This ku is actually from last week, which was astoundingly harsh. Nothing shows you your true self than hard times, right? Whew. I spent much of the week in Tennessee helping my friend try to locate his lost dog. A lot of the trip was very, very challenging: it rained a ton (huge setback in finding a stray), it was hot and we had two elderly dogs along on the trip, there were other setbacks of a personal nature. But anyway, this one thing went right: a Fox News story. We pressed a lot of flesh and put up a lot of signs (some in the pouring rain). But I went into a weird shut-down when I got home.
I want to say how helpful and friendly everyone was in Tennessee...in Nashville, Lebanon, Crossville, and Ashville, North Carolina...at the shelters, vets, neighborhoods and animal control centers. We got free color copies of our sign from an office supply store and other helpful gestures that were really appreciated. I would even say people in Tennessee were the most friendly I've seen (and California and Albuquerque folks are pretty friendly, mid-westerners and New York City people--despite their reputation--can be friendly too but you just need to puncture a bit of a crusty or reserved exterior).
Anyway, the only exception (and it was big exception) were the workers at the Pilot truck stops (part of the largest truck stop company in America: Pilot-Flying J). Employees there didn't even want to make eye contact with us and didn't want to hear our story (even though there was a high probability the dog was actually lost at either the Lebanon or Crossville truck stop). You could see it in their faces. The manager and one employee at Lebanon actually did end up helping us a lot, reviewing video and letting us put up signs. But the Crossville station gave us a hard no, telling us to contact "Corporate Office"....
for a lost dog sign in a window.
Not only did Pilot not have a process (forget about a small billboard!) for travelers in this kind of distress (what would happen for lost belongings or, God forbid, lost people!), they adamantly refused to help us on the fly. The acting manager first sent us away to wait for a phone call that never came, she then complained that helping us would result in her losing her job, falling behind on her mortgage and not being able to feed her kids...
for a lost dog sign.
Either Pilot-Flying J is draconian with its employees or the employees stonewalled us for other reasons. You'd think the biggest truck stop in America would want to be considered a safe place for travelers to stop. Just don't lose anything at one of them while you spend your money there.
The Prompt: (Deep Breath) Our True Selves
Again this week's prompt comes from the Zen by the Brush book by Myoshi Nancy O'Hara.
"Without any intentional, fancy way of adjusting yourself, to express yourself as you are is the most important thing."
- Shunryu Suzuki
First task is to sit for a meditation on that for 5-10 minutes or however long you feel is good to you.
...inspired by my drawing:
The hardest substance
of me, the most substantial:
feather and air.
I felt like my main Me last week was just dealing with the now and what was coming at me minute by minute. I was worried about being a stranger in Tennessee (didn't end up being a problem), I was worried about my parents driving home alone from New Mexico to Ohio, I was worried about my friend and his partner and I was worried about myself dealing with all the worry when I was pretty tired to begin with.
Now I'm in this process of decompressing and letting go or as one of our friends likes to say, "You did what you could. Let go, let God." You begin to see how little substance you have after all.
Now you go...