April 27, 2021

01

Beach Erosion Panorama 08 12/06/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina
Following Joseph Campbell's lead,
it is ours to understand 
that it is not enough to live
a merely correct life,
but to aspire to live a life
that is perfectly apt,
moment to moment,
in each situation as it arises.

A perfectly apt life
requires us to be alive and alert 
to each moment,
like a cat stalking a bird,
or a bird searching for a moth.

A merely correct life
only has to make sure 
we have toed the right lines,
and made our mother happy.

To be correct,
we only have to know 
what is expected of us,
what we should do in this case,
or that one,
by the book,
following orders.

We don't have to have any idea
of what is being asked of us,
of what is called for,
of what is needed,
of what it is time for 
here and now.

A perfectly apt life
has to read each here and now.
not in terms of what ought to be done
to please some external authority,
but in terms of what must be done
to meet the moment's need
for the right thing
done at the right time
in the right way,
as a dancer might flow 
with the music,
or the cat might pounce
on the bird,
or the bird 
on the moth.

Aptness is a different level of life,
far removed from basic correctness,
and intent on achieving an Olympic Gold
quality of perfection
in being the unique answer each situation seeks
all our life long.

Aptness is not content 
to just "pass muster,"
but lives to be so attuned
to the situation at hand
that nothing escapes its view
or eludes its vision.

Seeing, hearing, knowing,
doing, being are its tools.
Eternal presence is its goal.
Tireless service in the sense
of filial devotion and liege loyalty
is its sole concern.

Every moment pines and languishes
for such attentive allegiance.
Few moments are so blessed--
leaving the great majority to lament,
"There is not one who does right--
no, not one!"
Yet, all the doers are sure they have
done well enough,
and wonder why the hue and cry.

–0–

02

Hwy 112 to Needles District 05/12/2010 Oil Paint Rendered — Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah
When you don't know what to do,
wait to see what you are going to do.
Practice by standing before your clothes
on their hanger,
and without deciding what to wear,
wait to see what you reach for.

When it doesn't matter which road
you take to home,
see which one you turn onto.

Let yourself surprise yourself.

We learn to trust ourselves
to ourselves 
that way.

Our primary relationship
has to be with ourselves.

We have to be able to read ourselves,
know ourselves,
collaborate with ourselves.

The way opens before those
who are open to the way
without insisting upon a way.

Like deciding what to wear
or choosing a route to take us home.

–0–

03

Cypress Dawn Oil Paint Rendered — Undisclosed Location in Down East North Carolina
Facts are the great enemy of truth.
Religion, to be worth anything,
has to be grounded in 
and based on 
the invisible world.
What world would that be these days?

There is no world but the world 
of concrete and steel.
Wall Street and Madison Avenue.

Our work is to create the invisible world!
To rediscover it!
To live in it and out of it!

How do we do that?
How do we live as though
the invisible world
is the Real World?

How do we resurrect the world of intuition,
instinct,
charm,
wonder,
magic,
delight?

How do we come to believe again
in invisible hands
opening doors,
and guiding our steps through our days?

We could do worse than
investing ourselves in the work
of establishing an intimate relationship
with ourselves!

No one is more invisible 
that the one Carl Jung was talking about
when he said,
"There is in each of us
another,
whom we do not know."

Humor me this:
The Other within is the source of our dreams,
our moods,
our spirit,
our lilt and our light.

We have nothing to lose 
by believing it is so
and making ourselves available
for communion with The Other
on a regular basis.

How would you go about this?
Ask The Other for suggestions,
and sit quietly
awaiting what arises
from the silence.

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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