July 29, 2021


Little Pigeon River Cascades 10/29/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Greenbriar District, Cosby, Tennessee
When the lion lies down with the lamb
only one of them gets up.
That's nature for you.
Nature doesn't play favorites,
or take sides.

"The big fish eat the little fish,
and the little fish swim through
the netting that hauls the big fish
to the cannery."

That's the way nature works.
No compassion.
No morality.
No ethics.
You take your chances
and don't complain
when your luck runs out,
because nothing is promised,
and things average out along
the "normal distribution curve"
over time.

Our place is to not take it seriously,
and to offer kindness,
and good company to all who come our way,
because no one has it easy for long,
and we all can use more help
than we get.

So do what you can to make
everyone you meet welcome
with an encouraging word
and a "Mind how you go,"
as the Brits might say.

We all have the same work to do--
what needs to be done
in the time and place of our living.
And it's good to take courage
in the presence of one another,
and face what's to be faced
as best we can

Taking on the world each day
in the spirit of having each other's back,
makes a tough place a better place
for all concerned.
Just offer what you need,
and everyone will be grateful.



Blue Ridge Parkway 06/14/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Near West Jefferson, North Carolina
A philosophy of health
is a philosophy of life.
If you aren't clear and becoming clearer
about that which guides you
along the way,
you aren't being guided along the way.
You have left the path,
lost the way,
and are wandering without direction,
meaning or purpose
through the wasteland of discontent,
and it shows.

It shows in 10,000 ways.
You could list them all.
You live them daily.

The way back to Eden
winds through the heart of Gethsemane
and across the face of Golgotha.

Do you have the heart for it,
is the question.
It is a religious question.
A spiritual question.
It demands that you know who you are
and what is guiding your boat
along its path through the sea.

It requires you to transform your relationship
with yourself,
your life,
and other people,
in being who you are
within the context and circumstances of your life.

In knowing what is important
and living in light of it.

In doing what needs to be done
where it needs to be done,
when it needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
because it needs to be done,
in each situation as it arises
all your life long--
without contrivance,
trying to get ahead,
exploiting the moment
for your good,
your benefit,
your advantage,
your gain--
not letting "the left hand know
what the right hand is doing,"
living spontaneously,
with integrity and compassion,
grace and kindness,
using your gifts/shtick/daemon/specialties/virtues,
that came with you from the womb,
and the face that was yours before
your grandparents (on both sides) were born,

I have found it to be helpful
to be alcohol-free.

To observe a 12-hour fast per day,
consuming no calories
from the last calorie at night
to the first calorie the next morning,
every day.

To make a regular place for silence
throughout each day.

To attend each night's dreams.

To keep an eye on your balance and harmony,
and your spirit, energy and vitality
as a way of remaining in accord with 
the center of your life and being,
the core of what is important,
the truth of who you are
within the context and circumstances of your life,
and a companion with the mystery at the heart of it all.

Being alive in the time and place
of our living
is a full time project.
Distractions abound.
Diversions are everywhere.
"The path that can be discerned as a path,
is not a reliable path" (Lao Tzu).

Thus, the importance of being alert 
to what is happening,
to what is called for,
to what needs to be done here and now,
and doing it,
where it needs to be done,
when it needs to be done, etc.
your whole life long.



Mirror Lake 10/20/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Highlands, North Carolina
It is always the right time for something.
What is this time right for,
here and now?

Answer that question correctly,
and you have it made,
as much as you can have it made,
in a world where what needs to be done
is lost in a stampede
of wants and desires,
preferences and disinclinations.



Moonset 10-17-2016 Oil Paint Rendered — Price Lake, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Elvis Presley said,
to his spiritual advisor
(What a job that must have been),
speaking about the women who loved him,
"Do you realize that
I will never know if they love me
or Elvis Presley?"

That's the heart of the matter.
It gets straight to the point.
It highlights the fundamental
loss of integrity
that is the burden of those
who reject/refuse the work
of being who they are
in deference to the roles
assigned to them
by their place in life.

"Am I me,
or am I who they think I am?"

"Am I me,
or who I think I'm supposed to be?"

And Elvis' spiritual advisor missed
his chance to say,
"Write a song that says,
'It's easy to love me
if you don't know who I am!'"

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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