December 14, 2020


Far Away 05/06/2013 — The Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina
It is easy to let someone else 
tell us what to do.
To follow the herd. 
From the barn 
to the pasture,
and back to the barn.
Day after day.

The work of being human
is The Hero's Journey--
finding what is meaningful,
not because it is supposed to be,
but because it is!

Not because someone else says so,
but because we say so!
Because we know so!

The right kind of community
is a community of innocence--
innocent in the sense 
of having nothing to get,
nothing to gain,
from the individuals
making up the community,
but existing solely
to assist each individual
in the work of finding what is meaningful
and letting their life
fall into place around that.

Once meaningful is at the center,
we only need enough money
to allow us to pay the bills
required to do what is meaningful,
and everything takes shape
around the center.

The Hero's Journey is finding
and serving what is meaningful
with our life.

The right kind of community
helps us with that,
and is composed of individuals
supporting each other
in the work of finding and doing
what is meaningful to them individually.

It does that primarily 
by listening one another 
to the truth of what they are saying,
listening in a way 
that allows the speaker
to hear what they are saying,
and realize the truth of what they are about.

The right kind of community
serves as a sounding board,
as a mirror,
to everyone in the community,
so that in looking,
we see ourselves,
in speaking,
we hear ourselves,
and know who we are
and what is meaningful to us--
not because someone else tells us so, 
but because we know so!
Because we experience it to be so,
and no one can knock us off of it.

As you step onto the path
of seeking and serving 
what is meaningful to you,
be aware of the people 
who resonate with you,
who understand the importance
of the search for what is important,
and can share things they have learned
in their own search for what is important,
and let the right kind of community
coalesce around the quest 
to find and to know
what is meaningful individually
for each person in the community,
and to make that the center
and begin to live in ways that
flow from the center,
and serve the center,
throughout what remains
of the time left for living. 



Hemlock Woods 03 06/06/2012 — Roan Mountain, Carver’s Gap, Tennessee
It is the experience of life,
of being alive, 
that is at the heart of existence,
not what we have,
or attain,
or acquire,
or achieve/accomplish...

Being present with what is present with us,
without trying to escape the moment
by dismissing,
denying it,
but receiving the moment just as it it,
"thus come,"
and doing what is called for
in response to it,
is the hallmark 
of the grace and acceptance,
of the wonder of being alive.



Live Oak Fantasy — Undisclosed Southern Location
There is our life to live--
the life that is ours to live--
the life that no one but us can live.

And there is our idea
of a substitute for that life--
an acceptable (to us) facsimile
of that life,
which we generally prefer
because it is apparently 
softer, smoother and easier
than our Real Life,
and requires (at least at the outset),
less anxiety,
and, hence, less courage
than our Real Life.

What we need in order to live our Real Life
from the start
is more awareness of what the deal is,
and more encouragement
and preparation for the task,
from birth on.

All of which is tragically lacking,
and we are thrown into life,
like all of our ancestors before us,
with no guidance whatsoever,
and only what comes with us from the womb
to stabilize,
balance and direct us
through the maze of options,
choices and pitfalls
that await all along the way
from birth to death.

We need better odds--
which is where I,
and those like me,
come into your life.

We are here to compensate
for all the miss-direction
and bad advice that litter your life
from the beginning until now.

Diane Osbon, who was wise beyond her years,
and very much on our side, 
had this to say about that:
"An old Apache storyteller said,
'The plants, rocks, fire, water
are all alive.
They watch us and see our needs.
They see when we have nothing
to protect us,
and it is then that they reveal themselves,
and speak to us.'"

This is the Apache way of saying
that we are surrounded by
"the hills from which our help comes"
(Psalm 121).

Help is everywhere for those with eyes to see
(Which come with us from the womb).
We only have to wake up and start looking
to know that it is so
(Which come from having the right people 
in our life to tell us what to do).

We are at once on our own,
and we have everything we need
to find what we need
to do what needs us to do it,
if only we will wake up
and start looking--
and trust ourselves to the process
that is waiting to assist us 
all along the way.

If you are going to take anything "on faith,"
if you are going to believe in anything,
believe this,
and start walking--
with your eyes open!

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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