The calendar is quite full this weekend: On Saturday, February 6, we have Finding Your Seat from 11:00 to noon. As previously announced, FYS will be more consistent, occurring on almost every Saturday from here on. Remember that FYS has moved to the Center’s second Zoom account, with a new meeting ID and Passcode:
[Check with Trueman (firstname.lastname@example.org) for ID and passcode]
On Sunday, February 7, we have an Extended Sitting with a Dharma Talk by Trueman Taylor.
Sangha Renewal Survey
In case you missed the important news, we’re seeking input on how the Zen Center can better serve the needs of our Sangha. At a time when our world is confronted with so many challenges, it’s vital that we explore new ways of supporting and enriching our community. That’s where you come in: we need your ideas!
If you’re a local, active member, you should have received the survey last Wednesday, January 27; out-of-town members will be surveyed at a later date. The survey was sent from SURVEY ADMINISTRATOR (email@example.com). Be sure to check your spam folder if you didn’t receive it.
For any questions about the survey, contact Donna Kowal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sound of One Hand Writing
For nearly a year now, we’ve been hearing about the extraordinary efforts of frontline medical workers struggling to help COVID patients. Other essential workers – teachers, grocery store employees, bus drivers, delivery people, nursing-home staff, first responders – have also been risking their health to serve our needs, but the level of stress faced by nurses and physicians in hospitals seems to be unmatched. How do they go on exposing themselves to the daily risk of infection and to the grim death count, month after month? How do they continue to absorb so much pain? Reports have it that an increasing number of nurses and doctors, unable to face months more of such an ordeal, are quitting their professions, completely worn out.
Last spring, many of us were buoyed to see video clips of people on the streets of New York City and Italy cheering critical-care hospitals staff as they left work. As the pandemic has dragged on, such displays of appreciation have stopped, but the work of the nurses and doctors has not.
In Rochester we now have a modest way of expressing our gratitude to these bodhisattvas. Last week, with the help of some Sangha connections, Roshi scored a virtual meeting with the Director of Adult Critical Care Nursing at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), with some 600 nurses in her charge, to hear what he and we as a Sangha might do. She mentioned how moving it was to her staff last year to see random messages of support written in chalk on the sidewalks outside the hospital, and she came up with two other suggestions: (1) handwriting brief, anonymous letters or cards of appreciation to individual nurses (first names to be provided), and (2) brushing snow off their cars in the URMC parking lots for when staff, often exhausted, get off their shifts. She is convinced that these two gestures of gratitude would leave her staff feeling less alone in shouldering their burden, and would go a long way toward boosting their spirits and enabling them to forge on through the winter and possibly even darker days to come. (P.S. This additional suggestion, from a retired nurse: coffee-shop gift cards.)
If you want to hear in more detail about these plans, email Roshi at email@example.com. He started Tuesday night with the snow brushing, and welcomes any help with the note writing.