May 07, 2022


Great Blue Heron 05/18/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — The Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina
Letting the situation elicit, evoke,
our response to it
instead of forcing a predetermined 
way of acting on it
based on what we want to achieve
is not conducive to 
the balance, harmony and flow
of the situation and its possibilities.

We cannot have a formula in mind
for producing the life we want to live.
The life we have in mind puts constraints in play
on every situation that arises,
and requires micro-management
to a degree that is impossible to achieve.

"Do what is yours to do
and step back,"
advises the old Taoist sage,
"and let nature take its course."

"Letting nature take its course"
is tantamount to chaos and lawlessness
in our book.
And we will not be a party to that!

And that kills the party.

Better to trust the situation's own sense
of pace and timing
than to orchestrate inorganic outcomes
aligned with our idea of how things ought to be.

Do what is called for,
and then do what is called for,
and then do what is called for...
in light of what needs to happen
like a farmer planting his crop,
or an artist waiting to see
what the canvas wants to become,
or a dancer allowing the music
to bring the right movement to life.



Sunwapta River 10/03/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Jasper National Park, Alberta
I see the picture before I take it.
I know a picture when I see one.
I am capable of being wrong.
I don't care if I am wrong.
I don't have to be right.
It all goes into the hopper.
"It's all grist for the mill."
We are milling experience
which we can draw on in situations
similar to this one
and alter our behavior to it
to better align ourselves with
what needs to happen.

We are always working to do
what needs to be done.
We screw with that
by thinking that means
getting what we want,
getting to happen what we want to happen.
We don't know what needs to happen
any more than I know what a picture is,
and isn't.
We are capable of being wrong--
about what we ought to want
and about what needs to happen.
We do not know what we need to know.

We start with what we are doing.
What are we doing here?
What are we trying to do here?
What ought to be done here?
Who are we?
What are we about?

When I am looking for a photo,
I know that I am looking for a photo.
When I am not looking for a photo,
but something catches my I,
I am evoked/called/invited
to take the photo.

What evokes/calls/invites us to action?
What does that say about what we are about?
About what we are here for?
What do we think about that?
How do we evaluate that?
What does that tell us about who we are?
Is that natural?
Is that something we artificially impose on ourselves?

How do we decide what is worth doing?
How do we determine what is important?
How do we know what we are here for?
What is in charge of our choices/decisions?
What is in charge of 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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