One Minute Monologues 048

May 5, 2019 — June 9, 2019

  1. 05/05/2019 —  What we do now
    is whatever needs
    to be done now. What we do next
    is whatever needs
    to be done next. It is not so much
    a matter of deciding,
    as it is of knowing. How do we know
    what is to be done
    now/next? Looking/seeing.
    Sounding it out
    with people
    who can help us
    If we don’t know what to do,
    sitting with the situation,
    to see/hear/know,
    is the best guide
    with time to wait. If we have no time to wait,
    and no experience
    to guide us,
    and no one to serve
    as a sounding board
    for us,
    we are stuck
    with doing something,
    even if it is wrong–
    even if it is doing nothing–
    and letting the outcome
    guide us into doing
    what is next. We create experience
    by acting
    and reflecting
    on the outcome
    to create new realizations
    and new ideas
    about what to do next. If we are not learning
    as we go,
    we are skipping
    the reflecting on the outcome
    part of the equation.
  2. 05/05/2019— Live Oak Park 2019-04 01 — LSU-A, Alexandria, Louisiana, April 28, 2019 Spiritual reality
    is psychic reality. There is nothing beyond us
    that isn’t within us. The Man Upstairs
    is The Man–
    The Woman–
    within us. There is no Man–
    no Woman.
    There are no stairs. We are all there is–
    and there is more
    to each of us
    than meets the eye. Much more than we
    are capable of imagining,
    or comprehending. We come with DNA
    packed with a world
    as vast and unknown
    as the outer world
    of normal,
    and are limited
    only by our training,
    and our fear
    of exploring beyond
    the things we have been taught
    about existence. Prayer that is more
    than placing orders
    and making requests,
    is as close
    as most of us
    ever come
    to connecting
    with the inner core
    we all share
    as the source
    of life and being. Our agendas,
    and expectations
    insulate us against
    the possibility
    of interests
    other than our own
    inviting us
    to partnership
    and collaboration
    in fashioning a life
    that is more than
    we could ask,
    or think,
    or dream up
    on our own. Learning the language
    of the spiritual/psychic world
    and placing ourselves
    in an open
    and receptive
    frame of mind
    opens the way
    to the way
    that waits,
    wondering what it will take
    to wake us up
    to what lies within.

05/05/2019 —  People all over the world,
in every religion,
have always believed
what they “take on faith”
to be so,
and then proclaimed it
to be actual,

The fallacy–
and absurdity–
of that position
is readily apparent
to everyone
who is paying attention.

  1. 05/05/2019— Cypress Swamp 2019-04 18 Panorama — Lake Martin, St. Martin Parish, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, April 29, 2019 The self-validating nature of belief
    is the foundation
    of all religion,
    black magic,
    palm readers,
    fortune tellers,
    and all things related
    throughout history. “You ask me how I know he lives,
    he lives within my heart!” Of course, he does. And the priests overseeing
    human sacrifice
    could perform a better trick. Every winter solstice sacrifice
    of virgin daughters
    and first-born sons,
    stopped the sun in its tracks
    and brought it back. You cannot beat that for validation,
    or for rank stupidity. But, what is stupid from one perspective,
    is salvific from another. Perspective is the name of the game. It doesn’t matter what the truth is,
    what the facts are. All that matters is what you can get
    the people to believe. Faith in the sales force
    is good for every economy.
    And has been through the ages.
  2. 04/05/2019— Breaux Bridge Bridge 2019-04 02 Panorama — Bayou Teche, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, April 27, 2019 — Bayou Teche was, in its prime, the super highway of the swamplands of Cajun Country in South Louisiana, transporting goods to market and merchandise from the markets to the people along the Bayou, making life better for some and possible for all. Living with contradiction–
    things are not what they seem,
    not what they pretend to be,
    now what they say they are. What is good for some
    is bad for others. The system
    (Any system,
    all systems)
    declares it is for the people,
    but it is for the people
    who run the system. Politics helps politicians
    and the corporations
    that fund/pay the politicians. “Promise them anything,
    and do what you want.” All the talk every year
    about benefits coming to the people,
    and teacher pay increases,
    and health care benefits
    and lower drug prices
    and on, and on, and on,
    is just talk.
    It never comes to pass. But corporations making billions
    pay no taxes,
    while teachers get no raises,
    because “We don’t have the money.” We don’t have the money
    because corporations pay no taxes. The people don’t make that connection
    because the politicians
    are blaming ten thousand
    other things,
    and finding culprits
    behind every bust,
    “But elect us again next term,
    and we will get you what you need then,
    for sure,
    and it will be better than you ever imagined.” Living with contradiction
    takes the life right out of us. When the helpers are no help,
    and promises have no meaning,
    and the officials who are supposed to care
    do not care
    about the people they represent,
    the people better have a center
    they can count on,
    and a foundation
    they can stand on
    when the oceans rise
    and the mountains disappear into the sea. Where do you turn
    when you have nowhere to turn?
    What do you draw strength from
    when the infrastructure crumbles
    because “We don’t have the money”? The stillness is always there.
    Now would be a good time
    to form a relationship
    with that which has sustained
    all people
    ever since there have been people. Be still.
    Sit quietly.
    Listen past all the noise
    erupting in the silence
    to to the stillness
    beyond the silence,
    for consolation
    and guidance,
    and direction–
    like a great bayou
    flowing through the hearts
    of the people.
  3. 05/06/2019— Creole Homeplace 2019-04 03 — Oakland Plantation, Cane River National Heritage Trail/Cane River Creole National Historical Park, Natchitoches Parish, Natchitoches, Louisiana, April 28, 2019 Holy nudges are as real
    as spiritual/psychic reality gets. Sudden inspirations,
    compelling urges,
    calls to action,
    the sense of being led/guided,
    inexplicable comfort/consolation… The list is long
    of examples
    of ways
    the spiritual world
    breaks into our life
    in life-altering ways. Nothing “just happens.”
    There are doorways,
    white rabbits, everywhere. All it takes are eyes to see,
    ears to hear,
    and a heart that is open
    to things that,
    in the words of Sheldon Kopp,
    “can be experienced but not understood,
    understood but not explained.” There is no one here but us,
    and we are not alone. We are myriad.
    We are a multitude.
    We are a heavenly host. We are innumerable,
    immeasurable. “Traveling on every path,
    you will not find
    the boundaries of soul by going;
    so deep is its measure”
    (Heraclitus). Soul is who we are.
    Soul is what we do. When we aren’t running away,
    hiding out,
    in escape,
    denial. It only takes being still,
    and paying attention
    to know that it is so.
  4. 05/06/2019— Cypress Swamp 2019-04 16 Panorama — Lake Martin, St. Martin Parish, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, April 27, 2019 I am forever growing myself up. So are you. It is our work. No one but we can do it. To not do it. To fail to do it. To refuse to do it. Is to fail completely
    at the task
    of being human. I am proud to say
    I have to pick myself up
    several times a day,
    take a deep breath,
    and step back into the work
    of growing myself up. Some more.

05/06/2019  —  I’m going to be still and quiet
and see what comes.

If you can do better than that,
I hope you will.

  1. 05/07/2019— Great Blue Heron 2019-05 03 — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 We expect things to work one way,
    they work another way. Things do not work the way
    we are told they will work.
    People do not do
    what they say they will do.
    What we see is not what we get. Make sense of that if you can. We are like a man going into
    a Burger King to buy a hamburger,
    but there are no menus posted
    and no prices listed,
    and he doesn’t know how much money
    he has in his wallet.
    He orders a single with cheese,
    lettuce, tomatoes, pickles,
    mayonnaise, mustard and no onions,
    like he would if he were at Wendy’s.
    The person taking the order
    doesn’t know what to make of it,
    and gives him what she thinks will do.
    He pulls out three one dollar bills
    to pay for it.
    She says it will be $7.25.
    He looks in his wallet
    thinking he has two fives.
    He has two more ones. Nothing fits. The UN’s task force on the environment
    says there will be no more fish in the see
    by 2048. Donald Trump says the real problem
    is all these South American immigrants
    at our southern border. The clerk behind the counter says $7.25.
    We say here’s five dollars. How do we get this train
    back on the tracks? Donald Trump says,
    “The economy is strong!”
    The UN says,
    “There will be NO FISH IN THE SEA IN THIRTY YEARS!!!” The GOP sings,
    “Trump will take care of you,
    through every day!
    O’er all the way!
    Trump will take care of you!” And the sun goes down on another day,
    and the train is off the tracks. We think it is all going to be just fine,
    and walk into Burger King
    to buy a hamburger.

05/07/2019  —  All we have to work with
is this moment
right now.

How we deal with this moment
or strongly influences–
how we will deal with the moments
that follow this one.

What we do here and now
carries us into there and then.

What are we going to do
right here,
right now?

  1. 05/07/2019— Great White Egret 2019-05 02 — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 We live to avoid trouble
    and trouble is the exact
    thing we need
    to get where we are going. The trouble is
    that where we are going
    is not where we want to go. And we create all manner of trouble
    for ourselves
    in trying to go
    where we have no business being. We think avoiding trouble
    is the way to get there. Diving into trouble,
    making trouble,
    creating trouble,
    refusing to be afraid of trouble,
    confronts us with the problem
    of where we are going,
    what we are doing,
    what we mean with our life,
    who we are,
    what we are about,
    and what makes us think
    we know what we are doing. The right kind of trouble wakes us up.
    Sets us on the path.
    Points the way.
    And helps us daily, hourly,
    to traverse
    the dangerous path,
    the slippery slope,
    the razor’s edge
    that leads to where we are going
    and away from where we want to go instead. Do not run from trouble.
    Step right into it
    and see what it has to offer.
  2. 05/07/2019— Cypress Swamp Denizen 2019-05 09 — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 Jesus got all of his material
    from his nighttime dreams. “A sower went out to sow…” “The stone the builders reject…” “A man had two sons…” “A Samaritan came upon a Jew beaten by the side of the road…” All were dreams
    that Jesus reflected on
    to the point of realization
    and application. We are still dreaming. Where is the reflection,
    application? Our dreams are no different
    than Jesus’ dreams. Why have we stopped
    working with our dreams?
  3. 05/07/2019— Great White Egret 2019-05 03 — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 What person,
    living or dead,
    actual or fictional,
    embodies your ideal of maturity? What qualities/values/behaviors
    does/did that person exhibit
    that sets her/him apart
    as a mature individual? Rate the maturity level
    of the people you know. Rate your own maturity level. What do you need to do
    to raise your maturity level?
    Where do you need to get to work? Where does maturity rank with you
    as a trait worth striving for? What works against the maturation
    of people in this culture? What prevents us as a nation of people
    from growing up? What enables us to grow up? How might we go about participating in
    our own maturation? How would design a program
    for increasing the maturity level
    of participants? What qualities/values/behaviors
    do you consider to be more important
    than maturation? Given your current assessment
    of your level of maturity,
    what level do you want/intend
    to be in a year? By the time you die? What will you do to move toward that level?
  4. 05/08/2019— Great Blue Heron 2019-05 04 — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 We all are standing in some line,
    waiting on something
    that is waiting on us. How we deal with it,
    starting right now,
    makes all the difference. How we deal with
    what we have to deal with
    right now,
    prepares the way
    for dealing with
    what we will have to deal with We do not have to wait
    to start practicing
    making appropriate responses
    to the way things are.
  5. 05/08/2019— Cypress Swamp Denizen 2019-05 03 — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 Hell is overrated. Money is overrated. Sex is overrated. Integrity is way underrated. Maturity is way underrated. Living out of our own authority
    in determining what is overrated
    and what is underrated
    is way underrated. We would be a lot better off
    with more in the way of a balanced view
    of what is important
    and what is not. At this point in my life,
    balance is the best thing I can think of.
  6. 05/08/2019— Cypress Swamp 2019-05 05 — Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 I wait for what needs to be written
    to start writing me. That’s the advantage to
    not writing for hire. Newspaper columnists
    have to come up with so many words
    or column inches
    per day or week.
    On topics the newspaper
    deems to be necessary. I write what needs to be written
    the way it needs to be written
    until the need is met. Then, I quit and go home.
    I don’t even have to go home.
    I’m already home. When I quit writing,
    I pick up the camera,
    and walk around
    looking for a picture
    that needs to be taken. What a life. I look forward to living it
    as long as it needs to be lived.
  7. 05/09/2019— Common Moorehen/Marsh Hen 2019-05 01 — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 3, 2019 Everything comes with a price-tag attached. Every Single Thing. And the real price has nothing to do
    with currency. It has everything to do
    with what you will have to give up–
    or what someone will have to give up–
    in order to have it. It has everything to do
    with the trade-off factor. We give up this
    to get that.
    Or, we give up that
    to get this. Since about December 18, 1945–
    and the date is completely arbitrary
    because, why not?
    Any date I chose would be arbitrary.
    Any date the Experts in the Field chose
    would be arbitrary,
    and debatable–
    we have been living
    as though Capitalism’s grounding dream
    of endless/unending profit at any price
    was completely worth the price
    (And we have drug manufactures
    making a kabillion times more
    for a vial of insulin, for example,
    than it costs to produce,
    because, why not?). And the Profit At Any Price Train
    is destroying the country
    and the world. That’s the price of Profit At Any Price. Everything comes with a price-tag attached. Every Single Thing. What is it worth to us really
    to have more money than we can spend? Elizabeth Warren says
    that a 2% tax on the super-rich
    will pay for education and health care
    for every living American,
    with money left over for roads and bridges. The super-rich are putting their money
    instead in the pockets of lobbyists
    and paying for political ads
    to defeat Elizabeth Warren,
    and keep things exactly as they are,
    never-minding what the Profit At Any Price Train
    is doing to the country
    and the world. We can look the other way
    and slide into the sea,
    or we can wake up to the fact
    that Capitalism is fine up to a point,
    and then it is the end of the world. There will be no fish in the sea
    by 2048,
    but we will all be there,
    treading water,
    wondering what happened. Making more money
    than anybody can spend
    is what happened. That’s the price of Profit At Any Price. I’m not interested in paying it. Are you?
  8. 05/09/2019— Cypress Swamp 2019-05 13 Panorama — Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 2, 2019 We aren’t free
    until we are free
    to go to hell. As long as hell
    is the place of all places
    to avoid,
    our freedom to choose
    and to do
    what needs to be done
    in each situation
    as it arises
    is significantly compromised. We won’t be able to choose
    any option
    that has a chance
    of sending us straight to hell. Until we can go to hell
    with our head held high
    and a “Show me what ‘cha got” attitude,
    we are bound to play it
    like we think it ought to be played,
    and reject all invitations
    to stand up
    and do the thing
    that is requesting
    our liege loyalty
    and faithful devotion. If we won’t rise to that occasion,
    we deserve the worst
    hell has to offer–
    regardless of what
    the preacher,
    and Jesus
    have to say about it. We have to live out
    of our own authority
    in deciding
    what the moment
    is asking of us,
    and determining
    to do the thing
    that is crying out
    to be done. Our place is
    to listen to the stillness
    at the bottom
    of the silence,
    and to wait
    for the call to action
    arising within–
    and step forth
    to serve it
    no matter what. We have to be willing
    to walk through hell itself
    in the service
    of the compelling urges
    coming up
    from the depths
    of the stillness,
    beckoning us,
    directing us,
    calling our name. Until we are free to do that,
    we are not free at all.
  9. 05/09/2019— Mississippi River 2019-04 02 — Mississippi Welcome Center, Vicksburg, Mississippi, April 22, 2019 We have to exercise
    our own personal authority
    in determining for ourselves
    what is good
    and what is not,
    what is important,
    and what is not,
    what we will do
    in each situation
    as it arises,
    and what we will not do. Who says so?
    We do! And,
    here’s the catch,
    we have to be right about it. There is a right way of reading
    each situation,
    and lots of wrong ways. We are responsible
    for seeing what we look at,
    assessing what is before us,
    determining what is happening
    and what needs to be done about it–
    and doing what we can,
    as best we can,
    with the gifts,
    and abilities. We do not wait for someone else
    to tell us what to do
    and how to do it. We take the initiative,
    and deciding for ourselves
    what’s what
    and what to do about it. And, if we are wrong,
    we learn from our mistakes,
    determine to get better
    at this process as we go along,
    and look forward
    to the next situation,
    and the ones after that,
    throughout the time left for living.
  10. 05/10/2019— Great White Egret 2019-05 04 — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 Distraction is just something else
    to be aware of. There are no steady states of being. Everything flows,
    .. Awareness/distraction,
    happy/not happy,
    … We swim in a great sea of being–
    of being this way,
    then that way,
    here, now,
    there, then. Take none of it seriously,
    and then find yourself
    taking all of it seriously,
    then refuse to take that seriously. It’s ebb and flow
    all the way down. It helps to come back
    to our breathing,
    back to our foundation,
    back to our core principles
    and values… Awareness, awareness, awareness…
    Practice, practice, practice… Paying attention to the moment,
    seeing what is happening,
    letting it be because it is,
    doing what needs to be done,
    paying attention to the moment,
    seeing what is happening… Listening to the stillness,
    waiting for something to catch our eye,
    looking for what emerges,
    listening for what arises,
    feeling for what compels us to action… Refusing to be shanghaied
    by the 10,000 things. Remaining grounded in,
    and committed to,
    Right Seeing,
    Right Hearing,
    Right Knowing,
    Right Doing,
    Right Being–
    in every situation,
    through all circumstances,
    responding appropriately
    to what is being asked of us
    in each time and place
    of our living,
    rising to every occasion,
    doing what needs to be done
    as only we can do it,
    and letting that be enough,
    because it is the best we can do,
    and all we have to offer–
    and if anyone can do better than that,
    hats off to them!
  11. 05/10/2019— Cypress Swamp 2019-05 04 Panorama– Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 There is vision
    and there is courage
    to live
    in the service
    of the vision. Being a photographer
    is not a matter
    of owning a camera
    and taking photographs. Being a photographer
    is a matter
    of being owned by a camera
    and being compelled
    to take photographs. Does your vision own you?
    Or, do you own your vision?
    How primary is your vision
    and its implications
    for your life? I asked the youthful salesperson
    ringing up my purchase
    in a National Park,
    “What kind of future
    are you working on?”
    “Well,” she replied,
    “I like snowboarding.” Liking to take photographs
    does not a photographer make. The greatest obstacle
    we have to overcome
    in the service
    of our vision
    is our own resistance,
    and unwillingness
    to serve our vision. Before every photo trip,
    I still,
    after all these years,
    come up with
    10,000 reasons to not go. And, after all these years,
    I still find myself asking myself,
    “Are you a photographer,
    or, are you not a photographer?”
    And I pack my bags,
    set the alarm clock,
    and off I go. The vision itself calls forth
    liege loyalty
    and filial devotion
    to the service of the vision. We belong to the vision!
    We serve the vision!
    We do not merely “like” it,
    or work it into our life
    when it is convenient,
    and we have nothing better to do. Photographers have to be there
    before the light is,
    and wait for conditions to be right
    before pressing the shutter button.
    Time. Always. Forever. The other rule is:
    See the picture, get the picture.
    If it is there now,
    it probably will not be there
    in five minutes.
    And certainly not on the way back.
    And absolutely not there tomorrow.
    So, stop the car,
    turn around,
    get the picture. Vision.
    Dedication to the task.
    These things call us forth,
    and make us who we are–
    make us be who we are,
    often against our will.
  12. 05/10/2019— Pied-billed Grebe — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 2, 2019 There are more than
    ten billion ways
    to represent a scene,
    a subject–
    to SEE a scene,
    a subject. On what basis–
    in light of what–
    do we say one is right
    and the others are wrong? That is only one of more than
    ten billion ways
    to judge the version of the scene,
    of the subject,
    that is being shown to us. Right and wrong
    are positions
    on a sliding scale,
    reflecting our point of view
    at a particular place
    in our life. “Right” and “wrong”
    say as much about us
    as about the perspective
    our perspective
    is evaluating. What we call “right”
    and what we call “wrong,”
    depict our state of being,
    our orientation,
    who we are
    at the time and place
    we make the call. On what basis,
    in light of what,
    do we orient ourselves,
    position ourselves,
    guide ourselves
    in determining what is right
    and what is wrong? How good is the good we call good?
    How valuable are the values
    that direct our life? Our judgments,
    call us to judge,
    and our seeing. How true to the truth do we live? Every situation has its truth.
    Some ways of evaluating
    and responding to a situation
    are better than other ways–
    better in light of the goodest good
    we can imagine–
    that has been imagined
    in the entire history of the values
    and mores of the species. Grace,
    good faith
    and good will
    cast a light. Ruthlessness,
    maliciousness, cast a different kind of light. In light of what do we live? We cannot hope to live well
    without knowing
    in light of what we live–
    and living in light of it
    in every situation that arises,
    all our life long.
  13. 05/10/2019— Cypress Swamp 2019-04 03 Panorama — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, April 24, 2019 I stand in solid opposition to the
    (Including Paradise!)
    can be better” position
    of Adam and Eve and their myriad followers. I am perfectly fine with things in my life
    exactly as they are. I wonder, from time to time,
    what I might change about where I have been–
    what has happened to me
    and what I have done about it,
    what has failed to happen to me,
    and what I have done about that–
    and conclude,
    with all things considered,
    that I would leave things
    just as they have turned out to be. What could be better?
    Having my Real Teeth,
    and my knees ready
    for all kinds of action
    would be the most likely candidates–
    but even those things,
    as they are,
    have been blessings
    in innumerable ways,
    and upon reflection,
    I would leave them alone,
    and invite them
    to celebrate the here and now
    of my life along with me. Dealing with the day
    on the day’s terms
    is a great satisfaction.
    Finding ways to make things better
    without changing anything
    is the secret power
    of perspective and attitude.
    Helping it all work together
    for the good of the whole
    is the high calling
    and shared responsibility
    of each one of us. We could sing and dance together,
    and celebrate each other
    as essential contributors
    to the wonder of it all!
  14. 05/10/2019— Buff Lake Rookery 2019-05 01 — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 There are two questions,
    and all the questions
    that beg to be asked
    springing from the two questions–
    which makes about
    a billion billion questions,
    growing exponentially
    by the moment. Speaking of moments,
    the two questions
    are pertinent in each moment,
    calling forth different questions
    in every one. You can see how this gets
    out of hand in a flash. The two questions are: So what? And Now what? (Which can also be phrased,
    What Now? The doctor tells you
    you have cancer.
    Your spouse tells you
    they are leaving.
    Your boss tells you
    you are fired.
    The worst that can happen
    in any area of your life
    happens in all areas of your life So what? Now what? If you can get to the place
    of asking those questions
    of everything that happens
    in a day,
    you will have achieved the place
    of non-judgmental,
    distance from the situation
    developing in each moment,
    to serve as the pivotal
    swing point
    from now to the best possible next. The distance
    between now
    and the best possible next
    is too short to see
    and too fast to clock.
    What happens then/there
    makes all the difference. Practice asking the questions
    at every opportunity. The dog throws up on the carpet.
    So what?
    Now what? It’s your path
    to your best possible future.
  15. 05/11/2019— Great Blue Heron 2019-05 05 — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 In any moment
    in any person’s life,
    there are a multitude of things
    that need to be done. To be here, now,
    is to be in one of the busiest
    places in the universe. Countless aspects of the next moment,
    and all the moments following,
    depend upon what we do
    in this moment. This moment is the fulcrum,
    the pivot point,
    shifting the future into place. Every moment is that way. We deal with the pressure
    by being aware of it–
    by knowing the importance
    of attending the moment,
    being alive to the moment,
    pushing nothing,
    forcing nothing,
    hurrying nothing,
    just breathing,
    just waiting,
    just being here, now,
    to the stillness
    at the core
    of every moment–
    and to the direction
    that emerges,
    in the form of an urge,
    a sense,
    a feeling,
    a vision,
    a call to action
    that takes shape around us,
    and becomes its own impetus,
    propelling us into the service
    of what,
    we do not know,
    at the behest of what,
    we do not know. All we know is
    what must be done–
    without being able to understand it,
    explain it,
    or defend it. Do it,
    or do it not,
    and live forever
    with the road not taken,
    the deed not done,
    never knowing
    what might have been
    except for a lack of courage
    and a failure of nerve. And on into the next moment
    where the process is repeated
    throughout the time left for living. Redemption and damnation
    moment-by-moment-by-moment. Here we are.
    Now what?
  16. 05/11/2019— Cypress Swamp 2019-05 08 Panorama — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 Racism is at the heart of the divide
    in this country
    and around the world. 35-40% of white people
    think they are better,
    “superior” they like to call it,
    than all other people.
    They just make that up
    and take it on faith
    which, in their mind,
    transforms it instantaneously into a fact. It is one of the laws of nature
    at work in human beings
    that everything taken on faith
    instantaneously becomes a fact. It’s weird how that works,
    but I’ve seen it happen enough
    to know that it works like that all of the time. 35-40% of white people
    are rock-solid certain
    they are better than all other people
    because they say so. And there is nothing any of the rest
    of us can do to change their mind. Now, that is a problem. We will never be able
    to talk them out of their position,
    and their position is poisoning
    the environment in which
    we all have to live. The only solution I can envision
    for this situation
    is the natural solution,
    which is not long off
    from being naturally implemented. The oceans will rise
    and the Yellowstone caldera will blow.
    And that will take care of the problem. I think it is a travesty
    and an atrocity
    that grown human beings
    cannot be mature enough
    to recognize all other human beings
    as their equal on every level,
    understand that we are all in this together,
    and are here to help each other
    every way we can
    to the fullest expression
    of their potential and capabilities
    for the true good of the whole. I will carry the grief and shame
    of that failure to the grave,
    as will all of us
    who see the situation as it is,
    which includes our helplessness
    in doing anything about it. Why must some of us hate others of us?
    It cannot be explained or understood.
    It can only be borne as an agony
    beyond consolation.
    An anguish beyond healing.
    A failure of grace and compassion
    without the possibility
    of atonement and redemption.
  17. 05/12/2019— Great White Egret 2019-05 05 — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 The Republicans are killing us all.
    They are breaking our hearts,
    and stomping on our souls,
    and screaming “Lock Them Up!”
    and “Bury Them Deep!”
    and “Leave Them To Rot In The Sun!”
    Republicans don’t care!
    This is the thing I have against Republicans. They say they care,
    just like they say they don’t hate
    People of Color,
    or LGBTQ people,
    or women,
    or immigrants…
    The list is long of people
    they don’t hate,
    though none of them on the list
    can tell the difference
    between being not-hated
    and being hated. If you are going to treat people
    you don’t hate
    as though you hate them
    the people you so treat
    are going to be excused
    for thinking you hate them. And the Republicans say
    they love little fetuses
    that have a heart beat
    but no brain wave
    (and, I don’t care who you are,
    you can’t live outside the womb
    without a brain wave),
    and everything has to be done
    to save them from being aborted–
    never mind rape,
    never mind the guarantee
    of a short,
    death shortly after birth–
    and they put everything they have
    into forcing women of all ages
    to be pregnant,
    and carry their pregnancy to term,
    against their will. And then when the fetus
    grows into a five year old
    who can’t pay for it’s school lunch,
    they make a mockery
    of the five year old
    and give it cold jelly sandwiches to eat. They throw living children into cages,
    separate them from their parents,
    treat them worse than dogs in a kennel
    and talk in glowing terms
    about how they are working to end abortion. They won’t abort me,
    but they will shame me,
    refuse to pay my parents
    a living wage,
    refuse to provide affordable health care,
    affordable child care,
    affordable education,
    affordable housing…
    They will abandon me at birth,
    refuse to institute gun controls
    that would give me a chance at life
    beyond birth,
    and in 10,000 other ways
    throw me into the sea
    as a living,
    full-fledged human being. Republicans are liars
    who say they aren’t lying,
    just like the one they call President,
    Lord and Savior God of them all. Republicans have to wake up
    before they kill everyone else! And the only way to wake them up
    is to force them to confront
    their own contradictions
    and blind-spots
    (Which are the size of supernovas). Contradiction in the form of koans
    and conundrums,
    have been used for hundreds,
    okay, thousands,
    of years to wake people up.
    “You say this but you do that…”
    It is our only tool in the work
    to wake up Republicans. Throw them to themselves!
    Call them out!
    No more “Mr/Ms Nice Person”!
    Call BS every time it begs to be called!
    We cannot allow Republicans the privilege
    of believing they are who they are nowhere
    close to being!
    Make them confront the truth
    of their own actions,
    and their own failing/refusing to act! Throw them to themselves!
  18. 05/12/2019— Smiling For The Camera 2019-05 01 — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 2, 2019 Everything Jesus said
    forced a choice onto his listeners,
    laid bare the contradiction
    they were living without awareness,
    and required them to see–
    and to take responsibility for–
    who they were
    and what they were doing. Everything about Jesus screamed:
    “Know what you are doing!
    Know who you are!
    BE who you are!” Jesus confronted people with themselves,
    and walked away,
    leaving them to
    “work out their own salvation,
    with fear and trembling.” That is the only way of being saved.
    Jesus said, “Straight is the way,
    and narrow is the gate,
    that leads to the kingdom of heaven
    (Which was his metaphor
    for ‘the way things need to be’)” Hundreds, if not thousands,
    of teachers like him after him
    would say,
    “It is a slippery slope!
    A dangerous path!
    Like a razor’s edge!” This business of working out our own salvation is tricky.
    We have to know what we are doing.
    We have to pay attention.
    We have to attend the vision.
    See what we are looking at.
    Asking all the questions that beg to be asked.
    Saying all the things that cry out to be said.
    Knowing that we are
    damned if we do
    and damned if we don’t,
    and being willing to be damned and be done with it,
    by taking a chance on ourselves
    and our best sense
    of what needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long–
    and letting the outcome be the outcome. Who do you know,
    including you,
    who takes themselves
    and their life
    that seriously? It’s all flippancy
    and disrespect
    everywhere I look. People are living out of simplistic representations of truth,
    without being responsible for any of their choices,
    living mindlessly,
    refusing to pay attention to what they are doing. Jesus says to them all in 10,000 ways:
    “Wake up!
    Know who you are
    and who you are called to be!
    Be true to yourself–
    to your Best Possible Self–
    and take what comes,
    making of it all that can be made,
    and I’m not talking about making money!” And the people say,
    “What the hell is he talking about?”
    And turn back to their work
    of one cow following another
    from the barn
    to the pasture
    and back to the barn.
  19. 05/12/2019— Cypress Swamp 2019-04 14 Panorama — Lake Martin, St. Martin Parish, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, April 27, 2019 Our life has been our path
    leading us to here, now. The accumulated lessons
    of our experience
    have uniquely prepared us
    for the time that is at hand. We have what we need
    to meet what faces us
    in the time that is left to us.
    We have been made ready
    for this moment,
    and those to come,
    by all that has gone before. Nothing about our previous life
    was wasted,
    a mistake,
    did not belong.
    All of the false starts,
    wrong turns,
    dead ends,
    grief and mourning
    brought us here, now. Sit with yourself
    just as you are.
    You are all you have,
    as the old football chant goes.
    You are all you need. You can be trusted
    to rise to any occasion,
    and find what it takes
    to do what has to be done. Look at all you have been through!
    If you had known it was coming,
    you would have said,
    “No way can I do that!”
    Yet you did it!
    You have done it!
    And the experience you have gained
    from doing it is your guardian
    and your guide. You will never be as alone as you have been!
    You have you as a faithful companion
    for the rest of your days.
    The old maxims,
    “Know thyself,”
    and “To thine own self be true,”
    are watchwords
    for the remainder of the journey. Sit often together,
    sharing the silence
    and the stillness–
    with gratitude
    for what you have come through,
    and for where you are–
    as a grounding foundation
    for what is yet to be faced,
    and dealt with,
    and done. And walk in good company together
    all along the rest of the way.
  20. 05/13/2019— Snowy Egret 2019-05 — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 We are on our own,
    and we are not alone. We have to do our part,
    and we have to have
    the right kind of help
    in order to do it. Caring presence. An environment in which
    we are safe to be who we are–
    without having to defend,
    our right to self-expression
    in a life of our own
    without interfering with
    the self-expression of others
    in a life of their own. Knowing where we stop
    and others start. Common decency,
    mutual respect
    and permission to be
    in the service of the true good
    of the whole. Liberty, justice, equality, truth. All upheld and enabled
    by the rule of law–
    with everyone complying with,
    and no one being above or beyond,
    the restrictions and protections
    of the law. These simple precepts
    create an atmosphere
    of latitude and shared responsibility
    that take into account
    and negotiate
    the needs of the individual
    and the needs of the commonwealth. It is a good plan.
    It works well when it is honored
    and adhered to.
    Not so much
    when it is not. It is time to get back to the plan.
  21. 05/13/2019— Cypress Swamp Denizen 2019-05 08 — Non-poisonous water snake, Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 We do not plot our course,
    and our intentions
    do not always determine
    our direction
    or our outcome. Being true to our core
    is the best touchstone
    I know. When we lose sight
    of the core
    because of the fluctuations
    of our life,
    sitting quietly,
    anchors us to our body. Then it is a matter
    of listening to our heart,
    to our belly,
    to our bones–
    and allowing them
    to lead us,
    through the times that are upon us,
    and beyond. Better guides
    are hard to find.
  22. 05/14/2019— Great Blue Heron 2019-05 06 — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 Do not stray from the path!
    Do not get off the road! Stay on the path
    even when the path becomes
    Not-The-Path. And. Remain on the road
    when the road becomes
    Not-The-Road. All paths lead to you.
    Every road will get you
    where you are going. Where we are going
    is where we have been all along. There is no place to be
    but where we are. And all it takes to be there
    is opening our eyes
    and seeing/knowing
    that we are there.
    And then, be there,
    with awareness. There is never anything
    other than ourselves
    to be. Being one with ourselves
    is the goal
    from the beginning.
    Wearing the face
    that was ours
    before we were born. Complete integrity–
    full oneness
    of being and doing–
    is the journey
    to the heart
    of who we are. Is it Me?
    Is it Not Me?
    Is all we need to know. Being Me
    and being Not Me,
    with integrity
    is to be on the path,
    on the road,
    no matter where it goes. “What I do is me,
    for that I came”
    (Gerhard Manley Hopkins).
  23. 05/14/2019— Blue Grosbeak 2019-05 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, May 13, 2019 What is essential?
    What is nonessential? What is important?
    What is unimportant? We have to know–
    and live in light of–
    what is essential,
    and nonessential,
    and unimportant. Our life has to reflect these things
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long. That is all there is to it. Oh, there is a catch.
    The catch is
    we have to be right about it. We are the one who says
    what is essential
    and nonessential,
    what is important
    and unimportant–
    and live in ways
    that declare it to be so. And we have to be right about it. THAT is all there is to it.
  24. 05/15/2019— Cypress Swamp 2019-05 10 Panorama — Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 2, 2019 When the center does not hold,
    and the majority does not rule,
    and things are no longer
    what they are supposed to be,
    and nothing works as it ought to work,
    and neither law nor order
    can be relied upon
    to be what we think they are,
    and there is no one to send us all
    to our rooms
    and tell us to remain there
    until we can behave
    in a manner suitable
    to the good of the whole,
    chaos and pandemonium reign,
    uncertainty and confusion abound,
    and we have no idea who’s on first. Then it’s hell to pay for a while,
    and our best bet is to return to nature
    (Which is always just what it is,
    and never says one thing
    while doing another,
    and denying that it is
    doing anything at all),
    remember our breathing,
    control what we can control–
    which may be nothing more
    than how we respond
    to the craziness being
    churned out by the times
    that have lost their mind–
    and wait it out,
    wait for circumstances to change,
    while looking for ways
    to be helpful,
    until Those Who Know Best
    are forced by the consequences
    of their actions
    to realize they know nothing at all,
    and recovery can begin
    by things returning to their place
    a little at a time. “How long, O Lord?”
    is a question
    not even the Lord can answer
    beyond saying,
    “It all depends…”
    On people waking up,
    growing up,
    wising up,
    standing up
    and doing what needs to be done,
    the way it needs to be done,
    with decency
    and in order,
    with integrity,
    and compassion
    from this time forth
    and forevermore. Why is that so difficult?
    Another question
    that stumps even the Lord.

05/15/2019  —  There isn’t enough time for me
to take all of the pictures
I want to take,
or to say all of the things
I have to say.

That’s my problem.
I expect that I will never
come to terms with it.

But will die pissed
with things being
as they are.

  1. 05/15/2019— Cypress Swamp 2019-05 02 — Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 We are our own authority.
    We decide for ourselves
    what needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises,
    and we do it as best we can,
    in the way that we determine
    it needs to be done. We do what we would do it,
    the way we would do it–
    the way no one but us could do it,
    the way we alone can do it,
    with the gifts,
    and abilities
    mixed in a ratio
    that is unique to us. That’s the way Jesus would do it,
    mixed in a ratio
    that was unique to him. The people to ask us to ask,
    “What would Jesus do?”
    are then quick to tell us
    what Jesus would do,
    which is what they would have us do.
    Which is precisely NOT what Jesus would do! Jesus said,
    “Why don’t you decide for yourselves what is right?” Why don’t we? Oh, there’s a catch. We have to be right about it. In every situation there is the right way
    to see things,
    and the wrong way to see things.
    The right way to do things,
    and the wrong way to do things. Jesus said, “You have eyes to see! Use them to see!” That’s all there is to it. Seeing what we look at.
    Doing what needs to be done about it.
    How hard is that?
  2. 05/15/2019— Brown Thrasher 2019-05 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, May 13, 2019 Our relationship with ourselves–
    with our Self, Center, Core–
    is the most important relationship
    in our life. Our Self is the Thy in
    “Thy will, not mine, be done.” Our Self has an interest in our life,
    but only because our life
    is the ground between us. Our Self’s actual interest
    is in our integrity–
    in the integrity that exists
    when we are living in accord
    with our Self
    in conducting our life
    in the world. That life–
    that integrity–
    is the flower
    of our relationship.
    Flowering is what our Self
    is all about. We were born to flower.
    But soon developed
    other ideas.
    And here we are. Yin/Yang.
    One up/One down.
    Nothing in sync about us.
    Both we and our Self suffer
    because of our alienation
    from each other. Our advantage
    is that we are conscious
    and willful.
    Our Self’s advantage is
    that He/She is knowing
    and patient. The drama present between us
    revolves around
    are we going to get together or not? We have the makings
    of a country song–
    and it has been sung
    10,000 times
    with someone else in mind. We are always thinking
    our longing is for a lover,
    when it is for our Self.
    Missing the point–
    and the boat–
    is what we do best. Your Self asked me to write this
    hoping you might read it. Actually, my Self asked me to write this,
    knowing I would read it. If it is good,
    it probably had its origin
    in our Self reaching out to us. If it is bad,
    it probably had its origin
    in our Self reaching out to us. The least we can do
    is reach back. Be still.
    Be quiet.
    Be open.
    See what occurs to you.
    See where it goes.

05/15/2019  —  We get by
with a little grace
from our friends.

And they get by
with a little grace
from us.

Grace is the key
to human interaction.
It is the most important element
in our life together.

There is a pronounced
lack of grace
at work in the world.

That’s where we come in.

  1. 05/16/2019— Great Egret 2019-05 06 — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 Do not settle for smooth and easy!
    Do not strive for smooth and easy!
    Have nothing to do with smooth and easy! When it is smooth and easy–
    particularly too smooth and too easy–
    you aren’t doing something right. Right is hard.
    Wrong is easy. Elizabeth Warren and Ted Lieu
    are the only two members of Congress
    who consistently do what is hard
    and refuse to do what is easy. Who consistently sell what is hard
    and refuse to sell what is easy. When a politician comes at you
    with what is easy,
    have nothing to do with them. When anybody comes at you
    with what is easy,
    have nothing to do with them. The rule is without exception:
    You can do what is hard,
    or you can do it the hard way. In light of this,
    hard is easy,
    and easy is hard. Settle yourself into that orientation
    and it will be easy for you
    the rest of the way.
  2. 05/16/2019— Bamboo 2019-04 01 — Melrose Plantation, Cane River National Heritage Trail, Natchitoches Parish, Natchitoches, Louisiana, April 29, 2019 Where are you mostly you?
    Where are you mostly not-you?
    Where do you spend
    most of your time? Whose side are you on? Being/doing not-you
    is done best
    by being you,
    being/doing not-you. Be not-you,
    do not-you,
    the way you would be it,
    do it. Do it mindfully,
    fully aware of who you are being
    of what you are doing
    (not-you). Embrace being/doing not-you
    as one of the things
    life requires,
    and be it,
    do it,
    with all your heart/mind/soul/strength. As if you are an actor playing a role,
    acting a part,
    that has nothing to do with who you are,
    but is required by your work as an actor. Be it/do it so well
    no one can tell it is not-you!
    But you know it every minute,
    and you be it/do it
    as a concession to what is required
    by your place in life. So what?
    Now what? And rejoice and celebrate
    when you can get back into
    being you/doing you!
  3. 05/16/2019— Turkey Vulture 2019-05 02 B&W — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 At the level of the Great Stillness
    beyond the Silence
    All are one. The Great Stillness
    lies with us all,
    within all sentient beings,
    and is the Source of Life and Being,
    the Fountain of Living Water
    that nurtures and nourishes
    all of life. We can approach the Great Stillness
    by being still and quiet ourselves,
    and open to,
    and present with,
    that which is open to,
    and present with, The Numen,
    the Ineffable,
    is always as close to us
    as our next breath. It only takes being
    mindfully aware
    of the time and place
    of our living,
    and of the Stillness
    at the heart of who we are. In addition to being upheld
    by the Stillness
    in the quietness
    of the present moment,
    we can also approach
    the Numen/Ineffable
    along the avenues
    of art, music and nature–
    and find ourselves transported
    from there to the wonder
    of tears and laughter,
    and a holy sense
    of more than meets the eye,
    or the ear. We live on a sea of numinous reality,
    waiting for us to stand apart
    from the noise of normal,
    apparent, reality
    in order to behold the truth
    of the Also True,
    and know we are upheld
    and replenished
    by a presence
    words cannot explain
    for the work of living
    as those who know what we know,
    in a world that makes it easy
    to forget.
  4. 05/17/2019— Cypress Swamp 2019-05 14 Panorama — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 2, 2019 We have to trust ourselves
    to take us where we need to go. We got here, now,
    without intending to. Intention,
    are all overrated. If you have an agenda,
    you have an ulcer.
    Or a drinking problem. Five year plans gloss over
    the importance
    of the moment–
    moment-by-moment-by-moment. What needs to be done
    here and now?
    Forget what it means
    for our career goals! Career goals
    interfere with our ability
    to listen to our life
    and know what it is saying to us. Meditation,
    are the foundation
    of realization. Realization is another word
    for enlightenment. Enlightenment
    is assistance,
    in the life
    that is ours to live. We are a partner
    to that which is seeking
    our contribution
    in the joint production
    of our life together. It is not all up to us,
    and we cannot do it alone. We need that
    which needs us. Why the resistance,
    refusal? We are not
    the captain of our ship,
    the master of our destiny.
    We are lost
    without a clue
    about what to do
    with the time that is ours
    to work with.
    You would think
    we might throw in with
    the one who knows. There is a catch.
    Our stipulations
    are the first things
    that have to go. And that’s the kink
    in the hose.
  5. 05/17/2019— Cypress Swamp 2019-04 07 — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, April 24, 2019 The Bible is the truth hiding
    in plain sight. Jesus’s parable of the kingdom of heaven
    being like a group of fishermen
    sitting down with a net full of fish
    culling out the trash fish
    and keeping the keepers
    is an exact description
    of the work of hermeneutics–
    the work of interpreting the scriptures
    and separating the sense
    from the nonsense. Translating the Bible
    in all the languages in the world
    and passing it out to all the people
    is a ridiculous waste of time. Reading the Bible
    is not understanding the Bible,
    is not knowing what to throw away,
    and what to keep
    and how to translate it
    in the language of the Psyche,
    as we have to do with nighttime dreams
    upon awakening. We cannot start with the Bible. We have to start with our own experience. When we know how to read our experience
    and comprehend what it
    is telling us
    about the way things are,
    then, we can read the Bible
    in light of our experience
    and understand what’s there
    in terms that are contemporary
    with the current time and place
    of our living. The idea that “nothing good comes from Nazareth,”
    the parables of the treasure buried in the field,
    the pearl of great price,
    the stone the builders reject,
    the yeast in the dough,
    all underscore the absurdity
    and futility,
    of telling people what they need to hear,
    and the importance of everyone knowing
    they have to see what they look at,
    and find what is important for themselves. No one can give us anything
    we are not prepared/ready to receive.
    We live our way into realization/enlightenment.
    We cannot avoid the stages of development,
    and at each point in our life,
    we are exactly where we need to be
    to take the next step along the way
    to waking up,
    growing up,
    some more again. Or, as Jesus would say,
    “You who have eyes, let them see!”
    “You who have ears, let them hear!” It all comes down to seeing and hearing,
    and it never moves away from that.
  6. 05/17/2019— Nursery Photos 2019-05 09 — Pike’s Nursery and Garden Center, Charlotte, North Carolina, May 11, 2019 — An iPhone photo Our control, for the most part,
    is limited to the way we respond
    to what happens. We have the best chance
    of responding appropriately,
    in ways fitting to the occasion,
    if we are living
    grounded in mindful,
    that takes everything
    into account
    just as it is,
    sizes things up,
    and trusts its best sense
    of what needs to happen
    in each situation as it arises. Action arising from awareness
    is a better way of responding
    than action spurred on by emotion,
    or led by the reins of logic and reason. We cannot call up awareness
    in the moment it is needed.
    We lay the foundation for the future
    by engaging in the practice
    of mindful awareness
    throughout each day. Attend the moment.
    Attend your breathing.
    At different points
    in every day.
  7. 05/18/2019— Great Blue Heron and Snowy Egret 2019-05 07 — Bluff Lake, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 1, 2019 The things that go into being grown up
    are the same things that go into being
    enlightened and awakened. The same things that go into being
    a true human being. The same things that go into
    Buddha-mind and Christ-like-ness. We can’t be grown up
    without being whole,
    at one with ourselves and the universe,
    true to ourselves within
    the context
    and circumstances
    of our lives. Everything we are seeking
    is found in growing up.
    We cannot find what we seek
    without growing up.
    We find what we seek
    by growing up. And we grow up against our will. Our life grows us up–
    one painful choice at a time. We are the sculptor
    and we are the stone
    (Alexis Carrel).
  8. 05/18/2019— Autumn Fern 2019-05 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, May 13, 2019 How we work it out
    tells the tale. We are thrown into a world
    of choices
    and options
    and values
    and goals… We pick our way
    through all of it
    one decision
    at a time. Guided by
    what works
    and what doesn’t work
    in light of what
    we call good. How good is the good
    we call good? How do we know
    what we are doing? What is the basis
    of our evaluation
    of how well it’s working? We are self-guided,
    however we define it. How often do we take stock?
    Be still?
    Sit quietly?
    Redirect? How well do we live
    mindfully aware
    of what’s what?
  9. 05/18/2019— Brown Thrasher 2019-05 03 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, May 13, 2019 We meet pain
    on the road we take
    to avoid it. Pain is a threshold,
    a turning point,
    a watershed,
    “a very present help
    in time of trouble.” We think pain IS trouble,
    and seek to evade it
    at all costs–
    quite oblivious
    to what the cost
    actually is. A pain-free life
    is no way to live. Our relationship
    with our pain–
    with our sources of pain–
    is the key factor
    in determining our relationship
    with our life. We live well
    to the extent
    that we deal well
    with our pain. Living is the lesson
    and pain is the teacher. When we live
    to rid ourselves of pain,
    we miss the point of pain,
    and lose out on the opportunities
    for reflection and growth
    that pain affords. Pain is the indicator
    that something is not
    going our way.
    What would that be? There is our way,
    and there is not-our-way,
    and pain stands at the intersection
    of the two. When what we want
    clashes with what we do not want,
    there is pain–
    or pain itself is what we do not want–
    presenting us with the chance
    to reflect on what we want
    and don’t want–
    and our standard way
    of dealing with the unwanted. Escape?
    Awareness? Where does awareness as
    an adjustment mechanism
    fit into our list
    of coping styles? Do we ever use awareness
    as a vehicle for accommodating
    ourselves to our life?
    For reconciling ourselves
    to our life?
    For growing up,
    some more,
    again? We are the answer
    to all of the questions
    our pain raises
    for reflection. Too often,
    we answer
    without being conscious
    of being asked anything.
  10. 05/18/2019— Nursery Photos 2019-05 04 — The Laughing Buddha, Pike’s Nursery and Garden Center, Charlotte, North Carolina, May 16, 2019 It makes no sense that those
    sworn to uphold (“Protect, Preserve and Defend”)
    the law
    have broken it,
    and that others refuse to enforce the law
    that has been broken. When the center fails to hold
    and we all fall
    Through The Looking Glass
    into a world where up is down
    and good is bad
    and nothing is what
    we expect it to be,
    it is a good strategy
    to turn to the steady
    and constant
    sources of renewal
    and reorientation. Nature is always there
    to comfort and console. Take a walk among the trees.
    Sit by a stream,
    or the ocean.
    Take it in. Nature is just what it is– There is no deception with nature,
    no pretending to be something it isn’t.
    Nature is refreshing that way. As is Art,
    and Music. Visit an art gallery.
    Go to a concert,
    or a symphony.
    Attend a ballet.
    Soak up some jazz. Touch the heart of numinous reality
    through Art, Music, and Nature. And breathe deeply the good,
  11. 05/19/2019— The Stork 2019-05 01 — Nursery Photos, Pike’s Nursery and Garden Center, Charlotte, North Carolina, May 13, 2019 The path leads us on,
    and provides us
    with what we need
    for the journey. We only have to know
    when we are on the path,
    and when we are off. When we are off the path,
    we only have to get back on. Getting back on is as simple
    as being still
    and quiet,
    seeing, It is called “taking stock.”
    Or “taking inventory.”
    Seeing where we are,
    and what’s happening,
    and what needs to happen,
    and waiting to know
    what that means for us
    here and now. The path requires
    a lot of waiting.
    And a lot of listening
    and looking. If you are in a hurry
    to be there now,
    you are going to miss a turn. We can only be here, now.
    For as long as it takes
    to be here, now,
    at last.
  12. 05/20/2019— 11th Street Docking 2019-05 01 Panorama — Port Royal, South Carolina, May 19, 2019 What do you do with your time?
    What do you enjoy doing with your time? How much of the time
    that is yours
    do you spend in the service
    of what you enjoy? What can you do to increase
    the amount of time spent
    in the service of what you enjoy? You have all of the time left for living
    to work with!
  13. 05/21/2019— Showing Off 2019-05 01 — Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, Green Pond, South Carolina, May 20, 2019 You think it is boring being you–
    try being an alligator!
    It’s eating, sleeping, mating
    and swimming around
    or lying in the sun,
    day after day after day.
    How much of that
    could you take
    before longing for hibernation? Alligator’s have very low
    satisfaction thresholds.
    It takes absolutely nothing
    to make an alligator happy. Evolution could have stopped
    a million years ago
    as far as they are concerned.
    They have always had
    exactly what they needed.
    It’s easy when you don’t need much. Alligators invented contentment. The Buddha came along and reinvented it. “The end of suffering”
    is “be happy with what you have.”
    Alligator wisdom. “Dissatisfaction is the root
    of all suffering!”
    “Don’t want anything,
    and you have it made!” Alligators have known that
    for centuries. “Be like a turtle,
    dragging its tail
    through the mud.”
    say the Buddhists. Alligators think that’s funny.
    “Be like an alligator,
    eating turtles.” Buddhists better watch out.
  14. 05/21/2019— The Manor 2019-05 01 Panorama, Grove Plantation, Headquarters of the Earnest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Hollywood, South Carolina, May 20, 2019 Look closer at everything
    that catches your eye. The closer we look,
    the more we see. There is nothing like
    seeing things as they are
    to settle us
    on what to do about them. Clarity is action. We move closer,
    or move further away. We can’t get too close to some things,
    and can’t get far enough away from others. It’s hard to distinguish one from another
    upon first glance,
    but, with time,
    all things show themselves to be
    what they are. Knowing what’s what
    is a step on the way
    to knowing what to do about it,
    with it. Look closer at everything
    that catches your eye.
  15. 05/22/2019— Spanish Moss Lane 2019-05 01 — Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia and South Carolina, May 21, 2019 Our prospects are not good, but.
    They are not serious, either. Zen is the not-serious side of Buddhism. Taoism is the Mother of Zen. You can guess what that makes Taoism. One crazy lady! Cray-Cray in the right kind of way! The way all religion should be. The fundamental fault of religion
    in all of its forms of expression
    is that it takes itself seriously. Every religion is grounded on precepts
    the adherents of the religion
    take on faith.
    Yet, they no sooner take them on faith
    than they begin treating
    what they take on faith
    as absolute fact beyond doubt or reason. A minute before it could not be substantiated
    by anything remotely related to fact,
    and then it is the Fact Beyond All Question,
    blowing climate change
    and evolution into oblivion
    where they are said to belong. Listen to me:
    Faith Facts are not facts at all!
    Faith is belief in things that are not facts! And they are not to be taken seriously! The Invisible World,
    from which everything springs,
    is a playful world. It knows that everything arises
    from the Great Stillness
    and returns to the Great Stillness,
    and in between
    there is all the stuff of life,
    the best show in the universe,
    mainly because it doesn’t realize
    it is a show,
    and thinks it is the living end,
    the high point of existence.
    Yet, it only knows of existence
    from the standpoint
    of the physical universe. It is like looking back on your life
    from the vantage point of your eighties,
    and laughing at all the things
    you took seriously–
    and the serious things
    you didn’t take seriously at all. Religion, and life generally, have no clue
    about the Invisible World.
    And they make their plans,
    and plot their course,
    and exploit what they consider to be
    their opportunities,
    and create their karma
    in light of what they call good–
    without ever questioning
    the goodness of the good they call good. Without ever calling themselves,
    religion and life generally,
    into question! Making themselves the joke of the universe! A joke the Invisible World
    plays on itself,
    to laugh itself into being,
    in order to laugh some more,
    at its own expense! It’s the greatest show on earth,
    and beyond earth,
    into the far reaches of Invisibility. It keeps repeating itself
    through every incarnation,
    from extinction to reincarnation
    to extinction to reincarnation…
    (How many cycles by now?
    Who is counting?),
    because it’s such a good joke,
    and the laughter gets better
    with age. Taoism and it’s offspring Zen
    are in on the joke,
    and join in the laughter
    in the midst of the show,
    which makes it all even funnier,
    if you see what I mean.
  16. 05/22/2019— Tidal Creek Reflections 2019-05 01 Panorama — Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Townsend, Georgia, May 21, 2019 Exploring our connection
    with the Invisible Other within
    opens the way for mindful relationship
    with the Psyche as a full partner
    in collaboration with us
    to form a joint life together. It is a different frame of reference
    to use in considering
    what we are going to do
    with the time left for living. It is not our problem alone to solve.
    We share the time
    with those who have–
    with that which has–
    a stake in how that time is spent. It would be helpful to get
    her/his/their/its take on
    how to make the most
    of the time that is ours
    to work with together. That is not so much a matter
    of how we might access the Psyche,
    as it is how we might open ourselves
    to the Psyche’s outreach to us. The Psyche has been striving
    after our attention and cooperation
    all our life long. Each night’s dreams are one avenue
    the Psyche travels daily.
    Natural objects that have an attraction for us,
    and things that catch our eye
    are other appropriate subjects for meditation/contemplation.
    Things that keep inserting themselves in our life,
    showing up in our life
    are another… Sit with whatever has life about it for you.
    Consider it mindfully
    and see what arises in your awareness–
    and how much you can be aware of
    regarding it.
    Don’t “jump to conclusions,”
    or “rush to judgment.”
    Simply watch, wait and see what happens. Hold everything “in solution” over time.
    Let the yeast rise,
    the wine ferment,
    the stew simmer…
    and see where it goes.
  17. 05/23/2019— Magnolia 2019-05 01 — Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Hardeeville, SC, May 21, 2019 Everything rides on something. Much of the time
    everything rides on someone
    doing what needs to be done
    in the here and now
    of their living. Someone stands up,
    steps up,
    shows up,
    grows up
    some more,
    and does the thing
    that needs to be done,
    the way it needs to be done,
    when it needs to be done,
    and things fall into place
    around that,
    even though no one notices,
    and the future becomes
    exactly what it needed to become. Heroic actions take place every day. Or not. And lives are changed
    for the better
    or for the worse,
    because someone stands up,
    or fails to. Everything rides on something. On someone. And that’s all
    it is ever about. May we know
    when it is our turn.
    And take it. Moment-by-moment-by-moment. All our life long. Doing what needs to be done. Here and now. No matter what.
  18. 05/23/2019— Sunrise Over The Marsh 2019-05 05 — Beaufort, South Carolina, May 21, 2019 By what authority do you live your life? Anthony Stevens said, “A major development in the psycho-therapeutic process when people can give up their dependency on the authority of others and find their own authority in themselves.” We may be able to side-step
    the psycho-therapeutic process
    simply by being the sole authority
    upon which our life is based. Whom are we striving to please?
    Whose opinion of us and our life
    matters most to us?
    Who is the central figure
    whose approval or disapproval
    is most important to us? Identify the culprit!
    Name the thief of your own soul!
    Reclaim your right to your own life!
    Assert your legitimate clam
    to the honor of making your own mistakes!
    Live out of what you call Good!
    In each situation as it arises
    throughout the time left for living! You have two feet!
    Stand on them!
    And let your own experience
    teach you all you need to know
    about good judgment
    and wise choices! Let your Yes be YOUR Yes!
    Let your No be YOUR No!
    Let your life be YOUR life!
  19. 05/23/2019— “I Love Being Me, Doing What I Do!” — Wood Stork 2019-05 01 — Woody Pond Rookery, Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Townsend, Georgia, May 21, 2019 There is the work we do
    to feed our body,
    and there is the work we do
    to feed our heart and our soul–
    the work we feed our body
    in order to do. We live to find and do
    the work we live
    to find and do. The work of body and soul
    has a quietening,
    stilling, It calms us
    like a rocking chair
    calms a crying baby. Our heart is restless
    until we do
    what brings balance,
    restores harmony,
    makes peace. Finding our heart’s true work
    is our soul’s great joy. Where would you go
    to find
    joy? There is your work!
    Go there!
    Do that! While paying the bills
    that allow you to go and do.
  20. 05/24/2019— Red Wing Blackbird 2019-05 01 — Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Hardeeville, South Carolina, May 21, 2019 Jesus was executed by the State
    for being an enemy of the State. Jesus was political to the core. Jesus took the side of the people–
    the people of the land,
    the sinners and tax collectors,
    the untouchables,
    the lepers,
    the Samaritans,
    the women,
    the poor
    and disenfranchised–
    against the religious establishment
    and against the Roman occupation forces
    in every way short of armed resistance. “If you have done it,
    or failed to do it,
    to one of the least
    of my brothers and sisters,
    you have done it,
    or failed to do it,
    to me.” Take that, Evangelical Christians!
    Take that, Mike Pence!
    Take that, Steven Miller!
    Take that, Donald Trump!
    Take that, white supremacists! “Do unto others
    as you would have them
    do unto you!” The two most political acts
    in the entire book of political acts
    are grace and compassion. The next two are justice and mercy. We cannot create an agenda
    based on grace and compassion,
    justice and mercy
    because they are moment-to-moment-to-moment. Jesus raised the dead
    and left the dead to bury the dead. He cursed an innocent fig tree
    and forgave a guilty woman. There is no knowing
    what Jesus would do next.
    There is only knowing
    what grace and compassion,
    justice and mercy,
    would do here, now. And doing it.
  21. 05/24/2019— Little Blue Heron 2019-05 01 Detail — Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Townsend, Georgia, May 21, 2019 Insecurity builds high walls
    (Sound familiar?)
    and kills everything
    that threatens it. And everything threatens it. The people who hate everything
    are threatened by everything
    because they have no foundation,
    no boundaries,
    no identity,
    no self,
    no soul. They are soulless parasites
    feeding on death
    because life threatens them so. The cure for insecurity
    is to risk their own death
    by facing their fear
    and risking everything
    by exposing themselves
    to all that threatens them
    in a “Let’s see if I have
    anything to be afraid of”
    kind of way. Test your fear!
    See if it is valid! See what happens
    if you give what keeps you
    fearfully crouched
    behind the walls
    a big juicy wet one
    right on the kisser!
  22. 05/24/2019— Snowy Egret 2019-05 03 — Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Hardeeville, South Carolina, May 21, 2019 Anthony Stevens said,
    “The unconscious comes to the aid of the conscious ego when it is grappling with a task beyond its capacity.” Dreams, properly understood, are salvific,
    restoring us to a healthy,
    and guiding us along life’s way. They are parables from our Psyche to us,
    describing some aspect of our current experience,
    as if to say,
    “This is what is happening!”
    “This is what you are doing!”
    “This is what you need to be aware of!”
    “This is your life!”
    “Wake up! This is YOU!” As we take up the practice
    of mindful awareness,
    we have to include our dreams,
    and pay attention
    to what is happening
    while we are sleeping.
  23. 05/24/2019— Tupelo Gum Swamp 2019-05 02 — Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Hardeeville, South Carolina, May 21, 2019 If you get this–
    and throw yourself into it
    heart, mind, body, soul, and spirit,
    with nothing held back
    and everything on the line
    in each situation as it arises–
    you will so have it made! This is what I’m talking about: We are responsible
    for stepping into
    each situation as it arises,
    seeing, hearing, comprehending
    what is happening
    and what needs to happen in response–
    and acting in the service
    of what needs to happen
    with the genius,
    at our disposal
    as best we can,
    doing what we think
    needs to be done,
    and being right about it. The being right about it
    is the part I like best. You know the parable Jesus told
    about the guy who buried
    his talent
    because he didn’t want to risk
    being wrong? Don’t be like him! If you don’t have what it takes
    to size up a situation
    and respond to it
    in a way you determine to be
    and proper
    after listening to your body
    (Your heart,
    your belly
    and your bones),
    and to your experience,
    and staying current
    with your nighttime dreams,
    you are being too much like him. Cut it out! We all have to do it
    like we think
    it needs to be done! And be right about it! What’s the problem?
  24. 05/24/2019— Woody Pond Rookery 2019-05 01 Panorama — Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Townsend, Georgia, May 21, 2019 Happy is the right mixture
    of balance,
    and well-being. It is the sense
    that things
    are right
    just as they are. Happy is a certain way
    of being with people
    and things–
    of being right with people
    and things
    just as they are. If we cannot be happy
    with things as they are–
    if we cannot be happy
    unless and until
    something changes,
    we cannot be happy,
    because something
    will always need to be changed
    about something. Be happy with that!
    Be happy with how things are
    including that some things
    need to be changed. How things are
    is not a static state.
    There are no static states.
    Everything is in flux.
    The tide is coming in and going out.
    Happy is not a static state of being.
    Happy is a way of being
    with fluctuation,
    and needing to be changed. Be happy with the dance!
    And dance!
  25. 05/24/2019— The Manor 2019-05 06 — Grove Plantation, Headquarters of the Earnest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Hollywood, South Carolina, May 20, 2019 We have to walk two paths at the same time. Joseph Campbell said we wear two masks:
    The Primary Mask the culture requires of us.
    We have to look like everyone else
    and do the things everyone else is doing
    the way they are doing it.
    We have to fit in. And we have to stand out.
    Campbell called the second mask
    the Antithetical Mask.
    This is the one we fashion for ourselves,
    out of our own sense of who we are
    and what is important to us. Anthony Stevens said,
    talking about Carl Jung,
    “To Jung, the purpose of life was to realize one’s own potential, to follow one’s own perception of the truth, and to become a whole person in one’s own right…If he was to keep faith with himself, he had to go his own way.” This is the situation facing each of us.
    We have to meet the requirements of the culture
    and the demands of our own soul. The trick to walking two paths at the same time
    is to keep one eye on the other one
    while walking the one you are on. We live mindfully aware of belonging to two worlds,
    the world of soma
    and the world of psyche–
    the world of body,
    and the world of soul. And, we have to make our choices
    and be clear about which world
    has priority
    through all of the stages of development,
    so that after the mid-point of our life,
    we become increasingly about
    honoring psyche,
    and decreasingly about serving soma. The last half of life
    belongs to psyche,
    and our place is to see to it
    that she gets her due.
  26. 05/25/2019— 11th Street Docking 2019-05 02 Panorama — Port Royal, South Carolina, May 19, 2019. There is right seeing,
    right hearing,
    right understanding,
    right knowing,
    right doing,
    right being. That’s it.
    That’s all there is to it.
    Get that down
    and there is nothing left to get. There is a catch. You have to do it again
    in each situation as it arises
    all your life long. And, those who see,
    see the same things.
    Those who hear,
    hear the same things.
    Those who understand,
    and are,
    and are
    the same things. The line stretches back
    to the beginning of conscious awareness,
    and forward to the end of the line
    (The line is always ending,
    and the dance is always beginning again). It is a great line of Seers
    transforming the world
    by their way with the world
    throughout time. And the world never knows
    what is going on.
    And cannot know. The secret is
    that you have to know
    what I’m talking about
    to understand what I’m saying–
    and you can’t tell anyone
    who doesn’t already know,
    but hearing is awakened
    by the telling,
    and so,
    we have to tell everyone,
    without being bothered by
    no one listening. Some listen. In each generation,
    the line is long.
    We walk past,
    and with,
    those who know every day
    in our joint work
    of seeing,
    being. Carry on!
    Carry on!
  27. 05/25/2019— Nursery Photos 2019-05 02 — Pike’s Nursery and Garden Center, Charlotte, North Carolina, May 16, 2019 We all are geniuses in our own way. Each of us is gifted
    with genius–
    with a unique combination
    of qualities
    and proclivities
    and perceptual possibilities
    that set us apart
    from everyone else,
    and makes us essential
    to the workings of the whole. There are problems
    with our believing in our genius
    and living so as to actualize it
    in our life. All of the problems
    can be grouped
    under the heading
    of “Self-aggrandizement.” We have our ideas
    of how we would like to be,
    of how we would like things to be. We have to be able to fit in
    with who we are,
    with who we are capable
    of being. Iron Man’s gifts/genius
    isn’t Wonder Woman’s gifts/genius.
    They don’t even belong
    in the same comic book. We cannot have
    what isn’t ours to have. We have to align ourselves
    with who we are,
    with who we are capable of being. It is called
    “Putting ourselves in accord
    with the Tao.”
    “With the Dharma.”
    “With the way of life and being.” We have to be growing up to do it,
    and growing up
    is the hardest thing to do.
  28. 05/25/2019— Beaufort Bay 2019-05 01 Panorama — Beaufort, South Carolina, May 19, 2019 Correct me if I’m wrong about this. When you talk to other people,
    you talk about
    other people,
    activities you engage in,
    or soon will engage in,
    your children/grandchildren. You never talk about your dreams.
    Or about what you love/hate.
    Or about what you would go to hell for.
    Or about what makes your little heart sing.
    Or about what you have found to be true
    out of your own experience.
    Or about the questions that beg to be asked
    out of the above list of choice topics.
    Or about the things that cry out to be said
    out of the above list of choice topics. My challenge to you is this:
    Start talking about the things you never talk about.
  29. 05/25/2019— Donnelley Lotus Flower 2019-05 02 — Donnelley National Wildlife Refuge, Green Pond, South Carolina, May 21, 2019 What is your hunger? Without being hunger-driven,
    we wander aimlessly about
    in search of what,
    we do not know. One thing is as good as another,
    and nothing satisfies us for long.
    We drift through our days,
    from “Maybe this,”
    to “Maybe that,
    to “Maybe that over there.” What are we *hungry* for?
    Until we know,
    we have to be hungry for hunger.
    When that becomes what
    we are searching for,
    at least we know that much. Anthony Storr said, “It is always
    the dissatisfied who triumph.”
    We cannot allow ourselves
    to become satisfied
    with “bread and circuses,”
    with the entertainments
    and sensory pleasures
    the culture pushes
    as compensation
    for lost ends
    and values worthy of us. What is our HUNGER??? We have to know.
    Nothing is more important,
    more necessary,
    more pertinent
    to the time and place
    of our living.
  30. 05/26/2019— Nursery Photos 2019-05 05 — The Tin Man, Pike’s Nursery and Garden Center, Charlotte, North Carolina, May 17, 2019 Jesus always knew what his prospects were,
    and he didn’t let that slow him down. If you are going to love Jesus
    for anything,
    love him for that. And do that like he would do it
    all your life long. Do not allow your prospects
    to alter your course.
    To change the way you live. Do not live in the service of your prospects! Do not live in the service
    of improving your prospects! Live in the service of aligning yourself
    with the truth
    of the moment of your living–
    and of doing what the truth
    of that moment
    calls you to do
    in that moment,
    to hell with what happens
    after that. What happens after that
    is another moment just like this one,
    with another version of truth
    calling us to do what needs to be done
    then and there. The here and now,
    and the then and there,
    are one and the same
    in this way. There is the truth of the moment
    in every moment,
    and the call to do what the truth of the moment
    requires us to do. Moment-after-moment-after-moment. The significance of Jesus
    is that he knew it,
    and he did it,
    and he calls us to follow him,
    in picking up our own cross,
    and wading right into
    moment-after-moment-after-moment. And if they nail us to it,
    so what? We will have done what was ours to do. Moment-by-moment-by-moment. To hell with our prospects!

05/26/2019—  Live solidly aligned with
what you know to be true.
And, if it becomes apparent
that you were wrong,
live solidly aligned with
what you know to be true.

05/26/2019—  I’m saying
when we are wrong,
we have our own reasons
for being wrong,
which we cannot
get to the bottom of
because we hide
the truth of ourselves
and our motives
from ourselves
in order to go on
being who we are,
serving ends
we are unaware of,
being wrong
because it pays us
to be wrong
on some level
we cannot admit,
or consider,
or see.

reasonable people
can disagree.
Because even reasonable people
have their reasons
for being wrong.

05/26/2019  —  If we can be clear
about anything,
it needs to be
what is happening
in each situation
as it arises,
and what needs to be done
in response.


05/26/2019  —  I am sure
if I had known better
what to do,
I would have done it.

Operating out of
a fog of confusion
is the reason
for things
being what they are.

Clarity puts everything
back on track.

Sitting quietly,
being still,
waiting for things
to come into focus
is a good strategy
in most situations.

If you have the time,
take it!

Every time.

  1. 05/26/2019 —  Anhinga 2019-05 02 — Donnelley National Wildlife Refuge, Green Pond, South Carolina, May 21, 2019 We rarely step into a situation
    open to the situation,
    ready to do there
    what needs to be done
    in light of the good
    of the situation as a whole. We step into most of our situations
    with the good of ourselves in mind–
    our own interest,
    and exploiting the situation
    to our perceived advantage,
    and well-being
    regardless of the implications
    that may have
    for anyone
    or anything
    impacted by our actions. This is the guiding principle
    of Capitalism:
    Profit At Any Price!
    Self-interest Above All Other Interests!
    Greed At The Root Of All Motivation! Whose good is served
    by the good we call good? How good is the good we call good? Who are we, really?
    What are we really about? Taking everything into account
    requires us to take everything into account–
    and be responsible,
    and mindful,
    of our choices,
    and the impact
    they have
    on the whole.
  2. 05/26/2019— Red Wing Blackbird 2019-05 02 — Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Hardeeville, South Carolina, May 21, 2019 “Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man
    that he didn’t,
    didn’t already have” (Dewey Bunnell, America). All the important stuff
    resides within,
    waiting for something “out there”
    to call it forth
    in the life
    of those who know what they are waiting for,
    and where to look for it. Waking up
    is waking up to ourselves
    and what we have to offer,
    and trusting it
    to be exactly what we need,
    and what is needed,
    in each situation as it arises,
    calling us forth, Growing us up,
    some more,
    again. Finding ourselves
    is finding our place,
    knowing where we belong
    and where we have no business being,
    and being content
    with who we are,
    where we are,
    when we are,
    how we are,
    offering what is ours to give,
    and letting that be that,
    ever after.
  3. 05/26/2019— Tupelo Gum Tree Swamp 2019-05 05 — Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Hardeeville, South Carolina, May 21, 2019 Practice being who you want to be. The more you practice,
    the more fully you will attain your ideal. I think the most important thing to be
    is grown up. Grown up doesn’t just happen.
    No one grows up accidentally.
    We have to participate
    in the process. Which is ironic
    because we all grow up against our will.
    So we have to will ourselves
    to do what is against our will. We have to submit to the process of maturation,
    and go out of our way
    to do what is being asked of us
    by the situation–
    and do it in a way
    that no one can tell
    we don’t want to do it
    with all that is within us. We graciously do what we
    cannot bear the thought of doing. We do it as though it is our idea,
    as though it is what we want most
    in all the world to do. We, to use AA parlance,
    “fake it until we make it.” That is the path to growing up,
    and we are to practice it daily. We don’t have to be grow up,
    we only have to play the part,
    act the role,
    as though we are in a movie
    that requires us to play someone
    who is growing up. We live as though we are grow up,
    as though we are growing up,
    and we do it with all our heart. As you face a scene,
    a situation,
    in your day,
    ask yourself how a fully grown up person
    would handle themselves
    in that situation,
    and act out their way
    of doing things. Do this throughout the day,
    every day. As you get better at it,
    people won’t know that you
    are not actually grow up,
    that you are just playing the part.
    Don’t tell them!
    Let your audience believe
    you really are grown up,
    and play to the audience.
    It will strengthen your grip on the part,
    and you will even come to believe it yourself. That’s the beauty of it.
    When you can’t tell if you are grow up or not,
    it doesn’t matter.
    You may as well be grow up
    for all the difference it makes
    in the way you are living your life. Continue to play the role,
    and pick another–
    being a writer, say,
    or a cook…
    The possibilities are unlimited. All it takes is practice.
  4. 05/27/2019— Tidal Creek Reflections 2019-05 02 — Near Townsend, Georgia, May 21, 2019 Growing up
    is doing what we do not want to do
    for the sake
    of the situation as a whole. Moms wake up to feed the baby.
    Dads wake up to change the baby’s diaper.
    And so it goes throughout their life,
    not only with the baby,
    but with all the situations
    that come their way. We sacrifice ourselves
    for the good of the whole. IF we are growing up! We do what is Not Us
    for the sake of what Is Us. Growing up is doing what is not life for us
    without losing sight of,
    or being out of touch with,
    what is life for us. Growing up is stepping aside,
    standing back,
    giving way–
    not with pouts,
    and resentment,
    but with grace,
    and compassion,
    and gentleness,
    and kindness–
    because it is the thing to do
    in the situation as it arises,
    all our life long. If we are not willfully living
    against our will,
    in light of a greater good
    than our own,
    we aren’t growing up. And all the world needs
    is a few more grown-ups
    than it has
    in every moment that comes along. Beginning in this one,
    right now.

05/27/2019  —  Sitting still,
being quiet,
taking stock,
waiting for clarity,
has a place
in our life
throughout each day.

  1. 05/27/2019— Beaufort Waterfront 2019-05 01 Panorama — Beaufort, South Carolina, May 19, 2019 In every situation,
    there is the way things are,
    and there is what you can do about it,
    and that’s that. So, what’s with the attitude? Do what you can do
    as best you can,
    and let that be that. With no attitude! The Attitude
    spoils the moment.
    Every moment.
    Any moment. Everything is better
    without The Attitude! In every moment,
    The Attitude
    is something
    you can do something about.
  2. 05/27/2019— Wood Storks 2019-05 05 Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, Green Pond, South Carolina, May 21, 2019 Trust yourself to the situation
    without a particular outcome
    in mind. Allow things to take their own course. Be at peace with what comes of it all. You couldn’t teach a class
    in molecular biology that way,
    but you can treat most of the situations
    in a day like that. Seeing what is happening,
    sensing what needs to happen in response,
    offering that as best you can
    to the extent that it is within your capabilities,
    letting the situation
    take what it needs
    and do what needs to be done with it… Another situation will immediately arise
    at that point,
    and the dance begins again. If you cannot trust things to happen
    according to their own dharma,
    you are likely to gum things up
    with an agenda,
    and a plan of action,
    and a contingency plan
    because you believe
    everything has to be done
    by a recipe. Everything has to be done
    with awareness,
    trusting things to emerge
    of their own accord
    when you are at one with the Stillness,
    and aligned with the Tao of Life and Being. We can’t dance
    with gum on our shoe.
  3. 05/28/2019— Snowy Egret 2019-05 02 — Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Hardeeville, South Carolina, May 21, 2019 Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell
    are at the top of my Go To List
    of teachers, mentors and guides. I’m reading Anthony Storr’s “Solitude,”
    and Storr led me back to Jung. Storr says, “In Jung’s view, the essence of individuality could only be expressed when the person concerned acknowledged the direction of a force within the psyche which was not of their own making.
    “People became neurotic at the mid-point of life because, in some sense, they had been false to themselves, and had strayed too far from the path which Nature intended them to follow.
    “By scrupulous attention to the inner voice of the psyche, which manifested itself in dreams, fantasies, and other derivatives of the unconscious, the lost soul could rediscover its proper path.” We are looking for the path
    back to who we are.
    It has been under our feet
    the entire time. Trust the voice,
    the leading,
    the leaning,
    the drift,
    the current,
    the guidance
    from within. The emerging wonder of you
    is constantly directing you
    to the life
    that is yours to live. All you have to do
    is follow directions–
    from the right source.
  4. 05/28/2019— Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies 2019-05 03 — Catawba River, Landsford Canal State Park, Catawba, South Carolina, May 28, 2019 Listen to me!
    Pickles are GREEN! It’s that simple. Our psyche is the source
    and center of our life. And pickles are green. Why do we say, “So?”
    to the pickles are green statement,
    and ,”Huh? What are you talking about?”
    to the psyche statement? Why do we not KNOW the source
    and center of our life? All we have to do is be still and quiet
    to be flooded with images
    and feelings that do not have their origin
    in anything we are doing. Just sit still and be quiet
    and it is obvious that somethng
    (That would be our psyche)
    is saying something to us.
    Why don’t we try listening? We cannot listen seriously,
    logically, We have to listen playfully. Communication/communion with Psyche
    is a game
    played with our imagination
    using free association,
    what does this trigger in you,
    make you think of,
    make you feel,
    remind you of
    kind of way. Psyche also likes to play
    “Name that pun!”
    and “Sounds like what?”
    and “What am I thinking now?” Sit sill.
    Be quiet.
    And let the games begin!
  5. 05/29/2019— Donnelley Denizen 2019-05 01/02 — Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, Green Pond, South Carolina, May 21, 2019 Listening to ourselves,
    being aware of ourselves,
    and how things are with us,
    and what is going on in our life,
    and how we are responding to it,
    and what our typical response patters are,
    and what the antecedents are
    that put those patterns in place,
    and how being aware of what we do
    and what positions us,
    influences us,
    to do what we do
    instead of doing something else
    that might be more appropriate to the occasion,
    and more helpful to all those involved with the occasion,
    would go a long way toward
    putting us on a different track,
    and create a better impact
    on our umwelt,
    and improve the quality of life
    for everybody in our sphere of influence. It’s all on us
    to be aware of what we are doing
    in order to do things differently. We might start
    with the Jon Kabat-Zinn YouTube videos
    on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
    (The shortest ones first). We have to start somewhere.
    And the sooner we start,
    the better things will be for everyone. Just sayin’…

05/29/2019  —  I have an idea!

Why don’t we just concern ourselves
with living our own life
and trust other people to live theirs?

What is with trying to regiment the lives of others
according to our ideas
about how their life ought to be lived?

Let me take you all the way back
to the French Revolution.

The platform of the revolutionaries was,
“Liberty is anything that doesn’t interfere with the lives of others.”

I don’t see anything wrong with that
for a starting point
for our life together.

05/29/2019  —  “Get Out Of The Way!”

Get out of your own way!
Get out of the way of The Way!

Stop interfering with the way
things need to be!

Learn the difference between
interference and assistance!

Assist without interfering!

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

Sit still.
Be quiet.
Breathe deeply, slowly.
Sleep on it.
See what emerges.

05/29/2019  —  In every situation
there is what is happening
and what needs to happen,
and what needs to not happen.

Where we stand in relation
to the three factors
governing every situation,
and what we do
or strongly influences,
the situation arising
out of the present situation.

We have power
we don’t realize,
or fail to utilize
in each situation
we are a part of.

What we do or fail to do there
is on us.

  1. 05/29/2019— Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies 2019-05 08 — Canada Geese, Catawba River, Landsford Canal State Park, Catawba, South Carolina The primary component of maturity is grace. Immature people cannot be gracious. Children can be gracious,
    kind and gentle,
    but they reach a stage
    where Jesus’ words apply,
    Unless you turn and become like children,
    you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Children grow out of being children,
    and have to mature
    in order to grow back into it. Big hearts and gentle people
    require a measure of maturity. Kindness comes with maturation,
    and grace. It is impossible to be gracious
    and have an agenda,
    and serve an ideology,
    and be a career politician. Then, the appearance of grace (Etc.)
    becomes just another way
    of getting things done. Grace has no ulterior motives.
    It is being gracious
    because that is who we are,
    and what the situation demands. We cannot be who we are
    and do what the situation demands,
    without reaching a certain point
    in the maturation process. Everything about our culture inhibits
    the maturation process. If that is too bold a statement for you,
    what do you find in the culture
    that aids and abets the maturation process? How do the most mature among us
    come by their gentleness and grace?
    My biased bet is the it comes
    from refusing to be a child of the culture,
    and going off on their own
    to grow themselves up
    against cultural directives and desires. Some people are of the bent
    the requires them to face what must be faced
    and do what must be done about it. They don’t get that from the culture.
    The culture wants us to be babies forever.
    It’s good for the economy,
    and politics,
    if we don’t think for ourselves
    and live our own life.
  2. 05/30/2019— Lotus Flower 2019-05 03 — Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, Green Pond, South Carolina, May 21, 2019 I’m determined to do Old differently
    from the way I have watched Old being done
    around me. I’ve spent a lot of time watching Old being done. My career as a minister (Presbyterian Church U.S.A.)
    for 40.5 years
    put me in the company of Old
    on a daily basis. What I saw showed me a lot
    about how not to do it,
    and very little about how to do it.
    The number of people
    I though did Old admirably well
    hoovers between 6 and 11
    because can always remember 6,
    and sometimes can remember 11. I’m not related to anyone
    who did Old well.
    No male on my father’s side
    lived past 65,
    and no male on my mother’s side
    did anything right,
    and the women all did what they were told. So I’ve read a lot looking
    for advice and counsel,
    and have found several things
    worth remembering. All of the authors recommended highly
    “Stay Interested!”
    Carl Jung advised
    “Let the Psyche be your guide all the way!”
    Joseph Campbell said,
    “You are like an old car.
    When the bumper goes,
    say, ‘Well, there goes the bumper,’
    and when a headlight goes,
    say, ‘There goes the headlight.’”
    Lao Tzu said,
    “Do your work, and step back.” They all talk about
    “Engagement Without Enmeshment.”
    And, “Doing What Makes Your Little Heart Sing.”
    And, “Live All The Way To The End.” That’s what the people I have known
    who did Old well did.
    They lived all the way to the end,
    and let it all go in its time. May you say as much about me
    when someone tells you,
    “Well, there goes Jim.”

05/30/2019  —  If my parents had been
more like they should have been,
and if I had had a different
point of origin,
I would be a different person,
I would still shine through.
You would still recognize me.
I would still need to be
more like I should be.

As would we all.

So enough with blaming our parents
and our point of origin.

It all comes down to,
“So what?
Now what?”

This moment is the only one
that matters.

It is the place that redeems
what has gone on before now,
and influences
all that goes on after now.

How we live now
makes all the difference.

Let’s show them who we are–
and find out ourselves.

05/30/2019  —  If you have something to say,
say it,
I say.
If you don’t,

We spend too much of our time
saying things that don’t need to be said,
and not saying things that do.

And, too often,
we don’t know which is which.

Which gets us to where we are.

Where we go from here
is up to us.

05/30/2019  —  Jesus did not come
to save us from our sins
in the way we have
been told to think of it–
though we all come
to save us from our sins
in the only way
that can ever be done.

Jesus’ death had no impact
on a god who had to be appeased
and placated
because human beings
pissed him off,
so he tricked himself
by sending himself
to die in behalf of said human beings,
who, if they believe he died for them
to mollify himself,
will be counted as having never
sinned in the first place,
and will be gathered into
hunky-doryness when they die.

We’ve been handed
a false narrative.

Jesus’ mission
was the same mission
we all have:

To embrace integrity,
put ourselves in accord
with the Tao of existence
within the circumstances
of our life,
and to bear the pain
of the conflict
between who we are
and what life in the physical world
requires of us,
in growing up
and squaring ourselves
with how things are
and how things also are–
and knowing that’s how things are.

The Bahgavad Gita sums it up nicely:
“Get in there and do your thing–
and don’t worry about the outcome!”
(Joseph Campbell).

Or, as Jesus would say,
“If you want to do it well,
pick up your cross daily,
and follow me.”

Every day, we practice living
with integrity,
being ourselves
within the circumstances
of our life,
letting the outcome
be the setting
in which we practice
being ourselves
within the circumstances
of our life
the next day.

It’s all practice.
It’s practice all the way down.
Practice and performance
are the same thing.
That’s as hunky-dory as it gets.

  1. 05/30/2019— Wood Stork 2019-05 03 — Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, Green Pond, South Carolina, May 21, 2019 We were unconscious
    before we were conscious.
    We come unconscious into the world,
    and know what to do from the start. Even now,
    when we are still and quiet,
    sit welcoming the silence,
    and trust ourselves
    to the wisdom and grace
    that meets us there,
    we know what to do. We may not be able to spell Pennsylvania,
    or Massachusetts,
    but we know what we need to do
    about what needs to be done. Where does that come from?
    The center of our soul,
    the ground of our existence,
    the unconscious source of life and being. She brought us here,
    lives with us
    as guardian and guide
    all along life’s way,
    and when it’s done,
    welcomes us home
    to talk about the journey. Or not. We all make up our own stories. The unconscious source of everything
    is one of my favorites.
  2. 05/31/2019— Road 2019-05 01 HDR — Donnelley Wildlife Management Area Auto Tour, Green Pond, South Carolina, May 21, 2019 No Personal Ambition! That’s the first rule of the journey
    back to Eden.
    Back to the Face That Was Yours
    Before You Were Born.
    Back to you. Personal ambition is the root of all sin/evil. Personal ambition got Adam and Eve
    kicked out of the Garden. They don’t get back in
    until they free themselves
    of the burden of personal ambition. Which means they don’t care
    if they get back into Eden or not. What’s it to them? Freedom from personal ambition
    makes Eden wherever they are. Suffering is personal ambition.
    Freedom from suffering
    is release from personal ambition. As soon as we want something,
    we don’t what something else,
    and that’s the end of Eden. To get back to Eden
    we stop wanting anything,
    even nothing,
    for ourselves personally. Personal. Ambition. This doesn’t mean one thing
    is as good as another. It means do what the moment
    calls for from you
    without anything at stake
    in the outcome.
    Without an eye out
    for what’s in it for you.
    Without seeking the advantage.
    Without exploiting the situation
    for your own benefit.
    You know, like that. Live open to what your life-in-the-moment
    needs from you. What is being asked of you by the moment?
    By the situation as it arises?
    If the baby is hungry,
    FEED THE BABY! It’s a different way of living.
    It asks a lot of us.
    Freedom from suffering is suffering
    until we get it.
    Then it is complete freedom.
    Heaven on earth.
    Eden to the max. No. Personal. Ambition. Just living here, now.
    Just doing what needs to be done here, now.
    Chop wood, carry water.
    Eat when hungry, rest when tired.
    With no personal gain plotted into consideration.
    Just life.
    As it is.
    Right now.
    Every now. Of course, we have preferences.
    We have our preferred routines,
    our favorite cup/glass/bowl…
    Of course, some things
    mean more to us than others.
    Of course, there is where we belong,
    and where we have no business being. We live to be good for ourselves,
    to watch out for ourselves,
    to have our own interest at heart–
    but not to the detriment of the situation.
    We do not live at the expense of others. Personal ambition tramples other people.
    This is not a competition.
    Nobody wins.
    Everybody can live.
    In Eden.
    All their life long.

05/31/2019  —  Of course, there is a thin line.
Of course, there is a fine balance.
Of course, it is a slippery slope.
Of course, it is a dangerous path.
Of course, it is like the razor’s edge.

Being on the path
and being off the path.

Being on the beam
and being off the beam.

Being in tune
and being off key.

Being lost
and being found.

Being dead
and being resurrected.

Being alive
and being dead.

Being You
and being Not You.

If it were easy
it wouldn’t be called
the Hero’s Journey.

We dance with the contradictions
all the way.

We walk two paths
at the same time.

The way to do that
is to keep one eye
on the other path
and keep the other eye
on the path we are on
at all times,
waking and sleeping.

It takes practice.

But everything worthwhile does.

There is a thin line between
practice and performance.

It’s all practice.

05/31/2019  —  Sit still.

Be quiet.

See how long
your can
sit still,
be quiet.

Notice what you think about,
sitting still,
being quiet.

What all comes to mind?

Don’t engage emotionally with any of it.

Watch all of it.

Sitting still.
Being quiet.
Watching what comes to mind.

Aim for twenty minutes.

Twice a day.

When you engage with something,

and notice yourself

becoming emotionally involved

with what  you are thinking about,

simply return

to sitting still,

being quiet,

watching what comes to mind.

Twenty minutes.

Twice a day.

05/31/2019  —  The hardest thing
is to admit you are wrong.

The easiest thing
is to keep pounding away,
crashing headlong
into the rock-solid mass of evidence
declaring you to be wrong
in your determination to be right
at all costs.

So it goes with Trump,
his administration,
Republicans in Congress,
and their supporters.

The arrogance of denial
is the end of every good thing.

  1. 05/31/2019— Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies 2019-05 12 — Catawba River, Landsford Canal State Park, Catawba, South Carolina, May 31, 2019 With nothing at stake in the outcome,
    we are free to live the moment
    as the moment needs to be lived.
    That is the ultimate in freedom. Live to have nothing to gain
    and nothing to lose.
    This is the heart of contentment. When our personal ambition
    is to be what the moment
    needs us to be,
    we can move with the drift and flow
    of the situation
    and dance with the music
    generated by the circumstances
    in the time and place of our living. That’s Jazz at its best,
    coming alive with the beat of life,
    looking to show us what we can do
    with the freedom to be who we are
    moment-by-moment-by-moment. I can hear Louis Armstrong chiming in with
    “Oh Yeah!”
  2. 06/01/2019— Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies 2019-05 11 — Catawba River, Landsford Canal State Park, Catawba, South Carolina, May 31, 2019 We feel our way into what.
    We think our way into how. Feeling can block feeling
    and override thinking. Fear blocks all other feeling.
    Hatred blocks all other feeling.
    Rage blocks all other feeling.
    Passion blocks all other feeling. We cannot feel anything
    in the grip of powerful emotions. We need to think about our feeling. Thinking can prevent feeling.
    Reason and logic distrust emotion
    and disallow it its rightful place
    in the work to find and do
    what needs to be done. We need to think about our thinking.
    And feel what we feel about our thinking. We need to sit quietly
    and see what emerges. We need to watch the Jon Kabat-Zinn
    YouTube videos
    and take up the practice
    of mindful awareness
    of every aspect of each moment–
    including what we think and feel. We aren’t going to get anywhere
    until we can be aware of everything.
    But, we keep putting that off.
    What do we think,
    how do we feel,
    about that?

06/01/2019  —  Dissatisfaction reigns.


At the bottom of our dissatisfaction
lies what?

When was the last time contentment reigned?

What was the most contented
period in your life?

What are the sources of your discontent?

The sources of the discontent of the country?

Of the world?

What is driving discontentment?


What will it take to be satisfied?


Sit still!

Be quiet!

See what emerges.

  1. 06/01/2019 —  The Adventure Awaits The Traveler 2019-05 01 — Savannah National Wildlife Refuge Auto Tour, Hardeeville, South Carolina, May 21, 2019 The right thing to do
    in a situation
    exists apart
    from any stake
    anyone has in the outcome. The right thing to do
    in light of the situation as a whole
    takes everything into account
    and serves the overriding
    need of the moment. When the circumstances allow it,
    mowing the lawn
    can be the right thing to do. When the country is swept up
    in revolt or revolution,
    or when the house is on fire,
    mowing the lawn is set aside. What does the circumstances call for?
    What response is appropriate? Gun control is an absolute necessity.
    What is stopping that from happening?
    Mitch McConnell.
    Whose interest is Mitch McConnell serving?
    Why is Mitch McConnell allowed
    to continue blocking the path
    to what needs to be done? Why doesn’t Donald Trump
    issue an executive order,
    or declare a national emergency,
    and institute gun control
    that is an effective and responsible
    response to the situation at hand? Why is the will of the people
    and the need of the moment
    being dismissed/ignored
    in favor of “thoughts and prayers”? Where does that leave us?
    What form shall our rebellion take?

06/01/2019  —  There will always be people
who exploit situations
and other people
to their personal advantage.

Disparity and discrimination will always exist.

There will always be those
who live in the service
of Liberty, Justice, Equality, Truth and Transparency–
and there will always be those who do not.

There will always be those
who live to make things
more like they ought to be
than they are.

And there will always be those
who do not.

Those who need help
should always be helped.
Those who can help
should always help.

But, that will not always be the case.

We cannot create a society,
or a culture,
or a commune,
or even a family,
where everybody lives in good faith
with everybody else.


We can live in good faith
with everybody else,
as best we can.

We can help those who need to be helped
as best we can.

We can live to make things
more like they ought to be
than they are,
as best we can.

We can live in the service
of Liberty, Justice, Equality, Truth and Transparency,
as best we can.

We can live to reduce disparity and discrimination–
and to call it out where we find it,
and work to reduce it where we are able,
as best we can

We can live so as to not exploit
situations and other people
to our advantage,
as best we can.

Let’s do,
shall we?

  1. 06/01/2019— Red Barn with White Fence 2019-05 02 Panorama — Chester County, South Carolina, May 31, 2019 I don’t care what has happened to us,
    or failed to happen. I don’t care what we have done,
    or failed to do. No matter what our past contains,
    its primary value
    is that it has gotten us this far. Here we are.
    Now what? “Now what?” is the essential question. “So what?” to everything else!
    “Now what?” is all that matters! Turn your attention away from
    everything else.
    Focus on “Now what?”
    with your heart,
    and mind,
    and body,
    and soul. Listen to your heart.
    Listen to your mind.
    Listen to your body
    (Belly and bones).
    Listen to your nighttime dreams
    (Where Soul/Psyche speaks the clearest
    and most often).
    Over time. Sit still,
    be quiet,
    see what emerges. Do not think whatever emerges
    is The Answer,
    and run off to do its bidding. Whatever emerges is The Test.
    Ask it all of the questions
    that beg to be asked of it.
    And of the answers to the questions. If there is a compelling urgency
    about it at any point,
    don’t take it seriously.
    It is another aspect of The Test. Tell it to slow down,
    and ask it all of the questions
    that beg to be asked of it.
    If there are no obvious stop signs,
    move slowly in the direction
    that seems to be indicated. If you hit resistance,
    don’t take it as a sign.
    Consider it to be another test.
    And take the next step
    in the direction of your bearings. If you encounter assistance,
    open doors,
    don’t take it as a sign.
    Consider it to be another test.
    And take the next step
    in the direction of your bearings. Sitting still,
    being quiet,
    and checking with your inner guides
    every step along the way. If we all will do this,
    the next time we chat,
    we will have a lot to say.
  2. 06/02/2019— Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies 2019-05 13 — Catawba River, Landsford Canal State Park, Catawba, South Carolina, May 31, 2019 The only thing wrong with us
    is our terminal immaturity. We kept growing older,
    but we quit growing up
    around the 8th grade. We still think getting/having
    what we want is important. That sex matters. That being popular
    is what it’s all about. That money is the solution
    to all of our troubles. That having everyone like us,
    and being like everyone else,
    is the sure key
    to happiness ever after. That thinking will get us there. That we know where “there” is. That life isn’t worth living
    if it doesn’t go our way. That we don’t need to pay attention
    or follow directions. That we can live in the service
    of whatever is attractive
    at the moment
    without paying any price ever. That somebody will make up our bed,
    pick up our clothes,
    wash our underwear,
    call us to dinner,
    take care of all of the responsibilities
    living entails,
    and leave us free to complain
    about the food and the service
    all our life long.
  3. 06/02/2019— Discordant Harmony — Catawba River, Landsford Canal State Park, Catawba, South Carolina, May 31, 2019 Pick a value,
    any value,
    for your central,
    stand alone,
    source of all the other values,
    and designate it
    The Unmovable Rock Of Existence!
    The Ground Of Life And Being!
    The One And Only And Everlasting One! Select the secondary values
    and arrange them
    in an order pleasing to you
    around The Core Value
    At The Heart Of All Values. Stand before them
    and wear your eternal allegiance
    and liege loyalty
    to them all. Make them your foundation,
    and your service to them
    your life. Recall your commitment daily.
    Reaffirm it weekly.
    Live it out
    in each situation as it arises
    in every moment
    for as long as you live,
    no matter what. The world will be better for it,
    and you will be a better person.

06/02/2019  —  We have to know what grounds us,
centers us,
focuses us,
calls us forth,
sends us out
in its service
through the heaving waves
of the wine dark sea.

What do we live for?
What would we die for?
What would we go to hell for?

If we don’t know,
we better be looking
everywhere for it.

Everything flows from there.

  1. 06/02/2019— The Road Through Eden 2019-05 02 — Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, Auto Tour, Green Pond, South Carolina, May 21, 2019 The kind of freedom that sets us free
    is the freedom of having nothing at stake
    in the outcome–
    nothing to to lose
    and nothing to gain–
    in any situation that comes along. With nothing riding on the outcome,
    we are free do do exactly
    what needs to be done,
    in light of all things considered,
    let come what may,
    in any situation that arises. We get to that place of freedom
    by seeing clearly
    into the heart
    of how things are,
    and knowing”” This is the way things are,
    and this is what can be done about it
    and that’s that.
    That’s how things are.” What are we going to do about it? That depends on the values we serve,
    and the ends we seek,
    and what we care most about. What we are going to do about
    what needs to happen
    in any situation
    who we are
    and what is important to us. It removes from us all our masks
    and personas,
    and pretenses,
    and presents us
    full monty,
    in the striptease performance
    sense of the term,
    for all to see. What are we serving?
    What are we trying to achieve?
    What are we striving to accomplish?
    What are we trying to do?
    What are we up to?
    What are we about?
    Who are we kidding? All the answers are plainly revealed
    in what we do about
    how things are. Only having nothing to gain
    and nothing to lose
    sets us free from having to get or keep
    in doing what needs to be done
    about how things are. Anything else
    positions us to guard our interests
    and exploit the situation
    to our perceived advantage.
    And in that,
    we are hardly free.
  2. 06/03/2019— Day Lily 2019-06 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 2, 2019 There is a proper sequence to everything.
    First the pants,
    then the shoes. If we do things out of order,
    there is always hell to pay. First the pain,
    then the realization. When we go for realization first
    in order, we hope,
    to avoid the pain,
    there is pain on top of pain. Then we meet pain
    on the road we take
    to avoid it. And things are set back in place
    for the proper sequence–
    IF we don’t muck them up
    with escape,
    all of which lead
    to more pain
    waiting for us to wake up
    and take the path
    to realization. Here’s what we realize:
    First death,
    then life. If we won’t die,
    we will never live. Jesus and I both stand before you
    offering you life
    spilling out,
    but there is a catch. First, you have to die.
    You have to embrace the agony
    (Paul said, “I have finished the agone…”
    First the agony,
    then the new life)
    in order to be alive. What is your agony?
    What is it that alcohol,
    or marijuana,
    or your drug of choice,
    or your preferred addiction,
    enables you to bear?
    (Or to hide from and never bear?) There lies realization
    in a bottle,
    or in a joint,
    waiting for you to wake up,
    get it,
    and come finally to life. The path to life
    winds through Gethsemane
    and across the face of Golgotha. First death.
    Then life. It is death,
    and it is hell,
    allowing the agony to be. Accepting the fact of the agony
    is the first step
    to making our peace with it. Welcome the agony!
    “Hello, darkness, my old friend!
    I’ve come to talk with you again…”
    (Paul Simon) “What we seek (Life)
    lies far back in the cave
    we most don’t want to enter (agony).”
    (Joseph Campbell) We have to form a new relationship
    with our agony.
    Rumi’s “The Guest House,”
    is a good place to begin. Whatever you are running from,
    stop running!
    Turn and face the demon.
    Walk right up to it,
    thank it for its gift to you,
    and plant a big juicy wet one
    right on its kisser. And dance with it for the rest of time. Death and Life are one thing.
    First comes dying
    to the way you want things to be.
    Then comes living joyfully,
    with the way things are. People are always taking their own life
    because the pain is so great.
    They are right about having to die,
    but wrong about suicide as the way of dying. We have to die with our eyes wide open,
    breathing, eating, bearing the pain all the way.
    That’s the kind of death
    that leads to life.
    The other kind just leads
    to being dead. Die without being dead!
    That’s the ticket
    to life everlasting,
    beginning now. (The everlasting part
    has to do with understanding
    “Now” as eternity.
    Now is eternal, everlasting, unending.
    Now is all there is.
    If we have Now,
    we have it all.
    But, you can’t take my word for it.
    My word alone is nonsense.
    You have to experience Now
    to know what I’m talking about.
    And Now is here right now.
    Why wait?
    Jump in!)

06/03/2019  —  Making our peace
with our life
is our life’s work.

Once we do that,
the rest is comes naturally.

The face that was ours before we were born
falls smoothly into place,
who we are is the most obvious
thing about us,
what we do
in each situation as it arises
is perfectly fitting
to the situation,
and we follow the flow
of our life
as rivers flow to the sea.

What is keeping you
from making your peace
with your life?

What is unacceptable to you
about your life?

That’s where you get to work.

Nothing can happen until
that happens.

06/03/2019  —  Establishing boundaries,
drawing lines,
setting limits,
saying, “STOP!”.
defining yourself,
being you
in relation
to everyone else
is the quintessential act–
the one act most characteristic–
of human beinghood.

We have to say who we are.
We have to define where we start
and everyone else stops.
No one can do that for us,
though everyone tries.

It is our responsibility,
and ours alone.

And, we have to pay the price
of being so bold.

Other people won’t like it.
That has to be okay with us.
They will wail
and pout
and cast about.
They will call us names,
and hang up the phone.
They will threaten to tell our parents,
or threaten to take us out of their will…

Other people will go to extreme lengths
to get us to erase our lines,
say, “I’m sorry,”
and promise never to do it again.

Our place is to let them act out
their devastation at the very idea
that we should be who we are
and not who they want us to be.
We should let them be, say, or do
whatever they want in reacting
to our lines and boundaries.
And maintain our lines and boundaries.

If they never like us again, fine.
We don’t need people in our life
who cannot respect our lines
and honor our boundaries.

“Oh, I thought you LOVED me!”
has to be met with,
“I love you, but.
You have to understand this about me
if you are going to love me back.”

Hold your ground.
Let them buck and snort.
And hold your ground.

“I love you, but,”
Draws lines.
“I love you, and,”
invites relationship
on your terms.
“And this is who I am.
“Who are you?

06/03/2019  —  Silence and solitude,
perspective and perception,
seeing and hearing,
knowing and understanding,
attention and awareness
are weapons
of resistance and revolution.

No super hero was better equipped
to deal with her circumstances,
with his umwelt,
with their sitz im leben.

And, they are all ours
for the low, low price
of practice, practice, practice.

06/03/2019  —  There is so much to say
I will never be able to say it all.
It would help if I didn’t repeat myself,
but you can’t hear some things too often,
and everything I say,
I say because I need to hear it.
If you find something here
you can use,
Help yourself.
If there is nothing here for you,
may you find what you are looking for
somewhere else.
All of this is primarily
for me,
except the part about
never voting for another Republican
again, ever.
That’s for everyone.

  1. 06/03/2019 —  The Adventure Awaits The Traveler 2019-05 02 — Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Hardeeville, South Carolina, May 21, 2019 Once we have achieved clarity
    regarding what matters most,
    we are free from the claims
    of all the lesser aspirants
    to the title,
    and can live as simple servants
    of that which is worthy
    of our liege loyalty
    and lifelong devotion. What matters most?
    Everything falls into place
    around that. Everything flows from that,
    leads to that. Our life revolves around that. It is our center,
    our ground,
    our rock
    and foundation. It is awareness for me.
    Knowing what’s what
    and what needs to be done
    in response to it. Seeing,
    and responding
    in ways appropriate
    to the occasion. What’s it for you?
    How does your life
    exhibit its value to you?

06/03/2019—  Why is it easier to land people
on the moon
than to treat all people well?

Why can’t we treat all people well?

Jesus died not knowing that.

And the Buddha…

The list is long.

My name will be on that list,
and yours.

Why mistreat anybody?

Everyone knows how they
would like to be treated.

Why doesn’t everyone
treat everyone
like they would like to be treated?

Cruelty has a better survival rate
than kindness.

Neanderthal was the gentle,
compassionate species.

Cro-Magnon, not so much.

Survival of the fittest
is a poor measure of fit.

Cruelty may survive into
the long eons and ages to come,
but its life isn’t worth living.

I’ll throw my lot in with the tenderhearted,
and soften the world around me
as best I can,
and encourage others
to do the same.

  1. 06/04/2019 —  Black-crowned Night Heron 2019-05 01 — Woody Pond, Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Townsend, Georgia, May 21, 2019 The next thirty years,
    and beyond,
    aren’t going to be
    your dream come true. More like a nightmare. We are standing on the edge
    of a future
    unlike anything the earth
    has seen
    since the last near extinction. We need to make it as livable
    as we can,
    for as long as we can. “Survival” and “survivalists”
    are terms that have come to mean
    “killing everyone not like you are
    and outliving them all.” Rambo comes to mind
    as the quintessential survivalist. My personal idea is more along the lines
    of a Latino grandmother
    who knows what to do
    with a little flour and rice. Give her the philosophy/psychology
    of Lao Tzu,
    and you have my ideal. We have to be formulating
    a corporate vision
    of what it means to survive
    catastrophic climate conditions world wide,
    and coming up with a clear sense
    of the what,
    the why,
    and the how. We have to develop the mentality
    of survivalists–
    letting come what’s coming,
    and letting go what’s going,
    without “a hitch in our stride.” “This is the way things are,
    and this is what we can do about it,
    and that’s that.” No opinions,
    no judgment,
    no emotional attachment
    to our idea of how things ought to be–
    just seeing,
    just knowing,
    just accepting what we have to work with,
    and getting to work
    in light of the best we can imagine
    for as long as life is possible. We need to start practicing this outlook The Jon Kabat-Zinn YouTube videos
    are also essential
    for providing a foundation
    that enables us to deal with anything. If we aren’t preparing,
    we’re despairing.
    No time for that.
    Time is short.
    There is much to be done,
    growing ourselves up,
    squaring ourselves up,
    standing ourselves up,
    and stepping into what’s coming
    as those who are going
    to make the best
    out of the worst.

06/04/2019  —  In any,
in every,
there are three questions:
What is happening?
What are the implications for us personally?
What can we do about it?

“If you meet an elephant
coming toward you
along the path,
get off the path!”

Assessment and appraisal
are the elements of triage.
What is needed?
What do I need to do about it?
What is called for?
How can I help?

Seeing, hearing, knowing, understanding
flow automatically,
into doing and being.

If we are interfering emotionally
with that process,
we need to see that
and respond accordingly.

It doesn’t matter how we feel
about it.
What do we need to do
about it
is the question.

Being still and quiet
are good first things to do.

We take stock,
take inventory,
assess and appraise
the situation,
attend our breathing,
create a space,
focus on seeing, hearing, knowing, understanding.
And move,
as needed,
into doing and being.

Awareness leads to action.
First awareness,
then action.

Practice that
as you go through your day.

Practice is preparation is performance
being perfected.

Everything is practice for something.
Why not practice for something helpful
in each situation that arises?

  1. 06/05/2019. — Road to Botany Bay 2014-12 01 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, December 7, 2014 At any moment,
    there may arise situations,
    about which nothing can be done The situation is out of our hands. Even in those situations,
    we can do something about
    being unable to do anything about
    the situation. We can: Remember our breathing.
    Stand pat.
    Sit tight.
    Be still.
    Be quiet.
    Attend the stillness.
    Open to what might emerge. Pay attention to the here and now.
    Be alert.
    Be awake.
    Be aware of what is happening.
    Bear the pain/anguish/anxiety/fear/etc.
    Be a calm and calming presence.
    Look for ways of doing
    what would be helpful
    in the absence
    of anything
    that would actually help the situation.
    … Waiting it out.
    Waiting for the shift
    that comes eventually
    to all situations.
    Waiting for the time to act.
    Tending to what can be tended to,
    even here,
    even now,
    even yet.
    Doing what needs to be done
    even when nothing can be done.
    … Remaining centered,
    upon who we are
    and what we are about. Being who we are,
    doing what is ours to do,
    even here,
    even now,
    even yet. When the situation
    is out of our hands,
    we shift our attention
    to the aspects of the situation
    that remain in our hands,
    doing there what needs to be done,
    even here,
    even now,
    even yet–
    even so.
  2. 06/05/2019. — Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies 2019-05 05 — Canada Geese, Catawba River, Landsford Canal State Park, Catawba, South Carolina, May 28, 2019 Faith is trust in our ability to discern
    what needs to be done
    in each situation as it unfolds before us–
    and in our ability to rise
    to any occasion
    in meeting our circumstances
    in ways that are fitting
    to the occasion,
    and helpful in service
    to the good of the situation
    and to the people impacted by it. Our practice in accord with
    our assessment of the needs of the moment
    is our religion.
    What we do is our faith in action. Theology,
    are all matters of opinion. But what is important
    is not what we think,
    but what we do–
    how we live
    in the time and place of our living,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment. Who we say we are
    is not necessarily
    who we show ourselves to be. It is our practice
    that demonstrates who we are.
    What we say
    is always seen in light
    of what we do. Believe whatever you want
    as long as it enables you
    to do what needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises.
  3. 06/05/2019 —  Little Blue Heron 2019-05 01 — And Wood Stork, Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Townsend, Georgia, May 21, 2019 There is unconscious
    (i.e., Things Of Which
    We Are Not Conscious)
    stiff going on all of the time. We like this and not that.
    How clear/conscious are we
    about what we like about this
    and do not like about that? Can we get to the bottom of anything? At some point,
    will have to be answered with
    “I don’t know.” We are not the master of our destiny,
    or the captain of our ship. We don’t know what is guiding
    our boat on its path through the sea. And the more we do know,
    the less flexible and fulfilling
    our life is. What makes your little heart sing?
    Why that and not something else instead?
    We don’t know. Why do we do what we do?
    Why do we choose this and not that?
    What is behind it all?
    At the bottom of it all? I sit down to write,
    and that is the end
    of my responsibility.
    I’m always excited to see
    what I’ll write,
    and always surprised
    at what I have written. I walk into a scene with a camera.
    Why do I stop when I stop,
    stand where I stand,
    set up the tripod where I set up the tripod?
    Why do I feel like the marsh lands
    this trip
    and not the mountains,
    or vice versa? What leads me to one restaurant
    and not another?
    To one menu item
    and not another? Master of my destiny?
    Captain of my ship?
    That’s like saying
    I know beforehand
    what will catch my eye,
    turn my head,
    and change my life on a dime. The conscious world
    is grounded upon the unconscious world. Primitive peoples have always known this.
    It has been known
    from the beginning of time. You might think
    we would work consciously
    to collaborate with the unconscious
    in the life we are living together.
    Not to exploit that world
    in the service of this world,
    but to improve our chances
    of living the life that has our name on it–
    instead of striving to make
    the life we have in mind fit
    (which it never will do). I wonder why we don’t.
  4. 06/06/2019— The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 2015-01 13 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, January 28, 2015 The outstanding features of the conscious world are:
    Personal Ambition
    Profit At Any Price
    Success At All Costs
    Public Face/Private Face
    And on and on like this… The outstanding features of the unconscious world are:
    Good faith
    Knowing what matters most,
    and being grounded in it, upon it
    Doing what needs to be done,
    the way it needs to be done,
    when it needs to be done,
    as long as it needs to be done
    And on and on like this… You can see why the conscious world
    might not want to have
    anything to do
    with the unconscious world. And, you can see why it must.

06/06/2019  —  Consciousness cannot submit to unconsciousness.

Cannot even grant unconsciousness the recognition
of its existence.

Consciousness has to own the show.

Has to BE the show.

And White Consciousness
is the supreme form of consciousness
(From white people’s perspective).

Consciousness considers itself
to be the supreme form of life,
and White Consciousness
is the supreme form of the supreme form
(From white people’s perspective).

Doing it the way White People do it
is the only way to do it.

“It” being everything.

Arrogance is consciousness’ schtick.
The source of its swagger.
The ground of its game.

Consciousness could use some humility.

White Consciousness could use a lot of humility.

We will never live long enough
to see it happen,
even if we never die.

06/06/2019  —  I wrote this in response to Paul Salazar regarding his question about how I understand the Conscious and the Unconscious worlds:

The Conscious world is the visible, physical world of tangible reality. The Unconscious world is the invisible, spiritual world of intangible reality. Logic and reason connect us to the visible world, feeling, intuition, sensing the more-than-meets-the-eye connect us to the Unconscious world (so-called because we are not conscious of it). We live with a foot in each world, whether we know it, consciously, or not. We are citizens of both worlds, and the more aware of that we are, the better we live, the more fully we live, in both worlds. We bridge the worlds when we consciously work to become conscious of all that we are unconscious of.

It’s like wave-lengths. We see a certain range of light, we hear a certain range of sound, and we perceive a certain range of reality. We can expand the range of reality we perceive by consciously opening ourselves to “the other world,” by becoming aware of how much of it we actually are experiencing all of the time, and of the things that transport us to an experience of the other world. Art, music and nature belong to the category of those things that transport us into the numen, into the ineffable, into that which cannot be said, or shown, but can be seen/felt/known if not understood.

The danger, not that it is dangerous, but that it “kills the deal” by disrupting the connection with the other world, is the attitude of exploitation that we are wont to take with regard to the other world. We want to use it to our advantage in achieving our ends in this world. Not so fast. Our proper place is to collaborate with the other world in living the life that is ours to live, that is good for the planet and for all people, knowing our place and remaining in it as servants of the whole. When we try to use the other world for our own good, however we think of that, we “kill the deal,” and make things worse than they were before we knew about the other world.

06/06/2019. —  The Unconscious world seems
to know more about–
and to care more about–
timing–in the sense of what it is time for,
and what it is not time for
(A time to sow, a time to reap, etc.),
being in-sync with the moment,
living in ways appropriate to the occasion,
beauty (in the “just right” sense of the word),
than the Conscious world.

The Unconscious world upholds the Conscious world.

The Conscious world would be a chaotic power struggle
if it were not for the beauty
and grace
of the Unconscious world.

The Conscious world dies
to the extent that it cuts itself off
from the quiet values and qualities
of the Unconscious world.

06/06/2019. —  If we take care of our spirit,
our spirit will take care of us.

Our spirit is the manner
in which we go about our life.

We take care of our spirit
by doing what we believe in,
and believing in what we do.

We cannot just “go through the motions”
and have much spirit about us.

We are here to LIVE!
To “have life,
and have it abundantly”!

We can’t do that without doing
what we believe,
and believing in
what we are doing.

Elan vital and libido are terms
describing our energy for life,
for the tasks of life,
for the work of our life,
our life’s work–
which is probably not
what we do to pay the bills.
It is what we pay the bills to do.

*That* is what we have to believe in!
Believing in that,
and doing it,
is taking care of our spirit.

If we take care of our spirit,
our spirit will take care of us.

06/06/2019. — . Finding our life and living it
starts with believing we have a life to live
and realizing that we don’t know what it is.

Odysseus goes in search of himself,
his identity and purpose.
We all seek the same thing.

Who are we?
What are we to be about?

Even now!
Even yet!

Where do we start?

It all starts in the silence!

Sit still.
Be quiet.
See what emerges.
Explore that.
Investigate that.
Play with that.
Get to the bottom of that.
Where does that lead?

You are on your way!

  1. 06/06/2019— 11th Street Docking 2019-05 03 Panorama — Port Royal, South Carolina, May 19, 2019. If you are going to believe in something,
    believe in your guide and guardian
    and in your powers. Your guide and your guardian
    is your integrity. Your sense of who you are,
    and who you are not–
    of where you belong,
    and where you have no business being,
    of what your business is
    and is not,
    of what you are here to do
    and do not…
    will guide and protect you
    all along the way. Your powers
    are your perspective
    and your perception,
    your awareness,
    your vision,
    your ability to see what you look at,
    and hear what you listen to,
    to know what is happening
    and what implications that has
    for you
    and each situation as it arises–
    and what needs to be done in response. Your gifts,
    your genius,
    your daemon,
    your connection
    with your psyche/soul/Self,
    your interests,
    and tendencies. We come loaded
    with what it takes
    to find our life
    and live it. Don’t be selling out
    for thirty pieces of silver,
    or its modern day equivalent–
    or bread and circuses.
  2. 06/07/2019— Anhinga 2019-05 03 — Woody Pond, Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Townsend, Georgia, May 21, 2019 It’s all on you! No one can do it for you! You have to stand up,
    grow up,
    step up,
    and do your thing
    the way it ought to be done
    in each situation as it arises
    all your life long. Whether you want to or not,
    whether you feel like it or not,
    whether you are in the mood for it or not
    whether it is convenient or not–
    in all weather conditions,
    around the clock
    every day
    for no reason
    other than you are you,
    and nobody can be you but you,
    and it is up to you to be who you are,
    where you are,
    when you are,
    how you are
    all your life long. You can spit on that if you want to.
    Cast it aside.
    Throw it away.
    Ridicule it.
    Denounce and deny it.
    Have nothing to do with it.
    Ignore it and forget it.
    As though it doesn’t matter.
    As though 10,000,000,000 + things
    are more important. Are you going to believe in you,
    and live as though you do,
    even so–
    or not? It’s all on you!
  3. 06/07/2019— The Road Through Eden 2019-05 03 — Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, Green Pond, South Carolina, May 21, 2019 We don’t get to choose our choices,
    or select our circumstances.
    If we did,
    we would never grow up. We all grow up against our will. Growing up asks hard things of us.
    It pushes us past our idea of our limits.
    It forces us to rise to one occasion
    after another–
    when we would prefer
    to avoid all the damn occasions entirely. The choices we have to make–
    and must make–
    and the circumstances that are ours
    to deal with,
    pull us forth,
    bring us out,
    show us who we are
    and what we are capable of. Otherwise,
    we would immerse ourselves
    in soft and cushy,
    smooth and easy,
    sit on the beach
    and drink beer
    (or opt for some equally
    empty equivalent)
    all our life long–
    talking about all the things
    we are going to do one day,
    or could,
    if we wanted to. Our life gives us the choices
    and the circumstances
    it needs us to have
    in order for us to live it. Our place is to stand up,
    step up,
    grow up,
    suck it up,
    do what needs us to do it,
    and show ourselves who we are–
    all our life long.

06/07/2019  —  We owe ourselves
the privilege and honor
of making our own mistakes–
and not allowing someone else
to make mistakes in our behalf
by telling us what to do
and how to do it,
and being wrong about it.

If anyone is to be wrong
about how to live our life,
let it be us!

We will have gained valuable experience,
and learned lessons
that would have remained
unavailable to us
under someone else’s tutelage.

Ours is the sole authority over our life.
That role does not belong to Jesus,
or the Buddha,
or the Dalai Lama,
or our parents,
or our spouse,
or their stand-ins!

It is ours alone to say what we will do
and how we will do it,
and who we will show ourselves to be
over the full course of living our life.

It is our place–
and we must not surrender it
to any of those
who think they know best,
and must be pleased or else.

Take the “or else,”
and allow them to go their way
without you in tow.
That will not be a mistake,
no matter how many mistakes
may follow.

06/07/2019  —  What we believe
comes from the bottom up,
from the inside out,
as the truth of our body’s
lived experience of our work
in the world.

Our faith is grounded
in the truth of our experience.
We live tomorrow
based on what we know
from having lived today.

Over time, the truth of our experience
is honed to a fine edge,
like the edge of a razor,
separating truth from falsehood.
and the way things are
from the way things are not.
And guiding us in what to do
in light of what needs to be done
within the circumstances
of the moment at hand.

Those who know all know the same things.
Those who know not
argue over fine points of theology
and doctrine,
split hairs,
and count angels dancing
on the head of a pin.

And, if they could know with assurance
the answers to all of the questions,
in all of their catechisms,
they would not know anything
that would help them with what to do
in each situation that arises
over the rest of their life.

Faith that comes to us from the top down
and the outside in,
in the form of beliefs we are told to believe,
is useless in its inability
to know what our life is asking of us
and how we are to respond to that
in ways that are appropriate
to the occasion.

When Carl Jung was asked
if he believed in God,
he replied, “I don’t believe–
I know!”

He had lived his way into the presence
of That Which Has Always Been Called God,
and knew, in the words of the Oracle at Delphi,
“Invoked or not invoked,
God will be there.”

I find the word “God” to mean
so many different things,
that I use the word Stillness
to convey the truth of More Than Words Can Say
at the center of ourselves–
which we all can experience
for ourselves,
simply by being quiet
and returning to the Source.

  1. 06/07/2019— Lake Chicot 2019-04 05 — The Boat House, Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, April 24, 2019 Our practice is the foundation of our faith.
    We do not believe ourselves into doing–
    we do ourselves into believing. What is to be believed
    flows out of our practice: The validity of the stillness
    at the bottom of everything,
    and the origin of all that is. The grounding foundation
    of the Invisible World. The importance of knowing what is important,
    and living as though it is important. The place of values
    proven to be valuable
    over the age of the species
    as the origin of our practice
    and the guide for our daily life. The place of silence and solitude
    as the source
    of guidance and direction,
    in perceiving what is happening,
    what needs to happen,
    and what needs to be done about it. (When you don’t know what to do,
    say, “I need to be quiet about that,”
    and wait silently to see what emerges.) Our practice is the avenue
    to seeing
    and being. Our practice consists of
    Sitting still.
    Being quiet. Listening.
    Embracing contradiction.
    Bearing our anxiety,
    and the pain
    of knowing
    and not-knowing,
    in seeing what is happening,
    what needs to happen,
    what needs to be done about it
    and how we can assist
    what needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises–
    and doing it–
    all our life long.
  2. 06/08/2019— Lotus Flower 2019-05 04 — Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, Green Pond, South Carolina, May 20, 2019 I mingle with
    and walk past
    too many people
    who have quit,
    given up
    and have settled for
    going through the motions
    until the coroner
    or an attending physician
    makes it official. They lived their entire life
    without ever living their life,
    and died a long time
    before it was over. You can see it in their eyes,
    in their slack expression,
    in their gait
    which emphatically declares,
    “I’m not going anywhere.” Do! Not! Become! One! Of! Those! People! Easier said than done. Here’s how to do it: “Know Thy Self!”
    “To Thine Own Self Be True!” Believe in YOU!
    Believe in what is yours to do!
    Do it!
    Whether it pays off or not! Too many people look for
    The Payoff.
    Too few people honor
    what is theirs to do,
    and serve it with their life. Too many people sell themselves out
    for what they think is worth having,
    and neglect what is worth having
    in the service of what is not. Their little heart ceased to sing
    countless years ago. Living took the life out of them. Many, if not most,
    of them were told
    to believe in Eternal Life
    and gave up on this one. What they all needed to know
    was how to live this life
    to the fullest
    in all living conditions–
    was how to keep our conditions
    from taking our life from us. Some people can live through anything.
    Some people cannot live with everything. Find the difference between
    those sets of people
    and you hold the key
    to having it made. Just knowing there is something to find
    sets you to looking.
    Do not die without having found it! Here’s a hot tip for you:
    It is to be found within!
  3. 06/08/2019— Sunrise 06/03/2019 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 3, 2019 Listen to your body:
    Listen to your heart (What makes your little heart sing?)
    Listen to your stomach (What is your Gut Feeling?)
    Listen to your bones (What do you know in your bones?) Listen to your nighttime dreams. Listen to your intuition.
    Listen to your instincts.
    Listen to what resonates with you.
    Listen to that “Uh-oh feeling.” Listen to your experience. Listen to the silence—see what emerges. Listen to your feeling:
    We feel our way to what.
    We think our way to how.
    Notice what feels right
    and what feels wrong. “Some things can be experienced,
    but not understood.
    Some things can be understood,
    but not explained.” (Sheldon Kopp) Engage in internal dialogue with yourself.
    Ask questions and answer them.
    Ask the questions that beg to be asked by the answers. Say the things that cry out to be said—
    at least internally,
    and externally when the circumstances allow it. Notice everything. Take up the practice of mindful awareness—
    and devote yourself to it.
    Watch all of the Jon Kabat-Zinn YouTube videos
    (The shortest ones first). Become proficient at attending the present moment—
    without becoming emotionally engaged,
    without judgment or opinion,
    but with compassionate awareness
    and acceptance of the fact that this is happening
    and that is not happening. Endeavor to see what you look at,
    to hear what you listen to,
    to know what’s what
    and what needs to be done about it
    in each situation as it arises. Practice. Practice. Practice is performance.
    Performance is practice.
    What is our practice?
    What are we practicing?
    The right practice makes all the difference!

06/08/2019. —  Alan Watts asked Joseph Campbell,
“Joe, what form does your yoga take?

Campbell replied,
“I underline passages.”

I prefer the question,
“What form does your Art take?”
Because, to my way of thinking,
we all are artists of some kind
or another.

Our Art is our life.
It is what we pay the bills to do.
We all are Performing Artists.

What is your Art?

06/08/2019. —  Opioids are an easy out
for those who have given up hope
of finding their way in the world.

It seems hopeless
and too hard
because they don’t have
the resources
or the background
that would enable them
to face up
to their situation
and their circumstances,
and find what it takes
to find their way
to their life
and live it.

I blame the culture
and the false expectations
the culture engenders in,
and the paltry foundation
the culture lays for,
the children born into the culture.

And all the attention and concern
is on the fetus.
The child can go straight to hell
as far as the culture
and the servants of the culture
are concerned.

And a pregnant child
can go straight to hell twice.

You can’t have an abortion,
but you can have all the opioids
you want.

06/08/2019. —  Find your life and live it,
and let everything else
fall into place around that.

Who you marry,
where your work,
how many children you have,
every single thing.

If it is too late
for the marriage part,
and the children part,
and the work part,
work on the everything else part.

But, whatever it takes,
find your life and live it.

Pay the bills in a way
that allows you to still have a life.

  1. 06/08/2019— Cypress Swamp 2019-04 04 — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, April 24, 2019 Joseph Campbell said,
    “A wheel rolling out of its own center–
    that is what you become
    as a mature individual.” And, he also said,
    “The realization of your life–
    of what is life for you–
    comes on the other side of terror,
    and their demand
    that you meet
    the obligations,
    and responsibilities
    of your station.
    You say, ‘No!
    I must be about
    my own work!’
    and go on doing it.” “The Thou Shalts,” he said,
    “Have to be accepted
    (In the first half of life),
    and then thrown off
    (In the second half).” Maturation is growing into
    who we are to be,
    and we are to devote
    the last half of life
    to finding our own center
    and living out of that,
    in serving what gives us life,
    and opens us really
    to what Campbell called
    “The adventure of being alive.” We cannot squander those
    precious years
    on golf and tennis
    and dinner parties.
  2. 06/09/2019— Union Pacific 7512 & 3837, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, April 28, 2019 There is you,
    and there is what brings you to life,
    and there is what you do to pay the bills
    which enable you to be alive
    in the life that brings you to life–
    that enable you to serve the life that brings you to life
    with your attention,
    liege loyalty
    and faithful allegiance
    all your life long. And that’s it. Everything falls into place around that. Who you marry.
    Where you live.
    What you do to pay the bills.
    … All of it flows out of and back into,
    who you are
    and what you do
    in being you
    throughout your life. “What I do is me–
    for that I came!”
    (Gerard Manley Hopkins)

06/09/2019  —  Requiring the individual to be their own authority forces them to grow up against their will–which is the only way any of us ever grow up–and is a foundational element in the Native American Vision Quest: “Don’t come back until you have found your own path, until your can walk the way that is your own way!” We raise children who are dependent upon some external authority all their life. That is as bad as having aborted them in the womb.

06/09/2019. —  I do think there is a place for ministers and communities of people who are on their individual path to help maintain the vision and the focus of daily practice. Jungian analysts provide that kind of guidance. Ministers need to be Jungian analysts. Congregations need to become communities of Jungian analysts. The world needs to be self-analyzing individuals celebrating the wonder of who they are together and encouraging one another to stay on the beam, to remain on the path, and deal with their circumstances moment-by-moment-by-moment.

06/09/2019  —  There is no corporate/collective state
that can be trusted to take care of us
the way we need to be taken care of.

We take care of ourselves.

“Your safety is your responsibility!”

We do that by electing representatives
who actually represent us,
and stay in constant touch with them
with “Town Halls”
and other opportunities for give-and-take communion
through-out the year–
with transparency
and open communication
forming the common ground
of our life together.

We cannot elect anyone to represent us
who doesn’t know us
and spend time with us,
listening to us
and keeping us abreast
of what’s what,
what they are doing about it,
and what that means for us
and for the country as a whole,
and for the world.

None of this
“I’m taking good care of you.”
“You can trust me to have your best interest at heart.”
“It’s too complicated to explain in a short time.”
“It’s too complicated to explain.”
“Trust me.”

We talk.
We ask the questions that beg to be asked.
We say the things that cry out to be said.
We demand accountability
and transparency.

And we get rid of the financial lock
corporations have
on elected officials.
No more “campaign contributions”!
No more lobbying with cash buy-outs
and pay-offs.
No more Super-PACs!
Get the money out of politics!

When the welfare of the people
and the planet
conflict with the profits of the corporations
(e.g., the environment and global warming),
the needs of the people
and the planet
take precedent over the profits of the corporations.

Unlimited profitability has to be reined in
the service of the sustainability of the whole.

And we all know the chances this has
of becoming the way things are:
“Fat and Slim,”
as they like to say in the deep south,
and everywhere else.

  1. 06/09/2019— Creole Homeplace 2019-04 02 Panorama — Creole Homeplace 2019-04 01 Panorama — Cane River National Heritage Trail, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, April 28, 2019 We each, alone,
    are responsible for determining
    the aliveness of our life,
    by regularly
    and appraising
    the quality and degree
    of vitality,
    *elan vital,*
    joy of life,
    enthusiasm for life,
    happiness and contentment
    with being alive
    that is present within us
    and at work in our life. Note the source of that state of being.
    Upon what does that depend? How well-connected are you
    with that source?
    What do you do
    to maintain,
    and enhance
    your connection? How intentionally do you serve
    your “wellspring of living water”? What can you do more of,
    or what can you do that you are not doing,
    to better serve the Source of Life
    in the way you live your life?
  2. 06/09/2019— Cypress Swamp 2019-04 09 — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, April 24, 2019 The Indiana Jones quote
    (From *The Temple of Doom*),
    “Fortune and glory, Kid.
    Fortune and gory”
    wasn’t even borne out in the movie,
    and does not stand up under scrutiny
    over time, The formulation is great
    for capturing the essence
    of what we are about,
    and comes in many different combinations. For instance, there is:
    “Trials and ordeals, Kid.
    Trials and ordeals.” We find out who we are–
    and discover the life that is worth
    our time and attention,
    service and devotion–
    in and through
    our trials and ordeals. Odysseus/Ulysses found himself,
    and discovered the meaning
    and purpose of his life,
    through the trials and ordeals of The Odyssey. Jesus had his 40 days in the wilderness,
    his 3, or so, years of service
    to his understanding of the truth,
    and the events of Gethsemane and Golgotha. The Buddha had the Bo Tree
    and his struggles with the meaning of suffering. We all have our burdens
    and our woes–
    and how we deal with them
    tells the tale. We strive for “smooth and easy,”
    but it is
    on “the heaving waves
    of the wine dark sea”
    that we come to the realizations
    that ground
    and direct us
    in the service of values
    and ends
    that are worthy of us. Don’t be running
    from your trials and ordeals!
    They are the cave you
    most don’t want to enter,
    and contain the treasure you seek
    (Joseph Campbell).

Published by jimwdollar

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

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