Complete

Complete: (v) to finish making or doing

And Alexander “wept because there were no more worlds to conquer”–a sentiment, I’m sure, shared by Napoleon Bonaparte.

Then there were a bunch of Puritans stepping onto a rock in Massachusetts, having arrived in the New World which they believed would funny wisdom on words that begin with a Ccomplete them–but actually nearly killed them.

It’s the bell that rings at the end of the day, telling us that work is done and dinner is prepared. Simpler times.

Or it is the bell rung at the end of the fight, that lets the beleaguered pugilists know they can stop punching.

It is a silly statement made by a man to a woman before he proposes marriage, claiming that “she completes him.”

It is the advertisement on the box that informs you that all the pieces are included and it is complete (until you discover there are two missing bolts.)

It is Christ hanging on the cross, saying “it is finished,” having already told his disciples hours earlier that his actual ministry was complete by doing the work of loving mankind and passing God’s message onto them.

It is what each of us hopes we will think when we come to the end of our journey.

Rather than sensing regret, we hope we will feel complete.

 

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Colonist

Colonist: (n) a settler in or inhabitant of a colony

I like to believe I’m tough. In other words, able to handle challenges.

Recently, when I found myself stowed away during a hurricane, I was surprised at what a dependent, selfish and fussy child I could become just through inconvenience.

It was hot, confined and the food was a post-Apocalyptic menu. I nearly cried.

So when I think about the colonists who settled the United States, I am baffled. The ignorance, self-righteousness, arrogance and short-sightedness they brought with them in settling the New World is mind-boggling.

Didn’t they realize they were starting all over again and there would be huge changes? That big black-rimmed hats and dark, heavy woolen clothes might not be
ideal for the climate.

They also brought over a religion suited for parlor talk, now being tested in the dungeons of challenge.

And then I think to myself, they were really pretty brave.

How would I have been any different?

Would I have landed on the shore, walked around for a couple of weeks and concluded that I was going to have to pursue a completely different lifestyle, or else I would die from exposure–or even a common cold. Yes, the colonists had few remedies for sickness, and the ones they had were notorious for making you sicker.

Actually, it is quite remarkable and magnificent that they were able to muster enough flexibility and common sense to push on through.

It’s not easy being a colonist.

I occasionally discover that I am marooned in a new situation, very grateful that I’m not alone–that I at least have one or two buddies with me to help me survive all the frightening surprises.

Yes, all of us are really colonists–pitching our tents here on Earth for less than a century. We will be replaced quite soon–and truthfully, it won’t be that hard.

 

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Collaborate

Collaborate: (v) to work jointly on an activity, especially to produce or create something.

A pot of soup is a collaboration.

So is a deli tray.

Yet there is a massive difference between the two.

No one takes a bite of soup and comments on the beauty of the onion. It is a completed, dissolved entity, where all collaborations of flavors work toward a
common title: SOUP.

On the other hand, a deli tray has cheese, meats, vegetables with dip and maybe even some tomatoes. They lie side by side, collaborating, but simultaneously promoting themselves.

Once upon a time in a land they called the New World, people of all nationalities arrived on the shore of a budding wilderness and worked together to make “one nation under God, indivisible.”

When the need arose to provide “liberty and justice for all,” it became necessary that we melt into one another instead of segregating off into our individual portions on some sort of national deli tray.

The success of this country is based upon how well we have done that.

Right now it appears that our collaboration is a Dutch oven of boiling water, with all the ingredients sitting on the stove, waiting to be placed inside–a merger.

Instead, we put it off and we just boil.

Nothing cooks together.

Nothing flavors another.

We try to be a soup but we still resemble a deli tray.

Sooner or later, great collaboration demands that we drop into the pan and disappear, to form the “one perfect union.”

 

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Cigarette

Cigarette: (n) a thin cylinder of finely cut tobacco rolled in paper for smoking.

If you live long enough you will see nearly everything in your life go through the natural Earth cycle.

It begins with “interesting.”

Then it becomes “cool.”

It passes through a phase of being “plagued with some difficulty.”

Following that comes “seems dangerous.”

And of course, the final step is “lethal.”

It doesn’t matter what you’re talking about. Why don’t we take something that would seem unlikely to apply to this category–like politics?

When the idea of starting a democracy in the New World was tossed on the table for discussion, it was deemed very interesting–so much so that we wrote several documents and put together a club.

After the club got together for a few meetings over some “brews and snuff,” we were enamored with the possibility–just jazzed with its coolness.

So we started political parties. The consensus was there should be at least two so there could be discussion. But immediately each party desired to be the predominant one, which led to some nasty exchanges, false accusations, and the introduction of cheating. Election after election began to prove out that winning was more important than truth, justice and the American Way. Difficulty arrived like a “plague of congress.”

So laws had to be passed because we were in danger of losing the freedom we had hoped to achieve because we allowed the politics to steer policy.

And then, all at once, with one cracky voice, the people proclaimed, “Politics is damn lethal.”

I bring this up because the same thing happened in my lifetime–and yours–with cigarettes.

At first they were interesting. Then cool. Next, plagued with some difficulty, proclaimed dangerous, and now seen as a nasty piece of our social sappiness, murdering people with tar and nicotine.

I often wonder if it’s possible to stop, while musing over something being interesting–and jump ahead to find out if it’s deadly.

 

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Binge

Binge: (n) a short period devoted to indulging in an activity to excess

Dictionary B

Until guilt learns how to work in harmony with willpower, we will all feel like marionettes dangling from strings.

It doesn’t matter what your vice may be, although I must admit, some vices are allowed to be more visible than others. A fetish for hot fudge sundaes with extra bananas and cream can be touted much more than a preference for keeping company with little girls.

Yet deep inside every human being is some nagging piece of indulgence which always shows up on the days when our willpower has taken sick leave.

Thus the binge.

Even if guilt and willpower wrestled to a tie in our lives, we would have a fighting chance to control our inclinations or at least channel them in more productive directions. But because willpower and guilt are both affiliated with self-pity, we are never able to control our safari into the jungle of excess. Self-pity tells us that we are being cheated, but also that we are too weak to resist.

So we would seem to be at the mercy of the gluttony of our flesh.

There are those who overcome this by using some sort of rigid mental karma, but I don’t know how they ever reach that point.

‘Tis is the great mystery of this journey.

I think it’s probably one of the first things we’ll learn after passing on to a new world of understanding.

We will arrive in the heaven of our dreams, to discover that the secret of overcoming our binges was …

 

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Antiquity

dictionary with letter AAntiquity: (n) the ancient past, especially the period before the Middle Ages.

Every once in a while, a startling revelation will cross my mind, giving me a sensation similar to standing on the deck of the Santa Maria, spying the New World. Of course, as in the case of Christopher Columbus, nor is it to me.

Truth has been around for a long time and it always has three important ingredients:

  1. It actually works.
  2. It doesn’t hurt anyone else.
  3. It’s not ashamed of the failed experiments leading to greater revelation.

Often when I find myself in a circle of believers who are discussing the Good Book and stories of biblical proportions, my brain freezes, as I wonder why they think these individuals had any greater spirituality than we do.

Actually, if I found myself translated back to antiquity, I’d be walking around as a god with my level of knowledge, in comparison to the fear, superstition and incomplete hypotheses of their time.

If we really believe that spiritual evolution stopped on the Isle of Patmos with John the Apostle, or on the mountain with Mohammed, then we are negating hundreds and hundreds of years of scientific miracles and human growth.

I think the Good Book is exactly that–it’s a good book.

As a good book, it has plot twists, character development, elimination of villains, and the exposure of bizarre ideas, as the story line is pushed along towards what we hope will be a happy ending.

Even though our children have a difficult time imagining Alexander the Great or Cleopatra, when we parallel these individuals with updated versions of our own time–like Kanye West and Kim Kardashian–it’s much easier to see where we’ve come from and possibly where we need to go.

I am not of the belief that any good thing should be thrown away. Generally speaking, I don’t walk out of a movie once I’ve paid my premium price, even if the flick is not to my liking. I try to find something usable.

There is much we can learn from antiquity:

We can learn that superstition cannot shout down science.

We can learn that we are learning, and therefore should never be content in our own level of comprehension.

And we can learn that those who made the history books were once just clumsy, insecure flesh-and-blood creatures … who spent way too much time wondering if they were sexy.

 

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