August 20, 2021


The Ferns 13 08/03/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina
Our life is built around 
and flows from
the things the express,
our original nature
and declare who we are.

"What I do is me,"
said Gerad Manley Hopkins,
speaking for all of us,
"for that I came."

We are to live to see to it
that this is so
in our own case.

What would you need to do differently
to make it so?

How much of what you do is you,
and how much is what you do
to get/keep what you want?
How much expresses your desire to have/get,
and how much expresses your need 
to be/express/do/exhibit/make real/bring forth/serve?

Keep your eye on what drives you to action,
and deliberately seek out 
what you need to do
to convey who you are--
and do it!



Around Bass Lake 01 10/12/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
I do not know 
how to get people to be good.

The world is dying because of 
the absence of good people.

Really bad people are everywhere
it seems.

People have lost their direction
but are not anchored 
to their own core
and have drifted into a dead zone
where nothing is alive 
to the wonder of its own being,
and everything wants to be happy
without paying the price of happiness,
so you can imagine how that's going,
or maybe you don't have to imagine it.

This is life in the wasteland
where all is wasting away,
and the life force has long since

People think money is a substitute,
but it is a sign of utter lifelessness
when money is used as a stand-in for life.
Money cannot buy life.
Life is a by-product of living
in the service of meaning,
and purpose, 
spirit, energy and vitality.

How long has it been?
What was the last thing we did
that provided us with
meaning and purpose,
spirit, energy and vitality?

Can you remember?

Too many people have never had
anything like that in their life.
They have been always dead,
looking for money to give them
something to live for,
waiting for some coroner to make it official.

How do we resurrect the living?
How do we resurrect ourselves?
Sit still, be quiet,
look for the source of life within.
Wait for something to stir to life,
to catch your eye,
and perhaps disappear in a flash,
so that you wonder if you saw something,
or only almost did.

Wait for it to flash you again.
So that you catch a sense of what it is,
and give chase,
bringing it to life in your life
in an actual, tangible, concrete way.

Work it into your life.
Live your life around it.
The sillier and more ridiculous it is
the better. 
You are learning how to play.
We have to play our way back to life.

So play with whatever comes to you 
in the silence
as a gift from the source,
and allow it to show you the way to life,
and living, and being alive.

And, in so doing, you will be learning
to be good for yourself.
We can't be good for others
until we can be good for ourselves,
and we play ourselves back
to the goodness of life. 



Aspens 02 09/28/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Jasper National Park, Alberta
Ask people what they want--
No, ask yourself what you want,
and listen for the answer.

What do you want?
Is it some version of
"Enough money to do anything I want!"?
If so, you haven't answered the question.
I asked you what do you want,
and you said, more or less, "Anything I want."
Which I translate into, "Everything I want."

I expect you will get that from
everyone you ask what they want.

"I want what I want!"

Sounds like a two-year old's answer
to the same question.

Says something about the maturation level
of everyone in the world.

We never get beyond wanting what we want
right NOW!!!

Is the American Dream.

Put the pin to it,
to the American Dream balloon,
by asking, to yourself, and anyone else,
"What do you want right now?"
and you will get the usual list:
"To travel (To go anywhere I want)."
"To buy a house on a hill 
in a safe neighborhood close to 
good shopping."
(What are you going to buy?
"Anything I want!").

The "anything I want" theme
is not going away.
So let's pin that balloon:
What does wanting know?

You will get, "What do you mean?"
You will say,
"When has wanting gotten what you want,
for how long?"
(All of our wanting is time-limited.
How long did your first marriage last?
How long did anything last that you wanted
with all your heart?
What does wanting know about anything
other than wanting?
What does wanting know about satisfaction?
Endless Bliss?
The end of wanting?

What does wanting want?
Nothing that it doesn't want
is all that wanting knows.

There is always something else to 
want not,
and always something else to want.

Wanting is the best we can do.
"Anything I want" is the best we can imagine.

Imagine a life not driven by wants.
What would that be?
What would you do?
How would you entertain yourself?
What would you be good for?

What are you good for?
Right now?
What is your shtick?
Your specialty?
Your "thing"?

How often do you do it?
How long can you keep it up?
What brings it to an end?
How long has it been
since the last time you did it?

What is its relationship
to wanting?
Did you want it into existence,
or has it always just been there?
Do you want to do more of it
than you can work into your life?
What is stopping you from doing more of it?
How much would it take
before you didn't want to do it?
Before you wanted it not?

This writing I do, you know?
I cannot imagine not doing it,
and I don't do it because I want to,
or am in the mood for it.

And seeing things to photograph?
I can't stop it.
I can't help it.
It has nothing to do with what I want,
or don't want.
It is just "there."
It has always been "there."

What's like that in your life?
How "owned" by it are you?
What keeps you from being "possessed"?
"Completely possessed"?

What has always been "there" for you?

What are you doing about it?


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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