I Can Hardly Wait…..

…. to do it again.

Whats that?

Another marathon!

Yup, as hard as last Sunday\’s race was, part of my brain yearns to do it again. Lucky for me, I am at least going to do another marathon this week.

This week, it will be flat. But wind and rain look to be in the picture.

Why do people become addicted to marathons?

I am currently signed up for 4, and own airplane tickets to get to a 5th. In my mind, I hope to complete a quad in July.

When I think of last Sunday\’s marathon and the hills, that is what I lust for. Not the swag or the bling. The experience: what it felt like to climb steep hills and limp down steep hills in the last few miles of a 26 mile race.

Well, heres to more marathon experiences. I can be as slow as I am and still get the experience.

Hardest Marathon Ever

My 41st life time marathon:  Waco Miracle Match Marathon

I got to Waco on Saturday afternoon. I walked around the starting area some. Waco seemed a sleepy town even though it is home to Baylor University. It is an old town, sporting the ornate courthouse.

Here is a map of the course.
You start off with a little bit of wandering around the Baylor campus. They have a brand new foot ball stadium which even has a harbor. Baylor is a Christian school, assuming Presbyterian since they have a John Knox Center. Many of the buildings appear like churches with Texas stars on them. Add in many ROTCs manning aid stations and intersections and I was able to describe the four most important principles of American Life. In this order: Texas, Football, Army, Christianity.
Ok, it was early. I started an hour before the main start. About 30 of us were there. One man who looked about 80 sidled up to me to chat. He was a little shorter and had a face like a rock and a hump on his back. He called himself Tortoise. I think he beat me.
At about 5.3 miles, we came up from the river to near the starting area. A band was playing. The regular race had started. There was an aid station that nobody had really used. I took a cup of gatorade. After drinking it, I slammed the empty cup on the ground and then raised my arms high. First one! Some guy watching me figured it out and started laughing.
We then spent about 4 miles going up Austin avenue. Some nice old houses here. We continued to wander up through neighborhoods. Did I mention up? Where did these hills come from? Its Texas and Waco had looked flat driving in.
About 12 or 13 miles, I was thinking how wonderful marathons are and how I just need to do them. Then, this particular marathon went to hell. Then real hills started, I thought. No, the real hills were these awful steep mothers between miles 21 to 25. Who puts 60% road grades at the end of a marathon? And then line the course with quotations about suffering every 20 feet!
Here is a picture of Lake Waco about mile 15.

Here is a selfie at Waco Golf Course about mile 14, the first serious down hill followed by the first serious up hill. But these were pissers compared to the bloody hills at miles 21,22,23, and 24.

I finished in 5:58. Here is the really great embroidered jacket I got for finishing. I\’m never taking it off.

Are Prayers Answered?

My point at this moment: reality looks like the energy of the prayer.

I guess that is a metaphysic-y answer.

ACIM lesson: today the peace of God envelops me; and I forget all things except His Love.

I did my morning meditation as usual today. All is quiet in my mind. I finish off packing for my overnight trip to run a marathon. I look at the Houston Transtar map to see what traffic is like. It is appalling. TexDOT has seen fit to completely close several freeways for construction. All of them seem to be in the north west area; where I need to go to go to Waco.

Consternation! I look at that map and at google maps and finally decide on a route.

I go to the AA meeting which is on the 11th step. I sit there and listen to people talk. I think about my own life long struggle to know God. I think about my current practice of reading Q\’s gospel out loud to myself every night and then practicing silent meditation. I think about my recent reading of the beginning of the Big Book and its instance that we are hopeless apart from divine help and this is for everything about our lives. As if prayer is all there is!

I whip out (from my back pocket) my piece of paper with the lesson for today. I think about getting out of Houston. I think about the peace of God as my reality. I felt peace as my reality. I remembered yesterday\’s realization that \”this IS my life.\” I came to understand that no matter what traffic was like, it is my higher power\’s life.

I get in the car and start driving. It turns out, I hardly met a spec of traffic. Unknowingly, I had picked mainly toll roads, and gone a little bit long around; but I went pretty much 80 mph all the way to Waco.

During the trip, I also looked at my piece of paper and imagined feeling the peace.

Arriving in Waco, I quickly saw the convention center where packet pickup is. There was a Marriott across the street that looked like a handy place to park. As I got out of the car, I had an idea. I went in to the Marriott and told them I was booked at another Marriott 8 miles away but that this Marriott was exactly where I wanted to be. Did they have a room? Could they cancel my other reservation without penalty and book me in there? They did, as well as give me the same rate.

OMG! I am ensconced in a hotel across the street from the start line.

I wanted to experience \”enveloped by the peace of God today.\” I didn\’t ask God for anything material. I wanted to experience the peace of God and this peaceful reality is what I perceived. It seems completely plausible that me and my higher power created a reality, or that peace was always there but I perceived it today, or what I perceived was my dream of peace.

Reality could be an illusion and it could be malleable. Or perception is in the mind of the perceiver, but what is perceived doesn\’t actually exist. Only peace exists, the rest of what I perceived is my dream.

No bull:

Me vs My Life

I finally had a moment of realization this morning. Years of meditation and spiritual study may or may  not have helped; but in a moment of total ordinary consciousness, I got it.

\”Me\” as stated in the title of this blog, is my self centered ego consciousness. \”My Life\” is what I now understand to be my higher consciousness. And I heard it as well as entered it today.

Its like this. I was reading a portion of the book Alcoholics Anonymous this morning, pages 62 and 63. It talks about how self centeredness creates all our problems; and that we can\’t be less self centered on our own power. Self will is of no use. Only a higher power can help.  Then, I did a few minutes of silent meditation. Then I made my lunch and was getting ready to leave for work.

I was thinking about how I haven\’t had a life. All I\’ve ever done was work. I was having an imaginary conversation with my boss explaining how I don\’t have enough vacation and never get to have my life. Suddenly, however, I heard another mental voice say, \”This is my life.\” Suddenly, it seemed that my higher consciousness had wanted the life my ego wants to get away from. I experienced my higher consciousness. It was vast.

This had nothing to do with oneness or love. It just had to do with realizing my higher consciousness IS living the life it wants. I can surrender and stop fighting. In stopping fighting, I give up ego self centeredness. In giving up, I gain that vast consciousness which is the content with my life.

What if I saw my life from this higher perspective: alcoholic home, several childhood trips around the world, horses, mountain cabins, Israel, men, monasteries, chemical plants, marathons.

Realizing the difference between ego consciousness and higher consciousness is great. I hope it gives me more access to higher consciousness each day.

The gurus and authors have said this too. But it was always something achieved outside of real life. Something obtained in a monastery, ashram or retreat. Mine is in the middle of a chemical plant.

I am really \”My Life\” not \”me.\”

Marathons

It is January 2015. I have completed 40 marathons in this life, spread out over many years. In 2013 I did 9 of them. In 2014, post surgery, I did 5. I am currently signed up for 4. I am plotting and wondering. Can I get to 50 this year? It would seem so. But really what I want to do is get to 50 in July at Iranmarathons.com multi-day event. The RD has asked to provide hoopla for my marathon mile stone.

I am for sure hooked on marathons but I don\’t know why. When I was a nun, I\’d go for runs in a skirt. We had hermit days, renewal days and free days. I would always go for long runs on those days. \”Long\” at that time was 7 to 10 miles. I would dream of somehow running a marathon even though I was a nun.

I didn\’t say \”Fuck\” at that time. I say it now unless I\’m at work. At work, and some other places, I say \”WTF.\”

You would think after my Snowdrop failure that I would be done with miles. But it is the Gulf coast in January, a beautiful day and my legs feel good. The fuel belt bottles are filled. As soon as the rice cooker gets done, I am out the door.

Marathons; Fuck Yeah!

The Mystical Theology

by Pseudo-Dionysius, Chapter 1

[Spirit],
Lead us up beyond unknowing and light,
     up to the farthest, highest peak
          of mystic scripture,
     where the mysteries of God\’s Word
           lie simple, absolute and unchangeable
           in the brilliant darkness of a hidden silence.
     Amid the deepest shadow
          they pour overwhelming light
          on what is most manifest.
     Amid the wholly unsensed and unseen
          they completely fill our sightless minds
          with treasures beyond all beauty.

For this I pray…my advice to you …is to leave behind you everything perceived and understood, everything perceptible and understandable, all that is not and all that is, and, with you understanding laid aside, to strive upward as much as you can toward divine union with him who is beyond all being and knowledge. By an undivided and absolute abandonment of yourself and everything, shedding all and freed from all, you will be uplifted to the ray of the divine shadow which is above everything that is.

Drop the Rocks Day

It is Sunday. Normally I go running on Sundays. But it is cold and wet outside. I will go out for a bit, in a bit. But I decided, there is no need for me to do any set amount of miles. I can burn the calories for today quite easily inside. Drop the rocks.

So I spent more time on spirituality. It occurred to me that my daily spiritual study is pure enjoyment for me.

Meditating on this:

Matthew 5 New International Version (NIV)

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23237A" data-link="(A)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.9em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>

He said:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23238B" data-link="(B)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23239C" data-link="(C)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23240D" data-link="(D)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23241E" data-link="(E)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23242F" data-link="(F)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
Blessed are the pure in heart,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23243G" data-link="(G)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
    for they will see God.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23243H" data-link="(H)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
Blessed are the peacemakers,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23244I" data-link="(I)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
    for they will be called children of God.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23244J" data-link="(J)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23245K" data-link="(K)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23245L" data-link="(L)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23246M" data-link="(M)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”> persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23246N" data-link="(N)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”> 12 Rejoice and be glad,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23247O" data-link="(O)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”> because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23247P" data-link="(P)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23248Q" data-link="(Q)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
14 “You are the light of the world.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23249R" data-link="(R)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”> A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23250S" data-link="(S)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”> 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23251T" data-link="(T)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”> that they may see your good deeds<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23251U" data-link="(U)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”> and glorify<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23251V" data-link="(V)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>your Father in heaven.

This Sober Life

Monday is my birthday: 56 years old. Today I jogged a half marathon. I hadn\’t planned that. I just went to the park with some drink and my garmin and started jogging. It was going well and the rain held off so I kept going. This took about 3 hours.

Later, I hope to do a 56 durability workout. That is laps in my house which involves going up and down stairs plus: on the first floor I\’ll do mountain climbers, KB swings, TRX bicep curls and TRX front rows; and on the second floor I\’ll do tricep dips, shoulder press, calf raise, and pushups. I\’ll do 56 crunches too.

But why do I say sober life? Sobriety and the 12 Steps are a way of life. I have been sober most of my adult life. This week, I got to do Step 10 (Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it). I privately lost my temper over a stubborn colleague. When I saw my boss, I said I needed to get that colleague away from me and that I would refuse to work with him. Of course, my boss wasn\’t too concerned because everyone gets mad at this colleague. My bosses problem is he was counting on me to do some work in a certain area. But, he let it go.

But as a sober person, my own anger (translated thoughts yelling at me about how bad this colleague was and fear of my boss) continued on in my head for the evening. It fired up again in the morning as I sat to do my spiritual work. I didn\’t know what I would do when I got to work. I prayed for knowledge of His will for me and the power to carry it out (Step 11). I prayed for an intuitive thought or decision. I prayed for my colleague\’s health prosperity and happiness. Then I became quiet.

Then a thought came: I sincerely wanted to be grateful for the work given me to do. Would I like to be a part of the problem or a part of the solution? I would like to be of service. I would like to act to good purpose. This meant approaching my boss, admitting my fault and asking how I could best serve him. (My boss is and always has been very easy going). I had genuine concern that my boss had access to my skills because he relies on me to solve problems not create them.

I did get a chance to talk to him that day. He had not noticed I was upset the day before. He was happy to give me back the job I said I wouldn\’t do. He also said he would tell other colleague to not interfere with my activities. He said this because he knows other colleague would hinder my progress and I didn\’t need that.

The spiritual part of this was genuine desire for a feeling of gratitude, the intention to be of service, and the gift of an intuitive thought. This situation a gift of prayer.

This is how I do my life. As I look at my career, I know it is not really going to advance any more. I am a technical expert and at the highest point without being in management. I have no desire to manage people. But I still have a decade of going to work. How will I survive that? Gratitude. The idea that I am serving and and grateful for the opportunity.

As time goes on, I am so grateful for my sober life. It has made my life bearable. But the undercurrent of spirit is what I live on.

Tomorrow might be rainy and cold. I don\’t know that many miles will be done.

Thank You Sargent Miller

Yesterday was an exciting day. I got my picture taken with this police officer:

Thank you Sargent Miller. Because of this, I got $20 off my entry fee for the Baytown Jail Break half marathon. It was fun to hunt down a cop and get a picture. Further, Sargent Miller was helping some other people when I drove up to the police station and he showed lots of kindness.

I am in a happy place with my running. I am not signed up for any ultras, or injured from my 45 mile race last week; hence my speeds are creeping up. I feel good.

Today\’s Course in Miracles lesson: \”Eternal Holiness abides in me.\” To which I add: Stately Silent Love has set me free.This morning I was once again reading Emmett Fox. His recommendation was that everyone needs to do their own spiritual work; but practice of the presence of God is best. In His presence, I remember service. I am much happier under this attitude and outlook on life.

I thought of the Benedictine \”school of the Lord\’s service\” as I punched in the key code for the community gate this morning, going out for my run. I thought, \”How can anyone not realize that all of life is a school for the Lord\’s service. Maybe being in a convent is actually a hindrance.\” As I ran I thought about a meeting I have today with a long time friend, maybe the last time I see him. He is Catholic. thinking of him lead me to thinking about The Church and how I can\’t ethically support the hierarchy. Mixed in is musing about how most Catholics think that all is good based on the public image of Pope Francis. Ummm…..not…..so not.

But then again, I don\’t think most Christians follow Jesus. Since leaving the convent, I\’ve had access to much scriptural research of all varieties. So I can\’t possibly support any denominational church or religion.

All of these heady thoughts during a pre-dawn run on El Lago.

Practice the presence is the best I can do.