Complex

Complex: (n) consisting of many different and connected parts

America has a new favorite word.

It is “complex”

When we have no solutions, ideas or even desire to pursue quality, we like to declare the situation complex.

That means it will take a long time, many meetings and millions of dollars to study–and still there are no guarantees that a solution will be devised.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

It is an adult assertion that life itself is complicated, and therefore we prove our worth and intelligence by furrowing our brow, appearing bewildered and going into the process of deep scrutiny.

So when subjects like race, religion, politics, gender bias, sexuality or even the price of beefsteak come up in conversation, it is very important that all the people in the room agree that these matters are very complex, and therefore require oodles of time for discovery.

And God forgive you if you suggest that something might be simple.

Because even if it isn’t quickly solved–even if the contention that a matter is complex does play out–we are still much better people when we simplify.

 

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Cohort

Cohort: (n) a group of people banded together

I have a son who’s convinced that I am becoming more conservative as I get older.

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Age has done one thing and only one thing for me–it has insisted that I be practical.

It stands over me, often in a threatening pose, barking in my ear that the plans I had made to do something beyond my physical abilities are not filled with initiative, but rather, reek of stupidity.

I become more and more astounded with the simplicity of the statement, “Those that are not against us are for us.”

Therefore, mankind is my cohort, and I, its.

I am looking for reasons to enjoy the people around me instead of tagging them as enemies to be avoided.

Every time I read something, I find one little tiny nugget of valuable common sense. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the Bible or the Communist Manifesto–each document has a golden gleam which makes its writing valuable and worthy of human hearing.

But also, each document is chock-full of filler–statements thrown in, sometimes as afterthoughts and often in ignorance.

So when a Republican talks, I listen for sense. Likewise, when a Democrat shares, I probe the speech for reasonability. In the process of doing this, I find myself making more friends and being far less critical.

Recently a friend asked what I thought about a song that was being touted on the Internet. I replied, “They started on the same beat, didn’t miss a lyric and ended in pitch.”

There’s a lot to be said for that. It is a fine beginning for discussion. But often, humans will find one word within the body of the poetry which they consider distasteful, and relegate the entire presentation to being hellish nothingness.

A cohort of critics.

How boring.

How boorish.

How stubborn

How meaningless.

I found out some time ago that the world never gets anything right. Celebration occurs when the effort comes close.

 

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Cage

Cage: (n) a structure of bars or wires in which animals are confined

Even though Maya Angelou seems to know “Why the Caged Bird Sings,” I, myself, do not.

I believe in the power to overcome negative circumstances, but such an endeavor always takes a toll.

A loss of simplicity.

A leaking of faith.

Some intangible that departs the soul because we struggled too much to maintain normalcy.

There are three cages.

Undoubtedly, one is the cage we build inside ourselves to limit our passion while justifying such a move by having lengthy explanations to quantify our fears. We’re never able to adequately interact with others or fathom why they would be interested in any person like us–locked up.

There’s also the cage right beyond our space–a barrier we’ve created that says since we’re a father, mother, religious, addicted, black, white, brown, gay, straight, male or female, we are not going to be able to cross the bars of that enclosure and enter into a larger hemisphere of fellowship. We try but we pull back in horror, fearing that the barricade is electrified to discourage our noble effort.

Then there’s the cage that is somewhere out there. We don’t know where it is. We can’t see it. It’s the boundary of our limitation. We don’t speculate on what it may be, but instead, explore all terrain until confronted by the wall. Perhaps we can avoid it. Yes, maybe we never have to reach the edge of our understanding and ability.

So in the meantime, we can pretend that we’re powerful.

 

 

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Between

Between: (prep) the space separating two objects.

I spend most of my life “between.”Dictionary B

And it certainly isn’t between a rock and a hard place. (What a self-piteous scrap of frumpy thinking…)

Actually, the choices afforded me are matters that I consider easy, or options that loom in the distance, appearing to be hard.

If I develop a lifestyle of choosing only the easy possibilities, I will always wonder what I missed, or will wear out the patience of simplicity.

On the other hand, if I project myself to be adventurous and always select from the menu of the more arduous entrees, I may just end up in a bunch of Herculean tasks–with indigestion.

Since I live my life between, I certainly should build a home there–a place where I am satisfied to be challenged by new ideas, as I also add a bit of spice to my common daily gruel.

Yes, human life is about learning how to be content and overjoyed with the decor of the modicum, yet knowing when to wisely move from “between” … to the next castle in the sky.

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Bar

Bar: (n) a place where alcoholic drinks or refreshments are served.Dictionary B

The problem with pursuing spirituality is that more often than not, we end up with self-righteousness.

True spirituality is allowing yourself to be blessed without blasting everyone else.

There was a spot of time over a decade ago when I was in need of a little extra money. My son was running sound and lights at a local bar for the in-house band, and he needed a night or two off each week.

I volunteered, thinking that it was a great training ground for me to apply my philosophical principles and to “let my light so shine” before men–and women–that they would see something different in me.

What I discovered was that I was not nearly as adept at anything as I perceived myself to be.

  • I was not good at staying up late.
  • I was not excellent at walking around enough in the bar to mingle, to find out how the sound was being distributed.
  • I was not able to avoid the temptation of the greasy snacks offered to me free of charge
  • I was not nearly as good at running sound and lights as my son, making him deal with an avalanche of complaints
  • And worst of all, I was completely swallowed up by an atmosphere that was unimpressed with my simplicity.

A bar is a bar because it’s a bar.

It is a place where people come to drink, carouse, laugh uncontrollably, and if they drink too much, start fighting.

It is not an atmosphere for renewal, questioning, or revival.

There is very little chance that you will change anyone’s mind from what they have come to accomplish.

So I found myself dwarfed by my surroundings, inept for my task, and eventually departed from the occupation.

I licked my wounds and learned.

Although you can take a camera, shoot a movie, and portray a bar as a festive social gathering, when you are there, it is a refugee camp for those who require interaction with human beings and are willing to tolerate the smell of alcohol and lingering vomit … in the company of overly aggressive patrons.

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Arduous

dictionary with letter A

Arduous: (adj) involving or requiring strenuous effort.

Are you ready?

I’m gonna pitch you a movie idea.

Fade in:

Man wakes up in the morning, discovers he doesn’t have a razor to shave his beard. Rather than complain to his wife or go out into the world unshorn, he gingerly reaches into the shower, removing his wife’s Lady Bic, peering around the room cautiously to make sure he’s not observed.

He slathers his face with shaving cream and carefully runs the precious object across his face, freeing himself of jungle fuzz. He rinses the borrowed object with great intensity, placing it back into the shower, smiling into the mirror as he splashes his face with his favorite cologne, turning and heading out the door with a smile.

What do you think? Are you ready to invest?

Of course not.

No one would make this movie, because it is a tale of a human being finding a way to work things out without becoming exasperated, frenzied or completely debilitated by circumstance.

Somewhere along the line we’ve convinced ourselves that if our lives are not filled with arduous tasks, then we’re really not grown-up and we haven’t proven our mettle. With that desire to appear mature, we’ve taken things that should be simple and made them as painful as possible, whether politics, business, family life or religion. The more hot coals we can walk over, the more we are convinced of achievement.

If there is a line being formed by those who are looking for less arduous ways to approach life, I would like to get into it.

I’m never proud of myself when I become exasperated. I don’t feel manly swearing at traffic or frustrated because my hammer decided to hit my thumb instead of the nail. Cursing doesn’t strike me as a sign of strength, but rather, evidence of the little child that failed to die sometime after puberty.

There may be arduous tasks. Most of them are not what we perceive them to be.

The greatest gift you can give to yourself, or anyone else, is having a mechanism in your soul which sucks up problems that seem insurmountable … and spits out simplicity.

 

 

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Alliance

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alliance: (n) a union or association formed for mutual benefit, esp. between countries or organizations. 2. a relationship based on an affinity in interests, nature or qualities

Sometimes I get a little worried about myself.

I’m not talking about being a hypochondriac or a conspiracy theory advocate. I just don’t trust systems. Let me rephrase that. Systems have not historically proven themselves to be worthy of my trust.

I think that’s accurate.

And as I look at the word “alliance” today, I realize that a sense of ill-will came into my soul over the whole notion of “uniting.”

It’s not that I believe in anarchy, it’s just that I don’t embrace the notion that the opposite of anarchy is a good thing. Here’s why.

If an alliance occurs because two human beings come together and freely admit that they plan on respecting or submitting to a truth which is greater than either of them, then I think there’s a possibility that such a union could be beneficial, if not holy.

Take marriage, for instance. In the simplicity of its composition, it is a  phenomenal institution–taking two human beings and asking them to commit to the idea of faithfulness and equality. Unfortunately, when implemented, it often deteriorates into less noble alliances, which are merely festering compromises of differing opinions.

Case in point: I don’t see any power in Henry Clay creating the Great Missouri Compromise in the mid-1800’s, which allowed for a temporary peace, but also tolerated the indignity of slavery.

Yes, I believe for an alliance to be of any significance, it must consist of two or more people recognizing a mutual need to acquiesce to an intelligence, a belief, a faith or a system greater than any opinion. When we hammer out back-room agreements, trying to maintain an elixir of varied opinions, we always end up with a hodge-podge of meaningless actions which must be quickly corrected due to their short-sightedness.

It’s why in my life I have come down to one simple principle: “No One is better than anyone else.”

Anything that tries to attack, disintegrate or deteriorate this axiom is not worthy of alliance. On the other hand, new ideas that salute the beauty of such a precious precept are not only welcome, but worthy of inclusion.

I am willing to join in alliance with those who recognize that our feeble opinions are always better when filtered through the sanity of the test of Spirit and Time.