June 29, 2020


Crabtree Falls 09/01/2018 04 — Blue Ridge Parkway near Little Switzerland, North Carolina, September 1, 2018 04
A land where everyone is glad
to be who they are,
and to be doing what was theirs to do,
seeing things as they are, 
knowing what needs to be done 
and doing it in each situation as it arises, 
day in and day out,
all their life long
is found only in the mythical sphere
of the Elysian Fields,
The Farther Shore,

In this world,
we can only catch glimpses
of that world
in individuals
wh0 have made their peace
with their life
and have settled into 
their place in it,
and stand out in the memories
of all who know them to be 
a comforting incarnation
of the kind of life
that should be available
to everyone
if only, but for...

What is keeping everyone
from having what a few people manage?

The Old Taoists talk about "the ancient ones"
in this light:
the people go back to simple techniques
relish their food,
like their clothes,
are comfortable in their ways,
and enjoy their work.

Neighboring states may be so close
they can hear each other's dogs and roosters,
but the people have no need
to go back and forth
(From the Tao Te Ching, chapter 80).

But "greed and folly,"
"will and desire,"
"cunning and contrivance"
come along to introduce the idea
of personal advantage and gain
into the daily fare,
and people soon are living 
to have what the can't use
in the service of what they don't like
to spend what they don't have
to buy what will be in a landfill in a month or a year...

And it is left to individuals
to separate themselves from the masses
and live from their own core
to honor their own gifts
in building a life around the things
that matter most,
becoming a memory 
in the minds of those who knew them to be
a comforting incarnation
of the kind of life
that should be available
to everyone
if only, but for...

Looking Glass Falls 04/29/2007 — Pisgah National Forest, near Brevard, NC, April 29, 2007
What are you doing?

Whatever it is,
stop and ask yourself,
"What am I doing?"
or, "What do I think I'm doing?"
periodically throughout each day.

As a way of grounding yourself in the moment,
and examining/exploring your actions,
and reflecting on
what you are up to,
in each moment,
each time and place,
each here and now.

Do not go unconsciously,
through a day.

Notice what drives you,
pulls you,
calls you,
directs you,
guides you,
leads you
comforts and protects you
through the daily fare.

In light of what do you live?

Check in from time to time
and find out.

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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