A Moment in Between

Yesterday I spent my time with movers, packing up my house in Texas. Then I drove to Oklahoma and spent the night. Today, I will continue driving to my new home in Missouri.

Some of my thoughts yesterday reflected around how momentous this thing I am doing is. Sure, everybody retires some time. I took my time earlier than most based on a desire to grow. Seriously, I had to move on. Where I worked was \”not that bad,\” in fact pretty good. The condition of the work place alone does not justify quitting.

Finances provided an escape route, something like a catalyst.

But the real crux of the matter is the interior of my heart and soul. There were positive desperate needs and negative desperate needs. Ultimately it came down to a dream, a plan, an idea.

I just started reading a book written by a doctor about addiction, its neuro-science and its childhood development. I have to admit that a few screws were maladjusted in my childhood. This makes for a life outside the norm. And now I can see that I am embracing my truth.

By \”outside the norm,\” I don\’t mean badly weird. I mean that suburban life, going along, just earning money in a good corporate job and carrying out that life to the end, was not enough. Look, I have moved around alot in my life from job to job. Look, I ran off to a monastery in mid-life because I was interested in contemplative prayer. Look, getting married and having kids could never have been for me.

Without the surroundings of a corporate culture, I don\’t have to pretend to be like \”them\” anymore. Like, you work with people daily for years, never talking about sobriety; because they wouldn\’t understand and might hold it against you. The spirituality of a 12 step program, or ultra-marathoning, is impossible to express to the un-initiated. I even had trouble admitting that I got up at 3:30 am every day in order to have time for both spiritual study and running.

I don\’t know how my creative ideas will turn out. But I can clearly see the next 2 or 3 trail markings.

I am a bit apprehensive for arrival at my new digs. How will I feel once I finally get there? The whole decision to buy this place and get out of Texas is an emotional affair. Yes, I can scream about logic, but the emotion is really what life is.

So, enjoy the ride. I am where I am. My life is now totally about the \”receiving mode.\” The Receiving Mode is something I heard about from Abraham Hicks. I have to strengthen my spiritual practice above all else.

Wow! Now that I am free, I can allow my mind to just go crazy with ideas and creativity; and I have the means to capitalize.

Personal Mount Blanc

It is Labor Day in the US. I still had to run outside to put out the garbage since I heard the truck. The waste company has put several people out of work since they went to automated trucks.

I have time to sit and reflect. I read the blogs about the Catholic Church sex scandal, The Benedict Option. I watch YouTube videos of Ultra Trail Mount Blanc (below) and tears come to my eyes. I think of my own situation.

I am on the cusp of quitting my career. I wanted to retire before my body got too old so that I could go in lots of races. As I sit here now, one of my knees is somehow in trouble; so I won\’t hit the ground running.

The thought crosses my mind as I look at the faces of the three women winners of UTMB (video below), \”I want to be who I really am.\” This thought also brings an important point to the surface. I am quitting my career, not just because I have the money, but because I was caught in fake me.

Real me is an athlete and scholar; and has been allotted an hour or two of living each day for my career. Real me is incredibly smart, creative and peruses the metaphysical universe seeing the energy connections of life itself. Real me runs miles and lifts weights. The fake me shoves itself into a corporate box and uses the intelligence to out perform inferior colleagues, please under-functioning bosses and make money. The real me is bored with an engineering job which became rote a couple of years ago, and frustrated with the niche of expertise. The fake me continues to wish for some sort of corporate recognition; which will never come because thats not what corporations do. Fake versus Real is an emotional conflict which I am allowing Real to win. I want to be authentic.

Now, facing retirement, the real me is eager for more time to write, to work on web pages, to learn the business end of being a professional writer, having a personal brand. No one can stop me.

I, and we all, have an inner spirit, a real me, that refuses to be boxed. For the first time in my life, I have the finances to give the real me both space and time. I realize a transformation will occur. Even I, who knows that inner energy, don\’t really know what will happen.

I have my own version of Mount Blanc. I\’ve been climbing for years. Sometime soon, the next few years, I\’ll reach the finish line. And then go on.

I will keep the agreement with my inner spirit. I\’m leaving the ordinary world and stepping into the extraordinary. Yes I can.

Stability

Benedictines take vows of Obedience (to a prioress), Conversatio (conversion of morals) and Stability (to the monastery). I was in Benedictine formation and completed my novitiate. So even though I didn\’t make profession, I was completely formed by the Benedictine method. Regardless of public witness of vows, which I lack, I did write these vows out formally and make them to God. So in my heart, I made these vows.

And I\’ve never been able to escape thinking about them for more than 10 years since I made them.

I was thinking about stability this morning. I need stability in the cave of my heart and stability of intention and action. Being stable on the inside seems like it should manifest as stability on the outside. In some areas, like the engineering profession, I\’ve been an engineer my whole career. But not one employer.

So this morning, my small mind was continuing a struggle which is not a struggle. See, I\’m a process safety engineer. I live in Houston where job openings abound. I\’ve almost been with my current employer for 5 years. My small mind wants to apply for a job or two, just to see how much more money I could make. That is a ridiculous idea. I make enough money and I have a great job.

As I type this, I can feel the agitation of my small mind that continuously struggles. Why does it do that? What is the root cause?

For one, there is a dopamine reward cycle involved with achieving change. another dopamine reward cycle involved with self importance, and winning. It is very difficult to resist the lure of dopamine.

I don\’t want to make a change. But I don\’t know how to calm my small mind. Usually, I follow the small mind\’s dictates eventually. But this goes against stability at the present moment. And I want stability in order to continue putting my energy into contemplation and stability of heart. I don\’t want to waste my energy making job changes. My intention is spiritual growth and my actions should be in that direction; not following the small mind and achieving in the world.

How will I contain the constant agitation of my small mind? There are more agitations than job changes. I will continue to return to my prayer word. I will continue to stick to my habits of Conversatio, spiritual study, contemplative silence. I know this is obedience to the Spirit and not the small mind. I am spirit, not a small mind.

Three Day Retreat – Pre-Lude

Today was my last day at my job in Kansas City. I am not leaving my company, just transferring to another location, but it feels in many ways like I\’m going to a new job. the reactions of the people in Kansas City are that I am leaving, period.

Why is this a retreat? I have no plans to socialize for 3 days. I have a plan for spiritual work. It is not really new spiritual work, I do the same everyday; but since I am not at work, my attention is more focused. The retreat is made of the next 3 ACIM workbook lessons. They represent first a decompression (letting go), second a nurturing of new, and third an emergence.

  1. I will there be light (73)
  2. There is no will but God’s (74)
  3. The light has come (75)
And then on Monday, the movers come. I will arrive in Houston area on Wednesday. Three more days to work 3 more lessons.

The first step in spiritual progress for any given day or endeavor is to lay aside grievances: those ideas, opinions and thoughts which are thought attacks on other people,places, things and situations. The first lesson encourages intolerance of grievances and a turning to the inner light. The second step of spiritual progress is to turn to the light.

Tomorrow, besides laying aside my grievances, I\’ll go for a long run. Perfect.

Approaching Transition

Paul Brunton said, \”Islam – a resignation to and harmony with God.\” I found this in a chapter on dying and death and afterlife. I would say for myself that I would use the word acceptance rather than resignation. It has a more positive connotation for me.

My ACIM lesson today talks much about how we are not physical bodies. The physical is the ego illusion. Our truth is greater than that. And the lesson also talks about accepting God\’s plan for salvation rather than fighting it. In order to accept it, we must ask what it is and then quietly listen.

This acceptance and the idea of death as a transition fits well with my life today. The boys at work are taking me out for my \”last supper.\” It is a gesture of kindness and a ritual of moving on to get taken out to lunch. I struggle because I don\’t like eating out and I don\’t like eating with meat eaters. But this is also fighting God\’s plan for salvation given me. I know that I need to be as magnanimous as possible, just as I am each and every day.

I secretly dislike worldly activities and wish to be left alone. This inner friction leaves me with tremendous shame and guilt; while at the same time seeing that the spiritual path from which my feelings spring is necessary for the success of my life. It is such a dichotomy. People like me and want to offer me love. But the offering is in a worldly way I dislike. So I swallow my feelings and desires (really my ego\’s opinions) and go along with the gig.

I am transferring to another location in my corporation. It means moving to Texas. This move is a death for the group of people I\’m leaving. It is a transition to another picture of reality for me. I receive the death ritual (lunch with the guys) as graciously as I can. Doing things well it part of my ethos.

 I have purchased a new duplex in Texas. The first thing to be delivered next week is the new elliptical. I will fill the downstairs with exercise equipment and spend my time there. No couches. No TVs. Just cardio and weight equipment and a peaceful and endless time of working out.

Now it is rainy this morning and cold. But I am about to layer into my gortex and go out anyway. I need the invigoration and a wet windy run in the dark.

Transition

What happened to that wonderfully spiritual blog full of insights and wisdom? It will be back after I learn the new ways, make new habits and clear out some brain space. Right now, I am learning how to use a Blackberry, meeting tons of new people and trying to find out where information is stashed in the computer at work. I have an office with my name on the door. A laptop to bring home so I can work 24 hours a day (LOL). Key card. New safety shoes. Air plane reservations to Germany. Numerous passwords. Complaints to the HR department for typographical errors in my personal information. New health care. New 401K.

I still get up early and spend an hour in spiritual study. Then, an hour of exercise. Then I either do silent meditation or go to early morning Mass. I have been fascinated by this quiet liturgy. I don’t connect it to Church teachings or the Bible. I connect it to whatever prayer experience I have that day. I am at my office by 7:30 and stay there until 4:30. Then, I either go to the park for a brief run or come home and work out on machines. Then, I usually mess with the computer and eat. Then, I prepare things for the next day, meditate for 30 minutes and lights out at 9.

I am recovering from an inner thigh strain sustained in the marathon on Labor Day. Yesterday and today, I was able to go for 3 mile runs at tempo with no pain. Good deal!

Thursday evenings, I go back to the church for an hour of Adoration and an AA meeting there. It came to me that Adoration and Mass are ways that I lavish my love on God. One of my yearnings for monastic life was to lavish my love on my Creator. I do it now, although at considerable more inconvenience than if I was a monk. I am dedicated to the Eucharist as surely as if I was a vowed religious. The total self gift is a choice. God accepts it whether it is a religious vow or not. It is a privilege to attend to God with one’s entire being. Not because God differentiates but because my ego does.

I still don’t know why I decided to answer the Call of God to return to Him consciously. But it is the most important fact of my life, and the motive behind everything I do and think.

Discombobulated

My life has shifted from three months of running and contemplation to a flurry of moving, getting ready to start a new job, changing information, filling out paper work, etc. The inspiration for a blog entry hasn\’t been there. So here is an odd list:

I somehow ran 51 miles last week, with a 16 mile run on Sunday. The Sunday run went well as far as my legs go so I decided to really rest this week and then have fun at the Heart of America marathon on Monday. Rational: I got laid off on 6/12 and ran a marathon on 6/13. Now, I\’ll run a marathon on 9/7 and go back to work on 9/8. See?

Walked 90 minutes in the upscale neighborhood across the street from my apartment. I loved the landscaping. I love beautiful things that other people pay for! (LOL)

Been buying some new oxford shirts and slacks. My new job is a little higher up the ladder than the last one.

Actual moving day is Wednesday. Finally I\’ll have my bed instead of an air mattress. I am really happy to stop being a home owner.

Now living where all my friends are, I\’m am reconnecting. I haven\’t had a friend in 5 years. But now, my best friend lives in the same apartment complex. I\’m going to Mass and coffee with my Godmother tomorrow. I went to a fellowship meeting last Sunday for the first time in awhile; and they promptly asked me to be the leader for the next few months.

Got a list of chemicals used in manufacturing in my new workplace. Dang name the top 50 nasties and they are on it. No wonder they needed a \”Senior Process Safety Engineer\” (me).

Been doing real well with not eating more than a carefully calculated calorie allotment.

I have been blessed with skills and talents. God is calling them forth. I am to live the spiritual life at more intense level than ever. My life is not my own. For awhile, I imagine I will be scrambling just to keep my head above water; but, the early morning God vigil never wavers in its regularity. I also stick strictly to an end of the day meditation and holy listening, along with writing Jesus a letter. I try to write what is in my heart.

I walk through each day in constant prayer: what should I do right now. I have practiced and am now able to sense the divine presence everywhere and in everything; even remembering to do this periodically during a busy day.

The Secret

Hi blog world, I\’ve been away partly due to communication gaps. However, I\’ve found that getting the new job finally squared away and begun relocation in earnest, it is hard to be quietly spiritual. This morning, I had a fine meditation.

Lesson: The hush of Heaven holds my heart today.

Reading in the Course in Miracles text about the holy instant (15.IV): The holy instant is a time in which you receive and give perfect communication…a time in which your mind is open…It seeks to change nothing, but merely to accept everything…How can you do this when you would prefer to have private thoughts?

In meditation, it occurred to me I have learned the secret of my main problem with God. I get caught in mental turmoil because I think God has never contacted me directly; hence, I’m not sure and doubt His existence. But, when I am willing to seek silence and merely listen to the silence, setting aside the turmoil and expectations; then merely go about the business of my life; I find joy in the little things of life. I find peace in the silence. I realize I am in communication but it is not felt communication. It is communication deeper than my ego. So, the secret is to seek only quiet and let everything else go.

So here is actually what my day was like:

I got up at 4 for 1.5 hours of spiritual practice, then lifted weights, then went to 6:30 Mass, then ran 8.1 miles, then took a call from my new boss who wanted to already send me e-mails as well as mention that his wife and him would like me to come to dinner, then got a state car inspection (while I ran down the street to the apartment complex and rode the elliptical for 30 minutes), then worked on my autobiography, then ATT showed up and got the phone and DSL working, then I went to Platte City license office and waited about 15 minutes to learn I didn’t have enough paperwork to get either the car plates or MO drivers license, drove over to Liberty to get a tax waiver at the court house, went to the license office there and waited about 15 minutes to obtain the car plates, drove back to Kansas City and had success at Wal-Mart and Penney’s, then Prudential called about relocation and I may be able to get them to move me next week.

Whew, what a day!

Shifting

Today, I shifted around which races I will go in this fall and shifted the hotel reservations.

I shifted some stuff into black bags for the garbage man tomorrow.

I shifted some stuff to white bags for the thrift store.

I shifted some stuff to my car to go to KC.

I shifted some connections with various people from the past and future.

All of this is the material level.

I can also feel my spirit shifting into a new mode of relationship with God. I feel old beliefs being left behind and new ones brought forth. My life is not my own. It belongs to God. I am in the hands of God; which is not scary when I remember that I am not an ego but light. Light does not need to be scared.

Shfting….shiftshift