January 28, 2016 – March 25, 2016

 

  1. 01/28/2016 — Goodale 2015 36 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    How bored can you be?
    The Boredom Test is the tipping point
    of the spiritual journey
    Boredom is another manifestation
    of the Cyclops standing in the path.
    If we run at the first sight of boredom,
    We don’t have a prayer.

    A high boredom threshold
    is a prerequisite for the journey.
    Boredom is an opportunity
    for reflection, rumination, walk-a-bouts,
    A chance to examine our assumptions,
    Explore our inferences,
    Contemplate our experience,
    Rethink our thinking.
    We cannot rush through boredom
    In the panic-driven obsession with
    Taking our mind off our life.
    Whatever we don’t want to face and consider
    Is where we have to go:
    “The treasure you seek lies in the depths
    Of the cave you most don’t want to enter.”

    We call it boredom,
    But it is fear.

  2. 01/29/2016 — Bank of Rhyolite — The Cook Bank Building, Rhyolite, Nevada, April 2006

    Living with conscious,
    mindful,
    compassionate awareness
    Is all that is required for living well.

    We will live toward the good
    when we live transparent to ourselves,
    Within circumstances that are transparent to us.

    To see things as they are on all levels
    Is to know what needs to be done about them—
    And to know is to do.

    Who among us knowingly would withhold the good?
    Who among us would
    associate with anyone
    who would knowingly withhold the good?
    How could any of us face ourselves
    (Transparent to ourselves, remember)
    Knowingly withholding the good?
    How could we bear the truth of the sham of our lives,
    Talking righteousness and goodness
    And knowingly withholding the good?

    The fabric of society is based
    on “liberty and justice for all.”
    Are we who we say we are, or not?
    If not, why lie about it?
    Why not say, “We don’t give a wet damn about _____!”
    And fill in the blank
    with all types of people
    we don’t give a wet damn about?
    What’s with posturing,
    posing,
    pretending,
    shamming?
    Why live a sham life?
    If we aren’t going to be who we say we are,
    We are left with a world of masks,
    facades,
    veneers
    Held together with empty promises
    and hollow alibis.

    Who, knowingly, can live like that?

  3. 01/30/2016 — Black Bayou 12 HDR — Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Monroe, Louisiana, November 2, 2015

    We live in the field of incongruity,
    incompatibility,
    impossibility,

    In order for things to be
    what they need to be,
    Something cannot be what it is.

    Things have to be what they are not
    in order for things to work.
    The Tea Party cannot accept gay people
    and black people
    and women
    and immigrants…
    The list is long.

    And say,
    “People can’t be gay,
    and black,
    and women,
    and immigrants…”

    Something has to give.
    Something has to go so that something else—
    Say peace and justice
    and compassion
    and good faith relationships among all people everywhere—
    Might come.

    The chances of that happening
    are about the same
    As those of the sun rising
    and setting at the same time.
    And, here we are.
    Something has to go
    So that something else might come.

    And, in the meantime,
    we are stuck with having to make things work
    As well as they can work,
    Here and now, just as it is.

    Here’s how we do it:
    No illusions.
    Awareness, awareness, awareness.
    Laughing and playing at/with
    the very idea that anything can happen,
    Here and now, with things as they are.

    It’s impossible, of course,
    But so was everything else f
    rom the viewpoint of the cave dwellers.
    And now we have grand pianos and jumbo jets.

    Live with peace,
    justice,
    compassion
    and good faith relationships,
    And see where it goes.
    Laughing and playing
    with the incongruities,
    impossibilities
    and absurdities.
    I especially like the absurdities.
    If life weren’t absurd,
    it would be no fun at all!

  4. 01/31/2016 — Lake Crawford 10 HDR Panorama — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    Recipes are guidelines.
    Human beings love a Rule.
    Love to be Ruled.
    Love to Live By The Rules.
    Because, I think, it gets us off the hook.
    If we Live By The Rules,
    No one can find fault with us,
    And we don’t have to go
    to the trouble of being responsible
    for our own life.
    We just do what we are told
    without having to think for ourselves—
    With all the risks that entails.
    Recipes are guidelines
    offering suggestions regarding what works.
    Recipes are handy that way.
    They shorten the time
    between feeling like a pancake
    and eating a pancake.
    Rules keep us from
    having to figure out from the start
    what’s best in certain situations.
    We remember what worked last time
    and apply it this time.
    Rules and recipes outlive their usefulness
    when they stop working
    To make things work
    and start working to get in the way.
    We have to have the freedom
    of our own authority
    To decide whether a rule or a recipe
    is working or not working
    In a particular situation,
    And do what needs to be done
    to make things work.
    We set rules aside in order for things to work.
    Jesus was out of accord
    with every book of order of his day.
    He healed on the Sabbath.
    What’s the modern equivalent
    of healing on the Sabbath in your case?
    Swing for the fences.

  5. 02/01/2016 — Terraces 2005 01 B&W — Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, September 2005

    Think of your most important relationships,
    and add your soul to the list.
    Your relationship with your soul
    is on a par with your relationships
    with all the people who are most important to you.
    You are the guardian of all of these relationships,
    And your place is to see to it
    that all of them get equal attention
    and equal place in your life.
    You cannot take your soul for granted.
    Your role for what remains of your life
    is to learn to tend the needs
    and interests of your soul
    As though it were one of your
    most important relationships.
    Where will you start?
    When will you begin?

  6. 02/01/2016 — Greenhouse Orchid 13 — Campbell’s Greenhouse and Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, April 21, 2015

    Theology is mythology
    that has been baptized
    and declared to be literal,
    actual,
    absolute
    and unchangeable
    by those who said the earth was flat,
    the center of the universe
    and created at 6 PM on Saturday, October 23, 4004 BC.

    It’s past time we put all of that to rest,
    and give ourselves to the task of finding,
    and living in alignment with,
    the numen at the center of ourselves.

    Anticipating this turn, G.K. Chesterton said,
    “When Jones follows his Inner Light, Jones follows Jones.”
    Yet, when Jones follows
    those who say they have the light,
    Jones follows those who say they have the light.
    What’s Jones to do?
    Trust his own sense of what is right for Jones,
    or do as he is told?
    Jones has to decide
    if he is going to live out of his own personal authority
    and let the outcome be the outcome,
    or let someone else tell him how to live.
    Either way, it is all up to Jones.
    What Jones says goes.

  7. 02/02/2016 — Bethany Church Cemetery 14 B&W — Bethany ARPC, Clover, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    Any excuse will do,
    And excuses abound,
    For not doing the things that need to be done,
    For not living the life that needs us to live it,
    For not finding the Numen at the center of ourselves,
    For not living out of a conscious,
    living,
    relationship with it,
    all our life long.

    “The Tao that can be said
    Is not the Eternal Tao,”
    But that doesn’t mean anything we say
    Is the Eternal Tao.
    We have to know what we are talking about.
    We have to have an actual relationship
    With the Numen within.
    Substitutes abound.
    Any excuse will do.

  8. 02/02/2016 — Mesquite Dunes 2006 01 — Death Valley National Park, California, April 2006

    Individuation, in the Jungian sense of the word,
    means Becoming who you are built to be—
    who only you can be—
    growing up into who you are,”
    And implies eccentricity
    Cutting your own path,”
    Being your own authority,
    Finding your own way,
    Marching to your own drummer,
    Singing your own song,
    Dancing your own dance,
    And allowing your life to unfold,
    To take shape,
    Around you,
    As it will.

    We do not will our life into a particular shape.
    We sense how it needs to be lived,
    And allow it to find its own form.
    This is the purest magic there is,
    Our life falling into place
    As we live it.

  9. 02/02/2016 — Colors of Fall 07 Panorama — Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina, November 2010

    In any situation, “reasonable minds” can examine all the facts,
    And interpret them differently,
    Draw different conclusions,
    Pursue different courses of action,
    Based on the same facts.
    The way we interpret what happens
    Makes all the difference.
    The way we see
    Is not the only way to see.
    Whether it is the best way to see
    Depends on our interpretation of what “best” means.
    “Best” in terms of what?
    Everything about us is based on
    our interpretation/evaluation/exegesis of everything about us.
    We may live in a world of concrete facts,
    But, how we live there is based
    on the abstract and the ephemeral.
    Our life is dependent upon the way our imagination
    Interacts with our experience.
    The facts are the playthings of ideas,
    Which generate ideas,
    Which transform the facts,
    So that no fact exists in a vacuum,
    Separate from some way of seeing,
    perspective, understanding.
    A meaningless fact means that it has no meaning.
    A truly meaningless fact is inconceivable,
    invisible, non-existent.
    Our life is a disparate collection of interpretations.
    And we take it seriously.
    What are we thinking?

  10. 02/02/2016 — Bryce Canyon 2006—Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, September 2006

    Your life is a horse you are riding home, but.
    You don’t know where home is,
    but the horse does.
    Your job is to keep the horse
    from stopping to eat grass,
    And the horse will take you home.

    “Stopping to eat grass” is
    losing your focus amid the 10,000 things.
    We are not here to lose our focus.
    We are here to pass through
    space and time on our way home.
    When we are focused,
    We still have experiences that are a part of the journey.
    Even stopping to eat grass is part of the journey,
    But we cannot forget the journey.
    We cannot lose sight of the journey in great fields of grass.

    Everything is a part of the journey
    When we live with the journey in mind.
    When we forget the journey,
    Nothing is part of the journey.

    Our life will take us home
    If we live with the journey in mind.
    We are passing through this place on our way home,
    Picking up experiences that will be a part
    Of the stories we will tell
    when we arrive back where we belong.

  11. 02/03/2016 — Mesquite Dunes 2006 03 — Death Valley National Park, California, April 2006

    It’s important what’s important—
    What we recognize as important,
    What we treat as important,
    What is important.

    Nothing is more important
    than knowing what is important,
    And living as though it is.
    How we treat one another is important.
    More important than any ideology,
    Or set of beliefs,
    Or collection of customs and social codes.

    It is important that we treat one another lovingly
    No matter how we feel.
    “We don’t hate gay people,
    or black people,
    or immigrants,
    or women,
    or refugees!” say those who do.
    Well, treat them lovingly, then.

    As it is, they can’t tell your not hating them
    from your hating them
    By the way you treat them.
    So treat them lovingly.
    If you don’t hate them,
    Treat them so they will have
    no reason to think that you may hate them.

    And, so it goes for all people,
    Around the world,
    Across the seas,
    On the other side of town,
    And just down the street.

  12. 02/03/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 31 HDR — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeck, Tennessee, November 4, 2015

    What is the nature of your productivity?
    What do you produce that you are most pleased with?
    That you most enjoy producing?
    I produce ideas, thoughts, realizations, connections.
    These generally take the form of
    Poems, paragraphs, photographs or recipes.
    In order to clear a space for this kind of production,
    I also produce naps.
    These are the things I most enjoy producing.
    I also produce lists for errands and groceries,
    Which I then tend to and procure.
    I am convinced that productivity that pleases us
    Is an essential component of a life well-lived,
    a central aspect of health and wholeness.
    And I wholeheartedly recommend
    that you become aware of
    The things you enjoy producing,
    And produce them consciously and often,
    Enjoying yourself immensely
    In the work of your body, mind and soul.

  13. 02/04/2016 — Goodale 2015 37 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    Ulysses could have shortened his
    Hero’s Journey considerably
    By being mindfully,
    compassionately,
    aware of his circumstances.

    Ulysses was stupid every time
    he had the opportunity to be stupid.
    The Journey is about overcoming our stupidity.

    Put Lao Tzu, Jesus, or the Buddha in Ulysses’ place,
    And you have a different Journey.
    You have a Journey no one would care to read about,
    Or go watch at the movies.

    We like to read about and watch
    people being stupider than we would be.
    It gives us that superior feeling that we crave.
    All of our cultures have been based on superiority.
    We love a Lord, and would love to be one,
    And in striving to be one, at least on some level,
    We throw in with Ulysses on a Journey we despise.

    Lao Tzu, Jesus and the Buddha
    Were superior to being superior.
    And were content to be themselves.
    Mindfully, compassionately, aware of their circumstances.
    Offering what was needed to the moment of their living.

    And, then, there is Ulysses.
    What kind of hero would you like to be?

  14. 02/04/2016 — Cadillac Mountain 2009 — Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine, October 2009

    Experience is the catalyst
    uniting our conscious ego
    with our unconscious self,
    Enabling the transformation
    by which unconscious becomes conscious,
    Incarnation is realized,
    And the virgin birth,
    Or the coniunctio,
    Is made real in our own life,

    In order for the miracle to happen,
    We have to experience our experience,
    Be present with it
    And receive it with right interpretation.
    If you think that’s easy,
    Hop in the saddle
    And tell them to open the chute.

  15. 02/04/2016 — Edisto Beach Sunrise 09 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, SC, January 29, 2015

    We are afraid there is nothing to us.
    We are afraid we are nothing.
    We are afraid of being nothing, of nothingness.
    We have looked and can’t find anything there.
    We have thought about it, and cannot think of anything
    That we are, or might be, or could be
    If we put our mind to it.
    We have tried putting our mind to it,
    And nothing happens.
    Just as we thought.

    So, we live to take our mind off of it,
    Off of who we are and what is to become of us.
    We live too fast to think,
    Too distracted to think,
    Too drunk or stoned to think.
    We buy into the action.
    We don’t care what kind of action.
    Diversion. Anything.
    To escape nothing.

    Nothing is the Cyclops we dread the most.
    We have nightmares of the Void.
    Utter emptiness.
    Falling, falling…
    Flailing about forever.
    We have to do the terrible thing:
    Face it.
    Our fear.
    Nothing.
    And step into it.
    And see if we fly.

    On the other side of nothing is the self at the center
    With a life waiting for us to live.
    Faith is trusting this to be so,
    All evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.
    We owe it to ourselves to find out
    If we are as hopeless as we believe we are.

  16. 02/04/2016 — Scott Creek Sunset 04 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, South Carolina, January 29, 2015

    We have to believe in our destiny
    In the life that is ours yet to live,
    That only we can live.

    We have to believe that there is more to us than meets the eye
    Any eye, even our own.

    Because what is left to us if we do not?
    If we do not believe in ourselves,
    And what we are capable of,
    And what we might do with the gifts that are ours,
    The gifts we don’t even know we have,
    Because we have not dared to hope we might have a gift,
    And have not have had the courage to trust that we do
    Beyond all reason and doubt,
    What is left of us?

    Believe that there is you
    The you you know yourself to be
    With your history, your past, your prospects and resources.
    And believe that there is Also You
    The you you have it in you to be,
    Even now, even so.

    Give you to Also You,
    And say, “I have nothing to lose so,
    I am handing myself over to you,
    In complete faith that you can do more with me than I can,
    And I will trust that to be so, no matter what happens,
    From this day forward.
    Beginning now it is this way between us:
    Thy will, not mine, be done.
    This is my liege oath to you!”

    Mean it.
    Do it.
    It has always come down to this through the ages.

  17. 02/05/2016 — Kings Mountain Farm 21 B&W — Sorghum Press, Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 14, 2015

    Our experience with our life has to impact our life,
    Or it is wasted.
    Experience is for reflection,
    For realization,
    For making connections,
    For seeing what fits and what does not fit,
    For evaluating what we have been told,
    And determining what can be used,
    And what is to be thrown away.

    Yet, we too often gauge our experience
    In light of what we are told it is supposed to be.
    If something is “not the way we experience it,”
    Our experience is discounted
    And we are encouraged to toe the “company line”
    To see things like they are supposed to be seen.

    We are disconnected from
    the validity of our experience early on,
    And the light goes out of our eyes
    Long before we are laid to rest.

  18. 02/05/2016 — Spring Willow 2004 — Country Park, Greensboro, NC, April 2004

    Magic happens when we wake up
    and begin to see things as they are.
    Connections are everywhere.
    Signs and wonders whirl around us.
    Meaningful coincidences are common occurrences.
    Doors open,
    Paths appear,
    Benevolent guides point the way,
    And we are at peace with the universe,
    And at home in the world.

    You would think we would be more interested in
    Waking up and seeing things as they are.

  19. 02/06/2016 — Walnut Tree 2002 — Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Townsend, Tennessee, September 2002

    Johnny Manziel cannot cooperate
    with his own best interest.
    This is the essence of mental illness:
    Being unable to live with your own best interest at heart.
    Being incapable of living in good faith with yourself.
    Being compelled to shoot yourself in the foot
    again and again until you bleed to death.
    Or shooting yourself in the head to speed up the process.

    Addicted to self-destruction.
    Johnny Manziel is every addict we know,
    or read about in the papers.
    Drugs and alcohol get all the press,
    But food addiction in all its forms is right in there with them,
    And sex addiction,
    And physical/verbal/emotional abuse addiction…

    I once thought I wanted to be a psychotherapist,
    But I realized early on in my apprenticeship
    That the people who needed the most help
    Were unable to help themselves.
    They willed to not help themselves.
    Try to fix that without their cooperation!

    And they cannot cooperate in their own recovery, reclamation.
    They cannot.
    That’s mental illness for you.
    And don’t hold those with that condition at fault.
    You can’t wake yourself up any more than
    they can wake themselves up.
    And all any of us ever need is waking up.
    And some of us do wake up.

    It is the hope for us all.
    That one day, we will wake up.
    So we buy the mentally ill as much time as we can
    Against their will
    Hoping they will wake up.
    Some do.

  20. 02/07/2016 — Wild Goose Island B&W — Saint Mary Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana, September 2004

    Allow me to whine and complain.

    The ground rule of photography is this:
    “You Pays Your Money, And You Takes Your Chances.”

    You invest in the equipment and in the travel expenses,
    And spend the time it takes getting there,
    And maybe the photo is there, and maybe it isn’t.

    Five things are required for a worthy photograph:
    Subject,
    Lighting,
    Focus,
    Exposure,
    and Composition.
    A landscape photographer is in control of three of them.

    If the subject is a mountain or a waterfall,
    Conditions determine its availability.
    If it is a moose or a grizzly bear,
    You may have to wait past your departing flight time.
    The moon rise or set, like the sun rise or set,
    May be clouded in for a week,
    Or two.
    The light can be terrible forever.
    So you go, knowing that you may have to go back,
    With no guarantees even then.

    Speaking of “then,”
    Then you grow old,
    And with the advent of your 72nd year,
    You notice the presence of what I like to call “creeping disinclination,”
    And you sense “rampant disinclination” gathering itself
    Just around the bend.
    What are you going to do with another moon rise at the beach,
    Anyway?

    How long will you be interested in continuing to
    Pay Your Money And Take Your Chances?
    What with arthritic knees
    And the comfort of coffee when you like it,
    The way you like it?

  21. 02/07/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 32 HDR — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeck, Tennessee, November 4, 2015

    All healing is miraculous.

    We create conditions favorable to the healing process,
    And turn things over to the body’s innate healing capacities
    Which includes the body’s environment,
    Both physical, emotional and spiritual
    (And by “spiritual” I mean “unconscious,”
    That is, “All of that which we are not conscious of.”
    I do not mean any
    of the supposed religious hierarchies of the “other world”).

    The body’s environments
    Inner and outer
    Are either healing environments,
    Or they are toxic environments.
    Or some combination of both.
    Needless to say, we fare better in healing environments,
    And owe it to ourselves and all sentient beings
    To create, and live in, environments
    That are conducive to our health on all levels.

    That we do not do that is curious,
    And exemplifies the fact that we do not much care about
    Living in ways that serve our best interest.
    We will not devote ourselves to the care of body and soul.
    We prefer to live “any old way at all,”
    And take our chances.
    To “follow the course of least resistance,”
    And hope for the best.

    We could do better and don’t.
    We prefer to take pills
    And have surgeries,
    Rather than change our diet
    And our life style.
    We blame the cruel fates,
    Instead of assisting the benevolent powers,
    And never ask ourselves whose side we are on.

  22. 02/08/2016 — Hatteras Sunset — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, Outer Banks, North Carolina, October 2004

    We are at war with life,
    And can’t make up out minds
    Whether we want to live it
    as it could be lived or not.
    We settle too easily for less than life could be,
    Which is just above death,
    Just enough alive to not be declared dead,
    And buried,
    But fighting life—the life that could be lived—all the way.

    We don’t exercise,
    We don’t follow a healthy diet,
    We smoke,
    Drink too much alcohol,
    Do drugs—
    prescription, over the counter, illegal.
    And we fall into some easy enough routine
    That allows us to pay the bills and get by.
    What?

    We don’t pursue the gift.
    Why not?
    Why do we not live in the service of the gift?
    Dead things float with the current,
    Go with the flow.
    It doesn’t matter to them where they end up.
    Why do we forsake the gift?
    We are burning daylight.
    There is less time each day.
    Why renounce and abandon the gift?

  23. 02/08/2016 — Bass Harbor Lighthouse — Bass Harbor, Maine, September 2004

    My wife and I live “cornered into” a small section of woods,
    16 to 20 acres perhaps
    With a strip to the north and a larger portion to the west.
    It is a short time until the rampant development
    That is sweeping all the woods away
    Devours “ours” as well.

    Until then, I relish the sound of the wind through the trees,
    Which are pines and a good selection of hardwoods,
    And am “at one” with my—all of our—ancestors
    Who lived with the sound of the wind through the trees,
    And did what was theirs to do.

    And, when it is no more,
    I will adjust,
    and remember.

  24. 02/08/2016 — Camden Harbor — Camden, Maine, September 2004

    We have to have the freedom of our own mind,
    And have to be free to change our mind
    As the result of our on-going reflection on our experience.

    Changing our mind is an inside job,
    And cannot be forced upon us from without.
    We have to know when we are being “talked into” something,
    And stop it “in its tracks.”

    “I appreciate your viewpoint, and will take your suggestion
    under advisement,” is all we need say
    In defining our boundaries and drawing our own line.

    We are perfectly capable of experiencing our experience,
    And deciding for ourselves what is valid and what is not,
    What is working and what is not, but.
    We have to experience all of our experience,
    And catch ourselves in the act of being selective
    In favor of old conclusions and tacit assumptions.

    We must live transparent to ourselves,
    Open to the full range of our experience,
    If we hope to be able to change our mind
    In light of evidence to the contrary
    Of our preconceived notions
    and comfortable prejudices.

  25. 02/09/2016 — Scott Creek Sunset 06 — Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, South Carolina, January 29, 2015

    We have to be our own heroes.
    We are the only ones who can save us.
    We do it by waking up,
    Coming to our senses,
    Seeing, hearing and understanding,
    And changing our mind about what is important.

    We don’t do it to avoid hell and get to heaven.
    We do it to be who we are,
    Fully alive in the time and place of our living,
    Doing the work that makes our heart sing.

    The monsters that have to be bested,
    Again and again are
    Fear and Lethargy,
    Which is the idea that it is too late,
    That it won’t do any good,
    That it is no use
    And too much trouble,
    And maybe we will start tomorrow.

    No one can talk us into doing what must be done.
    We have to stand ourselves up,
    And walk into our life,
    Living it to the hilt in the time left for living,
    No matter what.

  26. 02/10/2016 — Black Bayou 15 HDR — Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Management Refuge, Monroe, Louisiana, November 2, 2015

    Consciousness carries with it
    the possibility of reflection and examination,
    Of imagining potential scenarios
    and considering different responses,
    rehearsing an event before it happens
    in order to guide it toward an outcome
    that we rank as being better than others we foresee.

    With consciousness comes
    the designations good, better, best,
    And bad, worse, worst.

    Which opens the door to ethics and morality,
    culture,
    norms,
    codes,
    standards,
    laws
    and civilization.

    With the arrival of consciousness,
    We break with the natural world,
    And begin to walk two paths at the same time.

    There is the path of nature,
    Where might makes right
    and the law of the jungle prevails,
    And the path of civilized humanity,
    Where the end does not justify the means,
    And justice and kindness
    call us beyond brutality and ruthlessness.

    The way of nature still courses through our veins,
    But, knowing, we know the call
    of a different way, and guilt is born.
    And forgiveness, and accountability,
    and the necessity of putting things right.

    We live bearing the cross of two competing natures,
    And must bear it consciously,
    with mindful compassionate awareness,
    If the weight of our distant past
    Is not to destroy the hope of our future,
    And that of the world.

  27. 02/10/2016 — Cane River Pier at Sunset — Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, July 2004

    The more we can be mindfully,
    compassionately,
    non-judgmentally
    aware of,
    and present with,
    a moment,
    a situation,
    the more we can hold the moment
    in our awareness,
    without judging
    or willing
    or resisting
    or influencing
    or directing
    or compelling,
    but just being with the moment,
    aware of all that is there with us—
    the colors,
    the lighting,
    the objects,
    the people,
    the emotional tone,
    the atmosphere,
    the “feel” —
    what is foreground
    and what is background,
    and how, with a shift of focus,
    background becomes foreground,
    and foreground background,
    and how our observing the moment
    takes us out of the moment,
    yet influences the moment
    by removing ourselves from it,
    so that the moment
    gets its direction from sources
    other than ourselves
    and the impact we might otherwise have.

    The more we so this,
    the more we are open to,
    and aware of,
    the presence of “More Than Meets The Eye”
    in each moment,
    and can see,
    and feel,
    how this moment,
    is an extension of the last moment,
    and a precursor of the next one,
    and how all of life is in movement,
    flowing from one moment to the next,
    like a symphony on a cosmic scale,
    being played by an orchestra
    we cannot hear.

  28. 02/11/2016 — Goodale 2015 38 B&W — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    Our imagination is a powerful tool
    in the service of good or evil,
    life or death.
    Everything of human origin
    is the creation of someone’s imagination.
    Arrowheads,
    pottery shards,
    grand pianos,
    atomic bombs…
    It all came from “nothing but” our imagination.
    We can imagine ourselves sick,
    and well.
    Imagine ourselves bound and free.
    Imagine ourselves dead and alive.
    Imagination used mindfully
    is a boon to existence.
    Used mindlessly,
    it is the end of all things.
    Observe how you use your imagination
    and how it arranges your outcomes,
    and impacts your life.
    Observe how your awareness of things,
    changes things.

  29. 02/12/2016 — Kings Mountain Farm 13 HDR Panorama — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 14, 2015

    Self-discipline does it.
    It is key ingredient to the Hero’s Journey,
    We can’t take the first step without it.

    Fear and Lethargy
    (Sometimes experienced as Disinclination
    maybe tomorrow,
    maybe later,
    maybe one day,
    maybe soon)
    are the dragons,
    the monsters,
    the manifestations of the Cyclops
    standing in our way
    (James Hollis).
    Mindful,
    compassionate,
    non-judgmental awareness
    can point the way, but
    after we know clearly what needs to be done,
    we still have to do it.
    And stay with it.
    Over time.
    For the long haul.

    Ben Howland says,
    “Winning or losing, it’s still a grind.”
    Nothing makes it easy,
    doing what is to be done.
    We stand ourselves up and step into it each day
    throughout the day,
    everyday,
    swimming up stream against
    our natural tendency
    to go with the flow
    and let nature take its course.

    We are working against nature,
    against our own nature!
    It is not the natural thing
    being a True Human Being,
    being the Hero on her, on his, own journey!
    We have to overcome all obstacles to do it,
    especially the self-imposed ones.
    Always the question:
    “Whose side are we on?”

  30. 02/12/2016 — Mountain Fall 2004 — Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina, October 2004

    Jesus said on two different occasions:
    “If you aren’t with me, you are against me!”
    And,
    “If you aren’t against me, you are with me!”

    Apparently, there is no possibility of neutrality in the matter.
    My take on everything Jesus is said to have said
    is that he is the mouthpiece of the Numen—the Self—the Truth
    at the center of us all.

    When Jesus speaks, WE are talking
    to ourselves,
    about ourselves,
    calling ourselves to come
    to our senses
    and join together with ourselves.

    It is the same with everyone of us
    who has approached True Human Being-hood:
    The Buddha,
    Lao Tzu,
    Tevya,
    Yogi Berra,
    Hester Prynne,
    Betty White…

    The call is clear:
    “Off the fence with you!
    Out of the recliner!
    Into the fray!
    Into the action!
    Make a choice!
    Move it NOW!”

    No hiding our talent,
    our gift,
    our Self in a sealed Mason Jar,
    buried in a deep hole,
    under a large rock,
    taking no chances
    on getting something wrong!
    Every day we live
    on our side,
    or against ourselves.
    Every day.

  31. 02/12/2016 — Pines 2004 — Down East North Carolina, March 2004

    Jesus was fond of saying, “Those with ears, let them hear!”
    It’s the same as saying, “You have to know what I mean
    before you can understand what I’m saying.”
    Or, “You have to have thought about this,
    wrestled with it,
    before you can grasp what I have to say about it.”
    Or, “You can only hear
    what I am articulating
    if you have cultivated
    and nurtured
    and watered it to the point
    of bursting into bloom
    when the light strikes it.
    Otherwise, all will be dark,
    no matter how brightly the sun shines.”

    In every generation there are those
    who say what needs to be said,
    and those who can hear what is being said.
    And there are those who say
    only what has been said,
    And those who can hear
    only what has been said.
    And there we are.

  32. 02/13/2016 — Price Lake Blues — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, North Carolina, April 2004

    Jesus came healing on the Sabbath,
    keeping company with the “unclean”
    (People with leprosy
    or some chronic illness
    or injury,
    or those simply too poor
    to pay the Temple tax,
    and obviously afflicted by God
    for some unpardonable sin,
    hence not to be acknowledged
    for fear of becoming guilty by association),
    with women and tax-collectors.

    Jesus was out of accord with every book of order of his day,
    yet, in the Sermon on the Mount, said,
    “Do not think I have come to abolish the Law.
    I have come to fulfill it.”
    And then, he proceeds through the rest of the Sermon
    to lay aside the Law with things like:
    “You have heard it said…
    But I say unto you…”

    Jesus very deliberately lived
    so as to abolish the letter of the Law,
    the written Law,
    so as to fulfill the spirit of the Law,
    doing what needed to be done in each situation as it arose,
    without regard to what was supposed to be done
    according to Jewish Law or social code.

    But that didn’t mean people were free to do
    whatever they felt like doing.
    “If you know what you are doing,” he said
    to a man he found working on the Sabbath,
    “You are blessed.
    But if you don’t know what you are doing,
    you are accursed and a transgressor of the Law.”

    And he prayed for the people at his crucifixion saying,
    “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”
    Everything revolves around knowing what we are doing—
    around living a considered life—
    around living consciously,
    mindfully,
    compassionately,
    non-judgmentally,
    aware of the time
    and place of our living,
    and what is being called for there,
    what is being asked of us there,
    and complying in the moment
    out of a heart that
    sees,
    hears
    and understands what is being asked of it.

    As Jesus might have said,
    “You all have a heart!
    Go live in its service!”
    It is never more difficult than that.

  33. 02/13/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 33 HDR — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeck, Tennessee, November 4, 2015

    There are two of us living one life.
    The one we are conscious of,
    And the one we are not conscious of.
    The conscious one is here to become conscious
    Of the one we are unconscious of—
    to bring to life in the life we are living
    the life we are capable of living
    in collaboration with the one we are
    to become conscious of.

    The question, then, is always pertinent,
    and difficult to answer with clarity and certainty:
    Whose side are we on?
    How do we know?
    How can we be sure?
    Who is piloting our boat on its path through the sea?

    We have to read the signs,
    interpret our dreams
    and our wanderings of mind and body,
    consult the Inner Other,
    practice mindful,
    compassionate,
    non-judgmental
    awareness
    of our interior and external worlds,
    and work to put ourselves in accord
    with that which is seeking to be in accord with us.

    All that should keep us occupied
    for the rest of time.

  34. 02/13/2016 — Price Lake Blues Two — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, North Carolina, April 2004

    The work of finding our life and living it
    is carried out on two different fronts at the same time.

    There is the matter of establishing connection,
    and putting ourselves in accord,
    with the Invisible Other at the core,
    heart,
    ground,
    foundation
    of our life and being.

    Robert A. Johnson’s book “Inner Work”
    will be a helpful guide
    for this part of what is ours to do.

    The other matter is that
    of developing
    and deepening our ability
    to be mindfully,
    compassionately,
    non-judgmentally
    aware
    of the time and place
    of our living,
    both internally and externally.

    The work of Jon Kabat-Zinn
    with Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, or MBSR,
    will be a very helpful resource here.
    You Tube videos are readily available,
    and Jon has several books out on the subject.

    Our life has a depth and breadth
    that we cannot imagine,
    which it waits for us to experience and explore.

  35. 02/14/2016 — Lake Crawford 11 HDR — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 14, 2015

    Self-reflection leads to self-exploration,
    And self-examination,
    And self-realization,
    And self-discovery,
    And self-correction,
    And self-development,
    And personal growth.
    Seeing things as they are
    Non-judgmentally and compassionately
    Transforms things.
    If you want to change the world,
    See everything there exactly as it is,
    With eyes of compassion
    and without judgment,
    Starting with yourself.

  36. Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 02/14/2016 — Smoky Moon — Clingman’s Dome Parking Lot, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, October 2004

    Several things rank as essential life tasks:

    Mindfulness, which implies compassion
    and detachment to the degree that is non-judgmental.
    Self-transparency and keeping good faith with oneself.
    Integrity in the sense of living in ways
    that are aligned with,
    and integral to,
    what is deepest, truest and best about us.
    The self-discipline necessary
    to do what is ours to do in each situation as it arises.
    Making the trade-offs
    that are required of us throughout our life,
    which implies saying no to ourselves
    and no to others when that is appropriate
    and called for by our circumstances.
    Living toward the center and away from the extremes—
    balancing,
    reconciling,
    integrating, the opposites,
    contradictions
    and polarities
    of our life,
    and bearing consciously the pain
    of maintaining the tension
    between/among dichotomies
    that can only be recognized, not reconciled.
    Making our peace with the way things are,
    which includes making our peace
    with the lack of peace in important areas of our life.

    I’m sure I’ll think of something more to add to the list,
    but if we cover these items,
    we’ll be just fine.

  37. 02/15/2016 — Black Bayou 16 HDR — Black Bayou National Lake Wildlife Refuge, Monroe, Louisiana, November 2, 2015

    President Obama lives in the service
    of what he considers to be the right thing to do.
    The Affordable Health Care Act,
    providing health care to millions of people is one example.
    His support of Gay Marriage is another.
    Republican members of Congress
    have attempted to repeal the Health Care Act over 50 times,
    and attempted to defund it many times as well.

    Republicans in congress,
    Republican governors,
    at least one Republican Chief Justice,
    and other Republican elected officials
    have opposed,
    and attempted to undermine
    and prevent gay marriages on a number of occasions.

    What is clearly the right thing to do on one level
    is clearly the wrong thing to do on another level.
    A photographic rule applies:
    The brighter the light,
    the darker the shadows.
    Bright sunshine casts deep shadows.

    Reasonable minds can look at any fact
    and interpret it in radically different ways.
    Is it the right thing to do,
    or the wrong thing to do?
    Who is to say?
    Whatever you think is right,
    someone is going to think is wrong.
    Who decides what is right, what is wrong?

    Jesus broke the Law
    and justified it on the grounds
    of knowing what he was doing.
    That meant at least two things:

    A) He felt that the human need and right
    to be helped superseded any law
    that might interfere with,
    or prevent, that help from being offered, and
    B) He was quite ready to pay the price
    of his civil,
    non-violent,

    Jesus was a conscientious objector
    willing to serve his conscience
    to death on the cross.
    Was he right, or was he wrong?

    There is never going to be 100%
    world-wide agreement
    on questions of right and wrong.
    Hitler thought he was right,
    and had followers who agreed with him,
    to the death.
    What does conscience know?
    Where does conscience come from?
    What is the origin of scruples,
    qualms,
    values,
    compunction
    and the moral sense?
    What is right?
    What is wrong?
    How do we know?
    Who is to say?

    Mindfulness leads the way.
    We have to be transparent to ourselves
    and aware of the origin
    and ground of our values.
    Who says that what we say is so?
    Where do we get our ideas of right and wrong?
    What makes us think we are right?
    That we know what we are doing?
    That we are being like Jesus,
    and not like Hitler?

  38. 02/16/2016 — Goodale 2015 39 B&W — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    Knowing what we are doing
    Means knowing when we are kidding ourselves
    About knowing what we are doing.

    It means knowing that we don’t know what we are doing
    A good portion of the time.

    It means knowing what we don’t want to know,
    Facing what we don’t want to face:
    The truth about the aloneness and vulnerability
    Of ourselves before the responsibility of our life.

    We need help with what is to be done.
    Two things make this a problem.
    We aren’t taught how
    to access the help that is “right there”
    “A very present help in time of trouble.”
    2. It isn’t the kind of help we want.
    We want what we have no business having.
    And want to know how to have it.
    We want help in having what we want.

    The joke is on us.
    Help with knowing what to do
    Is not the same help
    as help with having what we want.
    We can have the first, not the second.
    The question we have to answer is this:
    Do we have what it takes to know what to do
    When it means doing what we don’t want?
    How far do we live from
    “Thy will, not mine, be done”?

  39. 02/17/2016 — April Cascade — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, April 2004

    Your life has meaning
    When you do the things that make your heart sing.

    How long has it been?
    Has it been so long that you laugh at the idea of a singing heart?

    Start with what once made your heart sing.
    How far back do you have to go to find yourself lost
    In what you were doing?
    Begin there.
    Do what once was filled with meaning and see where it leads.

    The old Alchemical formula was
    “One book opens another.”
    Just so, one engaging activity
    leads to another.
    Your heart is dying to sing.
    Take it to the music.

  40. 02/17/2016 — Boulder Beach — Otter Point, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine, September 2004

    We have to dig our own gold.
    Or pan for it.
    It is our place to search out
    The treasure hard to find.
    No one can hand it to us,
    Much less tell us about it,
    Explaining it to us,
    Even in great detail,
    Outlining it for us,
    Defining it,
    Describing it,
    Quoting the saints,
    And the sacred texts,
    And the wise, old, masters
    Telling us to take their word for it,
    Perhaps threatening us with the Everlasting Fires of Hell
    If we don’t.

    No one knows the nature
    of the treasure
    we alone seek,
    and will know it
    when we find it.

    There are no shortcuts,
    Or easy routes,
    Or fast tracks to glory land.
    Joseph Campbell said it:
    “The treasure you seek
    Is in the depths of the cave you most don’t want to enter.”
    And we have to go there,
    against our will.
    Enter,
    and descend into the depths.

  41. 02/19/2016 — Sunset Reflection — Price Lake and Grandfather Mountain, Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 2006

    The Christian Church calls it “salvation.”
    But it is coercion.

    Always has been.

    The threat of hell and eternal agony.
    The promise of heaven and infinite glory.
    Taxing the flock
    With “free will offerings”
    And talk of “merit.”
    Making disciples of all nations.
    Dragging people where they are not ready to go.
    The end justifying the means.
    Concealing in the name of revealing.
    No questions allowed.
    Take it all on faith.
    Believe what you’re told.
    Do what they say.
    Betray your own soul
    by betting everything on it,
    And trust yourself to it,
    To show you the way.

  42. 02/20/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 34 HDR — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeck, Tennessee, November 4, 2015

    Our life is our responsibility.
    We keep looking for divine intervention to make it easy,
    Or even possible,
    But we have the tools and have to learn to use them.
    The primary tool is mindfulness.
    Mindfulness initiates, implements, utilizes, the other tools:
    Awareness,
    intuition,
    instinct,
    compassion,
    understanding,
    imagination,
    creativity,
    resiliency,
    courage,
    self-discipline,
    ..
    All of the traits,
    characteristics,
    temperaments
    and values
    That make us human
    And make life livable.

    We come packed with all we need.
    We are a Swiss Army Knife of responses.
    And it is up to us to square up to the fact
    That it is up to us,
    And find the response
    appropriate to the occasion,
    On every occasion.

  43. Kings Mountain Farm 16 HDR Panorama — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 14, 2015

    Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss
    and don’t be afraid,
    and doors will open
    where you didn’t know
    there would be doors.”

    We hear that and think
    there is some kind of magic
    at work in the universe
    to assist us in the work
    to get what we want.
    We even say
    “The Universe will help you,”
    like the settlers who moved into the Dakotas
    were told by the church of their day,
    and told themselves,
    “Rain will follow the plow.”
    It didn’t.
    The Universe is completely uninvested in us.

    We hear “Follow your bliss,”
    and think that means, “Do what you want.”

    Campbell also said, talking about Abraham Maslow,
    “Maslow says that people live for five things:
    Survival,
    Security,
    Personal Relationships,
    Prestige,
    and Self Development.
    Yet, these are precisely not the values
    that a mythically inspired person lives for.

    A person who is really gripped by a dedication,
    by a zeal,
    will sacrifice all these things
    for the sake of his or her own passion.
    These five values are the values
    people live for who have nothing to live for.
    Nothing has seized,
    caught,
    or driven these people ‘spiritually mad.’
    These people aren’t worth talking to.
    These people are bores.”

    Your “bliss” will break your heart
    and eat your life alive.
    We “die to ourselves”
    and live in the service of our heart’s true passion,
    of our bliss,
    in a “Thy will, not mine, be done” kind of way.

    That’s when the magic happens
    but, it is not that our way is served
    and we get what we want.
    The magic happens when we surrender
    our way and serve our heart’s true purpose.
    Then, we put ourselves in accord with our life,
    and we see things that were meaningless to us before.

    Then, there are doors where before there were no doors,
    and people to help us who were nowhere around
    because we could not see them,
    focused as we were on our wants,
    our fear,
    our lethargy.

    In the service of our own goals and dreams,
    desire, fear and lethargy
    jam the signals coming to us
    from all around us,
    and we cannot see
    or hear
    or understand
    what is available to us
    in all times and places.

    Once we step away
    from our idea for our life,
    die to ourselves,
    and live aligned with our heart’s true purpose,
    there it all is,
    open doors
    and helping hands.
    But,
    it comes with a price.

    Golgotha and the empty tomb
    are metaphors that are realities
    in the lives of all of those
    who know what I’m talking about.
    We all die to what we thought was life
    in order to live the life
    at the center of our heart.
    Death and resurrection,
    does not mean everyone
    at the end of time,
    but one person at a time.

  44. 02/21/2016 — Lake Katherine Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Dairy Barn Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, December 12, 2015

    We aren’t here to “make something happen,”
    So much as to “do what needs us to do it.”
    To bring ourselves forth to meet the situation as it arises.

    We have to pay the bills, of course,
    But our place here is to meet the moment
    As it needs to be met
    As only we can meet it.

    This means we have to get to know ourselves.

    Compassionately.
    Non-judgmentally.

    This is who we are,
    and who we also are.
    These are our interests and our gifts.
    These are not.
    This is what is happening.
    This is what needs to happen.
    This is what needs to be done about it.
    This is where we fit in.

    How would we do it?
    We are to live in ways
    Appropriate to the occasion
    As only we can.

  45. 02/21/2016 — Green River Horseshoe 2007— Dead Horse Point State Park, Moab, Utah, September 2007

    The Bible is a treasure trove of myth and metaphor,
    Speaking from,
    and to,
    the heart of “the human condition.”

    If it could be understood and received as such,
    The world would be enriched overnight.
    The Servant Songs collected in the book bearing the name of Isaiah,
    Speak to us, of ourselves:
    “He was despised and rejected by others,
    A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…
    Surely, he has borne our grief and carried our sorrows,
    Upon him was the chastisement we all deserved…
    By his wounds we are healed.”

    We know him, her, well.
    He, she, lives within us all,
    And enables us to put on our public face
    And stride into each day.
    But he, she, knows what we dare not remember,
    And carries in our behalf the woundedness
    Of the blows we have had to put behind.

    Our Suffering Servant serves us well,
    And by his, by her, leave,
    We live.

    Perhaps, if you give yourself time alone, and reflect,
    You will know of whom I speak,
    And show him, show her,
    the kindness of your gratitude
    And devotion.

  46. 02/22/2016 — Mirror Mirror 04 — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 11, 2015

    Our life has been compared to a slippery slope and a razor’s edge.
    We are always one wrong move away from catastrophe,

And one right move away from having it made for now.
What’s it going to be?

There is a basketball adage, “One bad shot leads to more bad shots.”
And another, “Take care of the ball!”
And one more, “Let the game come to you,”
Which means “Wait for the door to open and walk through.”
Or, “Look for the opening and take the good shot.”

We try to create something that isn’t there,
Try to make something happen out of season,
Try to force our way into being,
Will our way along.
And all the while,
We are always one slight shift of attitude or perspective
From the best life has to offer,
in the time and place of our living.

  1. 02/23/2016 — Lake Crawford 12 HDR Panorama — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    The hardest thing is settling
    for the life that is our life to live—
    The one with our name on it,
    The one that only we can live—
    And living it the way it needs to be lived.
    The hardest thing is settling ourselves into it,
    And doing right by it.
    We have other bigger,
    better,
    finer,
    faster
    lives in mind.
    This is the struggle that tells the tale.

  2. 02/23/2016 — Yosemite Falls 01 2006 — Yosemite National Park, California, April 2006

    We can always imagine a better place to be,
    than this place,
    A better life to live
    than this life.

    Thoreau said, “Shall we always study
    to obtain more,
    and not sometimes be content with less?”
    What is the nature of our discontent?

    I submit for your consideration
    That it may be rooted in the absence of roots.
    We belong to nothing,
    Are owned by nothing,
    Nothing serves as the overriding
    claim upon our service.

    We are adrift upon an empty sea
    And wander aimlessly about.
    One port is as good as another,
    And a better one is only an island or two away.

    We live endlessly looking for somewhere to be,
    Hoping to be claimed by some reckless passion
    Before we die.
    Yet, we withhold ourselves from would-be passions,
    Wanting to be certain that this is the One,
    And that there isn’t a better one waiting at the next port-of-call
    As though we won’t always imagine a better place to be,
    A better life to live.

  3. Used in Short Talks On Contradiction, etc., 02/24/2016 — December Orchard 06 — Springs Farms, Lake Haigler Access, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina, December 12, 2015

    There were two living generations before me,
    My grandparents’ generation and my parents’ generation,
    And their best advice to me was along the lines of,
    “Keep your nose clean and to the grindstone.
    Believe what you are told and do what we say.
    Don’t ask any questions we can’t answer,
    And for God’s sake, Jimmy, stop looking out the window!”

    Nothing from any of them
    About the importance of mindfulness.
    They never said
    “Be aware of everything.
    Your awareness will teach you all you need to know.
    Always ask the questions that beg to be asked,
    And say the things that cry out to be said.
    Develop a love for contradictions,
    And struggle to reconcile what can be reconciled,
    And to bear consciously and graciously the pain
    Of opposites that must remain poles apart.
    Be open to your experience
    And let it lead you to the things you love,
    And away from the things you do not love.
    Trust your judgment in all cases great and small,
    And when it becomes apparent that you made a bad call,
    Let that judgment lead you to make amends
    And to do better next time.
    Don’t look for answers,
    But for experiences that force reflection,
    And lead to new realizations.
    You are on your own with your life,
    But you have all you need
    To find your way into the company of those
    Who are also figuring out who they are and what to do,
    And can help by sharing with you what they know.
    A large number of that company will be dead,
    But their books will illumine their path,
    And encourage you in your own path.
    When your courage falters,
    And your hope fades,
    Be still and listen to your heart and your stomach.
    They will always lead the way.”

    It would have helped if they had been a little bit awake.
    They didn’t know what to do with me,
    But that is ridiculous!
    I came from them!
    They couldn’t help me
    Because they had turned their backs on themselves.

  4. 02/24/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 35 HDR — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeck, Tennessee, November 4, 2015

    Be mindful of your inner dialogues.
    Everything good is already stirring around in there.
    You don’t have to think anything up.
    Where do you think ideas come from?
    We don’t think them up.
    They seize us!
    Grab us by the neck!
    Toss us into the air!
    Hurl us into action!
    We have to put ourselves in the place of being seized more often.
    By paying attention to what is stirring within.

    Our inner dialogues are the source of creativity and life.
    Vitality, meaning, purpose, hope, guidance, direction…
    It’s all there
    Whispers and inklings of wonder
    Welling up from our soul.
    Our place is to wait, and watch,
    And notice when a word, a phrase, a train of thought,
    Catches our eye in a special kind of way
    Sparks a little energy in us
    Flips our “Yes!” switch—
    And look closer,
    Seeing where it leads.
    Pay attention to your internal dialogue,
    Listening for something that says, “Follow me!”
    And tag along.

  5. 02/25/2016 — Dry Falls — Nantahala National Forest, Highlands, North Carolina, April 2005

    The “Archetypal Intention” (Stevens) is for the future to be the past
    For how it has been done to be how it is to be done.
    What worked in the past
    (The way to be a man or a woman, for instance,
    Or a father or a mother, etc.)
    Has been stored in our genes
    Via natural selection,
    In that those who did it “right”
    Were more likely to pass along their characteristics,
    Their way of doing “it,”
    Than those who did it wrong,
    So that, by now, “the way to be human beings”
    Is as much apart of us
    As the way to be a Robin or a Lion or a Humpback Whale
    Is a part of those particular manifestations of life.

    Except, but, only.
    We have reached a point in our evolutionary development
    Where the future must be like no past ever lived.
    “Fight Or Flight” has to give way to negotiated,
    And mutually agreeable,
    Peaceful solutions to armed conflict and refugee resettlement.
    ad infinitum.

    We don’t have an archetype for that.
    WE are the archetype for that.
    We have to find our way into a future that is a break from the past,
    Using our inherited capacity
    For imagination, creativity, transcendence and transformation.
    Call it the Archetype for A Brave New World.

  6. 02/25/2016 — Kings Mountain Farm 18 B&W — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 14, 2015

    The Law of Compensation is realized in each generation
    We live to be who our parents were not.
    Whatever the excesses and deficiencies were in the parents,
    They are likely to be the opposite in their children.
    This doesn’t mean Sally cannot be an introvert like her mother was.
    It means Sally will not be her mother in other ways.

    The ways in which we are not our parents’ children
    Are the ways in which our parents most needed to be themselves,
    And weren’t,
    Because the way wasn’t clear for some reason,
    Perhaps because they wouldn’t allow themselves the privilege
    And they resented it (or applauded) when it bubbled up in their offspring.

    At any rate, it is an interesting reflection
    Of unconscious processes at work
    In the development of family systems,
    And one of the things revealing
    That there is more to all of us than meets the eye.

  7. 02/26/2016 — Glade Creek Mill — Babcock State Park, Clifftop, West Virginia, October 2007

    Consciousness is the most unnatural thing nature ever has done.
    Consciousness can imagine a world of justice and peace—
    Unlike anything the natural world is capable of producing.
    Yet, consciousness’ shortcoming
    Is that it cannot be conscious of what it is not conscious of—
    And there is more of everything than meets the eye.

    The Unconscious and the genome, and their relationship—
    Mind and consciousness, and their relationship—
    The numen, instinct and intuition, and their relationship…

    All beyond the purview of thinking, reasoning, beings.
    What we can’t make out, we make up.

    May we, at least, be mindful of that,
    And hold it in our awareness,
    And have the courage to know that we don’t know,
    And cannot know what we don’t know,
    And make our peace with that,
    Enjoying what is to be enjoyed,
    Grieving what is to be grieved,
    And seeking out good company as we are able,
    With whom to share the wonder of being human.

  8. 02/27/2016 — Mirror Mirror 03 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    One idea leads to another.
    If you are never curious,
    Never playful,
    Never imaginative,
    Never wondering,
    Never inquisitive,
    Never adventurous,
    Never exploring,
    Never inventive,
    Never looking,
    Never examining,
    Never reflecting,
    Always afraid to question anything,
    Guess how many ideas you will have.

  9. 02/28/2016 — Lake Crawford 13 HDR — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    Fascism,
    Racism,
    Anti-Semitism,
    Islamophobia,
    Sexism,
    Homophobia,
    Bigotry,
    ..
    The list is long
    Lay inert in German hearts waiting to be ignited
    By the rhetoric of Hitler and the ruthlessness,
    Willful, prideful, ignorance of the Nazis
    Waiting to be encouraged, permitted, given excuse and reason to be.

    And Lie even yet in the hearts of good people everywhere,
    Waiting to be inflamed by the inciting oratory of those
    Living in the far extreme of hatred and fear.

    In every age comes the question to be answered by the age:
    Will you live mindfully or mindlessly?
    Each age answers by what it condones and what it condemns.

  10. 02/29/2016 — Beaver Pond — Bass Lake, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, NC, June 2009

    There is our life and what to do with it,
    In all of the times and places of our living,
    Through all of the stages of our development.
    I recommend listening to
    what it has to say
    In order to determine how it needs to be lived,
    And aligning ourselves with it.

    Our life is alive in its own right,
    With a life of its own.
    We are here to assist it
    In its own becoming
    As chance and circumstance allow.

    What is our life asking of us?
    How might we go about
    Placing ourselves in accord
    with what it has in mind
    for us today?
    Given the givens that are ours to work with?
    Here we are.
    Now what?

  11. 02/29/2016 — Bethany Church 02 Panorama — Bethany ARPC, Clover, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    Our work is to live truthfully.
    This doesn’t mean “telling the truth.”
    It means living in ways that incarnate the truth of who we are.
    It means living in ways that are aligned with the central drift of heart and soul.
    It means living in ways that express, exhibit, reveal and make plain
    The gifts, character, values at the core of the center of ourselves.
    It means doing things that are “in character,”
    And not doing things that are “out of character.”
    It means living in accord with the life that is our life to live
    The life that only we can live
    The life that needs us to live it.

    We were born to be who we are.
    That is our purpose and our ultimate good.
    And it doesn’t matter if it does no good.
    Our Good Work is to be who we are.
    It doesn’t have to do big things,
    Achieve great ends,
    Save the world,
    Transform the cosmos.

    The privilege of being who we are
    Is the highest good.
    If we live our whole life long being who we are,
    And nobody notices or cares,
    Nothing changes,
    And we make no difference at all in the way life is lived about us,
    We still got to be who we are!
    We still got to live our life!
    We did not let anything stop us from completing the Good Work!
    May that be said of us all!

  12. 03/01/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 36 HDR— Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeck, Tennessee, November 4, 2015

    Heavy smokers dying of emphysema are shocked
    At the unfairness of being unable to smoke with impunity,
    “Why can’t we be flip and casual with life,
    And do with it as we please,
    Without implication, consequence or outcome?”

    Society mavens know the rules of the game they have mastered,
    And spend their lives looking for a party to bless
    Or a festive occasion in which to shine with resplendent glory,
    And collect clippings to remind them of that time
    When everyone knew their name.
    Power brokers ride high on the backs of their workers
    And the money of their investors,
    Enjoy the gratification of owning people
    And being somebody.

    The unwashed masses and huddled poor
    Trudge through their days
    Looking for crumbs and coins and other lucky breaks,
    Without prospects or hope
    Beyond another day without prospects or hope.

    They all stand at the end of their days
    Undone by the quickness of its arrival
    Shocked that it has come down to this,
    Thinking there would be more to it.
    How did they miss the joyful wisdom of knowing
    “It’s a good day to die”?

  13. 03/01/2016 — Lenten Rose 2016 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, February 28, 2016

    What is your present source of deepest joy?
    How much time, in a week, say,
    do you spend present with the source of your deepest joy?
    If you do not currently have a source of deep joy in your life,
    It is a concern, but not a problem.
    What as been a source of deep joy in your life?
    How much time did you spend with it?

    What is your present source of greatest conflict?
    What are the different sides pulling against each other and against you?
    Where do you find relief from the conflict?

    What is your present source of peace, comfort and consolation?

    Where in your life do you find meaning, purpose, hope and satisfaction?

    Reflect on these things.

    Then, reflect on your reflections.

  14. 03/02/2016 — Kings Mountain Farm 23 HDR B&W — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 14, 2015

    The search for the life that is our life to live
    The life that needs us to live it
    The life that no one but us can live
    Is the search for what we love about our life.

    Too many of us love the wrong things too much
    To be able to love anything about our life.
    Our life isn’t about any of those things.
    Wealth, fame, attention, glory…
    We want a life we can show off,
    Not a life we can love.

    With no one to see us,
    Admire us,
    Applaud us,
    Adore us,
    Worship us,
    Envy us,
    We would have no reason to live.
    We live looking for a life someone else can love.

    We’ll never find our life
    Until we look for one we can love,
    Even if no one else ever does.
    How would you live your life
    If there were no one else
    To see, or know, or care?

  15. 03/02/2016 — Green River Canyon 2007 01 — Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah, September 2007

    We have to make room for one another.
    It is easy enough to find something
    we don’t like about every one of us.
    Probably, most of us can find as much
    about ourselves that we don’t like.
    Who are we to be excluding anybody?
    Telling anyone they aren’t welcome?
    Demanding that anyone
    “go back where they came from”?

    It isn’t like we have been here forever.
    Every one of us came from somewhere else.
    How is it that we get to tell someone else to leave
    When someone else could be asking us to leave?
    What’s with this, “I don’t like you,
    so you’ll have to leave” business?
    Particularly when there is as much
    about us and our kind that we don’t like
    As there is about you and your kind.
    We have to commit ourselves to the work
    of making room for one another,
    And give ourselves to it every day for the rest of our life.
    Negotiation and compromise, Kid.
    Negotiation and compromise.
    The future of civilization depends on it.

  16. 03/03/2016 — Peto Lake Rainbow — Banff National Park, Canadian Rockies, Alberta, September 2005

    Your future is more important than your past.
    Your capacity for good is more important
    than your propensity for stupid.
    You are either on your side,
    Or you are not.
    Whose side are you on?
    That’s the question we have to get right.

    We have to believe in ourselves
    In spite of the lack of corroborating evidence
    And regardless of the abundance
    of grounds to condemn
    and abandon.

    All of the hero’s journeys
    Are about the long quest
    past good reasons to quit
    To the gold at the heart of the hero.

    Jesus believed in Jesus when no one else did.
    That’s what set Jesus apart.
    The alchemists believed they could make gold
    Out of base metal.
    That’s the work we are all engaged in.
    The gold is there,
    Waiting for those who believe it is so,
    And take up the work of proving themselves right.

  17. 03/04/2016 — Campbell’s Nursery 03 — Campbell’s Greenhouse and Nursery, Charlotte, NC, March 3, 2016

    If you are going to be in love
    with anything,
    be in love with your life.
    Too many of us are walking around
    in lives we do not love.
    If our life were a person,
    It would have divorced us years ago.
    It’s an escort accompanying us through our days
    To give us the appearance of being alive,
    But we both know it’s a sham,
    And are waiting out the end
    For the lack of anything better to do.

    It never occurs to us to find a life we love,
    Or, if it does, we dismiss the idea as wild and radical,
    And too much trouble at this point in the process.
    But the truth is everything depends on our finding a life we love
    And living it.

    Yet, we are afraid there is no life for us,
    That we missed our chance way back when,
    Or never had one,
    And we have given up all hope in the matter,
    Resigning ourselves to a regimen that feeds our bodies
    But not our souls
    All the way to the end of the line.

    While our life lives out its days locked away
    Behind a door we refuse to open
    For fear there won’t be anything there.

  18. 03/04/2016 — Pike’s Nursery 01 — The Koi Pond, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 3, 2016

    We are united across ages and cultures
    By the experience of being alive.
    The experience of war creates a family with members in all centuries.
    As does the experience of child birth,
    Of parenthood,
    Of old age, decrepitude and death.
    Of grief, loss, sadness and sorrow,
    Of joy, celebration, awe and wonder.

    At the level of life experience we are one with all humanity.
    Division enters the picture with ideology.
    With the quest for power and domination.
    Ideology fosters military conquest
    Which expands the reach of ideology,
    And the two form a partnership of division and destruction.
    We need to stop talking about what we believe,
    And start talking about what we know
    Because we have experienced its truth in our life.
    Stop killing people because they are evil and wrong,
    And start honoring people because they are as we are
    At the level of life experience.

  19. 03/05/2016 — Pike’s Nursery 02— Charlotte, North Carolina, March 3, 2016

    Stop being locked in place by fear and desire.
    You are your most reliable resource
    For getting you out of situations you get yourself into.

    Mindfulness leads the way.
    Stop insisting on certain futures,
    And open yourself to the full reality of what is happening
    And what needs to happen in response.

    Be mindfully, compassionately, non-judgmentally aware
    Of your internal response to the full reality of your situation.
    Hold yourself gently, tenderly, kindly, in your awareness.
    Be fully aware of you.
    What are you refusing to take into account?
    Failing to consider?
    Be fully aware of you
    Being fully aware of the reality of your situation.

    Practice holding yourself in your awareness.
    Allow mindful, compassionate, non-judgmental awareness
    To bring you to the point of on-going self-transparency
    (Self-consciousness without the judgmental component).
    You will be ready for anything.

  20. 03/06/2016 — Campbell’s Nursery 01— Charlotte, NC, March 3, 2016

    You can’t fake spontaneity.
    Spontaneity is completely truthful.
    A hiccup is an act whose time has come.
    So is a sneeze.
    The trick is to be spontaneously appropriate to the occasion.
    A bit of Mary Poppins wisdom applies here:
    “Anything can happen if you let it.”

    We are to live so as to be
    Spontaneously appropriate to every occasion
    To each situation
    As it arises.
    This means being so mindfully
    (compassionately, non-judgmentally)
    attuned to each occasion/situation
    So completely aware of what is happening
    And what needs to happen
    That we see what needs to be done and do it
    Without thinking about it.

    No planning,
    plotting,
    scheming,
    conniving,
    calculating,
    manipulating,
    designing,
    crafting,
    exploiting,
    capitalizing
    or cashing in.

    Only living in the moment
    by being true to ourselves and the moment.
    Being who we are
    and what the moment needs of us
    in every moment.
    We cannot fake spontaneity,

    We can practice it.
    Until it becomes spontaneous.

    We are to live to be spontaneously and appropriately
    Responsive to each occasion/situation as it arises.
    Just like Mary Poppins.
    And Jesus of Nazareth.

  21. 03/07/2016 — Through the Trees 02 — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Hornbeck, Tennessee, November 3, 2015

    We are responsible for finding our own life and living it
    And we cannot do it alone.
    It takes a good enough environment all the way along the way.
    Everything depends upon the context and circumstances of our life.
    The world has to receive us well.
    Or, well enough.
    For us to have a chance.
    Too many of us plop out of the womb
    With no loving arms to welcome us
    And no one to nurture and nourish us,
    Soften the impact of the transition,
    And help us find what we need to do what is ours to do.
    We are on our own from the start,
    Too concerned with surviving
    To have a chance at thriving.

    Those who can, must.
    Jesus did,
    And the Buddha.
    The list is long of those who took what they had
    And made it work.
    Who found their life and lived it,
    With what help there was at hand.
    We all have the opportunity
    To do what can be done
    With the resources available to us.
    Life reaching for life.

  22. 03/07/2016 — Indian Land Sunrise 01— Indian Land, South Carolina, March 7, 2016

    You can set the time for going to bed,
    But not for going to sleep.
    You can decide what you will do to pay the bills,
    But not what it will take to feed your soul.

    The important things are out of our hands.
    In whose hands are WE is the question?
    Whom do we trust with the deep matters of life and being?
    There is much that we are unconscious of
    And must rely on
    To find our way to meaning, purpose and value.

    The Inner World is the source of vitality and direction.
    Why we dismiss it and grant it no place in our life
    Can only be explained in terms of abject,
    prideful,
    arrogant,
    willful,

  23. 03/08/2016 — Pike Nursery 07 — Charlotte, North Carolina, March 3, 2016

    The way to make really good soup
    Is to make a lot of bad soup mindfully.
    Mistakes are the price of competence.
    No one ever gained competence by watching the master do it.
    Competence comes from doing it
    Mindfully aware of what we are doing,
    And unafraid of making mistakes.
    The way the master does it is just the way the master does it,
    And to do it exactly that way
    Is to lose the grace, beauty and wonder
    Of all the ways innovation,
    creativity,
    imagination,
    invention
    and playfulness
    could open before us.

    The disciples must be like the master
    In following no master,
    And laughing their way to enlightenment.
    Living to do everything by the book
    And precisely right
    All the way
    Takes the life out of living
    And the joy out of being alive.

  24. 03/08/2016 — Goodale 2015 40 B&W — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    “One thing I can tell you is you got to be free!”
    John Lennon was right about a lot of things.
    This is at the top of that list.

    But freedom is betrayed and wasted
    If it is not spent entirely in the service of self-determination.
    We are free to be who we are.

    If we aren’t interested in pursuing the life that is ours to live
    And living it,
    We may as well be enslaved to some ruler’s dictates,
    Or shackled in some dark dungeon
    For all the good our “freedom” is doing us.

    The freedom to do as we please
    Is just another form of bondage
    To our own fears and desires
    And offers no hope or meaning
    In our frenzied quest for entertaining pleasures.

  25. 03/09/2016 — Campbell’s Nursery 07 — Charlotte, North Carolina, March 3, 2016

    We are responsible for separating ourselves
    enough from the noise of life
    To engage the silence necessary
    for awareness and reflection to occur
    In order to find the center—
    Eliot’s “still point of the turning world”—
    And live out of that foundation,
    Letting our life fall into place around it.

    Knowing what is central to us, for us,
    Is the knowing that only we can know.
    No one can tell us what that is.
    We find it, know it, for ourselves.
    We keep waiting for someone to tell us
    What is ours to do.

  26. 03/09/2016 — Campbell’s Nursery 05 — Charlotte, North Carolina, March 3, 2016

    The Christian church talks about worship
    as though worship can be scripted, planned.
    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Worship is the spontaneous response of the worshiper
    To an encounter with the Numen within or without.
    You can have prayers of intercession,
    confession,
    praise,
    thanksgiving
    and petition,
    three hymns,
    a sermon,
    an anthem
    children’s handbells,
    and an offering but.
    All of it together doesn’t
    equal the impact of a lone goose
    or a flock,
    winging their way through a cold morning fog
    to an undisclosed destination,
    as they have done for ages past counting,
    and we stand bowed by tears of wonder
    for no apparent reason.
    You can’t package that,
    or design it,
    or turn it over to some team to produce,
    once on Wednesday and three times on Sunday,
    every week of the year.

  27. 03/10/2016 — Pike’s Nursery 05 — The Koi Pond, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 3, 2016

    Everything goes on the table.
    All of the facts that make up our life
    And how we feel about them—which is another set of facts.
    Then we consider the table.

    This is the way things are
    and this is the way we feel about it.
    Now, what needs to be done about it?
    What needs to happen in light of every other thing?

    It may take a while, but.
    There is no more important task on the entire list of tasks
    (Which is, by the way, also on the table).
    In light of everything, what needs to happen?

    What we want to happen is just another fact on the table,
    And, “Just ’cause we want it doesn’t mean it (needs to be) so.”

    Start looking at your life as a collection of facts
    That needs to be prioritized
    From the standpoint of a perspective
    That takes all the facts into account,
    Even itself.

  28. And get to work.
  29. Used in Short Talks on Contradiction, etc., 03/11/2016 — Trout Lily 2016 01— Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 10, 2016

    Before consciousness, there were no dichotomies.
    No contradictions.
    No polarities.
    No opposites.
    There was only the way things were.

    Planets crashed into planets.
    Volcanoes erupted,
    Mountain ranges appeared and disappeared,
    Species’ appeared and disappeared…
    No one cried, rejoiced, lamented, celebrated.
    There was neither bad nor good,
    Right nor wrong.
    Then consciousness appeared
    With its obvious evolutionary advantages,
    And categories were created,
    Changing everything.

    But they weren’t there before we were.
    We made it all up,
    Distinctions,
    Preferences,
    Ideals,
    Ideologies,
    And said God did it.

    The arbitrary became absolute just like that.

  30. 03/11/2016 — Indian Land Sunrise 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 7, 2016

    Mindfulness is a full-time practice.

    Paying attention to the moment,
    Compassionately and non-judgmentally,
    Means being aware of what is happening within
    And how we are reacting to it,
    While being aware of what is happening
    in our external environment
    And how we are reacting to that.
    While being aware of what needs to happen,
    And what gifts we have that may be able to meet that need.

    This is far removed from having an agenda
    That we are seeking to impose upon our world.
    Or from seeing situations as things to exploit to our advantage.
    Or from being afraid of everything
    and how it might work to our disadvantage.

    Mindfulness engaged in with
    non-judgmental compassion
    Is far removed from how we live our life,
    And from how life is lived around us.
    Take up the practice and transform your world.

  31. 03/12/2016 — Crocus 2016 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 11, 2016

    Think of Karma as momentum.

    We live a certain way over a period of time,
    And build up momentum,
    Creating an environment that supports that momentum,
    That way of living,
    And producing a complex of interrelated
    Props, presumptions and expectations
    Which fuels the process that sustains our way with life,
    And keeps alternative possibilities from being entertained or explored.

    Momentum is the tendency of a body in motion to remain in motion,
    And of a body at rest to remain at rest.
    That’s karma for you.
    Think of the Tea Party and Donald Trump.
    Bad Karma.
    Think of the Buddha, Jesus and Lao Tzu.
    Good Karma.
    Think of you.
    While I think of me.

  32. 03/13/2016 — Pike Nursery 04 — Charlotte, North Carolina, March 3, 2016

    When something comes, something has to go.
    When something goes, something has to come.
    This is the Law of Compensation at work in our life.

    The challenge for us is to be conscious of the coming and going,
    And to accommodate ourselves to the rearrangement of our life
    To let come what’s coming
    And to let go what’s going.
    This is called putting ourselves in accord with our life.

    This is the Task of Life
    Through all of the stages of life.
    Other people will tell you it is something else,
    But, it is this.
    Adjustment and accommodation, Kid.
    Adjustment and accommodation.

  33. 03/14/2016 — Trout Lily 2016 05 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 12, 2016

    We have to call time out from time to time
    To reflect, recollect, regroup, recover and reorient ourselves.

    Too many people crashing my life with their agendas
    And timetables does me in.
    I have to escape, breathe, and remember who I am, what I’m about,
    And find my way back to the path with my name on it.

    We ebb and flow on the path like the tides on the sea.
    It is not one constant “Hallelujah, Now We Have It!” victory march.
    There is a lot of breathing, remembering and finding the thread
    (That would be Ariadne’s Thread)
    Again, along the way.

  34. 03/14/2016 — Practice 01 — Playing with Crocuses Using layer masking in Photoshop to create a montage of crocuses, Indian Land, SC, March 14, 2016

    Our life is our responsibility.
    No one can live it for us,
    Or tell us how to live it.
    And we pay a price to live it as it needs to be lived.

    Fathers and mothers pay a price to be the right kind of father and mother.
    The same thing holds true for all the roles we play.
    It isn’t easy often,
    Or fun often,
    But it is always necessary that we live it the way it needs to be lived
    That we do it (our life) the way it needs to be done.

    We have to monitor our frustration level,
    And our dejection level,
    And our fatigue level,
    And all the other levels,
    And keep an eye on our fluctuating state of being
    To avoid “flying off the handle,”
    And knee-jerk-reacting our way through whatever
    Has pushed our buttons one time too many.

    There is a life that needs us to live it
    Past all that would keep us from living it.
    Our commitment to the life that is ours to live
    Brings us back to the center of what is important,
    And grounds us in the work that is ours to do,
    Again and again.

  35. 03/15/2016 — Goodale 2015 41 B&W — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2015

    We each have to live our own life,
    Work our side of the street,
    Do it the way we determine it needs to be done.
    And the rest of us have to grant each of us
    The freedom to find our life and live it.
    We have to be accountable to the rest of us,
    And to ourselves
    We have to live in good faith with one another,
    And with ourselves.
    We have to be responsible for doing the work that needs us to do it.

    And if we are not?
    Everyone suffers.
    Our obligation to each other is to find our life and live it
    And to assist each other in that endeavor.
    To refuse to do it is anathema, an obscenity, a disgrace
    Beyond measure.
    When we abandon our destiny,
    We give up all hope,
    And drift alone through a Void of our own making

    So.
    When we feel like our life isn’t worth it,
    That our work isn’t working,
    That it is too hard,
    Or too unimportant,
    Or too useless to continue,
    We have to see that as another manifestation of the Cyclops
    Standing in our path,
    And get up and do the thing that needs us to do it.
    This is the heroic part of the Hero’s Journey,
    And is a recurring experience along the way.

  36. 03/15/2016 — Campbell’s Nursery 04 — Charlotte, North Carolina, March 3, 2016

    We are the Cyclops standing in our path
    Whom we have to slay,
    Again and again,
    On our way to the treasure.

    And, we are the Phoenix,
    Rising from our own ashes,
    Again and again,
    On the journey to the treasure.

    And, we are the treasure
    Hidden among a myriad
    Of dreams,
    agendas,
    goals,
    hopes,
    plans,
    aspirations,
    ambitions,
    desires,
    fears,
    fantasies,
    opportunities,
    possibilities,
    ideas,
    objectives,
    aims,
    intentions,
    purposes,
    ..

    We are,
    At once,
    Our best hope,
    And our worst enemy.
    How we work things out
    Tells the tale.

  37. 03/16/2016 — Woodlands Spring Panorama 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 15, 2016

    We are, at once, the Sovereign Lord of our life
    And its Liege Servant,
    Sworn to loyalty and devotion everlasting.

    We say what our life is and what it is not.
    And we are not free to say just anything
    To be flip and casual,
    Irreverent or unfaithful.

    Our relationship with our life
    Is to be the Holiest of Holies,
    Unrivaled and without parallel
    In the sphere of human experience.
    It is up to us
    To see that it is so.

  38. 03/17/2016 — Trout Lily 2016 06 C — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, SC, March 12, 2016

    Perspective shifts are the way to the truth and the life.
    We see things one way
    And then, something happens,
    And we see things another way.
    “I once was lost/But now am Found/Was blind/But now I see.”

    Nothing changes but the way we see things,
    And that changes everything.

    If you want to do something about the way things are,
    See your seeing.

    Nothing has the raw power of a perspective
    That takes itself into account.

  39. 03/17/2016 — Gethsemane Gardens & Nursery Poster — Greensboro, NC, March 17, 2016

    We have to mine our experience
    For the gold
    For the “treasure hard to find”
    Aware of the ease with which we
    Discount, discard, dismiss
    Our experiences, our gifts, our life
    Thinking nothing good can come of any of it.

    That’s what they said of Nazareth,
    And what the Nazarene warned against
    With his words about the stone the builders reject,
    And the pearl of great price.

    Our experiences, our gifts, and our life
    Are where the treasure is to be found.
    Joseph Campbell said
    It is our reflection on our experience
    That leads to new realizations.
    We find the gold by sifting through our experience,
    By experiencing our experience in light of ALL of our experience.

    We have to do the work of looking
    If we hope to be able to see.

  40. 03/18/2016 — Carolina Jasmine 03 — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 17, 2016

    Really good advice abounds,
    But,
    The value of any advice lies in the meaning
    It’s hearers ascribe to it.

    Interpretation and application are everything.
    The current best advice I have ever heard
    Comes from the Old Testament prophet Micah:
    “Do justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly with your God.”

    I think we all have different Gods
    That our highest value
    and the way in which we devote ourselves to it
    Are different for each of us.
    The idea that God could be
    homogenized,
    pasteurized,
    distilled,
    and refined
    into some Book of Doctrine’s definition
    is the height of blasphemy and sacrilege.

    “The Spirit is like the wind that blows where it will.”
    “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.”

    We are all responsible for walking humbly with our God
    and being eternally faithful to the God that is God
    by doing justice and loving kindness.
    because that is as close to God
    as even God can be.

  41. 03/19/2016 — Lake Crawford 13 HDR — Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina, December 13, 2015

    The cumulative weight of the life we have lived
    Is readily apparent in the life we are living.

    Ben Howland, men’s basketball head coach at Mississippi State, said,
    “One bad shot leads to more bad shots.”
    That’s karma for you.
    Our karma is good or bad,
    with us or against us,
    to the exact degree
    that we are on the side of our destiny,
    or working the other side of the street.

    Our karma shifts from bad to good
    as we take up the practice
    of aligning ourselves with our destiny
    by putting ourselves
    in accord with the life that is our life to live.

    We do that by applying ourselves to the process of:
    Introspection
    Reflection
    Connection
    Realization
    Implementation
    Repeated ad infinitum throughout the time left for living.

    The alternative is to keep taking bad shots.

  42. 03/19/2016 — Robert Frost’s line
    “Good fences make good neighbors,”
    Is an appropriation of the Old Testament commandment
    (One that didn’t make the Top Ten,
    But should have been Number One):
    “Thou Shalt Not Remove Thy Neighbor’s Landmark!”
    Which applies to all varieties of boundaries
    And to all varieties of people.

    It is another of the ideas that we have discarded,
    dismissed,

    The concept of a “good fence” is wasted on us.
    We don’t have any fences,
    and don’t know how to begin constructing them.

    We don’t know where we stop and our neighbor starts,
    and allow everyone to know our business,
    or let them tell us what our business should and shouldn’t be.
    It’s easier to go with the flow,
    Never mind that dead fish float with the current,
    and live fish swim against it.

    We have to find our boundaries,
    recover our landmarks,
    erect our fences,
    and build them solid and strong.
    We have to know what is good for us and what is not,
    what is right for us and what is not,
    what our work is and what it is not,
    what our side of the street is and what it is not,
    what our business is and what it is not,
    where we belong and where we do not,
    who we are and who we are not,
    and honor our boundaries
    and demand that they be honored
    by those who call themselves our neighbors,
    or friends and family.

  43. 03/19/2016 — Rural Route — York County, South Carolina, March 7, 2016

    Mine is the Hermeneutic Task,
    Seeing and saying and being Truth.
    The word comes from Hermes (Mercury),
    The Messenger of the Gods,
    the God of Interpretation,
    Meaning,
    Understanding,
    Right Seeing,
    Right Saying,
    Right Being.

    It all begins with,
    And hinges upon,
    Being transparent to oneself.
    It is not easy.
    I’ve never had a motive I fully understood,
    and the more you know about anything,
    the more you realize you don’t begin to know
    all there is to know about it.

    So knowing means that you know you don’t know,
    and will never get to the bottom of any of it,
    but must press on
    to discover what can be discovered
    in the time left for living.

    Now, that’s a job worth having!
    Knowing that you will never run out of work to do!
    I’m set for life!
    Beyond life!
    Forever!
    And there is not a moment to be wasted
    in the work to see, say and be Truth,
    the Whole Truth,
    and Nothing But The Truth—
    the work of being consciously human.

  44. Used in Short Talks on Good and Bad Religion 03/20/2016 — Goodale 2016 42 B&W — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 11, 2016

    Tell me now—
    Is the moon a white marble floating
    On a black velvet sea,
    Or not?
    What is the truth, here?
    Is it or isn’t it?
    Yes or no?
    Right or wrong?

    A culture that values
    “The facts, just the facts, ma’am,”
    Is hard pressed to find a place
    For feelings and metaphors.

    If it isn’t factual,
    It can’t be true.
    Even where religion reigns,
    Everything is “taken on faith”
    To be factual no matter how far removed
    From the laws of physics, logic and reason.

    To suggest that the ground of religion
    is metaphor and imagination
    is to commit the heresy of heresies,
    and to keep company with Satan himself,
    who is, of course, quite factual,
    actual,
    tangible and, hence,

    Well.
    Is the moon a white marble
    Floating on a black velvet sea,
    Or not?

  45. 03/21/2016 — Campbell’s Nursery 06 — Charlotte, North Carolina, March 3, 2016

    What would you suffer any hardship to do?

    That.

  46. 03/18/2016 — Peach Orchard Spring 02 — Panorama Springs Farms Orchards, Fort Mill, South Carolina, March 21, 2016

    We have to come to terms again and again
    with what we have done
    and what has been done to us.

    It has to be done again and again
    because it keeps coming around.
    Something reminds us and we remember
    because “the past is never past,”
    nor ever completely forgotten.

    Corporate prayers of confession
    and declarations of pardon do not suffice,
    for the ritual is the one we must carry out on our own
    each time the time comes around,
    saying to ourselves,
    “This is what I have done,
    and what has been done to me.
    I forgive us all!”

    The last line is the clincher.

    All the talk about God forgiving
    and Christ forgiving,
    misses the mark.
    I cannot be forgiven until I forgive me.
    And I cannot live with what has been done to me
    until I forgive those who did it.

    I cannot begin to come to terms with any of it
    until I carry out the requisite action from the heart—
    And I have to do it again and again,
    Because its time comes around again and again.

    The anguish,
    the agony,
    require repeated recognition,
    acknowledgement,
    and the words of forgiveness and grace.
    For as many times as there are times.

    And there are many.

  47. 03/22/2016 — Carolina Jasmine 08 — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 17, 2016

    We can do what is hard,
    Or we can do it the hard way.
    We seek smooth and easy,
    Soft and easy,
    Quick and easy.

    All leading to the hard way.

    The important things are all difficult.
    It is the difficulty that brings us forth.

    Joseph Campbell reminds us:
    “It took the Cyclops to bring out the hero in Ulysses.”
    Trials and ordeals, Kid. Trials and ordeals.

    The path to the Land of Promise,
    and the Treasure Hard to Find,
    winds through the heart of Gethsemane
    and across the face of Golgotha.

    “What a slippery slope this is!”
    “Like the Razor’s Edge!”
    Yet, opt for smooth and easy
    At your peril.

  48. 03/22/2016 — Lagoon’s End B&W — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, South Carolina, December 6, 2014
    Basketball players have to know
    the spot on the floor that is their spot—
    the place where they have
    the most confidence in putting up their shot.

    The entire court belongs to Steph Curry.
    He got range!
    Some people are that way.
    The rest of us have to be mindful
    of where our place on the floor is—
    of where we belong,
    And where we have no business being
    anywhere else.

    We have to know what is ours to do,
    And what is ours to leave for someone else.
    When and where would we say “Gimme the BALL!”
    And be right about it?
    What is our spot, our shot?

    Mexican cornbread is my spot.
    My shot.
    And pimento cheese.
    Steph Curry has nothing on me there.
    Where do you shine?

  49. 03/23/2016 — Indian Land Sunrise 03 Panorama Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 7, 2016

    Our life is a dialogue,
    a collaboration,
    between our brain’s left and right hemispheres.
    Right is feeling.
    Left is thinking.
    It takes the unique partnership of both
    to make it through the maze
    Of choices,
    possibilities,
    opportunities,
    responsibilities,
    values,
    limitations,
    aspirations, etc.
    that make up our life each day.

    We have to call meetings of the minds throughout the day.
    Our feeling mind must commune with our thinking mind,
    And vice versa.
    Look at the world.
    It’s a mess because our minds aren’t talking.
    They are at war.

    The Middle East and Africa feel it and do it.
    The US, Russia and parts of Europe think it and make it happen.
    It’s a crazy way to run a world.
    Or a life.

    Get your thinking and your feeling talking to each other.
    Throughout each day.
    Form the partnership.
    Change the game.

  50. 03/23/2016 — Pike’s Nursery 10 — The Koi Pond, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 4, 2016

    Do not measure yourself by your outcomes.
    Let your standard of success be
    the degree to which you incarnate
    your inner self
    your inner woman, or man
    in your life.

    Live to be who you are, and also are.
    To do what you love.
    To exhibit what you value.
    To bring forth your heart and soul
    and make them plain in what you do.

    To live like this
    requires the spiritual practices of
    mindfulness,
    silence,
    reflection,
    realization,
    self-transparency
    and good faith with ourselves and others—
    and asks us to be who all of the old masters were,
    in living at one with the core of our being.

  51. 03/23/2016 — Pine Cones — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 13, 2016

    Everything comes up from the core,
    from the bottomless well of life
    at the center of ourselves
    from what we refer to,
    dismissively and disparagingly,
    as our imagination.

    WE are the origin of all that is
    of all that is meaningful,
    at any rate.
    We credit God with all the good ideas,
    and ourselves with the bad ones,
    because it seems as though we are asking for it
    to say that we are the source of all that has meaning.

    We are the source of all that has meaning.
    We ascribe meaning, find order, make sense, declare value.
    And, if you say something is meaningful
    that doesn’t resonate with me,
    I’m likely to ignore it.
    And if it doesn’t resonate with any of us,
    we are likely to call you crazy,
    and give you a wide berth.

    Meaning isn’t private, though it is highly personal,
    and value is recognized across a broad bandwidth.
    We get it,
    because we are connected at the core.
    There are common bonds among us.
    We belong to one another,
    and find meaning in the communities we create.

    We are a wonder to behold.
    You would think we would
    spend more time being spellbound.

  52. 03/24/2016 — Blurred Barred Owl — McDowell Nature Center and Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 24, 2016

    We think with a magic stick
    and a crystal ball
    we could create a very good life.
    You could look it up.
    All of the fairy tales
    and folks tales
    and myths of lore
    have people tromping around
    in search of magic wands and spells,
    wizards and witches,
    genies and leprechauns
    to give them a magical boost
    into “the land of gentle breezes
    where the peaceful waters flow.”

    Anything to take our minds off
    the dreadful reality of life as it is!

    All of the old masters,
    male and female,
    knew that we change our circumstances
    by changing our perspective,
    and aligning ourselves
    with the Self at the center of ourselves.
    The Buddha did that,
    the Christ did that,
    Joan of Arc did that…

    “We are all we have.
    We are all we need.”
    The football rallying chant
    needs to be interpreted on a personal level.
    The “We” is the individual and his/her Deep Self.
    When we establish the connection
    with our Deep Self,
    and live out of it,
    magic happens.
    That’s the only way it does.

  53. 03/25/2016 — McDowell Barred Owl 01 — McDowell Nature Center and Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 24, 2016

    When you get the What in place,
    the Why
    and the How
    will take care of themselves
    (Along with the When and Where).
    We think we have to get the Why
    and the How (When and Where) in place first.
    We want to know
    Why we would do
    everything before we do it.
    And How
    (When and Where).
    Once we know Why and How (When and Where),
    then we will consider What.
    So we cast about,
    lost and depressed,
    miserable and forlorn,
    because we are looking
    ceaselessly for Why and How
    (When and Where) —
    and constantly tossing What aside.
    Always asking What to prove itself.
    Demanding that What justify its existence,
    Demonstrate its worth and value.

    “Why should I do THAT?”
    “How am I supposed to do THAT?”
    (“When do I have time in my life for THAT?”)
    (Where am I going to do THAT?”)
    Are the wrong questions.

    We are looking for What you need to do
    That is so compelling
    You will ignore every Why and How
    (When and Where)
    In order to do it.

    It doesn’t matter Why.
    However it takes
    (Whenever you can)
    (Wherever you are).

  54. 03/25/2016 — McDowell Barred Owl 01 Detail — McDowell Nature Center & Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, March 24, 2016

    Know what your work is and do it.
    Your work is ongoing, unending.
    You don’t get it done,
    and you don’t retire.
    Your work is your life.
    Your life is your work.
    As you live your life,
    you do your work.
    Your work is who you are,
    what you are about.
    It expresses you
    And pulls you forth.
    Your work
    Is to find your work
    and do it.

  55. 03/25/2016 — Bloodroot 2016 01 — McDowell Nature Center & Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte, NC, March 24, 2016

    The way you approach the natural world
    determines whether it will reveal itself
    or conceal itself.

    When I’m taking wildflower photos,
    I have to point them out to many of the people
    who walk the trails
    and ask me what I’m doing “down on the ground.”

    “Being in nature”
    is not “being with nature”
    And not seeing a thing.

    Mindfulness leads the way
    Everywhere we go.
    The work is always to see what we look at,
    And to look at every single thing.

    Not that I’m Mr. Never Miss Anything Ever.
    A group of bird watchers
    showed me the first Barred Owl I’d ever seen,
    perched on a branch at eye level
    15 feet off the path I walked.

    It was an epiphany,
    and stays with me as a reminder
    to see what I am seeing
    and what I am not seeing.
    We all need to be reminded.
    And we all need to do it.
    Every day.