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.”

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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.

 

 

A Tool for Chronic Pain and Anxiety: Focus On Your Feet

Are you dealing with chronic pain or anxiety? If you experience pain on any level (physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual), or if you struggle with anxiety, you can try this simple tool and see if it helps:

Focus on your feet.

The feet are the farthest away from the brain, and the brain is what perceives pain and creates anxiety… So, bringing your awareness down to your feet can really calm your mind and soothe your nerves.

Anytime you feel pain or anxiety increasing, think to yourself (or say out loud), “Focus on my feet.” Bring your full awareness down to your feet and notice how your feet feel… Imagine breathing in and out of your feet… Imagine that your feet are becoming very warm and very heavy… Feel the soles of your feet and imagine that they are glowing in a bright golden light… Notice any changing sensations in your feet as you focus on them…

The nice thing about this tool is you can use it anytime, anywhere. You can focus on your feet during a stressful business meeting, or while standing in the grocery line, or while driving. Anytime you feel hyped up, during the day or the night, you can simply focus on your feet.

I hope this tool is helpful to you or to someone you love. Please share your experiences in the comments below.

Please note: If you have pain in your feet, then you will probably wish to focus on your hands or belly instead of your feet.

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

 

Photo* of Teja’s feet taken on a barefoot hike last Easter Sunday in Audubon Woods, Henderson, Kentucky. It was my first barefoot hike of the year, and unfortunately the last… I did go barefoot in the yard for another month or so, but before I could get out on another hike, the season turned to muggy and buggy, so now I have to wait on barefoot hiking until the Fall!

* If you are viewing this post in an email, I am so sorry that WordPress doesn’t share the featured photos with the email posts… But, you can click on the title of the article above, and you will be taken to the StarFire Teja Blog where you can see my happy bare feet!

 

What to Do with Difficult Emotions When You Cannot Stop to Tend to Them

Dear readers, today’s post is a follow-up to my blessing on Friday, “May You Be Willing to Do the Work When the Work Shows Up,” in which I wrote about facing your juicy triggers when they arise. That post was oriented towards weekend time, when you have more flexibility to change your plans…

But what do you do when those difficult emotions arise when you have to work or you have an appointment that cannot be rescheduled? I will share a few tips here, and I would love to hear other strategies that work for you…

When you cannot stop to tend to difficult emotions, it is helpful to cultivate the witness consciousness. Harness the observer part of you, and say to yourself, “I see there is a difficult emotion passing through me now.” Take a moment to acknowledge that you do not have time (yet) to address the emotion… Then have your neutral witness part assure the upset part that you will tend to it just as soon as you can…

Another tip is to take short breaks from your obligations in order to have power cries. You know, like a power snack or a power nap, only it is a power cry… Crying, even for a short time, can really help you to let off some steam and to relieve some pressure from those sweet little emotions that you don’t have time (yet) to process… I did this myself many years ago when I was brokenhearted after a relationship ended: during the day at work, I cried hard for 1-2 minutes during each restroom break, and then I returned to my desk smiling…

What do you do when you cannot stop to tend to difficult emotions?

 

Orange tree photo from Free-Photos on Pixabay.

 

 

Riding a Grief Wave Successfully

In my post on Monday (“Writing a Book Strengthens Many Virtues”), I mentioned that while writing my next book (Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life), more than once I have witnessed myself applying a concept from the book in my life.

So this post is a story of how I rode a grief wave successfully by using some of the very tools I had already written about in the new book!

One evening last month I was suddenly overcome by a huge grief wave over something that happened in my past… I have experienced a lot of grief in my life, but this particular wave was incredibly painful, so much so that I was beginning to feel overwhelmed by the intensity… While I was crying really hard, as if by some Grace from Beyond, I spontaneously began speaking out loud to myself in a very soothing voice… Here is what I said:

“Remember that emotions are just energies… these are big energies, but they are just passing through you… soften, and give them space… allow them to flow through… remember that emotions rise and fall like ocean waves… they won’t take you out… relax into the pain… just let it go through you… you are stronger than the energies that are passing through you… you don’t need to be afraid of these energies… these energies will not overwhelm you if you just soften and allow them to move through… they will shift…”

After coaching myself like that for a while, I stopped crying, and the energies did shift… and I was okay… No, I was more than okay… I was triumphant!

I successfully rode that painful grief wave because I practiced what I preach, so to speak.

Perhaps you might like to print out those words that I spoke to myself, so the next time you feel grief, you can read them aloud to yourself. If you do so, please let me know how it goes…

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

 

Photo by Mathias Reding on Unsplash.

 

Guided Imagery for Chronic Pain

Do you have any chronic physical or emotional pains? If yes, the guided imagery in this post may help you.

Visualizing the element of fire is a powerful tool. You can do this simple practice anytime, anywhere. When you feel physical or emotional pain, first cultivate the witness, by saying to yourself, “there is some pain passing through me.” Affirm that you are bigger than the pain… see that you are the consciousness which is watching the pain.

Next, visualize a fire burning brightly. See the colors of the flames, hear the crackling, smell the aroma of smoke, and feel the healing warmth… Now imagine that your pain is burning in that fire… And if you have any emotional reactions to the pain, let those also burn in the flames…

Here is the variation that I have been saying to myself daily, and you can tailor this to your individual religion or cosmic belief system…

“I am Shiva Consciousness, and Shiva’s Fire is burning in my whole being… And everything that is not Shiva Consciousness, like emotional and physical pain, is burning in Shiva’s Fire and is being transmuted into the Highest Love Vibrations.”

When we feel like we love everyone and everything, that is when we are in the Highest Love Vibrations… And it is possible to feel that extraordinary love for everyone and everything, even when we are in chronic pain. It simply takes a few minutes of awareness and practice. You can do this simple practice many times throughout the day or night.

I hope this article is helpful to you or to someone you love… You might also like to read my previous post, “StarFire Teja’s StarFire Friday Blessing: May You Shine With the Holy Fire of Love Consciousness.”

 

Image credit: Arnau Soler on Unsplash