A Celebration of You

Have you been to a Celebration of Life service recently? Or ever?

“Celebration of Life” is a term being used instead of funeral or memorial service, and some people with life-limiting illnesses are opting to have this celebration before they die, so that they can be present at their own service! Have you heard of this practice already?

In my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life, I share a few writing exercises to help you explore the topic of death. Death meditations are practiced in many spiritual traditions, because they actually help people to live more fully in the present moment. Contemplating death can help you to keep your problems in perspective and to prioritize so that you keep focusing on what is most important to you in life.

Here is another writing exercise that can serve as a form of death meditation:

First write what you would want people to read, written by you, at the Celebration of your life. Then write what you would like to hear others say about you. Finally, reflect: Are you living up to what you would like to hear said about you? If not, do you need to set some doable goals towards being the You who you want to be?

After writing your answers, spend some time out in the trees, or if that’s not possible, then look at some photos of trees… While tuning in to the energies of the trees, contemplate what you wrote. Notice what arises in your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations… Lastly, place one hand on your heart, and the other hand on your belly. While feeling your loving touch, take a few slow breaths, and savor feelings of self-love. Conclude your personal mini Celebration of You in some way that feels precious and meaningful to you.

I hope this exercise is beneficial to you or to someone you love.

Please feel free to share your experiences with me here…

With a spirit of celebration for life,
Sister Teja

 

Photo by Jesse Gardner on Unsplash.

 

Reaching for Orange to Happy Up… And Centering in Brown to Calm Down…

Hello dear readers!

The rain is falling and I am cozy in my tree-house temple, making the best of a migraine morning. I lit a few candles and I’m sipping hot black coffee in my happy orange mug! Despite feeling sick, I am delighted to be here writing for you.

In my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life, I write: “On the Hindu Yoga Path, Orange symbolizes the Fire of Renunciation, the Orange Fire that burns all the external desires, attachments, and expectations that cause suffering. Once those external causes burn, the internal happiness is experienced.”

Daily spiritual practices help to burn away those external causes of suffering… And spiritual practices do not have to be complicated or take a lot of your precious time. I have been doing daily practices for more than fifteen years, and I have found that being relaxed and flexible with the practices is what enables me to keep doing them.

Some of the practices I do daily to happy up are from the Hindu Yoga Path, but others come from other traditions. This Summer I embarked on a study of the mindfulness teachings of Zen Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh (see my previous post, “Peace Is Every Step”), and those teachings are helping me tremendously in working more skillfully with my mind as I deal with the debilitating symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

At Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village monastery in France, the monks and nuns wear dark brown robes, and I find that color to be very soothing. Do you also feel calmed by the color brown?

(You can see their brown robes in this video: “Namo Avalokiteshvara Chant”)

Somewhere along the studies, it came to me that I am Reaching for Orange to Happy Up… And Centering in Brown to Calm Down!

In his book Peace Is Every Step, Thich Nhat Hahn suggests a simple breathing practice: “Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile.”

Here are two more simple breathing practices that you might enjoy doing, especially in stressful or tense moments ~

~ With the in-breath, think “Happy Up” and with the out-breath, think “Calm Down”.

~ Breathing in, think “Calm” and breathing out, think “Down” and as you think “Down” imagine breathing down into your legs and feet… And then imagine your energy flowing down into the ground… Imagine breathing down into the sacred Earth… And feel your entire being calming down…

I hope you found this post helpful!

With boundless love,
Teja

Photo of orange leaves on brown ground by Aaron Burden on Unsplash.

 

Defining Your Purpose

“Could this be one way of saying what our purpose on earth might be: To give my whole self, attention, good cheer, and desire to do what is right and good into the stream of life for the service of others? What purpose in life helps me to get up each morning and move into my day?”
~ Sister Jane McConnell, O.S.F., in her book Daily We Seek You: Reflections and Prayers for Individuals, Caregivers, and Ministry Teams

 

Dear readers,

How do you define your purpose? Has your sense of purpose changed throughout your life?

On August 10th in my post “The Helper Who Helps the Helpers” I shared that my current roles were blogger, author, and hospice volunteer. Well, shortly after writing that I had to take a leave of absence from the hospice volunteer work due to the Fibromyalgia flare-up, which is still going on. Dealing with chronic illness and not being able to work is seriously challenging my sense of purpose! So I am asking this question: “What is my aspiration and purpose, now and next?”

For now, I am still a blogger and author, but I need some income!* As a spiritual helper, I work for God and for the Forces of Goodness, and as Sister Jane wrote in the reflection above, I desire to “give my whole self, attention, good cheer, and desire to do what is right and good into the stream of life for the service of others.”

Given my physical limitations and ongoing challenges with accepting things as they are now, it is hard for me to get up in the mornings feeling good cheer, but I am determined to master this situation and to somehow be of service to others.

Do you wake up in good cheer? What purpose helps you get up each morning?

I hope you found this post helpful…

With much love,
Teja

 

* If you are able to make a contribution to my writing work, I will be so grateful. Here’s the link: Donate.

 

Photo by Melanie Kreutz on Unsplash.

 

Light Your Fire and Keep It Lit

There is one pure love energy connecting everyone and everything. Called by many names, and perceived in many ways, this love consciousness pervades our world. Some people conceive of it as a Divine Fire, and they see that all beings contain divine sparks within them… Do you sense the sparks within you?

Sometimes the troubles of life can overwhelm those sparks and make us feel murky or watered down. Can you relate to that image?

During the difficult times, it is super important to light your fire and keep it lit… Understanding that led me to make this meme:

LightYourFire_LittleVisualsPexels_StarFireTeja

 

Is your Fire lit?
What are you feeling on fire about? 💖🔥🔥

 

(Orange Fire photo by Little Visuals on Pexels.)

Photo of sparkler in the woods by Jamie Street on Unsplash.

 

Monday Morning Musings from a Living Starbird

Dear readers,

Greetings from the bird’s nest in my tree-house temple, where the black coffee is hot and the morning light is golden…

My first musing is about the fun I have with words. I selected “StarFire” as my blog name because it represents some of my favorite elements, such as the stars, the sun, fire, and source energies. Since choosing that name, I have noticed that I also love other words that begin with “star” like starflower and starfish… And recently I came across the word “starbird” and fell instantly in love with it! Can you relate to being so amused by words?

According to the Urban Dictionary’s top definition, a Starbird is “A guardian of love and hope that takes the form of a bird at sunrise and a star at dusk. It shines on all who believe in the spirit of those that passed before us who are watching over us.” Some examples given:

“I feel the warmth of my Starbird watching over me.”

“It’s like my Starbird is right on my shoulders.”

“I lost my Uncle, but I gained a Starbird.”

Isn’t that so wonderful? Have you heard of a Starbird before this moment? I love that meaning, and for my own word-playing purposes, I’ve altered it so that I can be a living Starbird, one who shines love and hope on all beings. As a spiritual helper I do feel that that is part of my role.

This Starbird’s mission is to help elevate humanity to healthier and happier vibrations, and in order to do that I need to generate the energies of love and hope, and to shine the visionary light out into all directions and dimensions! So, as you are reading these words, I pray you feel elevated and inspired…

My second musing is about my review of October. As I sat reading through my journal and calendar for the past month, I felt so happy to be done with that month! October was my third month of feeling rather sick, and at this point I am not sure if I am stuck in a Fibromyaliga flare-up, or if this is my new normal… Either way, I am seriously ready to have some good days again! I wrapped up last month with this affirmation: “I am learning how to manage things better.” Can you relate?

My final musing for today is about the keywords that I have selected as my guiding lights for November. After reviewing October, I sat down in meditation, and the following four intentions arose ~

~ Acceptance ~ As I wrote in a previous post (“StarFire Friday Blessing: May You Accept Things As They Are”), I am working on “Accepting Things As They Are = ATATA!” ~ Well, it is very hard to accept chronic illness, but I know that acceptance brings peace and happiness, so I am continually reminding myself of this intention. Sometimes I say out loud, “Atata, Atata, Atata! I am accepting things as they are!”

~ Gratitude ~ Cultivating the gratitude vibration generates the energy of Love!

~ Ease ~ I am feeling a tad wearied, after 10.5 years of hardships, so now I am really calling in some easeships!

~ Magic ~ I am really needing to experience some magic in my life again…

Can you relate to these keywords? Are you accepting your life circumstances? Do you feel grateful each day? When was the last time you experienced the feeling of ease? Are you experiencing magic in your life now?

What are your keywords for November?

I hope you enjoyed this post…

May your week be blessed with bright shining light!

With much love,
Your Starbird

 

Amazing crow photo by MabelAmber on Pixabay.