Blog

Monday Morning Musings on Strength

 

“… the strength of his devotion and fortitude, like some sturdy bull, drove him forward.”

~ Tulasidasa describing Rama’s brother, Bharata, in his Ramayana, Shri Ramacharitamanasa, edited and translated by R.C. Prasad.

 

Dear readers,

Welcome to yet another bizarro week on planet Earth! This morning I’m thinking about Strength. The quote above inspires me to cultivate Fortitude.

Fortitude.

That is a great word for our current times! Just hearing the word makes me think of iron bars, charging bulls, and this cup of strong black coffee beside me.

As I sip (and thoroughly enjoy), this cuppa, I am using mental powers, somewhere between fortitude and mojo, to ignore the morning aches of Fibromyalgia and focus on writing this post for you. I am imagining that many of you are also forging through some pains, whether they be physical, mental, or emotional, in order to do some work this day. Are you finding surprising new levels of inner strength inside yourself?

Here’s another musing on strength… A few nights ago I showed my Mom a post by Lowe’s, in which they stressed only one person per trolley in their stores, and my Mom started reading the comments below the post… Well, this one guy was very angry in expressing his complaints, and a fellow shopper replied to him sternly, saying “Buck up, buttercup” to which he softened and admitted that he was having a really hard time with lots of woes, including losing his job…

It is easy to get angry and complain… It is a lot harder to be vulnerable and admit that you’re afraid you won’t be able to feed your family. It takes a lot of inner strength to be honest like that.

My final musing for this post is about how going out walking in the hood feels like a war zone now… It feels like I’m watching out for snipers (human beings) who might be carrying protein molecules (viruses) in their pockets… or worse, in their nostrils! Just going for a simple walk to see the flowering trees and hear the singing birds takes a lot of inner strength these days. You gotta be watching all the time to make sure you don’t come within six feet of one of those human creatures!

Thanks for visiting the StarFire Temple of Happiness. I hope you enjoyed this post!

May you stay strong, with fortitude of mind!

With happy coffee vibes,
StarFire Teja

 

Bull photo by sumanley on Pixabay.

 

April 2020 Keywords

Dear readers,

The month of March was so strange. Reviewing my calendar and journal was very interesting because I recognized that even in the midst of all this bizarre-ness, there is also a lot of goodness. Is that your experience also?

In considering some keywords for April, I decided to also continue with the previous three months’ keywords. I thought, “Let’s stack ‘em!”

January was Loving-kindness; February was Healing and Love; and March was Hold Onto Mantra and Take Delight in small joys.

For April I am feeling the need to call in some mojo. How about you?

Here are my April keywords ~

~ Strength ~ Stay strong, and get even stronger!

~ Courage ~ Be of good courage, optimism, and cheer! Be brave!

~ Power ~ Restoring my power after a long journey of recovery… recovering myself.

Strong, brave, powerful Teja!

And how about you? What are your keywords for April?

I hope you enjoyed this little post. Please stay calm, healthy, and safe.

With optimism and growing bravery,
StarFire Teja

 

Photo by Captureson Photography on Unsplash.

 

A Shout-Out to WordPress

Dear readers,

I am not getting paid for this post… and, well, I haven’t gotten paid for the other 323 posts I’ve published on this blog either! 🙂 (A while back I shared about my non-salesperson status in a post, “Realizing (Again) That I Am Not a Salesperson!”)

Due to my homebound status (thanks to Fibromyalgia and an Anxiety Disorder), I am not working at a job, but I still want to be of helpful service to others, in ways that are doable for me… And writing helpful blog posts continues to be not only manageable, but quite enjoyable…

Blogging would not be so enjoyable if it weren’t for WordPress. It is so incredibly user-friendly. I am somewhat savvy with computers, and I don’t have much patience for sites that are not easy to navigate. WordPress is truly outstanding in that aspect.

I really love how WordPress sends out notification emails when people like and comment on my posts. And the tagline at the bottom of their emails is pretty witty-adorable: “Thanks for flying with WordPress.com.”

For those who pay for a WordPress plan, live chat support is available from “Happiness Engineers”… How cute is that? On that page, it says, “Our Happiness Engineers can answer any questions that you have about WordPress.com, how it works, and how best to use it.”

Well, since I’m blogging as a helpful service to others and making zero income from it (thusfar), I am not paying for a plan with WordPress, but because WordPress is so well designed, I have not even once needed to ask them for support. That says a lot, doesn’t it?

Thanks for visiting this online StarFire Temple of Happiness. I hope you enjoyed my shout-out to WordPress.

May you be bright, merry, and healthy!

With much gratitude and positive vibes,
StarFire Teja

 

Photo by mvp on Unsplash.

 

The Matter of Hope

“Hope is important, because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. But that is the most that hope can do for us — to make some hardship lighter. When I think deeply about the nature of hope, I see something tragic. Since we cling to our hope in the future, we do not focus our energies and capabilities on the present moment.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Buddhist Master, in his book Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life.

Dear readers, during this strange time it seems that most of us need hope to lighten the load of our global hardships. And, even while we cling to hope for the future, we can simultaneously try to remain focused on the present moment.

Thich Nhat Hanh continues, “I do not mean that you should not have hope, but that hope is not enough. Hope can create an obstacle for you, and if you dwell in the energy of hope, you will not bring yourself back entirely into the present moment. If you re-channel those energies into being aware of what is going on in the present moment, you will be able to make a breakthrough and discover joy and peace right in the present moment, inside of yourself and all around you.”

Are you able to enjoy the present moment now? During this time of quarantines, do you feel hopeful or hopeless?

Before my Dad died suddenly in January, I had been struggling for some time with feelings of hopelessness regarding my health and financial issues. Now, suddenly millions of people are homebound and worried about money like I was! I never would have dreamed this could happen.

Strangely, I am actually feeling more hope now than I did before… And even if hope is not enough, right now it is very important. If you feel hopeless, consider these strong words by Christian Mihai, in his post “Life in The Time of Coronavirus”:

“I encourage each and every single one of you to not become hopeless. It’s a sin not to hope. Truly. If you are hopeless, you think of yourself as helpless, and then you’re really screwed. Maintain a positive attitude, make the best out of an awful situation, and keep working towards your goals. One way or another.”

May you be blessed with hope, courage, and strength. May you take delight in small joys and find peace dwelling in the energies of each sacred moment.

With much love and hope,
StarFire Teja

 

Photo by CHIRAG K on Unsplash.

Teja’s Tips for Making the Best of Staying Home

 

“You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

 

Dear readers,

I know how hard it is to feel like your life is shut down.

In early August, 2019, I was finally finding my groove in a new chapter of life. I was volunteering with hospice, publishing a new book (Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life), and preparing to lead healing circles again… But then a debilitating relapse into Fibromyalgia stopped me in my happy tracks. Suddenly I was homebound, canceling all of my plans and dreams.

After several months and many medical appointments, it was determined that along with Fibromyalgia, I have an Anxiety Disorder. Similar to the “which came first, the bird or the egg” question, it is unclear as to whether the anxiety caused the fibro, or the fibro caused the anxiety, but in any case, the symptoms are ongoing, ever-changing, maddening, and debilitating.

Needless to say, after being home for 8 months, I have figured out some ways to make the best of the situation. It helps that I was a homebody anyway, and my heart really goes out to those of you who are not naturally homebodies. If you are the kind of person who really thrives on extroverted worldly connections, I hope you can find some hidden internal pathways to joy that will sustain you during this time.

So, here are some tips for making the best of staying home ~

~ Acknowledge what you feel, and allow space for all the negative thoughts… Express your thoughts and feelings through writing them down or speaking them to others. Give yourself permission to be negative for some time, but don’t let yourself get stuck in negativity. Air it out, like you would shake out a rug, and then settle yourself down neatly into a calmer state. You can settle down through focusing on your breath, or tuning in to your heart (or belly or feet), or cultivating gratitude.

~ Choose to be happy… Per the Upanishads, a collection of wisdom by the ancient mystics of India, the mind is the means to happiness. Say over and over, “I am choosing to be happy.” Focus on doing things that really bring you joy, such as singing, dancing, and drinking coffee or tea.

~ Get dressed… Even if you are staying home all day, getting dressed will make you feel good. Lately I have even been putting on dangly earrings each day! And, even though I’m not going anywhere, I really enjoy the artistic feeling of putting together colorful outfits!

~ Cultivate Gratitude… Feeling grateful gives a big boost to your immune system, so take some time each day to count your blessings. Write them down, or tell others, or visit the Gratitude~Up Community Page here in this StarFire Temple of Happiness!

~ Keep perspective… Remember that you are not in prison, that you are staying home for your own safety and to protect others. And anyway, even if you were in prison, just like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, you can use the time wisely for writing or other creative endeavors, with a strong mind and a brave heart. Be relentless in seeing the Big Picture as you navigate this surreal time.

~ Create and follow a daily routine… The stability of a daily schedule will help to calm your nerves during this time of extreme change. Be sure to include some practices, such as sitting meditation, chanting (singing), visualization, and/or cultivating the Witness Consciousness. (You can read about these practices and many more in my book Reaching for Orange.)

~ Consciously work on elevating your virtues… The following qualities are really needed now: Patience, Understanding, Acceptance, Trust, Surrender, Loving-Kindness, Self-Love, and Peace.

My dear ones, I really hope this post is helpful to you. May you be of good courage and be of good cheer. May your days at home be blessed with goodness. May the Force of All Light energize and elevate you! May you be calm and happy in the midst of this bizarre sci-fi novel we are living in!

Happy Ram Navami to all who celebrate! Jai Sri Rama!

With happy high vibes,
StarFire Teja

 

Photo by Andrian Valeanu on Unsplash.