January 27, 2021

03

Mt. Rundle Oil Paint Rendered — Vermillion Lakes, Banff National Park, Alberta
The single most important thing you can do
to improve your chances
of living well upon the earth
throughout the time left for living
is to become accomplished
in taking "No" for an answer.

By "accomplished" I mean
taking "No" for an answer
when, where, and how it needs to be done
the way it needs to be done
every time it needs to be done,
with grace and aplomb
in the moment and over time
(That means no pouting,
sulking,
resentment
or keeping score).

Begin practicing by asking people
ridiculous favors,
knowing they will have to say "No,"
and taking it like the Ace
you are working to become!

–0–

02

Medicine Lake Bed 09/28/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Jasper National Park, Alberta
Doing what is not-meaningful
better be supporting what is meaningful
by providing us with the wherewithal
to do the things that make our little heart sing
and our little toes dance
with the rest of the time 
that is ours left to live.

If we are doing what is not-meaningful
in order to do what is not-meaningful,
we have to sit ourselves down
and have a come to your senses
and get your feet under you
and start living from your center talk.

And, if you don't know what your center is,
remain seated until the mud settles
and the water clears
and you know beyond doubt or hesitation
what is and is not your center,
your still point,
your adamantine foundation stone
upon which you and your life are anchored.

Your life is your responsibility.
What you do with it is up to you.
Waiting for some magical motivation
to pull it all together for you
is waiting for Godot,
who doesn't exist
and will never arrive.

Stop living magically,
and start doing what is meaningful to you.
That is all the magic anyone needs
to live the life that is waiting to be lived!

–0–

01

Into Golden Canyon 03/15/2007 Oil Paint Rendered — Death Valley National Park, California
I wish Republicans would tell me
what the good is they call good,
and what the evil is they call evil.
One-on-one, I mean.
Not some senator speaking
for all Republicans everywhere.

I want to know from the people 
who are proud to be Republicans
what they are so proud of.

What values/principles/standards
are guiding their boat 
on its path through the sea?

And, while we are at it,
I want to know what yours are.

I want to know how clear you are 
about them,
how well thought out they are,
and how they are reflected
in your daily life,
how they impact the people around you.

In what specific,
concrete,
tangible ways
do they guide your boat
through each day?

How would I know they are important to you
by watching you live your life?

What is the good you call good?
The evil you call evil?
Good for whom?
Evil for whom?
Whose life is better for it?
Whose life is worse for it?

And, while we are at it,
I'll say that the good I call good
is best described by the terms
Freedom!
Equality!
Justice!
Truth!

And by the principle of 
doing the right thing,
in the right way,
at the right time,
moment-to-moment,
situation-by-situation,
day-by-day.

I can't do better than 
living in ways which 
serve those terms
and that principle.

And I endeavor consciously,
willfully,
intentionally,
deliberately
to do that
in the way I live every day.

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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