Decline: (v) to deny consent to

There’s a reason it’s popular.

It is the easiest word in the English language to say.


It also fits in well. Since the universe is negatively charged, it seems natural to be prepared to match it with an attitude.

Why should I be open-minded?

Why should I agree to something, knowing that as soon as I do, it will become much more complicated than how it was originally explained to me?

“No” is powerful.

“I decline,” he said. (That even sounds kind of regal.)

But every “no” comes with a shadow—a murky, cloudy covering unleashed by a breathy “what if.”

What if I hadn’t said no?

What if I hadn’t declined?

Would it have been good?

Would I have enjoyed myself?

Would the universe seem more universal?

Would peace be more peaceful?

Would “happy” have an extra p?

I don’t know.

No—I don’t know.

For you see, “no” will never lose its appeal.

It always makes us feel like we’re in charge—and nobody can tell us what to do.

But it also makes us wonder, as we walk away:

What in the hell did I miss?



Compromise: (n) an agreement reached by each side making concessions.

Dinner chatter.

I’m speaking of those conversations that occur after a fine meal, while some sip on wine and others lick their cheesecake fork.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

These are the moments when people feel the need to wax philosophical while simultaneously appearing to be extraordinarily open-minded.

So one person shares his or her opinion and another adds detail, being very careful not to contradict, but instead, enhance.

By the end of the exchange, a summary is formed in which everyone’s sentiments are included in some capacity–almost like a discussion scrapbook.

The host or hostess often conclude by saying things like:

“Well, I’m sure all the political parties have something good to share since they all love America.”


“Even though we should be sensitive to each other’s cultures and respect difference, there is no race left out or creed dispelled.”

Or one of my favorites:

“It would seem that all paths lead to God and each one of us selects a profile literally tailored to our soul.”

We love compromise.

Matter of fact, in the American system, compromise is considered more sacred than authenticity. For years and years we’ve rejected obvious truth to make sure we did not offend anyone in the room.

Let me tell you something about the path to God:

It demands truth on our inward parts, and in no way, shape or form are we to distinguish, isolate or even separate off into groups–because God is no respecter of persons.


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Challenge: (n) something that puts us to a test

Things that challenge me often make others snicker.

Perhaps they try to be open-minded and kind, but they find my challenges to be silly. Not wanting to be left out of the game, I turn around and find their challenges equally as dopey.

When I was five years old, the biggest challenge in my life was swallowing pills. I could not do it. Everybody thought I was mentally
retarded. (That was back when you could use that term.)

Each person I knew tried to teach me how to swallow pills, and always started out with a grin of hope and ended with a grimace of despair. I think I was fifteen years old before I conquered pill-popping.

Now, when I was fifteen, my biggest challenge was to do a forward roll in high school. My body did not want to roll over the top of its head to end up flopping on its ass. (Imagine that.)

Once again, many people tried and many people failed.

I’ve always had the challenge of losing weight. So I take the precaution–when I get that sideways glance from people obviously expressing disapproval over my magnitude–to explain to them that I am in the middle of a diet.

It makes them feel good and sometimes I actually believe it myself.



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Centurion: (n) the commander of a hundred men in the ancient Roman army.

I’m not sure what causes a person to be open-minded.

Certainly rejecting fear would help.

Relieving yourself of the conviction that you and all your co-horts possess the only answers would also be beneficial.

But in the Good Book, there is the story of a centurion. He has a servant. Now, we know the centurion is in charge of a hundred men, which
means he’s been given some rank and confirmation of the authenticity of his ability. So why would such a fellow be concerned about a servant? How would that relationship have sprouted?

We know that the gentleman was not only a commander, but was also open to the idea that opportunities can come from unlikely places. So rather than having a servant who hates you, why not have one who loves you?

But when that servant becomes sick and you realize that all those possessing medical knowledge who surround you are inept in advancing a cure, then it becomes necessary to use your open mind to consider a more unorthodox option.

How about an itinerant preacher from Nazareth, who is disrupting his religious community, but supposedly has healing in his hands?

The centurion did not allow his sense of Roman superiority to overwhelm him, leaving him without a remedy. He sent a messenger to ask Jesus to heal his servant. When Jesus started to head his way, the centurion was sensitive enough to realize that if this Nazarene came into his home, the young man would be considered unclean because he was at the hearth of a heathen.

So the centurion told Jesus just to say the word, and the servant would be made well. After all, as a centurion, he did that all the time with his soldiers. “You go do this. You go do that.”

Jesus was impressed. He said, “Never have I seen so great a faith.”

So maybe the definition of faith is when we realize we don’t have anything to lose, so being open-minded about other choices just might be life-saving.


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Beg: (v) to ask someone earnestly or humbly for something.Dictionary B

Asking is not begging.

Begging is reserved for those who have given up on the power of asking, and also have abandoned their own ability to pursue possibility.

It is also difficult for me to believe that begging has anything to do with true humility.

Humility is when you realize that accepting less opens the door to more. It is not a decision to accept less because you have ascertained that you are neither worthy nor capable of acquiring your desire.

Begging is reserved for an entirely different mind-set which no longer thinks that asking will elicit a response, or that humility will lay the groundwork for growth.

Even though it is considered to be open-minded and magnanimous to give to those who beg, we must understand that allowing people to beg from us is devastating to their soul … and an overdose to our pride. 

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Beefcake: (n) an attractive man with well-developed muscles.Dictionary B

On those rare occasions when I find myself naked, I always avert my eyes from looking in the mirror.

Matter of fact, I’m a little reluctant to share that thought, because there are individuals who would consider my decision to not view my body as a negative or a sign of insecurity.

Honestly, I just find it smart.

There are only two things that can happen when you look in the mirror: some form of disgust, or an intruding pride.

In both cases, there is little benefit.

If I think I’m ugly, confirming that by my reflection is not helpful to the self-confidence required for me to survive a normal day.

Then again, if I peer into the mirror and believe myself to be beautiful–a beefcake–then an obnoxious pride will make me ill-suited to interact with those who may not completely agree with my assessment.

I also have known many women over the years, and will tell you that they are the most gentle, forgiving and open-minded beings on Earth concerning the physical weaknesses of the men who have come into their space. I suppose there are ladies who want to peer at men’s bodies with a lascivious leer, but women often close their eyes, allowing their imaginations to fill in the blanks to stimulate adequate lust for a great sexual encounter.

I am not a beefcake.

I am not willing to do what is necessary to become a beefcake.

So I am looking for friends and women … who have a sweet tooth for a cream puff.

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Barrier: (n) a fence or other obstacle that prevents movement or access.Dictionary B

Prejudice is not just what I feel. It is also what is felt.

Candidly, I can have the most open heart in the world and be confronted with closed minds. Prejudice does not go away until the barriers are torn down.

A fence is a confirmation that isolation is required.

So when we talk about culture, customs and attributes of a particular race or nationality, we are creating barriers. Therefore we become overly optimistic about our ability to accept difference.

We are only able to comprehend difference when it contains some elements of similarity. In other words, “this is the way you celebrate Christmas, and it’s like the way I celebrate Christmas in this way.”

I am greatly concerned that in our attempt to tout universality, we are actually building walls between one another which only force us into deeper loneliness.

  • I don’t like barriers. I tear them down.
  • I don’t like it when people say that some clump reacts in a certain way.
  • I don’t like it when religion is used to separate the sheep from the goats, instead of finding unity within the herd.
  • I don’t like barriers of righteousness or boundaries of nuisance.
  • What will it take for us to finally realize that the more we try to be open-minded, the less we’re actually able to focus our love and attention?

Barriers tell us we’re different.

They are dangerous because once we believe we’re different … we quietly start pursuing our differences.


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Awe: (n) a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.dictionary with letter A

I was trying to figure out if there are two words that are more diametrically opposed to one another while still possessing the same root as “awesome” and “awful.”

How could they both have the word “awe” in them? I guess it’s because things that are worthy of awe are not always pleasant.

I remember the first time I ever saw the simulation of a nuclear explosion. It certainly generated awe. Matter of fact, it was full of it. Thus, awful.

And then, on occasion, sometimes a beautiful experience will dribble across my path and pause my busy mind with a stilled sense of awe. Sometimes awe–therefore, awesome.

Whatever the conclusion, it is important for each and every one of us to maintain enough childlike quality that we can be impressed. Perhaps one of my greatest pet peeves is when I find myself in the presence of something that requires a sense of awe and someone next to me explains that “it’s nothing special; they’ve seen it a hundred times before.”

This is why I know that well-read people are not necessarily more intelligent–unless they’re affected by what the books say.

Well traveled people are not more open-minded unless they’ve learned to include others.

And experienced individuals don’t carry a sense of greatness unless they can come into the presence of something truly beautiful… and still be in awe.


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Autobiography: (n) an account of a person’s life written by that person.

Every one of us exaggerates our toleration.dictionary with letter A

In an attempt to come off open-minded, generous or even willing, we put forth the idea that we are much more free in our thinking than we actually are.

This is true of autobiographies.

If I were to be honest, I would have to tell you that any sentence that begins with “I” which does not contain some shape or form of self-deprecation will be viewed by the listener or the reader as vain.

Even “I went to the store” reeks of self-involvement or threatens the inception of a boring tale.

I don’t know how the autobiography got started–because unless you’re confessing your sins, shortcomings or warning others of the dangers of poorly pursued habits, books that begin with “I” always end up feeling like a poke in the eye.

Matter of fact, I have begun to ration the number of times I allow myself to use the words “I” or “me.”

It’s not because I’m noble. It’s because there is no possibility that anyone else will find my “I” storyline nearly as fascinating as I conceived it.

But if you do not write your autobiography, you’re at the mercy of someone in the future who actually finds you interesting enough to pen a biography concerning your life and deeds.

That could be risky. After all, maybe after you’re dead, your rendition of life may not be nearly as interesting as you thought it was. And a neutral party may choose to be a bit more clinical than you.

But still, all in all, it’s much safer to stay away from “I” when it comes to reciting your deeds. Because even though we insist that confidence is a good thing, it really is more like the three wishes from the genie in the bottle:

Choose and use wisely.


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Assimilate: (v) to take in information, ideas, or culture and understand fully.dictionary with letter A

Our sophistication has rendered us ignorant.

We have “thought” our way into thoughtlessness.

We have studied, totally escaping the true attributes of being studious.

We’ve worked on the false premise that human beings are all different–and although it seems like an open-minded concept, the underlying message is that we are incapable of totally embracing one another because our uniqueness creates wedges among us.

It is a dangerous lie.

The truth that should be assimilated into the consciousness of each and every person walking the face of the earth is that at least 85% of what we desire, feel and pursue is identical.

The other 15% is similar to picking your favorite flavor of Pop-Tart. In other words, it may seem important, but after you’ve munched on a few bites, cherry and grape are pretty much the same.

It will take a great sense of humor and unity, mingled with some confrontation, for us to escape the ridiculous desire to separate from one another while simultaneously pretending we’re honoring cultures.

The great assimilation in the human race is that we’d better find ways to establish our worth by being valuable and creative… instead of just preaching that we are entities unto ourselves.

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