Myself, Preeti

A Letter From Me To You


by Jemal Yarbrough

I sent this to my dear friend and family today. Then it hit me that I meant it for anyone in my life.  I hope it helps or if nothing else makes you appreciate what you do have instead of what you do not.


I woke up today, feeling lighter in months.  The sun is shining, lighting up my library and my soul.  I sit here writing these letter with a smile on my face.  I have been meaning to write to many of you and then it hit me that it was almost the same message for all of you.  If you’re getting this email today, it is because I love you, and cannot express how much you mean to me in person.  Before anything else, I would like to apologize to some of you for my mean spiritedness and my childishness.  I expected everyone to behave exactly how I was feeling, and I made it about me and not Preeti so please accept my apology as I was unfair, small-minded and frankly, just selfish.  To some others, I was also unkind and cruel for no real reason than because they happen to be in the way and again, I apologize. All of who have been generous with your warmth, help and thoughts at one time or another so much so that I don’t think I will ever be able to repay you.  So I simply say thank you again, and again and again. 🙂  One last apology, I couldn’t BCC you all for some reason so please ignore the CC’s and do not reply all please.

But that’s not the real reason for this email   I just finished reading the Taking The Leap by Pema Chodron, and so much of the book made instant sense to me so I ask you to please get the book (I was lucky enough to be gifted by someone very thoughtful).  In a nutshell, the book says we are not alone, and we do not need to suffer alone.  Many of you are going through your own crisis’s and challenges, and I just want to let you know that your are loved and thought of by me and others  Don’t let ego and pride be the reason for not reaching out.  I know I didn’t.  Don’t let fear, hate and anger rule your world because in the short-term it will feel good but it won’t solve anything in the long-term.  Do not let negative emotions rule your day and self because they are just old habits that will only give you temporary relief.

Instead, pause throughout the day, take 3 deep breaths.  1) Acknowledge that you have the emotion 2) Experience the emotion 3( most importantly, relax and let it go.  You don’t have to act on those negative emotions. I just reread the email, and I know I sound like a born again sappy religious wacko, but I truly mean the words that are here.  I love you, I miss you, and I am sorry.  IF nothing else, please just remember that.

Have a great day.  I know I will be thinking of you all.

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.