March 1

by Jemal Yarbrough

Tomorrow begins the stage for a lot of changes in my life.  With one journey finally put behind, I am now ready to take get on several untraveled roads before my 40th birthday.  I know most of us start New Years resolutions at the end of a year so why now?  My reply back is why not?  I had no idea what to expect in December and was completely in the dark.  In a way, the time spent caring for her and others, as well receiving and accepting help from others made me realize how much I missed being the one that always had a plan.

Somewhere, somehow, something ignited in me that I can no longer ignore.  Why 40? because it’s a pinnacle of sorts. It not now, then when?  If I don’t work on losing weight, writing, learning spanish and doing an event, then when?  I just accepted life as it came along, never realizing that life is what you make of it.  Sure, people will think I am crazy, some will just shake their heads because they have heard this before (notably my family), and others will laugh (probably many), but something is different, I have had my Harajuku moment (from the Four Hour Body by Timothy Ferris, ) and I know I want to be better, or maybe just myself again. I want to do all the things I envisioned doing earlier except just got side-tracked.

Don’t get my wrong, I wouldn’t change anything (not the stroke, not the cancer, not the divorce), nothing because each had something to teach and until I got the lesson, they would have continued repeating it.  So tomorrow isn’t just a new day, it’s a 9 month march towards achieving to the best of my abilities, come hell or high water.  I’ll be damned if I enter 40 flabby, unpublished and demoralized.

You are my witness.  Keep me honest.  I will also be blogging regular updates on my new focus.


The Ride


by Jemal Yarbrough


I know how that bird feels.  Sometimes. all we can manage to do is keep ourselves dangling on a small branch just so we don’t drown.  Much like that bird, I felt alone and surrounded by weak branches that looked like they could not hold my weight but they can as the bird proves.  We do not see the deep roots or the strength these branches have under the water, and perhaps we are  not meant to.  We just have to have faith that they will help us survive.

If you have read my blog, you know I have struggled often with my conflicting thoughts about friends and family.   From wanting No! demanding love and attention to anger and sorrow at seeming indifference.  I cannot read minds, so I used the actions or lack of actions to speak to me.  But then it hit me that I made this about others when it should be about me, us, what we need now and going forward.  The ones that care will be there, and the ones that don’t either fake it or just pretend all is well.  Either way is fine, but I know I need to put some things to bed, that some friendships have run their course while some are just beginnings and others getting stronger.  I cannot pick which is which, the reality being that whatever is meant to be, is.

That’s the tough part knowing that what perhaps what I did either contributed to the demise of the friendship or made it better.  Either way it keeps coming back to the same idea: you cannot force what’s not there, and whatever is meant to be will happen, and it will happen exactly the way it’s going to happen.  The what if’s, the would’ve, could’ve lay by the wayside.  The hurt will be there for now, but I forgive myself first and then others for causing it.  The only thing I am sure of now is that I have to keep moving.  The ones that want to be along for the ride will climb on board, the ones that do not will either say they meant to come or pass.  Whatever they decide is by me.  I cannot no! will not force them.

I have a new life starting soon as husband and wife, as brother-in-law, and a son-in-law.  My main goals are to make my family stronger, spend more time with loved ones, and to keep writing.  The rest will sort itself out.  I have faith in this ride called Life.


6 Steps To True Happiness

—— Forwarded Message
From: Marc and Angel Hack Life <>
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2011 12:05:42 +0000
To: Sanjay Sabarwal <>
Subject: Marc and Angel

Marc and Angel <>

6 Steps to True Happiness <> Posted: 20 Feb 2011 08:02 PM PST

This guest post was written by Chris Gaddis <> .
I want to thank Marc and Angel for allowing me to be a guest on their blog.  Marc was nice enough to appear on a radio show I host in New York (download my radio interview with Marc here <

if (FlashDetect.installed) { $(‘flash_embed-ctaJnewndJ’).show(); $(‘quicktime_embed-ctaJnewndJ’).hide(); } else { $(‘quicktime_embed-ctaJnewndJ’).show(); $(‘flash_embed-ctaJnewndJ’).hide(); } > ).  He knew I was starting my own blog at <>  and he was more than generous in allowing me this opportunity. As I was thinking about this opportunity and what to write I thought back to the whole reason that I am now doing what I am doing for a living.  I will spare you the long story and just give you the key info that you will hopefully find useful.

The secret to happiness is not in doing what one likes,
but in liking what one does.
– James M. Barrie

A Tragedy
My wife and I graduated from Keuka College, a beautiful college on Keuka Lake in New York.  Graduation weekend is always held on Memorial Day, so my family and my wife’s family decided to rent a house on the lake for the weekend.  Ever since then, we’ve made it an annual family tradition.  Every Memorial Day weekend we rent a house on the lake together as a family. In 2009 during our annual stay at the lake, through a long series of events that I feel were truly meant to be, our dog Athena ended up getting hit by a car and died.  Looking back it seems as if my whole life’s purpose flashed before my eyes in this one solitary moment.  The events and occurrences of my life up to that point seemed to fit together like an unsolved jigsaw puzzle – everything fit, but the message of the puzzle was still unclear.  But in that moment of tragedy, the different pieces came together in a more enlightening way than they ever had before. Needless to say it was a pretty sudden and unexpected death that affected my wife and me greatly.  I could not shake the feeling it was somehow meant to be and immediately tried to decipher why that was.  What I learned, summed up in one sentence is, “Life is too short not to follow your heart.”
A New Beginning
And this is what my blog is all about.  I decided that I wanted to spend more time with my wife and kids.  I wanted to work for myself and stop making other people rich from my efforts.  I came up with a plan to do this and I have now implemented it. This is not an easy thing to do.  Athena died almost two years ago.  This plan was supposed to be implemented within one year and I am just beginning to make significant progress now.  I feel a bit guilty I did not get it done sooner.  Unfortunately, life is like that.  We all have the best intentions, but ultimately life gets the best of us and we find ourselves 15 years later asking, “How did this happen?  Where did the time go?” In the end, happiness is different for everyone.  It could mean any number of things.  I am a firm believer that happiness is a choice <>  we can make.  Whether it is being happy with our self, our spouse, our job or something else.  To find true happiness you have to follow your heart and intuition.  You have to be who you are and follow a lifestyle and career that fulfills you; no matter what that entails or what people say about it.  And it is never too late to do so. After Athena’s death, and in my search to help it all make sense, I put together a personal action plan that followed six simple steps.  It helped me take a snapshot of my life and analyze where I am now and where I want to go.  So I want to leave you with this 6 step process to getting what you want out of life.

Create a mission statement. – Mine was simply “To translate what gives me joy, fulfillment and makes me genuinely happy into a career that will allow me to work for myself and spend more time with my family.”  This meant starting my own business as a coach to help individuals and small business owners get what they want out of their life and business.  Formulating this sentence allows us to create a short mission statement that summarizes exactly what we want from life, which will help to keep it in the forefront of our minds when we’re making important decisions.

  • Make a list of your primary priorities. – This list will make your decisions easier as you will know what’s most important to you.  Anytime there is a conflict consult this list and make the decision based on your priorities.  Here is an example of my list: Family, Church, Health, Work / Money, Service to Others, Hobbies.
  • Take an inventory. – List every single major entity in your life – the people, organizations, career, hobbies, and anything else you spend time on in your life.  Write a short summary of each.  Explain what each one means to you, what you get from it, and if you are neglecting other areas of your life because of it.
  • Make decisions. – Take this list and make a decision on every aspect of your life.  Decide whether time you spend on certain activities could be spent helping you achieve goals in other areas of your life.  Decide if you will continue some activities, change others, or start a new one.  Time is the most precious commodity we have; do not waste it.
  • Develop a plan. – Develop a game plan <>  of what has to take place to reach your dreams and make things happen.  Setup measurable goals for your life.  Break it all down into time frames of a week, a month, a year and then longer – 5, 10, 20, 30 years out.  These will constantly change and evolve so check them and update them frequently.
  • Schedule it, tell everyone and take action. – The most important step.  By scheduling your goals and your action items it allows you to set definite deadlines.  That gives you a better chance of sticking to it.  If you tell everyone what you are doing you are now creating ownership of your goals.  And of course nothing can stand in your way as long as you’re taking decisive action <> .  If you find yourself making excuses, stop!
    I know it may seem crazy that some dog changed my life, but it was the lessons I learned from Athena’s accident that changed my life.  We all learn differently.  And despite my loss, I’m grateful for the lessons and the opportunities that have risen from it.  If you’re looking for further guidance on creating happiness in your life I recommend the short but powerful book The Four Agreements <> .

    If you liked what you read here please feel free to visit Chris Gaddis’ website at <>  and subscribe to his blog.  If some of you need assistance in creating your own Personal Action Plan he would be happy to e-mail you a copy of his.  Just email him at
    Photo by: Luca Nicalli <> <>  <> This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now <

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  • Brownness

    DUM MAARO DUM – First Trailer Released!

    —— Forwarded Message
    From: Gitesh Pandya <>
    Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2011 12:25:16 -0500
    To: ‘Gitesh Pandya’ <>
    Subject: DUM MAARO DUM – First Trailer Released!

    Opens April 22


      Abhishek Bachchan and director Rohan Sippy, sons of the Sholay dream team of Amitabh Bachchan and director Ramesh Sippy, present the next generation of Indian suspense thrillers with DUM MAARO DUM which opens in theaters worldwide on April 22.  Released in North America by Fox Searchlight Pictures, the Goa-set crime drama co-stars Bipasha Basu and has released its first action-packed trailer which can be viewed at the link below:

      Direct link to trailer:

      Embed the trailer on your site using this code:

      Please let me know if you are able to post the trailer on your site.

    Visit the following DUM MAARO DUM sites to get updates on the film’s global release:

      Official site:
    Facebook:!/dummaarodumofficial <!/dummaarodumofficial>

    Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu, and Prateik Babbar
    Director: Rohan Sippy
    Producer: Ramesh Sippy

      For press inquiries, contact Gitesh Pandya of Box Office Guru at

    —— End of Forwarded Message

    Cancer, Myself, Preeti

    Almost There


    by Jemal Yarbrough


    The mural next to these words marks a strong contrast to the real world facing me outside: grey, dreary, drizzling enough so even the dog doesn’t want to go around and sniff aimlessly. Just paid all the bills and miraculously have exactly 11 cents to my name, well to our names to be precise, so I have plenty to frown about, but I am not.  In fact, seems nothing can get me down.

    The heart is light, can’t stop smiling, and looking forward to the week ahead. It’s funny how certain things don’t matter as much when so much has happened.  Friends who you cared about deeply barely a bleep, strangers who you ignored now dear acquaintances, but you know over all, that you matter a lot to many out there, and that’s enough.   Each one in our lives contributed the way they could, or better yet the way they were meant to.  This was our battle, and they were just the small break shops that give you water and food so you have the strength to keep going.  Blaming those for not running with you was not only realistic but completely unfair.  True, the damage is done but I know my friends, they will bounce back since those who know me well know that I hold no ill will.  More like, it was a cry for help but I managed to push some away and for that I will always be sorry.  The choice to continue is really up to them because although I am sorry, I am not going to be a slave to regret for the rest of my life.

    I finished my first short story in years, and while I am tempted to share it here, I know it still needs to be tightened up more.  Who knew in the whirling days of chemo and radiation, an idea would be born. On this dreary day, my heart shines, smiling at the thought of her being almost done.  Nothing else matters really.  All the old accusations, decisions, bad thoughts, put away to stand clear for the finish line.  Who knew that in a matter of weeks, we will put this saga behind us and while the results are not 100%, they are good enough for me. Can/t worry about what’s not there or has not happened.  Actually, that’s not true. It is 1005 over in a week, and what will come next, I cannot worry about.  For now, I have her to love fully, full-time, and always. Also  my dear friends and family who are always there.  We are almost there, thank you for coming along this bumpy ride.  Hope I didn’t scar you too much. 🙂