Resignation Stories

I am planning on resigning my job in September and moving on to phase 3 of my life. But quitting a good corporate job, even if you have the money, is a surprising challenge. That is giving up a secure salary in favor of spending your savings and doing something different defies belief systems and causes angst.

This angst has to be worked through in order to be happy. So my resignation is an emotional process. I have to face all my conditioning and resentments in order to obtain a free and happy soul.

So, 3 stories have become important ways of framing what I am going through.

First was Plato\’s Cave. It is a story about people sitting in chairs in a cave. They are facing the rock wall and watching shadows on the wall. Watching these shadows is their reality. Then one day, one of them stands ups and look around and sees the sun shining through the mouth of the cave. There are other people walking past the cave and these other form the shadows on the wall of the cave which are watched by the people in the chairs. My take on this: I have stood up and seen the sun, but still too afraid to walk out of the cave. The cave is the only reality I have known. Can I make it if I leave the cave?

Second is about training flies. If you put some flies in a jar  with a top, and then some time later remove the top, the flies will not leave the jar. They just won\’t. My take on this: As a corporate employee, I have a hard time leaving my corporate jar. The way to freedom is there for me, but I still just look at it.

Third is about catching monkeys. It is said that the way to catch a monkey is to get a large jar with a mouth just large enough for the monkey\’s hand. Put rocks in the jar to make it heavy. Scatter treats around and in the jar. The monkey will come for the treats and eventually reach into the jar to get those treats. But the monkey can\’t get its hand out of the jar with the treats balled up in it. So you have caught the monkey. My take on this: The treats are the corporate safety and salary. My hand has long been in the jar. To get out of the jar, I have to open my hand, let go of the corporate salary. There are other sources of treats but first, I have to let go.

So these stories illustrate and help me understand the angst I experience in my transition from corporate slave to free creative entrepreneur. I don\’t even need to make money as entrepreneur, just go be one, leaving aside the corporation. The white middle class cultural template of \”go to college and get a good corporate job and eventually retire\” is the conditioning I have been living. But now, I want to be free. I think I can be \”more\” by being free.

Understand this is an emotional journey not a logical one. Logically, I am fine. Emotionally, I am breaking my conditioning and parts of my brain don\’t agree. The tension is the emotion. Most of us don\’t like being emotional. But what is human life without emotion? Beliefs about emotion itself are a form of conditioning.

The emotional journey will continue.

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Galveston Marathon

So, I haven\’t blogged in awhile. I guess I got tired of posting marathon race reports. On January 1, I ran the Texas marathon. On January 29, I ran the Sugar Land marathon. On February 12, I ran the Galveston marathon. That brings me to 76 lifetime marathons. Here is a picture of a over heated me at Galveston:

I bought the picture and then scanned it for here. Not a great scan. What I most like is that my arms do appear to have muscles. Yes I lift weights. I have always been fascinated with muscles. I must have been a guy in my previous life. As a woman, my muscles will never be too impressive but I keep working at it. As I remember being a teenager and fascinated with my back muscles, I remember other things about those years. It is a wonder that I survived my early life without many more bad things happening to me.

In January, I passed my 58th birthday.

Mr Trump was inaugurated. The news continues to be almost solely about his administration; and the crazy doings of a very strange man. Unfortunately we are looking at \”normalization of deviation\” and nothing will be integral again. There haven\’t been any statesmen in Washington for a very long time. Our country will be going down.

I got the new Annotated Edition of A Course in Miracles. This new edition is really fantastic. The person who wrote it got the original shorthand notes of Helen, the original scribe of A Course in Miracles, and then published this edition directly as the notes say. Much new material. A fantastic work.

Speaking of work. I continue to diligently hack away at problems with my manager. I have a fantastic coach for this effort. I have learned alot about emotions. But in general I am unhappy. I continue because I must grow. My boss wants me to be a bonsai but I am a tree and cannot put up with the pruning any longer. I am 58 years old with 35 years experience in this field. I can\’t just go get another job at this level in this field. However, in the not too distant future, I will quit and go do something else. Also, my boss will be retired in a couple of years anyway. I am needed to do what I do. My problem is what would be known in psychological terms as \”differentiation of self\” or less technically as \”taking back my self.\” Living my equality, not begging for it.

I remind myself that I didn\’t come into the world to be unhappy at work every day. But A Course in Miracles continually reminds me that it is my own thoughts which are the problem. I have hope for my thought patterns and am working through the work book again. I still can\’t figure out why I am alive; but the spiritual work I do has been with me since the age of 22. My struggles at work are really a butterfly trying to get out of a cocoon. I need to be free and I don\’t need anybody\’s permission. White bird must fly or she will die.

Awakening

Plotinus Enneads 3.6.6: \”…like dreamers take for actualities the figments of their sleeping vision. The sphere of sense, the Soul in its slumber; for all of the Soul that is in body is asleep…in any movement that takes the body with it there is no more than a passage from sleep to sleep…\”

I am a consciousness asleep that wants to awaken. Doing anything doesn\’t help. Following the instructions of guru after guru, I have been frustrated. It became time to set out on my own.

I find the light in quiet. In quiet I make some type of connection with Authentic Being. I need A Course in Miracles because it gives me my own Teacher. My workbook lesson for today was, \”Let me remember I am one with God.\” And then I became quiet. I left the world of sense and body. And I knew the vastness of The One. It was a brief glimpse, but I did know it.

Some teachers and books grant freedom from this world. There are various ways of looking at it. Some religions only grant freedom after death. But I. What do I say? What do I receive from my own depths.

I can sit in quiet and devote my mind towards God. I can wait in that place not of this world. There don\’t seem to be worldly rewards from my practice. This annoys my ego that I have nothing to show. Inner peace is in some way anti-life-in-this-world. It is pro-Life-in-That-Authenticity.

Any time I study outside, my hope become dashed. The methodology didn\’t work. But if I become patient and allow, then I know. Then I am awake. Freedom is free; terribly free.

I must do miles.

Anti-Dopamine

This evening, I\’m going to go against the grain of society and of my mental programming. This will produce an anti-dopamine experience: where the ego howls and viciously threatens me with the dire consequences of not-going-along. Yes, I am foregoing the fuzzy wuzzy feel goods of a dopamine reward cycle for the opposite. I live outside the pale and that where I want to stay.  As of today, I\’m willing to stand in this truth.

But this is the only way that I\’ll be free of the ego thought prison.I fully believe that the universe supports my inner conviction and I will grow to spiritual freedom.

So, I ran 20 miles this morning. I ran 15.8 miles on the flat trails. Then I switched shoes and finished on the steep grassy mounds, getting a nice quad workout.

I spent the first 3 hours listening to a massive quantity of sirens. At first I thought there was some terrible wreck on the main highway. But after awhile, I realized it couldn\’t be that. Then I remembered, and took a picture of source of the noise:

Yep, Santa was riding around town on a firetruck.

Again

I have been in Texas a little over 10 months. Just today (Saturday) I realized: my past is over. There may be people in Missouri, Kansas or California who remember me. I work for the same company as when I was last in Kansas City. But I am here now. I am in Texas.

I am not plagued with the quest for enlightenment which drove me both into the convent and out of it; and drove the first 8 years of post monastic life. Enlightenment as a quest is part of the mental programming I somehow received.

Here is Texas, I am free to decide \”whatever.\” I don\’t have to seek God.

This morning (Saturday) I had an unusual thought: start the day from a projection of what I want; not a material want but a way of being.

So it is Sunday morning and I am about to head out for my usual long distance walk. I\’ll use trees today as I slept in and it is hot outside.

But I had a genuine moment of clarity. Life is easy. It is only hard if you see it that way. I have a picture of a chemical plant on this blog for a reason. I like it there. I like my colleagues. I accept a successful career, fitness endeavor, economic outlook. None of this has to be corrupted with religious teachings or even the idea that the other people are bad.

And so, if I accept success, I don\’t have anything to preach about or a soap box to stand on. And so I am free. Free to do miles. Free to be alive.

I am just a girl with a blog. Nothing special.

Personal Multi-day 2011, day 2

Started at 3:48 am. I completely filled my hydro-pak with ice, EAS soy protein and Heed.

Very decent 24 miles this morning in 80F (27C) going up heat. I felt better than yesterday, especially at the end. Well, I went 3 miles more yesterday, but walked more. Now, a few hours later, my legs feel better than yesterday.

Anyway, what’s this doing? Helping me believe in myself. If that’s all I get out of such a humiliating bunch of statistics and wasted time, then humongously worth it. For a woman of experience and long time self-responsibility, I sure have no confidence apart from the safety blanket of other\’s approval.

During the run today, I was remembering the last time I saw my mother; and feeling guilty about it. And then remembering the money conversation with Sister Pat, while I was in Sand Springs. And then remembering how I wanted to be St Francis when I was 23 and give all my money away. Part of my hope in joining a monastic order was to completely give away all my money. What that really means, in today\’s reflection, is giving away responsibility for my life.

And then realizing how afraid I am at work that I’ll be found out for a individual/non-team player, and asked to leave. Boy, do I depend on the approval of others for my safety.

Related to others approval, others approve of training for racing and winning. The nonsense of the ultra slow long run cannot be explained and does seem like a waste to my colleagues. In fact, I\’ve been told: there are more important things than running. But not if running is my spiritual expression and spirituality is my number one interest. I haven\’t been able to explain this to my colleagues.

I was remembering my past and feelings of fear which govern my life and integrating that with the nonsense of a personal multi-day and Colorado multi-day where I win a belt buckle. And, in that context of thoughts, I realized how my life needs to be free.

Later, I thought, \”I feel like an albatross flying a long slow journey to freedom.\” I had a vision of a large slow bird flapping its way free of the earth. Like those big old planes so aptly called flying albatross. So I googled \”albatross around your neck\” and got this: The word \’albatross\’ is sometimes used metaphorically to mean a psychological burden that feels like a curse.

My unique, experience filled, solitary life is both a curse and a possibility of freedom. I\’ve always lived in the curse.

Long distance runs are time for reflection. And if you are careful, you can catch thoughts which are usually unnoticed, like about my mother or Sr Pat or fear. Connecting this to the albatross, I can see how I am working on freedom as I complete an amazing but seemingly useless exercise.

What Zen exercise was not seemingly useless; yet you realized later how deep and valuable it really was?

My life is not really my own. I am aware of this in some way. My life is a waste in the worldly sense and I allow this because I think all lives are useless. I can’t think of anything to do but keep studying spiritual masters, run, work, reflect.

Freedom from bondage is freedom from the fear of others, and belief in the inner spirit.

Part of what I am learning this multi-day is how it feels to put out maximum effort several days in a row. Also, even if my paces are slow, part of ultra training is time in the heat and on hills. Doing the time in a comfortable gym is physical training but not the right kind of mental training. Marathoners do long runs, probably faster. Ultra marathoners do long runs, and then do another the next day. For a multi-day, I need to be mentally prepared and physically confident that I can run mega miles 3 days in a row. Hence, conservation of energy and low impact speeds are necessary for me.

Maybe I’ll have more to say on my thoughts later. Thoughts matter and I am glad to have caught my mind in some of its secret ways.

Here already is another thought: I want to have an original thought, or a \”real\” thought as A Course in Miracles would call it. Maybe I do have real thoughts, but they are buried under past thoughts, or not noticed. Wow, that would be cool: to notice a real thought!

I am running for my life.

Prelude to Symphonic Love

From A Course in Miracles:

  • …Love dwells in you…
  • …only holiness (the awareness of your divine indwelling) can content you…
  • Value no plan of the ego before the plan of God.
  • …willingly and gladly give over every plan but His.
  • Every thought you keep hidden shuts communication off…

Today? Time for another promotion for “reflecting.” I read these spiritual things which remind me of God’s presence and I simply must stop, pause, be quiet, listen. If I can, I close my eyes and look inside.

I am Spirit Flower, a semi-hermit. I am approaching my 50th birthday. I find myself intrigued by this milestone. I don\’t feel 50; yet I have a recently found confidence in myself and my life choices which I never felt as a younger person.

I spent so many years pleasing people and trying to get their approval and validation. I struggled emotionally in my solitude with being \”good enough\” or \”enlightened\” and \”what did the religious people think of me, am I bad?\” I used to really hate normal society. These struggles seem to have run their course and like an infection, I got over them.

I have discovered a theology or spiritual system of thought which I can do alone in my house, no guru required, working directly with Spirit, no evangelization requirement. Maybe it was diligent work with this material, maybe continually investigating my feelings and writing about them, maybe just time; but I find myself at peace.

I think that anyone who walks away from society will feel some of these emotional pressures; but I say, \”hang in there.\” The peace, light and freedom of living outside the social norms is totally worth it. I am a success!

White Bird Flies Free

Psalm 119:129,30:
Your decrees are wonderful; therefore I obey them with all my heart.
When Your Word goes forth it gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

I live 1.5 minutes from work, and go home for lunch. I get a little prayer time that way. Today, as I was pondering that Psalm, the following thought came into my mind:

\”Spirit Flower, you have studied A Course in Miracles (ACIM) enough to know:

  • how to forgive; thus realizing Oneness and joining the Sonship;
  • that this ego world is a dream, the separation never happened and you are a thought in the Mind of Love;
  • to take your ego\’s inventory and give the darkness to the Holy Spirit\’s light for healing and correction;
  • to choose again, accepting the Atonement;
  • to listen to the Voice for God;
  • and to be responsible for your part/function, allowing yourself to be a channel for miracles.

Spirit Flower, that is it. You have learned The Course. Now just go live it.\”

I realized that ACIM is no different than engineering school. You learn the concepts and then use them in your work. You do not need to keep beating yourself over the head with first year physics. You may decide to take ongoing education, of course. But you do graduate from college and you do go on to live your profession. Self just explained to me that I am living my ACIM profession. No sense in complicating it any further.

I am free.