The Universe

This morning, during my spiritual study, I had an amazing moment of clarity about why I get upset about who gets recognition and who doesn\’t. Or upset about anything. I totally knew what my thoughts are doing to me; and how ACIM forgiveness erases my upset. I completely understood that I can\’t get out of my own thoughts, but that something higher can help me. That I can in fact live in a world where that higher thing governs and not my fear, anger or hate.

A Course in Miracles text 26.X inspired:

The world is fair because the Holy Spirit
has brought injustice to the light within.
Giving and receiving are the same.
So hate is answered in the name of Love.
Forgiveness is the answer to attack of any kind.

The words \”Holy Spirit\”, \”light within\”, \”name of Love\”, and forgiveness leap out at me as a course student. The fact that it is my own thoughts creating my unhappiness, hate, fear, etc. comes to mind. I\’d rather have the presence of the Holy Spirit and God consciousness than my mental turmoil. But how to get rid of the turmoil? Practice mental discipline. Attack of any kind is noticed (I mean thought attacks) and I turn to the phrases. Automatically, attack dissapates and I remember I want the world not created by my attacks.

There is another world not created by my attack thoughts. I can live there. A Course in Miracles teaches me how. I have Help. I can have a happy day.

Thanksgiving 2012 – Results

I read 3 nun books this weekend. One nun realized that the Roman Catholic church is wrong about a number of things; but still thinks the Bible is true. Another left her order but never left the church; and realized that she didn\’t fit into life anywhere. Another book was just stories about various nuns in various orders. Since one of the stories was about someone I knew and several places I had visited, I could see that it was still a romanticized and pedestalized work of fiction.

I had a fantastic workout day yesterday. I\’m itching to move from the 20k to the 50k at the race next Saturday. The HSE department at work is tremendously bust for the next 6 months as a massive turn around gets underway at our chempark.

So, something happened over my Thanksgiving retreat. I felt extreme happiness with myself. Last night as I finished the 3rd book I made an internal decision: I\’m going to quit being a nun. That is, I\’ve been out of the convent 9.5 years. Certain ideas and attitudes need to be forgotten as they aren\’t Truth to begin with.

I still won\’t eat meat. I\’ll still abstain from alcohol since it is poison.  I\’ll still be a Course in Miracles student. I\’ll still run my ass off. But I\’m quitting certain other behaviors. I\’ll share as I go along.

This morning, I was up at my usual 3:19 to do spiritual study before working out. From ACIM 26.VII.17: Forgiveness is the answer to attack of any kind. So is attack deprived of its effects, and hate is answered in the name of love.

This is ACIM in a tweet. Forgiveness is looking beyond the illusion/delusion. Attack is all these thoughts against others, a sign of inner hate and fear. And remembering Love as the only reality or real existence, all problems are solved and fear ended. I can live by this and I need it to have a happy day.

As I said yesterday, \”You create your own reality dummy.\” So project happy instead of fear and you\’ve got it made.

That and a massive load of endorphins will get you what you want.

a Breakthru of Sorts

Yesterday, I jogged for 17.5 miles with little walking. After my 54 miles trek last weekend, I found yesterday\’s run incredible. I am a person who does a 50 mile jog without much trouble and bounces right back.

I found my self insanely happy. I signed up for a 20k run next weekend.

Something about that 54 miles trek which ended at 2 am in frozen darkness was not a failure but a breakthru. Somehow, its not that I failed at 100 miles but that I am free of the need to go 100 miles. I\’m incredibly pleased that 50 miles is the normal course of things. And my weekend of reading nun books had also set me free. This I can\’t really explain why. But I have heard the Spirit whisper.

My ACIM lesson this morning said: Spirit I am, a holy Son of God, free from all limits, safe and healed and whole, free to forgive, and free to save the world.

Also, during my reading, I had realized that looking beyond is the whole way out of the dread of this world.

This morning, I found that the joy was still conscious for me. I started out my run, planning a 10 mile jog. As I started running, I found myself thinking my usually litany of why I am different and against others, with impending doom related to work lurking above me. Within 0.3 miles it suddenly hit me: You create your own reality Dummy.

And suddenly I knew. I just need to stop projecting whatever. It has been given me to look beyond, I can see the face of Christ. Thats it.

Evidence: yesterday in an AA meeting here in the bible belt, Baptist mecca, a woman mentioned she was a Unitarian and atheists attended her church. Another mentioned the 4 Noble Truths. Ok, so A Course in Miracles should not bother these people.

This week: 65.6 miles, and 21 hours of cardio (includes jogging and cross training), and 5 strength workouts.

Worlding

Heidegger fans will recognize the concept. I was thinking about it in my solitude this morning. \”The world\” (society and its norms) have to subside before something else has space to grow. This is why I spend time alone and in quiet. But today, I thought of \”world\” as a verb. That is, to create your own reality, you need a dynamic concept; so world becomes \”to world.\” Stagnation is the world. Creation is \”to world.\”

Silence and solitude is not outcome based. It purpose is not to produce enlightenment or anything. Silence and solitude produces \”is-ness;\” from which a different basis of life can be found. The general pre-occupation of society with TV, food, position, money, fear and anger can dissipate in silence and solitude. Beliefs about who and what I am, or what is my usefulness can be adjusted based on an inner idea as opposed to outer peer pressure.

And so, I venture forth to the park again today. It is cold for the Texas coast. I am wearing long sleeves.

Thanksgiving Hermitage – day 2

Other than the internet and nods to people in the park, I haven\’t spoken or interacted for 2 days. I didn\’t need anything at the store and that is usually where I interact on weekends. Or the AA meeting I\’ve gone to a couple of times is on Saturday evening.

I entered a race. I bought some running shoes and RockTape and Doctor Krackers. I paid the corporate credit card bill. I posted on my internet running club.

I\’ve so far worked out 10.6 hours including 2 strength sessions and 33 miles.

I finished one nun book and am halfway through another. One of the books had a chapter on a nun I actually know. She was nearly the most friendly of the sisters in my monastery; and the one whose advice I did not take on the eve of my crash and burn. If I had, I\’d probably be dying behind those 4 walls. Instead, I was honest with myself and others. Hence, I find myself here.

My ACIM lesson is: I am one Self, united with my creator, at one with every aspect of creation, unlimited in power and in peace.

I said that lesson in my head while jogging. I also dream while I jog. I dream of endless miles and upcoming races.

My desire to be a nun was driven by a desire to engage in contemplation. This desire came from reading too much Merton and Zen (haha, what a combination). I wanted to shamelessly follow Jesus and live a life of prayer. I thought you had to leave the world of distractions.

I sit alone with my thoughts, sifting through both A Course in Miracles and other books. I sift through the endless miles and races. I feel the incredible responsibility I bear as a process safety engineer in a large chempark. Especially now as we enter a period of construction and then startup. Process Safety is always blamed for not catching the mistakes of others.

As I ran today, I felt good. I can\’t run 100 miles. But 50 miles is sort of a normal thing. 50 miles I take in stride.

In the world, this is holy:

But I am this:

I was setting up my personal aid station at the start of Ultracentric. The blue top I have on I got during my trip to Germany 3 weeks ago. Only 70 euros (a freakishly high number of dollars).

In A Course in Miracles, we all are holy and the point of the practice is to remember it. ACIM is about content not form. ACIM is undoing specialness. I can look like anything or do anything, and practice the thought training. Salvation is a state of mind.

Do you know how emotionally difficult it is to decline to go along with society at every turn? I don\’t expect a spiritual benefit or propose that I am closer to God than anyone. I\’m not special. I propose that I need to undo society programming by not adding to what I already have and slowly undoing past programming.

In a few minutes, I am going upstairs to lift weights. Then I will come down and ride the nordic track for a bit. I just ate a favorite meal: melted cheese sandwich and coffee with peppermint mocha creamer.

I don\’t really need to go to the store tomorrow. We\’ll see if I talk to anyone. I know I\’ll nod at the people in the park.

4 day weekend

For most folks it is Thanksgiving. For me, it is a 4 day weekend. And, I thank God that I do not have to participate in Thanksgiving. I love being off the hook. I remember various times in the past, in particular when I was in the monastery. I used to feel so guilty if I went for a jog instead of either cooking or decorating the tables. And we sat there waaaay too long. And there was an amazing mountain of dishes to be done after.

Speaking of the monastery, I gave in to my inner angst for this 4 day weekend. I ordered several \”nun\” books from Amazon and am having a nun-book-read-in this weekend. See I understand my personal quest for God. I understand that religious orders promise fulfillment of that quest if you become one of them. But I am one of the most unlikely-est people I can think of to spend 4 years in a Roman Catholic Benedictine semi-cloistered monastery with 60 elderly women. I got kicked out of the monastery, and the \”false\” promise of spiritual fulfillment. The training in monastic practices did significantly alter my life; and I use this to continue my quest in a much more efficient manner. I went in to the cloister and came out different. I am still unwaveringly on the spiritual quest. I am not Roman Catholic, but firmly a student of A Course in Miracles.

I need to go deeper into what this experience could have meant. So reading books about others should give me a broader perspective and give me the freedom to think about my own experience.

Otherwise, a 4 day weekend is for training. This morning I did a 10 mile jog. It was wonderful to be in the warmth of the Texas coast; but also foggy so a blanket of quiet was laid down on everything. Others were out jogging too. It was so peaceful.

I\’ll do a cross training workout this evening. And repeat for the next 3 days.

A Mental Game – Ultracentric Learning

That\’s what ultra-running is for me. I learned something really significant this weekend at Ultracentric.

When I quit the race, it was because I thought I was going to die. That is, I thought that I couldn\’t get any nutrition due to the squirts, that the shivering was due to shock and that I was suffocating in my car. So my brain instructed me to do something about it. A cheap room at the Holiday Inn was all I could think of. And once I put my chip in the timing tent, and left the race site, my game was over. I know me.

But, the next day, I knew I could\’ve gone back and walked some more. Today, I jogged 8 miles and did another hour of cross training plus some TRX upper body. Clearly, I didn\’t leave my soul or my heart on the race course.

So I figure that my brain kicked in to survival gear long before I was anywhere near dying. But since I live in my thoughts, I was powerless to go against survival gear. I could only obey it\’s command to find a warm room and also go home as soon as possible. I think that people who have crew are able to have the crew solve their problems, and tell them they are not going to die. But alone, you believe whatever is in your mind and act accordingly.

But even if I had a crew, I\’m not sure I\’ll ever do 100 miles. I still am against tearing up my body/feet so bad that extended recovery is required. I like being able to workout again 2 days later. I\’m all about the long term and the middle way. 50 miles is within my training envelope. I seem to be able to do it without too much trauma. I forget that 50 miles is still a hell of a long way.

So, despite my self knowledge, I know I\’m not done dicking around with 24 hour events. And Thanksgiving weekend is nothing but a personal multi-day running experiment for me. I have no friends or family and disagree with the whole premise of national gluttony celebrations in a nation of fat people. I disagree with eating meat in general anyway. So I look forward to miles and cross training time and weight lifting. Don\’t forget the strength.

My next race is 12/29; and its in Houston. So 50 miles and home to my own bed!  Love it.

The Holy Road – Ultracentric Report

Is it this?

Or this?

I\’ve done both. The first one is of the chapel at The Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. A place where I spent several years. The second is the road at Ultracentric. Ultracentric is an ultra-marathon. this road is part of a 2 mile loop.

I\’m not sure there is a difference between a nun and an ultra-runner. None is more special to God; as God gives salvation to all.

I just spent 15 hours and 54 miles on the Ultracentric road. I met several people. Many of the people are retired, but able to walk all day for several days. One gal had a broken arm but walked like crazy. One man had osteoporosis, but 50 years ago, he was an Olympic cyclist. Some were great runners who did run most of the time.

The park was near Dallas Fort Worth airport. As I watched the planes all day, it occurred to me that I was totally glad to not be waiting around there for a frigging airplane. But I also realized that I got the \”no place like home\” feeling whenever I came in for a late night landing from a business trip.

They had a wonderful tent kitchen on course making food for the racers. But it was meat centered. So no lunch for me. I realized that I am so outside the pale as a vegetarian and that I don\’t lead a food centered life any more. I\’d gone through this same awkwardness at work on Friday as the department had lunch together; but I refused to eat the oil soaked pasta and ate my home-made salad. This not-part-of-the-society life is a friction. But I felt a new courage to be me. The non-food-centered life is part of my monastic legacy; or maybe just an ongoing loathing to sit and eat with people.

I did real well with my 4 mph pacing up through 32 miles, but then lost time as the temperatures fell, I put on more clothes and stopped jogging and only walked. I had said my goal was 100 miles so I was being conservative on speed. I was determined to keep walking no matter what.

After 13.5 hours, I looked at my counter and saw that I had been 50 miles. It was dark and cold, few lights in the park. A lady was behind me. I slowed and mentioned that I had just passed 50 miles and that no matter how long it took me, I had done the deed. She had been there a day longer than me and had 130 miles. She was a Chech ex-pat who lived in Las Vegas and was a dealer. She walked with me for more than a lap. She wanted company to stay awake. Her goal was 200 miles but she knew she wasn\’t going to make it. So we talked. My voice becoming more and more ragged in the cold air (34F).  I discussed my qualms about the long road ahead. I had learned about myself as the day wore on. As the 40 mile mark passed I admitted that I don\’t really want to tear up my body any more than what is required for 50 miles. I don\’t like that idea because it might mean that I am out of commission for a couple of weeks. That happened the one time I made it to 80 miles. Nearing the middle of a cold dark night in Dallas, I became concerned about walking just long enough to extricate myself from the situation; going home as soon as possible.

When my dealer friend stopped for a bio-break, I went on by myself. I was feeling ok it seemed, except for 2 bouts with the squirts. It was nearing mid-night. I stopped at my car to eat and think about what to do. Round 3 of the squirts demanded an outlet, luckily my car was close to some really good restrooms. As I walked out, I felt totally weak and uncoordinated: bonked hard.

So I crawled into the car where there was an air mattress and a warm sleeping bag. Well problem A; the sleeping bag fits the Prius good, but I don\’t. So I couldn\’t lay flat. Hell of a time to find that out. After 50 miles it is futile to think my body is going to be comfortable on either side. And I was shivering uncontrollably; I guess I was colder than I had realized. Was I going into shock? After awhile, I began to wonder if I was using up all the oxygen in my air tight Prius. But I couldn\’t open a window without getting up and going around to the drivers side, then all the noise outside would be too great. I had to do something different. I had the number for the Holiday Inn on the top of my BB call log. I called them to see if they had any vacancies. They did and at 2 am, they offered me a fantastic rate.

Suddenly my race was over. Self preservation won. 10 min later, all my stuff was thrown in the car and I was on the road. By 2:30, I was in the hotel lobby and talking with the very friendly clerk who I had met the night before when I stayed there.

I showered. Drank my soy milk and swallowed some spirulina and read my book. Then, I turned off the lights and did go to sleep. At that point, except for a destroyed toe nail, my body didn\’t seem too bad. I woke up at 8 am and could have gone back to the race course and walked some more. I could have at least gone to get my participants medal. But I couldn\’t shake the idea that that was stupid. Why go continue to walk around on sore feet. My plantar tendon was the greatest vote. And I didn\’t go ask for my medal since I didn\’t want to explain to anyone why I was quitting when people in much more pain continued on.

So, I had a non-stop trip to Houston; and with no commuter traffic, I was home in 4 hours.

Ultracentric – On the Road

This is how my car looked as I got ready to come to work today. See the blue air mattress and how handily it fits in a Prius?

I had a dream last night. I ran one 2 mile lap of the course and then stopped. It was a beautiful course. I couldn\’t remember why I stopped because there didn\’t seem to be anything wrong with me. So I started to worry about what excuse I would use to tell others why I didn\’t finish the race.

Very metaphysical!

I am letting go. I don\’t control what time I get done with work today or the traffic getting out of Houston. So, let the adventure unfold. Whatever happens, happens. The Holy Spirit is in charge.