Combat Flip Flops — Enlist in the Unarmed Forces

Many of us talk a lot about the eternal wars we seem to be involved in and that we want peace. Well, a peacenik friend send information about a company who is Paying It Forward. I did some research to see if it was authentic and it really is. Gift giving season is coming and this would be a way to put a check mark next to a name on your list and make a real difference.


I plan to join the unarmed forces and I hope that many of you will also join around the world. I am excited to share this company with you and that it will among other things help girls in Afghanistan get education.







To create peaceful, forward-thinking opportunities for self-determined entrepreneurs affected by conflict. Our willingness to take bold risks, community connection, and distinct designs communicate, “Business, Not Bullets”–flipping the view on how wars are won. Through persistence, respect, and creativity, we empower the mindful consumer to manufacture peace through trade.


As Army Rangers with several Afghanistan tours behind them, Griff and Lee saw a country filled with hard-working, creative people who wanted jobs, not handouts.

Flip flops were just the start. We’ve taken a product that people in nearly every country on the planet wear, and made it a weapon for change. Right now, all our flip flops are made in Bogota, Colombia, providing jobs and investing in people who desperately need it. We’ve done that with all the products we sell.

Our USA made Claymore Bag’s flip the script, on traditional weapons of war. Instead of carrying bombs, these bags act as a carry-all for business tools like iPad’s, laptops and more.

Our Cover and Concealment sarongs are handmade in Afghanistan by local women. Each one takes three days to make, and each sale puts an Afghan girl into secondary school for a week.

The Peacemaker Bangle and Coinwrap are sent to us straight from artisans in Laos – and they’re made from bombs. Each bracelet sold clears 3 square meters of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) from a region rocked by long-term war – saving lives and providing economic opportunity.


We do this because it’s our job to show others what’s possible, then encourage them to join us.



Their most popular product is their original, the AK47 flipflop:





They also make fabric scarves, called shemaghs, made in Kabul, Afghanistan.  The sale of each shemagh puts one Afghan girl into secondary school for 1 day.  According to their website, 103 girls have been enrolled in school for the full year since Janaruy 2016.

These are the shemaghs available (more are on the website

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What she needs is an education. We can help give her one.

What she needs is an education. We can help give her one.



This week, in honor of back to school, charitable donations are increased by 2x


The charity supported is:  Aid Afghanistan for Education (AAE)

“When we educate a woman, we educate a family. Unless we educate the Afghan population, there will be no peace.”

~Hassina Sherjan, Executive Director, Aid Afghanistan for Education.

Devastation, war, and violence in Afghanistan created a regressive, fundamentalist education system that prevented modern education for children, and denied opportunities for women to work and fend for their families. We believe education is the only vehicle to a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan. Every Afghan has the right to be educated, create opportunity, and add value to their country’s future.

Since 2003, AAE has established 13 schools in 9 provinces that educate marginalized Afghans deprived of an education during the years of conflict in the region—or do not have access to a formal education system. Currently, 3,000 female and 104 male students are attending AAE schools.

To Live an Elegant Life

We look around us at the world that exists and some of it is absolutely ugly with evil, greed, selfishness and disease. Is that all there is? No! It is not. So as we look around, how do we keep from descending into a mire of depression and pain? Do we, as creative people, turn away from what we see and give up? No again.


We begin to work on an authentic life. This life must be created by us; it is not a gift of our talents. To create an authentic life, we need to seek and create what is true for us as individuals. We need to seek what is true for each of us and how to live congruently with that true. This becomes our elegant truth. This is not a simple challenge in life, but it is one which allows us to both deal with the reality of the world, and still nurture ourselves and continue to be able to create according to our gifts.


A creator’s task is to reckon with the facts of existence. For the person searching for an elegant life amongst the ordinary or horrifying, you need to view life from the right perspective. If we add up the circumstances in our lives that we do not view as elegant we could become convinced that it wasn’t worth the effort.


But we need to decide to make our lives matter. This is where the elegance begins. As long as we draw breath, we are able to make meaning in our lives.  This can help others to find the meaning in their lives, as well. This is, of course, only possible if those around us wish to have meaning in their lives.


We must remember to dream and then to keep up with out dreams. By doing this, we experience moments where we are in attunement with our dreams. The miracle is being able to live a moment in attunement with the dreams.


How do we make meaning? By writing a story, writing lyrics to a song, painting on a beautiful spring day when the light is so beautiful that it almost hurts. We make meaning by giving to our favorite charity or volunteering at a food bank. We join Big Brothers/Big Sisters and share parts of our lives with kids who need support. We donate some of our photography to be auctioned off for charity. We join Amnesty International and write letters on behalf of those being held as political prisoners. We buy free trade items. We join UNICEF so children might have clean water, nourishing food and medical care. We can encourage a child or grandchild to join the Peace Corp to help those who are suffering.


In my opinion, which is truly just an opinion, we can also make meaning in our lives by loving other human beings as we would like to be loved; listening to our inner voice and the advice it gives to us; always showing compassion and empathy. We can turn from racism and bigotry. We cannot look down on those with less. We can really care when a friend is encountering troubles and go out of our way to help, even if it is a small thing.


We can join, speak up, protest and march non-violently. We can use our right to vote as the gift and responsibility it is. We can declare that this life is ours and it will mean what we want it to mean. We can search for the answers for our dreams and use all of this to energize our creativity. We can be grateful for our talents even on days when we can’t do anything.


We can be grateful for our bodies even on the days that they aren’t co-operating with our tasks. We can tell the Universe and our bodies of our gratitude and I believe that will be honored. I personally learned from a Neurologist that being grateful for our bodies on the good days and on the days your body isn’t working as it optimally should causes the body to begin slowly to heal itself. Little by little, day by day. I am grateful and my body responds to that gratitude.


So, be authentic, seek elegance in your life and you will become the person you thought you might want to be, so very long ago.





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Water Lily garden, Caribbean. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2013

Water Lily garden, Caribbean. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2013



” O God, scatterer of ignorance and darkness,

grant me your strength.

May all beings regard me with the eye of a friend,

and I all beings!

With the eye of a friend may each single being

regard all others!”

—‘Sukla Yajur, Veda XXXVI



Swimming with Dolphins. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2013

Swimming with Dolphins. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2013

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


For All My Artists…and You are ALL Artists…

It’s happened to every one of us — we present something we’ve created to someone whose opinion matters to us and hear “that’s not very good” or “oh.  That’s nice” in the condescending voice we all know and hate to so much.


I’ve found another Ted Talk by David Kelley about the process of being creative, even after we’ve been told we’re not.
Please keep it in mind the next time you’re told something that tries to shut your creativity down.  Because we are all creative, in our own ways.  Every single one of us.


Including you.






Opting to Matter

Deciding to matter is something that most creative people need to decide to have in their lives. It isn’t a cosmic expectation but it really is a conscious decision. If you are brooding about meaning, you need to change your perspective.


We must accept that as artists we have egos, drives, desires, dreams, talents, a brain, a heart, and a complete human interior that makes potent demands on us. This humanness should be respected and accepted.


Life gives us information and it is up to us how we will process the information. Come to your own conclusions about what life means to you and how you should act. We are the only arbiter of meaning.


We can only understand ourselves and other humans can not because they can’t be objective. We need to consider our biology and psychology. We can figure ourselves out by observing ourselves objectively. This can be a huge endeavor.


We need to live a righteous life, according to the sense of ethics we have developed. We are our own moral compass.


We need to find a  way to tap the energy needed to accomplish these goals.We must generate our own energy. We need to activate  our passion, our enthusiasm, and tap into our creativity.


We must live in the present moment. Let go of the past as it is gone and we can not effect it anymore. Do not spend all of your time focusing on the future. The future will never arrive and if it did, it would be the present. Your inspirations for your art are available in the present.


If we decide to opt to matter, we may have to tap into our courage and bravery. Accept that you may have to show heroism. Virtually no creative person reaches these high ideals. Most get mired in the first steps of opting to matter. We may have been born creative, but we have to choose to be good. Don’t fall into the pit of lording it over other creative souls. The gift of creativity does not mean that we can do whatever we please. This is where responsibility comes in. The creative person is subject to the same moral directives as the rest of humankind is. We may need to heal ourselves before we can use our talents to the highest level.


Creative people need to have a mantra and I suggest this one. Healing and transformation will make us into a person who can manage meaning effectively. ” This is who we are and this is what I choose to become.”  Follow this and you will develop a true passion for life. This passion will fuel your passion for creativity and enhance your art no matter what medium you choose to work in.






Allow yourself to shine.

Allow yourself to shine.



Sepia wine and cheese photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Sepia wine and cheese photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Seed of Light Award


Thank you to ScrapperJudeDesigns for nominating me for “The Seed of Light Award”. This award is for blogs that inspire creativity, nature, connection, communications and beauty. I am humbled and extremely grateful to her for selecting me as a nominee for this award. Her creativity is obvious aif you visit her lovely blog.

The Rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you.

2. Nominate at least 5 blogs and provide links to their blogs.

3. Notify the nominees of their nominations.

My nominees are:

  1. dr Rex
  2. inavukic
  3. huntfortruth
  4. crowing crone joss
  5. hitandrun1964

The Only Being

I am a child of the Universe

I am a child of the Universe

There are many religions and paths to journey in this lifetime. Everyone is certain that their way is the right way. I would like to put forth the theory that everyone is right. There is one Divine Being and it makes no difference what we call him/her/it. It doesn’t matter how we contact Divinity.

There is no God of any people who is not his God, no spiritual teacher of any creed who is not his teacher.There is no sacred scripture that he does not accept, since he is a worshipper of light and a follower of love. Yet he is free from all the world’s distinctions and differences.

The diversity of names in the universe to him is a veil of illusion which covers unity, the one life. Only One lives, and all manifestations are to him the phenomenon of that one life.

Sufi’s call their concept of God, the Beloved. They also call this Divinity Buddha, Mohammend and Jesus and Zoraster. Sufi’s are mystics and have contact with the One during meditation and certain practices. This Divine Being is all that is good and ideal in this universe. It is Beauty in its perfection.

Sufi’s believe that as high as is the ideal of a person, so high he rises in life. Then in the end he sees the Ideal was made by himself.

A Sufi does not withdraw from the world, but instead participates in life both by viewing it from above and from below. His holy book is nature and his community is the entire of mankind. So we are all united in love and adoration of the beauty of the Divinity of this Universe.

The Love of the Universe

The Love of the Universe

Raise the level of your life with thinking good thoughts.

Raise the level of your life with thinking good thoughts.