Saturday, June 17, 2017

Eve of Self Transcendence

Tomorrow is the beginning of the 3,100 Mile Self Transcendence Race.  I got hooked on this race years ago because it taught me how running could be a meditation. Learning about the inner runner was the start of my desire to be an ultra-marathoner. Now, I use the 52 days of the race to focus my workouts on inner running; self transcendence as it were. Catholics has Lent. I have Self Transcendence.

Heading into these 52 days, I find myself in a very decent place physically and emotionally.

Check out the Perfection Journey blog to get daily stories about the people in the race.

Here is a quote from Sri Chinmoy:
The outer running
Begins on the road
And ends on the road.
The inner running begins
Inside the silence-heart,
And it continues
Along Eternity’s Road.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Can't Afford It

Yesterday evening I was thinking about dopamine. I was reading an article about how cell phone apps are programmed to trigger certain brain responses and encourage fixation on checking the phone. This linked up in my mind to our nation's, and my own, obsession with Trump entertainment. That is, the media are marketing moral outrage and something in our brain loves it.

I think it is my negative ego which loves all the controversy. I get some sort of dopamine pleasure by reading about the battles in politics with Trump. But I don't think I can afford to carry on this chemical pleasure; and it surely is a type of porn and addiction.

So today I drove to work in silence. My beloved NPR has been shut off. I thought about what I wanted to think about. Some of my thoughts are work related. But also I thought about what my spiritual work has produced in me. One of the themes of my spiritual work is "conscious contact with a power greater than myself." One of the requirements of conscious contact with a higher power is consciousness itself. That is, I must accept consciousness in totality. As soon as I am conscious, then I am aware of my dirty little secrets, like taking pleasure from the Trump bashing. And so I must do something about myself.

I have the spiritual tools. More about what I will do will be coming forth. Starting Sunday is the 3,100 Mile Self Transcendence Race (google it). Annually I use these days for my own self transcendence. Some people have Lent. I have self transcendence.

By the way, the last time I shut off the news for years was when Clinton was president and I decided not to listen to any testimony about Monica Lewinsky.

I am a member of the silent majority. I go to work and pay taxes. No matter who is in Washigton, they want my money.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Pain

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.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

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.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Marathons 80 and 81

I didn't start my running career with a goal of 100 marathons. I ran my first marathon at age 19 and didn't run another until I was 35. I don't think I planned running another marathon at all. During my 30s, I could run 5ks fast enough to win awards and that was enough for me.

Then, around 2008 I heard about the Sri Chinmoy 3,100 Mile Self Transcendence Race. I ran my next marathon as a prelude to becoming an ultra-marathoner. I was fascinated with ultra-marathons as a means of self transcendence.

I don't think I have achieved self transcendence. But in the past few years, having moved to Texas, I realize there are many more marathons to run than in Missouri. I began to have friends which had run 50 or 100 or 600 marathons. I began to see my own number of marathons piling up. So that is how I got here.

Marathoning is fun for me. I get to travel to various places; as well as make friends. The trip to Red Deer Canada for marathon #80 was a social trip. I got to run a marathon on an outstandingly beautiful course and meet friends.

The trip to Dallas for marathon #81 was about seeing friends. It is in Dallas where these people are who run hundreds of marathons. Dallas weather was fairly decent for this time of year; but the course around Bachman Lake is nothing to rave about.

I think alot about the reasons why 100 marathons is a sort of goal. It has been since 2012 that I began to run numerous marathons per year. At first I wanted to run 50 marathons. That number came and went. So then I thought I'd like to say I ran 100 marathons. It will be 2018 before I get there. When it happens, I will notify one or two people. They will say, "Congrats." Then the whole thing will have passed by and number 101 will be planned.

But also, I like to look at where I was in life during marathon number x. Or delve into the endurance and perseverance of any person who runs that many marathons. I have obviously invested much energy, time, thought and effort into a project. Since everything I do is a symbol of life, I should come up with why I am doing this. I'll know soon.

Red Deer finish:




Texas Threesome day 2 shirt and belt buckle swag:







Sunday, May 7, 2017

Number 79

Yesterday I finished my 79th lifetime marathon. It was a good day at the office; but also, not so thrilling.

In March, I was thrilled about the marathon I finished. In February, I was thrilled with the marathon I finished. In April, I was super thrilled about the 50k I finished. Yesterday? I don't know.

The marathon was in Waxahachie, Texas. I had a pleasant drive from Houston and a nice hotel room. The hotel was only a 10 min drive from the race start. The race was starting at 7 am. So factoring in time to use the facility, time to get a good parking spot, time for spiritual practice, time to pack up the hotel room, and I was up at 4:30 am.

Now I need to tell you about a little problem. A week ago, I fell down on a crushed granite path. The granite is quite sharp and it scored my elbow pretty deep. That wound was weeping blood until Wednesday when I finally went to the drug store and bought a large size water proof bandage. On Friday night in my hotel room, I decided to take the bandage off. The deepest gouge was still open. I decided to let it dry overnight. In the morning, it still looked open, not scabbed. Instead of putting on the new bandage I had with me, because I didn't want it in any race pictures, I decided that the wound would dry up under the sleeves I was going to wear for the first part of the race. This turned out to be a mistake. See below.

The spiritual study did not go so well. I couldn't focus on it. I kept shifting my attention to the internet. I've wondered about this lately. That is, maybe I do spend too much time looking at things on the internet. Maybe it is killing my brain. The book I brought for spiritual study wasn't pleasing me. It was supposed to be about Quaker silence; but it was too focused on Jesus is Lord.

I got to my parking spot about an hour before the race. I was listening to a radio show about what some prescription drugs are doing to people. I was thinking of my boss. He is in ill health, taking blood pressure and cholesterol medication; but also being terribly over weight. But really, this is my judging. It is secret arrogance.

About 30 minutes before the race, I walked to the park bathrooms and took care of business. I went over to the start line. I didn't see any of the people I was looking for; but I did see a couple I often see at races around Houston. So I introduced myself and we happily chatted for a few minutes.

The race started at 7 am. It was cool to begin with, but I knew it would be hot later. I do what I usually do; that is, run pretty fast until it gets hot, when I usually become slow into the finish. After the first lap, I decided it was warm enough to take off my sleeves. When I did that, I learned that the one sleeve had stuck to the elbow wound. When I pulled it off, I also sprung a leak. Whoops! Now my arm is bleeding and looking gross. I used the sleeve to keep wiping it up and when I got to the aid station, they gave me a big bandaid. Unfortunately, the bandaid didn't stick very long so I ended up with a gross looking elbow for my pictures. But it did stop bleeding at least.

I ran really good for 19 miles. Then I started 3x2 jog walk due to the heat. I finished in 5:14 which is still under 12 minute miles, and so perfectly fine. I got my medal, walked to the car and drove home.

Last night, I sat and contemplated my day. I was met with an unexpected inner silence. There was no joy in finishing. No thrilling moment to focus on. No emotional high or low. This morning, I was yet again doing spiritual study. I was thinking about my life. Work is ok but not stimulating and yes, I'll be working there for several more years. Everything is organized and paid for. Life is fine.

My God consciousness seems to be waning. maybe it has been waning for several years; but seems worse in the last year. I need to do something creative and energizing; even if I am not yet retired and don't have much time. As I sat there, I thought, "Decide to climb a mountain." The idea of climbing a mountain, really a metaphor for doing something big for me, is an enlivening idea I get excited. In that context, 100 marathons is a mountain. The 79th leg was just a leg. Let it be. Not every leg is a thriller; but don't quit because of that. My whole life I have been climbing a spiritual mountain. At the moment, I can't see more than a layer of fog.

I have a really good spiritual book here at home. But I find the exercises difficult and I notice that I can't focus. Somehow, this is the iPad's fault.

Today, I went for a 7 mile walk in a forest. I was thinking about my race plans for the fall. I'm excited I'm signed up for a 50 mile race. I wonder what I'll do in December. I wasn't giving much thought to what is 2 weeks from now. I somehow need The Universe to help with my God consciousness. Something has to get better.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Distance On My Mind

I am in the middle of a special period of time; the Sri Chinmoy Ten and Six Day Races. There are these marvelous people, some very fast, some slow and old, who are spending 6 or 10 days completing a 1 mile loop around a park in Flushing Meadows, New York. There is also a daily blog which gives pictures as well as spiritual insights of the runners. It always inspires me to want to do more miles.

At the same time, at least for 48 hours this weekend, there is a similar race here in Texas; the Jackalope Jam. A one mile out-and-back on a treeless Texas cattle ranch. And it is already hot here in the Houston area. I know one of the people in this race. This race is posting live results. So I have been checking in on my friend. I know her physical struggles and I know she only walks. I know it was hot yesterday. But she did get 56 miles in her first 24 hours. I am impressed. As of the moment I write this blog, she is up to 71 miles, with 20 more hours available in the race. I wish I had the patience to walk back and forth on a dirt road for 71 miles.

Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. I wish I was like that. By myself, I took 2 long runs this weekend. Yesterday I got myself 21 miles and today I got 20 miles. In the heat, my speed slips to nearly 4 miles per hour since I walk so much. I'm impressed I stayed out there and did it. It is a sweat fest for every run until November.

Most of my runs today were spent jogging back and forth in a small forest near me. I need the shade. I was saying my Course in Miracles lesson. I kept diverting my brain from wanting to argue about some work issues. But finally, I remembered this line from the lesson, "...and I choose the world I want to have..." Immediately, this caused my brain to shut down and instead I felt as if I was beaming positive light into the world. Like I was choosing joy and sending it out. I need to remember that. I have a challenging week ahead.