Change and Love to Stimulate Creativity


Needlework by Barbara Mattio

Creativity is like a plant in that it needs to be fertilized and watered. It needs quite a bit of attention and stimulation for it to flow out of your minds and heart and soul. All of life is in a constant state of change and often I, for one, have not been comfortable with that. We need to look at change as opportunity. It is amazing that I am able to say this with a straight face, but I am and the changes in life stimulate the flow of cosmic consciousness and the flow of creativity.

Another essential aspect of creativity is love. You must love yourself and those in your community. Darkness will hide your artistic voice. You need to love the people who agree with you as well as those who do not. A singer exercises their voice. To exercise the love aspect of your being will encourage your artistic voice.

Look at your work as an uphill climb and move gradually and steadily toward the summit. It is like a tiny stream in a landscape. If the stream is flowing, it can change the topography.

You can arrive at artistic purity, not today or tomorrow perhaps, but the more your creativity flows and the more your art flows out of your being, the closer you will become to the purity. So breathe. This doesn’t happen overnight, but then teachers don’t function in a classroom overnight. A construction site doesn’t turn into a skyscraper overnight either. Keep breathing and allowing change and believe in your self. You will shine!

Mellow Yellow Monday All Day


Sunflower grown by my daughter, Elizabeth. Photograph by Barbara Mattio

Wild Geese

“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—-over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”

————-Mary Oliver

Life is not a Hallmark card and there are times we get to the edge of the cliff. We are weighed down with grief, loss, confusion and feel lost. The entire world is looking for us. We have much to live for and we need to immerse ourselves in the full experience that is awaiting us. Our humanity is what is waiting and we can walk tall and respond to the call of the world.

This human life is frail and we miss many simple acts of kindness and compassion. There are days when someone speaking kindly to us at the bookstore is what gets us through. So I believe that each day that is not a struggle for us is a day for random acts of kindness. The thoughtful gesture, the person who looks us in the eyes and really “sees” us, the brush of a hand, a human hand that reminds us we do really exist. Be the stranger who reminds someone that they are part of the human family.

Photo by Barbara Mattio

And For the First Time


We are celebrating the 30th summer Olympics. There is something else we need to celebrate at this time. It is that for the very first time, ever ever. there are women athletes from every country competing.

This is huge and makes my heart sing. After all the American politics and the ultra conservatives wanting to take away our rights as women; after being the target of a War On Women; after all the centuries of persecution of women in countries around the world, We are There. We are ALL There, women competing, laughing and being equal. Women being brave and fighting to be at the top of their sport.

We may not earn as much as a man at a comparable job but we can compete in the Olympics! Each success must be celebrated. Perhaps, 2013 will bring us the status of being legally equal to all other people in America.

Untitled poem from “The Dinner Party”

“And then all that has divided us will merge
And then compassion will be wedded to power
And then softness will come to a world that is harsh
and unkind
And then both men and women will be gentle
And then both women and men will be strong
And then no person will be subject to another’s will
And then all will be rich and free and varied
And then the greed of some will give way to the needs
of many
And then all will share equally in the Earth’s abundance
And then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old
And then all will nourish the young
And then all will live in harmony with each other
and the Earth
And then everywhere will be called Eden once again.”

————Judy Chicago

 

Olympic Hopes


Last night, like many millions of people in the world, I watched the Opening Olympic ceremonies. They were beautiful and magical. Country after country marching represented by their best athletes. Their faces shining and happy smiles for all. The traditional clothes were so colorful and beautiful and each person walking in those ceremonies was lit with beauty from within. I also remembered past Olympic tragedies. I realized that we, the human beings on this planet have kept the spirit of the games alive since the Greek empire. Every 4 years, the torch is lit with pride and accomplishment. This is what human life should be, the colorful parade of shining faces and the millions who watch by television, now-a-days. The pride to be human in this world and the pride for country, and the pride and good wishes for the athletes who are competing from other countries. Life is meant to be this exilharating and peaceful experience.

Why can’t it last? What happens to us after the closing ceremonies? Do we lose our love for our fellow human beings? Why do we go into the rut of every one out for themselves?

During the Olympics, we put aside differences and while still competing against each other, it is all about being the best we can be. Why do we stop that? I believe that if the Olympics can continue to inspire the world and so many millions of people, then we are capable of carrying these experiences on into the lives of all people in every country. Little, big, rich, poor, we are capable of loving and helping each other We are capable of compassion and turning aside from what does not compliment these ideals. To me the Olympics demonstrate that we are capable of living together in peace, harmony, love and compassion. So I still have hope for us. I still believe that despite what we hear all the time on the news, we can be better people. In the news, “it leads if it bleeds.” Well, peace doesn’t bleed and we don’t hear enough about the wonderful people who live, struggle and love others more than they love themselves. So my heart and mind are with the athletes from every fantastic country on this fantastic planet. We can make peace work.

Meaning Crisis


Lake Erie sunset by Barbara Mattio

Finding our voice is most important to any artist, regardless of their medium. Looking for the authentic voice within is important for all creative people but it is not always easy.  All people, including all artists must find their authentic self within. That doesn’t happen without real work and self examination. This is not an easy excavation but it is a necessary one for each of us. Finding inner authenticity is harder than most imagine.

There are those who hear the call early, as early as 6, and find their voices. The voice of a creative person is one that leads them to the place where they know they are separate, yet they are not alone.

We struggle to fill our bellies, we must find a shelter for our heads. As humans we stop at times, just a pause and look with wonder at what we find around us. There is only one conclusion we can come to. Without the creativity we have inside,  we are shocked by the world. By the emptiness of the world without, art, literature, music, performance art. Without art, life can appear to be an empty vessel. We have a great desire to fill the empty vessel with the beauty within us. We have to create. We have to have solitude at times to find the deepest parts of our souls. That is what gives us the urgent need to continue to create. The creations represent our humanness and we find our solace and courage.

The courage to be an artist is great. It takes a greater need to produce something which reflects what is inside than to protect our egos and souls from the words of others due to our creation. This is a joy and a burden for artists.

We are subject to meaning crisis. Sometimes these can lead to depression which is why it is so important to be aware of every moment that The One is within us and therefore we do have meaning.

Meaning comes and goes, it ebbs and flows. We must, as creative people learn how to find meaning for ourselves. Life can puncture us and our meaning can leak like an old rusty pipe. Meaning then drains away and we are left to dry up and become unproductive. This is what we must be aware of and change before it lasts too long and we aren’t able to hear the voice within. Each of us must find our own meaning and keep the spark of meaning fed and the spark burning bright. We must not let this effort wear us out. If you are an artist, you are supposed to create and to make the mainstream search the lack of meaning in their own lives. For all who have not struggled with meaning and for those who haven’t tried, depression can be a huge roadblock. We need to find out what we need to make our life meanful. Start now and you will find a new life in your creativity. The beauty you create will make everyone experience your meaning. That increases their own meaning.

No Greater Love


One of my heroines is Mother Teresa. This soul is what I always wanted to be. I didn’t succeed, but I am continuing to help the world however I can. I am committed to do this for the rest of my life. Life requires commitment to ideals, commitment to love and acceptance. Life requires that we love and accept others without limitation. Now, I know there are some that would say, she has never seen the rough parts of life. But I have, in person and close up. The world isn’t beautiful. You have to look for the beauty in people and all around you. God is everywhere and that includes within us. So follow the creative voice within and create the beauty you need to thrive in this experience. This plane of existence.

“Love each other as God loves each one of you, with an intense and particular love. Be kind to each other; it is better to commit faults with gentleness than to work miracles with unkindness.”
—-Mother Tesesa

Rumi talks about the ecstatic love of God. He speaks of the interconnectedness of all sentient beings.

“One part of the Whole is not separate from the other parts. The beauty of all flowers is part of the rose’s beauty. The coo of the turtledove is part of the nightingale’s song.”  —–Rumi

Our works of love and charity come from our overflow of our love of God from within. Charity is like a living flame. The drier the fuel, the livelier the flame. Showing gratitude for everything in your life, whether a little thing or an abundance, needs to be done with joy. A heart burning with love produces a joyful heart. Joy is strength. Joy is always hard and it isn’t just temperament. We need to work to acquire it and make it grow in our hearts. We may not always have a lot to give but we can always give the joy that springs from a heart which is in love with God. We need to love without getting tired. A lamp burns with the continuous flow of drops within the lamp. Compassion and a loving heart are the most important things we can cultivate and we will never run out. We were chosen for this incarnation for a purpose, we aren’t just a number. So explore life, embrace it with passion and find what God has for you.

Photo by Barbara Mattio, Livingston, TX.

A Promise


“A promise is beauty kept secure
The exquisiteness of knowing what is to come
The soft laugh that rumble through the rooms
Caress each wall hiding the thoughts of departure
Covering it with Check In instead of Check Out
The guitars streaming through
the tightened brains of thinkers whose creations
Just won’t speak of a world no one but they can imagine
Running through the darkness where fire burns deep
lighting our smiles
Tickling our hearts
Dancing to songs sung by beauty
Relaxing our minds conquered by stress
Admiration flows deep, like creaking beds
Shh, don’t wake everyone up
“Breakfast time!”
Whoever is so eager, needs
to write to express their thoughts
To allow their words on paper to become freedom
To listen to our leaders say,
Wanna feel like you belong? Join a gang.”
They too laugh, moving the grass like wind.
——Lashaun Noel

This poem was written at Rena’s Promise International Creative Writing Camp, where the mission is to further the vision of Holocaust survivor
Rena Kornreich Gelissen to create a more ecumenical world unhindered by prejudice, racism or hatred by bring young people together from all walks of life and providing them a place to develop the cultural voices of Generation NEXT.

Racism, hatred, differences, religion, judging others, oppression are what we fight today in our world. We also fought it during the Holocaust. We fought it in Africa and Yugoslavia. Violence and war are what turn our worlds dark with fear and an obsession with power. It makes our world dark with its negative emotions. The pain we humans cause each other is overwhelming.

The answer is light and love and this is what is happening in pockets around the world. The scars remain, but we can’t stop adding our light to the world. For those Holocaust survivors who carry the Nazi numbers tattooed to their arms the dark never completely recedes, but we can light the love which will keep it pushed back so they know they are loved and their courage recognized.

hatred, violence, rape are happening now, 2012 and we must protect those who are oppressed and frightened. We must protect the vulnerable and weak. As human beings, we have the power to stop the darkness and bring light and love into the world of those who suffer. 
It is a beginning. Each of us, letting the love in our hearts and souls to remove the darkness.

I dedicate this blog to all those who have suffered oppression. I promise I will try every day to bring light and love into the world’s dark areas.