Are You an Unknown Woman?


As women in modern society, women are told to do a lot of things. We are told to talk, to shut up and to sit down. We are told to speak up and to quit talking. Life for women, has been like this for Millenniums. One way women have been able to survive this subservient treatment has been to get to know who she really is and what she wants to be. To survive the patriarchal hierarchy, women have to be certain of themselves and who they are. How do we do this? Solitude. Solitude, aloneness, peace are what we need to discover ourselves.


Alice Koller was a PHD from Harvard University. Her doctorate was in Philosophy. She realized she couldn’t find meaning in here work, or in her relationships with men, she felt she had reached bottom. So Alice decided to take a journey. She decided to take a journey inside to find who she really was. She rented a small house on Nantucket. She bought a puppy and determined to stay until she understood who the woman was she saw every morning in the mirror.





    A red Kayak. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014








People come and go in life. Take care of yourself.

People come and go in life. Take care of yourself.


An Unknown Woman, is the story of her journey to herself. The book was written at the beginning of the sixties and the women’s movement. I am sure Alice isn’t the first to go looking for herself, nor will she be the last. I am sure you will understand her friends thought she was crazy. She was determined to find the source of her unhappiness. She realized that there was no place where she wanted to be, where she belonged, or where she could go.  Solitary walks on the beach with her puppy and surviving a winter on the Nantucket shore kept her pretty busy. I do suggest you read the book or take a similar journey in your lives. Ladies, remember there is nothing wrong with alone as long as you choose your solitude. Good luck to everyone journeying to find themselves.



A woman on a journey to herself.

A woman on a journey to herself.


Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Ignorance is not Bliss

Chautuaqua Institute, NY Photo by Barbara Mattio

Life is often confusing, distracting, overwhelming and a draining rut of work and obligations. Everyone is so busy these days and trying to get so much done. They overwhelm us and at the end of a day or a week, you find yourself without satisfaction, joy or bliss.

As women, we have so many people around who without malice drain us of our energy and sometimes our sanity. You get in bed at the end of the night and look at the book that has been sitting on the nightstand for a month. You sigh and reach for the book and read a page before you are falling asleep.
It’s the weekend and a friend calls because she really needs to talk, so no sleeping in this Saturday.

We make promises that we will be somewhere, work at this charity, to shopping with a friend and we end up feeling guilty that there are twenty other things we should be doing. Do we feel composed and happy at the end of the day? Are you feeling joy or bliss? Probably not. Our days are filled with “bliss blockers.”

We have to learn balance and how to say no. Yes, we have obligations but every time we postpone something that is healthy for ourselves and do something out of duty for others, we block bliss.

I am enclosing a list of Bliss Blockers excerpted from Romancing the Ordinary.
These are soul snatching actions that hurt us and drain us of our bliss.

Wanting what you can’t have
Not wanting what you do have

Seeing the world as hostile
Believing life is hard
Over reliance on outside circumstances to initiate change
Believing money is the answer
Believing you are unlucky
Believing that things will never change for the better

Not eating well
Not exercising
Not listening to your body
Continuously finding fault with your body
Feeling unworthy of happiness, love, success
Not knowing who you are
Not know what you love
Not recognizing addictive behavior patterns or dependence
Workaholism in the name of getting ahead or staying on top
of things

Lack of humor
Inability to laugh at oneself
Shyness in social situations
Lack of spontaneity
Pretending that you’re more experienced than you are

Believing the world will fall apart if you’re not holding it together
Inability to ask for or receive help
Inability to be part of a time

Putting others down so you can feel superior
Not trusting your intuition
Not following your dreams
Believing other people’s second guesses are better than your first

Inability to relax
Making a promise you dread
Surrounding yourself with negativity
Remaining in toxic relationships
Lack of gratitude

Clearly these are not all of the things in life which can block bliss. The trick is to find what are your blockers and to make efforts to clear them out of your life. I think this also goes to being authentic. Self-examination is an activity we need to use at least once or twice a year to understand ourselves and to make changes we need to bring us to a place of love, joy and bliss.

“The cure for anything is saltwater, sweat, tears or the sea.”
—-Isak Dinesen

Galveston Island, Tx; Photo by Barbara Mattio