The Goal of Life

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.

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Training Update

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.

If Not Today, When?

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.

4.75 laps of the park

The Stream of Consciousness

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.

This is what is necessary in life: breathing.

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A Good Life

Celebrate the accomplishments. Celebrate your life, no matter what.

If you watch YouTube, you might get the idea that getting a job and working for a living isn’t valuable as a lifestyle. Yes, I went to college and spent many years going to work at an engineering job. It wasn’t glamorous or high flying, but it paid well and that was worth it for me. Was I a prisoner of society since I basically went along with the program?

I have arrived at the age of sixty-three, more than three years into post-career life, with enough money for a roof over my head and food in my belly. Yes, the forty hour a week life of work was apparently less exciting than hiking the Appalachian Trail. I squeezed my joy into the weekends. It worked out ok. One year, even though I worked full time, I completed 22 marathons. No, I didn’t hike the Appalachian Trail. So what?

I worked with a lot of men who did their jobs for over 30 years. They didn’t buy into the line that working for a living is less than being an artist or a through hiker. No one, except perhaps Jordan Peterson, is making YouTube videos about the greatness of working for a living. I have a friend who is debilitated by COVID. She was thrilled to get a position where she could work from home; so she could feel like a contributing member of society. Her story is not on YouTube. Being a contributing member of society is not on YouTube.

Living in a van, hiking a long trail. These are dreams. Living in a van or through hiking is someone else’s dream, well packaged on YouTube to seem attractive. But these were not my dream. The inside of the dream is what is important. What is anyone looking for in their dreams? How do you want to feel? My dream was a simple lifestyle with plenty of space and time for running, and God showing up in the jogging. I got it.

My life is not only good enough but great. My dreams are simple and so I am living them. I also don’t need to run away from society by living in a van. Wearing society loosely is fine with me. I spent 38 years as an engineer. Don’t throw that away because some YouTuber appears to have a better life. They don’t. It is far easier to have a salary than to make money on YouTube. And remember, the YouTuber isn’t showing you the hard times, the boring times, or the small checking account.

Be proud of your job. Do it well. Reap the rewards. Enjoy your weekends. Save your money and get out as soon as possible.

Longview Half Marathon

In Honor of Mary

As I mentioned in the last blog, I am doing Inner Child listening. This morning, writing my morning pages, https://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/ , I came upon a startling memory. A memory of Mary. Mary was a black lady who worked as a maid at our house every morning. In considering family systems, I had completely forgotten her.

Our family lived in a big house in the East Bay hills of the San Francisco Bay Area. At that time, Oakland was a segregated city. The black people lived in slums by the bay. The white people lived more towards the hills. The rich white people lived in the hills. We were rich white people and we had a maid, Mary. Mary worked for us for decades. I remember that she still worked for my mother after I got out of college at the age of 23. I moved away and my parent’s house burned down in a fire that typically happened in the East Bay hills. Whatever happened to Mary? When I moved away, I didn’t give her a thought, at least as I remember. Was she the one to deal with my mother after I left? My mother was the alcoholic in my family and never in recovery.

This morning, I had a memory of me as a child. I was sitting naked on my bed, knees up and wrapped by my arms, while Mary sewed up a hole in my swimsuit. It struck me that Mary probably cared about me. Yes, she was an employee, but a woman, or any person, cannot help but care. This morning, I realized that Mary had a role to play in our family system. She was providing for some of my needs, even though I didn’t realize it. She was providing for my mother’s needs, though this was not my business. The adult me today can begin to piece together some of the various pieces of what Mary must have been doing in our family. I, as a child, had tremendous support from this black woman even though I didn’t know it. Mary probably knew the truth of things in our alcoholic household. Who was Mary really? Why did she work for us as a maid instead of somewhere else? I will never know, but I send blessings and appreciation into the non-physical realm right now.

My take away is: wow! I was cared for all along. Someone did love me.

In the overall metaphysical scheme of things, it is amazing how the Spirit of the Universe can provide for us. Expand the picture of being provided for and a picture of a loving spirit emerges. The Great Consciousness which exists provides and loves. We can tap in consciously.

The Snow Storm

I have recently been paying a great deal of attention to my Inner Child, otherwise known as my True Self. This attention has encompassed meditation and writing and allowing her to speak. I’ve been trying to listen. I grew up in what is considered a dysfunctional family, with one alcoholic parent. Times were difficult.

A persistent memory is one of a little girl alone in a snow storm. My parents liked to ski, and from the age of 4 or 5, I was taken along and dumped in ski school while my parents hit the slopes. Imagine a little girl in a light blue jacket that was decorated with white polka dots, ski pants, ski boots, and mittens. It is cold and snowing. This little girl is cold because the jacket is not very warm and little girls don’t generate much heat. But there she is, in a snow storm, in ski school. She happens to be pissed off at the ski instructor because she knows how to snow plow and wants to learn to parallel, but the instructor keeps yelling at her about snow plowing. Imagine a little girl, in her head, thinking the ski instructor should go fuck himself because she is determined to parallel even if she has to teach herself.

I realized yesterday that this scenario is sort of a defining point in my life: who am I and who am I going to show up in the world. The was to choose achievement over self pity. Or choose a positive path instead of a negative one. Despite the emotional hardships of an alcoholic home, I became someone who wanted to get ahead in life and work around the problems. I decided to teach myself and the rest of the people could fuck themselves. There are so many times in my life when I could have chosen disaster or suicide, but I always chose mental health, well being, and financial security. Yes, there are problems with childhood abandonment, shame, fear, and anger. Yes, I am a winner anyway.

It feels good to realize the both/and of my inner child. I am both traumatized and successful. I made lemonade out of a shit show.

You go little girl.

Birthday Training Camp

Running in January

It is January in the midwest. A south wind is blowing, so temperatures have risen today, and for the next 2 days. On January 1, 2022, it snowed about 1.5 inches but then was brutally cold for a week so the snow turned to ice and stayed around everywhere. Yesterday, it got above freezing. Today, 57F. So n0 ice.

I used to do really big runs on my birthday, like run my age in kilometers. But 63K is a bit longer than I care to do in one day. But I have 3 days with no commitments and warm weather: training camp! Today I ran 16.4 miles in the sun on the flat dirt of English Landing Park. I feel really good. I’ll be back tomorrow.

Other news. Three months ago, I got a cashier job at a health food grocery, Sprout’s. This week, I got promoted to vitamin clerk. I’m really excited about this as herbal remedies are important for our future health. Like, I’ve been studying what many of the herbs, oils, and minerals actually do. I’m also able to help people find what they need. Like, zinc gluconate and not zinc citrate; and other interesting facts.

I’ve also happened on some new spiritual and psychological information from a couple of sources. I am growing emotionally and spiritually. I’m feeling very good about myself and my life. I am more in touch with the person I was born to be. My hair is turning brown and I am getting younger.

Fly Over Country

No Resolutions

I don’t know what to say. I have no 2022 resolutions. I’m not fat. I don’t drink. I do exercise and pay the bills. I eat salad. I am involved with a program of mental and spiritual improvement. I have a suitable part-time gig.

If there is a resolution, it is to discontinue my news consumption. I tried that for a month in September of 2021. I felt much happier. Now, I feel disgusted when listening to NPR or looking at the NY Times. I haven’t changed my political views but I no longer need the rhetoric. The same with the coronavirus. Whatever happened to all the other interesting stories that used to populate the news?

I did my long run on a treadmill yesterday. There is too much snow on the ground to safely run outside. I could go faster on the treadmill. It was pleasing to get the run done and realize I don’t need to do it again for another week. Snow depresses me. It keeps me from going into the forest and running.

My birthday is next week. I look forward to the turning of the years and seeing myself grow in spiritual connection. Conscious contact with a power greater than myself is what I stand for. My inner spiritual being is who I am. I feel this connection and this truth more powerfully each day. In 2021, I focused on Enlightenment philosophers, and modern neuroscientists. I watched a lecture from an MIT Neuroscientist and saw that this professor, working at a state-of-the-art research lab has no more idea of where consciousness is than Des Carte did in 1660. And so my choice is to appreciate my own inner being and honor its spiritual source. This spiritual source is my magnificence, elegance, hope, love, and joy. It is all I am and who I am.

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The Tree

Yesterday I was running in a park near me. The park is alongside the Missouri River and is an idyllic place. I’m sure that the park has been there for more than a century. I myself have been running there for over 35 years. Some years it floods, but it always returns.

Yesterday, I was noticing how some of the trees grew at an angle in order to get more light and get away from their neighbor. Makes sense. Then I noticed a particular tree that had grown radically sideways and then up. At the base of the tree, there were three trunks, from one tree. Two of the trunks had grown basically up. The third one, went up a few feet, then went sideways for several feet, then the leafy branches were spread out in an open area.

The tree seemed like an analogy of my emotional growth. As a young person, I grew away from my dysfunctional and painful upbringing. I now live in the sunlight, but I still own the sideways part of my being. My roots and the first part of my trunk seem like the noble spirit that I was born as. The sideways part is the twisted emotions. The sideways part is not a problem. I can receive nourishment from my noble spirit, my original being, through the twisted part. And so, I live in the sunlight, receiving spiritual support even though there is a history of emotional problems. I am healthy and soaking up the sunlight directly.

That’s amazing.

You know, psychologists go on and on about how humans are social creatures. but in reality, we each need to grow apart in order to find our own sunlight.