Letter 4/5/20

In January, I signed up for the Oz marathon. Rats, it was cancelled and they moved us to a virtual race. The rules for the virtual race are nil: you can take however long you want to run 26.2 miles, and they mail your shirt and medal. I found out today, virtual marathons are not for me at this time.

Well, I wasn\’t rested or tapered like I would be for a real marathon.

So today was either a kick ass training run or a virtual marathon DNF. Because, when I get to 22 miles, I always hurt. In a real race I would finish it. In a virtual race? Meh, lets go eat and finish the other 4 miles tomorrow.

Oops!

I discovered my new favorite fuel: vanilla flavored Carnation Instant Breakfast. Mix two packets with some water and some whole milk. Delightful to chug and keep running.

I am also signed up for a virtual 100 mile run. But it is 10 days to finish 100 miles and you get a belt buckle, hoody, and t-shirt. I thought the buckle was cool looking and would be a good thing to remember 2020 with. I know I can cover 100 miles in 10 days without too much stress.

Starting yesterday morning, there was a very interesting virtual race that got underway. The Quarantine Backyard Ultra had people run 4.17 miles every hour. It was recorded on zoom. They also recruited some elite runners to participate. It is fascinating to watch this race on YouTube. It is now about 35 hours in (145.95 miles) and still 15 people are going. Very inspirational. Some of the guys are running on treadmills so you can watch them all the time and they look really good. the winner is the last man standing. The race goes on until all but 1 person does the last lap.

So, two of my days off work wasted on running, my own and others!

I\’m loving my corona vacation, but it matters alot where you are. In my county, only 23 cases and that number has held steady for days. Across the river, 170 cases with 5 or so deaths. Adjoining counties in Kansas, hundreds of cases. The two nurses who live next door did not want any new face masks.

Self Isolation Perspective

I have been in isolation since I left my job 14 days ago (not including today). Yesterday, my employer extended the pay period to May 3. So I still have 31 precious days. My isolation is in a rhythm. I speak occasionally to store clerks and I nod hello to people on the trail. An occasional text. Conversations are very few, maybe 3 in the past 14 days. Despite these pandemic times, I enter the silence of isolation with a quiet mind and the ability to maintain inner peace. This quiet mind stands out as a difference from other times when I have been unemployed. The occasional intrusion of bad news or frightening headlines gets fed into the stream of well being, which flows quietly through me, and I watch it float away.

I\’ve wanted to be a hermit for a long time, since I learned about solitaries in the monastery. Right now is the first time in 61 years that I have achieved such emptiness as I have now. I don\’t need to worry about getting a job. I\’m not going to class. There are no AA meetings. An empty life. I am coming to see how I am in my natural state, outside of societal programming or interaction.

I like sleeping, morning coffee, the view from my kitchen table, the apple blossoms popping out, the forests in which I walk or jog , lifting weights, eating well and little, spiritual reading with meditation and writing.

I learned a new word today: elision. Elision is a deletion, like elision of my social life. Does this leave me with only my soul for company? Yes, I think. My ego doesn\’t really have any plans or things to compete for or people to push against. And I feel at peace with that, surprisingly enough. My ego has little to say.

I\’ve wondered if I should impose some more aggressive schedule on myself. So far, I\’ve let the natural rhythms exist.My ego wants a schedule to show that I\’m not wasting my life by merely existing. Using my isolation to merely exist, to commune only with my soul, cannot be shown to be productive.

I\’ve always wanted to know the value of \”just being,\” mere existence. What does it mean to be human if you are not engaged but isolated? Does my life only mean something if I achieved worldly notoriety?

I am uplifted and inspired by this intense focus this morning on communion with my soul. I sometimes call my soul the Christ within, even though the word Christ comes with a lot of religious baggage. The word Christ within came to me from contemplatives of times past. I allow the Christ within to be free of religion and just represent the inner truth of my human soul. I feel thrilled by this open door to my inner being.