December 08, 2020


Currituck Beach Lighthouse 10/24/20/10 — North Carolina Outer Banks
Every time and place has its own mood,
its own character,
its own sense of being in,
or out of,
the flow--
the Tao--
of life and being

Some places are so dead
redemption and resurrection
are out of the question.

I have to get myself walked out of those places.
I expect you do, too.

There are people--
lots of people--
who have no hope of 
being awake in their lifetime.
They walk like the dead they are
through all of the aforementioned places.

You can see it in their eyes
and in their slack expression. 
It has been decades since they were last alive.

These people and those places
constitute a large portion of the world
we live in.

They dumbfound everyone who comes their way.
Jesus left shaking his head,
muttering to himself.
As did the Buddha before him
and Gandhi after him.

How do you teach a stone to talk?
If you take the time to cultivate
a relationship with the stone,
seeing through the stone
to all that it is 
that does not meet the eye,
it will speak to you of itself
and of you
in ways that startle and amaze. 

The dead people and places in our life
have the same potential.
It will be a potential realized in pathos
and anguish
in recognition of all that might have been
and never had a chance of being
because there were none to listen
as we are listening,
and none to see as we are seeing,
and none to care as we are caring,
and now they are long past redemption
and resurrection,
though we are listening,
and seeing,
and caring
with a heart breaking for all that is,
and was not.



Carolina Thread Trail 03 11/09/2020 — Lancaster County, South Carolina
What helps you find your way?
What restores your soul?
Makes your little heart sing?
Your little footsies dance?

What harmonizes your life,
puts you back on track,
centers and grounds you,
is a reliable source of balance
and stability?

Joseph Campbell would suggest
that you create your own sacred space
around those things.

He said:
"You don't have a sacred space, a rescue land,
until you find somewhere to be
that is not a wasteland,
some field of action
where there is a spring of ambrosia--
a joy that comes from inside, 
not something external that puts joy in you--
a place that lets you experience
your own will,
and your own intention,
and your own wish (and delight)
so that, in a small way,
the Kingdom is there.
I think everybody, 
whether they know it or not,
is in need of such a place."

He continues:

"A sacred space is hermetically sealed off
from the temporal world.
When you are in such a space,
there is no penetration into the enclosure.
You are in an eternal zone
that is protected from the impact and intrusion
of the stimuli of the day and of the hour.
That is what you do in meditation:
you seal yourself off.
The world is sealed off,
and you become a self-contained entity.
You must have such a sealing-off program/place
for yourself whenever you require it:
once a week,
or once a day,
or once an hour.
It is an absolute necessity
if you are going to have an inner life.
What it provides is an interval
in which the eternal within you
is disengaged from the field of time
in the hermetically sealed sacred space
within yourself. 
The further you can get into that,
the more at peace you will be
with whatever happens."



Crepe Myrtle 07 11/27/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

Jim’s Favorite Rice Pudding

Bring 2 Cups of water to a boil.
Add 1 cup of uncooked rice of your choice.
Cover and reduce heat to simmer.
The water will evaporate/be absorbed by the rice
as the rice cooks. This will take about 20 min.
for white rice and about 35 minutes for brown rice.

While the rice is cooking,
in a separate pot, place
3 cups of milk (Your choice of variety),
1/3 cup of sugar, or 3TBS of Stevia
1/3 cup or more to taste of raisins or dried cranberries
1 TBS Unsalted Butter
1-3 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Heat over medium heat while stirring occasionally.

When the rice has cooked, add it to the milk mixture
and stir it over medium heat until the mixture thickens
and the rice absorbs most of the milk--10 to 15 minutes.
Remove from heat, cover, and allow to "set up" for 10 minutes.

Serve or store in the refrigerator until needed.

All of the old monks ate their rice.
It was the foundation of their foundation.



Caroline Dormon Lodge 01 — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana
We have been looking for the Power source
for as long as we have been alive.

As a species.

All this time,
we have been like 
a man sitting on his ox
looking for his ox.
Like a woman holding her car keys,
looking for her car keys.

We have been looking Out There,
when all this time,
it has been--and continues to be--
In Here.

We have looked everywhere Out There.
In the Moon,
in the Sun,
in the Stars,
in the Mountains,
in this recipe,
in this belief system,
in that one,
and that one...

The gods and goddesses 
have been legion.
We have tried them all,
looking for a leg up,
for the advantage,
for the angle,
for the leverage,
for the formula
for beating the odds
and securing our future
and having it made.

Money seems to be the one
that has made it to the top.
If we only have enough money,
we will surely have it made.
And we live our life
in the service of Mammon,
seeking more,
always more,
and never having enough
to be sure 
that we have it made.

And through all of this
we are never more 
than one slight perspective shift
from having what we seek.

All we have to do 
is change our mind
about what it means
to have it made.



Moonrise 10/23/2010 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Nags Head, North Carolina
If you are living from your center,
you can live through anything.
You can live with anything.

Your center is centered upon your Source,
and your Source,
and your center,
are equipped to assist you
in the work of 
fulfilling your destiny
within all possible
contexts and

Look at where we have been!
All of this started 
in the jungles
and in the caves--
on the plains
and the barren steppes!

We came from there to here
in 30 million or so years!
And we came through everything
to be here, now!

We come from good stock!
Stock that made it through
impossible-seeming conditions
using nothing but its original gifts,
its original nature,
living aligned with its center,
its Source.

That is the strategy
for living with--
for dealing with--
whatever comes up.

Seek the silence,
seek the center,
seek the source,
find the still point,
and wait for the Way to arise
and lead you through the Wasteland
to the Promised Land--
the Promised Land being within,
not without!

The Promised Land being anywhere
you are One with the Center and the Source
of the Mystery of Life and Being!

Live from there
and we have it made
no matter what!

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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