July 07, 2021


The Beech Trees Fall 11/07/2008 Oil Paint Rendered — The Woods at Guilford College, Greensboro, North Carolina
The worst of times call for
living from our Center
as much as any times.

The Center is the Source
of Life and Light and Being
in every time,
through all times.

The more practiced we are
in finding and living from
the Center,
the better able we will be
to meet our circumstances,
rise to every occasion
and do what needs to be done
in each situation as it arises,
which is all that can be asked
of any of us at any time.

And we come equipped for that task
straight from the womb.

We connect with the Center
by way of the Silence.

Enter the Silence for twenty minutes
at least once a day,
and sit tight,
stand pat,
ride it out,
looking and listening
for what stirs,
is revealed
and through the Silence.

Trust yourself to respond
to the revelations
and realizations
out of your original nature,
which is the face that was yours
before your grandparents were born.

It takes practice to get this down,
and to become a sage of your own reckoning.
Don't wait for the time to be upon you
before you begin making preparations.

We will be asked to live from our Center
like we have never been asked before.
The wisest advice through all the ages
is always to be ready,
for we don't know the time
of what is coming,
but the Center is always ready for anything,
all the time.



The View from Wolf Rock 09/22/2008 Oil Paint Rendered — Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury, North Carolina
That's the Piedmont down below. 

Just beyond the horizon 
lies the Coastal Plain 
and then the Atlantic Ocean. 

It's all one thing, you know. 

It is easy to think that oceans 
are different from mountains, 
and that Republicans are different 
from Democrats, 
and that straight people are different
from LGBTQ people,
and that white people are different
from people of color,
if you back up a bit, 
you lose the distinctions, 
and it is one world, 
one universe, 
just not the same one. 

Yin isn't yang, 
yang isn't yin. 
But they are one. 

Just like oceans and mountains are one, 
but not the same one, 
and Republicans and Democrats are one, 
but not the same one. 

It takes a little practice 
to see the oneness, 
but once you see it, 
that's all there is.

Then, all that remains
is living as though it is so.

Because it is so.



On the Wing 11/05/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — James River, Richmond, Virginia
Stop thinking of original sin,
and begin thinking of original nature.

There never was a Garden of Eden.
There has always been Original Nature.

Our original nature is who we are born to be,
how we are built to be.

This is the Antithetical Mask W.B. Yeats
talked about
that exists as the counter-weight
to the Primary Mask handed to us
by the culture we are born into.

Certain things are expected/required of us
by the context into which we are born,
which violate the drift of our nature,
and force us to betray the truth of our own being.

If you are gay, 
you know what I mean.

If you are not gay,
you still know what I mean
if you connect with all the ways
you are asked to deny yourself
and be who you are not
throughout your life.

Getting back to Eden
is getting back to who we are 
from the beginning.
To do that,
we have to pass through 
the heart of Gethsemane
and across the face off Golgotha.

The evangel, 
the good news,
of the Christian message
could have been told as
"The path back to who you are."
But, instead, it became,
"The way of escaping who you are,
and becoming who you ought to be."

The Christian Church
is the victory of the Primary Mask
over the Antithetical Mask.
It is a betrayal we have orchestrated
against ourselves.

Now is the time for confession,
and reconciliation
with ourselves--
and the work of transforming
our relationship with ourselves,
our life,
and all others
into all they may have been
from the beginning.

Stop thinking of original sin,
and start thinking of original nature--
and live to be who you are
in the time left for living.



Three Eggplants Oil Paint Rendered
What needs to happen
is all we need to know.
Then there is only doing it.
As best we can.
To the extent that it is possible.

If you need someone to sing at your wedding,
I will be no use to you.
I also cannot play the alto sax.
Or any other sax.

The list of things I cannot do is 
right up there 
with the list of things I wish I could do.

I am stuck with what I can do.
So are you.

Are we doing what we can do
with what needs to be done?
That's our question to answer.

Of all the things we can do,
what is our shtick?
Do we put it into play daily?
How long has it been
since your shtick saw the light of day?
Or the dark of night?

Why not do the things we do best?
The things we love doing?
The things we are here to do?
The things that are ours to do?

A day in which we do not do
a single thing that is ours to do
is a day we may as well not have lived.

How many of those days are there in a lifetime?
To pile those days up in a corner
and sit considering the corner
is to sit pondering a catastrophe.
A travesty.
We bring shame on ourselves
by living a day without doing what is ours to do.
It is a shame we will bear
through all eternity.

We have from now until the time we die
to compensate for lost days
by busting it with the things we do best
throughout what remains 
of the time left for living.

Be who you are here to be,
doing what you are here to do,
as though you can't help it.

Like a dog wagging its tail
(Alan Stacel).

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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