May 28, 2022

01

Mormon Row Barn 02 06/24/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming
What is your philosophy of health?
How healthy are you on a scale of 1-10?
What practices do you follow
in the service of a healthy life style?

I recommend a 12-hour fast every day,
from the last calorie you consume in the evening,
to the first calorie you consume in the morning.

I also recommend no alcohol and no added sugar,
and no tobacco.

And a 20+ minute nap when you can work it into a day.

And an annual wellness exam to keep your numbers
near the center of the normal distribution curve.

Regular exercise and a good night's sleep.

Reduce the amount of noise and complexity in your life.

Increase the amount of peace and well-being.

Live to be pleased and to be pleasing.

Listen to your body (to your stomach's gut feelings,
to what you know in your bones, to the Uh-oh feelings,
and tightness wherever it may be found).

Listen to your nighttime dreams.

Listen to your spontaneous impulses, urges and responses,
including "slips of the tongue."

Expand the list to include all you have found to be helpful,
and live by it religiously
in the time left for living.

–0–

02

Carolina Wren 06/14/2016 Oil Paint Images — From My Hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina
What is "just there"?

"Just there" is "just so."

"Just so" is who we are without
expectations,
agendas,
motives,
plans,
intentions,
desires,
fear,
drama,
opinions...

When we aren't striving/trying
to arrange anything,
or avoid anything,
or gain anything
like some advantage
merit,
profit,
or keep from losing anything...

When there is nothing in it for us,
and we are just responding 
to the situation,
to the circumstances,
with what is called for
in light of all things considered...

When we are "Just being natural,"
with nothing at stake,
with no emotion driving our actions,
no desires,
no fear,
no anger,
no hatred...

When something is "just there,"
it is automatic,
spontaneous,
authentic,
genuine,
real,
fitting,
a "just right" response to the moment...

And, evidence of our original nature
and the virtues that are ours from birth
at work in our life.

Trying to get to our original nature
and the virtues that come unbidden
at "just the right time"
as a blessing and a grace
upon any occasion that has arisen,
is consciously pursuing 
an unconscious source,
like trying to get to the origin
of our nighttime dreams.

We are a mystery.
We can say the words,
"Psyche," "Soul," "Heart,"
but what we are talking about
is total mystery.

We do not know wereof we speak.

But, when we live from there,
magic happens.

Magic is the purview of mystery.
And the evidence of things unknown.
We are "transparent to transcendence"
just by walking about aimlessly
through our life--
"foreign (even to ourselves)
an enigma,
a veil."

Proof of that is "just there."

–0–

03

Goodale 10/25/2019 06 Oil Paint Rendered — Adams Mill Pond, Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina
Do not take anything seriously.
Respond to everything as it needs
to be responded to--
with no emotional investment
in the outcome.

No desire.
No fear.
Just so.

"Just so" is "right there."
Automatic.
Spontaneous.
Natural.

I was speaking to the captain of a trawler
docked at some New England 
seafarer's museum,
as my wife and I toured his now retired ship.
We were the only people there
at that time of day,
and I asked him,
"What was the biggest problem 
you encountered at sea?"
Thinking about mechanical breakdowns,
or storms,
mutinies and pirate attacks,
and he responded instantly,
without pause for thought,
and louder than appropriate 
for normal conversation: "GREED!!!"

He continued, "Always, always,
bigger boats and larger nets,
and deeper, longer, runs--
with no catch ever being enough,
and no trip out ever being satisfactory
to the people in charge!"

It was a moment of truth 
as it is rarely realized
for all three of us in the wheelhouse.
And, it was as sacred, 
as holy, as sublime,
as any moment in my life.

Because it was so "just so."
"Just as it is/was."
"Just there."

The captain was responding to me,
to the moment,
exactly as it needed to be done,
and his emotion was automatic,
not contrived or intended,
"just so."

He was not serving some goal,
or arranging some outcome.
He was "of the moment,"
offering exactly what was needed,
what was appropriate to the moment,
unrehearsed and incapable of being reproduced.

Stepping into each of our moments
without trying to create/produce something,
but just responding to what is there
in ways appropriate to the occasion
is being free to say what needs to be said,
to do what needs to be done,
with nothing at stake,
nothing to gain or lose,
taking nothing seriously enough 
to adjust our behavior one way or another,
just curious to see what the moment will bring forth,
to startle and amaze,
and remain remembered all these years.

–0–

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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