August 02, 2021


Wood Duck 02 05/14/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Bass Lake, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Your conflicts are killing you.

The typical way we deal with conflicts
is killing us.

We typically deny them,
run from them,
escape them,
ignore them,
pretend they don't exist,
and create conflicts
trying to get away from
our conflicts.

Conflicts multiply that way.
Pot and alcohol
are making things worse
by helping us feel better.

Feeling better is not getting better.

How long has it been since you
were conflict free?

Dead is conflict free.
Life, not so much.

Managing our conflicts
means reducing our conflicts
to a manageable level.

Means saying "No!"
Means drawing lines.
Oh, but "No!" and drawing lines
create such internal conflicts for us!

We have to deliberately create conflict
to reduce conflict.
We cannot run/hide/escape from conflict
and reduce conflict.
This is the first law of conflict reduction.

The first step in reducing conflict
is to take the first law of conflict reduction
to heart.
Grasp what it means,
and get to work.

Getting to work means sitting still,
being quiet.
Inviting all of your conflicts 
into your awareness.
You might want to make a list.
An actual list.

What are the sources of conflict
in your life?
Keep the list going over time.
Invite conflicts to present themselves
to you throughout your day,
Through your dreams at night
(They have been doing this for years,
but now you are going to start paying attention
to your dreams
and mining them for the conflicts
they reveal).

Catalog your conflicts.
Notice how one creates a multitude of others.
Notice how denying/hiding/escaping create
conflicts by the score.

Search for your easiest conflicts to resolve.
Start with them.
Use them as practice.

Your goal is to reduce the number of conflicts
in your life.
That means not adding any new ones,
and resolving current ones.

It won't take long to realize that
this means changing your behavior.
More specifically, it means
transforming your relationship 
with yourself,
your life,
other people,
particularly family members.

You might need a therapist
or a truly good friend
to help you with this
(Most "friends" are only interested in
using their relationship with you
to escape/avoid their own conflicts,
and are definitely not interested
in facing up to any of them, 
which means they cannot help you
face up to yours).

It takes courage, "true grit," 
and determination to see this through.
But it is the necessary first step
in reclaiming your life and living it
over what remains for the time left
for that kind of thing.

Your basic strategy is the 
"What needs to be done?" approach.
Here's the conflict,
what needs to be done?

Sit with the conflict and the question
in mind.

Do. Not. Try. To think your way to a solution!

Just with the conflict and the question,
and wait "for the mud to settle
and the water to clear."

You may have to get up and go on with your life,
but keep the conflict and the question with you
at all times.

Walk two paths at once.
Tend your business in "the world,"
and your business with the conflict and the question,
at the same time.

You are looking for realization to occur
of its own accord.
For something to stir to life,
arise, emerge, appear, as if by magic.

For a door to open where there was no door,
a path to appear where there was no path.

It may ask hard things of you.
Hard things are your new favorite thing.
Do what needs to be done.




Waterrock Knob Sunset 10-29-2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Maggie Valley, North Carolina
Carl Jung said,  “There is no balance, no system of self-regulation, without opposition. The psyche is just such a self-regulating system” 

I view the Psyche as an aspect of Mind.
And may constitute the whole of Mind,
so that Mind and Psyche are One.

It may also be that the old Chinese concept Tao
is one with Mind and with Psyche,
so that all three terms "mean" the same "thing."

I say "may" here because I cannot find a place
to draw lines between Tao and Mind and Psyche,
and all three terms seem to me
to be designations for our experience
with something other than ourselves--
something other than our ego-self.

And this "otherness" needs to be explored,
because I think it connects us with 
"all that has gone before."
And suggests a connection,
perhaps through DNA channels,
with instincts/intuition/knowing
that have a life of their own,
and is there for us all to partner with
in living our life aligned with,
in accord with,
The Way of the Whole.

Perhaps, there are no lines separating 
any of this,
and the Buddhists are right 
about all being One,
with us awash in a great
swirl of oneness,
where Psyche/Mind/Tao are experiencing
physical existence through us,
and are calling us to consciously/intentionally
place ourselves in accord with it/them
for the true good of the whole.

The Psyche/Mind/Tao are self-regulating systems
for producing in/through us
balance and harmony,
spirit, energy, vitality--
and it is our work to submit 
to the work of wholeness
in living lives of 
balance and harmony,
spirit, energy, vitality,
in and around,
above and beyond,
what we do day-to-day,

Trusting ourselves to what we do not know,
for the lack of anything better to do--
and we have to wonder
what could possibly be better than this,
or more on the order of a Great Adventure
of a Lifetime?

We have to learn the Way of Alignment,
and find our way to the Beam of Life,
and stay on it (in it) forever no matter what!



Union Pacific Lift Trestle 10 01/26/2017 Oil Paint Rendered — Red River, Alexandria, Louisiana
My next-oldest sister, Diane, died yesterday. 
Went to take a shower,
died in the bathroom,
probably from an aneurysm,
but that is to be determined.

There were five siblings,
three sisters 
and two brothers.
Now there are four living siblings.

I think that if we took a vote among us,
Diane would be a unanimous choice
for the hands-down hero among us.
Her heroism comes from doing the most
against the greatest odds
any of us had to work with and against.

Diane was my own personal wonder
at what can be done with practically
nothing in the way of external resources.
She called it all up from within.

We all started out with a father
who made it difficult.
Soft and gentle,
kind and caring,
are not terms we would use
in talking about him.

Emotionally (and occasionally physically) abusive
would be the relevant phrase.
None of us had an ideal beginning,
and we all did what we could with it.

Diane produced a life that was admirable 
by any standard,
with little help to speak of.

Only Helen Keller did more with less in my mind.

So I lift this day to her memory--
as I will with all days following this one--
with respect and honor for her
and the life she lived,
and deep regret and sorrow
regarding the un-lived life she might have had
with a father worthy of her.

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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