Clash

Clash: (n) a violent confrontation

Does it really need to be violent?

Have we reached a point in our society where we think if arguments and struggles remain non-violent, then they’re perfectly acceptable?
Because a clash can take a toll without ever breaking a bone or cutting the flesh.

A clash is when we go into a time of interaction with our fellow-humans, believing we are right instead of being open to the possibility of being a little wrong.

In that situation, it doesn’t matter what the subject matter is or the circumstances. People clash because they think they know there’s a fight coming–so when there’s a hint of a skirmish, they’re ready to explode.

This is why people of the black race who come out to protest the Ku Klux Klan have already envisioned a fist fight between the two parties long before any such confrontation crops up.

A husband and wife who return home in the evening grouchy, having had a bad day at work, will pick at one another until they create a clash.

A clash always occurs when ego, meanness, self-righteousness and circumstances collide at the same moment. If any one of these is removed, the clash can be avoided.

Is anyone willing to do that?

Am I prepared to consider a life where I bring ideas–minus opinions–to gain deeper understanding?

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Clap

Clap: (v) to applaud

I have spent much of my human journey with two little toes in heaven and the rest of my footage on Earth.

Those two little toes did not go to market. They went to church.

It’s where I sang my first song.

It’s where I met my first girlfriend.

And it’s still one of my favorite spots for spontaneous dozing.

One of the things I discovered about the experience of “church attendance ” is that there is a wide range of opinions on many subjects.

Clapping would be one.

Some churches believe it’s sacrilegious to express appreciation, worship or excitement by striking palms. They find it Biblically and spiritually unsound.

Other churches clap so much that you can’t hear anything else going on. They clap for everything. It’s kind of a “clapping without ceasing.”

As a person who shares his talent in a church, I have to admit to myself that I am also a performer and an artist. (Although I think the word “artist” is overused–even by me.)

As a performer, I do have an ego. Ego is not a bad thing–it’s that little “Nancy-cheerleader” who keeps us from jumping off a cliff just because we had a bad day. (“It might get better tomorrow. Yea, team!”)

When you perform a song, come to the end, and receive silence, it is not golden.

It’s rather moldy.

Ashen.

Empty.

I’m told I’m supposed to sing to the glory of God. But it was God who said, “Clap your hands, all ye people.”

If you’re afraid I’ll get the big-head if you applaud my efforts, then you should pray for me. Don’t snub me.

Until we understand that the Universe pushes energy one direction and there is supposed to be a push coming back from the other way, or else something is afoul, we may just continue to believe that God is so insecure that He is frustrated with anyone else receiving adequate appreciation for his efforts.

Since I wouldn’t even have lunch with someone who’s cantankerous, I choose to believe that when I perform, God applauds, the angels screech…and the congregation should follow suit.

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Citation

Citation: (n) a summons; a ticket

Back when I was very young and my genitals held the key to my life and my ego the key to my soul, I had a beat-up green van which originally was used by the telephone company. (That was back when we had telephone companies instead of cell providers.)

I bought this van, putting a considerable amount of work into it so I could begin my own musical group and insist that I was unable to
pursue gainful employment because I was on a mission to “make music.”

Driving along with my friends one day, we found ourselves in the midst of a huge argument. Frighteningly, I remember that it was about where we were going to eat lunch. Because we were young, the spat was volatile. Lots of yelling.

So I was entering with my green van onto a four-lane highway when I was struck by a car. My van was not hurt very much, but the gentleman’s car was pretty banged up on the side.

He expressed controlled anger, but insisted we call the police. I didn’t have insurance. In my state at that time, you weren’t required to have it–just considered an ugly troll if you didn’t.

When the policeman arrived, he listened to both stories and gave me a citation for “changing lanes without safety.”

Now I will tell you–I had no idea whether I changed lanes without safety or not. I was too busy arguing over the specifics of our luncheon plans. But I did make a decision to fight the ticket–to object to the citation.

I went to court. I was such an asshole.

When the policeman came forward to testify, his sketchy details did not compare to the tale I made up, which I convinced myself actually happened. I explained that I was already in the lane when I looked to my left and realized that the gentleman was changing lanes into me, striking my side. I even got one of the members of my group totally on board with the account, and she testified on my behalf (even though there was no window on that side of the van, where she could have seen.)

The judge didn’t know, the policeman didn’t know, and the gentleman did not show up for court since he had no citation.

The case was dismissed. I didn’t even have to pay court costs.

I remember walking out feeling very proud, but also somewhat aware that such shenanigans and half-truths would certainly eventually catch up with me.

 

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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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