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

 

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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Beyond Memes

Original creative content catches my eye. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good meme… But have you noticed that the memes sometimes take over on social media?

When I’m scrolling my Facebook feed, for example, I love to see photos of flowers, animals, families, and places in nature. Bright colorful images inspire me and make me feel happy.

I used to feel more enchanted by all the memes, but lately not so much. It seems like the memes just say the same things over and over, and I would rather read what my friends are thinking themselves, rather than quotes from the “Power of Positivity” page. Can you relate to this?

I do appreciate some of the more creative memes, especially the humorous ones… One of my favorite memes ever had this quote by Bob Ross (American painter, 1942-1995, who had a TV show called The Joy of Painting): “Ever make mistakes in life? Let’s make them birds. Yeah, they’re birds now.”

When I was googling to make sure I had that quote right, I found this other really great quote by him: “We want happy paintings. Happy paintings. If you want sad things, watch the news.”

That quote really resonated with me, because I think it is so important for all of us to continually work on happy-ing up! There is so much sadness in this world, and watching the news can really drag you down. If you feel that you must watch the news, consider viewing it weekly rather than daily, and if you feel anxious or negative afterwards, do some spiritual practices or visualizations to happy up and raise your vibration.

Anyhow, back to the topic of memes… I rarely share memes on Facebook, because I prefer to see original, creative content, and so that is what I offer myself… But I do appreciate a good meme, and I just discovered that The Hummingbird’s Journal has a page on Instagram, and Andrea is creating memes that are beyond the usual memes. She is pairing quotes from her own blog posts with beautiful images, resulting in high caliber, high vibration memes! Bravo, Andrea! 🙂

What do you think about memes? Do you enjoy them? Do you get tired of them? Do you long to see more original creative content on social media?

 

Photo* of flowers on desk taken by Teja! 🙂

* If you are viewing this post in an email, click on the title of the article and you will be taken to the StarFire Teja Blog where you can see the flowers!

 

The Yoga of Chocolate

As I shared in a recent post (“What Kind of Yoga do You Practice?”), there are many ways to practice yoga beyond just the physical poses. In today’s post I’ll be sharing how to practice the yoga of chocolate!

Do you love chocolate? Or do you know anyone who loves chocolate? I’m guessing you are answering yes to at least one of these questions!

Chocolate is made from cacao beans which grow inside pods on small trees, and besides being high in antioxidants, and helpful to heart health, it can greatly improve your mood. Chocolate creates excitement and sends a signal to your brain that something fun is about to happen!

The word yoga means “union” and so the goal of the yogic practices done by a yogi (male) or yogini (female) is to achieve a state of union with divine consciousness. Depending on your beliefs, you may call that consciousness God, Goddess, Divine Love, Nature, the Universe, or many other names. In the yoga tradition it is believed that your deepest self is connected with that divine consciousness, so when you do yogic practices you feel that union inside yourself.

Eating chocolate in a conscious way can enhance your feelings of union with your deepest self. Some ways to practice the yoga of chocolate include ~

~ Offer the chocolate to the Divine, or to your deepest self. Bless the chocolate with your highest gratitude vibrations.

~ Imagine the tree on which the cacao beans grew… under sunlight by day, and under starlight by night. Cultivate fascination for the miracle that this superfood grows naturally on this sacred Earth.

~ Take small bites, close your eyes, and eat the chocolate as slowly as you possibly can. Savor the taste and be fully aware of all sensations in the present moment. Allow your heart and mind to open to all the love in the universe!

~ If you have time, do some spiritual practices after eating your chocolate. In Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of love and devotion, chanting (singing sacred mantras) is one of the primary practices, and it goes especially well with chocolate. Both singing and chocolate open the mind and heart to deep feelings of love, so combining the two is like giving yourself a superblast of big love energies!

Like coffee (see my post “Coffee Is Good Medicine”), it is important to buy organic, fair-trade chocolate… And, dark chocolate is best for many reasons, including health (dairy nullifies cacao’s benefits), and compassion (the cows suffer greatly when their milk is stolen from them)…

For many years my absolute favorite chocolate bar has been this salted almond 70% dark chocolate bar by Theo, pictured here on top of my Grandma Hazel’s floral tin, in which I store my chocolate stash…

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I have been enjoying chocolate as medicine for decades, but sometimes I take a break from it, just to make sure that I’m not addicted to it, and to make sure that I still enjoy life without it! So, I did not eat any chocolate for the month of July, and I had so many seriously happy days, which proved that I am not dependent on chocolate… But, some days I do enjoy it as one of my many happy-ing up tools!

I hope you enjoyed this post on the yoga of chocolate… This is day 3 of my Virtual Book Launch Week! You will learn much more about yogic practices beyond the physical poses in my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life, available now on Lulu! ~ Thank you so much to Andrea, of The Hummingbird’s Journal, for ordering a copy! 🙂

May All Beings Be Happy!

 

Photo* of cacao beans by allybally4b on Pixabay.

* If you are viewing this post in an email, simply click on the title of the article and you will be taken to the StarFire Teja blog where you can see the photo of cacao beans.

 

Orange You Uplifted Now?

Do you have an aromatherapy diffuser or candle holder? If so, what are your favorite scents? Have you ever tried orange essential oil?

If you are new to aromatherapy, diffusers are available in many stores and online. However, if you are not ready to invest in one, you can purchase an inexpensive aromatherapy candle holder, such as the one in the photo* with this post. You simply put a tea light candle in the bottom, fill the top dish with water, and then add drops of your essential oil. (I actually found this beautiful ceramic green candle holder at the Dollar Tree, so I only paid one buck for it!)

Each essential oil carries different benefits, and it is fun to explore this realm, especially if you are sensitive to smells. My favorite scents tend to be of the woods, such as cedarwood, which is said to strengthen, empower, and relieve stress. In the winter I love pine needle for its purifying and refreshing qualities. Today I am burning orange essential oil in my candle holder. Orange oil is refreshing like pine needle, and it is also invigorating and uplifting. It is known for its antidepressant, happy-ing up effects because it boosts energy and improves mood.

Orange oil is made from fresh, sweet orange peels. The scent reminds me of eating a juicy, drippy orange over the kitchen sink! That is a happy olfactory image for me… Is it for you also?

Dear reader, I hope you enjoyed this post!
May your days be happier and happier!

 

* If you are viewing this post in an email, simply click on the title of the article and you will be taken to the StarFire Teja Blog where you can see the photo of my candle holder.