What Being Alive Means

Two days ago, a Friday morning, I was sitting in my kitchen and doing my morning contemplation. The bush outside the window still doesn’t have any buds on it. Spring is here, but cold and rain abound. I cried out to The Universe, “bring me what being alive means!” Yes, I was emphatic in my feeling. It is an unspecific request except I was feeling a very specific feeling. I want to do and experiece whatever being alive means.

On my plate are various possibilites of things that could be done. But first up was a half marathon race the next day. I often feel misunderstood when it comes to running. People’s reactions to me, a 64 year old who still does 70 miles a week, almost never feels satisfying. But in asking The Universe for the meaning of being alive, I got a vision of my running. Suddenly I knew with every fiber of my being that running was my expression of the meaning of being alive. And off I went to packet pickup.

Saturday morning the alarm goes off at 5 am. I leap out of bed, eager for the race. I slept great and it was easy to get up. I drank a cup of coffee while I got my gear together. I get to the race site very early so that I could have a primo parking spot. I sat in my car reading a book. As time for the start of the race crept closer, I went into the stadium and found a women’s bathroom with no line. All of these pre-race activites were manifestations of being alive.

I went to the start line, along with about 900 other runners. We were all excited. Raring to go. The national anthem was sung. I get teary eyes seeing the flag and hearing the anthem, every time. And we are off.

The city where the race was run is hilly. Very hilly. Brutally hilly. I ran the race at threshold breathing, which meant an average of 10 minutes per mile. I did well chugging my way uphill and practically sprinted the down hills. I worked hard to stay ahead of the 2:15 pace bunny. As the miles went by, I was becoming more and more amazed at myself as I kept maintaining a 10 minute per mile pace. I had known I could run one 10 minute mile, but I didn’t know I could run a bunch of them. And the hills kept coming. The uphills became more and more difficult to get up.

Arriving at mile 11, I was with the 2:15 pace bunny, and I was the only one with her. All the others had dropped off. She encouraged me. I told her how surprised I was to see how fast I could run. I clung to her. I tried hard to stay with her, even as more uphills continued to present themselves. I told her that I thought the course was cruel. She laughed, “You got this. Just keep going.”

Suddenly I recognized the area of the finishing track. I got on the track and sprinted around to the finishline. I looked at the clock: 2 hours, 13 minutes and some seconds. Wow! I did it. I couldn’t believe it. Thats the fastest half marathon I’ve run in a long time. Wow!

A man came up behind me. He was a little taller than me, probably six two, possible of Indian descent, with a little grey at his temples, so definitely younger. He thanked me. He said he had been following me and working hard to maintain my pace. He thanked me for being his pace bunny. Amazing.

After I got home, I checked the results online. Whoop! I got first place in my age group. I beat 12 other sixty something ladies. Yes, seeing my name pop up at the top of the list felt like winning the lottery or something. I kept reliving the feeling of putting my all into maintaing my pace and running as fast as I could without dying.

And that folks is what the Universe brought me: what being alive means.

So the next time you see some old lady shuffling along the sidewalk, just remember. To her, being out there is the essence and feeling of the meaning of being alive. It is a tremendous contribution to the well being of our world.


Love BEING — Reflection 11.27

            Love is the conscious sense of being in partnership with my own essence. I am a being. Also, I am Being Itself.

            Yes, you should love yourself no matter what, even the ego you. Love the divine consciousness within you and the divine consciousness which created you. Love Being, which is your existence.

            The essence of all people is the joy of being. The essence of all people is life celebrating being alive. What if you tried to feel this inner essence? Just try to feel It, without the condition that It do anything.

Photo by Anni Roenkae on Pexels.com

To Care for My Soul

 That long essay regarding failure to understand a philosophy exam helped me to feel better. This activity felt like I was caring for myself. Instead of letting my emotions rage, or trying to bury them, I worked them out in writing.

Your soul is not some mysterious thing. It is the entity that lives here in you, with all its various levels of awareness. 

Taking the time to process your emotions. Taking the time to listen inwardly. Taking the time to reason things out. Taking the time to become aware of yourself, who you really are. These are examples of taking care of your soul.

It seems to me, at times, that my whole job here on earth is caring for my soul. All my relationships enhance and expand this activity. So caring for my soul must be a relationship with my soul. Does it help to call my soul my inner being? That being which is quieter than my emotional thoughts? Become aware of that quieter presence inside. It helps a lot to pay attention to it. 

The American Gulag

 I have been watching the snow melt. I have wanted to use certain bike paths, but some of them still have patches of ice, meaning I fear running on them. But, success will be had in the next day or so.

I watch the bush outside my kitchen window every day. This time of year, of course, it is barren of leaves. The only activity is very small birds which sometimes sit there. Above the bush is the sky. In the sky, various larger birds soar, hawks and geese.

Today, I picked up two thoughts from Alexander Solzhenitsyn\’s Gulag Archipelago, Volume 1. 

Page 271, \”for mercy one must have wisdom.\”

Page 280, \”if in order to live it is necessary not to live, then what\’s it all for?\”

Stop and think. At first, I could not understand that bit about mercy and wisdom, especially not in the context of the concentration camp. Perhaps it was a joke about the Russian jailers. But in my life, what does it mean? It refers to my personal relationships and having mercy on whoever I seem to resent. Having mercy or having wisdom seems like character traits not used enough today. And there I go, judging the mass consciousness. 

Now, the second quote. What is living? Who is really alive? When I read the second quote, I immediately thought of my career. I left my career in order to be really alive. I didn\’t want any longer to sit in an office performing meaningless boring tasks. Now I have choices, but it is up to me to consciously choose. What is the most alive way of being available to me right this moment. The right choice is not always an activity but always involves turning on my intellect and engaging in something thoughtful. 

In this instance, I ask fellow Americans, \”What is being alive to you?\” How are you being? Do you feel enlivened? Even at work, awaken to Life Itself? Even if I am watching snow melt or a barren bush, I need to capture Life. Life must be mine, or what\’s it all for?

Wanting to Live

A strange new thought occurred to me today. A thought which I believe was the result of spiritual work.

I was on my 30 minute meal break at Starbucks. I was walking to my car to sit and eat. This thought passed through my mind, \”I want to relish every minute that I am at Starbucks, not wish that it was over soon.\” Wow, it was a thought easily expanded to my whole attitude and outlook on life and how my view seems to have transformed.

See, for most of my life, I wondered why was I alive. I mean, what good am I? Why would God make me? Sure, I\’m a pretty good person, but there isn\’t anything \”great\” about me. I am above average smart yes. I\’m in extreme good health, unlike most 60 year olds. I did my career. I\’ve been sober for 33 years. But, I really had no purpose for being alive.

And I spent most of my career wishing it was over. I saved money for the purpose of getting away from my career as soon as possible. And well, I guess I\’ve wanted life to be over as soon as possible too. Everything I ever did with my life was a chore and I wanted it to be over, so I could rest.

So today, when I actually felt how much I could be aware and awake and liking working at Starbucks, I….   woke up!

Wait, I want to be alive for every second of my life from now on. I don\’t need a purpose. I just want to experience my life. I don\’t want to just go through the motions, hoping it would be over soon.

I have suddenly dropped the rock of having to have a purpose for my life, or even doing anything good while I am here. I just want to be alive in my own life, to see it, to be awake in it. Not just hope life will quit bothering me soon.

And so I am free.

Ode to Joy

This is a little story of synchronicity, of paying attention to the Universe, of cooperative components coming together. And most of all, appreciating the spiritual entities who can help us accomplish meaningful lives.

I noticed yesterday how a respected 104 year old scientist, David Goodall, had died peacefully listening to \”Ode to Joy\”. I wondered what was so important about that music, by Beethoven, that this highly intelligent and deep person would chose to die to it. But I didn\’t pursue it at that moment.

Then today, I was on page 201 of Jordan Peterson\’s book \”12 Rules for Life\” where it says, \”What is meaningful by contrast is the organization of what would otherwise be expedient into a symphony of Being. Meaning is what is put forth more powerfully that mere words can express by Beethoven\’s \”Ode to Joy,\” a triumphant bringing forth from the void of pattern after pattern upon beautiful pattern, every instrument playing its part, disciplined voices layered on top of that, spanning the entire breadth of human emotion from despair to exhilaration.\”  I deeply want to feel my life as a symphony of Being.

Suddenly, I had to pull out my phone and ask it to play \”Ode to Joy.\” Well, yes I know this song. But as I listened to it in the context of the 104 year old scientist plus \”symphony of Being,\” I realized my life being lived for the Universe and my gift to the Universe. I felt the truth of the emotion. I felt the symphony of my life and all its ups and downs as a wonderful gift given and gift received.

I wouldn\’t have felt that depth of my life\’s worth if I hadn\’t been paying attention to the clues, the little trail of bread crumbs left by my higher consciousness, my soul or spirit. Feeling high on life is wonderful and seldom felt by me.

I wouldn\’t mind dying to this magnificent truth either.


I know I am human today because I felt a common pain. The thing hadn\’t happened to me but I understood how it felt.

There is a thing happening to many people in our corporation. We are the competent experts who keep the company running; but not given promotional opportunity since clearly our careers are ending. It is like a death to realize you are at the end. Your career has stopped. This is pain.

I talked today to a colleague who just now experienced this problem. I also talked to her about what I am doing in my life. I realized that I am happiest when I discuss having a phase 3 of my life and a new career.

What Makes My Life Worth Living?

I\’ve struggled with this question on and off all my life. Especially after I left monastic life, I wondered, \”What good am I?\” I didn\’t get to be Sister ____ OSB, and have the world think I am special. I am a single woman, professional engineer. Nobody\’s mother. Nobody\’s wife. Not religious at this point.  All of these are society\’s measurements of what makes a good person or a worthwhile person. And I have dissed myself over them so much.

Today, I asked myself what made my life worth living today? I remembered the deer that came within 3 feet of me. It is a doe who limps and I\’ve seen her in that park before. Seeing her was worthwhile.

I jog walked slowly for 4 hours today. It felt really good to do low impact. Doing this made my life worth living to me. While I am on my feet for 4 hours, I get to dream of running marathons. Running marathons is a worthwhile activity to me.

While I was jogging, I was thinking about my metaphysical life. I thought about my recent decision to stay in Texas at my current job. So I asked the Universe what was I going to do now? I realized that I need to let the fabric of my mentally controlled view of the world to unravel a bit. You\’d have to study metaphysics to know what I am talking about, but it has to do with \”I am responsible for the world I see.\” As I thought about letting the fabric unravel, let go of control, I got a vision of my boss. Suddenly, I thought, \”let go of the control,\” and the fabric of my boss unraveled revealing a hole in the fabric and the bright light was shining beyond it. This vision is a true practice of A Course in Miracles \”forgiveness.\” Forgiveness is looking beyond, undoing. It was astonishing to envision the unraveling of my mental control of the world.

Another thing about this weekend is that I finally made it to Home Depot to buy some paint for my front door. The associate did a great job of helping me because I know nothing about paint. And I was scared of doing the job. But I did do the job today. Now, watching my ordinary consciousness fiddle and be scared by using my higher consciousness is in fact a thing to be aware of. It is a doorway into the fact that I have a higher consciousness and I can be aware of it.

So if I have a higher consciousness, do I have to ask the question of the worth of my life at all? For sure, a higher consciousness just is. There is no measurement of its worth. Exploring consciousness, finding the higher has been a desire of my lower consciousness for decades. To have  worthwhile life, do I need to be great or famous or in a helping profession? My life was worth living to me today. I need to find small worthwhile parts of life each day; and not judge myself as less worthwhile because I work at a corporate job.

Re-imagining the Dream

My last post claimed I\’m thinking about leaving my job; leaving the American dream. Then I got my bonus. Adding up all the money I actually make convinced me that continuing to work makes financial sense.

So the real problem with my life is me and my attitudes.

And I have spent 31 years working on said attitudes; but with a major distraction. If only I could be spiritual, float around and never work again. Such a dream landed me in a monastery for 4 years; which cost me about $500,000 in lost wages.

As a result of my current investigation into quitting my job, I realized a couple of things. Yes, work is hard and I\’m like most people in not wanting to do it. Spiritual directors say that we should follow our dreams and not work at \”jobs\”. But is working at an engineering job in a chemical plant really killing my soul? If I believe so then yes, it is. If I am consciously going to work with some other attitude, then no. Any emotional problems I have with the people at work are no different than the emotional problems I had with the sisters in the convent. And quitting work altogether would leave me with the same emotional problems.

So the real problem with my life is me and my attitudes.

I have access to attitude improvement. Mostly, it is practicing A Course in Miracles. Keeping in my mind, Course thinking instead of ego thinking is a challenge. Daily opening of the book puts fresh healing cooling balm into my brain.

Another result of this \”quitting\” investigation is that I seem to have pushed away my 2 spiritual advisers. I need to accept my own choices as the best for me no matter what these so called spiritual advisers say. I am an engineer and I must have chosen that for this life\’s purpose. I am not a spiritual author; and I won\’t suddenly become one just because I quit my job. My life is not a worthless life because I work as an engineer.

Yesterday, the bug man came so I don\’t have bugs in the house. Today, the AC man came to check the AC, so the house is cool. Is having the money to pay for such services so terribly un-spiritual?

Tomorrow, I\’m going in a marathon. On Sunday, I\’m going in a half marathon. Because of doing the 2 races in a row, I get a special medal. The swag gets hung on a wall with numerous other bits of swag. Am I guilty of a terrible shallowness because I love medals? I love races, even though I come in behind. Does this make me a spiritual loser?

The problem with my life is not my life. It is how I feel about it. And I can change my decisions about what a good life is. I need to drop the rocks.

The Dream can be a dream of inner joy. Joy just is. Joy does not have to be caused. Just think the word Joy, and I feel better instantly.

The Bread of Life

The thing I want out of life, this life and all the others, is God. Like a salmon returning to spawn time after time, I came back here for another journey. 

Here is a new thought: maybe I hated my mother\’s womb because I knew that this life\’s journey was starting at spiritual rock bottom. I wasn\’t born into spiritual privilege; like having enlightened or philosophical parents. I wasn\’t born already half way up the mountain. I was born into alcoholism, co-dependence; the deepest pain and despair imaginable existed my family.

I looked at the DNA of pain and anger and hate. I felt the net of this pain full DNA settle in. I fought off the poisons of thalidomide and alcohol. Then I looked up. I saw that somehow I could climb out of this pit. Somehow I could find sunlight. I realized the energy it would take. Begrudgingly I said, \”Okay God. I\’ll do it.\”
When I left the convent, I was determined to be spouse to the Lord anyway. When I left The Church, I was determined to have communion anyway. Jesus said, \”I am the bread of life.\” He is teaching us something new. It is not to have communion but to be communion. DNA and bread of life are the same thing. Allow Life to eat you. Be consumed by Life. 
Feed every scrap of pain into the fire of your heart burning within. Let the fire of your heart burn you up. This is life. This is communion. This is to be The Way, The Truth and The Life. This is to follow Jesus and be his disciple. This is the imitation of Christ.