October Keywords

Can you believe it is already the 5th of October? In a few more breaths, we will be deciding what to wear for the holidays! Isn’t it funny how time seems to speed up at different times of the year?

As I contemplated my intentions for the month of October, the following keywords arose: Curiosity, Mindfulness, and Aspiration.

Curiosity ~ Do you ever feel despair and/or judgment about what you see happening in the world? I sure do, so this keyword is to help me watch the Consciousness moving through Everything with not only neutrality, but with curiosity. My intention is to ask questions like, “Isn’t that interesting the way the consciousness is working in that situation?” and “I wonder why the consciousness is doing that over there, through those people?” Perhaps you might like to ask these kinds of questions also!

Mindfulness ~ Since sharing my post “Bells of Mindfulness,” I have been noticing that Bells of Mindfulness Abound! There is no shortage of small irritations to teach me to cultivate the qualities of Lord Shiva: Calm and UN-Attached!! Can you relate?

Aspiration ~ Recently I finished watching a video of a dharma talk (“Wake Up Earth: Engaged Action & Aspiration”) with Sister True Dedication, a monastic disciple of Thich Nhat Hanh, who ordained as a nun at Plum Village in 2008. Towards the end of her talk she explained why we have to have Aspiration, saying that Aspiration gives us energy that can help us through difficult times. She said that we have to figure out how we will help others and what our contribution will be… That really struck a deep place in me, because during the last two months I have been dealing with a Fibromyalgia flare-up that stopped me in my happy tracks, and I have had to work hard to accept that my plans fell apart. Now I need to dig deep to find what my contribution will be, given the limitations of my body.

What is your Aspiration in life? What will your contribution be?

Do you have any keywords for October?

 

Photo by Dan Freeman on Unsplash.

 

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StarFire Friday Blessing: May You Remember That Transformation Happens

 

May you feel curiosity about the consciousness moving through everything.

May your hope be much greater than your despair.

May your weekend be blessed with taking refuge in that which brings you delight.

May you remember that transformation happens.

 

Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash.

 

StarFire Teja’s Sad Photo Challenge for Suicide Prevention

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, and I am launching a Sad Photo Challenge. I invite everyone to share photos of themselves crying and/or looking sad, to help those who are suffering in despair to realize that they are not alone in their sadness.

Think about how much we all put on our happy faces for others, especially for social media. I think that as a society we need to allow sadness and realness and authenticity of feelings. I don’t think that we should wallow in sorrow or overindulge in it, but rather, we need to allow sadness to naturally flow through everyone, including men, women, teenagers, and children.

When I took the photo featured in this post (almost ten years ago), I was crying and feeling very, very sad. As I looked in my sad eyes in the mirror, I suddenly became inspired to snap a photo, never dreaming that I would ever show it to anyone! At the time I thought, “Why not capture this sad moment, like I capture all the happy moments?” So now I challenge you to also share a sad photo of yourself, with the caption “I am accepting StarFire Teja’s Sad Photo Challenge for Suicide Prevention.”

SadPhotoChallenge_SuicidePrevention_ReachingForOrange_StarFireTeja

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you know that I have been dealing with a Fibromyalgia flare lately, and I have to consistently work to happy up my mind and to keep a good, positive attitude. Well, one night a few weeks ago I dreamt that I walked up to two fellows from my high school class, and I said, “Guys, I’ve come to the end of my rope.”

People who commit suicide have truly come to the end of their ropes. When I say that I would never commit suicide, because I couldn’t do that to my family and friends, and because I don’t believe in killing living beings (which is why I choose a plant-based lifestyle), and then I say “but I am in such despair that I wish I would die of natural causes,” no one is alarmed and sends me to the psych unit because I first stated that I would never commit suicide. Not only are they not alarmed, they might say something like, “sorry you’re having such a hard time,” and then go about their day, without realizing that the despair I’m feeling might be every bit as alarming as the despair of someone who would commit suicide… Perhaps the only difference is that I would not kill myself… But, as I said in my dream, sometimes I feel like I’ve come to the end of my rope…

How can we truly help people who have come to the end of their ropes? I believe we can help through active listening, genuine compassion, and understanding. Even if you have never felt deep despair yourself, you can still listen and try to understand. You can also remind people that they are not alone in their pain. In fact, suicide is among the leading causes of death in the United States, and according to the World Health Organization, “Close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds. Suicide is a global phenomenon and occurs throughout the lifespan.”

We need to welcome the tears of others and meet them where they are, so that they can feel that where their rope ends, a greater rope begins. We are all connected as part of one continuous energy. We all feel pain. We all want happiness. Not just the human species, but all living beings feel suffering as well as happiness. We are all part of the same rope, and we need to help each other feel that connection to everyone and everything.

If ever you feel that you have come to the end of your rope, please know that you are not ever alone in your pain. Help and connection are always available to you.

For further hope and inspiration, please read my previous post, “It Is Your Duty To Live” and my new book Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life.

If you live in the United States, you can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It is available 24 hours everyday. You can also visit the website: SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

So, will you accept the challenge and share a sad photo of yourself for the world to see? Your sad photo might just help someone in despair to grab onto that greater rope that we all share.

May this post be helpful to many beings.

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

 

 

Dalai Lama Calls for Tackling Difficult Emotions

In his birthday message last week His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “Much of the turmoil we witness across the world occurs because people are overwhelmed by disturbing emotions that can be difficult to tackle. I believe that the rich understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions that we find in ancient Indian traditions remains relevant today. There would be great value in examining and applying this as a basic human discipline, and not from a religious point of view. Just as we teach physical hygiene to stay physically fit, we need to cultivate emotional hygiene, learning to tackle our destructive emotions, so as to better achieve peace of mind.”

The Dalai Lama also expressed that he would be grateful if we would like to help him in sharing these ideas with others. For me, as a spiritual helper, his words resonated deeply, because I feel like I am already doing the work that he calls for… I am very inspired to help others in tackling their disturbing emotions.

Do you struggle with difficult emotions? If so, I hope my blog posts are helpful to you… And, I am really looking forward to sharing my new book with you, because it is really in alignment with the Dalai Lama’s call for us to tackle those destructive emotions.

Recently I made a list of 23 possible benefits you may gain through reading my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life… I will share that full list with you soon, but here are a few benefits that are related to the Dalai Lama’s request… When you read Reaching for Orange, you will learn tools to help you ~

~ work effectively with anger.

~ ease loneliness, depression, and despair.

~ release traumas that you have absorbed from others.

~ find comfort and peace during times of grief.

To learn more about my new book, which will be published soon, please read my post “Double Coffee Days Ahead.”

To read the Dalai Lama’s full message, please click here: Dalai Lama’s Birthday Message.

 

Photo of Dalai Lama from his Facebook Page.

 

 

 

 

“It Is Your Duty To Live”

At the seashore, the wise old bear Jambavan instructed the distraught young monkey Angada, “It is your duty to live.”

(That quote is from the version by R.K. Narayan, The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic Suggested By the Tamil Version of Kamban.)

This scene in the Ramayana comes at a critical moment in the story, when the monkeys and bears have been searching for the kidnapped princess Sita for more than one month, and they do not want to return to Prince Rama without locating her whereabouts. The monkey prince Angada declares that they should all just sit down in the sand and prepare to die. He says, “Let us leave behind this earthly world of samsara, that is filled with suffering and misery.” (Quote from Teja Shankara’s version, The Tejaswini Ramayana: The Way of Rama in the Shakahara StarFire Universes.) Then Hanuman, the great Super Hero of the monkey tribe, encourages them to keep going by reminding them of Jatayu, the great eagle who lost his life fighting for Goodness. That reminder leads to something unexpected… continue reading this exciting story in The Tejaswini Ramayana: The Way of Rama in the Shakahara StarFire Universes.

Over the past fifteen years I studied nearly one dozen versions of the Ramayana, which is a sacred ancient tale from India. The story is beautiful and magical, and has enchanted millions of people through the ages. The story is timeless and addresses many aspects of the human condition. People of all ages love this story. Many of the scenes relate to situations in our own lives, such as this scene described above. Many people have felt despair about failure at some point in their lives.

When I read that quote “It is your duty to live” it really resonated deep within me, and during despairing moments, I hear that quote inside my mind. As mentioned in a previous blog post, “Radiance & Darkness,” I have a lot of fiery energy that I shine into the world, and I also have some darkness, and in my darkness, it can be pretty dark. By dark, I’m referring primarily to negative despairing thoughts in which I want to die. I would not commit suicide, I could never do that to my family and friends, but in those dark moments I imagine how sweet it would be to die peacefully by natural causes. Can you relate to this? Do you ever wish to die?

Even if I was not concerned about hurting my loved ones, I still would not commit suicide because I believe that suicide is not ever right action. It is murder and it is causing oneself to have a violent death, which is not ever a good thing for the soul. The ideal death, most people would agree, is a peaceful one.

So, for anyone out there who is in despair, during your dark moments try to remember that it is your duty to live. We are here in these bodies, on this planet Earth at this time, for a reason. Thus, it is our duty to live. And, we are not ever alone, even if we might feel like it sometimes. Actually, we are all part of one interconnected energy that is Love.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255, and it is available 24 hours everyday.

Sending Love and Hope to anyone who needs upliftment today.