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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Our Journey in Life


Autumn color

Autumn color

          Presque Isle, Pa.

The present moment, the here and now moment is the most important moment. Each moment is fleeting and passes us by very quickly. When we are children the present moment is their entire world. As adults, we know that each fleeting moment will be followed by another moment and another and another. The present moment of time in the history of the universe because it is the only time we have any control over.  This is why it is important to teach our children what is important, which values really count, and hope we have given them what they need to carry on after we are gone.

This means walking our path and traveling our journey. A major part of our journey in life is figuring out what our purpose is.  Just what is the reason we are put here? If our lives have not been enchanted, we wonder what is wrong. If we have experienced violence and abuse. Even though we are almost at the end of October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month,  Abuse can and will happen at any time during the year. You may not hear as much or read as much about it as you have been this month but those of us who  do work or did work in DV are still here and caring for your safety. Once again, I have to say you are never alone. If attempts are being made to isolate you, we are here. The hotlines will still work, the shelters will still be there and nothing will ever change this fact.

Purple ribbons signify that we do not accept Domestic Violence

Purple ribbons signify that we do not accept Domestic Violence

Be assured you were not put on a path of slavery, abuse and other forms of violence. The strength and determination to get yourself out and to a safe place is inside you. God wants none of us to suffer. You must not listen to the abuser who is telling you how stupid, and ugly you are. Emotional abuse will include that no one else will want you, you are a terrible parent, no one cares about what happens to you. If you are hearing lies like this know that they are not true. The Divine One is within you and you are strong, you are beautiul, you are intelligent.

So what is the reason we are here? Where is our journey taking us and what are we to discover? Some people find their answer with work, others with their avocation. Some form a link between the two.  To change the world for the better you don’t need to be a king, a prince, president or a prophet. God’s plan is that it only takes one human being, doing good right in the present moment.

Inside of yourself are seeds for you to sow. Seeds of hope in your own heart and in the hearts of people around you. This is how you build bonds by the ties of hope and trust. When you put yourself into a place of hope and trust it builds not only within  ourselves but also for the world. A positive, hopeful countenance to the world, then the small world that we call our everyday life can become richer with meaning and filled with the positive presence of hope.

 Truly Magestic Tree that come from a seed someone sowed to make their world a better place to be.

Truly Majestic Tree that come from a seed someone sowed to make their world a better place to be.

The Prognosis for Mother Earth


Our planet as it really is

“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” —-Alfred Lord Tennyson

Invoking the powers of the Universe or bestowing our blessing on the Earth or other beings is neither a simple benevolent wish nor an act of hubris.. It is an act of creative consciousness. .As we shake off all other desires, we can proceed on our relationship with the whole Universe.

Peace be to earth and to airy space!
Peace be to heaven, peace to the waters,
Peace to the plant and peace to the trees!
May all the powers grant me peace!
By this invocation of peace may peace be diffused!
By this invocation of peace may peace bring peace!
With this peace the dreadful I now appease,
With this peace the cruel I now appease,
With this peace all evil I now appease,
So that peace may prevail, happiness prevail
May everything for us to be peaceful.”
——–Atharva Veda XIX

Prayers and blessings bring us into alignment with the rest of creation. They directly express our intentions and and utter wishes we hope to be achieved. We offer an invocation or blessings and we become mindful co-creators in this unfolding Universe.

“This is what I want to happen,
That our Earth Mother may not be closed in ground corn four times over…
In order that the country may be this way
I have made my prayer sticks into something alive.”
——–Zuni prayer

There is some magic to some prayers. Not the superstitious sort we usually think of, but rather in the ecological sense of the creative flux of all things. Through our blessings and superstitions we acknowledge this network of forces that flows through the world. This awakens the deeper levels, of our consciousness to affect these patterns of change.

It is an act of creative confidence, these invocations and prayers. It empties us of the needs of our personality, our ego, or the demands of our society, we free ourselves to come into a dynamic relationship with the whole Universe.

The color of Earth;  Photo by Barbara Mattio

The Journey of life can take us down beautiful paths

                                                                                                                                                                                   Photo by Barbara Mattio

                                                                                                                                                           

Choose Peace


Life is thankfully full of choices for us all to make. I am sure we make hundreds each and every day. Each of us can choose peace or we can choose greed, a desire for money and power, or not to love or care for anyone else in life besides ourselves. This might well be said to be the most important choice we will ever make in our lives. Our choosing to reject war may even save lives. Yes, I realize I am idealistic. I confess, if you hadn’t already guessed. :) There is much on the line, innocent lives, returning soldiers who will never be the same mentally and emotionally. There is also the physical cost of sending our young bright kids off to a war that could be avoided.

“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,

Common be our deliberations.

Alike be our feelings, 

Unified be our hearts,

Common be our intentions,

Perfect be our Unity.”

                         —–From the Rig Veda of the Hindu path

” Life and death,

a twisted vine sharing a single root.

A water bright green

stretching to top a twisted yellow

only to wither itself

as another green unfolds overhead.

One leaf atop another

yet under the next,

a vibrant tapestry of arcs and falls

all in the act of becoming.

Death is the passing of life.

And life

is the stringing together of so many little passings.

Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro

Use this time for recreation, to look within and see if you are everything you want to be. On this full moon, it is a good time for a little inner tweaking. Blessings to all.

Beaver Moon is a time of preparation for winter and reminder to recreate ourselves. Photo by Barbara Mattio

We are going into the Future – with Positive Energy


I have been listening to people, what they write and what they say. I have looked around me at the people in my life and the acquaintances. When people talk, there is a flow of negativity. If one person does not make themselves clear, the other assumes the worst.

Now, it occurs to me that these threads of negative thought and speech are influencing more and more of the energy of our communities. People hurt others’ feelings, there is a lack of respect of others, of the elderly. Everyone seems to be on a hair-trigger. This trigger seems ready to go off and escalation is the result. My confusion comes from the fact that many of the angriest people have everything they could want. Yet it isn’t enough. Then I began thinking about how if friends and neighbors can’t have conversations without hurt feelings, there is something going on.

Times are changing. There is a lot of negativity in our cities, our country and all the countries of the world.  There is an outcry across the world by the people who have been living under dictators, who live amidst bombs and fear. We human beings are committing terrible crimes against each other. Racism, sexism, greed and power are bringing out the worst in humanity.  Not that we historically have had any difficulty torturing or causing pain to our fellow sentient beings.

Genocide is happening yet again. We have made it a purpose  in life to try to wipe out races of people who are different. Their skin color, religion, education, natural abilities all have worked together to sound the battle cry to kill…the “others”. Some countries are keeping women and girls from receiving an education. This leaves them in perpetual poverty and controlled by the males in their families. They are owned by fathers, brothers, and husbands. They never even have a chance to figure out who they are. They never get to experience themselves as a child of the Universe. They are stuck having to always do what they are told. They don’t know how to protect their daughters because no one protected them.

Girls are being married off at as young as 10 years old. Their bodies are not even completely formed yet. In my mind, only a pedophile could or would do something like this. IN some cultures, if a man wants a woman and she doesn’t want him, he has the right to throw acid in her face. This is done to save his family shame. Also no one will ever want her. I have seen such horrible pictures of young beautiful women who are scarred so much their families are shocked. Little girls disappear. Mothers cry and pray, but the girls are gone and have been sold into sexual slavery. Their life is essentially over. Very few governments will search for them, so they are used until they commit suicide or are thrown away like garbage. In many countries, when girls reach puberty and their menses begin, the mother takes her to the midwife for genital mutilation. This practice is what will make them marriageable. It is done to decrease sexual pleasure and to ensure virginity. Some men have their wives sewn closed while they are away on business so their labia is sewn together to prevent sexual intercourse. A small opening is left so they can pee.

All of this adds to the negativity which is swirling around our world.  Every time a girl or woman is saved and educated, we decrease the negative energy. It takes getting involved and understanding that every woman who is injured, is a sister.

Here in America, Domestic Violence is not stopping but increasing according to the FBI statistics. A woman who is married is not owned. She is not required to obey. She is not the reason he hits her. We  started building Domestic  Violence shelters and giving hope to abused women and their children in the 1970′s. We taught them to do the Activities of Daily Living so they could escape and survive in the world. Legal advice and assistance was provided. We saved lives. In those days, we were grass-roots organizations. Hard work, prayers and tenacity is what we lived on while we counseled, loved, fed and sheltered millions of women and their children. We just saw a need and began to do something to change lives.

This is exactly what we need to do to go forward into the future. We need to form grass-roots groups of dedicated men and women to stop the violence and negativity, of all kinds. Righting wrongs is an important aspect of our journey here on our World. Stopping negative energy and gut reactions is necessary to take us forward into the future. Caring is good, it is important. Volunteering a few hours a month would do much to create  positive energy. People need to just think and act positively. Get out and give the Universe a few of the hours of your life and we will feel the energy brighten and we will feel joy within us. This must be a present and the future and we all can participate.

Bob Marley said it so well. One World, One God, One life. Do what you can do to add positive energy to our world.

Imagine Peace


Can you imagine a world without war?

May it be your will Eternal One our God and God of our ancestors that war and bloodshed will cease.
That a treat, wonderful peace will envelope the whole world,
And nation will not lift up sword against nation, and neither shall they learn war any more.
Only will all the inhabitants of the earth become acquainted with and know this tuth:
We do not come into this world for fighting or quarrels, and not for hatred, zealotry, destruction or spilling of blood.
Rather, we have only come into the world to know you God and to praise you forever.

 

So, please have mercy upon us, and fulfill the promise written Scriptures:

 

I will grant peace to the land. You shall lie down and none shall be afraid.

 

I will rid the land of vicious beasts and the sword shall not cross your lands.

 

Justice will swell up like water, righteousness like a mighty stream.

 

And all of the earth shall be filled with the knowing of the Eternal One as the water fills the sea.

 

—A Nineteenth Century Jewish Prayer for Peace

 

 

A Sufi Prayer for Peace

Send Thy Peace, O Lord, which is perfect and everlasting; that our souls may radiate peace.

Send Thy Peace, O Lord, that we may think, act, and speak harmoniously.

Send Thy Peace, O Lord, that we may be contented and thankful for Thy bountiful gifts.

Send Thy Peace, O Lord, that amidst our worldly strife we may enjoy Thy bliss.

Send Thy Peace, O Lord, that we may endure all, tolerate all in the thought of Thy grace and mercy.

Send Thy Peace, O Lord, that our lives may become a divine vision, and in Thy light all darkness may vanish.

Send Thy, Peace, O Lord, our Father and Mother, that we Thy children on earth may all unite in one brotherhood.

—Hazrat Inayat Khan

We all, no matter what our spiritual path or religion, we all will benefit from a lasting peace. I encourage all the people in the world who believe in peace to work for it. Stand up, speak out. If you live under a dictator leave the country and contact the United Nations. Remember there are people in every country who love peace and will help. I know that while we have to pray, we also have to work for peace, write about peace, call your government officials, write to your leaders and to your Pastors, Rabbis, Priests, and Sheiks. Ask for peace, tell them why you want peace. Meditate on peace. Begin with peace within yourself and then go on to peace within your community, and then within your country.

We, the extraordinary people who believe and will speak out for peace in our world can and will make a difference. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, or what you believe. Just embrace the concept of peace and we can change Our World.

This symbol is for peace. May everyone remember it still is the international symbol for the work of making peace.

The Need for Women’s Voices in the World


Galveston Island, TX ; Photo by Barbara Mattio

” This is how love is: So what if your head must roll,

What is there to cry about?”    —-Kabir

“In proportion as one simplifies one’s life,

the laws of the Universe will appear less

complex, and solitude will not be solitude,

nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.       —Thoreau

If we were to remove all mention of women from the history of the world’s major religions, the history of these religions would not undergo the slightest change. Removing all male’s names would destroy religion. The presence of feminine mystics and holy women has never altered the course of religious history or changed its direction at all.

Most people assume that our religions were equally representative of the feminine psyche is an assumption that finds no footing in our religious histories. To change religions and spiritual paths to be inclusive of the female energy and spirit. Women need to continue to take the forefront of spiritual experience in our modern world. We need to take the lead in making spiritual paths more accepting of women and protective of women and children.

Gulf of Mexico,  Photo by Barbara Mattio

Women at the head of spiritual paths and walking along their own spiritual journey can begin to change some of the horrors women and children find themselves living in. I am speaking of Human Traffeting in children, genital mutilation, marrying 10 year old children. We as women need to teach more about love and acceptance and less about hatred and violence. Women have the ability to look at the big picture of what is happening in our world and to make the needed changes.

Things like micro loans, education, feeding a village buy buying the villagers a goat or seeds to plant to grow their own food. Women need to take the lead in the global climate control. It is our time to step forward and speak up. It is our time to make the haters, the greedy, the ones’s who take advantage of the poor, elderly and homeless pay for their crimes.  We need to step forward to show that our priorities are more than monetary. They are people, peace and the end of wars.

The Beauty of Mother Earth

 

The Reason for Peace


Children deserve to live in a world where they are cherished, educated, loved and live in peace. We have the responsibility to give that world to them.

We have a world where some children will never even walk into a school. We have a world where some children will die of hunger in their Mother’s arms. We have a world where some children have no shoes or clothes. We have a world where some children die of smallpox, whooping cough, and malaria. They die because there is no medicine for them.

We live in a world where they live and die and no one knows or cares.

We live in a world where some kids go to posh prep schools, and some kids are bullied for being dressed differently. We live in a world where many bright kids can’t go to college.   We live in a world where no one really cares. 

We live in a world where we look for peace to protect our children and grandchildren. I look for a world where a grown angry man full of hate, with an automatic gun is his hand, isn’t the last thing that a child sees. I look for a world where we love the poor and hungry and homeless as much as we love our comfortable neighbors.

I pray for a world full of peace, not greed for money,oil, land, power and a world where people don’t die because they believe in a God/Goddess that is different than someone else’s.

I pray for a world where we put our arms around children and tell them how good and precious they are. I pray for a world where is doesn’t matter what color their skin is. I pray for a world where they will know only kindness and compassion. I pray for a world where we give love without restraint because we know we can never run out of love and it will only come back to us. I pray for a world where we can all hold hands and it is important that everyone on our planet has food and clean water. And that we will work to find solutions to make that possible. I pray for a world where everyone cares.

Beach 4; Presque Isle, Pa.;Photo by Barbara Mattio

Power of Peace in the World

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Working Together For Our World With Love and Acceptance


99% of the American people working to hold up the World

When Bush first ran for President against Al Gore, I was deeply disappointed when he won. However, he won fair and square. The majority of the people spoke in his favor. We even had the controversy over Florida and “the hanging chads from ballots.” I will admit I was unhappy and a bit suspicious.

I am a pacifist and I will admit that I shunned vets after Vietnam. I’ve learned a lot since then. I was totally against the War in Iraq, but I understood that many of our boys and girls were choosing to fight in this war. So I gave them my prayers and support. I still wasn’t happy, but I accepted this second administration. I felt Bush was a “cowboy” and not the man I wanted to be President. Well, it was my opinion and my right to voice my views, rationally and logically. For eight years I did not let anger or conspiracies rule my thoughts and life.

Now, times have changed and Barak Obama has been elected by the majority and electoral vote of the American people. I must say that I am shocked by all of the hatred, anger, and illogical talk that is taking place. Twenty states talking succession. Really? So you are taking your toys home and never playing with us again. In an election, someone always loses. Sometimes it is Domecrats and sometimes Republicans.

Our Founding Fathers did not have the sort of rhetoric and extreme anger I have been hearing on the internet and in articles…let alone Social Media. I believe they would be disappointed that all they dreamed and fought for, American freedom would end up being trashed like this.

It is time for each citizen to look into their hearts and minds and look for the rational, loving, accepting human being that this country was designed for. Please put aside the angst and let us all work together to make this a country and world filled with the love and beauty that Divinity has had in mind.

The beautiful creation of Divinity.

The Vote


America is coming up on one of our most important votes. Historically, voting; before the women received the vote, men made voting  into an excuse to drink and have fist fights..There was chaos. It is amazing that we made it through these times. Voting was done in saloons and a man’s vote got him a free shot of whiskey.

There were problems with voter ID. Not because of the reasons we debate  today, Police were stationed in the saloons to keep the peace. They often looked the other way, so guys could vote again and get another shot. Guns were toted for a man’s protection. Some may have even been needed. Don’t know. Election day was wild.

Today, emotions flare on all sides. We have evolved. Thanks to the Suffragettes,  women now have the responsibility of voting too.  We no longer vote in the saloons and the whiskey no longer flows like hot lava. Election day is a time for all citizens to speak up.

We must remember on election day to put our apathy aside. Citizens all over the world risk their lives to get to America to have the chance to become citizens and to vote to keep the freedoms we have here in America. They traveled here in ships and planes seeking what the original Pilgrims sought when they arrived in the 1600′s. They wanted freedom and a voice in creating and strengthening these freedoms for all Americans.

In November, remember voting is indeed a right, but it is also an important responsibility. If we are apathetic and don’t use our vote, we weaken our democracy. In every generation, there have been those who threw the hat in and gave up. They stopped voting. They stopped listening to issues.  Both sides of the issues. If something happens later on they don’t like, often, they are the first to complain loudly and frequently. Perhaps if these people had voted, the results would be much different. At the very least, they would have had the opportunity to say, to vote for what they believed in.

My challenge to Americans in November is to go to the polls and vote. Tell our leaders what and whom you want to lead our government. Don’t get caught up in the discontent you feel. Use the discontent within to get yourself out of the house, vote before you go to work or on your way home. We are citizens of a great Democracy and we have a responsibility to work to keep it whole and continuing to grow as the world is growing.

It is important to remember that with all of the new technology, America and Americans need to show people what Democracy is and how it can and does improve lives. Go vote, be proud, no matter who wins, and I do have a favorite, but whoever wins the process will have worked again as it has every four years since the founding fathers wrote the Constitution.

July 4, 2012 Fireworks; Photo by Barbara Mattio

2012 fireworks; Photo by Barbara Mattio