October 27, 2020


Trekker Loop 02 10/22/2020 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina
We hear "Follow your bliss,"
and think the Hero's Journey
is a joy ride.

The bliss is "joyful participation
in the sorrows of the world."

If you can stand in the tension
of that contradiction,
you have met the only requirement
for the journey.

Joseph Campbell said,
"Where you stumble and fall,
there lies the treasure."
That doesn't mean
we roll over and there the gold is!
It means we start digging!

Being a writer 
does not mean writing best sellers
with movie contracts attached.
It means writing,
day in and day out,
whether anyone reads your work
or not.

If you write because that is your bliss,
rain or shine,
whether you feel like it or not,
whether you are in the mood for it or not,
whether you want to or not,
whether you "feel it" or not,
for no other reason than because
you are a writer 
and writing is what you do
no matter what,
and nothing is going to 
knock you off of it,
because you're a writer.
Write on!

Campbell also said,
"That which you seek
lies far in the back
of the darkest corner
of the cave you most
don't want to enter."

Following our bliss
means going into the cave
all the way to the very back
and feeling around in the darkest corner.

It means doing the work!
And it is Real Work!
Sticking with it!
Soldiering through!
But, it is our work--
and that makes all the difference!

No one is forcing us to do it.
We are called to do it
by some mysterious energy/force
calling us away from the pastimes
and entertaining asides,
into the expression/incarnation
of our own depth,
our own heart and soul.

In this, we engage the mystery
at the center of our life,
of all of life,
and know there is a Source beyond us
that is living in us and through us,
guiding our way,
urging us on.

I have been writing from high school on.
This is the 6,305th post of its kind
since 2011.
I don't know why.
I don't know where they come from,
or to what end.
and I don't care.

I sit down because I must,
because of an inner compulsion,
and I would be remiss if I did not,
I would be betraying something 
that I consider to be worthy
and deserving of my honor and respect,
reverence and service,
and I have liege loyalty
to the Source of what I write.

I start out with a few words,
maybe a sentence,
that just comes upon me
out of the blue,
and everything flows for there,
with a life of its own.
My job is to come up with the right word
for the occasion.
And I write to be amazed at what I'm writing.

That is Mystery!
Where does all this come from?
From the darkness and the silence
of my unconscious!
That is our bliss station!
And we are wrong to not open ourselves
to what beckons to us from what we call
our "unconscious mind"
(Simply because we are not conscious of it!)!

The journey to the heart of ourselves
awaits us all,
and it is never too late
to begin the never-ending process
of self-discovery
along the Bliss Road
that runs through the time left for living. 



Stumpy Pond 01 10/22/2020 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina
We believe in causality.
Cause and effect.
Everything is caused by something.
There are no accidents.
"There is a reason for everything."

"I think, therefore I think I am."

Things do not have to be the way they are.
The world would be fine
if World War II had never happened.
Nothing has to happen 
in order for something else to happen.
Whatever happens will be fine.

Nothing is in charge.
There is no design.
Everything is free to be what it is,
doing what it does,
in conjunction with everything else
being free to be what it is,
doing what it does,
and the limits and restrictions
will work themselves out,
and be what they are.

In the beginning there were a lot 
of collisions while things were looking
for smooth and easy.
It is smoother and easier than it was
(Remember how dark it got each night before 
we domesticated fire?),
but it still is far from smooth and easy
(And nothing is as boring as smooth and easy). 

It is all still working itself out.
Everything is finding its way.
A lot of things are in the way.
Some things have to get out of the way,
or pay the price.

We can find patterns everywhere.
That doesn't mean anything was "meant to be."
It means we can find patterns everywhere.
They are caused by our brain's ability
to perceive relationships
and impose order
in helping us find our way.

Our brain is a meaning-maker!
We see patterns among the stars
and conclude that they had to be placed there
for a reason,
and that where they are when we are born
has dramatic implications for our life.

Jumping to conclusions is what we do best.
No! Kidding ourselves is what we do best!
NO! Telling ourselves what we want to hear
is what we do best!
NO! Shooting ourselves in the foot is what we do best!

We are the victims of our own constructions of reality.
We do not just observe the world,
we also interpret our observations
in ways that make them meaningful to us.
And then we go to war over our conclusions.

For instance, we take it on faith
that we are all going to hell
if we don't believe Jesus saves us 
from going to hell
if we believe in him--
and we have to tell everyone
to believe as we do
because we believe Jesus will hold it against us
if we don't convert the world--
and we are making all of this up!!!

Why do we take that on faith
and not something else instead?
How do we find comfort in a God
who will send anybody to hell?
Who can ever relax around a God like that?

We are making everything up--
why not make up things that are life-enhancing
and mutually beneficial
across the table,
around the world?

We make up Us and Them!
Why not make up WE?!
And find ways together to live together
in ways that improve everyone's chances
at a life worth living?

Why not see everything, all things,
as a Thou?
Why not identify with all sentient beings?
Adopt, "Inasmuch as you have done it,
or not done it,
to every living thing,
you have done it, or not done it,
to me!"?

Why not do everything we do because
it needs to be done
and not because of what we stand to gain or lose
by doing it?

Why not live the mystery?
And not make up conclusions about it
that have no basis or grounds for being?  



Persimmons 10/22/2020 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina
We cannot help how we see things,
the way we feel about things,
the way we think of things,
and we have never had a motive
that we fully understood.
We do not know why we do what we do,
or what we will do next
(And if we do, 
we have symptoms we cannot manage,
and our life is going quite to hell).

We swagger around as though 
we are in total control--
or, we are afraid of what 
the next minute will bring,
and have no idea of what we will do
about any of it.

Either way, we do not have a clue.

Joseph Campbell said, "The individual
must realize that the grandeur of their being
is that of representing something 
larger than themselves--
that they stand for something
that is bigger than they are.
They have to know they are an agent
of something,
and live conscious of being 
a presence in the world
as a representative of that thing,
as an incarnation of it
in their daily life--
and they have to know what it is
that they are living to exemplify"
(Or words to that effect).

And, of course, we have no idea
of what he is talking about.
What are we living to exemplify?
What are we the bearers of?

Allow me to make a suggestion:
We are expressive and representative of
The Mystery of Life and Being!

Carl Jung said, "There is within each of us
another, whom we do not know."

We carry within us unconscious depths
that we dismiss without a thought
about what we are doing.
We live to feed our appetites,
to enjoy our entertainments,
to serve our addictions,
and never consider that we 
represent anything more than
our desires and our fears.

We don't look within
because we know there is nothing there,
or are afraid there is nothing there,
or are afraid there is something there 
and it is terrible and out to get us.

It is out to get us, of course,
but in a fulfilling,
and wonderful kind of way.

We are looking for something 
to relieve our terminal boredom with our life,
and the adventure of a lifetime
is a perspective shift away.

We are the embodiment of The Mystery!
And only have to trust ourselves to it
to step into the power,
the tremendum,
the fascinans of the mysterium
every day.



Gardenia 02 07/06/2020 — Indian Land, South Carolina
Donald Trump is completely responsible
for himself,
and he cannot help being who he is.

Which is something that can be said
about each of us.

We are who we are 
because of our refusal to be anything else--
or because of our striving to be something else,
which we also could do nothing about.

We all could be worse than we are,
and better,
but which it will be
is out of our hands.

We live at the mercy of forces
quite beyond us,
and are where we are by the grace
of the journey,
and the timely accidents
that shifted everything into place--
without our knowledge
of anything that was going on.

We think we are free to do as we please,
but we are not free to choose what we please.
We think freedom means doing what we want
with our life,
but we cannot not-want what we want,
or want what we do not want.
We are not free to pick what we will want today
anymore than we can pick what we will dream tonight.
How free is that?
We are bound to our wants
the way the sun is stuck in its orbit.

It is all a mystery--
where it comes from,
where it is going,
how it fits together.

We are a mystery.
Our life is a mystery.
Everything is a mystery.
And we walk past it all
as though it is completely unexceptional,
thoroughly routine,
outrageously boring
and nothing more 
than the same old same old.



Monument Valley Sunrise 09/25/2007 — Monument Valley Tribal Park, Utah/Arizona
Reframe the things you are ashamed of--
your liabilities are assets unknown.

Joseph Campbell said,
"Where you stumble and fall,
there lies the treasure!"

Is it a weakness,
or is it a strength?
Is it better to win
or to lose?
Is it more important to see,
or to see that you don't see?

All our dichotomies are false dichotomies.
What we take to be a dead-end
is a threshold to a different kind of outcome.

We are the incarnation of mystery beyond infinite.
And miss the adventure we were born to live
by refusing to trust ourselves to the mystery
in digging for the gold
buried in the rejects and discards.

"Nothing good comes from Nazareth," you know.
"The stone the builders reject," you know.
The priceless pearl lost amid
the costume jewelry, you know...

"Reframing" is a synonym for "recognizing,"
for "reclaiming,"
for "redeeming,"
for "realizing,"
for "repenting,"
for "being born again"

Seeing what we are looking at
means seeing beyond what we think we see,
means seeing into the mystery,
and throwing ourselves into it
with all our heart,
and soul,
and mind
and strength--
in a "Okay! I'm all in!
Show me what you got
in the time left for living"
kind of 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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