Week 1- confine Week 2- vacant Week 3- descent Week 4- liberate
This week’s word is confine. Confine can be used to indicate multiple ways to restrict or restrain certain activities or motions. It is intended to impede or limit in several ways. For instance, a seat belt keeps us confined to the interior of the automobile. Or, damage to his car was confined mainly to the rear bumper. These examples give ways in which confine shows placement of limitations. Many times ‘confine’ imposes restrictions or boundaries that help one to achieve certain objectives. Keep your budget in hand and it will confine your tendency to overspend!
“As I write today, I must work within the confines of this word’s meaning.” The ‘confines’ of what this word means are its definitions. The first definition is something that encloses such as borders or walls. Definition two is to keep within limits as in restricting someone or something. “The accused was confined until his trial” is a good example of definition two. The basic sense of confine is to contain within limits. To restrain from freedom is also another idea that is part of its meaning. For instance, moral limits confine society and keep it from imploding!
Many times during a day’s activities, we are confined by something or someone that limits our actions. It could be helpful to look for some signs that give indications of how we are confined. Several synonyms of confine can help us: hinder, holdback or impede are signals that what we want to do might be confined or have boundaries. For instance, Martin Luther was confined to a castle for his resistance to church policy. Chuck Colson was confined in prison for his Watergate activities. Things that restrain are sure signs of being confined. Don’t let your actions get you confined!
“The damage done was confined to one department in his organization.” In this example, we see confine used in the sense of ‘something’ restricted. To be restricted is also the impact of the thing confined. To have no limits means that the subject has an expanded or unconfined impact. For instance, a new virus that is kept within controlled limits has a minimal impact or ‘it has been confined.’ Thus, the borders of its impact are well contained and should not be able to escape. Be sure to keep your ‘virus’ confined!
Relationships work well within the confines of a small group. The larger the group, the less intense the relationship will be. Intense intimate relationships such as between a man and a woman are restricted to just the couple. Parents and children are another small group but important group. Less intense are the relationships within a family as in those between siblings. In the larger family are aunts, uncles and cousins. Friends may also be confined to a small group dynamic depending upon the closeness of the relationship. These types of relationships are important because of the frequent interactions and emotional draw. They help us to deal with feelings of need and worth in daily living. Don’t let restrictive relationships unnecessarily confine you!
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The Detroit city government is bankrupt due to a large number of vacant buildings which were producing tax revenues. Vacant buildings produce many problems for Detroit besides the loss of tax income. Lost jobs, reduced population and lack of a growth stimulating economy are factors that encourage job seekers to look for greener pastures. The fallout from empty, lifeless and vacant structures is devastating. To be vacant is a condition of lifelessness!
Bare, empty, and blank are several synonyms that give us a feel for the meaning of vacant. The primary definition of vacant is; not filled, used or lived in. It can also be applied to a job or position that is not occupied by a person. A less common use is to show no indication of what someone is thinking or feeling. For instance, ‘his gaze was vacant of feeling’ tell us that his face gave no indication of emotion. Again, ‘the classrooms are all vacant because school is out for the summer.’ Vacant is an adjective that is used to describe a condition. Beware thoughtlessness because it means that your mind is vacant!
To be vacant is to be free from activity or use. The following is an example: “One topic on the city meeting agenda is the positive use of temporarily vacant land.” A sure sign of being vacant is emptiness or being without content. An organization may have a vacant position for lack of candidates. A bus may have empty seats for lack of riders. When someone or something is disengaged from meaningful activity, they have vacant time to fill. Vacant can describe positive or negative conditions. A person whose life is vacant of friends has a lonely existence!
My day has been vacant of any pleasure. This thought brings to mind a void in what a person wants. We see that a ‘vacant’ position leaves an emptiness which most of us would term a negative. Therefore the impact of ‘vacant’ is a lack or deficiency of something. Stark, lack or empty are other synonyms that help us to understand the meaning of vacant. Let’s be sure that our seat at home is never vacant!
Vacant relationships are full of misery. This is an adjective that should never be used in connection with any relationship. To refresh the meaning of vacant, “not filled, used, or lived in.” Another part of its meaning is to “show no indication of what someone is thinking, or feeling.” Let us look at all of our relationships and do an assessment. If the previous parts of the definition of vacant apply, they are probably not worth the time and effort to be a relationship. Good relationships should be full of meaning and positive action. A relationship where the parties have become disengaged are lacking in meaning and depth. Let’s leave our vacant relationships for the past!
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It is an interesting twist that our word this week is descent. The PBS series Downton Abbey is about one family’s search for a male descendent to carry on its future blood line. This intriguing story about this socialite family’s search and challenge to produce a male heir runs the gamut of death, intrigue and struggles for power. Not only do the episodes revolve around the courtship of the three daughters, but to the sinister plotting of the household servants. Subplots abound and unfold as the series moves through each chapter. It all revolves around royalty and ancestral descent in Merry Ole England!
The wispy winged glider was making a long slow descent into the airport landing zone. In this example, we see one use of descent. The primary definition of descent is the act or process of descending. We will also find several secondary definitions as: an inclination downward as in a slope or stairway or as a step downward in a scale of gradation. Specifically, it is used to indicate one generation in an ancestral line or genealogical scale. For instance one’s national lineage as in English, French or Asian. Generally, descent is an indicator of something or some process that is going down the scale. Descent can also be used as an indicator of one’s living environment as in sliding down in your scale of living. Be careful of your descent into poverty by overspending!
As an indicator, descent can be positive or negative. Transmission of an estate by inheritance in the descending line may be a sign of positive influence. Its character transmitted from a natural source is one indicator of improvement. From a clear genealogical source, a scale of gradation is usually indication of a step downward. Descent is normally part of a downward inclination in an ancestral lineage. That downward inclination is true for most development processes. In that sense, it takes on negative characteristics. For instance, addiction to some drug or pleasurable activity is an indication of slow but increasing dependence upon the result derived. Beware addictions for most are indications of decreasing flexibility to change!
“The descent of the airplane was normal and landed safely; however, the addict did not fare so well in his descent into oblivion.” In this example, we see the polar opposite impact of descent. The first is a positive impact because the plane landed safely, but, the second example is a negative impact for this person’s life. Descent is a process. That process can be on a graded scale or a downward incline. Even in one’s ancestral line, seldom is it a smooth straight line. You can pick your friends, but you cannot choose your ancestral descent!
What do roller coasters and relationships have in common? They can both go up and down very fast and each has its own set of thrills! Relationships without changes are very rare and very mature [and sometimes very dead.] Change in a relationship will happen faster when it is new. As a relationship matures, it will experience less and less change. When it hits rough times, there may be a series of shallow ups and downs until the issues are worked out. However, when there is a sharp descent into confusion and disagreement as a norm that is a signal of a relationship in distress. Ups and downs are normal, but watch out for the sharp nose-dive descent in a relationship as it may never recover.
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Many oppressed countries are looking to be liberated. Freedom is a good thing. However, being liberated and being free without a proper plan on how to overcome the oppressive activities of the previous rulers is not always thought out. To be liberated and then face an uncertain future is dubious at best. Whatever you are being liberated from should be replaced with something that assures a positive future. Think through how you want to be liberated!
“The thirteen colonies were liberated from British control in 1776.” This statement sets the pattern for using liberate as a transitive verb. The first definition of ‘liberate’ is to set someone or something loose as in give liberty. The second meaning is to give freedom to something that has been bound up as in ‘liberate the gas by adding acid.’ Though rarely used, the third definition is to take or takeover by illegal or unjust means. ‘The soldiers’ mission was to liberate the hostages from their captors.’ The primary thought behind ‘liberate’ is to give freedom. Most of us need to be liberated from some bad habit that we have!
In a court trial, evidence is presented for and against the accused. Likewise, with liberate there is evidence of the state of having freedom. Happy, smiling faces with tear streaked cheeks is a sure sign of release. Another is the mood and excitement of just being alive. Sometimes, those who have been liberated may be in a state of bewilderment, not really believing that they are free to make their own choices. To be unfettered and free of control may sometimes put a person in the position of having to make choices they have not encountered before. Let’s liberate your creativity and make new choices!
When the eggshell is cracked the yolk and white of the egg are liberated. The impact to the egg and its contents is freedom, but is this a good thing? The egg is an example of nature’s best. It is self-contained. The shell carries and protects its contents until needed. The end result of being liberated from its shell is for the contents, the yolk and white, to be used. When we think of someone or something being liberated, it is best to give some thought to what kind of end result will come from being loosed from the controlling factors. Little thought will bring short-sighted results to being liberated!
How does one liberate a relationship? This is a most interesting question. In many ways ‘liberate’ and ‘relationship’ are polar opposites. A relationship is willing interaction with another person or group. Liberate is to free, loose, release or unfetter any interaction. A relationship without any established and understood mutual restrictions is suspect at best. In a good relationship, limitations and restrictions are agreed upon and willingly adhered to by the parties. Therefore a ‘liberated’ relationship is suspect. Where there are no limits, anything is permissible!
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