July 04, 2021

01

7:00 AM Ferry to Swan Quarter 10/31/2018 Oil Paint Rendered — Pamlico Sound, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
Democracy is a contradiction in terms.
Everything is.
Taoism is the only way of living I know
that admits it upfront:
"The Tao that can be said/defined/told
is not the eternal Tao."

"We cannot say what we know
and what we can say is too contradictory
to be helpful,
but we will say that Yin and Yang
are two contrary things bound together 
by their oneness,
as is everything in the cosmos.
See? Told you!"

Too much of a good thing
is a bad thing.
Too much of a bad thing is a good thing,
except that it isn't woopee-wonderful-good,
it is merely backing-away-from-the-edge-good,
which is really good for bad.

The best we can hope be is fair-to-middling. 
We live well when we live from the middle.
The middle way between the extremes
is the preferred way.

Balance and harmony are aware of the contradictions,
and live from the center of them all.
Keep an eye on your balance and harmony.
Know what the forces of destabilization are
in your life.
Learn to sense when things are shifting
toward the extremes,
and move back to the center.

I cannot imagine too much of 
the right kind of silence
ever being a problem,
because it automatically moves us toward
the right kind of conversations
and the right kind of relationships.

The right kind of silence
is a stabilizing force
moving us into right relationship
with ourselves, our life and other people.

People who know how to be quiet
know all they need
to find what they need
to be what is needed
in each situation as it arises.

Seek the center!
Means to seek the silence!
And to listen/look for the guidance
that arises from within
in living from the center
and maintaining our balance and harmony
amid growing tendencies pushing us
toward the extremes from all sides.

–0–

02

Water Rock Knob Sunset 01 10/29/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Maggie Valley, North Carolina
We get up and meet the day
without expectation or judgment/opinion,
and do what needs to be done,
when it needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
and see where it goes.

The day provides its own direction.
Things happen that turn us toward one thing
and away from other things.
Something beckons,
winks at us,
calls our name.

Each day has its own rhythm
and way of being.
We can't be sure of 
what it will be time for next.
It is filled with mini-adventures 
all its own.

Our days have the potential 
of being wonderlands
inviting exploration 
and discovery
for those with eyes to look
and see,
and a willingness to do
what the moment asks of us.

To rule out spontaneity
is to risk dullness,
shallowness
and superficiality
all day long. 

–0–

03

Ginkgo Magic 02 11/28/2015 Oil Paint Rendered –Ballantyne Ginkgo Park, Charlotte, North Carolina
Duality is everywhere. 
It is said, "Thou Art That"
because there is a Thou
and there is a That.
If there were no duality,
there would be no reason to say
Thou and That are one.

Distinctions are necessary
for life to go on.
Male and female,
Yin and Yang,
daylight and dark...

It is our place to reconcile
the contradictions
and the dichotomies.
To enable oneness
from two-ness,
but even there it is the oneness
of two people dancing together.
They dance as one,
but they are not one.

"The strings of a harp are separate,
though they vibrate with the same music,
and the pillars of a temple stand apart,
and the oak tree and the pine
grow not in each other's shadow"
(Kabril Gibran).

It is important to maintain
an appropriate distance between
the Thou and the That,
else we merge into a oneness
like that of the moth with the flame. 

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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