December 13, 2021


Baxter Creek 04 11/07/2007 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Big Creek District, Waterville, North Carolina
The Hero's Journey is not to be distinguished
from The Spiritual Journey,
or from Growing Up.
It's all the same thing.
And it is as simple as knowing
what your interests are
and serving them with your life.

Which isn't simple at all.

Our interests are the first things to go.
When we are on a Career Path,
nothing is allowed to interfere
with The Career.

Except, of course,
drug and alcohol addiction
and job searches,
and divorce,
The list is rather long, but.
Our interests are not to be found they.

Interests are persona non grata
when it comes to the important things.
If we speak of them at all,
we call them "hobbies," 
in a disparaging, apologetic, kind of way,
and quickly change the subject.

Our interests have no place in our life,
which makes our life a dull and uninteresting 
place to be.

To be truthful,
our life is completely meaningless,
except for the Career which pays the bills,
but doesn't mean much to us at all.
Nothing does.
Because we don't allow our interests
in the door,
and, consequently, don't do anything
that means anything to us.
So, of course, our life is meaningless.

And the adventure is right here, right now,
waiting for us to open the door,
saddle up,
and go for a ride.
The ride of our life,
in the company of our interests 
that have been there from the beginning.

When Carl Jung asked himself what myth 
he was serving with his life,
he realized that he had no idea.
So, he reflected on what had held his interest
when he was a child,
and he remembered he liked to play with stones,
building forts and castles and the like.

In his middle age, 
he took up playing with stones,
and built a stone house with four towers
at  Bollingen,
and everything fell into place around that.

Everything falls into place around our interests.
The things that our heart loves to do.
We forsake them to our peril,
to our despair and ennui. 

We have to find/remember our interests
and allow them to be for us The Hero's Journey,
bringing us back to life
and directing our life,
even against our will.
Trusting ourselves to our interests,
and doing as they request,
allowing the Adventure to unfold,
and the path to open, 
before us,
with one surprise after another.



Maple Panorama 04 Oil Paint Rendered 11/04/2021 — 22-adre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
I do so hope that trees
know they are magnificent,
and speak to one another 
of their deep satisfaction
with themselves as they are,
admiring each other 
for doing all they do,
and for the splendor of their appearance,
even if we would consider them to be
of no significance whatsoever.

I do so hope that trees
have a different way of according value,
and appreciating each other
for the joy of their presence,
and the quality of their company
filled with compassion and grace
for every tree in the forest--
in every forest of every land.

I do so hope that trees
relish and enjoy the civility of trees,
and delight in its wonder
all the days of their lives.



Bayou DeSaird 01 11/02/2015 Oil Paint Rendered, Monroe, Louisiana
We all gravitate to what attracts us,
and shake out according to 
our tastes and interests.

We are reflected in who we hang with,
and in what we do.

Being true to ourselves
is saying yes to the things 
that "are us,"
and no to the things that "are not us."

Given complete freedom of choice,
where would you spend your time?
What would you do in a day?

How much of what you actually do in a day,
in a week,
is "you" and how much is "not you"?

What determines/restricts
how much time you spend with "you things,"
and how much time you spend with "not-you things"?

How often are you aware of the 
"you/not-you" divide?
How well do you manage/make your peace with it?
How do you compensate "you" 
for all the "not-you" things you have to do?

Honoring our "you side" for what it is,
helps maintain a healthy balance 
with our "not-you side,"
and keeps things from going
straight into drugs and alcohol,
or some other addictive escape,
from the reality of not enough "you" in our life.

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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