September 25, 2020


Pink Ladies — Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia
Maintaining our focus,
remaining centered,
in harmonious accord with the Tao
is all there is to it.

Only fear, desire and duty
stand in our way.

And the dust of the world.

And the 10,000 things.

It is amazing that we can even
consider focus,
and harmony.

And it is not surprising at all
that we have such difficulty
finding our focus,
our center,
our balance
and harmony.

We only have two tools to work with:
Our breath
and the silence.

Focusing on our breathing
and seeking the silence
provide us with an oasis
in the wasteland.

Making regular returns
to our breath
and the silence
provide us with a sacred place
amid the heaving waves 
and the clashing rocks--
all we need for regaining our focus,
finding the center,
being balanced
and in harmonious accord
with the Tao
and at peace with our life.



Sandy Stream Pond Reflections 09/24/2006 — Baxter State Park, Millinocket, Maine
Sealing ourselves off from one thing,
opens us up to another.

We have to come to terms
with our vulnerability,
and settle for being
as safe and as secure as we can be
under the circumstances,
with all things considered.

Our life is a negotiated compromise
with "the facts of life,"
taking everything into account,
and being okay with our outcomes,
whatever they may be--
understanding "outcome"
as being just another event
on the unending road of turns 
and how we respond to them
our entire life long.

Nothing lasts forever under the right perspective.

We give up this to get that,
and pay a price for being alive.
How creative and flexible we can be,
how accepting and open,
how pliable and resilient,
how generous and kind,
how patient and yielding,
how perceptive and aware,
how long-suffering and considerate,
how enduring and responsive...
will strongly influence--
if not determine--
how lucky, blessed, and graced we are
over the full course of our life.

Being lucky, blessed and graced
are a function of being trusting and confident
in ourselves 
and our ability to respond appropriately
to whatever is happening in each situation
as it arises moment-to-moment,
without having to have things be otherwise.

If everything hangs on having everything just so,
we will have a hell-of-a-time receiving things
"thus come,"
and seeing what may yet become of us-in-relationship-wth
all things just as they are.

Which is the very foundation of--
 and the door open to--
the wonder and glory
of the adventure of being alive.

No adventure is what we expect it will be.
Insisting and demanding that our adventure
be what we want it to be
rules out any possibility of adventure from the start.

We belong to the road.
The road rules.
Our place is to laugh and dance along the way.
How we respond to the gifts of the road
makes all the difference.

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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