Reaching For the Stars


Stars came into my notice when I was a child. I think it is the same for many of us. I can shut my eyes and see myself in my childhood bedroom; sitting in front of my windows and looking out at the stars and the moon. I remember wishing on stars but not what I wished for. I can remember being at the beach listening to the roar of the ocean and loving how the stars lit up the sky. I also remember camping on mountain tops and feeling so close I could just reach up and pick one all for myself.

There does seem to be a deep cosmic connection between humans and the stars. They have fascinated us for millennia. Many of us do believe in star magic and Hollywood worked to keep the mystic tie to romance and love.  We have stargazers and star shine.

Reaching for the stars helped Galileo to invent the telescope and determine that the sun did not rotate around us, but that Mother Earth rotated around the sun. In America, reaching for the stars has come to mean to reach for your full potential, to stretch yourself and accomplish the impossible. It stands for the ultimate effort, the ultimate goal. For many of us who are artists, it symbolizes reaching within and pulling out that masterpiece you never thought you were capable of. For those of us on a spiritual path, stars remind us of just who we are and what we are made from: Star dust. Star dust is what every sentient being is made of and that gives us a connection to each other. The human race, despite different skin colors, cultures, religions, passions have one huge thing in common. We are made of star dust. We are connected to all that exists in the Universe. It is all star dust and we can reach for the stars and we are stretching out our arms to touch God. I am stardust and within my soul is the Divinity of the Universe.

The Garden of Life


needlework by Barbara Mattio

Needlework by Barbara Mattio

 

I was just out in my garden. It is very warm and I was doing some deadheading, turning pots to the sun. I filled my lungs with the fragrance of the flowers and my eyes with their beautiful color. I could feel the energy emanating from the trees and was filled with contentment. The gardens of our lives are like this. They need attention and some work. We need to keep our lives fertilized and trimmed. We need to stop in the presence of the Divine and communicate as a child of the Universe. Negativity needs to be removed from our lives and we need to remember that thoughts have energy and try very hard not to add to the hatred and violence in the world. We need to laugh and enjoy the relationship we have with the Divine. So visit your garden or park and spend some time with God.

Trees

I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest against the
earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
and lifts her leafy areas to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear a nest
of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
who lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
but only God can make a tree.
—Joyce Kilmer

 

Photography by Barbara Mattio

Photography by Barbara Mattio

Still-Life


Acyrii

Monotone acrylic still-life painting #2

Painting by Barbara Mattio

So the human race is on a journey. We walk along learning lessons, facing challenges, enjoying experiences, falling in love, and falling out of love. We work in our professions and we live very fast busy lives. We vacation and play racquetball. We visit the mountains and the beach. We attend theatre, opera, baseball games, and book clubs.

 

Each event in our lives moves us along the path of our lives. It isn’t a smooth path. Not at all like the people movers we use at airport terminals. There are hills and valleys. Change is always happening and sometimes we can control the changes. For instance, we come to a fork in the road, and must choose which way to go. We are always choosing our path because even no choice is a choice. We look at the fork and try to peer down the path as far as you can see. Which one? Which one is the one for me. Which one is the one I need or want. Could they both be wrong? One path looks as if  it has been used more frequently. Is this something we should consider? A very good question. The lesser path often holds the answer to our deepest needs.

 

If we stop and still life, it will continue to flow around us. People will detour around us and they will be busy living. The journey is the flow of  life. If we opt out and stand still, are we really living? Are we embracing life or hiding from the rich vibrant experience of our lives. It can be a scary world and a violent world. The option is to stand still in our lives and miss out on the beauty of this gift we have been given from the Universe. Life is a beautiful gift but it can be really harsh. It can break our hearts as well as giving us such joy and contentment. There are times when standing still appears to be all we can do, but pluck up the courage and embrace this amazing gift and live it. Live it with gusto and know that we never walk alone. We carry Divinity within us during our entire journey and that is the ribbon on the gift. So, as we sort out the events and emotions we experience along the road of our journey, live, walk. Just don’t be still in life.

Wisdom of Women


Susan B. Anthony was a Suffragist and worked hard for the rights of women including the right to vote. I wonder what she would think about the current war on women being waged in the twenty-first century. Including the right to be legally equal. The constitution gives men equality. White men, of course. Then the abolitionists and the Abraham Lincoln made blacks and whites equal. Women however, have never been accorded this inalienable right. I recently had a conversation and equality came up. Every man belly-laughed at the thought that women needed to be legally equal. It gave me the experience of “going through the looking glass.” It was the juxtaposition of reality and illusion. This is something that has historically been used to justify oppression.

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Statton were the mothers of the cause to fight for the right to vote. Elizabeth was a wife and mother of eleven. Lucy Stone was another of the suffragists who devoted their lives for us to be able to vote. Alice Paul received a master’s degree. Her dissertation focused on the legal inequality of women. That was in 1906 and it is more than 100 years later. One hundred years, where we are citizens but not equal women. Another movement was waging an antislavery war and well as the fight to vote. Many people took part in the abolitionist movement as well as the Suffragist movement.

In the 1970′s we worked once again for women’s issues. The right to control our own bodies, the right to be free to live without violence. Equal pay for equal work. It is a long list. At present, Congress is trying to take many rights away from us. President Ohoma has recently signed a bill extending the equal pay law. Unnecessary? Well, The government stats say a woman earns $.77  for every $1.00 a man makes for the same job.

Domestic Violence is growing and many young women I speak to, think they deserve to be abused. Some don’t understand that when someone  hits, punches, shoves, kicks, slaps, demeans, controls a woman, it is wrong. It is illegal. Every woman has the right to live without violence. Now there are those in Congress who wish to take away the laws we fought for in the 1970′s. That can’t happen. Domestic Violence is found in every demographic in our society. You know an abused woman, even if you don’t realize it. She could be the professor’s wife, the mailman’s girlfriend, your neighbor, the Rabbi’s wife, the Pastor’s sister, your daughter, your friend, your supervisor. 5% of abuse happens when a woman abuses a man. It is not as frequent but it does still happen.  I find that the more I read the words of the feminists and the suffragists who walked before me, the more my eyes are awakened to the importance of all of these issues.

Even though, women around the world are suffering from inequality more than most here in the states; it does not mean that we should shut up and be grateful for what we have. Genital mutilation, acid throwing, human trafficking, sex slavery, forced marriage at 11 or 12 are all issues that still need to be fought .  We have daughters and granddaughters who need us to make life safe for them. To   teach them that they have worth, they are important and equal human beings.

Blessing the day


As we walk through this life’s journey, we need to live in the present moment. As children of the Universe, we are part of Divinity and all of the Divine surrounds us.
In the rush of beginning each day, it is easy to forget this amazing experience we call life. Coffee perking, lunches packed, put gas in the car, early meeting, up last night with sick child. This is the beginning of many days.

What we can do is to take 3 minutes and breathe slowly, be present and be aware of the absolute connection with the Divine. Yes, it would be wonderful to meditate for a few minutes or say your morning prayers. In an ideal world, that happens every day. In the twenty-first century, in busy families that isn’t always easy and especially in the mornings. What can we do? Breathe and look around and see your grandmother’s antique china, the shiny face of your child, the new piece of art you produced or created. Then another 3 minutes to think about our Divine connection and how the blessings come. Looking for the blessings we haven’t noticed yet. When in a valley, trusting that we are not alone and that we are within the perfect order of the Universe. Okay, now put your make-up on and bless the day.

V’ahavta

“So you shall love what is holy
with all your courage, with all your passion
with all your strength.
Let the words that have come down
shine in our words and our actions.
We must teach our children to know and understand them.
We must speak about what is good
and holy within our homes
when we are working, when we are at play,
when we lie down and when we get up.
Let the work of our hands speak of goodness.
Let it run in our blood
and glow from our doors and windows.

We should love ourselves, for we are of G-d.
We should love our neighbors as ourselves.
We should love the stranger, for we
were once strangers in the land of Egypt
and have been strangers in all the lands of the world since.
Let love fill our hearts with its clear precious water.
Heaven and earth observe how we cherish or spoil our world.

Heaven and earth watch whether we choose life or choose death.
We must choose life so our children’s children may live.
Be quiet and listen to the still small
voice within that speaks in love.
Open to that voice, hear it, heed it, and work for life.
Let us remember and strive to be good.
Let us remember to find what is holy within and without.”
—Marge Piercy

Monochrome acrylic still-life by Barbara Mattio

Monochrome acrylic Still-life by Barbara Mattio

Summer days and Sunday afternoons


Photo by Barbara MattioToday was a day to be in touch with Divinity and my inner creativity. I have begun a new painting and I love painting on my front porch as the world goes by. It felt so good to have my brushes in my hands again. I have had a year off from painting because of an injury and a torn bicep muscle and impinged shoulder. Having recovered from surgery and PT I am once again at the easel.

But today was also about my small by pretty garden and the fragrance of the flowers and watching the growth of old favorites and being close to Mother Earth. I am grateful for such a wonderful day and time in my life. So I will let my photographs tell the rest of the story.

Photo by Barbara Mattio

Photo by Barbara Mattio.

The Sound of the Trees


By Robert Frost

” I wonder about the trees.

Why do we wish to bear

Forever the noise of these

More than another noise

So close to our dwelling place?

We suffer them by the day

Till we lose all measure of pace,

And fixity in our joys,

And acquire a listening air.

They are that that talks of going

But never gets away;

And that talks no less for knowing,

As it grows wiser and older,

That now it means to stay.

My feet tug at the floor

And my head sways to my shoulder

Sometimes when I watch trees sway,

From the windows or the door.

I shall set forth for somewhere,

I shall make the reckless choice

Some day when they are in voice

And tossing so as to scare

The white clouds over them on.

I shall have less to say,

But I shall be gone.”

In remembrance of Buzurg Mir Hammon, who taught me to hug trees and to fall in love with the Beloved.

Photography by Barbara Mattio

Photography by Barbara Mattio

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.

The Road of Wisdom


I have been thinking about the words of wisdom which many people have shared with the world over the generations. So many voices have spoken out with truth about humanity, spirituality and cultural issues such as racism, peace and sexism.

Many of these people are dead and often not the type of person you would expect to hear words of wisdom. Dr. Martin Luther King was a man from whom we expected wise thinking. King Solomon was also a man gifted with the ability to be wise.

There have been others who have an unexpected wisdom. Not great religious leaders, not academics, or even politicians. Some of the wisest thoughts I have heard came from left field. The rock star, John Lennon, the comedian, George Carlin, and Reggae singer, Bob Marley. I understand that this is unexpected but they have spoken out about peace, racism, love, and equality. I am hearing their words more often since they have passed over. So while they were the best in their chosen fields, they have left incredible words which can continue to inspire and motivate us to live the very best way that we can in every moment.

” Who are you to judge the life I live? I am not perfect and I don’t have to be! Before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean.”
—Bob Marley

These words and all of the wisdom which preceded them are so very on target. Not said the way a preacher or a politician would say them but they go to the center of a person’s heart. The perfect bulls-eye for the twenty-first century. We must come to young people today in ways they can respond to and change themselves and our world in the ways that are needed.

We have one world, one life and one destiny and it is shared by the 7 billion + human beings on this planet. We have to hear and we have to share the wisdom that will save the world.
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Inspiring Blogger Award


I am truly delighted to have been nominated by Ganesh  for Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Ganesh’s blogs are very inspiring and wonderful. I encourage everyone to visit there!

7 Things about me….

1) Favorite Color: Red

2) Favorite Flower: Iris

3) Favorite Number : 7

4) Favorite Song: Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac

5) Favorite Book:  Jonathan Livingstone Seagull

5b) Favorite Book (#2) : Love Poems from God

5c) Favorite Book (#3): The Feminine Mystique

6) Biggest Passion: Promoting love in the world

7) Favorite Avocations: Photography & Art

My nominations…..tba

 

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