I Want to Warn Others!

Dear readers,

It is with a certain degree of agony that I am writing this post. If you have experienced the death of a parent, then perhaps you can relate to my anguish…

If you have not yet experienced the death of a parent, I want to warn you! But what can I say to prepare you? All I can do is share my story and hope that it may be helpful to some people who read it…

My Dad died four months ago today, and it is truly the worst thing that has ever happened to me. At fifty years old, I thought I had experienced a lot of grief already in my life, but now I see that the griefs over unions-with-earthguys-gone-bad and the griefs over my health and financial issues were nothing compared with the grief over losing my Dad…

The pain is just terrible! But, in the days following his death, I received an overwhelming amount of comments and private messages from friends on Facebook, and that helped me so much. I printed out all of those helpful words, and I read them again and again as I sobbed. One friend, who had lost her father the year before, wrote, “There is nothing like it; It is cellular.” I could so relate, because I felt the pain in all of my cells, fibers, and bones!

Another friend, who also lost her father, shared that she didn’t realize how unbelievable the territory was. She wrote, “We can’t know until we arrive at it, that’s for sure.”

I cried so much during the first couple of months, while I continued doing all of my spiritual practices each day. Gradually I gained more inner strength and stopped crying so much, but still, every evening when it gets dark my “witching hour” begins and the questions and answers replay in my mind as they have hundreds of times before… The journey through disbelief, trauma, and shock is rocky, but hopefully I’m steadily working my way towards acceptance, healing, and peace…

One friend said that we don’t ever really get over the grief when a parent dies, but rather, it just becomes a familiar part of us… That idea brings me a strange comfort.

Fortunately I am by nature a grateful person, and I have a strong base of happiness in me… So, even during these terribly painful months, I have been able to create happy moments each day.

When the time comes for you to experience the death of a parent, I hope you will also be able to access the inner resources you need in order to love yourself through the pain.

With grief and gratitude in equal portions,
StarFire Teja

 

What Matters?

Dear readers,

What matters to you? The people you’re connected to, the books you read, the work you do, the legacy you’ll leave behind?

And when you come to the end of your life, what matters then? Have you considered such matters as burial or cremation?

Mark Harris considered them, and he wrote a potent book about them, called Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial.

I had read many books on death and dying already, but this book was different. It was tough to read, maybe because Harris made me love the people whose death stories he tells. I felt grief and a sinking sick feeling as if people close to me had died. Still, I think that Grave Matters is a very important read for those who can handle it.

During this quaran-time, if you are suddenly feeling like you need to “put your affairs in order,” this book may be helpful to you.

In any case, may you be blessed to feel in alignment with what matters most to you.

With grit and grace,
StarFire Teja

 

Photo by Johannes Plenio 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.

 

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