June 20, 2018 — September 07, 2018

  1. 06/20/2018 — The Blowing Rock 2018 01 Panorama — Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 20, 2018What you do to pay the bills
    is one thing.
    What you pay the bills to do
    is another.
    What do you pay the bills to do?How much time do you spend doing it?Do you believe in it
    with all your heart?

    Does it make your little heart sing?

    And your little feet dance?

    How much time do you spend
    doing things you do not believe in?

    That do not make your little heart sing
    and your little feet dance?

    What can you do to equalize
    the amount of time doing things
    you don’t believe in
    and the amount of time doing things
    you do believe in?

    What’s keeping you from doing it?

  2. 06/21/2018 — The “Y” 2018 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 20, 2018All religion requires its adherents
    to take something on faith
    that the religion cannot substantiate
    or verify,
    saying, in essence,
    “If you believe this,
    your experience will confirm
    it’s validity
    in 10,000 ways
    throughout your life!”Well, Duh!That’s what belief does.

    The self-validating nature of belief
    is ground of all religion,
    superstition
    and delusion.

    We verify what we believe
    by believing it.

    Therefore, believe something
    worth verifying!
    Believe something
    that will make all the difference
    for the good
    in your life
    and in the lives of others!

    For instance,
    believe that it matters
    how we live!

    Believe that what we believe
    is important
    is the most important thing
    we can do
    in creating a life
    worth living
    and a world
    worth living in!

    Choose for yourself
    what is worth
    living for,
    and live for it–
    consciously,
    dependably,
    reliably,
    religiously,
    day in
    and day out,
    in all weather conditions,
    whether you feel like it
    or not,
    because you believe
    in its value
    even when you cannot prove
    it is valuable!

    Embrace and support
    your belief in what is worth
    your life
    with a liege oath
    of loyalty,
    devotion,
    and service–
    and allow nothing
    to void or inhibit
    your allegiance!

    Live as though
    your life depends
    on how well you choose
    what to live for,
    and how completely
    you live for it,
    and you will be
    a source
    of blessing
    and grace
    upon all
    who come your way.

    It only takes doing it
    to know it is so.

  3. 06/22/2018 — Yellow-bellied Sapsucker(s) 2018 01 — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 20, 2018We do the work
    and wait for it to turn.
    “It” being the way things are.”Doing the work” being
    putting ourselves
    in accord with the Tao
    by doing what is called for
    in response to what is happening
    in each situation as it arises
    for as long as it takes for
    it to turn.The Donald Trump Fascist/Nazi Regime
    did not “just happen.”
    “It” turned in that direction
    because we were not doing the work
    required to maintain symmetry,
    equilibrium,
    harmony,
    peace,
    and karma
    by living in accord with the Tao
    over a long period of time.

    When we fail to do the work,
    momentum builds up
    and the drift toward chaos
    gains speed
    until “all hell breaks loose,”
    and we wonder what happened.

    What happened is always
    the natural outcome
    of nothing being done
    about the 10,000 little things
    that set the tone
    and open the doors
    for Donald Trump
    and his Fascist/Nazi Regime
    to goose-step through.

    Living in accord with the Tao
    is the constant,
    unrelenting,
    dedicated,
    regular,
    dependable
    work of being mindfully aware
    of what is happening
    and what needs to be done about it
    all our life long.

    Doing the work maintains the Tao,
    and when the Tao is not maintained,
    doing the work,
    and waiting for it to turn,
    restores things to their proper relationship
    with the good,
    the true,
    and the beautiful.

    It only takes believing in it,
    “taking it on faith,”
    and doing the work
    to see that it is so.

  4. 06/22/2018 — Meadow View 2018 01 — Near Mt. Jefferson Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway, West Jefferson, North Carolina, June 19, 2018We don’t like anything
    that inconveniences us.Coming to terms with inconvenience,
    trouble,
    difficulty
    and hardship
    is the sum total
    of the spiritual journey,
    which is indistinguishable
    from growing up.”Spiritual” is our term
    for the invisible realities
    which govern our life:

    Serendipity,
    grace,
    luck,
    mojo,
    juju,
    being in the groove
    and on the beam,
    or behind the 8-ball
    and dealing with bad karma,
    at one with the Tao
    or lost in the wasteland…

    All of these terms,
    and others like them,
    represent experiences
    with more than words
    can say–
    and we have been
    searching for ways
    to exploit and control them
    for as long as
    we have experienced
    the truth of their existence–
    in order to avoid inconvenience,
    trouble,
    difficulty
    and hardship.

    In order to keep from growing up.

    The Buddha and the Christ
    come along and recommend growing up.
    “Life is suffering,” said the Buddha.
    “Pick up your cross every day,” said the Christ.
    Not what we want to hear.
    Freedom from suffering
    is what we want.

    “Lower your expectations,” said the Buddha.
    “Don’t worry about it,” said the Christ.
    We roll our eyes
    and turn to the escapes and addictions
    the culture so thoughtfully offers.

    We don’t like anything
    that inconveniences us.
    And, therein, lies the problem.

  5. 06/23/2018 — American Crow 2018 01 — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 20, 2018It takes a good faith commitment
    on the part of everyone concerned
    to work things out
    among us
    to the detriment
    of none of us,
    and the well-being
    of all of us.And we all know of families
    where that was/is impossible
    to arrange.I don’t know how we
    are going to do it
    as a country.

    I don’t know how
    to get us to be willing
    to think about it.

    ISIS wants everyone dead
    who doesn’t think like they do
    and do it like they want it done.
    How do we get ISIS to the table?

    Fascists/Nazis/White Supremacists
    appear to me to just want
    people of color dead,
    but they may accept terminally miserable.
    And I don’t know how
    to get them to step away from that.

    I don’t know how we
    change our mind
    about what is important
    without being
    at the end of our rope.
    We are fast approaching
    the end of our rope
    as a nation–
    maybe as a globe–
    Is it a race of Chicken
    to see which group
    changes its mind first?

    Is the point of demarcation
    “Liberty, Justice, and Equal Rights
    for Everybody”
    vs “All Undesirables (and the list is long)
    Have to GO!”?

    How do we work that out?
    “You go your way and I’ll go mine,”
    won’t cut it
    when there is nowhere to go.
    We are all right here,
    and have to figure out how
    to be here together
    without anyone being worse off
    for it.

    Here is the tricky part.
    “Mama! He’s looking at me!”
    Isn’t making anyone worse off
    in an actual, tangible, visible, measurable
    kind of way.

    When Fascists/Nazis/White Supremacists say
    to Undesirables (anyone on the long list),
    “It’s people like you
    who make people like me
    hate people like you,”
    they aren’t being made worse off
    in any actual, tangible, visible, measurable
    kind of way.

    Their hatred is home grown.
    It is an inward product
    of their own frame of mind
    and way of thinking.
    They talk themselves into hating
    who they hate.
    And perpetuate their hatred
    by talking it up among themselves.
    It gives them a reason to live,
    thinking about the life they would have
    if it weren’t for the objects of their hatred.

    How to get them to see
    that they are manufacturing
    their own justification
    for hating the people they hate
    and to stop it
    would take their willing cooperation
    and devoted commitment
    to the work of deprogramming–
    or simply to the entire process of growing up.

    We all have to grow up against our will.
    They refuse to see that this
    applies to them.

    And here we are,
    waiting for the Fascists/Nazis/White Supremacists
    among us to wake up
    and grow up–
    with no way that I can imagine
    of speeding things up
    and hurrying things along.

06/23/2018 — The Buddha advised
self-reflection,
mindfulness,
awareness–
without reaction,
without evaluation,
without opinion,
without judgment.

Just seeing,
just hearing,
just knowing,
just understanding,
and waiting
for the proper response
to arise
in the silence
of seeing,
hearing,
knowing,
understanding.

Right action
is the spontaneous response
to knowing what’s what,
to perceiving the just-so-ness,
the just-as-it-is-ness
of each situation
as it arises.

When we perceive the problem
in its all-ness,
the solution appears
of its own accord.

The problem with this approach to the problem
is that awareness/mindfulness
takes time
for observation and reflection.

Our situations present us
with a multitude of problems
on a multitude of levels.

It is a lot to hold in our awareness,
and requires more time for the process
than we have available to us.

We are overloaded,
overwhelmed,
with too much to attend
and not enough time to attend it.

There is a limit to what the Buddha–
to what the Dalai Lama–
to what anyone
can process
in the amount of time
available to do the processing.

Which is something else
to be aware of,
something else to process.

The solution?
Recognize the impossibility
of doing what must be done,
and do what can be done.

Do not use the impossibility
of doing what needs to be done
to keep you from doing
what can be done!

  1. 06/24/2018 — The Hitching Post 2018 01 Panorama — At the Carriage House, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 20, 2018We all need a weapon
    to protect us from
    the chaotic disruption
    of our lives.
    We all have exactly
    what we need.Perspective
    (How we see)
    enables
    Perception
    (What we see)
    which enables
    Relationship
    (What we do in response
    to what we see).How we respond
    to what is happening
    to us/around us
    transforms everything.

    We shape the future
    by the way we perceive
    and react to the present—
    and the past
    (We change the impact
    of the past
    by the way we reflect on it
    and form new realizations
    about it).

    Everything is capable
    of being seen differently,
    and that changes the world.

    Light sabers
    and magic wands
    are nothing
    compared to our perspective.

    Learn how to use it,
    and you are the master
    of worlds beyond worlds
    without end.
    Fail/refuse
    to learn how to use it,
    and you are the person
    holding the car keys
    looking for the car keys.

  2. 06/24/2018 — Grandview Overlook 2018 01 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Boone, North Carolina, June 20, 2018We are the hope we seek!We become the hope we seek
    by looking within,
    knowing what matters most–
    and being right about it–
    and living to align
    ourselves with it
    and serve it as liege servants,
    with abiding loyalty and devotion,
    putting ourselves in full accord
    with the way things ought to be
    in each situation as it arises,
    all our life long.This is what Adam and Eve
    had in the Garden of Eden,
    and left behind
    to serve their own
    ever-changing idea
    of what would please them most.

    The way things ought to be
    faces stiff competition
    in what would please us most–
    and we always grow up
    against our will,
    which is exactly the path
    back to Eden,
    and the trek there
    is often called
    the Hero’s Journey,
    because it is completed
    only by those with noble hearts,
    who seek not their own good,
    but the true good of all,
    and exploit no situation
    to their own advantage
    at the expense of others,
    but live out of their own integrity
    in the service of what matters most,
    and let the outcome be the outcome.

06/24/2018 —   People have been trying
to earn merit,
and paying handsomely
to gain the advantage
and exploit their situation
for what they want,
for as long as
there have been people.

Astrology and religion
are age-old ways
of arranging our outcomes.

We believe in magic,
and hope we can find the tricks
to turn the future in our favor,
realizing the good
and avoiding the bad
all our life long.

Can’t we just grow up?
How about looking for
a way of looking at things
that will enable us to handle
whatever comes our way?

That would be all the magic we need!

A perspective that receives
all conditions and circumstances,
events and occasions
equally well–
so that whether
we win or we lose
it’s all the same to us–
would be an all-weather attitude
for dealing with anything
that comes our way.

if you are going to wish for something,
wish for that,
and take up the work
of developing it
and putting it in practice
in the time left for living.

06/24/2018 — We work it out
for ourselves,
over the full course
of our life,
out of reflection
on our experience:

What works
and what does not work.

What is right
and what is wrong.

What is helpful
and what is harmful.

What is good
and what is evil.

What is important
and what is not important.

What matters most
and what does not matter most.

What is called for
and what is not called for.

People–
parents,
teachers,
priests and preachers,
counselors,
etc.–
can tell us all of these things, but.
Whatever they say
has to be confirmed by our experience.

We cannot take anyone’s word
for any of these matters.
We have to know in our own heart,
and mind,
and body,
what these things are.
And we have to be right about it.

That is what experience
and reflection on experience
are about:
Realization.
Awareness.
Enlightenment.
Understanding.
Knowledge.

If you do not know what these things are
out of your own personal experience,
start paying attention.

Everything hinges on you
living in light of–
in service to–
the things you say matter most!
And being right about it.

06/24/2018 — Everybody who has known
has said there is nothing to it.

“It isn’t far off,
like across the ocean,
or over the mountains!
It’s right here!
As close as your breathing,
as present as your shadow!”

They have all said that
in one way or another.
And it remains so today.

It’s every where we look!
Why don’t we see what we look at?
It calls to us from all sides!
Why don’t we listen to what we are hearing?

Why don’t we know what we know?
Why don’t we feel what we are feeling?
Why don’t we attend our experience?
Why do we block
knowing,
feeling,
experiencing?

Why do we talk without saying anything?
Why don’t we say what cries out to be said?
Why don’t we ask the questions
that beg to be asked?

Why don’t we live
with the wind of the spirit
that blows where it will
forever in our hair?

06/25/2018—A Tweet from today:

Do your work in the service of Liberty, Justice, Equality day in and day out until the work is done, knowing you will never live long enough to see the work done! It is your work to do—do it without a hitch in your stride, until the work is done!

  1. 06/25/2018 — The Lotus Flower 2018 03 C — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 21, 2018I don’t talk to people
    I have to explain myself to.
    Or defend myself against.
    Or justify my values and positions.
    Or excuse my views and choice of words.If you don’t know what I mean,
    you will never understand what I’m saying.And if I repeat myself,
    it’s either because I’m old,
    or because some things
    can’t be said enough,
    or too often.

    And there will always be
    a few people who understand you,
    and a lot of people who don’t,
    and many, many people who care not.

    And it has always been,
    will always be,
    true
    that the people who get it
    are the people who get it,
    and the people who don’t,
    are the people who don’t,
    and no amount of arguing,
    debating,
    haranguing,
    haggling,
    and having at it
    is going to increase
    the number in the first group
    and decrease the number in the second.

    Everything comes in its own time,
    in its own way,
    or not.

    Say what you have to say,
    I say,
    and let that be that.

  2. 06/26/2018 — Jessie Brown’s Place 2018 01 Panorama — E.B. Jeffress Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Mile Post 272, North Carolina, June 20, 2018When you are damned if you do,
    and damned if you don’t,
    be damned and be done with it–
    but not in an off-hand,
    casual,
    here’s another one,
    let’s get it over with
    kind of way.Be really damned!
    Bear the pain!
    Consciously,
    deliberately,
    fully–
    and get ready for the next one!The Dalai Lama’s bodyguards
    carry automatic weapons.
    The Dalai Lama will kill his enemies.
    He talks of compassion and peace
    and non-violence
    nonstop,
    and he is ready to kill anyone
    who tries to kill him.
    And he does it
    knowingly,
    bearing the pain of his choice
    consciously–
    the price we all pay for choosing
    the choices that are before us.

    The owner of The Red Hen restaurant
    told Sarah Sanders
    that she could not serve her
    in good conscience
    because it would be
    aiding and abetting the enemy,
    and she would not do that.

    The Dalai Lama will kill his enemies
    and the owner of the Red Hen restaurant
    will not feed hers.

    And they both stand before us
    asking us what we will do about ours.

    I am all for immigrants
    and their rights to a better life.
    We came here all those years ago
    to the New World
    in search of a better life.
    We all are together in that quest,
    and must recognize our common plight
    and assist one another as we are able
    in our efforts to improve our lot
    and our chances.

    I am also very strongly supportive
    of a woman’s right to make her
    own reproductive choices.
    Most of the immigrants from Latino countries
    are Roman Catholics,
    and are firmly opposed to abortion.
    By making a place for them
    I am increasing the number of people
    who will work against me
    and live to make abortion more difficult
    for women in the next generation.

    I support immigrants now,
    and will oppose their opposition
    to a woman’s right to choose abortion then.

    It is never finished,
    this bearing the pain of our contradictions,
    this being damned
    but never being done with it.

    We take up the work
    for Liberty, Justice, Equality
    and never put it down.

    Liberty, Justice, and Equality
    require us to confront eternally
    the fact that someone’s good
    is someone else’s bad.
    What is good for the antelope
    is bad for the lion.
    The choice we make here
    is going to have untoward,
    and often unforeseen,
    implications for us,
    or someone,

    And then we will have to make
    another choice,
    which will have untoward,
    and often unforeseen,
    implications for us,
    or someone…

    And that is how it is forever.

    We have to understand that
    and be damned by it,
    and bear the pain of it
    all the way.

    We take up the work
    of Liberty, Justice, Equality
    and do the work
    with devotion and dedication
    until the work is done–
    knowing full well
    that we will be dead
    long before the work is done,
    and do it as liege servants of the good
    anyway,
    nevertheless,
    even so,
    all our life long–
    bearing the pain of the contradictions
    the work implies,
    and living for the best interests
    of the situation as a whole
    here and now,
    creating choices that will
    need to be chosen
    in light of the best interests
    of the situation we will be creating
    then and there.

    And it never ends.
    And we do the work,
    being damned and never done with it
    forever.

06/26/2018 — Tweets from today:

With the Supreme Court (pirated by the 5 Justices loyal, not to Justice, but to the donors and Oligarchs who have placed them there) officially serving Trumpdom today, we have to recognize a new field of action and bring ourselves into accord with what will be asked of us there.

Do not live to make a difference—live to be different! By serving the ideals of Liberty, Justice, Equality, the Constitution and the Rule of Law, no matter how difficult, futile, overwhelming, useless and hopeless it seems. Live vibrantly grounded in the values at the core of life!

Our spiritual ground has nothing to do with theology, doctrine or dogma, but with the values at the core of being human. Anchor yourself to that bedrock and live out of that orientation as your ground and your support. Bring those values to life in your life!

You can serve the core values at the heart of being human in any circumstance, situation or condition of life! You can be kind, compassionate, stout-hearted and true to your sense of the good anywhere, any time. It does not depend upon winning or having things go your way!

We cannot be disheartened when our hearts are centered on the values essential to the community of humanity. We live to exhibit the values that are vital to our existence as a people—and we do not need any external prop or possession to do that. We live out of our own heart!

Liberty, Justice, Equality, Kindness, Compassion, Truth, Good Faith, Self-Transparency, Etc., are all called for in our life together, and we each are capable of bringing them forth to serve, uphold, enable, encourage and care for one another. WE are what we need!

Ground yourself in the values at the heart of being human, and live to be human—to be who you are—in each situation as it arises all your life long! No matter how your life goes, or what happens around you or to you!

  1. 06/27/2018 — Bass Lake Trail 2018 01 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 19, 2018How many things do you do
    in a day
    that bring you joy?Joy is no accident.
    It is a deliberate,
    intentional,
    conscious
    way of life.Living joyfully
    is a matter of living
    in the service
    of things that call your name–

    and a matter
    of being aware
    of the attitude/perspective
    with which
    you go about your life.

    I water the lawn and flower beds
    once or twice a week,
    during the summer,
    depending upon the amount
    of rain we get.

    Watering the lawn
    is a source of deep joy.

    It could be a chore.

    Boredom.

    The spirit with which
    we live our life
    is a prime conditioner
    determining the amount
    of joy prevalent in our life.

    The degree of mindful awareness
    with which we live our life
    is a prime determinant
    of the quality of spirit
    with which we live our life.

    Mindless living
    is joyless living.
    Why would you live mindfully joyless?
    Mindlessly joyless
    is the only way
    you can be joyless.

    If you want to increase
    your joyful quotient,
    live to increase
    your mindful quotient.
    It all flows from there.

06/27/2018 — Tweets from Today:

From today’s tweets:

The good will always be the enemy of evil, and evil will always strive to overcome the good. What the good has to understand is that evil is the enemy of the good–and accept as its eternal duty the work of overcoming evil. We always work for a better world! We never quit working–against all odds!

Nothing good lasts long enough. Nothing bad stops long enough. We stand on the bedrock of the best human values, swear liege loyalty to Justice, Freedom, Equality, step with conviction into each day. And do there what needs us to do it, the way it needs to be done.

And taking both of these tweets a bit further, we have to put the idea of being civil to evil to rest. “Love your enemies” has to be read in light of the entire Book of Revelation. Jesus was not crucified for being civil. He was crucified for saying “NO!” to evil in no uncertain terms. He called evil out, he called evil by name. Evil knew where he stood.

We are not here to make it easy for our enemies to win the day. And we do have enemies! And we are to oppose them at every turn.

George Lakoff has some good ideas about how to do that. He has a web page and is the author of “Don’t Think Of An Elephant.”

We draw lines as graciously as possible, but we draw lines, and remain true to our convictions and values through all that is yet to be.

  1. 06/28/2018 — Blue Ridge Ferns 2018 07 — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 12, 2018There will be days when
    you wonder why try.
    Days when you
    don’t believe in
    what you believe in
    because it looks like
    it doesn’t matter
    what you believe.There will be days when
    you have no hope,
    see no reason to go on,
    are overwhelmed,
    exhausted,
    depleted,
    empty
    and undone.There will be days when
    you lose all heart
    for the work that must be done,
    and buy fully into:
    So what?
    Who cares?
    What good will it do?
    Who am I kidding?
    Why bother?

    On those days remember
    me telling you
    that heart is the easiest
    thing to lose
    and the hardest
    thing to maintain–
    because the evidence
    is impossible to deny:

    It is useless,
    hopeless,
    futile,
    pointless
    and absurd–
    and coming
    to a very bad end:
    we all die,
    so why even bother?

    Because–
    how we live in the meantime
    makes all the difference.

    That is what you have to believe.
    What you have to take on faith.
    In spite of all pertinent facts
    to the contrary.

    What we do
    and how we do it
    matters
    in ways we cannot quantify,
    weigh,
    measure,
    count,
    demonstrate,
    show,
    prove,
    assess,
    validate,

    It matters to us,
    and it matters to those like us,
    and it matters to those
    who have never heard of us.
    But,
    we have to believe that
    to know it is so.
    And we have to act
    in ways that are commensurate with it,
    that bear it out,
    that serve it
    in all circumstances
    and conditions of life.

    It. Matters. How. We. Live.
    Believe it.
    It is so.
    Make it your religion.
    Your faith.
    Be true to it,
    and to yourself,
    no matter what.

    “Get in there and do your thing!
    And don’t worry about the outcome!”
    –Joseph Campbell,
    who said this is the moral
    of the Bhagavad Gita,
    the oldest spiritual guide
    ever written.

    That’s how long people
    have been losing heart,
    and have been called forth
    anyway,
    nevertheless,
    even so,
    to stand their ground
    against the gale force winds of evil,
    and say, along with Odysseus
    (In the words of the blind poet Homer,
    and why not give up and quit
    if you are a poet who has gone blind?),

    “I will stay with it
    and endure suffering hardship,
    and once the heaving sea
    has shaken my raft to pieces,
    then I will swim.”

  2. 06/29/2018 — Price Lake 2018 08 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 10, 2018This what it is like,
    and will be like,
    riding our raft
    upon the heaving waves
    of the wine-dark sea.In a world of turbulent change
    and escalating threats
    to our continued existence,
    it becomes an existential necessity
    that we locate
    and take refuge in
    “the still point
    of the turning world”
    (T.S. Eliot)Where is that damned thing?
    What did we do with it?
    When was the last time we saw it?
    Why is it never there
    when we need it?

    The still point
    is easily lost
    in lives basking
    in the glory of tomorrow
    and the glow of yesterday.

    When everything is going our way,
    who needs a still point?
    With the world on a string,
    sitting in the cat bird’s seat,
    swinging on a rainbow,
    or hoping to any day now,
    a still point would
    only slow us down!

    The last two years
    have been packed
    with nightmare yesterdays
    and hopeless tomorrows.
    And now,
    more than ever
    in the last sixty years
    we need that still point!

    That’s two generations
    of forgetfulness,
    of ersatz satisfaction,
    placebo peace
    and pretentious happiness.
    Plenty of time
    to lose all sight of
    the need of
    anything like a still point.

    It takes the threat–
    or the experience–
    of the complete loss of everything
    to bring back
    the realization of its central importance
    to our lives.

    The complete loss of everything
    is the very experience
    that makes finding
    the still point
    most challenging.

    Joseph Campbell said,
    “The treasure you seek
    lies far in the back
    of the cave
    you most don’t want to enter.”

    That applies to all treasure,
    and most certainly
    to the still point
    of the turning world.

    It takes the right kind of silence
    to approach the still point–
    the right kind of stillness
    to be still enough
    for the still point
    to gift us
    with its presence.

    Who can bear
    that kind of stillness,
    that kind of silence,
    with the horrors of yesterday,
    and the terrors of tomorrow,
    bearing down upon us
    amid the dark gloom
    of every now?

    Who can find the courage
    to be quiet
    and wait
    in the endless shadows
    of grief and sorrow unabiding?

    Hope is the child
    of promising action,
    of reasonable expectation,
    of possible,
    if unlikely,
    events and circumstances
    shifting things to the good.

    In the raw,
    ravaging darkness
    of these times,
    hope is a luxury
    no one can afford,
    and silence is a burden
    no one can bear.

    While the still point
    waits to comfort
    all travelers,
    though none
    take up the journey.

06/29/2018 — I have complete confidence
in the future’s ability
to right the wrongs
of the past,
and in life’s ability
to overcome every catastrophe
and threat to its existence.

Fear is existential,
time-limited
and the burden
of those who view everything
from the standpoint
of their personal well-being
at each point in their life.

Taking our place
in the vast company
of life over time
removes all anxiety,
and comforts our mind
in a very Buddha-like way.

There is suffering
and the end of suffering.
Take your pick.

06/29/2018 — his one is from 3/17/2007…

The whole thing–
all of it–
the sun,
the moon,
the galaxies,
the universe,
you,
me…
is statistically improbable.

What are the chances?
Yet, here we are.

I’m saying,
don’t make anything
of meeting your spouse
when you missed your flight,
and offered to share a table
with her/him
while you were waiting stand-by
to fly to New York,
changed your plans at dinner,
and flew with him/her
to Copenhagen,
and have lived there together
ever since

A happy,
meaningful coincidence
is all there is.
Ever.
About anything.

What is the greater miracle,
that everything is planned
down to the number of feathers
on each bird that flies–
or that nothing is?

  1. 06/30/2018 — Roadside Fence 2018 01 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 20, 2018Fraser Snowden said,
    “The only true philosophical question
    is ‘Where do you draw the line?'”It is the most important question
    in the entire book of questions.It transports you like a portkey
    straight to your bedrock
    of values,
    to your core identity,
    to the face that was yours
    before your grandparents
    were born.

    Where you draw the line
    takes you instantly
    to who you are.

    The lines you draw
    define you to you
    and to all the world.

    If you want to know
    who you really are,
    look no further
    than the last line you drew.

    Your lines are thresholds,
    doorways,
    to the truth of the essence
    of you.

    And they are wonderful
    objects of meditation
    on what you have been
    saying to yourself
    about yourself
    from Day One.

    Sit with your lines
    in mindful reflection.
    Allow them to open you
    to you.

    And draw each one
    going forward
    with mindful awareness
    and conscious conviction,
    declaring YOU
    boldly and courageously
    by setting limits,
    establishing boundaries,
    and saying what matters most
    as only you can.

  2. 07/01/2018 — Bass Lake Trail 2018 03 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 21, 2018All of the wisdom found
    in all of the books
    ever written by members
    of the species
    is present in the lived experience
    of each member of the species.It only takes reflection
    to know this is so.If you aren’t spending
    the required amount of time
    reflecting on your experience
    to the point
    of forming new realizations,
    you are wasting the time
    you spend
    not doing that.

    Activities that waste your time
    and activities that make good use
    of your time
    are yours to determine.

    What is important?
    What is not?
    It’s all up to you.

07/01/2018 — From a letter I wrote today to Paul Snell:

Your plate is full, and. You are on the money with your assessment of our situation in this country re: The MENACE. Our collective plate is full!

The marches yesterday are a sign of hope. The mass of Americans feel as you and I do. And, yet, we are “up against it.” Our place, yours and mine, is to continue what we have started—to be who we are—encouraging what needs to be encouraged and discouraging what needs to be discouraged, and seeing where it goes.

My core belief these days is in the silence. It goes back to Lao Tzu and the Tao, which I take to be “the way things need to be,” or “the way things truly ought to be,” which can be perceived only in the silence. If we can be quiet enough long enough, what ought to be done arises of its on as something simply occurring to us. “Of course, that’s it,” is our part, and doing it is also our part.

The world does not like, support, sustain silence, being still, being quiet, “doing nothing.” And thus, here we are. But the biblical images apply, “Like a seed in the earth,” “Like yeast in the dough,” we “do nothing,” and it is done, like magic, like the macaroni and cheese in the oven.

I’ve ordered the book you suggested. Amazon tells me it will be here Tuesday. I’m looking forward to getting into it. I have started reading histories of the world (I’ve completed one—I’m reading college textbooks), and have two more to go. Then I have waiting a history of art, a history of silence, and now, a history of philosophy (which I will read concurrently with the rest).

I keep several books going at once, and amazed at finding similar threads of truth running through them all. Truth is one, and those who know know the same things. There are no secrets! There is no mystery, except the mystery of the yeast in the dough, etc., the mystery of truth in its full apparent-ness, revealed and concealed in/by everything. To be perceived and understood by those who can only talk it among themselves and cannot communicate anything of it to those who know not and think they know all. It is such an oddity it is the mystery which surpasses all understanding, and can only be toasted (I’m no longer drinking alcohol, and so must raise my cup of coffee or glass of tea) and laughed at by those who love a good paradox when they see one.

07/01/2018 — We don’t get it.
We get it and forget it.
We get it and do it.
And forget it and don’t do it.
And get it again…

And that’s the flow of things
throughout our life.

Remembering the flow,
and returning to the silence
to be nourished
and nurtured
by what we find there,
assists the flow
and keeps it flowing.

Keeping it flowing
is the most we can hope for,
the best we can do.

Keep it flowing.

  1. 07/01/2018 — American Crow 2018 02 — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, June 21, 2018Your truest, best, guides
    live within.The outer guides,
    you know them well by now,
    give you advice and suggestions,
    guidance and direction,
    as though they know
    more about what you should do
    with your life
    than you do.Shun anyone who tries
    to put themselves
    between you and your life,
    telling you to believe what they tell you
    and not believe what they tell you
    to not believe.

    You are old enough to figure
    these things out
    on your own.

    What people who listen
    to themselves
    have discovered
    throughout the centuries,
    holds true for all of
    the centuries yet to be:

    Listen to your heart.
    Listen to your body.
    Listen to your nighttime dreams.
    Listen to your experience.
    And reflect on all that you hear.
    Hold it in your awareness
    until what to do about it
    arises of its own volition,
    and occurs to you
    as an idea with power and conviction
    that will not go away–
    and do what it says do.

    If that turns out to be way wrong,
    don’t worry about it.
    That just sets you up for repeating
    the process.
    If your heart, etc., get you in trouble,
    keep listening to your heart, etc.
    to get you out of trouble.

    Throw in with your heart, etc.,
    and let the chips fall where they will.
    At the worst,
    you get to know your heart, etc.,
    really well,
    and they get to know
    they can trust you
    to trust them–
    and that is a mix
    that is good for anything
    that comes along.

  2. 07/02/2018 — Lotus Flowers 2018 3 B — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 21, 2018Thinking is the servant
    of experiencing.
    Thinking connects experiences
    by thinking about thinking
    and experiencing,
    and where one goes over
    into the other.Imagination is a way of thinking
    about experience.Playing with contradiction,
    polarity and paradox.

    Philosophy is a way of thinking
    about questions
    that cannot be answered,
    yet, have to be.

    Meaning is experienced.
    It is not thought up,
    explained,
    passed on.

    We cannot hand meaning
    to someone,
    or tell them where to find it.

    “Live your life!
    See where it leads you!”

    It isn’t like baking an Angel Food Cake.

    It is like understanding your dog
    or your cat,
    your mule
    or your cow
    by living with them.
    You tune into them,
    they tune into you.
    And you all know things
    that cannot be said.

    We live with our life that way.

    Sit down with your day.
    With your feelings,
    your reactions,
    your evaluations,
    judgments,
    interpretations,
    understandings,
    knowings…

    Think about these things,
    explore these things,
    where they come from,
    what they remind you of,
    why this and not that,
    where they lead,
    where they carry you,
    what they mean,
    what you mean.

    What gives your life direction?
    Where is your purpose found?
    What is meaningful?
    What is not?
    Think about these things,
    explore these things…

    Wake up to your life
    by becoming aware of it.
    By listening to it.
    Like your mule
    or your cow.

07/03/2018 — There is no steady state
called “Happiness.”
“Happy” is a
negotiated settlement
between how things are
and how we wish things were,
how we want things to be.

We can be happy
in full recognition
of the work that needs to be done.

There is always something more to want.
Adam and Eve weren’t happy
with the Garden of Eden.
Paradise would have been perfect
except for one thing.
There is always The One Thing Missing.
Get that and, Oops,
now there are more things missing
(Like the rest of the Garden of Eden).

That’s how it is.
Getting this means
giving up that.
It’s one trade off after another.
Thinking we have to have it all
to be happy
is not only to be unhappy,
it is also to be stupid.

Being happy is coming to terms with
the way things are:
“This is the way things are,
and this is what can be done about it,
and that’s that.
And that’s the way things are.”

07/02/2018 — I weep for my ancestors
and for doing no more
than I have done
with what they had done
to make my life possible,
and with the gifts
they passed on to me
to use in the service
of honoring my ancestors
and making them proud.

And, I weep for our ancestors
and for doing what we have done
with their sacrifices
and their efforts
in their work to create a country
that shone in the darkness
as a light of hope on the distant shore–
and with what we have done
in exploiting their gift
and using it as an opportunity
to deepen,
expand,
enlarge
our personal wealth
and privilege
at the expense of their hope
for us and for all of humanity.

We have betrayed our ancestors,
and if there is life beyond life
wherein we remain conscious
of having lived,
we will bear the shame
of how we have lived forever.

And it would be only right
that we do so.

  1. 07/03/2018 — Andrew Jackson 2018-07 01 Panorama — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, July 1, 2018

The sky was perfect with puffy clouds everywhere, and nothing to put under them within reach but the lake at Andrew Jackson State Park, 9 miles from home. When I got there, the wind was high, ruling out a reflection, so I made a three-image panorama that became the first photo, thinking I would flip the sky and make a reflection, which I did: Photo #1. By the time I finished finding compositions, the wind had disappeared, and Photo #2 was available. That’s why two photos.

—0—

We make our choices
and live our life,
and that’s that.

The life we have lived,
and will live yet,
reflects the choices we made
and will make yet.

We–
as they say in the deep south–
do it to our own selves.

If we want to live differently,
we only have to make
different choices.

We are afraid of making
different choices
because we are afraid
of what will happen.

We live the life we have lived
and the life we will live
because we are afraid.

We have to start taking chances
by making different choices
and seeing what happens.

And if the worst happens,
we have to keep making
different choices
and seeing what happens.

We have to learn that we
will be just fine
because we have what it takes
to take NO! for an answer
and go on making different choices
in the service of a better life.

After a while,
NO! doesn’t stop us,
or even slow us down.
And we are no longer afraid
of what might happen
if we make choice
that we know needs to be made.

We are free to live
the life that needs to be lived,
that needs us to live it,
in the time left for living.

Swing for the fences!

  1. 07/03/2018 — Price Lake 2018-06 06 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 10, 2018Mistakes are doorways,
    thresholds,
    portals
    to reflection,
    exploration,
    examination,
    realization,
    enlightenment,
    awareness,
    transformation,
    growth,
    maturation,
    and well-being.Sit with your mistakes,
    holding them in mindful awareness–
    without evaluation
    or opinion–
    and allow them
    to work their magic
    over time.
  2. 07/04/2018 — Bass Lake Trail 2018-06 05 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 21, 2018The Mythic Visions (or Realizations)
    always come upon us
    as a “Bolt From The Blue”!
    They jolt and jar us
    to our very core–
    because they come
    from the core,
    and the shock waves
    impact everything
    from there to the outer fringes.Joseph Campbell talked about
    Maslow’s Pyramid,
    or Hierarchy,
    of Values
    as being,
    not a formulation
    of the things we live for,
    but a list of the very things
    that are the first to go
    when we find
    what is worth living for.Campbell said we will sacrifice
    everything of value
    when the thing of truest value
    enters the room.

    Speaking of entering the room,
    Rumi said, “One glimpse
    of a true human being,
    and we are in love.”

    The Mythic Vision/Realization
    (“Mythic” because it is always
    of “mythic” proportions)
    is like falling in love,
    in that it immediately
    assumes the seat of highest honor
    in our life,
    and all else serves it
    as the one true God
    of life and being,
    and it reorders
    and recategories
    all of our priorities
    and our way of life.

    In the grip of a Mythic Vision/Realization,
    we will do anything
    in service to the Vision/Realization.

    The Camera gripped me
    in a Mythical way
    when I was a junior in college,
    and it hasn’t left my side.

    It is said that “Zen is what happened
    when Taoism met Buddhism,”
    and an early Mythic Realization
    is that I had been living
    a Zen-like life all my life,
    and have continued to do so
    through the years–
    not so much by intention
    as by nature.
    It is just, “Of course,” with me.

    A recent formulation of which is:
    “I am here,
    and this is now,
    and that’s that!”
    Which I understand to mean,
    “Things are not going to be
    much different with me
    tomorrow than they were yesterday,
    so why not just enjoy today?”

    Here is to you and your day,
    from me and my day!
    May it be as well as it can be
    with us all!
    (I’m confident it will be!)

07/04/2018 — Where do you need help with your life?
Do you need help finding your life?
Living your life?
Listening to your life?

How close are you
to being at-one with your life,
so that you are your life,
and your life is you?

Are you clear about
what your life is and is not?
About what is life for you
and what is not?
About what makes your little heart sing
and what does not?
About what assists you
in living your life,
and what obstructs you
from living your life?

When you reflect/meditate,
reflect/meditate on your life,
and see what new realizations
occur to you.

07/04/2018 — We always are about more
than we are aware we are about–
we stand for more,
imply more,
than we are aware of.

The Old Testament prophets
were not talking about Jesus of Nazareth
with what came to be interpreted
as prophesying The Lord And Savior Of Humankind.

The Declaration of Independence
and the Constitution
were not written to free slaves,
but easily lend themselves
to interpretations/understandings
which make emancipation and equal rights
a natural extension
of the rights and freedoms
they declare and proclaim.

We are One Nation
Under God
with Liberty and Justice
for All.

We have to be reminded
to live like it
in every generation.

That is why we celebrate
the Fourth of July.
It reminds us of who we are–
in order to be who we are
through all the other days
in the year.

07/04/2018 — Andrew Jackson 2018-07 07 Panorama– Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, July 1, 2017

A faux reflection because of high wind–created by flipping and copying the sky and creating the reflection with a layer mask in Photoshop.

Everybody is looking for a better life,
which generally equates to more money.

Monks and hermits live on very little money.
And the people who have too little money
would have more
if they were paid a livable wage.

At some point,
we have to make our peace
with the money we have
and find a way
to make that work
with the life
we are trying to live.

When the GOP/Trump takes away
my Medicare,
I’ll be wondering
which bills to pay,
and working to reduce
the bills I pay
to the number I can afford.

A lot of us will be in that boat together,
looking for a better life–
which would be a way to pay
for the life we have.

I the GOP/Trump takes away
my Social Security,
the boat will sink
and I’ll be treading water.

I hope I can take comfort–
find consolation–
in knowing that I will be
one with the vast majority
of my ancestors,
and draw enough strength
from that fine company
to do what I can
with what is mine to do.

May it be so with us all!

  1. 07/05/2018 — Bass Lake Trail 2018-06 02 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 21, 2018Immigrants are looking for a better life.
    So are we all.
    What’s the problem?Fitting immigrants into
    a life for themselves
    in the United States
    is one of simple mechanics:
    What jobs are they
    best suited for?
    Where in the U.S.
    are those jobs most available.Placement is a matter
    of working out the logistics,
    with all things considered.
    This is certainly within
    the range
    of one of the wealthiest,
    best educated and astute
    nations in the history of nations.
    What’s the problem?

    White Supremacy is the problem.
    The insecure, unstable, fearful and afraid
    white people among us
    cannot deal with the anxiety
    of being unable to live
    around people not like them.
    And they have nightmares
    and daymares
    of violent takeovers,
    job loss, etc.,
    and react by buying guns
    and hating everyone
    who is different.

    That leaves it to
    the rest of us to
    address the immigrants’
    need for a better life,
    and the white supremacists’
    need for a life at all.

    It can be done, but.
    We all have to be
    conscious of what
    needs to be done,
    and play our part
    in getting it done.

    That’s the catch.
    Getting the white supremacists
    to go along,
    to cooperate,
    to participate,
    to assist–
    against their will–
    would be the best trick
    in the entire history of tricks.

    And white supremacy
    is the worst idea
    in the entire history of ideas.
    A civil war couldn’t change their mind.
    Another one won’t either.
    There aren’t enough civil wars
    to compel them to grow up,
    see what they are doing,
    and stop it
    for the true good of the whole.

    What will?
    That is the most important question
    in the entire history of questions.

07/05/2018 — Of what does your life consist?
Your real life,
I’m talking about.
The source of your vitality,
enthusiasm,
passion,
anticipation
and participation
in doing what it takes
in the rest of your life
to be blessed
and graced
by the wonder
of experiencing
what you experience
in the presence
of the source
of your vitality, etc.

What is the source
of your vitality?

How do you serve it?
Maintain the connection?
Honor its presence?
Celebrate its existence?
Deepen,
enlarge,
expand its place
in your experience?

Understand this:
Our place
is to know what we love
and serve it with our life.

How are you coming along
with that?

  1. 07/06/2018 — Waning Moon 2018-07 01 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 5, 2018Everybody is responsible
    for the welfare,
    and well-being,
    of children.If we see a child in a car seat
    in a car with the windows rolled up
    in sweltering heat
    we break the windows
    or call the authorities
    and then break the windows.Children/infants who are taken
    from their parents
    at the border
    are the responsibility
    of everyone
    who has any place at all
    in the lives of those children/infants–
    and should be charged
    with Crimes Against Humanity
    for the neglect/abuse
    suffered by them.

    If the Department of Justice of the U.S.
    won’t do it,
    the International Court of Justice of the U.N.

    And, as U.S. citizens,
    we must take no rest
    and give the authorities no rest
    until they have addressed the matter
    enforced accountability
    and applied the requisite consequences.

  2. 07/06/2018 — Mourning Dove 2018-07 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 6, 2018It pays to not get too far
    from your mule and your cow.I don’t go anywhere
    without mine.I think of my mule and my cow
    as my foundation stones,
    my bedrock,
    stabilizing, grounding and centering
    my life,
    keeping me on the beam,
    on track,
    focused on being who I am
    and doing what is mine to do
    in each situation as it arises.

    My mule and my cow
    keep me on my side of the street.
    Out of the places
    I wouldn’t be welcome
    with a mule and a cow.

    They constantly remind me
    of where I come from
    and where I’m going–
    what got me here
    and what will take me
    the rest of the way.

    How long has it been
    since you fed your mule
    and milked your cow?
    It may be time
    to renew acquaintances,
    and remember
    what you are doing here
    and who you belong to.

  3. 07/07/2018 — Lotus Flowers 2018-06 04 B — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 24, 2018We all have access to the same information.
    What we do with it makes all the difference.
    What we do with it tells the tale.
    How we make use of it
    gives us the life we live.Someone speaking a foreign (to me) language
    is speaking gibberish
    that has no meaning (to me).
    I have access to it
    but can make no use of it.I am sitting,
    writing this in complete silence,
    surrounded by radio waves
    flooding the room with information
    beyond imagining
    on frequencies beyond my range
    of hearing.
    I could,
    with the proper instruments,
    have access to all of it,
    but I choose to make no use of it.

    We talk to each other
    in the same language,
    using words we both understand
    meaning quite different things
    with “socialism,”
    “white supremacy,”
    “Republicans,”
    “Democrats,”
    “deplorable,”
    “undesirable”…

    Meaning is something we give to information
    that filters out some things
    and allows other things to come through.
    We restrict the information
    available to us
    through the meanings
    we ascribe to it.

    Meaning is our way
    of limiting the amount of information
    we have access to
    in choosing
    what to make use of
    and what to ignore.

    What we choose to do
    with the information
    at our disposal
    determines what we do
    about it,
    and gives us
    the world in which we live.

    We must choose carefully
    the meanings we give
    to the information
    at hand
    in every moment,
    in each situation as it arises.
    Everything falls into place
    around those choices.

    Single.
    Thing.

07/07/2018 — Our contradictions are killing us.

To break the grip of our contradictions,
nature evolved consciousness,
but we didn’t like
having to do the work
of reconciling contradictions,
squaring up to what had to be done
and doing it–
AKA, growing up–
so we refused to live consciously aware
of what we were doing,
and continued to live unconsciously
at the mercy of lives
overflowing with contradictions.

We prefer the bliss of escape and denial
to the pain of decision and acceptance.

And that’s the tail
that wags the dog.

  1. 07/08/2018 — American Robin 2018-06 02 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 24, 2018There is thinking
    and there is feeling.
    They compliment each other,
    with each being able
    to over-ride the other,
    and each being able
    to recognize the other’s strength
    and allow the other to take the lead.Feeling is best suited
    for determining what to do.
    Thinking is best suited
    for determining how to do it.Feel your way into what.
    Think your way into how.
  2. 07/08/2018 — Grandfather Mountain 2018-07 01 Panorama — The Fire Tower Trail, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 8, 2018 —Theology is the source
    of all of our problems today.”Your God is not my God,
    so I must convert you
    or shun you
    and condemn you to hell!”The Caste System of the Hindus
    and the racism of all religions
    is based on the idea of a God
    who favors one over others.

    And it spins on from there. All theology is grounded on
    taking its propositions (doctrines)
    “on faith.”

    “Just believe what I’m telling you
    in your heart,
    and your experience will confirm
    its validity
    over the course of your life.”

    Let’s cut to the quick:
    What is a fact?
    I would say it is anything
    that can be verified
    by independent,
    objective,
    inspectors/witnesses.

    One’s own personal experience
    as the self-validating ground of faith
    won’t do.

    How many thousands of years
    did people believe the earth was flat?
    And that the sun rotated over and under the earth?

    And did not their own personal,
    self-validating experience
    confirm those propositions
    every day?

    They could see that it was so
    with their own eyes!
    The horizon is a straight edge!
    The sun moves across the sky!

    And God is not a fact.

    Which leaves us with throwing
    all theology and doctrine
    in the burning barrel
    and starting over
    in the search
    for That Which Has Always Been Called God.

    What are we experiencing
    when we experience “God,”
    “the Numen,”
    “the Ineffable,”
    “the Transcendent,”
    “Transcendence”
    in art, music, nature, another person?

    What inner, psychic realities
    might be impinging upon
    our perception
    of the physical world?

    It is past time that
    we opened ourselves to the question
    and took up the search
    for where it might lead.

07/09/2018 — When we are doing
what we are here to do,
this is what we are doing:

Articulate,
in words, art, music, dance–
in all the ways we have of expressing
the ineffable that demands
that we “say” it,
sing it,
exhibit it,
incarnate it,
bring it forth,
make it known,
apparent,
undeniable,
real–
what we all know to be so,
but don’t know that we know it
until we hear/see/feel/etc.
it expressed by others of us.

We are all a part
of the Great Choir of Being!

We all know it,
but have to hear it,
say it, etc.
to know what we know–
and once we experience it,
it resonates with us/with in us
and we respond to it
with our own way
of “singing it”
for others to “hear.”

And the depth/breadth/height/width
of what we know
but have yet to know that we know
stretches to infinity and beyond!

Thus, there is no time to waste!

We have to give ourselves
to saying/seeing/showing/being
what is striving to express itself
through us
and be known to us
and all of us
for all that it is–
to all that is!

We all need each of us
to show the rest of us
what all there is to see,
to know,
to do,
to be,
to become!

When we live from the heart,
we are more likely
to be doing this
than when we live
to exploit each situation
for what we take to be
our own personal good
at the expense
of every other good
there is.

  1. 07/09/2018 — Fire Tower Trail 2018-07 02 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 8, 2018We articulate,
    express,
    interpret,
    incarnate,
    serve,
    bring forth,
    exhibit,
    make known,
    the truth
    at the heart
    of life and being.Or not.And take our place forever
    with those
    who have revealed
    or concealed
    the truth
    at the heart
    of life and being.

    How we live
    and what we live for
    tells the tale.

  2. 07/10/2018 — Boone Fork 2018-07 01 Panorama — Julian Price Memorial Park picnic area, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 9, 2018Every good thing hangs by such a fine thread!Good faith.How’s that for a fine thread?

    It is essential
    and cannot be compelled
    or forced into being.

    And is not assured.

    We have to trust one another
    and all others
    to be of good faith
    when there is nothing in it for them
    in a world in which
    everything–
    and everyone–
    has a price.

    You can pay people to break troth
    with each other,
    but you cannot pay them
    to keep troth–
    to serve troth
    with liege loyalty
    in all times and places,
    no matter what,

    Good faith is a function
    of a noble heart.
    Try buying one of those
    off the shelf
    with a lifetime guarantee.

    We are all at the mercy
    of each other.
    And that is such a fine thread!
    Such a slippery slope!

    Everything is up to each of us forever!

 

07/10/2018 — I work so much better
without disturbance in the Force!

And it takes so little
to create a disconnection!

It is no wonder to me
that all of the cloisters
and monasteries
observe a rigid Order of the Day.

They are governing the flow of the Force,
and assuring
that the blessing,
“May the Force be with you”
is an actual possibility
and not a wistful wish
against all odds.

What disturbs the flow of the Force
in your life?
How can you assist
your ongoing connection
impervious to threats
and impositions?

  1. 07/10/2018 — Price Lake Maple 2018-07 01 Panorama — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 8, 2018Knowing what to do
    in any situation,
    even total catastrophe
    resulting in the
    complete loss of everything,
    is a matter of:1) Knowing what needs to be done now.
    2) Knowing what can be done about that.
    3) Knowing what you can do about what can be done
    with what you have to work with.Knowing these three things
    is a function of being quiet
    and paying attention,
    reflecting on the questions
    and seeing what occurs to you.

    It may occur to you to ask someone else.
    Ask them.
    And get back to
    getting to the bottom
    of the three things.

    Holding everything about the situation
    in your awareness,
    and asking yourself
    if there is something else
    you need to be aware of,
    and waiting
    to see what occurs to you
    is the path to follow
    into every situation
    that comes along.

    It’s your life strategy
    for the rest of time.

    Be quiet.

  2. 07/11/2018 — Flat Rock Overlook 2018-07 01 — Pot Holes, Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls, North Carolina, July 9, 2018Everything we do
    and the way we do it
    declares what we believe in
    and what matters most to us
    with more reliability
    and greater accuracy
    than all those declarations of faith
    and personal testimonies
    that stack up in the dark corners
    of our life over time.If you want to know what we believe,
    look at what we do,
    and pay no attention whatsoever
    to what we say.You can apply this rule
    to everyone you know.

    Even presidents,
    their entire administration,
    and all members of congress.

    Ignore everything they say.
    Focus exclusively on what they do,
    and how they do it.

    And vote out those
    who are not aligned
    with the high ideal of their office
    and the best you could hope for
    from the leaders of this country.

    Don’t let them get by
    with lying to the American people
    and to the people of the world.

  3. 07/11/2018 — Tree in the Meadow 2018-07 02 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 8, 2018We have to find
    our anchor point,
    that which anchors us
    to our self,
    so that we know
    without question
    and beyond doubt:
    This is who we are!This is our bedrock,
    our grounding reality,
    the still point of the turning world.And nothing can knock us off of it,
    or change our mind about it,
    or talk us out of it,
    because it is us!

    It is our central truth.
    The foundation of our life and being.

    We live to do this–
    to be this!

    It defines us to ourselves,
    and to anybody
    who looks closely enough
    to know us at the level
    of our core.

    Find that.
    Live out of that.
    Live to honor that.
    Pledge your liege loyalty to that.
    And see that nothing
    comes between you and it.

    Live to exhibit it,
    express it,
    announce it,
    incarnate it,
    bring it forth,
    make it real.

    And everything else about your life
    will fall into place
    and take shape
    around that.

    And the world will be blessed
    by the grace of your presence.

    You can’t ask for more than that.

07/11/2018 — With the Bread and the Wine,
Jesus was saying,
“This is how it is.
Don’t look for it to be any different.
Don’t think anyone gets any special treatment.
The way out is the way in–
by accepting it as the way it is–
for all of us.

The bread of affliction
is the bread of life.

The cup of suffering
is the cup of salvation.

Anyone who lives with their eyes open
to their experience,
and who spends time reflecting
on their experience,
realizes,
understands,
knows these things.

Everybody grasps this essential truth
as the way things are.

There are no secrets.
There is nothing that needs to be explained.
It is all right here
in this bread and this cup–
waiting to be realized by all,
understood by all,
embraced by all,
lived by all.

Making our peace
with the way things are,
transforms the impact
of the way things are,
and opens us to living
as full participants
in each situation as it arises,
just as it is,
anyway,
nevertheless
even so–
because that is what
is required
for things to work
as well as they can.”

  1. 07/12/2018 — Boone Fork 2018-07 13 — Rosebay Rhododendron, Julian Price Memorial Park picnic area, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 10, 2018The entire spiritual journey,
    which is also called
    the hero’s journey,
    consists of the trials and ordeals,
    joys and agonies
    of growing up.That’s it.
    Why would I lie?Spirituality is becoming one
    with who we are.

    Bringing the inside outside.
    Making all of the adjustments
    required to be who we are
    within the context and circumstances
    of our life in the time and place
    of our living.

    That is all there is to it.

    That is all there is.

    Squaring ourselves up to who we are,
    what we are capable of,
    and how to best make that work
    in the world of its present configuration
    is the work that is ours to do.
    We either do it,
    or do it not.

    We never run out of developmental tasks.
    The initiation rites never end.
    We keep growing into the next phase
    of human maturation.
    There is always another stage to complete.
    We are growing up forever.

    The best religions understand this
    and provide the symbols,
    the insight,
    the wisdom,
    and the playfulness
    required to see us through all the hoops
    “to the land of gentle breezes,
    where the peaceful waters flow.”

    (As if!
    It’s just one more hoop
    after another all the way down!)

    The worst religions arrest our development
    with their own hoops,
    and sidetrack us from those
    that are legitimately ours to traverse
    in keeping us from thinking our own thoughts,
    asking our own questions,
    and finding our own way
    to the way that we alone
    are capable of recognizing
    and knowing to be our own.

    Your task is always the same one:
    Deciding who you are going to believe,
    and what you are going to do,
    with the time that is yours
    to work with.

    Good luck with that!

    (Studies have shown that
    wishing people good luck
    and keeping your fingers crossed
    work exactly as well
    as offering your thoughts and prayers
    in all situations and circumstances).

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

07/12/2018 — The cross Jesus talked about
his disciples having to pick up
everyday in following him
is not the Roman cross of execution,
but the human cross of contradiction.

We experience the reality
of being damned if we do
and damned if we don’t
in 10,000 ways everyday.

Whatever we want
is complicated by
all of the things we don’t want
that come attached to it.

To get “this,”
we have to give up “that.”
To avoid “that,”
we have to deal with “this.”

Jesus is saying, “Wade right into it all,
without whining about it
being unfair
and too hard!
Just put your shoes on,
stand on your own two feet,
and meet the world as it is
every day!”

He is saying “Live your life
just as it is,
with the choices you have
to choose from,
and the resources you have
to work with–
and do what you can do
in being who you are,
where you are,
when you are,
no matter how things are–
everyday for the rest of your life.”

07/12/2018 —   We have to think of ourselves
as character actors,
playing the roles
assigned to us
by the changing scenes
of the context and circumstances
of our life
in its day-to-day unfolding.

We have to play them
they way they need to be played
in ways appropriate to the occasion,
coming in on cue
and exiting on schedule,
with just the right touch
in all times
and places,
great and small.

We are not here to exploit
situations for our personal good,
but to honor all situations
with the best we have to offer,
in season and out of season,
whether we feel like it or not,
whether we are in the mood for it or not,
whether we want to or not,
for no other reason
than because it is our role to play
and everything depends
on our providing the performance
of a lifetime
every time.

If you are going to take anything on faith,
let it be this,
and do it exactly as it ought to be done
in every situation as it arises
all your life long.

 

  1. 07/12/2018 — Rosebay Rhododendron 2018-07 13 Panorama — Julian Price Memorial Park picnic area, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 10, 2018Allow me to disrupt your anxiety,
    forestall your dread, panic and despair,
    and remind you
    that even in the aftermath
    of the complete loss of everything,
    your work is the same work
    it would be
    if you were surrounded
    by comfort and peace
    beyond imagining.No matter what our circumstances are,
    we still have the same thing to do:
    Be true to ourselves
    and bring forth
    the innermost depths
    of our being
    into the context and circumstances
    of our life in the world.That is equally difficult
    in all times and places.

    It is no harder to be you
    in a prisoner of war camp
    than it is to be you
    in a penthouse.
    You are you in every moment.
    Incarnate you there, then.
    That is all you ever have to do.

    You have to do it always.
    And it is never easy.

    So, don’t get swept away
    by the swirling threats
    to our way of life.
    Ways of life are always going and coming.
    Our work is the same through it all.

    Do. The. Work.
    Of being who you are,
    where you are,
    when you are,
    no matter how you are,
    or how it is around you.

    The work is always the same.
    Do it.
    The flower blooms
    where it is growing.
    Be the flower.

07/12/2018 — I’m reading a book entitled,
“The Inexplicable Logic of My Life,”
by Benjamin Alire Saenz.
The title is intriguing.

My hunch is that many–
if not all–
of us have the sense
of “inexplicable logic”
working itself out in our life.

We are here.
And would not be
anywhere close to here
if it had not been
for all of the things
that led us here.
Beginning with our parents.
No! Beginning with THEIR parents.
NO! Beginning with…the first parents
in the heart of some rift valley
in Africa.

And from there,
everything that happened
happened in just the right way
at just the right time
to get us all to right here right now.

You can’t say that “just happened”!
It had to be the inexorable,
inexplicable,
logic of the highest order
laying out all of those dots
and connecting yours to you
and mine to me!

Or.
We can say our brains
are built to make connections
out of random events
and logically arrange them
in ways that create patterns
that form meanings
that make sense to us.

Schizophrenics see patterns
in the cracks in sidewalks.
They are like us
except that they take some things
a lot more seriously
than the general population does–
and other things a lot less seriously.

We settle out into groups
that take the same things
with similar degrees of seriousness.

The inner logic of our life
is one of the things that I,
and those in my group,
take with very little seriousness.
While taking the imposed logic of our life
with a much greater degree of seriousness.

Life is an optical illusion (we say in our group).
How we look determines what we see.
Or as some of us like to say,
“Perspective determines perception.”

If we look for logical patterns from the start,
we find logical patterns from the start.
If we look for self-imposed explanations
that become ironclad proofs
of “inexplicable logic,”
why, there they are!

Truth is (say my group and I),
nothing has to be what it is.
It is what it is
because that’s just the way it is.

It all could have just as easily worked out
in one of however many trillion trillion
other possibilities there were.

Here we are now,
and there is no telling
where we will be this time
next year.
And where we are
won’t be the result
of any logic determining it,
but of how we see it
explaining it.

07/12/2018 — Silence cuts through the drama
and gets straight to the point.

Maybe that’s why we avoid it.

Drama saves us from having to face ourselves.
It gives us something to think about.
Silence keeps bringing us back to us.

“What’s the point?”
“What’s YOUR point?”
“What’s the point of YOU?”
Like we are supposed to know.
But the silence won’t take
no answer for an answer.

“What’s the point of YOU?”
“What are you doing here?”
“What is yours to do here?”
“Why are you wasting your time?”

The best way to deal
with the questions coming
from the silence
is to send them back:
“Why are you asking me these questions?”
“Why aren’t you helping me answer them?”
“Why don’t you point me in the direction
I need to go?”
“Why don’t I get the help from you I need?”

Listen for what the silence has to say.

Ideas and realizations, Kid.
Ideas and realizations.

  1. 07/13/2018 — Carolina Lily 2018-07 01 — Fire Tower Trail, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 8, 2018People are always asking,
    “What do you want to be
    when you grow up?”
    Or, “What do you want
    to do with your life?”What does wanting know?
    What we want is no foundation
    for our life!”What do you HAVE to do
    with your life?”
    is the question!
    Our life is the
    “Outward, visible form
    of an inward, spiritual grace.”

    But it is more like a daemon than grace.
    “Grace” sounds so light and airy,
    dainty, gentle,
    sweet and kind.
    The Daemon is a demanding,
    compelling,
    urging,
    insisting,
    leading,
    devil of a guide–
    using every trick
    in the Trickster’s repertoire
    to get us on track
    and at one with our Life
    by doing our “thing”
    in our life.

    Our Life is not what we do
    to pay the bills,
    though it may be related.
    It is what we pay the bills to do.

    Our Life is who we are
    through all the stages of development
    and all the roles we play
    over the full course of being alive.

    Who are we now
    that we were then?
    What are we doing now
    that we were doing then?
    What is our core identity
    that has expressed itself
    in all we have done
    throughout our life?
    What have we HAD to do
    “o’er all the way”?

    The call at every point in our life
    is to consciously,
    mindfully,
    deliberately
    serve our Life
    in expressing what needs to be expressed
    through what remains of our life.

    “You are the light of the world,”
    said Jesus.
    “Don’t hide your light under a basket!
    Put it on a lamp stand
    and show people who you are!”

    We have always been led to believe
    that being a Christian was to be like Jesus.
    WWJD? you know.
    All along being a Christian has been about
    being who we are
    the way Jesus was who he was,
    listening to his inner daemon,
    following the way that was his way
    even if it meant dying on a cross.

    That is how committed we have to be
    to serving our own daemon!
    Allowing nothing to come between us
    and the Self that is who we are
    all our life long.

  2. 07/22/2018 — Carolina Wren 2018-07 01, Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 1, 2018Assist what needs to be assisted,
    oppose what needs to be opposed.
    And be right about which is which.Being right about it–
    about what is important–
    is the most important thing.Anybody can shoot from the hip
    at anything that appears to be a target.
    Knowing what we are doing
    and being right about it
    needing to be done
    is the step that separates us out
    according to who knows
    and who knows not.

    Knowing and being right about it
    requires us to see,
    hear
    and understand
    the fullness,
    the all-ness,
    the wholeness
    of the situation as it arises,
    taking everything into account
    and evaluating correctly
    what is there–
    and doing it with every situation
    that comes our way.

    Don’t have time for that?
    Then stop thinking you are right
    about all the things you know are so.
    And take up the practice of mindful awareness.
    Start with watching the Jon Kabat-Zinn
    YouTube videos (the short ones first),
    and work paying attention to the moment
    in to your day.

    You will soon be on your way
    to assisting what needs to be assisted,
    and opposing what needs to be opposed,
    and being right about which is which.

07/13/2018 — Ask the questions
that beg to be asked.
Say the things
that cry out to be said.

Nobody can tell you what they are.

You have to figure out
the important things
on your own–
and be your own authority
for deciding and doing
what needs to be done.

You say so
and you do so–
not because I say so,
but because you say so.

I can tell you how I do it:
I look
and I listen.
Sometimes,
I see
and I hear.

  1. 07/14/2018 — Boone Fork 2018-07 04 HDR — Julian Price Memorial Park picnic area, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 10, 2018There is only knowing
    and expressing
    who we are
    within the context
    and circumstances
    of our life
    here and now.We like to think
    we could do that
    better and faster
    in smooth and easy
    as in
    difficult and life-threatening
    but,
    better and faster
    are inconsequential
    and irrelevant.The practice requires us
    to do the work every day,
    no matter where or when,
    or how or why
    we are,
    or what is going on around us.

    There is no getting ahead
    or falling behind.
    There is only doing the work:
    Being who we are,
    and true to ourselves
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    That requires us
    to know and to be.
    To will and to do.
    In the service of the Self
    at the heart of life and being
    and doing what needs us to do it
    here and now,
    no matter what.

07/14/2018 — How would you like to be known,
remembered?

What are you doing
to make that likely?

07/14/2018 — When you read the ancient texts
that have been accorded
the recognition of “Spiritual Truth”
over long stretches of time,
don’t look for something you don’t know.

Look for the things that strike a cord,
that resonate with you,
that call forth
either “Aha!”
or “Of course!”
(Which is another way
of saying “Aha!”).

What has long been recognized as truth
was true before it was first recognized,
and will be so
all the way to the recognition
of the last person who recognizes it
to be so.

We all know it to be so!
It is there already within,
like a chick tucked away inside an egg,
waiting for time and circumstance
to be right
for its coming forth,
for its realization,
in the here and now
of our living–
to be welcomed
with “Aha! Of Course!”

07/14/2018 — I’m interested in
when the nightmares begin
and how long they last–
not just among the Thai soccer team
and their coach,
but with all the divers
and support personnel
involved in the rescue.

I’ll bet they have already begun,
and will be recurrent forever.
PTSD tends to not want to go away.

Shift the scene from Thailand
to the Mexican border.
Children separated from their parents.
Inconceivable,
yet,
undeniable.

Our own government
caging children!
Crimes Against Humanity!
Crimes Against Children!

I need,
they need,
we all need
charges to be brought,
trials to be held,
verdicts to be returned,
sentences to be issued
and served.

Even then,
the nightmares that have surely begun,
will return over the lifetimes
of those impacted
by the inhumanity of the Trump Administration.

Where is peace found
except in denial?
How can anyone see
this world as it is
and be free from nightmares
and anxiety attacks?

Washington Post reporters
Shibani Mahtani,
Steve Hendrix
and Timothy McLaughlin
said in their report about the rescue:

“Prayuth Jetiyanukarn, the robed abbot
of the hilltop Buddhist monastery
where the assistant coach often slept,
penned a short letter to the young man,
slipped it in a plastic tube
and gave it to a Thai diver
who promised to carry it in.

“’Be patient.
Try to build your encouragement
from the inside,’ it read,
according to the abbot.
‘This energy will give you
the power to survive.’”

The abbot wrote to the young coach
the words we all need to hear.

  1. 07/15/2018 — Black-eyed Susans 2018-07 02 — Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 10, 2018If women were as powerful as men–
    physically,
    economically,
    politically–
    it would be a different world.
    Different better,
    not different worse.But, it is hard for men
    to buy different better.They are sure it would not be better
    for them.

    And hate women
    for making them feel threatened,
    in a “It is people like you,
    who make people like me
    hate people like you” kind of way.

    Of course, it is a rare man
    who says he hates women.
    And a rarer man who treats women
    as though he does not hate them.

    “How do the women you don’t hate
    know that you don’t hate them?”

    How can they tell?
    “If they can’t tell the difference,
    you may as well hate them
    for all the good
    your not hating them does them.”

    You all know where this is going.

    It’s the same place
    I always take you.
    The only place to go
    when you don’t know
    where to go,
    what to do:

    Into the silence.

    Men have to be quiet enough
    long enough
    to know what women know
    from the moment they know
    they are not boys
    and feel the loss of place,
    and experience it
    for the rest of their life.

  2. 07/16/2018 — Fire Tower Tail 2018-07 03 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 9, 2018If you don’t know,
    you will.
    I am a proponent
    of spending copious
    amounts of time
    in The Silence.That is to say,
    being quiet–
    no music,
    no talking,
    no reading,
    no doing anything
    without mindful,
    compassionate
    (the two words belong together)
    awareness
    of what you’re doing.For as long each time
    as you are able,
    as many times
    during the day
    as is practical.

    Just being quiet.
    Just paying attention.

    You don’t have to be still.
    Walk around.
    Take a hike.
    Or a shower.
    Being aware of–
    paying attention to–
    what you are thinking/doing.

    In The Silence
    listen with devoted
    loyalty and allegiance to:
    Your body,
    Your heart,
    Your nighttime dreams,
    Your experience.

    These four things
    form the core
    of your internal guidance system.
    They tell you what to do.

    Your thinking brain
    (Your Ego)
    figures out whether
    that is safe or practical,
    and can modify or override,
    delay or postpone indefinitely
    (I put my camera on the shelf
    from the time our children
    were born
    until they graduated from college
    because we couldn’t afford film
    and children)
    what you know needs to be done
    and needs you to do it–
    and works out how to do it,
    where and when.

    Our Ego is a very important part
    of our internal guidance system
    and is not to be denigrated,
    denounces,
    or denied its place
    in shaping and forming our life.
    It is to be listened to
    and honored as the Fifth Element
    in knowing what to do
    and doing it,
    and sits with Instinct
    and Intuition
    around the fire of wisdom
    that we kindle in The Silence
    to light the way
    through the darkness
    of our life.

    That leaves us with generating
    the Faith
    Courage
    and Liege Loyalty
    necessary to put things
    into play on the field of action.

    If you are going to believe in anything,
    believe in yourself
    and the Five Elements
    required to know who you are
    and what is yours to do.

    If you are going to take anything on faith ever,
    take YOU on faith!
    Live out of your own personal authority
    in interpreting what you hear
    in The Silence
    and putting that to play
    in your life!

    Trust yourself to have your best interest
    at heart!
    To know the truth when you hear/see/feel it!
    To be what you need
    in finding what you need
    to do what needs you to do it
    all your life long!

    You are never alone
    with your best invisible friend:

    Spend time with YOU
    in The Silence
    and out of it,
    and take up the joy
    and wonder
    of finding your way together
    through all the days ahead!

07/16/2018 — It has taken me
my entire life
to get my feet
under me
and stand on them.

I assume it is proving
to be the same with you.

Our total cumulative experience
to this point
has been instrumental–
that would be the same thing
as essentially necessary–
in getting us to this point.

Here we are.
Now what?

We take stock.
Make assessments.
Consider our options
and our resources.
And step into the day.

Receiving what it has
to teach us,
offering what we have
to give,
reflecting on what
we experience
in preparation
for what tomorrow will bring.

07/16/2018 — Our expectations
ruin our chances.

We have to look at everything,
wondering what this
has to do with that–
what this moment
has to do with that future,
the future that flows from
this moment
into the next moment
and all the moments
following.

What this has to do with that
hinges on what we tell ourselves
about this–
upon how we perceive it,
respond to it,
handle it,
manage it,
deal with it,
fold it into our life
up to this point,
reflect on it all
to the point
of generating
new realizations
before moving on
into the next moment
by the way we treat
this one
and lay the foundation
for the future
that would be quite different
with a different foundation
laid down here and now.

  1. 07/17/2018 — Cone Manor 2018-07 01 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, June 9, 2018It comes down to aptitude,
    interests,
    courage,
    persistence,
    mindful awareness
    and good luck.Of the six,
    I would choose mindful awareness
    and take my chances
    with the rest.Everybody we know,
    ourselves included,
    has to figure out
    how to get by,

    which comes down to
    paying the bills
    and knowing what
    we are paying the bills
    to do.

    Too many people focus
    exclusively on the first part
    of that equation,
    and ignore the second part–
    and do anything they can imagine
    to avoid the angst
    of not-knowing
    how to do either.

    And too few of us
    receive enough
    of the right kind of help
    with any of it.

    Mindful awareness helps
    with all of it.

    Bearing the pain
    of anxiety,
    of fear,
    of uncertainty,
    if vulnerability,
    of conflict,
    of contradiction,
    of the unknown,
    of helplessness,
    of the lonliness
    of being the only one
    we can count on
    to take care of ourselves…

    It cannot be done
    apart from mindful awareness.

    If you are going to be anything,
    be mindfully aware
    of everything
    impinging upon
    each moment
    of your life here and now.

    Hold it in your awareness
    and wait for things to shift–
    particularly for your perspective
    to shift.

    Everything becomes managable
    with a shift in perspective.
    All getting drunk,
    or high,
    does is shift our perspective
    for a while,
    but it shifts back when we sober up.

    Mindfulness achieves the same result,
    and it lasts longer,
    with no side-effects.

    And mindfulness positions us
    to experience,
    explore,
    reflect,
    imagine,
    experiment
    our way to new realizations
    and different ways of living,
    which increase our chances
    and improve our odds
    of finding what we need
    to make things work.

    Do something good for yourself.
    Take up the practice
    of mindful awareness.
    And don’t put it down.

  2. 07/17/2018 — Carolina Wren 2018-06 03 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 30, 2018Letting the Force be with us
    is being aware of–
    and open to–
    what is always with us:
    our best invisible friend,
    our Psyche-Self.We spend absolutely no time
    developing our awareness of,
    and being open to,
    our Psyche-Self.We are all Adam and Eve
    in the story of the Garden of Eden–
    we know what we want
    and we are going to have it!
    And follow that pattern
    from cradle to grave.

    Our Psyche-Self
    has other ideas.

    And forming an allegiance
    with the invisible Other within
    creates the possibility
    of a life
    that will be exactly
    what we need to live
    and precisely what the world
    needs to receive.

    We “let the Force be with (us)”
    when we take up the practice
    of becoming mindfully aware
    of the Other within,
    and collaborate with Her
    as an equal partner
    in answering the question,
    “Here we are,
    now what?”
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

  3. 07/18/2018 — Sims Pond 2018-07 02 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 10, 2018Reflection and Realization, Kid,
    Refection and Realization.It only takes a little reflection
    to realize things are not the way
    we have been told that they are.And only a little more
    to realize that our experience
    and the right kind of reflection
    are all that we need
    to know how things are
    and what can be done about it,
    with it,
    in forming a life
    in relation to it
    and becoming who we are
    in the midst of it.

    Taking up the practice
    of reflection and realization
    positions us
    to make the most
    of our experience
    and live the best life
    possible under the circumstances.

    Refusing to take up the practice
    is to kid ourselves
    our whole life long.

07/18/2018 — Adjustment and Accommodation, Kid.
Adjustment and Accommodation.

The way things are
is not the way
we want things to be–
is not the way
we wish things were.

The disparity between
how things are
and how we
want things to be
is the length
of the hero’s journey–
the distance from
immaturity to maturation.

It is the path
of trials and ordeals
that constitute the process
of growing up.

We make the pilgrimage
through all of the
stages of development
in becoming who we are
within the context and circumstances
of our life.

Or not.

We bear the pain
of taking what we are given
and making of it
what it can be,
even now,
even so,
any way.

Or not.

We live our life on life’s terms,
playing the cards
we are dealt,
bringing to life in our life
the gifts,
character,
values,
qualities,
spirit,
nature,
essence
of the Numen within
in each situation as it arises.

Or not.

In light of what–
toward what–
do we live?

Or fail to live?

Adjustment and Accommodation, Kid.
Adjustment and Accommodation.

07/18/2018 —   Only a person of color
possesses the knowledge,
understanding,
and authority
born of experience
to say anything at all
about racism and xenophobia.

Only a woman
possesses the knowledge,
understanding,
and authority
born of experience
to say anything at all
about sexism and misogyny.

Only a LGBTQ person
possesses the knowledge,
understanding,
and authority
born of experience
to say anything at all
about homophobia.

Etc.

Straight white men
can only listen without retort,
seeking to gain understanding
through the practice
of empathy and compassion
over time.

This is all I have to say
in the matter.

And will take my place
with those of my ilk,
listening,
absorbing,
reflecting,
hoping to gain realization
enlightenment,
understanding
of the burdens
and difficulties
so many of our
brothers and sisters
have borne
and labored under
for generations past counting.

And live to redeem
what can be redeemed,
and to grieve
what can only be grieved
as one coming too late
to the place of seeing–
if I live to get there at last.

  1. 07/18/2018 — Red-bellied Woodpecker 2018-06 02, 03, 04 — Feeding Time, Mama with one of her two babies, teaching them where to find food when Mama isn’t around — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, June 25, 2018One of my sons-in-law
    likes his steamed Summer Squash
    mixed with Black-eyed peas
    and mayonnaise.
    He always asks
    if I’m ready to give it a try.
    I always tell him
    “That doesn’t do it for me.”
    He replies,
    “Well, it does it for me just fine.”What does it for you?
    It is important to know,
    and to gift yourself
    with the experience
    from time to time.What does it for you
    beyond meals and dessert?

    What does it for you
    as a lifetime pursuit?

    If you were standing before
    a magazine stand
    with all the magazines of the world
    arranged in categories,
    what categories would do it for you?
    What categories would not do anything for you?

    You are going to live the rest of your life.
    Why not live it in pursuit
    of the things
    that do it for you?
    Why spend any of your time
    that you aren’t working to pay the bills
    doing something
    that doesn’t do anything for you?

    It’s your life,
    but I’m asking you,
    Why live in the categories
    that don’t matter to you?

  2. 07/19/2018 — Rosebay Rhododendron 2018-07 02 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 9, 2018Why do we litter?Getting to the bottom of that
    gets us to the bottom of everything.Why are there crack houses?
    Why is there Fentanyl (etc.)?
    Why is there sex trafficking?
    Why is there human trafficking?
    Why are children in cages?

    Why are money and power
    such hot items–
    particularly when they are used
    primarily for drugs and sex?

    Why are drugs and sex such hot items?

    Why are escapes,
    distractions,
    diversions,
    addictions,
    and denial
    the central focus of life
    for so many people?

    Why do we have so little
    worth living for?

    What’s worth living for?

    Why do we litter?

07/19/2018 — Rumi said,
“One glance at a true human being,
and we are in love.”

It works the other way as well.

True human beings fall in love
with everyone they look at
because they see
true human beings everywhere,
concealed by masks
and posturing.

It could be a problem,
all of this falling in love,
all of this projection
and transference
and delusion of delight
interacting and transacting
like it’s the Fourth of July.

The weight of the problem
is borne by the true human being
being a true human being
fully aware
of the traps and snares
of true human beinghood.

Knowing how things are
is a handy means
of handling how things are.

Refusing to be sucked into
a situation ripe for exploitation
and disenchantment
is the sine non qua
of true human beings
in all times and places.

And the weight
of true human beinghood
is the reason
they stay out of sight.

07/19/2018 — When we get to the bottom of anything,
We get to the bottom of everything.
It’s all connected at the bottom.

07/19/2018 — The way the world needs to work
for the good of the world
is not good for the economy—
any economy—
and therefore not good for the world.
That’s the paradox at the heart of the matter.

07/19/2018 — have a responsibility to you,
and you have a responsibility to you.
I have to do right by you,
and you have to do right by you.

You have a responsibility to me,
and I have a responsibility to me.
You have to do right by me,
and I have to do right by me.

If both of us fulfill our responsibilities
to each of us,
our lives will be a source of blessings and grace
to all sentient beings.

Let’s live so that it might be so!

  1. 07/20/2018 — Boone Fork 2018-07 03 — Julian Price Memorial Park picnic area, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 10, 2018Where do you go to be quiet?
    Where is your Silent Place?Where do you go
    to gather yourself
    to listen to you?How often do you go there?
    How long do you stay?

    How do you express–
    make tangible–
    what goes on there,
    comes up there,
    and incorporate it
    into the life you are living?

    Above the entrance to his home
    in Kusnacht, Switzerland,
    Carl Jung inscribed,
    “Invoked or not invoked,
    the God will be present.”

    In honor of the God Who Is Always Present,
    Jung built a stone tower
    at Bollingen,
    and allowed few people
    to interrupt him there.

    Jung found his way to Bollingen
    by playing with rocks as an adult
    like he did when he was a child.

    The child leads the adult
    where the adult needs to go
    when the adult steps back
    and attends the child.

    Playing with rocks
    led Jung quite naturally
    and unconsciously,
    to stacking stones,
    to building a tower house
    as a retreat into silence–
    from which came
    what we know of Jung.

    Entering the silence regularly,
    religiously,
    brings us forth
    into the world
    as a blessing and a grace–
    and as a testimony to,
    and an expression of,
    the God Who Is Always Present.

    Where do you go to be quiet?
    Where is your Silent Place?

    Where do you go
    to gather yourself
    to listen to you?

    How often do you go there?
    How long do you stay?

    How do you express–
    make tangible–
    what goes on there,
    comes up there,
    and incorporate it
    into the life you are living?

07/20/2018 — Laws are not for the pleasure
and convenience
of those ruling.
Laws are for the equitable
distribution and recognition
of rights and responsibilities
throughout society.

The Rule of Law
is the foundation
of our life together.

We all live together.
From the richest to the poorest.
From the most intelligent to the least intelligent.
We are all one under the law–
as it must be
in order for society
to function at its highest level
of proficiency
and productivity
through the long ages
of our life together
as a nation of people
serving and caring for one another.

  1. 07/20/2018 — From 10/27/2015:Receive it all with compassionate awareness—
    including your automatic reaction to it all
    (You hate it,
    you are terrified by it,
    you are panic stricken,
    You are overjoyed,
    enraptured, etc.).
    Receive your reaction to it along with it.Receive IT ALL
    with compassionate awareness:
    ”This too, this too…”
    That’s it.Just hold it all in compassionate awareness,
    and wait for the shift to happen.
    The shift will always happen.
    That’s the way compassionate awareness works.
    You hold it all in compassionate awareness,
    and a shift will happen.

    A perspective shift.
    You will feel it in your body.
    That’s the feeling of being put in accord with reality.
    The only healthy way to be in relation to reality
    is to be in accord with it.

    Your body knows when you are in accord with reality,
    and when you are out of accord with it.
    Your body keeps score.
    It will thank you
    when you take up the practice
    of receiving it all with compassionate awareness.

    And you will feel it.
    Every time.

  2. 07/21/2018 — Carriage Trails 2018-07 01 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 10, 2018Self-reflection–
    without criticism,
    condemnation,
    judgment
    or opinion–
    has to have a place
    in our life.Self-examination,
    self-awareness,
    self-determination,
    self-direction,
    self-expression…Without these things,
    we are mindlessly
    one with the masses,
    and take such comfort
    in the herd
    walking each day
    in the long line
    from the barn
    to the pasture
    and back to the barn.

    We cannot be a “we”
    until we can be an “I.”

    Individuality is the entry-level requirement
    for community.

    How much of you
    is of you?
    And how much
    has been handed to you
    by someone else?

    Where do your values come from?
    Your ideas?
    Your thoughts and opinions?
    Your preferences and disinclinations?

    How much of you is there?
    And how much
    is a patchwork quilt
    of other’s ideas
    of who,
    and how
    (and where, and what, and when, and why)
    you ought to be?

    How much time
    in a day
    do you spend
    with you?

    How quiet can you be
    for how long
    before you
    have to get out of there?

07/21/2018 — An excerpt from
my response to
“Through the Dark Wood,”
by James Hollis
on my WordPress site:

Doubt is a form of respect for and relationship with the Mystery. The absence of doubt leads to a violation of the Mystery itself. Anxiety is treated by the search for certainty, which leads to dogma, rigidity, and idolatry. Toleration of doubt and ambiguity brings openness and revelation, enlightenment, insight, and enlargement. We have to bear the pain! Suffer what must be suffered! And serve the Mystery we embody!

The cure for loneliness is solitude. In solitude we embrace ourselves, enjoy our own company, and are not alone.

07/21/2018—Tweets on Twitter tweeted this afternoon:

Children born into poverty have to have the political and social mechanisms available to them that will facilitate their moving out of poverty. We cannot perpetuate a de facto caste system that makes poverty, race, gender, sexual preference, religion, etc. a limiting factor.

We are stronger as a country, as a culture and a society, when everyone has an equal chance in terms of basic human rights at self-expression and self-realization, and no one is discriminated against because of bigotry and prejudice.

Equal opportunity to enjoy, benefit from, and participate in the basic human rights that are common to all people is granted to everyone without discrimination because of bigotry and prejudice.

Bigotry and prejudice have no place in a free and open society/culture. Mutual respect, support and encouragement in the service of one’s own individual efforts at self-realization, self-development and self-expression are givens that everyone benefits from and extends to others.

+++

 

  1. 07/22/2018 — Boone Fork 2018-07 06 — Julian Price Memorial Park picnic area, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 10, 2018Knowing is seeing.It has nothing to do with information.It has everything to do with understanding.

    We can know things we do not understand.

    We can understand things we do not know.

    Knowing what we understand
    and understanding what we think we know
    sits us down,
    aghast–
    or sends us dancing joyfully
    through the streets
    of the rest of our life–
    depending on the nature
    of what is known.

07/22/2018 — If you are eighteen years
away from retirement,
or more,
or less,
and wondering how you
will make it that long,
here is my idea
of what will help.

Two things:

1) Watch every Jon Kabat-Zinn
YouTube video,
the short ones first.

2) Make a list
of what makes
your little heart sing,
and work something
on that list into:

a) Every day is ideal.
b) Weekly is acceptable.
c) Monthly is absolutely essential.

Our future is our responsibility.
We create it by how we live here and now.
If we let our thinking about our future
impact how we live here and now,
we cloud now with then
instead of shaping then with now.

Make now as good as it can be
and trust then to fall into place around that.

  1. 07/23/2018 — Fire Tower Trail 2018-07 01 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 8, 2018Shakespeare seems to be the first
    to say “What’s past is prologue”
    (in “The Tempest”),
    but it was, and is,
    instantly recognized
    as truth beyond dispute–
    which is always
    the way it is with truth.Truth comes at us
    in 10,000 disguises
    from every point
    on the compass,
    yet everyone through
    all of time
    knows it was true
    from the very beginning.And, just as certainly,
    there are those
    in every age
    who deny the obvious validity
    of truth
    to their death.

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

    Through all of the changes
    of time and place,
    there is a core truth
    about each of us
    that remains untouched
    and unthreatened
    by the events and experiences
    that come our way.

    What is the kernel YOU?
    Whom have you always been?
    Whom will you always be?

    I’ve always gotten to the heart of the matter,
    dived to the bottom of things,
    to see what I could find.
    I live to see and to say what is so,
    and not so,
    under what conditions,
    for how long.

    Speaking of long,
    the list is long
    of the other characteristics,
    qualities,
    and values
    that have always been so
    about me,
    and always will be.

    The same can be said of you.

    Get to know what is on your list!
    Embrace who you are!
    Live to bring you forth
    with increasing clarity and precision
    through all the days
    yet to be lived!

    This is the adventure!
    Birthing the you that is always you
    in the here and now of your living!
    Inserting you into every present moment
    in each situation as it arises
    consciously,
    deliberately,
    intentionally,
    with as much grace
    and compassion
    as the occasion requires,
    from this time forth,
    and forever more!

    Whatever you do,
    do it the way you would do it!
    The way only you can do it!
    Celebrating the pure wonder
    and joy
    of you while doing it!

    And may you have
    “fair winds and following seas”
    for the work of being you
    through all that lies ahead!

07/23/2018 — It is all on me–
what I do
and do not,
and how I do it,
and when,
and where.

My life is my call
all the way
in terms of
what I do about
what happens to me–
how I respond to it.

I moderate
the impact
of life
by the way
I live
in light of it.

So do you.

Your life is all on you.

My life is all on me

We help each other
by the way we are together
in the experience
of being alive.

07/23/2018 — “The Power of Myth”
presented by Joseph Campbell
and Bill Moyers
is available on Netflix,
and is not to be missed,
and is to be revisited
from time to time
throughout our life.

It is a grounding presentation
of who we are,
where we have come from,
and what we are about.

It is the best of religion
without the theology and dogma,
without the rigidity and absolutes.

It is the doorway to spirituality,
the threshold to wonder
and realization.

Do not miss it for anything.

There, you will discover
that in all of our restlessness
and searching
for meaning and purpose,
we are seeking ourselves.

And “We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
T.S. Eliot in “Little Gidding”

07/23/2018 — The answers to the following questions
will determine the likelihood
of a bipartisan,
good-faith effort
to create a cultural climate
that honors the right
to liberty and justice for all,
and makes the pursuit of happiness
an actual possibility
in the lives of everyone.

Do you think I deserve to die…

because I have had an abortion?

because I am LGBTQ?

because I am a person of color?

because I am an immigrant?

because I am a Muslim?

because I am poor?

because I am disabled?

because I am unemployed?

because I cannot work due to illness or disability?

because I am a Progressive/Liberal/Democratic Socialist?

A yes answer to any of these questions
means that you and I
cannot agree on a good
we both call good,

and makes it highly unlikely
that we can create a future
in which we both can live
with equal rights and privileges,
and equal opportunities
to fully develop our gifts,
our interests,
our aptitudes,
and our abilities.

A Democracy is where
we help one another
toward living the life
we are capable of living,
and everyone works
as well as they are able
as a good-faith participant
in society serving that end.

If we cannot commit ourselves
to a vision of the future
where this is a possibility,
what is a second-place alternative
that doesn’t close anyone out?

  1. 07/24/2018 — Rosebay Rhododendron 2018-07 03 — Price Lake, Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 10, 2018We owe it to ourselves
    to avoid toxic personalities,
    situations,
    environments,
    cultures,which make it impossible,
    or even especially difficult,
    to be who we are.Being who we are
    is essential to who we are.

    To be unable to be who we are
    is to live disconnected,
    divorced,
    from the heart,
    soul,
    essence
    of us.

    Which is to say,
    to live dead.

    Christianity,
    and a wealth of other religions,
    make a central feature
    of death and resurrection–
    because death and resurrection
    are the central theme
    of the human experience
    of being human.

    We have to be encouraged–
    to encourage ourselves–
    to live our life
    with death and resurrection
    at the heart of our efforts at living.

    We have to know
    that we are living to be alive
    and that means
    dying the death that leads to resurrection
    again and again and again
    throughout our life–
    and avoiding on every occasion
    the death that leads to being dead.

    In the Garden of Gethsemane,
    Jesus could have chosen
    the death that led to being dead,
    by simply walking away
    before the Centurions arrived.
    Just disappear into the crowds.
    Just go back to being a carpenter.
    Just forget the inner force
    requiring him to live in the service
    of the truth of who he was.

    He chose instead the death
    that led to resurrection
    by being who he was,
    damn the consequences.
    And he has lived on
    in the hearts and minds
    of those who got it,
    who get it,
    and take up the work
    of being who they are
    no matter what
    for as long as life is possible.

    And we have to remember that
    and know what it means for us
    every time we face a choice
    between the death that leads to life,
    and the death that leads to being dead.

07/24/2018 — You have to–
as in breathing,
eating,
drinking,
and sleeping–
make a place,
create a space,
for you
in your life.

You have to listen to you.
You have to enter into
dialogue with you.
You have to take you into account
at every turn,
in each moment,
throughout your life.

You have to learn
how to commune,
how to communicate,
with you,
and do it.

You are missing well more
than half your life
by living attuned to,
aware of,
focused on
the world of external,
physical,
apparent reality.

Your inner world
is the unknown frontier
awaiting exploration.
Your world is bigger on the inside
than on the outside.

It only takes believing
to know it is so.

07/24/2018 — You have to–
as in breathing,
eating,
etc.–
work silence into your life
in a regular,
routine,
daily,
more often than that,
kind of way.

Being quiet
opens doors
you would never know
are there
without
being quiet.

Just.
Be.
Quiet.

After a while,
as in months
and years,
you will get to the place
of being quiet
in the midst
of the noise of life.

But.
You will probably
always prefer
to be quiet
alone.

07/24/2018 — All religion is true
until it confuses fact
with metaphor
and lives as though
its metaphors
are facts.

When it turns that corner,
is joins all the other religions
that have gone before it
and become false religions
with nothing to offer anyone
but death
pretending to be light
and life.

07/24/2018 — The same metaphors
are at work
in all the religions
from the beginning
of human consciousness.

It is the role of consciousness
to become conscious
of all that is unconscious.

Revelation is realization
is awakening
is enlightenment
is awareness
is recognition
is seeing/hearing/knowing/understanding
some truth
at the heart
of life and being.

Spiritual truth
has always been true
and will always be true.
There is nothing to be added
or taken away
from the sum total
of spiritual truth,
which is the awareness
of how things are
and also are
at the heart of life and being.

We cannot talk directly
of what we know when we know
any aspect
of spiritual truth.

We have to use the language of poetry,
which is metaphor
to say what we have to say
about the experience
of truth
at the heart of life and being.

The metaphors
at the heart of all religions
are as true today
as they were in the hour
of their initial realization.

But.
They are metaphors,
and need to be understood as such,
and translated
into the vessels
of modern symbols,
of modern metaphors,
in order to say
to modern ears
what has been true
in every age
since the first age
about growing up,
and waking up,
and dying to one way of seeing
in order to come to life in another.

If your religion
isn’t translating its metaphors
into the metaphors
of its present age,
it is trying to force the present age
to embrace the metaphors of the past
as facts that must be worshiped
as true,
when they were never true
as facts,
and can only be true
as metaphors,
which must be steadily undated
in order to carry their truth
to a new age of people
searching for the meaning
of their life.

07/24/2018 — There is a fine line–
and we are hemmed in
by fine lines,
and so must learn
to thread the needle
and tread the slippery slope
and live in harmony
with the Tao
of every moment–
between helping one another
with our life
and distracting one another
from living our life.

The right kind of help
easily becomes the wrong kind of help
like that.

So.

Learn to be content with offering
as little help as possible
in order to keep from offering
more than is necessary.

Having to be helpful
is not being helpful.

Mindfulness leads the way
in being helpful
and being too helpful.

Keep the lines in mind.

  1. 07/25/2018 — Boone Fork 2018-07 07 — Julian Price Memorial Park picnic area, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 10, 2018First, we have to pay the bills,
    and then, we have to know
    what we pay the bills to do.In doing both,
    we have to work it out.Working it out means
    mastering the art
    of walking two paths
    at the same time.

    None of this is easy.

    It is hard work being fully alive!

    It is the Hero’s Journey!

    Finding a job to pay the bills
    is not easy.
    Getting up and going to work everyday
    is not easy.
    Meeting all of the requirements
    of life in the world
    is not easy.
    Finding time to work into our day
    places for reflection and awareness
    which generate new realizations
    is not easy.
    Meeting the responsibilities
    incumbent upon us,
    the obligations
    dependent upon us,
    is not easy.
    And there is no one
    to do any of this for us.
    It is all on us.

    It will help to have a vibrant
    relationship with ourselves,
    with the Invisible Other within.
    We foster that relationship
    by learning to listen
    to our body,
    to our heart,
    to our nighttime dreams,
    to our life experience–
    and to hold all that we hear
    in our awareness
    as we wait for things to shift
    into place
    and open us to revelation,
    awareness,
    awakening,
    enlightenment,
    understanding
    and direction.

    Then, we only need the courage
    to step out in faith in ourselves,
    trusting the path to unfold before us
    one step at a time
    to wherever it is
    that we will be
    when we get there.

    This is the adventure of being alive.

07/25/2018 — Joseph Campbell said
(In The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers
–available on Netflix):
“Most of our action is economically,
or socially,
determined,
and does not come out of our life”
(That is, out of the life
that is truly our life to live,
out of that place
where we are most vibrantly alive).

He says, “The claims of the environment
upon us are so great
that we hardly know where we are.
What is it we intended?
We are always doing something
that is required of us.”

And adds, “We all need a place
that is sacred to us,
and we need to spend time there,
and sort it out.
A place where we can remember
what makes our heart sing,
so that we might do it
and see where it takes us,
see where it leads,
see what occurs to us,
and what we do about it,
and where that takes us
(or words to that effect).”

As we do this,
we place ourselves
on the path to the adventure of our life,
which is the Hero’s Journey,
and come alive
as we have never before been alive.

It’s all just right there,
waiting for us
to say, “Okay.
I’m in.
Let’s go.
Show me what you’ve got for me!”

It is really no more difficult than this.
But.
There will be tests,
trials and ordeals,
all along the way.
And life–
our real life,
our vitality,
our heart,
our joy and enthusiasm–
will hang in the balance
again and again,
and we will have to confirm
our original liege loyalty
to be true to our life
by the way we live it
over and over.
And the outcome
is the wonder
of having done it,
and the joy of knowing
what it has done for us.

There is nothing like it
ever,
anywhere.
The adventure of being alive!

07/25/2018 — With retirement,
we enter a new field of action.
Our life is no longer oriented
toward success
and achievement,
and we have the time
and opportunity
to consider properly
what we have done,
and failed to do,
and what we have yet to do.

In retirement,
we take stock
and reorient ourselves.

We face the truth of our life
to this point,
and the hope of our life
from this point on.

Retirement
can be–
NO!
IS!–
a painful,
frightening,
terrible time.

We have time our hands,
quiet time,
that is flooded
with memories
of things long forgotten,
suppressed,
pushed aside,
which now crowd into
our consciousness,
demanding that we
receive what we have done,
or not done,
and what has been done,
or not done,
to us–
and put ourselves in accord
with all of it,
come to terms with all of it,
make our peace with all of it,
and let it be because it is.

And the same goes for our future.
Each day,
we are one day closer to our death.
Our task is the same
it has always been,
but now it comes with more urgency
than it ever had in our youth,
because we are running out of time
in a way that we have never experienced.
Now we KNOW we are running out of time,
and we must do today
what needs us to do it–
not as a should or shalt
required by our obligations and duties
in the outer world,
but as a compelling urge
to self-expression
and self-realization
from the inner world
of our own Self,
our own being.

What must we do today
to be who we are
here and now?
How shall we go about
finding our life and living it
in the time left to us
each day?

“Oh, maybe we will go to the pool,
or to the golf course,”
wont’ do it!
We have frittered away enough time
hanging out,
waiting for something better
to come along.
Now, it is just us and our life–
the life that is vibrancy and vitality
spilling over,
pouring out,
even now,
even yet.

What will we do today
to find that life
and serve it
with our time and attention?

07/25/2018 — You have heard me say
that my mule and my cow
go with me wherever I go.

That is still the case,
and I trust that it will forever be so.

“Mule” and “cow” are metaphors
for the animal nature
of our inner depths.

We never leave behind
where we have been.
We do not out grow
or evolve beyond
the earliest stages
of our development.

Instinct and intuition
and the archetypes
of “our kind”
(And what kind is that, exactly?),
are almost as old
as the rocks
we crawled upon
from the waters of our inception.

We do well
not to stray
beyond the pale
of ancestral heritage,
and to remember
the ancient guides
who know better than we
the way that is ours to go
through the Dark Wood
of our development.

I think the place of pets
in our lives
is to connect us
with the animal source
of our foundation,
and our dependable sense
of what is right for us
and what is wrong,
of what is good for us
and what is bad.

We know more than
we know we know.
And our place is to sit quietly,
taking all things into account,
and seeing what arises
to meet it
and know what to do about it.

If I know what my mule knows,
and know what my cow knows,
I will be well positioned
to do what needs me to do it
in each situation as it arises
all my life long.

  1. 07/26/2018 — Fire Tower Trail 2018-07 04 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 9, 2018We pay a price
    to do whatever we do,
    and to not do whatever
    we do not.Growing up to the idea
    that a price must be paid
    is the turning point
    between living
    aggressively
    or depressively
    and living graciously
    and compassionately.Grace is letting things be
    what they are
    and paying the price for that.

    The price of grace
    is saying no to the things
    that must be opposed,
    and yes to the things
    that must be encouraged–
    and paying the price for that.

    And doing it graciously,
    with compassion.
    And paying the price for that.

07/26/2018 — What does the source of life know?
Only what it knows via
the experience of its own manifestations.

We are–
all of creation is–
God’s
(That Which Has Always Been Called “God”)
way of knowing,
grasping,
perceiving,
understanding,
beholding
God.

What can we know of God?
Only what we can
know,
grasp,
perceive,
understand,
behold
of God
as we look within
and without.

It is our place
to incorporate
all we know of God
at each point of our life
into our life,
and be God
as well as we are able
at that point–
incarnating God
into our life
in each moment,
and growing toward God
throughout our life
over time.

It does not matter
what we believe about God,
so long as we are as God is
in the way we live.

If you would only look around,
you will have to agree
that very few people
live as though
they know anything at all of God.

Live to increase the number,
and to bring God into being
in the world of space and time.

  1. 07/27/2018 — River Bend 2018-07 01 HDR — Linville River, Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls, North Carolina, July 9, 2018Find the place that is YOUR place–
    the place where you cannot be moved,
    where nothing can change your mind,
    or knock you off your path
    or alter your course–
    and stand there.That is where you belong.
    It is who you are.Find all the places
    that are your place to be,
    and together they give you
    an accurate picture of you.

    This is the way you are,
    and this is the way you are not.

    Your places form your identity,
    and are the core aspects
    of your life.

    For a long time,
    lemon ice box pie
    was a Being Place for me,
    and remains even now as
    my idea of dessert.

    Homemade vanilla ice cream
    was another Being Place–
    both of which
    have been surpassed by
    Sugar Is Toxic,
    and set aside
    in light of my recognition
    of the importance
    of my overall Health and Being.

    Where we belong can be replaced
    by where else we belong.
    Identity conflicts exist
    throughout our life.
    We have said this is important,
    and now we see that is also important,
    but both are mutually exclusive,
    so what is important?

    We have to choose.
    And our choices can often be
    death and resurrection experiences.
    We die to one way of life
    that we might live to another.

    All of the important conflicts
    force a life or death choice on us
    where we confront ourselves
    with the question of what is important
    here and now?

    The theme of death and resurrection
    is at the heart of all religions.
    We have been going merrily along
    and come to a fork in the road.
    Now what?

    We get new information about
    what is good for us
    and we see that what we always
    thought was good
    was always bad.
    Now what?

    My father got the bad news
    about cigarettes
    and kept smoking–
    and died with emphysema
    at 62.
    Cigarettes were life for him
    until they killed him.

    Our important choices
    are life and death choices–
    usually metaphorically
    (we don’t really die,
    it only feels like we are dying,
    and our life will never be what it was,
    or what it might have been),
    but sometimes literally.

    When we choose what is important,
    it is always important
    to be right about it.
    And if it becomes apparent
    that we were wrong about it,
    to change our mind.

  2. 07/26/2018 — Hummingbird 2018-07 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 6, 2018The ultimate weapon
    is vulnerability.Born in a stable,
    died on a cross.If you never need
    for things to be
    anything other than
    what they are,
    you will be able
    to face any situation
    just as it is,
    and offer there
    what is yours to give,
    and let that be that–
    in the spirit of the one who said,
    “This is the way things are,
    and this is what you can do about it,
    and that’s that.”

    When you get to that point,
    you will be invulnerable
    in your utter vulnerability,
    and able to dance
    with whatever life brings you,
    for as long as life is possible.

  3. 07/28/2018 — Goldfinch 2018-07 01 — Scenes from my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 6, 2018If God can’t do any better than this,
    God should be ashamed!
    If God can do better than this,
    God should be ashamed!
    If this is the best God can do,
    we need a better God!All of which raise the questions:What do we expect of God?

    What do we think God is for?

    What is our role in the
    God/Human equation?

    Where do we stop
    and where does God start,
    and vice-versa?

    How much does God
    legitimately depend upon
    our good faith effort
    to be who God needs us to be?

    Who would God be without us?

    How well do we stack up
    as partners with God?

    The word,
    the concept,
    the idea
    of God
    has nothing to do with God.

    Our idea of God is not God.
    Never has been.
    Never will be.

    That which has always been called God
    is beyond our grasp.

    The experience of God–
    of the Numen,
    of the Ineffable,
    of Transcendence,
    of the Radiance beyond,
    behind,
    and shinning through physical reality–
    is more than words can say.

    “The Tao that can be told
    is not the Eternal Tao.”

    The best we can do
    is to resort to poetry,
    to metaphor,
    and to silence.

    The assumptions
    that are commonly
    associated with God–
    Almighty,
    All-Powerful,
    All-Knowing,
    Omnipotent,
    Omniscient,
    Invincible,
    etc.–
    are all reflections
    of who we would like to be
    if we were God,
    and have nothing to do with
    That Which Has Always Been Called God.

    When it comes to God,
    we have to put on the table
    everything that has ever been
    said or thought about God
    and clear the table.

    And come to God
    through the experience of God,
    of what we can know of God
    simply by being alive.

    Throw away theology and doctrine!

    Where have you experienced God?
    Where would you go to experience God?
    What does the experience of God
    ask of you?
    Do not strive to understand God–
    strive to BE God,
    to be as God is,
    to be a place God shines through,
    a person through whom
    the Radiance of God enters the world!

    Not by being moral,
    walking some “straight and narrow,”
    but by being alive to yourself
    and the place and time of your living!
    Doing there what needs to be done
    with the gifts that are yours to offer–
    being who the situation needs you to be,
    and doing the good that is good
    because it is good,
    and not to get results!

  4. 07/29/2018 — Rosebay Rhododendron 2018-07 07 — Roots and Petals, Price Lake, Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 9, 2018The heaving waves
    of the wine dark sea
    obscure the still recesses
    in the depths below.When we live out of
    the depths of our character–
    grounded on the values
    at the heart
    of who we are,
    at one with the bedrock realization
    of what matters most–
    we are
    “at the still point
    of the turning world,”
    and cannot be knocked off it
    by anything
    that happens
    in the world
    of normal,
    apparent,Contemplate the core.
    Meditate on the marrow.

    Know what is vital,
    and allow your vitality
    to flow from it
    in responding
    to the crises
    and cries for help
    on the surface
    of your sea.

07/29/2018 — Noise is disconcerting,
disconnecting,
dispiriting,
dis-integrating…

Silence restores peace,
reestablishes harmony,
regains stability,
recovers direction.

Return to the silence
to maintain your connection
with the vital core
of your being–
to remember what is important,
and to renew your commitment
to the foundation,
to the bedrock
of values at the heart of humanity.

And live out of your solidarity
with the source of life and being
amid the daily assaults
upon the sacred ground
of our life together.

07/29/2018 — A Question-Answer-Question Meditation:

Start with a statement, any statement.

Ask of it all of the questions that beg to be asked
about the statement.

And answer them as you ask them.

And ask all of the questions that beg to be asked
about the questions that beg to be asked
as you ask them,
and answer them.

And ask all of the questions that beg to be asked
about the answers as you answer them,
and answer them.

Until you are certain
no more questions beg to be asked.

Take this approach to questioning answers
with you into
every encounter
with those who know best
and have all the answers.

And into your examination
of all of the assumptions you hold
regarding how things are
and what needs to be done about it.

07/29/2018 — From 11/21/2015…

It isn’t so difficult, finding our life and living it:

1) Understand that to be the most important thing.

2) Step away from the noise in your life
and be quiet enough to listen
to yourself think and
feel yourself feel.

3) Reflect on: What is the one thing
you wish you were doing
that you are not doing?

4) Reflect on: Where do you find
your deepest joy in life?

5) Reflect on: What skills, gifts and abilities
do you enjoy using the most?

6) What are your dreams,
waking and sleeping,
saying about your life
as you are currently living it?

7) What choices do you need to make
that you are putting off making?

8) What choices are you allowing
someone else to make for you?

9) In light of the above,
what do you need to do?

10) Do it!

 

  1. 07/30/2018 — Waning Moon 2018-07 02 C Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, July 5, 2018If you stand for the flag,
    stand for what the flag stands for!That would be:
    Liberty,
    Justice,
    Equality,
    and the Rule of Law.You make a mockery of the flag
    and what it stands for
    if you stand for the flag
    without standing for what it stands for.

    Look around you.
    You see all of these people
    standing for the flag?
    They are spitting on the flag!
    They are liars!
    They are posing for the camera!
    They have no intention
    of exemplifying their devotion
    to liberty, justice, equality and the rule of law
    through the way they live their life!

    There is not one member
    of the Trump Administration,
    and only one Republican member of Congress
    (That would be Senator John McCain),
    who stands for what the flag stands for!

    Liars all!
    Showboating,
    boasting,
    bragging
    about their patriotism,
    while working to destroy
    all the flag stands for
    by the things they do
    and do not.

    The country has been compromised.
    We are no longer who we say we are.
    The foundations have been removed.
    Democracy
    and the Rule of Law
    are no more.
    The Three Branches of Government
    have been absorbed into one.

    We now have a de facto dictator
    where a President should be,
    and he is working to demolish
    liberty, justice and equality,
    while Congress looks on,
    aids and abets.

    What to do?
    Nothing!
    Do nothing,
    but do it wisely.

    There are things we do not yet know:
    What will happen with regard
    to the Mueller investigation?

    What will be the role of the Department of Justice
    and the Law Enforcement agencies,
    FBI and CIA?
    ICE will be on Trump’s side,
    but the others?

    How will the states react?
    How will the opposition take shape?
    Where will the leadership come from?

    What will be the role of the military?
    Will they just obey orders?
    Undertake a coup?

    What will Trump do?
    Will he start a war with Iran or North Korea
    so he can use the War Powers Act
    to delay the November election?
    Declare martial law?

    Will there be an unforeseen
    turn of events
    that no one can imagine?

    How will things play out?
    We don’t know.
    We wait and watch–
    and find our own personal
    ground and foundation,
    our core,
    our bedrock,
    our source and our heart.

    The culture has taken
    this work away from us,
    and offered us
    entertaining pastimes
    (Bread and circuses)
    to distract us
    from the task
    of becoming whole human beings,
    but these times,
    they force it upon us!

    Using what time we have wisely
    is to turn to ourselves
    and seek out the invisible Other,
    Psyche, Soul, Self
    tucked away in our unconscious
    (So called because we are
    not conscious of it),
    waiting to come into consciousness
    as a full partner
    in living the life that can yet be lived
    under any circumstances,
    great or not-so great.

    We have what we need
    to find what we need
    to find the way,
    or make one.
    If you are going to believe anything,
    believe that–
    and live as though it is so!
    Starting now!

07/30/2018 — You have to believe in you–
in the power of your own vitality,
in the truth of your own
sense of direction,
and your own ability
to learn from your experience,
and to have what you need
to find what you need
to do what needs to be done
in each situation as it arises,
through all conditions
and circumstances of life.

Why wouldn’t you?

You are living evidence
of the innate character
of the species.
Our ancestors did not possess
anything we do not possess,
and they came through it all
with no more than we have,
and here we are.

Now what?

07/30/2018 — We are witnessing a loss of incentive
in the opposition
to Kavanaugh’s appointment
to the Supreme Court
compared to the opposition
to the ACA repeal–
but it is the same thing
that is at stake,
with a lot more on the table as well!

With Kavanaugh goes the ACA,
and Medicaid,
and Medicare,
and Planned Parenthood.

With Kavanaugh comes
diplomatic immunity applied to the presidency,
and the inherent loss of rights
that implies–
with the President,
not the courts,
determining what is Constitutonal
and what is not.

With Kavanaugh,
democracy is done
and dictatorship is in place.

It is a worse world overnight.
A much worse world.

If you haven’t called your Senator(s)
to voice your opposition to Brett Kavanaugh,
do it today!

  1. 07/31/2018 — Tree in the Meadow 2018-07 02 B&W Panorama — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 8, 2018An old psychological saw says,
    “Don’t believe everything you think.”Believing everything we think
    makes us instantly crazy.It is enough
    if we content ourselves
    with thinking what we think.
    And thinking about what we think.
    And asking the questions
    that beg to be asked
    in light of what we think
    about what we think.
    And answering them.
    And asking the questions
    that beg to be asked
    about the answers.
    And answering them.

    It is a circle
    that repeats itself
    endlessly
    throughout our life,
    leading us
    along the way.

    It is hard to beat
    reflection on experience
    for a guide
    through the Dark Wood.

    If you ever need direction
    about what to do now,
    just sit quietly
    and think about
    what you are thinking about,
    and let the questions
    that come to mind
    carry you into
    other things to think about,
    with other questions coming to mind.

    As you do this,
    you will be creating
    your own Meditation On What To Do Now.

    See where it goes.
    Go with it.

    Keeping an eye on your feelings–
    your emotional responses
    to your thoughts–
    will show you where your
    fear and anxiety,
    and your peace and comfort,
    lie–
    which will give you something else
    to think about.

07/31/2018 — Carl Jung said,
“Art is a kind of innate drive
that seizes a human being
and makes him/her its instrument.”

Joseph Campbell called this kind of seizure
being in the grip of a mythic vision—
belonging to,
being possessed by,
what,
we do not know beyond
“A dear and glorious obsession.”

How we shield ourselves
from this is our bane
and our shame.

07/31/2018 — Living can take the life right out of you–
and fill you over the brim
with life, joy and wonder
at the experience of being alive.

Death and resurrection
is the metaphor
at the heart of life.

Understanding that
keeps the blood flowing
and the heart pumping
through the ups and downs,
the Yes’s and the No’s
all our life long.

Trials and ordeals
are drains and drudgery
that never end.
We have know “What for?”
to keep from losing
our heart and our mind.

“For what the ache and agony?”
“For what the struggle and pain?”
“Why go on with it?”
“What is the point?”

It is like the question,
“What is money for?”
To pay the bills, yes but–
what do we pay the bills to do?

If we don’t know that–
or if it is only to play golf
or hang out at the mall
(or wherever)
to run up more bills
to take our minds off
not knowing
what we are doing with our life–
we will soon be on life support
with no reason, really,
to take another breath.

It is a terrible thing
to live all this time
without ever being alive!

What is the élan vital,
the vital impulse,
the vital force,
the “aliveness”
at the heart of your life?
What are you here to be
and to do?

That is what we are to seek
and to serve
in the time left for living!

Knowing what we are doing here,
and doing it,
keeps us going through
all of the trials and ordeals,
the toil and the grind,
of our days.

We have to find the bedrock,
the ground,
the center and focus–
the source of vitality and value–
for us and our life,
our real life,
our true life,
and live out of it,
toward it,
in all that we do.

This is our mission,
if we choose to accept it,
and if we don’t,
we get what we deserve.

07/31/2019 — Give someone with a diagnosis of Schizophrenia
a sidewalk full of cracks,
and he, and she,
will find the meaning
in the patterns
formed by the intersecting lines.

That may be characteristic of Schizophrenia,
but,
it is a trait we all share with Schizophrenics.
They just take it more seriously
than we do.

We all see faces,
objects,
animals
in the clouds–
the man (or the rabbit) in the moon–
signs and portents
in tea leaves
and tossed bones,
a Big and Little Dipper
(And other things as well)
in the night sky,
the face of Jesus in Jell-O
and torn wallpaper…

We see patterns
and find
(Impose)
meaning
everywhere we look.

It is called “Projection,”
and it is what we do best.

Things move instantaneously from
“That looks like whatever” to
“That IS whatever!” to
“Everybody! Come look at Whatever!”
When what we are looking at
are cracks in the sidewalk,
or clouds,
or stars,
in the sky.

Projection is the glue
holding the world together–
the device enabling us
to find meaning and purpose
everywhere we look–
the work of imagination
at the heart of wars,
feuds,
and falling in love.

Sit with what you think you see
and think about what you see.
Ask all of the questions
that beg to be asked,
and answer them–
and ask all the questions
the answers
beg to be asked.
And answer them…

What you do then
will not be what you would have done
if you had not sat and reflected.

When we see patterns and find meaning
in cracks in the sidewalk (Etc.),
we are creating a mythology of our own making,
and embracing it
as the first True Believer
in what is right before our eyes.

  1. 08/01/2018 — Hornet’s Nest 2018-07 01, 02 — On the way to my hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina, July 30, 2018Everyone needs something like the church
    in their life,
    without the doctrine and theology.Beginning about 50 years ago
    all churches
    and theological institutions
    should have begun
    a dual track program,
    phasing out doctrine and theology,
    and phasing in Jungian psychology
    combined with the mythological understanding
    of Joseph Campbell
    and the Mindfulness Meditation approach
    of Jon Kabat-Zinn.It isn’t too late to start now.

    Everybody stands in need
    of what this kind of church
    would have to offer.
    I have a FB Page called
    “The Non-Subscribing Church
    of What’s Happening Now,”
    borrowing from Flip Wilson
    and The Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church
    of Ireland.
    It is a prototype
    of an infinite range
    of possibilities–
    built around the question,
    “What do people need a church for?”

    Not for many of the things
    the Church of Our Experience
    exists to provide.
    And the things they need
    would all be covered by
    Jung,
    Campbell
    and Kabat-Zinn.

    Why not get things going?

08/01/2018 — How much engagement?
How much disengagement?
Where do we draw the line?

It varies from person to person
and from day to day
and from situation to situation.

The rule is, here and always,
No Inviolable Rules Allowed!
All our “rules” are guidelines
that can be over-ridden,
modified,
transformed,
deleted
as the situation determines
over the course of our life.

We have to be engaged
up to the point of distraction,
and then we have to disengage.
It’s a fine point,
and one we don’t see coming,
but know when we have passed beyond.

The surest sign of progression
past the boundary
separating the need for engagement
and the need for disengagement
is our recognition
of the degree to which
we are caught up
in the drama of life.

Drama is evidence of too much engagement
and not enough disengagement.
Isolation and contempt
for everything “Not-I”
is evidence of too much disengagement
and not enough engagement.

We are back-and-forth
all our life long.
And must be,
because life is movement.
There is no static state of being.
Only death is rigidly the same forever.

08/01/2018 — The closer I pay attention
to anything,
the less I pay attention
to everything else.

“Being aware” rules out the general
if it is focused on the particular,
and rules out the particular,
if it is focused on the general.

“Complete awareness” is a fiction.

We are more or less aware
at every point,
but never totally aware
at any point.

And the less interest we have
in something,
the less aware of it we will be.

Some things are completely invisible to us.
Make that a lot of things.
Make that practically everything.

The things we do not see
constitute the Great Unknown
that constantly impinges upon us
from all sides.

Where I put the checkbook
floats into and out of
my awareness
on a daily basis.
No!
Hourly basis!

  1. 08/02/2018 — Boone Fork 2018-07 05 — Julian Price Memorial Park picnic area, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 10, 2018We work with metaphors,
    poetry,
    and the psychological tools
    of projection
    and transference
    to get to our meaning–
    the meaning of us,
    ourselves–
    the meaning of what we mean,
    of who we are,
    and what we are about–
    of what meaning means,
    which can only be symbolized,
    not objectified,
    codified,
    explained,
    defined,
    elucidated,
    clarified,
    spelled out,
    made plain
    and certain,
    with no more questions
    to be asked and answeredThis is the Tree of Life
    at the center of the Garden of Eden,
    which is also
    the cross
    at the center of the Garden of Gethsemane
    and on the face of Golgotha,
    standing forever
    as the doorway
    from death to life.But we concertize the symbol
    and worship it.
    We objectify it
    and make a religion of it
    (“A religion,” ha!
    10,000 religions,
    all called “Christianity”!)
    and say,
    “Our Truth is the only Truth!”
    “There is no God but our God!”
    And lose the whole point of it,
    of God,
    of us,
    dancing as we do
    around a metaphor
    made literal,
    actual,
    tangible
    and REAL
    by doctrine and theology,
    while the real Dance
    goes on without us
    through the ages.

08/03/2018 — What is the meaning of metaphor?
Of symbol?
Who is to say?

You are asleep and have a dream.
What is the meaning of the dream?
Who is to say?

If you tell me your dream
and I tell you mine,
and we take the other’s dream
and work with it as our own
and tell each other
what the meaning is
of the other’s dream
that has become ours,
and compare that meaning
with the meaning we said was the meaning
when the dream belonged to us,
whose meaning is the right meaning?
Who is to say?

Our dreams are metaphors about us.
Our dreams are symbols of us.

But.

Your dreams can work as easily for me
as my own dreams,
if I take your dreams
as my own
and explore them as I would
if they actually were my own.

A dream doesn’t mean anything
in-and-of itself.
A metaphor is a blank wall,
a symbol is a box of smoke,
without interpretation,
without translation,
without connection,
without understanding…

Dead symbols/metaphors
are symbols/metaphors
whose meaning has been understood
for so long
by so many
they only mean
what they have been said to mean
forever.

What does God mean?
God means only what God has meant.
God is dead.
A dead symbol.
A dead metaphor.
God can only be God
as God has always been God
and always will be God.
God is dead.

What does God mean?
Who is to say?
See what I mean?

  1. 08/03/2018 — Rosebay Rhododendron 2018-07 05 HDR — Price Lake, Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, July 10, 2018Joseph Campbell said,
    “The adventure we get
    is the adventure we are ready for.”Which is not necessarily
    the adventure we claim for ourselves.
    Which is not necessarily
    the adventure we are interested in.
    Which is not necessarily
    the adventure we want.
    Which is not necessarily
    the adventure we will
    have anything to do with.”I’m not good at that kind of thing–
    take Aaron instead!”
    said Moses when the Egypt thing
    came around.

    And Jonah hopped on a handy freighter
    to keep from going to Nineveh,
    necessitating a whale ride
    to the correct destination–
    and even then,
    he pouted and complained.

    We have grand ideas
    of achievement and success,
    and our adventure stands
    in the corral unsaddled,
    while we go in search
    of fortune and glory.

    Or while we sit in the house,
    refusing all invitations
    to come out and play.

    The world is in the mess it is in
    because we are all
    off on adventures not our own–
    and nobody will
    sit quietly,
    waiting to be seized by something
    that cannot be explained
    beyond:

    “I have no say in the matter, Gibbs—
    It’s the pirate’s life for me.
    Savvy?”
    (Captain Jack Sparrow in “On Stranger Tides”)

08/03/2018 — People have the wrong idea
about Jungian Analysts.
They aren’t here to
analyze you
and hand you a printout
so that you know all of the
whys and werefores and what-fors
and understand all the things
about you no one understands
(As if!).

They are here to help you
analyze your life,
and become mindfully aware
of what you are doing
and what you need to be doing,
in connecting the dots
from then to now and beyond,
to guide you on your path,
like a Yoda,
or an Obi wan Kenobi
might lead you into the ways of a Jedi.

They serve to help you
find your life and live it
by reflecting on your experience
to the point of making new realizations,
and seeing what you look at
in light of all things considered.

The only problem I can find with them
is that there aren’t enough of them
to go around.
Which is not actually a problem
because only a few people
understand how important they are,
and few of those take advantage
of what they have to offer.

08/03/2018 — We think it is about one thing,
and it is about another.

The Dance dances us
while we think
we are dancing the Dance.

The Song sings us
while we think
we are singing the Song.

The Music writes us
while we think
we are writing the Music.

Our Life is over there
while we are over here.

How to get us together
with the Dance,
the Song,
the Music,
our Life
is the work
that remains
in the time left for living.

  1. 08/04/2018 — Ginkgos 2015 27 Panorama — Ginkgo Biloba Trees, Charlotte, North Carolina, December 3, 2015Where do you turn
    when you have nowhere to turn?
    Where do you go
    when you have no place to go?
    What keeps you going
    when there is no reason to go on?What do you do
    when the foundations crumble
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea?Where do you look for support,
    solace,
    comfort,
    consolation,
    encouragement,
    hope,
    restoration,
    recovery,
    renewal
    when what you trusted with all your heart
    betrays your trust,
    breaks your heart?

    Where is the still point of the turning world for you?

    Better have one.

    Better find one.

    It’s time to go there and sit for a while.

    This is what the church-as-it-ought-to-be
    could do for people–
    all people.

    Retreat.
    Refuge.
    Oasis.
    Haven.

    A place for the Community of Innocence
    to gather
    and heal
    in the blessed presence
    of one another.

    People caring for people,
    tending to people,
    listening to people,
    talking to people,
    sharing their stories,
    experiencing their experience,
    exploring their possibilities,
    considering their options,
    coming to terms with their prospects
    and their chances,
    getting their feet back under them,
    with no BS to have to deal with,
    just the truth–
    “the whole truth
    and nothing but the truth”
    of themselves
    and their circumstances
    in light of their whole selves
    and their full/complete circumstances.

    A place where we can
    consider our situation
    in stillness and solitude–
    which does not mean isolation,
    but freedom
    from the noise and chaos,
    uncertainty,
    fear,
    dread,
    terror,
    grief,
    loss,
    sorrow,
    devastation
    of our life–
    enables/requires us
    to consider our whole situation,
    our entire situation,
    just as it is
    in its allness,
    fullness,
    completeness.

    And to find our resources,
    our ground
    and our foundation,
    our bedrock,
    our still point
    that is always there,
    in place,
    with us forever,
    never threatened
    always untouched
    by the circumstances
    and conditions
    of our external world.

    The church-as-it-ought-to-be,
    the Community of Innocence–
    innocent because it has no agenda for us
    and needs nothing from us,
    and is there only as an extension
    of ourselves
    to remind us always
    of what is always true
    within each of us:

    We are what we seek!
    We find in the Community
    who we are
    and what we are capable of within.

    We are each a Community unto ourselves,
    but need the physical reminder
    of a Community external to us
    to be and remain connected to
    the Community within,
    finding in both places,
    inner and outer,
    what we need to find what we need
    to be who we are
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    If we do not have such a place
    (And who does?),
    it is up to us to create one
    that will be there when we need it,
    and we need it right now!

  2. 08/05/2018 — Bog Stream Reflections 2014-09 01 HDR–Near Tupper Lake, NY, September 29, 2014Stack what you can do
    up against what needs to be done.
    If you can bear the pain
    of that dichotomy,
    you have what it takes
    to do what you can do
    about what needs to be done
    without being overwhelmed
    and undone
    by the impossibility,
    futility,
    pointlessness
    and absurdity
    of doing anything.”The situation is hopeless,
    but not serious,”
    (Paul Watzlawick).
    It is not serious
    because no one is keeping score
    and we don’t lose points
    for doing what is ours to do
    the way only we can do it
    for as long as we can do it
    regardless of our prospects
    or our chances–
    and we gain the satisfaction
    of work well done
    even though the earthquake
    crumbles everything to ruins
    and we are the only one
    who knows
    the real wonder of what was lost.It’s like this:
    We are all going to die.
    And it is how we live
    in the meantime
    that makes all the difference.

    The movement of people
    across the planet
    is about to supplant
    all of the movements of people
    throughout history
    as the most people
    in the shortest amount of time
    ever.

    Where are they going?
    Where are “we” going to put “them”
    (Spoken as though we
    aren’t going to be a part of them)?
    Florida (water)
    and California (fires)
    are going to have to go somewhere else.
    Everybody is going to have to go somewhere else.
    And there is nowhere for them to go.

    It is how we live together
    with the problems generated
    by our being together
    that makes all the difference.

    If everybody could just go their own way!
    The time for everybody
    getting out of town
    on the afternoon Stagecoach
    left on the last Stagecoach.

    And global migration is just one of the things
    what we can do
    is stacked up against.

    There is also the over-population problem.
    The environmental/global-warming problem.
    The list is incredibly long problem.

    And there is you and there is me
    and there is our attitude/perspective/way of seeing…
    And we have to get our feet under us
    and stand on the bedrock
    of our identity/character/values,
    and uphold/encourage/sustain one another
    for the duration
    of what is before us
    because it is not going away
    and there is nowhere for us to go
    to get away.

    Here we are,
    me and you,
    and you,
    and you…
    and how we deal with it
    makes all the difference.

    I hope you are game,
    because none of us
    can do it alone!

08/05/2018 — Every day we are presented
with choices and possibilities.

We don’t get to choose
our choices
or our possibilities.

The day starts off bad that way.

It is already too late
for all of those wishes to “have a good day.”

We could go back to bed.
That’s one of the choices we have.
And there will be
advantages and disadvantages
associated with that choice,
just like all the rest.

We step into the day
and weave our way
among the choices and possibilities
the day presents.

And we do it again tomorrow,
with somewhat different choices and possibilities.
And so on,
all the way to the end of the days.

We do not ever get things
lined up and squared away,
put in place and just right
for us to sit back
and enjoy “the fruits of our labors.”

The choices and possibilities
never quit coming,
until they quit coming, of course,
but then,
it is over
and we never even got to tag out
for a round or two.

What I’m saying is,
stop thinking it is ever
going to be different than it is.

Choices and possibilities, Kid.
Choices and possibilities.

We do what we can imagine doing
with them each day,
and do it again the next day.
And that’s that.

Our attitude and perspective
will make all the difference.
Make those your first choice
every day,
and let everything flow from there.

08/05/2018 — To say “Yes!” to life
is to say “Yes!” to “No!”
is to say “No!” to life–
to the things that need
to be opposed
and resisted,
stopped
and disallowed.

“Yes!” to immigrants,
and people of color,
and LGBTQ people,
and children,
and women,
and people of all religions
and of no religions…

Is “No!” to those
who would refuse
to grant any of these people
the right to themselves
and their place in this culture
and in the family of humanity.

“Yes!” to this
is “No!” to whatever
makes this impossible,
or even difficult.

“Yes!” is “No!”

Which is to say that
the “Both Sides” thing
is a false equivalency
when white supremacy exists
to denounce and deny equality,
liberty and justice
for all people of every variety.

There is no place for white supremacy
in a culture where all people are welcome
with the caveat that they make all people welcome.

We say “Yes!” to one another
and “No!” to those who say “No!” to any.

  1. 08/06/2018 — Grand Prismatic Spring Panorama HDR — Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, WY — June 29, 2011″I call BS!”
    Is always declared
    from a position of conviction
    and certainty
    that is clearly NOT BS.THAT is the bedrock,
    the ground,
    the foundation
    of unshakeable truth
    that needs to be explored!Do not get sucked into
    “It’s all BS!”!
    Explore the perspective
    that leads you to the determination
    “It’s all BS!”

    What are you looking for
    that you do not find anywhere
    in the world of BS?

    What are you seeking?
    What are you not finding anywhere?
    How will you know it when you see it?

    What can you do to bring it forth
    in your own life?
    What do you need to be what you seek?
    If it were to start with you,
    what would you need to change about you?
    How would you need to be different?
    What is keeping that from happening?
    What would have to happen
    for you to become the source of
    “This is NOT BS!”
    in your life?

    What do you need to do
    to live a genuine,
    authentic,
    real life
    that is valid
    and vibrant
    to the core?

    How can you begin to exhibit
    the qualities,
    values,
    characteristics
    that you ache to find
    somewhere
    in the world of your experience?

    Where can you begin to be
    for somebody else
    what nobody is for you?

    It has to start somewhere.
    The turn.
    The reversal.
    The renewal.
    The truth of being real
    in a world of BS.

    What would have to happen
    in your life
    for it to start
    with you?

08/06/2018 — Talk to yourself!
And do more listening
than talking!

Start things off
with an imaginary dialogue
with a friend,
but understand that the friend
is a metaphor for yourself,
your Deep Self,
your Soul-Self,
your Psyche,
your Self.

You are your conscious Ego-Self
Yourself is your unconscious
(because you are not conscious of her/him)
Psyche-Soul-Self.

Strike up dialogues
throughout the day,
imagining a friend–
or the image that “Pops” into mind
when you think
of your Psyche-Soul-Self.

About anything.
What you should be thinking about,
for instance.
Ask her/him,
“Where should my attention be now?”
And see what comes to mind.

If you don’t like that question,
come up with your own.

Just start talking.
To yourself.
And do more listening
than talking!

08/06/2018 — My idea of Mexican Cornbread
may not be your idea.
I wouldn’t trust you
to select
my Mexican Cornbread.
Or to make my coffee.
Or in 10,000 other ways.

I am “particular”
about a lot of things.

I know what it is time for,
for instance,
and what it is not time for.

And, when you add it all up
you understand why
it is the hermit’s life for me,
more or less,
with allowances for close family members.

But, if you didn’t know this about me,
you would probably never guess.

People feel better in my presence
because I see them,
notice them,
care about them,
listen to them,
grant them my attention,
inquire about them,
enjoy them…

It is a contradiction,
and not the only one.

Recognizing our contradictions
and living in ways that honor them,
walking two paths at the same time,
without thinking
that’s the wrong thing to do,
and it makes us
hypocrites and liars,
and people shouldn’t be two-faced,
is essential for life in this world.

People should be who they are,
and I’m a hermit
people enjoy being around.
But if you look up
and find me gone,
I trust you to understand.

  1. 08/07/2018 — Along Hwy 30 2014-09 02 HDR — An unnamed pond in Adirondack Park on the way to Long Lake and Tupper Lake from Johnstown NY, September 28, 2014Live in the service
    of the good of the situation as a whole
    in light of all things considered
    in each situation as it arises
    all your life long.How good is the good you call good?
    Whose good is served
    by the good you call good?These questions are part
    of the “all things considered.”

    Taking everything into account
    slows us down considerably,
    and opens us up
    to truth on every side.

    Too much information
    stops us “in our tracks,”
    and becomes a Gordian Knot,
    which we slice through
    with our trusty laser sword
    of expediency and domination.

    Truth is found
    leaning against the far back wall
    deep in the cave
    we most don’t want to enter
    (Joseph Campbell).

    That is another way of saying,
    “Truth is found between the hands”
    (“On the one hand, this–
    on the other hand, that”),
    at the heart of our conflicts
    and contradictions.

    If you want to know what the truth is,
    come to know what
    your contradictions are.

    If you have no contradictions,
    you are dead to the core,
    and have no hope in this world
    or any that may be to come.

08/07/2018 — I understand the importance
of adjustment
and accommodation
in living in accord
with our life–
with the terms and conditions,
context and circumstances,
within which we live.

We do not dictate what will happen.
We do what needs to happen
in aligning ourselves
with what is happening
and what can happen.

Grasping the full implications
of this realization,
and incorporating it
into our way will life
will make all the difference
in terms of our emotional response
to events
and the amount of drama
at work in our life.

08/07/2018 — If I could go back
and visit me in my youth,
I would spend most of my time there
listening to what I had to say then.

I think most of us aren’t listened to enough
throughout our life.
That was certainly true
of me in my youth.

We cannot hear what we have to say
without someone to listen us there!
And how are we ever going
to move beyond
where we are
if we don’t experience
where we are,
and how are we going to experience it
if we don’t talk about it,
thoroughly and completely?

And how often have we ever done that?

I would give myself that gift.

And before I left I would say,

“Sit quietly more often
for longer periods of time,
and see what you look at.

And don’t be pulled or pushed
by the things that are pulling and pushing you.”

  1. 08/08/2018 — Lowe’s Lake Panorama 2014-09 HDR — Adirondack Park, Bog River Lower Dam near Long Lake and Tupper Lake, NY, September 29, 2014When you don’t know what to do,
    watch to see what you do.Our body leads the way.
    And mindfulness of what
    our body is doing
    clues us in on what
    needs to be done.Unconscious forces–
    so called because
    we are not conscious of them–
    have led us
    through all of the places
    we didn’t know what to do
    to right here, right now.

    We are being led
    along the way
    all the way.
    How closely are we following
    is the question.
    How well are we taking instruction?
    How many false starts
    have we made?
    How many dead ends
    have we walked ourselves into?
    Thinking we knew what we were doing?

    Better to not know what we are doing,
    and to know it–
    and to listen, look,
    and wait to hear, to see!

    Better to know where to turn for guidance
    when we are out of ideas
    about where to turn
    or where to go from here.

    Our bones know.
    And our stomach.
    And our heart.
    We only have to know
    what we know,
    by dropping out
    of what we think we know
    and dropping into
    our present experience
    of this moment
    and what our body
    is saying about it
    and what needs
    to happen next.

    Jon Kabat-Zinn said,
    “Your capacity for awareness
    is more useful
    than anything else about you…
    All it requires
    is learning to reside
    in your direct experience
    of this moment,
    whatever it is.”

    When you don’t know what to do
    drop into the moment,
    this moment,
    here and now,
    and notice everything
    about it,
    right here,
    right now.

    This is where the future begins.

  2. 08/09/2018 — Horseshoe Bend 2010-05 03 — Page, AZ — May 18, 2010There are only four things required
    for a long and happy life
    (with the understanding
    that “happy” means
    being able to bear well
    the pain of being alive):1) Being able to pay the bills.
    2) Knowing what the right bills to incur are.
    3) Knowing what you pay the bills to do.
    4) Being right about that being worth your life and your time.Everything else
    will fall into place
    around these four things.
  3. 08/10/2018 — Union Pacific 1730 2014-01 01 — Natchitoches, Louisiana, January 31, 2014The thing to take seriously
    is not what happens,
    but how we respond to it–
    how well we allow
    our situation in life
    to call forth
    our grace,
    compassion,
    resiliency,
    creativity,
    imagination,
    courage
    and determination
    in serving what can happen
    in light of what needs to happen.”What needs to happen now?
    What can happen now?”
    are the two questions
    we live to answer
    by the way we live
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.It often takes doing nothing
    to know what to do.

    While we are doing nothing,
    we are recovering,
    taking stock,
    sizing things up,
    seeing what’s what,
    listening,
    looking,
    waiting to see what needs to be done,
    gathering our wits,
    getting our feet under us

    (“Gather your wits.
    Get your feet under you,”
    are good things to do
    in any situation.),
    and preparing to act
    when the time for acting
    is upon us.

    Being overwhelmed
    and undone,
    aghast
    and agog,
    nonplussed
    and dumbfounded,
    have never been known
    to make any situation better.

    “Here we are.
    Now what?”
    Puts us on track
    to ask
    “What needs to happen now?
    “What can happen now?”
    And positions us
    to bring the best possible future
    into being.

08/10/2018 — Jesus said,
“Why don’t you decide
for yourselves
what is right?”

That was his theme.

“You have eyes to see,
but you don’t see!”

“Be a neighbor
to everyone:
enemies,
friends,
family,
all people!
How hard is that?”

“Remove the log
from your own eye
before worrying about
the speck of dust
in someone else’s eye.”

Jesus died.
And over two thousand years later,
Jesus would have the same things to say.

In two thousand years,
people are doing the same things–
and refusing to do the same things–
they did in Jesus’ day.

And two thousand years from now,
what do you think will have changed?

Our work is to see that WE change!
“Why don’t you decide
for yourselves
what is right?”

Everything Jesus said applies to each of us
as individuals.
Our focus is seeing,
hearing,
and doing
what needs to be seen,
heard,
and done.

In each situation as it arises,
all our lives long.

08/10/2018 — We do what we can
with what we have
to work with.

I didn’t get what I needed
to play centerfield for the Yankees,
or anybody else.
And you wouldn’t want me
singing at your wedding,
or in your shower.

I’m making do
with the leftovers.

So are we all on some level.

Children grow up
into the primary caretaker role
for their parents,
and never have a life of their own.

Wars come along
and call up young people
before they have a chance
to find their way in the world.

Earthquake,
drought,
fire,
flood,
famine…

Events intervene
and our life is never
what it might have been
“except-but-if only.”

Too many by far
could stand with Terry Malloy
(“On the Waterfront”)
and say some variation of:

“I coulda had class.
I coulda been a contender.
I coulda been somebody,
instead of a bum,
which is what I am.”

But, let’s not.

Let’s just say,
“I did everything I could do
with what I had to work with,
and here I stand,
knowing that I made things
better than they would have been
without me,
all along the way!”

08/10/2018 — “The hearts of men
are easily corrupted”
–Lady Galadriel, TLOTR, I

And women, too.

Therein lies the problem.

Most of us mean well, but.
We do so love to exploit
our opportunities
in the service of our idea
of our own, personal, good–
or that of those we love.

People with good hearts
and good faith,
always truly aligned
with the life they live,
in season and out of season
through all of the conditions
and circumstances
they encounter,
throughout their days
upon the earth,
are rarely found.

We know more about propitiation
and redemption,
guilt,
remorse,
repentance
and the need of forgiveness,
than what it must be like
to never know anything
about any of these things,
except by hearsay.

And, we must make our peace
with that,
and struggle through
as well as we can.
Knowing our tendencies,
however,
can tip us off
when a situation becomes ripe
for exploitation.
And we may be able to avoid
placing ourselves in harm’s way,
like sober alcoholics
staying out of bars.

It beats trusting our luck
and taking our chances.

  1. 08/11/2018 — False Kiva 2010-05 01 — Islands in the Sky section, Canyonlands National Park, near Moab, Utah — May 14, 2010Living wholeheartedly in some portion
    of your life–
    and the larger the portion,
    and/or greater the number of portions
    the better–
    is the single most important thing
    you can do
    to experience contentment,
    joy,
    peace
    and well-being.If you aren’t living wholeheartedly anywhere,
    it is time to start listening to your heart,
    and following where it leads.
  2. 08/12/2018 — Bass Lake 2018-08 01 Panorama — Fish Hatchery Ponds, Moses Cone Manor (You will have to take my word for it, in the trees above the ponds), Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, August 11, 2018Heart is the hardest thing to find,
    and the easiest thing to lose.It is hard to find
    because it is lost
    amid the 10,000 competing things
    clamoring for our attention,
    promising us fame, fortune and glory everlasting
    for the low, low, price
    of losing the way,
    wandering far from the path,
    and forgetting the core values
    at the heart of truth
    in the center of our being.It is the easiest thing to lose
    because the evidence
    is everywhere
    that it all is like
    “rearranging the deck chairs
    on the Titanic,”
    therefore,
    “So what?
    Who cares?
    Why try?
    What difference does it make?
    It is all useless,
    pointless,
    futile,
    and absurd!”

    And we can make no compelling argument
    against the great weight of the obvious
    and undeniable meaninglessness
    of caring about the things that matter most
    when none of them stand a chance
    against the forces of darkness
    and confusion
    that command the fortunes
    and determine the outcomes
    of life in the Real World.

    So we opt for the handy, shiny, options
    readily available
    as diversions, distractions, denial,
    addictions and escapes
    in the multitude of entertaining pastimes
    in the world of normal, apparent, reality.

    And forget the passion and vitality
    we once had so momentarily
    as the directing impulse
    at the heart of life and being–
    the vital source of our identity,
    purpose and meaning–
    and drift into the stupor
    characterizing the rest of the cows
    on their way from the barn
    to the pasture
    and back to the barn
    everyday,
    and forget who we are
    and what we are about,
    serving goals that are someone else’s idea
    of what we should do with our life,
    and achieving ends
    that someone else–
    the culture, the cult, the religion, the society–
    told us were worth our time
    and would prove to be valuable eventually,
    and asked us to “take it on faith”
    that they knew what they were talking about.

    When all the while we knew,
    we know,
    something is not right somehow,
    and we do not belong where we are,
    doing what we are doing,
    but our faith is misplaced
    and our hope is in the wrong things,
    and we have to reclaim our rightful place
    as the hero of our own soul,
    our own life,
    and give ourselves as liege servants
    to the truth that lives even yet
    within,
    and give ourselves to what is our to do
    even now,
    working while the light lasts
    to be who we are
    “anyway, nevertheless, even so,
    until death us do part”
    results and evidence be damned,
    because THIS is what must be done,
    even if we don’t know why,
    so help us God!

  3. 08/13/2018 — Groundhog Mountain 3018-08 01 Panorama — Watch Tower and Buck Rail Fence, Blue Ridge Parkway, Laurel Fork, VA, August 12, 2018The first step
    in dealing with any situation–
    with every situation–
    that arises
    is to experience the experience
    of the situation,
    externally and internally.Externally is the impact of what is happening
    and the implications it has for us
    and our life.Internally is the way we are reacting to it
    emotionally,
    physically,
    psychologically,
    spiritually
    (And spiritual has nothing to do
    with doctrine,
    theology,
    creeds
    or God as we have been taught
    to think about God–
    It has everything to do
    with exploring
    the unconscious aspects
    of our experience,
    so called because
    we are unconscious of it,
    and our work
    is to make it conscious).

    To experience our experience
    we have to experience/explore
    what is happening
    and how we are reacting to it.

    That means introspection,
    examination
    awareness,
    mindfulness,
    courage,
    compassion,
    patience,
    resiliency,
    determination,
    and openness
    to the adventure
    of being alive
    beyond the simplistic structure
    of how we have been told
    things are,
    out in the wilds
    and wilderness
    of how things actually are.

    Every shock to our expectations
    and our ideas
    of how things ought to be
    is an invitation
    to come to our senses
    and discover
    how best to live
    in relation
    to how things are.

    It is the Hero’s Journey
    inviting us into the world
    of discovery.

    To go is perilous,
    to not go is perilous.

    We owe it to ourselves
    to make a conscious choice,
    and bear consciously
    the price
    of having chosen.

 

  1. 08/13/2018 — Who/what do you say God is?
    Who told you to say that?
    How do you know
    they know
    what they are talking about?They told you to
    “take it on faith,”
    didn’t they?To do that,
    you have to
    “take it on faith”
    that you don’t know
    anything about God
    and have to take
    someone else’s word for it.If you are going to
    “take anything on faith,”
    and what choice do we have?
    Why not take it “on faith”
    that you have everything
    required to be the authority
    in your own life
    on things that cannot be
    established and agreed upon
    by independent witnesses/investigators
    as having factual/actual existence
    apart from what anyone might believe?

    God, by definition and common understanding,
    is the highest value
    capable of being imagined
    What could be of higher value/importance
    than God?

    That being the case,
    why would you trust anybody
    to know more than you know
    about God?
    Why take anyone’s word for it?
    Your own personal,
    individual,
    experience is the ground
    of your faith!

    What do you know of God
    that you did not get
    from some other source,
    including the Bible?
    Everything beyond your experience
    is hearsay!
    What do you say?
    Based on what?

  2. 08/14/2018 — Linville River 2018-08 02 — Linville Falls Picnic Area, Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls, North Carolina, August 13, 2018If we live this present moment
    exactly as it needs to be lived–
    exactly as it needs us to live it–
    and do the same
    with every moment
    that flows from it,
    wherever it goes,
    and whatever it means
    for us, personally,
    it will be well with us
    and with those about us.If you are going to take
    anything on faith,
    take this on faith,
    and live as though
    nothing is more so
    than this is.
  3. 08/15/2018 — Mile Post 244 2018-08 04 — Doughton Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Traphill, North Carolina, August 13, 2018When people tell their stories
    it’s history,
    what happened to them,
    what they did about it
    to be where they are.What does all of that
    have to do with
    their future?The past is a prelude to tomorrow!

    What are we doing with
    the accumulated experience
    that comes packed to the brim
    in each one of us?

    What does all that past
    that we carry with us
    everywhere we go
    prepare us to do
    here and now?

    How does it propel us
    into the time left for living?

    What has it prepared us
    to do?
    Who has it prepared us to be?

    What MUST we do?
    Who MUST we be?
    Because of where we have been,
    and what has happened to us,
    and what we have done in response?

    THAT is the story!

    And Now What???

    How shall we live our life
    in ways that serve/complete
    our story up to this point,
    and bring us forth
    to be and to do
    in the time remaining?

    That is the question
    all of our stories
    beg to be asked
    and answered!

    Here we are!
    Now what?

08/15/2018 — The trials and ordeals
never quit coming.

If you can make your peace with that,
you have it made–
as much as you can have it made
with trials and ordeals
lined up to infinity
waiting to get
a chance at us.

  1. 08/16/2018 — Mabry Mill 2018-08 02 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Burks Fork, Virginia, Floyd County, August 12, 2018The secret to life,
    living,
    living well
    is learning to take “No”
    for an answer.We live in,
    around,
    through
    “No.”
    “No!”
    “NO!”
    “NO! DAMNIT! NO!”Why make it hard?

    Everything hangs on,
    hinges upon,
    depends upon,
    flows from
    our ability
    to know
    when
    to take “No”
    for an answer,
    and letting that be that.

    And,
    there is some leeway
    even there.
    “No.”
    Always means
    there are other options
    to be had,
    other choices
    to be made,
    other outcomes
    to be had.

    “No” is rarely ever
    the end of the line.
    “No” to one thing
    is always “Yes”
    to something else.

    “No” is “Yes” in waiting.

    “No” is a question
    begging to be asked:
    “What, then?”
    “What, now?”
    “What, next?”

    “No” is never “No.”
    It is always
    “Not that.”
    “Not what you want.”
    “Not the way you want it.”
    Or, sometimes,
    “Not now.”

    10,000 “This, or this, or this…”
    are still possible.

    After the procedure
    of dental implants,
    you can’t drink hot coffee (etc.)
    (or iced tea, etc.)
    for 24 hours.
    But, you can drink cool coffee
    (and cool tea).
    “No” to this is “Yes” to that.

    Can you dance
    is the question?

    Life comes to those
    who can dance with it.

    When life asks you to dance,
    show it what you can do!

08/16/2018 — I asked the hygienist
who helped
with the dental implant process
what she would recommend
for a soft diet,
and how long
I would need to follow it.

Without hesitation,
as though she had been asked
all this before,
she replied,
“You will know what you can eat
when you can eat it.”

It was me coming back to me!

It is great when you meet yourself
in the other person,
and recognize yourself
talking to you
from that place in time.

I flashed back to years before,
standing over a toilet
after hernia surgery,
with only a thin curtain
between me and the nurse
standing behind me,
as I endeavored to complete
my one assignment
before release.

After a few silent seconds,
she said,
as she had done
a thousand times before,
“Breathe deep, Mr. Dollar.”

Of course.
I laughed at me talking to me
through her.

I settled into my breath
and things flowed naturally
from there.

We know more
that we know we know–
more than we remember knowing–
and need the reminding of others
to keep us on the path
and in the center of the practice
of being attuned
to the time and place
of our being,
at one with ourselves
and the situation,
integrated,
whole,
complete,
breathing,
knowing,
flowing naturally
into doing what needs to be done.

It is never more difficult than that.

But, because that is so difficult,
we need the caring presence
of able representatives
of the Community of Innocence
speaking to us
as we would
if we were standing before us,
telling us
what we need to hear.

08/16/2018 — What is the actuality
behind the metaphor,
the symbol,
the myth?

In some way or another
it is always you,
me,
us.

Even the metaphors,
symbols,
myths
we use for “them”
represent us.

By way of the psychological theory
of projection,
“they” are “us”
in that we despise in others
what we deny in ourselves.

It is all about us!

Everything is a mirror
reflecting ourselves
to us.

We see ourselves
wherever we look.
We seek ourselves
in everything we desire.
We seek to hide from ourselves
in everything we hate.

The solution to all of our problems
is to sit with ourselves–
to get to know ourselves
to be true to ourselves
to integrate ourselves
into the life we are living,
to actualize ourselves
appropriately
in the world of ordinary,
apparent reality.

  1. 08/17/2018 — Puckett Cabin 2018-08 02 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Hillsville, Virginia, August 12, 2018I have no way of proving
    the factual/actual basis
    of what I’m saying, but.
    If you are going to take
    anything “on faith,”
    take something on faith
    that has the power
    to shape
    your life in ways
    that allow you
    to live with whatever
    comes your way
    and transform it
    in the service
    of your own personal good
    and the good of the whole
    of each situation
    that arises
    all your life long.This should be the prelude
    to everything I write
    and have written.
    ~~~Each of us is born
    with a pattern for life
    built into our DNA.

    I could not have been
    much different from who I am.
    Neither could you.

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

    “Freedom of will”
    is a happy fantasy.
    We are not free to will just anything.
    I cannot will a night life
    that gets me in at 2 AM
    (Or even 10 PM).
    The list is long.

    We live best
    when we live
    in accord with the pattern,
    with the blueprint,
    encoded in the life
    that vibrates in each cell.

    And that life knows
    what it needs from us,
    and strives all our life long,
    to secure our cooperation,
    our collaboration,
    in its desire for expression,
    incarnation,
    exhibition,
    release–
    much like the life
    of trees, plants and flowers
    desires sunlight.

    We are built for a certain environment
    and certain other environments
    are toxic to our very being,
    our very soul
    (Which you might think of as
    the life that vibrates in each cell).

    Everything silent and alive about us
    strives to get the rest of us–
    our will, intention, purpose, desire etc.–
    aligned with the deeper drift of soul.

    That gets us to our nighttime dreams.

    Every dream,
    every night,
    says to us in metaphorical form:
    “This is how you are living,
    and it is not how you need to be living.
    What are you going to do about it?”

    Or:
    “This is how you need to be living,
    and it is not how you are living.
    What are you going to do about it?”

    It is well past time
    for us to start paying attention
    to our dreams,
    and allowing them to guide/direct our life
    in accord with the plan
    encoded in our genes.

08/17/2018 — The metaphor of the Garden of Eden
fits this country “to a T.”

The Founders,
living out of their experience
and their ideas of the kind of Government
needed to provide the kind of atmosphere/environment
necessary for the pursuit of happiness
with liberty and justice for all,
formed and fought for
the Constitution with its
Bill of Rights,
which they thought would give
citizens of future generations
all they would need
to create for themselves
a life they were best suited to live
in the service of Liberty, Justice, Equality and Truth
for all people.

That was like God presenting Adam and Eve with Paradise.

In no time at all,
the people who received the gift of Paradise
from the Founders of the country
and the Framers of the Constitution,
begin to think of ways
to use their freedom
in the service of their own personal advantage
through manipulation and exploitation
to advance their own greed and ambition
at the expense of everyone else’s welfare and well-being.

Money and power became more important
than Liberty, Justice, Equality and Truth
for all people.

And Good Faith in our dealings with one another
was replaced by Bad Faith
as we attempted to acquire more money and power
for ourselves than anyone else had.

Proving the truth of the old adage:
“You can’t give anyone anything
they can’t make better
by making things worse
for someone else.”

The solution, of course,
is the Return to Eden
by each person’s individual commitment
to living in Good Faith with themselves
and everyone else,
by being mindfully aware
and living transparent to themselves
always in light of the center
and the bedrock foundation/ground
of their life’s own purpose and goal
and of the values that serve
the true good of all
in each situation as it arises
all their life long.

Good Faith is essential for life
to be as good as it can be
for everyone,
and it cannot be imposed upon
or required of
anyone.

And that is the kink in the hose.

08/17/2018 — There are not “two sides” to facts.

There are the facts
and there are our views/opinions of the facts.

What the facts mean
needs to be explored from all angles, sides, perspectives.
What does “religious freedom” mean?
It depends on who is looking!
Balance is found in taking all views into account,
and making up our own minds
in light of the accumulated experience of our life.

Liberty, Justice, Equality, Truth
do not have “two sides.”

Liberty is this, not that.
Justice is this, not that.
Equality is this, not that.
Truth is this, not that.

When we say there are “two sides”
to every fact,
we are wrong.
We may be ambivalent
about what a fact means,
or we may be dealing with a fact
whose factual nature is that
it is two things at once–
as with light that is a particle and a wave,
or with certain particles
which can be plotted in space
but not in time,
or in time but not in space.

To be ambivalent is to feel
two or more opposite,
contrary,
mutually exclusive ways
at the same time
about a fact,
but the contradiction is within us
and not a property of the fact.

When we deny our ambivalence
and refuse to carry consciously
the weight of our own contradictions,
we refuse the requirement
of being nonpartisan witnesses
of the facts operating in our life,
and reject the stake we have
in favoring certain perspectives,
and certain outcomes,
over others,
and say “There are always two sides”
to certain facts,
when there are actually
multiple perspectives from which to view
all facts,
but the fact is that Liberty, Justice, Equality and Truth
are served by a certain perspective
and not served by others,
and which side we are on
depends upon the stake we have
in the possible outcomes
of the circumstances under consideration.

08/17/2018 — A cup of coffee
goes from too hot
to too cool
before I’m ready for it to lose
it’s just rightness.

But, to drink it too fast
when it is right
is also wrong.

A cup of coffee
is a good place
to practice
letting things be,
which is also letting
things come and go
according to their own time
and pleasure.

08/17/2018 — What are you waiting for?

What will it take
for you to begin
living,
fully alive,
vibrant
and thoroughly present
in the time and place
of your living?

What will have to change?

Upon what does your being alive depend?

What is standing between you and
full life,
vital life,
packed down,
pouring over,
spilling out,
all the way around?

Make a list.
Be clear about what is
keeping you virtually dead.

  1. 08/18/2018 — Black-eyed Susans 2018-08 02 Panorama — Blowing Rock, North Carolina, August 11, 2018Few people love us
    the way we need to be loved,
    or care for us
    the way we need to be cared for.That is just one of the things
    we have to come to terms with
    on the road
    to wherever it is
    we are going.Here is another:
    You can talk about
    “unconditional love”
    all you want to, but–
    we have to help other people
    love us,
    care for us,
    help us,
    by being the kind of person
    who can be loved,
    cared for,

    We are in charge of more
    than we think we are
    in charge of,
    and have more of a place
    in determining
    what happens to us
    and how
    than we generally realize
    or accept.

  2. Black-eyed Susans 2018-08 02 Panorama – Blowing Rock, North Carolina, August 11, 2018Few people love us
    the way we need to be loved,
    or care for us
    the way we need to be cared for.That is just one of the things
    we have to come to terms with
    on the road
    to wherever it is
    we are going.Here is another:
    You can talk about
    “unconditional love”
    all you want to, but–
    we have to help other people
    love us,
    care for us,
    help us,
    by being the kind of person
    who can be loved,
    cared for,

    We are in charge of more
    than we think we are
    in charge of,
    and have more of a place
    in determining
    what happens to us
    and how
    than we generally realize
    or accept.

  3. 08/18/2018 — Death Valley Photographers 2010-04 01 — Zabriskie Point, Death Valley National Park, California, April 23, 2010″When I find myself in time of trouble,
    Mother Mary comforts me,
    whispering words of wisdom,
    ‘Let it be.'”The song by Paul McCartney and the Beatles
    should be a hymn,
    and is a hymn
    for all who experience
    the ground of religion
    in the act of “letting it be.”We live in a culture
    with the mindset
    of forcing things to be
    what we want them to be.

    Some variation
    of how to get what you want
    is the theme of most of the books
    in the self-help section
    of every bookstore.

    “Give to get” is the theme of
    countless sermons
    preached in ostensibly Christian churches
    around the world.

    Too many of us are living
    to be somewhere else,
    and have no intention
    of being here, now–
    or of letting anything be.

    But somewhere else
    becomes just another place
    to leave behind
    in the endless pursuit
    of not this, not this, anything but this.

    “And when the night is cloudy
    There is still a light that shines on me
    Shine until tomorrow
    Let it be.
    I wake up to the sound of music
    Mother Mary comes to me
    Speaking words of wisdom
    Let it be.”

    Those who know,
    know we can’t be anywhere
    until we can be were we are.

    “Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah let it be
    Whisper words of wisdom
    Let it be.”

08/18/18 — When we “take something on faith,”
it is something we imagine to be so
and say that it is.

It has nothing to do
with objective,
verifiable,
commonly acknowledged
facts
whose validity
can be determined
by independent witnesses
who have nothing at stake
in the outcome
of the examination process.

It has everything to do
with our imagination.

It is a fiction we tell ourselves,
or someone tells us,
that explains the unexplainable
and lays out the whys and wherefores
of the mysteries of life and being.

And, things we “take on faith”
are the ground of superstition
and sorcery.

There are things that have been made up
and presented with the force of conviction
and absolute assurance–
and our “faith”
is as much faith in the faith of the presenters
as it is faith in the existence of the presented.

We believe what we believe
because we believe what we believe
is real and worth believing.
But its reality
is grounded solely
in the strength of our believing.

We are the origin of our own convictions.

That being the case,
we would be wise
to take things on faith
that make us better people
and the world a better place
for our being in it,
and other people better people
for our being with them
as a part of their lives.

08/18/18 — Interpretation has always been my thing.

Turning things over,
poking around,
making inquiries,
considering alternatives,
looking for answers
to questions that are begged
to be asked
by every single thing,
makes my little heart sing.

Investigating,
inspecting,
exploring,
examining,
probing,
considering,
wondering,
imagining,
looking,
listening…
is the work of hermeneutics,
from Hermes,
“the messenger of the gods.”

Hermes,
and his protégés,
work to understand
“what is being said”
so that they can say it
in ways that assist others
in seeing, hearing and understanding
what is happening
and what needs to be done about it.

There is more to everything
than meets the eye.
That’s were I come in.

08/18/2018 — Facing ourselves,
squaring up
to who we are
and what we have done
and what we have failed to do
and what is ours to do
is the course
of the Hero’s Journey
and the task
of every one of us,
though it last a lifetime
it is never too late,
or too early,
to take it up
and follow where it leads.

The simple goal
is the same
for each person,
each day:

To be better tomorrow
at being who we are
in what we do
and how we do it.

Integrity
is the courage
to be oneself–
to be true to oneself–
to be aligned
with the Self
at the heart
of our life and being,
and to be in accord
with the life we must live
in bringing that Self forth
into the life we are living,
so that we live
to incarnate,
exhibit,
express,
and make physically real
the spiritual,
unconscious,
aspects of our character
that call us
to champion them
and serve their cause
in each situation
as it arises,
all our life long.

May we have the courage
and the compassion
to do our work
the way it needs to be done–
and to be better tomorrow
at being who we are
in what we do
and how we do it.

Amen!
May it be so!

08/19/2018 — Republicans are great
at short-circuiting
the thinking brain
of their base,
and inflaming
the emoting brain
of the people
they address.

And notice they do not often
talk to people.
They do not host Town Halls,
they hold Rallies.
In Town Halls,
people can talk back.
In Rallies they can only
chant slogans
(And how many rally participants
are paid to start the chants?)

Republicans carefully script things
to skip thinking
and go straight into emotion.

And they use “hot” terms.
“Enemy of the people.”
“Lock her up!”
And the one I find to be
particularly grating and ironically unjust,
“Freeloaders!”

“Freeloaders” take the brunt
of Republican ire against
“The politics of grievance and entitlement.”

(“Grievance” is something the “Undeserving”–
the poor, people of color, disabled, disenfranchised,
immigrants, marginalized, etc–
are not permitted,
but is something the “Deserving”–
the white supremacists
and all those gathered at GOP Rallies–
are granted in their implied and assumed
“war” against the “Undeserving.”

And “Entitlement” applies to anything Republicans
can equate with “Socialism,”
which would include all social programs
from education to food stamps,
but definitely does not apply to
tax-cuts for the wealthy
and deregulation’s for corporations,
business and industry.)

The term “Freeloader” cannot be defined
in a way that excludes
all those who benefited
from $4 Trillion in tax cuts,
or the Wall Street banks
who benefit from deregulation,
or the industries to benefit
from the relaxation of EPA oversight,
etc.

It is reserved exclusively
for the poor and homeless,
the destitute and disabled,
those with no resources
and none to help,
and those just getting by
with no health care,
hoping that nothing goes wrong
because they have no room
in their life for even a little bad luck.

The central Republican thesis–
their only platform,
their only plan–
is “If we just get ride of these
undesirable freeloaders,
there will be plenty of money
for everybody else
because taxes will disappear
without these leeches siphoning away
tax money for entitlement programs.”

And their base chants and screams,
and never thinks to ask,
“What about the $4 Trillion
that went to your wealthy donors,
who turned some of that money
back to Super Pacs who support
GOP politicians and policies
to further help the rich and famous?”

Which is the same thing that all
future tax cuts will be used for.

Get ’em chanting and screaming
and they won’t think about thinking,
and they will never wake up.

  1. 08/19/2018 — Linville River 2018-08 05 — Linville Falls, Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls, North Carolina, August 13, 2018The Russians are destabilizing the world
    by the simple process
    of pitting the peoples of the world
    against each other.It always works.”You know, the ____ are your real enemy!
    With them out of the way,
    your way to wealth and prosperity everlasting
    will be clear and easily walked!”

    Fill in the blank
    with “Jews,”
    “Palestinians,”
    “Gays,”
    “Immigrants,”
    “Muslims,”
    “Shiites,”
    “Kurd’s,”
    “Freeloaders,”
    “Liberals,”
    “Etc.”
    and you turn everybody
    into enemies
    who must be killed
    and disappeared forever
    from the face of the earth.

    When have enemies ever disappeared?
    They are always at the gates,
    needing to be killed some more.

    And who benefits from this
    never-ending strife and disruption?
    It is not the people who do the killing,
    but the people who direct
    who is to be killed.

    And who is doing the directing?
    And what is to be done about them?
    It is simple:

    See who is talking
    and stop listening.

    Then, sit in the silence
    until you can hear everything,
    see everything–
    “the whole catastrophe”!

    And hold it in your awareness
    awaiting realization,
    insight,
    enlightenment,
    understanding,
    clarity
    and

    Then act in the service
    of the true good
    of all things considered.

    And repeat as needed forever.

08/19/2018 — Remember those Horatio Alger stories?
Rising by his own initiative, discipline and determination
from squalor to splendor in no time at all?
He had help all along the way.

No one gets there on their own.
The people with no resources
and no lucky breaks
get only as far
as the next rejection.

The Republicans who think
they deserve what they get
because they worked for it
with discipline and determination
are forgetting the magic
at work in their life.

Many people got where they are
because that is as far as they could get.
Don’t disparage them because
they aren’t somewhere else!

When there is no paper to write on in your house,
and nothing to write with,
and no books or magazines to read,
and nobody to read to you or to read to,
you are going to be behind
someone with all of those advantages,
and they don’t even count them as advantages.
They are just things they take for granted.

What do you not consider to be an advantage
or a privilege?
What else do you not count as help along your way?
How often do you go to bed hungry?
How often to you have a bed to go to bed in?
Are you seeing where this is going?

We don’t do a thing to deserve what we have!
Or to not deserve it!
We were born into it!
It’s always been there for us!
We “just have it!”

And countless others don’t have a thing!

So don’t talk any more about “deserving”
and “undeserving”!

There is no “deserving”!
There is no “undeserving”!
There are only the “haves” and the “have-nots.”
who did not do a thing to deserve it.

And don’t take anything away from the “have-nots,”
because they already don’t have anything as it is.

Here is the rule every politician on every side
of the aisle should swear to observe–
in addition to promising
to “preserve, protect and defend
the Constitution, so help them God”:

If someone needs help, they should be helped!
If someone can help, they should be helpful!

That is simple enough even Members of Congress
will be able to understand it.

  1. 08/20/2018 — Rainbow Falls 2015-09 02 — Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, New York, September 20, 2015All transitions have their
    “OH, HELL!” side,
    some more-so than others.Transitions come with a price to be paid.The more significant the transition
    the higher the price.

    Some have the anguish and agony
    of grief, loss and sorrow attached.
    And the ache of fear of the future.
    And the awful unknown
    of how we will survive–
    and the deep, dark pit
    of why survive at all…

    Going to college can be a taste
    of these things,
    and only a prelude of unimaginable possibilities…

    Terminal illness,
    the death of a child
    and/or of a spouse,
    the loss of a job,
    of a career,
    of sight and/or hearing…

    The carriers of life
    have lived through them all.

    Not one living thing
    lives long enough
    before going to its death
    without having died
    again and again
    all along the way.

    The themes of Life And Death
    and of Death And Resurrection
    are played out in our life
    from beginning to end.

    We are amazing.
    What we have been through!
    What we are capable of going through!
    And to still be going!

    Every transition is a two-track process.
    “I cannot do this! It cannot be done!”
    and
    “I can do this! It has been done 10,000 times before–
    and will be done 10,000 times 10,000 yet to come!”

    And, we are right on both scores.

    The “I” who cannot do this
    must give way to the “I” who can.
    The “I” who cannot do this
    must trust herself–
    must trust himself–
    to the “I” who can.

    If you are going to trust anything,
    anyone,
    trust yourself to the self
    you don’t know you are capable of being
    until you say,
    “I trust myself to whom
    I do not know I am capable of being!”
    and watch yourself rise again and again
    to occasions you had no idea you could meet–
    transforming them
    even as you are transformed by them,
    for better and for worse,
    all your life long.

08/21/2018 — I’ve never taken a photograph
I wouldn’t like to do over.

Or taken one
I wouldn’t like to do again
in different light,
at different times of the year,
in different weather conditions.

Some photos I would like to take again forever
through all the seasons
of all the years.

I could spend eternity
taking all the photos
that could be taken everywhere
from every tripod position.

And then doing it again…

 

  1. 08/21/2018 — Fire Tower Trail 2018-08 04 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, August 13, 2018Something keeps us going.
    What is it?
    What keeps you going?You live in the service of what?It is entertainment, escape, addiction, denial
    for some people,
    with religion and politics
    belonging to them all.

    As does everything that takes us out of our life
    and keeps us from being who we are in our life.

    How many of us live to be who we are,
    what we are,
    where we are,
    when we are,
    how we are,
    why we are?

    How many of us live to bring ourselves forth
    to meet the day
    and what what the day requires of us,
    interested in seeing
    what the day will enable us to see
    about ourselves each day?

    How many of us can say
    “It is ourselves
    and our search for ourselves”
    that keeps us going?

    How many of us make our relationship
    with ourselves
    our primary interest in our life?
    Our service to ourselves
    our primary motive for living?

    How did we get to this point
    without forging an alliance with,
    and an allegiance to,
    ourselves–
    that is deepened,
    expanded,
    enlarged
    and strengthened
    through our experience with life
    every day?

  2. 08/22/2018 — Fire Tower Trail 2018-08 03 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, August 13, 2018Who do you trust?
    What do you trust?
    Where do you turn
    when you have nowhere to turn?What grounds you?
    Stabilizes you?
    Centers you?
    Restores you?Where do you go to regroup,
    recover,
    reorient,
    recuperate,
    rebound,
    rally?

    Where do you find
    “the still point
    of the turning world”?

    Who/what has proven
    again and again
    to be
    “a very present help
    in time of trouble”?

    Who/what is for you
    a reliable source
    of courage and direction?

    How do you maintain
    your connection
    during long stretches
    of “fair winds and following seas”?

    How long has it been
    since you checked in
    and said “Hi”?

08/22/2018 — The work is the same for all of us.

We all have to work it out
for ourselves,
who we are capable of being,
who we will settle for being,
and how closely the two align.

The quality of our life is a reflection
of the degree of our alignment,
& whether it is decreasing
or increasing.

  1. 08/22/2018 — Watkins Glen 2015 10-02 08 — Rainbow Falls, Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, New York, October 2, 2015The more attuned you are to beauty,
    the more beauty you see in the world.Beauty is absolutely everywhere.It takes looking–
    it takes seeing what you are looking at–
    to know that it is so.

    Looking without seeing,
    listening without hearing,
    living without being alive…

    What do we mean?
    Being here and never being where we are
    at the same time?

    If we aren’t going to go to the trouble
    of being alive here and now,
    when and were will we insert ourselves
    into the moment we are living?

    What will it take?

    How about willful mindfulness
    starting here,
    now?

    Simply sit here,
    now,
    and know that you are sitting
    here and now.

    See how long you can know
    you are sitting,
    here and now
    before your thoughts
    drift off to some other place
    or some other time.

    Strive for 30 seconds.
    Right here,
    right now,
    for 30 seconds.

    Repeat the exercise
    throughout the day.
    Every day.
    30 seconds.

  2. 08/23/2018 — The Lump Overlook 2019-08 01 — Mile Post 264.4, Blue Ridge Parkway, Wilkes County, Purlear, North Carolina, August 12, 2018We have to live as though
    things are going to be
    as we need them to be–
    AND be prepared
    to deal with a world
    where nothing is
    what we need or want.”Here we are,
    NOW what?”
    is a recurring theme
    running through our life.It takes sitting,
    looking,
    listening,
    hearing,
    seeing
    to know.
    And even then,
    our knowledge is provisional
    and based on insufficient information.

    We never get beyond
    doing what we can
    and hoping for the best.

    Our life could be better
    in 10,000 ways
    if we only knew
    what we were doing–
    but we can’t not live
    until we know!

    Which leaves us with
    “Here we are,
    NOW what?”
    as the starting point
    for the rest of our life
    on a regular basis.

    And the best guides
    remain internal.

    Listen to your heart.
    Listen to your body.
    Listen to your nighttime dreams.
    Listen to your experience.
    In order to know
    what you have to say
    to yourself.

    Hold all of that in your awareness
    and wait for the way to open.

    How long you wait
    depends upon how much time
    you have to decide.

    And you will have to
    repeat the process
    long before you are ready,
    because even now
    forces beyond us
    are setting things in motion
    for disruption and upheaval
    to force the next round
    of “Here we are,
    NOW what?”

    It is the one thing we can count on
    in a world running on unpredictability,
    uncertainty
    and surprise.

  3. 08/24/2018 — Bass Lake 2018-08 02 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, August 11, 2018Jeremiah said,
    “O land, land, land–
    Hear the word of the Lord!”Jesus said,
    “Those with ears,
    let them hear!”I say,
    “You have to know what I mean
    before you can understand
    what I’m saying.”

    Sometimes it comes out like this:
    “You either can hear what I’m saying,
    or you can’t.
    And if you can’t,
    I can’t help you.”

    Jeremiah, Jesus and I
    are saying the same thing:

    “You won’t hear us
    until you get right with your life,
    get your feet under you
    and stand on the bedrock
    of the values central to who you are,
    living in the service of what matters most,
    mindfully aware of all things in each moment,
    in light of the true good of all concerned,
    in each situation as it arises,
    your whole life long.”

    Nobody can do anything about that
    but you.

08/24/2018 — Who are these people
determined to take away
my (our) Medicare
and Social Security???
Republicans, every one!

The Republicans–
that would be the GOP–
have forever wanted to dismantle,
destroy
the mainstays of life support
for Retirees
and others dependent
upon Medicare and Social Security.

The Republicans lust for the funds
stashed away by the Government,
or allocated by the Government,
to support the people
who have paid into Social Security and Medicare
all their working life,
or who qualify for Medicare benefits.

The Republicans see these funds
as Free Money
to be used in ways they deem to be good–
typically limited to military spending
and tax cuts for their wealthy/corporate donors.

If they had more money to give away,
they would get more money in return
in the form of support/donations
from their wealthy/corporate donors.

Republicans hate “give away programs”
that do not provide hefty returns
on their “investments.”

The idea of Government helping people
who, in their view,
“don’t deserve it”
is appalling to Republicans.
And old people,
sick people,
destitute people,
disabled people,
mentally ill people,
etc.
do not qualify
in the minds of Republicans
for any Governmental assistance,
never mind if they contributed
all their working life
to the funds which they now
depend on for life!

The word “Republican”
has become a synonym for
“Those Who Know Best And Must Be Pleased.”

Republicans do not care for anyone
but themselves and their wealthy friends
who can help them with donations
in support of their campaigns
and rewards for legislative assistance
in passing laws and limiting regulations
that support their corporate desire
for profit at any price.

Republicans are the freeloaders they despise,
riding the backs of their donors
to their own personal wealth and glory,
at the expense of the people and the country
they pretend to represent and serve.

If you vote for a Republican ever,
you are voting against yourself
and the people you love,
and the good of the nation.

Bear that in mind when you go to the polls
on November 6
and on every date thereafter.

  1. 08/25/2018 — Tiger Watercolor by Grace Zagora — My granddaughter is finding her way into the world of art, and I am cheering her on.Meaning, Purpose and Value
    are the Holy Trinity of Life
    from my point of view,
    none of which seem to make it
    on anyone’s Bucket List.The Bucket List itself
    is seen as proof of a life well lived.Have a long list
    and live to check things off
    seems to be the current idea
    of what it means to be alive.

    Collect experiences!
    The more the better!

    The experience of being alive
    is reduced to
    “Been There Done That!”
    Which leads naturally to:
    “Is That All There Is?”

    The way the Rich and Famous
    spend their money
    is the way they live their life
    Sex,
    Drugs,
    Alcohol
    Yachts (one won’t do)
    Mansions (on several continents)
    Travel
    Entertainment
    Extreme Sports
    Being Seen Being Rich and Famous
    Golf With The Rich and Famous

    It is a Bucket List for the Rich and Famous!

    Having a string of experiences,
    achievements and successes
    is supposed be meaningful,
    have purpose
    and be valuable.

    Jimmie and Rosalynn Carter roll their eyes
    and shake their heads.

    Being alive isn’t about
    stringing together experiences
    that lead to meaning, purpose and value.
    It is about living a life
    that serves meaning, purpose and value,
    and going where it leads,
    Bucket Lists be damned!

    What has meaning for you?
    What purposes drive you?
    What is valuable to you?
    How are these things served
    by the way you live your life?

    Carl Jung said:
    “Through pride
    we are ever deceiving ourselves.
    But deep down
    below the surface of the average conscience
    a still, small voice
    says to us,
    something is out of tune. ”

    Live to be in tune
    with what that still, small voice
    recognizes as
    meaning, purpose and value,
    and you will be just fine.

  2. 08/25/2018 — Beacon Heights 2017-10 02-B Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, MP 305.2, Linville, North Carolina, October 18, 2107What are your deepest,
    most abiding
    and compelling
    interests?What do you live to do?How do your interests
    shape your life?
    How does your life
    conform to your interests?

    Would people be able
    to know what you are interested in
    by the way you live your life?

    Is your life lived in one direction
    while your interests lie in another?
    If so, what can you do
    in order to “walk two paths at the same time”?

    Incorporating your interests
    into your life
    will deepen,
    broaden,
    expand
    and enlarge your life,
    spark your enthusiasm
    and bring you to life.

    Why not do it?

  3. 08/26/2018 — Cone Manor 2018-08 01 Panorama — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, August 11, 2018The entire Bible is an extended metaphor,
    capable of being interpreted differently,
    by each age that reads it
    in light of that age’s own understanding
    of what’s what.This is to say that what’s what changes
    as our umwelt changes.
    Our lived experience is different
    from age to age,
    and within ages.Time and chance play with us all.
    We are born into different worlds,
    and the answers to life’s problems
    (and even what the problems are)
    that work in one age
    are not at all applicable in the next age–
    and certainly not in the one following.

    Trying to fit the Bible into each age
    as the literal, actual, factual truth
    is an injustice to the Bible
    and an imposition upon the age–
    and a failure to offer each age
    what it needs
    to orient itself to the eternal demands
    placed on all people in every age
    to be faithful to their calling
    to be who they are
    within the conditions and circumstances
    of their time and place in history,
    offering there what is needed
    out of the gifts each person has to give
    for the good of the whole
    in each situation as it arises
    all their life long.

    The result has been the loss of grounding values
    and a directing vision
    for determining what each individual
    is to do with the time that is theirs,
    leaving us all with only our desires and fears
    to guide us,
    and nothing to do but exploit and manipulate
    each moment in the service of our perceived advantage
    at the expense of everyone else.

    Greed and terror rule our lives.
    Wealth is overrated
    and everything is a threat
    to our peace of mind.

    The only people who enjoy their life
    and the experience of being alive
    are the people who have found their way
    to the center of life and being,
    and are themselves
    “the still point of the turning world.

    Joseph Campbell said:
    “A wheel rolling out of its own center–
    that is what you become
    as a mature individual.”

    And:
    “The realization of your life–
    of what is LIFE for you–
    comes on the other side
    of terror, temptation,
    and their demands that you
    meet the obligations,
    duties and responsibilities of your station,
    and you say,
    ‘No! I must be about my own work!’
    And doing it.”

08/26/2018 — We feel our way to What.
We think our way to How.

But.
Thinking can postpone or override feeling,
and feeling can postpone or override thinking.
We always have to be aware
of what’s what
and what needs to be done.

If we start thinking way to What,
we will wander far from the path,
lose our way
and wonder why nothing works
like it is supposed to work.

The way back to the path
is feeling our way to What,
and thinking our way to How.

  1. 08/27/2018 — Puckett Cabin 2018-08 03 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Hillsville, Virginia, August 12, 2018What would be helpful?
    What would help?
    What do you need?How about a vision?
    A compelling vision?
    A mission?
    A purpose?
    A reason to be alive
    beyond scraping together
    the means of living?Jesus didn’t know where
    his next meal
    was coming from.
    Neither did the Buddha.

    They were homeless
    but, it did not define them.
    We, who have homes,
    worry about being homeless,
    destitute,
    without hope in the world.

    We don’t think about
    being hope in the world.
    We think hope is tied up with money.
    We think people cannot have hope
    until they have money.
    But what do people do with money?

    Trump has lots of money
    and no hope.
    The same thing applies to all of his buds.
    Money has nothing to do with hope.

    If we were to be the agent of hope
    in the world,
    what would we do?
    How would we bring hope to life?
    What would we give people
    that would help
    them find a reason for being alive?

    How would we go about
    finding that for ourselves?
    Where do we go
    to find a reason to be alive?
    Where do we go
    to find a compelling vision?
    A mythic vision?
    A vision of mythic proportions?
    That shapes our life
    around its service?
    And directs us through our days
    like our personal North Star?

    How do we keep ourselves
    from realizing
    the vision that would
    claim us as its own?

    “The treasure you seek
    is found at the bottom
    of the back wall
    of the cave you most don’t want to enter.”
    — Joseph Campbell

    “Where you stumble and fall,
    there is the treasure.” — Joseph Campbell

    What are you missing?
    What are you overlooking?
    What are you ignoring?
    What do you need?
    What would be helpful?
    What would help?

  2. 08/27/2018 — Wolf — Pencil sketch by Grace ZagoraOwn the moment!Do not be owned by the moment–
    or by anything in the moment!The moment is the fulcrum of the future.
    We possess the future
    by possessing the moment
    which is, itself,
    the future of the future.

    “The past is the prelude to the future.”
    The past is the future
    becoming itself–
    a model of what the future will be.

    Every possible future
    is lodged in this present now.
    Just as the oak tree
    is in the acorn,
    as the chick
    is in the just-laid egg,
    our future
    is there already
    in the way we manage
    the moment.

    Our way of being in the world then
    is but an extension
    of our way of being in the world now.

    When we possess the now,
    we possess the path to the future,
    which is the future’s future,
    which is the future.

    We own the moment
    by holding it in our awareness.

    Our awareness is bigger on the inside
    because it can contain
    everything on the outside
    AND on the inside.

    Our awareness can take it all into account.
    Can cradle it gently
    in compassion and wonder,
    can bathe it with attentive presence
    and know what needs to happen
    in the field of action
    to care for the realities of the moment–
    preparing the way
    for a future
    that never had a chance
    before we noticed something
    that did not stand a chance
    of being seen
    until we followed our breathing
    into the now of our being
    and beheld all that the moment contained
    and said “Let it be,”
    in a way that changed everything

  3. 08/28/2018 — Bass Lake 2018-08 04 Panorama — Hydrangea, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, August 12, 2018Be alert to sudden whims
    and flashes of inspiration.Watch for what occurs to you
    “out of the blue,”
    “for no apparent reason,”
    leaving you wondering,
    “Where did that come from?”I live for my occurrences.
    I build my life on them.
    If I haven’t had one in a while,
    like several hours,
    I sit down and wait
    for one to show up,
    saying,
    “I’m not moving until
    something occurs to me.”

    It’s like this:
    Imagine that you are
    standing before an apple tree.
    Stand there,
    looking at the apple tree
    until something happens
    that you don’t make happen.

    That’s how it is with everything.

    Your life consists of things happening
    that you don’t make happen.
    Happening from within you.
    Generated by something
    you have no control over,
    like last night’s dream.

    Your heart beats without
    your instruction.
    Your body heals without
    your direction.
    Most of your life goes on
    without you knowing anything
    about what is happening.

    Tune into that.
    Pay attention to it.
    Depend upon it.
    Become its liege servant,
    its trusty sidekick,
    its best friend,
    living in fealty to its guidance
    and direction.
    Awash in the wonder
    of the Mystery.

    Something knows more than we know.
    When it comes, welcome it.
    When it goes, go with it.

  4. 08/29/2018 — Fire Tower Trail 2018-08 02 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, August 13, 2018Everything revolves around the center,
    falls into place around the center,
    takes shape around the center,
    comes into focus around the center,
    exists grounded upon the center,
    or
    is suspended in the chaotic field
    of flotsam and jetsam
    for all eternity.The center is YOU being YOU
    in the way you live your life.If you aren’t the central point
    in your life,
    who is?
    What is?

    If you aren’t the central point
    of you,
    who is?
    What is?

    If you serve only your wants and desires,
    your greed and appetites,
    your anxiety and your fear,
    what are you serving?

    Who are you
    beyond your wants/desires,
    greed/appetite,
    anxiety/fear?

    Satisfy all of those
    and what is there then?
    Where is your center then?

    What does want/desire/greed/appetite/anxiety/fear
    revolve around?
    What center do they serve?
    What grounds you?
    Directs you?
    Focuses you?
    Guides you?

    What do you live to bring forth
    in the way you live your life?

    What do you live to serve with your life?

    What are the central–
    the centering–
    values around which you coalesce
    and for which you live?

    Who are you
    and what must you be about
    because you are you?

    What holds true of you
    regardless of your situation
    or your circumstances?

    Beyond prosperity and adversity,
    what is there
    that enables you to be you
    through it all?

    If you were to be–
    and surely we all are called to be–
    “A wheel rolling out of its own center”
    (Joseph Campbell),
    what would constitute your center?

    What is your guiding vision
    of your own life?
    Who do you live to be?

08/29/2018 — There is what we do for a living–
to pay the bills
that support our life–
and there is what we do
to honor and serve
the source and goal of our life–
the ground-spring of vitality,
passion,
bliss,
motive,
value,
life
and being–
the bedrock,
foundation,
lodestone,
north star
that directs our way
and guides our path
through all situations
and circumstances
from our first breath
to our last.

If we are only paying the bills,
we have some work to do
to discover why
and what to do
with the time not spent
in working to pay the bills.

08/29/2018 — Everything is not important.
“Important” means what stands out.
“Important” is what matters most.
If everything matters,
then nothing matters most.
And nothing is more important
than anything else,
so nothing is important if everything is.

What matters most?
Attend those things.
Serve those things.

We can have too many opinions.
Too many opinions is the bane of our existence.
Too many opinions keeps us
from focusing on what matters most–
prevents us
from living in light of,
in service to,
the overriding
cares,
concerns
and commitments
of our life.

Care about the things
that are worth caring about
and let the rest go.

Know what matters most
and devote yourself
to the service of those things,
and do not become embroiled
in things
that are not important things.

Knowing what is important
is the most important thing.

  1. 08/30/2018 — Watkins Glen 2015-09 07 Panorama — Rainbow Falls, Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, New York, September 20, 2015Boredom comes
    from not knowing
    what we are here for.Or not caring.Caring about the wrong things
    is the source
    of all of our problems.

    How do we care about
    what we should care about
    and not what we care about?

    Too often,
    we care about
    what we have no business
    caring about.

    Who is to say what we should care about?
    I am for me.
    You are for you.

    “The treasure we seek
    lies far in the back
    of the cave
    we most don’t want to enter”
    (Joseph Campbell).
    So we don’t care about
    what we should care about
    because we don’t want
    to pay the price of caring–
    and care about the things
    we have no business caring about,
    and pay the price of caring.

    “You can pay me now,
    or you can pay me later”
    (The Fram oil filter man).

    We have to be quiet
    for longer than we can bear being quiet
    in order to reflect on our experience,
    sort things out,
    know what we know,
    come to new realizations,
    stop caring about the wrong things
    and start caring about the right things.

    We get bored
    when we start being
    quiet enough to listen,
    and go looking for the action,
    any action
    as long as it is action
    to avoid the truth
    of the cave
    we most do not want to enter.

  2. 08/31/2018 — Yadkin Valley Overlook 2018-08 01 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Boone, North Carolina, August 12, 2018Love is not what we feel
    it is what we do.What we do is who we are.Who we are is who we aspire to be.

    Who we aspire to be
    is the heart of the matter.

    The heart of the matter
    is our affinity for ourselves
    and one another.

    We cannot be in accord
    with one another
    without first being in accord
    with ourselves.

    When Rumi said,
    “One look at a true human being
    and we are in love,”
    he was talking about the affinity
    we have for someone
    who is living in accord with themselves.

    Joseph Campbell said,
    “The influence of a vital person vitalizes.”

    To be vital is to be in accord
    with the truth of our own being.
    It is to live with a great affinity
    for who we are,
    so that being and doing are one.

    It is to aspire to be
    who we are–
    to strive to be
    who we are capable
    of becoming.

    It is to love ourselves.

    We are built to be
    at one with ourselves
    the way a lion is one with itself,
    the way a tree is one with itself,
    the way a butterfly is one with itself.

    We have an affinity for oneness–
    for wholeness–
    wherever we see it,
    find it,
    in art, music, nature, one another and ourselves.

    We aspire to be one,
    naturally,
    spontaneously,
    and we gravitate to those
    who are one with themselves,
    integrated,
    living with integrity of being and doing.

    Our work–
    the Hero’s Journey–
    is to consciously aspire to be who we are,
    to be one with ourselves,
    and take up the deliberate practice
    of bringing ourselves forth
    in the way we live our life.

    The only thing we need
    for that work
    is the awareness of who we are
    and who we are capable of being–
    of how we are actually living
    and how we might live instead,
    of what we are doing,
    and what we need to be doing
    to better exhibit who we are
    in what is being done.

    Then we work to align the ideal
    with the real,
    striving for integrity of being and doing
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.
    Becoming one with who we are
    and one with one another.

    Harmony,
    Conventionality,
    Accord,
    Love,
    for ourselves and each other.

08/31/2018 — Finding ourselves
is finding our people.
The two are one.

We stand alone
when we stand in the company
of the right kind of people.

The Community of Innocence
is innocent of having anything at stake
in its relationship with us
beyond sustaining and nurturing
our relationship with ourselves,
calling us forth
and encouraging us
to be who we are–
to be true to ourselves–
in ways appropriate to the occasion
in each situation as it arises
all our life long.

The Community of Innocence
enables us to stand alone
by standing with us
and insisting
that we do the work
of finding and being
who only we can be,
and bringing ourselves
into existence
in the life we are living.

The Community of Innocence–
which may be no more
than two or three people–
exhibits for us
what is asked of all of us,
and provides us with a safe place
in which to explore
and experiment with
what it means to be who we are.

Three Zen sayings capture
the dynamic at work
between the individual
and the Community of Innocence:

“When the student is ready,
the teacher appears.”

“When the flower opens,
the bees gather.”

“The path opens
before those who start walking
with mindful awareness.”

It isn’t that the Community of Innocence
produces the person capable of being themselves.

It is that the person who is capable of being themselves
and the Community of Innocence
find one another
at the opportune time,
in the fullness of time,
when the time is right
for the good of the part
and the good of the whole.

We all have what we need
to find what we need
to be who we are.
Wake up and there it is!
Wake up and there we are!

08/31/2018 — Sin is not being true to ourselves.

Sin is not being faithful to ourselves.

Sin is not being loyal to ourselves.

Sin is not being who we are.

Sin is being out of accord
with who the situation
calls us to be
and who we are capable of being
within the situation.

Sin is “missing the mark.”

Sin is being out of harmony
with ourselves
and the time and place of our living.

Sin is the discord
between who we are
and who we are built/created to be
and who the situation needs us to be.

The opposite of sin
is harmony,
flow,
synchronicity,
symmetry,
oneness,
wholeness,
completion,
peace,
being in tune,
in accord,
aligned
with ourselves
and with our situation,
so that we dance
at one with the music,
and know the joy
of the connection
with the heart of life and being.

08/31/2018 — When Paul says
“Faith, hope and love abide,
and the greatest of these is love,”

And when Lao Tzu says,
“Live in accord with the Tao,
and everything will fall into place around that,”

They are saying the same thing.

“Love”–“Agape”–is the Greek equivalent
of the Tao.
It is the affinity of all things
for all things.
The “gravity” that holds all things “together”
even though they are a part.

Being at one with the Tao
is the essence of agape,
which has nothing to do
with the feeling of love,
but everything to do
with love as action
in the service of the good
of both the part and the whole.

The Zen story of the Rainmaker
reflects this fundamental truth.

A district suffering a prolonged drought
called the Rainmaker to come do his thing.
He moved into an empty hut
and closed the door.
Three days later it rained.
Asked how he did it, he said,
“When I came I saw that everything
was out of accord with the Tao.
I sat in the hut for three days,
aligning myself with the Tao.
When that process was complete,
it rained naturally.”

Joseph Campbell said,
“The influence of a vital person vitalizes.”

There you are.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 08/31/2018 — Beacon Heights 2017-10 01 Panorama–Blue Ridge Parkway, MP 305.2, Linville, North Carolina, October 18, 2017Aligning ourselves with the flow of our life
    is one of the benefits
    of mindful awareness.When we place ourselves
    in the center of our awareness,
    we become transparent to ourselves,
    aware of our conflicts
    and attuned to the disparity
    between how things are,
    and how we wish things were,
    and how we pretend that things are
    the way we wish they were,
    and how that impacts the foundational
    truth of the life we are living.The way we live reflects
    the presence of our conflicts
    and the degree of our peace.

    A life that is out of harmony
    is a life that is conflicted
    and in denial,
    and is plainly evident
    to eyes that see.

    We cannot engage in the practice
    of mindful awareness
    without developing eyes that see,
    becoming aware of our denial
    and our conflicts,
    and taking up the work of integration,
    wholeness
    and harmony,
    in becoming true to ourselves
    and the life that is ours to live.

09/31/2018 — There are so many things to talk about,
so much to say!
Why do we throw away opportunities,
and go days, months, years
without saying anything
while talking all of the time?

What do you not say ever
that needs to be said?
That needs you to say it?
So that you might hear it?

What do you have to say
that you need to hear?

You won’t find out by thinking about it!

You will only say it by saying it–
but you must be paying attention
if you hope to hear it
when it comes out.

Give yourself permission to say
things that couldn’t possibly be
anything you need to hear,
but which are there,
tugging at you,
needing to be said.

Say them!

There is so much there
that you need to hear,
you have no time to waste.

And if you don’t have anyone to talk to,
write it all down.

Every day!

  1. 09/01/2018 —   Grandview Overlook 2018-08 01 Panorama — Blue Ridge Parkway, Boone, North Carolina, August 12, 2018Here come eleven words
    suitable for reflection,
    exploration,
    experimentation,
    research,
    enlargement
    and expansion
    over what remains
    of the time left for living:Grace
    Karma
    Momentum
    Inertia
    Gravity
    Attraction
    Repulsion
    Tao
    Agape
    Transparency
    IntegrityFee free to add to the list,
    but start with these
    to search out how they interact
    and impact one another
    and you–
    and lead you,
    guide you,
    produce you,
    create you,
    reveal you,
    all along the way.

09/01/2018 — My photographs
are about
balance,
harmony,
symmetry,
integrity–
and are evidence
of how important
those things are
to me and my life.

I live to be
balanced,
in harmony with myself
and others,
symmetrical
and integrated.

You can see it in my photos
and in my writing,
and in everything I do.

The photographs
are not too bright or too dark,
as a whole or in parts.

Nothing is running off the edges
(Except the things that flow on forever),
or intruding from the edges,
so that each photograph
is complete unto itself,
a whole–
even if it is a detail
of a larger scene.

It is enough
without being too much.

I live to be that way.
I live so that each day is that way,
and each discernible segment,
or scene,
or “moment,”
within each day.

I like things to be complete,
finished,
wrapped-up,
tied off,
with nothing left hanging
or left undone.

It is who I am.
Just so, each photograph
is who I am.

I live to be who I am.

And, you?

  1. 09/02/2018 — Bass Lake 2018-08 06 — Swan feeding, Mallards bedding down, at day’s end — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, August 11, 2018Living from the center
    grounds us on the bedrock
    of what matters most.We all have to seek out
    what that is
    and be right about it.Our life is an experiment
    in the service of what matters most,
    which we conduct
    over the entire sweep
    of the time that is given to us
    by paying mindful attention
    to what we say “Yes” to
    and what we say “No” to
    and the degree to which
    our outcomes
    substantiate or refute
    the validity of our choices.

    What matters most
    is borne out over
    the full course of our life.

    We live our way into the truth
    of our convictions
    and beliefs–
    of our loyalties
    and allegiances–
    and work backwards
    from our outcomes
    to revise
    and reformulate
    the centermost
    values and principles
    that ground and direct
    our choices and actions.

    What matters most
    reflects what we value,
    revere
    and serve with our life.

    How valuable are the values
    we declare to be valuable?
    How good is the good we call good?
    We live to know.
    We seek to discover.
    We strive to incarnate,
    exibit
    and express
    the best possible response
    to the conditions and circumstances
    in each situation as it arises–
    being better at doing that
    in the next situation
    than we were in the last one.

  2. 09/03/2018 — Providence Road Sunflowers 2018-09 01 Panorama — New Town, North Carolina, September 2, 2018There is nothing wrong with us
    that having a safe place
    and a sounding board
    wouldn’t help.A safe place receives us well
    without asking anything of us.A sounding board hears us out
    and, in so doing,
    enables us to hear what we have to say.

    And those two things
    make all the difference.

    The quickest way to find them
    for ourselves
    is to be them for others.

    And, with both,
    mindfulness leads the way.

    There isn’t much we can do
    without mindfulness
    that is worth doing.

    If you are going to be anything,
    be mindful,
    and follow where it leads.

    A good place to start
    is with the Jon Kabat-Zinn videos
    on YouTube
    (Watch the shortest ones first),
    and with his books:
    “Wherever You Go, There You Are,”
    “Meditation Isn’t What You Think.”

    It is all up to us,
    and we can’t do it alone.

09/03/2018 — We find our way
using the genetic material
at hand,
rejecting nothing,
guiding everything
as it is called forth
by the nature and circumstances
of the time and place
of our living.

We are a bundle of possibility
meeting opportunity.

How we do that
tells the tale.

  1. 09/04/2018 — Providence Road Sunflowers 2018-09 12 Panorama — New Town, North Carolina, September 2, 2018Religious freedom is freedom
    from governmental imposed religion,
    from governmental sponsored religion,
    from the religion favored by the state,
    from the state’s idea
    of what your religion should be.Religious freedom is freedom
    from the oppression by one religion
    of all the other forms of religion.It is the freedom to be religious in your own way,
    without the constraints,
    restrictions,
    and compulsions
    of having to be religious
    the way someone else
    thinks you ought to be religious.

    It is being able to say, “Merry Christmas,”
    without having to–
    to wear a hijab
    without having to–
    to perform salah five times a day
    without having to,
    to be apostate and blasphemous
    without having to…

    Religious freedom
    is the right to be as religious,
    or as irreligious,
    as you believe to be appropriate
    without having to please
    anyone else.

    No one is going to force Chick Filet
    to serve them on Sunday,
    or force B&H Camera
    to serve them on Saturday.
    And, if you sell wedding cakes
    you aren’t going to decide
    whose wedding is a real wedding
    and whose wedding isn’t,
    or who deserves to be married
    and who doesn’t.

    You aren’t going to impose your religion
    on anyone
    by saying,
    “They are trying to impose their religion on me!”
    Because they said, “Happy Holidays!”

  2. 09/04/2018 — Tunnel View 2006-04 01 — Yosemite National Park, California, April, 2006This is from 11/29/2015…What would you be willing to go to hell for?Knowing what you would go to hell for
    is the best way I know of knowing what is important.

    If it is important enough to you to go to hell for it,
    it’s important.
    If you wouldn’t go to hell for anything
    because avoiding hell is the most important thing,
    you have no foundation,
    no ground,
    no integrity,
    no validity.

    You have sold out.

    You have sold your soul for the price of getting to heaven

    Matter.
    What.

    You are only doing what someone else tells you to do,
    and, you have missed the point of being alive.

    The point of being alive is to live your life—
    at one with your Self
    and the life your Self needs you to live,
    and with the life you are living.

    You, your Self/Life
    and the life you are living
    have to be One—
    making for:

    Wholeness.
    Completion.
    Integrity.

    That’s the point of being alive.

    Where this kind of oneness of being exists,
    there is heaven!
    And only there.

    Thus, the question:
    What would be willing to go to hell for?

    We have to be willing to go to hell
    in order to get to heaven.

  3. 09/05/2018 — Watkins Glen 2015-09 13 — Rainbow Falls, Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, New York, September 20, 2015We need an orientation,
    an outlook,
    a foundation,
    a perspective,
    a way of being-in-the-world
    that enables us
    to let go what’s going
    and let come what’s coming.That allows us to float
    like a cork upon the water–
    or better, perhaps,
    to BE the water,
    flowing over,
    under,
    around,
    of accumulating itself
    to the point
    where it blasts through
    whatever is interfering with,
    or obstructing,
    its flow
    on its way to the sea.We do not need an orientation,

    that shoots itself in the foot,
    or head,
    or heart,
    because things aren’t going
    the way we think
    they should be going,
    or the way we wish
    they were going.

    Too much of our misery
    is self-inflected
    because of our narrow
    little range of acceptable conditions
    under which we are willing to live.

    A stream on its way to the sea
    doesn’t say no to anything,
    but finds a way to deal with everything,
    no matter how long it takes
    or what it means
    for the preferences,
    proclivities,
    penchants,
    and predisposition
    of the stream.

    A stream lets go what’s going
    and lets come what’s coming.

    A stream doesn’t care
    about the boulders,
    cows,
    trees
    and dams
    in its way
    because it cares intensely
    about finding its way to the sea.

    What do you care intensely about?
    What is your over-riding–
    your grounding–
    concern?

    Your highest value?

    Your bedrock purpose?

    Your guiding vision?

    What are you about
    with your life
    that is so important to you
    that nothing will knock you off it
    or tear you away from it?

    That you will serve it with fealty,
    liege loyalty,
    devotion,
    allegiance
    troth
    and fidelity
    in all times and places,
    conditions and circumstances,
    umwelts,
    situations,
    milieus,
    and surroundings,
    til’ death do you part,
    your whole life long?

    What is the sea for you?

    Know that and you are home free.

09/05/2018 — How could you do better?

Here’s a tip for you:
reflect on your past.

Joseph Campbell said:
“Reflection on experience
leads to new realizations.”

The experience he is talking about
is past experience.
Even when we stop to reflect
on present experience,
it is past.
Just barely, perhaps,
but still past.

Reflecting on my past
brings up all the old ghosts
that haunt me,
and I have to work through that,
but, in so doing,
I unveil a number of ways
I could have done my past better
“If I had only known then what I know now.”

Well, I know now what I know now,
and I can apply that
to what is happening now,
and live tomorrow better
than I lived yesterday–
thanks to yesterday!

The roots of today’s
and tomorrow’s
right
are grounded
in yesterday’s wrong.

We begin the process of doing better
by realizing what needs to be done better,
and how we might go about doing it.

So, don’t stop with regretting
and lamenting past actions.
Turn your reflections into new realizations
and different responses to similar events,
producing new outcomes
and better memories!

And join me in living to be better,
one day at a time!

  1. 09/06/2018 — Providence Road Sunflowers 2018-09 21 — New Town, North Carolina, September 2, 29018Live to be a person
    people can trust.Not a person
    who is offended
    by the idea
    that people might not trust them.Be trustworthy.

    That’s my best advice.
    It’s probably the best advice
    you can find.

    If you get that down,
    everything else will fall into place
    around it.

    If you just want to be thought of
    as trustworthy
    it won’t work.

    Good faith is trustworthy.
    Striking a pose–
    assuming a posture–
    cultivating an appearance
    is not.

    Live to be a person
    people can trust.

09/06/2018 — People are always assuming
that someone else
has their best interest at heart,
and will treat them well
at every point.

We want to be taken care of.
We long for the ideal Mother/Father
to look over us,
and after us,
all our life long.

It comes as a shock
and a depressing realization
to know that our safety
is our responsibility,
and that we alone
are in charge of our personal
safety and well-being.

We cannot elect politicians
and trust them to make
the right decisions
in our behalf
because they say they will.

Thousands of low-income people
in Arkansas stand to lose health care coverage
because of new work requirements.
None of their political representatives
said they were going to do that, but,
do that, they did.

We have to be our own best friend,
and carefully vet everyone
who tells us what we want to hear–
in light of what they have said and done
in the past.

Who they have been
is likely who they will be–
and we have to know who we are voting for,
and we have to vote.

Our safety–
as the National Park Service reminds us–
is our responsibility.
As is our life.

  1. 09/07/2018 — Providence Road Sunflowers 2018-09 31 — New Town, North Carolina, September 6, 2018 — The sunflowers are showing signs of stress, with petals and leaves wilting and heads hanging low. It hasn’t rained in a couple of weeks, and everything needs water. Which reminds me: We can’t make more water. Who is taking care of ours? If you think they could do a better job, let’s vote for someone who will!Live like you mean it!Why hold anything back?What are you waiting for?

    You only have this moment to work with!
    What is the moment calling you to do?
    Begging you to do?
    Hoping you will do?

    Live like you mean it
    in every Now you have to live
    all your life long!

    Stop waiting for something good
    to happen to you!
    Live to make something good happen
    wherever you are!
    Even if you derive no benefit from it!

    Stop waiting for a situation
    to exploit for your own advantage!
    Be good for a good
    that does no good
    that you will ever live to see!

    Your life is a gift,
    not an investment.
    Live to give the good away!

    It isn’t like we can store anything up
    for some Big Payoff!

    We have Now to work with.
    What does it need you to do?

09/07/2018 — We live between better and worse.

It is difficult to make something better
without making something else worse.

And, sometimes, making something worse
(like the pain of a toothache)
makes something else better
(like the end of the toothache).

Thinking we can live,
even momentarily,
with all Good
and no Bad
is deceptive
and illusory.

We live on a carpenter’s bubble
between better and worse.
Optimal is “just right” for now,
but adjustment and accommodation
are never long off
or far away.

Let it be because it is
and give yourself to the dance!