Returning to My Real Roots

Fifty years ago today my parents were living in a one-room schoolhouse in Carbondale, Illinois, and my Mom was seven months pregnant with their first child… So, two months from today I will celebrate my fiftieth birthday…

I was born on January 29th, 1970 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Murphysboro, Illinois, and I was the only one in my family who was not born in Evansville, Indiana!

So when my younger son Gabe asked if we would pick him up from the Carbondale train station, I was delighted at the chance to return to my real roots. Of course I had to get a photo of my parents and me in front of my birth hospital!

I had not been back to that hospital since my birth, and it felt special to walk on the land and take these photos of the trees and leaves… (Post continues down below the photos.)

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As I approach this half-century birthday, I’m thinking a lot about age and time… To my parents and my older friends, 50 seems so young… But to my sons and my nieces and nephews, 50 seems so old! And to me, it just seems right in the middle, haha!

Time is such a tricky concept to contemplate, isn’t it?

With only 32 days left in this year 2019, what are you thinking about? What themes projected onto your trajectory this year? What ideas are surfacing for your 2020?

 

StarFire Friday Blessing: May You Anchor Resourceful States

 

May you appreciate that which moves you into higher states of consciousness.

May you access the inner and outer resources you need for your highest happiness.

May your weekend be blessed with an abundance of the highest love vibrations.

May you anchor resourceful states.

 

Happy Thanksgiving from StarFire Teja!

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate!

May All Beings Be Free of Suffering.
May All Beings Be Happy!

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Pumpkins photo by Suju on Pixabay.

 

A Death Bell Tolled…

Several years ago, when I was leading weekly healing circles in Ashland, Oregon, in the Autumn when the leaves were decaying on the Earth I got stuck on the theme of death for many weeks. After about six weeks of readings and meditations on death, those who attended the circles began to wonder if I would ever stop talking about death!

In the Northern Hemisphere now, the trees are growing more bare each moment. As I write, the wind is swirling dried brown leaves through the air outside my window. The cold white sky invites me to turn inward and to contemplate reality. It seems that just yesterday the trees were filled with bright green leaves, but now they are emptying, like we all will have to do when our death time arrives.

Recently I came across my youngest brother’s college textbook, The Last Dance: Encountering Death and Dying, and I skimmed it to find a few jewels. Today I will share one… When describing the death rituals in America in the nineteenth century, the authors (DeSpelder and Strickland) say that in close-knit communities, a death bell tolled the age of the deceased, to notify the people. I found this totally fascinating:

“You can feel the silence pass over the community as all activity is stopped and the number of rings is counted. One, two, three — it must be the Myer’s baby that has the fever. No, it’s still tolling — four, five, six. There is another pause at twenty — could that be Molly Shields? Her baby is due at any time now — no, it’s still tolling. Will it never stop? Thirty-eight, thirty-nine, another pause — who? It couldn’t be Ben; he was here just yesterday; said he was feeling fit as a fiddle — no, it’s starting again. Seventy, seventy-one, seventy-two. Silence. You listen, but there is no sound — only silence. Isaac Tipton. He has been ailing for two weeks now. It must be Isaac.”

Dear reader, how did you feel when reading that passage? Can you even imagine living in such a community?

The way we think about death affects the way we live our lives. Are you comfortable thinking about death? When you walk on decaying brown leaves, can you feel the inter-connectedness of life and death?

Contemplating death helps us to happy up, because it reminds us that we are alive right now in this present moment, and we can enjoy life so much, even during difficult times.

What are you enjoying right now? What do you feel grateful for? Are you loving yourself fully today?

With reverence for life and death,
Sister Teja

 

Photo by Shelby Deeter on Unsplash.

 

A Celebration of You

Have you been to a Celebration of Life service recently? Or ever?

“Celebration of Life” is a term being used instead of funeral or memorial service, and some people with life-limiting illnesses are opting to have this celebration before they die, so that they can be present at their own service! Have you heard of this practice already?

In my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life, I share a few writing exercises to help you explore the topic of death. Death meditations are practiced in many spiritual traditions, because they actually help people to live more fully in the present moment. Contemplating death can help you to keep your problems in perspective and to prioritize so that you keep focusing on what is most important to you in life.

Here is another writing exercise that can serve as a form of death meditation:

First write what you would want people to read, written by you, at the Celebration of your life. Then write what you would like to hear others say about you. Finally, reflect: Are you living up to what you would like to hear said about you? If not, do you need to set some doable goals towards being the You who you want to be?

After writing your answers, spend some time out in the trees, or if that’s not possible, then look at some photos of trees… While tuning in to the energies of the trees, contemplate what you wrote. Notice what arises in your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations… Lastly, place one hand on your heart, and the other hand on your belly. While feeling your loving touch, take a few slow breaths, and savor feelings of self-love. Conclude your personal mini Celebration of You in some way that feels precious and meaningful to you.

I hope this exercise is beneficial to you or to someone you love.

Please feel free to share your experiences with me here…

With a spirit of celebration for life,
Sister Teja

 

Photo by Jesse Gardner on Unsplash.