Thursday, December 2, 2010

Happy Runaka?

It is difficult to feel uncomfortable. Instinctively when pain or discomfort comes our way, we try and get rid of it. I make a point of encouraging my students to sometimes hold on to discomfort, as it can be instructive.
I live in two worlds.

One is a world of time, speed, marathons and PRs. A world where I am encouraged to not just “run to live” but to “live to run”. A world where ads have pictures of incredibly thin people with six-pack abs, where you are never thin enough, strong enough or fast enough. A world where Chanuka is commercial, a chance to buy new things, or wish that you could.

The other is a world of spirit, emotion and soul. A world where I am encouraged to remember that the physical side is not the side that matters, not the side that lasts. A world where I aspire to be a person of depth, to be more like my teachers and parents and not just like everyone else. A world where Chanuka is represented by the flickering flame of the candle, something that is somehow physical and yet intangible at the same time.

To be sure, I can talk about how these two worlds can meet. How in the view of Judaism the physical and the spiritual do not do battle, rather they work together with the former serving the latter. I can talk about it, bring all sorts of examples from Jewish tradition that back up my assertion, and urge my students to recognize the truth of my words. But can I live it? Do I live it?

For now I’ll let the discomfort sit a little bit, and try and think about where I am truly at home.

PLEASE donate in my mom’s memory to help children with cancer:

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