Embrace Limbo

My company has decided to sell the division which is located across the fence from where I am currently  sitting. I am in an engineering services division, but all my current work is for the division located across the fence. So it is quite possible I will be moved across the fence and work for un-named new company in the future. Or maybe some other opportunity will present itself. Meeting in Germany this week as executives decide how to divvy things up.

In the mean time, it will be a few months before any final decisions are made. And anyway, I am still me with my own particular outlook on work in general. The VP of the division I work for has a cubicle near mine. And every time he gets on the phone, he has to walk into the small conference room next to my cubicle in order to talk privately. Lately, that has happened alot. Frequently, he starts talking before he gets in the conference room. This activity is distracting for me, who is going to be waiting months while guys like him try to decide to do with \”us\”, the engineers working here. Managers continue to whisper amongst themselves. People say, \”Aren\’t you sorry you ever came here?\” Um, yeah.

I know the VP-ish activities are more about their own finances than anything. Capitalism and satisfying share holders is the whole cause here. In today\’s world, companies serve stock holders not communities or people. Should they? In the long run, they will figure out that they should.

For myself, I continue to drift in limbo. It causes me to shrink in. I have to focus on today and what is in front of me right now. It doesn\’t mean that if an idea surfaces which is a future idea I wouldn\’t act on it. But I must focus on what I can do and not what I can\’t do.

I also realize my dirty little secret is very alive in my consciousness. I work for money not for career advancement. I seek technical expertise not managerial expertise. I need to keep my mind busy with challenging work; while earning enough money to run my life. Moving up the ladder at any company is pretty much out of the question. It is more a matter of service.

In fact, service matters a great deal to me. Service is where my mentality at work overlaps with my spiritual life.I embrace that I decided for God and it has produced a strange limbo in this world. I have a growing outlook of this world as an ego project and that there is no place for me in it.. Job or no job, I am in limbo. I cannot produce goals because service today is the only possibility.

Tension occurs however between the ego wanting something to happen now; and my rational consciousness which wants to serve now. Very difficult to stay on track. Some would say I am trying to dis my human-ness. I think human-ness is an excuse for living littleness instead of living magnificence. Choosing spirit, I become less confused.

How may I best serve You. Thy will not mine be done.

ACIM text 2.V:
I am here only to be truly helpful.
I am here to represent Him Who sent me.
I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me.
I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me.
I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.

All my life is really about is \”Decide for God\” (Manual for Teachers 14) right now. Then, allow God to direct my thinking. And ask for this every time I notice I am thinking what God would not have thought. Worldly limbo is a preparation for God consciousness. Embrace it.

It IS a sacred journey. No other thing about it.

Consciousness and Insanity

From A Course in Miracles, Manual for Teachers 4: \”They are sure they are beloved and must be safe. Joy goes with gentleness as surely as grief attends attack. God’s teachers trust in Him. And they are sure His Teacher goes before them, making sure no harm can come to them. They hold His gifts and follow in His way, because God’s Voice directs them in all things. Joy is their song of thanks. And Christ looks down on them in thanks as well. His need of them is just as great as theirs of Him.\”

Expressed there is what most of us want: safety and being needed. Most of us also add ambition to the formula. Thus ensues competition and attack. Or maybe the men also compete for a woman.

I like the idea of joy being a song of gratitude, I can make that choice right now. Gratitude for the sense of Presence and willingness to turn to Spirit for mental and emotional comfort right now.

I slept late today. It is cooler in Texas now so getting up early for running is not so important. My first thoughts were on how easy it is to forget God. In my world at the moment is a tremendous amount of mental flak related to the split in my company and the uncertainty of where I\’ll be assigned. But none of that matters if I am employed by God and only here to serve Him.

But honestly, I am not that evolved. Fear producing hatred permeates my brain. My mind is aware of this. In awareness and consciousness, I can direct my thinking. Yes, it is a discipline and an effort to remain in observance. But just letting my thoughts spiral out of control is terrible. First awareness of my thoughts which separates me from them. In my choice, I also employ whatever is a higher consciousness (God, Spirit, Jesus) and ask Him to direct my thinking. And usually some peaceful thought comes along, some thought of trust and reliance on God. And then I am fine. 

This spiritual way of life is pie in the sky for many. Without it, I am hopelessly insane and probably would not be sober.

Transition Transformation

This morning I was reading in A Course in Miracles Manual for Teachers 4.II.A and came up with this:

Tranquility (Inner Peace) = honest learning + consistency of thought + full transfer

I am facing a re-framing of my work life, an upheaval seemingly from \”them\”. But you know, as I type, a new meaning to my Jerusalem experience of 35 years ago surfaces: it was the beginning of spiritual learning for me in this life. And I have been very consistent in that activity ever since.

Trust is the first trait of God\’s teachers. Then follows honesty, tolerance, gentleness, joy, defenselessness, generosity, patience, faithfulness and openmindedness. And ACIM offers explanations for each of these which differ somewhat from generally accepted connotations, Christianity, and even New Age pseudo-Buddhist preaching.

Wow, I am beyond pseudo-Buddhism! Totally cool!

I am still a runner. I am still an athlete; spiritual and physical and professional engineer. Even now, it is time for a short jog.

Marathoner

Today I ran 5.7 miles in the Seabrook area. I did it at just slightly under the 5 mph pace. My achilles did not hurt at all. Such a miracle a year from surgery.

Saturday, I was in this location and doing what these people are doing: running a marathon.

It is the long way home.

I ran a fantastic race; 12 min miles on average for 26.7 miles. The extra distance is because I didn\’t run the tangents of the course hence I ran more than 26.2, a marathon. During the race, I had to think about my body; how are it\’s knees and heels. This leads to thinking about my training situation in Houston and my training situation as a 56 year old. It turns out that training in the Houston heat is very slow, but when you do run a race in a drier climate, you ARE trained.

While I was running, I heard someone mention the inner person. To look for the inner person. This alone provides my reason for being here. I began to think about the inner person of the Clydesdale runner; and then about young obese Americans in general.

But as I got to 20 miles in 4 hours, an hour faster than any of my training runs, I entered the race mentally. I decided that my body was good and I would not give up. I kept my pace for the next 6 miles.

Keep it Simple. Let the Universe be in charge. Just do the miles. It is looks downhill, be careful. Don\’t give up on the uphills.

This weekend, running a marathon, I got to escape my real life for a few days.

United Airlines did a fantastic job. I worried all weekend about my Denver connection for the trip home. It only allowed 30 min and I feared they would give my seat away. But I came in on time, got my bag from the gate checck, walked 20 gates to the next airplane and walked on during the announcement saying I must be on board. I flew on a 787 Dreamliner. That is a nice plane.

My company is in a turmoil as the parent company has decided to IPO our division. I think most of us will have jobs, just not with our current company. We don\’t like that but who knows if it will turn out good or bad and for whom.

I continue to frame my life in A Course in Miracles. Company or no company, airlines on time or late, I simply must frame my life in ACIM. Right now I am reading chapter 4.II and I offer some statements about ego as described by ACIM:

  • Undermining the ego’s thought system
  • always evaluates itself in relation to other egos
  • continually preoccupied with the belief in scarcity
  • “Self-esteem” in ego terms means nothing more than that the ego has deluded itself into accepting its reality, and is therefore temporarily less predatory.
  •  always vulnerable to stress, a term which refers to any perceived threat to the ego’s existence
  • The ego literally lives by comparisons. 
  •  The ego’s ceaseless attempts to gain the spirit’s acknowledgement and thus establish its own existence are useless. Spirit in its knowledge is unaware of the ego.
  • While the ego is equally unaware of spirit, it does perceive itself as being rejected by something greater than itself.
  • The so-called “battle for survival” is only the ego’s struggle to preserve itself
  • The ego cannot survive without judgement
  •  Who is the “you” who are living in this world?

\”The ego must offer you some sort of reward for maintaining this belief. All it can offer is a sense of temporary existence, which begins with its own beginning and ends with its own ending. It tells you this life is your existence because it is its own. Against this sense of temporary existence spirit offers you the knowledge of permanence and unshakeable being. No one who has experienced the revelation of this can ever fully believe in the ego again. How can its meager offering to you prevail against the glorious gift of God?\”

Continually deflating my ego in order to experience my own spiritual inheritance is why I study ACIM. This is valuable to me.

Merton on Poverty

http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2014/09/my-love-of-what-i-own-may-be-killing.html

Therefore, if I don\’t pretend, like other people, to understand the war, I do know this much: that the knowledge of what is going on only makes it seem desperately important to be voluntarily poor, to get rid of all possessions this instant. I am scared, sometimes, to own anything, even a name, let alone coin, or share in the oil, the munitions, the airplane factories. I am scared to take a proprietary interest in anything, for fear that my love of what I own may be killing somebody somewhere.

–Thomas Merton, from a diary entry during WWII reflecting upon the connections between possessions and complicity in violence worldwide

Seabrook Hill Country

Seabrook has one hill. This one:

Can you barely see a 30 ft mound in the back ground? That is it.

I really had a fun run today. First, I slept incredibly late. No worries, the weather has broken. It may even have got down to 69F last night. So, I can go running later without so much problems with the heat. So I slept late and got in a leisurely spiritual study period.

I heard my mind say, I want to do 100 of something. I realized that with the cooler weather, I can shift my training back to doing laps in non-shady areas in preparation for Snowdrop Ultra 55 hour race.

Today was the first coolish day in at least 6 months. Temps in the 70s, cloudy sky, good north wind. I devised a very interesting run. Near this grassy mound is a 0.35 mile loop. So I walked part of the loop, diverted to the mound for two trips up and down it, jogged more of the loop, ran strides on the back stretch, hit the lap button, repeat.

30 laps. 60 trips up and down the mound. Not bad for a flatlander. I think my quads will inform me of that tomorrow.

I was thinking of my parents and my mother and my 2015 expedition. My parents used to go on week long burro trips with the Sierra Club. As a 6 year old, I didn\’t appreciate these trips very much. Looking back however, I can see my heritage. My parents must have had the idea of adventure and given it to me. My mother didn\’t live in a time when women ran marathons. So she rode horses. She was thwarted by alcoholism. I have a sober life so can do more physically.

It is awesome. I live in an age when many women are doing unbelievable things well into maturity.

Choosing Miles

Here\’s what my morning looked like:

I got up reasonably early, before 6. Then I did my spiritual study. Then I went to the park and jog walked for 14 miles. Two pauses for pit stops and one pause to talk to a friend. Then after the run, I went to the grocery store, so a few steps there.

I know a woman who is 10 years older than me who is totally jazzed because she finally got an entry to a 100 mile race she has wanted to do for years. I know another who is just as old who walks faster than I jog, and competes in multi-day events doing hundreds of miles. Is that not awesome to know these women exist?

Doing miles. What else would life be for?

Today I learned that the Nathan is still quite comfortable with an extra 20 oz bottle in the front pocket. Also that the Camelbak 2L bladder is better than the Nathan 2L bladder; and still works in the Nathan pack. Should I go to San Antonio for a race? Running and racing logistics are about all that is on my mind when I am doing a long run.

Are logistics spiritual? Who cares?

It is silly of me to even ask the question. It is a remnant of my Benedictine formation. See, in monastic formation I was taught about how great monastic life was because it was so focused on God. Then after getting kicked out of the monastery, I tried to continue to be as good as the nuns by continuing to find God in everything I did. So I had to make up stories about how everything is communion.

As I was running today, I again looked at how I feel about other people. I can still see the marked difference between pre-monastic and post-monastic me. So am I broken or evolved?

The nuns eat ice cream on Sunday night; but I did not when I was there.

Choices. No I don\’t want unhealthy and belittling American life. Here is an analogy. This morning, there were numerous people doing laps in the park (8 mile laps). Some running solo, some in twos or threes. The tri-athletes come flying in on their bikes, lock then at their cars and take off on foot. At one stretch near the school, I could see the full parking lot, hear the rap, and know that little guys were playing football. And many parents are cheering; with more than 30% of them diseased with obesity. Everybody is getting into a frenzy.

The runners are quiet. Often lost in their own little worlds for hours. But not alone as we wave at each other and sometimes stop to chat.

The runners are marginalized from the mass of football parents. It is another world. A choice.

I choose to be separate. I choose spirit. I choose a thought arrangement and physical world arrangement which nourishes spirit. I give space and time to spirit. Logistics gives space and time for spirit.

The day after I was asked to leave the convent, I drove to a nearby town to see about a car. I remember crying a pounding on the steering wheel and asking God why I had to leave the monastery. I clearly heard, \”Because you can.\” That is, I can arrange logistics and focus on God. I don\’t need a monastery for that.

I don\’t need to compare myself to nuns anymore. I have confidence in my spiritual journey. I say, \”My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me.\” And I say, \”Into Thy hands I commend my spirit.\”

And then I do miles. And miles and miles and miles and miles.