Cluster

Cluster: (n) a group

To anyone under the age of thirty, the word “cluster” is mentally followed by “fuck.”

To anyone over the age of thirty, that particular interpretation may be bumped by the consideration of peanut or almond candy.

Because I’m writing and interacting with people of all ages, I must be careful not to use words like “cluster.”

A “cluster of ideas,” which might be included in one of my essays, would cause the millennials to giggle, and those older folks to salivate for chocolate.

Some words have worn out their usefulness, or have been so tainted or tinted that they cannot be slid into normal conversation.

Such is the word cluster.

So even though I may be tempted to refer to a “cluster of activities” or a “cluster of problems” or a “cluster of opportunities,” I must catch myself–because cluster has already established its mission and is not allowed to take on any new significance.

 

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Breach

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Breach: (n) an act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct

A great book once alleged that there’s a power in “repairing the breach”–finding that break in etiquette or sensibility that can be covered with a multitude of grace.Dictionary B

It is a noble notion.

The difficulty with the mission is that people will often argue with you about whether there’s a breach in the first place. After all, a common conversation with fifty Americans will render much different responses:

  • Is there racism?
  • Is chauvinism a problem?
  • Should poverty be addressed or should we just try to motivate people to work harder?
  • Is there a God or are we on our own?
  • Are people of different lifestyles entitled to their rights?
  • Should we judge people by the color of their skin?
  • Should we question religions?
  • Is it possible that some people are just better than others?
  • Do the heavens have a “chosen people?”

If we cannot agree that there’s a breach, then the repairing will be considered foolish or intrusive.

What can we agree on about our pain before we seek a relief?

It is not so much that our problems are complicated–it’s more that they’re denied.

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Blueprint

Blueprint: (n) a design plan or other technical drawing.

Dictionary BI don’t often take time with this particular essay to discuss current events or natural happenings. It’s really more a primer on what is primary.

But I find myself in an interesting dilemma.

I have set a blueprint for my life, my work, my mission, my writing and my sharing with humanity–to stay away from politics. To me, politics is taking what might be a good idea and hammering on it until it’s pleasing to as many people as possible.

But in this particular political season, I am stymied.

My blueprint is threatened.

For if I talk about kindness, courtesy, gentleness and tolerance, it will appear to my reader that I am preaching against Donald Trump.

On the other hand, if I write an essay on honesty, being forthcoming, freshness of ideas or even gaining the acumen of using the Internet and email–doggone it, it would appear that I’m striking out against Hillary Clinton.

So I find myself squeezed like a tube of toothpaste which should have been replaced four days ago.

When you can’t speak a virtue without attacking one or the other candidate, what you have is a commentary on the lack of virtue in our candidates.

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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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Behead

Behead: (v) to cut off the head of someone, typically as a form of execution.

Dictionary B

There are certain behaviors that foretell of tragedy.

In the moment the perpetrators may seem dominant, but they are doomed to be overthrown by the common sense and grace of history.

They are characterized by certain attitudes which lend themselves to the arrogance of superiority, leaving the executioners vulnerable to plot and mayhem.

One of the obvious candidates for this path of disaster is a culture which beheads human beings.

Although beheading is the final stage in a lunacy which is borne out through those who are moon-struck by stupidity, any culture will behead its enemies once it accepts three ridiculous premises:

  1. We are superior.
  2. God is on our side.
  3. It is our mission to rule the world.

If any group of people adheres to these three nasty tenets, they will grab the sword and freely eviscerate innocent people.

So instead of looking at the atrocity of beheadings, we should look at what causes all of us mortals to lose our heads.

Without this revelation … we are one excited idea from becoming murderers.

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Bay Window

Bay window: (n) a window built to project outward from an outside wall.Dictionary B

I was recovering from wounds that had been self-inflicted by my indecision and fear.

For the previous two years I had lived in uncertainty concerning my value and mission. It did not rob me of all of my joy, but it certainly created a detour of the supply train granting me contentment.

I just couldn’t wrap my head around what purpose would be derived by continuing to tread the same path.

In the midst of this, I made a move.

I rented a duplex in Sacramento, California. It was the first living space I had acquired of my own for some time, and it had a lovely master bedroom with a bay window that looked out over a small forest.

It was on a frosty December afternoon that I sat on my bed with the first fruit of twilight creeping around me, and stared out that beautiful window at the view of the trees, when all of a sudden, a few snowflakes appeared in the air.

It was so beautiful.

The image is still etched in my mind, with the memory of a chill going down my spine–a sensation of contentment and awesome wonder about the beauty of life.

Although I was not surrounded by wealth nor was it the last time I would find myself in dire straits, I can always refer back to that incredible vision through that bay window … which kindly reassured me that I was making progress.

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Astronomy

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Astronomy: (n) the branch of science that deals with celestial objects, space, and the physical universe as a whole.

45 years ago.

April 22nd, 1970: the first Earth Day.

I was there for it. Well, actually, the truth of the matter is, the student body of our senior class was granted the afternoon off to plan a parade, and my girlfriend and I took the opportunity, being free from school, to go off someplace and neck. (I guess everybody has their own way of celebrating Earth Day.)

But when I thought about astronomy today, it seemed perfect for the occasion when we give honor to Mother Earth.

Because life is all about perspective and mission.

It doesn’t matter if you’re going to the grocery store or planning a trip to the moon. One always has to first gain perspective, and then plan the mission.

I often find myself looking to the stars and the heavens. Almost universally, the human race believes that God dwells somewhere in the vast expanse of the astronomical wonder. Whether that is true or not, a gaze into the sky will certainly give you perspective. For we truly are one small dot on a huge landscape of the universe.

Sometimes it makes me think about God. Oftentimes it gives me a humbling mingling of gratitude and humility.

But sooner or later, I need to take my eyes off the sky and place them on the scope of the work which is directly in front of me.

I need to gain mission.

And mission is very simple: what am I going to do today on Earth that is sensitive to the planet while still honoring the heavens?

I personally like Earth Day. It reminds me that I am an Earthling, while also letting me know that the stars twinkle above … gently viewing my progress.

 

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