Monday Reflection

Is it Monday? No problem. It is my Saturday.

Weird thing about working at Starbucks, I can hardly wait to go back to it. I don\’t think that ever happened with my career job.

The Easter Bunny was working at Starbucks yesterday:

I never wore bunny ears to my career job. That was for grocery store clerks and other poor low wage under achievers. Ha! I had alot of fun when people noticed that a bunny was taking their order. None of my other partners did bunny ears. I\’m glad I can be silly.

Yesterday afternoon, I took a trail run at Hodge park. These trails are very easy, very runnable. They twist and turn through the trees so you lose a sense of where you are. Meditation occurs because your brain is focused on rocks and roots; not anything of the world. There were no trails like this near my house in Texas. In Kansas City, I have access to several parks with trails, near my house. Super. Next weekend, I am going in a trail half marathon. Should be fun.

I didn\’t pay to much attention to the religious aspect of Easter. It has been a long time since I was involved in religion. I stopped supporting the Catholic Church when Pope Benedict was elected, because, in my opinion, he was the \”priest predator protector in chief.\” I think predator priests belong in jail, and non-celibate priests should go find another denomination which approves of sex and marriage for clergy. I also think that the Catholic Church has rules about celibacy for priests because it wants to own and control both the priests and The Eucharist. No one can own The Eucharist, and no one should own a priest. I decided that Jesus wouldn\’t support that church. I became spiritual not religious.

Last Friday, a couple pastors from a church came into Starbucks. They wanted to buy everybody\’s coffee for an hour, and hand out cards announcing their Easter services. The shift supervisor allowed it. From my point of view, this was a pain in the ass. When someone makes an order, a sticker is printed which goes on their cup, and then the bar knows what to put in that cup. But the church guy didn\’t give me his credit card and tell me to go to town. No, he wanted to pay at the end. So each order took 3 times as long to process because I had to take it to a certain point, save it so the sticker would print, copy it onto a different register, then void it on my register. And, I had to explain to people that a church wanted to buy their coffee and that they should go get a card from that guy over there. I wasn\’t that enthusiastic about making this speech, mainly because I\’m not a proselytizer for any church. I am in favor of nourishing the soul, which Starbucks coffee does.

Most people were happy for a free coffee. Some didn\’t want a church buying their coffee. I don\’t know if any lost souls got a free coffee and went to that church for the first time this weekend. \”He is risen,\” is the cry that went out from all the Christian churches. Anybody who really believes the religious story of Jesus probably already belongs to a church. My own story is that I decided long ago to \”shamelessly follow Jesus.\” That vow takes me to truth, inner truth, the truth of my being. And so, here I am, just me as Source made me.

Source made me good.period.


Trail Run

This morning, I signed up for a trail half marathon at the end of April. I don\’t \”race\” such an event. It is just a way to go on a marked trail where I otherwise wouldn\’t; and have someone else provide the water refills and cookies. Also, one should know that for any trail running, your total focus is on the trail in front of you; because if you divert your attention for more than a second, down you go! Very meditative: a whole 3 or 4 hours spent not thinking.

Today, I ran on the trail at the Parkville nature sanctuary. Most of it is easy jogging but a couple of spots require big step ups, big step downs or negotiating rocks. I spent two hours and 8 miles clambering around. I only fell once. No damage though there might be a bruise on my hip tomorrow.

Here is a video of the waterfall in that park.

It rained last night and this morning. As I started my jog at 1 pm, it was not raining but still chilly and cloudy. Very few people were in the park. I could jog around and spend most of the time in my head, dreaming of being a trail runner. The park is very quiet, with bird calls being the major sound. I saw a few squirrels and a bunny rabbit.

I spent some time pondering the predicaments of 2 or 3 of my young colleagues at Starbucks. Two are young men who have not finished college, have steady girl friends and have bought houses. So they work nearly 40 hours a week at Starbucks, although the girl friends are steadily employed. The two guys might not be the most sharp tools in the shed, but they have no future, through their own choosing. Really, if you are making 12 or 13 dollars an hour at Starbucks, you shouldn\’t be buying a house with a girl friend who is not a wife. Property taxes alone eat up a significant portion of your earnings.

The third one I thought about is a very good, new, young, assistant manager. She has decided to buy a house in St Joseph and go back to the Starbucks there. I want to scream at her not to take the dead end route by staying in St Joe. She does have a college degree and could really do more than be a Starbucks store manager.

There are more young people working full time at Starbucks who are smart and good workers; but they seem not to know what to do about moving up in the world. Some of the young people are in school and won\’t be at Starbucks forever, but the greater number are stuck at Starbucks. Mind you, Starbucks does offer to pay for a Bachelors Degree for any partner that does not have one. But I haven\’t yet found a partner who is doing that. Some partners are like me, happy with the health insurance and a part time job. Like, I got my teeth cleaned for free last week since I have dental insurance thanks to Starbucks.

Starbucks is a fascinating place to work. I think I get a load of endorphins from being on my feet for 5 or 6 hours. I\’m also getting more durable physically due to the bending and lifting. As a person interested in living well longer, physical durability along with continuing to use my brain are key benefits. Sitting at a desk doing engineering pays a lot, but I was dying. Even working out twice a day was not providing the durability or physical movement needed to stay fit as an elderly person.

Working the drive up window is very fun. I love having little conversations with people and handing out drinks. The doggies are so cute because they know that at Starbucks, maybe their human has ordered them a pup cup (or pupachino). The doggies look at me to see if I hand it out. They know.

The other thing I pondered today was aging. Since I didn\’t see my KC friends for the 8 years I was in Houston, it can be quite a shock to see some of them now. Like my dentist. He is not yet 65. But something has happened to him in the last 8 years. He was a normal looking guy. Now he is tiny, barely able to stand and I suspect his wife, who is also the hygienist, is holding him together. He looks like he may suffer from something like osteoporosis, but he is a man. Why is he still practicing dentistry? I suspect it has to do with health care. They would be among the group paying $1700 or more a month for a high deductible policy. Even a millionaire would balk at shelling out all that cash. My dentist in Houston was in that boat. Its like paying around $27,000 before you ever see a dime from an insurance company, yet you really need to have insurance or a hospital can clean you out in a day.

Rambling. I know it. Ultra Monk out.

Fun in the Snow

I\’ve been enjoying a mini-vacation. My job scheduled me such that I had 5 days off. Sweet!

Last Friday, I fell down on the ice (check out last blog). The next day, Saturday, I walked in Parkville:

On Sunday, I worked in the morning and then did a fast 6 miles around my living complex where the roads are bare.

Today, Monday, I was all up for doing hours on a trail. I didn\’t care how fast, just get out there. I was excited to put on my hydro-pak and spend hours outside. I did it! It was cold and walking in the snow is slow, but I was so happy to be outside for 3:20 and 10 miles.

I had a great time today. Before going outside, I also got in 4 hours of writing related work. Yay!

Youthful Exuberance

Yesterday, I got up at 3 am to spend an hour on my writing project, clocked in at Starbucks at 4:30 am, spent the morning making coffee and taking out the trash, clocked out at 11 am and did shopping quickly for my Secret Santa project, went to a noon meeting because I wasn\’t tired yet. After the meeting, went home to eat and rest. Then work online for my other job for 2 hours, then suddenly remembered I had a WordPress 101 class so ran off to the library for the class. Got home at 9 pm. Wow! I actually spent more time working at various jobs than I would\’ve at my old job. I\’m surprised that a 60 year old is still going this strong.

People think that since I retired, I don\’t do anything. But now, I\’m not chained to one one job all day so have time to fit in many jobs. I\’m more energetic than ever since a corporation is not sapping all my energy.

But here\’s the thing: I felt exhilarated about this day. I was energized by it; not exhausted. Not locked in an office, not bored. I am happy shifting around between various work activities, being flexible. If this busyness is retirement, and it looks pretty busy for the next 5 months, I\’ll take it. I retired to have more fun and enjoy my life; and that\’s what my current work gives me.

I got to run for over two hours on a trail today. It was a beautiful day and I love my new trail shoes. Slippery mud? Bring it on!

Sept Multiday – Sunday

So much soul searching today.

I woke up at 4 am, but was stiff from yesterday’s workout. I shut off the alarm, set to go off at 5, and went back to sleep until 7. My first thought at 7 was, “you are piddling away your vacation.” Wow! Positive start to the day.

I think I should be accomplishing something during vacation; like working out more or something. As I sat reflecting, over coffee, I also faced my work fears. That is, sometimes my job and colleagues terrify me: so much to get done (correct and on time), and a “power over” relationship which is pressing my inner child emotional buttons. Then my day\’s first self denigrating thought extended itself to my entire life: what a waste my life is. I was taught that I should do something great and leave a legacy, but sadly, all my efforts so far have failed (and I have tried).

I sat in silence some more…a moment of clarity occurred. My plan for my life involves going deeper within. I’ve barely scratched the surface of realities beyond the worldly one. It is true that what I yearn for is not here, not within worldly accomplishment. I am a student of A Course in Miracles (ACIM). My practice is to continually deny ego and to deny it’s belief in sin; instead seeing (with inner eyes) “what-God-loves.”

God being love would only make love. This love must be in what God created, but the ego does not see it because the ego does not want it. The ego wants to see others as sinners; so that is all it sees. So I must use a way of seeing which does not involve ego. I call this using my inner eyes, Christ eyes. The inner eyes can see “what-God-loves.”

It occurs to me that the normal mind set (loving a few, annoyed or critical or indifferent to most, hating a few) is not good enough for me. I insist on having a hate free mind because that is freedom for me. I see that what I want the most, and desperately want to succeed at, is seeing things differently, seeing “what-God-loves.” I need to identify with the divine presence in me (what I sometimes call Christ). If you found a way to escape all fear and hate, frustration and sickness, by seeing “what-God-loves,” wouldn’t you drop everything else and run along that way with all of your body, mind and spirit? ACIM is what I’ve been given. I’ve studied it long enough to know what it means, and see enough outcome to know it is true. I have faith in what I’ve been given.

Therefore, here is the result of my vacation/retreat: I am dedicating my life (again) to seeing “what-God-loves;” and learning to use my inner Christ eyes to see it. The Holy Spirit is awarded another year’s contract to be my Teacher.

I have to throw my heart into something. This is THAT THING.

So, then I had a fabulous workout. I used my ex-machines for 2h10 while I listened to NPR. Then, I hit the trails for 2h27 (about 10 miles). I really really am getting stronger. I was able to leap over what I couldn’t before. When I tripped, I could catch myself. When I got to the easy parts, I had the energy to pick up the speed. I’ve found a way to add 9 flights of stairs to each lap, just to add some additional strength and coordination.

Maybe I’ll get some free weights in this evening. Tomorrow is a celebration day. I’m thinking I’ll do another run combo of flats and trails. I plan to add the steep trail up the dam to at least one of the trail loops (for the first time I feel capable). I will end part one of the ACIM workbook and begin part 2 on Monday. I am starting a new nutrition notebook. Maybe I’ll go in a 50k next weekend.