A New Perspective






Full Poem:


I was not born on the upper rungs of the ladder, though I am white. My paternal grandfather raised a family of eight washing windows and I am so proud of him. He had the work ethic. My maternal grandfather went to Chicago to work during the Depression to support his immediate family and the extended family who crossed over from the old country. He was a tool and dye maker. He sent money home to Cleveland to buy food so my grandmother could cook food and feed all of them. My pride in them as people is immense and I inherited my desire to make the world a better place comes from their example.

In truth, I never talked about people of color. They were there but they weren’t people of color. They were just people we knew. Archie Bunker introduced me to racism, bigotry and hatred.


When I heard this young boy’s poem, I was touched. There are people who get it. And they tell  others and some of them get it and they tell others and on and on. I challenge all of you who are non-haters, non-racists, non-bigots to tell someone who you really are. Speak up. This is the time before we find ourselves in another World War. The world is shaky right now, but we can stabilize it with our voices and our actions.

We can want or even demand that our elected officials stop the racism and hatred, but it truly is our job. This is our world and we are the ones who are responsible for speaking, nay yelling, out the truth. Black Lives Matter, Women are equal even if not legally, refugees deserve compassion and assistance, women deserve equal pay for equal work, Muslims deserve to worship in their own way. Everyone does except for those who feel their way is the only right way and non-believers deserve to die.


I believe we can get past this without a war. I believe that love, peace, forgiveness and compassion is where we  begin.





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       People of color everywhere are friends and share life’s ups and downs.

Friendship – A Journey

In my experience, friendship comes in many forms and different degrees. Some people come into our lives for a season. They are perhaps part of a lesson we have to learn, or a challenge we need to rise up and meet. We also could be part of their lesson.


Some people are acquaintances. We know them and would help them if it were needed but we are comfortable with the amount of the friendship.


There are also close friends. People you trust to be there for you or as it is said, ” they have your back.” And you would always call and suggest lunch knowing that you will have a wonderful time and laughter will fill the afternoon. We all have this type of friends and they are important to our emotional well-being. They may even share stories of embarrassing moments in their lives and in your life. Trouble brings you quickly to each other for help, understanding and acceptance. Sadly, these times also cull out the real friends from the ones who can’t be depended upon. It is good to know these things.


“My friends have made the story of my life. In a thousand ways they have turned my limitations into beautiful privileges, and enabled me to walk serene and happy in the shadow cast by my deprivation. ”   —Helen Keller
” I am treating you as my friend, asking you to share my present minutes in the hope I can ask you to share my future plans.”   —Katherine Mansfield
“Friendship is mutual blackmail elevated to the level of love.”   —Robin  Morgan
” I cannot concentrate all my friendship on any single one of my friends because no one is complete enough in himself.”   —Anais Nin
” We need old friends to help us grow old and new friends to help us stay young.”   —Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Then there are the very lucky who have had the blessing of a best friend. I have been blessed with one. I will tell you a little bit about our story. We have been best friends for thirty-seven years. We have laughed, cried, accepted, warned and loved each other knowing that this friendship will end only when one of us passes on. We also believe it will continue in a different manner in the after-life. Over the years, we have had some funny moments of serendipity between us. We have only lived in the same city together for a short period of time. Yet our communication has never stopped. We have even sent each other the same birthday card. Yes, the exact same card to each other. We have sent each other presents wrapped in the same wrapping paper. We were a thousand miles apart that time and each of us went to the store and purchased the same wrapping paper. This brought about the best of phone conversations. We laughed, cried, and felt our bond strong and healthy. Today, we are crones. We are older when we look into the mirror yet when we see each other we see a flash of speeding images of how the other has looked over the past thirty-seven years. I am going to be finally retiring to her city. I can’t imagine a better way to end this journey of life than by sharing it with her.


The picture you see below is one of us standing on a bridge over a brook at a botanical gardens. I took the shot focusing on the brook and our reflections in the water. It seems to me that this shadowy image will be what we leave here when it is our time to move on. It seemed precious to me.





Reflections in a stream, Botanical Gardens, Asheville, North Carolina                     The reflection of our thirty-nine years of friendship. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2012

Survival of Abuse and other Traumas

So you made it. You left him or her. You won’t ever have to go through the fear and terror ever again. You stayed at the shelter for a couple of weeks and then they got you into a transitional living apartment where you are safe. He/she doesn’t have any idea where you are. All your abuser knows is that you are laying low. You and your children, if you have any, are safe and secure.


You are starting not to jump at every noise. You may even go on a date at some time again. But you still can close your eyes and see him hovering over you as he rapes and strangles you. He strangles you a little, not enough to kill you. The memories close in on you often when there is a certain smell, sound, when you think someone is following you. Your heart begins to race and you have to talk yourself down.


No matter what the abuse or other traumas in your life, they do effect you a lot. You will never again be the same person you were before. Neurologists say that the mind rewires itself after a trauma and we are never exactly the same person we were before. But you survived and this is a good thing.


Life doesn’t stop with surviving. You have to heal yourself. Some do it themselves, some block the trauma but it is still effecting them. Do you ever notice that someone will say something and you are immediately angry or you feel insecure? Or someone walks up to you and they are a little too close and you feel like you should run? This is all normal for someone who has been traumatized. Other people may not think so but I assure you that it is.


So, the first huge step is surviving your trauma. What about all of the memories of the trauma or abuse? What about the nightmares? A doctor can help you by deciding if you have PTSD or not. PTSD is pretty tough. I have PTSD. It developed after I found my husband dead. It was natural causes, a massive heart attack. I walked into a dark house and found him sitting at his desk in the study and he was gone. I will save you the remainder of the story. I had had other traumas earlier in life and this was the event which broke the camel’s back. I am not telling my story to gain sympathy. I just know how many victims have survived many traumas and it is hard work getting through them. Sometimes people help, sometimes they just stab you in the heart without knowing there is anything wrong.


So first survive, then begin to heal. There are many ways to do so and some will work for you and some will not. I read a quote many years ago, “Once you survive life, then you have to find a reason to live.” I have always lived with that in my heart. There are many reasons. Someone in your life needs you. Your job gives you much passion and joy. Your best friend can always sense your moods and doesn’t leave you alone to flounder. Children’s lives would be damaged if you committed suicide. Your job is to find your reason and declare it to the heavens.


Sometimes a spiritual path can help. Or a combination of several paths can be entwined together and you create  your own path which you have woven for yourself. The key to healing really is to find your meaning for life. A reason to live and keep living and heal and then you can thrive. Thriving would be the ultimate goal.


It also helps to remember that you are not the only one to suffer some type of trauma. Millions of people do whether they are abused, a tornado takes their house, a volcano erupts and covers their village with lava. Some are sold into slavery, some are convicted of a crime and go to prison knowing that they are really innocent. Some are cheated on by their spouse and some are not really loved by their family. Again, healing and therapy will help you to not shut down when the old tapes or the memories hit you. We are supposed to thrive in this life, so climb out of that hole and begin the job. Your experience will help many others cope with what is happening in their lives.


Forget anger, rage, and vengeance and look for your smile so you can share it with someone else. Read positive books. Allow yourself to feel joy and happiness because you do deserve it. No matter what anyone has told you or beat into you, you deserve all the good that life has to offer. You never walk alone and you need to remember that. Build and use your support system. They love you for the beautiful, shining star you are today. Never believe anyone who tells you negative things. Don’t tell yourself negative things. You are everything that is strong, wise, compassionate and kind. You can touch the lives of many people who need a kind word or a smile or an understanding pat on the shoulder.








Smokey Mountains. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2015

Smokey Mountains. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2015

The Journey of my Monday Morning Mind


Good morning, dear readers. I find myself thinking about those I miss. The people who are no longer there are the greatest loss of getting older. It is the anniversary of the passing of an old friend. John Lennon was in my dreams last night. I don’t know why and the plot isn’t clear, but it got me thinking of the rest of the Beatles.  That led me to George Harrison, and this interview George gave to VHI shows the authentic, real George Harrison. It, in my opinion, is a brilliant video.








This is a quiet homage to Whitney Houston and a prayer for her daughter, Bobbi Christine, now in a medically-induced coma.  May she come out of this with new strength and determination, and a clear knowing of how much her mother loved her.

Wisdom from the Past

Most of you know I am a parent, with many beautiful grandchildren, none of whom I get to see enough.

When I do see them, I try to pass on a little wisdom, but my words are not always adequate, so sometimes, just sometimes, I rely on the wise words of others.


I thought I would share some of these with you today, in print and in song.

And the Two of Them Walked Together:
A Parent’s Advice to a Child


If you can keep your head when all about you

are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or, being hated, don’t give  way to hating

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;


If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;

If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with triumph and disaster

And treat those to impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;


If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and  start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about our loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;


If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with kings — nor lose the common touch;

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run —

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!

–Rudyard Kipling




Understanding Friendship

friendship                                                                                                                         Our friends are the pillars of support in our lives

Friends are the people we pick to be the pillars in our lives. Yet some of these people are here to stay and people are only passing by. Some have lessons for us, some have to learn from us. Sometimes when you are close to someone and they move on it is hard to deal with it. It saddens the heart and in some cases leaves a large hole where they used to be.

Some people come and you wish they would leave but it is difficult. Some friendships support us and bring us joy and some are toxic and take your energy. You have to trust your inner guidance and know that in the bigger picture all will be well. All will be the way it is supposed to be. It is hard to write this, just  as there are things that, if we are honest with ourselves at times, it is hard to see the big picture. Some we never work through and sometimes we are just relieved when the friend leaves our lives.

Friendships were easier to make thirty years ago. These days, life is so busy that it is hard to make real friends. Acquaintances we do pretty well, but friendship takes time. Time to nurture. Time to listen and respond. Time to laugh and cry together. Time to share interests and to discover new interests together. One thing you hear as people talk about is time. I have no time. I have too much going on.  Activity isn’t always living or necessary. Sometimes living is found in silence, in meditation, in writing or being true to your inner voice. The creative person is harder to be friends with than non-creative because we see the world through our emotions and through our art.

Mother Teresa cared and served. She was a friend to everyone.

Mother Teresa cared and served. She was a friend to everyone.

beinglove                                                                                                                                                           Being deeply loved

True friendship lasts through anything. It means you accept people as they are and know they are doing their best. Don’t judge if you care for that person and don’t tell them they aren’t really sick. Don’t think you know more than doctors. If your friend has a lot of stress, don’t add to it with your advice or judgements. And remember that they may enjoy being home and being in touch with their creativity. Time is a precious gift. It is not a sign of laziness. It is a time to do what there was no time for before. It is time to be silent and to be in communication with the Divine. Honor the importance of that. Peace begins within. Silence speaks to the Universe.

The Divine bows to the Divine in you.

The Divine in me bows  to the Divine in you. Honor your friends with this concept because we are One and we live In One World.

The Time is Here

Time Piece

Time, as we understand it did not begin until the nineteenth century. At that time, people got up and went to bed with the sun. Candlelight isn’t good lighting for reading, sewing or fixing tools. Many other people ordered their lives by the whistles of the factory or by the town clock.

People were often late by fifteen or twenty minutes. Almost everyone was late and it wasn’t considered important because time wasn’t a constant. In 1880, the concept of an appointment was developed. With the birth of “appointments” came the responsibility to be on time. Time was local and not organized.

This all changed with the advent of  trains. Trains needed a schedule. Schedules needed standardization. A schedule meant there had to be universal time.

The country was divided into time zones and it was made uniform.  In the last fifty years, our sense of time has been completely overturned. A few years ago, one received a letter, you read it and thought about what was in the letter. Then you answered it and posted the response. It took perhaps a week to complete this correspondence. Then we had faxes to speed up the time of  correspondence. Now there is social media, texting, e-mail and Skype. Instant answers are expected.

What happens to human beings when the rhythm goes faster and faster? The faster humans run, the more empty they feel. We need to slow down and rediscover our families and friends. We need to give ourselves time for ourselves. We need to go inside for communion with the Divine. It is time to find time for yourself and for renewal of the soul. It is time to take time for ourselves and our families.

An image of time.

An image of time.

Act As If



   Photo by Barbara Mattio

“You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face, And show the world all the love in your heart .Then people gonna treat you better. You’re gonna find, yes, you will. That you’re beautiful as you feel.” —–Carole King

Boat launch near Cleveland. Photo by Barbara Mattio

Boat launch near Cleveland. Photo by Barbara Mattio

Act as if.” There’s magic in behaving the way we want to be, even though we don’t yet feel it. The behavior seems to lead the way. The attitude, the mental state follows.

Many days we we may not get up with love in our hearts for our family, our friends, our co-workers. We may, in fact, want them to show their love for us first.

If we reach out, give love unconditionally, focus on another’s needs, love will return tenfold.And the act of loving them will lift our own spirits. We will know love; we feel love for ourselves and the many other persons close to us. The principle is so simple, if we meet life with love, with a smile, we’ll find love and something to smile about.

Evening stroll

Evening stroll


Photo by David Bonney.

I believe friends are reflections of each other. An alchemy happens and we reflects bits of one another to the world and the Universe. Life is like a large reflecting pool and the reflections fill the world.
Our children reflect us and our unspoken words. I have 9 grands and watch in awe as their little personalities emerge and as they reflect back to us what we have shown them.
Our society reflects what we say and think. It reflects how we become involved and care. Do we give of ourselves and our talents? Do we show that we care for those who are walking a harder path than ours?
And so it goes, the reflections show us to the world at large. They are more subtle than the awards we may be given or the applause we may earn. Reflections give us the essence and the flavor of who we are.