June 08, 2022


Vermilion Lakes Sunset 09/23/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Banff National Park, Alberta
Living from our heart
is living with sincerity
and integrity.
It is the way of all children.

"Innocent," we say.
Without guile or craft,
just "straight from the heart."

Until they learn to be crafty and sly.
"Smart like a fox,"
and "Always up to something."

But, Jesus meant
living with sincerity 
and integrity,
and straight from the heart,
when he said,
"Unless you turn and become like children,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

Turning the light around
was never more important
than becoming the child
we once were,
and living from our heart
in all that we do.



The Trout Lily 02 02/27/2018 Oil Paint Rendered — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina
It comes down to,
revolves around
and flows from
seeing what we look at.

We either see it or we don't.

The same goes for hearing what we listen to.

Get the seeing and the hearing together,
so that we see what we look at
and hear what is being said
(Including what we are saying to ourselves
about what is being said by the people
we are listening to)
and everything falls into place
and is as it should be.

Noise and complexity
jam the signals, the wave lengths,
coming to our eyes and ears,
and a lot of that noise and complexity
is produced by the filters
we erect through fear and desire
to alter the world we live in
because of our interest in getting what we want,
and avoiding what we don't want.

It's complicated.
Seeing and hearing.
But it all comes down to,
revolves around,
and flows from
those two things.

Which hinges on how we interpret
what we see and hear.

Right seeing,
right hearing,
right interpretation,
right knowing,
right doing,
right being.

Loops around to produce right living
in each situation as it arises
all our life long.

Sounds simple.
It is made complex
by our motives,
our expectations,
our agendas,
our opinions,
our fears,
our desires.

It is a wonder that we ever do anything

We can improve our chances
by practicing
seeing our seeing,
hearing our hearing,
knowing what all we know,
becoming transparent to ourselves,
and thereby becoming transparent to transcendence.

We each are this close to being transcendent ourselves.
We are doorways to wonder and amazement everlasting.
Thresholds to glory.
We are sublime.
Looking in a mirror should put our eyes out
because of the brightness of our being.

We do not see what we look at
because we cannot bear knowing what we know.

Denial keeps us safe.
Truth keeps trying to break through.
We cannot decide whose side to be on.



The Fence 02 07/12/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Indian Land, South Carolina
Sometimes, it isn't so much what we face
but the weight we give to it. 

I think mental illness comes down to
ascribing a magnitude to things
that would be nothing
without the perspective being mentally ill
puts in our way.

From this perspective,
mental illness is a failure of perspective--
a failure to adequately assess the nature/degree/weight
of what we perceive--
a failure of how we perceive it.

Dusting a room, or tying our shoes,
are things most of us just do without thinking about it.
Let a shift of perspective take place
(And what are the sources of such shifts, I wonder),
and it becomes an impossible chore.
"I cannot make myself get off the couch
and dust even the end table!"
"I cannot make myself put on my shoes,
much less tie them!"

Depression flips perspectives.
We feel like we cannot do 
what other people can do "like that."
And it exhausts us to think about it.

I wonder why we see things as we do,
when it would be much to our advantage 
to see them differently.
Why are we so "sot in our ways"?
I don't know.

But I believe that changing our pattern of behavior,
our way of life,
shifts our perspective
in ways we cannot predict or control,
and it may improve things
just to do things differently.

It will certainly give us something different
to think about,
and that will alter our pattern of thinking
by changing our behavior,
and that may make all things new.

The difference between a rut and a grove
is a shift in perspective,
sometimes brought on by a shift in behavior.
Doing things differently
can cause us to think differently
about the things we do,
and that can make all the difference.


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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