August 22, 2021


Meeting the Day 08/26/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Blue Heron, The Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina
I recommend that you make a mandala
your personal symbol/reminder/guide
for achieving and maintaining 
balance and harmony--
which imply and include
sincerity, integrity,
spirit, energy and vitality. 

You are familiar, surely,
with the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Inventory.
It is a quick reference tool
for the opposites within us
that need to be consciously and conscientiously 
maintained in a fluid state of balance and harmony,
in order that we might respond
to our circumstances spontaneously and appropriately
in doing what 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.

Extraversion (E)
Introversion (I)

Sensing (S)
Intuition (N)

Thinking (T)
Feeling (F)

Judging (J)
Perceiving (P)

These are categories of preferences 
that we all are capable of
which we need to be able to call on
as needed by the time and place of our living.

Consciously working to balance our ability
to be comfortable using either pair of opposites
in each category
positions us to be ready to meet
whatever the day brings,
confident in our ability to respond
appropriately as needed--
without thinking, plotting or planning--
because we are naturally capable
of living from the center of all extremes
in the moment it is called for
upon the field of action.

This is not about getting our way,
but doing what needs to be done.
Being overly concerned for having our way,
shifts us from the center
and tilts us toward using any means
necessary to get what we want.

Balance and harmony go out the window,
and we are left to fight it out
with whatever we think will serve our purpose
at the moment.

Living from the center
will not serve our way
unless our way 
is to live from the center
and let the outcome be the outcome.

A mandala will not help accomplish
our goals
unless our goals 
are to live from the center
and let the outcome be the outcome.

There is living from our heart.
And there is living from the will to achieve/
acquire/possess/dominate/subjugate/and succeed.

First, we have to decide what is important
and how to know if we are right about it 
being important.

Then we can decide if a mandala is right for us.



Cataloochee Elk 02 10/28/2014 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cataloochee Valley,, North Carolina
If you have no affinity for mystery in your life,
there is nothing I can do for you,
and you are wasting your time here.

There is nothing anybody can do for you,
and you may as well be fitted for a casket,
and lie in it waiting for it to be time
for the dirt and a headstone,
for all the good walking around is going to do you.
You are already dead, waiting to die.

That is what having no affinity for mystery is good for.
"Absolutely nothing."
Same as war.

But, for you folks who enjoy your affinity for mystery,
you are awash in all that life has to offer!
Splash around in it!
Relish it!
Seek out the radiance and the wonder--

learn to see it everywhere,
at all times!

Everything reeks of mystery!
Speaks of mystery!
Resounds with mystery!
Confounds with mystery!

Learn to recognize it,
embrace it,
love it,
dance with it,
cuddle it,
coddle it,
laugh with it
and walk with it
throughout the time left for living!

You will be better off for it
in countless ways!



Chimney Tops Fall 11/05/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
The Vision Quest,
The Hero's Journey,
and Coming of Age
all amount to the same thing:
Growing Up.

We put growing up off forever.
The culture encourages it.
Growing up is bad for the economy,
and the economy drives the culture.

The value of money 
depends upon the flow of money.
When a depression hits,
the wealthiest of the wealthy thrive,
but the merely wealthy
and the middle class
and the lower class
all suffer immense loss 
of status and comfort,
because money stopped flowing.

Growing up creates a depression-like impact
in that mature people 
don't spend money as their immature
look-a-likes do.
They don't need to.
They have no use of the diversions
money creates and sustains.

Growing up is not something
people stand in line to do,
and it doesn't take much 
of a glittering alternative
to hijack an entire culture
into terminal immaturity
for generations.

Our culture has been doing it from the start.
We create cultures to avoid growing up.
It is what we do best.

Nobody takes up a vision quest,
launches themselves on the hero's journey
or goes to the trouble of coming of age
because they recognize it as a good idea.
They do it because their life requires it
and they prefer that to their
drug-sex-and-alcohol-laced alternatives
(or as the only option left
after drugs, sex and alcohol
provides them with a near-death
wake-up-or-else experience).

Growing up is coming to terms
with what's what,
in a "This is the way things are,
and this is what we can do about it,
and that's that" kind of way--
with one of the things we can do about it
being growing up,
accepting not having/getting my way
and letting it be because it is
being all that is left,
and doing what can be done
with what's left 
after "my way" is taken off the table.

Growing up is living in ways
other than our own.

Everyone who grows up,
grows up against their will.
And does what they can
with what's left.

That is the vision quest,
the hero's journey,
and coming of age
reduced to their naked truth.

Good luck with your own version
of the process.

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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