StarFire Teja’s Sad Photo Challenge for Suicide Prevention

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, and I am launching a Sad Photo Challenge. I invite everyone to share photos of themselves crying and/or looking sad, to help those who are suffering in despair to realize that they are not alone in their sadness.

Think about how much we all put on our happy faces for others, especially for social media. I think that as a society we need to allow sadness and realness and authenticity of feelings. I don’t think that we should wallow in sorrow or overindulge in it, but rather, we need to allow sadness to naturally flow through everyone, including men, women, teenagers, and children.

When I took the photo featured in this post (almost ten years ago), I was crying and feeling very, very sad. As I looked in my sad eyes in the mirror, I suddenly became inspired to snap a photo, never dreaming that I would ever show it to anyone! At the time I thought, “Why not capture this sad moment, like I capture all the happy moments?” So now I challenge you to also share a sad photo of yourself, with the caption “I am accepting StarFire Teja’s Sad Photo Challenge for Suicide Prevention.”

SadPhotoChallenge_SuicidePrevention_ReachingForOrange_StarFireTeja

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you know that I have been dealing with a Fibromyalgia flare lately, and I have to consistently work to happy up my mind and to keep a good, positive attitude. Well, one night a few weeks ago I dreamt that I walked up to two fellows from my high school class, and I said, “Guys, I’ve come to the end of my rope.”

People who commit suicide have truly come to the end of their ropes. When I say that I would never commit suicide, because I couldn’t do that to my family and friends, and because I don’t believe in killing living beings (which is why I choose a plant-based lifestyle), and then I say “but I am in such despair that I wish I would die of natural causes,” no one is alarmed and sends me to the psych unit because I first stated that I would never commit suicide. Not only are they not alarmed, they might say something like, “sorry you’re having such a hard time,” and then go about their day, without realizing that the despair I’m feeling might be every bit as alarming as the despair of someone who would commit suicide… Perhaps the only difference is that I would not kill myself… But, as I said in my dream, sometimes I feel like I’ve come to the end of my rope…

How can we truly help people who have come to the end of their ropes? I believe we can help through active listening, genuine compassion, and understanding. Even if you have never felt deep despair yourself, you can still listen and try to understand. You can also remind people that they are not alone in their pain. In fact, suicide is among the leading causes of death in the United States, and according to the World Health Organization, “Close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds. Suicide is a global phenomenon and occurs throughout the lifespan.”

We need to welcome the tears of others and meet them where they are, so that they can feel that where their rope ends, a greater rope begins. We are all connected as part of one continuous energy. We all feel pain. We all want happiness. Not just the human species, but all living beings feel suffering as well as happiness. We are all part of the same rope, and we need to help each other feel that connection to everyone and everything.

If ever you feel that you have come to the end of your rope, please know that you are not ever alone in your pain. Help and connection are always available to you.

For further hope and inspiration, please read my previous post, “It Is Your Duty To Live” and my new book Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life.

If you live in the United States, you can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It is available 24 hours everyday. You can also visit the website: SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

So, will you accept the challenge and share a sad photo of yourself for the world to see? Your sad photo might just help someone in despair to grab onto that greater rope that we all share.

May this post be helpful to many beings.

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

 

 

StarFire Teja’s StarFire Friday Blessing: May You Be Willing to Do the Work When the Work Shows Up

 

May you face difficult emotions with courage.

May you remember that emotions are just energies passing through.

May your weekend be blessed with authenticity and bravery and comfort.

May you be willing to do the work when the work shows up.*

 

Dear reader,

When difficult emotions arise, do you tend to run away from them and fill yourself with distractions? Or do you stop everything and tend to them?

In my experience, when difficult emotions arise, if I try to push through and carry on with my plans, I find that I cannot enjoy myself… So I think it is better to just stop and tend to the emotions first. That is called doing the work when the work shows up.

The thing is, our natural human tendency is to push away pain and seek pleasure. But, the things that really bother us are points of inquiry. Our triggers are actually very juicy and when we lean into them fully, by asking why and how questions, then they often will bear very sweet fruits!

So, my dear reader, my blessings for you this weekend are to face your juicy triggers. If you tend to run away from difficult emotions, make it a new practice to stop and tend to them. Surrender to the energies passing through you. If something is upsetting you, ask why and how, and then listen deep within for the answers.

If you currently do not have any difficult emotions passing through, thank your happy stars and enjoy your weekend plans!

This weekend my plan is to work on the final stages of publishing my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life… Well, that is my “plan” but since there have already been a few delays to publishing this book, I just have to trust that it will happen in “right timing” which I sure hope will be this weekend! 🙂

See you all back here on Monday…

With lots of love,
Teja

* Please see follow-up post on July 23rd: “What to Do with Difficult Emotions When You Cannot Stop to Tend to Them”

 

Oranges photo by Julie Aagaard on Pexels.

 

Share Your Strengths Not Your Weaknesses

Once I opened a tea bag and the quote on the little tag read, “Share your strengths, not your weaknesses.” (Yogi Bhajan) I’m not sure I totally agree with that advice. It seems like many people need to share both. Do you share both? If so, how do you find a balance with sharing your strengths and your weaknesses?

It does seem important to share some of our weaknesses, in the interests of authenticity and transparency, but I have noticed, like on Facebook, that people seem to only want and tolerate a tiny portion of the real grit, and the rest of the time they want positivity.

Recently I experienced that reaction myself. A friend had told me about this guy on YouTube who gives tarot card readings for the astrological signs. Being an Aquarius, I watched some of his videos for that sign. He was very funny and uplifting (although at times he was a bit too crude for my sensibilities), and he seemed very successful. I felt really inspired by him… Until, in one of the videos he shared the truth of his situation. He is 36 years old and is living in a room at his Dad’s house, and even though he has 32,000 subscribers on his channel, he had not given a tarot card reading (and thus had received zero income), for a few weeks.

Well, I certainly understood, as a boomeranger myself, and I left him an encouraging message in the comments section… But, even though I understood, I still found myself feeling disappointed. I realized that I had assumed that he was quite wealthy and successful since he had so many subscribers, and that gave me hope that someday, with a bigger following, maybe I would also be successful financially. (I am still holding out hope! I am not the kind of nun that takes a poverty vow… I am taking the prosperity vow!)

So, even though I think it is important for people to share honestly, in that situation I found myself only wanting to hear a success story! Can you relate to my reaction?