Brownness, Family, Myself

Festival of Silence

The diwali diyas at Diwali Celebrations at Ban...
The diwali diyas at Diwali Celebrations at Bangalore 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Still a bit high off the Kirtan at our house on Last Saturday, I was looking forward to Sunday evening’s Diwali celebration at the Buena Park Gurudwara. I was truly grateful for all that I had in my life, and for the friends and family that came to celebrate with us just because we invited them.  Still, I couldn’t help being disappointed at some who didn’t come, others who didn’t bother to reply, and several others who I counted on being there but were not. And then of course, there were those who I will no longer invite, and it pricked a bit.  It was that feeling I dreaded at the Gurudwara. I didn’t want to face them physically, and be reminded of their continuing betrayal, but most of all I was saddened that in my quest to become a peaceful and mindful being, there are some who will fall by the wayside…

730 am today. I ran 5 miles in 56 minutes, and it hit me that 8 months ago, I was waking up groggy from brain surgery, and I was just utterly grateful for the life I have been blessed with. I smiled as I remember the writers meetup I went to last night where the a person mentioned several times that he was an award-winning author (who does that), but again we are all on our own journeys. We make our own decisions, and what we think about them doesn’t really matter. It is a lesson that I have to remind myself as I am disappointed in others and in myself. I cannot do anything about the people in my life, but I can change how I feel about things. It is the one lesson of BK Shivani that has stuck with me. Ultimately, I am only hurting myself if I continue to focus on the negative rather than look at what the world has to offer. So I celebrate this new festival of silence rather than of mindlessness.

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

To My Mom: A Blog Post

Mother's Day
Image via Wikipedia
by Jemal Yarbrough

This Mother’s day, I failed to give my mom material gifts, failed to organize a brunch at a 5 star restaurant, failed to even give her a card, instead all I had to offer her was my undying love expressed through the beautiful words of my nieces who did write wonderful cards to their mothers. As she sat there, and heard aloud their words, I sorely wished my mom could hear how their words were all of ours.  How 2 sixteen year old’s  managed to capture all of our angst, hurt sorrow and love.    We shared just a few hours with mom, letting her know how much she means to us when in reality if we could spend the rest of our lives thanking her, it would not be enough.

I haven’t made it easy for her, from the sicknesses to my idealistic business plans, it’s always been something out of the norm, and yet she has accept each and every single instance in my life with grace I can only dream to pass onto my children.  Her patience, seemingly limitless, her faith undying, but most of all, her love, always there for the taking with nothing expected in return.  It amazes me how much she takes on a daily basis, and always seems ready for more, weakness something that doesn’t seem to exist in her, strength and love her weapons of choice.

It used to be easy to buy her expensive gifts to show her how much I loved her until it hit me that a single heartfelt hug did more for her than a $2000 LV bag ever could.  Even in gifts, she managed to teach that the only ones of value are the ones that come from the heart regardless of cost.

Thank you mom, for always teaching, for always being there but most of all, for always loving me defects and all.  I love you

Brownness

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, http://www.fourhourbody.com ) 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.

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

2010

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Image by gynti_46 via Flickr

You weren’t a good friend, come to think of it you weren’t much of anything except a source of constant grief.  I am not sorry to see you go, in fact I would say I am glad but I am not going to even dignify that sentiment in relation to you.  But then I realize I have something you cannot take away which are my friends, my family and best of all my brand new wife, Preeti so perhaps I can begrudge you a bit of a farewell.  Except today is just another day, and that’s how I plan to spend it.  No parties, no celebrations just a night in with my beautiful Preeti, just the 2 of us lying next to each other, savoring the closeness and the love of all the ones dear to us in memory.

You weren’t easy to deal with.  From taking a dear family member, giving me a stroke to afflicting the love of my life with a life changing disease, I can definitely say you have made it a mission to be memorable except you are not.  I am not going to give you that power.  Instead, you get this tiny post almost 2 hours before you die in my memory.  You don’t exist, and if you plan to tell your friend 2011 to do the same, then it will get the same middle finger.

I am not bitter.  I am not angry.  I am just done.  I know what I have in my life, and guess what, I know I am rich in that.  Forget money, forget fame, forget the material things or the many meaningless promises I have made at other New Year Eve’s.  I have what I need and want.  Now all that’s left is for the rest of the year to recognize that they have  been reduced to numerical symbols, meaning nothing except for the passage of time.  If you thought you were going to beat me down, 2010, you were mistaken.

Hear me out 2011, you might want to stay on your best behavior before you, too become another torn out calendar.  You have been warned.

Also, 2010, FUCK YOU.