Saturday, December 29, 2012

Houston Hundred 51.6k

I started the day with a 53 mile high speed drive.

A very small race, parking next to the course was easy and picking up the packet was easy. I saw my friend Kim from Galveston who does many 100 mile races a year. I also spied out Scott and Liz from N. Carolina. I read Scott's blog and knew he was coming to this race. Liz has run 35 and Scott has run 26 one hundred miles race this year.

Just before the start, we were treated to this beautiful sunrise.


We had an uneventful start. The course was a 2 mile paved bike path around a park. The only thing was, it was cold with a brisk north wind. Cold? Well, 32F/0C; but for someone who was running in a tank top 2 days ago, it did feel like a freezer. I started with 3 shirts, a fleece, gortex jacket, tights, wind pants, hat, gloves and buffy.

After the first lap, I removed the fleece. After the second lap, I removed the wind pants and buff. After a couple more laps, I went to a lighter jacket. But, all the rest of the stuff stayed on for the duration. One mile into the wind. One mile wind at the back.

Then began my mental games, which is why I run ultras anyway. I had a break through in my mental game today. So, the running plan was to jog steady the first 8 laps to halfway and then do some jog/walk for the second half. I didn't sweat one drop, so even though my running was at 12 min miles, it seemed that I had to make frequent pit stops. Thus my time is a lot slower than it should have been.

Starting about mile 10, my mind was trying to come up with a legitimate excuse to quit. Like, how could I get out of there after only 20 miles lets say. So, I remembered the spiritual phrases I had on a slip of paper in my pocket. I got these out and started repeating them over and over. I therefore "changed" my thinking. Believe it or not, it is my ego that likes big talk but not big performance. It is my ego that wants to quit instead of doing what I came to do.

My shoes were comfortable and my toe tape job seemed to be working well. So I really had no excuse to quit. A Clif shot with caffeine helped alot.

After 8 laps, 16 miles and race half over, I started to jog 3 light poles and walk one. This rhythm was very great. And then came mile 21. A crucial time, get ready for it. I became conscious of my defeatist thinking and how it screwed with all my past efforts. I told it, "f*** you, I am finishing this f***ing race." Determination arose within me. For the first time, I definitively told my ego to F***-off.

My ego went into hiding after that. I quietly practiced my spiritual phrases and jogged my 3 poles/ walk one. But soon I was on a downhill slide. I celebrated on my marathon lap; only 3 more laps after that. Nothing could stop me now. 

Some of the 100 milers passing me were jealous of me finishing. I was very happy to be finishing. During this race, I reconsidered what I learned about myself at Ultracentric and affirmed that I have characteristics not compatible with running 100s. I watched Kim go through the serious business of setting up and thought about how cold it would be as she walked all night long. "Whatever for?," is what I thought. It is such serious business and I don't want to do it. And I'm happy I don't have to go through all that suffering. And I'm VERY happy that 2 days from now, I'll be able to run on New Year's holiday, cuz that is what I do when I don't go to work.

But still, it is necessary for an ultra runner to go in ultras. I don't do 32 miles when I am training on my own. But I was willing to put it out for a race. And the ultra runner's mind needs real life practice at the mental games in order to be successful. I have a 50 miler in Missouri in March, so my mind needs this 50k practice.

Finally my bell lap. The volunteers knew it was my last lap. So they were waiting at the finish with my medal and they took my picture. I was last place in the 50k, but second place of the women; so I got a trophy.

7h43min, 32 miles.



And then a 53 mile drive home.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Just Cuz - Texas Trails


Ultra Runner

Psyco Wyco 50k
Aslinger 12 and 24 hours
Little Blue Trace ( 50k and 44 miles)
3 Days at the Fair
Ultracentric
Frisco 50k (twice)
Flatlanders 12 hour
Silverton 1000 (86 mi)
(I might have forgot one)

I guess I'm an ultra-runner, just not 100 miles.

Tomorrow is another 50k. At this place: Bear Creek Park, only it will be a bit brown this time of year.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Life - an offering

I really believed this morning that there is a Higher Power called Love (not anthropocentric at all) and that I really want to receive Its love as well as let the dream of my life be an offering of love. I totally see that I can perceive the content of any dream illusion as love.

So yes, this train of thought was a result of A Course in Miracles, 29.IV:
The core of dreams the Holy Spirit gives
is His love for the dreamer.
...each dream becomes an offering of love...
at its center is His Love for me
which lights whatever form it takes with love.

I think a love based life is possible for anyone whether they believe in God or not.

For me, my choice is to believe there is a Higher Power and depend on that power. My Higher Power is love and I source my life from love.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lucky

Early this morning, as I began my morning exercise, I honestly thought, "I am one of the lucky ones to be going to work today." I don't think I have ever had that thought before. Amazing.

My Course in Miracle study this morning was in chapters 28 and 29. Here are the phrases I used today:
For hate to be maintained, love must be feared.
God is the Alternate to dreams of fear.
My Guest has come with joy and happiness.
I can never be apart from Him.

And so I am at work. Performance appraisals loom in January. I have written a private letter to my boss. Its what I have always wanted to say to a boss. I may not read it but I hope to have the courage :

You wonder why I don't have career goals. It is because I have life goals:
1. Spiritual studies
2. Endurance athlete

These goals have superseded work goals throughout my career. This is because I always have to live with myself; but won't always have the same employer.

My only work goal is to be of service. You've noticed that this goal does drive a high level of output and integrity; but this is not to get ahead or to achieve anything other than adequate performance. Oh, and do what I can to keep the place safe.

I like my work. I do a good job just because that is how I am wired. At the end of the day, I go home

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A New World

For me, the past two days have been an awakening. As if when the Mayan era ended, I did indeed step into a new reality.

Yesterday, I expressed it as being fucked by monastic teachings. Today, I describe it as leaving a world of spiritual make-believe in favor of a God reality right here and now. The words come for the Big Book of AA, page 130:
"Those of us who have spent much time in the world of spiritual make-believe have eventually seen the childishness of it. This dream has been replaced by a great sense of purpose, accompanied by a growing consciousness of the power of God in our lives....We have found nothing incompatible between a powerful spiritual experience and a life of sane and happy usefulness."

I have a ton of mental barriers associated with monasticism. The people who wear pretty clothes or eat meat are not evil and will not hurt me. The gruff old men sitting in AA meetings often have wisdom I don't have.

When I approach one of my barriers, I cannot at times go past it. The best I can do is keep my mouth shut and not refute what another person is saying. And at some point, I will act my way into the new way of living.

God is in charge and I just try to be useful and sober.

In an interesting way, everything that seems like a gift of AA also seems to originate from A Course in Miracles study. Today, I am on lessons 130/1:
"It is impossible to see two worlds.
Let me accept the strength God offers me
and see no value in this world
that I may find my freedom.
No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth.
I ask to see a different world and think a different kind of thought.
The thoughts I want to think are not my own
."

It means using not my ego eyes or thought system; and instead allowing the Holy Spirit to guide my thinking and using Christ vision to see.

This journey is self transcendence at its finest.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Four Days of On Call - Monday

I'm thinking it is God calling; not work.

Yesterday was a massive breakthrough day. The break through was finally able to admit that my monastic teachings are a corruption in my brain and I must re-wire if I expect to live happily "out here." The main problem is form over content. The content of the lay people I meet is as vital as the vowed religious. The form of the vowed religious is equally decorative as the form of the lay people.

When I left the monastery, it was with a commission: be a monk in the world. And I spent a good 9 years developing that. But I now realize it is killing me. I got it wrong. But I have also found environments to change that. In going back to AA, I re-claimed a spirituality separate from form. In AA, you can clearly see principle of A Course in Miracles at work for healing and uniting. The little gap is cleaned and God builds the bridge (text 28.III.2):


"2 No mind is sick until another mind agrees that they are separate. And thus it is their joint decision to be sick. If you withhold agreement and accept the part you play in making sickness real, the other mind cannot project its guilt without your aid in letting it perceive itself as separate and apart from you. Thus is the body not perceived as sick by both your minds from separate points of view. Uniting with a brother’s mind prevents the cause of sickness and perceived effects. Healing is the effect of minds that join, as sickness comes from minds that separate.
3 The miracle does nothing just because the minds are joined, and cannot separate. Yet in the dreaming has this been reversed, and separate minds are seen as bodies, which are separated and which cannot join. Do not allow your brother to be sick, for if he is, have you abandoned him to his own dream by sharing it with him. He has not seen the cause of sickness where it is, and you have overlooked the gap between you, where the sickness has been bred. Thus are you joined in sickness, to preserve the little gap unhealed, where sickness is kept carefully protected, cherished, and upheld by firm belief, lest God should come to bridge the little gap that leads to Him. Fight not His coming with illusions, for it is His coming that you want above all things that seem to glisten in the dream."


You don't know how hard it is to do something simple, like go to dinner, when everything in your brain is screaming against it. After the AA meeting where I blurted out my  revelation, I bought 2 pieces of carrot cake and ate them.

Of course, I didn't agree with some of the decadence of the religious order where I found myself. Of one thing I am glad to be free of: religious holidays in the convent. Oh Lord. Saturday would have been spent cleaning and decorating; while I wished for some free time to go running. Today would be spent cooking and  secretly decorating the chapel for Midnight Mass; while I secretly wished for time to go running. We'd gather in the chapel for Christmas lessons; and living out the contention over who got to sing them. Then we would be up til the wee hours doing Christmas Vigils and Midnight Mass and serving cookies to guests and then cleaning everything up. Tomorrow would be more liturgy, table setting and then a feast. I hated the feasts. They took too long, seemed decadent, required a ton of dishes; and I wanted to go running.

Nothing like clean rural Missouri air and hilly dirt roads to clear a nun's mind.

I have also corrupted some of A Course in Miracles. I hope to continue to correct my thinking with His help.

Lesson 127/8:
The world I see holds nothing that I want.
Escape from every law in which you now believe.
Allow His Voice to teach love's meaning to my open mind.
Love's meaning is my own and shared by God Himself.

Last week, I covered 76 miles and did 23 hours of workout, plus 3 strength sessions. Yesterday, I walked 15 miles. This gave my Achilles a little break. I have a race next this Saturday.

I am one of the 5% of people who don't participate in Christmas. Send your insults and guilt trips; I'm still not going to do it.

Today I am going to the park for a few miles. I have experimented with taping my toes but not cutting holes in the shoes. I still need to solve the issue of tearing up my toes before I can do more than 50 miles. My previous tape jobs have been hit and miss. At Ultracentric, it was a massive miss. So, back to the drawing boards. It doesn't help that I have 2 pairs of new shoes, men's size 10, when I think 11s are going to be my future.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Four Days of on Call - Saturday

There is no straightening out my life or this world. There is only happier dreams provided by the Holy Spirit with awakening.

My lesson today is: In quiet I receive God's Word today.

And so I went for a 17 miles jog/walk. And also a 3 mile treadmill jog.

Did I receive God's word? Yes. Unequivocally. I had a tiny moment in the afternoon when I glanced at lesson 126 (All that I give is given to myself.), and something grabbed my heart for a moment. I knew that the one thing I want is His presence in my mind. Nothing more.

I also went to an AA meeting this evening. I said, "Life is about conscious contact, not about getting what you want."

Friday, December 21, 2012

Four Days of On Call - 1

Process safety engineers have to be on-call? I guess so since I am for the whole of the holidays. It doesn't really matter. I don't participate in Christmas.

This morning, my meditation was from Lesson 121-123:
Forgiveness is perceiving light in others.
Sink into happiness. Smile on all.
I hold this joy consciously all day.
I thank my Father for His gifts to me.

And I thought of many people. Not just the annoying ones but the authority figures and the friends. All are the same. All ask to be seen in light. I could do this very easy. An advantage to the elliptical or the Nordic Track is that I can shut my eyes and ponder my lessons while riding them. I wholly realized that my Father's gifts were these people  I was thinking about in light.

Yesterday, the builder installed a brand new kitchen faucet as a warranty item, even though my warranty has run out. After I got to work today, I got a recognition award: GOLD level. That is on top of the silver I received earlier this week. The notice brought a dopamine reward experience: I felt good. But later, after I got the details of what for, I realized I wasn't special. Then the opposite of a dopamine reward cropped up.

Until you return to the idea that everything, I mean everything, comes from God. The recognition is a symbol. And also, a way for the universe to take care of me.

The awards are redeemable for cheap consumables or gift cards. I think I'll redeem mine for some hotel dollars.

I came home early today. I was here a couple of hours before I remembered Silence, and the gift of 4 days. Peace descended on me. I became drenched. I feel good.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lesson 109

I rest in God.
This thought will carry me thru storms to the certainty of God.
I let my mind be still and thankfully accept its healing.
I rescind my judgement on God.

These are the phrases I pondered while walking this morning. I realized that sometime during the day, someone would jangle my ego and I'd be upset. It occurred to me how I let this happen day after day. Today, I did enter conscious awareness when it happened, remembered my lesson and also asked the Holy Spirit for help.

When I take on the role of system administrator, I'm no longer anybody's friend. I'm not good at accepting people being upset at me for enforcing system rules.

Chapter 28: The miracle reminds me of a Cause forever present...The miracle comes quietly into the quiet mind.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Lesson 107

Truth  will correct all errors in my mind.
My Soul please be in my awareness now.
I will rest in you and let you lead.

If you happen to believe in God and Soul, then relying on them is absolute reliability.

I have to rely on the higher idea. When I don't, I'm screwed mentally. Either my dog is in the race or out. If its out, I'm relying on Soul. If its in, I'm relying on my small self; and therefore screwed.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Anti-Dopamine

This evening, I'm going to go against the grain of society and of my mental programming. This will produce an anti-dopamine experience: where the ego howls and viciously threatens me with the dire consequences of not-going-along. Yes, I am foregoing the fuzzy wuzzy feel goods of a dopamine reward cycle for the opposite. I live outside the pale and that where I want to stay.  As of today, I'm willing to stand in this truth.

But this is the only way that I'll be free of the ego thought prison.I fully believe that the universe supports my inner conviction and I will grow to spiritual freedom.

So, I ran 20 miles this morning. I ran 15.8 miles on the flat trails. Then I switched shoes and finished on the steep grassy mounds, getting a nice quad workout.

I spent the first 3 hours listening to a massive quantity of sirens. At first I thought there was some terrible wreck on the main highway. But after awhile, I realized it couldn't be that. Then I remembered, and took a picture of source of the noise:


Yep, Santa was riding around town on a firetruck.

Self Actualization

It is Saturday. I'm about to head out to the park for a few miles. But first, I was doing my spiritual studies and pondering A Course in Miracles. I am reading a book by Marianne Williamson on that topic and that is where the "self actualization" came from; as I need to clarify exactly what I want from the universe.

I've been in conflict my entire life about my career. It has always been just a job and source of money; not something I'm devoted to. Yet I work amongst people who give every appearance of being devoted to their work. I do hold up my end of the productive output at work but I do it just because I do, not because I love it. And the rest of my life has always been my interest: spiritual studies and endurance athlete.

So, I need time to live my life and I continually protect myself from time at work overtaking the daily training. This tension of time causes a mental conflict. This topic came up in a conversation with my boss this week who notices that I am always protecting my life from work. So now I am afraid of him. Today is the boss' Christmas party and I know I would only go in order to please him.

But as I pondered this tension in relation to A Course in Miracles, the thought struck me: either stand in your truth or continue to play games. How powerful. I don't think I'd lose my job over this because I am a productive team member.  Accepting average-ness at work is ok because the vast majority of the engineers stay at the level I'm at for decades and then retire.

But my line in the sand says something.

I need to choose a path: self actualize as an endurance athlete and ACIM scholar or self actualize as an engineer. I need to stand in my truth and give a clear answer to the universe about it. But I also need to ponder my truth more deeply. It certainly is not framed in form but content; and each day can deliver content regardless of form. What is it I really want?

The conundrum continues. I need to go running now.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Running at Texas Trails



I did order these 2 pictures.

Mental Peace

For me, and I think anyone in this world, the mind is always going on in fear and anger and hate against others and "the way things are". Worldly conflict seems real but it is all in my thoughts.

Some go to monasteries or ashrams. I one who has to find a mental technique which trains my mind towards inner peace. Such is A Course in Miracles.

Today's mental tool comes from Lesson 104:
Lay aside the conflicts of the world.
Clear a holy place within my mind.
God's gifts of joy and peace are all I want.
I seek but what belongs to me in truth.

My mental conflict consists of this (in relationship to the boss's christmas party): I hate parties, I hate being around alcohol, I hate being around food I don't want to eat, I get up early to train and I'm too tired to go out at night, I don't want to be rude when I leave after an hour, I'd only go to kiss the boss's axx, etc... And, I don't want other people poking insults at me because of my chosen life style.

But all of these thoughts are just in my mind. None of it is real. Going or not going doesn't matter. What matters is what I allow in my mind. So, I return my thoughts to the lesson, today's mental tool. And I calm down. I remember I am spirit. I ask the Holy Spirit for help.

This morning, I ran outside. I don't do that during the week since there is only concrete for a surface. But I did it today. It was a wonderful run. I got in the way of the paper thrower for a short stretch and had papers trown around me. I almost had a collision with a bicycle I didn't see. But, it was a joy to be outside running and training my mind with the Holy Spirit's help.

I am reading a ACIM related book by Marianne Williamson. It is a very easy read and gives me a place to lean.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Secret Dream

Chapter 27 of A Course in Miracles (excerpt):   "...The dreaming of the world is but a part of your own dream you gave away, and saw as if it were its start and ending, both. Yet was it started by your secret dream, which you do not perceive although it caused the part you see and do not doubt is real....A brother separated from yourself, an ancient enemy, a murderer who stalks you in the night and plots your death, yet plans that it be lingering and slow; of this you dream. Yet underneath this dream is yet another, in which you become the murderer, the secret enemy, the scavenger and the destroyer of your brother and the world alike. Here is the cause of suffering, the space between your little dreams and your reality. The little gap you do not even see, the birthplace of illusions and of fear, the time of terror and of ancient hate, the instant of disaster, all are here. Here is the cause of unreality....You are the dreamer of the world of dreams...Accept the dream He gave instead of yours..."

Gruesome eh?

Today, as I was running, I was pondering some phrases from this chapter. I spend time in solitude. Which means that my inner most thoughts come to my consciousness in stark visibility. A Course in Miracles explains that no one is guilty, but dreaming a dream of guilt. I hadn't seen it before, but this time, of numerous readings of the Text, I noticed that bit about the secret dream underneath the dream of the world. And as I ran, I felt the secret dream. The guilt was attacking me for not being perfect enough, or being afraid of what others think of me, or.....yadda yadda. I am always guilty in my world dream and in my secret dream.

So, in  A Course in Miracles, you bring this fear and guilt to the Holy Spirit Who "un-does" it. See, it never existed except in my dreams. And, the Holy Spirit can awaken me from my terror dreams to happy dreams to full awakening from dreams.

And you see, that leaves me with my belief and faith in such a thing as a Holy Spirit, or a Higher Power, or Something More than just my ego consciousness and the world I see.

How do I know there is a Holy Spirit? I have no proof. There is an explanation for this in A Course in Miracles. But right now today, I need help with guilt feelings for not being super woman, or "engaged with the guys at work woman". Over and over each day in this world, I feel guilty for some shortcoming. Every day I don't measure up. And I feel guilty and I fear what the others think.

In my solitude, I face this reality. My prayer goes to the Holy Spirit. My prayer is thoughts from this Course which negate the guilt and fear. And, yes, I forget the guilt and fear until the next time. This seems to be my life's work: practicing the Course over and over each day.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I Get It

Today, I jogged 12.3 miles on the treadmill. I was then supposed to go to work for the afternoon. But when I called, they said not to come. Yeah!

After a nap, I went over to Brummerhop Park and ran another 5.15 miles. I had the park to myself as I ran my 14 laps. It was a pleasant afternoon. It was there that I began to understand oneness. You know "that" oneness, the one all the enlightened people talk about. The We-are-one crowd. I guess I had a moment of clarity.

I have a life. But I also think there is a real thing which is Life Itself. Not that this is a consciousness such as I am, but a true thing. We share Life. Everything shares Life. In that sense, I get that we are one. I am Life, which is not my body. My body is a collection of thoughts which I, Life, thought. But, WTF, who cares? Does this mean anything? Well, it might if your goal is inner peace. It helps alot with looking beyond if you realize the other people are Life and collections of thoughts, but essentially nothing else. No need to get upset about it.

So then I went to an AA meeting. I got to sit next to a young man who has only 2 months of sobriety. I root for him on the inside. I'm always glad to see him there again this week.

After I got home, I jogged another 3 miles on the tm, bringing today's total to 20.5 miles. and I did my TRX upper body strength work and some crunches.

Turn Around Saturday

I have time this morning. I always have more time than most people, but today I have an additional period.

Today's spiritual thoughts from A Course in Miracles Ch 27:
Accept the dream He gave instead of yours.
Rest in the Holy Spirit. Hear His Voice.
Choose a happy wakening and the joy of life.
Dream your brother's loving kindnesses.

This part centers on the secret dream, underneath the illusion of reality.

I woke up this morning before the alarm and wondered why no one seems to know the Holy Spirit. But as I write this, I know that I do know; when I switch to my deeper non-ego consciousness. Giving up the ego thought system, I see my brother's innocence and kindness. My dream is much happier.

Well, I would say that since moving to Texas a year ago, my dream improved dramatically.

Today it is raining and I go to work later. So I think I'll work out on my ex-machines.

I mentioned yesterday about the spousal relationship to Jesus in the theology of the consecrated religious. But the explanation mentioned "...in the deepest level of one's reality, to be betrothed to Transcendence." Now this is the part I relate to. Somehow this betrothal surfaced into my conscious mind. I have pursued it from both an ego level and a spiritual level. Since before going to the monastery, in fact since my trip to Jerusalem when I was 22, my life has been seized by Christ and reordered. Since leaving the monastery, I have become counter-cultural in ways that affect my daily living to the smallest detail. I cannot go along with the degradation of the human person which our society seems to support. I just can't let go of this and put up with the friction it causes me.

I am speaking of Love who is the most important relationship I have.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Lectio Nights

In the monastery, during Advent, Friday nights were "lectio" nights: a night spent in silence in my cell with The Word as my companion.

Now I am in the world. I ponder silence.

From A Course in Miracles Chapter 27: "...An empty space that is not seen as filled, an unused interval of time not seen as spent and fully occupied, become a silent invitation to the truth to enter, and to make itself at home. No preparation can be made that would enhance the invitation’s real appeal. For what you leave as vacant God will fill, and where He is there must the truth abide....In quietness are all things answered, and is every problem quietly resolved..."

The first word of The Rule of Benedict is "Listen."

I need silence. In silence, I realize I am ok.

It is an unusual weekend for me. Our plant is in a massive shut down and contractors are there 24/7 making repairs. And there I am too. I caved to work demands. I realize I can't run 20 miles and then spend several hours climbing around an industrial complex. The industrial complex wins.

But I still have this precious Lectio night. I put in my ear plugs, jump on an exercise machine and think my divine thoughts.

I've been reading a book about the religious consecration as a spousal relationship. I sort of think the theology is BS as it is explained. But I do not negate the idea that some people prefer to be dedicated as "space for God" (as I quoted above). Consecrated religious or not, some of us ask God to occupy our consciousness'. This is my choice. This is my preferred way of life. I can't escape this reality; even if I live in the world.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Not A Bad Year

This year, I didn't run as many miles as last years, but I beat the number of hours spent on aerobics by a bunch. I'll end with more than 1,000 hours spent working out. Yes, the time is totally valuable to me. I pray alot on the elliptical or the nordic track.

So, I have one more race this year, a 50k in Houston. Starting last December, here is the race list:

La Porte half marathon.
Operation Jack half marathon
Brazos Bend half marathon
Piney Woods 10 miles
Baytown half marathon
Seabrook Lucky Trails, 2 half marathons in 2 days.
Angie's half marathon
Frisco 50k
3 Days at the Fair, 52 miles
Ottawa race weekend, half marathon
Copper Mountain half marathon
Flatlander's 50.6 miles in 12 hours
Roentgenlauf half marathon
Ultracentric, 54 miles
Texas Trails 20k (12.6 miles)

Crap thats alot of races! Only one DNS (did not start) because I went to St Louis instead of Salt Lake City that weekend.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Texas Trails 20k

Now that I've been in Houston for a year, I'm almost used to driving long distances. Texas is a big place.

Today, I ran a 20k in Huntsville State Park. Many trail races are held there and one of my goals for today was to find out how long it takes me to get there and how long does one lap around the lake take me.

I don't go too fast. The trails were easy, but with many roots. And not all roots can be seen. So if I have to trip and fall, slow speed is better. Luckily, I only had one trip today and didn't come close to falling.

Here are some pics:

The lake in early morning.

Me at the start.

Me at the aid station half way around.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Pursuit of Endless Miles

November was a good month, solid: 90+ hours of workout including 240+ miles. I did 100 sit-ups every day.


I don't know what I am doing tomorrow. It depends at this point on work. But, maybe a 20k, maybe a 50k. I got some new trail shoes recently and they need to be experimented with.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Universe

This morning, during my spiritual study, I had an amazing moment of clarity about why I get upset about who gets recognition and who doesn't. Or upset about anything. I totally knew what my thoughts are doing to me; and how ACIM forgiveness erases my upset. I completely understood that I can't get out of my own thoughts, but that something higher can help me. That I can in fact live in a world where that higher thing governs and not my fear, anger or hate.

A Course in Miracles text 26.X inspired:

The world is fair because the Holy Spirit
has brought injustice to the light within.
Giving and receiving are the same.
So hate is answered in the name of Love.
Forgiveness is the answer to attack of any kind.

The words "Holy Spirit", "light within", "name of Love", and forgiveness leap out at me as a course student. The fact that it is my own thoughts creating my unhappiness, hate, fear, etc. comes to mind. I'd rather have the presence of the Holy Spirit and God consciousness than my mental turmoil. But how to get rid of the turmoil? Practice mental discipline. Attack of any kind is noticed (I mean thought attacks) and I turn to the phrases. Automatically, attack dissapates and I remember I want the world not created by my attacks.

There is another world not created by my attack thoughts. I can live there. A Course in Miracles teaches me how. I have Help. I can have a happy day.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 - Results

I read 3 nun books this weekend. One nun realized that the Roman Catholic church is wrong about a number of things; but still thinks the Bible is true. Another left her order but never left the church; and realized that she didn't fit into life anywhere. Another book was just stories about various nuns in various orders. Since one of the stories was about someone I knew and several places I had visited, I could see that it was still a romanticized and pedestalized work of fiction.

I had a fantastic workout day yesterday. I'm itching to move from the 20k to the 50k at the race next Saturday. The HSE department at work is tremendously bust for the next 6 months as a massive turn around gets underway at our chempark.

So, something happened over my Thanksgiving retreat. I felt extreme happiness with myself. Last night as I finished the 3rd book I made an internal decision: I'm going to quit being a nun. That is, I've been out of the convent 9.5 years. Certain ideas and attitudes need to be forgotten as they aren't Truth to begin with.

I still won't eat meat. I'll still abstain from alcohol since it is poison.  I'll still be a Course in Miracles student. I'll still run my ass off. But I'm quitting certain other behaviors. I'll share as I go along.

This morning, I was up at my usual 3:19 to do spiritual study before working out. From ACIM 26.VII.17: Forgiveness is the answer to attack of any kind. So is attack deprived of its effects, and hate is answered in the name of love.

This is ACIM in a tweet. Forgiveness is looking beyond the illusion/delusion. Attack is all these thoughts against others, a sign of inner hate and fear. And remembering Love as the only reality or real existence, all problems are solved and fear ended. I can live by this and I need it to have a happy day.

As I said yesterday, "You create your own reality dummy." So project happy instead of fear and you've got it made.

That and a massive load of endorphins will get you what you want.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

a Breakthru of Sorts

Yesterday, I jogged for 17.5 miles with little walking. After my 54 miles trek last weekend, I found yesterday's run incredible. I am a person who does a 50 mile jog without much trouble and bounces right back.

I found my self insanely happy. I signed up for a 20k run next weekend.

Something about that 54 miles trek which ended at 2 am in frozen darkness was not a failure but a breakthru. Somehow, its not that I failed at 100 miles but that I am free of the need to go 100 miles. I'm incredibly pleased that 50 miles is the normal course of things. And my weekend of reading nun books had also set me free. This I can't really explain why. But I have heard the Spirit whisper.

My ACIM lesson this morning said: Spirit I am, a holy Son of God, free from all limits, safe and healed and whole, free to forgive, and free to save the world.

Also, during my reading, I had realized that looking beyond is the whole way out of the dread of this world.

This morning, I found that the joy was still conscious for me. I started out my run, planning a 10 mile jog. As I started running, I found myself thinking my usually litany of why I am different and against others, with impending doom related to work lurking above me. Within 0.3 miles it suddenly hit me: You create your own reality Dummy.

And suddenly I knew. I just need to stop projecting whatever. It has been given me to look beyond, I can see the face of Christ. Thats it.

Evidence: yesterday in an AA meeting here in the bible belt, Baptist mecca, a woman mentioned she was a Unitarian and atheists attended her church. Another mentioned the 4 Noble Truths. Ok, so A Course in Miracles should not bother these people.

This week: 65.6 miles, and 21 hours of cardio (includes jogging and cross training), and 5 strength workouts.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Worlding

Heidegger fans will recognize the concept. I was thinking about it in my solitude this morning. "The world" (society and its norms) have to subside before something else has space to grow. This is why I spend time alone and in quiet. But today, I thought of "world" as a verb. That is, to create your own reality, you need a dynamic concept; so world becomes "to world." Stagnation is the world. Creation is "to world."

Silence and solitude is not outcome based. It purpose is not to produce enlightenment or anything. Silence and solitude produces "is-ness;" from which a different basis of life can be found. The general pre-occupation of society with TV, food, position, money, fear and anger can dissipate in silence and solitude. Beliefs about who and what I am, or what is my usefulness can be adjusted based on an inner idea as opposed to outer peer pressure.

And so, I venture forth to the park again today. It is cold for the Texas coast. I am wearing long sleeves.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Hermitage - day 2

Other than the internet and nods to people in the park, I haven't spoken or interacted for 2 days. I didn't need anything at the store and that is usually where I interact on weekends. Or the AA meeting I've gone to a couple of times is on Saturday evening.

I entered a race. I bought some running shoes and RockTape and Doctor Krackers. I paid the corporate credit card bill. I posted on my internet running club.

I've so far worked out 10.6 hours including 2 strength sessions and 33 miles.

I finished one nun book and am halfway through another. One of the books had a chapter on a nun I actually know. She was nearly the most friendly of the sisters in my monastery; and the one whose advice I did not take on the eve of my crash and burn. If I had, I'd probably be dying behind those 4 walls. Instead, I was honest with myself and others. Hence, I find myself here.

My ACIM lesson is: I am one Self, united with my creator, at one with every aspect of creation, unlimited in power and in peace.

I said that lesson in my head while jogging. I also dream while I jog. I dream of endless miles and upcoming races.

My desire to be a nun was driven by a desire to engage in contemplation. This desire came from reading too much Merton and Zen (haha, what a combination). I wanted to shamelessly follow Jesus and live a life of prayer. I thought you had to leave the world of distractions.

I sit alone with my thoughts, sifting through both A Course in Miracles and other books. I sift through the endless miles and races. I feel the incredible responsibility I bear as a process safety engineer in a large chempark. Especially now as we enter a period of construction and then startup. Process Safety is always blamed for not catching the mistakes of others.

As I ran today, I felt good. I can't run 100 miles. But 50 miles is sort of a normal thing. 50 miles I take in stride.

In the world, this is holy:
But I am this:

I was setting up my personal aid station at the start of Ultracentric. The blue top I have on I got during my trip to Germany 3 weeks ago. Only 70 euros (a freakishly high number of dollars).

In A Course in Miracles, we all are holy and the point of the practice is to remember it. ACIM is about content not form. ACIM is undoing specialness. I can look like anything or do anything, and practice the thought training. Salvation is a state of mind.

Do you know how emotionally difficult it is to decline to go along with society at every turn? I don't expect a spiritual benefit or propose that I am closer to God than anyone. I'm not special. I propose that I need to undo society programming by not adding to what I already have and slowly undoing past programming.

In a few minutes, I am going upstairs to lift weights. Then I will come down and ride the nordic track for a bit. I just ate a favorite meal: melted cheese sandwich and coffee with peppermint mocha creamer.

I don't really need to go to the store tomorrow. We'll see if I talk to anyone. I know I'll nod at the people in the park.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

4 day weekend

For most folks it is Thanksgiving. For me, it is a 4 day weekend. And, I thank God that I do not have to participate in Thanksgiving. I love being off the hook. I remember various times in the past, in particular when I was in the monastery. I used to feel so guilty if I went for a jog instead of either cooking or decorating the tables. And we sat there waaaay too long. And there was an amazing mountain of dishes to be done after.

Speaking of the monastery, I gave in to my inner angst for this 4 day weekend. I ordered several "nun" books from Amazon and am having a nun-book-read-in this weekend. See I understand my personal quest for God. I understand that religious orders promise fulfillment of that quest if you become one of them. But I am one of the most unlikely-est people I can think of to spend 4 years in a Roman Catholic Benedictine semi-cloistered monastery with 60 elderly women. I got kicked out of the monastery, and the "false" promise of spiritual fulfillment. The training in monastic practices did significantly alter my life; and I use this to continue my quest in a much more efficient manner. I went in to the cloister and came out different. I am still unwaveringly on the spiritual quest. I am not Roman Catholic, but firmly a student of A Course in Miracles.

I need to go deeper into what this experience could have meant. So reading books about others should give me a broader perspective and give me the freedom to think about my own experience.

Otherwise, a 4 day weekend is for training. This morning I did a 10 mile jog. It was wonderful to be in the warmth of the Texas coast; but also foggy so a blanket of quiet was laid down on everything. Others were out jogging too. It was so peaceful.

I'll do a cross training workout this evening. And repeat for the next 3 days.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Mental Game - Ultracentric Learning

That's what ultra-running is for me. I learned something really significant this weekend at Ultracentric.

When I quit the race, it was because I thought I was going to die. That is, I thought that I couldn't get any nutrition due to the squirts, that the shivering was due to shock and that I was suffocating in my car. So my brain instructed me to do something about it. A cheap room at the Holiday Inn was all I could think of. And once I put my chip in the timing tent, and left the race site, my game was over. I know me.

But, the next day, I knew I could've gone back and walked some more. Today, I jogged 8 miles and did another hour of cross training plus some TRX upper body. Clearly, I didn't leave my soul or my heart on the race course.

So I figure that my brain kicked in to survival gear long before I was anywhere near dying. But since I live in my thoughts, I was powerless to go against survival gear. I could only obey it's command to find a warm room and also go home as soon as possible. I think that people who have crew are able to have the crew solve their problems, and tell them they are not going to die. But alone, you believe whatever is in your mind and act accordingly.

But even if I had a crew, I'm not sure I'll ever do 100 miles. I still am against tearing up my body/feet so bad that extended recovery is required. I like being able to workout again 2 days later. I'm all about the long term and the middle way. 50 miles is within my training envelope. I seem to be able to do it without too much trauma. I forget that 50 miles is still a hell of a long way.

So, despite my self knowledge, I know I'm not done dicking around with 24 hour events. And Thanksgiving weekend is nothing but a personal multi-day running experiment for me. I have no friends or family and disagree with the whole premise of national gluttony celebrations in a nation of fat people. I disagree with eating meat in general anyway. So I look forward to miles and cross training time and weight lifting. Don't forget the strength.

My next race is 12/29; and its in Houston. So 50 miles and home to my own bed!  Love it.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Holy Road - Ultracentric Report

Is it this?






Or this?


I've done both. The first one is of the chapel at The Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. A place where I spent several years. The second is the road at Ultracentric. Ultracentric is an ultra-marathon. this road is part of a 2 mile loop.

I'm not sure there is a difference between a nun and an ultra-runner. None is more special to God; as God gives salvation to all.

I just spent 15 hours and 54 miles on the Ultracentric road. I met several people. Many of the people are retired, but able to walk all day for several days. One gal had a broken arm but walked like crazy. One man had osteoporosis, but 50 years ago, he was an Olympic cyclist. Some were great runners who did run most of the time.

The park was near Dallas Fort Worth airport. As I watched the planes all day, it occurred to me that I was totally glad to not be waiting around there for a frigging airplane. But I also realized that I got the "no place like home" feeling whenever I came in for a late night landing from a business trip.

They had a wonderful tent kitchen on course making food for the racers. But it was meat centered. So no lunch for me. I realized that I am so outside the pale as a vegetarian and that I don't lead a food centered life any more. I'd gone through this same awkwardness at work on Friday as the department had lunch together; but I refused to eat the oil soaked pasta and ate my home-made salad. This not-part-of-the-society life is a friction. But I felt a new courage to be me. The non-food-centered life is part of my monastic legacy; or maybe just an ongoing loathing to sit and eat with people.

I did real well with my 4 mph pacing up through 32 miles, but then lost time as the temperatures fell, I put on more clothes and stopped jogging and only walked. I had said my goal was 100 miles so I was being conservative on speed. I was determined to keep walking no matter what.

After 13.5 hours, I looked at my counter and saw that I had been 50 miles. It was dark and cold, few lights in the park. A lady was behind me. I slowed and mentioned that I had just passed 50 miles and that no matter how long it took me, I had done the deed. She had been there a day longer than me and had 130 miles. She was a Chech ex-pat who lived in Las Vegas and was a dealer. She walked with me for more than a lap. She wanted company to stay awake. Her goal was 200 miles but she knew she wasn't going to make it. So we talked. My voice becoming more and more ragged in the cold air (34F).  I discussed my qualms about the long road ahead. I had learned about myself as the day wore on. As the 40 mile mark passed I admitted that I don't really want to tear up my body any more than what is required for 50 miles. I don't like that idea because it might mean that I am out of commission for a couple of weeks. That happened the one time I made it to 80 miles. Nearing the middle of a cold dark night in Dallas, I became concerned about walking just long enough to extricate myself from the situation; going home as soon as possible.

When my dealer friend stopped for a bio-break, I went on by myself. I was feeling ok it seemed, except for 2 bouts with the squirts. It was nearing mid-night. I stopped at my car to eat and think about what to do. Round 3 of the squirts demanded an outlet, luckily my car was close to some really good restrooms. As I walked out, I felt totally weak and uncoordinated: bonked hard.

So I crawled into the car where there was an air mattress and a warm sleeping bag. Well problem A; the sleeping bag fits the Prius good, but I don't. So I couldn't lay flat. Hell of a time to find that out. After 50 miles it is futile to think my body is going to be comfortable on either side. And I was shivering uncontrollably; I guess I was colder than I had realized. Was I going into shock? After awhile, I began to wonder if I was using up all the oxygen in my air tight Prius. But I couldn't open a window without getting up and going around to the drivers side, then all the noise outside would be too great. I had to do something different. I had the number for the Holiday Inn on the top of my BB call log. I called them to see if they had any vacancies. They did and at 2 am, they offered me a fantastic rate.

Suddenly my race was over. Self preservation won. 10 min later, all my stuff was thrown in the car and I was on the road. By 2:30, I was in the hotel lobby and talking with the very friendly clerk who I had met the night before when I stayed there.

I showered. Drank my soy milk and swallowed some spirulina and read my book. Then, I turned off the lights and did go to sleep. At that point, except for a destroyed toe nail, my body didn't seem too bad. I woke up at 8 am and could have gone back to the race course and walked some more. I could have at least gone to get my participants medal. But I couldn't shake the idea that that was stupid. Why go continue to walk around on sore feet. My plantar tendon was the greatest vote. And I didn't go ask for my medal since I didn't want to explain to anyone why I was quitting when people in much more pain continued on.

So, I had a non-stop trip to Houston; and with no commuter traffic, I was home in 4 hours.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ultracentric - On the Road

This is how my car looked as I got ready to come to work today. See the blue air mattress and how handily it fits in a Prius?



I had a dream last night. I ran one 2 mile lap of the course and then stopped. It was a beautiful course. I couldn't remember why I stopped because there didn't seem to be anything wrong with me. So I started to worry about what excuse I would use to tell others why I didn't finish the race.

Very metaphysical!

I am letting go. I don't control what time I get done with work today or the traffic getting out of Houston. So, let the adventure unfold. Whatever happens, happens. The Holy Spirit is in charge.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ultracentric Prelude

I have several things on my mind related to this race. But the first one is: how traffic will there be getting out of Houston at 4:30 tomorrow. Normally, I'd cut work, but as of now, I can't. I'll feel much better after I get off the Hardy Toll Road and onto I45 heading north.

I've been shuffling my things around the house; some for this bag, some for that bag, some in the car, some for the cooler. I've been making final adjustments to the shoes. The air mattress fits perfectly in the Prius.

But, why? I've failed 3 times at 100 mile attempts. Either I'm just in too much pain; or I lose heart.

I started doing ultra-marathons as part of my Self Transcendence project. I don't think I've ever been far enough or long enough to transcend anything. But I still do the long distance running.

I think alot about my quest for enlightenment, or Self Transcendence. I think about my convent life and how it never could have worked. The "Grand Silence" I practice every night at home and all weekend long is more than the convent had. My long distance running is a Grand Silence.

So, back to the 100 mile question. I guess I won't know what the prize is until I obtain it. Certainly, what it means to me is not what it means to others. I've read lots of race reports. I don't think I want what they have.

It is now Wednesday evening. I've played with this blog several times today. But the answer finally hit me: its whats on the race shirt I got in Colorado last summer.


See, my Colorado training vacation was almost ruined since my left foot was killing me. But I saw this on the back of the race shirt and started crying. I realized that despite my decrepit body, I was out there completing a half marathon, even if I got last place.

I'll toe the line at Ultracentric but after that, I don't want to measure myself in comparative numbers but in heart. If I throw my heart over the bar, thats all I want.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

It's Hard....

.... to blog when your mind is quiet.

Today, Sunday, I went for a easy 14.3 miles in Seabrook. It was a final check on my shoes for long distance comfort. I needed to see if I got my customization completely comfortable. It went astoundingly well.

I spent the run with the following phrases from ACIM Lesson 76: "I am under no laws but God's." Hold your mind in silent readiness to hear the Voice which speaks of the truth of Love.

So, if you have a truly quiet mind, there can't be much to say. In worldly terms, it is not a life. I accept this emptiness and just wait. I get up each day and do what must be done and go to bed with the same amount of nothing I woke up with.

Do interesting things happen? Yes. Are the interesting things over and then I move on? Yes. Excitement seems to not stick with me. I have nothing most of the time.

That said....

I am getting ready for Ultracentric in Dallas next weekend. I am signed up for 48 hours, but this is just because I can't finish 100 miles in 24 hours (the next lower race). I have not obtained more than 86 miles in any one race. So this is an attempt at an unknown. Can I keep walking long enough to go 100 miles? Or at what point will the pain win? There will be pain.

Year to date:


Today is my anniversary of my migration to Texas.

My life has been through many phases. Born and raised in Berkeley California. College at the University of California. Moving to Missouri and working in various places. The years in AA. The years riding Harley's. The years in the convent. The years in a small town in Kansas. And now, Texas.

At this point, silence returns. A Course in Miracles is my chosen theosophy, but it urges silence. Space and time must be given to silence. Silence returns silence.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Desperately Searching....

.....for a hill.

I live in a totally flat area. No hills for 60 miles. So today, I bit the bullet and started training on tall grassy mounds. Up down around, up down around, etc. Well, the quads do get some work that way.


The tallest mound there is about 20 feet, surrounded by long 5 foot mounds. So, there. I did it for a little while today.

The whole time, I was thinking about a guy I met a Silverton 1000 in 2011. His name is Ed Ettinghausen. You can Google him and find out that he holds a record for running 135 marathons in one year. What I most remember about him at Silverton is that he seemed to be barely moving. Yet, when I checked the results later, I saw that barely moving adds up after awhile. I was impressed. I want to be like Ed. See, my knees/heels aren't pain free and won't be in this lifetime. But, I can go forward slowly. What I lack is the mental stick-to-it-ive-ness. Yes, I have tons of perseverance, but it usually fades before the end of my physical resources.

So I have some racing challenges in my future where my mental game will get a total workout.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Re-group

Last night, in the Charlotte airport on my way home from Germany, I saw a young female sailor in her whites with a big back pack and carrying her cap. I felt a slight swelling of tears. That was my wish a long time ago: to be in the military. I stood at the recruiting table in college and yearned; but back then, women didn't get to do anything interesting. I wanted the uniform and the way of life. I couldn't have it.

The same thing happened when I stood at the doors of The Church. I realized that within those doors was a mysterious religion governed by men. I couldn't go in. I went and became an Episcopalian. I eventually breached The Church and even entered a convent and went to school at a seminary. But in the final analysis when I decided to walk away, the all male hierarchy was something I couldn't devote my life to.

The customs agent was making small talk with me as she checked my passport last night. She wanted to know what I did. I proudly said I was an engineer. She seemed to perk up and wanted to know what kind. I even more proudly said I was a Process Safety Engineer.

So, I got home without any problems last night. I slept ok but got up at 6 am. I have been drinking tea and reading A Course in Miracles Text: The laws of chaos, chapter 23.II. I am doing laundry and I am dressed in running clothes. I reflect on my life as it continues on. I realize that Germany was good for my career, but not a dopamine reward experience. And then a breakthrough thought....

My convent life was really about leaving the world physically. A Course in Miracles is about leaving the world in your mind; because you learn it is an illusion. So, I have been on an intentional journey away from dopamine rewards (ego) and the result is that the world means nothing. Again I decide today that only God consciousness means anything to me today.

And so a person gets out of bed in the morning. I look forward to a practice of God consciousness and the ACIM practice of looking beyond. And whatever else, training or working, is not the focus. The focus can only be God.

The young woman in the sailor suit? I hope she gets her dreams. and I know that my dreams were yearning for Something. I now define Something as God consciousness. God is all I want.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Reflections on Germany

I am in the Charlotte airport on my way home from a 10 day business trip to Germany; home base of the company I work for.

I can't frame this experience at all really. I used to have definitive points to assess about sizable events in my life or seeming milestones. But I don't find any big rocks for this trip.

In terms of A Course in Miracles, this lack of emphasis could be the right thing. It means that my life is not hanging on ego or dopamine reward experiences.

I'll list my musings:
My talk before the large group went very well and many guys said I did good; even the next day. What I remember is that Mr VP who introduced me also took credit for me as formerly of his group; and I got an ovation on my way to the podium (most only got the final ovation).

I had written "Be Awesome" on my hand. Later, I e-mailed my picture to my boss in Houston. She said I was awesome.



I felt gratified that I got up early and went in a race on Sunday. Not that I did well, but that I got out of my  easy rut and challenged myself to drive to a strange place and go through all the normal things done at races, only in German.



The fact of meeting important people and flying around first class hasn't gone to my head. In fact, I did remind myself of something from the Rule of Benedict: I am a worm and no woman. Staying small headed is how I go through a day with a good deal more joy than if I got too big.

I went to a group banquet. It lasted 5 hours and the wine was flowing freely. I didn't drink. I don't often mention that I am a sober person. In fact, I haven't been to AA or even spent any time thinking about sobriety in years. But, during the banquet, during a quiet moment in the ladies room, I thanked God that I was sober. See as a drunk, I'm sure I would have somehow embarrassed myself and felt terrible shame. As it is, nothing happened. What didn't happen was I didn't become a drunk with a big head and mouth.

I ran almost every day in Germany. I completed 100 Yurek Crunches all the days but one. I did my spiritual study every day.

So all these musings lead me to wish I had some thread of learning. But I just live my life each day. None of these events throw it out of balance. I have no huge mental fantasy regarding my glorious future in my company. Actually, I just hope for a good trip to Ultracentric in 2 weeks.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Germany Pictures Saturday

Today I went early for a run. The first picture here is of the Rhine. Then a picture of the path where I ran all week, only now it is in sunlight.

Then I went with colleagues for a late lunch in Coblenz and to a nearby castle.







Sunday, October 21, 2012

October Update

Its been an awesome week of running for me. I don't quite know how this happened: 70 miles, 22+ total hours includes cross training and each day I got 100 sit-ups done.

So far year to date:

Off on business travels for the rest of the month. Running a half marathon in Germany:

Looks pretty cool eh?

Friday, October 19, 2012

3 of 4 Nuns...

...morbidly obese.


I used to hate this when I was a nun. I hated it double bad when the monks next door called and offered to let us pick apples from their damn trees. So not only did I have to pick the horrid apples but also peel and cut them up. All for what? Pie?

And I gave up an afternoon 5k for this?

I didn't fit there. True.

Today I jogged for 4 hours around Meador Park and Pine Gully:


I somewhat intentionally run past this place. I come out of the tall swamp grass and get hit with breeze off Galveston Bay. I really like it and I like the view from here.

I have 2 more days of running before hopping on a plane for Germany. I'll have some walking in Germany and I am going in a half marathon next Sunday. But mainly it will be an enforced rest from so much training. I'll come back just 2 weeks before Ultracentric 48 hour race; hopefully well rested.

I am not morbidly obese:


This is me at last year's Seabrook Race Weekend. I'm entered again for 2013.

My work is not picking apples or mopping floors as it was in the convent. I am actually at the peak of my career. I've been at the Baytown plant almost a year and find myself highly respected. My services as a Process Safety Engineer are highly valued; and managers from parts of the plant I'm not assigned to are asking if I can help them. In Germany, I'll be giving a presentation. Little ol' ex-nun me? Yup.

The Catholic Church has declared a "Year of Faith." Like, why does such a thing NEED to be proclaimed except the flock doesn't have any faith? But because of that, there is a web page that offers a daily e-mail with part of the Catechism, such that the whole thing is read in a year. I signed up for it. I am so far astounded at the matter of fact verbiage: God said this and did this and nothing else will ever be true.

Now we know this lengthy tomb, The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, was written by the Church hierarchy (a group of celibate priests who probably never cried out "Oh God" during an orgasm). It is unbelievable to me, several years after leaving the Church, that such matter of fact statements can be made.

My God is much bigger than that.

After I found out I was kicked out of the monastery, I had 3 days to find a place to live, pack up and get out. I went to the monastery to know God. My most intimate encounter came as I was being kicked out. The experience of God-Consciousness has never left me; although I was afraid that being deprived of being an official spouse of Christ would leave me out. Jesus Himself is more real to me now. I made vows to God privately in my last days before I was supposed to make monastic profession. I knew they were real. I just didn't know what I was asking for when I said "Yes, whatever...."



Monday, October 15, 2012

Entitlement

I used to have a lot to say on this blog. But since moving to Texas, I have less to say. This seems to me because I don't need to promote anything about myself. That is, I seem to have gotten over my need for approval from any church or monastic order. I know my spiritual program works for me; but that most people wouldn't agree that it is a valid theology. So, I seem to have forgotten my soap box about spirituality or contemplation. Doesn't mean that God is not constantly on my mind.

Why is Mitt Romney a candidate for president? Well, I saw a picture of him for the first time today (ummm....yeah I don't watch tv). IMO, he's just another pretty face. Bet Barak has a nicer ass. But, I'm not registered to vote and don't vote.

1% has the money and the tax loopholes. 47% are victims. I'm part of everyone else who actually pays the taxes. Anytime the government wants money, they come to us. Doesn't matter who exactly is elected.

I saw a picture of nuns from my former convent sitting around talking about the Church's "Year of the Spirit." Really? Someone needs to make such a proclamation? What about every year? But, mostly as I looked at the picture, I realized how much I don't belong locked in a monastic life. No I really don't want to ever be in another encounter group.

It has been several years since I had a deep meaningful conversation with anyone. If something comes up in my life, I just think about it and then decide. I don't ask advice or opinions. I discuss work issues with colleagues, but that is about it.

 I have a sense of entitlement. I am entitled to at least 50 miles and 20 hours of exercise a week. I just had a 4 day weekend. My Seabrook training camp included 76 miles plus 3 hours of non-running cross training plus 100 sit-ups a day and 2 other strength sessions. Whew, I was tired.

But I still got up at 3:15 this morning, did my hour of spiritual work and the 75 minutes of cross training before getting to work at 6:30.

 I really really liked the 50 mile race I did on September 1st. It caused me to consider that perhaps I am an ultra-sprinter since I really don't see the point of destroying my body as a 100 mile run does. That said, I am signed up for Ultracentric for 48 hours in the hopes of trying to get 100 miles.

I signed up for a 50 mile race next year (and bought the airplane tickets to get there):

This weekend, when I was working out, I kept meditating on this (from Chapter 21 of ACIM):
Happiness is constant, unshakeable.
If I want it because it is the thruth
that God constantly loves His Son.

As I meditated, I conceded that there'd have to be a God. Also, we are His Son and He loves us. Anything else is not real.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Amazing

Today was amazing: I did actual jogging for 4 hours, before dropping to the jog/walk I've been using for several months. My left heel was not in pain. It was"cool" for the first time in months too. Temps in the 60s and 70s are so much easier than 80s and 90s.

I had a massive week of training: almost 60 miles and 23 hours. I did at least 100 sit-ups every day. 3 strength sessions.

Today as I ran, I thought this, "I moved to Texas 11 months ago. Maybe I've finally got through all the problems and can go back to running." Moving to a completely new place is not easy. But maybe, things are calming down.

I was just looking at the web page of the convent I used to be in. They had yet another picture of old ladies sitting around the tables in the dining room. I can honestly say I am glad I am not spending my life like that. In contrast, not only am I an ultra-marathoner, but I spend my days in a highly hazardous chemical manufacturing facility making sure it stays safe. And I get to practice spirituality in ways effective for me; and not supporting "The Church."

Chapter 21.II

A Course in Miracles text: "say only this, but mean it

I am responsible for what I see.
I choose the feelings I experience and I decide
   upon the goal I would achieve.
And everything that seems to happen to me
   I ask for, and receive as I have asked."

Pretty bold. Pretty awesome. Do you see why an ego would fight this? The ego is the source of irresponsibility, not wanting you to know the world it the ego's delusion.

I thought about Steven Covey and his books about leaving a legacy. The message was that good people do good and leave a legacy. Slackers just live and die, no one remembering them. By his definition, I am a slacker. I will die and be forgotten. See how an ego would hate this?

So as I head out for my weekend miles, I realize it is purely for me. When I decide to go in a race, it is purely for me. All my spiritual work is first for me and my peace of mind. Perhaps spirituality has worldly implications, since if I quit projecting then the thorns of the crown of Christ are removed everywhere. But all this is in the Spirit's hands.

It is cold outside (for Texas) 55F with a bit of wind. No worries about heat for me today. So out I go for my walk.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Un-Special

You know who you are: quietly successful. So quiet, know one knows you are successful. Those others creating drama of either the positive or negative type are causing your success. You can resent them or be grateful; even as you try not to stab them in the back.

That is my fear at the moment. One colleague cannot learn new things, so I am covering for him and helping him. Another colleague is pregnant and no longer allowed into the plant where we work, so I am covering for her and helping her. All of this competence and reliability I have seems to be swelling my ego something fierce. I can hear it up there preening, thinking of quips and quibs which will quietly undermine these two people.

Several weeks ago, a small lump in my breast lead me to believe I might have cancer. Upon medical investigation, I find: no such luck. Then, last week, a strange situation related to menopause lead me to believe I might need major uterine surgery. Upon medical investigation: no such luck. Why do a use the term "luck"? Because I think medical issues are the way for the ego to enhance its throne. Mine tried valiantly, but lost.

Why do I say "lost"? Because I believe my health is due to my spiritual activities. A Course in Miracles student would know what the text says about health. Course students also know about specialness and littleness; as opposed to looking-beyond and magnificence.

I read blogs by guys who don't believe in God, and those who are Christians and those who are ultrarunners. Despite convincing arguments, I find that I must give credit to unadulterated Spirit for my joy.

If I wasn't seeking un-specialness, I suppose I'd let my ego propagandize its way to the top. Instead I do the work and stay away from important people as much as possible. I have a "real relationship" which I want alot more than specialness. So, things that are defined as winning in this world are things I don't seek. I let the Spirit lead the way. If something seems unfair, it is the ego's point of view, not the Spirit's point of view. I find peace if I seek the Spirit's point of view. The Spirit's point of view is call Christ Vision in the ACIM text.

The Holy Spirit's vision is no idle gift. Love based thinking is what I really want.

Today I spent 5 hours jog/walking. I'm about to go spend an hour walking uphill on my treadmill. I'll do it again tomorrow. I have a 4 day weekend next weekend, I'll spend as much time as I mentally can walking.

Haha, then this unspecial person is off to Germany to give a presentation. Sucks eh?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Very Sweet Weekend of Training

I'm not sure I can believe this, but I guess it is so. Between Friday night and Sunday morning, I've covered 40 miles plus 2 hours of other cross-training; over 12 hours.

That is fantastic. So, I got 260 miles this month and 96 hours; the best this year. I even had to reformat my graph to fit the 260 miles on it:


I'm not very fast, but I get the miles and time in. Well, my next race is a half marathon in Germany and then Ultracentric in Dallas. I spend my time thinking about Ultracentric. I'm signed up for 48 hours, but won't even get to Dallas until 8 or 9 hours after the race starts (work issue). I just hope to make the most of the time I have there.

It is a strange life I live: work all week with about 2 hours of training per day. Spent all weekend alone either running, eating or laying on the bed. This style has been going on for several years. I could say its for racing, but it goes on regardless.

In two weeks, I've scheduled a 4 day weekend. It will be good to do this just before going to Germany (where there won't be much more than short morning walks). My trip to Germany is for work, not fun.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Perfect Day

I got up when the alarm went off. I knew it was supposed to rain today but I got up anyway. Looking at the radar, it did look like a massive yellow spot was about to spend the day over me. So I drank more coffee and worked on my spiritual program. I came up with this bit of phrases for today.


I have the vision now to look beyond.
It has been given me to see no thorns.
The Holy Spirit's vision is not an idle gift.
My vision has become my greatest power for undoing.


I wrote this on a slip of paper and taped it to the treadmill. I then put 90 minutes in on said treadmill. Then I put in 30 minutes on the ex-bike. Then another 90 minutes on the treadmill. This turns out to be a much bigger calorie expenditure than if I had gone outside. The treadmill is a perpetual up hill. When I walk, I make it pretty steep. When I jog, its faster than if I was outside because it is "softer."

Then I had salad and an open face melted cheese sandwich. Then some reading and a nap. Then coffee, peanut butter and dried pineapple. Then..... time for A Prairie Home Companion. So I jumped on the elliptic for 45 minutes and then the nordic track for 45 minutes.

So, 5 hours of exercise on a Saturday is just about right.

There is one day left in the month, but I already have my biggest mileage month year to date by one mile and only lack 45 minutes to get my biggest hours of exercise month.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Excellent Week

Wow! I did great this week: almost 21 hours of aerobic workouts plus 3 strength workouts, including 51 miles. Today was especially super as I enjoyed 4 hours of Texas sun; and my heel wasn't hurting. With one more week to the month, I am over 200 miles and 70 hours.

But the whole time, I kept experiencing my new mental freedom: life is easy. What I mean is that in giving up the dark companions in my mind, I live in freedom. I give up my mental prison which consists of being annoyed with everyone for overlooking and ignoring my ego's ambitions and capricious wants.

Yes I am an avid Course in Miracles student. This is where I learned to set my mind free.

This month so far:


Again

I have been in Texas a little over 10 months. Just today (Saturday) I realized: my past is over. There may be people in Missouri, Kansas or California who remember me. I work for the same company as when I was last in Kansas City. But I am here now. I am in Texas.

I am not plagued with the quest for enlightenment which drove me both into the convent and out of it; and drove the first 8 years of post monastic life. Enlightenment as a quest is part of the mental programming I somehow received.

Here is Texas, I am free to decide "whatever." I don't have to seek God.

This morning (Saturday) I had an unusual thought: start the day from a projection of what I want; not a material want but a way of being.

So it is Sunday morning and I am about to head out for my usual long distance walk. I'll use trees today as I slept in and it is hot outside.

But I had a genuine moment of clarity. Life is easy. It is only hard if you see it that way. I have a picture of a chemical plant on this blog for a reason. I like it there. I like my colleagues. I accept a successful career, fitness endeavor, economic outlook. None of this has to be corrupted with religious teachings or even the idea that the other people are bad.

And so, if I accept success, I don't have anything to preach about or a soap box to stand on. And so I am free. Free to do miles. Free to be alive.

I am just a girl with a blog. Nothing special.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Are you a sucker?

If so, then you probably would click yes to this:


Monday Go Again

From Sunday 9/16:

To allow myself to be afloat in a sea of nothingness; no moorings to anything of the ego. In the emptiness of this morning, I "almost" felt my true self. that is, I felt a moment of that something which is not my ego; something which had no agenda.

And now it is Monday:

See, weekends are hermit weekends. Yesterday, I did not even go outside. This time of introspection coupled with Course in Miracles study helped me to see how much I fight every thing and every one; at least in my mind. In person, I'm seen as helpful friendly and competent. Inside my head, it is fight fight fight. Fight food, fight exercise, fight my body, fight society, etc.

But, when I remember to stop and let it go, things are ok.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wonderful Terrible

Saturday evening: the new season of A Prairie Home Companion is on. Ira Glass and the Sisters are guests.

I continued my weekend workouts: 3 hours this morning. TRX, core and cross training (60 plus min, not done yet) this evening.

The brochure for the open enrollment for the company I work for came in the mail today. I reminded me that I work for a great company. I wish I could mention it by name, but I don't want to trigger its auto search. But, it is fabulous.

In A Course in Miracles, I am on chapter 17 in the text and this lesson: God is in everything I see because God is in my mind. But eyes have nothing to do with seeing. It is about vision.  

Clearly I am happy this evening. I can point to all these things in the material world. But none of these are new. I guess it is possible to just allow happiness for no material world reason; in fact not corrupting happiness with anything from this world.

Thursday, September 13, 2012