Photo by Barbara Mattio

“Every day
I see or I hear
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It is what I was born for—
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world—
to instruct myself
over and over
in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant—
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations,
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself, how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these—
the untrimmable light

of the world
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?”
—Mary Oliver

This poem is taken from one of my favorite poetry books, “Dancing With Joy.” For me reading poetry is akin to meditation. It is slowly drawing up that long slow breath and holding it for those moments of balance, and then the slow gradual exhale. Then the energy begins to flow and you dance with the Divine.

Dancing With Joy; Photo by Barbara Mattio

Bumps Along the Way

Photo by Barbara Mattio 2012

Photo by Barbara Mattio  2012

I am on a journey. We all are on journeys. You go along for awhile and step after step you move toward the future. You live in the moment and keep your mind positive and forward thinking. At times the road goes up and at times it descends. The flat regular surfaces of our journeys are the easy bits whether we are seeking our goals or pursuing a new fork in the road. We can even become complacent and think it will stay this way always. And then one day we start out and “Oops” we have an incline. Some days we have an incline and potholes. These make for tough days. I find for me it is best to remember that this road I am on is neither all bumps or all straight flat surface. Faith is needed for this because when you look all around and all you see are hillocks and pits it can feel pretty scary and uncertain. Most of us human being don’t do uncertainty very well. I do admit I know some people who thrive on it but I haven’t figured out a way to do that. Then we have the forks in the road. Which to take? Decisions to make. You look one way and then another and sometimes you flip a coin. Sometimes, there seems to be inner guidance trying to get our attention. Now another decision. Listen or ignore. From years of experience, I usually listen. I can’t say that I do 100% of the time, but I am a work in progress. Now when the potholes appear, I slow down, and I breath deep. I know they aren’t just going to go away; but I can choose to handle them better than I used to do.
Usually bumps coincide with emotional challenges or lessons we have yet to learn. I am getting better at not panicking and remembering to trust. Trust is not one of my best accomplishments. Now that I have experienced the connection of my soul and Divinity, I am improving because I know, just know I am not alone. The Beloved gives us something else that has helped me greatly along the path and that is beauty. Divine beauty is everywhere. I use it to recharge my batteries,so to speak. It can be a garden, the ocean, the mountains, the scent of the air. All bring me back to the Divinity that is within me. Then I can take another step and another until I no longer see the bumps and only see the Divine creation around me.

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting-a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Photo by Barbara Mattio 2010