Brownness

CELEBRATIONS

This past weekend we celebrated someone who brings a lot of joy to the ones I love. It’s amazing to know how a 3 year old can mean so much to so many. Even though we are related by marriage, she feels like another one of my nieces. I have been beyond blessed to have experienced the growth of my nephews and nieces into adulthood and to be honest I’d assumed it was just something that happened in a certain chapter of my life.

To experience this joy all over again is truly gratifying and fulfilling in a different way. To be able still be in a jumper for over 4 hours and playing with all manner of kids and being child like reminded me of why I want to be fit. It’s not to impress anyone but to be able to experience things and bring joy to others by being in service. In this case, being a fool, silly and allowing myself to be face painted. something I thought I would not experience as a 49 year old. It got me thinking when I take myself too seriously, when I think I am too adult or too grown up to be child like, it is when I will grow old.

One of the things I loved about my father at social gatherings was how warm, silly and fun he was to be around. He made or tried to make everyone around him laugh. In recent years, celebrations with my father were always fun and full of laughter. I endeavor to do the same even when that means looking like a hairy spiderman, but most of all, when it means I can bring smiles to the ones I love. As I get older, I am taking on more of his characteristics, from taking power naps to being child like, but also seeing that celebrations are a reason to be bring joy to others.

Happy Birthday Zara, I know more events are to come and I cannot wait to celebrate them with you!/

Brownness

Fathers Day

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Today is the anniversary of my aunt passing, and I can’t help feeling that it’s not coincidence since Papa and her were buddies. Anytime he went for any errands, he took her with him. Besides my mom, she probably spent the most amount of time with him. I like to think they are up there together just hanging out and doing the things that they enjoyed most. They know they were loved deeply. I am truly grateful for the time I did have with them, and although I regret not taking the time to spend even more, I know they loved me anyway.

Death is a strange thing as life moves on and people that you think you will see for a long sometimes disappear, but life and people keep plugging away and although they are not here for the daily portion, the hurt and the remembrance remains for me and others in my family. It may seem that we have grieved and gotten over it, but really it has become a private pain because really how long can you bemoan it publicly before people tune you out.

And so the grief goes inwards and occasions like Father days and death anniversary become milestones for how long they have been gone. It’s hard to believe 4 years have passed for my aunt and 5 for my dad, and I still cannot help thinking about them in the early morning quiet when its just me and my thoughts and feelings. In the busyness of life, its easy to want to ignore death, easy to not want to miss them, to think about the many moments we shared, the many moments we could or should have shared. The guilt, grief and gratitude all mere into this realization of how lucky I truly was, and how much they supported my in growth.

I am glad I had the chance to show them some of that growth, but I oh so wish they were still here because they were so full of life, possibility and belief in us. But that’s not to be, but it doesn’t mean I don’t to honor and thank them for the time they did give us. Happy Fathers Day Papa. Miss you Baby Masi.

Brownness

Struggle

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I often struggle with being far too judgmental about situations and people and things I get to experience on a daily basis. Far too often, I am quick to notice people and events happening not to my liking. I still cannot bring myself to recognize that the only thing I can do control are my reactions, thoughts and emotions. I begin anew each time I steep myself in thinking how others should behave.

What it does come down is mostly hurt of being excluded or not considered. I realize that often times I give way more weight to things that in the long run don’t serve me. I also see a bit of cowardice in myself for not sharing with those around me what’s coming up for me. It’s as if I rather enjoy the stewing rather than just letting out what’s bothering me about the person or event.

I struggle because I don’t quite know how to handle things when they don’t go according to plan. I struggle when others are inconsiderate, overwhelming or selfist. I struggle when I feel forced to engage with people I don’t have much in common with. Yet I also know that I am blessed to have so many around me. That I can pick and choose who to be around. That I can always change my response to things.

Yet I also realize that when judgment flares up or I feel taken for granted, I have a choice to either let it go, clear with the person or just allow it to ruin the moment. Like I said, I don’t always succeed, but I do see that there are some I can clear with, tell them what’s coming up for me or if that is too confrontational, then I get to change how I feel about it. Like I said, a struggle.

I also do feeling a reckoning coming up for me. That if I continue to struggle in this manner, I am shunting my ground. That it will prevent me from the being the best version of my life. What also feels right is the nervousness I feel when I think about clearing with the people I am affected by. From experience, I know when I am nervous or anxious about something, it is most always the path to take if I want to be a better leader.

And so I struggle, but also I see in my traits I don’t care much for me. Being negative continually or coming up with my own story of why some people treat me the way they do doesn’t serve me. So I get to work on that.

Brownness

May (by the Numbers)

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As I continue into June, I thought I’d look into how I did with my habits in May, and while I added some new ones, and continued old ones, I also took out some, and it hit me that I do have a need to fill in the entire page of the Habit Journal which may not serve me as I putting down either things I do anyway or struggle to come up with something just so the page can be full. Taking the time to absorb the numbers, I do some patterns of struggle like stretching daily or not drinking on weekdays. More often than not, the challenge for drinking is Fridays which is technically the start of the weekend, but then I also inevitably drink on Sundays which is the weekend. My goal is ideally get down to 1-2 days as I have begun intermittent fasting which is providing some much needed clarity and detoxification.

Ok enough explaining, how did I do on my habits in May? I only managed perfection in meditating (something I have been doing now for years) as well being sure to hug and kiss my wife daily (kind of a weird thing to track, but I wanted to be sure she knew she was cared off, and it was important because of the Pandemic). I did only half the month for drinking as well as stretching. I did a bit better with working out at 18 days, but only managed 22 days for writing daily (but either way a huge improvement). I also manages to journal almost every day as well as do 25 pushups daily, but I want to get to 100% for those habits as they truly serve me in my self-care.

Then I had a bunch of minor ones like practicing spanish or being in service or being vulnerable which were harder to track as what is being in service or vulnerable truly mean. As for the Spanish, it is something I have been doing for a while now so adding it just meant being able to tick something off. I still struggle with beginning with hefty goals and then becoming a bit too task oriented and not appreciating my progress or my why.

Its good to track as I tend to lose sight of my goals, but I also get to practice caution and not just become about marking it off rather than see the reason. So I get to rest, get back to Beginners Mind and I start the new month with new goals (although I still managed to fill up the page except for one area so that’s a positive). I get to own my progress, and I am proud of how 2021 is shaping out to be, but I also a ways to go, and that is more than okay.

Happy Monday. How is your 2021 going?

Brownness

Sukhpal

Yesterday, I got the chance to go the religious services for my old friend Sukhpal where I got a chance to see others I had not seen in decades. I couldn’t help but think of the times we had together. My first group of real friends who I saw pretty much on a weekly basis. He supported me in so many ways from when I threw my first house party at my Long Beach house to coming to the events I promoted when I graduated from college.

We’d met at Sikh camp, and they were first non high school friends I had. I felt seen, popular even because suddenly from being a loner I had two groups of friends. I never could believe it. Yet somewhere our group dissipated, life happened as some got married, others stayed in further places and I went on a different path. Yesterday, I wondered what would have happened if I had stayed in touch. At least, I could have reached out and supported my friend in some way, visited him, see if there was a way I could be of service instead of finding out about his funeral a few days ago, not even aware that he had been sick for years.

Yesterday as I saw the others, again and again, I wondered what happened? It was a slow drift. There was no disagreement, no animosity, in fact, there was pure joy when we saw each other, and I just felt I’d taken a longer detour that moved me away from those who gave me so much when I was younger. When I needed it, they gave me a sense of myself, of who I could be. I remember Sukhpal and I and others just glad to see each other, so much to talk about, to laugh, share what was going on. And now, he too is gone.

My mom said something that stung a bit. More and more, I go to religious gatherings because someone has passed. That’s a sobering thought. It’s painful to realize that as I reach 50, it is very likely that those around me will pass and so will I. It forces me to reevaluate what kind of life do I want to live. Do I want to pass the time, or have time pass me, or do truly just be present and be grateful.

Only time will tell. I love you, Sukhpal. I am sorry I wasn’t there through your pain. I know you are at peace now.

Brownness

Memories on Memorial

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This past weekend, I got to experience amazing generosity for which I was truly grateful, but more than that, taking the time to really think about those who have sacrificed so we could have this freedom is deeply humbling. It’s interesting I used to believe that expressing gratitude for this day meant I was a spouting a certain type of politics when really I got to just check in with the reason for this holiday.

Do people use it to say their beliefs? absolutely as is their right. For me, it was different as the past few years I have worked out with many first responders, veterans, and essential workers, and it has clarified for me how many heroes I am lucky to have around. People who are willing to give up their lives for us, for this country, for people whose beliefs they don’t share, for ensuring that we continue to be a great democracy. And while so many at my gym Murph, I only managed a 3.5 mile with a vest in the heat so I could perhaps just perhaps feel a tiny bit of the pain these people around me choose so easily on a daily basis.

Then there are also the memories created this weekend with two different sets of friends who showed the same type of kindness, thoughtfulness and graciousness in hosting. Gratitude filled me as they heaped on not only food and drink, but meaningful conversation, deepening our bond. For that, I could only thank them endlessly but also be in gratitude for being so blessed. And so as the weekend came to a close, my amazement hasn’t.

Here’s to an amazing June.