January 17, 2022


Waiting 09/30/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Penobscot Bay, Stonington Harbor, Deer Isle, Maine
What does wanting know?

Why can we only want what we want,
and not what we ought to want?

Why do we so often want 
what we ought not want?
What we have no business wanting,
and certainly no business having?

Why is wanting/not-wanting 
and ought/ought-not
(Or should/shouldn't),
the only available guides
for piloting our boat on its path 
through the sea?

What is there besides want and ought (should)?
How else can we determine/decide/discern what to do?

Whatever it is,
it sure better get here quick.
We have ridden this horse
as far into the wasteland 
as it can carry us,
and there is nothing but
more of the same
as far as we can see
in any direction!

Here's a suggestion for you:
Dismount and let the horse
find its own way to wherever it is going,
then sit down and shut up.

Empty yourself of everything.
Even the desire to be empty.
Not this! Not this! Not this! Not this! ...
Until there is just you,
sitting in the silence.
Now wait.
Empty. Still. Silent.
For what stirs in the silence.
For what appears unbidden
as a gift from our imagination
that we do not consciously create.
For what arises out of nowhere.
To call, beckon, invite.

Follow as bidden.
Go as directed.
Do as told.
And if that goes against 
all that you stand for and value,
call a parley.

And engage the Unknown Source of Direction
in an imaginary conversation,
you asking questions
and waiting on the answers to occur to you
as a spontaneous response to your inquiry.

Ask all of the questions that beg to be asked.
Say all of the things that cry out to be said.
Do not let anything go unstated, unexplored.
With you talking to the Unknown Other.

See where it goes.
At the very least,
it will take you to possibilities
you have been unaware of 
all this time.

Possibilities that have no connection
with what you want/don't want,
or with what you ought-to/ought-not-to do.



November Woods 03 11/25/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — 22-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
What are you about?
What are you up to?
What interests you?
What is meaningful to you?

Explore these things!

Let exploring what interests you
and exploring what is meaningful to you
be what you are about!
Let them be what you are up to!

You could do worse.
So much worse.
Don't do that!



December Woods 03 12/02/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
Toward the end of his life,
Carl Jung said, "I call Divinity
that which flings itself violently
across my path,
and alters the course of my life
for good or for ill" (Quoted by
James Hollis in an interview with
Laura London on "Speaking of Jung").

The Divinity is the Mystery of Life
inserting itself into our life,
as if to say, "What are you going to do
about this?"
--Perhaps for its own entertainment, who knows?

We rock along,
and something happens 
that rocks our world.
Now what?
Where do we turn when we have nowhere to turn?

I recommend 
and Silence.

You will be amazed to discover
what you will find there--
other aspects of the Mystery at the heart
of Life and Being, 
I assure you.

Once you step into the encounter with Mystery,
there is no turning back.
You are in it all the way.
And there isn't a greater adventure to be found!

One discovery leads to another,
and who knows here it is going?
Or cares?

"The game is afoot," as Sherlock Holmes likes to say.
He loved the Mystery as much as anyone ever has!
Compete with him for the title!
It will bring joy to your life,
and put a spring into your step!
And who could ask for more?



The Back Road Connecting Rockport and Camden, Maine 10/15/2009 Oil Paint Rendered
The right kind of life
requires the right kind of dying
again and again
throughout the span of abundant living.

We live between Ego and Psyche.
The interests/demands of one clash
with those of the other.

Our place as conscious/aware human beings
is to moderate the conflict of interests
and die the death the circumstances require,
knowing our highest allegiance and felty
belong to the psychic source of life and being,
requiring ego to grow up some more again
all along the way.

Ego's way is giving way
in trusting the way of Psyche
and sacrificing itself and its interests
in the service Psyche's idea
of what needs to be done
in each situation as it arises
at the expense of Ego's self-aggrandizement,
profit, and gain every time.

We stand between Ego and Psyche,
negotiating Ego's loss and Psyche's gain
time after time.

This is the place of the cross in our life,
the one Jesus requires us to pick up
and carry through our days
just like he did,
dying to what needs to be died to,
and living to what needs to be lived to
day in and day out.

The Sisyphean task as Jesus interpreted
and implemented it,
and ours to will and to do through time and place,
one day at a time.



Scrapping Fall 09 11/17/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Carolina Thread Trail, 12-mile Creek Segment, Waxhaw, North Carolina
What must you do?
What must you not do?

Our life is lived
between these two poles.
We have no choice about either.

What we must do
and what we cannot do
are thrust upon us
from beyond us
as carryovers from our experiences
with life as we have lived it. 

There are those of us
who must be pleasing, for example,
and those who cannot help talking all the time,
(or never saying anything
to draw attention to ourselves).

We all have our limits.
I can "do" cocktail parties
and family/high school/etc. reunions,
but not really.

And I must sit by the door
in all meetings and lectures
in order to leave discretely
when I have had enough
(And generally must avoid 
meetings and lectures altogether).

I lean toward hermitude,
and away from social gatherings
of all types and every occasion.
And have long since made my peace
with the complexes controlling 
these aspects of my life.

I know where my lines lie,
and am not motivated to move them,
being perfectly comfortable
to leave them where they are.

What are complexes
and what are free choices,
and where does that line lie,
I do not know,
and don't care.

I freely choose my complexes,
trusting that there are good reasons
to be the way I am,
and seeing no reason to override
my tics and preferences,
wondering what's the complex
involved in having to be complex free? 

It would be different if I felt the need
to be other than I am,
or if I had a job that required me
to pretend that I liked parties and 
lite conversations.

As it is,
I am perfectly content
to be the turtle 
dragging its tail through the mud,
allowing "really living," 
or "real life," 
pass me by.

And wish you well in working out
your relationships with the must's
and the can-not's operating 
as they do in your life,
and making your peace with the way things are.


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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