The Matter of Hope

“Hope is important, because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. But that is the most that hope can do for us — to make some hardship lighter. When I think deeply about the nature of hope, I see something tragic. Since we cling to our hope in the future, we do not focus our energies and capabilities on the present moment.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Buddhist Master, in his book Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life.

Dear readers, during this strange time it seems that most of us need hope to lighten the load of our global hardships. And, even while we cling to hope for the future, we can simultaneously try to remain focused on the present moment.

Thich Nhat Hanh continues, “I do not mean that you should not have hope, but that hope is not enough. Hope can create an obstacle for you, and if you dwell in the energy of hope, you will not bring yourself back entirely into the present moment. If you re-channel those energies into being aware of what is going on in the present moment, you will be able to make a breakthrough and discover joy and peace right in the present moment, inside of yourself and all around you.”

Are you able to enjoy the present moment now? During this time of quarantines, do you feel hopeful or hopeless?

Before my Dad died suddenly in January, I had been struggling for some time with feelings of hopelessness regarding my health and financial issues. Now, suddenly millions of people are homebound and worried about money like I was! I never would have dreamed this could happen.

Strangely, I am actually feeling more hope now than I did before… And even if hope is not enough, right now it is very important. If you feel hopeless, consider these strong words by Christian Mihai, in his post “Life in The Time of Coronavirus”:

“I encourage each and every single one of you to not become hopeless. It’s a sin not to hope. Truly. If you are hopeless, you think of yourself as helpless, and then you’re really screwed. Maintain a positive attitude, make the best out of an awful situation, and keep working towards your goals. One way or another.”

May you be blessed with hope, courage, and strength. May you take delight in small joys and find peace dwelling in the energies of each sacred moment.

With much love and hope,
StarFire Teja

 

Photo by CHIRAG K on Unsplash.

Half-Way Through 2019: Goals Review Time!

Hello Dear Readers!

Can you even believe that we are already half-way through this year? And how is it going with the goals you set for 2019?

On January 1st, I set these goals for the New Year:

To be Happy, Healthy, Holy, Hopeful, and Helpful.

I actually did not try to make them all begin with the letter “H”… Those goals just came to me spontaneously, in that order, and they all just happened to begin with H… So here is my check-in about how my goals are going:

Happy: As the image with this post says, “I ❤ Happiness.” Years ago I bought a bunch of organic bananas that had a little oval sticker with that quote. I still have that tiny sticker, but it is too small to photograph, so I made this image… I recently suggested to WordPress that they include the featured photo in the emails, but since that isn’t happening yet, I’m attaching the image here again for those who are viewing this post by email…

IHeartHappiness_StarFireTeja

Anyhow, I would say that overall I am feeling much happier in 2019. It is a choice to be happy, and I definitely choose happiness… AND I do practices to keep happy-ing up, and when those practices are effective I write about them in blog posts and books to help you happy up also!

Healthy: Well, physically I look very healthy, and I do eat an organic, whole foods plant-based, gluten-free diet, as well as exercise and take care of my health on all levels… AND, for decades I have dealt with many strange ailments and aches and pains that come and go and move around. My symptoms lately seem like perhaps a Fibromyalgia flare-up, so soon I will be finding a new doctor to get evaluated… Thankfully, all of the practices that I do to happy up also help me to manage my emotional reactions to not feeling well physically. And, fortunately I have good days as well as bad days, so I am very grateful for the good days!

Holy: For many years on my spiritual journey, I straddled two worlds… In one world I wanted to be a nun, and in the other world I wanted to find prince charming. (Please read my favorite blog post ever about how I no longer have that desire for a partner: “Into the Fire.”) Now that I am just living in the one world as a nun, married to God and the Spiritual Life, I am relieved to no longer be searching for an earthly guy… AND, I’m still learning a lot about desires and attachments in the earthly realm! Just because I freed myself of one desire, did not mean that I freed myself of all desires! So even though I am doing many daily spiritual practices, I would not describe myself as being entirely pure and holy. I am doing my best and I am always challenging myself to grow more!

Hopeful: Recently I discovered a new hero, Thich Nhat Hanh, and I read his awesome book, Peace is Every Step, which I will be reviewing in a blog post soon. In that book he talks about how hope is necessary when we are having a hard time because it helps us to get through the difficulties… but then once we get through the challenges, hope is not enough for true happiness, because hope is for the future, whereas happiness is to be found in the present moment. That really resonated as truth for me, and I reflected on how I had set “Hopeful” as one of my 2019 goals because I was still living in what I call my decade of hardships (which began in March, 2009)… And so the first few months of 2019 I was struggling to keep hope alive in my mind and heart… But thankfully, in the past few months there has been a shift into feeling hopeful most of the time… So I think I can check this one off, and move on to living in the happy present moment!

Helpful: Due to the health issues mentioned above, I am not able to do all that I would like to do in terms of helping others… But, I am proud to say that this year I trained with a local hospice and I have been going out to visit with dying patients and their families. And I have been posting helpful blog articles… And I am getting ready to publish my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life. (For more information, please read “Double Coffee Days Ahead.”)… So, I am being helpful in the ways that I can…

Thank you for reading my 2019 Goals Review!

How about you… How is it going with your goals for the year?

 

Happy Half-Way Through 2019 to Everyone!