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Zen and the Art of Bank Robbing

PREFACE
Imagine a place where you could visit and for the price of a hot beverage you could sit and hold
a conversation that left you refreshed, physically and emotionally. Further, imagine a place you could
come in and talk and not actually reveal the true nature of your issue and still find relief through
genuine human interaction, and the sharing of a beverage. I’m talking Richard Adam’s “the Long Tall
Dark Tea Time of the Soul” or Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” kind of interaction that sweeps you up and
changes your life but when you look back on it you don’t know what the hell hit you, you just know
things are different. The appropriately placed epiphany will change your life every time and its effects
last forever. The CTC, ‘Coffee, Tea, and Counseling,’ is the sort of place where opportunities and
epiphanies collide. Kind of like a super collider, only instead of physicist searching for particles that may
or may not exist, the waiters and waitresses are all trained and licensed therapists, with a bent towards
metaphysical attributes that make them luminescent when most needed, and subtly invisible any other
time. The people who work at the CTC are special in every regard. They are the top of their academic
class and they serve drinks with the sort of fervent humility and intense personal attention that you
might find unnerving, unless you had a previous dining experience in Japan. The genuineness of their
affection for the customer, in terms of good will and respect, is so palpable that many patrons who have
not experienced this level of service before, or have low psychic boundaries, frequently mistake the
kindness for romantic overtures. Some of that is a societal issue. We have become so cold and isolated
as a culture that ‘kindness’ has become construed with sending a happy emoticon at the end of a text
message. In this kind of environment, places like Hooters, Hotshots Haircuts for Men, Tilted Kilts, etc
abound, and so it’s understandable that a smile, a light touch on the shoulder, or a hug, might be
interpreted as an invitation for sex. To avoid confusion it is has been necessary to write our ethical and
legal obligations on the wall, in the menu, and on the receipt, and before you can be served, whether it
is coffee, tea, or counseling, you must sign a consent form saying you understand that though a client
might ‘flirt’ with the CTC staff, because as human beings we do that, especially in the face of kindness,
(because who wouldn’t want more kindness in their life, ) the staff are literally not on the menu.
You may think that an odd way to start a conversation about hot beverages and counseling.
Further, you may wonder what that has to do with bank robbing. At this juncture, I would normally ask,
“What would happen if Glenda told Dorothy that she had the power to go home when they first met?”
In other words, hold your horses. The Universe is expanding and we will get there. I promise. I’ve
measured it. It is getting bigger. The Universe that is, not your ability to arrive. I can’t promise you will
‘get there,’ because there are some variable we have to explore, but the plausibility that you will arrive
where you’re supposed to be at the end of the journey is always hopeful. Further, there is always the
potential for haggling over the final destination point. From a certain point of view, there is no journey,
but we go on one anyway and are often surprised to find ourselves right back where we started.
Considering the number of detours and distractions, that in itself is fairly amazing. But, unless you’re
opting to stay where you’re at, and there’s nothing wrong with that except for the fact that standing still
in an expanding, rotating Universe is an impossibility, you have to agree to go on the journey whether
you believe in the journey or not. Most people choose to stay where they are. For example, some who
have visited the CTC have been so overcome by the beauty of my employees and the genuineness of
their affection that they refuse to sign the consent form or even order a drink to go, miraculously cured
of whatever was bothering them. The hope for the promise of a potential romantic relationship can be a
powerful motivator to take a leap of faith that nothing is any more wrong with you than with any other
person. There is tremendous growth potential in being rejected. That kind of courage should be
applauded more in society. Anyone who risked being rejected by a ‘ten’ should be given a pat on the
back. Yay you! Don’t be creepy about it and stalk the object of your affection. Do your sales pitch, accept
the outcome, and move on. No is not a failure. Just ask Edison.
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