I met Raj at a fall 2007 Budokon workshop in NYC, and a friendship was born. He was so playful, encouraging, and quick to make easy conversation. As you know, he enjoyed helping and empowering his friends. One way he did so with me was through a friendly coaching barter; he would listen to me, and then discern ideas and actions he believed would provide me with the self-confidence and motivation to succeed.
The following story is one that resonated with me at the time, and it still resonates because, as you'll read, I have received several reminders of this conversation… reminders which I take as indications that he's somehow still with us: watching, guiding, loving. We were sitting in Central Park's Sheep Meadow, on a gorgeous early summer day in 2008, and he told me something like, "I finally understand your want to trade. It's like your yang to everything else that's yin in your life. But I want you to be more like a tiger when going after your goals. Right now, you're like a pretty little butterfly, flitting over here and flying over there, meandering over to check out every single thing that interests you. And while you're having fun doing it, and you have amazing goals, you're going nowhere because you have no true direction, and so you're also frustrated. I want you to set your goal, see your goal, and stalk it like a tiger until you can pounce on it."
Yep, true. While I've never quite mastered becoming a tiger, it was sage advice. I believe one of my last fb posts to him was something like: Raj, just so you know, I'm still a butterfly. This past August, during a very low point in an unhealthy relationship, I was sitting in Central Park feeling very distraught. One thread of thought I actually had was, "If I were talking with Raj, he would sooooo agree with me to get out of this situation, NOW." Right after that, a butterfly came, landed on my knee, and flew away again. A few weeks after that I was on the subway, and while the train was waiting to pull away from the station a butterfly flew into the car and landed in the windowsill directly behind me! I sat there admiring it, amazed, wondering what such a beautiful, fragile creature was doing in the subway. It then flew away and cleared the closing doors. I wished it well, hoping it made it safely to freedom. I like to think of these special moments as Raj reaching out from the other side, saying, "You're not alone, and everything is going to be okay. Trust me."
Raj meant so much to me, and I only knew him for such a short amount of time! He was an amazing person who affected such positive change in so many lives. I believe he easily surrounded himself with genuine people because of his sincerity and integrity. He was so free with his hugs, and so free in expressing his love, appreciation, and gratitude. That's contagious!
While I personally believe he is where he is meant to be, as there is a perfect order to everything, this belief doesn't lessen the pain of missing him, and having him right here to talk and laugh with. He was truly loved, and he is dearly missed. I'm am sorry for your loss, and if there is anything I can do to help, please reach out to let me know.
With love, and many blessings,