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.”

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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.

 

 

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“It Is Your Duty To Live”

At the seashore, the wise old bear Jambavan instructed the distraught young monkey Angada, “It is your duty to live.”

(That quote is from the version by R.K. Narayan, The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic Suggested By the Tamil Version of Kamban.)

This scene in the Ramayana comes at a critical moment in the story, when the monkeys and bears have been searching for the kidnapped princess Sita for more than one month, and they do not want to return to Prince Rama without locating her whereabouts. The monkey prince Angada declares that they should all just sit down in the sand and prepare to die. He says, “Let us leave behind this earthly world of samsara, that is filled with suffering and misery.” (Quote from Teja Shankara’s version, The Tejaswini Ramayana: The Way of Rama in the Shakahara StarFire Universes.) Then Hanuman, the great Super Hero of the monkey tribe, encourages them to keep going by reminding them of Jatayu, the great eagle who lost his life fighting for Goodness. That reminder leads to something unexpected… continue reading this exciting story in The Tejaswini Ramayana: The Way of Rama in the Shakahara StarFire Universes.

Over the past fifteen years I studied nearly one dozen versions of the Ramayana, which is a sacred ancient tale from India. The story is beautiful and magical, and has enchanted millions of people through the ages. The story is timeless and addresses many aspects of the human condition. People of all ages love this story. Many of the scenes relate to situations in our own lives, such as this scene described above. Many people have felt despair about failure at some point in their lives.

When I read that quote “It is your duty to live” it really resonated deep within me, and during despairing moments, I hear that quote inside my mind. As mentioned in a previous blog post, “Radiance & Darkness,” I have a lot of fiery energy that I shine into the world, and I also have some darkness, and in my darkness, it can be pretty dark. By dark, I’m referring primarily to negative despairing thoughts in which I want to die. I would not commit suicide, I could never do that to my family and friends, but in those dark moments I imagine how sweet it would be to die peacefully by natural causes. Can you relate to this? Do you ever wish to die?

Even if I was not concerned about hurting my loved ones, I still would not commit suicide because I believe that suicide is not ever right action. It is murder and it is causing oneself to have a violent death, which is not ever a good thing for the soul. The ideal death, most people would agree, is a peaceful one.

So, for anyone out there who is in despair, during your dark moments try to remember that it is your duty to live. We are here in these bodies, on this planet Earth at this time, for a reason. Thus, it is our duty to live. And, we are not ever alone, even if we might feel like it sometimes. Actually, we are all part of one interconnected energy that is Love.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255, and it is available 24 hours everyday.

Sending Love and Hope to anyone who needs upliftment today.