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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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…

HappyingUpWithImages

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

 

Reaching for Orange to Calm Your Mind

Dear readers, yesterday was yet another bad day in the body. I used to have a more balanced mix of good days and bad days, but lately I’ve had quite the run of bad days, making me ask the question, “Did I not appreciate the good days enough when I had them?” But I did appreciate them, so much. In fact, right before this run of bad days began, I had very gratefully enjoyed so many good days that I almost couldn’t remember what the bad days were like…

I guess I needed a reminder… Geesh!

Anyhow, yesterday was not good, and my mind was beginning to get a little anxious about it… As anyone with chronic health issues knows, it is an ongoing struggle to maintain positivity when the body doesn’t feel well… And once the mind begins reacting negatively, difficult emotions flow from the negative thoughts… So, yesterday when that began happening, I took out my new book, Reaching for Orange, and spent the day reading it cover to cover! (“Spiritual helper, help thyself!”)

Reading Reaching for Orange helped me to happy up, just as the subtitle promises! I have read this book many times, and this time I especially enjoyed the Blessings section. I read all of the blessings out loud, and I felt calmed, soothed, and elevated as I allowed myself to deeply receive all of those blessings.

“Blessings can be vibrant transmissions of living consciousness.” ~ Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life.

If you regularly read my blog posts, then you know that I post blessings for you on Fridays… Tomorrow I will share a few blessings from Reaching for Orange, from the section of blessings to help with depression. Whether or not you feel depressed, you can enjoy tomorrow’s uplifting blessings.

Unfortunately today is worse than yesterday, so thankfully this afternoon I am going to see my new doctor. I am hoping for a diagnosis that will help me to better understand this body. If you feel inspired to send me some good thoughts, healing energies, blessings, prayers, magical mojo, or whatnot, I will gratefully receive them!

Thank you so much for reading this post.
May you feel great love in your whole being!

With gratitude and trust in the mysteries,
Teja