Women’s Voices


There was a time when women had strong voices. They were lovers, mothers, healers, and midwives. Then came the “Burning Times”. Women and children called witches and tortured with drowning, hanging and burning. Millions were killed in Europe and really no woman was safe.

 

This was followed by Patriarchy and the silencing of women’s voices. There have been a few women through the years who discovered their voices but it was unusual. The Suffragettes found their vocal chords and their mouths and women have been speaking ever since. Of course, the louder we speak, the more some people close their minds off from truth and equality.

 

Clearing the Air

 

It’s been ten years since you tried to kill me.

Biking home one night, I saw only your legs

stepping behind a tree, then you fell on my throat

like a cat. My books crashed the birds out of sleep.

We rolled in the leaves like lovers. My eyes popped

like Christmas lights, veins snapped, your teeth wore

 

my blood, your fingers left bars on my neck.

I can’t remember your name,

and I saw your face only in court.

You sat in a box, docile as old shoes.

And I, who had never felt any man’s weight

sometimes felt yours for nights afterwards.

 

Well, I’m ready to forgive

and I don’t want to forget.

Sometimes I tell myself that we met

differently, on a train. You give me

a Batman comic and show me your passport

I have nothing but my report card.

 

but I offer my mother’s fudge for the grapes

rotting the one paper bag you carry.

In my tale you are younger and loved.

Outside you live in a thousand faces

and so do your judges, napping in parks,

rushing to fires, folded like bats on the truck.

 

mad and nude in a white Rolls’

pinching dollars and leather behinds.

Burned from a tree by your betters, you take

to the streets and hang in the dark like a star,

making me see your side, waking me

with the blows and the weight of it.

 

—Nancy Willard

 

 

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February Zentangle. Copyright 2015

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We can...we will change our one world.

We can…we will change our one world.

Let’s Get Together and Be All Right


 

 

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I believe this song is familiar to at least half of us. I love to listen to it while having a bad day. We, the citizens of the world have had a bad week. Mass murders in Nairobi and in Paris. More people were killed in Nairobi and my heart cries for them and their families. May they all RIP and may their families find comfort and freedom.

 

In Paris, we also had murders. We had a crazy horrible breach of Charlie Hebdo offices and twelve people were dead. Both events left the world shaken and stunned. This is the bad part, the painful part.

 

The good part is the love shared by the people around all of the victims. It is the love we, the rest of the people in the world feel for all those effected. The good part is also people drawing together to support each other.

 

We are, after all, one human species. Where we are different is cosmetic. We do not all look alike, but that makes us more interesting. We worship god/goddess in different ways. But there is only one god/goddess. We walk different paths but they lead to the same place–to Divinity. Some people don’t walk a path to Divinity and that is fine also.

 

 

We have the same basic needs as human beings. We need sleep, good health, exercise, food and hydration to live our lives here on this one planet with one body. This is it. This is as good as it gets. Sometimes, it is really awful and sometimes life can be the sweetest most beautiful experience we will ever have.

 

Do we react by adding to the hatred? Do we allow anger and injustice to destroy our lives? We only get one life here on this one planet. It is sad to waste this life on hating and anger.

 

Change can only come on the wings on love, acceptance, freedom from fear and injustice. Change comes to us who have open arms and will embrace it. Change comes to those of us that want kindness, gentleness, passion, thoughtfulness in our lives. Change comes when those who are exhibiting free speech, understand some may be put off. I see and hear things that are off-putting to me. I bet most of you have had the same experience. People make fun of everything. To have free speech, you can’t control what is said around you.

 

The camaraderie from the pain of recent events have brought us together, but we don’t stay together. We came together after 9-11, but even with thousands of lives lost, we didn’t stay together.

 

So One World, One Life, One love is the award for seeing not the differences between us but seeing how we need each other, how we can work together to make the world a better place. We can fight poverty, illiteracy, crime, illness together. Everyone wins when we work together.

 

Open your heart and keep it open. Forgive, reach out in love, be a friend, be understanding, show compassion and kindness. Know that change is coming and it starts with each of us.

 

There is no God, but that which is God.

Namaste

 

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  Give our One World a Chance.           

Bob Marley quote

Bob Marley quote

 

 

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Bob Marley quote

Bob Marley quote   

The Long Term Effects of Violence


We are now living in a coarse society filled with violence, intolerance and hatred. Can we live with these influences without harm to our psyche? I think not. Must we always agree? No. Can we speak our truth? Yes.

 

It is important that we as individuals talk about our issues and points of disagreement. Is there damage from a violent society? Yes. I know this because there is damage left from violence in families and homes. I worked in Domestic Violence for over two score years, and counseled at Rape Crisis. I worked as a psych nurse for years. I am going to share a story of how long the effects can last.

 

One night, I was passing meds on my forty-two-bed lock down unit. I was in the hallway when I heard crying and indistinct words. I went into the room and both patients were in their beds and no one else was there. One woman was crying and screaming. Sobbing is more accurate. I was surprised because this woman had been in a catatonic state for many years. She never spoke.

 

I walked to her bed and said her name softly. She was in the middle of a dream. She was crying and saying, ” No, stop. I won’t do it.” “Don’t let them do it.” I lowered her bed rail and climbed up into her bed. I held her in my arms and crooned that she was safe and no one would hurt her now. I gently rocked as I held her and let her cry out her pain and fear. I listened carefully and was shocked at what I heard.

 

Slowly, she stopped crying and talking. I gently placed her back on her mattress. I was the one crying now. I wiped my tears quickly away, while putting the side rail back up. She appeared to be sleeping normally now. I could still feel the warmth of her body on my arms. Her tears were on my arms also.

 

I breathed deeply and finished passing meds. I was quiet and replaying her words over and over in my head. When I was done, I locked up the med cart in the med room and went back to her room where I found her sound asleep and quiet.

 

I returned to the nurse’s desk and pulled her chart to document the incident but first I read her social history. She had been married, not a surprise. Her husband was a long distance truck driver. According to the social workers’ notes, he had physically abused her and he had made her have sex with other men while he watched.

 

I felt sick. She had had a life full of violence, humiliation and sexual abuse. I was glad that I had been outside of her room when she was having the nightmare. I am glad that I had held her and comforted her because it seemed she hadn’t had much comfort in her life. Catatonic. She was at a better place than this world had been to her.

 

Checking dates and doing the math, these horrible experiences had happened about thirty years prior. I was sure this wasn’t the first nightmare she had had. It was just the first one I had witnessed.

 

Thirty years later, there was still enough painful damage to give her nightmares. To make her cry and talk. To beg not to let the men hurt her. This is an example of the damage done to a human psyche. Damage that destroyed this woman and left her very scarred.

 

I am sharing this story because we harm each other. We cause pain and suffering. There are long lasting effects for all of us. This is why we need to think of others. We need to create love, kindness, and acceptance in this world. We need compassion, forgiveness and understanding. We need to change us and our worlds. We need to put the positive energy into the world.

 

We need to expect the positive to come to our lives. We need to accept the positive and to be grateful for it. We need to breathe, open our hearts and let all the positive goodness flow out from us into the world. It will change our lives for the better and we will not be victim to the pain.

 

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We are all part of one human family.

We are all part of one human family.

 

May Peace Prevail

May Peace Prevail

 

The parts of a happy life.

The parts of a happy life.

 

Focus on the positive

Focus on the positive

My Message in a Bottle


To whomever finds my message:

I have filled this bottle with Love, Peace, Patience, Compassion, Empathy, Gratitude, Beauty, Forgiveness and Kindness.

I believe that when we sow the seed of these ideas with words and plant them in the soil of life and add water and sunlight, we can grow Peace.  Peace is the trunk of the Tree of Life.

If, every day, every person performed one Peaceful act, shared beauty with one other person, shared forgiveness with one who needs it, then we would have the beginnings of the Peace we need.

Everyday that you touch someone else with kindness, with compassion and peace, you make an imprint on their heart and on their soul that will gradual help them find their way to a life lived in peaceful harmony with everyone in the world.

This could erase racism, sexism, ageism, all forms of bigotry and the violence that comes from it.

There are people who are haters, and bullies.  These people need our kindness and empathy perhaps more than other people, because bullying comes from insecurity and troubled minds and the inability to know how to be kind.

Statistically, 97% of American families are dysfunctional to some degree.  But what I know and have experienced is that with self-compassion, self-understanding, self-love, everyone can learn to grow beyond what traumatized or hurt them, and continue on their way to a life filled with kindness and peace.

You may know someone who has had a very difficult life, and you can make a difference in their life by living your peace, your empathy, your forgiveness, your gratitude, and they can learn from your example and from living within the light of your being.

After a while, someone who carries darkness and hatred and negativity and violence within themselves can be changed by the daily dose of gratitude, love, acceptance, peace, empathy, and kindness that touches their heart and soul even if they don’t want it to.  These gifts are much stronger than the negativity within any soul.

Please open my bottle and spread the contents around.  You won’t be sorry.

May peace fill all of your lives.

 

Namaste,

Barbara

 

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Bottle floating on the Ocean. Charcoal drawing by Barbara Mattio Copyright 2009

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To Heal the Whole


Let us be united,

Let us speak in harmony;

Let our minds apprehend alike.

Common be our prayer;

Common be the end of our assembly;

Common be our resolution;

Common be our deliberations.

Alike be our feelings;

Unified be our hearts,

Common be our intentions;

Perfect be our unity.   —From the Rig Veda, Hindu scripture

 

 

This is not thinking about humans being carbon copies of each other but that we all unify around love, kindness, compassion, gratitude and forgiveness. No matter what country you live in or what religion or spiritual path you follow, no matter your skin color, we are all one. Our planet is not divided. It is whole and beautiful, though damaged due to our not being good stewards. It is us who have divided, sectioned off, and formed boundaries out of human blood. For this is a big part of what war accomplishes.

 

We are in a time of great imbalance on our planet, and again we have no other planet. Mother Earth is reflecting the imbalance within ourselves. We need to heal humankind. There is no one who does not have their own inner traumas and psychological problems. We are not separate from this wonderful planet. We are totally  part of the living Earth, and we must recognize that isolated health is an illusion. Healing ourselves and working  to resolve the contradictions in the human-Earth ecology is the same work. And it is work, hope and love that will bring us to success.

 

All healing involves making whole again. For many people who have lived with violence or trauma, they feel it is just them and the rest of the world is whole and mentally healthy. I have heard this many hundreds of times from patients. This leads them to feel marginalized and not part of the mainstream. In truth, we all need healing of one sort or another. We all need each other.

 

All healing involves making ourselves and our world whole again. We need to resolve the contradictions that exist between self and other, body and spirit, mind and nature.

 

We need to relearn that we belong to the whole. We need to know that we are not encapsulated, self-enclosed entities, but we are fields of energy integrated with the environment.

 

Everything we do transforms and reshapes the world. Because our actions can destroy, they can also heal. There is no distinction between our physical lives and the work of our spirits.

 

 

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  Like it or not, we are all one beautiful, intelligent species

Mother Earth

Mother Earth 

I Forgive You


Sacred writings usually show God as a forgiving God. The unity of the religions each show a different side of Divinity. When I was a child, I tried to grasp forgiveness. I was suspicious of why I should forgive. I had and have an alert which goes off in the face of hypocrisy and injustice. They are  the two things which I cannot tolerate. So, of course, the Universe gives me opportunities to practice forgiveness. Practice brings a healing to yourself. This is something most people don’t realize:  forgiving another heals us.

 

Buddha told a story of a man who had been slighted and who was angry with justice.  Buddha stated that the man decided he was going to remain angry. Time passed and he held on tightly to his anger. It began to worm itself into his heart and soul.  He became a different man. He was bitter, resentful and filled with hatred. Buddha says that anger that we hold on to  is like holding onto a hot piece of charcoal in our hands. The anger tightens the hold the hand has on the burning charcoal. The result is that you are left with a terrible burnt palm. The anger has left you scarred and damaged. The person who needs to be forgiven has no idea that anything has happened. Whether he feels sorry or not for the original action, has no effect on the outcome. The only thing that would change the situation would be the words, I forgive you.

 

In the Torah, there are instances of Moses talking with G-d and reminding him that he promised to forgive his people.  “Pardon  the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of your mercy, as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now. G-d’s answer was I have pardoned according to your word.” These words of forgiveness by G-d  become the central theme of the Jewish High Holidays. These holidays are coming up in September. Because of God’s forgiveness the Jewish people, despite its shortcomings, exists to this very day.

 

This is relevant to today because we so often hear news stories where forgiveness is the major point. I remember when the Pope forgave Ali Mehmet who shot him in Rome. It raised  tremendous controversy. Studies actually show that it is more life-changing to forgive than to be forgiven. There are many stories, though, of people who are forgiven changing their lives and becomiing the person they were meant to be.

 

One such story, is about  an idealistic California college student who won a Fulbright Scholarship to travel to South Africa to assist the anti-apartheid movement; she went there and was murdered by a black mob during a riot. Her parents grieved for years, then decided that they should honor the work that their daughter had been so dedicated to. So they quit their jobs, sold their home and walked away from their comfortable middle class life. Eventually, the parents met two of their daughter’s killers. The two men, who have been pardoned, tried to atone for their actions by doing public service for a foundation the parents established in their daughter’s name. The parents forgave the two killers and they became friends, and the young men now call the mother, “Mom.”

 

Forgiving what has been done to you,  and offering forgiveness for what you have done to another, is a concept that needs to be remembered and chosen in today’s world. It is a life-changing experience to decide to forgive. It is an important act to do in your life. It is one of the things we have moved away from in this so-called modern world. We have also left behind generosity, compassion, kindness, and gentleness. When we begin to put these concepts back into our lives, we will be on the road to peace. Peace within ourselves and throughout the entire world.

 

 

 

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Don;t let the sun go down on your anger. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2012. Sunset in the Caribbean.

Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2012. Sunset in the Caribbean.

 

 

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The Essential Wisdom of the Dalai Lama


The Dalai Lama is a very special person. He is the political and spiritual leader of Tibet which was taken from the Tibetan people by the Chinese. They say that having at one time owned Tibet, they do now also. I think it is kind of like Russia saying they own the Ukraine. Greed for land and minerals and egos are behind these actions. Tibet was invaded by the Chinese back in the fifties and a teenaged Dalai Lama was secreted out of the country and took refuge in India. Many Tibetan people left with the Dalai Lama and in the weeks and months thereafter. The Dalai Lama was the spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhist religion. The temples were invaded and monks and nuns were tortured, raped and murdered. The world stood by and watched it happen. They really had nothing to make them valuable to the rest of the world, so the country was devastated.

 

 

I have met him back in the eighties and I found him to be a wonderful spirit with a good sense of humor, and a sincere and peaceful energy. It would be so easy for him to be angry, resentful or to have turned away from his faith. Instead, I found a man of peace, a man who worries about his people, and a man who has never held any grudges against the countries who didn’t come to the aid of his people. His teachings are wise, peaceful and full of compassion. We are so lucky to have him and his wonderful spirit here in the world. I believe he is the source of much positive energy that fights the darkness that is also here.

 

It amazes me that a country at the top of the world would have been worth stealing from its people. To seal the immoral bargain, the Chinese people were moved into Tihet and encouraged to marry Tibetans. People who didn’t always have a choice. It is a form of genocide because  there will be fewer and fewer people who can claim they are of Tibetan ancestry.

 

The Dalai Lama has taught and spread his message all over the world and he is seldom still, except in meditation. I thought I would share some of his teachings with all of you. No matter what path you follow, you can add these teachings. They do not contradict any other teachings.

 

 

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“Love, compassion, and concern for others are real sources of happiness. With these in abundance, you will not be disturbed by even the most uncomfortable circumstances. If you nurse hatred, however, you will not be happy even in the lap of luxury. Thus, if we really want happiness. we must widen the sphere of love. This is both religious thinking and basic common sense.”

 

” Unless our minds are stable and calm, no matter how comfortable our physical condition may be, they will give is no pleasure. Therefore, the key to a happy life, now and in the future, is to develop a happy mind.”

 

“If the basic human nature was aggressive, we would have been born with animal claws and huge teeth—but our are very short, very pretty, very weak! That means we are not well equipped to be aggressive beings. Even the size  of our mouth is very small. So I think the basic nature of human beings should be gentle.”

 

“Anger cannot be overcome by anger. If a person shows anger to you, and you show anger in return, the result is a disaster. In contrast, if you control your anger and show its opposite—love, compassion, tolerance, and patience—then not only will you remain in peace, but the anger of others also will gradually diminish.”

 

“As people alive today, we must consider future generations: a clean environment is a human right like any others to ensure that the world we pass on is as healthy, if not healthier, than we found it. ”

 

 

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“Tibet is distinguished by its extraordinary geography, the unique race and language of its people, and the rich culture they have developed over 2,100 years of recorded history. approximately six million Tibetans populate our country, which covers around 2.5 million square Kilometers, an area the size of Western Europe. In the Tibetan culture, our relations with nature, including animals, were very peaceful. We lived in great harmony with nature. At its foundation and thereafter, after the arrival of Buddhism in Tibet, Tibetan society in general was characterized by compassion and openness. It was a society where people felt at ease. For those reasons I believe it might serve as an example.”

 

“Fundamentally, the issue of Tibet is political. It is an issue of colonial rule: the oppression of Tibet by the  People’s Republic of China and resistance to that rule by the people of Tibet. This issue can be resolved only through negotiations and not, as China would have it, through force, intimidation and population transfer.”

 

” Violations of human rights in Tibet have a distinct character. Such abuses are aimed at Tibetian as a people from asserting their own identity and their wish to preserve it. Thus, human rights violations in Tibet are often the result of institutionalized racial and cultural discrimination.”

 

 

             This is a short prayer written by the Dalai Lama

 

For as long as space endures,

And for as long as living beings remain.

Until then may I, too, abide

To dispel the misery of the world.

 

 

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 The Buddha

 

 

The Dalhai Lama and his wise and love filled words.

The Dalai Lama and his wise and love filled words.

 

 

What is dying inside of you?

What is dying inside of you?