Sunday, March 14, 2010


The last 24 hours have been pretty ridiculous.

I went out to see Oscar-winner The Hurt Locker last night, and ended up jumping ship at the last minute to watch vulgar manchild fantasy She's Out of My League instead. I've been trudging through some dense emotional wetlands lately (See? I learned a new word, and now I'm using it in a sentence), and it was nice to see something stupid and sincere about the importance of self-esteem. Who doesn't love self-esteem, really?

I got home around 1 am and learned that my dear friend Rada was in Savannah for the weekend, a mere 5 hours away. I contemplated driving up there, realized that was stupid, wrote in my journal about said wetlands instead until falling asleep circa 4 in the morning.

Then at 10:30 this morning I got in my car and drove to Savannah. My kitchen boss, Rudra Das, had mentioned more than once that I could take a day off if I ever needed to, so I walked away from a pot of potatoes what needed chopping and went on a crazy mini-roadtrip instead.

Let's clarify "mini?" I think I did more total driving today than on any other single day since leaving Los Angeles. Sedona to Amarillo was definitely more hours, thanks to the snow, but this was 50 more miles.

And I love Rada. Like, a lot, even. But it takes some unusual circumstances for me to drive 700 miles in a day to spend one hour with anyone. I've been here at the Ashram for a month, intense emotional wetlands and whatnot, and in that time I hadn't laid eyes on anyone I've known from anywhere else. My heart craved a few hours' driving solitude and a reality check from a Yotam expert.

I've been working on leading from my heart instead of my head. As I chopped the first few potatoes, my heart kept saying "Savannah" while my head said "That's ridiculous." But my head thought about it a little longer and said, "Well, if that's really what you want, I guess we can go to Savannah." My heart just nodded.

I spent the drive up in contemplation and radio. NPR podcasts are my travel buddy, btw. Between "Planet Money" segments, I tried to settle into waiting, just waiting through the miles, feeling what it was like to obey Heart.

I noticed, somewhere in northern Florida, that I'd been approaching opening my heart the wrong way. I can feel crappy sometimes, and I can feel happy sometimes, but neither one of those is really satisfying. I found something awesome when I opened up to feeling happy AND crappy at the same time. To put it more mystically, I stretched my heart across the chasm between the worst of what is and the best of what could be and felt them flow to one another.

I've used the word "Heart" six times now in three paragraphs, and I don't really know what I mean there. I'm not a heart realist in any non-biological sense of the word. But I've been exploring my reactions to the word in different scenarios, and finding that all very wonderful. However many weeks from now, when my main narrative catches up with the Intermission, that will all probably make a lot more sense to me.

I found Rada, and it was excellent. I gave her a ride from the Savannah Chili's to the Savannah Airport, and we talked about how childhood and adolescence are kind of homogenizing, then in college and young adulthood we rediscover our uniqueness. My half of the conversation, I was kinda riffing on this article. (Hat tip to Surya for sending it to me a couple weeks ago.)


An hour of Rada is never enough, but was nevertheless delectable. Reality? Totally checked.

On the ride back, I made a "Can do" list. "To do" lists always abuse their power.

I called Luke, and I asked him if I have a moral obligation to know more about the worst of what's going on in the world. I pray for an end to bad shit (wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our consume-and-pollute form of capitalism, folks still killing folks in Darfur). Do I have a responsibility to know the details of these problems, even if I may not take direct action? We didn't reach a definitive answer, naturally, and your thoughts are of course more than welcome. But we did end up talking for 3 hours about the nature of tragedy, the role of tragedy in personal development, the nature of personal development, and why I love Community so much (Thursdays on NBC!). We glided seamlessly more than once between Rabbis as a metaphor for Architects and Architects as a metaphor for Rabbis, which, frankly, was amazing.

Luke is an Architect. So that part should make sense now.

One last shoutout goes to Ben and Bianca, who also kept me company for an hour of the road back to the Ashram. They're gonna post the website for their upcoming theatrical production in the comments section, and anyone in or near Los Angeles should attend it. We did less philosophy and more catch up and Star Trek sequel speculation, but I missed them and needed some compassionate listening.

I probably miss you, too, by the way. I don't want you to think you're not special to me just because I'm not calling you out.

So, 12 hours out I got home again. I'm exhausted, satisfied, well socialized, and ready for more spiritual growth, heart wrenching selfsploration, and potato chopping come the sunshine. But there's a swimming pool outside I haven't used before, and Mr. Heart says I need a quick dip before bed.



(ho ho ho)


  1. i love you (like, a lot even) too, and miss you persistently.

    also, that is a delightfully terrible picture.

  2. i like this happy and crappy at the same time makes a lot of sense.

  3. Yotam, I hardly know you, but Rada said I should read your blog, so I'm doing that. I know you a little better already.

    When I got to the line "I stretched my heart across the chasm between the worst of what is and the best of what could be and felt them flow to one another" a huge sob wrenched out of me, just came out from I-don't-know-where, so I'll have to give serious thought to that.

    Keep up the good work.