December 31, 2020


Road to Botany Bay 12/04/2014 Oil Paint Rendering — Botany Bay Historical Preserve and Wildlife Refuge, Edisto Island, South Carolina
We do not know what to do
about many things,
and we have no control over
many more things,
but this moment,
here and now,
demands our presence
and our response.

All of our anxiety and anguish
over what will happen
can be set aside
for this moment right here, 
right now,
and we can attend to the matters at hand--
listening to what is being called for,
seeing what is happening
and what needs to happen in response,
and we can wash the dishes,
or the clothes,
or let the dog out,
or in, 
take a shower,
pay bills...

Our full participation
in the time and place of our living,
is required
by the forces that have arraigned 
for us to be here, now.

It is no accident that we are here, now.
We were born for this moment,
right here,
right now.

This is our time to shine!
We cannot miss the moment with our name on it
because of something that might,
or might not happen tomorrow,
or next year.

Let tomorrow's troubles wait until tomorrow!
Today's aren't done with us yet!
This ride is for one day at a time!



Jonathan Creek Rapids 04/12/2014 Oil Paint Rendering — Maggie Valley, North Carolina
This is from Joseph Campbell, in Myths to Live By:

"The incredible beauty of life in the world 
(properly perceived) lies in recognizing 
great poverty, suffering, cruelty and injustices, 
all the usual concomitants of existence in this 
vale of tears, as being present there in full 
measure--as they are everywhere, and as they 
will be, world without end. But there is also, 
as the Buddhists say, escape from suffering. 
The escape from suffering is nirvāna. And nirvāna 
is this world itself, exactly as it is, 
when experienced without desire and fire, 
just as it is. It is here! It is here!"

The world is to be perceived as an optical illusion,
presenting us with two views of reality
at the same time,
but which are apparent only one-at-a-time--
but the two are one,
and what we emphasize
is "the way it is,"
and what we de-emphasize
is "the way it also is."

We live with a foot in each world,
and are citizens of both worlds.
Yin and Yang.
Contradictions at the heart of life and being,
bound together throughout time,
neither canceling out the other,
both the foundational opposite of the other,
coming together as one
in the mind of those 
who see them as they are
(and also are).

We join the worlds
when we say, "YES!" to both,
and bind them together 
in our willing, 
even welcoming,
and "participate joyfully
in the sorrows of the world,"
as though it is our very delight
to do so,
because it is!



Dogwood on Little River 04/15/2008 Oil Paint Rendering — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tremont District, Tennessee
Meditation is contemplation is reflection
leading to new realizations
and a new relationship with ourselves,
other people,
and the world in which we live.

It is a transformative way of perceiving
what we look at,
of knowing what we think we know,
that changes the way we live.

Just as we breathe all the time,
without intentionally breathing
any of the time,
so, we can reflect, 
without formally,
calling "time out"
from what we are doing 
to do it.

We can live meditatively
just by shifting into a mode
of "receptive presence,"
in which we receive the moment,
into our awareness,
and being aware of everything about it,
including our emotional reaction to it,
evaluate it all 
in terms of what is happening
and what is called for
and offering what we have to give
in the service of balance and harmony
and the good of the whole,
with all things considered.

If you can do better than that,
do it!



Oconaluftee River 04/13/2014 Oil Paint Rendering — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee, North Carolina
Everybody wants what is good for them.
Nobody knows what that is.
Everybody thinks they do.
And here we are.

What does wanting know?
"Absolutely nothing!"
We spend our life 
learning that fundamental rule
of existence.

What we want is not a trustworthy guide.

No one wants to grow up.
We all grow up against our will.

Joseph Campbell capsules it for us:
"Do what you want!" he says,
"Not what someone else tells you to want!"

And then he says,
"That which you seek
lies far back in the darkest corner
of the cave you most do not want to enter!"

What's good for us?
That which we most do not want!

Walt Kelly nailed us a few years back:
"We have met the enemy,
and he is us!"

Which puts us where?
With having to see what we look at,
and know what we know!

We cannot stop too soon on the path
to the Land of Promise!
We have to go all the way
to the end of the line!
No stopping before it's done!

This means it is not a matter
of getting what we want!
We are all called beyond what we want
to what wants us!

We are here to serve a purpose not our own!
We belong to another,
whom we do not know!
And cannot begin to live--
to be fully alive--
until we understand
the full implications of
"Thy will, not mine, be done!"

Whose will is operative in our life?
Who is guiding our boat
on it's path through the sea?
Why do we do what we do?
Who is in charge here?
How do we get to the bottom 
of who we are?

We start with knowing we do not know!
We are awash in the Mystery of Life and Being!

Sit still and be quiet
until you know you do not know
what you need to know
to do what needs you to do it.

Then, begin listening
on a level beyond
wants and wishes
and dreams of happiness ever after.

Listen to the source 
of what you hear.
Listen to the center
of who you are.
Listen to the origin
of your ideas about good and bad,
you and not you and also you.

Seek all there is to know about you.

Chase everything that comes up
in the silence
back to where it came from.

Why this?
Why now?
What is it saying?
What do I need to hear?
How am I blocking what is calling my name?

The adventure begins
when we stop thinking
we are in charge,
and seek the source of the summons
to find our life and live it.

Even if it lies far back
in the darkest corner
of the cave
we most don't want to enter.

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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