December 17, 2015 – January 27, 2016

 

  1. 12/17/2015 — Kings Mountain Farm 01 HDR — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 14, 2015

    Lao Tzu called it “the Tao.”
    Carl Jung called it “Synchronicity.”
    I call it “Grace.”

    Call it what you will,
    It is an experience of an encounter
    With more than words can say.
    That means more than can be explained:
    ”The Tao that can be told
    is not the eternal Tao”—
    and reflects a Reality
    directing,
    influencing,
    upholding,
    grounding,
    guiding,
    supporting,
    encouraging,
    enabling
    our life,
    and all of life,
    inviting us to trust ourselves to it
    relax ourselves in it,
    and allow it to carry us into an unfolding wonder
    beyond belief and denial.

    What is beyond belief and denial?

  2. 12/17/2015 — Goodale 2015 25 B&W—Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    We know too easily, too quickly,
    What is good and what is bad,
    What is right and what is wrong,
    What is preferred and what is disdained.
    Who is the Devil,
    and who is the Christ.
    We draw our lines
    and peer out at them,
    as though they are the enemy,
    the infidel,
    And we are the Chosen People Of God.

    Lao Tzu said, “All others are clear and bright,
    I alone am cloudy and confused.”
    Something is to be said for seeing
    the validity of all sides,
    of understanding the value of opposites,
    and being able to stand
    in the tension between extremes,
    integrate polarities,
    reconcile divisions,
    and befriend both meaning and meaninglessness,
    sense and nonsense,
    laughing and dancing with all of life.

    To live at the center
    is to join the extremes
    so that all become one in our heart.

  3. 12/18/2015 — Ginkgos 2015 19 Panorama—Charlotte, NC, December 1, 2015

    Rumi said, “One glimpse of a true human being,
    and we are in love.”
    We carry within a sense of the ideal we are to be—
    The ideal everything—
    woman,
    man,
    husband,
    wife,
    mother,
    ..
    everything.
    And, when we see it in someone else,
    we are in love.
    We are powerfully attracted to the ideal,
    to that which we are yet to be,
    in all those who reflect it.

    Even though, we are projecting it onto them
    we cannot project it onto just anyone.
    Only certain people are capable of reflecting
    our projections back to us,
    enabling us to see in them,
    who we are asked to be,
    so that they become carriers of the ideal us.

    When we fail to understand
    what is happening,
    we think they are ideal,
    when they are only carrying/reflecting
    the ideal we are capable of being.
    When we think it is about them,
    and not about us,
    we confuse the roles
    and try to possess them
    instead of allowing them to serve as the model
    of our own becoming.

    We worship them,
    idolize them,
    adore them,
    love them
    all the while misinterpreting the symbol
    they represent,
    and fail to develop in ourselves
    the qualities lying latent within us
    that call to us from the other.

  4. 12/18/2015 — Black Bayou 09 HDR—Black Bayou Lake Wildlife Refuge, Monroe, Louisiana, November 2, 2015

    The work of being a True Human Being
    is the work of authenticity,
    integrity,
    genuineness,
    wholeness,
    oneness
    and completion.

    It is the work of being who we are,
    which is who we ought to be—
    not in some moral sense,
    but in the practical sense
    of being exactly who we are capable of being
    in responding appropriately to each situation as it arises.

    It is the work of being exactly
    what the situation calls for
    and exactly who we are,
    by bringing ourselves
    and our gifts
    forth to meet our life,
    regardless of the implications
    for us personally.

    We do not exploit our gifts for our own good.
    We are burdened by the gifts we carry
    for the good of the situation—
    for the good of the whole—
    the whole world.
    ”We come not to be served, but to serve,
    And to give our life in the service of freeing others
    to live in the service of their own gifts.”

    One True Human Being
    sparks the ignition of others,
    starting fires of True Human Being-hood
    throughout the species,
    transforming the world.

  5. 12/18/2015 — Lake Crawford 02 — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 14, 2015

    A meaningful life is a life lived
    with integrity and authenticity.
    Integrity is living in ways that are integral
    with the center—the core—of what is important to us.
    When we live aligned with that center,
    our life is meaningful.

    When our life is meaningless, aimless and empty,
    it is because we have lost connection
    with the center of what is important to us,
    and are living out of accord
    with the life that is truly our life to live.
    We are living inauthentically,
    cut off from what is deepest, best and truest about us.
    We have forgotten who we are,
    and what our business is.

    When we do not know what we mean with our life,
    our life is meaningless.
    To live with meaning and purpose,
    we have to find our way back to our heart,
    remember what is of central importance to us,
    and live in ways that reflect our connection
    with what means the most to us.

  6. 12/19/2015 — Reelfoot Lake 21 HDR—Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeck, Tennessee, November 4, 2015

    The art of letting things happen
    requires us to be open at all times
    to what needs to happen—
    to what is trying to happen—
    and to allow that to take precedent over
    what we want to happen.

    It is the art of stepping back,
    of standing aside,
    of acquiescing to,
    and living in the service of,
    the shape of things to come,
    regardless of the implications
    that might have for us personally.

    It is living in a
    “Thy will, not mine, be done”
    kind of way—
    as a servant of grace
    at work in our life.

  7. 12/19/2015 — Bethany Church Cemetery 02 Panorama—Bethany ARPC, Clover, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    Grace is a gift of perception
    that allows us to see the good in all things.
    The source of anger and frustration in our life
    can also be the source of compassion, forgiveness, acceptance and love—
    can also be the source of creativity, good humor, patience and resiliency—
    can also be the source of our growing up, awakening, enlightenment and peace—
    can be what is needed to deepen, expand and enlarge us.

    No one ever became a True Human Being
    with everything going his, or her, way.
    Grace may go our way,
    or transcend our way,
    transform our way,
    enabling us to see the good
    in a multitude of ways.

  8. 12/20/2015 — Ginkgos 2015 18 Panorama—Charlotte, NC, December 1, 2015

    We do it for the love of the game.
    If you don’t love the game,
    you are playing the wrong game.
    You have to get in THE game!
    Not knowing what game we are playing
    is the easiest thing—
    thinking we are playing one game,
    when we are actually playing another,
    is not knowing what game we are playing.

    What game are you playing?
    That’s the question all the gurus and masters ask us.
    Jesus came asking it.
    The Buddha asked it.
    Rumi asked it.
    The Prophet asked it.
    Gandhi asked it.

    All of them were into playing the right game.
    Too many play a different game.
    Call it “the getting ahead game.”
    buying, spending, amassing, consuming,
    in the service of wealth and privilege,
    fortune and glory.
    Others play “the survival game.”
    just getting by
    desperate and consumed, themselves, by desperation
    in an “eat or be eaten” world,
    to be hated,
    or borne with resignation and hopelessness
    until death takes them away.

    The gurus and masters rejected wealth
    and were poor without hating it.
    They played a different game—
    and they did it for the love of the game,
    whether or not things went their way
    (And they never go anyone’s way for long).

    Call it, Being Alive.
    Be Alive in the time and place of your living
    regardless of your context and circumstances.
    Do it for the love of that game.

  9. 12/20/2015 — Oktibbeha County 13 Panorama—Starkville, Mississippi, November 20, 2015

    Our work generally consists of two things:

    1) Putting ourselves in accord with
    (Coming to terms with,
    Making our peace with,
    Being in right relationship with):
    The context, nature and circumstances
    Of the “here and now”
    (The Umwelt)
    Of our living conditions.

    2) Aligning ourselves with who we are
    so that the life we live reflects
    our own nature and qualities,
    gifts, passions and interests,
    and is a transparent expression
    of the truth of the person who is living it—
    in each situation as it arises.

    That’s it.
    What do you need to do The Two Things?
    Answering that question
    Is The Third Thing.

    Your mission is to spend the rest of your life
    in the service of these three things.

  10. 12/20/2015 — Lake Crawford 05 HDR Panorama—Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    We are responsible for the response
    we make to the experience of being alive.
    We can talk about the poor quality
    of our parenting and upbringing,
    and wail about the lack
    of opportunities and possibilities,
    and write ourselves excuse after excuse
    for being unable to do anything
    with this sorry old life,
    and shirk all responsibility for doing anything
    with the miserable hand
    we were dealt
    and the shoddy lot that befell us,

    We are responsible for that response.
    Other people have done more with less.
    Where does that leave us?
    With squaring ourselves up with ourselves,
    looking our life in the eye,
    living transparent to ourselves
    from this point on,
    and doing what can yet be done
    with the life that waits for us
    to get out of bed in the morning,
    just as it is,
    every day that we get out of bed.

  11. 12/21/2015 — Reelfoot Lake 12-13 HDR Panorama—Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeck, Tennessee, November 4 2015

    If you are going to judge people,
    extend to them the grace
    of looking at them with the unbiased eye
    of an actual judge,
    and not an audience.

    Too many people look without seeing,
    listen without hearing,
    and talk without saying anything.

    Too many people live as unconscious
    extensions of the culture,
    with an opinion about everything
    and knowledge of nothing.

    See what you look at.
    hear what you listen to
    and what you are saying.
    know whereof you speak
    before you say anything.

  12. 12/21/2015 — Black Bayou 13 HDR—Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Monroe, Louisiana, November 2, 2015

    Become what you seek.
    Be what you need.
    This is all there is to it.

  13. 12/22/2015 — Bethany Church Cemetery 03 B&W—Bethany ARPC, Clover, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    We have everything we need
    to live transparent to ourselves,
    aligned with ourselves,
    at one with ourselves,
    integrated with ourselves,
    true to ourselves,
    and so be True Human Beings
    within the context and circumstances of our life,
    in each situation as it arises,
    all our life long.

    All it takes is getting out of the way,
    knowing what we know,
    and understanding that we are
    just along for the ride.

  14. 12/22/2015 — Grazing 01 Panorama—Anne Springs Close Greenway, Dairy Barn Access, Fort Mill, SC, December 12, 2015

    We cannot be true to ourselves
    without contradicting ourselves.
    Being true to ourselves
    requires us to “live a lie.”
    The lie is a necessary aspect of the truth.

    For example (You’ve heard it before):
    the Dalai Lama’s bodyguards carry automatic weapons.
    You can’t be more contradictory than that.
    We all have to be at least that contradictory.
    There has to be more to each of us than meets the eye—
    even our own eye!
    We cannot hide that from ourselves,
    lie to ourselves,
    pretend to ourselves that we are
    only who we say we are.

    Living transparent to ourselves
    allows us to be necessarily antithetical
    in the one life we have to live
    and always open to the possibility
    of surprising ourselves
    with something we never saw coming.

  15. 12/22/2015 — Goodale 2015 22 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    The way things are is not the way
    we have been told that they would be.
    This is the primary realization
    leading the way to all the ones that follow.
    How we follow it is crucial to our development.
    The way things are is not the way
    we have been told that they would be—
    ..
    What?

    Where do we go from here?
    Everything hangs on our answer to:
    “Now what?”
    Here, we are at the swing point
    to a number of possible futures.
    How we answer the question
    leads us further away from, or ever closer to,
    the Self at the center of the “I.”
    Everything hangs on what we say.

    ”What a slippery slope this is!”

  16. 12/22/2015 — Kings Mountain Farm Cotton Gin, Wheels and Gears—Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 14, 2015

    You can’t pare it down.
    There are no shortcuts.
    Our whole life is our practice.
    We live to be transparent to ourselves,
    reading our nighttime dreams,
    and our daytime flights of fantasy,
    reflecting on our drifts of mood and mind,
    for insight into the ways
    and workings of our inner world,
    in order to relate that world to our life
    In the outer world of normal, apparent, reality.

    We bridge the worlds!
    Connect the worlds!
    Harmonize the worlds!
    So that inner and outer are one world—
    forming,
    expressing,
    shaping,
    impacting,
    bringing forth,
    making real
    our life
    and who we are,
    that we might be fully,
    consciously,
    alive in the life we are living.

    We cannot do that on the side,
    in our spare time,
    while we tend the important matters
    with the full focus of our complete attention.
    Our life is the only thing that matters.
    We live to bring ourselves to life
    in the time left for living.

  17. Used in Short Talks on Good and Bad Religion — 12/22/2015 — Country Road B&W—York County, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    Good religion doesn’t kill anyone.
    Doesn’t hate anyone.
    Doesn’t condemn anyone.
    Doesn’t focus on converting anyone.
    Doesn’t spend its time talking about anyone.
    Doesn’t care who is saved and who isn’t.
    Isn’t obsessed with sin and sinners.
    Isn’t interested in proving it is the only religion.
    Has no time for debates or discussions about theology, doctrine and dogma.
    Thinks it is enough to know what your own business is and mind it, tend it, do it, and let that be enough.

  18. 12/23/2015 — Ginkgos 2015 27 Panorama—Charlotte, NC, December 3, 2015

    Our inner world has a stake
    in the life we are living in the outer world—
    seeking expression,
    realization,
    actualization,
    in the life we are living.

    Soul isn’t interested in spectating,
    and strives to make itself real—
    vital, not virtual—
    in the way we go about living
    in the world of normal, apparent, reality.

    How soulfully do we live?
    How much playing time do we grant Soul each day?
    How seriously to we take Soul’s need for self-expression?
    When is the last time we listened to Soul?
    Invited Soul’s guidance through the daily maze?

    Soul is sometimes called Psyche,
    and sometimes called the Unconscious
    because we are unconscious of Soul’s, Psyche’s,
    reality, nature, aims and ways.

    Yet, Soul speaks to us in our nighttime dreams,
    and our daytime flights of fantasy—
    through our symptoms,
    intuition,
    instincts
    and sensations.

    We are all psychic,
    as Psyche’s children should be,
    and have only to learn the language of Soul,
    and align ourselves with Soul’s leanings,
    to enter the partnership that seeks our participation,
    transforming and revitalizing what’s left to be lived.

  19. 12/25/2015 — Goodale 2015 23 B&W—Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    Listen to your body.
    Your body will tell you how it is with you.
    Move away from people who make you uncomfortable.
    This is Fortune Cookie wisdom.

    You wouldn’t eat a rancid Fortune Cookie.
    Why do you stay in the company of a rancid personality?
    Your body tells you, “Don’t eat this cookie!”
    ”Don’t stay in the proximity of this person!”
    Why would you override your body’s instruction?
    Why would you allow social convention to overrule
    your body’s wisdom?
    You have to be the champion of your own cause!
    The hero of your own princess-held-hostage!
    To The Rescue! On Guard! To Arms! To Arms!
    Do not eat the rancid cookie!

  20. 12/25/2015 — Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River 07 – Chimneys Picnic Area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, November 5, 2015

    We are in charge of our own salvation.
    Salvation is restoration.
    We are responsible for restoring ourselves
    to ends worthy of us—
    to a life that is worthy of us.
    We are responsible for finding our way
    to the life that is our life to live—
    that only WE can live.

    We cannot be satisfied with a life anyone could live.
    Our life cannot be like that of one cow following another
    from the barn to the pasture back to the barn.
    Our life has to be uniquely our own,
    reflecting and expressing who we are
    and what means the most to us.

    We are charged with bringing ourselves forth,
    and gifting US to the world.
    We save ourselves by restoring ourselves to our life
    and living at-one with who we are
    in the deepest sense of the word
    in the time left for living.

    We start by listening to our dreams and fantasies,
    our symptoms,
    interests,
    instinct
    and intuition.
    We already know what we need to know.
    We only need to know what we know,
    and have the courage to live it into being.

  21. 12/26/2015 — Cotton in the Field 02 — Hornbeck, Tennessee, November 3, 2015

    We ground ourselves,
    express ourselves,
    define ourselves,
    give shape and form to ourselves,
    through the work of our hands and body
    in the outer world of normal, apparent, reality.

    If we are lost,
    blown about,
    confused,
    uncertain,
    fear dissolution
    and disintegration—
    dis-integration—
    on the inside,
    it is important that we work with stones,
    or dig in the earth (the ground),
    or rearrange the furniture in our house
    with a specific design in mind,
    in order to settle the unsettled nature of our inner world.

    We bring ourselves into focus—
    integrate the disparate aspects of our Psyche—
    calm ourselves
    and restore our souls,
    by physically moving things into place
    In the outer world.

    We live ourselves into place
    by consciously applying the metaphor,
    Thou Art That,
    to our life in specific ways,
    so that Inner reflects Outer,
    and we become still by being busy
    with the work of our hands and body,
    arranging things “in here”
    by arranging things “out there.”

  22. 12/26/2015 — December Orchard 04 Panorama—Springs Farm Peach Orchard, Fort Mill, South Carolina, December 12, 2015

    We participate as full partners
    in our own reclamation,
    restoration,

    And hell is not something
    that happens when we die,
    but what happens in our life
    when we refuse the invitation
    to collaborate in the work
    of becoming who we are.

    We cooperate with ourselves—
    with our Self at the center of the “I” —
    when we seek the Self at the center of the “I,”
    and move from the known to the unknown,
    from what we are conscious of about ourselves
    to what we are unconscious of about ourselves.

    We enter a new world—
    the world of inner reality—
    and find there amazing resources—
    not to use as we will in the service of the “I”—
    but to equip
    and enable our work,
    our life,
    in the service of the Self
    at the center of the “I.”

    We have to give up our idea of our life
    in order to find and live our LIFE.
    And that’s the catch that keeps things as they are.
    We cannot live without dying to all we think of as life.
    You see the problem.
    This is what it means to bear our own cross.
    Crucifixion and resurrection in real time everyday.

  23. 12/26/2015 — River Park 02 B&W—Norfolk Southern Trestle, Catawba River, Rock Hill, South Carolina, December 12, 2015

    We are afraid of pain.
    The pain of loneliness,
    lostness,
    aimlessness,
    emptiness,
    isolation,
    ..

    Our life consists of denying the pain,
    running from the pain,
    hiding from the pain,
    escaping the pain.
    We have to bear the pain.
    We have to face it,
    feel it,
    acknowledge it,
    honor it,
    and wait it out.

    Waiting the pain out
    is the key to reconciling
    ourselves to it,
    transcending it,
    and putting it in its place.

    It will always be with us, but.
    In waiting it out,
    we know it isn’t the final word.
    Something shifts,
    stirs,
    comes to life—
    or will if we are waiting out the pain
    and not nurturing, nourishing it forever,
    refusing to let it go.

    If that’s our story, we cannot be helped, but
    if we are waiting it out,
    a shift will occur,
    a light flickers,
    something catches our eye,
    hope and courage ignite,
    and before you know it,
    we are coming back to life.

    Amazing.
    Grace in the darkness,
    birthing us again.
    And again.

  24. 12/27/2015 — Ginkgos 2015 21 Panorama—Charlotte, NC, December 1, 2015

    We are a lazy lot,
    and have a lot of inertia to overcome
    in taking up the work
    of the spiritual journey.

    My friend Ogi was talking about his friends in AA
    when he said, “All we ever wanted was smooth and easy,”
    but he could have been talking about all of us,
    and all of our ancestors and progeny.

    “Smooth and easy” about raps it up.
    We like the idea of the spiritual journey,
    but the word “practice” puts us off.
    We don’t what to have to actually DO anything to be spiritual.
    Taking up the practice of mindful meditation
    is asking too much.

    We hear about “tools for the Journey,”
    and we have an immediate affinity
    with the guy who said,
    ”Just tell us what to believe, Preacher,
    and don’t meddle with our lives!”

    Smooth and Easy
    Are the Scylla and Charybdis of the Journey,
    and keep us from ever making the trip.

  25. 12/27/2015 — Hwy 61 Slough Panorama—Near Lake Cormorant, Mississippi, November 3, 2015

    What needs to happen, here, now, next?
    That is our question to answer in each here, now, of our life.

    We answer it in light of our present situation,
    and in light of all that has happened up to this point,
    and in light of what needs to happen from this point on.

    We answer it in light of what has been done to us,
    and in light of what we have done in response.
    In light of what we have done,
    and in light of what has been done in response.
    In light of our values,
    and the character we live to express in,
    even as it is shaped by,
    the circumstances in which we live.

    Taking all of this,
    and the context and circumstanes
    into account,
    what needs to happen, here, now, next?

    It helps me to be still
    and quiet for a while,
    and see what occurs to me.
    I recommend that procedure
    to all who have the luxury
    of time and silence.

  26. 12/28/2015 — Goodale 2015 26 B&W—Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    What would have helped me
    Would have been some early, middle, and late
    Lessons in mindfulness.

    Or, just living with mindful people.

    Being with people who were
    seeing,
    hearing,
    understanding,
    asking,
    seeking,
    probing,
    ..

    Who weren’t afraid to ask questions.
    Who were reading, and writing, poetry.
    Who were creative and imaginative.
    Who were self-reflective,
    and capable of examining everything they saw,
    and heard,
    and felt,
    and thought—
    In light of everything else they saw,
    and heard,
    and felt,
    and thought.

    Who believed more in the value of hypotheses
    than in the value of rules.
    Who knew the importance of music beyond hymns.
    Who danced and laughed,
    and indulged regularly in joy for no reason.

    I would have been a lot better off
    with a different set of people in my life,
    Maybe, you know what I mean.

  27. 12/28/2015 — Reelfoot Lake 24 HDR—Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeck, Tennessee, November 4, 32015

    The problem is time.

    We don’t realize how precious it is early enough.
    Whave to be intensely aware of each moment,
    And how we might use it
    to bring forth the life that is ours to bring forth—
    giving birth to new ideas,
    new realizations,
    new thoughts,
    concepts,
    kindnesses,
    generosities,
    ..

    How to make the most of each day
    includes being quiet,
    still,
    and mindful
    in order to see
    what needs us to do it each day—
    and to take our time with doing it,
    so that we do it
    the way it needs to be done.

    There is no time to lose.
    What needs to be done
    cannot be hurried.
    It is like yeast in the dough,
    and seeds in the earth,
    and six eggs hatching under a sitting hen.

  28. 12/29/2015 — Black Bayou 14 — Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Monroe, Louisiana, November 2, 2015

    We spend our life
    trying to get together
    with ourselves.
    It would help to know
    that from the start.
    And be given tips and suggestions
    for how we might go about it.

    We are told nothing about the things that matter.
    They leave it up to us
    to figure it out on our own
    over time.
    Over long stretches of time.

    It starts out with our not knowing
    what’s wrong with us.
    It’s like we are never quite satisfied,
    no matter how much we have.
    It’s like we are looking for something,
    we don’t know what.
    But we think it might be
    found in the eyes of strangers,
    0r on the other side of the sea.
    Somewhere far away
    and difficult to get to.
    All we know is we are dissatisfied
    and troubled by a nagging sense
    that there is something more.
    Something we are unconscious of
    is trying to become conscious.

    Our Self is seeking us!
    Whispering our name.
    Winking at us in a multitude of ways.
    Appearing as a mirage in the desert,
    a ghost in the night.
    Flirting with us,

    What we seek is as near as our next breath,
    But it may as well be in a deep cave
    in a high mountain
    on the backside of Tibet,
    for all the good being close does.

    We were separated at birth
    from our antenatal best friend,
    and almost remember what we lost—
    almost know how good life would be
    with him, with her, to collaborate with,
    enjoying the wonder of Two being One
    for the rest of our life.

  29. 12/29/2015 — Kings Mountain Farm 05 HDR B&W—Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 14, 2105

    Our Other Self is always
    trying to get our attention.
    Dreams,
    fantasies,
    walk-a-bouts,
    symptoms,
    moods,
    urges,
    instinctive feelings,
    intuitive inclinations,
    strange occurrences,
    memories
    inexplicable coincidences,
    things that occur to us out of nowhere,
    things we find ourselves doing without intending to,
    saying without meaning to…

    All are visitations from our invisible Other—
    Invitations to sit down,
    open up,
    and be fully available
    to that which is always present with us,
    yet unknown to us.

    How can this be?
    How can we not know our Other Self?
    How can we be as old as we are
    and know as little as we do
    about the world within?

    We were enlisted to bring that world
    with us when we came forth from the womb,
    and to bring it to life
    in the world of space and time.

    But there were none to help us
    remember our mission
    reconnect with our purpose,
    and live the life that was prepared for us
    before we were born—
    the life that only we can live—
    and can still live yet,
    if we only realize the irrepressible truth
    of the Inner Other
    as one who is full available
    to that which has been
    forever present with us,
    and say something on the order of,
    “Help me help you
    become as real as I am
    in the time we have left to live.”

    And mean it.

  30. 12/30/2015 — Sarto Lane Old Iron Bridge—Avoyelles Parish Louisiana, Bayou Des Glaises, October 29, 2015

    Kobe Brant, in talking about his team,
    the Los Angeles Lakers, said,
    “You aren’t going to make a cat bark.
    And yelling at it isn’t going to help.
    At some point, you just have to sit back
    and enjoy what can be enjoyed about the ride”
    (Or words to that effect).

    We think our Other Self can be taught to bark,
    and agree to sign on with it
    with the understanding—
    all on our part—
    that our Other Self will do things our way.

    Thinking this way gives us “The Prayer of Jabez”
    and “The Law of Attraction,”
    wherein if we do things a certain way,
    we’ll get a barking cat,
    and everything will be just rosy.

    Jesus put it this way:
    “Those who seek to save their life
    will lose it, and those who lose their life
    in the service of that which is greater than they are
    will gain it” (Or words to that effect).

    Our Other Side will eat our old life—
    and the life of our happy fantasies—alive.
    When we sign on with our Other Side,
    we get the life that only we can live,
    packed down,
    spilling over,
    pouring out,

    We have to give up our idea of life
    in order to come to life
    and be fully, wholly, alive.

    Always.
    Always.
    The trade off.
    If you can square up with that,
    you have it made.
    And can sit back and enjoy
    all that is to be enjoyed
    about the ride.
    And, it will be quite a ride.

    But the cat won’t be barking.

  31. 12/30/2015 — Lake Crawford 03 HDR—Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    Our Other Self possesses
    full working knowledge
    of the blueprint that is ours
    to bring forth in our life.

    We each have a life that is as unique to us
    as our fingerprints or the patterns of our irises.
    There is no one like us,
    present,
    past
    or future.
    What do we mean,
    trying to fit in,
    belong,
    by looking like them
    and doing it like they would do it?
    The idea is to be who we are,
    living the life that is our life to live,
    serving the good of ourselves
    and the good of humankind.
    By being true to ourselves,
    we bring forth what is most needed
    in service to the whole.
    The individual realizing herself,
    realizing himself,
    as a true human being
    is the hope of the world.
    And our Other Self has in hand
    the template that is ours
    to effect and implement.
    It is our place to get together
    with our Other Self,
    enter into full collaboration with our Other Self,
    and live the life that is
    our joint life to live
    in the time left for living.

    You might say our sole responsibility
    is to our soul throughout what remains of our life.

  32. 12/30/2015 — Joseph Cemetery Panorama—Marksville, Louisiana, October 28, 2015

    Inside and outside compliment each other,
    dance with one another,
    become one with the other.

    We take this as confirmation
    of being on the beam,
    in the zone,
    at one with the flow of our life.

    If an opportunity arises
    without sparking our
    interest and enthusiasm,
    let it go.

    If what we are interested in
    and enthusiastic about
    finds nothing but
    locked doors and dead ends,
    don’t keep insisting on being a rock star,
    or the next Michael Jordan.

    Read the outer signs and the inner signals.
    Seek resonance and ratification.
    Just because something invites you
    doesn’t make it inviting.
    Just because you want something
    doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

    But when outer clicks with inner,
    Smile to yourself,
    And see where it goes.

  33. 12/30/2015 — Kisatchie Forest 02 Panorama—Rapides Parish Louisiana, October 28, 2015

    To live in conscious relationship
    with the present moment
    is to be aware of whatever is happening now.
    Our awareness contains everything
    we are capable of being aware of.
    It is all here, now.
    Thoughts,
    sights,
    sounds,
    sensations,
    memories,
    moods,
    ..
    It is all contained in awareness.
    Receive it well,
    without evaluation
    or opinion.
    See how long you can be aware
    of being aware of the moment
    that is eternally now.

  34. 12/31/2015 — Goodale 2015 27 Panorama B&W—Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    We cannot rest in the full awareness of the moment
    and be embroiled in the moment.
    We cannot be alive to the moment
    and be directed by the moment,
    controlled by the moment.
    We are not the moment.
    We live in the moment,
    choosing in the moment of our living
    how best that is to be done.

    Some ways of living are better than others.
    Some ways of living are much worse than others.
    Living as those who are owned by the moment
    forfeits the option of seeing what is happening,
    knowing what is needed,
    and responding in ways
    that take the allness of the moment
    into account.

    Seeing things as they are
    eschews shortcuts,
    avoids rote responses,
    examines assumptions,
    rushes neither to judgment
    nor to solution,
    listens carefully to what
    is being said
    and not being said,
    recognizes that what is on the line
    in any situation
    may not be what appears
    to be on the line—
    and responds to what is on the line.

  35. 12/31/2015 — Ginkgos 2015 22 — Charlotte, NC, December 1, 2015

    Everything relating to our growth and development
    as individuals and True Human Beings
    is grounded upon,
    and flows from,
    our living out of,
    our own personal authority.

    We have to live the life
    we say is worth living.
    We have to live in the service
    of what we declare to be of value.
    We have to express,
    exhibit,
    incarnate who we know ourselves to be.
    We have to make our own calls
    regarding what we say yes to
    and no to.

    All of this hinges
    upon our achieving
    the right kind of compassionate
    working distance
    with the other people in our life.
    It’s important that they matter to us,
    but not so much that they stand in our way.
    A life worthy of us
    comes down to our ability
    to work out the ratios,
    and know where to draw the lines
    separating who we are
    from who others would have us be.

  36. 12/31/2015 — Wheels Down—Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeck, Tennessee, November 4, 2015

    If we could live
    without ignoring
    any aspect of our experience,
    so that each situation
    were transparent to us,
    and we were transparent to ourselves,
    we would be able
    to live there with superhuman powers
    of comprehension and integrity,
    seeing and doing what needed to be done
    in the service of the highest/deepest values
    and the good of the entire world.

    Mindfulness leads the way.
    If you are going to practice anything,
    be anything,
    practice mindfulness,
    be mindful—
    compassionately present,
    attentive to and aware of,
    without evaluation or opinion,
    what is present with you
    in each situation as it arises—
    doing so will transform your life and the world.

  37. 12/31/2015 — Into the Woods Panorama—Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, November 5, 2015

    We cannot live with integrity without living mindfully.
    We cannot live mindfully without living with integrity.
    Integrity is the alignment of inner with outer,
    so that we are who we are.
    Integrity is the essential characteristic of God:
    ”Tell them ‘I Am Who I Am’ sent you!”
    When we are mindful enough to know who we are,
    we have no excuse for failing to be who we are.
    How can we face ourselves in living contrary to ourselves,
    against ourselves?
    Our fundamental responsibility is to be who we are
    in each situation as it arises
    for the good of the situation—
    in an “I came not to be served, but to serve”
    kind of way.

  38. 12/31/2015 — Morton’s Overlook 02 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, December 5, 2015

    It is our place—
    the place of individuals
    becoming/being themselves—
    to raise the level of authenticity,
    genuineness
    and integrity in the world.

    We live these things into being.
    We raise the level of authenticity by being authentic.
    We raise the level of genuineness by being genuine.
    We raise the level of integrity by being integrated—
    by living in ways that are integral with that which
    is deepest, best and truest about us,
    in ways that are at one with our Best Self,
    which would be our Other Self,
    the Inner Self we also are.

    We raise the level of authenticity,
    genuineness
    and integrity
    by being mindfully,
    compassionately,
    aware
    of how things are with us and about us,
    and how they also are—
    without evaluation or opinion.

    Just knowing how things are (and also are),
    changes how things are (and also are).
    Knowing what we are dismissing,
    discounting,
    overlooking,
    ignoring,
    changes our relationship with those things,
    and enables us to know better what we are doing.
    Knowing better what we are doing
    is all that is necessary
    to change what we are doing
    in ways that are beneficial
    to ourselves and others,
    and the world will be better off for it.

  39. 01/01/2016 — Silhouettes 02 — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    There is no plan.
    Life unfolds according to its own purpose,
    in its own time.
    Your life,
    my life,
    are not yours and mine
    to do with as we please
    at a time
    in a manner
    that is pleasing to us.

    We wait for the propitious time,
    the fullness of time,
    when the time is right,
    and our life unfolds before us
    and the way opens to us
    and it is as though
    this is the moment we have been waiting for,
    all that time we were
    wondering what we were doing
    and what we are here for.

    We are all caterpillars
    waiting to fly.
    Do you think when caterpillars
    have their conventions,
    seminars,
    and weekend retreats,
    anybody ever talks of flying?
    We are all caterpillars
    waiting to fly.

  40. 01/01/2016 — Old Sheldon Church Ruins 08 HDR—Yemassee, SC, August 28, 2015

    I see my place in your life
    as being that of putting you
    in touch with your life—
    in touch with the idea
    that you have a life—
    not the one you are living,
    the one that is yours to live.

    I’m here to goad you into considering
    what you are doing
    and how you feel about
    what you are doing.
    How do you feel about the life you are living?
    How well does it fit you?
    Is there any sense of being out of place somehow,
    of this being not quite it, somehow?

    I’m here to nag you into squaring up with
    how it is with you,
    and into wondering how it
    might be even yet.
    I’m here to throw questions at you
    until one strikes a cord, hits home,
    and you look at what you are doing,
    and what you might do in addition,
    or instead.

    I’m here to deepen,
    expand,
    enlarge
    your awareness of you
    and your possibilities for life—
    your awareness of what is struggling
    to come to life in your life,
    and how you might be alive
    in the life you are living.

    I trust you’re getting your money’s worth.

  41. 01/01/2016 — Old Sheldon Church Ruins 01 HDR Panorama—Yemassee, SC, August 24, 2015

    In each situation,
    there exist possibilities f
    or the unique,
    the creative,
    the novel,
    the unimagined,
    the unheard of,
    the outlandish,
    the surreal,
    the new,
    the heretical,
    the blasphemous…

    All available for consideration and implementation
    for those with eyes that see,
    ears that hear, and hearts that are courageous
    and capable of doing what cries out to be done.

    Jesus said, “Those of you with eyes,
    dare to open them!
    And see what is before you!
    Those of you with ears, dare to unstop them!
    And hear what is begging for your attention!”
    (Or, words to that effect.)

    What needs to be seen is waiting to be seen.
    What needs to be heard is waiting to be heard.
    What is keeping the seeing from happening?
    The hearing from being done?

  42. 01/02/2015 — Reelfoot Lake 25 HDR—Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeck, Tennessee, November 4, 2015

    We can’t say, “Give God the Glory!” when things go our way
    Without understanding the importance of saying,
    “Give God the Glory” when things do not go our way.
    What does having our way have to do with praising
    What is sometimes called “God”?

    God,
    the Tao,
    Grace,
    is the source of all things great and small,
    good and bad.
    It is all Grace to eyes that see.
    Everything is a step on the way to being who we are.
    What do we need to be who we are?
    We already have it!
    It came with us from the womb!
    Under what conditions
    would it be impossible to be who we are?

    All theology is bad theology.
    All theologians are bad theologians.
    We cannot talk about what we know
    in terms of what we don’t know.
    All theology is hearsay.

    All theology is heresy—
    and the rock solid truth—
    in that it exposes the absurdity
    Of saying, “This is absolute and final truth!”
    about what we don’t know.

    Darkness is necessary for seeing the light.
    Too much light is as bad for seeing
    As too little light.
    Too much light is as darkness.

    Darkness and light are one thing, not two.
    Move to the center.
    Avoid the extremes.
    Live from the heart and let things take their course.

  43. 01/02/2016 — Greenhouse Orchid 05 — Campbell’s Greenhouse and Nursery, Charlotte, NC, April 21, 2015

    The hardest things are remembering who we are
    and what we are about—
    staying on track,
    living aligned with our life,
    in sync with our Other Self,
    at one with who we are and also are
    in each situation as it arises,
    keeping our balance,
    maintaining our focus,
    remaining grounded in what is important,
    centered in the heart of what matters most.

    The Buddha under the Bo Tree,
    the Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane,
    stayed true to themselves
    and are models for all regarding how to do it.
    But the way is straight and the gate is narrow,
    and what a slippery slope it traverses!
    Thus the necessity of the practice,
    and the helping community,
    and the connection with our Other Self,
    all along The Way.

  44. 01/03/2016 — Goodale 2015 28 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    We change our relationship with our experience
    by being mindfully, compassionately, aware of it,
    without evaluation or opinion.

    When we change our relationship with our experience,
    we change its impact on us.
    when we change the impact our experience has on us,
    we reshape our life.

    Being compassionately mindful of our experience,
    transcends evaluation, opinion,
    and the emotional reaction that accompanies them,
    softens the impact of our experience,
    and enables us to be emotionally balanced in our relationship to it.

    Jon Kabat-Zinn says,
    “Mindfulness is moment-to-moment
    non-judgmental awareness,
    cultivated by paying attention
    to what is happening now.”

    Mindfulness simply requires us to see what is happening,
    internally and externally,
    as it is happening,
    without evaluation or opinion.

    As we take up the practice of mindfulness,
    we transform our life
    and our Umwelt (Our lived environment as we experience it),
    and restructure the world—
    merely by being aware of it.

    Nothing alters things like being mindful of them
    moment-to-moment.

    Give it a spin.
    Simply sit,
    paying attention to the moment.
    Bring everything
    into your awareness,
    and let your experience
    be your experience.
    Remain there for as long
    as you are able.
    And return as often
    as you can.

  45. 01/03/2016 — Backyard Mushrooms 01 — Indian Land, SC, January 01, 2016

    Lets say you are a woman and I am a man,
    and we fall in love with each other.
    Or one of us falls in love with the other.

    The experience of falling in love
    is not far from the experience of idolization,
    wherein we idolize the other as The Perfect One,
    all imperfections being unrecognized,
    overlooked,
    discounted,
    dismissed,
    disregarded,
    denied,

    This does not mean we
    are well-suited for each other,
    and should marry,
    have many children
    and live happily ever after.

    And it does not matter
    if you actually possess the qualities
    and characteristics
    I ascribe to you
    (or you to me).
    You may not be courageous and kind at all,
    but the meanest coward who ever cut and ran.
    It is how I see you that causes me
    to fall in love with you
    (And it is who you turn out to be
    that causes me to divorce you, sometime later).
    Being in love is not related to reality in any way.
    The experience of being in love
    is no predictor of the viability
    of the relationship.
    Maybe, maybe not.

    The experience of being in love
    is an indicator that the other
    has stirred within us our unrealized
    unrecognized,
    overlooked,
    discounted,
    dismissed,
    disregarded,
    denied,
    ignored
    potential for being The Perfect One
    we see exemplified in the other.

    We project what we do not recognize
    as needing to be developed within ourselves
    onto the other.
    The other stands before us as a mirror,
    reflecting back to us our own projections
    onto him, onto her,
    and we see in the other what is missing,
    but available to be realized,
    exhibited,
    expressed,
    incarnated,
    within us.

    You are the woman I need to become.
    I am the man you need to be.
    I need to become like you in ways
    I see you being you,
    and you need to become like me
    in ways you see me being me.
    My work is to become the woman
    I see you as being,
    exemplifying.
    Your work is to become the man
    you see me as being,
    exemplifying.
    My woman needs to be like you.
    Your man needs to be like me.
    I must spend my life working
    to bring you to life in me.
    You must spend your life working
    to bring me to life in you.

    In this way,
    we “marry” the other,
    plight “thee” our troth
    through sickness and health,
    wealth and poverty,
    good times and bad,
    ’til death do us part if then.

    Developing my feminine side,
    developing your masculine side,
    is the androgynous work of soul
    wherein the two
    sides of our personality,
    male and female,
    become one
    whole,
    complete,
    integrated,
    balanced
    symmetrical,
    human being.

    It has nothing to do
    with merging two individuals
    into the same person
    (As if!).
    The merger is not an outer,
    actual,
    physical fact,
    but an inner,
    vital,
    spiritual
    reality—
    which we pursue as a conscious work of soul
    over the full course of our life,
    whether we marry
    each other in real time,
    or not.

  46. 01/04/2016 — Bethany Church Cemetery 08 B&W — Bethany ARPC, Clover, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    We live in a culture that places
    a high premium on being happy.
    “I just want to be happy”
    is the mantra of the day, every day.
    We generally think of being happy as an add on.
    It is something that comes
    with having something we don’t have,
    or doing something we aren’t doing.

    I propose that we think
    of being happy as a take away.
    Getting rid of all the things
    that are standing between us and being happy.

    Asking, “What would it take to make you happy?”
    Generally gets a response
    on the order of,
    “More money and time to travel and do the things I enjoy.”

    Asking, “What can you do right now
    to begin doing things you enjoy?”
    Generally gets a response
    on the order of, “I would have to get away.”
    We are living lives we have to escape
    in order to be happy.
    This is weird.
    Why would we do that?

    Instead of asking, “What would it take to make me happy?”
    Ask, “What is standing between me and happiness?”
    It will come down to duties,
    obligations,
    responsibilities,
    drains on your time
    and attention.

    Start shucking them.
    Pare them down to the absolute minimum.
    Say “No” throughout your life.
    It will be like going on a holiday
    without leaving home.
    And if you can’t do that,
    if you can’t reduce your current level of duties, etc.,
    Look at what is standing in your way,
    keeping you from doing it.
    And work with that.

  47. 01/04/2016 — Gumdrop Tree — Indian Land, SC, January 04, 2016

    Much of what is wrong with us
    can be transformed or transcended
    By living with mindfulness
    (which implies compassion
    and complete absence of evaluation)
    in a collaborative relationship with our Other Self
    throughout what remains of our life.

    That being the case,
    One would think
    we would be quick to become proficient
    In living mindfully in that kind of relationship.

    Nothing is more important
    For our own personal future,
    Or that of the world.

  48. 05/17/2018 — What would you go to hell for?
    If there is nothing
    you would go to hell for,
    you aren’t invested in this life.
    You’re just hanging out,
    waiting to go to heaven when you die.

    You don’t have anything
    worth living for,
    worth doing with your life.
    Your life is just in your way,
    delaying heaven and all the glories
    of forever everlasting.

    You are wasting this life
    waiting for that one.
    The person who buried
    his talent
    missed the point
    and lost everything.

    Heaven is for people
    who are right
    about what is worth
    going to hell for.

  49. 01/05/2016 — Kings Mountain Farm 02 Panorama B&W — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    In a 2007 talk at Google,
    Jon Kabat-Zinn likened formal mindfulness meditation practice
    (The Body Scan, for instance, or 45 minutes of Breath Counting)
    to training wheels on a bicycle.
    We practice formally to get our body
    trained to do the work without
    our having to think about it.

    The idea is to ride the bicycle without thinking about it.
    Mindfulness meditation is
    how we live our life,
    not what we stop living for 20 or 45 minutes to do.
    It is being mindfully
    (Paying attention on purpose to the present moment),
    compassionately,
    aware,
    without evaluation
    or opinion,
    throughout our day
    (And paying attention to our dreams at night).

    Then, he takes the bicycle analogy a step further.
    Bicycles can be ridden in races,
    on pavement,
    off pavement through potholes
    and over tree roots in the woods,
    fast or slow,
    by small children
    and octogenarians,
    commuting to work and school,
    around the block,
    in the park,
    for daily exercise,
    or the simple pleasure of taking a ride.

    There are as many reasons and ways
    to ride a bicycle as there are bicycle riders.
    And, so it is with mindfulness meditation.
    There is no right way to do it.
    We ride our own bike.
    We live our own life.
    We meditate the way we meditate.
    If it is right for us, it is right.
    We all find our own path,
    and walk it.
    Find our own work,
    and do it.

    Alan Watts once asked Joseph Campbell,
    “Joe, what form does your yoga take?”
    Campbell replied,
    “I underline passages.”
    There you are.
    What form does your meditation take?

    It doesn’t matter.
    What matters is that you do it.

  50. 01/05/2016 — Greenhouse Orchid 11 — Campbell’s Nursery and Greenhouse, Charlotte, NC, April 21, 2015

    Our personal authority is grounded
    in our ability to say, “NO!
    To ourselves.

    We cannot say, “NO!” to anyone else
    until we can say, “NO!” to ourselves.
    Where do you rein yourself in?
    Where do you draw the line?
    Impose restrictions, set limits?
    What do you refuse to permit,
    disallow?

    Self-discipline and self-restraint
    are the heart of self-directed living.
    Where are we violating our own curfews?
    Ignoring our own boundaries?

    When are we going
    to start taking “No”
    from ourselves
    for an answer?

  51. 01/05/2016 — Old Sheldon Church Ruins 06 HDR Panorama — August 24, 2015

    Let other people strive to have more,
    and to be somewhere else.
    Live to be where you are,
    enjoying what you have.
    Relish your life,
    and the experience of being alive.

    No matter where we are
    or what we have,
    it could be better in 10,000 ways—
    and worse.
    But, here we are,
    with a moment inviting us to be who we are—
    which is all we can ever be,

    Why not here, now?

  52. 01/06/2016 — Ginkgos 2015 25 — Charlotte, NC, December 1, 2015

    “Thy will, not mine, be done,”
    sets us on a very unpredictable course.

    Do we mean it, is the question.
    Do we trust ourselves to this extent
    to our Other Self,
    To The Invisible Other—
    unknown but intuited and experienced
    as numinous and real?

    Are we willing to put ourselves in the hands
    of another whom we do not know?

    Who guides our boat on its path through the sea?
    It is one thing to hand over control
    at the end of our rope,
    when our backs are too the wall,
    and our front is to the Void,
    when we have run out of options,
    and have no choice but to throw ourselves
    upon the good graces of the unknown
    and hope for the best, but.

    To hand ourselves over in the thick
    of The Pretty Good Life,
    when things are going relatively well,
    and we have hopes of better things to come,
    right around the corner,
    any day now,
    and we are still awash in the glow of life as we like it—
    why would we do that?

    Why would we hand over
    something that is working well,
    or almost working well,
    for what could easily turn out to be
    the complete loss of everything
    we value and dream of?

    Who would say, “Thy will, not mine, be done”
    when things are going well enough,
    and nothing much is too bad wrong?

  53. 01/06/2016 — Cotton in the Field 02 Panorama — Hwy 61, Mississippi Delta, November 2, 2015

    Jesus walked through crowds
    of those who were sound asleep,
    dreaming they were awake,
    and said, “Wake up!
    Come to your senses!
    See what you are doing!”

    And they replied,
    “Wake up, yourself, Sonny Boy!
    You’re headed down a rough road
    toward an end you won’t like!”

    That’s the way it always is
    in the confrontation between
    those who are awake
    and those who are asleep,
    dreaming they are awake.

    No one can wake anyone up.
    We live ourselves awake,
    if we wake up at all.
    Reality eventually wakes up
    those who can be awakened.
    Yet, reality can always be interpreted
    In ways that take the alarm clock into account,
    and allow the dream to continue.
    Dreaming we are awake, while sound asleep.

    Jesus left the dead to bury the dead.
    It’s the only option.
    The catch is, they killed him.
    Being awake is no sanctuary.
    Nothing trumps stupidity.

  54. 01/07/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 26 HDR — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeck, Tennessee, November 4, 2015

    Happiness is getting out of the way.

    We think happiness is getting our way.
    Happiness is getting out of our way.
    Once we get out of our way,
    the Way opens before us,
    and things are right with us,
    until we come up with a better idea,
    and leave The Way
    in order to pursue our way.

  55. 01/08/2016 — Goodale 2015 29 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    Where do you go for comfort and solace—
    To calm yourself and restore your connection with soul?

    Drugs, sex and alcohol are popular attempts
    at the comfort and solace part of the equation, but.
    the backlash WHAM-O! impact takes them off the table
    and exposes them as the fraud they are.

    Exercise, though, is good.
    A long walk is about all the exercise I’m good for these days.
    And the right kind of music.
    I have a friend who says he can’t quiet down and be calm
    unless he’s playing his electric guitar.
    Another friend feels the same way about her drumming.

    Time immersed in nature does it for a lot of people.
    I like to sit by a lake and watch the ducks flying in and out.
    Or drive through the mountains.
    Sunrises and sunsets,
    Storms and clouds…

    It’s important to know what works for you,
    and go there, do that, as often as necessary,
    as a way of offsetting the draining effect
    of “the world (that) is too much with us, late and soon.”

    Where do you go for comfort and solace—
    To calm yourself and restore your connection with soul?

  56. 01/08/2016 — Kisatchie National Forest 01 Panorama B&W — Rapides Parish, Louisiana, October 28, 2015

    Our seeing is influenced by our emotions.
    So is our thinking.
    What we fear, want, don’t want, love, hate, desire, despise, etc.
    determines how we see
    and what we think about it.
    Feeling dictates seeing and thinking.

    We don’t know what we are looking at
    if it is so novel we have no feelings about it.
    We don’t know what to think about it
    if we don’t know how we feel about it.

    Feelings instruct our living,
    guide our behavior.
    If we are going to see and think,
    we have to learn to see what we are feeling,
    and think about it.

    We have to see how strongly we are influenced
    by how we feel about things,
    and think about it.
    We have to reflect on the place of feeling
    that we are unconscious of,
    and work to become conscious of it.

    Otherwise, we will be at the mercy of those
    who inflame our fears
    and teach us to hate all that is novel and strange.

  57. 01/08/2016 — Cypress Morning — Down East North Carolina, November 2007

    When Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore says, in effect,
    “If we don’t like a law,
    we shouldn’t have to obey it
    or enforce it,
    or have it forced on us,”
    And when Texas Governor Greg Abbott says, in effect,
    “If we don’t like a law,
    we shouldn’t have to obey it
    or enforce it,
    or have it forced on us,”
    And when a mob of Oregon ranchers
    takes over the office building
    of a national wildlife refuge
    and says, in effect, “if we don’t like a law,
    we shouldn’t have to obey it
    or enforce it, or
    have it forced on us,”
    They are committing treason,
    and pushing the country toward anarchy.

    If you vote for a Republican,
    you are voting for someone
    who would have no problem
    committing treason
    and joining in the push toward anarchy.

    The hope of the world
    is for every US citizen
    to register to vote,
    and vote in every election,
    no matter how small,
    and never vote for a Republican.

    That is our only hedge
    against treason and anarchy.
    Surely, you can see that.

  58. Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 01/09/2016 — Greenhouse Orchid 14 — Campbell’s Greenhouse and Nursery, Charlotte, NC, April 21, 2014

    Reality is contradiction.

    No one ever says “Welcome to the Real World”
    when things are running smoothly
    and going our way.

    The Real World is a world of conflict,
    opposition,
    negation,
    limits,
    boundaries,
    barriers,
    polarities,
    wars,
    walls
    and edges.

    Carl Jung said,
    “There is no coming to consciousness without pain.”
    We don’t wake up
    until required to do so
    by circumstances that won’t take
    our “NO!” for an answer,
    and impose their own “NO!” on us.

    Contradiction is a reality that requires recognition,
    that calls for reflection.
    Reflection enables realization.
    Realization is revelation,
    enlightenment,
    understanding,
    comprehension,
    transcendence,
    transformation,

    Rites of passage are
    encounters with contradiction,
    and serve as points of reflection
    and realization
    through all stages of development,
    leading to a new way
    of being in the world—
    the Real World—
    where other contradictions await
    along the path of the eternal process
    of becoming conscious,
    and growing up
    some more,
    again.

  59. 01/09/2016 — Backyard Mushrooms 02 Blended — Indian Land, South Carolina, January 5, 2015

    We are responsible for the world
    we create by our response to it.
    I’m not saying you are responsible
    for your husband’s abuse (Or, your wife’s).
    I’m saying you are responsible
    for the world you create
    by the way you respond to your husband’s (wife’s) abuse.

    There is the abuse,
    and there is the response to the abuse.
    And the response creates the world
    that opens up
    in response to the response.

    The response is the fulcrum,
    the turning point,
    the change element.

    If you want to change things,
    change the way you respond to things.

    You know your typical response pattern.
    When “this” happens,
    “that” always happens in response.

    Imagine ways you might change your response pattern.
    What keeps you locked in the same behavior?
    What would it take for you to be able to respond differently?
    You have to work all of this out in you mind
    before you effect it in your life.

    Imagine and rehearse, Kid, Imagine and rehearse.
    Play out scenarios in your imagination.
    Learn by imagining,
    by pretending.
    Put things in place there
    before trying it out in real time.

    If you can be different in your mind—
    and live with compassion
    and acceptance for yourself there—
    the transition from imagination
    to actual will be a natural flow.

    And working with a good therapist will help.
    All a part of being responsible for—
    and conscious of—
    the world we are creating
    by our response to it.

  60. 01/10/2016 — Kings Mountain Farm 06 HDR B&W — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 14, 2015

    Being fully alive means living in ways
    that allow you to know
    what no one can tell you.

    Always doing what “Momma says,”
    or following the black footprints laid out
    by some self-help book,
    or doing what Oprah tells you to do,
    is going to put you in the thick of those
    who do not know their own mind,
    or trust themselves ever to do anything right.

    Those who know things worth knowing
    listen to themselves,
    follow their own heart,
    live out of their own authority,
    see with their own eyes,
    hear with their own ears,
    work out for themselves what it all means,
    decide for themselves what matters most,
    live in light of what is life for them,
    know how to raise the level
    of their own esprit de la vie,
    and do what they love doing.

    But, don’t listen to me tell you what to do.
    Listen to you.

  61. 01/10/2016 — Cypress Pond 04 — Down East North Carolina, November 2004

    Everything is a vehicle of revelation,
    recognized and received,
    or ignored,
    overlooked,
    discounted,

    It’s like this, she said,
    bending down,
    pointing to a daffodil
    growing from a crack
    in the pavement.
    “You can look at this flower
    and see it,
    Or not.”

    Eyes that see, see—
    the flower,
    the white rabbit,
    the universe in a grain of sand…

    Eyes that don’t see miss everything.
    Seeing what we look at,
    and looking at all of it,
    is the primary practice.

  62. 01/10/2016 — Lake Crawford HDR 06 — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    Blair Walsh missed a chip shot field goal
    in the waning moments
    of the Minnesota Vikings’
    wild-card play-off game
    with the Seattle Seahawks,
    and the Seahawks won the game 10 – 9.

    It was a resounding failure
    with everything on the line,
    viewed by football fans across the nation.
    He will never outlive the shame
    of his inability to do his job and win the game.

    He has only one remaining alternative.
    He has to forgive himself.
    Simple as that.
    He missed the field goal from point blank range.
    He can’t miss the follow up: FORGIVENESS!
    Surely, he won’t miss that!
    They won’t allow him to miss that, will they?

    We are all always missing it.
    The obvious choice goes unchosen
    by those who prefer a life of remorse,
    shame and sorrow.
    You know who I’m talking about now, don’t you?
    You look at him, you at look her,
    in the mirror every day, don’t you?
    You have to forgive yourself!

    Don’t delay it one minute more!
    “You Are Forgiven!”
    Say it!
    Mean it!
    And let it go.
    It. Go.

    I don’t care how big it was.
    It’s gone.
    It’s over.
    It’s kaput.
    So.
    Let.
    It.
    Be.
    Gone.
    Because. It. Is.

    You will never get better advice.
    Why not take it?
    Bigger screw-ups are possible
    for all of us in the future.
    Self-forgiveness now,
    for the ones in the past,
    is practice.

  63. 01/11/2016 — West Prong Little Pigeon River 04 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, December 5, 2015

    Members of the Christian Church
    are always wanting everybody
    to “Put Jesus first!”
    and to “Make Jesus the center of your life!”
    and to “Do What Jesus Would do!”
    Conveniently refusing to ask,
    “Who would Jesus kill because they were black?”
    Or, “Who would Jesus turn away because they were immigrants?”
    Or, “Who would Jesus chastise,
    ostracize,
    rebuke,
    humiliate,
    shame
    and hate
    because they were LGBTQ?”

    And, conveniently ignoring the blatant,
    impossible to overlook,
    fact that Jesus lived out of accord
    with every social convention
    and Book of Order of his day.

    To ask Jesus how he would do anything
    would be to beg the reply,
    “Not the way they say it ought to be done, Kid.
    Not the way they say it ought to be done!”

    Leaving us exactly where Jesus was,
    and would have us be in each situation
    that comes along—
    deciding what needs to be done
    and doing it because it needs to be done,
    then and there,
    without regard for any other consideration.

    Jesus raised the dead sometimes,
    and other times,
    he left the dead to bury the dead.
    Jesus forgave a guilty woman
    and cursed an innocent fig tree.
    Jesus fulfilled the law commanding,
    “Be perfect as God is perfect,”
    by breaking every law defining
    what that would be.

    To do it the way Jesus would do it,
    we have to do it the way
    WE would do it without worrying
    about what anybody,
    even Jesus,
    might think.

    With Jesus like that at the center of our life,
    even the Buddha
    and the Prophet
    are Jesus,
    not to mention Moses
    and Abraham.

    And the “Us vs THEM” craze
    is carried away as nothing more
    than dust in the wind
    of the Spirit that blows where it will—
    because we are all one
    with Jesus and each other
    in the situation that is unfolding
    before us right now,
    presenting us with an opportunity
    to do there
    what needs to be done
    as only we can do it.

  64. 01/11/2016 — Cypress Pond 05 — Down East North Carolina, November 2005

    Our life is our practice.
    We cannot live in ways
    that are at odds with our life
    and be alive on any level
    more vital and vibrant
    than being 98.6 and breathing.

    Vital signs have nothing to do with vitality.
    We can be alive on a level that has nothing to do with LIFE.

    Our LIFE is that which experiences
    and expresses
    vitality,
    meaning,
    joy,
    enthusiasm
    and connection
    with the heart of Life and Being.

    Our LIFE requires us
    to take up the practice of being alive—
    of finding our LIFE and living it—
    Throughout each day.

    We have consciously seek out
    what has life for us,
    live in ways that connect us
    with the things that have life for us,
    and work things
    that have life for us
    into the life we are living.

    The aim and goal is for
    the life that we are living
    to revolve around,
    flow to and from,
    the things that have life for us.

    Our life is our practice,
    And our practice
    is being alive in the life we are living.

    Where would you place yourself
    on a Vitality Scale,
    With 1 being mostly dead
    and 10 being vibrantly,
    fully,
    alive?

    What can you do
    in the next 24 hours
    to begin moving up the scale?

  65. 01/12/2016 — West Prong of the Little Pigeon River 2004 — Chimneys’ Picnic Area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, November 2004

    If Mozart could have lectured about,
    and demonstrated,
    his art so that anybody
    with the proper amount
    of determination
    and time spent at the task
    could have composed as Mozart composed…

    Would it have been right for Mozart
    to duplicate himself a thousand times over?

    Would it have been right for the Duplicates
    to forego their own particular gifts and life
    for the sake of being another Mozart?

    What have all those Elvis impersonators given up,
    in their lifelong longing to be The King?

    All this, of course, is about Jesus,
    and how wrong it is to forsake ourselves
    for the sake of doing it like Jesus would do it.

    Jesus did it like Jesus would do it.
    It’s been done.
    Duplicates of Jesus are not Jesus.
    Anymore than Elvis impersonators are Elvis.

    If we are going to do it like Jesus did it,
    we are going to have to do it like we would do it.
    Exactly like we would do it,
    down to the most minute detail.

    We have to be who we are
    whether we want to be or not.
    It would not be right to be anyone else.

  66. Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 01/12/2016 — Cypress Fire — Down East North Carolina, November 2004

    The word at the center of all practice is:

    Compromise is the path to the Land of Promise.
    Compromise is the nature of the journey.
    We all walk two—or many more—paths at the same time.
    How well we do that tells the tale.

    The Dalai Lama preaches non-violence and compassion
    and has armed body guards.
    Compromise is the path between conflicts, polarities.
    We have to make our compromises conscious,
    or live a lie.

    When we live fully,
    authentically,
    honestly,
    we live transparent to ourselves,
    and consciously maintain the tension
    of the opposing contradictions,
    bearing in our body
    the pain of the “cross” of opposites.

    The easy way to do it is to renounce
    our ties with the world
    and the world’s claim upon us,
    and move into a monastery,
    or, better, into a cave in the Himalayas,
    and tell people how to structure a life of holiness
    in the world we left behind.

    If it can be done,
    we should stay there and do it:
    spouse,
    kids,
    pets,
    mortgages,
    car payments,
    jobs,
    income tax,
    “the full catastrophe!”

    Give me a Bodhisattva who has done it that way,
    And stop talking
    of those who drift down from their retreat
    to deliver a Sutra when they feel like it
    as though holiness can exist apart from
    the hell of continual compromise!

    Tevya remains a master apart from “the masters”!
    and, he is fictional—
    yet, the model of how to do it.

  67. 01/12/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 27 HDR — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeck, Tennessee, November 4, 2015

    We have to have the freedom
    to find our own life and live it.
    Our spirit demands it.
    Our circumstances disfavor it.
    There you are.
    The stage is set.
    We step onto it and play our part—
    The one assigned to us by our circumstances,
    and the one required of us by our spirit.

    The Army has a term for it:
    “Defect in place!”
    We don’t have to go AWOL,
    or mount armed resistance,
    to have an active life in the underground movement
    of soul coming forth in our life.

    We only have to bear the pain
    of the conflict consciously,
    as we pay lip service to the one
    while living in unwavering allegiance to the other—

    Making sure we put the right one in its proper place in our life.

  68. 01/12/2016 — Ginkgos 2015 29 — Charlotte, NC, December 3, 2015

    I hate disturbances in the flow of life.

    Intrusion.
    Inconsideration.
    Insensitivity.
    Refusal to cooperate.
    Sabotage.
    Destruction.
    Mayhem.
    The Abomination of Desolation…

    And I have no idea of how to guarantee
    the good faith participation of everyone in life
    for the mutual benefit of all living things.
    And, therein lies my problem.

    We have to do our work,
    and trust our neighbors to do theirs.
    We all need better neighbors.
    I wonder where that neighborhood
    is to be found.

  69. 01/13/2016 — Goodale 2015 33 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    We spend a lot of time getting things in place.
    If someone asks us what we are doing with our life,
    we can say simply, “I’m getting things in place.”
    If they say, “Well, it doesn’t seem like much is happening,”
    we can say, “That’s the way it is when you’re getting things in place.”

    It is important, though,
    that we are actually getting things in place.
    We can’t just be waiting for things to fall into place.
    For magic to happen,
    for some Prince Charming to drive up,
    or some Sleeping Beauty to plop down in our path.

    In order to be getting things in place,
    we have to believe in what we are doing.
    If someone asks us what we believe in,
    we have to say we believe in what we are doing.
    And if they ask us what we are doing,
    we say, “I’m getting things in place,”
    and mean it.

  70. 01/13/2016 — Cypress Pond 09 — Down East North Carolina, November 2005

    Give your hands what they want to do—
    what they love to do—
    and get out of the way.

    Your body knows what to do.
    Listen to your body
    and get out of the way.

    We are always dismissing our hands,
    and not giving them what they want to do.
    We are always dismissing our feet,
    and not going where they want to go.

    Our hands know.
    Our feet know.
    Our place is to get out of the way
    and know what our hands and feet know.

    We think our heads know it all.
    We think our intellect is the center of knowing.
    Our intellect is for putting the pieces together.
    It has no idea what the pieces are.
    We have to listen to know.
    We have to feel to know.
    We have to sense to know.
    And trust what our senses tell us.

    To do that we have to get out of the way.
    When we get out of the way,
    there is The Way,
    with our name on it,
    wondering what took so long.

  71. 01/13/2016 — Greenhouse Orchid 06 — Campbell’s Greenhouse and Nursery, Charlotte, NC, April 21, 2015

    The place of our intellect
    (the predominant function of our left hemisphere)
    Would be that of discernment,
    discretion,
    observation,
    reflection,
    realization,
    judgment,
    evaluation,
    processing,
    and deciding.

    The place of instinct and intuition—
    Of feeling and sensing
    (the predominant functions of our right hemisphere)
    is to grasp the allness of the situation,
    and tell the left hemisphere what needs doing
    so the left hemisphere
    can figure out the best way to do it.

    Neither commands
    or directs the other,
    and neither can
    ignore or dismiss the other.
    Both work together
    for the good of the whole.

    We have to know what all we know
    and what to do about it, with it,
    so as to serve the common good—
    and live in the best interests
    of all living things.

  72. 01/13/2016 — Pearson’s Falls 2015 02 Panorama — Pearson’s Falls Glen, Saluda, NC, April 17, 2015

    We could take medication—
    Illegal, prescription
    or over the counter—
    and/or, drink alcohol straight from the bottle,
    to enable us to live our life,
    (or bear it),

    We could change our life.
    The great difficulty involved
    in making the choice to change
    suggests to me
    that we don’t think change is possible,
    or that we like the idea of change,
    but don’t have what it takes
    to see change through.

    The burden of change is great,
    and the life that change
    would result in is not attractive.
    Thus, we don’t opt for change.

    We need a different way of thinking about life,
    assessing life,
    understanding life.
    Life is not automatic.
    When does life begin?
    Not at conception.
    Not at birth.
    Not at a six figure income.
    Not, Not, Not…

    Life begins when we wake up to life beyond—
    and quite other than—
    our idea of life.
    We have to change our idea of life
    and, open ourselves to the experience
    of life in a way
    that would make any sacrifice
    in order to live it.

  73. 01/14/2016 — Bethany Church Cemetery 05 B&W — Bethany ARPC, Clover, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    Our Program for our Life
    quickly becomes a Pogrom
    when one hemisphere (usually the left)
    overrides the other hemisphere (usually the right).

    When we have a reason for everything we do,
    and a schedule for doing it,
    and we can’t fit in a minute
    of unstructured,
    unscheduled, time—
    or bear the idea of being off schedule,
    or having nothing to do—
    we are saying
    “Damn the shoreline!
    FULL SPEED AHEAD!”

    Who is bearing the pain
    of our refusal
    to feel the pain
    of our life?
    Who is the symptom carrier in our family?

    Who is the sickly one,
    the one who is forcing us off schedule,
    into waiting rooms
    without end?
    It could be the dog.

    What are we saying to ourselves—
    what is being said to us—
    that we aren’t heeding?

    We have to notice.
    Every time we dismiss,
    discount,
    overlook,
    ignore
    anything in our life.
    And bear the pain
    of knowing.

  74. 01/14/2016 — Cypress Pond 11 — Down East North Carolina, November 2005

    The Hero’s Journey
    to the Land of Promise,
    Resurrection,
    New Life,
    Enlightenment
    and Peace,
    Or wherever it is
    you think we’re going
    to be when we get there—
    winds through the heart of Gethsemane
    and across the face of Golgotha,
    For each one of us,
    time after time,
    across all times and places,
    throughout our life.
    It only takes living
    to know it is so.

  75. 01/14/2016 — Soque River 03 — Mark of the Potter, Clarksville, Georgia, April 14, 2015

    We get to what has always been called God
    through our symptoms and our dreams.

    Both symptoms and dreams
    are means the invisible world uses
    to get our attention
    and connect us with our life.
    Our life flows from,
    and leads to,
    the Numen that has always been called God.

    If we want to know God,
    we have to live our way there—
    by aligning ourselves with the life that is ours to live,
    that only we can live—
    and bringing it to life within the life we are living.

    No theology,
    no doctrine,
    no dogma,
    no talk, talk, talk…

    Just finding our life and living it.
    And, like that, there’s God,
    laughing because it’s taken us so long to get it.

  76. 01/15/2016 — Lake Crawford 07 HDR — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    If you are going to worship anything,
    worship your life.

    Worship the invisible, intangible, connections
    between your heart—
    the heart of who you are,
    the center of your life and being—
    and the visible,
    tangible,
    actual,
    real,
    physical
    expressions,
    or ways of incarnating
    you in the world of time and space.

    You are a poem.
    You live your life
    and write the poem for all to see.

    You bring you forth
    in the way you live.
    Your life is a work of art
    through which you become
    realized in the medium
    of material reality
    by the way you consciously
    align yourself inner with outer.

    You bring the Numen—
    the unspeakable,
    unsayable truth
    of you at the core of you—
    to life in your life,
    and create the miracle
    of you in time and place.

    You worship life
    by being/doing/exhibiting
    the life you are.

  77. 01/15/2016 — Cypress Pond 12 — Down East North Carolina, November 2005

    If you are as vulnerable
    as the rest of us are,
    you will do anything
    to be able to exercise control
    over something.
    And we all need
    to recognize
    how much we need
    to be in charge,
    because we are not
    over any of the things
    that matter.

    We have to come to terms with—
    make our peace with—
    our vulnerability.

    We have to be as vulnerable as we are.
    which is totally,
    absolutely,
    unconditionally,
    eternally

    No power.
    No control.
    Over any of the important things.

    We are always as though
    we just stepped out of the womb.
    We have to make our peace with that,
    be at home with it,
    work with it.

    Because that is where we are.
    However, we fight against
    the very idea of Terminal Vulnerability
    all the way to the grave.

    We live out our life in denial,
    At war with the very idea
    that we should be vulnerable.

    Being fully alive begins
    with our being as vulnerable as we are—
    and working with it
    to be who we are,
    where we are,
    how we are,

    How we do that is
    the full scope
    of the Hero’s Journey.

    Coming to terms with our vulnerability
    is the essence
    of that trip.

    Mindfulness leads the way.

  78. 01/15/2016 — After Sunset — Price Lake, Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, 2004

    We cannot be as vulnerable as we are
    without living out of a collaborative relationship
    with the force emanating
    from the center of ourselves.

    Inner alignment is the key
    to handling all outer threats
    to our peace and well-being.

    The Buddha, seated under the Bo Tree,
    was grounded within,
    at one with himself,
    unmoved by all that would unseat him—
    and that remained so throughout his life.

    Finding our center is the same thing
    as finding our life.
    Our life flows from our center,
    our center expresses itself in our life.

    Our vulnerability requires us to seek our center,
    which enables us to live our life
    in the face of all that would engulf us.

    Find the bedrock,
    the foundation stone.
    Live from there.

  79. 01/16/2016 — Kings Mountain Farm 07 — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 14, 2015

    A National Parks Service motto says,
    “Your safety is your responsibility.”

    We create the world we live in
    by the way we live in it.
    The key is to live in it consciously—
    mindfully, compassionately, aware
    of who we are
    and what we are doing
    and what its implications are.

    We have to live transparent to ourselves
    in an opaque and shape-shifting world.

    People will not be who they say they are.
    We will be blindsided in 10,000 ways.
    We have to live so as to not blindside ourselves.
    It’s hard enough with the lack of cooperation
    from our circumstances.
    We cannot refuse,
    or fail,
    to cooperate with ourselves.

    We have to be able to count on ourselves
    by living in a good faith relationship with ourselves.
    The closer we are truthfully,
    knowingly,
    aligned within,
    the better goes our life
    on the heaving waves
    of the wine dark sea.

  80. 01/16/2016 — Schwabacher Landing 02 — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming, June 2011

    Do things that are unheard of!
    Live in ways no one would expect!
    Be YOU in exceptionally creative,
    unique
    and beautiful ways!

    Invent yourself anew in each situation
    that cries out for what you have to offer!

    Why disappear into the usual fare?
    Why hold anything back?

    Spend yourself completely each day,
    And fall into bed
    dreaming of ways
    to do it again tomorrow.

  81. 01/17/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 28 — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeck, Tennessee, November 4, 2015

    Rise!
    Shine!
    Live to bring forth in each day—
    in each moment of the day—
    in each situation as it arises—
    the wonder, amazement and joy
    that babies and toddlers,
    puppies, kittens and colts
    bring forth simply by being who they are.

    We don’t have to TRY to be something special!
    we only have to get out of the way
    and be who we are,
    without being underly or overly concerned
    about what anyone is thinking,
    or what it might look like
    on our cumulative record,
    or how something else
    might spot us more of an advantage,
    or enable us to better exploit the circumstances
    for our immediate good and lasting benefit.

    Just live your life as only you can!
    Find what is to be enjoyed and enjoy it!
    Find what is to be loved and love it!
    Find what is to be mourned and mourn it!
    Find what is to be suffered and suffer it!
    Be what is needed in each here and now of your living!
    And let the outcome be the outcome!

  82. 01/17/2016 — Greenhouse Orchid 07 — Campbell’s Greenhouse and Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, April 21, 2015

    It takes stillness,
    silence
    and solitude
    to achieve the level
    of awareness
    required to reflect
    on our experience
    to the point of acquiring
    new realizations.

    We have to see what we look at
    from all sides,
    and enter the dance
    of holding all things
    in our awareness
    without evaluation
    or opinion.

    We cannot do that amid
    distractions
    and interruptions.

    People have their best ideas in the shower.
    There is a reason for that.
    Showers are generally
    the quietest,
    stillest
    and most solitary
    time of the day.

    We also have revelations in our sleep
    for the same reason.

    We increase our chances
    for reflection
    and realization
    by working time
    for quiet,
    focused,
    attention
    into our day.

    If you don’t think you
    have anything to reflect on,
    just be quiet
    and still
    for twenty minutes,
    here and there.

    Watch what happens
    without disruption
    or interference.
    Follow the thread of associations
    and see where it goes.

    If it helps to write it out,
    write it out.

  83. 01/18/2016 — Goodale 2015 34 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    We can have too many responsibilities
    to be responsible for anything.
    To have fewer responsibilities
    is to be more responsible.

    Taking refuge in many responsibilities
    is to avoid the work,
    pain
    and suffering
    that characterize our service
    to our primary responsibility:

    We are to bring
    our Heart/Soul/Psyche/Self
    to life in our life.

    Our life revolves around
    incarnating our Heart/Soul/Psyche/Self
    within the circumstances
    and context of our life.

    We live in allegiance to—
    in honor of—
    our Heart/Soul/Psyche/Self
    in all that we do.

    We live devoted
    to the experience of
    the Numen within
    and to its expression in our life.

    This is our work,
    our practice.
    Everything else falls
    into place around this
    core responsibility,
    R\revolves around it,
    flows from it.

    In order to carry out our responsibility
    to our Heart/Soul/Psyche/Self,
    we have to arrange
    our life to take it into account.

    We have to attend Heart/Soul/Psyche/Self
    throughout each day.
    We have to dance with
    Heart/Soul/Psyche/Self,
    play with Heart/Soul/Psyche/Self,
    discern Heart/Soul/Psyche/Self,
    be Heart/Soul/Psyche/Self—
    in our coming out
    and our going in
    from this day forward

01/19/2016 — Bethany Church Cemetery HDR B&W 09 — Bethany ARPC, Clover, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

Theology and doctrine
have taken us as far as they can.

Explaining things that defy explanation,
making things literal
that can only remain forever metaphorical,
giving answers
without allowing them
to raise more questions,
saying again and again
what cannot be said at all,
telling us to “have faith”
through all of its internal contradictions
(Never mind the external ones
it doesn’t begin to address!)
past all of its impasses
beyond all of its obstructions

(“Faith in what?” we say
“Faith in what we tell you
Even though it makes no sense.
That’s what faith is, you know,
Believing things that make no sense!”)

bringing true the old prophesy:
“They have healed
the wound of my people lightly,
Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
where there is no peace,”
making all things shallow,
insipid,
inane,
killing the souls they pretend to save.

Their only talking point is this:

“Without us,
there is only the empty wasteland
and the Void!”

And this:

“You will be sorry if you do not
heed our warning,
and believe what we tell you—
especially that part about the 10%!!!”

It is well past time
that we lay them to rest,
And take our chances
on the truth of our own experience.

We will discover—
If we seek the way
seekers have sought
through the ages—
the empty wasteland
is filled with the presence
of what has always been called God,
and the Void is nothing more
than the absence
of what we have been told was
lasting truth of greatest value.

And we will find there
wonderful silence
were we can hear at last
the beating of our own heart,
and see the light
that shines in the darkness,
and know the birthplace
of life and peace.

  1. 01/19/2016 — Big Creek Spring — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Big Creek Campground, Waterville, NC, April 2004

    Retirement invites
    reflection,
    rumination,
    realization,
    sitting quietly,
    working things out,
    Making connections,
    seeing how things fit,
    being amazed.

    We all find our own way
    to wherever we will be
    when we get there.

    No one can hand us a map,
    a tour guide,
    an itinerary with check points
    and time and distance calculations
    for us to gauge how well we are doing.

    The first half of life is spent
    figuring out what to do to pay the bills.
    The second half of life is spent
    figuring out what we pay the bills to do.

    We sit quietly,
    and reflect on what we
    have done with our life,
    and imagine what we might yet
    do in the time left for living.

  2. 01/20/2016 — Lake Crawford 08 HDR — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    We all are numinous at the core.
    We all carry the Mystery—
    the Numen—

    There is more to us than meets the eye,
    any eye,
    even our own.
    There is more to us,
    each of us,
    than can be said.

    Not one of us has ever had a motive
    that we fully understood.
    We don’t know why we like what we like,
    and don’t like what we don’t like,
    or want what we want,
    or do what we do.

    We are lost to ourselves.
    cast away from ourselves,
    exclude ourselves from our company,
    ban ourselves,
    shun ourselves,
    ostracize ourselves,
    because nothing good can come from us,
    or be found anywhere near us,
    we have to get away from ourselves
    to have a chance.

    And we know it.
    Healing begins
    when we recognize our place
    in our own displacement,
    and turn to ourselves
    to be reconciled
    and take up the work
    of becoming whole.

  3. 01/20/2016 — Greenhouse Orchid 08 — Campbell’s Greenhouse and Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, April 21, 2015

    Black people have always recognized,
    faced,
    and lived with the fact
    of domestic terrorism
    in the shape of white supremacy
    that is now crossing racial lines
    to take a more political form—
    supported by the deafening silence
    of Republican Party candidates
    for the presidency,
    and by elected Republican Party
    members of congress
    and state legislatures nationwide.

    The torching of the Lamborghini
    owned by the Baton Rouge contractor
    hired to remove 4 Confederate statues
    from New Orleans
    (who has since backed out of the contract)
    cries out to be denounced and redressed.

    Republican leaders across the country
    have to be unequivocal and relentless
    in their opposition
    to the kind of atmosphere
    that cultivates the expression
    of hatred,
    racism,
    extremism
    and white supremacy.

    Their failure to do that
    exemplifies who they are
    at the level of their hearts—
    and who they will be.

    Therefore, right-thinking people
    of voting age in the United States
    must register to vote,
    vote in every election,
    small and large,
    and NOT vote for a Republican
    or a member of the Tea Party
    running as an independent
    in any of those elections.

    Voting is our only tool
    in creating a future
    characterized by civility
    and its concern for the common good
    of all people—
    which is how a democracy founded
    “of the people, by the people, for the people”
    should be.

    Register to vote.

    And don’t vote for a Republican.
    In all elections,
    great and small.

  4. Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 01/21/2016 — Black Bayou 10 HDR — Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Monroe, Louisiana, November 2, 2015

    We live to make the connections between worlds.
    We live in this world as envoys, as incarnations,
    of the Numen at the center—
    at the heart—
    of us all.

    We live in this world
    as though we are a world a part—
    as though we are from another world,—
    as “strangers in a strange land.”

    And carry the cross
    of contradiction,

    separation,
    estrangement.

    Uniting worlds
    by exposing incompatibilities
    and dichotomies—
    bringing, not peace,
    but a sword.

    Creating divisions.
    bearing the pain.
    healing wounds
    that make us whole,
    and unite us
    with the source of all
    at the center of ourselves.

  5. Used in Short Talks on Good and Bad Religion — 01/21/2016 — Schwabacher Landing 02 HDR — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming, June 2011

    The spiritual path is not the way to what we want.
    There is no deal:
    We give to God, God gives to us.
    Thinking there is such a deal
    is the fundamental problem
    at the foundation of all bad religion.

    Give to Get.
    The basis of every bad religion ever.
    What can we do to make God happy
    so God will give us
    that land flowing with milk and honey,
    where everyone lives out their life
    and lives in good faith with everyone else?

    Baruch held out his hand
    and asked for favors for being faithful,
    and got his life as war booty.

    That’s as much as any of us get.
    We have to square up with that
    before stepping onto the spiritual path.
    It is not the way to our idea
    of having it made.

    The way that is the way
    is the way of being who we are needed to be
    by the context and circumstances of our life—
    in each situation as it arises—
    with nothing in it for us
    beyond the satisfaction of a job well done.

    Why do it?
    We get our life as a prize of war.
    If that doesn’t interest you,
    you don’t understand what it means to be alive.

    There is only one way to find out.
    Be who you are needed to be
    in the here and now of your living,
    and step onto the path.

  6. 01/22/2016 — Kings Mountain Farm 11 HDR BW — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 14, 2015 — A sorghum molasses evaporation facility.

    Where do you go to be vulnerable and safe?

    We cannot be transparent to ourselves
    without being vulnerable and safe.
    The proper ratio
    of vulnerability and safety
    is essential to wholeness, health and life.

    We can be too much on guard
    for our own good.
    We have to be able to relax,
    be known
    and be safe,
    in order to experience
    and explore our life.

    All knowing flows from,
    and leads to,
    free and open inquiry
    in an atmosphere of safety and vulnerability.

    Where do you go to be vulnerable and safe?
    To experience both safety and vulnerability?
    To be free?

  7. 01/22/2016 — Curtis Island Lighthouse — Camden, Maine, September 2004

    It is about getting—
    and keeping—
    our ratios right.
    We live on a continuum,
    between poles,
    in every aspect of life.

    There is too close
    and too distant,
    Caring too much
    and not caring enough,
    Too many calories,
    not enough.
    Too much exercise,
    not enough.

    Like that.
    Around the clock.
    Throughout our life.
    All our life long.

    We live to live from the center,
    away from the extremes—
    Except when an extreme
    is necessary to counteract,
    counterbalance,
    the opposite extreme.

    We are thermostats, of sorts,
    keeping all facets of our life
    within a normal distribution curve.

    It helps, I think,
    check me out on this
    in your own experience,
    (Balancing me with you)
    To take up this work—
    the fundamental work of being human—
    of maintaining right ratios across our life
    consciously.

    To do it with awareness.
    With compassionate mindfulness.
    To know what we are doing.
    And do it without hesitation
    or loss of balance,
    because that is what humans do.
    We live from the center,
    between extremes,
    grounded in the heart of all matters,
    for the good of the whole.

  8. 01/23/2016 — Goodale 2015 35 B&W — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    Living in accord with the Tao
    is putting ourselves
    in the service
    of the Self
    at the center of ourselves
    and all things.

    It is being clear about who
    we are
    and who we need to be,
    and what is happening,
    and what needs to be done about it,
    in each situation as it arises—

    getting out of the way with our
    wishes,
    hopes,
    fears
    and desires,
    and assisting what needs to happen
    as a blessing and a grace
    (which may, or may not,
    be seen and recognized as such
    by anyone there,
    including ourselves).

    Jesus was crucified.
    Lao Tzu lived in exile.
    Don’t be looking
    for peeled grapes
    on satin pillows
    as a reward
    for living in accord with the Tao.

    Let your alignment with the Center
    be reward enough,
    be all the reward you need.

  9. 01/24/201 6— Reelfoot Lake 29 HDR — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeck, Tennessee, November 4, 2015

    The Bundy Gang
    is the latest in a long line
    of outlaws in the Old West,
    and their ilk is not limited
    to a geographical location.

    Terrorists and thugs
    hide out under white sheets
    in the Deep South,
    and call themselves War Lords
    and the Islamic State
    in the Middle East,
    Boko Haram in Nigeria,
    Are referred to as the Cosa Nostra
    in Italy and beyond,
    and the Drug Cartel in Central America.

    It’s the same Do It My Way Or Die theme
    everywhere you go.
    The backwash of civilization.
    Thugism in the form of the Goths,
    Vandals
    Huns
    and Genghis Kann
    is always at the gates,
    and behind the scenes,
    working to tear up what is being laid down
    and destroy what is being achieved and created.

    Maybe we could talk to them.
    Ask them to reconsider.
    Reform their ways.
    Be nice.
    Or give everybody a gun.

    We never get far enough away from
    the Shootout at the OK Corral,
    and sow seeds of discord and discontent
    with every advancement
    and improvement imagined
    and implemented.

    There is always something to not like,
    and someone to not like it
    and devise ways to blow it up.
    The dance dances on
    all through the eons of time
    to music we can’t hear or resist.

  10. 01/24/2016 — Robson — Mt. Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia, September 2004

    After the physical needs
    of food, clothing and shelter are met,
    comes along the spiritual (because it is “of the spirit,”
    “of the heart”)
    need for meaning.

    Here’s one for you:
    Money is not meaningful.

    Here’s another one for you:
    More money is not more meaningful.

    “What is money for?”
    is the question.
    “How is money to be spent
    in the service of meaning?”

    Where are you going to find meaning?

    Here’s a hint for you:
    What have been the most
    meaningful experiences of your life?
    The Top 10 meaningful experiences?

    That should provide you
    with all the direction
    you need in your search for meaning.

    But, in case, you are still wallowing in confusion,
    here’s another hint for you:
    Where are you most creative in your life?
    Where does your imagination come most into play?
    When is the last time you did something creative, imaginative?

    If you want to find meaning in your life,
    you have to live in ways that are meaningful,
    you have to do things that are meaningful—
    the things that make your heart sing
    and your little feet dance.

    Often.

  11. 01/25/2016 — Bethany Church Cemetery 12 B&W — Bethany ARPC, Clover, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    No one can tell us what is meaningful,
    or where meaning is to be found.

    Meaning is personal to the core.
    Something is meaningful if it is meaningful to US.

    We can appreciate the fact that it is meaningful to others,
    but our relationship to it will never be what it is for them—
    unless and until it becomes for us as it is for them.

    The search meaning is the search
    for what is meaningful for, to, us.
    A meaningful life is one lived in close association
    with what has meaning in life for us.

    It is our place to be aware
    of where meaning is found
    and to be devoted
    to what has meaning for us.

    We cannot allow ourselves
    to be stripped of life’s meaning
    by the ridicule of those
    who are not moved by what moves us.

    We have to guard
    what is meaningful when we find it,
    and develop our relationship with it,
    whether or not anyone shares our interest.

    Alan Watts once asked Joseph Campbell,
    “Joe, what form does your yoga take?”
    Campbell replied, “I underline passages.”
    Remain loyal to what has meaning for you.
    It will take you to interesting places,
    and you will live an interesting life.
    Of interest, that is, to you,
    and you are the one that counts the most
    when it comes to living your life.

  12. Used in Short Talks on Good and Bad Religion — 01/25/2016 — Lake Crawford 09 HDR — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    We have to rethink everything
    we have been told and led to assume.
    The cultural orientations toward
    wealth,
    privilege,
    exploitation,
    profiteering,
    entertainment,
    consumption,
    and an ever-increasing standard of living
    are fictions that cannot sustain life.

    Religion’s affiliation with,
    and support of,
    the cultural fictions disqualifies it
    as “the voice of God,”
    and leaves us in the position
    of finding our own way
    through all that is false
    to the treasure hard to find—
    which is the trustworthy
    foundation,
    source,
    and legitimate goal of our life.

    Our search is the quest for life,
    for that which is worth our life,
    and provides life to all who find,
    and align themselves with,
    the Way of Life.

    To find our way there,
    we have to rethink everything
    we have been told
    and led to assume.

    Our problem is knowing
    what to make of our experience.
    Things are not always what they seem to be.
    How do we know what to think?

    Our understanding depends
    upon the quality of our interpretation,
    which is influenced by 10,000 things.
    We must understand that our understanding is
    hypothetical,
    conditional,
    incomplete,
    awaiting further clarity.

    Wait and see.
    Time will tell.
    Do not rush to judgment.

    Listen.
    Act
    and evaluate the outcome.
    Test your hypotheses.
    Adjust your interpretation
    to take the evidence into account.
    Allow reflection upon experience
    to create new realizations.
    Allow reality to adjust your
    interpretation/understanding of reality.
    Live your way to the truth
    of how things are and also are.
    One step at a time.

  13. 01/26/2016 — Schwabacher Landing 06 HDR — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming, June 2011

    We have to rethink everything,
    And we don’t want to rethink anything.
    We want to be told what to think, and do.
    And, therein lies the problem.

    Each of us has to do the work of growing up
    And becoming who we are.
    None of us is interested in the task.
    The Way of Life winds through
    Eden,
    Gethsemane
    and Golgotha
    before arriving at the Empty Tomb—
    and none of those way-stops is literal,
    but all of them are real,
    and waiting.

    We want a shortcut to Glory Land,
    and seek out leaders who will take us there,
    ignoring the fact that it is a life-long journey,
    and we find our own way—
    taking cues from the ones who have gone before,
    understanding what they mean when they say,
    “There is nothing to know
    that has not always been known!
    There is only doing
    what has always been done!”

  14. Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 01/26/2016 — Greenhouse Orchid 10 — Campbell’s Greenhouse and Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, April 21, 2015

    We live to be transparent to ourselves—
    To know who we are,
    and who we also are,
    and how it is with us on every level.

    Being transparent
    to our contradictions and polarities
    could immobilize us, but.
    Being transparent to our paralysis
    enables us to transcend our impotence,
    see what needs to be done,
    and do it.

    Being transparent to transcendence—
    To that which transcends us
    and to our ability to transcend ourselves,
    our context,
    our circumstances,
    our chances,
    and all that would inhibit us,
    and render us incapable of acting—
    allows us to live in accord with,
    aligned with,
    the Self at the center of ourselves,
    and to assist in the production
    of unimaginable wonders.

    All because we took up the work
    of knowing who we are,
    and who we also are,
    and how it is with us, on every level.

  15. 01/26/2016 — Across the Valley — Zabriskie Point, Salt Flat, and the Panamint Range, Death Valley, California, April 2006

    We stumble our way along all along the way,
    bumping into strange guides,
    tripping over false assumptions,
    falling into deep pits
    of squirming inferences,
    crashing into one dead end after another,
    taking wrong turns
    that take us exactly where we need to be,
    ignoring all warning signs,
    yet heeding bad advice,
    losing our way
    to be saved again and again
    by grace and good luck
    (And where does that line lie?),
    wishing there were a
    more expedient and cost-effective way—
    like maybe a pill to swallow,
    or a short book to read,
    wondering why it takes
    not knowing what we are doing
    to know what we are doing
    when we say we don’t know what we are doing,
    and be fine with that,
    with just listening,
    just looking,
    just waiting to see,
    not knowing what
    we are looking for,
    waiting on.

  16. 01/27/2016 — Kings Mountain 18 HDR B&W — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 14, 2015

    There is a difference between wanting to be a photographer
    and having to be one,
    between wishing you could take pretty pictures,
    and being unable to leave one untaken.

    The dance dances us,
    the song sings us,
    the music won’t leave us alone.
    A lot of people have cameras
    and don’t know how to use them
    in order to make the most of them.
    They have no idea what
    the buttons,
    knobs
    and settings are for,
    and have never read the manual,
    and don’t intend to.

    They have a camera,
    but they are not a photographer.

    A lot of people drive through scenes,
    past photographs,
    every day,
    without seeing what they are missing.

    They think photographs
    reside somewhere else,
    like the Grand Canyon,
    and hope to go there one day,
    and maybe they do.

    They drive up to the view points and take a picture,
    and post them online,
    but they never saw the scene,
    and they don’t see the picture.

    A lot of people want to be a cowboy,
    And buy the hat,
    and the jeans,
    and maybe the boots,
    and the spurs,
    but they don’t have even one cow,
    and have never been bucked off of a horse,
    and never will be.

    Anybody can be a photographer,
    just like anybody can be a cowboy.
    Or a stand-up bass player.