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

Incorrigible — A Runner Celebrates 61 Years of Life

It is the eve of my 61st birthday. I just spent 90 minutes walking up the steep treadmill hill with a 10 pound backpack. It snowed today and it is very cold, not worth going outside wearing snow cleats on my shoes.

My first purchase of 2020 was a race entry. My second purchase was another pair of running shoes. How many 61 year olds do you know who spend the morning thinking about where they should run and how far? That day, I got in 10.2 miles in just under 2 hours. That is awesome! I love that I can go out for a 10 mile run anytime I feel like it. I am incorrigible in that regard.

My year was highlighted by several successful races. At the Kansas City marathon, I ran 4:49 and got second place in my age group. In November, I completed 50 miles in a race. This ultra was such an experience of the zone. It was amazing.

I have been working on a book for 3 years. I can say that during 2019, I finished typing all the notes, did a great deal of neuro science and addiction research, finally got the introductions to each chapter completed. I learned about self publishing. I\’m certain that in the first half of 2020, I\’ll find an editor. I have a sketch of the cover which I may ask one of my barista buddies to draw for me. After another round of my own editing, I have a couple of people willing to read the book and comment on it for me.

I\’ve become a proficient barista and I like working at my current store. I went to alot of AA meetings, culminating with speaking at an alcathon on New Year\’s Eve. I got two sinus infections. During the first one, I learned that doctors can\’t help you. During the second one, I learned that several natural remedies are very helpful. I listened to many Abraham Hicks YouTube videos. As a result of practicing what Abraham discusses, my attitudes and emotional states improved dramatically for what seems like the first time in my life. I wrote alot (aside from my book). I thought alot, and my ponderings are what I write down. I\’m one of those rare persons who prioritizes sitting and thinking as an important activity. 

2019 was successful and I think 2020 will be even more wonderful.

60th Birthday – Snow

I got up at 4 for some spiritual reading and writing.

Then I shoveled the driveway.

Then I went to work at 8:30. The shift manager had made me home made cup cakes (carrot); and everyone said happy birthday. I divulged the fact that I am 60. No one had any idea.

After work, I came home and rested and read a bit. Then 3 miles on the treadmill looking out the window at the scene above. It really is very pretty.

A friend sent me a link to a reddit discussion on FIRE Barista; why would anyone leave a 6 figure job and go to work as a barista. Ha! I\’m happy. Also, I want to be a writer but am not ready to sit alone in my house all day every day and write. I mean, who would give me cup cakes for my birthday?

The Difference

There is a difference between real life and romanticized life. I am only now realizing that all books I\’ve read romanticize life. YouTube romanticizes life. I am living real life.

It is the eve of my 60th birthday. Who ever thought a person could be 60? I remember when I was 39 and wondered if it was okay for 39 year old ladies to climb rocks in Death Valley. Well, now I am 60 and still doing what I think 60 years olds shouldn\’t be able to do.

I got up at 4 and did my writing and meditation. This was followed by 30 minutes of rowing. Then I got cleaned up and went to work. Starbucks got slammed today. So, I not only did alot of lifting but tons of running around: 3.5 miles inside the store. Lifting? Yeah, buckets of ice, gallons of milk (4 at a time), buckets of cold brew (14 liters), coffee urns, trash bags that weight 20 pounds, getting boxes down off the top shelf, etc. To be honest, I am proud that a 60 year old can do this job.

Then, to the grocery store (like everyone else in KC) because a snow store is coming. Get gasoline. Come home to rest a bit and read. Do some of my own writing. Get on the elliptical for 35 minutes and then 25 minutes of weight lifting and core. Then a bowl of vegetables, rice and beans; topped off with a Vega shake.

Yep, pretty proud of my physical self. What is more important is how I feel on the inside. I am happy on the inside; mainly because Abraham Hicks taught me how to feel happy regardless of what is going on in the material world. See most people think only a loser would work at Starbucks. And why quit a 6 figure engineering job and go work at Starbucks?  Well, it is only a part time job, so I get to see sunshine and walk/run in the park in the sun very regularly. I run alot, and better now than when I lived in Texas; mostly because I am not suffering from heat related illness half the time. And they have hills here. I love hills.

Starbucks is a spiritual tool. With the challenges of the job, I practice happiness. Don\’t think that washing dishes and shoveling ice is a glamour job. Its not. Taking out the garbage can be very nasty yucky. Strangely, some part of my energy system relishes this job. I get energy in some way, even though I get exhausted in another way. I wonder if sitting in an office doing engineering is somehow bad for the soul; and that is why having a physical job is energizing. It is a luxury to be able to afford to work at a menial job.

What am I like at 60? Pretty proud. Also, appreciative of not only my life, but life itself. Life.period is a 60 year old woman lifting weights even though she did all that lifting at Starbucks. Life.period is spending time in contemplation and writing; a relationship with the inner depths. Life.period is spending the afternoon watching it snow.

At 60, I must still be pretty smart and well respected. The district manager for H&R Block picked me as one of only 5 first year associates to be eligible for a plus status. That is, I had to test up to become eligible for a bonus. I passed the test yesterday.

I have 33 years of sobriety and I am still active, as well as loving, AA. I love being in a fellowship with new people, as well as people I\’ve known for 33 years. Being sober is the thing I am most grateful for in this life. Having a sober adult life is such a blessing. I came back to KC to be with these long time friends; heck, I even have a god mother here. I have sisters; monastic sisters that is. They say they are my family and they invite me home for the holidays.

Here is a picture of me and my sister at Christmas:

I am creative and learning to be a writer. Yes, I have 2 writing projects which I continually plug away at. I find that reading my writing is pretty fascinating.

I have downsized. The Honda van is gone; replaced with a Civic. The townhouse is smaller than what I had in Texas; but it does have a brand new heat pump system.

I have always planned to work in retirement. Retirement only meant I ditched my career so I could do what I want. I am more active, far busier and more social. My engineering job was somehow exhausting. 

So, eat healthy, exercise alot, get outside. Continuously seek Spirit: she is with you always. Amen!

Birthday Blog

Today is my 57th year of life. I am a woman and I was born a woman and I am not any other thing.

This is the first year that someone named Cortana who lives in my computer has wished me a happy birthday. Google Chrome did it also. I am on Windows 10.

It is my 47th year as a runner.
My 35th year as a spiritual seeker.
My 33rd year as an engineer.
My 30th year of sobriety.
My 12th year post monastery.
My 10th reading of the Course in Miracles Text, hence the 10th year as a Course student.
My 7th year with my current employer.
My 5th year in Texas.

I read in the ACIM Text this morning an utterly great and lovely section on holiness (copied below). It is beautiful that I turn my mind to spiritual things twice a day and several times, momentarily during the day. Spirituality is my salvation. My ego mind is filled with horrid thoughts so it is a blessing to switch to Christ Consciousness frequently and know the field of Love in which we actually live.

And now, I am going for a run.

24.VI. Salvation from Fear
(underlines mine)
1 Before your brother’s holiness the world is still, and peace descends on it in gentleness and blessing so complete that not one trace of conflict still remains to haunt you in the darkness of the night. He is your saviour from the dreams of fear. He is the healing of your sense of sacrifice and fear that what you have will scatter with the wind and turn to dust. In him is your assurance God is here, and with you now. While he is what he is, you can be sure that God is knowable and will be known to you. For He could never leave His Own creation. And the sign that this is so lies in your brother, offered you that all your doubts about yourself may disappear before his holiness. See in him God’s creation. For in him his Father waits for your acknowledgement that He created you as part of Him.
2 Without you there would be a lack in God, a Heaven incomplete, a son without a Father. There could be no universe and no reality. For what God wills is whole, and part of Him because His Will is one. Nothing alive that is not part of Him, and nothing is but is alive in Him. Your brother’s holiness shows you that God is one with him and you; that what he has is yours because you are not separate from him nor from his Father.
3 Nothing is lost to you in all the universe. Nothing that God created has He failed to lay before you lovingly, as yours forever. And no Thought within His Mind is absent from your own. It is His Will you share His Love for you, and look upon yourself as lovingly as He conceived of you before the world began, and as He knows you still. God changes not His Mind about His Son with passing circumstance which has no meaning in eternity where He abides, and you with Him. Your brother is as He created him. And it is this that saves you from a world that He created not.
4 Forget not that the healing of God’s Son is all the world is for. That is the only purpose the Holy Spirit sees in it, and thus the only one it has. Until you see the healing of the Son as all you wish to be accomplished by the world, by time and all appearances, you will not know the Father nor yourself. For you will use the world for what is not its purpose, and will not escape its laws of violence and death. Yet it is given you to be beyond its laws in all respects, in every way and every circumstance, in all temptation to perceive what is not there, and all belief God’s Son can suffer pain because he sees himself as he is not.
5 Look on your brother, and behold in him the whole reversal of the laws that seem to rule this world. See in his freedom yours, for such it is. Let not his specialness obscure the truth in him, for not one law of death you bind him to will you escape. And not one sin you see in him but keeps you both in hell. Yet will his perfect sinlessness release you both, for holiness is quite impartial, with one judgement made for all it looks upon. And that is made, not of itself, but through the Voice that speaks for God in everything that lives and shares His Being.
6 It is His sinlessness that eyes that see can look upon. It is His loveliness they see in everything. And it is He they look for everywhere, and find no sight nor place nor time where He is not. Within your brother’s holiness, the perfect frame for your salvation and the world’s, is set the shining memory of Him in Whom your brother lives, and you along with him. Let not your eyes be blinded by the veil of specialness that hides the face of Christ from him, and you as well. And let the fear of God no longer hold the vision you were meant to see from you. Your brother’s body shows not Christ to you. He is set forth within his holiness.
7 Choose, then, his body or his holiness as what you want to see, and which you choose is yours to look upon. Yet will you choose in countless situations, and through time that seems to have no end, until the truth be your decision. For eternity is not regained by still one more denial of Christ in him. And where is your salvation, if he is but a body? Where is your peace but in his holiness? And where is God Himself but in that part of Him He set forever in your brother’s holiness, that you might see the truth about yourself, set forth at last in terms you recognized and understood?
8 Your brother’s holiness is sacrament and benediction unto you. His errors cannot withhold God’s blessing from himself, nor you who see him truly. His mistakes can cause delay, which it is given you to take from him, that both may end a journey that has never begun, and needs no end. What never was is not a part of you. Yet you will think it is, until you realize that it is not a part of him who stands beside you. He is the mirror of yourself, wherein you see the judgement you have laid on both of you. The Christ in you beholds his holiness. Your specialness looks on his body and beholds him not.

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.

Happy Birthday

Today is in fact my birthday. I\’m old! 55!

So I went for a 5 mile jog plus 55 min of cross training. It was beautiful in Texas today:

While running, I added up the fact that I ran 7.25 miles yesterday with no bad affects on my post surgery heel; and with the fine day I was having and decided I could do a half marathon. So, I purchased two local races. I also bought some new shoes. I had lunch with a friend. I used up my Sports Authority coupons on kettlebells.

My morning spiritual experience included A Course in Miracles Text:
In you there is a vision that extends to all of them,
and covers them in gentleness and light.
The sun in you has risen and in its light you stand;
quiet, innocent, and wholly unafraid.

Reviewing my life, it occurred to me that in the realm of what I have asked for, there are many \”Request Approved\” and many \”Request Denied.\” First on the list of approved requests is sobriety. My sober life is orders of magnitude better that what a drunken life would have been. also, I have a vibrant spiritual practice, inner peace, fitness, vegetarianism, worldly renunciation and more.

54th Birthday – Reverse Goofy Finisher

Today, I ran a private half marathon in the pouring rain, to finish my 54th birthday weekend.

I made myself a commemorative plaque to hang on my wall. Quite frankly, I sort of like the idea of making my own event and commemorating it. For one thing, its much cheaper. And for another, I can do it when and where I want.

Private Marathon – 54th Birthday

Its my birthday!

I suppose I\’m a normal athlete. We like to do outrageous things on our birthdays. I told you already about my 5.4 cross training workout. I did that last night.

The rest of the weekend was supposed to involve a Reverse Goofy. That is, if I was in Disney World this weekend, I could run a half marathon today and a full marathon tomorrow; and that is a Goofy. Disney World is really about the last place I\’d ever choose to go. But, the idea of doing a private Goofy did surface in my mind since I have good friends doing authentic Goofys.

Today, the marathon portion of my Reverse Goofy was completed. I did really well with run/walk ultra race pace. (13.3 min per mile average including pit stops). Total time including pit stops: 6h02.

Saying I will run a private marathon and actually doing it, are two different things. And just because I know I can keep going for 50k doesn\’t mean I\’ll get 42k done today. Largely because my brain often gives up. So I never know. The mental game is crucial.

I ran today with A Course in Miracles lesson: \”There is no death. The Son of God is free.\”

I just kept saying it over and over. I kept my brain right there. Only after 5 hours did I say a prayer: Higher Self, I really want to have a happier dream this year. Since becoming a Course student, I can for sure say that I have been dreaming a happier and happier dream. And when I turn my thoughts over to whatever this Self is, I have a happy day. And this is what I want out of live: non-misery.

Spirituality have been my quest since going to Jerusalem when I was 22. The quest deepened to \”Shamelessly follow Jesus\” as a result of the Columbine shootings in 1999. The quest deepened again after I got kicked out of the monastery. The first 6 or 7 years after leaving the convent, I tried every possible way to achieve enlightenment. But then, my road swerved and the dogma of enlightenment left me. Now I have been A Course in Miracles student for about 5.5 years. It is not about enlightenment but salvation. Not the denominational Christianity type salvation but true mental freedom salvation.

I talk about spirituality because it is a \”piece that cannot be moved\” in my life. I have the quest and it is not stopping. Being an athlete is another non-negotiable. Yes, I\’m not as fast as 2 years ago, and I do have aches and pains. But the energy of endurance continues to flow.

Tomorrow, I\’ll finish the Reverse Goofy. Easy peasy. All downhill.

Pre-54 Reflections

This morning, I pondered A Course in Miracles chapter 31.

Text 31.VI:
You see the flesh or recognize the spirit. There is no compromise between the two. If one is real the other must be false, for what is real denies its opposite. There is no choice in vision but this one. What you decide in this determines all you see and think is real and hold as true. On this one choice does all your world depend, for here have you established what you are, as flesh or spirit in your own belief. If you choose flesh, you never will escape the body as your own reality, for you have chosen that you want it so. But choose the spirit, and all Heaven bends to touch your eyes and bless your holy sight, that you may see the world of flesh no more except to heal and comfort and to bless.

And then, while riding my stationary bike, I pondered Miracle principle 33:

Miracles honor you because you are lovable. They dispel illusions about yourself and perceive the light in you. They thus atone for your errors by freeing you from your nightmares. By releasing your mind from the imprisonment of your illusions, they restore your sanity.
A Course in Miracles often asks that I be silent and listen. I\’ll hear the Voice for God. This freedom is what I like about the Course. It is mainly giving tools for freedom. Chapter 31 is the last chapter. It means that by my birthday on Saturday, I\’ll have read the text 8 times.

All I know is I do have far fewer inner turmoil periods and much more inner peace.

On the eve of my birthday, I am doing a 5.4 cross training event. That is, I\’ll go to each of 5 cross training stations in my house for 20 min plus Turkish Get-ups with Windmill will be the 0.4. In between each station, I\’ll do a set on the TRX for a total of 54 reps. Cross training stations are: bike, elliptical, step platform/kettle balls, Versa Climber and Nordic Track.

Then on Saturday and Sunday, I\’ll do my usual miles. If I feel good on Saturday and the weather is ok, I\’ll try for 26. Then I could do 13 on Sunday and call it a reverse Goofy.

Some people lay around eating and drinking on their birthdays. I\’m exactly the opposite.

Lately, I\’ve been getting in more than 2 hours of workout per day (split before work and after work). I get excited about this. I feel a big race growing inside me. Maybe the Prairie Spirit 50 mile race in March will be it. My left heel will always have problems, but it is not bothering me too much right at the moment.