May 18, 2022

01

November Orchard Abstract 11/03/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — Springs Farm, Fort Mill South Carolina
We have to have a vibrant relationship with mystery,
with The Mystery at the Heart of Life and Being.

There is That Which We Do Not Know,
but can intuit, apprehend, sense, "know."

We can know of That Which We Do Not Know.

Greeks and Romans had a shrine
"To The Unknown God,"
just in case. 
A shrine "To The Unknown"
would be quite appropriate
in all times and places.

There is more to be known than we can know.
It is not "All wrapped up and tied with a bow."
Mystery is the ground of our being.
The home of our soul.
The love of our heart.

When Augustine said,
"Our hearts are restless
until they rest in Thee,"
He was talking about The Mystery,
though he may have intended
the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
or the God of Jesus Christ,
it is The Mystery Behind All gods
and all religion--
beyond all theology and doctrine--
that is the Source of it all.

We have to develop a relationship 
with that Mystery
because we are a part of it,
belong to it,
and are heartsick without 
a vital connection with it.

Live to make The Mystery
a critical aspect of your life.
Doing so will restore your soul.

–0–

02

Mallards in Flight 16 01/29/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — The Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina
We are in charge of our life.
We live it the way we say it needs to be lived.
It is essential that we are right about it.

How do we know?

The right kind of emptiness.
The right kind of stillness.
The right kind of silence.
The right kind of relationship
with The Mystery.

How do you nurture your relationship
with The Mystery?

How often do you acknowledge
The Mystery at the Heart of Life and Being?
What form does your acknowledgement take?

How do you honor The Mystery?
How do you bring yourself alive to The Mystery?
How do you pay homage to The Mystery?
How often do you speak about The Mystery?
To whom do you speak about The Mystery?
Where do you encounter The Mystery most often?
How often do you go there?
What symbols represent The Mystery for you?
How apparent are those symbols in your life?

The quality of our relationship
with The Mystery
is the determining factor
in the quality of our life.

To know The Mystery
is to know what to do with our life.
To not-know The Mystery
is to wander in the wasteland of our discontent
looking for meaning and purpose,
guidance and direction.

We know The Mystery
through our intentional association with it
and the practice we follow
in aligning ourselves with it.
Which we find through trial and error and discovery.

–0–

May 17, 2022

01

Vermillion Lakes Sunrise 01 Oil Paint Rendered 02 — Banff National Park, Banff, Alberta
We all have trouble with 
things not going our way.
It's been that way with black people
throughout the history of this country.
They have yet to take up arms
and go to war with asshole white people.

Everybody else goes to war
over the least little slight. 
Putin didn't like something about Ukraine
that no one else had any problem with
(Anybody remember what that was?
Nazis maybe? As if!).

Black people have been taking and taking and taking.
White people have been lynching them,
shooting them,
beating them,
imprisoning them,
making jokes about them,
refusing to pay them a living wage,
taking every advantage of them...
It is a very long list.

Black people are as a group
the most gracious, kind, considerate,
generous, beautiful, wonderful people
I, personally, have ever known.

White people, on the other hand,
are mostly to be avoided,
even if you are white.

The number of white people
who can be counted on 
for their sincerity, integrity,
honesty, balance and harmony
is well under the fifty percentile 
in my experience over 77 years and counting.
One out of ten would be generous.

So what's with the "Superiority"
self-designation?

That is certainly not something
the other races would think up.

White people are not superior
to any people.
More ruthless, perhaps.
More greedy, maybe.
Well-suited to bullying and warfare.

But, if we are talking about 
the tender values,
it is a wide-open race to the finish line!

I'm saying the problem is with white people
and their immaturity
and refusal to live exhibiting
grace, kindness, generosity, compassion and peace.
In each situation as it arises
as their contribution to the wellbeing
of all people everywhere.

There is nothing wrong
that growing up wouldn't make better
or solve entirely.

–0–

02

Colors of Fern 09/02/2008 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
We are the balancing agents of the universe.
We sort,
order,
categorize,
list,
collect,
group,
designate,
see connections,
create connections,
find a place for everything,
put everything in its place...

We square things up,
round things out,
reduce excess,
reduce deficit,
make things fit.

We take Yin 
and add a touch of Yang (Pronounced "Yong").

We are servants of balance
and harmony.
It is nature's way,
and we are servants of nature.
When we are at our best.

When we are at our worst,
not so much.
We do not do well
off center
and out of round.

Our world gets that way
from time to time.
We lose our balance,
crash through the guard rails
and it all goes to hell
because we walk off the job
and quit caring how it looks
or what happens.

The human contract with 
the rest of life
is to care how it looks
and what happens,
and to take up the work
to make it work.
When we fail to do that,
it shows.

What keeps us in the game?
Why do our part?
Why go on caring
when it gets to be too much?
Too much to bear.
Too much to do.

This is where the system requires
a living mythology
for us to fall back on,
live out of and keep everything going.

Reason, logic, refuse to do things
that make no sense.
Mythology is senseless to the core.
No ritual can explain itself.

"We dance to make the sun rise,
we sing to bring the rain 
to water the earth."

Nonsense!
There is no connection!
We have lost the connections,
and see no reasons to do what it takes
to make things work.

Work for what?
For what purpose?
Why are we here?

We look for reason and logic
to answer us that.
When the answer has never 
been reasonable and logical.

"We are here to keep the sun coming up,
to bring the rain to water the earth."

We always had a divine purpose
for being,
and it would all be clear one day.

When we refuted all the old beliefs
that held the old world together,
we had nothing left to hold the world together,
and no reason to do anything
we did not feel like doing.

The people who built the pyramids
and the great temples and cathedrals
were compelled to do so.
Feeling like it never entered the room.
Without the compulsion 
"the center fails to hold,"
and here we are.
Now what?

We have to return to the center.
To our own center
To our own original nature.
To our own virtues that are 
built into our DNA.
And live to serve and share who we are
for reasons beyond our ability to explain
or understand.

We have to be who we are born to be.
Though we do not know why
or what for.

Why do we love what we love?
It is a complete mystery.
We have to find our way back
to the Mystery at the heart of things,
and love what we love,
and do the things that love
asks us to do.

Whether we feel like it or not.

–0–

03

Field Road 06 11/13/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina
Joseph Campbell says repeatedly 
throughout his writing and speaking 
that "The old has passed away, 
and what's going to replace
it, I do not know," 
or words to that effect. 

Logic and reason have taken the life out of the Mystery, 
but the Mystery has not been surpassed. 

The Mystery has been, is being, 
made fun of, 
ridiculed, 
derided, 
denounced, etc., 
but the Mystery is still with us, 
among us, 
needing only recognition to be with us as always.

Why do we see the way we see? 
Think the way we think? 
Feel the way we feel? 
Love what we love?

Who are we? 
What are we about?
What are we to be about?

We all are 
"working on mysteries without any clues" 
(Bob Seger). 
We only need to be aware of the place 
Mystery has in our lives.

We can encounter the Mystery 
as easily as emptying ourselves 
of even the desire to be empty 
and entering the stillness
and the silence, 
and waiting for something to stir, 
emerge, arise, appear 
unbidden/un-thought 
as an aberration  
"out of nowhere," 
and follow where it leads.

How do we revere and serve the Mystery? 

We create our own symbols, 
or receive them as they come to us 
"out of nowhere." 
Compose our own rituals.
Nurture our own souls...

We find our own way 
as the path appears before us 
when we start walking. 

The Mystery is the source of mythology,
and is with us always
to the end of our days,
and perhaps beyond,
for that too is cloaked in mystery.

May 16, 2022

01

Cypress Pond 12 11/04/2007 Oil Paint Rendered — Robeson County, North Carolina
We have to live with the life we have lived,
measured by the degree 
of sincerity and integrity
we brought to life in the way we lived.

By the degree of balance and harmony
we enabled.

By the amount of spirit, energy and vitality
we exhibited and enabled in the people around us.

By the softness of our step
the genuineness of our company,
and the quality of our presence.

Where we have been inhibited,
abused,
intimidated,
shamed,
humiliated,
etc.,
we get a mulligan
and can enjoy an eternity
of healing and recovery
in the best atmosphere for that
ever imagined.

And get to ask our abusers
every now and then
how it's going with them,
laughing.

And, if we don't want to waste time
talking to them,
we can just laugh,
if we care to. 

I can't see me wanting to have
anything to do with mine.
Maybe after I've been there
about halfway through.

–0–

02

Dugger’s Creek Falls 01 05/22/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls, North Carolina
We die doing what we love.

Or, we die not doing what we love.

The difference is whether
we live doing what we love.

Doing what we love
will ask us to die 10,000 times 
in its service.

Figuratively/metaphorically,
and sometimes
literally/actually.

Those who don't do what they love
want no part of that,
of dying in its service,
figuratively or literally.

They have better things to do.

Doing what we love
asks hard things of us.

Asks us to grow up--
requires us to grow up--
grows us up--
in forcing us to decide
what is important
and to choose to do it
anyway, nevertheless, even so,
no matter what.

"That's asking too much!"
say those who turn and walk away
from the death they are being 
asked to die.

"I don't have time for that."
Say those on their way 
to passing a good time.
No matter what.

Jesus died doing what he loved.
He died for the sake of what he loved.
He sacrificed himself
for the service of what he loved,
and that was saying what needs to be said,
asking all of the questions
that beg to be asked,
and doing what needs to be done,
when, where, and how it needs to be done,
in each situation as it arises,
no matter what.

What we love asks hard things of us.
Asks us how much we love it,
time after time.

"I love playing the piano,"
say those who never practice.
Jesus would have practiced
when he didn't feel like it.

–0–

Sunflower on Black Oil Paint Rendered
What do you know/believe to be true of God
that you did not get from some other source,
including the Bible?

This is your own personal creed,
composed out of your own experience.

What do you have to say about God?

Here is a short list of what I have to say:

God doesn't know what's next.

God doesn't pick sides.

God doesn't have favorites.

There is no earning merit or favor with God.

God doesn't care who wins.

God dances with any partner.

God has a twisted sense of humor.

God loves a good joke.

God has no use for parades and fire works
and loud organ music.

God wants badly for us 
to be the best person we can be,
doing what needs to be done
the way only we can do it,
when and where it needs to be done,
spontaneously out of our own heart,
true to ourselves and our own virtues--
without thinking about it,
and certainly not because 
we think it should be done,
in each situation as it arises.

May 15, 2022

01

Hayfield Sunrise 02 06/20/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Rural North Carolina
We will never turn life 
to our way of liking.
We take it as it is 
and do our best
to manage the dichotomy
between how it is
and how we want it to be--
how well we do that
depends on the nature
of the circumstances. 

Wanting to be taller 
(or shorter)
is a different problem
than wanting to be skinnier
(or fatter).

Wanting another biscuit
is a different problem
from wanting another head.

We operate within a field
of feasibility
and possibility,
and have to know
what we can,
and cannot,
get by with.

And, at some point
we are going to be required
to accept things as they are.

How well we do that,
tells the tale.

–0–

02

Tunnel View 01 03/24/2006 Oil Paint Rendered –Yosemite National Park, California
Things have never been
what they need to be,
what they ought to be,
what they could be.

And, we have always
had to make the best
of what we are given,
of what comes our way,
of what is there.

Some things don't change.
And some things do.

Our attitude, for instance,
can change.
Our perspective.
The way we look at things.
The things we say about things.
The way we tell ourselves 
what's what
and what needs to be done about it.
Our tone of voice.
Our interest in,
and determination to,
do what needs to be done,
when, where and how it needs to be done,
anyway,
nevertheless,
even so.

We are in charge of the changes
that can be made.
That's our call all the way.

–0–

03

Adams Mill Pond 06 11/09/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina
We are built to be who we are.
The design is unique to each of us. 
Our work is two-fold,
to belong
and to stand out.

Belonging brings forth aspects of us
that standing out would dismiss.
Standing out brings forth aspects of us
that belonging would dismiss.
We manage the task of balancing/harmonizing
yin and yang (Pronounced: "yong").
We do that consciously, intentionally
throughout our life.
Always living to bring ourselves forth
in each situation as it arises
for the good of the situation as a whole.

Balance and harmony, kid, 
balance and harmony.

Something within us knows who we are
and who we need to be,
and is always working behind the scenes
to produce us,
against our will, if need by.

We get clues to how we need to develop,
to how we need to change our mind
about what is important,
in our dreams,
through our intuition and instincts,
by experiences with synchronicity
and things that attract or repel us.

Are we paying attention?
Our place is to cooperate 
with our own birthing
into the world of normal, apparent, reality.
How cooperative are we being?

One great place to get to work
on becoming who we are
is the experience of falling in love.

We can fall in love with people
of any gender,
with animals,
with activities,
with inanimate objects
(I fell in love with a camera
and with a typewriter,
and have spent the rest of my life
working out what that means for me
and for the life I'm living).

The necessary response on our part
is that when we are whacked out of nowhere
with the experience of being in love,
to make the subject/object of our affection
a subject/object of meditation.

What about that person/place/thing do 
we find attractive?

Get to the bottom of it.
And work to incorporate the qualities
the Other exemplifies
into our own way of being in the world.

With me, the camera is about seeing,
and the typewriter is about saying.
When I am seeing/saying,
I am being true to my self,
and when I am not,
I am betraying myself.

I am here to see and to say.

As I fall in love with other aspects
of my experience, 
I discover different things reflected by
the recipient of my affections
to be true about me,
and I work to incorporate them into my life.

Get it?
Do it!

–0–

May 14-B, 2022

01

Before Dawn at East Fork Overlook 05/30/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Brevard, North Carolina
I have always been a sap 
for sincerity and integrity--
I think because they were so absent
in my early experience,
I sought it out like it was the
Philosopher's Stone.

Turns out, it is.
Sincerity and integrity, I mean.

People use sincerity and integrity,
across the planet,
throughout the universe,
as a front to position them
to harvest all they can bear
of the Big Three Gotta Haves
and Can't Get Enough Ofs
of humankind:

Money, Sex and Drugs.

The world (universe) lives
on, by and for Money, Sex and Drugs.

Money is turned into Sex and Drugs.
Sex and Drugs are turned into Money.
And it all hides behind a charade,
a facade, a front
of sincerity and integrity.

To the point where I am certain
that only .5% of the human population
at any point in the history of the species
have ever actually experienced
sincerity and integrity in their life,
and only .001% of those people
have actually consistently exhibited
sincerity and integrity in their daily walk.

It's all a show.
For Money, Sex and Drugs.

Think of the stereotypical
used car salesman.
Apply that in a much more 
polished and refined form
to everybody else you know,
and you get a sense
of what I'm talking about.

So, I still seek it in everyone 
I meet,
but I don't fall for it
as easily as I once did.

And, as far as my own incarnation of
sincerity and integrity goes,
I'll say I'm really good at faking it,
but the closest I come to truly being
the actual thing
is when I say I am not fully sincere
or completely who I appear to be.

But, I won't take you to the cleaners. 

–0–

May 14, 2022

01

The North Shore 09/21/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta
The transformation is internal.
We shift in relation to the world.
The world remains exactly what 
it has always been,
but we see it with grace
and acceptance,
knowing it to be the birthplace
of seeing/hearing/knowing/understanding/
enlightenment/realization/satori/awakening...

The world is Nazareth
and the stable in Bethlehem
to our conception and birth
as Christ-consciousness/Buddha-mind.

It is the abode of Bodhisattvas--
Bodhi: Awakened, Sattva: Being--
which is a designation recognized
as being true of someone,
not one claimed or bestowed.

The world is made holy 
by the holy people--
the people who are seen to be holy
by others--
who call it home.

As we live "transparent to transcendence"
(Joseph Campbell),
we exude/exhibit holiness/
awakened-ness/goodness/truth/
beauty/godliness/etc.
and wherever we are becomes
a blessed place to be--
not because we sought to be holy,
but because we simply see what's what
and what is called for in response to that,
and we do what needs to be done,
when, where, and how it needs to be done
in each situation as it arises,
and that is seen to be holiness in action.

Holiness/Bodhisattva-hood is not a function
of belief,
but of seeing/doing in spontaneous, thoughtless,
response to the need of the moment,
like saying "Bless you!" when someone sneezes.
not by looking for chances to say, "Bless you,"
but because it is the right thing to say in
certain times and places.

The trick is knowing when it is the right time and place,
without thinking about it.
Just knowing.
Just doing.
And being right about it.

It takes being alive and open to,
and present in,
the moment 
to do this,
and that is a spiritual practice
lived out over time 
in the world just as it is.

–0–

02

Hayfield Sunrise 01 06/02/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Rural North Carolina
You know how Ted Lasso 
can always be counted on 
to say the right thing
at the right time in the right place
in the right way--
and do the right thing as well?

That is a Bodhisattva for you.
Ted Lasso is a Bodhisattva--
not because he says he is,
but because we see that it is so,
we know it is so,
and no one has to tell us it is so.
It is there to be seen
by everyone who has eyes to see.

Now, I just told you it is so,
but you already knew it is so,
because I did not have to argue you
into agreeing that I am right.
You knew that I am right before I said anything.

The truth does not have to be announced.
It cannot be preached into being.
It can only be recognized to be so
because it is so.

Bodhisattva's are people so awakened
and so right with what they say and do,
that they are qualified to go straight
into the blissful light,
skipping all the rounds of rebirth,
and merging with the joyous light 
in unending glory,
and they pass it up,
preferring to stay here/now
as a gracious, ministering, presence
among the raucous side-shows
of the classless, tasteless, circus
the world-as-it-is has become.

Offering a little peace,
a little kindness,
a little wisp of mercy and good will
to the masses and hordes
looking for a way out 
on the streets of Calcutta, 
and Hong Kong,
and New York,
and Los Angeles...

Because that is who Bodisattvas are.
That is what they do.
And nothing could be better to them
than that.

There is no better place to be for them
than here/now.

If it is good enough for them,
it is good enough for us.
And we have Ted Lasso to encourage us
all along the way!

–0–

May 13, 2022

01

Pitt Street Sunset 12/05/2017 02-B Oil Paint Rendered — Charleston Harbor, South Carolina
Can you imagine a satisfying life 
apart from going/doing/having/getting?
Just being?
Being just as we are?
Just so?
At ease with ourselves
and our place in our life?

What bills would we run up like that?
How much would it take to live like that?
It would destroy the economy.
Seriously.

The economy is fueled by our life style.
It depends on our living the way we live.
It craves our living the way we live.
The economy is dependent upon us.
It is addicted to us
And feeds on us
feeding on it
by continually, endlessly,
creating in us the needs
it so gluttonously satisfies.

The economy cannot afford for us to be content.
What would it take for you to be content?
To live out of your own creativity and curiosity?
To be at peace?
Balanced, harmonious?
Doing what you say needs doing,
the way it needs to be done?
In your own time?
Just being you?

–0–

02

Sanskrit Breathe 04 — Symbols of Transformation
There are no solutions in sight.
Or anywhere else.
We are stuck,
as always, 
with making the best of it.
And, we need all the help we can get.

Where do you go for help?
What helps you with 
all you have to deal with?
How often to you take advantage
of the help that is available to you?

The kind of help we need,
across the board,
around the world,
is a perspective shift.
That is the only thing that 
stands between us and 
being able to handle
what is ours to handle.

How do we change our mind
about what's what
and what is ours to do about it?

Here is the truth
about everyone's situation:

This is the way things are,
and this is what we can do about it,
and that's that.
That is the way things are.
What are you going to do about that?

Changing our mind about what is ours to do
flips the script
and settles us into
the Sisyphean Task
of getting up again
and doing again
all that can be done
with what is before us
in each situation as it arises
all our life long.

Don't want to do it any more?
Change your mind about it,
and get in there and do your thing
as best you can
and let that be that
again!

Out live what you don't like
about your life!
That is all there is to it!

Breathe!

–0–

May 12-B, 2022

01

Leaving Swan Quarter 10/28/2005 Oil Paint Rendered — Pamlico Sound, Cape Hatters National Seashore
The individual, personal, devoted 
oath of allegiance
to the service of virtues
worthy of fealty,
liege loyalty
and filial dependability
in each situation as it arises
our entire life long
is all that is needed
to right the ship
and sail through heaving waves
past clashing rocks
and perils of the journey,
holding a steady course
to a life of true value
lasting joy 
and eternal satisfaction.

Original Nature,
Virtues, gifts, daemon, genius, shtick...
Sincerity,
Integrity,
are well within the reach
of every human being.

All that is lacking
is dedication to the task
of being glad to be who we are.
Starting here, now.

–0–

May 12, 2022

01

Calla Lily 01 Oil Paint Rendered
What do you know of God
that you did not receive from some other source,
including the Bible?

What is your own experience of God?

Who is the God YOU call God?

Nobody can give you your God.
The only God that can be your God
is the God you know to be God,
not because somebody told you so,
but because you know it to be so
out of your own experience,
out of your own heart!

And if you do not know what I am talking about,
let this become your meditation--
your life's meditation--
opening yourself to the experience
of the God that IS God for you.

Seek it with all your heart,
and mind,
and soul,
and strength.

But the truth is you don't have to look very far.
Just open yourself to the truth
of the next moment.

Of your next encounter with truth, beauty, love, compassion...
Boom!
Let it knock you on your duff in the dust!
Let it bowl you over!
FEEL your life that you are living!
Open yourself to the EXPERIENCE of your days!
Of each situation as it arises!

God is not a belief!
God is an experience with truth, beauty, love, compassion...
Of humanity at its best.
Of life at its best.
Open yourself to the experience of being alive,
and, Boom!
There is God!

–0–

02

Carolina Thread Trail 42 11/20/2016 Oil Paint Rendered — 12-mile Creek Segment, Waxhaw, North Carolina
When sincerity and integrity are not
the foundation of life together,
and when people will do anything for money,
and money is everywhere,
"the center cannot hold" (W.B. Yeats),
and things fall apart.

When people cannot be counted on
to mean what they say,
and say they did not say
what they in fact said,
and refuse to be truthful 
even under oath,
and no consequences are administered
by those in authority
because they, too, are guilty 
of complicity and deception,
it all goes to hell
and nothing can be counted on
to be what it appears to be.

In such circumstances,
it is incumbent upon each individual person
to live out of the still point
of their own individuality,
out of the truth of their own experience,
out of the adamantine rock
of their own sincerity and integrity
in being true to themselves
and to what they know to be
the anchoring source of their own
life and being.

They have to be who they say they are,
and do what they say they will do.

And when that is not the way it is
among the masses,
it must be the way it is
with me and you.
And we have to be able
to count on each other
in all things great and small.

An when we do not have another
on whom we can count,
we have to be able to 
count on ourselves.

–0–

May 11, 2022

01

Canoes 09/24/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta
This present moment's relationship
with the entirety of my life 
is seemingly inconsequential 
in its ordinariness,
but the theme of "ordinary"
played out in a string of such moments
begins to weigh-in on the entirety of my life,
and becomes quiet influential over time.

Enough "ordinary days" become
a quite "ordinary life."
And, it turns out, that our life
is not much different 
than the ordinariness of our individual days permit.

Any one day, then,
becomes a predictor of what the life as a whole 
will look like.
And a collection of those days
is an even better predictor of that life.

This is reflected in Carl Jung's observation,
"We are who we always have been,
and who we will be."

And is expressed in my sardonic inquiry,
"How different can we be?"

Our full potential for different-ness
is expressed/experienced
by our affinity for emptiness,
stillness,
silence
and self-reflection.

The realization of who we are
is the best lever for changing who we are.
And that realization is the aim of self-reflection.

The more self-aware we are,
the more likely we are to align ourselves with
behavior that is a reflection 
of the ideal we embrace
for how we should go about our life.

The more often we catch ourselves 
acting out of accord with that ideal,
the better our chances of changing our behavor
to reflect the ideal.

Emptiness, stillness and silence
provide a wonderful atmosphere
for exploring last night's dreams,
reflecting on recent events
and our relationships with others,
in order to examine our behavior
and get to the bottom of why we did what we did.

The result of a lifetime of such revere
is a life that is as different 
as it is possible for us to be.
And it is not likely 
that we will be un-recognizably different,
but will be, after all that soul searching,
"just like ourselves."

But the soul searching will not have been wasted,
because knowing and being who we are,
in being "just like ourselves,"
is an important element in being able to
consciously/deliberately/intentionally
be who we are
in each situation as it arises
in service to the good of the situation
as a whole.

–0–

02

Old Stone Bridge 02 10/08/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Falls Park, Greenville, South Carolina
Ideally, we live our life
in service to who we are
(Our original nature),
with the virtues
(Gifts/daemon/genius/shtick/etc.)
that are ours to use,
in doing what is ours to do
(The activities that bring us
and our virtues together)
and what needs to be done
in the here/now
of each situation as it arises
all our life long.

How close are you coming with that?
Are you clear about your original nature?
Are you clear about what your virtues are
that you are to serve and share?
Are you clear about the activities
that bring you forth 
as the unique individual you are
within the circumstances of your life?
Are you clear about what needs to be done,
when, where and how to do it 
the way it needs to be done?

Are you living to incarnate yourself,
your nature and your virtues,
within "the flow of circumstances"
that constitute your life?

If not, what is keeping that from happening?

How closely can you approximate it
anyway, nevertheless, even so?

–0–

May 10, 2022

01

Been Fishing 09/26/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Medicine Lake Bed, Jasper National Park, Alberta
To be in the Flow
is to be so with what is happening
and to know so spontaneously what needs to happen
that we are one with the movement
of the moment,
as dancers are one with each other,
and one with the music,
and one with the dance,
so that neither the dancers,
nor those watching the dance,
know where one ends and the other begins,
either one of the dancers,
or the couple with the dance,
or the dance with the music,
or the music with the musicians,
and all is one.

It works with basketball,
and football,
and tennis,
and singing while taking a shower.

We can lose ourselves in the moment
by becoming one with the moment.

I do it writing this.
My wife does it with her flowerbeds.
Bakers do it with dough.
Cooks do it with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
At least occasionally.

The trick is to live that way,
at one with our life.

In order to do that, 
there can be no motive.
There can be no agenda.
There can be no opinion.
No idea of good and bad.
Of IT and NOT-IT.

Just dancing.
Just being.

Got it?
Do it!
No thinking!
Just being.
At one with the moment in time and place.
Being in sync with the Tao here/now,
through all eternity.

–0–

02

On Roan Mountain 06/15/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Carver’s Gap, Tennessee/North Carolina
Mental health is seeing things as they are
with no extreme opinions.
Mental illness is a perspective skewed
by the 10,000 things.

PTSD is a perspective skewed by trauma
that overwhelms all available coping mechanisms.

When the forces of instability and chaos 
bludgeon and demolish our ability
to maintain balance and harmony,
our orientation, direction
and ability to function
will be lost,
perhaps forever.

"Tender-minded" people
are more at risk
than "Tough-minded" people,
but even the toughest-minded
have limits and boundaries that crumble
into ruins with enough
emotional/psychological/physical
anguish and stress over time.

After a point, escape is out of the question,
and we carry with us the eternal presence
of terror and fear with no external threat
to stability and peace.

Our mind can be broken beyond repair.

Up to that point,
the right kind of environment
can restore at least the appearance
of freedom of functioning,
but even there nightmares
and irrational fears 
take their toll.

We never out-grow having had 
abusive/terrifying/traumatic experiences,
and have to make allowances
for the impact of that betrayal
of the human contract
to continue to play its way out.

"How long, O Lord?"
"Until its time is done, my friend,
until its time is done."

In the meantime, we make allowances,
take precautions, take refuge where we find it,
and bear the pain, bear the pain.

–0–

May 09-B, 2022

01

Hail Mary, Full of Grace 04-21-2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, Charleston, South Carolina
Here is a link 
( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8maYNgf_afA ) 
to a performance of my favorite 
Bluegrass/Gospel group 
who also connects me 
with the Tao flowing through all things 
to carry us all through “the Great Flow of Circumstances” 
to balance and harmony, 
sincerity and integrity, 
spirit, energy and vitality 
at the core of life and being. 

I am quite sure that I do not share their politics or their theology (As you may know, I work to have NO theology--
and am certain we all can get along better with out it) 
but the core at the heart of all sentient beings 
is the Axis Mundi, 
the World Tree, 
the Center Pole, 
“The Still Point of the Turning World,” 
that grounds us, 
anchors us, 
to that from which we will not, and cannot, be moved. 

We can talk about it in different ways, 
but the fundamental truth is that 
“The Tao that can be said/told/explained/talked about 
is not the Eternal Tao,” 
which Martin Palmer interprets as, 
“The Path that can be discerned as the Path 
is not a reliable path.” 

And we are all on our own 
to find our way to the Center, to the Source, 
to the Mystery at the heart of things,
and to exhibit the truth of our Original Nature 
and the Virtues (The Te Power, The Virtue Power), 
that are the gifts of ours from birth—
our genius/daemon/shtick/knacks/etc.,
which form our identity 
and connects us 
at the level of the heart/core/center 
with all sentient beings—
and which separates us 
and holds us apart from 
all other sentient beings 
at the same time in a yin/yang (pronounced “yong”) 
kind of way.
 
It’s all Tao all the Way. 
Which is my way of talking about
That Which Cannot Be Said.

I hope you like The Petersens!

And, while we are on the subject,
I will say that the featured photograph here,
speaks directly to all I have said above,
with the kneeling woman before the Cross
representing all those like her through the ages,
in cathedrals,
and churches, 
and home altars,
gravesides
and ships at sea...

And we stand with her and them,
seeking the center, the heart,
the core, the source, the mystery
holding us all,
and all of the universe,
together, 
making us one,
but not the same one!!!

We are One and we are Many,
each of us is different from 
the others of us,
and we have to be true to ourselves,
and true to our connection-at-the-level-of-the-heart
with all others,
balancing and harmonizing yin/yang
around the circle,
in each situation as it arises
all our lives long.

It is all Tao/Mystery,
which we can know
without being able to explain,
or make sense of,
and so we live in the tension of opposites,
and dance to the music of life everlasting,
with the rhythm that knows no end.