Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Shadow of love

The below photo is brought to you by a Catholic monastery. Jeez! When I lived in a monastery, I did feel like I was being jabbed by thorns most of the time, plus guilty by scripture. Is love just a shadow? Is a crown of thorns the primary point of Christianity? No I don't think so, but Catholics do fixate more on the gore than other denominations.


Yesterday was an awesome day at work. It was awesome because it was somewhat busy and I did many things. I enjoyed doing all that work. I also believe that because I meditated and pre-paved my day with good feeling thoughts, that that is why the day turned out good. I could just as well been upset about it. It wasn't the things that happened but my perception which was aligned with satisfaction, prosperity and freedom.

Then in the evening, I attended my first monthly meeting of a local writers group. Score! About 30 writers and would be writers (thats what I am) showed up. First we listened to an interesting presentation. Then we broke into groups where we could share things we had written and get input on it. This went so well. No one sat there not wanting to break into groups. We very quickly pulled together 5 people and off we went to a table. I had one page of introduction to my novel which I shared. They liked my idea; even said the introduction was good enough to get them to buy the book.

Today, I stopped by my new Starbucks to get my schedule. I'm transferring to a different Starbucks location. The manager at the new location was so happy to see me and so happy I was finally being allowed to switch. I've only worked two shifts at that store, so I don't know them that well. But I've done well enough that they know they want me. It feels so good to be wanted. Feeling unwanted has been one of my long term character defects. I don't think my parents ever wanted me.

I also had a very good 10 mile run today. I just love being able to go running during the day, on beautiful bike paths through trees away from cars. However, one of my favorite parks, English Landing, is flooded. It is right next to the Missouri river; and since Nebraska is flooded, everywhere downstream will experience high water.


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Milestone

You know, it has been over 6 months since I left my corporate job. I didn't even realize that 6 months had passed until after they had passed. Time has flown by. Part of the reason is that my life is no longer counted in 40 hour work weeks, Monday through Friday. I work part time, and never the same hours or days of each week. So I don't feel bound my a parameter; like can't wait for Friday or hating Monday. Everyday is just a day.

Also, I continue to enjoy afternoons in parks. Usually I am done with work by 11 am. Yesterday I ran a very good 10.5 miles in Platte Purchase park. It was sunny and about 50F. But I ran really well; on top of having worked a morning shift. Today, I had an even bigger milestone: it was the first day that I went straight from a shift on my feet to the trail head; and walked 5.2 miles along Line Creek. No going home first to lay on the bed and recuperate from work. I am getting stronger both physically and mentally. Working at Starbucks has cause me to get stronger and more durable.

I'm older than I've ever been with more energy than I've ever had. Hummm...

My ego continues to have difficulty with the actuality of working st Starbucks. It is not an easy job and when I make mistakes, I get down on myself. I really wonder what the heck I am doing there. Am I lying to myself about anger at that little job? However, last night, I wondered if my Starbucks job was actually saving my life from depression. Because...

The downside of retirement is lack of regularity. I do my writing, but I am in no way capable of spending days writing. My momentum towards a writing career seems hard to find. Even worse, I continue to suffer from beliefs that I am an inferior being; hence could never be an author. I am not inferior, and am evidently very intelligent, successful and prosperous. But I never feel good about myself unless I consciously decide to feel good about myself. That is very hard work. It is so easy to slip into the "I am stupid" emotional template. A template is just a choice of a neurological pattern. We can choose a different pattern and feel better. But it is mental work to do so. Feeling good is a chore. If I do it first thing in the morning, I have a happy day.

I have really been enjoying the AA group I got sober at 33 years ago. It is weird to think I am 60 instead of 26. And then someone will mention in a meeting how we grew up together and now their kids are 26 and 23. I've been reading a lot over the past year about opioid addiction, to support some of my writing. They say that opioid use disorder forever changes your brain and you should be on medication for life. The disorder is a disease. They have medications which substitute for opioids. They have never proven this point for alcoholics or found a medication. Hence, the remedy for alcoholism continues to be spirituality. There is nothing else. Here is the danger for an alcoholic: I haven't drank in 33 years. Am I still an alcoholic? Testing the possibility could lead to death.

Today's adventure, plus the long run I did a week ago convinced me to sign up for a race. The race was close to selling out, so I had to sign up a little earlier than I wanted. But, I am in for 50k. And I am planning a triple marathon in May.

The human body is amazing for healing. I cut my finger a couple of days ago. After one day, it still was bleeding as the bandage was removed. After two days, bleeding stopped and new skin evident, filling in the hole in the skin. Amazing.

In general, I am a happy person at this time in my life. I have the tools to generate happiness. Happiness is my prosperity, my abundance. One day at a time.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Women Rowing North

Book review "Women Rowing North" by Mary Pipher.

I heard the author on the radio and I was intrigued by what she had to say. What she has to say is tons better than her book. Anyway, I got the book from the library and have now read it.

As a 60 year old woman, I find this a worthless book. I'm probably not old enough to appreciate it. I was hoping for insight into the meaning of later years; or get some inspiration for the upcoming journey. What you get is a litany of how bad everything will be; but no depth or ways to make meaning.

So, first, I know many women in their late seventies and they seem to be doing very well. My role models have lots of good stuff to tell me. Some of them are still athletes, ultra-marathoners. Some are solo hiking the Appalachian trail. Some sit in 12 step meetings and share great wisdom.

See, I'm also in a smaller non-typical demographic of "older woman." I'm still physically fit, though clearly not as fast as 10 years ago. I've never been married and not a mother, so used to being alone. I've started new projects and jobs for my life so my brain is getting new workouts. I associate with young people and keep up with them. I see the next 3 decades as phase 3 of my life and I plan to make them the most creative yet.

I've always thought that "old" was a state of mind and will stick with that opinion. I'll say that yes, the hair gets gray, the face wrinkled, and the bones in one of my feet have shifted around; but how you feel comes from the inside. Find that joy and project it. Then how old you are won't be a focus. Check out Abraham Hicks and aging on YouTube to learn more.

So if you want to find the joy of old age or be uplifted by the adventure of it, don't read this book. This book will only depress you with a bunch of sob stories.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Running

Last Friday afternoon, I was up for something gentle so I went to Maple Woods Nature area for a hike:


It was pretty warm, temperature above freezing. I enjoyed my hike.

On Saturday afternoon, temperatures did get up into the 50s. I went running on Line Creek trail. About 4.5 miles into the run, I experienced what often happens in Missouri: sudden weather change. I turned around at the far north end of the trail and was hit in the face by alot of cold rain and 20 mph wind. Temperatures went from 57F to 42F just like that. It was cold so I had to speed up the running. Luckily, after I got about a mile south, the rain and wind let up. As I got a couple more miles south and about a half mile to the car, it started raining again. By then I thought, " I don't want to quit. I've only been out here 8 miles. Oh wait. I have a rain suit in the car!" So when I got to the car, I put on the rain suit. But the wind was real strong and the rain driving. I became scared when a branch fell on the trail behind me. So I only stayed out another two miles.

Today, Sunday was perfect. I went to Shoal Creek trail and did ultra pace for 16.4 miles. Yay! Long distance running!

I really want to go in a 50k in about 3 weeks; but I'm not signing up for it until I see what the weather is. I really want to be an ultra-marathoner but I don't know until after the 50k if I am up for 50 miles. There is a 50 mile race at the end of April. I do have time to get ready.

I did my strength training today also.

I think lifting coffee urns at Starbucks has caused greater definition in my abdominal muscles. You know, every ten minutes for a six hour shift, I move around the coffee urns and start new batches of coffee. I also lift heavy bags of coffee grounds and take them out to the dumpster. I also climb ladders and bring down boxes of coffee or whatever. I think my body is much more durable now than it was when I had a desk job.

I had a vision of oneness last week. See at Starbucks, I don't make the drinks. I feed the machine. I bring the milk and the chocolate and the syrup and the cups and the ice and whatever else. But this ties me to the whole world. Every part of the planet comes to me, I feed the machine and it goes out again to our customers. It is nice to ponder the little things of this life. Or maybe it is a big thing.

I retired in order to become a writer. The writing project continues on at whatever pace; usually 2 to 3 hours a day. Even on work days I achieve this amount of attention to my projects. I'm learning a lot about myself as I read old journals or write about experiences I've had.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Progress

Progress in warmer days coming I mean. I actually lusted for Texas today; where it is warm in the winter. Missouri is having an above average winter for precipitation and cold. The average cold since October 1 is number one on the charts.

Today, it was completely clear and sunny. The temperature mid-morning was about 26F, not getting much warmer. With a 20 mile per hour north wind, gusting to 35.

I was determined to go outside and do some miles, pretending I am an ultra-marathoner. Actually, I just wanted to lose myself in the miles. Hence, it didn't matter how fast I went, just get out there for a long time.

I decided to go to English Landing park. It is flat with some ice, but not much. I had on several layers, including my down jacket and hood. My face was covered whenever going into the wind.

I decided on low impact jogging, and walking on the ice areas. This went pretty well and I was able to take off my ice grips after the first 80 minutes. I kept it slow because I didn't want to sweat too much and I haven't been on a long run in more than two months. In all, I did 12.6 miles in 3:20.

Very happy I got out there.

I want to sign up for a race but still leery of cold weather. Like there is a half marathon next weekend, but it looks like it will be 11F that morning (brrrrr).

Today was also successful in that I got writing and typing done. I am remembering that I retired to be a writer, not a barista. I am a writer with a part time job; not a barista who writes occasionally. I went back to the library and signed up for some of their classes on writing and publishing.

Putting together my spiritual journey for my novel has been interesting. There have been 3 or 4 authors who strongly influenced my decision making. I'm just starting to face the Jesus dialogues written in my journal. Certainly a thing to contemplate.

Being here in Missouri, I get to attend sobriety anniversaries of people I've know for decades. Last Friday night, was a guy who is now 77, but not aging well. He was instrumental in my early sobriety. He won't be around (at least mentally) much longer. I felt my own mortality. I sat next to a guy I've know for a long time. Recently, his wife was killed in a drive by shooting; just a random victim. He is aging well. But also he kept saying, "It is so good to see you. I really missed you." He said the same thing 10 years ago when I wasn't going to meetings and he saw me in the grocery store.

Overall, I am happier than ever, on a very consistent basis. This could be because I left my career. More so I've been practicing having unconditional happiness. I finally figured out how to find happiness on the inside and then just use that feeling to pre-pave my day. I wish I could have figured this out while I still had my career, but maybe the career was contrary to my general life trajectory and it was time to move on.period. My higher self knows. I don't have any huge plans for my future. I am pushing my two writing projects forward a little bit everyday. Maybe in April I'll go in a race.

Monday, February 18, 2019

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!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Reflecting

It has been nearly a month since I posted. And my last post was just a short video.

I find my self today with time on my hands. I wrote 2 pages for my novel and then decided to go for a jog (see video below). Here is a story of my recent doings.

As January arrived, I started working at H&R Block. Doing taxes was all along my original plan for a retirement job. However, in the mean time, I also got a part time job at Starbucks. I got the Starbucks job in November because my house in Texas wasn't sold, and I didn't know how long I'd have to pay the bills for it. Expenses were quite high. Since Texas has no income tax, their property tax is very high. Insurance is high too due to hurricanes. Anyway, the ongoing extra expense was not a part of my budget. So I got the Starbucks job to cover it.

So January rolls around and I start working two part time jobs; Starbucks and H&R Block. After about 5 weeks of this, I woke up to the fact that I was working more than 50 hours a week. Wait. What? I'm supposed to be retired. Working all the time was not supposed to be my new life! I wasn't doing any writing and my exercise had shrunk to 30 minutes in between jobs.

I stopped to consider. One of the jobs had to go. And even though I worked very hard on getting the H&R Block job, and had high hopes for it, I decided to quit it. See, doing taxes is easy, but H&R Block has a lot of peripheral corporate baggage related to selling products which I wasn't enjoying. One evening, I lifted $300 off some poor young girl simply because she didn't know how to do her taxes. I felt crummy about that since she probably only made $12 an hour at her job in a nursing home. Also, after talking to some of the long term tax preparers, I realized that my dreams regarding pay and time commitments were unrealistic.

On the other hand, I finally learned most of what I need to know to work at Starbucks. I was starting to have fun with the other partners. The hours are very easily done. My body has become used to working on my feet for 5 or 6 hours and I think I'm actually better off physically for it. My brain likes $200/week grocery money even though it is not necessary. I get out of the house for socializing. Even though I want to be a writer, I'm not ready to just sit in the house every day all day and write. I will be getting benefits through Starbucks, like healthcare, dentist, 401K. I know: all the corporate benefits for 20 hours a week. I like a more even life style of working a little all the time rather than working a ton during 3.5 months of the year.

So I will continue to be a barista but not a tax preparer. I now have time, with just one job, to refocus on my writing and my running. My house in Texas is sold and the money is in the bank.




Aside, from material world activities, what is going on in my non-physical? I have time to contemplate and write. I realize my deepest childhood wound. I realize my highest spiritual connection. I have a sense of my soul and who I really am. I feel joy. I feel blessed. These feelings are not wild and crazy ecstasy. These feelings are things you need to stop and consciously experience. When you give them air time, they feel very satisfying.

Even though I work, I realize significant differences between my attitude about working at my engineering job in a corporation and working part time. My corporate job was killing my creativity and my freedom. My part time jobs aren't doing that. The corporation I worked for was a fine enterprise. A good place to work. But somehow, being a part of that culture was killing my inner being. I believe that joy is something present on the inside and every human can access it. I believe that feeling happy is a choice. But, while in the corporate environment, I didn't achieve happiness despite trying every day to apply my tools and knowledge. I felt like I was in jail. I believe that in applying my spiritual tools, I created a new life in a new environment. The path of least resistance was to move on. There have been changes in the corporate department where I used to work. Looking at that, I realize that I still wouldn't want to be a part of it.

There are many people who get up and go to their white collar jobs every day, not being happy. I think many of us have to do this. But as soon as you can find a way out, leave. Make an exit plan. If the plan takes a few years to carry out, then so be it. In the mean time, care for your soul. Nourish your soul consciously.