March 02, 2021


Grand Canyon 12 Oil Paint Rendered — South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
If you don't know what I mean,
you can't expect to understand
what I'm saying.

We get to meanings
through the process
of living our lives.
By the track our thoughts take,
the questions we ask,
the books we read,
the conversations we engage in,
and those we overhear...

The experience of life leads us
to the meanings we share,
and if that doesn't do it,
nothing will.

The experience of life 
brings us together,
or forces separation--
accidents of time and place.

We speak to each other
out of our experience of life.
If our experience isn't close--
or if it is close,
but impacted us in vastly different ways--
we will live in worlds apart,
nodding, perhaps,
and smiling in passing.



Grayson Highlands 01 Oil Paint Rendered — Grayson Highlands State Park, Mouth of Wilson, Virginia
If we are looking at things the wrong way,
nothing is going to change for the better
about our life
for as long as our way of seeing
remains unchanged.

The Natural Law flowing from this is:
If we want things to change,
we have to change the way
we are looking at things.

Its corollary states:
Nothing can change until we do.

If our life isn't working,
we have to realize it is our life
that isn't working,
and not the way the world is
that isn't working.

It is the way we are in the world
that isn't working.

We have to realize that
and get to work revising
the way we look at the world.

That means reexamining everything.
Our expectations.
Our inferences.
Our assumptions.
Our preferences.
Our opinions.
Our positions.
Our conclusions.
Our certainties.
Our convictions...

We have to see the way 
we are seeing things
and ask the questions
that beg to be asked
about how we see 
what we look at.

What makes us think
the way we see things
is the way things are?

Where does that line lie?
The one between the way we see
and the way things are?

Become proficient in finding it,
and knowing the difference
between how we think things are
and how things are.

Or, in just remembering 
there is a difference!



Roadside Rhododendrons 01 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Julian Price Memorial Park, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
We have become so automatic with our living
that we have no idea
when our heart gave up on us
and left the game.

We have been dead for so long
that all we know is the funeral march
and the dirges that never end.

Occasionally, we wake up in the night,
gripped by the realization 
that this isn't it,
but we think that more of what isn't working
is the cure,
and redouble our efforts
to have a good time
when what we call "a good time"
hasn't been good for anything
from the start.

Who are we kidding?
Why are we kidding anyone?
Would somebody please tell us
what the hell is going on here?
And why aren't we happy about it?

Oh, this is where I come in!

We are wasting our life
is what is going on here.
And have been for time past remembering.
We are wandering around
in the Waste Land,
trolling for some reason 
to go on with it.

We are suffering from the
complete loss of authenticity.
The utter dissociation from integrity.
The total takeover of artificiality. 

We quit living the day we started
thinking our way through our life.

When was the last time we felt
our way from one thing to the next?
Our To Do List informs us
of what needs to be done!
Without that kind of direction,
we have no clue about what to do
with ourselves.
And we are terrified
of being left alone
to figure it out on our own.

What if we are wrong?

We have been wrong for so long,
right left when our heart did.

It's time to get those babies back!

Sit down and wait for something
to stir within.
Something authentic, genuine, real, true.
With the force 
of needing to go to the toilet
directing us to act.

Wait for your heart to wake up
and take over the driver's seat.
And don't move until it does.
Even to go to the toilet.

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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