January 05, 2022


Duckie 11 05/13/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — The Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina
I think it is denial
to think that tough times
won't be with us for a while--
a longer while that we would wish for.

That leaves us with preparing 
for dark times and low spirits.

We could start by creating a sacred space,
not religious so much as a spiritual retreat,
an oasis for our soul,
a place for sustenance and restoration.

I'm thinking of an inside space
where you could collect meaningful objects
and symbols
that connect you with a source of strength
and encouragement,
life and well-being.

I have an Inuksuk in my retreat space,
a small stone-stacked human-shaped figure
that reminds me of our Shaman beginnings,
and connects me with my original nature,
comforting me along the path.

There is a photo of a dandelion
that I see as a mandala of a wild thing
that can grow through asphalt,
and is afraid of nothing.

I have a drum, a Tibetan singing bowl,
a platted riding crop
reminding me not to whip dead horses,
or waste my time with what is not worth my time.
A family of mushrooms, a stone egg
that doubles as an imaginary dragon egg,
suggesting that a new life 
will eat our old life alive.

An owl I carved out of a piece of driftwood,
books that mean the world to me,
a pine-needle basket woven by a 12-year-old
Coushatta Indian girl, connecting me
with the spirit of life alive in us all,
connecting us all as "one in the spirit of life."

Things like these serve as sources
of resolve and dedication
to the task of being what is needed
in spite of our chances--
because that is what it takes,
and it is who we are.   

Our sacred space can be a place 
that nourishes and nurtures our imagination,
and our relationship with our instincts
and intuition.

A place where we are free to roam
among questions and reflect upon experiences
with wonder and awe,
and serves as a doorway/threshold to 
the world of spirit and grace,
where we may receive insight and revelation,
find direction and guidance,
"recover from the past
and store up for the future."

It is a place for finding our way amid our circumstances,
experiencing/exploring the restorative power
of the right kind of emptiness, stillness and silence,
in regaining our balance and harmony,
and sustaining our resolve
"to get up and do what needs to be done."

Which will become increasingly necessary
through the days that lie ahead.



Black Bayou 19 11/02/2015 BW Oil Paint Rendered — Black Bayou Lake Wildlife Preserve, Monroe, Louisiana
We keep waiting for things to fall into place.

It is not the place of things to fall into place.
Our place is to dance with the tilt-a-swirl
as it moves between the clashing rocks
and the crashing waves,
getting our timing down,
finding the rhythm of
the music of the spheres
clashing and colliding
through the eons
laughing at us
seeking smooth
and easy.

Nature's way is not smooth and easy.
Hermetically sealed,
thermostat controlled,
ordered and regular lives
are our idea
imposed upon a climate
that has its own system
for tides and seasons,
air purification
and disease confinement.

We fit into the flow,
we do not govern it.

We cannot move hills
and fill in valleys
without doing terrible
damage to migration patterns
and spawning practices.

It is not cool to mess with Mother Nature
is an inconvenient lesson
we have no time for.

"Fine," says The Mother.
"Have it your way, then."

Our way is doing what we want,
with no regard for what we ought to want.
And no capacity for what we do not want at all.
Refusing to see how what we want
comes with what we don't want attached
and ignored,
laughing at us seeking smooth
and easy.


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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