October 13, 2020


Last of Spring Watercolor Rendering– Above Tremont, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Martin Palmer said that the Tao
is simply getting things done in the right way--
the right way of going about doing something.

The only thing standing between us 
and doing things the right way
is us.

Before we do anything,
we only have to stop and remember
to do it the right way,
the way it is to be done,
the way it needs to be done.

And do it that way.

This is not hard.

We only have to get ourselves out of the way.

Why wouldn't we do that?



Summer Fern
We gather ourselves
and step into the day.

What do we mean by that?
What do we intend?
What's the point?
What are we going to do with this day?

Each day is an addition
to our body of work.
What do we mean by that?
What is the point of our body of work?
Who are we showing ourselves to be
in our collection of days?
What theme are we developing?
What is the nature of our life?
Who are we becoming?
Who have we become?

I look at the various segments
that make up my day
as mirrors reflecting me to me.
I see myself in the ways I respond
to what meets me in a day,
and evaluate my responses
in light of my Ideal Me--
the Me I wish I were--
the Me I live to be.

Each day is a practice run
toward the Me I would like to be,
one situation at a time.
It goes better
when I take my time,
embrace the silence,
remember my breathing
and know what I know.

When I step back,
and allow Me to lead the way,
surprising me with spontaneous
responses to the developing situation--
which is quite different from knee-jerk reactions--
things develop a flow
that I am proud to be a part of
even as I marvel at how this remark
or that action
could come from me.

Where did that come from?
is always a joy to find myself asking,
and I think I keep living
just to see what I will do next!

Coming to trust myself 
to know what to do
has been the blessing
and the grace
of life through the years,
and I face the future
with the confidence gleaned 
from having faced the future
into the fourth quarter
of my seventy-fifth year.



Sumac 10/09/2020 02 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
Everything turns--for better or for worse--
on our being right 
about what we call good.

How good is the good we call good
is always the question.

Our idea of the good
can be anything but good.

It is up to us to know what's what
with the good we call good.

How do we evaluate our values?

What guides our boat 
on its path through the sea?

Can it be trusted to know True North
from Due South?

How do we have our alignment checked?

What's a valid plumb line in the arena of the Good?

Whose word do we take?

What makes us think they know
what they are talking about?

What is the source of our certainty?

How often is it calibrated?

Against what standard of accuracy is it measured?

Who does the measuring?

How good is the good we call good?

Who says so?

If you are going to assume something,
or take it for granted,
don't let it be the goodness
of your idea of the good!

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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