High Holy Days Journey with Amichai Lau-Lavie: 40 ways in 40 days to find your focus 


“There is a capacity of virtue in us, and there is capacity of vice to make your blood creep.” (Emerson)


I got back from LA this morning and my bike is gone, stolen from in front of the house. Only one wheel left. Damm.

My basic instinct is to hate the thief and lament the bike.

But these days of reflection take it elsewhere.


Lesson # 1 – take better care of your stuff: I forgot to take it back inside after the Rosh Hashanna feast on Friday night.  My bad.

Reminds me of this Sufi saying: ‘Trust in Allah, but tie your donkey to the doorpost.’

Lesson #2 – how do I deal with the steal? I liked this bike, a birthday gift from Shira, a harbinger of getting back again to body, exercise, urban mobility in style…

Anger? Blame? Accept the reality as is – sadly – but not too much. Life happens.

How do we deal, responds, react when shift happens?


My Buddhist training was all about equanimity – accept everything that comes my way – pain or pleasure, as equal – just sensations. Never over-react. It is what it is.


Hasidic stories always tell of the saintly rabbi who catches a thief in the action and sits him down for a cup of tea, handing him the silver cup that was well hidden, and sends him on his way with a blessing to change from now on.


Deal with the steal as though I myself am the thief, and the bike is that, which in some way I no longer need, at least not right now, for some reason that may not be quite clear, yet. It’s reminding me to take better care of what is mine (or me) and to not be attached to anything, or any outcome. What is –is.


And maybe I’m just jetlagged and too tired to deal with this right now and if this was a car or a super precious something I’d react differently?

Don’t know. But for now, bye bike. Better ones will come along. I hope whomever’s got it got to feed a real hunger for life’s sustenance.


What I’m left thinking about is my reaction to ‘crisis’: how can I be calmer in the face of upsetting reality? How does this prepenting journey prepare me to face my demons and regrets and shames and secrets and mistakes not freak out or freak in but take it all in, vice and virtue, in stride?

With just four days to go, I thank this moment of shock for reminding me to reconsider all of that.

And I guess I walk to work today instead of biking. Not a bad deal.

Day 35 9.13 CHOOSE LIFE
Day 37 9.15 SING MORE