July 08, 2020


Fern 07/07/2020 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, July 7, 2020
 Too many of us think
we have to have a plan,
a map,
a strategy,
a course of action,
a destination in mind,
to know where we are headed
in order to get where we are going.

If we don’t know where we are going,
we could wind up anywhere!

Time for a show of hands.
Here we all are.
How many of us had a plan,
a strategy,
a course of action
for getting right here right now?

Hold them high now.

How many of us knew
we would be right here right now
5 years ago?
4 months ago?

Our future is no more reliable
than our past.
How many 5-year plans are left
before we die?

Since most of us realize by now
that thinking more than two weeks ahead
is pretty much wishful thinking,
I’m going out on a limb here
and saying that 5-year plans are history.

Just as well.
They never were worth the time spent
drawing them up.

Joseph Campbell like to say that
Native American parents
would tell their children
as they set out to find their way in the world,
“When you step forth on your path,
the birds of the air will shit on you.
Do not stop even to wipe it off!”

They didn’t have to talk about
how to know where they were going.
These were Native American youth.
They knew about Vision Quests,
and living from the center,
and knowing a path with heart
when they saw one.

We missed all that.
Because it wasn’t a part of our growing up.
But it isn’t too late to learn.

The first thing that has to go is
knowing what you want.
Wanting is an eternal waste of time.
Wanting never ends.
What does wanting know?
Only that everything it wants
is the most important thing ever.
And all of those most important things
end up in some landfill,
and none of them was the end of wanting forever.

Throw wanting in the burning barrel
and take up listening and looking.
Sit still.
Be quiet.
Wait for something to arise unbidden
that stirs something to life within.
You are waiting for something with life about it
to appear out of nowhere,
in a “Where did that come from?” kind of way.
Something with energy about it,
and the power to pull you into its influence,
the way a white rabbit might catch your eye
before it hops around a corner.

Do you follow?
The rule of the road is:
Always look closer at something that catches your eye!
The second rule of the road is:
The path opens before those who start walking.

That’s all the plan you need for a plan.
When the birds of the air shit on you,
don’t pause to wipe it off.



Bog Stream Reflections 09/29/2014 — Adirondack Park near Tupper Lake, NY, September 29, 2014
Our business expands to fit our life.
We live to find our business
and tend to it.
The entire world is our business.
What goes on everywhere is our concern.
Human Rights,
Gay Rights,
Civil Rights,
Abortion Rights...

Our business is everybody's business.
So that everybody can be allowed to have their own business
and do it.

"We find these truths to be self-evident..."

Evidently not,
else why do we have to keep saying it?
And insisting upon it?
And reminding people to live like it is so--
because it is so?

Some people--
and a hefty lot of them--
get off on pushing other people around.
Putting other people down.
Being superior.
Being supreme
(As though anyone is supreme
who has to shout,

What did they miss early on in their life?
Was it a gene?
Or kindness?
Or enough of the right kind of attention?
Or enough of the right kind of anything?

Here we are.
What to do?
Mind our business!
Tend our business!
And trust other people to mind/tend theirs!
And, when it becomes apparent 
that they think their business 
is minding other people's business,
it becomes our business
to remind them that it is not.

"Back inside the lanes, please!
Everyone back inside their own lanes!"

That would be the lanes that are legitimately
our own lanes--
"the face that was ours before we were born,"
doing the things that are truly ours to do,
that no one but us can do
the way we can do it.

This world works best only when everybody
is respecting everybody else,
honoring everybody else,
allowing everybody else--
enabling everybody else--
to be who they are,
tending their own business
without worrying about the interference
of those who think they know best,
and that their way is The Way for everyone.

Why is this so hard?

All anyone needs
is to be left alone in the right kind of way,
and be allowed to tend their own business.

But, there are people who like to push people around,
and put them down,
and impose themselves on others,
deciding where people belong
and what they should and should not be doing,
making it necessary for us to stand up
and call them out,
and put them in their place
by reminding them it is not their place
to presume to know what someone else's place is,
and that we all have to be left to discover our own place for ourselves,
unless we get out of our lane
and into someone else's
by telling them where they belong
and where they have no business being.

We all have to find our own business,
and be right about it,
and be there doing that,
and trust everybody else to be doing that,
until it becomes apparent that they are not
and are interfering with someone else's right
to their own business.

Then, we have to call Time Out!
And make sure everyone understands the rule
about leaving everyone alone
to find and mind their own business
with all the help they need to do that,
and none of the hindrances
that some people like to throw in their way.

It is ridiculous that any of this
should ever need to be said.

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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