April 10, 2022


Little River 03 04/13/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Townsend, Tennessee
The old Alchemists had a slogan,
"One book opens another."
We might think of it as
"This leads to that."

It is important to look for the clues
in seeking to find our path
and follow it "in accord with the Tao,
the Way, The Path.

What does where we are
on our own personal path
seem to be suggesting,
as a natural next step?

Move in that direction
and see what happens.

Milton Erickson (Not the educator,
the hypno-therapist) said that
when he was 10 years old,
a strange horse wandered into his yard,
and his father told him to take the horse home.
Milton climbed on the horse's back
and kept him from stopping to eat grass.
The horse took himself home.

Your path is a strange horse.
You will never think your path forward
at any point along the way.
Just don't allow yourself to be distracted
and let the path take you where 
it wants you to go.



Beulah Land 42 Oil Paint Rendered –Dune Walker, Mesquite Dunes, Death Valley National Park, California
What we all are seeking
is how to deal successfully
with what comes our way--
with what our life has brought us--
with our life as it is 
here and now.

We are all looking for 
how to live with what we have 
to live with,
day in and day out,
all our life long.

Denial and entertainment
can only take us so far.
Everything dries up and blows away
after a while.

What can spark us eternally?
What can keep the fire going
day after day,

Boredom is our bane.
We have to do it again.
Sisyphus has nothing on us!
We have to get up
and start pushing some boulder
again today every day.

Every. Damn. Day.

The things we hate are the things we hate
and they are always there.
Laughing at us.

All of our diversions and distractions
become part of the things we hate,
and we hate the things 
we used to use to escape from
the things we hate.

Sex, drugs and alcohol don't 
do it for us anymore!
Then what???

Oh, SHIT!!!

All the little lambs wake up
sooner or later
as night begins to fall,
baahhhing for mama.


It is never too late
to find what we are looking for.

The Gateless Gate is everywhere,
waiting for us to walk through
by shifting our perspective,
changing our mind,
and seeing,
what's what
and what needs to be done about it,
with it,
with the virtues/gifts/genius/daemon
that are ours to serve at last,
and share,
in the time left for living.



The Three Sisters Extended — The Wasteland Collection
The Wasteland is the polar opposite of Beulah Land.
We live in one or the other,
or at the still point between the two.

"The still point of the turning world"
(TS Eliot)
is the vantage point,
the viewpoint,
the fulcrum,
the place of seeing--
of seeing our seeing,
and laughing at the absurdity
of ever thinking we see.

"Is it this way or that way?"
Or neither?
Or both?
Or more?

The answer is "It all depends,"
and "Wait and see,"
because "it" is transforming,
shifting, changing, metamorphosisizing
as we watch.

If we both, we all, 
look at the same thing
and see what we look at,
we will see something different--
because of who is doing the looking/seeing.

What we "see"
is an abstraction,
a projection,
an elaboration,
an extension,
of "what is there."

We add to/subtract from
what we look at,
and it "means" something different
to everyone who looks, seeing, thinking they see.

The important thing--
the only thing that matters--
is what we do about it,
because of it,
in response to it.

How we live around it,
because of it.

What becomes of us and our life
in relationship with it.

What we see is meaningless,
no matter what we say about it,
until/unless it impacts our life
in some way,
for better or for worse.

What do we do about it?

Seeing what's what is doing what 
needs to be done about it.

What is called for?
What is it asking for?
What does it require of us?
Demand of us?

How do we respond?

We look and see the Wasteland.
We look and see Beulah Land.
We look and see how our seeing
our living, our being,
and take matters into our own hands
at the still point of the turning world
in living toward our understanding of,
our vision of,
what is necessary here and now.

Our perception of what we look at,
of what we see,
transforms us and the world around us,
and shifts as our seeing shifts
in looking at an optical illusion.

External reality is an optical illusion.
So is internal reality.
It is all "in process,"
in motion,
becoming something else as we watch.

We have the power of perception,
which is the power of seeing our seeing
and deciding what to do about it.

What we do because of what we see
identifies us, defines us, brings us forth,
and we become what is important to us
by clarifying what is important
by the way we respond to life events--
by the way we respond to how we see,
interpret, understand, explain, exegete
life events. 

How we live in the world is a reflection of
the way we view the world.
And we determine that by the way
we see our seeing
and choose what to do about it.

And how easily we laugh at the very idea
of knowing what we are doing!



Buccaneer 01/13/2019 Oil Paint Rendered — Harbor River, Port Royal, South Carolina
Christians think Jesus died for them, 
to secure their forgiveness 
and get them to heaven 
if they believe he did.

I think that Jesus died for himself 
and the sake of his own integrity 
and that he calls his follows 
to do the same—
to die for what they think is worth living for.

And so his, "If you are coming with me,
pick up your own cross every day,
and live like you mean it,
no matter what!"

Puts a new light on things.
Or, "Turns the light around."

And would give the Christian church
an entirely different orientation,
and reason for being.

Not believing,
but doing.

And not doing what they are told to do,
but doing what they know needs to be done--
doing what they know needs them to do it,
with the virtues, gifts, daemon, genius
that came with them from the womb.

Doing the right thing--
the thing they know to be right--
in the right way,
at the right time,
in the right place,
in each situation as it arises,
all their life long,
for nothing more than the joy of doing it
and the satisfaction of having done it. 

That is understanding the old, old story
in a brand new way.

And asks us all to answer for ourselves,
"What is worth living for?"
And, "Are you willing to die for it?"

Puts everything in a different light.
And transforms the world.

A religion that does that
is a religion worth our time.


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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