Most of my life was spent trying to gain money and a social position. This way of life is a survival life. Paying off a house and gaining a suitable spot on the corporate hierarchy isn’t really a life. It is survival by American standards. On the side, I studied spirituality: self-help books and meditation. And then I left my career. Without a full-time job, it became time to find out who I really am and what I want from life.
I’m trying to live life with a consciousness other than the survival one. I’m trying to live life on a different basis than the basis that sought satisfaction of needs and emotional thrills. I want to live life on a spiritual basis with a spiritual consciousness. And so, I feel in conflict with my American conditioned self that habitually seeks material satisfaction and self-importance. In America, a society of addicts and specialness, I have no contribution to make except self-abandonment.
A spiritual awakening is to align with a love consciousness, my ultimate inner truth. A consciousness of love is a consciousness of inherent worth, physical simplicity, and existential being. When I was a nun, I viewed the corporate hierarchy within the monastery. I didn’t want to be a white-collar nun, directing all the other nunny-bunnies. I wanted to be a blue-collar nun, a silent pillar of prayerful strength but not self-importance. Being the blue-collar worker in my own life means that I have selected love as the basis of my being, the basis of who I am. No longer is seeking status the basis of my life. I have the luxury of being a blue-collar person with the consciousness of love.
Stop a moment. In the silence, regain the essential human dignity, that powerful consciousness of love with which you were born. This alone, that comes from the inside, will sustain you. To be awareness without context, that merely exists, is a difficult thing to achieve. It is from the existential being that I can ask for the consciousness of love and love comes. I go to work and clean shelves. How very Zen of me. Nothing is left. Shit.
Have I mentioned lately how much brainpower is devoted to thinking about my next race? Most of it. Hardly anything else gets any focus. I’m excited, with less than a month to go.
The training block is almost over. The last long run is scheduled for March 2. This day is chosen because the temperatures for the next 9 days are a bit cold to spend more than 5 hours outside. Yesterday I got in 21 miles. Today I got in 16 miles. The two days of long runs help a lot with confidence for completing 50 miles in less than 24 hours. I also dialed in which shoes I’ll be using. I’ve ordered necessary supplies like protein drinks and KT Tape. I’ve been looking at my running log for the past few years and determined that I have completed enough (11) long runs this January and February to consider myself trained.
Behind the scenes are things I don’t talk about very much. Like weight lifting and core strengthening. Pretty much 5 or 6 days a week, I do a short weight workout which touches on arms and shoulders plus core. These workouts are only about 20 minutes. I have 4 different routines. It doesn’t seem like much compared to people who go to a gym and spend an hour several times a week. However, my stomach and arms are pretty well ripped. At work, I get to squat a lot, so no need for squat exercises. At work, I spend a 5-hour shift on my feet most workdays, I also spend two hours doing exercise on workdays. So, I spend a lot of time in motion. This time on feet counts for ultrarunning training.
Also behind the scenes is nutrition. I’ve been mostly plant-based for a long time. In the past month, spending most of my working day in the vitamin department of a health food store, I’ve shifted a little on supplements. My vitamins are now liquids derived from whole foods. I get fulvic minerals. I’ve added a daily tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar. I’ve increased the amount of collagen I take. I eat a salad almost every night.
My goal in life is to still be completing ultra-marathons when I’m 80. It might not be fast but I will still be there. I know people who do this now. I have idols. I’ve already surpassed more than 90 percent of my demographic at physical fitness. Yes, I retired so I could go running more.
I jog/walked 22 miles today and I spent 5 hours doing it. It takes about 4 to 4.5 hours to get into sore feet territory, but it only takes about 15 miles to get into mental training territory. My brain likes to stop running around 15 miles. It is very easy to run 15 miles and doesn’t take that long. But going longer means my brain starts to come up with excuses for why I should stop running. Ignoring the excuses and continuing to log miles is my mental training. Today, when my brain wanted to quit, I asked it, “If not today, when?”
Sure there is an amazing westerly gale blowing. And yes, I didn’t like the wind in my ears so I kept my cap on. It was very warm but still not that warm so long sleeves stayed on. My knees were very happy and pain free. No blisters. There was nothing wrong with me. So I ask my brain, if not now, when else would we get a 22 miles training run in? Why not now?
In a month, 4 weeks, I’m going in a 24-hour race. I hope to complete 50 miles within the 24 hour period. I need to do some long miles and mental training to be successful. My brain needs to remember that I don’t hurt that bad. Keep going because nothing is broken, just sore. This is what 22 miles feels like. No need to panic.
Running ultra-marathons is difficult for me mostly because of my brain. At some point, I usually do start to believe it and quit. My brain has told me an incredible number of lies in my lifetime. In fact, my brain is usually lying by telling me what I can’t do, for various false reasons. It is a wonder that I am as successful as I am. I guess I persevere and endure just enough to accomplish a few things.
For the last 30 years of my life, I sat and watched a bush outside the kitchen window. Not a single bucket list item was accomplished. No turmoil was created.
I was aware of time. It steadily passed. The sand steadily fell through the hourglass.
Did I waste my life because I didn’t “do” anything? Is that the core fear of the modern person? I am guilty of not doing.
My liturgy was watching the birds, or watching the leaves, or watching the snow melt. In this, I saw The Universe. We watched together.
The Stream of Consciousness flows steadily through me. The stream of Consciousness flows slowly, nearly imperceptible through the silence of my being. The stream is vast and so is my heart. The rocks don’t matter at all. My breathing, in and out, is the great bellows causing The Universe to slowly turn.