April 07, 2021

01

On Roan Mountain 29 06/19/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Roan Mountain Highlands, Carver’s Gap, North Carolina/Tennessee
Our balance and harmony
are strictly contingent 
on our safety,
security
and stability--
which, in turn, rely
on our being free
from the intrusions,
incursions,
invasions and overrunings
of Those Who Know Best
And Must Be Pleased.

Balance and harmony
are generated by,
and flow from,
a life that is lived
from its own center,
doing what it needs to do,
when it needs to do it,
how it needs to do it
without any pressure or direction
from sources other than itself.

Balance and harmony
are the source 
of vitality,
spirit,
joy,
enthusiasm,
ardor,
fervor,
passion,
zeal,
vigor,
and all related aspects
of being fully alive.

And they hinge on our
being in charge of the life
we are living--
and on being right about
what is being called for
from the heart of that life.

We have to know what is right for us,
and live out of that
without having to make anyone else happy
with us and what we are doing.

The more advisors/directors we have,
the crazier and deader we become.

Who is running your life?
If it isn't you
(And if you aren't right about
what is right for you),
they are ruining your life
and taking the life right out of you.

Wake up!
Reclaim your place
as the servant of the signals
arising from the depths of knowing
within your own soul/psyche!

And begin doing what you know
needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
where and when it needs to be done.

Restore your balance and harmony,
live your life!

–0–

02

Crepe Myrtle 07 03/27/2021 Oil Paint Rendered
What guides our boat on its path through the sea?

Answering this question properly
takes us to the heart of the matter.
To the heart of who we are
and where the impulses of our action
comes from.

There are two options at this point:
What we want to do, and
What we must do.

If you don't know the difference
it is because your wants 
have become musts,
and you must have what you want 
right NOW!

You are being driven/compelled 
by your own wanting/craving/desiring
to have/get/possess/do.
Your sense of peace and satisfaction
disappear like dew before the morning sun.
And you must have/do the next latest thing NOW!
again.

And the horror here is 
that you are like everyone else you know
in this regard.
All we know is what we want
and this isn't it.

The good news is bad news.

There is a way out of the endless cycle 
of constantly wanting more
and being content with nothing,
but.

It is like death itself.

Jesus becomes the model here.
Not the Jesus of the Church,
every church,
all churches,
who says reliably, 
dependably,
consistently,
constantly,
"Come to me,
and I will give you
what you want forever."

That Jesus is a sales pitch
and nothing more.
The Church should be ashamed.
But.
It knows we can't handle the truth
and tells us a lie
to keep us coming back
to want and to do what it takes
to have what we want,
though we never can.

The Real Jesus 
stands before us and says:
"I am the way, the truth,
and the life,
and no one comes to the Father
but by me."
And he tells us 
to pick up our cross
and come with him
to Golgotha.

Not what we have in mind.

"Death and resurrection, Kid.
Death and resurrection!"

The life is on the other side of death.
We have to die again and again
in bearing the pain of being alive.

That is the path away from wanting/having
to doing what it takes
to be fully alive in the moment of our living.

We have to bear the pain
of not having what we want
in order to have what we want.
In order to have what is essential.
In order to be fully, completely,
totally alive.

We have to die in order to live.

This is the path from want to must.

When we do what we must do,
what we want to do is pushed aside,
becomes irrelevant,
inconsequential,
frivolous,
ridiculous,
absurd. 

Abraham Maslow said that people live for five things: Survival, Security, Personal Relationships, Prestige, and Self Development.

Joseph Campbell said,

"These are precisely not the values that a mythically inspired person lives for.

"A person who is really gripped by a dedication, by a zeal, will sacrifice all these things for the sake of his or her own passion.

"These five values are the values people live for who have nothing to live for. Nothing has seized, caught, or driven these people “spiritually mad.”

"These people, aren’t worth talking to."

These people want what they want
but don't know what to want.
And they have to allow themselves
to be gripped by a compelling must
whose origin comes from beyond 
wanting and wanting not,
which is the deep source
of what is right for us
irregardless of circumstance
and preference.

To do what must be done,
we must be still and quiet
and wait for the dust to settle
and the air to clear,
watching for what arises,
emerges, appears, occurs to us
from the silence,
beckoning us to 
take up the adventure 
of being alive
in the time left for living,
no matter what.

–0–

03

Peach Blossoms 03/23/2021 04 Oil Paint Rendered — Springs Farm, Fort Mill South Carolina
When Jesus said, "The spirit is like the wind
that blows where it will,"
He was saying that the spirit 
doesn't know what it is going to do next.
It knows what it is doing now,
but not next.

The spirit is always doing now
exactly what needs to be done,
but it will be something else next.

It will need to be done,
but it won't be what is being done now.

Now and next are different that way.
And what all is after that is 
completely beyond speculation.

Now is enough.
Or, as Jesus said,
"Today's trouble is sufficient for today."
Now is always favorable for something,
what varies from time to time.
So we have to be on our toes,
at the ready--
the wind might shift at any moment.

Those who live with the wind
that blows where it will
in their hair
travel light,
with few presumptions
and fewer agendas.
They ride loose in the saddle,
and walk light on their feet,
with their eyes always open,
and ears tuned to the silent nudges
of "the still small voice"
calling them to tend
what needs to be tended
at the time that is at hand.

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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