July 30, 2020


A Flight of Pelicans 11/03/2001 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, November 3, 2001
Scary times.

Made scarier by the fact
that we aren't in control of what happens.
What's new about that
is that we have lost access
to our comforting illusions
and ready escapes near at hand.

We have never been in control of what happens.
The best we have ever been able to hope for
is controlling our response to what happens
in light of what is being asked of us
here and now,
in this present moment of our living.
And that remains the case right here, right now!

What is being called for here?
Respond to that as best you can!

Forget the "big picture,"
the "long term"!

Right here! Right now!

Here we are, now what?

What is necessary right here, right now?

Do that.

The long term is a different matter.
We have to settle ourselves into that,
and make our peace with having to deal with it
for the long term.

We have to grieve what must be grieved,
and bear what must be borne.

We have lost so much--
so much has been lost by so many!
We all have to--must--bear consciously the pain
of all that we/they have lost!

Bearing consciously the pain
of our grief, loss and sorrow
is crucial to our life--
to our ability to live--
over the long term.

We have to feel what must be felt,
grieve what must be grieved,
mourn what must be mourned,
see what must be seen,
know what must be known,
and fully face it all
without discounting,
denying any of it!

Sob, cry, throw-up, scream...
Do. Not. Hold. It. In.
Do. Not. Pretend. It. Away.
Face it!
Feel it!
Vent it!
Express it!
Know it! Know it! Know it!

Several times throughout the day,
for as many days as it takes.

In order to treat our grief well,
we have to master the age-old art
of walking two paths at the same time.

We have to do now what needs to be done now,
and we have to grieve our losses,
feel our fear,
and face the reality of a new world
without the comfort of safe guards and shelters.

We are on our own
like few of us have ever been before.
Our ancestors have all been here,
where we are,
before us.
We have their genes. 
Our Psyche comes from them.
We have built-in to the system--
into our system--
a reservoir or time tested archetypes
for meeting whatever life throws at us.
We only have to find our way back to
our Original Nature to know that it is so.

We do that by trusting it is as I say it is
when I say, "There is more to us than meets the eye."
All of us.
Every one of us.
And when I say, "We have what it takes
to rise to the occasion--
every occasion."

We come from good stock.
We are built to take it,
and to find what it takes
to do what it takes
about whatever is before us,
and whatever needs to be done about it.

To find our Original Nature,
we have to "turn the light around"
and seek what we need within ourselves,
and not in our external environment.

To do that:
Breathe (Slowly, deeply pausing between exhale and inhale).
Wait ("For the mud to settle
and the water to clear").
Remember your breathing.
Watch for what begins to stir
in the stillness,
in the silence,
showing you,
reminding you,
who you are,
and always have been,
and will always be--
the core truth of your very own being.

We all have access to the Source of who we are,
of our Original Nature,
and the Source of life itself,
to stabilize us
and ground us
upon the adamantine foundation
of what is unshakable about us--
and to orient us,
guide and direct us,
sustain and encourage us,
in facing what must be faced
and doing what needs to be done about it.

In the presence of the Source,
and possessed by our Original Nature,
we are never alone,
and have all we need
to find what we need
to do what is ours to do.

Return to the Source on a regular basis.
Know what is true about you
in dealing with what is true about your life,
and living appropriately 
in response to your circumstances
throughout the time left for living.



Lake Andrew Jackson 07/26/2020 05 — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina, July 26, 2020
We live to turn things to our advantage.
As though we know what that is.
Is it better to win or to lose?
Is it better to get what you want,
or to get what you don't want?

Only time will tell.
And then, time will tell again.
And again...
When do we ever know for sure?

We know for sure that we are better off
in some places than in others,
but which places are which,
and for how long "better" lasts,
we do not know.

And yet, we live to turn things to our advantage.

You might think,
that by now we would have come up with
a different strategy for having it made.

I suggest we start with
forgetting about having it made.
Having it made is such a time-limited matter.
We are going to die!
There is no such thing as having it made
when it is only a matter of time until we die!
You can call it having it made--
I call it dying!

How are we going to live until we die?
That is our only question!
Not, "What is to our greatest advantage?"
Not, "What is the shortest route to having it made?"
But, "How can we live the best life we are capable of living
within the conditions and circumstances 
that define our environment
until we die?"

Living to answer the right question makes all the difference.
What questions are you living to answer?

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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