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.

 

 

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The Mind Needs to Be Worked With First

To open the heart, first calm and happy the mind.

Some people say that first you have to open the heart, but after many years of studying this, I have come to understand that the mind needs to be worked with first, and then the heart naturally opens.

The human species has reached a state in which the human mind has become quite dense. Many people’s minds are tangled up by the anxieties and traumas of this fast-paced world. So, sitting and focusing on opening the heart may feel soothing temporarily, but it won’t be lasting unless the mind is calmed first.

When you work with your mind, calming it down and happy-ing it up, then your heart opens naturally, and you can relax into the sweetness in your heart.

Choosing to be happy is the first practice listed in my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life. Here is that practice:

Choosing to be happy ~ You really can choose to be happy. Per the Upanishads (a collection of wisdom by the ancient mystics of India), the mind is the means to happiness. You really can decide to be happy. This doesn’t necessarily happen immediately, but if you regularly tell yourself that you are choosing to be happy, then over time it will become true for you. So to apply this in your daily life, try this: anytime you have to wait in line or at a red light, think to yourself, “I am choosing to be happy.”

Focusing on calming your mind down, and also happy-ing it up, will open your heart, and then you will feel overwhelming love for everything and everyone!

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

If you haven’t already, please read my previous post, “23 Possible Benefits You May Gain Through Reading Reaching for Orange.”

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StarFire Teja’s StarFire Friday Blessing: May You Feel Elevated Moments of Pure Joy

 

May you be blessed with reminders of your inner resources.

May you attract everything you need to connect with your purpose and to feel better on every level.

May you pass through any dark portals into radiant orange light, with gratitude ringing in your every cell.

May you feel elevated moments of Pure Joy.

 

Today’s blessings are from the “Blessings to help with depression” section in my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life.

May your weekend be blessed in every way!

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

 

Photo of flowers and spheres by Teja.

 

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!

 

Gandhi Quote on Happiness

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

When you read Gandhi-ji’s words, what arises for you?
Do you feel that your thoughts, words, and actions are all in alignment?

If you feel this harmony, can you hear gratitude bells ringing?

If you do not feel this harmony, what can you do today to work towards it?

May All Beings Be Free of Suffering.
May All Beings Feel Harmony and Happiness.

 

Bird image by Gentle07 on Pixabay.