June 16, 2021


Great Blue Heron 09/16/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — The Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina
Henri Bergson talked about "élan vital" (in 1907)
being the vital force moving us
through our life 
to what matters most,
to what means the most,
to us.

It is a magnetic force
that pulls our heart
past 10,000 "not its"
to IT.

It is like falling in love,
though it might be a camera
we fall in love with,
or a piano.

The Troubadours thought of 
the eyes as "the scouts of the heart,"
searching, searching
for that which we are built to serve
with our life.

Joseph Campbell said that if a person
resonates with something and ignores
or dismisses the attraction, and 
remains locked into their career plan
because it is a sure thing,
and is safe and secure,
like having Daddy take care of you
all your life,
and stays true to a risk-free life, 
then things "dry up,"
and they may have all the accoutrements 
of life,
but the closest they ever came
to being alive
was when that special thing caught their eye,
and they kept walking.

What do you do then?

Well, if your intentions are pure
and you still can summons the will
and the courage to live sincerely,
in the service of your heart,
you might well recover the quest--
but, you will have to be a little bit
reckless and foolhardy,
take some chances
and put everything on the line
in the service of adventure,
with allegiance/loyalty to 
the directions of your heart.

Seek the source of your heart's
true desire
and build your life around it,
trusting things to be what they 
need to be
to bring you forth
into the life that remains to be lived.

(Being brought forth
is the secret cause for which we live.
It is not "to be happy,"
but to be fully ourselves
within the context and circumstances
of our life.
It is to hold nothing back
in being who we are
in service to what it takes/requires
to be who we are,
doing what needs us to do it
with the life we are living).

"Columbus took a chance,"
as the old saying goes,
and so must we all
in the work to be who we are
fully, finally, at last.

Cheating hell at the very end,
and laughing at the wonder
of doing what always needed to be done
while there is still time
for laughter and life.



Grandfather Mountain 10-11 Panorama 10/17/2016 Oil Paint Rendered — Grandfather Mountain State Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
We are the balancing agents of the cosmos.
Without us everything is chaos and devastation,
with nothing but clashing rocks
and heaving waves
everywhere we look.

We introduce peace in to the mix,
integrating the opposites,
bearing the tension of yin and yang,
finding The Middle Way between
mutually exclusive polarities,
making all things one.

Sadly, tragically,
we have become the warring dichotomies 
we are here to neutralize.
It happens when we choose sides
and play favorites.

We cannot choose sides
and play favorites.
This is what "Do Not Judge" means.
No choosing sides.
No playing favorites.

The balancing agents must be balanced!
The harmonizing influences must be harmonious!
That means No Opinions!

Stop it with the Right/Wrong!
No more Good/Evil(Bad)!
No more We/Them!
Stick strictly to what needs to be done,
here and now,
in light of all things considered,
in service of the optimal functioning of the whole!

What is needed for the optimal functioning of the whole?
Live in light of that!
Do that!
Everything serves the optimal functioning
of everything else!

What is it time for?
Do that!
(Which might mean Get Out Of The Way!
Or, Wait It Out!)

Learn to read the times
and do what the times call to be done--
without imposing our idea of how things
ought to be
on things that have no business
being that way!

Here we are, now what?
What is happening?
What needs to be done in response?
What is motivating our action?
Are we living to align ourselves
with The Way,
or to impose our will 
upon The Way?

Are we striving to have our way
at the expense of every other consideration?
If so, that is going to have 
an unpleasant outcome for all concerned.

No sides, remember.
That means having nothing personally
at stake in any outcome.

What needs to be done
in light of the situation as a whole?
Be clear about that.
Do that.
And if it isn't clear,
wait for clarity.
And if you don't have the luxury
of being able to wait for clarity,
then, "strive to do no harm."



Tupper Lake Shoreline 09/28/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Adirondack Park, Tupper Lake, New York
Joseph Campbell said that if we repress
the impulse of our nature,
the quest fails.
Vitality shrivels.
The land wastes away.
Rivers dry up.
Birds quit singing.
Shadows lengthen.
And hope wains.

All because we lacked the courage
of our sense of what needed to happen,
and did not walk through the door
that beckoned,
"Maybe later."
"Perhaps tomorrow."
"Possibly some other time."

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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