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


There is a certain unique beauty to be found in the sunrise. A new day filled with hope and excitement. Well for some people. I must confess I am a night person. The night owl is one of my companions. I will often sit on my porch on summer nights and just meld with the stars and the sounds of the night. There is a sweetness and calm to the night for me anyway.

I was in Watertown, NY with friends many years ago. My friend Rick was a musician doing a gig up there. It was a fun night filled with music and laughter. People began to finally wonder off and my friend Rick and I decided to go for a ride and ended up at a Revolutionary fort and battleground. We sat and talked and talked and did solve the world’s problems. I remember the exact moment the sun began to rise. We sat there and watched it grow and glow. It became breathtakingly beautiful.

It’s beauty haunted me for a long time. It did not, however, change me into a morning person. But those moments, sitting watching the fabulous sun greet us with its pure beauty touched my heart and mind. It is one of those moments you store away to remember another time. These moments are important for us to have. We all need to record the important and impressive moments on our hearts and souls. They are able to help you through the hard times. They can make you smile when no one else is. They remind you of what is important in your life.

“Let every dawn of the morning be to you as the beginning of life. And let every setting of the sun be to you as its close. Then let every one of these short lives leave its sure record of some kindly thing done for others; some good strength or knowledge gained for yourself.”  —John Ruskin

No matter how your biorhythms work, make each day count. May we all extend a helping hand, a kind word or an unselfish act. May we all live each day with the goal of creating our highest good.

A starry, starry night

A starry, starry night

The new day begins with the sunrise

The new day begins with the sunrise

The Beauty in Your Art and Your Life

Oak Alley Plantation, NO; Acrylic on stretched canvas; By Barbara Mattio

Artists, musicians, writers, dancers, photographers, painters, sculptors and a host of other creative people often feel that there is no beauty in life and that they must create it in their art. The problem is that not all of the beauty in your life is found in your poem, sketch, song, dance, novel. There is beauty all around and it is important to really see it. “See it” with your entire being. If you miscalculate the beauty and meaning in your life, despair will follow you.

Creative people need to experience beauty and find meaning for their creative outlets and lives. We, each of us, need to see ourselves as the beauty in life. Yes, there is an entire planet of beauty around us, but there is beauty within us also.

We each need to recognize that at the end of the day, we stand with what we have created that day and we need to actually say, “I am the beauty in life.” No, it isn’t egotistical. What any artist creates will touch the hearts and minds of many. That gives us a powerful meaning to live for and with.

There will be many times you critique your work and are not happy. You didn’t quite capture that small thing that in your eyes would make it fantastic. It is fine. An artist needs a mantra and I suggest, “I am the beauty in life.” This mantra, soothes the feelings of not accomplishing enough, it soothes the sorrow of loneliness, and feelings of being insignificant. Six words to carry within you, to remind you that you are exactly who and what you are to be in this lifetime. There wasn’t a glitch in the system when you came along. You are as you are meant to be, a beautiful person who has creative talents to share that beauty with others.

There is a big difference between creating and being successful. Creating is a God-given gift that needs to be shared and enjoyed by others. Success is buying into the rigid criteria that our society dreams up. This is why creating and being a big shot “successful” person can be divided by a deep ravine.

Often when we put success first, we become bored, hate ourselves for ‘selling out” and devalue the career we are pursuing. The key here is to create and not listen to the voices who can’t comprehend what we have created. For some, there is a perfect solution of a career that we feel successful at and a second creative endeavor that gives life meaning and direction.

Every time we create, there is a new ray of hope that enters the world through your life and helps to dissipate some of the negativity that we find in the world. Our souls and hearts make a counterbalance to hatred, violence, greed and apathy. That is a lot of beauty and meaning to add to this life journey we are on.

So take a bow, if only in your mind. You are not only important but you are vital to the well-being of the 7 billion+ people inhabitating Mother Earth. So write, draw, dance, and sing, rock out in that band and create everything that Divinity has put inside of you. You really make a difference!

Utah skiing trip

So part of your journey includes your creativity


Being a creative person is very different than being a scientist or an accountant. Life has many challenges for everyone. Living life is not easy. It is really difficult.

For those of us who are creative, we have to also deal with our obsession to create beauty and truth in whatever way we are drawn to. It is never easy to find balance in life and it is an essential goal for all of us as we walk the path.  This can be even more difficult for a creative person to accomplish and takes concentration away from the flow of artistic beauty within, but there is no more choice for the creative person than for anyone else.

Criticism can be devastating to the very life flow of creativity and yet is very necessary.  Creative people have the additional  job of trying to accept both criticism and praise and balance it with the flow of our creativity.

In addition, there is the challenge of creating meaning in the life of the artist. Whatever your medium, you are creating beauty in the world and meaning in your life. Beauty cannot be created by ugliness, only by more beauty.  One thing we seldom do as creative people, is to see ourselves as part of the beauty we have added to the world.

Creative people must accomplish all these extra tasks, in addition to what others must do to create successful lives for themselves

Balance and meaning are the foundation for the basis of  life.  Foundations are essential for all human beings and all must form a firm solid one. Beauty, spirituality, work you love, passion and love are all part of this foundation.

I have been looking at my foundation today and looking for cracks. Now it is up to me to seal and repair those cracks. It is all very necessary and never easy, but the foundation must be made solid for me to create more beauty.

Creativity is Part of the Journey

What does a creative person, a writer, sculptor, poet, musician, painter, photographer do to handle to stresses and disappointments along their path?
How to justify their lives, choices, the time given to their creativity? How to have a meaningful life and share their gifts with the world?

It starts with the development of a personal creed. A creative life must have meaning to the individual person and must continually produce a sequel into that meaning.

Men and women who seek to create meaning through their work are heroes and heroines in many ways. They have opted to matter. They know they can’t be ordinary and that their work can not be meaningless. This path is harder than most but it gives the world the gift of Divine beauty.

I believe that part of the creative journey is the interweaving of spiritual truths and creative necessity. The mind, heart, soul, and creative energies must be flowing instinctual. We are the sole arbiter of the meaning we choose to give to our lives. Accepting our human nature is a large part of the journey. The clue is not to accept meaningless lives. Our lives must vibrate with meaning. The trick is it may not mean the same thing to others as it does to you. But it is your life, so embrace it and run with it!

Painting by Barbara Mattio

Painting by Barbara Mattio