Customer Service (and its lack)

We just got home today from one of the worst travel experiences in my life. We flew through Denver on United, connecting to Colorado Springs in order to visit my brother’s family in Pueblo and attend my niece’s wedding. It was less expensive than flying directly into the Springs or into Pueblo, and we’ve done it many times before with no problems or at worst delays. Going to the Springs on Thursday, we were delayed an extra two hours in Denver, but made it to Springs tired but happy to get in and see family, and enjoyed a wonderful weekend staying at the Pueblo Marriott, with a really good experience there, and visiting with family I hadn’t seen in twenty years in some cases. It was a great trip.

Until we tried to come home. There were several hours between our Springs flight and our Denver connection, so we didn’t anticipate problems. We got out of Springs late with about a half hour to connect. Then the troubles began. We ended up having to run sixty gates to try and make our flight. The airline knew we had just come in, and the gate attendant when we arrived assured us they would hold the flight. United’s policy is to close the doors ten minutes before a flight, but we were told the zone manager has the option to hold the flight for connections.

We got to the gate just as the doors had closed, running as hard as we could. Twelve people were standing there waiting, and United would not let us on the flight. I suppose they had already given our seats to other stranded passengers. And now we were the stranded, for not being able to run sixty gates in ten minutes. Our luggage was on the plane and going to San Diego. But we couldn’t get on the plane, since they had closed the doors.

I understand people miss connections, and airlines have to do what they can. But knowing customers have just come in a flight, and then leaving them stranded at the gate, is pretty inexcusable. Refusing to do anything for them when this happens is the totally unacceptable part. They wouldn’t book us a room, give us a voucher for a meal or anything. And were telling hundreds of other people in the airport the same thing, using the excuses that their United-Continental merger wasn’t complete, so they weren’t responsible for a Continental connection, or that it was our fault for not running sixty gates fast enough. We were all stuck, in dirty underwear in many cases and with no toiletries. But they didn’t care.

So we called Marriott, who booked us a room at the Residence Inn (using the United corporate rate code, which we found amusing.) We had a nice dinner at Applebees, who fed us efficiently and treated us well. We got breakfast the next day at Residence Inn, included with our room, deodorant, at a minimal cost, and free shuttle service to the airport. We got outstanding service — from everyone except the company that created the problem.

We traveled home today with many of the stranded — the mother with a young baby, who they had done nothing for. We had dinner at the Applebee’s the night before next to the man they had stranded from Grand Junction, who had now canceled his San Diego trip for business and now only wanted to go home. They couldn’t get him home that night either. The waitress told us that they heard these stories about United every. single. day.

And now, for want of a nail, the shoe has come off. We will never fly United again. We will never connect through Denver on a trip again. We are looking for a charity to donate our United miles to — all 70,000 of them. We will not use this company again.

I don’t blame the employees. The rules are set by the company, and the employees have little leeway. No wonder they stop caring after a while, and just do the job as best they can. I blame the management, the millionaires and maybe billionaires who run this company, set its policies, and every day, strand hundreds or even thousands of people. And don’t care. Not at all. Not even enough to hand out a package with some underwear, deodorant and a toothbrush, and eat the cost of a hotel room. Would that really be so difficult? Really?

I don’t give this airline long to survive. Others can do better — and do. Or at least care if they don’t.

Mother’s Day Proclamation – 1870

Mother’s Day Proclamation – 1870
by Julia Ward Howe

Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God –
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Change Is in the Air

“Just as the world around us changes and evolves, so do the circumstances and situations in our lives. We live in a universe that is alive, vibrant, and constantly evolving. Change is the way nature, the universe, and the Divine move us through each period of our lives and into destiny. We are led to our next lesson, our next adventure. There’s no need to deny change, to fear it or fight against it. Change is inevitable. Just as the earth is constant motion and transformation, so are we.

Take your place in the universal dance, the universal rhythm. Allow change to happen. Work with it as your life unfolds. Sometimes change comes in one smashing moment like a volcanic eruption. Other times it happens more slowly, the way the winds and rain sculpt bridges out of canyons.

Learn to trust your body– its signs, signals, warnings, and excited proclamations. We let the gathering clouds warn us of impending storms, and we learn to study and predict tremors in the earth. In much the same way, our body can function as a barometer for our soul and its place in the constantly changing and evolving universe.

You are open now, more sensitive than you’ve been before. Change is coming. It’s here. You can feel it in the air. You can feel it in yourself.”

— Melody Beattie, “Journey to the Heart”

Clearing

I think I spent the last month making a clearing in my life. I stopped posting on the blog every day, and spent more time reading and observing. I’ve been creating a space for a meditation garden, and now am to the point of putting in hardscape and selecting some focal points and plants. I still need to get the ground covering and create a “floor” for the “room”.

I’ve been clearing out old clothes, things I no longer want or need, and working on cleaning up my diet and trying to get back to yoga classes. Still not doing well at getting to the yoga classes, but I’ll get there.

I’ve started the spring veggie garden, and am clearing out dead branches, and one poor daisy tree that has completely died this winter. It’s a friend I’ll miss and I need to find something new to fill its space. Something that can grow as tall and graciously and provide the shade that the daisy tree used to. I still miss the large ash tree that I took out to create the meditation garden, but it had grown too large and was tearing up the rest of the yard and our patios. It’s hard to take out such a large and beautiful tree, but we just couldn’t justify the water it took, the fire risk, and the damage it was doing any longer. And now, there is a clearing for the new, for a place to meditate and enjoy some quiet space.

And I’ve found I need more quiet spaces in my life, more quiet time. As I get older I get deeper and quieter, like a large lake. For someone who is already pretty quiet, it hardly seems possible. But I’ve had a lot of rivers flowing in, and there still seems to be a dam keeping much from flowing out. So for now, a lake it is. If you flow like water, sometimes you end up in a quiet lake…

 

 

Treasure Your Experiences

Gather experiences. Treat them as precious jewels.

The purpose of the journey is not to guard and restrain yourself. The purpose is to learn. You do not teach and lead your soul. Your soul leads and teaches you. It takes you wading across streams, strolling through meadows, deep into valleys, and high onto mountaintops. It takes you down winding, narrow roads and long fast-moving four-lane highways. It takes you into tiny cafes, bustling cities, and out-of-the-way hostels where people break bread and tell what they have learned.

Let yourself have all your experiences. Don’t limit or judge yourself or the adventure you have had. All were necessary, all were important, all have helped shape and form you. Your heart will lead you, guide you where you are to go. Don’t worry about getting lost or off track. Don’t worry about being wrong, or in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Gather experiences. Go through them. Select the gems from each. Listen while others tell their stories, their adventures, and show you their jewels, the truths that they have learned. Then, when you break bread and sip soup with others, open your heart and joyfully share what has happened to you along the way.


Having experiences is called living.
Sharing experiences is called loving.
Let yourself enjoy both.

Melody Beattie, Journey to the Heart

Loss

We had to say goodbye last night to our 13 year old golden retriever, Chance. We first met Chance when he was a year and a half old. We adopted him from a family going through divorce, and the young boy who had to give him up to move into an apartment that didn’t allow dogs was heartbroken. We let him visit with Chance for a few months to ease the transition for both of them.

Chance adjusted well and enjoyed his new home with us, even our cat Sammy,and we eventually added other pets to the family.  We lost Sammy and added new cats Willis and Selena. We adopted a new old dog, Roxie, whose family was moving to Texas. She was thirty pounds overweight and as we took weight off her, would get so hungry she would steal bread off the counter. We added a cute puppy, Darwin, who turned into a wonderful therapy dog. We lost Selena, probably to a coyote, her body was never found. We lost Roxie to cancer, and she died in my arms. We added another cute puppy, Edison, at the suggestion of the breeder we got Darwin from, to keep Darwin company when Chance was gone.

And so last night, be lost Chance, who had ruptured discs in his neck, couldn’t walk, and was in a lot of pain. When the pain became too much for him and for us, we let him go.

And now there are Darwin, and Edison, and our old cat, Willis.

But losing Chance has been the hardest loss of all of our pets. We was a wonderful dog and friend, and I’ll miss him terribly.

Open

Keep your Heart Open

Keep your heart open even when you can’t have what you want. It’s easy to keep our heart open to life’s magic and all its possibilities when we have what we want. It’s more of a challenge, and more necessary than ever, to keep our hearts open when we can’t have what we want.

Even on the best journey, things happen. Plans change. Things shift and move around. This shifting and moving causes doors to close, relationships to end, blocks and frustrations to appear on our path. For now, that is what we see. For now, what we know is disappointment. We can’t have what we want, and it hurts. When that happens, our tendency may be to shut down, close our hearts, forget all we’ve learned.

Keep your heart open anyway. Consciously choose to do that. Yes, you can go away, you can leave, you can shut down, but you don’t need to. Now is a turning point. If you choose to open your heart, even when you can’t have you want, miracles will unfold.

For now, remember this. Even though you don’t have what want you right now, keep your heart open anyway. Later, you’ll see more. You’ll see how it worked out. How it needed to be just so.

– Melody Beattie,  Journey to the Heart


Powerful

See how Powerful You Are

Although we know there is much in life we can’t control, we also know we have the power to think, to feel, to choose, and to take responsibility for ourselves and our lives. We’re discovering our creative powers, and our power to love, including our power to love ourselves. We’ve embraced our power to grow, to change, to move forward. We know we have the power to claim our lives and take responsibility for ourselves in any situation life brings. Although life may deal us certain hard blows, we’ve learned to see beyond that. We see life’s beauty, gifts, and lessons, and its mysterious and sometimes magical nature.

Now, our journey has led us someplace else. We know we have powers; we know we have choices. And we no longer need to be right. Just free.

See how powerful you are!

– Melody Beattie,  Journey to the Heart

Resistance

We sometimes resist new lessons. And what we resist the most is likely to be what we most need to learn.

Our lessons usually come with inner conflict. The action we should be taking, the idea we should be learning is sometimes hidden behind a wall of resistance. There’s a border, a barrier we need to cross to get into the heart of the lesson. Most times, that barrier is within us. Lessons require us to let go of old feelings, old beliefs. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be lessons. We’d already know them. Sometimes, the very thing we feel guiltiest about doing, the place we’re most resistant to visiting, the person we’re most convinced we shouldn’t contact, or the behavior we’re tormenting ourselves most about is exactly what we need to be doing.

And more often than not, the lesson we’re learning is not what we think it is. We need to embrace the surprise element of life —  embrace the mystery of life as it unfolds, as the lessons appear, as we grow and change.

Do what you need to do to break through your
resistance. Often that means simply seeing your
resistance for what it is. Remember that the point
of greatest resistance is often the place of greatest
learning.

— Melody Beattie,  Journey to the Heart