What the Soul Needs Now


One Human Gesture

 

You have a source inside you, a cool spring that sometimes stops flowing, frozen

or clogged with silt. A voice says, ” Consider the situation more deeply, my friend.”

Such advice is not idle. It is immediate  companionship with a soul artist like David,

who works iron until it melts and he can shape it. Spirit is the art of making what’s

blocked start moving again. When your body dies, give it to the death angel,

Israfil. If your heart feels numb and metallic, walk out into the sun, or whatever

the mystery is that makes your inner spring well up. There was once a sage who felt

this flow moving inside him. As he walked the garden that

was being restored with

spring water, he gave names to aspects of the vital dance he was doing: the animal’s

hungry agility and the connoisseur’s intelligent choice.

Blessings on Hakim

Sanai, who could put those two in one gesture.

—Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

 

 

I hear nothing in my ear

but your voice. Heart has

 

plundered mind of all its

eloquence. Love writes a

 

transparent calligraphy, so on the empty page my soul

 

can read and recollect.

—Rumi

 

 

Do these words by the much-loved reggae icon Bob Marley really resonate with the average Jamaican? I would say a resounding "no."

What do we Need? When do we Need it?


peace; peace; peace, peace, peace, peace, peace
Live in peace, live in love
Stop the wars, stop the fighting
One day this will all change
Treat people the same
Stop with the violence
Down with the hate
If we don’t stop the wars
People will die
Stop the war for the sake of people
Live in peace peace peace peace peace peace peace peace

—Hasnat Hussain

 

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Black and white Monarch Butterflies

Black and white Monarch Butterflies

Where Has the Peace Gone?


 

 

 

My friends, let us give thanks for Wonder.

Let us give thanks for the Wonder of Life

that infuses all things now and forever.

 

Blessed is the Source of Life, the Fountain of Being

the wellspring of goodness, compassion and Kindness

from which we draw to make for justice and peace.

From the creative power of Life we derive food and harvest,

from the bounty of the earth and the yields of the heavens

we are sustained and are able to sustain others.

All Life is holy, sacred,

worthy of respect and dignity.

Let us give thanks for the power of heart

to sense the holy in the midst of the simple.

 

We eat not simply to satisfy our own appetites,

we eat to sustain ourselves in the task we have been given.

Each of us is unique,

coming into world with a gift no other can offer: ourselves.

We eat to nourish the vehicle of giving,

we eat to sustain our task of world, repair,

our quest for harmony, peace and justice.

 

We eat and we are revived, and we give thanks

to the lives that were ended to nourish our own.

May we merit their sacrifice, and honor their sparks of holiness

through our deeds of loving kindness.

 

We give thanks to the Power that makes for Meeting,

for our table has been a place of dialogue and friendship.

 

We give thanks to Life.

May we never lose touch with the simple joy and wonder

of sharing life.   —Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro

Leave the world a better place.

Leave the world a better place.

Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone who is dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. It does not comfort those who have lost their loved ones in floods caused by senseless deforestation in a neighboring country. Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free.   —Dalai Lama

 

The only true guardian of peace lies within: a sense of concern and responsibility for your own future and an altruistic concern for the well-being of others.

—-Dalai Lama

 

As we are together, praying for peace, let us be truly with each other.

Let us pay attention to our breathing.

Let us be relaxed in our bodies and our minds.

Let us be at peace with our bodies and our minds.

Let us return to ourselves and become wholly ourselves. Let us maintain a half-smile of our faces.

Let us be aware of the source of being common to us all and to all living things.

Evoking the presence of the Great Compassion—–towards ourselves and towards all living beings.

Let us pray that all living beings realize that they are all brothers and sisters, all nourished from the same source of life.

Let us pray that we ourselves cease to be the cause of suffering to each other.

Let us plead with ourselves to live in a way which will not deprive

other beings of air, water, food, shelter,or the chance to live.

With humility, with awareness of the existence of life, and of the sufferings that are going on around us, let us pray for the establishment of peace in our hearts and on earth. Amen                                          —Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

What is dying inside of you?

What is dying inside of you?

No More War


 

 

 

 

War is burning our planet.

War is burning our planet.

Dove of Peace

Dove of Peace

 

 

I had a blog planned for today. But the world has changed what I have to say right now. The negativity and darkness which has been lingering over the world is exploding much like the missiles exploding in the skies. So here we are once again and innocent people are being injured and killed.  Children are losing their lives or their parents. We must learn to live without war and violence. When will human beings learn that violence produces nothing but more violence? Where are the clear thinking leaders of our world who should be talking to each other and doing what is best for all peoples of all countries? We are all the same. Our hearts beat to the same rhythm. Our legs move in the same way. We all have those we love and those we don’t know. Does that make the “other people”  wrong or is it all right to kill them? The answer is a gigantic NO!

 

Whether you believe in God or not, whether you are a Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Zoroastrian, Sufi, Agnostic or Atheist, whether you believe in a Goddess or in Divine Energy or nothing at all, we are made from the same matter. We are star dust. We are killing each other once again. God is not supporting anyone in these wars. God does not belong to any one nationality. God doesn’t favor anyone more than another. God loves all of us, no matter who is participating in war, God loves everyone the same. There is only one God. Despite the fact that we have many religions and spiritual paths, there is only one God and all are loved. It is not my God against your God, there is only one God. Call it whatever you want, there is only one God.

 

A Malaysian airplane has been shut down over the Ukraine. Three hundred human beings, innocent human beings from a variety of countries have  been taken down by surface to air missiles. Why? Which country took the airliner down? What did these people do wrong? Nothing. They bought a ticket and boarded an airliner that was shot out of the sky over the Ukraine. How can decent and reasonable people do this to the human beings on the plane? Were they involved in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia? Some of them, maybe, and but most were probably not. These were human beings who got up this morning and packed their suitcases to take with them on their flight and now they are dead. Maybe they were running late and forgot to say goodbye. Perhaps they were on their way to see someone they loved. Is there an excuse for these unnecessary deaths? There is not. No matter who shot it down, they killed innocent people for no reason. They committed murder. They must be punished, by law, but even this horrible act is not an excuse for war.

 

 

 

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That war is not a solution is not a new concept.  Edwin Starr put it very well:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hate isn't the answer

Hate isn’t the answer

The problems between Palestine and Israel is not new.  Iuntries believe that hate is the problem between these two peoples. I believe that both countries are in some ways right and in some ways wrong. So with hate in their hearts, they continue to war over a strip of land. It isn’t even a great piece of land. But the Palestinian people need a place to call home and to develop their lives. Israel needs to be safe from attacks and worry they will lose their country. There are non-Israelis living in Israel. Israeli hospitals have even treated Palestinians in their hospitals. So I am convinced if the leaders of both countries would stop their accusations, their selfishness and insensitivity to the pain of the other people, peaceful coexistence is possible.

 

The Israeli people need to allow the Palestinians to live unmolested in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians need to have free access to the provisions they need and to get to jobs in Israel (which many Palestinians hold).  Israelis need to be secure in their homes without fear of suicide bombers coming into their country from Gaza. They both need to forgive each other and show each other compassion and gentleness. God, whether called Allah nor Adonai or by any other name, does not want this horrific suffering.

 

Today, despite the prayers from people around the world, Israel has launched a ground attack. The only result will be the loss of more innocent people. I want to declare that innocent people are not collateral damage. They are human beings who have parents, siblings, loved ones, children and friends, just as we do. We all lose when war is unleashed upon our planet. There are no real winners. One side may be declared a winner and think it is done. But what is produced is more hatred and suffering and pain. 

 

WAR MUST END! WE ARE GOING TO DESTROY OURSELVES AND OUR PLANET.

 

There are good, compassionate people living in both countries. There are nasty, thoughtless, mean people in both countries. We have had two World Wars. Innocent people are killed, tortured, imprisoned and suffer. Egos and greed are not reasons to take human lives. There is no reason to take human lives,  If leaders could only remember that, we would have no more genocide, no more suicide bombings, and ultimately no more war.

 

So I hope many people are praying for peace today. I know I am. There is nothing that makes war worthwhile. Nothing that gives human beings back their lives and their futures. How many mathematicians, authors, artists, future Mozarts have we destroyed? What wonders could we have accomplished if war hadn’t ended their lives? Let us stop war now. Let us discuss peace, find a way to co-exist, and work together for the benefit of our planet and all human beings.

 

 

The power of kindness

The power of kindness

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

The Dalai Lama


buddhawatergarden

The Dalai Lama is the spiritual and political leader of Tibet. Tibet is a very mountainous country without resources like oil. One night, in the dark, lit only by the night sky, the Chinese invaded Tibet.  Tibetian monks took the young Lama secretly out of Tibet and the Dalai Lama has since lived in exile in India. Many Tibetans have also fled the invasion. Tibetan monks and nuns were murdered and raped. The Buddhist temples were plundered. Why? The Chinese at one point in history had control of Tibet. They decided all these years later that they were  going to take it back from the Tibetans. They brought in Chinese citizens live in Tibet, taking over the villages and government of the Tibetians. The world sat back and watched.  Tibet had nothing to really bargain with and no natural resources to make them worth fighting for. So without an economic incentive to intervene, the rest of the world simply sat back and allowed this to happen.

The Dalai Lama is an amazing man. I met him twenty plus years ago. His spirituality is a part of his essence. He shook my hand and I felt as if electricity ran up my arm. My late husband was with me at the time. The Dalai Lama looked me directly in the eyes and I knew this man was a man of God. I have never forgotten being in his presence and I read much of what he writes. This man is a man of God, it doesn’t matter what you call God. He is getting older no;, he was fifteen when he fled for his life and he has been in exile ever since. I wanted to share  some of his wisdom with my readers. He is not the only spiritual teacher or leader I have met or studied with. When you dissect what I have learned it is all similar: There is one god and he/she is everywhere and within all of us.

The Dalai Lama speaks with compassion for everyone in the world. His kindness is something that he shows to everyone, He believes that these attributes are what will lead us to happiness and to peace. He has set aside the turmoil surrounding his flight through the mountains of Tibet to India,  and has forgiven the Chinese conquerors. This is a huge act that most world leaders would never even think of doing. Forgiveness for another country taking your country away from you and killing many of your people. He has attempted to use diplomacy to have the Communists leave his country, but over and over, they would not leave. So he forgave them. This man walks his talk and is a role model for all of us on this planet.

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I am going to give you some excerpts from some of his teaching and writings and speeches. These excerpts will be in quotes. Other comments will be mine.

“In essence, all beings are united by the desire to gain happiness and to avoid suffering. We are also the same in that it is possible to remove suffering and attain happiness, to which we all have an equal right.”

“No matter what part of the world we live in, essentially we are all the same human beings. We have the same basic needs and concerns. Furthermore, all of us human beings want freedom and the right to determine our own destiny as individuals. That is human nature.”

“Little children do not bother about religion and nationality, rich or poor; they just want to play together. At a young age the sense of oneness of humanity is much more fresh. As we grow older, we make a lot of distinctions; a lot of artificial creations that are actually secondary become more important, and basic human concern diminishes. That is a problem. Whether we like it or not, we have all been born on this earth as part of one great family. Rich or poor, educated or uneducated, belonging to one nation, religion, ideology, or another, ultimately each of us is just a human being like everyone else. We all desire happiness and do not want suffering. When you recognize that all human beings are equal in this respect, you automatically feel empathy and closeness for them. Out of this, in turn, comes a genuine sense of universal responsibility; the wish to actively help others overcome their problems.”

“To those who believe in God or in a creator, I ask them to put more emphasis on the equality of all human beings. Forget about other galaxies and concentrate on this globe, this planet. If one creator created all earthly beings, discrimination has no place. There can be no differences on the basis of color, social background, or, particularly in this country [India], of caste.”

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

” The common factor among all religions is that, whatever the philosophical differences between them, they are primarily concerned with helping their followers become better human beings. Consequently, all religions encourage the practice of kindness, generosity, and concern for others.”

” All of the different religious faiths, despite their philosophical differences, have a similar objective. Every religion emphasizes human improvement, love, respect for others, sharing other people’s suffering. On these lines every religion has more or less the same viewpoint and the same goal.”

“We must try to promote harmony among various religious traditions. It is important for followers of each tradition to  practice sincerely and seriously. Suppose we are Buddhists.  In order to promote human values, we must, first, make every effort to improve ourselves. In this way, we will prove to be a good example to others. Instead of thinking of conversion, we would think about how much we can contribute through our tradition.”

” Without accepting a religion, but simply developing a realization of the importance of compassion and love, and with more concern and respect for others, a kind of spiritual development is very possible for those persons who are outside of religion.”

“All religious traditions talk about methods of compassion and forgiveness. If we accept religion, we should take the religious methods seriously and sincerely and use them in our daily lives. Then, a meaningful life can develop.”

“Anger and hatred are our real enemies. They are the forces we most need to confront and defeat, not the temporary ‘enemies’ who appear intermittently throughout our life. And unless we train our minds to reduce their negative force, they will continue to disturb us and disrupt our attempts to develop a calm mind.”

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Everyone likes to talk about being calm. You see those new slogans Keep Calm and….. We also always talk about peace, whether within families,  national or international context, but without inner peace how can we make real peace?

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Veteran’s Day


Thank you for all you have given and suffered

Thank you for all you have given and suffered

Happy Veteran’s Day to every woman and man who has served to protect our country. I have a story. It is a surprise to me. It is about my paternal grandfather. He brought his family here to America for freedom and for a better life. He was born in 1880. I had recently put Ancestory.com app on my IPad. I figured I would play with it and see if I could find anything or anyone for free. I have been working on my grandfather. He died before I was born. It was two years before I was born. I would stay at grandmother’s house and I would sleep in his twin bed and would think about him. My paternal grandmother died when I was nine. I remember no photos of my grandfather but I am sure they were there. Grandma and I would have tea in the afternoons I was there visiting.

I knew two facts about grandpa that he was born in 1880 and died in 1948. He had a window washing business and tried hard to support a wife and six children. Now this is not an ad for Ancestry but it is involved. I put my grandfather into his spot on the family tree. I immediately got a leaf. I felt excited like I was in a commercial. I clicked on it and there staring at me was a photograph of my paternal grandfather. I was speechless. He was handsome and I could see my father in his face. I was so excited I called friends to tell them. I figured this was just wonderful. There was also a photograph of my grandparents grave stone. Wow, I had struck gold. As time went by, I found out that the family had come into America via Nova Scotia. Again, excitement and happiness.

A day to reach out to a homeless, injured or hungry vet

A day to reach out to a homeless, injured or hungry vet

Then Ancestory found his mother, Jane. A pretty common name but the story I had always heard was that he had grown up in an orphanage. So now I knew his mother was living. Months went by and no information about his father. I had never thought of my great grandfather because he must have died since grandpa was in an  orphanage in London. Months went by and suddenly my great grandfather appeared. No picture, but now I knew that he had died rather young. Then they found his sibling. It is so cool. I feel like I was given a gift than can never be taken away. I got busy adding photos of my children and grandchildren, all nine of them. And I worked on in laws and cousins.

TAPS is played at military funerals

TAPS is played at military funerals

Yesterday, I decided to join for a month and see if they could find anything else. I noticed that the photograph of their gravestone had a holder for an American flag. I got a magnifying glass and was pretty sure he was in WWII. But if he was born in 1880, how could that be true. Then I discovered the Wall of Honor which contains photographs of servicemen. Again, excitement. I decided that he must have fought in the Great War. I did the math and it had to be the war he served in. So I plugged in the required information, no grandpa. So I figured they were wrong and maybe he never served.

Then my friend who was here suggested that I should look at the servicemen who served in WWII. So, with frustration, I changed wars and entered the information. And I found him. But how could that be? He would have had to be in his sixties. So it was time to do more reading and research. I found “the old men’s ” draft. I am a history buff but never heard of that. It was the fourth draft but people called it the “old men’s” draft. They drafted the older men to help on the home front. This draft called men forty five to sixty four years of age. So now I knew about my paternal grandfather but I couldn’t figure out the orphanage aspect. Then I found that my great grandfather’s date of death had been added. He died rather young and left my great grandmother with four children to raise alone.

Women were very limited in what they could do to earn money. Ancestry has not given me any hints about how she survived and fed her children. Rationally, I think they might have been in a debtors’ prison because of debts or she put one or more of the children into an orphanage because she couldn’t afford to feed and clothe them. Kind of a Dicken’s type of thing, but it was the late 1800’s. Women back then were really really not equal. They weren’t trained for a job and this financial dependence made them need a man. They also did not yet have the vote. There is human courage and bravery in every families story.

Marines in Iraq. No one is left behind

Marines in Iraq. No one is left behind

So today, I say thank you to all who served in any war or police action. Especially to the old men who served well past the time they should have been serving. I am still a Dove, but the two World Wars couldn’t have been avoided by the United States. So my grandfather served in the Army. This has been quite a journey and I am grateful that I have found out so much about my family. I think the quest is still continuing.

The Path of Peace


Wear peace, it is all you know.

Wear peace, it is all you own

Have you noticed that despite all of the discourse about the Affordable Healthcare Act and the typhoon, the Middle East is still simmering like a kettle of homemade soup? The area is very unstable and I think it won’t take much for it to explode. If it does, Israel and the United States will be receiving collateral damage. I am sure our military is looking at this and know much more than we could ever guess.

The only option we have to being drawn into another war, is the path of peace. We all talk a lot about peace, but each of us needs to do actions that are peaceful. I realize that I am probably preaching to the choir, but do each of us every day perform an act of peace? Peaceful acts to me means acts of kindness, acts of gentleness, reaching out a helping hand to someone in need.

The other day most of us saw the photo of the Pope kissing a terribly deformed person. I have seen it several times now and each time I come close to tears. Why? Because you don’t see that kind of compassion often. Usually that severe of a disfigurement will keepus all a couple of feet away. Yet this Pope walked his truth and kissed this man and blessed him.

It made me think of the Buddhist religion and their Goddess, Kuan Yin. She is the goddess of compassion. Think of peace as a recipe. We need equal amounts of compassion, love, acceptance, compromise and selflessness to make peace.

Path to peace

Path to peace

What the world needs now is love, acceptance, compassion, acceptance and each one of us must produce some every day. Are you ready to hold the door for someone with a cane?Would it occur to you to invite someone with no family to join  you for the holidays? If a neighbor asks if you could take them to the doctor, would you willingly do it? There are so many things that we can do as an act of peace.

There are killings, people suffering with severe mental illness, anger is found everywhere, paranoia, dissatisfaction every where we look. People trying to protect themselves  act without thinking. The Stand Your Ground Law  was to be used in an emergency situation. It was designed to save your life or the lives of those with you. Now it seems to be a legal way to take the life of minority people.

When the colonies were founded, most people had guns. There were the Indians who were upset that we were stealing their land, there were bears, and mountain lions and other wild animals who could kill you or you could kill them and eat the meat. All kinds of people came to America for a hundred reasons and some of them could have been mentally ill or could be carrying a grudge. People had real reasons to feel fear. After the revolution, we were forming a new country based on new thinking and an experiment as how to form our government. Laws and people to enforce those laws were not on every corner. I can see where people felt they needed a gun.This just isn’t true in the twenty first century.

Despite the danger the early colonists lived in, they were hospitable, kind, compassionate. Today we see anger, a disconnect from reality, we see selfishness, and greed. Now people barely talk, if they bump into you they give you a dirty look, drivers wear faces filled with hate and irritation. Why? Why is our world so filled with anger and hatred?  I have not lived a golden blessed life but I have had many blessings in it. 

I do feel that stress fits in here as well as the ability to earn a livable wage. I think we have become very materialistic and as technology increases, there is a race to keep up with the newest gadget. We have to pay for them and we have to learn how to use them. There is no privacy in our lives anymore. With the advent of social media, nothing is personal and private. I admit that when people post on their status, I am eating breakfast or something as inane it makes me a little crazy. Yeah, ok, so eat. The world is worrying about mass shootings, strange viruses, how to save their home, or how will they pay for college for their three children. Another thing we have to face is the fact that we are acquainted with many people but there isn’t the time to really know people and to make friends.

So the path of peace is something we need to work on every day on our journey. You don’t have to write a book, you don’t  have to win a Grammy. You just need to do something compassionate, ethical or kind every day. We’ll link them together and we will have our peace. And maybe we will have sacrificed the last of our children to the god of War.

Acheive peace; Albert Einstein

Achieve peace; Albert Einstein

Solitude


Solitude

Solitude

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But drink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you.
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasures,

But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes byl
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.
——Ella Wheeler Wilcox; 1850 – 1919

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change in ourlives

” Every day is a god, each day is a god
and holiness holds forth in time…” Unknown

A run across the sand.

A run across the sand.