One Minute Monologues 055


February 29, 2020  —  April 19, 2020

  1. 03/01/2020  —  Our heart is never far away.

    How attentive we are to heart,
    how well-suited we are
    to the service of heart,
    how faithful we are
    in our devotion to heart,
    all depends upon our concern for–
    and infatuation with–
    the 10,000 things.

    (“The 10,000 Things”
    are also called
    “The Dust Of The World”)

    What do we allow to come between
    us and our heart?

    Duty?
    Responsibility?
    Desire?
    Fear?
    Gaining the advantage?
    Revenge?
    Jealousy?
    The possibilities are many…

    Heart is always taking
    a back seat to something.
    Something is always
    more important than heart.

    Adam and Eve thought
    they could improve on Paradise.

    So do we.
    “Better is the enemy of the good.”
    We are always one more tweak
    away from having it made.

    Billionaires can never stop turning a profit.

    “Enough” is not a steady state of being.

    A pact with heart
    realizes all of these things,
    and keeps an eye on them all,
    while taking up the practice
    of fidelity and loyalty
    in each situation as it arises,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    all our life long.

    Being able to pay the bills
    that need to be paid
    in doing the things that need to be done
    in living out of our heart,
    as liege servants of heart,
    is all it takes to do the work of heart.

    Letting everything fall into place around that
    is the discipline required
    of the champions of heart.

  2. 03/01/2020  —  Cotton in the Field 11/22/2019 07 — Hwy 267, Lone Star, South Carolina, November 22, 2019

    Safety, security and stability
    are essential requirements
    in being what the situation
    needs us to be
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    And they are the first things to go
    in the grip of a mythic vision
    (That would be a vision
    of Mythic proportions).

    The Way winds through
    the Garden of Gethsemane
    and across the face of Golgotha.

    Living grounded upon the bedrock
    of deepest/highest value/virtue
    puts us at risk
    in each situation as it arises.

    We take a chance
    in following our heart,
    in responding spontaneously,
    intuitively,
    improvisationally
    to what is happening,
    in trusting ourselves
    to our felt-sense
    of what needs to be done
    and letting things fall into place
    around that.

    The Way runs along
    “the slippery slope,
    the dangerous path,
    the razor’s edge.”

    It is called “The Hero’s Journey”
    for good reason.

  3. 03/01/2020  —  Lake Haigler 11/24/2019 07 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 24, 2019

    Timing recognizes the right time
    and apprehends the wrong time
    and bides its time
    between the times.

    Knowing what time it is
    is essential knowing
    that has nothing to do
    with clocks and calendars.

    Peaches ripen in their own time,
    but only during peach season.

    The Developmental Tasks
    are essential for our own “ripening,”
    and we can experience “arrested development”
    at any stage of our life’s path.

    What is it time for now?
    Are we assisting,
    or resisting,
    what is being called for,
    what our life is asking of us,
    from us?

    Life is not a matter of arranging
    what we want to happen
    when we want it to happen,
    but a process of offering
    what is needed to the time and place
    of our living–
    whether we want to our not!

    We grow up against our will
    all our life long.
    Our place is to realize that,
    and cooperate with the times
    that are upon us,
    perhaps at the expense
    of our own wants and wishes.

  4. 03/02/2020  —  Lake Crandall 11/19/2019 13 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 19, 2019

    *Bear the pain.*
    The pain of seeing what you see.
    Knowing what you know.
    Feeling what you feel.
    Being where you are.
    Being how you are.
    Being who you are.
    With only the resources
    you have available to you
    to work with.
    Etc.

    *Enter the silence.*
    It doesn’t have to be quiet
    to enter the silence.
    You can be in the middle of a crowd.
    In an elevator filled with people.
    At a concert or football game.
    You carry silence with you
    wherever you go,
    and are never more than
    a perception-shift away
    from entering the silence.

    *Observe your situation.”
    Your situation is what is happening
    outside you,
    around you,
    within you.
    It is everything that is going on
    within the range of your sense perception,
    memory
    physical and emotional reactivity.
    Right here.
    Right now.
    In this present moment.

    *Bring everything into your awareness.*
    Receive everything with compassion,
    without judgment,
    without opinion,
    like you are taking inventory
    in a grocery store.
    So many cans of green beans.
    So many cans of sliced carrots.
    Etc.
    With no emotional involvement
    with any of it.

    *Be fully present
    with everything that is present with you.*
    Spend time in the silence
    just being aware of all
    that is in the silence with you,
    including the feelings, memories, etc.
    being aware of it
    stirs to life in you.

    *Receive it all into your awareness.*
    Your awareness can contain the universe.
    And more.
    Hold everything in your awareness.
    You are “bigger on the inside
    than you are on the outside.”
    Invite it all in
    in a “This, too. This, too.”
    kind of way.
    Spend some time just being with
    all you are aware of.

    *Ask and Say.*
    Ask all of the questions that beg to be asked,
    including the questions that are generated
    by the questions you ask.
    Say all of the things that cry out to be said,
    including the things that need to be said
    in response to the things you say.

    *Breathe and Go.*
    End the exercise
    with a deep “belly-breath”
    in through your nose,
    blowing it out through your mouth.
    Step back into your life,
    and be well.

    Repeat as you are able,
    and particularly when you are
    emotionally hooked
    by something,
    an event or a memory,
    throughout your day.

  5. 03/02/2020  —  A Walk in the Woods 11/23/2019 13 — The 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, November 23, 2019

    Don’t get too far ahead of yourself.

    Jesus advised,
    “Let the day’s own trouble
    be sufficient for the day.”

    He could have been a Zen Master.

    Live lived day-to-day,
    and moment-by-moment-by-moment
    within each day,
    provides us with the opportunity
    to be-here-now
    throughout the day.

    There is a lot going on
    right here,
    right now,
    if we but stop and listen,
    and look,
    and see,
    and hear.

    And if we do right by the moment,
    seeing what the moment needs of us,
    and offering what we have to give
    out of the reservoir
    of gifts,
    genius,
    talents,
    proclivities,
    interests,
    abilities,
    etc.,
    that come with us into each moment,
    we will find enough to keep us interested
    in each moment of every day.

    And, no day can ask more of us than that.

  6. 03/02/2020  —  Bloodroot and Trout Lilies 04/2006 — Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina, April, 2006

    Truth is not established by faith.
    Faith is an opinion awaiting confirmation.
    I believe in my ability
    to rise to any occasion–
    and to find what I need
    to do what needs to be done
    about each situation as it arises,
    but.

    Each situation validates
    or refutes
    my opinion about myself.

    Truth is borne out in our experience.
    Everything else is an opinion
    hoping to become fact.

    And, superstition is also borne out in our experience,
    until it is not.
    For all those centuries,
    first born sons
    and virgin daughters
    were sacrificed at the winter solstice
    to appease the sun God
    and turn the sun around
    on its flight away from earth
    and bring it back to warm the earth
    and grow the plants
    that kept human life alive.

    And, for all those centuries,
    the sacrifices worked each year.

    Horoscopes work by the same principle.
    Believe something is so
    and it will be verified by your experience.
    “You ask how I know?
    I now because my heart says it is so!”
    And self-deception keeps
    the con-men and women in business.

    Truth is the bed we slept in last night,
    and the world we woke up to this morning.

    Truth is the elephant-ness of the elephant
    and the monkey-ness of the monkey.
    The me-ness of me
    and the you-ness of you.

    Our life is the truth of who we are
    expressed in the way we meet our circumstances
    in each situation as it arises.

    Who we are capable of being
    came with us from the womb,
    to be called forth
    by the times and places of our living.

    We live to discover what we love
    and what we are capable of doing
    and being in our encounters
    with the realities of our life.

    Let’s see what today has to show us
    about the truth of who we are!

    That is the quest that sends us forth
    every morning,
    and serves as the backdrop
    of our dreams at night.

  7. 03/03/2020  —  Trout Lily 03/02/2020 01 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 2, 2020

    We walk two paths at the same time.

    On an infinite number of levels.

    The foundational two are these:

    We live aligned with our Original Nature
    (That is the Just-So-Ness,
    the “just as we are-ness,”
    the “such as it is-ness,”
    the “true as it gets-ness,”
    of who we are and also are
    in any given moment—
    and we live in accord
    with the way things are
    (In light of how things need to be
    and in light of how things can be)
    in the time and place of our living,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    Or, to put it another way,

    We are about influence,
    not control.
    We live best when we live in harmony
    with the flow of life in the moment of living.
    Our place is to align ourselves–
    our personal influence,
    our Original Nature,
    our Te–
    with the outer natural order,
    or the Way,
    of things,
    the Tao.
    To be in accord with, at one with,
    the Tao
    in each situation as it arises.

    Oneness within (Te)
    meshes with oneness without (Tao).
    And it is beautiful.

    Our place,
    our Te,
    also includes our Original Nature–
    who we are in our essential self–
    and who our circumstances
    are asking us to be.

    Two paths at the same time.

    You see this on the basketball court
    at various points in all of the games played well.

    You see it in a restaurant
    with the service staff
    flowing in and around the tables,
    taking orders,
    cleaning tables,
    sweeping floors,
    cooking,
    helping each other
    with trays
    and water re-fills…
    The entire dance is amazing,
    happening in response to what is needed
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    spontaneous,
    of itself,
    exactly as it needs to be.

    When we live like that
    in our own life,
    it is what being alive
    is all about.

    It is what we live toward,
    strive for:
    Laying striving aside
    and simply being who/what
    the moment is asking us to be/do
    out of the gifts/genius
    that are ours to share/serve.

    You cannot beat that with anything.

  8. 03/03/2020  —  Landsford 11/25/2019 05 Panorama — Landsford Canal State Park, Catawba River, Catawba, South Carolina, November 25, 2019

    We have to know our Original Nature–
    what is “us”
    and what is “not us”–
    what makes our little heart dance,
    and what we live to avoid at all costs–
    where we belong
    and where we have no business being…

    And we have to be able to read
    our circumstances.
    We have to know what’s what,
    what is happening,
    what needs to happen
    and what can happen
    in each situation as it arises.

    We have to know what time it is
    in the sense of what is it time for,
    and what is it not time for–
    what is called for
    and what is prohibited–
    in each situation as it arises.

    We have to live in light of who we are
    and in light of how things are
    here and now
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    And, dance with the moment,
    each moment,
    in a way that enables things to work there
    as well as things can work there,
    in light of all things considered
    for the highest good of all concerned.

    And Fraser Snowden is with us
    in every moment
    to remind us,
    “The only true philosophical question is
    ‘Where do you draw the line?’”

  9. 03/03/2020  —  Zen Moon 04/11/2009 — Price Lake, Blue Ridge Parkway, Julian Price Memorial Park, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, April 11, 2009

    Enter the silence
    (And you can do that anywhere.
    Mowing the lawn,
    washing the dishes,
    walking the dog…)
    and wait to see what occurs to you.

    Occurrences are ideas,
    inspirations,
    connections,
    realizations,
    notions,
    intuitions,
    solutions…

    “What-comes-of-itself,”
    “out of nowhere,”
    “for no reason.”

    When you are between things,
    see what occurs to you.

    When you are in the shower,
    see what occurs to you.

    Open yourself to what occurs to you,
    and decide if it is worth pursuing,
    or how best to pursue it.

    Openness to occurrences
    is one way of making ourselves available
    to our unconscious mind,
    and deepening our relationship
    with the invisible world.

  10. 03/04/2020  —  Trout Lilies 03/02/2020 02 Panorama — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 2, 2020

    The person who first said,
    “Principles fly in the face of necessity,”
    raised the question,
    “What, exactly, is necessary?”

    Is a profit at any price necessary?
    Is winning at any price necessary?
    Is living like kings necessary?
    Is liberty and justice for all necessary?
    Is personal integrity necessary?
    Is our word and our honor necessary?
    Are principles necessary?

    The Houston Astros were willing
    to win at any price.

    The Republicans in the House and Senate
    are willing to sell out the country
    in order to do what Trump says
    with the hope of living like kings.

    The Founders of this country
    put their lives on the line
    in the service of the idea
    of liberty and justice for all
    (They knew first-hand
    what kings were good for).

    What is necessary?
    What do we let anything,
    everything, go
    in order to save and serve?

    What is the overriding necessity
    upon which our life is built
    as a nation
    and as an individual within the nation?

    What do we serve forsaking all else?

    What is it about us that is not for sale
    at any price?

    What will we sacrifice ourselves to serve?

    Where are the places in your life
    that you have actually done that?
    Sacrificed yourself in order to serve?

  11. 03/04/2020  —  Aspen 09/29/2009/01 — Jasper National Park, Alberta, September 29, 2009

    I live to harmonize the world.
    I live to serve symmetry,
    balance,
    stability,
    utility,
    harmony,
    homeostasis,
    equilibrium,
    peace,
    wholeness,
    health,
    wellness…

    I am off-set–
    harmonized–
    by those whose life
    is based on disharmony,
    destruction,
    violence,
    disruption
    and devastation.

    There are people
    who like to burn things down.

    I wonder what those people call evil.

    They clearly do not like
    for their things to be burned down.

    Mobsters are really riled
    when other mobsters move into
    their territory.

    Even within the darkest evil
    there is a sense of rightness,
    an idea of the good
    and of how things ought to be.

    Sauron doesn’t want Mordor destroyed.
    Lord Voldermort doesn’t want
    the Death Eaters to be eradicated.
    Devastation has its limits.
    Disharmony is not universal.
    The Dark Side has its own idea of Right.
    Everything calls something “Good.”

    We all seek to harmonize with something.
    To have things like we want them to be.
    And we are at odds over what that means
    for the whole.

    How good is the good we call good
    in light of everyone else’s idea of the good?

    Somebody’s good is somebody else’s bad.

    What is good for the lion
    is not so good for the antelope.

    And here we are.

    How are we going to work this out?

  12. 03/04/2020  —  Round-lobed Hepatica 03/03/2020 01 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 3, 2020

    The bread of affliction
    is the bread of life.

    The cup of suffering
    is the cup of salvation.

    No one is spared anything.
    Believing will not get us into heaven,
    not believing will not send us to hell.

    We are not here to avoid the pains
    and inconveniences of life in the world.

    Vulnerability is the legacy of Jesus.
    Birth in a manger, death on a cross
    is exactly the portion we can expect
    for ourselves.

    We have our life “as a prize of war.”
    “Time and chance happen to us all.”

    Between birth and death
    We have the option to suffer
    the agony of being here
    in service to the good of one another
    and all sentient beings.

    This is as far from Buddhism
    as it is possible to be.
    And, it is as Zen-like as it gets.

    “Zen Buddhism” is a contradiction
    in terms.

  13. 03/05/2020  —  Round-lobed Hepatica 03/02/2020 02 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 2, 2020

    Do not disturb the flow!

    This Zen-like directive means
    pay attention to the time and place
    of your living
    and do what needs to be done there
    in light of what is happening
    and what needs to happen in response.

    It doesn’t mean
    keep things calm and smooth,
    harmonious and well-balanced,
    and don’t rock the boat
    or make any waves.

    In some places,
    the times call for rocking boats
    and making waves!

    Always live at one with the time
    of your living!
    When the times call for this,
    do this.
    When the times call for that,
    do that.

    Watch the flow of any stream.
    It always changes to match
    the time and place of its flowing.
    No stream flows steadily,
    constantly, the same
    throughout the duration of its path.

    Confluence,
    rapids,
    turbulence,
    placid currents…

    It is all a part of the journey.
    Everything is necessary
    in its own time.
    Each place along the way
    calls for a different response–
    all in accord with the need of flow.

    Be the stream!
    Let the time and place
    of each situation as it arises
    call forth your response
    in sync with the need of flow
    of the here and now.

    Do not impose your idea
    of how things ought to be,
    or live out of your agenda
    as the self-appointed choreographer
    of life under your supervision.

    Stop. Listen. Look. Hear. See.
    Respond to the occasion
    in ways appropriate to the occasion
    on every occasion.

    What could be simpler,
    or more helpful?
  14. 03/05/2020  —  Trout Lily 03/02/2020 03 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 2, 2020

    The popularity of Zen/Taoism in the height
    of their existence
    forced organizational changes
    in response to popularity
    and in an effort to maintain
    and increase popularity–
    the very thing that the spirit
    of their perspective was solidly against
    (Nothing to attain!
    Nothing to acquire!
    Nothing to desire!
    Nothing to interfere with the awareness
    of the flow of the moment!).

    Sitting meditation became a tradition–
    because 5,000 disciples
    in a monastery/temple/center
    had to have something do do with their time!

    Requiring a teacher/master
    insured disciples/followers.

    “Dharma Battles” were mental chess matches
    pitting master against master
    to the delight of their students
    and the enhancement of their reputation.

    Competition between “schools”
    kept interest among the wider population high
    in the minds of the people.

    “This is the way it is done!
    That is the way it is not done!”
    Completely obscured the fundamental realization:
    “The finger pointing to the moon
    is not to be taken for the moon!”

    Over time (Say, 1,000 years), the “Original Nature,”
    the “Original Essence,”
    the “Original Face,”
    Of Zen/Taoism
    became lost amid the 10,000 concerns
    of the ebbs and flows,
    Sturm und Drang,
    of culture and politics,
    survival and adaptation.

    What began as The Way
    to live in accord with The Way,
    as we went about the business
    of simply paying the bills
    and meeting the day,
    became doctrinal and dogmatic,
    rigid and systematic,
    schools of thought
    with the smugness and elitism
    of Ivy League universities
    or NCAA sports champions.

    The Original Truth of Our Experience
    remains the truth of our experience.
    There is nothing but us
    and the reality of our experience.
    And our place is to clear the way
    to The Way of living aligned with our own nature
    and in accord with the flow of time and place
    within the ordinary day-to-day of our life.
    And how we do that is nobody’s business
    but our own!

  15. Landsford 11/25/2019 07 Panorama — Landsford Canal State Park, Catawba River, Catawba, South Carolina, November 25, 2019

    There are two primary questions
    in each situation that arises:
    What is being called for here and now?
    How might I best respond to it?

    These questions align us with the situation
    and with our original nature,
    which is what we have to offer
    any/every situation.

    Anything that interferes with
    our assessment/appraisal of the situation
    and what is being asked of us by it,
    is preventing us from exhibiting
    the face that was ours before we were born
    in that situation,
    and disrupting the flow
    between ourselves and the situation–
    keeping us from being who we are
    when we are,
    where we are,
    and blocking our realization of oneness
    with self and life,
    which is the essence of the experience
    of being alive.

    When we try to willfully
    determine what happens in a situation,
    forcing our way upon the situation,
    or serving our advantage in the situation–
    or when we are intimidated by the situation
    so that we are afraid to be who we are there–
    or when we are so infuriated by the situation
    that we are unable to offer what is needed
    the way it is needed…
    we are separated from the situation
    by our own personal needs and interests,
    and cannot be present for the good of the situation.
    And cannot be fully alive in that situation.

    When we are fighting for our life,
    literally or figuratively,
    in a situation,
    we cannot be present for the good of that situation.

    We have to be able to enter each situation
    grounded on the bedrock of our gifts and values,
    standing on our own two feet,
    and capable of responding to the situation
    without emotional investment in the situation
    or in the outcome of the situation.

    The degree to which we have something to gain,
    or to lose,
    in a situation determines the degree of our
    ability to be present in that situation
    for the good of the situation as a whole.

    Freedom is the working distance between
    ourselves and the situation,
    allowing us to be who the situation
    needs us to be
    in the dance with circumstances
    toward the best outcome that is possible
    in that situation.

    Freedom is the freedom of self-expression,
    of self-realization,
    within the time and place,
    the here and now,
    of our living.
    Until we are that free,
    we may be upright and intact,
    98.6 and breathing,
    but we are not fully alive.

  16. 03/05/2020  —  Looking South from Lakies Head 10/01/2008 — Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia, October 1, 2008

    In any situation,
    it helps to enter the silence,
    Stop. Look. Listen. Hear. See.
    And wait to see “What arises of itself,”
    of its own accord,
    spontaneously,
    occurring to us on the spot,
    “out of nowhere,”
    leaving us nonplussed
    and wondering,
    “Where did that come from?”

    That is the path forward.
    Embrace it fully
    and start walking together,
    toward what you do not know.

    If you dare.

  17. 03/05/2020  —  Landsford 11/25/2019 06 — Landsford Canal State Park, Catawba River, Catawba, South Carolina, November 25, 2019

    In stepping into each situation as it arises,
    we are not looking for ways
    to enhance our position in the world,
    to improve our lot,
    to work the situation to our advantage
    or to benefit ourselves in any way.

    Living meaningfully in each situation
    is living out of what is meaningful to us.

    Meaning is not something we find in the situation,
    but something we bring to life in the situation,
    something we live out in the situation.
    We share what is meaningful to us
    with the situation
    for the good of the situation.

    What is meaningful to you?
    What brings you to life?
    What makes your little heart sing,
    and your little toes dance?
    What is your joy and your delight?

    We relate to all of our situations
    on the basis of–
    in light of–
    what what is meaningful to us,
    of what is important to us,
    of what means the most to us.

    Our Original Nature comes to life
    in doing the things that are a natural fit
    in terms of stirring its interest to life
    and expressing,
    exhibiting,
    incarnating
    its signature characteristics
    in what we do.

    What we do has to be/reflect/disclose
    who we are.
    If our doing is divorced from our essential being,
    there is trouble
    in the form of symptoms
    and addictions
    and denial at the heart of our life.

    Our task then is to live our way back
    to who we are,
    to our original nature,
    one step at a time.
    One day at a time.
    Moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    Which is, of course, the work
    of Alcoholics Anonymous.
    The most Zen-like organization
    I know of.

  18. 03/06/2020  —  Round-lobed Hepatica 03/02/2020 04 Panorama — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 2, 2020

    An elephant that has grown up
    among other elephants
    in the jungles of India,
    or on the planes of Africa,
    knows how to be an elephant
    in those locations.

    And so it goes with all the other species
    across time and space.

    I know how to be me
    because of who I grew up with
    and where that growing up took place.

    Take any of us,
    remove us from the place
    of our growing up,
    introduce stress into our life
    and ask us to find our way,
    or to know who we are,
    and we sit in a corner,
    or on a bed,
    and look at the floor.

    We are lost,
    without hope in the world.

    We know what we know
    because of where we have been.
    Put us somewhere we have never been,
    in a war, say,
    or in a foreign country,
    or in a world where we are out of place,
    and we are of no help to anyone,
    especially ourselves.

    If we are to function competently,
    we have to be in an environment
    that supports and encourages us
    to be and do in ways that fit into
    that environment
    while we slowly learn to adjust to,
    and fit in with,
    a different environment.

    We are always changing living environments,
    expecting instantaneous adaptations
    of ourselves and our children,
    and, perhaps, our parents.

    Transitions are hell.
    And they are unending.
    Take an elephant from the jungles of India
    and place it on the planes of Africa,
    or in a traveling circus,
    and yell at it for not doing better,
    and see how much that helps.

    We have to give our transitions
    all the time required
    for us to make the shift
    into a new world.

    It is not easy being us,
    even on a good day.
    Let it be as hard as it is,
    as you come to terms
    with what is,
    and what isn’t any longer.

    Take all the time it takes
    to make the shift
    from where you have been
    to where you are.
    And comfort yourself
    as best you can
    through the process.

  19. 03/06/2020  —  Carolina Wren 01/18/2020 07 — Scenes From My Camp Stool, Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, January 18, 2020

    No one knows how to be
    who we are
    better than we do.

    When we put our attention
    and energy
    into being who someone else
    wants/expects us to be,
    we cut ourselves off from
    the Source of Life and Being,
    deny our Original Nature,
    and live without hope in the world.

    That is true even if we are the one
    whose wants and expectations
    we are trying to fulfill.

    Wanting and demanding
    get in the way of realizing and being.

    Entering the silence
    and waiting to see
    what occurs to us–
    or exploring our nighttime dreams–
    are excellent ways
    to get to the heart of the matter.

    That would be our heart.
    And its desires for us.

    We are born knowing
    what is right for us
    and what is wrong for us,
    what is good for us
    and what is bad for us.

    We resonate with the things
    that call our name.

    Musicians resonate with music.
    Mathematicians resonate with numbers.
    Mechanics resonate with wrenches…

    Where do our interests lie?
    We all know,
    but we all don’t know what we know.
    We have to sit down with ourselves,
    and listen.
    And live toward the things
    that call us forth
    and express who we are
    in the times and places
    of our living.

  20. 03/07/2020  —  Adrift, Too, 10/15/2009 — Deer Isle, Maine, October 15, 2009

    Growing up is growing into
    how things are with us here and now.

    And things are always becoming
    what they weren’t.

    Living takes some getting used to.

    Water seeks its own level,
    but.
    Water hates being level.
    Level water isn’t going anywhere.
    When water doesn’t go anywhere,
    it stagnates,
    becomes stagnant.
    Stagnant water isn’t water any more.
    Stagnant water is water
    becoming what it is not.
    A petri dish.
    A bog.
    Land.
    A desert.

    Everything is becoming what it is not.
    We are becoming dead.
    Life is dying.
    One transition at a time.

    And our place is to adjust ourselves
    to all of it.
    Every bit of it.
    Because “that’s the way it is.”
    And growing up
    is growing into how things are here and now.
    And things are always changing.

    What is being asked of you
    that is not what has been asked of you
    up to this point?
    Whatever it is,
    it might be your new normal.

    Growing up is letting go what’s going,
    and letting come what’s coming
    all our life long.

    My favorite method of growing up
    is adopting the philosophy/outlook of Zen:
    Here we are. Now what?

    Here and now is the only time there is.
    Everything else is memory and potential.
    Now is what we have to work with,
    and it isn’t going to last long.

    Welcome the moment
    and see what you can do with it,
    see who you need to become
    because of it.

    What is being asked of you?
    What does the moment need from you?
    How might you assist the moment
    in becoming what it needs to be?

    Why would you want to?
    Because it is by far your best move
    going forward.

    We are being carried along through our life
    one moment at a time.
    Where we are going
    depends on how participate
    in the journey–
    on how open we are to,
    and how cooperative we are with,
    what is being asked of us
    moment-to-moment.

    What we say yes to,
    and what we say no to
    determines where we go from here.

    Understanding the moment
    and what it is asking of us,
    and what its possibilities are
    from this point on,
    and how we can assist it toward
    livable options
    and away from dead-end options
    is our gift to the moment,
    and to what remains
    of our time left for living.

    It behooves us to be aware of the moment,
    and what it is offering to us,
    and the part we play here and now
    in making our life what it can be
    in the moments that lie ahead.

  21. 03/08/2020  —  Lobster Boats 10/19/2009 — Rockport Harbor, Rockport, Maine, October 19, 2009

    We can’t think about playing the piano (etc.)
    and play the piano (etc.).

    Thinking about playing the piano (etc.)
    is what we do
    when we are learning to play the piano (etc.)
    Once we get it,
    we are done with thinking.

    The same rule applies
    to riding a bicycle
    and every other thing we do.

    We think about it until we get it
    then off we go.

    And there are some things
    we have to get
    without thinking about them.

    Cold showers.
    You can think about a cold shower for days,
    but it takes stepping into one
    to get it.

    I thought smoking a pipe
    would be so cool.
    I liked to fly fish,
    and I’d seen pictures
    of fly fishermen smoking a pipe,
    and thought it would complete my image
    to smoke a pipe while fly fishing.

    There was nothing in any of the pictures
    about the difficulty of keeping a pipe going
    while fly fishing.

    Or about after-taste.
    Upon waking up.
    Every morning.

    Thinking leaves a lot out of the equation.

    We have to live our life into being.
    We cannot think our way there.

    We cannot think rhythm.
    We cannot think harmony.
    We cannot think timing.
    We cannot think flow.
    We cannot think love.

    The important things live
    on a level thinking cannot reach.

    Feeling-knowing,
    being-knowing
    tasting-knowing
    sensing-knowing
    intuiting-knowing
    doing-knowing
    are all levels of knowing
    beyond thinking.

    Learning to listen on all levels
    is foundational
    to being alive on all levels.

  22. 03/09/2020  —  Corn Stalks 10/16/2009 B&W — Near Camden, Maine, October 16, 2009

    Carl Jung said, “The greatest and most important problems of life are all fundamentally insoluble. They can never be solved but only outgrown.”

    He is saying, “Growing up is the solution to all of our problems today.”

    Jacob Bronowski said, “You cannot know what is true unless you act in certain ways.”

    I take that to mean “In order to know the truth, we have to live truthful lives.”

    And we cannot understand what that means unless we are already living truthfully.

    We can only talk about what we already know to be so.

    We live our way to truth—we are not talked our way there.

    Until we reach a certain level of experience/maturity/grace, all conversations on topics related to truth and wisdom will be like AM talking to FM.

    We have to have a certain level of experience/maturity/grace before we can enter the silence and face ourselves and what meets us there.

    To know more than we already know about truth, we have to grow up some more.

    And we cannot grow up without bearing the pain
    of knowing what we know
    and of what there is yet to know.

    If we are looking to escape the pain of life,
    we cannot take flight into truth.
    The truth will eat us alive.

  23. 03/09/2020  —  Day’s End 10/11/2009 — The View From Cadillac Mountain, As a cruise ship cruises by, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine, October 11, 2009

    Jesus could have lived much longer
    if he had not gone to Jerusalem
    for Passover.

    He made a point to die when he did
    the way he did.

    Did he have a “Messiah Complex”?
    Was he trying to manipulate some
    imaginary “Celestial System”
    to arrange the “End of Days”?

    His disciples certainly bought into
    the messiah spin,
    and played “The End Is Near”
    thorough the ages,
    to right here,
    right now–
    no closer to the end than ever.

    With that realization in mind,
    how are we to pass the time?

    “Doing what is good for us
    and for one another,” I say.

    “Doing what is helpful to us
    and to all,” I say.

    “Being a safe place for all to be,” I say.

    “Find something that needs doing
    and do it,” I say.

    What to do with our time
    is the bane of existence.
    How we solve that problem
    will tell the tale.

    What are you going to do
    with the time left for living?

  24. 03/09/2020  —  Trout Lily 03/08/2020 05 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 8, 2020

    We cannot be willfully,
    deliberately,
    intentionally
    enlightened.

    We cannot will realization.

    We cannot will maturity.

    And deliberate grace and compassion
    are more affectation than reality.

    We can allow the shift in perspective
    that results in enlightenment,
    realization,
    grace
    and compassion,
    but we cannot will it.

    The trick is to reside at the center point
    between all extremes.

    At the center point,
    there are no dualites,
    there are no desires,
    there are no advantages,
    nothing to gain or lose,
    nothing to want or have,
    etc.

    There is simply being here, now,
    wondering what needs to happen,
    and how we might assist into being.

    We reside in the moment curious
    about what is next,
    and wait or something to occur to us.

    When the right thing arises in the silence,
    we automatically,
    spontaneously,
    naturally
    respond to it
    with the right action,
    rising to the occasion
    in the most magnificent kind of way,
    without being able to take credit
    for any of it
    because we are only the moved,
    living in response to the mover.

  25. 03/10/2020  —  Swift River 10/2001 — White Mountains, New Hampshire, October, 2001

    There is a way
    of getting out of the way
    that flows from knowing
    when we are in the way,
    which stems from
    paying attention,
    on purpose,
    with compassion for,
    and no opinion of,
    the present moment
    and our place in it,
    our response to it,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    all our life long.

    When we get out of the way,
    we open ourselves to the way
    in a way that allows the way
    to carry us along
    like a leaf on the water,
    or a train on the rails,
    “past houses, farms and fields,”
    enabling us to be
    what the situation needs us to be,
    spontaneously dancing
    with the music of the moment
    in ways that serve the true good
    of the whole,
    and make wherever we are
    an epiphany of grace
    in the lives of all others,
    all because we got out of the way.

  26. 03/10/2020  —  Trout Lily 03/08/2020 07 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 8, 2020

    The key to archery is the same
    as the key to pancakes,
    though it takes longer to get it.

    It goes like this:
    Start making pancakes,
    start shooting arrows.

    After a while, you are an expert
    at pancake making
    and at arrow shooting.

    You shoot arrow after arrow,
    for 10,000 arrows–
    being mindfully aware of each shot
    letting the outcome of this shot
    “suggest” corrections for the next shot.

    Soon, you will be hitting the target,
    and then, the bullseye,
    without knowing how you are doing it.

    You will probably only need to make
    100 pancakes.
    Maybe 1,000.

    This is the way you learn to do everything.
    Remember how many times you fell
    learning to walk?
    And ride a bicycle?
    And roller skate?
    Or ice skate?

    Give yourself the equivalent of 10,000 arrows
    to do anything.
    Nothing to it.

  27. 03/11/2020  —  Tree and Moon 03/11/2020 01 — A blended photograph, with the moon from 3/9/2020 and the Skeleton Tree from Boneyard Beach at Botany Bay, SC on 01/28/2015.

    If you are reading this,
    I am the doorway,
    threshold,
    portal,
    portkey
    to you.

    We spend our life
    seeking ourselves,
    so that we might “throw in”
    with us,
    and form the partnership
    we were born to serve,
    bringing ourselves to life
    in the time left for living
    and being who we are
    while we can
    before we die.

    Speaking of dying,
    the Coronavirus seems to be intent
    on killing all of us over 60,
    so many of us don’t have as much time left
    as we would like,
    and have none to waste,
    so if you are over 60
    and haven’t made finding you
    your whole-hearted driving passion,
    today would be a good day to start
    to finding you
    and being your own best friend,
    keeping yourself safe from the Coronavirus!
    Everybody is a potential source
    of what is trying to kill you.
    Give them all a wide berth!
    Don’t let them close!

    Back to my place in your life.
    Whatever attracted you to me
    is leading you to you
    and is using me to get you to you.

    You cannot understand a thing I’m saying
    if it were not already there,
    incubating in you,
    stirring to life in response
    to what you are hearing from me.

    We are all like a labor room for each other,
    finding in one another
    what is waiting to be born in ourselves.
    We bring each other to life
    by saying what is true for us
    and sparking a flame to life
    in someone else.

    We are all kinsmen, kinswomen, kins-ters,
    in this way.
    We all draw water from the same well,
    and offer what we have to give
    to each other
    as a way of mutually encouraging one another
    to take up the work
    of consciously seeking and serving ourselves.

    You have been following the bread crumbs
    laid down by you
    from the day you were born,
    leading you to your invisible partner
    in the work to be who you are,
    consciously, deliberately, intentionally
    incarnating yourself in your life
    while you can.

    I’m glad to be a part of your journey, but.
    It isn’t about me.
    It is about you.

  28. 03/12/2020  —  Lotus Blossom 05/31/2010 — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina May 31, 2010

    All of the important things
    are out of our control.
    If we can make our peace
    with that,
    we have it made,
    as much as we can have it made
    with all of the important things
    being out of our control.

  29. 03/13/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach 03/11/2020 — A blended photograph, with the moon from 3/9/2020 and a Skeleton Tree from Boneyard Beach at Botany Bay, SC on 01/28/2015.

    The complete shutdown of life as we know it
    for two, or more, weeks
    will be hell for everyone
    who lives in the service
    of diversion and distraction.

    And a wonderful opportunity
    to wake up and come to life
    in ways never imagined
    or considered.

    This bears out my First Law of Realization:
    Bear The Pain!

    Until we can bear the pain,
    we do not have what it takes
    to see what we are looking at
    and do what needs to be done
    about it.

    These are the Second and Third Laws of Realization:
    See What You Are Looking At!
    Do What Needs To Be Done About It!

    Everything else flows from,
    and falls into place around,
    the Three Laws of Realization.

    Bearing the pain
    enables us to take up the work
    of finding and living out of
    our Original Nature.

    My directions for doing that
    are found on my WordPress site
    under “Blog Posts,”
    and can be reduced to:
    “Ask all of the questions
    that beg to be asked,
    and say all of the things
    that cry out to be said.”

    Following that exercise out all the way
    will lead you to your Original Nature,
    to who you are
    and what is yours to do.

    Which will fill up the next two (or more) weeks
    rather nicely.

    The catch is that you have to
    bear the pain!

    The culture we live in
    was created around the service
    of distraction and denial
    because we cannot bear the pain.

    And, whoops, here we are!

  30. 03/13/2020  —  Jenny Adams Panorama 08/26/2015 — Harbor River near Beaufort, South Carolina, August 26, 2015

    There are a lot of things
    we do not know about the Coronavirus.

    The most disconcerting thing for me
    is that we don’t know who to avoid.

    We all can be carriers without symptoms.
    Without knowing it.
    And no one else can know it.
    Meaning that we have to stay away
    from everyone.
    Indefinitely.

    I’ve been doing that for quite a while,
    having taken an oath of solitude
    (No social intercourse with anyone
    other than close family members)
    shortly after retirement in 2011,
    so, no problem for me–
    but it will be a terrible burden
    for a lot of people.

    And, I am of no help to any of them.
    It is AM talking to FM.

    I could say,
    “It is like camping out in the deep forest
    without mosquitoes,
    and with WIFI and central air/heat,
    running water,
    flush toilets,
    stoves and refrigerators!”
    But, they would be wondering,
    “Why camp out in the deep forest?
    How could that be fun?”

    The next few weeks
    will be a test of the spirit
    of the nation.
    It is “solitary” confinement
    for the good of the whole.

    Surround yourselves
    with entertaining escapes
    from the reality of social distancing,
    and hope it will be shorter
    than you are afraid it will be,
    even though it is likely to be longer
    than you want it to be.

    And I’ll highly recommend viewing
    all of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s YouTube videos,
    and practicing what he is preaching.
    It will help pass the time,
    and transform your life
    on the other side of solitude!

  31. 03/14/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach 03/11/2020 03 – A blended photograph, with the moon from 3/9/2020 and a Skeleton Tree from Boneyard Beach at Botany Bay, SC on 01/28/2015.

    My life has lived me from the start.
    I have simply followed where I am led,
    in the sense of the old alchemical formula,
    “One book opens another.”

    I am quite taken by,
    and interested in
    (Marveling at)
    all of my entrances and exits.
    They have all come at the right time,
    with me doing nothing to manufacture
    any of them.

    The door opened and I walked through.
    As though I was following Lao Tzu’s advice,
    “Do your work and let nature take its course,”
    without being aware of what I was doing.

    Entrances and exits bring with them transitions,
    and I have found my way through them all
    simply by doing what needed to be done
    without forcing anything,
    “Like a cork on the water.”

    Though, knowing when to leave
    and where to go,
    are a part of exits and entrances,
    I have always known those things,
    and waited,
    looking,
    for the “where” to present itself
    when the “when” was apparent.

    I have my preferences,
    and serve them as best I can.
    No noise, is one.
    No trauma/drama, is another.
    Lead time.
    Space.
    Consideration.
    Grace, mercy, peace…

    All squirrels look alike to me.
    And Robins.
    But, people stand out.
    I see people as individuals,
    even though too many of them
    behave like a herd.

    I always wonder, “Why is that?”
    Everybody is unique in special ways–
    why do they take their cues for living
    from someone else?
    What is with “crowd mania”?
    Everybody knows what is “in” and “out” but me.
    How do they all know that at the same time?
    I’m clueless about a lot of things.
    It hasn’t gotten in my way.

    “What next?” has a way of taking care of itself.
    “What now?” is mine to answer,
    and even with that,
    I wait to see.
    Watching what I will do
    with the time that is at hand.
    Curious about where I am being led,
    here and now.

  32. 03/14/2020  —  Round-lobed Hepatica 03/02/2020 05 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 2, 2020

    There is our life,
    and there is what to do with it.

    Those two things are basic to everyone.

    We all need help with them.

    That’s a third thing basic to everyone.

    We all need a cushion between ourselves
    and “the bare necessities.”

    We are all responsible for our own health
    and safety,
    and for paying our own bills,
    and we all need help getting our feet under us,
    getting our balance,
    finding our way.

    And finding our way to the intangibles
    upon which our life depends.

    Bill Moyers asked Joseph Campbell in their conversation
    about “The Power of Myth,”
    “Joe, don’t you feel sorry for those who have
    no invisible means of support?”

    “Invisible means of support.”

    What are your “invisible means of support”?
    What guides your boat
    on its path through the sea?
    How do you know, “What now?”
    “What next?”
    What keeps you going?
    What directs your steps?
    How do you know what to do?
    How do you decide what to do?

    We have to pay the bills.
    And we have to know
    what we are paying the bills to do.

    There is our life, which we have to sustain
    by being able to pay the bills
    living requires us to incur.

    And there is what to do with our life.

    And we need the right kind of help
    in both areas
    until we reach the point
    of being able to stabilize ourselves
    and pay our own bills,
    and find our own way.

    People without any visible and invisible
    means of support
    are as lost and helpless
    as a bird fresh from the egg.

  33. 03/15/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach 03/11/2020 07 — A blended photograph, with the moon from 3/9/2020 and the Skeleton Tree from Boneyard Beach at Botany Bay, SC on 01/28/2015.

    We own our life.
    We own our experience.
    We own our interpretation/perception
    of our experience.
    We own what we do about it,
    how we respond to it,
    where we go with it,
    and where we are because of it.
    It is all on us.

    And it all starts over
    in each moment.

    Here we are, now what?

    We are alone with our life,
    our experience,
    our interpretation/perception of our experience,
    in every here and now.

    What we do about it,
    how we respond to it,
    where we go with it,
    and where we are because of it,
    all depends on us
    in every here and now.

    We are never more than one moment
    away from redemption.

    12-step programs
    and Jungian analysts
    are the best guides to redemption
    I know of.

    If being alone with your life
    isn’t working so well,
    plop yourself down into a 12-step program,
    or down with a Jungian analyst,
    and watch how things change
    by changing the way you look at things.

    Everything hinges
    on changing the way we look at things.

    What is the situation calling for?
    How best can we respond to it?
    Being right about those two things
    is all that is ever asked of us.

    What we see depends on how we look.

  34. 03/15/2020  —  Trout Lily 03/02/2020 04 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 2, 2020

    My maternal grandmother
    would have been better off
    with someone other than
    my maternal grandfather.

    My mother would have been
    better off with someone
    other than my father.

    My brother and sisters and I
    live to make their suffering
    worthwhile.

    As with us,
    so also with many of you.

    Carl Jung said he lived
    to ask the questions
    his ancestors never raised.

    We all are the hope of our lineage.
    We carry the weight of our ancestral tribe
    on our shoulders.

    We have to free ourselves
    from our circumstances
    in order to bring forth
    what they lived and died
    to pass along.

    The family treasure
    is buried in us.
    And it up to us to dig it up
    and bring it forth.

    We betray all those who went before us
    if we fail in our task
    of being who we are–
    of being who we have it within us to be.

    There is no work
    other than being true to ourselves–
    true to the self that lives
    at our center
    and waits for us to clear the way
    between us,
    and call her,
    call him,
    forth to join us in the work
    that is ours to do together.

  35. 03/15/2020  —  Delta Sunset, September 1977, Concordia Parish, Louisiana

    My wife and I have two Thursdays to go
    to be through 14 days
    of self-imposed quarantine.
    If we make it with no symptoms,
    that would mean we are asymptomatic.
    We could still be carriers.
    Without a test
    and without symptoms,
    we won’t know if we are infected
    with the Coronavirus.
    And we will be as vulnerable
    to contracting the virus
    as we were before self-quarantine.
    So, we will be very little better off.

    The quarantine works if it is generally
    observed by everyone,
    to break the momentum
    of new case development,
    and give hospitals a chance
    to recover,
    resupply
    and regroup.
    It will help researchers predict trends
    and potential “hot areas,”
    so that preparations can be made
    for spikes to occur there.
    And it will give the overwhelmed
    medical response systems
    a chance to plan for the long-term,
    and give the labs working on a vaccine
    time to do what they can do.

    But.

    My wife and I will still have to be vigilant
    and alert,
    smart and careful
    when we step outside
    to run errands and take care of business.
    There will be potential danger
    on every side.
    We will have to think about
    what we are doing.
    And know we are taking a chance,
    and putting ourselves in harm’s way.

    That will be the new normal
    for everyone in the world.

  36. 03/16/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach 04 — A blended photograph, with the moon from 3/9/2020 and the Skeleton Tree from Boneyard Beach at Botany Bay, SC on 01/28/2015.

    Joseph Campbell said,
    “A wheel turning out of its own center–
    that’s what you get in a mature individual”
    (Or words to that effect).

    We have no idea of what he is talking about.

    We–even the “mature” ones among us–
    have no idea of what constitutes our center,
    or if we have one,
    or how to find it.

    We are as divorced from ourselves
    as it is possible to be.

    When thrown back on ourselves,
    as in a situation of forced solitude/isolation,
    we are stupefied.

    If we can’t hang out with our friends
    (Or crowd into a bar with people we don’t know),
    we are lost,
    at loose ends,
    with nowhere to turn
    and no idea of what to do with ourselves
    with time on our hands.

    Our life is directed by–what?
    What somebody else is doing?
    What somebody else tells us to do?
    We have to pack around with other people
    to know what to do?
    Where do we find our cues for living?
    For knowing what to do with our life?

    What directs our boat on its path through the sea?
    How do we decide what to do?

    We have nothing but our wants to guide us.

    We all yearn for the freedom
    “to do whatever we want,”
    as though we know what to want.

    How do we know what to want?
    We only know what we want.
    We don’t know if we ought to want it.
    We don’t know if we have any business wanting it.
    We don’t know where our wants come from,
    or why they are never satisfied,
    always wanting something else,
    something more.

    What is the deal with wants and wanting?
    Why do we want what we want
    and not something else instead?
    And not something better?
    And not something actually good for us?

    Why don’t we want what is healthy?
    What is fulfilling?
    What is satisfying?
    What is wise?

    We want to go to a bar and get drunk!
    Brilliant!
    We want to get laid!
    Twice as brilliant!
    Getting drunk and getting laid
    is the best we can imagine ever having.
    or ever wanting.
    And bragging about it to our friends.

    That is really all friends are for,
    to brag about getting drunk and getting laid.
    That is as close to “a wheel turning out of its own center”
    as we are able to be.
    And that says it all,
    who we are,
    what we are good for,
    what we can expect of ourselves,
    what we are capable of,
    what wanting is worth,
    what wanting knows.

    If we are going to do anything beyond
    getting drunk and getting laid
    in the time left for living,
    we are going to have to wake up,
    wise up,
    stand up,
    grow up.

    And take up the work
    of finding our way back to ourselves
    and the life that is ours to live,
    and the things that are ours to do.

    We are going to have to
    Stop! Look! Listen!
    until we
    See! Hear! Understand! Know! Do! Be!
    finally,
    at last.

    Knowing, finally, at last,
    what we know–what all we know.
    Doing, finally, at last,
    what is ours to do.
    Being, finally, at last,
    who we are capable of being.
    Grasping finally, at last,
    what it means to be
    a wheel turning out of its own center
    on a path we are making as we go
    on a journey that is ours alone to make
    to the truth that is ours lone to live out,
    incarnating/expressing/exhibiting
    finally, at last,
    who we are
    in doing what is ours alone to do
    before we die.

  37. 03/16/2020  —  Trout Lily 03/08/2020 06 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 8, 2019

    Think of the “wheel turning out of its own center”
    as a gyroscope.

    Our center is a gyroscope.

    It serves to square us up,
    to balance us,
    side to side,
    front to back,
    top to bottom,
    inside and out
    and on track–
    on course–
    aligned with our mission and purpose,
    at one with our life’s goal
    of living in ways
    that incarnate the qualities,
    the virtue/character/characteristics,
    that make us who we are
    in each situation as it rises,
    regardless of our circumstances,
    all our life long.

    Living out of our own center
    is to be solid,
    unmovable,
    resolute,
    at one with who we are,
    no matter what.

    We have to do the work
    of aligning ourselves
    with our own center,
    and living out of it
    day-to-day,
    moment-to-moment,
    situation-by-situation
    for as long as we are alive.

    To do that,
    we have to
    Stop. Look. Listen. See. Hear. Understand.
    Know. Do. Be.
    moment-to-moment…

    We have to be aware of our center–
    we have to know of our center,
    and seek it out,
    consciously,
    deliberately,
    intentionally,
    placing ourselves
    in the possession of the gyroscope,
    feeling it take over the control
    of our living in the moment,
    and trusting ourselves to it
    at all times,
    in all places,
    responding to what is happening,
    not by thinking about it,
    but by feeling it assume control,
    speaking words
    and doing acts,
    that are appropriate to the occasion,
    but are spontaneous responses
    to the here and now of our living
    that skirt our usual rational/logical/intellectual
    way of living and doing in the moment.

    The center is real.
    The gyroscope is trustworthy.
    We have to believe it
    and trust ourselves to it
    to know that it is real and trustworthy.

    Our work is to believe in our work
    and in our innate capacity to do the work
    that we are here to do,
    and get out of the way.

    We carry the camera
    and drive the car,
    but the gyroscope directs us
    to the location and tells us where to stand
    and when to take the picture.

    Etc. with everything
    in every moment
    every day.

    If you are going to bother
    with taking anything “on faith,”
    let it be this!

  38. 03/172020  —  Skeleton Trees of Graveyard Beach 05 — A blended photograph, with the moon from 3/9/2020 and the Skeleton Tree from Boneyard Beach at Botany Bay, SC on 01/28/2015.

    I consider myself a shaman of sorts,
    a Yoda with hiking boots
    and a walking stick,
    only it’s a forearm crutch,
    and I use two of them
    on walks longer than
    the grocery store requires.

    I talk to whomever is listening
    about things I think matters,
    and whomever hears is who hears,
    and whomever doesn’t, doesn’t,
    and I don’t have anything to gain
    or lose
    either way.

    It’s the business of shamans/yodas
    to say what they have to say
    and let nature take its course,
    with no investment in the outcome.

    Today’s word at the top of the day
    is “impermanence.”
    Nothing lasts.
    Don’t think that matters.
    “Nothing lasts,” is not permanent.
    The fitting response is,
    “Okay. I got it. Nothing lasts. So what?”

    Everything is temporary.
    That’s permanent.
    Temporary lasts forever.
    But that doesn’t matter either,
    because we are temporary,
    and that’s what matters most.

    Because we are temporary,
    everything falls out around that.
    We have to do it while we can
    because we don’t have much time
    to work with.

    Do what? Do what we do best!
    Do what we are here for!
    Do what we need to do!
    Do what is ours to do!
    Do what satisfies us,
    fulfills us,
    brings us forth,
    incarnates our Original Nature,
    makes us Real in the time left for living.
    So that what we do is Really Us.

    Start with a dependable Order of the Day.
    Break the day into periods in which you do YOU.
    Do not just slop through the day
    being bored looking for something to entertain you.
    Bring YOU forth in the day,
    each day,
    every day.
    Live to serve YOU daily,
    doing the things you do best–
    wholeheartedly,
    enthusiastically,
    joyfully
    expressing YOU in each one.

    Don’t think about it.
    Listen. Look.
    What wants to come forth?
    You are here to do it.
    Listen for what needs to be done.
    What needs to be expressed?
    What needs you to bring it forth?
    You are the servant of YOU.
    Give YOU the reins
    and see where you are led.

    You have to learn how to listen to YOU–
    how to read the signals,
    how to sense the signs,
    how to follow the drift of your own body/heart/soul.

    See what occurs to you.
    What urge beckons you.
    What calls you.
    Pulls you.
    Catches your eye.
    Makes your little heart sing
    and your little feet dance.

    Do not have to defend,
    excuse,
    justify,
    explain
    whatever you do.
    Just trust YOU and go with the leanings
    of your body/heart/soul.

    Do this relentlessly,
    reliably,
    every day.
    Really.
    Work YOU into each day!
    For the rest of your life!

    This is from ME to you.
    If you can hear it, great.
    If you can’t, fine.

  39. 03/18/2020  —  Round-lobed Hepatica 03/08/2020 06 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 8, 2020

    Tomorrow, my wife and I begin
    our second week
    of self-quarantine,
    and we heard last night
    that the next fifteen days
    are crucial for the U.S.
    to turn things around
    and have a future that is better
    than Italy’s present.

    So 14 days for us
    is going to be 21 days.
    And, after that, what?

    Until there is a reliable vaccine in place–
    probably a year and a half from now–
    we all will be self-quarantine-ing.

    A Coronavirus test is like
    a blood test for VD.
    It only lets us know we were virus-free
    at the time the test was administered.
    Nothing about now.
    Or tomorrow.

    We will live forever as potential threats,
    seeing all others as potential threats.

    Doing our grocery shopping in surgical gloves.
    Disinfecting the mail.
    Longing for the days of good meals
    in favorite restaurants…

    A new way of life will emerge with time.
    In the meantime,
    there is wondering how much time we have.
    This isn’t going way.
    It is changing who we are–
    as individuals,
    as a nation,
    as a world.

    And the spirit with which
    we go about the work of transformation
    will make all the difference.

    I recommend absorption
    in Taoism and Zen,
    and adoption of their attitude
    for each day:

    Here we are,
    now what?

    Letting go what’s going,
    and letting come what’s coming,
    and being invested in our life each day,
    without being attached to it,
    enmeshed with it.

    “It’s a new world, Golda.”
    A brand new world.

  40. 03/19/2020  —  Thanks to Charon Ray for sharing this memory from March 18, 2013 — Truth never gets old or goes away, but is always coming back around, calling us to remember it anew, and share it with one another, because, while things appear to be constantly changing, on a foundational level, they are always remaining the same, and the community of innocence forms around what grounds us all, and always has, from the beginning of people being aware of what holds us together, and enables us to go on…

    The Howling Owl From Hell 04/17/2013 — The Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina,

    “The degree to which we live the life that is ours to live depends to a large extent on the way we respond to the life we are living–to life as it comes at us like some wild, howling, owl from hell so that we forget what we are doing and everything we ever thought was good, and suitable, and right. What we do then tells the tale.

    You better write yourself a script and memorize the thing. You better rehearse the scene 10,000 times, until you can recite your lines like you mean them, until you can remember you have a camera in your hands, and you are here to take photographs of howling owls from hell and anything else that looks interesting–until you can do the thing that is yours to do no matter what life throws at you all your life long.

    When you can respond to your life without taking your eyes off your LIFE—without forgetting who you are and what you are about–without casting about all hopeless and forlorn, looking for meaning and purpose and a reason to go on, as though those things live somewhere outside of your own heart and soul—and can remember your business and be about it no matter what is going on around you, then your LIFE knows it has a keeper in you, and snuggles right up to you and says, “Let’s me and you go show them what we’re made of,” and the fun really begins.

  41. 03/19/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Graveyard Beach 06 — A blended photograph, with the moon from 3/9/2020 and the Skeleton Tree from Boneyard Beach at Botany Bay, SC on 01/28/2015.

    How do you know what you love?
    Does thinking about it tell you?
    Does asking someone else tell you?
    Does flipping a coin tell you?
    Does reading books on love tell you?
    Does listening to lectures/sermons tell you?
    How do you know what you love?

    How do you know when you are sleepy?
    When you are hungry?
    Whether it is time for a cup of coffee
    or a cold beer?

    How do you know what resonates with you?
    How do you know what clicks with you?
    How do you know what is “you” and what is “not you”?
    How do you know what is right for you
    and what is wrong for you?
    How do you know where you belong
    and where you have no business being?

    This kind of knowing is something you feel,
    sense, within.
    It is intuitive knowing.
    Instinctive knowing.
    It is knowing that is central–
    centered in the heart of our original nature.
    Of the nature that came with us
    from the womb.
    As natural as our genetic makeup,
    as our unconscious mind.

    We call it “the unconscious”
    because we are not conscious of it–
    but can tune into it,
    sense it,
    intuit it,
    instinctively align ourselves with it,
    feel it,
    know it.

    The Unconscious Way
    is called the Tao.
    It governs how we do what needs to be done,
    when and where it needs to be done,
    as it needs to be done,
    within the circumstances/situation of its doing.

    To know what to do,
    when,
    where,
    and how,
    we have to learn
    to Stop. Look. Listen.
    to our Unconscious Mind,
    know what we know,
    and trust ourselves to its guidance.

    We cannot think our way there.
    We live our way there,
    learning over time
    how to read the signals coming up
    from the center,
    from the source,
    of our original nature–
    and how to align ourselves
    with the directives from within.

  42. 03/20/2020  —  Along NY Hwy 30 09/28/2014 02 — An unnamed pond in Adirondack Park on the way to Long Lake and Tupper Lake from Johnstown NY, September 28, 2014

    Awareness that is invested
    in the situation as a whole
    without being attached to
    or immeshed with the outcome,
    and so is free to be
    nonjudgmental and compassionate
    with regard to everything
    in the situation
    is the pivot point
    levering the situation
    from where it is
    to where it might be
    in the service of the true good
    of all concerned.

    If you want to assist the way things are
    toward the best they are capable of being
    start with seeing clearly
    and taking stock
    with nothing personally at stake
    in the outcome
    beyond the true good of the whole.

    Which is, of course, a complete
    cultural shift away from where we are,
    with “What do I stand to gain?”
    and “Profit At Any Price!”
    being the sole source of direction
    and motivation throughout the world.

    Which gets us to the place
    where Christianity parts ways with Taoism.

    Christianity is the religion of the culture
    of “What’s In It For Me-ism.”
    Heaven if you believe what someone
    tells you to believe,
    Hell if you don’t.

    Christianity is the heart of militarism,
    industrialism,
    consumerism,
    and commercialism,
    where we do this in order to get that,
    have that,
    possess that,
    conquer that,
    defeat that,
    and make this happen.

    Everything is done/created
    with making/getting/having
    something else in mind.
    With the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
    and the Promised Land,
    and the New Heaven and New Earth
    behind it all.

    Taoism, on the other hand,
    is aimless wandering,
    purposeless movement,
    and undirected growth–
    like a tree growing from a seed,
    or a stream flowing to the sea–
    for nothing beyond the experience
    of the wonder of destiny unfolding
    in its eternal dance
    with the circumstances of existence.

    And, here we are,
    with the world as we have known it
    being transformed before our eyes
    into what-we-do-not-know-
    and-cannot-imagine.

    We do not know what to do
    to make what happen.

    In this situation, Taoism would advise:
    Stop. Look. Listen.
    Find your core,
    your bedrock,
    the things that are truest,
    deepest,
    and best
    about you!
    Find your Original Nature–
    the essence of who you are,
    the things that make you you–
    and seek the guidance
    that comes from within
    your own heart and soul,
    in light of who you have always been,
    and who you will always be.

    Live out of that–
    live toward that–
    live true to that,
    in service to that–
    doing what the circumstances
    in each situation as it arises
    are asking you to do
    in light of that,
    holding the truth of you
    in one hand,
    and the truth of your circumstances
    in the other hand,
    and working to get your two hands together
    in ways that honor the truth of both hands.

    Moment-by-moment-by-moment.
    In the eternal dance
    of life and being.

  43. 03/21/2020  —  Trout Lily 03/08/2020 09 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 8, 2020

    Donald Trump (and his Cabinet)
    knew about the Coronavirus in December
    and did nothing about it
    because he didn’t now what to do
    because he had fired the people who did know
    shortly after he took office
    because they reeked of Obama
    and he hated anything Obama.

    He had no idea of what he was up against,
    and had never been up against anything
    in his entire life
    that somebody else didn’t take care of for him.

    He had never actually been solely responsible
    for anything.
    He didn’t even write the checks.
    He had someone else write the checks
    to pay someone else
    for taking care of whatever
    needed to be taken care of,
    while he went on doing whatever he did,
    which never actually amounted to anything
    beyond strutting around,
    sounding off
    about anything
    that got attention.

    All Trump ever did was get attention.
    The was great at getting attention.
    Showing off.
    Doing anything he wanted to do.
    Letting someone else take care of it.

    When he heard about the Coronavirus in December,
    he said, “It’s only a virus,”
    and figured someone would take care of it
    while he focused on The Numbers.

    The Numbers were all that mattered to him.
    A Stock Market staying high
    kept him in business.
    No one could touch him
    as long as the economy was good.

    His donors were happy.
    Everything was fine.
    And he could flirt with the idea of,
    and fantasize about,
    being President forever,
    like a king,
    like royalty,
    strutting around,
    sounding off
    about anything,
    with everybody telling him
    how wonderful he was.

    And then, things begin to happen
    that no one could control,
    because he had no control mechanisms in place
    to provide for the necessary goods and services
    to meet the demands that were suddenly
    coming from everywhere.

    “We aren’t shipping clerks!”
    he said.
    “I have no responsibility for anything!”
    he said.
    Nothing he said made sense,
    panned out,
    was true.
    And here we are.
    Now what?

    No one is in charge.
    It’s everyone for himself/herself.
    Godspeed and good luck.

    We still have electricity at our house,
    and running water.
    But.
    When the death rate reaches 2 million
    how many of those will have had something
    to do with electricity and water
    running to our houses?

    How long before the infrastructure breaks down?
    How long before it all goes to hell
    in a major kind of way?

    It seems to be a race now
    between The Complete Loss Of Everything
    and the development of a reliable vaccine.
    And we have no control over either.

    What can we do?
    Stay safe and wait it out.
    Staying safe means being smart.
    Being alert and aware.
    Keeping our distance from one another.
    Being kind to one another.
    Tending our relationship with ourselves.

    As a species,
    we have been here before.
    We have the genetic makeup to respond
    to the unknown and unknowable.
    The process is a simple regular routine
    of listening
    to our body–our heart, our stomach, our bones–
    to our nighttime dreams,
    to our Original Nature–our Virtues
    (With “virtue” understood in the sense of
    “This plant has medicinal virtues.”
    What Virtues do you have?
    Sit with the question
    until you begin to gain clarity
    of the things that are true about you.
    Listen to, rely upon, those things.
    Bring them forth to meet what meets you
    in a day.).

    If you are going to take anything “on faith,”
    take this on faith:
    We have what we need
    to find what we need
    to do what needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises,
    regardless of our circumstances,
    all our life long.

    And this:
    How we respond to what is happening
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    makes all the difference.

    Believe these things are so
    with all your heart, mind, soul and strength,
    and live as though they are
    all day every day.
    Taking one step at a time.

  44. 03/21/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach 08 — A blended photograph, with the moon from 3/9/2020 and the Skeleton Tree from Boneyard Beach at Botany Bay, SC on 01/28/2015.

    Don’t worry about the future!

    We will do exactly the same thing there
    that we do here–
    live to do what the situation calls for
    in each situation as it arises,
    regardless of what our circumstances are,
    situation-by-situation-by-situation,
    day-by-day-by-day
    for as long as we are alive.

    We live to do what is called for
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    We live to be what the situation needs us to be.

    We live to do what the situation needs to be done.

    We live to honor the moment
    with our attentive presence.

    We live to serve each here-and-now
    with compassion and grace.

    Whether we want to or not,
    whether we are in the mood for it or not,
    whether we feel like it or not,
    around the clock,
    in all weather conditions,
    no matter what.

    In any future that comes along.

    We are built to do that.
    We have what it takes to do that.
    This is our moment!
    We were born for this!

    Lay aside your fear and anxiety
    and put on your Original Face,
    the one that was yours before you were born,
    and step into what’s coming
    bent on showing it what you can do–
    and discovering yourself
    what you are capable of doing,
    by rising to every occasion
    and offering what is called for
    out of the gifts,
    genius,
    virtues,
    character
    and values
    that came with you from the womb,
    looking for a place like this
    to show your stuff!

    And know that I am proud,
    and glad,
    to be with you in the work
    that is ours to do
    from this point on
    all the way along the way!

  45. 03/22/2020  —  Lenten Rose 03/20/2020 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 20/20/20

    “Well, that’s that.”
    Is all we need to say
    at the transition points,
    as we wait for
    “What now?”
    “What next?”
    to be revealed to us.

    Transition points
    are where we recognize
    the end of life as we have known it
    and the beginning
    of a new way of doing things
    which we will discover
    as it unfolds before us,
    around us,
    within us
    over time.

    The old has passed away,
    and the new is coming
    moment-by-moment,
    day-by-day.
    And we have to adjust
    to the time that is at hand–
    between what has been
    and what will be.

    The “times in-between”
    are the hardest times
    in the entire catalogue of times.

    They are times of uncertainty,
    unknowing,
    disorientation,
    confusion,
    fear,
    anxiety,
    terror,
    turmoil
    turbulence,
    etc.
    for as far as we can see.

    Everything is up in the air.
    Nothing is for sure.
    Stability,
    security,
    confidence,
    contentment,
    peace
    and serenity
    are nowhere to be found.

    These are those times.
    And awash in “the heaving waves
    of the wine-dark sea”
    of these times,
    it comes down to three things:
    Bear the pain!
    Trust in yourself!
    Wait it out!

    Ours has to be the adamantine certainty
    of the reliability
    of the bedrock foundation
    of the core
    of our own nature–
    expressed so beautifully
    by the blind Greek poet Homer
    when he has Odysseus
    say the words that were at the heart
    of his, that is Homer’s, own life
    and had been borne out in his experience
    over the full course of his life:

    “I will endure through suffering hardship!
    And when the heaving sea
    Has shaken my raft to pieces,
    Then I will swim!”

    That is who we are!
    And that is what grounds us
    through all of the transition points
    of our life.
    We are one with Homer
    and with Odysseus,
    and all who have faced
    the agony of the Unknown and Unknowable–
    and stepped forward
    to meet what lies ahead
    as it is revealed to us,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    forever.

    “And when the heaving sea
    has shaken our raft to pieces,
    then we will swim!”

  46. 03/22/2020  —  Cypress Fall — Down east North Carolina, any November ever.

    Take the New Testament.
    Remove all the doctrine,
    dogma,
    and theology.

    What you have left comes down to
    the sermon on the mount,
    the parable of the prodigal’s father,
    and the parable of the good Samaritan.

    That is all the religion anyone needs
    to build a life
    worthy of accolade
    and commendation.

    And that much religion
    is found at the heart
    of all religions
    honored and esteemed
    by people through the ages.

    When a religion sets itself apart
    from what is common to humanity
    and is contrary to human nature,
    it will not be maintained
    for long generations.

    What is good about the religions
    that last for long generations
    is good enough
    to be recognized as good
    by people everywhere.
    And that good is enough
    to overshadow
    what is absurd about them all.

  47. 03/23/2020  —  Adams Mill Pond 11/12/2014 01 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 12, 2014

    Everything depends upon our being right
    about what we say is important,
    and about what is being called for
    in each situation as it arises.

    You know how the Mayan civilization
    was wiped out by disease in no time at all?

    You know how people *en masse*
    are scoffing at the order to “Stay inside!”?

    It is the same “disease” that kills us all:
    Arrogance. Ignorance. Stupidity. Greed.

    Those are the big four “bugs”
    against which there is no immunity,
    only awareness.

    It may have been scarlet fever
    or small pox for the Mayan’s
    and the Coronavirus for us,
    but it’s really
    Arrogance, Ignorance, Stupidity, and Greed
    that does it for everyone throughout time.

    Stupidity and Ignorance have no connection whatsoever
    with a lack of intelligence.
    The most intelligent people
    are often the most Stupid and Ignorant people.
    And Greed and Arrogance
    follow us around like our shadow’s twins.

    You can spot the Fabulous (Not Really) Four
    in the ease with which you
    fail to see what you look at,
    or know what matters most
    in any situation.

    Seeing what we look at
    and knowing what matters most
    are the only things that matter!
    And what keeps that from happening?
    We are the only thing standing in our way!

    What are you dismissing?
    Disregarding?
    Discounting?
    Denying?
    Ignoring?
    About your life right now?

    We do not know
    what we do not know.
    Although it is always right there,
    dancing before us,
    waving its little hands,
    yelling at the top of its little voice
    trying eternally and uselessly
    to get our attention.

    We will not attend
    what we do not consider
    to be important,
    and therefore worthy
    of our consideration.

    Try talking to a white supremacist
    about the importance of treating
    EVERYONE with honor, dignity and respect,
    and living with equality and justice for all people.
    And ask yourself where you are
    as blind to truth as they are.

    Sit down with yourself
    on a regular basis
    and call into question
    everything you think is important,
    and explore how that
    is keeping you
    from hearing/doing
    what is called for
    in each situation
    as it arises.

    How are you getting in your own way?

    What do you think is important
    here and now?
    How is that keeping you
    from seeing/knowing what is important
    here and now?

    Nothing of value is going to happen
    in your life
    until you can answer those questions
    in each situation as it arises.
    In every here and now that comes along.

    Do not let what I am saying here and now
    be like someone telling you to “Stay Inside!”

  48. 03/23/2020  —  Adams Mill Pond Mirror — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November12, 2013

    Our life depends on us
    staying away from other people.

    Other people are threats to our life.

    They can be contagious
    without being symptomatic.

    We don’t know whom to avoid,
    so we must avoid them all.

    We stay alive to the extent
    that we live apart from others.

    Everybody’s entire way of life
    has to adjusted to take this reality
    into account.

    Restaurants have to deliver
    and/or offer curbside pickup/carryout.

    Businesses have to adjust to employees
    being separate from each other
    (Hello Zoom!).

    Everything changes overnight.
    We remake our lives
    and our culture
    in six months,
    or less.

    We do not know if this will be permanent,
    or how long it will be before we know
    it will or won’t be.
    We have to live now as though it will be.

    How do we structure our life
    to live apart from others?
    All others?
    Who can we trust to be “people free”
    except for us?

    Who cuts our hair?
    Who cleans our teeth?
    How do we pay our rent?
    Etc.
    All to be determined.

    And we don’t have to bother
    with any of it
    if a vaccine is developed,
    or if, as with the Black Plague,
    “It just goes away.”

  49. 03/23/2020  —  Watkins Glen 10/03/2014 04 — Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, New York, October 3, 2014

    People generally try to make sense of things
    until they encounter contradictions.
    “How can this be true
    if that is true?”
    they ask,
    and are told either, “It is a Great Paradox,”
    as though that is all there is to say about it,
    or, “It all will be clear when you get to heaven.”
    Contradictions end all inquiry,
    and people settle down with
    worn old formulas
    and phrases
    for wiling away the hours
    until they die.

    The only way to life
    is through wrestling and dancing
    with the contradictions!

    Confronting the contradictions
    exposes some to be frauds,
    false contraries.
    How can a Just God be Loving?
    How can a Just and Loving God allow Evil?
    Those problems disappear
    when you realize that isn’t your problem
    and start looking for what is worth doing
    and how do you know.

    It doesn’t take long there
    before you decide
    to do whatever you think needs doing
    and see whether it was worth doing or not.

    You become the authority of your own life.
    You live like you say you are going to live
    and see what happens.

    Living to see what happens
    if you just start living
    takes you through all sorts
    of interesting twists and turns,
    fixes,
    pickles,
    dead ends
    and tight places.
    With all things being resolved
    by you being your own authority
    in determining what you are going to do
    about what you have to deal with
    in each situation as it arises.

    You make it up as you go.
    Start by not knowing anything
    and see how much you find out
    by the time you die.

  50. 03/24/2020  —  Round-lobed Hepatica 03/08/2020 07 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 8, 2020

    Here and now is the balance point
    between what has been
    and what has yet to be.
    What’s next is up to us.

    Everything depends on
    what happens here and now.
    We are the pivot point,
    the fulcrum,
    between worlds.

    How we receive,
    interpret,
    evaluate,
    consider,
    judge,
    perceive,
    see,
    reconcile,
    understand,
    react to,
    respond to,
    interact with,
    think about,
    what has happened
    and is happening,
    impacts,
    influences,
    transforms,
    conditions,
    limits/expands,
    amends/alters,
    shapes/forms,
    directs/redirects,
    integrates/enables,
    permits/allows,
    moderates/modulates
    the direction and flow
    of what is happening
    and will happen.

    The seeds of the future
    are sown,
    cultivated,
    fertilized,
    watered,
    grown,
    harvested,
    processed,
    packaged,
    cooked
    and eaten
    here and now.

    There is a lot going on
    in the blink of an eye.

    Take care of the moment
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    Live aligned with the time at hand–
    as a grace and a blessing
    upon times yet to be–
    centered upon
    and at one with
    “the still point of the turning world.”
    (T.S. Eliot)

  51. 03/24/2020  —  Six-mile Creek Road 07/12/2014 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, July 12, 2014

    We have to know when we are
    “pushing the river,”
    and forcing things to be
    what we want them to be,
    when they have no business
    being what we want.

    Things have their own
    rhythm and harmony
    and it is our place
    to be sensitive
    to the rhythms and harmonies
    of the time and place
    of our living.

    Dancing with the moment
    means being aware
    of what the music
    is calling for,
    and moving with the beat
    and the flow
    of the here and now.

    Tuning into the moment
    is putting ourselves
    in accord with the Tao,
    and aligning ourselves
    with the center/core
    of our Original Nature,
    and letting things happen
    as they need to happen–
    without trying to depict
    what that is,
    but allowing it to come forth
    in its own way,
    in its own time.

03/25/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach 09 — A blended photograph of sunrise at Bolder Beach in Acadia National Park, ME. and Skeleton Tree 01 from Botany Bay, SC

When Carl Jung said,
“We are who we always have been,
and who we will be,”
he was declaring the validity
of the assumption
that there is an unconscious ground
(Unconscious because we are not–
and cannot be–
conscious of it,
anymore than a fish
can be conscious of the sea)
of existence,
which I allude to
when I say,
“We all drink water
from the same well.”

Not only that,
but “Who we have always been”
goes back beyond our physical birth,
and “who we will be”
extends beyond our physical death.
Just guessing here,
but guesses are allowed
in putting together a gestalt
for harmonizing the disparate parts
of our experience.

There is more to us than meets the eye.
Any eye.

Or, as Heraclitus would say,
“You would not find out the boundaries of the soul,
even by traveling along every path,
so deep a measure does it have.”

This is the “unconscious ground of existence.”
The “Tao of life and being.”

There is a “drift of soul,”
a “way of being/doing,”
that is one with “the unconscious ground of existence,”
and there are “ways of being/doing”
at odds with “the unconscious ground of existence.”
Things go better when we live “in accord with the Tao”–
not only for us,
but also for all of everything.

Every situation calls for something.
It is our place to know what is called for
here and now,
and live here/now
in ways that serve the call
as best we can
one situation after another
all our life long.

The catch is
that we have our own agenda,
our own way of doing things,
our own ideas of how things ought to be.
and we have to be mature enough
to stand between ourselves and ourselves
and make the peace
by bearing the pain
of the dissonance,
and reconciling ourselves to ourselves
in a “Thy will not mine be done” kind of way,
and doing what the situation needs to be done
no matter what
all our life long.

Our work is growing up
so that we can do the work
of being who we are,
where we are,
when we are,
how we are–
bringing ourselves forth
to meet whatever meets us
all day every day forever.

We are called forth by our circumstances.
“It took the Cyclops
to bring the Hero out in Ulysses”
(Joseph Campbell).
We meet each day’s own version
of the Cyclops
upon getting out of bed.
How we handle the day every day
says all that needs to be said about us.

I don’t care what you believe,
or how much money you have,
or what positions you have held,
or what all you can list on your dossier.
All that matters is how you meet the day,
how you deal with what meets you in the day,
every day.

Do you push your own agenda?
Do you live in accord with the Tao?
What guides your boat
on its path through the sea?

  • 03/26/2020  —  Foggy Morning 03/18/2020 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 18, 2020

    You don’t have to be a seer
    to see what is happening
    and what is going to happen
    in response to what is happening.

    $1,200 delivered once
    to a certain percentage of the population
    in May
    won’t help anyone.

    The people–
    that would be every adult person–
    need a living stipend
    with health insurance
    immediately.

    Barring that,
    within two weeks,
    there will be flash mobs
    forming spontaneously,
    carrying signs reading,
    “I Have The Virus!”
    robbing grocery stores
    in “broad daylight.”

    People at the end of their rope
    do whatever it takes.

    When the leaders fail to lead,
    the followers refuse to follow.

    This will not end well.

  • 03/26/2020  —  Reelfoot Lake 11/04/2015 08 — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeck, TN, November 4, 2015

    In any situation,
    there are people
    who can’t be helped.

    Donald Trump cannot be helped.
    He cannot help himself.
    He is beyond being helped.

    And the people who think
    Donald Trump is wonderful,
    great,
    beyond fault or criticism
    can’t be helped.

    They all,
    Donald and his minions,
    are stuck
    where they are.

    Everyone of us is stuck where we are.

    Jesus was nailed to the cross.
    Jesus could not be helped.
    Jesus could not help himself.

    Everyone of us
    is on some cross.

    Nailed to some cross.

    We are where we are
    because we cannot be
    anywhere else.

    We see what we see the way we see it.

    We do what we do the way we do it.

    We are stuck where we are.

    My only advice
    is to recognize how it is with us
    and play it out
    as best we can,
    letting the outcome be the outcome.

    What other choice do we have?

    If you can see the humor in this,
    you have what it takes
    to throw yourself into the work at hand:
    Being who you are
    all the way to the end.

    And maybe it doesn’t end,
    and we pop out on the other side,
    saying, “Wow! That was some ride!
    Let’s do it again!”

  • 03/26/2020  —  Cypress Trees 11/11/2015 01 — Goodale State Park, Camden South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    The face that was ours
    before we were born–
    before our parents were born–
    is all we can hope to be–
    is the best we can hope to be.

    There is nothing more to be
    than who we have always been,
    and who we can only be,
    who only we can be,
    forever!

    Our original nature,
    with the qualities,
    characteristics,
    virtues
    that are ours to unfold,
    realize,
    incarnate,
    exhibit,
    express,
    display
    in the way we live our life
    day-to-day,
    moment-by-moment,
    in each situation as it arises,
    is all there is to it–
    is all there is to do.

    And we spend our life
    wishing we could be
    someone else.

    This is called
    “Missing the point.”

  • 03/26/2020  —  Cades Cove Panorama 02/28/2014 10 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Townsend, Tennessee, February 28, 2014

    This is how it works:

    We size-up each situation as it arises,
    determine what is being called for there,
    and rise to the occasion
    as best we can.

    Situation by situation,
    day by day,
    all our life long.

    Jesus couldn’t do better than that.

  • 03/27/2020  —  Four-mile Creek Wetlands 02/03/2020 03 Panorama — Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, Four-mile Creek Greenway, Charlotte, North Carolina, February 3, 2020

    Every theology is false theology.
    Every dogma,
    every doctrine,
    is false dogma,
    false doctrine.

    How do I know?

    Exactly the question.

    Ask it of every theology,
    every dogma,
    every doctrine.

    The exponents will tell you
    they “take it on faith.”

    Ask them why they take that on faith
    and not something else instead
    and they will say
    “God has laid it on my heart,
    to know that this is so.”
    Or words to that effect.

    The self-validation of belief,
    any belief,
    every belief,
    all belief
    is the foundation of belief.

    We believe it is so
    because we know it is so.
    We feel it in our heart.

    It is the foundation of Voodoo,
    black magic,
    horoscopes,
    lucky charms,
    astrology,
    superstition,
    the I Ching,
    roulette wheels,
    horse/dog race betting,
    and every con
    in the entire encyclopedia of cons.

    We make it all up
    and decide it is true,
    and live as though it is true,
    and it is validated in a thousand ways.
    Until it is not.

    We overlook the not’s,
    or explain them away,
    and believe against all evidence
    to the contrary.
    Because we are just that way.

    Experience validates our expectations.
    We look for the supporting facts,
    and ignore the contradictory facts.

    How much that has been
    held to be the Gospel Truth
    by previous generations
    has been debunked by the experience
    of later generations?

    This is because every objective fact
    has to be interpreted subjectively.
    A fact means nothing in/of itself.
    It comes to life in the mind of those
    who look at it in a way
    that allows it to become alive.
    It means something to them.
    They can use it in some way.

    Sometimes, what they see
    is a feature of the fact,
    and sometimes it is a projection
    that is entirely the product
    of those doing the looking.

    Religion deals with projections,
    science deals with experiments
    designed to lay their projections to rest.
    Religion will not allow any of its projections
    to be questioned,
    much less examined and laid to rest.

    And therein is found the Achilles heel
    of theology/dogma/doctrine:
    They cannot bear the scrutiny
    of disinterested observers,
    and are professed to be so
    only by those who have an investment
    in the validity of their claims.

    So if you ask me,
    “Why should I determine
    what the situation is calling for
    and strive to meet/serve that
    to the best of my ability
    out of the gifts/genius/virtue/abilities
    that are mine to offer,
    situation after situation after situation?

    I’ll say “Give it a six-month experiment
    and see what value you find in living that way
    for that amount of time,
    and then decide how you will live
    for the rest of your life.”

    Nothing to believe.
    Just a way to live.
    Moment-to-moment-to-moment.
    If you can find a better way to live,
    have at it!
    But, by all means,
    know what guides your boat
    on its path through the sea!”

  • 03/27/2020  —  Four-mile Creek Wetlands 02/03/2020 04 — Four-Mile Creek Greenway, Mecklenburg Parks and Recreation, Charlotte, North Carolina, February 3, 2020

    Everything changes,
    shifts,
    transforms
    as perspective changes,
    shifts,
    transforms.

    Perspective creates everything.
    Everything “just as it is”
    is nothing but a fascinating
    swirl of color,
    before perspective.

    It’s all background.
    A photograph
    with everything blurred
    beyond recognition.

    “Is this the beach
    or a soccer field?”

    A baby fresh from the womb
    doesn’t see mama and daddy,
    doctors and nurses,
    floor and ceiling…

    It is just a frightening shock
    of not what it used to be.
    The work of being a new born
    is making sense of the world
    as it is.
    ‘Cept, but, only.
    It is never the world as it is.
    Always the world as the baby-becoming-adult
    perceives it to be.

    Perception creates our worlds–
    and we all live in different ones.
    Trump is wonderful beyond compare
    in some worlds,
    and the evil perpetrator
    of crimes against humanity in others.

    Sit with anything,
    looking at it–
    a rock,
    a refrigerator,
    a rhinoceros–
    it will not be exactly what it is
    over time.
    How long can you keep it from changing?
    How different can you allow it to be?

    Nothing IS what it is.
    It is all perception/perspective.
    How we look determines what we see,
    what we see depends on what we expect to see–
    what we are capable of seeing.

    So what?

    So take it easy!

    See what you look at
    without judgment or opinion!
    Without expectation or desire!
    Without emotional investment or reaction or response!
    Without extending the meaning of the thing
    into Good and Evil,
    Right or Wrong,
    Yes or No,
    Acceptable or Unacceptable,
    Favored or Disfavored,
    Approved or Disapproved…

    So just get up and do what needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises
    without pausing to love it or hate it.
    Just. Do. It. Period.
    And, after it,
    do the next thing that needs to be done,
    one thing after another,
    in each situation as it arises,
    all your life long,
    without judgment or opinion,
    expectation or desire,
    attachment or repulsion,
    exactly as it needs to be done,
    always and forever.

  • 03/28/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach 10 — A blended photograph, with the sunset from Charleston Harbor on 12/05/2017 and the Skeleton Tree 03 from Boneyard Beach at Botany Bay, SC on 01/28/2015

    There is a psychological law that states:
    “It takes two people to have an argument,
    but it takes only one person to keep a bad situation
    from flashing instantly and insanely
    into Armageddon and the absolute end of everything.”

    As Doctor Who would say,
    “That’s where we come in.”
    In every situation,
    it is our place to be that person.

    We do it by having nothing to gain
    and nothing to lose
    in any situation.

    We have to care enough about the right things
    to have nothing at stake in anything.

    “Well, that’s that,”
    has to be our sincere,
    honest,
    uncontrived
    opinion about every outcome.

    If we win the lottery,
    we say, “Well, that’s that,”
    and take up the business
    of what to do now about that.

    If another Great Depression comes along
    and results in the complete loss of everything,
    we say, “Well, that’s that,”
    and take up the business
    of what to do now about that.

    In every situation,
    our role is the same one:
    Taking up the business
    of what to do now about that–
    with “that” being whatever faces us
    in the situation.

    Caring enough about the right things
    to not care at all about anything,
    enables us to be what is needed
    in every situation as it arises.

    What are the right things?
    Time and place
    and what is being called for
    in this time and this place.

    Those are the three things that matter:
    What is being called for
    Here,
    Now?

    Timing is crucial.
    Everything happens in its own time
    but not all the time,
    not any time.

    What needs to happen here, now?
    We have to be sensitive to that,
    and aware of that,
    and sense that,
    and know that,
    and do that–
    with nothing at stake in the outcome.

    And it takes a certain degree
    of maturity
    to be able to do that.
    We have to grow up
    to let things come and go
    as the situation requires/demands.

    In any situation,
    some things can happen,
    and some things cannot happen,
    and it is our place
    to recognize that
    and to serve our sense
    of the best that can happen
    and allow what does happen
    to just be what happens
    in a “Well, that’s that,
    now what?” kind of way.

    Growing up is the solution
    to all of our problems today.
    And tomorrow.
    And all days thereafter.

  • 03/28/2020  —  Adams Mill Pond 11/10/2014 09 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 10, 2014

    Our work is that
    of transforming our relationship
    with ourselves,
    our circumstances
    and other people.

    When our relationships
    in all three areas of our life
    are what they need to be
    in each situation as it arises,
    like that,
    the kingdom cometh.

    What kingdom would that be?
    The kingdom of peace and harmony–
    regardless of what is happening
    in the moment.

    The heaving waves
    of the wine-dark sea
    cannot disrupt the peace and harmony
    of those who are at-one
    with themselves,
    their circumstances,
    and one another.

    They take it all in stride,
    do what they can do about it,
    and let that be that.

    And it stems from right-relationship
    with self,
    others
    and circumstances.

    And right-relationship on all three levels
    is a function of our on-going maturation.
    Nothing happens apart from
    our continuing to grow up.

    Growing up is the solution
    to all of our problems every day.

    Where is your lack of maturity and grace
    showing up
    in your life?

    What are you going to do about that?

  • 03/29/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach 12 — A blended photograph, with the sunrise from Cape Hatteras National Seashore and the Skeleton Trees from Boneyard Beach at Botany Bay, SC on 01/28/2015

    Our life is contrived from the start.
    The grounding foundation of our with life
    is having our way with life.

    How to have our way in each situation
    as it arises–
    in every here-and-now that comes along–
    it our prime motivator.

    How do I get/have what I want today?
    And keep from getting/having
    what I don’t want?
    All day?
    Every day?

    If we are ever thrown into a life
    where we cannot ever hope to have
    what we want
    exactly like we want it,
    we wonder why go on.

    “So what?
    Who cares?
    What difference does it make?
    What’s the use?
    What’s the point?
    Why try?”
    become the burdens we bear
    every day.

    And it isn’t just us.
    It is everyone.
    It is the entire culture.
    It is the entire world of cultures.

    We are in it for what we can get out of it.

    And we bend,
    shape,
    form,
    contort
    our bodies
    and our lives
    to have the best chance
    of getting what we want.

    We do whatever it takes
    to have what we want.

    Our life is contrived from the start.

    NO CONTRIVANCES!

    NOTHING CONTRIVED!

    STOP IT NOW!

    That would change everything.

    And to live the life at the heart of life,
    we have to do that very thing:
    No contrivances!
    Nothing contrived!
    Stop it now!

    And replace it with what?
    We have no idea.
    We are so lost
    to the true center and ground
    of our living
    that we are completely clueless
    as to how to go about life
    without getting, having, keeping
    as the directing force of our living.

    Getting, having, keeping
    is what guides our boat
    on its path through the sea.
    Without that,
    we drift,
    flounder,
    capsize,
    sink.

    Poor, pitiful, us.
    What to do?

    When we don’t know what to do,
    the one thing that is always best to do
    is grow up some more again.

    We always grow up against our will,
    so no growing up ever happens
    until we are at the end of our rope.
    At the bottom of some wall.
    Wobegon and woeful
    “on the heaving waves of the wine dark sea.”

    There is always one more door to open.
    It is the one that leads to ourselves.
    To the Self that has been with us
    through it all.
    The Self that knows the way
    to life without contrivance.

    But.

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

    To live without contrivance
    is to live with complete,
    utter,
    vulnerability.

    Jesus was born in a manger
    and died on a cross.
    How’s that for vulnerability?

    Jesus said, “If you want to be
    my companion,
    you have to pick up your cross each day
    and come with me.”

    They don’t talk about this
    on Easter morning.
    It’s all resurrection and life
    and Jesus died for us
    so that we don’t have to.
    BS. BS. BS.

    Jesus died as a way of saying,
    “This is how it is.
    The path to the empty tomb
    winds across the face of Golgotha.
    In the service of life,
    we die every day.
    Are you coming or not?”

    The Way is the way of vulnerability.
    And the power of vulnerability
    is that once you say yes to that,
    understand that,
    embrace that,
    nothing can harm you ever.

    You walked right into the cave
    you most don’t want to enter.
    You strode all the way
    to the darkest corner
    far in the back.
    You seized the treasure
    that has been waiting on you
    all these years,
    embraced your vulnerability
    and walked out of that cave
    completely immune
    to the worst life can do.

    You are Ulysses
    smiling up at the Cyclops,
    spitting into its ugly red eye,
    saying, “Show me what you got!”

    And, in that moment,
    you know the secret
    of facing every day,
    every moment of every day,
    each situation as it arises
    in the strength and confidence
    of one who knows
    you have what it takes
    to find what it takes
    to do what needs to be done
    in all circumstances,
    no matter what,
    all your life long–
    and that it comes to you
    in your moment of need,
    in the darkest place,
    in the most hopeless hour,
    in the here-and-now
    comes “the still, small, voice,”
    suggesting the way,
    the right way,
    the right response,
    the right reply,
    the right deed,
    the right action
    for this time,
    this place,
    right here,
    right now,
    arising from within–
    spontaneously,
    unbidden,
    unthought,
    unimagined,
    but undeniably
    occurring to you out of nowhere,
    offering in the darkness
    resurrection and life.

    And like that,
    contrivance gives way
    to occurrence.

    And it is a new world, Golda.
    A brand new world.

  • 03/29/2020  —  Foggy Morning 03/18/2020 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 18, 2020

    What is called for by the situation?

    Do that!

    Exactly as it needs to be done!

    In each situation as it arises!

    All your life long!

    Jesus couldn’t do better than that!

  • 03/30/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Graveyard Beach 04 — A blended photograph with the skeleton tree from Grace Penn Private Preserve and the sunset from Charleston Harbor, 12/05/2017

    It is our place
    to know what is important–
    to know what matters most–
    and live in the service of it
    in each situation that arises,
    to the point of our own death,
    understood both figuratively
    and literally.

    To the point of going to hell,
    both metaphorically,
    and actually.

    And so, the importance
    of not only knowing what is important–
    of not only knowing what matters most–
    but of also being right about it.

    How important are the things
    we declare to be important?

    How significant to our life
    and to life as it is being lived
    around us
    is the thing we say matters most?

  • 03/30/2020  —  Lenten Rose 03/20/2020 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 20, 2020

    We are responsible
    for our own life.

    We determine what is important
    and what is not.

    We decide what needs to happen
    and what does not.

    We are aware of who we are,
    and who we are not,
    of what is “us”
    and what is “not us.”

    We align our living
    with our life–
    with the life that is required of us
    in light of who we are,
    what is important,
    and what needs to happen.

    Enough of this living
    to be seen,
    to be loved,
    to be adored,
    to be popular,
    to be wealthy/prosperous,
    to do what we want,
    to have it made…

    It is time to live solely
    in the service
    of who we are,
    what is important
    and what needs to happen.

    This is aligning ourselves with,
    living in accord with,
    our Original Nature,
    the “face that was ours
    before we were born,”
    and with the circumstances
    and their demands
    in each situation as it arises–
    integrating the opposites
    and bearing the pain
    of the contradictions,
    the polarities,
    the dichotomies
    that are mutually exclusive
    and cannot be integrated,
    as best we can,
    situation-by-situation-by-situation,
    all our life long.

  • 03/31/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Graveyard Beach 03 — A blended photograph with Skeleton Tree 03 from Grace Penn Private Preserve and a sunrise from Ocracoke Island, Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

    We are a perspective shift away
    from having it made–
    with “having it made”
    understood as being
    in the center,
    on the bedrock,
    of life lived
    aligned with ourselves
    in conjunction with the circumstances
    of each situation as it arises.

    The trick in each moment
    is to take ourselves,
    with our Original Nature
    (That would be who we are being
    when someone else says,
    “That is so like you!”)
    in its full glory
    in one hand,
    and our circumstances,
    no matter what they are
    in the other hand,
    and get the two hands together
    with a response
    that honors the truth of who we are
    in a way that is appropriate
    to the situation.

    True to ourselves
    and true to the time and place
    of our living.

    That is having it made.

    And we are never more
    than a perspective shift away
    from that place
    at any point in our life.

    The perspective that needs shifting
    is the one that honors
    having/getting/wanting/desiring
    above all else.

    Once we get that out of the way,
    we are free
    to be who we are
    in light of–
    in appropriate response to–
    the circumstances we face
    in this here and this now,
    no matter what they are.

    Having/getting/wanting/desiring
    screws with everything,
    and throws us into
    compelling/coercing/conning/contriving/conniving
    our way through
    all the moments
    that comprise our day.
    Every day.

    Which is to say,
    we are free to be who we are,
    where we are,
    when we are,
    how we are
    in ways appropriate
    to the occasion
    as long as we have
    no attachment to the outcome.

    Once we start trying
    to make something happen
    other than what is best
    for the situation
    in light of the interests
    of all concerned,
    having it made
    is out of the question,
    and we are scrapping
    for the best we can get.

    So.
    Sit yourself down
    with having/getting/wanting/desiring
    and come to terms
    with how that has you
    where you are,
    and commit to being aware
    of how that interferes
    with your ability
    to be true to yourself
    in ways appropriate to the occasion
    moment-by-moment-by-moment
    all day every day.

    What you do about it
    will be up to you.

  • 03/31/2020  —  Cherry Blossom 03/21/2020 01 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 21, 2020

    Do not put your faith in anyone,
    or anything,
    other than yourself.

    Believe in you!
    Believe that you have what you need
    to find what you need
    to do what needs you to do it–
    to do what needs to be done–
    in each situation as it arises
    all your life long.

    The guidance you are looking for
    comes from within,
    emerging as something
    that simply occurs to you,
    a silent wisp of almost nothing,
    easily ignored,
    dismissed,
    forgotten.

    Always notice what you are throwing away.
    And pause.
    Reconsider.
    See if it is alive
    and worthy of your attention.

    Stop. Look. Listen. See. Hear.

    Knowing that fooling ourselves
    is what we do best.
    NO!
    Telling ourselves what we want to hear
    is what we do best!
    NO!
    Letting ourselves off the hook
    is what we do best!
    NO!
    Shooting ourselves in the foot
    is what we do best!
    NO!
    Painting ourselves into a corner
    is what we do best!
    NO!
    Talking ourselves into what we have no business doing
    is what we do best!

    The list is really long.

    The entire list can be summed up
    in one word:
    Self-deception is what we do best!

    And because we cannot trust ourselves
    to know what we are doing,
    we have to believe in ourselves
    to have what we need
    to find what we need
    to do what needs to be done,
    to do what needs us to do it.
    By stopping,
    looking,
    listening,
    seeing,
    hearing,
    and waiting for the urgency
    to spring from the source,
    as something that just occurs to us
    with a life all its own
    that will not let us go,
    even when we throw it away.

    We know what we have done.
    We have to go back to our discard pile,
    dig through the rubble,
    to find the stone the builder rejected
    and make it the chief cornerstone
    for the life we are building
    one reclaimed stone at a time.

  • 04/01/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach 15 — A blended photograph with the Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach at Botany Bay, SC, and the sunrise of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, NC

    Dying is easy,
    living is hard–
    until we come to terms with dying,
    and joyfully,
    delightfully,
    exuberantly,
    live until we die,
    with every day
    being “a good day to die”
    and a great day to be alive!

    Coming to terms
    with how things are
    is the work of being alive.
    The work of maturity.
    The work of growing up.
    The Hero’s Journey.

    We bring ourselves forth
    to meet the day,
    every day,
    and do there
    the work
    of coming to terms
    with how things are
    some more
    again,
    today.

    It is the same work,
    day-after-day.
    It is the work of being fully alive
    here and now,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    no matter what,
    regardless of our circumstances,
    for no other reason
    than because this
    is what the situation calls for,
    and we are here to rise to every occasion,
    bringing ourselves forth
    again and again
    to meet what meets us,
    and show ourselves
    what we are made of.

    Bearing the pain of being alive
    ushers us into the wonder
    and joy of living.

    We do not run from life!
    We step into life!
    And live here and now,
    doing what is called for.
    “Without hope,
    without witness,
    without reward”
    (Doctor Who/Steven Moffat).

    Because that’s what we are here to do–
    and what is the point
    of not doing what needs to be done,
    especially since that is what we do best?

  • 04/02/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Graveyard Beach 05 — A blended photograph with a skeleton tree from the Grace Penn Private Preserve and a sunset at Charleston Harbor, Charleston, South Carolina

    Doing what is necessary
    in a situation is doing
    what is called for
    by that situation.

    Doing what is called for
    in a situation
    is not always necessary
    in that situation.

    It is not always acceptable
    in a situation.

    Jesus was called a blasphemer,
    a heretic,
    and beyond parental control
    (or, a “son of Satan”),
    for living in ways appropriate
    to the occasion
    on every occasion.

    Which is to say,
    who is to say?

    You are.
    I am.
    We are.

    We see and say for ourselves
    in every situation
    what is called for
    in that situation.

    We cannot look for anyone else
    to tell us,
    or even to agree with us.

    We live our own life
    in response to our take
    on what is happening
    and what needs to happen in response
    in each situation as it arises
    throughout our life.

    There is no hiding from,
    or avoiding,
    that responsibility.
    It is the burden
    of those who know.

    Knowing means knowing
    what’s what
    and what needs to be done about it.
    Those are the two most important
    things to know,
    and everybody is responsible
    for knowing them.

    We don’t get that knowledge
    from books or lectures,
    videos or seminars,
    sermons or round table discussions.

    We know what is called for by:
    Stopping.
    Looking.
    Listening.
    Seeing.
    Hearing.

    What we do then
    is up to us.

    The whole thing
    is up to us.

    “That’s where we come in!”
    (Doctor Who/Steven Moffat).

  • 04/02/2020  —  Cherry Blossoms 03/21/2020 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 21, 2020

    My idea of a
    Circle of Shamans
    is a group of people
    I could visit as individuals
    from time to time
    to talk things over,
    air things out
    and explore what we have to say
    on the matter,
    about any matter
    that was important
    to either of us.

    We would never meet
    as a group,
    as a Round Table of Shamans.

    When we meet as a group
    the group takes over,
    takes possession
    of each individual within the group.

    We have a “group mind,”
    and are less likely
    to say what we have to say,
    or even to be aware
    of what we have to say,
    and spontaneous conversation
    is out of the question.

    We speak one-at-a-time,
    perhaps,
    in a “pass the talking stick”
    kind of way,
    but.

    The naturalness of personal
    communion with one another
    in conversation with one another,
    going where that conversation
    takes us
    without bothering
    to “stay on topic,”
    or “keep to the agreed upon agenda,”
    is lost in groups of more than three,
    and we are not free to go
    where the conversation takes us.

    Jesus said, “Wherever two or three
    are gathered, I’ll be in the background”
    (Or words to that effect).
    Beyond three,
    we are on our own.

  • 04/04/2020  —  Foggy Morning 3/20/2020 03 B&W — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 20, 2020

    Everything is improved
    by paying attention.

    It won’t feel like improvement.

    Paying attention
    means paying the price
    of paying attention.

    The only thing worse
    than knowing how things are
    is not knowing how things are.

    We have to bear the pain of knowing
    in order to be able to know.

    Not knowing is oblivion.
    The blessed ignorance/irresponsibility
    that comes with being told what to do,
    what to think,
    what to believe,
    what to wear,
    what to say,
    what to leave unsaid…

    Paying attention is the path of freedom,
    and the path of assuming personal responsibility
    for our life
    in each situation as it arises.

    That is a lot to ask of people
    who are afraid to think for themselves,
    because they are afraid of being wrong,
    because they are afraid of going to hell.

    The road to liberation
    is being willing to go to hell if necessary
    in following your own sense
    of what needs to be done
    in any situation.

    If you won’t go to hell for your own convictions,
    you are doing what somebody else
    tells you to do,
    and gets you to do it
    by telling you
    you will go to hell
    if you don’t.

    You aren’t free
    until you can walk right into
    the gaping maw of hell,
    saying, “Show me what you got!”

    When you are able to do that,
    you are able to pay attention
    to what’s happening here, now
    in every here and now.

    And that’s when it all begins
    to get better.

  • 04/02/2020  —  Flame Azalea 03/29/2020 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 29, 2020

    Let’s lay Christianity to rest
    and move into where do we go from here
    with one simple declaration:

    There is no such thing as free will!
    Free will is a fantasy!
    Free will is wrongly identified
    as the sole basis of sin,
    and the reason we are all condemned
    eternally to hell
    if we don’t believe in Jesus Christ,
    God’s only Son, our Lord,
    who died the death we deserved to die
    because of sin rooted in free will.

    There is no free will.

    We are not free to will whatever we want to will.
    We cannot will ourselves to want something
    we do not want!

    Ever tried giving up potato chips and ice cream?
    Tobacco?
    Alcohol?

    Ever tried taking up dieting and exercise?

    We cannot see things differently than we see things.
    Take a Boston Red Sox fan
    and see if they can will being a Yankee fan,
    or vice versa.

    Free will is not the problem!
    Sin is not the problem!
    A gross abundance of immaturity
    is the problem!
    And we can’t will ourselves to grow up!
    We can only grow up *against* our will!
    By doing the things we don’t want to do
    exactly the way they need to be done–
    so that no one can tell
    that we don’t want to do them!

    “Fake it ’till you make it,” says AA.

    And faking it until we make it
    puts the onus on us.
    That should be a bumper sticker.
    “The Onus Is On Us!”

    Which is where we go from here.

    Jesus lays the whole thing out.
    Jesus did what needed to be done–
    what the situation called for–
    in every situation as it arose
    all his life long.

    He bore the pain of living
    as a servant of the need of the moment,
    saying what needed to be said.
    Asking the questions that begged to be asked.
    Doing what cried out to be done.
    Day-by-day-by-day.

    That’s all there is to it.
    Heaven and hell have nothing to do with it.
    Just getting up each day
    and taking care of the business of the day.
    Doing the things we don’t want to do
    but which need to be done,
    the way they ought to be done,
    exactly the way they need to be done,
    so that no one can tell
    that we don’t want to do them.
    Day-by-day-by-day.

    That’s where we go from here.

  • 04/03/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Graveyard Beach 02 — A blended photograph with a skeleton tree from Grace Penn Private Preserve and a sunset at Charleston Harbor from Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina taken on December 5, 2017

    Awareness is our primary tool/weapon.
    Our secondary tools/weapons
    come into play
    and can be used effectively,
    in a timely and fitting fashion,
    only when we are aware
    of what is going on
    and what response needs to be made.

    You’ve heard,
    “Trust the Force,”
    and,
    “Let the Force be with you!”

    Although the last one
    was not used in the movie,
    it is accurate and applies.

    “The Force” is our awareness
    of what is happening,
    what needs to happen,
    and what we can do about it
    with the secondary tools/weapons
    at our disposal.

    Those tools/weapons
    are the gifts,
    genius,
    talents,
    proclivities,
    interests,
    etc.
    that came with us,
    packed into our DNA,
    from the womb.

    We have what we need
    to find what we need
    to do what needs to be done
    in each situation
    as it arises.
    But.
    It takes awareness to know
    what we know,
    and when to apply it,
    how and where.

    Our awareness is blocked
    by The 10,000 Things.
    Wants/Wishes/Desires.
    Fears/Dreads/Anxieties.
    Fantasies/Dreams/Delusions.
    Ambitions/Plans/Aspirations.
    The list is long.

    When I am preoccupied,
    troubled,
    worried,
    afraid,
    nervous,
    agitated,
    at loose ends,
    etc.
    I am not paying attention.

    When I am lost in
    “What if this happens?”
    “What if that happens?”
    “What if this or that doesn’t happen?”
    “What if?”
    “What if?”
    “What if?”
    “What then?”
    I am not paying attention.

    When I don’t pay attention,
    I cannot be aware.
    When I am not aware,
    I am catapulted directly/instantly
    into “The heaving waves
    of the wine-dark sea.”

    At night.
    With no one around.
    Lost without hope in the world.

    When I am aware,
    I know that hope is just another sidetrack,
    another pleasant distraction,
    another happy fantasy,
    keeping us from doing
    what needs to be done,
    here and now,
    whether anything comes of it or not!

    Change the baby’s diaper!
    Don’t worry about the outcome!

    Hope is all about what might happen.
    What needs to happen now,
    is the question.
    What needs us to do it now,
    is the question.
    Anything that keeps us
    from asking/answering
    those questions
    in in our way
    and is leading us away
    from “Trust the Force!”
    and “Let the Force be with you!”

    And that is to miss the mark,
    lose our way,
    and not be who we are needed to be
    by the time and place
    of our living.

    And that is the whole point
    of our being here
    in the first place.

    So live to be aware,
    and trust the Force!

  • 04/03/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach 11/16/2013 01 — Botany Bay, Edisto Island, SC, November 16, 2013

    I see my place in your life
    as being that
    of keeping you grounded
    upon the bedrock
    of you.

    In order to do that,
    I have to be grounded
    upon the bedrock
    of me.

    Other ways of thinking
    of the bedrock
    are the Source,
    the foundation,
    the center
    of who we are
    and what we are (to be) about.

    All of these terms
    are ways of talking about
    our Original Nature,
    The Face That Was Ours
    Before We Were Born–
    Before Our Parents Were Born.
    The essence
    of our particular,
    unique,
    individual
    combination
    of gifts,
    genius,
    proclivities,
    interests,
    abilities,
    etc.,
    packed into our DNA.

    Our place is to align ourselves
    with that,
    live out of that,
    live that out
    in the way we conduct ourselves
    and tend to our affairs
    in the here-and-now
    of our daily life.
    Day-by-day-by-day.
    Trusting that to be enough,
    because that is all there is to it.

    We live to be true to ourselves
    within the circumstances
    of our life,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment–
    bearing the pain of the contradictions
    between who we are,
    and what is asked of us,
    and what is allowed/permitted
    in the time and place of our living.

    That is our cross to bear
    and the call we live to serve.

    And we do that by maintaining
    our relationship/connection to/contact with
    the bedrock,
    the center,
    the Source of Life and Being–
    and of our life and our being–
    which is our Original Nature.

    Who have you always been?
    That is who you always will be!
    That is who you are always being asked
    to honor
    and to bring forth
    within the circumstances
    of the time and place
    of your living,
    day-by-day,
    moment-by-moment,
    as a grace and a blessing
    upon all who share the times and places
    of your living
    for as long as you are alive.

    And it is my place to be with you
    to remind you of that.
    Happy trails to us all!

  • 04/03/2020  —  Scotland Avenue 12/2013 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina

    It will take some time to figure it out.
    To see what’s what,
    and what can be done about it,
    and how to do it.

    First the shock,
    then the grief,
    then the mourning,
    then the realization:
    Here we are, now what?
    Then the work
    to do what can be done
    with what we have to work with.

    We cannot know what to do
    until we know what needs to be done,
    until we know what we have to work with.

    In the meantime,
    we wait,
    and while we are waiting,
    we grieve,
    and mourn,
    our losses,
    and they are great beyond imagining.

    And, as with all great losses,
    we will bear the burden
    of what we have lost forever.

    But.
    We cannot let that stop us!
    Ours is the work of reclamation!
    As a species,
    we have been here before
    countless times.
    It is but another,
    and it needs us to do what needs to be done,
    even now,
    even so,
    nonetheless.

    It will take some time to figure it out.
    But.
    Figuring it out is what we do best.

    In the meantime,
    we wait,
    and while we are waiting…

    I love you each and every one,
    and am glad to be with you
    in the work to do what needs us to do it–
    now and forever!
    Because this is what we are here for!
    This is our moment!
    Why hold anything back?
    The need for what we have to offer
    will never be greater!
    Bring it forth!
    Be YOU!
    Now and forever!

  • 04/04/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Graveyard Beach 01 — A blended photograph with a skeleton tree from Grace Penn Private Preserve and a sunset at Charleston Harbor from Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina taken on December 5, 2017

    Living can take the life right out of us.

    Being fully present with
    and alive to
    the time and place of our living
    is not automatic,
    accidental.

    We have to gather ourselves,
    collect ourselves,
    at one with ourselves
    and focused
    for the task at hand,
    and “be here now,”
    in order to consciously,
    deliberately
    and intentionally
    step forward
    to meet whatever is coming to meet us
    in each situation as it arises,
    throughout the day,
    every day.

    “Who am I?
    What am I (to be) about?”
    are questions we ask regularly
    in order to regroup
    and refocus,
    and bring ourselves back
    to right here, right now,
    prepared to face what’s up,
    right here, right now.

    We have to create “focusing spaces”
    interspersed throughout every day
    in which we consciously/mindfully
    breathe and in breathing
    center and ground ourselves
    on the bedrock of our Original Nature–
    and of how we have been honed
    through the experience of 10,000+
    situations and circumstances
    to the point of being able
    to stand and face anything
    in the confidence of those who know
    they have what they need
    to find what they need
    to do what needs them to do it
    moment-by-moment,
    day-after-day.

    The stress of life
    is the unprocessed accumulation
    of the daily drain of energy and attention,
    spirit and vitality,
    depletes and fragments us
    to the point of being unable
    to respond appropriately
    to anything.

    We counter this drift into incoherence
    and disjointed living
    by breathing,
    realizing,
    remembering
    and refocusing
    on this moment
    right here, right now,
    and what it is asking of us,
    requiring of us,
    and how we might best
    step forward to meet it
    on its terms,
    rise to the occasion
    in ways appropriate to the occasion
    throughout the day
    every day.

  • 04/05/2020  —  The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 01/28/2015 08 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, January 28, 2015

    We are up against
    Ignorance (Which has no connection
    with intelligence or education,
    but is the most obvious indication
    of mindlessness,
    cluelessness
    and a complete lack of awareness–
    the failure to make connections
    and put two and two together,
    and see what we are looking at),
    Fear,
    Laziness/Lethargy,
    and Greed.

    Within and without.

    Except for those four things,
    life is a snap,
    and living is a bowl of absolute delight.

    And with those four things
    to contend with
    in each situation that arises,
    we are up against it from the start,
    and do not stand a chance.

    But, since when do we care
    about the odds?

    It is our place to know what’s what
    and what is ours to do–
    and to refuse to let what’s what
    interfere in any way
    with doing what is ours to do.

    We cannot allow not having a chance
    to stop us,
    or even slow us down!
    We look not having a chance in the world
    in its bloody red eye
    and say,
    “You think that is going to stop us?
    We have work to do
    and you are in our way!
    Step aside or wish you had!”
    And get down to the business
    that is ours to do.

    Several thing flow from this:

    1) There is no immunity.
    2) There is no magic.
    3) There are no weapons.
    4) There is no safety.
    5) There are tools.
    6) There is comfort and consolation.
    7) We are not alone.
    8) We have what we need
    to find what we need
    to do what needs us to do it.
    9) Our bedrock is our Original Nature
    which guides our boat
    on its path through the sea
    (We are who we are
    on the way back to who we are).

    The tools we have to work with
    are uniquely suited
    or the work that is ours to do.

    Awareness is the primary tool.
    Realization.
    Being savvy and perceptive.
    Seeing what we look at.
    knowing what’s what
    and what needs to be done about it.
    All of which flow
    from at one with
    our Original Nature.

    Everything we need to be who we are
    is found in becoming who we are.

    This is the meaning of the statement,
    “The path appears
    before those who start walking.”

    It is adjustment
    and self-correction
    all along the way,
    and the route is strangely,
    amazingly,
    wonderfully,
    curiously,
    winding,
    circular,
    wandering,
    meandering,
    and not at all linear,
    not ever straight,
    and never direct.

    And so comes true the saying,
    “The long way around
    is the quickest way there.”

  • 04/05/2020  —  Cherry Blossoms 03/21/2020 03 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 21, 2020

    Grace is the foundation of reality,
    just like Synchronicity is,
    just like The Tao is,
    just like Dharma is.

    All of these terms–
    Grace,
    Synchronicity,
    Tao,
    Dharma–
    describe the same experience.

    We are buoyed up
    and carried along
    all our life
    by “invisible means of support”
    (Bill Moyers in conversation with Joseph Campbell).

    There is a flow to existence.
    A discernible movement,
    assisting,
    directing,
    blocking,
    opposing,
    guiding,
    providing,
    enabling…

    Toward ends we know not.
    In ways we cannot begin to explain
    or understand.

    “The Tao that can be said/told
    is not the eternal Tao”
    (Lao Tzu).

    Our place is to not waste time
    bothering about it.

    We have work to do,
    and our work fits in with,
    meshes with,
    assists with,
    grows out of
    whatever is behind
    our experience,
    which these four words describe.

    Our work is to find our work and do it,
    “in season and out of season,”
    whether we want to or not,
    whether we are in the mood for it or not,
    in spite of our excuses–
    though there be many–
    regardless of the stark absence
    of reasons why it matters,
    doing it because the situation calls for it,
    doing it the way it needs to be done,
    with vitality,
    and energy,
    and spirit,
    all the way to the end of the line.

    It’s our bit.
    Our role.
    The part we play in our life.
    We take it on faith
    that it is important,
    and we do it as though it is
    in each situation as it arises,
    moment-by-moment,
    all our life long.

    No matter what.

    And the four words
    will be there to buoy us up,
    and carry us along,
    all the way.

  • 04/05/2020  —  Cypress Swamp 05/03/2019 01 — Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County, Starkville, Mississippi, May 3, 2019

    When we take up the work
    that is ours to do,
    living the life that is ours to live,
    by placing ourselves
    in the service of our Original Nature,
    and trusting ourselves
    to the wisdom of Grace,
    Tao,
    Dharma,
    Synchronicity,
    in guiding us
    to respond appropriately
    to each situation as it arises,
    and to rise to every occasion
    as the circumstances require,
    we live out of our own center,
    grounded upon the bedrock
    of our own virtues,
    spirit
    and energy,
    with nothing to gain
    and nothing to lose
    in the day-to-day
    exchanges with life as it is.

    We respond to what each situation
    is calling for
    as best we can
    out of the gifts and genus
    we bring to the moment,
    and let the outcome be the outcome–
    which lays the groundwork
    for the next situation to arise,
    in which we do the same thing,
    and so on throughout our life.

    We meet each situation
    with the best we have to give,
    moment-by-moment,
    day-by-day.

    Who could do better than that?
    Why then the anxiety,
    fear,
    frustration,
    stress,
    drama,
    trauma,
    etc.?

    Attending to each situation,
    listening/looking carefully
    to all that is there,
    and responding to it as best we can
    is enough!

    What happens then is just another situation
    in which we listen/look carefully
    to hear/see what is happening
    and what needs to happen in response,
    and offer what we have to give
    as best we can.

    We do our work in each situation,
    and let the outcome be the outcome,
    which we meet by doing our work
    in that situation.

    Trusting ourselves to the wisdom
    of Grace,
    Tao,
    Dharma,
    Synchronicity
    all the way.

  • 04/06/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach 11 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, January 28, 2015

    COVID-19 and Trump’s ineptitude,
    or his deliberate manipulation
    of federal response
    out of motives too insane
    to consider,
    is overwhelming
    our capacity to respond
    on every level.

    The lack of equipment and material
    needed to supply emergency rooms,
    intensive care units
    and hospitals
    intensify the stress
    placed on physicians and nurses
    who are working forever shifts
    without being able to do
    what is theirs to do
    because they do not have
    what they need to do it.

    They are strained past
    the limits of human endurance,
    often unable to be with their own families,
    and are dying themselves
    from the virus
    as they work to save the lives
    of those who have it.

    And leadership at the highest
    levels of government
    is refusing support
    the best medical science recommends
    in terms of shutting down
    non-essential businesses
    and issuing shelter-in-place orders
    to the general population
    across all states–
    aiding and abetting the disease
    and working against efforts
    to contain it.

    This is crazy out of all proportions
    to what is called for by the situation.

    And a text-book case
    for what happens in any situation
    when those in position
    to respond to the situation
    fail to do so,
    or respond in ways
    that are detrimental to the situation.

    Everything goes to hell,
    devolves into chaos,
    when “the center fails to hold,”
    “the falcon cannot hear the falconer.”
    “The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.”
    (W.B. Yeats ‘The Second Coming’ 1919)

    In that moment,
    everything falls to individuals
    to recover their relationship
    with their own center,
    to reestablish their connection
    with the grounding bedrock
    of their own virtues and values,
    and stand unmoved and unmoving
    in face of the worst circumstances imaginable
    out of their own conviction
    regarding what is necessary,
    good
    and right
    in responding to the time
    that is at hand,
    right here,
    right now.

    We read the moment
    and determine for ourselves
    what can be done
    about what needs to be done,
    here and now,
    and do it,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment–
    without worrying about
    what good it will do,
    or what difference it will make,
    or why try,
    or who cares,
    or so what?

    It is our place to do what we can do
    about what needs to be done
    as best we can,
    here and now,
    in each situation as it arises.
    And letting the outcome be the outcome–
    which will create the next situation,
    in which we do the same things.

    Trusting ourselves to Grace/Tao/Dharma/Synchronicity
    and watching to see what happens
    and how we can help happen
    what needs to happen,
    moment-by-moment,
    day-by-day,
    all the way to the end of the line.

  • 04/07/2020  —  The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 01/28/2015 02 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, January 28, 2015

    We are responsible for our own life.
    Everything about our life
    and the quality of our living
    hinges on the way we respond
    to our environment
    and to each situation that arises
    within that environment.

    So far, I haven’t said anything here
    that you can disagree with.
    When we get to the place of disagreement,
    we are no longer talking about what is,
    but have moved over into
    what we think about what is,
    what our opinions are about what is,
    how we assess and understand what is,
    how we interpret and make meaning out of what is.

    How we see things,
    interpret things,
    understand things,
    explain things
    make things meaningful
    or not.

    The area of meaning
    is where disagreement occurs.
    What is meaningful to me
    means nothing to you,
    sometimes.

    What is meaningful to us,
    means nothing to “them.”
    If things mean the same thing
    to us and to them
    “they” are us.
    We are indistinguishable
    when we see the same things
    in the same ways–
    when things mean the same
    to all of us,
    we are all one.
    We are individuals
    to the extent that things mean
    something different to each of us.
    The more the “important things”
    are different,
    the less alike we are,
    and the more like enemies we are.

    We separate ourselves from one another
    on the basis of how we see things,
    on the basis of the meaning
    we ascribe to things.

    We are responsible for our own life.
    We live more or less well
    according to the degree to which
    the sense we make of life
    accords with our ability to
    mesh with life,
    flow with life,
    dance with life,
    be one with life–
    ascribing danger to the dangerous things
    and safety to the safe things,
    for instance.

    If we live in the jungle
    and think a tiger is safe,
    we are going to have a short life.

    If we think COVID-19 is a hoax,
    or is treatable/preventable
    with a malaria drug,
    we are going to have a short life.

    If we ascribe the wrong meaning
    to Donald Trump,
    we are going to have a certain life,
    and if we ascribe the right meaning
    to Donald Trump,
    we are going to have a different life.

    Everything swings on how we say things are.

    Our assessments of life
    have to correspond to life.
    Where there is little or no correspondence,
    it is reflected in the quality of our life.

    We have to be right
    about how we say things are,
    or pay the price.

    This means we have to see our seeing.
    We have to know what we are doing
    when we say “This is good,”
    and “That is bad.”
    “This is safe,”
    and “That is dangerous.”

    We have to pay attention.
    We have to be alert and aware.
    We live in the jungle.

  • 04/07/2020  —  Angel Oak 11/14/2013 02 — John’s Island, South Carolina, November 14, 2013

    Some ways of living
    are better than others,
    but it all depends
    on what we call “good” and “bad.”

    Survive-ability is good,
    extinction is bad.
    But within survive-ability
    there is a wide range
    of quality of life,
    with trade-offs beyond counting.

    We give up this to get that,
    and one person’s idea of the good life
    is another person’s idea of hell on earth.
    We separate ourselves into groups
    of “our kind of people”
    based on what we call “good” and “bad.”

    How good is the good we call good?
    How bad is the bad we call bad?
    Who is to say?
    “Good” and “bad” hinge on who is talking.
    They are very relative things.

    What is the origin of the way you think
    about good and bad?
    What makes you think
    you know what’s good when you see it?
    And bad?

    Pull out your assessor
    and examine it in the light.
    Where does it get its ideas
    of good and bad?
    Why does it draw the line
    where it draws the line
    between good and bad?

    This is called self-reflection.

    Why do we think the way we think?
    Why do we see the way we see?
    Why do we feel the way we feel?
    Why do we hate what we hate?
    Love what we love?
    Believe what we believe?
    Do what we do?

    What makes us think we are right
    about what we say is right and wrong?
    Good and bad?

    What is at the bottom
    of our assessment of reality?

    Get to the source!
    What is there?
    Upon what do we base our view of things?

    What would it take
    for us to be able to
    change our mind
    about what is important?

  • 04/08/2020  —  The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 11/17/2013 04 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, November 17, 2013

    We eventually run out of livable options.

    We all die.

    Thus, the importance
    of holding nothing back.

    What are we waiting on
    to begin being who we are,
    doing what is ours to do?

    “It is a good day to die”
    because all of our days up to this day
    have been spent
    in the service of being who we are,
    doing what is ours to do
    each day.

    What is being asked of us here, now?
    Do that!
    As well as we can!
    While we can!

    Hold nothing back
    in the service of being who we are,
    doing what is ours to do,
    one day at a time!

  • 04/09/2020  —  The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 11/17/2013 05 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, November 17, 2013

    Get to the bottom of everything
    that attracts you.
    See what is there.

    Get to the bottom of everything
    that repels you.
    See what is there.

    Attraction and repugnance
    are twin mirrors of soul.
    We cannot peer into them
    without seeing ourselves
    looking back at us.

    Sitting down with attraction
    and repugnance
    is the best way I know
    of getting to the bottom of us.

    Of knowing what guides our boat
    on its path through the sea.

    Of ferreting out
    our Original Nature–
    of how we got here
    from there
    and of where we go from here
    to there.

    When we seek ourselves,
    we are looking for our Original Nature.
    We are trying
    to get back to who we are–
    to who we always have been–
    to who we will be.

    The best way to do that
    is to sit down with what we love
    and what we hate,
    and make inquiries.

    Ask all of the questions
    that beg to be asked.
    Say all of the things
    that cry out to be said.

    See where it goes.

    It will go straight to the heart
    of you.

    At that point,
    you only have to bear the pain,
    and see what happens next.

  • 04/09/2020  —  Skeleton Tree Moon 01 — A Blended Photo with Skeleton Tree 01 from Boneyard Beach and the moon from Indian Land, South Carolina

    Balance and harmony
    position us to meet the moment
    on its terms
    and live in full accord
    with its needs
    in doing what is most helpful
    toward the good
    of the situation as a whole.

    Balance and harmony
    have nothing to gain
    and nothing to lose,
    with nothing at stake
    beyond the best interest
    of all concerned.

    And, of course, there be conflicts,
    contradictions,
    polarities,
    mutually exclusive goods
    competing with one another
    for the coveted
    Winner Take All category.

    Who wins?
    Who loses?
    What’s it to us?
    We are there to determine
    what is called for,
    all things considered–
    and to live in the service of that
    as best we can,
    in each situation as it arises.

    In order to do that,
    we have to enter each situation
    balanced and harmonized
    within and without.

    How do you do that?
    How do you maintain your balance?
    How do you harmonize yourself
    with your circumstances?
    How do you live at peace
    with yourself
    and your place in life?

    What is your practice?
    What is your program?
    Everything hinges on this,
    flows from this.
    It is the most important thing–
    the thing upon which
    everything else depends.
    How do you achieve and sustain
    balance and harmony?

    What destabilizes you?

    It makes you *Crazy* when what?
    Start there.
    Make a list.
    Over several days.
    All the things that make you *Crazy*!

    When you are anywhere in the neighborhood of *Crazy,*
    you are quite destabilized.
    Nowhere near balance and harmony.
    You have to deprogram yourself.
    You have to step away
    from everything you have to have
    or have to have nothing to do with.

    The more attached you are to having/getting
    and avoiding/evading,
    the less likely you are to be balanced and harmonized.

    Being balanced and in harmony with yourself and your life
    is going to require you to transform
    your relationship with yourself and your life.
    The way you currently live likely depends
    on you responding to your life–
    and to the people in your life–
    the way you do.
    When you change that
    by having less at stake in what-and-how
    things happen,
    it will change how you relate to people
    and how you spend your time.

    We settle into a way with the people in our life,
    and with the things we do in a day,
    and changing that creates stress–
    trauma and drama–
    in a number of ways.
    And you are going to wonder if it is worth it
    to be balanced and in harmony with yourself
    and your life.

    That’s your call to make.
    We choose the life we live.
    We say what’s important,
    and live in ways that serve it.

    Reminds me of the Medical Missionary Sisters’ song,
    “I cannot come to the banquet–
    don’t trouble me now.
    I have married a wife,
    I have bought me a cow.
    I have fields and commitments
    that cost a pretty sum,
    pray hold me excused,
    I cannot come.”

    We do it the way we’re going to do it,
    and that’s that.
    And, if it is not working,
    and we want to change things
    we have to bear the pain,
    and pay the price.

  • 04/10/2020  —  The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 01/28/2015 04 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, January 28, 2015

    The beard comes off tomorrow.
    It has been a part
    of the way I do things
    since September of 1999.

    I’m getting back
    to the face that was mine
    before I was born.

    Beyond that,
    it is an acknowledgement
    of death in the wings,
    and a recognition of the importance
    of dying a little at a time,
    of letting things to go
    in their own time,
    and living to be aware
    of when that time is.

    I’ve been interested
    to note my declining interest
    in a number of areas
    of my life.

    The canoe was the first
    casualty/bellwether of age.
    Bicycling soon followed.
    Arthritic knees entailed arthroscopic surgery,
    and a sharp reduction
    in the length and frequency
    of my hikes and treks.
    Airplane travel and long-distance driving
    became impractical
    and distasteful.
    Photography became increasingly restricted
    to two-hour sojourns from the house.
    And even there,
    getting up before dawn to capture a sunrise,
    or staying out past dinner
    to snare another sunset or moon rise
    were no longer priorities,
    and quickly became artifacts
    of youthful enthusiasm.

    Reading,
    reflection,
    writing,
    cooking,
    and re-working photos
    long taken
    currently comprise my days.
    The oath of solitute
    I took upon retirement
    was essential in settling for my self
    what matters most to me
    and how to best serve that
    in the time left to me.

    Each day now has a life of its own,
    and a direction and flow
    of its own making–
    and that has become a joy
    and a wonder.
    What will be the gifts of this day?
    How will the day unfold?
    What will be asked of me?
    How will I respond?

    These are much more appropriate questions
    at this stage of my life
    than rising to wrestle my will into being
    one day at a time.

    Speaking of will,
    I am surprised to discover
    how will is a servant of interests,
    and to note how interest leads the way.

    Where does interest come from?
    What spurs us to this and not that?
    Try willing interest, if you will.
    Tell yourself what you will like today,
    or what you will enjoy tomorrow.
    Command enthusiasm!
    Order up ardor, fervor, passion and zeal!
    I recommend not wasting your time.
    There is never enough to spare.

    Open yourself to what is
    and how it is.
    Let come what’s coming,
    and let go what’s going.
    Grieve what is to be grieved.
    Mourn what is to be mourned.
    Enjoy what is to be enjoyed,
    receive what is to be received
    and do with it what needs to be done–
    every day
    for as long as days come and go.

    The beard is going tomorrow.

  • 04/11/2020  —  The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 11/16/2013 01 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, January 28, 2015

    Every day,
    and at various points during the day,
    we have to
    Stop.
    Look.
    Listen.
    See.
    Hear.
    Remind ourselves to
    remember who we are
    and what we are about.

    We have to rejoin ourselves
    in our mission and purpose:
    To be who we are,
    where we are,
    when we are,
    how we are,
    no matter what.

    To be true to ourselves
    (Our Original Nature)
    in the time and place of our living.

    To live in accord with ourselves
    (Our Original Nature)
    within the nature
    and context of our circumstances.

    To live as a blessing and a grace
    upon each moment,
    by offering the moment what it needs
    out of the gifts and genius
    that are our to give,
    whether or not
    the moment receives the blessing,
    recognizes the grace,
    or thinks it needs what it needs.

    And so, the work!
    Of being who we are
    here and now
    “without hope,
    without witness,
    without reward,”
    (Steven Moffat).

    First, we have to find our way
    back to
    “the face that was ours
    before we were born”
    (A Zen saying),
    which is our Original Nature,
    which the same and different
    for each of us,
    and is lost in a swirling whirl
    having and getting,
    desiring and wanting,
    avoiding and evading
    without end–
    which is the work
    of getting to the work.

    No wonder we have to stop
    at various points in the day,
    every day,
    to remind ourselves
    to remember who we are
    and what we are about!

  • 04/11/2020  —  The Pond 10/28/2006 — Down East North Carolina, October 28, 2006

    We think our way into messes beyond solution.
    We have to stop thinking to work our way out of them.
    Thinking is good for How.
    Feeling is good for What.
    Intuition is guiding our boat
    on its path through the sea.

    Intuition is the handmaiden of Grace
    (And Tao,
    and Dharma,
    and Synchronicity).

    Intuition seizes ideas and realizations
    that occur to us,
    that arise out of nowhere
    to lay hold of our intuition
    and slam it into gear.

    And we begin to play around
    with the possibilities,
    and imagine potential problems
    and ways around them,
    thinking up solutions
    and applications,
    and off we go,
    to nobody knows where.

    Until thinking wanders off into conniving,
    and scheming,
    and planning,
    and figuring ways to maximize
    its profits
    and minimize its liabilities,
    and we wake up in a mess beyond solution.
    Again.

    Somehow we have to learn
    to never take orders from our thinking brain,
    but make sure our thinking brain
    always takes orders from our intuiting brain.
    The right sequence makes all the difference.

    First the jeans, then the shoes.

    Things work a lot better that way.

  • 04/12/2020  —  The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 01/28/2015 06 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, January 28, 2015

    Other people are always telling us who they are.
    It only takes seeing what we are looking at
    to know what they are saying.

    We are always telling other people who we are.
    It only takes seeing what we are saying
    to know who we are.

    Our behavior says all that can be said
    about who we are in each moment,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment.

    We remain hidden to everyone
    and invisible to ourselves
    because no one sees what they look at.

    Because it is too painful to know what we know.

    We cannot grow up without knowing what we know.

    The only people who grow up
    are those who can bear the pain of being alive.

    As we do that,
    everyone knows who we are
    because we have nothing to hide.
    And we have no friends
    because no one can stand to be around us.

    And we can’t stand to be around anyone
    who can’t stand to be around themselves.

    When we tell one another to “Grow up!”
    we don’t know what we are saying.

    Growing up or not growing up
    are different ways of dealing with being alone.

    At this point in the conversation,
    it might be helpful to remind you
    that Marianne Moore said,
    “The cure for loneliness is solitude.”

  • 04/12/2020  —  Still Life with Driftwood 11/17/2013 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, November 17, 2013

    Everyone who wakes up,
    wakes up at the bottom of some wall.

    Every awakening has a wall to thank.

    All those lectures,
    books,
    sermons,
    videos,
    discussions,
    conversations…

    All that meditation,
    contemplation,
    sitting silently,
    searching,
    seeking,
    waiting…

    Comes together
    at the bottom of some wall.
    Its value being only in hindsight.
    Nothing can save us from our walls.

    Our walls save us from ourselves.
    And rejoin us with ourselves.

    We hit the wall as two,
    and leave the wall as one.

    It’s the same story
    with however many walls it takes
    to complete the restoration
    and enable a full recovery.

  • 04/13/2020  —  The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 11/17/2013 16 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, November 17, 2013

    The movie Rocky is good for a number of lines,
    and the one that stands out for me
    is the exchange between Rocky and Mickey
    which ends with Rocky saying
    (About being “a legbreaker
    for a second-rate loan shark”),
    “It’s a living,”
    and Mickey coming back with,
    “IT’S A WASTE OF LIFE!”

    We all have to pay the bills.
    our “living” can easily become “a waste of life”
    if we think “making a living”
    is it.

    I don’t care how “good-a living we make,”
    it is “a waste of life”
    if it is about nothing more
    than putting money in the bank.

    Is it “a living,”
    or is it “a waste of life”?

    We answer the question
    by knowing what we are living for.
    By knowing what we are living to do.
    Making money is not it.
    What is money for?
    What are we doing with the money?
    That’s it.
    What we do with the money is what matters.

    The big thing in any age
    throughout all of the ages
    the world has passed through
    is being wealthy.
    Wealth is privilege.
    Wealth is power.
    Everybody wants to be wealthy
    so they can “do anything they want.”

    Well.
    What does wanting know?
    What does “Thy will, not mine, be done,”
    mean to you?
    Who is the “Thy”?

    The “Thy” we are here to serve
    with our life
    is not some gilded god
    sitting on some throne
    in some temple
    in some heavenly dimension
    waiting to be pleased or else.

    The “Thy” we are here to serve
    is the Other who lives within,
    the one Carl Jung was talking about
    when he said,
    “Within each of us there is another
    whom we don’t know.”
    That is the “Thy”
    who is waiting to be pleased, or not.

    And, if not,
    we have wasted our life.

    That is all Hell amounts to.
    Living eternally with having wasted our life.

    We have from now
    until the time we die
    to find our life and live it.

    Don’t think “It’s too late for me”!
    Your best scenes are waiting to be acted!
    Your best lines are yet to be delivered!
    You are being called to be you
    the way only you can be you
    for the good of each situation that arises
    for the remainder of your life.

    Do not walk away from that!
    Step into each situation as it arises with
    “Thy will, not mine, be done”
    leading the way.

    Live to see what you are capable of
    in the time left for living.

    We have to make a living
    and we have to live our life–
    the life that is ours to live–
    the life that is separate from
    what we do to make a living.

    We have to find our life and live it
    in the time left for living.
    Everything I have written and said
    in the last 50 years
    is about finding your life and living it.
    You can start there
    until you know enough
    about what you are doing
    to strike out on your own.

    But you are never on your own.
    You are always in the company
    of Another who lives within.

  • 04/13/2020  —  Big Creek 10/2004 — Big Creek Campground, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Waterville, NC, October, 2004

    Imagine stepping into the shower,
    or a bath,
    enjoying the experience of water welcoming you
    to the wonder of the moment,
    relaxing into the enjoyment of here and now.
    After a few minutes of being there,
    you reach for the soap…

    Why then?
    Why not sixty seconds sooner,
    or later?

    We reach for the soap
    when it is time to reach for the soap.

    How do we know?
    We are in full accord with the Tao of bathing!
    We know what time it is!

    The way we know it is time for a nap,
    or a cup of coffee,
    or a glass of water,
    or wine.

    And, knowing what time it is
    flows automatically,
    spontaneously,
    into doing what needs to be done
    in response.

    We reach for the soap
    without being conscious
    of initiating the action.

    It is like when the starting gun fires,
    the sprinters leave the blocks.

    That is being in accord with the Tao of the moment.

    Each situation calls for something,
    for some response.
    The more tuned we are to the situation,
    the more in accord we are with the situation,
    the more spontaneous our response
    to what the situation calls for.

    We touch a hot stove,
    we do not wait to think about what to do.
    The right action is instantaneous.

    Be aware of the filters you put
    between yourself and any situation
    you step into.
    What are you tuned into
    that removes you from the situation?
    What keeps you from being able
    to respond spontaneously
    to what is happening in the situation?
    What keeps you from giving yourself
    to the situation
    like you give yourself to a shower or a bath?
    You break troth with Tao to keep troth with what?

    The more we have to think
    about how we live,
    the more distance there is
    between us and ourselves,
    between us and our circumstances.

    The more distance there is,
    the less spontaneous we are,
    the less at-one we are with the situation,
    the less at-one we are with ourselves.

    What are we afraid of?
    What are we trying to arrange?
    What are we trying to make happen,
    or to keep from happening?
    The more we contrive the life we are living,
    the less alive we are to the moment of our living.

    Where in our life,
    beyond showers and bathing,
    are we free to “just live”
    without worrying about how to live
    in order to arrange certain outcomes,
    or to please certain people?

    Live to make your life like taking a shower,
    having a bath.
    What would you have to change
    for that to happen?

  • 04/13/2020  —  Skeleton Tree Moon 02 — A blended photograph with Skeleton Tree 01 from Bonehead Beach, Botany Bay, Edisto Island, South Carolina, and the moon rise from Thunder Hill Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina

    There is only you and your life.
    That is one thing,
    not two.

    You are your life.
    Your life is you.

    It is imperative/essential
    that we realize this,
    and stop thinking of ourselves
    as the master of our life/destiny,
    and start thinking of finding our life
    and living it
    as the true destiny of each person.

    We seek what is “us.”
    We seek who we are.
    We seek what is ours to do.

    Everything either serves these ends
    or detracts from them,
    opposes them,
    subverts them,
    denies them.

    If we aren’t living,
    we are dying,
    if we aren’t serving life,
    we are serving death,
    if we are aren’t doing the things that are life,
    we are doing the things that are death.

    What is life for us?
    Everything else is death.

    Death is entertainment,
    escape,
    distraction,
    diversion,
    denial.

    Life is the truth of who we are
    and what is ours to do.

    Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden,
    Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane ,
    stand before death and life,
    and make their choice.

    Our choice is the same as theirs.
    We make it every day.

    The catch is that we die either way.

    Bearing the pain of our choices
    is the requirement of life.
    And we walk with a limp
    on the Hero’s Journey.

  • 04/14/2020  —  Skeleton Tree Moon 03 — A Blended Photograph with Skeleton Tree 03 from the Grace Penn Collection and the moon from Indian Land, South Carolina

    First, you have to be able to
    bear the pain of the truth of your life,
    of your existence,
    of existence.

    That is the first thing.
    You have to square yourself up
    to the truth of how things are,
    facing it straight-on,
    denying nothing,
    ignoring nothing,
    pretending nothing,
    escaping nothing,
    living consciously,
    with full awareness,
    of the truth of how things are in one hand
    and the truth of how you want things to be
    in the other hand,
    and live in the center
    of the pain of the contradiction
    between your two hands.

    That is the first thing.
    Now, you are ready for the rest.

    The second thing is being quiet.
    In the silence we are vulnerable
    to realizations and visions,
    terrors and anxieties,
    wishes and dreams unending.

    We are the Buddha under the Bo Tree,
    Jesus in the wilderness.

    We have to bear the pain.
    And be quiet.
    Waiting,
    watching
    for the shift in perspective
    that allows us to sort through
    all that arises in the silence,
    like the fishermen culling fish
    from the haul in the net.
    Keeping this for further consideration,
    and that for immediate application,
    and the rest we send back where it came from.

    The third thing is seeing what we look at.
    To see what we look at,
    we have to have nothing at stake
    in what we see.
    It is just as it is.
    What we do about it is up to us.

    Our preferences become desires,
    our desires become obsessions,
    our obsessions become compulsions,
    our compulsions become habitual
    and we become servants of wants
    become tyrants.

    The fourth thing is looking at things
    without judgment or opinion,
    but with compassion and kindness–
    which encompasses our desire
    to have things the way we want them to be.

    The fifth thing is that we hold all of it
    in our awareness,
    and wait for another shift in perspective
    that allows us to be with the is-ness
    of all that is–
    and wait for what to do about it,
    for how to respond to it,
    to arise spontaneously from the depths.

    Spontaneity is uncontrived.
    It is an honest and truthful,
    straight from the heart
    response to our situation as it is.

    Something is called for in every situation.
    How we respond to it makes all the difference.
    Every moment that follows this moment
    is colored,
    impacted,
    influenced
    by the response we make to this moment.

    The sixth thing is understanding/comprehending/knowing
    all of this,
    and living in light of it
    in each situation as it arises,
    all our life long.

  • 04/15/2020  —  The Ghost Trees of Boneyard Beach 11/17/2013 03 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, November 17, 2013

    Who is the safest person you know?
    The most secure person you know?

    It isn’t the President of the United States.

    Donald Trump is the most insecure,
    fragile,
    vulnerable,
    fearful and constantly on guard
    person in the world.

    He doesn’t trust his own intelligence services.
    Or his own armed forces.

    He trusts quacks and wacko’s because
    they tell him what he wants to hear.

    Who do you know,
    or know of,
    that is the opposite of Donald Trump
    in their ability to be safe and secure
    in themselves no matter what?

    I’ll come at this another way:
    There Is No Protection!
    We are at the complete mercy
    of the completely merciless.
    How do you keep going
    under these terms?
    How do you make your peace
    with that?
    How do you toss that off
    as though it’s nothing?

    If the President of the United States
    isn’t safe,
    what chance to the rest of us have?

    Chance at what?
    At being safe and secure
    in our lives!
    What chance do we have at that?

    The same chance everyone else
    has had throughout time.
    “Fat,” as they say, “or slim.”

    That means “None.”

    So.

    We are going to have to do
    what everyone else has done:
    Learn to live without being safe and secure.
    Or, learn to be safe and secure
    without any protection whatsoever.
    It’s the same thing.

    There is no protection.
    We have no protection.
    We are up against it from the start.

    Life can come strolling up to you
    and take away your most precious possession
    just like that
    at any time.

    And there is nothing you can do about it.

    Except let it be.

    Because that is how it is.

    There are a thousand,
    maybe ten thousand,
    versions of the old Chinese fable
    “The Lost Horse Returns.”
    Do an internet search
    and read them all.

    The horse’s owner
    is the safest, most secure, person
    I know of.

    Our life’s work is to be that person
    in order to do the work that is ours to do
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

  • 04/15/2020  —  Cypress Morning 11/06/2006 — Down East, North Carolina, November 6, 2006

    The only thing wrong with us
    is that we want what we want
    and not what we ought to want,
    not what we need to want,
    not what the situation calls for us to want,
    not what the moment asks us to want.

    Our Wanter knows what it wants,
    but it doesn’t care at all
    about what it ought to want,
    and couldn’t make itself want it
    if it tried.

    Fix that, and everything is just fine,
    around the table,
    across the board.

    What do you think
    “Thy will, not mine, be done?”

    It doesn’t matter who or what
    we understand “Thy” to refer to.
    We are here to comply with a will
    that is not our will

    This is why it is said,
    “We all grow up against our will.”

    And why it is said,
    “Everyone wakes up at the bottom of some wall.”

    Because wanting what we want
    and not what we ought to want
    leads directly/eventually to some wall.

    You could talk to Adam and Eve about that.

    Wanting the wrong things
    is the essence of sin.
    Sin is being wrong about
    what is important–
    living in the service
    of the wrong things.

    Repentance is waking up
    at the bottom of some wall,
    understanding the eternal validity
    of “Thy will, not mine, be done,”
    and changing our mind
    about what is important.

    Changing our relationship
    with what we want
    is the grounding foundation
    of a well-lived life–
    of a life lived in right relationship
    with the will beyond our will
    that is operative in each situation
    as it arises.

    It is the essence of wisdom
    to not step into any–
    much less every–
    situation looking to impose
    our will/our wants
    upon the situation,
    but to wait,
    watching/looking
    for what needs us to want it
    in the situation,
    and to give ourselves fully,
    whole-hardheartedly,
    to the service
    of whatever that is
    whether we want to or not.

  • 04/16/2020  —  Reelfoot Lake 11/04/2015 30 B&W — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 4, 2015. Reelfoot Lake was created when the east side of the Mississippi River caved-in in a massive sinkhole during the New Madrid Fault earthquakes during the winter of 1811/12, and the river filled the “hole.” It took a while for the Cypress trees to grow.

    How do we get from “here” to “there”?
    (With “here” being where we are,
    and “there” being where we need to be)

    Awareness. Awareness. Awareness.

    Attention. Attention. Attention.

    Practice. Practice. Practice.

    That is how we change our relationship
    with our life.
    And with ourselves.

    Align ourselves with what needs to happen
    in order to do what needs to happen
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    Put ourselves in accord with the Tao,
    with the Dharma,
    with Grace,
    with Synchronicity,
    rise to the occasion
    on ever occasion
    and be “what the doctor ordered”
    in each here-and-now,
    in all times and places
    of our existence.

    We practice
    paying attention
    with mindful,
    compassionate,
    non-judgmental
    (no opinions)
    awareness,
    moment-by-moment-by-moment,
    day-by-day,
    year-by-year…

    And, we might start
    by watching
    those Jon Kabat-Zinn YouTube videos.

    Sitting Za-zen,
    looking at the wall,
    waiting for things to change
    on their own,
    won’t do it.

  • 04/17/2020  —  Cypress Geese — This was taken on a private preserve in eastern North Carolina around 2004

    Everything I’ve said here, or will say,
    has been realized before,
    said before,
    by everyone devoted
    to the process of growing up.

    Growing up requires us
    to see what we look at
    and to bear the pain
    of knowing what we know.

    Growing up requires us
    to grow up against our will.

    We will do anything
    to keep from growing up.

    But.

    Once we realize that
    does not spare us the pain
    of not growing up,
    we take our chances
    with growing up,
    and that makes all the difference.

    Growing up is the Hero’s Journey,
    the Spiritual Task.
    Those who take it up
    all know the same things–
    the things I talk about here.

    Everything here is wasted on you–
    nothing here means anything to you–
    if you are not devoted
    to the work
    of growing up,
    consciously,
    deliberately,
    intentionally.

    If you are engaged in the work
    of growing up,
    what you find here
    is something you have
    already realized,
    though you may not
    have had the occasion
    to put it into words.

    I simply articulate the obvious
    to those who have eyes to see,
    ears to hear
    and minds to understand.

    Nothing I say here is new.
    I take “Tao” and “Dharma,”
    and equate them
    with “Grace” and “Synchronicity,”
    and the words represent
    the same experience-with-life
    that human beings have acknowledged
    throughout time.

    The work of being human
    is the work of growing up.
    The Developmental Tasks
    are the same in every age,
    and the work we do
    to avoid doing the work
    is also the same.
    We can either grow up
    or not grow up.
    All of our ancestors
    faced the same choice.

    Here we are.
    Now what?

  • 04/18/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Hunting Island 8/11/2015 — Hunting Island and Hunting Island State Park are experiencing the brunt of beach erosion in South Carolina. Every high tide, and every hurricane, wash away the shore and topple trees, which litter the beach, creating a scene that will become global as climate change changes everything.

    Bringing ourselves forth
    to rise to the occasion
    and meet the circumstances
    in each situation as it arises
    is quite different
    from being a doctor,
    or a lawyer,
    or a teacher,
    or a carpenter…
    raising a family,
    retiring
    and living happily after.

    It requires a different orientation,
    a different outlook
    and a different way of being
    in the world.

    In the old way of doing things,
    everything revolves around
    what happens,
    what we can make happen,
    what we can keep from happening,
    and we contrive to bring about the wanted,
    and avoid the unwanted,
    by the deliberate/skillful application
    of strategy and tactics
    all our life long.

    In the old way of doing things,
    we were always working some room,
    doing this to achieve that
    and to arrange everything just so.

    In the new way of doing things,
    we don’t do anything
    with something else in mind.
    We do what is called for by the situation,
    and it doesn’t do anything beyond
    meeting a particular need in that situation.

    We drink water to quell our thirst.
    We take a nap to allow our body to recharge.
    And we use the skills at our disposal
    to incarnate/express/exhibit who we are
    in the way we live
    moment-to-moment-to-moment.

    In this way, we “find ourselves,”
    not so much by seeking ourselves,
    but simply by being ourselves
    in each situation as it arises–
    spontaneously doing what needs to be done,
    without thinking about it,
    or planning it,
    or even knowing that we have he capacity
    for doing it
    before we find ourselves doing it.

    We don’t know what we are going to do
    before we find ourselves doing it,
    wondering, “Where did that come from?”

    And, in time,
    this results in a clear sense of who we are
    and who we are not.
    In time, we uncover what our virtues are–
    that is, the things we do best,
    the things we enjoy doing,
    the ways we like to spend our time.

    Our virtues fuel our vitality–
    our sense of joy and enthusiasm.
    Our vitality creates our energy,
    our energy in the service of our virtues
    unveils our spirit,
    and in no time at all,
    we are who we are for all the world
    to see and enjoy.

    What we do to pay the bills
    is an extension of who we are,
    and what we pay the bills to do
    is to be who we are
    in response to the situations
    and circumstances
    that form the time and place
    of our living.

    And that’s the story of our life.

  • 04/19/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach 01/28/2015 01 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, January 28, 2015

    We ascribe meaning to the facts of life.
    It is the human thing about us.
    It is what we do
    that sets us apart
    from the rest of the animal world.

    Good/bad.
    Right/wrong.
    Deserving/Undeserving
    and all the rest
    comes with us from the womb.

    What did Adam and Eve do
    that separated their world
    from the world of animals?
    They ate the fruit
    from the Tree of Knowledge
    of Good and Evil,
    and their eyes were opened
    and they knew Good from Evil
    and Evil from Good.

    They said what things mean.
    We say what things mean.

    We say what life means.
    We say what death means.
    We say what living means.
    We say what dying means.
    We say what fortune means.
    We say what poverty means.

    We say what everything means.
    We say what it all means.

    Here’s the catch.
    And, of course,
    we say what the catch means.

    We better be right about it.

    We better be right about what we say things mean.
    Anything.
    Everything.
    All things.

    We better be right about it.
    Everything depends on it.
    And, of course,
    we get to say what it means
    that everything depends
    on our being right about
    what everything means.

    But.

    We can be wrong about it.

    So.

    We have to know what we are doing.
    We have to be aware.
    We have to pay attention.

    Every time we say what something means.

    Because.

    Everything depends on our being right about it.

    Everything.

  • 04/19/2020  —  Skeleton Trees of Boneyard Beach 11/17/2013 04 — Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, Edisto Island, South Carolina, November 17, 2013

    The solution to the mess we are in
    is super simple
    and is right before our eyes,
    jumping up and down,
    waving its little hands
    shouting at the top of its voice,
    and being ignored completely
    by everybody in position
    to sweep it up in their arms,
    wrap their heart about it
    and declare it to be the way
    things are going to be done.

    The government has to pay everyone’s bills–
    at least the biggie’s,
    housing and food,
    utilities and childcare,
    and whatever else is deemed “essential”–
    (Or, if you prefer, wages)
    until the coronavirus is under control
    and our life can assume a comfortable degree
    of reliability and dependability,
    across the board,
    around the table.

    And where does the government get the money?
    By taxing the people and corporations
    that have way more money than anybody needs!

    The choice is clear:
    Socialism or Chaos, Mayhem and Anarchy
    upon The Heaving Waves Of The Wine Dark Sea!

    Socialism.
    Entitlement Programs.
    Egalitarianism.

    It is even Biblical.
    From Isaiah 40:4,
    “Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
    the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.”

    And, it only has to remain in place
    until reliability and dependability
    are restored,
    and we can return
    to the madness/absurdity
    of the Have’s and the Have Not’s.

    It is right there.
    Waiting to be implemented.

    What’s the problem?

  • 04/19/2020  —  Cypress Essence — Taken at a private preserve in eastern North Carolina around 2004

    We have to be right
    about what things mean.

    We have to be right
    about what is important.

    We have to be right
    about what it is time for.

    We have to be right
    about what is called for.

    We have to be right
    about what’s what.

    We have to be right
    about can and cannot be done.

    We have to be right
    about our Original Nature.

    We have to be right
    about what our virtues are.

    We have to be right
    about our assessment of things.

    We have to be right
    about what constitutes the Source–
    and about what it takes
    to live in right relationship with it.

    In each situation as it arises,
    all our life long.

  • 04/20/2020  — 

03/06/2020 — The purpose of being here, now,
is to be here, now.

The purpose of seeing is to see.

The purpose of hearing is to hear.

Being here, now.
Seeing what is to be seen.
Hearing what is to be heard.
Leads to doing what needs to be done.

That is all there is to it.

03/06/2020  —  Taoism/Zen focuses on the moment,
this moment,
and being aligned with our Original Nature
while living in accord with the Way
in light of the time and place of our living.
Buddhism focuses on avoiding suffering,
escaping the Eternal Wheel
of death and rebirth,
and enjoying Nirvana
and the everlasting delights of the Farther Shore.


03/08/2020  —  What Zen calls “enlightenment,” other cultures call “growing up.” All of the goals of Zen and Taoism, letting things be what they are, seeing what’s what, not pushing the river, eating when hungry, resting when tired, etc. are all achieved by growing up. And we cannot hurry growing up any more than Zen masters could hurry enlightenment. It comes in its own time. “When the time is right.” In the meantime, we live our life, tend our business. “Chop wood, carry water.”

03/10/2020. —  We cannot be anywhere but where we are,
so, what makes being somewhere else attractive?
What makes this here, this now, unappealing?
What keeps us from simply settling into Now?
Looking around?
Seeing what’s what,
and what needs to be done about it,
and doing it,
as best we can,
with what we have to work with?
Or waiting for the turning,
for a door to open,
for the time to change,
allowing something to be done then
that cannot be done now?
Now spent waiting for then
is time well-spent.
Take nap.
Go for a walk.
Or for a hamburger,
or a bowl of chili.


Do you feel more like a hamburger
for lunch,
or a bowl of chili?
Or something else?
Sometimes, that is all the knowing
you need to know.


Between the times for acting
in response to what occurs to us,
we wait for the urge to arise
to do what it is time to do,
accompanied by a hamburger,
or a bowl of chili,
or something else.


03/10/2020  —  What guides your boat
on its path through the sea?
What directs your steps
to the goals you seek?
Why do you do what you do?
Like what you like?
See what you see?
What motivates your actions?
Leads–or drives–you
through the day?
Why do you want what you want
and not something else instead?
What does wanting know?
How did doing what you want
become the boss of you?
Where does your wanting come from?
Who–what–are you seeking to please?


How about you try
just waiting to see what you do?
Not-knowing what you ought to do?
Not-caring what you want to do?
Just waiting to see what you do?


How would that be worse
than being compelled to do what you want
whether you want to or not?


What has having what you want
ever done for you?

03/11/2020  —  All doctrine is a theory

about how things are.

All doctrine requires that we
“take it on faith” that it is so.

All doctrine comes to grief upon
the self-validating nature of doctrine.

We take it on faith that it is so,
and immediately, “like that,”
it becomes so.

Our faith in our doctrine
is instantly transformed into a fact
based on the self-confirming nature of faith.

This is the paradox of faith.
Believing something is so makes it so.

Kurt Godel made this the ground
of his *Incompleteness Theorem*
in 1931.
His theorem?
“This statement of number theory
does not have any proof.”

This is the Godel Doctrine.
All facts are faith-based.

Ray Grigg (in *The Tao of Zen*) said,
“Any system of thought creates
its own paradoxes, perpetuates them,
and is incapable of resolving them.”

And, “Paradox is deeper than language.
It is a quality inherent in systems themselves.”

And, “Each self-referential system cannot prove itself because it cannot
get outside of itself to do so… No
consistent system of thought
can verify itself.”

And, “Every statement of truth
is either self-contradictory
or incomplete.”

We are awash in paradox.
We play at making sense,
but it only makes sense
within the system of thought
we call “sensible.”
It is nonsense to everyone else.

That’s doctrine for you.
Is it “good sense” or “nonsense”?
It depends on who you ask.
Or upon what you say.
It cannot be validated
beyond the word of those
who believe it to be so.

The least we can do is acknowledge that,
and refuse to push our beliefs
upon those who believe differently.

That alone would change the way
the world works
for the very much better!

03/11/2020  —  One situation leads to another.

How we respond to this situation
influences/impacts/determines
all of the situations
that flow from this one.

Our place in each situation
is instrumental in “setting the stage”
for all that follows.

Individuals being themselves
with their eyes wide open
to who they are
and what their impact
upon all of life is
are the key
to the future
of the collective,
of the whole,
of the entire world.

The way you and I
do our thing
has implications
far beyond anything
we are capable of imagining.

Do your thing as only you can do it,
knowing that what you do
matters to all of us.

03/13/2020  —  “Bear The Pain”
is my First Law Of Realization.

Everything leads to that,
flows from that,
is built upon that,
falls out around that…

Until/unless we Bear The Pain,
we are stuck in
diversion,
distraction,
denial–
and suffer all of the symptoms
that hiding from the pain of life
brings to bear
upon those who want to live
without being alive
to the experience of life.

Pain comes in 10,000 forms.
As do pain-avoidance techniques.

What forms do your pain take?
What are your preferred avoidance remedies?

Sit down with your sources of pain
in one hand
and your escapes from pain
in the other hand,
and simply experience consciously
living between the hands–
to the point of realizing
that your escapes
are contributing to your pain.

We meet our pain
on the road we take to flee it.

And here comes,
of course,
the most important question
to answer correctly:
“Now what?”

03/13/2020  —  Instinct and intuition
“meet each other
at the edge of the coin,”
(Ortega y Gasset).

Living instinctively
is living intuitively.

We intuitively follow our instincts.
We instinctively listen to our intuition.

Debating which is the most important,
or where the line lies between them,
or when and how one goes over into the other,
keeps us from the essential business
of living instinctively,
intuitively,
intuitively,
instinctively.
and puts logic,
reason,
intellect
where heart and soul belong.

03/13/2020  —  Knowing what the situation
is calling for,
and offering it as best we can,
is all there is to it.

03/13/2020  —  Here is what I have to offer from Alan Watts,
writing in his 1953, “The Way of Zen”:

“Reasonable–that is, human–people will always be capable of compromise, but people who have dehumanized themselves by becoming the blind worshipers of an idea or an ideal are fanatics whose devotion to abstractions make them enemies of life.”

He said, “Humanness,” or “human-heartedness” was (for the Chinese people with a Confucian-led culture) was always felt to be superior to “righteousness,” since people themselves are greater than any idea they may invent.

Principles and ideas, ideologies, result in one way of living.

Intuition, feelings, instinct, inner urgencies, drifts of soul, and a sense of what is in-plum and out-of-plum, result in another way of living.

If we know what needs to be done in a situation, it doesn’t matter what should be done as a matter of principle or moral code. If we consistently do what needs to be done, and let everything fall into place around that, things, generally will be better off for it.

03/15/2020  —  The CDC has issued an immediate mandate
to limit gatherings to 50 people
nationwide for 8 weeks.

There is nothing magical abut 8 weeks,
and we will not be suddenly safe
in week 9.
Until there is a reliable vaccine,
we will not be safe, perhaps, ever.

Suck it up, children,
it’s how it is,
and we have to find ways
of being just fine with it,
because we have things to do
before we die–
no matter what our circumstances are.

Our role is to bring ourselves forth
to meet what meets us
in each situation as it arises.

We step into the situation
looking for what is called for there,
and for how best we might offer it
out of the gifts,
genius,
qualities,
abilities,
interests,
character,
virtue (As in, “It is a virtue
of water that it seeks its on level”),
etc.,
that came with us from the womb.

So, now we have the Coronavirus to contend with.
Okay.
That is a complicating addition,
but.
We have bigger things to deal with.
Namely, knowing and being who we are,
moment-by-moment
day-in-and-day-out.

03/16/2020  —  Polarities like + and – in an electric circuit
are not antithetical
or at odds with one another.
They are mutually dependent,
and cannot exist without the other.

Think of all contraries,
dualities,
dichotomies
that way.

Our contradictions are essential
for the well-being of our umwelt,
our lived environment.

Light/dark,
good/bad,
right/wrong,
rich/poor,
life/death
up/down
etc.
are the building blocks
of the universe.

It isn’t as though things would be great
if we could just have all positives
and no negatives.

That would not only be impossible,
but also, ridiculous.

The Buddha’s 4 Noble Truths
and 8-fold path
to end suffering
are fundamentally absurd.

Yin/Yang is much more to be embraced
and perceived as the foundation of life.

Life is one in its two-ness.
Duality makes for solidarity
and oneness.

We live between pairs of opposites,
walk two paths at the same time,
and gently tread the slippery slope,
the dangerous trail,
like a razor’s edge,
along the way of life,
with Scylla and Charybdis
on each side
all the way–
with us balancing the antiphony
and producing harmony.

03/16/2020  —  I am here to remind you
that we are here
to do what is called for
in each situation–
as best we can
with the gifts,
genius,
proclivities,
talents,
abilities,
and resources
we have to work with.
And let everything fall into place
around that,
situation-by-situation-by-situation.

Jesus and the Buddha couldn’t do more than that.

God couldn’t do more than that.

03/16/2020  —  The old themes repeat eternally.
We need some new themes.
Or fewer of the old ones.
Let’s be rid of greed, for example.
And power.

Or, how about this:
I live my life
and you live yours–
without interfering with each other’s
across the board,
around the table,
up and down the line?

Or this:
Those who need help
should be helped,
and those who can help
should be helpful?

Any of these will be fine with me.
You decide which to go with,
and institute it by breakfast tomorrow.

Great!

Thanks!

03/17/2020  —  Living from the center
makes all the difference
and means nothing
and makes all the difference.

Jesus lived from the center,
and was crucified dead and buried.
And lives on in the lives of those he touched.

So did the Buddha
and Mohamed
and countless others,
live from the center,
die and live on.

Live from the center,
and let that be enough.
When you feel like it means nothing,
re-double your effort–
it makes all the difference.

03/17/2020  —  Trout Lily 03/08/2020 08 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 8, 2020

My beliefs are short, simple and to the point.

I believe:

Each situation calls for something.

All we have to do is be right in our perception of what is being called for.

And be right in our response to what is being called for.

And allow everything to fall into place around that.

We could call this The Four Noble Truths Revised.

03/23/2020  —  Nothing is more important
than being right
about what is important.

The only sin
is being wrong
about what is important.

How do you know
that what you think you know
is accurate,
valid,
correct,
true?

Arrogance,
ignorance,
stupidity,
greed,
are killing us all.

What are you not seeing,
not hearing,
not realizing,
not knowing,
not aware of?

What are you dismissing,
discounting,
disregarding,
denying,
ignoring?

We do not know
what we do not know
and that is the only thing
worth knowing.

Notice what you are over-looking,
tossing aside,
shrugging off.

Be alert!
Be aware!
Be alive!

In each situation as it arises!

03/23/2020  —  When Jesus said,
“If you would be my companion,
you have to bear your own cross
every day
and come with me.”

He is saying,
“The messiah is not the messiah!
I am not here to bear your griefs
and carry your sorrow!
Everyone has to bear their own pain!
And still do the work
that is theirs to do–
in perceiving what is being called for
in each situation as it arises,
and doing what needs to be done there–
situation by situation,
moment by moment,
all their life long!”

Anybody can believe in the Christ.
*Being* the Christ
moment-by-moment-by-moment
is what we are called to do,
who we are called to be.

We are what the situation
is calling for.
We are what the situation needs.
Jesus is saying,
“Don’t hold yourself back!
Come with me!
Be me as only you can be me
in each situation as it arises
all your life long!”

No theology.
No doctrine.
No dogma.
Just seeing.
Just knowing.
Just doing.

Moment-by-moment-by-moment.

03/23/2020  —  The most important thing
is doing what is called for
in each moment,
moment-by-moment-by-moment,
all our life long.

We think it is
getting what we want
and being happy.

There isn’t a dichotomy/polarity,
further apart than this one
in the entire history of dichotomies/polarities.

I don’t know what
we are going to do about it.

03/23/2020  —  Either you can see
what you are looking at,
or you can’t/won’t.

Either you can do
what needs to be done about it,
or you can’t/won’t.

Either you can be
what the situation needs you to be,
or you can’t/won’t.

Either you can do
what is called for
in each situation as it arises,
or you can’t/won’t.

Can you or can’t you?
Will you or won’t you?

It comes down
to those two questions
in each situation as it arises.
All our life long.

03/24/2020  —  We get to where we need to be
by being where we are
with our eyes open–
seeing what we look at
by reflecting on what we see
and on what we think about what we see.

By observing,
thinking,
and thinking about our thinking–
asking all of the questions
that beg to be asked,
saying all of the things
that cry out to be said,
making connections,
recognizing contradictions,
putting two and two together,
holding everything in our awareness,
seeing where it goes.

Joseph Campbell said,
“It is by reflecting on our experience
that we arrive at new realizations.”

Conclusions can never be firm and final.
Everything is tentative,
awaiting additional experience,
experimentation,
examination,
reflection,
contemplation,
consideration,
realization…

Letting one moment lead to another,
carrying us with it
all along life’s way–
leading us one realization at a  time,
to where we need to be
and what we need to be doing,
moment-by-moment-by-moment.

The Hero’s Journey.
The Adventure of Being Alive.

03/25/2020  —  We all come from the womb
equipped with all we need
to find what we need
to do what needs to be done
in each situation as it arises
moment-by-moment-by-moment
all our life long.

Curiosity.
Playfulness.
Inquisitiveness.
Resilience.

The list is long
of the characteristics–
the Virtues–
we possess
that are essential
to our development
as full human beings.

What we meet when we arrive
encourages,
supports,
sustains
and develops
those qualities,
or discourages,
discounts
denies,
disallows,
squashes
them.

We walk past people every day
who have no chance
because they were separated at birth
from the self they were capable of being
by a culture that preferred
automatons to real live human beings.

This is abortion in the deepest,
truest,
sense of the term.
Being 98.7 and breathing
after being separated from your life
is to be dead, dead, dead.

Exactly what Jesus meant
when he said,
“Leave the dead to bury the dead.”

Those who have never been allowed to live,
cannot be raised from the dead.
But, as Jesus discovered,
they are quite able to kill every living thing.

Life without the virtues living requires
is a very deadly thing.

03/25/2020  —a  There is “getting it,”
and there is “doing it,”
all day long,
every day,
moment-by-moment-by-moment,
in each situation as it arises,
for the rest of our life.

This is enlightenment.

Enlightenment is like maturity
in that we are always growing up
and never grown up.
Just so, we are always being enlightened
some more again forever.

How enlightened we are
is how mature we are.
How mature we are
is how enlightened we are.
The two are one.

We gauge our degree
of enlightenment/maturity
by the quality of life we are living
in the moment-to-moment
day-to-day-ness
of our life.

“Getting it” is “Doing it.”

Get it?

03/27/2020  —  Seeing what is happening
and doing what needs to be done
about it, in response to it.

In each situation as it arises,
moment-by-moment-by-moment.

All our life long.

“Here we are,
now what?”

Stop. Look. Listen. See. Hear.

As we enter each Here and Now
of our life.

See what is happening
and do what needs to be done
about it, in response to it.

That is your life’s work.

That is the Hero’s Journey.

It is so simple anyone can do it.

It is so difficult no one does it.

We have bigger,
better,
things in mind.

And that’s that.

03/26/2020  —  In seeking to find our life and live it,
start with your virtues,
(As in, “The outstanding virtues
of this horse are his gentle nature,
and his smooth trot and canter”),
your Original Nature
(As in the things that
are “second nature” to you,
your identifying characteristics,
what you have a “knack” for–
and it is as much how you do things
as it is what things you do).

Work your virtues
and your Original Nature
into your life.
Live to let your life
take shape around
your virtues and your Original Nature.

Your life will not be something you “find”
so much as the way of living
that “finds” you
as you begin to serve your virtues
and your original nature.

You will be “doing” who you are.

Let everything fall into place around that.

04/04/2020  —  Donald Trump’s unique blend
of incompetence
and insecurity
combine with the power
and privilege
of his position
to produce a level of pathology
that is unmatched
in its potential for catastrophic desolation
worldwide.

In demanding loyalty
above all else,
Trump dismisses
expertise,
proficiency,
aptitude
and ability
in any of his supporting cast–
and in the U.S. Government,
that is a lot of people.

We have governmental agencies
that cannot do
what they are designed to de
because the people running them
are so concerned with pleasing Trump
they are incapable of performing
their position as required by their position.

The systems and institutions of government
do not function
because of Trump’s infinite depth of neediness
as a human being.

He cannot be helped.
He can only be removed from office.
Yet, those who could remove him
are incapable of carrying out their duty
because they have to faun over their Fuhrer
and please him at any price,
at all costs.

It is insanity all the way down.

04/04/2020  —  Think of Karma as momentum

We create Karma
by what we say “Yes” to
and what we say “No” to.

Our “Yes’s” and our “No’s”
collect,
accumulate,
stack up,
spill over,
impact,
determine
what we say “Yes” to
and what we say “No” to.

So that, in no time at all,
we are saying “Yes,” to
all we have said “Yes” to
in the past,
and “No” to all we have said “No” to
in the past,
and we are merely repeating
days and choices
we have already lived and made,
and will live and make,
forever.

That’s Karma for you.

Be careful what you say “Yes” to
and what you say “No” to.

When you see a trend developing,
don’t say anything for a while.

Go into seclusion.
Take an oath of solitude.

This would be a good time to do that,
given the shut-down
and quarantine.

And, you could watch all of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s
YouTube videos
on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.

If we all need anything at this point in our life,
it is stress reduction!

04/04/2020  —  Despondency is the perfect response to our present circumstances! If we aren’t going to be depressed and despondent, woe-be-gone and dismayed, etc., at this point in our life and the life of our country and our world, we may as well pack up those emotional responses to life and send them back where they came from, because we will never need them ever! Grief and mourning call for these emotions. They are all appropriate to the occasion. We have to feel what is to be felt, and know what is to be known, and bear the pain of our experience.

And bear it in light of that our experience calls us to do in facing up to it, coming to terms with it AND focusing on what needs to happen in the present moment in responding on that level to what our life is asking of us (Taking the dog outside, preparing dinner, etc). We walk two paths at the same time. We live on more than one level at a time.

And, we have to do that consciously, mindfully, opening ourselves to ALL that the moment is asking of us, and responding as best we can to everything on every level, “This, then that, then that over there,” doing triage moment-by-moment-by-moment. Like emergency room physicians dealing with what comes through the door.

04/07/2020  —  The Hero’s Journey
is the Spiritual Journey
and is exactly the distance
from having/getting,
wanting/desiring
to seeing/hearing/knowing
what is called for
in each situation as it arises,
and being those who respond
by doing what needs to be done
as best they can
moment-by-moment-by-moment,
day-by-day
for as long as life lasts.

04/13/2020 — a Life is not automatic,
and it is not something
that just happens to us.

We live it in the service
of our Original Nature,
exhibiting,
expressing,
incarnating
who we are in the way
we respond to the time
and place of our living.

Our life is intentionally,
deliberately,
spontaneous,
as though each day
were a night at the Improv.

04/17/2020  —  What do you enjoy doing?
How often do you do it?
When is the last time you did it?

How do you maintain your balance and harmony?

What destabilizes you?
How do you deal with destabilization?

Daily questions for reflection.

Published by jimwdollar

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

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