Happy-ing Up With Images

I am pretty sure that color saturation increases serotonin, that neurotransmitter which helps us to happy up… At least it seems to for me! How about you? Do you love looking at bright images? Do you notice how color saturation affects your mind?

When I first started blogging, I used a lot of NASA space images with my posts, because I didn’t know that there were other sites with free images… Discovering those other sites opened up whole new colorful worlds for me! One of my fave tasks of blogging is scrolling through images on Unsplash or Pixabay to find just the right image for each post… That scrolling has become like a spiritual practice which really helps to happy up my mind!

Another fun practice with images is collage-making. Do you ever make collages? Some people get really artistic and elaborate with their collages, but mine are pretty basic, as you can see in the photo…

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This collage is glued onto my next journal cover, and I really had fun creating this one. I think it’s going to be one of my favorites ever. Lately I’ve been struggling with a Fibromyalgia flare-up, and my mind can get pretty negative, especially about financial issues, so in this collage I added some humor to lighten up the situation. I laugh every time I see that phrase at the bottom, “You need financial solutions.” Then I say, “You’ve got that right, I sure do need them!”

The meditating Buddhist image* in this collage reflects my current studies of the teachings of the Zen Buddhist master, Thich Nhat Hanh. Soon I will write some posts about him and his Plum Village monastery in France. In his book, Peace is Every Step, he says, “The foundation of happiness is mindfulness. The basic condition for being happy is our consciousness of being happy.”

When I look at bright colorful images I feel happy, and I am aware of feeling that happiness. The next time you look at some beautiful photos, notice how they make you feel, and enjoy any happy feelings which arise!

May All Beings Be Happy! 🙂

 

* Buddhist image is a painting called “Serenity” by Anyès B. ~ AnyesEmotionArt.com

 

Oh the Juicy Joy!

One day last week I was sitting on my meditation cushion, singing along with a chant by Krishna Das (“Prema Chalisa” on his CD Trust in the Heart), and I glanced over at my new journal cover, which I had previously felt lukewarm about… But in that moment while singing and staring at my journal cover (that I decorated myself), I felt myself falling in love with it… And suddenly I realized that the hummingbird is sipping from a closed flower. Oh, the symbolism!

We each have beautiful, positive, healing nectar inside us, even when we are feeling closed! And… when the flower opens… Oh the juicy joy!

Today I am definitely feeling my flower-self opening. I am in a celebratory mood because this morning I finished writing the first draft of my next book Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life. Tomorrow I will begin the happy revising process! (To learn more about this next book, please read “Double Coffee Days Ahead.”)

While focusing intently on finishing this book I am only blogging occasionally, but I tell you what, my binder in which I keep blog post ideas is swelling. So many inspirations are coming that I’m about to burst… I can hardly wait to get back to regular blogging!

Next up will be a post about the Sunshine Blogger Award… 🙂

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Some Changes Take A Long Time

Do you write in a journal? If so, do you ever go back and review some of your old journals?

I have been keeping journals for more than for forty years! When I began writing in my first “diary” I was about eight years old. I still have all of my diaries and journals (in many boxes), with a vision to read them again when I’m in my nineties!

One time, during my late thirties, I was feeling very frustrated with myself because I felt like I wasn’t growing and changing as quickly as I thought I should be. So, I pulled out a stack of old journals, and read through them, and while it was painful to see how I had written about the same issues and problems over and over again (for decades, ad nauseam), it was also very encouraging to see all the many ways that I really had changed for the better. It was a good lesson for me in understanding that some changes take a long time. Patience is a virtue, indeed!

Sometimes, when we are caught up in our daily activities, we can’t see the progress we are actually making on the timeline of our lives. This is why it can be so helpful to regularly review and reflect. To that end, I now have a practice in which I review my journal and calendar at the end of each month and then I set keywords for the next month to help me focus my energies. You might also benefit from doing these practices.

The photo* with this blog post is of my recent journal covers. I used to buy expensive journals, but then I discovered the fun of making my own collages on the covers of plain sketchbooks. The journal I’m about to finish is the one with the frog, and I’m sure going to miss that cover! The one on the far right is the one that I just decorated today. I found both the sketchbook and the glittery green paper at the Dollar Tree!

Recently I enjoyed a blog post by my blogger friend Andrea, of The Hummingbird’s Journal, “How I Pick the Perfect Writing Journal” in which she shared that she prefers dot ruled paper in her journals. I have never used dot paper, but the idea is intriguing to me, so I might try that in a future journal.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Please share your thoughts on journaling down below where it says “Leave A Reply.”

 

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

 

End of the Month Journal Review

Do you write in a journal, and/or keep track of things in a calendar? If so, you might like to try this simple practice that I have recently added in my life.

At the end of each month, sit down with your journal and/or calendar, and review what happened during that month. Take mental or written notes, while reflecting upon any themes, goals, insights, and achievements.

After reviewing the month that is ending, take a little time to look at the next month and do some visioning about what you intend to do, feel, and experience in the coming month. Tuning in to your deepest wishes, set 3-5 keywords for the month.

For example, for the month of March, I set these keywords: Acceptance, Forgiveness, Peace, & Grace, and for the month of April: Abundance, Wealth, & Health. Each month I felt that setting those keywords really brought those goals into a clearer focus, which then helped to actualize them in my reality.

I hope you enjoy reviewing the month of April. Please let me know how it goes!

May All Beings Be Happy!

 

Photo* is of my current journal cover. Back in the day, I used to purchase nice expensive journals, but in recent years I have discovered the joy of decorating the covers of inexpensive sketchbooks!

 

*If you are viewing this article 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.