(it's the middle of the night and i'm not really sure where i'm going with this, but bear with me.)

i've been thinking a lot about the four gates of speech, the ancient sufi tradition that advises us to make our words pass through four mental gates before we speak them.

at the first gate we ask ourselves, are these words true?

if they are, we then may pass onto the second gate: are they necessary?

if so, then are they beneficial?

and if they are, then are they kind?

if not, then they should remain unspoken.

i've never been soft-spoken exactly, so this is a whole new concept for me. and unsurprisingly, i tend to get stuck most often at the second gate. like, is it really necessary for me to update my facebook status with what i had for breakfast today? even if it was a really awesome breakfast of special panettone from tartine that chad gave me? or, as much as i want to post a list of things on my blog that i would love for my birthday, now that a bazillion people i've never met and probably never will read this, would that really be the smartest thing to do?


there is a lot going on in my life, in my email inbox, in my calendar these days that i wish i could share (here and in general) with my friends and my greater community. i'm juggling a lot of balls right now as i try to figure out how to best strike a balance between pulling in and pushing out, between give and take, and being a public and a private person.

at first, i thought the answer was easy: don't tell the internet about the big stuff, just tell friends. now i wonder if my friends even really want to hear about this stuff. and i'm having a little difficulty discerning who my friends are, and what it means for me to really be someone's friend as i become more and more overwhelmed by the details of operating "samin" and grow increasingly worse at all forms of correspondence and seem to have less and less time for everyone in my life. i have one friend i speak to on a daily basis, and that's about all i've got room for. even that relationship is strained by the weight of geography and the careful treading of time differences, both of our general emotional instability, and the fact that we both are workaholics.

but then, my work is all about personal connection, so if i were to say, try to separate personal emails from "work" emails, i wouldn't know where to begin. i'm constantly playing games with myself, trying to establish rules and boundaries to make my life flow a little bit more easily, but there is nothing clear or distinct about anything i do, really. so where does that leave me?

i wish i could tell you about the incredible project i've been working on for the past year and more, or the people and publications i've got collaborations planned with. but some of this stuff is not mine to tell, and i've been let down too many times by "maybes" and "probablys" to announce things that aren't surefire bets anymore.

i had dinner at pizzaiolo the other night and charlie came and sat with me at the bar. i love that guy, partly because he's one of the few people in my life who has one foot in the food world and the other in the yoga world, so he gets where i'm coming from without my having to explain anything. we talked about a bunch of things, from anson mills polenta to meditation teachers to mistakes we've made, from learning how to be good leaders and not work ourselves to the bone, to what it is that people really want most from us.

at one point, he said something really insightful, about how he feels like i've been building up my ojas for the past year as i slowly become focused and find my way. it's funny, because on the surface, it would appear that i haven't been building anything up, not my savings, nor my energy, not any space in my life or schedule. i am running on empty, and have been for a long while. i know this won't last, and have been trying to lay a foundation for a more balanced existence. everyone around me knows things have got to change, most of all me. but way underneath all of that, there is a source of juiciness, of vigor, that has been flourishing. there's a lot of churning going on, and i think it's gonna give way to something BIG at some point, but if you asked me what, i'd just fumble clumsily with my words. i wouldn't even have to consider the four gates, because there wouldn't be anything to say.


  1. Thank you for your thoughts and wisdom. I too am wrestling today with which words to chose whether to speak them now. The gates are new to me and I will use them in my pondering.

  2. Dear Calfoodie, I love your website! I hope you continue to write and share your experiences--your son was right, they do ought to be chronicled! I'm guessing we probably live in the same neighborhood and are at the same events from time to time, so if you ever recognize me, please do come say hello!

  3. This was lovely, thoughtful writing that struck a chord with me. I'm also going through a transition in my life right now toward some unknown place and I really resonate with your description of running on empty, while still feeling something growing and flourishing really deep. It is good work, but scary to trust that it will evolve into something real yet.

  4. So well put. I'm sure all the churning and juggling will result in good things if you follow your heart and take things a day at a time.

  5. Samin - I adore you. Thank you for writing this and posting it. It's funny how many opportunities we have right now - it's so exhilarating and fun. And exhausting and overwhelming. So hard to discern sometimes, right? But you're doing it, you're working your ass off and maybe balancing too many plates at once, but fuck it, why not? Why not go with it for a while, and question it too like you're doing, and see where it goes. You have the yoga to help you (viveka, baby - maybe we should change our names?), and your friends to catch you, cheer you on, deeply, truly appreciate your remarkable gifts and talents and wit. LOVE YOU. XOX

  6. Samin,
    I am so impressed with your blog and your writings. You are so creative and I know great things will come your way.
    I really relate to the four gates of speech. I will try to use them in my daily life...as things are in flux right now and someday soon---hoping to move to the city that I love.

  7. Hi Samin, I love & miss your energy keep up the good work.your friend Dominica