The source of Joy

The Art of Music Brings Joy to the Soul

The art of music

” No one knows what makes the soul wake
up so happy! maybe a dawn breeze has

blown the veil from the face of God.
A thousands new moons appear. Roses

open laughing, Hearts become
perfect rubies like those from Badakshan. The

body turns entirely spirit. Leaves
become branches in this wind. Why is

it now so easy to surrender, even for
those already surrendered? There’s no

answer to any of this. No one knows
the source of joy. A poet breathes

into a reed flute, and the tip of
every hair makes music. Shams sails

down clods of dirt from the roof, and
we take jobs as doorkeepers for him.”

—–Rumi; translated by Coleman Barks
from Dancing With Joy

photo by Barbara Mattio copyrighted 2013

photo by Barbara Mattio
copyrighted 2013

Whirling dervishes of light

Whirling dervishes of light

A Day For Contemplation

Love in the World

Love in the World

Roaming in Thought

“Roaming in thought over the Universe, I saw the little that is Good steadily hastening towards immorality, And the vast all that is call’d Evil I saw hastening to merge itself and become lost and dead.”                                                                                                          –Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

The Snow Light

In the snow light,
In the swan light,
In the white-on-white light
of a winter storm,
my delight and your delight
Kept each other warm.

The next afternoon
and love gone so soon!-
I met myself alone
In a windless calm,
Silenced at the bone
After the white storm.

What more was to come?
Out from the cocoon,
in the silent room,
pouring our white light,
amaryllis bloom
opened in the night.

The cool petals shone
like some winter moon
or shadow of a swan,
echoing the light
after you were gone
Of our white-on-white.”
—May Sarton

One Life

“A woman walking in a walker on the cliffs
recalls great bodily joys, much pain.
Nothing in her is apt to say
my heart aches, though she read those words
in a battered college text, this morning
as the sun rose. It is all too
mixed, the heart too mixed with laughter
raucousing the grief, her life
too mixed, she shakes her heavy
silvered hair at all the fixed
declarations of baggage. I should be dead and I’m alive
don’t ask me how; I don’t eat like I should
and still I like how the drop of vodka
hits the tongue. I was a worker and a mother,
that means a worker and a worker
but for one you don’t pay union dues
or get a pension; for the other
the men ran the union, we ran the home.
It was terrible and good, we had more than half a life,
I had four lives at least, one out of marriage
when I kicked up all the dust I could
before I know what I was doing.
One life with the girls on the line during the war,
yes, painting our legs and jitterbugging together
one life with a husband, not the worst,
one with your children, none of it just what you’d thought.
We took what we could.
But even this is a life, I’m reading a lot of books
I never read, my daughter brought home from school,
plays where you can almost hear them talking,
Romantic poets, Isaac Babel. A lot of lives
worse and better than what I knew. I’m walking again.
My heart doesn’t ache; sometimes though it rages.”                       —–Adrienne Rich


“if you will go forward to find Us, We will come forward to receive you.
Give Us all you have, and We shall give you all We possess.
In man We have designed Our image; in woman We have finished it.
In man We have shown Our nature benign; in woman We have expressed Our art divine.
Make God a reality, and God will make you the truth.
Give all you have, and take all that is given to you.”                                      —excerpted from The Complete Sayings; Hazrat Inayat Khan

The receipe is to add positive energy to the negativity you find.

The recipe is to add positive energy to the negativity you find.

I am love

I am love

Be free, be lovePhoto by Barbara Mattio

Be free, be love
Photo by Barbara Mattio

The End of 2012

I picked this version of Auld Lang Syne for today because it has always been a favorite tune. My favorite lyric is “We drank a toast to innocence, we drank a toast to now.”  We are standing on the line–the line between the old and the new. The old, oft remembered song of innocence and yet one foot starting to move into now.

There are interesting centuries old traditions from the British Isles that we don’t necessarily follow here in America now. They are worth a look, however.

In England, any gifts brought into the house on New Year’s Eve should be welcomed with ceremony, as they will bring good fortune to the house. The cleaning of the house before New Year’s Eve is a way of clearing out unfinished business, of any kind; clearing out the dust and cobwebs of the old year, so you can start out fresh and new.

In Scotland, people burned Juniper branches and carried them throughout the house to clear it of negative energy. This dates back to the time when Juniper branches were burned in the fireplace to ensure the gifts of the New Year.  By 1893, toward evening the thoroughfares become thronged with the youth of the city.

Another tradition — today, championed by “pagans” — is to make a list of what you need and really want. This was also the time to give yourself one of the items on your list; traditionally, you wrapped it up and made a true gift of it to yourself, perhaps accompanied by this Blessing:

Blessing on Giving a Gift

Take, and welcome joy within you;

Showers, flowers, powers,

Hatfuls, capfuls, lapfuls,

Treasures, measures, pleasures,

All be yours to enjoy!

             —-Caitlin Matthews: A Celtic Devotional

Solitary watch

Solitary watch

The celtic traditions energize Gaia, Mother Earth.

The Celtic traditions energize Gaia, Mother Earth.

Do We Heal or do We Listen to the Dollars Spread Around by the Gun Lobby


As a nation, there is unbearable pain and shock. Babies killed purposely by a troubled child. A troubled child who shot his Mother four times in the head and killed 20 little angels. Each day, while doing normal activities of life, suddenly I remember the tragedy. I have nine grandchildren and I want to throw up.

I think it is important to honor every hero. The teachers and other staff members. Whoever turned the PA system on to warn the other teachers and children. The first responders who will carry such horror within their hearts for the rest of their lives. Each one of these is a hero/heroine. I know that there are heroes we aren’t aware of but the Divinity in the Universe knows of your kind and compassionate behavior.

The violence and anger and hatred that is filling our society will not win. Those of us who are spiritual will not let that happen. We will continue to put light and love into the world. We will pray and meditate for peace and love and acceptance. We will not judge those who are different.

Our country needs to control violent video games and guns. Assault guns and huge magazines are insane. Who needs 30 rounds to kill a deer? What mother needs six guns in the house to feel safe? Therapy is a much better choice, a very necessary choice. Don’t listen to them. Listen to the cries and weeping of the people of Newton, Conn.

If you watch the memorials taking place in Newton, you will see the raw emotion of people whose lives have been touched by violence and guns. I don’t understand how the NRA can say anything. They will though and we need to use all of our emotional strength and every ounce of love in our hearts to turn away from them and think about our country’s loss and pain.

I pray, I honor the people of Newton, the victims, angels all. I pray for the parents who can’t tuck them into bed at night anymore. I pray for the first responders who are having nightmares. I pray for the children who went back to school today. Can you imagine who frightened these babies must have felt this morning? I pray that sanity and love will fill our society and we will put children in the priority they deserve.

Rest In Peace, sweet angels. You will never be forgotten.

Grief is often solitary and always full of pain. May the loving Beloved heal all hearts that are grieving and in pain.

Grief is often solitary and always full of pain. May the loving Beloved heal all hearts that are grieving and in pain.

The rainbow is a promise to Noah and to all of us.

The rainbow is a promise to all of us.

Kinds of Light and Their Purpose

Light is a quality which allows us to see the details of a situation and to examine it completely.  With light there is shadow. Shadow can be elusive and mysterious. Shadow can create comfort or hide wickedness.

I, myself, love the play of light and shadow across a landscape or a person’s face. I love the lines it can create as well as the greys it gives birth to.

The sun gives us the light and shadow in life. That big orb in the sky which helps all the sentient beings on Mother earth to grow and thrive.  Human beings cling to the sun and its radiant light which is why we will risk much to live on a warm sun drenched beach.

Our Mother Moon also brings light into our nights. And with the light comes shadows. These shadows don’t have the same lines of definition as the lines of day light. Lunar light is soft as the first gentle brush of lips against lips. the shadows are deeper and dense with magic and the hint of intrigue.

Palm leaves, Madagascar desert; Photo by Barbara Mattio

The light which is most important to each of us as human beings is the light of truth and honesty and ethics. The light that sweeps away the shadows of oppression, hatred and violence are important to our well-being as members of the human family. We are all children of the Universe. We all live in light and shadow and both are gifts from the Source.

Life and the Tree

Costa Rican Rainforest, Cleveland Botanical Gardens.
Photo by Barbara Mattio

A while ago, I wrote a blog called “For She is the Tree of Life” and it was dedicated to my grandmothers and all of the grandmas, nanas, bubes and the gifts they gave us as we shared their wisdom while at play with them, or while finishing a chore or just talking together. Their stories were magical and took some of us to other countries, for some the stories were pictures of love and loss. Other stories showed us how much strength and courage we could find inside of ourselves if we looked for it. They made us feel important and unique and cherished.

Well, now we are the grandparents. We are the ones who have lived long enough to be wise crones. We have watched wars and famine. We have seen oppression and tyranny. It is our turn to share our visions, stories and to encouraged them to be deeply rooted in our Mother Earth.

Our grandchildren will face many storms and will know fear as well as joy. They will sob with grief and they will cheer with jubilation. We need to make sure all of them — I have nine — will know how to draw strength and wisdom and courage up from the earth when it is needed. They will need to know it is the love we share, the compassion we show, the forgiveness we give to others that really counts. Not which job we have, or where the kids go to school. As grandparents, we can teach them to care, to vote, to accept responsibility for their actions. We can help expose them to the events in life that will sculpt their own lives. We need to teach them to stop injustice, help to feed the poor, work to help the world’s refugees, for among them, there could be the next Mozart, or John Lennon, or Bob Marley or Monet. We need to teach them never to settle, to reach for the stars and grasp a hold on their favorite and never let go!

I celebrate my opportunity to be a tree of life for the little ones. I celebrate your opportunity whether it is now or later on. It is a gift.

Marblehead Lighthouse, Ohio, Photo by Barbara Mattio

Mellow yellow Monday with Light


“Seek refuge in the True Illumination! For the light of His Wisdom in infinite. Seek refuge in That which is beyond understanding.”
Take refuge in the ultimate Strength, for His pure radiance is above all things. He who perceiveth this Light is set free.”

—Wisdom of the East Buddhist Psalms

In this writings, Buddha did not ever refer to himself as God. He also never mentioned miracles. He showed no interest in being revered . He saw himself as a person who is awake. He did spend his life trying to awaken other people.
He is quoted as saying, ” Whoever sees me sees the teaching, and whoever sees the teaching sees me.”

He was mortal as we are, yet he attained enlightenment and was raised to the rank of an immortal. Today, Buddhism teaches that we can overcome challenges or problems with a positive or peaceful mind. Buddha taught that the mind has the power to create all positive and negative objects in our lives.

Buddhism is the practice of Buddha’s teachings. These are also called Dharma which means protection. Buddha gave human beings eighty-four thousand teachings and Buddhism developed from these teachings. This is the path of compassion and wisdom.

Photo by Barbara Mattio

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.

The Heart of the Divine

The heart is a receptacle on earth of the divine Spirit. When it holds the divine spirit it soars heavenward. The divine spark which is reflected in the human heart is love.

We need to seek God in the heart of mankind. When we recognize the divine in everyone, we have taken the first step. We also need to be considerate to everyone with our thoughts, actions, and speech.

As you meditate, and visit the inner landscapes, recognize in your own feeling the feeling of God. Know that every impulse of love that rises in your heart is a divine direction from God. This love is the divine spark in your heart which will ignite a flame to rise to illuminate your life’s path.

The living thing in the heart is love. It may show itself as kindness, friendship, sympathy, tolerance or forgiveness.

True spirituality lies in opening the heart, in widening the outlook, and in living your own spiritual path. Every sentient being on earth loves life above all else. The smallest insect, whose life lasts only an instant, tries to escape any danger in order to live a moment longer.

So if we now look at the world and the wars and hatred, bigotry and violence, we have to understand that the heart of humankind is created to be filled with the loving ecstasy of Divinity. Everyone has the same loving connection to Divine love within the heart.

“Because of the beloved my heart is happy,
my soul illuminated.
From the beloved’s greenery hundreds of
blessed rivers are flowing to the rose gardens.

In order to enter into your rose
the soul makes peace with the thorns.

Choose love. Choose love.
Without this beautiful love,
life is nothing but a burden.”

photo by Barbara Mattio