Shadow of love

The below photo is brought to you by a Catholic monastery. Jeez! When I lived in a monastery, I did feel like I was being jabbed by thorns most of the time, plus guilty by scripture. Is love just a shadow? Is a crown of thorns the primary point of Christianity? No I don\’t think so, but Catholics do fixate more on the gore than other denominations.

Yesterday was an awesome day at work. It was awesome because it was somewhat busy and I did many things. I enjoyed doing all that work. I also believe that because I meditated and pre-paved my day with good feeling thoughts, that that is why the day turned out good. I could just as well been upset about it. It wasn\’t the things that happened but my perception which was aligned with satisfaction, prosperity and freedom.

Then in the evening, I attended my first monthly meeting of a local writers group. Score! About 30 writers and would be writers (thats what I am) showed up. First we listened to an interesting presentation. Then we broke into groups where we could share things we had written and get input on it. This went so well. No one sat there not wanting to break into groups. We very quickly pulled together 5 people and off we went to a table. I had one page of introduction to my novel which I shared. They liked my idea; even said the introduction was good enough to get them to buy the book.

Today, I stopped by my new Starbucks to get my schedule. I\’m transferring to a different Starbucks location. The manager at the new location was so happy to see me and so happy I was finally being allowed to switch. I\’ve only worked two shifts at that store, so I don\’t know them that well. But I\’ve done well enough that they know they want me. It feels so good to be wanted. Feeling unwanted has been one of my long term character defects. I don\’t think my parents ever wanted me.

I also had a very good 10 mile run today. I just love being able to go running during the day, on beautiful bike paths through trees away from cars. However, one of my favorite parks, English Landing, is flooded. It is right next to the Missouri river; and since Nebraska is flooded, everywhere downstream will experience high water.


Ashes of Specialness

I\’ve been contemplating this picture:

I got it off Face Book, so it is a public thing. I know the person. I know she is about to receive ashes. I see she now wears a veil. This seems like it should be an intimate moment, not a thing for FB or to be photographed at all. But since it is, I\’ve been pondering it for several days.

I lived in various states of membership with this religious order for more than three and a half years. Because of FB, I can look in the window every day and see a new glimpse of people I am attached to.

So the picture is an intimate moment. I can\’t really figure the holiness of the Catholic practice of ashes. Actually, I think, \”How dare the male priest hierarchy put ashes on anyone\’s forehead let alone the pure of heart as I know this sister to be.\”

Over the past 3 or so years, I\’ve been watching veils appear in these photos. This sister was not one of the first. And she does have lovely hair. You can google the meaning of the veil. For me at this moment, I don\’t think it adds to anyone\’s holiness. But I know that young women who might want to be nuns are attracted to orders that wear habits. It is a false notion that a habit adds to spirituality. In fact, I think it detracts from the difficult job of renunciation. Renunciation not of the world but of ego things. The habit and veil are clearly of the ego because the show specialness.

The veils in this religious order show a growing conservatism and obedience to the male hierarchy. And the whole reason I\’m no longer Catholic is because that hierarchy is criminal. Yes, even the new lovable saying all the right things pope is a criminal because he continues to harbor criminal priests.

I need to continue to find the holiness and love that this picture was meant to convey. I can easily find the holiness and love in my own quiet meditation, or fellowship meetings, or reading Q\’s Gospel. But my God is not punitive and I am not a sinner. Humility needed? Yes. But existentially or ontologically bad? No.

9/80 Weekend

This weekend, I put together 42 miles in about 10 hours. Today was walk day, as in mostly walk only some jog. Yesterday was 5×1 day, as in jog 5 walk 1.

And I bought a new car:

Totally happy with it. Its my second Prius, 4th Toyota. First sexy black car.

It has been a weekend of pondering inner peace. The car purchase was part of it; because it was almost a total non-event as far as life in this world is concerned. I went to the dealership. Jerked around with the sales man back and forth twice. Jerked around with a stack of paperwork. Move my stuff into the new car and go home. Inner peace would mean a not-special life. No dopamine. No highs. No lows. I\’ve been working on inner peace as a spiritual goal. My life does get quieter. But then I ask myself, do I really want this? Well, not ego does. Egos like turmoil and excitement.

Today is the start of Holy Week for the Christians, especially the Roman Catholics. It is a hellish week for monastics. \”The Demons\” go wild with annoyances. As for myself, I don\’t really see the point anymore. It has been several years since I finished my bible studies and decided most of it was the domain early Church Bishop\’s agenda; and that what Jesus said or did has been misinterpreted ever since.

Sitting in my AA meeting this week, I had a revelation. See, I felt guilty that I left my home town at the age of 26 to move halfway across the continent. Got sober and attempted to do step 9 by letter with a raging alcoholic. Didn\’t work. She kicked me out of her life and then died before I ever saw her again. Yesterday, I for the first time thought, \”What if all that was The Spirit\’s way of sparing me additional pain including a life as a drunk?\” What if I was doing the next right thing and how it turned out had nothing to do with me? Then, I should accept The Spirit\’s gift of a sober life and be happy.

Today I did my miles in Brummerhop park. 41 laps. I thought about self transcendence. My whole ultra career go started and stays on because I hope for self transcendence. Truly, walking laps in a 0.37 miles loop is unglamorous and the only thing to do is repeat the day\’s spiritual lesson. For hours. I could call it training for the 55 hour race I signed up for. But really, its original purpose was self transcendence. I attempt to think thoughts not from the worldly source. I attempt to quiet my mind and hear spiritually sourced thoughts.

And just keep walking.

And just keep walking.

3 of 4 Nuns…

…morbidly obese.

I used to hate this when I was a nun. I hated it double bad when the monks next door called and offered to let us pick apples from their damn trees. So not only did I have to pick the horrid apples but also peel and cut them up. All for what? Pie?

And I gave up an afternoon 5k for this?

I didn\’t fit there. True.

Today I jogged for 4 hours around Meador Park and Pine Gully:

I somewhat intentionally run past this place. I come out of the tall swamp grass and get hit with breeze off Galveston Bay. I really like it and I like the view from here.

I have 2 more days of running before hopping on a plane for Germany. I\’ll have some walking in Germany and I am going in a half marathon next Sunday. But mainly it will be an enforced rest from so much training. I\’ll come back just 2 weeks before Ultracentric 48 hour race; hopefully well rested.

I am not morbidly obese:

This is me at last year\’s Seabrook Race Weekend. I\’m entered again for 2013.

My work is not picking apples or mopping floors as it was in the convent. I am actually at the peak of my career. I\’ve been at the Baytown plant almost a year and find myself highly respected. My services as a Process Safety Engineer are highly valued; and managers from parts of the plant I\’m not assigned to are asking if I can help them. In Germany, I\’ll be giving a presentation. Little ol\’ ex-nun me? Yup.

The Catholic Church has declared a \”Year of Faith.\” Like, why does such a thing NEED to be proclaimed except the flock doesn\’t have any faith? But because of that, there is a web page that offers a daily e-mail with part of the Catechism, such that the whole thing is read in a year. I signed up for it. I am so far astounded at the matter of fact verbiage: God said this and did this and nothing else will ever be true.

Now we know this lengthy tomb, The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, was written by the Church hierarchy (a group of celibate priests who probably never cried out \”Oh God\” during an orgasm). It is unbelievable to me, several years after leaving the Church, that such matter of fact statements can be made.

My God is much bigger than that.

After I found out I was kicked out of the monastery, I had 3 days to find a place to live, pack up and get out. I went to the monastery to know God. My most intimate encounter came as I was being kicked out. The experience of God-Consciousness has never left me; although I was afraid that being deprived of being an official spouse of Christ would leave me out. Jesus Himself is more real to me now. I made vows to God privately in my last days before I was supposed to make monastic profession. I knew they were real. I just didn\’t know what I was asking for when I said \”Yes, whatever….\”

Good Friday

Yesterday, Holy Thursday, I thought about the Catholic Church and how after the Thursday evening service, they take the \”bread-which-is-Jesus\” out of the church; and then pretend Jesus is not in the church. Then, on Friday, they serve \”leftover-bread-that-is-Jesus.\” Then at the vigil on Saturday night or Sunday pre-dawn, they make new \”bread-which-is-Jesus.\” After that, Jesus stays in the church for the rest of the year.

What? Really?

At this point in my life, that all sounds preposterous. One of the reasons I left organized religion was because I believe that every molecule, photon and the smaller or even non-existent particle (thinking of you SGL), is either holy, spirit filled and the Real Presence; or their is no God and none of this matters.

I believe there is a Higher Power. I don\’t say God because there is too much incorrect teaching about what God could be. But none of this matters as it is an illusion.

So, in the monastery, Good Friday was used for penance and confession. When I was a novice, I was excluded from some of the sisters activities; so I did the unseemly thing. I went running.

As I was running today, I thought about my monastic life. As a matter of fact, I owe my current spiritual capability to my monastic training. See I don\’t get involved in distractions from the knowledge of God\’s presence because of those 4 years cut off from the world. I want to be grateful to the sisters rather than being angry they kicked me out. As a matter of fact, my spirituality is far better now than if I\’d remained in a Roman Catholic Convent. As I ran, saying my day\’s psalm, I did feel happy for the gift of contemplation.

Let me remember what my purpose is.
Let me remember that my goal is God.
Setting aside all little senseless aims.
Achieving only what You want me to.

To celebrate Easter this year, I thought of buying a symbolic piece of body wear. It turns out, I spent $35 on an aqua titanium neck band. It is white and I tied 3 knots in it to symbolize the Trinity. I look very hip in it.

Today was Good Friday indeed. I got up at 5 and hit the park by 6:30. I jog/walked 8x2s for almost 4 hours. Then I came home just as the guys delivering the new treadmill showed up. I bought a new treadmill because of too much concrete in Texas and no hills at all. I got a really good Life Fitness treadmill. It cost less than 2 weeks salary (after taxes and 401K). This afternoon, I walked another 5 miles uphill on the treadmill as well as lift weights and do core. My new shorts also came today.

So different from being a nun. Here are some picture from my last half marathon where I won 2nd place in my age group. The last one is with one of my Canadian friends.