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

The Spiritual Aspects of the Parts of Speech, Part II, Verbs


Take two minutes and write down everything you can think of that you can do with your hands—everything–good or bad, just write for two minutes everything you can think of that you can do with your hands.  When you’re finished, look at what you wrote.  Which items are “helpful?”  Which items are “harmful?”  Are some items violent?  Are some gentle?  Are some creative?  Are some destructive?  Recall after a few moments that your assignment was to write things you can do with your hands.  Reflect on the power of your hands to do both helpful and unhelpful things. 

Verbs are the doing words in our language.  Without them all of our nouns wouldn’t even exist, because existing is doing something.  Being and doing are one in the same.  You aren’t just a person; you are an ever-changing being.  In addition, verbs are the only words in our language that have the magical ability to travel in time.  They have tenses–past, future, present.  Think about that for a few moments.  You’ve always wanted to be a time-traveler, haven’t you?  Verbs give you that chance.

Reflect on what you do today.  And not just with your hands, but with your feet, your eyes, your ears, your mouth.  Where do you direct your feet to carry you?  Are you conscious of going to the computer again and again to check the news?  Are you conscious of you moving towards that ice-cream or that salad?  What do your eyes gravitate towards?  Are you always looking for faults?  Are you lusting?  Are you looking for the good in others? Do you notice the color of the sky? What do you listen for?  Gossip?  Bad news?  Shocking news?  Good news?  Do you listen to positive, uplifting music or head-banging heavy metal?  What words do you speak?  Are they helpful, kind, hurtful, sarcastic, or charitable?

Reflect on the things your body does that you rarely think of—your heart beat, your breathing, your pulse, your digestion.  Think gratitude towards these unsung processes that your body is always doing “behind the scenes.”

Reflect on the things God does in your life and in the universe.  Reflect on the things the various religious texts of the world say that the Divine does.  Reflect on what you do and what you dream of doing.  Make any changes that need be made, because if you do this honestly, you will find new things you need to be doing, and old things that you need to stop doing.

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

The Rose

The rose has long been a symbol of love’s glorious and perilous path.  Its delicate, satiny petals that unfold into an endless spiral of beauty have entranced poets for centuries.  Its thorns announce love’s fatal sting. 

One of the many fascinating things about roses is the fact that these inspiring clusters open from what are essentially wooden sticks—canes as floriculturists call them.  Indeed, it is so often the case that love rises from the seemingly dead wood of a mangled heart.  So many stories end (or should we say begin) with the image of flowers bursting from a staff or a piece of dead wood—whether it’s the story of lilies sprouting from Joseph’s staff, or of the ultimate rose—thorns and all, blooming shades of deepest crimson on the cross.  The red rose of love blossoms, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, like Balder the Beautiful stepping from the trees after Ragnarok, or like Osiris rising from the dead just long enough to sire Horus, god of the sun, god of the moon. 

Some hearts, like mine, used to be petrified wood—almost stone.  Over the years as I learned to feel my feelings, my heart softened and became more like wood.  As I learned to feel my feelings without having to act on them impulsively, the wood began to bud.  When I got married and we had children, my heart blossomed.  When I learned to let love into my heart, after a long struggle with forgiveness and self acceptance, my heart became a garden.  And then, when I began living my dreams and helping other people live theirs, my heart became a paradise.

It must be remembered however, that for roses to grow successfully, they need to be pruned.  In the same way, love needs to be pruned or else, like the rose bush, it will strangle itself from the tangle of old and new branches, and eventually die. But how does one prune the thorny branches of love?  If one practices open communication, in which both parties are heard and acknowledged, then the old canes of past arguments fall away.  And pruning implies vulnerability.  It also implies a sharp, but tactful cutting truth.  The rose bush isn’t helpless; it has called the gardener to it to do his or her work, just as love calls us to care for it.  We do not have love, It has us.  We are simply the care takers of love’s wild, extravagant gardens.

Lastly, it is important to notice that roses grow on bushes.  They bloom in a community of beauty.  The network of shared roots, secret niceties and courtesies, shared beliefs and dreams, all make for a world of flowering abundance—a paradise of wonder and fragrance.

Exercise: Give someone a flower or a bouquet of flowers today—a romantic partner or a friend, a child, a parent, a sibling—maybe even a stranger—spread some colorful love.


Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Loving the Questions, Some Thoughts on a Passage by Rainer Maria Rilke

In a letter to a young, idealistic poet, Rilke writes:

You are so young; stand before your beginnings…Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart.  Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language…Live the questions…Perhaps gradually you will, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.  Perhaps you are indeed carrying within yourself the potential to visualize, to design, and to create for yourself an utterly satisfying, joyful, and pure lifestyle.  Discipline yourself to attain it, but accept that which comes to you with deep trust, and as long as it comes from your own will, from your own inner need, accept it, and do not hate anything.”

From, Letters to a Young PoetLetters & Correspondence Books) , by Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. By Joan M. Burnham

This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and profound things I have ever read.  The whole book of letters Rilke wrote should be read at least once a year by every serious writer and lover of the world.  It is seasoned with wisdom and gentle encouragement.  And it definitely holds up well to repeated, devotional reading.

This passage holds many keys to living your dreams.  First, Rilke reminds the young poet (the author, which we all are—we all author our own lives) to have patience in regards to the questions.  We tend to want answers now.  We want the knots loosened immediately.  We want the finish line now, or better yet, we want it yesterday, because then we wouldn’t’t be in this mess of not knowing today—or so we imagine.

Not only does Rilke suggest having patience with the questions, but to learn to love them.  I know for myself I often become frustrated when things don’t go my way.  And when things pop up on the road to my dreams that I don’t understand, I tend to hate them—or at very least, become annoyed by them. 

Rilke encourages us to love the unknown instead of fearing it.  And when we do this, hidden rooms open their doors, foreign books translate directly into our heart, and then, the answers themselves appear as experiences—not simply intellectual, head-knowledge. 

Rilke proceeds to humbly tease out of his young reader the question of whether or not he carries within himself the ability to manifest the answers he seeks, to manifest his dreams.  Rilke, I believe, knew the young writer had the ability, for we all have the ability.  But Rilke also knew that most of us do not use it, and thus, he floats it out there as a question—very nearly a challenge…”Perhaps you are indeed carrying within yourself the potential…” 
And then Rilke gives him the key to the attainment of the answers—discipline his thinking to able to imagine and visualize the lifestyle he desires and needs.

Finally, Rilke ends this passage with a radical statement, one that might sound completely impossible—“and do not hate anything.”  Now that is different.  We are all so conditioned to view everything as good or bad, but Rilke not only says to love the uncertainty, but to not hate anything—even the uncertainty.  In fact, he says to accept everything that comes to him “with a deep trust.”—not just any old trust—a deep trust.  For that’s what it takes when things come to us we are afraid of, when the future seems almost threatening, when you’re trying not to fan the flames of a fear-frenzy, or when something comes to us that seems tragic, painful, or disappointing.  Trust, he says, implying there is a greater Author at work, one that wants to use him for His purposes.  One that wants to be the Ultimate Answer to every question the young poet can ever have.

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Your Heart’s Desire, Part 5, Paragraphs 5 & 6

Welcome back to Your Heart’s Desire. 

Please know that as you do these questions and exercises

you are moving closer and closer to your goal. 

Some of the questions and exercises

may not seem to lead anywhere,

but rest assured they do. 

I have gone through everything I am suggesting you do,

so you are not alone.


Paragraphs 5 and 6, by Emmet Fox

“Modern psychology has been slowly realizing that many human ills are traceable to mental suppression, but our study of fundamental Truth teaches us that all trouble of every kind is really failure on the part of the individual to be a completely free focal point of expression for God.

You say that you are unhappy, dissatisfied, perhaps ill or impoverished, a failure; and this is simply another way of putting the fact that you are not allowing the Will of God to have free play in your life—you are not doing the thing He meant you to do.  You are drifting; or else you are trying to do something that He never intended you to do, and doing it badly, and distorting your soul in the process.”

Commentary, Questions, and Exercises

These are two potentially controversial paragraphs.  They might bring up strong feelings.  They might even cause some people to shut the book on their Heart’s Desire because they do not agree with them.  The point isn’t to have all of the answers or to understand all of the deep theological significance of certain statements, but to tease out how we can apply them to following our dreams.  That said, it might do us well to address, at least in a general way, the trouble spots.

One potential trouble spot is the assertion that Fox gives again (he gave it in the first paragraph, remember) in which he states that all of our troubles are due to failing to be a “completely free focal point of expression for God.”

I make no claims to understand all of the theological ramifications of everything Fox says.  It’s just that I had to come to grips with things that happened to me that were traumatic; that shouldn’t have happened; that were terrifying, violent, and so on.  Over the years however, my victimhood—the prison I locked myself into—had to be torn down.  And little by little, as I learned to feel the pain, rage, shame, and terror, and not act violently on those feelings; as I learned to eventually come to a place of forgiveness of those involved, I settled into peace. 

Essentially, I had to raise my consciousness above the trauma.  Put more accurately, I had to let others help me raise my consciousness above the traumas.

When I was going through deep emotional pain as a result of childhood abuse, my friend Lefty said that my healing myself by working through those memories will not only also help me heal my family, but the world.  That does not mean I understand why those things happened to me.  It just means I accepted that they did and I needed to rise above them not to the level of survivor, but to the level of living, truly living.  And to do this I had to not only feel pain, but change my thinking.  My thoughts were steeped in trauma, depression, and rage. They were dyed with shame, panic attacks, and a severe poverty of spirit.  The more I thought of the abuse, the more stuck to the abuse I became.  The more I thought about my perpetrators as evil, the more paranoid and untrusting of the world I became.  The further I sank into the ache to know why and to change it all, the further away from happiness I moved.  What I think upon grows.

I had to come to a place where I was OK with saying, “I don’t know.”  I do not know the answers to such deep, emotion-inducing facts of things like my abuse or like the starvation and violence found around the world.  What I do know is that if I let myself stop there and live in the outrage of these intensely charged dilemmas, then I will never move forward.  I will sacrifice my dreams in order to be right about something I ultimately can never know until I make it to the other side.  I will use those feelings of outrage as excuses not to follow the will of God as I can—here and now—not in some other country someplace, but here and now, where I stand.  I am not a victim.  I stand in freedom. The God of my understanding loves me and guides my steps towards my Heart’s Desire.  I have accepted this love and guidance.  I have seen and experienced the truth of these facts in my life.   And if this is true for me then I believe it is true for all of God’s kids, and we are all God’s kids.

So the solution is both personal and global.  I need to lift myself out of the consciousness of sin, for lack of a better word, by taking living actions towards others and myself, and I also need to change how I think.  The same is true for our cities and towns, villages, and countries.  We all need to help each other rise up from the poverty, the violence, the horror.  And that’s why following Your Heart’s Desire is so crucial.  When we are following it we are actually following God’s Will.  And the more this happens, the more peace will settle upon the earth.

Finally, in the next few paragraphs Emmet Fox himself gives a very comforting explanation of the difficult ideas found in these two paragraphs.  So hang tight, all is well.


Before moving on to the questions and exercises, there is one more thing I would like to comment on: the last sentence in paragraph six.

That last sentence sums up, in a nutshell the nature of addictions.  In an addiction, we are drifting.  Our lives become empty, brittle shells.  We are trying to do “something that God never intended us to do.”  And ultimately, Fox says, we “distort our souls in the process.”  Aside from trauma and abuse, there is nothing as soul-distorting as addictions.  And we all have them.  In one way shape or form there are things we do that are harmful to ourselves and others that we cannot (or will not) stop doing.  Things we have tried countless times to stop.  Things we feel shame about doing or at very least vaguely empty after we do them. Things that we feel good about while we’re doing them only to hate ourselves later and wonder how we could have gotten ourselves into that stuff again.  Things we have promised ourselves, others, God that we would never again do.  Things we judge others harshly for doing as we go and do them in secret.  And so on. 

It is important to remember that an addiction does not need to be hard-core.  It can be low-level, moderate, or severe.  Take an area of your life you know you need to change—the thing that just flashed into your mind right now when you read these words, and imagine doing without it.  If you’re like me the justifications, rationalizations, and explanations start flying as to why I need that particular vice (what an appropriate word, by the way…).  Truth never needs justifying or rationalizing.  So if we hear ourselves engaged in those thoughts about some area of our lives we can automatically know that we are not OK with ourselves in that area.  We only justify and rationalize wrong, self-centered behaviors.  And in the process, our souls become distorted.  Like water taking the shape of the vessel it’s poured into, our soul takes the shape of whatever we pour it into.  If we pour our soul, our time, and our energy into drugs, sex, money, video games, news media, food, power, romance, movies, shopping, etc., then our soul takes the shape of those vessels.  The real shape of our soul is shapeless; it is a river of peace leading to the ocean of God.  It is wave of His ocean.  But when we pour ourselves into addictions, we are putting limitations around our soul and as a result we hurt others and ourselves.  And we all know that hurt people hurt other people.

It is the human condition to seek comfort, but in the case of addictions, the comforting behaviors have taken over.

Lastly, we all intuitively know God’s will.  Anyone who says they don’t know what God’s will is, is only looking in particulars or for a finish line.  God’s will is easy—He wants us, as the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says, “to be happy, joyous, and free.”  That’s it.  If you are these things then you can rest easy in knowing you are flowing with God’s will and purpose for your life.  Even if you feel like you do not know specifically what your Heart’s Desire is yet, if you are feeling those three things NOW then you are on the way, you are IN the way, as in flowing with God’s river of Providence.  You’re in the Tao, the Way, the Truth—you’re living in the Light.

But enough commentary.  Let’s move on to questions and exercises.


1). Do you believe you have, on any level, to any degree, an(y) addiction(s)?

2). If you answered yes to question one, are you willing to seek support, make changes, and become free of those addictions?

3). Do you have any thoughts or memories that you stuff down or “suppress” when they surface?  If so, are you willing to seek support for those issues and face them once and for all?

4). Reflect back on your answer to Question 2 in Part One of Your Heart’s Desire.  Do you feel the same way now about the idea that all of our troubles are rooted in not following God’s Will or our Heart’s Desires? Explain.

5). Reflect on the idea that God’s will is for everyone to be “happy, joyous, and free;” that God wants everyone thriving, abundant, healthy, safe, and loved. Do you believe this to be so? Expand on your answer either way.  Do you believe God wants these things for YOU?


1). Pretend you have the ultimate creative ability—you can create the God you would like to believe in.  Reflect on and write about the kind of God you would like to believe in.  If you already feel you have a God you are comfortable with, then write about the qualities He/She/It has.

2). The best way to manifest Your Heart’s Desire is to help others.  Go to our sister blog’s link for Thirst Relief International, or some other charity, and make a donation.  In addition, find someone that you know is struggling with some hurt; contact them in some way, make an effort to comfort them in some appropriate manner. 


Thank you Friends.  Next week we will look at paragraph 7.  Cheers.


Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

The Spiritual Aspects of the Parts of Speech, Part I, Nouns


What follows is a two part series on a few of the main parts of speech. 

“Arg…Why?”  You might be groaning.  “This isn’t school!” 

Sure it is, and besides, I am a teacher by trade.  But don’t worry.  We will be looking into the interesting spiritual aspects of nouns, verbs, and so on. 

There are spiritual sides to these?  Of course there are.  There are spiritual sides to everything.  And how we speak is important to how we live.  Thoughts are things, and both our thoughts and words have creative powers.  A little more consciousness into such matters is always helpful.

In this entry we will cover nouns.  Next week we will look at verbs.  And then, over the next six weeks we will also cover adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, and prepositions.  Enjoy.


Nouns are the naming words in our language.  They name everything from objects like chairs to emotional qualities like love.  Everything, and I mean everything, has a name.  In Genesis, pretty much the first thing God gives Adam to do is to name the animals.  And so for hours he sits there watching the parade of creatures passing before him, and he names them, each and every one.  I can’t help but think that he knew their names because they were somehow part of him, but that’s another entry.

As babies, one of the first things we do is go around naming
everything “da,”—but we were naming nonetheless. 

Why are names important?  Emmet Fox says names, especially in sacred texts, hold the quality of the thing named.  God, for example, is called Wonderful, Counselor, Prince of Peace, etc. in the book of Isaiah.  In the thirteenth century, the original word for name, meant: one’s reputation (

What do you call things?  What do you call your loved ones?  Do you use terms of endearment?  Do you “call people names,” in the negative sense?  What names do you like for God?  What name have you secretly wished you had for yourself? 

Today, try and become conscious of the names you give things and of the names of things around you.  Explore and play with giving things new names.  Notice if there’s any resistance to the new names.  Look through various religious texts and find all of the ways God is referred to.  Notice how the people around you use—or don’t use names.  Try and call everyone you know today by their name—savor the words of their names like the gifts that they are.  Ask someone you don’t know what their name is.  If it’s a foreign name, be sure to ask them what it means.  Reflect on whether the name of someone or something fits.  Finally, give a name to your dream; your most secret desire, and treasure that.  Repeat it over and over again with love and devotion, and then watch it manifest before you.

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Those Heavy-Hearted Days

Once in a while, the heart becomes heavy from all of the cares and burdens placed upon it.  And the sad part is we don’t need to put them there.  It’s actually not where they belong. 


Cast your burdens on the Lord, and He shall sustain you.”

                                                                                    –Psalm 55:22


But what exactly does that mean, “to cast your burdens on the Lord?”  It means exactly what it says.  In prayer and meditation, focus on the Presence of God everywhere—in every area of your life.  Think not on your troubles, think about God.  Throw your problems on Him, like a fisherman casting his nets and see how they come back filled with shimmering, rainbow-tinged solutions. 

Think of a quality or name of God that will bring you comfort.  There are countless ones to choose from in all of the world’s great religions.  Find one that resonates with you and let it tumble through your mind like candy on the tongue.  You can always pick a different one later, but simplify your repetitive prayer to one or two names or qualities of God and sing them through your mind.  Let them settle onto your heart, like a cool, silken blanket, and let your heart be comforted.

When you feel lost and overwhelmed think of Jehovah-Raah, which is the Hebrew word for God used in Psalm 23, and it means, the Lord, my Shepherd.

When the obstacles seem too great think of Ganesha, the Hindu image for the power of God to remove obstacles—elephant-headed and powerful.  Elephants have long been known for their intelligence, loyalty, and gentleness towards their young.

Think of Ar-Razzaq, one of Islam’s 99 Names of God, which means the Sustainer, and allow yourself to be energized by God’s endless bounty.

Think Ianaha, when you are feeling afraid.  It is one of the 101 Zoroastrian names for God, and it means, Protector.

By the way, isn’t it wonderful, the magic of vowels?  How these names for God, and scores of others, have the “ahh,” sound opening through them like audible blossoms?  Allah, Jehovah, Buddha, Krishna, Adonai, Ar Raheem, and so on.  This sound is the sound of wonder; it is the sound of astonishment.  It is also the sound of sweet relief when we, on a sweltering hot July afternoon, drink an ice-cold glass of lemonade.  What do we say after we drink?  “Ahhh.”

And so, once you cast your cares upon the Lord, say, “Ahhh.”  Feel refreshed and cooled down.  Feel God’s comfort spread through you like cold lemonade or peach iced-tea. 

But what if, after prayer and meditation, you still feel heavy-hearted?  Pray some more, and don’t limit your prayers to alone, quiet time—move, let your every action be a prayer through which your name for God runs like a song, or a gently flowing river. 

Better still, fulfill your duty as a human being:  share your burdens with others.  As Paul says in Galatians, “share one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the Law of Christ.”  And Jesus said, “Love one another, as I have loved you.”  And He came to be the Ocean upon Whom we could cast the nets of our troubles.  He came to give us rest.  We can do this, and be this, for one another.  In fact, when we cast our troubles onto someone else who is willing to receive them, we receive the same thing Jesus gives—Light.  And so does the receiver.  They get the blessing of fulfilling the Law also.

Jesus said: “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

But keep in mind, Jesus rarely gives without asking for something else in return:

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.”

                                                                                    -Matthew 11:28-9

And, as I was studying for this entry, I found out that the word, “easy,” is better translated as, “good.” (

So Jesus says, in effect, “Give me your burdens, and I will give you Mine.  Mine are easy and good; Mine are Light.  And you know that Light weighs next to nothing; that Light is well, lite.  So take My yoke, I’ll take yours.   And oh, by the way, you get to learn about Me in the process.” 

And what do we learn?  That is different for everyone.  The point is to do it.  Give your burdens to Him by prayer and by sharing them with others, and remember the Great Key to Happiness: “This too, shall pass.”

This entry came as a result of my feeling heavy-hearted lately.  So many things seem to be rushing in on me—my mother’s death, the uncertainty of my job-situation due to massive cuts in funds, the many and various needs of my children, our house, and so on.  So I wrote this for me, and I wrote it for you.  I have practiced exactly what it says.  This very entry is one of my prayers.  And I have a name for God floating through my mind like a willow seed.  And I am comforted as I attempt to comfort you.  You are the Presence of God for me today.  Thank you.

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

The Great Secret of Beauty


When I was a Waldorf teacher, I taught the simple, yet profound concept of straight and curved on the first day of first grade.  It was one of the most meaningful things I’ve ever been blessed to teach.  Prior to teaching it I had never given the idea a conscious thought, but as I studied it the summer before school started, I marveled at the yin and yang of it all.  In a nut shell, the concept of straight and curved is that everything, no matter what you see, is made up of either straight lines or curved, or a combination thereof. 

On that first day of school I expressed this truth in a little story about a boy and a girl looking for the Great Secret of Beauty.  In the story they wandered together down straight paths and crooked paths.  They ate juicy, round oranges underneath tall, straight trees.  He walked with a stout staff while she rolled a hoop along as she went.  Along the way they met characters who were unyielding and harsh and others whose hearts were soft as down.  They stretched out to rest on park benches and they also sat in the curved boughs of an oak tree.  They learned things that were true and that would never change—things that might even sting a little, but were true and helpful nonetheless.  They learned about the curved grace of mercy as it wrapped the soft cloak of relief around their little shoulders, giving them a cool, shady place to eat when their journey seemed so long.  They had butterflies land on their arms and they noticed the butterflies had straight, black bodies combined with elegantly curved and colorful wings.  They experienced the straight beams of the sun and the soft glow of the moon. 

The little boy and girl eventually discover the Great Secret of Beauty—an owl tells them.  But before I told that part of the story I asked the question to the first graders: “Do you know what the Great Secret of Beauty is?”  Their answers were sweet—“To have nice hair,” one student said.  “To be nice,” one perceptive student offered. 

Eventually I finished the story and laid out the Great Secret of Beauty by drawing on the board one straight line that descended  from heaven, so to speak, down to the earth, and then, next to it, a curved line—sort of like a wide “C.” 

Then I asked, “Boys and girls, can you find anything straight in this room or anything curved?”  The students excitedly ran around the room pointing out everything they could find that was straight—the door, the desks, the black board, the ceiling tiles, the lights, their pencils, the squares on the floor tiles. 
Looking for the curved things was a little more challenging, but they did it, and the more curved things they found the easier it was to discover others. They pointed out that the wind made the curtains on the window look curved, they pointed to the bell on my desk that was shaped like a little, rotund lady, they found the round candle I had next to the straight one.  They pointed to the round faces of the sunflowers in a vase by the front of the room.  They noticed that the letters of the alphabet and even the numbers above the board were made of combinations of straight and curved lines.  They were a smart bunch.

Then I asked them to stand still and think of their own bodies.  “Anything straight or curved there?” I asked.  They had fun with that one—the soft curve of their little ears, their straight, yet pudgy fingers, their wide, round eyes, and their little, straight legs.  They even realized their mouths could be both.  I told them that was because they could speak the Truth and they could also speak the language of the Heart—Love and kindness.

Over the next few years, I would refer back to this first lesson and keep deepening it.  We expanded on the ideas of Truth having the gesture of straightness—forwardness, directness—it doesn’t deviate or compromise.  The gestures of Love and Mercy were curved somehow, as were the times we did need to compromise.  They learned that sometimes I would give them hard, unyielding directions, and other times my answers and responses were soft.    

And so it is with all of us.  We all need the comforting, straightness of the Truth, and we all need the curved softness of Love.

As an exercise today, become aware of the Great Secret of Beauty in your life–in your house, your walk or drive to work, your office, etc. Look for it in everything you see today—in the faces of your co-workers or your children, in nature, in yourself.  Reflect on the qualities you believe your Higher Power has—which are straight, which are curved?  Which aspect of the Great Secret of Beauty do you feel most attracted to?  Which qualities do you need to develop in yourself?  Have fun with this—it is a grand and endless adventure—the Great Secret of Beauty.

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Your Heart’s Desire, Part IV, Paragraph 4


Welcome Back.  I honor your persistence.  I realize there were a lot of questions and exercises last week.  I hope they were helpful in giving you insights into Your Heart’s Desire.  This week will be a bit lighter.  I hope you have found a buddy to work with.  Remember, you are always free to email me with any questions or concerns that you do not want made public (  Please keep in mind also, that your experiences with Your Heart’s Desire are beneficial to others, so I encourage you to post comments also. 



Paragraph Four, by Emmet Fox

“God is Infinite Mind, and that Mind is ever seeking for more and for new expression.  “For such the Father seeketh to worship Him.” Now, because you are a human being, you are intended to be a new point of expression for God—a focal point in Infinite Mind, in fact, somewhat as an electric lamp may be regarded as a focal point for the manifestation of the electric current in the circuit.  A focal point for the Divine Self expression—that is what you are intended to be; and if you are willing to become that, then you will be fulfilling your destiny, and you will experience absolutely perfect and unalloyed happiness and harmony, and eternal and unrestricted development.  A few people have attained this, but they are comparatively few.  The great majority have lives full of problems of one kind or another that they have yet to work out.  If one has perfect bodily health—and how few have even this, really perfect health—then he probably has financial difficulties; or it may be family troubles, an unhappy home life.  If health, finance, and home relations are satisfactory, there can still be a sense of frustration in other directions.  In any case, in the absence of all-round fullness and harmony of expression, there is frustration; and frustration means trouble.”

Commentary, Questions, and Exercises by Joseph Anthony

This paragraph heralds both comforting encouragement and uncomfortable warnings.  The encouragement comes from knowing God is always creating.  God always has His hands in the paints—the colors are always flying across fresh canvas; clay is always being thrown on the wheel in never before seen patterns; new houses are always being erected; new songs are always being sung.  And WE are focal points of that creativity.  We express God’s Light and handiwork when we are fulfilling our Heart’s Desire, our destiny.  We are meant to be Lights. 

“Hide not your light under a bushel…Let your light shine before man.  We are the Light of the world.”

Imagine that for a moment.  Really let that sink in.  Revel in it.  It really is astounding, humbling, and exhilarating—YOU are a “focal point for the Divine Self expression.”  YOU. 

We could spend the rest of our lives pondering that one sentence it is so rich with meaning and implications.  For now let us just say: This means, when we follow our Heart’s Desire, that we are part of the Divine Economy, the Divine Ecology, the Divine Way.  Of course, we can keep our head in the clouds provided we keep our feet on the ground.  Being a part of Divine Self expression doesn’t mean everything we do is inspired, holy, helpful, moral, good, true, kind, charitable, and so on.  What it does mean is that once we are “willing to become a focal point for Divine Self Expression,” we will be less likely, (as imperfectly as we still will be), to engage in immoral, untrue, wicked, mean, or selfish behaviors.  We will still have plenty of room to grow—in fact, once we hit on our Heart’s Desire, we will grow, as Fox says, “eternally and unrestrictedly.”  We will grow forever, and we will grow forever—boundlessly. Imagine THAT for a few moments.  To be ever-blossoming, ever-discovering, ever-creating is very nearly beyond the scopes of our imaginations.  But try anyway.  It’s fun to think about.

But there are warnings— uncomfortable warnings– in this paragraph.  Fox says only a few people ever attain the degree of development in which their Heart’s Desire is such a part of who they have become, that they live in perfect harmony and happiness.  Most people, he says, settle for mediocre lives where everything is viewed as a problem—a dramatic problem, I might add.  When we are off course, when we are not following God’s Will—our Heart’s Desire, then somewhere deep inside we know we’re missing the mark, we make every problem or annoyance in our lives bigger and more significant than it really is.  We dramatize everything because we know, somewhere deep inside that we are acting—we’re in a drama—a tragi-comedy, with countless, intricately woven plots that ultimately unfold into nothing, or at very least regrets to be wallowed in.  Somewhere inside we know this.  We sense it deeply because there is always that low level of frustration in everything we do.  Everything we touch gradually turns into grey dust.  Everything we do is tinged with a peculiar, indefinable failure.  So we sleep restlessly.  Our dreams are scattered.  A vague uneasiness plagues our lives, with brief intervals of prosperity, health, happiness, and even joy.  But somewhere inside, something’s missing—even in the good times.  And that something is our Heart’s Desire.  Until we hitch our wagon to the Star that is ours and ours alone, we will forever feel—way back in our heads and hearts, a certain, relentless emptiness.

Of course, the hope is in that very emptiness, for as the Zen monk might say, the real usefulness of a cup is in the empty space it provides for the tea.  If you identify with anything just described in the above paragraph, then there’s hope.  Most people won’t let themselves feel that despair.  They drug it out with TV, computers, food, sex, romance; big, deep problems and dramas; spending, anger, and the ever-present, internal drug-hits of fear, and the adrenaline-laced drug hits of fantasy superiority or inferiority.  They even drug it out with doing things they rationalize and justify are worthy and good, but which in the final analysis are really self-serving actions.  So if you feel a bit depressed about what you just read, then rejoice.  You’re on the right road.  Feel that feeling, share it with your buddy, and then learn to listen for God’s Voice.  God is whispering RIGHT NOW, RIGHT THIS VERY INSTANT AS YOU ARE READING THESE VERY WORDS.  God is calling you NOW.  God wants YOU—and He wants you NOW.  He has a new art project, a new building project, a new symphony He’d like played on new instruments, there’s a new story He’d like to tell, a never-before heard song He’d like to sing—YOU and YOUR HEART’S DESIRE! 

One last comment: notice God keeps us in freedom.  We are free to choose to follow our Heart’s Desire.  Fox says, “if we are willing” to become that focal point—THEN we’re fulfilling our destiny.  It takes willingness on our part to learn to listen, to take the actions, to do the work of becoming happy and harmonious in our own lives.  And this, dear reader, we do together, for there are no separate destinies.  All of our true Heart’s Desires blend together into one, joyous and inspiring work of art—a mural of infinite and intricate beauty.


1). Do you believe, or are you willing to at least try to believe, that you are meant to be a focal point of Divine Self expression?


2). How does it make you feel when Fox says we will “experience absolutely perfect and unalloyed happiness and harmony, and have eternal and unrestricted development” when we fully live our Heart’s Desire?”


3). When you read “comparatively few” attain this, do you think: “Oh, great, then why bother?” Or do you think, “OK.  I’m going to be one of those few?”  Or do you fall someplace in between? If you pick the “why bother” category, are you willing to believe that it will all work out for the good if you really find Your Heart’s Desire?  If you pick the assertive: “Let’s go, I’m going to be one of the few,” are you willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill Your Heart’s Desire?


1). Reflect on the phrase, “Divine Self expression.” Write about what it means to you and how it makes you feel. 

2). Close your eyes, breathe deeply, inhaling for a count of 4, filling your belly and then chest, hold the breath for a count of 4 or so, and then release on the same count.  Do that a few times while repeating the following affirmations:

“I willingly chose to follow my Heart’s Desire.”

“ I am a focal point for Divine Self expression.”

Write these on 3X5 cards and carry them with you.  Post them on your mirror or in your car.  Make them mantras and prayers—songs to be sung.

3). Go back and look at the wishes you wrote last week—the outlandish ones you never want to share with anyone.  Have they changed?  Are there new ones?  Keep practicing being open to God’s whisperings.  Soon there will be very practical suggestions on how to really listen, but for now, keep writing about your wonderfully lavish and extravagant dreams. 

4). Find and download the song: “This Little Light of Mine.”  A version with children singing is best.  Sing it often throughout the day.  Experiment with humming or singing it in public and try to get others to sing with you.  If you are really feeling adventurous, sing it in front of the mirror, dance to it, run to it, paint, cook, or play with it.  Sing it—feel it—You ARE a Light!


Great Work, friends.  Next week we come to Part Five, Paragraph 5.  Have a great week of learning and growing.  Oh, and I’m sure you have probably already noticed that I am increasingly focusing the other entries here at the Wonder Child Blog—towards YOU and YOUR HEART’S DESIRE.  I want you to feel supported and encouraged.  That’s the goal.  So stop by other days.  There will be supplemental material to help you follow your dreams. 

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