The Source of Joy


Experience love

Experience love

” No one knows what makes the soul wake
up so happy! Maybe a dawn breeze has

blown the veil from the face of God.
A thousand new moons appear. Roses

open laughting. Hearts become perfect
rubies like those from Badakshan. The

body turns entirely spirit. Leaves
become branches in this wind. Why is

it now so easy to surrender, even for
those already surrendered? There’s no

answer to any of this. No one knows the source of joy. A poet breathes
into a reed flute, and the tip of every hair makes music. Shams sails

clown clods of dirt from the roof, and we take jobs as doorkeepers for him.

——-Rumi, translated by Robert Bly

We can never give all of our love away.

We can never give all of our love away.

Prayer beads

Do not raise your voice

Rumi's words

Rumi’s words

To know you...

                                                                                                             My One Desire                                                                                                                        

I Heard a Slight Rustle Within the Silence


It is the middle of the night and I awoke thinking about the horror and devastation of today. My heart is breaking over the continued violence. Then as I was sitting, I heard a small sound in the quiet of the night, the black black night. I knew it to be the sound of angel wings moving as the angels moved to provide love, comfort and strength to all those involved.

My heart felt uplifted and I knew that here is hope, love, compassion and kindness in this world. Each of us are a symbol of them.

We are thinking of you. Prayers continue to rise up to the heavens. Blessings to all.

We are thinking of you.
Prayers continue to rise up to the heavens. Blessings to all.

Violence Destroys Families


Battering destroys families.

Battering destroys families.

For the victim of battering or Domestic Violence, they exist in a house with someone who hurts them. They are literally “Sleeping With the Enemy.” Abuse is the only crime in America where we ask the victim to lie down in bed next to the person who has just finished knocking their teeth out, punched them in the stomach, burned them with a cigarette, or holding a gun to their head.

Generations of children have learned that battering is normal.

Generations of children have learned that battering is normal.

Children in violent homes are often beaten or molested by someone they live with. Even for those who haven’t been beaten, They see their parents as role models. Yes, they often try to protect their mothers but the majority of them repeat the beatings they saw over and over as a child . They  learned to be an abuser. Girls in violent families whether beaten or not, watch the victim be punched, dragged, choked, slapped  burned with a cigarette and many other vile acts. They learn from their family that they are victims.  As they grow older, it is not unusual for abusers and victims to find each other. They live together in their set roles.

This woman is being victimized

This woman is being victimized

Love should never hurt

Love should never hurt

The scene of Domestic Violence begins like any other relationship. Two people meet and fall in love. They live together or marry and may eventually have a baby. An abuser doesn’t always begin to abuse while they are dating. Sometimes it begins on the honeymoon. That first punch to teach the victim who is in charge. The abuser wants her to know exactly what is expected. Dinner at six, his shirts laundered just so. He expects her to be home all day and he will be calling to check up on her. Sometimes the abuse doesn’t begin until a pregnancy becomes reality. The abuser may say they are pleased and excited, but will then begin to beat the victim up. Frequently, the abuse consists of punching her over and over in the stomach. Many women have lost their babies because of abuse. Sometimes the abuse doesn’t begin until the children are older and the house doesn’t run as smoothly as it used to. The house is full of playing, laughing, screaming or giggling children. They learn soon enough not to bring anyone home to play because an episode of abuse may begin. These are families in name only.

Often violence begins during pregnancy

Often violence begins during pregnancy

Hands were made for hugging and not for hitting.

Hands were made for hugging and not for hitting.

To attempt to prevent episodes of abuse, the victim will try to have everything just the way the abuser wants it. The children are taught to be quiet and just eat dinner and go do homework. They stay in their rooms or go to a friend’s house so that they won’t be battered or have to hear the screams of pain and the abusive slurs that go hand in hand with the physical abuse.

Speak out

Speak out

If you are being abused or know someone who is, get out and go to a shelter. Almost all cities have shelters now. Get yourself and the kids out before the abuse escalates and someone is dead. In a shelter, you will find medical help, warm beds, food, counseling, legal advice and assistance. You and your children will be protected and supported as you begin the process of starting a new life without violence.

It is never, never right to abuse a woman or children. It is never right to abuse a man. This is not really love. It is power and control. The abuser thinks he owns you. Leaving the violent home will be the beginning of having the ability to live without the fear of abuse.

A handprint

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