Letter 5/31/20

The most interesting, poignant, thing happened today. I was running in a small park which is out in the county, surrounded by fields. The park itself is very uncrowded almost all the time, which is why I like using it. Today I was running 2 mile laps and stopping at my car for drinks of water. The run was going very well and I was appreciating it.

During my last lap, I noticed a very very small fawn. It was all by itself and making this pathetic little bleating cry. Very small. No mama deer anywhere in sight. Oh my god. My heart was crushed. This poor little fawn had no mama. About that time, another car came by on the park road. It slowed down looking at the fawn, but also, I was out in the road too. They rolled down their window when they got to me. I asked if they had their phone could they call an animal shelter or something. I pointed out that the fawn had no mama. 
We were not able to call anyone right then, it being Sunday. I said that I would try to call later. As I jogged away, I noticed that the young man had got out of their car and was walking toward the fawn. I assume that they caught it, as it wasn\’t there when I drove by after I finished my lap. 
Such an amazing thing to see human hearts reach out to this tiny living being who would die without help. Oh, yeah. The people who stopped to help the fawn were black. 
I don\’t know much about love,but I think this was it.
In other news, I am just over half way in my virtual run across Tennessee. In the month of May, I jogged or walked 335.7 miles.  The winners of the race finished in 11 or 12 days (621 miles). And many of them are participating in a race back to the start. I know of a 73 year old lady who is planning to walk there and back within the 4 month allowed time frame. Me? Once, I get across Tennessee, I\’m done.
Here is a map of the course and my location. And, the race t-shirt came yesterday.

On Breath

On Monday of this week, a police officer squeezed the life out of George Floyd. George said, \”I can\’t breathe.\”

On Wednesday of this week, on a program called Fresh Air, I heard a man talking about breathing.
On Thursday, I changed my meditation practice to a focus on breathing. 5 counts in, hold 1, and 6 counts out. I experienced a quiet mind.
On Saturday of this week, Abraham Hicks discussed a connection between the focal point of George Floyd and Corona virus. They were pointing at blame. The Corona virus is very diffuse in its killing, but it has squeezed the life out of hundreds of thousands of people. Who do we blame for Corona? The killing of George is very specific, but still a squeezing of life out of a person. Certainly we can blame that policeman, or police in general. Our president is a blamer. 
But blaming someone for my life doesn\’t help it. Only I can help my life. I continue to breathe. I am reading a book on Zen meditation. Zazen is just a practice and each moment of life is part of the practice. There is no end or goal for the practice. Zazen is just practice. I keep breathing and doing my practice.
All of these deaths are about breathing. All of these souls went into ecstasy the instant after they gave up their non-physical life.
I take responsibility for my own life. I practice Zazen and breathe. I practice giving up my life.
I wear a face mask at work. It makes breathing more difficult. 

Letter 5/26/2020

Not a letter from \”stay at home,\” but a letter from the new normal.

Did I mention that I was in a virtual race across Tennessee? Of course I did. This activity occupies my daily life. I had a really nice 13.13 mile jog today. I felt good the whole time, fueled with enough Gatorade and gel. Shoes felt good. It was a light rain but warm. The grass was green. I had the bike path to myself. The area where I live has slightly rolling hills. Cow pasture lines the sides of the road, mostly. It is a place of expansiveness. It is a place where a runner can feel like they are going for ever.

On the way out, I noticed a pretty big snapping turtle near a fence along the road. It was too big to get through the fence, so I didn\’t worry about it. On the way back, I noticed a small snapper had just come through the fence onto the bike path. After the bike path is a 4 lane road with curbs. This little turtle had not business going on the road. So I picked it up, put it back through the fence and pointed it at the pond. I lectured it about going to the pond and not to the road. As I went a little further, I passed the big turtle again. It had been going along the fence, but would soon come to a gate in the fence where it might get under and get onto the road. Oh shoot! But I can\’t save this turtle.

Why do turtles need to cross the road? Why didn\’t these two turtles stay in their pond? Why does a human pretend to run across Tennessee? In the month of May, I have completed 287 miles of the race. I\’m not yet half way but getting close. Their are 19,000 humans and dogs running across Tennessee. I know two 70 something ladies who are running across Tennessee. One of them plans to do a double: after running across, she will run back (and get another award). Yes, the race offers this double option. The winners of the race finished the outward journey in 11 or 12 days. And most of them started back.

My new normal includes my part time gig at Starbucks. I wear a mask while on shift. Not fun, but doable. I can\’t really describe how good I feel after a fun shift at Starbucks. And how I appreciate the paycheck that I actually worked for.

My realization this week: I have spent most of my adult life trying to fix me. My emotional condition has improved alot over the past 34 years, but really, I am not broke. And the main thing I want to fix is \”being as good as some other person.\” I think I am ready to stop the self help. I really want to know who I am, but first, I have to stop trying to be someone else. My life is perfectly situated to just be me.

So I like running across Tennessee! So what if it is an entirely stupid or useless thing to do. I like making coffee, simple work of my hands. So what if I am no longer one of the knowledge workers sitting at home with their lap top or only make $10/hour. I can\’t meditate very well. In my estimation, my mind has never been quiet, despite 30 years of trying to make it so. So what. So what if I never achieve anything.

Well, I do have a legacy: that girl who runs, and people like what I say in AA meetings. That is about it. When I quit Starbucks, I\’ll be remembered as that old lady who used to work here.

Map of my long run.

A map of the course across Tennessee showing my position at mile 287:

Gotta go. It is time for Terrie Gross and weight lifting.

Stress Relief

Pretty much everybody nowadays is picking a path of least resistance to relieve their fears of corona virus. Only those who are for sure steeped in well being, or have created a future, or are in alignment with their inner being, are not afraid of the virus. The president of the United States is a man who is afraid. His path of least resistance to deal with his fear is to take a drug with no known effect on corona virus, but since he believes it will help him, the idea will work for him. We get what we believe. We are all doing something which we believe in.

I\’m running across Tennessee and working at Starbucks and escaping into fiction. I\’m doing my morning meditation, journaling and pre-paving well being for each day. I do all these things regardless of any virus. My activity choices are things I want to do, and would be doing without any corona fears. My choices give me alignment with my inner being and well being for a reality. No just well being but prospering and thriving.

Speaking of thriving. It is May 20. In the past 20 days, I have completed 232.6 miles across Tennessee. Only 389 to go. Here is a course map showing where I was as of yesterday:

Today I had a delightful long run. It was awesome to spend nearly 4 hours in a forest.

This run was an out and back of 16.3 miles. I carried my hydro-pak and used 4 gels. I did NOT get any blisters. Along the way, someone had written encouraging words on the bike path like \”You are loved,\” and \”You can do it!\” It was cool, like I received a message from my inner being. I have another day off tomorrow, so plenty of time for more miles.

In my post lock down job at Starbucks, I find myself incredibly appreciative and energized. In fact, I\’ve never loved life so much as I do now.

Yesterday I heard Dan Harris interviewed by Terrie Gross on Fresh Air. I learned about Loving Kindness meditation. And so when I go to bed at night, I do the loving kindness meditation until I fall asleep. So wonderful.

Mile 160

The Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee started May 1. I had 4 months to complete the 622 mile course. As of today, I\’ve completed 160 miles. That\’s great for me especially considering I went back to my part time job on the fifth. Here is a map of the course with my approximate location.

I\’ve enjoyed my time at work this past week. I like being back among the other baristas.

I\’ve continued to be astounded by the teaching of Abraham Now during this time of pandemic.

Lately, I\’ve re-watched the documentaries a woman made of her Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail. She was an electrical engineer who couldn\’t stand her cubicle so cashed out her retirement and went on these adventures. I can relate to the gut reason I left my career: to get out of the office. My adventures are not the same as hiking the AT, but they are my life\’s adventures. I\’ve hiked my life daily. My adventures are more cerebral.

Speaking of cerebral, I mentioned before that I was reading a difficult book. So difficult I had to read the first few chapters 3 times to figure out the point of the book. I finally got it figured out and could go on to why I picked up that book anyway: it had some things to say about Jesus which I desperately wanted to know. The book is not at all about any virus since it was written in 1973. It is about the change in consciousness which Jesus brought us. A total change in perspective of God than we had before. But most of us, almost all of us, especially religious institutions,  haven\’t taken Jesus up on his teaching. And so the violence escalates in the communities. The solution to our virus problem is complete and utter non-violence, total discontinuation of pushing against anything or anyone.

But at any time and at any moment, we can stop pushing, stop resistance, start appreciation, start mercy. Join the Kingdom of God instead.

Letter 5/9/20

Wow, I had such a great time today. I WENT TO WORK!!!!   And I loved saying hi to all our returning customers. I got to be the person who took orders at the drive through and I could recognize the particular drinks people were ordering, so I would call them by name and welcome them back. It was such fun.

I had another realization as I took my walk this afternoon. It is sort of complicated. But when I left my career, I received a perception of life that I wanted but couldn\’t put into words. Part of what I wanted was freedom, and that is pretty easy to see. I\’m not locked into a chemical plant 5 days a week. Harder to see is related to voluntary downward mobility. My new realization is that I received \”life on the edge.\” Life more on the edge of uncertainty, and that makes it more thrilling for me, more adventurous, more open to creativity and innovation.  I didn\’t realize until today how much I actually wanted to walk on the edge of civilization, not in the secure salary zone. I want less insulation and more reality. No, three hots and a cot are not guaranteed to me. I live in such a way that other things can happen, and by my choice. Downward mobility has made me richer in a way.

It is not that I gave up safety, but that I transferred my safety to a different source. I actually walk with a higher power instead of a full wallet. I can see this reality actualizing. Some people work hard to move up the ladder towards luxury. My goal has been to move down it. I want to be on the front line.

In other news, I\’ve walked 117 miles of 622 miles in my virtual race across Tennessee:

In the picture, you can see the whole course, green circle and the start and blue circle at the end. I\’ve drawn a black circle showing approximately where I am. Approaching Selmer. This project, virtually walking across Tennessee, actually captures my attention and imagination and energy. Hence, even though I worked on my feet this morning, I still got in 9 miles of walking.

Letter 5/5/2020 – last day of corona-cation

I have been participating in \”stay at home\” for 47 days. Tomorrow that ends as I return to my part time job. I accomplished what I came here to do, that is run, lift weights, reflect, write, get ready for the new normal. I believe the new normal is ready to debut.

The new normal is to wear a new article of clothing: the face mask. To continue to virtually plod across Tennessee. To continue with my simple life style. To continue to improve my conscious contact with that delicious inner consciousness. I have life. I love planet earth. I\’m learning to love others more and more. I appreciate many many more things. I have the ability to choose feeling good about myself. I have the awareness of when my thoughts are resistant and not helping me live in joy. I feel like I\’ve given up a life of complaining or resenting. I believe my life is accomplishing it\’s intended purpose when I choose to feel good about my existence, and ignore the little ego voice thinking I should have accomplished something great. I have tremendous well-being. So much well being than others can\’t understand it, though for me it is normal.

During this corona-cation, I learned how to bake potatoes in the micro-wave. I\’ve returned to my childhood love of drinking cold milk right from the jug. I have a new 100 mile belt buckle.

Either a person gets sick or they don\’t. My mother had cancer three times and attempted suicide twice and never got sober. I have lived totally on the other side of these coins. Sober, healthy, enjoying my ride through planet earth. There were and are a tremendous number of choices and going along with the choices that bring about the joy ride through planet earth. I guess I\’ve been doing it.

I have a future.

Today\’s run:

Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee progress: up to mile 69 of 622:

Here is the whole course map:

Letter 5/3/2020

It is mid-day on  Sunday. I finished a magnificent 10 mile run, of decent pace, in a nearby park. Now, I am ready to do some deep work for an hour or so. I have been pretty much alone for 45 days, but return to work in 3 days.

At the start of this rest period from society, I had a vision of spending lots of time each morning reading spiritual material, looking out my back window, pondering deep thought, running lots of miles and lifting weights. The corona virus is only an indirect actor in my reality. Well being and ongoing fitness are whats really on my mind. That is pretty much what has been happening.

A few days, I had a moment of conscious alignment with my inner being, or enlightenment as some would say. I finalized my Do Not Resuscitate document, and immediately went for a walk. The day was a beautiful spring day filled with flowering trees, green grass and blue sky. The exact scenery which I love about Missouri. I thought, \”I might be living my final few days on planet earth.\” And, \”I love planet earth.\” And in that moment, I knew that my entire life had been joyful. I mean entire. Even the seemingly difficult periods were joyful. There was never a time when my life had not been joy. It was the first time that I ever whole-heartedly and truthfully loved plant earth and how good it has been for me to be here. It was as if my life had been one big fun ride down a slide. And if I left planet earth it would only to be to run around to the top of the slide in order to take the ride again. This doesn\’t mean that I am planning on dying. It means that for the first time, I love my life.

Will I be different after 7 weeks of solitude? I won\’t know until I got out and see. Other than work, I don\’t know when I will re-engage socially.

My plan for the future is: Continue to participate in receiving Abraham Now (19 hours of 40 done at the moment); to re-join Starbucks; to continue to plod virtually across Tennessee. I\’m at mile 41 of 622, just past Memphis.

And practice joy. Well being is in the mind of the believer. I certainly have plenty of that.

Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee

Today, May 1, I began my virtual journey across Tennessee. I hope to arrive at the end of this journey before August 31. So you see, this is a long term commitment.  I believe that looking towards the future brings that future into existence.

Here is a map of the race course:

I went 15.15 miles today. Here is a snap shot of where I m on the course, the middle of nowhere:

Here are my Strava records, I went for two runs:

During my first run I was along the Missouri River. This water that passed me by will eventually make it to the Mississippi River, and pass by the place where the virtual run starts.

Hummm… This is a long virtual race. 625 miles. Will I post a daily update? No, probably not. There are 13,777 participants at the moment. Some of the money goes to food banks. 5 minutes later 13,811. Seriously, maybe every runner in the world is signing up.