12/04/2016 – 01/28/2017

 

  1. 12/04/2016 — Around Bass Lake 2016 22 Panorama—Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016
    Mindfulness is integrity.
    Integrity is impact.
    When we live mindfully,
    we integrate action with awareness–
    the foundation of transcendence and transformation.
    No superhero can do more.
    We think impact is being smart, crafty, slick and sly–
    playing our cards right,
    and shinning brightly for all to see
    Impact is seeing what needs to be done
    down to the smallest details
    and doing it with the gifts that are ours to offer
    in each situation as it arises,
    day in and day out,
    through all the times and places,
    conditions and circumstances,
    of our life.
    Impact is cumulative,
    not episodic.
    It builds up over time.
    It is karmic,
    gathering around us,
    characteristic of us,
    as the overriding quality
    of our body of work,
    of who we are,
    of who we show ourselves to be,
    in rising to the occasion
    on every occasion,
    and offering there what is needed
    for the good of the whole.
  2. 12/04/2016 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 17 Panorama—Indian Land, South Carolina, November 15, 2016
    Gratitude requires us to live in ways
    that deepen and expand the possibility
    and capacity of everyone to be grateful.
    It requires us to live in the service
    of giving people reasons to be grateful.
    Don’t think you’ve done anything
    when you tell someone to be grateful!
    Live to make others grateful
    to have you in their life!
    Live to be a reason for gratitude
    in the lives of others!
    Don’t tell people to be thankful!
    Live with them in ways that leave them no choice in the matter!
    That’s passing it on.
  3. 12/05/2016 — Goodale 2016 12/13 Panorama—Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 7, 2016
    We live against a backdrop
    of uncertainty, insecurity, instability,
    and have to make our peace with it,
    trusting ourselves to rise to the occasion
    and make the fitting response
    no matter what manifestation of the Cyclops
    stands in our path.
    We have to be secure in ourselves,
    grounded on the truth of our identity,
    who we are, what our business is,
    and what qualities have highest value for us
    that we live to exhibit
    in every circumstance of life.
    Centered on that foundation,
    we have what it takes to face what faces us,
    and to find what we need to do what is needed
    in each situation as it arises.
    This is called being unshakeable in ourselves.
    It is the key to life upon the heaving waves
    of the wine-dark sea:
    ”And when the sea has shaken my raft to pieces,
    then I will swim!”
  4. 12/05/2016 — Lake Crandal 2016 11 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 8, 2016
    Without us, there are no sacred places.
    Human beings set places apart
    as being sacred and special to human beings.
    Birds poop all over them.
    As do elephants and grizzly bears.
    Toilets are everywhere to birds, elephants and grizzlies.
    Only a human being
    would think of never desecrating a place
    she, or he, had designated as a place holy unto her, unto him.
    We walk through the world setting places apart,
    yet, there are no unholy places for eyes that see.
    Eyes that see into the heart of things,
    sees holiness everywhere.
    But holiness is, like beauty, in the eyes of the beholder.
    And if we don’t see holiness, or beauty, anywhere,
    that, too, is an aspect of the seer, not the seen.
    We project onto the world
    what we are capable of perceiving about the world.
    The world reflects our projection back to us,
    and shows us our soul.
    When we look,
    we see the holiness, and the beauty, of our own soul,
    calling us to sit for a while
    and absorb the wonder of being alive
    in the time and place of our living.
    Or not.
  5. 12/06/2016 — Around Price Lake 2016 12 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016
    We think it is about having our way
    and getting what we want.
    It is about coming to terms
    with what we have
    and living within the context and circumstances
    of our life
    in ways that are true
    to the truth of how things are
    and who we are,
    so that the life we live
    is an authentic expression
    of the best we have to offer
    in each situation as it arises
    with no denial or pretension
    anywhere to be found,
    but with grace and compassion
    for what is happening
    and what is to be done about it
    through all of the times and places
    of our living.
  6. 12/06/2016 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 9/10 Panorama—Union County, South Carolina, November 18, 2016
    When the center of society and culture fails to hold
    it is left to individuals to devote themselves
    to the care and maintenance of their relationship
    with their own center of heart and soul.
    We have to be clear about our identity,
    about who we are and what our business is,
    about what is the grounding foundation
    of our life–
    what we believe to be of highest value,
    what we can trust ourselves to with unshakeable conviction,
    what we live to do,
    who we live to be,
    what matters most
    and has our highest loyalty,
    our deepest devotion.
    Mindful awareness,
    compassion
    and unwavering service to heart and soul
    compose my Holy Trinity,
    are the grounding foundation of my life.
    You best be finding your way
    to your own ground and foundation.
    You’ll need it
    when that other center fails to hold.
  7. 12/07/2016 — Lake Haigler 2016 01 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 11, 2016
    When Jesus says, at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount,
    “Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets,
    I have not come to abolish, but to fulfill,”
    he is not talking about the letter of the Law or the Prophets,
    but the spirit of both.
    He spends the rest of the Sermon on the Mount
    abolishing the letter of both Law and Prophets,
    and, hence, throwing out the Bible of his day
    (which is the thing to do with all Bibles of every day),
    with his “You have heard it said, but I say unto you.”
    However, his words, and his life, clearly express his vital interest
    in the spirit at the heart of all spiritual works,
    and so, he can say, “I tell you that heaven and earth may pass away,
    but not a jot, not one iota, will pass from the Law or Prophets until all is accomplished.”
    That is to say, the spirit and heart of Law and Prophets are the foundation of life,
    and will outlast everything.
    That spirit and heart were the very ground of Jesus’ life:
    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
    “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
    “Love your enemies.”
    “In as much as you have done it, or not done it, to the least of my brothers and sisters,
    you have done it, or not done it, to me.”
    And my personal favorite:
    “Why don’t you decide for yourselves what is right—
    and be right about it?”
    That’s the essence of spirituality in every religion—
    being what the situation needs us to be
    with the gifts that are ours to give,
    regardless of what the Law or the Prophets
    would have us do,
    is exactly, precisely, what the Law and the Prophets
    would have us do!
  8. 12/07/2016 — November Orchard 2016 04 — Springs Farm, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, SC, November 17, 2016
    ”Sit quietly,” said the Buddha, “Wait it out.
    And when the time for acting comes upon you,

    Or words to that effect.
    When waiting,
    we tend to forget the acting part.
    And, when acting,
    we tend to forget the waiting part.
    More importantly,
    we forget the importance
    of knowing what time it is.
    It is time to wait,
    or is it time to act?
    It’s always time for something.
    Knowing what,
    and what not,
    is crucial knowing.
  9. 12/08/2016 — Lake Crandal 2016 13/14/15 Panorama—Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 8, 2016
    What are you most afraid of?
    The Buddha was afraid of suffering,
    and went to great lengths to avoid it,
    eventually declaring himself–
    or The Self–
    to be an illusion,
    and suffering along with it:
    No Self, No Suffering,
    it’s only apparent, not real.
    That’s one way to do it.
    Alcoholics do much the same thing.
    Nothing is real as long as you’re drunk.
    All they need is a drunk that never ends.
    What is your deepest fear?
    How do you deal with it?
    I recommend recognizing our fear
    as one of the many manifestations of the Cyclops
    blocking our path
    (Others are desire/greed, duty/responsibility, hatred/jealousy/envy).
    in a “That, too. That, too.” kind of way.
    And staying on the path.
    Whatever the distraction,
    come back to the path.
    Holding everything in awareness,
    we maintain our focus
    on remaining true to ourselves
    in every condition and circumstance of life,
    living with the moment,
    in the situation of the moment,
    as only we can do it,
    for the good of the whole.
    Nothing can take away our ability
    to respond to it
    mindfully, with grace and compassion,
    courage and imagination,
    curious as to how we might deal with this
    in ways that are good for all.
    What are you afraid of?
    Find your center and foundation,
    and stay on the path.
  10. 12/08/2016 — Congaree 2016 07 — Congaree National Park, Hopkins, South Carolina, November 7, 2016
    Nothing can happen to us
    that we cannot deny–
    or hold in mindful awareness.
    Of the two,
    which do you choose?
  11. 12/08/2016 — Ginkos 2016 01 Panorama—Ballantyne Commons, Charlotte, NC, December 8, 2016
    The more we believe something
    the truer it becomes for us.
    Our beliefs have a self-validating aspect
    which bears them out in our life,
    and their reality becomes plainly evident to us over time.
    This is the foundation of all superstitions.
    We begin with the belief that
    wearing the sock with the hole in the heel
    brings good fortune our way,
    and things happen to prove we are right–
    and you couldn’t buy that sock for $20.
    This is the way belief works.
    That being the case,
    we would be smart to believe things
    that will have a valuable impact for good in our life.
    For instance,
    we might believe that what we do matters–
    that how we live is the most important thing.
    We might believe that how well we treat others
    creates lasting change for good in their life.
    We might believe that there are no throw-away moments,
    that every occasion is the swing point
    for every occasion that flows from it.
    You get the idea.
    We live like our life carries weight,
    has significance,
    impacts the lives of others for good,
    transforms the world.
    If you are going to believe anything,
    believe that–
    and live as though it is so!
    BOOM!
    Like that,
    nothing is what it would have been
    if you had not believed it
    and lived it out in the world.
  12. 12/09/2016 — Ginkgos 2016 03 Panorama—Ballantyne Commons, Charlotte, NC, December 8, 2016
    How long can you tread water?
    Hold your breath?
    Maintain your perspective, attitude, balance, direction?
    Live beyond the bounds of encouragement
    and sustaining evidence of the value
    of what you are doing?
    How well can you live,
    and go on living,
    when it doesn’t matter how you live?
    Your personal best in these things
    may be put to the test.
    Everything—every good thing—about you
    may be put to the test.
    The test is the strength of our connection–
    our relationship–
    with our heart and soul–
    with the ground, center and foundation of our life.
    We all have to be nurturing that connection–
    that relationship.
    It is only a matter of time
    until we will have to live solely from
    the still point
    at the heart of each of us.
    We have to go there often,
    and know the place well.
    When every foundation
    we thought we had in place dissolves
    like sand castles before the tide,
    only the core will hold.
    We have to know what that is
    and how to find it,
    in order to live out of it
    through the long emptiness
    between the last Good Time
    and the next one.
    Those who know what it means to say
    “Mindfulness leads the way”
    will have—and become–
    a light in the darkness,
    which will make all the difference.
  13. 12/09/2016 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 11 — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 13, 2016
    We are surrounded by resources
    in the form of people, books, videos
    and an inner wealth of savvy
    tucked away in our unconscious–
    all waiting for us to help them help us.
    We have to give the signal.
    And we have to mean it.
    Help comes to us from places
    we would never expect,
    and there is always the danger
    that we will dismiss it
    because it is not the kind of help
    we are looking for.
    “Meaning it” means being open to
    and ready for,
    the help that comes our way,
    trusting ourselves to the invisible world,
    and doing the work that is required of us
    in bringing ourselves forth
    into the life we are living.
    Yes, here!
    Yes, now!
    But,
    that can mean waiting.
    When the time for waiting is upon us,
    we wait.
    When the time for acting is upon us,
    we act.
    Sensitivity to what is it time for, here and now,
    brings us to awareness
    of the peculiar urgency of the time that is at hand.
    It a felt sense of “This, Now!”
    Responding appropriately to it
    is one way we help the invisible forces help us.
    Believing that they are real is another.
  14. 12/10/2016 — Goodale 2016 02 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 7, 2016
    Jeremy Taylor said, “Dreams do not come to flatter and support
    the world-view of the dreamer.”
    but to startle and awaken–
    to call the dreamer to see, hear, understand,
    and to move from a life of self-deception
    to a life of authenticity and integrity
    in accord with her, with his, deepest values, truth and gifts.
    Every dream is on our side in this sense,
    and diametrically opposed to our propensity
    to settle for too little,
    to sell out for the appearance of soft and easy.
    Our place is to heed well the warnings
    and to take up the work of aligning ourselves
    with ourselves
    and living the life that was prepared for us
    before we were born.
    It starts with believing this is how it is.
    It can only be seen
    by those who believe it is so.
  15. 12/10/2016 — Lake Haigler 2016 50 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2016
    The sacred and the profane
    are not polarities,
    but perspectives.
    Our perception is enlarged, deepened, expanded
    by a perspective
    that takes everything into account,
    including itself.
    Sacred and profane
    are present in every moment,
    in each situation,
    as optical options–
    the facing silhouettes or the champagne glass,
    the old hag or the young girl–
    that are held in awareness
    but seen in turn,
    in a one way or the other,
    now you see it, now you don’t,
    fashion
    by eyes that are capable of perceiving
    both/and,
    not either/or.
    The sacred and the profane
    exist together before us in all times and places.
    What we see depends on how we look.
  16. 12/10/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 2015 65 — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 4, 2015
    Getting our own feet under us
    and standing on them
    can be a hard thing to do.
    We all have to find our own way,
    which, of course, is true at every point.
    The “what” is easy, or relatively so,
    the “how” is another story.
    And so, we pick ourselves up again a lot,
    and get back on the path,
    for another round of what needs to be done.
    That’s the Hero’s Journey in a nutshell.
  17. 12/11/2016 — Lake Crandal 16/17 Panorama—Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 8, 2016
    Racism comes from our own fear and insecurity,
    our own self-doubt,
    our own frailty and fragility.
    Racists are bullies who have to push someone around–
    who can only be Someone at someone’s expense,
    who need someone to be superior over
    to compensate for their own feelings of inferiority.
    When racists look in the mirror,
    they cannot see who is looking back.
    Racists are in complete denial about their own reality,
    and cannot perceive anyone else’s reality.
    Racists live in an unreal world,
    and buoy themselves up
    with talk of how evil everyone not like them is.
    Racists call themselves
    ”white supremacists” or “the Alt-Right”
    as yet another way
    of not seeing and not saying who they are.
    They carry guns because they are afraid.
    They kill people they are afraid of.
    They are afraid.
    And they hate what they fear.
    They hate what they are afraid of.
    In order to live beyond their racism,
    they have to grow up.
    Come to terms with the truth
    of their own self-deception,
    and take their chances
    with the people they have feared and hated.
  18. 12/11/2016 — Grandfather Mountain 2016 16 — Grandfather Mountain State Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Banner Elk, North Carolina, October 17, 2016
    ”The world is too much with us, late and soon…”
    Old and young,
    we need a place safe from the reach of the world.
    Sports provides that for a lot of people.
    ”We are safe between the lines,”
    applies to football, baseball, basketball, softball, soccer, tennis, badminton…
    and helps us survive by keeping the world at bay
    while we develop the skills to engage the world
    without being swept away.
    Nature is another refuge.
    Art, literature, poetry, music and standup comedy are others.
    We have to find our retreats and sanctuaries–
    our places of recovery and renewal–
    ”late and soon,”
    old and young.
  19. 12/12/2016 — Providence Cemetery 2016 04 Panorama—Providence Presbyterian Church (est. 1767), Matthews/Charlotte, North Carolina, December 11, 2016
    What we do is what we believe.
    Our creed is our life.
    All the talk is just for show.
    We are what we do.
    If you tell me what you believe,
    I’m going to ask you
    how that is reflected in the way you live your life,
    and how it is concealed.
    ”Facts are stubborn things” (Sen. John McCain).
    Ruthlessly examine your life
    for evidence of what you believe
    and then talk about that,
    and only that.
  20. 12/12/2016 — Providence Cemetery 2016 02 Panorama—Providence Presbyterian Church (est. 1767), Matthews/Charlotte, North Carolina, December 11, 2016
    Facts are actuality,

    A gun is a fact,
    And an explosive vest,
    carried or worn by someone who thinks
    his, or her, ideology/theology/creed/beliefs
    is/are grounded on facts
    as factual as his/her gun or vest is factual.
    But God and Allah are not facts.
    Not one of the multitude of Buddhist realms is factual.
    The Hindu gods and goddesses are not facts,
    and cannot even spit on a fact,
    much less cause it to ignite in an exiting burst of flame.
    Facts are always being confused with fantasy–
    and fancy–
    and step forth fully clothed
    and ready to be christened Undeniable Truth
    from inference, assumption, presumption, conjecture, speculation, rumor, supposition, hearsay, surmises, theories and opinions.
    And when a real fact comes along,
    no one cares to acknowledge its existence—
    and refers to it as a Liberal Conspiracy
    (as in global warming)
    and Atheistic Balderdash
    (as in evolution).
    It is a wonder we have made it this far as a species,
    considering that we cannot agree among ourselves
    about what a fact is,
    and is not.

  21. 12/13/2016 — Lake Haigler 2016 29 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 18, 2016
    Compassionate mindfulness holds everything in awareness,
    and seeing everything–
    including the all-ness of each thing–
    transforms what is seen,
    and puts us in accord with it,
    and it with us,
    so that we live reconciled to our lot in life,
    and things go smoothly with us,
    regardless of the context, circumstances and conditions of our life,
    as long as things are held in awareness.
    Seeing partially is as bad as,
    and perhaps worse than,
    not seeing at all.
    If we are going to see at all,
    we have to see impartially and completely,
    wholly, fully, entirely,
    all that is to be seen,
    and see where that goes.
  22. 12/13/2016 — Boone Fork 2016 02 Panorama—Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016
    How will we live our life from this point on?
    What will we do with the time given to us?
    I recommend that we do more of what we like to do,
    and less of what we don’t like to do–
    to the extent that we can get away with it.
    We need to recognize the need to strike a healthy balance,
    and work pleasing our deepest self into the equation.
    Our deepest self–
    our psyche/soul–
    seems to be content with simple pleasures.
    Why withhold them?
    Why deny ourselves a moon lit walk along the beach,
    or a stroll through rain-soaked woods?
    You have your own list–
    I know you do.
    Consult it frequently.
    Add to it often.
    And work it into your life,
    into what is left of the time you have been given.
    And do everything you do
    with compassionate mindfulness
    that holds each thing in its all-ness
    in the scope of your awareness,
    and is glad for the gifts of life.
  23. 12/13/2016 — Around Price Lake 2016 24 Panorama—Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016
    At any point in our life,
    what’s done is done.
    We can regret that it wasn’t done better, but.
    However shameful, regretful and bad it was,
    here we are.
    Now what?
    The root of tomorrow’s right
    is grounded in yesterday’s wrong.
    We stand between yesterday and tomorrow,
    and commit ourselves to the
    choices, decisions and actions
    that will redeem what can be redeemed
    and do what can be done
    to make things better than they would ever be without us.
    Each day, we stand between yesterday and tomorrow
    and make the same commitment–
    to live in ways that make things better than they would ever be without us.
    To live in ways that make each day better than the last one.
    To live to make ourselves a better person–
    more mindfully aware,
    more transparent to ourselves,
    more authentic and genuine,
    more at one with our deepest, best, self–
    better at what we do and at how we do it
    than we ever have been.
    Each day we live to be better at how we do a day
    than we have ever been.
    There is nothing wrong with this
    as a plan for the rest of your life.
    But, if you can do better, have at it!
  24. 12/14/2016 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 04 — Union County, North Carolina, November 18, 2016
    We can ignore a fact,
    deny a fact,
    accuse a fact of being anything but a fact,
    have nothing to do with a fact–
    or any of its children and step-children and distant cousins–
    shun it to the back rooms,
    toss it in the burning barrel,
    ridicule it,
    hate it,
    berate it,
    condemn it,
    castigate it,
    humiliate it
    and all those who recognize and serve it,
    yet, the fact is still a fact,
    standing, still in our way,
    like some ancient, hungry, Cyclops,
    grinning,
  25. Used in Short Talks on Making America Great Again—12/15/2016 — Lake Crandal 2016 15 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 8, 2016
    We cannot see anything
    until we are able to look at everything.
    Our “blinders”
    (That would be our preferences, inferences, assumptions, false conclusions, opinions, biases, prejudices, leanings, penchants, dispositions and predispositions, etc.)
    keep us from seeing all there is to see
    about the things we think we see,
    and create a perspective that forms a perception
    and sets it firmly in place
    before we even look.
    We can gauge the degree of our “blindness”
    by exploring the questions
    we won’t allow ourselves to ask
    regarding the things we “know to be so”
    and are, therefore, beyond question, doubt, examination.
    ”Hell, Jim, this ain’t the way I SEE things!
    This is the way things ARE!”
    ”It’s people like you
    that make people like me
    hate people like you!”
    What we see depends entirely
    upon how we look–
    upon the lens
    (That would be all the things listed above as “blinders”)
    through which we look.
    We cannot hope to see
    until we see what governs our looking.
    Our vision is limited
    by what we can allow ourselves to see.
  26. 12/16/2016 — Lake Haigler 2016 14 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 10, 2016
    Our role is that of witness.
    We are here to see, hear, understand, know.
    This leads spontaneously
    to doing what needs to be done
    and to being who we are.
    As those who witness–
    as one who witnesses–
    we are mindfully, compassionately, aware
    of everything,
    internally and externally,
    including the all-ness of each thing.
    Anything that interferes with our focus,
    that breaks our concentration,
    that prevents us from carrying out our role
    and performing our duties as witness,
    needs to be witnessed,
    and brought into our awareness.
    Nothing can happen
    that we cannot hold in our awareness,
    that we cannot see, hear, understand, know
    and respond to in ways
    that are appropriate to the occasion
    and express who we are
    in that moment of our being.
    We learn to see by looking.
    We learn to hear by listening.
    We learn to understand by asking, seeking, knocking.
    We learn to know by reflecting on our experience.
    We learn to respond appropriately by trusting ourselves to ourselves
    and getting out of the way.
    We learn to be who we are by trusting ourselves to ourselves
    and getting out of the way.
    It’s so simple even a child can do it.
    Why don’t we do it?
  27. 12/17/2016 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 06 — Union County, North Carolina, November 18, 2016
    The Dalai Lama,
    the envoy and emissary of peace, compassion and non-violence par excellence,
    is protected by bodyguards who carry automatic weapons,
    and by a country with a large standing army
    and a nuclear arsenal–
    which he pays for with a regular remittance from the Buddhist treasury–
    which he reimburses from fees collected for speaking engagements
    and appearances emphasizing peace, compassion and non-violence.
    It is all wonderfully contradictory, antithetical and irreconcilable–
    just like the foundational principal of existence itself:
    Life Eats Life!
    Life Lives By Way Of Death!
    What sense does any of this make?
    If you are waiting for things to make sense,
    you are standing in the wrong line.
    This line doesn’t lead to sense,
    with everything all harmonized and reconciled,
    orchestrated and choreographed.
    It leads to the realization of mutually exclusive,
    diametrically opposed,
    polarities at every turn.
    Neti! Neti! (Not That! Not That!)
    Iti! Iti! (It Is Here! It Is Here!)
    This line leads to the realization
    that we walk two paths at the same time.
    We reconcile, integrate, amalgamate the opposites
    by holding them together
    in conscious, mindful, compassionate, awareness.
    We transcend either/or with both/and–
    and make it work
    in light of the true good of the whole.
    This is what we do.
    It is the essence of being human.
  28. 12/17/2016 — Around Price Lake 2016 10 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016. An art dealer tell me once told me, “Jim, your photos will never sell—they have too much blue in them, and rooms don’t need blue accents.” This one is for you, Alice.
    It is possible to love your life
    and live with compassionate regard
    for all living things
    regardless of your circumstances.
    It would not hurt to remember that
    from time to time
    throughout each day,
    and to remind one another of it.
  29. 12/17/2016 — Grandfather Mountain 2016 07 — Grandfather Mountain State Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Banner Elk, North Carolina, October 17, 2016
    ”Loose the bonds of wickedness!
    Let the oppressed go free!”
    The old Biblical call to action
    Is about to be back in vogue again.
    Two things are true:
    Things change.
    And nothing changes.
    ”Right forever on the scaffold–
    Wrong forever on the throne!”
    And so, it has come back around,
    the time to hear once more:
    ”Let justice roll down like waters,
    and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
    ”What is required but to do justice,
    love kindness,
    and walk humbly with your God?”
    In the times that are upon us
    it is imperative that we ground ourselves
    in our deepest meaning and purpose–
    in what is truest and best about us–
    that we find our life and live it
    even in these times.
    And, that we help others toward these same ends.
    We cannot let the headlines take our hope, and heart, and soul away,
    or rob of us of our destiny,
    or keep us from being mindfully, compassionately, aware
    of the moment of our living,
    and what is being asked of us there.
    We have much to do yet
    in the service of the good of the whole.
    The work is still plentiful,
    the laborers are still few.
    Things change,
    and nothing changes.
  30. 12/18/2016 — Blue Ridge Fall 2016 17 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016
    We owe it to ourselves to be who we are
    in each situation as it arises.
    Self-deception is the ground
    of all that is wrong in the world.
    Self-transparency is the beginning
    of the Great Awakening.
    When we stop kidding ourselves,
    fooling ourselves,
    telling ourselves what we want to hear,
    letting ourselves off the hook,
    we stop shooting ourselves in the foot
    and being our own worst enemy.
    And something new comes to life in our life.
    That would be us,
    born at last after all these years
    to finally be who we are.
  31. 12/18/2016 — Boone Fork 2016 06 Panorama—Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016
    We embrace our dichotomies,
    live our contradictions,
    and walk two paths at the same time–
    we live the life that is our life to live
    within the life we are living–
    we live out our destiny
    within the context and circumstances,
    the nature and conditions,
    that it is our fate to bear–
    by being mindfully, compassionately, aware
    of both paths at the same time on all levels of our existence.
    We walk this one, here and now,
    with the other one firmly in mind.
    In order to do that,
    we have to factor time for reflection and contemplation and realization
    into each day.
    We have to sit quietly,
    or drive quietly,
    or walk quietly,
    opening ourselves to the reality of our “setting in life,”
    of the all-ness of our “life situation”–
    and allowing our awareness to hold everything in solution,
    in suspension,
    as we wait for the way to appear before us
    and call us to action.
    Acting prematurely,
    because we cannot bear the tension,
    or stand the suspense,
    is to miss the calling
    and fail to do what is being asked of us,
    creating bad karma all around.
    Mindfulness leads the way.
    Trust your awareness to show you what needs to be done.
    Do not try to hurry things along,
    but allow yourself to see things as they are
    and be carried along with the flow–
    even when that means swimming against the current–
    into the string of moments unending
    and the unfolding of your life.
  32. 12/18/2016 — Providence Cemetery 2016 06 — Slave Cemetery, Providence Presbyterian Church, Charlotte (Matthews), North Carolina, December 11, 2016
    I should apologize for repeating myself so often,
    and would, if it weren’t for the fact that there is so little to say.
    The things I’m talking about hold true in all weather conditions
    (including those that climate change will throw at us),
    economic realities,
    political environments,
    physical states
    and geographical locations.
    They apply across all times and places,
    have always been so
    and will always be so.

    When I make the same point again,
    its because the point has been missed again and again
    by people who “have heard it before”
    and never grasped it,
    or put it into practice in their life.
    Mindfulness (which always implies compassion),
    Self-transparency,
    Reflection upon experience,
    Asking the questions that beg to be asked,
    Saying the things that cry out to be said,
    Attending the inner world,
    Seeking our destiny (the life that is our life to live),
    And living it out in the conditions fate has bestowed on us,
    Following our felt-sense of direction,
    Knowing what we know
    And trusting ourselves to it,
    Living with integrity (being who we are)
    In accord with the life that is our life to live (our destiny)…
    Getting these things down is having it made
    in the fullest sense of the term.
    And, I’ll say some version of this next time.

  33. 12/19/2016 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 07 — Union County, North Carolina, November 18, 2016
    Our work is to be who we are
    in every situation and circumstance of life–
    to respond as needed
    to everything that comes our way–
    to rise to every occasion
    and be who, and do what, the moment is asking us to be and to do.
    Who we are does not depend upon what happens to us.
    We are the constant amid the swirling whirl of chaos.
    We are “the still point of the turning world”–
    the calming presence upon the heaving waves of the wine-dark sea.
    Our focus is on our own heart/soul/self–
    on living out of our own center/ground/foundation
    in the midst of whatever is going on around us.
    Whatever is happening, or going to happen, or might happen
    is just what is happening, going to happen or might happen.
    We are going to be who we are,
    finding what needs to be done
    and doing it
    the way only we can do it
    in every situation and circumstance of life.
    What can prevent us from being who we are, where we are?
    What can keep us from responding appropriately to any occasion?
    What can stop us from gifting ourselves to the time and place of our living?
  34. 12/19/2016 — Around Price Lake 2016 19B—Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016 — This is a blended photograph, merging a closeup of the moon (which was full and in the picture) with the limbs, leaves and branches.
    How often are you “in character”?
    How often are you “out of character”?
    To what extent does the character/persona you display
    an accurate depiction of the Self you are at the deepest level?
    What do you know of the Self you are at the deepest level?
    How do you commune with that Self?
    How do you know when you are living in accord with that Self,
    and when you are “out of tune” with that Self?
    How do you got about getting back “in tune”?
    How often do you think about these things?
  35. 12/20/2016 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 08 — Union County, North Carolina, October 18, 2016
    We live in different Americas,
    divided at the core
    by different views of right and wrong,
    good and evil,
    sane and insane,
    us and them.
    We look at the same things
    and see different things
    because we see things differently.
    We are separated
    at the level of the heart
    by what we love and what we hate,
    what we do and what we cannot imagine doing.
    Our differences are too extreme to be “settled.”
    ”Coming together” means recognizing
    we will never be together,
    as in eye-to-eye,
    heart-to-heart,
    about anything that matters.

    We can live “together”
    in ways that respect and honor our separateness,
    and move away from the extremes
    toward the center by
    making allowances for our different ways
    of ascribing value.
    Abortion remains legal
    and we work diligently to make it unnecessary.
    Religious freedom does not infringe
    upon Constitutional rights,
    and each person is responsible only
    for his-or-her own life
    without intruding into–
    or treading upon–
    the lives of others.
    We take up the practice of compassionate mindfulness,
    holding everything in our awareness
    and allowing seeing-how-we-see-things
    to transform what is seen,
    enabling us to transcend the-way-we-have-always-seen
    in the service of the true good of the whole.
    It could work that way,
    but.
    It won’t work without good-faith commitment
    to the work of making it work
    on the part of everyone involved.
    “If you are not here with us in good faith,
    you are doing terrible damage” (Rumi).

  36. 12/20/2016 — November Orchard 2016 15 — Springs Farm, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill South Carolina, November 17, 2016
    No one can give us our attitude–
    that’s an inside job,
    and it is an expression of how well we meet the world.
    Noticing our attitude
    and holding it in our awareness
    is a good way to work the practice of compassionate mindfulness
    into our life every day.
    Just being aware of it
    will change it for the better.
    Mindfulness is magical that way.
  37. 12/21/2016 — The Hearth 2016 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, December 20, 2016
    We lose our focus,
    wander off the path,
    forget the way,
    drift through our life
    thinking, “This isn’t it,
    Maybe this is.
    Or that over there.”
    If individual Christians
    would stop believing in Christ,
    and start BEING Christ–
    not as Jesus was,
    but as only they can be
    in the place fate has put them–
    they would be focusing
    on living out the way
    before us,
    and be of great help
    in keeping us mindful of it
    and centered on it.
    But they lost the way themselves,
    and sold themselves out
    for a bowl of porridge
    or 30 pieces of silver–
    either way, it amounts to the same thing.
    They turned away from BEING Christ
    and took up talking about Christ.
    BlahBlahBlahHallelujahBlahBlahBlah
    and how many Christianities are there now?
    Every denomination and many churches within denominations
    have a different idea of Christ
    that they are pushing on the people.
    When did Christ ever push himself on anyone?
    ”If you don’t love me, you’re going to burn in hell forever!”
    Jesus simply said, and more importantly, DID, “I love you,”
    and left the people to do what they would with that.
    Christians have covered up the path
    with conflicting doctrines and dogmas and creeds
    (and some like to pride themselves on not having creeds,
    but they have hymnbooks–
    clandestine creeds set to music,
    if you can call it music),
    and we are left on our own,
    which is where it all begins.
    But one thing remains.
    Okay, two. No, three.
    The real Holy Trinity:

    Silence.
    And the Christ within,
    waiting to be expressed in our life
    within the place fate has put us.
    Be still.
    Sit quietly.
    Listen within.
    ”There is,” said Carl Jung,
    ”within each of us,
    another whom we do not know.”
    Meet the Christ within.
    Be the Christ you are.
    The path opens before you.
    The way beckons.
    You are back on the road again!

  38. 12/21/2016 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 07/08 Panorama—Union County, North Carolina, November 18, 2016
    Carl Jung said, near the end of his life, “Man himself is the source of all coming evil, and we know nothing of Man—we are woefully ignorant.”
    Jesus said, near the end of his life, “Father, forgive them—they don’t know what they are doing!”
    We don’t know who we are,
    and we don’t know what we are doing.
    You can’t get more ignorant than that.
    Ignorance has nothing to do with intelligence or education.
    Ignorance is the complete lack
    of mindful, compassionate, awareness.
    Ignorance is not knowing–
    who we are or what we are doing.
    We live all our life long,
    never knowing anything
    about the Christ
    (and, as Michael Gagliano would say
    the Buddha, the Krishna)
    within–
    or how to commune with and live to incarnate
    that living Other
    into our life in the place fate has put us.
    That is ignorance for you!
    We have what is left of our life
    to know the truth of who we are
    and express it
    in concretely compassionate ways.
  39. 12/22/2016 — Lake Crandal 2016 19 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, SC, November 18, 2016
    We cannot be free and safe.
    We can be free or we can be safe.
    The freer we are, the less safe we will be.
    The safer we are, the less free we will be.
    We have to work out the ratio
    to suit ourselves.
    We can build the wall
    to keep them out
    and keep ourselves safe,

    The wall we build becomes our prison
    keeping us in.
    Life is one trade-off after another.
    Life is also a bell-shaped,
    “normal distribution” curve.
    The extremes are reserved for those
    with no tolerance for ambiguity,
    uncertainty,
    complexity,
    contradiction,
    contrariety.
    The rest of us take our chances
    toward the center.

  40. 12/23/2016 — Flying South 2016 01 – This a blended photograph combining an image of the moon and an image of the geese silhouettes. December 23, 2016
    Jesus didn’t die for your sake or mine.
    Jesus died for the sake of his own integrity.
    His death on the cross was the ultimate refusal to sell out.
    He was true to himself–
    to his vision of the truth–
    all the way to the grave.
    His death was atoning and redemptive
    if we see it as the model for how to do it,
    and live to exhibit our own integrity
    in our life–
    in the place where fate has put us.
    We are to incarnate the truth
    of who we are at the core of our heart and soul,
    just as Jesus did.
    The result of that work
    is life at a level that cannot be reached
    any other way.
    It is life that our physical death cannot touch.
    When we live like that,
    we never die
    in the minds and hearts of those who know us,
    even though our bodies wear out
    and are “laid to rest.”
    The validity of this take on the “Gospel”
    is there for all of us to test out for ourselves.
    All it takes is the courage
    to find our life and live it.
    If you think I’m wrong,
    prove it.
    Live out of your own integrity
    and see what you think.
  41. 12/23/2016 — Lake Haigler 2016 21 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2016
    If you are going to believe in anything,
    believe in what you are doing.
    What you are doing has to flow forth
    from who you are.
    When we live well,
    our life is in sync
    with that which is deepest, truest and best about us.
    “The Father and I are one,”
    said Jesus.
    “When you look at me,
    you see the Father.”
    “The Father” has to be understood
    as the Numen at the center of ourselves–
    the numinous core of our life and being.
    When we are at one with the center, ground, and foundation
    of our life,
    we are one with ourselves,
    with our purpose,
    with our destiny,
    with that which means the most to us,
    and is who we are.
    The way we live our life–
    what we do–
    conceals or reveals,
    disguises or discloses–
    the truth we came to incarnate and express
    in the place fate has put us.
    Live the life you can believe in
    with all your heart.
    Live wholeheartedly in the service
    of that which is you–
    in a “Thy will, not mine, be done” kind of way.
    Everything falls into place around that.
  42. 12/24/2016 — Goodale 2016 14 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 7,2016
    Our symptoms say there is something
    inauthentic about us–
    probably an assortment of somethings.
    We are doing things that are Not Us,
    or we are not doing things that Are Us,
    or we refuse to grow up about
    having to do things that are Not Us
    or being unable to do things that Are Us.
    Growing up is putting ourselves in accord
    with the way things are
    in a “This is how things are
    and this is what can be done about it
    and that’s that” kind of way.
    Growing up is also seeing what we can get by with.
    It’s knowing when to take No for an answer,
    and when to do what needs to be done
    anyway, never the less, even so, no matter what.
    It is never settling for “keeping the peace”
    or “not making waves”
    or “not rocking the boat.”
    It’s knowing the right kind of waves to make
    and making them.
    It’s giving somebody else symptoms.
    We have symptoms
    because we won’t give somebody else symptoms.
    Symptoms suggest
    that we are refusing to pay the price
    of being authentic.
    Symptoms are the price
    of being inauthentic.
    Which price are we going to pay?
  43. 12/24/2016 — Carolina Thread Trail 13 Panorama — Access Trail from Walnut Creek, Indian Land, Lancaster County, South Carolina, November 19, 2016
    The Achilles heel of democracy
    is the maturity level of the people,
    and their degree of–
    and capacity for–
    self-discipline, self-sacrifice, wisdom, grace and compassion
    in the service of the good of the whole.
    When the people care more for their own good
    than for the good of the whole,
    democracy is a dream of a dream
    lost beyond recall
    amid the realities of the day’s demands
    for shelter and survival.
    The people who voted for Trump
    had no idea of the good of the whole in mind.
    They were venting their hatred and their rage
    at all those people not like they are:
    “To hell with the whole if it includes people
    like THEM!”
    Democracy is for people
    who are big enough–
    big-hearted enough–
    to set themselves aside
    for the sake of the whole.
    Who are mindfully mature and compassionate enough
    to see beyond their own provincial tendencies
    in respecting and honoring ways of life
    that are different, strange and foreign–
    and call them to grow in ways
    that welcome and make room for people
    who challenge and stretch their ideas of how people should be.
    Democracy languishes in the absence of people
    who can be who the Constitution expects them to be,
    calls them to be,
    requires them to be.
    Trump is proof that the people
    cannot be trusted with the good of the whole–
    or even the good of themselves.
    Democracy works only in the hands
    of the right kind of people.
  44. 12/24/2016 — Reelfoot Lake 2015 51/52 Panorama — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 4 2015
    A Christmas Prayer
    May the season of Christmastime and a new year’s beginning,
    the Winter Solstice and the sun’s return,
    ground you in the realization that our history
    is older than we are—
    for we come from the ages,
    and through the ages,
    and carry in our genes the stuff of an ancestry
    that has seen it all.
    May you and those you love be anchored
    in what is deepest, best and truest about each of you—
    and live in light of that core identity
    in serving the destiny that is yours to realize
    in the time and place that fate has placed you.
    May you live mindfully aware of all that is before you,
    and be compassionately present with all that is present with you
    for the good of the whole of which you are a part.
    May it be well with you in all of your coming and going
    through all the days of your life.
    May It Be So Always And Forever!
  45. 12/25/2016 — Lake Francis 2016 02 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 8, 2016
    We know when something “rings true”–
    and when it doesn’t.
    The rule is simple:
    Live toward what rings true,
    and away from from what doesn’t.
    We are seized by the things that speak to us,
    that call our name,
    that catch our eye,
    that attract us.
    The real Law Of Attraction
    has nothing to do
    with living so as to attract to yourself
    wealth, prosperity, success, good fortune, and high, happy times.
    It states simply:
    Move toward what attracts you,
    and away from what does not.
    And don’t kid yourself.
    You can create a life for yourself
    built around appetites and addiction.
    Sugar in all forms can be attractive.
    As can be sex, alcohol, tobacco and cocaine.
    Or, as Andy Capp would say,
    “Rye and little darlin’s.”
    In order to understand what I’m saying,
    you have to know what I mean.
    What things mean to us
    is entirely up to us.
    How we look
    determines what we see.
    And kidding ourselves is what we do best.
  46. 12/25/2016 — Sunset Christmas Eve 2016 04 Panorama– Charlotte, North Carolina, December 24, 2016, an iPhone photograph
    Practice taking the all-ness of the situation into account
    and seeing what needs to happen there
    in light of everything.
    The situation has its own rhythm,
    its own pace and timing,
    its own urgency.
    And it can speak to you
    out of its own need of you.
    To know this
    and practice it
    is to put yourself in accord
    with the Tao of the situation,
    and everything will fall into place
    around that.
  47. 12/26/2016 — Sunset Christmas Eve 2016 02 — Charlotte, North Carolina, December 24, 2016
    I can’t wait for America to be Great Again.
    How long is it going to take, I wonder.
    By when will it happen?
    When, exactly, will we be Great Again?
    I’ve never heard a time table mentioned.
    And, I’m a little concerned about how Great we can be
    if we don’t drain the swamp.
    But I’m sure Trump has all the angles figured.
    He’s certainly Great with figuring angles,
    and cutting corners,
    and doing what it takes to be Great in his own eyes.
    I’m confident he can apply that to running the country
    quickly back to Greatness.
    There is also a lack of precision to the term
    that bothers me.
    For whom, do you think, will it be Great?
    What’s Great for the lion
    is not-so-Great for the antelope.
    And what’s Great for the white supremacists
    and the Ku Klux Klan
    isn’t going to be great at all
    for black people,
    the LGBTQ population,
    immigrants,
    Latinos,
    the special needs population,
    women,
    the poor,
    homeless,
    and anybody who doesn’t measure up
    to the standards of those two groups.
    Could be it won’t be noticeably Great
    if you fall too much below the top 1%
    of the wealthiest people on earth.
    If you are at the 75% line or below
    it might not be so Great at all.
    Trump could have been clearer
    about making America Great Again for whom, by when.
    And his supporters could have asked more questions.
    Asking any question would have been Great.
    But, I hear they are going to hold his feet to the fire
    if he doesn’t come through for them.
    That would be Great.
    Though, it isn’t clear what that means either.
    What is going to be Great, for whom, by when?
    That’s what I want to know.
  48. 12/26/2016 — Ginkgos 2016 04–Ballantyne Commons, Charlotte, NC, December 8, 2016
    We have to live out of our own inner necessity–
    we have to do what we have to do,
    what is ours to do–
    in responding to the other, outer, necessity
    operating in each situation as it arises.
    What we have to do,
    what is ours to do,
    what we need to do
    what needs us to do it,
    meets a corresponding need
    arising in each situation that comes to meet us.
    The deepest need of the situation is met,
    you might say,
    by our deepest joy,
    although our deepest joy
    is not the euphoric joy of happy fans and players
    who just won the game of the year–
    it is the thing we are most glad to be able to do,
    the gift we best exemplify,
    what we do best,
    our soul’s “joy” that is ours to incarnate
    (though we might have an idea of something
    we wish we could do instead,
    and we are always having to get out of our own way
    to keep from imposing our wish for ourselves
    upon all of our situations).
    We live to perceive the situation as it is
    and respond to it as only we can,
    in serving the destiny that is ours to serve,
    within the situations that stand ready to be shaped
    by the meeting of their destiny and ours,
    with our shared destinies coming together
    to form a wonder beyond imagining,
    much less comprehending,
    perceiving,
    planning,
    imposing,
    producing
    and taking,
    or being given,
    credit for.
    Inner necessity grips us
    and compels us into the service
    of the good of the whole,
    and our role is simply to comply
    in a “Thy will, not mine, be done,” kind of way
    for the ages to wonder about and thrill over,
    and to emulate in their own way
    for the wonder and thrill of ages beyond them.
    May it be so for each one of us
    in the times and places of our living
    for as long as we are alive!
  49. 12/26/2016 — Around Price Lake 2016 31 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016
    Pay attention here. Read through this until you become one with it. It is the bedrock of the spiritual understanding of reality–which Alan Watts described as an ink blot.
    Joseph Campbell, in talking about the I Ching (The Book of Changes) which he describes as “an encyclopedia of oracles,” said “The method of divining is to cast 49 yarrow sticks six times to construct a (hexagram), after which a reference to the encyclopedia yields the prognostication.
    “The seeker is supposed to look for some sort of correspondence between (the prognostication) and his/her own case. The method of thought throughout being that of a broadly flung association of ideas.
    “One has to feel, not think, one’s way into these secrets, letting each symbol grow into a cosmos of associated themes.”
    In other words, we listen for what we are saying to ourselves about our situation by reading our situation into–or projecting it onto–the oracle’s prognostication.
    This is how a horoscope “works,” or a fortune cookie, or dream interpretation. We “read” the oracle out of our own experience, and make associations that “tell us” what we need to hear.
    We are reading our own mind.
    Talking to ourselves.
    Communing with the ‘in here” by seeing it “out there.”
    Our life is an ink blot!
    Read the events and circumstances the way you would “read” a dream.
    Look at your life as though it were your dream from last night,
    And ask yourself, “If this were my dream, what would I make of it?”
    And, “What do I keep saying to myself that I am not hearing?”
    And, “What am I being shown, and/or asked to do, that I am ignoring?”
    Perception is a matter of taking up the practice of continually adjusting our perspective by way of reflection and contemplation.
  50. 12/26/2016 — Cotton in the Field 2016 01-C — Indian Land, Lancaster County, South Carolina, October 12, 2016
    If you are going to believe anything–
    and surely you are,
    we have absolutely no choice in the matter–
    believe the things that help you live your life!
    Believe that your life is worth living,
    and that you have an internal guidance mechanism
    that can be counted on to help you find the life
    that only you can live and live it.
    Believe what you believe consciously, mindfully.
    Believe that mindfulness is the single most important practice
    you can devote yourself to–
    and devote yourself to it with all your heart, and mind, and soul, and strength.
    Believe that trials and ordeals
    are an unavoidable aspect of life in the world,
    and will grow us up, and bring us forth,
    if we respond to them as things that are ours to deal with
    and do what needs to be done about them
    without allowing them to distract us
    from the life that is ours to live.
    Believe that you have a center, a ground, a foundation, a bedrock, a lodestar
    that is ever-present and always available
    as a comfort, guide, companion, friend and source of infinite capacities–
    everything we need to find what we need
    to be who we are, where we are, how we are,
    and do what is ours to do
    in the time and place of our living.
    Live as though all of this is true–
    and it will be!
  51. 12/27/2016 — Around Bass Lake 2016 19 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016
    What do you pay the bills in order to do?
    Live, right?
    What do you live to do?
    Pay the bills, right?
    If this is anywhere close to being your story,
    you are missing from your life.
    You could be replaced by an android and you wouldn’t be missed.
    And you wouldn’t miss anything.
    You have to wake up to the reality of your situation,
    and take up the work
    of bringing you to life in your life.
    You have to live so as to miss a long list of things
    when they are gone.
    You have to live so as to be missed
    when you are gone.
    You are not here to keep the economy going.
    You have a destiny to fulfill with the life that is yours to live.
    Your mission is to find your life–
    the life only you can live–
    and live it in the time left for living.
    You are at a good place to start.
    I pay the bills so that I can connect people with their life.
    Read back through my posts
    for some handy tips on fulfilling your destiny.
    There are about 6,000 for you to sift through
    to find those that click.
    That’s the first rule in finding your life and living it.
    If there is no click, move on.
  52. 12/27/2016 — Around Bass Lake 2016 01 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016
    Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
    There is an inner necessity about the unconscious
    that wills itself into existence in our life.
    Those of us who place ourselves in accord with it
    align ourselves with our destiny.
    Those of us who resist, oppose, refuse, obstruct its direction
    are carried against our will
    to the fate that awaits us.
    When the inner necessity calls you to action,
    give it your full attention,
    hold it in your awareness,
    and see what happens.
    Make the unconscious conscious
    and take your chances.
    That’s my best advice.
  53. 12/28/2016 — Lake Haigler 2016 48 Panorama–Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, SC, November 17, 2016
    We find our own way.
    Or, better, our way finds us
    like “the wand chooses the wizard.”
    But no one is better suited than we are
    to detect the way that is standing before us,
    waving it hands,
    shouting, “Over here, Stupid! Over HERE!”
    Everybody who tells you how to live your life
    is telling you how to live their life.
    If you will only do it like they are doing it
    you will be happy forever.
    There are only three simple steps
    to living your own life–
    to finding your life and living it–
    LOOK!
    LISTEN!
    TRUST YOURSELF TO WHAT YOU SEE AND HEAR!
    What you see and hear
    will expand and clarify over time,
    and your life will take shape around that,
    settle out around that,
    and you will increasingly,
    incrementally,
    become more like who you are,
    and less like who you are not,
    over time.
  54. 12/28/2016 — At the center, ground, foundation, heart
    of my staunch and solid,
    eternal and everlasting opposition to
    Donald Trump,
    lies the meanness (as in small and as in hurtful)
    of the Republican Party.
    Congressional Republicans over the last eight years
    did absolutely nothing that would come close
    to being confused with, much less, called
    compassionate–
    and they did everything possible
    to oppose President Obama’s compassionate proposals
    and to obstruct and denounce
    his compassionate implementations.
    And you could go back much longer than eight years
    in your search for some evidence
    of a Republican heart and soul
    being evidenced in acts of compassion and kindness
    in the service of the common welfare.
    Republicans don’t care about anything
    but their personal fortune and glory,
    which is where Donald Trump comes in
    as the epitome of the Republican idea of success.
    What I am opposing in opposing Trump
    is the Republican Ideal of More for Me and Less for You.
    In refusing to make public his tax returns,
    Trump is saying
    “I don’t give to charity and I don’t pay taxes,
    and I’m proud of it.”
    And, in refusing to call him out,
    on this or any other matter,
    Republicans are saying,
    “He’s a genius! He’s absolutely brilliant!
    We want to be just like him!”
    And, they are.

12/28/2016 — (Used as a part of a longer post on 12/29/2016) To say Black Lives Matter!
does not mean, imply, or suggest
that any other lives do not matter.
It states simply and unequivocally
that Black Lives Matter!–
as a way of protesting
and calling attention to the fact
that is demonstrated too often
to be denied
that black lives do not matter,
and therefore need not be honored, respected, valued, nurtured, loved, cherished, adored, upheld, uplifted, and held in high regard
in a society, culture and world
where only white lives have the upper hand
and have no intention of allowing equality–
or even “equality”–
to level the playing field.
White people who don’t understand this
are the reason Black Lives Matter
is a movement made necessary
by the refusal to understand
the phrase, what it means,
and what it is like
to be forced to remind white people
that it is so.

  1. 12/28/2016 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 11–Twelve Mile Creek from the CTT, Union County, North Carolina, November 18, 2016
    From my perspective,
    “good faith” is the same thing as “sincerity.”
    The two are one,
    and it flows from integrity–
    knowing, and being aligned with, and being who we are–
    so that the inner person and the outer person
    are the same person.
    No deception, no duplicity, no faking it, no pretending to be someone we are not…
    And all of this lends itself to–
    leads to–
    our ability to be vulnerable
    without being at risk.
    We can be vulnerable
    because we don’t mind risking
    exposing ourselves in all of our vulnerabilities.
    We have nothing to fear.
    We have nothing to lose.
    There is nothing that anyone can do to us.
    We can be vulnerable because we are invulnerable,
    in that we aren’t ashamed or afraid of being seen as we are.
    Let them take our name!
    Let them send us to the office!
    Let them give us a failing grade!
    Let them call our parents!
    Nothing they can do can keep us from being ourselves!
    We can be who we are in any situation, circumstance, or context
    that comes along!
    We are who we are!
    Our identity is ours alone!
    No one can take it from us,
    or prevent us from being who we are
    in all times and places!
    We can live with sincerity, good faith, integrity and peace of mind.
    And nothing can stop us!
    Such is the power of vulnerability grounded upon identity.
    Here I am. This is me. Take it or leave it. I have work to do.
  2. 12/29/2016 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 16 — Suspension bridge connecting the Carolinas, Indian Land (Lancaster County), South Carolina to Waxhaw (Union County, North Carolina), November 19, 2016
    All Lives Matter is a diversion
    whose sole purpose
    is to direct attention
    away from the core issue
    raised by Black Lives Matter!
    The unstated logical extension
    implied and denied
    by those who use the phrase All Lives Matter is
    “All Other Lives Matter More Than Black Lives!”
    The phrase is not only a smoke screen,
    discarding, disregarding, dismissing and denying
    Black Lives Matter!,
    it also fails to comprehend, apprehend, appreciate,
    what is at stake in Black Lives Matter!
    To say Black Lives Matter!
    does not mean, imply, or suggest
    that any other lives do not matter.
    It states simply and unequivocally
    that Black Lives Matter!–
    as a way of protesting
    and calling attention to the fact
    (that is demonstrated too often
    in too many was,
    to be denied)
    that black lives do not matter,
    and therefore need not be honored, respected, valued, nurtured,
    loved, cherished, adored, uplifted, and held in high regard
    in a society, culture and world
    where only white lives have the upper hand
    and have no intention of allowing equality–
    or even “equality”–
    to level the playing field.
    White people who don’t understand this
    are the reason Black Lives Matter!
    is a movement made necessary
    by the refusal to see the truth
    inherent in the phrase,
    grasp what it means,
    and begin to imagine what it is like
    to be forced to remind white people
    that it is so.
  3. 12/30/2016 — Sunset Christmas Eve 2016 01 — Charlotte, North Carolina, December 24, 2016
    James Hollis said, “Death doesn’t end a relationship any more than divorce ends a marriage.”
    When those we love die, we sometimes allow ourselves to die along with them,
    as though life is not worth living without them,
    and how can we go on,
    so we just quit,
    and we may as well sit looking at the wall
    through the days and years that follow
    for all the good going about our business does us,
    or anyone.
    We refuse to live as a protest
    against having to live without those we love.
    What we don’t understand
    is that they haven’t gone anywhere,
    they have simply become invisible.
    They are still very much present with us–
    it only takes believing it is so to make it so.
    And why not believe it–and live as though it is true?
    Why not understand that those we love have become
    psychopomps–guides through the wilderness
    to life, and light, and peace?
    Ready to help us find the life that is ours yet to live,
    and to live it with all our heart, and mind, and soul, and strength?
    Why not understand that we now live not only for ourselves,
    but also for those who have died,
    and are yet able to assist us toward a life
    that we might never have lived without their dying
    and now helping us to live?
    Why not help them help us?
    Sit quietly and invite them/him/her to come to us
    and show us the way
    to the life that is ours to live for us and for them?
    Why not open ourselves to the inner necessity
    urging us to will and to do–
    to act in the field of action
    as those who have a purpose, a mission, a calling:
    To LIVE the life that is ours to live
    in the name of those who have loved us and have died
    only to be with us still
    to assist us in living the life that is blessed by their presence
    and our spirit and our gifts
    as long as the light lasts?

12/30/2016 — Jeremiah 4:3-11 (Googleit) is the foundation for what I’m saying here–just substitute “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” for “the Temple of the Lord,” and you will have it.
We seek deliverance and hold hands, bow our heads, and say, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, deliver us! Intercede in our behalf and grant us happiness and peace everlasting!” And then we go our way, changing nothing about how we live our life.
Not doing Justice. Not loving Kindness. Not letting Justice roll down like waters and Righteousness like an ever flowing stream,” but treating the powerless, the immigrants, the poor, the marginalized, the LBGTQ population, Muslims, Latinos and Mexicans…etc as those who have no right to existence, and certainly no equal rights with us as human beings and as citizens of the United States.
Yet, we violate our own Constitution. We want to make America Great Again, but we are not Americans ourselves. We dishonor the bedrock of the country: One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all!
We say what suits us and live anyway at all, asking “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus to bless us and protect us” so that we might hate in his name–and, of course, we say we don’t hate anyone, but those we say we don’t hate can’t tell the difference. We may as well hate them for all the good our not hating them does them.
And we think Jesus won’t catch it. We think Jesus will believe us when we say we “love” all people. We think Jesus will not notice that our life does not reflect who we say we are. We think we can pull one over on Jesus as easily as we pull one over on ourselves.

  1. 12/31/2016 — Goodale 2016 16 –Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 7, 2016
    Waking up is an inside job.
    No one can do it for us.
    Or, even tell us how to do it.
    We have to find the path alone,
    and know what we don’t know.
    It’s as simple as that.
  2. 12/31/2016 — Lake Haigler 2016 47 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2016
    We are the ones who say so!
    We say who we are–and who we are going to be–
    and who we are not.
    We choose for ourselves
    what we will honor,
    serve with liege loyalty,
    swear lifelong allegiance to,
    and what we will despise.
    We set the course for our life
    by deciding for ourselves
    what we will live toward
    and what we will live away from.
    We are psyche’s keeper.
    We mold our inner potentials
    in light of our idea of good and bad,
    right and wrong,
    Me and Not-Me.
    We live grounded in the bedrock
    of determined faithfulness
    to the best we are capable of producing
    in each situation as it arises,
    in every context and circumstance of our lives.
    Nothing in the external world
    can prevent us from being true
    to our inner vision of who we are
    and who we will be.
    Centered in our vital identity,
    we are ourselves in every time and place,
    and no power on earth can take that from us.
    Live so that it is so of you always!

 

12/31/2016 — Republicans got where they are today by diss’n (as in disrespecting, disregarding, discounting, dismissing) political correctness.

They got where they are today by ridiculing, mocking, deriding, lampooning and having complete contempt for political correctness.

Donald Trump takes political INcorrectness to levels not contemplated by lesser politicians, winning the admiration of his mass of grassroots supporters by “talking straight” and “saying anything.”

He never says anything that isn’t politically INcorrect.

Which is telling because “political correctness” is a jibing way of saying “compassion” and “compassionate.”

Republicans hate compassion more than they hate President Obama.

It could be that they hate President Obama because of the depth of his compassion.

The one, indisputable, constant thing is that Republicans hate compassion in all forms. They cannot tolerate compassion. To them it is a sign of weakness, and they fear that more than they fear the wrath of God.

The term “compassionate Republican” is an oxymoron.

Congressional Republicans haven’t done one compassionate thing over the past 8 years (and we could go back much farther than that)—much to the delight of rank-and-file Republicans across the country and around the world.

Congressional Republicans have obstructed every compassionate thing President Obama proposed and opposed every compassionate thing he implemented.

Being politically INcorrect is their way of being Right(wing) politicians.

Donald Trump is proof that you can’t be INcorrect enough for Republican tastes. “Bring it ON!” they say. “Give us MORE!”

The Russian main course may be more than they bargained for. That is INcorrectness gone over into UNpatriotic. If Republicans don’t draw the line at that, the world is truly off its traces.

 

12/31/2016 — Pick a Christian, any Christian, and ask him or her how he or she knows that the Bible knows what it is talking about, and isn’t just a collection of things people thought were so 2 – 4,000 years ago, and you will get, “I take it on faith.”

They will give you the same answer about any question you raise about the factual nature of “Biblical teachings.”

Now ask them why they take all that on faith and not something else instead. They may tell you they are afraid they will go to hell if they do–which is something else they “take on faith.”

They are scaring themselves with the things they believe for no reason beyond choosing to “take it on faith.”

That’s fine with me. It makes them happy. It gives them something to do with their lives, but.

IF YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE SOMETHING ON FAITH, WHY NOT SOMETHING THAT WILL HELP YOU WITH YOUR LIFE IN PRACTICAL, MEASURABLE, CONCRETE WAYS HERE AND NOW???

I say, if you are going to believe something, believe something that will uplift you and carry you into what stands before you with what it takes to do what needs to be done there.

For instance, believe you have a destiny to fulfill.

Believe you have a soul that is a psychic reality within your unconscious (We call it that because we are unconscious of it–we could call it anything, “The Psyche,” “Home,” “The Wellspring of Living Water,” but. We don’t have to take it on faith. We experience it in thousands of ways. We know there is more to us than meets the eye).

Believe that your soul/psyche has a unique interest in you–that it seeks you as a partner to collaborate with in living a particular life, a life that incarnates your soul/psyche and gives them actual tangible existence in the world of physical reality.

Believe that you have a wealth of inner resources for dealing with whatever you face in the practical matters of living your life.

Believe that your identity, your Me and your Not Me, is your ground, your bedrock, your foundation that will never abandon you. In every situation and circumstance, you can draw on your gifts, your values, the things YOU take on faith, to enable you to stand firm for the good in that situation, in those circumstances, and meet what needs to be met and do what needs to be done.

You get the idea here. Believe things that will enable you to be authentically who you are wherever you are. That bring you forth. That call out your creativity, your imagination, your loves and joys and put them to work in your life.

If you are going to take something on faith–and we all have to take something on faith–let it be something that makes you and the world around you a better place for your taking it on faith and putting it to work in your life!

 

12/31/2016 — After my previous post, I want to be clear that I am not suggesting that the Christian Church should be abandoned. I am suggesting that it should wake up.

The Church holds a central place in our society and culture, and could very easily be the source of the kind of grace and encouragement that we need to find our way through the murky days ahead.

The Church holds all the worthy symbols of “the faith,” even though the content of the faith needs to be completely overhauled and updated–made real and viable and vital in our life and in our experience of life.

This could be easily done But. It would take waking up and growing up and actually trusting itself to a future that is not planned out years in advance but unfolds in unpredictable ways before those who have to “walk on water” and “dance with what comes their way.” There aren’t seminary classes for that–yet, but there could be.

The Church could begin becoming real, authentic, genuine, honest, vulnerable and alive by creating a space for a new kind of congregation meeting in the building with the “regulars.” It would not meet to worship.

Worship, theology, creeds, hymns, prayers, doctrines, offerings, liturgies, etc. are out. Silence, music that is not “religious,” reflection, inquiry, seeking, dream work, meditation, contemplation, developing intuition, creativity and imagination, and things along these lines are in. An Mindfulness! The Church HAS to become a center for the teaching and practicing of Mindfulness (Jon Kabat-Zinn’s You Tube Videos on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction are not to be missed, but viewed over and over!)

The works of Carl Jung, Jungians, and Joseph Campbell (Campbell’s four volume masterpiece “The Masks of God” is a wonderful “history of religion” and needs to be taught in seminaries and in local congregations) might form the ground of educational inquiry, and Jungian Analysts might be consultants in developing the new group.

All this, of course, hinges on the maturity, wisdom, grace and confidence of ministers in place in congregations. But, if those who can make the adjustment do not begin to make it, the Church will drift further from the heart of life and light of the people with each passing year. And the people will find what they seek somewhere else.

 

12/31/2016 — When Jesus said, “Straight is the way and narrow is the gate that leads to life and those who find it are few,” we take “the straight and narrow” to be moral purity, sinless living, not a thought out of place, ever.

He’s talking about how easily we lose focus and are distracted and drift away in thoughts that have nothing to be with being mindful of the moment and aware of what is being offered to us and asked of us there.

He’s talking about how often we miss the moment of our living by failing to concentrate on this here and now, and being swept away by “the dust of the world,” by “the 10,000 things,” by duties and desires, greed, hatred, fear, remorse, etc., and are not open to what needs to be said, asked, seen, done, felt…

It is nothing to forget who we are, where we are, when we are, why we are, how we are–not know what’s happening or what needs to happen in response.

We are not mindfully, compassionately, aware of the time and place of our living. No one is where they are. Everyone is somewhere else, thinking of other things.

And we miss the life that needs us to live it in the moment of our living.

Surely, you see what this is asking of us–what it means for us.

 

  1. 01/01/2017 — Around Price Lake 2016 25 Panorama — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 17, 2016
    Sitting still,
    being quiet,
    seeing what there is to see–
    what is happening,
    what needs to happen,
    what we can do about it.
    Doing it.
    Sitting still,
    being quiet…
    That is as good a plan
    for 2017
    as you are likely
    to be offered.
    But, if you can find a better one,
    take it!
    And may the year’s blessings
    grace your way
    each day,
    and bring joy alive in your life,
    and the lives of those you love.
  2. 01/01/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 17 — Suspension bridge connecting the Carolinas, Indian Land (Lancaster County), South Carolina to Waxhaw (Union County, North Carolina), November 19, 2016
    The bedrock is with us always,
    to the close of the age,
    and is, in all situations and circumstances,
    “a very present help in time of trouble.”
    The bedrock is our ground and our foundation.
    It is who we are,
    our deepest values,
    our highest possibilities,
    our endless source
    of strength and courage,
    our sanctuary
    and our vantage point
    for taking stock,
    reflecting on our experience,
    sizing up a situation,
    observing what is happening,
    what needs to happen,
    and what we can do about it.
    Our bedrock is to us
    as “the mover to the moved,”
    and from its base
    we have what it takes
    to rise to any occasion,
    knowing that nothing
    can take our foundation away from us,
    or keep us from being who we are
    in all times and places.
    At one with the bedrock
    we are at peace
    with our limitations and vulnerabilities,
    and know that, possessing the power
    of infinite recovery,
    we have nothing to fear.
  3. 01/01/2017 — There is the saying it–
    I’m speaking of poetry here,
    but it has application to all of life,
    as poetry often does–
    and the saying of it.
    There is the knowing
    whether it needs to be said,
    and when it has been said.
    And there is the knowing
    that whether anyone reads it
    and hears it,
    or cares to,
    is of no concern to you.
    Your part is to know and to do–
    and to leave the rest of it
    in the hands of mystery and grace.

01/01/2017 — Live with integrity and authenticity,
inner aligned with outer
(which entails knowing
what is inner and what is outer),
in the service
of that which calls your name–
and everything else
will fall into place around that.

People who strive for morality
are after a certain look,
the Puritans
and the Christians
being good examples,
keeping the commandments
while drowning “witches,”
and burning heretics at the stake,
as though they were beyond
the truth at the heart of their own being.

No one gets beyond that.
Get into it, I say–
into the truth at the heart of your own being–
and bring that out into your life.
Living truthfully will
force transformation upon you
or keep people safe from you.
Either way,
the world will be a better place
because of your relentless commitment
to ruthless honesty.
01/02/2017 — Every single person worldwide should sit down, read and contemplate Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken,” at every transition point throughout her/his life. And choose carefully (that is, thoughtfully, mindfully) what cannot be unchosen.

  1. 01/02/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 18 — Union County, Waxhaw, North Carolina, November 19, 2016
    My mother didn’t have her Real Voice
    until my father died,
    and by then,
    as you can imagine,
    it was not well-developed,
    seasoned and mature,
    filled with wisdom and grace,
    patiently waiting its time
    to come forth and eloquently speak its lines
    with the stored-up beauty and truth of the ages.
    It was pissed and steaming.
    My mother,
    as so many people are,
    was separated from her soul at birth,
    and told who and how to be
    by an array of Those Who Knew Best And Had To Be Pleased Or Else.
    She said and did what was hers to say and do–
    and tried to escape (and did in a manner of speaking)
    by eloping to marry my father at too young an age,
    jumping, as they say in the deep south,
    “from the frying pan into the fire,”
    and living trapped with too many children
    and no marketable skills
    in a life dictated not chosen.
    Steel Magnolias create victims just like themselves:
    resolute,
    unflinching,

    Determined to do it as it is supposed to be done
    all their life long–
    burying their resentment
    and their resistance
    in order to meet their responsibilities
    and do their duty
    the way they should.
    Denial takes its toll.
    Truth will out.
    Soul robbed of its developmental stages
    comes forth any way it can,
    desperate to see the light of day,
    to breathe the air of freedom
    unchained and unbowed.
    It is the role of conscious awareness
    to civilize soul
    without negating soul,
    or rejecting its right to existence and expression.
    We collaborate in the evolution of the Self,
    integrating its leanings and tendencies
    with the legitimate limits of its context and circumstances.
    When the “archetypal expectations”
    of the soul are not met,
    the outcome will not be pretty and pleasing,
    but pissed and steaming.

  2. 01/02/2017 — Reelfoot Lake 20015 63 — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 4, 2015
    The bedrock which is with us always
    as protector and guide
    is “the face that was ours before we were born.”
    It is our essence,
    our essential identity,
    our essential integrity–
    the Me that is me,
    the Me that is not Not-me.
    When we ground ourselves in the truth of our own nature,
    in the fact of our own being–
    of our own “just so-ness,”
    of our own “self-so-ness”–
    we are immovable, unshakeable, invulnerable and safe
    even on the heaving waves of the wine-dark sea.

01/02/2017 — Each man must strive throughout his life to be the best woman he can be.

Each woman must strive throughout her life to be the best man she can be.

If we would only do that,

all things would fall into place,

the world would rejoice in gladness and thanksgiving

and nothing would be as it has been,

and is.
01/02/2017 — We never out live, or out grow, having been where we have been. When an occasion arises that triggers a complex of associations, feeling, memories and experiences, we sit with its reality, holding all of it in our awareness, weeping perhaps, and, when ready, rise and go to meet what needs us to do it. This is how it is with us, and how it will be.
01/02/2017 — I see,” only means, “I see what I am able to see at this point in my quest to see.”

Just so, “I hear,” and “I understand,” mean only “I hear and understand what I am able to hear and understand at this point in my quest to hear and understand.”

“Seeing, hearing and understanding,” imply that we see, hear, and understand that no one ever sees, hears, understands all that is to be seen, heard, and understood–

That all seeing, hearing and understanding is partial and incomplete, and we are never more than micro-fraction along the way to seeing, hearing and understanding.

There is always more to see than we have seen,

more to hear than we have heard,

more to understand than we have understood.

And the proper response to hearing this is not despair or cynicism, but laughter and the declaration, “I see! I hear! I understand!” followed by more laughter.
01/02/2017 — Buddha-mind is mind knowing itself knowing. Zen monks were stand-up comedians. Some stand-up comedians are Zen monks. Some try too hard to be funny.
01/02/2017 — It is crucial that we not run from the pain of knowing, but that we bear the pain knowingly. That we hold in mindful, compassionate awareness the truth–the terrible, painful, awful, truth–without running, hiding, denying, turning away. But bear it faithfully as witnesses, weeping as we must, but holding firm to the task of knowing and bearing the truth all the way to the bottom. In so doing, we touch the wonder of transcendence, and transform the truth by our ability to bear it, and in bearing it, we make it bearable–and in joining one another in bearing our own unbearable truth, we form community bound together at the heart, each knowing the unspeakable truth the others know, and redeeming what is redeemable–the courage, the resiliency, the constancy, etc. of those women who did what they did and gave their life to us–the Christ sacrifice borne out in our own life experience–and enabled us to have a life that was denied them, so that we now live our life and their unlived life in their memory, in their honor, and make them proud of themselves and their gift to us. We become their memorial, and their justification, their redemption, their hope…
01/02/2017 — Each one of us has to do the work of finding and doing what is ours to do. We have to find “the face that was ours before we were born” and be true to that “face” in doing our work and being who we are, wherever we are!
01/02/2017 — I had a friend who had sailed in his youth. He told me, “I became a sailor when I realized the sea was out to get me.” The closer we get to our dream, the more we realize the dream is out to get us. We have to MEAN IT to dream, and to sail.
01/02/2017 — Jesus said, “Don’t listen to me! Listen to you! Decide for yourselves what is right! I don’t know anything about your business! I’m not taking you to raise! You have to live your own life! You have to do your own work! You have to bear your own cross! You are the light of the world–don’t be hiding your talents, denying your gifts! Get in there and do your thing, and don’t be looking for rewards and payoffs! Do your work! Live your life! What more could you want?” Or words to that effect.
01/02/2017 — I have known absolutely brilliant people who were mindlessly neurotic and crazily out of touch with themselves and others.

We begin to get in touch with ourselves by sitting still–

mindlessly neurotic and crazily out of touch people have such a hard time with sitting still,

therefore, they remain neurotic and crazily out of touch.

Some people have to creep up on stillness by taking small steps.

Be quiet for a second.

Just one second.

When you get that down, try for two.

When you can work up to ten seconds,

try sitting quietly for ten seconds.

This is a start.

To help the time past quickly,

begin to scan your body,

looking for places of tension or tightness.

Our body is our guide.

You know the Uh-oh feeling?

How many times in your life have you blown right by it?

It is my place in your life to call you to pay attention

to the Uh-oh feeling.

To do that, you have to be listening to your body.

You have to be aware of your body.

You have to be mindful of your body.

Have you watched the Jon Kabat-Zinn videos on You Tube?

You can’t expect me to be of any help to you

if you won’t help yourself.

Everything waits on your becoming mindful of your body.

I’m wasting my time with you

until then.

Everybody wants the solution to their problems.

The end of their symptoms.

And they won’t listen to their body.

Because their body is trying to tell them things

they don’t want to hear.

Does that sound like anybody you know?
01/02/2017 — Some roads are better than others. We thrive in some situations and shrivel/die in others. Some environments are better for us than others. Some are right for us and others are wrong for us. Some jobs are right for us, others are wrong for us. Some decisions/choices are right for us, others are wrong for us. We live to learn right from wrong in terms of where we thrive and where we dry up and die. And roads fork in the woods all of the time. We are always being called on to read the signs, to know what we are doing. This kind of knowing isn’t a “thinking thing.” It is a “mindful thing.” We have to learn the art of living mindfully. Thinking has its place, but its place is figuring out the details of implementing what we have imagined and intuited as being what needs to happen.
01/02/2017 — A friend of mine did a good bit of sailing when he was young, and told me “I didn’t become a sailor until I realized the sea was out to get me.”

All of our dreams are out to get us. We don’t understand this and think in terms of fame and fortune, success and glory, issuing forth from the realization of our dreams. Our dreams will eat us alive.

Joseph Campbell should have tacked that on to his “Follow your bliss.” “Follow your bliss knowing that your dreams will eat you alive!”

Our dreams eating us alive is part of the trials and ordeals of dream realization. We sacrifice ourselves upon the altar of our dreams. Nobody tells us that.

A dream that doesn’t put us upon the sacrificial altar isn’t worth dreaming. A dream that cuts our heart out is a dream that dreams are all about.

That kind of dream gets us down to the question every dreamer has to answer: “Do you have what it takes?”

If we are in it for the money, or for the recognition, or for the attention, or to have something to talk about in the bars of the world; “That time when I…” we aren’t worth a real dream’s time and effort.

A real dream is looking for someone who will put everything on the line and not look back because the dream isn’t his, isn’t her, dream, it is her, it is his, life.

“This isn’t my dream, it’s my life! So cut out my heart! Eat me alive! I don’t care! I’m nothing without my dream! It is everything I have, or can imagine having!”

Now, we’re talking! That’s the spirit! That kind of dreamer is capable of living in the service of the dream–of doing whatever the dream requires–without qualm or hesitation.

A dream can come alive in the hands of a person like that. And that person will come alive in the service of the dream. And you can’t beat that with a Nobel Peace Prize and a Pulitzer Award.
01/02/2017 — Bingo. You’re on it. And you, and the rest of us, are quite alone with it, even though we are all together in the same room, or world. There is no way we can be together enough, or close enough to dispel the aloneness at the heart of Dark Reality. We have to sink down through the fear and despair to the bedrock truth of who we are and have always been, “the face that was ours before we were born.” And find our courage and our confidence in the heartfelt knowledge that we are one with the bedrock and it cannot be taken from us by anything that happens to us. We remain us through it all, at one with that which is deepest, best, and truest about us. So, we stroll up to the drooling Cyclops and spit in his ugly red eye and say, “You can save yourself a lot of trouble by stepping aside.” As we do that, we will find ourselves less alone than we thought, awash in the good company of those who know the secret at the core of life and being: We are all one at the level of the bedrock. It grounds and connects us all.

  1. 01/03/2017 — Boone Fork 2016 04 Panorama — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2017
    Jesus reportedly said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”
    That doesn’t ring true.
    It sounds like something some disciple of a disciple made up and put in place.
    It’s sweet.
    When was Jesus ever sweet?
    “Go tell that fox Herod I’m on my way!”
    That has Jesus all over it.
    He cursed a fig tree for not bearing fruit out of season!
    How could not knowing what you’re doing be an acceptable excuse?
    And he told the guy working on the Sabbath,
    “If you know what you are doing, you are blessed–
    but if you don’t know, you are accursed and a transgressor of the Law!”
    To play the “I didn’t know” card
    is to be irresponsible and unaccountable.
    It is the easiest–and most often used–out
    in the entire Book of Outs.
    Just ask a traffic cop.
    “But Officer, I didn’t know what the speed limit was!”
    “Oh, well never mind then. We’ll have to post more signs.”
    A mass of Trump supporters think
    there is a difference between
    “Obamacare” and the “Affordable Health Care Act,”
    And that the Republicans can repeal Obamacare
    but the Affordable Health Care Act will remain in place.
    So, they voted for Trump and for Republicans.
    That’s not knowing what you’re doing.
    Forgive that? No way.
    There is a price to pay for being stupid.
    The problem is that we all pay it in this case.

    01/03/2017 — One of the 10,000 things the Republicans don’t understand
    is that religious freedom is freedom FROM religion!
    The colonists were fleeing religious oppression and intolerance!
    Now the Republicans are creating the very thing
    the founders of the country came here to escape!
    Of course, they never got that in the version of American History
    taught in the schools they attended.
    Republicans had the teacher Billy Collins describes
    in his poem, “The History Teacher” (Googleit).

  2. 01/03/2017 — Lake Haigler 2016 46 Panorama– Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2016
    It’s like this:
    Two people are walking together along a sidewalk,
    both look at a flower growing by the curb,
    and one of them sees it and the other does not–
    and the one seeing it not only sees it,
    but sees it in its just-so-ness,
    in its such-as-it-is-ness,
    in its only-one-of-its-kind-ness,
    in its uniqueness and its individuality,
    and they walk on
    one having seen and the other having not seen.
    Or, it’s like this:
    two people go to the ocean
    and both look at it,
    one sees it and the other only looks at it,
    and the one seeing it not only sees it,
    but sees it in its just-so-ness,
    in its such-as-it-is-ness,
    and reads its mood,
    and knows its immediate past
    and its immediate future,
    and hears the music of its surf,
    and catches the sunlight dancing with the waves,
    and they walk along the beach,
    one seeing and the other not seeing.
    See?
    That’s how it is.
  3. 01/04/2017 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 04 — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 13, 2016
    There is a saying in the south,
    “The quickest way to (or through)
    is the long way around.”
    Carl Jung would have agreed.
    He thought of “the process of individuation,”
    whereby we become One With The Self At The Center Of Ourselves,
    as one that requires us to, in his phrase, “circumambulate the Self,”
    because we cannot approach it directly,
    with logic, reason, cognition, thinking, pondering, deliberating, debating, figuring, and calculating,
    using the left hemisphere of our brains
    (You know, the way we do religion),
    but have to come at it indirectly,
    using peripheral vision,
    and instinct and intuition,
    feeling, sensing our way along–
    not with prose but with poetry,
    not with doctrine, dogma, theology and creed,
    but with song and dance and stand-up comedy,
    using the right hemisphere of our brain
    (You know, the way we would never do religion–
    because then, how would we ever get them together,
    and why would they pay the priests?).
    If you take Jung’s idea of the Self,
    and my idea of the Bedrock,
    and see that they are the same idea
    only using different words for the same reality,
    and approach the Bedrock
    singing and dancing and finding the humor in all of it,
    you will soon be One With Everything,
    with nothing to worry about
    and nothing to fear,
    and becoming more like who you are
    with every turn along the way.

01/04/2017 — What do you spend your time
worrying about,
struggling with,
stewing over,
trying to get into place
and keep there
so that things will be
finally
how you want them to be?
“If only” what?
Upon what does your peace depend?
Sit with these things.
Hold them in your awareness.
See what ALL occurs to you.
Reflection is the never-ending path
to always expanding realization.
The deeper we go, the wider it spreads–
in all directions.
Only those who take up the task laughing
have what it takes
to stay the course.
01/04/2017 — There is a fine line between
“the kind of help
that help is all about,
and the kind of help
we all could do without” (Shel Silverstein).

“What a slippery slope this is!” (Zen)

“It’s like a razor’s edge!” (Zen)

We help best
when we help one another
with each other’s life.
But.
When to step forward?
When to step back?
What is assistance?
What is interference?

When we get to
“You are the only one who can help me!”
we have gone too far.

Projection/transference,
projection/counter-transference,
dependency,
co-dependency
make for a nice dance of denial
around the fire
of True Love At Last Again.

Help hesitantly, resistantly,
is my best advice.
with mindful awareness–
not kidding yourself
about what is helpful
and what is not.

Help by being willing to be
unhelpful.
Care by not-caring.
Lead by getting out of the way.
Be the Self
you would help others become.

The disciples must become like the master
in following no master.
01/04/2017 — Know.
Do not understand.
Do not seek explanation.
Eat the apple!
Do not talk about it!
Understand?
01/04/2017 — For poets and such
the life is in the writing,
not the recognition.
Recognition is sweet, but.
It doesn’t last, and.
If it is IT
IT has to be replenished
around the clock.

Donald Trump is the consummate
Recognition Junkie.
It is an empty high, but.
A satisfying poem
is forever satisfying, even
if you’re the only one
who ever reads it.
01/04/2017 — About two years ago, I took up my version of The Way of the Hermit.
I adopted Carl Jung’s idea of a hermit as my own:
“A primitive man who trusts his unconscious.”
From early April to late September, 2016,
I spent 2 – 4 hours every day in my hammock,
and quit when the sun moved far enough south
to bathe my yard in harsh sunlight all day,
and there were no clouds for 6 weeks,
then it turned cold, but.
the silence and solitude were a wonderful gift to my soul, from my soul,
and I learned more from the silence,
by being aware of my thoughts
and reflecting on my experiences,
that anywhere else I could have been.
I talk only with family.
I don’t talk on the phone.
I don’t read newspapers, but follow the news on the internet.
I don’t watch TV.
I don’t go to movies.
I don’t meet friends for lunch or coffee.
I don’t make small talk with the neighbors.
I don’t go to sporting events.
I no longer fly.
I don’t preach or speak to groups of people.
I don’t extend or accept invitations.
I don’t host parties or overnight company.
I read, write, remember, reflect.
I walk around with a camera (and kept one in the hammock).
I work to be mindfully, compassionately, aware
of each situation as it arises.
I attend my body and my moods.
I listen to myself and my internal dialogues.
I clear the underbrush from the wooded land
near our house,
and plant ferns and wild azaleas.
I keep four bird feeders filled.
I follow “The Rule of Jim Dollar” each day.
I don’t eat from 7 PM until 11 AM (or so).
I don’t eat refined sugar.
I don’t drink alcohol.
I drink coffee and water.
I eat a normal lunch and have a bowl of cold cereal
and a spinach salad with olive oil and red wine vinegar for dinner.
I’m in bed by 11 PM.

Today I end my 72nd year.
Tomorrow I begin my 73rd year.
So far, so good.
01/04/2017 — Little kids–I’m thinking of myself here–come into the world expecting certain things.
Oxygen. Mother’s milk. Smiling faces.
Things like that.
One of the things little kids expect
is that adults will be who they say they are.
And that the world to be as they are told it is.
Lying to little kids is a bad thing.
It takes them years to get the truth figured out.
And then, they don’t know what to believe–
or how to know.
After a time of it,
what I settled on is this
You cannot trust people to be who they say they are,
or the world to be what you are told it is.
You have to trust yourself to be okay with that,
and when you are disappointed by one or the other, or both,
you have to trust yourself to deal with it
in ways that steady you,
ground you,
and establish you
upon the bedrock
of your own identity,
character,
values,
Self.
You can handle anything
from that foundation.
Why don’t they tell us THAT when we are little kids?
 

 

 

 

  1. 01/04/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 22 — Union County, North Carolina and Lancaster County South Carolina, looking from North to South, Twelve Mile Creek, November 19, 2016
    We collaborate with, and participate in,
    the descent to the Bedrock,
    the circumambulation of the Self,
    by taking up the practice of mindful awareness,
    and incorporating it into our lives
    in a regular way.
    We listen to our body and read its signals.
    We remember and work with our dreams.
    We notice what catches our eye,
    and look closer.
    We attend the a-ha’s, the that’s-it’s,
    the things that click with us,
    that wink at us,
    that call our name.
    White rabbits are forever crossing our path
    and looking back
    to see if we are coming.
    Go! Go! Go!
    You know,
    like that.
  2. 01/05/2017 — Goodale 2016 33 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 7, 2016
    Our vulnerability is our greatest strength.
    The chief cornerstone is the one the builders reject.
    “A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
    Nothing good can come from Nazareth.
    Born in a manger, died on a cross.
    “I am the way, the truth and the life,
    no one gets to the Bedrock, to the Self, to the ‘Father’
    without doing it the way I am doing it.”
    “Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter…”
    And all we talk about is resurrection,
    victory over death,
    and the glories of heaven and life everlasting.
    Vulnerability is handed to us
    and we say, “INvulnerability!
    INvulnerability!
    Nothing less than complete and total
    INvulnerability will do!”
    We think we can get to
    “the face that was ours before we were born”
    by avoiding vulnerability
    and refusing all manifestations
    of discomfort and inconvenience.
    Dying, again and again,
    is absolutely out of the question.

    01/05/2017 — Always go with luck. And, go knowing that we are NOT who we say we are! That’s the impetus back “to the face that was ours before we were born”! “We are who we always have been, and who we will be” (Carl Jung)–AND we are who we have no business being! And so, the cross is a living metaphor of who we are and what we are about–always dying, always coming to life, new life, poured over, spilling out. We aren’t playing church here–we are involved in the life long struggle to escape the chrysalis and fly.
    01/05/2017 — When we remove all
    theology, doctrine, dogma, creeds and ideology
    from religion,
    what remains is art,
    and music without lyrics
    (All hymnbooks are clandestine books of doctrine).

Art is religion without the trappings of religion.
We are artists, all,
at the level of the Bedrock, Self, within.
01/05/2017 — We have to bear the consequences
of choices made
and roads not taken.
It’s the weight of life,
I’m talking about.
01/05/2017 — Upon reflection
(Which is the way everything
comes about.
Look around you.
You cannot see anything
that was not the result of reflection,
sometimes profound and devoted reflection
over a long period of time–
grand pianos, for example,
did not just appear in finished form
out of the air,
and neither did the Bible.),

I can say I attended, and graduated from,
Seminary,
and lived out my 40.5 years as a parish minister,
in search of “the face that was mine before I was born.”

That face is the face of one gifted in the art of–
and called into the service of–
hermeneutics, from Hermes,
the Greek name for the messenger of the gods,
the God of Meaning, Interpretation, Translation,
the God whose task it was to make sense of what he heard
and to relay the sense of it to whom it was intended.

As an aside, I will say that it is to me interesting
that the Greek “Hermes” is “Mercury” in Latin.
Mercury is quicksilver, fluid, flowing, impossible to pin down,
to define, to nail in place, to make rigid, to take literally,
to freeze in motion–
unchanged, unchanging, unchangable
through all eternity–
so different from our understanding
and expectation
of the office
of Minister of Word and Sacrament,
which is to talk to the people about God,
and never tell them anything
they haven’t already heard.

Aside over, my work is to be who I have become,
which is who I have always been,
and you will probably discover the same thing
about your own work
and the nature of your own being.
Which I perceive to be a wonder of wonders,
and a miracle beyond imagining.

I never would have thought it
without reflecting on it–
without looking back over it
from the standpoint of having done it.
And now, am able to do it
with a renewed vigor and vitality.
It is who I AM!
It is what is MINE to DO!

Destiny fulfilled and unfolding!
May it be so of us all!
01/05/2017 — Rumi said,
“One glance at a true human being
and we’re in love.”
That’s because a true human being
is authentically, genuinely,
being who she, who he, is–
living out her, out his,
integrity of inward being
in full accord with outward circumstances,
exhibiting before us and all who glance
her, his way,
the face that was hers, was his,
before she, before he, was born.
Demonstrating for all to see
the Bedrock, the Self,
at the foundation of us all–
showing us who we are,
and who we might even yet become.
Falling in love with her, with him,
is evidence of our deep yearning
for ourselves.

01/05/2017 — Everything works together

to bring us forth

and make us who we are

in the time and place,

circumstances and conditions

of our living.
We either receive what is offered

and use it in the production of ourselves,

or we reject it

and abort the new life aborning.
We assist our life or obstruct it.

The events remain the same–

their impact depends upon

the quality of our response to them,

and how we fold them into,

and work to make them a part of,

the life we are living.
All of the things that can stop us,

can just as easily serve as transition points,

propelling us toward our destiny–

now with exactly what we need

to face what will meet us along the way.
-1/05/2017 — All of Jesus’ parables were first dreams.
Jesus dreamed up the parables.
If you will look at your own dreams
as parables about you and your life,
you will be doing what Jesus did.
If you want to know how I know that,
I just made it up.
If you say he didn’t dream up the parables,
I’ll want to know how you know that.
You’ll have to say you just made it up.
Everything we say about Jesus is made up.
Saying it isn’t made up is making that up.
If we are going to make up something,
why not make up something
that will help us with our life?
Treating our dreams like parables
and applying our understanding of them
to the way we live our life
will transform the way we live.
And I’m not making that up.

  1. 01/06/2017 — Congree 2016 09 — Congree National Park, Hopkins, South Carolina, November 7, 2016
    We know when we are cold, hot, hungry, sleepy,
    and cannot explain what we know
    to anyone who asks
    beyond asking them , “Ya know?”
    What my wife means when she says she’s hot,
    and what I mean when I say I’m cold,
    are often the same thing:
    It is 65 degrees.
    “65 degrees” means different things
    to different people.
    One person’s “cold” is another person’s “hot.”
    Getting people to agree
    as to whether it is cold or hot
    is one of those “exercises in futility”
    that we step into from time to time.
    “Defining our terms so we are all know what we mean”
    is something we do
    in “community building”
    or “leadership development”
    or “mission statement creation”
    that takes playfulness out of the equation.
    Creativity, imagination, intuition, instinct, and play
    require a relaxation of the “define and explain” requirement.
    “Bang, bang, you’re dead!”
    doesn’t ask that we stop every time
    and say we know you really aren’t dead.
    Dead means you aren’t breathing
    and you are clearly breathing
    so we all agree that you aren’t dead.
    To do so would take all the fun
    out of playing Democrats and Republicans.

01/06/2017 — Practice, practice, practice
isn’t always the way to Carnegie Hall.
The art is in the work,
in doing the work well,
in performing the work
for the sake of the work,
to get it down
so that we are satisfied
with our performance
and know that we nailed it today,
and can allow nailing it today
be enough for today–
and be back at it again tomorrow.

There are moms and dads
who nail parenthood,
and get no parade,
no raises in salary,
no recognition,
no plaque in the Hall of Fame of Parenthood.
There is no Hall of Fame of Parenthood.

Yet, they get up every day
to practice and to perform
the role of mom and dad again today.
Everything depends on how well they do.
No one seems to notice or care.

Their life as mom or dad
is an art they perfect
over the full course of their life,
with no standing ovations
from the crowd at Carnegie Hall.

 

  1. 01/06/2017 — Lake Crandal 2016 09 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 8, 2016
    Rumi’s poem, “The Guesthouse” (Googleit), waits to be realized
    in the life of each one of us,
    as we consciously, mindfully,
    welcome all the griefs, losses, and sorrows,
    all the regrets and disappointments,
    the betrayals, memories, feelings, moods, experiences
    of everything we have done and has been done to us,
    invite them in,
    for they all have a place with us,
    and our place is to accommodate ourselves to them–
    to square ourselves up with them,
    and let them be because they are,
    and have had a part in making us
    who we are, as we are.
    Reconciling ourselves to them–
    to the fact of them–
    and making our peace with the fact
    that they are a part of our life,
    a part of us,
    and living what remains to be lived
    of our life
    conscious of their place in our life,
    and how they might influence our life
    and take that influence into account
    as we determine what needs to be done
    and how we might best do it,
    is to live toward the best future we can imagine
    as “the best version of ourselves” we can be.
    Our gift to the new year.
  2. 01/07/2017 — Goodale 2016 26-C — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 7, 2016, I manufactured this reflection by flipping the original image in Photoshop and blending the flipped image with the original. I’ll post the original next to give you the before and after, or after and before.
    Put autism on the table along with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and sugar.
    What you have is cause and effect.
    Sugar is at the bottom of all our ills today.
    And the world runs on sugar.
    Sugar modifies our genetic makeup to crave more sugar.
    (I may be making all of this up–Googleit.)
    We can’t get enough sugar.
    We are all Will Ferrell in the movie “Elf”:
    “The four main food groups are:
    Candy, candy cane, candy corn and syrup.”
    Sugar is not only the new tobacco,
    it is also the new arsenic.
    It is the new nuclear waste water.
    It is toxic to the system.
    Every system.
    It multiplies its own ability to consume those who consume it.
    It is the glob that destroyed Pittsburg
    and every other burg, or berg,
    and all who live therein.
    Take yourself off all forms of refined sugar NOW–
    and those you love.
    Stevia seems to be the only acceptable substitute.
    But, don’t take my word for it.

    01/07/2017 — My contradictions keep me balanced
    and sane.
    Without them in place,
    I would walk with a lilt in my stride,
    and go round and round,
    making nice circles,
    but never getting anywhere.
    The way to manage your contradictions
    is to keep an eye on them at all times–
    that would actually be to keep two eyes on them,
    because where one eye looks,
    the other looks as well.
    Holding your contradictions in your awareness
    allows you to walk two paths at the same time,
    being mindful of the other path
    while you are on the one you are on,
    and being careful to never think
    that there is only one path
    and you have found it.
    Every path has its other path.
    One path is the shadow of the other.
    To walk both paths at the same time
    is to walk upright and straght
    along the razor’s edge,
    at the top of the slopes as slippery as ice,
    dancing with our contradictions
    and laughing along the way.

    01/07/2017 — I hate to be the one who tells you this, but.
    In the Non-Subscribing Church of What’s Happening Now,
    nothing falls on the minister.
    There is no minster.
    I just keep the doors open and the lights on,
    and point things out,
    like, “There is no minister.”
    That means everything falls on the people.
    And that means it is up to the people.
    The people have to be responsible for their own enlightenment.
    Which means “asking, seeking and knocking”–
    and going on “asking, seeking and knocking”
    until they wake up to their role:
    Finding their life and living it within the life they are living.
    The National Park Service has a motto:
    “You are responsible for your own safety.”
    Same thing applies here, with the addition,
    “And for finding your life and living it within the life you are living.”
    I’ll keep pointing out things like that,
    but you have to do the work.

    01/07/2017 — Once we take sin off the table
    everything changes.
    Now the problem is not how to get to heaven
    and avoid hell
    when we die,
    but what to do with our life.
    And what to do with our life has nothing to do with
    getting God on our side,
    but getting ourselves on our side–
    or getting on our Self’s side.
    Integrity is the issue,
    and integrity is being true to ourselves,
    within the terms and conditions of our life–
    living aligned with ourselves within,
    and living in accord with the situation as it arises,
    offering there what is needed
    out of the gifts that our ours to give.
    So that we are one within,
    and one with the needs of the time and place of our living.
    And there is no sense of trying to force
    something to happen out of its time,
    but of smoothly assisting what needs to happen
    when and where and how it needs to happen,
    as those who are well equipped to provide
    what is needed.
    That is integrity.
    An arrow’s flight to the bulls-eye.
    We devote ourselves to living like an arrow.
    In each situation, we are the arrow,
    being true to ourselves,
    not kidding ourselves about who we are,
    grounded in our identity,
    at one with the face that was ours before we were born,
    on the way to the target of being
    who and what and how the situation needs us to be:
    aligned with ourselves,
    faithful to the situation’s need of us.
    That is all there is to it.
    But.
    If you think it’s a snap,
    take it for a spin,
    and then tell me what you think.

01/07/2017 — We know when we are in sync
and when we are out of sync–
when we are on the beam
and when we are off it.

The task is to stay on the beam!
To live at one with the Tao,
at one with the rhythm and flow of our life.

We don’t do that by thinking our way along,
looking for the advantages,
chasing profit at any price,
striving to win at all costs,
and come out ahead no matter what.

Five year plans and annual goals
cannot dance with the spirit
that is like the wind,
blowing where it will.

We have to come at our life
in a different way
than we would come at our career.
What we do to pay the bills is one thing.
What we pay the bills to do is quite another.
Having it made
in a way that kills our soul
isn’t having it made.

We cannot buy what the beam supplies
with all the pieces of silver we get
for the price of our soul.

How much do we need to live on the beam?
Find a job that pays that much,
and stay on the beam!

 

01/07/2017 — A short guide to mindfulness meditation:

Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
Pay attention to your breathing.
listen to your body.
Hold your breathing and your body in your awareness.
Notice when your mind moves away
from your breathing and your body,
and bring it back,
holding your breathing and your body in your awareness.
Do this for 20 minutes twice a day.
And watch the Jon Kabat-Zinn You Tube videos.

 

01/07/2017 — There is understanding,
and there is knowing.
The two are not the same.
We think we know something when we understand it,
and can define it and explain it,
dissect it and label all of its component parts,
then put it back together blindfolded.
We do not know it.
We only understand it.

Knowing is a different experience altogether.

Understanding and knowing live on different sides of the brain.
Understanding is a left hemisphere function,
and knowing is of the right hemisphere–
though the hemispheres are not neatly cordoned off,
and there is mutual interplay between them–
a borrowing and a lending, so to speak,
to smooth things off and make for harmony
between the spheres.

Knowing knows but it doesn’t know how it knows,
and it doesn’t care.
It can’t explain anything,
or reel off a memorized list of reasons for doing a thing,
or leaving it undone.

Knowing knows what time it is without looking at a clock
or a calendar–
or, better, perhaps, knowing knows what it is time for,
and what it is time not for.

Knowing is tuned to the rhythms of life
and of soul–
and to the movement of the tides and the stars–
and to the mood of the room,
and the need of the moment.

Understanding has its place and its work to do,
and knowing has its place and its work to do.
It is our place, and our work, to perceive when what is called for,
and put ourselves in the service of the one
whose time is at hand.

That is a knowing thing,
not an understanding one.

Understand?
01/07/2017 — I am encouraged that so many of you are comfortable
in a church that has set aside the “churchyness” of religion–
the pomp and ceremony and decorative circumstance–
for the essential practice of silence and mindfulness,
and the experience of shared community
with no hierarchy or external authority.

The ground is that which grounds us all.
The bedrock of identity, purpose and meaning
that is our center and foundation.

No one has to tell us what that is–or can–
or has any business trying!
No one can give us our business, our work, our life!
We each are equipped to know what that is,
and to do it “with all our heart, mind, soul and strength”
We know the “YES! That grips us in the presence
of what we must do.
We only have to know what we know,
and live in light of it.

The church as a “gathering of sojourners,”
comes together to remember
that we only have to know what we know
and live in light of it–
and to remind one another of it.

Life can distract us with its threats and promises,
and its bitter, crushing, experiences with grief, loss and sorrow.
We can forget who we are and what we are about,
and need the shelter of caring presence to keep the noise out,
and the darkness,
that the silence and the light might come in.

Community provides us with people who are able
to listen us to the truth of what we have to say
and need to hear.
We need to hear what we have to say!
In order to reflect on it and come to new realizations,
rearrange our response to our experience,
shift our perspective,
and change our life.

No one can tell us what we need to hear in this way
the way we can tell ourselves what needs to be heard.
Authenticity, genuineness and vulnerability
are the mix for transformation
made possible by a listening/hearing community
without a stereotype to champion and impose,
or a perspective to force on all comers.

Here, we don’t know what we are supposed to say or hear.
It is a different way of doing things.
We are free to say what needs to be said,
and to hear what needs to be heard–
in order to know what needs to be known,
and do what needs to be done.

Why is a place like this so hard to find?
01/07/2017 — My expectation is that with some time spent with
silence and mindful, compassionate awareness,
you will begin to form your own actual community
with a few friends you already know.
The virtual Non-Subscribing Church of What’s Happening Now
will become tangible in your life
as you create a community capable
of being what all of its members need
to find their life and live it
within the life they are living–
by being the one who takes this
and brings it to life in your life.
There will be an inner urgency about it
that makes it both necessary and possible.
01/07/2017 — I do so grieve the lost of standards of behavior
that has become so apparent
during this Presidential election–
and before that,
throughout the eight years
of Barack Obama’s Presidency.
Republicans have been shameless,
unblushing and indecent from the start.
Trump’s indignities and obscenities
have been but the cusp of the wave
based upon utter disregard
for the humanity of any they don’t like.
This is not a lapse of grace and decorum
that can be repaired.
With civility crumbling
before the Vandals and Huns,
I fear for civilization as we know it.

 

 

  1. 01/08/2017 — Goodale 2016 26-C — Goodale State Park, Camden, SC, November 7, 2016, Straight up without the pseudo reflection.
    Live so as to make life a lot worse without you.
    That doesn’t mean honey-coating anything.
    It means seeing things as they are
    and not allowing that to stop you
    from being who you are,
    offering what you have to give
    to the time and place of your living.
    The spirit of the times is rude, ugly and cruel,
    and we live from one enclave
    of kindness and compassion
    to the next.
    Create your own enclave of frank safety
    for those who come your way:
    “This is how things are,
    this is what can be done about it,
    and that’s that.
    We cannot do what can be done
    if we are all-curled up in a fetal position
    waiting for Mamma to take care of us.
    We have to take our courage
    where we find it
    and live out of our own core
    in meeting what must be met.”
    When we wake up and step into a nightmare,
    we would do well to remember
    and explore our nighttime dreams.
    Our dreams compensate the life we are living,
    and call forth realization, recognition,
    strength, courage and grace.
    Dreams properly interpreted
    are nightly oracles calling us to take heart
    in a “This is what is happening in your life,
    and this is what you need to do about it”
    kind of way.
    We are never as helpless as it seems.
    Don’t let your resources lie about
    unseen, unused.
    We have a life eager to be lived
    in any circumstance,
    in every condition of life.
    We should give it a chance
    to show us what we can do.

 

01/08/2017 — A lot of people are uncomfortable looking within.
One of them told me,
“If you clear your mind,
you will make room for thoughts
you don’t want to think!”
I asked, “Can you give me an example?”
The person didn’t want to think about it.

Living ethical lives, never mind the morality part,
or living moral lives, never mind the ethical part,
is as close to religion as some people care to be.

They seem to know that the right kind of religion
will eat you alive.
“The sea is out to get you!”
And they are not about to be eaten alive.

Religion is wasted on those
who don’t have what it takes to be religious,
that is to say,
living mindfully and trusting their unconscious.

I don’t know how to take one of those people
and make him/her religious.
Jesus didn’t know either,
and walked away,
seeking an audience
with those who could hear
what he had to say.

My plan over the course of my life
was, and continues to be,
to be the kind of person
I would like to talk to,
and see who else might gather around
to hear what I have to say.

It has worked so well for me,
I recommend it to you.
Become what you seek.
Offer what you have to give.
See where it goes.
01/08/2017 — Trump would be lost
without those to blame,
bully,
sue…

Trump is above the law,
beyond the law,
lawless,
an outlaw.

A dispassionate demagogue
who gives people
permission to be as he is
on a smaller scale.

Those of us who see that
are like Yoda and Obi-wan
under the rule of the Empire
waiting out the times.

  1. 01/08/2017 — Providence Cemetery 2016 01 Panorama Black and White — Providence Presbyterian Church, Charlotte (Matthews), North Carolina, December 11, 2016
    A tree–and all plants and animals–becomes what it is capable of being within the context and circumstances of its life.
    Human beings rarely become what they are capable of being,
    and spend their time and energy,
    rearranging, improving, transforming
    the context and circumstances of their life,
    to their own joy and satisfaction,
    and personal gain.
    This is the moral of the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
    It is a story we each live out in the time an place of our living–
    refusing to become who we are capable of being,
    and wrestling with conditions and particulars
    to make things more like we think they ought to be,
    never minding who and how we think we ought to be.
    We would do well to learn from the trees
    how best to go about our life.

01/08/2017 — Old people sit around grousing,
remembering better times.
Young people are busy living their life.
But.
The life they are living
won’t be around in their old age.
Live the life that goes before you,
I say.
Not the life you will leave behind.
That is a task worth your time!

 

01/08/2017 — The following is taken from Volume 2, Oriental Mytholory of Joseph Campbell’s 4 Volume set The Masks of God.
Campbell says, “An American sociologist said to his friend, a Shinto priest, ‘I have been to a number of Shinto shrines, and watched a number of Shinto rites. I have read quite a bit, and thought at length about it, but I don’t get the ideology. I don’t get your theology.’
The Japanese gentleman, smiling, replied, ‘We do not have ideology. We do not have theology. We dance.’
“Which is,” says Campbell, “precisely the point. Shinto is a religion, not of sermons, but of awe—which is a sentiment that may, or may not produce words, but, in either case, goes beyond them. It is not ‘a grasp of the conception of spirit,’ but a sense of its ubiquity.”
Campbell adds, “The psychology of the Japanese tends to favor the emotional rather than the rational. The Japanese take pleasure in sensing the atmosphere, so they tend to be rather easily moved by environment. There is an ancient Japanese poem which, in very free translation, says,
‘Unknown to me what resideth here:
Tears flow from a sense of unworthiness and gratitude.’
“Living Shinto is not the following of some set-down moral code, but a living in gratitude and awe amid the mystery of things. So that,
‘Unknown to me what resideth here’—what resideth anywhere, in anything of our concern—‘Tears flow’—for I am actually moved—‘from a sense of unworthiness’—as one not perfectly pure of heart—‘and gratitude.’”
This is an attitude that I recognize as a properly religious attitude—a perspective that fosters a certain perception of, and a way of being in, the world, wherever we are.

 

01/08/2017 — Take up the practice of living
out of your own authority.
Jesus said, “Why don’t you decide for yourselves what is right?”
Jesus certainly decided for himself what was right.
Not even his mother could get by
with telling him what to do.
Decide for yourself what you will do and will not do.
When, where and how.
You are in charge of your life.
Be in charge of your life.
What decisions are you unable to make?
What’s at the bottom of that?
What is preventing you from
living out of your own authority?
From deciding for yourself what is right for you?

 

01/09/2017 — Practice living out of your own authority
by consciously, mindfully, deciding
what you are going to do and not do.

YOU decide what to wear and how to cut your hair–
in light of everything else.

YOU decide what you will eat and avoid eating–
in light of everything else.

YOU decide what you will do and refuse to do–
in light of everything else.

YOU become completely and totally responsible for YOU–
in light of everything else.

We do not live in a vacuum on an island in a world all our own.

We have to take everything into account,
aware of the implications one thing has for another,
and living in light of the true good of the whole.

This is to live with mindful, compassionate, awareness–
on our own authority.

It will slow you down.
Force deliberation and reflection on you,
and require you to care about what you are doing.

Require you to care.

We cannot live mindfully, compassionately, aware
of everything
and not care about anything.

We are in the habit of living our lives
not noticing much,
and caring about very little.

The ground and foundation of the right kind of religion
is seeing everything
and caring about it all–
and deciding what you will do in response to it
in light of the true good of the whole
out of your own authority.

You will quickly discover that there is a reason
we don’t know anything about nearly everything,
and don’t care to.

How can we possibly care about the lion AND the antelope
without taking sides?

Taking sides is what we do best.
No! Having an opinion is what we do best!
No! Serving our agenda is what we do best!
No! Hiding from the truth of the mutual exclusiveness of it all is what we do best!

Col. Nathan R. Jessup nails us:
We can’t handle the truth.

This is where you begin the work of being religious in the right way.
SEEING!
HEARING1
UNDERSTANDING!
KNOWING!
And taking the responsibility for DOING
what you decide what needs to be done in response to it all
in light of the true good of the whole
out of your own authority–
BEING at one with all things.

This is the religious problem.
Or, the cross that is ours to bear.

“What a slippery slope this is!”
“It is like the edge of a razor!”

To be religious is to live knowingly in all times and places,
in light of the true good of the whole.

Just seeing.
Just knowing.
Just doing.
Just being–at one with the whole.
Grounded on our own authority.
Not running.
Not hiding.
Not denying.
Not kidding ourselves.
Not looking away.

Let’s get this show on the road!

 

01/09/2017 — The more we know about what needs to be done,
the less we are able to do.

We take to the fetal position,
rendered immobile and helpless
by the reality
of unchooseable choices
on every side.

Suck it up!

“Get in there and do your thing!”
Decide what you are going to do
out of your own authority,
and do it.

Bear the full weight of the awful responsibility,
and stop whining like a baby.

 

01/09/2017 — I get all my news from the tabloids–
don’t you?
I saw just yesterday that new evidence
has been found
definitely confirming what we have always known:
President Obama was not born in the USA!
His entire presidency has been a fraud,
and is in the process of being invalidated
by the world court.
No kidding.
I saw that on the news stand
at the grocery store.
And I see that we are getting
the same quality of intensive journalism
delivered to the comfort of our recliners
right here on Facebook.
The wonders of technology
are scientifically proven
to be immune to any kind of untoward manipulation,
and I saw this morning
that Bill Clinton had been nabbed with another woman
in a night club,
and there were pictures to prove it.
God is good, and oh, so awesome,
to give us the truth like this
and guide our way to the everlasting light.
Tabloids and Facebook are tools of the Lord!
Pass the word!

 

01/09/2017 — We grow toward living out of our own authority
by calling to mind all of the things we complain about doing.

Stand before each one,
and consider it in its allness,
in its just-so-ness
in its such-as-it-is-ness.
Hold it, considered this way, in you awareness.
Decide whether you are going to do it or not do it.
Do that with each item on your list of things you hate to do.
Stop doing the things you decide to not do.
Do the things you decide to do–
not because you have to do them,
not because you are being forced or compelled to do them–
because you have DECIDED to do them.
You have embraced and affirmed them
as things that are yours to do.
When it comes time to do them,
get up and go do them
without fanfare and no pouting.
You have said they are yours to do,
like anything else that is yours to do–
tying your shoes,
brushing your teeth,
washing your hair…
And if this is too much for you,
if you cannot bring yourself to do them
without moaning and remonstrating and gnashing your teeth,
then do it with everything that is yours to do:
“Damn it all to hell! I have to sneeze! I HATE sneezing!”
Cleaning your glasses,
Blowing your nose.
Scratching your ear.
The whole entourage.

 

01/09/2017 — You cannot hope to be religious
without living out of your own authority–
without deciding for yourself
what it means for you to “be religious.”

You have to assume responsibility
for your own perspective
and for the perceptions
arising from your perspective–
to be accountable for how the way you see
determines and limits what you see.

You have to find your own life and live it
within the life you are living,
and you are the authority who knows
what is your life and what is not your life.

You have to discover the face that was yours
before you were born–
and you are the authority who knows when you have done so.

You have to speak and sing and write
with your own voice–
think, reason, imagine, and create
with your own mind–
and live in an increasingly close relationship
with your own Self.

You have to know when you are on the beam
and when you are off of it–
and you are the one who says so,
and says not-so,
about all of it.

Being your own authority,
is being grounded in your own identity,
living from the foundation of the bedrock
that is the unmoving and unmovable
truth of who you are–
the source of your character,
your values,
your gifts,
and all that is YOU upon the earth–
the YOU that no one but you can be.

You are the one who knows what that is,
who says what it is,
who lives what it is.

You are the origin and the expression
of your own authority.
Everything falls into place around that.

 

01/09/2017 — Learning to be religious
is learning to trust yourself,
to trust your Self,
to trust your unconscious–
so called because we are not conscious of it.

Carl Jung said,
“There is within each of us another,
whom we do not know.”
It is our task to come to know the “Other” within.

The encounter with the “Other” within
is a religious experience,
an experience with the Numen,
with the Self at the center of ourselves,
with more than words can say.

This Numen within is the source
of our engagement with the Numen without,
which is one way our unconscious attempts
to wake us up to its reality.
Numinous encounters are
encounters with the unconscious,
and are calls to be conscious
of the fact that there is more to us
than meets the eye–
than can be rationally perceived.

The conscious world of physical reality
is no the only world.
Ancient peoples have always understood
the physical, visible, world
to be grounded upon the spiritual, invisible, world.

We use the word “spiritual” to signify
that which is not “physical.”
It can be sensed and “felt,”
but not touched, seen, weighed, measured or counted.
And it is not to be denied.

As conscious beings,
we live in two worlds at the same time,
and it is our place to become conscious
of that which is unconscious,
and to bring the unconscious to life
in the world of actual, tangible, reality.

We give life to the unconscious,
we incarnate the unconscious,
in art and music,
and in lives that are a blend of both worlds,
with the unconscious, spiritual world
being a veritable reality in people who
are intentionally open to,
and to collaborate with,
the unconscious, spiritual, Self within.

Learning to be religious
is learning to be open to,
and to collaborate with,
the unconscious, spiritual, Self within.

This work constitutes the full scope
of the spiritual journey.

 

  1. 01/09/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 19 — Twelve Mile Creek, Union County, Waxhaw, North Carolina, Lancaster County, Indian Land, South Carolina, November 19, 2016
    There are no throw-a-way moments.
    Everything matters.
    Living mindfully brings it all into focus.
    The present moment is the pivot point
    to 10,000 possible futures.
    How we live here and now
    influences all that follows–
    and determines more than we imagine.
    We like to think nothing we do makes any difference,
    when, in truth, everything we do makes some difference.
    And we have the potential of making a much grater difference
    simply by mindfully attending what we do and how we do it.
    We impact the way life is lived around us
    by the way we live our life.
    We carry the power of the future
    with us every day,
    thinking that we are the most powerless person
    who ever lived.
    Start living like you are the most powerful.
    Carry yourself like you care
    about every person you meet–
    about every single thing
    in every day.
    Change your world.
  2. 01/10/2017 — Lake Haigler 2016 45 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2016
    Being religious requires us to
    work out our destiny
    within the time and place–
    and relationships–
    that fate has placed us.
    (As an aside, I’ll say that
    people are always saying,
    “God did this and God did that,”
    but it is fate they are talking about.
    Fate can be great and terrible,
    yet it is always the environment
    in which we seek and serve our destiny.
    If we turn our backs on our destiny,
    nothing remains of our life
    but the fate that carries us along
    like lemmings to the sea.)
    Serving our destiny is the most
    religious experience we can aspire to.
    The numinous experiences
    with time, place and people
    that are encountered throughout our life
    are doorways to the ineffable,
    white rabbits winking at us,
    calling our name–
    and will, if we respond appropriately,
    lead us to our destiny.
    If we walk past unseeing,
    we remain in the world ruled by fate,
    a cow following cows along the path
    from the barn to the pasture back to the barn.

01/10/2017 — Not one of us is expendable,
replaceable,
unnecessary.
Each of us is a part of the whole,
and “an ever-present help in time of trouble”
to others of us
who are engaged in the work of
seeking and serving our destiny.

Not one of us sees things clearly.
We all look through the fogged up window
of our own perspective
which clouds our perceptions
and limits us to our own way of seeing–
which is never expansive enough
to see all there is to see.

We help one another with the tasks of life:
Seeing, hearing, understanding, knowing, doing, being.
We deepen, expand, enlarge one another,
uphold and encourage one another,
provide one another with good company,
good conversation, good humor, good food and drink,
and keep each other going
through good times and bad,
serving the destiny that is ours to serve
in the time and place that fate has put us.

 

01/10/201 —   I am not saying, or suggesting, that
“Trump is Hitler.”
I am saying that Trump is,
like Hitler was,
“the spokesman of his times.”
And, as the spokesmen of their times,
nothing gets in their way.

They are unstoppable in their ability
to bring the spirit of the times
forth in their life.
They are speaking to people
who hear what they say as though
they (the people) are hypnotized, mesmerized,
because the words they hear
mesh so well with the words they are desperate to hear.

They cannot tolerate being told to grow up,
to wake up,
to be responsible for their own life,
and to help others find what they need
to be responsible for their own life.

They want to be babied, cuddled, cared for.
They want a wall around them
to keep them safe.
They want a protector.
They crave protection and safety.
Their chant, “Build the Wall!”
is to be understood as a plea to “Make Me Safe!”

The spirit of the times is a spirit
of fear, rage, greed and hatred,
and it is gaining followers and momentum worldwide.
Trump is a ready pawn in the hands
of his fate.
A would-be Deliverer
proudly bearing the projections
of desperate masses.

He cannot deliver anyone
anymore than Hitler could.
The people cannot be delivered from
their fears, their rage, their greed, their hatred.
They have to grow up whether they want to or not,
wake up,
stand up and be responsible for their own life
within the time and place of their living.

Fate repeats the lesson it is fated to deliver
age after age
because of the failure of the people
to take up the task
of finding and living their life–
the life that is theirs to live,
that only they, individually, can life–
and so, serve their destiny,
within the time and place
that fate has put them.

Here we go again.
another round of the same old same old.
Because people won’t hear
what they don’t want to be told.

 

01/10/2017 — If we were going to meet together as an actual, not virtual, Non-Subscribing Church of What’s Happening Now,
my vision of that has us doing it in two ways.

There would be a large gathering once a month
with “all of us,” or, as many who could,
coming together to uphold, encourage, sustain,
remember and remind each other
“who we are and what we are about.”

This would be a gathering of music, reflection, sharing,
and whatever else it needed to be.

Between gatherings like this,
we would meet in small groups of 3 to 6
once a week, or twice a month,
to talk about our dreams,
that is, to work on our nighttime dreams together,
to talk about our relationship with our unconscious,
and our work to put ourselves in accord
with our Self and our life
in finding and living the life that is ours to live.
And to share what we have found to be helpful
in that work.

If you can put something like this together
in the place where you live,
let us know here
what you are doing and how it is coming along.

 

01/10/2017 — I fast 14 hours each day,
between 7 PM and 9 AM
(more or less),
and break the fast each day
with an egg scrambled
in olive oil
and flavored with Cayenne pepper.

I follow the same procedure each day,
with outcomes remarkably different
from day to day.

Maybe the skillet isn’t the same degree of hot.
Maybe there is inconsistency
in the amount of oil, or pepper.
Maybe it is all of that,
and something else besides.

I never have the same egg experience.

The extension that begs to be recognized
is that no experience can be duplicated.
No day is like any other day.
No nothing is any other nothing ever.

Yet, we talk of the “same old same old”
because we are not alert to the differences.
Because we are sleep-walking
through our life.

Each day is a miracle.
I don’t care how you scramble it,
it won’t come out like yesterday did.

 

01/10/2017 — Carl Jung said,
“Our life is not made by ourselves.
The main bulk of it is brought into existence
by forces that are hidden to us.”

This is the experience of all religious people everywhere.

Apart from this experience,
religion is statutes and ordinances,
doctrines, dogmas, decrees and creeds–
of the head,
with heart left uninvited to the party.

 

01/10/201 — The church I would create and establish
would be “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
No hierarchy.
No top-down,
outside-in,
inorganic, artificial, inauthentic
structure.
But, organic spirituality,
genuine, authentic, grounded
in the personal experience
of individuals with the numen
of their own existence.

You cannot manufacture that.
Or order it up,
command it into existence.
You cannot MAKE disciples
of all, or any, nations.

Even “disciples” is a misnomer.
The idea is for each “disciple”
to be in full accord with herself,
with himself,
and live in full accord
with the time and place of her,
of his,
living.

So, religion comes down to:
“Know Thyself!” and
“To Thine Own Self Be True!”
with conscious knowing unconscious,
and living to incarnate the soul
within each person
in to the life that each is living.

 

  1. 01/10/2017 — Backyard Sunset 2017 01 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, January 9, 2017
    We have everything we need
    to live our life–
    the life that is our life to live–
    that only we can live–
    within the life we are living.
    We have everything we need
    to serve our destiny–
    to answer the question
    our life is asking of us.
    What keeps us stuck in place?
    Grousing about the same old same old?
    Refusing all invitations to dance
    with our life?

01/11/2017 — The right kind of religion
is the heart of your life.

If you don’t care enough about your life
to go to hell for it,
we can’t help you.

If you do care enough about your life
to go to hell for it,
so that you are here to live your life
no matter what,
you have found
what you have been looking for–
a place dedicated
to supporting you in your work
to find your life and live it
as it needs to be lived
in the service of your destiny.

If that means going to hell,
we’ll be with you all the way!

 

01/11/2017 — What keeps you going?
It better not be results.
You know Jesus?
It is said he could raise the dead, but.
He couldn’t guarantee results.
What kept him going
was the love for what was his to do
whether it worked or not.

What can you do
for the love of what you’re doing
whether it works or not?

If you don’t know,
or don’t have anything like that to do,
you have the rest of your life
to find the life that is worthy of you–
worth life itself–
and do it.

It’s called The Hero’s Journey:
Living the life that is worth your life.

It is at the ground of religion at its best.

We are here to help you find it and live it, but.
You have to be willing to seek it
with all your heart–
and results, impact and outcome
cannot be more important
than the joy
of doing what is yours to do.

 

01/11/2017 — Instead of thinking and talking about God,

it would be accurate and honest

to talk about “The God-idea.”
The God-idea puts God in God’s place–

the projection of the human mind/imagination.

We worship our idea of God.

We make up everything we say about God.

God exists as an extension of ourselves–

as the way it would be if consciousness were in charge.
What we call “the experience of God”

is the experience of the Numen–

the numinous reality–

at the heart of our unconscious,

which is embedded in our DNA.
We are all “servants of God,”

in that consciousness evolved

to be a partner with the unconscious

in the work to incarnate unconscious reality

in the world of physical facts.
There is nothing factual about the unconscious.

It is an amalgam of potential

with the urge to realize, actualize, know itself.

The evolutionary urge of life becoming alive

to its own reality–

of life becoming conscious of itself living–

is behind everything that we call “life.”
Every living thing strives to be itself–

strives to become what it is capable of becoming.

Human beings are life experimenting with–

playing with–

the possibilities

of consciousness becoming conscious of itself–

of the unconscious becoming conscious of itself.
The problem is that as life becomes conscious of itself,

it is also becoming conscious of its possibilities.

It doesn’t have to become itself.

It can become anything it can imagine being.

A longleaf pine no longer has to be a longleaf pine.

An alligator can aspire to be more than an alligator.

Something new is introduced to life.
Duality.

Complexity.

Contradiction.

Denial.

Ambivalence.

Morality.

Ethics.

Did I say complexity?
Consciousness doesn’t have to be the servant

of the unconscious.

It can go its own way.

Do its own thing.

Create its own world

to its own liking.

Or, so it seems.
Self-deception is what consciousness does best.

Consciousness can’t tell the difference

between the real world of facts and ice cream,

and the world of fantasy of apparent facts

and ice cream with all the taste

and none of the fat and calories of the real thing.
Consciousness doesn’t know when, or where, to stop.

“To know no limits,

to let yourself run free”

is consciousness’ idea of Really Living.

Life Without Limits!

What could be better than that?

The ultimate fantasy

is being able to do anything we want

with no consequences ever being applied—

and we have sought the elixir or immortality,

or the fruit of the Tree of Eternal Life,

with the desperation of those

who cannot bear the prospect

of a limit they cannot transcend.
Our quest for life on our terms

(consciousness’ quest for life on its terms)

put the quest of the unconscious for life on its terms

on hold for all of time.

We are not interested

in sacrificing our idea of life

for the unconscious’ idea of life.

It’s a problem.

 

Spiritual masters over time

have always known the solution to be

“Thy will, not mine, be done!”—

with the “Thy” being the unconscious,

and the “mine” being consciousness.

 

Augustine said,

“Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”

The unconscious is life,

and holds the key to life,

“pouring over, running all over.”

But, it is a hard sell.
Consciousness thinks it knows what it is doing,

and is not willing to hand itself over

to the care and keeping of the unconscious,

on the off chance

that it would be better off

in any measurable way.
Thus, consciousness has to get to the end of its rope

before it can change its mind about what is important,

and give the unconscious permission

to take the controls

and guide their join life

on its path through the sea.
Those “tender-minded” people

who have a sense of what I’m talking about

are in position to forestall requisite drop

to the end of the rope,

by instituting in mid-life

the process of turning things over

and letting the unconscious to have the reins—

maintaining just enough oversight

to assist the unconscious with practical matters

which are beyond its experience

(Filing income tax forms, for example).

Consciousness takes care of the details,

the unconscious takes care

of the direction, tone and character

of the life we live together.
The Non-Subscribing Church of What’s Happening Now

comes into play

at the point of assisting people

negotiate the fine points of

putting themselves in accord with the Numen,

the Self, at the center of the unconscious,

and living their life on two paths at the same time.
It isn’t the only way of helping that collaboration work,

and will happily point out the other sources

of help toward that end.

In this work, there is no competition.

All are truly one in the work to be whole.
Trump is not one of us.
He doesn’t do it the way
any of us would do it.
He doesn’t do it the way
anyone we know–
or know of, know about–
would do it.
The phrase,
“We don’t do it that way,”
applies to Trump.
Who is the “we” from whom
Trump gets his idea
of the it ought to be done?
Who is the “we” Trump
plays to?
Aims to please?
I don’t think he has one.
I don’t think they exist.
Trump is an accurate depiction
of a patient
(or an inmate)
in a psychiatric ward.
No one there would do it
like any “we” we ever heard of
would do it.
They all would be saying,
“I am Jesus Christ!”
And,
“NO! NOT YOU! “–
OR YOU–
OR YOU–
I AND I ALONE Am Jesus Christ!”
There is no community
on a psychiatric ward,
just a collection of stand-alone egos
striving to impose their way
on everyone else.

 

  1. 01/11/2017 — Lake Haigler 2016 44 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2016
    What are you willing to go to hell for?
    It better be the life that is your life to live–
    the one that only you can live–
    the one you were born to live
    in being who you are
    and serving your destiny
    no matter what.
    If you aren’t living a life
    you would go to hell for,
    you are living the wrong life,
    and need to find the one that is worth your time,
    and your life.
  2. 01/11/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 23 — Walnut Creek Access, Union County, North Caroling, November 19, 2016
    Sadness is part of it.
    You wouldn’t chase away joy and laughter.
    Let sadness have its turn,
    whether it be grounded in betrayal or remorse,
    or the angst of the children leaving home
    to live their own lives,
    or your aging and its impositions
    and the cumulative weight of the years.
    Welcome everything in its time!
    When sadness comes,
    be sad.
    When grief arrives,

    There are good reasons for it all.
    Don’t turn away the cold callers
    looking for the warmth of your attention.
    You don’t have to serve them cookies,
    but don’t bar them from access
    to the heart of your humanity.
    They will stay longer than you would like,
    but not nearly as long as you are afraid they will.

  3. 01/12/2017 — Sunset Christmas Eve 2016 05 — Charlotte, North Carolina, December 24, 2016, an iPhone photograph
    Denial can explain away all possible realities.
    Nothing can happen
    that denial cannot disappear.
    “Delta Dawn” should be the theme song
    of the Trump administration.
    “I didn’t do it!”
    “He didn’t do it!”
    “I never said it!”
    “He never said it!”
    “I didn’t mean it!”
    “He didn’t mean it!”
    “Stop picking on me!”
    “Stop picking on him!”
    “I’m going to Make America Great Again!”
    “Isn’t he GREAT?”
    Obama wasn’t born in the USA
    and Trump is GREAT.
    Denial can do anything.
    With anything.
    Truth has no impact on denial.
    Facts don’t stand a chance.
    We have been hurled down the Rabbit Hole.
    The world is upside down.
    “No it isn’t. Everything is perfectly fine.
    Or would be if you would just shut up
    and accept the way things are
    like we all have.”

01/12/2017 — “Truth forever on the scaffold,
Wrong forever on the throne”
(James Russell Lowell).
We need a faith to believe in,
a light to last us
through the long dark night.
The test of all religion
is how it holds up
through the shaking
of the foundations,
to the crumbling of all hope.
What are you going to turn to
when there is nothing left
of what you thought was
sound, solid and valid for all time?
What can you count on,
rely on,
look to,
trust,
believe in,
to see you through?
Ain’t but one thing left
and that’s you.
We always have ourselves–
our Self at the center
of our heart and soul.
We always have the Lodestar within,
grounding us,
centering us,
orienting us,
consoling us,
comforting us,
encouraging us,
reminding us,
“Come to me all who are weak and heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you,
and learn from me,
for my yoke is easy,
and my burden is light.”
What we seek without is within,
but we think it is not within,
it can’t be,
we are empty, hopeless and alone,
we know we are.
And so comes to pass the saying,
“The stone the builders reject
is the chief cornerstone.”
We are the man sitting on his ox,
looking for his ox.
The woman with her glasses on her head,
looking for her glasses.

We are what we seek, but.
We have to believe it is so to know that it is.
We have to sit quietly past all doubt,
and open ourselves to the truth of our own soul,
our own Self,
saying to us: “Come, follow me.”
We have a soul that is as old as time.
A soul that has seen everything,
and been through it all.
A soul that knows.
It only takes trusting that it is so to know that it is.
Stop! Look! Listen!
Past your fear.
Past your terror.
Past your grief.
Past your sorrow.
Past your emptiness.
Past your aloneness.
Past the suffocating agony
of the complete loss of everything.
Until your eyes adjust to the darkness
and you perceive the faint glimmer
of the light within,
and hear the soft reassurance
of the “still, small voice,”
and know you are not alone,
never have been,
never will be.
Seek the ground of knowing
the truth of your own Self,
your own soul–
the bedrock of your own life and being–
the foundation of the “I” you call “me.”
That which remains of YOU
when all else has been taken from you.
YOU are inviolable, immovable, unshakeable.
Nothing can take YOU from you.
You together with YOU
are all you need
to deal with any contingency,
face any circumstance.
What is happening is not the first time
it has ever happened.
It won’t be the last.
Yet here you are–here we all are.
Take heart in the fact that,
having lost all heart
10,000 times before this present
manifestation of the Void in our life,
here we are.
We’re still here.
You can miss the significance of it,
but you cannot deny it.
Your pain is real.
Your agony is not to be denied.
You are very much here, now.
That’s a great sign for the future!
It means there has always been a future!
And there always will be!
You have YOU!
YOU together with you
are a Swiss Army Knife
of resiliency and responses,
well capable of dealing with
whatever comes your way.
After all, you found this web site, didn’t you?
You are reading this, aren’t you?
If YOU can bring you here,
you can trust YOU to guide you
to the next step,
and to the one after that.

And, in addition to that, we are all here with you!
There is a veritable country of YOUs at your side!
You are not alone on any level!
Take heart!
Be courageous!
It’s just another trial!
Only one more ordeal!
Trials and ordeals are what we do best!
We will be amazed (again) at what we can do!
It only takes believing it
to know it is so!
01/12/2017 — We don’t get to choose our choices.
And that means,
we don’t get such a great choice.
We can die by living with integrity.
Or, we can die by living without integrity.
That’s our choice.
And “integrity” means knowing who we are
and being true to ourselves
in all matters great and small.
01/12/2017 — What you are aware of being
in most need of
is what you need from yourself,
a gift from your Self to you,
from YOU to you.
What you seek is found within.
Joseph Campbell said,
“The treasure we seek most ardently,
is found deep in the cave
we most do not want to enter”
(Or words to that effect).
Hold what you are aware of needing the most
in your awareness,
and allow it to become, of its own accord,
an image or an object,
so that it is no longer defined by a word,
but expressed as a symbol
in the image or object.
Wait for it to appear as called for in your mind.
Now that you have a visible, tangible symbol
of what you most need,
hold that in your awareness,
and ask it what it needs of you, from you.
Wait for the response to occur to you–
not as something you think up,
but as a truth that simply is.
Commune with the image or object in this way
to air out,
or to get to the bottom,
of what you need of it,
and of what it needs of you.
The image, or object, is a symbol of the Self,
of which there are an infinite number.
It concretizes the Self in your experience,
and permits you to engage the Self
in meditative communion.
Or, you can follow this procedure to imagine
other images or objects
for particular needs or concerns,
and allow them to become symbols of the Self.
This is a practice of making real the inner world
of the unconscious psyche, soul, heart, Self,
and establishing a means of exploration and communion.
And will stand you in good stead over time
as a way of deepening and expanding
your understanding of the YOU you are.

  1. 01/13/2017— Around Bass Lake 2016 20 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016
    Sinking into our Self
    is coming forth into the world.
    Introspection is not an end
    but a beginning.
    An opening into engagement and expression
    that carries us into
    the unfolding destiny
    of our far distant future.
    We–the conscious ego-self we see in the mirror–
    span two worlds,
    the invisible, unconscious
    (so-called because we are unconscious of it)
    world of spirit and truth at the core of life itself,
    and the visible, physical
    world of normal, apparent, reality.
    We bring forth the invisible world
    within the visible world
    by becoming our Self
    within the life we are living.
    It would be like Clark Kent
    becoming Superman
    if it weren’t for the vulnerability part.
    More often than not,
    it is like Clark Kent
    becoming Jesus on the cross.
    The world is not built to be receptive
    to spirit and truth.
    The Hero’s Journey does not often
    end with parades and parties
    celebrating the coming out of the hero.
    More often than not,
    no one notices,
    or cares.
    The true legacy of Jesus
    is being ignored–
    “despised and rejected,”
    is how the Biblical prophecy puts it.
    That’s the kind of reception the hero gets.
    Yet, the hero offers exactly what is needed most.
    We all come equipped to meet some need.
    Our gifts are perfectly suited
    for the good of the whole–
    and need us to collaborate with our Self
    in bringing them forth
    in the time and place of our living.
    We begin the Hero’s Journey by looking within,
    by listening for what is being said to us,
    and seeing where it goes.

01/13/2017 — It is not about dying with the most toys
and winning.
It is not about winning.
Or losing.
The world is not divided between
winners and losers.
I is divided between
those who dance
and those who do not dance.
It is about dancing.
Period.
Those who dance, dance.
They do not win.
Those who do not dance, do not dance
They do not lose.
Those who dance know that the dance is everything.
Those who do not dance do not know that the dance is everything.
That is all.
Dancing is about being one with the music,
with the rhythm and flow of the moment,
of life here and now,
of what is happening,
and what needs to happen,
and what is to be done in response,
and doing it spontaneously
at exactly the right time
in exactly the right way.
The basketball player with the ball
sees the game open before her, before him,
and passes, or shoots,
without thinking about winning or losing,
or even making the shot.
It is not about making the shot.
It is about the dance,
about being one with the game
about being in rhythm,
in flow,
here and now.
And living that way in every moment–
living with the moment
in the moment.
No striving, not trying, not forcing, not fearing,
simply being at one with the flow
and doing what needs to be done
the way it needs to be done
when it needs to be done.
Practice that.
Practice dancing.
It will be such a good thing
for all things.
01/13/2017 — There is no accountability
for the President
or for members of Congress.
They can do, or not do, as they please,
with no consequences ever.
We need the Elder Wand.
01/13/2017 — If I had the power,
I would put this into effect:

I decree that tomorrow,
all Republican members of Congress,
the President and Vice-President Elect,
will come down with Whooping Cough
and have to be hospitalized
until I decide to lift the curse.

That would be simple an effective, don’t you think?

Of course, I will have stipulations similar to my previous post
regarding responsibility and accountability
that have to be agreed to prior to lifting the curse.

I think it will be great.

Oh, and anyone who attempts to force consequences of any kind upon me
before or after the curse is lifted
will come down with Whooping Cough
and have to go to the hospital.

It’s really very beautifully conceived, I think.

 

  1. 01/14/2017 — Reelfoot Lake 2015 62 — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 4, 2015
    We have to know when our life is good enough.
    Good enough is good enough.
    We only have to be good enough parents.
    Good enough sons and daughters.
    Good enough cooks and housekeepers…
    Knowing when our life is good enough
    is knowing when to stop striving for more,
    or something different,
    or something better…
    and begin living OUR life
    where we are,
    with what we have available to us.
    Our work is to bring us forth in the life we are living.
    If we are constantly trying to improve
    the conditions and circumstances
    in which we live,
    we will never get to LIVING.

    LIVING is what we are here for.
    We are here to be fully alive
    in the time and place of our living.
    If we were living as those
    who are fully alive here and now,
    what would we be doing?
    Start doing those things.
    Here.
    Now.
    Let the rest of your life
    fall into place
    around that.
    Including “good enough.”
    Good enough will take care of itself
    once you begin doing the things
    that bring you fully to life
    within the life you are living.

 

01/14/2017 — There is that which is
out of our hands.
Over which we have no control.

Trying to control
what cannot be controlled
is the cause of stress,
neurosis,
and physical symptoms.

Refusing to embrace
legitimate suffering
is trying to control
what cannot be controlled.

We do not grieve when grief is upon us.
We do not even allow tears of sorrow
to flow unchecked.
We “suck it up.”
Act as though nothing happened.
Go on about our business.
Pretending nothing happened.

Our business is feeling what must be felt.
Knowing what must be known.
Grieving what must be grieved.

January 20 should be a day of National Mourning and Grief.
We should spend it in anguish and agony
for what has been lost,
for what has been done.

We should not
go gently into that dark night.

 

01/14/2017 — If it is true
that only 29% of registered voters
voted in the Presidential election–
and I have not found a way to verify that yet–
it means Trump only had to win
one vote more than 14.5%
of the voters registered to vote in this country
to be our next President.

He cannot boast that the Majority of Americans elected him
(and that nobody cares about his tax returns
or his Russian affiliation
because “they all voted for me”).

We have stepped into darkness of soul and spirit
unlike anything in the experience
of the nation, perhaps ever–
including Pearl Harbor and the Civil War.

 

01/14/2017 — In the south,
and maybe everywhere–
but I’ve never been there,
and I’ve spent a lot of time
in the south,
and there there is a saying:

“They would cut off their nose
to spite their face.”

It’s what Republicans are doing
when they defund Planned Parenthood
and repeal the Affordable Care Act–
except most rank-and-file Republicans
don’t know that’s the official name
of Obamacare.

They think their affordable health care insurance
will remain in place
and the “leeches and freeloaders”
will loose theirs.

Interesting, that term “freeloader.”
They just elected the King of Freeloaders
as President of the United States.
Has never paid a penny in taxes.
Has freeloaded his way to the White House,
and won’t live there,
He’s freeloaded his way to better digs.

Doesn’t matter.
They hate President Obama so much
they would gladly
cut off their noses
to spite their face,
canceling out everything he did
and stood for
at any price.

And, as Forrest Gump would say,
“Stupid is as stupid does.”

 

01/14/2017 — About every day or two,
some Trump supporter
asks me to ease off the
negativity, stop it with the
harsh reality, so that
everyone can catch their
breath, and come together.

“Coming together”
sounds like everybody is moving,
coming
to meet one another in the middle
in order to work things out
to the mutual satisfaction
of all concerned.

You know,
negotiation and compromise.
Like that.

Trump has no record
of ever moving to
meet anyone in the center.

Trump’s record clearly states
that lying, cheating, stealing, threatening, bullying, demeaning, abusing, tormenting, shaming, tweeting, coercing and retribution
are his ways of getting his way
at the expense of everyone else’s way.

“Coming together” means
everybody agreeing to be happy
with whatever Trump does,
no matter what he does.

You know, like the House of Representatives did
under President Obama.

 

  1. 01/15/2017 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 18 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 13, 2016
    We carry within us
    the seeds of our own becoming.
    We bear the new life
    of our own aborning–
    to be aborted
    or born
    by the choice
    of our own choosing
    who and how we will be
    in the time and place
    of our living.
    My best advice is this:
    Do not over-think it.
    Do not “try to be” who you are.
    “Do or do not. There is no try!”
    Getting ourselves past
    “trying not to try”
    is the work of a lifetime,
    and the only work
    worthy of us.
    It is the work of
    just seeing
    just hearing
    just understanding
    just knowing
    just doing
    just being.
    In every situation there is
    what is happening
    and what needs to happen in response.
    Our place in each situation
    is to see, hear, and understand
    what is happening
    and to hold that in our awareness
    waiting to know what’s what
    on all levels.
    From that knowing,
    doing arises spontaneously
    “on its own,”
    and we find ourselves
    responding in ways
    appropriate to the occasion
    and being who the situation
    needs us to be,
    offering the gifts that are ours to give
    without trying.
    It is all as magical
    as waves coming ashore,
    or butterflies among flowers.
    They do without thinking
    what is to be done.

01/15/2017 — Trump’s Second News Conference

“Mr. President. How will you address the matter of the conflicts of interest that impinge upon your Presidency?”

“I will address them the same way I address the matter of my tax returns. I will say, ‘These matters don’t matter.’ Nobody cares. I’m the President and they elected me. And they don’t care what I do
because what I’m going to do is make them safe, build the wall, deport immigrants, Muslims, and undocumented aliens, and bring their jobs back. And that’s all they care about.

“Only you media types care about anything else, and how many of you vote? See my point? YOU don’t matter.

“I’m going to nominate to the Supreme Court and all federal judgeships judges who will do what the people who elected me want done, and that’s all that my people are really interested in.

“All people want is to be safe and have jobs so they can go about their business. They don’t care about anybody else’s business. They just want to be able to take care of their own.

“And my business isn’t their business. And it isn’t any of your business. So, I’m going to take care of business and not answer any questions about my business. And you can’t make me.

“So, NAH-NAH-NAH-NAH-NAH! YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!

“That should wrap things up rather nicely. I don’t see any point to taking more questions, since this answers all possible questions, and is all any of you need to know. And, since I don’t see a need for any more news conferences, there won’t be any more.

“Thank you for your time.”

 

01/15/2017 — Trump is in charge.
He holds all of the cards.
The Democratic safeguard
of Three Houses of Government–
The Executive
The Legislative
The Judicial
are all, or soon will be, in Republican hands,
there is no one to call his hand
or bring any consequences to bear
that Trump has to take into account
in choosing a direction or a course of action.

Democracy has been replaced
by a totalitarian state
run by a demagogue
who aspires to be a demigod,
and would not mind
being taken for God.

Where does that leave the rest of us?
Smack where people of totalitarian states
have always been:
grousing, complaining, groaning
and wistfully dreaming
of a better life for themselves
and their children.

Like the immigrants
we are turning away,
or whose ranks
we will be joining–
raw from the lesson
to be learned here:

Take Democracy for granted at your own peril!

 

01/15/2017 — Trump is our only hope.
We have to count on Trump being Trump.
Trump being Trump
will overstep limits
and appall
even Republicans.

If Trump will only appall Republicans,
his reign will be short
and his fall will be celebrated
far into the dim and distant future.

O Donald, O Donald!
Please, Please, Please
Be. Who. You. Are.

 

01/15/2017 — I have been reading of late
Thomas Hoover’s two books
on Japanese history:
Zen Culture and
Zen Experience–
they are both free on Kindle,
or a Kindle app for your
Mac, PC, or tablet

(I keep about five books going
at a time,
and can never remember
where to find
something I’ve recently read).

Growing out of my developing interest
in things Japan,
I recalled my 1970’s
fascination with
the Japanese musician Kitaro
(now living in California, I think),
and have been listening
to his music for several days.

I have no idea
what a “bar of music” is,
but I think Kitaro repeats
six bars in every song,
the same six bars
with some additional
synthesized sounds, bells, drums, waves, wind
for five or six minutes.

Then, the next song
with different bars
arraigned in the same way,
for something approaching 25 or 30 albums/cd’s.
It’s amazing.

You can find that to be boring,
or meditative.
I opt for meditative.
Ocean waves coming to shore
offer the same option.
Kitaro does a wonderful job
of putting the idea
of ocean waves
to music.

I hope, like the ocean,
he never quits.

 

01/15/2017 — I call what I do here
“Making My Peace
With The Way Things Are.”

If what you read here
helps you make your peace
with the way things are,
I think you ought to keep reading it
and sharing it with those
you think might find it helpful
in making their peace
with the way things are.

If what you read here
doesn’t help you make your peace
with the way things are,
you shouldn’t read it.

 

01/15/2017 — To talk about what a joke
means
is to lose the whole point
of the joke.
The same thing applies
to your life.
And to all of life
Live it.
There is the meaning.
We live the meaning
we seek,
and to seek it
is to miss it.
Too make too much
of anything
is to miss the point
of it.
Live your life.
See where it goes.
That’s that.
Just so.

 

01/15/2017 —Right action arises from mindful awareness
of the moment as it arises
in the time and place of our living,
but.

All monasteries have a strict Rule of the Day
regarding all that must be done,
how and when to do it
from rising in the morning
to going to bed at night.

Spontaneity, no.
Regimentation, yes.

Monastic life
is not the life of the
hermit in the hills.

No pattern suits all.
We each have our own business,
and our own method of getting it done.
We each must find our own way–
the way that was ours
before we were born.

Disciples must become like the master
in following no master.

 

  1. 01/15/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 27 — Union County, Waxhaw, North Carolina, November 20, 2016
    Where is your sanctuary?
    I turn to my writing and my photography
    to center me in and ground me upon
    the truth of ME at the center of my soul.
    Our sanctuary is where we go to be restored
    to ourselves–to our Self within.
    It is in that identity of us with our Self–
    with who we are at the core–
    that we find what we need
    to face any present
    and any future.
    Our sanctuary is inviolable,
    sacrosanct,
    and invulnerable.
    We are safe there,
    beyond the reach of the encroaching powers.
    They may well destroy us,
    but they cannot touch us.
    And it is my firm conviction,
    that though they may kill us,
    that only makes us invisible,
    and able to work against them
    from the other side.
    Find your sanctuary
    and go there often,
    establishing unbreakable connections
    with the Self at the center of yourself.
    And be well.
  2. 01/16/2017 — Goodale 2016 28 Panorama–Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 7, 2016
    Engagement is vulnerability.
    Disengagement is denial.
    Choose your poison.
    Choose your partner
    and dance mindfully aware
    of how you are dancing
    and who you are dancing with.
    Choose your cross
    and bear it well.

01/16/2017 — “The fullness of time”
is when
the peach tree blooms,
and again
when the peach ripens,
and again
when the pie is done…

Time is forever being right,
and wrong.

Any time can be the right time
for something,
but not every time.

One time is not as good as another
most of the time.

Waiting for the time to be right
is ideal waiting.
Waiting to be ready,
and for the time to be ready for you
is what waiting is all about.

Waiting for Godot
is just “killing time.”
Idle waiting.
Waiting with nothing in mind.
Waiting without anticipation,
without interest,
with no idea what you are waiting for.

That is not the way
a cat waits on a bird,
or stares at a mouse hole.
When you wait,
wait like a cat.
Or like a cook
with a pie in the oven.

 

01/16/2017 — To say, “God is in control,”
or “God knows what he (it is always “he” in these statements) is doing,”
is to say “Leave well-enough alone,”
“Stop asking questions,”
“Don’t rock the boat, make waves, shake the foundations.”
“Everything happens for a reason,
so keep the status quo unchallenged
and trust God to give you what is best for you.”
And, “Whatever you do,
DON’T CHANGE ANYTHING!”

God’s in control, but.
We aren’t going to change anything.
So, who is in control?
That would be us.
No one can change our minds about God,
not even God.

 

01/16/2017 — “God” and “God’s will”
need to be re-thought
in light of what we know
about projection
and self-deception,
and denial.

Remember how on the Winter Solstice
we would sacrifice our virgin daughters
and our first born sons
to appease the gods
and bring the sun back?
And remember how it always worked?
Self-deception is something else.
Yoke it to denial
and projection,
and nothing is safe.

“God” is always who we say “God” is.
Our idea of God IS God.
Always has been.
We need to recognize that,
assume responsibility for it,
and come up with a better idea.

Our virgin daughters
and first born sons
and their modern equivalents,
have suffered too much
for too long.

Or, to come at it another way,
people are always looking at
the universe and all there is therein,
and saying, “This couldn’t have just happened!
Things are too finely tuned!
There has to be a plan–
and a plan implies a planner,
so there must be a Divine Being
in charge of Planning Development!”

To which I ask,
“What is the greater miracle:
That everything is the result
of careful planning and execution–
or that nothing is?”

God Out There
(Or Up There–
there is no man,
there are no stairs)
has out-lived its time.

The God-of-our-experience
is as real as last night’s dream,
and as dependable as
summer lightening
and thunderstorms

The God-of-our-experience
is manifest and present in–
as it always has been and will be–
in art, music and nature.

We can no longer afford
to confuse the God-of-our-experience
with the God-of-theologies-doctrines-and-creeds.
The two have nothing in common
except those who say
they are identical.

 

01/16/2017 — We experience the God-of-our-experience
as the moved experiencing
the mover,
the known experiencing
the knower–
and need not,
must not,
go beyond that experience
in positing nature, motive and intent,
background, character, values, purpose and goal.

Anything beyond experiencing
the awe and wonder
of the Numen beyond words
is something we make up
in the effort to explain and understand
the experience.

Don’t go there.
Stay with the experience
without talking about it
beyond, “Wow!”

Tuck it away in your memory
under the category of
More Than Words Can Say
About More Than Meets The Eye,
and recall it as needed
to remind yourself
that you are not alone,
and are capable of
“apprehending more than
you are capable of
comprehending’ (Abraham Heschel).

Knowing that there is more to know
that can be known
puts us in the position
of being those who
ask and go on asking,
seek and go on seeking,
knock and go on knocking,
on a quest that
expands as it deepens
throughout forever,
opening us to the truth of
Heraclitus’ observation:
“Traveling on every path,
you will not find the boundaries of soul,
so deep is its measure.”

 

  1. 01/16/2017 — Red Maple and White Fence — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 20, 2016
    Solitude, silence, mindful awareness,
    compassion and a sense of humor
    are the ingredients
    for realization,
    revitalization
    and revolution.
    Your life
    will take on
    a life of its own.
    You will probably
    need a new set
    of friends.
    Probably,
    you should just watch TV
    and not worry about it.
  2. 01/17/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 28 — Union County, Waxhaw, North Carolina, November 20, 2016
    You know how directors sometimes
    mark spots with colored chalk
    indicating where they want
    actors standing during the
    first few rehearsals
    of the Senior Play
    in high school?
    With, maybe, lines drawn on the stage
    to the next place they were to be
    when the action started?

    That’s how it is with your life,
    only without the chalk marks.
    We are all looking for our place.
    For the place we belong.
    Too many of us do not belong
    where we are.
    If you know what I mean.
    Too few of us have any idea
    of how to find our place–
    of how to find our life,
    and live it.

 

01/17/2017 — There is no fix for our complexes–
the collection of memories
that are unique to each of us,
and the associations they arouse
among emotions, images. odors, sounds, experiences, places, times and events–
transporting us back to childhood,
a previous marriage,
military service…

Then is now,
even though we know it is not
on one level,
on another level it is,
or may as well be,
for all the good the difference makes.

We never out-grow
having been where we have been–
having seen what we have seen.
Surviving what has been done to us
doesn’t mean we are done with it.
It means we are surviving it.
Still.

That will have to be good enough.
There is no making it any better.
Here’s to all of you
who are surviving it.
Still.

 

01/17/2017 — Our life is our work,
is our love,
is our church,
is our life–

when it is the life
that is Our life,
the one only we can live,
that is unique to us,
no matter how similar
it may appear
to 10,000 other lives.

Our life brings US forth
to meet the time and place of our living
in each situation as it arises,
as only we can meet it
with the gifts and grace that are ours
to bestow,
gifts and grace which gift and grace us
in return,
so that life begets life,
and we come alive
in the act of being alive.

The Christ births the Christ,
and Mary remains both virginal
and unnecessary
to the process of
mothering God.

 

01/17/2017 — Our life is our work
and brings God forth
in the time and place
of our living.
We incarnate a truth
that cannot be said,
told,
explained,
defined
by being who
the situation needs us to be,
doing what
the situation deeds done.

Raising the dead,
restoring sight to the blind,
walking on water,
are metaphors
for being what is needed
at a time,
in a place,
that are desperate
for what we have to offer.

 

01/17/2017 — The hardest thing to believe
and go on believing
is that our life matters
that our work has meaning
in the face of an abundance
of evidence to the contrary.

If you are ever going to believe anything,
believe that your life matters,
that your work has meaning–
and that it doesn’t matter
whether it does or not,
because you are going
to be who you are
and do what is yours to do
anyway,
never the less,
even so.

 

01/17/2017 — Bedrock faith
is faith
in the bedrock
of who we are
and the work that is ours to do.

Life–
true life,
spilling over,
pouring out–
leads to and flows from
being who we are,
doing what is ours to do.

Life is
integrity,
authenticity,
fidelity.
It is knowing,
being true to,
and living in ways that express,
who we are
and what we love.

Death is selling ourselves out,
not caring who we are
or what is ours to do,
being interested only in
accruing personal advantages
getting ahead,
amassing wealth,
and having it made.

Death is self-deception,
deceit
and denial
in the service
of ends unworthy of us.

We can be 98.6 and breathing
with all the vital signs in place
and no vitality to be found.

 

01/17/2017 — While there is nothing to disappear
our complexes
and enable us to live as though
the experiences that created them
never happened,
by being mindfully aware of them
we can sharply reduce
the impact of the past
on our present,
and limit its ability to mar our future.

Mindfulness leads the way.

If you haven’t watched the Jon Kabat-Zinn
YouTube videos
on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction,
mindfulness is likely not yet leading your way.

Become aware of your resistance.
What is keeping it in place?
What all is there?

 

01/17/2017 — My hunch–correct me if I am wrong–
is that when we search it out,
we will discover that the resistance
we have to taking up the practice
of mindful awareness
is that we have put a lifetime of work
into Not Thinking About The Awful Things
that we wish had never happened
and that we hope we can disappear
by Not Thinking About them.

We have them locked in deep dungeons,
and do not want to risk
being mindful of them
and the influence they wield over us
even though we are rarely conscious of them.

Not being conscious of them is the point!
We don’t want to face them!
And we hate me for bringing them up–again!
And again!
And again!

If I’m right, you are wrong to think
you have locked anything away.
And, holding it in your awareness
is a lot safer way of dealing with it
than thinking you have sealed it off for good.

 

01/17/2017 — Alexis Carrel said:
“Man cannot remake himself without suffering,
for he is both the marble and the sculptor.”

And the chisel we use
in the work that is ours alone to do–
though we might not do it alone–
is mindfulness.

 

  1. 01/18/2017 — Grandfather Mountain 2016 05 — Grandfather Mountain State Park, Banner Elk, North Carolina, October 17, 2016
    Mindfulness has a downside.
    We cannot be aware of how things are
    and live the way we are living.
    Seeing things changes things.
    Things are the way they are
    for a reason.
    The reason is we like them that way.
    For all of our whining, moaning, complaining
    and moping about,
    we hold things firmly in place
    against all suggestions of change.
    We like refined sugar a lot
    and aren’t going to stop eating it
    by the 5-pound bags full.
    We hate to exercise
    and aren’t going to do it
    no matter how many physicians
    recommend it.
    And that doesn’t touch
    the alcohol, tobacco
    and the drawer full of meds
    we need to take to face
    this sorry, rotten life we’re living.
    If there is something about our life
    that we don’t like,
    there is something else about our life
    that is keeping in in place.
    This is called
    The Rule Of Diminishing Returns.
    The returns for changing anything
    quickly diminish in light
    of the losses that accrue
    for changing something else.
    Life is a system of trade-offs.
    We give up this to get that.
    And there are some things
    we aren’t giving up for anything.
    We like things the way they are
    no matter how much we say we don’t.

01/18/2017 — Good religion flows from
being reconnected
with the joy of life
at the heart of
doing what we love,
expressing who we are
playing
as children do.

 

01/18/2017 — Our life reflects
the price we pay
for living the way
we live.

How might we
change the way
we live
to better,
more accurately,
more authentically,
reflect who we are?

What are we doing
that we would not
be doing
if we were living in ways
that reflect who we are?

What are we not doing
that we would be doing
if we were living in ways
that reflect who we are?

What can we do
to reduce the dichotomy
between who we are
and what we do?

These questions,
and their answers,
are at the heart
of good religion.

We don’t learn the catechisms
and the creeds there,
or the books of the Bible
in order.

We find who we are
and what we need to do
to incarnate the core of our being
in the life we are living.

 

  1. 01/18/2017 — Boone Fork 2016 08 Panorama – Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016
    Our religion is our life.
    No one can give us religion
    any more than they can give us our life.
    When we are one with our life
    we are one with God
    and all the manifestations of God
    there ever have been
    or will be.
    Finding our life and living it
    is the heart of all true religion.
    We do not find our life
    by looking for it,
    but by opening ourselves
    to that which is seeking us.
    Like the wand chooses the wizard,
    so our life chooses us.
    Our destiny needs us
    as much as we need our destiny.
    “Wait, watch,” comes the command.
    “Be still and know”
    Know what?
    Know what we know.
    “We are who we always have been,”
    said Carl Jung,
    “and who we will be.”
    It isn’t that we don’t know
    what our destiny is–
    it is that we don’t know what we know.
    We are like the woman carrying her keys
    looking for her keys.
    Like the man wearing his hat
    looking for his hat.
    In all likelihood,
    we have been doing what we are here to do
    all our life,
    wondering what we are here to do.
    It only takes a shift in focus
    to know what we know.
    Mindfulness leads the way.
    Take up the practice of mindfulness meditation
    (Google Jon Kabat-Zinn),
    and watch yourself
    watching yourself–
    looking for
    what you are failing to see.

01/18/2017 — We need to talk.
Or, I write, you read, and write back if you need to.
It’s time for The Disclaimer.

We have to find our own way.
That means deciding what is our way
and what is not.
We do that by sensing in our body
what clicks,
rings true,
strikes a cord,
stirs to life a mighty YES!
brings into being just like that in the wink of an eye
an inexplicable urge to action
even though you can make no sense of it
and would never be able to explain to anyone,
much less your mother or father,
what in the world you are thinking
and why on earth you would do anything as foolish
and as thoughtless
as that!
It is a good sign when you get that kind of response,
particularly from Mom and Dad.
It means you are on YOUR way for you
and not THEIR way for you.
Always a good idea.

Deciding what your way is not
is just like that only different.
Different in the way of turning you completely OFF
to the way that is being touted and bandied about.
Avoid it regardless of the price you are offered
for taking it,
and in spite of the threats solemnly pledged and guranteed
for not.
Do. Not. Go. That. Way.

I’m saying here Trust Your Body!
Your Body Knows!
Listen to it right now–
It’s giving you the Thumbs Up.
Whatever you are feeling in your body
will now forever be known as the
Thumbs Up Feeling.

I’m telling you to Trust Your Body
and not me.
But I know I am so right about this
that Your Body would never give you Thumbs Down
about it.

Sometimes I know when I’m right,
as in absolutely, unconditionally, indubitably and eternally.
But, not often.

And that’s my point.
You can’t trust me to know what I’m talking about.
I don’t trust myself to know what I’m talking about,
so I’m telling you:
Do Not Listen To Me!
Listen To You!
Which means, of course,
that you can’t listen to you without also listening to me,
and I don’t mind a bit if you do that,
but listen to you first.

And when you get a Thumbs Up for what you think,
and a Thumbs Down about what I’m saying,
go with you at all times and in all places.

This is critical because only you know the way that is your way,
and I cannot begin to tell you what your way is,
any more than your Mom and Dad can.
I can give you some tips,
but you have to take the ones you can use
and leave the rest behind.

My deal with you is that i will never say anything I think
I am supposed to say.
I will only say the things I think need to be said,
and I can be wrong about that.
I am saying what I see, and think, and know,
and you are taking what you find to be useful
in finding your way to the life that is yours to live
and living it as only you can
throughout the time left for living.

You decide for yourself what to keep and what to leave.
And you take up the work of putting yourself in accord
with the life that is right for you–
with the life that you are right for–
that you are a perfect fit for–
and you live that life as its liege servant,
and what you will get for your trouble
is the honor and privilege of having lived your life
as only you could live it
all your life long.
That is worth all the treasure at the bottom of the sea,
or above the ground.
Check your body again.
You’re getting another Thumbs UP here,
I just know it.

Now a word about why I’m doing this.
It’s my work.
It’s my life.
It’s what I do.
And nobody else can do it like I can do it.
I’m a Whizz at it.
And I delight in it.
And that’s what I get out of it.
So I will never bill you.
And will not accept gifts and donations.

I’m living on my pension
and my Social Security,
and I hope you will excuse a little aside here,
if the stupid Republicans
will just leave things alone
with Social Security and Medicare
I will be fine.
I can pay my bills,
and do this.
Why would they mess with peoples’ lives?
Why would they repeal The Affordable Care Act
(AKA Obamacare)
Why would they defund Plan?ned Parenthood?
Why would they unplug Social Security,
Medicare,
and Medicaid???
They are either completely stupid,
or totally heartless,
or both.
And you can tell them I said so.
I wish you would.
I wish you would call your Republican congressional leaders
and tell them not to do any of these things.
Then call them back and tell them again.
And again, and again…
until they get the message.
If you want to do some thing for me,
do that.

Thanks.
I appreciate your listening.
I’ll be back when I have something else
to say.

 

  1. 01/19/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 30 — Union County, Waxhaw, North Carolina, November 20, 2016
    The Religious Problem is not about finding a God
    we can believe in,
    but about finding a life
    we can believe in.
    How many people
    are living a life
    they believe in?
    A life they have
    confidence in,
    trust in,
    hope for?
    How many believe in
    what they are doing
    with their life?
    How many look to their life
    as their abiding source
    of joy and delight?
    How many would trade their life
    for money
    without hesitation
    or regret?
    How many hope for money
    to give them a new life–
    a life finally worth living?
    How many are certain
    they can’t do anything
    with a life as sorry
    as the one they are living?
    How many live hoping one day
    for a life
    they can enjoy living,
    yet believing
    it is out of the question?
    What is to be done for people
    who have no faith
    in themselves
    and the life that is theirs to live?

 

01/19/2017 — When Jesus said,
“Straight is the way and narrow is the gate that leads to life,
and those who find it are few,”
He is echoing what all the spiritual gurus
have said through the ages:
Life, pouring over, spilling out,
is not automatic.

Selling our birthright for a bowl of porridge,
and our life for 30 pieces of silver
is the norm.

Isaiah’s, “Here I am, send me!”
Jesus’, “Thy will, not mine, be done!”
and the Buddha under the Bo Tree
are rare exceptions.

Everybody else seems to be thinking
in terms of entitlement and entertainment,
passing the time
by letting the good times roll.

It’s a hard sell
asking them to consider
“the straight and narrow”
as an alternative to
“smooth and easy.”

Being aware of the difference
between the life we are living
and the life that is ours to live
is too much.

We can’t possibly be asked
to pay attention to what we are doing
and to what needs us to do it.
We have 10,000 other things to consider.
And the dog has to go to the vet!
Maybe later. Or not at all.

 

01/19/2017 —Focus and awareness, Kid,
focus and awareness!

The ability to see the all-ness
of the situation as it unfolds
before us,
and the such-as-it-is-ness
of each individual aspect of it,
and to hold all of that
in our awareness
while we wait for the right action
to arise spontaneously
and effortlessly
in response to what is happening
and what needs to be done about it
is developed
through focus and awareness
consciously practiced
with intention and dedication
over the full course of our life.

Being in the flow today
does not carry over
into being in the flow tomorrow–
or from this moment
to the next one.

Every moment
is the first moment
we have ever attempted
to attend
with focus and awareness.

 

01/19/2017 — Finding a God to believe in
is just ridiculous.
God isn’t “out there” somewhere
waiting to be found,
hoping to standout from the other Gods,
going, “Here I am! Over here! Find ME!”

And we don’t go through a pile of Gods
saying, “Nope, not this one. Not this one.
Not this one…None here.
Let’s go have a look at those stacked
in the corner.”

“Believable Gods” all have qualities we
would admire in a God.
They are Made-up Gods.
Production line Gods.
Gods made to order.
With interchangeable parts
that can be put together
when the order comes in
with over-night delivery.

Any God worthy of the title
appears out of nowhere
and knocks us over.
No resume.
No list of references.
Just a full body slam
and a Tombstone Piledriver
with a Steamroller Crusher
for emphasis
and a reminder
that believability is no match
for unforgetability,
and that is the punch
The God Who Is packs.

The God Who Is
will eat our own life alive,
and hand us one fashioned
just for us,
saying, “Step into this
and let’s get going.
It’s late,
and we have things yet to do.”

The God Who Is
is the God
Carl Jung had in mind
in quoting the Oracle at Delphi:
“Invoked or not invoked,
the God is present.”
Believed or not believed
The God Who Is
is at the core of us all–
calling us to step into our life
and get going.

  1. 01/19/2017 — Around Bass Lake 2016 21 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016
    Carl Jung said, “The more your actual life
    becomes routine and habit,
    the less it will be satisfactory.”
    The closer our actual life
    incarnates our destiny,
    exhibiting and expressing
    the life we are born to live,
    the more it will be satisfactory.
    It is easier for us to be
    convinced of the reality
    of Satan and the demons of hell
    than to be certain
    we are here to serve our destiny.
    But, we know when we
    are on the beam
    and when we are off of it.
    We know when we are in the groove,
    in the flow,
    and when we are out of it.
    We know what clicks with us
    strikes a cord,
    rings a bell,
    and what does not.
    We know what catches our eye,
    where we belong–
    and where we have no business being.
    We know when something is right for us,
    and when it is wrong.
    Our destiny weaves its way
    through our life every day,
    hoping today is the day
    we say Yes! with all our heart,
    and take up the work
    of becoming who we are.

01/20/2017 — This the way it works:

Find the flow and stay with it–
even when that means
going against the current
of the way it is being done around you,
or of the way it is “spozed” to be done.

Find your groove and stay there,
knowing how easily a groove
can become a rut,
and a rut a grave.

Hold all of this,
and everything else,
in your awareness,
and wait to see
what needs to be done about it.

Then do it with the gifts
you have been given to work with,
and see what happens.
Holding everything in your awareness
and waiting to see
what needs to be done about it.

And doing it with the gifts
you have been given to work with,
and see what happens…

This is the way it works.

 

01/20/2017 — I love the pall of reality.
No kidding.
It’s great.
It reminds us all
that there are things
that matter deeply to us–
and the way things are
is interfering
with the implementation
and operation
of things that matter deeply to us.

We CARE
about the things
that are important to us–
that are important!
I love that about us.

If you cannot feel
the weight
of the pall of reality,
you should look
at your list
of things you care about.

 

  1. 01/21/2017 — Lake Haigler 2016 43 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 20, 2016
    The God of your experience
    is not
    the God of your theology.
    How you resolve the contradiction
    opens the way to everything that follows.
    Which one will you trust with your life?
    The choice you make tells the tale.

01/21/2017— The gurus of India were/are wrong
about duality being illusion.
The world of AAAUUUMMMM…
is the illusion.

Imagine three-year-old’s
with their fingers in their ears
and their eyes closed
saying, “I’m not listening, I’m not looking,
I’m not, I’m not, I’m not!”

When the world
becomes too much for you,
close your eyes and say,
“AAAUUUMMMMMMMM…”

Contradiction lies at the heart of reality.
Duality is how things are at the core.
The Tao, with its Yin/Yang symbol,
is on point
in recognizing the truth
of how it is with us–
and how it is to be resolved:
We walk two paths
at the same time!

The way to walk two paths
at the same time
is to be mindfully aware
of the other
while we are being
mindfully aware of the one we are on.

The truth is always
how things are
and how things also are.
Light is and Darkness is.
And that is how things are!

 

01/22/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 20 — Twelve-mile Creek bordering Union County, Waxhaw, North Carolina, Lancaster County, Indian Land, South Carolina, November 19, 2016
The way we see things
is who we are.
Nothing defines us
like our point of view.
Our perspective is
who we are,
restricting our perception
of available realities
and keeping our world
calm and stable,
smooth and easy
upon the heaving waves
of the wine dark sea–
by insisting that things
are the way we say they are,
and denying that anything
could ever be other
than we say it is.
Nothing threatens our stability
or imperils our sense of who we are
like calling into question
our sacred assumptions
and cherished beliefs
about what is real
and what is not.
There is growing up,
and there is chronic emotional dysfunction.
And the difference
is flexibility of perspective
in the face of the firmly undeniable.
01/22/2017 — The Buddha and I are talking.
He says, “Suffering is an illusion,
along with everything else.
The way to free ourselves from suffering
is to rid our mind of delusions.”

I say, “Suffering is not the problem.
The problem is the problem
we make of suffering–
going on about it,
the unfairness of it,
the why of it
(as though a really good reason
would make it just fine,
which is ridiculous.
It isn’t fine,
and it cannot be made to be fine).
Suffering is a fact.
The illusion is our idea
that suffering matters,
that it is awful
and should not exist.”

The Buddha says, “No.
Suffering and all facts are illusion.”

I say. “No. The idea
that suffering matters
is the illusion.”

Back and forth,
back and forth.

Endless argument,
talking of perception
and perspective,
going nowhere
doing nothing.

The story
of doctrinal debates
of spiritual matters,
where one person’s illusion
is another person’s fact–
and opinions
are Truth and Heresy.

 

  1. 01/23/2017 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 05 — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 13, 2016
    We see and/or hear and/or feel
    Seeing/hearing/feeling produces knowing.
    Knowing happens first in our body,
    not in our heads.
    Knowing is not understanding.
    It is not being able to explain or define.
    Knowing is not articulation.
    The body knows more than it can articulate.
    The body knows more than can be said.
    We know what is happening
    and what needs to be done about it,
    though we cannot say what we know
    or how we know it.
    Knowing produces action.
    We pick up a hot skillet
    and we put it down.
    That is knowing producing action.
    The process works like this:
    seeing/hearing/feeling/knowing/acting
    Thinking can interfere or assist with the acting.
    Reflecting can transform response patterns.
    Contemplation/awareness can expand our field of view.
    Understanding can reevaluate and/or reinterpret experience
    and produce insight that leads to different ways
    of responding to our environment,
    of living in our environment.
    In the meantime,
    we are continuing to see/hear/feel/know/act,
    and creating experiences to consider
    and create new insight
    and change the way we live.
    Our body (or body/soul) is the organ of perception
    (Include soul with body because
    our body can perceive things
    beyond the range of our physical senses)
    Our mind is the organ of interpretation/evaluation/understanding.
    We know and think about what we know
    to transform the meaning of what we know.
    You can see why it takes sitting quietly
    on a regular basis
    to do the work that needs to be done
    in the field of action.
    We are processing a lot of information
    and are being asked
    to respond appropriately to all of it.
    Try that living at full throttle all day every day.

01/23/2017 — Oppression and discrimination
will be the hallmarks of the Trump era,
confirming or worst fears
and demolishing all hope
for human decency and compassion,
kindness and civility.
Trump has no capacity for the tender values.
Only the vicious, brutal and ruthless ones
count with him.

 

01/23/2017 — Trump is not being President.
Trump is playing President.
Trump is staging the Presidency.
Trump is acting the role
he wishes were his.

Trump cannot distinguish
Real from Not Real.
Trump doesn’t know Lie
because Trump doesn’t know Truth.
Trump only knows Make Believe.

Trump’s entire life is a fantasy trip.
We are being taken for a ride
through Trump World–
The World as Trump thinks it is,
and should be–
where every moment
is an “I can’t believe
that just happened”
moment.

 

01/23/2017 — The lesson being drummed home daily:
Not just anybody can be President of the United States.
01/23/2017 — We cannot lose
the face that was ours
before we were born–
the face that was ours
before our grandparents were born.

Our work in every situation
and circumstance
throughout our life
is to live so that face is our face
in each situation
and circumstance.

And to let everything else
fall into place around that.

 

  1. 01/24/2017 — Around Bass Lake 2016 21 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016
    It is amazing to me that we experience
    the same world in so many different ways.
    We look at the world
    but do not see the same world.
    We look at Donald Trump
    and at what Donald Trump is doing
    and has done,
    and we do not see the same things.
    Small children are great observers
    and terrible interpreters.
    Traits some of them never out-grow.
    Why are there so many different religions?
    No! Wait!
    Why are there so many different religions
    within Christianity?
    We call them “denominations,”
    but they are religions.
    The Pentecostal Religion
    is not the Southern Baptist Religion.
    And neither of those
    is the Roman Catholic Religion.
    Or the Mormon Religion.
    Or the Quaker Religion.
    The differences that divide us
    go on forever.
    It is astounding that we get along
    as well as we do.
    We created civilization
    to enlarge the umbrella
    beneath which larger numbers of us
    could live together in peace,
    if not in agreement
    than when it was tribe vs. tribe.
    But, there are revolutions
    and rebellions
    within civilization,
    not to mention what Europe
    did to the Americas and Africa.
    It has always been
    “Death to those who don’t see like we do!”
    Which is a crazy way to carry out
    the business of life.
    By dealing out death–
    or the threat of death,
    or the nearest thing to death–
    to those who don’t do it our way.
    Why can’t we do better than that
    after all these years?
    Given the fact that no one sees like “we” do!

01/24/2017 — White people writing/talking
about discrimination, oppression, persecution and abuse
is absurd.
White people should limit themselves
to what they know–
and listen to
LGBTQ people,
and Black people,
and Jewish people,
and Gypsy people,
and Muslim people,
and Latino people,
and Immigrant people,
and people who know
what they are talking about
talk about discrimination, oppression, persecution and abuse.
The only white people
who have a voice in the discussion
are white women–
and too many of them
belong to the ranks of the oppressors.

 

01/24/2017 — I have done a lot of work thinking about photography–
how to get my camera to do what I want it to do,
what filters to use,
how to get Photoshop and Lightroom to do what I want them to do
what time of day is best for which locations…
the list is long.
I have read my camera’s manual several times,
and refer to it repeatedly.
I watch instructional videos continually.
And I practice, practice, practice.
But.
No manual or video can tell me where to place my tripod.
What to do with the light available then and there.
Where to place the focus of the photograph.
What to leave in and leave out of the picture.
After you understand the mechanics of photography,
then you listen to the mystery.
And you know what is right in the moment of decision.
You don’t know how you know,
and you know that someone else
would do it differently,
but.
This is right for you, here and now.

I have an understanding with The One Who Knows
(or, maybe it’s a dozen, or a thousand, for all I know).
He/She/It/They get to show me the photo in the scene,
and I get the final say about whether or not
we take the picture.
I get to over-ride the Muse.

The Muse knows that in my 73rd year,
I’m not up for putting myself in harm’s way.
The Muse might see a barn flash by
at 8 miles an hour above the posted speed limit
on the side (either side, it doesn’t matter)
of an interstate highway,
but I’m not stopping.

And I know the Muse won’t go into a sulk
and fail to show up
when I get to a scene
with access and place to park.

I depend upon the Muse,
the Muse depends upon me.
We have our rules,
and each of us respects the rules
of the other of us.
I will do my best to serve the Muse,
will not neglect Him/Her/It/Them,
or take Him/Her/It/Them for granted.
And I won’t take undue risks
in getting a photo.

I’ll drive the car and carry the equipment
and understand how to use it,
and He/She/It/They
will show me the photographs
in the scene.

Technology and Mystery meet in me.

 

01/24/2017 — We are here to help those
who can be helped.
Period.
That’s it.
The catch is
that in order to be helpful,
we have to be capable
of being helpful.
One thing that means is
we have to be clear
about what is helpful and what is not.

Shel Silverstein has a poem about Helping
(Googleit)
that would be appropriate here.

Being clear about the
“kind of help that help is all about”
is being clear about a lapfull
of a lot of other things.

Being capable of being helpful
is a lifelong task.
And it has nothing to do
with telling people
how they ought to think
or what they ought to do with their life.

And as for as those who cannot be helped
are concerned,
we have to leave them
for someone else to help
if they can.
“Go on to the next town,”
said Jesus.
“Leave Those Who Know Best
to their own devises.”
Or, words to that effect.

 

01/24/2017 — My work is getting out of the way.
When I manage to step aside,
what needs to be done
arises of its own accord.

Thinking can serve the way,
and thinking can get in the way.
Knowing knows when
it is time to think
and when it is time to do.

We have to know what we know
in order to do
what needs to be done.

Knowing what we know
isn’t thinking
it is knowing.

We don’t think something
is too sweet
or too salty.
We know it.
Instantly.

Knowing knows instantly,
With no second-guessing,
what time it is–
what it is time for.
Thinking looks at its watch
or at its calendar.

Instead of thinking of what to do
practice knowing what to do.
If you don’t know what to do,
wait until you know.
if you have to know what to do NOW,
ask the Knower within to make the choice,
and get out of the way.
 

  1. 01/24/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 31 — Twelve Mile Creek, Union County, Waxhaw, North Carolina, November 20, 2016
    Awareness is our only tool,
    our only weapon
    (think of it as the Elder Wand).
    Awareness is all we need
    to find what we need
    to do what needs to be done,
    to do what needs us to do it.
    Yet, we spend our time,
    our life,
    mindlessly not-seeing what we are looking at,
    not-hearing what we are listening to,
    not-being where we are,
    not-knowing what we know,
    wondering how we got here
    and what to do about it–
    never thinking the answer might be
    Be Aware Of It
    And Of Everything Else!

    Discounted.
    Disregarded.
    Dismissed.
    Not done.

 

  1. 01/25/2017 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 24 — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 15, 2016
    In attempting to give us a picture of ourselves,
    two guys, Joe and Harry, came up
    with the Johari Wndow in 1955.
    They said there are things about us that are visible to us
    that are visible to everyone else,
    and things that are visible to everyone else
    that are invisible to us (spinach on our teeth),
    and things that are visible to us
    that are invisible to everyone else,
    and things that are invisible to us
    and to everyone else.
    They congratulated themselves
    and left the room.
    “But, wait!” I say.
    “What about the fictions?”
    There are things others think are so about us
    that are not so.
    There are things we think others think are so about us
    that are not so.
    There are things we think are so about ourselves
    that are not so.
    There are things we pretend are so about ourselves
    that others also pretend are so that are not so.
    There are things that others pretend are so about us
    that we also pretend are so that are not so.
    So let’s get to the bottom of us all.
    What exactly is so and not so about us?
    What is infinite, eternal and unchangeable about us?
    What is dependable, absolute, real and true?
    What can you count on from me?
    What can I count on from me?
    What can we count on from you?
    All kidding aside?
    Getting to the bottom of us all
    is the world of our life.
    Particularly the part of us
    that is invisible to us and to everyone.
    What lurks there,
    evading inspection and introspection?
    Here’s a tip for you:
    We won’t find it by thinking about it.
    The deep recesses of ourselves
    is the world of misty metaphor and symbol–
    the world of dreamtime images
    and daytime flights of fantasy–
    a world we approach tangentially
    and glimpse out of the corner of our eye.
    We are always who we are
    and who we also are.
    And we live to make conscious
    the connection between the two.

01/25/2017 — There is the face that was ours before we were born,
and the face we put on before getting out of bed–
the face we see when looking in the mirror–
and there is the face we put on before leaving the house–
the face everyone sees when looking at us.

Our life’s work is getting past all of the faces
we adopt to get by,
back to our original face,
and live to exhibit that in the times and places
of our living.

 

01/25/2017 — Unconditional love is a complete and lasting lie.
Love sets limits and draws lines,
and demands accountability.
It is conditional from the start.
People who talk about unconditional love
as being characteristic of Jesus and God
are throwing out the entire Book of Revelation,
and the lines about “outer darkness”
and “weeping and gnashing of teeth”
from the Gospels.
Heaven itself depends upon a big fat IF–
IF you believe
IF you repent
IF you mean it…

The fallacy of unconditional love
opens the way for Alternative Facts
where life is like you want it to be,
and it doesn’t matter what people
say or do
because “it’s what is in their hearts that counts
and no one knows that but God,
and who are we to judge?”

Clueless Christians make the world safe
for Donald Trump.

 

  1. 01/26/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 33 — Twelve Mile Creek Cascade, Union County, Waxhaw, North Carolina, November 20, 2016
    There are people who think
    they can choreograph happiness.
    They all come with a formula in mind:
    Roses, rainbows, white picket fences…
    Two kids and a dog and a house on a hill…
    A six figure income with high annual increases…
    This NOT That!!!
    And they are all quite surprised
    when the formula fails to satisfy.
    The trick with happiness
    is to forget about happiness checks
    and do your work.
    Working to be happy is not your work.
    Happiness,
    contentment,
    peace
    and satisfaction
    are by-products
    of finding your work and doing it,
    of finding your life and living it.
    If you are waiting for Mr/Ms Right
    to do the trick
    you’re standing in the wrong line.
  2. 01/26/2017 — Cane River Creole National Historical Park 2016 03 Panorama, Oakland Plantation, Natchez, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, January 26, 2017
    Everything begins with silence.
    If we can be quiet enough,
    we can do anything.
    In the silence,
    with our eyes closed,
    we can see and hear
    the things crying out
    to be seen and heard,
    and know what needs to be done
    about it.
    Mindfulness meditation is the door
    few walk through
    because they are to busy
    searching for the door
    to sit quietly,
    looking, listening.

01/26/2017 — The people that did not vote
gave us Trump.
Democracy works only when
we can trust one another
to do what Democracy requires.
The People have to be trustworthy.
We have to live in good faith
with one another.
When the Whole is
listening,
looking,
seeing,
hearing,
voting,
the Whole is okay.
More than okay.
The Whole is well and strong,
healthy and alive.
When the parts fail the Whole
the Whole fails the parts,
and we get
what we have
with Trump.

 

01/26/2017 — The Tea Party understands
how Democracy works
and what keeps Democracy from working.
Tell the people what some of the people want to hear
Lie and keep on lying–
some of the people will believe anything
(“You can fool some of the people all of the time”).
You can discourage some of the rest of the people
by lying about your opponents
and disenchanting people about the voting process
(“There are no candidates worth voting for!”).
You can make it difficult for people to vote
by reducing access to voting in a number of ways.
You can inflame your own base
by demonizing your opposition
and promising whatever it takes
to get them to the voting booth.
Increasing your voter turnout
and decreasing voter turnout generally,
means you win with a smaller percentage of votes cast.
Means you win.

 

01/26/2017 — Democracy requires us to
look and listen,
see and hear,
know and understand.
But.
There is a catch.
We cannot stop too soon.
We cannot stop when we think we have seen.
When we think we have heard.
When we think we know.
When we think we understand.

There is always more to see than we have seen.
More to hear than we have heard.
More to know that we know.
More to understand than we understand.

Everything we think we see, hear, know and understand
is provisional, partial, limited, lacking.
We cannot wait to act
until we see the whole picture.
We have to act knowing
that we do not see the whole picture,
or even half of it.

Compassion and humility, Kid,
compassion and humility.

 

  1. 01/27/2017 — Melrose Plantaton 2017 04 — Natchitoches Parish, Melrose, Louisiana, January 27, 2017
    What is your drug of choice?
    What do you drink, pop, shoot up, snort, eat, do, turn to
    to hide from what is too hard
    to face about your life?
    What is too hard to face about your life?
    How do you hide?
    What do you hide from?
    What are you denying here/now–
    about how you are hiding,
    and what you are hiding from?
    The spiritual imperative
    is that we grow up.
    Growing up is squaring up
    to the bitter truth
    of everything about us
    and our life.
    If we are not seeing everything
    as it is about us,
    we are lying to ourselves.
    If we are dismissing anything
    about us
    as being unworthy of consideration,
    much less probing, exploring, inspecting
    and understanding,
    we are lying to ourselves.
    Where might you be lying
    to yourself?
  2. 01/28/2017 — Union Pacific Lift Trestle 2017 10 — Red River, Alexandria, Louisiana, January 26, 2017
    Growing up is a spiritual imperative.
    We cannot be spiritual if we are not growing up.
    Growing up means,
    among other things,
    doing what you don’t like to do
    in a way that no one knows
    you don’t like to do it.
    Growing up is doing what needs to be done
    when it needs to be done,
    the way it needs to be done,
    for as long as it needs to be done,
    because it needs to be done–
    not because someone is making you,
    and not because you will go to hell if you don’t.
    You do not have to do it
    and you choose to do it
    out of your own freedom to not do it,
    for no other reason than it needs to be done,
    and needs you to do it.
    Not doing something
    because you are grown up
    and don’t have to do it
    is not being grow up.
    Doing something
    because you are growing up
    and don’t have to do it
    is being growing up.
    Growing up is a life-long process
    without end.
    Another term for the spiritual journey
    is growing up.
    There will always be trials and ordeals
    that we want to avoid,
    refuse,
    reject,
    dismiss,
    discard,
    disregard

    Growing up is walking right into them,
    bearing the pain like a man or a woman,
    and doing the work required to grow up.
    Being spiritual
    is not about what you believe,
    but about what you do–
    whether you feel like it our not,
    whether you are in the mood for it or not,
    whether you want to or not–
    just because it needs to be done,
    because it needs you to do it.
    Every day
    for the rest of your life.

  3. 01/28/2017 — Melrose Plantation 2017 07 — Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, January 26, 2017
    The spiritual,
    the moral,
    the categorical
    imperitive
    is caring.
    We have to care.
    This is non-negotiable.
    It is compulsory,
    mandatory,

    We can’t not do it.
    Of course, we do, all of the time,
    but we can’t get by with it,
    there is a price to be paid.
    The price is the loss
    of the quality
    of the life we are living.
    It will never be
    what it could have been
    if we had cared about it,
    taken care of it.
    “But,” we protest,
    “I couldn’t help it!
    No one could care
    about a life as rotten
    as my life is!”
    “Wait.” Say I.
    “You misunderstand.
    Caring is not about how we feel
    about our life, or anything–
    it is about how we treet
    our life, or anything.
    “We can’t help how we feel,
    nor should we try,
    but, we can help what we do
    and how we do it,
    and that we should definitely try–
    and keep on trying–
    until we get it down.
    “Live Like You Care!
    (Whether You Do Or Not!)
    Should be a bumper sticker.
    AA has a slogan:
    ‘Fake It Until You Make It.’
    “Live like you love your life,
    like it is the most important thing ever.
    Live it like you mean it.
    Give it your best effort all the time,
    like you are an actor
    going for an Academy Award
    in every scene.
    “Live so that no one would ever know,
    or guess,
    that you hate your life–
    that you are miserable in it–
    that all you think about
    is how much you wish it were over.
    Live so they all think you love it.
    Do it the way you would do it
    if you did love it.
    “Live in relation to you life
    so that you life would never know
    how you Really Feel–
    so that your life would think
    it was the best life that ever was.
    “Care About Your Live!
    Treat it caring-ly!
    Caring is not what you feel,
    it is what you do.
    Live as one who cares
    about every single person and thing.
    “It will make all the difference.”