Chrysalis

Chrysalis: (n) a preparatory or transitional state.

The main reason I don’t want to come out of my cocoon is that I don’t think I’ll end up being a pretty butterfly.

Wouldn’t that be horrible–to spend your life cramped into a tiny space, gouging your ego and leaving you feeling inadequate, only to burst
forth from your chrysalis and be either ugly or a gooey, incomplete mess?

I’ve wondered throughout my life if it’s more important to know what to do, how to do it, or when to do it. You see, there are many things I believe I’m prepared for, and then, even the hint of opportunity can surprise me, leaving me clumsy.

That’s why sometimes I giggle when our culture encourages us in the buffoonery of expressing verbal confidence, when we actually have no idea if we can pull something off or not.

Is it wrong to want a couple more days, weeks or months in the chrysalis before sticking a wing out and find out if we can fly?

Or is it just part of the process–that we get dumped out of our cocoon, and whatever we are is what we are?

Maybe we should have asked for a guarantee before entering our chrysalis: “This metamorphosis guarantees you one beautiful butterfly body…”

But in the world of nature, there are very few guarantees–just possibilities–usually afforded at the most inopportune time.

 

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Chromatic

Chromatic: (adj) a musical scale including all existing pitches

I have sung for decades.

This doesn’t mean I’m a good singer–and I’m not trying to be humble. Singing is similar to chasing a butterfly–because you may be able to
see what you want to capture, but it can quickly flit away.

Sometimes your voice is not in good shape. Humidity can affect it–and stubbornly insisting you are on pitch is the best way to be out of tune.

So one of the best exercises for singing is practicing the chromatic scales up and down. Moving your voice only a half-step teaches you precision–and exposes those occasions when you might find yourself rubbing up against the correct tone but not actually owning it.

Now, if you’ve never sung, this may not mean anything to you. If you’re a singer, some of this may not mean anything to you.

But the reason I continue to sing is because it’s a wonderfully humbling chamber for the human ego, because there are three obvious realizations:

1. You’re at the mercy of your voice

2. There is no excuse for bad tone or bad pitch

3. There is always someone who will sing better than you.

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Caboodle

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Caboodle: (n) a lot, a group

Nothing in the world identifies you as an old person as much as using words that are no longer in circulation.

Honestly, I’m astounded that “cool” has survived through so many generations. But don’t think that “boss, groovy” or “hip” made the journey.

I caught myself the other day, in trying to emphasize the need to use all available resources for a project, nearly saying, “Let’s include the whole kit and caboodle.

Fortunately, my radar spy sense was beaming three or four words ahead. I came to a halt–for a few seconds simulating dementia–trying to find a current terminology that equaled that ancient one.

I came up with a blank, so I said, “We need to include the…well…everything.”

It was awkward, but not nearly as devastating as having a bunch of younger folks try to figure out what “kit and caboodle” meant, while simultaneously jotting down suggestions on their I-Phones for Christmas gifts for me, which would include a tapioca maker.

Words can kill.

But in a greater sense, they can wound your fragile ego.

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Break

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Break: (v) to separate into pieces

“He’s waiting for his big break.”

I’ve heard those words stated over and over again in my presence as I have stood idly by, knowing how errant they are, but remaining silent so as not to rock the boat.Dictionary B

There is actually no such thing as a “big break.” What you have are little victories and tragedies that come into your life, which break you up, segregating true ability from ego.

If every person in America were immediately cast into the role of what they thought they were worthy of doing, we would have nuclear war before the end of the day. Our perceptions are twisted by greed and arrogance.

Most of us have no idea of what we’re capable of performing in the cauldron of difficulty–because that’s where talent thrives or dies. No one gets to use their capacity in a vacuum. It’s always under pressure, criticism, lack or even fear.

So to a certain degree, it is Mother Nature’s job to break us. That is the true definition of our “big break”–when we are finally cracked open and the poison is spilled out, so we can rummage through … to find any gold that remains.

 

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Big

Big: (adj) of considerable size, extent or intensity.

Dictionary B

“Big Jon.”

That’s what everybody used to call me.

It was their way of acknowledging that I was a large person without using terms like chubby, tubby, overweight, portly, plump or God forbid–fat.

But as I grew older and wiser, I realized that behind every use of the word “big” was a parenthetical inclusion of “fat.”

Even though politeness is very polite, it is often misleading, if not flat-out lying.

I was able to pull off “Big Jon” for a long time because I could lift couches, play sports, and pant and sweat my way to physical equality.

But age caught up with me, and the passing years have robbed me of the courtesy of being big, and just made me obese.

For the record, there is absolutely no charm in “Obese Jon.”

When is it good to be big?

I was told when I was younger that having big dreams, big plans and big goals was a sign of vision. Then I realized that this particular view of life could blind you with ambition, leaving you stumbling in the darkness of despair.

Somewhere in between small and big lies real.

It’s what we’re all looking for.

It’s that part of the mission of our life journey which is achievable instead of under-promoted or overwrought.

I have reached a time when I need to stop being so big.

My body, my emotions and my ego … all need to go on a diet.Donate Button

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Belittle

Belittle: (v) to make someone or something seem unimportant.

Dictionary B

Those who belittle be “littler” than them belittled.

More and more as I age, in a season when conversation is salted with pepper, I realize that the absence of legitimate talent causes us to attack contributors out of a fear that we, ourselves, are nothing.

Even when I find myself being cynical, I realize it’s because I am jealous of those who have received attention, while my efforts have been relegated to the position of backstage storage.

We belittle because we be “littler.”

That’s the truth of the matter.

There isn’t a great idea ever hatched in the mind of a mortal that has not been forced to endure the ridicule of the ignorant.

It is why we suffer from a dearth of inspiration.

It’s not because the inspiration is unavailable. Those inspired lack the emotional armor to survive the gauntlet of the unrighteous condemners.

It is too bad that goodness is plagued by sensitivity–because for it to gain voice, it needs to escape temporary damnation.

I swear to myself that I will never belittle again. And then, because of my insecurity, I attack in order to protect my ego.

When it’s over, I feel bad.

But unfortunately, the moment has passed, and the chance to embrace beauty has been scared away … by my beast.

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Audience

Audience: (n) the assembled spectators or listeners at a public event, such as a play, movie, concert, or meeting.

dictionary with letter A

You may speculate that they are spectators, but the word “audience” literally means that they are there to listen.

As listeners, they are not compelled to feed your ego nor respond to your whim.

If the person sharing is not willing to communicate clearly, or provide a balance of entertainment and inspiration, then he should be prepared for the audience to take its ears elsewhere.

That’s a simple fact.

After many, many years of sharing, performing, presenting, or whatever word you prefer, in front of hundreds of thousands of human souls, I will tell you that I have never come across any gathering that did all the work for me.

Some are friendlier, and some are like a Wells Fargo safe which has to be cracked meticulously in order to find the treasures within.

With the introduction of YouTubes and Internet blogs, there are many fledgling artists who think that having ten thousand “likes” or a million hits is a passage to success.

It is not.

There are three things that tell you that you’ve reached your audience:

  1. Do they get quiet when they’re supposed to get quiet?

Noisy is easy. Getting people quiet is an art.

  1. Do they want more of what you have and are they willing to commit either their time or money to confirm that devotion?

It is a fickle day we live in. The 24-hour news cycle has turned the American attention span and the allegiance of the American audience into the actions of a housefly at a July 4th picnic.

  1. Are they leaving the performance, lecture or interaction a little different than when they came in?

America is desperately searching for answers, while simultaneously pretending that such data is unnecessary.

Solve a problem–save a soul.

It’s really that easy. 

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