June 15, 2021

01

Tidal Pool 08/20/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Huntington Beach State Park, Murrell’s Inlet, South Carolina

Imbalance and disharmony
are the signs of the times.

When it is all useless,
pointless,
hopeless,
meaningless,
futile
and absurd,
what do you do?

The next thing!
As it needs to be done!
When it needs to be done!
And then, the thing after that!

And, care about the things
you care about--
anyway,
nevertheless,
even so!

Doing the next thing well
and caring about what you care about
center us,
ground us,
anchor us,
guide and direct us
through all of the turmoil
and chaos
the clashing rocks
and heaving waves
can bring to life in our life.

And, if you are too demoralized 
and dejected to care about anything,
simply act as though you do.
Pretend you care about something,
anything--
and act like you do.

Fake it until you make it--
so that you can't tell the difference
between caring and pretending to care.

And do what you (pretend to) care about
really well--
with careful attention to detail,
the way it ought to be done.

Moment by moment,
day by day.
Bringing balance and harmony
back into your life,
around living the way 
life needs to be lived,
anyway, nevertheless, even so.

Because that is the way 
life needs to be lived
in all times and places!
And we do not have to have everything
just so in our life,
or in our world,
in order to do it.

We only need to do the next thing well.

And watch how all things begin to
coalesce around that.

When we live from the center,
we create a still point in the turning world,
and become "a strange attractor,"
bringing light to life in the darkness,
and making things more like they ought to be
than they have been in a while.

Balance and harmony create
balance and harmony.
An oasis forms.
Comfort stirs.
Consolation revives.
Hope comes to life.
Goodness and mercy appear
out of nowhere.
Kindness finds a place to rest.
Community is born,
and the trend gains momentum.

All because we started doing
the next thing well.

–0–

02

Blue Ridge Dawn 11/09/2007 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock/Boone, North Carolina
What kind of business are you in?
What is your business
and what is none of your business?
What defines you,
identifies you,
sets you apart,
and lets everyone know
this is who you are,
and that is who you are not?

Where do your lines lie?
What landmarks announce
where you start and stop?

What interests,
competency
and abilities
coalesce around you,
to reflect your essence
and shape your life?

How do you go about 
being who you are
in the world?

What orients you
and directs you
toward the life
that is yours to live--
and away from where
you have no business being?

What guides your boat
on its path through the sea?

Who are you?
What are you about?

–0–

03

Big Thicket Swamp 02/07/2014 — Big Thicket Swamp National Preserve, Kountze, Texas
Reduce complexity,
avoid noise,
invite the silence
and the stillness
into your life.

I understand that it cannot be done,
but.
Move relentlessly in its direction.

There are places in your life
where you can reduce complexity--
and refuse to encourage its proliferation.

There are places in your life
where you can avoid noise.
The remote even has an "off" button.

There are ways to invite the silence
and the stillness
into your daily routine.

You can begin to reclaim the time
that is yours on the earth--
to redeem the lost opportunities
to recognize and embrace 
the wonder and radiance
of life and being,
simply by being aware 
of the moment as it is being lived
by "being here, now."
Throughout the day.

Encounters with the ineffable,
with the numinous,
with the That Which Has Always
Been Called "God,"
are everywhere,
waiting to be seen/felt/welcomed/received.

It only takes being alive to the moment
and open to what meets us there
to startle,
amaze,
arrest,
and invite us
into reflection and reverie,
on the way to realization
and new life,
amid the same old same old
of the everyday.

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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