Souls Alive, A Little Story about The Purpose of Life, Chickens, Dragons, and Dark Chocolate, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Souls Alive

A Little Story about The Purpose of Life, Chickens, Dragons, and Dark Chocolate


Jennifer Angelina Petro



Chapter One: The Ending


My parents were dead before I was born, and so was I.  Hate to break it to you, but it’s the same for you too, dear reader.  It’s the same for all of us.  Thing is, it’s a fact that’s hard to remember.  Once we infuse ourselves into a body, we’re already so delighted over the sparkling journey, that our so-called-past-becomes a distant, nearly fully unconscious memory.  I say, “so-called past,” because, as the chickens tell us—there is no true beginning or end.  The debate as to which who came first, is like arguing over which is better—dark chocolate Oreos or dark chocolate nonpareils—silly.

At any rate, let’s get back to me.  As I mentioned a paragraph ago, my parents were dead before I was born, and so was I.  Hate to break it to you, but it’s the same for—-oh, sorry, said that already.  I’m trying to focus, please be patient with me.  It’s not easy to be a ghost and keep your focus.  Think of it—everything is radiantly timeless and sugary like cotton candy, and so it’s hard to remain focused on whatever is in front of you—not to mention the fact that you can pass your hands through everything you touch and that’s pretty cool, but nevertheless annoying.

I should probably define what a ghost actually is.  It’s not what most people think.  According to the Online Etymology Dictionary (which remains my favorite website after all these centuries) in the original Old English, the word, “ghost,” was, “gast,” which meant, among other things, “breath; angel, demon; person, human being.”  The fact that the word has devolved over the centuries to simply mean the spirit of a dead person, is a travesty.  Most words today are devolutions of much richer, more wondrous meanings, and, as time goes by (which is really a very profane expression, since time doesn’t “go-by,” but more on that later—which is another word related to time that also baffles me), the human mind became less able to hold all these various meanings in one mind (which is, as you guessed it–the idea of “one mind”–a silly idea as well) and thus the intricate complexities of all words distill down to definitions that any old human intellect can tackle.

It’s entirely possible you might be thinking that I’m attempting to avoid relating the actual story I started out to tell—the one about my parents and I being dead before we were born—and you wouldn’t be completely wrong.  You see, it is a challenging story for me to both recall and to tell.  It brings to surface, like an underground lake suddenly seeping across the land, many painful experiences that must, of necessity, be brought to light.  Not the least of which involves a hungry (but vastly misunderstood) dragon, the challenging descriptions of incarnating, and the hot-button-topic-of gender identity—sure to rankle the feathers of many small-minded fundamentalists.

All that said, let’s jump into the vegetarian meat of the story:  My parents were dead before I was born, and so was I.  Now, as I eluded to earlier—any word that is used in reference to time— “before,” “earlier, “after,” and so on, are really misnomers, and highly inaccurate and misleading.  For the sake of you, dear reader, we will stick to the conventional, human terms for time.  This is not to say you are incapable of grasping such concepts, it is more to say—your heart can, your soul can, your spirit can—but your mind—well, your mind will get all tangled in philosophical debating and you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the yarn I am spinning—or, at very least, about to spin.  The broader, more cosmic definitions of “time” are going to be left for another, non-existent day.

Take a breath, dear reader, cause here we go.


Chapter Two: The Beginning






Some Thoughts on the Gender Binary and Everything Else in Between, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Some Thoughts on The Gender Binary

And Everything Else

In Between


Jennifer Angelina Petro



What I am about to share is going to piss somebody off.  Seems that way about most everything I say nowadays.  However, if you truly have faith in your God, or you truly have faith in who you are as human being, then what you are about to read should not be threatening to anything you believe or experience.  This is not to say that what I have written here is perfect.  Far from it.  Language barriers, prejudices, and fears—yours and my own– make that impossible.  Let’s get on with it.  I am ready for the mean, hateful, harmful, and trolling comments from “both” sides (and “both” is in quotations because well, you’ll see). I am also ready for nice comments.  I am inviting them too. I hope.

I will give you that the idea of the binary exists.  I know, many scientists today say the gender binary doesn’t exist in the ways we’ve traditionally thought, and I totally support their findings.  That said, the idea of polarities exists. It is seemingly everywhere—day and night, cold and hot, light and dark, rainy days and clear days, fire and water, sky and earth.  Having given you that, you will inevitably need to give me, that there isn’t, and never will be, a truly individuated or separate representation or living form that will ever exist on the opposite ends of the binary.  For the opposite ends of the binary are only ideas, even if they are created by God. If this scares you, then so must the idea of the morning, or of the evening, or rainbows, or singing.

The opposite ends of the binary only exist to overtake the other—swallow it up, merge within in it, into and unto, itself—not in battle, never forced—but in dance and song, and flavor.  That is the miracle, that is the beginning of all things.  The purpose of the binary is not to separate, but to join, merge, and hence, create.

No one can imagine the idea of the opposites without seeing, feeling, experiencing, knowing, or witnessing that they are all in some relationship with the other.

Go ahead, stand on the earth without forever being also in the sky.  Be in the middle of a perfectly sunny day and not know that evening is already on its way.  Step into a pool that you want not too hot and not to cold.  You get what I’m saying.

Having given you that the binary exists as theoretical reference points (I know, I know, the Bible says God created male and female and it also says: Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones,” or, “God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.”   I know, I know, you can take a verse of the Bible and use it to back up even the most outlandish ideas.  Like this one: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.”  I know you can take the fact that God killed about 25 million people in the Bible to represent the killing of our unbelief or to justify the slaughter of unbelievers, but then again, so do some Muslims).  It is high time and low time, to grasp and let go, once and for all, and forever anew, the idea that the front of a coin can be separated from the back.  They exist because of one another and because of what they manifest—and in the case of human existence—they manifest all that is wonderful (not the coins themselves, but what they represent, well, not what they represent, but what they demonstrate).

Cold is nothing unless heat exists.  Up means nothing without down.  Music is only heard in silence. Purple only arises between shades of blue and shades of red. Death prowls and life blooms.  It is the space between them that brings forth all things; where all things wondrous, flavorful, truthful (yes, truthful), and just plain living—exist.  It is in the mingling where the fun begins.

Two people do not have sex in order to annihilate the other.  They have sex to blend together, breathe and gasp together, come together.  It is this joining of bodies, souls, hearts, and minds that brings forth life.

I know, I just got done saying the opposite ends of the binary only exist to overtake the other.  Remember what I also said—the true opposite ends of the binary do not exist except in theory.  You will never find them in life—no man is ever just a man—he has his “feminine” side.  No woman is ever just a woman.  She will have her “masculine” side.  God becomes the mother hen to keep us safe under his wings.  No night is ever not slipping into day.

And that is my point.  Living is in the union.  Fun is in the merging.  Wonder is in the rainbow.  Beauty is in the evening sky.

So please, just as you cannot deny the idea of the binary, you cannot deny the existence of infinite variety, or of the intricate, heavenly, ever-expanding spectrum between the opposite ends of that binary.

I know, there are flaws in what I say.  Language makes things messy and muddles meaning up. You can easily take my words and use them to prove the exact opposite of what I am saying.  That being what it is—you cannot lose sight (well, you can out of your own shadowy, shame-based fears—and we all have them) that all the good stuff lives within and on and with and along a spectrum.  And nothing in between threatens the existence of the binary. The binary will always be the idealized ideas of opposites in the same way day and night will be always be idealized ideas of opposites.  I do not use the word “idealized” to mean better.  I mean it to say, the ultimate opposite ends of the spectrum only exist as ideas.  They never truly manifest, one without the other.

Go ahead, flip a coin.  Not only does it rise, tumbling upwards into the air, it also tumbles down landing on either heads or tails—and these will never exist one without the other—front and back. But I said that already, and I will say it again, at risk of being repetitive (the crusty idea of the idealized binary has been repeated for eons, but so has the idea that God creates souls to burn them in hell, or that the earth is flat, or that slavery is ever a human thing to do). So, I repeat:

It is the stuff that exists along the spectrum that is most intensely alive.  It is the dance between stillness and movement, music and silence, light and darkness, male and female, death and life that makes existence wonderful.  We are born, we die, and it is the living in between that gives either of these meaning (and please don’t think I am associating masculinity with light and darkness with femininity. Remember, however, that language is goofy.  Then again, feel free to associate anything with anything—you’ll get a good idea of how you live your life).

The spectrum is undeniable, and completely, and utterly, wondrously, beautiful, vibrant, and living.

So please do not tell me I do not exist as a transgender person.  I am a living arc–a living rainbow “across” genders. Please do not tell my queer friends, non-binary friends, asexual friends, and so on—that they do not exist.  We are the beauty and meaning of the ideas of so-called, male and female.  We are what is meant to be celebrated because the true opposites will never exist in form.  Murder is not always bad or the Christian religion would mean nothing.  Rebellion is not always bad or else freedom would not exist.  This is not relativism. This is reality.  No one loves without a hint of hate.   No one prays without a hint of doubt.

People like me are the rainbows, we are the mornings and evenings, we are that place where stars and darkness dance.  We are the perfect temperature for swimming.  We are the space between inhaling and exhaling.  We are the glorious existence of form.  And we include all gender identities, all gender expressions, every gender preferences, every rainbow, every song, and every breath.  And so then, we include you.

Do not fear the rainbow.  Go find it, and take out your phones and snap pictures of it.  Give thanks to Goddess for it. Take a selfie with it in the background.  It is a sign that God will never again destroy the earth with a flood—a flood of ignorance, fear, bigotry, or hatred.  The rainbow is the spectrum that blooms from the skies of our souls.






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

Playing With Words



Joseph Anthony, EFT Practitioner


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. 

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.

 Thank you for you kind contributions to keeping the Wonder Child Blog going


Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Playing With Words: Grace, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Playing With Words:



Jennifer Angelina Petro


Grace is something we say at meals.  We are saying grace, as in thank youwe praise you, be with us.

We say that dancers or athletes move with grace.

We say we are under God’s grace.

How can this one little word mean so much?

Grace is something we can pause for and say.

May we speak it with everything we do.

We can move in ways that are filled with grace.  We can walk through life’s circumstances with grace.

Grace comes from the Latin and means “favor, esteem, regard, pleasing qualities, good will, and gratitude (Online EtymologyDictionary).”

When we pause to say grace, what are we really saying? Do we favor the food, the cook, the Divine, all of the above?  Do we hold them all in high esteem?  Are we speaking with kind regards and goodwill for their pleasing qualities?  After all, I’m sure the food, the preparer, and of course, the Divine, all possess pleasing qualities.  Are we speaking gratitude for the meal, the cook, the Divine, the fellowship? All of the above?  And more?  What are we saying when we pause to say grace?

How about when we move gracefully through our lives?

May we all figuratively and literally slow-down in such a way as to move with grace in our bodies and thoughts, and spirits.  May we move with
the consciousness of beauty in body, mind, and spirit.  May grace be in our thoughts and hearts; may it spread like the fragrance of honeysuckle into every heart and hand.

Compare the Latin roots with the Sanskrit roots for grace: grnati, which means “to sing, praise, and to announce (ibid).”

When we accept life with grace we are singing praises to the Creator.  When we realize the need for change and move with grace towards achieving those changes, we are singing praises to the
Creator.  When we move with beauty in mind, heart, and body, we are announcing we are part and parcel of the One Great Dance; that we are infused with the same blood as the One Great Dancer.

The Lithuanian roots for grace (giriu) mean “to praise and to celebrate

When we speak with grace, allowing beauty to be in our words, tone, timber, and intentions, we are praising each other, praising ourselves, praising the Divine Singer of All.  When we esteem one another, assume the goodwill of one another, we are celebrating each other and the One Cosmic Partier.

When we move with grace we are celebrating ourselves, each other, the very ground we move upon, and yes, we are celebrating the One.

Is it true “there but for the grace of God go I?”  Are we held in grace by the Divine in such a way that we only go because of that grace, because of the Divine? Are we woven into some sort of fabric of predestination in which we simply get to move the Creator’s intentions, beautiful though they may be?

Or do we have a say in how me move, where we move, and why we move?  Do we get to pick the colors of the threads and the style of the stitch? Do we get to decide what we make of this intricate tapestry of breath and bone?

I believe we are graced with freedom; freedom to move how, where, and for our own purposes.  The grace that propels us from the Divine to help us move in the world is God’s esteem for us, God’s favor for us, God’s goodwill and kind regards for us; it is the Divine singing praises through, and for, us; it is the Divine celebrating His/Her Life through, and with, us; it is the Divine celebrating you and me for simply being you and me.  It is the Divine’s trust in us; the Divine’s faith in us.

I am a part of grace; you are a part of grace; we are all a part of grace; of the singing, the praise that the Creator announces through our simply being here—here and now.  We live in gratitude for the Creator and the Creator lives in gratitude for us.  It is proper and good, holy and wonderful to love what we create.  How much more so the Divine for us?

May we all realize grace in our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls.  May grace be in our thoughts, feelings, movements, and dreams.  May grace flow with our breath.  May we sing grace throughout the land; announce grace through whispers and shouts; proclaim grace in the touch of our hands; may we celebrate being alive by being grace made flesh; grace
manifested within us, through us, from us, for us, and for all things in heaven and on earth.

May the grace of the Divine be with us always—how else could it ever be?


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Playing With Words: Innocence

Playing With Words



Joseph Anthony

What was your word,
Jesus? Love?  Affection? Forgiveness?

All your words were one
word: Wakeup!

–Antonio Machado



I have been
fascinated by the concept (for lack of a better word) of innocence for quite a
number of years now (this blog is called, “The Wonder Child Blog,” after
all).  Innocence means a lot of different
things to a lot of different people. 
Some people believe once you “lose” it you can never get it back
again.  Some believe we weren’t born
innocent; that there was only one–well two, if you count his mother–innocent
beings to ever walk the planet.  Still others
believe innocence is a magical thing that we can grow back into no matter how
old we become or what happens to us.

What follows
are a few reflections on innocence.  Before
I share them however, it’s best to begin at the beginning: with a little
etymology. I will also use a few ideas about innocence from the 17th
century mystic, Emmanuel Swedenborg.  No
other philosopher or mystic had more to say on the subject of innocence as he
did.  For Swedenborg, the entire cosmos
hinges on innocence, but more on that in a minute.

The word, innocent, comes from the Latin and means
“not guilty, not harmful, and blameless (Online Etymology Dictionary).” Around
1200 it became associated with sin and evil, as in not-sinful and not evil
(ibid). And in the 1400’s it began to mean “pure.”  Most interesting to me is that innocence is
related to the word “noxious,” as in, “not-noxious
(nocere) (ibid).”  And of course, noxious, means “hurtful or poisonous.”
Lastly, the “nocere,” Latin roots are related to the Proto-Indo-European
“nek-ro,” which means, “death,” (necro
is a Greek word for “dead body”) (ibid). 

Many people
would say we are born innocent only to be corrupted by the world later on.  Interestingly, Swedenborg said that the
innocence of infancy is only the beginning; that it’s wonderful in itself; that
it’s a picture of spiritual innocence, but that it’s actually not complete
innocence (Arcana Celestia).  According
to Swedenborg, innocence involves “the willingness to be led,” and being in a
state of love and wisdom (ibid).  It is
something we grow into.  This is why
certain older folks are so delightfully child-like in their old age—they have
fused the wisdom of their experiences with love, they are consciously innocent,
one could say. 

takes this all even further, and says that the Divine, the Creator of All, is innocence (ibid).   It follows we couldn’t live without this innocence.  We receive innocence as infants; it is
planted within us; and this innocence remains within us forever, and, according
to Swedenborg, over time, becomes our “living soul (ibid).”  Without innocence we couldn’t grow spiritually
or discover heaven.  Heaven is, after all,
the Divine itself, and thus we could say heaven is innocence itself.

Keeping in
mind Swedenborg’s ideas, let’s go back to our etymology for a moment.  Some of us have things happen to us that are
traumatic, abusive, tragic, devastating. 
Some of these experiences seemingly destroy our sense of wonder, love,
self-love, self-worth, our ability to trust, our ability to experience joy or
pleasure, happiness or peace; some of us seemingly lose our sense of inner
freedom and confidence; we perpetuate the abuse by living in addictions and
shame-based behaviors that swirl  around
destructive and sick relationships for years. 
All of this would seem to suggest that innocence can be destroyed,
harmed, or even killed. 

I don’t
believe this is so.  Such tragic
experiences can cloud our “sense” of innocence; but the Divine innocence within
us can never be harmed, killed, or taken away—it’s Divine.  We may feel we are light-years away from our
innocence, but it is there.  Jesus said
in Matthew, “It is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these
little ones should perish.”  In other words,
our innocence never dies.  We may die
physically, emotionally, even mentally, but never spiritually—our innocence
never dies.  We may descend into personal
hells and deprivations and be unconscious spiritually, but our core, the very
center of our being—no matter how clouded, covered, or hidden, is always
shining, always whole, always radiantly innocent. 

So what do
we do if we feel our sense of innocence is lost? What do we do if we feel we are
in a state of unconsciousness spirituality; if we’re living a life of learned
helplessness, lost in addictions and fear, rage, and sickness?

We need to
wake up.  Something must rouse us awake:
a tragedy, an illness, a mentor, a moment of complete hopelessness and darkness;
something must rouse us into consciousness, into a moment of clarity, a moment
of realization. We might also wake up in a moment of profound bliss and
creativity—this does happen although it isn’t talked about as much.  But just as we wake up from a deep sleep by a
sudden and loud noise, or a dream that’s too intense, we wake from our sickness
by something “loud” happening to or around us, by our lives becoming so corrupt
we must wake up or die.  Leaving aside
for the moment how we wake up, or that the painful events are often caused by
our own destructive behaviors when we’re in such states, the main thing is we
need to wake up.  And just as we wake
from our physical sleep by outside forces we need outside forces to help us
wake spiritually—mentors and friends who know and truly care for us; who can
see the way ahead when we cannot yet do so for ourselves.

This need
for awakening magnifies the reality that innocence is ultimately
indestructible.  For without the spark of
innocence within us, we could not recognize the moment of clarity or the deeds
or words from our mentor that rouse us from our stupor.  We wake up because innocence recognizes
innocence, and a fire is born.

And just as
infants wake up and begin stretching, we need to begin stretching upon
experiencing our spiritual awakening.  We
need to exercise our mental discipline, our wills, our ability to follow
directions and be led by others.  As this
happens, our desire to engage in destructive behaviors falls away little by
little (or all at once); we begin to see that there are things we’ve done in this
world that we need to try to fix, mend, seek forgiveness for.  And the more we live in, and from, a state of
forgiveness, for ourselves and for the world, our innocence grows and our sense
of guiltiness lessons and the more we are able to be led by love—love from
within and love from without. The more we become right with ourselves and
continue making things right in the world, the more innocence, from wisdom and
love, blossoms.  The seeds are always
there within us, just as the Divine is always there present in every living
thing, and the Divine, as we’ve said, is
innocence.  So then, the answer as to how
to be reborn into conscious innocence is what it is for just about everything
else: Wake up.



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Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Playing With Words: Aspiration, or The Breathing Into Your Dreams

Playing With Words

Aspiration, or

The Breathing Into Your Dreams 


I have
always been intrigued with words that have to do with breathing, and aspiration is no different.  What intrigues me is that such words have
come to mean other things that have to do with desire, success, and creativity.  Why is that? 
How did this come to be?  Alas, it
is not the purpose of this little piece to answer such questions.  Instead I simply want to dive into one
particular word related to the breath—aspiration–with
the hopes it will inspire (another breathing word) you to keep striving to
reach your dreams and visions.

Aspiration comes directly from the word aspirate, which means, “an audible
breath.”  As far back as the 1500’s this
meant a certain kind of “breathing into something,” as in a desire or striving
for a goal.  Aspirate, in turn, comes from aspire,
which is Latin, aspirare, meaning, “to
breathe.”  And if we look a little deeper
into aspirare, we come to the root of
it all—spiritusspirit—the breath of life.*

What keys do
these old meanings hold for us and the living of our dreams?  The first is the importance of breathing—literal, physical
breathing.  The more we practice deep,
belly breathing the clearer our heads become, the clearer our hearts become, the
more focused and energized we become.  We
spend less time on frivolous resentments and disappointments.  We are able to keep moving with vitality.  Learning to breathe properly is the great key
to living ones dreams.  And there’s more.

implication of the roots of aspiration
is clear: breath is related to life (obviously), but we are not only referring
to staying alive physically.  We are
talking about being truly alive to our dreams, or deepest, God-given
desires.  Once we begin striving towards
these our life blossoms into fullness. 
It’s the same when we see something beautiful, majestic, and our bodies
involuntarily inhale with a delicious element of surprise, and when we exhale,
we feel a deep sense of relief and gratitude—we feel fulfilled in that
moment.  True beauty does that to us.  It’s the same for living our dreams.  As we move towards them—planning, striving,
playing towards them, our breathing deepens in and out with the activity.  We feel inspired as the creativity flows in,
and we expire all of the doubts and fears as we move, step by step, towards our

one of the old connotations of aspire
is “to pant with desire,” as in longing and devotion. 

“As the deer
panteth for water, so my soul longs for thee (Psalm 42:1).”

The original
Hebrew word for panteth, means to “long
for.”  So when we are living our dreams,
when we are on fire with passion for our dreams, when we are living the life we
love, we will be panting with desire, we will be truly alive. 

And we can
go still further. When we are living our dreams we are fulfilling the desires
of the Divine, for we are, each and every one of us, born to shine.  God desires that for us—God breathes it into
us, like someone breathing into a flute. 
We get to play our own tune that is based on the breath and music of the
Divine. One could say then all of our desires and dreams are one desire, one
dream—to live as children of God.  As we
move towards leading this life, the brighter we shine, the more fully we are
able to breathe—freely, unconstricted, fully.

And it all starts
with breathing.  All aspirations, all
aspiring and inspiration comes from breathing. 
So breathe fully of your dreams, and dance.  Breathe fully the breath of the spirit of
God—it is a gift flowing through you, and watch your life spill over into an
abundance that is not only lavish, but never ending.


etymology information comes from the excellent Online Etymology Dictionary


Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Playing With Words: Integrity

Where does the word integrity come from? It has both Latin and Old French origins, and it means wholeness, perfect condition, and complete.*  The root word integer is Latin, meaning untainted, upright, untouched.  It also means a whole number.  It’s root, tangere, means to touch and is related to the word tangent.  And tangent can be traced back to mean to stroke or strike gently.  All of this is fascinating.  There are powerful forces behind the subconscious use of language.  Words resonant with meanings, just as sound resonates from a bell. 

When I am in integrity, I am in wholeness.  My outsides match my insides and vice-a-versa.  The Design for Living that works for me is practiced on a daily basis and it shows.  I am in fit spiritual condition.  And to keep spiritually fit, as the AA Big Book says, I can’t rest on my laurels.  I need to keep moving—to keep discovering things about myself, and to make necessary changes.  As Charles Hannel says, “all power is developed like everything else—through exercise.”

It is important to keep the objectives in mind as to why I am getting spiritually fit in the first place.  One is to become, “happy, joyous, and free.” The other is to “become of maximum service to God and my fellows. (AA Big Book).”  And these go hand-in-hand.

As I seek wholeness and a sense of completeness, I need to realize there is no finish line.  Being in the now moment of a circle of completeness is a non-linear experience—it simply is wholeness—no beginning, no end.  It’s not even a feeling.  It’s a consciousness of perfection.  And the perfection doesn’t end.  My ability to stay consciously attuned to that relationship however, does.  And while I can strive to keep my soul untainted and untouched by the cares of the world, I will still only be striving.  If people like Jesus and Siddhartha wept, so will lowly Joseph.  The point isn’t to avoid being touched by the world anyway–it’s to touch and be touched gently; I need to stroke the strings of the heart with purpose; and the heart needs to be in tune for beauty to stream forth, like fragrance from a flower.  Integrity is the music of right living.


*As usual, all etymology information comes from the Online Etymology Dictionary:

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Spontaneous and Erratic

Spontaneous has its origins in the Latin.  It means, essentially, of one’s own free will.  Of course, in today’s vocabulary, the word has come to mean free to do whatever, wherever, by whatever means necessary.  Be spontaneous—drop everything and go to Europe.  Be spontaneous and get a new relationship.  Be spontaneous and be free from constraints.  Give in to your natural impulses and feelings. 

However, if we take the word back to its beginnings—of one’s free will, it implies a certain measure of discipline, control, and planning (a word that is now used as an antonym to spontaneous).  I see this principle in life all over the place.

In teaching children to write, I start off with a playful love of language, and gradually introduce the rules of grammar and the mechanics of punctuation.  Once the student has the form, the structure, the discipline of language, then they can branch out and spontaneously write whatever they want. 

I see it in my sons.  All three of them can write songs on the piano, the violin, or the guitar.  But they all started out learning to read music and learning the fundamental scales, the finger positioning, the proper way to hold and play their instruments.  Now they jam.

I see it in the fact that I learned very formal prayers when I was a child, and now my prayer life has branched off into many different, spontaneous directions.  I can even spontaneously use the old formal prayers, if I so choose. 

The key is in the freedom.  And in my experience, freedom comes as a result of discipline.

Erratic on the other hand means having no definite direction, no focus, or set course.  In plant terminology it refers to a kind of lichen that is not fastened to anything.  It implies strange behaviors, a certain unsteadiness.

It has old roots in both French and Latin.  It originally meant wandering or deviating from a plan—like making a mistake, for example. 

I need to be sure not to confuse spontaneous and erratic.  I also have to be careful to remember the original definition of spontaneous. 

I can be spontaneously erratic and not get anywhere, except maybe a mental hospital or jail.  Living my life completely based on my feelings will get me these same results.

I can be spontaneously disciplined and have anything I want.  The road may twist and dip and turn and rise, but it is still a road.  It still leads somewhere.  Having a vision for my life, a purpose, a mission, helps me stay disciplined.  And the more I learn to be discipline, the more freedom I experience and can put to common, everyday practice. 

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Worrying and Fretting


I used to take a warped sense of pride at proclaiming I was a worry wart.  I guess I figured it showed how much I cared about the person or circumstance I was worrying over.  It should be added right here, that I used to garner a fair amount of attention from being a worrier.  I would worry, fret, and otherwise get myself into a tizzy of despair, only to find myself seeking comfort in various people, behaviors, and circumstances. To take comfort is human.  It’s just that some people get to liking comfort so much they become addicted to it, and so create situations in their lives as to ensure the need for more comfort.  Life becomes one elaborate smoke screen of negative self-indulgence.  Behind the smoke the real issues lurk, like deer in the fog, or monsters in closets.

Being someone who likes playing with words, I decided to head over to the handy etymology website ( and check out the origins of the word worry.  It turns out worry is related an Old English word, wyrgan, which means, to strangle.  What an appropriate use of the word! Worry strangles our Heart’s Desires.  In fact, digging deeper into the word, it is also related to an Old Norse word, virgill, which means rope.  Worry then, is a rope we use to strangle our own dreams.  It’s also a frayed, twisted rope we use to connect ourselves to negative comfort-seeking behaviors, hence destroying our dreams in the process.

And even more fascinating are the roots of the word, frettingFretting is related to an Old English word, fretan, which was used in reference to monsters and Vikings, and it means to devour or eat away. When I’m fretting away at some concern, it’s eating away my energy to think and act creatively towards my Heart’s Desire.  If this condition gets bad enough, the worrying and fretting strangle my dreams and then devour them.  These are not pretty images are they?

The solution?  Substitution, repetition, and action.  Substitute the worry-thoughts and the fret-thoughts with positive, healthy affirmations.  Repeat these every time the worry thoughts try to crowd in with their handfuls of rope.  Repeat them when you’re not worrying or fretting.  Record your positive affirmations on a cassette or cd and listen to them while you’re walking or about to go to sleep.

Going through a creative visualization and transforming your worries into positive images can also be a form of substitution.  Once you’ve transformed them then repeat their positive counterparts.

Finally—action.  It’s hard to stay really worried if I am purposefully engaged in constructive actions related to the achievement of my heart’s Desire.  Move a muscle change a thought.  When you find yourself entranced, literally under the spell of worry–move, get up.  Dance, wash the windshield of your car, take out the trash, pull a weed, something—move your body and break the spell—let go of the rope of worry and move freely through the world.

Our Heart’s Desires are too important to be strangled and eaten.  Once this happens, not only are we depressed and start that endless, empty drifting through our days, but we become victims.  And that’s the next word we’ll study.  Look for it in a few days.

In the mean time, inventory your worries and your blessings.  Once you get your worries written down replace each one with a positive opposite.  Repeat those words every day.  Use your list of blessings as affirmations, and please, keep moving. 


Part 3 of Your Heart’s Desire
arrives Wednesday, May 11.

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Self Expression


I love this phrase:  It literally means, squeeze yourself, press yourself out.  And this can be taken to mean a few different things that are actually all related.  One is press or squeeze your “self” out—the selfishness, the greed, the fear.  The other is press or squeeze your “self” out—your real self, the self God wants you to be; the self that is joyously and wonderfully perfectly imperfect.  I’ll get to one other way to look at this phrase in a moment, but first I want to talk a little more about these first two ways of viewing the phrase: express yourself.

Either one of these ways implies suffering.  Pressing out your self-centeredness hurts.   Squeezing out from under the heavy rocks of your doubts and fears isn’t easy either.  Likewise, letting your real, talented, lovely, and beautiful self out hurts too.  And there is risk involved.  Others might not approve.  Others might be jealous.  Others might be frightened when you step into your power and make significant, radical, and lasting changes.

Yet both of these types of expressions yield fruit.  If we think of squeezing the juice from lemons and then making lemonade, we can imagine there being something good on the other side of our suffering.  If we imagine pressing the oil from olives to make olive oil and then cook up a yummy meal, we can imagine there being joy on the other side of the pain.

So keep discovering who you really are.  Keep living your dreams.  Express yourself and rejoice.  And as long as your self expression is lawful, and for the true betterment of the world, there is nothing to fear. 

And this brings us to the last way I want to talk about expressing yourself.  Deep down, within all of us, is a Larger Self—a Divine Self—the Wonder Child.   Try expressing That, and see how your life and the lives of those around you change for the better.   Allow This to be pressed out from under the heavy rocks of inhibition and doubt.  Let This shine forth from the under the veil of dark fears and resentments.  Share This Self by being yourself, and all will be right with the world.

Wednesday, April 27th

Your Heart’s Desire arrives


Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog