March 05, 2021


Roadside Cascade 03 Oil Paint Rendered — near Chimney’s Picnic Area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
I've been wondering lately
about what's working.
Government is not working anywhere.
Democracy is not working in the US
or the UK.
The GOP is the most dysfunctional political party
I have ever lived with.
I could go on.
And on.
About what is not working.

Gravity is working.
Music is working.
Poetry is working.
AUMMMMmmmmmm... is working.
Ice cream is working.
COVID vaccines are working.

A lot of things are working just fine.

How about you?
Are you working?
I'm working above 85% most days.
I'd like to do it all over,
with me as my father.
That would have been exactly
what I needed at the start.
It took me way too long
to begin fathering myself.

We all would have been better off
with better parents.
And our parents would have been better off
with better parents.
And so on,
all the way back to Lucy,
and whomever played the role of Dezzy.

But, here we are.
Now what?

This is our boat
and it is up to us to paddle it.
Just as it is.
There is no taking it back
to the Boat dealer for a refund,
or a trade.

So, what's working about your life?
What is not working?
What can you do to work around 
what is not working?
To work with what is not working?

If you separate what is not working
from what is working,
what do you have to work with?
What is the part that is working
asking of you?
What does it need to work better?
What is it calling for?

How about focusing more of you time
and attention on what is working,
and less on what is not working?

Just paying attention to what is working,
and to what is not working,
would be a good place to start. 
Just observe what is working
and what is not working.
Just be aware of what is working,
and what is not working.

See where awareness alone takes you.

And add awareness to your list 
of things that are working.

I just added it to mine!



Sandy Stream Pond Panorama 02 Oil Paint Rendered — Baxter State Park, Millinocket, Maine
There is what we do to pay the bills,
and there is what we pay the bills to do.

These two things are primary,
the fundamental,
base requirements for being alive.

We have to be clear about those two things,
what we are doing and why we are doing it.

And, we have to bear the pain
of the compromises required to do
those two things.
And all the other things we do
in conjunction with those two things.

Most of the other things we do
have no bearing on the two primary things.
And they take all our energy and attention
away from the two primary things.

Our focus and attention has very little to do
with the two primary things,
and everything to do with
escape, distraction, diversion and denial
regarding our life,
and what we are doing,
and why we are doing it,
and what we are to be about,
and how differently we should be living
in order to be about it.

Our life is where we hide from life.

List the things you hate about your life
and the things you love about your life.
And tell me where you spend your time,
doing things on each list.

You spend your time doing the things
you hate about your life.

You talk about what you love,
you do what you hate.
And you wonder why you aren't happy.

You aren't happy because you aren't alive.
You are mostly dead.
Because of the way you spend your time.

Being alive requires you to transform
your relationship with yourself
and with your life.
And bear the pain of the contradictions
involved with what you do to pay the bills
and what you pay the bills to do.

Being alive requires us to bear the pain
of being alive.

Jesus said, "Pick up your cross every day
and come with me."

Our cross is the pain of being alive--
the pain of the contradictions involved
with being alive.

We live to incarnate the contradictions,
to integrate the contradictions,
to be the contradictions,
between what we do to pay the bills
and what we pay the bills to do.

We bring Yang and Yin to life in our life.
We are Yang and Yin.

The Tao gives rise to the Source.
The Source gives rise to Yin and Yang.
Yin and Yang give rise to
heaven and earth and human beings.
And from those three
everything else flows.

Our work is to live in such a way
as to smooth the flow
by consciously bearing the pain
of the contradictions at work
in our life.

Where is your pain?
Your agony?
Your anguish?
Your contradictions?
Walk into it.
Embrace it.
Dance with it.
Work with it.
Laugh with it.
Love it.

Reconcile what can be reconciled.
Maintain the tension between
irreconcilable polarities.
Do what needs to be done
in light of all opposites,
and differences.

Integrity is holding all of it together
in the light of awareness
and doing what is called for
in each situation as it arises
upon the heaving waves
of the wine-dark sea.

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.

One thought on “March 05, 2021

  1. Thanks Jim. This is truly pulling me into my first day back at the Nursery! Right on time,  friend 👍

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android


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