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.

 

Namaste,

Barbara

 

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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

Higher Ground


The light center we took a day trip to, a couple of weeks ago, is dedicated to prayer for personal and planetary transformation. It is in Black Mountain, NC. It is open 24/7 for prayer and meditation. It is owned and operated by the United Research, Inc.

 

The building is circular and there is a room which is set up with lights and comfortable chairs. A panel of light surrounding the room below ceiling height is programmed to shine one color at a time for four minutes, with one minute of darkness in between each color. The seven colors begin with red, continue with consecutive hues of the rainbow, and end with white light. There are so many people who have prayed and meditated here that there is a very strong energy of peace and of togetherness.

 

We can all pray for transcending peace where we are and along the lines of our spiritual path. Or you can simply talk to God as you know him/her/it. There are some things which can make our prayers more powerful.

 

They include: releasing all of your past, all negativity, fears, relationships and judgements to the light.

Understanding you are a light being, a child of the Universe.

Knowing that you can radiate light from your light center to everyone.

Knowing that you can radiate light from your light center to everything.

You are in a bubble of light and only Light can come to you and only Light can be there.

You can thank God for everyone in your life, for everything in your life and most importantly for yourself.

 

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Peace is not the product of terror or fear.

Peace is not the silence of cemeteries.

Peace is not the silence result of violent repression.

Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all.

Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity.

It is right and it is a duty.

—Oscar Romero

 

 

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 Ask for the hope we all need. Pray leaders will stop playing politics and lead this world to peace.


Ask for the hope we all need. Pray leaders will stop playing politics and lead this world to peace.

A Holy Day


Today, is the holiest day in the Jewish year. It is a day for assessing oneself and how we are doing living our lives. Adonai gave the ten commandments, but he had other acts in mind that he/she didn’t want people to do. Tonight, begins the high holy day, Yom Kippur. Jews worldwide will be in temple or their homes and they will be honestly looking inside of their hearts and souls.

 

On Yon Kippur, it is said that the names of those who will live through the New Year will be written into the book of life for another year. Wrong doing or sin, is looked at personally and as a community.

 

I like this concept that the community can sin as a whole and we all share responsibility. So what kinds of things is he/she talking about?

 

Assumed the worst in others and the best of ourselves.

Betrayed the trust others have placed in us.

Confused that which is essential with that which is not,

Destroyed ourselves with needless abuses,

Enjoyed the downfall of our adversaries with glee.

Felt superior to others by means of ability, wealth or power.

Given less than our full selves to our community and our world.

Hastened to decry responsibility for our own actions,

Instigated animosity among others,

Junked our world with trash, showing no retard for the environment.

Kindled misplaced passions.

Lied to cover our vanities.

Missed opportunities to better ourselves.

Negated the validity of others in an effort to aggrandize ourselves,

Observed persons in need, and ignored what we saw.

Perverted the blessings of our lives into dangerous obsessions and mere possessions.

Quietly slipped into lived defined by moral decay,

Refused ourselves and other our love.

Seduced ourselves with the lie that “no one is going to get hurt.”

Trivialized the power we represent in God’s Universe.

Unleashed hurtful words.

Valued strangers more than our family and friends.

Wished ill upon others,

Xeroxed in violation of copyright and trademark.

Yielded to temptation.

Zestfully pursued happiness to the exclusion of goodness.

—Rabbi David Greenspoon and Steve Kerbel

 

 

A Prayer For Peace

 

Let us live in peace, God.

Let children live in peace, in homes free from brutality and abuse.

Let them go to school in peace, free from violence and fear.

Let them play in peace, God, in safe parks, in safe neighborhoods; watch over them.

Let husbands and wives love in peace, in marriages free from cruelty.

Let men and women work in peace, with no fears of terror or bloodshed.

Let us travel in peace; protect is, God, in the air, on the seas, along whatever road we take.

Let nations dwell together in peace, without the threat of war hovering over them.

Help us, God. Teach all people of all races and faiths, in all the countries all over the world to believe that the peace that seems so far off is in fact within our reach.

Let us all live in peace, God. And let us say, Amen.

—Rabbi Naomi Levy

 

 

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Jewish holy day

Jewish holy day

Grasping at Self


Many spiritual people believe that sickness, of the mind or the body has little to distinguish them from one another. As the years go by, and they do so quickly, we experience ailments. These ailments trigger our anxieties. Not feeling well is actually a magnet for anxiety. It reminds us of our frailty and mortality. Being aware of our mortality can often assist us in being in the now moment. Minor illnesses can help us to remember we are human.

 

The mind has a more difficult time healing the physical body than it does the emotional body. Neurologists are beginning to do case studies of the subconscious and the part it plays in healing the physical body. In some cases, the mind alone can heal physical sickness, even where conventional medicine has failed. I have personally experienced it.

 

In addition to Neurologists, Buddhists also believe that the mind can heal the physical and emotional body. For all of us, sickness can provide an opportunity to slow down, let go, and appreciate life even in the midst of suffering. Sickness can be a broom we are given to sweep our lives clean of the accumulations of negative attitudes and emotions.

 

Many of us have experienced tragedies in our lives and for some of us there have been multiple tragedies.These can cause real sickness. Conventional medicine often can not cure these illnesses. Doctors do all they can to the best of their abilities but nothing completely works. But by using the subconscious to help, the emotions and the physical body can be used to release the past from its control of the present.

 

When we experience tragedy, physical or emotional, even if we go to therapy and “work it through” often the subconscious continues to hold on to it. The mind’s conscious level has let go of the incidents but the subconscious still has a grip and it can be strong. It can make you very ill, even for years.

 

I am excited that conventional medicine is beginning to study how our minds make all of this happen. I am excited that there are doctors who are studying this with their patients. This is more than “thinking positive.” Positive thoughts make anything somewhat better and easier to tolerate. Meditation can help. For instance, I found that Transcendental Meditation often helps with chronic pain. It also helps to remember that sickness is impermanent.

 

Neurologists have found that talking to the subconscious can help. Reassuring it that you are safe, whatever has happened in the past will not occur again and if it did; you would handle it differently. Chanting ” Thank you” for your body a hundred times several times a day can make big changes.

 

Take good care of yourself and your body. Eat healthy, exercise and remember there is no blame in the work of healing. Do not grasp at self as this can cause illness and suffering. Remember that a good joke can help with healing. Be open to any approach which might help. This should definitely include conventional medicine as well as alternative forms of healing. Also remember that balance in life helps us to heal and to remain healthy.

 

Be kind to anger, fear, or discouragement as they arise. Even if they are strong or persistent, be patient with them and it helps to bring them into balance. This assists the body in its healing.

 

Namaste

Barbara

 

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Botanical Garden, Asheville, NC. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2013

Botanical Garden, Asheville, NC. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2013

The Divine in Me and the Divine in You


The Head of the year

 

The moon is dark tonight, a new

moon for a new year.

It is hollow and hungers to be full.

It is the black zero of beginning.

 

Now you must void yourself

of injuries, insults, incursions.

Go with empty hands to those

you have hurt and make amends.

 

It is not too late. It is early

and about to grow. Now

is the time to do what you

know you must and have feared

 

to begin. Your face is dark

too as you turn inward to face

yourself. the hidden twin of all you must grow to be.

 

Forgive the dead year.

Forgive yourself. What will be wants

to push through your fingers.

The light you seek hides

 

in your belly. The light you

crave longs to stream from

your eyes. You are the moon

that will wax in new goodness.

—Marge Piercy; novelist and poet

 

When I write to you, it is the Divinity within me singing to the Divinity within you.

We all have Divinity within us. We never lose it.

Life is Divine; my life and yours.

Divinity is the shimmer in the sky, it is the colors of the trees.

My Divinity bows to the Divinity in you.   —Barbara Mattio

 

 

“We still don’t know how to put morality ahead of politics,

science and economics. We are still incapable of understanding

that the only genuine backbone of all our actions—if they are to

be moral—is responsibility. Responsibility to something higher

than my family, my country, my company, my success.

Responsibility to the order of Being, where all our actions are

indelibly recorded and where, and only where, they will be

properly judged.”

—Vaclav Havel

 

” All celestial harmony is

a mirror of Divinity

and

man

is a mirror of all

the miracles of God.”

—St. Hildegard of Bingen

 

 

Kwan Yin is a Buddhist goddess. She is the goddess of compassion. She is only one of

the images of the Divine in our world. We all have our favorites. She is one of mine because

compassion is so important and needed in our world.  Namaste, Barbara

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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.”

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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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How do Creative People Repair Themselves?


 

People are harmed by certain experiences like being abused, discounted, lied to, shamed, beaten, ignored, tyrannized and hated. People are harmed by encountering too many disappointments, rejections, criticisms, unfulfilled dreams, and unsuccessful outcomes.

 

Creative people often feel the pain of these experiences more deeply than the accountants and the business moguls. Many creative people are born with depression, anxiety or family love. Every human being is hurt in some way by the people of the world. We can find it harder to live, care, try and be calm. Most of us, in some time of our lives realized, we need repair. But how do we make that happen?

 

This question is dangerous because it indicates that there is only one way for you or I to repair or heal ourselves. There is just one answer to the question.

 

Often, it is difficult to begin to do the self repair work. The damage is everywhere. It is in the brain. It is in the way we breathe, in the way we see, and what we are attracted to. Often, when we know that we are emotionally injured, we try to repress it or to pretend there is nothing wrong. What humans become during war shows the power of emotional damage on the human psyche.

 

Support, from friends, a psychotherapist and loved ones, uses our creative gifts to heal the self and are often successful. Talking to your subconscious and reassuring it that you are safe and in no danger can help. Talking to a therapist can help. reveling in your successes can help. Creating the beautiful art to fill the world can help. Artists, all kinds of artists, are very important in the world. No matter what your media is, you add to the beauty, kindness, compassion and love in the world. Even if you have no one close to you who gives you unconditional support, be your own support. Believe in yourself.

 

Friends are very important to “listen and support” during the down days. And don’t forget your family, your “WordPress family” who will be honest with you. I have found that readers are honest and forthcoming with good advice.

 

Musicians, writers, photographers and painters, print makers, sketchers all have the fullness of creative ability. Some of the most highly respected artists felt some days that they had no talent.

Gauguin, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, for instance all went through periods when they felt they had no talent. Some of their “friends” encouraged this thinking. But over a hundred years in the future we consider them some of arts’ masters. Follow your heart and the needs of your soul. If your hands want to write, then do so. If your eyes want to see a mountain through a lens, then allow it.

 

There is discussion about making sure that students who are majoring in math and science all be given art classes. This is to help them be able to deal with people better, to develop ideas better, and to enrich their lives.

 

” I cannot help it that my pictures do not sell. The time will come when people will see that my paintings are worth more than the price of the paint and my own living.”

—Vincent Van Gogh

 

“Let us keep courage and try to be patient and gentle. And not mind being eccentric, and make distinction between good and evil.”

—Vincent Van Gogh

 

“Do you know what frees one from this captivity? It is every deep serious affection. Being friends, being brothers, love, these open the prison by supreme power, by some magic force. Where sympathy is renewed, life is restored.”

—Vincent Van Gogh

 
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Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan

 

Inner Peace

Inner Peace