April 05, 2022


Green River Canyon 06 05/30/2010 Oil Paint Rendered — Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah
How many people do you know,
counting yourself,
who are well-balanced people?

Stable, centered, steady, reliable, dependable?

How many can you count on being 
a brightly burning flame
in gale-force winds
upon the heaving waves
of the wine-dark sea?

I need one or two people like that in my life
to help me right the boat
and steer a straight course
through the clashing rocks
and mind-spinning absurdities
of our daily fare.

I don't know of anyone I would trust 
with the future--
and the future needs some trustworthy people
at the helm.

I think the all must be in secret bunkers,
riding it out.

That leaves me with finding the right kind 
of emptiness,
and silence.

You cannot help noticing 
that the noise of this world is deafening
and unrelenting.

A real test for those seeking emptiness,
stillness and silence.

First we empty ourselves of the noise of the world.
That's a tall order.



Beulah Land 37 Oil Paint Rendered — Guilford County, North Carolina
What do you do to square yourself up with the day?
What is your regimen for meeting what is to be met?
For facing what is to be faced?
For balancing what needs to be balanced?
For doing what is to be done? 

I remind myself
that I trust myself
to have what I need
to find what I need
to deal with whatever
needs to be dealt with
when I get out of bed.

Settled into my original nature,
I can be confident in my native ability
to rise to the occasion
with the right word or deed
to do what is called for
time after time.

I have done it this long,
I can do it as long as it takes
to bring this boat into the harbor--
looking forward to finding what waits
along the way.



Zen Glen 04/05/2022 Oil Paint Rendered — The border between our house and the 22-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
We waste a lot of Qi--pronounced, I believe, "key,"
and understood by the old Taoists
to be "Life Energy,"
allotted to us at birth
and when it is used up, we die--
liking and not-liking the way things are
and the way things happen around us
and to us.

It is all "just this, just that."

When something itches,
we scratch it,
without thinking much about it,
responding out of our original nature
to deal with our circumstances,
while remaining focused on what we were doing.

How much we like something,
or like it not,
isn't relevant to doing 
what needs to be done about it
whether we like it or not.

I never particularly liked 
changing our daughters diapers, 
or washing dishes,
or mowing the lawn,
but that did not interfere 
with how well I did the things
that needed doing.

Our life energy isn't going to be replenished.
When we use it up, 
its gone,
and we with it.



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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