July 02, 2022


Cypress Trees 03 11/11/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Adam’s Mill Pond, Goodale State Parke, Camden, South Carolina
We have too much to think about. 
That's the first thing.
The second thing is an extension of the first:
We have too much to think about
that we do not want to think about.

And that leads to the third thing:
We create pleasant distractions/diversions
and think about them
to give us something to think about
in order to not think about the things
we do not want to think about.

This creates more things for us to think about,
and we already have too much to think about.

This is not going to end well.

Our lives are going to devolve 
into chaos and exploding planets
all around us
because we are thinking about things
we have no business thinking about,
missing turns,
forgetting appointments,
leaving the kids at school
and losing our place in our life
on a regular basis.

We blame on aging and having lapses
when we just have too much going on.

Rent a horse
and devote your time and attention
to nothing but your horse.

Before you do that,
consider your thinking.
What does thinking what you think about
keep you from thinking about?

Begin there with transforming your relationship
with your life,
other people 
and yourself.

First you,
then your family,
then your job,
then your friends
and your social world.
If volunteering/activism is important,
let that substitute for
friends and socializing. 

Work to reduce noise and complexity
and to increase emptiness, stillness and silence.

The horse will help with this.



Haystack Rock 02 05-24-2009 Oil Paint Rendered — The Wasteland Collection
When in doubt
sit still, be quiet.

The old maxim is straight
from the Taoist playbook,
calling to mind 
the three grounding principles
of Taoism:


When practiced in the right way
connect us with the way
that is our personal path
through the labyrinth of daily life
to the heart of the matter
in each situation as it arises.

We don't do anything but wait
for direction before choosing
from among the choices
available to us in each moment
of every day.

This is the pause that "cleanses
the doorways of perception"
(Walt Whitman)
and enables right seeing,
right knowing,
right doing,
right being--
evoking our original nature
and our innate virtues
in engaging the here/now
in ways that transform us
and the world around us
to our amazement and wonder
at how something like this 
could happen in a wasteland
like the one we live in,
opening us to the realization
that perspective does indeed
change everything,
even here,
even now.



Dandelion 03/19/2018 Oil Paint Rendereed
"Let justice roll down like waters
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream!'
Amos 5:24

"Do justice, love kindness
and walk humbly with your God."
Micah 6:8

The Benevolent Curse
of Justice, Righteousness
Compassion and Peace
Through the Ages:

May you know what is so,
and be right about it--
and do what needs to be done about it
in each situation as it arises
all your life long!

May it be so!
May it be forever so!



Multnomah Falls 05/21/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah County, Oregon
Okay, here we are.
Let's see what we can do about it.

That is the plan
for the rest of our life.

What governs what we do about it?
What guides us in our actions
in response to it?

How good is the good we call good?
Whose good is the good we call good?
What is it good for?
How good is that?
Where do you get your idea of the good?
Who are the people in your life
who are responsible for your idea of the good?
How important is it to you
for you to make those people happy with you?
For you to please those people?
How free are you from those people
to decide for yourself what is good and what is not?
Where do you part ways with those people
in serving your idea of the good?

Do not answer these questions!
Sit with them!
Empty of all assumptions,

Empty of everything.

Just you and the questions.

Mulling them over.
Meditating on them.
Contemplating them.
Considering them.
Wondering about them.
Holding them in your awareness.
And seeing where it goes.

Seeing what this exercise evokes 
within you.
Calls forth from you.
Requires of you.
Demands of you.
Compels you to do.


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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