March 17, 2021


Two Rocks 01 Oil Paint Rendered — Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine, Black and White
We are here to love life
and pass it on.

We love life by doing what we love.
We pass it on by helping others
do what they love.

Is this simple, or, as they say, what?

"How can I help?"
is the question we ask
of each situation as it arises.

What will likely help the most is two things:
Hearing what is being said in the situation,
and hearing how it is being said.
The how is more important than the what.

In each situation,
we are being asked 
to respond to the what
and to the how.

Respond to the how first.
The how conditions the what.

What is being said with the how?
The list is long,
but it won't take you long
to identify the what of the how.

Once you get a sense of that,
acknowledge it appropriately,
and see where that leads.
Address the how first
because that may alter the what,
shifting the focus of the situation
in an entirely different direction
from what it would have been
if you had made the what
your first order of business.

Situations are rarely what they appear to be.
The how is a clue to what is behind the scenes--
to the what hiding in the what--
to the what else is there
besides the apparent what.

You are already helping the situation,
and you just got started!

The key to all of this 
is turning the light around,
the light being your focus
as you go about your life.

Enjoying your life just as it is
right here, right now,
is your proper focus--
loving your life "thus come,"
"as it is,"
and helping others love their life
in the same way--
and this is a shift in focus
from the normal way of living 
to exploit every situation as it arises
for what you take to be your advantage,
your good,
your profit,
your gain...

We think we are a failure
if we don't have more at the end of the day
than we had at the beginning.

We are a failure if we don't enjoy the day
just as it is from start to finish!
Day after day,
year after year.

That's turning the light around.
It is all we need to do 
to transform our life 
and help everyone toward
a better life than the life 
they are living.

Mind how you go!



Cypress Trees 11/11/2015 01 Oil Paint Rendered — Adams Mill Pond, Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina
I don't have any idea why I like what I like.
Do you?
And if you do, ask "Why?" of every answer,
and you will eventually get to the point of saying,
"I don't have any idea."

I don't know why I see things the way I do.
Do you?
Same thing about "Why" after every answer.
Same outcome: "I don't know why."

I don't know why I feel the way I do;
why I have the opinions I have;
why I believe what I believe;
why I do what I do;
what is guiding my boat
on its path through the sea...

And on, and on, and on...

We are held in place and motivated
by forces we cannot imagine.

"DNA" is as close as we can come.
But: "How did it get into our DNA?"
And: "Where does DNA come from?"
Etc. On and on...

We all are
"Working on mysteries without any clues"
(Bob Seger, "Night Moves,").

If you think we are not,
start asking, "What makes me think so?"
and ask that of every answer
you come up with,
and "How do I know that is so?"
and "How do I know they know 
what they are talking about?"

We take it all "on faith."
Because that is where 
all the questions lead.

And we don't know what is beyond that.
Or, if anything is.



Cypress Swamp 08 03/28/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Lake Martin, Beaux Bridge, Louisiana
I recommend stepping into each day
unarmed and ready for anything--
with nothing to gain
and nothing to lose--
interested only in seeing what happens,
what you do in response,
and where it goes.

Our only guidance and direction
comes from doing right by the moment
in light of all things considered.
What does the moment call for?
What response shall we make?

Don't have a plan beyond
looking and listening,
seeing and hearing,
and asking all the questions
that beg to be asked
by the situation at hand.

Questions lead the way.
"Answers are merely steps
on the way to better questions"
(Author unknown).
Every answer comes packed
with questions to be asked
of every answer.

Do not leave any question unasked!

Don't take anything 
more seriously
than it deserves.

And mind where you go.



Carolina Thread Trail 11/18/2016 02 Oil Paint Rendered, York County, North Carolina
All we have is Truth.
Truth is all there is.
Truth is our only weapon,
in our confrontation
with deception,
and death.

Truth stands its ground,
and unafraid.

Truth is the solid rock,
the ground and foundation
of equanimity,
balance and harmony.

The source of the Tao.
The integrating wholeness
of Yin and Yang.
The origin and end 
of all that is.

Truth holds everything together.
And asks all of the questions
that beg to be asked
by everything that is,
and was,
and will be.

It is Truth
all the way down.

Servants of Truth
simply ask the questions
that cry out to be asked,
and let nature take its course,
trusting themselves to Truth all the way.  



Eastern Bluebird 03 Oil Paint Rendered — Scenes From My Hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina
The rallying cry of Fascists
around the world is:
"It is people like you
who make people like us
hate people like you! 
And we have to kill you
before you take over
and confiscate our guns
and treat us 
like we treat you!"

Fascists live in fear
of everyone not like them.

Black people and Asians
are most easily identified
as "not like them,"
so they go at the top of their list,
but The Libs are also there,
and anyone with a foreign accent,
or a foreign sounding name,
or anyone wearing a mask,
or not wearing a red cap.

Fascism is terror and hatred
given free rein. 

Fascism is at the heart
of every Pogrom ever launched
for whatever "reason."

And there are not "fine people
on both sides."

Fascists hate fine people,
and murder them in their dreams,
and in real time.

And fascists and fascism
are taking over democracy.
Democracy lends itself to fascist takeovers.
All fascists have to do
is keep people from voting.
Gerrymandering and voter suppression
make it a snap.

Those of us who are not fascist
have to become the enemy of fascism
the fascists think we are.
We have to become vocal,
calling it out,
making it known,
declaring it to be the evil it is,
giving it no quarter,
no disguise,
no place to hide,
naming it,
denouncing it,
opposing it at every point.

We can start by not calling them "Republicans,"
but Fascists--
because that is who they are. 

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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