Autumn in a Garden

“An evolution of color fills
The spaces made green
Under original creation.
Red sun veiled silver.

In a moment, we will
be closer, in a moment the question is answered
by a death. It floats down, brushing my hand swirling
a slight fog.

You lost your father
in a dream just yesterday,
Saw him crawl with his face
In the dirt and the night
suck him up and away.”

———- Ken Sonnenberg

Harvest Moon

Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast

As I started working on this post, it was just to be the last of the history I had of the Turner Family before we moved on to the 1900s. Little did I know that it would end up being so much more for us.

During my initial research, I had found a number of documents at the Library of Virginia on Belle Grove and the families that called it home. One of those documents was a copy of a Presidential Pardon from President Andrew Johnson to Carolinus Turner for his connection to the rebellious uprising of the South. I would later find out that the original copy is stored in the archives of the King George Library. Currently the King George Library is undergoing some remodeling so I have not been able to visit and view any of their archives.

One thing that has eluded me has been what…

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Solitary  Holden beach, North Carolina’ Photo by Barbara Mattio

Solitude is a state of being which some people crave and some people are very uncomfortable with. There was a time in my life when solitude was difficult for me. I have always been a people person. I found though that solitude is necessary to find out who I was as a woman.  Solitude is something I enjoy now and also find to be necessary to my life. Even if everything is going well and I feel that I am in a good space, I need to spend time within. We all need to spend time alone with ourselves.  This is the purpose of spiritual retreats. Time spent in silence with yourself and time to discover the woman within. This is a journey everyone needs to make at some time in their lives.

Life today is busier than ever. Sometimes I think we are addicted to the constant hustle and bustle. We feel lost when there is nothing to do. Some feel shame if they can’t complain about how busy they are. Busy doesn’t help you to get to know yourself or others in your family. Getting to know ourselves is a project and a journey. It is a wonderful journey that leads you to meet the inner you. Solitude gives you the chance to discover what really interests you and what you may be doing to please others and not yourself.

I believe we need to know who we are to love ourselves. Loving ourselves is an important part of being a child of the Universe. As human beings,  we often don’t realize that if you don’t love yourself, you are incapable of truly loving another. Human love is given to us to teach us how to love the Divine. Divinity is in every sentient being  and it is essential for us to learn all we can about love. Not sex, not marrying well, but the love of one soul for another. This shows us how The love of Divinityexpresses its love for its creation.

The journey to finding ourselves can be the beginning of a psychological adventure story and a thrilling mystery.  Some can do this by attending a retreat of silence. Some can do it with regular meditation. Some have sold what they own and have gone to another country or area of the country to discover who they are. Away from all of the voices, telling us who we are, we can discover our true selves.

I have a nephew who walked the entire Appalacian Trail, with only what he could carry easily. I made him a medicine bag to take with him. What he discovered was the man he really was. He says it could never have happened if he hadn’t had the solitude of walking the trail. What I have seen is a young man whose life has blossomed with new adventures, new job and even marriage at 40 years of age. He just makes me smile when I think of him.

I met myself during retreats of silence. My childhood had contained experiences which I thought had changed the person I was supposed to be. What I discovered in the silence, was that I was exactly as I was when I was born. Pure white light. Not damaged. Stronger and beginning to learn to love myself.

Usually, it is a number of experiences which are uncomfortable or frightening to us which triggers a need for silence. I believe it is one of the reasons I enjoy the mountains and beach so much. I love the solitude and I love the activity. I have learned to create balance for myself in my life. I have been on a mountain top under the stars on a full moon dancing with others and I have hiked alone with my camera to document the beauty of this life.

If you are dreaming of escaping to somewhere else to find yourself, perhaps this is a gift you should give to yourself. I know that you will come back very different and yet more real and authentic in who you are as a child of the Universe. Will people think you are crazy? Perhaps. Will they ridicule you?  Many may. The richness of the inner treasure you find will be worth all of that and you will have a much stronger relationship with yourself and with The One. Life will unveil itself to you and you will know where you are to be going and how to get there. Be courageous. Be Wild. Be everything you were meant to be.

Love and Peace Instead of War

Mother Teresa stated, ” Works of love are always works of peace.”

When and where there is God, there is peace. He/she pours their love for us and peace flows over us and within us. Divine love always pours joy and peace into our hearts. My prayer is to be led from despair to hope, from fear to trust, from hate to love, and from war to peace. Our world, our universe is Peace, Peace, Peace.

It cannot exist with war, hate and violence. Every day, we make choices about the world we create around us.

We all have the right to be at peace and happy. We were created to have this life of peace. We can each have peace in our world without causing pain or suffering to others. We each have a responsibility to use what we have been given to create peace. There is no other higher pleasure than to create peace and have that peace in your life create a ripple effect and flow out to touch others in positive ways.

We need to love one another as The One loves each of us. Accepting that love and using it to bring peace into your life will bring peace to those around you. As they feel covered and immersed in peace, it will flow out of their lives and will touch an ever larger group of people. It is a beautiful thing to see and experience.

Peace Plea

Please, protect my child.
Please, protect other mothers’ children.
Please, give me peace.
Please, give other mothers peace.
Please, give the world peace and justice.
This is the peace only you can give.”

————Karen Lavin

Days of Awe

We are at the time of the year called The Days of Awe. The Jewish nation celebrates their highest holy days. Rosh Hashanah Is the celebration of the new year. According to the Jewish calendar it is now the year 5773. These holy days continue for ten days and end with Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement and ends the new year celebration. What is so amazing about the Day of Atonement is that sins are personal but also communal.

The Yom Kippur eve service begins with Kol Nidre prayer. It is known as a formula to release Jews from foolish vows. Historically, it has released Jews from vows to worship in another way than how they have worshiped G-d for millenia. The Spanish Inquisition is one of these times.

In Judiasm, sins are more than the Ten Commandments and encompass a lack of compassion, good works, community involvement.

“O G-d, forgive our rich nation where small babies die of cold quite legally,
O G-d, forgive our rich nation where small children suffer from hunger quite legally,
O G-d, forgive our rich nation where toddlers and school children die from guns sold quite legally,
O G-d, forgive our rich nation that lets children be the poorest group of citizens quite legally,
O G-d, forgive our rich nation that lets the rich continue to get more at the expense of the poor quite legally,
O G-d, forgive our rich nation which thinks security rests in missiles rather than in mothers, and in bombs rather than in babies,
O G-d,forgive our rich nation for not giving You sufficient thanks by giving to others their daily bread.
O G-d, help us never to confuse what is quite legal with what is just and right in your sight.
—-Marian Wright Edelman

Sim Shalom—A Prayer for Peace

Let us live in peace, G-d,
Let children live in peace, in homes free from brutality and abuse.
Let them go to school in peace, free from violence and fear.
Let them play in peace, G-d, in safe parks and safe neighborhoods; watch over them.
Let husbands and wives love in peace, in marriages free from cruelty.
Let men and women go to work in peace, with no fears of terror or bloodshed.
Let us travel in peace; protect us, G-d, in the air, on the seas, along whatever road we take.
Let nations dwell together in peace, without the threat of war hovering over them.
Help us, G-d. Teach all people of all races and faiths, in all the countries all over the world to believe that the peace that seems so far off is in fact within our reach.
Let us all live in peace, O G-d. And let us say, Amen

—–Rabbi Naomi Levy

As the day progresses, names are asked to be added to the Book of Life for another year. There is a feeling of the closing of the Gates of Heaven. The last blast of the Shofar is heard.

” The sun goes down, the shadows rise,
The day of G-d is near its close.
.Lord, crown our work before the night:
At eventide let there be light.”

May the New Year be sweet for all Jews everywhere in the world. Shalom to all people in the world.

My Favorite Seagull

My home town

My first seagull was Johnathan Livingston Seagull. He really is a book by Richard Bach and my copy is from 1970 and is barely holding together. So I have read it, over and over. Johnathan is a seagull who doesn’t always fit in with the flock. He also questions things and he thinks.

Here in America, we have been victims of a dumbing down of the masses. We are not supposed to think or question what the government or society is doing. We are to believe what we are told. This concept never sat well with me. I am the kind of person who, to this day, likes to question, contemplate and find out the ‘real” truth.

Johnathan was a part of his flock and sailed on the wind currents as he had been taught to do. He and his friends would soar and play and life was good, except that he wondered if there might not be something more to life. He made the decision to see is he could fly higher than what the flock usually flew. So he made the decision to start off as usual but to attempt to fly higher and higher. He had separated from the rest of the flock and decided to try to fly higher in the moonlight. He flew to a thousand feet at full power and went into a vertical dive straight down. It wasn’t perfect the first time and he had to put in a lot of hard work and use all of his strength. He would soar downward at seventy miles an hour and end up soaking wet in the ocean. He continued to climb higher and higher and to descend faster. Then he crashed and was unconsciousness.

He had hit the water at ninety miles an hour.  When he awoke he was floating on the surface of the ocean. As he floated he heard an inner voice that told him he was a limited seagull. If he had been meant to fly higher and faster, he wouldn’t be a mere seagull. He heard a voice telling him to go back to the flock and make himself fit in and stop trying to be better.

As he took off, he went to five thousand feet and he forgot his vow to himself to go back to the flock. He practiced non-stop until later in the day and he had developed his style and he was proud he had conquered his fear.

The Gull Council called for a meeting and Johnathan was called to the middle of the Council to face charges and he realized someone must have seen him practicing this morning. He was told to stand in the center for Shame. He was devastated and he was told that he was facing charges of irresponsibility and violating the dignity and tradition of the Gull family.

He improved himself and could teach the others, but his defense fell on deaf and judgmental ears. How often in life, does someone have a dream, and works, sacrifices and accomplishes his/her dream. They fight family and society and friends but make themselves and the world better.

Johnathan sadly accepted his punishment. He was Outcast. He went out a ways gliding just as a seagull is supposed to do. He was then joined by two gulls and he began to fly level and then to fly higher. They kept up with him and he asks them who they were.  He was told, ” You have learned. One school is finished, and the time has come for another to begin.”

Johnathan looked around and said, ” I’m ready.” Johnathan rose with the other two gulls and flew up into a dark sky. Johnathan found himself in heaven and his outward glowing with light just like his companions.

When he asked about Heaven they told him, “Heaven was not a place, or a time. It is being perfect.” “You will begin to touch heaven, Johnathan, in the moment that you touch perfect speed.” They further explained that flying at a certain speed was a limit. They told him that perfect speed was just being there. Being there.

What a wonderful thought for me. A woman who never was satisfied with what I was told to think and to feel. So many times my questions and realizations that events or considerations made no logical sense. There were times I thought that if I heard, ‘Just do as I say,” I would scream and I knew I would never stop. So I tried to live my life as fully as I could. I worked to make a better place and chose not to live my life according to “the rules.” I could do more and learn more and I , like Johnathan, could soar. Has it been easy? No, it hasn’t. But the inner voice of Divinity guided me every time and no, I didn’t always listen but as I grew in maturity and inner strength, I almost always do now.

“Each of us is in truth an idea of the Great Gull, and unlimited idea of freedom.”
This sentence made me realize that we are all meant to be free. We are to be free and soar to meet with Divinity and to become all that we were meant to be. With Divinity inside, nothing can stop us but ourselves. I am not talking about doing unethical or immoral things, but the things that help us to become more and live fuller than most people can even conceive of. Johnathan was told he was a thousand years ahead of his time. This is okay. We will bring the rest of humanity kicking and screaming behind us and the world will have a jump in consciousness. Perhaps, one day we can bring everyone to a life of freedom, forgiveness, joy, compassion and love for all of our fellow sentient beings.

So I share my favorite seagull whenever I can and now I share him with you. I hope you will find him as inspiring as I did.

Seagull at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Photo by Barbara Mattio

Soaring seagull over Lake Erie Photo by Barbara Mattio

The Passing of an Icon

My heart is heavy as I heard of the passing of one of the great feminist leaders of our time. Adrienne Rich was a feminist and a poet. She authored the book ” Of Woman Born ” and many books of poetry.

Adrienne was born in 1929. In the 1960’s her poetry took a turn from the more traditional style to a radical feminist format. She wrote about how poetry can break isolation,she  reminded us of creating beauty where there is no beauty and  reminded us of our Sisterhood.

From a Survivor

The pact that we made was the ordinary pact
of men and women in those days
I don’t know who we thought we were
that our personalities
could resist the failures of the race
Lucky or unlucky, we didn’t know the race had failures of that order
and that we were going to share them
Like everybody else, we thought of ourselves as special
Your body is as vivid to me as it ever was;
even more since my feeling for it is clearer;
I know what it could do and could not do
it is no longer the body of a god or anything
with power over my life
Next year it would have been 20 years
and you are wastefully dead
who might have make the leap we talked,
too late, of making which I live now not as a leap
but a succession of brief, amazing
movements each one making possible the next.”

—–Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich described her poetry as political and as personal. One of her poems, “Power ” speaks of how women find it very difficult to grab onto and to raise up their talents and successes and dreams. In “Power.” she speaks of Marie Curie, the scientist.

“She died a famous woman denying
her wounds
her wounds came from the same source
as her power.”
This is from one of her books of poetry called, “The Dream of a Common Language; Poems 1974-1977.

So I say goodbye to a heroine and icon and I will end with this excerpt from her poem “Translations.”

You show me the poems of some woman
my age, or younger
translated from your language

Certain words occur; enemy, oven, sorrow
enough to let me know
she’s a woman of my time.”

Thank you for your contributions to the cause of women’s rights and RIP.

Kinds of Light and Their Purpose

Light is a quality which allows us to see the details of a situation and to examine it completely.  With light there is shadow. Shadow can be elusive and mysterious. Shadow can create comfort or hide wickedness.

I, myself, love the play of light and shadow across a landscape or a person’s face. I love the lines it can create as well as the greys it gives birth to.

The sun gives us the light and shadow in life. That big orb in the sky which helps all the sentient beings on Mother earth to grow and thrive.  Human beings cling to the sun and its radiant light which is why we will risk much to live on a warm sun drenched beach.

Our Mother Moon also brings light into our nights. And with the light comes shadows. These shadows don’t have the same lines of definition as the lines of day light. Lunar light is soft as the first gentle brush of lips against lips. the shadows are deeper and dense with magic and the hint of intrigue.

Palm leaves, Madagascar desert; Photo by Barbara Mattio

The light which is most important to each of us as human beings is the light of truth and honesty and ethics. The light that sweeps away the shadows of oppression, hatred and violence are important to our well-being as members of the human family. We are all children of the Universe. We all live in light and shadow and both are gifts from the Source.

Friday Flower Fiesta

Cleveland Botanical Gardens; Photo by Barbara Mattio

Cleveland Botanical Gardens; Photo by Barbara Mattio

I like Friday Flower Fiesta. It gives our minds a rest, a small respite from all that is happening in the world. So take a deep breath and I hope my flowers take you away somewhere beautiful and peaceful for a few moments.

Crates and Ribbons

Last night, I attended a public debate hosted by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, on the rights of anti-abortion protestors to campaign outside abortion clinics. The pro-choice half of the panel consisted of Ann Furedi, chief executive of BPAS, and Sarah Ditum, a writer and journalist. The opposing half consisted of Andrea Minichiello Williams, founder of Christian Concern, and Max Wind-Cowie, a writer with centre-right political beliefs.

Both Ann and Sarah gave excellent speeches. While fully supporting the notion of freedom of speech as essential to the exchange of ideas, they argued that freedom of speech does not extend to the right to bully, harass, and intimidate. As Ann asserts, “It is not a kind of charter that allows you to say anything you want, to anyone you want, at any time you want, in any place you want.” And you can be sure that when anti-abortion protestors camp outside…

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