January 28, 2017—April 10, 2017

4201. 01/28/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 34 — Twelve Mile Creek, Union County, Waxhaw, North Carolina, November 20, 2016

We treat our life with contempt
and complete disregard
if it disappoints us
and fails to be
what we wish it were.
We never forgive our life
for not being
what we want it to be.
Our life needs us to care for it,
to tend it,
nurture it,
nourish it
as we would a baby.
We are here to bless our life–
our life is not here to bless us.
WE are the blessing,
and we withhold it
because, we say,
our life does not deserve
the best we have to offer.

“Why should we care about our life?”
we say.
“Our life sure doesn’t care about us!”
Our life produced us
to be its caretaker–
to move it beyond where it was
to where it might–even yet–be.

We refuse the work that is ours to do,
thinking that we deserve smooth and easy.
“Where is smooth and easy?” we say.
“Whatever happened to smooth and easy?”
Thinking life is a bargain
that can be struck,
or an outcome that can be negotiated.

Life is what we do with the time that is ours–
how we respond to the conditions
and circumstances of our living–
how well we do what is ours to do.
What we make of the opportunity
we are still being offered.

01/29/2017 — Trump doesn’t understand “the other side” of his choices, decisions and policies–
the impact and repercussions worldwide.
Our role is to introduce him to the consequences.
Poor Donald doesn’t have much experience with consequences,
except from the standpoint of those he deals out.
He is a novice at being dealt a consequence.
It is time he learned about the world
the rest of us live in.
Actions have consequences.
We are to make that clear.
Do what you can in that regard.
Support protests, rallies, marches, etc.
as you are able.
Provide financial support
to causes and organizations
that are involved in the resistance movement,
as you are able.
Do not be quiet!
Turn over the tables of the “deal makers”!
Make the right kind of waves!
Deny in an undeniable way
the King of Denial’s denial
of the truth of consequences!
Make him see who he is
and what he is doing
against his will!
Bang the drums slowly
without ceasing
in the cause of what’s right
against what’s wrong.

01/29/17 — What becomes of the Rule of Law
when the Border Patrol
is in contempt of Federal Court,
and will be pardoned
even if arrested, tried and convicted?

What becomes of Democracy
when the Federal Government
erases the Constitutional line
separating church and state
and oppresses Muslims
because of their religion?

4202.  01/30/2017 — Fort Buhlow Spanish Moss 2017 13 B&W — Alexandria, Louisiana, January 25, 2017

When the US Border Patrol,
sworn to uphold the Constitution
and the laws of the land–
and to serve, protect and defend the people,
ignore the mandate of the Federal Court,
and brutalize, intimidate and harass the people,
who exactly are they
serving, protecting and defending?

01/30/2017 — To all Trump supporters:

How much more of a chance
do we have to give him?

How can you not have seen
this coming?

What were you really thinking?

Don’t tell me.

Let me guess.

You’re still convinced

Hillary would have been much, much, worse.

You’re breaking my heart.

Again.

Still.

01/30/2017 — We have to understand that we are sanctuaries
for each other
and for all those
who aren’t Republicans,
and especially those
who are,
or appear to be,
foreign,
different,
suspicious,
potentially suspicious–
or who fit
the white supremacist profile
of “not our kind.”

In the story of the Good Samaritan,
the lawyer asked Jesus,
“And, just who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied,
“You–YOU–are the neighbor!
Go be one to everyone you meet!”
Or words to that effect.

The command to
Love your neighbor
requires us to recognize
that we–WE–are the neighbor,
and are to be a sanctuary
for all those in need of one
however we can imagine
to make that happen.

01/30/2017 — Who are these Tea Party Republicans
with no heart,
no soul,
no compassion
or kindness about them–
who are consumed
by their greed, hatred, fear and desire
for safety and security
above every other value?
They are children
in adult bodies,
wrecking the world
in their flight
from the Boogeyman.

Who is the Boogeyman?
The side of themselves
they don’t see
when they look
in a mirror.

01/30/2017 — The path opens before us
when we start walking.
We can’t wait until we have it
all figured out,
understood,
and know what we are doing.
We have to know that we don’t know
what we are doing,
and step into the unknown
following our own sense
of when to say yes
and when to say know.
Of what now?
Of now what?

All we have to know
is what we do know
that we don’t know we know.
It takes being quiet
and listening within
to know the inner urgency
when it arises,
and to follow where it leads.

How quiet can you be?
How long can you be that way?
What is your personal best
for sitting quietly–
no reading,
no watching TV
no listening to music–
just sitting.
Quietly.
How long?
Live to increase the time.
Sitting.
Listening.
Observing.
Watching.
Waiting.

01/30/2017 — We have to do the work
of growing up.
That’s the most spiritual
activity there is.
Not praying.
Not memorizing the doctrines.
Or the books of the Bible in order.
Not doing good deeds.
Not not-doing any of those sin things.
Growing up.
That’s it.

Growing up is facing what we don’t want to face,
doing what we don’t want to do.

If you’ve been with me for a while,
you know the Joseph Campbell quote:
“The treasure we seek
lies in the very back
of the cave
we most don’t want
to enter.”

That’s growing up.

We have to start doing
the things we most don’t want to do
that truly need to be done,
and need us to do them.
All of them.

And, there is a catch.
We have to do them
as though we want to do them
as we would do them
if we loved them
with all our heart.
We have to do them
so that no one knows
how much we don’t want to do them.

This is not being hypocritical.
This is “faking it until we make it.”
It is training ourselves
to see and do what needs us to do it
without thinking about it–
without deciding if we want to or not.

What does wanting know?
Wanting doesn’t have any idea
about what needs to be done,
about what needs us to do it.
Wanting doesn’t care about anything
but what it wants.

Growing up doesn’t care about
what we want or don’t want.
It cares only about doing what
needs us to do it.

Practice that
until you get it down.

01/30/2017 — Trump’s firing of Sally Yates, our Acting Attorney General,
comes under the category
of “Surprise, surprise, surprise.”
Checks and balances?
What checks and balances?
Poor Donald is in for such a rough ride.
It is all his fault,
and he thinks everyone is out to get him.
That’s crazy for you.

4203.  01/31/2017 — Birds on a Wire 2017 18 B&W — Fort Randolph National Historical Park, Alexandria, Louisiana, January 26, 2017

Through it all–
including all of the Trump Era,
however long it might last–
our task is the same task:
to find the face that was ours
before we were born
and live so that it becomes
the face we see
when we look into a mirror,
and the face everyone sees
when they look at us.
And, to find the life that is our to live
and live it–
through all situations and circumstances,
regardless of the impact and outcome
(including no apparent impact or outcome
at all).

The two are one.
The face that was ours before we were born
and the life that is ours to live.
Find them.
Be them.
Do them.

It is the most important thing.

You have to believe it,
and live as though it is so,
to know that it is so.

Become a believer,
and a doer,
and a liver.
Starting now.

01/31/2017 — The church as we know it
(that would be the “Christian Church”)
failed
because it failed
to get us together
with our life.

It told us we were sinners
and didn’t know anything,
and had to do what it told us to do,
because we had no idea
of what was right
and good
(Even though Jesus said,
“Why don’t you decide for yourselves
what is right?”).

The church separated us from ourselves,
which it said was “of the devil,”
and cut us off from the destiny
that is our birthright,
and told us to wait
for life after death,
because that’s when
it all begins.

The church may as well have
killed us in the womb,
or strangled us aborning.
It robbed us of our life,
of our chance at living,
telling us what a favor
it was doing for us,
and how thankful
we would be
to never have lived.

01/31/2017 — What are the sacred things?
The things you don’t mess with?
The things you honor with your time
and attention?

Silence is one of those things for me.
And solitude.
And the Constitution.
And my life–
that is, my responsibility for my life,
my obligation to find it and live it.
Which means integrity–
living at one with my life,
with the face that was mine before I was born,
within the context and circumstances
of my living.
And all that implies.

01/31/2017 — Trump operates according to the principle,
“It isn’t wrong if you get by with it.”
And:
“It is amazing what you can get by with
is you have a lot of money.”
Or the corollary:
“If you are powerful enough,
you can get by with anything.”
Putting it all together:
“Being wrong is something
people without money and power
have to worry about.”
That’s Donald’s Law.

02/01/2017 — As we seek out how best
to make a fitting response
to the insanity erupting
in Washington
with every stroke of Trump’s pen,
I’ll offer this as a way
of grounding and directing
us through the darkness
of these days:

Pause at several points
during each day
to remember and restore
your connection to
the Holy Trinity
sustaining us
and enabling our survival
in all times and places—
Mindfulness,
Compassion,
Integrity.

Each of these three values of soul and spirit
imply the others.
Mindfulness is Compassion and Integrity.
Compassion is Integrity and Mindfulness.
Integrity is Mindfulness and Compassion.
We cannot have one without the others.

Integrity is living in accord with
the face that was ours before we were born,
the work that is ours to do,
and the life that is ours to live.

Mindfulness is holding all things in awareness
just as they are,
such as they are,
without judgment,
prejudice,
or discrimination.

Compassion is taking all of this into account,
and seeking the good of the parts
and the good of the whole,
in walking two paths at the same time
by remembering the whole
when it acts with the good of the parts in mind,
and by remembering the parts
when it acts with the good of the whole in mind—
and bearing the pain of the realization
that the good of one is evil and suffering
for the other,
and letting that be the way it is
because that is the way it is.

4204. 01/31/2017 — Oakland Plantation 2017 08 B&W — The Back Porch, Cane River Creole National Historical Park, Natchez, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, January 26, 2017

My ideal world is one where
people are working together
in good faith
for the true good of the whole–
AND the true good of each individual–
bearing the pain of the contradiction
and working out
mutually exclusive interests
in ways that take the good of all
into account.
It would mean reining in our
rampant obsession for
profit at any price,
and force us to settle
for a good-enough life
at the expense
of the best life imaginable,
and is, of course,
out of the question.
Greed and fear seem to rule our lives–
the only remedy,
or antidote,
being regular immersions in the practice
of mindfulness, compassion and integrity,
with nothing to be gained from it
beyond the grace and peace
of a good-enough life
in a good-enough world.

A deal the conquistadors of every age
would never consent to making.

4205.  02/02/2017 — Augustine Church Cemetery 2017 07 — Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, January 26, 2017

In the silence things stir to life
that are beyond the reach of logic and reason.
Consciousness has no claim to creativity.
No one ever thought a Mona Lisa
into being,
or devised a plan for writing poetry
by selecting words randomly
from a dictionary–
even a rhyming dictionary.
To produce soul
we have to be available to soul.
We have to be quiet,
and listen for what stirs to life
on the periphery of awareness–
access to which is easily lost
in the busy-ness and noise of our life.

02/02/2017 — Some things never die.
Maybe, nothing ever dies.
I know for sure that some things don’t.

The Whigs and the Tories fought it out
in Merry Old England
and carried their fight into the New World,
going at it to the death
in the Revolutionary war
over the fundamental disagreement
about what it means to be a human being,
over the questions of
to whom and to what
is owed our absolute allegiance–
to whom and to what
does our soul belong?

The modern incarnations are still going at it
in the guise of Democrats and Republicans.
Republicans say, “Money And Power!”
Democrats say, “Human Rights And Soulful Privileges!”
Republicans are willing to kill anything–
everything–for profit and power.
Democrats are willing to die
in the service of human rights and the service of soul.

It is a religious war over what is worth
our life and our death.
Over what is worth dying for and killing for.
And it is a way of declaring to whom and to what we belong.

The lines are clearly drawn.
Republicans care not for anything
that does not make them wealthier and more powerful.
Republicans will sell public lands
and destroy the environment digging for coal and for oil.
Republicans exhibit fascist tendencies,
extolling the virtues of right-wing nationalism
totalitarian authority and the absolute supremacy
of their ideology–
hating all who oppose them
and seeking ways to oppress, suppress, discredit and destroy
those who stand in their way.

Democrats honor the soul of the natural world
and of each person in the world–
regardless of race, religion, physical ability, gender or transgender, sexual orientation,
or any other apparent difference setting one person off from another.
Democrats recognize that we are one and have to work it out
in ways that honor the god at the center of the other,
recognizing this can be done only
in the good faith commitment of the parts
to each other and to the whole–
which cannot be forced,
but can only be allowed to come forth
in the service of the true good of all,
which includes honoring the right of individuals
to find their own path
and honor their own heart
in the service of the true good of themselves.

Democrats walk two paths at the same time.
Republicans say theirs is the only path for all of time.
And there you are.
Whose side are you on?

02/02/2017 — Republicans think the best days lie behind them
and try to bring back the glory days of the past,
promising to “Make America Great Again!”

Democrats look ahead,
thinking the best has yet to be,
imagining a better world than has ever been
calling all to come together
to “Make The World A Better Place For All To Be!”

02/02/2017 — The Religious Impulse in all people,
and perhaps of all of life,
is the inner realization of truth–
of a reality–
that is experienced
and is incapable of being said,
explained, defined, told, understood…

The experience,
and the truth, the reality,
at the heart of the experience,
are expressed
through symbol and metaphor
through art, music and poetry,
and reflect the person who had the experience
as much as–
or more than–
the experience/truth/reality itself.

The experience/truth/reality
is of the Numen beyond words
at the center of the Self within.

Carl Jung said, “There is within each of us
another whom we do not know.”
He thought of this Other
as the Self we live to exhibit, express, incarnate
within the life we are living,
making known what is unknown–
unconscious (so called because
we are not conscious of it)–
within.

Instead of sitting quietly in the presence
of this Self
in order to know Her/Him
and collaborate with Him/Her
in producing the life we are capable
of producing together,
we attempt to define, explain, understand
what cannot be defined, explained, understood,
and come forth with doctrines
creeds, theologies and ideologies
that have nothing to do
with the life that is ours to live.

The Religious Impulse is expressed in our life,
not in our beliefs.
It is how we live that declares who we are
and what is at the center of us–
what is central to us–
not what we believe.

We cannot help being religious,
but our religion can separate us
from our center
and hand us a life that is an inauthentic
and shallow substitute
for the life that is ours to live.

02/02/2017 — We walk two paths at the same time.
The visible path
with its roles, duties, obligations, joys, sorrows…
The invisible path
with its expectations, intentions, needs, purposes…
We have to pay the bills,
remember birthdays
and tend the affairs of visible reality,
while opening ourselves to the reality
of the invisible,
unconscious (because we are not conscious of it) world.

We call the Other World “spiritual”
because it has no “physical” features,
and we cannot explore it using
the instruments of This World,
but “transcendent”
or “numinous”
apply equally well.

The primary block preventing access
to that world

is the motive of those seeking it.
We cannot use our connection
with that world
to serve our advantage in this world.

The watchword is
“Thy will, not mine, be done,”
and, “He came not to be served, but to serve.”
It is the same with all of us.
There is nothing in it for us
beyond the experience of life–
of vitality and wonder everlasting.

If we can agree to those terms
in good faith,
the door is open
to all who would say,
“Here I am. Send me.”
And mean it.

4206.  02/03/2017 — Curtis-Coleman Memorial Bridge 2017 09 — Union Pacific Lift Trestle, Red River, Alexandria, Louisiana, January 25, 2017

Attention Deficit and Hyper-activity rules the land.
Trump certainly suffers from a profusion of both disorders,
and the culture as a whole fosters their creation and cultivation.
Where are we encouraged,
or even allowed,
to sit still,
be quiet,
and reflect?
Try being quiet
and see how long it takes
to get a “What’s wrong with you?”
Commercial television depends on
giving us more information/stimulation
than we can process.

The revolution is as simple
and as transformative
as silence.

Work silence into your life.
Increase your tolerance for silence
on a daily basis.
Be still and know
all that the noise and activity
keep you from attending
and being aware of.

Become mindful of the all-ness
of the life you are living.
It will change things dramatically.

02/03/201 — Remember when…
Trump announced that he had
sent his own personal investigative team
to Hawaii
at his own expense,
and that they had uncovered information
regarding President Obama’s birth certificate
which he would release
at the appropriate time?
Which he never released?
Remember that?
Even the most rabid Trump Supporters
have forgotten it,
yet the emotional, unconscious, impact remains
alive among them.
They are all sure Obama was an illegitimate president
and a liar.
But it is Trump who is the illegitimate president
and the liar.
Trump fosters unfounded suspicion
and creates impressions
without letup or end
to bolster and cement his position
in the minds of his constituents.
Trump is a box of smoke
pretending to be a god.

02/03/201 — This is how Trump’s mind works:

He cannot distinguish fact from fantasy or fancy,
and opinions are all he has to work with,
so if something could have happened,
It might have happened,
and if it might have happened,
it probably happened,
and if it probably happened,
it may as well have happened,
if it may as well have happened,
it most surely happened,
if it most surely happened,
it absolutely happened,
if it absolutely happened,
it happened.
In his opinion.
That’s the best he can do.

02/03/201 — It’s been a tough two weeks,
and I’m encouraged to see
that the courts are responding
to the travel ban,
and hope this forces
Trump and Bannon
(Though those who know
know its all Bannon)
to take the Constitution seriously.
It is absurd
to have to hope
that the United States Government
will take the Constitution seriously.
Oh, if the Founders could only
stand before a joint session of Congress
and address those seated
one speaker at a time!

4207.  02/04/2017 — Augustine Catholic Church Cemetery Panorama 2017 06 — Melrose, Louisiana, January 26, 2017

It is all
useless,
pointless,
hopeless,
futile,
absurd
and coming to a very bad end
(we all will die)–
and how we live in the meantime
makes all the difference.
How we live in the meantime
is how we make known
who we are–
how we express
the truth we were born
to bring to bear
upon the context and circumstances
of our life.
Everything hinges–
swings upon–
how closely we are aligned
with the deeper truth of our being.
Our life’s work
(our Practice)
is to recognize,
and live in accord with,
the Other who lives within,
the One Who Knows
who we are and who we are to be.

Our Practice consists of
the conscious exploration
of what is unconscious to us
about us–
of what we do not know
about ourselves,
and incarnate it
in actual, tangible, ways,
living the life that is ours to live
within the life we are living.

We consciously bring ourselves forth
in the here and now of every day.
This is our second birth
that is repeated daily
throughout our lives–
in accord with the truth of
our inner reality
and the truth of
our outer reality,
made possible by
our commitment to
the three primary elements
of being in the world:
Mindfulness,
Compassion,
Integrity.

In this way, we transform
whatever circumstances
may be operative
in the world of
outer reality
by the quality of our presence
with it.

The work is always plentiful,
the laborers are always few,
the call goes out each day:
Wake up! Do what is yours to do!
While the light lasts!

02/04/2017 — It will end in a way,
perhaps predictable,
perhaps shocking,
perhaps surprising-unexpected-and amazing.
The question only we–as individuals–
can answer is:
How will we deal with it,
respond to it,
do about it–
now and after it ends?
Our response to a situation
is always the most important aspect
of the situation. And our response arises
out of the silence that we place around us,
and out of the silent depths of ourselves,
out of who we are,
out of the soul/face that was ours
before we were born,
out of “the still point of the turning world.”
a relationship with that side of ourselves,
to collaborate with it
and take up the practice
of placing ourselves
in accord with it,
so that our response
to every situation comes
from the depths
and not from the rational, thinking side of our brain.

02/04/2017 — The church of our experience
was/is always talking to us
about God’s Will,
as though there were a god
somewhere with a specific plan
of action for everything in the universe.

The only “plan” at work in all things
is simply that the thing be what it is.

Everything exists to fulfill itself,
to complete itself,
to realize itself,
to incarnate itself
in the time and place,
context and circumstances,
of its existence.

The “plan” for a long-leaf pine tree
is to be the long-leaf pine tree
it is capable of being
within the constraints of time and place.

The “plan” for your life and mine
encounters an additional layer
of complexity compared to that
of other life forms,
in that we can interfere
with the process of our own becoming

and insert our idea of who we are to be,
serving it at the exclusion and expense
of the form built into our genetic makeup.

This complexity is reflected
in the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden,
and it is played out as needs be
in the Biblical story of the Garden of Gethsemane.

To say, “Thy will, not mine, be done,”
is to realize that our desire for ourselves
is at a variance with our Self’s desire for us–
that the built in “best self we can be”
can be replaced by “the self we want to be.”
And, our place, as conscious beings
is to stand between two worlds of possibility,
and align ourselves with the Self within,
with “the face that was ours before we were born.”

This is the work of being human.
The work of being a True Human Being.
We are seeking to be who we are,
like the man sitting on his ox,
looking for his ox.
Like the woman with her keys in her hand,
looking for her keys.
It is never any more difficult
than knowing what we know
and trusting ourselves to it.

02/04/2017 — Our place, role, calling, purpose
is to help one another
toward the best future possible
for ourselves individually and collectively,
throughout our life,
to the point of sacrificing ourselves
for the good of the other
and the good of the whole–
never sacrificing the good of the other,
or the good of the whole,
for our own good.

This appears to me to be the ethic
recognized by Jesus and the prophets before him,
and by countless other mystics and seers
through the course of time.
It is not the ethic of conquest and domination,
but the ethic of cooperation and compassion,
and I choose to think of it
as the Feminine Principle,
in opposition to the Masculine Principle–
Yin and yang–
ways of being in eternal conflict,
ways of seeing at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Asking us to choose
whose side are we on.

02/04/2017 — My wife and I moved to South Carolina
a few years ago
to be closer to our three daughters
and their families,
and I took an oath of solitude about that time,
limiting my “exposure”
to conversations,
relationships,
engagements,
appearances, etc.
that would decrease my ability
to attend what silence and solitude
have to offer.
I spend time with family
as often as possible
and write my thoughts
to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr
and my WordPress Blog,
and travel–
mainly day trips–
in the service of my photography,
but neither extend nor accept invitations
for other forms of association with people.
I see it as a shift toward hermitude–
embracing the attitude of a hermit
(Jung’s definition: “A primitive man or woman
who trust his/her unconscious”),
if not the actual life-style.
I think it becomes me so,
and compensates me for all those years
of pretending to be an extrovert!

02/04/2017 — “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,”
may well have been the motivation
behind a lot of Trump’s support.
If so, it is an assumption–a presumption–
that is not likely to be borne out
in actual reality.
A dimension that is often
foreign territory
to Trump and his constituency,
where the Federal Court
is thought to serve the
will and wiles of the President.

02/04/2017 — The so-called President
cannot grasp the concept
of checks and balances,
or understand the importance
of having three branches of government,
and a Constitution.
He thought being elected
was a free ticket
to pointing and having.

02/04/2017 — An Open Letter To The So-Called President,
His So-Called Cabinet,
And the So-Called Congress:

Dear Sirs and Madams:

After two weeks, it is apparent
that your priorities are miss-placed.
You are worried about the wrong things.
The Executive Orders
and proposed legislation
all are geared to befriending your friends.
Removing the regulations in place
to protect home-owners
benefits lenders,
as though bankers and Wall Street Execs
aren’t doing fine as they are.
The people that aren’t doing fine
do not make it to your list of priorities.
The people in Flint, Michigan are not doing fine.
Where is the Executive Order
granting them clean water?
Immigrants and refugees are not doing fine.
You burden them with weight too much to bear
and pride yourself for
protecting people from shadows
only you see.
And you Congressmen and Congresswomen
are more worried about your position
and your future elect-ability
than about your duty to do right by
all the people in this country.
“Insure domestic tranquility,”
and “Promote the general welfare,”
fall under your jurisdiction.
You care more for yourselves
than for the people under your care.
You all should be ashamed.
You all should wake up,
see who looks back at you
in the mirror,
and live to see how much good you can do
in the service of those who need your help–
not those who will be just fine without it–
for the entire time you are in office,
and not worry about
what might happen to you after that.

4208.  02/05/2017 — Pierson Lake 2017 08 — Fort Randolph and Fort Buhlow State Historic Site, Alexandria, Louisiana, January 25, 2017

Nothing is more convincing
than a liar who is convinced
he/she is not lying.
Trump believes Trump.
Worships Trump.
Adores Trump.
All demagogues believe themselves
to be beyond suspicion or doubt.
The only protection
from being consumed
by the liar
consumed by his/her lying
is to simply stop listening
to what the person says,
and attend only
what the person does.
And do not ask him/her
to square deeds with words–
you will only get more words.
Ignore words.
Focus on deeds.
Whom has Trump
ever treated with compassion?
Where is the evidence?
Stop talking about what Trump says.
Talk only about what Trump does.
He will immediately shift
the conversation
to what Hillary or Obama did or would do,
which, of course, neither did or would do.
Trump is at home with fantasy and fancy.
He has no tolerance for facts.
He wouldn’t recognize a fact
if it impeached him with cause.
He would deny the causes
and say he had been setup.
He set himself up.
He’s the setup man.
A so-called President
incapable of being President.

02/05/2017 — Has Trump released his tax returns?
Has he released documentation confirming
a reliable psychological assessment
of his emotional stability
and his mental capacity
to be President?

I thought maybe I missed it
amid the flurry of all the
recent evidence
to the contrary.

02/05/2017 — You know silence is complicent.
Silence in the presence of abuse and negligence
permits abuse and negligence to continue,
unchecked,
unidentified,
unnamed,
unwitnessed.
unknown.
Call the dog out!
Say what’s what!
Too many people look the other way.
We could talk about the Super Bowl,
or about the weather.
The only tool we have is the truth.
To not say what is so is to betray
ourselves and future generations,
and to teach our children to be quiet
and hope for better times ahead.
I will be saying what is so
about the so-called President for as long as
the idiot is in the White House.

02/05/2017 — One of the things hermitude has given me–
that’s adopting the attitude of a hermit
(Defined by Carl Jung as “a primitive man or woman
who trusts his/her unconscious”)
without bothering too much with the lifestyle–
is that when people suggest
that I ought to be doing it differently,
“it” being my life,
I can say, “When I’m ready
to stop doing it my way,
and start doing it your way,
I’ll let you know.”
Retirement gives me the freedom
to do it more like I think it ought to be done
and less like someone else thinks it ought to be done.
That’s worth working for.

02/05/2017 — The Doctrine of the Two Ways
(That being the Right Way
and the Wrong Way)
is a false doctrine.
There are as many ways as there are people.
The Right Way and the Wrong Way
are different ways for different people.
What is Right for the lion
is Wrong for the antelope.
You will never get them to compromise,
even with years of negotiation.

What do you need for your way to work for you
in ways that do not harm other people?
What do they need for their way to work for them
in ways that do not harm you?
How can we take the needs and interests
of the parts into account
without doing damage to the needs and interests
of the whole?
And vice versa?

How do we come to the point of trusting one another
to set reasonable limits on ourselves?
How do we live in good faith with each other?
How do we get there
from here?

02/05/2017 — Remember when…

Trump complained about Obama playing golf,
saying, “If I were President,
I would spend all of my time
at the White House,
working for the American people”?

Two weeks in office before hitting the links.
That’s a so-called President for you.

4209.  02/05/2017 — Oakland Plantation 2017 06 B&W — The Company Store, Cane River Creole Historical Park, Natchitoches Parish, Natchez, Louisiana, January 26, 2017

An explanation for the photograph:
It was not unusual for plantations
in the south (into the 1960’s) to have a store
which sold food and dry goods
to the people,
generally black people,
who worked the plantation,
and who could buy what they needed on credit,
which amounted to a back-door form of slavery,
in that the people could never pay their way out of debt,
and had to work there for life,
and so the phrase,
“I owe my soul to the Company Store.”

There is a reason
that we see the way we do.
Our perspective
is not formed in a vacuum.
It comes to us
as a response
to our environment.
We see in ways
that allow us to see
what is safe to see–
and to not-see
what is not safe
for us to see.
Experience forms perspective,
shapes perspective,
limits perspective,
permits perspective,
blocks perception.

Perspective forms perception,
shapes perception,
limits perception,
permits perception,
blocks perception.

Ten people look at a scene.
Some do not see the whiskey bottle.
Some do not see anything but the whiskey bottle.
Whiskey has shaped the perspective,
and the perspective has shaped the perception,
of those people.

Get them to tell you their story,
you will see why they see what they see,
and do not see what they do not see.

Our seeing,
our not-seeing,
get us to our story.
We do not go anywhere
that our story doesn’t get to first.
Our story goes before us,
enabling us to see what we see,
preventing us from seeing what we do not see,
shaping how we see
and how we live.

If you are not telling your story,
remembering your story,
reflecting on your story,
examining your story,
contemplating your story,
seeing your story,
you aren’t seeing all
that is to be seen
about your life.

You are blind.
Talking about what is true,
as though you see it.
What you think you see
keeps you from seeing
what you are not seeing.

It takes a lot of looking
to be able to see.

02/06/2017 — The things I dislike most about Republicans–
you have to bear with me in this–
are their complete lack of compassion
(And those of you who are Republican
are saying right now,
“What do you mean? I don’t lack compassion!),
and their complete inability/refusal/failure
(And were do those lines lie?)
to see themselves as they are–
to hold their contradictions firmly in mind
(And those of you who are Republican
are saying right now, “What contradictions?”)

The two things are one thing.
If Republicans were compassionate,
they would be able
to acknowledge their contradictions.

Kellyanne Conway has to talk about
“Alternative facts”
because she cannot accept the fact
that she is lying,
or that she is capable of lying,
or that Donald Trump–
or any Republican–is.

We will never be able to “come together”
(as Republicans are wont to plea)
until we all are able
to face the truth of who we are,
and also are.

The thing keeping us apart in this country
and in the world
is that we are apart within ourselves.

Now, we flash back to my opening line above
with this psychological truism:
“We hate in others what we cannot face in ourselves.”

Republicans bring out the truth in me.
Republicans show me who I am.
I hate them for that.
I love them for that.
What are we going to do about that?

We get together with one another
by getting together with ourselves.
Can we trust one another
to be doing that work?
Until we each are doing our own work
in this regard,
we are lying to ourselves and one another
about our willingness to “come together,”
and will continue to live in ways
that make coming together impossible.

We have to square up to our own contradictions,
dichotomies,
polarities,
opposition,
conflicts,
inconsistencies
antipathy,
obstructions…

And we can do that only by
extending to ourselves
the same degree of compassion
that we seek in others.
We cannot come together
without compassion for one another
and for ourselves.

Where does this leave us?
Face to face with the Four Things.
There are four things necessary
for our coming together,
and each of those who would come together
must undertake them all,
on a regular and recurring basis,
individually and collectively
throughout the rest of our life.

The Four Things are:
Silence
Mindfulness
Compassion
Integrity

We listen in the Silence
for all that is to be found there,
and face it with
Mindfulness,
Compassion,
Integrity.

Mindfulness is being aware
of all that is in the moment with us–
of all that is in the silence–
of all that is.
We can be so mindful
only with
Compassion,
Integrity.

Compassion is the suspension
of judgment,
condemnation,
assessment,
evaluation,
appraisal,
analysis,
criticism,
critique,
etc.,
and the extension
of the benefit of the doubt
to all things just as they are.
We can be so Compassionate
only with
Integrity,
Mindfulness.

Integrity is being who we are
and who we also are.
Integrity is walking two paths at the same time.
We can do that only by being
mindfully, compassionately, aware
of the other path
while we are walking this one.
Integrity holds our contradictions
in compassionate, mindful, awareness,
so that we seek
the face that was ours before we were born
even as we wear the face
that looks back at us from the mirror.
Integrity is bearing consciously
the pain of our inner opposition
and being One
in our ambivalence and equivocation.
We can be so integrated
only with
Mindfulness,
Compassion.

This is the way to oneness with ourselves
and with others
as clearly as I can make it out.
Whether we walk it or not
is up to us.
02/06/2017 — I would like for Republicans
to explain to me
why they don’t care about
people who are immigrants,
people who are Muslim,
people who are women,
people who are poor,
people who are LGBTQ,
people who are black,
people who have special needs,
people who are old,
people who are not like them.

And when they say,
“Oh, we care about them all,”
I would like for them to
show me how any of them
would be able to tell
they were cared about,
apart from having to take
the Republicans’ word for it.

02/06/2017 — We are the One reconciling the Two,
holding in our bodies
the tension/pain of division,
of denial,
by being conscious of it
and thus making it visible and undeniable.
The work of integration,
reconciliation,
and bearing consciously the pain
of the irreconcilable
is the work of mindfulness/awareness.
By being conscious,
we compel consciousness,
foster consciousness,
cultivate consciousness
through what we say
and how we live,
integrating,
reconciling,
and bearing the pain of the irreconcilable…

4210.  02/06/2017 — Trestle Composite 2017 01 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Norfolk Southern, Fort Mill, South Carolina

This is a composite photograph, blending together two photos in order to get the train on the trestle at that time of day, in that light. The train was on the trestle on a different day, at a different time, in a different light. Now they are together in a way that makes my little heart sing. Thanks Photoshop!

It comes down to each of us
doing our own work,
working our own path,
our own life,
working out the wrinkles,
the conflicts,
the obstructions
and oppositions,
and making it work
as it was “meant” to work,
as it needs to work,
for us to be whole,
complete,
integrated within and without,
at peace with the life we are living
and the life that is ours to live.
We have to do the work
of knowing which is the life that is ours to live
from among all the possibilities–
of knowing which is the face
that was ours before we were born–
and of living that life,
of wearing that face,
within the life we are living,
within the context and circumstances
of this here,
of this now.

No one can do this for us.
It is up to each of us to do it for ourselves.
Every day
for as long as we are alive.
If we don’t have a clue
about what to do,
or how to begin,
we better start asking around.

4211.  02/07/2017 — Black-eyed Junco 2017 03 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 6, 2016

I brought out the hammock yesterday and spent two hours among the birds in my corner of the 22-Acre Woods, and initiated the 2017 version of “Scenes From My Hammock.” I look forward to a wonderful year with you all!

The thing I dislike most about Republicans
is their abject, willful, mindlessness.
You have to flash back to yesterday’s early
installment to find my understanding
of the high place of hatred
in the great scheme of things:
bringing us to what I love most:
mindful awareness of all that is just as it is.

Only in mindful awareness–
which includes compassion and integrity–
do all things come together
in the great unity of being
that is life in its fullness, wholeness and completion.

When all things are held together in awareness,
all is One,
and all is well,
and that is as good as it gets.

The thing I dislike most about Republicans
is the same thing
that I dislike most about you and about me.

Mindlessness is the source of all of our problems,
and mindfulness is the solution to
all of our problems.

If you want to get rid of a problem,
become mindful of it.
Hold it in your awareness
in its all-ness
until every aspect of it
becomes crystal clear,
and it becomes transparent,
and disappears.

This is the trick of seeing things
out of their duality
and into oneness, unity and perfection.

The problem is that we cannot live
without problems.
If we never got hungry,
we would never eat,
and would starve to death.
Unity is not all it is said to be.
Life is duality.
The place of mindfulness
is to enable us to live knowingly–
knowing what we are doing
and knowing that we don’t know what we are doing.

This is to walk two paths at the same time,
to live consciously,
mindfully,
joyfully,
between polarities,
dichotomies,
contradictions,
dualities
on every side,
so that we are free to do what needs to be done–
to do what is necessary, proper, fitting and appropriate–
in each situation as it arises,
and to be alive–
consciously, mindfully, fully, completely–
in the time and place of our living.

02/07/2017 — Check in with yourself from time to time
throughout the day.
Note your mood,
your outlook,
your focus,
your orientation,
your state of being.

Are you more pleased or displeased?
More awake or asleep?
More mindful or mindless?
More at peace or disturbed?
More here or there?
More you or not-you?
More joyful or joyless?
More hopeful or hopeless?

No judgment.
No opinion.
No disgust or despair.
No stake in how you are
either way.

Just seeing.
Just knowing.
How it is with you.
Here and now.

Throughout the day.

02/07/2017 — What makes your little heart sing?
How long has it been
since you went there?
Did that?

02/07/2017 — Our first order of business
upon exiting the womb
is to develop immunities
protecting us
from the toxic environment
we are born into–
the most deadly aspect of which
is the opinions of other people,
particularly, of those who know best
and must be pleased.
Become proficient
in being off limits
to their intrusions,
and you have it made.
As much as you can have it made.
You will, at least, have your own life.
That’s having it made
in my book.

02/07/2017 — It’s going to take more than two
Republican Senators crossing over
to stop the onslaught–
and resistance cannot draw its strength
from the success of its efforts,
but from the value
and validity
of its positions.

Republicans have embraced a shameful
and reprehensible future–
one that deliberately puts
the health and well-being
of the planet and its populations
in harm’s way–

In a “What? Me Care?” flourish
of stupid decisions and choices.
And we call them out,
and name their evils,
without pause or hesitation.

We cannot let them think
that nobody cares.

02/07/2017 — Good and evil are judgment calls.
Republican ideology is good
in the eyes of Republicans,
whose eyes do not take into account
the widespread harm
caused by the good
they call good.

Doing away with abortion,
or with the funding for Planned Parenthood
(Which they take to be the same thing,
but it is not,
and no amount of evidence
showing it is not
is acceptable to Republicans
who “know what the truth is,
never mind what the facts are”)
will create a tidal wave
of human suffering world-wide,
which Republicans are oblivious to
and will deny responsibility for.

Allowing coal waste to be dumped into rivers
and industrial waste to be burned into the air
creates no problems for Republicans–
and it is not unimaginable that they
will allow leaded gasoline to be produced
if that provides a hefty profit
for their oil and gas industry supporters.

There are no limits to Republican greed,
and no end to their quest for more wealth
than is healthy for anybody on earth,
themselves included.

Good is evil where Republicans are concerned,
and we all pay the price of their failure to see it.

02/07/2017 — Tea Party Republicans
are the end of the
principle that government
is for the people.

“To insure domestic tranquility,”
“To promote the general welfare,”
“Of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Gone with the industrial waste borne in the wind.

With Tea Party Republicans,
government is for the ever-increasing profits
of business and industry–
at the expense of the people.

Good-bye EPA.
Hello air we can’t breathe,
water we can’t drink.

02/07/2017 — I don’t know how many other states
would fall into this category,
but, I know Kansas, North Carolina, and Louisiana
are suffering from the irresponsible and negligent
handling of their affairs
by Republican legislatures and governors–
and the same thing is set to occur
on a national level with this President
and this Congress.
The absolute stupidity and gullibility of voters
who will believe anything they are told
is amazing, shocking and appalling.

02/07/2017 — Granting them the full benefit of the doubt,
the best case I can make
for Republican voters
is to say they want to be taken care of
by some Big Daddy in the Governor’s Mansion,
or a Bigger Daddy in the White House,
and do not want any responsibility
for thinking for themselves,
examining the evidence,
making careful inquiries
and evaluating what they
are seeing in and hearing from
the candidates who run for office.

It is no wonder to me that both
Republican voters and office holders
hate science
and will do their best to bring an end to it
as we know it,
with all that critical thinking
and that never having truth nailed down
but always having to revise and rethink and reformulate
everything in light of new evidence
and better questions.
The only good questions
are those whose answers
have stood the test of time,
like “White people know best!”
Make that “White male people.”

4212.  02/08/2017 — Curtis-Coleman Memorial Bridge 2017 14 — Fort Randolph and Fort Buhlow State Historic Sites, Alexandria, Louisiana, January 25, 2017

We don’t have a problem
that growing up wouldn’t handle.
Carl Jung said,
“The greatest and most important problems of life
are all fundamentally insoluble.
They can never be solved but only outgrown.”
You know all those problems
that keep us awake nights,
ruin our life,
send us flying into the arms
of surrogate Mamas
like alcohol and cocaine?

Growing up will take care of them all.

If you have a problem you can’t solve,
instead of spending your time
and attention
focused on the problem,
take that time and that attention
and focus it on growing up.

You will be amazed at the
difference it will make

02/08/2017 — If it paid to be a progressive Republican,
Republicans would be progressive.

Republicans like to think of themselves as Christians.
You hardly hear of a Republican
who is proud to be a Muslim,
or a Hindu,
or a Buddhist.

The Christians have a long tradition
about 30 pieces of silver,
and the love of money
being the root of all evil.

Funny how Republicans aren’t so up
on that tradition,
being such Christians.
You might think they would
be more into
“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.”

Republicans aren’t too hip
on helping anyone
who can’t help them back.

4213.  02/08/2017 — Crocus 2017 01 — First Crocus of Spring, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 8, 2017

Spring comes when it is ready every year.
I was taking the first crocus of spring
a month later last year.
Nature has its own mind.
The natural rhythms come and go
in sync with an order
mysterious and eternal–
which we also belong to,
and would be wise to attend
and honor,
eating when hungry,
you know,
and resting when tired.
And going where our heart
loves to be,
and doing the things
that bring joy to our soul.
Spring looks at us each year,
and wonders
what’s up with us.

4214.  02/09/2017 — Spanish Moss 2017 12 — Forts Randolph and Buhlow State Historic Park, Pineville, Louisiana, December 25, 2017

Some of you know my favorite quip about the church:
“Every church I served during
my 40.5 years in the ministry
paid me to talk to them about God,
but they didn’t want me to tell them
anything they hadn’t already heard.”
So, I gave them all good reason to fire me.
What becomes of “The Old has passed away,
Behold! The New has come!”
in that kind of atmosphere?
What sense does it make to talk about
“New wine needing new wineskins’?
About God doing “new things”?
Or about the spirit of God
being “like the wind that blow where it will”?

What good is a god we know so well
he can’t possibly be androgynous,
and be a she as easily as a he?
That kind of god is completely unnecessary
and might as well retreat
to some far-off corner
of the universe,
because we know all there is to know,
so what’s to be gained
from hanging around?

And what good are doctrines, dogmas,
creeds, ideologies, and theologies
in the service of a god
“who dwells in deep darkness,”
about whom
all those in the Bible who knew said,
“We cannot begin to know or say
or comprehend what we sense
lies beyond our knowledge”?

And were does that leave us if not
sitting quietly,
mindfully present to all that is present with us,
seeking to know what is unknown,
knowing we won’t be able to say
what that is?

02/09/2017 — The worst form of ignorance
is a quality of arrogance
that doesn’t know what it is doing,
and doesn’t know that it doesn’t know,
and doesn’t care.
Sound like anybody you know?
The most arrogantly ignorant person
to ever parade around the White House
with the air of a so-called President,
maybe?

02/09/2017 — Mindful, compassionate, awareness
is the non-judgmental reception
of the present moment
just as it is/such as it is,
and of all that is present
in it with us.

Every present is colored by the past.
We may be alone in the present,
but we carry with us
all that has ever happened to us,
or through us–
all that we have done
and has been done to us.

And it is likely that,
on the level of instinct and intuition,
we bring with us into every
present moment
remnants of dim memories
of distant ancestors.

Every moment is packed
with a raucous crowd of unsettled agonies
crying out to be seen, heard, known and tended.
That’s a lot to be aware of.
No wonder we stay busy,
and don’t allow ourselves to think
things that make us uncomfortable.

The longer we delay the work,
the more necessary it becomes
that we do it.

4215.  02/10/2017 — Alexandria National Cemetery 2017 04 Panorama– Pineville, Louisiana, January 25, 2017

In each moment,
we stand before an open doorway
looking out upon worlds upon words,
worlds beyond worlds,
worlds within worlds…There is no way we are looking
at the same world.
And no way for us to see
what the other is seeing–
even though we stand together,
We live in different worlds,
and see the world
we think we share
in different ways.
We have to start there
in talking about
what we see
and what we think.
We are aliens to each other,
from different worlds,
living in different worlds,
looking at different worlds.
Pretending to speak
the same language.

02/10/2017 — Trump will never get over
having lost the popular vote
to Hillary Clinton.
He will create fictions,
elaborate fictions,
fictions that take all the facts
into account
and explain them away,
to comfort himself
with the illusion
that he really, really won
by a landslide
larger than any President
ever has won,
or ever will win.
And lets don’t tell him
of all the candidates for the office
who lost with more votes
than he numbered in his so-called victory.

In Trump, we are dealing with
someone who cannot grow up.
Which is also evident
in his complete lack of an agenda
beyond getting everyone to like him.
Making America Great Again,
Building The Wall,
and Bringing Jobs Back
were all slogans
that struck a cord
and brought forth the cheers
and the votes,
but he has no idea
of what the implications
and requirements
of any of them are.
He only wants to be loved
more than anyone has ever been loved
and allowed to do what he feels like doing
every moment.
The same as any two-year-old ever.

02/10/2017 — Portents and oracles
have always received much attention,
to no avail.
We are still here,
and there are still those of us
obsessed with portents and oracles,
as though this time
it will be different.
As though this time
is the last of time–
finally.
It is what they all have thought
and said:
“This time is the last of time!”
Thinking about the End of Time
keeps us from thinking about
what we might have to think about
if we didn’t think about it,
and saves us the trouble
of having to do what we might have to do
if we thought about what we might think about,
if we didn’t think about the End of Time.
It is better to face the End of Time,
for sure this time,
than to have to face ourselves,
not knowing what to think,
or what to do
about who we are and might yet be.
That is much too much for us.
Let the End be Near!
Let it come Now!
Tonight!
And save us from another damn tomorrow!

4216.  02/10/2017 — Lenten Rose 2017 02 — A blended photograph, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 9, 2017

We have to learn to heed the voice
of the unconscious
(so called because we are not conscious
of all that resides within)
calling us to wake up
and live mindfully aware
of all that is with us
in the moment of our living.
For instance,
when we fall in love with someone,
anyone,
everyone,
we are falling in love
with some aspect,
or aspects,
of ourselves
being carried in the other person,
reflected by the other person,
showing us who we need
to become,
or to become more fully.
All of our loves
are calling us to be
who we think they are.
And we think we are
supposed to marry them.
That isn’t nearly close enough.

4217.  02/11/2017 — Carolina Wren 2017 01 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, November 9, 2017

The political is not the spiritual
and we cannot impose spiritual stratagems
upon the willfully unconscious masses
in the misguided attempt
to create heaven/Nirvana/Paradise on earth.

The Dalai Lama’s bodyguards
carry automatic weapons.
Not even the Dalai Lama
has the formula for imposing
peace and happiness worldwide.
The more people, the more political.

Politics is the art
of doing it like we want it done.
A quick scan of the gurus through history
reveals the same jealousies, infighting, coups, rebellions,
and revolutions
that are found in the political world
of royal palaces and standing armies.

Spirituality is the art of walking two paths
consciously, mindfully,
at the same time.
Politics imposes the way somebody
says it is supposed to be done
on everybody at the same time.

Jesus did not have a political platform,
or a political bone in his body.
His, “Why don’t you decide for yourselves
what is right?”
Is the only way to the face that was ours
before we were born,
but it is no way to run
a household, a business, or a city.
Two paths
at the same time.

02/11/2017 — The path is individual and personal.
“God has no grandchildren.”
“They each entered the wood at a place
that seemed good to each one,
where no one else had trod.”
We find the way that is our way,
the work that is our work,
the face that is our face.
Or not.

02/11/2017 — It is a sobering thing
to consider how wrong we have been
through time–
how many wrong choices we have made
(individually and collectively,
over the course of our lifetime
and of the lifetime of the species),
how many wrong thoughts we have thought,
how many wrong turns we have made,
how many wrong roads we have taken–
and yet,
here we are,
still.
We have, somehow,
managed to make enough good
out of the mess we have made
to still be in business,
still in the business
of making good out of the mess we make.
I can’t help but see it as
evidence of grace at work in our life,
in our lives,
in the life of the species.

The catch phrase,
“This too shall pass,”
as a way of dismissing
the present morass of hopelessness
and despair,
doesn’t grasp or capture the wonder
of the birth process
that is going on in each
rendition of the mess
that comes our way.
It is not that it will pass away,
but that we are being born anew
again, and again,
by a power quite beyond our ability
to comprehend.

Grace is in the mess and beyond the mess.
and we are being borne up by it
even as we are being born again and again into it.
If we have learned anything through the years
to this point in our life,
surely it is that
we do not know what we are doing,
especially when we are sure that we do,
and that we can, and must,
trust ourselves to the grace at work
in every moment,
especially when it seems that there is nothing
even grace could do with THIS stinking moment.

4218.  02/12/2017 — A Pine Tree’s Triumph 2017 06 –Fort Randolph State Historic Site, Pineville, Louisiana, January 25, 2017
As soil erosion removed dirt from its root system, this pine tree covered the exposed roots with bark, and extended them farther into the earth. So far, so good. 

Eliot said, in Burnt Norton, “The end precedes the beginning,”

and, in East Coker, “In my beginning is my end.”

And, in Little Gidding, “The end is where we start from.”

And, “We shall not cease from exploration,
and the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time.

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

Zen koans urge us to “Seek the face that was yours
before you were born.”

From all sides comes the call: “Be who you ARE!”

There is only participating knowingly
in the incarnation
of the divine, ineffable, Self
at the center of ourselves,
and living the life only that Self can live
through us
within the life we are living.

Everything else is dust in the wind.

Who are you living to be?

02/12/2017 — The present is where
past and future come together
to create now,
and is either wasted on us,
or redeemed by us,
to the degree and extent
that we seize the moment
and incarnate there
who we have always been
and will forever be–
if only given the chance
to come forth
into the light of day
or the dark of night.
02/12/2017 — Trump’s plan is to bring Shock and Awe to life again,
this time in his administration,
following one outlandish, appalling, distressing and despicable
thing with one even more so,
until we are all stunned into commas,
unable to mouth objection
much less initiate protest,
as he carries the last of the good into
the dark lair of the Master Liar,
laughing, dancing and toasting the greatness
of one Trump Card to rule them all.

Our response must be to be unmoved
at his unquenchable thirst for attention
and to be ready to name it
as yet another pitiful expression
of infinite deficiency
in all matters relating to self-worth
and validation–
while showing no sympathy
and never retiring from the Field of Action,
or allowing the One Who Never Knows
What He Will Say Or Do Next
to have the last word.

4219.  02/12/2017 — Mourning Dove 2017 01 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 12, 2017

Most of you know of my self-imposed hermitude
(the attitude of a hermit without the rigidity
of the lifestyle)
beginning about two years ago.
This was due not only to my over-riding exhaustion
from my career as a parish minister for 40.5 years,
but also from the degree of focus and concentration
that it requires for me
to listen to the things that need to be heard.

Walking two paths at the same time
is facilitated by narrowing the distance
between the paths,
and by spending more time on the interior path
than on the exterior path,
as we are able to put that into play.

My life now affords me the opportunity
to spend a good bit of time
reading, writing, reflecting
and exploring questions that pique my interest.

As you probably have heard me say,
Carl Jung thought of a hermit
“As a primitive man or woman
who trusts him/herself to the unconscious.”

I’ve made that my goal these past couple of years,
and look forward to getting better at it
with time and practice–
and I appreciate being able
to share the results of my ruminations
with you along the way.

4220.  02/13/2017 — Mourning Dove 2017 02 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 12, 2017

The silence will tell you everything
you need to hear–
IF you can be quiet enough
long enough
often enough
deep enough
to hear what else is there–
what you haven’t heard–
beyond all the stuff
you always hear–
the how often you have blown it,
how badly you have missed it,
how terribly you have played
the hand that was dealt you,
how wrong you were
to do it the way you did it,
how shamefully you handled
every moment,
every relationship…
you know the routine:
bad, bad, bad, and terrible.That part of the silence
will take your breath away.
You’ve heard it enough.
You think that is all there is to hear.
You are sure that wraps it up
about you,
and you can’t stand to be quiet
because you cannot bear the truth
of you and your life–
your failures and mistakes and snafus…
You hate yourself for not knowing
what you didn’t know,
what you couldn’t have known,
what you had to discover
by tripping over it
and falling on your face
time after time,
because that’s what it took
to wake you up to how things are
and to show you
what you are ashamed of yourself
for not knowing
apart from the grief it took
to discover it.
And now,
you have to be what you needed then:
a compassionate presence,
understanding, knowing, loving, accepting you
exactly as you were and are.
That is why it keeps coming up
every time you are too quiet for too long–
not because you are what you think you are,
a useless, terrible, no good, very bad person
of little value and practically no worth,
but because you still seek
what you have always sought,
a compassionate,
kind,
understanding,
knowing,
loving,
accepting place to be.

You are what you seek.
Make yourself welcome.
And listen for what else is there
that needs you to hear it,
heed it,
do it
in the time left for living,
that only you can do,
the way only you can do it
even now,
even yet,
even you.

4221.  02/13/2017 — Crocus 2017 04 — Indian Land, South Carolina, February 10, 2017

We have to find a life we can believe in
and live it.
Too many of us are living a life
we settled for,
a life we were handed,
or fell into,
a life that pays the bills
most of the time,
and gets us by
but doesn’t feed our soul,
or make our little heart sing,
or spring us into each day
eager to see what this one brings
and what we can do with it.

We do not believe in the life we are living.
It is a “one size fits all” kind of life
that has nothing of US about it.
It could be anybody’s life.
Anybody could step into our life
and live it as well as we can.
We could tag out at any point
and our life wouldn’t miss us.

Where is the life we wouldn’t think
of tagging out of?
Where is the life that needs US
to live it?
The life that we can believe in
because it fits us “to a tee”?
That’s the life we are looking for.
Let your heart lead the way.

02/13/2017 — Is it more helpful
to see something
for what it is,
or to see it
for what it is not?

Trump is a wasteland,
devoid of humor and vitality,
joy and compassion,
kindness and humility,
and is incapable
of keeping faith
with anyone.

We can see Trump for what he is:
a lump of Kryptonite,
drawing life from all
within his sphere of influence.

Or, we can see Trump for what he is not:
He is not “the still point of the turning world.”
He is not “the face that was ours before we were born.”
He is not the bedrock of our life,
the foundation stone of our identity.
He is not the ground of our value
or of our values.
He has nothing to do with us
on any of the deeper levels
of our character, spirit and being.
Our heart and soul are out of his reach,
beyond his grasp.
We are safe and secure
at one with our essence and core,
where all is well,
and will be well,
and is beyond being anything but well.

Living from that center
we can do anything
that needs us to do it,
be anything that needs us to be it.
And live in a parched and dry land
as springs of living water,
as trees giving shade and solace
to all who live there in.
It only takes believing it
to know that it is so.
02/13/2017 — There is one thing about the world of Harry Potter that needs to be said:
Magic can’t do anything about the things that matter.
It cannot open eyes that do not see.
It cannot conjure up a spell
to create compassion and kindness
where they need to be but aren’t.
It’s tricks are all meaningless,
limited to entertainment
and vindictiveness.
Harry was a Master Wizard
and spent his entire life
wearing glasses.
And Ron was as dense
as heavy fog
all his life long.
And Voldemort thought
living forever without a soul
(or a heart)
would be just fine.

That world has nothing on this one.
Just sayin’.

I don’t know where that came from
but it was begging to be said.
It may be that we are always
looking at this world,
this here and now,
as though it’s lacking in some fundamental way.
Depression, despair, dismay
work their way with us,
and we see no reason to go one.
Suffering and woe,
The old Buddhist thing you know.
Eternal rounds of misery and grief.
A vale of tears.

But.
Here we are.
And it is all up to us.
Trump is a wonderful example
of the kind of savior we can expect
to make the world great again.
It is always up to us.
We live our life just as it is
in the time and place of our living
as well as we possibly can
or we don’t.
Why sit looking at the wall?
There is LIFE to be lived.
Why pass up an opportunity
to do what we can
with the time that has been given to us?
So the Cyclops is staring us down?
Stare HIM down!
Every day for the rest of your life!

We think it would be easier
with the Elder Wand.
It would not be easier.

4222.  02/14/2017 — Red-breasted Nuthatch 2017 01 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 6, 2017

We are known by what we love–
and by what we do not love.
These things show through.
The catch is
that we can love
and not love
the wrong things.
That’s the web
that webs the spider.

02/14/2017 — What does
“I do solemnly swear
to the best of my ability
to preserve, protect and defend
the Constitution of the United States”
mean to you?

The Constitution is not some relic from the past
to which we are asked to offer sham homage–
“a mere formality”–
in the service of personal gain
and advancement,
and the implementation of agendas
that are unconstitutional to the core.

The foundation and heart of Democracy
is the good faith of the people
who would
“preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.”
And, where that good faith is absent,
it must be called out and denounced
by those who understand and affirm
the central place of Constitutional Democracy
in the evolution of the species,
and know that apart from the atmosphere
created the Rule of Law
and the basic agreements
honoring the rights, privileges and responsibilities
of the people,
we are left with only the Law of the Jungle
to rule our affairs,
serve our good,
and protect our interests.
And we have been there,
and didn’t like it.
So, why would we return to it?

4223.  02/15/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 36 — Union County, Waxhaw, North Carolina, November 20, 2016

The LGBTQ community includes us all
when we understand the “Q”
to be “Questioning”
or “Questing,”
and when we understand
the questions and the quest
to be in search
of our true identity,
and not just our sexual or gender identity.
We are all on the way
to becoming who we are.
And the people who are not,
who know who they are,
and have no doubts
about their identity
are the ones who
really don’t have a clue.
The Quest for Our True Identity–
for the Bedrock of Our Soul,
the Foundation Stone of Our Heart,
the Face that Was Ours Before We Were Born,
is the grounding path of the Hero’s Journey,
and the goal of Growing Up.

We all Grow Up to Be Who We Are.

Some of us get there sooner than others,
or, at least, are farther along the way,
but none of us can hurry the process,
though we can delay it indefinitely,
meaning forever.

02/15/2017 — Maybe we all should join
the Republican Party.
It is the only way moderately
sane and civil candidates
will have a chance to be elected.
It currently doesn’t matter
how many are arrested
or forced to resign,
they just pick another clone
from the bin
and business goes on
as usual.

02/15/2017 — Remember Howard Baker
and Lowell Weicker?
They were Watergate heroes,
and among the last
of the Real Republicans.
They had heart and soul
and loved the country
and the Constitution
more than their Party
(More than they loved their Party,
and more than their Party
loved the country
and the Constitution).
And there isn’t a Republican
in Congress
or in the country
who could look either of them
in the eye.
Class and integrity cannot be replaced
with self-serving robots
espousing ideology
and toeing the Party line.

02/15/2017 — What would it take
for Congressional Republicans
(or any Republicans)
to stare Trump down?
To call him out?
To say,
“Hell No, Sir!
Not On MY Watch!”?
I would bet you $20
if I still did that kind of thing,
that it doesn’t exist.
Trump will not be reined in.
He can act out all over town.
All over the country.
He has a base
that likes him to be outrageous.
And his base
gets to vote again in two years
for all of Trump’s friends in the House.

Which begs the question:
What’s wrong with the Republicans
in the Senate?
They have a six year gig!

Can you imagine not being able to breathe
a breath of freedom, dignity and integrity
your entire life as an elected Republican?
“Leave your soul at the door,
Ye who enter here!”

02/15/2015 — I’m wondering what we are
going to do
to restore integrity and good faith
to elections
in this Democracy.
Trump has demonstrated
for us all
that a large segment
of the population doesn’t care
what he does–
or what his income tax records disclose–
or how much money
he is going to make
with his Russian connections
(Which leads to an additional wonder:
What exactly are they getting–
or what do they hope to get–
from Donnie
that they couldn’t get
from someone who actually
cared about them,
the country,
and the Constitution?)
Wait.
I see what’s wrong.
I’m trying to make sense of this,
aren’t I?
I mustn’t do that, mustn’t I?

4224.  02/15/2017 — Chemung County Barn 05 B&W — Chemung County, New York, October, 2015

The outer world gets all the attention
but if things are properly aligned in the inner world,
the outer world will simply be
the place we live the life
that is ours to live,
and all will be well.
Inner work is the real work.
The inner world is the real world.
They should tell us that at the start.
But, it is not too late.
There is life yet to be lived,
and work to be done.

4225.  02/16/2017 — Old Sheldon Church Ruins 2015 06 Panorama — Yemassee, South Carolina, December 2015

We have to live truthful lives.
We have to see the truth,
hear the truth,
feel the truth,
smell the truth,
taste the truth
speak the truth,
know the truth,
do the truth,
be the truth.

Jacob Bronowski said,
“In order to know the truth,
we have to live in certain ways.”
We have to live truthfully.
He said Nazi Germany
didn’t know anything
at the end of the Hitler era
that it did not know at the beginning
because it lived a lie–
its own lie.

Nazis don’t know more to this day
than they knew when Hitler was in power
because they are still living a lie.

Jesus said, “You shall know the truth
and the truth will set you free.”
And the truth is evolving, becoming, maturing.
It is not fixed, frozen, locked in place
in some Book of Doctrine–
it is living, breathing, moving, changing, transforming
everything it touches.

The truth is not a thing, like an umbrella stand.
It is way of perceiving all things,
a way of dancing with existence,
a way of experiencing experience,
a way of being in the world
in relationship with the world.

What was true yesterday,
may not be true today,
and certainly not tomorrow.
Does this sound like science to you?
Science is the truthful experience of reality.
So is good religion.
The heart of science is religious.
The heart of good religion is scientific.

The truth will set you free to know the truth
as it unfolds constantly before you

02/16/2017 — Donald Trump has no conflicts,
inconsistencies or contradictions.
He operates like a fine-tuned machine.
He perfect in every way.
There has never been a better human being.
Everybody loves him.
He has more fans than Elvis, the Beatles, AND Jesus.
There is nothing wrong with him
that a truthful press wouldn’t fix,
telling everyone how great he is
so that he wouldn’t have to.
The guy is out there.
As far out of touch with reality
as it is possible to be
and still breathe the air in this world.
That and gravity are his only connections
with the place the rest of us call home.

4226.  02/16/2017 — Beach Erosion 2015 12 — Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, South Carolina, December, 2015

We are to say the truth,
do the truth,
be the truth–
to say the things that need to be said,
to ask the things that need to be asked,
to do the things that need to be done,
to be who we need to be–
in each situation as it arises
all our life long.
We are to bring the truth forth,
and let the truth take it from there.
This is hard on those
who want to see results NOW.
The seed that is planted
does not bear quick fruit.
Our place is to believe in the truth
and trust the truth to bear fruit
in its own time,
in its own way.
Our place is to live truthful lives
and let things take their course.

4227.  02/17/2017 — Reelfoot Lake 2015 12/13 Panorama — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 2, 2015

We can do the work of being who we are
anywhere, anytime, any what, anyhow.
It can be more comfortable, convenient and enjoyable
if certain conditions are met,We can do it under any conditions
provided that we remember
to focus on our work
and not on the conditions.Our work is the same
no matter what our working conditions are.

But.
Heart is the easiest thing to lose,
and the next is losing sight
of the importance of the work that is ours to do
Once we no longer know
or care about what matters most,
chaos reigns
and we are at the mercy of the wasteland–
which has no mercy.

So.
It behooves us to remember,
and to remind ourselves of,
who we are and what is ours to do
in all times and places,
contexts and circumstances.

We do not live well
apart from the regular practice
of mindfulness meditation
as a way of maintaining our connection
with the life that is ours to live
and the work that is ours to do,
grounded on the bedrock
of the values that define us,
and the foundation stone
of the face that was ours before we were born–
expressing/incarnating who we are
in what we do
wherever, whenever, however
we find ourselves,
here and now
everyday
for the rest of our life.

02/17/2017 — Thich Nhat Hanh says (In “At Home in the World”),
“Mindfulness must be engaged.
Once we see that something needs to be done,
we must take action.
Seeing and action go together.
Otherwise, what is the point in seeing?”

It starts with seeing.
Seeing leads to doing.
Seeing and doing is being.
We are what we do.
When we see rightly,
mindfully,
compassionately
(Mindfulness always means “Compassionate Mindfulness”),
we act spontaneously
in ways that are fitting to the situation
we are mindful of.
Taking up the practice of being mindful
of the moment in which we are living
transforms the world,
one moment at a time.
4228.  02/18/2017 — Lenten Rose 2017 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, February 7, 2017

We shape, form, create our future
by the way we think, speak, believe, act and live
in the present.
It is well past the time
for us to begin doing that
with mindful, intentional, deliberate, compassionate
attention to detail.
We cannot slap a life together
any way it suits us
and have a future worth living.
A well-lived life is not accidental,
and it is not unconscious.
It starts with taking up the practice
of mindful meditation–
of mindful awareness–
of each moment of our life–
each here and now of each day–
beginning now.

Begin with your breathing–
the rhythm, the depth, the sound
and how your body breathes.
Do you breathe from your chest
or from your belly?

Here is a 4-7-8 breathing exercise:
1. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise.
2. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
3. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose into your belly for a mental count of four.
4. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
5. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
6. This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat three more times for a total of four cycles.

After four cycles, move your attention to your body.
scan your body from head to toe
noticing everything there is to notice,
every sensation or feeling,
and back from toe to head.

End the exercise with four more cycles
of the breathing exercise.

Watch your breathing throughout the day
letting your breath bring you
into the present moment,
and being aware of all that is with you in
that moment
without judgment or opinion,
only acceptance and awareness
of the way things are.

Keep this routine up for the
rest of your life.
02/18/2017 — Republicans have a convenient shift in their thinking
at about the place where poor
goes over into wealthy.
Where does that line lie?
It is quite invisible,
and exists only in the minds
of those who are not wealthy.
The wealthy don’t spend much time
trying to not be poor.
They spend their time
trying to be wealthier.
The poor are trying not to be poor
as much as they are trying to be wealthy.
They know they are poor, not wealthy.
The line between poor and wealthy
resides in the poor.

And the poor form the Republican base.
Because they identify with the Republican ideology
that says “The way out of poverty
is to work hard and do what we say.”
The poor believe Republican officials
are wealthy because God has blessed them
(And certainly NOT because
they are lying, cheating, thieving, crooks!),
and that if they, the poor, do what they (the officials)
tell them (the poor) to do,
they (the poor) will eventually be blessed
with prosperity themselves.
It is, perhaps, the cruelest lie,
but it is the only hope the poor possess,
and they are not capable of seeing it
for what it is,
because that would be to be
hopelessly destitute forever.

And there is that divide to consider,
between poor and wealthy–
it is the place of self-interest in their life.
The poor must set self-interest aside
and serve the Party,
voting against themselves in every election,
in the hope that, eventually,
God will bless them for their faithfulness
as God has blessed the Republican officials–
a hope that is rekindled each election
by those who tell them
God depends on their vote
to keep the Evil, Demonic, Satanic Democrats
from destroying all that is good and godly.

The wealthy, on the other hand, are all
encouraged by each other to live full throttle
in the service of rampant and reckless
self-interest on all levels, in all forms.
God has blessed them with wealth and privilege,
and they have a moral obligation to grab as much
for themselves as possible
to show God how faithfully they enjoy and relish
the bounties of God!

Republicans are a sickness and a blight upon the land.
They live beyond redemption,
which bothers them not at all,
laughing as they do
at what can be done about them,
and looking as they do
for ways of increasing their profits
and enlarging their advantage.
02/18/2017 — George Lakoff says,
“the private depends on the public,”
and then lists the obvious:
“An electric grid,
public universities,
an interstate highway system…
and a government–
a system of governing–
for managing
and guaranteeing
the functioning of all these public resources.”

Then he repeats the point for emphasis:
“The private depends on the public.
Public resources make private life possible.”

He says, “Progressives take it for granted, as part of their moral and practical assumptions…(But) for conservatives, the very idea that the private depends on the public is anathema–immoral. Conservatives have a different view of responsibility. Whereas progressives believe centrally in empathy (caring about their fellow citizens), both personal and social responsibility, and a commitment toward doing their best toward those ends, conservatives believe only in personal responsibility.

“This yields a completely different view of democracy, that democracy provides what they call ‘liberty’–the ability to seek one’s own interests without the responsibility to help their fellow citizens, and without interference from the government.”

I’ll close the section with this quote from Lakoff, “It is a fact that the private depends on the public–perhaps the most central fact of American democracy–and yet strict conservatives either cannot see it or see it as a form of immorality so fundamental that it must be defeated at all costs.”

Even, he says, to the point of shutting down the government, or incapacitating it by reducing taxes and the funds available to run the government.

Republicans don’t care if they run the country into the ground. Republicans don’t care anything about anyone other than themselves. That is the central, the core, tenet of Republican ideology–which they will not admit to in public.

(The Lakoff quotes are from his book, which you must promise me you will read by the end of this coming week, “Don’t Think Of An Elephant”)
02/19/2017 — Republicans don’t care!

We can’t say this often enough.
It is their Achilles’ heel.
You can’t name one example
of Republican compassion
for someone other than themselves.
Republicans are against every social good,
and have been forever.
Republicans are against raising the minimum wage–
are against minimum wages entirely,
if the truth be known.
The undeserving masses should have to work
for nothing.

Republicans can talk about their caring
and their compassion
only in terms of saving their poor voting base
from the horrors of the rule of Democrats–
protecting them from terrorist attacks
so they can vote for Republicans
in every election great and small.

That’s the Republican idea
of taking care of their constituents.

Republicans Don’t Care!

Pass the word.
02/19/2017 —   You know how dams are crumbling
and 56,000 bridges across the US
are in need of repair or replacement?

Republicans don’t care!

(Should be a bumper sticker)

Republicans have set things in place
so that the infrastructure collapses,
so they can blame the Democrats,
so they can take full command and control
of the country
from towns and cities,
to counties/parishes and states,
to all levels,
national and international.

It’s bigger than anything James Bond faced.

You know how all Republicans sound alike?
Sound like robots?
They are.
Republican Think Tanks
and consulting firms
have been teaching Republicans
how to talk
and what to do
for two generations.
And are close to pulling it off.

All they need is a terrorist attack,
or, perhaps, a demonstration turned violent,
to emphasize their repeated line
that only they can Keep America Safe,
so be sure to elect Republican candidates
to the House of Representatives in 2 years.

They need one (or two) so badly
they will stage them
if they have to.

Anything goes in the service of the good
Republicans call good.
No one has ever been
more morally right than Republicans–
who don’t care about anyone
other than themselves.
02/19/2017 — Here is the fundamental Republican principle
at work in their takeover
of the world:

You can give anything the meaning you want it to have
through the persistent practice
of simple repetition.

Facts become what we say they are.

The world becomes as we say it is.

Reality is bent and twisted to conform
to our view of reality.

Truth is subject to interpretation and understanding.

“Rational minds can look at the same fact
and draw different conclusions about it.”

And every statement or explanation
can be enlarged or expanded
to take contrary data into account
(For instance, the fossil record and
continental drift are part of the
creationists view of the world,
put there to “test the faith” of believers).

Republicans create a conservative worldview
in the minds of those subjected
to their continual conservative framing
of the truth of their daily experience.

You can talk about taxes as a burden
from which we need relief,
or as an investment in our future
and that of our children,
or as dues we pay for the privilege of
using the resources and services of the place
in which we live.

The same can be said for every fact
Republicans despise, reject and repudiate:
Planned Parenthood,
Affordable Healthcare,
Public Education,
Public Lands and National Parks,
Global Warming and the EPA,
Unions,
and on, and on…

Facts alone are meaningless.
For a fact to be meaningful,
it has to be framed–interpreted–according
to its moral significance.

“What does this fact mean to me,
to us, to anyone?” is the question
that is far from being self-evident.
All facts have to be
explained and understood
in light of their ability to sustain,
enable, deepen, expand, develop
our freedom and/or our life.

How we talk about a fact
reflects our perspective
(progressive or conservative)
regarding that fact,
and determines how that fact
will be perceived
by those who hear us speak.

Their history with the fact
biases them to perceive the fact
as they always have perceived it,
so we cannot use the words
they already associate with it
and hope to change their mind about it.

A new vocabulary enables them
to see the fact in a different light,
but.
Repetition is the key.
We have to reframe the fact
constantly and persistently over time,
using its new meaning again and again
every time we speak
in order to move them from where they are
to where we think they need to be.

(The concepts in this post originate
with George Lakoff in his book
“Don’t Think Of An Elephant!”)

4229.  02/19/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 37 — Union County, Waxhaw, North Carolina, November 20, 2016

We have to be clear
about our identity–
who we are and who we are not–
and our values–
what we say is right,
and what we say is wrong,
and what constitutes
the good we call good
(For whom is it good?
For whom is it bad?)We have to know these things
about ourselves,
and how they are incarnated,
reflected,
expressed,
exhibited,
served
and made real
in our life.Everything falls into place
around these things.

4230.  02/20/2017 — Tufted Titmouse 2017 04 Detail — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 16, 2017

Jacob Bronowski said,
“In order to know the truth,
you have to live in certain ways.”
He meant we have to live truthfully.
We have to live truthful lives.
We have to live mindfully aware
of our interests and agendas,
and the over-riding motives
that direct our lives.
He meant we cannot kid ourselves.
We cannot lie to ourselves
about what is important,
about what we are doing,
how we are living,
about the dichotomies
and inconsistencies,
the contradictions
and incompatibilities
that crop up now and then
between what we say
and what we do.Carl Jung said,
“It isn’t who you say you are,
but what you do,
that tells me who you are.”Jacob Bronowski and Carl Jung
were saying the same thing.

02/20/2017 — Republican inconsistencies,
incongruities,
contradictions,
incompatibilities,
and incredibilities,
can all be understood and explained
in light of their over-riding commitment
to saying and doing whatever it takes
to achieve their goal
of political, social and cultural
dominion and domination.
Republicans are ISIS in suits and ties,
waving Bibles instead of the Koran.
02/20/2017 — Some Christians think
the idea is to avoid going to Hell.
They make their spiel
to non-Christians
based on the idea
that is they (the Christians)
can convince them (the non-Christians)
that they (the non-Christians)
are going to Hell,
they (the non-Christians)
will leap for the Good News
that they (the Christians)
are bursting to tell them (the non-Christians)
about Jesus dying for everyone
who believes in him (Jesus),
repents of their (everyone) sins,
and embraces wholeheartedly
the steps and hoops
they (the Christians) lay out before them (the non-Christians)
for the rest of their (the non-Christians) natural life.

They (these Christians) miss Jesus’ entire point.
It is not what will you do to keep from going to Hell,
but what is so important to you–
what, who, do you love so much–
that you would gladly go to Hell in its service?

What, who, would you go to Hell for?

Immigrants?

Muslims?

Your enemy (be they Democrats or Republicans)?

Your neighbor?

The least of those at the bottom
of the social/cultural ladder?

LGBTQ’s?

People of Color?

Women?

Who do you care about so much
you would go to Hell to care about them?
What is so important for you to do
that you would go to Hell in its service?
If we don’t have that who or what in our life,
our life is sadly lacking
the essential element required
to be fully, joyously, wholly alive.
02/20/2017 — Joseph Campbell said,
“We know when we are on the beam,
and when we are off it.”

This is essential knowing.

We have to know what we know.

We have to work mindfulness meditation
into each day, throughout the day.

The Biblical injunction to “Pray always,”
is about being constantly mindful
of what is happening within and without–
about holding everything in awareness–
prayerful, mindful, awareness–
without judgment or opinion,
and allowing right action to arise spontaneously
in response to the time and place
(the here and now)
of our living.

Being aware of when we are on the beam
and when we are off it
is crucial to staying on the beam.
It is the only place to be.

I would easily go to Hell,
if that is what it took,
to remain on the beam–
but it is a false dichotomy
to ask “Hell? Or the beam?”
Being on the beam
can be hell,
but it is also as far from Hell
as we can be.
If you understand how that is so,
you know all you have to worry about
is knowing when you are off the beam,
and get back on it!
02/20/2017 — When Jesus said,
“Love God with all your heart, and mind, and soul, and strength–
that is the first and greatest Commandment.
And the second is like unto it:
Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
A lawyer in the crowd,
you could say “a legalist,”
the kind of person who
wants to know exactly where the lines are,
asked, “And just who is my neighbor?’
Whereupon, Jesus told the story
of the Good Samaritan,
and when he finished,
he asked the lawyer,
“Who would you say was
the neighbor of the man who had been beaten?”
And the lawyer replied,
“Why the one who showed mercy to him.”
Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”

Jesus was saying,
“YOU are the neighbor! Go BE one!
To ALL who are in the need of mercy!”

And, in that one scene,
Jesus cut the heart (as if)
out of every Republican official
and office holder–
and out of the Republican Party Platform–
and out of Republican ideology.
And out of every so-called Christian doctrinal position
that draws a line beteen
the Haves and the Havenots,
and says,
“We don’t have to care about those
who don’t deserve it.”

All the men who walked by
the man beaten and left to die,
would have said,
“He obviously doesn’t deserve our help.”

There is nothing neighborly
about an attitude that does not show mercy
to those who need mercy shown to them,
whether they deserve it or not.
02/20/2017 — An idea is just an idea
until it connects with something
we think is important, right, good, helpful and necessary.
Voting, for instance,
is an idea a lot, if not all, people
are familiar with,
but aren’t moved by.
If the country knew before the election
what the country knows now
about who Donald Trump is,
a significant number of non-voters
would be voters.
Voting as an idea
would connect at the level of the heart
with people who would act
in the service of the idea.

The work of making connections
between ideas–
global warming, for instance,
or public education,
or the importance of public environmental protections–
and the public’s sense
of what is right, good, helpful and necessary
is the work of “framing” the idea
so that the public understands
what it has to do with them.

In order to do that work,
we have to do the work
of reading, studying and developing
our understanding of the ideas
that are important to the future
of life in this country and in the world,
and how best to present those ideas
to the voting public.

We have two years to change minds
and change votes
from conservative thinking and voting
to progressive thinking and voting.

In the mid-term elections in 2018,
23 Democrat Senate seats
2 Independent Senate seats
9 Republican Senate seats
and all 435 seats in the House
will be up for election.

We have to get busy.
Start with George Lakoff’s blog
and Facebook page.
Google George Lakoff
and go from there.

4231.  02/21/2017 — Wood Thrush 2017 01 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 6, 2017

If we want to get our country back,
we have to start talking about what is important to us,
in ways that clearly express the values
at the heart of the Declaration of Independence
and the US Constitution–
without hesitation or letup,
at every opportunity,
until the Republican dream
is exposed for the nightmare it is.All Republican “talking points”
conceal the motive of their agenda:
Private Wealth At The Expense Of Public Good.Every move Republicans make
is designed to reduce the interference
and restrictions
the government places on corporations
and increase the ease with which
profits are made
by those who have more money
than they can spend already.

Spending money isn’t the point.
Having and making money is the point.
It is a game with Republicans
to see how much money they can make
before they die.

And the Constitution is in their way.
With the Constitution out of their way,
there is no end to the amount of profit
corporations can make
before global warming
destroys the world.

Republicans think Armageddon is real
and rising sea levels is fake.

The 2018 Mid-Term Elections
will be our next chance to turn things around.
It may be our last chance.
Join the verbal resistance movement
by soaking up everything at com
and start talking.

02/21/2017 — Republicans need to understand
it isn’t whether they believe in Jesus
(“Even the demons believe,” says the Bible),
but how seriously they take him–
how diligently they work/live
to become like him,
so that looking at Republicans,
we wouldn’t be able to tell them
from Jesus.
Republicans need to understand that.
02/21/2017 — Truth isn’t true because somebody says so!
Truth isn’t true because a simple, or even 2/3’s, majority says so!
We don’t say,
“Show of hands, hold them high,
we want to be sure to count them all,
so we will know if this is true or not!”
Truth doesn’t wait for someone’s stamp of approval!
It doesn’t matter what your opinion of, say, global warming is–
when Miami is under 12 feet of water, that’s TRUTH!
Truth is like that.
You can not like it.
You can deny it.
And you are still swimming in truth,
unseen, unnamed, unknown,
but THERE, nonetheless.

4232.  02/22/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 39 — Union County, Waxhaw, South Carolina, November 20, 2016

Our worldview is how we see the world.George Lakoff thinks our worldview
is depicted in how we answer the question:
“If your baby is crying during the night,
do you pick her, or him, up?”How do you deal with your crying baby?
That tells you everything you need to know
about yourself,
and how you see the world.

And, how we shake out along the continuum of options
tells you everything you need to know
about the rest of us,
and what to expect of us.

No matter how we “spin” ourselves
in our own eyes
and in the eyes of others,
it all comes down to
the way we treat our crying baby.

02/22/2017 — Republicans cannot be upfront
about their agenda
because their agenda
discounts the welfare
of most of the people in the world.
It is an elitist agenda,
serving the interests
of those interested in
profit at any price.

Republicans will easily,
carelessly,
without a thought,
sacrifice the air we breathe,
the water we drink,
the infrastructure,
the social programs
and services
that provide us with the wherewithal
to realize and enjoy
the “unalienable rights”
of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”—
including national parks
and public lands—
in order to increase the wealth
of the wealthiest people in the country.

If it inhibits the growth of measurable wealth,
it is bad, bad, bad
and has to go.
The Republican strategy for
disappearing all that stands in the way
of fortune and glory
is to reduce taxes to the point
of drying up funding,
so that “government” shrivels
from within,
and there is nothing left
but the military and police
to keep things in line.

Republicans need only the working poor
who form their base
to keep voting them into office
for as long as there are things
their money can buy—
which won’t be nearly as long
as they think.

02/22/2017 — What does it mean
that we say what we say
and do what we do?
How does that incarnate,
express, exhibit, bring forth, make real,
who we are?
How does it conceal,
deny, reject, desert, shun, spurn, ignore,
who we are?
Where are we to be found
in the things we say,
and do?

02/22/2017 — Asking what something means
begs the question,
“In terms of who and/or what?”

I walk into a scene with a camera.
What does it mean?
I cannot exhaust the possibilities.
For one thing,
there is the matter
of how many tripod positions are there?
How many ways of framing the scene?
Try counting them up some time
in one of your favorite scenes.
You will have to quit before you finish.
Then, there is the matter
of “Black and white, or color?”
And all of this applies only
to the light that is present here and now,
and the light is changing
while I flip through the options,
meaning additional options,
more flipping.
I’ll never get it done.

Meaning is never pinned down,
nailed in place,
locked up,
frozen still and solid…

Meaning is a dynamic life force,
always changing,
becoming,
coming into,
and out of,
focus
with shifts in perspective and perception.

Stop thinking about explanations
and definitions,
and think about holding
all of the possibilities
in mindful awareness,
as you watch the play
of light and shadow,
and thrill
at the wonder of being.

02/22/2017 — Our on-going task—
the task that remains our task
throughout our life—
is to get up each morning
and live our life just as it is,
such as it is,
all day long.

“Just as it is” means
without waiting for it to be better,
or even different.
“Such as it is” means
it could be better
in 10,000 ways—
means it isn’t perfect
by a long shot—
means we could wish for more
on every level.

Here it is,
just as it is,
such as it is,
and it is our task to live it
like our heart is in what we are doing,
so that no one could tell
that we weren’t fully invested in,
and engaged with,
our life,
just as it is,
such as it is.

And, more than that,
we are to live it in ways
that are true to ourselves—
true to our nature,
character,
and values—
true to our core identity,
true to our bedrock,
unmovable,
Self,
in ways that bring forth
the gifts that are uniquely
ours to give,
and treating everyone—
ourselves included—
with grace,
kindness,
caring,
and compassion,
so that “Well done!”
would be a fitting epitaph
for each day’s work.

02/22/2017 — HOW TO SPEAK REPUBLICAN 01

(These posts are inspired by, and grounded in, George Lakoff’s book, “Don’t Think Of An Elephant.”)

We have translate everything
Republicans say
from their frame of reference
(that would be their idea
of how things ought to be),
and away from what
they want us to think
they are saying
into what they are actually saying.

It is exhausting work,
and cannot be done
by those of us who are
novices at the task
in the heat of the moment
of a face-to-face confrontation.

We will be able to hold our own
in time,
but for now,
we have work to do.
We have to identify their frame of reference,
understand their idea of how things ought to be,
and we have to know
what they want us to think they are saying,
and what they are actually saying.

The Republicans make it easy for us
by saying the same things all the time.
They have a lexicon of probably
no more than ten words and phrases
which are what they want us to think they are saying.

“Right to Work Laws,”
is one such phrase.
It sounds great.
Who could be opposed to that?
There is a catch, though.
It means laws that do away
with unions.
So Right To Work Laws
really mean
Enslavement To Corporations Laws.
Those Republicans are slick dudes.

We have to do this with their entire vocabulary.
Which is very limited, but.
We have to learn their language
if we want to speak the truth
to the people they are speaking to

4230.  02/23/2017 — Red on Blue 2016 02 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 22, 2016

HOW TO SPEAK REPUBLICAN 02
(These posts are inspired by, and grounded in, George Lakoff’s book, “Don’t Think Of An Elephant.”)

Learning to speak Republican
means learning more about Republicans
than you ever wanted to know.
To speak Republican,
we have to understand Republicans–
how they see the world,
what motivates them
(They have been laying the groundwork
for their takeover of the U.S.
since Barry Goldwater ran for President.
That’s a serious commitment.
They are seriously committed.
We have to be as serious
and as committed.)

What is the Republican Quest?
After they takeover the country, what?
WHAT DO THEY WANT???

Yesterday, the Huffington Post reported
that Virginia Representative Dave Brat
said, “in a contentious town hall
in Backstone, Virginia, ‘Do want to be poor
or do you want to be rich?'”

In talking about his support for clean air and water,
he said “Guess what the No. 1 thing you can do
to have clean air and clean water iis–
Increase your economic growth.”

And there you have it.
Republicans are in it for the money
They want to be rich
They want infinite economic growth
and they will destroy everything worth having
in their quest to have it all.

It is sick,
and crazy,
and real.
And that’s who we are dealing with.

George Lakoff’s book “Don’t Think Of An Elephant”
is a manual for getting the country back
from Republicans
who are “crazy like a fox.”
If you don’t want to spring for the price of the book,
I think there is a PDF of it on line.
Read it
and let’s get to work.

02/22/2017 — We have to settle in,
be where we are,
do what we can.

Our task is to
make our peace
with each situation as it arises,
in each here-and-now moment
of every day–
in a “This is the way it is,
and this is what can be done about it,
and that’s that,”
kind of way.

No hopelessness.
No despair.
No depression.
No angst–
Just realization,
awareness,
dedication,
determination
and
persistence,
persistence,
persistence,
for as long as it takes.

02/22/2017 — The term Steve Bannon used in
speaking to CPAC today was,
Trump’s “economic nationalist agenda.”
Read “economic” as “infinite economic growth,”
that is, “Profits, Profits, and More Profits”
for corporate America.
Read “nationalist” as “White Nationalist,”
as “People Like Us,”
as “Our Kind Of People”–
as “White, Wealthy, Male, Straight, American.”
There is no room in the Republican value system
for anybody not like them.
That leaves a lot of people
on the outside looking in.
All those people in this country vote.
Mid-Term elections come up in 2018.
Those of us who are on the outside looking in,
will live and work toward the election every 2 years,
as long as the Constitution the Rule of Law
remain intact.
It is all that is left to us,
and we have to rise to the occasion
and vote them out of office–
or enough of them to give control
back to the Democrats.

02/23/2017 — Of course, in a sane world,
the Supreme Court
would be a counter balance
to the extreme fanaticism
of federal and stage legislatures,
and we could shake our heads
without losing sleep
or wondering what is going
to happen next,
and when,
and to whom.

The Republican idea
of making America great
is raw sewage
thinking it is the finest wine.
Delusional is not
a strong enough word.

02/23/2017 — Congressional Republicans are beyond the law.
The Rule of Law
and the central place of the Constitution
in governing our affairs is no more.
Yet, Trump still has his base,
and can count on about 30%
of the vote in any election
from now until he plays the nuclear card,
or is un-elected,
whichever comes first.

It is our place to see that his side
is out-voted every time an election of any sort,
local, state and national levels,
is held.

It is our solemn duty.

4234.  02/23/2017 — Limbs and Branches 2017 01 B&W — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 22, 2017

Human beings, and perhaps other species as well,
settle out along a continuum
between the Hard-hearted
and the Tender-hearted.Life is lived along that line.
We take our direction,
our motivation,
our purpose,
our intention
our way
and our means of achieving our way,
from our inner orientation
toward Hard-heartedness
or Tender-heartedness.It is a genetic disposition
like the color of our eyes,
or the shape of our nose.
And it impacts everything we do,
and much of what is done to us.
Our place is to make conscious
what is unconscious,
and govern its expression
toward the good of the situation–
with as much awareness
as we are capable of mustering,
striving always to live with benevolence
and not malevolence.

May it be so with us all,
and all we encounter,
directly or indirectly,
throughout our life.

4235.  02/23/2017 — Black-eyed Junco 2017 04 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, November 7, 2017

HOW TO SPEAK REPUBLICAN 03
(These posts are inspired by, and grounded in, George Lakoff’s book, “Don’t Think Of An Elephant.” A PDF version is available to be read for free online. Googleit.)

When a Republican asks you,
“Do you want to be poor,
or do you want to be rich,”
they are fully expecting you to say “Rich,”
of course,
because More Money
is all Republicans live for,
hope for,
believe in,
and understand.
Their base assumption
is that everybody wants to be rich
just like they do.
So when they ask you the question
that is at the heart
of all they think and do,
smile at them and say,
“What I want is to be free of greed,
and free from its impact,
for myself and all of my people.”
Then wink at him, or her.
And if they ask you
who your people are,
tell them,
“Everyone who is not like you.”
If they want to push you
on the subject of being rich
beyond imagining
(Which is THE Republican dream)
quote Jesus to them:
“The love of money is the root
of evil.”
If they come back with anything
on the order of “Yeah, but…”
Tell them,
“You can spit on Jesus if you want to, but.
I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
And thank them for their time
and walk away.

George Lakoff presents a number
of Republican positions and statements,
and offers alternative responses
that reflect the frame of the values
of freedom and life
in his book “Don’t Think of An Elephant.”
The quicker we start reading the book,
the better for us all.

02/24/2017 — What Republicans don’t understand
would dwarf the information
stored in the Library of Congress.

One of those things is that you cannot
make money in a toxic atmosphere.
Even the money Putin is making
depends upon markets
that are freer than his own are.

Another is that when you
take away peoples’ freedom
and their rights to their own life,
you destroy their spirit
and rob them of the ability
to follow and express
their soul’s own joy
in the world.

Another is that when soulless people
have power over all people,
all people become soulless,
and the world becomes a wasteland.

Another is that money
is no substitute for soul–
that you cannot have enough money
to compensate yourself
for all you do not have.

Republicans do not comprehend soul.
Republicans have no grasp of integrity.
Republicans know nothing of the way
of true human beings–
and think they can offset
their inner destitution
with outer wealth.

Republicans are the newest manifestation
of Lost, Adrift And Alone.
They are the Walking Dead
destroying the world.
02/24/2017 — If you want to know the truth,
sit quietly and know what you know.
Know what you know to be right,
and what you know to be wrong.
What you know to be good,
and what you know to be bad.
If we all did that,
we would not know the same things.
We would have different lists.
Different perceptions of good and bad,
right and wrong.
We would have different moral values.
Our moral values form our worldview:
This is how things are,
and this is how things ought to be,
and this is how things ought not be.

George Lakoff thinks we would all shake out
on a continuum between what he calls
Strict Father Morality and Nurturing Parent Morality.
Some of us would find ourselves
in the far extremes,
and the rest of us would scatter out,
or clump up,
along the bell shaped curve between the two.

It turns out that our worldview is our worldview.
We don’t choose it,
and we can’t change it.
How we see things is how we see things.
What we know is right and wrong
is what we know is right and wrong.
The idea of free will is not in play here
(Or very many places–
we may be able to freely choose from the buffet line,
but we can’t choose to eat or not eat without dying).

So progressives are progressives
and conservatives are conservatives,
and those in between
are what Lakoff calls “biconceptuals,”
who use both moral worldviews,
each in different situations,
and they are who they are.

And we all have to get along.
It helps to know that none of us
can help being who we are.
We can all be stupid from the others’
point of view.
And we have to work together
to keep things from going to hell.

One thing that this means
is that that the people in power,
in whatever setting,
have to be of good faith,
and not abuse their power–
and there have to be checks and balances
in place to prevent the abuse of power
during the times when good faith fails.

Honoring the importance of the Rule of Law
that everyone must obey,
and of the crucial place of checks and balances
in moderating the damage that can be done
by the group in power,
are the two sacred principles of governance
upon which the good of the whole rests.
When those principles are desecrated
it is the Abomination of Desolation,
and chaos reins.

4236.  02/24/2017 — Lake Haigler 2016 33 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, November 17, 2016

Our best interest is tied to the best interest of the whole.
We serve our base good when we serve the good of the whole.
We are one at the base—
at the level of the heart—
at the level of compassion and grace.
George Lakoff suggests that liberals and conservatives
may settle out over the question:
“If your baby cries at night, do you pick him or her up?”If my baby cries at night, I find her pacifier.
If that doesn’t work I check her diaper.
Then I pick her up—
and walk her, rock her, sing to her,
try to comfort her
and figure out what is wrong.

Something isn’t working like it should.
What needs to be done about it?
My wife and I confer.
It this has happened before,
if it happens often,
we’ll try what we have done in the past.
If not, we’ll go through our choices.
We may have to call in the experts,
grandparents,
physicians,
Web MD…
but we will find what works to calm the baby.
We do not approach the baby with a,
“I see what’s wrong with you—
all you need is a good _____.”
I don’t know if that makes us liberals or conservatives, but.
That’s how we would do it.
We would get to the bottom of what’s wrong.

The baby is telling us something is wrong,
and we are there to figure out what
and what to do about it.

This is a model for life in general.
If something isn’t working as it should,
there is a problem.
What is it?
What’s to be done about it?

Time spent mindfully with a baby
will tell you a good bit about
what the baby is saying when she/he cries.
Babies cry differently with different situations.
We learn to read the baby’s crying tone,
volume,
space between breaths, etc.
We see, hear, understand the baby
and know what’s what, maybe.

We learn to read life situations—
to be mindfully aware of the moment of our living—
to see what’s happening
and what needs to happen in response.
We bring empathy and compassion to bear on the situation,
sit with it,
listen to it,
see what occurs to us
and act in response to that.
It is the approach we take to all of life.

4237.  02/24/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 40 — Union County, Waxhaw, North Carolina, November 20, 2016

HOW TO SPEAK REPUBLICAN 04
(These posts are inspired by, and grounded in, George Lakoff’s book, “Don’t Think Of An Elephant.”  A PDF version is available to be read for free online. Googleit.)

We have to learn to speak Republican,
not to speak to Republicans–
who are insulated in their own
view of reality,
and beyond the reach
of rational discourse–
but to explain what Republicans are saying
to Democrats–
so they might respond better
to conservatives–

and to those who transcend both groups,
and comprise the pivot point,
swinging every election
by the strength of their vote,
or by their failure/refusal to vote at all.

This is the group we have to talk to.
They are the “biconceptuals”–
George Lakoff’s term
for those who use both models,
conservative and progressive
(his “strict father” and “nurturing parent” models),
in different areas of their life.

As we talk with them,
we find where they are nurturing
aspects of their life,
and help them link those interests
with political issues–
and show them how Republican policies and positions
erode their ability to nurture those areas.

In doing so, we provide them with a foundation
for voting with awareness and understanding,
and living the kind of life
it is important to them to live.

And we all win–
even Republicans,
though it will take a while
for them to recognize it.

4238.  02/25/2017 — Red-breasted Nuthatch 2017 02 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 24, 2017
Republicans think money is the solution
to all of their problems ever.
Never mind the problems it creates
for everyone else.Republicans think money is IT.
And that if they disappear
the restrictions the government
has placed on profit-making
and profiteering
and unethical business practices
and the requirements placed on industry
regarding industrial waste,
clean air and water,
endangered species,
and so on and so forth and etc. etc. etc…
the way would be clear
for boundless economic growth
and Profit At Any Price forever.
It’s the Republican dream.
“Fortune and Glory, kid. Fortune and Glory.”The entire Republican House of Cards
is based upon the assumption
of unlimited natural resources forever.
Of course, there will always be air to breathe
and water to drink.
If we run out, we will just buy more.

Republicans are like coal mine owners,
who hear that the canaries are dying,
and respond with,
“With all the money we’re making,
we can afford to buy all the canaries we want!
Keep up the good work, fellows!”

Who cares if this world becomes
a toxic wasteland?
We will soon have enough money
to buy all the worlds we want!

02/25/2017 — Republicans think if they run out of clean air to breathe,
they will make more air.
If they run out of clean water to drink
they will make more water.

They don’t know we cannot make air or water.
We have to take care of it.
Taking care of anything is beyond
Republicans’ conception.
Caring is something Republicans
cannot do.

02/25/2017 — Of course, Republicans care about
the things that matter to them:
home, family, security, success, wealth…
It is a long list.
Take them out of the picture,
and the list of things they care about
shrinks to the microscopic level.
Congressional Republicans do not
sponsor or support bills
serving, or protecting, the poor.
Or protecting and establishing
public lands.
Or reducing the interest on college loans.
Or…the list is long.
Helping someone else
is not the Republican way.
Compassion is not a Republican value.
And their emphasis on “family values”
doesn’t mean what you think it means.
“Family values” means
“We value the way families are supposed to be:
The man provides,
the woman appreciates,
the children obey.”
Gay families are not valued,
and do not count.
Start asking Republicans
how they exhibit their caring, compassion and concern
for people not like them–
how would people not like
the Republican idea of how people ought to be
know that Republicans cared for them.
See how long the list is.

02/25/2017 — How’s it coming with the
Mindfulness Meditation?
With the practice
of mindful awareness?

It is the most important thing.

Mindful, compassionate awareness
of all that is in the moment with you–
without judgment or opinion–
simply being aware of it
and holding everything
in your awareness,
is the foundation for right action.

We cannot think our way
to making the right response
to our situation.
The right response arises
spontaneously out of our mindful awareness
of the situation
in its just as it is-ness,
in its such as it is-ness.

Mindful awareness grounds us
in our identity,
in our values,
and in the moment of our living,
enabling us to be who we are
here and now,
and to do what needs to be done
out of the gifts that are ours
to bring forth
as a blessing and a grace
upon all of life.

How’s it coming with the practice
of mindful awareness?

4239.  02/25/2017 — Yellow-rumped Warbler 2017 01 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 25, 2017 — These birds live in the Pacific Northwest and northwestern Canada during our spring and summer, and spend winter over most of the U.S. They are on their way back home, and stopped by the Glen to refuel for the journey. I had never seen them, and was glad to play host for a while.

We think our life,
and the time we have been given,
are ours to do with as we please.
“It’s MY life!
And I will do what I want to with it!”
If we haven’t said that, or thought it,
we have probably heard it said.
It is a common misconception.We have a life
that only we can live–
that is sized to fit us perfectly,
but it is the rarely the one
we have in mind.
And we go down a lot of roads
thinking maybe this is it,
when what is needed
is to sit quietly
and see what occurs to us.

Of course, we will discount it.
No problem.
It keeps coming back.
And when we finally take it up,
we discover that what is ours to do
is what we have been doing all along,
only “on the side,”
“as a pastime,”
“just to keep ourselves entertained,”
while busying ourselves
with the life we thought up for ourselves.
The one we may not like at all.

The task comes to us all
in the big fat middle of the life we are living,
to come to our senses
and find the life that is just right for us,
even now,
even yet,
even so.

We do it by sitting quietly
and seeing what Holy Nudge
comes to us out of the dim regions
of consciousness,
flirting with us,
winking at us,
wondering if we will
come out to play.

I hope we do–
don’t you?

4240.  02/26/2017 — Tufted Titmouse 2017 04 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 15, 2017

Let’s start with Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son (Googleit),
and use it as the unshakeable foundation
for grilling Republicans and Right-wing Christians
(including white supremacists)
about their claim to be Christians while being uncaring.Can you imagine the prodigal doing anything
that would cause the father to say,
“You are no son of mine!
Get far away from me–and stay there!
I don’t want to ever see you,
or hear from you again!”?What if the son had told his father,
“While I was gone I married a Muslim”?
Would that do it, do you think?
“What if he had added,
“And he’s a man”?
Would that have pushed the father over the edge?
What if he had said,
“I converted to Islam”?
Or,
“I became a Democrat Activist”?
Or,
“I got a girl pregnant and she had an abortion”?
And,
“I want to bring her here and marry her”?
Or,
“I want to use your farm here as a refuge for immigrants”?
You get the idea.
What would be the father’s tipping point?
Where would the son go that the father wouldn’t follow him?

The point of the parable
is that nowhere is a place too far
for the father’s love to go.
Republicans do not understand that.
If children are disobedient
they have to be punished.
Love has to be “tough,”
for it to count with Republicans.
They justify their refusal to fund
social programs
and to help those who need assistance,
by telling themselves
if the people who need help
had been working hard and doing right
they would be self-reliant
and on their way to being wealthy.
Jesus stands in their way,
and they spit on Jesus
like the Romans did
before crucifying him.

You cannot be a Christian
without caring for all people
like the father cared for his son.
“Who do you care for that isn’t like you?”
Ask them that.
It’s the true test of one’s Christianity.

02/26/2017 — Republican family values
are as far from the way of Jesus
as it is possible to be.
They are a complete repudiation
of everything Jesus stood for, said and did.

“The father provides,
the mother appreciates,
the children obey.”
And when that is done
the family prospers and thrives.
When it is not done,
the family withers and shrivels.
The Haves are separated from the Havenots
by virtue of their adherence
to the family ideal of the Party.
Where there is variance from the ideal,
there is ruin,
as can be seen on every hand
throughout society.

Jesus was not one to separate
the Haves from the Havenots.
The early church was a place
where those who had
shared with those who did not,
and all were one
in their compassion for each other.

Jesus was revered as one
who “tore down the dividing walls,”
so that there were no divisions,
no “Us” and “Them,”
no slaves and free,
no male and female,
no rich and poor,
no Greeks and non-Greeks…
It was “all for one and one for all”
everywhere you looked.

“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.”

There is nothing in Republican family values
about loving our neighbor as we love ourselves,
or loving our enemies,
or being kind and compassionate to all people,
or doing unto others as we would have them
do unto us.

Not. One. Word.

02/26/2017 — Every Republican policy position is wrong.
Take that as your starting point,
and inquire into everything they proclaim to be good:
Good For Whom?
Who says so?
What are the full implications
of the good you proclaim to be good?
Let’s look at what ALL your “good” means for ALL people!

The more you dig into Republican policies and principles
the less good they become.

Right To Work laws sound good, but.
They are anti-Union laws,
and amount to
Enslavement to Corporations laws.

Tort reform,
which would limit lawsuits and cap amounts to be awarded
sounds good–
no one likes the idea of “frivolous lawsuits, but.
Tort reform does away with trial by jury,
and judges decide suits behind closed doors,
and corporations win even if they lose
because the awards are capped far below
what corporations can easily pay
(less than they would have to pay their lawyers
in a trial by jury case).

Reducing taxes always sounds like a good idea,
except it is generally about
taxes on the wealthy,
who wonder “Why should WE pay
for someone else’s goods and services?”
and even when everyone is given
a tax reduction (which rarely happens)
the protections, goods and services
which taxes pay for dry up.

Republicans say, “Let the government give you
a larger refund, and YOU decide how to spend it!” but.
The cost of expanding and maintaining infrastructure,
bridges, roads, tunnels, public parks and lands, etc.,
is far beyond the capacity of individual citizens to pay for,
and suffers from the reduction of tax-supported funds.

As government fails to provide
protections, goods and services
(including the internet)
our freedom is reduced
and our ability to enjoy life is diminished.
Republican wins are everyone else’s losses.
02/26/2017 — There is a Republican fallacy
for every Republican belief.
The core Republican belief
is that the higher your standard of living is,
the greater your quality of life is.
Or, as they like to say,
“There is nothing wrong with you
that having more money won’t fix!”
Quick now,
can anyone make a case
for Donald Trump being a happy man?
Show of hands?
Somebody?
Anybody?
There you are.
We have to look no farther
than the King
to see the paucity of wealth.
Yet, Republicans tout wealth
as the great cure-all
for every ailment.
It’s a lie.
Thinking about wealth
keeps Republicans from thinking about
the changes they need to make
to have a life worth living.
Change???
Did someone say “Change”???
Anathema!
Blasphemy!
Sacrilege!
Abomination!
Abhorrent!
Detestable!
Begone, thou shameless truth-sayer–
into the distant wilderness,
never to return!

02/26/2017 — We have to get our feet under us,
and we have to stand on them.
That’s basic self-care.
Nobody can do this for us.
It’s called standing alone.
When we refuse to stand alone,
it crumbles–
“it” being the structure
that holds things together.
Our part is standing on our own two feet,
and directing our steps
toward a life that pays the bills
and contributes to the good of the whole.
We depend on each other
to do that.
And we depend on the government
to provide a safety net
for those who cannot do that,
for whatever reason.
Call it, say, Social Services.
Pay for it from the tax pool
that pays for the protections, goods and services
which “promote the general welfare
and provides for the common defense”
of We the People
who help one another
through the taxes that can either be seen
as dues that go to support–
or as an investment in–
the quality of life in this country now and in the future.
This is basic Civics 101.
Anybody who opposes it on any grounds
is evil, mean, or crazy,
or a combination of the three.
02/26/2017 — Trump’s going to build a wall
to make the country safe.
How’s that going to make
Muslims safe?
Hows that going to make
Jews safe?
How is Trump’s Wall
going to protect us
from the hate groups
Trump encourages?
How is Trump’s Wall
going to protect us
from Trump?
Who is the Wall going to make safe?
Who is the Wall going to protect against?
Radical Islamic terrorists?
What will protect us from the NRA?
The NRA is responsible for more deaths
inside U.S. borders
than Radical Islamic terrorists.
Why not build a Wall
around the NRA?
What makes Trump think
we will be safer with a wall
that without one?
He just made it up, didn’t he?
Trump makes up worlds
that he expects us to live in
and doesn’t understand
why we are not impressed.

4241.  02/27/2017 — Broad-winged Hawk 2017 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, February 25, 2017 — Through the glass, through the screen.I watched this hawk catch, kill and eat a snake between 1 and 2 feet long, then fly up to this perch to watch for another one. If you are not being eaten, you are likely looking to eat. Nature’s way.

States are likely to be allowed to determine
Transgender bathroom rights,
but states were prevented from determining
the bathroom rights of black people,
and they are likely to be refused to determine
the right of anyone to smoke marijuana.Republicans are weird on this government interference
into our life position.

They hate restrictions,
no, they love restrictions,
no, they hate restrictions…
All they seem to be sure of
is wanting the power of God
over our lives–
which means wanting us
to obey them at all times,
no matter what,
and no questions ever asked.

4242.  02/27/2017 — Round-lobed Hepatica 2017 01 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, February 27, 2017

When we live from the core–
from the bedrock values and identity
that define us and set us apart
from every other person ever–
we are secure in ourselves
regardless of how vulnerable we are.Nothing can separate us
from the foundation stone.
We are one with who we are
and what matters most to us.
They can do everything to us
but they cannot touch us.
We are grounded in the truth
of our own soul,
and have nothing to fear.In this, we are Jesus in Gethsemane
and the Buddha under the Bodi Tree.
Ulysses on his raft,
and Rosa Parks in the front of the bus.
Let them come.

4243.  02/28/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 42 — Union County, Waxhaw, North Carolina, November 20, 2016

(These posts are inspired by, and grounded in, George Lakoff’s book, “Don’t Think Of An Elephant.” A PDF version is available to be read for free online. Googleit)

Republicans think children are immoral
for not having good-enough parents.
It is absurd, I know, but.
They hold children accountable,
when they do not hold themselves accountable–
or those who promise
to “protect, preserve and defend
the Constitution of the United States.”
It clearly falls upon We The People
to hold Republicans accountable
when they will not do so themselves.Here is their reasoning for holding
children to be immoral
for not having good-enough parents:

George Lakoff says, talking about
the Moral Strength metaphor
which is the foundation
of Republican ideology/philosophy/mentality,
“We all start out morally weak,
that is, with an overwhelming tendency
to do immoral things.
Unless our parents intervene
to discipline us,
we will naturally become immoral.”

“(This is) a view of children,” says Lakoff,
“not as naturally good but as naturally
tending toward evil unless some strong
corrective action is taken.”
They must have the right kind of parents,
or they will become immoral.

Children without the right kind of parents–
particularly the right kind of father–
will not develop the self-discipline
required to be their own authority,
and to have the moral strength
to have, in Larkoff’s words,
“the moral fiber or backbone to resist evil.”

Larkoff says, “A morally weak person
is likely to fall, to give in to evil,
to preform immoral acts,
and thus to become part
of the forces of evil.
Moral weakness is thus nascent immorality,
immorality waiting to happen.”

All because we do not have
the right kind of parents–
particularly the right kind of father.

Immorality is evil, and, as Larkoff says,
“You do not empathize with evil,
nor do you accord evil some truth of its own.
You just fight it.”

Larkoff continues:
“Anything that promotes moral weakness is immoral.
If welfare is seen as taking away
the incentive to work and thus promoting sloth,
then according to the metaphor of Moral Strength,
welfare is immoral.”

And, as with welfare, so with all social programs.
Helping students with college loans is immoral
because it encourages a lack
of self-discipline and self-reliance.

If your parents are not upright
and upstanding Republicans,
Republicans will have nothing
to do with you.
You will be shunned,
ostracized, ignored, despised, avoided.
You will be Unclean
and completely disregarded.

02/28/2017 — We need to stop thinking
of Republicans as a political party,
and start thinking of them
as a religious cult.

Their ideology is more properly
theology,
their beliefs are creeds,
their lives are devoted to their cause
their wealth is proof
that they are right.

Their zeal is certainly religious,
and the manner in which they oppose Islam
is religious persecution.
They have their High Priests
and their loyal followers,
and their mutual commitment
to the Way of Truth Everlasting.

In Republicans,
church and state have become indistinguishable.

4241.  02/28/2017 — Trout Lily 2017 02 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, February 27, 2017

On one hand,
there is the Buddha,
born to a life of luxury and privilege,
unable to bear the pain of the idea of pain
and suffering,
and spent his life figuring out an elaborate
escape system
that taught converts and believers
to disengage themselves
from “the world of illusion”
in seeking the bliss of contemplating bliss.
On another hand,
there is “the crippled Roman slave Epictetus
who said, “I have nothing–
but earth and sky and one poor cloak,
yet, what do I lack?
I am untouched by sorrow and fear.
Am I not free?”On another hand,
there is Seneca,
saying, “Not what you bear,
but how you bear it,
is what counts.”

We all must find our own way
of squaring ourselves up
with the reality of how things are
and what we can do about it.
We have to place ourselves
in some relationship
with the facts that limit us
and the crosses that must be borne.

Which gets us to Jesus,
“Let today’s trouble be enough for today.
Tomorrow will have troubles of its own.”
And Epictetus’ reply,
“There are no troubles that aren’t made
better or worse by the way we respond
to them” (Or words to that effect).

4245.  03/01/2017 — Goodale 2016 07 Panorama — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 7, 2016

Read my last post
about the Buddha
and suffering
from the standpoint of seeking
the bliss of safety and security
instead of seeking to escape suffering.
It’s the two sides of the same coin
Suffering exists because safety and security do not.
Trump building his wall
Is the Buddha seeking and end to suffering.
They are working on the same problem
from different sides.
Epictetus calls them both out,
as does Jesus,
with their chorus of “Pick UP Your Cross,
Stop Whining About How Hard Life Is,
And Get Busy Doing What Needs You To Do It!”The only bomb proof place,
where even hydrogen bombs are nothing,
is Eliot’s “still point of the turning world.”
Is the Taoist/Zen understanding
of “the face that was yours before you were born.”
Is the bedrock,
the foundation stone,
of our own personal,
individual,
unique,
AND universally common and the same,
values and identity–
the qualities of heart and soul
that make us US,
make us one with humanity,
one with all things.We cannot be one
if we are not one with ourselves.
Integrity is the price
of integration and wholeness,
oneness and unity.
When we are at that place,
we touch everything/everybody,
and everything/everybody touches us–
and we are untouchable
to all that fear of suffering
and that neurotic attachment
to safety and security.

The only people who are safe and secure,
are the people who don’t need it
to be who they are.

4246.  03/01/2017 — Goldfinch 2017 03 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 27, 2017

What the Republicans, CEOs, and Business Czars
don’t understand
with their Profit At Any Price fixation,
is that when the Standard of Living
(Read: Stock Market)
goes UP,
the Quality of Life
(Read: Health and Peace of Mind)
goes DOWN.It’s a rule.
It ought to have a name.
If it doesn’t, we could call it
Dollar’s Law.
After a certain point in level of income,
Wealth and Happiness vary
in inverse proportion to each other.
That point is not fixed,
and depends upon a number of factors–
“intangibles,” such as pain threshold
and personal values.
More money is not the solution
to all of our problems today or any day.
If money would do it,
goes the old saying,
you don’t have problems,
you have expenses.A shift in orientation and attitude
is that solution.
“Anything can happen if you let it,”
is Mary Poppins wisdom,
but it means,
“You can be as peaceful and content
(happy) as you allow yourself to be.”

4247.  03/02/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 43 — Twelve Mile Creek, Union County, Waxhaw, North Carolina, November 20, 2016

A place that is inclusive, open-minded
and home for our soul
will ask hard things of us.
This is not an easy place to be.
It will require us to bear the pain
of the realization of our opposites–
of our contradictions–
of our ambivalence,
and the conflicts that run
through the center of our Self.We are divided at the core,
and must bear consciously the pain
of our inner divisions.
There is the way we are
and the way we also are–
and that is the way we ARE!
The truth is a two-edged sword.
We have to walk two paths
at the same time–
consciously, with full awareness,
mindful of the other path
while we are on the one we are on.
Both paths are truly who we ARE!We are capable of being
exactly what the situation needs us to be.
We can rise to any occasion.
We can do what needs us to do it
like this, and like that,
doing it one way here/now,
and another way then/there.
We can be gentle as a lamb,
and hard as a rock.
We can be the best woman
we are capable of being,
and the best man
we are capable of being.
And we must be mindfully aware
of when our woman is being called forth,
and when our man has to answer the bell.

The situation determines
who and how we will be
in each situation as it arises,
as we offer what is appropriate
to that situation,
from among the roles
we are capable of playing
for the good of the moment,
for the good of the whole.

And we do not THINK any of this out!
We see, hear, understand and KNOW
what is called for–
and present that as our votive offering
to the here and now, when and where we are.

It cost Jesus his life.
Isn’t that the way it is though!
Being true to ourselves
and the time and place of our living
means self-surrender
and self-sacrifice
every time.
We are all Jesus in Gethsemane
all of the time.
And have to know it–
and bear consciously the pain of knowing it,
in doing what needs to be done
and needs us to do it–
whether we want to or not,
whether we feel like it or not,
whether we are in the mood for it or not,
regardless of the implications for us,
because we are here to serve
the good of the whole,
the good of the moment,
with all our heart, and soul, and mind, and body–
with the divisions and contradictions
that make it all possible.
That make life possible.
In each moment,
we die the death
that makes life possible
in that moment.
And, oh, look–
here comes the next one.

03/02/2017 — The Trump administration’s characteristic ploy
is to deny, deny, deny–
to dismiss, disregard, discount, ignore–
and to discredit reliable evidence
of all the administration
does not want to be acknowledged
because such acknowledgement
would prevent the implementation
of ways and means
to ends the administration
deems to be desirable.
Those ends clearly justify
any and all means necessary
to their realization.
Trump’s clear position is,
as it has always been,
“Damn the Constitution!
Full speed ahead!”
03/02/2017 — Mindfulness is a matter
of knowing what is so–
and what is also so.
Of knowing ALL that is so.
Mindfulness knows truth
in all of its contradictory manifestations.
The culture,
perhaps all cultures,
would have us deny, suppress, ignore
all that contradicts
the way things are “supposed to be”
in the culture.
We ignore Daddy’s drinking
because daddies are not supposed to be drunks.
Daddy doesn’t drink.
Daddy takes medicine for his back.
Etc. across the board,
around the circle.
Things are not the way they are
because nothing can be
what it is not supposed to be.
But.
Mindfulness sees all.
So, we refuse to be mindful.
Because “we can’t handle the truth.”
If the truth were known,
things would change.
Dramatically.
And we prefer the pretense
to unknown possibilities.
What if saying Daddy is a drunk
makes things worse than they are?
The fear of things becoming worse
keeps things at a barely tolerable level
of pain and misery
that we call being alive.
It is pretending to be alive,
but it is being mostly dead,
while we wait for the real thing
to relieve us of our burden.
Or,
we could take our chances
with mindful awareness
and see where it goes.

4248.  03/03/2017 — Trout Lily 2017 09 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, February 27, 2017No one can stop drinking for you.
Not even AA.
You are the one who is drinking.
You are the one who has to stop.
You are the one.
Your life is your responsibility.
If your life sucks,
You are the one to do something about that.
“What can I do?”
Stop asking, “What can I do?”
as though it gives you an excuse
for doing nothing.
Stop doing the things you are doing
that contribute to and sustain
the suckiness of your life.
And start doing the things
that will lead you out of
the land of suckiness
to freedom and responsibility.
Your life sucks
because you aren’t assuming
any responsibility
for the state of your life.
“What can I do?”
has you where you are.
What you do about it
is up to you.
“But what can I do?”
Stop asking the question
and start doing the things
that need to be done.
The first thing is stop drinking.
AA can help with that.
And if you are not drinking
but are smoking pot,
popping pills
or shooting up,
these are other forms of drinking.
“But my life is so hard!”
You’re making it harder
by the way you are responding
to it being hard.
Stop it.
Now

03/03/2017 — The fundamental spiritual law is this:
You have to get your feet under you,
and stand on them.
Standing on our own two feet
is the first step
in developing our own spirituality.
We don’t have to believe any doctrines,
or dogma,
or creeds,
or theology.
We only have to believe in ourselves.
Anybody who tries to separate
us from ourselves,
telling us to destroy our ego,
for example,
which means allowing them
to tell us what to do,
which means not trusting
our own sense
of what is right and wrong for us,
which means becoming
someone else’s automaton,
someone else’s disciple,
someone else’s slave,
is leading you away from yourself.
Where does thinking for yourself come in?
They will tell you
that you got where you are
by thinking for yourself.
I will tell you
you got where you are by NOT
thinking for yourself–
by not being mindfully aware of yourself thinking.

The people who tell you
to get rid of your ego
are talking to whom exactly?
There is only our conscious self,
which we call “ego,”
and our unconscious self,
which some call “psyche,”
and some call “soul.”
“Fred” and “Maybelle” work, too.
Our conscious ego is all there is
to get us through the world,
dressed, employed, and ordering lunch.
Who gets rid of ego except ego?
When we say,
“I have to get rid of my ego,”
who is the “I” who is talking?
Who is the “I” who is exterminating your ego?
We have a conscious “I”
and an unconscious “I.”
Your unconscious “I” can’t begin
to fill out your income tax forms.
Your ego can become a better partner
with your unconscious self,
but you can’t get rid of your ego.
We need our ego for lots of important stuff.

Back to standing on our own two feet
and being mindfully aware of what is happening
on all levels that we can apprehend
and what needs to be done in response.
That’s our role
as conscious egos–
seeing, hearing, understanding, knowing, doing and being.
Our spirituality comes to life
as we take up the work
of being who we are,
where we are,
when we are,
how we are,
no matter what.
That is our spiritual work.
We cannot be spiritual apart
from doing the work that is ours to do.
It is doing the work
of being who we are, etc.
that makes us spiritual–
not believing somebody’s idea
of the right set of right beliefs.

Listen to me when I say
Don’t Listen To Me!
Listen to yourself–
be mindfully aware of yourself–
trust yourself to yourself.
All your “mistakes”
will lead you to a better idea
of how to live your life
if you keep listening to yourself.

4249.  03/03/2017 — Oconee Bells 2017 01 — Undisclosed Location, North Carolina, March 03, 2017

Getting our feet under us
means squaring ourselves up
with how it is with us
in the time and place of our living.
It is taking stock,
in a mindfully aware manner–
seeing, hearing, understanding and knowing
how things are,
within and without,
internally and externally.
It is assessing the Gestalt accurately
and non-judgmentally,
in a “This is the way it is,
now what?” kind of way
that sizes the situation up,
sees what is happening
and what needs to happen in response,
determines what we can do about it,
and does it.
If we are depressed,
angry,
frustrated,
sad,
joyful,
glad,
happy,
we take that into account,
and hold it in our awareness
along with everything else,
and decide what action
would be appropriate to the occasion,
and act.
In each situation as it arises.
All our life long.

4250.  02/04/2017 — Trout Lily 2017 07 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, February 27, 2017

The Adamant is a legendary substance
impervious and invulnerable.
It is used in describing both truth
and the hardheartedness of those
resisting and denying truth–
a quality of the Unmoved
before the Mover,
of the Mover
moving and protecting the Moved.It is the lightening bolt of the Mover
penetrating everything,
and the impenetrable denseness
of the Unmoved,
withstanding everything.Truth meets its match in the denial of truth.
Nothing can be done for those
who deny all evidence contrary
to their preferred narrative–
who reject everything real, actual, tangible, factual, certain
and undeniably so.

Jesus advised,
“Leave the dead to bury the dead,”
and,
“If they ask you to leave, go.”

When it becomes apparent
that we are saying things
that cannot be heard,
we have to look for those
who can hear what we have to say.
Time is short,
we can’t be throwing it away.

4251.  03/05/2017 — Bloodroot 2017 01 — UNCC Botanical Gardens, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 3, 2017

Our work is to be who we are
in ways appropriate to the occasion
on every occasion.
Single. Occasion.
To be who we are
in ways appropriate to the moment
in every moment.
Every. Single. Moment.
To never be “out of character.”
To live in ways that are true
to our essential/core self
all of the time.In order to do this,
we have to be clear about
who we are
and who we are not.
In order to be clear about
who we are,We have to pay attention.
We have to be mindfully aware
of our internal reaction
to every life experience,
and of where that comes from.
We can live out of the center
of ourselves,
from the core of who we are–
and we can live out of
the complex of the moment–
the matrix of memories,
experiences,
emotional wounds,
bruises,
and trauma
clustered around
trigger events, people, animals or objects
here with us in this moment.

Our work involves separating our response
to the moment
from our complexes
and living out of the central Gestalt
of our identity–
out of what is deepest, truest and best
about us.
We have to reclaim ourselves,
restore our connection with our soul,
live with our heart in what we are doing
and how we do it,
BE who we are,
offering the gifts that are ours to give
in ways appropriate to the occasion,
on every occasion.

4252.  03/05/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 46 — Union County, Waxhaw, North Carolina, November 20, 2016

The adamantean truth of who we are–
or our central/core identity,
of the values and qualities
at the ground of our being,
that cannot be impacted,
changed,
or disappeared
by any circumstance
or situation of life–
is what we are here
to recognize about/within ourselves
and bring forth
in the way we live our life
within the life we are living.You will recall from my post on The Adamant
that we can be immovable
and unassailable
from the standpoint of our
affinity/oneness with the truth
at the core of who we are,
OR from the standpoint
of our affinity/oneness
with a false/pseudo truth
that we embrace,
rejecting all entreaties
to wake up,
turn around,
open our eyes
and know the truth
of what we call “the truth.””Is it real or is it Memorex?”
Will the Real Truth stand up and wave?
How true is the truth we call truth?
Everything hinges on our being right
in our assessment of truth and falsehood.
How can we be sure?
Jesus puts it all on us with his,
“Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?”
And his declaration to the man working on the Sabbath:
“You are blessed if you know what you are doing,
but if you do not know,
you are accursed and a transgressor of the Law!”

How do we know what we are doing?
There is no formula.
No certainty.
No guarantees.
“It is a slippery slope we are on!”
We have to walk it
knowing that we do not know for sure
what we are doing,
but having the courage to trust ourselves
to our best sense of what is so and not so,
believing in our ability to intuit
good from bad, right from wrong, yes from no
in each situation as it arises,
following our instinct and intuition–
and let nature take its course.

03/05/2017 — Trump is the Grand Master
of wild geese,
Red Herrings,
and smokescreens.
When the heat gets too high,
Trump deflects unwanted attention
regarding things like his Russian connections,
to the tried-and-true
(read: tired and trite)
covers, hoaxes, and subterfuges
of his past.

“Obama planted wiretaps everywhere!”
“Obama is undermining everything I do!”
“Obama is bad, terrible, rotten to the core!”
“Obama is up to no good!”
“Save me from Obama! Somebody! Anybody!”
“Obama is a space alien and I have video evidence to prove it!”
And on, and on, like that…

And after making a charge and a claim,
he announces,
“There will be no further discussion of the matter,
but we know what is going on.”

And gets by with it
because the Senate is not going to
designate a special prosecutor
to get to the bottom
of any Trump-related matter.
But, they may investigate Hillary’s emails again,
just for good measure.
Anything to take the heat off
Don-O.

03/05/2017 — Live like you work in an emergency room.

Who comes in the door
gets the same treatment
anyone gets who comes in the door.
YOU don’t matter in an emergency room.
Your situation gets top billing.
The people who work there
work there to treat needs
with the utmost professionalism,
concern, competence, and expertise.
They live to have no opinion of you
beyond what they can do to help you.

Live like that.
Make it a practice.
Live like you work in an emergency room.

Do not think of people as a group–
a racial group, an economic group,
a sex or gender,
or a sex preference or gender identity group.
a religious group, a drug or alcohol group.
a tattoo group, a social group, a national group…
No Group Thinking!

When you catch yourself lobbing someone
into a group,
recognize what you are doing,
and stop it.
Do not identify people
by a group.
And, when you do,
don’t.

4253.  03/06/2017 — Virginia Bluebells 2017 01 — UNCC Botanical Gardens, Charlotte, NC, February 27, 2017Each one of us,
everyone of us,
is a conscious ego-self
and an unconscious psyche/soul-self.
The ego-self
properly lives to serve
the psyche/soul-self
in a “thy will, not mine, be done” kind of way–
but has veto power
over some inner interests
in light of the limits and restrictions
imposed by physical reality.I will not stop on the side of an interstate highway
to photograph the most strikingly photogenic barn
in all the world,
for example.Our ego-self ideally
gives physical reality
to our psyche/soul-self–
expressing, exhibiting, incarnating, making visible
the invisible side of ourselves.
We each have a gift of light,
so to speak,
to bring forth in the world of darkness–
“a gift of the spirit for the common good.”

I’m good for words
that need to be heard, read, understood,
and images
that need to be seen, felt, moved by.
You don’t want me
singing at your next wedding.

We are all good for something.
There is something about us all,
which, when engaged with it,
makes our little heart sing.

The gift is not for parlaying into profit.
We are not here to ride the gift to glory.
We are here to serve the gift
with our life–
to enjoy the gift and the giving–
and to let that be that.

03/06/2017 — Trump creates reality for nearly 40% of the U.S. registered voters. That many of us are incapable of thinking for ourselves (or refuse to do it), and will blindly and blithely where they are led by The One Who Knows All And Knows What Is Best For All.
This is significantly sickening and sobering, and is how it really is. Trump is a liar and his followers are true believers. This is the world we live in–we cannot say this often enough or protest it loudly enough. Say it aloud to someone throughout the day every day. Do not allow it to go unacknowledged, unwitnessed, uncondemned.
03/06/2017 — The Republicans are creating an atmosphere
conducive to creating more Republicans.
Republicans depend upon fear and hate
to keep them in office.
It is completely counter-intuitive
(Which means it makes no sense)
to say that keeping people poor
and incapable of helping themselves
will keep them voting for Republicans,
but it is real.

People will vote against their own self-interest
if they believe an opposite vote
would elect wickedness and evil.
They vote for people who
diminish their rights and freedom,
thinking they are voting against people who
would diminish their rights and freedoms.

Republicans do a number on their base.
They do it with right-wing talk shows
and scare-tactics of conservative “journalism,”
like Breibart News.

The people who compose the Republican base
are on the point of desperation,
and would be helped immensely
with a livable minimum wage,
and affordable health care.
But, if they were so helped,
they would not be as susceptible
to the urgency of Republican propaganda.
They would have a bit of freedom from economic fear,
and be able to reflect on something more
than how to pay the bills.

That would not be good for Republicans.
They want the poor and desperate
to stay poor and desperate.
And vote Republican.

4254.  03/07/2017 — Mourning Doves 2017 04 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 3, 2017

Republicans don’t care if they bankrupt the government,
impoverish citizens,
destroy the environment,
immobilize the world.
They do not comprehend the negative impact
of their actions.
All they can see
is the infinitely deep and wide
pool of profit resulting
from lifting sanctions and removing restrictions
from corporations and industry.
The dream of wealth beyond imagining
drives them–
and all of us with them–
off the cliff they don’t believe is there.We are left with protesting, striking,
intermittently shutting things down,
and voting them out of office in two years
and then in two more years.
In the meantime, we keep calling their lies, lies–
their idiocy, idiocy–
and calling them in their cushy government jobs
to tell them to stop the insanity,
and keeping our courage, resolve
and defiant opposition in place
for the duration.Mindful awareness
(You have watched Jon Kabat-Zinn’s You Tube videos,
haven’t you?
And you are putting his process into practice,
aren’t you?)
centers and grounds us in the bedrock
of our own identity and values,
and provides the foundation
for responding to the moment
with what the moment needs from us.
It is the adamantean tool/weapon of choice
in the service of resistance through the ages,
waiting for us to take up the practice
and become masters in the art.

4255.  03/07/2017 — Round-lobed Hepatica 2017 01 — McDowell Nature Preserve, Mecklenburg Parks & Recreation, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, March 6, 2017

Giving Republicans what they want
will kill the country,
and the world.
No taxes on the rich
(Trump already doesn’t pay any).
No restrictions or regulations on business, industry or corporations.
No law suits settled with trials by jury,
and a cap on what plaintiffs can seek.
No unions.
No public schools.
No affordable access to health care.
No freedom of speech.
No right to assembly.
No freedom of, or from, religion,
But the freedom to seek unlimited wealth by any means imaginable
will be protected on all levels of the law.
Greed has a new set of champions,
and nothing will be unscarred.

03/07/2017 — Breitbart “News” exists
because people love it,
believe in it,
and follow its lead with pure devotion.
The followers influence the leaders
by their response to being “led”–
much like the Republican members
of the Senate and House,
and the Party officials,
say what their base wants to hear.
40% of the country
is taking the remaining 60%
where they do not want to go.
Only, as they say, in America.
Go, as they say, figure.
And this is going to be the storylne
until the 60% commits to,
and carries through on,
being/staying informed
and voting in accord with
their deepest values
in every election,
great and small,
for as long as they are able
to mark a ballot.
Beginning with the next one.

4256.  03/08/2017 — Red-bellied Woodpecker 2017 02 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, March 6, 2017

I expect that most of us could use
a refuge,
a retreat,
a sanctuary,
a safe house,
secure and off-limits
to all things Trump
and the chaos of his reign.It isn’t very far away.
“It isn’t up in heaven,
nor is it beyond the sea.
It is very near.”
In our own heart and soul.
It is the solace and succor
of our psyche/soul/self
that we seek,
where we find the lodestone,
the bedrock,
of our own identity and values
that steadies us,
grounds us,
centers us,
and provides us
with the wherewithal
to stand adamant
and unmoving
in the knowledge
of who we are
and what we are about.Nothing can separate us
from the truth of our own convictions,
or threaten us
with alternative realities
and upside down worlds
where nothing is what it was
or what it ought to be.
“We are who we always have been,
and who we will be.”
That is all we need to know,
remember
and be.
Nothing can happen
to separate us from
who we always have been
and who we will be–
“though the earth give way
and the mountains fall
into the heart of the sea.”

And so the need to sit
with ourselves
and know who we are
at the core–
what we know to be
good and bad,
right and wrong,
true and false,
beautiful and abhorrent.
The ancient Greeks advised,
“Know thyself,”
and Shakespeare counseled
“To thine own self be true.”
Everything falls into place
around this.

4257.  03/08/2017 — Trout Lily 2017 10 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 7, 2017

We have to know what we know–
ALL that we know.
What we feel about what we know
is a part of what we know.
How our body is carrying the impact of what we know
is part of what we know.
How we are managing, or failing to manage,
the stress of what we know
is part of what we know.
We have to know what we know
in its Gestalt–
in the full scope of its actuality.We cannot allow what we know
to cancel out what else we know.
We cannot emphasize one aspect of our knowing
at the expense of other aspects.
We cannot allow “this”
to lead us to discount, disregard, dismiss, deny “that.”
“This” and “that” are both true,
and help us find our balance
on the “slippery slope” that is our life.The trick is to know all that we know,
without allowing anything we know
to lead us into repressing something else we know,
but to hold everything in mindful awareness
including the situation that calls for action,
and see what urgency impels us to act,
all things considered.
And do that–
using this experience
to inform our response
to the next situation that arises.
Not worrying about “being” a particular way
in every situation,
but focused only on doing what needs to be done
in all situations.

4258.  03/08/2017 — Round-lobed Hepatica 2017 08 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, North Carolina, March 7, 2017

Republicans think money–
the idea of money, of wealth and fortune–
is the highest value.
Republicans live to accrue wealth,
and want to establish a culture
in which the increase of wealth
is an infinite and everlasting possibility.
Unending wealth is the ultimate end
for Republicans.
They cannot hear a word I say.
If they could,
I would talk to them about
freedom being the end toward which
we are to live.
To be free to be who we are,
in relation to all people
who are freely pursuing being who they are–
each bound together by the mutual commitment
to the good of the whole,
restricted by the requirements of freedom
to limit our individual freedom
in service to the freedom of each individual
to express/exhibit/incarnate
their psyche/soul-self within
that is the responsibility of each
to bring forth in the life she/he is living.
No Republican has a clue
about what I just said.
Freedom for Republicans
is the freedom to make money.
That is all freedom is for.
What good is anything
that cannot make you rich?
And, it does no good to ask them,
“What does rich make you?”
They would reply, “Richer.”
There is nothing beyond being rich and richer
to desire, or seek, or be.
I have nothing to say to Republicans.

4259.  03/09/2017 — Bloodroot 2017 03 — And Arrow-leaf Ginger, UNCC Botanical Garden, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 3, 2017

What ideas are central to your heart/soul/psyche/Self?
Carry the question with you
as you go though your day
over time.This is the value ground of your life
you are exploring,The ideas at the level of your core
form “the still point of the turning world,”
and connect you as a conscious ego
to your Invisible Self at the center of your being.
We are one in the veneration
of the ideas that make us who we are.

What are the ideas that form your base?
That declare your essence?
That mold, shape and form you,
and are “the face that was yours
before you were born’?

What are the ideas that your life
revolves around?
That your life is founded upon?
That you exist to serve
as a liege-servant to his, to her, Lord?

As you identify your core-creating ideas,
you are defining your lodestone,
your bedrock,
your adamantean foundation
that is unchanging and unchangeable
through all times and circumstances.

You are unveiling YOU
for you to see, know, BE–
consciously and unreservedly–
in the time left for living.

4260.  03/09/2017 — Turkey Buzzard 2017 01 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, March 04, 2017

Our life consists of working,
eating, sleeping,
and engaging in entertaining pastimes and pleasures.
We live to pay the bills
and to look for something
to take our mind off our life.
Ours is a culture of diversion, distraction and denial–
anything to keep us from thinking about
what we think about
when we have nothing to think about.Here’s an exercise for you.
Sit still and quiet,
no music, no TV, no reading,
just sitting quietly,
and notice how long it takes
for you to begin to think
of something that you don’t want to think about,
that springs you up
to get busy with anything
to take your mind off
whatever it was.
What was it?
Think about what you don’t want
to think about.
Investigate it, explore it,
make inquiries,
get to the bottom of what’s there
and what it stirs to life in you–
note your emotional reaction.
Become intently curious about the experience.
What is it saying to you about you?
About your life?
About the life you are living
and about the life you are not living.The life we are living
is generally the life it takes to pay the bills.
But, what are we paying the bills to do?
We pay the bills to keep us alive
to do the work to pay the bills.
We are living to pay the bills,
and we think about what we would do
if we had enough money
to not have to work to pay the bills.
But then what would we do?
Entertaining pass times,
better diversions, distractions, denials–
more expensive bills,
but nothing more than we already have
in terms of a compelling reason to be alive.

We wouldn’t live to do anything
more than spend our money
in passing a good time.
We would still be missing
a ruling, consuming, over-riding, overruling passion–
a divine compulsion,
a holy obligation,
a reason to live.
We have what remains
of the time left for living
to find something worth
every second we have to give it.

What did you do as a child
that so absorbed your attention
that you didn’t know where you were
or how long you had been there?
How might you translate that
into an adult pursuit?
What would do to lose yourself
in what you were doing?
How often do you do that?
Everything vital and valuable
flows from a life worth living.
You have from now to the end of it
to find it
and live it.

Finding it and living it
is the essence of good religion.
Bad religion is a poor substitute
for not having looked for it,
or having failed to risk ourselves to it.
Our place is to live while the light lasts–
not letting what we haven’t done
keep us from doing what is yet to be done,
while the light lasts.

02/09/2017 — Trials and ordeals, Kid,
trials and ordeals.
That’s the category in which Trump
is to be classified.
Trials and ordeals.

There is nothing to make this better.
Nothing to take the anguish and agony away.
Nothing to do but protest, remonstrate,
demonstrate, resist, denounce, repudiate,
malign and condemn.

And there are people who think
we will grow tired of the task
and shift into
complacency, apathy, lethargy and depression.

I say we are up for it,
and aren’t going away.
We’ll return the Trumpster
trial for trial,
ordeal for ordeal.
We will be to him as he is to us.
Nightmare,
meet
Nightmare.

4261.  03/10/2017 — Yellow-rumped Warbler 2017 04 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, February 26, 2017

What I need from you
is the truth–
about you.
Where are you afraid to go?
What are you afraid to see?
To hear?
To know?
What are you hiding from?
Denying?
Dismissing?
Disregarding?
Ignoring?
Sit with all of that.
See what it has to show you.
Hear what it has to say.
Bear the pain.
When you come through,
knowing the full truth
of you,
you will be exactly
who we all need you to be,
and be better equipped
to do our own knowing
of ourselves.
Everything depends
on our being
completely transparent
to ourselves.
Until then,
we need each other
to hide from ourselves,
and it is all
a clandestine conspiracy
of mutual self-deception.

4262.  03/10/2017 — Peach Blossoms 2017 02 — Spring’s Farm Orchard, Fort Mill, South Carolina, March 6, 2017

All theology, doctrine, creeds and ideology are
wrong, wrong, wrong–
bad, very bad,
terrible,And they get in our way.
They posit a Right Thing To Do It
Always, Every Time, Eternally,
No Question Allowed Ever.
The Republicans
have their ideology,
and so do the Christians,
and the Muslims,
and the Jews,
and the Atheists…etc.
Everybody with an ideology,
including me,
has The Right Way To Do It
firmly in mind,
and live to impose it upon
every situation that comes along.
That is wrong, wrong, wrong, (see above).
And I will readily admit it,
offering My Ideology as the best of the bad.
The Really Right Way To Do It
is to live in the service of what works
in every situation–
and what works in one situation
may be the opposite of what works
in another situation.
What is does doesn’t matter
if it works
in light of the good of the situation
as a whole.
In light of the good of the people
impacted by the situation.
The Really Right Way To Do It
is to understand
there is no one way to do everything,
and every situation requires
a mindfully aware appraisal
of the situation,
with all things considered.
We approach each situation
asking, “What is happening here?
What needs to happen?
What would be most helpful
in the service of what needs to happen?
How can I/we put that in play
in this situation?”
If everybody would only do it MY way
it would be a better world overnight.

03/10/2017 — In the Non-Subscribing Church Of What’s Happening Now,
the good of the parts takes precedent
over the good of the whole,
and vice versa–
so that in every situation,
the parts are consciously,
mindfully, aware
of the importance
of the good of the whole,
and the whole is consciously,
mindfully aware
of the importance
of the good of the parts,
and neither the parts.
nor the whole,
insists upon the priority
of it’s place in the circle,
and all together seek
the still point of the turning world,
holding in mindful awareness
the situation,
taking all things into account
and waiting to see
what arises
as That Which Needs To Be Done
in the here and now
of our life,
and doing that thing,
with no precedent implied
for any future situation,
and none sought from
similar situations in the past
to be imposed upon this one,
never losing sight of the good
that was not done,
but carrying the pain of its loss
as the price to be paid
for the other’s gain.

 

4263.  03/11/2017 — Oconee Bells 2017 03 — Undisclosed Location, North Carolina, March 3, 2017

Money is for buying the tools,
and creating the environment
necessary for doing the work
that is ours to do
within the life we are living.We don’t work to get money
so that we can amass enough
to stop working.
We work to get money
to do the work
that needs us to do it.Our life is about our work.
Our work IS our life
(Not the work we get paid to do,
the work we pay the bills to do).

We are a nation
and a world
that doesn’t know what its work is–
that doesn’t know it has work to do
that doesn’t have anything to do
with the work it is doing.

We think not having to work to pay the bills
is the living end.
Not having to work to pay the bills
simply frees us to do
the work that is ours to do
until we die.

Apart from the work that is ours to do,
we are as good as dead–
just hanging out
until the undertaker makes official.

4264.  3/11/2017 — Lake Haigler 2016 32 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2016

Think of spiritual development as
the process of maturation.
Think of spiritual maturity as maturity.
Think of the most mature person you know.
That person is also the most spiritual person you know,
though perhaps not religious.
Maturity IS spirituality.
Spirituality IS maturity.
The two are one,
and cannot be separated.
And neither have to do with thinking.
We do not think our way to maturity.
We do not think our way to spirituality.
We LIVE our way there.This is the process whereby we mature:
Experience-Reflection-Realization.
Everyone grows up against her/his will.
Trials and ordeals, Kid. Trials and ordeals.
But trials and ordeals alone
will not do it.
“Reflection on experience leads to new realizations”
(Joseph Campbell).
Reflection and realization are certainly mental processes,
but they aren’t “just thinking.”
They are “thinking about thinking.”
They represent a level of awareness (mindfulness)
that sees things as they are
and as they also are.
They are a class of perception that alters perspective
and changes our life.

Imagine the process of maturation
as existing along an infinite line into the future
beyond our death,
so that we do not “arrive” before we die
(And whether it continues after we die
is open to speculation).
Think of that line consisting of “stages of development,”
way-points along the way
over which we must pass,
and cannot progress until we “catch up”
by realizing what we missed
when the time of realization was upon us.
My hunch,
which may well be substantiated by psychological tests,
is that someone probably two, though maybe three, stages
ahead of us
makes no sense to us at all.
We are on different wave lengths.
In different worlds.
We can only talk about innocuous things
and disagree on what the important things are.

This is another reason liberals cannot talk to conservatives.
We live in different worlds,
and are on different levels of maturation.
We can argue which is lower and which is higher, but.
War, Hatred, Guns and Walls feel to me as though
they are on a lower level than
Conversation, Understanding, Compassion and Aid.
They are certainly on a different level.
And how we work out our differences
will be the dance that determines
what becomes of life as we know it.

03/11/2017 — Lies work to make us doubt
our own sense of what is true and real.
Abusive father’s say “I love you,
and only want what is best for you,”
while beating you past bleeding.
Do not believe what they say!
Believe what they do!
Even if they are the President of the United States!!!
And all the Republicans in Congress!!!

And vote against them and their kind
in every election great and small
forever!

03/11/2017 — Our daily, determined, unrelenting,
persistent, consistent, defiant
resistance and opposition
is essential–
not from the standpoint
of stopping the Republican demolition
of democracy, its norms and institutions,
but from the standpoint
of reminding ourselves
and one another
of the obscenity and horror
of what is being done–
to keep the fire of resolve burning bright,
so that when we get to vote in 2018
we all vote.

03/11/2017 — Those who are engaged
in the process of their own maturation,
reflecting on their experience
and forming new realization,
are impacting life around them for good,
in ways they cannot realize or imagine.
The work of maturity is enlivening.
“The influence of a vital person vitalizes”
(Joseph Campbell).
The most important thing we can do
for the world at large
is grow up.

 

3265.  3/12/2017 — Wood Thrush 04 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, March 6, 2017

People are always saying,
“There is a reason for everything,” but.
They never say what the reason is.
They believe in invisible, magical, reasons
that will make everything wonderfully well
in some far-off milk and honey
without lactose intolerance
or high blood sugar.
Let’s fix that.The reason for everything is
to wake us up to the paucity
of our explanatory devices,
and to force us to confront
the emptiness of glib platitudes
and stock phrases
that are too shallow to splash.The reason for everything is
to grow us up
by forcing us to reflect, inspect, explore, inquire
wonder, imagine, confront, investigate, consider,
contemplate, probe, evaluate, question, review,
revise, appraise, abandon, reject, denounce,
form new realizations,
and draw bold conclusions.

We are not here to follow
the cow ahead of us
from the barn
to the pasture
and back to the barn.
The people who say
“There is a reason for everything”
without saying what the reason is
are cows following
a long line of cows.
Give them a “MOOOO”
and walk on.

4266.  03/13/2017 — Lenten Rose 2017 03 — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 10, 2017

White supremacy is the underlying cause
of our problems as a nation and as a world.
The Four Pillars of White Supremacy are
Fear
Hatred
Greed
Power
(Greed is sometimes referred to
as Money, Wealth, Prosperity, Capital and Fortune).
They start out with,
“Wouldn’t you want to be rich?”
And move to,
“What’s keeping you from being rich?”
And smoothly conclude,
“THEY are.”
With THEM being everyone not like they are,
more specifically,
Black People
Latinos
Jews
Orientals
Gypsies
LGBTQ’s
The Special Needs Population
The Poor, who even though they may be white,
are not “White like they are!”
and, of course, Liberals, who are not like they are at all.White supremacy is a perspective
that provides comfort and solace to its proponents,
who stoke the fires of greed, hatred, power and fear
with conspiracy theories
and Apocalyptic visions of the End of Time
and The Last Days,
which sounds biblical with the Angels of the Lord
doing battle with Satan’s Demons
and themselves being on the side of God,
doing God’s will even now
by opposing the Evil Ones who are not like they are,
How can they be biblically based
when they hate Jews,
which means they hate Jesus,
so where does that leave them
if not drifting in the Void
without ground or foundation,
certain that what they tell themselves
is the solid truth?

We will never convince them it is not.
That leaves us with identifying them
and opposing them
at every point.
They are wrong.
And their way is a blight upon humanity
and the world.

03/13/2017 — Standing on the bedrock
of our own identity/values
is to be unmovable
and invulnerable–
like the Buddha under the Bo Tree,
Jesus in Gethsemane,
and Rosa Parks in the front of the bus.
03/13/2017— You have heard the saying,
“There are many paths
up the mountain.”
What you haven’t heard
is that the mountain is YOU.
YOU are the mountain–
and all your paths lead to
YOU,
to the heart of YOU.
You are seeking YOU
in all of your searching.
Your quest is for YOU.
All of your false starts
and wrong turns
have had YOU
as their goal,
and every path
you have ever taken
has been essential
in creating a wealth of experience
regarding what is and is not YOU.
You are becoming an expert
on the subject of YOU.
No one is better than you are
at recognizing YOU when you see YOU,
or at knowing what YOU are likely to do
and not do.
You are getting to know YOU better
as you go along,
and better able to be YOU
in each situation as it arises.
When you become YOU
in all times and places,
you will be one with the mountain.
YOU will be YOU,
for all to see, know, love and enjoy
forever.

4267.  03/14/2017 — Koi Fish 2017 01 — Pike’s Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 11, 2017

When “the center cannot hold”
and “the falcon cannot hear the falconer,”
(W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming),
and the God-fearing are no better off
on any level
than the godless,
you had better find
“the still point of the turning world”
(T.S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton”).
You had better BE
“the still point of the turning world”!
The Church in all its glory
cannot shake the shame
of its failure
to teach us to BE the Christ,
wasting,
as it did,
all of our time
telling us to BELIEVE,
and neglecting all instruction
regarding the importance
of BECOMING
those who are as integrated
as whole,
and as in accord
with their essence
as Jesus was.
And we are left
as alone as Jesus was
with the task
of finding our way
to ourselves
by ourselves.
Mindfulness leads the way,
as it always has,
and will–We have to do the work,
and bear the pain
in being what we seek
and doing what needs us to do it,
what must be done,
in order to be who we are
which is all Jesus did.
It only takes
Seeing,
Hearing,
Knowing,
Doing,
Being.
In each situation as it arises,
all our life long.

03/14/2017 — Republicans love money
and think it is
evidence of God’s grace and love–
and of God’s approval
of the way they live their lives.

Jesus thought the love of money
was the root of all evil.

Who do you suppose is right?
03/14/2017 — All of the good things are found
by living into them–
not by thinking them,
willing them,
into existence.
The trouble with us is
we want all of the good things
Right Now!
We don’t want to have to
live our way into them.
Wanting cannot give us
what we want.
We can have it,
but not on our timetable–
not when and how
we want it delivered.
It comes and goes
as dependable as the tides,
but not as regular.
We keep trying
to will what cannot be willed.
Pretty well sums it up,
don’t you think?

03/14/2017 — The life we are living
is exactly what we need
to live the life
that is our life to live–
the life that only we can live.
We think we need some other,
finer life to afford us
the luxury of living the life
that is our life to live,
as though that is something
that can be done only
when we are free
of all other concerns.
It is a concern as high
as any other concern,
and requires us to negotiate
time and resources
amid all our concerns
in order to meet the needs
of the moment
as those needs ought to be met.
We have to work that out
in every moment,
in every situation.
We hate that part of the deal,
and long for
“a land of gentle breezes,
where the peaceful waters flow”
(Anne Murray–Snowbird).

03/14/2017 — Paul Ryan says the Republican Health Care Plan
reflects their core belief in individual freedom–
that individuals should be free to choose
whether they want health care,
and if they decide the benefit to them
is not worth the cost to them in terms of premiums,
then they are free to choose not to be covered,
and if that price should result in sickness or death,
well, that’s the cost of being free.

That’s the way Republicans think.

Ryan and his Republican buds could easily
lower the cost of premiums
and raise the health care benefits offered,
thus giving people the freedom to chose a better choice.

That is not the way Republicans think.

Because that course would not
give insurance companies and CEO’s
the the freedom to realize the breaks
and the profits that would result
from the higher premiums
they put in place in the Plan they are selling
to the rest of Congress t
o impose upon the country
as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare.

Replacing Affordable with Unaffordable
is good only for those who are wealthy
and bad for all who are not.

Way to go Republicans! You know whose side you are on–and so do we!

03/14/2017 — Ayn Rand’s contention,
“No man can have a right to impose an unchosen obligation,
an unrewarded duty
or an involuntary servitude on another man,”
(from The Virtue of Selfishness)
is taken by Republicans as the foundation
of their Doctrine of Individual Freedom.

It’s ridiculous both as a contention
and as a Doctrine.
Sex falls into all three categories
in the lives of many of us
from time to time,
or for all of time for some of us.
Let’s see Republicans outlawing that!

4268.  03/14/2017 — Lake Crandal 2016 13 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 8, 2016

My work is hermeneutics—
seeing and saying how things are,
and what might be done in response.
In seminary, hermeneutics has to do
with the translation/interpretation of the Bible.
I was taught to read Greek and Hebrew
and to render the original text into English.
We would check Biblical concordances
to see where all in the Bible the primary words
were used and what meaning they had there.
We would apply our understanding
of the historical period in which the text was written,
putting the words in their context,
and think of what they might have meant then.
From there, we would consult a bevy
of Bible commentaries
to see how the text had been interpreted over time.
Then we would imagine how the text
might be applied to our contemporary situation,
and work it all together in a sermon.
And do it again next week.Over time, I came to the conclusion
that it is more important to read the signs of the times
than the texts of ancient times.
Interpret the times in light of the texts
that were interpreting times long past.
You get the same story coming back around,
and back around,
again and again
through the ages.For instance, Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees
“Blind guides, straining at gnats and swallowing camels.”
Every age has its blind guides.
Those Who Know Best
know nothing at all.
“When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?”
Never, it seems.
Every generation spawns its own
stampeding herd
“full of passionate intensity,”
with a complete lack of awareness.

What to do?
Become as mindfully aware
of yourself and your context
as you can be.
Then your response to your situation
will be as fitting as it can possibly be
in each situation that arises.
Neither Jesus nor the Buddha
could do more.

4269.  03/15/2017 — Yellow-rumped Warbler 2017 08 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, March 10, 2017

Some people wake up,
and some people never do.
Not that anyone is ever fully, completely, totally AWAKE.
No more than anyone is ever fully, completely, totally GROWN UP.
We are all strung out along a continuum
from sound asleep to wide awake.
How far along we get
in the time we have been given,
is the mark that matters most–
and we are only competing
with ourselves.
We strive to be more awake today
than yesterday.
Or not.
Yesterday’s level–
which really goes back
through a long string
of yesterdays–
is good enough
for too many people,
who never bother to ask,
“What am I seeing?
What am I not seeing?
Is there a theme here?
If so, what is it saying?”

03/15/2017 — Saying what is happening
is the best way of changing
what is happening.
If it is not said,
it is not seen.
If it is not seen,
it cannot be changed.
Saying what we see
is the only way to see
what we are talking about.
It all starts with saying.
What do you have to say?
Say it.
See where it goes from there.
Saying and seeing all the way.

03/15/2017 — We have no idea of what
is going to happen.
Our place is to be ready for it
regardless of what it is.
We do that by having our feet under us
and standing on them,
grounded in who we are
and what is important to us–
in what we know to be so
and how mindfulness
leads the way.
Seeing what is happening
is seeing what is being asked of us.
Then there is only
deciding what to do
in response.

03/15/2017 — I like my chances,
whatever they are,
whatever it means.
I am confident
in my ability
to see what is happening,
and to do
what I am capable of doing
about it.
And letting that be that.
I am the pivot point
between my past
and my future.
So are you
between your past
and your future.
We take our past
and use it
to shape our future.
Everyone has to do that.
How well we do it
tells the tale.

03/15/2017 — Here’s a breathing exercise
you can work into your day
throughout your day,
disconnecting you from all the upheaval,
chaos, turmoil, uncertainty and intensity,
and reconnecting you with your body
and its inherent peace and wisdom…

Take a deep breath into your belly,
so that your navel
reaches its maximum
distance from your spine,
and release it in one quick blow.
Before inhaling, listen/feel for your heartbeat.
Count seven heartbeats
and inhale normally,
being sure to send it to your navel–
exhale normally,
and pause before inhaling for a count of seven heartbeats.
Repeat for a total of six-ten breaths.

See how many breathing breaks
you can work into a day.

03/15/2017 — Trump said he was wiretapped by Obama.
He was not wiretapped by anybody.
Trump has not retracted his statement
and apologized.
If you voted for him,
are you saying,
“Let’s give him another chance”?
What’s it going to take
for you to see what you have done,
and apologize?

4270.  03/16/2017 — Lenten Rose 2017 04 — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 10, 2017

Carl Jung said
“Nothing impacts the life of the child
more than the unlived life of the parents”
(Or words to that effect).
Jung didn’t go far enough.Nothing impacts the life of the parents
more than the unlived life of the parents.Nothing impacts the life of the world
more than the unlived life of all of the parents
in the world.

If you want to do something–
if you want to “make a difference”–
in your own life,
in the lives of your children,
in the life of everyone in the world,
live the life that is yours to live.

If we were talking,
I would ask you to tell me about
the life you aren’t living.
If you asked what I meant,
I would say
tell me about the life that needs you to live it,
that only you can live,
the one you are not living,
and tell me why you are not living it.

Pretend we are talking,
and answer me that.

03/16/2017 — Here are headlines
to stories running
this morning
on Huffington Post…

Trump’s Budget Prioritizes Military Might Over Americans’ Well-Being

White House Takes Hatchet To EPA And Foreign Aid

Eliminates Funding For The Arts, Libraries, Public Television

Cuts International Food Aid Program And Funding For Clean Water

And there are people
to this day
who say
Trump is their man,
and is making
America Great Again
and just wait until
he really get rolling.

They are the same people
who think
a day-old scrambled egg
left out on the counter
uncovered
is great.

03/16/2017 — Trump says that
just because there is no evidence
to support his declaration
that Obama wiretapped his residence
that doesn’t mean he didn’t do it.
“Wiretapping covers a lot of things,”
said Trump.

There are no such things as
“Evidence” and
“Facts”
In Trump World.
And the rides are better
than the one at Disney.

Trump is taking us all
for the ride of our life.

03/16/2017 — Trump is an enemy of integrity on all levels.
Trump despises integrity
and has no respect for it in any form.
Integrity gets in the way of closing The Deal
and making Profits.
Integrity is bad,
very bad,
terrible,
nasty,
sick.

There is no reason ever
to take Trump at his word,
to believe anything he says.
Whenever he speaks,
he is a tottering alcoholic
saying, “I swear
I will never drink again.”

03/16/2017 — If you voted for Trump,
you owe it to yourself
and to all of the rest of us
to explore what saying,
“YES!!! TRUMP!!!”
was saying no to.

What were you rejecting
about your life in America
by electing Trump?
Equal rights for all people?
LGBTQ people?
Black people?
Poor people?
Foreign people?
Muslims?
Latinos?
Soft-hearted people?

In loving Trump,
who/what are you hating,
despising,
deploring,
denouncing,
rejecting,
disappearing?

Who/what are you
getting rid of
in order to
Make America Great Again?

Or, maybe, you just wanted
jobs back.
Do you not understand
that in order for something to come back,
something else has to go?
Trump is creating jobs
by destroying the environment.
Is that a price you are willing to pay?
Trump is removing
the protections
(he calls them “regulations”)
that guard the quality
of our air and water
in order to make it easier
for industry and corporations
to make more profit,
and (he hopes) create
more jobs in increasing production.
Is that your idea of getting jobs back?

What did you mean
by electing Trump?
Do you still mean it?

03/16/2017 — Profit at any price is ridiculous.
Jobs at any price is absurd.

Jobs left this country
and went to another country
because wages were lower there
and protections governing production
were non-existent there.
The people in this country
who want their jobs back
don’t want them back
at lower wages
and at a sharp reduction
in the overall quality of life.
They want them back,
all other things remaining unchanged.
Jobs at any price isn’t the idea.

Profit at any price works the same way.
When profit means
the destruction of the environment,
you are shooting yourself in the head
to make that deal,
and killing everyone else as well.

Republicans are staunch believers
in self-discipline in the service
of unrestrained and unrestricted and unlimited profit.
It’s a contradiction in terms.
It makes no sense.
Self-discipline is living within limits
for the sake of one’s own good
and the good of the whole.
It understands that profit at any price
is toxic to life
and cannot be sustained
because it destroys the balance
required to keep biology
from disappearing into the Void
from which it came.

03/16/2017 — Balance is the way things are
at the still point of the turning world.
We navigate the slippery slope
by being balanced and savvy.
We walk two paths at the same time
in the same way.
Carl Jung said,
“The psyche is a self-regulating system
just like the body is,”
(or words to that effect).
When we go too far in one direction,
we create a counter-balancing,
compensating,
symptom calling us back
in the opposite direction.
Life demands balance.
It is another of the requirements for living
that cannot be ignored.

03/16/2017 — Step into a room filled with the despots of history…
Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Stalin, Hitler…
you know, like that.
What are you going to say to them
to wake them up
and change their mind
about what they think is good
and what they think is not good?
What will it take to change their mind?
How long would it take
to see the light come on
in their eyes?
Longer than eternity, I’m afraid.
Which gets us to the good news:
Midterm elections will be
in November of 2018.
That’s only 20 months away.
MUCH sooner than eternity!
Keep that in mind,
and work to make 11/2018
be the turn-around
the world needs it to be!

4271.  03/17/2017 — Trout Lily 2017 11 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 7, 2017

There is no magic.
There is only the daily grind
of making happen what needs to happen
in light of all things considered
in each situation as it arises
all our life long.The Republicans in the magic of money.
Wealth is the solution to all of their problems today,
and every day.
They do not take into account
all of the problems
their solution creates
in their own personal life,
in the life of the nation,
the culture and the world.
Republicans will never be confused
with those who
take all things into account.
Their vision stops with their ideology.
“If we do this, this, and this, that will happen–
and that will be all that happens–
and it will be wonderful
with unfolding layers of resplendent glory
“The majority of the rest of U.S. citizens
believe in magic of a different variety–
“We’ve seen bad times before.
The darkness is always followed by the light.
We’ll just keep our heads down
and everything will be fine.”

There.
Is.
No.
Magic.

There is only seeing things as they are
in each situation as it arises,
including seeing what needs to be done about it,
and doing it
in light of all things considered,
in every situation that comes up
all our life long
forever.

We step into our day
and do there what needs us to do it.
We step into our life–
the one we are living
and the one that we are here to live–
and do there what needs us to do it.
With no time out
and no day off.
One day,
and one situation within each day,
at a time.

We are the magic we seek in the world.
Wands are a prop.
It’s all about the heart and soul
of the witches and wizards.
If you conjure up heart and soul,
magic will happen
in each situation as it arises
all your life long
forever.

03/17/2017 — I will write my postcards,
and make my phone calls,
and do my thing daily here
and there
and everywhere,
registering my protest
whether it does any “good”
or not.
It is good,
no matter what the outcome.
Good calls out evil,
makes evil known,
refuses to collude with evil
by being quiet about it.
Good makes noise.
Good says NO!
to all things Not Good.
Good does not hang its head
and succumb to the hopelessness
of any situation.
What does hopelessness know?
When has hopelessness ever helped
anyone, anything, any situation?
If you are going to be hopeless
about something,
be hopeless about the uselessness
of being hopeless,
and have nothing to do with it.
It goes nowhere.
It does nothing.
Whether we stick our head in the sand
or cover it up with a blanket
in a dark room,
it’s all the same to the situations
that need our presence
and our compassion
and the good we are capable of doing
when “nothing will do any good.”
Write your postcards.
Make your phone calls.
Do your thing every day,
no matter what,
just because
that is what the situation calls for,
and will
for some time to come.

03/17/2017 — Show up.
Be mindfully, compassionately aware of the moment, each moment.
Be transparent to yourself.
Be engaged without having anything at stake in each situation as it arises.
Be grounded in who you are and what matters to you–
be your identity and your values,
be true to yourself,
be the face that was yours before you were born,
be the still point of the turning world–
in each situation as it arises.
Live in ways that make your little heart sing,
AND do what needs you to do it,
in ways that are appropriate to the occasion–
seeing,
hearing,
knowing,
what is happening
and what needs to happen,
doing what you can do in response
by being who you are
in serving the gifts that are yours to give,
all your life long.
Neither Jesus,
nor the Buddha,
could do it any better.

03/17/2017 — Among the things I am proudest of
are the tales that will never be told.
They form the secret ground of my life,
mirror me to me,
declare who I am
and what I am capable of,
and define me–
identify me–
to myself
in ways that the affirmations
and endorsements
of others
could never do.
I KNOW who I am–
and what I know
cannot be said or shared,
and will forever remain
a quiet reservoir
of soulful waters
into which I look
to see both my reflection
and my depths,
who I am
and who I also am,
which is who I am.
Freeing me to be
who I am needed to be
in each situation as it arises
out of my awareness
of the Me,
the Also Me,
and the Not Me.
Essential knowing
that cannot be known
from books,
or lectures,
or the sage advice
of Those Who Know Best
And Must Be Pleased,
but is readily available
to anyone open
to the experience of her/his experience
with mindful, compassionate,
non-judgmental awareness
of what is to be found there.

4272.  03/17/2017 — Koi Fish 2017 02 — Pike’s Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 11, 2017

Think of being For The People
as being For ALL Of The People.
Not just the right people,
or the right kind of people,
but for every person
in the entire world of people.
What we need is a list of corporations
and businesses
who are For The People.Hobby Lobby and LLBean would not be on the list.Target would be.

We need to know if a business
is For The People
and support that business,
“voting with our wallet,”
and Standing With The People.

If a corporation/business supports
Planned Parenthood
The American Civil Liberties Union
The Southern Poverty Law Center
The Sierra Club
Greenpeace
Amnesty International
Black Lives Matter
The National Black Justice Coalition
and other human rights organizations,
it is For The People.

And we need to know who they are.

03/18/2017 — Republicans lack grace, kindness, compassion, generosity, gentleness, consideration, sensitivity, heart and soul.

If you think this statement is too sweeping, broad and at odds with the reality of the situation,

Name one bill generated by Republicans in the House or Senate
over the last 8 years and 100 days
that exhibits any of the qualities/values listed therein.

One.

03/18/2017 — Jesus was talking to all of us,
and that includes Republicans,
when he said,
“Don’t love only the people
who can love you back!
Who are your kind of people!
Who do it your way–
the way you think it ought to be done!
Don’t love just your
family and friends,
and “birds of a feather!
Love those who are not like you at all!
Who don’t do a thing you say!
Who do all the things you say don’t do!
Love your enemies!
Love the least of those in every society and culture!
Love those who have been marginalized,
and disenfranchised,
ostracized,
shunned,
condemned
and declared to be untouchable!
Love them all the way you love yourself,
and do unto them all
the way you would have them do unto you.
Then you will be doing it
the way I would do it in your place,
and when you are in me,
I am in you,
and together we will be a source
of goodness and life and life,
the like of which the world has rarely seen.”
Jesus makes it plain,
so that those who run can hear it,
and those who are in a hurry can understand.
So, what’s the problem?

4273.  03/19/2017 — Round-lobed Hepatica 2017 10 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, North Carolina, March 7, 2017

You have to look no further
than the mirror
to see demonstrable proof
of the validity of karma.
Our bodies reveal how we live
and what is important to us.
We are the cumulative buildup
of karma over time.
What we do impacts how things are.
We have an impact
on our own life
and the lives of those around us
by the choices we make.
Our present life is the ripple effect
of choices we made in the past.
What goes around comes around.
The cost of living is the price
of flippant choices we make
before we know anything about choosing.
Everything has antecedents
and descendants.
Nothing is without cause or consequence.
We are the past and the future–
the pivot point from one to the other,
the place of transition,
the fulcrum,
the threshold.
How we act here and now
turns the tide
or not.

03/19/2017 — Our response determines everything
that follows.
Not really, but close enough.
Our response strongly influences everything
that follows.
Our response makes all the difference.
Our response is the doorway
into the future,
and to a large degree
makes that future what it is.
We are the fulcrum,
the pivot point,
the tipping point,
making the situation
what it is capable of becoming.
We cannot just slough it off
as though nothing we do matters.
We shape the world we live in
by the way we live in it.
We cannot throw away
any moment.
Every situation is the crux
of the next.
The next one is different
without this one.
Trump’s carelessness
with his tweets
and his comments,
his lies,
and his contempt for everyone,
creates an environment
that would be quite different
with more compassion and care
for what he is doing
and the people with whom he works.
What is true with Trump
is true with each one of us.
We wield power beyond imagining
by the way we treat
each moment.

03/19/2017 — A poet doesn’t tell you
what she is going to say,
and why.
She says it.
She doesn’t quote 10,000
authorities or sources
to validate what she says.
She says it.
Poetry says
what the poet has to say
and leaves it there
for the reader to pick up
or walk past,
satisfied that she has done her part.

4274.  03/20/2017 — Allegheny Spurge 2017 01 — UNCC Biotanical Gardens, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 18, 2017

What we do with “the time we are given,”
is up to us.
We are in charge of knowing what to do
and doing it.
How we spend our time
governs how we will spend our time.
What is guiding our boat
on its path through the sea?
In light of what do we live?
What is our lodestar,
our foundation stone?
What does our life to this point
suggest in the way of answers
to these questions?
What does our life to this point
suggest about our need
to be more cognizant of
regarding what we are doing,
and who we are?
Our past is a collection
of experiences ready
for reflection in the service
of new realizations.
If our future is to be different
from our past,
it will be because we did
the work of crafting realization
out of reflection
and living in good faith
with the time left to us.
How much of that time
will you spend
in reflection
today?

03/20/2017 — I trust that you are staying informed.
The Washington Post,
New York Times
Huffington Post
MSNBC
CNN
and ABC
are my way of tuning in.
This is the most important
four year term for a President
in my lifetime.
Everything is on the line.
We all have a stake
in what is being said and done.
We cannot hope to know
what our role is,
and will become,
without knowing what’s what
on all levels.
Mindfulness leads the way,
by knowing how things are
ALL things considered.

4275.  03/21/2017 — Peach Blossoms 2017 01 — Springs Farm Orchard, Fort Mill, South Carolina, March 10, 2017

We have to know and be
who we are–
not who we are supposed to be,
not who we want to be,
not who we wish we were,
not who we settled for,
but who we ARE.We have to live in light of
what is important to US
if there were no one around
telling us what is important.
Would what is important to us
be important
if no one was there to make sure
we did the important thing?
Who is in charge of our life?
Whose life are we living?
How different would we be
with no one to please?How different would we be
with no one to displease?
If we are trying to show our father
that he isn’t the boss of us,
he is still directing our life.
How do you get far enough away
from your father–
and all overly-influential people–
to find your own life and live it?

The same goes for Jesus.
Jesus lived following the will
of his inner self
(“The father and I are one”).
That’s the way we all are to do it–
doing what we know needs us to do it
and being willing to go to hell for it,
or to Golgotha,

And who says what that will is?
WE do.
Which means we have to know who we are
and align ourselves
with the will that was ours before we were born,
never mind what anyone else tells us
it should be.

Even Jesus.

We have to be right about it.
Who among us trusts herself,
or himself,
that much?
We all have to live to be
that person.

03/21/2017 — There is nothing wrong
with helping those who need help.
Which is a concept
Republicans cannot grasp.
The Republican position is:
If you need help,
you clear do not deserve to be helped–
because you haven’t been doing the things
that would prevent you from falling into
the plight you are in.
Self-discipline, self-reliance and self-determination
are all a person needs,
according to the Republican Doctrine
the be self-sustaining and independent,
which is the happy state of all those
who deserved to be helped beyond their means,
with, say, income tax benefits to the wealthy.

Of course, at this point in my discourse,
Jesus comes to mind.
Jesus did not vet anyone
who needed his help.
He said, “Inasmuch as you have done it,
or not done it,
to the least of my brothers and sisters
(that is, the marginalized, disenfranchised,
shunned, ostracized,
and declared to be Unclean)
you have done it, or not done it,
unto me.”
To not help those who need help
for any reason
is to spit on Jesus.

When the Good Samaritan helped
the Jewish man in the ditch,
he did not first check his references,
inquire about his character,
and ask for evidence
of his value to society,
or explore how his investment
would pay off over time.
He simply helped him.

The Prodigal’s father did not probe
his son’s past for damning evidence,
or ask about his future intentions,
in order to determine if it would be
“of value” to kill the fatted calf
and welcome his son back home.

Republicans are on the outs with Jesus,
and Jesus would welcome them in,
but Republicans wouldn’t associate
with the company that would include them.

How to wake them up to the importance
of helping those who need help
is beyond me and Jesus.
Someone else is going
to have to figure that one out.

4276.  03/22/2017 — Goodale Mirror 2015 04 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 2015

Republicans take as their fundamental truth
that Big Government is a Bad Thing.
I take as my fundamental truth
that Big Enough Government is a Necessary Thing.
Government is “of the people, by the people, for the people,”
and has to be big enough
to carry out its responsibilities to the people:
“To form a more perfect union,
To establish justice,
To insure domestic tranquility,
To provide for the common defense,
To promote the general welfare,
And to secure the blessings of liberty
to ourselves and our posterity…”
We established a Constitution
to govern our government.
To reduce the government
past the point of carrying out its
duties to the people
is to violate the Constitution
and reject its guarantees.
When Republicans refuse all protections and services
except “provide for the common defense,”
they are failing the people
and the Constitution
which they swore
“to preserve, protect and defend.”
When they say they are
“passing on to the States
the role of establishing justice,
insuring domestic tranquility,
promoting the general welfare”
and taking care of providing
an infrastructure that serves these things,
Republicans are refusing
responsibilities incumbent upon them,
are guilty of treason and sedition,
and are a threat to both democracy
and national security.

03/22/2017 — “Let it go!”
“Give it a rest!”
“Back off!”
“Get over it!”
“Give Trump a chance!”
Said his supporters
after the election,
after the inauguration,
after the first week…
We looked at the same reality
and saw different worlds.
What’s the fix for that?
Facts looked at
but not seen,
glossed over,
denied,
ignored…
give us a world
of our own imagining–
a world we wish were real,
where things are
as we want them to be.
We filter everything seen
through our wishes,
wants and desires,
seeing and hearing
what we yearn to believe is so,
and declaring it to be so,
mindlessly going about our life
with a complete lack
of self-transparency,
always shocked and dismayed
that things turn out to be
what they always were,
with only ourselves to blame
for our oversight,
blaming everyone else,
while spinning the truth again
into some expanded lie,
never standing
(God forbid!)
naked and exposed
before the facts of life,
to deal with them
as they need to be dealt with
in each situation as it arises
all our life long.

03/22/2017 — Republicans in Congress
care more about Party loyalty
than the welfare of the people
they represent.
The Republican Agenda
is more important
than the People’s Needs.
The idea of Congress
helping people
is anathema to Republicans.
They have an ideology to serve,
a Platform to effect,
they can’t be bothered
with the people.
Why the people
put up with it
is beyond me.

03/22/2017 — I’m holding everyone I have ever known
responsible for my ignorance
about the importance
of mindfulness
in being centered,
grounded
and growing up.

Why do we have to
stumble into
the power of mindfulness?
Why isn’t that taught
from birth forward?

You ARE watching
the Jon Kabat-Zinn
YouTube videos,
aren’t you?

4277.  03/23/2017 — Bloodroot 2017 10 — NCCC Botanical Gardens, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 18, 2017Two people look at the same thing
and see different things–
because of the stake they have
in the determination.
There is a reason
we see things as we do.
We have a stake
in seeing the way we see.
We are not free,
any of us,
none of us,
to see any old way at all.
We don’t wake up,
in any sense of the phrase,
and say,
“I think I will see like this today.”
We see how we see
when we went to bed.
And we see how we see
when we wake up.
And that is how we see.
The tragic mistake
is to mistake how we see things
for how things are.
How things are
is all the ways they can be seen–
including the ways we cannot see them
because they are invisible to us.
To see things as they are
is to see things as they also are,
and might yet be.
What do we have riding on
how we see things?
What do we have at stake
in the way we see?
How is it paying off for us
to see as we do?
What do we gain by it?
What do we have invested in it?
Being curious about how we see–
being mindful of how we see–
enlarges how we see,
and enables us to see more
than we though was there.
Being chained to the way we see forever
is death,
no matter how we see.
Seeing is expansive, enlarging, transforming, transcending…
dragging us along with it,
growing us up as it wakes us up,
forcing us to see whether we want to
or not.
Seeing is like dying.
Failing/refusing to see is like being dead.
Have seeing at stake in how you see.
It will change everything.In a life and death, life and death, life and death…
kind of way.

03/23/2017 — A man found a fledgling Golden Eagle,
and took it into his care,
raising it into young adulthood,
and teaching it to hunt.
He would take the eagle out
every day to forage and hunt.
He would wait for the eagle to return,
or whistle for the eagle to return,
and take it home to the enclosure he had built.
He told me he was waiting
for the day the eagle did not return.
That was yesterday.

The man and the eagle had a life together.
And they each had a life apart.
The eagle was growing into his Other Life,
and it was the man’s place to let it go.
It is that way with our children,
and with ourselves.
We are the man and the eagle.
We cannot forsake our Other Life
in order to stay forever
in the enclosure the man builds for us.
If our man-side doesn’t know
what he is doing,
he can obstruct and prevent
the development of our eagle-side.
He can do that in a viscous,
cruel and heartless way,
or in a loving, gentle well-meaning way.
Either way, it is death
to the Other Life of the eagle–which is death to the eagle.

How are you tending the eagle that is in your care?

03/23/2017 — Jesus didn’t change a thing!
The idea that he died on the cross
and secured our forgiveness
and ever-lasting salvation
misses two key points:
1). It doesn’t work if we don’t believe that he did,
2). AND mind our P’s and Q’s,
Walk the straight and narrow,
Toe the line,
Keep the Commandments,
Live a Godly, Righteous and Sober Life,
So that God is happy with us
All the way to the end
in order to get into heaven when we die.
In other words, nothing changes.

Before Jesus died on the cross,
we had to do all these things
in order to make God happy with us
and get into heaven when we die.
And after Jesus died on the cross,
we still have to do the same things,
only now we have to have faith in Jesus
on top of everything else.

It was all on us before he died.
It is all on us after he died.
Jesus didn’t change a thing!
They don’t tell you that in Sunday School,
but it is all right there
in what they do tell you.
Ask them to clear it up for you,
next chance you get.

03/23/2017 — “Russian state terrorism”
is a term for Russian assassins
murdering enemies of Putin throughout Europe—
a man Trump admires because
“he has strong control over his country.”
Isn’t that enough said?
Why can’t people look at that
and know who Trump is?

03/23/2017 — What Jesus did
was to live transparent to himself.
Jesus displayed the face that was his
before he was born.
Jesus said “The Father and I are one,”
talking about the soul-self within–
within all of us–
the one who knows,
the ground, the foundation,
the lodestar,
the bedrock,
“the still point of the turning world,”
the seat,
the source,
of our identity and values…
Jesus was one with that.
And when he said
“I am the way, the truth, and the life
and no one comes to the Father
but by me,”
(which was, by the way, after he had said
twice before,
“No one can come to me
unless the Father draws them”),
he meant
no one can get to the core of who they are
without being who Jesus was:
self-transparent
and aligned with the foundation stone
of their own identity.
The theologies,
doctrines,
creeds,
and ideologies
are red herrings
keeping us from displaying
the face that was ours before we were born–
from finding and living the life
that is our life to live
within the life we are living.
Jesus lived with complete integrity.
He was who he was.
And he died in service to the truth
of his own being.
Christians are “little Christs,”
who live in the service to the truth
of their own being,
doing it they way only they can,
with the gifts and perspective
that are theirs alone.
No clones,
no robots,
individuals every one,
true to themselves
and the bedrock
that is “the Father” within.

4278.  03/24/2017 — Limbs and Branches 2017 02 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 13, 2017

Our life is a vehicle of self-revelation.
Even when we use it
to hide from ourselves,
we expose ourselves
as those who cannot bear
to know themselves.
Everything we do says,
“Look! Here I am! This is ME!”
And, we are speaking,
of course,
to ourselves.
We live trying to get ourselves
to know ourselves–
with understanding, compassion,
joy and gladness–
to enjoy the experience
of being alive together
with ourselves.
How far people are
from being able to know,
love,
and enjoy themselves,
is staggering,
and sad beyond measure.
Why would we live
to have nothing to do
with who we are?

03/25/2017 — If Republicans had a good faith interest
in improving health care
for people in the United States,
there would be nothing to it.
You and I could do that
in six months,
with time to spare.
Republicans come at “health care”
with an agenda:
Erase the memory (and mention) of Obama
from the annals of time.
Whether or not they improve health care
for anyone is immaterial.
What matters is repealing Obama.
Republicans carry a burden
no one can remove for them,
and the country suffers immeasurably
because of their failure/refusal
to face up to that
and grow beyond it.

4279.  03/25/2017 — Toad Trillium 2017 01 — NCCU Botanical Gardens, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 18, 2017

“Why” isn’t so much “caused” by something,
as it is “required,” or “needed,” by something.
An acorn “breaks out” of its shell,
much like a chick does,
sending a root into the earth
and a sprout out of the earth,
and the acorn “knows”
which to send where,
because it needs to know
only that much,
then and there.
As things happen with the acorn’s development,
other things that it “knows” will
be brought forth in their time,
and an oak tree will become itself–
not just any oak tree,
but the oak tree that
was its acorn’s potential
as it was produced by the tree
that gave it “birth.”
The roots, the trunk, the limbs, branches and leaves
happen because the tree-ness of the tree
needs them to happen.
They all serve the “idea” of “the particular tree”
that was “the face that was theirs before they were born.”
An oak tree will become the oak tree
it is capable of becoming
if the requirements for light, water and fertile soil
are met through every stage
of the tree’s life.
A human being can interfere
with the process of its own development
by wanting what it has no business having,
or avoiding the very things
that are required by its present
stage of development.The “idea” of the “human-ness”
of each particular human being
will strive to assert itself
over against the efforts
of the particular human being
to avoid its destiny.
Our symptoms can be “caused”
by our repressed, suppressed, denied, ignored
need to be who we are.
They can also be caused
by the failure of our environment
to provide the conditions required
for our development.
Either way,
we have to consciously cooperate
with the developmental requirements
specific to our individual expression
of the potentialities of the species.
We do that by the way we live our life.
Mindful, compassionate, non-judgmental awareness
is our path to knowing what needs to be known
in becoming who we need to be
in each situation as it arises
for our own good
and the good of the situation as a whole.
It is spiritual nourishment for our soul.

03/25/2017 — Remember those dreary old prayers of confession
every week in the liturgy
of the church of our experience?
“We have followed too much the devices and desires
of our own heart (or have not listened to our heart at all)…”
Well, they have a place in the life of the Penitent
in every age and land,
when spoken to the Soul-Self within us all.
“We have gone our own way,
doing the things we ought not to have done,
and not doing the things we ought to have done,
and we have nothing to offer in our defense!
We can only acknowledge how things have been,
and declare our intentional, deliberate, willfulness
in remaining ever vigilant, ever mindful, ever aware,
in turning from our past
and embracing our future–
endeavoring in each situation as it arises
to live aligned with the inner drift of our Soul,
to display the face that was ours before we were born,
and to be who we are needed to be–
who only we can be–
in the here and now of our living,
all our life long.”

4280.  03/26/2017 — Cardinal 2017 03 Detail — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, March 15, 2017

I have never had a motive I fully understood.
All of them are mixed,
and murky,
as though my behavior
arises on its own
from the depths of unknowing.
Even when I “know,”
I don’t know what I am doing.
I am certainly not the product
of my own design.
I do not direct my own development.
Nothing about me is intentional
and deliberate
personal design.
Yet, everything about me
has the distinctive stamp of “me”
about it.
I look at it all,
from my earliest memory
to this present moment,
and can say only,
“Yes, that is just like me,”
to everything.
I shine through in all of it.
What is going on?
My life is me,
and I had nothing to do with it,
in terms of working it out beforehand
as an engineer or contractor
might draw up a blueprint
and then build a bridge or a building.
I had no blueprint,
yet, my life bespeaks of me
throughout it.
I am a complete mystery
to myself,
and wonder what I will find myself doing

03/26/2017 — I have a voice for every situation,
a personality for every condition of life.
Somebody within me
is capable of rising to every occasion.
I trust him, and her, to do that–
to be, say, and do what is needed.
My place is to step back,
stand aside,
listen,
look,
and let whomever says,
“Give ME the BALL!”
have the ball.
I recommend that you
share the stage
with your entire repertoire–
without thinking you deserve the credit.
Share it
with all your people.
Know you are not IT–
you ALL are–
and you will be just fine.

4281.  03/27/2017 — Rue Anemone 2017 03 — McDowell Nature Center & Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 6, 2017

We are accountable for the way we see things.
It is no accident that we see the way we do.
It is a moral choice,
to see as we see.
The way we see is the way we like to see,
the way we think things should be see,
the way everybody should see things–
a moral position if ever there were one!The way we see things is simply the way we see things,
yet we are convinced it is a morally solid,
defensible and binding way of seeing things–
it is THE way to see things.Everyone thinks the way they see things
is THE way to see things.
Everyone thinks their way of seeing
is morally superior to everybody else’s
way of seeing.

WE ARE MORALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WAY WE SEE THINGS!
WE ARE MORALLY ACCOUNTABLE FOR HOW WE BELIEVE
THINGS ARE!

Yet, we make our decisions about how we see/think/feel
completely unconsciously,
without awareness.
We don’t know why we see/think/feel the way we do.

We are sure it is the Right Way to see/think/feel.

People are always teaching us about Right and Wrong,
often without saying anything.
We grow up knowing how our parents see/think/feel,
without ever talking about the whys and wherefores,
about the foundations and the implications,
about the matrix, the Gestalt,
from which their views are generated.
Nobody thinks about their thinking.
Nobody knows why they think the way they think
and not some other way instead.
The way we think is the most moral thing about us
and we never give it a thought.

We have to assume responsibility
for what we hold to be good,
and ruthlessly examine
how good the good is we call good.
Good for whom?
Bad for whom?
Based on what?
What makes us think
that the way we think
is the way we ought to think?
The way everyone ought to think?
What supports us in our contention?
How do we know we know what we are talking about?
What is the evidence?
What is the evidence to the contrary?
Who says so?
Who says not so?
What do we say?
Based on what?

We see things the way we do
because we have a stake
in things being the way
we say they are.
We say our way of seeing reality
IS reality,
when, in fact, our way of seeing reality
says more about us
than it says about reality.
It reveals who we are,
by showing us how we want things to be–
how we think things ought to be.
To say, “Things are the way
I see them,”
is to say, “I want, I need, things to be
the way I see them.”
How we see things
expresses our identity.
How we see
declares who we are.

We don’t give a damn about the people
we don’t give a damn about–
and the way we see them
gives us all the reason we need
to not give a damn about them.
The way we see justifies our actions,
condones our immoral treatment
of those who do not see as we do,
and positions us to live exactly as we do.

I would say we have quite a stake
in seeing as we do.
I would also say we have the responsibility
for seeing our seeing
and being accountable for how we see,
and for how our seeing
fuels our actions
and directs our living.
How we see is a moral choice
we have to consciously make
based on the outcomes it creates
in the life we live.

03/27/2017— We cannot use
“the way we see things,”
or
“the way things are,”
to justify our actions
as right and beyond refute
or criticism.
What is right about the way we see things?
What is right about the way things are?
What is right about the Bible’s way of seeing things?
What, I like to ask, made slavery wrong?
IT WASN’T THE BIBLE!
What made witch hunts and drowning’s wrong?
IT WASN’T THE BIBLE!
What made all forms of discrimination,
and persecution,
and humiliation,
and degradation,
and harassment,
and intimidation,
and bigotry,
and misogyny,
and homophobia,
and etc.
wrong???
IT WASN’T THE BIBLE!
The Bible has been used to support, condone and require
all of the inequities and mistreatment
that have been piled upon people
through the ages.
What is right about thinking this is right?
What is right about thinking all,
or any,
forms of sexual, racial, religious, etc. injustice and maltreatment
is right?
“Treat those you hate lovingly,” said Jesus.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
“Be a good neighbor to all who come your way.”
“As you do it, or do it not, to anyone, no matter how insignificant,
you do it, or do it not, unto me.”
Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong
as it applies to them, personally.
You would never think it is right
for you to be bullied, belittled and made to wish
you were dead.
Never.
So don’t catch yourself saying it is right
to treat someone else that way.
And change the way you see things
to take this little rule into account.

03/27/2017 — We are morally responsible
for the way we see things–
for the good we say is good.
We owe it to ourselves
and to one another
to be right about what we say is right,
and wrong.
We have to know what we are doing.
It is our moral obligation.

4282.  03/28/2017 — Lake Haigler 2016 27 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 11, 2016

What are you proud of doing,
of having done?
What are the things
that feel most right
about the life you are living?
What are your sources
of satisfaction?
Peace?
Confidence?
Joy?
In what way
is the importance
of all these things
reflected
in how you spend your time?

03/78/2017 — I think the Bannon Strategy is to overwhelm
his opposition (that would be us and those like us)
with one outlandish desecration
of human rights, sensibilities, and values
after another.
His Sacred is our Profane,
and vice versa.
And he is the leader of the Alt-Right
in and out of Congress,
the spokesman and architect
of the Tea Party Takeover of Government
and life in the United States.
Our response is clear:
Oppose,
Protest,
Resist,
Denounce
and stay focused on the goal:
11/2018 Midterm Elections!

4283.  03/29/2017 — Carolina Jasmine 2017 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, February 27, 2017

We are morally responsible for the way we see things.
All ways are not equal.
One way is not “just as good as another.”
Each way has its own blind spots,
its own contradictions.
No way is The Way all to itself.
We are deepened, enlarged, expanded
through our engagement with
all other ways of seeing.Carl Jung makes two complimentary observations:
“One is always in the dark about one’s own personality.
One needs others to get to know oneself.”
And, “It is the individual’s task to differentiate himself/herself
from all the others and stand on his/her own feet.”

We cannot see well alone,
and we are responsible for how we see all things.
We evaluate the different ways of evaluating reality,
and choose for ourselves how we will see things.
Seeing things as they are
is possible only for those
who see how they see things
and hold all things
in their awareness,
knowing completely
what they are saying yes to,
and what they are saying no to,
in each situation as it rises–
glossing over nothing,
dismissing nothing out of hand,
discounting, disregarding, denying nothing
unconsciously, unexamined, unknown.

We cannot hope to see without looking.
We have to look with awareness
at every little thing,
aware of ourselves being aware,
and choose for ourselves
what it means for us,
and what we will do about it,
in response to it,
in each situation as it arises.

Seeing is exhausting,
time-consuming,
values-laden,
and essential.
We are morally responsible for seeing,
and for how we see.
To reject that responsibility
is to not see at all.

03/29/2017 — During the Late Middle Ages,
with heresies abundant and abounding,
the Church had a rule
known only to the core
Keepers of the Faith:
“A promise made to heretics is not binding.”
Republicans seem to be operating
from a similar position today.
“Tell them anything to put them off your back
and calm them down,
and don’t change what you are doing!”

03/29/2017 — I’m near the end
of the third volume
of Joseph Campbell’s
masterpiece of the history
of mythology/religion
(And where does that line lie?
Campbell said, “A myth is someone else’s religion,”
and the line is drawn by those
who are sure there is nothing mythological
about their religion),
The Masks of God.

It is clear at this point in the series
that there is bad religion
and there is good religion.
If religion serves the advantages of its adherents,
confirms their biases,
unleashes their bigotry,
justifies their desire and their greed,
fuels their hatred,
condemns and abases their enemies,
never calls them into question,
restrains their ambition
or restricts the exercise of their power
or their quest for power,
but allows them to treat those
with less power than they have
any way they wish,
it is bad religion.

4284.  03/30/2017 — Boone Fork 2016 12 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016We have been separated from ourselves
by the 10,000 things,
and have to find our way back
to the face that was ours
before we were born–
we have to find our way back
to Eden and the life that
would have been ours
before we thought
we could think one up
that would be just as good
and most likely better.
We come from the womb
into the world of ideas
about how life should be lived.
We are overwhelmed by the possibilities,
with only fear and desire as guides,
and no way of knowing
how to know what is truly best
for anyone.
Ambition is no substitute
for instinct, intuition and insight–
but “This isn’t it” clouds every path.
Knowing what we know
is the switch that turns on the light.
The catch is that we cannot stand
knowing what we know.
It’s too painful,
too frightening,
too much like dying.
No one gets back to Eden
without facing the angel
with the flaming sword.
Death is the price of life.
Knowing what we know
is knowing the truth
that frees us from fear and desire
and allows us to respond
to each situation as it arises
with what we have to give
from the treasure we are.
We receive ourselves
in giving ourselves away.

4285.  03/30/2017 — Carolina Thread Trail 2016 46 — Union County, Waxhaw, North Carolina, November 20, 2016There are two rules
for establishing and maintaining
your wellbeing
and serving your life:
See what you look at.
Know what you know.
The two rules need to be understood
in this way:
See everything about everything you look at.
Know ALL you know on every level.
The two rules can be elaborated
in this way:
See what you look at
in its allness,
in its just-so-ness,
in its just-as-it-is-ness–
which also includes
how you react to it,
what it stirs to life and brings forth in you,
what it means to you,
and what all is attached to it
in a great train of associations
stemming from what it means to you,
and from what it stirs to life and brings forth in you.
Know what you know
in its allness,
in its just-so-ness,
in its just-as-it-is-ness–
which also includes
how you react to it,
what it stirs to life and brings forth in you,
what it means to you,
and what all is attached to it
in a great train of associations
stemming from what it means to you,
and from what it stirs to life and brings forth in you.
Seeing and knowing in this way
will transform your life
and radically alter the world.

03/30/2017 — Republicans’ motto is
“We Don’t Care!”
But that isn’t true.
They care about destroying democracy.
They care about Profit At Any Price.
They care about increasing the plight of–
and the burden borne by–
women
Muslims
the middle class
the poor
LGBTQ’s
Blacks
immigrants
Latinos
let’s just say everybody
other than themselves.
They care a lot about themselves.

4286.  03/31/2017 — Falling 2017 02 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 30, 2017We are always defining ourselves,
identifying ourselves,
bringing ourselves forth in our life,
being who we are–
mindfully or mindlessly,
intentionally or unintentionally,
consciously or unconsciously–
with every choice,
action,We are always exactly who we are.
Who is fooling whom,
is the question.
If we are not living mindfully,
we are presenting ourselves
for everyone to see
but us.
Donald Trump is mindlessly
on display for all the world to see.
He is the only one
with no idea of who he is.
All the Republicans fall in line behind him.
They think they are being one way,
all purist and ideological,
but they are fooling themselves.
They cannot see
what is plainly the case
for everyone else.
Self-transparency is the hardest thing.
When we think we have it down,
we don’t.
But it only takes seeing
to see.

4287.  04/01/2017 — Chemung County Barn 05 B, Elmira, New York, September 23, 2015At some point, we have settle into our life
just as it is,
here and now,
in a “this is it,
what am I going to do with it?”
kind of way.
Or not.
That is the swing point
between a life well-lived,
and a life not lived at all.
Heart is the easiest thing to lose,
giving up on our life
is the easiest thing to do.
Drive by any crack house,
or any meth lab,
or any bar–
gathering places
for the hopelessly helpless,
where everyone is reciting the mantra,
“‘I coulda had class.
I coulda been a contender.
I coulda been somebody’–
if only things had gone my way
instead of the way they went…
Poor me, poor me.
I never had a chance.
The deck was stacked against me
from the start.”
What are we going to do
with a deck stacked against us?
That’s the question
that separates us
at the swing point.
Ulysses looking up at the Cyclops,
could have said,
“Poor me, poor me…”
But he said,
“And when the heaving sea
has shaken my raft to pieces,
then I will swim!”
What say we?

04/01/2017 — Ideology, theology and agendas
are death to our ability
to live in the moment,
aware of the moment,
open to the needs of the moment–
with eyes to see,
ears to hear,
and a heart capable of understanding
what’s what
and what needs to be done
in response to it.
We cannot be alive
and live as robots
serving a program
that too easily becomes a pogrom
carried out against
all who oppose
the ideology, theology and agenda
of Those Who Know Best
And Must Be Pleased.

4288.  04/01/2017 — Lake Haigler 2016 34 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 17, 2016

Consciousness is built to transcend–
span, bridge, connect, commune with,
understand, know–
the two worlds,
visible and invisible,
psychic and physical,
tangible and intangible,
real and real…
We are the hope of the psychic world,
the hope of the psyche,
the daughters and sons of god,
born to incarnate,
reveal,
bring forth,
make known,
solid,
actual,
enfleshed
and apparent
in the world of space and time,
the truth that comprises
the essence of heart and soul.
We are failing our purpose.
All that depends upon us
languishes for want of cooperation
and allegiance.
Jesus could say,
“Thy will, not mine, be done,”There were few before and after him.
Yet, we all have what it takes,
if we but take the time
to learn the language of soul and heart–
the language of metaphor,
symbol,
poetry,
instinct,
intuition,
imagination
and creativity–
the language of silence
and the realization of connection,
bridging the gap
between that world and this one.

04/01/2017 — You know how hard it is
to live with a bully/abuser,
if you have ever lived with one
you know how hard it is.
There is nothing like being
verbally attacked
and belittled,
ridiculed
and humiliated,
for having thoughts,
ideas,
inclinations,
interests,
perspectives,
values,
and ways of being
that are unacceptable
to the wielder of power
over your life.
Robbed of our own voice,
our own views,
is to be robbed of our own
heart, mind and soul,
and to be rendered lifeless
though we remain
98.6 and breathing
through long years
of being dead.

4289.  04/02/2017 — Periwinkle 2017 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, March 12, 2017It takes time
to take our time
with the moment,
to be aware
of the situation as it arises
every time it arises.
We think we have
more important
things to do.

4290.  04/03/2017 — Boone Fork 2016 23 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016We are responsible
for the way we see things.
How we see
determines what we see.
Perspective dictates perception.
We all would benefit
from a perspective
that takes itself into account.
Seeing our seeing,
holding everything in awareness,
just looking, just seeing, just being aware
shifts the rush to judgment
by making the tendency
to rush to judgment
one more aspect of our awareness.
Our interpretation of reality
begins to match reality
as we become aware
of the difference
between reality and interpretation–
between what is happening
and what we are telling ourselves
about what is happening.
The meaning something has for us
is the meaning we say it has for us.
The meaning we decide it has.
The same event/fact
means something else
to someone else.
What it means to us
depends on
“what we bring to the table.”
Awareness moderates,
modifies,
the meanings that rule our life.
Holding everything in awareness
changes everything.

04/03/2017 — What keeps us from saying, “NO!”
to Stupid?
What keeps us saying,
“Let’s give Stupid a chance!”?
What leads us to fall in line
behind Stupid?
To rally around Stupid?
To curry up to Stupid?
What keeps us from
seeing what we look at,
and saying, “NO!” to Stupid?
04/03/2017 — In a healthy family,
everyone bears her/his own pain–
consciously, intentionally, voluntarily–
and no one tries to rescue
anyone from the legitimate suffering
that comes with being alive.
They recognize it,
accept it,
talk about it,
and work through it
together.
In a dysfunctional family
there is a scapegoat,
sometimes a black sheep,
who bears the unacknowledged pain
everyone else is too preoccupied
to recognize and admit.
How we bear our pain
is the primary indicator
of the quality of our life.
I don’t want to know
how happy you are.
I want to know how
you bear your pain.
Thinking about it
shifts our relationship
with it
and invites us to be conscious
of how we do it,
and of how we might do it instead.
A step taken.
A corner turned.
A life changed.

4291.  04/04/2017 — Dogwood 2017 01 Panorama — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, March 29, 2017Do not strive to make a difference!
There is no greater burden than
trying to will what cannot be willed.
The difference the teacher
who made the most difference in your life
made wasn’t made by trying
to be the best teacher in your life.
It was made by her, by him, being
who she, who he, was.
It was made by her, by him,
embracing her, his,
ineffectual reality
and plugging away,
doing what she, what he, loved
anyway, nevertheless, even so.
Be ineffectual–
and do what makes your
little heart sing!
And do what makes you shine brightly
(As in “Do not keep your lamp
under a basket!”)!
Do what makes you shine
even though it doesn’t make a difference–
and trust it to make all the difference
in your life
and in the lives of other people!

4292.  04/04/2017 — Chemung County Barn 2015 03 — Elmira, New York, September 23, 2015This is how important theology, doctrine, creeds and ideology are:
You can believe anything you want to believe
as long as it helps sustain you
in the work of doing what needs you to do it
in each situation as it arises
with the gifts that are ours to give,
and provides you with the courage
and wherewithal
(like Powermilk Biscuits)
“to get up and do what needs to be done,”
exactly when, and where, and how
it needs to be done,
all your life long.
Or, you could say it like this:
It doesn’t matter what you believe–
it matters what you do,
and how you do it.
Believe whatever it takes to
be the Christ as only you can be the Christ
(The Anointed One of God–
Anointed to be YOU)–
for the good of the situation as a whole
in every situation that comes along
throughout your life.
Belief means nothing
apart from the life it enlivens
to do the work
that waits for us to do it.
If you are going to believe anything,
believe that.

04/04/2017 — I cannot explain
what you cannot understand.
No one can.
Rapport, for instance,
or its absence,
cannot be explained.
It can only be experienced,
or not.
There is nothing we can do
to guarantee its happening,
or to prevent it from happening.
Talking about it
won’t produce it,
or chase it away.
“Clicks” happen of their own accord.
It is no one’s fault if they don’t.

4293.  04/05/2017 — Dogwoods 2017 03 Panorama — Union County, North Carolina, April 4, 2017

We have to be quiet enough
to hear what needs to be heard.
And, we have to develop our critical faculties
to the point
of being able to distinguish
what needs to be heard and heeded
from what needs to be ignored.
When we are quiet,
all the voices clamor for our attention.
As conscious egos,
our role is to listen to them all
and discern the voice of wisdom
from the voice of folly,
and the voice of vindictiveness,
and the voice of fear,
and the voice of hatred,
and every other voice there is.
Mindfulness leads theh way.
As conscious egos,
we hold all the voices in our awareness
and wait to see which voice
is the right voice for the present occasion.
What is being asked of us here and now?
What is happening and what needs to be done about it?
When to act
and when to delay acting
in the service of more reflection/observation
is our call to make.
We can act too soon
and we can wait too long.
What no one can teach us is
when is the time for action
and when is the time to refrain from acting.
We have to know the appointed time
when it comes upon us.
“The fullness of time”
is not just any time.
What to do,
when and how
are our calls to make.
“Why” is one we may never understand,
and do not have to know.
Waiting for “Why?”
keeps the status safely quo.

4294.  04/06/2017 — Allegheny Spurge 2017 03 — UNCC Botanical Gardens, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 18, 2017

Carl Jung said, “Follow that will
and that way which experience
confirms to be your own.”

What, in your experience, has proven, over time,
to be YOU?
What has proven to be NOT YOU?
Go, consciously, with that.

For instance, the people I establish rapport with
are more feminine than masculine,
serving the “soft values” and not the “hard values,”
“feeling” their way along
instead of “thinking” their way there,
relying on instinct, intuition, insight and body language
(the language of their own body
as well as the body language of others)
to guide and direct.

I’m going to consciously serve that trend,
and others like it,
becoming myself more feminine than masculine,
being the woman I am capable of being,
which has nothing to do with sexuality,
and everything to do with sensitivity and awareness.

4295.  04/07/2017 — Red-bellied Woodpecker 2017 01 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, March 6, 2017

Our Inner Work directs and sustains our Outer Work.Outer gets all of our attention,
while Inner languishes
for lack of time and attention.
Finding our voice
and our values,
our bedrock
and our creative fire,
our identity
and our individuality
is the stuff of heart and soul–
which we are here to serve
with our life.
We think our life is here
to serve us
with the modern equivalent
of shiny beads and silver mirrors,
and have only symptoms
to show for relentlessly seeking satisfaction
in things that cannot satisfy.

4296.  04/08/2017 — Black Birch Silhouette 2009 05 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Rocky Knob, Virginia, April 23, 2009

Keep an eye on your discrepancies.
There is the discrepancy between
who you say you are
and who you are.
And there is the discrepancy between
how you want things to be–
how you wish they were–
and how things are.
And there is the discrepancy between
who other people want you to be
and who you are.
And there is the discrepancy between
who you want other people to be
and who they are.
Your particular discrepancies change
throughout your life,

They never disappear.
Unrecognized, unacknowledged, unknown,
they make our life hell.
Recognized, acknowledged, known,
they make our life difficult but manageable.
Jesus said,
“We live under the weight of our own cross,
and that’s the way it is,”
or words to that effect.
Our cross is the discrepancies
we bear to the grave.
We bear them consciously or unconsciously.
We square up to them or pretend them away
(and they never go anywhere
beyond out of sight, out of mind).
Denied, they rule our life.
Owned, they grow us up,
assist us in developing our character
and becoming who we are capable of being,
even now, even yet.
Working with our discrepancies
brings us forth,
makes us known,
gives us shape and form,
substance and solidity,
and reveals the face that was ours
before we were born.

04/08/2017 — Donald Trump is a self-proclaimed
“smart man,”
who can make things up as he goes along
because he is “intuitive”
and knows what’s what.
Donald Trump should have been talking
about Syria
and what we–that is the civilized world
I’m talking about when I say “we”–
are going to do when lines are crossed.
But.
He offends our allies
and plays golf.
Being President is like being
owner and CEO of a large corporation.
Speak and it is done.
Sign executive orders
and the world falls into place.
NOT!
Now what?
Hmmm…
No one knew
that being President
could be so complicated.

04/08/2017 — Trump is unrelenting evidence
of what being flip, casual and uncaring
with our vote will do.
There are people,
look around you,
who are still flip, casual and uncaring
about the first 100 days.
The rest of us have to
take up their slack
and keep up the demand
for accountability,
consciousness
and responsibility
from the person
who would be President.
Keep the fire burning.
It is going to be a long night.
Flipping Georgia
would be just fine with me!

4297.  04/09/2017 — Katahdin Range 2010 Panorama — Sandy Stream Pond, Baxter State Park, Millinocket, Maine, October, 2010

Our work is to know ourselves.
We do not think our way there.
We watch, listen, notice, observe,
reflect, experience our way there.
Knowing ourselves is a life-long
exercise in paying attention.

Solitude, silence, self-reflective awareness,
compassionate, non-judgmental, acceptance,
and keeping faith with ourselves
are tools of the trade.

Integrity is self-transparency,
and living aligned with
the face that was ours before we were born
and the bedrock of character and values
which form the foundation
of our essential identity.

No one can tell us who we are
and who we are not.
We work out for ourselves
what is ME and NOT ME over time–
on the way to being
true to ourselves
as whole, full, complete, true
human beings
living the life that is ours to live
within the life we are living–
the result
of bringing consciousness to bear
upon both of those lives
in walking two paths at the same time
throughout the process of living them
into existence
against all odds.

04/09/2017 — Identity is integrity is individuality.
We are the only one there is–
unique, irreplaceable, and responsible
for bringing ourselves forth
in being who we are,
doing what is ours alone to do.
We don’t do that as someone else,
as a clone,
an android,
a robot,
a puppet,
an extension,
of those
who live around us,
doing what they are
supposed to do,
assembly line workers
producing more workers
to replace themselves
throughout eternity.
Freedom is freedom
from oppression,
freedom to be who we are,
freedom for self-reflection,
self-expression,
self-exploration,
self-development,
self-realization…
Freedom is wasted on those
who will not claim for themselves
the right to know and be who they are.
We make our own declaration of emancipation
by the way we live our life–
the life that is waiting for us to lie it,
wondering what we are waiting for.

4298.  04/10/2017 — Around Bass Lake 36 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2015

Carl Jung said, “Anyone who attempts to do both,
to adjust to his group
and at the same time
pursue his/her individual goal,
becomes neurotic.”
We cannot “fit in” and “be true to ourselves.”
Identity is individuality.
We walk two paths at the same time
and know where our ultimate loyalty lies.
We will NOT be a group clone!
We will see what we see,
think what we think,
hear what we hear,
feel what we feel,
know what we know,
experience what we experience,
love what we love,
be who we are–
in secret and underground, perhaps,
if they are burning heretics at the stake,
but we will be self-transparent
to the core,
and know what is true to us,
and serve it in every way we can,
as we look without ceasing
for places and people where
we are free to “come out”
and exhibit “the face that was ours
before we were born.”