May 18, 2021


Croker Oil Paint Rendered — Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina
The end of civilization 
is a lack of self-restraint.

We have to know where "good enough"
becomes "over the top,"
or, "too much of a good thing,"
and stop before we go that far.

Knowing when to quit
is the hallmark of success
on every level.

"The balance of nature"
is maintained by the food supply.
Successful species run out of food,
die out, or die down, 
giving "the food" an opportunity
to restock the shelves,
so to speak,
and start another round
of nature's way:
supply and demand.

We save ourselves the experience
of "the death spiral"
by checking our excesses,
and preventing the demand
from disappearing the supply.

Self-discipline is the heart
of self-advancement
and personal growth.
Knowing where to stop
is the essence of wisdom.

And all of this is readily apparent
to those who know how to be quiet
in the right way,
fostering awareness,
and realization,
drawing lines
and setting limits
at the right time,
in the right place,
and in the right way.

The hallmark of a life well-lived.



Vineyards 33 09/09/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Shelton Vineyard, Dobson, NC
Aspiration, ambition, dreams and desire
can prevent us from maintaining the momentum
necessary to achieve balance and harmony
in the service of ends truly worthy of us.

We can want the wrong things
and spend ourselves in the pursuit
of imaginary wonders
and empty delights.

Wanting to be a writer
can keep us from writing
if what we want 
is the glory of Best-Seller-Hood
and not the quiet joy
of finding the right word
to say what we need to say
without anyone ever reading
what we have written.

Writers write
to say what they have to say.
And only writers do that,
day in and day out,
all their life long.

If you want to be a writer,
start writing.
And don't stop.
Write like a dog wags its tail
(Alan Stacell said that about artists
needing to "paint like a dog wags its tail").

Find what you must do,
and do that,
"rain or shine."

If you die without ever doing your thing,
it will be like,
"What was that all about?"

Why drag that around through all eternity?



On the Trail to Grotto Falls Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
What is your art?
What is your life?

Those who know and have known
that living in the service
of art and our life
is the core, foundation, source
and goal
of a life well-lived.

This does not mean
that their art/life paid the bills.

Their art/life 
is/was what they paid the bills
to do.

What they did to pay the bills
is/was whatever it took,
but their real work
is/was their art/life.

Find your art/life,
and let everything fall into place
around that.

Being quiet in the right kind of way
is the best way
to find the way,
to know what is important,
to understand what it means
to "live truthfully,"
and to have it made
in the best sense of the term.

Second hint:
We are here to know ourselves
and express ourselves,
and to help others do the same things--
and to live in the service
of those three things
all our life long.

Anything that distracts us
from these three things
is getting in the way.

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.

2 thoughts on “May 18, 2021

  1. I have a difficult time expressing my thoughts but I appreciate the thoughts you lead me to follow. Thanks.


    1. I’m glad to be able to come close to articulating what lives within you and needs to be recognized/acknowledged/brought forth–close enough to count. It starts with seeing what we have, who we are, what we are about, and aligning ourselves with that, and living our life around it, in honor of it, just being who we are and enjoying our own company. Walking around enjoying our own company is having it made. That’s what we are all living for. It helps when other people enjoy our company, and when we enjoy our own company, we find our way into the company of those who enjoy our company, and create communities of innocence, right out of thin air. It’s a miracle. A wonder. Magic. Whorah!


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