September 27, 2021


Mormon Row Barn 06/23/2001 Oil Paint Rendered — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming
Where do you belong?
Where do you have 
no business being?

Where do you feel at home?
Where are you out of place?

How do you spend your time
in ways that are right for you?

How do you spend your time
in ways that are wrong for you?

Are you going with the flow here,
or swimming against the current?
Of your life?

What is your position 
with regard to yourself?
Are you mostly pro-self,
or mostly anti-self?

Would you be better off
with a different self?

Would you be worse off
with a different self?

If you could pick your ideal self
off a shelf,
what characteristics would you have,
and what characteristics would you not have?

How different would you be, ideally?

If you could divorce yourself,
would you?

Have you?
Divorced yourself?

Our relationship with ourselves
is our most important relationship.
If we aren't tending that,
nurturing that,
nourishing that,
we are violating a sacred trust,
and have the time left for living
to make amends.

The more time we take,
the less time we have. 



Morant’s Curve 02 09/25/2005 Oil Paint Rendered — Banff National Park, Alberta
Everything is a mirror,
exposing us,
revealing us,
bringing us forth
for all to see
who know how to look.

We are "right here,"
as "one thus come,"
just like the Buddha
in all of our coming and going.

If you want to know who you are,
to see into your original nature
and behold "the face that was yours
before you--our your parents--
or your grandparents--
were born,
sit down with some readily visible 
aspect of yourself
and wonder about it,
playing with it,
turning it over,
digging into it,
exploring it,
inspecting it,
seeing it as though 
for the first time,
asking it to show you
what it has to say about you
and what you are about...

And see where it goes.

I've been revising all of my old images
by applying Photoshop's "Oil Paint" filter
from about the beginning 
of the pandemic
(And the worsening of the osteoarthritis
in my knees,
which reduces my ability 
to plunder the world
in searching for new images).

And I can easily reel off
all of the "reasons why."
--I can take a 72 ppi image
from my Flickr online gallery
apply the filter
and enlarge it to a 300 ppi image
with no pixelization.
--I can "save" marginally focused images.
--I can "re-up" old images
by turning them into "new" images.
--I like the effect...

I have recently come to realize
that it shows me who I am
and what I am about:
Taking the edge off of reality.
Softening "the world."
Making all things easier to take
as they are.
Applying the "Dollar--Dolor--Filter"
to life.

"Dolor" is a Scottish word 
meaning "depression, angst, pain,
sorrow, sadness, melancholy...
and it is pronounced "Dolla,"
Dollar without the "r."

There is an area in Scotland 
called "Dollar Glen"
near Campbell Castle
which gets its name,
as legend would have it,
from the broken-hearted suicide
of a beautiful young princess 
of the castle
over Lost Love,
and the pall her death cast
over the surrounding glen.

My ancestors would have
spelled their name "Dolor,"
pronouncing it "Dolla,"
coming to America,
and being ridiculed 
for "not knowing how to spell
their own name,"
saying, "Okay, what the hell?"
and adopting the Anglican-American spelling
and signing everything "Dollar"
to escape the pain/shame/humiliation
of "not knowing how to spell" their own name.

Perhaps this is an unnecessary embellishment
of the origin of "Dollar,"
but it suits my purposes
and expands my "story."

And allows me to adopt "the heritage"
of my ancestors in "explaining"
using the oil paint filter
to "take the edge off reality,"
and present a softer, gentler, kinder
view of "how things are,"
which is what I have been doing
throughout my life.

I was a "Preacher" by trade
and by craft.
Hermeneutics is my shtick, 
my "thing,"
my foundation and my core.

"Hermeneutics" comes from "Hermes"
(Also called "Mercury")
the "messenger of the gods."
Seeing and saying how things are.
Interpreting what was said
to clarify and express what was meant.
Turning reality into possibility.
Making the world better than it is.
Taking "dolor" and producing "dolla(r)."

Afterall, the "r" was already there.

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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