National Captal Marathon – 1

I arrived yesterday in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. United Airlines did an excellent job of delivering me and my luggage. For some reason, all crowds and lines disappeared before me and I breezed along. I almost cried when the customs agent asked what my business was and I proudly answered, “National marathon.” Even now I feel the tears inside. Ottawa is very beautiful and my hostess (one runningmaniac named JoJo) is superb.

From A Course in Miracles this morning, I pondered this: “Beyond the poor attraction of the special love relationship, and always obscured by it, is the powerful attraction of the Father for His Son. There is no other love that can satisfy you, because there is no other love. This is the only love that is fully given and fully returned. Being complete, it asks nothing.”

There is much in ACIM about the ego and its special relationships which distracts me from the one real relationship, that with God. It takes an act of will to stop my ego activities and remember God. However, one I make the decision and set aside the space, God comes and I am aware of Him. It is for this awareness that live.

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Holiness Revisited

From ACIM text 14.IX and X:
>The Presence of Holiness lives in everything that lives, for Holiness created life, and leaves not what it created holy as itself.

>In this world you can become a spotless mirror, in which the holiness of your Creator shines forth from you to all around you. You can reflect Heaven here. Yet no reflections of the images of other gods must dim the mirror that would hold God’s reflection in it. Earth can reflect Heaven or hell; God or the ego. You need but leave the mirror clean and clear of all the images of hidden darkness you have drawn upon it. God will shine upon it of Himself.

>God is no image, and His creations, as part of Him, hold Him in them in truth. They do not merely reflect truth, for they are truth.

>The reflections you accept into the mirror of your mind in time but bring eternity nearer or farther. But eternity itself is beyond all time. Reach out of time and touch it, with the help of its reflection in you. And you will turn from time to holiness, as surely as the reflection of holiness calls everyone to lay all guilt aside.

(note about the mirror: people familiar with the Bible, will recall St Paul’s mirror images; but note here that the point is to let God shine brightly, almost the opposite of what Paul was saying)

My morning ACIM study again touched the topic of holiness. My lesson today overlaps because it mentions truth: I will be still and listen to the truth.

I admit to Jesus what is really in my mind at the worldly level. I recognize my hatred of various people from my past and how disrespectful of my current boss I secretly am. Well, nothing stays secret. It leaks out in pointed comments; of which I am ashamed and feel guilty and consequently afraid. As I admit my true feelings, I once again return to the self hate. I once again feel the ego’s utter hatred of God. I bring these thoughts to the light of the Holy Spirit instead of keeping them in my secret darkness.

Jesus, in ACIM, teaches that the hatred is of the ego and doesn’t really exist as the ego doesn’t exist. I always get to choose what voice I want to listen to: the ego’s hateful spewing or the quiet Voice of the Presence of holiness within. It strikes me that the listening to The Voice and the turning to holiness is a life or death matter. I must choose The Voice, accept the holiness and only see holiness in others as well. This choice and practice means life.

If I cry out, “Oh God, why have you forsaken me?” it is my desperate cry because I feel powerless over the pus-filled and putrid ego which normally fills my consciousness. If I whisper, “Into your hands I commend my spirit,” it is my utmost and heart-felt surrender to Love; compunction at its finest. I need help and help is here. It still means that I must give up every ego thing in order to reflect the peace of heaven. This is the way to God consciousness; THE one thing I want.

So, I worked out on the machines for 2 hours and then ran for 90 minutes. I think my ankle will be fine for the marathon in 2 weeks and I am starting to look forward to the trip.

Marathon Metaphor and Metaphysics

I went in a marathon race yesterday. I ran very consistently at 10 minute miles with a couple of pit stops so my overall time was 4:24.

This morning the marathon experience wandered into my spiritual study. I wanted to invite God into the picture as this race was really not an ego inflating experience. So I ask the Holy Spirit, “What for?”

The marathon experience is symbolic of my life ethos and journey away from metaphysically unconscious masses and into an enduring solitude of spirit. Instead of chattering away life in a mirage of weddings, soccer games, TV shows and overeating, I choose the silent reflection, listening to the spiritual song, quietly doing my spiritual work. You might say, “In the world but not of it.” As time goes on, I find that the substance of my life is truly on a different experiential page. I am dedicated to being a spirit. In so far as any other person notices me, I have taught them about spirit.

So to have God instead of ego, I need to look for God. On one level, the marathon experience was totally annoying because of the tons of people and the way they hindered my running. This annoyance is the ego’s material world. But if I remain with that outlook then I have chosen to accept the ego’s story and deny the presence of God. I actively chose now to deny ego and look for God.

To find God, I look for love. Love was in the volunteers; so easily missed. Love was in the families cheering on the sidelines; including the three year old kid who high fived me. He didn’t care if I was actually his sister. Love was in a friend I met up with who is also an ultra-marathoner. It was a brief oasis. Yes, the ultra-marathoners are sometimes mixed up in the maddening crowds of half-marathoners and marathoners. Love was in the runners attempting to run farther than they had before; even if that was only a half marathon. Love was in the many people who were sweating; although I thought it was somewhat cool and hardly sweated a drop. Love was in the marathoners who hit the wall and were reduced to slow shuffles for the last 5 miles; but they persevered.

I spent the first 9 miles or so attempting to position myself away from crowds of people running together. That behavior is symbolic of my life where I have passed into and out of various groups but then left them as their speed or destination was not mine. At 11 miles, the course splits. Half marathoners are directed off the course. In these races, less than one in ten runners is a full marathoner. I am running next to another woman at this point, but I don’t know what race she is in. A volunteer points and her and says, “Half marathoners to the right.” He points at me and says, “Full marathoners to the left.” The woman looks at me and says, “Good luck full marathoner.” Ummm, this comment struck my heart like an arrow.

Thus I am sent off on the road less travelled. Surprisingly, it is this part of the course which is on a bike path away from roads and is the most beautiful. As time goes on, I pass more and more people who have hit the wall and become strugglers in sweat, heat and pain. I breeze past them and eventually, by the finish, I am totally alone. I can’t see anyone in front of me or behind me. I wonder if I am off course even though I ran this course last year. A photographer is my touch stone that this must be the right way. I have accomplished the journey away from crowds and into solitude. I am in the experience of myself, alone with my own inner energy and life force unrelentingly pushing me forward. This experience of the unrelenting life force is my experience of spirituality, which moves forward everyday and never lays about in bed. The journey from crowds to solitude is a metaphor. I started my spiritual journey in the religion of the masses but my dedication to spiritual truth led me beyond them. The choice to see this experience as spiritual instead of annoyance is the choice for metaphysics instead of the material as the predominant mode of my being.

Today, no serious injuries happened so I will go off now for a short run.

Running Free

I study A Course in Miracles because it gives me a way out of my ego and a way into God. It is something I can study and do. There are no impossibilities like: need to be ordained or need a guru or need to be a man or etc. etc.

I came away from my studies this morning with joy. I can run a marathon as spiritual grandeur instead of ego grandiosity, as spiritual blessing instead of ego competition, as spiritual magnificence instead of ego littleness, as an idea in the Mind of God instead of an ego delusion, as peace instead of attack. Each moment is a holy instant. Each person is my partner in holiness and the presence of the Holy Spirit. In this commitment to the truth of God, I achieve happiness.

Ha, as I type this out, I see it is my personal prayer of St Francis ala A Course in Miracles.

Thoughts on AA

First of all, should I even mention on this blog that I am a sober woman and long time member of AA? What will you think of me? I am fighting my ego on this. My ego has always been too good for sobriety and I have therefore suffered from a lack of gratitude for what AA has given me. So, to fight my ego and thus maintain sobriety, I am about discuss my AA program.

This brings me to the heart of the matter that I want to discuss: participation of long sober people in AA. Many many people with years of sobriety quit going to meetings. Of course, why not? I don’t need the meeting right? Now that I live in close proximity to meetings, where I’ve known people for 24 years, I’ve been struggling with this question. Now that I live here, what is the role of AA in my life?

With 5 years of sobriety, I stopped going to one AA club and started going to another because the first club was no longer good enough for me. Then, with 14 years of sobriety, I stopped going to meetings all together as I had joined a monastery. Secretly, my ego was pleased. My ego has always thought I was too good for AA. I would quite literally rather kneel at the feet of Jesus than go to an AA meeting. Mind you, they had an AA group that met in an outbuilding at the monastery, so I could have gone. But, I was too proud; and furthermore, I didn’t want any of my sisters to judge me as weak.

After I got out of the monastery, I had no intention of ever going to another AA meeting. I didn’t need them, hadn’t been for years and was still too good for AA. Well, I did start going after a year because when I asked God the question, “How can I be of maximum service to you?” The answer was clearly, “Go to a meeting.” So I came down off my holy mountain and groveled in the dirt with alcoholics. Secretly, I was still too good to be there.

Then, I moved to a dinky town and did not go to meetings there because of anonymity issues. I would flit down to the city on weekends, drop pearls of wisdom at the meeting and then flit back to my private life where I never thought I needed AA. I thought I could just pray and meditate and have a vibrant relationship with God without addressing any of the people around me. Well, I had a good excuse, so it was easy to lie to myself: these people are 50 miles away, so I don’t need to be responsible. I was definitely still too good for AA, but as so many people praised me for my spiritual wisdom, I was ok with showing up at their meeting and enlightening them.

Now, I live here again. I could be responsible. I strongly feel that God wants me to be responsible. I prayed and talked to Him. I realized: I don’t need meetings, but I do need to listen to newer sobriety which does need a meeting. Then last night, in a meeting, I was pondering my lack of gratitude for sobriety and AA. I should be so grateful that I was spared the life my mother had; and even escaped from the life I had 24 years ago. I had a startling revelation: I have defied my ego and pretty much continued to go to meetings for 24 years. I’ve felt too good for AA for 24 years, but I still go and do the deal. And I am sober. I realized that my relationship with God and my spiritual happiness are not separate from AA. They are inextricably one.

So, I will keep defying my ego and going to meetings and attempting to be responsible; no matter what anyone thinks. I want to stay sober, live the sober life and enjoy spirituality. My ego must be defied or I won’t make the spiritual progress I want.

I kicked a chair in my apartment in the dark last night. Now my right little toe is really painful. How will I go in a marathon tomorrow when I can hardly walk?

I dreamed about the marathon last night. I was about 20 minutes late for the start but went ahead and was running really fast. The course was complicated going into parking garages and stairwells. At one point, I got off course and couldn\’t figure out how to get back on; though I could see it. I yelled at a volunteer, \”How in the he!! do I get over there?\”

This dream is full of symbolism and indeed, the marathon is a microcosm for life. I hope I make it tomorrow!

Heart of America Marathon – Report

Marathons are beasts. I never know what it will take to tame the beast on any given day. Why do I do it? I don’t know; but from time to time, I must go and ride the demon down.

Crap that hurt!

I did better than I thought I would.

Ok…my hotel is about 100 yards from the start so my last pee was in the hotel room (no line, haha). I’m on IBU, despite all the health risks, because I have cramps (50 year olds are supposed to get over this but I haven’t grown up yet). Hope three doodads will keep me clean for 5 hours.

Walk to the start. Stand in the dark for about ten minutes. They are making a big deal of it being the 50th anniversary of this race; and there are about twice as many people there this year. I get to the back and decide on a slow warm up, even though it is downhill. I’m a little worried about whether I’ll be having knee problems and don’t want to aggravate it early.

First mile: 13:30. Ok…unacceptable…I start going ten minute miles. It is pretty cool, 65F, and foggy. Very soon, I start to pass all the people who sprinted the first downhill mile and some are now walking up the second mile hill. Things go well. After about 65 minutes and a request to my Higher Power, I suddenly come up with today’s theme:

Little Old Ladies Rock.

LOL!!! I start telling everyone, even embarrassing one or two slightly younger women who don’t realize I am saying it about myself. About mile 9 I’m running with one of the miracle marathoners. I seem to meet these people in every marathon. They have overcome some issue with weight or health or life through running and are now marathoners.

The dirt road for miles 9 and 10 is damp and not dusty: great.

I get to the Easley hill at mile 12 ½. I walk up this hill. I already know I can walk up a 30% grade faster than I can run it and I don’t want to blow out my achilles. Half way point is at the top of Easley: 2:16. My brain has been working every mile, but now I know for sure what is possible and what is not possible depending on how much effort I put into this race. I have no injury issues but my legs are getting tired.

Things go along fine. This race is all hills except for mile 11 along the Missouri River. About mile 17, I see a two year old dancing by a car at the side of the road. I definitely need a high five from one of these little kids. Better than Gu or Gatorade by that time. The mother sends the kid over at my hand signal and I get some skin. By mile 18, 3:05, I can feel my quads. Actually, my inner thighs seem to be more stressed; a new thing. About mile 19, there is a four year old handing out water. I get another high five.

By mile 20, I realize that the race has drained me substantially. If I put everything I got in, completely give myself up to the beast, I can do 4:30. One more downhill and then mainly uphill until the last half mile. It is my moment of truth: start to shuffle or go through the fatigue and pain. I decide to put it all in.

Surprisingly, up hills are happier for me due to less pounding. I can put my head down and bull my way up. I do so. Kids hand out sponges at about mile 23; AWESOME!

I chug my way along, even able to speed up the last half mile: 4:30:15 (approx).

I am happy with this time. I had actually thought I might have a PW. But nooooo! I ran the whole way, except for Easley. I never got over my slow start. I don’t think I’m injured (that is the good part).

I didn’t get my AG plaque (if indeed I won one) because the timers were messed up and quit posting times. So I hitch-hiked back to the hotel. Showered. Jumped in the car to drive home. I passed one car (not too far from the city) with a 26.2 sticker on the back. When they passed me, I held up my medal and waved. They held up theirs and waved. I got free “Cookies for Jesus” at a rest stop and arrived home safe and sound. Oh man those 13 steps up to my apartment were a killer!

The beast has been tamed for another month or two. Maybe I should just hire someone to beat me!

Tomorrow, I start my new job and will go back to being a normal runner.

My summer vacation of running was terrific. I’m glad I survived it.

Heart of America Marathon 2009 – Prelude

Up at 3. Drinking coffee. Race time at 6.

After messing with Runningmania.com, I’m settling into morning spiritual work.

4 am – Holiness. Holy Spirit. Nothing else seems to exist. “I am resolved to let You (Holy Spirit) speak through me…” (ACIM WB 296). The silence of the early morning has made Holiness and Presence almost palpable. I am grateful to stop and give myself to God for whatever could happen today.

Not special. I am willing to give up specialness. “The One you called on is with you…to acknowledge Him is to deny all that you think you know” (ACIM text 16.II.6). I can give up what I think I know in favor of the Power of Holiness. I can expect to run my race in the Power of Holiness. What happens here in the material world is of no consequence. Only Holiness matters.

What a miracle that my mind is opened to the Power of Holiness and I will not be running a race on the plane of pain and ego. I will be running a race with Him in me, as a consciousness partnership and awareness. OMG, THIS is how I want to live my life: always letting Holiness be primary in my mind.

Monday, September 07, 2009: the first day of the New Year. God has given me Himself. God has answered all His promises. I wanted to live on the plane of Inspiration and I am. The World of the Spirit has been my goal for decades. Today, I stand inside That Place. Light is all around, shining brightly. I rejoice at Love. I rejoice at being one with all my brothers and sisters. It is true that every single person is here in the Love with me. It doesn’t matter if you know it. We are Here.

The problem of today, running a marathon, I hereby give to the Holy Spirit to solve for me. He has never failed to solve any problem I have ever given Him. I am totally grateful to give Him this problem, today\’s problem. My ego fears the Holy Spirit’s control. My true self loves being under His Love. I put my faith in the Power of Holiness. I even offer my ego’s fear to Him for healing. The ego’s fear is the indigenous human condition which needs healing so we can consciously rejoin Heaven. “This is the year for the application of the ideas that have been given you. For the ideas are mighty forces, to be used and not held idly by…This year, invest in truth, and let it work peace. Have faith in Him Who has faith in you” (text 16.II.9). By giving my day to God, I hereby invest in truth.

Tomorrow, I go to work at my new job; a new place to serve Him.