Monday Morning Musings from Teja’s Tree-house Temple

Recently my Dad started asking me, “How’s it going up in the bird’s nest?” My answer is usually, “pretty good,” and then later, back up in the bird’s nest in my tree-house temple, sometimes I reflect on my response…

As a 49-year-old boomeranger living with my parents, far away from my adult sons, and dealing with Fibromyalgia, you could say that I am in the midst of a “mid-life crisis” as well as a “health crisis”… You could also say that I am in the zone some call the “empty nest syndrome”… And yet, overall, my answer to my Dad is true, because there is so much to be grateful for, and life is, indeed, “pretty good.”

Can you relate to saying you are good and then questioning if that is the truth? And then do you find yourself remembering all the blessings of goodness in your life?

As I type these musings, I am appreciating this alone time in my empty nest. One thing about chronic health issues, or any life issues really, is they are great teachers. Living with Fibromyalgia is teaching me to accept the solitary kind of bird I am: colorful, eccentric, and rather fringe…

Alone in my nest, I am sustained by my daily spiritual practices of chanting (singing sacred songs), meditating, repeating mantras, and studying spiritual teachings. I describe these and many other practices in my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life, available on Lulu and Amazon.

What kind of bird are you? What kind of nest are you creating? Do you have daily practices that support the evolution of your being?

 

Photo by MabelAmber on Pixabay.

 

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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.

 

Autumn Affirmations

Yesterday began with the usual aches and pains of Fibromyalgia, but after lunch the bright blue sky and cool breezes inspired me to push through fatigue and venture out for a walk in the hood…

Do you ever make yourself do something and then afterwards you feel so glad and so grateful that you did it?

Well that is what happened with yesterday’s walk. The sunshine felt so amazing, and I felt like my whole being opened up to the healing energies available in the green trees all around me…

And then, quite spontaneously, I celebrated the change of seasons by creating the following affirmations for Autumn… Perhaps these will inspire you to make your own affirmations for Autumn! (Or Spring if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere!) ~

~ I choose to let go of worries.

~ I choose to be happy (even when feeling tired and sick).

~ I choose to generate the energy of Love and to send that energy of Love out into the Universe!

 

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What do you choose for the season ahead?

 

Background photo of orange flowers by Sue Hughes on Unsplash.

 

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

 

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.