Man I Feel Good

This morning was another early morning at Starbucks. Today I worked the whole time on the front, which means I served the face to face walk in customers, made coffee and helped with food. After a 6.5 hour shift, driving home, man I felt so happy. I worked hard and feel happy. Incredible!

But before that, I got up at 3 am in order to have time to connect with my spirit before going to work. My spiritual reading was of my own writings. Well, actually editing my own writings. But also musing the spirituality of it, and talking to my higher self about it. I remembered a key point to my whole retirement. I wanted to be alive, that is, know I am alive while I am alive and experience the aliveness of it.

For some reason, I didn\’t feel this while I had a career.

Starbucks is a great place to feel alive.

Abraham Hicks (check it out on YouTube) has helped me to choose happiness. \”I am happy because I want to be happy.\” I try to set an intention or a feeling of joy before I go to work. It is a very subtle feeling that I find before work. But after work, the happy feeling was 100 times more than my pre-paving. Obviously felt, and I still feel it now hours later.

I even got to teach it today. One of the guys likes to say he is only plastering on his happy face and doesn\’t really feel happy. I told him it was up to him and didn\’t buy into the culture of not being happy or not wanting to be at work.

I like feeling happy. I have decided to feel happy. And so I feel happy.

I also love myself now. Growing up in an alcoholic home, there was no chance of being taught how to love yourself, regardless of the other people. Abraham Hicks helped with this also.

Most humans, talking the first worlders now, aren\’t happy. I wasn\’t happy for most of my life even with an engineering career. I wasn\’t really alive either. I mainly survived each workday, could hardly wait to leave. I didn\’t know how to be alive and didn\’t know how to choose how I feel. Is there something about today\’s white collar corporate or financial jobs that makes this very difficult? While working at Starbucks makes this very easy?

It could have something to do with sitting at a desk for eight hours staring at a computer. That could be why there is a FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement. These FIRE  people know they hate their white collar jobs, but these are the jobs that pay alot. So, save your money and get out as soon as you can.

In other news:
Monday I ran very fast for 13.25 miles.
Tuesday I did a slow 13 miles.
Wednesday rode the elliptical for 35 minutes. And worked.
Thursday I hill walked for 7 miles. And worked
Friday I ran medium speed 10 miles.
Saturday I rode the elliptical for 50 minutes and lifted weights. And worked.

Happiness – 2

I can\’t believe how happy I am today. I\’m still happy about yesterday and my speedy half marathon. But I am also happy about today.

I started off with an 82 min run outside in the rain. Then, after some lunch, I did 140 minutes of additional workout on my machines, 1363 calories. (machines = ex-bike, elliptical, Nordic Track, Versa Climber and rowing). And I did some core exercises in between each machine.

In between running and machine changes, I baked a loaf of bread, finished off making beans in the crock pot, bought stuff online.

Now, I\’m finally eating some of the beans.

I love how I feel right now.

The Search for Happiness

I have been reading Paul Brunton\’s book Advanced Contemplation. I came on this chapter about happiness. Happiness is the American Dream. We think happiness is an inalienable right. And this situation has driven us crazy as well as made us sick and robbed us of integrity.

To preface this chapter on happiness, Brunton says, \” Outwardly we live and have to live in the very midst of cruel struggle and grievous conflict, for we share the planet\’s karma; but inwardly we can live by striking contrast in an intense stillness, a consecrated peace, a sublime security.\”

And in the first few lines he says, \”When people seek excessive entertainment and amusement what are they doing but confessing that few of them enjoy real happiness for long without some complimentary source of unhappiness.\”

And so for myself, things I\’ve been thinking about lately.

I am a person who has solved most of life\’s annoyances either because of a good salary or because I abstain from many social activities and norms. In fact the things that bug me are extremely small. What I know is my daily spiritual activities are my life\’s blood. This is where inner peace is born. The one thing I can do with my life is generate inner peace.

Inner peace is a situation which does not come from this world. It can be brought into the world, to the extent the practitioner is adept and matured.

Alcoholics Anonymous gives us the satisfactions of right living found in step 12 of The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. \”Still more wonderful is the feeling that we do not have to be specially distinguished among our fellows in order to be useful and profoundly happy. Not many of us can be leaders of prominence, nor do we wish to be. Service gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted or solved with God\’s help, the knowledge that at home or in the world we are partners in a common effort, the well-understood fact that in God\’s sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given surely brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer isolated and alone in self-constructed prisons, the surety that we need no longer be square pegs in round holes but can fit and belong in God\’s scheme of things–these are the permanent and legitimate satisfactions of right living for which no amount of pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions, could possibly be substitutes. True ambition is not what we thought it was. True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God.\”  [underlines mine]

And so I venture out onto the trails of Seabrook.

Character Passion Life

Sherpa John had these on his blog:

\”Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.\” ~John Wooden
\”Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.\” ~Walter Anderson
 Yesterday I was invited to coffee with the big boss, along with several others in my area. The boss said, \”If you are not passionate about what you do then get lost. Get out of here.\” Interestingly frank way of saying that. I know that I am damn good at what I do. I\’m the best in the company at facilitating HAZOPs. But am I passionate? I can\’t say yes because if I had health care, I\’d retire. I like what I do and I\’m good at it.period. Passion is a modern buzz word for an unrealistic expectation of how you should feel about work.
Then the next question is, am I passionate about anything? I love endorphins. I love finishing races. I love finishing my weight workouts. I love hearing people talk at AA meetings. I love small moments of clarity while I am studying spirituality. I love my Prius.
But my passion for career or spiritual achievement does seem to have been beaten down by years of small results. I mean I had a goal of God. I have steadily gained in inner peace during my years of spiritual work. But I can\’t say I got the brass ring. Most people think I am passionate about spirituality. I myself feel very subdued about it.
I am not passionate about logistics. But every event of my life has logistics. This ruins almost everything. I spend too much time planning travel routes and means of avoiding crowds or waiting, and not any time enjoying the moment.
I am in perpetual sadness over logistics. My character is determination and steady forward progress. Love is when I sit quietly with no stress. The sweet spot in each day is when I get over the inertia and begin to exercise. Once I get going, it takes about 15 minutes to warm up and feel good. If I was ever to appreciate life itself as a gift, then it is during exercise when I feel good about it all.
If you think by now that I go through life half depressed, you are right. I should take drugs if I want to get a higher happiness quotient. But that is not my plan, so I more or less spend most of my time in survival mode. That might sound sad. I suppose it is. But trying for more is to buy into society\’s psychobabble about how we should be passionate, translated as happy and energetic, all.the.time.
Happiness occurs when I sit quietly and let the world go. Being happy with quietness is a skill that can be learned and doesn\’t depend on any outside circumstances of expectations. This happiness with quiet is true connection this the God concept, or Spirit, or what ever you want to call life itself. Life Itself.

A Crack in the Universe

No, it wasn\’t bright lights or euphoria. But a moment of extreme clarity and complete understanding. Of what? For a moment, I had a complete understanding of how I am joy and if I live consciously from that truth, the illusion changes to total happiness and joy.

I\’m not sure I still have a grasp on that knowing which was so clear a couple hours ago when I was exercising.

It came to me in terms of picking races. What if…..personal bests and Boston Qualifications are created way before the day of the race and everything that happens is created metaphysically of thoughts?

 So, let me start with the idea I want to have a happy race. I give this idea to Spirit and let Him plan. I just go along. Then, I go to the race calendar and see whats on there. Lets say that some race leaps out at me as one I really want to do. Coupled with the idea the Spirit is in charge, I enter that race because I know thats the one selected for me by Spirit.

So, now, I just go about my training, picking my race day outfit, planning travel, etc, secure in the knowledge I will have a happy day. I know the \”moons will line up\” (or that I\’ll be lucky) because Spirit is in charge of giving me a happy day.

But what if I don\’t trust Spirit? What if I am afraid I won\’t get what I want? What if I think God answers prayers by sending difficulties? Then, I didn\’t really want a happy day. I really want fear and pain. If thats what I want, then that is what I get because I wanted it.

So, I just bring these openly to Spirit and they go away.

As I pondered the idea that my best races were actually planned for me by Spirit and that I just trusted and went along, giving all credit to Spirit, suddenly the universe disappears. Truly it is an illusion. I did nothing. All was Spirit. I am spirit.

It is a metaphysical truth: the universe does not exist, so I can change it.

The Frisco 50, next Saturday, seems to be such a race. On the day I thought of it, I had clicked submit and purchase airplane tickets without qualms of any sort. Same with the Copper Mountain Half on June 30. But no matter how much I pondered a race in Tulsa, I just didn\’t feel comfortable with entering. At work, there was an assignment I delayed on because I couldn\’t decide what to do with it. Then, I got some additional information and suddenly, I knew what had to be done. What if I was waiting for a spiritual moment to move easily forward instead of forcing this myself? Things go badly when I force them myself.

I can\’t explan how clear this was during a moment of clarity. I totally knew the truth. Now, hours later, I can\’t explain it but I still know it. I also know that another glimmer will arrive and that one will stay longer and be clearer.

My psalm for today, devised last night is:
Today I wake to joy expecting but
the happy things of God to come to me.

I awaken every moment.

The Core of Happiness

Last night as I was riding my Nordic Track, I felt so happy to be one of the few people who get up off their butt and go do something. See, eating peanut butter out of the jar and laying on the bed are options. I certainly could rationalize laying about.

But there is this inner core, this something else, which wants a life of activity, health, fitness. As I exercise, I feel happy. Maybe its just the endorphins. Ok, I\’ll take them.

I ponder the feeling. I know that my efforts to stay in shape are a symptom of my choice for happiness. I used to get pissed off when people said happiness was a choice. Years later, and after being A Course in Miracles student for awhile, I find that I can choose happiness. I can choose the Voice for God. I can choose that inner something as what I identify with, and not my negative troubled ego self.

I don\’t think the God connection is hard wired. I think it is something you can make if you divert your attention to it.

One of my phrases for today is: \”Father my freedom is in You alone.\” This thought helps me surrender the illusion of the world and return to God as my reality.

Chapter 21.II

What a difference. Then (1/8/2011):

And now (1/8/2012):

I felt totally alive this morning. I know this because of the sensitivity; the feeling of one drop of sweat run down the side of your face or down your chest under your bra and around the side of your breast.

When I moved to Texas, I knew I would increase my cross training; so cross training is success, not failure to run. I had a wonderful hard weekend of running. Not surprising that cross training was the better choice for today. I had a 2 hour fast run yesterday afternoon.

See, that first picture is from 1/8/2011. I had spent 7+ hours on a frigid January night (until 2 am) running around a 5k loop until I completed a 50k. The second picture is from 1/8/2012, where I ran a half marathon in Texas and got 2nd place in my age group.

The difference is that the first picture was suffering and the second was joy. But I didn\’t know I was suffering and being hard on myself. I thought I was being amazingly tough and admirable. Really? For what? Well, I didn\’t know what joy is. It really wasn\’t all that fun to spend all night in frozen darkness. But, I spun the story so it sounded heroic.

I have faith in ACIM. ACIM is a different teaching than anything in the denominational realm of religion. So, learning new concepts seems to take time. And I often wonder if I really have accepted Christ vision or decided for God. But I must have made the decision and have faith in the decision, or I wouldn\’t persist in studying something on my own for so many years.

The faith must be fed by a real presence of The Voice for God and Self; or it wouldn\’t be sustainable. An ego would never sustain the study by itself.

The following is quoted from A Course in Miracles Text 21.II, with bold added by me.

2 This is the only thing that you need do for vision, happiness, release from pain and the complete escape from sin, all to be given you. Say only this, but mean it with no reservations, for here the power of salvation lies:

I am responsible for what I see.
I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve.
And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked.

Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done to you. Acknowledge but that you have been mistaken, and all effects of your mistakes will disappear.

3 It is impossible the Son of God be merely driven by events outside of him. It is impossible that happenings that come to him were not his choice. His power of decision is the determiner of every situation in which he seems to find himself by chance or accident. No accident nor chance is possible within the universe as God created it, outside of which is nothing. Suffer, and you decided sin was your goal. Be happy, and you gave the power of decision to Him Who must decide for God for you. This is the little gift you offer to the Holy Spirit, and even this He gives to you to give yourself. For by this gift is given you the power to release your saviour, that he may give salvation unto you.

4 Begrudge not then this little offering. Withhold it, and you keep the world as now you see it. Give it away, and everything you see goes with it. Never was so much given for so little. In the holy instant is this exchange effected and maintained. Here is the world you do not want brought to the one you do. And here the one you do is given you because you want it. Yet for this, the power of your wanting must first be recognized. You must accept its strength, and not its weakness. You must perceive that what is strong enough to make a world can let it go, and can accept correction if it is willing to see that it was wrong.

5 The world you see is but the idle witness that you were right. This witness is insane. You trained it in its testimony, and as it gave it back to you, you listened and convinced yourself that what it saw was true. You did this to yourself. See only this, and you will also see how circular the reasoning on which your “seeing” rests. This was not given you. This was your gift to you and to your brother. Be willing, then, to have it taken from him and be replaced with truth. And as you look upon the change in him, it will be given you to see it in yourself.

6 Perhaps you do not see the need for you to give this little offering. Look closer, then, at what it is. And, very simply, see in it the whole exchange of separation for salvation. All that the ego is, is an idea that it is possible that things could happen to the Son of God without his will; and thus without the Will of his Creator, Whose Will cannot be separate from his own. This is the Son of God’s replacement for his will, a mad revolt against what must forever be. This is the statement that he has the power to make God powerless and so to take it for himself, and leave himself without what God has willed for him. This is the mad idea you have enshrined upon your altars, and which you worship. And anything that threatens this seems to attack your faith, for here is it invested. Think not that you are faithless, for your belief and trust in this is strong indeed.

7 The Holy Spirit can give you faith in holiness and vision to see it easily enough. But you have not left open and unoccupied the altar where the gifts belong. Where they should be, you have set up your idols to something else. This other “will,” which seems to tell you what must happen, you give reality. And what would show you otherwise, must therefore seem unreal. All that is asked of you is to make room for truth. You are not asked to make or do what lies beyond your understanding. All you are asked to do is let it in; only to stop your interference with what will happen of itself; simply to recognize again the presence of what you thought you gave away.

8 Be willing, for an instant, to leave your altars free of what you placed upon them, and what is really there you cannot fail to see. The holy instant is not an instant of creation, but of recognition. For recognition comes of vision and suspended judgement. Then only it is possible to look within and see what must be there, plainly in sight, and wholly independent of inference and judgement. Undoing is not your task, but it is up to you to welcome it or not. Faith and desire go hand in hand, for everyone believes in what he wants.

9 We have already said that wishful thinking is how the ego deals with what it wants, to make it so. There is no better demonstration of the power of wanting, and therefore of faith, to make its goals seem real and possible. Faith in the unreal leads to adjustments of reality to make it fit the goal of madness. The goal of sin induces the perception of a fearful world to justify its purpose. What you desire, you will see. And if its reality is false, you will uphold it by not realizing all the adjustments you have introduced to make it so.

10 When vision is denied, confusion of cause and effect becomes inevitable. The purpose now becomes to keep obscure the cause of the effect, and make effect appear to be a cause. This seeming independence of effect enables it to be regarded as standing by itself, and capable of serving as a cause of the events and feelings its maker thinks it causes. Earlier, we spoke of your desire to create your own Creator, and be father and not son to Him. This is the same desire. The Son is the effect, whose Cause he would deny. And so he seems to be the cause, producing real effects. Nothing can have effects without a cause, and to confuse the two is merely to fail to understand them both.

11 It is as needful that you recognize you made the world you see, as that you recognize that you did not create yourself. They are the same mistake. Nothing created not by your Creator has any influence over you. And if you think what you have made can tell you what you see and feel, and place your faith in its ability to do so, you are denying your Creator and believing that you made yourself. For if you think the world you made has power to make you what it wills, you are confusing Son and Father; effect and Source.

12 The Son’s creations are like his Father’s. Yet in creating them the Son does not delude himself that he is independent of his Source. His union with It is the Source of his creating. Apart from this he has no power to create, and what he makes is meaningless. It changes nothing in creation, depends entirely upon the madness of its maker, and cannot serve to justify the madness. Your brother thinks he made the world with you. Thus he denies creation. With you, he thinks the world he made, made him. Thus he denies he made it.

13 Yet the truth is you and your brother were both created by a loving Father, Who created you together and as one. See what “proves” otherwise, and you deny your whole reality. But grant that everything that seems to stand between you and your brother, keeping you from each other and separate from your Father, you made in secret, and the instant of release has come to you. All its effects are gone, because its source has been uncovered. It is its seeming independence of its source that keeps you prisoner. This is the same mistake as thinking you are independent of the Source by Which you were created, and have never left.

Inspiration

I got up at 3:45 with the alarm. my first thought was: Why did I come here? There is no reason for me to be alive.

At this point, if you read this blog often, you might have realized that it is not a fu fu blog about how to be happy and feel good. This blog is not for sissies who only want to hear the good; because the bad and the ugly is what I live with. I have no drama; but a wealth of negativity. It does me no good to read a book on happiness. My best shot is awareness plus surrender.

This is a blog about my daily grasp at spiritual straws in order to keep from killing myself. Any inspiration comes from the fact that I succeed at living each day.

I can\’t relate when people tell me happiness is a choice; so just chose it. This morning, I could relate to the idea of the Presence of Love. I can pause and call to mind the Presence of Love. I don\’t ask it for anything or expect anything from it. I just remember it.

Then, I did a core workout and ran 3 miles. I ran 63 miles last week. I\’m going to try to take it a little easy this week because I am entered in a marathon next Sunday.

I went to Mass this morning. Sitting there I thought, \”I don\’t have to do anything. I am free.\” Sweet!

Spirit Flower\’s How to be Happy

1. Identify and list: unhappy situations, persons affecting you, places, or things; feelings of guilt, shame, fear, anger, irritation, annoyance, unfairness, or lack no matter how small; all grievances against anyone or anything, no matter how small; all idle wishes or fantasies; all past hurts, hates, etc.. Making this list will need to be done over and over, perhaps over several years. Follow the following steps each time you make a list (ideally every day).

2. Look inside and see only a holy fire of love called Atonement. Any darkness, unbelief, fear or guilty feeling about this should be added to the list.

3. Realize that this holy fire is love, you are love and love is all there is anywhere and everywhere. Any other beliefs are lies and illusions and should be added to the list.

4. Achieve peace in the presence of the fire of Atonement. Feel safe there. Practice this.

5. Gently feed the items on your list into the fire. They will be undone by the Atonement.

6. Now you are free.

7. Go running! (my way of saying, have fun, be happy)

ps: If you want to talk to the flame or call it Jesus, or Christ, or Tao, do so. It will help you.