Covert Action

Covert action: (n) a secret action undertaken to influence the course of political events, as a government intelligence operation.

Stubborn doesn’t work.

Oh, we think it does. Somehow or another we believe that “sticking to our guns” empowers us to win the day.

Think about that phrase: “sticking to your guns.”

May I point out that if you’ve had to introduce a gun into a situation, maybe arbitration has failed.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

We live in a time when people are impressed with the ability to stubbornly hold on to their politics and their beliefs. It makes it very difficult to have the kind of intelligent conversation which allows for everyone to walk away, head out the door, and on their way home, change their minds just a little.

Maybe that’s the best we can do—just change ourselves a teeny bit, so we don’t come across too predictable or too obnoxious.

Yet I will tell you—it is fruitless to approach a stubborn person with a stubborn profile. You will never argue down someone who’s argumentative. And for those who believe they have found the secret of God, you are wasting your time blurting out a piece of theological insight that might enhance their profile and journey.

Those who still give a damn, wish to see some change and are yearning for a humanity that is as humane to humans as it is to animals, well…

If that’s what you want, you’re going to have to be covert.

You’re going to need to be humorous when others are blatantly serious.

You’re going to be required to bring some gravitas when the world seems to have gone tipsy on an alcoholic binge.

And you’re going to have to find ways to say good things in a better way, in order to convince anyone to honor the best.

You will not be able to speak to Republicans if they smell “donkey” on you.

Likewise, those Democrats can see an “elephant” coming a mile away.

What is needed is a covert action, if we’re going to change the politics, the spirituality, the manners, the integrity, the ethics and the temperament of our time.

We will have to cease to punch their conscience and instead, create new ways to tickle their fancy.

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Consolidate

Consolidate: (v) to combine a number of things) into a single more effective or coherent whole

It would probably be very beneficial if the business world, religious community, entertainment industry and political marketplace learned the difference between consolidate and compromise.

Compromising is when two ideas collide and neither one has the power nor the backing to be heard by itself–so two of these concepts optfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
for a third, which neither party is particularly pleased with, but they are convinced is the only way to achieve common ground.

Consolidate, on the other hand, is when one whole thing links up with another whole thing, both remaining intact, and because of the integrity of each, end up complementing one another.

Even though it is popular to insist that marriage is a compromise, unions of that sort, which try to come up with a third way to blend things, usually end up destroying their relationship.

Marriage should be a consolidation. Two whole people with two whole personalities link with one another and become doubly effective.

Two political parties, each with solid ideas, plug into one another. They remain whole, the ideas remain pure, the country benefits.

Two people of spiritual bearing come together, and rather than debating the finer points of religion, they consolidate their efforts over the principles that are most universal and therefore, bless the world.

Two businesses merge, maintaining the individuality of their products, in order to expand their market.

In the entertainment industry, rather than watering down a script until it loses all of its impact and sometimes story line, consolidate great ideas, and sew them together with the magical thread of words.

We are the United States.

We are not the compromised states.

All fifty units bring something to the table, and all fifty have an idea to share which is needed to make this melting pot remain well-mixed.

 

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Chemistry

Chemistry: (n) the complex emotional or psychological interaction between two people.

Who would ever have expected that hydrogen and oxygen could blend together to make water?

Of course, hydrogen has to bring twice as much of itself to the mixture to make it work. It is H2O.

Yet the two separated do not resemble the combined.

It’s a great principle of relationship. As long as two parties insist on maintaining their integrity without any merger of purposes, then
nothing really ever happens. In this day and age, we’ve become obsessed with individual achievement, therefore limiting the possibility of mutual effort.

And sometimes, just as with water, somebody has to give twice as much to make it work. But the end result is something valuable–something commonly put into practice.

What is the chemistry of spirituality? Is it God reaching for man, humans reaching for God, or humans reaching for one another and therefore finding God?

What is the chemistry of politics? Is it the power of the vote choosing excellent candidates who enact great ideas, or might it be the great ideas determining what candidates receive the votes? Or has it become the candidates telling everyone how to vote while setting aside great ideas?

What is the chemistry of education? Is it teaching facts, hoping that those who hear them will turn them into action? Or is it displaying action and stepping back to study the facts?

Just as in chemistry, if the unit of oxygen decides to try to be equal to the two units of hydrogen, then you have H2O2–which is hydrogen peroxide, which is not recommended for drinking.

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Boundary

Boundary: (n) a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line

You own the property of the boundary of your skin, with a lease for life.Dictionary B

Only under special circumstances am I allowed to come inside–and then with limited access.

Learning boundaries is really that simple.

Any time I cross your property line, I must do so with a courtly request and an adequate delay, to allow you the chance to determine whether you welcome my visitation.

Whether emotionally, spiritually, mentally or physically, you are truly the master of your own contents.

If we would learn this, realizing that even comments which are tossed off in the attitude of jest are little pieces of trespassing on the sovereignty of another human being, we would not only avoid unwarranted conflicts, but would also open the door to be respected by others who recognize our integrity.

I look for the boundary.

I look for lines in the sand people create which are not necessarily common–just personally requested.

I don’t always end up on my side of the fence, but more often than not, because I err on the side of caution and realize the righteous position that each one of us possesses of our own domain … I become the friend instead of the foe.

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Bought

Bought: (v) obtained in exchange for payment

181 miles.Dictionary B

It’s how far I drove to regain my sanity.

A gentleman I met in Dothan, Alabama, who had a reel-to-reel tape recorder (back in the time when such contraptions were ‘reel’ important) offered to sell me his wonderful machine for $150.

I didn’t have 150 anything.

But because he trusted me, he let me take it, asking that I commit to send him five dollars a week via the mail. I was moved by his generosity and openness, and immediately agreed to the terms.

I was faithful for ten weeks. I paid $50 on the tape recorder debt with integrity and sensitivity to the calendar.

Then I just pooped out.

Sometimes I convinced myself I did not have the $5 to send. Other times it was the inconvenience of trying to find a stamp.

I avoided his calls and stayed away from Dothan, Alabama.

One night a gentleman, in an act of extreme benevolence, gave me a hundred-dollar bill. I started thinking about all the ways I wanted to spend that money.

Then it occurred to me that I was in Alabama–181 miles away from the gentleman who had afforded me the tape recorder, which I now used in assisting me to make my living.

I had a choice. After all, the tape recorder really wasn’t bought yet, was it? It was borrowed, and seemed to snarl at me every time I looked at it, whispering, “Dead beat.”

It was two o’clock in the morning.

I climbed in my car and drove 181 miles down to Dothan and was sitting outside the door of my friend’s house when he emerged after his breakfast to begin his day.

I handed him the hundred dollars and said, “I’m sorry. I was an asshole.”

He cried.

I cried, too.

It was time to cry.

 

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Blunt

Blunt: (adj) uncompromisingly forthright

Dictionary B

I am recommending a divorce.

I think it is time to create a Splitsville between the words “blunt” and “honest.”

No human being has the authority, integrity or history to be blunt.

We can’t afford it. It’s too easy for other folks to find the skeletons in our closets–which, by the way, are still so fresh they’re covered with rotting skin.

And “honest,” although an improvement in temperament, is subject to our present comprehension.

So when people tell me they want to be blunt and honest with me, I request that they refrain. I am not confident that my burgeoning human spirit of consolation has grown enough to endure the “hard rain” of their critique.

I prefer honesty tempered with mercy. How would that manifest itself? I will give an example.

Blunt–“You are way too fat.”

Honest–“Don’t you think your obesity is hurting your health?”

Merciful–“I’m thinking about losing a few pounds myself. Have you ever tried and do you have any suggestions?”

Some individuals would consider this misleading or disingenuous.

I just consider it the only acceptable way to affect the world around you without crumbling it.

 

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Beleaguered

Beleaguered: (v) beset with difficulties.

Dictionary B

In the midst of the howling horde of hooligans who are posturing for political prowess, two beleaguered words faithfully try to tempt and tantalize, while teaching us.

Honest and calm.

Honesty has been given so much disregard that it almost seems relegated to the naivete or those who have made some sort of holy vow of promise.

However, honest is really just a truthful representation of the facts as we know them.

Calm, on the other hand, has been equated with meek–weak–which has been linked with the word “freak.”

Yes, we consider it to be anti-human to remain gentle and relaxed in the presence of a world of tribulation.

Honest and calm, two beleaguered but necessary attributes, continue to linger in the lobby of life, hoping someone will come up and strike up a conversation.

“Hello, Honest. How are you today? Are things working out? You appear lonely. You seem like you’re going to give up on your mission of honoring the truth.”

“Greetings, Calm. What’s it like trying to stay mellow in a world of rage? Do you feel useless? Do you wish you could just change a letter and become a clam? Of course, then they would say you’re ‘clamming up.'”

It is time for us to welcome back honest and calm.

Without them, we doubt the integrity of each other … and are always prepared to attack.

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Band

Band: (n) a group joined togetherDictionary B

We can learn a lot from music.

First of all, music admits that it gets better as it includes more elements.

  • Melody welcomes harmony.
  • Harmony is not prejudiced against rhythm.
  • And rhythm doesn’t think it has a beat on everything.

What makes a great band?

  1. Find your heart.

Whatever makes you tingle, feel and think.

  1. Find your voice.

How do you want to say it–in a way that will edify human beings instead of depress them?

  1. Find your mates.

Locate those of like, precious integrity and purpose–and hang onto them.

  1. Find your sound.

Create something which only exists because you do.

  1. Find your audience.

See if your chimes ring anybody’s bells.

If we apply those principles to everything we do–politically, spiritually and emotionally–we will come up with much better solutions.

A band does not believe it’s the only thing on the scene, but it must know that it’s on the scene… because the only thing it brings is another reason to believe.

 

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A-OK

dictionary with letter A

A-OK: (adj) in good order (e.g. everything will be A-OK)

Is my “A-OK” your “great” or could it be that my “fantastic” is your “mediocre?” A-OK has validity only if the people delivering the report are reliable.

This has come up many times in my life, but especially in the realm of parenting children.

I would often ask one of my sons to go down and clean up the garage, and when I inquired about the success of the project, I got the following replies:

  • “A-OK”
  • “Great.”
  • “Pretty good.”
  • “It was really a mess down there.”
  • “I did my best.”
  • And even, “Come on, Dad. It’s just a garage.”

You can see how these responses are not confidence building. The problem is, I had to filter what they said through who they were.

We now live in a time when “A-OK” is spoken too easily, with the hope that the lacking in effort will be made up for by either luck, God, or more than likely, the patient repair of other folks who follow us.

Sometimes it terrifies me to get in a car and drive along, realizing that it’s being made with the quality control of today’s corporate thinking.

Whatever happened to pride in work?

I know we have the adage of “going the second mile,” but truthfully, that statement lacks any punch if we all have not pre-determined the length of the first mile.

Because every day of my life, I meet individuals who are convinced they have done more than they needed to, never realizing they have fallen short of adequate.

I have rejected “A-OK” from my lingo.

So what I chose to do instead is to quickly explain the choices I have made in my efforts, and then allow other people to ascertain the status.

Because if we do not discover what is bare minimum, we will begin to dangerously flirt with incompetence.

So the greatest danger we face is our own sleepy attempts to cut corners … and end up cutting ourselves.

 

 

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Angst

dictionary with letter A

Angst: (n) a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically unfocused, about the human condition or the state of the world in general.

I don’t want to be one of those people who pursue so much optimistic hopefulness that I fail to recognize what is necessary in order to maintain our present integrity.

Yet I have to wonder if it’s possible for the human race, in this season, to acquire both of the necessary portions that make us worthy of continuation.

For I feel it takes progress and process.

Yes, I think technology is wonderful, and I do not want to go back to a time when we had no computers, racism was extolled as normal, and antibiotics were not available for sickness.

I am not nostalgic for backward times.

However, by the same token, making progress without honoring the process of human character which honors the feelings of others, makes the world a dangerous place and certainly volatile.

It produces angst.

We become afraid that we will lose our progress if we honor the process. Or we preach the process and become “anti-progress,” making ourselves appear Neanderthal.

Is it possible to be a human being who realizes that progress needs to be made emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically, without ignoring the values which make the process of living so much sweeter, and ripe with goodness?

We always attach the word “angst” to teenagers, but I am not convinced that a fourteen-year-old riding in a Conestoga Wagon with his parents, crossing the Great Plains in 1850, had much time to reflect on his or her misgivings.

If progress gives us too much free time to bitch and complain, robbing from the process of busying ourselves about becoming better people, then are we really moving forward?

Yet if the process of maintaining civility causes us to be suspicious of every facet of progress, then the foolishness we maintain makes our belief system appear to be shortsighted.

What would it take to mingle progress with process?

  1. I will put to use anything at all that makes life easier, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.
  2. I will acknowledge that there is no replacement for personal contact, love and gentleness with my fellow-travelers.
  3. I am ready to go forward if it doesn’t push someone else backward.

I think in considering this trio of principles, we can merge progress and process, to generate a climate of mutual benefit, drenched in compassion.

 

 

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