Teaching Peace

Le Petit Journal posted this video in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, and I wanted to share it with you.  It is important that we teach Peace to our children, and that we make sure they do not grow up afraid of others, because fear breeds hatred and violence.  There will always be bad men, but good men can overcome them with Peace, Love, Compassion, Kindness and Gentleness; and, yes, Flowers and Candles.

Barbara The Idealistic RebelParisPeaceSign






True Nature

Our minds have a true nature and it is enlightenment and peacefulness. So what happens to us as life continues in its flow? The oceans are calm and clear until they are stirred up by a storm or several storms. So what stirs us up?


When we mentally grasp onto things, problems or trials and cling to our wants, desires and worries, we lose our enlightened freedom and healing power. When we do this, we gain stress and exhaustion, suffering and overexcitement. It is as if a storm were sweeping the surface of the ocean.


Buddhists call this grasping at self. And we do and the harder we grasp, the more stressed and traumatized we become. Our minds do have the power to be joyful and to blossom into peace and contentment. We, our minds, are what makes the difference. Our minds can heal us or can make us very ill emotionally and physically.


Rich and poor alike can suffer from stress caused by external worries. Even millionaires suffer from anger, despair, and depression. They really do not get to enjoy true rest and peace, but they worry about how to keep what they have. They can’t enjoy who and what they are but are living for what they desire. Making money does not enslave us, but giving our lives over to what we are attracted to does.


Poor people become trapped by the struggle of life. They struggle to pay bills, keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. These are all important things. Often they can’t even enjoy the little they have for fear of incurring more pain.


Mother Teresa told a story about a small boy who was brought to the missionary sisters in Calcutta.  They gave him a piece of bread and he hungrily ate half. He refused to eat any more. The sisters asked him why he wouldn’t eat more and he said because he might not get any more. The sisters assured him he could have more and he quickly ate the other half. This orphan was clinging to that half piece of bread because he understood what starvation felt like and that half slice was all he thought he had between him and starving.


We accumulate items for our homes but take little care of our minds and bodies. A Tibetan monk  told a story of a friend of his who was chopping wood and he lost control of one chop and it cut through his new leather shoe. His foot was uninjured and that was good. The monk looked at his friend and expressed his gratitude about his foot and then said that if his friend hadn’t had the shoes on, he would have cut his foot. The monk’s friend looked at the monk and declared that if he hadn’t had on his new shoes, he would have injured his foot but it would have healed. The shoe would not heal.  In a poor country like Tibet, shoe leather is valued.  It is a funny way of looking at things, but we often put material objects before our minds and bodies.


Relaxing our hold on self brings us peace of mind, and with peace of mind nothing can harm us. Even if we suffer, the right attitude will help us carry our emotions more lightly. Simply by opening our minds, we can be surprised by our own inner strength.


Neurologists are working hard to understand how the mind works and they are making real progress. Letting go of things and the people who are toxic in our lives does make a difference. The difference is being free to discover and enjoy the wonders in the world and in our lives.


Meditation does help us with the letting go and it helps us to hold on to love, peace, enlightenment and compassion. There is no one right way of meditation, but it is the act of opening oneself up to experience Divinity that enables us to let go of what is causing us suffering.


Along our journey in this life, we can serve others, create organizations which will help others, provide protection, give gifts, say prayers, and pay respect to others and to Mother Earth.


“When you speak, speak with ease, relevance, clarity, and pleasantness,

Without desire and hatred,

In gentle tones and at moderate length.

When you look, look with honest and loving eyes, thinking:

‘By depending on this kind person

I will become fully enlightened.’ ”



“God said to Moses, ‘You saw the moon rise from your chest.

I filled you with Divine light. I am God, Yet, when I got sick,

you never visited me!’

Moses said, ‘Transcendent one, I don’t know what you’re

talking about. Please set me straight.’

God repeated, ‘When I was sick, you never came.’

Moses said, ‘Perfect One, You have no imperfections! I don’t

understand. What are you talking about?’

God said, ‘One of my lovers was ill, and you ignored it.

I am him. His sickness is my sickness. Think it over.’ ”

   —Rumi, from Rumi Wisdom






The suffering of humankind. The storm sweeping the ocean. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2015

The suffering of humankind. The storm sweeping the ocean. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2015


The peacefulness and beauty of the beach. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2015

The peacefulness and beauty of the beach. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2015

Working Together for Peace

Israelis and Palestinians Join Forces to March for Peace Together

by John Vibes, October 20,2015 on thefreethoughtproject.com.

In recent months, news of violence between Israelis and Palestinians has become more frequent than ever. However, last week hundreds of Israelis, Palestinians, and other nationalities joined together to march for peace in Jerusalem and Washington.

The protests were associated with a three-day BDS solidarity wave with other demonstrations that were held at Israeli embassies in cities across Europe and South America.

Jews and Palestinians 1

The protests in Washington were primarily directed at the massive military aid packages that Israel receives from the US.

Nejwa Ali, a Palestinian-American from Buffalo, New York told reporters, “I’ve been to Palestine before and witnessed occupation, intentional discrimination and murder of Palestinians by the Israeli military, the U.S. Government supports Israel with $3 billion a year and the Americans need to know.”

Although there is still an unfortunate amount of racism in the Middle East, most of the hate is generally fueled and stirred up by the politicians who benefit from and thrive on it, and this hateful sentiment is not shared by the vast majority of the general population.

While the politicians and military leaders continue to promote hate and violence, there are more and more situations popping up that are showing the path towards a more peaceful future. Many groups and individuals are stepping up, risking their public reputations and their lives to speak out for what they believe is right. What is even better is that average people are working to apply their own skills and talents towards bringing the Palestinians and Israelis together.

For years, peace activists in Palestine have been teaming up with other peace activists in Israel as well as the United States and Iran to spread a message of love and unity among people of all geographical locations…..regardless of what all the crazy politicians say.

Jews and Palestinians 2

Some of the most popular of these efforts is the Palestine loves Israel and Israel loves Palestine campaigns, which started out as a viral Facebook phenomena where Palestinians and Israelis would send messages of love to one another and reassure each other that the hateful rhetoric put forward by governments and media outlets are totally out of line with the true feelings of the average person.

Also, just last year an Israeli metal band called Orphaned Land joined forces with the Palestinian band Khalas for an 18 gig tour that visited 6 different countries. The purpose of the tour was to promote peace and unity between the Palestinian and Israeli people. The bands even lived together and shared a tour bus throughout the duration of their travels.


As most of you know I am 100% for peace. WWII was the only righteous war. I am always advocating for peace and my heart is full tonight with thoughts for peace.We need peace in our own hearts and peace in our families. We need to stop all abuse in our families. We need peace in America and Congress needs to actually do what they were elected for. We need peace in the world.

Peace in palestine and Israel would be a defining moment in the history of our world. I encourage you to follow what is happening in the Middle East. We must all put a halt on revenge, hatred, and judgment.

I can no more understand the suspicion of those who are different now than when I was a child. One of the great strengths of humankind is that we are different. People of different nationalities make a beautiful picture. We don’t need to all worship alike, or look alike. We don’t need to speak alike.We are all children of the Universe and as such we do have a responsibility to make peace as often as we can. We need to get out of our own heads and find the similarities between us and use  them to understand one another better, to love one another better. We need to know that we may be writers, photographers, musicians, painters and mimes but we can speak through our work. We need to show how much that love, gentleness, compassion, kindness and concern can change our lives and the lives of those around.

Whether, you have a spiritual path or are an atheist, we take care of each other, we must care about the lives and trials of the other people in the world. When the hatred of some humans, explodes one day, we will lose many material things and people that we love and care about. It will be too late then. I do not have the personality to run a country, and yet I know that our Congress is not performing their job descriptions and are therefore, letting American citizens down.

Many good men and women laid down their lives during the Revolutionary War to give us freedom. The Constitution needs to be respected and honored as well as the memories of those who fought and designed our Bill of Rights and our Constitution.

Some times, while watching the news, and they are interviewing Congress, I wonder what George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams among others would think about what is happening and often not happening in Congress.  The Founding Fathers had their own differences but they worked through them and designed a country that is the greatest democracy ever. So work for peace, work for good communications, accept what is different and cherish this planet that we were given. As I have said before, there is no Planet B.




Mountain stream Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2015

Mountain stream
Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2015

Why Hate Cannot Win

Found this on Facebook recently, a lovely reminder that Hate Cannot Win Against Love.


The WestBoro Baptist Church is an organization which regularly protests against homosexuals and other “sinners”, including our military veterans, often at funerals and at the homes of the loved ones of the beloved departed.


Their message is that “God Hates You” because you are different, in any way the WestBoro Baptist Church finds “sinful” — so, basically, all LGBT people and anyone else who doesn’t agree with them.


But this gentleman, in his video below, has found something marvelous that someone has done to combat the WestBoro Baptist Church, to remind the members of that Church every time they go to worship that their Hate is not the only force, and that Hate will never Win so long as there is Love.







Harmony and Peace


I watched the Pope at the ground zero conducting a beautiful interfaith service. It touched my heart and sincerely was the best interfaith service I have seen in a very long time. The children’s choir sang and it was beautiful and appropriate as we work towards peace.




Kahlil Gibran

Khalil Gibran is the author of The Prophet and is known through the world as the immortal Prophet of Lebanon and the Savant of the time. He wrote in Arabic and his works have been translated into English and other languages. I hope you enjoy what I have selected.

Song of the Rain

“I am dotted silver threads dropped from heaven

by the gods. Nature then takes me, to adorn

Her fields and valleys.

I am beautiful pearls, plucked from the

Crown of Ishtar by the daughter of Dawn

To embellish the gardens.

When I cry the hills laugh;

When I humble myself the flowers rejoice;

When I bow, all things are elated.

The field and the cloud are lovers

And between them I am a messenger of mercy.

I quench the thirst of the one;

I cure the ailment of the other.

The voice of thunder declares my arrival;

The rainbow announces my departure,

I am like earthly life, which begins at

The feet of the mad elements and ends

Under the upraised wings of death.

I emerge from the heart of the sea and

Soar with the breeze. When I see a field in

Need, I descend and embrace the flowers and

The trees in a million little ways.

I touch gently as the windows with my

Soft fingers, and my announcement is a

Welcome song. All can hear, but only

The sensitive can understand.

The heat in the air gives birth to me,

But in turn I kill it,

As woman overcomes man with

The strength she takes from him.

I am the sigh of the sea;

The laughter of the field;

The tears of heaven.

So with love—

Sighs from the deep sea of affliction;

Laughter from the colorful field of the spirit;

Tears from the endless heaven of memories.”


wpid-img_20150217_101759.jpg                                    Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2014

My Soul

My soul is my friend who consoles me in misery and distress of life. He who does not befriend his soul is an enemy of humanity, and he who does not find human guidance within himself will perish desperately. Life emerges from within, and derives not from environs.

I came to say a word and I shall say it now. But if death prevents its uttering, it will be said by Tomorrow, for Tomorrow never leaves a secret in the book of Eternity.

I came to live in the glory of Love and the light of Beauty, which are the reflections of God. I am here living, and the people are unable to exile me from the domain of life for they know I will live in death. If they pluck my eyes I will hearken to the murmurs of Love and the songs of Beauty.

If they close my ears I will enjoy the touch of the breeze mixed with the incense of Love and the fragrance of Beauty.

If they place me in vacuum, I will live together with my soul, the child of Love and Beauty.

I came here to be for all and with all, and what I do today in my solitude will be echoed by Tomorrow to the people.

What I say now with one heart will be said tomorrow by many hearts.

—khalil Gibran




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What Artists Need

Creative people, or we could say artists, have some needs to be able to fully access their creativity.

They need to love and to be loved. We, as creative people, need intimate relationships, emotional and intellectual friendships. Creative people need wide-ranging relationships. They also need human warmth, the occasional handshake. They need people who respect their work and who respect and care about them.


They need love, intimacy, and friendship more than they need gallery shows or tenure. The flow of love through our human lives is what we need and what we must attain.


Relating needs to be more than a nice idea. Creative people need to relate well to others. Van Gogh loved the idea of complement as an essential life accomplishment. He looked at human relationships and color relationships to be essential. He loved to use blue and yellow in his paintings and he felt that men and women need to and can support one another in life. The inability to accomplish this is one of the thousands of reasons for depression.


Creative people can be great composers, painters, writers, a great intellectual or a great soul. We need to climb down off of our high horses, tear our enemies lists to shreds. We need to stop criticizing and blaming others for our own failures. We are special but not completely unique.


Therapists suggest that artists consciously make a point of caring for others. Give without taking.

Feel, rather than steel yourself to the actions and comments of others. Count to ten and perhaps count more than once.


Manage your ego. Someone else’s success is not a personal affront to you. Moderate selfishness. Share credit when it is earned. We have hungers and desires but so does every living human being. Reduce your sense of injury. Let the old hurts which continue to haunt you go. Open up and let them drift away. They are heavy baggage.

Buddha told a story about an angry man. He had been injured emotionally by someone. He held that anger like a charcoal briquette just out of the fire. He held on to it day after day and in the end, he was the only one injured. He had a terribly bad burn and the other person was just fine and went on with their life as always. The angry man was scarred for life.


We live in a harsh world and it needs every bit of beauty we can add to it. It also needs our kindness, gentleness, compassion and love. These can change the world. Not completely, but it can and will make a difference. It can start with all of us.


 Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2013

                               Black Mountain, NC