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.

Last Fire

Dear readers,

We never know when we might be having our last conversation, sipping our last cuppa coffee, or lighting our last fire… For this reason, the wise sages advise us to keep death always close to our minds. This may seem like a morbid, negative teaching, but actually the essence of the teaching is for us to live life positively, with joy and with zest!

The fire in the photo with this post was one of the last fires my Dad lit, a couple of months before he died. It was a joyous time, with family gathered around… He loved making fires, but he did not know that that fire was to be one of his last…

I have fire on the brain today, because yesterday I met with my psychologist and she suggested that I write my Dad a letter about my guilt and regrets with him, and then burn the letter so that the ashes and smoke will take the written words to him in the spirit realms.

Soon I will write that letter and then burn it in his beloved fire pit. I may cry when I do that ritual, or maybe I will smile in gratitude for all the fires and cups of coffee and conversations I got to enjoy with him during the past two years. (Btw, I had thought that being a boomeranger at my age was so terrible, but now it seems like a blessing because I got to live with him for the last two years of his life.)

Dear ones, try to be so grateful for the beloved people in your life… And try to enjoy each moment with as much zest as you can muster!

With gratitude and fire sparks,
StarFire Teja

 

March 2020 Keywords

Dear readers,

How was February for you? Did you notice any interesting themes or shifts?

February was pretty emotional for me, because my Dad died suddenly on January 25th… So my keywords for the month were Healing and Love, and I am thinking those are good keywords to just keep intending on-going! I mean, who can’t use some steady healing and love?!

For March I’ve come up with two keywords, which are actually phrases ~

~ Hold on to mantra ~ The primary mantra I say is Om Namah Shivaya, which means I bow to Shiva, the Pure Consciousness. This month, with each painful thought or sensation, I intend to think, say, or sing Om Namah Shivaya to remind myself that I bow to the Pure Consciousness which is watching the painful thoughts and sensations. Through the mantra, I intend to connect with that Watcher, that Peace, that Pure Spirit, that Supreme Divinity.

~ Take delight in small joys ~ Even though I am enduring incredible pain over the death of my Dad, I still know how to create small moments of happiness and gratitude each day. This month I intend to focus on the small joys, such as the birds flying in the trees, my happy black coffee, glowing candles, the scents of vetiver and sandalwood, and my sweet bird theme as seen in the photo with today’s post: joyful birds on the covers of my journal and calendars! Did I mention I love birds? They bring me such cheerful delight!

How about you? Do you have a mantra or affirmation that helps you get through hard times? Are you taking delight in small joys? Do you have any keywords set to guide you this month?

Happy March to you all…

With loving intentions,
StarFire Teja

 

StarFire Friday Blessing: May You Be Love

 

May you feel powerful Love vibrating in your mind and heart.

May that Love comfort you in sorrow and elevate you in joy.

May your weekend be blessed with healing Love radiating in all directions.

May You Be Love.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

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Photo of red rose field by Alina Sofia on Unsplash.

 

Monday Morning Musings on Transformation

In my recent post “Transformation Is Always Possible” I shared the following passage from Zen Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm:

“Sorrow, fear, and depression are like a kind of garbage. But these bits of garbage are part of real life, and we must look deeply into their nature. We can practice so as to turn these bits of garbage into flowers. We should not throw anything out. All we have to do is learn the art of composting, of transforming our garbage into flowers. In the practice of Buddhism, we see that all mental formations — including compassion, love, fear, sorrow, and despair — are organic in nature. We don’t need to be afraid of any of them, because transformation is always possible. With just a smile and mindful breathing, we can start to transform them.”

Well, my first musing this morning is about my review of November in my journal and calendar… Even though in the midst of my challenges I feel as though I am failing miserably, when I read through my journal I could see how much progress I am actually making, in working more skillfully with reactions, and in transforming negative thinking into positive thinking. And, I could see my strength, perseverance, grit, and mettle.

When I finished the review, I wrote, “I am feeling the flowers growing up out of the garbage! Even though it was still hard, November had so much goodness and it was much better than the previous three months!”

Dear reader, how was the month of November for you? Do you regularly take notes in a journal or calendar? Do you take time to reflect on your intentions, and celebrate your successes along the way?

My next musing is about how Gratitude is a potent tool for transformation… I really stepped up my gratitude practices in November, and I could really feel the results in a very tangible way. With each hardship that appeared, I consciously practiced feeling grateful for all the blessings in my life, and I came to the realization that for me, all roads lead to Gratitude!

As December begins, I intend to continue practicing the art of transformation… So my last musing for today is about my keywords for this new month. I pray that my “garbage” can be transformed into the flowers of Happiness, Holiness, Peace, and Joy! ~

~ Happiness ~ One of my current affirmations is “I am choosing to be happy, even when I feel tired or sick.”

~ Holiness ~ In this winter holiday season, I intend to look even more deeply into everything, so as to see the hidden holiness and to feel the absolute sacredness of life.

~ Peace ~ Imagining a very quiet place in nature, covered with pure white snow, I intend to generate the energy of Peace in myself and to send that energy of Peace out into the Universe.

~ Joy! ~ In his book Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm, Zen Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh draws this slight distinction between happiness and joy: “In the joy there’s still a little bit of excitement. Happiness is a more peaceful feeling, like contentment.” ~ So, in addition to choosing to be happy, I am also choosing to be joyful!

Beloved readers… May your December be Happy and Joyful!

Do you have any keywords for December?

With hope, positivity, and joy,
Sister Teja

 

Dahlia photo by S. Hermann & F. Richter on Pixabay.