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Flying The “Friendly” Skies November 22, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Mindfulness, Travel & Leisure.
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Flying the friendly skies used to fill me with a sense of freedom and empowerment:

* My first flight (age 17) transported me from New Jersey to Paris with the High School French Club.  In the City of Lights, I celebrated being liberated from my parents for the first time . . . and of legal drinking age to boot!

* My second flight (age 22) whisked me from Virginia in the middle of a blizzard to St. Thomas.  Freedom enveloped me as I stepped off the plane  into the warm island sun.

Although subsequent flights did not result in the same degree of “magical transformation” I experienced on those flights, the speed of air travel remained empowering.

Now, with the new TSA restrictions and screening procedures, the prospect of flying seems more like an ordeal to endure than an experience to savor.

If you want to fly the “friendly” skies, TSA security agents may require you to remove more than your shoes:

* Rather than just kicking off your shoes and walking through a metal detector, you may be stripped, ogled,  searched, man-handled, and probed.

* The full body scanners now in use provide “intimate details” about your  body to security personnel.  When you pass through airport body scanners, you will have a stranger in a remote room looking at you naked.

* If you refuse the full body scan, you are subject to a thorough pat-down before boarding ~ women have complained that the force of inner thigh searches has lifted them airborne before they’ve even boarded the plane.

* In conducting its comprehensive searches of persons, pockets, and packages, the TSA forced one nursing mother to drink her own breast milk to prove it did not contain “tools of terrorism.”

If the TSA does not relent in its decision to treat ALL passengers as potential terrorists, either the A.C.L.U. will need to hire more attorneys to handle the  egregious violations of our civil liberties, or we will have to stop pretending to be the “home of the FREE and the brave.”

Once in the air, your freedom may be further constrained.  At the crew’s discretion, passengers may be required to remain seated during the last hour ~ which means NO last minute trips to the bathroom.

If you have anyone “suspicious” on your flight, be cautious when the flight attendant comes around to offer you a refill on your beverage, think twice before handing her your glass if you have an overactive or weak bladder.

During the last hour, passengers may be prohibited from accessing their carry-on luggage or having any items (including electronic devices) on their laps.  The captain and crew are authorized to remove blankets, ban opening overhead bins, and may order passengers to stay in their seats with their hands in plain sight.

Twiddling of thumbs MAY be grounds for disciplinary action!!!

Passengers, especially parents with small children, may feel like virtual prisoners during that last hour since the TSA safety rules may preclude last minute diaper changes, or reaching into carry-on luggage for snacks, gum, or games to entertain the kiddies.

DaodeTianzunIf you don’t already practice meditation, take it up.  Focusing on your breath will:

* Keep you calm and reduce anxiety during the flight.

* Give you something to do during the last sixty minutes.

* Help you  tune out cranky kids (of all ages) whining about enhanced security precautions while aromas from soiled diapers permeate the cabin air.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Supergovernment, or Where’s My Kryptonite? * TSA Addendum

Ruminate on Rumi November 22, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, Poetry.
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220px-Lightning_striking_the_Eiffel_Tower_-_NOAAWhat strikes the oyster shell does not damage the pearl.

~ Rumi

* * * * *

Damage to Ego does no harm to  Spirit within.

Our ageless Eternal Spirit remains unharmed even when our shells become battered and bruised.

Dive deep . . . pearls of inner wisdom await.

For related posts on the wisdom of the East, visit Dragonfly Road & for more thoughts on Rumi ~ Seeing The Unseen.

To Thine Own Self Be True November 22, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, People.
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We are often asked for our opinion on what someone is wearing,  who they are dating,  how they should handle a situation, or even on the quality of their work product.

How often do you give a slightly dishonest answer (in order to be nice), instead of giving a truly honest answer?

C’mon . . . be honest!

Maine attorney Belle Ashton Leavitt with her l...

“A lawyer’s time and advice are his stock in trade.”

If you find yourself being “nice” by engaging in subtle deception, why are you choosing to be nice, rather than fully honest?

The answer in most cases is simple:  our Ego wants others to like us.

We choose dishonesty to protect our reputation because we want approval.   It is often easier to be nice (and say what someone wants to hear), rather than being kind (by telling them something they may need to hear).

One night, an attorney came into my office to ask my opinion about a fax he had received that had been intended for his opponent’s eyes only.  He wanted to know what he should do.

The answer seemed obvious, “Don’t read it.  Just fax it to your opponent, and shred the fax you received in error.”

He blinked and stammered, “Well, I’ve asked ten other attorneys, and they all said that I could read it.”

“Then why are you in here asking for my opinion?”

He was in my office to get permission to act unethically, “permission” that he had already received from ten other attorneys ~ not because they all would have read the fax, but because they knew that the attorney asking wanted permission to read the fax.

They told him what he wanted to hear (in order to be nice), rather than risking his anger by reminding him of the ethical obligation he had as an officer of the court.

As expected, he was annoyed that I told him what he needed to hear, instead of telling him what he wanted to hear.  As a parting shot, he announced on his way out of my office, “Well, you are in the minority.  Most of the other attorneys would have done exactly what I did ~ they would have read the fax.”

Since I am often in the minority, his parting shot glanced off its intended target.

From Ego’s perspective, there is safety in numbers.  If enough people are willing to be dishonest and unethical, then we are free to follow their lead  without risking loss of approval from our peers.  As a result, we may act in ways we know to be wrong and then attempt to justify our actions by saying, “Well, others would have done the same thing.”

When we choose to engage in subtle dishonesty when asked for our honest opinion, we know we are not alone . . . but are we in good company?

Aah . . . that’s better!

To thine own self be true.”