Walkabout 2002 – Writing definitions

OK, I’m heading out to Cincinnati today after I get my oil changed and a check cashed from my aunt (she bought some of my jewelry). I’ll be staying at Holly’s tonight and then at Sandy’s on Wednesday and Thursday. Then I’m on to Crow’s house in Kansas on my way to the time share in Colorado. As of yet, no takers on the trip to Colorado. If I end up there alone, I guess I’ll spend a lot of time at the library computer working on my book and journaling. Which reminds me.

I had asked my students if they would send me copies of the definitions work that they had done in the classes with me so I could use them in my book. To date, no one has done so, although a couple have said that I could have them. In short, I can’t finish the book without some samples of people’s definitions. So here’s my request. Below is an excerpt from the chapter on definitions giving the instructions for writing the definitions. If you are interested in helping me out either in making sure the directions are clear, but not sharing your definitions in the book, or in both, please take a moment to write out your definition to any or all of the words and email them back to me. It would really help me a lot. Thanks!

Let me be clear. This is not to be a dictionary definition. Anyone can look up the answer in the dictionary. This is what these words mean to you. Please write your answers in the first person, present tense, such as “Happiness means that I am…”. For each word you define, please be specific. Begin by writing down everything that comes to mind about that word. Do not edit your thoughts as you put them on paper. You may be surprised by the thoughts that come out of your mind as you define these words. For instance, I discovered when I defined Respect for the first time, that I had two diametrically opposed definitions – no wonder I had such a hard time feeling respected!  This is exactly the reason why we do these exercises. Once you have all of your thoughts on the page, then work on coming up with a short, one-sentence definition.

If you use another basic word as a part of your definition, take a moment and define that word as well. Try not to use two words to define each other. For instance:  don’t say that you feel safe when you feel secure and vice versa. Make each definition a discrete and separate thing.

You will be tempted, due to the very basic nature of these words, to skip the actual writing of the definitions. I encourage you not to do this. Take a moment to sit and write out the definitions, preferably in a journal or some other place where you can keep them safe for future reference. This is a process that you may find useful to complete several times in your life and having past definitions available can often provide needed perspective on the past.

Words to Define

  • Happiness
  • Respect
  • Friend
  • Safety
  • Security
  • Love
  • Money
  • Family
  • Love Relationship
  • Acceptance
  • Marriage
  • Success

This is by no means a complete list of all the basic words that we live by. If you have others that have been a problem for you, then please feel free to define those as well. Remember to also define any other basic words that show up in your definitions of other words.

* This is part of an ongoing series of posts detailing what happened on a spiritual pilgrimage that I took in 2002. To start from the beginning, go to July 2, 2013. To see the entire spiritual journey as it gets published, click on the category “You Want Me To Do WHAT?!!?” to see all of the posts.


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