Conform

Conform: (v) to comply

In case you occasionally slip up and start thinking there is some sanity in the actions of our social order, let me remind you of the greatest piece of hypocrisy ever hatched in the henhouse of clucking. Here it is:

“Be yourself but follow the rules.”

It is the message of America.

Both of us–you and me–are encouraged to be creative individuals, and then are informed that the advice given is faulty.

There’s an ancient piece of philosophy which challenges us: “Be not conformed but be transformed.”

In 1962, if you were living anywhere in America, the general consensus would have been that segregation of the races was not only the norm of the day, but funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
actually proper.

In 1966, you would have been struck down as anti-American if you suggested the war in Vietnam was anything other than a bold act of patriotism.

In 1971, you would have been laughed out of the room if you had proposed that black athletes should be able to play college sports in the Southeast Conference.

In 1981, the thought of homosexuality being part of the mainstream would have brought you criticism and cost you many friends.

In 1998, you would have been totally out of step to insist that oral sex was actually sex.

In 2003, suggesting that the war in Iraq was a foolish ploy would have brought the house down on top of your head.

And as I have recently found, in this day and age suggesting that the archaic American voting system is an insult to the notion of democracy, makes me an enemy of God, America and most ingredients in the apple pie.

You can conform–as long as you’re willing to be considered foolish within twenty years.

 

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Comfortable

Comfortable: (adj) clothes or furnishing providing physical ease and relaxation.

I didn’t become a writer because I favor timeclocks. Deadlines were always dead to me.

I avoid them.

It happened to me this morning. I got up in the middle of the night and enjoyed a creative time of scrawling and bawling. I often do that.

The sheer beauty of God’s Universe and the joy I have in emoting about it sometimes turns me into a silly little girl who just found out that the boy she likes
didn’t check the right box on the note she sent asking if he liked her.

So when I awoke again, at what would be considered a normal “getting up time,” I was not comfortable with such an explosion of energy.

Guilt slipped in.

I thought to myself, I’ve got to get busy–write my blogs and post my articles, prepare my podcast. Hardboil my eggs.

My God, without all of these responsibilities, who am I? I become just some sort of guy walking around, breathing air, enjoying life as it happens, appearing to be without reasonable constraints.

I rolled over.

Sure…my blogs are getting posted later today. I assume this will merely create intrigue rather than disapproval. And if there are people out there waiting for them, they shall have the pleasure of perusing them in the afternoon.

It is important on our journey to be comfortable. You can tell when you’re around someone who is festering a gut-full of tension, because all you have to do is suggest the idea of pursuing comfort in your adult life, and they will quickly explain why this is impossible, irrational and a sign of having a “Peter Pan Syndrome.”

Peter Pan wanted to stay young.

I don’t need to be young. I can get old…

Just as long as you let me be comfortable.

 

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Cocaine

Cocaine: (n) an addictive drug derived from coca

Some folks might find me very interesting if I talked about my use of cocaine or my addiction. But even though it was plentiful in Nashville, Tennessee, in the 1970s, and I was offered the white dust frequently, I passed.

Now, I did not decline because I was self-righteous or anti-drugs. I passed because of the reasons I was given to snort.

“You’ve gotta try it, man. It makes you more creative, it makes you more horny and it makes sex feel twice as good.”

That’s some pretty heavy-duty advertising. But I went down the list:

I did not want to be creative because a drug expanded the walls of my arteries and forced blood to my brain. I wanted creativity to come from a different place in me. I wanted it to be real. I wanted it to be mine. I was jealous. I didn’t want cocaine taking credit for my writing.

I didn’t want to be more horny. The danger of being more horny is that you start screwing people you don’t care for all that much. I like a little romance with my sex, if you don’t mind. I did not want cocaine picking out my sex partners.

And you can call me conventional, or too well-satisfied, but I have found that the big bang available at the culmination of the sex act is quite enough for me.

Of course, the danger is that if you convince yourself that you need cocaine to have good sex, the intercourse, which would be very beneficial to your health, might be greatly diminished by the cocaine, which is similar to setting off a hand-grenade near your heart.

Beware of those who always want more.

Honestly, I don’t settle for anything–but I do have the capability of “gettin’ my own” without taking a hit from anyone or anything.

 

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Benign

Benign: (adj) not harmful in effect: in particular, (of a tumor) not malignant.

Dictionary B

This is a word that isn’t positive unless you’re dealing with tumors.

If you have a benign tumor, it’s a good thing–because it means you don’t have cancer.

But a benign society, a benign church, a benign lifestyle, a benign personality and a benign effort only opens the door for extremists to come in and overwhelm us.

Even though none of us want to necessarily be too flamboyant, or over-exaggerate our worth, the human race doesn’t really look our way unless we do something extraordinary enough to turn their heads.

It is the nature of our species–to be duped simply because we’ve been sufficiently startled or stimulated.

How can you make good things interesting instead of making them so bland that they are emotional cottage cheese?

Great question–especially in this political season, when the squeaky wheel is not only getting the grease, but also refusing to grease any other wheels.

Perhaps it is our job to find the most intelligent and creative angle to let the world know … that peace is even more exciting than war.

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Average

Average: (adj) mean or median norm, meaning something that represents a middle point.

It caused me to become a better man, dad, writer, musician, driver, shopper, handler of money and general human being.dictionary with letter A

The day I realized that everything in life eventually averages out and lands in the realm of modicum was the time that I finally knew how to set my goals.

Let me give you an example:

When I looked over at the batch of children hatched from my lust and whim, I thought to myself, what do I want these little dudes to be in 25 years?

At first, my list of requests and preferences was too long. And then I came up with three words:

  • Solvent
  • Loving
  • Creative

With that in mind, I developed my parenting approach.

To make sure they were solvent, I never gave them money without giving them work. Why? Because the only ways to get money other than working for it is winning the lottery and stealing. You can see why I chose what I did. They did not always like the work, and their work was usually pretty mediocre. But even an average work ethic pushed them to the front of the class.

To make them loving, I forced them to go see people who were not very lovely–hurting, frustrated, addicted and poverty-stricken. They were somewhat repulsed, but still ended up much more empathetic than some of their friends.

And finally, creative. Every time they wanted me to buy them something, do something for them or get them off the hook for using their talents, I refused and made them produce something with their own hearts and hands, even though I must tell you, the result was often so ugly that I needed to quickly bury it in the back yard.

Still, they knew they were responsible to come to Earth and provide resources instead of just consume them.

Since human beings will generally end up average, it’s a good idea to have a standard. That’s why we keep Santa Claus around–he reminds us of the importance of giving.

And we maintain a belief in God, although we’re not sure…because He encourages us to find our better humanity. 

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Auspicious

Auspicious (adj): conducive to success; favorable.

“An auspicious occasion.”dictionary with letter A

  1. Dress up
  2. Smell good
  3. Eat an overpriced dinner
  4. Make small talk
  5. Feel important

That would be a breakdown of the auspicious occasions I have participated in during my life.

I scheduled these dates on my calendar and I looked forward to them, because they made me feel that I was successful, part of the gang and moving in the right direction. Yet as I look back on them, they ended up being some of the least important, most boring and useless moments of my life.

I don’t think any of us really grasp what an “auspicious occasion” truly is in relationship to our journey.

This is why we are dumb.

And we become a little less stupid as we begin to realize that the moments which are relegated to insignificance are when we actually define ourselves and our ultimate potential.

  1. A homeless person walks up and asks for help.
  2. My little son wants a book read to him just when my favorite TV show is coming on.
  3. We’re beginning a family vacation and we walk out to a flat tire, and my entire clan looks in my direction to see if I’m going to solve the problem or melt down.
  4. I have a chance to be creative, but it is a brief chance.
  5. I know my wife, my child, my friend or my lover needs to be comforted and I must escape my pride and take the time to put my arms around them

These are the auspicious occasions.

These are the times we either pump in fuel, creating a confidence for our lifestyle, or we drain ourselves of such gusto by self-incrimination.

Here’s a simple thought:

If you have to put a tie on to impress someone, in two weeks it probably won’t matter.

 

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Apogee

dictionary with letter A

Apogee (n.) 1. The point in the orbit of the moon or a satellite at which it is furthest from the earth. 2. The highest point: (e.g.: his creative activity reached its apogee in 1910.)

We live our lives looking through binoculars, unaware that history will view us under a microscope.

We keep hoping that something will come along and stimulate our sensibilities and promote our ideas to greater influence and gain. The flaw of all humanity is the notion that we deserve a break, so we will sit here and wait for it.

Yet history will peer back on our deeds and reflect on where we messed up our GPS, missed a U-turn or put the brakes on.

So therefore, we can all become guilty of claiming our apogee long before we have actually achieved our highest point.

Life is a mysterious collision of confidence and insecurity.

Confidence says, “Given the opportunity, I can do this.” But it must be accompanied by a mistrust that such an advantage will come our way without us hustling for it.

When I study greatness, I find two components. People who achieve their goals do the following:

  1. Work on their gifts until they are prepared for the moment.
  2. Create the moment.

I am not a believer in destiny. I am certain that the acquisition of my dreams will be executed by the energy of my effort.

What will be my apogee? I am not there yet.

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