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.

 

 

BJWordPressDivider

 

 

 

 

 

 

guarda5

Our Passion for Justice


Justice is part of the foundation of our civilization

Justice is part of the foundation of our civilization

Love, like truth and beauty, is concrete. Love is not fundamentally a sweet feeling, not, at heart, a matter of sentiment, attachment, or being “drawn toward.” Love is active, effective, a matter of making reciprocal and mutually beneficial relation with one’s friends and enemies. Love creates righteousness, or justice here on earth. To make love is to make justice. As advocates and activists for justice know, loving involves struggle, resistance, risk. People working today on behalf of women, blacks, lesbians and gay men, the aging, the poor in this country and elsewhere know that making justice is not a warm, fuzzy experience. I think also that sexual lovers and good friends know that the most compelling relationships demand hard work, patience, and a willingness to endure tensions and anxiety in creating mutually empowering bonds.

For this reason loving involves commitment. We are not automatic lovers of self, others, world, or God. Love does not just happen. We are not love machines, puppets on the strings of a deity called “love.” Love is a choice–not simply, or necessarily, a rational choice, but rather a willingness to be present to others without pretense or guile. Love is a conversion to humanity–a willingness to participate with others in the healing of a broken world and and broken lives. Love is the choice to experience life as a member of the human family, a partner in the dance of life, rather than as an alien in the world or as a deity above the world, aloof and apart from human flesh.
——Excerpted by Carter Hayward from Our Passion for Justice

Photo by Barbara Mattio 2010

Sunset Black Mountain, North Carolina Photo by Barbara Mattio

Gandhi had the Right Idea


New thoughts for 2013

New thoughts For Some People In 2013

Gandhi was a very spiritual man and he taught the concept of passive resistance. Historically, he showed the Indian people how to be free from injustice and oppression. They received their freedom from the United Kingdom without a big, serious, bloody war.

We, the women in the world, have a war to fight. The War Against Women. We need to win this war without bloodshed and violence. But we need to win it. For ourselves and our future generations of men and women.

What is the War on Women? It is the oft-held notion that women are second class citizens here in America, in India, in China, in Russian and every country on this planet. Are we? No. Why do so many men and some women think we are? Because we live in Patriachries, where men rule by means of a hierarchy. Women have been at the bottom of that pyramid for so long, some don’t understand that this is where they are. Some believe what they have been told over and over in life: that they don’t deserve anything better. Their life is to consist of housework, sex on demand and having as many babies as possible.

Education is an enemy to the Patriarchy, because the more the women who become literate learn, the more they want  for themselves and their children; and the more danger they are to the patriarchy. Women are divided into two categories: the trophy women, the beautiful and young women that men like to have on their arm to show their success and power; and the others, there to perform menial labor and have children.

Popular thinking says women can't take care of themselves and need a man.

Popular thinking says women can’t take care of themselves and need a man.

The War on Women includes the fact that we do not receive equal pay for equal work.  It includes the idea that we, as women, need to be taken care of; that we can’t make our own decisions. It’s the idea that we, as women, really can’t run a company; that is the job of  men who are better suited to leading.

The War on Women includes rape. All rape is” legitimate rape.”  There is no instance of rape which is the will of the Divine. Women are victims and not enticing sirens that men can’t possibly control themselves around. Rape is not an act of passion but of power and control. Gang rape is the worst kind of rape. Male after male entering a woman’s body and using a woman and then finishing with her so another can  take a turn.

I am writing this today in memory of the young woman who was gang raped on a bus in India. I have no idea who she was, what her voice sounded like, what made her smile, what made her happy, how much her friends and family loved her. What I do know is that she is my sister and yours also. Whether you are male or female, she was part of you. She was a Divine child of the Universe made of stardust, the same as  you and I. Now, she is gone. Six men remain on this planet, six men who brutally raped and used her. Beat and kicked her until the breath of life was forced to leave her body.

This year I am focusing on the needs and rights of women. Yes, I am aware that there are feminist men everywhere. So, I am writing for you also. But I am writing to the misogynist, battering, abusive, and cruel men. You do not have to act the way you are doing. You weren’t created to behave like this. You were not created to destroy lives, tear away young innocence or to beat the heart and soul of a woman to the point she wishes she would just die..

So, this year 2013 is the year of the woman. The year we look at every way men injure or kill women. We will look at why we feel fists and slaps and kicks. Why we aren’t making the same money that men are earning. In America, we will work for legal equality for women. We are the only American citizens who are not legally equal.

I hope you will stay with me on this journey. I will continue to talk about peace and spirituality and creativity also. My priorities are women and our spiritual journey. .

We Can All be a Light to Others and Work for Freedom for Women From Oppression.

We Can All be a Light to Others and Work for Freedom for Women From Oppression.

Ethics and the Heart


Presque Isle, PA.

I have been thinking about moral and ethical issues today. We get closer and closer to the election. We expect ethical behavior from our leaders and those who wish to be leaders. But, we who have private lives need to ensure that we also have ethics and good moral character.

I believe we should not shy away from raising a strong, clear, moral voice in these campaigns or in our personal lives. Jewish beliefs are that there are no short cuts to ethics and I believe that to be true. Moral principles have stood at the core of Jewish life.

The core of the Jewish people lead them to look to educate the children, to work in the community and to participate in all charitable acts. It is like breathing.

I have seen so many good works and true compassion and caring in the Jewish Community. Many Jewish teachings are very compatible with the teachings of other religions. Spiritual insights and wisdom have been passed down for centuries.

As a society, we need to teach our children character. We need to teach them to feel, to be outraged by injustice, show them dignity and an inviolable sense of self.

Whether you are Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Sufi, we all have to be responsible to our communities and to the Divinity in this world to act morally and with ethics and to teach the young among our societies the concepts of heroism, justice, fairness, hard work and education.

These can make a difference in our world. These can make a difference in elections and can make a difference in the place of women in all of our countries. We each need to start with our own hearts and then allow the Divine energy to flow outward and the ripple will bring change. It does begin with each of us. And each of us can be an example to someone else. When we change, the people around us in this life journey change also.

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