Being a friend to many is a continuous stream of joy and happiness to me. I celebrate my friends' victories, enjoy their happiness, and rejoice in their celebrations of dreams realized. My friend Mani always teases me in how happy I am somedays because a friend of mine has had something good happen to him or her, as though that good thing happened to me! True friendship, however, means that sometimes I have to join in my friends' worries, fears, and frustrations. My friend nearby is agonizing over a difficult dilemma tonight. When I received the call, all I could do was to listen and to try and say reassuring things in a situation that looks and feels bleak and sad, making hot tears escape my eyes and my heart to ache with fear and worry. It was hard to say that we should stay optimistic and positive and to send good vibrations to the unfolding crisis. Later, I sat down to a prayer for him and for his loved one. I can do no more and no less for someone who thought to call me first in his moment of desparation. Pray I do.
"October 23rd, 2007, San Diego, California, USA. A home burns along Via Valle Vista in a neighborhood above Lake Hodges on the east side of the lake in San Diego, California. Photo by Eduardo Contreras"
This is a video clip of our trip to Orange County to see Kiosk last weekend. It's called "Having a Biscuit in a Moving Car."
My birthday celebrations are officially over now. This is my last report about it and I promise you won't have to hear about it anymore for another year! My friends had me another birthday celebration today for lunch. It was such an elaborate and fabulous gathering, I was speechless! Wonderful food and a sweet sweet reception, filled with laughter and humor were the order of the day.
I reflect sometimes at the twists and turns my life has taken over the years. Though it has obviously been hard to move on and start all over again, I have left each phase with a heartful of irreplaceable friendships, and have entered another where new friends, as yet to-be-met, have been awaiting me. My young California internet friends have been such an important bridge into the new phase of my life over the past year. For a while, to express myself, I was writing but only for myself. Through their support I found the courage and confidence to share my writings with others and learned to communicate on this new medium, finding new friends and building meaningful relationships. They became my friends and my family all at once, each of us filling the gaps and voids of each other's lives. Their friendship has been invaluable in how I learned to cross the bridge of homesickness, loneliness, and occasional bereavement. Some of them are young enough to be my children, but our relationships are very mature and deep. We laugh a lot and cry a little sometimes when we are together. We talk about life and hurdles each of us has to overcome, and become deeply hopeful for the other's success and achievement.
I feel rich and deeply blessed in how good my life feels these days. A very important part of that life is the friends that surround me now. This is my thank you note to my friends, Leva and Vahid, Mehran, Payam, Reza, Roja and Hossein, Ehsan and Maryam, Omid, Helaleh, Marjan, Jahanshah and Nazy, and of course all the others who come visit me here, whether or not they leave me messages, making me feel a part of a very special circle in this world. Thank you all. You know, it's definitely easier to grow old with good friends!
Mohammad Reza Shajarian, Hossein Alizadeh (composer, Tar), Kayhan Kalhor (Kamancheh), Homayoon Shajarian (Tombak, vocals), in a benefit for Bam earthquake victims in Tehran in 2004. "Hatta Be Roozegaran" is by Mohammad Reza Shafiee Kadkani. I give this song and this poem to Alef Shin's Dialogue class whose members have been constant sources of inspiration, thought, and joy for me for a few months now. I'm glad Farshad said something to make me think of this poem recently.
حتی به روزگاران
ای مهربان تر از برگ در بوسه های باران
بیداری ستاره در چشم جویباران
آیینه’ نگاهت پیوند صبح و ساحل
لبخند گاه گاهت صبح ستاره باران
بازآ که در هوایت خاموشی جنونم
فریادها بر انگیخت از سنگ کوهساران
ای جویبار جاری زین سایه برگ مگریز
کاین گونه فرصت از دست دادند بی شماران
گفتی: "به روزگاری مهری نشسته" گفتم
بیرون نمی توان کرد حتی به روزگاران
بیگانگی ز حد رفت ای آشنا مپرهیز
زین عاشق پشیمان سرخیل شرمساران
پیش از من و تو بسیار بودند و نقش بستند
دیوار زندگی را زین گونه یادگاران
وین نغمه’ محبت، بعد از من و تو ماند
تا در زمانه باقی ست آواز باد و باران
محمد رضا شفیعی کدکنی
Please bear with me while I test the video feature of Blogspot, getting ready to post something good for you! Please tell me if you can see this silly video clip I made in my car behind a red light today. The only good thing about it is that I took it between two episodes of rain, where the sun broke out briefly and majestically.
I am going to my friend Nazy's house to celebrate our friendship with her and other friends. Though my life is no different than any other's in that I have troubles, worries, and anxieties just like anyone else, I believe my life to be blessed in that after many years of trials and errors, these days a beautiful silver river of joy and constant celebration runs through it. I am so fortunate because I have good friends around me in all facets of my life. My life in cyber space is a blessed one, too, when I think about it, as I have met so many truly special and gifted friends through blogging. On this day I count my blessings as life is good.
I bring another week to an end, a week full of mixed feelings, longings, good news and bad. As of this week, we will have a new "driver in training" in our household. My younger son passed his written test this week and a new round of anxiety-filled driving lessons will start with him! To his credit, he seems to be a lot more cautious than his older brother who in three months, has had a major accident and several fender benders! We shall see. Looks like I might be able to take a trip to go see my friends at the end of this month. A Decemer wedding is being planned in my family and I'm getting excited about that. This month I also hope to be able to see a blogger friend who might be coming to our parts. Work has been exciting, too, with a huge new project on the horizon, which will keep me engaged for about two years. I'm really enthusiastic about that.
This week I went to listen to a retired British diplomat in Berkeley's Graduate School of Public Policy. Berkeley's GSPP is very reputable and students attending this school will be delivered to jobs in politics and public service. Her name is Honorable Shirley Williams and a Liberal Democrat, she has served as Member of Parliament, a cabinet member, a member of the House of Lords, and most recently as an advisor to Gordon Brown on NPT. She shared her experiences in British politics as a woman, and her reflections on what is happening in the world these days. All of her talk was very interesting, but the most profound thing she said was that the world is at a turning point and the next eight years will be pivotal years in determining the shape and state of our world for this century.
I leave you wih a short clip of a sweet Mazandarani folk song. I hope you have a good weekend, full of relaxation, love, and hope. Go for walks in the nature, look at the leaves and for each beautifully shaped and colored leaf, think of a reason to thank God, if you believe. If you don't, just remember the universal order into which we are born, and marvel at its complexity. Be super good to those who matter most to you, hug them, celebrate them, and confess your love for them. Be good ya'll.