Food For Thought, Myself

Gratitude

images (1)I admit that for a few moments last week (ok more than few), I had a difficult time finding reasons to be grateful. Attending a funeral for a friend’s father and watching helplessly as they broke down took an emotional toll. It made me wonder how quickly things can shift. In those moments, nothing else mattered. All the problems I thought I had, faded into noise . They meant nothing. So much of my time wasted on things that really didn’t matter in the long run.

Death is a reminder that we are not here to stay. I believe most of us will never know when we will go. All we have is the present moment. It’s not easy. Too often, I let the negative thoughts in my head take over, and then all I do is worry about the past and future. It’s a tough cycle to break. What good is it to waste so much time on things you cannot control? Yet, I seem hardwired to do it.

It is not a coincidence that a family friend and others started a gratitude chain few weeks ago. It is as if the universe conspired to forcefully remind me to count my blessings, love the ones that are in my life, and connect with all the ones and things that truly matter. It is not easy, but it is also yet another reason to not take myself and my life so seriously. There are more important things to do like take a moment, breath in, and be grateful for what I have.

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

Haven

Pork Jam at Haven Gastro Pub
Pork Jam at Haven Gastro Pub (Photo credit: 3j0hn)

Last night, I had drinks with a great friend. While there, I realized that this was a friend who I had known for years, and we had shared some really great history.  We had a life that many in my life now were not aware of. We had visited each other so often that he had asked me to be the Godfather of his son.  An honor I do not take lightly. I also felt guilty that it had taken us almost 6 months to get together, and that was only after he pushed hard for us to get together. As I sat there, and we began as if we never left off, it hit me hard that I had missed so much time in between our meetings.

I wonder why sometimes we drift off from meaningful and fulfilling relationships.  I want to say because we get busy with others or work yet those are just excuses. Real relationships are cultivated but more importantly if they are real they do not wither away.  I did wonder and I asked why it took for us to get together.  My theory was I had done something to offend him or perhaps the people in his life don’t care as much for me. He brushed it aside in a moment and flat-out said that he really was just working hard.  Just hearing that put me at ease.  For my part. I admitted that it has taken me almost 6 months from my surgery to finally feel like myself again.  I remember the neurosurgeon saying it would take time, but I truly did not believe him.

Yet it took one night for it to hit home.  I woke up at 545am yesterday on my own before going to an early morning breakfast briefing, and then had a full day of working and working out. I also started on a new app (well for me) http://www.calm.com which allows to practice meditation and mindfulness anywhere so while I drove I used it. I picked up my cousin from the airport at 815pm and then met him at the Haven Gastropub at 930 pm which I left from at midnight. And although I was fearful that I would not have the energy, not once did I feel tired. In fact, after meeting with him I felt energized and ready to do more.

I am at a place now where I see that for the things I want in life, I need to go after them rather than waiting around which also includes loving my beautiful wife and cherishing each and every moment that we have.

#30trust, Myself

Speak Less, Do More/Ask Less, Act More

Project Management Knowledge Areas
Image via Wikipedia

It’s funny that this topic about un-acted projects came up because due to this exercise, I am finally beginning on a project that has been on the back burner for months.  The main reason for it has been lack of focus and my emotional insistence that it is a huge project that I do not have time or knowledge for.  But yesterday, as I spent 20 minutes just breaking it down into smaller pieces, it hit me that the project had been HUGE in my mind but in reality was something quite doable if broken down and done little by little (how do you eat an elephant? piece by piece).

Just like my life, I have made it more complicated than needed, ignoring the reality that everything in my life is a combination of being blessed, luck, and hard work.  I am luckier than most, yet that does not explain away the success that has been around me.  When I am honest with myself, it’s my passion for music, friendship, love and family that have gotten me the benefits surrounding me.  I am well aware of how arrogant this post sounds yet that’s not really the intention.  It is just that I need to remind myself occasionally that I had a lot to do with my drive to be better and chances I have received in my life.  It has been much too each to defer to others and think they know me better than I know myself, but the real truth is that I have picked the advice that suits me best, ignoring others and that has been the key to who I am today.

P.S: Only 10 days left to the Ralph Waldo Emerson writing challenge and I am already eager to take on another so starting checking out http://www.meetup.com so I can become part of a writing group. 🙂

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.

Myself

Day of 1/1/11: I am number 1!

 

by Jemal Yarbrough

 

Too many unanswered texts, too few call backs, too much selfishness. I picked the picture to the right because it illustrates to me that there are many who will just continue with their lives not really concerned about friends or family.   I can’t but help be fascinated at the raw emotions I feel as those who I considered close to me once have left me to languish in the toughest battle of my life.  Others have surprised me at their tenderness and care and still other’s I cannot fathom their immaturity.  The reality is that friends come and go, family does the best it can, but only I can make the life I need to live.

So today, I celebrate letting go.  The 1’s being of particular important because at the end of the day I only have myself to rely on.  I no longer want to be dominated by disappointment, hurt or worse, Anger.  No longer will I give lip service to the ideal of being here NOW.  No longer will I dread cancer, chemotherapy, radiation or any of the myriads of  side effects we will face because the reality is we can either be overwhelmed by it or live day-to-day.

Moreover, I cannot expect people to be the way I want them to be.  They are going to be only true to their own nature and while some pay lip service to the ideals of great friendship or family, I just have to take it with a grain of salt.  I want today to be the only day I vent these sentiments because in the past 2 months alone, I know who my real friends and family are.  The rest just acquaintances who once provided fond memories and now just need to be relegated to old photo albums as reminders of a great past.  Some need to be removed completely, others left at a distance, and a few to be politely fake too because it matters to her so much.  So to some I say hello and to others Goodbye, it was nice while it lasted and thanks for the memories.

So 1/1/11 help me today to let go of the past, not worry about the future and just revel in the present.  That’s my gift to myself.