Zen and the Art of RV Maintenance

Footbridge in a Campground

COE EAST BANK CAMPGROUND, CHATTAHOOCHEE, FL–When the personal self drops–and after things settle down–one of the things you’ll notice is that thoughts and emotions take on an impersonal feel. They feel almost like the way sounds “feel.” You hear your thoughts, you hear your emotions, but they seem separate from, yet inside of you. In much the same way that the cawing of a crow “feels”: separate from you, but at the same time, inside of you. You realize that you don’t make your thoughts or control your emotions. You realize that they just happen.

In putting the new ECU (engine control unit) back into my RV this morning, I knew it would be a frustrating experience because taking the damn thing out–which I did two days ago–was extremely frustrating. It’s like the engineers wanted to make it difficult to get out.

But this morning, I used the frustration as a form of “distancing” practice. Because I knew that my body and mind were going to get frustrated, I could watch it happen, and, before it got out of hand, could step back from it.

I broke the project down into small tasks: Work the ECU into its slot; Attach the mounting bracket; Put the mounting nuts on without dropping them into engine oblivion; Connect the wiring harness; … Each task, because of the very limited room caused the mind and body to grow tense and frustrated. Minds and bodies have strong desires, and when those desires aren’t met, they get really pissed off. It has nothing to do with how aware you are.

But by breaking down the big project into little tasks, the frustration level couldn’t “get rolling.” After each task, I’d feel and observe the frustration, I’d step back, walk around the campsite, and do my “videographer” mindfulness thing. Then I’d step back over to the rig and visualize the next step.

Within no time, I had the job done.

I got behind the wheel, crossed my fingers and started her up.

She’s never sounded so good.

“Merry Earth Day and God bless us, everyone.” – Tiny Tim

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One thought on “Zen and the Art of RV Maintenance

  1. 🙂 Sometimes the “engineered” frstration makes me just step back and laugh after I realize how pissed off I can get over something that has no emotions, feelings or cares. To the casual observer I probably seem somewhat crazy after cussing ranting and raving then stepping back and laughing like I heard the funnest joke ever.

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