Spiritual Care for the Sunset Chapter

Dear readers,

Happy Monday to you! As I sip my happy black coffee in my happy orange mug, I am feeling grateful that I do not feel dizzy today. Last week I had a run of bad days in which I experienced dizziness for seven days. Thankfully I have an appointment with my new doctor this Thursday. Hopefully she will figure out what causes my bad days.

Anyhow, yesterday was my first good day without dizziness, and I enjoyed creating a new page on my website. The Sunset~Chapter page describes my offering of online spiritual care to the dying and their families during the sunset chapter. Here is the first paragraph, in which I explain the symbolism:

“The Sunset Chapter is the last chapter as the sun is going down at the end of the book of life. Chapter one begins with birth, the sunrise… the middle chapters are the days and nights of the lifetime, with a sunset each night to help us practice letting go (of each day), in preparation for the ultimate letting go of our lives at the last sunset, at the end of the last chapter.”

This online offering is one more way that I hope to serve others – as part of my ministry as a spiritual helper who works to elevate the human species to healthier and happier vibrations.

Last week, due to all those bad days, I was not able to visit my hospice patients, but I’m really hoping to feel better and be able to make some visits this week.

Please check out my new offering, and keep it in mind for future reference, for when you might know someone who is dying and needs spiritual care support. Here is my new page: Sunset~Chapter.

Thank you for reading this post!
I hope you enjoy your week! 🙂

Bright Blessings for Goodness,
Teja

Sunset_Chapter_Ministry_StarFireTeja

 

Photo of Sunset on Mt. Ashland taken by Teja’s son Gabe.

 

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Three Hours Left

Dear readers, the intention of this post is not to induce fear, but rather to impart feelings of awe, appreciation, positivity, connectivity, and rootedness in the priorities dwelling in the ground of your being.

Imagine that we humans discovered that in three hours time, some natural force was going to cause planet Earth to explode and entirely disintegrate.

What were your first thoughts when you read that?

When I imagine that there are only three hours left, my first thoughts go towards trying to grok what would happen to everything and everyone… Where would all of our souls go? What would happen to all the memories and experiences and energies?

All of the stories would just be done. All of the histories, cultures, art, music, inventions, and creations would be gone. It is mind-blowing to even consider the ramifications of such an explosion. All of the mountains, oceans, rivers, deserts, canyons, forests, flowers, birds, butterflies, cows, and bears would be gone. And what would happen next?

After considering all of that, my next thoughts go towards deciding how to spend the last three hours. I decided I would spend the first hour calling loved ones and saying good-byes, and the last two hours praying and chanting (singing sacred mantras). My intention would be to die consciously while feeling connected to the Divine Source. To me, that would be the ultimate Surrender to God. I am not sure what happens to us after we die, but I know that when I am singing spiritual songs, I feel connected with Something Greater, and I feel calmed by that Force from beyond this realm. So, I feel that chanting at the time of death would be a way to die peacefully.

I began chanting as a daily spiritual practice more than fifteen years ago. I usually sing along with CDs by my favorite chant artist, Krishna Das. One day in 2008, I was evaluating my priorities in life, and I suddenly found myself saying out loud, “I want to live inside the chant.” Well, at that time my sons were 8 and 11, and I was busy with many worldly responsibilities, so it was not possible to live inside the chant all the time!

Now I’m in a new nun phase, but still there are many things to do each day beyond chanting. So when I think about my priorities if there were three hours left, versus what is happening in my life now, it makes me wonder if I could somehow commit to chanting more each day… But, then I also think that if you knew you were about to die, and you wanted to die a peaceful, conscious death, then of course you would drop everything and just focus on that. Whereas, if you are still in the midst of full-on living, you can’t just drop everything and do your top passion all the time.

What do you think about all that? What would you do if there were only three hours left, and how would those priorities line up with how you live your daily life now?

I hope this post inspires you to feel awe and appreciation for this sacred planet Earth, as well as rootedness in the priorities dwelling in the ground of your being.

May you feel positively connected to everyone and everything!

 

 

image Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

StarFire Teja’s StarFire Friday Blessing: May You Feel the Warmth of the Sunshine Blogger Award!

 

May you feel the healing rays of sunshine illuminating your mind.

May you smile and laugh with the sun in your heart.

May your weekend include some special moments with shiny happy people!

May you feel the warmth of the Sunshine Blogger Award!

 

Thank you so much, Andrea, of The Hummingbird’s Journal Blog, for nominating the StarFire Teja Blog for the Sunshine Blogger Award!

Andrea, I understand you were nominated by Julie Krupp (of the Blog, Julie Krupp: Enhanced Perspective), who said, “The Sunshine Blogger Award is peer recognition for bloggers that inspire positivity and joy. The Rules: Thank the blogger who nominated you; Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you; nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions; list the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post or on your blog.”

Since reading your post, “The Sunshine Blogger Award,” I have read several other bloggers’ posts from when they received this award, and the image that came to me was of the R.E.M. song “Shiny Happy People,” so I just watched that video before sitting down to type this post. (If you’re ever feeling grumpy, watch that video and you’ll feel better!)

Each of us is approaching the task of this Sunshine Blogger Award post uniquely, and yet there is a common unifying thread among the posts, which is the spreading of happy sunshine throughout the blogosphere! I am grateful to be part of this sunshine spreading, although I confess that I’m not much of a rule follower. I even regularly break the rules I make for myself! So I won’t be following all the rules exactly, but my intention is to help you happy up through reading this post.

In my life right now I am working on several creative projects simultaneously. While revising my next book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life, I am still blogging occasionally (which has kinda turned into more than occasionally), plus planning to lead healing circles again soon, volunteering for hospice, and visioning an online ministry in which I will offer spiritual care support sessions to the dying and their families via video calls. So, it is really challenging for me to keep up with Facebook, Instagram, and WordPress Blogs… which means that I only follow a few blogs, and the ones I would nominate for the Sunshine Blogger Award have already been nominated…

So, I spent some time searching on WordPress for some new blogs to follow… This was challenging for me because for one thing my computer is really old and slow… and also I am rather particular. Because I am an HSP (highly sensitive person), a blog has to be very pleasing to my eyes and calming to my system for me to be able to read it. When blogs are too flashy and there’s too much going on visually, my nervous system flips out. And, I am committed to reducing the suffering of the animals, so if a blog has anything about eating meat, I can’t support it…

So! After an hour of tedious searching, I found a blog that felt really good to me energetically. It was called “Sacred Touches” and I loved the black background with the bright sunflower. It was so simple and artistic, and while scrolling through it I really liked Natalie’s vibe… and then, I saw the post called “My mom Natalie,” and my heart just sunk. I knew immediately that Natalie had died… and sure enough, the post was written by her daughter, nine days after her mom had passed away.

I do not believe in “coincidences.” Here I am, volunteering for hospice, sitting with dying patients and their families, and reading book after book on death and dying. (Currently reading Grave Matters: A Journey Through The Modern Funeral Industry to A Natural Way of Burial.) And after an hour of searching I finally found a pleasing blog… whose creator just left this earthly plane on April 8th.

After bowing to Natalie’s beautiful, artistic spirit, I continued searching, and I came upon a blog created by happy shiny people. So I am nominating Lee and Jane of the beach house kitchen blog for the Sunshine Blogger Award. They look like some seriously positive, good vibes people who I would love to meet someday, and I’m looking forward to getting to know their blog and recipes!
I hope you will check them out also!

Jane and Lee, you look like you are quite busy peeps, so I will only ask you 4 questions (and then I will answer the 11 questions to me from Andrea).

1. What is your favorite place on Earth?

2. Which of the 5 elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Space) do you feel most drawn to?

3. Do you have any daily spiritual practices that nourish you?

4. What are your favorite healing stones and crystals?

 

Lastly, I’ll answer the questions from Andrea

Sunshine_Blogger_Award_StarFireTeja

1. What is one of your life dreams/goals? ~ To spend three weeks enjoying “My Dream Vacay in Sedona, Arizona.”

2. Who do you look up to? ~ So many! I could really get carried away here, but I’ll just limit myself to Oprah, and to my current hero, Thich Nhat Hanh.

3. What is your favorite color? ~ It is a tie between Orange and Red… and then I love accents of bright emerald green, violet purple, and gold!

4. What is your favorite writing-related memory? ~ I can’t say that I have a favorite one… there have been so many since I’ve been writing for so long. I am really enjoying writing the next book; it is definitely my favorite so far. And my favorite blog post is “Into the Fire.”

5. Where do you find inspiration? ~ In trees, birds, sunshine, coffee, good conversations, books, online articles, Facebook and Instagram posts, and so on.

6. What do you love the most about blogging? ~ I love being able to help others while being creative at the same time. I have so much to share, after decades of studying and practicing, that my binder with ideas is swelling! I look forward to helping you happy up your life through many blog posts to come!

7. What’s one thing that keeps you motivated? ~ I almost typed “coffee” but then I thought if I can only say “one” thing, then I’ll have to say my awesome sons. They are the bright spots in my life. They keep me going, keep me inspired, and keep me real. (They are 19 and almost 22.)

8. Dogs or cats? ~ At the heart and soul levels, I love all animals, and my compassion for them is so deep that I do not eat any animal products, and I choose to not have pets. Growing up on a small farm, we had many cats, and one time we had a dog briefly but he was kinda wild and ran away. We also had chickens, rabbits, goats, and sheep, and I loved them all. My favorite animals are elephants, bears, and cows. I also really adore all birds (especially crows), as well as bees and butterflies.

9. What’s your favorite holiday? ~ I love all the holidays so much, so this is a tough one, but I’m going to go with Christmas. I just really delight in getting out all the sparkly red and green decorations the day after Thanksgiving, and it’s usually late February before I can bear to pack them away again!

10. What’s one thing you can’t live without? ~ Chanting… Every day, for the past fifteen years, I’ve been singing along with chanting CDs, mostly by Krishna Das, and I love that practice so much. (Coffee is definitely a close second here!)

11. Who is your favorite writer? ~ Even though I do a lot of reading, I don’t have a favorite writer. Back in the day when I used to read fiction, I loved Isabel Allende, but for the past couple of decades I’ve been more into studying spiritual teachings, and I can’t say that I have a favorite writer. Although I do like Deepak Chopra…

Well I hope you have enjoyed this journey through my version of the Sunshine Blogger Award!

Thanks again, Andrea, for nominating me!

 

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

 

 

 

Some Favorite Books for Your Summer Reading List

Have you seen all the “book haul” channels on YouTube? Well, this is my mini book haul, with some of my favorite books… With each book is a link to a previous blog post as well as an Amazon link… Please note that if you purchase these books through the links in this post, I will gratefully receive small commissions…

~ Life Colors: What the Colors in Your Aura Reveal by Pamala Oslie
Blog post: “What Are Your Life Colors?
Amazon: Life Colors

~ Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life by Shakti Gawain
Blog post: “Happy Up Your Life With Creative Visualization
Amazon: Creative Visualization

~ The Creative Visualization Workbook: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life, by Shakti Gawain
Blog post: “Happy Up Your Life With Creative Visualization
Amazon: The Creative Visualization Workbook

~ Staying Well With Guided Imagery: How to Harness the Power of Your Imagination for Health and Healing by Belleruth Naparstek
Blog post: “Staying Well With Guided Imagery
Amazon: Staying Well With Guided Imagery

~ Hildegard of Bingen: A Saint for Our Times: Unleashing Her Power in the 21st Century by Matthew Fox
Blog post: “Activate Your Greening Power with Hildegard of Bingen!
Amazon: Hildegard of Bingen: A Saint for Our Times

~ Words at the Threshold: What We Say As We’re Nearing Death by Lisa Smartt
Blog post: “What Words Will You Say at the Threshold?
Amazon: Words at the Threshold

Dear readers I hope you enjoy these books.
Please share your experiences with me!

 

 

Questions That Can Arise When the Hardship is Real

Do you think that life is a “gift”?
Do you feel grateful to be alive?

A few years ago I was helping a client work on her fear of flying, using guided imagery techniques. She was an upper middle class woman with a happy and healthy family, and she felt afraid of dying because she loved her life so much. At the time I was about to begin my seventh year of my decade of hardships, and I could not relate to her fear of dying because I no longer felt attached to my life. After a session with her, I reflected back to happier, easier times, and I remembered a time when a younger me was the one sitting in a therapist’s office working on my own fear of flying…

Many people say we “should” feel grateful to be alive. They say that life is a “gift” to be treasured. Recently I sat with a dying woman who was over one hundred years old. She told me that she was trying to keep alive… and she died the very next night. When she told me that she was trying to keep living, I thought, “Wow, here she is on her deathbed (literally) and she is still hanging on to life.” Once again, I could not relate to how attached she felt to her life.

As I explained in a previous post (“It Is Your Duty To Live”), I would never commit suicide, and I am not depressed. (I get situationally depressed at times, such as during a Fibromyalgia flare-up, but I am not depressed in general.) I love my friends and family dearly, and I enjoy many things in my life. My gratitude lists are quite long. I am basically a happy person, but ten years of hardships have taken away my attachment to life, and have made me question why we are here on this planet.

On Mother’s Day I shared a post (“Something All Eight Billion Humans Have in Common”) about how we were all born from a mother, and one person commented, “Without our consent.”

I usually reply to comments, but that one just stopped me cold. I still can’t think of what to say in response. I am guessing that perhaps that person is not currently thinking that life is a gift to be grateful for. As a parent, it makes me ask questions like, “If my children do not appreciate their lives, am I somehow responsible because I am the one who chose to give them their lives?”

Many spiritual teachers in India talk about how special and precious it is to be born as a human being. I’m thinking maybe that was true four thousand years ago when there were a lot less humans on the planet. Now that there are eight billion of us, how special is it, really?

Perhaps my inquiries are entirely colored by this past decade of hardships. Maybe this next decade will be easier and my views will change again.

I would love to hear your views on all this. Do you feel grateful to be alive? Do you think of life as a gift?

Do you celebrate each sunrise?
Do you feel grateful for each new day?

 

Sunrise photo by Anish Nair on Unsplash