September 5, 2020


Jordan Pond 09/23/2012 — Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine
How do you bear your pain?
Everything tends to take shape around that.
Coming to terms with the pain of life,
the pain of being alive,
is one of the primary developmental tasks.
Get it wrong
and we are in a death spiral
until we get it right.

is getting it wrong.

We have to find ways 
of folding our pain into our life,
of allowing our life to be big enough
to receive it well,
make room for it
and learn from it.

Our pain calls into question 
our sacred assumptions,
and requires us to come to terms with
unwanted realities that demand our attention.

Where do you turn 
when you have nowhere to turn?
What holds you up?
Keeps you together?
Enables you to keep going?
Sees you through?

We have to develop a philosophy,
a point of view,
a way of seeing
that enables us to take 
our pain and its source into account,
meet it head on,
square up to it
again and again,
and go right on living--
even so.

We have to tell ourselves something.
We have to tell ourselves the truth
in a way that boldly considers
how things actually are,
and enables us to deal with
what we face with courage and resolve.

What is the source of your courage and resolve?
What keeps you going?
What is the nature of your pain?
How have you managed it to this point in your life?

Pain management strategies abound!
Healing groups and communities.
12 Step organizations.
Compassionate Friends.
Chronic Pain associations.
Internet Searches...
We are not without resources.
Help is available, but.
We have to help people help us.

Putting pain in its place,
and honoring it and its place in our life--
with an appropriate degree of respect
and appreciation for what it can teach us
that will be of value for the rest of our days--
is a step on the way to healing and wholeness
in a world where pain does not sleep.
or take a day off.



Bamboo Impression 01
Is it better to have things going our way
or not going our way?

Which way opens us to the way things need to go?
Which way shuts us off from the way things need to go?

There is being at one with our life,
and there is our life being at one with us.
Which way is the way of oneness?

No opinion.
No judgment.
Just this.
Now what?
Now what in light of what?
Now what in the service of what?
What are we living toward?
What are we living away from?

When our life is on track,
how is that different 
from our life being off track?

I used to stalk photographs
the way a lion stalks an antelope.
I sought out photographs.
I went in search for photographs.
I got up early and stayed out late for photographs.
My life changed without warning.
With no explanation.
Now I take a photograph that happens along.
Why strive to do it like I used to do it?
I am disinclined to make the effort.
Why resist my inclinations?
Where am I better off?
Not getting up for a sunrise,
not staying out for a sunset.
Listening to my inner drift of soul.
Seeing what the situation calls for.
Adjusting to my changing ways.

I bought a drum because it was called for.
A beginner's djembe.
I may be listening for my inner rhythms.
I don't know what I'm doing.
I'm playing with playing the drum.
I don't know why.

And I wish my point of origin
had included people who did things
without knowing why.
My point of origin made it incumbent
upon me
to do things without knowing why.

Are we better off with our points of origin
as they are
than we would be with points of origin
as we wish they had been?

Here we are.
Now what?
Now what in light of what?
Now what in the service of what?
What are we living toward?
What are we living away from?

How do we decide "in light of what"?
"In the service of what"?
"Away from"?

How do we know what to do?
How do we determine direction?
What is worth our time
and what is not?

What is guiding our boat 
on its path through the sea?

What do you do without knowing why?



American Crow 06/20/2018
The Christ is the Antichrist. 

Growing up is dying again and again
our whole life long.

We grow up against our will every time.

The old ways of being have to die
in order that the new ways to be
may move in and set-up house.

The developmental tasks require us
to submit to the terror of death
in order to experience the wonder--
purchased with a price--
of new life without end
(Merely interrupted by the next sweeping out
and moving in).

The price is our death on the cross
(Metaphorical and eternal/everlasting)
at every transition point on the path.

"The path" is our passage way from
"The face that was ours before we were born,"
to "The face that was ours before we were born."

We are The Christ becoming The Christ.
The Christ killing The Christ
so that we might become The Christ
by "Leaving God for God,"
("My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?")
and growing up some more again today
all along the way.

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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