Taking Stock

 

“My failings have become my adornments.”

~ Rama’s brother Bharata, speaking in the Shri Ramacharitamanasa by Tulsidas.

 

Dear readers,

The practice of taking stock can be helpful for anyone, regardless of your current status — essential worker, working from home, unemployed, unable to work, retired, billionaire overseeing charitable works, and any other categories that I’m forgetting…

As we are now already one-third (gasp!) through 2020, this is a very good time for all of us to assess, both personally and collectively, who we are and where we are heading. Without ruminating over the past and what could have been, we can take a little time to review our successes and failures in order to make good decisions for our paths forward.

In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Yoda reminded Luke that failure is the greatest teacher. Well, I have sure had my share of failings in the past decade! The one that’s really haunting me is how I feel that I failed with my Dad. When he died suddenly in January, I had been living with my parents as a boomeranger for the past two years, and I had been struggling internally with how irritated I felt with some of my Dad’s habits and some sounds he made. They were small things really, but they annoyed me greatly.

Even though I didn’t tell my Dad about my irritations, and even though I was working on them inside myself, and even though I was actually making progress in cultivating loving-kindness, good vibes, and gratitude, I still feel that I failed.

But, the Zen Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh says that transformation is always possible. He says we can always achieve reconciliation inside ourselves, even if the other person has died… So I am endeavoring to accept that I did the best I could at the time, and to learn from that experience, so that going forward I won’t have to live with that kind of regret again.

The practice of taking stock reveals that as I am recovering from a decade of failures, I am now restoring my power and wearing my failings as adornments.

Can you relate to my story? When you review your last decade, can you face your failings? Can you wear them as adornments now?

With forward-going energies,
StarFire Teja

 

Photo by isaac on Unsplash.

 

Last Fire

Dear readers,

We never know when we might be having our last conversation, sipping our last cuppa coffee, or lighting our last fire… For this reason, the wise sages advise us to keep death always close to our minds. This may seem like a morbid, negative teaching, but actually the essence of the teaching is for us to live life positively, with joy and with zest!

The fire in the photo with this post was one of the last fires my Dad lit, a couple of months before he died. It was a joyous time, with family gathered around… He loved making fires, but he did not know that that fire was to be one of his last…

I have fire on the brain today, because yesterday I met with my psychologist and she suggested that I write my Dad a letter about my guilt and regrets with him, and then burn the letter so that the ashes and smoke will take the written words to him in the spirit realms.

Soon I will write that letter and then burn it in his beloved fire pit. I may cry when I do that ritual, or maybe I will smile in gratitude for all the fires and cups of coffee and conversations I got to enjoy with him during the past two years. (Btw, I had thought that being a boomeranger at my age was so terrible, but now it seems like a blessing because I got to live with him for the last two years of his life.)

Dear ones, try to be so grateful for the beloved people in your life… And try to enjoy each moment with as much zest as you can muster!

With gratitude and fire sparks,
StarFire Teja

 

Letting Go of Trying to Be the Best

Dear readers, are you trying to be the best at something? If so, are you succeeding?

What motivates us humans to try to be the best at things?

In my life story, as a young stay-at-home mama, I wanted to be the best mom ever. Looking ahead, I had a vision for our two sons’ adolescent years, in which our house would be the hub where all their friends would want to hang out and eat all the great food I would prepare for them…

Well, that plan seriously did not work out, because my former husband and I divorced when the boys were 3 and 6, and as we began the two-house reality, I quickly discovered that my highly sensitive nervous system could not handle a lot of crazy kid energies in a small cottage. And then I changed to a plant-based diet, so our sons preferred the food at papa’s house. My goal of being the best mom crumbled as I struggled to just be a “good enough” mom.

Then, when our sons were in high school, I went to hypnotherapy school and I decided that I wanted to try to be the best hypnotherapist in the world so that my sons would be proud of how successful their mama was in her career…

Well, that plan seriously did not work out either, because the debilitating symptoms of Fibromyalgia kept me from being able to work as much as I would have needed to in order to succeed. And also I moved to a really big city and I could not handle the noise and traffic. My dream to be the best hypnotherapist fell apart, and I came home to live with my parents as a boomeranger, which isn’t exactly a status for the sons to be proud of!

Somewhere along that trajectory, I realized that my sons love me anyway, just for who I am, and so I don’t have to be the best anything for them.

But for myself… I still want to be somebody and to do something.

Can you relate to my story?

 

Photo of Mama Teja and her younger son Gabe, by the Ohio River in Newburgh, Indiana, during his visit last week! 🙂

 

Monday Morning Musings from Teja’s Tree-house Temple

Recently my Dad started asking me, “How’s it going up in the bird’s nest?” My answer is usually, “pretty good,” and then later, back up in the bird’s nest in my tree-house temple, sometimes I reflect on my response…

As a 49-year-old boomeranger living with my parents, far away from my adult sons, and dealing with Fibromyalgia, you could say that I am in the midst of a “mid-life crisis” as well as a “health crisis”… You could also say that I am in the zone some call the “empty nest syndrome”… And yet, overall, my answer to my Dad is true, because there is so much to be grateful for, and life is, indeed, “pretty good.”

Can you relate to saying you are good and then questioning if that is the truth? And then do you find yourself remembering all the blessings of goodness in your life?

As I type these musings, I am appreciating this alone time in my empty nest. One thing about chronic health issues, or any life issues really, is they are great teachers. Living with Fibromyalgia is teaching me to accept the solitary kind of bird I am: colorful, eccentric, and rather fringe…

Alone in my nest, I am sustained by my daily spiritual practices of chanting (singing sacred songs), meditating, repeating mantras, and studying spiritual teachings. I describe these and many other practices in my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life, available on Lulu and Amazon.

What kind of bird are you? What kind of nest are you creating? Do you have daily practices that support the evolution of your being?

 

Photo by MabelAmber on Pixabay.

 

4 Helpful Tips for Looking for a New Doctor

Hello readers!

In today’s post I will share a bit about why I just did the search for a new doctor, and then I will share a few tips I gleaned in the process.

For the last five years (of 23 years) of living in Ashland, Oregon, I worked in a wonderful medical office, Morningstar Healing Arts, and I saw Howard Woodwind Morningstar MD, and his wife Sue Morningstar WHCNP (Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner), as my doctors. They were very caring people, and I got used to a high standard in terms of quality medical care.

So, last Fall, when I visited my new doctor here for the first time, I was pretty shocked by her demeanor. I will just call her “Dr. B” here because she has so many terrible reviews online that I don’t feel the need to do that. When Dr. B walked into the room, after curtly introducing herself, she asked me point-blank “Why are you here?” I replied that I was there for an annual exam, and I started sending her loving energies, hoping she would soften and be friendly to me. Well, that did not happen, and many months later, when I was reflecting on that visit, I thought that when she asked me that question, a good response would have been, “Actually, Dr. B, the question is, Why are YOU here, when you clearly are not good at this work!”

At the end of the appointment I scheduled my follow-up exam with her for one year later, and I was actually planning to give her another chance, but then I read the scathing reviews about her online, and several people said that they gave her a second chance and she still wasn’t nice!

So, when I started having lots of uncomfortable health issues again in the late Winter and early Spring, I did not have a doctor that I felt comfortable with, and I felt too sick and tired to look for a new doctor… Fast-forward to this month of July, and here is the background story on why I got motivated to look for a new doctor now…

In my ideal world, I would like to regularly sleep well, and have a normal, healthy body, and be able to do satisfying, financially successful work, and live in Sedona, Arizona. Well, none of that is happening in my current reality, and while I am doing my best to make the best of the situation I’m in, some days it is just really hard to accept that I am not living in my ideal world. Those days usually coincide with “bad” days, which typically come after “bad” nights.

It is possible that I am experiencing a relapse of Fibromyalgia (after I had been symptom-free for almost 3.5 years), but it is confusing because the symptoms are always changing and the aches keep moving around. At the moment I am feeling completely fed up with this frustrating body situation, thus I am motivated to go to a doctor. Hopefully the doctor can help me figure out why I feel so bad. If a diagnosis can be made, then hopefully I will learn whether or not it can be treated, and whether or not I’ll ever be able to work again. (I have been unemployed for 3 years and have been living as a boomeranger with my parents for the past 1.5 years.) Currently I cannot imagine being able to go to a job.

So! Here are a few tips if you find yourself also looking for a new doctor:

1. Read online reviews and/or talk to people who know the doctor.

2. Look at their photo if possible. You can really tell a lot about a person by gazing at their photo.

3. When you call their office and speak to the receptionist, ask questions about things that are important to you. If they don’t know the answers, ask them to go ask the doctor!

4. Consider typing up a list of your health issues and health goals to bring with you to the first appointment. Before writing the list, spend some time getting really clear about your health goals. While typing the list, be aware that you are sending a positive message to your body that you really care about it and you are going to do everything you can to help it be healthy.

Do you have any other tips to add to this list?
Do you love your current doctor, or are you looking for a new doctor now?

 

Photo* of sunset on the trail in Sedona, Arizona, taken by Teja in November 2018.

*If you are viewing this post in an email, simply click on the title of the article and you will be taken to the StarFire Teja Blog where you can see the photo.