One Minute Monologues 057

June 23, 2020  — August 09, 2020

  1. 06/23/2020  —  There are so many things that have to happen all at once to transform our life from what it has been to what it needs to be that our old life would collapse and give up under the oppressive weight of utter impossibility. And our new life would delight in the adventure and wonder where to begin.

    All journeys–particularly the wonderful ones–begin right here, right now. Orientation and assessment, Kid. Orientation and assessment. The first realization is: We are never going to arrive, anyway, so what’s the hurry? Hurry is the bane of our existence. Hurry keeps things unchanging by its insane insistence that everything change Right Now! Pace and timing, Kid. Pace and timing.

    Look around. Take stock. Settle down. Breathe slowly, deeply, quietly. Just be here now. It’s not so bad. Even at its worst, it isn’t so bad. It just takes some getting used to, that’s all. Get used to being here now. It is the only place you will ever be!

    “Oh, but I hate it so!” Good thing to know. Start there. What do you hate so about here and now? Sit down with that. Take your time. Make a list. Seriously. Make a list of everything you hate about your life, about being here now. As you write things down, categorize them into two separate lists: Things I want to be happening that are not happening, and Things I don’t want to happen that are happening. This could also be thought of as Things I want to get to and Things I want to get away from. Keep this list going over time, and add to it as things come to mind. This list–these lists–are a grounding, focusing, mirror of you and your life, helping you see things as they are.

    This is the first rule of the Journey. See what you look at–look at everything. And the first thing to look at/see is your seeing. No one can see anything without reacting to it in some way. If there is no reaction, there is no seeing. Things are invisible that we do not react to. We literally/actually cannot see them.

    Seeing is meaning. We only see the things that mean something to us, good or bad, positive or negative, like or dislike, plus or minus, right or wrong… Distinction is duality and that is the work of consciousness. If it weren’t for distinctions, it would all be a blur of color and texture. We could not see a thing. All of our seeing is evaluative. All of our seeing is feeling. All of our seeing is reactive. In seeing our seeing, we are seeing how judgmental we are. How biased we are. How programed we are to see things in a certain light, in a certain way. We are all products of our culture. Our culture is who we are. Our culture is where we have been, where we have come from, what we bring with us from where we have been into wherever we go. We cannot escape our past. We cannot outlive having had parents, for one thing, and their impact upon us for better and for worse. As with our parents, so with everything. Every influential thing, anyway. We have been impacted for good and for ill from the beginning, throughout our life, and as we begin to see our seeing, we will see the results of that impact over the full course of our life from then to now. We see as we have always seen. Think as we have always thought. Live as we have always lived. And, that is about to change.

    It is at this point in our “conversation,” that I have to confess what I am doing to you. I am redeeming you. Saving you. Killing you. Destroying you. Resurrecting you. Death and resurrection, Kid. Death and resurrection. Your new life will eat your old life alive. Everything I say here is really about introducing you to, and inviting you to become a part of, The Church of What’s Happening Now. That is the other half of this web site. “Jim Dollar’s Photography and Philosophy” is about waking you up and bringing you to life by killing you dead, dead, dead to all that has passed for your life up until now.

    Transitions are hell. You know all that you hate about your life? You prefer that to what you will have to go through to have another, better, finer life–because better, finer is worse beyond imagining in so many ways. Those of you who are members of AA can relate to this. You have died in a thousand ways in being born again into a life that isn’t killing you. It is a wonderful paradox, as all of our paradoxes are, and it is essential that you realize that, and come along on the Journey from where you have been to where we are going together–insofar as we can go together, because much of the Journey is you alone with the dark night of the soul, trusting me to know what I’m doing and hating me for not leaving you alone by forcing you to be alone, if you know what I mean.

    What I mean is: Death and resurrection, Kid. Death and resurrection.

    Jump back with me to seeing. We cannot see without evaluating until we begin to see our seeing without judging, finding fault, being disheartened, despairing, desponding, and contemplating suicide. You must promise me you will not take your own life! Actually, dying can seem to be a much better option that metaphorically/abstractly/figuratively/apparently dying. Actual death puts resurrection out of the picture, in spite of what religion tells you. You don’t die physically to be resurrected, you die metaphorically to be resurrected. Metaphorical death means you live to die again and again as you work through where you have been to be where you are. That’s the Journey. We are leaving where we have been to be where we are. And we do that by teaching ourselves to see what we look at without judgment, evaluation or opinion, but with compassion, kindness, good humor, and understanding–letting things simply be what they are because that is how they are, and what do you care, anyway?

    Which gets us to caring. But that’s another story. We started this out with, “There are so many things that need to happen all at once…” But, we live in a linear world, or so it seems. We live in two worlds, actually, Yang and Yin. Linear and Non-linear. The actual, physical, tangible, concrete world of logic and reason is Yang, linear, sequential, causal, left-brained… And the metaphorical, abstract, figurative, apparent world is Yin, non-linear, intuitive, creative, holistic, right-brained… And the Journey is from one world to the other, and then, with both worlds simultaneously all the way to the end of the line. We are journeying from where we have been to where we are to where we are going to be when we get there, which is going to be exactly where we are, here and now, only fully aware of where that is and what it is calling for and what we need to do about it–in response to it–moment-by-moment-by-moment, day-by-day, for the rest of our life.

    You wouldn’t want to miss that for the world. Because here, now, there is always “another story” and the wonder of that is beyond telling, and can only be experienced to know and understand what it is all about.

  2. Carolina Girl 12/05/2014 Panorama — Shrimp Boat on Battery Creek, Port Royal, SC, December 5, 2014

    We are here now and want to be somewhere else. Maybe, just anywhere else, and maybe, a clear and specific THERE! NOW! There are two ways to do it. 1) Leave here and go there. 2) Be here, now and see where it goes.

    Which option applies to our current situation depends on what is being called for here and now. If we are in an enclosed space and fire breaks out, we have to get somewhere else (THERE) NOW! If we are in the third grade and decide we need to be a doctor, we have to stay here, now, and see where it goes–always choosing the next choice in light of our ultimate destination (Which won’t be a stopping place, but our chosen here and now, still on our way to other here’s and now’s that will open up from our present here and now.

    Here and now can be trusted to get us to a reliable and valid here and now if we trust ourselves to it with filial devotion and loyalty, doing what is called for by the situation as it arises with our idea of who we are and what is us and not us firmly in mind.

    Matthew McConaughey says that who we are not and what is not “us,” are easier to know than who we are and what is “us.” And that if we only know what to stay away from, that will be guiding us by default to who we are and what is “us.” As we live here and now in light of what we know about who we are and who we are not, we will be setting Karma in motion to deliver us to us throughout the course of our life.

    And that’s the way to do it!

  3. Uptick Red and Bronze Coreopsis 06/06/2020 04 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 6, 2020

    Caring is “a slippery slope,
    a dangerous path,
    like the razor’s edge.”
    Don’t let that stop you–
    or, even slow you down.

    Joseph Campbell said
    when Native American children
    left home to find their way in the world,
    their parents would tell them,
    “When you step into your life,
    in service to your vision,
    the birds of the air will shit on you.
    Do not pause even to wipe it off!”

    Slippery slopes are part of it.
    We are treading the Way between Yin and Yang,
    Contradictions are everywhere.
    Living our life
    is learning to dance with the contradictions
    in each situation as it arises,
    all our life long
    (Get used to the phrase,
    I use it all the time).

    (One of my deepest disappointments
    in the Church of Our Experience
    is the way it discounts, dismisses, ignores and denies
    the place of contradiction in our life.
    It will not allow them–
    certainly not with God.
    [Look up “Do You Believe In God,”
    in my book I Call This Poetry
    on my companion web site on WordPress].
    Contradiction becomes Paradox with God.
    I have never understood why God is allowed to have Paradoxes,
    but not Contradictions.
    “That is a great paradox,” the spokespersons
    for the Church of Our Experience say about things they cannot explain.
    “We just have to take it on faith that what I’m telling you is so,
    in spite of the clear evidence that it is not”).

    Contradiction is the heart of Life and Being.

    One of the operating principles of existence is:
    Truth is found between the hands!
    On the one hand this,
    and on the other hand that.
    Truth is the middle way between
    mutually exclusive opposites,
    and the way of dealing with
    the dissonance at work throughout our life.

    We exist to integrate the opposites,
    to resolve the paradoxes,
    to explore the dichotomies,
    to balance the contradictions,
    to acknowledge the incongruities,
    and to harmonize the dissonance–
    and to bear the pain of all of it
    in the service of being true to ourselves
    within the context and circumstances
    of our life in the world of time and place.

    Caring is good place to start.
    We can care too much,
    and we can care too little.
    We can care in the right way,
    and we can care in the wrong way.
    We can care about the right things,
    and we can care about the wrong things…

    Finding the right balance between the contradictions
    is as tricky with caring as it is with the rest of the 10,000 things
    (I want to be the best father in all the world,
    and I don’t want to be a father at all–
    and the same goes for all of the other roles
    I am asked to play).

    What is the formula,
    the recipe,
    the ratios
    for perfection?
    It changes moment-to-moment,

    We step into each situation as it arises
    and feel our way along.
    The guiding rule is the same in each one:

    Look until you see what you are looking at.
    Listen until you hear what is being said.
    Understand clearly what’s what,
    what is happening,
    what needs to be done about it.
    Know what the present circumstances
    are calling you to do
    with the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues
    that are yours to serve and to share.
    Do what can be done as well as you can do it.
    Be ready to repeat this process
    in the next moment that is already forming
    and about to spring forth.

    And don’t take any of it more seriously
    than is appropriate to the occasion!

  4. Edisto Beach Sunrise 01/29/2015 04 — Edisto Island State Park, South Carolina, January 29, 2015

    The old Alchemists thought they could change the world
    to suit themselves
    if they could but find
    The Philosopher’s Stone,
    which was their equivalent
    to the Elder Wand,
    and would serve them
    as the threshold to wonders unimagined,
    but (with the Stone in hand)
    suddenly possible.

    Nobody in all the world,
    in all the worlds there have been,
    has ever wished for
    or tried to concoct
    a method of changing themselves
    to fit joyfully into their surroundings.

    People always want to change the world.
    They never want to change themselves.

    These days, they want to go to the beach
    and party
    without wearing a mask
    or social distancing.

    The only way to be safe
    is to stay away from everybody else.
    But they aren’t having it.
    They aren’t going to live in a world
    that isn’t how they want it to be.
    And they don’t care how many people
    they kill
    on their way out the door.

  5. Pine Cones 06/18/2020 03 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 18, 2020

    Lao Tzu, who wrote the book,
    couldn’t say what The Tao is,
    beyond “The Way.”

    He said it can be experienced/known,
    but no one can say what it is.

    The same can be said of Grace.
    We all have had experiences with Grace at work in our life.
    We can say what happened,
    but we can’t say what caused it to happen,
    or what we can do to influence its happening,
    and know we can’t do anything
    to get it to happen on schedule,
    coming in and out on cue
    to the delight and amazement of all.

    We can’t say what Dharma is
    beyond “The teachings of the Buddha,”
    or “The teachings about the Buddha,”
    or “Our original nature and virtues,”
    but when we are somehow
    aligned with it,
    things go better —
    though not necessarily better for us,
    but for the situation as a whole–
    than when we are not.
    But how that happens,
    or what the mechanism is behind its happening,
    is a complete mystery.

    The same thing goes with Synchronicity.
    Carl Jung coined the term,
    calling it “a meaningful coincidence,”
    and “an acausal connecting principle.”
    But, he couldn’t say why or how it happened,
    or what controlled the time and place
    of its appearance,
    or how many times it might be expected
    to return in anyone’s life.

    Sheldon Kopp said, “Somethings can be experienced,
    but not understood.
    And, some things can be understood,
    but not explained.”

    The ground of religion as we know it
    is encounters of this kind.
    We experience the Tao,
    and tell ourselves things
    to make sense of the experiences.

    Theology is created in this way,
    and doctrine,
    and dogma,
    and ideology…
    It all comes right out of our imagination,
    as does every artificial thing in the physical universe.
    We make it all up
    to suit ourselves,
    because we experience things
    we cannot comprehend,
    and we want to be able
    to control the mysterious power
    of the Unknown.

    We create the rules of creation
    and become its Masters.
    And, here we are.

    What if we had taken a different tack?
    Gone in a different direction?
    Along a different Way?
    Say, by simply sitting with the experience
    and waiting to see where it led,
    and how our life might unfold
    around it over the full course of our living?

    Instead of trying to control the experience,
    placing ourselves in its service,
    and seeking what it might be calling us to do?

    What if it is not too late to give that a try?

  6. Socked-in 10/28/2006 — Washington, North Carolina, October 28, 2006

    You can start with a game of Solitaire
    and create scenarios
    that could not have possibly
    occurred by chance,
    so that the ace of hearts
    appears at the very moment
    that the two of hearts is uncovered
    by the nine of clubs
    being moved to cover the ten of diamonds!

    Things like that don’t just drop out of the sky!
    There is a reason for everything!
    Something had to arrange for the precise way
    the cards were dealt!
    How else can you explain it?

    The explanation is that it is a game of chance.
    And “chance” is our term
    for a course of events that were locked into place
    from before we were born.

    When did things have to be the way they are?
    From the time our parents were born?
    Or from the time we picked up the deck of cards?
    Or from the time we shuffle them five times for luck?
    Or from the time we cut the stack
    and started dealing the hand?

    When was “chance” determined
    by the “ordinary course of events”?

    Grace works the same way.
    The things that “fall into place,”
    “for no reason,”
    are the things that could not be
    any other way than they are,
    given all that has gone before
    to bring “grace” to bear on our lives
    “out of the blue.”

    The way things are
    is the way things happen to be
    because they couldn’t be any other way.
    If they happen to be meaningful,
    it is because we make it so–
    because of the way we see things,
    interpret things,
    look at things,
    consider things to be “meaningful”
    and “meaningless.”

    We find meaning (or not) in the way
    the cards are played.
    In the way two people meet,
    fall in love,
    and marry,
    and say, “It was meant to be!”

    By whom?
    Why, by God, of course!
    (“God” is our way of saying,
    “It just happens that way!”).
    God arranges everything!
    Nothing like love and marriage
    could happen by chance!
    “It had to be predestined
    from all eternity!”
    Just like the face that was ours
    before our mother and father
    were born.

    We had rather believe in God
    than in chance.
    Or strict determination.
    If we find meaning in something,
    we have to find a reason for it.
    We have to posit a long line
    of cause and effect with the purpose
    of the ace of hearts appearing
    exactly when it did.

    When it is all a game of chance
    that was locked in from–
    from when?
    The beginning?
    Or, before the beginning?

    And what we make of it
    is up to us.
    And for what,
    or where it is going,
    we do not know.
    So, we have to keep playing the game,
    to see what happens next!
    And it all rearranges itself
    according to what we do
    on a whim,
    out of the blue,
    for no reason,
    and pick up the deck of cards.

    Where do whims come from?

    What is guiding our boat
    on its path through the sea?

  7. Skeleton Trees of Graveyard Beach 04/03/2020 02
    Improving our relationship with ourselves
    improves our relationship with our life
    and with the people in our life,

    Carl Jung said,
    “There is within each of us,
    whom we do not know.”

    It is not too late
    to begin getting to know
    who we also are.

    Getting to know who we also are
    is getting to know who we are.

    We begin by setting aside our opinions
    about who we are.
    We do that by not doing it.
    We do all of the important things
    by not doing them.
    It’s a curiosity
    how to do something
    by not doing it.
    It is the most important thing
    to know how to do.
    We do it
    by not doing it.

    The trick with doing things
    by not doing them
    is getting out of the way
    and letting them happen
    in their own time,
    in their own way.
    Which means allowing them
    to not happen at all
    if that’s what needs to happen.

    The trick is simply being aware
    of something that needs to happen
    without doing anything about it
    beyond being aware of it.

    We set aside our opinions
    about who we are
    by being aware of them
    without engaging them.
    By being aware of our thoughts and feelings
    without being engaged by them,
    without being hijacked by them.
    Without being emotionally stirred by them.
    Without taking them seriously.
    Letting them be part of the environment
    without taking over the scene.

    And, if we are emotionally stirred by them,
    we become aware of that
    without acting on it,
    without doing anything about it
    beyond being aware of it.
    Not taking it seriously,
    Not allowing it to take over the scene.
    The situation.
    The moment.

    Hold it all in your awareness,
    and let it be because it is,
    and simply be with it,
    unmoved and unmoving.

    That’s it.
    That’s all.
    Carry on with your life.
    Doing what needs to be done,
    while holding in your awareness
    your opinions of yourself
    and your reactions to your opinions
    without permitting either to take control of your actions,
    your life.

    Go about your business
    as though nothing is going on,
    tucking everything into your awareness,
    going about your life,
    trusting that over time
    your opinions of yourself
    will lessen
    and gradually disappear
    by “just happening,”
    without you doing anything
    to make it happen.

    You are improving your relationship
    with yourself
    by not doing anything
    to improve your relationship with yourself.

    You may find yourself
    laughing for no apparent reason,
    or smiling more,
    or humming as you go about your day.
    Signs, perhaps, that things are shifting.

  8. Camden Harbor Morning 09/23/2006 – Camden, Maine, September 23, 2006

    I have three questions for you.
    They all  can be asked in reverse.
    So, that’s six questions.
    All six are getting at the same thing.

    1) What is the nature of your pain?
    2) What is the source of your life?
    3) What is the source of your pain?
    4) What is the nature of your life?
    5) What does your pain have to do with your life?
    6) What does your life have to do with your pain?

    Those six questions are at the heart of Alcohol Anonymous.
    And at the heart of what we are seeking.
    We are seeking the end of pain
    and the beginning of life.
    We want to be alive and pain-free.

    My favorite Joseph Campbell quote
    is one you will hear from me again:

    “That which you seek
    lies far back in the darkest corner
    of the cave you most don’t want to enter.”

    Pain is the price of being alive.

    My life is my pain.
    I live to ease my pain.
    My pain requires me to be alive
    in the time and place of my living.
    I can’t live without facing/feeling my pain.
    I can’t face/feel my pain without coming to life/being alive.
    My pain necessitates my life/living.
    My life/living requires me to face/feel my pain.
    I have to live my pain.
    I have to live the fear of my pain.
    I have to dance with my pain
    in order to dance with my life.

    The source of my pain
    is I want/need to be loved.
    The nature of my life
    is I Love Me!

    The Marianne Moore quote comes into play here:
    “The cure for loneliness is solitude.”

    We are what we seek.
    We are the cave we most don’t want to enter.
    We are the answer to all our prayers.
    We have what we need
    to find what we need
    to do what needs us to do it
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    We only have to trust that it is so
    sit still,
    be quiet,
    look and listen.

    Where do you go to be still,
    to sit quietly,
    to look and listen?

    How long has it been
    since you’ve gone there,
    done that?

    Why has it been so long?

    Are you afraid there is nothing there?

    Do  you hate your own company?

    Be done with alcohol and marijuana.
    And/or their equivalents.
    Stand alone in your company.
    What is so hard about your life?
    What is the source of your life?
    What is the nature of your pain?

  9. Day Lillies 06/03/2020 09 — Indian Land, South Carolina June 3, 2020

    Being true to ourselves
    requires us to determine–
    to decide–
    when and where
    to move beyond the self
    we have been being
    into the self we must become.

    Growing up is so very hard to do.

    And transition points are hell
    all the way to the grave.

    Who are we?
    Who must we be?
    Who is the situation asking us to become?

    Those are questions fit for a hero.
    And so it is called
    “The Hero’s Journey.”

    We have to recognize what the moment
    is requiring of us–
    see what needs to be done,
    what needs us to do it,
    and decide
    what we are going to do about it,
    here and now.

    We grow up against our will all the way.

    Is this me,
    or not me,
    here and now?
    Is this the time,
    or not the time,
    here and now?

    We can always do what is not me.
    Why Here?
    Why Now?
    We can always do what is me.
    Why not Here?
    Why not Now?

    These are the choices hero’s have to make,
    time and time again.

    Stay out of the way.
    Something will happen.
    Something will shift.
    Some door will open.
    You will find yourself walking through
    To a future with your name on it.
    Let it be.
    Because it is.
    No looking back.

  10. Looking Glass Falls 04/29/2007 — Pisgah National Forest, near Brevard, NC, April 29, 2007

    What are you doing?

    Whatever it is,
    stop and ask yourself,
    “What am I doing?”
    or, “What do I think I’m doing?”
    periodically throughout each day.

    As a way of grounding yourself in the moment,
    and examining/exploring your actions,
    and reflecting on
    what you are up to,
    in each moment,
    each time and place,
    each here and now.

    Do not go unconsciously,
    through a day.

    Notice what drives you,
    pulls you,
    calls you,
    directs you,
    guides you,
    leads you
    comforts and protects you
    through the daily fare.

    In light of what do you live?

    Check in from time to time
    and find out.

  11. 06/29/2020. —  Crabtree Falls 09/01/2018 04 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Little Switzerland, North Carolina, September 1, 2018 04

    A land where everyone is glad
    to be who they are,
    and to be doing what was theirs to do,
    seeing things as they are,
    knowing what needs to be done
    and doing it in each situation as it arises,
    day in and day out,
    all their life long
    is found only in the mythical sphere
    of the Elysian Fields,
    The Farther Shore,

    In this world,
    we can only catch glimpses
    of that world
    in individuals
    wh0 have made their peace
    with their life
    and have settled into
    their place in it,
    and stand out in the memories
    of all who know them to be
    a comforting incarnation
    of the kind of life
    that should be available
    to everyone
    if only, but for…

    What is keeping everyone
    from having what a few people manage?

    The Old Taoists talk about “the ancient ones”
    in this light:
    the people go back to simple techniques
    relish their food,
    like their clothes,
    are comfortable in their ways,
    and enjoy their work.

    Neighboring states may be so close
    they can hear each other’s dogs and roosters,
    but the people have no need
    to go back and forth
    (From the Tao Te Ching, chapter 80).

    But “greed and folly,”
    “will and desire,”
    “cunning and contrivance”
    come along to introduce the idea
    of personal advantage and gain
    into the daily fare,
    and people soon are living
    to have what the can’t use
    in the service of what they don’t like
    to spend what they don’t have
    to buy what will be in a landfill in a month or a year…

    And it is left to individuals
    to separate themselves from the masses
    and live from their own core
    to honor their own gifts
    in building a life around the things
    that matter most,
    becoming a memory
    in the minds of those who knew them to be
    a comforting incarnation
    of the kind of life
    that should be available
    to everyone
    if only, but for…

  12. 06/30/2020  —  Pine Cones 06/19/2020 04  —  Indian Land, South Carolina, June 19, 2020

    The grounding reality of white supremacy
    is white inferiority.

    The grounding reality of hatred
    is a wasteland of emptiness
    born of resentment and rage.

    The grounding reality of ruthlessness and malicious intent
    is fear and aloneness untouched by,
    immune to,
    distrustful of,
    kindness and grace.

    You cannot love someone who cannot be loved.
    Or better,
    loved enough.

    Love is not the answer
    in terms of giving someone what they need
    when their neediness goes infinitely beyond,
    and runs counter to,
    the requirements of love.

    Love requires that we be capable of being loved
    and loving.

    You cannot be loved
    if you cannot be vulnerable.

    Marianne Moore said,
    “The cure for loneliness is solitude.”
    Solitude requires us
    to be capable of relationship with ourselves.
    Requires us to be able to love ourselves.
    Requires us to enjoy the pleasure
    of our own company.
    Requires us to be loved and loving
    by and of ourselves.

    Solitude is no cure for the aloneness of soul
    that has its origin in the abandonment of self
    and the Abomination of Isolation.

    Try to fix that with gentleness and compassion,
    a soft heart and tender mercy.
    Life cannot make up for
    what living has annihilated.
    The empty search in vain
    for what they do not have
    and cannot be given
    because they do not have
    what it takes to reciprocate
    with goodness and love.

    We cannot love and be loved
    without being loving.

    The loving and the loveless
    have to acknowledge the nature of their impasse,
    and listen to themselves
    telling their stories
    with no investment,
    or even interest,
    in the outcome.

    If healing happens,
    they witness the miracle.
    And if it doesn’t,
    they keep talking.
    Even so.

  13. 07/01/2020  —  Pine Cones 06/27/2020 11 Panorama  —  Indian Land, South Carolina, June 27, 2020

    Joseph Campbell said
    (Quoting James Joyce, I think),
    “A mature person
    is like a wheel rolling
    out of its own center.”

    I prefer to think
    of a wheel turning
    out of its own center–
    a gyroscope maintaining
    its own balance and harmony
    through the turbulence
    of time and place.

    Living out of its adamantine loyalty
    to its relationship with–
    and commitment to–

    It knows who it is
    and what it is about–
    what grounds it,
    centers it,
    sustains it,
    feeds it,
    nourishes it,
    replenishes it,
    guides and directs it
    in and through
    each situation as it arises
    in all contexts
    and circumstances
    of its existence.

    There is nothing that can happen
    that will knock it off its foundation
    or keep it from its mission
    of seeing what it looks at,
    hearing what is being said,
    knowing what’s what
    and what needs to be done about it
    and doing it
    with the gifts/daemon/genius/virtues
    that are inborn and at its disposal
    in each moment of its life
    that call it forth to meet the day,

    Our problem is how to get to that place
    in our life.
    The 10,000 things are arrayed against us.
    Nothing in our past experience has prepared us
    to deal with our present
    or our future–
    though everything has,
    and we have only to realize it.

    To quote Campbell again,
    “No one is given a mission they are not ready for!”
    Our lives have prepared us for this moment.
    It is our time to step forth
    and be who we are–
    despite all of the fear,
    and insecurity
    and excuses we could make.

    We have all that we need
    to find what we need
    to do what needs to be done–
    we only have to know that it is so,
    and act as though it is–
    in the strength of the Two Powers
    that are always with us:
    The Silence and The Source!

    Sitting quietly,
    seeking The Source
    of our Original Nature,
    our Essence,
    our Virtues,
    our Self
    our Imagination,
    our Ideas,
    our Courage,
    our Spirit,
    our Energy,
    our Vitality…
    We discover the truth
    that has been true from the beginning:
    We are not alone,
    and we have all that we need.

    Bring on the day!

    The key here is to step into each day
    “Without hope,
    without witness,
    without reward!”
    ( Steven Moffat, Doctor Who),
    like a wheel turning out of its own center,
    not desiring,
    not contriving,
    not scheming,
    not designing,
    not planning,
    not preparing…
    just living moment-by-moment
    in the service of what is called for
    in that moment,
    with nothing invested in the outcome
    and no profit or gain or success or motive in mind.

    With only the joy of being able to do
    what is set before us
    to propel us into the day.
    Each day.

  14. 07/01/2020  —  Red Yin/Yang

    One of my favorite questions is
    “What would you go to hell for?”

    Totally serious.

    It may be the most important question.

    There are sacred covenants
    that require our filial loyalty,
    our liege devotion.
    What are yours?
    I hope you have a long list!

    I will put it another way:
    What commitments do you honor,
    what activities do you engage in,
    what relationships do you cherish,
    in what ways do you spend your time,
    that are so precious to you,
    that being unable to engage in them
    would be worse than going to hell?

    What is the source of your energy,
    that to be without it
    would be worse than going to hell?

    How often do you go there?

    How long do you stay?

  15. 07/01/2020  —  Cypress Pond – Taken on a Private Preserve in Eastern North Carolina about November, 2004

    On June, 25, 2014, I wrote,

    Our life is up to us.

    We actually have to live it.

    Why hold anything back?

    Why try to save ourselves from that which can save us?

    Only one thing means anything: Living our life
    the way it needs us to live it!

    At the end of the movie, Jersey Boys,
    Frankie Valli,
    reflecting on his career,
    said, “They ask ya, ‘What was the high point?’
    The hall of fame,
    sellin’ all those records,
    pullin’ Sherry outta the hat?’
    It was all great.
    But the first time the four of us
    made that sound under the street light,
    our sound,
    when everything dropped away
    and all there was,
    was the music…
    that was the best.”

    The challenge for each of us
    is to find our music,
    and live it—
    to let the music live us—
    and see everything that happens to us,
    both positive and negative,
    as an opportunity
    to further align ourselves with the music,
    dance with what life brings us,
    and become who we are.

    We are afraid to do that,
    and think there is something better than that—
    like safety, and security, and never stepping out of line—
    because we’ve never stood under a street light
    and made the music
    only we can make.

    But the music is there waiting
    for us to show up.

    That was written six years ago
    and the music is still waiting.

    What’s your music?
    What is your life?
    We don’t have any idea
    because we have so many ideas,
    all of which
    revolve around having money
    and having it made.

    We want the fame
    and the fortune,
    but it’s the music.

    Ask a musician if they know
    what Frankie Valli is talking about.
    Ask them if they can remember a time
    when it all dropped away
    and they became one with the music,
    and the music was playing them,
    singing them,
    and they disappeared into the music,
    were lost in the music,
    were the music.

    Ask them how often it happened.
    And what they would give
    for it to happen all the time.

    Can you remember anything like that
    happening to you?

    What do you think your equivalent to the music
    might be?
    Could be?

    What life is waiting
    even yet,
    even now,
    for you to live it?

    What’s holding you back?

    Why hold anything back?

  16. 07/03/2020  —  Blue Ridge Sunset 10/07/2010 01 — Near Mount Jefferson, Ashe County, NC, MP 267 BRP

    We thread the needle
    between Scylla and Charybdis,
    through each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    We walk along the straight and narrow,
    with all its twists and turns,
    on the slippery slope,
    the dangerous path,
    like a razor’s edge
    every step of the Way–
    circumambulating the center,
    the core,
    the Source
    the Self–
    growing up some more again day-by-day.

    Or not.

    It is entirely up to us.

    Every day.

    The eye of the needle
    is “the still point of the turning world”
    (T.S. Eliot),
    in the midst of the conflicts and contradictions
    that define our life
    within the context and circumstances of our living.

    We can care too much
    and we can care too little.

    Between those extremes
    (and all the others)
    we find the middle way,
    the balance point,
    and dance with the music of the spheres
    throughout our life.

    This is our work.
    It is the work of Sisyphus
    rolling his rock up the hill
    and following it down the hill
    to roll it back up the hill
    day after day.

    Threading the needle between the extremes
    all the time.

    We have to be invested in our work
    without taking it seriously.
    It has to matter to us what we do
    without it mattering so much
    that it interferes with our being able to do it.

    We have to know what is important
    without being owned by what is important,
    lost in what is important
    unable to set what is important aside
    when the situation calls for it to be set aside
    because something else is more important.

    There are no doctrines.
    There is no dogma.
    There are no laws
    or recipes.
    There is only seeing,
    what is called for here and now–
    and doing that as best we can
    with what we bring to the moment,
    every moment.

    We step into every moment
    fresh for the adventure,
    without the burdens of past or future,
    looking around,
    seeing what’s what
    from the vantage point
    of the stillness
    and the silence,
    waiting for the Way to appear before us
    and allowing what needs to happen
    to “just happen.”

    If you think that’s easy,
    plop yourself down
    on the big bull’s back,
    fasten your grip onto the rope,
    and tell them to open the chute.

    Remember to enjoy the ride.

    That’s the most important thing.

  17. 07/04/2020  —  Mormon Row 06/26/2011 03 – Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming, June 26, 2011

    You do you!

    The way only you can do you!

    In ways appropriate to the occasion.
    In every situation as it arises.
    All your life long.

    How long has it been?

    Do you even remember?

    Do you even remember how to do you?

    What happened to you?
    Were you shamed out of doing you?
    Was it just not paying off?
    Was it not worth it?
    Was it getting you in trouble?
    Was it in your way?
    Was it an embarrassment?
         To yourself?
         To others?
    Was it pointless?
    Did you get tired of excusing what you were doing?
    Did you merely grow up
    and leave it behind
    with your Binky and your Passie?

    Would you even know where to start?
    How to begin?
    Doing you?

    Your nighttime dreams would be a good place to look.
    And your daydreams.
    Your flights of fantasy.

    You could start with being aware
    of the white rabbits
    that appear out of nowhere,
    catching your attention
    with a wink and a wave
    before hopping around a corner
    hoping this time you will follow.

    You are everywhere you go,
    everywhere you look,
    everything you think about doing,
    but don’t.
    Why not?

    You finding you,
    getting back to you,
    being you,
    doing you
    are the only things worth doing.

    Why wait one second longer?

  18. 07/05/2020  —  Blueberries 06/30/2019 06 — The Vine Place, Van Wyck, South Carolina, June 30, 2019, an iPhone Photo

    Here come some disparate statements
    that I am going to pull together
    like a wild rabbit from a hat
    in a completely non sequitur kind of way:

    1) Jesus was homeless
    and he died on a cross.
    When we hear him say,
    “If you throw in with me,
    you have to pick up your cross daily,
    and follow me,”
    somehow, we never connect following Jesus
    with being homeless and dying on a cross.

    2) The Dalai Lama’s bodyguards
    carry automatic weapons.
    When he preaches compassion and peace,
    he is also saying,
    “If you cross me, I will kill you.”
    Which is not at all different from anything
    a Mob Boss ever says.

    3) If Elizabeth Warren only had
    more cooperation,
    it would be a better world overnight.
    We want a better world
    with Big Banks and Wall Street
    and all of the distractions and delights
    wealth and privilege can produce.

    4) A high percentage of the world’s population–
    and your county’s population–
    is not going to make enough money
    to pay their bills.
    And that leaves them doing
    exactly what with their life?
    We have to be able to pay the bills,
    but they have to be the right bills,
    and we have to know
    what we are paying the bills to do.
    And be right about the rightness
    of what we are doing.
    In order to do that,
    everything has to change.
    Everything has to change.

    It all comes down to knowing
    what we are doing here
    and having the wherewithal to do it.
    And “wherewithal” is about
    more than money.

    “Wherewithal” is about clarity,
    balance and harmony.
    We have to “run a tight ship.”
    We have to exhibit,
    loyalty and devotion to the cause.

    The cause is our life–
    the life we are living–
    the life that is ours to live–
    doing what we are here to do.
    Bringing who we are to life in our lives.

    Here’s a hint for you:
    We are not here to make a lot of money
    and pass a good time.

    We are here to serve
    what we are here to do
    with our life.

    And, in the words of the woman
    who wouldn’t wear a mask
    and stay away from the crowds
    at the beach,
    “That’s asking too much.”

    We want to live like we want to
    and pass a good time.
    Doing what we are here to do
    doesn’t factor into that equation.
    The economy is based on good times,
    not on right living.

    And that is the foundational dichotomy
    at work in the heaving incongruities
    of life as we know it.
    And it is the nature
    of the cross we have to bear
    on the path of finding our life and living it.

    It would be easier to keep things as they are
    and not pay the price of transition
    and transformation.

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

    “Pick up your cross and follow me” (Jesus of Nazareth).

  19. 07/01/2020  —  Blueberries 06/30/2019 06 — The Vine Place, Van Wyck, South Carolina, June 30, 2019, an iPhone Photo

    Robert Ruark, writing in The Old Man and The Boy
    had the Old Man say, about fishing,
    “A fish is only a fish.
    If you make too much of it,
    you lose the whole point of it.”

    Robert Ruark missed the essence
    of his grandfather’s sutra,
    and failed, throughout his life,
    to apply the fish as an analogy
    to everything in his life.

    His grandfather was saying,
    “Listen to me, dammit, Robert–
    if you make too much of anything,
    you lose the whole point of it!”

    Success, for example.
    Or happiness.
    Or meaning and purpose.

    Alcoholics Anonymous preaches the same sermon
    with different words:
    “Acceptance is the solution
    to all of my problems today.”

    Acceptance is the refusal
    to make too much of any of it,
    even acceptance.

    Robert Ruark became an alcoholic
    because he made too much of the wrong things,
    and not enough of the right things,
    which is one thing all alcoholics have in common,
    along with all the people
    who take their disappointment
    with themselves and their life
    to some different manifestation of The Bottle,
    and “get by with a little help from their friend.”

    Everything is analogous to us and our life.
    What does “fish” equate to in your life?
    What does “the bottle” equate to?
    What are you taking too seriously?
    What are you failing to take seriously at all?
    What are the right things?
    What are the wrong things?
    Where are you in the flow of your life?
    Where are you out of sync with your life?
    Where are your expectations in line with your possibilities?
    Where are your desires at odds with your chances?
    Where are you willing what cannot be willed?
    Where are you forcing what cannot be forced?
    Where are you consoling yourself in ways
    that are contributing to your disenchantment
    and dissatisfaction–
    making things worse and not better?
    Where is your pain so great
    that you will escape it at all costs?

    We are all we have to work with
    in the time left for living.
    We have from now to then
    to right our boat on its path through the sea,
    get on track with our life
    put ourselves in accord with our nature and our heart,
    trust ourselves to the unfolding
    of the life we are capable of living–
    even now, even yet–
    and see where it goes
    (With no destination in mind,
    and no opinion about how things are
    to obscure what is being called for
    here and now, moment to moment,
    day to day).

  20. 07/06/2020  —  Impatiens 07/05/2020 — Indian Land, South Carolina, July 5, 2020

    “The Church of What’s Happening Now”
    is the companion blog-page to this page,
    and can be accessed through the menu above.

    It is offered in light of its absolute necessity
    in the work that we are to be doing–
    the work that is ours to do–
    here and now,
    moment to moment,
    situation by situation,
    day in and day out,
    because being both
    involved/immersed in,
    and aware of,
    what’s happening now
    is more that any of us
    can do alone.

    There have always been
    communities of the now–
    I call them “communities of innocence”
    because they are completely sincere
    about their work–
    and of all the institutions
    that have been developed
    through the ages of our accession,
    they alone stand apart
    by having nothing to gain
    and nothing to lose,
    beyond helping the individuals
    they serve in living as those
    who, themselves, have nothing to gain
    and nothing to lose.

    “Sincerity without contrivance”
    is the motto of all communities of innocence.
    Alcoholics Anonymous separates itself with its
    “Attraction not promotion” slogan
    and its recognition of “a higher power”
    with no theology or doctrine to cloud and conceal
    the essence of “that which has always been called God.”

    For me, “The Church of What’s Happening Now”
    is AA without the Alcohol (or the substance Abuse) part,
    helping us to stay focused on being  here, now,
    doing what is ours to do–
    what needs to be done–
    what the situation is calling for,
    throughout the “Eternal Now” of our existence.

    As I say in the introduction to the page,
    “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 here,
    right now,

    The Church of What’s Happening Now
    is a Community of Innocence
    dedicated to helping its members
    maintain their focus and clarity–
    their balance and harmony–
    while walking two paths at the same time,
    being involved with the conditions and circumstances–
    the “just so-ness”–
    of the present moment,
    while being intently aware
    of the “also is-ness”
    that connects this moment
    with all those that have preceded it
    and those that will flow from it.

    Lawrence Tribe has said,

    “Every possible future points back to
    and is contained in
    this moment in time and space,
    and every possible past
    culminated in this moment.
    So all that ever was or will be
    is right here right now
    with you and with me.”

    The present is eternal.
    It is the fulcrum,
    the pivot point,
    “the still point
    of the turning world” (Eliot).

    It is the place of our acting,
    or of our failing to act,
    in the service of what needs us to do it
    with the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues
    that are ours to share
    as blessing and grace
    out of filial devotion
    and liege loyalty
    to the good of the whole.

  21. 07/05/2020  —  Cypress Morning 11/06/2006 — Private preserve in Eastern North Carolina, November 6, 2006

    What needs to happen in any situation
    conflicts with–
    and stands in contradiction of–
    what we want to happen there.

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

    It is the story of the Buddha under the Bo Tree
    and of Jesus in the wilderness.

    It is the story that is repeated ad nauseam
    through all of the ages of humankind–
    and all the lives of each of us in all those ages.

    Truth is found,
    and life is lived,
    “between the hands.”
    On the one hand, this.
    And on the other hand, that.

    I want this,
    and I need to want that.
    Which will it be?
    The theme is at work
    in each situation as it arises
    throughout time.

    And here we are,
    now what?

    We answer the question best
    when we ask it with full awareness
    of what we are doing.

    We default instantly
    to what we want to do,
    to what we want to happen,
    without considering what needs to be done,
    what needs to happen.

    We live to have our way
    in each situation that arises
    until we die.

    We live our life
    in a lifelong conflict of interest
    with our life.
    We want one thing from our life
    and our life wants another thing from us,
    and it is within this tension
    that we live


    Don’t take my word for it.
    Simply be still.
    Sit quietly.
    And wait.
    Wait to become aware of
    the conflict of interest
    at work in this moment
    in your own life.
    Be clear about what you want to happen.
    Become open to what needs to happen–
    to what the moment is calling for
    beyond what you want for the moment.

    Do this with every moment following this one.

    And see what you do.

    This simple process
    calls into question
    everything we think and believe
    about living our life.
    Our sole motivation for living
    is to have what we want,
    to do what we want.

    We talk of Freedom and Liberty,
    but it is always the freedom and liberty
    to do what we want,
    to live our life the way we want to live our life.
    And anything that stands in our way
    is interfering with our freedom
    to have our way.

    What does wanting know?

    Wanting has led you to this point in your life.
    What is your batting average?
    How often has your wanting known what it was doing?
    How often did you want yourself to a rock wall,
    or a cliff edge?
    How often did you want yourself
    to the end of the line?
    And what did you have but more wanting
    to lead you to the end of the next line?

    Wanting is a very short-sighted guide.
    Near-sighted-ness is not a particularly
    sought-for qualification
    when interviewing potential guardians and guides.
    It isn’t what we want that matters,
    but knowing what we ought to want,
    what we should want,
    what we need to want–
    and doing what we know needs to be done,
    regardless of what we want.

    This is the quality that will direct our living
    past all concerns for our best interest,
    our good,
    our gain,
    our advantage
    and what is in it for us–
    and deliver us into the service
    of what is crying out to be done
    in each situation as it arises,
    all our life long:
    “Without hope!
    Without witness!
    Without reward!” (Steven Moffat)

    If you are going to hitch your wagon
    to some horse,
    let it be that horse,
    and give it the reins,
    or, better, forego reins and bit entirely,
    and just go along for the ride!

  22. 07/07/2020  —  Flame Azalea 06/06/2020 06 – Indian Land, South Carolina, June 6, 2020

    It is all useless,
    and absurd–
    and coming to a very bad end
    (We all die).

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

    If you are going to take anything on faith,
    let it be this!
    Believe it is so
    with all your heart,
    and soul,
    and mind,
    and strength!

    And live as though it is!

    Put it into play in your life
    by seeing what you look at,
    and hearing what is being said,
    and not giving a damn what your chances are,
    or what’s going to come of it,
    or what difference you are going to make,
    and step into each situation as it arises,
    all your life long,
    letting things be what they are,
    looking at what is happening,
    listening for what is being called for,
    knowing what needs to be done,
    and rising to the occasion
    upon every occasion,
    in ways appropriate to the occasion,
    out of the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues/character
    that come with you from the womb
    into all of the occasions of your life
    as blessing and grace
    upon all who come your way–
    doing what you came to do,
    what is yours to do,
    what no one but you can do
    the way you can do it–
    to startle and surprise,
    shock and perturb,
    amaze and encourage,
    dazzle and delight,
    enlighten and confound–
    and leave things more like they ought to be
    than they were when you arrived.

    In order to be able to do this,
    you have to spend some time
    reworking your relationship
    with yourself and your life,
    and with the Way that is yours through life–
    even as you step into the next situation
    and look around.

    It is a lifelong process,
    redemption and transformation.
    It begins with our understanding
    this is what we are about,
    and finding our way to being
    accomplished in the art
    one situation at a time.

  23. 07/08/2020  —  Bog Stream Reflections 09/29/2014 — Adirondack Park near Tupper Lake, NY, September 29, 2014

    Our business expands to fit our life.
    We live to find our business
    and tend to it.
    The entire world is our business.
    What goes on everywhere is our concern.
    Human Rights,
    Gay Rights,
    Civil Rights,
    Abortion Rights…

    Our business is everybody’s business.
    So that everybody can be allowed to have their own business
    and do it.

    “We find these truths to be self-evident…”

    Evidently not,
    else why do we have to keep saying it?
    And insisting upon it?
    And reminding people to live like it is so–
    because it is so?

    Some people–
    and a hefty lot of them–
    get off on pushing other people around.
    Putting other people down.
    Being superior.
    Being supreme
    (As though anyone is supreme
    who has to shout,
    DO WHAT I SAY!”).

    What did they miss early on in their life?
    Was it a gene?
    Or kindness?
    Or enough of the right kind of attention?
    Or enough of the right kind of anything?

    Here we are.
    What to do?
    Mind our business!
    Tend our business!
    And trust other people to mind/tend theirs!
    And, when it becomes apparent
    that they think their business
    is minding other people’s business,
    it becomes our business
    to remind them that it is not.

    “Back inside the lanes, please!
    Everyone back inside their own lanes!”

    That would be the lanes that are legitimately
    our own lanes–
    “the face that was ours before we were born,”
    doing the things that are truly ours to do,
    that no one but us can do
    the way we can do it.

    This world works best only when everybody
    is respecting everybody else,
    honoring everybody else,
    allowing everybody else–
    enabling everybody else–
    to be who they are,
    tending their own business
    without worrying about the interference
    of those who think they know best,
    and that their way is The Way for everyone.

    Why is this so hard?

    All anyone needs
    is to be left alone in the right kind of way,
    and be allowed to tend their own business.

    But, there are people who like to push people around,
    and put them down,
    and impose themselves on others,
    deciding where people belong
    and what they should and should not be doing,
    making it necessary for us to stand up
    and call them out,
    and put them in their place
    by reminding them it is not their place
    to presume to know what someone else’s place is,
    and that we all have to be left to discover our own place for ourselves,
    unless we get out of our lane
    and into someone else’s
    by telling them where they belong
    and where they have no business being.

    We all have to find our own business,
    and be right about it,
    and be there doing that,
    and trust everybody else to be doing that,
    until it becomes apparent that they are not
    and are interfering with someone else’s right
    to their own business.

    Then, we have to call Time Out!
    And make sure everyone understands the rule
    about leaving everyone alone
    to find and mind their own business
    with all the help they need to do that,
    and none of the hindrances
    that some people like to throw in their way.

    It is ridiculous that any of this
    should ever need to be said.

  24. 07/08/2020  —  Fern 07/07/2020 04 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, July 7, 2020

    Too many of us think
    we have to have a plan,
    a map,
    a strategy,
    a course of action,
    a destination in mind,
    to know where we are headed
    in order to get where we are going.

    If we don’t know where we are going,
    we could wind up anywhere!

    Time for a show of hands.
    Here we all are.
    How many of us had a plan,
    a strategy,
    a course of action
    for getting right here right now?

    Hold them high now.

    How many of us knew
    we would be right here right now
    5 years ago?
    4 months ago?

    Our future is no more reliable
    than our past.
    How many 5-year plans are left
    before we die?

    Since most of us realize by now
    that thinking more than two weeks ahead
    is pretty much wishful thinking,
    I’m going out on a limb here
    and saying that 5-year plans are history.

    Just as well.
    They never were worth the time spent
    drawing them up.

    Joseph Campbell like to say that
    Native American parents
    would tell their children
    as they set out to find their way in the world,
    “When you step forth on your path,
    the birds of the air will shit on you.
    Do not stop even to wipe it off!”

    They didn’t have to talk about
    how to know where they were going.
    These were Native American youth.
    They knew about Vision Quests,
    and living from the center,
    and knowing a path with heart
    when they saw one.

    We missed all that.
    Because it wasn’t a part of our growing up.
    But it isn’t too late to learn.

    The first thing that has to go is
    knowing what you want.
    Wanting is an eternal waste of time.
    Wanting never ends.
    What does wanting know?
    Only that everything it wants
    is the most important thing ever.
    And all of those most important things
    end up in some landfill,
    and none of them was the end of wanting forever.

    Throw wanting in the burning barrel
    and take up listening and looking.
    Sit still.
    Be quiet.
    Wait for something to arise unbidden
    that stirs something to life within.
    You are waiting for something with life about it
    to appear out of nowhere,
    in a “Where did that come from?” kind of way.
    Something with energy about it,
    and the power to pull you into its influence,
    the way a white rabbit might catch your eye
    before it hops around a corner.

    Do you follow?
    The rule of the road is:
    Always look closer at something that catches your eye!
    The second rule of the road is:
    The path opens before those who start walking.

    That’s all the plan you need for a plan.
    When the birds of the air shit on you,
    don’t pause to wipe it off.

  25. 07/09/2020  —  Spring Flow 04/16/2002 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Waterford, North Carolina, April 16, 2001

    I am more inclined to follow my inclinations
    these days
    than my compelling urges
    and driving passions.

    My best advice is to say,
    listen to what you have to say
    about what you have to say.

    Listen until you can hear
    what is being said on all levels.
    Look until you can see
    what you are looking at.
    And know what’s what.

    Clarity is hard to beat.
    Add Balance and Harmony
    Right Action
    and Perfect Timing,
    and we have all the companions
    we need to find our way
    through the day
    every day.

    Lay aside ambition,
    willful determination
    and the obsession/compulsion
    to impose your idea
    of how things ought to be
    upon how things are.
    Simply listen
    for what is being called for,
    look for what needs to be done,
    and wait for the Six Companions
    to lead the way.

  26. 07/09/2020  —  Linville Falls Panorama 07/13/2012 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls, North Carolina, July 12, 2012

    Trust where you are
    to be exactly where you need to be.

    Trust the path you are on
    to take you to exactly where you need to be.

    Trust seeing what you look at,
    and hearing what you listen to–
    asking the questions that beg to be asked,
    and saying the things that cry out to be said–
    to produce the reflection necessary
    to promote the realizations required
    that enable you to recognize
    when the door opens
    and provide you with the courage required
    to walk through.

    So that from here to there
    becomes a natural transition
    that “just happens”
    when the time is right,
    and is so obvious
    that it is simply a spontaneous shift
    in the right direction,
    with the path you are on
    taking you where you need to be,
    one situation at a time–
    occasioned by 10,000 unapparent right actions
    opening and walking through
    all of the doors
    that led to The Door,
    resulting in you always
    being where you needed to be,
    doing what needed to be done,
    every step along the way.

    That is the way it is with The Way.

    Break a miracle down into its component parts
    and the whole thing is a miracle.

    And our life is a wonder in the making.

  27. 07/10/2020. —  Hay in the Field — 07/05/2019 03 Panorama, Rembert, South Carolina, July 5, 2019, an iPhone photo.

    The way to The Way is The Way.

    Jacob Bronowski said,
    “If you want to know the truth,
    you have to live in certain ways.”

    We have to live in truthful ways–
    we have to live truthful lives–
    we have to live truthfully.

    If we want to know The Way,
    we have to be The Way.

    Which is exactly what Jesus was saying
    when he said,
    “I am the way the truth and the life,
    and no one comes to the Father but by me.”

    He is not saying, “You have to believe in me.”
    He is saying “You have to be me.”

    But more than that,
    he is saying, “You have to be me by being YOU!”
    The way to God is the way of God.
    The way to The Way is The Way.

    The Way is the way of Sincerity and Integrity.

    Sincerity and integrity are the straight and narrow.
    They are the middle way.
    They are The Way.
    No one comes to The Way without being The Way.
    The Way is the way of Sincerity and Integrity.

    Harmony and Balance flow from Sincerity and Integrity.
    Spirit, Energy and Vitality flow from Sincerity and Integrity.
    Life, Virtue and Character flow from Sincerity and Integrity.

    Sincerity and Integrity are The Way
    and are the way to The Way.

    We do not believe our way to The Way.
    We do not think our way to The Way.
    We do not plan, scheme, connive, contrive
    our way to The Way.

    We live our way to The Way
    one situation at a time
    with Sincerity and Integrity
    leading the way.

    Live with Sincerity and Integrity
    and let everything fall into place
    around that.

    Align yourself and your life with yourself.
    Live in accord with yourself.
    Be at-one with yourself.
    “Know Thyself!”
    “To Thine Own Self Be True!”

    Everyone who has known
    has known the same thing
    over time,
    through the ages.

    What, then, is the problem?

  28. 07/10/2020  —  Reelfoot Lake 11/04/2015 03 — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeck, Tennessee, November 4, 2015

    The extremes exist in denial
    of each other,
    of contradiction,
    of conflict,
    of opposites,
    of duality…

    The Middle Way
    is “Thou Art That”
    in a way that excludes identity,
    and demands mutual recognition
    of the “I” in the “Other,”
    because the Two are One
    “but not the same One.”

    And the Dance of Dichotomy
    requires the partners
    to bear the tension of opposition
    through all times and places
    of three dimensional,
    integrating the opposites
    on the basis of the interplay
    with the Forth Dimension.

    Enter Grace.
    Also called Tao,
    and other names in other eras,
    but it is Grace,
    by whatever name,
    “all the way down.”

    Grace allows us to bear the pain
    of our contradictions–
    the pain of Contradiction–
    in order to live out our lives
    in the service of Grace,
    as the servants of Grace,
    by being what is needed
    (Whatever is needed)
    in each situation as it arises
    through all of the times and places
    of three-dimensional existence,
    sometimes being “Thou,”
    and sometimes being “That,”
    as called for by the context
    and circumstances of our life.

    We are the children of Grace,
    carrying the banner of Grace,
    exhibiting the reality of Grace,
    incarnating/expressing the truth of Grace
    through the ages.

    God’s name is Grace.

    We are all “chips off the old block.”
    Doing our thing
    in response to the demands
    of the here and now,
    our whole life long.

  29. 07/11/2020  —  The Grove 01/29/2015 01 Panorama — ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Hollywood, South Carolina, January 29, 2015

    There is always a price to be paid
    for doing things out of time.
    We are paying that price right now–
    individually and personally,
    corporately and nationally/internationally.

    The world is out of step with the times–
    and has been for times past counting.

    The only sin is being out of step with the times.

    All the talk about repentance,
    and awakening,
    and “getting right with God…”
    all the business about redemption,
    and righteousness,
    and living “at one with God…”
    is about getting our timing back.
    About getting back in step with the times.

    Karma is about the price to be paid
    for being out of step with the times.

    The recognition of the importance
    of being in accord with the times
    is as old as time itself.

    “There is a time and a place for everything.”
    “For everything there is a season,
    and a time for everything under heaven.”

    Those who know,
    know the same things.
    What is to be known
    has always been known.
    There are no secrets.
    No hidden spiritual truths.
    No esoteric rituals and beliefs.

    There is only the stuff we don’t want to know–
    because it would complicate our lives
    and require us to decide,
    if we are going to live out of our own willful desire
    for the time and place of our living,
    or out of our own willful submission
    to what is being called for
    in each time and place of our living.

    In every moment,
    we stand with Adam and Eve
    in the Garden of Eden,
    and with Jesus of Nazareth
    in the Garden of Gethsemane,
    and decide whether we will be
    in or out of sync
    with the time that is upon us,
    here and now.

    And, that is the choice
    “that sways the future
    for the good or evil side.”
    Made each moment,
    impacting all ages to come forever.

  30. 07/05/2020  —  Swan Lake 07/05/2019 05 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, July 5, 2019

    We have to mean it,
    run a tight ship
    (That means self-discipline),
    straight from the heart,
    with sincerity
    and no contrivance
    (That means without looking for our own advantage, good, benefit in any way),
    with no judgment or opinion,
    seeking only to serve the moment
    in doing what is called for,
    in each situation as it arises,
    all our life long.

    Our only question is
    “What does this occasion call for?”
    Our only course of action is
    to rise to the occasion
    and offer what is called for
    with the gifts, genius, daemon, virtues/character
    that came with us from the womb,
    and follow The Way as it opens before us,
    inviting us as only we can detect,
    and see where it goes.

    The old alchemists had a saying,
    “One book opens another.”
    Our moments can do that as well.

    Karma is momentum as much as direction,
    carrying us on the current of life
    through the doors Grace opens
    and a future quite beyond imagining.

    We trust ourselves to our life
    by asking “What does this occasion call for?”
    And rising to the occasion.
    Occasion after occasion.

  31. 07/12/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Hunting Island 11/13/2017 36 — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina, November 13, 2017

    We pay a price to be who we are.

    Steady companions along the way.

    If we aren’t going to be who we are,
    who are we going to be?

    We pay a price to not be who we are.

    “All we ever wanted was smooth and easy!”
    (An AA slogan)

    Smooth and easy aren’t so smooth and easy.

    We bear the pain of being alive
    one way or another–

    It begins with taking the time
    to know who we are.
    Everything else falls into place around that.

    The Native American Vision Quest
    was not about envisioning a future,
    conjuring up a life-goal,
    imagining a destination
    (Understand this:
    There is no destination!).

    It was about seeing who we are.

    The most important relationship
    is our relationship with ourselves–
    with our Self.
    With our Original Self.
    With The Face That Was Ours Before We Were Born.
    With The Self Who Is The Source And Guardian
    Of The Virtues,
    that define us,
    guide us,
    illumine us,
    direct us
    and accompany us
    along The Way.

    We are never alone,
    but we live as though we are,
    because we do not take the time
    to know who we are.

    Marianne Moore said,
    “The cure for loneliness is solitude.”

    In solitude we meet who we are,
    who we also are.

    Carl Jung said,
    “There is, in each of us,
    another, whom we do not know.”

    The heart of every vision quest is the silence
    that transports us
    from aloneness to solitude.

    The silence is alive with moods and memories,
    feelings and thoughts,

    How long has it been
    since you sat,
    still and quiet,
    watching and waiting
    for something to stir to life in the silence,
    something that has been waiting all this time
    for an audience with you?

    This is the vision the quest seeks.

    It is the vision of our own depth and potential–
    the gifts, genius, daemon, qualities, virtues
    that comprise our identity
    and yearn to be incarnated, exhibited, expressed, made actual
    and brought to life in the life we are living.

    We carry within us the treasure of the gods
    as a blessing to humankind
    (That would be to one another,
    and all others)
    and is waiting to be born
    in the way we live our life.

    Even yet.
    Even still.
    Even now.

  32. 07/13/2020  —  Spider Web 09/05/2009 08 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, September 5, 2009

    Look until you see what’s what.

    Listen until you hear what is called for.

    In each situation as it arises.



    Do what needs to be done.

    As best you can.

    With the gifts,
    that came with you
    from the womb
    and constitute your Original Nature–
    “The Face That Was Yours Before You Were Born”–
    that you are here to incarnate,
    bring forth
    and serve
    with liege loyalty
    and filial devotion
    all your life long.

    And let everything fall into place around that.

    Flowing into the next situation
    in the next moment
    in which you will do the same things
    throughout the time left for living.

    That’s all there is to it.

  33. 07/13/2020  —  Fern 07/07/2020 06 — Indian Land, South Carolina, July 7,2020

    Take care of the moment.

    Everything turns on how well
    we take care of the moment.

    We throw moments away
    by the bushels,
    by the metric tons,
    by the sanitary landfills.

    We treat moments
    as though they are
    in our way
    keeping us from where we want to be
    and what we want to be doing.

    We drink whiskey
    and do drugs
    to compensate ourselves
    for having to deal with all these damn moments
    of nothing endlessly stretching out the distance
    between the times of our glory and our bliss.

    The high times are our way of compensating ourselves
    for missing the point of our life.

    We want our life to be bigger,
    than a life can be.

    A life that is alive to the moment of its living
    is as alive as it ever gets.

    A cat with a ball of twine.
    A baby with a spoon and a pie pan.
    Are doing moments the way moments are to be done.

    It is called taking care of the moment.

    Doing what the moment is calling for.

    Extending the moment,
    making it last.

    Jazz does that.
    And dawdling around with a sunset,
    or a thunder storm.

    How long since you dawdled around with anything?
    Lingered with the moment
    as though it is sufficient for your needs?

    Why do we need more than the moment has to offer?
    From whence cometh our emptiness?
    Our hunger?
    Our desperate query,
    “Is this all there is?”?

    Hold on to your moments.
    Relish them.
    Savor them.
    Do not let them go
    until they have graced you
    with their gifts
    and the abundance of their stores.

    And revealed to you the wonder
    of a life lived fully
    one moment at a time.

  34. 07/14/2020  —  Lake Crandal 11/16/2016 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 16, 2016

    We take what the day gives us
    and do what we can with it
    with the gifts we have to offer
    within the context and circumstances
    of our life,
    and see where it goes.

    We keep our religion to ourselves,
    and stay out of other people’s business,
    honoring everyone’s ability
    to see what they look at,
    and hear what is being called for
    in the time and place of their living,
    being clear about where we start
    and they stop,
    and only drawing lines
    when it becomes apparent
    that they are a danger to themselves
    and to others,
    and then in as kind a way
    as the occasion allows,
    understanding that no one is in charge
    of the way they see things–
    but that doesn’t mean that all ways of seeing
    are equally valid,
    and that some ways must be challenged
    when they threaten the balance and harmony
    of the whole.

    We carry our pain in different ways,
    and what we see when we look at one another
    is the outward, visible, expression
    of how we have carried our inward, invisible, pain
    over the course of our life.
    And a little compassion means a lot.

    So, even when we draw lines
    it needs to be done with a compassionate stroke,
    a soft voice,
    and a gentle tone,
    granting the benefit of the doubt to all comers,
    and telling ourselves,
    “These people would be doing better if they could,”
    as we carry out our business
    of restoring consonance
    and bringing peace
    to a torn and broken world.

  35. 07/14/2020  —  Trees Blended 11/11/2015 04 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    Move toward what resonates with you.
    Move away from what repels you.
    Simple and fundamental rules for life.

    The things that resonate with you
    are your guides through all that lies ahead.

    Just as “One book opens another,”
    so the things that resonate with you
    will lead you to other things that resonate with you,
    and you will discover wonders
    in the most unlikely places,
    and come alive in the life you are living
    in ways you could have never imagined,
    or created,
    on your own
    by thinking about it
    through careful planning.

    We know what we need,
    We do not know what all we know.
    And so.
    We have to develop our awareness
    in order to realize what lies latent within
    waiting for its chance
    to sparkle and astound
    when someone–
    that would be us–
    asks it if it would like to dance.

  36. 07/14/2020  —  Silence 03 — Eighth Note Rest and Quarter Note Rest

    “Oh, I see what your problem is.”
    The Buddha was talking to those gathered
    to discover the secret path
    to eternal happiness.
    “You care too much about what happens to you!
    You will never be happy
    until you care less about what happens,
    and care more about doing what you can
    in every situation
    to make things as good as they can be
    for yourselves,
    one another,
    and all others–
    and let that be good enough!”
                    From “The Undiscovered Discourses of The Buddha”

  37. 07/15/2020  —  Silence 02 — Eighth Note Rest and Quarter Note Rest

    Another of the Little Rules of Life:

    Don’t decide–KNOW!!!
    (Or, one of its infinite variations,
    Don’t think–KNOW!!!)

    We over-think everything.

    Sincerity just is.

    Spontaneity just is.

    Knowing just is.

    You could spend your entire life
    (Overstatement is what I do best)
    standing before the orange juice section
    or wandering up and down the cereal isle–
    or the bread isle–
    thinking it out.

    Don’t think! KNOW!!!

    Wake up to your daily struggles to decide.

    They are everywhere.
    We want to be right about everything
    (And being right has nothing to do
    with being right–
    it is all about being above reproach,
    beyond criticism,
    having a quick and well-considered reason
    for doing what we do,
    so that no one can find fault with us ever)
    because to be criticized is to be lacking,
    and lacking is one thing not one of us
    can allow ourselves to be
    (Here’s another Little Rule of Life–
    they are everywhere
    once you start looking for them–
    Let Yourself Be Lacking!!!
    No kidding.
    It is the most freeing thing
    you will ever do
    [Back to overstating my case]).

    As I was saying,
    Wake up to your daily struggles to decide,
    and stop it.

    Just stand not-knowing before whatever it is,
    the blue one or the yellow one,
    and simply wait to know.
    Take your time.
    Where does the pressure to “hurry up and make up your mind”
    come from?
    Who are you trying to please?
    Stop it!
    Remember your breathing.
    Breathe deeply,
    exhale slowly.
    Wait to know.

    Wait to know about everything worth knowing.

    Knowing what the Knower knows
    is our surest guide
    to where the Goer is going.

    Stop deciding
    and begin knowing.

  38. 07/05/2020  —  Silence 01 – Eighth Rest Note and Quarter Rest Note

    I am interested in why we see things as we do.
    Why we respond to our environment the way we do.
    Why we believe what we believe.
    How we decide what is important.
    How we change our mind about what is important.

    What makes us think
    that the way we think
    is the way to think?

    Who says so?
    How do we know they know
    what they are talking about?

    What is the unshakeable,
    for the way we live?

    How do we validate the validity
    of that authority?

    How do we know
    that what we say is so
    is so?

    What leads us to live the way we do?

    Why aren’t these questions
    at the heart of everyone’s life?

  39. 07/15/2020  —  Living at the Edge of the Woods 07/14 2020 01 — Red Shouldered Hawk, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 14, 2020 — 98 degrees and two weeks with 1/2 inch of rain brings wild things to water wherever it may be found.

    Be careful what you believe–
    and conscious of it–
    because beliefs are self-validating,
    and will be confirmed by our experience
    as being true beyond question.

    This is the foundation of horoscopes,
    and Black Magic.

    Belief/faith elicits corroborating evidence
    from our environment and our “felt sense.”
    “You ask me how I know–
    I know because my heart declares it is so!”
    And our experience authenticates it
    at every turn.

    Brainwashing/mind-control is as commonplace
    as advertising promotions
    and political propaganda.

    Nothing convinces like conviction,
    and we can be “carried away”
    by personal testimony,
    and anecdotes
    delivered with passion and certainty.

    The nature of our life
    and the quality of our living
    depend on the beliefs
    that direct our decisions and choices
    regarding how we spend our time
    and exhibit our character and values.

    How do we fill up a day?
    How do our beliefs determine–
    and restrict–
    what we do?

    What beliefs guide and direct our lives?
    To what extent are we conscious
    of being guided and directed?
    To what extent are we conscious
    of being conscious?
    To what extent do we see our seeing
    and think about our thinking?

    How mindfully do we live?

    “Fair winds and following seas”
    are helpful only if we know where we are going
    and what we are doing–
     following a program,
    intent on being guided and directed,
    on track and in accord with the path
    as it unfolds before us.

    What is your work?
    What is your Way?
    How do your beliefs flow from and lead to–
    form and shape–
    your work and your Way?

    Sit still.
    Be quiet.
    Breathe yourself into the Silence.
    Listen and look.
    Follow the reflections that arise
    to recognition and realization.
    And see where it goes.

  40. 07/16/2020  —  Reelfoot Lake 11/04/2015 06 –Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeck, Tennessee, November 4, 2015

    Believe in your Work.
    Believe in The Way.

    Allow them to become
    the grounding,
    forces in your life.

    Our Work is The Way!
    The Way is our Work!

    There is no separation,
    no distinction!

    We have to understand
    our Work
    is not necessarily what we are paid to do.
    What we are paid to do pays the bills.
    Our Work is what we pay the bills to do.

    Paying the bills enables us to live.
    Our Work enables us to be alive.
    Our Work is what we live to do.

    Chances are we have no conception
    of what our Work is.
    There is nothing in our background
    that is specifically geared to help us
    comprehend the importance
    of knowing/finding our Work,
    and if we find it,
    it is because we stumble upon it.

    The concept of The Way
    is in a similar state.
    No one talks about The Way
    in our experience.
    Everyone talks about finding Jesus
    and going to heaven when we die.
    No one says anything about finding The Way
    and being Alive until we die.

    We are on our own
    with regard to our Work and The Way.
    But we come well-equipped for the task.
    All it takes is being still and quiet,
    and knowing what we know–
    allowing what we know
    to guide us away
    from all that is Not our Work
    and Not The Way,
    and toward what IS our Work
    and Is The Way.

    Knowing what it is not
    is a very helpful thing to know.

    Knowing what it is
    is a matter of knowing
    what attracts us,
    resonates with us,
    calms us,
    centers us,
    grounds us
    and brings us to life.

    Determining the “Life Quotient”
    of the things in our life–
    the degree to which they spark
    something within us
    and cause us to smile for no reason–
    will help guide us to IT
    and away from NOT IT.

    There is also a “felt sense”–
    a physical sensation–
    within our stomach or chest
    (A bit like being in love)–
    that clues us in on what’s what
    when we are in the presence of IT.

    The rule is always in play:
    “Look closer at the things
    that catch your eye!”
    And let those things lead you
    to your Work
    and The Way!

  41. 07/05/2020  —  Spider Web 09/05/2009 05 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, North Carolina, September 5, 2009

    “But my FREEDOOM!!!”

    The people who protest mask wearing
    for the good of the whole
    cannot get beyond the idea
    of masks being imposed on them
    against their will
    by the domineering authority of those in power over them.

    Sacrificing their idea of freedom
    for the common good
    is beyond the pale of reasonable and compassionate.
    “That’s asking too much!”
    they say.

    And here we are.

    How good is the good they call good?
    It is not good at all for anyone but themselves
    and those like them.

    How wide is our circle of compassion and concern?
    What limits it?
    Restricts it?
    Expands it?

    How low,
    or high,
    is our kindness and consideration threshold?

    How easily do we feel “put upon”
    and “taken advantage of”?

    What can we do about that
    in terms of becoming more giving
    and less resentful?

    These are questions never asked
    by those who protest
    “But my FREEDOM!!!”

    And there is no way to force it upon them.

    This is the log jam in the flow of human development.
    We cannot be made to grow up against our will–
    and yet, and yet…
    EVERYBODY grows up against their will!!!

    No one volunteers for the experience.
    We all go bucking and snorting into the process,
    with stiff necks and hard hearts
    and stout resistance at the very idea!

    And some of us change our minds.

    What is that about?

    Why do some of us change our minds
    and some remain “arrested” in their development
    throughout time?

    Some of us have the capacity to grow up in spite of ourselves,
    and some of us have nothing whatsoever
    to do with what is being asked of us ever.

    And here we are.

    Those of us who have the capacity to be big about it
    have to be big enough
    to take the pettiness and brutality
    of those who will be small and angry forever
    into consideration,
    tell ourselves, “I’m sure they would do better if they could,”
    and try to find some way to work with their
    stern refusal to be helpful
    as best we can.

    We have to grow up
    about their failure to grow up
    and grieve the fact of things staying as they are
    long past their need to change.

  42. 07/17/2020  —  Yellowstone Falls 09/26/2001 –The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park, September 26, 2001

    Money is the most meaningful thing
    in our life–
    not only in our life,
    but in all our lives.

    And yet,
    we use money to buy Crack,
    if we are poor,
    and to by Cocaine,
    if we are wealthy,
    and to buy Opioids
    regardless of our financial status.
    Alcohol will do in a pinch.
    And there is always Religion.

    Money is meaningful
    as a doorway to escape.

    How meaningful is that?

    We are such a sad,

    We are pitiful.
    We are a joke.
    The joke is on us.
    And no one is laughing.

    Our life is–
    our lives are–
    And all we know to do about that
    is to find something
    to take our mind, our minds, off of it.

    We get by with a little help from our friends,
    Coke, Cocaine, Opioids, Alcohol, Religion…
    Anything to take our mind off our emptiness.

    We are people in search of some reason to keep going.

    Joseph Campbell asked,
    “What keeps you going?
    What do you turn to when you have nowhere to turn?”

    What enables you to face the complete loss of everything
    without succumbing to the futility,
    and absurdity of one more breath?

    And, he says, “When you have found that,
    you have found your myth!”

    Our myth is our meaning.
    It is the ground of our existence–
    the very source of our life and being,
    the ever-present wellspring
    of balance and harmony,
    and resilient joy
    in our life.

    And we are people who have lost their myth.

    Joseph Campbell would say the Quest starts here.

    We are searching for the source of our own meaning,
    for the reason, the purpose, of our own existence.
    As he said, “To find the inward thing
    that you basically are.”

    All of the myths refer to you, to me, to us,
    and are pathways of opening us to the realization of ourselves.

    We are what we seek.
    “We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time”
    (T.S. Eliot).

    Back to Campbell, “You are God in your deepest identity.
    You are one with the transcendent.”

    And we throw ourselves away as the source of meaning and purpose,
    and look here and there,
    hither and yon,
    for what is only found by
    “Turning the light around,”
    and looking within for that which is looking for us.

    Campbell again:
    “That which you seek
    lies far back in the darkest corner
    of the cave you most don’t want to enter.”

    The first step is the hardest:
    We have to bear the pain at the heart of the journey.
    Bearing the pain of our life–
    of the experience of being alive–
    of life itself
    is essentially “the divine acceptance of death”
    (Thomas Altizer)
    –not only at the end of life,
    when life is done–
    but at every point along the way.
    Right here right now
    is a dying to all that might be
    wished for,
    hoped for,
    and is an acceptance of life-as-it-is
    in its “just-so-ness”
    right here, right now.

    Which is made possible through
    the recognition that right here, right now,
    is the very time and place of our living,
    of our being fully,
    alive to the experience of our own becoming
    in this moment,
    open to,
    and overwhelmed by,
    the mystery at the heart of being.

    Campbell said,
    “The goal of your quest for yourself
    is to find that burning point
    (where the veil of time is burned away,
    and we are opened to the realization of eternity)
    in your point (here and now),
    becoming the thing in yourself,
    which is fearless and desireless,
    (and forever) becoming.”

    We are always becoming something more
    than we have ever been!
    We are forever being born anew–
    a brand new thing–
    in the world each day,
    in each moment of the day!
    We are becoming always and forever!

    That is who we are!
    We are BECOMING!

    Born to life again and again,
    each moment,
    through bearing the pain of being alive
    and opening ourselves to the wonder
    of our own becoming.

    The nature of the pain is the fear that there is nothing there.
    We have to take a chance on ourselves.
    But, we think we know there is nothing to us at all.
    We are the cave we most don’t want to enter,
    and it is the experience of the wonder
    of our own becoming
    that waits far back in the darkest corner,
    wondering if we will have what it takes
    to find what it takes
    to be fully alive
    in the time left for living.

    A bit of encouragement at the start:
    Everyone starts where we are.
    Fearful, doubting,
    certain there is no reason to go on.

    Campbell said,
    “The word religion means religio, linking back, linking back the phenomenon of a specific, unique person to the source.”
    To their/our source.
    To who they/we are at their/our core.

    The old Taoists linked the Tao
    with our Original Nature,
    with “the face that was ours
    before we were born.”
    With the Source of Life and Being.
    And said, “Thou art That.”
    We are It.
    We are What We Seek.
    Like the man riding his ox
    looking for his ox.
    Like the woman with her sunglasses on her head,
    looking for her sunglasses.

    We only have to stop,
    see and hear
    to know it is so.

    But we are afraid to look,
    afraid to listen,
    afraid it is not so.

    We have to bear the pain,
    and take a chance
    on the wonder
    of our own
    unending becoming
    coming into being
    in every moment,
    here and now.

  43. 07/17/2020  —  Big Creek Cascade 11/16/2009 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Waterford, North Carolina, November 16, 2009

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

    That is all we need to know.

    Yet the 10,000 things interfere with our knowing
    even that much.

    Distractions abound.
    Diversions proliferate.
    We lose the way.
    Stray from the path.
    Wake up–if we are lucky–
    at the bottom of some wall,
    wondering how we got there
    and where we go from here.

    We got there by being smart.
    Thinking we knew what we were doing.
    Knowing what we wanted
    and how to get it.

    That will do it every time.

    Knowing what we want
    overlooks the most important thing:
    What Does Wanting Know???

    Nothing as it turns out.

    When we live from the center,
    we are not influenced by either
    fear or desire,
    anger or greed,
    but from the Life Point,
    like leaves turning to the sun,
    we turn toward–
    move toward–
    exactly what we need at that point,
    knowing only that this
    is the right thing for us to do
    at that particular place in time,
    and to not move toward it
    would be to do irreparable damage
    not just to ourselves,
    but to our place in life,
    with implications moving outward
    like a giant Tsunami in all directions,
    altering forever what might have been.

    Our task is to live from the center
    and not let anything knock us off
    the Life Point
    because from there
    everything flows
    for good or for evil.

  44. 07/18/2020  —  Reelfoot Lake 11/04/2015 01 — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 4, 2015

    Don’t give a damn about what your chances are!

    That’s my best advice.

    If you can do better than that,
    why haven’t you?

    It is obvious to any onlooker
    that if you are here reading this now,
    you haven’t done any better than that,
    else why would you be here reading this now?

    You would be somewhere else,
    doing something else
    worth more to you.

    The fact that you are here reading this now
    is hard evidence against your ever have taken any
    advice that has been of much value to you.
    Your best bet is to stick with me
    and stop giving a damn about what your chances are.
    Caring about your chances
    is the one thing holding you back.
    If you want to shoot for the stars,
    you have to stop worrying about your chances.

    It is like this:
    There are two ways of calculating your way to the stars.
    The first way is thinking long and hard about it.
    Always considering your odds,
    covering all your bases,
    taking everything into account,
    and doing everything people who know more than you do
    tell you about what you have to do to reach the stars,
    being careful to have everything in place
    just waiting for your chance at the Big Time.

    The second way is not giving a damn about your chances
    of reaching the stars,
    and spending your time
    listening to your heart
    and doing what makes your little heart sing and dance,
    listening to your body–
    particularly to your stomach
    (Your “gut feelings”)
    and your bones,
    seeing what you look at
    knowing what you know,
    and doing what the situation is calling for
    one situation at a time.

    You may not reach the stars any sooner
    choosing the second path,
    but you will be just as happy
    every second along the way
    as you would be if you were among the stars
    right now.

  45. 07/18/2020  —  Bodie Island Light House 10/25/2009 02 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Outer Banks, North Carolina, October 25, 2009

    The only sin is being wrong about what is important.

    We have our entire life
    to learn to be right about what is important.
    A life that is entirely wasted on most of us.

    Too many of us refuse to change our mind
    about what is important
    in spite of repeated headlong crashes
    into the solid wall of reality.

    Some of us will never wake up.

    If lived experience won’t teach us
    what matters most,
    what will?

    How many of us are right
    about what we take to be important?

    That is the only thing worth
    being right about.

    How much time do we spend
    assessing the correctness of our assessment?

  46. 07/18/2020  —  Atlantic Dawn 11/01/2010 01 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, November 01, 2010

    Our circumstances call us forth,
    inviting us to rise to the occasion,
    no matter what the occasion.
    How well we answer the invitation
    tells the tale.

    There are no throw-away occasions.
    We have to treat every one
    as though everything is on the line.
    Each moment is the most important moment.
    How we treat the housekeeper
    is as significant as how we treat the CEO
    of the hotel chain.

    Every situation calls for something from us.
    How present we are in every situation
    determines how responsive we are
    to the situation.

    Here we are.
    Now what?
    What now?
    Right here.

    Answering the questions correctly
    transforms the world.

    Acting as though this is so
    makes it so.

  47. 07/18/2020  —  Filmore Glen 10/03/2014 01 — Filmore Glen State Park, Moravia, NY, October 3, 2014

    Joseph Campbell, quotes Guiraut de Borneilh:
    “So through the eyes love attains the heart,
    for the eyes are the scouts of the heart.
    And the eyes go reconnoitering
    for what it would please the heart to possess.”

     This not only has to do with romantic love,
    which is a mutuality of attraction
    brought about by the mutuality of projection,
    with each participant projecting
    onto the other the characteristics
    that each person
    most needs to develop within themselves.

    It is also true of The Way and The Work
    that are ours to walk and to do,
    which are the same thing,
    The Way being The Work,
    and The Work being The Way.

    “The eyes are the scouts of the heart.”
    When we see The Way that is ours to walk,
    and The Work that is ours to do,
    we know it,
    and then it only remains a matter
    of knowing what we know
    when we know it,
    and having the courage to act on it
    when the time for acting is upon us.

    And the rule is always valid:
    Look closer at what catches your eye!

    And another rule is like unto it:
    Be aware of everything you are about to:

  48. 07/19/2020  —  Atlantic Dawn 10/26/2008 02 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, October 26, 2008

    Our circumstances evoke our character
    when we rise to meet them on their terms,
    understanding them to be
    exactly what we need
    at this point in our life
    to come forth
    and be born again.

    Death and resurrection, Kid.
    Death and resurrection.

    Trials and revelations, Kid.
    Trials and revelations.

    Ordeals and realizations, Kid.
    Ordeals and realizations.

    Consciousness is transformed–
    we change our minds–
    only through the death experience
    of our trials and ordeals.

    Getting up and doing the thing
    that most needs to be done,
    the way it needs to be done-
    even so,
    in each situation as it arises
    can be like dying.
    And it can be the doorway,
    the threshold,
    to a new way of seeing,
    a new way of being
    a new way of life.

    How we meet our circumstances
    is the crucial element
    in influencing our circumstances
    toward life, away from death,
    or toward death, away from life.

    “The bird is in our hands.”

    We grow through the very things
    that appear to be the absolute end
    of all things good–
    if we meet them in a way
    that takes what is given
    and looks for the hidden passage
    to what also is there.

    Joseph Campbell said,
    “Where we stumble and fall,
    there lies the treasure.”

    And the old Taoist tale
    “The Lost Horse Returns”
    reminds us that things have a way
    of turning over time
    if we give them time
    to show us what else may be coming–
    to see what other doors may be opening–
    for those who wait,

    The stone the builders reject
    becomes the chief cornerstone.
    The junk jewelry conceals
    the priceless gem.
    And these circumstances
    are the very thing we need
    to take the next step
    toward whom we are yet to be.

    It only takes believing it is so
    for it to be so.

  49. 07/19/2020  — Cedar Island Ferry Sunset 10/26/2011 01 — Pamlico Sound, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, October 26, 2011

    It is possible to live from the center of knowing what to do
    in response to the situation as it arises,
    just as tennis players (etc.) respond spontaneously
    to situations as they develop on the court,
    knowing what to do
    without knowing how they know.

    It is possible to live like we are playing tennis (etc.).
    There is a catch.
    We have to quit living
    in the service of contrivance
    and insincerity.

    Living from the Center means
    giving up our attachment to the outcome
    and serving an outcome
    that is good for the situation as a whole–
    and that is an expression of the integrity
    of us as a whole.

    We live as an integrated whole
    in relationship with other selves
    living with us as integrated wholes

    This is possible when everyone
    within the community
    (The Community of Innocence
    in which everyone is seeking
    the best for all concerned,
    with no agenda or plans
    for themselves alone)
    is living “transparent to transcendence”
    (Joseph Campbell),
    so that everyone is reflecting/exhibiting/incarnating
    the ineffable wonder at the heart of our life together.

    This is the experience
    of That Which Has Always Been Called God
    and is present whenever two or three, or more,
    people live truthfully together from the heart.

    Living truthfully together from the heart
    is a lost art
    that can be revived simply by living from our center
    in relationship with others living from their center.

    Doing that is merely a matter
    of being still and quiet
    and waiting in the silence
    for all the bluster to fall away,
    and getting to know what remains.
    Then stepping back into our life
    with the truth of who we are now
    as a very present companion,
    enjoying our company
    and glad to be with us knowingly at last.

  50. 07/20/2020  —  Lotus Blossom 01

    We cannot see/hear/know/understand/do/be/become
    before the time for seeing/hearing/knowing/understanding/


    We can delay seeing, etc.
    long past the time for seeing, etc.
    by being distracted/lost
    in pursuit of the wrong goals
    in the service of the wrong ideas
    about what is important
    and worth our time.

    Quoth the prophets:
    “O Land, Land, Land!
    HEAR the Word of the Lord!”

    “How long am I to bear with you?
    How long do I have to put up with you?”

    “There are none who do what is right!
    Not ONE!”

    And so it is said by those who know,
    “Neanderthal got it.
    Cro Magnon didn’t.
    And here we are.”

    for those who can hear
    what is to be heard,
    and do what must be done.

    Like Obi wan Kenobi
    wondering what is keeping
    Luke Skywalker.
    And Master Yoda
    napping in the swamp
    between Jedi’s.

    We cannot hurry the time
    of its arrival.
    And we must be ready
    when it comes.

    That is the paradox of the times.

    The time between times
    can seem eternal,
    but it is the most important time.
    How we spend it
    tells the tale.

    And the joke of all jokes is on us,
    waiting for the day of the Lord’s return
    while the Lord is waiting for us
    to show up–
    seeing and hearing
    what has been right before us
    all along.

  51. 07/20/2020  —  Blueberries 06/30/2019 06 — The Vine Place, Van Wyck, South Carolina, June 30, 2019

    Only those who can bear the pain of,
    and dance with,
    the contradictions
    of life as it comes
    have what it takes
    to see what’s what
    and do what can be done about it
    with the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues/character
    that comes with them from the womb
    in each situation as it arises
    all their life long.

    Everybody else takes refuge
    in their dreams
    of how life should be,
    or retreats to their favorite way
    of dismissing,
    the reality of the way things are,
    and lives in denial
    and dead to the world as it is
    all their life long.

    If you are going to be alive
    in this world,
    and it is the only world there is,
    you are going to have to live your life
    on your life’s terms–
    without pausing to curse,
    or complain.

    Coming to terms with life’s terms
    and accepting the fact of:
    This is the way things are,
    and this is what you can do about it,
    and that’s that,
    every day.

  52. 07/20/2020  —  Duggers Creek Falls 07/06/2014 01 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls Visitor’s Center, Linville Falls, North Carolina, July 6, 2014

    Carl Jung thought we live
    to bring ourselves to life.
    Joseph Campbell would say the same.
    And, he would say that all the mythologies
    from the beginning say the same.

    We are forever seeking ourselves.

    T.S. Eliot, in “The Four Quartets,” said,
    “We shall not cease from exploration,
    and the end of all our exploring will be
    to arrive where we started
    and know the place for the first time.”

    The Old Taoists held that the Quest we are on
    is to find our Original Nature,
    and know “the face that was ours
    before our parents were born.”

    Jung saw the task before us
    as one of “Individuation,”
    whereby we become who we are
    by the life-long process
    of “circumambulation,”
    an ever tightening spiral
    around and around
    the center that is the Self,
    gradually realizing,
    who we are
    over the full course of our life.

    We think we are here to make a lot of money
    and “pass a good time.”

    We are living on one track
    when we need to be living on another track.
    We are going in one direction
    when we need to be going in a different direction.

    I don’t know how
    we are going to get things
    turned around.

    I do know the old Taoist Masters
    understood their sole task to be
    “turning the light around.”

    Now it is our turn
    to do the turning.

    Turning, turning, turning,
    along the path Jung laid out before us:
    “We are who we always have been,
    and who we will be.”

    Happy trails,
    fellow travelers!
    I’ll keep an eye out for you
    along the way!

  53. 07/20/2020  —  Great Blue Heron 04/20/2014 02 — Audubon Swamp Garden, Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, South Carolina, April 20, 2014

    Schopenhauer said that when we look back over our life
    it seems as though everything fits together
    like a life-size jig saw puzzle,
    with all those chance meetings
    and events
    working together to create
    the harmonious whole
    that has us right here,
    right now.

    And he posits that the director,
    the choreographer,
    of the wonderful whole
    that is our complete life
    is none other than
    the mysterious center of ourselves,
    pulling rabbits out of a hat,
    dancing this way with that,
    and that way with this,
    producing the opus we have lived
    without being aware
    of what we were doing.

    “There is a center,”
    he would say,
    and 10,000 others with him,
    “at work to coalesce a lived history
    around itself
    through our choices
    and reaction to events
    and circumstances
    that have only us (and our center)
    as the one influential constant
    responsible for the majestic creation
    of the life we have lived.

    Our life is the product
    we have produced without intent or purpose.
    Joseph Campbell, thinking about this, said,
    “None of us has lived the life we intended.”

    But, we can trust ourselves to The Mystery
    of our own unfolding.
    We can rely on the center of our own being.
    There are at work within us
    forces we cannot imagine,
    or begin to control–
    but we can pledge ourselves to them
    with filial devotion
    and liege loyalty,
    letting what happens be what happens,
    and looking forward to how that
     contributes to the marvel of the whole
    in response to the prayer of the people
    throughout the ages:
    “The work of our hands–
    establish, Thou, it!”

  54. 07/21/2020  —  Lotus Blossom 04

    “Go in search of your father–
    your mother–
    your life!”

    The instructions are opaque,

    Contradiction is everywhere.

    Our work is making sense of the contradictions
    that clog our day.
    We do that best by saying,
    “That, too!
    That, too!”
    To every one.
    And dancing with them all.

    Is it our father,
    or our mother,
    or our life
    that we are to find?

    and yes!

    And then what?

    “Kill your father!
    Kill your mother!
    And let your life eat your life!
    For breakfast,
    and dinner!”

    You are kidding, right?

    “Of course, I’m kidding!
    Nothing is literal!
    It is all metaphorical!
    Metaphors are the only way
    to deal with the contradictions!
    If you take it all too seriously,
    you curl up and die!
    It’s metaphor all the way down!”

    If you don’t die,
    you will never live.

    Death and resurrection, Kid.
    Death and resurrection.

    And the Kid walks away,
    shaking her/his head.

    “Come back here, Kid!
    I’m not through with you!
    Sit down!
    Count all of the ways you have already died
    to live to this point in your life!
    There have been many,
    don’t tell me there have been none!
    And there are many more
    yet to come!
    Embrace them all!

    Go in search of your father–
    your mother–
    your life!

    And do the work of finding,
    again and again.

    It’s death and resurrection
    all the way down!”

  55. 07/21/2020  —  Barn on Mormon Row 06/24/2011 03 — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming, June 24, 2011

    Poor Donald Trump cannot take “No!” for an answer.
    He missed that initial induction into the Developmental Tasks.
    And there is no moving forward
    without moving back
    and starting over
    with learning to take “No!” for an answer.
    That is elemental.

    Poor Donald Trump does just what we wants to do,
    and nothing that he doesn’t want to do.
    No one explained to him
    that we grow up against our will
    all along the way,
    and learning to do that
    is essential to everything that follows.

    That we bear the pain of “No!” uttered in 10,000 ways
    throughout the long course of our life.
    That we die again and again
    in the service of rising to the occasion
    and doing what needs to be done
    for the sake of the good of the situation
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    “Death and resurrection, Kid.
    Death and resurrection.”

    No one ever said those words
    to Poor Donald Trump.
    Or, if they did, they were never heard
    as they needed to be heard,
    with full comprehension,
    absolute acceptance
    and resolute obedience
    in compliance with the task at hand,
    namely, dying to himself
    in service to the situation
    and a good greater
    than his own personal good.

    And, here we are.
    Awash in the refusal of Poor Donald Trump
    to grow up
    and do what needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises
    whether he wants to or not.
    Because nothing worth happening
    can happen
    until that does.

  56. 07/21/2020  —  Spider Web 11/23/2013 02 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, November 23, 2013

    When we do what is called for
    situation by situation,
    everything falls into place around that,
    and we find ourselves
    in the process of being ourselves
    in the day-to-day proceedings of our life.

    There is a problem.
    We want more
    than being who we are
    in the moment-to-moment transactions
    one day at a time.

    With the lights and action
    of Gay Paree in our eyes
    we will never settle for the routine business
    of life on the farm.

    “The best is the enemy of the good,”
    and we are off to find our place in the Big Time,
    or the biggest time we can arrange,
    with our idea of How Things Ought To Be
    leading the way.

    Except. But. Only.
    We have no idea of how things truly ought to be.
    Our idea is how we want things to be.
    That’s how we think things ought to be.
    And that’s the problem.

    We spend our life trying to hammer our life into shape,
    but our life has a mind of its own,
    and we learn too late–
    if at all–
    where our place is in the life we are living:
    Doing What Needs To Be Done.
    One Situation At A Time.

    The shift is equivalent to the one that took place
    when Obi wan Kenobi placed the helmet
    on Luke Skywalker and said,
    “Listen for the Force.”
    That is the shift that changes everything.

  57. 07/22/2020  —  Lotus Blossom 03

    Ancient peoples all knew
    that the physical world
    is upheld and sustained
    by the invisible world.
    The physical world
    is supported and maintained
    by the metaphysical world.

    Karma and Grace,
    The Ineffable,
    Magic and Black Magic…
    are aspects of the invisible world
    experienced within the visible world.

    Sheldon Kopp was talking
    about the invisible world
    when he said,
    “Some things can be experienced
    but not understood,
    and some things can be understood,
    but not explained.”

    Religion has always stood
    at the cusp between worlds.

    Good Religion interprets the invisible world
    in ways that enable the visible world
    to live in accord with
    and in service to
    the ends of the invisible world.

    Bad Religion interprets the invisible world
    in ways that enable the visible world
    to command and control the invisible world
    in service to the ends, will and desire of the visible world.

    Bad Religion thinks in terms
    of giving in order to get.

    Good religion thinks in terms
    of being in order to be–
    understanding that there is nothing beyond
    being at one with the invisible world
    to want, desire, get, have, own, attain or do.

    We can understand the worlds of visible and invisible,
    of physics and metaphysics,
    in terms of the world of conscious,
    and the world of unconscious,
    and say that human beings
    are capable of living with a foot in each world.

    We can move back and forth between the worlds.
    We can stand apart from both worlds
    and view them as an optical illusion
    wherein we see it this way now,
    and see it that way then.
    Now we see it this way,
    now we see it that way.
    Which way IS is?
    It is both ways at the same time!
    And we know there is a “dimension of life
    that transcends our experience”
    (Joseph Campbell)
    of life in the world of normal, physical, reality.


    This knowing unnerves a lot of people.
    Too many of us “cannot bear to look
    upon the face of God,”
    and need other people to look for us
    and tell us what they see
    and what we must do
    to be on God’s good side,
    to enjoy God’s favor,
    without paying the price
    of bearing the pain of God’s awful presence.

    And in that, Bad Religion is born.

    And you get people who have not had the experience of God
    talking about God
    as though they know what they are saying,
    but they are only saying what they have been told
    and they are using it to their own advantage.

    Their experiences of life are experienced
    without opening them
    “to the radiance of their divine dimension”
    (Joseph Campbell)–
    and awe,
    and “esthetic arrest”
    (James Joyce)
    are words that can be said,
    but do not serve as
    containers of an experience
    that is known and understood–
    and we are talking about images/experiences
    that have no affect, no impact,
    that stir no feeling of recognition and identity within.

    We are alive but dead to life
    because we are lacking eyes that can see
    the things that are “transparent to transcendence”
    and cannot be shown
    “the divine dimensions of life
    that transcends our experiences”
    (Joseph Campbell).

    Everything is “right there,”
    waiting to be seen and also seen,
    known and also known,
    We have to look until we see
    what is also there
    on “the other side”
    of the optical illusion that is our life.

    No one can give us the will and the courage
    to look until we see.

    We have to come up with that on our own.

  58. 07/22/2020  —  Sunrise, Outer Banks 10/26/2008 04 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, October 26, 2008

    In order to be seen at all,
    objective reality has to be interpreted subjectively.
    We can pretend to be objective
    about objective reality, but.
    We can be objective only to the extent
    that we don’t give a damn about the object, and.
    There is a point at which
    not giving a damn about the object
    renders it so meaningless
    as to effectively disappear it
    from our field of vision.

    To be seen at all,
    an object has to mean something to us,
    positively or negatively.
    To truly have no opinion about it
    is to render it invisible.
    Then, our relationship with it
    would be like sitting on an ox
    looking for an ox.
    The ox is right there.
    We are sitting on it.
    Wondering where it could be,
    thinking of something else.
    To see the ox,
    we have to be with the ox,
    and care enough about seeing/finding the ox
    to be able to see it.

    Caring enough about any object
    allows us to see aspects of it
    that would escape us entirely
    if we cared less about it.

    Caring too much about any object
    blurs the lines separating us and it,
    and we have a hard time distinguishing
    where we stop and it starts.
    Enmeshment is the polar extreme to objectivity.
    Optimal viewing lies in the center
    of the bell-shaped curve between the two.

    How we see any object depends on what we have at stake
    in seeing the object the way we see it–
    on what we have at stake in the object
    being what it is,
    being the way it is,
    being what we say it is.

    When we look at something,
    we see what makes it meaningful to us.
    To see anything “as it is”
    is to spend more time examining it
    than we are likely going to be willing to spend.

    We rush past 10,000 things in a day,
    in a moment,
    that we cannot be bothered with seeing.
    We have more important things to do.
    Yet we think we are firmly grounded in,
    attached to,
    “the real world.”

    We cannot see God–
    What Has Always Been Called “God”–
    without stopping to look.

    That Which Has Always Been Called “God”–
    the divine,
    on “the other side” of “normal, apparent, reality”–
    is always “right there,”
    “right here,”
    with us in every moment.
    It only takes looking
    to be able to see.

    Looking in a way that is devoid of theology,
    and doctrine,
    and dogma,
    and ideas of what we are looking for,
    that keep us from seeing what is there.

    To look like that
    is to become “transparent to transcendence”
    (Joseph Campbell),
    and present with what is present with us,
    and transformed forever
    by “eternity in a grain of sand”
    (William Blake).

  59. 07/22/2020  —  Bass Lake 05/19/2014 03 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock North Carolina, May 19, 2014

    Living from the center,
    aligned with the Source,
    in accord with our Original Nature,
    at one with our Energy, Spirit and Vitality,
    perfectly incarnating Balance and Harmony,
    Timing and Flow,
    we are at the top of our game,
    moving with the current of the Tao
    through the Eternal Now
    of Life and Being.

    If you think money can somehow touch that,
    you never will.

  60. 07/23/2020  —  Spiderweb 09/03/2010 02 — Blue Ridge Parkway Near Blowing Rock, North Carolina, September 3, 2020

    Everything dries up and blows away
    in time.

    The things that mean the most to me,
    that prop me up
    and keep me going,
    don’t seem to mean anything at all
    to anyone I know.

    That isn’t going to stop them
    from meaning the most to me.

    Love what you love!
    Enjoy what you enjoy!

    What’s the life span of a spiderweb?
    Or of a spider?
    Neither of those things
    matter to the spider!

    Live like it is forever,
    you and the things you love!

    When I am gone,
    and nothing of me remains
    and all the things that mean the most to me
    have taken their place
    with all that is no more,
    and I,
    will have done our part,
    and that will be that.

    In the meantime,
    there is life to be lived
    before it all dries up
    and blows away!

    Don’t waste a moment
    thinking too bad it doesn’t last!
    Live every one–
    every moment–
    for all it’s worth–
    for all you’re worth–
    as though it is the last moment ever!

    Cherish what is here, now!
    And live as though you do!

    Everything is drying up
    and blowing away!

    Enjoy it while you can!

    Be YOU as long as there is a you to be!
    Don’t hold anything back!
    Look while the light lasts!
    Dance while the music is playing!

    This is your LIFE!
    Live it like it matters to you
    that you are alive–
    throughout the time left for living!

  61. 07/23/2020  —  Lotus Blossom 04

    Each of us has our own life to live.
    There is that which assists/helps us with our life,
    and there is that which hampers/interferes with our life.
    It is our place to know the difference
    and be attuned to it,
    assisting what assists us,
    helping what helps us,
    avoiding what hampers and interferes
    with us living our life
    the way it needs to be lived.

    We are not free to live any way
    we feel like living .
    “We are our own worst enemy”
    in a lot of ways.
    We are the one who hampers/interferes with
    our ability to live our life
    the way it needs to be lived.

    We have to buy into the program ourselves!
    We have to believe in what we are doing–
    in what we are here to do–ourselves!
    We have to believe in us!
    In what is ours to do!

    Most of us don’t even know what that is,
    and couldn’t care less.

    Those of us who belong in that category
    have to start there.
    We have to square up with that.
    Own it.
    Decide what we are going to do about it.
    Decide how we are going to respond to it.
    There is only ourselves and our life
    in this picture,
    and what we choose to do about
    the relationship between us and our life
    is going to make all the difference.
    No one can do that for us.
    We are up to us.
    It is all up to us.
    What happens next is our call to make.

    There is that which helps us live our life,
    and there is that which works against us living our life.
    Are we with us and our life?
    Are we against us and our life?
    Whose side are we on?
    Are we buying in?
    Or selling out?

    If we aren’t buying in,
    we are selling out.
    This is the turning point.
    Everything is on the line.
    Where are we in relation to our life?

  62. 07/23/2020  —  Blue Ridge Fall 10/17/2019 15 — Julian Price Memorial Park Picnic Area, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2019

    Nothing will turn things to the good in our life–
    your life and mine–
    like making our peace with how things are.

    Failing/refusing to do that is the source of all of our pain.
    And doing it is the solution of all of our problems today.
    Every day.


    What’s the problem?

  63. 07/23/2020  —  Cut and Staked 10/06/2002 — Tobacco in the field, Western North Carolina, October 6, 2002

    It takes taking some things on faith–
    believing they are so–
    in order to know that they are.

    The visible world is upheld and sustained
    by the invisible world.

    Death and rebirth are metaphors
    that transform the fact of life
    and enable us to live with facts
    we could not, otherwise, bear.

    Seeing past the facts
    enables us to take into account
    more than denial would allow,
    and opens up worlds for our imagination
    to explore, investigate, examine
    using analogy, allegory, parable and reflection.

    Taking God out of the sphere of facts,
    and understanding God to be representative
    of more than words can say
    about experiences that cannot be explained,
    or even understood,
    permitting “That Which Has Always Been Called God”
    to become real for us beyond theology, doctrine, dogma and creed,
    and inviting us to explore
    what it means to say,
    “There is more to us than meets the eye,”
    and what that might offer us as a guardian and guide
    through dark places and disquieting times.

    We are not alone.
    Carl Jung said, “There is within each of us,
    another, whom we do not know.”

    The Force that is with us as Way and Virtue
    comes to life through sincerity
    and a return to our original nature.
    Grace and Dharma stand by smiling
    as “events unfold in mysteriously appropriate ways”
    (Joseph Campbell).

    However, the invisible world cannot be used
    in the service of our egocentric
    goals, plans, desires, agendas and schemes.
    Contrivance is not a companion of soul.
    And sincerity is the prerequisite for all of our interaction
    with the Source and Goal of Life and Being.

    We are all within a quiet breath
    of that “very present help in time of trouble.”
    All it takes is
    In the stillness
    and the silence
    for things to stir to life there
    and begin to occur to us
    as comfort and direction
    in response to what our life situation
    is calling for.

    What we do about that is up to us.
    It may be enough for now
    to receive it as an encouraging
    disclosure of the fact
    that we are not alone,
    and that we only have to restore
    our relationship with the Other
    who resides within
    to know that it is so.

  64. 07/24/2020  —  Orchard Web 11/23/2013 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, November 23, 2013

    We have to do the work.
    This is no holiday sight-seeing tour,
    no “Show up when you feel like it
    and take as much time off as you like”
    kind of deal.

    This is the Hero’s Journey,
    so-called because it actually requires us
    to put ourselves out
    in its service.

    James Joyce (as per Joseph Campbell
    in A Skeleton Key to Finnegan’s Wake
    and  Mythic Worlds Modern Words
    I have to take Joyce indirectly,
    with interpretation and explanation,
    because reading him is like reading
    a foreign language,
    so, thanks be to Campbell
    for enabling me to do the work
    of comprehending Joyce)
    says there are two kinds of art:
    Proper Art
    and Improper Art.

    Improper Art is pornographic
    in that it either pulls us to desire to possess it,
    or pushes us to abhor and be rid of it.
    Our reaction to Improper Art
    is Lust, Loathing, Fear and Dread.

    Proper Art stops us in our tracks.
    Stuns us into silent reverence.
    Introduces us to awe and wonder.
    Makes us forget to breathe.

    “Aesthetic Arrest,” Joyce calls it.

    Instead of wanting to possess it,
    we are possessed by it
    and are transformed forever
    by our encounter with it.

    We can think of religion
    the way Joyce thinks about art.

    Improper Religion is pornographic.
    “My God is an awesome God!”
    We possess God.
    We own God.
    It is “My God this,”
    and “My God that.”
    And we give God a round of applause.
    Not a standing ovation, mind you,
    a round of applause.
    We offer God trinkets of attention
    and loose change
    in return for all of the things
    we expect God to give us,
    including, of course, Heaven for Eternal Life.
    What a deal.
    And we talk about God all the time.

    Proper Religion takes all of our words away.
    Turns our life inside-out,
    eats our old life alive,
    and transforms us forever
    by the impact of the shock of its reality–
    and conscripts us into its service
    by taking over the direction and control of our life.

    Our life becomes our work in response
    to the call/command that is ours to incarnate,
    and do.

    What we do is our response
    to the wonder of oneness
    with the Art of Religion
    exemplified in our life.

    And we don’t talk about it at all
    because the best things can’t be said,
    and the second-best things can only be inferred
    from the way we live,
    and the third-best and lower things
    are what we talk about,
    news/gossip, weather and sports.

    Our life is properly spent
    doing the work that being alive
    to the truth of how it is really
    requires in each moment.

    Life lived any other way
    is life lived improperly.

  65. 07/25/2020  —  Spiderweb 02 11/07/2002 — Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Townsend, Tennessee, November 7, 2002

    It all hangs by a thread,
    turns on a dime,
    It’s all just a product
    of chance and time…

    And yet, and yet…

    I was always going to be a writer,
    and a photographer,
    a seer seeking expression,
    a knower wanting to know.

    Carl Jung was never more correct
    than when he said,
    “We are who we always have been,
    and who we will be.”

    There is nothing accidental about us.
    Time and chance don’t stand a chance with us.

    We are going to be who we are!

    The pine tree is tucked away in the seed.
    The oak is never going to be a weed.

    Who we are is right here with us all along.
    It only takes looking to see,
    knowing to know,
    paying attention to understand.

    So sit with yourself in some quiet place.
    Invite reflection.
    Await realization.
    Consider the thread of you
    playing out over time.
    Who have you been showing yourself to be
    all along the way
    from the beginning to now?
    What’s your shtick?
    There you are.
    Now–go be you!
    Do what you do!

  66. 07/25/2020  —  Cades Cove 02/28/2014 10 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Townsend, Tennessee, February 28, 2014

    When we go off into the world
    to find our life and live it,
    we do not know where the lines lie,
    or where we should draw them.

    We can easily care too much about the wrong things,
    and care too little about the right things.

    Where does the line lie between the wrong things
    and the right things?
    Where does the line lie between too much
    and too little?

    Time will tell.

    We can trust ourselves to time
    and to our life experience over time
    to reveal all we need to know
    about finding our life and living it.

    In the meantime,
    there is only taking our time
    and paying attention–
    seeing what we look at,
    feeling what we feel,
    sensing what we sense,
    knowing what we know
    about what’s what,
    what’s happening,
    and what is being called for
    in each situation as it arises,
    reflecting and reassessing
    all along the way.

    It helps to have little in the way
    of judgment or opinion–
    no more than,
    “Oops. Wrong turn!
    Back up. Try again,”
    would be just fine.

  67. 07/25/2020  —  The Train at Morant’s Curve 09/19/2009 03 — Banff National Park, Alberta, September 19, 2009

    What are the forces of destabilization in your life?
    What are the forces of balance and harmony?
    What serves as your grounding foundation?
    What do you turn to when you have nowhere to turn?
    What keeps you going?

    The silence that connects us to the Source is always there.
    Both are always there.
    The Source is the locus of our Original Nature
    which is the grounding foundation of our life
    in all conditions,
    and circumstances.

    Being who we are
    and doing it like we would do it
    as an expression/incarnation
    of who we are
    in each situation as it arises
    is all we need to know-do-be.

    We are stabilized when we are being who we are.
    Our balance and harmony snap into place
    when we are being who we are.

    What do we need to be who we are?
    We need to stop.
    And redirect.
    Step back into the moment,
    see what is being called for,
    respond as only we can
    out of the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues/character
    that are ours to share.

    All our life long.

  68. 07/26/2020  —  Spiderweb 09/05/2009 02 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, September 5, 2009

    Bringing ourselves forth
    to meet the time and place
    of our living,
    moment by moment,
    situation by situation,
    day after day,
    is becoming who we need to be
    to provide what we have to offer
    to the times
    as they swirl,
    around us,
    is becoming who we are.

    Becoming who we need to be–
    who we are called to be
    by each situation as it arises–
    is becoming who we are.

    There are no steady states of being.
    Living is becoming.
    Is transitioning.
    Is life.
    Is being transformed by life.

    Accommodation and adjustment, Kid!
    Accommodation and adjustment!

    In becoming,
    we are one with the Flow,
    with the Flux,
    with the way of The Way–
    offering what is needed
    when it is needed,
    the way it is needed
    time after time,
    throughout time,
    through all times.
    And places,
    and circumstances.

    Dancing with the times.
    Dancing with eternity.
    Being one with the times over time.
    Being one with ourselves in all times.

    Nobody can do more than that.
    That is all that can be asked of any of us.
    To want more than that is to miss it.

    Just be who you are becoming who you are
    in response to the times of your living
    in the place you are now,
    no, now,
    no, now…
    always and forever,

    We take who we are–
    who we are capable of being–
    in one hand,
    and what the situation is asking of us–
    is asking us to be–
    is calling for,
    in the other hand,
    and we get the two hands together,
    time after time over time.

    Over the full course of time that is ours to work with.
    Changing by becoming who we are yet to be
    in response to the times
    all of the time.

    We are called forth by our circumstances,
    and bring ourselves forth
    by rising to meet every occasion
    all our life long.

    This is the way of The Way
    living in us,
    living through us
    throughout time.

    By becoming who we are without ceasing,
    we bring something new into the world
    all the time.

    We break the cyclical cycle.
    The old has passed away,
    behold the new has come,
    every day,
    throughout the day,
    each day,
    just by being who we are,
    becoming who we are.

    Making all things new.


  69. 07/26/2020  —  Dugger’s Creek Falls 07/06/2015 01 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls Visitor Center, Linville Falls, North Carolina, July 6, 2015

    “Comfort, comfort my people,” says the Lord to the prophet (Isaiah)
    “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
    and tell her that her hard times are past…”

    “But do not under any circumstances
    say ‘Peace, Peace’ when there is no peace!”
    says the Lord to a different prophet (Jeremiah).

    The Bible says opposite things,
    top to bottom
    all the time.
    Because times change.
    There is no Word of the Lord for all times and places.

    The Word of the Lord
    is like the Spirit
    that blows where it will.

    One time it is like this,
    and another time it is like that,
    but always and forever it is of the times.
    and uniquely suited
    to this here,
    this now.

    The Word of the Lord is context sensitive.

    Sometimes it is like this,
    and sometimes it is like that.
    It all depends.

    Which means we can’t count on it
    to be anything more that what it is–
    what it needs to be–
    right here, right now.

    And that puts us on the spot.
    We are always in the position
    of determining for ourselves
    what Word of the Lord is apropos
    and applicable
    right here, right now.
    How do we know?

    By being attuned to right here, right now.
    By being tuned into right here, right now.
    By seeing what’s what,
    hearing what is being said
    and knowing what needs to be said in response,
    and what needs to be done in response,
    and what the situation is calling for,
    and doing it,
    right here, right now.

    The Word of the Lord comes
    not just to the prophets,
    but to all of those clued into the moment
    of their living.
    We are all prophets.
    A prophet is someone who sees and hears
    and knows and understands
    what’s what
    and what to do about it.

    And everyone is capable of that.
    All it takes are eyes to see,
    ears to hear,
    and hearts to comprehend.

    We all have eyes, ears, hearts!
    What is the problem?
    Could it be that what we
    are in our way?

    And that the only thing standing
    between us
    and That Which Has Always Been Called God
    is us?

  70. 07/27/2020  —  Lake Andrew Jackson 07/26/2020 02 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, July 26, 2020

    Turning the light around
    means looking within for
    What now?
    What next?
    Then what?

    You will likely hear,
    “One step at a time–
    you are two steps over the limit.”

    We hate uncertainty,

    Then What?
    We want it to be spelled out.
    Written down.
    With all contingencies taken into account
    and all bases covered.

    And, with all that considered,
    not one of us intended to be where we are
    here and now.
    How did we wind up here, now?
    By fortuitous (or not)
    and unseen turns of events.

    That got us here,
    and it will take us from here
    into the next moment,
    and the one after that.
    The best we can do is assist the process
    by opening ourselves to
    the nature of the now,
    for what is being called for
    and what needs to be done about it,
    and see where it goes.

    All of the guidance and direction we need
    is found  in listening:
    to our body
    (Listen to your heart–
    What makes your little heart sing and dance?
    How often is your heart in what you do?
    Listen to your stomach–
    What is your gut feeling telling you?
    Listen to your bones–
    What do you know in your bones?),

    To our nighttime dreams
    (Our dreams are mirrors reflecting
    how things currently are in our life,
    giving us a read-out of what’s what
    and how it is with us.
    What are they telling you?
    How do you feel about your dreams
    during the dream
    and after?
    What part do you play in your dreams?
    What themes run through your dreams?
    What dreams recur?
    What message do they deliver?)

    To our daytime fantasies
    (Where do we go?
    What do we do?
    What solutions do they suggest?
    What situations do they promise to remedy?)

    To our recurring advice to ourselves
    (What are we always telling ourselves?
    Where did we first hear that?
    When we listen to ourselves,
    who are we actually listening to?
    Who are we living to please?
    Or to displease?
    How dependable has our self-guidance proven to be?
    What guides our boat on its path through the sea?).

    Experiencing our experience
    through awareness and reflection
    leads to new realizations.
    Knowing what we know
    is essential knowing.
    And we don’t know
    what we do not attend.

    Turn the light around!

  71. 07/27/2020  —  Leaving Mesa Verde 09/27/2007

    Every human being leaves more undone
    than they get done.

    That is the pathos of being human.

    No other life form worries about,
    or even thinks of,
    getting things done.

    All of them do what needs to be done
    in each moment as it arises,
    and let that be that.

    I’d like to know how many other life forms
    suffer from self-induced depression.
    I know none do so from having done so little,
    when so much needs to be done.

    It is entirely within the realm of possibility
    that a large number of humans kill themselves
    because they cannot do enough,
    because they cannot change enough
    of what needs to be changed,
    because they cannot make enough of a difference
    in the way things are–
    and that others lose themselves in some form of addiction
    because they cannot live with doing so little.

    I wonder at what point
    in the evolutionary development of the species
    we began to despair
    because we realized nothing we did mattered
    in terms of the impact for good
    it had on the way things are.
    And started telling ourselves
    “God is working his purpose out,”
    and “it will all be made up to us in heaven.”

    I do know that dogs don’t let it get them down.
    And cats?
    When has a cat ever cared about
    not being enough?

  72. 07/28/2020  —  Morant’s Curve 09/18/2009 — Banff National Park, Alberta, September 18, 2009

    Nothing is just what it is.
    Everything points beyond itself
    to the 10,000 things.

    In any situation,
    the 10,000 things are present,
    and 10,000 things are going on
    representing “the stuff”
    each person–
    and each living entity–
    bring to the situation
    out of their/its own lived experience.

    It is a complicated world.

    and create
    everything that happens
    and happens not
    in each situation as it arises
    across the board,
    around the world.

    Try getting a handle on that.
    Try controlling that.
    It is always a wonder
    that things aren’t
    in more of a mess
    than they are in.


    Balance and harmony, Kid.
    Balance and harmony.
    Starts at home.

    Begin here, now.
    Sit still.
    Be quiet.
    Until you see,
    what’s what,
    what’s happening,
    what’s going on,
    what’s being called for,
    what needs to be done about it,
    right here,
    right now…

    Awareness is our only tool.
    Our only chance
    at balance and harmony.
    “This too, this, too.”

    Reflection leads to realization.
    Realization leads to
    “Thou Art That.”

    Seeing our own disparate,
    and dislocation
    allows us to be cognizant of others’
    and opens the way
    to an “I and Thou” reckoning,
    and a “What now?” dialog,
    with compassion and peace
    companions long absent from the conversation
    present at last in the room.

  73. 07/28/2020  —  Lake Andrew Jackson 07/26/2020 02 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, July 26, 2020

    We stand before the Cyclops
    in any one of his multitudinous manifestations
    and recite the mantra
    of the hopeless and forlorn
    throughout the ages:

    “Why take another step?
    What good do we think it will do?
    We are wasting our time!
    What’s the point of even showing up?
    Who cares?
    What difference will it make?
    Why go on with the farce?”

    And the Cyclops grins again,
    red eye flashing hatred and rage,
    stepping forward
    to claim his prize.

    But, with a slight shift of perspective,
    we turn the light around,
    and step forward ourselves
    to stop him where he stands:

     “Why take another step?
    What good do you think it will do?
    You are wasting your time!
    What’s the point of even showing up?
    Who cares what you do or say?
    What difference do you think you will make?
    Why go on with the farce?
    You are not scaring us off!
    We are in this in spite of the best you can do
    for as long as the work
    needs to be done!
    We are not quitting!
    We don’t care what our chances are!
    We are locked into what is called for!
    We are solidly grounded in service to the Good
    whether it does any good or not!
    We are glad to be good for nothing!
    If you want to tangle with us, come on!
    We aren’t stopping–
    or even slowing down!”

    The Cyclops depends on hopelessness
    and dejection
    doing his work for him.
    When we find what is worth doing
    “without hope,
    without witness,
    without reward”
    (Steven Moffat),
    there is no reason ever to quit,
    or even slow down.

    When we know what we would go to hell for,
    we know what we will do no matter what,
    and are free to live life
    as it needs us to live it,
    without bothering to even keep score.

  74. 07/29/2020  —  Lake Andrew Jackson 07/26/2020 08 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, July 26, 2020

    How do we know what to do when?
    Fear could guide us.
    Or desire.
    Or loathing,

    We could live at the whim
    of emotional reactivity.


    What do our emotions know?

    Reason and logic have their place.


    What guides them through their
    carefully plotted deliberations?
    How do they know what is best for us
    or our situation?
    “Best” in terms of what?
    In light of what?

    How good is the good
    reason and logic call good?

    “Well,” they would say,
    “If you want this,
    here is the best path to that end!”


    What does wanting know?
    How do we know what to want?
    How we know what we should want?
    How do we want what we ought to want?

    How do we know what needs to be done
    without contriving our way to a future
    where we have no business being?

    Where do we belong?
    How do we know?

    We have to go all the way back
    to who we are
    to find out.

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

    Living in ways that incarnate,
    reveal and make known
    who we are
    in each situation as it arises,
    regardless of contexts,
    and circumstances
    is being true to ourselves
    and to our place in our life
    throughout our life.

    It is to work out the conflicts
    and contradictions
    between who we are
    and where we are
    through negotiation and compromise,
    adjustment and accommodation.

    What do we need to be who we are,
    where we are,
    when we are,
    here and now?

    It takes sitting quietly,
    in stillness and silence,
    to find the way
    to The Way of Being Who We Are
    Here and Now.

    Wait for the mud to settle
    and the water to clear.

    Listen to your heart
    (What makes your little heart
    sing and dance?).
    Listen to your stomach
    (Those gut feelings).
    Listen to your “bones”
    (What you “know in your bones”).
    Listen to your nighttime dreams.

    Ask the questions that beg to be asked.
    Say the things that cry out to be said.
    Reflect on the things
    that have always been true about you
    over the full course of your life–
    they will always be true about you.
    What does that tell you about where and how
    you need to be?
    About where you belong,
    and belong not?

    Watch what you find yourself doing
    directing yourself to what needs to be done.

    See how your sense of direction
    forms itself around,
    and flows from,
    the stillness and silence
    of mindful walk-a-bouts.

  75. 07/29/2020  —  Barbed Wire 09/03/2010 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, North Carolina, September 3, 2010

    How do we know what is important?
    How do we decide what matters
    and what doesn’t?
    How do we know we are right?
    What makes us think we are?
    How often do we evaluate our evaluations?
    Against what do we check our plumb?
    The accuracy of our circle?
    The squareness of our square?
    We declare we are right,
    How do we know that we are right?
    How often do we even ask the question.

  76. 07/30/2020  —  Lake Andrew Jackson 07/26/2020 05 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, July 26, 2020

    We live to turn things to our advantage.
    As though we know what that is.
    Is it better to win or to lose?
    Is it better to get what you want,
    or to get what you don’t want?

    Only time will tell.
    And then, time will tell again.
    And again…
    When do we ever know for sure?

    We know for sure that we are better off
    in some places than in others,
    but which places are which,
    and for how long “better” lasts,
    we do not know.

    And yet, we live to turn things to our advantage.

    You might think,
    that by now we would have come up with
    a different strategy for having it made.

    I suggest we start with
    forgetting about having it made.
    Having it made is such a time-limited matter.
    We are going to die!
    There is no such thing as having it made
    when it is only a matter of time until we die!
    You can call it having it made–
    I call it dying!

    How are we going to live until we die?
    That is our only question!
    Not, “What is to our greatest advantage?”
    Not, “What is the shortest route to having it made?”
    But, “How can we live the best life we are capable of living
    within the conditions and circumstances
    that define our environment
    until we die?”

    Living to answer the right question makes all the difference.
    What questions are you living to answer?

  77. 07/30/2020  —  A Flight of Pelicans 11/03/2001 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, November 3, 2001

    Scary times.

    Made scarier by the fact
    that we aren’t in control of what happens.
    What’s new about that
    is that we have lost access
    to our comforting illusions
    and ready escapes near at hand.

    We have never been in control of what happens.
    The best we have ever been able to hope for
    is controlling our response to what happens
    in light of what is being asked of us
    here and now,
    in this present moment of our living.
    And that remains the case right here, right now!

    What is being called for here?
    Respond to that as best you can!

    Forget the “big picture,”
    the “long term”!

    Right here! Right now!

    Here we are, now what?

    What is necessary right here, right now?

    Do that.

    The long term is a different matter.
    We have to settle ourselves into that,
    and make our peace with having to deal with it
    for the long term.

    We have to grieve what must be grieved,
    and bear what must be borne.

    We have lost so much–
    so much has been lost by so many!
    We all have to–must–bear consciously the pain
    of all that we/they have lost!

    Bearing consciously the pain
    of our grief, loss and sorrow
    is crucial to our life–
    to our ability to live–
    over the long term.

    We have to feel what must be felt,
    grieve what must be grieved,
    mourn what must be mourned,
    see what must be seen,
    know what must be known,
    and fully face it all
    without discounting,
    denying any of it!

    Sob, cry, throw-up, scream…
    Do. Not. Hold. It. In.
    Do. Not. Pretend. It. Away.
    Face it!
    Feel it!
    Vent it!
    Express it!
    Know it! Know it! Know it!

    Several times throughout the day,
    for as many days as it takes.

    In order to treat our grief well,
    we have to master the age-old art
    of walking two paths at the same time.

    We have to do now what needs to be done now,
    and we have to grieve our losses,
    feel our fear,
    and face the reality of a new world
    without the comfort of safe guards and shelters.

    We are on our own
    like few of us have ever been before.
    Our ancestors have all been here,
    where we are,
    before us.
    We have their genes.
    Our Psyche comes from them.
    We have built-in to the system–
    into our system–
    a reservoir or time tested archetypes
    for meeting whatever life throws at us.
    We only have to find our way back to
    our Original Nature to know that it is so.

    We do that by trusting it is as I say it is
    when I say, “There is more to us than meets the eye.”
    All of us.
    Every one of us.
    And when I say, “We have what it takes
    to rise to the occasion–
    every occasion.”

    We come from good stock.
    We are built to take it,
    and to find what it takes
    to do what it takes
    about whatever is before us,
    and whatever needs to be done about it.

    To find our Original Nature,
    we have to “turn the light around”
    and seek what we need within ourselves,
    and not in our external environment.

    To do that:
    Breathe (Slowly, deeply pausing between exhale and inhale).
    Wait (“For the mud to settle
    and the water to clear”).
    Remember your breathing.
    Watch for what begins to stir
    in the stillness,
    in the silence,
    showing you,
    reminding you,
    who you are,
    and always have been,
    and will always be–
    the core truth of your very own being.

    We all have access to the Source of who we are,
    of our Original Nature,
    and the Source of life itself,
    to stabilize us
    and ground us
    upon the adamantine foundation
    of what is unshakable about us–
    and to orient us,
    guide and direct us,
    sustain and encourage us,
    in facing what must be faced
    and doing what needs to be done about it.

    In the presence of the Source,
    and possessed by our Original Nature,
    we are never alone,
    and have all we need
    to find what we need
    to do what is ours to do.

    Return to the Source on a regular basis.
    Know what is true about you
    in dealing with what is true about your life,
    and living appropriately
    in response to your circumstances
    throughout the time left for living.

  78. 07/31/2020  —  Lake Andrew Jackson 07/26/2020 10 Panorama — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, July 26, 2020

    I don’t know where the line lies between
    intimacy and vulnerability.
    I don’t know if there is a line.
    I think it may be one thing.
    I don’t know what to call it.

    I don’t know where the lines lie among
    and psychological
    and physical
    and emotional
    and spiritual.
    I don’t know if there are lines.
    I think it may all be one thing.
    I don’t know what to call it.
    “Me,” perhaps.

    But then, where does the line lie between
    and “you”?

    I don’t know where the line lies between
    and logical.
    Or if there is one.

    It feels like it would be easier
    to draw lines separating these last three entities
    from the others,
    but there is mutuality among them all,
    and we all sort ourselves out
    along a continuum containing all people
    from all times and places
    in a way that enables us to recognize one another
    and not confuse ourselves with any one.
    We all are different but remarkably similar.

    And how trustworthy are the lines
    separating these aspects of ourselves
    within ourselves,
    and separating ourselves
    from all other selves?

    How do we “get it all together”
    in all of these ways,
    as individuals,
    without being “together”
    with one another,
    with each other,
    throughout the continuum of humanity?

    And, could it be,
    that the things that keep us separated
    into categories of “me” and “you,”
    and “us” and “them,”
    also keep us separated/cut off/isolated/apart from
    all of these aspects of ourselves
    within ourselves?

    So that the more we identify ourselves
    as “us” and not “them,”
    the less integrated and whole we are
    within ourselves–
    and the more whole we are
    within ourselves,
    the less able we are to think of ourselves
    as “us” and “them”?

    And that we will not be safe,
    individually or collectively,
    without being whole
    individually and collectively?

    So that the work to be safe and secure
    in an environment that is trustworthy and dependable,
    is the work of becoming healed and whole and one within?

    Until we can be an “I”
    we cannot be a “We”?

    What do you think?

    Could it be?

    That the work of being safe
    is the work of leaving home
    and finding our father
    and our mother
    within ourselves
    through the trials and ordeals
    of life on our own
    in the world?

    That growing up
    is developing all of the tools of life
    mentioned above
    in order to be who we are
    and be okay
    with not knowing
    where any of the lines lie–
    or even if there are lines?

    What do you think?

  79. 07/31/2020  —  Athabasca River Valley, Jasper National Park, Alberta, October 2, 2009

    There is what happens,
    and there is what we do about what happens,
    in response to what happens.
    And then, something else happens.

    And that’s the way it goes all the way.

    With luck, we learn from what happens
    when we respond to what happens,
    and we get better at what is ours to do.

    But we must never, ever,
    close our eyes to the truth
    of what’s happening!

    Our only chance is seeing what’s what,
    knowing what our choices are,
    and trusting ourselves to know
    how to make the right ones over time.

    The national park motto always applies:

    Your Safety Is Your Responsibility!

    We come into the world with all we need
    to find what we need
    to do what needs to be done
    in each situation that arises.
    It is up to us to learn to use
    what we have to work with–
    the gifts, genius, daemon, virtues, character
    that are unique to us,
    and are our Super Powers,
    unique to us,
    and ready to help us find the way
    through all of our trials and ordeals.

    Trust yourself to what comes built into you,
    and let yourself show you what you can do!

  80. 08/01/2020  —  Spiderweb 07/31/2020 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, September 3, 2006

    Adjustment and accommodation,
    Negotiation and compromise,
    Acceptance and realization,
    Growth and recognition,
    Peace, balance and harmony–
    Are all stages on the way,
    Hallmarks of The Way.

    Growing up is the only form of growth.
    We grow by growing up.
    We grow up against our will,
    in recognition of how things are.

    “This is the way things are,
    and this is what can be done about it,
    and that’s that.
    That is how things are!”

    Letting things be because they are–
    letting come what’s coming
    and letting go what’s going,
    and bearing consciously the pain
    of realization and acquiescence–
    is the price of being alive.

    When Jesus said,
    “Pick up your cross everyday
    and come along with me,”
    this is what he was talking about–
    bearing consciously the pain
    of being alive.

    and pathos
    constitute the lived experience
    of incompatible,
    mutually exclusive,
    and needs.

    Life Eats Life!

    How’s that for the fundamental refutation
    of all we consider to be good and right?
    Yet, that is the basic requirement
    for life in the world.

    Growing up is coming to terms
    with the terms required for life and being–
    and consciously bearing the pain of being alive
    in acquiescence to the realization at the heart of life:

    “When you meet an elephant coming toward you on the path,
    Get off the path!!!”

    Do not insist on your principles
    in the face of necessity,
    or accept the fact that some principles
    require us to die on the cross we carry.
    And let it be so,
    because it is.

  81. 08/01/2020  —  After Sunset 07/27/2010 02 — Blue Ridge Parkway, West Jefferson, North Carolina, July 27, 2010

    There is how things are,
    and there is how we feel
    about how things are.
    And that is how things are.

    And that is where we have to get to work–
    being conscious of how easily two things
    become one thing
    in their impact on us,
    and intentionally preventing that from happening.

    How we feel about how things are
    is different from how things are.
    It is up to us to separate them,
    and deal with two things,
    not one thing.

    Emergency room personnel
    have to keep their feelings
    from interfering with their response
    to what comes through the door.

    What’s happening
    and what needs to be done
    about what’s happening
    has to be realized and done
    on a level different from
    how we feel about what’s happening
    and what needs to be done about it.

    The same thing applies
    to the dog throwing up on the carpet,
    or the baby’s diaper
    needing to be changed,
    or all of the 10,000 things
    happening at once.

    Our response to what is happening
    has to be to what is happening,
    and not to how we feel about what is happening.

    We process the impact of what happens
    at a time and place
    different from the time and place
    in which what is happening happens.

    At the time of the happening,
    we realize the horror,
    or the inconvenience,
    or the outlandish absurdity, etc.,
    without being sidetracked by any of it–
    in order to do what needs to be done about it
    here and now.

    We note it and tuck it away in our awareness
    to be revisited when that is appropriate,
    in order to give our full attention
    to the present moment
    and what is called for now.

    This is called
    “Walking two paths at the same time.”
    It is a life skill we all need to master
    by the time we are, say, six years old.

  82. 08/02/2020  —  Lake Andrew Jackson 07/26/2020 07 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, July 26, 2020

    Contrivance is the foundation
    of the world as we know it.
    Everybody is contriving to have
    their best possible future.

    The future is “where it’s at.”
    The present is where we contrive
    to get to the future
    where we all will have it made
    (On our terms, of course).

    The present is no place to be!
    Ask anybody.
    Everyone hates their life in the present!
    Everyone is contriving
    to get as far away from the present
    as it is possible to be.

    (We have people seriously dreaming
    of colonizing space
    because that is where new life begins!
    New life always begins somewhere else.
    And we have to get there to have it made.

    Having it made is where all our dreams come true.
    The Elysian Fields.
    The moons of Jupiter, perhaps.
    Somewhere as far away from here and now
    as we can get.)

    Boy oh boy, do I have bad news for you,
    and you,
    and you,
    and, yes, you!

    You. Are. Dreaming.
    You are drowning in denial.
    You are dead to the world,
    hanging out,
    until you actually die
    and  some undertaker
    makes it official.

    Life is nowhere other than here. Now.


    You have to stop contriving to have something better,
    and start being where you are.


    Everybody (Ask them) hates where they are.

    There you are.

    Contrivance and denial are “all we got”
    here, now.

    When you get to the end of your
    contrivance/denial rope,
    come sit down.
    We’ll talk.
    I’ll wait (winks).

  83. 08/02/2020  —  Clouds 07/26/2020 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, July 26, 2020

    The photographer’s burden
    is wanting to take the best photograph ever.
    Ever meaning past and future.

    It is a burden because it is impossible.
    For one thing,
    it is impossible because every photograph
    is limited to this here, this now.
    This time.
    This place.

    Photographs are snatches,
    of time and place.

    Photographs are moments captured between shutters.
    1/225th of  second, say.
    or 1/30th of  second.
    or 10 seconds.
    It doesn’t matter.
    However long it is,
    it comes and goes like that.
    And that’s that.

    And then, it is a different scene.
    And the longer between scenes,
    the more different is the scene.

    Even the best photograph at that time in that place
    is problematic.
    The best we can hope for
    is a good-enough photograph
    of a particular scene
    at a particular time.

    Change the time, we change the scene.

    A good-enough photograph is the best we can do.
    A good-enough photograph is the best photograph.
    Improving it is taking a different photograph
    that we like better.
    Doing that with a landscape photograph
    is iffy at best.

    We can never go back to the same scene.
    It’s like stepping into the same river twice.
    It’s always changing.
    The weather.
    The lighting.
    The tourists–
    or other photographers–
    in the way…

    Taking another photograph
    that we like better
    is a never-ending quest for satisfaction.
    At some point,
    we have to be satisfied enough.

    We have to lay aside the idea of the best,
    and come to terms with the idea
    of being satisfied enough
    to sleep well at night,
    and to stop thinking about going back again
    and making it better.

    We will only make it different.
    Better is a matter of finally being satisfied enough
    to let it go.

    The only thing photographers ever really want
    is to be in all of the right places
    at all of the right times.

    That is the photographers real burden–
    being unable to have what we really want.

    Everybody carries that burden.

  84. 08/02/2020  —  Boats at Sunrise 09/30/2010 — Stonington Harbor, Deer Isle, Maine, September 30, 2010

    “It’s not for everybody.”
    Nothing is.
    Well, maybe, breathing.
    But, we are not here
    to be guided by “everybody.”
    What’s your shtick?
    Whatever it is,
    “It’s not for everybody.”

    We can’t let that become a factor
    in whether we stick with our shtick.
    Being true to ourselves
    means being true to that
    which sets us apart.
    Fitting in cannot be so important
    that we sacrifice our gifts,
    our genius,
    our knacks and our fancies
    in order to have a place in the crowd.

    What do you do best?
    What do you enjoy doing the most?
    How often do you do it?
    How long has it been since you’ve done it?

    Take care of your shtick.
    Allow it to guide you along the way.

  85. 08/03/2020  —  Crepe Myrtle 08/02/2020 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, August 2, 2020

    Anybody can believe in Jesus.
    The tricky part is being Jesus
    the way only we can be Jesus,
    so that no one watching
    can tell where Jesus stops
    and we start,
    or vice versa.


    There is a hack for cutting
    straight to the heart of the matter,
    skirting all that thinking,
    and doctrinal-testing
    to come up with the perfectly precise formula
    for knowing what Jesus would do when,
    and how.

    It’s called,
    “Don’t know what Jesus would do!”

    Jesus didn’t know what Jesus would do.
    He waited to see what he did,
    and said,
    “So, that’s what Jesus would do.
    How about that!”

    That’s the only way to do it.

    Not knowing what to do is the way
    to purest doing.
    That’s straight from the heart stuff,
    the things we do without contriving,
    or being able to explain,
    and excuse
    on the basis
    of one thing after another.

    What do we do without thinking about it?
    That’s what Jesus would do!

    The hack for doing that
    is to not think about what Jesus would do,
    but to think instead about what is happening
    here and now,
    in each situation as it arises–
    and looking closely,
    listening carefully,
    for what the situation is calling for
    and do that thing
    with the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues/character
    that came with us from the womb
    (Expressing our Original Nature,
    The Face That Was
    Ours Before Our Parents Were Born
    and allowing that to create a brand new situation
    in which we do the same thing,
    through all the situations that spin off
    from the first one,
    all our life long.

    This is called,
    “Being you in response to what is happening
    all your life long.”

    That’s it.

    Nobody will be able to guess
    where we stop
    and Jesus starts,
    or vice versa.

    Or know what we will do next!

    (Not even we will know that!)

  86. 08/03/2020  —  Big Creek 11/06/2004 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Waterville, NC, November 6, 2004

    It is about how well we live our life.
    How well we face what faces us in each moment.
    How well we deal with what we have to deal with.
    How well we square up to the reality of time and place,
    context and circumstance,
    over the full course of our life.

    Seeing what is called for,
    offering what is missing,
    doing what is needed,
    when it is needed,
    the way it is needed,
    for as long as it is needed,
    here and now,
    for as long as there are here’s and now’s.

    It is about our body of work
    compiled throughout our days upon the earth.

    We live to engage the moment–
    not to escape the moment–
    not to deny the moment–
    not to dismiss, discount, disregard, ignore the moment–
    but to engage the moment,
    to meet the moment on the moment’s terms,
    rising to meet the occasion
    on every occasion,
    being brought forth,
    born again,
    grown up
    through the process of living our life,
    blessed by the trials and ordeals
    of the life that is ours to live
    in ways beyond imaging or believing.

    We become what is “in it for us.”
    We are it.
    We are the fruit of our own labor.
    The product of our own work in the service
    of what is good for the time and place of our living,
    in each time and place of our living,
    over the times and places of our life.

    What we have to show for it
    is who we show ourselves to be
    by being who we as that changes over time.

    What helps us with that?
    What makes it possible?
    What do we need
    in order to do what needs us
    to do it?

    That is our quest:
    Finding what we need
    to do what needs to be done!
    There is nothing beyond that
    to want,
    or seek,
    or desire!

  87. 08/04/2020  —  Johnson Creek Panorama 11/13/2017 04, Beaufort County, South Carolina, November 13, 2017

    Hope doesn’t care what its chances are.

    Hope does what is good
    whether it does any good or not.

    Hope does what is right
    whether it makes any difference or not.

    Hope does what needs to be done–
    even so.

    The questions:
    So what?
    Who cares?
    Why try?
    Have no impact on hope.

    Who cares so what?
    Who cares who cares?
    Who cares why try?
    Why not try?

    Hope steps into every situation
    and does what is called for
    for no reason
    beyond being what the situation
    is calling for–
    doing what in needed here and now
    because it is needed here and now.

    Hopelessness may be a fact,
    but what it means
    is a matter of opinion.

    Never let the facts stop you
    from being who you are,
    doing what is yours to do
    when that would be appropriate
    to the situation at hand.

    And if that wouldn’t be appropriate,
    what would be?
    Do that.
  88. 08/04/2020  —  Trees Blended 04 — Adams Mill Pond, Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina

    The past doesn’t go anywhere,
    the future never comes,
    and the present is eternal and everlasting–
    it never ends.

    The here and now merely
    flows into,
    and merges with,
    the here and now forever.
    We are never anywhere other than here and now.
    That is why it is called The Eternal Now.

    If we are ever going to do it,
    we are going to do it here and now.
    Why put it off?
    Why hold anything back?

    Ask the questions that beg to be asked!
    Say the things that cry out to be said!
    See what is happening
    and do what is called for
    in every situation as it arises
    with the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues/character
    we already have!

    If we don’t know what to do,
    we will find all the guidance we need
    in our Original Nature.
    We only need to sit quietly
    looking into ourselves
    as we were in the beginning,
    are now and ever shall be,
    waiting for the mud to settle
    and the water to clear.

    We allow ourselves to enter a spirit of play
    where we are free for the fresh–
    spontaneous and straight from the heart–
    act of pure sincerity
    in becoming  consubstantial with the world,
    being of one substance with all of life
    through the wonderful,
    invention of AS IF!

    Evoking and awakening the gifts we carry within,
    and living in the world as if we possess
    the very mystery and wonder within us
    that are at the source of creation itself,
    as though we are of the same mystery and wonder
    in our mind and in our body,
    and are looking to it to guide and direct,
    lead and encourage us,
    dancing and laughing,
    along the way,
    here and now.

    (Thanks to Joseph Campbell for initiating
    both reflection and realization)
  89. 08/05/2020  —  Blue Ridge Spiderweb 09/03/2010 02 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, September 3, 2010

    To be transparent to ourselves
    is to be “transparent to transcendence”
    (Joseph Campbell’s term),
    so that in seeing us,
    people see That Which Has Always Been Called God.
    Then, “the Father and I are One.”
    And that is the whole point of the entire show.

    Saying anything more obscures the point
    and conceals the show.

  90. 08/05/2020  —  Dory in the Fog 09/25/2010 02 — Stonington Harbor, Deer Isle, Maine, September 25, 2010

    Hope is not what we have.
    It is what we do.

    Hope is doing what needs to be done
    in every situation as it arises,
    without caring what our chances are
    in any situation.

    We are the hope of the world!
    How we live matters!

    What really matters
    is living as though all of this is so!

    Living as if the right things are so
    is indistinguishable from the right things being so!

    Living as if the right things are so
    makes them so!

    All we have to do is be clear
    about what the right things are
    and live as if they are so!

    Hope does not quit!
    Hope does not give up!
    Hope does not stop!
    Hope does not even slow down!

    Hope does not wait for conditions
    to be favorable.
    Hope sees what is called for
    in every situation
    and lives in its service
    no matter what!
    Even so!

    Joseph Campbell said,
    “In certain Native American tribes,
    the parents would tell their children,
    “As you leave home
    to find your way in the world,
    the birds of the air will shit on you.
    Do not pause even to wipe it off.”

    That must be our attitude
    as we live in the service of hope in the world.
    We do not give our opposition
    an opportunity to slow us down!
    We have work to do,
    and we aren’t stopping
    until it’s done!

  91. 08/05/2020  —  Lake Andrew Jackson 07/26/2020 04 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, July 26, 2020

    Everything comes from our imagination
    embedded in our psyche.

    We have what we need
    to find
    (or build,
    or make/create)
    what we need
    to do what needs to be done.

    We have but to believe that it is so,
    and live as though it is.
    This is the critical part:
    believing and living as if it is so.

    We have to stop jamming the signals
    from our own body!

    There is what is happening,
    and there is how we feel about what is happening.

    How we feel about what is happening
    can be so all-consuming
    that we can think about nothing else.
    We are overwhelmed.
    The intensity of our fear/dread/anxiety/hatred/etc.
    is so great that we turn to opioids
    or alcohol/etc.
    to numb us to the point of feeling nothing.
    And that keeps us from doing
    what needs to be done
    in response to what is happening.
    Which puts us on a steep downward spiral,
    with bad becoming worse by the minute
    until we reach a point of staring blankly
    into space until some undertaker
    takes us away.

    And, all the time,
    we had what we needed
    to find what we needed
    to do what needed to be done
    about what was happening.

    But we didn’t want to do that.
    We wanted things to be smooth and easy
    without having to do anything
    we didn’t want to do
    to have it that way.

    At some point,
    we have to grow up enough
    to do what we don’t want to do
    in order for things to be as good as they can be
    for ourselves and others–
    which may not be at all what we want
    things to be.

    We have what we need but.
    We have to be willing to do what needs to be done
    to access it and put it into play.

    and accommodation
    are the tools
    we have to become proficient with–
    and that means coming to terms
    with the fact that
    “the best is the enemy of the good,”
    and we can have a good-enough life
    if we don’t have to have the best life we want,
    and refuse to settle for anything less.

    We have to be capable of growing up
    to have a chance in this world.

    If we are capable of growing up,
    we have what we need
    to find what we need
    to do what needs to be done.

    We only have to believe it is so
    and live as if it is.

  92. 08/06/2020  —  Crabtree Falls 04/26/2006 01 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Little Switzerland, NC, April 26, 2006

    Our task is to be true to ourselves
    within the context and circumstances of our life–
    to live out of our Original Nature,
    with sincerity
    and self-transparency
    in all that we do.
    And to let that be that.
    To let that be enough,
    because that is all there is.

    The people who realize this,
    affirm it,
    embrace it,
    engage it
    and live in accord with it
    are real people.

    They are just who they are,
    doing what needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises
    all their life long.

    They are content with themselves
    and their life,
    and are glad to be who they are,
    doing what is theirs to do.

    They live out of their own joy
    in the service of the best they have to offer
    to meet what is called for here and now,
    moment by moment,
    and think of that as a good day well-lived.

    Their world is quite different
    from that of their neighbors
    who contrive to improve their life
    in the service of personal gain
    and advantage
    by exploiting their position
    to increase their opportunities
    for advancement and privilege,
    wealth and power,
    fortune and glory
    without limit or end.

    I do not know who is better off,
    but I like the idea of mutual respect
    for each other
    and for legitimate boundaries/limits
    that permit individual development
    without infringing on the development of others
    and without destroying the environment
    in the service of unending wealth
    and an ever-increasing standard of living.

    Greed and folly have forever been recognized
    as the source of all of our problems,
    and are naturally avoided
    by those whose idea of the good
    takes everybody’s good into account,
    without serving their own good
    at the expense of anyone else’s.

  93. 08/06/2020  —  Lotus Blossom 06 A

    We are the guardian/protector/champion/defender
    of our Original Nature–
    who we are
    and always have been
    and will be,
    our guiding,
    the connection to which
    is tenuous,
    easily lost
    and must be carefully kept.

    We–our conscious ego-self–
    are responsible for nurturing
    and nourishing
    our relationship
    with our Original Nature
    with filial devotion
    and liege loyalty
    by tending the ties that bind us
    through our imagination
    embedded in our psyche,
    and living as if all of this is so.

    This is the still point
    around which everything turns.

    The ineffable wonder and mystery of creation
    is at work at the center of each of us.
    There is more to us all than meets the eye.
    We approach the Source within
    in seeking alliance with our Original Nature
    and living in accord with it
    within the conditions and circumstances of our life.

    We incarnate the Source in aligning ourselves with our Nature,
    and birthing ourselves in our life
    by exhibiting/expressing there
    the truth of who we were at the beginning,
    are now,
    and ever shall be,
    being consubstantial and one substance with
    the Source of life and being
    here and now,
    right here right now,
    living that out in the time and place of our living,
    as if God were living in us and through us
    in all that we do.

  94. 08/07/2020  —  Rainbow Falls 09/20/2015 07 — Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, New York, September 20, 2015

    There are those who need to dominate,
    and there are those who need to be left alone.

    And here we are.

    I don’t know how we work this out.

    We have been “working it out” from the beginning.

    And that reminds me.
    We all,
    whether we need to dominate
    or need to be left alone,
    think of “The Beginning,”
    as though there has been only one.

    One Big Bang,
    or one “Let There Be,”
    however you choose to think of it.

    “As it was in THE beginning…”
    That’s presumptuous.

    How many have there been?
    How are we to know?

    10,000 Big Bangs, perhaps.
    Coming and going
    over long sweeps of time past remembering.

    Who would remember?
    Or care?
    I wouldn’t care to go through
    the endless process of caring
    or remembering,
    but I think it would be instructive
    to watch that play out over time
    over the entire course of time,
    keeping records,
    seeing patterns,
    drawing conclusions,
    devising theories…
    Or at least reading some
    well-crafted and quite succinct reports
    at various points along the way.

    I wonder if it would come down to
    domination and left alone
    every time.

  95. 08/07/2020  —  Lotus Blossom 06 B

    My favorite all-time heroes,
    and my exact idea of how it ought to be
    for every one of us throughout time
    are Tevya and Golda in The Fiddler on the Roof.

    Their life is my ideal life for all people everywhere.

    Their life is structured by a particular belief-system,
    which amounts to a way of perceiving the world,
    all of life,
    and how we fit into it,
    However we think things are,
    if the overall result is life like Tevya and Golda live it,
    then it is just fine,
    no matter what it is.

    It all is just a way of thinking about how things are.
    Just a way of finding meaning in how things are.
    Finding meaning that enables us to live meaningfully.
    And I can’t think of any way of life
    that is more meaningful
    than Tevya’s and Golda’s way of life.
    What more could life offer than they have?
    What more could they want than they have?

    We get up,
    face each day,
    do our thing,
    don’t keep score
    or strive endlessly to “get ahead,”
    and let the outcome be the outcome.

    “Do our thing”
    is the key.
    Do we have a “thing”?
    Do we do it?
    Are we fulfilled/satisfied
    doing our thing?

    Too many people don’t have a “thing,”
    or aren’t doing it.
    They are looking for a “thing.”
    Wanting some other “thing.”
    Wanting “the best thing.”
    Wanting to be admired, “thing or no thing.”
    Wanting to be admired, envied, for “no thing.”
    For “nothing.”

    Have a “thing”
    and do it,
    make enough money
    to pay the right bills,
    and don’t worry about the outcome.

    That’s all it takes.
    What would you do with more than that?

  96. 08/07/2020  —  Lake Andrew Jackson 07/26/2020 13 – Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, July 26, 2020

    What is the most meaningful (to you personally) thing you do?
    How often do you do it?
    For how long each time?
    How long has
    it been since you’ve done it?

    What keeps you from doing it?
    Or interferes with your doing it?

    I don’t know you,
    or don’t know you very well,
    My hunch about you is
    that the most meaningful (for you personally)
    thing you can do
    over the course of what remains of your life,
    is what has been the most meaningful (for you personally)
    thing over your life to this point.

    Check me out on that.
    Get back to me in, say, 5 years.

  97. 08/08/2020  —  Lotus Blossoms 09-D

    What do you know to be so
    because you have lived it
    and it has been verified again and again
    in your experience,
    and nothing or no one can knock you off of it?

    These things ground us
    at the center of ourselves,
    to the center of ourselves,
    and form our grounding principles,
    our core values/identity,
    our guiding force.

    They still stand
    when all else has fallen away.

    What do you trust?

    What do you turn to
    when you have nowhere to turn?

    Upon what do you rely?

    What is your sense
    of the pulsating line
    that connects you
    with the heart of life itself?

    I know that if I am quiet,
    things will occur to me
    as realizations
    that I could never think of
    on my own.

    I trust the source
    of the things that just occur to me,
    or just occur in my life,
    that just happen,
    out of nowhere
    for no reason,
    and allow myself
    to be shown the way
    without knowing there will be a way,
    or where it is going,
    or why.

    I don’t know what the Source is,
    or what it is up to,
    or what the point is,
    or if there is one.

    Just here, just now, what?
    I wait,
    and know what.
    The blue one.
    That’s all I need to know for now.

    How does it work with you?

  98. 08/08/2020  —  Green River Canyon 09/23/2007 — Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah, September 23, 2007

    How truthfully do you live?
    How truthfully are you allowed to live?
    How are you required to distort yourself
    to fit where you live?

    What do you do that isn’t “you”?
    What do you say that isn’t so?
    Where are you mostly “not you” in your life?

    When and where do you get to be
    exactly who you are?
    How often are you there?
    How long do you stay?

    How do you manage the contradiction?
    The dichotomy?
    The disharmony?
    The discordance?
    The dissonance?
    The discrepancy?
    The lie?

    Do you bear consciously the pain?
    Do you act out the anguish?
    Do you escape in addiction?
    Do you encase yourself in denial?
    What becomes of the you
    you aren’t permitted to be?

    What symptoms do you carry
    that give voice to the imbalance within?

    How do you see healing happening?

    What are the forces of integration
    and integrity
    at work in your life?

    If you were to take up the tasks
    of becoming whole,
    where would you begin?

  99. 08/08/2020  —  Jasper Wetlands 09/26/2009 02 Panorama — Jasper National Park, Alberta, September 26, 2009

    The Old Yogis/Hindus/Buddhists
    held there to be seven stages of spiritual development.

    Stage 1 is Living Without Being Alive.

    Jesus advised leaving the dead to bury the dead.
    The people at this stage are dragons (Joseph Campbell),
    Dragging themselves around.
    They are just hanging out,
    barely making it through each day,
    breathing but with no zeal for life.

    Stage 2 is Coming To Life Through Sexual Desire.

    The Dirty Old Men we know
    have been at Stage 2 all their lives long.
    Stage 2 is the stage of clueless delight,
    but with a faint-just-beyond-awareness-sense
    of the godliness present within The Magical Other.
    At this stage,
    everything revolves around sex
    and the sexual orientation.

    Stage 3 is the Buy/Spend/Amass-and-Consume stage.

    Money, privilege, power and control
    are the driving forces here.
    The will to dominate,
    to have dominion,
    to be the richest person in the world.
    Money for the sheer joy of money
    consumes people at this stage.

    Stage 4 is the Awakening of the Heart.

    Carl Jung said, “There is within each of us,
    another whom we do not know.”
    We tune into The Ten Million Year Old Self within
    at Stage 4.
    We become aware
    of “The sound not heard
    beyond the range of reason
    and causality.”
    We sense there is more to us,
    and to everything,
    than meets the eye.

    Stage 5 is Getting To The Bottom Of Things.

    We take up the Quest to see what we look at,
    to ask the questions that beg to be asked,
    and to say the things that cry out to be said,
    and find the Source of our own nature and being.
    We look past appearances to their origin,
    and take up the practice of hearing what is being said
    beyond words.

    Stage 6 is the Inner Eye/Ear beholding
    the ineffable radiance of the divine in all things,
    and regularly being “arrested”
    by the experience of oneness with
    life and beauty on all levels.

    Stage 7 is where we “Leave God for God” (Meister Eckhart).

    Here we move beyond theology/doctrine/dogma/beliefs/creeds,
    past ideas of God
    and into the realized presence of more than words can say.
    We move beyond duality into oneness with
    That Which Has Always Been Called God.
    We live “transparent to transcendence” (Joseph Campbell),
    in a “Thou Art That” kind of way.

    As we consider these stages,
    it becomes apparent that meaning changes
    through each stage.
    What is important varies from stage to stage.
    How we think changes.
    We become a different person.
    The symbols that work on us are different.
    How we perceive God evolves.
    Life becomes deeper, richer.
    The adventure of being alive sweeps us up
    and carries us along paths different
    from the ones we thought we would be traveling.
    And each day has its own joy.

  100. 08/09/2020  —  Mount Katahdin 10/09/2009 Watercolor Rendering — Baxter State Park, Millinocket, Maine, October 9, 2009

    Absorbed and engaged are the soul’s idea
    of having it made.

    It gets to be a problem
    if we are only absorbed and engaged
    drinking beer at the beach,
    sitting before a slot machine in Las Vegas,
    smoking pot,
    gorging on one of sugar’s ten thousand delivery systems,
    or lost in any one of the 10,000 escapes and addictions.

    Is it an escape/addiction, or is it an avenue of enlightenment?

    Where does that line lie?

    Since we are never more than a slight shift in perspective
    from one or the other,
    it could be either/or
    with anything,
    depending on our frame of mind
    and openness to the time and place,
    here and now,
    moment and mode
    of our living.

    The Path always begins under our feet
    wherever they might be.
    All it takes is opening our eyes,
    seeing what we look at,
    and walking with awareness,
    and engagement,
    for the rest of our life.


My idea of success
is doing what needs to be done
with the resources available–
including those I bring with me
in terms of my Original Nature
and the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues
that are mine to serve/offer–
in each situation as it arises,
in light of all things that need
to be considered,

I wish I had realized the importance
of this when I was sixteen years old.


06/27/2020  —  Put your best effort into
seeing and hearing
whatever is before you
in each situation as it arises—
knowing what’s what
and what is being called for,
here and now
and doing what needs to be done,
when it needs to be done,
as it needs to be done,
and let that be that!

07/01/2020  —  I cannot say enough
about “the joy of being able to do
what is set before us each day.”

This is IT.

It is not about what we get,
how our advantage is maximized,
what we can have/own
that is our joy.

Our joy is being who we are
doing what we do.
Like a dog wags its tail.

07/02/2020  —  History is always coming around.
The times are always changing.
Coming and going.
For better or for worse.
For better and for worse.
Better for whom?
Worse for whom?
Only time will tell.

“The more things change,
the more they stay the same.”
Time tells that much all the time.
“The poor will be with us always.”
Some things never change.

“No matter how things are,
somebody wants it to be different.”
“Everything could be
more like it ought to be
than it is.”
The work in the service of the good
is never done.

“The Good is the enemy of the Best.”
“The Best is the enemy of the Good.”
Perspective shifts see the enemy everywhere.
“Who’s on first?”
“NO! Who’s on second!”
How do we live together
in ways we all like?
It would be easier to live together
in ways we don’t like,
but are, at least, livable for everyone.

How do we live together
in ways that are livable for everyone?

Tax everyone according to their means.
Pay everyone a living wage
adjustable to the cost of living.
A fair and reasonable tax structure
with no loopholes
and no favoritism
and good faith all the way around,
is the solution to all of our problems today.
And every day.

So, why won’t it fly?
Because there are those of us
who want more than we need
to live the life we want to live–
which is different
from the life that needs us to live it.

Greed in the service of unquenchable desire
is the source of all of our problems today.
That is why
“The more things change,
the more they remain the same.”
If you want to change something,
change that.

Published by jimwdollar

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

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