November 30, 2020

03

Fall Leaves 02 11/08/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
Our mythology consists of the things
we tell ourselves 
to adjust ourselves to the world,
to life as it is,
to the way things are.

What do you turn to
when you have nowhere to turn?
What do you say to yourself
about your losses and your sorrows?
How do you find your way forward?

What are the stories?
The pep talks?
The the slogans and mottoes? 
The mantras and the sayings?

There is a world of things
we turn to 
when this world flattens us,
overwhelms us,
disappoints us...

We talk ourselves back to life,
back to functioning.
What do we say?
That is our mythology.

Our mythology is a collection of metaphors
that help us make sense of things
and find meaning in what happens
or fails to happen. 

Scraps of songs, 
pieces of poetry,
movie lines,
inspirational quotes,
stories of the heroes of the past,
baseball quips...
all come together in the moment
and what needs to be done about it,
in response to it
and help us find our bearings,
get our feet under us,
stand up and make our way.

What is our grounding mythology?
When we identify it,
we can consciously amend it,
elaborate it,
add to it,
improve it,
perfect it,
shape it,
form it
and formally make it out own--
and be better prepared 
to meet what is coming,
and find our way through
whatever is waiting around
the next curve in the road,
and the one after that.

–0–

02

Lake Chicot 05 10/27/2015 — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana
"All things work together for good
for those (who are on the beam)."

Being on the beam is the key factor
in a life well-lived.

Beyond that,
there is no advantage whatsoever 
to being on the beam.
Staying on the beam
under those circumstances
is the true test
of our resiliency and willful determination
to be faithful and loyal
liege servants of our destiny.

Our relationship with our destiny
is the central point
around which everything coalesces. 
Living aligned with our destiny
means one thing for us,
and living at odds with our destiny
means another.

Here is the interesting thing:
Either way, 
it is all the same with our destiny.
Our destiny is such 
that it can use whatever we bring it
to realize itself through us.

It goes better for us 
in terms of our peace of mind
and our being true to ourselves,
living from our center
and grounded in what matters most,
whose life is a blessing and a grace
upon all who come our way,
but we are only going to be able
to count on having what we need
to do what needs to be done.

Extravagance and indulgence are not
going to characterize our life,
and there will be days
when we have to talk ourselves into
getting out of bed
and doing the thing that calls our name.

It comes down to sacrificing ourselves,
again and again,
in the service of our destiny,
doing what is ours to do,
the way it should be done,
when it should be done,
as best we can
for as long as we are able--
with compassion and sincerity,
and without contrivance or exploitation.

Once contrivance and exploitation,
personal gain and advantage,
enter the situation,
the flow is destroyed 
and we are on our own.

When we walk away from the beam
to serve our own purposes,
we die in a wasteland of our own making
every time.

–0–

01

Katahdin Range Panorama 09/26/2010 — Sandy Stream Pond, Baxter State Park, Millinocket, Maine
I dreamed last night--
or was it a vision--
that some place in the world
had been cordoned off because
a strain of COVID-19 had been discovered
that is 25 times more deadly than 
the original version,
and all known vaccines
are useless against it.

Whether it is real or not
is not the question.
The potential exists
no matter how unlikely.
Our mindset worldwide
leaves us vulnerable 
and reduces our chances,
regardless of what 
those chances are.

A mindset is something 
we can do something about.

Let's divide mindsets between 
Stupid and Savvy.

Stupid wears a MAGA hat
and refuses to wear a mask.
Savvy does the reverse.

But, Asymptomatic people
belong to both groups, 
and skew the profiles.

Plus, all Stupid people will not get the virus
and all Savvy people will not avoid it.

After the mud settles
and the water clears,
there will probably be
about the same percentage of Stupid
and Savvy in the world
as before.
And the vulnerability of Savvy people
will be about what it was before.

But. 

Everyone can increase their chances
at a long,
centered,
balanced
and harmonious life
(Probably forgetting for some time
happy, joyous, carefree and giddy)
by learning to be mindfully aware
and self-transparent.

Jon Kabat-Zinn's YouTube videos
(The shortest ones first)
are a helpful path
to both those outcomes,
which is really one thing,
Mindfully-Aware-Self-Transparency.

If it takes a pandemic
to ground us forever in
Mindfully-Aware-Self-Transparency,
it is our own stupid fault.

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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