Decategorize

Decatagorize: (v) to free or remove from categories

 Although we all may insist that we are free spirits, out to try new things and break the mold, we still have a tendency to go to a Chinese restaurant and look for something that resembles hamburger.

Yes, we are much more verbally adventurous than we are in our eventual choices and positions.

The human race is not conservative, nor is it liberal—but rather, cautious.

Whatever category “caution” welcomes, the human race will be found there, touting its valiant efforts while shuddering a bit in fear.

I have always found that if you discover the truth of a matter, you can cease being critical and begin to find the worth that naturally lives inside.

For I will tell you bluntly, if the human race were as volatile and unpredictable as we present ourselves to be, we would all be dead within ten days.

So it is time to decategorize our species.

What saves us is the fact that we talk a good game, and then most of the time, choose to play Candy Land.

 

Critical

Critical: (adj) judging

Two sentences:

  1. I am so good.
  2. I am no good.

Amazing, isn’t it?

Just changing one word in that phrase—from “so” to “no” or from “no” to “so”—renders a completely different conclusion.

It’s where the human race bounces.

Somewhere between so and no, we’re always on a journey to over-exaggerate our value or else proclaim ourselves wormlike.

Matter of fact, if I were to capsulize—perhaps even in a nutshell—what prevents us from becoming nutty is realizing that both profiles are stimulated by a flash-bang of insanity somewhere in the deep regions of our cranium.

No one is SO good.

Even in the midst of excellence, there is error that challenges to increase effort.

And no one is NO good.

Even within those souls we consider worthless, one can find value, even if that one only refers to God.

This is why a nation, or dare I say, a world of critical souls saying critical things to make their critical nature produce critical cynicism, causes the planet to teeter on a critical cliff of danger.

A critical condition.

I don’t agree with the axiom, “if you can’t say something good don’t say anything at all.”

Nor do I assert that everyone who is critical offers something to the “great conversation.”

I have developed a simple procedure in dealing with my fellow humans:

If I view something, hear something, watch something or read something that they have produced and there is nothing at all that I like about it or understand or appreciate or concur with, I remain silent.

Because to be honest, a critical contribution is only valuable if it follows a positive encouragement. If there’s nothing positive to say, being critical places the burden of guilt onto the judge.

In this case, that would be me. I can’t afford the guilt.

If they pursue, and say, “You didn’t have any opinion on the material?” I quickly grab the beauty of the lower seat and reply:

“Sometimes things go over my head.”

 

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Bearer

Bearer: (n) a person or thing that carries or holds something.Dictionary B

“Here he comes,” said the gathered as they notice me arriving in the distance.

What will they say next?

What whispered comments will be exchanged as I make my way into the room?

What do they really think about me?

What is my value to the clan?

What gifts do I bring to the tribe?

Am I viewed as a bearer of good news or a naysayer?

Am I critical?

Do I balance my comments with positive reinforcement?

What do those who love me appreciate and what do they merely tolerate?

Even though most of us would insist we want to know the truth about our value, some of the discoveries might be depressing, if not completely debilitating. Because with every spoken word comes a tone of voice and a facial expression.

We only remember what we say, not how we said it.

And we certainly are not privy to the output from our countenance.

Are we considered valuable to the cause, or just someone plays devil’s advocate?

What kind of bearer are we?

Is it possible to be too positive?

Is it plausible to insist that everything is going to work out well and come across idiotic because we did not adequately count the cost?

What is the balance?

Whether we like it or not, we are all bearers of something … and in the minds of others, have a caption written beneath our memory.

 

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Aware

Aware: (n) having knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.dictionary with letter A

The reason most folks don’t get along with each other is that they expect other people to be nicer than they are.

We allow ourselves to be angry, frustrated, distant, preoccupied and nasty because we’re fully aware of our storyline.

Yet simultaneously, if someone else would dare to sample from the trough of our drivel, we would be highly critical–if not offended.

I became a much better person when I started allowing myself to be aware that human beings were never meant to be good.

This is why we give awards, medals of honor and trophies to those who occasionallly achieve such status. The rest of the time, the reaction we have to our fellow-travelers ranges from indifference to rolling our eyes in disgust.

Being aware is powerful. Sometimes we are…well, aware of it:

For instance, we will warn any sixteen-year-old child that the best way to be a good driver of a car is to be defensive.

When people stroll through a pasture, we tell them to “look where they walk.”

And when viewing a collection of reptiles, we heed the warnings of the caretakers who tell us to remain alert and keep our distance.

But inside every human being is a sense of self, tied up in knots of worry. To be aware of that knotting is to make you a friend of humankind instead of an enemy.

So unfortunately, the human tribe rarely thinks about God unless we need an answered prayer or confirmation of our righteous superiority.

We don’t think too much about helping out our neighbors unless we see their house floating down the street, propelled by the recent flood.

And we usually fail to let them enter the flow of traffic in front of us, for fear that the next light might turn red before we can pass through.

True spirituality is letting human beings be human, being aware of how that plays out … and still finding reasons to enjoy the good company.

 

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Apportion

dictionary with letter A

Ap·portion: (v): to divide and allocate

I have a son who is always critical of me because he feels that I do not collaborate enough with others.

Since he wasn’t here for the majority of my life and I am not going to bore him with details, I choose to allow him to pursue whatever thought process he desires.

But I will tell you about my collaborations.

If everybody in the world would understand that we put a piece in the puzzle and at the end, we celebrate the puzzle instead of continually pointing out our piece within, it would be absolutely magnificent to be involved in a group project with a common result. Matter of fact, I have often collaborated with individuals, to allow my apportion to be absorbed and dissolved into the general good, knowing deep in my heart I was part of something grand and glorious.

Perhaps that’s the best way to describe the mission I have chosen for my life.

I am disgusted with religion, find atheism to be hilarious and am truly apolitical. Yet at the same time, I have some talents, abilities and energy that I can contribute to the cause.

The spotlight has often failed to find me in the crowd, and I have only had the satisfaction of involvement as my warmth and comfort.

  • But I have seen change.
  • I have been part of the change.
  • And I have great confidence in knowing that my apportion to the general welfare was offered freely, willingly and joyously.

I would really love to collaborate more with others if, when the project was done, the individuals would not point out how their part in the endeavor “was the most essential to the quality.”

Yes, to find an apportion, one must first discover the dangers of ego gone rogue, and insecurity unchecked.

 

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Another

dictionary with letter A

Another: (adj & pron) a word used to denote an additional person or thing

I have just learned to go with it.

People often ask me how I’m able to write a column every day on the Internet. They think it’s impressive.

For me, impressive is someone digging a ditch on a ninety-five-degree day, or my food server remembering my exact order, complete with a side of horseradish.

But the reason I can write is because I don’t fight the first sensation that comes to me and try to improve on it too much. Most of the people I know who are writers fail at the task because they’re waiting for another idea.

They become too critical of their first instinct or try to complicate it or embellish it too much and lose the beauty of what I refer to as “slapping your face” inspiration.

Two immediate examples came to my mind when I read the word “another.” Both of them are comical in nature because they show how ridiculous we become when we are either too analytical or feel too entitled.

There is a story in the Good Book about the character John the Baptist sending his friends to ask Jesus the question, “Are you the one or should we look for another?”

It’s pretty funny. After all, there weren’t a lot of people doing miracles and railing against the religious system, while preaching a universal message of love.

But Jesus didn’t fuss. He just went out and did a good day’s business. Then he told the messengers to go back and report to John what they had seen. He left it to John to decide for himself if there was another.

On the other hand, there is the advice you get from people, usually older adults, when you’re a teenager, about romance, after your girlfriend breaks up with you.

“There are a lot of fish in the sea,” they proclaim.

You see, that’s fine if one fish is as good as another, but if you were thinking about getting a bowl and having a fish of your choice to be your lifelong pet, then some specific attributes would be required. (There’s a reason they call them “gold-fish.”)

Human beings are not like buses. You can’t miss the opportunity to love one and think another one is going to be coming around the corner real soon.

“Another” is a dangerous word. If we use it too often, we begin to believe that we are merely consumers who are being wooed by God and our fellow-humans with their wares.

If you ignore blessing too often and miss out on the moving of the Spirit … you might find yourself stuck with something much less satisfying than what was originally offered.

 

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Annex

dictionary with letter A

Annex: (v) to add to one’s own, especially as relating to property or land: Ex. Moldova was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940.

You have to watch words. They’re tricky, especially when uttered from the tongues of deceivers.

Often in an effort to disguise greed, selfishness or oblivion, we use language that is vicious at its heart, but drenched in a bit of honey. Or maybe it’s not vicious at all–just misleading.

  • Can I borrow a Kleenex?
  • I don’t mean to be critical, but…
  • You know me–I like to get along…
  • Does anybody else think that Bob is …?
  • It’s just the way we do things over here…
  • It may be old-fashioned but I still think…
  • I believe women want to stay at home…
  • I’ve always found men to be stupid. How about you?
  • I think the races don’t want to mix. Birds of a feather, you know…

These and many other statements are spoken daily by people trying to hide their real intentions, while annexing huge portions of human dignity, feelings and righteous freedom.

Hitler annexed part of Austria. He called it an annexation instead of an invasion. If somebody had questioned his use of the word, who knows? We might have avoided a world war.

So even though I occasionally make people angry by insisting they use the proper term for their actions instead of “annexing” different terminology to clean up their actual motivations, I believe I will continue to do so, and perhaps by pursuing such a noble adventure … stop a war or two myself.

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Afro

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

 

Afro: (n) a hairstyle with very tight curls that sticks out all around the head, like the natural hair of some black people

James was black.

Nothing truly significant can be ascertained without this fact. I do not bring this up because his skin color made him superior OR inferior to anyone else. It just gave him different hair.

James worked for me for a while–matter of fact, lived in my house. It was a rather communal setup, so we shared food, toothpaste, and even hair products.

James was very gentlemanly. It was several weeks of quiet displeasure on his part before I noticed his disgruntled spirit.

I was a bit perturbed so I asked what the problem was. His response was standard.  “Nothing.”

Of course, he knew that his “nothing” was really NOT nothing, and he hoped that I would pursue his “nothing” by trying to find something out. So I did.

“No, no,” I continued. “What’s up?”

After a few more overtures of encouragement, he released his burden. He explained that his hair was not like my hair, and that my “white people” shampoo and conditioner was killing his follicles. I produced a quizzical look, as paler brothers often do.

He asked me to feel his hair–and I discovered it was rather bristly and dry. He explained in vivid detail that his afro, which was very fashionable for the time, needed to be conditioned with the kinds of oil that I would probably find to be greasy, but his hair found necessary.

I think he thought I would be critical, since the idea of purchasing additional products would be expensive, but stepping out of my Anglo-Saxon world and putting down my mace and Viking horns, I agreed. Matter of fact, he took me with him to the store to purchase his items, and even though they tallied up to quite a sum, they made James happy. They also gave a tremendous shine and bounce to his afro.

I learned a lot that day. Even though afros are not as prevalent as they were when James and I were working together, I understood–and I understand now–that what’s good for one person’s do is a don’t for others.

Ability

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Ability: n. 1. the capacity to do something 2. talent that enables someone to achieve a great deal: a man of exceptional ability.

Let me see if I’ve got this straight. Sometimes we think certain words mean the same thing, but if you look really carefully, you see that they don’t. So I have it figured this way: talent is what I think I can do, and ability is your opinion of my effort after I’ve completed it.

I know I’m always nervous when I hear somebody brag about their talent. I alway silently want to tell them to be quiet; play it cool. Don’t be such a blowhard. Because each one of us human beings has two different modes in which we perceive the performance or presentation of others. If we think they’re conceited, we put on our “mean” mind and get very, very picky. If we believe they are leading with a humble spirit, we are much more relaxed and willing to be forgiving.

So even though many people feel they have talent, their egomaniacal approach towards self-promotion makes the world around them judge their talent and pronounce a very low grade on their ability.

So maybe we don’t know how good we are until other people tell us the value of what we’ve shared or produced. Of course, we don’t like that. We are so preoccupied with our self-image that we would like to control all of the aspects of our offering to the world, including deciding for them what they’re going to think about it.

But it just ain’t so, Joe.

That’s why I think it’s better to play down your talent and come strong with your gift, so when people judge your ability, they will be much more merciful and generous. If you happen to be excellent on top of that, be prepared to be successful.

Talent is what I think I can do, and ability is the grade card you give me at the end of my test.