Saturday, December 27, 2008

my nephew

i have a nephew! he was born about five weeks ago, and i am so excited, as you can see below.

for those of you who don't know, on the left is my sister seema, and in my hands is baby jasper.

today i've been reading thich nhat hanh (whose name i've butchered so many times.. thin naan han, tic tac toe, oy oy oy.. for those of you who know how bad i am with names, this will come as no surprise) and his sage words, when connected with the new baby in my life, have been quite inspiring.

he's got a good sequence of aphorisms in this book my sister gave me:

a child is always able to live in the present moment.

the child in us is always alive.

maybe we have not had enough time to take care of the child within us.

when we live in the present moment it is possible to live in true happiness. 

seeing jasper smiling and flailing about (i will post a good video when i have it) reminded me that i used to be there -- i used to be flailing and demanding milk and living from moment to moment. there is such simultaneous peace and intensity in his eyes. no wonder he sleeps "like a baby" -- he lives like a baby, which is all senses on the now.

ok, i'm still making sense of this, but i haven't felt like there's something quite important in this mindfulness stuff until i saw jasper and connected him with some of these ideas.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

passing of a friend

i learned yesterday that someone i really respected had passed away in fairly unusual circumstances. dan kliman, a doctor, activist, and energetic debater, was found dead in a san francisco elevator shaft this past weekend. the police are emphasizing that this was an accident, and what a tragic one.

i knew dan from sf debate at the commonwealth club. we had argued a number of points, and had always had vigorous conversations about a myriad of topics after the debates. i probably only met dan around 5 times. but in those 5 meetings i grew to greatly respect him and his good humor and willingness to listen and defend his points. and what a laugh -- such a boisterous guy, full of so much verve.

what struck me most about this unfortunate incident is that it hit me so hard. i was in utter shock and very sad. i had a headache almost immediately after i heard about dan's death, and then dreamt that i had gone back in time and had a chance to tell him what was going to happen.

as i told a friend last night, learning of the passing of such a passionate soul makes me want to redouble my efforts in this life and take advantage of every living moment.

thanks to everyone who i spoke to and chatted with -- your support has made this easier.