Peace


 

 

joyful song

joyful song

Peace

Quiet yourself.

Reach out with your

mind’s skillful hand

Let it go inside of me

and touch

God.

Don’t be shy, dear.

Every aspect of Light

we are meant to know.

The calm hand holds

more

than baskets of goods

from the market.

The calm soul knows

more

than anything this

world

can offer from here

beautiful

womb

–By St. John of the Cross, taken from Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

St. John of the Cross has been long recognized as one of the world’s great mystical poets. His verse reveals a profound, tender experience of divine communion.

 

A heart of love

A heart of love

 

 

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

What a Wonderful World


 

Life is a glorious adventure. We are given opportunities to learn lessons and to face challenges. We are given happy times to make joyful memories and we are given times of such amazing joy, we need to pinch ourselves to see if it is real.  Life is golden and bright white light and it is such a good thing to be alive.

 

Life is also like that coin in your pocket. The one you flip and choose heads or tails with. Life can be painful and terrifying, it can be a waking nightmare. Ask a veteran what they think. Life can break your heart into small pieces. You can hear it crack open in the silence of your life. Life can produce as much darkness as it can light. It can take away your ability to trust and it can give you the friend who will be by your side for a score of years or more. Life can bring you shock or happy reverie and smooth sailing or rough seas.

 

So, in reality, life is a combination of events which can enrich and strengthen us or break us and leave us like a wounded bird at the bottom of a tree. What makes the difference?  We do. We are responsible for the outcome. We are not responsible for what life drops in our laps, but we are responsible for what we choose to do with it

 

Some people have rough lives and have a struggle year after year. Some of these people will rise up out of the mire and pull themselves up. Some will reach up to pull another person down with them. Some face terrifying heartache and loneliness and will do all that is humanly possible to make everyone around them as miserable as they are. Some choose to fill their hearts with an acid that damages their broken hearts even more than they were and are guaranteed to make someone else’s heart hurt as much as their own heart does.

 

Some people allow themselves to be so damaged, and seek no treatment for their damaged bodies, hearts and souls. Others will choose to seek help. To seek medication if necessary. Some will turn from the light that is in their lives and will seek to blot out that light wherever it can be found. Science hasn’t figured out yet why two people can go through the same horrible experiences and yet one will become a serial killer and one will spend their life trying to make the world better. Doctors and scientists are trying alternative measures to help people completely heal so that the remainder of their years on this plane can be filled with more light and love than they would otherwise have. Some choose to sneak around in the dark and making others suffer for what has happened to them. It is the innocent that they hurt. Perpetuating the problem and the pain.

 

It doesn’t matter if you believe in God, or which God you believe in. It doesn’t matter if life bent you or broke you. Each day is your choice. What are you going to do to make this world a wonderful place for yourself and for others? Tomorrow morning is a chance for you to make a new choice or to reinforce the ones you have all ready made.

 

No one can make this choice for anyone else. Never allow anyone to make it for you, even if your life is on the line. Each day wake up knowing you are what you are and you will make life easier, smoother and more loving for someone else. Or you will wake up, angry, resentful, bitter and try to make someone else feel the same way you do. I choose the love, joy, compassion, kindness and peace. That is my decision every day no matter what happens.

 

 

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Fleetwood Mac


This is the video from the Fleetwood Mac tour we went to see last night. Rhiananon is my song and has been since the seventies. It is my fall back song during trying times and what makes me lift my voice in joy. Everyone who is at all musical has a song, I think. Music is important to my life. It is the soundtrack for my bio. I love many kinds of music. Classical, blues, jazz, Zydeco, Swing and rock. Classic rock, hard rock and hair bands. But this song touches my heart every time I hear it. Musician friends have often played it for me. Music is part of the beauty that I incorporate into my life’s journey.

My first Beatles concert was when I was 13 and music renews me and keeps me young at heart. My inner child is alive and well according to my grandkids. My inner child still loves the rock concerts and I can scream and sing with the best.

I don’t think we need to completely grow up to be responsible adults. Love is one of the best reasons not to. Too many adults have forgotten how to laugh, love, and accept the events in this life which we cannot control.  This love helps us not to see the differences in people, but to lovingly include them into our friendships, families and worlds. It doesn’t matter what is beautiful to you, just surround yourself with what works for you and share it with all of the people you meet. Love is the glue of the cosmos and available to everyone. Thanks for letting me share my concert with you!

The idealistic teen years

Don’t ever lose your joy in life

Jimi Hendrix quote

Jimi Hendrix quote

A Tiny Drop of Water


     The Joy of Unity With the Universe

“O Lord,
One tiny bit of water rests on the palm of my hand.
I bring it to you and with it I bring the whole ocean
This tiny drop has the power to ease the burning thirst of men,
when spread on the earth, to give life to the seed and the future
harvest,
when poured on the fire to quench the blaze.
A tiny drop of water
can cleanse the whole of my impurity when blessed by your forgiveness.

—Ishpriya rscj

Blessings

Seeing the World Through Different Eyes

Invoking the powers of the Universe or bestowing on Mother Earth or other beings is neither a simple benevolent wish nor an act of hubris. It is really an act of creative confidence.We free ourselves to come into dynamic relationship with the entire Universe. “May all beings be happy.”

“What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone,
in the forest, at night, cherished by this
wonderful, unintelligible,
perfectly innocent speech,
The most comforting speech in the world,
the talk that rain makes by itself all over the ridges,
and the talk of the watercourses everywhere in the hollows!
Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it.
It will talk as long as it wants, this rain.
As long as it talks I am going to listen.
————Thomas Merton

“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.
Alike be our feelings,
United be our hearts,
Common be our intentions,
Perfect be our unity.

—— From the Hindu Rig Veda

Cuyahogua Falls, Ohio;  Photo by Barbara Mattio

Cuyahogua Falls, Ohio; Photo by Barbara Mattio

Love and Peace Instead of War


Mother Teresa stated, ” Works of love are always works of peace.”

When and where there is God, there is peace. He/she pours their love for us and peace flows over us and within us. Divine love always pours joy and peace into our hearts. My prayer is to be led from despair to hope, from fear to trust, from hate to love, and from war to peace. Our world, our universe is Peace, Peace, Peace.

It cannot exist with war, hate and violence. Every day, we make choices about the world we create around us.

We all have the right to be at peace and happy. We were created to have this life of peace. We can each have peace in our world without causing pain or suffering to others. We each have a responsibility to use what we have been given to create peace. There is no other higher pleasure than to create peace and have that peace in your life create a ripple effect and flow out to touch others in positive ways.

We need to love one another as The One loves each of us. Accepting that love and using it to bring peace into your life will bring peace to those around you. As they feel covered and immersed in peace, it will flow out of their lives and will touch an ever larger group of people. It is a beautiful thing to see and experience.

Peace Plea

Please, protect my child.
Please, protect other mothers’ children.
Please, give me peace.
Please, give other mothers peace.
Please, give the world peace and justice.
This is the peace only you can give.”

————Karen Lavin

My Favorite Seagull


My home town

My first seagull was Johnathan Livingston Seagull. He really is a book by Richard Bach and my copy is from 1970 and is barely holding together. So I have read it, over and over. Johnathan is a seagull who doesn’t always fit in with the flock. He also questions things and he thinks.

Here in America, we have been victims of a dumbing down of the masses. We are not supposed to think or question what the government or society is doing. We are to believe what we are told. This concept never sat well with me. I am the kind of person who, to this day, likes to question, contemplate and find out the ‘real” truth.

Johnathan was a part of his flock and sailed on the wind currents as he had been taught to do. He and his friends would soar and play and life was good, except that he wondered if there might not be something more to life. He made the decision to see is he could fly higher than what the flock usually flew. So he made the decision to start off as usual but to attempt to fly higher and higher. He had separated from the rest of the flock and decided to try to fly higher in the moonlight. He flew to a thousand feet at full power and went into a vertical dive straight down. It wasn’t perfect the first time and he had to put in a lot of hard work and use all of his strength. He would soar downward at seventy miles an hour and end up soaking wet in the ocean. He continued to climb higher and higher and to descend faster. Then he crashed and was unconsciousness.

He had hit the water at ninety miles an hour.  When he awoke he was floating on the surface of the ocean. As he floated he heard an inner voice that told him he was a limited seagull. If he had been meant to fly higher and faster, he wouldn’t be a mere seagull. He heard a voice telling him to go back to the flock and make himself fit in and stop trying to be better.

As he took off, he went to five thousand feet and he forgot his vow to himself to go back to the flock. He practiced non-stop until later in the day and he had developed his style and he was proud he had conquered his fear.

The Gull Council called for a meeting and Johnathan was called to the middle of the Council to face charges and he realized someone must have seen him practicing this morning. He was told to stand in the center for Shame. He was devastated and he was told that he was facing charges of irresponsibility and violating the dignity and tradition of the Gull family.

He improved himself and could teach the others, but his defense fell on deaf and judgmental ears. How often in life, does someone have a dream, and works, sacrifices and accomplishes his/her dream. They fight family and society and friends but make themselves and the world better.

Johnathan sadly accepted his punishment. He was Outcast. He went out a ways gliding just as a seagull is supposed to do. He was then joined by two gulls and he began to fly level and then to fly higher. They kept up with him and he asks them who they were.  He was told, ” You have learned. One school is finished, and the time has come for another to begin.”

Johnathan looked around and said, ” I’m ready.” Johnathan rose with the other two gulls and flew up into a dark sky. Johnathan found himself in heaven and his outward glowing with light just like his companions.

When he asked about Heaven they told him, “Heaven was not a place, or a time. It is being perfect.” “You will begin to touch heaven, Johnathan, in the moment that you touch perfect speed.” They further explained that flying at a certain speed was a limit. They told him that perfect speed was just being there. Being there.

What a wonderful thought for me. A woman who never was satisfied with what I was told to think and to feel. So many times my questions and realizations that events or considerations made no logical sense. There were times I thought that if I heard, ‘Just do as I say,” I would scream and I knew I would never stop. So I tried to live my life as fully as I could. I worked to make a better place and chose not to live my life according to “the rules.” I could do more and learn more and I , like Johnathan, could soar. Has it been easy? No, it hasn’t. But the inner voice of Divinity guided me every time and no, I didn’t always listen but as I grew in maturity and inner strength, I almost always do now.

“Each of us is in truth an idea of the Great Gull, and unlimited idea of freedom.”
This sentence made me realize that we are all meant to be free. We are to be free and soar to meet with Divinity and to become all that we were meant to be. With Divinity inside, nothing can stop us but ourselves. I am not talking about doing unethical or immoral things, but the things that help us to become more and live fuller than most people can even conceive of. Johnathan was told he was a thousand years ahead of his time. This is okay. We will bring the rest of humanity kicking and screaming behind us and the world will have a jump in consciousness. Perhaps, one day we can bring everyone to a life of freedom, forgiveness, joy, compassion and love for all of our fellow sentient beings.

So I share my favorite seagull whenever I can and now I share him with you. I hope you will find him as inspiring as I did.

Seagull at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Photo by Barbara Mattio

Soaring seagull over Lake Erie Photo by Barbara Mattio

Life and the Tree


Costa Rican Rainforest, Cleveland Botanical Gardens.
Photo by Barbara Mattio

A while ago, I wrote a blog called “For She is the Tree of Life” and it was dedicated to my grandmothers and all of the grandmas, nanas, bubes and the gifts they gave us as we shared their wisdom while at play with them, or while finishing a chore or just talking together. Their stories were magical and took some of us to other countries, for some the stories were pictures of love and loss. Other stories showed us how much strength and courage we could find inside of ourselves if we looked for it. They made us feel important and unique and cherished.

Well, now we are the grandparents. We are the ones who have lived long enough to be wise crones. We have watched wars and famine. We have seen oppression and tyranny. It is our turn to share our visions, stories and to encouraged them to be deeply rooted in our Mother Earth.

Our grandchildren will face many storms and will know fear as well as joy. They will sob with grief and they will cheer with jubilation. We need to make sure all of them — I have nine — will know how to draw strength and wisdom and courage up from the earth when it is needed. They will need to know it is the love we share, the compassion we show, the forgiveness we give to others that really counts. Not which job we have, or where the kids go to school. As grandparents, we can teach them to care, to vote, to accept responsibility for their actions. We can help expose them to the events in life that will sculpt their own lives. We need to teach them to stop injustice, help to feed the poor, work to help the world’s refugees, for among them, there could be the next Mozart, or John Lennon, or Bob Marley or Monet. We need to teach them never to settle, to reach for the stars and grasp a hold on their favorite and never let go!

I celebrate my opportunity to be a tree of life for the little ones. I celebrate your opportunity whether it is now or later on. It is a gift.

Marblehead Lighthouse, Ohio, 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.

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

Exhaustion
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
Self-loathing
Not recognizing addictive behavior patterns or dependence
Workaholism in the name of getting ahead or staying on top
of things
Perfectionism

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
Procrastination
Impatience
Rushing
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

Extraordinary Life


“The only difference between an extraordinary life and an ordinary one is the extraordinary pleasures you find in ordinary things.”
——Veronique Vienne

History has given us a parade of saints, seers, poets and philosophers who have instructed us to embrace “bliss” here in this life and not to wait until heaven. In America, Joseph Campbell began to teach us about bliss. He was followed by Bill Moyer’s, The Power of Myth. “If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of tract that has been there the whole while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living.”

We experience happiness when something outside of the regular dreary, repetitive routine of our everyday lives. Something external from us happens to shake us up and brings a feeling of gladness or happiness. It could be buying a new house, free tickets to a play, an invitation to a major league baseball game. If something happens to change the event we are upset and not happy any longer. The happiness came from an external source.

Bliss is not external. It comes from within and it doesn’t involve other people or events or times in our lives. You can recognize it when you experience joy, unusual sustained happiness or the awareness of the sensuous in the ordinary.

An ordinary life is something that conjures up images of drudgery and boredom and repetitive endless actions. As a child, I knew I didn’t just want to exist or survive. This was my concept of ordinary. But you can find the extraordinary in life with simple things. One very important aspect is to live in the moment. Allow yourself the pleasures of life. Smell the fragrance in the flowers even if they still need weeding. Stand for two minutes and find the dragon in the clouds. Put a pot of water on to boil filled with your favorite spices and allow yourself to enjoy the aroma all day long.

Set the table with special china once in a while to make the roast beef and steamed vegetables feel like you are enjoying Beef Wellington in an expensive restaurant.

Following your bliss can take you to a new job that you never expected to get or to finding a new friend who really “gets you.” Your bliss can be something that you can’t even imagine right now but the inner voice takes you to a place that just leaves you joyful.Your bliss can also take you to your backyard where you can have the most restful, relaxing day you have had in months. An afternoon lying on a chaise lounge in the sun, sipping lemonade and reading the book you have been trying to find time for, This can bring you sheer bliss and contentment.

Life can be filled with bliss especially when we listen to our inner selves. It is the incandescent in your life. It is the bandage which covers the wounds we receive in life and heals the wounds more quickly.

Bliss is personal and private like prayer. Women have bliss triggers and blockers. Mine is walking on a beach in the sunset. Yours might be mint chocolate ice cream. I feel bliss eating fresh veggies and fruit from a farmer’s market. Your bliss can be just taking a day trip and visiting your childhood home. That feeling you get when it feels as if you can’t stop smiling and are filled with sunshine.

This bliss is what can turn your ordinary life into an extraordinary one. Blogging is one of the things that makes my life extraordinary. Visiting an art museum to see a new visiting exhibit thrills me and I am experiencing bliss. I challenge you to start to take the ordinary in your life and make it extraordinary. And know that Divinity is well pleased. We are here to experience this gift called life.

Holden Beach, NC Photo by Barbara Mattio

Holden Beach, NC Photo by Barbara Mattio