I Think Too Much About Everything…Even Facebook Posting, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

I Think Too Much About Everything…Even Facebook Posting

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

When is it OK to start posting silly puns and memes after events like the massacre at Tree of Life?  Is it even appropriate to post anything silly at all in today’s frightening times? Am I exhausting my FB friends when I post all this serious-as-shit-trans-stuff?  Do I offend them when I ask them to change their profile frames?  Do I risk getting into arguments over politics? How do I handle feeling disappointed when more people don’t (won’t?) read my activist FB notes and blog-posts, and even my poems? Why am I even asking and sharing questions like these?

I am bipolar.  My PTSD can exhibit similar symptoms to borderline personality disorder. I am aware my abuse history and addictions sometimes stir up codependency. I say these things to shed some light as to why I care so much about something as inane as posting on FB.

I have taken it upon my FB timeline to be an oasis of positivity and humor in the desert of horror going on in our country and around the world.  I consciously chose to stick with funny posts because I know how important it is to laugh.  And then, I couldn’t do it anymore.  Not just because my life is more threatened now than it was even two weeks ago, but also because it just seems wrong to post silliness while such tragedies occur.

Of course, I am not responsible for how you feel, what you think, or what you do or do not do.  Of course, you probably don’t have time to care about what I post or don’t post.  Of course, I need to get my mind away from caring about any of this.  Trouble with me is that I am thoughtful, highly empathic, and, am old-fashioned in the sense of treating the words, “FB Friends,” as friends in general—in “real” life. In other words—I think too much and I care too much.

As a bipolar person it’s very challenging to find “balance,” in anything in life, let alone something as inconsequential as FB posting.  I need to be aware of-and-steer clear of all-or-nothing, black/white thinking, and so it’s absurdly hard for my brain to decide do I post something funny or serious, or do I try to balance them out, or must I post only one or the other, or do I leave FB altogether?

Not everyone is on FB as much as I am, and of course, it can be argued I’m on it too much.  I am also unemployed and prone to hazardous isolation, so, for me, FB can be an important means for staying even virtually connected to the world while most people I know are off being gainfully employed.  So, as goofy as it seems, the question of what to post is important to my broken brain.

I also understand FB has implemented annoying algorithms that prevent us from seeing things on one another’s profiles. I know we can also choose to “follow,” each other’s pages thus seeing more posts of those we follow than those we don’t. And of course, anyone is free to unfriend anyone or choose to stop following someone and still remain friends.  You can even choose to stop seeing someone’s post completely and still remain FB friends, which, incidentally, I have done with some FB friends.

As so often happens, I am thinking out loud.  I am telling all.  No secrets with Jenn.  Why do I do this?  Because more than anything it’s important to share my vulnerable, messy, and stumbling humanity, and if that includes overthinking what I do or do not do FB post, so be it.  Why do I think it’s so important?  Am I being narcissistic? I hope not.  I feel it’s important for the reasons I have stated many times—to humanize being trans, to help end the stigma of mental illness, and just to demonstrate that living in a radically open way is possible.

What am I going to do about the FB posting dilemma? Post what I post and let go of whatever happens.  If my serious posts tire you out as just another preach-to-the-choir-political-poster, then so be it.  If my silly posts cheer you up and lighten your day, so be it. It is my hope the serious posts will inspire you to action—clear and open action.  It is my hope you will share those activist posts with your friends and family.  It is my hope the memes and puns will be shared too and inspire you to remember it’s OK to laugh even when there is so much horror in the world.

Mainly, however, it is my hope that my brain becomes healthy enough someday to not spend this much thought power on FB.

 

 

 


 





20 Alternative, Life-Affirming Activities to Do During Lent, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

20 Alternative, Life-Affirming Activities to Do During Lent

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

There is debate in both pagan and Christian circles as to the origins of Lent, and, as usual, both sides think they’re right.  We know Norse people put ashes on their forehead to protect them from Odin’s more violent moods.  And it’s hard not to notice that Yggdrasil, the World Tree, in Norse mythology, is an ash tree.  We do know Jesus never mentioned Ash Wednesday, nor anything even close.  It was a ritual adopted many centuries later.  We also know that, in most Christian denominations—both Protestant and Catholic, that it’s traditional to “give something up” for forty days. Some people fast from meat.  Other’s treat it sort of like a New Year’s Resolution and deny themselves chocolate, TV, fried foods, and the like.

I propose that Lent be a time of welcoming new things into our lives, of affirming people and things we love and new people and things we want to cultivate love for. The word, “Lent,” simply means springtime.  Why, during such a lavishly abundant time of growth should we refuse ourselves even the simplest of pleasures?  I truly believe that is not what Jesus wants.  I believe he wants us to enjoy “the kingdom of God,” and to share of what we have.  He fasted, yes, so the story goes, but he never said we should do it for forty days.  Early Christian Church leaders were all about encouraging the illiterate flock to deny itself pleasures, to self-flagellate, to perform outrageous acts of penance, and all manner of self-mortifications, while they sat back in their gold-gilded rooms feasting.  It almost became sort of a contest: who can sleep on a bed of nails the longest?  Who can pick the worst self-abusive behaviors for the glory of God?  The body was, after all, sinful.

Well, if we are made in the image and likeness of the Divine, then I say our bodies are sacred and meant to be treated as such.  In light of that, here are twenty suggestions for alternative, life-affirming things we can do for the next forty days.

 

-Commit to doing some kind of act of self-care.

-Accept and celebrate positive things about yourself and others in active, real ways.

-Do something creative every day and then throw a party after that time to culminate the resurrection of (or the evolution of) your creativity.

-Do something kind (and in secret) for someone every day—especially perhaps for those you may not “like,” or who are “different,” than you.

-Take time to expand your understanding of things like feminism, racism, gender studies, white-privilege, etc., and ways to get involved locally and/or globally to help the world.

-Send someone (the same person or different) an email every day with a silly joke or inspirational quote.

-Sing every day–your favorite song, a new song, a silly song, a made-up song—to yourself, in the shower, at work, while walking, to strangers, to friends, to family.

-Try a new food every day and/or share food with someone else.

-Make every effort to sit down with your whole family for dinner.

-Every time you catch yourself thinking something judgmental towards someone, including yourself, reframe that thought into something loving, positive, and compassionate.

-Donate your time and resources to someone or an organization that helps others.

-Read spiritual literature every morning and/or evening.  Or, at very least, read something other than online news—a story, a children’s book, poetry, a biography. You get the idea.

-Take time to learn about different faith traditions with the goal of looking for similarities and places your faiths converge.

-Eat breakfast and/or health(ier) foods.

-Take one little (or big) step towards your dream every day.

-Take a moment to breathe consciously outside.

-Take a moment to notice—really notice—a tree, flower, cloud, a loved one, your own amazingness.

-Throw away, or give away, one thing in your living space that you haven’t touched, noticed, used in ages.

-Inventory your life a little each day.  Ask yourself how you’re doing as a citizen of the world.  Be honest.  No shame.  Just objective self-reflection.  What are you doing well?  Where can you improve?  Are there any amends to make?  And so on.

-Go ahead and eat something you absolutely love.

 

The list is endless and as varied as you.  The point is, instead of Lent being a time of denying things we like and love, we make it a time of embracing what we love in mindful, attentive, fun, and thankful ways.

It might also be fun to have your worship community, your family, your co-workers, and so on—commit to doing one of these affirming activities together and then celebrate the revelations and resurrections of playfulness and appreciation that hopefully would result by doing such a shared ritual.

As the season unfolds, it’s OK to start up a new “Forty Days,” anytime.  It’s OK to celebrate the resurrection of anything that was lost and then found.

And, of course, it is the hope the cultivation of these positive things would extend far after Lent (or at least much longer than most New Year’s Resolutions); that they would become habits, so to speak, or perhaps, continually evolving spiritual practices.

You might be wondering what I have chosen to do this Lenten season.  As of the writing of this post, I have the flu, so I am not committing to anything that puts me in contact with anyone else until I am officially not contagious.  For now, I am committing to telling myself something nice about myself every day.  I also commit to send little messages of appreciation and inspiration to someone different every day.  Look in your inbox.

Have fun.

Happy Lent.

Jenn

 

opening flower

 

 


 

All donations go to medical expenses and groceries.  Thank you. <3


 

 


Reflections on the Past Calendar Year, 2017, and Looking Ahead to 2018, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Reflections on the Past Calendar Year, 2017, and Looking Ahead to 2018

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

Last year, at this time, I was in the psych ward begging the nurses to kill me.  Luckily, they said they didn’t do that sort of thing in the hospital.  I spent 9 days there.  My second time in the 2 months. I spent my 49th birthday there.  The staff brought me a cupcake, which they said was against the rules.  It was yummy.  You really haven’t lived until you hear a room full of psychologically ill people singing you happy birthday.

And here I am.  As far as I know, alive.

You are an integral part of my being here.  You supported me 100%, and even though most of this saga was chronicled on my now lost, Radiance Moo-Cow Facebook page, you know the story.  I have no secrets.

I have been criticized for sharing so intimately about mental illness.  You know I do it to destigmatize it all.  You know I do it to help people see someone can exist and function productively and positively—some days better than others—with a chronic, and at this point, incurable, mental illness.

Anywho, things began to lift, not so coiendentally in the spring, with your support, therapy, and a long, struggling, scary, frustrating search for the right combination of meds.

And, of course, there was the unwavering love and support of Mandy, Sam, Ben, and Daniel.

Around late winter, early spring I found Love in Action UCC.  I cannot emphasize enough how important that was, and is, to my recovery.  The accepting, supportive community, the aliveness of service, the many new friends, and the purpose I feel and truly have there working with lgbtqia youth, and watching those programs grow, is so healing.

Then there are the adopted kids I have taken under my wing and have helped get through some rough times.  They too have helped me perhaps more than they know.  They are not just adopted kids—they are friends.

Then too, there was my journey into realizing my meds did not take away, as I so deeply feared, my creativity.  They have helped hone things, focus things, but the creative forces are still there, and for that I am more grateful than I can say.

Yes, there was, and is, all the ongoing shit with trump and his terroristic regime.  Yes, there was, and is, all the ongoing shit from the far-right terrorist extremists.  Yes, there is still the transphobia and the daily challenges I face simply existing in the world—the public world.  And yes, there are still bouts of deep self-hatred and dysphoria.  These have, thankfully, lessened lately though, and for that I am relieved beyond measure.  Yes, I am still living under mountains of debt and the fear of being taken to court for those debts.  Yes, I still cannot help support my family the way I would like financially.  Yes, I truly believe I am not yet ready to handle a full-time job in any field.  Yes, I still have my obsessions, magical thinking, paranoid thinking (and I do not use that last word lightly), and my anxieties, fears, throttling storms of PTSD, and the like.

And I am here, and yes, I still talk with much hyperbole and drama.  I’m Italian.

Looking ahead, I see my role as a mother changing and growing more and more into being a friend.

Looking ahead, I see a future of growing and living into my role as a mentor of lgbtqia youth.  I see myself exploring the possibilities of taking a stab at stand-up comedy and performance poetry, and to return to storytelling, and perhaps even giving concerts/kirtans.  I see myself making a CD of my music and publishing another book(s) of poetry. I see continued discoveries into myself as a transwoman, as a woman, as an aging woman, as someone exploring the wonders of their sexuality and the on and off desire to be in a romantic/intimate relationship with someone.  Yes, I am still a budding pansexual.

Looking ahead, I see more poems.

Looking ahead, I see reconciliation for those in my life who still do not accept me or want me around their families.

Looking ahead, I see new friends weaving their way into my life, and I in theirs.

Looking ahead, I see doing my best to tend to the medical conditions that are gradually developing in this body of mine.

Looking ahead, I see more prayer, more devotion, more deepening, more diving into, more blossoming, more treasuring, more sharing, more joyous my spiritual journey, which, of course, encompasses everything in my life, my every breath.

Looking ahead, I see more healing in our world, and me doing my little part in that healing.

Looking ahead, I see things in the world perhaps getting worse before they get better.

Looking ahead, I see more taking care of myself and setting boundaries for my safety.

Looking ahead, I see more ways to give, in both secret and out in the open.

Looking ahead, I see less shame.

Looking ahead, I continue to see the goodness, resilience, compassion, wisdom, and power of everyday people.

Looking ahead, I continue to notice the little things, the big things around me that are beautiful, mysterious, wondrous, and important.  I continue to actively look for and see/experience gratitude for these things and more.

Looking ahead, I know there will be days when I want to die, when I will be unable to leave my bed, my house, or to eat.  No, I am not calling this to myself.  I am ill, and I live with that illness every day, and while I am doing OK, I know this disease of mental illness is relentless and reminds me everyday that it is there, lurking, hungry.  I am not in delusion about that.  At some point it will drag me under again– hopefully not into the suicidality I walked with everyday for months.  The writing of suicide notes, the making plans of where, when, and how, the carrying of knives and box cutters, the taking them to my wrists.

Looking ahead, I also see healing and the right support to get me through those times.  And while I am afraid, everyday at some point, that the beast is just up ahead behind the next happy, good moment, I am comforted that I can get through it with you and my ability to ask for, and to receive, love and help.

In short, because, yes, I am still short, and likely will remain so, and perhaps I may even grow shorter as the years go by (by-with), looking ahead, I see positive possiblities.  I see you.  I see me, and today I see me with some measure of self-acceptance and even, I daresay, love.

And it’s still winter.  The local world is wrapped in biting cold and sparkling snow.  And I see its beauty and dangers.  I also, looking ahead, see spring.

Looking ahead I see more glitter, unicorns, stuffed animals, and hippy skirts.

I see this moment, looking inwards, outwards, here, now.  And looking ahead, for the first time in years, I see more here and now’s.  More moments, each one unpredictable—no matter what I envision—each one full of possibilities and unexpected joy and hardship, each one full of me, you, the Divine, and a world full of people who care, who take care of one another no matter what the media says.

Looking ahead, I see now.

Looking ahead, I see hope.  Yes.  Hope.

Much love and thanks,

Jenn

 

first thing saw 2018 yup

 


 

Thank you for your kind support. <3



Soldiers Died For People Like Me, a Memorial Day Message, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Soldiers Died For People Like Me,

A Memorial Day Message

by

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Memorial Day must suck for the extremist right-wing-white men in our country.

They get all emotional on this day for all the fallen soldiers. And for good reason.

However, they need to understand those fallen soldiers fought for the rights of people on the #LGBTQIA spectrum. They fought for the rights of women, minorities, the poor, the uninsured, Planned Parenthood, senior citizens, and all the Muslims living in our country, and the environment, the right to impeach a barbarian president.

The alt-right white “christian” KKK-loving men can’t get around this truth. And it must really piss them off.

Of course, some of wars were unjust, wrong, a political pawn. Some however, were not. Some, I suppose, needed to be fought.

Thinking of those people who died to help keep America safe, we need to remember they died for people like me.

 

easter me

 

 

 


 


Any donations specifically from this post will be in turn, donated to Veteran’s Mental Health Programs. <3


When Mother’s Day Doesn’t Quite Fit, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

When Mother’s Day Doesn’t Quite Fit

 

By

 

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

As I was reminded at church today, Mother’s Day may be hard for some people. Some, like me, have lost their mother’s–in my case, six years ago. And while I can still celebrate her life she isn’t physically present to go out to lunch with or something like that. Others never had a mother–in the sense of one being present in their lives. Others couldn’t have children and desperately wanted to. Others have lost their children to miscarriages or other tragedies. Still others have had mothers who were abusive or negligent. And still others have a strained relationship with their mothers, and some mothers have a strained relationship with their children.

There are also people like me–people who lived most of their parenting lives as “Dad.” I will always be Dad to my kids–I know I was a father to them and I am glad for that. I am also their mother. So, for me, Mother’s Day is very special. I get to parent in a whole new way and in the same ways I did before coming out. Luckily for me my kids are amazingly supportive and I have already received Mother’s Day greetings from them. However, I am also one of those people who has always (even before coming out as trans) ached to be able to have children—I was always deeply envious of pregnant mothers. I have always ached to be able to nurse a child. I have come to accept neither of these things will ever happen–and I am no less a mother. So, to all the non-binary “Moms” or people who act as mothers to others–regardless of their gender. Happy Parent’s Day to you.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the people out there who mother other people’s children—teachers, nurses, doctors, librarians.  Blessings to all the foster moms and moms who have adopted children from around the world or their own communities.

And to all the grandmothers and aunts who have taken on the role of mother again because of special circumstances.  Blessings to all the grandmothers who simply get to grandmother grandchildren, and do so with wisdom.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the single Dads who serve as mothers all day, everyday.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the people who have consciously chosen to not bear or raise children.  I am willing to bet there is someone or something in your life that you mother, and do so with grace, dignity, and love–be that a pet, a plant, a poem, or a person.

And of course, Happy Mother’s Day to ourselves–no matter who we are–for we all, one day, must begin, and never stop, mothering ourselves. It is just the way that it is–we all become our own mother’s one day–giving birth over and over again to ourselves.

To wrap up I would like to lift up all those for whom Mother’s Day is a hard day. Your soul and spirits are Mothers. You have been mothered by the world. You are Mothers of the world.

And also grieve, or be angry. Seek safe support to be with you today as you move through any difficult or challenging feelings and memories.

You are loved. You are special. And you are held in the hands of Mother Gaia.

 

IMG_20161101_170759

 

 


 

 


Thank you for your support.  All donations go to medical expenses and groceries. <3


Nursing the Dark, Eating the Light, a Fable, by Radiance Angelina Petro

Nursing the Dark, Eating the Light

A Fable

by

Radiance Angelina Petro

 

 

One day, an acorn and a cicada nymph were talking underground, when a beam of light suddenly appeared shining down on the acorn.

“What is that?” asked the acorn.

“It’s light,” said the cicada.

“Why is it tugging at me?”

“That’s what light does.”

“What if I don’t want to move?”

“Dunno,” said the cicada, “I’ve been under here for 17 years. I like the dark.”

“I haven’t been under here for nearly as long,” said the acorn, “but it sure is comfortable.”

“And cool,” said the cicada, “and snug, and yeah, so cool—wonderfully cool.”

“What do I do?” asked the acorn.

“About what?”

“The pull.  I mean, my heart feels like it’s breaking, and something inside wants out.”

“Go with it,” said the cicada. “So part of you moves into the light? Your roots will always be in darkness.”

“And what about you?”

“Me?” Said the cicada, “Well, when the light draws me out, and I climb a tree and wait for my wings to spill out, then my roots will be in the sky.”

“Should I try to fight the light?” asked the acorn.

“Good luck,” said the cicada. “Funny thing is, once during late summer, you fell to the ground and the darkness pulled you under and you loved it. You didn’t resist. You couldn’t resist. I heard you sinking down. You were weeping and laughing all at the same time because it was so nourishing and safe-feeling to be under here. Now you want to fight the light. Try this, just try breathing in the light, and see what happens.”

The acorn did as the cicada suggested and she suddenly felt the light breathing her and she found herself unfurling into the bright, blue sky, and the light–she was eating the light.

“There ya go,” said the cicada.

“Aren’t you coming?” asked the acorn as she turned away.

“When I have suckled the roots of the mother tree long enough,” said the cicada, “then I will come. For now I am still nursing the dark.”

 

 

 


 

 

 


As of the posting of this story, I am still unemployed and without an income.  Please help if you can.  All my love, Radiance

Questions for You

Questions For You
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

My wise friend, Mika and I were talking recently and she observed that if we can allow negative actions, words, and energy from some negative people to drain us, then the implication is that we can allow positive actions, words, and energy of positive people to fill us. I am working on ways to do this, for while I have received TONS and TONS of loving, kind, encouraging, compassionate, and just plain AMAZING support as I have come out as trans, there have been a few people who have said some very cruel things, mean things, reprehensible things, and acted in heartbreaking ways towards me. And my silly mind starts to focus on those few instead of the many, many, MANY who support me. And then I begin to fade, nudge closer to a depression that seems suddenly so far away, and I become afraid, feel guilty, begin to believe I am doing something wrong, when in fact I am not DOING anything. I did not choose to be trans. I am not BECOMING a woman. I AM a woman who is finally conscious of this beautiful and affirming truth and am simply moving closer and closer to fully living and presenting as the person I am. I was born the right gender, wrong body parts. And so my loving supporters, what things do you do to help increase the positive, to draw that loving energy in? This is without a doubt the most intense time of my life—and the most wonder-filled, and beautiful, and yet, it is hard to know there are people who a few days ago were my friends that now literally hate me, and that’s hard. Really hard. And thank Goddess there is YOU. If you’re reading this I believe you’re one of the ones who love my heart. Who looks past what I may wear or what I may call myself, who doesn’t worry about losing anything, but instead is happy they are gaining the best me ever. What suggestions do you have for increasing the positive, for helping a negative-focuser like me to focus on the good–the good that is everywhere. Truly the outpouring of love I am receiving is incredible, and I feel guilty the haters affect me so much, like I am insulting you. I do not mean to, my dear friends. This is all new to me—this complete acceptance of who I am, and I am so happy, really, giddy-magically happy, and need and want your continued support, but I am working with a mind that is trained in negativity and self-hatred. I would be honored to hear how you gather in the positive and release the negative, how you focus on the positive and ignore the negative. You totally rock my friends. I love you. Yours with grace and love, Jennifer

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


Donations go to a fund for my transition.  Thank you for supporting me and this journey.  <3


Playing With Words: Curiosity, by Joseph Anthony, EFT Practitioner

Playing With Words

Curiosity

By

Joseph Anthony, EFT Practitioner

 

Curiosity
killed the cat, so the saying goes.  It
also sparked every idea to improve something or to discover new ways to treat
illnesses or to make better mousetraps. In today’s world however, other than
cats feeling annoyed at fewer mice to eat, hardly anyone ever notices, or even
cares about curiosity.  Especially
teachers and corporate leaders.  They
need their students, employees, and consumers doing the same old-same old, day
in, day out.  The average Joe isn’t
supposed to be curious or to come up with new, innovative ideas.  That’s for the higher ups.  We’re not supposed to wonder about new foods
or brands.  Students aren’t meant to ask
any questions that don’t pertain to standardized tests.

Yet curiosity
is the very thing that will save the world. 
For this world to continue to grow, blossom, and evolve, more and more
people, especially children and their teachers and parents, need to become
increasingly curious.

Curious comes directly from the Latin and
means “careful, diligent, inquiring eagerly, and meddlesome (Online EtymologyDictionary).”  In mid-14th
century France the word took on negative shadings and began to mean “anxious,
odd, or strange (ibid).”  And, speaking
of odd, curious, when used in booksellers’
catalogs, means, “erotic and pornographic (ibid).”

Let’s hold
on to the original Latin for the sake of this post (it’s usually a good bet to
stick with the Latin): “careful, diligent, inquiring eagerly, and meddlesome.”  We can easily see the benefits of children being
careful and diligent, but once they start asking lots of questions we call
them, “Why Birds,” and get impatient: “Because that’s the way it is,” we say, or
worse: “Because I said so.”  We stifle
their questions with another DVD. We tell them to go play or take
them to another soccer practice—anything but sit and really answer their
questions or vulnerably admit we do not know the answers. 

Leonardo
DaVinci’s painting teacher quit when he realized young Leonardo was a better
painter than he was.  That man was a
coward.  Courageous and wise teachers
should welcome their students becoming smarter, more creative, more innovative,
and more enlightened in every way than they are.   They’ve done their job once their students
outshine them. 

The spirit
of asking questions eagerly should run like blood through the veins of our
minds and hearts.  It should travel our
very nervous systems and tickle our fancies. 
I am not suggesting questioning everything.  I am suggesting asking important, revelatory
questions that will change the way things are done—questions that will revolutionize
your life.  This is not knocking traditions
and well established practices in a wide variety of subjects.  It is to say however, if there are areas in
your life where you just go with the flow in the sense of living blindly (not
Taoistically), unconsciously, without care, apathetically, without any thought
of why you’re doing what you’re doing then you need a jolt of curiosity.  Ask questions that make you feel
uncomfortable, sweaty in your palms, nervous in your assumptions—thrilled with
wide-eyed wonder.  Ask the questions that
raise eyebrows, ruffle feathers, inspire sneers.  Don’t ask to offend.  Ask to know. Ask because you want a better
life, a more evolved, conscious life. Be meddlesome. Meddlesome into questions
of your faith and life-long held beliefs and prayers.  Are they working?  Are they bearing fruit in your life and in
the lives of those around you?  Your
everyday practices of thinking.  Are they
healthy, productive, fun, inspired, compassionate, open, creative? If not.  Change them. 
Ask for help if you need to. 
Revolutionize your life, one thing at a time.  Invigorate and innovate your spiritual and
emotional life with the light of curiosity.

And if you
make a change and “fail,” so what? Go back to the old way, or try another new
way.  The more we give ourselves the
freedom to fail and take healthy risks the better our world will become, the
more enlightened and plain old fun and amazing it will turn out to be.  Practice this discipline of curious
questioning, develop your sense of wonder, then pass that spirit to the
children of the world.

You might
think children have curiosity and wonder naturally, and they do to an extent,
but today’s children, raised on hand-held devices, computers, TV-nature shows,
have all the facts about everything at their fingertips.  There is no need to ask questions–real
questions.  Yet deep down, the children
of today are becoming increasingly restless (it shows up in teenagers who walk
around with their pants around their thighs and ear-buds in their ears).  Some attribute this restlessness to
diet.  I attribute it to a deadening
education system and to their own observations of the adults around them doing
the same tired things every day, watching the same old shows, going to jobs
they hate, watching the same old terrifying news sound-bites, and so on.  They are agitated, worried, concerned—they want
to know growing up is worth it.  And so
their insides stir with questions while their outsides play video games and
watch movies.

Curiosity is
the cure to the world’s restlessness.  In
fact, curious is related to the word,
cure (ibid).  If we would only ask questions—deep,
meaningful questions, inventory our lives (and ask trusted friends to help us
do this), cultivate our sense of wonder, then the gray layer of dust that
covers some aspects of our lives will clear. 
Even if we never find out the answers to our questions–the adventures of
searching and exploring, of rambling through the ancient forests of our souls,
traveling through the old towns of our unused talents with their wonderful old
diners serving up heaping plates of steaming wonder and joy, navigating through
the narrow straights of our limited beliefs towards the open, sun-dappled waters
of freedom, driving down the old back roads of our dreams—rediscovering the lost
tree house or the path leading to the creek where we used to sit for hours
writing poetry—these are the journeys into how we are meant to live.  Live the questions as Rilke would say.  And if the answers bloom before us or from
within us, then so be it.  And if they
don’t–enjoy the ride.  For through the
practice of curiosity you will be cured of complacency, the status quo, the
uninspired life.  You will become a
living lighthouse for the lost and the weary. 
You will, in effect, become truly alive.

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Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog


On the Importance of Sleepenings

On the Importance of Sleepenings

By

Joseph Anthony

 

Awakenings
are the spring of all things. Awakenings breathe out rebirth and entire fields
are covered with flowers.  Awakenings can
be sudden, like lightning cleaving a tree. 
They can be gradual, like an iceberg melting slowly over decades into a
roiling sea.

When we have
them we sometimes cheer, laugh, weep for joy, or melt into an embrace.  We are unloosened and free to move.  

Sometimes
however, things need to rest. We need to put things to bed.  We need to rest our minds, bodies, and even
hearts and souls. 

Let us call
these rests: Sleepenings. 

When we are
tangled in a skein of fear and doubt, let us try not to fight them.  Be still, rest.  Have a sleepening.  When we do, our breath slows, we relax, and
so when we do eventually awaken, the fear and doubt will be at our feet and we can
walk unencumbered.  In fact, we can pick
up the muddle and wind it into a ball and then weave hope and wisdom out of
those fears and doubts. 

While working
towards our dreams, fairly obsessed with the joy and excitement of the torrent
of creativity or the steady stream of ideas and inspirations, if we do not take
moments to pause, then that self-same torrent will slow to a trickle, the
stream will dry. 

We need a
sleepening.  Literally and
figuratively.  A rest for our bodies and our
minds.  Let the torrent naturally slow;
let the stream flow without us always splashing in it and muddying it up.  When we awaken, the torrent will be waiting,
and somehow refreshed with clear water. 
The stream will be there, a crystal blue ribbon guiding us through the
forest of possibilities.  We needn’t view
the sleepening as if it’s something wrong. 
Winter isn’t wrong.  It gives
spring its juice.

Try putting
some old fear to bed.  If you try to
fight it, it will grow.  Let it
rest.  Give it some time alone.  Give it some space. Turn your attention to
something else.  Consciously move your
gaze, your hands, your inner and outer attention towards something that gives you
strength and courage.  Consciously
breathe yourself into calm. And not just for two minutes.  Sometimes the sleepening needs to last for
days or weeks.   Sometimes it needs to
last forever.  However long it lasts, if
you can turn your heart towards hope, towards big and little steps in another
direction, then when the awakening happens, when the fear eventually rises from
its cold, dusty bed, it will be changed into courage, faith, a being of
light.  And if it still looks like fear, you
will be able to see through it, like a ghost, and keep moving.

What things
need to be put to bed in your life?  An
old idea that no longer makes sense?  An
old, limited belief (or a new one?) holding you back from sharing a talent,
interest, or wild idea? What worries or fears need a good wintering?  What shames tucked away in the dark folds of
your memories need to be laid to rest once and for all?  Try having a sleepening for each of
them.  Honor them with sleep.  Give them the grace of hibernation.  When they awaken, they will be transformed
into gifts for yourself and others.  They
will be winged things or stories, songs, dances of healing and light, paintings
full of vibrant color, hymns dripping with gratitude.  Whatever they become, they will no longer own or
terrorize you.  They will be harvests of
grace meant to be shared.

And in the
same way that we do all sorts of wonderful, ritualistic things to help us have
awakenings, let us discover creative and healthy ways to have sleepenings.  We can sing our shame lullabies of
affirmations, rock our fears in the steady arms of faith, hand our worries over
to someone else, let them rock them to sleep while we find a place to curl up
and dream.  Light a candle in honor of a
long held limited belief, say a prayer that it find its way home and when it
arrives, pray that it is a new creature in God. Let your grief cry itself to
sleep in your arms.  Bear witness to its
pain.  Tell your doubts a story of
hope.  Prepare a room for your financial
stress with the open windows of amends and restitutions and with the clean
sheets of thoughts of giving, sharing, and of abundance. Take some old unhelpful
idea about your body or sexuality and make a bed for it–a grand, welcoming bed
of satin and silk, dappled with roses and candle light.  Ravish that old idea with the kisses of
acknowledgement, awareness, and conscious presence, and then let it fall back exhausted,
changed, breathing the deep breaths of blissful acceptance.  Not the acceptance of surrendering to it.  Let the old idea surrender to you, to the
touch of your passion and desire, and tender openness to exploring new ways of
being alive.  Let it awaken in your
hands, and blossom before you as a new possibility shoot through and through
with warm, luxurious amazement.

The more
ways we can learn how and when to put something to bed, to let things have
their sleepenings, the more our awakenings can be full of light and gratitude,
creativity, and clear, fresh energy.  And
often we need other people to help us know when we need to put something to
bed.  So often we are like children so
frazzled with the activity of the moment that we forget what exactly we are
doing and how to stop.  I’ve been
there.  Many times.  And were it not for mentors saying: “Put it
to bed, slow down,” I would not be here today.

The paths of
sleep and of awakening were not meant to be traveled alone.

Of course, I
am not talking about procrastination, avoidance, delusion or denial.  I am talking about releasing the tight grip
we sometimes have on things that are actually unhealthy or unhelpful.  When we loosen our hold, allow ourselves to
be held in the hands of another—a mentor, for example, we can put those old
things to bed so other things can wake up and smell the roses.

For all
sleepenings are really reawakenings and all awakenings are really
resleepenings.  With every awakening
something is laid to rest.  With every
sleepening something is woken within in us that says: “Breathe.”


Thank you for your contributions to the Wonder Child Blog





Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog


Haiku for New Year’s Resolutions, by Joseph Anthony

Haiku for New Year’s Resolutions

By

Joseph
Anthony

 

It’s customary to make New Year’s
Resolutions. 

Unfortunately it’s also customary to
break them. 

It is my hope that these little poems
will help you pick one resolution

and succeed in that one resolution

before embarking on another.

You can make conscious decisions

To change your life

Anytime.

So pick one.  Bring a friend along.

Let your every step be a prayer.

And then 

pray some more.

Happy New Year. 

Blessings to you and yours.

Love,

Joseph

 

The Haiku

 

a list a mile long / of new year’s resolutions
/

will slip through your hands

***

think with your heart / infuse these thoughts
with the soul /

and then begin the journey

***

one resolution / wept over in silence / brings
angels to your side

***

one resolution / shared with a single friend /

will cause both souls to change

***

one resolution / tended to like a garden / will
yield crops of light

***

one resolution / held like a seed inside / will
give birth to joy

***

one resolution / that you keep forever /
becomes a light for all

***

make a single change / and the whole landscape
changes /

into an orchard

***

the thing you need to change / awaits your
letting it go /

into God’s hands

***

putting it in God’s hands / means share it with
a friend /

that is your prayer

***

big steps, little steps / just keep on walking
/

or better yet, keep dancing

***

the road to freedom / is not a solitary road /
walk with the world

***

walk through fear’s dark woods / with a friend
at your side /

and the way opens clear

***

One last one (not a haiku) J

A Re-solution is like a re-run. Make one
heartful, mindful decision

to make one heartful, mindful decision,

and experience success.

***

Peace and Light. 

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Thank you. 





Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog