Coffin

Coffin: (n) a long, narrow box in which a corpse is buried or cremated.

Staring down into the face of my older brother, who was quite dead, lying in a coffin, motionless, with eyes closed.

It freaked me out–mainly because I was staring at the bier. That’s another word for coffin. Now I’m just trying to show off. I tend to do so when I’m nervous. And looking at a coffin made me nervous.

Until that moment, I did not realize that I suffer from claustrophobia. Even though I was supposed to be the strong brother to support my nephew, sister-in-law and all the other relatives, I temporarily had to excuse myself and walk away to try to regain my state of mind.

All I could think about was lying in that coffin, scrunched, and having the lid shut down on my face. Every time that vision came to my brain, my heart started to pound and I found it difficult to breathe.

I was embarrassed.

I wanted to make sure no one observed my panic attack, so I found a private room and stepped inside. Unable to locate a light switch, I stood in the dark, finding no comfort whatsoever from my vision of horror.

Even though I am certain there was nobody in the room with me, I sensed a thought floating across the blackened space, landing in my consciousness. It wasn’t exactly verbalized, but it was very comforting.

The notion translated to my irrational thinking was, “Keep in mind, when you go in the coffin, you don’t have to breathe anymore.”

I laughed. It was so true. By the time I was fitted–or unfitted–for this box, I would be without the need for much of anything.

And of course, if it still freaked me out, they could always burn me up.

 

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Back Burner

Back burner: (v) to postpone consideration of or action on.Dictionary B

I think I will share with you a little secret–maybe not so much a secret as a piece of true magic.

It is the blessing of inviting things into your life instead of merely accepting them.

If you don’t learn to do this well, you will find yourself shoving great intentions and inspiration to the back burner of your stove and being forced to quickly make macaroni and cheese on the front burners every single day.

I think it may be the key to joy–being able to invite situations into your space instead of having them linger at the borders of your feelings, demanding entrance.

I meet people every day who have a novel stuck in their back closet.

Many of them have a horn they used to play, that they always meant to get back to.

And countless numbers envision a trip which has been put on hold for years because of budgetary concerns.

This is why we came up with the infamous “bucket list,” which we supposedly pursue after we’ve been given a terminal diagnosis and we have so few months left that we finally get down to the business of living.

I am repulsed by the idea of a bucket list.

I have set my course to invite possibilities into my soul instead of being kidnapped and held for ransom by responsibilities.

But how do you do it?

  1. Discern the signs of your times.

Long before foolishness arrives, it threatens by showing a little bit of its potential stupidity. Identify what has proven to be inefficient and get away from it as soon as possible, even if others insist it “only needs a few more tries.”

  1. Be picky about invitations.

Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into joining the gang.

  • Bad ideas generate a mob.
  • Good ideas stimulate a membership.

So if you’re looking for evidence of what is worth pursuing, stay away from the mobs and look to the wisdom of those individuals who are more selective in their participation.

  1. Choose based upon your dreams.

If something is completely out of the realm of what you envision to be the fuel for your life, don’t pump it into your gas tank. Even if it has promise, finance or gives you appreciation from others, if it is contrary to your vision, it will cause you to perish.

I never back burner that which stimulates my heart … but I am more than willing to take contrary views and unnecessary tribulation completely off my stove.

 

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Attune

Attune: (v) to bring into accord, harmony, or sympathetic relationshipdictionary with letter A

Caught between the onslaught of profane extremism and the threat of eternal damnation, the human race is squeezed by greedy zealots out for the common dollar instead of the common good.

So rather than finding these culprits of foolishness and exposing them as the fanatics they are, we instead surmise that the human race is a doomed and failed species, incapable of self-containment, let alone shepherding the earth.

It’s time to attune with one another.

May I begin?

  1. Most of the time, we’re not evil, we’re just bored. Having no vision, we perish in our frailty.
  2. We are creative but taught to table such ingenious revelations in favor of the remake, which guarantees sales.
  3. We are not sexual deviants, but rather, sensual beings who mysteriously have the unique ability of mingling a committed, divine love with a ferocious, exciting orgasm.
  4. We are not spiritual, but we are emotional. This enables us to touch spiritual matters and enjoy them without thinking we’ve figured out the universe.
  5. We’re not lazy–just unmotivated. We are not uncaring–unfortunately, disconnected.
  6. We know that men and women are supposed to be equals, but we resist the premise, fearing that an even playing field would rob us of our uniqueness.
  7. We are neither afraid to believe in God nor frightened to discover He does not exist. But we do require a reason for our lives which allows us to escape the jaded notion that “it’s all meaningless.”

These are 7 that popped into my mind. There are probably many more, but I wouldn’t want to bore you with too many details…and accidentally drive you into sinful behavior.

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Attain

Attain: (v) to succeed in achieving something that one desires and has worked for.dictionary with letter A

About two decades ago, everyone in America was persistent on finding out what my 5-year goal plan was. What did I want to attain?

Matter of fact, it reached almost cult proportions. People felt it was essential to have a vision for one’s life that spanned the next 5 years.

Honestly, I was greatly amused by the concept.

Considering the fact that I was fully aware that what would happen to me in the next 5 months, 5 weeks, 5 days and even 5 minutes was somewhat beyond my control, I found it a bit foolish to presumptuously plan 60 months in advance.

Yet in that time period, I was considered odd–perhaps irresponsible to not mix the Kool-Aid.

There were three things that happened to those individuals who followed the “strait and narrow” of the 5-year goal plan:

  1. Life immediately objected to their format.

(Apparently they didn’t include life in the meeting to draft the proposal, and life was rather gleeful about dashing their dreams.)

  1. 5-year goal plans often contradict other 5-year goal plans, creating conflict and confusion.

Yes, what I want to accomplish in 5 years may rob you of a couple of years of satisfaction.

  1. Those who persisted in this philosophy also found they had to make a choice: do I evolve with life, or do I dig my heels in and insist on requiring my demands?

It was messy business, and I will tell you that fortunately, only a small handful of ardent followers still remain.

But if you run across one, and he or she asks you what your 5-year goal plan is, respond this way:

“I plan on taking the next 5 years to feverishly work on my 10-year goal plan.”

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Apparition

dictionary with letter A

Apparition (n.) a remarkable thing that makes a sudden appearance, especially a ghost.

I believe in ghosts.

Not the cloudy, smoky spirits of souls who have gone on to their reward or retribution. I’m talking about the ghosts of bad ideas, inclinations and fallacies that possessed our world in the past, and now have come to haunt us in the present.

  • Sometimes I just wish we could come up with new bad ideas.
  • Sometimes I just wish there was something new.

But instead we have the poltergeist of previous ridiculous concepts rising up from the grave, where we thought we buried it, only to spook us once again.

We don’t have new scandals. We have the spirit of Richard Nixon and Watergate infesting the present bodies of our politicians, making them do the same stupid mistakes he tried to pull off, which ended up with his destruction.

We don’t have music born of the spirituality and emotions of our own generation, but rather, grave-robbers who go and dig up the tunes of those who are now decomposing.

We are continually vexed by the apparitions of past failures or the ongoing celebration of victories, where the band has already played and marched away.

We spend too much time celebrating the past, forgetting the prejudice, disease and dumbness that prevailed.

I believe in ghosts because we refuse to inter the past.

So we just keep living this stuff over and over again … like a bunch of tales from the crypt.

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Apparent

dictionary with letter A

Apparent (adj.)1. clearly seen or understood; obvious. 2. seeming real, but not necessarily so.

All of our eyeballs have been blurred, leaving our vision tainted.

Perhaps it was the disappointment brought on by the tension of adolescence, or some hidden prejudice inserted into our thinking by well-meaning parents.

It might have been high expectation which was dashed and brought crashing to the earth by the flak of reality.

Somewhere along the line we began looking at the world through clouded lenses of bigoted conclusions.

Therefore what is apparent to one person is not equally as apparent to another. Matter of fact, we’ve developed a whole philosophical approach to the issue, insisting that we’re all quite different, and in our difference we find our “special purpose.”

Yet it doesn’t occur to us that if we all have different views of what is necessary, beautiful and spiritual, we’re more likely to collide into each other in the dark than to embrace each other in the light.

I do think it’s important that we come to some common ground on what is apparent, and even if we don’t completely understand it, submit to the wisdom of some very essential precepts:

1. We are not here alone.

In other words, we cannot live our lives as if there are no other human beings, and trying to pursue our goals without a belief in a Creator can be more frustrating than enriching.

2. The truth will make you free.

Lying is a detour which takes you through town, past the beautiful houses, but always ends up at the city dump. No one ever gets away with lying–and truthfully, the longer the deceit is disguised, the worse the retribution.

3. Miracles are God’s business, but talent is mine.

There is no replacement for ability applied with hard work. Those who peddle shortcuts, easy diet plans and get-rich schemes may be the closest thing we will ever see to flesh-and-blood satans.

There are things which are apparent. If we agree, we can begin to pull together instead of pushing and shoving each other. But to get this done, we must stop believing that the Earth is a series of human islands instead of a continent of brothers and sisters.

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Ancient

dictionary with letter A

Ancient: (adj) belonging to the very distant past and no longer in existence.

The basic design of the human being has not changed for thousands of years. Parts be parts.

What makes us call former times “ancient” is the realization that these well-formed beings, possessing a tremendous brain, had a tendency to close down portions of that intellect in order to get along with the superstition and stupidity of their current time.

In other words, those who pursued Greek mythology back in old Athens were made ancient by the fact that they believed in gods and mortals, and sexual relations between the two which created Titans.

I’m sure it crossed the minds of some of them that this rendition of reality was a bit foolish. But to get along, they went along.

I’m sure there were many people during the witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts, who looked at the list of the accused and realized it was just little Sally, who they baby-sat as an infant, and therefore it was highly unlikely that she was the handmaiden of Beelzebub.

But they went along to get along–thus making them ancient instead of contemporary to us.

The truth of the matter is, the only people we respect today are those individuals from the past who stood against the flow of the ridiculous.

So you have to realize that many things we now accept will become ancient very quickly as time progresses and knowledge increases.

So my thanks go out to those historical individuals who are never going to be ancient because their ideas, although contrary to their times, have moved the human clock.

That is why it is my responsibility, as a parent and a grandparent, to continue to grow and expand in my vision, so that my offspring do not have to mumble under their breath ... “God, he’s ancient.”

 

 

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