December 27, 2020


Bog River Falls 09/29/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Adirondack Park, Tupper Lake, New York
Here we are. Now what? 

The relationship between/among the individual 
and the collective 
required to produce and maintain, 
oversee and steward, 
meaningful change for the good of the whole--
the whole earth--
is governed by what? 

Who does what to whom, when, where, how? 

The Tao is doing the right thing 
in the right way 
at the right time, 

Which is made possible by being quiet 
and living out of our own center i
n ways that incarnate our original nature 
in doing what is called for 
in the right way 
at the right time 
in each situation as it arises. 

And who is learning to do that? 
Who is living to do that? 

How many of us with it take to do that 
in order to "turn the light around," 
and transform the way 
life is lived upon the earth? 

And how do we get there from here?





Blue Moon 06 01/31/2018 — Indian Land, South Carolina
The Tao is recognized and honored 
by all religions everywhere.

Everybody acknowledges the appropriate time,
the appointed time,
the fullness of time,
the right time,
the time to act
and the time to refrain from acting.

And everybody understands
that there is a right way
and a wrong way
to do anything--
and knows there is a right thing to do
and a wrong thing to do
on every occasion under heaven.

That is all the Tao is about:
the right way to do
the right thing to do
at the right time to do it.

We all recognize the importance
of the Tao,
We don't do much about
putting ourselves in accord
with the Tao
in the times and places of our living.

And that's the kink in the hose.

We have to learn to lay aside
our will for the moment,
our wants, wishes and desires
for our life,
stand apart from our agendas
and our contriving
to have our way,
and live sincerely
in the service of the good of the moment,
spontaneously offering what we have to give
without seeking to exploit
any occasion in any way
for our benefit,

That is all it will take.
Heaven won't be any better than that.



Live Oak Lane 01 Oil Paint Rendered — Undisclosed Location
Our work is integrating opposites,
creating harmony,
realizing balance,
honoring symmetry,
maintaining the tension
of mutually exclusive contradictions,
dancing/living with the rhythm 
of yin and yang coursing through
our veins
and meeting us a every turn
in the course of every day.

India's Hinduism and Buddhism
deplore duality.
China's Taoism and Zen delight in duality,
and see it as the heart of the cosmos,
the rhythm of life and being.

From the Tao te Ching (Chapter 42),
we read:
"The Tao gives birth to the One (The Origin),
the One gives birth to the Two (Yin and Yang),
the Two give birth to the Three (Heaven, Earth, Humanity),
the Three give birth to every living thing.

All things are held in Yin and carry Yang,
and they are held together in the Ch'i
of teeming energy."

Duality is One with Life and Being.

When we are most whole, we are playing
with what Joseph Campbell called,
"the potentials of this infinitely and incessantly
changing universal duad (Yin and Yang)."

Living authentically, genuinely, honestly
is being true to the contradictions within,
bearing the tension of being two things at once
(I want to be the best father/husband/etc. who ever lived,
and I don't want to be a father/husband/etc. at all!).

"This is the way things are,
and this is the way things also are,
and that is the way things ARE!"

"This is the way things are,
and this is what can be done about it,
and that's the way things are!"

We honor the rhythms of life
in the way we live with life,
within life.

"The tide comes in,
and the tide turns around,
and the tide goes out,
and the tide turns around,
and the tide comes in..."

Ebb and flow,
up and down,
right and left,
forward and backward,
Yin and Yang...

We dance with our circumstances,
moving with the rhythm of our life,
in sync with the Tao,
doing what is called for
by the time and place of our living,
through all the times and places of our living,
without imposing our idea of how things 
ought to be,
but honoring how things are,
and what needs to be done in light of it,
here and now,
all our life long.

"and there is only the dance" (T.S. Eliot).



Cypress Mandala/Adams Millpond Mirror-Mirror Oil Pant Rendered — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina
Our depth is without end.
We will never get to the bottom
of who we are.
There will always be
more to us than meets the eye.
Why do we stop exploring ourselves
so soon?

That is the line separating
ignorance from intelligence.

Intelligence has nothing to do
with how smart we are,
or how educated we are,
and has everything to do 
with how inquisitive we are,
and how playful we are.

Most scientists are intelligent people
because they love questions
and delight in playing with possibilities,
and imagining new worlds,
and seeing what makes things work,
and keeps things from working.

Ignorant people know what they like,
and what they don't like,
and that's that.
They think the way 
they are supposed to think,
and do things the way 
they ought to be done.
And that's that.

Ignorant people and intelligent people
have a hard time getting along,
and rarely spend much time together.
When they are thrown together
by a natural disaster
or a war,
they can cooperate in getting the job done,
but then it's back to their way
of being who they are
with people who are like them.

It is great to have people who are like us.
That makes it easier
and a lot more fun
being who we are.


We have to learn to do that
without making people who are not like us
into enemies
whom we disparage,
and monsterize.

We have to learn to listen to one another
around the table,
across the oceans.

We have to pretend we are all
in foxholes together,
saving the environment,
defeating the pandemic-of-the-day,
sharing resources,
and improving the quality of life
for everyone everywhere.

The world is not a friendly place.
And that's where we all come in.
We can befriend one another
without everybody being the same.

Why not?

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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