May 02, 2021

01

Big Creek Trail 11/02/2007 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The key to happiness is few opinions. 

The more opinions we have,
the less happy we are.

The people who know everything
have no idea of how to be happy.

See everything,
judge nothing,
be happy.

Compassion and grace
leave things as they are
until it becomes necessary
to make changes.

And then, they act
with compassion and grace
to change what must be changed
as it should be changed,
when it is time to be changed,
and everyone is blessed
without knowing how or why.

Those who know,
live organically,
authentically,
genuinely,
from their heart,
out of their original nature
and transform the world
without making waves
or stirring up dust.

Because their actions
are in sync with time and place,
things are changed
without force or show,
and no one knows anything happened.

Living sincerely
in response to what needs 
to be done--
without contrivance,
manipulation
or agendas--
is appropriate 
to every occasion,
and as unremarkable
as "Bless you,"
is to a sneeze.

Just seeing,
just hearing,
just knowing,
just doing--
without judgment or opinion,
designs or contrivance--
with nothing to gain
and nothing to lose,
serves the good of the moment
without doing anything
out of the ordinary,
and everything is as it should be,
apparently of itself,
as magically
as water finding its way to the sea.

–0–

02

Dogwood Lane 02 04/15/2008 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Greenbriar District, Cosby, Tennessee
We generally perpetuate our moods
by giving them more attention
than they deserve.

Moods come and go throughout each day.
Triggers and buttons are everywhere.
Something is always setting us off,
stirring complexes to life,
generating moods,
producing states of mind,
sending us into spirals,
up or down depending on the context,
instigating drug or alcohol use
to celebrate or escape the emotional whirl--
because we can't just let the mood pass
with a nod of recognition
and go on about our business.

Our moods have their business, 
and we have ours.
They are like emotional memories
we will never outlive,
and we can acknowledge that 
without allowing them to ransack
what remains to be lived.

Perhaps, we honor them
with a few minutes of silence,
acknowledging their right to exist,
because we have been in some places
we are glad to no longer be,
but letting them have the run of our life
permits them to hijack us and haul us back
to times we left for good reason.

We say, "Thanks for the reminder--
I'm glad things are different now,"
and turn our focus to what needs to be done
here and now,
moving back into our day.

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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