This is where I was on Sunday, finishing a half marathon. The plan had been to go to a 50 mile race in Kansas this coming Saturday. But I\’ve been watching the weather for that area. It looks wet (snow, sleet, rain) and cold (30F to 40F) and windy (13-18 mph from the north) for that day. A 50 mile run takes me over 12 hours. I realized I have no desire to be miserable for 12+ hours. So I cancelled my trip.
I still have 3 days off work, so I might run a private marathon or two at home. Its part of my downward mobility project (see below).
Downward mobility is not necessarily a Christian value for me (since I am not really Christian), but de-constructing my ego and not-going-along-with-society certainly are my values. Do you know how hard it is to be of service at work and make sure not to brown nose about it?
This morning, riding my elliptical, I was thinking about how my colleague R was standing in for boss while boss is on medical leave. I realized clearly that R is the one being groomed to move up (and not me). But it also occurred to me that I had been honest with boss about how I didn\’t want to climb a career ladder but be a technical expert. I also know in my heart that I am more interested in my life activities more than my career. When I think about it consciously, I\’m perfectly willing to support R in his career.
That is the fork in the road. I passed it, maybe long ago.
My ego loves to compete at work. So dealing with the emotional urge is hard; partly because the ego goes under ground. You don\’t know how many resentful failure messages it sends out. Well, in the quietness of my morning meditation, these failure thoughts are easier to spot. And then I can re-center on the choice I made and decide if I still want that choice.
I am part of the massive American eating machine. I\’m only skinny because I work out alot. Like many Americans, I have no idea how to eat only as much as I need. It is true, I might be slightly better a food discrimination than most people but only by a fraction.
Pretty soon after waking up this morning, I thought 2 words: joy and happiness. That is a new thing for me to come up with those words before I even got out of bed. They are energy words for me. That is, just thinking the word gives me the feeling of the word. I feel energized without any change in my physical world.
On this side of the fork, who am I? I know I\’m on the road less travelled. I know I hear a different drummer. (re M. Scott Peck books). But what really does it mean in abstract non-material terms?
For most Americans, the downward mobility choice is a choice to stagnate and die. Is that the road I\’m on?
Life is momentary for me. I felt it on my elliptical this morning. I felt it in the word \”joy.\” When I run endless miles, it is seeking the eternal value of life. The road after the fork has nothing on it. It has no experiences because it is egoless but eternal.
Sounds boring right? That is how I\’m gett\’en out of here.
Tuesday, Richard Beck posted this:
It is about Henri Nouwen\’s The Selfless Way of Christ.
For some reason, it touched some deep part of me that was the reason I became a spiritual seeker or tried Christianity. The life of the monk is a hidden life; hidden in Christ. It is quiet. It is deep communion with spirit.
Here are some excerpts:
We are taught to conceive of development in terms of an ongoing increase in human potential. Growing up means becoming healthier, stronger, more intelligent, more mature, and more productive. …. In our society, we consider the upward move the obvious one while treating the poor cases who cannot keep up as sad misfits, people who have deviated from the normal line of progress.
Three temptations by which we are confronted again and again are the temptation to be relevant, the temptation to be spectacular, and the temptation to be powerful.
Who am I when nobody pays attention, says thanks, or recognizes my work?
I think that question sits at the root of our spiritual malaise and weakness. We want people to pay attention to us, to recognize us, to give us our due. This is how our identities, worth and significance are grounded. We want to be relevant, spectacular or powerful. So we go through life fishing for such things, a grasping that keeps knocking us off center, spiritually speaking.
I\’m mindful here of something St. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians (1 Thess 4.11):
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.
Nouwan observes, \”There is almost nothing more difficult to overcome than our desire for power.\”