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

 

 

 

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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