Two Simple Healing Practices

“There are many refreshing and healing elements in nature around us and in us… get in touch with these healing elements to get the nourishment and healing you need… nourish yourself with joy and happiness so then you are able to help people around you.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh, in a video in which he answers a question from his one million Facebook friends: “How can I fight the injustices of this world without being consumed with anger, bitterness, outrage, and resentment?”

Here are two simple ways to practice getting in touch with the healing elements around you and in you ~

~ Each time you see simple beauty, think to yourself, “There are refreshing and healing elements all around me and inside me.” ~ For example, each time I see the sunlight on the fresh green leaves outside our bathroom window, I am reminded of the refreshing and healing elements that are available all the time.

~ When you drink water, use your pure drinking water as a bell of mindfulness. Let the water be a refreshing and healing element that you bring into your body as you sip it throughout the day.

I hope this post was helpful to you!

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

 

Photo by John Jennings on Unsplash.

 

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Transforming Negative Thoughts

How often do you catch yourself having negative thoughts? Do you ever feel like you are caught in a desperation spin?

In order to stop the spin and master your mind, the first step is identifying the repetitive negative thoughts so that you can re-write them in the positive. Re-writing is a method of re-framing which can help you to powerfully transform your negative thoughts.

After writing down your repetitive negative thoughts, re-write each one in the positive, using as many of the same words as possible. For example, if you often think, “This is terrible,” you could re-write that thought in the positive as “This is temporary.” Another example is re-writing the thought, “I’ve got to get out of here,” in the positive as “I’ve got to relax here.”

Using as many of the same words as possible makes it easier for you to remember to think the new thoughts, because the grooves of the old thoughts are already so established in your mind. If you only change one word, and it begins with the same letter as the old word, that makes the process almost effortless for you…

Once you have re-written the repetitive negative thoughts as positive statements, take out a separate sheet of paper or note card, and write at the top, “To master my mind, practice this new train of thoughts,” and then list only the positive statements on that paper or card.

Read your list of new positive thoughts out loud several times each day, and practice thinking your new thoughts throughout your daily life.

I hope this tool for transforming negative thoughts is helpful to you!

Thank you for reading the StarFire Teja Blog!
This post is my 200th post here in 2019!

 

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

 

Photo by Jakub Kriz on Unsplash.

 

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.

 

Bells of Mindfulness

It was a lovely autumn evening and all was well… It felt wonderful to breathe in the cool fresh air… But then, once again the neighbors’ cigarette smoke began wafting in on the breeze… With anger I closed my window… and then, once again the toilet paper holder fell to the floor… and then, I stepped in water in my socks… and with each small frustration, I felt my angst growing stronger…

And once again the negative thinking swirl began, with the primary question surfacing, “Why is life so hard?” But just then, a small gentle voice asked quietly, “Umm, could we reframe that?” So I tried and tried to think of a more positive spin on my view of life (in that frustrated moment), but all I could come up with was “life is challenging” and “life is not fun.”

Well the small gentle voice was not having those negative reframes, so she dug deeper into the situation, and then she shared this insightful reframe:

“Life is filled with bells of mindfulness.”

Yes! All parts of me agreed, and the toxic angry vibes lay down to rest with the cranky despairing energies…

So then the small gentle voice said calmly, “When you closed the window in anger, that was a bell of mindfulness to show you where you need to cultivate more peace, understanding, compassion, and kindness… And, when the holder fell down and you stepped in water in your socks, those were bells of mindfulness to show you where you need to generate more calm inside yourself. So remember, life is filled with bells of mindfulness.”

Dear readers, this experience arose in me because I have been studying the teachings of the Zen Buddhist Master, Thich Nhat Hanh… His teachings on mindfulness are so simple to grasp, integrate, and practice in daily life… Soon I will write a post about his book Peace is Every Step.

And so what about you… Can you relate to my experience here? Can you also see many bells of mindfulness in your life?

I hope this post was helpful to you!

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

 

Photo of bells cropped from original photo by Az Aay Chhetri on Pexels.

 

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.”

SadPhotoChallenge_SuicidePrevention_ReachingForOrange_StarFireTeja

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.