The Women’s Revolution


Gloria Steinem was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom last November. It is America’s highest honor for a civilian. Her work on behalf of women in the areas of equality and empowerment were the reasons for this prominent award. In her acceptance speech, she spoke about what remains to be done for women. She declared that there are still goals which need to be met. Ms. Steinem discussed equal valuing of women’s work, ending violence against women, recognizing reproductive freedom as a basic human right, and uprooting racism and sexism. This is a hefty list of goals. Comments of the GOP flow through my mind and I realize the enormity of this undertaking.

 

We also have some myths about feminism that we need to straighten out. One is that this movement, also called women’s liberation. womanism, mujerista, GRRLS, is only for white middle-class women. This is not true. I have black women friends who are feminists and women with less money, who are on fixed incomes and are involved with stopping this War on Women. A poll was conducted in 1972 by Louis Harris and Associates that revealed black women were almost twice as likely as white women to support these issues. Now I read Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique and became committed to the issues. Black women read Shirley Chisholm, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and Maya Angelou.  These women  inspired the dream in black women. The idea that feminism was designed only for white middle-class claim was invented to turn off women. It negated their need for change.

 

The second myth is that those of us who worked, protested, marched, demonstrated, and lobbied in the 70’s and beyond have accomplished all that can be done for women. Young women felt that our work was done. Women could now relax.

 

The reality is, we still have much to do. We need to be legally equal. We are the only citizens who are not legally equal. Once we survived the backlash against equality, we still need to work to be socially and legally equal. President Obama has signed an equal pay for equal work legislation. While this was huge and we are grateful, women still do not receive equal pay for equal work. Please note we do not want more pay than men earn for the same work, we just want equitable pay.

 

We are also dealing with the fact that many women and children in the work are living in violent situations. Women are still being battered at about every nine seconds. I repeat, every nine seconds. Battering can be mental,emotional or physical abuse. Physical abuse can include slapping, kicking , pinching, punching, pulling hair, punching where clothes will cover the evidence. Being pushed and shoved is battering. Being threatened with a knife or gun is abuse. The numbers of women and children who are living in violence is staggering.

 

In the modern world, most other democratic nations have more women in government positions than America. It is still unusual for American women to be elected. The United States is a modern democracy, and yet, almost alone among such nations, we don’t have some form of a national child-care system. The average cost of child care here has surpassed the average cost of college tuition. If this continues, people will have to have less children in order to give them a chance in life.

 

A woman’s ability to decide when and whether to bear a child is not a “social issue”. It is a human right, like the right to free speech For the female half of the world reproductive freedom is the biggest economic issue. Women who have children to raise, are less likely to get hired and and to be well paid. Nothing else is going to be equal until men spend as much time performing child care as women do.

 

As women, we often raise our girls the same as we do our sons. We seldom raise our sons the same as our daughters. To allow a son to play with “girl toys” or to go “girl things” like helping to clean or care for younger children, takes a lot of courage.

 

Being a woman today take a great deal of courage.  There is a book out called Sex and World Peace, which proves that the biggest indicator of whether a country is violent within itself, or will use military violence against another country, is not poverty, natural resources, or even a countries’ degree of democracy. It is violence against women.

 

Only if each of us has a torch will there be enough light to create World Peace.

 

 

 

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Motivation

Motivation

 

 

 

Domestic Violence Stats

Domestic Violence Stats

Update on my Garden


Though our terrible winter took its toll on our gardens here in Cleveland. I am happy that many of my plants survived and while not thriving, they are fragrant and the color is a joy to my eyes and I hope to my neighbors also. Though the blooms are not as lush as they were in years past, I am delighted to have them to share with you. I hope you have a moment of pleasure as you peruse my photos.

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio  2014

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Roses are a favorite of mine. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Roses are a favorite of mine. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Reality Check


 

 

Welcome to the real world.

 

 

The Milky Way. If we destroy ourselves, what happens to the universe?

The Milky Way. If we destroy ourselves, what happens to the universe?

 

 

 

Dolphins living free until we completely destroy our planet

Dolphins living free until we completely destroy our planet

 

 

 

Twilight on boat launch at Avon. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Twilight on boat launch at Avon. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

California Poppies. Another gift from Mother Nature.

California Poppies. Another gift from Mother Nature.

 

 

 

Upper Waterfall in Letchworth State Park. The Genesee River has formed a gorge. We must take care of the gifts from Mother Earth.

Upper Waterfall in Letchworth State Park. The Genesee River has formed a gorge. We must take care of the gifts from Mother Earth.

We have to take care of our planet. It is more important than oil, money, arms, greed, jealously, bigotry, injustice, hatred and war. We must take care of Mother Earth. Our planet has changed greatly during just my lifetime. There is a supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park. If it blows, it will destroy most of America. Yet we continue fracking, mining, polluting the earth and the air. We must stop. To choose not to stop is to commit suicide.

 

 

 Great Spirit

 

Great Spirit,

give us hearts to understand;

never to take

from creation’s  beauty more than we give;

never to destroy wantonly for the furtherance of greed,

never to deny to give our hands for the building of earth’s beauty;

never to take from her what we cannot use.

Give us hearts to understand that to destroy earth’s

music is to create confusion,

that to wreck her appearance is to blind us to beauty;

that to callously pollute her fragrance is to make a house of stench;

that as we care for her she will care for us. Amen     —U.N. Environmental Sabbath Program

 

 

 

 

Praying for Mother Earth.

Praying for Mother Earth.

 

Only a self-destructive species would do to our planet, what we have done.

Only a self-destructive species would do to our planet, what we have done.

Are You an Unknown Woman?


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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.

 

    Solitude   

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    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.

jseagull

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Who Wants War?


Many People have wanted peace for millenniums. Artists of every different types of media have to ability to see and feel the importance of peace. Many have written affirmations. Composed song lyrics, written poems.  Artists paint for peace and sketch for peace. Artists need to rise up and make your voices heard. Not in a violent way, but loud enough to shake the rafters.

 

 

 

 

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                                 Vincent Van Gogh

 

 

 This quote is from Vincent Van Gogh

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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

Morning From My Garden


It is Saturday morning and it is tropical outside. The flowers are fragrant and exploding with color. I love summer nights when you can go outside and it is just you and the night sky. The stars have been my friends since I was a child and I love to go out and breathe deeply and feast my eyes on the firmament. I like to remember that I am star dust and it always make me feel so amazing. It makes me feel so alive and connected. At some time, long after we are all gone, the will be star ships up there and humans will meet other species. Our thoughts will still be traveling out there in space. The Universe will always carry the imprint of our lives and what we accomplish during our brief time here. Try going out and watching our little part of the Universe. Good morning to all of my friends and readers. Namaste

 

 

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Summer smiles photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Summer smiles photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

My garden photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

My garden photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

Red roses for the heart. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Red roses for the heart. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

Rio rose photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Rio rose photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

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                     Peach Drift rose photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

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     Asters photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

Pink roses. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Pink roses. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Orange broom. Photograph taken and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Orange broom. Photograph taken and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

Iris. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Iris. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

The innocence of Daisies. Photo taken and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 Photo taken and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

Late tulips. Photo taken and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Late tulips. Photo taken and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Song of the Open Road


 

Song of the Open Road

 

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,

Health, free, the world before me,

The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

 

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing, Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,

Strong and content I travel the open road.

 

The earth, that is sufficient,

I do not want the constellations any nearer,

I know they are very well where they are,

I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

 

(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens,

I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go,

I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them,

I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.)

 

You air that serves me with breath to speak!

You objects that call from diffusion my meanings

and give them shape!

You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable showers!

You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable showers!

You paths worn in the irregular hollows by the roadsides!

I believe you are latent with unseen existences, you are so dear to me.

 

All seems beautiful to me,

I can repeat over to men and women, You have done such good to me

I can repeat over to men and women,

I will recruit for myself and you as I go,

I will scatter myself among men and women as I go,

I will toss a new gladness and roughness among them,

Whoever denies me it shall not trouble me,

Whoever accepts me he or she shall be blessed and shall bless me.   —excerpted from Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

 

 

Acrylic painting of courtyard in the French Quarter. Painted and copyrighted 2009

Acrylic painting of courtyard in the French Quarter. Painted and copyrighted 2009 by Barbara Mattio

 

 

 

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The Bahamas. Photograph taken and copyrighted 2013

The Bahamas. Photograph taken and copyrighted 2013

 

 

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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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Interpreting Your Life


 

 

 

“The decision to speak out is the vocation and lifelong peril by which the intellectual must live.”   —Kay Boyle

 

 

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“I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged…I had poems which were rewritten so many times I suspect it was just a way of avoiding sending them out.”  —Erica Jong

 

 

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There are ordinary truths and eloquent truths. The ordinary truth is that some painters can garner six figures for their canvases while you probably can’t. The eloquent truth is that this abrasive fact need not alter your resolve to live an authentic life. The ordinary truth is that you will make mistakes and messes and fall short many times. The eloquent truth is that this need not defeat you, that you can keep trying and that you can keep kicking. When you marry these two ideas—willing yourself to matter and willing yourselves to reckon with the facts of existence—you truth becomes much more eloquent.

We should be reminded of Sisyphus, who was doomed to toil for all time rolling a stone up a mountain but who rebelled by asserting an essential freedom of attitude. They myth of Sisyphus and his stone is the story of a man reckoning with the facts of existence and not subcumbing to them. Had he succumbed to them, he would have been left with nothing but an eternity of pain. Here is how the myth ends, Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of the stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.

A creator’s task is to reckon with the facts of existence very much as Sisyphus reckons with his. Viewed one way, it is a cruel, harsh and punitive universe. A creator might come to the same conclusion about his/her situation, were he/she to tote up the facts of existence not to his/her liking. Sisyphus has decided to force his life to mean. He makes use of the freedom at his disposal and reckons that,  as he is not dead, he still has meaning to make. It seems absurd to call him happy but  if that is how he sees his life, then who can argue with him?

We all have the choice to decide what our life is worth and what we have to give to others to make the world a better place. Let each and every one of us make the decision that benefits their inner needs. I choose to give back. I choose to make a difference. You can make your choices.

 Gerber daisy. Acrylic paint Painted by Barbara Mattio  copyright 2009

Gerber daisy. Acrylic paint
Painted by Barbara Mattio copyright 2009

 

 “You have not lived a perfect day…unless you have done something for someone who will never be able to repay you.  — Ruth Smeltzer

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