A Clean Slate


 

White butterflies, with single

black fingerpaint eyes on their wings,

dart and settle, eddy and mate

over the green tangle of vines

in Labor Day morning stream.

 

The year grinds into ripeness

and rot, grapes darkening,

pears yellowing, the first

Virginia creeper twining crimson,

the grasses, dry straw to burn.

 

The New Year rises, beckoning

across the umbrellas on the sand.

I begin to reconsider my life.

What is the yield of my impatience?

What is the fruit of my resolve?

 

I turn from my frantic white dance

over the jungle of productivity

and slowly niggun slides,

cold water down my throat.

I rest on a leaf spotted red.

 

Now is the time to let the mind

search backwards like the raven loosed

to see what can feed us. Now,

the time to cast the mind forward

to chart an aerial map of the months.

 

The New Year is a great door

that stands across the evening and Yom

Kippur is the second door. Between them

are song and silence, stone and clay pot

to be filled from within myself.

 

I will find there both ripeness and rot,

what I have done and undone,

what I must let go with the waning days

and what I must take in. With the last

tomatoes, we harvest the fruit of our lives.

 

—Marge Piercy, feminist poet and author, from The Art of Blessing the Day

 

 

“God does not predetermine whether a person shall be righteous or wicked that God leaves to us.”

—Midrash Tanchuma, Pekdei 3

 

A Composition of Excerpts


Images of the goddess

Images of the goddess

Beyond God the Father (excerpt)

Why indeed must “God” be a noun? Why not a verb—the most active and dynamic of all? Hasn’t the naming of “God” as a noun been an act of murdering that dynamic Verb? And isn’t the Verb infinitely more personal than a mere static pronoun?  The anthropomorphic symbols for God may be intended to convey personality, but they fail to convey that God is Be-ing. Women now who are experiencing the shock of non-being and the surge of self-affirmation against this are included to perceive transcendence as the Verb in which we particapate—live, move, and have our being.   —Mary Daly

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The Divine Spiral  (excerpt)

The importance of the Goddess symbol for women cannot be overstressed. The image of the Goddess,  inspires women to see ourselves as divine, our bodies as sacred, the changing phases of our lives as holy, our aggression as healthy, our anger as purifying, and our power to nurture and create, but also to limit and destroy when necessary,  as the very force that sustains all life. Through the Goddess, we can discover our strength,  enlighten our minds, own our bodies, and celebrate our emotions. We can move beyond narrow, constricting roles and become whole.

The Goddess is also important for men. The oppression of men in Father God-ruled patriarchy is perhaps less obvious but no less tragic than that of women. Men are encouraged to identify with a model no human being can successfully emulate: to be minirulers of narrow universes. They are internally split, into a “spiritual” self that is supposed to conquer their baser animal and emotional natures. They are at war with themselves in the West, to “conquer” sin, in the East, to “conquer” desire or ego. Few escape from these wars undamaged.

—Starhawk

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Meditations with Julian of Norwich  (excerpt)

God wants to be thought of

as our Lover

I must see myself so bound in love

as if everything that has been done

has been done for me.

That is to say,

the Love of God makes such a unity

in us

that when we see this unity

no one is able to separate oneself

from another

—Julian of Norwich

May the goddesses bring love and peace to all hearts and peace to all souls

May the goddesses bring love and peace to all hearts and peace to all souls

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A Friday for Gratitude


Ashville botanical gardens Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2013

Ashville botanical gardens
Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2013

I love flowering trees Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2013

I love flowering trees
Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2013

href=”https://idealisticrebel.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=3471″ rel=”attachment wpatt-3471″>Kite flying on the beach  Photograph taken and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2013 Kite flying on the beach
Photograph taken and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2013[/caption]

I think they look so peaceful. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2013

I think they look so peaceful. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2013

Blue Ridge Mountain  Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2013

Blue Ridge Mountain
Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2013

woodland stream. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2012

woodland stream. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2012

 

I dedicated my day today to gratitude. I have been listing in my head all I have to be grateful for and I have smiled all day. I think it may have made some people nervous. LOL. Actually, I try to be always grateful but I kept my gratitude in the forefront of my mind. Sometimes we just need to change things around a bit. It is wonderful to be more aware of what is going on around you. And to make sure you have a calm and peaceful center.

 

Sometimes it is good to look at an old recipe and to see it with fresh ideas. You can turn that old favorite into a tremendous dish. It works the same for family and friends. We love them and they are always there but it is a form of meditation to look at them with new eyes. To really contemplate all they mean to you each and every day.

 

I encourage you to try a dedicated day for gratitude and see if it isn’t a loving, eye opening experience. I hope you enjoy your day and find yourself smiling at the world also.

 

 

 

 

A Day For Contemplation


Love in the World

Love in the World

Roaming in Thought

“Roaming in thought over the Universe, I saw the little that is Good steadily hastening towards immorality, And the vast all that is call’d Evil I saw hastening to merge itself and become lost and dead.”                                                                                                          –Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

The Snow Light

In the snow light,
In the swan light,
In the white-on-white light
of a winter storm,
my delight and your delight
Kept each other warm.

The next afternoon
and love gone so soon!-
I met myself alone
In a windless calm,
Silenced at the bone
After the white storm.

What more was to come?
Out from the cocoon,
in the silent room,
pouring our white light,
amaryllis bloom
opened in the night.

The cool petals shone
like some winter moon
or shadow of a swan,
echoing the light
after you were gone
Of our white-on-white.”
—May Sarton

One Life

“A woman walking in a walker on the cliffs
recalls great bodily joys, much pain.
Nothing in her is apt to say
my heart aches, though she read those words
in a battered college text, this morning
as the sun rose. It is all too
mixed, the heart too mixed with laughter
raucousing the grief, her life
too mixed, she shakes her heavy
silvered hair at all the fixed
declarations of baggage. I should be dead and I’m alive
don’t ask me how; I don’t eat like I should
and still I like how the drop of vodka
hits the tongue. I was a worker and a mother,
that means a worker and a worker
but for one you don’t pay union dues
or get a pension; for the other
the men ran the union, we ran the home.
It was terrible and good, we had more than half a life,
I had four lives at least, one out of marriage
when I kicked up all the dust I could
before I know what I was doing.
One life with the girls on the line during the war,
yes, painting our legs and jitterbugging together
one life with a husband, not the worst,
one with your children, none of it just what you’d thought.
We took what we could.
But even this is a life, I’m reading a lot of books
I never read, my daughter brought home from school,
plays where you can almost hear them talking,
Romantic poets, Isaac Babel. A lot of lives
worse and better than what I knew. I’m walking again.
My heart doesn’t ache; sometimes though it rages.”                       —–Adrienne Rich

Gayan

“if you will go forward to find Us, We will come forward to receive you.
Give Us all you have, and We shall give you all We possess.
In man We have designed Our image; in woman We have finished it.
In man We have shown Our nature benign; in woman We have expressed Our art divine.
Make God a reality, and God will make you the truth.
Give all you have, and take all that is given to you.”                                      —excerpted from The Complete Sayings; Hazrat Inayat Khan

The receipe is to add positive energy to the negativity you find.

The recipe is to add positive energy to the negativity you find.

I am love

I am love

Be free, be lovePhoto by Barbara Mattio

Be free, be love
Photo by Barbara Mattio

The Magic of this Lifetime


Flowers and Photography by Barbara Mattio

” Full of life now, compact, visible,
I, forty years old the eighty-third year of the States,
To one a century hence or any number of centuries hence,
To you yet unborn these, seeking you.
When you read these I that was visible am become invisible,
Now it is you, compact, visible, realizing my poems, seeking me,
Fancying how happy you were if I could be with you and become your comrade;
Be it as if I were with you. ( Be not too certain but I am now with you.)

 

—–Walt Whitman
Laws of Creation

Humanity under a magnifying glass, an experience of telescoping time, sensual and direct. These describe Whitman’s writings.  His vision of people was democratic, nonjudgmental and filled with the width and breadth of human existence.
During Whitman’s lifetime, he looked at America as an idea and a nation.
He lived during great revolution, poverty and war.

Whitman was one of the American poets who saw the reality of the past and the allure of the future. He was a man capable of introspection and contemplation which fueled his poetry. His poetry has a flow and a music which starts slowly and builds to a crescendo of joy, ecstasy, and love.

Myrtle Beach, SC, Photo by Barbara Mattio

Whitman had an uncanny way to perceive the truth in life, our nation and the people he met in his many travels. His love and clear seeing and thinking led him to say:  ” I sing the body electric.”

I think we could do much worse in 2012, than to read and/or meditate upon his words and what they could mean in our lives.

The Joy That Isn’t Shared


All photography by Barbara Mattio

I woke this morning and went out on my front porch and was greeted by the fragrance and beauty of my garden. I ate breakfast sitting on the porch with the sun caressing my body filling me with vitamin D. A small plane flew overhead and I remembered flying over my house my self one time. A dragonfly lazily visited the blooms and my heart filled with joy and gratitude for my life. I also
thought about the people all over the world going about their lives, some filled with joy, some with injustice and oppression. Joy needs to be shared because it fills the soul with hope. Hope is a very real gift to a human soul.

Welcome Morning

“There is joy
in all;
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning.
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that hears my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry “hello there, Anne”
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window.
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.
The joy that isn’t shared, I’ve heard,
dies young.

—Anne Sexton

All photography by Barbara Mattio

All photography by Barbara Mattio