May 28, 2021


White-fringed Phacelia 04/18/2007 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
It all starts with
and flows from
our being in balance and harmony
with our life,
meaning our situation in life,
our circumstances,
our context,
our here and now.

Being in balance and harmony
with here and now,
moment by moment,
in each situation as it arises,
is the most important thing.

That positions us to see/know
what is happening
and what is called for,
and to respond to it
in ways appropriate to the occasion,
out of our genius,
daemon (sounds like "diamond"),
bound up in our original nature
which comes with us from the womb,
in doing the right thing,
in the right way,
at the right time,
in the right place (here and now),
with sincerity and spontaneity,
without contrivance,
and an eye on what we stand to gain
in so doing.

We live from the heart,
being true to ourselves 
and the time and place of our living,
and let things fall into place
around that.

And it all starts with balance and harmony.

What is disrupting,
your balance and harmony?

What are the forces of distraction,
complexity and contradiction,
anxiety and uncertainty
at work in your life?

For instance,
can you pay your bills?
Are you physically well,
that is do you enjoy
"freedom of function,"
able "to will and to do,"
to "plan and achieve"?

And, can you square yourself up
with "your lot in life"--
with how it is with you here and now,
in a "This is the way things are,
and this is what I can do about it
(Can be done about it),
and that's that" kind of way?

Too often, most of the most important
aspects of our existence
are out of our control.
Can we make our peace with that,
and let it be so because it is so?

Can we maintain our balance and harmony
and be out of control
at the same time?
Controlling our response 
to being out of control?
Continuing to do what we can
about the things we can do something about?
Which always includes
the way we respond to our circumstances,
no matter what they are?

This is our work
every day 
for the rest of our life.
Maintaining our balance and harmmony
by the way we respond 
to the context and circumstances
of our life
moment by moment,
in each situation as it arises,
all our life long.



Zen Essence 05/06/2007 Oil Paint Rendered
Making our peace with
the way things are
is the perennial task of life.

"Okay. Here we are. Now what?"
is a recurring daily exercise
throughout existence,
for all living things.

Nothing remains stable and secure
for long.
"Time and chance happen to us all,"
is the way the Bible puts it.

We make our peace with that,
let it be because it is,
and do what we can with it
in responding to what the day
is asking of us
over the full course of our life.

How are you doing with that?
What would help with it?

A Wailing Wall would help with it,
and a Community of Innocence--
innocent in the sense
of having nothing to gain
from being our sounding board,
our oasis,
our retreat and sanctuary,
where we can "recover from the past
and store up for the future"
(Robert Ruark)--
would make all the difference.

We need a place where we can 
say what we have to say
(And hear what we are saying)
to those who can receive it
with grace and understanding,
helping us articulate and bear
the pain of life over time.

Articulating the impact of our experience
is the essential step
in coming to terms with--
making our peace with--
the reality of our experience.

This is the therapeutic exercise
of saying what needs to be said
that is critically essential
to maintaining our balance and harmony
throughout our life.

We have to speak the truth
in order to hear the truth,
realize the truth,
and square up to the truth.

Most of our social network exists
to deny the truth
and will not allow the truth to be said.
It responds to truth
with a litany of catch phrases
and truisms as a way of
stifling the expression of truth
and changing the subject.

Not what we need.

We need a Community of Innocence 
that is capable of being both
a Wailing Wall
and an adamantine,
rock of our salvation, 
reminding us by its presence
with us that,
anyway, nevertheless, even so,
we have what we need
to find what we need
to do what needs to be done
about every circumstance of life.

Our Community of Innocence
doesn't need to be more 
than two or three people
who understand their place
in our life
(and our place in their life),
and join us in creating a space
where we all can say what we have to say
and hear what is being said
in balancing and harmonizing us
and squaring us up to the reality
of life in the world
throughout our life in the world.

If you do not have that kind of place,
take up the work of forming one
by "being what you need,"
in listening to others
and being a place where they can 
be safe and accepted
in speaking the truth,
and join you in creating 
what we all need
to find what we need
to do what needs to be done.



Vineyards 39 09/09/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Sheldon Vineyards, Dobson, North Carolina
We are not here to get what we want
and live the life of our dreams.

We are here to put our gifts,
our genius,
our daemon (Sounds like "Diamond"),
our shtick,
our art,
our heart's true love,
our specialties,
our interest,
our knack
to use in the service
of that which has need 
of what we have to offer--
and stay out of the way.

Staying our of the way
is the really hard part.

And it is really important
that we stay out of the way.

And not try to manage things,
or exploit things,
or manipulate things,
or coerce thing,
or force things,
or compel things
to our advantage, gain, benefit or good.

This is our Dharma/Duty,
to stay out of the way
and let our little light shine.

If we can do that,
we can save the world,
or at least make a real difference
in our part of the world.

And that would have an impact for good
on the rest of the world.

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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