I have been thinking about holidays and children. Not just American children, but children in the UK and children in India. I have been worrying about children in Russia and in Jamaica.
I have been thinking of children who don’t have good role models or lunch money. I have been thinking about children who are afraid and ones who like to look at books and yet they can’t read. They can’t write their names. This is for all the children around the globe, every last noisy, coughing, running, laughing, crying, dirty, sassy one of them. I hope they have someone to hug them tonight when they go to bed and I hope they did not see violence today.
If the Child is Safe
We pray for children
who sneak popsicles before supper,
who erase holes in math workbooks,
who can never find their shoes.
And we pray for those
who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers.
who never counted ” potatoes”,
who are born in places we wouldn’t be caught dead,
who never go to the circus,
who live in an x-rated world.
We pray for children
who bring us sticky kisses and fistfulls of dandelions,
who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money.
And we pray for those
who never get dessert,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them, who watch their parents die,
who can’t find any bread to steal,
who don’t have any rooms to clean up,
whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser,
whose monsters are real.
We pray for children
who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed, and never rinse the tub,
who get visits from the tooth fairy,
who don’t like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at and
whose smiles can make us cry.
And we pray for children who want to be carried
and for those who must,
for those we never give up on and for those who don’t get a second chance.
For those we smother…and for those who will grab
the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.
—Marian Wright Edelman
This time of year, everyone is looking for presents. Some people just have everything or you don’t know them well enough to be certain to find the right present. A lot of time gets wasted on trying to find the perfect item. Well, I have a suggestion. You can go to Heifer.com and decide how much you want to spend. Your money will be added to others and a flock of chicks, ducks or geese will be sent to a village where there is extreme famine and poverty. You can send a part of a cow or goat. It is your choice. These gifts will help to feed their owners and the animals can breed and everyone is better off. You get a card to send to your friend or relative and the family or village gets what you pick for them. Perhaps, this year because of your kindness, there will be more children who will not go hungry and will be ever so grateful for the kind stranger who helped fill their belly.
Heifer.com is an organization which has been around for seventy years. They provide livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of people who struggle to have reliable sources of food. They are currently working in thirty countries.
Le Petit Journal posted this video in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, and I wanted to share it with you. It is important that we teach Peace to our children, and that we make sure they do not grow up afraid of others, because fear breeds hatred and violence. There will always be bad men, but good men can overcome them with Peace, Love, Compassion, Kindness and Gentleness; and, yes, Flowers and Candles.
Barbara The Idealistic Rebel
It is true that many of us have been traumatized by life. Some a few times and others many times. There are times that a person feels like they just can’t get up again. Some commit suicide and some soldier on. Some go through life broken, perhaps bandaged up and some having buttons that when pushed, trigger violent verbal responses that you are amazed are coming out of the person.
Trauma leaves very deep scars. Physical trauma leaves exterior scars, but the emotional scars leave deep scars. Therapy helps. Medication may help.Some scars keep you from loving and committing another because you feel vulnerable. Some scars keep you from loving yourself.
” Love is the way messengers from the mystery tell us things.
Love is the mother.
We are her children.
She shines inside us,
visible-invisible, as we trust
lost trust, or feel it start to grow again.”
Do You Love Me
“A lover asked his beloved,
Do you love yourself more
than you love me?
The Beloved replied,
I have died to myself
and I live for you.
I’ve disappeared from myself
and my attributes.
I am present only for you.
I have forgotten all my learnings,
but from knowing you
I have become a scholar.
I have lost all my strength,
but from your power
I am able.
If I love myself
I love you.
If I love you
I love myself.”
Love is not easy. No matter how long you know a spouse, partner, friend or even children. It can be the most joyous thing to ever happen to us and it can be the most mistaken and destructive. A doctor once told me that a broken heart can be really broken and he meant it the physical sense. I am not sure but I think he is right. When my husband died, my heart broke and I could feel it.
There are so many people and situations which can hurt us temporarily or for a long time. Turning our minds and hearts to meditation, positive thinking, forgiveness mixed with gentleness, compassion, kindness and caring can repair the mental and emotional damage.
It takes work to convince a person you care for them and you are there for them, but it is worth the effort. In America, in the twenty first century many people live alone. Trust issues, a lack of love and terrible fear of being vulnerable can stop the circle. The broken heart, trusting a person or God (however, you think of God ) is one of the important life lessons.
Just one more thing, deciding to stay alone, you don’t need people, you don’t want people around very often enforces the buttons and issues from the past. Neurologists are working on the parts of the mind that hold on to those past hurts, pains and suffering.
” When the effort passing step by step,
Experiencing stages, recognizing states, ‘
Becomes so filled with love and
light and compassion,
Then it recognizes this love and light
and compassion on every side.
And there is nothing to which one is unattached,
When the love transcending self recognizes
self no longer,
When the compassion transcending self feels
equally the pain of all,
When the mercy transcending self sends
blessing and healing everywhere,
When self becomes love and there is nothing
left to love…
O that transforming wonder of redeeming light!
O that bliss of transcendental bathing!
O that wondrous calm of the life of life!
When time is gone and bodies are no longer,
The dark night of sleep is ended,
The dark sleep of night is gone;
The eye perceiving pierces all veils
And only suffering is dead.”
—excerpt from In the Garden by Sufi Ahmed Murad
Israelis and Palestinians Join Forces to March for Peace Together
by John Vibes, October 20,2015 on thefreethoughtproject.com.
In recent months, news of violence between Israelis and Palestinians has become more frequent than ever. However, last week hundreds of Israelis, Palestinians, and other nationalities joined together to march for peace in Jerusalem and Washington.
The protests were associated with a three-day BDS solidarity wave with other demonstrations that were held at Israeli embassies in cities across Europe and South America.
The protests in Washington were primarily directed at the massive military aid packages that Israel receives from the US.
Nejwa Ali, a Palestinian-American from Buffalo, New York told reporters, “I’ve been to Palestine before and witnessed occupation, intentional discrimination and murder of Palestinians by the Israeli military, the U.S. Government supports Israel with $3 billion a year and the Americans need to know.”
Although there is still an unfortunate amount of racism in the Middle East, most of the hate is generally fueled and stirred up by the politicians who benefit from and thrive on it, and this hateful sentiment is not shared by the vast majority of the general population.
While the politicians and military leaders continue to promote hate and violence, there are more and more situations popping up that are showing the path towards a more peaceful future. Many groups and individuals are stepping up, risking their public reputations and their lives to speak out for what they believe is right. What is even better is that average people are working to apply their own skills and talents towards bringing the Palestinians and Israelis together.
For years, peace activists in Palestine have been teaming up with other peace activists in Israel as well as the United States and Iran to spread a message of love and unity among people of all geographical locations…..regardless of what all the crazy politicians say.
Some of the most popular of these efforts is the Palestine loves Israel and Israel loves Palestine campaigns, which started out as a viral Facebook phenomena where Palestinians and Israelis would send messages of love to one another and reassure each other that the hateful rhetoric put forward by governments and media outlets are totally out of line with the true feelings of the average person.
Also, just last year an Israeli metal band called Orphaned Land joined forces with the Palestinian band Khalas for an 18 gig tour that visited 6 different countries. The purpose of the tour was to promote peace and unity between the Palestinian and Israeli people. The bands even lived together and shared a tour bus throughout the duration of their travels.
As most of you know I am 100% for peace. WWII was the only righteous war. I am always advocating for peace and my heart is full tonight with thoughts for peace.We need peace in our own hearts and peace in our families. We need to stop all abuse in our families. We need peace in America and Congress needs to actually do what they were elected for. We need peace in the world.
Peace in palestine and Israel would be a defining moment in the history of our world. I encourage you to follow what is happening in the Middle East. We must all put a halt on revenge, hatred, and judgment.
I can no more understand the suspicion of those who are different now than when I was a child. One of the great strengths of humankind is that we are different. People of different nationalities make a beautiful picture. We don’t need to all worship alike, or look alike. We don’t need to speak alike.We are all children of the Universe and as such we do have a responsibility to make peace as often as we can. We need to get out of our own heads and find the similarities between us and use them to understand one another better, to love one another better. We need to know that we may be writers, photographers, musicians, painters and mimes but we can speak through our work. We need to show how much that love, gentleness, compassion, kindness and concern can change our lives and the lives of those around.
Whether, you have a spiritual path or are an atheist, we take care of each other, we must care about the lives and trials of the other people in the world. When the hatred of some humans, explodes one day, we will lose many material things and people that we love and care about. It will be too late then. I do not have the personality to run a country, and yet I know that our Congress is not performing their job descriptions and are therefore, letting American citizens down.
Many good men and women laid down their lives during the Revolutionary War to give us freedom. The Constitution needs to be respected and honored as well as the memories of those who fought and designed our Bill of Rights and our Constitution.
Some times, while watching the news, and they are interviewing Congress, I wonder what George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams among others would think about what is happening and often not happening in Congress. The Founding Fathers had their own differences but they worked through them and designed a country that is the greatest democracy ever. So work for peace, work for good communications, accept what is different and cherish this planet that we were given. As I have said before, there is no Planet B.
I watched this TED talk and laughed and cried. I want us all to live in a world where enemies become friends and where compassion is more important than being right. I want there to be no marginalized people. I like the idea of kinship. I hope you all enjoy this talk and take the spirit of the talk to heart. Be blessed. Hugs, Barbara
Creative people, or we could say artists, have some needs to be able to fully access their creativity.
They need to love and to be loved. We, as creative people, need intimate relationships, emotional and intellectual friendships. Creative people need wide-ranging relationships. They also need human warmth, the occasional handshake. They need people who respect their work and who respect and care about them.
They need love, intimacy, and friendship more than they need gallery shows or tenure. The flow of love through our human lives is what we need and what we must attain.
Relating needs to be more than a nice idea. Creative people need to relate well to others. Van Gogh loved the idea of complement as an essential life accomplishment. He looked at human relationships and color relationships to be essential. He loved to use blue and yellow in his paintings and he felt that men and women need to and can support one another in life. The inability to accomplish this is one of the thousands of reasons for depression.
Creative people can be great composers, painters, writers, a great intellectual or a great soul. We need to climb down off of our high horses, tear our enemies lists to shreds. We need to stop criticizing and blaming others for our own failures. We are special but not completely unique.
Therapists suggest that artists consciously make a point of caring for others. Give without taking.
Feel, rather than steel yourself to the actions and comments of others. Count to ten and perhaps count more than once.
Manage your ego. Someone else’s success is not a personal affront to you. Moderate selfishness. Share credit when it is earned. We have hungers and desires but so does every living human being. Reduce your sense of injury. Let the old hurts which continue to haunt you go. Open up and let them drift away. They are heavy baggage.
Buddha told a story about an angry man. He had been injured emotionally by someone. He held that anger like a charcoal briquette just out of the fire. He held on to it day after day and in the end, he was the only one injured. He had a terribly bad burn and the other person was just fine and went on with their life as always. The angry man was scarred for life.
We live in a harsh world and it needs every bit of beauty we can add to it. It also needs our kindness, gentleness, compassion and love. These can change the world. Not completely, but it can and will make a difference. It can start with all of us.
Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2013
Black Mountain, NC
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