August 25, 2021


Goodale State Park 11/01/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — Camden, South Carolina
Begin paying attention to your situations,
noticing when one goes over into another.

Our situations carry us with them,
becoming our life,
so that our life is simply
a string of situations,
one going over into the next,
from birth to death.

Each situation has its own movement,
its own pace and timing,
with each one being a chapter in our day.

If we see ourselves dancing with our situations,
instead of struggling to master them,
or direct them,
or orchestrate,
manage them,
we will be putting ourselves in the position
to influence our situations,
rather than trying to control them.

Control is the prerogative of mystery
and wonder--
of forces quite beyond us
and unknown to us--
quite apart from our will and desire.

Our role is not to have our way,
but to assist the unfolding 
of our life
in the situations 
that comprise it,
by reading each situation
in light of what is happening there
and what needs to happen in response,
and doing what we can do 
in the service of what is called for
with the gifts/genius/specialties/shtick/etc.
that come with us from the womb,
and are "the face that was ours
before we were born,"
which is to say,
our original nature.

Being true to ourselves
in responding to the needs of the situation,
with sincerity and spontaneity,
is what we bring to the moment,
as blessing and grace,
by offering what we have to give
to the occasions that need exactly that,
and participating in the making of miracles
(unknowingly assisting the forces quite beyond us
and unknown to us) throughout each day.



Green Heron Bathing 03 06/26/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — The Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina
Our work is to put ourselves
in accord with the moment,
moment by moment,
throughout our day
and our life.

Every moment,
of every situation,
is asking something of us.
Is asking for our cooperation
and support in some way.

We generally go into our moments,
our situations,
with agenda in one hand,
and a bullhorn in the other,
ordering, arraigning, manipulating,
orchestrating, directing, managing,
controlling, and living toward
a particular outcome
that we have clearly and firmly in mind.

It is Win Or Lose in every situation.
Cooperation and concordance have no place
in our approach to our life,
and therein lies the root of all our problems.

Our Way is not The Way more often than not,
seldom if ever.
Assisting The Way is staying out of The Way
more often than not, always and forever.

What is trying to happen here?
What needs to happen here?
How can we help as midwives
delivering a baby?

Every situation is a new birth 
in the making,
which we abort,
not knowing what we are doing
knowing what we are doing,
or would be doing,
if people would only get out of our way
and listen to us.



Haywood County Barn 10/30/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Maggie Valley, North Carolina
New Englanders have a saying,
"I am not carrying this day
one step beyond where it needs to go!"

Lao Tzu said, around 500 BCE),
"Do your work
and step back.
Knowing when to stop
is the wisdom of the ages."

Knowing what our work is,
and knowing when it is done,
and when it is time to move on
is all the knowing
we need to know.

And, if we think our work
has anything at all to do
with making money,
or being compensated in any way,
we need to go back to the first day
and start over
knowing nothing.



High Falls in the Shadow 10/25/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — DuPont State Forest, Cedar Mountain, North Carolina
Putting ourselves in accord with The Way
in each situation as it arises
has to do not only with what we do,
but also with how we do it.

Getting our attitude right is essential
to getting our actions right.

Doing what needs to be done
as though our heart in in what we are doing,
whether it is or not--
is the cornerstone in Accord.

Sincerity and integrity
require us to "fake it until we make it"
from the heart--
faking it all the way.
Faking it so well that not even we
can tell if our heart is in it or not.

This is what Jesus meant when he said,
"Don't let your left hand know
what your right hand is doing."
He is saying,
"Do it like you mean it,
whether you mean it or not."

Live like we mean it,
whether we mean it or not!

That is the attitude required
to get our attitude as it needs to be.
To get ourselves as we need to be,
in doing what needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
when it needs to be done,
because it needs to be done.

This means that when your in-laws come
for a visit
they think they are welcome
every time.



Jennette’s Pier 10/23/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Nags Head, Outer Banks, North Carolina
I am confident that the phrase,
"Let the Force be with you,"
is not to be found/heard in any 
of the Star Wars movies. 
"Trust the Force, Luke,"
is as close as it gets.

But "Let the Force be with you,"
is an accurate depiction of how 
the Force is thought of in all of the movies.
And I have an issue with that.

Force is militant, first and foremost.
It has a militant ring to it,
and though "force" is a neutral enough word
when used for gravity, light, and electricity,
it's association with forcing someone to do 
something against their will
is too obnoxious to use in reference to
the "Light Side," in opposition to "The Dark Side."

Forces at war with each other is much too 
reflective of our general attitude
about good guys and bad guys
and the right side winning all of the time.

One quick glance at the natural world
and we see that "good" and "bad" 
are strictly points of view,
with no morally significant meaning
beyond what we make up and apply at will.

Nature is morally neutral.
In the natural world, the Law of the Fishes applies,
without preference regarding the outcomes:
"The big fish eat the little fish,
and the little fish swim through the holes
in the nets that haul the big fish to the cannery."

No Light and Dark at war with each other through time.
That was invented by Zarathustra between 1500 and 1000 BCE.
It came right out of his imagination,
and that is all there is to it.
All of the references to it from that point on
have been embellishments of Zarathustra's original idea.

The is no warfare between the Forces of Good
and the Forces of Evil,
and use of the word "force" triggers all of these 
false references to Zarathustra's fantasies.

So, from my point of view, "force" is not to be used.

I much prefer "Flow."

"Let the Flow be with you!"
"Go with the Flow!"
"Be One with the Flow!"
"Flow with your life, and be well!"

The possibilities are many,
and are much more accurate
than any associated with "force."

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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