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Plum Pudding or Wednesdays With Wodehouse



“It was a morning when all nature shouted "Fore!"  The breeze, as it blew gently up from the valley, seemed to bring a message of hope and cheer, whispering of chip-shots holed and brassies landing squarely on the meat.  The fairway, as yet unscarred by the irons of a hundred dubs, smiled greenly up at the azure sky; and the sun, peeping above the trees, looked like a giant golf-call perfectly lofted by the mashie of some unseen god and about to drop dead by the pin of the eighteenth.  It was the day of the opening of the course after the long winter, and the crowd of considerable dimensions had collected at the first tee.  Plus fours gleamed in the sunshine, and the air was charged with happy anticipation."

---Opening paragraph of the short story, “The Heart of a Goof,” from the book of the same name, by P.G. Wodehouse.  This is a book of short stories that revolve around golf.  I must admit I can’t stand golf.  Only played once.  Have no interest in golf.  However, this book is still one of my favorites of Wodehouse.  Totally hilarious, hopelessly romantic, and full of silly goofs.  

 



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Tapping Tuesdays: Empowering EFT Videos by Joseph Anthony: Today: Living the Writer's Life



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Sunday Songs: Music Videos for Your Inspiration: Roll Away the Stone, an Easter-Inspired Song of Hope



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Good Friday, Being an Update to the Update

Good Friday

Being an Update to the Update

By

Joseph Anthony

 

OK, what gives?  You might be thinking. Twelve days ago you were writing about crashing and burning, illnesses, depression.  This week you’ve posted four things already.  Haven’t you started the cycle again?

What gives is writing.  In that post twelve days ago I wrote about how writing is my first love; how this blog began as a way of sorting things out, clarifying on a personal and public level what’s going on inside of me.  Confessional, yes.  Therapeutic, most definitely.  Writing that post twelve days ago helped me to prioritize my work.  It helped me to see the fears about not making enough money or knowing what will come after teaching.  It helped me to remember I need others.  I need you. 

What began as a means of expressing myself has grown into a means of a dialogue.  It engenders a responsibility to the truth and to the journey of the writer’s life.  It demands both rigorous honesty and compassion—for myself and for what I am writing, and for you.  And the truth is I began neglecting my writing out of fear—fear about the future, fear about not having enough money, fear it just wasn’t good enough.  And writing that post helped me to see that.  So did talking with friends.  Allowing myself to open up, speak the truth of the fears, helped stir the creative juices and ease the inner tensions, and so the writing has begun again to river through my veins.

I remember my mentor Lefty encouraging me to not let my creativity own me—to learn to stop.   When I work, I am manic.  Then I crash. Does that mean I am manic depressive?  Perhaps.  The main thing is I see the truth of my tendencies.  The flood of inspiration comes when I touch the pain, get things cleared through tapping, talking, taking time to breathe, but then I have trouble controlling it.  It consumes and devours me, makes me forget everything else.  In a certain, spiritual sense, it holds me hostage, forces my hand.  And so I go.  And I go.  And I go.  Until I crash.  I didn’t learn the lesson when this happened several years ago.  I saw signs of my manic energy, but I didn’t listen, obviously.   I mean, why should I stop if I am doing what I love?  It feels blissful to create.  Why stop bliss? I get now that bliss, in measured doses, works better for me than a flood of unencumbered, unceasing bliss. 

So what’s different now?  Focus, discipline, and faith.  For the last couple of years I began to focus on trying to make money (nothing wrong with that, of course) and trying to build an EFT/Music business (nothing wrong with that either).  However, I was mostly working from fear and scarcity, and not joy. One thing I have learned as a result of living with PTSD is that making decisions based on fear or scarcity eventually stops the flow, causes thinking to cloud with worries and more fears; suspicions gradually seep in, and a lack of trust in the world, in the Divine and in myself begins coloring what I do, and eventually it all turns to black.  I see that now.  Being an extremist though I think that means I have to stop doing EFT, stop playing music.  Of course, it doesn’t mean either of these.  It means getting back to basic, fundamental disciplined thinking.  It means creating from a place of joy instead of fear.  It means transforming the fears and real-life concerns into fruitful ideas and actions instead of more fears.  It means remembering I am human and need other people. In short, it means remembering to breathe.

I am also remembering to pray.  A few years ago I pridefully declared my whole life was a prayer, and there was truth to that statement.  I consciously made everything I did a prayer.  Slowly over time however I began to see that I am not so far along (and perhaps never will be or should be) as to not take time to pause and pray—to give thanks, to ask for guidance, to think of others.  The more I let the fears run the show the less I remembered to pray.  Screwtape would be happy.  So in addition to walking, I am praying.  Usually I am doing both at the same time.

So I am changing the focus—from fear to joy.  Not manic joy, just joy—disciplined joy.  Write every morning for a little bit instead of writing in torrents for a few hours and days.  Stop even when the flow is still flowing.  Trust it will be there when I return.  Stop making videos out of fear I won’t have enough clients.  Make them for the reasons I first made them—to help myself and help others.  Period.  Letting scarcity mentality in is just another way of allowing the PTSD to own me. 

Focus, discipline, and faith.  And there’s one more thing: exercise.  I have begun to walk nearly every day with the goal of walking every day.  I tricked myself into believing I led an active lifestyle because I worked so hard and did so much, but I wasn’t really moving in a way so as to assist cardiovascular health.  So I have begun walking.  And it’s helping.

But Joseph, you might be thinking, this whole post details what you are doing—more doing, doing, doing.  Are you taking time to do nothing?  To chill?  To relax?  Good questions.  I used to think because I was doing what I loved that I could simply keep doing indefinitely; that I didn’t need any breaks.  Funny thing is, I still think that’s possible; however not with an undisciplined mind, not with a mind run by fear.  So I am detailing changes I making, things I am doing to help.  And that includes taking more time to read Wodehouse, haunt thrift shops, and listen to my old 70’s fusion/jazz/disco records.  It means taking time to simply be and to rest. 

So there it is.  Public record of the journey of Joseph.  I hope it helps you to sort out something you might be going through.  I hope it helps you to see you are not alone.  I hope it helps you see that writing, writing of any kind, is an integral part of being human and of becoming more human.  It is a lifeline that weaves together souls into a living, breathing tapestry of hope.

Peace, and thank you again for being there, Joseph

 

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On Being a Creator: A Seven Part Series on Releasing Your Creativity: Part One: Touching the Pain

On Being a Creator: 

Part One:

Touching the Pain

By

Joseph Anthony

 

I spent my early life drawing pictures and writing little stories.  I loved it.  I derived great pleasure from drawing and writing.  As I grew up however I bought into the lies: “You’ll never make it as an artist.  You’ll never make it as a writer.”  This all translated in my mind as: “You suck. You’re not good enough.  Why bother?”  Throw abuse into the mix and my creativity went underground.  Like a river of the purest, clearest water however, it might dive underground for a while, but it’s still flowing, meandering among the roots, until the time and place for it to surface perhaps miles (and years) ahead, appears and it rises, flooding the banks of a life unencumbered with the past.

To get to the heart of the matter my creativity burst forth several years ago when I began learning to do 5 main things: touch the pain, forgive, have fun, share, and allow myself to earn money from my efforts.  I believe if we practice these five things as a way of life creativity would flow freely from and through us as easily as the air we breathe.  Over the next five weeks we will look at each of these in turn.  On the sixth week I’ll publish a re-cap of all five and then, on the seventh week, I will post the whole kit-and-caboodle for easy reference. Let’s begin today with touching the pain.

 

Touching the Pain

As I discovered safe, healthy ways to feel the pain of my abuse I was able to transform those experiences into creativity that not only freed my soul, but helped others do the same.  I say “safe and healthy” because I have also explored unhealthy ways to do this too—addictions, obsessions, and dangerous isolation.  These all simultaneously help avoid the pain as well as feel the pain—addictions are paradoxical that way.  They get one close to the pain only to pull the rug right out from under you leaving you and those around you devastated, bewildered, empty, and without direction.  As many of you know, using EFT helped me enormously to feel, process, and transform pain in safe, healthy ways.  Having feelings one cannot or will not feel is like places along the course of a river where the flow gets snarled and snagged.  Tapping helps loosen those stuck spots, freeing the current to flow and play. A lot can be said about this obviously, but another time.  For now, for me, learning to feel all of my emotions—grief, joy, anger, shame—all of them has opened doors to my creativity.

Of course this is a long journey and a very personal one.  It looks different for everyone.  It may vary in intensity and duration.  It may require therapy and professional assistance to help cope with the flood of emotions.  It may require years of mentoring and guidance.  There are no right or wrong’s here.  The main thing is to begin to allow yourself to feel what you need to feel so that it doesn’t come out in unhealthy ways.  All emotions are revealed--either constructively or destructively.  

How these feelings are expressed differs greatly also.  One person may find music is the medium, for others drawing, dancing, writing, cooking.  Again, there is no one way to do any of this.  Learn to feel and then express those feelings as art for the benefit yof your own healing and the healing of those around you. That's called Life. Period.

 

Next week:  Forgiveness and Creativity


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Plum Pudding or Wednesdays With Wodehouse

Wednesdays With Wodehouse

Or Plum Pudding

Or Wooster Crows

Or Funny Bits from P.G. Wodehouse

 

For the next several Wednesdays, I am going to share brief excerpts from one of my favorite authors, P.G. Wodehouse.  Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was born October 15, 1881 and died Valentine’s Day 1975.  He ranks among the giants of English literature.  He published over 90 works—mostly novels and short stories, but he also wrote plays, lyrics, poems, and bits of odd news for newspapers.  He was literally writing on his deathbed.  He walked an hour, usually with his dog, every day and did his own unique blend of exercises every morning for over 60 years. He is a master of prose and of humor.  His style, wit, intelligence, silliness, and ability to both construct and ultimately unravel the most complex and preposterous plots into the most satisfying conclusions are unmatched. Same with the names he bestowed upon his characters.  No one came up with names like Wodehouse—Gussie Finknottle, Wooster, Spode, Bingo Little, Honoria Glossop, Lucius Pim, among many others. His books serve as life-savers when things get down or heavy.  It is virtually impossible to read Wodehouse and not be uplifted and feel the sun suddenly wrap itself around your shoulders.  He is best read when you need a boost or when you don’t need a boost; when you need a laugh or when you don’t need a laugh.  He is best read.  Period.  Like most people my favorite works of Wodehouse are the Jeeves and Wooster stories, however, the Blandings Castle Saga is quickly becoming just as dear to me. I will forever be indebted to my friend Cristina for introducing me to this most delightful and generous of souls.  It is my hope that you find bright rays of sunshine and laughter in these extracts and that they inspire you to find your way back to or to be introduced to the cheerful, revitalizing, and zany world of P.G. Wodehouse.

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“It was a beautiful afternoon.  The sky was blue, the sun yellow, butterflies flitted, birds tooted, bees buzzed and, to cut a long story short, all Nature smiled.  But on Lord Emsworth’s younger son Freddie Threepwood, as he sat in his sports model car at the front of Blandings Castle, a fine Alsatian dog at his side, these excellent weather conditions made little impression.  He was thinking of dog biscuits.”

---Opening paragraph of the short story, Sticky Wicket at Blandings, from the book “Plum Pie,” by P.G. Wodehouse.



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Rituals Shared, a New Poem by Joseph Anthony

Rituals Shared

By

Joseph Anthony

 

Sweeping the stoop of the shop with quick, brisk motions,

Scattering maple tree seeds into helicoptering swirls,

Pausing to look at the rising spring sun, he removes his hat,

Wipes his brow, squints at the sky, hears the distant,

Early morning train, then thanks God for another day

Of doing what he loves. 

 

Slowly he resumes his dance with the broom, breathing in

Images of his children and grandchildren, breathing out

Whispered apologies for losing his patience the day before,

Resolving to remember he was young once too.

 

He turns, pushes open the screen door that rings the little 

Bells at the top of the frame, enters the shop, turns the 

“Come in We’re Open/Sorry We’re Closed” sign to 

“Come in We’re Open.” 

 

Brewing coffee aroma winds its way into his widening 

Nostrils as he breathes deeply possibilities and 

Remembrances, he ties the white apron around his waist, 

Thanks God for another day of doing what he loves, 

And then begins,

First pausing to look down at the bread board,

He then sweeps his hand across the cool surface

With the same tenderness he has used for half a century.

 

He takes out the silver bowl of dough from the gleaming, 

Silver refrigerator, lifts the white cloth that covers the bowl,

Folds it neatly into a square and places it nearby. 

 

He then tosses three handfuls of flour across 

The bread board, lifts the dough allowing it to exhale 

And spread, and as he begins kneading he sings, 

Sings morning prayers, filling his lungs with the fragrance 

Of baking bread, 

And his heart with devotion to Saint Elizabeth, 

And for a moment he is transported to the Basilica 

Of Santa Maria in ancient Rome; 

He kneels before the infant, folds his hands to pray,

And as he does loaves of bread spill from his arms,

Turning into heaps of roses, and he weeps,

Weeps knowing he saw the infant nod,

And then he rises, rises and smiles, thanking God 

For another day of doing what he loves, 

And as he rises the little bells ring,

Ring at the opening of the door to the shop, bringing him 

Back to the kneading, back to his hands, and he beams,

Beams a greeting to the customer who has come as he does

Every morning for coffee, for bread, and for the humanity

Of rituals shared.

 

 


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Where It's At: An Update on the State of Things

Where It’s At

An Update on the State of Things

By

Joseph Anthony

 

In the pastI have chronicled the difficulties I have with slowing down, doing too much, and not fully taking care of myself even though I encourage others to do so for themselves. 

If nothing changes, nothing changes, my mentor used to say.  And so here I am again, crashed and burned.  Seems like a two-three year cycle.  Tagging along with this bout of crash and burn are depression, world-weariness, loss of faith, weight-gain, over-stuffed pride, feeling trapped in nearly every area of my life, financial troubles, extreme lack of sleep, kidney stones, herniated disk, and more.  I have developed symptoms of what doctors thought might be either temporal arteritis or a brain tumor.  Thankfully these have been ruled out and I have neither.  The kidney stones are responding well to the herbs and the back pain to a wonderful treatment of the Bowen technique by my friend Yvonne Fisher and some reiki from my friend Carrie Pierce.

The lack of faith centers around my EFT practice and my chanting concerts, but it is also a lack of faith in things of the spirit and life in general.  My clientele had blossomed to 5 a week for a few weeks and is now down to one.  I have a parent in my class and her husband and her parents who, along with my wife and son Daniel, come to chanting regularly, and there is a wonderful new friend named Thomas who, when he can, drives nearly two hours to come sing with us.  Aside from them however, chanting hasn’t grown significantly in three years.  Of course one could say I need to be more grateful for those that do come, and I agree.  Imagine having a gift and love you long to share with many (like a full concert) and that the many haven’t come yet and it’s been three years of trying.  How would you feel?  I feel discouraged.  Like I am somehow not good enough, talented enough, like there is something wrong with me.  

Meanwhile I have 19 lovely Second Graders to teach.  They are 19 lights of my life.  19 of the smartest, most creative, hilarious, and nice people I know.  I try very hard to give them my all.  I am conscious of promising 4 years to these dears and that 4 years is half way up and I have no vision or solid means of making a living after that at this point.  That translates into pressure and worry. 

Point is, I haven’t been practicing what I preach and have allowed myself to sink pretty far down.  I have lost focus, drive, and energy.  I need to find a way, even if the measures seem drastic to others, to get more sleep and make other major life changes necessary to my health and well being.  The doctor tells me I need to lose about 40 pounds if I want to stay alive.

I often say I make all these positive stories, songs, and tapping videos because I need them.  People laugh sometimes when I say that.  It’s the truth though. And right now it is the truth of truths.  In my efforts to help and teach others to stay positive, helpful, healthy, encouraging, supportive, and sharing, I have forgotten that I too need help to do these things. I too need to do as I say.  Practice what I preach.  Better yet, stop preaching and just practice.  Get back to basics.  Breathe. 

I have some very supportive friends who are being extremely kind and helpful as I go through this rough spell.  I am allowing other healing practitioners in and allowing myself to be vulnerable and accept their help.  I am working of making the changes necessary to get back on track. 

And I am not giving up just yet on my dreams. I have put out an add in a local wellness circular, created the world’s first EFT/Musical Concert for May 16th, I am presenting a workshop today at Shakti Yoga and Healing Arts on EFT, and I am giving a workshop on EFT and Positive Affirmations at this year’s Namas DayYoga Festival.  Two charity kirtans for the near future are in the works as well as a kirtan at a local retreat center.  I am working on a children’s album and coming up with more ways to share music with children. I am also moving closer towards realizing a project of sharing tapping with people in homeless shelters around Philly. 

I know I am good at what I do.  I know I have touched many lives.  I need to find more focused and productive ways to get the word out though.

So while I have had thoughts to pack it all in lately—the tapping, chanting, videos, and the blog--everything, I am not going to.  At least not yet. Even though I am still having deeply disturbing images of my own death in my dreams (been that way for several months now—and had another one a few hours ago) I have no intentions of leaving this plane.  I will take the necessary steps to change my lifestyle and get healthier and happier, tap more, learn to slow down and relax more, accept help from others more, and as I do, the way ahead will revealed itself as it always does.  I will work through the doubts and feelings and come out shining.   I will continue to take time to read more Wodehouse, without whom I would be utterly lost.  His books have been life-savers.  Allowing myself to simply read for pleasure has been very healing indeed.

So that’s the scoop.  Just wanted to explain where things have been for the Blog.  Of all the projects I have started these last few years, the Wonder Child Blog is very near and dear to me and I am sorry she has been neglected of late.  Writing is my first love.  And as things unfold I am confident I will get back into more frequently contributing things here.  When I started the Wonder Child Blog three years ago it was an avenue to express myself, to share my love for writing, and to sort things out as I went along.  It is still that for me as you can see today.

I worry sometimes about telling you all of this; that somehow in doing so I will lose credibility, clients, or whatever; that you will think less of me.  I need to let you know however, that I am human.  Everyone on the planet struggles in one way shape or form and I am in that place right now and learning more and more to accept help and to let you see me. I want you also to see that you can make it too.  We all can.

I am grateful for those lives I have touched, the connections I have made around the world, the viewers from around the world who watch my videos and tell me how much they have helped them, my clients, past and present, those who come sing with me, especially my son Daniel, who, at 13, continues think it's fun to come chant with his pops.  

Peace and Light everyone, and please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

Joseph


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Be Amazed

Be Amazed

By

Joseph Anthony


 


Be Amazed.

I am.

I woke up this morning

To birdsong, riotous birdsong.

As I listened, letting the staccato melodies

Sink in, I became increasingly amazed.

Now I can safely say: I am fully amazed.

And you can be too.

Think about it: We are awakened

By singing.

Now before you think about it too hard,

Let the truth of that statement be.


We are awakened by singing.

 


OK, you’ve held it there for a few seconds,

Now go ahead and travel the winding road

Of questions and temporary answers

As to why birds sing—if you need to.

You can do that and have lots of fun doing that.

You could also simply relish the reality—

Whatever Divine Randomness is out there

And in there,

It could have chosen to wake us up

With construction rigging every day.

It could have chosen to wake us up

To thunderous, monotonous silence.

It could have chosen not to wake us up at all.

But it didn’t.  The Divine choose to wake

Us up and to wake us up to singing.

Keep that in mind--uppermost in mind

When you begin to doubt hope, beauty,

And the purpose of all things, when you begin

To lose faith in love and your will to live

Dries like a leaf.  Simply remember the truth

And allow yourself to be amazed.


Say it out loud:

I am awakened by singing.

I am awakened by singing.

I am awakened by singing.


And once you are good and awake

Join the chorus, let your life sing,

And everywhere you fly and flit, dart and soar,

Bank and circle, glide and flutter,

May your song inspire someone,

Anyone.  Someone who never gives you credit.

Someone who simply hears your life—

The song of your life, the overarching beauty

And music of who you are

And how you choose to live.

Someone who may still be asleep

Waiting to be amazed.


Now listen,

Be amazed,

Then go,

Sing.

 


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The Hidden Clock and the Field of Light

The Hidden Clock and the Field of Light

By

Joseph Anthony

 

In bed reading, head propped partially against a pillow, partially against the wall. I like it that way. Suddenly I hear a clock, a soft ticking.  I look around even though I know there are no clocks in the room.  There is my cellphone, but its clock is silent.  I lean my head back to its spot, resume reading.  I hear the ticking again.  Somehow, someway, the beams in the wall, the sheet rock, the wires--something carries the sound of a clock from downstairs all the way up through the wall and into my room. I am amazed for a moment until I remember, there are no clocks in our house that make an audible tick-tock sound.  Not one.  I put my head back to the wall.  I get it now.  It’s my pulse.  I hear my own pulse. No wonder people call the heart “the ol’ ticker.”  My heart keeps time for me, for itself.  Wound each night by unseen fingers of light dipped in darkness.  

Some time, however, the hands will not come to wind the clock.  They will come to rest themselves over the clock, as in a blessing.  There will be a gentle shake, a tremble, and a voice will say:

“Time to go.” 

And I will reply to this statement as if it were a question.  “I need to get dressed first.” 

“What you’re wearing is fine.”

Of course, I think, teenagers go about in their pajamas, why not me?

“OK,” I say, “Let me just grab a few things.”

“There’s no time for that.”

“Oh, alright, let me just say good-bye to the fam.”

“There are no good-bye’s. You will see each other again.” 

“When?” 

“When you do.”

“May I take a little momento, my lucky rock, a ring?”

The dark hands cover mine.  “Time to go.” 

Silence.

No clock.  No ticking.  No pulse.  Just darkness.  Darkness and him.

“Where are we going?” I ask after trying to listen for something, anything, some sign of life. 

“See that door up ahead? That’s where.” 

“Where does it lead?” I ask putting my hand in his.

“You can see from here.  See the bright, sun-lit field being combed by the gentlest wind ever?  We’re going there.”  


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