December 09, 2020

03

Fall Canopy 04 11/08/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
Joseph Campbell asked, "What are you going to do well?"

There is our art,
our gift,
and our life.

What are we going to do well,
when it doesn't matter?
When no one is going to notice,
or know?

When it amounts to nothing more than
"divinely superfluous beauty"?

There is our art,
our gift,
our life.

Where in your experience 
do you have to get it right?

If it is everywhere,
you need to look at
how you are dominated
by your compulsion 
to be pleasing,
and your inability to say no.

Don't do anything about it!
Do not try to make yourself
start saying no!
Simply be aware of it,
be curious about it,
search for when it started,
for its origin in your life.
Wonder about it.
Dig around in it.
See what you can turn up.

And if it is nowhere--
if there is nothing
you have to get right,
you have to do well,
you need to look at
who took it away from you.
Who made fun of you?
Who ridiculed you?
Who made you ashamed
of caring about what you cared about?

Simply become aware of your disconnect
with what was once important to you,
and curious about what happened
to render you incapable of
embracing aspects of your life
as being worth your highest esteem.
Dig around in it.
See what you turn up.

Joseph Campbell would say,
"Reflection leads to new realizations."
And that transforms the whole shebang. 

–0–

02

Cotton in the Field Panorama 03 11/03/2015 — Along the Blues Trail through the Mississippi Delta
The life that is ours to live--
the life we are built for,
that comes with our destiny attached--
is so far removed from the life we are living,
that it is no wonder we suffer
from oxygen deprivation,
can't get our breath,
listlessly drift through each day.

We do not fit the life we are living!
We belong to another,
vastly different life,
and struggle to make room 
for that life
in this life.

Our heart isn't in what we are doing.
How long has it been?
How long have we been going through 
the motions,
thinking it is going to get better
soon?

We think Jesus was about heaven when we die.
Jesus was about living the life that is ours to live
now, while we are alive!

Jesus lived the life that was his to live
and calls us to follow his lead
in living the life that is ours to live.

The Buddha did the same thing.
Waking up means waking up to the life
that isn't it,
and to the life that is it.
And living the right life.

Even if we have to compromise,
and walk two paths at the same time--
making enough money to pay the bills
with this life,
and doing what we pay the bills to do 
with our real life--
it is worth the work to do what 
we are here to do.

We will find ourselves smiling for no reason,
and laughing right out loud
with delight
over the good things
we never noticed before.

How long has it been since we did that?

We are burning daylight here.
Time's a-wasting.

–0–

01

Sailboat Abstract 01 10/29/2010 — Pamlico Sound, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
We would all like to sail away
from time to time.
Or, as they say in the Old West,
"Don't fence me in!"

Being fenced in is the worst imaginable situation
for a lot of us.
"Give us land, lots of land,
with the starry skies above...
and don't fence us in."

The odd thing about all this
is that nothing is more confining,
limiting,
prison-like
than a damn sailboat!

I'm sure the irony is not wasted on you.

Carl Jung like to say,
"We meet our destiny
on the road we take to escape it."

We create the very future 
we try to avoid
by trying to avoid it.

And have less freedom than we can bear
by trying to be free
of all constants and restrictions.

The trick--
the work-a-round--
is to be free
right here,
right now,
just as we are.

It's the old soldiers' Great Escape,
being Absent Without Leave
while standing at attention
as the commanding officer
passes in review.

We are always a slight perspective shift
from being outta here.

It's the old Taoists' favorite retreat
into seclusion and solitude.

Just flip the switch!
"Turn the light around!"
Take your leave!
Sail away!
Without going anywhere!

And if the situation is really obnoxious, 
drift back in from time to time
and say, "I'm sorry,
my mind must have wandered,
can you repeat what you were just saying?"
And drift immediately away again.

That may not work on an arresting officer,
but it's good for insurance salesmen
standing at the door.

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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