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.

 

Deep Realizations and States Inspired by a Virus Pandemic

Dear readers,

Greetings from my tree-house temple, where I am sipping hot black coffee in my happy orange mug, whilst listening to birds of many kinds singing quite cheerfully to the Sun. Those feathered love-beings have no awareness of social distancing and quarantines! Ahhh, ignorance looks like bliss!

And speaking of bliss, during this time of virus-induced staycations, are you doing any daily practices to help yourself be calm? Do you sit in meditation or go for meditative walks?

One day last week I went out for a walk and in the first block I saw a dead squirrel in the street… A little bit later, I saw a live squirrel and I said out loud, in my Dad’s voice, “Be careful there buddy… and don’t take any wooden nickels!” (If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you know that my Dad died in January… Well, “Don’t take any wooden nickels” one of my Dad’s classic sayings!)

After that spontaneous connection with my Inner Dad, I remembered what my psychologist had reminded me recently, when I was expressing fear of more loved ones dying: “You have yourself.” As I walked on, I realized that I really need to cultivate inner strength… And then my sense of humor came back, and I found myself laughing at my thoughts…

That evening when I sat in meditation, I was focusing on the Atman (my Spirit) in union with the Brahman (the Great Spirit), which I wrote about in my post “It’s All One Air,” and then I started contemplating my attachment to the ideas I have for my own burial, and I realized that they were uncannily similar to the ideas I had for childbirth the first time…

In 1997, when I was pregnant for the first time, we took a childbirth preparation class, which was all about visualizations and artsy, spiritual notions of giving birth. Totally naïve to what the physical pain would be like, I prepared for childbirth as if we were throwing a dinner party: I bought colorful flowers, candles, fresh fruits, inspiring music, and beautiful jewelry!

Well, when the labor actually got going and I experienced the searing, excruciating pain of the contractions, I did not care one bit about flowers and fruit! I was completely incapable of doing any spiritual practices like imagining my “special place.”

During my second pregnancy in 2000, we took a very different class with our midwife. She was quite real and basically said, “It’s going to hurt like hell, and how are you going to cope?”

Anyway, during my meditation last week, I realized that the attachment I have about being buried (in a green burial) in a pine box, wearing a red shroud and orange shawl, with sunflowers, red roses, orange marigolds, cedar, sage, pinecones, and amethyst crystals around my body, is pretty similar to the attachment I had to giving birth with glowing candles and gorgeous fruits.

But when death actually comes, I probably won’t care about what kind of flowers are buried with me. My mind still holds those preferences dear, but the Spirit probably doesn’t have such desires… And, if I die during this virus pandemic, there probably wouldn’t even be a proper funeral and burial for me. (If my Mom died before me, that is.) Who knows, I might even be thrown into a mass grave!

And, the most important part of that meditation – and of my whole life, really – was/is the deep peace I felt/feel when tuning in to Atman-Brahman, and experiencing how the air in the jar is one with the air everywhere

… I could really feel the Oneness of all energies, inside me and all throughout everything. I felt like I was in Brahman-Sukha, the Supreme Happiness while being absorbed in the Supreme Being… I felt/feel like I am closer than ever to experiencing the deep state that I have been reading about for so many years!

Can you relate to my experiences? Is this virus pandemic bringing you to any deep realizations or deep states?

My dear ones, it brings me such joy to create this online StarFire Temple of Happiness! I hope my posts help you to Happy Up your life.

With depth, strength, and even a little bliss,
StarFire Teja

 

Photo by Bru-nO on Pixabay.

 

Confronting Fear

 

“Confronting fear is the destiny of a Jedi – your destiny. The Force will be with you always.”

~ Luke speaking to Rey in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

 

Dear readers,

May you be calm in facing your fears.

May you feel the underlying Peace encoded in your blood and bones.

May you stay safe and healthy.

Sending good cheer and good courage from my quarantine to yours,
StarFire Teja

 

Photo by AdinaVoicu on Pixabay.

 

Connect With the Watcher!

Dear readers,

Anytime you feel those branching anxieties, one thing that really helps is to connect with the Watcher… you know, that deep part of yourself that is always watching all of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations…

Watching, witnessing, and observing… without attaching, desiring, and reacting…

Just watching.

Even for just ten minutes.

My dear ones, this practice is helping me so much and I hope it will also help you…

Stay calm, stay safe, and stay healthy!

With much love,
StarFire Teja

 

Image by KELLEPICS (Stefan Keller) on Pixabay.

 

Still Poem

 

The birds are still singing
The trees are still blossoming
The sun is still shining

The Five Pines still stand tall
emitting their fragrance

I am still alive
finding inner strength

And you who are still reading my poems,
May you be calm.

 

Blossoms photo color enhanced by StarFire Teja. Original photo by gayulo on Pixabay.