June 3, 2017 – July 22, 2017

  1. 06/03/2017— Blue Ridge Fall 2016 08 Panorama — Sims’ Pond, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016

    Liberty, Justice, Compassion, Equality.
    What’s so hard about that?
    Greed doesn’t want to go,
    and Hatred, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia and Xenophobia
    refuse to leave.
    There has to be a reckoning.

    A reckoning would require us
    to face ourselves down.
    To grow ourselves up.
    To become who the situation
    needs us to be.
    Tasks that are well within our reach,
    yet exceed our grasp–
    because our heart isn’t in the work
    that has to be done.
    We don’t want
    to do what it takes
    to become
    who we are asked to be
    by the situation that has arisen.
    And, nothing is going to happen
    to improve things
    until that does.
    Given the choice between
    growing up and self/other-destruction,
    too many of us opt for the latter
    too often.

  2. 06/04/2017— When Carl Jung said,
    “In each of us
    there is another
    whom we do not know.”
    And when Jesus said,
    “The Father and I are one.”
    And Paul said,
    “It is no longer I who live,
    but Christ who lives within me,”
    And,
    “I can do all things
    through him
    who strengthens me.”
    They were talking
    about the same thing.
    We are the source
    of that which has
    always been called “God.”
    That which has
    always been called “God”
    is the source of us.
    “God” is as genetic
    as blue eyes and red hair.
    Those who seek “God”
    need to look no farther
    than their DNA.
    “God” is the ground
    of our being–
    the origin of all
    that is us,
    and not-us,
    about us.
    The not-us part
    of our experience,
    we call “Satan,”
    to keep ourselves sane,
    but it is all “God.”
    “God/Christ is all
    and in all,”
    as the Good Book says.
    That being the case,
    you might think
    that we would be
    more curious about,
    and attentive to,
    all that goes on within–
    students of our own
    life-experience–
    living to be at-one
    with who we are,
    and also are.
    Perhaps, that is
    just too much for us,
    so we settle
    for old movies
    and stamp collecting.

06/04/2017 — Our life has taught us
that we can deal with our life.
Here we are!
Still dealing!
What more proof do you need?
So quit with the fear, anguish, panic and depression!
You have what it takes
to take on the worst
life can offer!
The only thing that can throw you
is your thinking anything can!
Think “Nothing can!”
and you will be right.
And you will have it made!

05/04/2017 — Trump’s great shame–greatest shame–
is his incapacity to recognize
all that he has to be ashamed of.

05/04/2017 — Ortega y Gasset, in “Meditations on Quixote,” said:

“There are (those who) decide not to be satisfied with reality. Such (people) aim at altering the course of things; they refuse to repeat gestures that custom, tradition, or biological instincts force them to make. These (people) we call heroes, because to be a hero means to be one out of many, to be oneself. If we refuse to have our actions determined by heredity or environment, it is because we seek to base the origin of our actions on ourselves and only ourselves. The hero’s will is not that of (his or her) ancestors or society, but (his or her) own. This will to be oneself is heroism.”

This is the difference between life and death–
between being alive to your choices and possibilities,
and being mostly dead.
If you are going to be anything,
be you.

05/04/2017 — We find our way,
however halt
and stumbling
we go,
to those who have
exactly what we need
exactly when we need it.
Our life is a miracle–
is one miracle after another–
of water in the desert
pouring out of a rock
that looks like every other rock
but is a wellspring
of living water
to a parched
and desperate soul.

05/04/2017 — Our work
(not what we are paid to do)
requires a regimen
that supports our work,
including silence
and mindfulness meditation
(you could call it prayer–
communion with the center,
with the core,
with more than words can say).
We don’t get a vacation
from the routine
that is a lifeline
to the heart of life and being–
our connection with the will
at work within us
to do what needs to be done
through us
every day of our life.

  1. 06/05/2017— Water Lily 2017 12 — Pike’s Nursery, Charlotte, NC, June 4, 2017, an iPhone Photo

    I’ve lost track of the number of times
    Jesus said, “Do not sit in judgment!”
    (or words to that effect),
    but his words are wasted
    on his followers.
    Judgment is what Christians do best.
    Everybody not like them
    is going to hell in their book.
    Heresy trials,
    witch hunts,
    torture,
    drowning’s
    and burnings at the stake
    were common practice
    during the years
    of Christian domination,
    with shaming,
    shunning,
    ostracizing,
    and humiliating
    continuing to the present hour.
    Muslim bans are just another example
    of Xenophobia at work
    among those Jesus told,
    “Love your enemies!”
    Terrorism against Muslims
    is not called terrorism,
    and Christian extremism
    is not called extremism,
    and no one calls for
    “rounding up” or “banning”
    white supremacists.
    The rhetoric of hatred
    inflames hatred.
    Jesus clearly did not know
    how to motivate his people,
    or what it takes to be safe
    and happy at last.

05/05/2017 — Donald Trump is beyond
remorse, regret, guilt and
heart-felt apology.
That puts him in the company
of world-class predators
in every age–
always in the hunt
for those he can
humiliate, crush, defeat, destroy, disgrace, debase
and toss aside.
It’s always a contest with Trump
to triumph over all
and reign supreme–
at least in his own mind.

  1. 06/06/2017— Coleus 2017 01 — Pike’s Nursery, Charlotte, NC, June 4, 2017

    Good religion puts us in accord
    with the Actual Facts
    in the Real World
    of Tangible
    Concrete
    Objective

    Bad religion sews discord
    with its Alternative Facts
    and its Imaginary Universe
    packed with Angels
    and Demons,
    and its Superstitions
    (which it calls True Beliefs)
    about what to do on Sunday
    and how to keep God on your side.
    You can separate good religion
    from bad
    based on what it asks you to affirm,
    and what it asks you to deny–
    on what it asks you to understand/experience,
    and what it asks you to “take on faith.”
    If you are going to “take something on faith,”
    take evolution and continental drift on faith,
    not Satan and the lava lakes of Hell.

05/06/2017 — Here are a couple of books, manuals, really, to help you along your way…

“Wherever You Go, There You Are,” by Jon Kabat-Zinn

“The Power of Focusing,” by Ann Weiser Cornell

These aren’t books to speed through, but are sources for meditation and practice.

You can have the best collection of recipe books in the world,

but if you never cook, what’s the point?

05/06/2017 — Carl Jung said,
“I answer for my ancestors
the questions their lives
left behind.”
And I would add,
and ask for them the questions
their lives did not allow
them to consider.
We live to uncover and to answer
the questions of existence–
the questions life forces upon the living–
to face those questions straight up
and to not quit the struggle
until it is done.
It is not ours to know
what happens to us when/after we die.
Perhaps we wink out of existence entirely.
Perhaps we fade away.
Perhaps we fold into the next incarnation
of the long line of ancestors
encoded in our DNA.
I do believe that I am the current manifestation
of all of those who have gone before me–
that I am a unique and unrepeatable
blend of the genes I have inherited,
and that I work the work of the species
and of my particular line within the species,
presenting “who I am”
in all of the situations and occasions
which call me forth
and ask me to render
what is mine to give.
Apart from those situations and occasions,
I am not much of anything,
protoplasm awaiting some unimagined trigger mechanism
to spark some unknown element within
that I am capable of shaping
to meet the demands/the opening of the moment.
I am who I find myself to be within the NOW of my life.
So are you.
We live ourselves into being,
into reality,
into existence.
Life does not begin until we say “YES!”
to what is being asked of us,
and work to answer questions
our ancestors left behind.

05/06/2017 — It starts with bearing the pain.
The pain of life.
The pain of living THIS life
and not some other, better, finer, more fun
life instead.
The pain is the pain of the discrepancies between
how things are and how we want them to be.
Physical pain,
emotional pain,
the pain of what we have done
and of what has been done to us,
the of what we have failed to do,
and of what has failed to be done to us,
the pain of our ancestors
seeking an outlet and expression in us–
psychic pain built up through unimaginable
encounters with grief, loss and sorrow through time…
That pain.
It starts with our bearing it all.
Where do we go to learn how to bear the pain
of being alive?
Who talks to us about the art of bearing the pain of life?
All we know is denial.
Deflection.
Escape.
Addiction.
But.
Life cannot begin
until we square ourselves up with the pain
that is ours to bear,
and attend it with
compassionate, mindful, awareness
all along the way.

05/06/2017 — No one can bear the pain of our life for us.
The work is ours to do alone.
No one can live our life for us,
or tell us what life is ours to live.
The right kind of company
is essential
for the work that is ours to do,
and the right kind of company
knows the difference between
“the help that help is all about,”
and “the help we all could do without”
(Shel Silverstein).

05/06/2017 — No matter how we feel,
we still have to live
in the present moment.
We still have to meet the moment
on its terms,
and do there what needs to be done.
How we feel
may interfere with that,
or assist with it,
but the moment itself
calls us beyond feeling,
past feeling,
into seeing,
hearing,
knowing,
doing,
and being.
Being present with the moment
in awareness of the moment,
including whatever feelings
we may have regarding the moment,
allows us to hold all of it in awareness,
watching,
listening,
seeing,
hearing,
waiting for the right action
to arise of itself
at the right time
to do what needs us to do it
the way it needs to be done.
And step into the next moment,
the one that is already flowing
from this one.

05/06/2017 —   I have never known anyone
who “got it” less than,
or even, equal to,
Donald Trump.
I do so wish Trump could
not get it
the way Chauncey Gardiner
didn’t get it.
Or,
that Trump could get
that he doesn’t get it.
About anything.
Can he actually keep score in golf?
Can he find his way through a course
on his own?

  1. 06/07/2017— Veins 2017 01 — Pike’s Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, June 4, 2017

    Meaning isn’t found,
    it is lived,
    cultivated,
    created,
    produced
    and maintained
    in the service
    of that which is
    deepest, truest and best
    about us–
    of that which is integral
    to our identity,
    being
    and well-being.
    It is getting the ratios right.
    It is being at one with ourselves.
    Living from the center
    of who we are.
    Walking the path
    with our name on it–
    the path that is our path to walk
    through the times and places–
    the best of them
    and the worst of them–
    of our life.
    “We know when we are on the beam,
    and when we are off of it”
    (Joseph Campbell).
    Live to be on the beam.
    Live in ways that
    make your little heart sing.
    What’s stopping you?

  2. 06/08/2017— Boone Fork 2016 11 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016

    Not one of us has enough time.
    That means we have to pay
    close attention
    to the time we have.
    There are no throw-away moments!
    There is no time during any day
    that is not worthy of our
    being fully present
    and fully attentive.
    We cannot spend a second
    lost in some mood,
    unavailable to what
    is present with us
    hoping to be seen,
    heard,
    felt,
    acknowledged,
    honored with our recognition
    and held in our awareness.

    Not.
    Let.
    A.
    Moment.
    Go.
    Without.
    Your.
    Full.
    Participation!
    Die having lived–
    knowingly!

06/08/2017 — The jungle is savage
in its own way,
and civilization is savage
in its own way.
We have to be awake,
attentive,
alert,
and aware
wherever we are.
What are you doing
to wake yourself up
today?

06/08/2017 —

Republicans tell people
what they want to hear
and do nothing for them.
And, the people do not get
the disconnect
because they are told
what they want to hear
and want to believe it is so–
and the alternative to false hope
is hopelessness,
and they cannot bear the truth
of that reality.
Voting Republican
is kidding themselves
about the value of a lie,
because they don’t have
what it takes to face the truth
and grow up.
The truth is that black people,
and LGBTQ’s,
and immigrants,
and Muslims,
and all the people they hate
need the same kind of help
they need,
and a coalition among them all
is their only real hope.
But.
They had rather go to hell
than go to heaven with Those People.
And Republicans know that,
and laugh all the way to re-election.
Racism (and all the other “isms”)
is the Republican ticket
to victory on voting day.
That’s what got Trump
where he is today.
It’s the only thing Republicans
have going for them.

06/08/2017 —

We have to be lucky, but.
We can put ourselves
in position to be lucky,
and let happen
what happens
without making too much
of whatever that is.

06/08/2017 — Nothing is more basic to our identity
than what we care about,
and what we do not care about.
What we care about is who we are.
Not what we say we care about.
We can clearly care about the right things,
and we can clearly care about the wrong things.
We can care about things
we have no business caring about–
and not care about things
that are essential to our good
and to the good of those about us.
The task of maturation
is to grow into those
who care deeply
about the right things–
about the things that
must be cared for.
We are to spend our life
learning what those things are
and learning how to care for them.
What is worth our time and attention?
How do we serve it with our life?
How do we decide what is worth caring about?
How do we get ourselves to care about it?
How do we know what is worth our life?
How do we place ourselves in its service,
and honor it with our devotion,
allegiance
and loyalty
all our life long?
If you can find better questions to answer,
answer them,
too!

06/08/2017 — My wife and I can agree
that it is 74 degrees in the house,
and disagree about
whether that is comfortable or hot.
You would never convince me
that it is hot
or convince her
that it is comfortable.
Things are for each of us
what they appear to be to us.
I have my ideas about
Republicans,
Jesus,
and refined sugar.
What I have to say
about those
(and other) things
is my considered position.
It is where I stand.
Other people stand somewhere else.
Betsy DeVos and I
stand poles apart
on the issue of the equal rights of all children
to quality education devoid of discrimination
on any level regarding anything–
and of the federal government’s place
in guaranteeing those rights.
My wife and I can work out
our disagreement over the temperature setting.
Betsy needs to understand
that discrimination is unconstitutional,
that it is the role of government
to enforce the Constitution,
and that we do not get to pick
which laws we can ignore.
Things are for each of us
what they appear to be to us,
but.
We both have to abide by the law,
no matter how we see things
or think they should be.

06/08/2017 — We can decide–
indeed, must–
what is right for us,
where we stand
and how we are going
to live our life,
WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE CONSTITUTION!
The Constitution is non-negotiable.
Even though some Republican-controlled
state legislatures think
they are beyond the jurisdiction
of the Constitution,
and the federal government
in its role as arbitrator and enforcer
of the Constitution,
and require the constant
supervision of the courts
to keep them within the bounds,
not only of the Constitution,
but also of human decency
and civil order,
the Rule of Law–
and that would be Constitutional Law–
keeps us solvent as a United States of America.
We all live and work and have our being
WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE CONSTITUTION!
The point is too easily lost,
set aside,
dismissed,
disregarded,
discounted,
ignored–
and that is how we got
where we are today.

06/08/2017 — We belong in different places,
and to different groups of people,
in each stage of development
throughout our life.
Life changes us.
And, if it doesn’t,
we are “arrested”
in one of the early stages
of development,
and sit,
saying the same things,
to the same people,
forever–
always missing the point
of being alive,
which is allowing ourselves
to be pulled forth,
against our will,
to our own surprise and consternation,
by the forces come to meet
and challenge us
in the conditions and circumstances
of each stage of life.
We are built to be different
over time–
by realizing who we are,
again and again,
in the grip of inspiration
and revelation
born of our emerging self
through its encounters
with the physical universe.
The places we belong,
and the people we belong to,
and the ideas that belong to us,
will change,
as we change
though the eternal rounds
of recognizing
“the face that was ours
before we were born.”

06/09/2017 — Life changes us.
If we aren’t changing,
we might as well be dead,
and are dead
for all the good being alive
does us,
or anyone around us.
We are changing our minds
about what is important
all of the time.
The things we refuse
to change our minds about
are the things that choke out
the life that is trying
to be lived.
When we pride ourselves
on being firm and solid
in our convictions,
we are saying
we are perfect just as we are.
Our life has a mind of its own,
and will gladly demonstrate for us
just how imperfect we are
by allowing us to “age out”
of perfection into ruin and wreckage,
crazy old people railing
about the world that has
left us behind.

  1. 06/09/2017— Day Lilies 2017 03 – Indian Land, South Carolina, June 4, 2016

    It doesn’t matter what you believe.
    It matters what you do
    and how you do it.
    You will not be tested on your theology.
    If there is a test at all
    it will consist of two questions:
    What was important to you?
    How did you make manifest
    what was important to you
    in the way you lived your life?
    Theology is not important.
    The way you live is important.
    Believe anything you want to believe–
    anything it takes to believe–
    in order to do the thing that needs to be done–
    the right thing,
    the good and decent thing,
    the proper and fitting thing,
    the thing that needs you to do it,
    that needs somebody to do it,
    in each situation as it arises,
    all your life long.
    Knowing what that thing is
    takes living with your eyes open,
    with the eyes of your heart open,
    to the time and place of your living.
    It will not be the same thing
    in all of the times and places of your living.
    It will always be the thing that is called for,
    but it may never be called for again.
    Jesus raised the dead,
    and left the dead to bury the dead.
    Jesus forgave a guilty woman,
    and cursed an innocent fig tree.
    Jesus healed on the Sabbath,
    and cried out,
    “No sign will be given to you
    except the sign of Jonah!”
    You never knew with Jesus.
    You never know with you,
    what you will do next
    in response to where you are.
    Be like the wind
    that blows where it will,
    free to do what you determine
    needs to be done
    wherever you are.

06/09/2017— We are the ground
under our own feet,
the light for our
own path,
the stone our builder-self
rejects,
the pearl of great price
picked over again and again
by the self-who-knows-best within.
We wait for the courage
to trust ourselves
to know what we know,
and to believe in who we are
and what we have to give.
If not now, when?
If not here, where?

06/09/2017 — There is a sense
in which our lot in life
is our cross to bear,
but beyond that,
there is another cross
with our name on it–
the cross of being who we are
where we are;
the cross of bringing ourselves forth
within the lot
that is ours to bear.
The heroic deed
is to be more than
we think we can manage–
to over-achieve
in a place where nothing can be done–
to refuse to settle
for the course of least resistance,
for less than we are capable of being/doing.
Over the course of our life,
we are always coming up against
some form of internal opposition
that blocks our path
like a Cyclops of our own making:
Inertia.
Lethargy.
Disinclination.
Maybe tomorrow.
Maybe next time.
Maybe never.
What?
What is the first step?
Take it!
Pick up those crosses!
Start walking!

05/09/2017 — There is never anything more to it than this:
See what you look at.
Hear what you listen to.
Feel what you feel.
Touch what you touch.
Smell what you smell.
Taste what you taste.
Experience what you experience.
Think what you think.
Know what you know.
Be who you are,
and who you also are,
in ways that are fitting, proper and appropriate
in each situation as it arises.
Do what needs to be done–
what needs you to do it–
with the gifts that are yours to give.
Without having to have
a particular outcome.
For the rest of your life.

  1. 06/10/2017— Grandfather Mountain 2016 15 — Grandfather Mountain State Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Banner Elk, North Carolina, October 17, 2016

    Being okay in a situation that is not okay
    positions us to swing the situation toward
    being more okay than it would be without us.
    It is the turning point,
    the pivot point,
    the fulcrum,
    “the still point of the turning world”
    (T.S. Eliot).
    From there, things are possible
    that would not be possible
    from any other place.
    The key to being there
    is having no investment in any outcome;
    is not having to have anything happen;
    is to be able to not-strive for
    an idea of how things ought to be–
    to not-serve an ideology–
    to not push/shove/force our way–
    to not have a way
    in a “Thy will, not mine be done” kind of way,
    with “Thy” being the will–
    the good–
    of the moment,
    of the situation,
    of the time that is at hand.
    It is to be of service to the moment,
    to the need of the moment,
    to what needs to happen in the moment,
    without thought of gain,
    or profit,
    or benefit,
    or advantage.
    What is being called for?
    What is missing?
    What is crying out to be seen,
    heard,
    done,
    said?
    Listen!
    Look!
    See!
    Hear!
    With the eyes and ears of your heart.
    And trust yourself to the urgency
    arising from knowing what you know.

06/10/2017 — We live in perilous times,
with all the high values under attack–
liberty, justice, equality, compassion, kindness, grace,
tenderness, affection, good will, good faith, civility…
Hatred is on the rise,
emboldened by the appalling shamelessness of Donald Trump.
Children bully and shame other children
following Trump’s example,
using Trump’s words.
Our work is to remember
and to live out of
the core of what is essential to life
as human beings–
all of the old values above
and the others that belong with them,
non-violence, brave hearts, loyalty, allegiance, devotion,
goodness, beauty, truth…
Walk through the world each day,
unbowed and unbroken,
refusing to be pulled off the path
by the madness on every side.
Be a light in the dark wood.
An oasis in the barren wasteland.
A cup of cold water in presence of parching hatred.
A place where people can find shelter for their souls,
and “recover from the past,
and store up for the future.”
We have lived through perilous times before,
and carry the DNA of the species.
We are not alone,
but are surrounded by “a great cloud of witnesses,”
who have seen it all before,
and are present with us
to uphold and enable,
and urge us on,
whispering to us:
“You are the hope of the world.”

  1. 05/11/2017— Water Lily 2017 05 — Pike’s Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, June 4, 2017

    People world-wide fall out
    along a continuum
    of Mindfulness/Wakefulness/Maturation,
    and tend to gather in groups
    that reflect the degree
    of Mindfulness/Wakefulness/Maturation
    of each person in the group.
    We are comfortable with people
    who talk/think/act like we do–
    and are uncomfortable with people
    who are too much ahead of us,
    or behind us,
    on the Mindfulness/Wakefulness/Maturation scale.
    Rural, small town, USA
    has its place on the scale,
    and urban, up town, USA
    has its pace on the scale–
    and they are not the same place.
    I would be interested to see
    how people fall out
    in terms of their interests,
    hobbies,
    sports loves,
    education level,
    religious preference, etc.
    And, I would be interested to know
    how we might increase the level
    of Mindfulness/Wakefulness/Maturation
    on national and international levels.
    Watching Jon Kabat-Zinn videos
    and practicing Mindfulness Meditation
    wouldn’t hurt.

06/11/2017 — We all are–
each one of us is–
The Anointed One,
called to be who we are,
set apart before we were born
to be the gift we are
given to the world.
How well we are received
is not relevant to the question:
Will we honor the gift?
Will we serve the gift?
Will we incarnate the gift?
Regardless of the effort
and the outcome?
Will we despise the gift?
Dishonor the gift?
Reject the gift?
Deny,
Discount,
Disregard,
Ignore
the gift?
We are–
our life is–
the answer to the question
asked at our birth,
by our birth.

  1. 06/12/2017— Reelfoot Lake 2015 58 — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 4, 2015

    The price we are willing to pay
    restricts what we are able to do.

06/12/2017 — Our myth is what we tell ourselves
about the way things are
that enables us to live
with the way things are.
The myths by which we live
must support us through
our personal crises in life.
They have to sustain us
and enable us to go forward
with our lives.
When we find what sustains us
through those crises,
we find our myth.
What is it that supports us
in the face of total disaster?
To know that, is to know your myth.
A personal crisis
will strip us of all
we thought to be life-sustaining,
and force us to do the work
of creating a truly life-sustaining myth
out of the ruins of false claims
and empty promises.
The lesson of those ruins is:
How we have been told things are
is not how things are.
Now, what say we about
how things are,
and what to do about it?
Our answer has to come
out of the truth of our reflection
of own experience
in conjunction
with our own creative imagination
and the bedrock
of our own authority
that leads to new realizations
and new ways of living,
of responding to what happens.
It is like this:
the sun rises, or sets,
and we do not stand before
the sunrise or the sunset asking,
“How am I supposed to see this?”
“How am I supposed to feel about it?”
‘What am I supposed to think?”
“What is it supposed to mean to me?”
“What is my response supposed to be?”
We stand before a sunrise or a sunset,
and our response is our response.
Our perception arises
out of our own perspective,
and our reflection on the allness
of our experience
transforms our outlook and attitude
and graces us with new ways of seeing
based on the interaction of our “noble heart”
with the reality of our life experience.

06/12/2017 — On the final page of his four volume masterwork on the history of religion/mythology, “The Masks of God,” Joseph Campbell says:

“The free association of men and women of like spirit…(is) in the modern world, the only honest (possibility): each the creative center of authority for (himself/herself)… The individual (must) anticipate and activate in (himself/herself) the centers of (his/her) own creative imagination, out of which (his/her) own myth and life-building “Yes because” may then unfold…In the end…the guide within will be (his/her) own noble heart alone, and the guide without, the image of beauty, the radiance of divinity, that wakes in (his/her) heart amor: the deepest, inmost seed of (his/her) nature, consubstantial with the process of the All, “thus come.” And in this life-creative adventure the criterion of achievement will be, as in every one of the tales herein reviewed, the courage to let go of the past, with its truths, its goals, its dogmas of “meaning,” and its gifts: to die to the world and to come to birth from within.”

06/12/2017 — Attaining enlightenment,
and achieving full/true human-being-hood
will surpass all of the
categories of superlative
I’m sure, but.
It won’t do anything for us.
There is still the garbage to take out,
the mopping and the dusting,
the other chores,
the bills to pay–
and the way of escape
from the monotony and drudgery
will be removed
and replaced by the
compassionate receptivity
of the present moment
just as it is,
regardless of what it is.
Is that a trade-off we really
want to make?
Apparently not,
for a large number of us.

06/12/2017 — We are drawn to,
resonate with,
certain people.
Are strengthened
and enlivened by
certain people.
Enjoy the company of,
and are comforted by,
certain people.

Why some and not all?
Why anyone and not everyone?
These are mystical experiences.
Encounters with the spiritual aspect of life.
Evidence of more than meets the eye,
of more than words can say.
Proof that the physical dimension
is not the only dimension,
and that logic and reason
are not the only guides
through the Dark Wood.

  1. 06/13/2017— Carolina Thread Trail 2016 43/44 Panorama — York County, Waxhaw, North Carolina, November 20, 2016

    There are no shortcuts
    on the road to life,
    on the road of life.
    No one can do our work for us,
    can do the work for us,
    can tell us what to do
    and how to do it–
    except in the most general,
    vague,
    imprecise
    and useless
    kind of way.
    The way to God
    is the way of God.
    We have to be God
    to know God.
    And we do not get there
    by thinking
    or by believing.
    Godliness is not mental.
    It is “of the heart,”
    and heart and life are one.
    When we live without heart
    it shows.
    The spiritual journey
    is the distance
    from the head
    to the heart.
    Heart leads to
    and flows from
    the life we live.
    The way to the heart
    is the way of the heart.
    Heart is in how we live.
    Heart is in what we do.
    Heart is in how we do it.
    Until heart and life are one,
    we are wearing our hat
    looking for our hat.
    We are living
    to get to the place
    of being who we are
    and being right about
    who that is–
    with compassion
    for ourselves
    and all living things.

  2. 06/14/2017— Yellowstone Falls 2005 — Yellowstone National Park, Canyon Village, Wyoming, September, 2005

    You can call it luck,
    or you can call it grace,
    or providence.
    It is the same thing:
    The ground of existence.
    The fundamental fact of life.
    We are all “just lucky to be here.”
    Some people are forever of the opinion
    that “Luck has noting to do with it!
    We are all here by the providence
    and grace of God!”
    My quick retort is,
    “Aren’t we lucky
    that God is so gracious
    and providential?”
    Luck comes in two forms,
    good and bad
    (Three if you count
    “None at all”).
    The interesting thing here
    is that luck is like quicksilver,
    or an optical illusion,
    or the fastest shape shifter
    of all time.
    Good luck becomes bad luck
    in a wink.
    And bad luck becomes good luck
    in a similar fashion.
    You can’t pin luck down.
    Now, you are lucky,
    now you are not,
    now you are…
    Nothing is as it was,
    or will be,
    or everything is,
    depending on your point of view,
    and the time of day
    (Or, of your life)
    you take the photo.
    So, if you think you
    are in the middle
    of the worst things can be,
    keep living.
    Everything changes in time.
    Sometimes,
    in a way that will make this
    seem like the best of times.

06/14/2017 — What I am about to write
applies to me, but.
My deep hunch is
that you could, right now,
be writing the same thing
about you.
I am confident it reflects
the truth about all of you
who are reading this.
Those whom it would not
describe would probably
have never visited this site,
and would be long since gone
if they had.

My life could be easier
than it is,
and a lot more fun,
with less to do
that I don’t like/want to do,
and more to do that I
do like/want to do.
It is often a grind
to get up again
and go meet what is waiting.
And I am usually not in the mood
to do it.
So, I feel worse about my life
than I have any right to feel.
Over the years,
I have amassed a hell of a fine record
of meeting challenges.
I’ve done some things
as well as Jesus, the Buddha,
or the Dalai Lama
could have done them–
and some things better
(Let’s see the Dalai Lama
change a diaper, for example,
a rank, ripe, godawful one).
I have met challenges in the past,
and will meet them in the future.
I am confident in my ability
to do that.
No matter how I feel about
how I’m doing,
I’m doing very well.
And.
So.
Are.
You.

  1. 06/15/2017— Coleus 2017 02 — Pike’s Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, June 5, 2017

    We have to work together
    to serve the good of the whole.
    When the good of a part
    asserts itself over the good of the whole,
    it’s a problem.
    Whose good is served
    by the good we call good?
    Whose good is discounted,
    dismissed,
    disregarded,
    denied,
    despised,
    ignored?
    Partisan politics,
    partisan religion,
    partisan practices of any kind,
    where by the good of the many
    is subservient to the good of the few,
    and what is right
    is defined as what is right
    in the eyes of the few
    at the expense of what is right
    in the eyes of the many,
    is not the ground of democracy,
    and cannot sustain an environment
    in which people are free
    to find their own way
    and express their own truth
    while honoring and serving
    the good of the whole.
    How much for the individual
    and how much for the group
    is the dynamic dialectic
    that limits the individual
    and restricts the group–
    “the slippery slope,”
    “the dangerous path,”
    “the razor’s edge,”
    that defines,
    shapes,
    and governs
    our life together.
    Without good faith
    and self-transparency,
    we have no hope
    of pulling it off–
    and everything rides
    on our pulling it off!

06/15/2017 —   The slippery slope,”
“the dangerous path,”
“the razor’s edge”
is being the authority
for our own life
and being right
about what we do.
It is knowing what we are doing
in one situation after another
in which
“Who can be so wise?”
Everything rides on
our knowing what we are doing
and we cannot possibly
know what we are doing.
So.
We start with knowing
that we do not know
what we are doing,
and proceed from there
along “the slippery slope,”
“the dangerous path,”
“the razor’s edge.”
Looking,
listening,
inquiring,
in order to
see,
hear,
and understand.
Slowly grasping
over the course of our life
what is happening,
what is being asked of us
and what needs to be done in response.
We get better at living mindfully
by practicing the art of mindfulness
to the best of our ability
at each stage along the way.
The key principles of mindfulness are:
Seeing what we look at.
Being where we are.
Fully present with this moment right now,
without judgment or opinion,
with compassion, kindness and awareness.
Knowing what we know,
and waiting to see
what that knowledge
asks of us
and where things go from there.
Where we repeat
the same process
endlessly forever
along “the slippery slope,”
“the dangerous path,”
“the razor’s edge.”

06/15/2017 — People have to be heard!
Nothing is more empowering
than being listened to with understanding.
Carl Jung said,
“The reason for evil in the world
is that people are not able
to tell their stories.”
And, they are not able
to tell their stories
because there is no one to listen.
Listening with understanding
is the foundation
to all livable futures.
Listening with understanding
is as simple
as being mindfully aware
of what all is being said.
Listening is mindful awareness
extended to another person–
it is being mindfully aware
of the other person,
in a way that enables
the other person
to be mindfully aware
of herself/himself.
The gift of mindful awareness
is that proverbial gift
“that goes on giving.”
If you are going to be anything,
be mindfully aware of everything.

06/15/2017 — The path for Christianity
is to ditch its theology
and reclaim its symbols
by updating its myth.
For example:
It could talk about Christianity
as the way between
the two gardens,
Eden and Gethsemane–
metaphors for doing it our way,
living out of our idea
of how our life ought to be lived,
discovering the emptiness
and lostness
of that wasteland,
dying to that orientation
and coming to life
by living in collaboration
with our psyche/self within
in a “thy will not mine be done” kind of way.
We live away from thinking our way
into our life
to living mindfully, compassionately, aware
of our life’s need of the gifts we bear,
and look for ways to incarnate them
in each situation that arises,
for the good of the whole.
The church then becomes a way-station
on the spiritual journey,
offering hope and direction
through good times and bad.
This is a paradigm waiting to be initiated.
What’s the holdup?

  1. 06/16/2017— Grandfather Mountain 2016 18 — Grandfather Mountain State Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Banner Elk, North Carolina, October 17, 2016

    Let’s say you hate black people,
    and women,
    and immigrants,
    and Muslims,
    and LGBTQ’s,
    and Latinos,
    and poor people,
    and people with disabilities–
    and even if you say
    you don’t hate anyone,
    but they can’t tell the difference
    by the way you treat them,
    or, you vote for someone
    who does hate them,
    you may as well hate them,
    and you are only kidding yourself
    in saying that you don’t.
    Or if you hate the people
    who hate all these people…
    Where are you going to go
    to exorcise your hatred?
    How are you going
    to cure your hatred?
    How are you going
    to be free of hatred?
    What are you going to do
    about your hatred?
    No one can do
    anything about your hatred
    but you.
    If you are waiting
    for all the people you hate
    to disappear,
    you will die hating
    all of the people
    who haven’t disappeared.
    Your hatred is up to you.
    What are you going to do
    about it?

06/16/2017 — We have to guard
our own solitude,
mine the silence
for the gold,
and be present
in each moment
with compassionate
non-judgment–
in order to meet
the moment
as it needs to be met,
and let things
take their course.
There is nothing
difficult about this,
it is merely distasteful,
going, as it does,
against the current
of the popular idea
regarding how things
are to be done:
With a resolute will
an irresistible force,
and unrelenting determination.

06/16/2017 — Alexis Carrel said,
“We are both the marble and the sculptor.”
The chisel and the compelling vision.
The conscious ego and the unconscious psyche.
Come together to incarnate ourselves
in the world of time and space.
We make no progress
because we devote no
attention and effort
to the project—
and die without living
the life that was our potential
at birth.
It’s time to get to work
on ourselves.

  1. 06/17/2017— Jasper Wetlands 2009 01 — Jasper National Park, Alberta, September, 2009

    We don’t choose
    what we care about.
    We don’t care about
    what we care about
    because we ought to,
    because someone told us to,
    because it would be smart to,
    because it will look good on our record.
    All of that results in posturing,
    not caring.
    We can pretend to care about
    anything,

    We can say we care about it all.
    But.
    We have no control at all
    over the things we actually
    care about.
    What are the things
    you actually care about?
    How do you
    exhibit,
    express,
    incarnate,
    manifest
    the depth and degree
    of your caring.
    How do you make apparent
    what you care about?
    How would anyone know
    you care about what you care about?
    We are here to care about
    what we care about
    in visible,
    tangible,
    concrete ways.
    Caring about the things we care about
    will lead us into
    living the life that is our life to live.
    Climb aboard that beast–
    if you dare–
    and tell them
    to open the chute,
    you are going
    for the ride of your life.

06/17/2017 —

In the Bible, the Preacher (Ecclesiastes),
says, “There is a time
for every purpose
under heaven.”
This is the Tao.
This is Karma.
When things are happening
in accord with their purpose
and their time,
things are happening
in accord with the Tao,
and things are aligned with,
and producing,
good Karma.
Then the shoe maker
is making shoes,
the taxi driver
is driving a cab,
the poet is writing poetry,
the civil engineer is
building bridges…
When things are out of sync
with their purpose and their time,
the shoe maker
is writing poetry,
the poet is building bridges,
the taxi driver is making shoes,
the civil engineer is driving a cab…
We begin to turn things
back to their natural flow
when we sit quietly
and reflect on
what is ours to do,
and when, and how,
best to do it.
Putting ourselves in accord
with our own time and purpose,
creates momentum
that shifts the world
toward balance and peace.
One person in sync with herself
influences harmony
wherever she goes.

  1. 06/18/2017— Day Lilies 2017 04 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 3, 2017

    Joseph Campbell said,
    “Where you stumble and fall,
    there lies the gold!”
    (or words to that effect).
    All those mistakes
    and snafu’s,
    the false starts
    and wrong turns,
    the failures,
    flops,
    faux pas’s…
    All the things we
    we have done
    and not done
    we remember
    so vividly
    with such shame
    and remorse…
    All that we wish
    we had done differently…
    plays a part
    in who we have become,
    and who we might yet be.
    The things we learn
    are not all easy things to learn.
    The things we know
    do not all come to us
    in smooth and gentle ways.
    Aeschylus, writing some years
    before Campbell, said,
    “He who learns must suffer.
    And even in our sleep pain
    that cannot forget
    falls drop by drop
    upon the heart,
    and in our own despair,
    against our will,
    comes wisdom to us
    by the awful grace of God.”
    It is a terrible path
    to our own humanity,
    made more terrible–
    unforgivably so–
    by refusing to walk it
    and claim, thereby, the gold.

06/18/2017 — There is no getting everything in place
so that we can relax
and enjoy our life.
There is only meeting
the challenges presented
by each present moment
for as long as there are moments.
Do not think this is about
getting somewhere.
We are not going anywhere.
There is no progress
in terms of getting everyone
to agree to live with justice and kindness
in relationship with each other.
Progress is measured
in our willingness and ability
to get up and do what needs
us to do it
in each situation as it arises
no matter what.
We will never run out of moments
that need what we have to offer.
Take heart!
We will never run out of
what we have to give!

  1. 06/19/2017— Castle Mountain 2009 01 — Banff National Park, Alberta, Canadian Rockies, September, 2009

    There is nothing wrong with us–
    as individuals,
    as a nation,
    as a world–
    that growing up
    wouldn’t make better.
    Growing up
    is always
    the unacknowledged option.
    The one we never consider,
    and always ignore
    in favor of finding ways
    to impose our way
    on everything
    standing in our way.
    We will do anything
    to avoid growing up.

06/20/2017 — This is Karen Handel’s
(the Republican running
for election to Georgia’s
sixth district) core message:
“We are going to rock
Nancy Pelosi’s world!”
No word about any of the social issues
facing the people on the list
of the marginalized and maligned,
ignored, disregarded and discarded
throughout the country.
Just show Nancy Pelosi who is boss!
It is a sick message,
and a telling exposure
of “the Republican Mind.”

06/20/2017 — My bias,
my prejudice,
my bigotry,
my political profiling
tells me that
the people who will
vote for Karen Handel
in Georgia’s 6th District today
will not have anything to worry about
regarding losing their health care,
will not be Muslim
or have anything at stake
in the disdain and disregard
for Muslims nationwide,
will not care anything at all
about the future of LGBTQ rights,
or about women’s rights,
or about the rights of people
to a livable wage,
or about the rights of disabled people,
or the rights of children,
or about the future of public education,
or about helping students,
with the costs of a college education…
They will be concerned about
their own safety and security,
their personal comfort and peace of mind.
And they will think,
all evidence to the contrary tossed aside,
that Republicans will keep them safer
than Democrats will.
Tossing evidence to the contrary aside
is what Republicans really do best.

  1. 06/20/2017— Jasper Wetlands 2009 04 — Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canadian Rockies, September, 2009

    Here’s a creed for the Non-Subscribing Church
    of What’s Happening Now:

    I believe in mindful,
    compassionate,
    non-judgmental,
    awareness
    of the just-as-it-is-ness
    and the all-ness
    of each present moment.
    I believe in liberty, justice and equality;
    in beauty, creativity and imagination;
    in kindness, good faith, and goodwill;
    in goodness, mercy, and grace;
    in tenderness, intimacy, and vulnerability;
    in noble hearts and unquenchable spirits;
    in empathetic understanding of self and others;
    in self-reflection and self-transparency;
    in seeing what we look at and knowing what we know;
    in experiencing our experience and loving what we love;
    in caring about what we care about,
    and living in ways that make our little heart sing–
    while honoring the right of all people
    to a life that expresses and incarnates
    the best they are capable of being
    in the time and place of their living.

    To be edited, expanded and enlarged
    in order to say what needs to be said
    as it occurs to us
    over the course of our life.
    This reflects my idea of religion at its best.

06/20/2017 — I am intensely,
and perhaps eternally,
interested in the process
by which we change our mind.
I have changed my mind
more times than I can remember,
and typically am aware of changing it
several times a week–
but.
I have never forced my mind
to change against its will.
I cannot talk myself into thinking
contrary to the way I think.
My thinking–my mind–changes
on its own,
without my making it happen.
It as though my mind
has a mind of its own.
My mind changes me.
I do not change my mind.
I “wake up,” so to speak,
and discover that
my mind has changed.
Upon reflection,
it seems to me that
experience changes my mind–
that my mind experiences
reality in a way
that shifts something
internal to it,
and it changes,
changing me (my behavior) along with it.
My place in the process (I think),
is allowing my mind the freedom/right
to its own experience of reality.
I do not sit in judgment/control
of my mind’s perception of reality,
of its perspective of reality.
It sees what it sees (what it looks at),
and not what it is supposed to see.
My maternal grandfather–
who was person most locked into
seeing only what he allowed himself to see,
exactly as he had always seen it,
that I have ever known–
did not have the freedom of his own experience.
He experienced everything exactly
as he had always experienced it.
If anything new came along,
he treated it as he always treated
anything new that came along,
throwing it on the trash pile
of things never to think about again.
His mind never changed.
His way of life never changed.
I am here, in part,
to redeem his life.
I don’t try to control my mind.
I try to keep up with my mind,
and let it show me
what I need to know/think/do
here/now.
And, I wonder how other people
experience the process
of their mind changing.
It is a curiosity that keeps me going.

06/20/2017 — In addition to being
intently and eternally
interested in how our mind changes,
I am also taken
with how our strongly held beliefs
all are self-validating–
they are true
because we know they are true
based on our own experience.
This is the ground of all superstitions,
and all religious belief.
If you “take anything on faith,”
it will be validated in your own experience
over time.
Take the statements…
“All women are ____”
“All men are ____”
“All black people,
LGBTQ people,
Latinos
Muslims
Etc.
are ___”
Believe them fervently,
and they will be validated in your own experience.
It is because, of course,
we become biased,
prejudiced,
bigoted,
in the service of our own beliefs,
and “look” for the ways our experience
confirms them,
while “overlooking” the ways
our experience refutes them.
It is a trick we play on ourselves–
a trick that becomes
a determining factor
in how we live our life.
Once we believe something,
we are not free to disbelieve it,
and interfere with/deny
our mind’s experience of its experience,
refusing to allow
evidence to the contrary
to enter our field of view
and change our mind about what we believe.
We become “sot in our ways.”
And beyond all hope of awakening,
transformation,
and redemption.

06/20/2017 — Jesus’ injunction to
“Judge not,”
can be understood
as a plea
to be open to our experience.
Judging an experience
cuts us off from the experience,
prevents us
from experiencing the experience,
keeps us
from knowing more than we know,
by settling for knowing
what the experience is
as we render our judgment upon it.
“Judge not,”
means “Keep an open mind,”
“Wait and see,”
“Let life be your teacher,”
“Don’t think you know enough
to stop thinking
about anything!”

  1. 06/21/2017— Bearded Iris 2017 — Indian Land, South Carolina, April 17, 2017

    We do what we do
    in season and out of season,
    around the clock,
    in all weather conditions,
    whether we feel up to it or not,
    whether we are in the mood for it or not,
    whether it’s working or not,
    whether it makes any sense or not,
    whether it does any good or not,
    whether it makes a difference or not
    because it is who we are,
    and it needs us to do it,
    and nothing matters more
    than being true to our own core
    and standing fast
    on the bedrock of our own identity
    in being who we are
    in the time and place of our living.
    If we are not going to believe in
    what we believe in
    and exhibit our loyalty, allegiance and devotion
    to the work that is our work
    and the values that are out values,
    we make a travesty
    of believing,
    working
    and valuing,
    and show ourselves to be hollow people
    drifting aimlessly,
    mindlessly,
    through the wasteland
    of greed and hopelessness.
    Ain’t no damn Cyclops
    going to throw us off the path,
    no matter how many there are
    or how often they block the way!

06/21/2017 — Carl Jung said,
“Protection and security
are only valuable
if they do not cramp life excessively.”
Safety is not the highest value.
Being fully alive
and open to life
is the highest value.
Living with all that is within us
for as long as life is possible
is the highest value.
Holding nothing back
and giving all that is ours to give
in every time and place,
condition and circumstance,
of our living
is the highest value.
Dancing with our fear
and stepping into the unknown
in the company of all
that comes with us
into the wonder
of every moment
is the highest value.
We don’t know what
is going to happen,
or what we are going
to do about it,
but we are going
to find out,
and can’t wait to see!

06/21/2017 — No matter how bad it gets,
we still have to deal with it–
and how we deal with it
makes all the difference.
Hope is not what we have,
it is what we do–
it is how we live.
We live hopefully,
defiantly,
courageously,
determinedly,
in the service
of the best we can imagine,
in allegiance
to the highest values
we can envision,
in each situation
as it arises,
all our life long.
That does not change.
Conditions change.
Circumstances change.
The environment and atmosphere
in which we live
fluctuate with the times,
but we remain grounded
in our vision of the good,
in our sense of what is right,
just, beautiful,
and worthy of what we have to give.
When in doubt,
stick with who you are
and what you are about.
Our identity is our foundation.
Our values are our guide.
No matter how hard it gets,
it is never more difficult
than being who we are,
doing what is ours to do,
in every situation as it arises,
all our life long.

06/21/2017 — It is easier for us to believe
what we believe
if we associate
with people who
share our beliefs.
Ratification, verification,
validation, confirmation
repeated over time
normalizes our beliefs,
makes them familiar,
comfortable,
right and true.
White supremacists
hang out with white supremacists
listen to white supremacists
and read what white supremacists write.
Same goes for evangelical Christians
and liberal Democrats.
What we believe is a function of,
an extension of,
the company we keep–
and the company we keep
is a reflection of what we believe.
Mindful (compassionate, non-judgmental) awareness
changes things–
across the board,
around the circle
(and around the world).
Introspection,
self-reflection,
self-examination
in conjunction
with “other” and “outer”
inspection,
reflection,
examination
produces realization
formed in and by awareness,
and that transforms perspective
and enlarges perception,
grows us toward maturation,
and alters reality
by clarifying and deepening
our comprehension/understanding
of what is happening
and needs to happen.
If you want to change something,
become intently,
intensely,
aware of it
and of everything associated with it.

06/21/2017 — The magic lies in how
we respond, relate, react
to what happens–
to what is happening–
and how what is happening
impacts us,
and how we impact it.
The magic resides
at the interface
between ourselves
and our life–
between our ego consciousness
and our psychic unconsciousness–
and enables
the dance,
the flow,
of life.
We assist the magic,
or resist it,
and that is the turn
that tells the tale.

06/21/2017 —

All religions require
their adherents to
“take it on faith”
that the creeds, doctrines, premise’s
of the religion are true/actual/factual/real.
Taking something “on faith”
comes down to
taking someone’s word for it
that it is so.
It is believing that someone
knows what they are talking about
regarding what to believe,
and believing it
because they say so.
They say,
“Believing it is so
is the way to
knowing that it is.”
Of course.
That’s the way horoscopes work.
Believing that it is not so
is the way to
knowing that it isn’t.
Belief in anything is groundless.
Faith in anything is without evidence.
We always believe as much
in spite of something as
because of something.
We know prayer works
because someone prayed
and was healed.
Never mind that cemeteries
are filled with people
who had a different outcome.
So, how do we know what to believe?
Knowing and believing
operate on different frequencies.
The kind of knowing that
stems from believing
is the kind that makes no inquires,
and runs no experiments,
and tests no hypotheses.
It’s the kind that says,
“It doesn’t matter what the facts are,
we know what the truth is.”
All belief is self-validating,
and arguing over which set of beliefs
is True Belief
is like arguing over the meaning
of an ink blot.

06/21/2017— If Christianity would dump its theology
and reclaim/reinterpret
its symbols,
what a difference that would make
in the world!
But.
That won’t happen from the top down.
The flow goes from the bottom up.
But.
Even that is such a difficult struggle,
people opt for simply walking away.
That’s such a shame,
because “the symbols of transformation”
(Carl Jung)
are all “right there.”
Communion and Baptism are two good ones.
Throw out the theology surrounding both,
and you are left with
bread, wine, and water.
We couldn’t ask for three better ones.
Bread:
“The bread of affliction is the bread of life.”
Wine:
“The cup of suffering is the cup of salvation.”
Water:
“Everyone is born of water (embryonic fluid)
and of spirit (the mysterious source of life and being).”
You could build a life
around the exploration
of those symbols
and the implications
they have for the life
we live–
no theology needed.

06/21/2017 — Understanding something
doesn’t mean we will be able
to explain it.
Sheldon Kopp said,
“Some things can be experienced,
but not understood–
and some things can be understood,
but not explained.”
We have to relax ourselves
into some things,
and allow them to carry us
wherever they are going.
Probably,
most things are that way.

  1. 06/22/2017 — Athabaska Valley 2009 01 — Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies, Alberta, September, 2009

    I weep for the complexity of our lives.
    For our work of balancing the contradictions,
    managing the offsetting opposites,
    reconciling the irreconcilable,
    bearing the pain of polarities,
    getting up each day
    to face the mutually exclusive
    incompatibilities that form and shape,
    bend and contort
    who we are–
    and who we also are.
    We are the best working agreement
    we can manage.
    It is no wonder we are depressed,
    alcoholic,
    drug repositories,
    religious fanatics,
    symptomatic,
    strung out between
    our wits end
    and the end of our rope.
    Where would we be
    without our addictions
    and our denial?
    And yet, and yet…
    In the darkest night of that denial,
    with all the threatening light
    shut tightly out
    so that no one–
    especially not us–
    knows how it is with us,
    divided as we are
    through the heart of our being,
    something–
    someone–

    We know.
    And cannot abide our knowing.
    But.
    It isn’t like we are the only one.
    The entire history of humanity
    (and of our literature, music and art)
    is the story of the secrets we keep
    about our Other Sides.
    What to do with the truth of us all?
    I recommend weeping–
    and opening ourselves thereby
    to the truth of our Other Sides,
    bearing mindfully that truth
    through the days,
    holding in our awareness all that we are,
    without denying or excommunicating
    or demonizing or shaming,
    simply receiving the truth
    and all of its contraries,
    and working out
    as well as we are able
    the compromises and concessions
    required to keep
    the whole together
    and functioning as a unit
    in the world
    of normal,
    apparent,
    reality.

06/22/2017 — The Republicans’ one-trick pony
is demonizing the Democrats.
Remove all references to Democrats
from their vocabulary,
and they have nothing to say.
They demonize the Democrats
for being closet Socialists
(And “everybody knows,” they say,
“that Socialism is Satanic to the core!”).
They demonize both Clintons.
They demonize Barack Obama.
They demonize Nancy Pelosi.
They demonize gun control
(which they posit as a Democrat conspiracy).
They demonize all social programs
(see above re. socialism).
They demonize abortion.
They demonize homosexuality.
They demonize poverty
as evidencing a lack of self-discipline
and a will to succeed.
Republicans offer themselves
as the only fitting alternative
to the Demonic Democrats.
After a generation of repeating the mantra,
all they have to do is stand before
their constituents
and shout,
“At least, I won’t take your guns away!”
And walk off with an automatic 40% of the vote.
Democrats can claim another 40%,
which leaves 10% for Third Party candidates
and 10% who control the outcome.
Democrats have to stop being defensive
and make their case
for Democracy,
civil and human rights
to the uncommitted 10%
who carry the future of the country
with them into the voting booth.

06/22/2017 — Democrats are serving/selling
Liberty, Justice, Equality,
and all the values implied by
and contingent upon The Big Three
(Compassion, grace, kindness, truth,
transparency, forthrightness, good faith, etc.).
Democrats serve/sell civil and human rights.
Democrats serve/sell the fundamental basics
of Democracy:
The Rule of Law; The Separation of Powers;
The Authority of the Constitution;
Liberty and Justice for All;
Of The People, By The People, For The People…
And if the majority of the American people
won’t vote for Democrats
representing the principles
of American Democracy,
then God help us all.

  1. 06/23/2017 — Moraine Lake 2009 04 — Banff National Park, Alberta, Canadian Rockies, September, 2009

    We do not do what we do to achieve some goal.
    We do what we do to serve our purpose,
    our values,
    our principles,
    our character.
    We do what we do to be who we are
    whether it does “any good” or not.
    We do not care what our outcomes are,
    or may be.
    We care who we are
    and how that is to be best incarnated
    in the time and place of our living–
    in each situation as it arises–
    all our life long.
    We live to be who we are
    here and now!
    That is our motivation and our goal.
    We are the purpose of our living.
    We live to be ourselves,
    to express ourselves,
    and become ourselves
    in the effort we make
    to identify, understand, and be who only we can be
    in the life we are living,
    in the times in which we live.
    In order to pull this off,
    we require the right blend,
    the right balance,
    the right mix
    of solitude and socialization,
    of engagement and disengagement,
    of experience and reflection on experience,
    of silence and conversation.
    My bet is that most of us
    are under-nourished
    on the quiet side of the equation,
    and just want someone
    to turn up the music
    most of the time
    to make our mind
    quit making us crazy.
    To give us some goal,
    so that we don’t have to know
    who we are,
    or hear ourselves think.

06/23/2017 — Watching the United States government
work against the people of the U.S.
and of the entire globe,
is like watching the glaciers melt
and the polar ice pack
cave into the sea.
It is inevitable, unstoppable, heartbreaking–
and we did it to ourselves.
For money,
and the pleasures
money can buy.
Profit at any price
eventually runs down,
plays out,
stops working.

06/23/2017 — Nothing is wrong with me
that better advice and guidance
wouldn’t have prevented.
My advisors and guides
would have said the same thing.
How come Obi wan’s and Yodas
are in such short supply?
Where are those who know
hiding out?

  1. 06/24/2017 — Goodale 2016 34 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina, November 7, 2016

    Everything happens for a reason:
    Because something else happened,
    or failed to happen.
    There is no starting point
    and no end point.
    There is only one thing leading to another
    for as far as the eye can see.
    We all are where we are
    because of how we responded
    to the people, places and things
    that nudged us off our track
    and onto another
    all along the way.
    The trick is that the entire web
    of influence and impact–
    reaction-action-reaction–
    turns on how we respond to it.
    How we deal with what happens
    effects what happens next.
    Everything is related to everything else.
    We do not live in a vacuum–
    and cannot live as though we do.
    Everything we do matters
    in terms of the waves of influence
    it creates–
    the furrows of karma it plows–
    for our personal future
    and the future of all things.
    Every moment is a swing moment.
    Every now is the fulcrum shifting
    all those that follow.
    The present is the turning point
    for the rest of time.
    Nothing is isolated and/or irrelevant.
    Everything is a player
    in the field of time and action.
    We all have a place
    and carry weight.
    It only takes realization
    to know that it is so.
    Then, all that remains,
    is living as though it is so–
    by being mindfully
    (compassionately/non-judgmentally)
    aware of what is happening
    and what needs to happen
    regardless of what we want to happen,
    putting ourselves in accord
    with the just-so-ness–
    with the way-it-is-ness–
    of the way things are,
    and doing what seems best to us
    in light of the true good of the whole.

06/24/2017 — Here is how we all can marry each other
and live happily ever after:
You make a list of all the things
you find attractive
that you imagine about me,
and I will make a list of all the things
I find attractive
that I imagine about you–
and like this all around the circle–
then you spend the rest of your life
working to bring forth in yourself
the things on your list,
and I spend the rest of my life
working to bring forth in myself
the things on my list,
with you working to incarnate me in your life,
and me working to incarnate you in my life.
I become you as only I can be you,
and you become me as only you can be me.
In this way, the two of us become one.
And we don’t have to deal with the in-laws.
It is the perfect union.

06/24/2017 — With focus on the way–
on the path that is The Path–
being paramount,
distractions and diversions are everywhere.
Everything is distraction!
Everything is diversion!
So, let it be
because it is.
Hold everything in your awareness,
and return to your breathing.
Grounded in your breath,
standing/seated/lying/walking/running/driving/etc.
in the present moment
remember the way
and the path that is The Path.
Repeat as often as necessary,
and be well.

06/24/2017 — Of course, everything is one.
We belong,
along with everyone
and everything else
to the great web of life and being
(and non-being).
Without sunlight, where would we be?
Sunlight presupposes sun,
sun presupposes the basic elements
of the universe–
the same elements that comprise the atoms
that make up everything
from crying babes in arms
to grand pianos
and baseball bats
that hit grand slams.
Nothing exists that is not a part
of the whole.
We all are one whole smooch
on the cheek of the source of life and being
(and non-being)–
as Thank-you and celebration!

  1. 06/25/2017 — Boone Fork 2016 18-B — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016

    Of course, we are two.
    We are as different as daylight and dark.
    Two-ness is no more of an illusion
    than one-ness is.
    Everybody can see that,
    while we are one,
    “we are not the same one”
    (Johnny Cash and 10,000 others).
    Just as daylight and dark
    are different aspects
    of the same day,
    so you and I
    are different aspects
    of the same species–
    we are even different aspects
    of ourselves over time.
    All trees are the same
    and no two trees are alike.
    A rock is not an egg.
    We can break an egg
    and eat its contents,
    but if we break a rock
    we still have a rock–
    and rock dust
    (commonly called “sand”)
    is still not an egg.
    We all have fingerprints,
    but none of us have the same fingerprints.
    Oneness is not uniformity.
    It is in our distinguishing features
    that we become the wonder we are.
    Our gifts display our uniqueness,
    reveal our identity,
    set us apart–
    yet, not too far apart,
    but far enough apart
    to recognize the beauty
    of the other,
    delight in the variety
    of the whole,
    and appreciate the magic
    we all bring to life in the world.

06/25/2017 — When the leader
is incapable of leading,
and “the center
fails to hold”
(W.B. Yeats),
the people have to find
the ground under
their own feet,
and return to the source
of their own identity.
What is good?
Whose good is served
by the good we call good?
What was the face
that was ours
before we were born–
before we were taken
from ourselves
by a culture
needing us
to buy, spend, amass and consume
and keep the culture going?
Failed by the culture,
we have to find our way back
to the bedrock of our being,
and live out of who we are
and what is ours to do.
Led by our intuitive sense,
our instinctive knowledge,
of what is “us” and “not us,”
and good for all of those
seeking to serve
the core of life and being,
we often walk two paths
at the same time,
along a slippery slope,
a dangerous path,
like the razor’s edge,
until we “arrive where we started,
and know it for the first time”
(T.S. Eliot).

  1. 06/26/2017 — Cotton in the Field 2015 02 Panorama — Mississippi Delta, November 3, 2015

    Aging is the art
    of letting go what’s going
    and letting come what’s coming.
    It’s all going.
    Even what’s coming.
    The art of aging
    is squaring yourself up
    with how it is now.
    Forget how much you liked how it was.
    Forget how much you don’t like how it is.
    Remember, it’s going, too.
    So, what the hell?
    Mindfulness is the art
    of knowing what’s happening now
    and responding to it
    in ways appropriate
    to the occasion.
    The art of aging well
    hinges on managing
    the art of mindfulness well.
    When your mind goes
    it’s all gone,
    but until then,
    your mind is your best friend,
    and how you live in relation to it
    determines everything.
    It’s all mental!
    Not in terms of logic and reason,
    but in terms of awareness and knowing.
    Mental is not thinking.
    Mental is seeing, hearing, understanding
    and living as though we do.
    Our mind is how we put
    it all together,
    heart, soul, instinct, intuition,
    logic, reasoning, intellect,
    perceiving, assuming, inferring…
    Mind is the sphere of perspective and perception,
    receiving and responding.
    Mind takes the whole show into account,
    works out the ratios,
    and comes up with a plan of action,
    which may be doing nothing at all
    but waiting.
    There is so much we just have to wait out.
    And then,
    there is letting go,
    and letting come.
    Not much action there, either.
    Doing nothing at the right time,
    in the right spirit,
    in the right frame of mind,
    is always the best thing to do.

  2. 06/27/2017 — Rountree Nursery 2016 02 — Rountree Plantation Greenhouse and Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, October, 2016

    All of the superheros have powers
    they they apply as needed
    to any situation
    everywhere
    no matter what.
    Mindful awareness
    is a superpower
    that doesn’t work
    that way.
    Mindful awareness
    positions us
    to offer what we have to give
    to every situation
    as it arises,
    but a lot of situations
    have no need
    of what we have to offer,
    and most situations
    take no notice.
    Mindful awareness
    is swept away
    in situations
    controlled by
    mindless ruthlessness,
    or simply by
    mindless arrogance,
    or mindless greed,
    or mindless stupidity.
    Mindful awareness
    positions us to see doors
    where we would otherwise
    see no doors,
    but, the prevailing winds
    may not favor
    propitious outcomes.
    The ability to rise
    to every occasion
    does not guarantee
    successful results.
    There is no immunity.
    There are no exemptions or exclusions.
    Mindful awareness
    gives us our best chance
    of seeing what is happening
    and what needs to happen in response
    and doing the same thing
    with what happens after that,

    But.
    It’s nip and tuck all the way.

06/27/2017 — The work of resistance
is the work of mindful awareness,
the ground of which
is the formation
of an individual perspective
which creates individual perceptions,
which is to say individual points of view.
Oneness with ourselves
is primary oneness,
and is the necessary component
in “To Thine Own Self Be True.”
And where shall we incarnate
our truthfulness to our own self–
if not in the field
of the Social,
the Cultural,
and the Political?
We bring ourselves to life in our life
by living in ways that are true to ourselves–
to our individual perspective,
our individual perceptions,
our individual points of view.
No Group Think Allowed.
Republicans who march
in lockstep cadence
to the tune of their Keepers
who bought them their office
cannot tolerate
or dominate
individuals who are
listening to themselves.
Such individuals
are the hope of democracy,
and of the world.

  1. 06/28/2017 — Reelfoot Lake 2015 61 — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 4, 2015

    Squaring ourselves up with
    what needs to happen.
    in light of everything else
    that needs to happen,
    and holding it all
    in our awareness
    while we negotiate our way
    through the contradictions
    and implications
    to clarity
    and decision
    regarding the best
    of available,
    if only provisional,
    alternatives
    is the work of being alive.
    Forget having a trouble-free existence
    with everything going your way
    and nothing but peace and contentment
    to contemplate,
    and joys and delights
    to look forward to!
    We compromise,
    reconcile,
    and struggle to find
    a way of satisfying
    mutually exclusive demands
    throughout our life.
    If you don’t know
    what I’m talking about
    you are oblivious
    to the realities of your own existence,
    and in denial about matters
    of grave magnitude.
    What passes for “getting by”
    is actually “setting ourselves up”
    for the “wake-up call”
    we hope not to answer.

06/28/2017 — Trump has no foundation,
no direction,
no vision,
no core,
no identity,
no self,
no soul.
He is all show.
All pose.
All posturing.
All impression.
All “Look at me! Look at me! Look at me!”
All “How do you like me now? And now? And now?”
All “Tell me I’m great again! And again! and again!”
He shifts like the wind
toward what he thinks
will make him look good now, and now, and now…
And, like the wind,
there is nothing there.

06/28/2017 — There aren’t many long,
rewarding, pauses
on the path of incarnating
our deepest self
and living the life
that is our joint life to live.
There is one Cyclops encounter
after another–
a string of challenges,
trials and ordeals–
with very little time to relax
and enjoy the view.
Our life,
even when we are living
in sync and aligned
with the highest values,
is a lot like those action/adventure films,
with crises, monsters, disasters, calamities, plights and predicaments
(though much more routine, monotonous, mundane and boring)
coming up all of the time,
one after another,
requiring us to get up
and do what must be done again.
We want to save the world
and we get to change another diaper
(or it’s equivalent).
What we get out of it:
We get to live our life
the way it needs us to live it
in incarnating who we are
in each situation as it arises
all our life long.
Our life is the canvas.
We are the artist
and the image.
How we do it
is IT.

06/28/2017— The church was before the Bible–
by about 300 years.
The church created the Bible,
and then said,
“Look what God gave us!
The Verbally Inspired Word
of the Living God!
You better believe it
as written,
or you will go straight to Hell!”
Now, that’s leverage, Folks–
which the church used
to it’s advantage,
with heresy trials,
persecutions,
and burnings at the stake,
removing its competition,
and strengthening its position
as the Dispenser of the Sacraments
and the Only Way to Heaven.
Clever,
verrrrry clever.

06/28/2017 — The more Republicans repeat the lie,
any lie,
every lie,
all lies,
the more palatable they become,
the more acceptable they are,
until they become
replacement truth
in the minds of those
hypnotized by the repetition.
It takes conscious resistance–
calling each lie the lie that it is
with unrelenting devotion
to the task.
They are lying.
They are liars.
Do not make excuses for them.
Do not gloss over their lies,
their lying.
Do not let it become okay.
Do not let it go unnoticed,
undenounced.
Not even once.

06/28/2017 — Trump has changed–
and is changing–everything.
We have to be sure
that one of the things
most certainly and completely changes
is ourselves.
We have to change
in response to the changes
Trump is hurling at us.
We have to become informed.
Subscribe to the NY Times
and the Washington Post–
and read them!
We have to pay attention intently,
intensely,
deliberately–
to words and how they are used:
terrorism,
extremism,
safety,
protection,
patriotism,
liberty–
and we have to stop using words
mindlessly,
words that we pick up from TV
or opinion-ball at the office
or wherever people gather.
Words cannot be fire-starters.
They have to have referents,
meaning,
boundaries,
limits.
We have to know what we are saying,
what is being said,
without being inflamed and enraged
by catch-phrases
and trigger-mechanisms.
We have to call lies out.
We have to refuse to accept anything
as “the new normal.”
We have to know who we are
and what values and principles
constitute our bedrock.
We have to live grounded
in our own identity–
in our own sense of right and wrong,
good and bad,
sick and evil.
And we have to be stirred to action
in response to all that is wrong
in our country and its politics.
Change for the worse
has to stir us
to change for the better.

  1. 06/29/2017 — A Walk In The Woods — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 15, 2016

    We all have to choose
    where we stand.
    I choose to stand
    with Jesus and the Buddha,
    the Dalai Lama and Gandhi,
    Martin Luther King, Jr
    and Rosa Parks–
    not because they are who they are,
    but because of where they stand:
    With the gays and the women,
    the blacks and the Latinos,
    the poor and the disabled,
    the old and the lame,
    the young and the vulnerable,
    the Muslims and the victims
    of violence and hatred,
    and all who are marginalized,
    stigmatized,
    disenfranchised,
    despised
    and ignored.
    We all have to stand somewhere–
    and do what we can
    to help those
    who need our help
    the most.
    Why stand with those
    who don’t need our help
    at all?

02/29/2017 — Know where you stand,
decide where you stand,
choose where you stand,
and stand there.
When you change your mind
about where you stand,
stand there.
And stand there
because that’s where YOU stand,
and not because
that’s where somebody else stands
or where somebody tells you to stand.
Even if Jesus stands there,
don’t stand there because Jesus does.
Stand there because YOU do.
Even if your Mamma tells you to stand there,
or your Daddy,
don’t stand there unless it is where you belong.
Nobody knows where you belong
better than you.
You have to know what you know.
Know what is right for you.
Know where you belong.
Know where you stand.
Be true to yourself
and stand there–
all by yourself if need be.
If no one stands with you, fine.
If Jesus,
and your Mamma,
and your Daddy
stand with you, fine.
By you stand where you stand
until you change your mind,
and then stand there.
And if you don’t know where you stand,
stand there.
And if you can’t decide where you stand,
stand there.
Until you change your mind.

06/29/2017 — Throughout my career as a minister
in the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.,
I dealt with entirely too many parishioners
who thought Christianity was about believing
certain things,
which had very little to do
with how they lived their lives.
Christians live like everyone else,
and argue over what is to be believed.
What shall we believe?
Is answered by knowing
what we shall do–
then we believe whatever it takes
to do what needs us to do it.
But, people do not want
to think about how to live their life.
They want to live any way that suits them
and go to heaven when they die.
They do not understand
that heaven and hell
are what we make of things
while we are alive
by the nature and quality
of the life we are living.
How we live
makes it as good as it can be
or as bad as it can get.
It is up to us.
Members of Alcoholics Anonymous
and other 12-Step programs
are the only people I have met
who understand
that it is up to us.
Everyone else wants to believe
there is something magical
about believing the right beliefs,
or reading the right books,
or praying the right way,
that will spin things into
what we want them to be.
When there is only getting up each day
and doing that day
what needs to be done
with what meets us on the path–
the way it needs to be done,
and to repeat the process
through all the coming tomorrows.
How we live our life
each day of our life
creates the karma,
the momentum,
that turns things toward heaven
or toward hell.
Believe whatever it takes
to live as a source of blessing
and grace
in the life of everyone
who comes our way.
That is all the world needs,
and everyone is capable of doing it.

06/29/2017 — We do not want
to get up each day
and go meet whatever
comes to meet us on the path.
We do not want to live our life
the way it needs us to live it.
We want smooth and easy and FUN!
We want the good times to roll on and on.
And when they don’t,
we want to stay drunk or high,
or drunk and high,
until they do.
Or we escape into some other
form of entertainment/addiction.
That list is very long.
If we cannot have what we want,
we will sulk and pout,
snarl and growl,
buck and snort
until death carries us away.
No one can make us grow up!
That is an inside job.
One that requires us to put
ourselves in accord with what
has need of us–
and do what is asked of us–
no matter how rough,
difficult,
and not a bit FUN
it is.
Why do some people do that,
while some never do?
That’s the separator
that parts the crowd
in every generation.

  1. 06/30/2017 — Day Lilies 2017 02 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 3, 2017

    The Buddhists say,
    “If you meet the Buddha on the road,
    kill him!”
    The Christians ought to be saying
    the same thing about Jesus.
    Don’t let Jesus keep you
    from knowing what you know,
    from thinking what you think,
    from standing where you stand,
    from being where you belong,
    from doing what is yours to do,
    from being who you are,
    from living spontaneously
    and automatically,
    straight from your heart,
    without bothering to wonder,
    “What would Jesus do?”
    Do what YOU would do!
    Jesus said,
    “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?”
    (Look it up!)
    Answer the question!
    With the way you live your life!
    Live your life
    in ways that declare:
    “This is right because I–I!–say so!”

06/30/2017— The spiritual journey
and the hero’s journey
are the same journey,
and they aren’t about
getting somewhere.
We aren’t going anywhere.
We are waking up,
and being here,
exactly where we are,
for the first time,
with our eyes open.
The “journey” is the distance
from our head to our heart.
It is the realization
that our “mind”
is the perspective/perception center
of our being.
“Mind” holds everything in awareness
at all times–
past, present, and perhaps even, future–
in a timeless “now” of knowing.
As conscious egos,
we move in and out of that,
as we are able to receive it,
and it comes to us as an epiphany,
a visitation of the gods.
We are capable of a larger view,
a grander vision,
than we generally have time for,
thus the disciplines
for stilling and quieting
our interaction with “the dust of the world.”
All of which we can undertake
in the comfort of our recliner.
opening “the doorways of perception”
without ever leaving home.

  1. 07/01/2017 — Boone Fork 2016 19 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, October 16, 2016

    Our practice–
    whether we think of it as The Way,
    the Tao,
    God’s will for our life,
    creating good karma,
    being grounded in the bedrock
    of our own identity and values,
    or any other formulation
    that is “it” for us–
    comes down to
    doing the ordinary things
    the way they need to be done,
    spontaneously,
    from the heart,
    without thinking anything of it.
    We “eat when hungry,
    rest when tired,”
    and go about the business of the day,
    in ways that are suited
    to incarnating our gifts
    and assisting what needs our help
    each day.
    We rock the world
    by being a steady source
    of goodness and vitality
    and letting that be that.

07/01/2017 — Life can be very difficult–
and we make it harder
by expecting more of it
than it has to offer.
If we can serve our gifts
and pay the bills
in a spirit of grace and kindness,
compassion and good will,
that is as much
as we have any right
to hope or wish for.

07/01/2017 —   Kellyanne Conway,
and most Republicans along with her,
believe that anybody
who really wants a job
can get one
and earn enough
to pay her or his way.
Not only that,
but she (and they) also believe
that to not have a job and earn your way
is to be a “freeloader,”
a “slacker and a lay-a-bout,”
and to deserve the poverty
that is the natural result of–
in their mind–
“refusing to work.”
This is a problem.
Donald Trump,
and a host of Republicans along with him,
believes that he got where he is–
a billionaire and President of the United States of America–
by the strength of his own brilliance and effort.
He’s earned it and he deserves it
(And those other Republicans feel
the same way about their successful lives).
This is another problem.
As they see it,
poor people deserve being poor,
and rich people deserve being rich.
Thinking that way makes them Republican.
If they thought differently,
they would be Democrat.
Democrats think if they
can be reasonable and logical
and throw enough facts at Republicans,
they can make Democrats of them.
This is a problem.
If you can solve these three problems,
you can transform the world.

  1. 07/02/2017 — Congaree 2016 08 — Congaree National Park, Hopkins, South Carolina, November, 2016

    The foundation of all good religion,
    world-wide
    (Universal, should there prove
    to be religions in other parts
    of the universe)
    is expressed in the four primary symbols
    of Christianity–
    devoid of the theology surrounding them:
    Bread, Wine, Water, Cross.
    The Water is the amniotic fluid of birth.
    Every birth is birth by “water (and blood) and spirit,”
    with the “spirit” being the spirit of life and being.
    We are all united by the water of birth
    and the spirit of life.
    We are all alive,
    but we have no idea what that means,
    where life comes from
    and where it goes.
    We are awash in mystery from the first.
    The Bread reminds us that the bread of affliction
    is the bread of life.
    The Wine declares that the cup of suffering
    is the cup of salvation.
    And the Cross does not represent
    a vehicle of execution,
    but the burden of growing up
    and bearing the opposites,
    the contradictions
    and polarities of our life–
    and encompasses all of the initiation rites,
    and rites of passage,
    of the species,
    as well as evidencing
    the primary place
    trials and ordeals
    hold in the life of all people,
    serving everyone as the
    impetus for growth and maturity,
    and enabling us to discover
    the hero who resides unknown within us.
    These symbols unite us all.
    Everyone knows out of
    our own experience
    the validity of each one
    and their place in our life.
    They are the ground on which we stand,
    the source from which we proceed
    to form,
    shape,
    and define the life we are living.
    And we need no theology
    to tell us something we already know
    by having lived it.

07/01/2017 — My work is looking
until I see something
of how things are,
and then saying
what I see,
then looking some more.
This is the work of Hermes
(Mercury)
“the messenger of the gods.”
It is the work of hermeneutics,
the work of interpretation.
It is good work,
interesting work,
enthralling work,
and I am glad to have it
as my work.
I am glad to know what it is,
and what all it is not.
You can spin yourself
in circles not knowing
what your work is,
or wishing your work was something
it isn’t.
There is no greater personal good
than knowing what your work is
and doing it–
and not allowing anyone
or anything
to take your work away
from you
or shame, ridicule, mock or laugh
you out of doing it.
And asking you
what good it is doing
is their favorite way
of taking away your work.
It doesn’t have to DO any good.
It IS good.
If they don’t understand that
they have no idea
of the work that is theirs to do–
and that is theirs
to work out for themselves.

07/01/2017 — There is something about
being at the mercy
of our circumstances
that brings out the best
and the worst in us.
Sometimes we rise to meet
every occasion,
and sometimes we cave
at the mere idea of catastrophe.
And, through it all,
the truth remains:
We are at the mercy
of our circumstances–
and making our peace
with that may well be
our greatest work.

07/01/2017 — Victor Frankl, in “Man’s Search for Meaning,”
writes about his experience
in a German death camp during World War II.
He and his fellow prisoners
lived every day
not knowing if they
would see tomorrow.
Everyday might be their turn
to be loaded in the trucks
and taken out to be shot.
The stress of the possibility
was too much for many,
and they died at the idea
of their death–
though they remained 98.6 and breathing,
no one lived behind
their unseeing eyes.
Theirs were merciless circumstances,
severely testing the spirits
of all behind the barbed wire.
But some did not surrender their spirit.
Some let their present be their present,
and did what they could
to relieve the plight of their fellows,
sharing a crumb of bread,
a sip of water–
practicing their humanity
in the worst that inhumanity could do,
in a “We may be dying,
but we aren’t dead yet,”
kind of way–
living as a ray of hope
in a land where hope was not,
except for them
and the kindness they exhibited
for no reason beyond the joy
of being kind for no reason.
An experience their captors
never had.

07/02/2017 — Do not hinder the spirit
that is like the wind,
blowing where it will!
You can call it “Holy Spirit,”
or you can call it “our spirit,”
or you can call it “the spirit of life,”
or you can call it “the Great Spirit”

It doesn’t matter what you call the spirit
that is like the wind,
blowing where it will.
Do. Not. Hinder. The. Spirit.
Serve it.
Assist it.
Tag along with it.
It will carry you to amazing wonders
and adventures beyond imagining.
It is never too late
to catch the Spirit Train
for the ride of your life!
Sit quietly,
and say, “Okay. Let’s go.”
The catch is
you have to mean it.

  1. 07/03/2017 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 23 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 13, 2016

    The turning points in our life
    are places we have shown ourselves
    who we are
    and what is important to us.
    We are brought forth
    by our circumstances.
    Without the crossroads,
    our life would be a straight line–
    in the heart beat sense of the term–
    and we would be at the end
    as we were at the beginning,
    like so many people are
    who live to avoid the crossroads,
    ignoring their options,
    pretending they have no choices,
    refusing to think anything
    they have not already thought,
    or have aspirations
    their family wouldn’t like.
    Being safe that way
    is as good as dead.
    There are 10,000 ways
    to refuse to grow up.
    They all involve
    shunning crossroads
    in one way or another.

07/03/2017 — The Garden of Eden
is a wonderful metaphor
for the human condition.
We can find something wrong
with Paradise!
We can imagine improvements
even there!
There is nothing we cannot
endlessly tweak
in the quest for perfection.
A magic wand would be
a matrix of madness
with us forever locked into
trying to get things right!
Politics is the next best thing
for messing with our innate
capacity for messing with things.
The Buddhist remedy
is the final solution:
Sit quietly!
Be still!

07/03/2017 — We have to know what we love,
and be clear about it,
and do what we love.
What keeps that from happening?
Be clear about it.
Is there any way
you can smuggle what you love
into your life?
If so, do it!
If not, imagine doing what you love.
Imagine it regularly.
With clarity.
Doing what you love
is the path for incarnating you
in the world,
in the field of action.
If you can only imagine that,
then rehearse incarnating you
in your mind.
And, when the door opens
for bringing you forth into the world,
step through!

07/03/2017 — We cannot help anyone
be grounded
if we are not grounded.
We vitalize
by being vitalized–
by believing
in what we are doing.
By working what we love
into the life we are living.
By being transparent
to ourselves.
By knowing what’s what
and how things are,
and squaring ourselves
up with that
in a way that enables us
to go forth and meet the day
every day
with “true grit,”
and good faith.
Who we are
counts more than
what we say.
Integrity–
in the sense of living
aligned with our heart’s
true bent–
is enlivening.

  1. 07/04/2017 — Reelfoot Lake 2015 37–Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee, November 4, 2015

    All of our quandaries are conflicts of values.
    Are we better off here or there?
    Is it better to stand firm or stand aside?
    Is it better to die here or live to fight another day?
    What is the good that is truly good
    in every situation,
    in all circumstances?
    The answer is very situational
    and circumstantial.
    Which is to say,
    there is no answer
    except the one worked out
    in the time and place of our living
    by wringing our hands,
    crying on our pillow,
    and being in a quandary.
    Only we can balance the competing
    claims upon us.
    Only we can decide what compromise
    is called for,
    what trade-off is required,
    what concessions are required.
    In order to have this,
    we have to give up that.
    In order to avoid that,
    we have to embrace this.
    Divorce is sometimes the answer,
    and sometimes not the answer.
    And so it is with all of our answers
    to the what to do here and now questions
    that pop up all of the time
    and invite us again
    to partake of the trials and ordeals
    of being human.

07/04/2017 — It is unthinkable
what the Republicans are thinking
of doing–
what the Republicans are planning
to do.
People mean nothing to Republicans.
23 million without insurance–
without access to health care–
are nothing to them.
I cannot imagine a course of appeal
that would have an impact.
They do not care.
And caring is the fundamental requirement
of life as a human being.
Squid do not care.
Starfish do not care.
A lion on the hung does not care.
Number Republicans among their lot.
Heartless men and women on the hunt.
In the hunt for a tax-cut of $765 billion.
$765 billion will buy a lot of hearts.
However you spin it,
it amounts to 30 pieces of silver–
and a life without heart or soul
for those who vote for it.
They will never be able to un-do
what they are about to do.

  1. 07/05/2017 — Coleus 2017 03 — A Nursery Photo, An iPhone Photo, Pike’s Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, June 4, 2017

    I have a theory:
    All of us have an aspect–
    or aspects–
    of our life that
    isn’t working.
    No one’s life is working
    on all levels
    at the same time.
    It may be physical,
    or financial,
    or familial,
    or social,
    or emotional/psychological,
    or religious,
    or sexual,
    or, well, the list of possibilities
    is endless,
    with combinations
    that can produce
    some interesting
    behavioral outcomes.
    And here’s my point:
    How we compensate
    for the area(s) that aren’t working
    makes all the difference.
    We had better be consciously,
    mindfully,
    compassionately,
    acceptably,
    aware
    of what isn’t working
    and of what we are doing
    in response.
    It is easy to make things worse
    trying to make them better.
    It is best to hold all things in awareness,
    seeing what the antecedents
    and implications are,
    what the impact has been,
    and what options exist
    for dealing with the situation–
    with growing up
    some more
    again
    being one of my all time faves.

07/05/2017 —   People need help with their life,
but what they are interested in
and open to
has nothing to do
with finding–
or receiving–
what they need.
You see the problem.
We could call this
The Trump Problem.
Put Trump in a room
with Help With His Life,
and he will leave the room.
You cannot give people
what they do not want.
Logic,
reason,
and lectures
will not work.
Crying,
yelling,
and turning over furniture
will not work.
Prayer,
medication
and jail time
will not work.
Walking off,
moving away,
and leaving them
to their own outcomes
will not work either,
but it will restore your balance,
lower your blood pressure,
and improve your digestion.

07/05/2017 — See what you can do with it
is my best advice.
With your circumstances.
With your life.
With your options and choices.
Even now.
Even yet.
Give it all–
give yourself–
the benefit of the doubt.
Trust it all–
trust yourself–
to be more than meets the eye;
to hold possibilities
and potentials
you have yet to consider,
and give your circumstances,
your life,
you
a chance to surprise you
with what might yet happen,
even now.
Start with sitting quietly
and observing everything
that swirls up for review
in the silence–
without becoming
emotionally stirred by
and involved with
any of it.
Or, when you find yourself
becoming so stirred
and involved,
simply hold that in awareness
along with all the rest,
and continue to observe
the things that come into
consciousness–
not doing anything
about any of it.
Just seeing.
Just observing.
Just noting what’s there.
When you have had enough,
get up and do whatever is next,
but return to sitting quietly,
observing your thoughts
and the patterns they form–
without opinion,
judgment
or conclusion.
Continue this practice
over time.
See what all occurs to you,
what spontaneously arises,
presenting itself for reflection,
realization.
And what that is inviting
you to do.
It isn’t as cut and dried,
over and done,
as we like to think.
See what might yet be done,
even now.

07/05/2017 — George Lakoff says that Republicans
and Democrats
have different brains.
Different values.
Different views of what is good
and what is evil.
Republicans, for the most part,
will be quick to tell you
that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton
are Evil Personified,
and that Nothing–
not even Donald Trump–
could be worse than they are.
Democrats would have a different take
on the matter,
reversing names and places.
You will never convince either
that the other is right.
Where do we go from here?
It would be great for all concerned
if Republicans could have their President
and Democrats could have theirs–
if Republicans could have their country,
and Democrats could have theirs.
Barring that,
we are going to have to work things out
among ourselves–
an option that becomes less likely
by the day.
To “move toward the center”
is to realize that what one side
considers extreme,
the other side considers central.
Is abortion a woman’s
personal business
or a matter to be decided
by majority vote?
Are gay rights restricted
by religious persuasion?
Can bigotry, racism and discrimination
be allowed to operate freely
in a society governed
by justice and truth?
Does money get to determine
what is good and right?
Who says so?
How is agreement to be reached
and enforced?
Sending everyone into Time Out
until they reach a state
of calmness and civility
would be almost as good
as giving each side
its own country.
And about as workable.
Leaving us where we were
when this started,
wondering where do we go
from here.

07/05/2017 — Republicans refuse to say what they are doing:
Trading health coverage for 22 Million people
for a tax refund of $765 Billion (+/-)
for those making over $200,000 a year.
They think we don’t know.

  1. 07/06/2017 — An update on “God” in “An Old Preacher’s Manifesto”:
    Anything goes with God.
    God can get by with all of it at any time.
    God has complete freedom of movement,
    and is unlimited by past actions,
    or future possibilities–
    standing armies,
    or high mountain ranges.
    You never know what’s what with God,
    or what to expect from God.
    God is the ultimate Trickster God.
    Where God is concerned it is
    Now you see it,
    now you don’t.
    You can’t count on anything with God.
    It’s all a Great Mystery with God,
    an Unfathomable Mystery
    that can be best described with words like:
    Outlandish!
    Unheard of!
    Unspeakable!
    Sacrilege!
    Anathema!
    Abhorrent!
    Abomination!
    Atrocity!
    Outrage!
    Disgrace!
    Obscenity!
    Wonderful!
    Beautiful!
    Sublime!
    Majestic!
    Just!
    Merciful!
    Indescribable!
    Perfection!
    Love!
    Goodness!
    Magnificent!
    Marvelous!
    Splendid!
    Glorious!
    That’s God for you.
    You never know with God.
    Things are not as they appear to be—
    are not what we think they are—
    with God.
    Death is life.
    And life is death.
    God is like the wind that blows where it will—
    coming and going as it pleases.
    With God, the rain falls on the just and unjust alike.
    God raises the dead and leaves the dead to bury the dead.
    God loves his-her-our-their enemies and kills his-her-our-their own son—
    after setting aside human sacrifice for all time,
    from Abraham on,
    and saying “Thou Shalt Not Kill!”
    to Moses and the Children of Israel.
    God dies for a world that cares not for God,
    and forsakes those who love him most.
    You never know what’s what with God—
    or how it will be.
    That’s how it is with God.
    “Invoked or not invoked, the God will be present!”
    But, for what purpose?
    To serve what end?
    No one knows.
    Not even God.
    God surprises himself-herself-ourselves-themselves.
    With God, all dichotomies are false dichotomies,
    all categories are inclusive categories–
    convenient and inaccurate concessions
    to the sphere of space and time.
    God is he-she-we-they,
    and is completely free to do what needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises,
    in the moment as it unfolds before him-her-we-them
    Without reference to anything that may have happened before,
    or concern for anything that may happen afterward, in response,
    as an outcome, as a consequence,
    however many generations removed from the event in question.
    There is no figuring out a God like God—
    no calculating the percentages,
    computing the odds,
    and coming up with what to do to best protect ourselves,
    and insure a rosy future
    filled with what we like
    And devoid of what we don’t like.
    Not even God knows what to expect from God–
    beyond being appropriate to the time and place
    of his-her-our-their acting.
    God dwells in deep darkness—
    God arises from the depths of unconsciousness—
    to astound and amaze,
    confound and befuddle,
    disturb and dumbfound,
    even God.
    God stuns God with God’s brilliance and lunacy,
    and unprecedented unpredictability.
    There is no pleasing a God like God—
    Who plants where he-she-we-they does/do not plow,
    and reaps what he-she-we-they does/do not sow—
    who blesses and curses
    the righteous and unrighteous alike,
    without regard
    for race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, prospects, references or point of origin.
    we cannot hope to appease or placate a God like God.
    Not even God knows beforehand
    what it would take to make God happy
    (Only after the fact, whether that was it or not).
    The only way to “go with God”
    is to BE God—to BE as God is—
    and, of course, we can because we are!
    Living out of our own sense of what is happening
    and what needs to be done about it
    in each situation as it arises,
    in each moment as it unfolds,
    and doing it without regard
    for God and what God may, or may not, think or prefer—
    or for human standards, traditions, customs, codes, laws and mores.
    We can only live with our finger on the pulse of what is called for!
    Learn to know it when we see it,
    and do it when and where it occurs to us!
    We can only strive to take care of business
    the way business needs to be taken care of,
    and let God like it or not.
    So, go and do according to what resonates
    with your own heart and soul,
    and let that be the determining factor
    guiding your choices,
    informing your actions,
    and directing your steps along the path
    you deem to be your path.
    Our place is to live our life
    the way we conclude our life needs to be lived,
    and let all of our outcomes
    instruct us in the art
    of knowing what needs to be done,
    here and now,
    and doing it,
    all our life long–
    and letting that be that.

    07/06/2017 — Water Lily 2017 09 — A Nursery Photo, An iPhone Photo, Pike’s Nursery, Charlotte, North Carolina, June 4, 2017

    This is an excerpt from “God” in my book “An Old Preacher’s Manifesto”:

    With God, all dichotomies are false dichotomies,
    all categories are inclusive categories–
    convenient and inaccurate concessions
    to the sphere of space and time.
    God is he-she-we-they,
    and is completely free to do what needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises,
    in the moment as it unfolds before him-her-we-them
    Without reference to anything that may have happened before,
    or concern for anything that may happen afterward, in response,
    as an outcome, as a consequence,
    however many generations removed from the event in question.
    There is no figuring out a God like God—
    no calculating the percentages,
    computing the odds,
    and coming up with what to do to best protect ourselves,
    and insure a rosy future
    filled with what we like
    And devoid of what we don’t like.
    Not even God knows what to expect from God–
    beyond being appropriate to the time and place
    of his-her-our-their acting.
    God dwells in deep darkness—
    God arises from the depths of unconsciousness—
    to astound and amaze,
    confound and befuddle,
    disturb and dumbfound,
    even God.
    God stuns God with God’s brilliance and lunacy,
    and unprecedented unpredictability.

07/06/2017 — Republicans are kidding themselves,
shrouding themselves in denial,
refusing to face up to
the full implications and impact
of what they are doing
and failing to live transparent
to themselves.
Their current favorite line
is to say,
“No one will lose health care
under our new plan.
They may choose not to take it,
but no one will snatch it away.
Freedom of choice is what
we are all want.
It is the American Way!”
This is a trick with terminology
that they are playing on themselves.
Everyone else sees through
the charade.
Mike Pence is a devout Evangelical Christian
and is unshakably certain
that we are in the last days,
with the Rapture being imminent,
when those who are destined for heaven
will be swept up in an instant
and those who remain
will deserve the punishment
that is theirs to bear–
so it doesn’t really matter
what the government does.
Give the wealthy deserving ones
a nice tax-break
as a prelude of the glories to come,
and party until Jesus returns.
Truth is always apparent
to those with eyes to see.
And everyone thinks
their eyes see truth best.
That is the kink in the hose.

  1. 07/07/2017 — King Snakes 2017 03 — Indian Land, South Carolina, May 20, 2017

    Symptoms can be caused by facts
    over which we have no control.
    We do not give ourselves peanut allergies.
    Or malaria.
    Or 10,000 other things.
    Yet, all of our symptoms are warning us
    to listen to our symptoms
    and take action
    to get the pathogen/toxin
    out of our life.
    They are all saying,
    “Something is wrong here!”
    This is where we come in.
    We can tell ourselves things
    about our symptoms
    that keep our symptoms
    in place.
    “Maybe it will go away.”
    “Maybe it isn’t what I think it is.”
    “Maybe the doctor is wrong.”
    And keep doing the things
    that keep our symptoms in place.
    How many of our symptoms
    are there
    because we refuse to do
    what is necessary
    to remove them?
    Because we do not want to believe
    what they are saying?
    Because they are enemies
    of the life we want to live?
    We refuse to listen to our symptoms
    and wonder what is wrong.
    But we don’t want to know
    what is wrong.
    It would ask too much of us.
    It would require us
    to change the way we live.
    And that would be the end
    of life as we know it.
    Life as we know it
    is killing us,
    but changing would be like death
    as well.
    This is where good religion
    could be a real help,
    with it’s central message:
    “There is no life without death!
    In order to live,
    we have to die–
    again and again–
    in the service of LIFE!”
    We have to be sure we are dying
    the right kind of death,
    and do the thing that “kills” us
    in order to live the life
    that is calling us to live it.

07/07/2017 — We are left with
protesting, objecting, resisting,
opposing, denouncing, rejecting,
demanding, insisting, declaring,
challenging, dissenting, exposing,
condemning, criticizing, reviling,
decrying, bemoaning, castigating,
lambasting, chastising, berating
and making known the truth
of the wrongs
that are being done
by the People Of The Lie
every time they
do what they do.
Every.
Time.

07/07/2017 — I would love to know
what gives Donald Trump
his direction,
where he derives his sense
of right and wrong,
good and evil,
yes and no.
Why would anyone refuse
to recognize and support
Gay Pride Month?
Or reject the opportunity
to visit a Holocaust Memorial?
Or ridicule the physically disabled?
Or slam/shame people
for being Muslims?
Or belittle people for being poor?
Or encourage violence, bullying,
and the complete disregard
for civil/human rights?
What is good about
any of the things Donald Trump
calls good?

07/07/2017 — I would never meet the requirements
for admission to the Sacred Order of Shamans.
Or to the Venerable Ranks of Taoist Priests.
Or, even to the Raucous Company of Zen Monks.
I don’t have the proper attitude and deportment;
am too much the Iconoclast,
the Joker,
the Renegade,
the Reprobate,
the Unwashed and Unrepentant.
And I don’t care enough
that I don’t have what it takes
to belong to the above mentioned associations
to do what it takes to fit in.
If I wanted to join them badly enough,
I might try to make the effort.
But then,
I’m sure the truth would will out,
and I would be out,
in practically no time at all.

  1. 07/08/2017 — Bloodroot 2017 09 — McDowell Nature Center and Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Department, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 17, 2017

    Letting things be as they are–
    because they are what they are–
    even as we protest what they are,
    and work to change what they are,
    is the ground of mental health
    and responsible response
    to our environment
    in a :
    “This is the way things are,
    and this is the way they should be,
    and this is what I am doing
    to make things more like they should be
    than they are”
    kind of way.
    Don’t spend your life
    bummed out by the way things are!
    Live “under protest”!
    Live in solid opposition–
    in solidarity with the resistance!
    Live at one with all of those
    who know things could be better
    than they are,
    keeping the coals of opposition alive
    so that the faint light
    informs everyone who comes our way
    of the truth
    of what needs to be done
    to transform the way things are done
    into the way things
    ought to be done.
    Live symbolically in the way
    of the Ought To Be!
    Know the truth of the Ought To Be
    that it might keep you
    from succumbing
    to the truth of How Things Are!
    Resist! Oppose! Denounce! Decry!
    “Acceptance” means
    accepting that this is the way things are
    and this is what needs to be done about it
    and doing it
    for as long as it takes
    to generate the momentum
    that results in the shift
    that produces the transformation.
    Do not submit!
    Resist!

07/08/2017 — Think of all the people you know
in nursing homes.
Think of how many of those people
receive Medicaid assistance
each month.
Think of what will become of those people
when the Republicans end Medicaid
(to pay for a $765 billion tax-cut to the wealthy).
Think of what will become of the nursing homes.
Think of what will become of the people
who work in the nursing homes.
Who work manufacturing beds for nursing homes.
Etc. throughout the nursing home/health care niche.
Write your senator(s).
Call your senator(s).
Daily.
Jam the phone lines.
Do not rest
and give them no rest
until they come to their senses
and do the things that need to be done
and do not do the things that do not need to be done–
and maintain the vigil
of helping them know which is which.

07/08/2017 — Health and Human Services Secretary,
Thomas Price, MD, said,
“No one will lose Medicaid benefits”
under the Senate’s health plan.
Sounds good.
Sounds reassuring.
Sounds as though there is nothing to worry about.
Until you realize
that he is speaking Republican.
What he doesn’t say is that
“A lot of people will choose
to not pay for the benefits
they aren’t losing
but won’t have
if they do not pay for them.”
You cannot trust Republicans
to tell you the Whole Truth.
They speak in partial truths,
which is another form of lying.
When Republicans speak,
they are lying.
Adopt that as a rule of thumb,
and you will not be often wrong.

07/08/2017 — Listening within,
being aware of our own
pushes and pulls,
drift and flow,
leanings and interests,
sets the tone
for the life we live,
and enables us
to assume responsibility
for the times and places
when and where
we choose to override ourselves
or choose to assert ourselves.
Those are the places
we want to be careful
to live through mindfully,
knowingly,
responsibly.

07/08/2017 — Consciousness-that-is-also-mindfulness,
is the human gift to the cosmos,
in that it implies self-transparency,
compassion
and a non-judgmental,
non-opinionated,
orientation toward
the time and place,
the conditions and circumstances,
of our life.
This does not mean
we are without preferences.
It means we take everything into account,
and determine
on the basis of knowing all that we know
what action is in the best interest
of all concerned.
It means we live as non-partisans in the world.
We need all members of congress
to be conscious and mindful.
That would not be asking too much.

07/08/2017— Who is Trump trying to please?
Bannon and the white supremacists?
The racists and the climate change deniers?
Homophobes and Xenophobes?
Who is the audience
he thinks he is appeasing?
How can a minority rule?
This is Alice in Far From Wonder Land.

  1. 07/09/2017 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 16 — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 15, 2015.

    Here we are.
    Now what?
    Negative forces
    detrimental
    to the human spirit,
    and to the life of the world,
    have been let loose,
    and there is no undoing
    what has been done.
    We are left with
    resisting,
    opposing,
    confronting,
    countering,
    balancing
    and off-setting
    the manifestation of evil
    in all forms
    at every opportunity.
    We cannot be slack
    in our vigilance
    and in our response–
    exhibiting kindness
    and compassion
    but firmly refusing
    to allow incivility,
    racism,
    sexism,
    homophobia,
    bigotry,
    discrimination,
    cruelty
    and viciousness
    to go unchecked.
    We will not assist
    the work to dismantle
    the values of democracy:
    Justice,
    Equality,
    Liberty
    and Truth
    by refusing/failing
    to oppose it–
    for as long as it takes
    the tide to turn.

07/09/2017 — If we take Paul’s directive in Philippians:
“Whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”

and apply it to Donald Trump,
his cabinet and advisors,
and the Republicans in the House and Senate,
we won’t have much
to think about.

07/09/2017 — Choosing between unworkable options
is no choice.
Taking away Medicaid
and offering credits and vouchers
for health care we still can’t afford
does not qualify for a choice.
Choosing between health care
and food/clothing/shelter
is not a choice.
It is a lie
and an obscenity
to contend otherwise.

  1. 07/10/2017 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 14 — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 15, 2016

    Putin is ruthlessly effective
    in his service of his idea of The Good.
    We all serve our idea of The Good,
    more or less.
    Most of us serve our idea of The Pretty Good.
    Our idea of The Good Enough.
    Few of us serve our idea of The Good
    with as much single-minded devotion
    and 24/7/12/Forever commitment to the vision
    as Putin displays.
    Putin kills anyone standing in his way.
    Nothing stands in his way for long.
    I expect Trump could be as vicious–
    he at least admires others who are–
    but Trump (and those others he admires)
    lack Putin’s love for what money and power can do.
    Trump (et al.) think money and power
    are enough in themselves,
    and simply enjoy the thrill
    of being able to order people around.
    Putin seems to be serving his idea of Russian Good,
    even though that is highly detrimental
    to the Russian people in general
    and to individual Russians in particular.
    What is the Russia Putin has in mind?
    Who would want to live there?
    Who would Putin want living there?
    Workers and servants to keep things going,
    to be sure, but.
    What would keep the workers and servants going?
    I think Putin hasn’t thought this out.
    His idea of The Good he serves
    is limited to his idea of The People he likes.
    To hell with the rest of them.
    Strong men and women are always saying
    “To hell with the rest of them”
    (“Give them bread and circuses,”
    “Let them eat cake”).
    We need to serve an idea of The Good
    that takes everyone’s Good into account,
    and serve it with the same zeal
    that Putin serves his idea of The Good.
    You know, like Jesus and Gandhi (et al.) did.
    People like Putin
    are always putting people like Jesus and Gandhi (et al.)
    in their place.
    That’s the advantage of ruthlessness.
    The disadvantage of ruthlessness
    is that it can only serve an idea of The Good
    that isn’t so Good.

07/10/2017 — If we could only
fold ourselves into our life
and live it the way
it needs to be lived,
serving the things
that need to be served,
doing the things
that need to be done–
instead of pursuing
distracting pastimes
and entertaining diversions!
What is central?
What is peripheral?
What is a pointless waste
of our time and energy?
it takes time, silence and reflection
to get to the bottom of things.
Solitude is a great source of clarification.
Muddy water settles while we wait, watching,
looking, attending, seeing, hearing, knowing…
We are in a hurry, though.
Things to do.
Things to achieve.
Things to acquire.
No time to wonder
what matters most,
and what matters not at all.

07/10/2017 — When I look back over my life,
one of the things that stands out
is how everything works together
to enable me to meet the present moment.
At some point,
we collect enough experiences
with enough moments
to be ready for any moment.
I look at that as the turning point–
“the still point of the turning world,”
the fulcrum levering us into all possible futures,
the power point
providing us with the foundation
for facing whatever is next
in the confidence that we have what it takes
to find what it takes
to deal with anything.
If we have done it up to now,
and we all have,
we can do it all the way
from now on.
We are living proof
that we have what it takes.

07/10/2017 — “The task of life,”
says John Kaag,
writing in
American Philosophy: A Love Story,
“is to transcend the past,
to never remain where one starts,
to find a place of one’s own.”
His book is well worth reading
for a number of other reasons,
but this should be enough
to send you out for it,
and to urge you to be intentional
about your search
for a place of your own.

07/10/2017 — Some of us spend our life
learning to live in sync
with ourselves–
coming to be who we are
over the time we have
to work with.
Others of us spend our life
running with horror
from the one within,
refusing to acknowledge
even distant association.
Still others of us
have no idea
of what I am talking about.
We are strung out
like this
along every continuum
you can think of,
or think up.
It’s hard to settle down
with how different we are
considering that we
have so much in common.

  1. 07/11/2017 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 30 — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 15, 2016

    Our life has a certain
    tone, quality, direction about it
    apart from what we do
    to pay the bills,
    which expresses
    vitality, heart, soul and spirit–
    reflecting the core,
    essence,
    truth
    of how we have responded
    to what has happened,
    or failed to happen,
    to us along the way.
    We can live
    without believing in our life,
    without having
    hope, faith or trust in our life.
    Without wanting to be alive.
    This is called
    losing the spark,
    having no fire.
    We have to tend the flame!
    With the right kind of attention,
    the flame can burn brightly
    in the deepest darkness–
    but, we cannot be attentive to the flame
    AND attentive to the darkness.
    We cannot keep the flame alive
    consumed by the fear of the darkness.
    Where is our ground?
    Our bedrock?
    Our truth and identity?
    Sink into that!
    Live out of that!
    Whatever the nature
    of our context and circumstances!
    Bring YOU to bear
    on your life!
    On you!
    Be YOU–
    wherever, whenever, however
    you are!
    Believe in YOU!
    Be one with YOU!
    Live to be YOU!
    Matter. What.

07/11/2017 — Being does not come
from trying to be.
Being just is.
Jesus did not
try to be Jesus,
did not wonder
“What would Jesus do?”
Jesus just did
what was appropriate
to the occasion–
spontaneously, automatically–
being who he was
in response
to what was needed.
Sitting quietly,
we find our heart,
our center,
our foundation,
our bedrock,
our self.
Rising,
we live out of
the core of who we are.
We are who we are.
What we do is who we are.
That is Being.
Being is being who we are.
Who WE are.
In all times and places,
conditions and circumstances–
in ways appropriate to the occasion.

07/11/2017 — Silence is the best place
I know of for sorting things out.
I sit, or lie, quietly
and begin sifting through
whatever comes to mind,
turning things over
as with a compost pile–
memories, experiences,
fears, dreads, regrets, joys, delights, miseries, sorrows…
I rummage around in all of it,
sometimes making new connections,
conjuring up a realization or two,
mostly reflecting on it all,
keeping it suspended in my awareness
and honoring it with my attention
as a way of declaring,
“Out of you, I am!”
in a “Where would I be without you?”
kind of way.
Touching the substance
of my soul’s treasure-trove
in this way
grounds me in the truth
of what I have been through
and of what has happened,
and failed to happen,
because of it,
and steadies me
for what lies ahead.
I’m here, now,
and I will be there, then.
That’s as much encouragement
as I need
to be able to stand
and step into whatever
needs to be done
in the field of action,
to be added to the larder
supplying the next round
of exploring the silence
and panning for its gold.

  1. 07/12/2017 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 22 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 15, 2016

    “Detached engagement” is the kind
    of dialectic/paradox
    that forms the ground
    of our way in the world.
    We “step back”
    in order to see
    with “disinterested eyes”–
    non-judgmental eyes,
    unbiased eyes,
    dispassionate eyes,
    objective eyes,
    eyes unconcerned
    with what is in it for us
    or where our advantage lies–
    what is happening
    and what needs to be done about it,
    in order to “step forward”
    into the field of action
    and engage the forces
    at work there
    in light of the true good of all concerned.
    Judges and politicians
    need to be of this bent,
    as do those who elect
    politicians who appoint judges.
    It all hangs on individual citizens
    doing their part
    in being who they need to be.
    When individual citizens
    embrace detachment
    in order to escape their life
    and deny their role
    in finding, forming and shaping
    a life worth living,
    with no idea of engaging anything
    beyond their own good/advantage/profit/benefit
    in the field of action,
    the system crumbles
    and “there is none who does right,
    no, not one.”
    Entertaining pastimes–
    “Bread and circuses”–
    cannot comprise our life!
    We have to live seeking and serving
    what has life for us,
    in the sense of what brings us forth,
    utilizes our gifts and our genius,
    and enables us to be who we are
    in the field of action,
    in the midst of all that is
    “grave and constant in human joy and suffering”
    (James Joyce/Joseph Campbell).
    We cannot run from our duty
    to life our life as it needs us to live it
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

  2. 07/13/2017 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 25 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 15, 2016

    We interpret the facts
    to suit our fancies.
    We shape the truth
    to fit our needs.
    We bend reality
    to conform to our expectations
    and desires.
    You can’t show us,
    tell us,
    confront us
    with anything
    we can’t explain away.
    We can disappear everything
    just by saying,
    “That is false!”
    “That is a lie!”
    “That is ‘Fake News!'”
    “That never happened,
    and if it did,
    it doesn’t matter!”
    Kidding ourselves
    is what we do best.
    No!
    Telling ourselves
    what we want to hear
    is what we do best!
    No!
    Pretending we
    are not pretending
    is what we do best!
    No!
    Shooting ourselves
    in the foot
    is what we do best!
    And,
    in order to stop,
    we have to sit quietly
    long enough
    for insight and realization
    to begin to dawn.
    And then,
    when we have to jump up
    and begin making noise
    to shut out
    the truth of silence,
    we have to sit back down,
    and look at
    what caused the panic reaction,
    hearing and seeing
    what we have repressed,
    suppressed
    and denied–
    and taking up the work
    of self-transparency,
    integration
    and integrity
    for as long
    as we have yet to live.

07/13/2017 —   Encased in denial,
Republicans are immune
to all truth contrary
to their idea of truth.
Invincible!
Invulnerable!
Indomitable!
Unassailable!
They know they are right–
they have never been righter.
The fact that they were elected
is proof the country loves them
just as they are.
And with enough gerrymandering
and voter suppression,
the country will keep electing them
until the bitter end.
At this rate,
about two four-year terms away.

07/13/2017 — If there is something
that needs to be done
and it is yours to do
(and, if there is no one
to do it but you,
it is yours to do),
do not waste time and effort
delaying, dreading,
moaning, mourning,
whining, complaining,
obsessing over it,
depressing about it,
dragging it out,
and around
in a “woe is me
ain’t it awful
poor me
poor me”
kind of way.
Get up and do the thing
with not even an opinion
about it.
It needs doing,
it is yours to do,
do it,
exactly as it needs
to be done,
thinking nothing of it,
and go on to the next thing.
Same approach,
second time around.

07/14/2017 —   Republicans are about to vote
to destroy the lives
of 22 million people.
Republicans think they can do so
with impunity–
that they can destroy 22 million lives
with everything else staying
neatly in place
and being exactly the same
after the vote
as it was before the vote.
This is called stupidity.
The destruction of 22 million lives
with have a ripple effect
like, say, 22 million tsunamis,
destroying the lives of those
their lives impacted,
and that level of destruction
will, tsunami-like, wreak its on havoc
on other lives,
and, in no time at all,
well within the lifetimes of those voting,
entire systems supporting life
will topple,
and the end of life as we all know it
will be near to everyone worldwide.
The air will be thick with hopelessness,
chaos will be a word
faintly resembling the outcome
of the Republicans’ flip, casual,
who-woulda-thought-it-
replace-Obamacare-with-anything-
even-nothing-would-be-better-vote.
Destroying 22 million lives
isn’t nothing.
Isn’t close to nothing.
You might call your Republican senators
and tell them that–
while the phone lines still work.

  1. 07/14/2017 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 24 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 15, 2016

    It is essential–
    and incumbent upon each of us–
    that we understand and embrace
    the truth
    that benevolence, grace and kindness
    are the hope of the world,
    and, further,
    that these
    (and all of the other)
    high values hang by the thinnest of threads:
    our willingness and ability
    to bear the pain
    of being benevolent, gracious and kind–
    and go on being benevolent, gracious and kind–
    in the stark absence
    of encouraging outcomes and results.
    We have to ground ourselves
    in the value of the high values,
    and live to exhibit, express, incarnate them
    in our life
    in season and out of season,
    through all times,
    and places,
    and circumstances,
    whether we feel like it or not,
    whether we want to or not,
    whether we are in the mood for it or not,
    whether anything comes of it or not,
    for no other reason
    than because we believe
    in the foolishness
    of living in the service
    of the high values–
    because that is what we do
    in a “what I do is me,
    for that I came”
    (Gerard Manley Hopkins)
    kind of way.

07/14/2017 —   It is crucial
that we all live in ways
which help someone else
carry on.
In this way,
we all carry on.
And everything depends upon,
and flows from,
that.

07/14/2017 — Part of our work
is to carry on
in ways
that enable others
to carry on–
to be good
for one another–
to be sources
of hope and encouragement,
vitality, confidence and resolve–
all of the high values
at the heart of being human.
We are to live in ways
that bring out the best
in ourselves and others,
and enable us all
to carry on.
This is a “categorical imperative”
(Immanuel Kant)
incumbent upon every one of us.

07/14/2017 — We look at the truth
and see different things.
If we accept that
as the foundational given
defining and limiting
our life together,
we can,
respecting one another
and honoring the variations
that exist among us
regarding the way
we apprehend
and respond to
reality,
talk civilly among ourselves
about the ways
we see what we look at
and why we see–
what hidden but compelling
filters influence our seeing–
the way we do.
That would at least
have the potential
of enabling each of us
to expand our field of vision
to take into account
more than we would
ever notice on our own.

07/14/2017 — What’s wrong with this for an idea:
Why don’t we help
the old,
the poor,
the injured,
the ill and chronically ill,
without anyone
other than
the old,
the poor,
the injured,
the ill and chronically ill
getting anything out of it?

07/14/2017 — Jesus said,
“Why don’t you decide
for yourselves what is right?”
I would add,
“And DO it!”
Listen to what your heart,
your stomach,
your body–
NOT your head!–
tells you is right,
and do it.
And, if it turns out badly,
a) that doesn’t mean it was wrong–
it means it was the first step
in a series of connected results,
and you have to wait until
the entire scenario plays out
before you issue a verdict, and
b) keep listening to your heart,
your stomach,
your body–
NOT your head!–
tells you is right,
and do it.
The rule is,
if your heart/stomach/body
leads you into a mess,
look to their guidance
to lead you out of the mess.
Your heart/stomach/body
is your most reliable guide
in all forms of life choices.
If trusting them brings you to a dead end,
trust them to get you backed out of there.
And if they are telling you
Don’t listen to me,
don’t listen to me

  1. 07/15/2017 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 20 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 15, 2016

    The Right and the Left live in different words,
    have different world-views,
    different ideas about what is good
    and what is not.
    It’s AM talking to FM–
    VHS talking to VCR–
    8-track to DVD…
    One side’s idea of the center
    is the other side’s idea of the far extreme.
    How are we going to
    work out what it means
    to exhibit, express and exude
    “Liberty and Justice for All”?
    To understand that
    “Equal is Equal”?
    That the right to
    “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”
    belongs to–
    and must be honored and defended by–
    everyone without restriction exception,
    exemption or exclusion?
    Jesus would have more compassion
    for white supremacists
    than white supremacists
    would have for Jesus,
    being the swarthy, freak-loving
    Jew that he is.
    And I don’t know what
    to do about that.

07/25/2017 — Dissidents are locked away in China,
and assassinated in Russia–
and the extreme Right in the USA
applauds
and adores Trump
for his admiration of Strongman feats
of ruthlessness, cruelty and vindictiveness.
Trump has no interest
in recognizing, defending, championing
human/civil rights.
Liberty, Justice, Equality
are concepts/values wasted on him.
Brutality, Viciousness, Atrocity
are more to his taste.
And his base trends in that direction.
There is a saying:
“When Wrong rises up to be Wrong,
Right must rise up to be Right.”
Meet Wrong With Right
is the guiding slogan–
and that implies non-violence
and civil resistance
in letting no Wrong go unnamed
and unopposed.
It takes vigilance,
dedication,
and determination
in unrelenting service
to the high values,
but that’s our role
and our calling.
To do less
is to give way to Wrong,
and that would be
the really wrong thing to do!

07/15/2017 — Play your heart out!
Don’t keep score!
Those are the rules of the game.
If you abide by the rules,
you will transform the world.

  1. 07/16/2017 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 31 — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 15, 2016

    Grace is indiscriminate.
    Mercy is indiscriminate.
    Justice is indiscriminate.
    Goodwill is indiscriminate.
    Empathy is indiscriminate.
    Kindness is indiscriminate.
    Goodness is indiscriminate.
    Generosity is indiscriminate.
    Helpfulness is indiscriminate.
    Faithfulness is indiscriminate.
    Compassion is indiscriminate.
    Benevolence is indiscriminate.
    (And so on…)
    Once discrimination enters the picture
    it all goes to hell.
    Once we begin to withhold
    the essential elements–
    the vital signs–
    of relationship
    because of something
    about another
    that we don’t like,
    find distasteful,
    goes against our religion
    or our idea of how things ought to be,
    the foundations give way,
    and society becomes
    an association
    of the fearful and untrustworthy–
    a conglomeration
    of factions
    competing for the upper hand.
    How are you going to live
    is the question.
    Who can trust you
    to be their friend?
    To guard their best interest?
    To tend their basic needs?
    To be a safe place
    to relax and restore their soul?
    Who has to be vigilant
    in your presence?
    To give you wide berth
    and hide from your wrathful glare?
    How are you living
    in ways that are welcoming?
    How are you living
    in ways that are not?
    We hold the key
    to making things
    more like they could be
    than they are.
    It all begins with me
    and you,
    and you,
    and you…

07/16/2017 — How fully does your
body of work
exhibit what you
have to offer?
Disclose your gifts?
Incarnate who you are?
Bring you forth in the world?
Are you revealed or concealed
by the way you
have lived your life?
What adjustments
can you imagine/make
that will deepen,
expand,
enlarge
the ways you go about
exploring,
experiencing,
expressing,
being you
in the time left for living?

07/16/2017 — We are a fearful,
lazy,
lot.
We hate uncertainty,
unpredictability.
We crave absolutes,
boundaries,
limits,
restrictions.
We are forever
structuring
our life,
building walls
to keep out
the unwanted,
the unknown,
the unknowable.
Structure
is predictability,
is dependability,
is reassurance,
is peace,
is life,
is death.
We prefer life
in a prison cell
with all the amenities
to life in the jungle
scrounging for food
struggling to keep
from becoming food.
But.
Even in the jungle,
you can bet
we would surround
ourselves with rituals
and taboos,
superstitions
and traditions,
do’s and don’t’s
to order our life
and keep us safe
from the encroaching
unknown.

07/16/2017 — We believe in right answers
to the questions no one can answer.
Does God (as an external, objective reality) exist?
Is there a Heaven?
Is here a Hell?
Is Satan (as an external, objective reality) real?
Is life worth living?
Why are we here?

We take someone else’s answers
“on faith,”
as though they know what
they are talking about,
and go on with our life.
Why not just make up
our own answers?
Or stop asking the questions?
Why pretend to know
what cannot be known?
Why go to war,
make enemies
and kill them,
over things that cannot be known?
Why can’t we simply live our life
based on what our experience
tells us is good–
always evaluating,
reviewing,
revising,
adjusting that
in light of continuing experience?

07/16/2017 — The three magic words
that constitute the
foundation of Physical Therapy
and the ground
of convalescence
and recovery
are: “Don’t push it!”
They apply on every level
of health and life.
How do we know when
we are pushing it?
Listen to your body.
Be attentive to your experience.
Live mindfully aware
of each present moment.
The secret of elixir of life.

07/16/2017 — We will never know
what thinking what we think about
keeps us from thinking about
until we stop thinking
what we think about.
The best way I can think of
of doing that
is to change what we are doing
that we have to think about.
Stop texting and talking on the phone,
for instance.
Stop watching TV.
Reduce the amount of time
we spend in conversation.
Sit quietly.
Walk without headphones/music.
Drive without music.
Practice mindful awareness.
See how long it takes
to begin thinking about things
you never thought about.

07/16/2017 — God doesn’t play favorites.
There is no recognition of merit,
no reward for doing it
the way it ought to be done.
There is nothing in it for us
beyond the satisfaction
of having done
what was ours to do
the way it needed
us to do it.
How well we meet life’s challenges
is our glory
or our shame.

07/16/2017 — Our moral authority
is grounded in our integrity–
our oneness
with what is most important to us.
It is the identity of saying and doing–
the sameness of being
who we say we are.
We do not think our way
to this place.
We live our way there
through long years
fits and starts,
wrong turns
and dead ends–
learning through it all
what matters most,
as though our life is teaching us
who we are
and waiting on us
to realize
what has been so all along.

07/16/2017 — When we vote for one person
because we hate someone else,
we are likely to find ourselves
in the worst of all possible worlds.
All action that springs from hatred
it toxic to all concerned.
The directive,
“Strive to do no harm,”
requires compassion
for implementation.
Without compassion,
the world is an uninhabitable wasteland
and will remain so
until the people learn to live
with charity and benevolence
for one another
and all sentient beings.

  1. 07/17/2017 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 39 — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 15, 2016

    All we have to work with is our life.
    How we live is the gift we give to the world.
    Who we show ourselves to be
    through the process of living our life
    is the wake we cut,
    the legacy we leave behind.
    Forget believing in some preacher’s spiel
    as the way to make up
    for not having lived–
    live to be alive
    in the time and place
    of your living!
    Believe whatever it takes
    to be alive here, now!
    When you do the chores
    do them in ways
    that bring you to life!
    When you run your errands,
    do them in ways
    that announce your presence
    and evidence your vitality!
    Birth yourself into every moment!
    Live so as bless every scene
    with the annunciation of your arrival!
    Make them all glad
    to share your company
    and delight in your life!
    We are only here for a short time–
    why not make it worthwhile?

07/17/2017 — “Fake News!” doesn’t
necessarily mean the news is wrong,
just that the news is bad,
and therefore, the implication:
“Death to the Messenger!”
“Fake News” equals “Lying Damn Media,”
equals “Attack the Damn Reporters!”
Trump leads the cheers
of those who have
had nothing but bad news
all their lives.
He appears to them
to be one of them,
if you can believe that.
He is their kind.
He understands them.
He sings their song.
Calling him “Deplorable,”
calls them “Deplorables,”
which is the way they have felt
all their lives.
Gives them instant community,
instant camaraderie,
instant family,
something to embrace
and be proud of,
something they have never had.
Now they have it,
along with a mission,
a purpose,
a calling,
a goal:
Love and serve the Lord
through all of his strange
and mysterious ways!
Attacks on their Lord
are attacks on his base,
deepening their bond
and assuring their faithfulness.
We have all been
painted into a corner.
It is best to realize it is so
and consider it for what it is:
The inevitable outcome
of hopelessness
and “quiet desperation”
(Thoreau)
with no one to give voice
to their anguish
or articulate their plight.
The irony is they pin their hopes
on a savior who offers them
nothing but sound bites
and shadow promises,
and who can only escape
the eventual realization
of his deception
by blaming his fall
on his enemies in the press
and the Liberal Establishment.
Those of us who have been pressed
into the corner with them
have to take all of this into account,
and recognize the need for compassion,
benevolence and grace
in healing the wounds of the people
(ourselves included)
and finding the way forward together.
We who would not build The Wall,
have to do the work of tearing down the wall
that exists between us and “them.”
It is all US in the corner!
We have to listen to the cacophony
of songs, stories and voices
until we can all get to the WE
coursing through us all,
and see the one in the many
and the many in the one
in a “Thou Art That” kind of way.

07/17/2017 — We are living our life
the way it needs us to live it.
The question is not,
“What do you want
to do with your life?”
but, “What does your life
want you to do?”
“What is your life asking of you?”
“What does your life need from you?”
“What are you and your life
teaming up to do?”
Sitting with our life
and working out together
“Here we are–now what?”
is the task of a lifetime:
Our lifetime.

  1. 07/18/2017 — A Walk in the Woods 2016 32 — Indian Land, South Carolina, November 15, 2016

    I’m interested in our Inner Circle.
    I assume we all either have one or wish we did.
    I wonder:
    How many people are in our Inner Circle?
    Do they know they belong to our Inner Circle?
    Do they ever get together as Our Inner Circle–
    and if so, how often?
    Do they like one another?
    Would they be in each other’s Inner Circle?
    Do we “call on” our Inner Circle as individuals,
    or as a group?
    Do people move in and out of our Inner Circle?
    On what Basis–
    How do we determine who is in our Inner Circle,
    and who is not?
    Can people who are deceased be in our Inner Circle?
    Can people who are fictional characters be in our Inner Circle?
    In what ways does our Inner Circle assist us with our life?
    In what ways might our Inner Circle fail us?
    In what ways might we fail them?
    Can people we never thought of as being in our Inner Circle
    come through for us in ways that put them there?
    What does it mean to “come through for us”?
    How about: To reliably be what we need,
    when and where we need it?
    How many people can we count on
    to be what we need, when and how we need it?
    Are women better at “Inner Circling” than men?
    It seems to me that a capacity for “Inner Circling”
    would entail a capacity for intimacy and vulnerability
    (we can’t be intimate if we won’t be vulnerable)
    and I wonder if I am correct about that.
    As we age, do we make more use of our Inner Circle?
    Less use?
    Does it disappear as we outlive our friends/relatives?
    Are we ever so alone that we cannot conjure up
    our Inner Circle
    and be comforted by their presence,
    and guided by their wisdom?
    (And, as an aside, I wonder how often, if at all,
    you engage in imaginary conversations/dialogue–
    and are you deepened, expanded, enlarged, directed,
    comforted in so doing?)

07/18/2017 — Jesus was a polarizing element
in the Jewish society of his day.
You loved him or you hated him.
You resonated with him
or were turned off by him.
You understood him
or you didn’t get a thing he said.
He said, “If you aren’t with me,
you are against me.”
And another time he said,
“If you aren’t against me,
you are with me.”
He was saying,
“One way or another,
you are going to have
a reaction to me.
You are going to have
to deal with me.”
It wasn’t something people
had to think about.
It wasn’t that they
couldn’t make up
their mind about Jesus.
There was instant,
spontaneous,
recognition or rejection.
Jesus turned you on,
or turned you off.
“I’ve come to divide families
and destroy close friendships,”
he said (Or words to that effect).
That’s the way it is with truth.
We hear it and we react to it.
“Black lives matter”
stirs something in all of us.
“LGBTQ rights,”
“Muslim rights,”
“Voter rights,”
“Women’s rights,”
“Human rights,”
“Civil rights,”
strikes a cord with this one,
and makes that one fighting mad.
Truth is divisive.
It forces decision on us.
It shows us who we are.
It frees us and binds us
at the same time.
We don’t get to choose.
The choice is made for us
by come compelling force
within us.
“Yes!”
“No!”
Are automatic responses
to the encounter with truth.

07/18/2017 — Tell me I must love
changing flat tires,
and threaten me
with severe penalties
and woeful humiliations
until I do–
and I will tell you
that you must love me
for not loving
to change flat tires,
and that you will have
as easy a time loving me
as I will have loving that.
We can love what we love
and we may come to love
what we do not love,
but not on command,
and not by striving mightily.

  1. 07/19/2017 — Lake Crandal 2016 14 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 8, 2016

    I’m interested in the objective reality of the Psyche–
    the “Unconscious” part of ourselves
    (“unconscious” because we are not conscious of it)–
    and in the psychic connections that exist
    within each of us (between conscious and unconscious)
    and among all of us,
    and in the psychic disruptions that exist
    within us and among us.
    The experience and exploration of the Psyche
    and its relationship with the Conscious–
    between the Unconscious Mind
    and the Conscious Mind–
    is the valid ground of all good religion
    and the sole (soul) justification
    of the church-as-it-might-yet-be.
    The experience of falling in love
    is a psychic phenomenon.
    The experience of resonance
    is a psychic phenomenon.
    The experience of meaning,
    of peace,
    of belonging,
    of despair,
    loss
    and sorrow…
    are psychic phenomenons.
    We–WE–are psychic phenomenons,
    solid evidence of psychic reality,
    yet, we like to think
    we are all logic and rationality,
    while illogical and irrational behavior
    rules our lives!
    You are where you are,
    I am where I am,
    because of choices and decisions
    we cannot begin to explain
    or understand.
    We could do a better job
    of “getting to the bottom” of it–
    of consciously participating in “it,”
    of belonging to “it,”
    of cooperating/collaborating with “it,”
    of being the living expression of “it”
    that we are!

07/19/2017 — I cannot empathetically or compassionately
put myself in the place
of Senate Republicans,
and imagine destroying
the lives of 22-33 MILLION people
in the service of the idea of smaller government
and a tax cut of nearly a trillion dollars
for people making in excess of $200,000 a year.
How can they be flip and casual about that?
How can they ridicule and shame
fellow Republican Senators
for not joining them
in that appalling, ruthless act?
Who are these people?
How did they rise to this level of power and control?
What is so valuable about the ideal
of smaller government–
particularly when the idea can be
conveniently shoved aside
in the area of women’s rights,
LGBTQ rights,
Transgender rights,
Voter rights, etc.?
They are for smaller government
when it comes to social programs
and huge government
when it comes to military expenditures
and imposing the religious ideas
of the Religious Right
upon the nation as a whole.
And they see nothing wrong
with anything they do.
That is completely beyond
the sphere
of empathy and compassion.

07/19/2017 — The unacknowledged–yet undeniably apparent–ground
of Trump’s and Tea Party Republican’s
rabid-beyond-reason opposition to Obamacare
is their racially-fueled hatred of Barack Obama,
and their manic-obsession with erasing
all memory of him from their minds
and the annals of time.
Their hatred of Obama
flows from their hatred of black people generally,
and from their hatred of people who are different
(immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ’s, etc.)–
hence their affinity with
white supremacists,
(white) nationalism,
and the Far Right
(the By Far White).
Racism,
Xenophobia,
Islamophobia,
Homophobia,
Misogyny
are at the root cause
of the insanity
of current political policy.
Insanity breeds insanity.
We deal with it best
by seeing it for what it is
and knowing it cannot be appeased,
only opposed at every turn.

  1. 07/20/2017 — Lake Crandal 2016 18 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 8, 2016

    Carl Jung thought the Psyche–
    which he termed “Anima”–
    appeared as the “inner woman”
    in dreams of men,
    and as the “inner man”–
    which he termed “Animus”–
    in dreams of women,
    the two core archetypes
    of the unconscious mind.
    It may help our conscious mind
    apprehend our unconscious mind
    if we think in symbols–
    and genetics.
    Everything about living things
    comes packed in our DNA.
    And evolutionary genetics
    can be thought of
    as the science of spirituality,
    or the method by which
    “inside” appears to be “outside,”
    and the “man” moves from within
    to “upstairs.”
    It doesn’t do away with religion,
    but reframes religion as the means
    by which conscious relates to unconscious,
    and we grow in our ability
    to “know what we know”
    and align ourselves with ourselves
    for the good of the whole–
    the whole person
    and the whole world.

07/20/2017 — I have a dreadful hunch
that Republicans will continue
to be re-elected
no matter how much damage
they do to the country–
because of gerrymandering
and voter suppression,
and because they have buried
an irrational fear
in their constituency
of how much worse Democrats
would be:
“At least we have our GUNS!”
“At least our children aren’t
being taught EVOLUTION!”
“At least THE BIBLE isn’t being burned!”
“At least GLOBAL WARMING has been dismissed!”
Welcome to the new dark ages.

07/20/2017 — Ignorance has nothing to do
with education.
Ignorance cannot be educated
out of existence.
Ignorance is a refusal to see
what is looked at,
an inability to assess
a fact as factual.
It sees what it wants to see,
it believes what it
is comfortable believing,
and facts are whatever
it says facts are.
People enjoy being ignorant
because it doesn’t ask
anything of them,
or require them
to grow up in any way.

07/20/2017 — I’ve never known reason
to win an argument
with irrationality born
of ignorance,
fear,
loathing,
greed
or anger-
a description which characterizes
Tea Party Republicans
and the Religious Right
who are running the Party
that runs the country.
Which leaves us
with talking to everybody else
in seeking enough votes
to turn things toward a future
holding out life and hope,
liberty and justice,
for all.

07/20/2017 — We have 50 Republicans in the Senate,
and 240 in the House
who are doing everything possible
to end health-care coverage
for 33 million Americans–
which would effectively
destroy life as they know it,
and indirectly devastate the lives
of those responsible for their care
and the lives of others in supportive services.
I have quite literally
never heard of anything
as despicable, detestable, ruthless and wrong.
These 290 Republicans
look for all the world
like regular, normal, decent, loving and caring
human beings.
No one would ever guess
they are monsters and ghouls
without hearts and souls.
But they cannot deny that,
no matter how much
they might like to pretend
it isn’t so.

07/21/2017 — I cannot remember a time
when so much hangs in the balance
and is on the line.
Russia has at least two fronts:
1) The election interference
and all its paths of entanglements.
2) The loans, investments and financial ties
with Trump and his “Organization.”
There is the Health-care fiasco
made way more complicated
than it needs to be
to provide affordable health care
to all people
by Republican ideology
and special interests.
And then, there is the Budget Process
with it’s hidden tax cuts
and its reduction/eradication
of necessary services,
also complicated by
Republican ideology
and special interests.
And these three areas of concern
conceal Trump’s closing down
the support system for the ACA,
his flooding federal courts
with extreme Right judges,
his crippling the government
by shuttering agencies
and firing or transferring
federal employees…
The strategy seems to be
Destroy As Much As Possible
As Fast as Possible
And Overwhelm
The Resistance
With Too Much To Resist.
We who would resist
cannot allow ourselves
to become numb and unresponsive!
Our place is to see, know,
and make known!
The appalling and obscene
cannot become normal and acceptable
by being profuse and abounding!
Object!
Protest!
Denounce!
Defy!

  1. 07/21/2017 — Lake Crandal 2016 19/20 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 8, 2016

    We have to make the time
    to process the experience
    of each day’s episodes–
    to recall, review, reflect, realize
    what happened,
    and what its impact on us
    was and continues to be.
    We have to slow life down
    by opening ourselves to it,
    becoming aware of it,
    and letting it be
    because it is.
    Our reaction to the events
    of the day
    carries weight unnoticed
    until we consider that aspect
    of those events.
    It is the opinion we have
    about what happens
    that creates the stress
    that takes its toll.
    Sitting with it all,
    holding the events of the day
    and our opinion of them
    in our awareness–
    without embellishment,
    simply allowing them
    to be part of the day–
    provides a perspective
    that takes everything into account
    without being undone
    by any of it,
    and assists us
    in being ready for tomorrow.

  2. 07/22/2017 — Lake Francis 2016 04 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina, November 8, 2016

    We have to be clear
    about what matters most to us
    and be conscious of that
    as the grounding truth of our life,
    upon which we stand
    and around which we coalesce,
    in all the times and places
    of our living.
    We live in the service of what?
    We live to express, exhibit, incarnate what?
    We live to make plain
    our loyalty, devotion, allegiance to what?
    What is the core value–
    the core values–
    that constitute(s) the essential nature
    of who we are in the world?
    In what ways is that value–
    are those values–
    reflected in the way we live?
    How would people know,
    in looking at our life,
    what is important to us?
    How is that value–
    are those values–
    borne out in our life?
    We must be steadily aware
    of that–
    and of how the impact
    of our life experience
    alters the value/values
    at the core of who we are,
    and how that is then
    made evident in how we live.
    Our life is our values,
    our values are our life.
    We live to make known
    what matters most to us–
    in all times and places,
    conditions and circumstances,
    of our living.
    Nothing else matters
    beyond the service
    of what matters most.

07/22/2017 — Every year, my Doctor asks,
“How’s your energy level?”
Every year, I answer,
“It’s beneath rock bottom
for the things I don’t like to do,
and as high as up goes
for the things I love to do.”
“Go where your energy takes you!”
he says.
“I’ll do my best!” I say.
I don’t get better advice anywhere.