Monday, November 30, 2009

Stop Fighting

Do you ever wake up an realize that your head is screwed on backwards and you have no idea why?

Sometimes, at 6:30 am, you can find me in this place. I'm not sure why but sometimes, I just feel called. I don't go because I believe the Church's teaching about it. This morning, it was a place to get out of myself.

This morning, as I was out running, I had some fighting going on in my mind. I was planning on getting after some places of business and getting my complaints taken care of. Actually, my complaints were just in my mind, just lots of ego yammering. I'm not even sure what got me so stirred up (see below). But, the fighting is a sign of lack of love in my psyche. While I sat in the church, I prayed for the love I needed. Lack of love is a mental idea, not the truth. Noticing it, I realized that I needed a different perspective; a better way. I realize that whats in my mind is not real, but it does color my outlook and emotions. He responded. I just forgot about my complaints which were non-existent anyway.

What have I got to complain about? I just bought one of these (really, I did):

I have never bought anything delux until now. I have to laugh at my ego. This car is annoying because the cup holders are the wrong size. Do you know how upsetting that can be? And how silly? The silliness of what goes on in my brain sometimes is why I seek greater mindfulness. Once I realize what I am thinking about, I have the opportunity to change it.

Suffering and hardship: my private laptop is at the shop getting Windows 7 professionally installed. So I have my work lap top at home. But, there is no free cell on this computer. Dang! Life is so tough. I might have to go to a 12 step meeting and discuss my resentments (not).

I guess I'll go make some fresh juice. The salad I had for supper and the peanut butter for dessert was wonderful.

What a funny blog for me. I am making such fun of myself. I deserve it!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I love being an athlete. I love how my body feels right now. I didn't lift weights in Germany; but I did on Thursday and today. Now, several of my muscles are sore. Always, my shoulders quiver during the weight workouts. I love that. The people in my life are sedentary, except for Art, a guy at work who uses the weight room when I do. He loves working out.

Yesterday, I did a 24.3 mile run in about 10.3 minutes per mile. Not fast but not shabby either. I love how my legs feel after about 3 hours of running. Long runs are not free. This one lingers as there is an ice pack on my ankle. Yet, I had a wonderful short run on the levy this morning. It is so freeing to just jog along with no particular goal in mind.

I love being a spiritual athlete. I love my daily spiritual study. I love special workouts in solitude. Solitude relates to running long slow distance. After a few hours of being alone in my apartment, my intuition opens and I have "communication."

Love for athleticism and spirituality is not understood by most. Yet, my love is so great, I have given up my life to it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Germany Post-lude: The World vs Happy Dreams (Long)

I arrived home from Germany, flying on three flights including US customs and changing planes in Chicago O’Hare, exactly on time; and in time to go to an AA meeting. The entire trip was what I would call a happy dream. This morning, doing laundry, studying spiritual material and looking forward to a run, I felt so totally grateful for the spiritual path and in particular A Course in Miracles (ACIM). I have been set free from the world (ego hell) and live a life of happy dreams on the way to Heaven. This is a result of a spiritual path and a life which places God first.

Below I will provide some examples of what it used to be like and what it is like now. First, some quotes from the Epilog to the work book for ACIM. I mention this because I have now finished the Course twice and really feel that it has changed my life: from the hateful ego life to the happy dream on the way to heaven.

+ "Henceforth, hear but the Voice for God (Jesus or the Holy Spirit) and for your Self when you retire from the world, to seek reality instead. He will direct your efforts, telling you exactly what to do, how to direct your mind, and when to come to Him in silence, asking for His sure direction and His certain Word."

+ "You will be told exactly what God wills for you each time there is a choice to make. And He will speak for God and for your Self, thus making sure that hell will claim you not, and that each choice you make brings Heaven nearer to your reach."

+ "We trust our ways to Him and say “Amen”; In peace we will continue in His way, and trust all things to Him. In confidence we wait His answers, as we ask His Will in everything we do."

+ "You do not walk alone. God’s angels hover near and all about. His Love surrounds you, and of this be sure; that I will never leave you comfortless."

This morning, I am utterly certain that my life has become a “happy dream on the way to Heaven” as a result of the spiritual life. My life is a happy dream because I have learned to listen to the Voice for God, as well as turned my life over to God. AND when I am doing God’s will for me, all the world is better for it (i.e., it’s not about me and getting things to go my way).

As I read this, my memory flashed back to 22 or so years ago. I was about 28 years old and about 2 years sober. I was remembering some workshops I attended by a channel named Lazarus. I listened to the meditations about love and a higher self and I desperately wanted this feeling of bliss. At that time, I couldn’t seem to feel this euphoric love. I think my spiritual journey became a journey coming out of a total black place where I was a spiritual failure and no one loved me.

Today, as I sat at my table in the quiet early morning, I realized that I have a tremendous inner peace and freedom from thought bondage (ego hell). I never experienced that euphoric experience so often read of in books and so desperately sought by many unhappy people. Yet, I have peace. It must mean I have the safety of God and I trust it totally and am able to live in His embrace, His love and His guidance.

What it used to be like: I remember way way back, when I was a young engineer, I attended a plant dinner (a multinational corporation). I got drunk on the free wine. I was seated next to the head of the facility, a VP, and made a total fool of myself. The morning after shame was tremendous.

What its like now: On this trip to Germany, I found myself sitting next to a Director of a multinational corporation. I was sober and peaceful in myself. No verbal embarrassment occurred and, hence, no shame.

What it used to be like: When I was in my middle thirties, I went on several company week long functions at places like Hilton Head and I went on a trip to The Netherlands. I remember having such low self esteem while trying to socialize with other managers. I felt guilty and afraid for being "different" than the other managers.

What it’s like now: On this trip to Germany, I again found myself socializing with other managers. At this time in my life, I have been on the spiritual path for 3 decades,.I am still different from the group being: a female, a dedicated athlete, a person who eats only what fits in the God design for a body, a person who actually does spend time everyday in prayer (no matter what) and who reflects quietly on how to listen to the Voice for God as well as implement the direction.
The last night of the trip, another VP took us to dinner. They had planned ahead, as several of us were vegetarians, to have vegetarian items on the menu, and they even identified to the restaurant who was vegetarian without asking us (me and 4 Indians). The salad was wonderful The entrée was mushrooms in cream sauce with fried potato cakes. This entrée is not something I would choose to eat (because it is outside the God design eating program), but could possibly eat when in a group; and the Indians wolfed their's down. Yet that night, my inner self absolutely put the brakes on eating all of it. I just nibbled a bit to be polite and to pass the time while everyone else ate their meat dishes; and allowed the waitress to take my plate. Then while waiting for coffee and dessert, I slipped over to the waitress and asked for fresh fruit for dessert because I knew I wasn’t going to eat the sugar and cream laden dessert which was on the menu. I quietly got something to eat (I was hungry) without creating a scene.
I saw that the VP noticed I didn’t eat my entrée. Even earlier in the day, the VP had mentioned that he knew I didn’t drink saying (in a German accent), “You are not so much in favor of drink.” But the point is, despite two weeks of comments from my colleagues about my running and how I eat, I do not feel ashamed of myself and in the past I would have. I would have been tormented by my life choices and how they made me different from the corporate powers. Today, I feel good about myself. I am not afraid that being me will somehow make me a corporate failure.

What it’s like now: Early on Wednesday morning, doing my spiritual study, before beginning my long trip home. I was conscious of my ego thinking how terrible things could go: it’s the day before Thanksgiving, O’Hare airport is probably jammed with people and all the flights are late and how crabby I’ll be about getting home extremely late.
BUT, I consciously brought this thinking to Jesus and made another choice. I decided that the day was about peace and Christ vision (per ACIM teaching) and carrying out God’s purpose for me; letting the Holy Spirit smooth my ways. This was all conscious decision making. Now, as I said above, all my flights were absolutely on time. I got along with my colleague who was travelling with me. I spent 10 minutes at the passport checkpoint in Chicago because the officer wanted to tell me his life story; and my companions wondered what was going wrong (hehe). (This incident may well have been what God needed me to do.) I arrived home at 7:45, made a cup of tea, and went to the AA meeting, in total gratitude for the Holy Spirit. I even went to the grocery store after that. The store was not crowded with pre-Thanksgiving shoppers; but most amazingly, the shelves were not empty. So I obtained fresh vegetables and peanut butter and happily came home and ate a Spirit Flower special salad.

My life is a happy dream because I decided to take ACIM, I decided to listen to the Voice for God, I decided to follow God’s will for me; not because I am lucky or good.

I could go on and on about how happy I am with myself. This includes my running outlook. I no longer need to prove anything, say by running a 50 mile race, in order to bolster my low self esteem. My spiritual self esteem is also healed: I no longer feel less than religious sisters. I no longer feel like a spiritual failure because I haven’t experienced “enlightenment.”

I am free. I am free. I am happy. I am happy.

I think I will now go for a run!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Run on the Rhine

Today I had a very peaceful and contemplative run of 1 hour and 55 minutes. It was a cloudy, slightly drippy, 50F degree jog. Everybody, joggers and dog walkers, was quietly thinking their own thoughts or quietly off in space while the body did its thing. I had no injuries from yesterday, but my legs were fatigued. This afternoon, I'm going to hang out with my boss and his wife.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Eternal Gentleness

From A Course in Miracles text 23.I: "The memory of God comes to the quiet mind…for a mind at war against itself remembers not eternal gentleness.”

The facet of God, Eternal Gentleness, is my focus today. I read two paragraphs of the ACIM text before needing to stop and meditate on Eternal Gentleness. These words, spoken in my mind bring healing to any little interferers, little judgments, little attractions to guilt and sin (meaning looking for sin and finding it in others). Eternal Gentleness leaves me speechless and in peace. I can stay here if I want.

I think of the many faces of the Son of God in my life. They are all beautiful and all in pain. We pine and agonize because we look for sin instead of, in quiet, being in Eternal Gentleness. Today, I have traded Eternal Gentleness for the little attraction to guilt.

I am going running in a gentle rain today. I do not know how long but am preparing to stay out as long as I feel like it.

Yesterday I splurged on some hi-tech running clothes which I had not seen in the States. I shut my eyes to the prices tag and realized this was my one chance no matter the cost. If I go to the “Run for the Ranch” marathon on 12/27, it might actually be warm enough for me to be stylin’.

I had supper last night with two colleagues. I sensed Eternal Gentleness. I met a new colleague and at first felt jealous; then I applied Eternal Gentleness and gave the gift of peace. The Christmas Markets open in Cologne later today. These are booths set up with music and costumes, food and wine, and please buy our trinkets. I will stay out of the fray as it is a good place for a tourist to get in trouble.

On Friday, one of the German colleagues was troubled that I was here without access to cash. I would not accept his help. He said the situation was unacceptable to him, and quietly, behind my back, asked my American colleagues to watch out for me. I was touched despite my American training in feminist principles.

I am free when I live in Eternal Gentleness and accept the gift of innocence offered in silence. I have spent long hours in introspection listing out all my jealousies, hatreds, resentments, fears, shames, pissing matches and better thans. I give these to Jesus. Then, I accept Eternal Gentleness as my Source and as what I truly am.

Koln Personal Long Distance Event

I got up at 5:30 and did a tiny amount of spiritual study with a small coffee. I didn't drink the normal amount because I was about to take a long run in a city where I have yet to discern a public restroom or even a adequate bush!I loaded the Nathan hydropak left the hotel at 6:30, still dark, cloudy and about 54F (warm). I head north along the Rhine planning to cross at the Mulheim bridge and come back.

An hour and 15 minutes later, I can see the Bayer Chempark in Leuverkeusen across the river...gulp...I must have missed the bridge. Not the first time I've been lost on a bike path, but lost a bridge? I am slipping.I turn around at the Ford plant because the bike path goes away from the river to get around the plant.
Heading back south I finally get the bridge situation straightened out. The bridge I've been running to every night was actually the Mulheim and not the Zoobrueke. Now I cross the Monheim bridge and continue south along the river to a point where there is a fence across the path. What? The beach resort? Shoot! I go inland to a road which runs along the backs of some warehouses. I'm glad I didn't try to do this in the dark! After a mile or so, I find a place near the Zoobrueke bridge to get back to the river. There is a nice park here which I may come back to tomorrow. I've been running about 2 hours and 30 minutes. It is not time to go home; home is just across the river. I am having a magic day where I haven't had to pee or poop during this run. So I run around the park once and experience some peace and quiet, realizing I'm out of patience with being lost. Then I run south to the Severinsbrucke and turn around.

Koln Seagulls

Haha, look at the "flock" of seagulls lined up at this one place. I come back north to the park and the Zoobrueke. It is time to go home if I want to get some food and coffee before the hotel breakfast bar shuts down.
Home I go, The run was 3 hours and 48 minutes. I dawdled some taking pictures; but I judge it to be between 20 and 21 miles.
This afternoon, I plan to walk to a huge sporting goods store and a health food store.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Germany Diary - Fritag

The Koln cathedral dominates the landscape. It cannot be avoided very much. The first three days of running, I ran up its front steps around the north side past a museum and down the north steps to get to the river. The river and its miles of sidewalk are the venue for my running.

I get up at 5:30 and make instant coffee; then settle down for spiritual study and meditation. Daily, I go to the hotel’s breakfast buffet, load up my American sized travel mug with coffee, fill a bag with bread, cheese and fruit and bring it back to the room. This covers two meals; breakfast and supper. Every day at 7:45, I go to the lobby and chat with my work colleagues until 8, when we get on the bus and go to our class at the Chempark in Leverkeusen.

We have class until 12:30, go to the cafeteria to eat. Come back to class until 5:30 and get back on the bus to the hotel. Then, in the dark, I go running. It takes 30 minutes to run from the train station/cathedral to Zoobrueke, where I turn around and come back.

So far, that is what I have done on my trip to Germany. In 5 days, it is all I have had time for. I think I would like to get out of class before the sun went down, but that is not up to me. This weekend, I will go for long runs along the river (weather to be a little drippy), peruse the sporting goods store and the natural food store, study my spiritual material and read a book. No, I won’t run around like a crazy person trying to see as much as possible. What is the point of that really? Cologne is about the cathedral. I will spend some more time pondering it.

I have been doing my daily spiritual study and meditation. I need this reflection time and connection time to survive. Like the Cologne Cathedral, God dominates the landscape of my mind. I keep going back to look. Whenever I wonder where I am, I pinpoint God's dominance on the horizon. I come close and look at God's intricacies, both inside and out. I stop to pray.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Different Drummer

Here is a view from the 6th floor classroom window where I have been spending my days.

Last night, we had a dinner with a really really top executive. Surprisingly, about halfway through the meal, he came and sat next to me so he could visit with the people at our end of the table. There was only our group of 18 at the dinner. I was glad I do not drink. As a drunk, I never knew what my mouth would have to say to such a person.

Tonight, I was a bad girl and skipped the group dinner. They brought us back to the hotel at 6:30 and a group was going to a Brazilian steak house at 7. At 6:38, I was out running along the Rhine. I had a pleasant 52 minute run. I am a person who needs to get away; althought I did go against group norms and expected behavior. I suffer a little when I go against the group.

Even thought there were plenty of other walkers and runners along the river, I experienced a type of solitude and contemplation in the semi-darkness. Now, alone, I stop to reflect that I am alone. I suddenly need to shut off my dialog. This time needs to be cherished.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Montag en Germania

I had a wonderful plate of vegetables for dinner last night. I slept most of the night except for the comforter is too hot. I found a natural food store on google. It is only 1.1 km from the hotel, so this weekend, I can go load up on goodies for snacking after my long run.

Upon arising this morning, I had a wonderful hot shower. Free of grunge and vague dreams of forgetting to get the right settings loaded for some software, I settled down for spirituality. I re-started chapter 22 in the Course in Miracles text yesterday. This morning, as I continued, I felt like I understood something. I felt willing. I did not felt separation. As I write this, I believe that my ego, the tiny mad idea, was hoping that if it sent out a barrage of separation type thoughts, for several days, every time I tried to understand a holy relationship, that maybe I would give up my quest to love others and God.

Of course, I have been on the quest for decades. I don’t know why my ego still thinks I will quit trying to uphold the truth of the real relationship that I (we all) have with God, and the holy relationship that I (we) have with each other in Self: “For no two brothers can unite (in any way) except through Christ, Whose vision sees them one” (22.I.7).
The final five lessons of the Course in Miracles workbook use this:
"This holy instant would I give to You.
Be You in charge. For I would follow You.
Certain that Your dicrection gives me peace."
I said this a lot on the airplane when I couldn't sleep. I realized that the trick is to know that I am speaking to Someone. I have to consciously make the divine connection; not just repeat this over and over to myself. I reach out! It is swell.

How much courage to take time for spirituality.

Fear is my worst blockage.
I have felt well around my co-workers at the class.

I will survive here is Germany.

Today I was in class all day, not returning to the hotel until 6. Our class is 2 South Americans, 4 Indians, 2 English, 2 German, 2 Chinese and 4 Americans. The class is at a huge chemical park. They had a nice cafeteria which even had a machine that made fresh squeezed orange juice. Fresh orange juice is heaven. They also had a lady who was making smoothies.

After class, I got out running about 6:15. I ran 40 minutes, turning around at Henry Blum Platz. There were other runners, walkers and bikers. I got the nod from a couple of the ladies, “I see you running maniac.”

This morning at breakfast, I foraged for fruit and bread so I think I’ll skip eating out tonight.
Tomorrow night, we have dinner with an important person; so no running.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Koln Temporary Monastic Cell

On Saturday, I got up at 3:45 to do my spiritual work. At 5:30, I was at the park and did a 22 mile LSD run. Then, I went home to shower and eat. At noon, my friend Lore took me to the airport. All flights on time and very nice. Arrived in Dusseldorf at 7:30 am Sunday (what happened to Saturday night?).

I said I would set up my mini-monastery in my hotel room. Here is a picture:

I noticed there is a nice bike path along the Rhine River, only a few blocks from my hotel. I'll be in class for most daylight hours but I should be able to figure out when jogging would be good.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

No matter how crazily your brain seems to be yelling at you; silence it for an instant and the Love of God will flood in, healing all mistaken notions.

I'm ready to eat when I get to Germany:

Here is the beginning of the pile of stuff that needed to be packed:

This morning, I got up at 4:45, having granted myself a day off. I weigh 130. I did my spiritual study but was somewhat distracted with a) putting things in the pile for Germany and b) my thoughts about myself which separate me from others. I have been studying chapter 22.I of the Course in Miracles text all week. It is on holy relationships. I have been unable to move on because my ego keeps really hammering me about how different from others I am. I keep asking Jesus about this gap between what the Course says and what I believe about myself. Yet, Jesus keeps encouraging me to look beyond the material level surface to the sameness of Christ, which lies within everyone. This practice of continual awareness of my thoughts and then drawing them back to seeing sameness (Christ vision) has been a chore. This morning, as I entered into mental silence, I suddenly had a holy instant (ACIM text 15.I.9):

“Begin to practice the Holy Spirit’s use of time as a teaching aid to happiness and peace. Take this very instant, now, and think of it as all there is of time. Nothing can reach you here out of the past, and it is here that you are completely absolved, completely free and wholly without condemnation. From this holy instant wherein holiness was born again you will go forth in time without fear, and with no sense of change with time.”

In my holy instant, I realized that all was peace.

Then, I went to 6:30 Mass. I didn’t talk to anyone. After that, I went running. I saw some people I knew. As I passed them at the same time I passed my car, they pointed out that I had left a packet of Gu on the trunk of my car, “Did you know you left this here?” I hollered back, being a little ways down the road, “That is supposed to be there.” You know how my ego heard their question? “Hey stupid, did you know you forgot this?” And my ego would have answered, “Quit being such a know-it-all busy body you dip shit.” I admit that the voice in my head sounds this hateful all the time. So now you know why it is so imperative to me that I pay attention to all my thoughts and keep them from unconsciously living in hate.

After eight miles, I decided I’d had enough. I went to the store and then home. At home, I started laundry, worked on my suitcase packing project and installed the software for my new $20 camera. It worked! I got the shirts ironed and folded. Then, I thought I would go to an AA meeting at noon.

Just before I got in the car, I checked the Blackberry. There was an e-mail from human resources granting me a credit for home improvements I had made on the house in Atchison. So, when I took my job, there was a relocation package. The house didn’t sell so I accepted the offer from the relocation agent; which dinged me for about $6,000 worth of repairs. But, I was quite happy because, getting rid of the house was a super thing period. So, now this morning, the company will add in several thousand more dollars. I just can’t believe this.

I had a nice meeting, someone even thanking me for what I said. After the meeting, I did not run out so a couple of guys stopped me to chat. One of them even sort of acted real nice as if he knew I might have been upset with some previous behavior of his.

Yesterday at work, I made my first presentation of a work product to management. They all commented at how well organized, detailed and of higher quality it was than what they had been doing in the past. “I really like the way you think.”

I am going to Germany tomorrow. I finally achieved peace with the trip as I decided that I would do as I always do: set up my mini-monastery in my hotel room. I have arranged my spiritual study materials and coffee supplies. I packed a jar of peanut butter. No matter the cost, I will pay for the fitness facility at the hotel. I have packed running supplies. On the weekend, I’ve planned a personal endurance event. It probably won’t be much different than what I would do at home: run around a park for 4 hours; or perhaps along the Rhine River (if there is a sidewalk). The unknowns are: where will I go pee! I’ve packed my Nathan Hydropak, so water will not be an issue. I should be able to get pictures and write a blog as I’m taking my laptop.

I’m flying first class.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Core Contemplation

The trainer gave me these core exercises. I worked on them for six weeks and noticed a slow reshaping of my abdomen. I mentioned to her that they didn’t seem to be stressful; that is, I don’t strain to do them. She said that was right. Therein lies the contemplation. Doing the exercises slowly and mindfully, concentrating on working only certain muscles, the stomach develops the desired definition and strength.

The exercises are a combination of subtle moves (move only this, a little and slowly), and stillness (keep that flat, still). Awareness, concentration, discipline and ambivalence are required skills. The ego gets nothing from these exercises. You cannot do these exercises without doing them slowly.

LSD, Long Slow Distance, is another point of contemplation. I ran 7+ laps around a park this morning; 20 miles at a little over 10 minutes per mile. I was going nowhere slowly. I thought about my spiritual lesson for today and my mantra became the one line which stuck: His (God’s) answer is the only one I want. This sentence went around and around my head and I barely thought beyond it. The girl running slowly through the park, just doing time, at last questioned, “Why am I out here?” I had no reason to be doing LSD. I had no reason to do 20 miles of LSD; especially after a strenuous race yesterday. LSD does not shape the abdomen like my core exercises. I don’t look great. I still have flabby thighs. Just exactly why? Shoot, I’ve been a distance runner for 35 years. It is the one thing that has been in my life the longest.

The answer may never be decided; but it may be contemplated. Running, above all else, is what made me uncomfortable in religious life. Running makes me uncomfortable around the sedentary who don't understand it. I'm a runner. I run. I'm an athlete. I eat only this and I lift weights and I run. This is my main interest in life. It still freaks me out that some many people dis me for it.

A guy in the gym asked me why anyone would give their life to God. Why not? Contemplation is about integrating the spiritual into everything. Yes, I weave silence and endorphins into my God quest. I have been cursed with an unquenchable thirst for the Almighty. I see that many people have not and they look askance at me. Like running, I am often dis-ed for my contemplative life. I guess I just have to accept this.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Zen of the Half Mary

What is this crazy race? It is not a marathon. It is not a 10k. It was seemingly devised for people who cannot run marathons, but want to go farther than 10k. Is it serious? Who could brag about a mere 13.1 miles? The Half Mary can be the great deceiver. It is about to nail my ego.

I was up at 4:30 am. I drank coffee with extra instant coffee added; and a couple of pieces of bread. This noxious mixture is designed to encourage a bowel movement. Pretty soon, I am astounded at the quantity of stuff I am storing in my bowel. I do my spiritual work, pack my stuff and do a core workout (because the trainer gave me some new moves yesterday and I want to practice them). At 6:20, I start driving to the race.

It is to be a warm day: winds from the south at 10 mph, temps starting near 59F and to climb at least to 70 by the end of the race. I am at the start by 7 and get my number and t-shirt. There is an excellent bathroom with no one in it. I camp out there for a little while. The race is to start a 8. I hang out for awhile near the start. I say hi to Muffie who ran 50 miles two weeks ago when I ran 50k. It turns out it was her first 50 miler and she hadn’t really planned on it but switched races after she saw how easy the trail was.

The cannon goes off. The people doing the 10k are fast! I run the first 3 miles in 25+ minutes (too fast). As we pass the split, I slow down. And get to 4 miles in 35 minutes (more like it). I’m following a lady in a pink shirt. It turns out I followed her for a really long time. She made a good bunny because I had to work to keep up with her. I am running faster than the talk test; so I am pushing it. The turn-around is at 6.25 miles and I get there in 55 minutes (wow!).

Turning around, the wind is in our faces. I’m working to keep up with pink shirt and my legs feel like cement. I realize that my marathoner mind had thought that a half marathon would be a piece of cake. Now, I’m having to concentrate. I am having to be aware, no falling asleep. I get quiet inside and have a Zen moment: stop the mind and just run. I am actually racing. I am out for the coveted 50 year old female crown. Pink shirt bunny is possibly in my group.

At just before the 10 mile mark, pink shirt loses it. Shoot! The bunny died. I give her a hard time as I go past. Now I am the bunny and it pisses me off. When the trail turns a little, I look back. Dang it, she is not going to get me. I see no more mile markers for a looong time. I come to a hill and find myself cussing: this is a f**king long race. We know I am stressing out and pushing my limits when the cuss words start to flow freely. (Ego nailed! Good job!)

What’s that ahead? Another pink shirt (I’m so f**king glad I don’t own any pink shirts). This pink shirt is another age group possibility. We get to the 12 mile mark at 1:50. Let’s see, how fast can I run 1.1 miles? (Not very fast really, my ego is nailed) Now there are two pink shirters ahead of me. They start this walk and then sprint nonsense. I pass them on the walk. They pass me on the run. F**k them. Not too long and they give up. Ha… 3 pink shirts DOWN!!! (Truly not a Zen moment)

BJ the DJ, dressed in a cowboy outfit, takes my picture just before I make the turn into the chute.

I do my best and cross the finish line right at 2:02!!!

(Way better than I thought I could do).

Then, after a water and 25 minutes, I become what every race director dreads. I go out to the finish line, “Hey, Raul, can you print some more results?” He says yes and hands the clip board to the race director. She says she can’t stand there and I am handed the clip board. Shortly, Raul hands the race director another sheet of results. I stop her before she goes back inside and make her tell me how I did: first female 50-59 ag. Great! What do I get? I get to pick something off the first table.

Now things get really ugly (my ego is quickly un-nailed). Raul comes and gets the clip board. I go inside and start harassing the race director who is standing at the first table (I really want the bright orange reflective pull over), “Hey, I need to go, can I pick my prize?” RD, “No, you have to wait a few minutes until we announce names. We will do women first.” SF, “But, are you going to do the young women first? Don’t you think the OLD women should get to go first?” (The orange top gets put on a back chair…hehe).

Finally, pretty quick, the orange top makes it into my hands and I make a bee-line for the car.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Spiritual Push Comes to Shove

No workouts this morning. I became wrapped up in an argument with Jesus and wanted to linger over my spiritual studies. Then, I thought that since I am going in a race tomorrow, I should rest up a bit so I have some speed for the race.

It was hard to get out of bed. I rarely remember dreams; but I remembered what I dreamed last night and am feeling guilty for it. I have a late afternoon meeting with three Germans (I work for a German company). I am afraid of them; and also, I wanted to get out of work on a Friday afternoon, but it ain’t goin’ to happen. Then, I smacked into the spiritual wall: my ego beliefs vs spiritual truth and my inability to really want spiritual truth.

If you read Jesus’ words in the New Testament, and take them seriously, you realize that you are in a trap. I am not going to do what they say, but I believe I should so I am guilty. Since I believe I am guilty, I am afraid. I judge others and fear my thoughts are not private. I fear others because I know what I think of them. I am damned all around because I don’t know how to stop my thoughts. The only thing I can do is accept spiritual help.

In this world, I tried to escape damnation by joining a monastery. Hoping to live by the Rule of Benedict and obedience to a Prioress, I hoped to escape my own guilt. I got kicked out of the monastery and was left to seek salvation under my own direction.

I found A Course in Miracles. This morning, reading the Text 21.VII, I ended up between a spiritual rock and an ego hard place. I accept that my thinking is insane and need spiritual help. But I know I am blocking the spiritual help; and Spirit respects my wishes. So what do I do? All I can do is admit my insanity and ask God to help me anyway.

No matter who you are, if you enter into spirituality, you find your ego and your character defects staring you in the face. So either forget the spirituality and live solely in the ego experience; or lay down before your Higher Power and surrender everything. I cannot quit spirituality. Something beyond my ego drives me to keep studying and keep talking to Jesus about my shortcomings. I keep using the spiritual sand paper on my stubborn unbelief and ego fears. I keep asking for help. I truly believe a Power Greater than myself will restore me to sanity.

Sanity in A Course in Miracles, salvation as it were, is to believe that this world including my guilty thoughts are a bad dream, they never really happened or hurt anyone, and allow Jesus to awaken me to union with God, who always loved me and keeps me safe in Him, and the same goes for everyone, we are all one Son of God. If this is truth, I can only accept it, put my faith in it and accept the spiritual help. This is no different or harder than accepting what is said in the New Testament. These two things are the same theology and provide the same salvation. (The church has misinterpreted what Jesus said.) Jesus is Jesus period. God is Love period. I have to admit my insanity and accept spiritual help or else. What is my choice to be?

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I got up this morning and felt my mind was completely dead. Inspired words were falling on my sleeping self. How do I wake up and have any enthusiasm for Jesus? I spoke with Jesus about this. And then I found myself waking up and entheusiastic. If I went to a denominational church and asked why I don't remember God, they would baptize me, tell me I was saved by Jesus, give me a bunch of rules and tell me that I'll go to heaven after I die. I don't want to wait until death to know God. If God is love, He would never be unavailable to His creatures. A Course in Miracles gives me a way to remember God. I accept.

Going to Germany is considered a perk here at work. To me, it is inconvenient. I don’t really care about going to Germany because the inner world is more spiritually interesting than sightseeing in the ego world. What I will be looking for is opportunities to participate in miracles.

Chapter 21.V of A Course in Miracles keeps pointing out: there is something more to your mind and consciousness than ego. Something has driven me to spirituality which is not ego. Ego would prefer I buy a TV, a couch, get the cable hooked up and park myself in front of the screen with a bag of chips, the more salt the better. Quotes from 21.V:

  • You must have set aside a place in which the Holy Spirit can abide, and where He is. He must have been there since the need for Him arose, and was fulfilled in the same instant. Such would your reason tell you, if you listened. Yet such is clearly not the ego's reasoning. Your reason's alien nature to the ego is proof you will not find the answer there. Yet if it must be so, it must exist. And if it exists for you, and has your freedom as the purpose given it, you must be free to find it.
  • Thus, there must be a part of you that knows His Will and shares it. It is not meaningful to ask if what must be is so. But it is meaningful to ask why you are unaware of what is so, for this must have an answer if the plan of God for your salvation is complete.
  • The part of mind where reason lies was dedicated, by your will in union with your Father's, to the undoing of insanity. Here was the Holy Spirit's purpose accepted and accomplished, both at once.
  • Faith and belief have shifted, and you have asked the question the ego will never ask. Does not your reason tell you now the question must have come from something that you do not know, but must belong to you? Faith and belief, upheld by reason, cannot fail to lead to changed perception. And in this change is room made way for vision.
I am sure that I am connecting to the part of mind my ego knows not. But, it is a different sort of consciousness; maybe the closest word I can use is intuitive. It not a perceiving judging sort of affair.
Why do people think they can race a marathon to the finish when the marathon distance is outside the scope of the training? Then to compound the problem, they skimp on the high octane fuel. The wall must be transcended by training beyond the wall. I yearn to finish the race which ends the ego's world. My spiritual training is enduring and ego rununciation is in the scope. High octane fuel for the mind and spirit are in the practice.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Choosing to Listen to the Voice for God

A Course in Miracles Text 21.IV and V:

- The Holy Spirit’s purpose was accepted by the part of your mind the ego knows not of…it was not the ego which joined the Holy Spirit’s purpose, and so there must be something else.
- The quiet way is open…The still small Voice for God is not drowned out by all the ego’s raucous screams and senseless ravings to those who want to hear it.
- Perception is a choice, not a fact…on the voice you choose to hear…depends entirely your whole belief in what you are.
- Listen to what the ego says…and it is sure that you will see yourself as tiny, vulnerable and afraid. You will experience depression, a sense of worthlessness, and feelings of impermanence and unreality…And you will think the world you made directs your destiny. For this will be your faith.
- There is another vision and another Voice in which your freedom lies, awaiting but your choice.

My lesson this morning, number 354, contains gems:
- I have not self except the Christ in me.
- We stand together, Christ and I, in peace and certainty of purpose.

I was awake in the night feeling angry towards an institution. I recognized my lack of peace. Upon arising, I realized how much I was hearing the ego's raucous screams and fears. The best I can do is bring these to Jesus. I need the Holy Spirit's help. I ask to decide in favor of the Voice for God. As I was out running, I watched my thoughts flit from one resentment to another, one negative fantasy to another. All of these were way in the past or totally unreal. I again asked the Holy Spirit for help. I don't claim that I am getting better. I claim to be turning to God every time I remember.

I want to chose the Christ in me as my consicousness. I want to chose the Voice for God as what I listen to. I want to be the other part of my mind which the ego knows nothing of. I make these choices as often as I become aware that I have once again drank of the ego's insane potions.

I signed up for a half marathon this Saturday. I've had two great 57 minute runs the past two days. I am planning a personal ultra-endurance event for 11/21 and 22, while I am in Koln, Germany. So I spent this morning's run planning which running clothes I will take to Germany.

Monday, November 2, 2009

ACIM on the Road

Dear Friends, I come to you today from Texas City. I flew in last night and leave again tonight. I had a wonderful surprise on the trip down: everything went smooth, but best of all is Southwest Airlines now has a business class so you can get a good seat. The fly by lane relieves the cattle car feeling I’ve always gotten from Southwest. I hearby endorse the airline. Besides, it has been many years since I heard one of their irreverent flight attendants. I’m certain that my world appears improved in these little ways because of the rearrangements to my thinking made possible by studying A Course in Miracles and letting the Holy Spirit teach me.

Supper was a box of lettuce from Walmart. This morning I put in 30 minutes on the elliptical. Yesterday morning, I was blessed with 22 miles of long slow distance running.

Text 21:III:

- For all who choose to look away from sin are given vision, and are led to holiness.
- As they desire to look upon their brothers in holiness, the power of their belief and faith sees far beyond the body, supporting vision, not obstructing it…they have renounced the means for sin by choosing to let all limitations be removed.
- Those who believe in sin must think the Holy Spirit asks for sacrifice, for this is how they think their purpose is accomplished.
- …if you seek to limit Him, you will hate Him because you are afraid.
- …He Who loves the world is seeing it for you, without one spot of sin upon it, and in the innocence that makes the sight of it as beautiful as Heaven.

I have had a little nagging fear since Friday: I am totally afraid of being laid off due to lack of work again. Consequently, I project my fear onto others, like my boss. Oh so subtle, I think, “What if he keeps work for himself or gives it to a co-worker so that I have nothing to do?” Well, actually, fear of not enough work translates into putting faith into work as security instead of relying of God to take care of me. Just because I have a job now doesn’t mean I don’t need to turn my life over to God the same as I did last summer when I had no work. Actually, this fear has been with me my entire work life and I have lived it out over and over again, because I keep projecting the same thing. My life is my fault. This time, I want to let God help me.

The solution to the fear however is spiritual. I need to look away from the world and keep my eyes on Jesus. When I look at the world, I am looking for the bad things which I myself have projected, fearing them and attempting to control outcomes. I can bring my fear into my conscious mind and talk to Jesus about it, asking for help. Then, I ask for Christ vision. Christ vision is given me immediately and is useful if I accept it. In Christ vision, I am not an ego looking hatefully at a world which is out to get me. I am allowing the Holy Spirit to look through me to the holiness and innocence beyond the world, Heaven and the Son of God. To see the Son of God, I turn my “seeing” and perceiving over to the Holy Spirit, set my projections and perceptions aside, and see my brother sinless. Of course, I cannot do this by myself and must have help. Jesus will teach me and help me.

Jesus, I want to be free of my fear and see things differently. I am terrified of running out of work and being laid off. I project that my boss will keep work for himself or give it to my co-worker, and I will get laid off. Please, You handle all these details for me and show me the way to forgiveness and vision. Please remove what I see and help me to forgive (look beyond to the holiness and Christ in everyone). Let me put my faith in You and not the world. Please help me.