December 10, 2020


Cypress Swamp 09/03/2015 16 Panorama — Lake Martin, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Joseph Campbell said, "If you really want 
to help this world,
what you will have to teach
is how to live in it.
And that, 
no one can do
who has not learned
how to live in it
in the joyful sorrow
and the sorrowful joy
of life as it is."

We are always trying to improve
everything about life:
other people,
the world,
life as it is...

Life as it is
is not the way we want it to be.
And we have a plan for that.

The Bible would have us believe
that it all started out 
with Adam and Eve 
trying to improve Paradise.
And we are still at it.

Carl Jung said,
"You can't improve something
without accepting it first."
Letting things be just what they are
is the first step 
in changing our relationship with them,
and that is the essential element
in the transformation of everything.

It all changes once our perspective changes.
If you are going to change something,
start with your perspective!



Carolina Thread Trail 01 11/09/2020 — Lancaster County, South Carolina
You cannot be a photographer
and be somewhere else.

You cannot be a photographer
thinking about something else.

To be a photographer,
you have to be where you are,
when you are,
and your mind has to be on
what you are doing,
what you are seeing,
here and now.

A camera requires your presence.
Your attentive presence.
It forces you to be present
even against your will.

If you are not present,
it shows.

A camera is sitting zazen.
It is better than sitting zazen.
Sitting zazen takes you out of the moment.
A camera thrusts you into the moment,
and requires you to be alive
to the time and place
of your living.
Sitting zazen is just another way
of being dead.

Between a zazen cushion
and a camera,
go with the camera.



The Barn Down the Road 03/21/2011 — Yanceyville, North Carolina
It comes down to this:

Pay attention,
be aware.

See what you look at,
know what you know.

Do what needs to be done,
what is called for,
in ways appropriate 
to the occasion.

In each situation
as it arises.

It is never more difficult than that.

Anybody can do it
with a little practice.

What's the problem?



Half Dome and Merced River 04/27/2006 — Yosemite National Park, California
We cannot assume anything.
We cannot take anything for granted.
Everything is for the first time.
Nothing has gone before.
Nothing will come after.
This is all there is or ever will be.
This here.
This now. 
Is it.

We are the still point of the turning world,
right here,
right now.
What we do here and now
is all that matters.

Experience makes little difference.
Prognostication is a delusion.
All we can know is right before us.
What is happening?
What is being called for?
How best to respond?
That is all we need to know.
That is all there is to know.

If the baby's diaper needs changing,
change the baby's diaper.
If the dog needs to go for a walk,
take the dog for a walk.

How we feel about it doesn't matter.
What we want doesn't come into the picture.
What needs to be done?
Who needs to do it?

This is the place,
now is the time--
for what?

That is the only question.

Live to get it right.
Every time.

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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