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


I, as usual, will not Support the Next War








BJSquiggeldl1 DL2 DL3 DL4 DL5 DL6 DL7

The Dalai Lama is the Spiritual and Political leader of Tibet. When he was 15, the Chinese came in the night and stole Tibet from the Tibetan people.The Dalai Lama was smuggled out with many residents into India. The Chinese stated that Tibet belongs to them and the world just let them take it.

I have met the Dalai Lama in the late 1980’s. I read a lot of his books.  His energy is gentle. He is witty and forgiving. He has a deep thirst for knowledge.

The Chinese raped and killed many monks  and nuns who stayed in Tibet. Chinese people were brought in to intermarry with the Tibetan people who had chosen to remain in their country of birth. Now their children are Tibetan and Chinese.


The Dalai Lama is a man working for peace and non-violence. Even though the world did not reach out a hand to stop the Chinese, he has forgiven them all. He wrote letters to all the world leaders asking for assistance getting his country back. Not one offered to help. His political headquarters is still in India and even today, Tibetans climb down the mountains and go into India to get away from the Chinese way of life which is not theirs. The world didn’t offer to help because Tibet had nothing the world wanted, no oil, no uranium, no diamonds. So we let China take the home of these non- violent people.


Today the Dalai Lama travels the world giving talks about peace. He is warm and charming. When he dies, they will begin looking for the new Dalai Lama after eighteen months. Once recognized, the new Dalai Lama will be trained to be the new Spiritual and Political leader of Tibet. My hope is that this Dalai Lama lives for quite a while yet. Blessings on his name.




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





February Zentangle. Copyright 2015



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

We can…we will change our one world.

Let’s Get Together and Be All Right





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.






  Give our One World a Chance.           

Bob Marley quote

Bob Marley quote






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.






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.






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



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.




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

Mother Earth

Mother Earth