by the choices we have chosen
    to sharply determine
    the life that remains to be lived,
    or expanded to include choices
    that were unimaginable at the start–
    and are now present
    to grace us with multiple possibilities
    for futures unfolding before us
    based on the choices
    we are capable of making. This is called karma,
    reflected by the quality
    of the choices we choose
    all along the way. Since none of us has any idea
    of which choices to choose
    at the beginning,
    we all would benefit
    from early instruction
    in the art of choosing. It would consist of something similar to: Be still and quiet.
    Look within
    and find the stillness
    that is the source of life and being.
    Listen for guidance
    to arise unbidden
    regarding choices
    you didn’t know
    were being presented,
    and to lead you
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    by resonating with what you know
    to be right for you
    regardless of what
    all external voices may be saying. Trust the power of the stillness
    to lead you into what needs to happen,
    and karma will take care of itself. I think we are not told that
    because no one we know
    was told that,
    and their karma prevented them
    from helping us to shape ours. Karma builds up in this way
    through the generations
    to keep things
    as they have always been. It is the law of inertia
    being worked out
    in the collected experience
    of the species.

04/24/2019  —  El Sombrero 2019-04 04 — Vicksburg, Mississippi, April 22, 2019

Our practice is two-fold:
Being aware of the moment
just as it is,
and taking care of what needs to be done
here and now,
in light of all things considered.

We have to pay attention to the entire umwelt–
the lived experience of our life–
the full totality of what is happening
in the present moment
and what needs to be done
in response.

“The totality” takes into account
the antecedents and the consequences
of what is currently going on.

Past and future impinge upon the here and now,
and their influence has to be considered
as a part
of each moment
right now.

No moment exists
apart from every moment.

How we got here/now
strongly influences
the impact of here/now
upon us,
and sets us up
for what is likely to happen
here/now,
and to influence,
if not determine,
what happens next.

Awareness of all of this
brings to life
the possibility
of something new
inserting itself
into the moment,
and gives us the option
of a truly creative
way of responding
to what is happening
in our life,
and generating a new future–
one that is more than
a highly predictable extension
of the past–
and is thus a turning point
in the way we have lived
up to now.

In this way,
each present moment
is a delivery room,
birthing the next moment
filled with a potential
for life and being
that has rarely existed
in any moment
prior to this one,
and offering hope for the future
and redemption for the past.

All because we stopped
and paid attention
to the time
and place
of our living.

Wow.

  1. 04/24/2019 —  Lake Chicot 2019-04 01 HDR — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, April 24, 2019 No one can save us.
    We save ourselves. No one can force salvation upon us.
    No one can make us be saved whether
    we want to be or not.
    No one can even define salvation for us. We decide what it means to be saved
    and we save ourselves from ourselves. We same ourselves to ourselves from ourselves. If you can make sense of that,
    you have it made,
    and are well on the way to salvation! Salvation is restoration.
    It is being restored to right relationship
    with ourselves–
    to right relationship
    with the Tao,
    with our Dharma,
    with our Original Nature,
    with our life’s idea for us. Jesus’ dying on the cross
    fits right into this picture,
    because restoring ourselves
    to right relationship with ourselves,
    and living in accord with the life
    that is right for us,
    is like dying to our idea
    of how our life ought to be lived.
    And being raised from the dead
    into the life that is indeed
    how it ought to be lived. It is a true death and resurrection experience. Ask anyone in AA.
    They know what it is to die
    to one way of life,
    and to be re-born,
    or raised again from the dead
    (however many times it might take). And it cannot happen before its time. Sit with your lives.
    The one you are living
    and the one that is your life to live. And see what begins to stir to life within. Beware!
    Your new life
    will eat your old one alive! On the other hand,
    your old one is already killing you.
  2. 04/25/2019 —  Lily of the Swamp 2019-04 01 Panorama — Spider Lily, Lake Chico State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, April 24, 2019 It takes a lot of looking
    to be able to see,
    a lot of listening
    to be able to hear,
    and a lot of living
    to be able to live. We figure it out as we go. We throw away the wrong things
    in the beginning. If we aren’t throwing away the right things
    toward the end,
    we missed a turn or two
    along the way. Jettison the crap! Lighten the load! Do not hang onto the things
    that keep you from being alive! You know what they are.
    And you are afraid to let them go. Start with a list.
    Everything goes on the list
    that is more death than life.
    That is more habit than delight.
    That is more drudgery than joy.
    That is more obligation and duty
    than gladness, pleasure, rapture and bliss. Toward the end of our life
    we need to be spending copious amounts of time
    in the company
    of things that make our little heart sing,
    light up our eyes,
    restore our spirits,
    restore our soul
    and set our little feet to dancing. If we aren’t doing that,
    it is up to us to start doing it. The only one standing in our way
    is us. Whose permission do we need
    to be alive
    in the time left for living?
  3. 04/25/2019 —  Cypress Swamp 2019-04 05 — Lake Chico State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, April 24, 2019 What do you need? What do you need help with? These are two separate things.
    Make two lists.
    Consider the lists regularly,
    to add to
    and take from. Let them become objects of meditation,
    contemplation,
    consideration,
    rumination,
    reflection–
    and springboards
    into new realizations. Let them become focal points
    for the present,
    opening into the Great Silence,
    ushering you into the presence
    of the Great Stillness
    from which everything arises. Stand,
    or sit,
    or lie,
    before it
    waiting, See what stirs to life
    within you,
    comes to mind,
    arrives as a nudge,
    an urge,
    a calling
    requiring,
    demanding,
    insisting upon
    action. Leading you into
    adventure
    and life.
  4. 04/25/2019 —  Jackson Street Bridge 2019-04 01 HDR — Red River, Alexandria, Louisiana, April 24, 2019 The practice of formal breathing
    for one minute,
    or three minutes,
    or longer,
    where we inhale,
    filling the bottom of our lungs
    and extending our stomach
    below our navel,
    and exhaling by “sucking”
    our stomach inward
    to expel all the air,
    and pausing for a count of five
    before inhaling again. “Out and in,”
    can remind us to push our stomach out,
    and pull our stomach in
    to inhale and exhale. This exercise creates space in our life–
    in our lived experience–
    between thoughts. The more space between thoughts
    the better. Thoughts drive feelings,
    and we compel ourselves
    to feel feelings
    that drive us into moods
    and actions
    that have no necessary connection
    with what needs to be felt
    and done. What would we be feeling
    if we weren’t thinking? We have to stop thinking
    to find out. Formal breathing is an excellent way
    to stop thinking
    by “just breathing.” Being aware of our breathing
    keeps us from thinking
    about our breathing
    (“Am I doing it right?
    I don’t think I’m doing it right!
    I can’t do anything right!
    Blah, blah, blah). Being aware of our breathing
    inserts a space between thoughts,
    a space where we can become aware
    of feelings unattached to thoughts,
    feelings that can be a source
    of guidance and wisdom
    welling up from the stillness
    beyond silence,
    and leading us in directions
    we would never think to go. We can breathe our way
    into living the life
    that needs us to live it–
    that we need to live–
    in the time left for living.

04/26/2019  —  Cypress Swamp 2019-04 01 — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, April 24, 2019

The love of money is still
the root of all evil.

The root of all good is this:
Those who need help
should be helped.
Those who can be helpful
should be helpful.

The problem is
that those who can be helpful
are busy helping themselves
to more than is needed
to do the work
of being helpful.

“Not now!
Wait until I have enough–
then I will be really helpful!”
is as bad as,
“What? ME be helpful?”
or,
“I’ve made mine!
Let them make theirs!”

Token help is a travesty
and a lie.

Help is the fundamental basis
of our life together.

People in staggeringly large numbers
need help with
a livable wage,
the high costs of education,
affordable health care,
affordable housing,
affordable child care,
transportation,
voting rights–
including access to,
and availability of,
voting places,
food and lodging,
equal rights and opportunities,
finding and making their way,
hope and encouragement
with the tasks of life,
what to do
with the time
left for living…

Everybody needs help
all along the way.
Being privileged
to have the help we need
is the separating factor
between those who have
and those who have not.

Spreading out the advantages
is the best way of making sure
there are no disadvantaged.
Why is that a horrible idea
to those who have it all?

  1. 04/26/2019 —  Cypress Swamp 2019-04 06 — Lake Chico State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, April 24, 2019 We think it is about
    getting what we want
    and having it made. It is about doing what
    needs to be done,
    and needs us to do it
    with the gifts
    and resources
    that we have
    at our disposal. Moment-by-moment-by-moment. The trick is to do that
    as though it were our
    intention from the start,
    and enjoy the wonder,
    and the mystery,
    of the action. Moment-by-moment-by-moment. This is the adventure of being alive.
  2. 04/27/2019 —  Cypress Swamp 2019-04 10 — Lake Chico State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, April 22, 2019 We structure reality
    according to the structure of reality
    that is passed along to us at,
    and after, birth. We inherit the structure of reality
    that is operative within the species
    upon our arrival in the world
    of normal,
    apparent,
    presumed,
    declared,
    expected We grow up seeing
    what we are supposed to see,
    what the people around us
    say they see. The things we don’t see–
    the things that are invisible to us–
    are things that have no meaning
    in the world
    of normal,
    apparent,
    etc.,
    reality. We have no idea of what
    we may be missing. Could we be walking among
    our ancestors?
    Among the spirits of the dead?
    Among the spirits of trees
    and animals?
    Among the apparitions
    of gods and goddesses? What don’t we see?
    Yet, is right there,
    waiting for eyes that see
    in order to be seen? We can be certain
    there is more to it all
    than meets the eye. How much more,
    we are not equipped to say. But.
    We might begin walking
    through each day
    with the awareness
    of our ignorance,
    mindful of what
    we might be missing.
  3. 04/27/2019 —  Cypress Swamp 2019-04 11 Panorama — Lake Martin, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, April 27, 2019 The physical world of objective reality
    is grounded upon
    the spiritual world of subjective reality. What’s more real?
    How things are,
    or,
    how we feel about how things are? What directs our actions
    and controls our moods?
    How things are,
    or,
    how we feel about how things are? And, where does thinking come in?
    Does thinking follow feeling?
    Does feeling follow thinking?
    How does feeling and thinking
    interplay?
    Interact?
    Influence one another? At what point is physical, objective, reality
    inseparable from how we think and feel
    about physical, objective reality? Where does the line lie
    between subjective and objective?
    Particularly when all objective reality
    has to be interpreted subjectively? What a thing means
    is not a function of what a thing is
    so much as it is a function
    of what we say a thing is,
    of how we feel about the thing that is. Meaning is feeling.
    What a thing means to us
    is a reflection of how we feel about it. Who tells us what to feel
    about how things are?
    How do we know how to feel
    about how things are?
    Where do feelings come from?
    Where does meaning come from?
    How do we determine
    the validity of our values?
    How valuable are our values?
    Who says so?
    How do they/we know? Our relationship to the physical world
    of objective reality
    is based on what?
    Grounded on what?
    Depends on what?
    Is determined by what? How do we decide what is important to us? What is guiding our boat
    on its path through the sea? How good is the good we call good?
    Upon what is our idea of goodness based? What questions do these questions
    beg to be asked?
  4. 04/27/2019 —  Cypress Swamp 2019-04 02 Panorama — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, April 24, 2019 Two words (and probably only two)
    stand out from my seminary experience
    as being foundational
    for every expression of religious spirituality. They are:
    Hermeneutics
    and Eschatology. You cannot be spiritual or religious–
    much less spiritual and religious–
    without a fundamental sense
    of what things mean (hermeneutics)
    and where things are going (eschatology). Meaning and purpose are the ground of existence. Without meaning and purpose
    we are lost,
    and without hope in the world.
    With meaning and purpose
    we are indestructible and unstoppable.
    Invincible and unafraid. Zen and Taoism
    make a lot of the present moment.
    “Be here now,
    forget the past,
    and let the future take care of itself,”
    is their best advice. I say the present
    is forged by the past,
    and is the doorway to the future.
    What we do here and now–
    how we live here and now–
    has the potential
    of redeeming the past
    and creating the future. Here and now is the fulcrum,
    the pivot point,
    where past becomes future.
    How we lever past into future
    is the most important thing
    that ever has been
    or will be. Here and now
    is the only time that counts,
    the only place that matters,
    the only moment we can act
    in the service of what needs to be done
    about how things are. In light of what do we live (meaning)?
    Toward what do we live (purpose)? If we don’t know that,
    what guides our actions?
    What grounds our acting? What do we have to say
    about who we are
    and what is ours to do?
    About what it means
    that we are here, now,
    and what our purpose is
    for what remains of our life?
  5. 04/28/2019 —  The Bridge at Breaux Bridge 2019-04 02 — Over Bayou Teche, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, April 27, 2019 If you play the game
    the way the game is supposed
    to be played,
    you may never win
    a national championship,
    because the game is funny that way–
    but you will be rewarded
    in ways you never expected,
    and could never have imagined,
    because the game is funny that way, too. How are you going to play the game?
  6. 04/28/2019 —  Cypress Swamp 2019-04 20 — Lake Martin, St. Martin Parish, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, April 27, 2019 How do you know what to do?
    How do you decide what to do?
    About anything?
    About everything? How do you know what it is time for,
    and not time for? How do you know what is “you,”
    and what is “not-you”? How do you know what matters,
    and what doesn’t matter? All of these things are essential things,
    and we have no clue how they work. Something knows.
    What knows?
    And how do we know
    what Something knows? Deciding what to wear.
    How do we know? Who decides when to go to sleep?
    We can decide when to go to bed,
    but who/what decides when to go to sleep? We like to think we are in control,
    captains of our ship,
    masters of our destiny,
    you know.
    And we can’t even go to sleep
    when we decide to,
    or wake up when we want to. We are not in charge
    of any of the things that matter,
    like knowing what matters. We would do well to acknowledge that,
    and start listening to the inner guide,
    and letting the ghost in the machine
    take its place at the controls,
    and take up the practice
    of putting ourselves in accord
    with the directions arising
    from the source of life and being,
    leading us to life
    and to being.
  7. 04/29/2019 —  Creole Homeplace 2019-04 01 Panorama — Cane River National Heritage Trail, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, April 28, 2019 What now? What next? What for? Who says? Answer those questions correctly,
    and you have it made.
  8. 04/29/2019 —  The Big House 2019-04 01 Panorama — Oakland Plantation, Cane River National Heritage Trail, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, April 28, 2019 The life we are living
    interferes with
    the life that is our life to live. And vice versa. We have to work it out. That is where thinking comes in. We live between the hands:
    On the one hand this,
    on the other hand that. What to do here and now
    is the question. This world
    of normal, apparent, reality,
    always tends to override
    that world
    of numinous, ineffable, reality. Whose side are we on? We make the choice in each moment. How long has it been
    since the ineffable got the nod?
  9. 04/29/2019— Cypress Swamp 2019-04 25 Panorama — Lake Martin, St. Martin Parish, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, April 27, 2019 Walking two paths at the same time
    becomes impossible
    when one path refuses
    to allow the existence
    of the other path. The Salem witch trials
    ended the other path
    for the women accused
    of being witches. The Crucifixion
    ended the other path
    for Jesus. Similar examples are myriad
    over the history of the species. There are questions we are not
    permitted to ask,
    thoughts we are not
    permitted to think,
    things we are not
    permitted to say
    or do… Too often, we find ourselves
    in a “One Path Only” world,
    and have to choose
    between who we are
    and who the world
    would have us be. Patrick Henry’s
    “Give me liberty,
    or give me death!”
    at it’s heart
    is about the freedom
    to walk two paths
    at the same time. This path of the Primary Mask,
    the culture’s rules
    for maintaining membership
    in the culture,
    and that path of the Antithetical Mask
    (These are Joseph Campbell’s terms),
    our own individual choices
    regarding the way our life
    is to be lived. We all have to find ways–
    and have the freedom–
    to “live in the world
    but not of the world.” And, too often,
    that freedom is absent. When that is the case,
    we survive on the strength
    of the community
    of a few kindred spirits
    where the freedom is granted,
    and we are allowed the privilege
    of the other path,
    at least within the bounds
    of that sacred gathering.
  10. 04/30/2019— The Big House 2019-04 02, Oakland Plantation, Cane River National Heritage Trail, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, April 28, 2019 It is enough
    to balance the demands
    of life as we live it,
    with life as we are called to live it
    moment-by-moment-by-moment. In a perfect world
    we would flow,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    from one thing
    into the next thing
    according to the natural evolution/development
    of “one book opens another.”
    And this would follow that
    in a organic,
    bottom up,
    inside-out,
    natural,
    innate,
    inherent,
    instinctive,
    resonating
    kind of way. In the “real” world
    nothing follows nothing,
    and we are blindsided
    and flattened
    by a plethora of things
    we never see coming,
    and have to pick ourselves up
    and make out
    as best we can
    in a game where the rules change
    moment-to-moment-to-moment. We walk two paths
    at the same time. How well we balance
    the requirements
    of each path
    tells the tale. It is important that we walk one path
    with the other path clearly in mind. We cannot allow ourselves
    to “get lost” on either path,
    ignoring the needs of the other path,
    as though this path is the only one there is. Organic/inorganic,
    natural/unnatural,
    us (me)/not us (not me)
    right/wrong…
    moment-by-moment-by-moment. That’s the way it is.
    And we have to take that into account,
    and live within the flow of life as it is
    in light of the way life needs to be,
    by balancing the demands
    of each path
    in the time we have to live on both. Or as they say in the literature
    of The Two Paths,
    “What a slippery slope,
    what a dangerous path,
    this is!
    It is like a razor’s edge!” How do you walk along a razor’s edge?
    Very carefully.
    One step at a time.
    Mindfully aware of what you are doing.
    Moment-by-moment-by-moment.
    Asking,
    “Okay. Now what?”
    All along the way.

04/30/2019—  I said this on October 15, 1918,
and it remains true today…

The validation of what we take on faith is the quality of the life we live. Being at peace with the way things are, confident in our ability to transcend the situation in service to the good of the situation, being unmoved by the fluctuation of the conditions and circumstances of our life, being able to take No for an answer, not having to have our way, being in accord with the flow of our life and of life around us, breathing well with no addictions and a low degree of symptoms in ourselves and in those closest to us, experiencing integrity-of-being between who we are and how we are living and what we are doing for a living, with everything working together for the good of the whole, knowing we are on the beam and in the center of our life–the life that is ours to live from the heart, with all our heart and mind and soul and strength… That’s it for me. When we are there, we are where we need to be. When things are out of sync, we know it. Symptoms show it. It is apparent, and to not be aware of it is to be in denial, off the path…

  1. 05/03/2019— Cypress Swamp 2019-05 01 — Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 2, 2019 We are born with a problem. The problem is thinking that we have been born. We are being born all our life long. After our physical birth,
    we begin the work of birthing ourselves
    on a spiritual/psychic level
    on the physical plane
    by bringing forth the qualities and values
    at the heart of who we are. Upon the entrance to the forecourt
    in the Temple of Apollo
    is inscribed these words,
    “Know Thyself.” In Hamlet, Shakespeare
    has Polonius say,
    “To Thine Own Self Be True.” We can spend a lifetime
    in the service of these proverbs. We are always at the transition point
    between being and becoming,
    and a life that fulfills itself
    through the experience of living
    learns to know itself
    be true to itself
    and thereby express itself
    in the moment-to-moment
    choices and decisions
    of being alive. “What I do is me,”
    said the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins,
    “for that I came.” We all live
    to say the same thing
    about ourselves.
  2. 05/03/2019— Cypress Swamp Denizen 2019-05 01 — Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 2, 2019
    (I take this to be a non-poisonous Water Snake, but I wouldn’t try to shake hands and be best friends). All we get are choices. One after another
    all our life long. We live out our life
    within the field of choices. That is all we have to work with.
    Our only tool
    is “Yes” or “No.” Learn when to do which,
    and it is a bowl of bread pudding
    from the Market City Grill & Buffet
    in Pell City, Alabama. Take the hit-or-miss approach,
    and Lady Luck spins
    you like a top. The kicker is that
    we don’t get to choose our choices.
    Which means some of our choices
    have to be against our deep desires,
    and even our best interests,
    in light of competing needs
    and considerations
    in the situation at hand. Part of the Yes/No conundrum
    is when to say “Yes” to ourselves
    and when to say “No,”
    and in light of what
    do we live? The burden of endless choosing
    takes its toll
    upon those who
    have no sense of humor,
    or cannot bear
    a long string of dirt and ashes
    behind every door they pick. Every streak ends eventually.
    Keep choosing
    as though your next choice
    is your first one,
    and you are fresh for the game.
  3. 05/03/2019— Visitor’s Center and Bluff Lake — Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 2, 2019 The best of times
    can be a bit rocky,
    and the worst of times
    can be nearly impossible. Our place is to rise
    to every occasion,
    offering what is needed
    to the time and place
    of our living,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment. Nothing is to be assumed
    or taken for granted.
    Everything is to be received
    just as it is,
    with as little in the way
    of judgment and opinion
    as we can manage. We receive each moment
    as emergency room personnel
    receive each patient
    who is wheeled through the doors. “Okay. Now what?” Is the always appropriate response
    to every situation as it arises. “Oh No! Not this! Not this!
    That! That over there!
    It must be That!”
    Is no way to deal appropriately
    with what meets us in a day. We practice having the right amount
    of stake in each situation—
    enough to be alert to
    what is happening,
    and interested in it
    to the point of doing what can be done
    to help who/what can be helped,
    but not caring so much
    that we are overwhelmed
    and undone
    by our experience with life,
    and rendered incapable
    of offering a fitting reply
    to the question being asked of us
    by the circumstances at hand.
  4. 05/04/2019— Great Blue Heron — Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 2, 2019 Linking back to the post below on choices,
    I need to add that the problem
    we make of choices
    and choosing
    can be easily avoided
    by letting our choices
    choose us. The stillness
    at the bottom
    of the silence
    is the source
    of all our solutions. Being present
    with the stillness,
    and waiting
    for the appropriate choice
    to come unbidden
    into our awareness,
    striking a chord within,
    and resonating
    with our deep sense
    of rightness
    for ourselves
    and for the occasion,
    is more reliable
    than making lists
    of pros and cons,
    throwing darts
    and flipping coins. Take every conflict of interest
    to the stillness
    and wait for the path
    to make itself known. Our bodies often
    know the way
    before our mind
    clues in.
    If you don’t know
    where to go,
    start walking.
    See where your feet take you.

Published by jimwdollar

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

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