January 25, 2021


Dune Shadows Oil Paint Rendered — Star Dune, Mesquite Dunes, Death Valley, California
If heart could be coached,
everyone would be LeBron James.

Books on how to play chess,
and tennis,
and on like that forever,
are published and sold
every year. 

Books on how to play anything
(or live) 
with heart,
are hard to come by.

What is it with heart,
that only a few people get,
and everybody else wonders about?

I don't know.
I take photos with heart.
I work with photos in Photoshop with heart.
I read and write with heart.
And, by that I mean,
nothing is going to stop me.
"Not no way.
Not no how"
(The Wizard of Oz).

And, I would bet you $20,
if I still did that kind of thing.
That each one of you
has something
no one can talk you out of
or scare you away from.
I would bet there is something
you all do with heart.

But not everything.

LeBron James doesn't do everything with heart.
Probably a lot of things.

So, rather than tell you 
how to live with heart,
I'm going to ask you
to be aware of 
where in your life 
you live with heart.

And suggest that you 
increase the amount of time
you spend in those places,
doing those things.

The more time we spend with things
that are meaningful to us--
the things we do with heart--
the happier we are
and the happier other people are
to be around us.

It works out well for everyone!

Let your heart tell you what to do
and you will catch yourself
smiling for no reason
throughout the time left for living.



Jordan Pond 09/23/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine
I wish the people I was born into
had known what they should have known--
and that I had grown up
knowing what I should have known--
and that even now, 
I knew what I should know,
just by virtue of being alive,
and having been alive,
all these years.

Why don't I know what was there
to be known
from the start--
and at every step along the way
from then to now?

Why don't I know all I do know,
right now?

Like what I don't know,
for example.
Why don't I know what I don't know?

Everything would be better
with some mindful awareness,
with some attention to what's what,
with some attentive presence
in every moment
of every day.

We are all somewhere else 
most of the time.
We all think we would be better off
somewhere else,
and drift away from here
into what we dislike about here,
and how we wish we were there,
no there,
no there-over-there...

I ache to just be here.
Fully here.
Fully now.
Fully present to life
as I am living it.

To be there.
Not here.



First Light on Bow River 09/21/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Banff National Park, Alberta
I have to orient myself
in time and space,

In a "Here I am, now what?"
kind of way.

I have to get my feet under me,
remember who I am and what I am about,
find my foundation stone,
live from the center,
again and again
throughout the day.

There is no carry-over
from one moment to the next,
from one situation to the next.

I cannot live from my memory
of how I just did it.

I have to start all over,
begin anew,
as though I just plopped out off the womb,
and have to find my way 
through the first moment of my life
from the very beginning.

I have been taking photographs seriously,
that is intentionally,
with purpose and knowledge of how to do it
for over twenty years.
And I step into every scene,
and it is the first scene.

I have forgotten everything--
or all of the important things--
since the last scene.

I am assuming that because I just did it,
this scene will be just like that one,
and I don't check the focus.

Back in the film days,
I would forget to put film in the camera
starting out.
Or the film wouldn't "catch" on the clip,
and I wouldn't remember to see
if the rewind knob on the camera was turning
as I advanced the film.

You can't miss a detail!

I don't know what the equivalent
of film in the camera,
loaded and working properly,
is for you,
but I know there is one.

There is one for everybody.

We cannot do it, whatever it is,
like we have always done it,
and do a very good job of doing it.
We have to do it 
as though we have never done it, ever.

We have to be new at it.
This has to be the first time.

We have to live as though this is our first day
on the job.

We have to see with fresh eyes.
Hear with fresh ears.
Be alert to our assumptions
and inferences,
and expectations,
and all the things we are taking for granted.

The world is new in some sense
every moment.
We cannot sleepwalk through our life.



Schwabacher Landing 06/15/2001 Oil Paint Rendered — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming
How to be in the moment.
How to do right by the moment.
How to live for the sake of the moment.

These are the lessons of life.

You think it is about getting somewhere.
About attaining something.

Everybody is out for what they can get.
What they can get is determined
by what they want.

They don't know what to want.
They want everything.
They are kids at the candy counter.

What does wanting know?
What informs wanting?
Where does wanting come from?
What are we hungry for?
Starving for?
Dying for?

What is it going to take
to satisfy us?

Wanting drives us through life
searching for what we want,
for what is worth wanting,
for what is worth our time.

No one can tell us.
No one knows.
It is all up to us.

Enter The Silence.
Seek The Tao.
They work in tandem.
I think they are the same.
They are on the same side
of the coin.

The other side of the coin
is Yin and Yang.
They also work together.
They also are the same.

The coin is The Source
of what we seek.
The coin is what we seek.
We live to serve the coin.
We belong to the coin.


In possession of the coin,
we are possessed by the coin.
We are the coin.
"The Father and I are one"
(The Mother and I are one).
There is only one.
We are it.
It is we.

For what?
For Life!

It is all about being alive--
but more than that:
Being alive to being alive!
Living at one with all things!
Particularly ourselves!
Living at one with ourselves!


If you think that's easy,
give it a spin.

First, we have to get out of the way.
We don't even know what that means.
We think there is only us here.
How could we be in the way?

Kidding ourselves is what we do best.
Lying to ourselves is what we do best!
Telling ourselves what we want to hear
is what we do best!!
Shooting ourselves in the foot
is what we do best!!!

We excel in sabotaging ourselves.
In being in our way.
We are not even one with ourselves.
Where do we start?
What do we do?

Enter The Silence.
Engage/Live in accord with the Tao.
Integrate Yin/Yang.
Live with sincerity,
balance and harmony.
Know what you know.
See what you look at.
Be transparent to yourself.
Which makes you transparent to transcendence.
And one with all things.
Alive to the moment of your living.
Alive to being alive.
To the wonder of being alive.
To the wonder of all things.

The work of a lifetime.
Begins here and now. 

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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