February 26, 2021


Cape Lookout Lighthouse Oil Paint Rendered — Carteret County, Southern Outer Banks, North Carolina
What do you take your time with?
Spend time with?
What do you do well?
What do you care about?
What do you believe in--
not as a statement of faith,
but as a declaration 
of what is important to you,
of what matters to you?

These are centering questions.
They point you to--
they reveal to you--
the things you can't be talked out of,
the things that are central to you,
that express/exhibit/incarnate
who you are.

They are windows into who you are.
Visit them with that in mind.
See what they have to say to you,
about you--
what they might reveal to you
about who else you are,
and what might also be yours to do.



Peyto Lake 01 Oil Paint Rendered — Banff National Park, Alberta
I think that in order to see things clearly,
we would have to look at them
with the advantage of being fluent
in several languages.
My favs would be:
and Cherokee--
though I would be open
to substitutions
and additions.

I would love to know how the world looks
through the lens of those languages.

What becomes visible and invisible
as we move down, or up, the list?

How does how we say what we see
limit/expand/enable us to see 
what we look at?

If you can help me with this,
I would like to hear what you have to say,
perhaps using the comment option
at the bottom of this page.

And whether or not you can assist me here,
I count it against me and my handlers
that I was not introduced to other languages
earlier in my life,
and urged with passion
and relentless pursuit
to learn more than one language
not native to me.

It is a regret that I did not do so
that I will carry with me to the grave,
and into whatever lies beyond.

A second chance would be
put to good use.



Winter Berries Oil Paint Rendered — Greensboro, North Carolina
The old Taoists talk about 
living in accord with the Tao.

I take that to mean
living in the flow of life,
in tune with what is happening
and what needs to happen in response,
and doing it because it needs to be done
for the sake of doing it alone.

This is a jam session 
of bluegrass musicians,
at one with the music,
going where the music takes them,
with each musician at one
with their instrument
and with the other musicians
at the same time,
for the simple joy and wonder
of participating in the music,
of being graced and blessed
by the music.

Living in accord with the Tao.

We can do that with our life
by practicing the skills of being
attuned to our life.

That means silence, 
and being aware of the present moment
on all levels
without being hooked,
owned by anything--
being aware without judgment or opinion
of all that is with us in the moment.

Seeing what we look at,
hearing what is being said
and how we are responding,
knowing what's what,
just sitting,
just seeing,
just hearing,
just knowing,
and watching what arises unbidden
as impulse,
as calling,
as invitation
to do what needs to be done
without having anything invested
in the outcome,
with nothing to gain or to lose,
just doing what needs to be done,
because it needs to be done,
doing it and being done with it
for the joy of doing it
and moving back into sitting
and seeing,
and hearing...

It's the practice that allows us
to resonate with our life,
and enter the dance,
being danced by the music of life
for the wonder of it all,
in tune and in time with flow
of life and being.



Big Creek 00 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Big Creek District, Waterville, North Carolina
An inventory of the things we care about--
and the degree to which we care about them--
is a good practice to include
in our regimen for maintaining 
our awareness of ourselves
and our life
throughout the time left for living.

What matters to us?
How is that evident in the way
we live our life?
How would anybody know it matters to us?

What are the basic, fundamental, core, essential
concerns that ground us,
orient us,
and around which our life coalesces?

What do we serve with all our heart,
mind,soul and strength?

Who would know that about us?

Meditate on these things.



Rangeley Lake Sunset Oil Paint Rendered — Rangeley, Maine
Old people have a hard time
processing change.
They like it the way it was.

Old people tend to be in charge of things,
because of their position 
in the community,
because many of them are wealthy
and have the power associated
with money,
and because it is traditionally assumed 
that old people know what they are doing.

I'm talking about the Republican Party here.

The Republican Party is devious 
to a fault.

It calls multi-million dollar tax cuts
to wealthy corporations and individuals

They call financial assistance to farmers

And they call aid to the poor,
both in terms of financial help
and in terms of programs to assist
poor people with job training, health care
and child care,

Republicans have no shame,
no conscience,
no guilt,
no compassion,
no heart,
no soul,
no concern for anyone
not like them.

And they will say and do anything
to maintain their power and extend it
over poor people
and all people of color.

They justify what they are doing
in 10,000 ways,
all of which come down to 
"I'm going to do this 
because I want to
and you can't stop me!"

Leaving the rest of us with no recourse
but to band together
and vote in every election,
local, state and national,
and vote for whomever has the best chance to win
who is not a Republican
for as long as we still have
the right to vote.

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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