October 29, 2020

02

22-Acre Woods 10 10/28/2020 Panorama — Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo
We begin to die
when we stop singing,
dancing,
telling,
listening to, 
and being enchanted by,
stories,
spending time with,
and being comforted by,
"the sweet territory of silence"
(Angeles Arrien).

There is a difference
that is more than a difference
(Like a train wreck
is different from a burp)
between being driven by an agenda
and being led
by the soft whispers of our soul.

We live these days from our head.
It used to be,
in the days long gone,
that we lived from our heart.
We have been cut off from our heart
for generations,
and it shows
in the emptiness of our eyes
and the shallowness of our desires
and the impulsive jerkiness of our life.

Maybe this!
Maybe that!
Maybe that over there!
We are all over the place
looking for it,
whatever "it" is,
we don't know,
but "this" isn't it.
We know that much.

What would it take?
We don't know.
We just know that something isn't right
somehow.

We just want to be happy,
as though happiness is something
to be acquired
as a by-product
of the things we buy and do
to make us happy,
and if we are happy,
things must be right
about us and our life.
Right?

Wrong!

Happiness is no indicator
of a life well-lived.
A life well-lived is not attuned
to happy/not-happy.
It has other things on its mind.
Seeing and doing what is called for
here and now, 
for instance.
Listening for the gentle whispers
of soul,
for another.

We don't have time to assess our 
current degree of happiness
when we are living in the service
of heart and soul.
Then, we are busy taking care of business
in the business of being alive.

How to get from here to there:

It's my favorite Joseph Campbell quote:
"That which you see lies far back
in the darkest corner 
of the cave you most don't want to enter."

The Hero's Journey is simply the shift
in perspective from where we are now
to the center of our heart.
But.
That requires the complete transformation
of our relationship with our life.
Meister Eckhart said,
"The greatest and last leave-taking 
is leaving God for God."
I say that the next leave-taking in line
is leaving our life for our Life.

And that is why things are as they are
everywhere we look.

–0–

01

Moonrise 10/17/2013 02 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, Outer Banks, North Carolina
What is the most meaningful thing in your life?
Sit with it.
Walk around it.
Look at it.
Poke it.
Prod it.
Turn it over.
Get to the bottom of it.

Ask all of the questions 
that beg to be asked 
of it,
about it.

Say all of the things
that cry out to be said
about it.
To it.

When did it first become meaningful?
What brought it to your attention?
Who is responsible for getting you
together with it?
What has it brought to life in your life?
How do you honor it?
How much time do you spend with it--
in a day?
A week?
A month?
A year?
When is the last time you spent time with it?
In what ways does it define you?
Reflect you?
Express you?
Incarnate you?
What does it show you about yourself?
What does it say about who you are?
What does it ask of you?
Who have you become because of it?

Write a letter to it,
saying all of the things you have to say.

Then, write a letter to you from it,
as though you are taking dictation--
do not think about what to write,
just write what needs to be written,
"automatic writing," it is called,
saying all of the things
it has to say to you.

What does this reflection open up for you?
Where are you being led?
Where will you go from here?
Do not analyze it.
Do not critique it.
Do not examine it.
Do not explain,
defend,
excuse,
understand it.
Go there!
Do what is being asked of you!
Say "YES!" to what is calling you!
NOW!

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, three sons-in-law, and five granddaughters, and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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