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.

Brownness, Myself


by Jemal Yarbrough

Riffing along in my thoughts as I rushed to get to my counselor last week,  I realized I often played a strange mental game with myself.  Each week, I leave around 8am with the goal of being there at 9am.   Most times I leave it to the whim of the navigation to get me there.  Then it struck me that invariably the machine would tell me take an exit at a street (never the same street twice) and by some miracle get me there at 8:59am. I realized the path with navigation was like my life where I trusted others to guide me and suddenly grew up but just barely. So last week, I gave up the navigation and just took the way I knew and guess what I got there at :8:59.  No need for exits, and shortcuts or turning onto random corners.  I just trusted myself and  the result was the same. No more frustration or lack of knowing if I would get there on time or worse the sinking feeling that I was utterly dependent on someone who knew but didn’t care to tell me how.

So no big news there, I can do things, but often I do not.  As my therapist mentioned, I lack Chutzpah, that bit of nerviness with others close to me where I can say listen I know your methods are different perhaps even better, but I prefer to do it my way. I admitted to him that I felt like I could not make certain decisions because of the strong opinions or some or worse because of their lack of organization. Instead, I was left stewing in my frustration and wondering what the hell I had done to be so lacking in will power.  Sure, I was breathing and being mindful but I had gone to the other extreme of letting some run over my life and affect personal decisions that frankly were no one’s business except mine and my significant others.  I am like the lone boat in the marina, pushed ahead with the tides of strong personalities, unwilling and worse filling so up with anger and frustration that spewed onto the wrong person.

I have made so much progress in my life but now I also new additions in my life and feel like in some way have to start over.  That’s ok, that’s life but the difficulty is knowing when to speak up and when to shut up and let others live their life the way to want to.  I guess, the same way I want to be treated by others…