One Minute Monologues 051

09/06/2019 — 11/05/2019

  1. 09/06/2019  —  Crape Myrtle 2019-09 01 — Charlotte, North Carolina, September 3, 2019, an iPhone photo

    Recurring dreams mean
    we aren’t getting what the dream is saying
    because we have ideas for our life
    that are out of accord
    with our life’s ideas for us.

    It means we are having to grow up
    some more again,
    and we don’t want to.
    Who does?

    The whole thing about growing up
    is doing what we don’t want to do
    as though we want to do it.

    We want a savoir
    who will make it all just right for us forever.
    So we dream up Jesus
    and heaven
    to save us from the hell
    of having to grow up
    and do what we don’t want to do
    on our own,
    by ourselves,
    because there is no one here but us.

    No one needs a “Lord and Savior”
    who will do the hard work for us
    and deliver us from the pain and suffering
    of having to do for ourselves
    what has to be done by ourselves.

    Alexis Carrel said,
    “We are both the marble
    and the sculptor.”

    Joseph Campbell said,
    “That which you seek
    lies far in the back
    of the cave
    you most don’t want to enter.”

    What are you afraid of?
    Go there.
    Do that.


  2. 09/07/2019  —  The Peacock 2014-04 01 — Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, South Carolina, April 20, 2014

    What is worth your life?

    This is a question only you can answer.

    What would you go to hell for?

    This is another one.

    No one can tell you the important things.
    And you can’t think them up for yourself.

    You can only realize them.

    All of the things that matter most
    come to us
    as realizations.
    As urgencies.
    We turn a corner,
    and there they are.

    We know what is important.
    We know what has to be done.
    We know what we have to do.
    And nobody can knock us off of it.
    But.
    We can talk ourselves out of it.

    All of the wasted lives
    that are being lived around us
    are there because the people living them
    talked themselves into living them
    by talking themselves out of the life
    that was worth living.

    Happens all the time.

    Laziness,
    lethargy,
    inertia,
    momentum,
    fear
    combine
    to deliver us into
    a life that is so not worth our time.
    And, we know it,
    but.
    What can we do?

    What we can do
    is ask the question
    without the implied but unstated
    yet obvious “Nothing.
    It’s all over.
    We’re helpless.
    Crawl back into the bottle.
    Take another round of pills.
    Sniff.
    Snort.
    Inject.
    Tune out.
    Turn on.
    Forget about it.
    And hope to die young” attached.

    “What can we do?”
    Asked in the right frame of mind
    opens the door
    to the life that is left to be lived.

    “Here we are. Now what?”
    Puts us in the moment of decision,
    and positions us to change our world,
    which is the first step
    to changing *the* world.

    If you aren’t going to believe
    there is a life for you
    that is worth living,
    you may as well continue to wish
    for an early death.

    If you are going to take something on faith
    let it be that there is a life for you
    that is worth living–
    even now,
    even yet–
    and live as though it is so.

    Once you make that leap of faith,
    the rest falls into place around that.
    It is only a matter of time,
    and patience,
    and courage,
    and persistence,
    and dedication,
    and determination.

    The way to the way
    begins in the silence.

    Sit down.
    Shut up.
    Be still.
    Be quiet.
    Quit thinking.
    Be present
    with the silence and the stillness,
    and the horrors that dwell there.

    The Buddha lived through the horrors.
    So did Jesus.
    So must we all.

    In the quiet,
    we face the monsters of the darkness.
    The trick is to make them welcome
    and to not take them seriously–
    in a “Yes, yes. This too, this too,” kind of way.

    Invite them to have a place
    in your awareness,
    and return to the silence,
    to the stillness,
    and wait for what you are waiting for
    to emerge,
    to arise,
    to occur to you,
    to come upon you as a realization,
    as an urgency,
    that cannot be denied,
    calling your name,
    enlisting you in its service,
    directing you to what’s next.

    Take that step
    and trust the path to open before you
    as you start walking–
    without writing the script
    or trying to line everything out
    in a knowing the eternal plan for your life kind of way.

    Trust one step to lead to another
    without ever knowing where you are going,
    and always being amazed at how you got here,
    with the wind of the spirit that blows where it will
    forever in your hair.


  3. 09/08/2019  —  Hail Mary Full of Grace — Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Charleston, SC, April 21, 2014

    Here we all are–
    whether we know it or not,
    whether we “believe in God” or not,
    whether we are “religious” or not.

    We are all right here,
    right now,
    in every here and now,
    throughout all here’s and now’s
    forever.

    This is how “it was in the beginning,
    is now and ever shall be,
    world without end. Amen.”

    *This* is the Eternal Now
    of our life in the world.

    We are at the mercy of things
    quite beyond our control.

    Presidents are elected
    who have no business being president.

    Wars come along
    that have no business being fought.

    Disease, drought, flood, fire, famine…
    Catastrophe comes in many ways.
    And never stops coming.
    It is always just around the corner.

    And here we all are.

    We are left with kneeling in the silence
    and bowing beneath the weight
    of life under the conditions
    in which life must be lived
    all our life long.

    And it is our hope
    and our salvation–
    that we will know that,
    and do it.

    There are 10,000 things
    we have to take on faith.
    None of them have to do
    with doctrines, creeds, dogmas,
    ideologies, theologies, isms and religions.

    For me–
    and you will be different here–
    three things stand above all the others
    as things we must take on faith:

    The Silence,
    The Work, and,
    The Source
    (Which I also think of as
    The Rhizome, after Carl Jung).

    I see the Silence
    as being that which connects us
    with the Rhizome,
    and the Work
    as that which arises/emerges
    from the Rhizome–
    to claim us,
    call us,
    direct us
    and immunize us against
    all of the terrors of the night
    (and day).

    Our work is to be true to our work,
    to our Body of Work,
    through “the heaving waves
    of the wine-dark sea,”
    and the worst that life can do.

    Woe be unto those
    who are not connected
    by the Silence
    to the Source
    via their Work
    in the day-to-day,
    moment-to-moment,
    conditions-and-circumstances
    of life in the world!

    We kneel (or sit, or lie, or stand, or walk…)
    in the Silence
    and bow beneath the weight
    of life as it is,
    and connect with the Source
    that is with us always
    to direct and encourage us
    in the Work that is ours to do
    even now,
    even yet,
    even so–
    without theology,
    without doctrine,
    without dogma,
    without creeds,
    just seeing,
    knowing,
    doing,
    being
    servants of the Source
    in every situation as it arises
    all our life long,
    believing in the Work
    and doing it
    anyway,
    nevertheless,
    even so,
    “without hope,
    without witness,
    without reward”
    (Steven Moffat in Dr. Who).

    Standing there,
    we can withstand anything.

    It only takes believing it is so
    to know that it is.


  4. 09/09/2019  —  Beidler Forest 2019-06 12 — Four Hole Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, June 23, 2019, an iPhone photo

    A “modern-day” (1919) equivalent
    of the parable of the Garden of Eden,
    is the song,
    “How’re You Going To Keep Them Down On The Farm
    Once They’ve Seen Paree?”

    We spend our youth
    and middle-age
    running through
    the “Paree alternatives”
    (and there be many)
    to silence,
    reflection,
    realization
    and the reconciliation
    of ourselves with ourselves
    and with the work that is ours to do.

    Our “salvation,”
    if you will,
    is our recognition
    of the absence of viable options
    to the discipline
    of mindful,
    compassionate,
    non-judgmental
    awareness
    (Jon Kabat-Zinn’s YouTube Videos),
    the art of seeing what we look at,
    and knowing what is happening
    in each situation as it arises,
    and what needs to happen in response,
    and offering what we have to give
    in that cause
    to the best of our ability
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    situation-by-situation-by-situation,
    day-by-day-by-day,
    in doing the work
    that is ours to do,
    all our life long.

    Being true to ourselves,
    and true to our work,
    and true to the claims,
    of each situation upon us
    can be seen
    as the vital ground of being
    it is,
    only after the illusion
    of “gay Paree”
    has been seen for what it is.

    We have to have reached
    the Age of Discernment
    before we know
    what must be known
    in order to do what needs to be done
    and live the life that is ours to live
    and do the work that is ours to do.

    And that Age doesn’t arrive
    until the emptiness of youth’s
    ideas of glory
    expose Paree to be the Oz
    at the end of the Yellow Brick Road,
    and what we get for our trouble
    is what we have had
    all along.


  5. 09/09/2019  —  Cedar Island Ferry Sunset 2011-10 02 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, October 24, 2011

    We have changed the world we live in
    faster than we have changed
    to be able to live in it.

    Our inherited propensities are for another age.

    We have lived beyond ourselves,
    and no longer belong in the environment
    we have evolved to fit.

    The world once was large enough
    to absorb our excesses
    and our stupidity.
    No more.

    Global warming is resulting
    in the world’s effort to rid itself of us
    because it can no longer assimilate us
    into its framework of homeostasis.

    We have destroyed the balances
    that hold the earth together,
    and must pay the price
    of our ignorance
    and folly.

    Our technology–
    in addition to melting the glaciers
    and poisoning the oceans
    and the atmosphere–
    has created weapons of war
    capable of ending life everywhere.

    Our capacity for acquisition
    and aggression
    comes up against
    our incapacity for living
    in a radioactive umwelt.

    We are not built
    for the new world that is on the way.

    What do you think we ought to do?

    If you said “Change the way we think,”
    you would be right.

    We have to think about our thinking
    by being aware of our thinking
    and reflecting on our thinking–
    without rushing to judgment,
    or jumping to conclusions,
    or failing to distinguish among
    observations,
    inferences
    and assumptions.

    We have to sit tight.
    Be quiet.
    Breathe slowly.
    Open ourselves to the stillness,
    and to everything that comes up
    in the silence.

    We fold all of it into our awareness,
    seeing everything that is happening
    and how that relates to what all is happening,
    and what needs to be done about it–
    denying nothing
    but inviting everything into the conversation.

    See it all,
    hear it all,
    hold it all in our awareness
    and wait
    while connections are made,
    and realization dawns,
    and the changes that need to be made
    become obvious.

    What does what we want
    have to do with what we need?

    How are we frittering away
    our resources
    for entertainments
    and pleasures
    that take our mind off our life
    and keep us from living a life
    that is sustainable
    and environmentally friendly?

    How does our life need to change
    in order to continue to be lived?

    How do we coordinate our lives
    in order to cooperate
    and collaborate
    in the work to make life livable around the world?

    If we keep living in the immediate future
    the way we have lived in the past
    none of us will live long.
    No, not one.


  6. 09/10/2019  —  Heath Springs Gulf 2019-09 03 — Heath Springs, South Carolina, September 2, 2019, an iPhone photo — A roadside, drive-by, museum of sorts, calling forth memories of how things used to be.

    How things used to be
    failed to prepare us
    for how things are,
    and leave us completely
    on our own
    and in the dark
    regarding how things will be.

    We will have to trust ourselves
    to the inner light
    to have a chance at all.

    GK Chesterton said,
    “When Jones follows the Inner Light,
    Jones follows Jones,”
    as though that is a bad thing.

    The catch is that when
    Jones follows someone else’s idea
    of the Outer Light,
    Jones still follows Jones,
    in that Jones chooses whom to follow.

    Jones is stuck with Jones.
    And would be wise to know
    as much about Jones
    as can be known,
    so that he knows when Jones is talking
    and when Jones is listening
    to a voice that is Not-Jones.

    “Know Thy Self” is to be paired with
    “To Thine Own Self Be True.”

    It takes a lot of practice in the art
    of looking and listening
    to be able to see and hear.

    As things shift from the way they have been
    to the way they are going to be,
    we make the transition
    as smooth and as easy as it can be
    by seeing and hearing
    what is happening,
    knowing what’s what
    and what to do in response
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    Joseph Campbell said,
    “Reflection leads to new realizations.”
    Reflection is the transom
    between looking and seeing,
    between listening and hearing.
    And reflection is more akin to awareness
    than it is to thinking.

    As we work to deepen,
    expand,
    enlarge
    our awareness of ourselves,
    one another,
    and the world in which we live,
    we are increasing our chances
    of knowing what’s what
    and what needs to be done about it–
    and that is all the edge we need
    to do well with what is coming.


  7. 09/10/2019  —  Footbridge Chester State Park 2019-08 01 — Chester, South Carolina, August 22, 2019, an iPhone photo

    There is being on the beam,
    in the flow,
    at one with the Tao,
    Kairos,
    Dharma.

    And there is being off the beam,
    out of the flow,
    at odds with the Tao,
    Kairos,
    Dharma.

    There is being on the beam,
    etc.,
    but there is no *staying* on the beam,
    etc.

    We come and go
    as the tide ebbs and flows,
    as we inhale and exhale.

    Movement is life.
    Steady,
    static,
    states of being are death.

    Balance is the art
    of counteracting loss of balance.
    Riding a bicycle
    is constraining the wobbles.
    Walking is catching ourselves
    as we fall.
    Dancing is a miracle.

    Don’t make too much
    of being spot-on.
    Don’t make anything at all
    of falling on your face.

    We have to receive the kingdom
    like a child
    because children don’t take anything seriously.
    The kingdom least of all.


  8. 09/11/2019  —  Goodale 2019-08 12 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, August 26, 2019

    The eighteenth anniversary of 9/11
    doesn’t leave us with much to be proud of
    over the course of those years.

    I can’t see how we have used the time
    to grow kinder,
    more compassionate,
    more gracious,
    more awake,
    more aware…

    We are not better people.
    We are not a better nation.
    The world is not a better place.

    We have wasted the experience
    in cultivating hatred,
    dishonor,
    rancor,
    bitterness,
    littleness,
    vitriol…

    We are more suspicious,
    more afraid,
    we own more guns,
    we kill more of our own citizens,
    we have fewer politicians
    who are people of integrity and good faith.

    Everybody seems to be out for themselves.
    Money seems to be all anyone is living for,
    and no one seems to know what to do with it.

    We are digging a hole for ourselves
    in 10,000 ways.
    Hiding.
    Without hope or direction.
    The hole is within.
    We have lost our connection
    with our heart.
    Nothing has heart for us.

    We go through the motions of life
    without being alive
    to the reality of living.
    Reality is nothing we care
    to spend time with.

    We have no vision.
    of a life worth living.
    We have no horizon.
    We don’t believe in anything worth having.
    We don’t believe anything is worth having.
    We don’t have a long list of things
    we would go to hell for.
    Things we would die for.
    And that is death itself.
    Hell itself.

    We are into opioids and suicide,
    bread and circuses,
    escapes and entertaining pastimes.

    9/11 exposed us to the truth of our vulnerability.
    We haven’t come to terms with it yet.
    Don’t know how to do that.
    Refuse to look in the mirror
    and see what we look at.
    Won’t do the work
    of bearing the pain
    of how it is with us
    in order to do what needs to be done
    about what has become of us,
    about who we are
    and where we are going.

    We are waiting for a Savior
    who is not coming,
    and reject all opportunities
    to become what we seek.

    And tomorrow is always
    just another day.


  9. 09/11/2019  —  Nation Ford Road 2019-08 01 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Dairy Barn Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, August 29, 2019, an iPhone photo.

    There is what we want,
    and there is what is right for us.

    We know what we want.
    That clouds the picture,
    interferes with our focus,
    obscures the way that is The Way,
    and allows us to kid ourselves
    and do what we want
    and tell ourselves it is the right thing to do.

    We do not care what is right for us
    in our headlong rush toward
    what we want for us.

    What we want for us.
    What is right for us.
    Create for us
    an internal conflict,
    conundrum,
    koan,
    paradox
    that is at the crux
    of what is wrong with us.

    We have to enter the awareness
    of the complexity,
    of the chaotic swirl,
    of want vs. right
    in order to have a chance
    of being healed,
    and whole,
    and well
    in the time left for living.

    We have to sit before
    what we want for us,
    and open ourselves to
    what is right for us,
    and be quiet,
    and listen,
    and wait.

    Here is the guiding truth:
    We know when we
    are on the beam,
    and when we are off it.

    We are knocked off the beam
    when what we want for us
    conflicts with
    what the beam is requiring of us,
    asking of us,
    in the here and now of our living.

    When we reach for what we want–
    even if it is to stay on the beam–
    we are off the beam.

    We cannot want and be
    centered in,
    and grounded upon,
    the way that is The Way.

    Wanting is the enemy of The Way.

    We have to recognize that,
    and open ourselves to the conundrum,
    the koan,
    the paradox,
    the contradiction
    of what we want for us
    and what is right for us,
    and wait.

    This is what Adam and Eve
    did not do in Eden.

    It is what Jesus did
    in the wilderness
    and in Gethsemane.

    It is what the Buddha did
    beneath the Bo Tree.

    It is what all the people
    who have ever awakened
    and lived with awareness
    of themselves experiencing
    their life in the here and now of existence,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    have done and are doing–
    without wanting.

    Just seeing.
    Just hearing.
    Just knowing.
    Just doing.
    Just being
    at one with the Tao,
    the Dharma,
    Kairos,
    Grace,
    “Without hope,
    (Because hope is grounded upon wanting
    ‘Not this! Not this!’)
    without witness,
    without reward.”

    And it is what Jesus meant
    when he said,
    “Those who would be my disciples
    have to pick up their cross daily
    and follow me.”

    “Follow me into the work
    of doing what is right for us–
    even if it is also wrong for us–
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.”


  10. 09/12/2019  —  Lake Andrew Jackson 2019-08 04 Panorama — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, August 22, 2019, an iPhone photo

    Witch hunts were initiated because some women
    were stand-off-ish
    and a little strange.
    And the larger society
    is always looking for a scapegoat
    to blame for its troubles
    and its woes.

    Everything is made better
    with someone to blame.
    We always blame the weak,
    the vulnerable,
    the powerless,
    the feeble,
    the lame,
    the stand-off-ish,
    and the strange.

    The stand-off-ish
    are often forced to be so
    because they are rejected
    and denied a place
    in society at large.

    Single women experience that.
    People of color experience that.
    Immigrants experience that.
    Jews experience that.
    Muslims experience that.
    Handicapped people experience that.
    The list is long.

    It is a short distance
    from being excluded
    to being thought of as strange
    to being blamed
    for the troubles
    and woes
    of society at large.

    Different-ness
    is easily magnified
    and made into a fault.

    Now only must we work
    to accept different-ness,
    we must also work to BE different.
    We all are different,
    and too many of us
    permit society to smooth off our peaks,
    and round off our edges,
    and fill in our valleys
    in order to look like everyone else.

    It starts in the third grade.
    By the seventh grade
    there is a clear line
    between those who are “the same”
    and those who are “different.”
    The line gets darker and thicker with time.

    Accepting everyone’s differences
    begins with accepting our own,
    and enhancing them,
    bringing them out,
    knowing who we are
    and who we are not
    and living in ways that declare
    what is and is not so about us.

    Honoring our own tendencies,
    and inclinations,
    and dispositions,
    and propensities,
    and preferences,
    and idiosyncrasies,
    etc.,
    defines us
    and sets us apart–
    and makes us a part of the whole
    which is composed of people
    who are just like we are
    in being different from everyone else.

    And no one is to blame
    for anyone’s troubles and woes.
    The things we suffer
    also make us one–
    and everyone is carrying a burden,
    and walking with a limp.

    And everyone could use more kindness
    and compassion than they get.


  11. 09/12/2019  —  Steele Creek Swinging Bridge 2019-08 01 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Dairy Barn Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, August 29, 2019

    Our place in this place
    is to off-set injustice and absurdity
    everywhere they are manifested.

    We serve homeostasis in the world
    by bringing balance and sanity
    to life there.

    When life is mean,
    cruel,
    heartless,
    atrocious,
    obscene,
    vicious,
    brutal,
    savage,
    ruthless
    and inhuman,
    we stand up
    and step forward.

    This is where we come in.

    We witness the victimization
    of the oppressed.
    We bear their grief
    and carry their sorrow,
    and are one with them
    in the experience of sighs too deep for words.

    We join them in their anguish
    and sit with them in their agony,
    and raise our voices with the sound
    of weeping and great mourning.

    We take up the cause of those suffering
    to amend what can be amended,
    and restore what can be restored,
    and address what must be addressed,
    and right what must be made right
    in the name of all that is good,
    and just,
    and widely recognized
    as how things ought to be.

    This is our place with one another
    and our duty to all people.
    May we live to fulfill it
    with all our heart,
    and mind,
    and soul
    and strength–
    now and forever!


  12. 09/13/2019  —  Goodale 2019-08 13 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, August 24, 2019, an iPhone Photo

    “We are all we got–
    we are all we need!”
    The old football rallying cry
    applies to us as individuals
    as well as to us as a football team.

    We are on our own.
    It is all up to us.
    In order to manage our life
    on our own,
    we have to be discovering
    who all we are.

    There is more to us than meets the eye.
    Any eye.
    We have depth and breadth
    beyond imagining.
    We are the doorway,
    the threshold,
    the portal
    to worlds beyond worlds.

    We are more than enough
    to meet any circumstances
    that come our way.
    But.
    We have to do the work
    of aligning ourselves with ourselves,
    listening until we hear,
    looking until we see–
    and trusting what we see and hear
    to be the guidance and direction we need
    to meet any circumstances
    that come our way.

    And.
    We have to understand
    that we-as-conscious-egos
    are partners with,
    collaborators with,
    servants of
    our unconscious
    (so said because we are not conscious of it/her/him)
    Self.

    It takes both of us–
    all of us–
    to be one person in the world.
    And we have to do the work
    of being one with who we are,
    and also are.

    Jon Kabat-Zinn
    and Ann Weiser Cornell
    are helpful guides in this work.
    As are Joseph Campbell
    and Carl Jung–
    but in the old alchemical sense
    of “one book opening another,”
    you will find what you need
    in terms of guardians and guides
    when you start looking
    for what is helpful
    in your own work to find and be
    who you are.

    Obi wan Kenobi’s advice
    to “Trust the Force”
    and “Let the Force be with you”
    (Though he may have never
    actually said those words!)
    are operable here.

    The work to find and be who we are
    is like swimming
    in that we have to trust the water
    to support us
    before the water will support us.

    We have to believe it is so
    in order to know that it is.

    What we take on faith,
    and what we are willing
    to go to hell for
    tell the tale.


  13. 09/13/2019  —  Beidler Forest 2019-06 20 — Four Hole Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, June 23, 2019, an iPhone photo

    Money is so overrated.
    All money is good for is paying the bills.
    An they have to be the right bills.
    When we use money
    to pay the wrong bills,
    we can’t make enough money
    to offset everything that is stinky
    about our life.

    Then, we need money to take our mind
    off our life.
    Which is really all money is good for these days.
    Money doesn’t help us live our life–
    the life that is truly ours to live.
    Money entertains us,
    distracts us,
    diverts our attention
    from the life we are living
    because that is the really stinky thing
    about our life.

    That’s where addiction comes in.
    Addiction smooths things over,
    soothes us
    like a Mama in a syringe,
    or a bottle,
    or some other delivery mechanism.

    We have to get ourselves together
    with our life–
    our real life–
    the life that was ours before we were born.
    But.
    We have no idea where to begin, for one.
    And it sounds like way too much trouble, for two.
    And we have too much on our plate already, for three.
    So nothing can change,
    and maybe some kind of miracle
    will happen.

    Our nighttime dreams have been trying
    to right our listing life from the start.
    All we have to do is start listening to our dreams.
    Our dreams are always showing us how our life is
    here and now.
    Our place is to enlist our Psyche-Soul-Self
    in moving from where we are
    to where we need to be.

    Back to money.
    We think money is all we need,
    that everybody is happy with enough money.
    But money cannot buy fulfillment.
    And we don’t know what would be fulfilling.
    But.
    Our life knows.
    The life that needs us to live it knows.
    The life our nighttime dreams are calling us to live knows.

    So.
    Back to our nighttime dreams
    and our Psyche-Soul-Self.

    All we have to do is listen–
    without being in a hurry to hear.
    Without jumping to conclusions
    and rushing to fix it.
    No Quick Fixes!
    Just sit down.
    Shut up.
    Be still.
    And listen.

    Practice that twice a day.
    Three times a day if you are bold.
    For ten minutes at time.
    For the rest of your life.

    What could possibly be easier?
    Nothing!
    And nothing is more necessary!
    So?


  14. 09/14/2019  —  Road Through Fall 2013-11 03 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Greenbriar District, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, November 6, 2013

    I walk around with a camera
    until something catches my eye.

    My eye knows.

    I only know what my eye knows.

    This not that.
    This in this way not that way.
    This like this, not that.

    My eye knows where to stand, or sit, or lie.
    Where to place the tripod.
    When to wait until it’s right.

    My role is to do the driving
    and carry the equipment.
    I get to rule out everything
    that catches my eye
    when taking the picture
    would put me in harm’s way.

    My eye gets to inform me
    when it looks closer
    and changes its mind.

    In this arrangement,
    there is nothing you can do to help,
    and there is a lot you can do to interfere.
    It’s just me and my eye.
    It’s just me tuning in to what my eye is seeing/saying.

    My eye doesn’t like it
    when I have someone in tow
    who thinks everything is a photograph.
    Or asks, “Why are you taking a picture of that?”
    Or, “How long does it take to take a photograph
    of a waterfall?”

    I am easily distracted
    and lose the connection
    with knowing what my eye knows
    like that,
    and have to honor the link
    by stepping apart from the crowd,
    and going where I am led.

    This makes photography,
    for me,
    a metaphor for life.

    Our heart is our eye for living.
    If we follow our heart’s lead
    we won’t be too far off the path.
    If head takes over
    and thinks our way along the way,
    we will be lost like that.


  15. 09/15/2019  —  Swan Lake 2019-09-13 01 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, September 13, 2019, an iPhone photo

    AR-15/RK-47 owners own them
    to keep themselves
    and their families
    safe.

    I know of a guy
    who bought three AR’s
    in one week.

    Some people can’t be safe enough.

    And, while all of these AR/AK owners
    are being safe,
    Trump is poisoning their air and water.
    Destroying the foundations of their society.
    Tanking the economy.
    And inviting the Russians
    to take over the country.

    I’m thinking they are missing something
    fundamental about safety.

    No one can be safe
    without being secure.

    Security comes first.

    Once we are grounded
    on the bedrock
    of our own confidence
    in our ability
    to square up to,
    and deal with,
    anything that comes our way,
    we are well beyond
    needing an arsenal to keep us safe.

    The first step
    toward that kind
    of security
    is facing the reality
    of our insecurity.

    Tracing it back to its source,
    exploring the things
    that keep it in place,
    investigating its needs
    and its fears,
    comforting it
    while it cries,
    listening with compassion
    as it unveils its false assumptions
    and its unfounded inferences,
    getting to the bottom of things.

    Everybody wants solutions
    that are instant
    and fixes
    that are quick.

    Nobody wants to take the time
    and go to the trouble
    of getting to the bottom of things.

    And that’s why we all
    are exactly where we are.

    Because at the bottom
    it is clear
    that we are responsible
    for the things we think
    about the world we live in–
    and nothing changes
    until we change
    our relationship with our life.


  16. 09/16/2019  —  Swan Lake 2019-08-13 04 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, August 13, 2019

    We are all equidistant
    from the rhizome,
    the bedrock,
    the source,
    the core,
    which has always been called God,
    and is manifested
    in our lived experience
    as the Tao,
    Dharma,
    Kairos,
    Grace,
    Synchronicity,
    “Wow!”

    This is The God Of The Rock
    that grounds,
    sustains
    and upholds
    us all–
    quite apart from
    theology,
    doctrine,
    dogma,
    beliefs,
    creeds
    and canons.

    Living in right relationship
    with the rhizome
    transforms our life
    and the world–
    although we cannot exploit it
    and manipulate it
    to serve our ends
    and purposes.

    “It rains on the just
    and the unjust,”
    as the old saying goes,
    but the just suffer more
    from the ways of the unjust–
    and the just can’t let
    that stop them,
    or even slow them down.

    Right-relationship with the rhizome
    implies right-relationship with how things are,
    and those two things
    constitute the work of being human.


  17. 09/16/2019  —  Mute Swans 2019-08 02C — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, August 17, 2019

    We are able to live self-transparent
    and self-directed lives
    only in the company/community
    of those who are themselves
    living self-transparent
    and self-directed lives.

    The right kind of community
    is grounded upon the individual distinctiveness
    of its members–
    people who are grounded
    in the principles
    and in the practice
    of self-transparency
    and self-direction.

    If you don’t have the company
    of this kind of community
    at work for you
    somewhere in your life,
    your work in finding
    and living
    the life that is your life to live
    is going to require a lot of quiet time
    away from the people
    who are built
    to keep you from doing that work.


  18. 09/17/2019  —  Bewick’s Swan 2019-09-13 01 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, September 13, 2019

    What do you love?

    What do you love about what you love?

    In what ways do you serve
    what you love about what you love
    with your life?

    How is what you love about what you love
    evident in how you live your life?

    I love self-transparency
    and self-determination
    in the service of self-realization.

    My entire life revolves around,
    flows from,
    leads to,
    serves
    these things.

    Everything I do has self-transparency,
    self-determination,
    self-realization
    at its core
    and as its destination.

    I live to be integrated
    with myself
    and my life.

    Hold that thought.

    We all live the life we are living
    with a perception filter
    firmly in place.

    Our perceptions–
    what we see–
    are held in place
    by our perspective–
    how we see.

    What we see
    is determined by
    how we look.

    In order to see beyond our perceptions,
    we have to see the perspective
    with which we see things.

    How does the way we see
    keep us from seeing what we look at?
    What governs our perspective?

    The stake we have in the outcome,
    in the results of,
    seeing.

    Seeing things as they are
    has implications for our life
    and how we live it.

    Once we can no longer kid ourselve4s
    about what we look at,
    we have to live in ways
    that take what we see
    into account.

    As long as we can kid ourselves
    about what we see
    and what its implications are,
    we can live anyway at all.

    Once we stop kidding ourselves,
    everything changes,
    especially how we live our life.

    Hold that thought.

    Women,
    LGBTQ people,
    people of color,
    immigrants,
    the oppressed and beleaguered world-wide,
    have a take on things
    that men smoking cigars
    and drinking single malt whiskey
    in a Real Men Only Club
    cannot touch.

    Put all of this together,
    and you have a path
    into the next moment
    that did not exist
    when you started reading this.

    Walk it with your eyes open,
    seeing everything you look at,
    looking at everything.


  19. 09/18/2019  —  Swan Lake 2019-09013 05 — (Australian) Black Swans, Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, September 13, 2019

    There is what we want to do,
    and there is what needs to be done.

    There is what we feel like doing,
    and there is what needs us to do it.

    There is what we want to happen,
    and there is what needs to happen.

    Our place is to submit
    to what needs to be done,
    to what needs us to do it,
    to what needs to happen,
    in a “Thy will, not mine, be done”
    kind of way.
    in a “I came not to be served, but to serve,”
    kind of way,
    and to get up and do the thing,
    the way it needs to be done,
    when it needs to be done,
    as often as it needs to be done,
    for as long as it need to be done,
    without opinion
    or expectation of reward.

    When the yard needs to be watered,
    we water the yard.
    When the dog needs to be walked,
    we walk the dog.
    When the baby’s diaper needs to be changed,
    we change the baby’s diaper.

    Like that.
    Day in and day out,
    all our life long.

    The spiritual journey
    can also be called
    “growing up.”


  20. 09/19/2019  —  Bewick’s Swan 2019-09-13 02 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, September 13, 2019

    We don’t know where we are going.

    We don’t know how we got here.

    If we know that much,
    we know it does not depend on us.

    If we know that much,
    we know enough to relax
    into the Tao,
    the Dharma,
    the Kairos,
    the Grace,
    the Synchronicity
    that got us here, now,
    and see where it goes next.

    If we know that much,
    we have it made.


  21. 09/19/2019  —  Beidler Forest 2019-06-23 22 Panorama — Four Hole Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, June 23, 2019, an iPhone photo

    When we sit down
    and shut up,
    and wait quietly
    in the silence,
    the first things
    we are likely
    to encounter
    are shame,
    guilt
    and fear,
    in no particular order,
    and conflict,
    contradiction,
    paradox
    which loop back
    into shame,
    guilt
    and fear.

    We have to suffer it through.

    Suffering it through
    is the sine qua non
    of a life well-lived.

    It is the fundamental requirement
    of the spiritual journey.

    “Those who would be my friends
    have to bear their own cross daily
    and come with me.”

    You think the cross was about suffering.
    So is silence.
    We are where we are today–
    individually and collectively–
    because we will not bear the cross
    of silence.

    Too much meets us there
    that we can’t handle.

    It is only silence–
    and we are doing it
    to ourselves.

    Let it come.
    Let it be.
    Receive it all
    into our awareness
    without being sucked into it–
    and if we are sucked into it,
    receive it as well
    into our awareness–
    and allow our awareness
    to contain it all
    without being engaged with it,
    consumed by it.
    Our awareness has it.
    Our role is to receive
    what else is there,
    what all is there,
    and hold it in our awareness,
    and wait in the stillness,
    open to all that is there.

    Acceptance allows what meets us
    in the silence
    to be what meets us in the silence–
    without opinion,
    without judgment,
    without emotional reactivity
    (And if there is opinion,
    judgement,
    emotional reactivity,
    we accept that as well,
    and hold it in our awareness
    without opinion about the opinions
    without judgement about the judgements,
    without emotional reactivity
    about the emotional reactivity).

    We have to acknowledge
    and accept
    what meets us in the silence
    to meet what else is in the silence.
    We have to sit quietly
    to receive what all waits
    to greet us in the stillness.

    “That which you seek
    lies far in the back
    of the cave
    you most don’t want to enter”
    (Joseph Campbell).


  22. 09/20/2019  —  Wood Ducks 2019-09-13 02 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, South Carolina, September 13, 2019

    Jesus came to love, lift up and die for
    the people Donald Trump and the GOP
    consider to be undesirable
    and consign to “the trash heap of history.”

    Jesus would not be welcome
    in Donald Trump’s
    Fascist,
    Racist,
    White Nationalist,
    Xenophobic,
    Misogynistic,
    Islamophobic,
    Homophobic,
    Transphobic
    world.

    Who do we stand with?
    Who do we stand against?
    Whose side are we on?


  23. 09/21/2019  —  Bewick’s Swan 2019/09/13 03 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, September 13, 2019

    Donald Trump is a teetotaler,
    but you would never know it
    by the way he acts.
    He acts like a man on a binge.
    Which leads me to wonder
    about his medication
    and his brain chemistry.

    Alcohol can mess with our judgment,
    but it isn’t the only thing that can.
    Warnings against operating heavy machinery
    are attached to a lot
    of the over-the-counter pills
    in any pharmacy.

    Which leads me to wonder
    about Congress’ capacity
    for “sober judgment.”

    How are drugs and alcohol
    shaping our future?
    A three martini lunch
    could be shaping it
    with a sledge hammer
    and a wrecking ball.

    This track also leads me
    to offer a caveat regarding
    my reverence for,
    and adoration of,
    the place of silence in our life.

    Silence is no friend for those
    into drugs and alcohol.
    We have to approach silence
    with our critical faculties intact.
    Our ego-self has to be operating
    at full capacity
    in order to partner with our psyche-self
    in the work of creating
    a life worth living.

    We cannot stagger along the spiritual path.

    Good judgment and good faith
    are a tandem.
    We have to be able to see what we look at,
    and assess the value of the voices,
    images
    and urges
    arising in the silence.
    Alcohol doesn’t do us any favors,
    and does interfere with our ability
    to be clear about anything.

    How much alcohol do you consume in a day?
    How much medication do you take?
    Don’t kid yourself about how much
    it is interfering with your life.

    Don’t kid yourself about it being necessary
    to take the edge off your pain.
    Your pain is your best friend
    highlighting areas in your life that need to change–
    highlighting areas in which you need to change.

    Get to know your pain.
    Bear the pain of getting to know your pain.
    Trust it to lead you gingerly
    along the way.


  24. 09/22/2019  —  Swan Lake 2019/09/13 08 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, September 13, 2019

    We like to think
    we know where we are going,
    but
    we don’t have any idea how we got here,
    now.

    We certainly did not want ourselves here,
    now.

    We did not say ever,
    “I want to be there,
    then!”
    And plot out the course
    and the timing
    of our arrival.

    Yet,
    we think we can do that
    with where we are going.

    We think we can want ourselves there,
    then,
    as though our wanting knows.

    Wanting only knows what it wants.
    It has no concern for what it needs to want,
    for what it ought to want.

    Wanting cannot want what it ought to want.
    It can only want what it wants.
    As though it knows what to want.

    You would not trust yourself
    to what your mother wanted for you,
    or your father,
    or me.

    Why would you trust yourself to you?
    Unless there is a you beyond you
    who knows what you ought to want
    because it knows you
    better than you do.

    Two yous in one body?
    One you who knows what to want,
    and one you who only knows what it wants.
    And you deciding
    which you you are going to listen to.

    Three yous in one body?
    And you thought you were all alone!


  25. 09/23/2019  —  Bewick’s Swan 2019/08/24 03 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, August 24, 2019

    It all will not fit.
    We have to leave some important things out.
    Some things have to go.

    It’s the parable of the net of fishes
    with the fishermen culling out
    the rough fish from the market variety.

    We have to do that with our life.
    We have to cull out
    what is working against us
    living the life that is our life to live.

    “Ooohhh” (Uttered with a high-pitched nasally whine),
    we say, “I can’t do thattttt!”

    And that is what separates
    those of us who are alive to the life
    that needs us to live it,
    from those of us who are dead
    waiting for some undertaker
    to make it official.

    If booze and drugs are in our way,
    they have to go.
    If our routine doesn’t have enough time in it
    to allow devotion to the tasks
    our life requires,
    our routine has to go.

    A *meaningful* life is a different kind of life
    from the one that is “smooth and easy.”
    A *meaningful* life is disciplined.
    It revolves around
    silence,
    reflection,
    contemplation,
    realization,
    inquiry,
    study,
    exploration,
    examination,
    work,
    reading,
    writing,
    listening,
    looking,
    seeing,
    hearing…

    It is a focused life,
    a well-considered life,
    a life of few distractions,
    diversions,
    amusements.

    We do not know and serve
    our psyche-self
    without spending time
    knowing and serving
    our psyche-self.

    All the other little fishes
    have to go.


  26. 09/23/2019  —  Bewick’s Swan 2019/08/24 02 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, August 24, 2019

    We have to be able to dance
    with our circumstances,
    with our contradictions,
    with the time and place
    of our living–
    In an “Okay,
    here we are,
    now what?”
    kind of way.

    “What can we do
    about being unable to do
    what needs to be done?”

    Being frustrated,
    shutting down,
    losing it
    and quitting
    is a worse choice
    than sitting down,
    being quiet,
    opening ourselves
    to the moment
    and waiting to see
    what occurs to us.

    We don’t always/ever
    (Take your pick)
    get the kind of cooperation
    we need.

    We all could use
    more help
    than we get.

    What we do about that
    is up to us.

    How we assess it,
    interpret it,
    respond to it,
    decide what it means to us,
    positions us to manage
    what follows.

    What follows hinges largely
    upon the way we deal
    with the here and now.

    If we go out and get drunk,
    that is going to have one kind
    of future.

    If we sit down,
    shut up,
    and listen,
    that is going to have
    a different kind of future.

    The life that is ours to live
    is an extension
    of the life we are living.

    The choices we make now
    set the tone
    for the choices
    we get to make next.

    The present moment
    is all we have to work with now.
    If all we can do is wait,
    we can at least wait
    with our eyes open.


  27. 09/24/2019  —  Bewick’s Swan 2019/08/24 01-B — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, August 24, 2019

    Our place as ego-consciousness
    enclosed in this body,
    in this time and place,
    is to coordinate the collaboration,
    integration,
    and alignment
    with our psychic-unconscious,
    so that we might unite
    and live as one
    in the life we are living.

    This doesn’t mean using
    the Psyche to get what we want,
    accomplish our goals
    and achieve our idea of success.

    It means living the life
    that needs us to live it
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    We hand over our ambition
    in the service of a good
    that is better than our own good,
    in a “Thy will, not mine be done”
    kind of way
    (With the “thy” being
    the Psyche’s sense
    of what needs to happen
    in each here and now
    in light of all things considered).

    The Psyche is in charge
    of who we need to be
    and what we need to do.
    Ego-consciousness is in charge
    of how to do it.
    We negotiate the path
    Psyche would have us walk,
    taking into account
    the demands,
    limitations,
    requirements
    and restrictions
    of the physical world.

    It is “a slippery slope,
    a dangerous path,
    like a razor’s edge,”
    and we guide The Guide,
    so to speak,
    with our knowledge
    of ethics
    and morality,
    common sense,
    propriety,
    protocol,
    process
    and procedure–
    negotiating and compromising
    our way
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    through the situations and circumstances
    that present themselves each day.

    The Native Americans
    on their vision quests–
    and each of us on ours–
    receive a sense of their calling
    (Who they need to be,
    What needs them to do it),
    and they (we) are left to work that into
    the possibilities and opportunities
    afforded by the situations and circumstances
    of the reality of the physical world.

    It is a partnership all the way.
    We listen in the silence for what occurs to us,
    and apply it within the terms and conditions
    of life as it is lived,
    day-by-day,
    all our life long.

    In us,
    the What and the Who
    meet the How,
    and when we are humming,
    focused
    and in the flow,
    in the zone,
    on the beam,
    miracles happen.


  28. 09/25/2019  —  Bewick’s Swan 2019-08-24 05 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, August 24, 2019

    A countless number of futures
    open before us in each moment,
    each one contingent upon
    what we do in that moment.

    Every act–
    or failure to act–
    comes with a future attached.

    What we do now determines–
    or strongly influences–
    what happens next,
    and what we do then
    leads to…

    Too many of us try to
    play the futures market,
    not with pork belly prices,
    or soy beans,
    but with what we think
    is the future we want to have.

    Stop The Train!
    (The train of thought)

    And allow me to ask you
    the most important question
    in the entire library of questions:

    WHAT DOES WANTING KNOW?

    And the second most important question
    is like unto it:

    WHERE DOES WANTING COME FROM?

    We act like what we want
    is the critical key to a future worth having,
    to a life worth living.
    Remember your first marriage?
    How did that work out for you?
    How about your second?
    Still looking for what you want
    in a life-partner, aren’t you?
    That’s what wanting knows.
    Nothing.

    We have an irrational stake
    at stake
    in having what we want,
    as though that is going to be something
    worth having.
    Even though that has yet to be borne out
    in our life.
    No matter how often we get what we want,
    we are still wanting.
    There is never a moment
    in which there is nothing else to want.
    We can want to stop wanting
    but we cannot stop wanting.
    We are addicted to wanting.
    Wanting drives us through our life
    like a mad jockey with riding crop in hand.

    Every moment becomes an opportunity
    to exploit the situation
    for our own advantage,
    with our best possible future
    firmly in mind.
    We play the moment
    to beat the odds
    and win the game.

    There is no game.
    There is only the moment
    and what needs to happen
    here and now.

    “In light of what?” is the question.
    The good of the moment
    is a better answer
    than our good in every moment.

    When we live to serve our good
    in every moment,
    we create a future
    in which everybody
    is fighting everybody
    for advantages
    benefits,
    boons,
    and assets…
    as though if we can just get
    what we want,
    we will be happy at last.

    But.
    Wanting has nothing to do with happiness.
    It springs from the desert
    of our discontent.
    What shall we do about that?


  29. 09/26/2019  —  Australian Black Swans 2019/08/24 04 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, August 24, 2019

    The pursuit of wealth
    cannot be lived
    in the service of life.

    The requirements of wealth
    are at odds with
    the requirements of life.

    Wealth destroys life,
    and then, sometimes,
    donates to benevolent causes
    to enhance life
    and compensate its conscience
    for destroying life.

    Donald Trump and his “friends”
    embody the love of wealth,
    and exemplify the qualities
    of greed and envy
    in all they do.

    They are what the pursuit of wealth does
    to all who trod that path.

    They are what Capitalism does
    to those who serve its ends
    under the banner of Profit At Any Price.

    When there is nothing better than wealth,
    there is nothing but the refuse of the wealthy,
    who are constantly looking for more resources
    to turn into money
    at the expense of everything else.

    Wealth as the goal of life
    is at odds with life itself.
    Life lives to be fully alive–not wealthy.

    Where the pursuit of money
    and the service of vitality,
    libido,
    life energy,
    enthusiasm,
    joy of life, etc.
    diverge
    is where money is used to buy
    vitality, libido,
    life energy, etc.

    Money can buy sex,
    but it cannot buy life.

    Wealth is just a splashy way
    of being dead.


  30. Beidler Forest 2019-06-23 31 — Four Hole Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, June 23, 2019, an iPhone photo

    Joseph Campbell said,
    “The reason for our discontent
    is the failure of the vitality
    under which we are supposed to live.”

    Our life is supposed to be meaningful.
    The world that receives us at birth
    is supposed to be a meaningful world.

    We have, as a species,
    outlived the meaningfulness
    of the symbols and myths
    which are there to receive us at birth.

    They have been meaningless
    for generations
    by the time we are born.

    To have a chance at a meaningful life,
    we have to create our own meaning
    from scratch.

    We can do it, of course,
    but it will not be easy.
    The work will require
    all we have,
    and are.
    This is now the task that is ours
    from birth:
    Finding what is meaningful
    and building a life centered on it,
    allowing that life to take shape around it,
    as we live in the service
    of what is meaningful
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    all our life long.

    We begin in the silence.
    Sitting.
    Listening.
    Looking.
    For what occurs to us.
    For what calls our name.
    For what catches our eye.

    We are hidden in all that attracts us
    and revealed by all that repels us.
    We are found all that we enjoy doing,
    and in all that we love.

    We find what is meaningful
    by sitting quietly with those things
    until we see ourselves looking back at us.

    Then we live to incorporate them in our life.

    Find your joy.
    discover where your heart loves to be.
    Be what you love.
    Do what you love–
    and what it takes to pay the bills.

    There is your life.
    Waiting for you to hop in,
    and go for a ride.
    The ride of your life!

  31. 09/27/2019  —  Great Blue Heron 2019/08/24 02 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, August 24, 2019

    I am stopped–
    stunned–
    by the amount of work required
    to keep me going.
    I am sustained by a vast web
    of support,
    without which
    I wouldn’t last a week.

    Just think of all that goes into
    getting a can of green beans
    onto the shelf of the grocery store
    just down the road!
    And what it took to get the grocery store
    just down the road!
    And what it took to get the road in place,
    and keep it maintained!

    Add to the list my doctor and dentist,
    my optometrist and ophthalmologist,
    the police and EMT’s on stand-by–
    and all of the people and systems
    that are in place to keep life as we know it going!

    What makes us worth their effort?
    What are doing in response?
    How do we express our gratitude?
    What contribution are we making
    to the on-going work of being good for one another?
    What is our bit?
    Our part?
    How well are we doing it?

    We owe it to ourselves
    and to each other
    to bring forth
    what is ours to give
    to the network of life and being
    that connects all of us
    to each other
    and to the planet
    which provides for all our needs.

    We honor ourselves,
    one another,
    all others,
    and the earth
    which births and sustains us
    when we live
    with all of this in mind,
    and are humbled
    by the wonder of it all,
    by the grace of Kairos,
    Tao
    and Dharma,
    and willingly–
    willfully–
    take our place in the scheme of things
    in deliberately,
    consciously
    and conscientiously
    living to be who we are
    by developing our gifts,
    genius,
    talent,
    ability,
    daemon,
    proclivities
    that are unique to us
    and share them
    in service to all
    in a “take what you can use
    and leave the rest behind”
    kind of way–
    trusting that to be enough,
    because it is all we can do.
    No one could do more!


  32. 09/28/2019  —  Two Geese Flying 2019/09/13 01 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, September 13, 2019

    We are all “just lucky to be here.”

    Which means there is more
    going on with us
    than meets the eye.
    Any eye.

    Our ancient ancestors knew
    the visible world
    of apparent,
    normal,
    reality
    is grounded upon
    and flows forth from
    the invisible world
    of unconscious,
    unimaginable,
    incontestable,
    reality–
    and that the Really Lucky Ones
    among us
    know exactly how lucky they are.

    Oh, and “luck” and “lucky”
    are terms that are interchangeable with
    Grace,
    Kairos,
    Tao and
    Dharma.

    We are all being upheld
    and led along
    by Invisible Hands.
    The Really Lucky Ones
    among us
    realize that.

    There is a sense in which
    we can definitely play the Luck Card
    to our advantage.
    The catch is
    that doesn’t mean
    what we think it means.
    We have no idea
    what is to our advantage
    and what is to our disadvantage.

    “Advantage” from one point of view
    is “disadvantage” from another.
    From what point of view
    are we seeing
    when we see what we look at?
    That’s the switch
    that shifts the tracks
    that carry us either
    to our fate
    or to our destiny.

    What does
    “Thy will, not mine, be done,”
    mean to you?


  33. 09/28/2019  —  Steele Creek 2019/08/29 06 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Dairy Barn Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, August 29, 2019, an iPhone photo

    I cannot recommend highly enough
    the regular practice of interviewing yourself.

    Write/type it out.

    Sit down with the invisible you
    and explore what The One Who Knows knows.

    This will focus your self-reflection,
    enhance realization,
    awareness,
    enlightenment,
    and develop a process
    for putting you in the position
    of watching things occur to you
    “out of the blue.”

    Those are the occurrences
    that make all the difference
    in our life.

    Sit down with yourself
    and start asking questions.

    Writing it out will give you a record
    to refer to
    and serve as a guide
    for future explorations
    for life together
    with the you who lives within.


  34. 09/29/2019  —  Faires-Colthrap Cabin 2019/08/29 01– Anne Springs Close Greenway, Dairy Barn Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, August 29, 2019, an iPhone photo

    We have to pay the bills
    and we have to know
    what we pay the bills to do.

    What is worth doing?
    What is worth our time?
    We live for what?

    How much of our life
    is spent diverting ourselves
    from considering
    what we are living for?

    Who are we?
    What are we about?

    What is our ground?
    Foundation?
    Bedrock?
    Rhizome?
    Core?
    Center?
    Heart?

    Our life is centered on what?
    Revolves around what?
    We live toward what?
    In the service of what?

    Sit down with these questions–
    and the questions these generate–
    and write out the answers
    that come to you
    in the silence.


  35. 09/30/2019  —  Goodale 2019-08-24 14 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, August 24,2019, an iPhone Photo

    The heart of discipline
    is being in command
    of how we respond
    to not being in control.

    How we respond
    is the switch
    that shifts the tracks
    that lead
    to all that follows
    in each situation
    as it arises.

    How we respond
    to this situation
    leads to the next situation,
    situation-by-situation forever.

    We are here
    because of how we responded
    to where we have been.

    The right kind of discipline
    is being in command
    of how we respond
    to each situation that arises
    in light of all we can be aware of
    in each here-and-now
    of our existence.

    We will never be in control
    of all the things that matter,
    and that is a good thing,
    because all we know
    is what we want and don’t want.

    We have no idea of what to want,
    of what we should want,
    and if we did,
    we wouldn’t want it.

    We cannot make ourselves
    want what we ought to want.
    But.
    We can make ourselves do
    what needs to be done.
    We can sacrifice what we want
    in light of what we also want,
    in light of the true good of all concerned.

    We can get up and go to work,
    or to school,
    when we want to stay in bed
    and go back to sleep.

    We are not in control of how we see things.
    We cannot make ourselves see things differently
    than we see things.
    We can concede that things can be seen differently
    from the way we see them,
    but,
    we can only see things the way we see them.

    And, we can be in command
    of seeing the way we see things
    in light of how else they may be seen,
    and that, alone, may lead to seeing things differently.

    We can question our authority and our ability
    to know how things ought to be seen.
    We can look closer.
    We can make inquiries.
    We can adopt “the scientific method.”
    We can investigate our hypotheses.
    We can change our mind.
    We can respond differently
    to how things are
    by seeing how things also are.

    We can examine what things mean to us,
    and allow their meaning to change
    in light of the full implications
    their meaning has for us
    and for everyone else
    and all sentient beings.

    We can allow ourselves
    to respond differently
    to the events
    and circumstances
    of our life
    in light of all things considered.

    We can be in command
    even though we are not in control.

    And that can make all the difference.


  36. 09/30/2019  —  Trumpeter Swans 2019-08-27 03 Panorama — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, August 27, 2019

    You hear it a lot,
    “Play the hand you’re dealt.”

    It also goes,
    “Bloom where you are planted.”

    I prefer the card analogy.
    I like being the player.
    I don’t like the idea
    of being planted.
    Stuck.
    Locked in place.
    May as well be in prison.
    Blooming
    or not blooming,
    you’re still in prison.
    Stuck in the ground.

    Deal me in!
    The trick about
    playing the hand you are dealt
    is:

    Trust the cards!

    Trust the cards
    to be exactly right for you!
    Give yourself wholly
    to the task of playing
    the hand you are dealt
    to the best of your ability.

    If you try to make the cards
    serve your end
    there be problems.

    If you forget exploiting the situation
    for your advantage,
    to achieve your idea
    of what your life ought to be,
    and give yourself solely
    to the cards,
    playing them like they need to be played
    in each situation as it arises,
    living according to the Tao,
    the Dharma,
    Kairos,
    Grace,
    Flow,
    in each moment,
    there be miracles.

    Perhaps not what
    you might have in mind
    for miracles,
    but miracles,
    nonetheless.

    Trust the cards.
    Play for a miracle.
    In each situation as it arises.
    All your life long.


  37. 10/01/2019  —  December Woods 2013/12/29 01 B&W — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, December 29, 3013

    Once we align ourselves
    with our life,
    everything else falls into place
    around that.

    Where we go to school.
    How we pay the bills.
    Who we marry.
    Where we live.
    How we spend our time.
    What course we plot
    through the conditions
    and circumstances
    that form the umwelt
    of our existence.

    Our relationship with our life
    determines our relationship
    with all the rest.

    We typically think
    if we can get
    all the rest
    under control,
    our life will take care of itself.

    What life do we need to be living?

    Start there.
    All the rest
    will take care of itself.


  38. 10/02/2019  —  Swan Lake 2019/09/13 08 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, September 13, 2019

    What’s at the bottom?

    What grounds us?

    What supports us?

    What are we here to do no matter what?

    What is worth our life?

    What some people call success,
    I call missing the point.
    What I call success,
    they call missing the point.
    Who knows what they are talking about?
    They cannot talk me out of what I think.
    I can’t talk them out of what they think.
    We all think we know what we are doing.
    Are we all right?

    We are right to be grounded on what grounds us,
    and let nature take its course,
    and see where it goes.

    We owe ourselves the privilege of being wrong–
    and live all-out in the service
    of what drives us,
    supports us,
    and gives meaning and purpose to our life.

    Pilate and Jesus.
    Hitler and Gandhi.
    Donald Trump and Reality Winner.


    Everyone lives their own life
    grounded on what grounds them.
    No one can be talked out
    of the way they are doing it.

    What we call good
    determines everything that follows.

    What is at the bottom?

    What grounds us?

    What supports us?

    What are we here to do no matter what?

    What is worth our life?


  39. 10/02/2019  —  We all can look at the same thing and we each will see something different. Look at a potato, abortion, a gay person, a grazing herd of bison…anything. What leads us to see it the way we do?

    Where does seeing come from?

    What is the source of our seeing?

    What causes us to see “this” and “that” the way we do?

    We cannot see anything apart from the meaning it has for us. Seeing the thing is seeing the meaning of the thing. We cannot see a thing that is meaningless to us. That’s the reason modern art is difficult for us to see. We don’t know what it means. The more meaningless something is, the more invisible it is.

    Seeing is interpretation. We interpret something in the act of seeing it. We decide what it means in deciding what it is.

    Seeing is evaluation. Seeing is judgment. Seeing is discrimination. For anything to stand apart from its background, we have to be discriminating. We have to discriminate between things in order to know where one thing starts and another thing stops. “This” is “this,” and not “that.”

    We can’t seem to help how we look at what we see. Knowing that doesn’t change anything. As I look at this, it is great, wonderful, beyond imagining, though, in a sense, I am imagining the entire concept!

    All of our ideas of “the good” come from the source of inference, intuition, hunches, urges, feelings, notions, awareness… We are seized by visions of mythic proportions and directed by a will beyond our will to do what we infer/intuit/sense/perceive/feel/etc. needs to be done—for better or for worse—no matter what.

    What is responsible for our seeing things the way we see things?

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


  40. 10/03/2019  —  Dairy Barn 2019/08/29 02 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Dairy Barn Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, August 29, 2019

    The Yin/Yang symbol
    is an ancient Taoist rendering
    of reality as we experience it.
    Opposites/Polarities/Contradictions
    everywhere we look.

    All of the boundaries separating
    and containing
    Yin and Yang
    are composed
    of Recognition,
    Respect,
    Reconciliation,
    Integration
    and Transcendence.

    That is how Opposites/Polarities/Contradictions co-exist.

    Not by being locked into
    eternal cycles of war and desolating devastation.

    The catch is
    that it takes a certain level of maturity
    on all sides
    to bring this off-
    to live together
    within the tension
    of mutual repulsion.

    And that brings us to the heart of the matter.

    We have created,
    produced,
    and live within
    a culture that is
    superficial,
    shallow
    and immature.

    It is based
    on me getting
    more money
    from you
    than you get
    from me.

    And what we do with our money
    is spend it,
    invest it,
    in ways that assist me and you
    in the effort
    of getting
    more money
    from you
    than you get from me,
    and vice-versa.

    It is a scheme of living for money,
    but what’s money for?
    Making more money.
    But for what?
    For lording it over those
    who have less money than we do.

    This is all the culture has to offer.

    We are not going to grow up in this culture.

    Anyone who grows up
    has to withdraw from the culture
    and create a counter-culture
    which values values
    like self-awareness,
    self-transparency,
    self-discipline,
    self-discovery,
    self-direction,
    self-reflection
    self-realization,
    self-expression–
    all of which are contained
    in Carl Jung’s idea of individuation.

    Jung was quick to point out
    that individuation can only occur
    in a community of the right kind of people–
    which would be people
    engaged in their own coming to be,
    and sharing themselves
    and their work
    with their friends and neighbors,
    with all being grounded in the principles
    of Recognition,
    Respect,
    Reconciliation,
    Integration
    and Transcendence.

    If you want to help sift the culture
    from where it is
    to where it needs to be,
    work at becoming the kind of person
    who attracts the kind of people
    who are capable of producing
    the kind of counter-culture
    that serves the purposes
    of individuation
    in an atmosphere of Yin/Yang.


  41. 10/04/2019  —  Happy Halloween 2019 01 B — Indian Land, South Carolina, October 3, 2019

    We cannot help
    seeing things as we do–
    and we have to
    change our mind
    about what is important.

    Look around.
    Things are as they are
    because we see things
    as we do.

    Change the way we see things
    and everything changes.
    On every level.
    From the way we dress
    and walk,
    to the health of the environment,
    to the way nations deal with themselves internally
    and with other nations externally.

    It all hinges on how we see what we look at.

    Sin in all the religions from the beginning
    is being wrong about what is important.
    Repentance in all those religions
    is changing our mind about what is important.

    We cannot help seeing the way we do,
    and we have to change
    the way we see things.

    Everything depends on it.


  42. 10/04/2019  —  Great Blue Heron 2019/08/24 03 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, August 24, 2019

    Things are the way they are
    in our life
    because we see things as we do.

    When we change the way we see things,
    everything changes.

    Until we change the way we see things,
    nothing changes,
    regardless of all of the changes we make
    (In terms of spouses,
    jobs,
    where we live,
    what we do, etc.).

    Our idea of what is important
    and how best to serve it with our life
    locks us into the life we are living.
    If potato chips,
    french fries
    and ice cream are important,
    our life will reflect that.

    Our life is an expression of what we value.
    Our priorities are always on display.
    How we think about things
    has us precisely where we are.

    Nothing changes until how we see
    what we look at changes.

    We have the rest of our life
    to teach ourselves
    to see things as they are.
    And also are.

    There is no time to waste.


  43. 10/05/2019  —  Happy Halloween 2019 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, October 2, 2019

    We create the future
    by the way we respond to the present.

    Here and now is the doorway
    to everything that follows.

    There is no moment more pivotal
    to what remains of our life
    than right here,
    right now.

    This is the pivot point
    for shifting our past
    into our future.
    How we make the transition
    tells the tale.

    That being the case,
    you might think
    we would be more careful
    with the present
    than we ever are.

    We are here, now,
    all the time,
    yet we never pay much attention to it.
    We are always thinking about
    what has happened to us,
    and where we are going.

    When we throw the present away
    our life reflects it.
    And we pay the price.
    We cannot neglect our place in the present
    and have a future
    that is what it would have been
    if we had been present
    to each present.

    We blow through the present
    in one of two ways:
    rationally or emotionally.
    We think our way forward,
    or we react our way there.
    Either way,
    what we want
    is a ring in our nose
    leading us down paths
    we don’t want to walk
    to places we don’t want to be.

    What does wanting know?
    Does it know what to want?
    Does it know how to want
    what it should want?
    What it ought to want?
    What it needs to want?
    What it must want–
    with all it’s heart?

    If we are going to want something,
    why not want what needs us to want it?
    What needs to be done?
    What needs us to do it?
    Never-minding what’s in it for us?
    Never-minding what we stand to gain?
    Never-minding whether it serves our advantage?

    This is the place of awareness
    in our life.
    Awareness is the way
    of seeing/hearing/knowing/understanding
    what’s what and what needs to be done about it
    in light of the best that can be imagined
    in the service of the true good of the situation
    in every situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    What needs to happen here and now?
    We cannot think or react our way there!
    We perceive our way there
    by knowing what we know
    about all that can be known here and now.

    How to do that is what Jon Kabat-Zinn is all about.
    He has YouTube videos that won’t cost you a dime.
    Watch the shortest ones first.


  44. 10/06/2019  —  Steele Creek 2019/08/29 08 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Dairy Barn Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina August 29, 2019

    Joseph Campbell said,
    “Spontaneously living out
    of what needs doing now–
    that is the play of children.”

    Of all of us when we were children.
    Now?
    Not so much!

    All of our “play”
    is governed by
    how it is supposed to be done.
    We grade every move.
    and look for approval
    at every turn,
    as though everyone is watching,
    looking for mistakes,
    score cards in hand.

    Where in your life
    are you free
    to play–
    to live–
    as you did as a child?
    To be one with the moment,
    dancing in delight
    with whatever incites us
    to laughter
    and wonder?

    We have lost the way
    to that world,
    and do not even
    allow ourselves
    the freedom of our fantasies
    about it.

    Where does your imagination
    roam free and unrestrained?

    Campbell recommends that we
    “Amplify your own fantasies!”
    To allow ourselves to be
    “Fascinated by your aspirations!”
    And to integrate them into our life.

    What are your fascinations?
    Your aspirations?
    Campbell would remind us,
    “They both have to be a little bit insane!”
    And, he would call us to
    “Play with them!”
    And tell us,
    “That is the way to find the support for your life!”

    How long has it been
    since we dreamed ourselves to life?


  45. 10/06/2019  —  Happy Halloween 2019 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, October 6, 2019

    I can’t make sense of anything I do.
    Truth be known,
    no one can make sense of anything.
    If you keep asking “Why”
    of every “explanation,”
    you will eventually get to the point
    of “I don’t know.”

    Or, “You have to take it on faith,”
    which amounts to the same thing:
    “I don’t know,
    and I am not going to think about it anymore.”

    I try to be as aware of my motives
    as I can be,
    but.
    I have never had a motive
    that I fully understood.

    I can’t get to the bottom of any of it.
    And, I think it gets in the way
    of what I am going to do next
    if I dwell too long
    on what I just did,
    or on what I did years ago.

    Norms,
    codes,
    standards,
    president,
    protocol,
    rules,
    guidelines
    and laws
    help guide me along the way,
    but.
    All can be set aside
    to take a photograph,
    or to eat a piece of Lemon Ice Box Pie.

    Leaving me wondering
    what I will do next,
    and hoping that I will
    be better off for it
    on every level.

    Which would mean it won’t be pie.


  46. 10/07/2019  —  Steele Creek 2019/08/28 03 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Dairy Barn Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, August 28, 2019

    Awareness is the tool
    for constructing our response
    to each situation as it arises
    in the time and place of our living.

    Awareness is the primary tool,
    the ultimate weapon,
    and the time to act,
    when it comes upon us,
    is a matter of being attuned
    to what arises within
    as a compelling urgency,
    a pronounced impetus,
    to action–
    and we find ourselves
    doing what needs to be done
    without knowing why here,
    why now.

    We do not think our way
    to right action
    so much as we listen/see
    our way there.

    When we know what’s what
    on every level–
    or on enough of them–
    we know what to do about it,
    and act like that,
    as though we are dancing effortlessly
    to music no one else can hear.

    Sit in the presence of the facts,
    the contradictions,
    the conflicts,
    the polarities,
    the paradoxes,
    and live within the tension,
    open to all that is,
    awaiting clarity,
    realization,
    and the inward push
    to do what needs to be done,
    perhaps against your will.


10/08/2019  —  Bass Lake 2019/10/07 02 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 7, 2019

We are on our own.
It is all up to us.
And we cannot do it alone.
You might think
we would be doing
everything possible
to establish the right kind of relationships
with ourselves
and with those who are at least as awake as we are
in order to have our best chance
of coming to terms
with the conditions and circumstances
of our life
moment-by-moment-by-moment,
situation-by-situation,
all our life long.

But no.

We follow the herd
from the barn
to the pasture
back to the barn,
waiting for someone to tell us
what to think,
what to believe,
what to do,
and cannot remember
the last original thought we had,
or the last chance we took,
or the last time
we trusted ourselves
to the guides who live within.


  • 10/09/2019  —  Bass Lake 2019/10/07 09 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 7, 2019

    We have to have a life
    that is bigger than we are–
    a life that we serve
    in a “Thy will, not mine, be done”
    kind of way.

    We belong to our life.
    Our life does not belong to us.
    Our destiny is in charge of us,
    we are not in charge of our destiny.

    Farmers belong to the seasons,
    and to the weather.
    Athletes belong to their sport,
    and to their training regimen.

    We all have our orders of the day.
    We rise early
    or sleep late
    naturally–
    and we set those tendencies aside
    in service to the requirements
    of our job,
    or whatever is ours to do
    (Taking the dog out,
    driving the kids to school…).

    Our life has its own shape and form.
    We choose the life that owns us,
    but we don’t get to live it any way we choose.

    We are all ordered and disciplined
    by the life we are living.
    How right is the fit is the question.
    How fully do we belong
    to the life we are living?
    To what extent is it “us”?
    To what extent is it “not us”?

    Are we owned by a life
    we do not belong to–
    that does not belong to us?
    If so, how would our Real Life
    be different?
    What might we do
    to incorporate some aspects
    of our Real Life
    into the life we are living?
    How might we
    walk two paths at the same time?

    The better the fit
    between us and our life,
    the better we are,
    the better our life is.
    And it shows.

    When things are not right,
    we know it,
    and our life exhibits it.
    When we “live to get it right”–
    to more accurately exhibit
    the life we are built to live–
    things shift into place,
    take on a different light,
    and we have an air
    of belonging to the life we are living,
    transforming everything
    and making all things new


  • 10/09/2019  —  Happy Halloween 2019/10 04 — Indian Land, South Carolina, October 9, 2019

    The center fails to hold
    when the government fails to govern,
    and the law is flaunted
    by the officials with the highest authority,
    and the country is free-falling
    as in the Great Depression
    and in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.

    Where do we turn
    when there is nowhere to turn?
    What grounds us,
    secures us,
    when all the structures
    and institutions
    that have been so reassuring
    in the past
    no longer work their magic?

    We are still breathing.
    The silence is always with us.
    The stillness is always the source
    of comfort and direction
    to those who know how
    to wait and watch,
    look and listen
    for the two million year old voice
    that has directed the people
    who are our ancestors
    through dark times
    and difficult places,
    to these times,
    and this place.

    We only have to remember our breathing,
    and enter the silence,
    and embrace the stillness,
    to wait and watch,
    look and listen,
    and know that it is so.


  • 10/10/2019  —  Bass Lake 2019/10/07 04 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 7, 2019

    We have to suffer it through.
    Or suffer through refusing
    to suffer it through.

    Suffering is the common ground
    of every path.
    How we understand that
    and accept it,
    embrace it,
    acknowledge that suffering *is* the path
    and take up what is ours to bear,
    bearing it as it should be borne,
    transports us to realization,
    understanding,
    enlightenment,
    and the knowledge
    that transforms our existence
    and makes all the difference.

    Suffering it through grows us up.
    It is the only thing that does.
    Growing up is the path
    to wherever it is we think we are going.
    The only path.

    “If you are going to be my companions,
    pick up your cross each day,
    and come along with me”
    (Jesus, or words to that effect).

    We don’t have to go looking
    for our cross.
    It is everywhere we are asked
    to suffer it through.

    If we are married,
    we have to suffer through being married.
    If we are not married,
    we have to suffer through being unmarried.
    If we are employed,
    we have to suffer through being employed.
    If we are not employed,
    we have to suffer through being unemployed.
    And so on,
    through all of the states of being
    and all of the terms and conditions,
    contexts and circumstances,
    of our life.

    Those who refuse to suffer
    have to suffer through refusing to suffer.

    The trick with suffering is to welcome it,
    invite it into your life,
    and dance with it daily–
    consciously,
    mindfully,
    bearing the agone/agona
    that comes with being alive.
    All our life long.

    Suffering is the door to life
    and the path to life.
    If you can understand that,
    laughing,
    you have it made–
    and qualify for being
    the current incarnation
    of the Christ.

    “Well done, good and faithful master!
    Welcome to the joy of the master!”


  • 10/11/2019  —  Bass Lake 2019/10/07 08 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 7, 2019

    The material world is not the real world.
    The ancient ones of all races
    in all parts of the world
    knew that the visible world
    is grounded in,
    and founded upon,
    the invisible world.
    Today, science is the only discipline
    that knows what we see,
    weigh,
    count,
    measure
    is upheld and made possible
    by what we don’t see.
    Gravity, for example.
    Dark Matter, for another.

    Where does direction come from?
    Guidance?
    What pilots our boat
    on its path through the sea?
    How did we get here, now?

    Grace, luck, providence, Kairos, Tao, Dharma, synchronicity, chance, magic, flow, groove, charmed, cursed…
    are all terms pointing
    to more than can be known–
    to more than our will at work in/upon our life.

    And, we no sooner acknowledge that
    than we begin to wonder
    how we can exploit it,
    take advantage of it,
    work it to our own personal gain.

    But.

    Looking back over our life,
    what was gain and what was loss?

    We don’t know what is good for us,
    or how good the good is that we call good.

    We are better off in the hands of the invisible world
    than in our own hands.
    We only know what we want and don’t want.
    We don’t know what *to* want.
    We may know what we ought to want,
    but we don’t know how to want it.
    Or where we are well off.
    Or what it takes to be there.
    We all are Adam and Eve,
    trading paradise for the pleasure of the moment.

    Sure.
    Put us in charge of our life.
    We know what we are doing!

    The alternative is to align ourselves
    with the invisible world,
    and to trust ourselves to it
    through “the heaving waves
    of the wine-dark sea.”

    The path there starts
    with sitting quietly,
    being still
    and noticing what occurs to us–
    what arises in the silence–
    attending our dreams,
    listening to our body,
    to our “gut feelings,”
    to “what we know in our bones,”
    to what our heart knows,
    to what our feet know,
    and allow those things
    to lead us along the way,
    not knowing what we are doing,
    or where we are going.
    Trusting ourselves to some spirit
    that blows where it will.
    You know the one.
    It got us here, now.


  • 10/12/2019  —  Bass Lake 2019/10/07 06 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 7, 2019

    We need to be living like we are dying.
    Like we are running out of time.
    Like we have something to live for–
    something to serve–
    something to do.

    What could that be?

    We have no idea,
    and conclude there is nothing to live for,
    nothing to serve,
    nothing to do–
    and live as though that is the case.

    Take money out of the picture
    and there is no reason to live!
    Give everybody all the money
    they could ever spend
    and what would they do
    that would not fall
    into one or more of the following categories:
    Distraction,
    Diversion,
    Denial,
    Addiction?

    All we have are entertaining pastimes!
    And death only relieves us of the pressure
    of what’s for lunch,
    and what to do with the rest of our life.

    We have no compelling urgency,
    no directing vision,
    no guiding purpose.
    And no idea of what to do about it.
    Here’s one:
    Empty yourself of all
    that might pass for
    a reason to live.
    Get rid of the noise.
    Sit still.
    Be quiet.
    For as long as it takes.
    Wait for salvation.

    Salvation is seeing what needs to be done
    and doing it
    in each situation as it arises
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    in light of what is happening
    and what needs to be done about it
    your entire life long.

    After a time,
    you will develop
    a rhythm,
    a style,
    take on a shape,
    form yourself around
    the skills and abilities,
    interests and proclivities
    that set you apart
    and make you you.

    You will have a way about you.
    You will begin living
    out of your own authority.
    You will sharpen your own focus,
    serve your own sense
    of the good,
    be responsible
    for your own expression,
    incarnation,
    of your own gifts and genius
    in service to the good of the whole.

    And there won’t be enough time
    to get it all done.


  • 10/13/2019  —  Bass Lake 2019/10/07 03 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 7, 2019

    Exploitation.
    That’s a bad thing.
    It locks us into a perspective
    that colors our perceptions
    and cuts us off
    from what needs to be done–
    from what needs us to do it–
    and focuses us on what’s in it for us,
    what are wee getting out of it,
    how we can maximize our opportunities
    to our full advantage,
    all other things notwithstanding.

    Here’s one for you,
    no, two, no three.
    1) Our advantage isn’t what we think it is.
    2) We are not here to serve our advantage.
    at the expense of all other considerations.
    3) We don’t know what is truly advantageous.

    We need a certain about of working room.
    We need enough resources
    to not be consumed with survival.
    We need to be secure and comfortable–
    *in the service of*
    what needs to be done/what needs us to do it
    in the service of the good of the situation as a whole.

    We are here,
    not to serve ourselves,
    but to serve the good of the whole,
    the good of the other–
    in a way that declares unequivocally
    *there are no others*!

    We have no idea what is to our fullest advantage.
    We think in terms of wealth and power.
    fame and fortune
    (“Fortune and glory, Kid. Fortune and glory”).
    That’s the best we can do.
    So we try to exploit everything to that end.
    And, here we are.
    Looking for what, we do not know.

    That’s where I come in
    with: Sit down,
    Shut up.
    Be quiet
    and still.
    Listen.
    Look.
    Until you can see and hear
    what’s what
    and what needs to be done about it.
    And do not shut things off–
    do not shut yourself off from things–
    thinking you know what’s what
    and what needs to be done about it!

    Have you watched all of the Jon Kabat-Zinn
    YouTube videos?
    One of the things you will learn there
    is the importance of distancing yourself
    from what you think
    in order to see what you look at
    and hear what is being said
    (In any number of ways,
    on any number of levels).

    Awareness creates distance
    when it sees without emotional
    attachment/involvement/investment
    in what is seen–
    when it sees without opinion or judgment.
    Just seeing,
    just knowing,
    just understanding,
    in a “This, too, this, too” kind of way.
    When it sees
    without trying to possess/exploit
    what it perceives to be its advantage
    in any way.

    Fostering and serving this attitude
    is the first step
    in becoming who we need to be
    in order to live the rest of our life
    the way it needs us to live it.

    Why would we not want to do that?


  • 10/14/2019  —  Bass Lake 2019/10/07 05 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 7, 3029

    We are looking for what fits,
    for where we belong,
    for what is right for us.

    The only thing wrong with us
    is that we are too often wrong
    about what is important.

    The only thing we need to do
    about that
    is change our mind
    about what matters most
    until we get it right.

    We will know when that is
    by the way things fall into place
    around us.

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

    We simply need to know what we know
    and act accordingly.

    We know what fits,
    where we belong,
    what is right for us.

    We know what is life for us
    and what is not.

    What’s the problem?


  • 10/14/2019  —  Happy Halloween 2019 06 — Indian Land, South Carolina, October 14, 2019

    We only have to live in each moment
    in light of what matters most
    in that moment.

    It helps to have no ideology,
    no theology,
    no doctrine,
    nothing to impose on the moment–
    only an openness to the moment
    in light of all things considered.

    How do we know what is right?
    What is good?
    What is just?

    Everybody knows these things
    as they pertain to themselves.

    We know when we are being treated poorly,
    and when we are being treated well.

    We know what is right for us,
    what is good for us,
    what is just for us.

    Which is to say that
    we know what is right,
    what is good,
    what is just.

    We only need to get ourselves
    out of the way
    and apply what we know
    about right, good, just
    to the moment–
    doing unto others
    as we would have them
    do unto us–
    loving all others
    as we love ourselves.

    When we treat everyone lovingly
    everything falls into place
    around that.

    We know what it means
    to be treated lovingly.
    Treat everyone like that.
    In each moment.
    Change the world.


  • 10/15/2019  —  Bass Lake 2019/10/07 11 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 7, 2019

    Communion is a lost art.

    We talk of “communing with nature,”
    and of “community,”
    but.
    The actual *practice* of communion,
    anywhere,
    on any level,
    is largely,
    if not completely,
    neglected,
    and the experience is accidental,
    or “stumbled upon,”
    if we ever encounter it.

    Where are we “one” with anything,
    even our life?
    Regularly,
    dependably,
    predictability,
    systemically?

    A few friendships, perhaps,
    but.
    As the old biblical text declares,
    “If we love only those who love us,
    what have we done?”

    Where do we go to commune
    with those not like us?

    Where does Right sit down with Left?
    Used to be,
    in the old days,
    that both sides of the isle
    would commune with each other
    over dinner
    after a brutal day at the office.

    Where do opposites get together
    to talk about the things that unite them
    these days?

    What’s it like in your house
    over Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner?

    How much communion is going on?

    What can we do to revive the art?
    To be sources of civility
    and commonality
    in our world?


  • 10/15/2019  —  The Tree By The Side Of The Road — The Mandala Collection, 2019

    What drives you,
    propels you,
    urges you on?

    What do you serve with your life?
    What do you seek
    with all your heart,
    and soul,
    and mind,
    and strength?

    What serves you
    as your ground,
    your foundation,
    your source,
    your rhizome,
    your bedrock?

    Where do you go
    when you have nowhere to turn?

    What do you count on?
    Rely on?
    Depend on?

    What is responsible
    for you being where you are?


  • 10/15/2019  —  Happy Halloween 2019 07 — Indian Land, South Carolina, October 15, 2019

    We all have exactly the same problem.
    Every one of us.
    Around the world.
    Through time.

    It comes in two parts
    but it is one problem.

    We have to make sense of things.
    We have to find a reason to go on with it.

    How well we deal with the problem
    tells the tale.

    How well are you doing with it?

    Everything we do is a reflection
    of how well we are doing
    with dealing with the problem.

    My advice is to make it conscious.
    The more conscious we are
    of doing what we do–
    the more conscious we are
    of the problem
    and how we are dealing with it–
    the more likely we are
    to actually deal with it.

    And that will make all the difference.


  • 10/16/2019  —  Bass Lake 2019/10/07 10 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 7, 2019

    Let’s make a list
    of things we can’t help:

    We can’t help
    how we feel
    about making lists.

    We can’t help
    how we feel.

    We can’t help
    what we want–
    and what we don’t want.

    We can’t help
    seeing the way we see.

    We can’t help
    what we are in the mood for–
    and not in the mood for.

    We can’t help
    what we are afraid of.

    We can’t help
    what our choices are.

    We can’t help
    what we dream about when asleep.

    We can’t help
    what we dream about when awake.

    We can’t help
    where we have been,
    and not been,
    what we have done,
    and not done,
    what has been done to us,
    and not done to us.

    We can’t help
    what we like
    and what we don’t like.

    We can’t help
    what makes sense to us,
    and what makes no sense at all.

    We can’t help
    the facts that impinge upon us–
    like doing this
    means not doing that,
    having this
    means not having that,
    choosing this
    means not choosing that,
    or that, or that…

    We can’t help
    how one thing leads to another,
    and how everything
    has implications for other things,
    and how we can’t do anything
    without impacting something else.

    We can’t help
    having to come to terms
    with what we can’t help.

    Or how ridiculous it is
    to talk about free will
    when we are not at all free
    to will what we will
    or what we want–
    and what we are going to do about it
    is the question
    that never goes away.


  • 10/16/2019  —  Beidler 2019/06/23 35 — Banded Water Snake — Four Hole Swamp, Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina, June 23, 2019

    We need help being who we are.

    We can’t help being who we are,
    and we need to understand that
    in an atmosphere
    which encourages
    us to experiment,
    explore,
    examine,
    define,
    refine,
    exhibit
    and move through
    all of the stages
    of our development
    in the times and places
    of our living,
    all our life long.

    Who we are is not a steady state of being.

    We are fluid,
    evolving,
    becoming,
    growing,
    enlarging,
    expanding
    in relationship with,
    and in response to,
    the context
    and circumstances
    of our life,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    We are changing,
    in flux,
    flowing,
    moving,
    coming,
    going,
    losing,
    gaining…

    And need mentors,
    sponsors,
    stewards,
    friends and supporters
    in the work to be who we are
    in the times and places
    of our life.

    Every living thing
    needs a nourishing,
    nurturing,
    environment
    to go about the business
    of self-development
    and self-determination
    from birth to death.

    And, as human beings,
    we owe it to one another
    to be what the other needs
    to become who we are.


  • 10/17/2019  —  Bass Lake 2019/10/07 01 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 7, 2019

    The Context,
    conditions
    and circumstances
    of our living
    serve as our own personal
    labor/delivery room.

    We are birthing ourselves
    over the course of our life.

    The umwelt that receives us each day
    and tucks us in each night
    forms the matrix
    that is perfectly suited
    to bring us forth
    as the unique individual
    we each are.

    How well we cooperate
    with the process,
    align ourselves with it,
    and make conscious the work
    of becoming who we are
    tells the tale.

    We have to read the signs,
    speak the language,
    catch the drift,
    and understand the nature
    of what we are about
    in order to be about it:

    Birthing ourselves,
    bringing ourselves forth,
    growing ourselves up,
    being who we have within us to be
    in the time and place of our living
    by meeting the day
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    and being there
    who we are needed to be,
    day-after-day-after-day.

    It comes down to
    what we say yes to
    and what we say no to,
    and how well we sync
    who we are capable of being
    with what is needed
    in each situation
    as it arises
    all our life long.

    It takes focus,
    concentration,
    intentional,
    mindful,
    compassionate,
    non-judgmental,
    awareness
    to be who we are asked to be
    and offer what is ours to give
    in every here and now
    that comes along.

    If you think
    you have
    something better to do,
    you are wrong.

    You are living
    at odds with your life,
    and your life is evidence of that,
    and will remind you of it,
    until you wake up
    and take up the process
    of birthing yourself
    into the face that was yours
    before you were born.


  • 10/17/2019  —  Lower Falls 09/07/2011 — Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury, North Carolina, September 7, 2011

    Our contradictions,
    dichotomies,
    polarities
    are the crosses
    upon which
    we are crucified–
    and offer us the possibility
    of the right kind of dying,
    which leads to resurrection
    and new life.

    And dying again,
    and rising again,
    again and again
    throughout our physical existence.

    Life is death,
    death is life–
    if it is the right kind of living
    and the right kind of dying.

    This is the process
    by which
    we come,
    over time,
    over the full course
    of our life,
    to exhibit
    “the face that was ours
    before we were born.”

    This is the process
    of individuation–
    Carl Jung’s term
    for the work
    of becoming,
    of aligning ourselves with,
    who we are called to be,
    who we are built to be,
    who we are created to be,
    who we are capable of being.
    Which has practically nothing
    in common
    with who we want to be,
    with who we wish we were.

    And so the dying in order to live.

    We die to the life
    we have in mind for ourselves
    in order to live the life
    our life has in mind for us.

    We know what is right for us
    and what is wrong.
    But, what is wrong
    has a lot to offer.

    This is the story
    of the Garden of Eden,
    and the story
    of the Garden of Gethsemane.

    If you can understand that,
    you have a choice to make.
    Again and again.
    Over the course of your life.


  • 10/17/2019  —  Memory of Notre Dame 08/30/2019 — The Mandala Collection, Indian Land, South Carolina, August 30, 2011

    The artists of our times–
    of all the times that ever have been,
    or ever will be–
    are the spokespersons of the times,
    telling us,
    showing us,
    what we need to hear/see
    in order to do what needs to be done
    and become who we need to be
    in the time and place of our living.

    They, individually, are expressing
    as only they can,
    the truth of their experience
    in the time and place of their living.

    Some of them,
    through their work,
    resonate with us,
    and some do not.
    The ones who speak to us
    have to be heard by us–
    we have to allow them
    to guide us into the questions
    that we need to be asking,
    to the reflections
    we need to be considering,
    to the realizations
    we need to be having
    in order to put things together
    for ourselves,
    align ourselves with ourselves
    and be who only we can be
    in response to the here and now
    of our living.

    Artists are the prophets of our times.
    We must pay heed
    to those who speak to us,
    and open ourselves
    to what they have to say.


  • 10/17/2019  —  Redbud on the River 04/15/2008 — Oconaluftee River, Cherokee, NC, April 15, 2008

    Jesus on the cross
    is the metaphor for our time.
    For every time.
    For all of time.

    The Buddha said,
    “There is a way out of suffering!”

    Jesus said,
    “There is a way,
    and it is through suffering!”

    When John said Jesus said,
    “I am the way, the truth and the life,
    and no one comes to the Father but by me,”
    John meant that Jesus meant
    his way was/is the way of the cross.
    Not the way it is generally understood–
    with Jesus dying for everybody
    so that nobody would have to die–
    but the way Jesus meant when he said,
    “If you want to be Christians,
    you have to pick up your cross daily,
    and do it like I did it.”
    He meant, “Suffer it through!”
    He meant, “Die, again and again,
    figuratively,
    metaphorically,
    symbolically,
    by dying to our idea of our life,
    by dying to our idea of the way life ought to be
    by dying to what we want
    and wanting what we ought to want,
    which is the good of the situation as a whole
    in each situation as it arises,
    all our life long,
    until we die
    really,
    absolutely,
    physically,
    at the end of the line.”

    On the cross,
    Jesus was saying,
    “Look! This is the way you do it!
    This is the way it is done!
    Everybody dies for the sake of the moment,
    for the good of the situation,
    for the good of one another,
    for the good of all others.
    By bearing the pain of their own life,
    and doing what needs them to do it,
    in spite of the cost to them personally,
    no matter what,
    in each situation as it arises,
    all their life long.”

    Parents sacrifice themselves for their children.
    People sacrifice themselves for one another.
    We sacrifice ourselves for the life
    that needs us to live it.
    Time after time.

    That’s the way to do it.
    We bear the pain.
    We suffer it through.

    Now, the church,
    even back then,
    knew this would not fly.
    Who would think this is good news?
    So they changed the narrative,
    and gave us the church of our experience.
    It’s time we call BS on that,
    take up the way of the cross,
    and step into the next situation
    and see what needs to be done there,
    and what we can do about it
    with the gifts, genius, daemon, etc.
    that are ours to share,
    and do it–
    and keep it up
    for the rest of the time left for living.


  • 10/18/2019  —  African House 04/29/2019 — Melrose Plantation, Cane River National Heritage Trail, Cane River National Creole Area, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, April 28, 2019

    The worse thing we can do is dismiss,
    discount,
    discard,
    disregard,
    dishonor,
    deny,
    neglect,
    ignore,
    reject,
    betray,
    abandon,
    nullify and void
    the gift.

    That leaves us to wander seeking
    purpose,
    direction,
    wholeness,
    completion,
    fulfillment
    and satisfaction
    among entertaining diversions,
    distractions,
    and delights.

    What are the chances?

    The gift is the path
    to all things worthwhile.
    Serving it is our salvation.

    Salvation is being right
    about what is important,
    and pledging ourselves to it
    with liege loyalty and devotion
    all our life long.

    The gift awaits our allegiance,
    even now.
    Even still.
    Even yet.

    Finding and serving the gift
    is as simple
    as a shift in perspective.
    Repentance is changing our mind
    about what is important.

    Stop thinking!
    Stop evaluating!
    Stop judging!
    Stop having opinions!
    Stop imposing your idea
    of how things ought to be
    on how things are!
    Get out of your way!
    Start noticing everything!
    Notice your reaction to everything!
    Notice what occurs to you!
    Befriend your interests and inclinations!
    Trust yourself to your leanings
    and to the drift of your soul!

    You have been ignoring directions
    all your life.
    Examine your discards.
    Dig through your trash pile.
    Follow hunches long buried.
    And notions not acknowledged.

    Wild hares have a lot in common
    with white rabbits.
    Look closer at the things
    that catch your eye.
    See how long it takes
    to catch yourself smiling
    for no reason,
    and laughing aloud
    at the wonder of it all.


  • 10/19/2019  —  St. Augustine 2019/04/29 09 HDR — St. Augustine Catholic Church, Melrose Plantation, Cane River National Heritage Trail, Cane River National Creole Area, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, April 29, 2019

    What drives you,
    feeds you,
    nourishes you,
    sustains you?

    Where do you find
    what it takes
    to go on?
    To do what needs to be done?

    What is your core?

    When did you first
    begin thinking about
    these questions?

    Aniela Jaffe said,
    “Those who do not
    create meaning,
    but wait for it,
    end in never-ending
    disappointment”
    (Or words to that effect).

    And those who live
    based on someone else’s meaning–
    on what someone else says is meaningful–
    wind up in the same corner.

    This is the difference
    between serving
    “The Supposed To Be”
    and serving
    “The IS.”

    What is Heart for you?

    Spend time with that.
    Build your life around that.
    Create/imagine ever-new ways
    of working that into your life.
    Of serving that.


  • 10/19/2019  —  St. Augustine 04/29/2019 13 — St. Augustine Catholic Church, Melrose Plantation, Cane River National Heritage Trail, Cane River National Creole Area, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, April 29, 2019

    We save the world
    one moment at a time.

    A lost life is a string
    of lost moments.

    The most important time
    is right here,
    right now.

    We have to live this moment well
    to have a chance at the next one.

    This moment lived poorly
    carries over into the next moment,
    increasing the chances
    it will be lived poorly,
    building momentum,
    gaining speed
    until our whole life is blown to hell.

    We stop it by stopping it.
    By stopping.
    By siting quietly,
    being still,
    listening,
    looking,
    sensing,
    feeling,
    intuiting,
    tuning in
    turning onto
    what is happening
    and what needs to happen
    in response…

    Seeing,
    hearing,
    knowing,
    doing
    what needs to happen in response
    to what is happening
    in each moment,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    in each situation as it arises,
    all our life long…

    Being what the moment needs.
    Offering the gift
    that is ours to give.
    Loving the moment,
    gracing the moment,
    cherishing the moment,
    gifting the moment,
    with our presence,
    with our attention,
    with our awareness…

    Saving the world,
    one moment at a time.


  • 10/20/2019  —  St. Augustine 04/29/2091 11 — St. Augustine Catholic Church, Melrose Plantation, Cane River National Heritage Trail, Cane River National Creole Area, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, April 29, 2019

    What is to blame for the way things are
    is our idea of the way things ought to be.

    We want to live in the world we want to live in.

    There you are.
    Change that and everything changes.
    But.
    The world we want to live in
    is always changing.
    We can always imagine a better world
    than the world we live in.
    And, we can’t stand it.
    We cannot bear the pain
    of the dichotomy,
    of the contradiction,
    of the conflict.

    We have to have what we want,
    at any price.

    Consider Adam and Eve.
    Paradise wasn’t good enough.
    Living in this world
    in light of that world–
    No! *That* world!
    NO! THAT world!
    Etc. Forever–
    ends this world’s chances
    of ever being fit to live in.

    We hate this world.
    And that is what’s to blame
    for the way things are.

    Change that and everything changes.

    The operative modes of operating
    in this world are:
    Grace,
    Compassion,
    Kindness,
    Gentleness,
    Generosity,
    Good Faith,
    Good Will,
    Benevolence,
    Charity,
    Devotion,
    Transparency,
    Integrity,
    Forthrightness,
    A genuine concern
    for the well-being
    of all people,
    And An innate refusal
    to exploit any situation
    for our own good
    at the expense of the good
    of anyone else.

    Give me those qualities in every one,
    and I will give you a
    Brave New World.

    You’re laughing, aren’t you?

    Well.
    That’s what it will take.
    Nothing less will do.
    Each of us has to do our part
    in serving the good of the whole.

    It’s called being Christ-like.
    And, having Buddha-mind.
    All of the holy women and men
    through the ages
    have lived this way.

    Now, it is our turn
    to get with the program.


  • 10/21/2019  —  St. Augustine 04/29/2019 14 HDR — St. Augustine Catholic Church Cemetery, Melrose Plantation, Cane River National Heritage Trail, Cane River National Creole Area, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, April 29, 2019

    Being aligned,
    inner with outer,
    in every moment
    completely transforms
    our approach
    to living in the moment,
    which is to serve what we want
    to happen there
    at the expense
    of what needs to happen there.

    Such alignment
    depends upon–
    and flows out of–
    our awareness of the moment,
    of the time and place of our living,
    on every level.

    Taking everything into account
    brings complexity,
    contradiction,
    paradox,
    polarity,
    conflict,
    contrary,
    opposition
    into the picture,
    and requires us,
    too often,
    to make an unchooseable choice,
    in light of all things considered–
    a choice that is assisted by clarity
    and confirmed by peace.

    Think of Jesus in Gethsemane,
    and Abraham with Issac.

    That kind of clarity is found
    more often by seeing,
    feeling,
    sensing,
    intuiting,
    knowing
    than by reason and logic
    or flipping a coin.

    But, who has time for that?
    Who has time
    to slow things down
    in order to look and listen,
    see and hear?

    Who has time to know what’s what,
    and what’s happening,
    and what needs to be done in response?

    We are where we are
    because we did not have the time–
    or did not take it–
    to be somewhere else.

    Time to sit and listen,
    see and hear,
    feel and know,
    what is being asked of us
    and how best to respond.

    Time that might be thought of
    as prayer time–
    time to commune with the moment
    and see what is there,
    and know what to do about it
    with the gifts that are ours
    in the time that is at hand.


  • 10/21/2019  —  Bamboo 04/29/2019 01 — Melrose Plantation, Cane River National Heritage Trail, Cane River National Creole Area, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, April 29, 2019

    Make a statement.
    Any statement
    about any subject
    that you think is so.

    What makes you think it is so?
    Who says it is so?
    What makes you think
    they know what they are talking about?
    Is it factual?

    How would you verify it?
    Establish its validity?
    What witnesses would you call
    who would declare it to be so?
    On the basis of what?
    Is the statement capable of verification?

    How much do you think is so
    that cannot be substantiated?
    That remains your opinion?
    Something you “take on faith”?

    “Faith” is an opinion
    we are convicted about.
    Conviction carries a lot of weight.
    But.
    “It is a slippery slope,
    a dangerous path.
    Like a razor’s edge.”
    Much of what we believe
    lacks any foundation at all.

    We cannot take it for granted
    that we know what we are talking about
    when we say something is so.
    How do we know?

    Self-awareness
    means self-transparency.
    It means questioning our
    assumptions,
    inferences,
    premises
    suppositions,
    conjectures,
    surmises
    and hypotheses.

    And knowing that we don’t know
    as much as we think we know–
    and don’t know a tenth
    of what we do know.

    If we know that much,
    we will explore everything,
    examine everything,
    question everything.

    And take absolutely nothing
    for granted
    ever.


  • 10/22/2019  —  Bayou Teche 04/27/2019 01 — Bayou Teche, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, April 27, 2019 – Bayou Teche was, in its prime, the super highway of the swamp lands 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.

    The time within time—
    the time within The Times—
    is all we have to work with,
    and determines the impact
    the times upon us,
    and the impact of us
    upon the times.

    Each of us is—
    all of us are—
    swept up in,
    and swept away by,
    the times which
    receive us at birth,
    and come upon us out of nowhere
    throughout our life.

    The quality of our life
    within the times of our living
    depends upon
    the way we spend the time
    that is ours within the times
    that shape and form us.

    It is like this:
    Luck is entirely a matter of perspective.
    The quality of our luck
    hinges upon how we see
    what we look at.

    Good luck or bad luck
    turns on our point of view—
    on how we frame it,
    on how we spin it,
    on how we see it,
    on what we say about it.

    Want to change your luck?
    Change the way you see it!
    Change the way you think about it!
    Change your mind about it!

    We change our mind
    by being aware of it.
    Nothing changes the way we think
    faster than thinking about it.

    When we spend the time within the times
    being aware of everything
    we can be aware of,
    we change how the times affect us.
    When we change the affect,
    we change the effect,
    and live differently
    though nothing has changed
    about our life.

    Change the way you think
    about your life,
    and about the times within which
    you live—
    by being aware of how you think
    about your thinking—
    and you transform everything
    about your life,
    and about the way you live
    in relation to everything
    and everybody.

    And that changes everything.

    The time within the times
    is all we have to work with.
    How well we work with it
    influences everything that follows.


  • 10/22/2019  —  Cypress Swamp 04/27/2019 12 — Lake Martin, St. Martin Parish, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, April 27, 2019

    I am good for a way
    that leads to
    compassion,
    grace
    and maturity.

    It is one of many ways–
    as many ways as there are people.
    The old saying goes,
    “Many ways up the mountain,
    but one mountain.”

    My way is to modify this
    and say,
    Once at the top of the mountain,
    other mountains appear,
    and the way continues eternally.

    I do not know if that is so,
    of course,
    but it satisfies my yen
    to never cease the quest,
    and honors Heraclitus who said,
    “Traveling on every path,
    you will not find the boundaries of soul by going;
    so deep is its measure.”

    There is no grace and maturity
    without compassion,
    No compassion without
    grace and maturity,
    No grace without maturity
    and compassion.
    No maturity without
    grace and compassion.

    What we are living toward
    is compassion,
    grace
    and maturity.
    All roads will take us there
    if we keep walking.

    As stewards and servants
    of compassion,
    grace
    and maturity,
    we will be able
    to see things as they are,
    and also are,
    and see what’s what,
    and what is happening,
    and what needs to be done about it
    in each situation as it arises,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    and offer what we have to give
    to do what needs to be done
    using the gifts,
    genius,
    daemon,
    qualities
    and abilities
    that we have from birth
    and/or have developed
    along the way.

    That’s it.
    Nothing here
    about socking it away
    and having it made.
    Just getting up
    and meeting the day,
    one situation after another.
    All along the way.


  • 10/23/2019  —  General Store 04/28/2019 01 B&W — Oakland Plantation, Cane River National Heritage Trail/Cane River Creole National Historical Park, Natchitoches Parish, Natchitoches, Louisiana, April 28, 2019

    Zen is what happened
    when Taoism met Buddhism,
    so the phrase should be,
    “Zen-Taoism,” and not “Zen-Buddhism,”
    but.
    That is another fight
    I will not win.

    Anyway.
    Two Zen-Taoist sayings are:

    “When the flower opens,
    the bees gather.”

    “When the pupil is ready,
    the teacher appears.”

    The point of both
    is that we cannot push/force/hurry
    realization/enlightenment/waking up.

    That happens in its own time,
    at its own pace,
    in its own way.

    No striving allowed!
    But.
    Preparation is definitely permitted.
    We can prepare the way,
    and prepare ourselves for the way,
    by understanding
    we are both the Pupil and the Teacher.

    “We are the sculptor
    and we are the stone,”
    (Alexis Carrel).

    We know what catches our eye
    and what does not.
    No one can tell us that.

    We know what resonates within
    and what does not.
    No one can tell us that.

    Our place is to know what we know,
    to sense what we sense,
    to feel what we feel,
    to ask/seek/knock
    and to trust the questions
    more than the answers,
    so that we question the answers
    until no more questions remain.

    And.
    Our place is to
    notice when we are
    dismissing,
    discounting,
    disregarding,
    overlooking,
    rejecting,
    ignoring
    the Teacher’s attempts
    to get our attention.

    We cannot push/force/hurry
    realization/enlightenment/waking up.
    But.
    We can delay it,
    squelch it,
    prevent it
    indefinitely
    by refusing to be interested
    in the things
    that are calling our name.

  • 10/24/2019  —  St. Augustine 04/29/2019 07 HDR — St. Augustine Catholic Church, Melrose Plantation, Cane River National Heritage Trail, Cane River National Creole Area, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, April 29, 2019

    I’m nearly one month into
    the fourth quarter
    of my 75th year.
    It takes me longer
    to get to where I’m going,
    and my daily routine
    means more to me
    than it used to.

    I think our Order of the Day
    says more about us
    toward the end of our days
    than it does at the beginning.

    We come to know what works
    through the years,
    and what is important to us,
    and what isn’t.
    And we spend time with what is.

    What is important to me
    amounts to very little
    when I look at it,
    but.
    It is very important to me.

    If you tried shadowing me
    throughout my day,
    you would be dead from boredom
    by noon,
    and I would be thinking
    about a nap
    to recover from all the activity.

    The term “Dancing with the day”
    takes on a different meaning
    when you’re not striving
    to align the day
    with your wishes for it,
    but are striving to align
    yourself with what the day
    is asking of you.

    That kind of dancing is slow stuff,
    built around the rhythm
    of sizing things up
    and letting go
    what needs to go,
    and letting come
    what needs to come.
    And being fine with what’s what.

    The aggressive pursuit
    of accomplishment,
    achievement,
    success
    and glory
    was never my bent,
    so I’m markedly successful
    in allowing the day the right
    to its own course and gait,
    and enjoying what that leads to,
    and seeing where it goes–
    and what I do with it,
    and how I become better
    at what I do
    because of who the day
    asks me to be.

    It’s all in a day.
    Who we are,
    and who we need to be.
    Day after day.
    The practice is the same.
    Getting better at who we are,
    doing what is ours to do,
    here and now.
    For nothing more than being and doing.
    For having been
    and having done.


10/24/2019  —  Creole Homeplace 04/29/2019 04 — Cane River National Heritage Trail, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, April 29, 2019

The Five Rules of Life,
which are all over the internet,
are:

Show Up;
Pay Attention;
Be True To Yourself;
Bear the Pain;
and Don’t Take It Personally.

These are fundamentally sound,
and I certainly agree with their importance,
but they are far from complete.

Johnny Carson might have added,
Brush Your Teeth,
Wear Clean Underwear,
and Look Both Ways Before Crossing the Street.

When they were driving back to college,
my wife and I would always go over
the Driving Rules with our daughters:

Buckle Up;
Lock Your Doors;
Don’t Pick Up Strangers;
and If You Have A Flat, Ride The Rim.
It was a Mantra For The Road,
and we couldn’t be comfortable
without reciting it,
though it certainly did not cover
all the contingencies.

No list does.
No matter how many we have,
there are always more rules to live by.
They are everywhere.
And they are all important.
And they soon begin to clash and collide.
Look Before You Leap
Runs into Those Who Hesitate Are Lost.
The Rules rule each other out,
clash,
contradict
and vie for supremacy.
we make ourselves crazy
trying to live by the rules.

At some point,
we have to suspend the rules
and wing it.
We have to “fly by the seat of our pants,”
and “feel our way along.”
We have to trust our own judgment,
and our power to live with–
and through–
whatever mess we might make
in stepping out “on our own,”
and attempting to find
our own way through our lives.

Which makes the Primary Rule
something along the lines of
Do What You Can Do With It Today,
And Do It Again Tomorrow.


  • 10/25/2019  —  Creole Homeplace 04/29/2019 04 — Cane River National Heritage Trail, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, April 29, 2019

    The Five Rules of Life,
    which are all over the internet,
    are:

    Show Up;
    Pay Attention;
    Be True To Yourself;
    Bear the Pain;
    and Don’t Take It Personally.

    These are fundamentally sound,
    and I certainly agree with their importance,
    but they are far from complete.

    Johnny Carson might have added,
    Brush Your Teeth,
    Wear Clean Underwear,
    and Look Both Ways Before Crossing the Street.

    When they were driving back to college,
    my wife and I would always go over
    the Driving Rules with our daughters:

    Buckle Up;
    Lock Your Doors;
    Don’t Pick Up Strangers;
    and If You Have A Flat, Ride The Rim.
    It was a Mantra For The Road,
    and we couldn’t be comfortable
    without reciting it,
    though it certainly did not cover
    all the contingencies.

    No list does.
    No matter how many we have,
    there are always more rules to live by.
    They are everywhere.
    And they are all important.
    And they soon begin to clash and collide.
    Look Before You Leap
    Runs into Those Who Hesitate Are Lost.
    The Rules rule each other out,
    clash,
    contradict
    and vie for supremacy.
    we make ourselves crazy
    trying to live by the rules.

    At some point,
    we have to suspend the rules
    and wing it.
    We have to “fly by the seat of our pants,”
    and “feel our way along.”
    We have to trust our own judgment,
    and our power to live with–
    and through–
    whatever mess we might make
    in stepping out “on our own,”
    and attempting to find
    our own way through our lives.

    Which makes the Primary Rule
    something along the lines of
    Do What You Can Do With It Today,
    And Do It Again Tomorrow.


  • 10/25/2019  —  St. Augustine 04/28/2019 01 — St. Augustine Catholic Church, Melrose Plantation, Cane River National Heritage Trail, Cane River National Creole Area, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, April 28, 2019

    In every situation,
    there is what we need,
    and there is what needs us.

    There is what we want,
    and there is what wants us.

    And that’s it.

    Keep your eye on those four things.

    Work out who gets what
    in light of all four,
    and you will have it made–
    as much as you can have it made,
    given the nature,
    context
    and circumstances
    of your life.


  • 10/26/2019  —  St. Augustine 04/29/2019 08 — St. Augustine Catholic Church, Melrose Plantation, Cane River National Heritage Trail, Cane River National Creole Area, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, April 29, 2019

    On the whole,
    we don’t stand much of a chance.

    Our life is going to be lived
    as it has always been lived.

    Our perspective and outlook
    are going to be what they have been.

    We aren’t going to do better
    with our choices and decisions
    than the people we hang out with
    do with theirs.

    (The Rule of Life that applies here is
    “If you want to change your life,
    you have to change the people
    you run with.”)

    What would it take to make
    a real difference in the way
    we think and live?
    How different can we be?
    For how long?

    Stillness,
    silence
    and solitude
    are all I can think of.

    We live too loudly to listen.

    And spend very little time
    thinking about our thinking.

    Reflection and self-reflection,
    transparency and self-transparency,
    realization and self-realization
    aren’t high on our list
    of things we do in a day.

    When we talk,
    it is typically in ways
    that enhance and strengthen
    our opinions and beliefs.

    We rarely inquire about our
    strongly held views,
    “Is that so?
    What makes me think it is so?
    In what ways is it not so?
    What do I have at stake
    in thinking it is so?
    How do I need to change my mind?”

    Nothing is going to change
    about our life
    until we begin changing our mind.


  • 10/26/2019  —  Goodale 10/25/2019 01 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, October 25, 2019

    I have a golden rule of photography:
    I will not put myself in harm’s way
    to get a photograph.
    I will not force access
    where there is no access.

    Yesterday, on a photo safari,
    I drove past three outstanding photographs
    because there was no parking available.
    And I will regret through all eternity
    having not stopped for any of the three.
    But.

    Had I stopped for any of them
    and safely added them to my collection
    of worthy photos,
    I would not have taken any
    of the photos I did take
    because I would have interfered
    with the time of my arrival
    for each of them.

    By the time I got to this particular amalgamation
    of sky and reflections and lighting
    it would have been an entirely different photograph,
    and I may not have taken it at all.

    Changing anything changes everything.

    We think changing some things
    would leave everything else exactly as it is.

    If only we had had better parents
    or a different point of origin
    (In either time or place, or both)!
    We think that would make everything better.
    Maybe not.
    Probably not.
    Absolutely not.

    “Everything else being equal,”
    is a happy fantasy and a popular delusion.
    Here we are!
    Now what?
    This is the moment everything before it
    has produced.
    What is the best we can do with it,
    here and now?
    Do it!
    And get ready for the next moment!
    Don’t waste time in remorse over
    any past moment!
    Attend *this* moment,
    and what is being asked of you,
    offered to you,
    by it!

    This is the only moment
    we can make the most of.
    To fail to do that
    is to fail all of the moments
    flowing from this one.

    We cannot calculate our best move
    or arrange a future entirely to our liking.
    We can only do what needs to be done
    in each moment
    to the best of our ability,
    and let that be that.

    And, I am not going to force access
    where there is no access!


  • 10/27/2019  —  Swan Lake 10/25/2019 Panorama — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, October 25, 2019 (See the swan?)

    Religion as it ought to be
    is grounded upon the lived experience
    of the people.

    There is no room in religion as it ought to be
    for Freedom Of The Will and Sin.

    We are not free to do whatever we want.
    We are *bound* to do whatever we want.
    We cannot want what we want.
    We cannot help what we want.
    Paul said it himself,
    “I want what I have no business wanting!”
    No kidding.

    We want what we want
    and not what we want to want–
    not what we ought to want.
    That is not sin.
    That is the truth.
    We are up against ourselves
    from the start.
    It has nothing to do with being sinful
    or evil.
    It has strictly to do with who we are.
    We are at odds with ourselves
    at the core.

    And.
    We have the ability to recognize that,
    accept it as an organizing principle
    of our existence,
    and work with it
    in transcending it
    and living in the service
    of the best interest
    of all concerned.

    We can put ourselves aside
    in serving a good beyond
    our own personal good.

    There is greed within,
    and there is grace within,
    and our ego-conscious self
    can be aware of both
    in light of the true good
    of the whole.

    We cannot rid ourselves
    of our greedy side,
    our lazy and lethargic side,
    our love for smooth and easy side,
    our disdain for whatever
    is hard,
    painful,
    distasteful
    and repugnant side,
    but,
    we can keep an eye on it.

    And,
    we can do what we do not want to do
    out of liege loyalty
    and filial devotion
    to the best we can imagine.

    We can sacrifice the world
    to serve ourselves,
    and we can sacrifice ourselves
    to serve the world.

    And we decide which it will be
    here and now
    in each situation as it arises.

    Whose side are we on here, now?

    The right kind of religion
    assists us with knowing and doing
    what is ours to do
    in the moment-to-moment
    choices of our life.

    The right kind of religion
    talks to us about
    finding the way that is the right way
    through the world
    of daily decisions.

    This is sometimes called
    “The Straight And Narrow.”
    It is also called
    “A Slippery Slope,
    A Dangerous Path,
    Like The Razor’s Edge.”

    The right kind of religion
    talks to us
    about the importance
    of living aligned
    with the way
    of Grace,
    of Tao,
    of Dharma,
    of Kairos
    in the minute-by-minute
    crush of circumstances
    and options
    in each day.

    There is no theology
    in the right kind of religion.
    No doctrine.
    No creed.
    Only seeing/hearing,
    knowing/doing
    being/becoming.

    This is who we are,
    and this is who we also are,
    and how are we going
    to live this out
    here and now?

    We choose each day–
    each moment
    within each day–
    whom we are going to serve,
    here and now,
    greed or grace.

    And the cumulative total
    of each day’s choices
    tell the tale.
    And mindful awareness
    leads the way.


  • 10/27/2019  —  Goodale 04/25/02 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, October 25, 2019

    In each moment,
    there is what we want
    and what we do not want.

    There is what is good for us
    and what is bad for us.
    There is what is good for others
    and what is bad for others.

    And we stand in the midst
    of the swirling conflict of interests
    at work in and through
    the situations
    and circumstances
    of our life,
    and make a choice
    regarding what to do,
    here and now,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    How do we decide what to do?
    What guides us through the times
    of our living?
    What leads us along the way?
    What pilots our boat
    on its path through the sea?

    How aware are we of any of this?


  • 10/27/2019  —  Swan Lake 10/25/2019 19 B&W — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, October 25, 2019

    I am graced by 10,000 hands every day
    helping me along the way.

    How many people are responsible
    for enabling me to enjoy my day–
    from picking the coffee bean
    and handling it all along its path
    to the grounds I spoon into the filter
    to become the cupa
    that helps me welcome the day,
    to all the people that take up from there
    to dress me,
    heat and cool me…
    all the way to bedtime–
    I am carried along by the grace of others.

    So are you.
    So are we all.

    It is grace all the way down!


  • 10/28/2019  —  Goodale 10/25/2019 03 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, October 25, 2019

    What do you have at stake
    in any situation?
    What do you have to gain?
    What do you have to lose?
    Where are you most vulnerable?
    Where are you most guarded,
    defensive?
    Where are you most willful,
    defiant?

    If my seminary had taught me
    how to read myself
    and the situation–
    any situation,
    every situation–
    instead of how to read the Bible
    in Greek and Hebrew,
    and how to think like a
    Reformed Theologian,
    I wouldn’t have wasted
    so much time
    getting down to the heart of the matter.

    If I had known how to see
    what gives,
    what goes,
    what’s what,
    what’s happening,
    and what needs to happen
    in response
    in light of the true good
    of the situation as a whole–
    and how I can contribute to that
    out of the gifts,
    preferences,
    proclivities,
    perspective
    I bring to the situation–
    I would have had what I needed
    to be who I am capable of being
    in every situation
    that comes along.

    Jesus couldn’t do better than that.

    And I didn’t have any more
    than Jesus had.
    None of us do.
    We all are saddled with the task
    of learning to be Pin-ball Wizards
    without being able to see.
    How do you think we do it?
    We don’t know!

    We just get in there with what we have
    to work with
    and see what we can do with it!
    What works?
    What doesn’t work?
    In light of the true good
    of the situation as a whole?

    We are all forty years in the wilderness!
    Learning to size things up
    and recognize what’s what
    and what to do about it
    one situation at a time.

    It helps to reflect on our life experience
    to the point of forming new realizations.
    That is the source of revelation,
    enlightenment,
    realization,
    transformation–
    experiencing our experience
    and reflecting on it.
    That is all anybody has ever had!
    It is all Jesus had.
    All the Buddha had.
    All Lao Tzu had.
    All there is to have.

    Start with you,
    here and now.
    What’s what?
    See where it goes!


  • 10/30/2019  —  Parkway Overlooks 10/28/2019 01 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway approaching Peaks of Otter, October 28, 2019

    Jesus was the Christ
    the way only Jesus could be the Christ.

    The Buddha was the Christ
    the way only the Buddha could be the Christ.

    Helen Keller was the Christ
    the way only Helen Keller could be the Christ.

    Harriet Tubman was the Christ
    as only Harriet Tubman could be the Christ.

    Rosa Parks was the Christ
    as only Rosa Parks could be the Christ.

    You and I are to be the Christ
    the way only you and I can be the Christ.

    The Christ is the anointed one,
    the coming one,
    come to exhibit,
    to incarnate,
    the concrete,
    living presence
    of more than words can say
    in the day-to-day experience
    of all living things.

    There is nothing to ask.
    or want,
    or imagine as being worthy and desirable
    beyond being what the situation calls for
    in every situation that arises
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    all our life long.

    To live to exploit the situation
    to our advantage
    is to live as Adam and Eve,
    not the Christ!

    To live to serve our personal good
    and not the good of the situation,
    is to live as countless thousands before us,
    not as the Christ!

    What is the time that is at hand
    asking of us?
    Bring that forth out of the gifts
    that are ours to bestow upon the earth!
    Or as Lao Tzu
    (Who was the Christ
    as only Lao Tzu could be the Christ)
    would say,
    “Do your work, and let that be that!”

    Day after day,
    for as long as there are days!


  • 10/31/2019  —  Thunder Ridge 10/29/2019 01 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway north of Peaks of Otter, VA, October 29, 2019

    In any situation,
    harmony is of higher value
    than morality.

    Discord.
    Pandemonium.
    Cacophony.
    Disharmony.

    Are greater evils
    than anything prohibited
    by the Ten Commandments

    Harmony.
    Congruity.
    Integrity.
    Concord.
    Resonance.
    Consonance.
    In sync.
    Aligned.
    At-one.

    Are evidence of atonement
    and reconciliation,
    and the very nature–
    the essence–
    of the path
    that is simultaneously
    the end of the path.

    Everything seeks its own realization.
    Its own completion.
    Its own fulfillment.

    We seek to be one
    with who we are
    and who we also are
    and with all that is.

    The old Taoist symbol
    of Yin-Yang captures
    the tension
    of integrated wholeness
    as the balance of opposites.

    Both/And,
    not
    Either/Or.

    The trick is to live our life
    walking two paths at the same time.

    The way to do that
    is to walk this path
    with that one clearly in mind,
    holding both paths in our awareness
    and carrying in our body
    the cross of our contraries,
    to the point of transcendence,
    laughter,
    play,
    song
    and dance.


  • 11/01/2019  —  Sumac 10/28/2019 01 — Blue Ridge Parkway, near Roanoke, Virginia, October 28, 2019

    You are taking things way too seriously!
    Lighten up!
    Stop trying to make sense of everything!
    Of anything!
    Give it a rest!

    That is the message of Jesus
    and the Buddha
    and all the Dalai Lamas
    and everybody who knows anything.

    It don’t make sense!

    It’s all useless,
    pointless,
    hopeless,
    futile and absurd–
    and it’s coming to a very bad end
    (We’re all going to die!).
    But, don’t let that stop you!
    How we live in the meantime
    makes all the difference!

    Do not let the facts that it makes no sense
    and we are dying
    keep you from living
    as fully as you can
    for as long as you can!

    Your problem is not that you are dying,
    but that you don’t know what it means
    to be fully alive!

    The first thing it means is
    STOP TAKING THINGS SO SERIOUSLY!

    This is the lesson
    of everyone of Jesus’ parables.

    It is the core lesson
    of the Buddhas
    and the Dalai Lamas
    and the Yodas
    and the Obi wan Kenobis
    through time.

    STOP TRYING TO MAKE THINGS MAKE SENSE!

    What is “sense” anyway?
    What has making sense of things
    ever done for you?
    You are still here,
    trying to make sense of things!
    There is life to be lived!
    Stop wasting your time
    worrying with meaninglessness
    and death!

    What would it take for you to be
    fully alive today?
    In the next five minutes?
    Right now?
    Within the context
    and circumstances of your life
    just as it is?

    What’s holding you back?


  • 11/01/2019  —  Mabry Mill 10/30/2019 01 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, near Meadows of Dan, Virginia, October 30, 2019

    Consciousness is consumed with thinking.
    An alternative is awareness.

    Things are occurring to us all the time
    that we do not think up.

    We can realize things
    we do not think about.

    We would be well-served
    to honor, attend, nurture and nourish
    our awareness of the threshold
    between conscious
    and unconscious.

    The more conscious we become of,
    and the more consciously we serve
    the unconscious,
    the more attuned we will be
    to the time and place of our living,
    and the more appropriately
    and intuitively,
    instinctively,
    we will live in relation to our life,
    and not to what we think about our life.

    Thinking about our life creates
    internal narratives
    and scenarios,
    and generates imaginary realities
    that compete with the actual reality
    of the here and now,
    leading us to react to now
    more out of our mind-world
    than in response to the
    this world right here.

    We often live more in our mind-world
    than in our here-and-now-world.
    We are often more conscious
    of our mind-world
    that of our here-and-now-world.

    Thinking of our mind-world
    prevents us from being
    in our here-and-now-world.

    The trick is to become conscious
    of thinking
    and to intentionally shift our consciousness
    to awareness–
    to perceiving this moment right now,
    and opening ourselves to the things
    that are occurring to us
    that do not have their origin
    in the thinking process.

    Sit quietly and see how long it takes
    to be aware of something
    you did not think up–
    for something to occur to you
    that does not originate in your thought process.

    Awareness and thinking
    are two aspects of consciousness.
    Expanding our awareness
    will deepen,
    enlarge
    and enrich our life–
    and will provide us
    with a wealth of experiences
    that are worth thinking about.


  • 11/01/2019  —  Goodale 10/25/2019 15 B&W — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, October 25, 2019

    We need some Common Agreements
    that we all can stand together and affirm.
    Things that we all can count on
    from one another.
    Norms,
    Codes,
    Standards,
    Principles,
    Laws.

    If we only had a Constitution!

    If we only honored the Constitution we have!

    What is so hard about honoring the Constitution we have?

    Why has that fallen out of favor?

    I trust that we are learning as a Nation
    how important that is!


  • 11/02/2019  —  James River 10/29/2019 02 Panorama — James River Visitor Center, Blue Ridge Parkway, Monroe, Virginia, October 29, 2019

    What’s money for?

    Did someone just ask,
    “What’s money for?”?
    That’s funny.
    I was just thinking,
    “What’s money for?”.

    I came up with this:
    Money is for buying
    the tools and resources
    (Like food, clothing, shelter, etc.)
    required to do the work
    that is ours to do.

    If we have more money
    than it takes to do that,
    we have too much money,
    and need to give some away
    to those who don’t have enough.

    In honor of the principle,
    “Those who need help,
    should be helped,
    and those who can help
    should be helpful.”

    If we put money in its rightful place,
    we would be putting ourselves
    in our rightful place,
    and we would be helping
    everyone else find their rightful place,
    and all would be right with the world.

    Which is clearly something
    we can do
    and aren’t doing–
    like a gazillion other problems
    facing us in this time and place
    (Littering, for one.
    And global warming , for two).


  • 11/02/2019  —  Peaks of Otter 10/28/2019 03 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Peaks of Otter Lodge, Bedford, Virginia, October 28, 2019

    Let things happen
    in their own time.

    Suffer it through.

    Bear the pain.

    This is the path of transformation.

    We are here, now,
    because people think
    they can improve on it.

    Because we think
    we can improve on it.


  • 11/02/2019  —  James River 10/29/2019 03 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, James River Visitor Center, Monroe, Virginia, October 29, 2019

    Carl Jung said that the things that truly matter
    are never products of “purpose or conscious willing,
    but rather, seem to be borne on the stream of time.”

    These things, he says, “presented by fate seldom,
    or never, correspond to conscious expectation.”

    We do not think our way to where we need to be.

    Rather, he says that the way there
    consists of doing “nothing (*wu wei*)
    but let things happen.”

    He continues,
    “The art of letting things happen–
    action through non-action–
    (is the) key opening the door to the way.”

    And adds, “For us, this actually is an art
    of which few people know anything.
    Consciousness is forever interfering,
    helping, correcting, and negating…
    It would be simple enough
    if only simplicity were not
    the most difficult of all things.”

    Learning to accept what comes to us
    is the art of letting come what is coming
    and letting go what is going.

    Upon that, everything depends.

    Be like the river.
    Letting come what’s coming,
    and letting go what’s going.
    And see where that takes you.


  • 11/02/2019  —  Swan Lake 10/25/2019 15 Panorama — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, October 25, 2019

    We are led by the things
    that occur to us
    out of the blue.

    We do not plan our way
    to where we are going.
    Or, better,
    the things we plan our way to
    are more in the way
    than they are on the way.

    Chance occurrences are not so much chance.
    They are turning points
    occasioned by factors beyond imagining.

    We look around and think,
    “This is it and this is how it works.”
    But we only see the surface,
    with no inkling of all that is going on
    beyond our conscious perceptions.

    There is an invisible world
    at the heart of life
    about which we know
    next to nothing.

    We hear that
    and immediately think
    of conquest,
    exploitation,
    domination–
    as though the invisible world
    is ours to plunder
    and use to our advantage.

    Our place is to serve,
    to cooperate,
    to collaborate.

    We are Adam and Eve
    in the Garden of Eden,
    thinking we can be Masters
    of Paradise.

    And we’ve heard of Jesus
    who said,
    “I came to serve,
    not to be served,
    and to give my life
    to wake others up
    to the role they are asked
    to play.”

    The future swings
    on the quality of our relationship
    with the invisible world.

    The next move
    is ours to make.


  • 11/02/2019  —  Goodale 10/25/2019 04 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, October 25, 2019

    Freedom is not license
    to do whatever we want.
    It is the opportunity
    to know what to want.

    From that point we are liege servants
    in filial devotion
    to the work
    that is ours to do–
    to the life
    that is ours to live.

    Our freedom
    is the freedom
    to know what to want.
    Beyond that,
    we are bound
    to the legitimate
    object/subject of our desire:
    the work that is ours to do,
    the life that is ours to live.

    How do we know what to want?
    Sit still.
    Be quiet.
    Open to the stillness.
    See what occurs to us.
    See what arises
    from the silence.
    If our body resonates
    in recognition
    of the urgency
    of the vision,
    we give ourselves
    to its service
    and the adventure begins.


  • 11/03/2019  —  Peaks of Otter 10/29/2019 02 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Peaks of Otter Lodge, Abbot Lake, near Bedford, Virginia, October 29, 2019

    Ruthlessness and greed are the way of nature.

    The biggest hummingbird
    keeps the rest away from the feeder.

    The big fish eat the little fish,
    and the little fish hide.

    Grace, compassion and kindness (etc.)
    are what we bring to the table.

    Ethics and morality
    are the contribution of humanity
    to the laws of nature.

    We change the game
    to the extent that we resist
    ruthlessness and greed
    and serve grace and compassion.

    The vehicle by which we choose
    how we express ourselves in our life
    is mindful awareness.

    The beast lives within.
    We ride the dragon
    when we get out of bed
    and meet the day.
    We could destroy them all
    just like that
    between breaths
    for no reason
    just because they are in our way.

    But.
    Civilization requires that we not do that.
    So.
    We mindfully mind our manners.
    With enough practice,
    and enough mindfulness,
    it is almost as though
    we actually are human beings.
    But.
    Mr. Hyde is always there,
    looking for an opening,
    ready to do his thing.
    So.
    We have to be alert to his antics,
    and mindfully aware of our possibilities
    at all times.
    Or else.

    We are that close
    to letting the dragon
    have the reins.


  • 11/04/2019  —  Last Days of Fall 11/03/2019 07 — Linville River, Linville Falls Picnic Area, Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls, North Carolina, November 3, 2019

    Sometimes, I ask it like this:
    “What would you go to hell for?”
    And, sometimes I ask it like this:
    “What would you do,
    consistently, dependably, reliably,
    for no reason other than you love to do it,
    whether it makes any difference or not,
    whether it matters or not.
    whether it means anything or not,
    because it makes a difference to you,
    it matters to you,
    it means the world to you?”

    I hope your list is long.
    Both lists.
    The things you would go to hell for
    and the things you would do
    anyway, nevertheless, even so.

    The lists are the same list.
    Go to hell for the things you love
    no matter what!

    This gets us to the heart of the matter:
    Living your own life
    out of your own, personal, authority.
    Living your own life
    grounded in,
    standing solidly upon
    the things that mean the most to you,
    so that nothing can happen
    that will/can knock you off your foundation.

    Loving what you love
    and doing what you love to do
    right up to the end!

    If you knew you were going to have
    a fatal heart attack tomorrow,
    how would you live today
    and tomorrow right up to your last moment,
    so that the heart attack
    catches you completely by surprise,
    you are so engrossed in what you were doing?

    Be that engrossed in doing what you love
    every day!
    Work what you love to do into every day!
    Do not waste a day living it
    without loving something about it!

    When you get that down,
    through practice, practice, practice,
    you will be ready for anything.
    And, you will be showing
    everybody you know
    how to live their life.

    Get to work loving your life!


11/05/2019  —  Last Days of Fall 11/03/2019 17 — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, November 3, 2019

Seeing is the ultimate weapon.

Seeing how things are
changes how things are.

Seeing is a superpower
possessed by all sentient beings.

It lives unacknowledged
and unaccessed in us all
because no one can
bear the pain
of knowing what’s what.

In order to see,
we have to have
no opinion
about what we look at.

The moment we have
something at stake
in the moment,
judgment and greed
come to life,
and grace and compassion
are relegated to the frigid hinderlands
of the Outer Darkness.

Then we care about
what we take to be
our best interests,
and see everything
in light of what it means
to us personally.

Seeing sees only when
we can let things happen
and do what needs to be done
without regard
for what we stand
to gain or lose
by the outcome.

The more the outcome means,
the less we are able to see.
But, what’s the point of seeing
if we can’t exploit it for our own advantage?
What good is a super weapon
if we can’t use it in the service
of our own good?

What does “Thy will,
not mine, be done,”
mean to you?


  • 11/05/2019  —  Last Days of Fall 11/03/2019 08 — Linville Falls Picnic Area, Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls, North Carolina, November 3, 2019

    I’m here by virtue of the books I’ve read
    and the connections I made
    between what I was reading
    and the life I was living.

    When I graduated from seminary,
    after having received very little
    or no help
    from any source up to that point
    that would position me
    to deal with my life
    and the lives of others,
    I set out upon the quest
    seeking what would be helpful.

    The old Alchemical formula,
    “One book opens another,”
    worked well as a guide for living,
    and the caveat I would add to the formula is
    “for those who are seeking
    with all their heart.”

    If we are not looking,
    nothing is going to show us the way.

    After a while, the books begin to
    reference each other,
    and it seemed to me
    that truth was a fairly well-defined circle
    with silence and solitude
    constituting the perimeter
    and stillness at the center.

    Zen, as the distilled essence
    of Buddhism and Taoism,
    remains the clearest,
    most playful and nonsensical,
    source of direction and encouragement
    I know of,
    with Jesus’ life and teaching forming
    a wonderful koan/conundrum
    in that tradition
    for pondering to the point
    of transcendence,
    dancing and laughter.

    The situation is hopeless!
    So what?
    Bear the pain!
    Suffer it through!
    Live on!
    Live on!
    In light of the best we can imagine
    in each situation as it arises,
    offering there what we have to give
    out of the gifts and genus,
    talents and abilities,
    that came with us into the world–
    anyway,
    nevertheless,
    even so,
    just because!


  • 11/06/2019  —  Last Days of Fall 11/03/2019 09 — Linville Falls Picnic Area, Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls, North Carolina, November 3, 2019

    The secret to having it made
    and having it all together
    is to be just fine
    with not having it made
    and not having it all together.

    What’s to have that we don’t have
    except the perspective
    that is just fine
    with this right here right now?

    People are desperately seeking
    something that is not this,
    not here,
    not now.
    But, that is all they know
    about what they want,
    about what it will take
    to make them happy
    with this right here right now.

    Happy is a frame of mind.
    A perspective.
    A way of seeing
    this right here right now.

    What needs to be changed
    about your life
    that seeing it differently
    wouldn’t help?

    What can you do to change it?
    In the meantime, what?
    In the meantime,
    change the way you think about it!

    Change your mind about it
    until the time comes
    when a shift is possible,
    then make the shift!

    When the door opens,
    walk through!

    In the meantime,
    bear the pain,
    suffer it through,
    wait it out,
    with a different perspective.

    The perspective shift
    is the shift
    that enables
    the shift we are waiting for.

    It allows us to see things differently.
    And that changes everything.


  • 11/06/2019  —  Peaks of Otter 10/28/2019 02 Panorama — Peaks of Otter Lodge, Blue Ridge Parkway, Bedford, Virginia, October 28, 2019

    There is nothing to see but this moment
    and what is going on in it–
    what *all* is going on in it.

    That kind of seeing
    also sees
    what needs to be done in response–
    and does it.

    Seeing is doing
    in this sense.

    Seeing is knowing and doing.

    Practice cultivating a quiet
    seeing space
    for each moment,
    which is, of course,
    also a quiet listening space.

    Seeing and hearing
    are knowing and doing.

    When our action flows spontaneously
    from our seeing and hearing,
    we are one with the Tao,
    with Dharma,
    with Kairos,
    with Grace,
    and that is to be
    at one with the heart of things.

    If you are going to be at one with something,
    be at one with that.

    It gets crazy
    and goes all to hell,
    if we begin to think about
    what is good for us–
    what is advantageous to us,
    what is beneficial to us,
    what we stand to gain,
    and lose.

    That disrupts the flow,
    and we are no longer
    one with the moment.

    That is Adam and Eve
    in the Garden of Eden.

    Strive to be Jesus
    in the Garden of Gethsemane.
    Live for the moment,
    each moment.

    Live to be one with the moment.
    In service to the moment.
    Trust everything to fall into place
    around that.


11/07/2019  —  Thunder Ridge 10/29/2019 02 — Parkway Overlooks, Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 74.7, Virginia, October 29, 2019

People with cameras
treat one day like any other.
People who like to think
of themselves as photographers
take weather systems into account,
and go with a camera
into days when the time is right.

The photos on the trip
to the northern Blue Ridge
were taken on 10/28-29.
The Halloween Bluster
blew through on 10/31,
effectively taking fall with it.

I’ve been calling the people
at Francis Beidler Forest
for three weeks,
asking “Is it right, yet?”
I think it may be “right”
on November 16.

Knowing when the time is right
is crucial knowing.
Letting things happen is one thing.
Letting happen what needs to happen,
when it needs to happen,
is quite another.

The Bible takes Kairos into account.
Jesus came,
as we all do,
“in the fullness of time,”
“at the right time,”
“when the time was at hand.”

No one is born out of time,
though many of us are “behind the times,”
and some of us are “ahead of our time.”
But.
It is all at exactly the right time.
For us,
and the times that need
what we have to offer,
what we bring forth.

And.
We meet the times at the right time best
by developing our sense
of what time it is,
and what time it is for,
and what time it is not for.

The Preacher, Ecclesiastes,
is famous for saying,
“There is a time for everything
under heaven.
A time to be born,
and a time to die…”

Leaving us to ponder,
“What time is it for here and now?”

Jesus’ best saying didn’t make it
into the Bible–
because the people
putting the Bible together
did not think the time was right for it.
They had their agenda,
which got in the way,
as agendas are prone to do,
and they blew their opportunity,
which is the very thing Jesus
was warning against
in the passage they left out
of the scriptures.

Jesus is talking to man
he found working on the Sabbath,
and said,
“Man, if you know what you are doing
(what time it is),
you are blessed,
but if you don’t know,
you are accursed,
and a transgressor of the law!”

The trick with knowing what time it is,
and is not,
is having to be right about it.

You can see why the Formers of the Scriptures
wouldn’t want to confuse things
by leaving this text in,
when they, themselves,
had no idea of how to know what time it is.

It is crucial knowing.
Everything hangs on it.
Kairos is a harsh taskmaster,
reaping where he does now sew,
planting where he does not cultivate,
and leaving us in the lurch.

We are to let things happen.
But.
Do we let having an affair happen?
Or do we let not-having an affair happen?
King David let having an affair happen.
And, several generations later,
Jesus happened.
Did David know what he was doing?
Was he blessed?
Was he accursed?
How do we know what to do?
What it is time for?

I check the weather
before I go out with my camera.
My affairs are another story.


  • 11/07/2019  —  Goodale 10/25/2019 05 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, October 25, 2019, an iPhone photo

    Take things as they come,
    and do with them
    what needs to be done.

    That can be done
    only from the perspective
    of mindful awareness
    that takes everything
    into account
    and has nothing at stake
    in the outcome.

    The catch is
    that no living thing
    can have nothing at stake
    in every outcome.

    All living things have preferences
    and disinclinations.
    That’s having a stake in the outcome.

    So.
    We work to perfect the art
    of walking two paths at the same time,
    by always keeping the other path in mind
    while walking the one we are on–
    and know at all times
    that thinking we know what we are doing
    is the “slippery slope,”
    the “dangerous path,”
    “like a razor’s edge.”

    And proceed very carefully
    along the way.

    With mindful,
    compassionate,
    non-judgmental,
    awareness.

    Jon Kabat-Zinn’s YouTube videos
    are a help here.


  • 11/07/2019  —  Swan Lake 10/25/2019 02 Panorama — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, October 25, 2019

    You know where your enthusiasm lies.
    Only you know where your enthusiasm lies.
    Why aren’t you trusting yourself
    to know where your enthusiasm
    is asking you to go,
    and asking you to stop going?

    Why aren’t you trusting yourself
    to your enthusiasm?

    It is a better guide than Yoda,
    Jesus,
    Obi-wan Kenobi,
    Gandalf,
    and Albus Dumbledore.


  • 11/07/2019  —  Road Through Fall 10/28/2019 01 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Orchard Gap, Virginia, October 28, 2019

    Live like it matters!
    Live like you mean it!
    Live with your heart in what you are doing!

    What would you have to be doing
    for your heart to be in what you are doing?

    What could you do with all your heart?

    Why aren’t you doing it?

    Why waste your time doing things
    you have no heart for?

    What does your heart want to do?

    Whose side are you on?


  • 11/08/2019  —  Last Days of Fall 11/03/2019 01 Panorama — The Bridge on Boone Fork Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway, near Blowing Rock, North Carolina, November 3, 2019

    Everyone is seeking something.
    What is missing from your life?
    What is the nature
    of the emptiness
    you carry within?
    What is the source
    of your dismay?

    I’m seeking to square myself
    with the disharmony
    without and within.

    I’m seeking ways
    of making peace
    with how things are,
    and letting be what is.

    Squaring up is my daily practice.
    Finding peace is my daily work.

    I’m able to be a source of peace
    to the extent that I have found it
    and am in touch with,
    if not quite yet in tune with,
    the harmonies within and without.

    It is all so fleeting.
    I am the only constant in my life,
    as you are in yours,
    and we are all coming and going
    like flotsam and jetsam
    on a storm-tossed sea.

    We need more consistency and stability,
    reliability and dependability and sustainability
    than we get.

    We are seeking the bedrock.
    the foundation stone,
    the rhizome.
    The unmoving center
    in a kaleidoscopic world.

    Where are the harmonies in your life?
    The sources of peace and security?
    What restores your soul,
    and your sense of groundedness
    and constancy?

    What can you count on?

    When you are out of tune
    with your life,
    or your life is out of tune with you,
    what serves as your tuning fork?
    What brings you back into focus,
    at one with the flow–
    the ebb and flow?
    The rhythm of life and nature?
    The music of the spheres?
    How do you get yourself aligned
    with yourself
    and the life that needs you to live it?

    Wendell Berry speaks of
    “The Peace of Wild Things.”
    I recommend that you googleit
    and sit with his poem,
    and perhaps make an excursion
    to “where the wild things are.”

    Regularly.


xxx

09/10/2019. —  My view is that the mental and physical health of women
give them priority over any fetus they may be carrying.

I will support the rights of women to their own body,
and will assist their cause verbally and financially
for as long as I am able.

Surgical abortion and chemical abortion should
always be available to women who have need of them,
and no one has any right to interfere with that
or to condemn women for doing what they must do.

This is where I stand and I’m not moving.

I understand that I will never change any minds with this,
and I don’t intend for this to do that.

I am simply stating what is true for me
and will be true for me forever.


09/17/2019  —  What do you know about God
that you haven’t been told about God?

That you haven’t read about God?

What do you know about God
out of your own experience of God?

Where do you go to experience God
as God is–not as God is said to be?


09/17/2019  —  If all you know about pizza
is what somebody told you about pizza,
you don’t know pizza.

If you worship pizza,
and sing hymns to pizza,
and pray to pizza,
and listen to sermons about pizza,
and attend study groups on pizza,
and talk about pizza all the time,
but never eat pizza,
you don’t know pizza.


09/18/2019  —  All lines are straight
if they are short enough.

All lines are curved
if they are long enough.

That’s how things are.

They don’t need a reason
for being that way.

It is the nature of lines.

You and I have natures
just like lines do.

It’s the way we are.


09/19/2019  —  Pay attention to what occurs to you,
“out of the blue,”
“for no reason.”

Do not dismiss it.
Do not discount it.
Act on it.
Expeditiously.


09/20/2019  —  If we find and mind our business
and find and do our work,
while helping other people
find and mind their business
and find and do their work–
without confusing ours with theirs–
the world will shift overnight.


09/20/2019  —  The people who have no chance
are the people who have none
to help them with their life.

They are like babies
left to die in the desert.

If the Pro Life people were Pro Life,
they would be helping people
with their lives
throughout their life.

Housing,
Clothing,
Food,
Health Care,
Education,
Nutrition,
Jobs that pay a living wage,
Opportunities to discover and be who they are…

People who have the resources
to find and be who they are
have a chance to excel.
People who don’t, don’t.

It is incumbent upon
those of us who have a chance
to help those who do not
throughout their life,
throughout the world.


09/20/2019  —  The people who need help
with their life
have to help us help them.

They have to bring with them
the will to do what they can do
to do what can be done
about their life
and their circumstances.

Incentive;
Determination;
Dedication;
The practice of mindful,
compassionate,
non-judgmental,
awareness;
Self-transparency;
Self-direction;
Self-reliance;
Good faith…

The list is long of things
no one can give someone else.

The people who don’t have a chance
have to give themselves a chance
*and* have help
with the work
of finding their life
and living it.

The inner,
innate,
qualities
have to meet the outer
opportunities
in order to come forth
and bloom into the fullness
of life and being.

We all have a part to play
in the making of a life.
No one does it on their own.
No one can make anyone else do it.
This applies all our life long.

Jesus raised the dead,
and left the dead to bury the dead.


09/20/2019  —  Success is living a life
aligned with itself–
so that the life we live
is the life that is ours to live,
and reflects/exhibits/expresses
who we are/the face that was ours before we were born.

Jesus was successful.
The Buddha was successful.
Gandhi was successful.
The Dalai Lama is successful.
The list is long.

And.
Everyone on the list
lives to serve an agenda
not their own.
Their agenda
is to live aligned
with the agenda
that is handed to them
moment-by-moment-by-moment
in each situation as it arises
all their life long.

Ah, but!
Who could possibly live in such
a here-and-now way?

Only those who know
the essential nature of,
and practice the art of,
walking on two paths
at the same time!

Successful people walk
on two (or more) paths
at the same time.

There is what we do to pay the bills.
And there is what we pay the bills to do.
And, if what we to pay the bills
is too much at odds
with who we are/the face that was ours before we were born,
we will need to find something else
to do to pay the bills.

Our integrity is the sine qua non
of success.
The more we live with integrity,
the more successful we are,
the less we live with integrity,
the less successful we are.

In order to be successful,
we have to know who we are
and what is ours to do–
and live in ways which reflect,
exhibit,
express,
that in each situation as it arises
for the good of the situation as a whole.


09/20/2019  —  I was talking with a deep south farmer in the 80’s
in his cotton field
about racism.

At a point in the conversation,
he said,
“Hell, Jim, this ain’t the way
I *see* things!
This is the way things *are*!”

The moon is 238,900 miles from earth.
That is how things *are*!

Whether or not
“The moon is a white marble
floating on a black velvet sea,”
is how we see things.

We often confuse how we see things
with how things are.
It is one of the things we do best
(Along with kidding ourselves,
shooting ourselves in the foot,
telling ourselves what we want to hear,
and taking ourselves way too seriously).

How we see things
is one of the things about us
that we can do very little about
(Along with our fingerprints
and iris patterns).

We are not in command of the way we see.
Change the way you see sugar,
alcohol,
exercise
and tobacco!
Now!

Change the way you see anything!

The way we see things has us
more than we have it.

The way we see changes
over the course of our life
by the way we are impacted
by our experience.
We come to see things differently,
but.
Not by effort of the will.

We cannot help how we see.
But.
We can begin seeing how we see.
And wondering how we came to see as we do.
And playing around with how many alternative ways
we can imagine seeing things.
And exploring why we prefer one way
over other ways.

What makes it easy for us to see the way we do?
Why do we think our way of seeing is right
and other ways of seeing are wrong?
What do we have at stake
in seeing the way we see?
What do we stand to gain by seeing how we see?
What do we stand to lose by seeing differently?

The stake determines everything.
But that’s another day’s work.


09/21/2019  —  Sometimes, all we can do
is wait for the times to change.

In the meantime,
we busy ourselves doing what we do best,
which is usually also
what we enjoy doing most.

And trust one thing to lead to another
the way “One book opens another.”

Then, when the times change,
we will be ready.
If the times don’t change fast enough,
we will have spent our life
in the service of what we do well
and what we love to do.

Either way,
times changing,
or times not changing,
we will be just fine.

“Get in there and do your thing,
and don’t worry about where it takes you
or what is going to come of it!”
(Joseph Campbell talking about the moral
of the Bhagavad Gita, or words to that effect)


09/21/2019  —  We self-medicate
with booze and pot.
Eases our way.
Smooths out the rough places.
Lessens our pain.

No physician or therapist
would say,
“You need to smoke pot
(or “more pot,”).
You need to drink alcohol
(or, “more alcohol”).
You need to spend more time
being high.”

But, we prescribe those things
for ourselves.

And, we will not hear
that we are kidding ourselves,
deceiving ourselves,
lying to ourselves,
killing ourselves.

But.
We are.

And we are the only one
who can do something
about it.

“We are the sculptor,
and we are the stone”
(Alexis Carrel).

Our life is up to us.
What we make of it
is ours to do.

We begin by squaring up to the task,
and to our circumstances,
and to the gifts,
genius,
daemon,
spirit,
abilities,
aptitudes,
talents,
interests,
proclivities,
that came with us from the womb–
and the skills
we have developed since then–
and getting to work.


09/21/2019  —  2 billion birds have died
bees and other insects are going extinct
mosquito-borne diseases are increasing
brain-eating amoeba
and flesh-eating bacteria
and toxic algae
and antibiotic resistant viruses
and rising water levels
and dead zones in the ocean
and you know the litany to Global Warming
are all a part of the snowball
that is gaining momentum by the day
and we live at the bottom of the hill.

It’s nature’s way of slapping us back in place,
or at least out of the way,
and starting over.

How many times does this make, I wonder.
Nature starting over.
I think by now it must be what Nature does best.


09/22/2019  —  We spend too much of our time
trying to make things be
what we want them to be.

Exploitation,
Manipulation,
Control,
are the words
that define our existence.

There isn’t a situation
we can’t work
to our advantage.

Like we know what that is.

How do we define our “advantage”?
We define it in terms
of whatever we want at the moment–
or whatever we want beyond the moment.

Who would ever do
what they don’t want?
Consistently?
Routinely?
Deliberately?
How do we know what to want?

What is good on one level
is bad on another.
What we want on one level
is not at all what we want on another.

What, then, guides our deciding
and our choosing?
How do we know where,
and when,
we are better off?
When does better
go over into
being worse?

How much of a good thing
is a bad thing?
How good is the good
we call good?
In light of what shall we live?

In light of what shall we live
in each situation as it arises?

What is at stake in each moment?
What hangs in the balance?
To be determined by the choices we make,
and the decisions we decide,
and the actions we take
moment-by-moment-by-moment?

Where do we turn
for guidance in the matter
of how to live our life?

What drives us?
Leads us?
Directs us?

In the service of what
do we live?

If not to our advantage,
to whose advantage–
to what’s advantage?

If not to our pleasure,
to whose pleasure–
to what’s pleasure?

What governs the thoughts we think?
The moods we have?
The things we do?

What are we seeking?
What is optimal?
Where do we belong?

As an alternative to the Three Big Motives above,
exploitation,
manipulation,
control,
I suggest these three conditions of life
as the motivating principles of existence:
balance,
harmony,
homeostasis.

Find the center.
Flow with it as it moves
from moment to moment.

Be one with the moment
in every moment
for the good of the moment.

And trust that to be enough.


09/23/2019  —  A lot of us could stand
with Terry Malloy and say,

“I coulda had class.
I coulda been a contender.
I coulda been somebody,
instead of a bum,
which is what I am.”
(Terry Malloy/Marlon Brando,
*On The Waterfront*)

Our circumstances
offer us all the excuses
we need.

Its the decisions
and choices
we make within our circumstances
that tell the tale.

The time and place of birth,
our family of origin,
and our parents’
family of origin
set the stage.

Here we are.
Now what?

How we answer that question
in each situation as it arises
all our life long
is our contribution
to the stew.

No one can answer it but us.


09/28/2019  —  “Let’s go bowling, Dude.”

What is the equivalent
of bowling in your life
and mine?

Whatever it is,
it is taking our mind off
living our life.

What do you do to
turn off,
look away,
drop out?

Identify it
and stop doing it.

Instead,
sit down,
be quiet,
look,
listen,
wait
to see what occurs,
arises,
emerges.

Open yourself
to the pain
that waits
in the silence,
and bear it consciously,
holding it in your awareness,
and waiting
to see what else,
what all,
occurs,
arises,
emerges.

It may be hell, but.
It is a hell of a lot better
than bowling.


09/28/2019  —  Everyone has access to the same information.
What we do about it tells the tale.
How open we are to it,
how aware we are of it,
what we dismiss,
disregard,
discount,
ignore
has us where we are
in each moment.
Always.


09/29/2019  —  Our life calls us forth.

We show ourselves to be who we are
in response
to the terms and conditions,
situations and circumstances,
limits and requirements
of our life
moment-by-moment-by-moment.

The constant through all
of the upheaval and turmoil
of each day’s deliveries
is the unique blend
of character and disposition,
priorities and preferences,
perspective and perceptions,
proclivities and inclinations,
genius and gifts,
traits and tendencies
that set us apart from one another
and reveal who we are
for all to see.

Who we are
is who we can be trusted to be
in the give-and-take,
through the gains and losses,
of each day.

There is a remarkable consistency
about the way we go about our life.
We can be depended upon
to do this if that happens–
to be this way in those circumstances.

We develop a particular gait,
a certain style,
a manner of being,
over time.

Those who know us
know when we are being
“just like ourselves,”
and when we are not.

The “idea” of “us”
goes before us
and trails along after us.

How accurate that “idea” is
depends upon how well we are aligned with
the nature that came with us from the womb.
We live best
when we live to exhibit
“the face that was ours
before we were born.”

The word for that kind of life
is “integrity.”

“Know thyself,”
and,
“To thine own self be true,”
and,
“Love your neighbor as you love yourself,”
are all the instruction we need
to live well upon the earth.
The catch is
we have to heed it.


09/29/2019  —  Discipline holds things together.

Discipline is how we do things.
Discipline is doing things that exhibit who we are
in ways that reflect who we are.

When we live undisciplined lives
it all goes to hell like that.

Football teams are built around
a core identity
instilled by the coach:
“This is who we are.”
“This is how we play the game.”
“This is what we do
and how we do it.”

That works fine
as long as the football team
is winning.
When they begin to lose,
badly and frequently,
they tend to forget
who they are,
and begin to play recklessly,
carelessly,
mindlessly.

Then, it is up to the coach
and to the leaders on the team
to call them back to
who they are,
and demand that they
live in ways which serve/display
their identity–
intentionally,
carefully,
mindfully.

It is the discipline
to be who we are
even when we are losing
that keeps a bad situation
from going over into a complete disaster.

We have to play/live aligned
with the vision of who we are
and how we do things.

And when we drift away from that,
we have to find our way back to it,
and play/live grounded in who we are.

Without a coach
and team leaders in our life,
it’s all up to us.
And without self-discipline,
where will we be?


09/29/2019  —a  I can’t stack eggs very well.

And you wouldn’t want me
to sing at your wedding.

This list is long.

The things I do well
rank high with me,
but not so much with anybody else.

Naps, for instance,
are among the things I do best.
My grandchildren are not impressed.
I don’t know anybody who is.

Doesn’t stop me,
or even slow me down.

Find what you do well,
and enjoy doing,
and do it.

Why would you not?


09/30/2019  —  After we have moaned and hollered,
stewed and cussed,
we still have to get up
and do what needs to be done.
That’s the truth
as clearly
as the truth has ever been told.
Are we going to sit there,
or what?


09/30/2019  —  If we live long enough,
we all come around
to the realizations
we don’t want anything
to do with.
Some of us had rather
be dead.
The rest of us
pick up our cross
and stumble toward Golgotha.
And resurrection.


09/30/2019  —  A lot of people
want to be president
who don’t have what it takes
to be president.

A lot of voters
want a president
who has no business
being president.

And here we are.


09/30/2019  —  Jon Kabat-Zinn has a wonderful approach to vitalizing the connection with our life. Vitality is the other side of transparency. Once we become self-transparent, everything falls into place around that. He has YouTube videos by the dozens. Watch the shortest ones first.


10/01/2019  —  We know when we are hungry,
when we are sleepy,
when we have had enough
and need to leave.

No one can knock us off these things.
No one can tell us,
“Don’t tell me when you are hungry!
I’ll tell you when you are hungry!”

That would be ridiculous.

We know what fits us,
and where we fit,
where we belong,
and where we have
no business being.

We know when things are flowing smoothly,
and when the going gets tough.
When things stop going,
and when there is no reason to keep going.

We can trust ourselves to know these things
and others like them.
We don’t have to wait for anyone
to tell us.
We can be secure
in our knowledge
of the basic guiding principles
of our life.

So, what’s the problem?
Not enough cooperation is a problem.
Not enough of the right kind of help is a problem.
Not enough resources
to do what needs to be done
is a problem.
Not knowing where to start is a problem…

And all of these things
are problems
we need to “sound out”–
problems we need to talk out–
in order to hear ourselves saying
what we need to hear.

But.
Once we hear what we need to hear,
we know it.

We have what we need
to find what we need
to do what needs to be done.

Start talking/writing
saying all you can think to say
about what needs to be said,
and then think about what you said,
and what needs to be said
in response to what you said.

Let that work in that part
of your mind
we call “the unconscious”
(Because we are unconscious
of what goes on there).
And see what occurs to you
“out of the blue,”
over time.


10/02/2019  —  We are not responsible for how we see things.

We cannot help how we see things.

We cannot force ourselves to see things any other way.

But.

The way we see things has changed
over the course of our life.

What is going on?

It is called growing up.
Maturation.
Maturity.

And we all grow up against our will.

We have no choice but to suffer it through.

All the way.

What needs to change about the way you see things?

Watch what happens there over time.


10/14/2019–The creed at the heart of fascism is
“It’s THEIR fault!”
The belief around which fascists rally is
“Get rid of THEM and all will be fine!”

Both are lies.

Fascism is based on the fallacy of Themism,
which surmises
“If everyone were like US we all would be happy at last!”
And,
“It’s people like THEM
who make people like US
hate people like THEM!”

Which lock fascists into a self-validating conviction
that cannot be refuted
because there will always be
those fascists hate–
those who are not like them.

They cannot change their mind
without growing up
and accepting responsibility
for having created a life
that is incapable of sustaining life
and requires somebody to blame.

The way out of fascism
is the realization
“I and I alone am the one to blame
for my life being as it is!
And I and I alone am responsible
for becoming who I need to be
to make things better than they are!”

“It is all on ME!”
is something a fascist cannot see.
“I would be great if it weren’t for THEM!”
is all a fascist can do.

A Pickle is a place
where nothing can change
until something else does.
Where fascism is concerned,
we are all in a Pickle.


10/17/2019  —  It’s so hard!
It’s Too Hard!
We want smooth and easy!

The whole problem in eleven words.

Bear the pain!
Do what’s hard!
Suffer it through!

The solution in nine words.


10/18/2019  —  Grace is the foundation of the civilized world.
No one earns their way.
Our way is made possible by the grace of others.
We exist because of the grace of others.

Grace is kindness.
Kindness is grace.
Nothing good happens
apart from grace and kindness.

Grace is unilateral.
It is our gift to the world.
Become a servant of grace.
Lighten burdens.
Spread good will.


For no reason.

That’s grace for you.


10/18/2019  —  Carl Jung said, “When one does the next and most necessary thing without fuss and with conviction, one is always doing something meaningful and intended by fate.”

It has an ought-to-be-ness about it that cannot be denied.

If you are seeking a meaningful life, simply do the next necessary thing with all your heart, the way it needs to be done, the way it is supposed to be done. And then, the one after that.


10/19/2019  —   The Photographer’s Lament:
“I only wanted to be
in all of the right places
at all the right times.


10/19/2019  —  Can we allow our life–
can we allow life–
to be what it is?

Can we allow ourselves
to be who we are?

Can we allow other people–
all other people–
to be who they are?

Can we allow the present moment
to be what it is?

Can we work within the givens
with the gifts we have been given
in the service of the good of the situation
in each situation as it arises
all our life long?


10/19/2019  —  What is the motivation
to be who you are?
What’s in it for you?
What do you stand to gain?
How can you parlay that
into something better than that?
What could be better than that?


10/19/2019  —  There are a lot of places
I do not belong,
places I have no business being.
It is part of my work
to stay out of those places–
and to be where I do belong,
doing what is my business
to be doing.
We can solve a lot of problems
just by not creating any.


10/19/2019  —  There is no time to waste!
If you don’t feel it,
don’t do it!
Wait for the shift to happen.
Wait for the door to open–
then walk through.
Time spent waiting
with your eyes open
is not wasted.
When waiting, wait!


10/20/2019  —  When we screw up,
we make amends–
to the extent that is possible–
and bear the pain
of realization
and contrition,
and change what needs to be changed
about our way with life
in order to do better.

If anybody thinks
they don’t need to do better,
they are failing
to see themselves as they are.

If anybody thinks they are
beyond forgiveness,
they need to reckon with
their own refusal
to forgive themselves.

And bear the pain of their guilt
and of their requisite transformation,
and change what needs to be changed
about their way with life
in order to do better.

The work of repentance,
penitence,
atonement
and recompense
is the work of doing better
moment-by-moment-by-moment.

We live this moment better
than the last one
all the way
to the end of the line.

And, if anyone thinks
they don’t need to do that work,
they are failing
to see themselves as they are.


10/28/2019  —  Tuned into the time and place of our living, awake, alert, aware—that’s the sure recipe for depression. Or, for enlightenment, realization, revelation. Depending on how we see what we look at. We are the door to our own future. It all depends on us.


11/05/2019  —  If you want to know the truth, you have to live in truthful ways. Truth is known through acts of integrity and grace, kindness and compassion, generosity and peace. It doesn’t come by reading it, or being told it. You have to live it, or live a lie.


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Published by jimwdollar

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

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