Money is for buying the tools and the wherewithal (Food, clothing, shelter, etc.) required to do what is ours to do. To do what we are here to do. To do what we are uniquely suited to do. To do what no one else can do the way we can do it. To find and do what is ours to do the way the Pirate's life was Captain Jack Sparrow's to do. What is "it" for us in that way? What is it that we have no say in the matter about? We are here to find and do it. One way to think about what we are looking for is "the creative fire." What brings us to life in a way that we are all together there, participating in the act of bringing something new into the world? Something that wasn't there, and wouldn't be there, if it were not for us? Could be an apple pie. Or a pineapple sandwich. Or the best curve ball in the business. Only you know what your shtick is. What your specialty is. What brings you forth and declares you to be fully present and accounted for. What are you doing when you are fully present and accounted for? How often do you do it? For how long at a time? Of course, there is a catch. It asks hard things of us. We may not be able to support ourselves or our family by doing it. It may "fill our hearts brimful, and break them too" (William Alexander Percy). Carl Jung said, “There are hardly any exceptions to the rule that a person must pay dearly for the divine gift of the creative fire.” At the bottom is the question, do we have what it takes to say "Thy will not mine be done," to/about the thing that is our thing to do, and mean it? Or, as I was want to ask in a warm bed long before dawn, with a sunrise in the mountains, or cypress trees in the pond, two hours away, and maybe, just maybe (Because who knows what the weather, the sky, the lighting will be?) offer a scene worthy of photographing, "Am I a photographer or not?"
My sister, Diane, died a week ago today. She was 72 years old, with no symptoms to speak of. She waked into the bathroom to take a shower, and died before turning on the water. No one is promised tomorrow, or even the rest of today. If you are going to do it, do it now-- or, at least have a go at it. Of course, the timing has to be right. We are left between not forcing anything, and not letting anything pass us by. Be aware of the tension, and bear it with your eyes open, waiting for the time to be at hand. I would like to photograph a steam locomotive, in full, smoking, glory-- and a rodeo, but access is a problem, and I'm bidding my time. And may run out of time. I'll have to wait to see. I know what I am waiting for, and won't let a proper occasion pass untended or un-attempted-- if it is deserving, and only I can determine that, in the situation as it arises.
If you think you have never learned anything from listening to what you have to say, why listen to yourself say that? Why expect anyone to listen to you? Why say anything ever? All psychotherapy is based on hearing what you are saying, on hearing what your inner self is saying, on listening to what your dreams are saying. The root word of "educate" means to "lead out." If we have never been listened to/heard to the point of bringing forth what is to be found within, we might try sitting quietly and watching for what arises/emerges/occurs unbidden within, and following where it leads. This the ground of all art, science, poetry, song-writing and technology. Invention and creativity come from people listening to their instinct, intuition, imagination-- not from someone telling them what to do. The idea that we are too stupid to know what's what originates with people who have to be raised up at someone else's expense. Babies from the womb know what to do with a nipple. They don't have to be schooled on that. Start with what you have to say about anything. Ask all of the questions that beg to be asked regarding that statement. Answer them honestly as best you can, and ask all of the questions that beg to be asked of all your answers-- and of all the questions generated by your answers. I expect you will be astounded at the realizations this exercise produces. Then, make another statement and give it the same treatment. You are an amazing wonder unfolding as you watch, astonished and unbelieving. And you haven't scratched the surface.
3 thoughts on “August 08, 2021”
I am so sorry for the loss of your sister. I am the eldest (74) of 4 children. I love them and would ache with the loss of any of them.
I hope your memories of your times with your sister will sustain you.
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I appreciate your note, Sandy. Diane’s loss is significant in that as the two oldest of 5 children, we bore the brunt of an abusive father’s presence, and were closer because of that than we might have been otherwise. We maintained our balance with humor and truth shared between the two of us, and we remained steadying influences in each other’s life throughout our lives. What I continue to write will be written with her in mind, and the writing will be my way of maintaining the relationship over what remains of my time left for living. — Jim
Your response gives me chills. We had issues of divorce of my parents in 1964. The four of us stayed together in the midst of various traumas. As usual, we learned from the traumas. Forgiveness and love have been a long time coming for certain issues. We maintain contact, even in the midst of political upheaval. I do not share the political beliefs of my other three siblings. Trump taints everything. But once again, life brings challenges to try to come to terms with. I guess I need to be thankful for the struggle, because there are lessons in forgiveness and thanksgiving for the challenges we need to live through.
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