Family, Myself

First Post of 2015 and resolutions

New-year's-resolutionsStill seems strange to say that. We are in the future, yet in some ways it just feels like another mundane monday.  On this 19th day of the new year, I am sure some have already given up or others are going forward. I made some resolutions, and while I am holding strong on some, there are others that I have not started on yet. I promised myself a year of giving more, improving my handwriting, being more present in the important relationships in my life, and a few others. Some resolutions remained the same: Keep working out (now on to 6th week of crossfit), keep writing (editing my novel), keep my loved ones close (succeeded at some and failing at others).  The theme in all of these resolutions is to be a better me. Will I fail?absolutely. Have I failed? You betcha.  But will I give up? Hell fucking no. Each is a lesson that there is a better Sanjay out there. There are times I fail to see it, and other times others remind me. I am surrounded by people who will not let me wallow in grief or be less than the person they know I can be. It can be empowering, but also intimidating.  It can sometimes feel overwhelming, to the point I wonder sometimes what others see in me. Yet with each fall, I get back up (cue Rocky Music).

I write this in my writing room, made possible by the beliefs of others. My wife, for actually providing all the tools to make it a writing room, my family for allowing me to get to know words, and my friends for reading them. It’s a humbling feeling to  have so many who help me move forward even when I stumble constantly. I do wish I fell less, and it’s why these resolutions have become more and more important. I am no longer content just going going through life, dreaming. I want to make it a real life.

So this year, less talk, more doing. Less material goods, more giving. Less promises, and more achieving. Wish me luck. I am gonna need it. 😉

Myself, Writing

Nightmares

failureSo had my first nightmare in a long time. It was surreal as it started in the middle. I am sure I was dreaming of something else, but I see a guy passing by, and for some reason. I call him a pussy. He keeps walking, but I know he is going to come back, and sure enough he does. I am on some stairs, and he begins walking up, and I begin blubbering that I was kidding, and didn’t mean to say what I did but like in dreams, suddenly there are 3 more people, and one grabs my hand, trying to force my wedding ring off while another grabs my watch, and then third has a razor blade. The old school kind that my father used to use when he shaved. And I start mumbling that I really didn’t mean it, but the razor keeps coming towards my right eye. The only one with a contact, and I don’t want to be blind. I don’t want to be squinting out of left eye which sees mostly blurs lately. I knew instinctively that they wanted the good eye, and as I woke up, there was an immediate fading idea that if only I had a gun to equalize the unfairness of the situation (there goes my liberal card).

The weird part is that I didn’t know any of the men well except for the first guy who suspiciously looked like the Reading Rainbow Gentleman Levar Burton (chucking anti-racist card as we speak).  Yes, I did try to figure out the dream, and I am pretty sure the entire dream was an allegory of my recent in ability to read, write or do anything workout related the past few weeks. Each day, I have this vague goal of writing and running, and while some days I am successful in writing for 20 minutes and exercising for 15, I know that’s not going to get it done if I want to be published or be in any sort of shape for the Spartan Beast which is fast approaching in September.

But, and this is a big but, I know I am doing something which is still infinitely better than the nothing I was doing before. So thanks to the Zen Habits, I practice self-compassion. I am giving myself a break even if they give me nightmares.

Myself

Transitions

Today, my niece turned 18.  She is the second to do so.  I also have a 21-year-old niece.  There is nothing like seeing others grow up to realize that you no longer can pretend to be young.  It’s really quite amazing to see someone grow up into an adult right in front of your eyes.  It’s also a surreal week as last week I witnessed the burial of a dear friends father.  Life. Death. Growth. That’s what we are surrounded by, yet we constantly get caught up in the mundane. We do not realize how lucky we are to have the ones we have in our lives.  We ignore that we are all beautiful souls who are just here temporarily and perhaps instead of really enjoying each others presence, we let the worry of money, work and conflict drive each day.

I realize that I am being preachy so perhaps I need to switch from We to I.  This is my daily journey. Each morning, I have been waking up and really trying to spend some time with myself. It’s as if I have become a stranger to myself. So many random thoughts swirling around, and I see that a majority of them are negative.  I see that I am creating so much negative energy, and so now I try to refocus. It has led me to know how lucky I am to have met my friend’s father one last time before he passed.  To be touched by the earth in my hands as I bid him farewell on his new journey, and to be blessed to have known him and his daughter.  I also could not be more proud of my friend’s husband, a new father and a relatively new son-in-law, who took care of the family as his own. It was truly inspiring to see him be there for them.

I am surrounded by love, pain, grief, anger, but most importantly inspiration. If I could just allow myself to see life as what it really is, I would be a better person for it. It is a continuous teacher, lover, and philosopher.  So today as I wish my niece a beautiful birthday, I also wish my dear friend and her family a beautiful day in memory of their luck in having uncle in their lives. I know I feel blessed with the people in my life.

Myself, Preeti

Appreciation

pics 104
Image by misti_kay via Flickr

Yesterday, I leaned into it.  Myself that is, the minor irritations, the anxiety about not writing, the deadline to get the assignment done even half-assed. I acknowledged I was hooked, leaned into it, took 3 deep breaths, and relaxed, actually that’s not quite accurate, I actually enjoyed and appreciated everyone, the Natural warmth came out right away!  I spend an interesting hour talking to my father in law, getting to know him, another with her best friends about the day, and what they were up to, and for a while, it almost seemed like a party in the Oncology module.  We ate with her, and laughed and although Kaiser nurses especially seemed intent on kicking us out of the treatment every 5 minutes, the time we all spent together made the 5 hours go by quickly.

I could not believe how generous everyone with their time and spirit.  From someone driving from the Valley just to drive her 5 minutes, to others coming right after work, and one even skipping work to come spend time with her.  As I relaxed, I saw the true warmth and openness of others, and I was ashamed at my earlier reactions.  I leaned into that, breathed it in, recognized it for what it was: hurt at feeling alone and just plain loneliness.  I lashed out for no other reason than because it was easy to do, and I felt better temporarily.  So now I work on pausing, leaning in, taking the breathing in and just relaxing and letting go.

Thank you, Pema Chodrom, your book Taking The Leap has touched my life.

thank you all for your texts, calls, Facebook messages and prayers for her as we go through this very difficult time.  I do apologize if I hurt any of you in any way.  I hope I can fix that, and know that you are all appreciated for all that you have done and will do.

Myself, Writing

Being Present

Cover of "Taking the Leap: Freeing Oursel...
Cover via Amazon

The house is quiet, the window open and I can actually see my neighbor’s house next door.  Funny, in the past 5 years we have barely said hello even though we live 10 feet away from each other.  It’s moments like this that makes me realize how much of my world is present to me yet I am absent from it.  Reading the book Taking the Leap by Pema Chodron (thank you Santoshi for this amazing gift!) has made me understand that I am have been asleep and letting Shenpa (attachment or being hooked or stuck) rule my world.  It’s as if I am all reaction even when I try to slow down.  At some point, the apologies have to desist, and real action has to take place.  I need to practice the 3 things we all carry: Natural Intelligence, Natural Warmth and Natural openness.  I know that there are things I need to do especially towards a few people who have hurt me deeply unintentionally.  As much as I talk about real friends and family, I know that I need to have a conversation with those dear to me.  I see now that I am pushing them further and further away by not opening up to them and letting them know that I need them in my life.  Too often, I have let my ego rule my world, and while it has proven satisfying for the moment, like poison ivy, that satisfaction has spread the rash all over my mind and soul.  In my quest for the temporary release, I managed to do some long-term damage that I may never be able to repair.

I have the ready excuse that my wife has cancer, or that I am recent stroke victim, yet I know that I have made this all about my pain and myself in general.  Shit happens.  Life happens.  Get over it.  Actually, I don’t mean that in an angry way.  I am just tired of fighting, of alienating people, and hurting the people close to me.  I see now that I need to be better, do better, be the person I can be.  I have let my emotions become me, and that has led to me being even more alone.  So I need to follow the 3 steps (easy to describe but extremely hard to do).  1) Acknowledge that I am hooked, 2) Take 3 Deep breaths and lean into the energy, experience and taste whatever it is, take it in the waft of anger, pain, hurt, breathe it in, make love to it, play with it and then Step 3: Relax and Move On.   Again, I come back to the realization and advice to STAY PRESENT, BE AWAKE.

It is so easy to drift, to dream, to look at the past, the future but so incredibly difficult to experience the Now.  So now my birthday resolution makes sense now because writing forces me to stay present, to observe, to relish the moment, lean in experience it whole-heartedly.  But, (and there is always a but).  I know now how much I am loved, and how much I have hurt others.  However, no more apologies, just being present, using my natural intelligence, warmth and openness can now save me.  In other words, be who I am, not what others want me to be.

 

Family, Myself, Writing

Real Friends and Family

 

By Jemal Yarbrough

 

Sitting amongst the scattered poker chips, with the sun drenching the room as well as my soul, there is a sense of fulfillment that I have not felt in ages.  Nothing like a birthday to simultaneously make you feel old as well as loved.

Books sit around me.  It’s the second time since I built my library that I am actually writing from here.  The light is just dark enough so there is no glare , and I feel a sense of peace.  As much as I fought the idea of writing in a closed room, I had dismissed my book palace too easily.  Sure, I notice dozens (ok maybe closer to 100) of books I meant to read, others that I have merely perused and then others I have repeatedly broken open.  If nothing else, it makes me even more determined to write and read more.  To love and be loved more.  But most of all, it makes me value my friends and family even more.  The ones that matter always seem to appear without needing an official invite.  The ones you have to send a card to or constantly ask for a response are just temporary guests in my life, and thus not deserving of my time and attention.  If I have to explain to you why you should call or visit me, then perhaps you never were a friend, but a temporary placeholder.  A time pass.  Thanks for the good times, and the commercial break but now the real program’s starting.

Last night was a culmination of sorts as the many friends and family in my life came together to celebrate not just my birth but a new beautiful new relationship.   Not just of friendship and family but of new beginnings, and suddenly nothing seems impossible.  In just one day, I was surrounded by so many loved ones, I can’t believe I actually believed/felt alone.  So I sit here, bathing in the sun as well my good fortune and suddenly, nothing seems impossible.

Nothing like a birthday and an amazing  party to know your real friends and family.  Thank you.