One Minute Monologues 056

April 20, 2020  —  June 22, 2020

  1. 04/20/2020  —  Tao is integrity.

    Integrity is the alignment
    of ourselves with ourselves
    (our Original Nature)
    and of ourselves with our circumstances.

    When we live at odds with ourselves
    for the sake of our circumstances,
    we are out of alignment,
    out of accord with the Tao.

    When we live out of accord with our circumstances
    for the sake of ourselves,
    we are out of alignment,
    out of accord with the Tao.

    Integrity is the key
    to being in position
    to experience
    grace/synchronicity/Tao/dharma
    in the time and place
    (the here and now)
    of our living.

    When we lose our rhythm,
    balance and harmony–
    are off center,
    out of tune,
    living against the grain,
    swimming across the current,
    and our life isn’t ringing true–
    we need to run an integrity check
    to see where we are contriving,
    scheming,
    engineering,
    orchestrating,
    arranging
    outcomes and ends
    by being who we are not,
    and work to get ourselves back
    in conjunction with ourselves
    and our circumstances.

    Maintaining the connections,
    living truthfully at one
    with ourselves and our circumstances
    puts us “at the still point
    of the turning world”
    (T.S. Eliot).

  2. 04/20/2020  —  Cypress Stillness — Taken at a private preserve in eastern North Carolina around 2004

    There is no end in sight.

    Compassion is its own reason for existence.

    Grace, love, kindness, peace, good will…
    are not trying to get something.

    Giving does not give to get!

    Giving gives.
    Period!

    Contriving to turn a profit,
    to seize the advantage,
    to corner the market,
    to gain this
    and to avoid losing that–
    or to dump this
    and escape being saddled with that–
    is as far from being
    spontaneously,
    appropriately,
    responsive to the situation
    as it arises
    out of the truth of our own being
    for no reason than because
    that is what is called for
    by the situation as it arises
    as it is possible to be.

    Contriving to turn a profit,
    and conspiring to inflict loss on others
    are Siamese twins
    joined back-to-back.

    When you have seen one,
    you have seen the other.

    When we live with only
    the good of the moment in mind,
    we bring ourselves forth
    to meet the moment
    and receive ourselves
    from the moment.

    And all is well.

    Moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    That is the end
    that is never acquired/possessed,
    but is forever being served,
    and is really only a means
    to the next moment.

    We live to bring ourselves forth.

    Moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    For what?

    For the pure joy of being who we are!

  3. 04/21/2020  —  Cypress Fire — Taken on a private preserve in eastern North Carolina around 2004

    There is only living
    in right relationship
    with ourselves,
    one another,
    the times
    and our circumstances.

    How many ways can we
    screw that up?

  4. 04/21/2020  —  Carolina Wren 01/18/2020 02 — Scenes from My Camp Stool, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, January 18. 2020

    Chinese alchemy and religious theology
    have different ways of explaining
    how things are
    and how they should be.

    We all experience grace
    and synchronicity.

    The grace of synchronicity.

    The synchronicity of grace.

    What does it mean?

    We answer that question as though we know.

    As though we are capable of knowing.

    “There is more to everything
    than meets the eye.”

    That is the best we can do.

    No.

    The best we can do
    is meet the day with wonder
    and awe.

    Each day.

    Every day.

    Without trying to fit everything
    into some box.

    With a lid that shuts tightly.

    And locks.

  5. 04/22/2020  —  Skeleton Tree 01/28/2015 03 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, January 28, 2015

    When Jesus said,
    “Let your ‘Yes’ be yes,
    and let your ‘No’ be no,”
    he was saying all he came to say.

    When he said,
    “Why don’t you judge for yourselves
    what is right?”
    he was saying,
    “Let your ‘Yes’ be yes,
    and let your ‘No’ be no.”

    What he is saying is,
    “Do not contrive
    to get,
    have,
    do
    or be anything!”

    Without our contrivances,
    where would we be?

    All we know is working the room,
    playing the game,
    getting what we want,
    having our way.

    We live strung out between
    wanting and wanting-not.

    We walk an emotional tightrope
    striving to get this
    and avoid that.

    We are “always so emotional”
    because we always have
    what we don’t want,
    and don’t have
    what we do want–
    and cannot bear the pain
    of not having what we want,
    Now!
    Immediately!
    This very second!

    Contriving to have what we want
    and not-have what we don’t want
    is all we know.

    Yet, what does wanting know?

  6. 04/23/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach 01/28/2015 15 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, January 28, 2015

    What keeps us going?
    What sees us through?

    Wendell Berry says,
    in “A Poem On Hope,”

    “Because we have not made our lives to fit
    Our places, the forests are ruined, the fields eroded,
    The streams polluted, the mountains overturned. Hope
    Then to belong to your place by your own knowledge
    Of what it is that no other place is, and by
    Your caring for it as you care for no other place, this
    Place that you belong to though it is not yours,
    For it was from the beginning and will be to the end.”

    I would add that as we have not made our lives to fit
    our places, so we have not made our lives to fit
    ourselves.

    And so need to resurrect our duty
    to both our place
    and to ourselves,
    in caring for both,
    for both are “from the beginning
    and will be to the end.”

    Our hope is doing right by our place
    and by ourselves
    in each moment that is given to us
    all our life long.

    We cannot fail to do right by our place
    and by ourselves
    without contributing to,
    and urging on,
    the collapse hopelessness brings
    to the doing of things
    that need to be done,
    no matter what the chances are
    of our realizing the life
    we had in mind for ourselves,
    contriving as we do
    to live in the service of what we want
    only so long as the chances favor our having it.

    Living as our life needs to be lived–
    needs us to live it–
    is another matter.
    A matter that requires courage
    and determination,
    and not merely the happy vision
    of glory everlasting.

    Living as our life needs to be lived–
    needs us to live it–
    is our commitment to our place
    and to ourselves,
    in caring for both,
    and in serving both
    and in doing right by both,
    in each moment that is given to us
    all our life long.

    Letting the outcome be the outcome,
    only after the work is done.

  7. 04/24/2020  —  Cypress Daylight — Taken on a private preserve in eastern North Carolina around 2004

    Theology is the death of the church.

    Any time we are asked
    to suspend credibility
    in service of The Truth
    (“Just believe what I tell you
    and you will know it is so!”),
    we are at the place
    of taking someone else’s word
    as the only valid ground
    of their explanation
    (“It is so because I say it is so!
    But don’t take MY word for it!
    Listen to all these other famous
    people from the past and present!
    Take OUR word for it!”),
    and hand over our responsibility
    for determining the validity
    of what we see,
    hear,
    touch,
    feel,
    taste,
    sense,
    intuit
    in favor of an authority
    greater than our own.

    This is the basis of psychological/emotional abuse
    worldwide.

    (“Don’t believe what you see, etc.!
    Believe what I tell you to believe!”)
    (“Honey, you know your father loves you,
    and he wouldn’t beat you
    if he didn’t think it was good for you!”)

    Any explanation that depends on,
    “You can’t prove that it isn’t so!”
    is treading water in the deep end
    of the pool,
    and it is only a matter of time
    before it takes its rightful place
    among all the other false representations
    of reality on the bottom.

    “We cannot prove,” goes the old retort,
    that the world wasn’t created fifteen minutes ago,
    complete with artifacts and memories.”

    Theology has taken us as far as it can.

    We are left with waiting out The End Of Time,
    or The Rapture,
    whichever comes first
    because it all is in a dim mist
    that has to be “taken on faith”
    in somebody else’s imagination.

    Take away theology
    and we are left with our own experience
    as the ground of our trust/faith
    regarding the things beyond our own experience.

    We all interpret The Facts to suit our fancy.
    We have to know that we do that,
    and hold everything in our awareness,
    awaiting further input of additional experience
    to confirm or invalidate
    our tentative explanations
    regarding how things are.

    Curiosity and inquiry
    are to be the foundation
    of our approach to reality.
    Certitude is in the way,
    and a danger to clear thinking.

    If you are going to take anything on faith,
    and surely we must as we go along,
    let it be faith in our ability
    to have what we need
    to find what we need
    to respond appropriately
    to every situation as it unfolds before us,
    and step forward to meet the day!

  8. 04/24/2020  —  Black Birch 07/2011 04 — Rocky Knob Visitor’s Center, Campground, Blue Ridge Parkway, Floyd, Virginia, August, 2011

    When Jesus said,
    “Let your ‘Yes’ be yes,
    and let your ‘No’ be no,”
    he was saying all there is to say.

    Everything rides
    on what we say Yes to
    and what we say No to.

    If we say Yes
    to the right things
    and No to the right things,
    guess where that puts us.

    If we say Yes
    to the things we should say Yes to,
    and No to the things we should say No to,
    guess where that puts us.

    If we get it wrong,
    and say Yes to the things
    we should say No to,
    and No to the things
    we should say Yes to,
    guess where that puts us.

    If we just do middling well
    and say Yes to some of the things
    we should say Yes to
    and to some of the things we should say No to,
    and say No to some of the things
    we should say No to
    and to some of the things we should say Yes to,
    guess where that puts us.

    But.
    How do we know?
    I was hoping someone
    would ask that question.
    It is a great segue
    to where we are going!

    How do we know what to say Yes to
    and what to say No to?

    How do we know what to do?
    How do we decide what to do?
    In light of what do we live?
    What here?
    What now?
    Who is to say?
    WE are to say!
    How do we know what to say?

    These are fundamental religious questions.
    The questions that are the ground
    of all religions.

    They are questions based on our need
    to contrive a future better than our present
    and our past.

    How do we know how to act
    in order to achieve our best possible future?

    A religion that does not guarantee better
    is no religion at all!
    If we cannot have better–
    or the hope of better–
    we will not bother with religion
    and will put our money on wealth and power!
    Those are certain ways
    of having a future better
    than our past or present!

    Where are we better off?
    With religion,
    or with money,
    or with power,
    or with some combination of the three?

    What we have here is the ultimate means
    of contriving a life worth living!
    A life that gives us the best possible future!
    And misses the point of being alive!

    The point of being alive
    is to dance beautifully
    with the moment of our living.

    “There is only the dance”
    (T.S. Eliot).

    We aren’t dancing if we are contriving!

    And this is the point at which religion parts with life.
    We quit dancing
    and give ourselves to a life of contriving
    a future worth having–
    a future that robs us of our present moment,
    that robs of us of our life here and now,
    which is the only place ever to be alive!

    Hold on,
    I’m going to take you back
    to Wendell Berry’s observation,
    “We have not made our lives to fit
    our places,”
    and my extension,
    We have not made our lives to fit
    ourselves.

    And say,
    A life lived at-one with itself
    has no trouble knowing
    when to say Yes and when to say No.

    It is automatic, spontaneous,
    improvisational and spot-on
    every time.

    We have trouble with when to say Yes
    and when to say No,
    when we are trying to figure our way
    to Better Everlasting.
    What is our best move?
    Hmm that’s a tricky one…
    Maybe this, maybe that…
    What do we do?
    What to say yes to,
    when to say no?
    So, we just take our chances
    and say what seems best to us
    at the time,
    which creates a new situation
    with what to say yes to
    and when to say no,
    and one follows another,
    until we end up at the bottom of some wall,
    wondering where we went wrong,
    and how to plot our best moves for sure
    next time.

    But.

    To know when to say Yes
    and when to say No,
    and be right about it,
    we have to take ourselves
    out of the game
    of wrestling our best future
    into existence,
    and simply look and listen,
    feel and sense,
    what the situation is calling for,
    what the situation needs,
    and respond to that
    out of the gifts, genius, virtues, etc.
    that came with us from the womb,
    and see where it goes.

    Seeing where it goes
    will lead us into another situation
    where we follow the same process,
    until it becomes clear that we are
    on the beam,
    on the path,
    on the right track,
    or off the beam,
    away from the path,
    in the trackless wasteland
    of the wilderness.

    At which time,
    we have to stop forcing our way
    and listen, look, sense, feel
    deeper into the silence,
    and wait for something to arise,
    to occur to us,
    to call our name–
    and give ourselves to it service,
    and see where it goes.

    And so on,
    like that.
    Always living here and now
    in light of what is happening
    and what needs to be done about it,
    without worrying about
    how to use this moment
    to our best advantage,
    but trusting ourselves to be just fine
    by looking, listening, sensing, feeling
    and following spontaneously
    the compelling urges
    that guide our boat
    on its path through the sea.

  9. 04/25/2020  —  Anhinga and Duckweed 04/22/2014 02 — Audubon Swamp Garden, Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC, April 22, 2014

    We need to revisit
    the “compelling urges
    that guide our boat
    on its path through the sea.”

    Alcohol is a compelling urge.
    And every other addiction.

    Fear is compelling urge.
    And every other emotional obsession.

    Our life is “nothing but”
    one compelling urge after another.
    Things we must-do-have-to-do-or-else
    drive us,
    hound us,
    chase us,
    without ceasing,
    and leave us with no time
    to live at all,
    existing as we do
    to serve all that coerces,
    oppresses
    and owns us.

    How to free ourselves
    from all that owns us
    in order to give ourselves
    to that which has need of us–
    and in whose service
    we come alive,
    at one with ourselves
    and in tune
    with the times and places
    of our living,
    is the question
    that sets us free
    and binds us to ourselves
    in an eternal dance
    of dying to all that is not-us,
    and living to all that is-us,
    in each situation as it arises,
    world without end.

    It is a choice, you see,
    the only choice,
    our only choice,
    choosing the One
    whom we serve–
    in a “choose this day
    whom you will serve”
    kind of way.

    Joseph Campbell said:

    “The myths by which we live must support us through our personal crises in life. They have to sustain us and enable us to go forward with our lives. When we find what sustains us through those crises, we find our myth.

    “We have to live out our story in light of a Greater Story that holds things together for us and enables us to make sense of things.

    “What is it that supports us in the face of total disaster? To know that, is to know your myth.

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

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

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

    Abraham Maslow said that people live for five things: Survival, Security, Personal Relationships, Prestige, and Self Development.

    And Campbell said

    “These are precisely not the values that a mythically inspired person lives for.

    “A person who is really gripped by a dedication, by a zeal, will sacrifice all these things for the sake of his or her own passion.

    “These five values are the values people live for who have nothing to live for. Nothing has seized, caught, or driven these people “spiritually mad.”

    “These people, aren’t worth talking to.”

    The people who are “worth talking to,”
    are the people who are living their own life,
    out of their personal affiliation with
    and commitment to
    living their own life
    beyond every other consideration.

    They are grounded upon the bedrock
    of their own virtues and character,
    they know who they are
    and what is theirs to do,
    and they live to do it
    in each situation as it arises,
    in season and out of season,
    and in all weather conditions.

    They have chosen to serve
    what has chosen them.

    And they are highly worth talking to.
    Knowing.
    Living with.
    Being.

    If you are going to be anything,
    Be one of those people.

  10. 04/26/2020  —  Barn on Mormon Row 06/2011 Panorama — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming, June, 2011

    Carl Jung said,
    “Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.”

    We refuse to bear the pain of being alive–
    and the pain of coming to life
    within our own lives.

    The agony of the delivery room
    is not just the mother’s.

    We continue to birth ourselves
    long after we are born,
    throughout our life.
    Or not.
    And to refuse to bring ourselves forth
    to meet our circumstances,
    square up to our inner contradictions,
    rise to every occasion,
    and be who we are,
    no matter what,
    again and again,
    is to die again and again,
    and finally to waste our entire life
    by refusing to live it.

    Carl Jung said,
    “In the final analysis,
    we count for something
    only because of the essential
    that we embody.
    If we do not embody that,
    life is wasted.”

    This “essential”
    is our Original Nature.
    Our Essence.
    Who we are.

    Carl Jung said,
    “The development of personality
    means fidelity to the law of one’s own being.”

    “The law of one’s own being”
    is our Original Nature,
    who we are born to be,
    which we sacrifice continually
    upon the altar
    of success,
    or popularity,
    or wealth,
    or fitting in/belonging…

    We neglect/reject who we are
    in service to all we have to do
    to have the life
    we want for ourselves–
    neverminding the life our Self
    wants for us.

    And here we are.
    Now what?

    It always comes down
    to bearing the pain
    that must be borne,
    to suffering the agonies
    that must be suffered,
    in allowing our life
    to bring us forth
    to meet our circumstances/ourselves
    and do what needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    Beginning here and now.

    Neverminding getting what we want,
    and having it made.

  11. 04/26/2020  —  Big Creek Cascade 11/09/2006 — Big Creek Campground, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Waterford, North Carolina, November 9, 2006

    Everybody wants to feel better.

    Nobody wants to do what it takes
    to get better.

    What it takes to get better
    is bearing the pain of how it is.

    The culture we have created
    is a giant excursion
    into the unending possibilities
    of pain relief.

    Diversion,
    distraction,
    escape
    and denial
    come in myriad shapes and sizes.
    There is something,
    somewhere,
    for everyone.

    If you are in pain
    in this place,
    someone will hand you
    a pill,
    or a drink,
    or an injection,
    or an experience
    that will take you far away
    from your anguish
    and transport you
    to a “land of gentle breezes
    where the peaceful waters flow”
    (Anne Murry, Snowbird).

    Always, always,
    at the bottom of our pain
    lies a contradiction
    that we cannot bear
    and, yet, have to bear.

    We want what we do not have,
    or have what we do not want.

    That rules out the possibility of this.

    What we want runs afoul
    of something else we want.

    The song has endless verses
    saying the same thing.

    Sometimes, we can walk
    two paths at the same time.

    Sometimes, we have to make
    a choice between mutually exclusive options.

    Sometimes, we have to adjust
    ourselves to having lost
    our dearest love.

    Always we have to come to terms
    with the pain of our life being as it is.

    “This is the way things are,
    and this is what I can do about it,
    and that’s how things are.”

    Growing up means coming to terms
    with how things are.

    Doing that will not be good
    for the economy.
    But.
    It will be the best thing you can do
    for yourself and those you love,
    though it may take a while
    for all of you to realize that.

  12. 04/27/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach 01/28/2015 02 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, January 28, 2015

    We are helplessly unable
    to do anything about
    being the way we are.

    How different can we be over time?
    Not different enough to make any difference!
    We can shave our head,
    but we cannot alter the bent of our heart,
    the nature of our wants,
    the order of what matters most to us…

    Start here.
    With our inability to be other than we are.
    Sit with that.
    Sink down to the Source.

    Along the way,
    trace the development–
    the backstory–
    of how we got to be this way.

    How was our perspective shaped
    by the things that happened to us,
    and by the things that did not happen?
    By the things that were said to us?
    By the things that were never said?

    How did our perspective shape our perception
    of what was happening?
    Our response to what was going on?

    What needed to be different
    in order for us to be different?
    At what point in our life
    were we locked into who we are?

    What help did you need
    that wasn’t there?
    What influences did you not need
    that were there in abundance?

    Change what and everything changes?

    Through all of the events
    and circumstances,
    influences
    and impacts,
    we remain the one constant aspect
    of our life.

    Where does our responsibility lie
    in ferreting out the keys
    to our being the way we are?
    What part did we play
    in the production of us?
    How aware were we of what we were doing
    with what was being done to us?

    How aware are we now
    of the part we play in going along
    without a whimper of protest
    in being the way we are?

    How “just fine” is it with us
    that we are as we are?
    How remorseful,
    ashamed,
    guilty,
    regretful that we have turned out this way?

    How interested are we in being different?

    Whose side are we on?

    Awareness is our only tool
    in the work to be more than we presently are.
    We begin at the Source.
    Back there at the Beginning,
    what were the Virtues that we possessed?

    What were the strengths
    of character, qualities, interests and values
    that were unique to us
    in their particular ratio and blend?

    Who were we capable of being
    before the conditions and circumstances
    of life separated us from our potential
    and thrust Survival Mode upon us,
    requiring us to ignore who we might have been
    and concentrate solely on being who we had to be?

    Sit with your Original Virtues
    and become their friend,
    their champion,
    their liege servant for life–
    at first, only in your awareness,
    only in your imagination.

    Step into your day pretending to be
    as you might have been
    with your Original Virtues intact
    and undisturbed.
    Just imagine how that could be.
    Live pretending to be different
    than you are.
    Pretending to be who you originally were.

    And if you haven’t learned
    all that the Jon Kabat-Zinn YouTube videos
    have to teach you about awareness
    (Watch the shortest ones first),
    you might work that into your day as well.

  13. 04/28/2020  —  The Lighthouse 09/2008 01 — At Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, September, 2008

    The old (really old) Taoist manuscripts
    talk about “conscious knowledge”
    and “real knowledge.”

    About “the human mind”
    and “the mind of Tao.”

    They use the phrase,
    “Empty the mind
    and fill the belly.”

    They mind they are talking about emptying
    is the human mind.
    The belly they are talking about filling
    is the mind of Tao.

    This was going on in China
    between 2,000 and 500
    years before Jesus lived.

    They were talking about
    the conscious mind
    and the unconscious mind
    (So called because
    we are not conscious of it).

    The tools the conscious mind uses
    to effect its will
    are reason and logic.

    The tools the unconscious mind uses
    to effect its will
    are grace and synchronicity
    (Also called Tao and Dharma).

    When the conscious mind takes over
    things go to hell rather quickly.

    When the unconscious mind leads the way
    things go miraculously,
    remarkably,
    smoothly along the path.

    When the two minds work together in harmony,
    Tao/grace says what
    and reason/logic says how
    and life has a sense of magic about it.

    Carl Jung picked up the work
    of the old Taoists
    and spent his life
    getting our two minds together,
    making the unconscious conscious,
    “emptying the mind and filling the belly.”

    This is not the way of getting what you want.

    This is the way of becoming who you are.

    Of doing what is yours to do–
    what only you can do
    the way you can do it.

    It is the way of making peace
    with yourself
    and living the life that is yours to live.

    Joseph Campbell came at this same goal
    by working with mythology
    through all of the ages of human history,
    identifying the stories
    we have been telling ourselves
    from the start–
    the unconscious mind talking to the conscious mind,
    trying to make things clear
    with metaphor and symbol.

    “Emptying the mind and filling the belly.”

    It is our work.
    Our task.
    Our calling.
    Our duty.

    We neglect it,
    reject it,
    to our shame,
    and our eternal loss.

  14. 04/28/2020  —  Hunting Island 08/11/2015 10 — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina, August 11, 2015

    No one just walks into
    the right kind of relationship
    with themselves.

    If we are going to transform
    our relationship with ourselves,
    we are going to do it slowly,
    deliberately,
    mindfully,
    consciously,
    intentionally,
    over time.

    This is the Hero’s Journey,
    the Spiritual Journey,
    the Work of Soul.
    The Work of Growing Up.

    Working with a Jungian analyst will help,
    but.
    The work was being done
    long before Carl Jung came on the scene.

    Jon Kabat-Zinn’s guidance
    in developing your capacity
    for mindful/compassionate/non-judgmental awareness
    is essential.

    In order to see what is to be seen
    (To see what you look at),
    you will have to bear the pain
    of knowing what you know.

    No one can tell you how to do this,
    or do this for you,
    or make it easier than it is.

    This is hell.
    This is they dying part
    of death and resurrection,
    and you have to be able to die
    again and again,
    without being sure
    there will be a resurrection this time,
    and you will always walk with a limp.

    This is because we grow up
    against our will.

    And the work of transforming
    our relationship with ourselves
    is the work of growing up.
    And we are always having
    to grow up some more again
    all our life long.

    Learning to stop,
    look,
    listen,
    see,
    hear,
    understand,
    know,
    do,
    be who you are
    in each situation as it arises
    is all that is to it.
    And it will push you to the limit
    of your ability to endure
    the truth of who you are
    and what you are capable of doing.

    This is why it is said
    “Your new life
    (The one of right relationship with yourself)
    will eat your old life alive.”

    Again and again.

    It is no light thing–
    no smooth and easy thing–
    to live in right relationship with yourself.
    But.
    It is the one thing
    that is worth doing with your life.

  15. 04/28/2020  —  Fly-fishing 04/11/2014 — Oconaluftee River near Cherokee, North Carolina, April 11, 2014

    Equal rights sounds just peachy to me.
    What’s the problem?
    Why is that offensive to so many people?

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Why argue that “men” means “men,”
    and not “women and children” as well?

    Why not just agree that “men” means “people”?

    And whether or not they have a “Creator”
    who endows “certain unalienable Rights,”
    why not agree that those rights belong to all people–
    and that among them are to be found,
    “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”?

    What?

    Why not live together in ways that honor
    the rights of all people
    to a life of self-development
    and mutual support,
    around the table,
    across the board
    inclusive of everyone
    in the entire world?

    Why can’t we all live together
    as the Good Samaritan
    and the Prodigal’s Father?

  16. 04/29/2020  —  Pink Wood Sorrel 04/24/2020 — Indian Land, South Carolina, April 24, 2020

    A thing means what we say it means,
    what it means to us,
    and nothing means the same thing to us
    over time.

    Remember that the next time
    you are about to kill yourself.

    And give it another day or two.
    Maybe six months,
    or a year.

    Pull up your list of things
    you revere,
    hallow,
    honor,
    hold to be sacrosanct,
    sacred,
    holy,
    respected
    and sat apart forever.

    Canoeing and fishing
    used to be on my list.
    And long walks in the woods.
    Fast dancing never made it,
    but I wish it had.
    Opera isn’t there yet,
    maybe one day.
    And you can’t imagine
    how God has morphed
    through the years.
    Or, maybe you can.

    All of which is to say
    even the sacred changes
    with us over time.

    What a thing means
    is what it means to us
    here and now.

    So don’t go on about it
    as though it is eternal
    and everlasting.

    Good and bad alike
    are just passing through
    our life.
    Let them come,
    let them go.
    And allow their presence
    change you for the better.

    That is called
    getting the good
    out of everything
    that comes our way.

    We can carry that to the grave,
    and, perhaps, beyond.

    I hope fast dancing
    is waiting for me on the other side.
    I will apologize for taking so long,
    and get down to business.

  17. 04/29/2020  —  Crescent Beach Panorama 05/24/2009 10 Panorama — Crescent Beach, Ecola State Park, Canon Beach Oregon, May 24, 2009

    We only need enough money
    to meet life’s requirements
    and do the work that is ours to do
    (Which is not necessarily the work
    we are paid to do).

    Which turns everything upside down
    regarding what we think about
    the so-called “plan for our life.”

    Let’s cut to the quick.
    There is no plan for our life.
    Our life unfolds according to its own
    urge in response to its context
    and circumstances
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    I know a guy who has been trying
    to sail around the world for five years
    and things keep happening
    to keep that from happening,
    but his life is not on hold.
    He is still living.
    As we all do.
    Without a plan!

    We all just go from this to that
    as best we can.
    Now, I’m suggesting that we
    allow ourselves to be guided
    by our devotion to,
    our liege loyalty to,
    the things that make our little heart sing.

    The things that are truly “us.”
    I write these little homilies,
    saying things that need to be said.
    I read the books that call my name.
    I take the photographs that need me to take them.
    I cook the things that cry out to be cooked.
    My life comes to me in these ways.

    I don’t know how your life comes to you,
    but,
    I do know you have no business doing things
    that are not life for you,
    unless they pay the bills,
    and then you have to tough it out,
    remembering that you pay the bills
    to do what you love to do
    when you are not having to do
    what you hate doing.

    Find the things that are life to you
    and work them into your life.
    Every day.
    That is all the plan you need for your life.

  18. 04/30/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Hunting Island 08/24/2015 — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina, August 24, 2015 — (Hunting Island and Hunting Island State Park are experiencing the brunt of beach erosion in South Carolina. Every high tide, and every hurricane, wash away the shore and topple trees, which litter the beach, creating a scene that will become global as climate change changes everything.)

    Carl Jung said,
    “We meet our destiny
    on the road we take
    to avoid it.”

    I have expanded his observation
    with this addition,
    “Just as we meet our pain
    on the road we take
    to avoid it.”

    Our destiny and our pain
    are one and the same.

    There is no painless
    form of living.

    How we meet our pain
    and bear it
    tells the tale.

    “You tell me about your pain,
    and I will tell you about mine!”
    Could be an ice-breaker
    or a parlor game.

    There is no life without pain,
    there is no growing up without pain,
    there is no being who we are without pain,
    there is no Hero’s Journey
    or Spiritual Quest
    without pain.

    How well–
    how consciously,
    how deliberately,
    how consistently,
    how completely–
    we bear our pain
    says everything
    about how well we are living,
    about how fully we are alive.

    The people who are dead and dying
    are the people who are refusing
    to bear their pain,
    and therefore live in the grip
    of illegitimate suffering–
    suffering brought on
    by their refusal to suffer.
    Meeting their pain
    on the road they take
    to avoid it.

    How do you bear your pain?
    How do you carry your pain?
    What do you do with your pain?

    There is the chronic pain of being alive,
    and the acute pain of living our particular life.
    The pain of being true to ourselves,
    or the pain of failing to be true to ourselves.

    What is the nature of your pain?
    How does it manifest itself in your life?
    How symptomatic are you?
    And if you aren’t carrying your own pain,
    who in your life is carrying it for you?

    It could be your dog.
    Or your spouse.
    Or your child.
    Or your parent…
    Who is the most symptomatic person you know
    in your close circle of people?
    Meet the dumping ground of everyone’s pain!

    We have to carry our own pain.
    Start telling your friends (Your “friends”) that:
    “You have to bear your own pain!
    Don’t be dumping that stuff on me!
    I have plenty of my own!”

    And make a life-long project
    of bearing your own pain,
    consciously,
    mindfully,
    deliberately,
    intentionally,
    regularly…

    It’s called growing up,
    the Hero’s Journey,
    the Spiritual Quest.

    It is the thing that sets us apart
    and enables us to be who we are.
    Without it,
    we are but empty husks
    of a failed molting,
    haunting evidence
    of a life unlived.

  19. 05/01/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Hunting Island 05/2014 –Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina, May, 2014

    We all could use better choices
    to choose from,
    and we all could have made better choices
    from among the choices
    we had to choose from.

    How we choose to respond
    to the present moment
    sets the tone
    for all future moments,
    and influences
    the choices we will have
    to choose from
    in all the moments
    following this one.

    The bigness of each here and now
    and its impact for better
    and for worse
    on the rest of our life
    is never impressed upon us.

    It is never presented
    as making any difference
    “in the great scheme of things.”

    It is the most important moment
    in the entire collection of moments.

    We create our future
    by the way we live
    in our present.

    Each moment
    is the most important moment
    of our life.

    There are no throw-away moments.
    We got where we are
    here and now
    by throwing away moments.

    Where we go next and beyond
    depends on the quality
    of our appreciation of,
    and concern for,
    this now right now,
    and each now following this one
    for the rest of our life.

    We start by simply being aware
    of this here,
    this now.
    Paying attention to it
    and the choices
    that are available to us in it.

    And choosing wisely
    from among the choices
    that are ours to choose.

  20. 05/02/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Hunting Island 12/06/2014 03 — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina, December 6, 2014

    The Old Taoists came on the scene
    about the time Abraham was doing his thing,
    roughly 2,000 years before Jesus,
    and really got cranked up
    about 500 years Before The Common Era,
    with the blend of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism
    coming together to spark sparks
    and ignite realization/awareness
    for all those centuries
    of debate
    and inquiry,
    seeking
    and searching
    for the way of balance and harmony
    up to right now.

    It’s been quite a ride.
    With the East going one way
    and the West going another.
    Perspective/Perception is a doorway
    to quite different futures,
    with how we look determining what we see.

    In the West,
    Good and Evil dominated the scene
    with its claim to be the ultimate duality,
    the fundamental disparity,
    God and Satan.

    In the East,
    it was Male and Female,
    Yin and Yang.

    Now, that is a difference that makes all the difference!

    And, here we are?
    Now what?

    We have to “choose this day”
    how we are going to see things,
    and live out of that orientation
    for the rest of our life.

    My life has been the tale
    of shucking God and Satan
    and embracing Yin and Yang.

    Theology is out,
    and the lived experience
    of day-to-day is in.

    Lao Tzu is credited with saying,
    “The Tao that can be told/said/explained/expounded
    is not the Eternal Tao.”

    That phrase can be interpreted as meaning:

    “The path that you are on cannot be taken for granted.”
    “You cannot pretend to know
    that you know what you are doing.”
    “You have to pay attention
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.”
    “What has happened
    will not be what is happening
    and nothing at all like what will happen.”
    “Be ready for anything.”
    “We learn as we go.”
    “Anything we say is going to be
    transformed by the next thing we experience.”
    “Be light on your feet
    and ride loose in the saddle.”
    Etc.

    No theology!
    No doctrine!
    No dogma!
    Just here-and-now,
    and what is being called for,
    and what we are doing about it.

    That is all there is.

    And, for what it is worth,
    Jesus was right in there with Lao Tzu.
    Jesus said,
    “The spirit is like the wind
    that blows where it will.”
    And,
    “The old has passed away,
    behold, the new has come!”

    And is coming again and again
    the way the present passes into the past.

    Get ready!
    Here it comes again!
    Now what?

  21. 05/02/2020  —  Hector Lake Panorama 09/2003 — Banff National Park, Canadian Rockies, Alberta, September, 2003

    The distance between
    our Conscious Mind
    and our Real Mind
    (An old Taoist term for our Unconscious Mind),
    is the distance between
    The Letter of the Law
    and The Spirit of the Law.

    Conscious Mind is literal,
    actual,
    tangible,
    factual,
    specific,
    serious,
    stern,
    no-nonsense,
    true-as-opposed-to-false.

    Real Mind is figurative,
    metaphorical,
    symbolic,
    abstract,
    circular,
    winding,
    playful,
    laughing,
    truth-in-relation-to-also-truth.

    And we have to work out
    all of the contradictions
    in living one life
    between two mutually exclusive
    ways of being in the world.

    This is called bearing our cross daily.

    We do it by walking two paths at the same time.

    And we do that by keeping an eye
    on the other path,
    while treading this one.

    And never, ever, going to sleep at the wheel!

  22. 05/03/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Hunting Island 04/02/2018 18 — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina, April 2, 2018

    What to do with our life
    comes down to
    living it in ways
    that bring forth who we are–
    that bring forth the best we have to offer–
    in meeting the circumstances
    of our living
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    The problem is that we have better ideas
    of ways to spend our time.

    Those “better ideas”
    are all grounded upon,
    flow from,
    and serve
    diversion,
    distraction,
    escape
    and denial.

    We want more than our life
    has to offer.

    Adam and Eve weren’t content
    with Paradise.

    There you are.

    You think we are going to be satisfied
    with giving our best to the day,
    each day,
    when the day doesn’t give anything
    back to us?

    What are WE getting out of the deal?
    What is in it for US?

    We want to be sure
    our life is worth the effort
    we put into living.

    And that is the kink in the hose.

    Straighten that out
    and the water of life
    flows freely
    throughout the world.

  23. 05/03/2020  —  Flame Azalea 03/31/2020 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, May 31, 2020

    If we lived to bring ourselves forth
    like a Pine Tree in the forest,
    or a Monarch Butterfly emerging
    from its chrysalis,
    or a Flame Azalea in the spring–
    without contriving to parlay
    this into that
    and that into that over there,
    or continually working the room,
    constantly seeking our advantage,
    and striving to leverage
    every situation
    to our lasting benefit and personal gain–
    it would be a different world.

  24. 05/04/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Hunting Island 05/01/2014 09 — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina, May 1, 2014

    We have to be right
    about what we think is important.

    That is the only Rule of Life.

    But.

    There is a catch.

    In order to be right
    about what we think is important,
    we have to be able
    to change our mind
    about what we think is important
    in light of evidence to the contrary.
    Again and again.
    Moment-by-moment-by-moment.
    All our life long.

    This is called Growing Up.
    Some More.
    Again.
    And Again.

    It means we can never
    take anything seriously.

    Especially ourselves.

    And what we think is important.

  25. 05/05/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Hunting Island 05/09/2014 03 — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina, May 9, 2014.

    The tide comes in,
    the tide goes out.
    And, in between, the tide turns around.

    If we have an opinion about that,
    it is all on us.

    All of our opinions are.

    Yet we blame them
    on things like the tide,
    doing what it does.

    Being pleased or displeased
    is what we do
    in response to
    what the tide is doing.

    Being pleased or displeased
    is what we do
    in response to
    what something else is doing.

    But, the pleasure or displeasure
    is on us
    and has nothing to do with the thing
    we are pleased or displeased with.

    The tide doesn’t make us mad,
    sad,
    happy,
    glad…

    We crank that out on our own.

    We all have opinions
    about how things are.
    What is the origin
    of our opinions?
    Why are we so easily influenced
    by the circumstances
    of our living?
    So quickly destabilized
    by what meets us in a day?

    Why grade what happens?
    Why not just do what needs to be done about it?

    We waste a lot of time and energy
    on things like the tide
    coming and going and turning around.

    It isn’t as though
    we don’t know
    how things are.

    Why does that impact us so?

  26. 05/05/2020  —  Green and Gold 04/08/2020 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, April 8, 2020

    I suggest the you begin
    building coalitions of 3-5 people
    to explore who each of you are,
    and what you think/feel
    is at the heart/center/ground/source/foundation/bedrock
    of each of you.

    How do you decide what to do?

    What directs your boat
    on its path through the sea?

    How do you think of what is good?

    Where do your ideas of the good originate?

    Who are your guides?

    How do you maintain your balance and harmony?

    What is your work?
    (Not what you do for a living.
    What you live to do.)

    What would you go to hell for?

    What do you know about
    what has always been called God,
    that you did not get from some other source,
    including the Bible?

    Where do you go–
    what do you do–
    to be with what has always been called God?

    What are your essential virtues?
    The ones that form your essence.
    The ones that came with you from the womb.

    What is your essential nature?

    How do you like to spend your time?

    What are the stories that form your bedrock?
    Not necessarily things that have happened to you,
    but stories that connect you to the truth
    of who you are and how it is.

    What grounds you so solidly
    that nothing can knock you off your foundation?

    How do you know what is being called for
    in a situation?

    Etc.

    You all might also commit to viewing all of the
    Jon Kabat-Zinn YouTube Videos
    (The shortest ones first)
    and giving some money
    to benevolent causes
    throughout the year.

    If someone suggests that the group
    elect officers,
    tell them that is cause for disbarment
    and don’t invite them to future meetings.

  27. 05/06/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Hunting Island 12/06/2014 05 — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina, December 6, 2014

    Your personal coalitions,
    and you should have as many
    as you can manage,
    of 3 – 5 people
    will see you through,
    and enable you to meet
    whatever comes up
    with the resolve,
    creativity,
    resiliency,
    spirit
    and enthusiasm
    that has gotten us
    through all that we have faced
    as a species
    from the beginning
    to now.

    Our coalitions enable “truth,
    the whole truth
    and nothing but the truth,”
    and, more importantly–
    more important because the truth
    cannot happen without it–
    they enable us to bear the pain
    of the full realization of the “truth,
    the whole truth,
    and nothing but the truth.”

    The truth about truth
    is that we rarely ever
    get all the way to the bottom
    of truth.

    There is always more than meets the eye.
    So, we have to keep looking.
    No matter how things are,
    there is always how things also are.

    This is where sitting in the silence
    in the presence of the Source
    (However you imagine that to be)
    and waiting for whatever arises/emerges
    out of the silence,
    as realization,
    or as urge,
    or as urgent call to action,
    or as memory,
    or as whatever comes up
    in the silence to guide/direct
    you to action,
    comes into play.

    Always the need to return to the silence,
    to return to the Source,
    and wait for whatever revelation
    we need to meet whatever we face.

    The silence/Source is with us always,
    and those who know,
    know we all draw water from the same well,
    and are connected at the level of the heart
    as One throughout all time and space–
    and it is our ideas of how things ought to be
    that separate us into factions
    and divisions
    and war parties,
    and once we put contriving
    and conniving
    out of the picture
    there is only all of us together
    seeking together
    what is in the best interest
    of all of us together.

    And the base unit
    of all of us together
    is a coalition of 3 – 5 people
    speaking straight from the heart
    about matters
    that are important
    to us all.

  28. 05/06/2020  —  Cypress Glory — Taken on a private preserve in eastern North Carolina around 2004

    The future is not the work of some cosmic mastermind.
    And my opinion about that
    is no better than that of those who say
    it’s all God’s will/purpose
    being worked out over time.

    In my view,
    the future is the work
    of the cumulative weight
    of all the now’s that go into its creation.

    The present moment is the culmination
    of all of the influences impinging upon it
    from all the now’s leading up to this one.

    We are who we can be
    given the time and place of our living
    and the nature and context of our life,
    and the genetic make up
    and the physical/emotional umwelt
    of our family of origin
    and our family’s families of origin.

    Our future is the work of all that plays into its construction–
    of all that has played out in the past
    throughout all of time.

    The tides of time come in
    and go out
    and turn around
    between the coming and going.

    Our place is to do our part
    in influencing our present moments
    during the full course of our life
    by living in those moments
    in ways that faithfully serve the work
    that we are uniquely suited to do.

    This is not what we do to pay the bills–
    it is what we pay the bills to do.

    Our life begins to separate us from our sacred work
    the moment we are born.
    We are not encouraged to find our work,
    to find what is life for us.
    We are just told to fit in,
    get a job,
    get married,
    have kids,
    die and go to our eternal reward.

    In so doing, we betray our life–
    the life we are born to live and live not–
    and fail to do our part
    in influencing the future for the good
    of all who live there.

    There is magic in all of us–in each of us–
    doing what is ours to do together.
    We save the world,
    we save the future,
    by living the life that only we can live
    in the good faith devotion
    to the best we are capable of doing.

    The coalitions we are forming
    will serve our work
    by enabling us to articulate
    what is holy/sacred/important/essential to us
    and enliven us
    by bringing our work forth in us
    and through us into the world.

    It is crucial to the future of the cosmos
    that we do what is ours to do,
    and that we do it in the ways it needs to be done.

    If you are going to take anything on faith,
    let it be this–
    and live as though it is so,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    throughout the time left for living!

  29. 05/07/2020  —  The Skeleton Trees of Hunting Island 05/10/2014 06 — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina, May 10, 2014, 06

    It doesn’t matter what happens next,
    or ever.

    Now is always the same
    in that it is the place
    we bring forth who we are
    in applying our Original Virtues
    to our current circumstances
    in good faith service
    to the true good of all.

    Liberty! Justice! Equality! Truth!
    Compassion! Mercy! Kindness! Benevolence!
    Grace! Patience! Gentleness! Loving Presence!
    Etc!

    So that whatever is needed
    within the present situation
    is brought forth in service
    to the present situation,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    no matter what
    throughout the time left for living!

    That is all the present moment
    is ever good for.

    Our work is the same work
    regardless of the conditions
    and circumstances of our life.

    What is happening?
    What needs to be done in response?
    What is called for here an now?
    How best to bring forth
    and apply
    what is being called for?

    Every Now is where we answer these questions
    as well as they can be answered.
    No matter what the future brings.

    We are bringing ourselves into every future!
    That is what matters most!

  30. 05/08/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Hunting Island 12/06/2014 04 — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina, December 6, 2014

    I suggest that you Google me (Jim Dollar)
    and get down to business.

    Your business.

    Your own business.

    You have the time left for living to work with,
    and here you are Googling me.

    I am only a doorway,
    a threshold,
    to YOU!

    Googling me is a step on the way
    to Googling YOU!

    What pops up when you Google me
    is my work.

    Is what I do.

    Is what I spend my time doing.

    For what?

    For me.

    Because I know there is no greater purpose
    to serve
    than doing my work
    for me.

    If that helps you, fine.
    If means so little to you
    that you don’t bother googling me, fine.

    I will take my work
    and go talk about it
    with someone else,
    until I find the people
    whose eyes light up,
    and they end the conversation
    by standing up
    and walking off
    in pursuit of their own work,
    and know they can’t waste
    another second with me and mine.

    I gave myself fully
    to what you will find on Google
    when I retired.

    I closed myself off from “the world,”
    and gave myself to my work.
    I am a year away from being retired 10 years.
    If you had Googled me 10 years ago
    you wouldn’t have found much.

    Chances are,
    you are going to live 10 more years.
    See what you can do with them,
    just by giving yourself to your work
    with as much time as you can spare
    in a day every day.

    First, you may have to discover
    what your work is.

    I recommend seeking the Source
    in the silence
    and waiting
    for your work to arise/emerge
    walk up and sit down with you
    and wink.

    It’s been right there all the time,
    and you have known about it all along.

    “We are who we always have been,
    and who we will be”
    (Carl Jung).

  31. 05/08/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Hunting Island 12/06/2014 08 — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina — Here is a wave at high tide during a full moon undercutting a pine tree on the tree line far above the normal reach of the waves. High tides and hurricanes do their work, and by and by there will be no shore line, and then there will be one–on the mainland. The world is remaking itself as we look on.

    Grace is also known as synchronicity,
    and as Tao,
    and as Dharma,
    and as Good Luck.

    The old saw is credited to a wide range of people:
    “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”
    “The more I practice, the luckier I get.”
    Try it yourself–
    it will work for you!

    Nothing is easier to confirm.

    Just take up the work that is your work.
    Decide what is important and be right about it.
    And pursue it with all your heart,
    no matter what,
    and, as Joseph Campbell was fond of saying,
    “Doors will open where you didn’t know
    doors existed!
    Help will come from places
    you never expected to find help at all!”

    The world will welcome you
    until you begin to count on it.
    Until you take it for granted.

    Your luck will run out
    the minute you begin to push it,
    to rely on it,
    to presume upon it.

    Your heart has to be in the right place.
    Your attitude has to be 100% sincere.

    You cannot kid the Old Man,
    the Old Woman,
    within.

    They are wise beyond even their years!
    And onto you from before the start!

    When you take up your work,
    just do your work,
    just be faithful to the work
    as a liege servant
    with filial devotion
    to the tasks that are theirs to perform.

    And always be surprised when things
    fall into place.
    And dance happily around the room,
    as though it has never happened before,
    and will never happen again.

    And not because that is the trick
    to getting it to happen again.

    No contriving!
    No conniving!

    Those are the two twin rules of the way!

    Keep your eye on them.
    They like to sneak up on you
    when you aren’t looking.

    Remember Adam and Eve.
    They were such innocent lambs,
    until they weren’t.

    What happened?
    Conniving and Contriving
    became their trusted advisors.

  32. 05/08/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Hunting Island 05/10/2014 06 — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina, May 10, 2014

    We all drink from the same well.

    But time and chance happen to us all.

    And the Rouge Wanter has its way with us,
    sending us running amok through the world,
    wanting this,
    No! That!
    No! Not That! THAT–over THERE!

    Allowing nothing to stand in our way
    or keep us from our heart’s true desire,
    which has nothing to do with our heart,
    or truth in any form.

    Oh, what is to be done with us?
    How shall we ever find our way back
    to the ground of life and being?

    We have to reach the end of our rope
    before we can change our mind
    about what is important.

    And, even then,
    thin is the thread,
    and fine is the line,
    from which hope dangles
    and our chances
    of choosing wisely
    turn in the wind.

    We have to be right about what is important.

    It all comes down to that.

    But.

    Not to worry.

    Every wrong choice about what is important
    comes with its on prescribed length of rope,
    and when we get to the end of it,
    we get to choose again.

    How many ropes do we go through
    before it all falls into place,
    and we see things as they are,
    and know without a doubt what matters most–
    and give ourselves into its service
    with an adamantine bond of pure devotion?

    However many it is,
    that is how many it is.
    And every wrong choice
    about what is most important,
    is one rope closer to the right choice.
    And we are learning what isn’t important all the time!

  33. 05/09/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Hunting Island 11/13/2017 35 — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina, November 13, 2017

    Being true to ourselves–
    to our heart/soul/Psyche/Lodestar/Bedrock/Center/Self–
    is the sine qua non
    of being in accord with the Tao of Life and Being,
    being right about what is important,
    and being at one
    with what is ours to do
    in the time and place of our living.

    The Noise of the World
    is bent on keeping that from happening,
    and makes it hard to hear
    what is being said to us
    by the Old Man/Old Woman within.

    The Dust of the World
    swirls up from the aimless stampede
    of the 10,000 things,
    keeping us from seeing
    what is called for
    in each situation as it arises.

    We have to excuse ourselves
    from the press of what’s what,
    and take regular retreats
    into the silence,
    seeking the Source,
    finding our bearings,
    remembering who we are
    and what we are here for
    in order to be clear about
    the time that is upon us
    and how best to respond to it
    here and now.

    Here we are,
    now what?

    Stop.
    Breathe.
    Look.
    Listen.
    Wait.
    To see, hear, understand, know, do, be.

    Moment-by-moment-by-moment
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    Simple.
    Difficult.
    Necessary.
    Day-by-day-by-day.

    “And all we ever wanted
    was smooth and easy”
    (Ogi Overman).

  34. 05/10/2020  —  The Grace Zagora Collection 01 — Grace Zagora is our (my wife and I) youngest granddaughter, and has an artistic bent. I have commissioned her to work up a series of Skeleton Trees for me as a way of commemorating the wonderful trees that are losing their lives daily to rising seas and increasingly higher tides–and keeping the reality of global warming before us all. We will be back to keep you company over time.

    Those of you who know me well
    know that I hate being boxed in.

    Trapped.

    Walled up.

    Cornered.

    Locked down.

    Hemmed in.

    I hate for my boundaries to be violated.

    To be invaded.

    Presumed upon.

    Intruded on.

    Seized.

    Tortured.

    Made to talk.

    Forced to do something–anything–out of time
    (When it is not the right time to be done
    by my understanding of what/when is right).

    When I have to go anywhere–
    to a meeting, say–
    I sit with nothing between me and the door.

    I am that way,
    at least in part,
    according to my own investigation
    in the matter,
    because my father
    left me with no wiggle room,
    and had no respect for my boundaries
    whatsoever.
    Ever.

    Maybe you know what I mean.

    All of which is to say,
    here we are.

    Trapped.
    Prisoners of war.
    Living behind invisible bars.
    In our own Gulag.

    Even now being forced into labor
    to serve The Economy
    though it will mean the death
    of many of us,
    as the rest of us look on,
    awaiting our turn to die
    at the will of The Fuehrer In Chief.

    Trump is my father
    magnified times infinity.

    We are at his merciless whim of the moment.

    We cannot do anything about him.

    He is bound by nothing.

    He desecrated the Constitution daily.
    He spits on the flag routinely,
    and burns it, laughing, by the hour,
    singing “What are you gong to do about it, huh?”

    He has demolished democracy.
    He has destroyed the cherished
    sacred institutions of our Republic,
    and has murdered our citizens
    by the tens of thousands–
    and he is not done.

    He has “only just begun.”

    We “haven’t seen anything yet.”

    What do we do when
    there is nothing we can do?

    Where do we turn when
    we have nowhere to turn?

    How do we make our peace
    with the terror of these times?

    I suggest we look it straight in the eye.
    Call it by name.
    Say what it is
    without flinching
    or looking away.

    Stare it–stare him–down.

    We know who he is.
    We know what he is doing.
    We know who calls him Lord.
    And we are not afraid of suffering
    and death.

    We live in the knowledge
    of all that is right
    and of all that is wrong.
    And bear our pain
    with the willful determination
    of all of those who have
    had their rights shredded
    and their liberty torched
    and their lives ended
    by the brutal ruthlessness
    and cruelty
    of those who did it
    because they enjoyed doing it.

    We are one with those massacred
    throughout time.
    Victims all of the Desolating Sacrilege
    come to rape, pillage, plunder, torture, eliminate, exterminate
    because it liked to watch things burn
    and to hear people scream.

    We take our place with them in that line
    as though we are proud to join their company–
    as though there is no better company
    in all the world through time.

    The Laughing Lunatic can kill us,
    but he cannot determine how we die.
    We die looking him in the eye,
    knowing who he is
    and what he has done,
    and we will not look away,
    even as we join those
    through the ages
    bearing silent,
    knowing,
    witness to unspeakable Wrong.

  35. 05/11/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Hunting Island 12/06/2014 07 — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina, December 6, 2014

    We are born with a unique blend
    of qualities and characteristics,
    propensities, interests and abilities,
    capacities, aptitudes and ways of being,
    and who knows what all else.

    And we spend our life
    expressing,
    exhibiting,
    serving,
    exploring,
    using,
    cursing,
    hating,
    denying,
    resisting,
    etc.
    who we are.

    Our relationship with our
    original makeup
    says all that needs be said
    about our life.

    The more suited our life is
    to express, exhibit and serve
    our original makeup,
    the better our life will be.

    A more contentious relationship
    between us and all that came with us
    from the womb
    will result in a life
    that is much less
    in every way
    than it would have been otherwise.

    Human beings, it seems,
    are alone among all sentient beings
    in being able to choose
    how we will live with ourselves.

    Lions and lambs are just who they are.
    With us, things are a bit more complicated.
    We can sell ourselves out
    for what we take to be
    our best interest
    just like that (Snaps fingers).

    Ah, if we only knew what we were doing!
    But we don’t know the most important things:
    What is important?
    Where are we better off?
    What is worth wanting?
    How do we want what we ought to want?

    Lions and lambs don’t bother with any
    of these questions.
    They go about the business
    of being lions and lambs,
    while we are hedging our bets
    and playing our cards right
    hoping to sit in the cat bird’s seat
    with the world on a string,
    enjoying the envy of all our peers.

    While the life that might have been
    wrinkles, fades and turns to dust
    in the darkest corner
    of our distant possibilities.

    Redemption is only realization away.

    We can take up the work
    of being born anew any time.

    All it requires is sitting quietly in the silence
    taking inventory.

    Thumbing through our memories
    looking for our original makeup,
    apologizing,
    making friends.
    And amends.

    We have to live to incarnate our virtues.
    We have to spend the rest
    of the time left for living
    exhibiting, expressing, serving, being
    who we are
    within the context and circumstances
    of our life.

    Think of virtues as in the sentence,
    “This old mare’s virtues
    have always included her smooth gait,
    and her gentle ways.”

    If you were the old mare,
    what would your virtues include?

    Bring them forth!
    Live to make them real
    in the world of time and place,
    here and now,
    as long as life shall last!

  36. 05/11/2020  —  Blue Ridge Fall 10/18/2017 15 — Julian Price Memorial Park Picnic Area, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 18, 2017

    We are born
    for the times and places
    of our living.

    We come into the world
    uniquely suited
    for the word into which we come.

    We step forth–
    at birth
    and at every day following–
    to bring our particular constellation
    of genius,
    gifts,
    talents,
    temperament,
    knacks,
    virtues
    and ways of being
    to meet the times
    and circumstances
    of our life,
    and dance.

    We form a trio
    built for living
    here and now.

    The people who are
    ahead of their times,
    and behind their times,
    are just right for their times,
    calling their times
    to wake up
    to their brand of music.

    And so, Jazz comes along
    at just the right time
    in just the right place.

    Etc.

    How does that happen?
    It is a miracle
    of person, place and time.

    Every person is a miracle
    just like that
    waiting to happen.

    Living the life we are capable of living
    in accord with–
    in conjunction with–
    the times and places of our living
    is the matrix of miracle.

    How can we withhold ourselves
    from the wonder of being
    who we are,
    where we are,
    when we are,
    and dance?

  37. 05/12/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Hunting Island 12/06/2014/06 — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina, December 6, 2014

    Time and place create a particular rhythm.
    a unique blend of balance and harmony–
    a matrix of being–
    calling for a response
    unlike any other.

    Doctrine and dogma,
    morality and ethics,
    are useless
    in type-casting,
    as they do,
    all times and places
    as the customary backdrop
    against which we wheel and spin
    and do our thing–
    which is the same thing
    we did in the last time and place,
    and exactly what we will do again
    in the next one
    because the script we read from
    calls for it.

    The whole show
    is a boring repetition
    of past becoming future forever.

    Compare all those staid old Thou Shalts
    with the lusty,
    daring,
    brazenly
    courageous challenge:

    “A path that can be verbalized
    is not a permanent path.”

    “A path which can be taken for a path
    is not an abiding path.”

    “Each time and place–
    every here and now–
    calls for its own response!”

    “Step into the moment
    and let yourself go!”

    “See what you look at!
    Hear what is called for!
    Do what needs to be done about it–
    regardless of all norms and standards
    to the contrary–
    in each situation as it arises!”

    “Live spontaneously,
    improvisationally,
    instinctively,
    in response to the needs of the moment!”

    And let the outcome be the outcome!

    Who can be so bold?

    Only those living in right relationship
    with themselves,
    and with the Old Man/Old Woman within!

    How did we get to be as old as we are
    with no one telling us this
    anywhere along the way?

  38. 05/12/2020  —  Boone Fork Panorama 06/19/2009 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 19, 2009

    Most of the people who pass us in a day
    have no money
    in the sense of having it on hand,
    stored away in a bank
    or in investments.

    They only have money in order to pass it around.

    It comes to them from someone else
    and goes from them to someone else,
    and is likely to run out
    before they receive the next installment.

    Money is life in that it pays for the wherewithal for living,
    but it is no way to live in that it separates us from life itself.

    What is money for?

    What is living for?

    Money interferes with what living is for,
    and becomes a substitute for being alive.

    Living for money is no life at all.

    How much money do we need
    to do what living is for?

    What is living for?
    For what do we live that money cannot buy?

    What is the source and ground of our life?

    What do we live to do?

    What is life itself for us?

    We don’t have time to think about it.

    We have to think about making money.
    About making enough money
    to have money,
    though in reality,
    money has us,
    and we know we are nothing without money.

    Before there was money,
    how many people thought they were nothing?

    In what ways does money
    keep us for knowing who/what we are?

  39. 05/12/2020  —  Cypress Wonder — Taken on a private preserve in eastern North Carolina around 2004

    If you have gotten the good from
    the sermon on the mount,
    the parables of the good Samaritan
    and the prodigal’s father,
    and grasped the truth of
    “In as much as you have done it
    or not done it,
    to the least of my brothers and sisters,
    you have done it,
    or not done it,
    unto me,”
    you have gotten the best Jesus has to offer,
    and now have only to do what
    needs to be done about it.
    In each situation as it arises.

    If you have not gotten the good from
    these sources,
    go sit in their presence
    until you have.

    That is all there is to it.

    For now
    and forever.

  40. 05/12/2020  —  Johnson Creek Mooring 11/13/2017/04 — Beaufort County, South Carolina, November 13, 2017

    The Old Taoists did not think of good vs evil.
    They thought of Yin and Yang.
    They did not think of God and Satin.
    They thought of Original Nature/Virtue
    and of Greed and Folly–
    of Spontaneous Sincerity
    and The Dust/Delights of the World.

    They thought giving ourselves
    without motive,
    without contrivance,
    without conniving,
    or scheming,
    to the service of the good of the moment–
    automatically doing what was called for
    by the situation as it developed before us–
    was the height of Real Life.

    And doing that moment-by-moment
    our entire life long
    was all that could be asked of anyone.

    Taoism existed through many regenerations
    over 4,000 years,
    and is doing well today.

    Taoism sees our circumstances
    as being perfectly suited
    to bringing us forth
    into our Original Nature,
    living to express the Virtues
    that are unique to us
    in meeting the times and places
    of our living
    and birthing ourselves–
    growing up into ourselves–
    thereby.

    It is not a theology,
    but a philosophy of Balance and Harmony,
    calling us back to the silence
    and to the source,
    of our Original Nature and Virtues
    in dancing with each here and now
    for the good of all concerned.

    There is no doctrine to believe,
    only the invitation to sit quietly
    and experience ourselves
    in our essential nature
    with our essential virtues,
    and rise to meet each day
    out of our relationship with ourselves,
    living to exhibit/express who we are
    in doing what is called for
    in each situation as it arises.

    If you can find something wrong with that,
    by all means,
    have nothing to do with it!

  41. 05/13/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Hunting Island 08/24/2015 03 — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina, August 24, 2015

    We are asked to rise to meet the occasion
    by every occasion.

    Each occasion pulls us forth,
    and invites us to grow up some more again,
    by seeing things as they are,
    knowing what is happening
    and what needs to be done about it,
    in response to it–
    and doing what we can toward that end
    with our Original Nature
    and the Virtues that were ours
    before we were born.

    We are here to do what needs to be done
    with the gifts/genius/daemon that are ours to share
    in the service of the good of the whole.

    Or, as the Lao Tzu might say,
    “Do your work and step back.
    Let nature take its course.”

  42. 05/13/2020  —  Cypress Magic — Taken on a private preserve in eastern North Carolina about 2004

    How do you do it?

    Live-moment-to-moment?

    What guides your boat
    on its path through the sea?

    Through time?

    Through each day?

    What leads you to respond to your life the way you do?

    To feel the way you feel?

    To see the way you see?

    To like what you like?

    To want what you want?

    To choose what you choose?

    What is directing you to be the way you are?

    What is the source
    of your living as you do?

    Can you get to the bottom of it?

    How close to the bottom can you get?

  43. 05/14/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Hunting Island 12/06/2014 04 — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina. December 6, 2014

    Our work
    is becoming who we are capable of being
    in response
    to what is being asked of us
    in each situation as it arises.

    That work depends entirely
    on the quality of our relationship
    with ourselves
    and with our life.

    We can live striving
    to force our life
    to be what we want it to be
    (What does wanting know?).

    And, we can live striving
    to do no harm
    in looking to see who we are capable of being–
    what we are capable of doing–
    in response to the conditions
    and circumstances in which we live
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    We can live out of an agenda
    designed to serve our purposes.

    And, we can live to see what happens
    and what we do in response
    within the time and place of our living,
    day-by-day–
    listening to what is called for
    in each situation
    and responding by offering what is ours to give
    as best we can
    in light of the good of all things considered.

    We can live willfully resolute
    rigid,
    insistent
    and determined–
    and we can live willfully soft,
    gentle,
    pliable
    and resilient.

    The ratio of firmness with flexibility–
    of Yang with Yin–
    in each situation as it arises,
    and always appropriate to the occasion,
    tells the tale.

  44. 05/15/2020  —  Adams Millpond 11/10/2015 14 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 10, 2015

    We are left with entertaining ourselves until we die.

    Life is just one long Vaudeville Act
    and we are the audience.

    We have to fill up the emptiness
    of our life
    and our days
    with something–
    we have no idea what–
    so we look for some action,
    any action,
    hoping to pass a good time.
    Some more.
    Again.

    I have a doctor’s appointment
    on the tenth day of the last month
    of the second quarter of my seventy-fifth year.
    Let’s say it turns out that I’m in perfect health,
    and my doctor can give me the formula,
    or a vial of pills,
    for maintaining that health
    all the way to my dying breath.

    What am I going to do with good health?
    Can the doctor give me that?
    I’ll ask him,
    and I will bet you right now
    that he will say,
    “Why, anything you want!”

    He will say that because
    he will have nothing else to offer.
    Doing what we want is the cultural ideal.

    What does wanting know?
    Who knows what to want?
    Why do we want what we want
    and not what we ought to want?
    What ought we want?
    Who can answer that question
    and be right about it?
    In every moment,
    of every situation that arises
    between now and our last breath?

    Why are we so clueless
    about what we ought to want
    and how to want it/do it/serve it
    with what remains of our life?

    Sober alcoholics are in exactly the same place
    they were in before they started drinking.
    Now what?
    After sobriety, what?
    What do we do,
    sober and healthy,
    with the time left for living?
    How do we know?
    How does anybody know?
    We have all this time on our hands
    and going to a football game
    is all we have to look forward to
    (Or fill in the blank with any of the 10,000 things).

    We are ridiculous.

    We have a life to live
    and don’t know how to live it.
    “Any way we want” is no help whatsoever.
    Wanting only knows what is bright and shiny
    and the latest thing.

    Joseph Campbell steps forward with
    his deepest wisdom:
    “That which you seek
    lies far back
    in the darkest corner
    of the cave you most don’t want to enter.”

    The football crowd doesn’t pause
    even to ask him what he means.
    Wanting may not know much,
    but it knows that ain’t it.

  45. 05/16/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach 01/28/2015 04 — Botany Bay, Edisto Island, South Carolina, January 28, 2015

    We get by as best we can.

    We get up
    and step into the day
    and do what we can do.

    And, let that be that.

    Every day.

    The disparity between
    life as it is
    and life as we wish it were–
    or need it to be–
    is a fluctuating continuum
    that is more manageable
    on some days than others,
    and is always on the list
    of things to do today.

    Awareness of our situation
    provides the framework
    for acceptance of our situation–
    in a “This is the way things are,
    and this is what I can do about it,
    and that’s that” kind of way.

    The emotional impact of the way things are
    is part of the way things are.

    We are living through long days
    of grief and mourning,
    anxiety, uncertainty, anger, despair, fear,
    emptiness, hopelessness, confusion,
    sorrow, listlessness, depression…

    The list is long.

    I find my consolation in,
    and draw my strength from,
    tending my relationship
    with the Old Man/Old Woman within.

    Silence is ground of my communion with them,
    and the bedrock of my certainty
    that we all share the same Source,
    we all drink from the same well,
    and have, as a species,
    come through dark times,
    again and again,
    on the strength of the firmness and flexibility
    we find among the givens
    of our inheritance.

    Firmness and flexibility form
    another fluctuating continuum–
    one that we can depend on
    to enable us to deal with the disparity
    between our experience
    and what we want our experience to be
    on a moment-to-moment,
    situation-by-situation,
    basis throughout each day.

    In each of us inner-truth
    meets outer-truth all day
    every day.

    We find what we need within
    to deal with what must be faced without
    by taking the time to open ourselves
    to the “very present help in time of trouble”
    that has upheld and sustained us
    through all times and places,
    and is “with us always to the end of time.”

    Accessing inner-truth is as simple
    as being aware of all the ways
    we are being led/guided/directed/comforted/etc.
    (Including nighttime dreams,
    nudges, realizations, urges, ideas, insight, inspirations,
    intuitions, sensing/feeling/knowing…),
    and trusting ourselves
    to “more than meets the eye”
    in the knowledge that we are not alone
    in the work of meeting the day
    and finding what we need
    to do what needs to be done
    all our life long.

  46. 05/17/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach 01/28/2015 B-3 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, January 28, 2015

    The distance between Adam and Eve
    in the Garden of Eden,
    and Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
    cannot be measured,
    even in light years.

    They are infinity apart.

    The rest of us are spread out
    along the continuum between them,
    with most of us crowded together
    in the center of the bell-shaped curve,
    wondering how we might move toward
    the Christ we are all built/called to be,
    not sure if we want to be bothered
    with it at all.

    It is a choice we make
    without being aware of making a choice.
    Being aware of making the choice
    is making the choice–
    a choice we make
    in becoming aware of making it.

    The choice is simply
    that of settling into who we are–
    not “going” anywhere,
    merely “being” who/where we are,
    in each situation as it arises,
    all our life long.

    It is the choice of living in right relationship
    with ourselves.

    Right relationship with ourselves
    instantly,
    automatically,
    spontaneously
    becomes right relationship with other people.

    It sets us apart from them
    and draws us closer together with them
    at the same time.

    This is the truth of Robert Frost’s observation
    in his poem, “Mending Wall,”
    “Good fences make good neighbors.”

    Knowing where we start
    and other people stop
    is essential knowing.
    In becoming ourselves,
    we move into not-being
    who anyone else thinks we ought to be.

    We disappoint the world
    in a “No Lord! This is NOT
    who you are supposed to be”
    kind of way.

    There are no “spozed to be’s”
    for any of us.
    There is only who this situation
    is asking us to be right here, right now.
    And we do not know beforehand
    who that will be.

    We birth ourselves again and again
    in each situation that comes our way.
    We make it up as we go.
    Living spontaneously in response
    to the moment of our living,
    with no inkling of what we will do
    before we find ourselves doing it–
    like choosing to become the Christ.

    We become the Christ in being ourselves.

    The cross Jesus suffered
    was not the cross of universal redemption–
    it was the cross of his own integrity,
    the cross of living his own life
    the way it should have been lived.
    And of paying the price of living that way.

    Jesus’ cross is our cross.
    Our pain is the pain
    of living our life the way
    it should be lived.

    Pain and joy do not cancel each other out.
    They are the same thing.
    Our pain IS our joy!
    Our joy IS our pain!
    They are not mutually exclusive!
    They are extensions of each other!

    We take up our cross daily
    in living in each situation
    as it arises in ways that rise to the occasion
    and do what needs to be done there,
    offering what is called for
    out of the repertoire of gifts/genius/daemon/virtues
    that come with us from the womb–
    with nothing to guide us
    but our own innate sense of what needs to be done,
    of what needs to happen,
    here and now,
    in every here and now.

    “The path that can be discerned
    is not a reliable path!”
    (Thomas Cleary)

    There is no Book of Doctrine
    to tell us how to live!
    We step into each day
    dancing with the day–
    not-knowing what we will do next–
    just responding to the music
    of the moment that only we can hear
    in ways that are a blessing and a grace
    upon all who share the moment with us,
    including ourselves.
    The joy of being alive is one
    with the pain of life.
    The way is the way of agony and grace.

    We couldn’t talk Adam and Eve
    into understanding/comprehending
    what Jesus grasped in the Garden of Gethsemane.
    Just like no one can hear
    what I’m saying here
    who doesn’t already know what I mean.

  47. 05/18/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach 01/28/2015 04-B — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, January 28, 2015

    Most of the most important things
    are outside of our jurisdiction.

    We remain forever in charge
    of some of the most important things,
    and how we handle the responsibility
    for choosing among the choices
    available to us
    is the most important thing
    among the most important things
    that remain ours to control.

    We get to choose our response
    to what is happening.

    We get to choose the practice we follow
    in maintaining our balance and harmony
    amid “the heaving waves
    of the wine-dark sea”
    (Homer, Odysseus).

    We get to choose the place of silence in our life.

    We get to choose the quantity
    and the quality of mindful awareness
    with which we go about the business
    of living moment-to-moment
    and day-to-day.

    We get to choose our attitude
    and demeanor.

    We get to choose the virtues/genius/daemon/gifts
    we exhibit in each situation as it arises.

    We get to choose the degree to which
    we consciously follow our unconscious mind’s lead
    in placing ourselves
    in accord with the Tao/Dharma/Synchronicity/Grace
    that is at work in and through
    all of the times and places of our life–
    by consciously getting out of the way
    and allowing spontaneity and receptivity,
    intuition and instinct,
    direct our choosing
    and guide our boat
    on its path through the sea
    (Though it be wine-dark
    and filled with peril).

  48. 05/19/2020  —  Queen Anne’s Lace 05/18/2020 01 — Along Doby’s Bridge Road, York County, South Carolina, May 18, 2020

    This is the result of That,
    and That, and That…

    This did not Have To Be.
    This is just the way things are.
    Nothing has to be the way it is.
    Everything could be different like that
    (Snaps fingers).

    There is no Divine Plan
    working itself out
    “as year succeeds to year.”

    There is no Celestial Purpose at work.
    No Cosmic Direction in play.
    Just the accumulated weight
    of momentum and precedent through the years,
    and the moment-to-moment interplay
    between circumstance,
    perspective
    and perception.

    We interpret things in light
    of what we perceive to be
    our stake in what we take to be
    the outcome
    of each situation as it arises,
    and act in light of all that
    to produce this.

    And each here and now
    is the result of everybody’s interaction
    with the circumstances of their life
    over time.

    It is a miracle.
    We started out with nothing
    and created everything you see
    right out of our imagination
    in conjunction with our resources
    and our possibilities.

    Reality turns the old put-down of evolution
    on its ear.

    “Put a bunch of monkeys in a room
    full of typewriters,
    and they would never produce
    the works of Shakespeare
    in a million years!”

    That is exactly what they did!
    And they started out with no room
    and no typewriters!
    But it may have taken a bit more
    than a million years.
    And it would have been distant cousins
    of monkeys
    and not actual modern-day monkeys,
    but it is still astounding.

    Time and circumstance working together
    through the ages,
    are capable of marvelous,
    unbelievable things.

    What is the greater miracle?
    That all of this is the result
    of God’s Purpose and Plan?
    Or that none of it is?

  49. 05/20/2020  —  Back-lit Begonia 05/12/2020 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, May 12, 2020

    Inner dialogues are essential
    for transforming
    our relationship with ourselves–
    and as we transform
    our relationship with ourselves,
    we transform our relationships
    with everyone,
    with life,
    with the world
    and all that is therein.

    We have to talk to ourselves.

    We have to catch ourselves
    thinking something,
    feeling something,
    saying something,
    doing something
    and ask all of the questions
    that beg to be asked
    about it–
    and all of the questions
    those questions stir to life.

    Our inner dialogues
    must deepen our awareness
    of ourselves,
    must expand the limits/boundaries
    of our consciousness,
    and must reduce however infinitesimally
    the boundaries of our unconsciousness.

    We have to teach ourselves
    to probe,
    explore,
    examine,
    inquire,
    inspect,
    investigate,
    get to the bottom of
    all aspects
    of our mental,
    physical,
    emotional functioning.

    Introspection is our best friend Friday
    on our trip
    through the rest of our life,
    for the purpose
    of seeing,
    hearing,
    knowing,
    understanding
    who we are
    and what we are about,
    how we got to be this way
    and what we are being asked
    to do with what we have to work with
    in becoming who we might yet be
    and doing what needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises
    throughout the time left for living.

    And if you haven’t watched
    all of the Jon Kabat-Zinn videos
    on YouTube (The shortest ones first),
    why not?

  50. 05/20/2020  —  Queen Anne’s Lace 05/18 2020 02 — Along Doby’s Bridge Road, York County, South Carolina, May 18, 2020

    We are to preserve, protect, defend,
    honor, serve, incarnate, express, bring forth and exhibit
    the natural order–
    with the gifts, genus, daemon, virtues
    we have had from the beginning,
    and the Spirit, Energy and Vitality
    that flow to us
    from the Tao, Dharma, Grace and Synchronicity
    at the heart of being
    and the source of us all.

    This is all the theology, doctrine, dogma and creed
    you will ever need.

    Those of you who know it is so
    have always known that it is so.
    It has only taken articulation
    to stir your knowing to life–
    and now that you know,
    you will never forget.

  51. 05/21/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach 01/28/2015 Roots 02 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, January 28, 2015

    We have to negotiate the impasses
    between who we are
    (Our Original Nature)
    and who we are allowed to be
    (Our Social Mask).

    We walk two paths at the same time.

    We do that by being conscious
    of both paths at once.

    We keep an eye on this path,
    and another eye on that path,
    and know who we are being asked to be
    within the circumstances
    of each situation as it arises–
    and work out the conflicts
    and contradictions
    presented here-and-now,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    all our life long.

    The reality of being constrained
    by the time and place of our living
    and required to do “what is not us”
    in order to pay the bills
    (For example)
    that allow us to be true to “what is us”
    in living in ways that bring us to life
    in a world that demands
    our dying daily
    is the cross that is ours to bear
    through the days that mark our passing.

    How well we do that varies
    from day-to-day
    and place-to-place.

    And coming to terms with having to do that
    is the key to life beyond death
    in the world of space and time.

    This is the myth of Death And Resurrection
    being worked out in real time
    in our own experience
    every day.

  52. 05/22/2020  —  Cypress Swamp Mirror 04/24/2019 01 Panorama — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, April 24, 2019

    If we weren’t so stupid,
    we would be brilliant.
    And we are stupid
    because we are ignorant
    and afraid.

    Ignorance and fear
    combine to create hatred
    and ruthless opposition
    to anything new or different.

    Curiosity is not allowed to breathe
    much longer than three or four years.

    In tribal groups,
    children who exhibit individual tendencies
    are sacrificed to the gods of conformity and routine.
    There is nothing like killing off the thinkers
    to create an environment of sameness
    for generations.

    We do the same thing
    in more subtle ways
    and punish “free thinking”
    (Which is merely normal thinking
    gone rogue)
    in a number of socially-approved ways.

    Schools don’t teach people how to think,
    but how to think like the professors think.

    It is outlandish how we restrict and restrain
    what can be thought.

    Climate change and evolution cannot be discussed,
    much less taught,
    in some school systems.

    Let that sink in.

    What might we have been
    in an atmosphere
    that allowed us to be
    what we might have become
    if it weren’t for fear and ignorance?

    The entire world is a provincial,
    small-minded,
    insular,
    intolerant,
    dead-end
    kind of place.

    We are only
    as we have been allowed
    to be.

  53. 05/22/2020  —  Cypress Swamp 04/24/2019 04 — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, April 24, 2019

    If you are going to transform
    your relationship with yourself
    the following things will need
    to be incorporated in that effort.

    Introspection:

    Regular introspection in an atmosphere
    of curious and compassionate wonderment
    devoid of judgment or opinion.

    You are just being aware of how things are,
    and how things connect to,
    relate with, one another.

    You do “this” when “that” happens.
    Why.
    Where does “this” come from?

    You say “this” is important,
    but you don’t act in ways
    that would enable anyone to guess
    it is important.

    What’s going on?

    You say “this,” but do “that.”

    What is going on?

    Dreams:

    Your nighttime dreams
    are metaphors depicting
    how things currently are
    in your life.

    How do they show things to be?

    What themes run through your dreams?

    How do you-in-your-dreams
    react to what you are dreaming?
    What is your role in your dreams?
    How does that compare
    to how you act in your life?

    What is your conscious/waking reaction
    to your dreams?

    Your Original Nature:

    What do you know about your Original Nature?
    Your Original Nature includes
    your personality types
    and here is a website
    for the Myers-Briggs way of thinking about that:

    https://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/

    Your Original Nature also includes
    your gifts
    your interests (The things that catch your eye)
    your knacks and proclivities
    your likes and dislikes
    your genius/daemon
    your virtues
    your spirit
    your energy
    your vitality

    How does your life support you
    in living in ways that honor/serve
    your Original Nature?

    How does your life interfere with,
    oppose,
    override,
    deny/contradict
    your Original Nature?

    Your Relationship With Your Unconscious:

    Your Unconscious is the seat of your soul,
    the source of your life,
    the keeper of your heart
    and your guardian/guide/guru/friend.

    Your relationship with yourself IS
    your relationship with your Unconscious.

    Learning to attend your Unconscious
    by working with your nighttime dreams,
    your intuition,
    your inspiration,
    your hunches,
    your urges,
    the things that occur to you out of nowhere,
    your musings,
    your reflections,
    are all evidence of your Unconscious
    at work in your life.

    Pay attention to the presence of your Unconscious,
    and trust yourself to its leading.
    It will be as though
    Dumbledore,
    Obi-wan Kenobi
    and Yoda
    are joining up with you
    on your way through your life.

    Your Personal Coalition:

    3 – 5 people who you trust
    to join with you
    in their own quest
    to transform their relationship
    with their life.

    Everybody needs a sounding board,
    a source of encouragement,
    a Community of Innocence
    with nothing at stake in you,
    nothing to gain or lose,
    nothing riding on you,
    nothing to get from you
    and no agenda to talk you into,
    simply being with you as companions
    on the experience of being alive.

    If you have all this going for you,
    there is nothing left to do
    but get to work.

    And if the church as we know it
    would trade its theology
    and its worship services
    for something like this,
    it would be a different world overnight.

  54. 05/23/2020  —  Cypress Swamp 04/24/2019 02 — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, April 24, 2019

    Doing this to get that,
    or avoiding this to get that,
    is to live out of an agenda
    and connive our way through life.

    When everybody is living out of an agenda
    and conniving their way through life,
    the entire world has lost its bearings
    and Tao (Dharma, Grace, Synchronicity)
    is nowhere to be found.

    When this is the case,
    we have to order our own life
    around restoring the right order of things
    and putting ourselves in accord
    with the Tao of the moment,
    moment-by-moment.

    We do that by seeking
    what is being called for here and now.
    What is it time for here and now?
    What is happening here and now?
    What needs to happen in response?
    What can we do about that
    with the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues
    of our Original Nature?

    Not in order to make anything happen,
    just to do what needs to be done!

    Do what needs to be done
    here and now,
    moment-by-moment,
    and let nature take its course!

    Let the outcome be just another moment
    in which we do what needs to be done!

    Follow each moment doing what needs to be done,
    letting the outcome be the outcome,
    allowing nature to take its course,
    doing “this” because “this” needs to be done,
    and not to get/make/force “that” to happen–
    and doing it again in the next moment,
    and in the one after that–
    and you will be the servant of Tao (Etc.)
    seeking what it is time for
    and doing it.

    When the world has lost Tao (Etc.),
    the proper response to make
    is to become the servant of Tao,
    moment-by-moment,
    and let nature take its course.

  55. 05/24/2020  —  Cypress Swamp 04/24/2019 10 — Lake Chico State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, April 24, 2019

    The difference between living
    aligned with the Tao
    and living lost to the Tao
    is the difference between
    trusting your luck
    and pushing it.

    The Slippery Slope
    becomes slippery
    the instant we begin
    to push our luck.

    We push our luck
    when we begin
    to count on our luck,
    depend on our luck,
    take it for granted.

    The trick with being lucky
    and living a charmed life
    is to forget about it
    and never give it a thought.
    Because we are lost
    in the deep awareness
    of what is being called for
    moment-by-moment
    in each situation as it arises–
    and responding to it
    as best we can
    with the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues
    that are ours to use
    in the service of the Tao
    in each here-and-now
    that comes our way
    all our life long.

    This is the service of pure concentration,
    pure sincerity,
    pure innocence,
    pure spontaneity,
    pure energy,
    pure vitality,
    pure spirit.

    We are lost in the service of the Tao.
    We are lost in the service of the Spirit
    which is like the wind
    that blows where it will.

    We have no time for contriving,
    for conniving,
    for thinking of our advantage,
    and playing our cards right,
    and running the table,
    and winner taking all,
    and doing only what we want
    all our life long.

    Living in accord with the Tao
    is to be lost to the world.
    Living with the lights
    of Gay Paree reflected in our eyes
    is to be lost to the Tao.

    The key to having it made
    is not knowing where the action is
    or whether the good times are rolling
    or not,
    but being crystal clear
    about what is called for
    in each moment
    of every day–
    and serving it with our life.

    Now, that is a wicked trade-off
    for some people–
    and the world is as it is
    because they aren’t willing to say,
    “Thy will, not mine, be done,”
    and mean it.

    Those who do say it and mean it,
    and live their life in service to it,
    are the hope of the world,
    even as it is.

    Believe it or not.

  56. 05/24/2020  —  Cypress Shadows — Taken on a private preserve in eastern North Carolina around 2004

    Two Zen sayings perfectly capture
    our situation:

    “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!”

    “If you meet an elephant coming toward you
    along the path,
    GET OFF THE PATH!!!”

    We kill the Buddha
    because WE are the Buddha,
    and thinking the Buddha is The Buddha
    keeps us from doing the work required
    to be the Buddha,
    and puts us in the position
    of listening to the Buddha
    expound on Buddha-hood
    instead of listening to the moment
    in order to see what is being called for
    here-and-now,
    and doing it as best we can
    with what we have to offer,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    We get off the path
    when our circumstances
    clearly do not allow
    the pursuit of our agenda.
    Then, we take no for an answer,
    and seek to serve
    what truly needs to be done
    here and now,
    with what we have to offer,
    as best we can,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    The two sayings
    are saying
    the same thing.

    There is us and the moment,
    and how we live there
    makes all the difference,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

  57. 05/24/2020  —  Goodale 11/11/2015 02 — Adams Mill Pond, Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    The secret key to invincibility
    is complete immunity
    to everything that happens.

    Complete immunity
    to everything that happens
    means having nothing at stake
    in any situation ever.

    Nothing to gain,
    nothing to lose.

    Good and bad
    are one and the same.

    Who cares about the outcome,
    because it isn’t going to last
    no matter what it is.

    All that matters
    is giving our best effort
    in the service of what is called for
    in the moment that is at hand
    in light of all things considered,
    with the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues
    that are at our disposal
    in the service of the Tao/Dharma/Grace/Synchronicity
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    When we do that,
    we are ushered as on angel’s wings
    from one moment to the next,
    safe from all harm,
    protected and shielded
    to do the work that is ours to do
    in the time and place,
    the here and now,
    of our living.

    And our work in each moment
    is to listen to what is being called for
    and serve it as best we can
    with what we have to offer.

    Living like this,
    moment-to-moment
    enables us to live forever,
    or until our time on earth is done,
    whichever comes first.

  58. 05/25/2020  —  Goose Landing — The Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina

    We cultivate a life worth living,
    a life worthy of us,
    by being of worth
    to ourselves an others.

    We get there by contemplating
    what is worthy,
    what is worthwhile,
    what is of value–
    of dear and lasting value.

    Make a list.

    Genghis Khan said,
    “The greatest fortune a man can have
    is to conquer his enemy,
    steal his riches,
    ride his horses,
    and enjoy his women.”

    That is his list.

    If your list
    is anything like
    Genghis Khan’s list,
    I am not going to be
    of any help to you.

    There has to be something
    about us before our ideas
    of value and worth
    that enables us
    know it when we see it.

    Something that recognizes
    and resonates
    with value and worth
    and is right about it

    Being “right about it”
    would entail what?
    Majority vote?

    How do we determine
    value and worth?
    Who says so?
    Who is right about it?

    Who makes the rules?
    The meanest,
    cruelest,
    most ruthless
    and most powerful
    among us?
    How would they know
    if they were right about it?

    They wouldn’t care.

    What would it take for Genghis Khan
    to change his mind?
    For it to matter to him
    to be right
    about what matters most?

    Might does not make right,
    but what does?
    Right exists by its own right.
    We recognize it,
    or fail to recognize it
    or deny it,
    but the value of the valuable
    exists waiting to be valued
    by those who know it
    when they see it.

    The stone the builders reject.
    The pearl of great price lost
    in the display case of costume jewelry.
    The Picasso gathering dust
    in the antique dealer’s basement.

    Seeing what we look at
    and being right about it
    is the auctioneer’s dream come true.

  59. 05/25/2020  —  Kisatchie Falls 01/31/2015 05 — Kisatchie Bayou, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, January 31, 2015

    It has been said by those
    who know what of they speak,
    “Young children are excellent observers,
    and dramatically poor interpreters.”

    Seeing what’s what is one thing.
    Knowing what it means is quite another.

    What something means
    is what it means to someone.

    A cow in the field
    means one thing to the farmer
    who is wondering when to sell it,

    another to his daughter
    who raised it from birth
    and won a blue ribbon for her work
    at the county fair,

    another to the boy down the road
    with a slingshot
    and nothing to do,

    and yet another to the bull
    in the neighboring pasture.

    Interpreting the cow
    however you like,
    taking as long as you like,
    leaves more unsaid
    than could ever be said.

    It helps to remember
    that we don’t know
    what we are talking about.

    To assume “it”–
    whatever “it” might be–
    is what we think “it” is
    is to come up woefully short
    of saying anything reasonably intelligent
    about “it.”

    People who “cut to the chase”
    and “get to the point”
    are serving their own interests
    and guarding the stake they have
    in presenting “it” as they do,
    and pressing others to go along
    so as to not get in their way.

    What do we have at stake
    in seeing as we do?
    What is in it for us?
    What do we stand to gain
    or lose?

    You can bet we are not free
    to explore “it”
    as those simply gathering information
    with no investment
    in the process or the outcome.

    Racism,
    Homosexuality,
    Abortion…

    Who approaches these
    and 10,000 other topics/issues
    as merely disinterested observers
    with nothing to gain
    and nothing to lose?

    How can we ever hope to see anything
    when everything means so much to us
    on so many levels.

    How did we become so attached
    to our interpretations
    that we cannot see
    what we are looking at?

    Or, see ourselves seeing
    what we look at?

  60. 05/25/2020  —  Goodale 11/11/2015 30 — Goodale Sate Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    In any situation,
    there is that which needs to be done.
    All situations are calling for something.
    It may be a nap,
    or a cup of coffee.

    We are ordinary people,
    living ordinary lives.
    We must learn to do
    the ordinary things well.

    One moment flows into another.
    One moment follows another.
    We set the next moment up
    for what needs to be done there
    by doing what needs to be done here, now.

    We transform the world
    one moment at a time
    by doing what is called for
    in this moment.

    This is grace at work in our life.
    Tao leads the way.
    Grace guides our path.
    Tao is Grace
    Grace is Tao.
    Two words for the same experience.

    Synchronicity is another word
    that belongs to the family
    of that experience.

    Dharma is another.

    The experience is that of moving
    with the flow of life,
    where everything falls into place,
    clicks into where it belongs,
    like pieces of a puzzle
    working themselves into position
    through us.

    We experience that occasionally.
    We are being asked to make it
    a regular feature
    of the day-to-day
    by paying attention to what time it is
    and what it is time for
    and what needs to be done
    and what is being asked of us
    by each situation as it arises.

    Putting ourselves at the service
    of our situations
    is like unto submitting
    to the will of God,
    except that we do not hear and act,
    so much as we sense and respond.

    We sense what needs to happen.
    That is different from waiting
    to be directed by God’s will.
    We read the situation.
    We see what is going on.
    And attuned to the moment of our living
    we have the ability
    to respond spontaneously,
    without thinking about it–
    without considering our options
    and calculating our chances
    and deciding what stands to reason
    and missing the time for acting
    by being sure that we know what to do–
    in doing what needs most to be done
    when the time for doing it is upon us.

    Here.
    Now.

    And letting nature take its course,
    which presents us with the next moment,
    where the same attentiveness,
    and the same non-action,
    are required,
    as we wait to act
    when the action is called for,
    knowing what to do
    when we find ourselves doing it
    when the time is right for it to be done.

    Transforming the world
    one moment at a time.

    This is nature’s way.

    As it was in the beginning,
    is now and ever shall be.
    Grace.
    Tao.
    Synchronicity.
    Dharma.
    Carrying us along
    the great journey of life.

  61. 05/26/2020  —  Lake Chicot 10/27/2015 04 — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana, October 27, 2015

    Looking/Listening,
    Seeing/Hearing
    are foundational.

    Which is why
    the Jon Kabat-Zinn YouTube videos
    are so important.

    The intentional practice
    of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction–
    “Paying attention,
    on purpose,
    without judgment
    or opinion,
    but with compassion for,
    the present moment
    just as it is”–
    is the bedrock
    of looking/listening,
    seeing/hearing.

    We tend to think,
    “Oh, yeah.
    Got it.”
    And go on with our life
    without looking/listening,
    seeing/hearing.

    Understanding substitutes
    for knowing,
    and nothing changes
    because we don’t see what we look at
    or know what we are doing.

    See what you look at!
    Know what you are doing!
    That is the foundation.
    That is what Henry David Thoreau
    got from Walden Pond.
    It is all we need
    to find what we need
    to do what needs us to do it
    in each/every situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    And that is the only thing
    that ever needs to be done.

  62. 05/26/2020  —  The Grove 01/29/2015 01 — Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Hollywood, South Carolina, January 29, 2015

    Here is The Plan:

    1) What does wanting know?

    What you want and don’t want
    varies with the winds and the tides.
    What you wanted has you where you are,
    and now you want something else.
    That is the way it is with wanting.

    Do not look to wanting
    to guide your boat on its path
    thorough the sea!
    And do not allow wanting
    to take you off the path!

    You have to find a more substantial
    and dependable guide,
    one who will not forsake you
    and abandon you
    on the heaving waves
    of the wine-dark sea.

    You have to be seized by a mythic vision
    of cosmic proportions
    and thrown into the life
    that you alone can live.

    The question is not
    what you want to do,
    but what must you do!

    What is it that will not let you go?
    That will give you no rest?
    That keeps coming back,
    and coming back,
    no matter how often
    you turn away,
    slam the door,
    and live in the service
    of all the things you ever wanted.

    Explore that.

    And if you have nothing like that
    in your life,
    be patient,
    things may be waiting on you
    to be at the end of your last rope.

    2) Bear the pain!

    The pain of being torn between
    mutually exclusive wants.

    Wanting brings you to the point
    of deepest agony,
    where you only know
    what you don’t want,
    but have no idea
    what you do want,
    or what to do next/now.

    Don’t do anything.
    Bear the pain.
    Wait it out.

    By all means,
    do not force anything!
    Do not push your way
    our of this mess
    into some other,
    even greater,
    mess.

    Wait in the silence,
    in the pain,
    in the darkness of not knowing,
    for the shift to happen.

    3) Look until you see,
    Listen until you hear!

    Until you see/hear what’s what
    and what needs to be done about it,
    when and how.

    And continue to bear the pain
    that must be borne through it all.

    Ask the questions that beg to be asked.
    Say the things that cry out to be said.
    Live in the tension between
    all of the things pulling you apart.

    Do not think up solutions.
    The solution to your situation
    cannot be thought up.
    You have to grow into it.

    Growing into it
    will require you
    to change your mind
    about what is important.

    You cannot bend your life
    to your will.
    “We cannot make ourselves
    without suffering,
    for we are both the marble
    and the sculptor”
    (Alexis Carrell).

    We say Yes to our life.
    Nothing good happens until then.

    4) Wait for the door to open–
    when it does, walk through.

    Don’t think you know what the door is.
    Don’t think.
    Look/See,
    Listen/Hear.

    And trust yourself to what you know
    the situation is calling for,
    searching for how to serve it
    within the circumstances of your life.

    You think you have to do this,
    but that is in the way.

    Bear the pain!
    Wait for the door to open!
    Do not be in a hurry!

    You are the liege servant of time and timing.

    You are waiting for the time to be right.

    In the meantime do what must be done.
    “Chop wood, carry water.”
    Pay the bills.
    Serve your sense of what your life is to be
    to the extent that you can
    within the context of the day-to-day.

    Wait for the opposites to integrate,
    for the contraries to soften,
    for something to happen
    (You can’t imagine what).

    You may have to wait
    for the kids to get out of college.
    While you wait,
    prepare.
    Rehearse.
    Practice.
    Work your life that you must live
    into the life you are living.
    Walk two paths at the same time.
    And keep watching
    for the door to open.

    When it does,
    walk through.

  63. 05/27/2020  —  Kisatchie Falls 03/18/2015 01 — Kisatchie Bayou, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, March 18, 2015

    “Tao” can be translated
    “The right way.”

    As in “living the right way,”
    “doing the right thing
    in the right way.”

    Living in accord with the Tao
    is doing the right thing
    in the right way
    moment-by-moment
    in each situation as it arises
    throughout our life.

    This is assisted
    by being at one with the “Te.”

    Te is translated as “Virtue.”
    And understood,
    not as “The Seven Virtues”
    (Faith, Hope, Charity, Prudence,
    Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude),
    but as the way we think of “virtue”
    when we say,
    “This plant has medicinal virtues,”
    Or,
    “This horse has the virtues
    of a soft trot and a smooth gait.”

    Our “virtues” are “the gifts of being”
    that come with us from the womb–
    “Who we are” in being ourselves,
    in our natural way of being in the world.

    So, “The Tao Te”
    is “The right way of being ourselves
    in the time and place
    (The Here and Now)
    of our our living,
    moment-by-moment,
    in each situation as it arises.”

    (“Ching” is an honorary title
    for all books considered to be classics.)

    When we do that,
    when we live that way,
    everything is well with us
    and all of life benefits
    from our presence
    and is blessed by the grace
    of our being in the world.

    This is the way of all things
    being themselves in the right way
    throughout the time,
    and in all the places,
    of their living.

    It is disturbed,
    decimated,
    demolished,
    destroyed,
    by “greed and folly.”

    By the pursuit of personal gain.
    By living with our eyes
    (and mind)
    on the wrong things.
    By wanting what we have
    no business having.
    By losing ourselves
    in the pursuit
    of “the 10,000 things.”
    By wandering without direction
    through the wasteland
    of “the dust of the world.”

    We recover our relationship
    with the Tao and the Te
    by entering the silence,
    seeking the source
    (Our Original Nature),
    and looking/listening
    for what is called for
    in each situation as it arises,
    and how we might best
    serve what is needed there
    (here, now)
    with the virtues
    (The gifts/genius/daemon)
    that are ours to offer
    at the right time,
    in the right way.

    Doing the right things,
    in the right way,
    at the right time,
    is a matter of laying aside
    our personal interests/gain,
    and putting ourselves
    in filial service
    to the good of the moment
    in each moment.

    We do that through the practice
    of mindful, compassionate, awareness
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

  64. 05/28/2020  —  Queen Anne’s Lace 5/18/2020 — Along Doby’s Bridge Road, York County, South Carolina, May 18, 2020

    Establishing,
    deepening,
    developing,
    improving
    our relationship
    with our unconscious
    is as simple as
    paying attention
    to what comes to us
    that we didn’t think up.

    Balancing our checkbook
    is a conscious activity.

    Knowing that we just
    walked into place
    where we do not belong
    is our unconscious kicking in.

    “The Uh-oh Feeling”
    is instinctual,
    intuitive,
    not something you can explain,
    and would be wise
    to not ignore.

    Things are always catching our eye
    (that we can’t explain),
    songs are always coming to mind
    (out of nowhere),
    odors connect us to memories
    (triggers are everywhere),
    responses to our circumstances
    at times happen
    “of their own accord,”
    slips of the tongue
    reveal what we really think/feel,
    nighttime dreams reflect
    the present state of our life
    (and things we need to be aware of)…

    Our unconscious knows
    more than we know it knows.
    Returning balance and harmony
    to our life
    requires us to know all that we know–
    and to work through
    the contradictions,
    bearing the pain
    consciously,
    intentionally.

    Our unconscious,
    our Psyche,
    is like a gyroscope,
    balancing and stabilizing us
    so that we might act
    as a well-integrated
    response system,
    merging our
    gifts/genius/daemon/virtues
    with the context
    and circumstances
    of our life
    in ways that exhibit/express/incarnate/follow
    Tao/Dharma/Grace/Synchronicity
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    We are perfectly built
    for the work that is ours to do,
    if only we would stop forcing our way
    through the world,
    allowing the current of life
    carry us
    and letting nature take its course.

  65. 05/29/2020  —  Bodie Island Lighthouse 10/25/2009 02 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore near Nags Head, North Carolina, October 25, 2009

    What is the most important thing?
    The thing upon which everything else depends?
    Flows from?
    Revolves around?

    The thing that is the bedrock of your life.

    The thing which centers you,
    grounds you,
    shapes you,
    molds you,
    forms you,
    guides and directs you?

    The thing with which you are
    and without which you are not?

    The thing that is the source
    and goal
    of you?

    What do you live for?
    What do you live to serve?
    What are you here for?
    What is yours to do,
    and leave behind?

    There is a saying:
    “Sailors with no port,
    no compass,
    no bearings,
    can’t tell a favorable wind
    from an ill wind.”

    I say:
    “Sailors with no port,
    no compass,
    no bearings,
    don’t care where the wind
    takes them,
    and are just along for the ride.”

    I’m saying we are just along for the ride,
    and everything depends
    on how well we sail
    through all winds
    and every sea.

    And all of that hinges
    on knowing
    what’s the most important thing.

    If you are forming your coalition
    of 3 to 5 people
    who are a Community of Innocence
    for one another,
    devoted to the cause
    of enabling and sustaining
    balance and harmony
    within each other,
    the group
    and the world at large
    through serving
    and articulating what’s important
    in each situation as it arises,
    you have to make the articulation
    and service of what’s important
    and how that is incarnated,
    made evident,
    in your lives
    the central feature
    of your coming together.

    If you aren’t forming that coalition,
    why not?

    What is more important to you than that?

  66. 05/30/2020  —  Day Lily 05/29/2020 01 — Indian land, South Carolina, May 29, 2020

    The Just Society
    has bitten the bullet,
    agreed to bear the pain
    of being alive
    within the context
    and circumstances
    of their living,
    and committed to living together
    in ways that benefit everyone
    in a one for all,
    all for one kind of way.

    People are taught to serve
    their souls–
    their Psyche–
    and to live in good faith
    with everyone else.

    Economic extremes are rejected
    in favor of everyone having what they need
    to live the life that needs them to live it.
    And no one needs to seek escape
    in diversion,
    distraction,
    denial.

    It is a meditative,
    introspective,
    mindfully aware,
    compassionate,
    non-judgemental
    society,
    with everyone seeing
    what they look at,
    hearing what is being said–
    verbally and non-verbally–
    knowing what’s what
    and responding appropriately
    in each situation as it rises.

    With everyone rising to the occasion
    and doing what needs to be done
    with the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues
    that are theirs to work with
    and share.

    There is no contriving/conniving.
    There is no agenda-serving-directed living.
    There is no trying to get ahead.
    There is no striving to have more
    than anyone else.
    There is no ambition
    in the service of individuals,
    only ambition for the good
    of the whole.

    Everyone is content
    with being who they are,
    and happy to “do their work
    and step back,
    letting nature take its course.”

    And, of course,
    nothing like this will never be
    instituted in the lives of human beings.

    Which leaves us with each of us
    doing what we can
    to shift things in this direction
    in our own life
    moment-by-moment
    throughout each day,
    all our life long.

  67. 05/30/2020  —  Day Lily 05/29/2020 06 — Indian Land, South Carolina, May 29, 2020

    What is the most important thing in your life right now?

    This question lives unasked a great deal of the time.

    When you meet someone you haven’t seen in a while,
    you never lead off with, “What is the most important
    thing in your life right now?”

    It’s always, “How have you been?”
    Or, “How’s it going?”
    Or, “What’s happening?”
    Or, “How are you doing?”

    You are wasting your time.

    We are all going to die,
    most of us sooner than we think,
    and we burn daylight
    talking in the most inconsequential ways.

    Nothing we say matters!

    Our conversations do not deepen us,
    enlarge us,
    expand us,
    grow us,
    require us to stop and look,
    and listen,
    and wonder,
    and seek,
    and search,
    and be alive in the moment right now.

    We have the same conversations
    we had the last time,
    and the ones we will have the next time.

    So much for being engaged with our life
    here and now
    in every moment
    throughout the day.

    How often are we present?
    How often are we adrift
    in some fog of being?

    We go through the motions of living
    without having to be there
    for any of them.

    And we are going to be dead
    before we know it.

    When does life begin?
    It certainly isn’t before birth.
    It isn’t even, as all the traditions proclaim,
    at the first breath.
    It is when we wake up
    and realize we have been dead all this time.
    And decide to live our life
    as those who are alive
    to the moment of their living
    from that point on,
    as liege servants to
    The Most Important Thing.

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

    And, don’t take someone else’s word for it.

  68. Back-lit Begonia 05/12/20 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, May 12, 2020

    The purpose of the physical body
    is to give shape and form
    to the Reality Body.

    Said the old Chinese Buddhists.
    “The Reality Body,”
    sometimes called “The Reality Mind,”
    is set opposite
    to “The Conscious Body,”
    and “The Conscious Mind.”

    They were talking about
    what we refer to
    as “The Unconscious Mind,”
    or “The Psyche.”

    They understood “The Reality Mind”
    to be the source of all that is.
    Carl Jung said that everything we see
    is the product of the Psyche.

    Perspective and perception
    are psychic phenomenon.

    The Psyche is a filtering mechanism
    and the origin of our ideas
    and our inspiration–
    of revelation,
    insight,
    intuition,
    comprehension…

    Life.

    We are alive to the extent
    that we are conscious extensions
    of the Psyche.

    We are here to bring the Psyche
    alive in the life we are living.

    The old Chinese Buddhists would say,

    “To incarnate the Reality Body
    and give birth to the spiritual–
    to the Reality Mind/Body,
    to the Psyche/Unconscious–
    in the world of physical reality
    is what Bodhisattvas do.”

    It is what Buddha did.

    It is what Jesus did.

    It is what the Taoist sages did/do.

    It is what you and I
    are here to do.

    Some things do not change.

    And, the work is never finished.

    It is time it was begun.

  69. 06/01/2020  —  Day Lily 05/29/2020 05 — Indian Land, South Carolina, May 29, 2020

    Making a place
    for ourselves
    and for one another
    is the perennial task of life.

    It is the work of being human.

    Look at all we say no to:

    NO Abortion!
    NO Right-To-Lifers-Unless-You-Really-Truly-Mean-It
    (And I’ve never met one who did)!
    NO LGBTQ-ETC’s!
    NO People of Color!
    NO Vaxers!
    NO Anti-Vaxers!
    NO Foreigners!
    NO People With The Wrong Religion!
    NO Democrats!
    NO Republicans!
    NO Libs!
    NO Anti-Libs!
    NO Facists!
    NO Anti-Facists!
    NO …
    NO Body Not Like Us!
    E V E R!!!

    Try to build a world like that.
    Nothing but land mines
    and electric fences all the way around.

    Here’s one for you.

    Genocide has been a thing
    ever-since Cro-Magnon
    wiped out Neanderthal.

    Exclusion in all forms
    has genocide at its heart.

    Who is not welcome
    in your company?

    And don’t think I’m talking about anybody–
    I excluded myself from everyone
    when I took the vow
    of solitude and silence
    and moved into my hermitage.

    I have genocide in my heart.

    Killing all of my relationships
    is pretty much in the same corner
    with killing everybody not like me,
    and that’s everybody.

    And everybody has a little of me in them.

    “If everyone only thought like I do!”
    Or, “If everyone only left me alone
    to be as I am!”

    How much do we all give up
    to live in even distant association
    with other people?

    How much of us do we conceal
    for the sake of appearances
    in order to not upset anyone
    and to “just get along”?

    How can we all live together
    in ways conducive to the life of us all?

    We are all here to bring ourselves forth
    in the life we are living.
    How can we do that with all the NO!’s
    afloat in the world?

    We have to consciously embrace
    Social Distance as being six feet apart
    on more than one level.

    And we have to stop taking ourselves seriously.

    We have to see that not one of us
    can change the way we see things,
    can change the way we think about things,
    can change the way we feel about things,
    can change the way we believe things are,
    can change anything fundamentally essential
    about us–
    without doing significant psychic damage
    to ourselves.

    Force somebody to be who they are not–
    or even not-yet–
    and you kill something vital about them.

    We all drink from the same well,
    and we all grow up against our will
    to see things as they are
    in much the same ways.

    But.

    We are on different time-tables,
    and different paths
    all the way.

    And.

    We all have to be true to ourselves
    all the way.

    And.

    We all have to make room for–
    have to make a place for-
    The Other in all the others
    who are finding their own way
    to being who they are
    within the context
    and circumstances
    of their life.

    We are all the same.
    And we are all different.
    And we all have to make it work.
    Together.

    Hating/killing one another is no solution.

    I withdrew from community
    in order to create community,
    not knowing what I was doing.
    I only knew I had to get away,
    be alone,
    and hear what I am saying to myself.

    And here I am,
    talking to you.

    It works for me
    because I am talking to you
    one-on-one,
    and in the privacy
    of my own home.
    But, I am talking to you–
    and understand the importance of you
    in my life,
    and do not think for a moment
    that I can be me without you–
    all of you–
    balancing me,
    engaging me,
    enlarging me,
    growing me,
    drawing me forth,
    pulling me out,
    enabling me
    to be more than I could ever be
    on my own
    without all of the opposites
    you all represent
    challenging me to grow up
    and become who I am capable of being
    before I die.

    We all offer this kind of community
    to all of the rest of us.
    We have to understand this
    and create an environment in which
    it can be done.

    Everything depends on it.

  70. 06/02/2020  —  Pink Flame Azalea 06/01/2020 01 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 1, 2020

    Democracy is now always
    one election away
    from being rejected.

    The Koch Brothers,
    Dark Money,
    Special Interests,
    Citizens United,
    Super Pacs,
    Rupert Murdoch
    and Fox News
    have made it so.

    In 1968 the foundation was laid for 2020.
    The Tea Party was the Coming Out Party.
    By then,
    the structure was in place
    for the complete takeover of the country.

    It was a masterful coup,
    founded upon the simple formula,
    “They are taking your freedom away!”
    repeated constantly
    without letup or alteration
    over 52 years.

    In the run-up to the 2016 elections,
    Lindsey Graham told South Carolina audiences,
    “Donald Trump may be the most vile
    person you will ever vote for,
    but at least he won’t take your guns away.”

    That has been the Republican game plan
    for 52 years,
    while the courts were being packed
    with hand-picked judges,
    and the airwaves were being filled
    with unending rounds of Fox “News”
    and talk show propaganda.

    Hatred,
    fear
    and greed
    came together
    to serve the ideology
    of white supremacy
    and end democracy.

    And here we are.

    We are one election away
    from becoming a fascist state.

    And always will be.

    Because democracy is a threat
    to fascist goals
    and likes to believe
    “Everybody wants to be free.”

    Not everybody.
    A lot of people want to be in control.
    And a lot of people don’t mind being controlled.
    And a lot of people hate and fear
    certain other people,
    and don’t want them being free in any way.
    Creating the perfect fascist petri dish.

    Now what?

    Know what’s what!
    Nurture the core principles of democracy
    in your life
    and in the world around you.
    Live in liege devotion and allegiance
    to those principles
    and the institutions that serve them,
    keeping Liberty, Justice, Equality, Truth
    vibrantly alive in the life of the nation–
    and vote in every election,
    local, state and national,
    as though democracy rides on the outcome,
    because you know it does.

  71. 06/03/2020  —  Day Lily 05/29/2020 08 — Indian Land, South Carolina, May 29, 2020

    Walk around in a bubble of awareness.
    See what you look at.
    Know what it means.

    Knowing what it means
    means knowing what it means
    to you/for you–
    means knowing what it is asking of you,
    means knowing what it is asking you to do,
    requiring of you.
    Means knowing how it is interfering
    with your life.

    Means knowing what needs to happen
    in response to it.

    Means knowing how to
    balance it,
    harmonize it,
    with the way things ought to be,
    moment-by-moment.
    And see where it goes…

    Seeing what we look at
    will change our life.
    Will transform our relationship
    with ourselves.
    And with one another.

    Will ask hard things of us,
    and bring us face-to-face
    with the hard truth
    of “Here We Are, Now What?”

    Which is why we don’t see what we look at.
    And, that asks hard things of us, too.
    Which is why we don’t see
    that we don’t see
    what we look at.

    “All we ever wanted
    was smooth and easy”
    (Ogi Overman).

  72. 06/03/2020  —  Catawba Crossing 04/02/2011 01 B&W — Catawba River, York County, South Carolina, April 2, 2011

    The most important commandment
    in the Bible
    did not make the top ten.

    “Thou shalt not remove
    thy neighbor’s landmark.”

    Which is another way of saying,
    “Good fences make good neighbors.”

    Which underscores the essential nature
    of our primary task:
    Knowing where we stop
    and our neighbor starts–
    with “our neighbor” understood to be
    every other human being on the planet.

    All of the institutions we have created
    exist to remove our landmarks
    and make us all one
    in our devotion to
    The Right Way of
    Seeing,
    Thinking,
    Understanding,
    Knowing,
    Feeling,
    Believing,
    Doing,
    Being.

    Our neuroses rise
    to the extent to which
    we are separated from ourselves
    and cut off from the source and goal
    of our life.

    The life we are living
    is too often
    at odds
    with the life that is ours to live.

    We are the only ones
    who can restore the Tao,
    putting things back in the right order,
    balancing the scales
    and harmonizing the contradictions,
    restoring the current,
    reestablishing the connections

    and making peace.

    We are the Lost Boys
    gathered around Peter Banning (Robin Williams)
    in the sandbox (In the movie “Hook”)–
    and we are Peter Banning
    (“The sculptor and the marble”)–
    we are looking,
    peering,
    seeking,
    searching,
    waiting,
    hoping
    for the moment in which we,
    seeing ourselves at last,
    exclaim,
    “Oh, there you are, Peter!”

    And take up the work
    of living the life that is ours to live
    that flows out of and around
    our central,
    bedrock
    undeniable,
    inescapable
    true identity.

  73. 06/03/2020  —  Dawn Comes to Hunting Island 12/06/2014 — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina, December 6, 2014

    The two things we need,
    emotionally,
    for proper functioning
    in the world
    are, I believe,
    comfort and safety.

    Our comfort,
    we seek in the company
    of the right kind of others–
    the tribe,
    the family,
    like-minded friends
    and associates.

    Safety, we seek in our weapons.

    We take comfort
    in the right kind of company.

    We find safety
    in the right kind of weapons.

    We ignore the fact that our nuclear missiles
    have the power to destroy all of life on earth.
    We feel safe knowing we have them.

    That is how the mind works.

    Our mind tricks us into feeling comfort
    in the company of those who are like us
    though they may not have our best interest at heart,
    or prove themselves to be reliable in any way–
    and feeling safe with weapons
    that can eradicate life world wide.

    Our mind is the source
    of our comfort
    and of our safety.

    So.

    Go to the source!

    Go to the source knowingly,
    intentionally,
    purposefully!

    Seek the source!

    We all draw water from the same well!
    We all live from the same source!
    Our minds are connected at the source
    with all other minds!
    We all have Mind in common!

    Mind is the source
    of insight,
    intuition,
    instinct,
    realization,
    resonance,
    knowing,
    feeling,
    sensing,
    hunches,
    ideas,
    visions,
    and all that we need
    to find what we need
    to do what needs us to do it
    with the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues
    that come with us from the womb!

    We are not alone!
    Carl Jung said,
    “There is within each of us
    another whom we do not know.”
    We meet our Other
    in the mind we share.

    Everlasting comfort and safety
    reside in our relationship
    with the Other within
    whom we do not know.

    The path forward
    is a path the two of us walk
    together.

    We start by getting to know
    the one we do not know.

  74. 06/04/2020  —  Pink Hydrangea 06/01/2020 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 1, 2020

    Jesus said it over 2,000 years ago.
    I don’t know how many times
    it had been said before,
    or has been said since.

    It sounds like something his mother
    might have said,
    and his father.

    “You have eyes! Let them see!”

    Some things never change.
    People still have eyes.
    People still need to let their eyes see.

    We look at the same things
    and see something different.
    What’s with the differences?

    What is to be seen is right there,
    in front of every one.

    Donald Trump, for instance.
    What is so hard about seeing Donald Trump,
    just as he is?

    Why is that difficult?

    How can there be so many ways
    of seeing Donald Trump?

    What. Is. Going. On?

    I would really, really, like
    for everyone to see clearly
    to the bottom of their seeing–
    and know exactly why they see as they do.
    And take full responsibility for it,
    and the implications of it,
    and the impact of it,
    and what seeing the way they see
    means for the way they live their lives
    and how that creates the world they live in
    and what it means for the lives of others.

    I would like to see people own their seeing,
    and know what they are doing,
    and how everything hinges on everyone seeing rightly–
    on seeing things as they are
    and being right about it,
    and doing what needs to be done
    in response to it.

    And how not doing that
    keeps life from being what it needs to be
    for everyone.

  75. 06/05/2020  —  Pink Flame Azalea 06/01/2020 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 1, 2020

    We walk two paths at the same time.
    We do that best
    when we do that consciously,
    well aware of the other path
    while negotiating this one.

    One path is what we do to pay the bills.
    The other path is what we pay the bills to do.

    One path is yang.
    The other path is yin.

    One path is firm, solid, unyielding, certain.
    The other path is flexible, responsive, perceptive, knowing.

    One path is rock.
    The other path is water.

    One path is Self 1.
    The other path is Self 2.

    One path is conscious willfulness.
    The other path is unconscious realization.

    Etc.

    Our place between the paths
    is to live within the tension
    and integrate our opposites.

    We act out of what?
    Toward what?
    What is the origin of our doing?
    The motivation behind our actions?
    What guides our boat
    on its path through the sea?
    Why do we do what we do
    and not something else instead?
    In light of what do we live?

    We live to find out.
    To know who we are
    and who we also are
    and who we are capable of being
    within the context and circumstances
    of our life.

    We live to find our way back to Eden
    with the knowledge
    of the road to Gethsemane
    uppermost in our mind–
    and start out again
    with a foot firmly planted
    in both gardens.
    Walking two paths at the same time.

  76. 06/06/2020  —  Pink Flame Azalea 06/03/2020 03 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 03, 2020

    Taoism arose from the murky,
    ancient age of shamanism
    of the tundra
    that existed on the land bridge
    between Russia and Canada-Alaska.

    And that shamanism was the remnant
    of the religious practices
    that grew up in the merged worlds
    of physical and spiritual reality
    from our earliest moments of consciousness
    on the African plains and in its jungles.

    Taoism has roots in the beginning of the species.
    And declares,
    “The way that can be designated/explained/told/said
    is not a reliable way.”
    Because we live/feel our way
    into truth.
    We do not think/reason our way there.

    The two worlds,
    physical and spiritual,
    are forever united
    in the lived experience
    of the people.

    We live with a foot in each world.
    We walk two paths at the same time.
    And nobody can tell us how it is to be done.
    But everyone who knows
    can tell us how it is not to be done.

    Today I begin the third month
    of the second quarter
    of my 76th year.
    Before COVID-19,
    I had a reasonable expectation
    of living 10 more years
    of relatively competent
    mental and physical functioning.
    Now, I can never assume more
    than 14 days at a time.

    So.
    If I am going to get everything said
    that I have to say,
    I have to talk fast.
    And the wonderful irony of it all
    is this:
    All I have to say
    is that nothing helpful can be said.
    You have to figure it out on your own
    by living with your eyes open
    and your ears attuned
    to what’s what.

    On the plains,
    in the jungles,
    on the tundra,
    the shaman
    had to see/feel/intuit/apprehend everything
    on a day-to-day,
    moment-to-moment basis.

    The shamans held the future
    of the tribe
    in their hands.
    They had to live between the worlds,
    so attuned to both here and now,
    as to be able to offer their people
    tomorrow.

    Religion was a daily matter of life and death,
    of survival or the end of the line.
    Theology was about how to do it,
    or else.
    The people who survived
    were the people who knew
    what the shamans knew,
    and lived by instinct and intuition
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    That filtrated down to
    the bare essence of knowing:
    “The path that can be declared
    to be the path,
    is not the dependable path.”

    Therefore, we are on our own,
    and everything rides on our
    seeing what we look at,
    knowing what it means,
    and what it is calling for,
    doing what needs to be done about it,
    in response to it,
    and being right about it all.

    This is the Way of the Shaman.

  77. 06/06/2020  —  Dogwoods 04/17/2008 01 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tremont, Tennessee, April 17, 2008

    The Tao comes down to
    doing the right thing
    at the right time
    in the right way,
    and, more precisely,
    It is the attitude necessary
    to accomplish that.

    Taoism is no more involved
    than working out the details
    required to put ourselves
    in the right frame of mind
    to do the right thing,
    at the right time,
    in the right way.

    Having something at stake
    in the outcome has to go.

    (A Taoist observation states,
    “The ability of the archer
    to hit the bullseye
    varies in inverse proportion
    to the size of the prize
    for doing so.”)

    Greed and folly have to go
    Distractions and diversions have to go.
    “The ten thousand things,”
    and “the dust of the world,”
    have to go.

    We have to “be here now”
    in every situation as it arises,
    see what we look at,
    know what is happening
    and what needs to happen in response,
    be clear about what the circumstances
    are calling for,
    be ready and able
    offer what we have to give to the moment
    from the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues
    that come with us from the womb,
    at the right time
    and in the right way,
    spontaneously,
    automatically,
    without contriving,
    or having an eye on what is in it for us,
    and be ready to do the same things
    in the next situation
    that develops out of this situation.

    Situation-by-situation-by-situation
    all our life long.

    That is all there is to it.

  78. 06/07/2020  —  Daisies 06/06/2020 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 6, 2020

    The key is bearing the pain.
    The pain of being alive.
    The pain of the contradictions
    inherent in being alive.
    On the one hand, this.
    On the other hand, that.

    William Blake (“The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”) said,
    “Without contrary, there is no progression.”

    He is saying we grow up
    through the pain
    of the contradictions
    of being alive.

    Contradictions are everywhere.
    We want mutually exclusive things.
    We have to give up this to have that.
    Trade-offs are everyday stuff.
    The stuff of life.

    Can we take it?
    And go on taking it?
    How well can we take it?
    Can we come to terms with it?
    Can we be fine with it?

    We hate our job but it pays the bills.
    Can we do our job
    the way it needs to be done,
    anyway,
    nevertheless,
    even so?

    Can we find a different job?

    If we hate every job we ever have,
    maybe it isn’t the job.
    Maybe it is having to work.

    Can we come to terms with having to work?

    Can we come to terms with our life?
    With who we are
    and what is ours to do?

    The Garden of Eden is our story.
    Saying yes to this is saying no to that.
    What’s it going to be?
    The Garden of Eden is the Garden of Gethsemane.
    Staying or going,
    it’s hell either way.

    What will we go to hell for?
    Can we come to terms with
    hell being the price we pay
    for being alive?

    This is the crux of the matter.
    Growing up requires us
    to come to terms
    with the hell of having to grow up.
    And paying the price.
    Growing up by going to hell.
    Again and again.
    Moment-by-moment.

    Sisyphus rolling his rock.
    Why? Why? Why?
    Like the answer to the question
    will change anything.
    The best reason in the world
    doesn’t change the fact
    of hell to pay
    and the rock waiting
    at the foot of the hill.

    The shift has to be internal.
    “Oh. So that’s how it is. Okay. Fine.”
    We bear the pain, smiling,
    and put our shoulder to the rock.

    What is your rock?
    How many rocks do you have in your life?
    How well can you bear the pain?
    Once you come to terms
    with rock,
    pain,
    you have it made,
    and can laugh all the way,
    up and down the hill,
    inventing games,
    holding lengthy conversations
    with your rock
    in the absence of your pain.

    The pain was about our attitude.
    Not about our rock.
    Our rock grows us up.
    We grow ourselves up.
    By changing our attitude
    about our rock.

  79. 06/07/2020  —  Dogwoods 04/17/2008 02 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tremont, Tennessee, April 7, 2008

    The path that can be discerned
    is not a reliable path.

    We step unknowing onto the way,
    feeling our way along the way,
    wondering if this is the way.

    Moment-by-moment.

    Do we press forward?
    Do we turn back?
    Do we step aside?
    Do we abandon all hope?
    What now?
    What next?
    How do we know?

    Why value knowing?
    Why trust knowing more than not-knowing.
    Remember your first marriage?
    And your second one?
    We thought we knew for sure
    about our third one!

    What does knowing know?
    What does wanting know?
    What can we trust to be
    what we need it to be?

    Where is certainty to be found?
    Donald Trump is certain.
    The GOP is certain.
    Evangelical Christian Preachers are certain!
    What does certainty know?

    What can we trust to be so?
    Who can we trust to point the way?
    Who knows with right knowing?
    How do we know we can trust ourselves to know
    whom to trust?

    No matter how we twist and turn.
    No matter what we do.
    No matter where we look for the answers.
    We come to grief upon not knowing.
    Upon not being able to know.
    Who’s on first.
    What’s for sure.
    What’s what.
    What to do.
    When to do it.
    Whether we are right about any of it,
    or wrong about all of it.

    What do we do?

    Stop.
    Sit quietly.
    Open yourself to the silence.
    Seek the source of your questions.
    The ground of your uncertainty.
    The bedrock of your fear.
    The foundation of your anxiety.
    And wait.

    You are waiting for the shift.
    You are waiting to see.
    To hear.
    To understand.
    To know.

    We are all we need.
    We were born with everything we need
    to find what we need
    to do what needs to be done
    to rise to every occasion
    and do what needs us to do it
    to do what is called for
    in every moment
    in each situation as it arises
    regardless of our circumstances
    all our life long.

    And if we make a mistake,
    we still have everything we need
    to rise to the occasion…
    etc.
    all our life long.

    Remember your first marriage?
    You got through that.
    And all the other marriages.
    And here you are.
    What are you afraid of?
    What are you worried about.
    You have everything you need
    to find what you need
    to do what needs to be done
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    Oh. Wait. I think I see…

    You want Mamma to take care of you.
    You want Daddy to make it go away.
    You don’t want to have to be the one
    to live your life.

    Remember the shift I mentioned?
    The shift is a change in attitude.
    Just wait there in the silence
    for the shift to happen.

    When the door opens,
    walk through.
    Into the rest of your life
    lived one moment at a time.

  80. 06/08/2020  —  Uptick Red and Bronze Coreopsis 06/03/2020 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 3, 2020

    It comes down to
    being right about
    what is called for
    in each situation
    as it unfolds before us,
    rising to the occasion,
    and offering what
    we have to give
    in the service
    of what needs to be done
    as best we can,
    situation-by-situation-by-situation,
    all our life long.

    Jesus couldn’t do better than that.

    Nor could the Buddha.

    That is all that can be done ever.

    And it is our turn to do it.

    Why hold anything back?

  81. 06/09/2020  —  Daisies 06/06/2020 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 6, 2020

    Your life is exactly what you need it to be,
    precisely as it is.

    You are the man sitting on his donkey,
    looking for his donkey.
    The woman holding her car keys,
    looking for her car keys.
    Standing in your life
    wishing you had a life.
    Can’t waiting to get out of
    this old life
    into a life that is worthy of you,
    finally,
    at last.

    Everybody starts exactly, precisely,
    where they are.
    Your life got you here, now.
    Your life will take you
    to wherever you will be
    when you get there.

    You don’t need something you don’t have.
    You need exactly, precisely,
    what you have right here,
    right now.

    You only need to open your eyes
    and see what that is,
    waiting on you to open your eyes,
    and start living the life
    that is yours to live,
    right here,
    right now,
    smack in the middle
    of the life you are living.

    What is stopping that from happening?
    What is holding things up?
    Why are you holding back?
    Waiting on what to happen
    before you begin really living
    and come alive?

    Here’s one for you:
    You are never going to come alive
    without coming alive
    in the life you are living.
    It all starts right here,
    right now,
    with things just as they are.

    What are you waiting for?

    Living our life within the life we are living
    is always our only option.
    It is always our only door into life.
    We come out of the womb
    with our life tucked neatly away
    inside of us,
    and step into circumstances
    we never would have chosen.

    Some things we don’t get to choose.
    Our choices, for instance.
    “Do you want to wear the red one
    or the blue one?”
    “Is this all there is?”
    “Yes, honey. This is it.
    Which will it be today?”

    We step into which one it will be today
    every day
    and see where it goes.

    We influence where it goes
    by consciously choosing
    the choice that needs to be chosen–
    that calls us to choose it–
    in each moment that comes along,
    day by day.

    Here’s another one for you:
    How many moments are there in your day?
    Start counting them.
    Noticing them.
    Knowing when a moment is upon you,
    and when the next one elbows this one
    out of its way,
    and you have a brand new moment
    to work with,
    one that is asking you to choose
    the right choice here, now.

    See how many right choices
    (The red one or the blue one)
    you are being asked to make in a day.
    Start making the right one.

    Your life will be transformed overnight.

  82. 06/09/2020  —  Dogwoods 04/17/2008 03 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tremont, Tennessee, April 17, 2008

    We all are Adam and Eve,
    trashing our chances
    at the life that is ours to live
    with agendas and plans,
    formulas and schemes,
    contrivances and connivings,
    games and tricks
    of our own devising
    guaranteed to deliver us
    to the life of our dreams.

    What do dreams know?

    Dreams set themselves up
    as the ticket to fortune and glory.
    Hijacking, shanghaiing, kidnapping
    and carrying us away into
    the Dreadful Awfuls
    with nothing but
    dead ends and wrong turns
    all the way to the end of the line.

    Laughing and shouting,
    “Dream your way out of this one, Sucker!
    If you can!”

    If you ever find yourself living
    that kind of nightmare,
    here’s the way out:

    Sit down.
    Be quiet.
    Listen.
    Look.
    Wait.

    See what the moment,
    this moment,
    right now,
    is offering you.

    Every moment calls for something.
    See what this moment is calling for.
    Maybe it’s a nap.
    Or a cup of coffee.
    Or a walk around the block.
    If it is offering you something
    that is going to interfere
    with your functioning,
    see that as a test
    and say no.

    Look for an offering
    that will ease your functioning,
    calm your spirit,
    restore your soul,
    be good for you right now,
    provide stability,
    balance and harmony,
    and a sense of well-being,
    hope,
    confidence,
    assurance,
    safety
    and peace.

    Go with that.
    See where it leads.

    Every moment is a doorway
    in to some other moment.
    Moment-by-moment
    we are being led along
    by forces quite beyond us
    along paths we would never consider
    or choose on our own
    if we were making up
    a worthy life to live.

    Live the adventure.
    Of being alive.
    Not-knowing what’s next.
    Trusting yourself
    to yourself.

    Doing what is called for
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    If you screw up,
    and find yourself at another dead end
    from taking another wrong turn,
    so what.
    Same plan.
    Sit down.
    Be quiet.
    Listen.
    Look.
    Wait.

    See what the moment,
    this moment,
    right now,
    is offering you…

  83. 06/10/2020  —  Day Lily 05/29/2020 07 — Indian Land, South Carolina, May 29, 2020

    Grappling with our life
    comes down to coming to terms
    with the moment of our living,
    moment-by-moment.

    Our life is determined
    by the quality of our moments,
    and the quality of our moments
    has very little to do with
    the quality of our moments–
    and very much to do with
    the quality of our attitude
    regarding the quality of our moments.

    How we feel about our life
    has very little to do with our life,
    and very much to do with
    our attitude about our life.

    Our attitude has to do with
    our expectations
    and our capacity
    for dealing with disappointment.
    And is a reflection
    of our degree
    of emotional/psychological maturity.

    The more grown-up we are,
    the better our attitude is about our life
    and everything else.
    Things aren’t going to get better
    until we develop a practice
    that enables us to be more grown-up
    at the end of the month
    that we were at the beginning.

    That practice involves being aware
    of how grown-up we are
    in reacting to what is happening now,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    We have to be aware
    of our expectations
    and our emotional/psychological/physical
    reaction to disappointment
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    We have to pay attention–
    not only to how our life is going,
    but also to how we are reacting
    to how it is going.
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    Our ease of functioning
    throughout our life
    is enhanced
    by the attitude we have
    about what is happening
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    throughout our life.

    We can do more about our attitude
    than we can do about our circumstances.
    And attitude changes circumstances,
    one day at a time.

  84. 06/10/2020  —  Crabtree Falls 09/01/2008 04 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Little Switzerland, North Carolina, September 1, 2008

    I keep an eye on my
    balance,
    harmony
    and stability,
    on every level:
    cellular,
    systemically
    (digestive system,
    circulatory system,
    etc.)
    personally
    (my relationship with myself)
    socially
    (my relationships with others)
    philosophically
    (my relationship with my life
    and life generally).

    Things are always coming along
    to disrupt the flow
    and destabilize
    my balance and harmony,
    and it is my place/role
    to take it into my awareness
    and see what’s what
    and what needs to be done about it
    and do it
    in order to bring things back
    into accord and congruity.

    It’s like the clown on a unicycle
    juggling plates and bowling pins,
    and someone off stage
    keeps throwing in odd items
    for the juggler to include
    in the routine.

    Here comes a fiddle,
    and a lawnmower,
    and a refrigerator,
    and a grand piano,
    and a Mac truck…

    We are the clown on the unicycle
    doing our best to fold it all in
    and keep it going,
    before the curtain comes down.

    We do it by realizing that
    we are not actually on a unicycle,
    and that we can sit quietly
    processing the day each day,
    doing a “Day Scan” in our awareness,
    letting the events of the day pass in review,
    seeing what’s what
    and how we might best deal with it,
    even now.

    We can seek the help of The Other within
    in sorting things out
    and sizing things up
    and seeing what might be done
    in the service of balance,
    harmony
    and stability.

    We can look to our nighttime dreams
    for guidance in coming to terms
    with our circumstances,
    including our options
    and our possibilities.

    And wait for the shift in perspective
    that opens doors
    where we thought were no doors,
    and offers alternatives
    we never considered
    (Like saying “No”).

    Awareness is an outstanding tool,
    and Jon Kabat-Zinn is an excellent guide.
    And we would be savvy
    to invite him into our Circle of Shaman
    (He has books to offer,
    and his YouTube videos are free).

  85. 06/11/2020  —  Uptick Red and Bronze Coreopsis 06/01/2020 01 — Indian Land South Carolina, June 01, 2020

    Our primary weapons/tools
    in the work of balance
    and harmony
    and stability
    are:
    awareness and perspective,
    silence and solitude,
    sincerity and spontaneity,
    innocence and integrity
    in living from the source
    with our mind centered,
    grounded,
    focused,
    intent
    and locked in
    with adamantine loyalty,
    liege devotion
    and filial faithfulness
    to the bedrock principle
    of responding to the moment
    by doing what is called for
    in ways appropriate and fitting
    to the occasion/circumstances
    moment-by-moment
    day-by-day
    throughout our life.

  86. 06/12/2020  —  Pink Hydrangea 06/04/2020 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 4, 2020

    There is what we do to pay the bills,
    and there is what we pay the bills to do.

    We can pay the bills
    to drink whiskey and smoke pot,
    and we can pay the bills to plant flowers
    and walk in the woods,
    or any of the 10,000 things.

    How we choose what we pay the bills to do
    is a reflection of our relationship
    with ourselves,
    our life
    and other people,
    and says all there is to say
    about who we are,
    and how well we deal with “the facts of life,”
    and what matters most to us.

    We are all responsible
    for self-awareness,
    self-evaluation,
    self-correction,
    self-discipline
    and self-direction.

    We can be on our own side,
    and we can work against our best interest.

    The quality/direction/value/worth of our life
    depends upon how well
    we hold up our end of the bargain
    with ourselves,
    other people
    and our life.

    The bargain requires us to do our best
    with what we have to work with
    in fashioning a life we would be proud to live.
    That is what is asked of each of us
    when we emerge from the womb.
    The “fabric of society”
    depends upon each of us
    doing what is ours to do
    the way it needs to be done
    all our life long.

    Doing what needs to be done
    the way it needs to be done
    moment-by-moment
    day-by-day
    is the hardest thing.

    That is our rock.
    We are Sisyphus.
    The hill is each day.

    How well we do what is ours to do
    depends upon the attitude
    we have toward ourselves
    and our life’s tasks.

    The attitude Sisyphus carries with him
    to the rock and the hill
    makes all the difference.

    There is nothing ever wrong with us
    that a better attitude wouldn’t improve.

    Here are six ways to evaluate your attitude:

    Balance,
    Harmony,
    Stability,
    Vitality,
    Energy,
    Spirit.

    Give yourself a number between one and ten,
    with one being low and ten being sky high,
    on each of these six items.

    Your combined score
    is your Quality Of Life Quotient.
    We all are somewhere
    on the scale between 6 and 60.

    The lower our score,
    the more in need we are
    of an attitude adjustment.

    And, as Alexis Carrel reminds us,
    “We are the sculptor
    and we are the stone.”

  87. 06/12/2020  —  End of the Trail 12/17/2013 B&W — Sculpture by James Fraser in the Brookgreen Gardens Sculpture Collection, Murrells Inlet, SC, December 17, 2013

    How do we know
    that what we think is so
    is so?

    What is the source of how we see?
    The origin of the way we think?
    The ground of what we believe to be
    the way things ought to be?

    The term “self-evident”
    suggests that some things
    are equally evident to all selves,
    yet.

    What is self-evident to some selves,
    is not evident at all to other selves.

    And the phrase,
    “Everybody knows”
    is as inaccurate as it is wrong.

    We dismiss the search for the source of our seeing
    by taking refuge in the experts
    and the authorities.

    “Jesus said…”
    “The Buddha said…”
    “Mohamed said…”
    Etc.
    But.
    How do we know that they knew
    what they said was so
    was so?
    And.
    What is our life worth
    if we are going to take someone else’s word
    about what matters most
    and what ought to be done about it,
    when,
    where,
    how
    and why,
    because they say so,
    because someone else says we should?

    And what are we doing
    just going through the motions
    of being alive
    by stepping in the black footprints
    of the Masters
    that someone else has cut out
    and laid down for us
    to follow throughout our life?

    The search for the wellspring,
    the headwaters,
    of our seeing,
    thinking,
    believing
    and doing
    is the search for the bedrock
    of what we see
    and think
    and believe
    and do.

    And leads us into the realm
    of heart
    and soul
    and mind
    and psyche–
    and the inevitable brush
    with the ineffable mystery
    at the center of ourselves.

  88. 06/13/2020  —  Day Lily 06/06/2020 10 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 6, 2020

    That which has always been called “God”
    is found in the unlikeliest of places,
    and very rarely found in the places
    “God” is supposed to be.

    Where have you stumbled upon
    that which has always been called “God”
    in your life?

    Where do you go to find “God”?

    I put quotation marks around “God,”
    because the “God” we discover
    is not the “God” of theology,
    doctrine,
    dogma–
    and the more we talk about “God,”
    explaining,
    defining,
    extolling,
    selling,
    hawking,
    parading about,
    the more we are left
    with ideas about “God,”
    and the less chance
    of being godly we have.

    It comes down to being godly.

    To living as extensions of “God.”

    Quotation marks are as close to “God”
    as we can get,
    and always remind us that,
    like the Tao,
    the “God” that can be discerned/designated
    as “God”
    is not a reliable “God.”

    Being godly is as much of “God”
    as we can muster into being,
    as close to “God” as we can be.

    It is our place
    to bring “God” to life
    in our life,
    and to be as “God-like”
    as we can possibly be.

    So that finding “God”
    is no more difficult
    than finding yourself.

    Where do you go to find/be/exhibit/express yourself?
    There is “God”!
    (Without the theology)

  89. 06/14/2020  —  Flame Azalea 06/05/2020 04 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 5, 2020

    Do you have conversations
    with yourself?

    I don’t mean,
    “Do you talk to yourself?”

    I mean,
    “Do you have dialogues with yourself?”

    Do you ask yourself questions
    that yourself answers,
    perhaps with another question?

    Do you ponder and probe and pursue
    lines/tracks/trails/paths of thought?

    Like, “What’s worth thinking?”
    Or, “What characteristics separate people
    who can bear the pain of life
    from those who cannot?”

    I find inner dialogues to be
    the single most important tool
    in the work of finding the path,
    staying on the beam,
    knowing what matters
    and being true to myself.

    All I have to do
    is start talking
    in order to stumble upon
    things worth talking about.

    Carl Jung said a hermit is
    “A primitive person who trusts their unconscious.”
    I would add,
    “And has inner dialogues
    on a regular basis.”

  90. 06/15/2020  —  Daisies 06/06/2020 03 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 6, 2020

    We want our way
    and are determined to have it.

    We want what we want
    and live to get it.

    What else is there to live for?
    Without something to want
    and the means to achieve it,
    there is no reason to go on!

    Where do we get that idea?

    Here is a hint for you:
    It is very good for the economy.

    Do you think you have a purpose
    other than being a slave
    to the economy?

    Where does the drive
    to “Buy! Spend! Amass! Consume!”
    come from?

    Do you think we are born
    wondering “What can I buy today?”
    Or, “Now, what do I want?”

    Meet a baby’s basic needs
    and the baby goes to sleep.
    Or empties the pots and pans
    out of the cabinet.

    And, try buying the baby
    the newest,
    latest,
    blanket.
    See how far you get with that.
    The old one will last beyond
    the rag stage.

    That’s the last thing
    the baby has
    that lasts that long.
    The old passes away
    as soon as it is unwrapped,
    and the search for new
    is on.
    And is never finished.

    Where does wanting originate?
    How long can we live without wanting?

    If it weren’t for satisfying our desires,
    what would we live to do?

    Nothing, we think.

    Wanting.
    Getting.
    Having.
    Wanting…
    Is the rhythm of life.
    We think.

    The 10,000 things to want
    keep us from tending
    the deeper urge
    to be,
    and bring forth,
    and serve.

    Nothing they can possess or acquire
    surpasses the fulfillment
    and satisfaction
    derived from
    the poet becoming the poem,
    the dancer becoming the dance,
    the musician becoming the music,
    the singer becoming the song…

  91. 06/15/2020  —  Beaufort Fall 11/13/2017 11 Panorama — Beaufort, South Carolina, November 13, 2017

    The Way that can be discerned
    and designated–
    said to be–
    the Way,
    is not a reliable Way.

    The Way in,
    and through,
    each moment,
    is to be discovered,
    found,
    revealed,
    uncovered
    in each moment.

    The Way in,
    and through,
    this moment,
    may,
    or may not,
    be the Way in,
    and through,
    the next moment–
    though the next moment
    may appear to be
    an extension of,
    and identical to,
    this moment.

    Each moment
    has its own Way
    of being dealt with,
    responded to,
    honored,
    respected
    and served.

    To do all moments the same Way
    is to betray
    the individuality,
    the uniqueness,
    the just-so-ness,
    of each moment,
    and to do irreparable harm
    to the Essence
    of the Natural Order
    seeking expression,
    realization,
    in each here and now of being
    in the physical reality
    of time and space.

    The Way in and through
    each moment
    depends upon the nature
    of each here and now.

    The fitting response
    to each moment
    must be a spontaneous movement
    to serve
    what is being called for
    right here,
    right now.

    We dance our way
    through our life,
    attuned to the rhythm
    and flow
    of the times and places
    of our living.

  92. 06/15/2020  —  Athabaska Valley 09/26/2009 01 — Jasper National Park, Alberta, September 26, 2009

    In any,
    in every,
    situation,
    we see the situation
    as we are influenced
    to see the situation
    by the wholeness
    of our life experience.

    None of us–
    not one of us–
    is equipped
    to see the situation
    just as it is.

    Every situation
    is part projection
    of our bias,
    our bent,
    our cant,
    our drift
    based on
    where we have been,
    what has happened to us,
    what has failed to happen to us,
    in all of our past situations–
    and is part reflection
    of our disappointments,
    and hopes,
    and desires,
    and fears,
    and dreads…

    None of us–
    not one of us–
    comes fresh to any situation,
    free from the impact
    of the other situations
    we have met
    and survived.

    And each of us–
    based on our interaction
    with all that has gone on
    with us to this point–
    steps into the situation
    with our own sense of rhythm
    and flow,
    our own feeling for timing
    and pace,
    our own degree of sensitivity to,
    and awareness of,
    intuition
    and instinct,
    and we each
    determine for ourselves
    what is happening,
    what is called for,
    what needs to be done
    here and now
    with the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues
    that come with us
    into every situation,
    and which are all different–
    in kind and in quality–
    from everyone else’s.

    And we all act in the situation
    as only we can act there
    in being true to ourselves
    in service to the good of the situation
    as we understand that to be.

    We do not do the same thing
    in the same way
    at the same time.

    There is no one way to be
    and/or to do
    in any situation.
    And every situation will be
    more or less blessed/graced/benefited
    by all of us doing our best together
    for the good of the whole.

    And then we move into
    the next situation
    as it evolves out of the previous situation,
    where we all act
    to do our best together
    for the good of the whole then,
    there.

    We are all dancing with our life together
    and when the rhythm and flow,
    pace and timing,
    instinct and intuition
    are in tune and in harmony
    it is a wonder to behold,
    and takes our breath away.

    And we are left with the memory of its passing,
    and the dream of its return.

    But our work is to simply be true to ourselves,
    and our own sense of what needs to be done
    here and now,
    moment-by-moment,
    and let nature take its course–
    without contriving,
    or scheming,
    or directing,
    or planning…

    Just seeing,
    just hearing,
    just knowing,
    just living,
    here and now,
    moment-by-moment.

  93. 06/16/2020  —  Pink Flame Azalea 06/06/2020 06 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 6, 2020

    The world is full of opinions these days.
    White supremacy is the ugliest of the lot.
    Loud,
    white,
    ignorant,
    hateful,
    vicious,
    violent,
    ruthless
    wrong
    opinions
    blaming
    other races
    for their own failure
    to have a life worth living.

    “It’s people like you,”
    they say,
    “who make people like us
    hate people like you!”

    “If it weren’t for you,”
    they say,
    “We would be better off
    in every way!
    It is your fault that our life is hard,
    and we can’t have what we want!
    We hate you!
    We hate you!
    We hate you!
    We cannot be happy
    until all of you are dead!”

    The poor white people
    who feel this way
    are egged on by the rich white people
    who benefit financially and egocentrically
    from fanning the flames of racial hatred
    and “leading” their followers
    to the pure land of supremacy and superiority
    where they will live forever
    in the splendor and glory
    of their mutual greatness.

    It is a lie, of course,
    but everything is always better
    with someone to blame.
    And blaming someone
    who is not at fault
    for the way things are,
    keeps those who are at fault
    safely concealed and out of sight,
    where they fan the flames of racial hatred
    and keep the profits from their own corruption
    pouring in.

    Who benefits from racial hatred?
    Start there.
    Explore the relationships
    among elected politicians
    and their donors,
    and the network of financial gain
    profiting from racial hatred.

    It is big business
    keeping white people
    hating people of color.

    If you want to know what is behind racism,
    look there.

  94. 06/17/2020  —  Uptick Red and Bronze Coreopsis 06/05/2020 03 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 5, 2020

    Enthusiasm is a worthy guide.

    Vitality,
    spark,
    energy,
    life,
    light,
    delight
    and zest
    know what they are doing.

    How long has it been?

    What is taking the life right out of you?

    Could it be the people you are hanging out with?

    How good for you is the company you keep?

    Do you come alive in their presence?

    Do you dread the very idea?

    In what ways is your environment sapping your enthusiasm?

    How draining is your regular routine?

    Your life-long habits?

    What do you need to do to get your Umpf back?

  95. 06/17/2020  —  Catawba Trestle 04/02/2011 — Catawba River, York County, South Carolina, April 2, 2011

    You can practice living in accord with the Tao
    simply by being aware of a situation as it arises,
    and entering it consciously intending
    to not intend anything throughout the duration
    of the situation.

    You will not operate out of an agenda.
    You will not have a plan.
    You will not strive to achieve a particular outcome.
    You will not endeavor to turn the situation
    in a particular direction.
    You will not try to make something happen.
    You will not try to keep something from happening.
    You will not push, force, shove, your way into being.
    You will not have a way.
    Etc.

    You will merely be curious.
    You will simply be interested.
    You will try only to get to the bottom of things.
    You will strive just to understand what’s what.

    You will ask the questions that beg to be asked,
    and say the things that cry out to be said.
    You will probe assumptions.
    You will nose out contradictions and paradoxes.
    You will investigate, explore, examine, look into
    everything that warrants closer inspection.
    You will lay everything out in the open.
    Every. Thing.

    And you will wait to see what “just happens.”
    What occurs.
    What arises.
    What shifts.
    What changes.
    Where things go.

    That is all there is to it.

    Do all of this in each situation as it arises
    and you will transform your life
    and change the world.

  96. 06/18/2020  —  Day Lilies 06/06/2020 12 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 6, 2020

    The Now is always changing
    influenced by the 10,000 things
    being done in response to
    each situation arising
    in the life of every sentient being
    and all inert things,
    simultaneously,
    around the world,
    throughout the cosmos.

    Everything is adjusting
    to everything else
    all the time
    creating chaos
    everywhere,

    We deal with that
    by striving to impose order
    on all the disorder
    according to our idea
    of how things ought to be–
    as though there is a blueprint
    for how everything should work,
    and if we can just enforce
    the laws
    and the regulations
    and the requirements
    and the rules
    and the routines
    and the standards and codes
    of the Moral Order
    it will all click into place
    and be just fine.

    Here is the problem with that:
    There is working
    and there is our idea of
    how things ought to work.

    Chaos is working.
    The ocean is working.
    The jungles are working.
    The savannas and plains,
    the tundras and the high mountain plateaus
    are working…

    It is all working toward balance and harmony,
    toward homeostasis,
    toward ecology
    toward stability and equilibrium…

    But.
    It is not as we want it to be.

    So.
    We improve it
    according to our timetable
    and our work schedule
    and the deadline by when it must be done,
    and it goes all to hell.

    We have failed to learn
    the art of the gentle touch,
    which mostly means
    not touching at all.

    “First, do no harm,”
    calls us to know where the lines lie,
    and cautions us to not over-step them–
    which interferes with the profit motive
    and the drive to have things
    the way we want them to be
    NOW!

    We fail to understand that NOW
    is not a fixed point in time,
    but time in constant flux and motion,
    morphing as we watch
    into something we had not foreseen.

    The Apocalypse is chaos forgotten,
    ignored,
    dishonored,
    unseen…

    Karma making a house call.

  97. 06/19/2020  —  Awaiting the Party 06/14/2020 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 14, 2020

    Being true to ourselves
    is the second most important thing,
    and it has nothing to do
    with doing what we want
    in the sense of
    “Nobody is going to tell me what to do!
    I’m not wearing a mask!”

    Growing up is the most important thing,
    and that has everything to do
    with doing what needs to be done
    at the right time,
    in the right place,
    in the right way,
    whether we want to or not.

    We can grow up with integrity,
    in full accord with the roles
    our life is asking us to play
    in the time and place of our living.
    And be true to ourselves
    by living out those roles
    as only we can do it.

    Our life requires us to live
    in good faith,
    with complete sincerity,
    appropriate transparency
    and compassionate,
    non-judgmental
    mindful awareness.

    And we can do that
    while being true to ourselves–
    by knowing what we know
    and setting ourselves aside
    in rising to the occasion
    doing what the situation is calling for,
    and getting back to serving
    our needs and interests
    when that is fitting to the occasion.

    Being true to ourselves
    has nothing to do with what we want.
    It has everything to do with who we are.
    Growing up is being who we are
    in the time and place of our living,
    in ways that take the time and place of our living
    into account
    and honoring it with our attention
    and service–
    whether we want to or not,

    In so doing,
    we often walk two paths
    at the same time,
    always bearing well the pain
    that comes with being alive.

    Part of that pain involves
    saying “No” when “No” needs to be said,
    and saying “Yes” when “Yes” needs to be said.

    Get that down,
    and we have it made.

  98. 06/20/2020  —  Pine Cones 06/19/2020 04 — Indian Land, South Carolina, Juneteenth, 2020

    It matters how we live our life.

    We have to take that on faith–
    and live as though it is so.

    Things become so
    when we live as though they are so.
    And things become not-so
    when we live as though they are not-so.

    We make things so
    by living as though they are so–
    moment-by-moment,
    day-by-day,
    in each situation as it arises,
    all our life long.

    It matters how we live our life.

  99. 06/21/2020  —  Birds in a Tree 04/07/2020 — Indian Land, South Carolina, April 7, 2020

    Anything that takes the present moment
    away from us
    is evil.

    Anything that brings the present moment
    vibrantly alive to us
    is good.

    Anything can take the present moment
    away from us.

    Anything can bring the present moment
    vibrantly alive to us.

    Anything can be evil.

    Anything can be good.

    The present moment
    is all there is.

    Our relationship with it
    is the only thing that matters.

    Our relationship with the present moment
    is the pivot point,
    the fulcrum,
    the place of greatest leverage,
    shifting us,
    positioning us,
    into the center of The Way–
    carrying us into the current of the flow
    of time and place–
    opening us to what the situation
    is calling for,
    and enabling us to be the pivot
    between what has been
    and what will be.

    Our role is to integrate the opposites.
    To assimilate the polarities.
    To harmonize the world.

    We are the Third Way
    between mutually exclusive contradictions.

    How well we do that
    depends upon the quality
    of our relationship
    with the present moment.

    The more we have at stake
    in the present moment,
    the less responsive we can be
    to what is called for
    and the more invested we will be
    in serving a particular outcome
    at the expense of all others.

    And that is the kink in the hose.

  100. 06/22/2020  —  I do not know of any of AA’s slogans
    that I take exception to.
    And, If I did,
    or ever do,
    I would/will take that as evidence
    of my having not lived long enough
    under the right conditions,
    and that with a little more time
    and a shift in circumstances,
    I will see the sharp truth of that one as well.

    Which gets us to
    “Acceptance is the solution
    to all of my problems today.”
    Now, I have fun with this one
    because 10,000 things
    are the solution to all of my problems today.

    Growing up, for instance,
    or more of the right kind of help,
    or less of the wrong kind of help,
    but none of this removes the place
    of acceptance on the list.
    Acceptance is the right kind of help.
    Acceptance is evidence of growing up.
    Acceptance is front and center
    in the long list of things
    that would solve all of my problems today.

    Which gets us to
    nothing happens until we accept things as they are.

    “This is the way things are,
    and this is what can be done about it,
    and that’s that–
    and that is how things are!”

    We walk into a situation
    and get to work
    seeing what’s what
    and what is called for
    and what we can do about it
    with the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues
    we bring to the moment,
    rising to the occasion
    and doing what needs to be done,
    moment-by-moment,
    situation-by-situation,
    all our life long.

    And we cannot do that without acceptance
    on all levels.

    Acceptance is non-judgmental.
    Acceptance is without bias.
    Acceptance is allowing things to be
    what they need to be
    and doing what is called for
    by the circumstances at hand–
    regardless of what that means for us,
    or what the neighbors will think,
    or any one of the world full of things
    that would stop us from doing
    what most needs us to do it.

    Acceptance is the Prodigal’s father
    running to welcome his son home.
    Acceptance is the Samaritan
    going to the aid of the stranger
    in the ditch.
    Acceptance holds no grudges,
    Plays no favorites.
    Does what needs to be done.

    We all need to be more accepting
    than we are
    of our place in life
    and of the path before us.

    A lot rides on that being the case.

  101. 06/21/2020  — 

xx

04/22/2020  —  Alcoholics
and those like them
gather in bars,
or pot parties,
or crack houses,
or back rooms,
or front porches…
to feel better
about things
they can’t do anything about.

The pain is too much.
Though the price of escaping the pain
be more pain,
we can at least delay it
for a while,
and pay a later price.

Who knows?
By then, maybe,
it will have gone away.

04/22/20  —  There are no pain-free paths
to the reality of God-with-us.
There are no pain-free paths.

And, “The fastest way through
is the long way around!”
(Ancient commonplace.)

If you can come to terms with these things,
you have it made–
as much as you can have it made,
living with the reality of these things.

04/22/20  —  To those who say,
“Help us, Lord!”
“Save us!”

Jesus says,
“Come to me
all who are weak
and heavy-laden,
and I will give you rest.

“Take my yoke upon you
and learn from me,
for I am gentle
and humble-hearted,
and you will find rest
for your souls,
for, my burden is easy,
and my yoke us light.

“But.
There is a catch.
You have to pick up
your cross,
and walk along with me.

“For my path is your path,
and it winds through the heart
of Gethsemane
and across the face
of Golgotha.

“And, I expect no more of you
than I ask of myself.

“Are you coming
or not?”

05/13/2020  —  Whenever you find yourself “just doing” something,

Keep Doing It!

Do it “just thinking” about doing it
until you find yourself doing something else,

then Keep Doing That!

If you wake up and you are cold,

pull up the blanket,

or get up and get a blanket,

or go back to sleep.

Do whatever needs to be done!


How do you know what needs to be done?


Just lie there and wait to see what you do!

May 15, 2020  —  If you want to be born again,
you have to die again.

You have to pick up your cross every day
and walk your path,
knowing that if it is a discernible path
it is not a reliable path
(Lao Tzu).

Knowing that what you seek
lies far back
in the darkest corner
of the cave you most don’t want to enter
(Joseph Campbell).

Knowing that your new life
will eat your old life alive
(Jim Dollar).

This is called dying again.

And again.

All the way
along the way
that is The Way.

If you can do that,
you have it made,
if you can make your peace
with the fact
that having it made
has nothing in common
with what is generally thought of
as having it made.

And laugh,
knowing what you know
about having it made,
and thrill with the prospect
of dying again,
again,
and again,
in the service
of the life
that is your life to live.

May 15, 2020  —  There are people
in the grip of their emotions
who want what they want
whether they should want it or not.

And not caring whether
they have any business
wanting what they want
are given to anger and rage,
or depression and despair,
because they cannot have
what they want.

This is called being stupid.

There is no fix for stupidity.
No cure for it.

The only fitting response to it
is to allow it to run its course.

People who go about
possessed by stupidity
will either wake up or not.

About them it is to be said,
“If you meet an elephant coming
toward you along the path,
GET OFF THE PATH!!!

05/17/2020  —  There is something completely freeing
about absolute bondage.

Complete mind control
relieves us of the responsibility–
of the burden–
of thinking for ourselves,
of deciding for ourselves
what it means to be alive
and what we shall do with out life.

Just follow the herd
from the barn
to the pasture
and back to the barn!

Talk in clichés!
Speak in war chants!
Repeat what Dear Leader
tells you say.
Think what Dear Leader
commands you to think.

Heil Hitler!
Lock Her Up!
MAGA! MAGA! MAGA!

Takes a lot of the agony
out of the day-to-day.
Smooths things out.
Simplifies everything.

Mindlessness is such a comfort
in times of stress and trouble.

05/17/2020  —  It is always easier to die
in one way or another.

How may ways does death come
to those who remain 98.6
and breathing?

How many ways are they to die
and remain 98.6
and breathing?

How many dead
do the dead
live to bury?

The first thing we die to
is the fact we are dying.
That we are dead.
Waiting to be buried.

05/19/2020  —  How is it going with the
coalition establishment?

Three-to-five people
coming together
to explore
the questions that beg to be asked
and answered
in each situation as it arises
all our life long.

What is important?
How do we decide?

What is good?
What is evil?

What is right?
What is wrong?

Toward what shall we live?

What are our gifts?
Our genius?
Our daemon?
Our virtues?

How shall we live in light of them?
In the service of them?
In ways that incarnate them?
Express them?
Exhibit them?
Bring them forth?
Make them real in our life
and in the world?

How do we maintain
our balance and harmony?

What destabilizes us?
Distracts us?
Causes us to forget who we are
and what is ours to do

Who ARE we?
What IS ours to do?
How is that related
to our gifts, genius, daemon, virtues?

To our Spirit, Energy, Vitality?

With our gifts, genius, daemon, virtues,
Spirit, Energy, and Vitality as guides
what else do we need
to maintain our balance and harmony,
find our life and live it,
and make our way in the world?

Etc.

05/19/2020  —  Back to the coalition-creating…

This is not a discussion!
This is not what we think!

This is an exploration of our own personal experience.
It is experiencing our experience.
It is probing the depths of our own being,
seeking what motivates us,
what grounds us,
what sustains us,
what guides us,
who we are,
what we are about.

We ask/answer the questions
that beg to be asked
out of our experience,
out of our essential/primary nature,
seeking the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues
Spirit, Energy, Vitality
that forms the basis of us/ourselves/who-we-are
that is ours to serve,
incarnate,
bring forth
in the way we live our life.

In asking/answering the questions
that beg to be asked,
we are unveiling/disclosing/seeking/seeing/finding
ourselves.

We are always looking for what influences us
to ask/answer the questions
the way we do.

What leans us toward these questions?
Toward these answers?

In doing so,
we are forming,
changing,
transforming
our relationship with ourselves–
discovering and becoming who we are.

Which is the heart of the matter,
and the foundational/fundamental ground
of religion at its best.

Enlightenment is Realization is Revelation–
is Religion At Its Best–
and calls us into the service
of more than words can say.

Here, we encounter
the Ineffable,
the Numen,
and are in the presence
of that which has always been called God.

What is it?

It is beyond words.
And is the absolute ground of primal experience,
which enfolds us
and confirms us
in the essence of our own being,
of our own original nature,
and our own calling to become
and to be
who we are.

05/20/2020  —  What do you want? Make a list.

What robs you of your peace? Make a list.

What are your sources of balance and harmony? Make a list.

In what ways are you kidding yourself? Make a list.

How does the life you are living
separate you from your original/essential nature?
Make a list.

What needs to change
to bring your life into accord with your nature?
Make a list.

When you stop, why do you stop? Answer out loud.

When you go, why do you go? Answer out loud.

What is the primary motivation of your life? Answer out loud.

What questions do you wish I had asked? Make a list.

What questions are you glad I didn’t ask? Make a list.

Return to this exercise as needed
over the course of your life.

05/20/2020  —  All we have to work with is today
with its moments
unfolding one after another,
and its situations stirring to life
as we step into them
until we go to sleep tonight.

This is how it is every day.

What is the source of the feeling-tone–
the preponderant emotional tone–
we carry with us
and operate out of
each day?

What makes it easy for us
to feel the way we do about our life?

What is the relationship
between how we feel about our life
and what we think about our life?

What makes it easy for us
to think the way we think about our life?

What is the origin of the thinking/feeling tone
we carry with us through each day?

How does the fact of how things are
impose automatic thoughts/feelings
about how things are?

How would changing the way we think
about the way things are
change the way we feel
about the way things are?

How would that change our ability
to respond to how things are?

Who says we have to think/feel
the way we do
about the way things are?

Who is in charge of our thinking/feeling?

How free are we to think what needs to be thought?
To feel what needs to be felt?

How bound are we to think what we have always thought?
To feel what we have always felt?
To do what we have always done?

How do we move from bondage to freedom?

05/21/2020  —  What do you think about?

What themes run through your thoughts?

How often do the old thought patterns return?

How does your thinking repeat itself day after day?

What consumes your “down time”?

What does thinking about
what you think about
keep you from thinking about?

What do you always think about?

What do you never think about?

How often do you have new realizations?

How often do you arrive at different conclusions?

What is your most recent new thought?

What is your latest new idea?

What things do you not allow yourself
to think about?

What governs what you allow yourself
to think about?

How does what you think about
impact your living?

How does your life impact your thinking?

How long has it been since you have done
something new?

How frequently do you do new things?

What holds you back?

05/21/2020  —  Timing is knowing/doing
what it is time for
and when it is time for it.

That is Tao–
knowing/doing
what it is time for
when it is time for it.

The people who live
in accord with Tao
are ordinary people
doing ordinary things
when they need to be done,
the way they need to be done.

When we live in response
to the time that is at hand,
we rise to the occasion
and do what is called for
in the situation as it arises–
“chopping wood and carrying water,”
“eating when hungry
and resting when tired.”

When the baby’s diaper needs changing,
we change the baby’s diaper.
When the cow needs milking,
we milk the cow.
Everything in its own time,
according to the needs of the moment.

Aspiration,
fear,
anger,
greed
and folly
interfere with our ability
to read the times,
and we act out of tune
with the situation,
creating disturbance and chaos
in the field of flow,
and it all goes to hell
rather quickly.
We have to recover
our balance and harmony,
restore our connection
with the source and core of our being,
return to our original nature
align ourselves
with our spirit,
energy
and vitality,
relax into
Tao/Dharma/Grace/Synchronicity
and wait,
watching,
listening,
for what needs to be done
without imposing our idea
of how things ought to be
on the context and circumstances
of our life.

What is happening?
What needs to be done in response?
How can we assist that
with the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues
that are ours to offer?

We cannot think our way to the answers
to these questions.
We wait to know as it arises within,
calling us to action
when the time is right.

05/23/2020  —  Shel Silverstein said,
“Some kind of help
is the kind of help
that help is all about.

And some kind of help
is the kind of help
we all could do without.”

Being helpful in the right way
at the right time
is one of the primary duties
members of the species
have to themselves
and to one another–
and that would be
to ALL others!

The good Samaritan
did not stop to consider
whether to help the Jew
in the ditch.
He saw what needed to be done
and did it.

There is nothing the Prodigal
could have done
to make his father say,
“You are no son of mine!
I do not care what your need is!
May you die in your miserable life
and spend eternity in the torment of hell!”

When we are living
as the good Samaritan
and the Prodigal’s father lived,
we are offering the kind of help
that help is all about.

May it be said of us
that we lived so well!

05/24/2020  —  Jesus said,
“Leave your hopes
and dreams,
and plans,
and schemes
at the door,
and come walk with me
along the way
that is completely agenda-free.”

And we said,
“But we have cookies
in the oven
and clothes on the line–
we would really like to,
But, Oh, look at the time!”

05/24/2020  —  When Jesus said,
“Come follow me,
and I will make you
fishers of men,”
he was using
the perfect metaphor
for what he was about.

Fishing all depends
on the fish.

If the fish aren’t cooperating,
it’s a bad day at the office.

When Lester Maddox
was Governor of Georgia,
he said,
“The only thing wrong
with the Georgia Penal System
is that we just need better prisoners!”

Jesus needed a better audience.

Every performer knows
what that is like.

All you can do is sing your song,
and hope for the best.

And leave the dead to bury the dead.

05/25/2020  —  Perspective is a magic wand
transforming the world.

When we change the way we see things,
we change the meaning
the things have for us.

When the meaning of a thing changes,
everything changes.

We are not here for what we get out of it,
for what we can make of it.

We are here to be one with the moment,
doing what is called for
in ways appropriate to the occasion,
and letting nature take its course.

Live like that and all will be well with you,
spilling over,
pouring out,
as a blessing and a grace
upon all who come your way.

Without your doing anything more
than dancing with the moment,
moment-by-moment-by-moment.

Put aside your agendas.
Lay down your plans.
Be done with conniving
and contriving.
Just dance with your moments,
one-by-one.

05/25/2020  —  Rumi said,
“If you aren’t here with us
in good faith,
you are doing terrible damage.”

Good faith and hidden agendas,
or just plain agendas,
are incompatible from the start,
and make life together
something to be not-missed
when it is gone.

05/26/2020  —  With (just) a little cooperation,
we could do anything.

We could certainly do everything
that needs to be done
moment-by-moment
in each situation as it arises
all our life long–
and who could ask for more than that?

The cooperation I’m talking about
is everyone doing their bit,
their part,
in being who the moment
is calling them/us all to be.

No moaning,
whining,
complaining,
blaming,
finding fault,
condemning,
shaming,
etc.

No bad faith!
No contriving/conniving
in the service of personal gain
or grievance!

No littleness!
No pettiness!
No narrow-mindedness!
No living unconsciously!
No mindlessness!

No taking things personally!
No getting your feelings hurt!
No seeking retribution!
No victimization!
No nastiness!

Just being the kind of person
the times are calling us all to be!

Just being kind!
Generous!
Compassionate!
Empathetic!
Helpful (In the right way)!

Moment-by-moment
in each situation as it arises,
our whole life long.

This is not asking too much.

05/26/2020  —  It is amazing how evil
in the person of Donald Trump
is so easily
denied,
ignored,
accepted,
justified,
excused,
explained,
defended,
condoned
by roughly 45%
of the adult population
of this country.

There is nothing he can do
that these people
cannot gloss over.

What is going on?

Why can’t they see what they look at?

What is it about the evil of Donald Trump
they are compelled to embrace,
adore,
relish,
worship?

Why Donald Trump?

Why not Jeffrey Dahmer?
Why not Charles Manson?

If you are going to fawn over evil,
why not all evil everywhere?

Why draw lines
and gush over Donald Trump
and not gush over everybody
who exhibits not one redeeming feature?

Could it be that Donald Trump
is the purest form of raw evil
that any of the 45% have ever experienced
(Or that has ever lived),
and they are drawn to him
as the King Of Pure Evil?

I would love to know.

05/26/2020  —  We have always hoped for
The Golden Age.

It is time we settled for–
and started living in–
this one.

They illusion/myth of a Golden Age,
where everything is just dilly
for everyone like us,
is a distraction/diversion
from the real time truth
of here and now
where conflict and contradiction
slug it out
through eternal rounds
of ebb and flow,
with the good times
coming and going
and the wolf never being
very far from the door.

Buck up!

Dealing with the chaos
is what we do best!

We have what it takes
to find what it takes
to do what needs to be done–
and why want more than that?

Look at everyone
who had more than they needed
and nothing ever
needed to be done!

With no valid work,
they were devoured by
pastimes and entertainment,
goths and vandals,
Huns and Mongol hordes.

Better to meet the day
on its terms
and settle into responding
to the moment
by offering what is called for
moment-by-moment.

We stay young and fresh that way,
and live forever,
led on by the suspense
of what happens next.

05/28/2020  —  I hate edge-of-my-seat
movies and books.
Suspense is not my go-to mode

I am a
let’s just get to the point
person.

Cut the drama.
Spell it out.
Tell me what’s what.
That’s my schtick.

I will sit with it
for a while,
and then get up
and do what
needs to be done.

And, if nothing can be done,
I will do what can be done
about that.

Nothing can be done
about all of the nasty
problems of existence.

Greed, for example.
Ruthlessness.
Cruelty.
Racism.
Misogyny.
Homophobia.
Xenophobia.

The list is long.

And we are left
with doing what we can
about being unable to do anything
of substance
to change what needs to be changed
in the service of the good
of a lot of people.

Call it out.
Oppose it at every turn.
Expose it for what it is.
Meet it with truth and justice.
Extend compassionate presence,
kindness
and care
to the victims.
And counter-balance
the evil at work in the world
with every tool at our disposal.

In every situation as it arises.
All our life long.

05/29/2020  —  The heart of ideology
of every variety
is racism.

Ideology is the essence of racism.

Racism reduced to its purest form.

Complete and utter exclusivism.

“If you aren’t like me/us,
you are without hope of redeeming value,
and I am/we are totally justified
in treating you that way.”

05/29/2020  —  I don’t see going back to normal
as though nothing happened–
as though nothing is happening.

The old is gone forever.
Behold, the new has come,
and will be coming,
forever.

And the new reality
demands deliberate,
intentional,
willful
adjustment on our part.

We have to cooperate
with the process
of our own maturation.

We have to grow up some more again.

Stop belittling people who wear masks.

Ware masks ourselves.

For example.

Stay away from people
and crowded places–
beaches, concerts, attractions–
where there be crowds of people.

Eating in restaurants
is risky business.

Wake up.
Do right.
Be safe.
Stay well.

05/30/2020  —  Futility and hopelessness
are the Scylla and Charybdis
of today,
keeping anything from happening,
holding everything suspended in amber,
with nothing happening
until something else does
and the status remaining forever quo.

Well.
Here is the fix for that:

Do Not Let Futility And Hopelessness Stop You–
Or Even Slow You Down!

The proper response
to futility and hopelessness
is “So What?
Who Cares?
What Difference Does That Make?”

Do what needs to be done–
what is crying out to be done–
in each situation as it arises,
No Matter What!
For As Long As It Needs To Be Done!
With No Attachment To,
Opinion About,
Or Interest In
The Outcome!

This is the attitude
that fuels Sisyphus
throughout his eternal task.

This is what keeps us going
in the service of that which
needs to be done–
and needs us to do it–
in each situation as it arises,
no matter what,
all our life long.

The results/outcome
cannot determine our response
to what needs doing!

What needs doing
is all the motivation we need–
is all the reason we need–
for doing what must be done,
anyway,
nevertheless,
even so!

Do what needs to be done,
and keep on doing it,
for as long as life lasts!

What else is life for?

Being frozen forever
suspended in tree resin
because there is nothing we can do
about what needs to be done
with any chance for success?

Don’t care what your chances are!

Do what needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
for as long as it needs to be done–
and then do the next thing
that needs to be done.

Forever.

05/30/2020  —  When white supremacists
use protests
to conceal their acts
of terrorism,
and white supremacists
in police uniforms and badges
bully protesters,
and the white supremacists
in the White House
are egging things on
with calls for violence
and shooting,
it’s time to stop.

And I don’t mean stop the protests.

I mean stop.

Shut down the nation.

Nobody move.

Until things are sorted out,
the thugs arrested
and jailed,
order is restored,
an environment of safety
is in place,
people are free
from the threat of brutality
from any direction,
and justice is done.

Gandhi did it in India.

It is time to do it again.

Here.

Now.

05/31/2020  —  What are you looking for?
Searching for?
Seeking?

Start there.
Explore that.

Intently.
Thoroughly.
Exhaustively.

See where it goes.

05/31/2020  —  Here is one way
of getting out of the way
and taking your directions
from your innate sense
of what is called for
in any situation:

1) See what you are looking at.
What is happening?
Experience the difference
between being focused on what is happening
and thinking about being focused on what is happening.
Do. Not. Think.
SEE!

2) Quiet your mind.
No thinking,
evaluating,
judging,
and no anxiety about being judged,
worrying,
trying,
etc.

When all these things
stop jamming the signals
from your Unconscious (Psyche),
sincerity and spontaneity
come into play.

Sincerity is simply being who you are,
when you are (now)
where you are (here)
with the welfare of the moment at heart
(Without contriving
because you have nothing at stake).

3) Not judging is not valuing.
It is seeing the suchness of things
without evaluation or opinion.
What’s it to you?
What do you have to gain or lose?
You are just here to do
what is called for
in ways appropriate
to the occasion.

We can see things as they are
only when evaluation/opinion
is now a part of how things are.

Let judgment go and see what happens.

Non-judgmental,
compassionate,
mindful awareness
is essential
to seeing/feeling what’s what.

4) Knowing what is happening
and what needs to happen
produces what happens.

Moment-by-moment-by-moment.

And you don’t do anything–
intentionally,
deliberately,
consciously,
purposefully.

Sincerity and spontaneity,
instinct and intuition
can be trusted to rise
to any occasion
if we allow it to happen.

5) Mindfulness holds everything
in awareness,
and selects where to place
the focus of our attention
in each situation as it arises.

Having nothing at stake
in the situation,
with nothing to gain or lose,
making no judgment,
having no opinion
allows the freedom to do
what needs to be done
in response to what is happening
in the moment.

Now is always here,
and it is only we who leave.

Things happen as they need to happen
when we stay here, now–
trusting sincerity and spontaneity
to guide the way.

06/01/2020  —  If we are not aligned
with the Tao,
we are living pathologically.

Cut-off from ourselves,
at odds with ourselves,
contradicting ourselves
with every choice,
each decision.

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

It would be in our best interest
to get to know this Other,
and live in accord with the guidance
conferred thereby.

06/01/2020  —  My problem with comedians,
now and then,
is that too many of them
have no sense of humor.

Too many of them take themselves seriously.

Their humor is at the expense of those
not like them.

I want them to find
what they take seriously
and uncover the humor in that.

To find the humor
in taking anything seriously.

We cannot work with anything
we take seriously.
In order to work with things
we have to see them as they are
and as they also are.

We have to live in the tension
between how they are
and how they also are
and bring their extremes together
in a way that is optimal
in each situation as it arises,
in the time and place of our living,
for right now.
Not forever and ever.

We cannot create balance and harmony forever.

Balance and harmony is right now.

Nothing is forever.

We work right now with what is at hand
and do what is sensible
with no sacred notions
of what ought to be
and ought not to be.
We don’t take anything seriously!

We just take everything as it is,
and do what needs to be done with it,
about it.

We do what the situation calls for,
and do something differently,
perhaps,
in the next situation,
in the service of balance and harmony
moment-by-moment.

And we don’t even take
balance and harmony seriously!

Balance and harmony are achieved
by wobbling!
Wobbles correct off balance out of harmony!
There is no static balance!
There is no rigid harmony!

Life is moving.
Life is dancing.

Let go of seriousness
and see what happens!

And laugh!
Please!
Laugh!
A lot!

06/02/2020  —  Enemies of democracy control the government,
destroying individual liberty
and constitutional rights
while shouting their slogan,
“They (meaning Democrats and libs)
want to take your freedom away!”

All the while doing what they accuse
Dems and libs of doing.

Essence of Evil.

06/02/2020  —  Seeing what you look at,
knowing what’s what,
doing what needs to be done about it
in ways appropriate to the occasion–
moment-by-moment.

It doesn’t get more basic than this,
or more necessary.

06/02/2020  —  Savvy counts for a lot.
But.
Where is savvy found?

Don’t you wish, though?

Pick up a five pound bag at Wal Mart,
or a six-pack at 7/11.
Or a recipe for Savvy Muffins.
Anything to make it accessible
to ordinary people.

Savvy is to be wise beyond our years,
as though years have anything to do with it.
There are as many old fools
as there are young ones.

Right seeing.
Right hearing.
Right interpretation.
Right knowing.
Right doing.
Right being.

I’m dreaming now, aren’t I.
Walking about in Dreamland.
Making no sense whatsoever.

Why can’t we see what we look at
and know when we are being snookered?

Why give anyone the benefit of the doubt?

That could be the shortcut to savvy.

06/03/2020  —  Money is for tools and resources.
And for sustaining/maintaining us
and our family
over the course of our life.

Period.

Tools and resources
are for doing the work
that is ours to do.
The work that only we can do.
The work we are born to do
and are uniquely equipped to do.

If we have more money
than we need,
we can support people,
and support causes that are supporting people,
helping others
do the work that is theirs to do.

Money is for doing the work
that needs to be done,
by paying the bills
that help us do the work.

Everything serves the work.

And everything comes down
to how we understand the work
that is ours to do,
and how much time and effort
we put into doing it.

Our work is who we are.
Who we are is what we do.
What we do is who we are.

If what we are doing
is not who we are,
we have to do the work
of healing the division,
and start doing the things
that are who we are.

There is what we do to pay the bills,
and there is what we pay the bills to do.

If what we do to pay the bills is not us,
then we have to start running up the right bills
that enable us to do the things
that are who we are.
That way,
we do what is not us
in order to do the things that are us.
And bear the pain
of harmonizing and balancing the contradictions
at work in our life.

Negotiation and compromise, Kid.
Negotiation and compromise.

06/04/2020  —  There is nothing in it for us.

No heaven for doing it.

No hell for not doing it.

There is only doing it
or not doing it.

Why would we do it?

Why would we not do it?

Live in accord with the Tao, that is.

We would do it to live in accord with the Tao.

We would not do it to live like we want.

Living in accord with the Tao
is the essence of “Thy will, not mine, be done,”
without the theology–
without heaven if we do and hell if we don’t.”

Why would we do it?
Why would we not do it?

To have reasons for doing it
is to serve an agenda,
to have a plan,
to use the Tao
as a means to some end
greater than the Tao.
Health, perhaps.
Fame, fortune, glory, living forever…

Agendas, plans, goals,
aspiration, acquisition, achievement,
profit, gain, advantage…
are all in opposition to the Tao.
We cannot serve a motive
and serve the Tao.

The Tao is agenda-free.

Aligned with the Tao,
there is nothing to gain,
and nothing to lose.
There is only being in the moment,
living in the moment,
to serve the needs of the moment
by doing what is called for
in each situation as it arises,
and letting the outcome be the outcome.

In living in accord with the Tao,
we trust ourselves to the Tao,
and let nature take its course.

Why would we do that?
Why would we not do that?

06/04/2020  —  You can give me a recipe
but you cannot tell me
how to know
when I have kneaded
the dough enough.

I can give you a camera,
but I cannot tell you
how to know
where to stand,
or when the light is right.

Words are worthless
when it comes to knowing
when, where, how.
We have to live for a while,
sometimes, a long while,
with our eyes open,
to know that.

And the important knowledge
goes with us to the grave.

Each generation–
and each person
within each generation–
has to find the way
their own way.

Read the Bible, etc., all you want,
but the secrets that make the difference
cannot be said.
We live our way to them
over the full course of our life.
If we are paying attention.

If we are only believing and doing
what someone told us to believe and do,
well.
We are wasting our time.

06/05/2020  —  The older I get,
the less time I have
to work with.

I can’t afford
to play around.

I have to know
what needs to be done
and do it.

I have to know
what needs to be said
and say it.

And let nature take its course.

If I’m wrong,
I’m wrong.

If I’m right,
I’m right.

I can’t waste time
keeping score.

Every moment
is calling for something.
Can we know what that is?
Can we offer it
as best we can
out of the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues
that are ours to use/share/incarnate/express/exhibit?
It all comes down to this
in each situation as it arises.

Anything else is a distraction/diversion.

The older we get,
the less time we have
for those things.

Do you think
we are here to be entertained
until we die?

And all we have to do
is find some
action?
Every day?
For the rest of our life?

06/07/2020  —  Can you take it?

Our life wants to know.

Our life isn’t going to waste its time on us
if we can’t take it.

It needs to know
that we are going to be with it
all the way,
and can be counted on
to not let it down
when everything is on the line
and it is time
for us to show up
and do our thing.

06/07/2020  —  Those who know
know nothing can be said
that can be understood
by those who don’t know,
but that doesn’t stop them
from talking.

They talk and laugh about talking.

They are the only ones in on the joke.

Everyone else thinks they are crazy.

That makes it all even funnier.

Anybody who takes any of this seriously
is the funniest person who ever lived.

It all comes down to this:
This moment right now–
what are you going to do with it?
What are you going to do in response to it?
What is the moment calling for?
What are you going to do about it?

Moment-by-moment-by-moment.

That is all there is.

If you think there is more to it than that,
you are taking things too seriously.

And you are the funniest person who ever lived.

How long has it been since you laughed?

About yourself?

And what you take seriously?

06/07/2020  —  The path that can be designated
“The Path,”
is not a legitimate path.

It will not take us anywhere
we have any business being.

We find The Path
by following our own sense
of what needs to be done–
of what is being called for–
of what is evoking
our spontaneous sincerity,
and eliciting our action,
our automatic, unthinking,
response to the need of the moment,
moment-by-moment-by-moment.

That is the Way of Tao.

It is always available to everyone,
but those who walk it are few.

06/07/2020  —  We cannot help the way we see things.

We cannot help the way we think about things.

We cannot help the way we perceive things to be.

We cannot help the way we believe things are.

We cannot help what we hold to be important.
or repulsive.

And we cannot will our mind to change about any of these things.

We are imprisoned in our own view point.

And our mind changes all of the time.

On its own.

Alcohol matters most to a lot of us.

And then it doesn’t.

I loved fishing for a long time.

And then I didn’t.

We are helpless to change a lot that needs to be changed
about us.

We are at the mercy of forces quite beyond us.

Free will is a fantasy.

We are not free to will our wants and our want-nots.

We are not free to will what we love and love not.

Or what we like and don’t like.

Why do you like what you like
and not something else instead?

You have nothing to do with it.

And you cannot force any of it to change–

or keep any of it from changing.

You are just along for the ride.

06/08/2020  —  The things that need to be said
cannot be said enough.

The things that need to be heard
cannot be heard too much.

The things that need to be done
cannot be done too often.

The life that needs to be lived
cannot be lived a little here,
a little there,
as though we are saving ourselves
for when it really matters.

The moment that is upon us
is the only moment that matters.

The time that is at hand
is the time to do what needs to be done.

Time after time after time.

06/08/2020  —  All there ever is
is this moment
right here
right now,
and what it is asking of us.

Faithfulness to our duty to the moment
is the most important thing.

Do right by the moment,
moment-by-moment-by-moment.

06/09/2020  —  Healthy functioning
is all there is to want.

Being healthy enough
to function normally.
Easily.
Spontaneously.
Without thinking about it.

On all levels.

How many levels are there?
Physical.
Mental.
Emotional.
Spiritual.
Cellular.
Personally.
Socially.
Consciously.
Unconsciously…

Healthy functioning
throughout our life.

Get that down
and everything else
will fall into place
around that.

How many levels do you have in place?
How many do you have to go?

06/09/2020  —  Everybody has to pay the bills.
That immediately puts us in a bind.
What we do to pay the bills
crimps/cramps our style
and interferes with our ability
to do what we pay the bills to do.

We have to work it out.

Negotiation and compromise, Kid.
Negotiation and compromise.

There is what we do to pay the bills,
and there is what we pay the bills to do.

We have to walk two paths at the same time.

We do that by doing it consciously,
with mindful awareness,
every step along both paths.

Did somebody say,
“Mindful awareness?”
That’s quite a coincidence!
I was just thinking about mindful awareness!

And that brought up
the importance of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s
YouTube videos
for developing our ability
to be mindfully aware
of our life
moment-by-moment
and walking two paths
all along the way.

06/09/2020  —  We cannot contrive
coincidental.

Coincidental is the foundation,
the bedrock,
the source and the goal
of life,
of being alive
in the life we are living.

Coincidental is grace at work in our life.
The Tao carrying us in the flow of our becoming.
Synchronicity stunning us with the unlikelihood of wonder.
Dharma breaking into here and now out of nowhere
to startle, transform and amaze.

We cannot devise an agenda
or a five-year plan
for magic.

Or create a formula for awakening
to the truth at the heart of it all.

We cannot contrive
coincidental.

Or live without it.

06/10/2020  —  There are the facts.

And there is how we feel
about the facts.

And there is what we do
in response to the facts.

And that results
in additional facts–
and how we feel about them,
and what we do about them.

And all of that comes together
to produce the life we are living
here and now.

We are in control
of two of the three factors
creating the life we are living.

You might say
there is a sense
in which it is all up to us.

06/10/2020  —  If I ask you
“What do you believe,”
I believe the chances are good
that you will answer
with someone else’s words,
or with a rephrasing of words
you heard from someone else.

I believe our beliefs are mostly communal,
with their origin in some group
that is “our kind of people,”
our “tribe.”

If I ask you
“What would you go to hell for?”
I believe the chances are good
that what you say will come
straight from your heart
and will reflect your deepest commitment:
“My spouse,
my children,
Constitutional Rights,
Democracy,
etc.”

We believe what we are told to believe.
We would go to hell for what means the most to us.

What would you go to hell for?

06/10/2020  —a  We have to stop thinking
in order to start seeing and hearing.

Our conscious mind
is a generating plant
of ideas,
fears,
plans,
schemes,
dreads,
memories..

It is always coming up with something else to do,
or not do,
or avoid doing,
or daydreaming about,
all of which distracts us
from attending our unconscious mind
and its direction and guidance.

To break the domination of our conscious mind,
we simply engage in some monotonous task.
Count our breaths up to ten
and count our breaths up to ten again,
and again…

Or sit down and watch our thoughts
without thinking them–
without getting lost in them–
without engaging them.

See how many thoughts
you can catch yourself thinking
in a minute.
Or three minutes.
Or five.

And look for the things that just occur to you,
that pop into your mind,
for no reason,
out of nowhere,
but come with a particular energy/urgency/reality.

Learn to recognize visitations
from your unconscious mind,
to distinguish them
from the regular ramblings of your conscious mind.

We have all the direction/guidance/help we need within.
We need to learn to recognize it,
access it,
trust it.
And see where it leads.

06/11/2020  —  Laughter requires a certain degree
of distance/detachment
from our situation-in-life.

The more seriously we take things,
the less funny they are.

In order to deal appropriately/effectively
with what is happening,
we can’t take it seriously.

We have to have “perceptive distance”–
we have to be far enough away–
from the matters at hand
to be able to see what’s what,
and what needs to be done about it,
and be able to do it
with the gifts/resources available to us.

Laughter has to be appropriate
to the occasion,
and cannot be forced
before its time.

Comedians kill themselves
because their situation has become
too serious to laugh at.

We all have to be on top of
the extent to which
we are taking things seriously,
and know the difference
between seriously
and too seriously–
and refuse to step over the line.

Take nothing more seriously
than the situation warrants.

06/11/2020  —  I expect we will always be working
to counteract terrorism
and racism.

Somebody will always hate us
for reasons they hold to be sacrosanct.

It is people like us
who make people like them
hate people like us.

Terrorism and racism are aspects
of the rock we roll like Sisyphus
up the hill
for the rest of time.

Our work is to not let them lie
as though they are an inevitable
and unmovable part of the landscape.

They do not belong here,
and we will not accept them here.
It doesn’t matter that we cannot eradicate them.
Jesus said, “The poor will be with you always.”
He didn’t mean not to minister unto the poor and homeless.

We feed the hungry,
and we call out and oppose terrorism and racism.
And we are not burdened
by making no progress.

06/11/2020  —  I’m living two weeks at a time
for the rest of my life.

I’m settled in with
not seeing past 14 days out
for the duration.

No restaurants,
no movies,
no elevators,
no hotels.

Curbside pick-up/carry-out,
a mask everywhere in public.
Lots of soup,
gumbo
and red beans and rice.

I’m in the third month
of the second quarter
of my seventy-sixth year.
My wife is close behind.
Everything rides on us
staying away from everybody.

You can test negative
and be non-symptomatic,
and still be a carrier.
I can’t trust anybody
to be a safe place to be.

Neither can you.

Two weeks at a time.

Stay away from people

It’s the perfect time
to discover
what Marianne More
meant when she said,
“The cure for loneliness is solitude.”

06/12/2020  —  People who do not see facts
for what they are
do not see truth
for what it is,
and we have anti-vaxers
and white supremacists
waxing eloquent
about conspiracies and plots
beyond all feasibility.

About 4 seconds into their spiel,
I have to look for my shadow
to see if it is still working.

They remind me of arguments
I have overheard in nursing homes
between Alzheimer patients.

This conversation is going nowhere.
I have to take my shadow and leave.

We are creating that kind of exchange everywhere.

Soon, there won’t be anywhere to go.

We will be stuck in a world
with AM talking to FM
And VHS squealing at DVD.
And me looking for the door.

I don’t know how we got here,
and I certainly don’t know
where we go from here.

I watched a video of citizens opposed
to face masks
talking to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
It was exactly what I take “surreal” to be.
Scary so.
And they prevailed.

Face masks are no longer mandatory.
That makes them potential killers.
If they don’t wear masks,
they are a threat to everybody they meet.
Give them a gun
and tell them to start shooting.

But they weren’t invited to see themselves as a threat.
They were interested in talking only
about their freedom being taken away
and being force to wear masks
against their will.

Seat belts are mandatory.
Stopping on red
and going on green
are mandatory.
Driving on the right side
of the center stripe is mandatory.
The list is long.

What’s the deal with face masks?

What’s the deal?

Where is the door?

06/14/2020  —  I need help
with being savvy
moment-to-moment.

Savvy here and now
is the most important
thing for me to be.

If I could just be savvy here and now,
it would be possible
for me to be
balanced,
harmonious
and stable.

And that would position me
to act in ways
that served the good of the moment
and were appropriate to the occasion.

Jesus couldn’t do better than that.

I wonder what Jesus’
secret to being savvy was.

Moment-to-moment, I mean.

Present and savvy.

That would do it for me!

06/14/2020  —  There is nothing wrong with us
that growing up wouldn’t fix.

“Growing up is the solution
to all of our problems today.”

That would do for a new AA motto,
replacing “Acceptance is the solution…”

Accepting that I am not grown up enough yet
is not nearly as helpful
as being grown up enough now.

Oh, if we could all just Grow Up!

But, if growing up were that easy,
we would all have it made.

There is only one way to do it.

Moment-by-moment,
day-by-day.

AA is right about that.

06/14/2020  —  We moved away from
Sheriff Andy Taylor
with the militarization
of the police.

Whose idea was that?
Robocop?

That was a bad idea.

As militarization goes up.
Humanization goes down.

Robots are programed.
Humans can wing it
in response to the situation
as it develops–
and can discern what is called for
and deliver it on the spot
without calculating,
contriving,
conniving,
or worrying about
Official Police Procedure.

If kneeling is called for,
they kneel.

Being free to make the call
means being responsible
for being right about it.

Robots don’t have to worry
about being wrong.

06/16/2020  —  We have to decide where we stand–
that is to say, what we stand for–
and be right about it.

We have to be right about what we stand for–
it has to be the right thing to stand for–
given the context and circumstances
of the situation/occasion at hand.

We have to be astute readers of the moment,
knowing what is happening
and what needs to be done in response,
with the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues
we bring to the time that is at hand.

We have to know what’s what
and allow ourselves to be moved to do
what needs to be done
as it arises within us
in spontaneous response to the time and place
of our living.

We have to be tuned into the moment
and to ourselves,
our body,
our heart,
our soul,
our just-so-ness,
right here,
right now,
in every here and now.

And get out of the way.

And see where it goes,
going where it takes us,
the Tao (Dharma, Grace, Synchronicity)
leading the way.

06/16/2020  —  We get up and do the day
exactly as the day
needs to be done,
and then we get up and do it again
tomorrow.

You can get through anything like that.

Just by doing what needs to be done
moment-by-moment,
day-by-day.

That’s the AA Sure Cure For What Ails You.

06/17/2020 —  Settling ourselves into the here and now,
and doing what it needs us to do,
the way it needs to be done,
when it needs to be done,
for as long as it needs to be done,
and then stepping back
and letting the outcome
be the outcome,
where we settle ourselves into the here and now,
and do what needs us to do it…

Is living in accord with the Tao forever.

This is immortality
lived one moment at a time.

06/17/2020  —  The now is eternal
because it never ends,
it constantly evolves.

Everything is changing
leaving us with the questions:
“Are we changing with the changes?”
“Are we clinging to a time
that has moved on
and left us behind the times?”

Refusing to wear a mask
hearkens back to a time
a few months ago
when we didn’t need a mask,
but the time has moved on.

Black lives have always mattered,
but they didn’t matter to as many people
as they do now.
The times have changed.

The people who don’t change
with the times
hold on to a past
and a way of being
that is out of sync
with the movement of time,
and create dissonance
and disharmony
within the flow–
let it go,
let it go,
catch up,
catch up,
before you
get caught
in the karma
and Tao/Dharma/Grace/Synchronicity
of time out of time,
past time,
behind the times.

No one can help you then.

06/20/2009  —  I cannot change the way you think.

Nobody can change the way you think.

Not even you can change the way you think.

Only the way you think can change the way you think.

You can assist that,
or oppose that,
but you can’t stop it
or keep it from happening.

The way we think has a mind of its own.

We are at its mercy.

Or, so it seems.

Actually, the people we run with
have the biggest impact
on the way we think.

We think the way the people we hang out with think.

In order for the way we think to change,
we have to change the people we call “our people.”

Alcoholics can’t quit drinking
until they stop going to bars
and hanging out with people who are drinking.
And start going to AA meetings,
and hanging out with people who are sober drunks.

Makes all the difference.

On every level.

Hang out with the people you want to be like.
And not with the people you don’t want to be like.

The way you think will change like that
(Snaps fingers).

All about me…

I’m retired, but we never quit finding our way–but in retirement (and sometimes before), we don’t have to pretend that we know what we are doing.

Before retirement, I spent 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, Texas.

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.

What I’m doing here…

I’m posting photographs, mostly of the natural world, because I think nature is a key aspect of our ability to find our ground and foundation, our balance and harmony, our spirit, energy and vitality, who we are and the life we are here to live.

I post photographs with words in free verse, as a way of articulating/sharing what I find to be helpful in that work, hoping that you will find that to be helpful in doing your own work in those areas of your life.

What now?

Clicking on “June 2020” in the header will drop down a menu of dates that I have posted photos and verse for you to peruse at your pleasure. Thanks for visiting!

Flip Wilson’s comedy role as Reverend Leroy of The Church of What’s Happening Now is the perfect precursor for the Church as it Ought To be. For one thing, he is comedic and doesn’t take himself seriously. For another, the Church of What’s happening Now is intently focused on and involved with the present moment, which, of course, is eternal and unending because it, in fact, never ends. It evolves, morphs, transitions forever into nothing more than the present moment right now.

The present moment has everything we need to find what we need to rise to the occasion and do what the situation is calling for in every situation as it arises–with the gifts, genius, daemon, virtues that came with us from the womb. To know that it is so, we only have to trust that it is so and act as though it is.

The moment is equipped to bring us forth. Joseph Campbell said, “It took the Cyclops to bring out the hero in Ulysses.” Our moments do that for us. The Now is all we need to discover who we are and find what is ours to do.

But, of course, there is a catch. We cannot impose our ideas for the moment on the moment. We have to enter each moment, and each situation as it arises, as innocent and as sincere–as empty of designs, and plans, and agendas–as a stream looking for the sea.

The wonder is that every moment is in search of something. Every situation calls for something to be done. Our place is to know what’s what and what needs to be done about it and how we might best respond with what is ours to give.

This requires us to see what we look at. To hear what is being said to us. And to leave contriving, conspiring, conniving, desiring and having to have at the door. We have to approach each new now, each moment, each situation, wondering what is needed here, now, and how we might be of help.

This positions us to respond spontaneously, without thinking, to the need of the moment, like the Prodigal’s father welcoming him home, or the Samaritan helping the man in the ditch. This attitude of sincerity and spontaneity is the center and ground of right seeing, right hearing, right knowing, right doing and right being. And it is the heart and soul of the Church as it Ought To Be.

Living in the moment, with the moment, for the moment, moment-by-moment-by-moment, is what the old Taoist meant by “living in accord with the Tao.” Living in accord with the Tao is being true to ourselves within the context and circumstances of our life. When we live like that strange things happen, “for no reason.”

Ulysses defeats the Cyclops, for instance, and David defeats Goliath. The moment opens before those who are open to the moment–without “being open to the moment” as a secret strategy for getting the moment to open before them. Miracles of pace and timing are always happening, but they cannot be manipulated into being or made to happen with a certain outcome in mind–having anything at all in mind destroys the innocence and sincerity that is at the heart of oneness with the Tao. We cannot do anything with an eye on what’s in it for us and be one with the Tao.

“Tao” as another word for “Grace,” and “Dharma,” and “Synchronicity.” They are all words for the experience of things happening that we would never expect to happen, as if by magic, for no reason, out of the blue. They happen regularly in the presence of those who live innocently, sincerely, attuned to the time and place of their living, responding to what the moment is calling for with the gifts that are theirs to share for no reason. And Grace happens for no reason. There is a connection.

And that is all we can say.

That is what Lao Tzu said about the Tao. “The Way that can be discerned and designated as The Way is not a reliable way.” Trying to define it, explain it and set up rules to govern it is to ruin any chance we might have had of experiencing it.

There is something else about the Tao that has implications for us and the way we live our life. We cannot live our life as though our life belongs to us. We are born with a purpose, with a task, with a work that must be done.

Martin Palmer says, “The Tao Te Ching lays out a cosmological view of the universe wherein the Tao is not just the path of heaven; it is not just the purpose of heaven; it is not even the origin of all life within the universe; it it the origin of the Origin.

The Tao gives birth to the One;
the One gives birth to the Two;
the Two gives birth to the Three;
The three give birth to every living thing.

Palmer says, “The Tao begets the One–the Origin. From this, according to later classical Chinese cosmology, come the twin opposite forces of Yin and Yang. From this come the Three, Heaven, Earth and Humanity. And from these flow all creativity.” (Palmer is writing in “The Illustrated Tao Te Ching)

Human beings are from the beginning The Middle Way between the Yin of Heaven and the Yang of Earth.

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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