Happy ACIM Anniversary

Today, 7/29, is my Course in Miracles anniversary. When I started 5 years ago, I thought it might take 5 years just to get a grasp on it. I think I do have a grasp. I study the text everyday, practicing \”lectio divina\” which is one of my monastic practices. I\’ve read the Text 8 times. I\’m currently on chapter 13 and I made my prayer out of 13.III today.

Dear Holy Spirit,
I bring my thoughts to You.
I seek the reference point.
I am a loving mind.
Grandeur is the right of God\’s Son.

Chapter 13.III
\”For His answer is the reference point beyond illusions, from which you can look back on them and see them as insane. But seek this place and you will find it, for Love is in you and will lead you there.\”

Love, peace.

This time of year is very reflective for me. August 8 is the anniversary of my sobriety in 1985 and getting kicked out of the monastery in 2003.

Despite getting up at 8 am, and starting my walk at 9:45, a cloud cover came at 10:45 so I could continue walking for another 4 hours. I suppose that walking 5h19 minutes or 18.5 miles is pointless. I find I am proud to have a life where I have nothing better to do than walk for 5 hours on a Sunday afternoon. I didn\’t really plan on walking that long. I just loaded up my hydro-pak and said I\’d walk for a short while.

I spent the time repeating my prayer (above). I realized just before I started that today was the beginning of my last 8 day retreat before being abruptly kicked out of the monastery (9 years ago). I briefly looked at my journal for this day. Oh my, I was a tortured soul.

Upon leaving the monastery, Sister Mary Margaret Funk advised me to just be a monk in the world. I\’ve continued my monastic practices to live up to the monk part. And at work, I am part of at least 3 projects which span the globe and bring me into contact with people all over the world.

Now I am a Course in Miracles student. My mind is far more peaceful that it was when I started 5 years ago.

When I first started walking today, I had the park to myself. I could imagine not knowing what my body meant; just imagined myself as a primordial consciousness in a primordial forest. Then, as various families showed up for their kids to play on the slides, I practiced \”Grandeur is the right of God\’s Son.\”

While walking, I thought of the 3,100 Mile Race and how a couple of the guys will finish tomorrow and Tuesday.

I thought about my own plans to walk a 12 hour race in September. I realized that in that race, after 5 hours, my feet and mind will feel about the same as today, only I\’ll be trying to walk another 7 hours. No doubt, St Louis will be hot and humid too. I wonder if my mind will give up at 26.2 miles; or if my heel will just feel horrid and I\’ll stop.


Last night, I pondered this while I walked on my treadmill. Chapter 5.I: The Holy Spirit is the Christ Mind which is aware of the knowledge that lies beyond perception.

Yesterday was a celebration. See, I\’ve been trying to figure out what or if I should go in a race during my next vacation, around Labor day. I\’m signed up for 2, but mostly because they are races that sell out. I signed up for a 12 hour race in St Louis long ago. I signed up for a half marathon in Utah very recently. I signed up for the half marathon because it was shorter and I thought I could do it with my sore heel; and the venue was very scenic.

Two weeks  ago, I ran 6 miles and it killed me. that coming after spend a huge chunk of money for \”treatments.\” I decided to ignore the doctors and just stop running; practical advice they failed to give. Last weekend, I exercised 11 hours between Friday night and Sunday, with an 18.5 mile walk on Sunday. That walk was far less painful than the 6 mile run had been the week before. 

In between the two weekends, Southwest Airlines had a seat sale. But I failed to buy tickets because I couldn\’t decide where to go, if anywhere. On Monday of this week, I realized that my foot was doing really well, but I couldn\’t find the seat sale on the Southwest website. I couldn\’t justify $400 (just the airfare) for a stupid race. 

So I waited.

Again on Tuesday, my foot felt really good, even with some jogging. I decided I really wanted to do the 12 hour race in St Louis. This because I wanted to walk 12 hours. There would be camaraderie on the 1.4 mile course. The other master and senior women finishing in 2011 were going at walking speeds. Many of the people just walk 26.2 miles and stop.

I checked the Southwest web page; suddenly I figured out where the special offer was. Prices were reduced. So I quickly got out my Luv voucher and my points and got tickets. Then, I used my Spot points at the Parking Spot so I have free airport parking. Then, I called National car rental and cashed in my miles for a free day on a rental car. I\’m paying weekend rate for a Marriott hotel room. So all in all, I\’m not paying that much for my 2 day trip to a race. So, no matter how bad I do, its ok financially.

The way all this suddenly seemed right and came together was amazing to me as I had not realized how many points I had to spend. And whatever mental road block I\’d been carrying for a couple of weeks was gone.

Here is the place of my next ultra:

This morning, I did 30 min of tempo elliptical and another 20 min jog on the tm. I feel so good and so hopeful about myself. At the same time, I stand in typical human conflict. We all live amidst competing forces: too much food, work demands, fitness, other people, government, finances, the delusion of aging.  My life of peace within this continuous hurricane of conflicts is taught to me by the Holy Spirit and A Course in Miracles. In 4 days, I celebrate my 5th year as a course student. When I first started my studies, I thought it would take 5 years to get even a grasp of what it was really saying. This is true.

Sunday Mind Training

Today, I slept late. In Houston, that can mean that it is too hot outside to do anything. I didn\’t plan on staying out very long today. It is a partly cloudy day with a small breeze and Brummerhop Park has trees. So I loaded up my hydropak and got started walking about 9:10.

How long would I go? I didn\’t know. I thought I\’d be sensible and stop when my plantar decided to stop. But that wasn\’t a big pain today. I remembered that one of the reasons I fail at ultra running is that my mind gives up before it is totally necessary for the body. My mind decides there is no point and decides to stop. But there never was a point to my life or anything I\’ve ever done, ever.

I love to sweat. I love to think about the endlessness of ultra-running. But I fail at carrying out the endlessness. So instead of just imagining that some day I would sweat and keep going, I decided that today was for mind training and I\’d keep going until I had to stop. Basically, when I ran out of water.

Brummerhop park is a great place for contemplation. I have a 0.37 mile loop. Walking around it really has no goal other than getting the ego to stop doing the math; which in my case takes awhile. Today, I also decided to be here now. Whenever I noticed myself dreaming of some future race, I dragged my mind back to today: keep walking today.

Brummerhop park walking is alot like the monastic cell and St Romuald\’s Little Rule:
\”Sit in your cell as in paradise. Put the whole world behind you and forget it. Watch your thoughts like a good fisherman watching for fish. … Empty yourself completely and sit waiting, content with the grace of God…\”

When I was in the monastery, I learned of the monastic journey where the body doesn\’t go anywhere but the mind expands. When I think of Brummerhop Park, I do think of mind expansion. More than training for any race, I want the ability to walk around the park endlessly, no goals. Keep walking until the ego quits doing the math. Enforced simplicity, mental awareness, awe of the great eternal beingness.

Brummerhop Park is a symbol of my decision to be a contemplative above all else. As I become a walker instead of a runner or racer, I carry out the contemplative mission. I had a 5 hour meditation today. I lived an entire lifetime today.

My Course in Miracles phrase was: \” The Holy Spirit teaches that I cannot lose my soul, and there is no gain in the world.\” This is what I used to bring my mind back to the now.

Up the boardwalk, down the boardwalk, green lizard, red birds, cicadas, butterfly, dragon fly, rabbit, frog, bug, bug, bug, watch that vine, drink, push the lap counter, cars, trees, swamp, shade, old leather glove, mushroom, ant path, poop, playground, up the boardwalk, down the boardwalk….

I got near to 4 hours and realized I was going to continue past that. It seems unreasonable to start a walk in 81F humid Texas and keep walking past the noon hour. I was hot. My legs in a bit of pain. But I wasn\’t dead yet so I kept walking.

After 49 laps and just over 5 hours, I sucked air from the hydropak. So, one more lap and go home. A good day. I did what I dream about instead of quitting too soon.

Its nothing.

Saturday Walking

Today, when my alarm went off at 5:30, I easily got out of bed. An hour later, I began a 10 mile walk at 4 mph pace around Seabrook. I am walking because I am resting some aches and pains.

My thought was: The Holy Spirit\’s Love is my strength.

Now, a few hours later, my foot feels good enough to proceed with an afternoon workout: free weights and elliptical and bike.

I am not upset about not running. In fact, I don\’t really care if I never run again. The swelling on my heel may be with me for this lifetime, so I don\’t sweat it. But the achilles and plantar will heal and then I can walk longer and further. In a 24 or 72 hour race, most of the people are walking so I will fit right in. But until the plantar feels better, I can\’t even walk much more than I did today.

I can do sit-ups forever.

Badwater 2012 is over and the race reports are coming out. I read a particularly gruesome one today. the person did not conclude that this was the greatest thing he ever endured. It brought back my own \”Why?\” questions.

I can\’t explain endurance. Perhaps it is the same as an alcoholic getting drunk. Endurance is just something that must be done. That is why the thought of walking 24 hours doesn\’t phase me: it is endurance and it must be done.

The sisters in the monastery hardly walk at all, but the liturgy of the hours and daily hora et labora is a horrendous feat of endurance; lasting 60 or more years.

People who get up and go to work everyday might be enduring in a magnificent way.

I prefer my endurance with endorphins. So I walk and cross train. I am also fussy about my chiseled arm muscles, so I use the TRX for arm running.

Laying on my bed and reading this afternoon, I realized how wonderful the labor of endurance is. It enacts the most magic thing about any human mind: getting off the bed. How do we ever get off the bed?

While I walked, I dreamed. What should I do over Labor Day weekend? Should I go to St Louis and walk 12 hours? Or go to Utah and walk a marathon?

How many 50 somethings do you know who face such treacherous decisions?

How to Go Forward Spiritually

I\’ve been having a degenerative problem with my left heel for several months. The pain was getting worse and at the end of May, I came home from a race in bad pain. It hasn\’t gotten any better since, but worse. I went to some practitioners who treat runners. I noticed money was flying out to them. Incredible sums as I looked earlier today at my insurance statement (deductible not yet paid).

Last week, I decided I would just give running a rest and not see any practitioners. These so-called helpers would give me a pain treatment and then send me out to run; thus making matters worse. Stopping running is what I need to heal.

So I stopped. Since I have spent every weekend for years running 40 to 50 miles, I didn\’t know what to do. Today at work, I thought about this blank openness where running used to be. About 2 pm, I thought I needed to grieve; not rush onto some different thing (which I can only think of past activities). I asked the Holy Spirit what would be forward.

As I was driving out of the parking lot at 3 pm, I realized that all my thoughts were past thoughts. I had no idea of a new thing for the future. That is when the revelation hit: the Real World is forward.

The Real World is defined by A Course in Miracles as all the loving thoughts of God\’s Son; and we are God\’s one Son. These loving thoughts form a reality: the Real World. I don\’t know what changes this revelation will make to my dream of this world; but I\’m sure something.

As I typed this, I also remembered something else the Course says: if you leave an empty space, God will come into it and occupy it. This is another reason not to rush out and find a new hobby.

Well, I will run again after I heal; but I no longer identify myself as \”ultra runner.\” I am free to have another identity. The Course has something to say about that too.

A 6 Mile Run

This is my new fashion statement. No, not the Vibram. The energy band worn on the ankle. Not cuz I believe in the energy theory, but how cool it looks.

Today I went running: 6 miles at decent speeds in Meador Park. Part of the run was spent in a warm Gulf rain. I got thoroughly soaked in the short down pour. But it was part of my immersion into a new theory of life.

Running 6 miles does not produce any pain. Right at the moment, giving up the pain of running is what I am doing. I\’m done running 40 or 50 miles every weekend. It always did hurt, but I was not conscious of the pain. Now I am and have decided to give it up. If I am only planning to run 10 miles on any weekend day, I can still sleep in and run before it is too hot. And the cross training is a bigger calorie burn than slowly jog walking for 5 hours.

I have a new adventure planned. I am already entered in a race in Utah on 9/8. I just learned that there is a half marathon in Denver on 9/9. Well, since I\’d have to fly thru Denver to get home to Houston, why not stop over and do another race: 2 pieces of swag for the price of one trip.

I ran with one thought: Only loving thoughts are my reality.

It is derived from A Course in Miracles 11.VII: \”The ego may see some good, but never only good. That is why its perceptions are so variable. It does not reject goodness entirely, for that you could not accept. But it always adds something that is not real to the real, thus confusing illusion and reality. For perceptions cannot be partly true. If you believe in truth and illusion, you cannot tell which is true. To establish your personal autonomy you tried to create unlike your Father, believing that what you made is capable of being unlike Him. Yet everything true is like Him. Perceiving only the real world will lead you to the real Heaven, because it will make you capable of understanding it.\”

I am tired of my ego \”adding\” crap to my loving successes thus ruining them as hate slowly seeps into everything I experience. My running today was a practice of watching where my thoughts went and redirecting them over and over away from negativity. Otherwise, my happiness in Texas and with my new job will be ruined and I\’ll have to go start over again someplace else.

I can only afford an investment in the spiritual reality of love. A Reality of love is what the Course in Miracles says is real. The negative fearful and angry reality most of us live in, is an ego delusion. (ps, the Course in Miracles ego is not Freud\’s ego, but I don\’t explain that today).

True Identity

This morning I was on my treadmill for a couple of miles. I have there index cards with quotes from A Course in Miracles. This morning, I was reading this from chapter 31: \”The savior\’s vision is as innocent of what your brother is as it is free of any judgment made upon yourself. It sees no past in anyone at all. And thus it serves a wholly open mind, unclouded by old concepts, and prepared to look on only what the present holds. It cannot judge because it does not know. And recognizing this, it merely asks, \”What is the meaning of what I behold?\” Then is the answer given. And the door held open for the face of Christ to shine upon the one who asks, in innocence, to see beyond the veil of old ideas and ancient concepts held so long and dear against the vision of the Christ in you.\”

I was inspired by \”It sees no past at all\” and \”to see beyond the veil of old ideas.\”
See, in the past week, I\’ve poured another pile of money into somewhat helpful theraputics for my left heel; but was still left with annoyance of the practitioners or the business model they adhere to. In appointment number 3, the therapy was pain producing; and the practitioner was suggesting I spend more and more money on various things.
No matter my spiritual aspirations, I can\’t sustain endless expenditures. And then I said to myself, \”it would be much cheaper and probably just as effective is you cut back on running.\” Except for I wanted to go in a marathon in Utah on September 8, I have no qualms about less running/more cross training. Logically, the cross training is better for me physically.
This phase of my development means that I have to let go of old identities: I am a runner. But, as a Course in Miracles student, I know I need to identify with Spirit. And to the door is open to once again take a step away from delusional reality and step further into Spiritual Reality.
There is a great deal of inner peace in my cross training. It is not attached to the world. It has no goals. It is symbolic of becoming and \”inner athlete.\” Running is a hobby. Being an inner athlete is existential. And so I am free to choose from various endurance options. Endurance, no matter how it is achieved, is still a result of my inner being. In love with the energy, I allow it to express somehow.
During my vacation last week, I felt that spiritual pursuit is not a hobby, not a game, not an option. That other people have no spiritual connection does not mean I have to quit because mine seems so feeble even with the effort I put into it. Quitting God is not an option for me.


A Course in Miracles, 11.I:

\”You must ask what God’s Will is in everything, because it is yours. You do not know what it is, but the Holy Spirit remembers it for you. Ask Him, therefore, what God’s Will is for you, and He will tell you yours. It cannot be too often repeated that you do not know it. Whenever what the Holy Spirit tells you appears to be coercive, it is only because you have not recognized your will…..The projection of the ego makes it appear as if God’s Will is outside yourself, and therefore not yours. In this interpretation it seems possible for God’s Will and yours to conflict. God, then, may seem to demand of you what you do not want to give, and thus deprive you of what you want. Would God, Who wants only your will, be capable of this? Your will is His life, which He has given to you.\”

Today I went running in my newly beloved Seabrook, Texas. I say newly beloved because I appreciate it much more since returning from Colorado. About 90 minutes into the run I could see the sweat dropping off the bill of my Badwater hat. I\’m sure that never happens in Badwater. I watched the drips one by one fall to the red gravel of the path in Seabrook. The running went well until about 9 miles. Then the lightening became too close for comfort. I ended my run at 10 miles; but that was about all my foot wanted to give anyway.

It should be noted that I wear a Badwater hat for lofty inspiration; not because I ever will run Badwater.

I came home and had my salad at 9:30 am; then a massive nap. Then I watched the fish at the Monterey Aquarium via the live web cam.

I go back to work tomorrow after a week of vacation. 92 miles covered since 6/30 when I started off running at Dillon Reservoir in Colorado.

Just now, I wanted to try and see if anything important had happened during this retreat from work. I sat down in front of A Course in Miracles and read what is quoted above. I noticed that there are two ideas: my will and God\’s Will. But it also points out that there is only one life and one will: that which I share with God. Then it points out that my ego does not want this.

Thus, I seem to throw away God, fear God and feel life long conflict.

I seem to always wish I could have a quantum leap in my thinking. But I get daily changes and glimmers of light.

Wonder why I haven\’t bought my air plane tickets for my September marathon yet? I\’m waiting for something but I don\’t know what.

Edit: I just spent 30 min riding my ex-bike and pondering \”Your will is His life….\” Really, think about it; for yourself I mean.

The Answer

Last night as I lay in bed, my ego mind was attacking me. It was going on and on and on in complaint about some situation. I could feel myself projecting anger and mistrust. At one point, I felt and realized how the thoughts making up my physical body are anger.

I asked the Holy Spirit for help. A minute later, the harangue begins again. At one point, I realized that the harangue had switched topics; just like that. I kept working on other thoughts.

When I woke up this morning, I felt at peace with going to do a task today (a visit to a new sports clinic). But as I did my morning spiritual study, I first remembered that somewhere in a Course in Miracles, we are advised that when a brother asks an unreasonable thing, we should do it (what was unreasonable is no young whipper snapper chiro is going to be able to help me by counciling me about chi running or how I am unbalanced). I remembered to laugh at my ego thoughts. I remembered to bow down before my brother and say, \”Give me your blessing holy son of God.\”

But most of all, I realized that the answer to my question was a metaphysical answer. This reality is an illusion and I\’m responsible for my projections. So I did the opposite of my ego\’s council and went through with the task. Trusting the Holy Spirit was part of my ascendance to the metaphysical reasoning.

The task turned out to be pure joy. I\’m happy about it (Dr Bloom was a bent up old man who has been working with athlete for 60 years, and should have been wearing a grey sweatshirt). After I was done, I went running in the Houston heat and humidity. I think I am growing to like the swelter. Anyway, as I was running, I realized that the answer is always the same answer: let go. Stop trying to control the illusion. Let the Holy Spirit have the illusion.

And so I had a spiritual experience of joy instead of a pissed-off-ed-ness with lifelong resentment.

Which now teaches me: every experience I have as joy gives me joy in my memory instead of hate. Think about it. How many past memories pop into your mind on a daily basis? How many are of joy? Usually they are of fear. But imagine a life where the pop up memories are joyful and that is how you spend each day: in joy.

It is the Spirit that does all this. By myself, I\’d be stuck with the anger.

I\’m committed to God. No.matter.what.you.think.

Next stop on my 2012 race calender is this place: 

After today\’s experience, I\’m sure I\’ll be there is good health. I\’m about to visit Southwest Airlines and click buy….bye bye Luv Voucher!