Monday, December 29, 2014

Snowdrop T-10.5 hours

On March 26th, 2014, I signed up for a 55 Hour Race. Back up a little. On November 4, 2014, I regained the use of my left foot after surgery. In March, while I was doing well with rehabilitation, I was still fiddling with insoles every time I put on shoes. What made me think I could walk 100 miles?

Even with good feet, 100 miles is difficult.

Now, my feet feel good. Tomorrow I toe the line. Some of my stuff is already at the race site. More of it goes in the car in the morning. An hour drive to the race.

In 2 weeks, I'll be 56. I finished menopause this year; and it left me with a different body. 10 days ago, I came down with bronchitis. But that is gone now. I feel good.

It will be cold and wet. But 50+ other people will be trudging around the course with me.

I've not yet succeeded with 100 miles in one race.

I better go upstairs and finish packing.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Snowdrop T- 1.5 and counting

Tomorrow is packet pickup. Tuesday 7 am is the start.

Today I did a 6.6 mile jog walk in El Lago. It was a good chance to practice wearing a rain suit. I realized that I'll have to save the impermeable rain suits for the real downpours on New Years Day. For cold and wind, I'll use Gortex and my Texas wind proof jacket. Layers and fleece underneath. Head swathed in hat and buff. I'll have the down parkas for really cold times. I have adequate gloves.

But you know, it is illogical and nonsensical to spend 30 hours over 3 days walking around a dirt path just for a belt buckle; or to say I ran 100 miles. So why do this?

It is a mental exercise. It requires me to hone my patience and perseverance. How do I keep going when my brain is insisting I stop. And my brain is right. Keeping going doesn't matter. Except in a non-physical sense.

Very few get the point of this. I'm not sure I do, except I keep doing it. Most friends I know say this doesn't make sense. They are right, it doesn't. The results are only in my mind.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Snowdrop T minus 2 days and counting

It is Saturday eve. Tuesday morning I plan to toe the line at a 55 hour endurance event. In my house, piles of clothes and food have begun appearing. A couple of things are already in the car. I got my hair cut today. Monday, I pick up my packet, get my toes taped and put my gear in the bunk house.

I don't think I have felt so good in my legs for a long time. Thanks to bronchitis this week, I've been resting. But even when sick, I went for some long walks. The fresh air of a walk seemed to help me feel better. The drugs the PA gave me for my cough seem to have prevented the weeks of coughing I see many others have.

But still, walking/jogging 100 miles is alot. I don't really know if I can. Things can just go wrong. My brain is my worst enemy. This time, I got a hotel near the race so I can go regroup; but not quit all together. This race is on a cold windy course. I have all my winter clothes from when I used to live in Missouri ready to pack. Including a down parka.

Patience. Patience. Patience. Just quietly keep walking.

btw: like the ship channel skyline? I just put that picture on top of this blog today. Needless to say, I love chemicals and making them is my profession.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

December 25

I got a nice jog this morning. Beautiful Texas. Here is a web cam shot of Galveston Bay, from near where I live, at this moment:

I am a single person without a family. I don't participate in Christmas. On an ethical and philosophical basis, I disagree with Christmas in America. But Christmas is all around me so it is also in my mind. Since directly thinking about Christmas produces negativity, I must revert to spiritual practice, spiritual mind treatment.

At this point, I am quite able to kneel at the alter of lights within and become silent. My discursive thinking ceases as I gaze at the light.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve 2014

On Monday my mission to attain antibiotics was successful. Now, Wednesday, wow, I feel soooooo much better. Even the coughing seems way better.

So I took myself off for a "Runny Nose Run." Yuppers! Load a fanny pack with tissues, pick a beautiful trail well stocked with garbage cans and off I go. I picked the trail from the gazebo to Pine Gully and back. I ran it twice for 5.5 miles/ 6 tissues. Good thing to get my head and lungs shaken up and instilled with fresh air. Now, 3 hours later, the coughing still seems better.

Since I have been sick and staying away from people, I've been reading my spiritual books. One by Emmet Fox and one by Maggie Ross. I am astounded how spiritual truths are true and can be found in legitimate spiritual writings. Maggie Ross's book in particular has helped me to a new understanding of what is variously called: deep mind, the master (Gilchrist), right hemisphere, Self, and many more. I call mine soul; regardless of various other definitions for that word.

I stand and say "Thank You" to this higher power and this intuitive mind which seems so active for me. That is, I have enough silence in my life and my prayers for intuitive thoughts are answered and heard.

My gift to anyone is my Course in Miracles workbook lesson for today:

The stillness of the peace of God is mine.
1 Perhaps we are now ready for a day of undisturbed tranquility. If this is not yet feasible, we are content and even more than satisfied to learn how such a day can be achieved. If we give way to a disturbance, let us learn how to dismiss it and return to peace. We need but tell our minds, with certainty, “The stillness of the peace of God is mine,” and nothing can intrude upon the peace that God Himself has given to His Son.

2 Father, Your peace is mine. What need have I to fear that anything can rob me of what You would have me keep? I cannot lose Your gifts to me. And so the peace You gave Your Son is with me still, in quietness and in my own eternal love for You.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cough Gag

Next Tuesday at 7 am, I will be toeing the start line of a 55 hour endurance event.

What was I doing yesterday? Sitting in the Minute Clinic talking the PA out of antibiotics for bronchitis. Score! I also got a note to stay off work.

Only an ultra runner would think they could have bronchitis one week and walk 100 miles the next. But yes, I think I can.

The sore throat did go away overnight so I know I did the right thing. Being sick for longer wouldn't have helped in any aspect of my life. And the other people at work didn't want me there contaminating them anyway.

US health care is tragic. Dufus doctors charging high prices for 30 seconds of time. How on earth would I even find a doctor I liked and trusted? You can't get a bio on someone when you look through the insurance company web site. Speaking of which: insurance companies are parasitic money sucking killers.

So I find the Minute Clinic a refreshing alternative. For some little problem, a PA is perfectly fine to write me a proscription. The prices are reasonable. The locations are easy. The red tape is minimal. Until yesterday, I didn't even know the Minute Clinic could do these easy things. I'm sold.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Out of Egypt

Anyone who knows me or reads this blog, knows I used to live in a Benedictine monastery. I was there for almost 4 years, then suddenly pushed out the day before I was supposed to make my vows. This part of my past is continually on my mind. Why did this happen? Why did I go there in the first place? What was I wanting at a deep level?

I wanted contemplation. Check. Mission accomplished. I learned alot about silence, solitude, spiritual reading, listening.

I wanted to validate my life with religious profession. Nope. Not accomplished. And my ego has been bitter about this ever since. Daily I compare myself to the nuns and try to make me look better.

Recently, I was reading my journal from 2003, the year I got kicked out. I got kicked out in August, so there is a good deal of before and after writing. Clearly I was hugely depressed before getting kicked out. Lets call this mental torment "Egypt." For the years since leaving the convent, my mental state has had periods of difficulty; but overall, my spiritual curve is trending positive. Furthermore, for you calculus fans, there is more and more area under the curve. That is, I am continually integrating and expanding.

This morning, reading Emmett Fox's "Sermon on the Mount" he said something about how regretting the past is to dis God's activity of salvation, and bringing Israel out of Egypt is just such an example of God's activity of salvation. Sudden bingo for me. If the convent was Egypt, then God, in a sudden turmoil of spiritual activity, brought me out of it. There was a few days of turmoil and then long years across a desert. This is a new thought for me. A new connection and a new synapse that signal a mental change.

I don't know if I am across a desert yet. It seems like it as I ponder my 2015 life story. This life I see is tremendously successful. At work, my Starship idea has been adopted for the plant and I am heavily involved with Creative Thinking teams. In my running life, I am first celebrating the end of my 55th year with a 55 hour run. Then in June, I am going on my first ever running expedition in the Utah desert. And in between January and June are several happy races on trails for which I intend to sign up.

But I wonder about my spiritual life; at least until today when I realize where I am at in graphical terms. I did leave the nuns in Egypt. Should I stop looking back? I need to stop looking back with an ego mindset. I could look back with a miracle mindset.

Reading Fox's book, I realize my ego measures itself against the explanations to determine if it is good. To know my thoughts are doing this is a great thing. It allows a bit of distancing from the activity. And in turn, an extreme gratitude for the presence of Spirit which taught me. From there, just keep walking, and be in awe of that power greater than myself.

God is in charge of the journey.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Good Karma

Or was it, your thoughts create your reality. Or was it ACIM looking beyond.

Anyway, this morning I had an elaborate e-mail prepared to send to my soon-to-be ex-boss. I wondered if I should send it. Am I off base in what I think? I asked a colleague; who agreed with my point of view. In the end, I clicked SAVE AS DRAFT.

Suddenly, the customer service rep from Hilton called and apologized for the problem Hilton has created me, and offered me a free night. Then, I found out I received a recognition award. Then, a guy offered to drive me to my car from inside the plant, since it was pouring rain.


This morning, in my morning spiritual study, I read a bit of Emmett Fox's Sermon on the Mount, and a bit of Maggie Ross's Silence A User's Guide. Both talked a bit about thoughts and reality. I work on my thoughts every day. My brain is clear so I was able to let go of my instinct to let go of an injustice my ex-boss has done.

So, was my score due to metaphysics? Or did my one kindness give good karma so I received other kindnesses? Or is karma really the same as metaphysics?

You get to decide how your universe works. As for me, I will believe in Spirit. I will believe in connectedness. I will continue my spiritual studies. My real point is that I have been having a happy day. This despite the pouring rain, the scratchy throat, the FedEx issue.... etc.

My ex-boss is a real person even if he is German. He deserves the gift of Christ Within, which I can give him if I want.

Anything else doesn't matter.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas in the World

I sit here in my quiet abode. At 8:30 am, I hear a fire engine. I realize I'll be hearing that siren for several hours. Annually, the city sends round the fire truck with Santa. This takes all morning.

I woke up pondering  quandary. I don't participate in Christmas because I am in ethical disagreement with the activities. This year, the last department meeting is combined with a Christmas party. Do I incur disapproval by not going? Do I go and be a good girl.

I close my eyes. Shakespeare crosses my mind,"To thine own self be true." Sanskrit crosses my mind, "Namaste." In the prayerful darkness beyond my eye balls, I bow before the Son of God and His magnificence. Not Jesus, but Life Itself extended from God and residing in us. This Life is our true self and true identity.

I don't know whether I'll go to the party. I will bow down. It is the only way for me to do life.

Now, to Brummerhop park for laps.

Here is  a bonus treat for today, a quote from Merton:

"The world of men has forgotten the joys of silence, the peace of solitude which is necessary, to some extent, for the fullness of human living. Not all men are called to be hermits, but all men need enough silence and solitude in their lives to enable the deep inner voice of their own true self to be heard at least occasionally. When that inner voice is not heard, when man cannot attain to the spiritual peace that comes from being perfectly at one with his own true self, his life is always miserable and exhausting. For he cannot go on happily for long unless he is in contact with the springs of spiritual life which are hidden in the depths of his own soul. If man is constantly exiled from his own home, locked out of his own spiritual solitude, he ceases to be a true person. He no longer lives as a man. He becomes a kind of automaton, living without joy because he has lost his spontaneity. He is no longer moved from within, but only from outside himself."

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Jesus was Gay

Wicked me. The first instant I saw this picture, I didn't think of Jesus but of gay guys.

I found it on the page of a religious order and it is supposed to be about Advent. As a heterosexual, I like it because John looks hot to me.

In other news, I am tapering for my 55 hour race in 3 weeks. Nothing I do now other than heal up will help with that endeavor. So I only have 45 miles and 13+ hours this week. I have done some procurement: a sleeping bag, a hot food thermos, shoes. I entered a race in February, 50k on a trail.

Yesterday, I did some fast running. In the evening I had a great hour of durability, or work hardening. Using 2 floors of my house, I carry 10 lb olympic plates up and down stairs. On the top landing, I do 5 shoulder presses and 5 calf raises. On the bottom floor I do 2 kettle bell side to sides, 3 pushups with jump up, one arm kettle bell row, 3 side to side on step platform, 2 sets of 5 exercises on trx, 5 tricep pull downs, 3 more step platform side to side, repeat. I get about 20 laps done in an hour. I'm happy to say, I am able to run up and down stairs at this time. I think durability workouts are very good for me.

I've been going through my journal for the past year. I was noting the number of times I have something positive to say about my spirituality. It is much more than I remember. Often, I wake up with a bad attitude, but by the end of my spiritual study, I feel happy. My Course in Miracles lesson today is: "God is the only goal I have today."

And I went to the park with a full Nathan plus 20 oz. I didn't really need all that but I wanted to carry the weight. I did 14 laps/ 10.5 miles. Yup, doing laps prepares my mind for doing hundreds of laps.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Lesson 254

"Lesson 254: Let every voice but God’s be still in me.
1 Father, today I would but hear Your Voice. In deepest silence I would come to You, to hear Your Voice and to receive Your Word. I have no prayer but this: I come to You to ask You for the truth. And truth is but Your Will, which I would share with You today.

2 Today we let no ego thoughts direct our words or actions. When such thoughts occur, we quietly step back and look at them, and then we let them go. We do not want what they would bring with them. And so we do not choose to keep them. They are silent now. And in the stillness, hallowed by His Love, God speaks to us and tells us of our will, as we have chosen to remember Him."

It is Friday afternoon. I am drinking coffee. It is quiet here in my house. No "entertainment." My head is not raging at me. I don't think I want to go anywhere. And for some reason, I've not quite put the energy together to do any workout. Maybe after some more quiet time, I'll feel like walking.

I have been reviewing my journal for the past year. And also thinking about some successes for the coming year. There are some obvious themes which characterize my thinking. The themes should be obvious but until I looked back and saw it written every day, I didn't exactly know how frequently I thought that. A Course in Miracles would just say "These thoughts do not mean anything."

My life doesn't have any big problems. So my spirituality is not about trauma. I'm discovering a spirituality of quiet all on my own. Of course, I've read books on silence etc. Now I've got quiet in all of my own life (not just when meditating) and my ego doesn't have any big deals to yell at me about. I realize that creating another project to occupy me is exactly what my ego would want. But to sit here quietly and not start anything; that is the challenge.

When you study scripture's origin and the community from which Jesus probably came and scrutinize Paul's Christianity, you are left with nothing true about today's Christianity. You stop trying to prove anything by quoting scripture because you know it is wrong. Eventually, you observe the void, feel the null. No emotion is left.

It is 2014 and the internet is everything. So the monastic order in which I was formed has a face book page and tweets and videos. I look at the pictures frequently and know the people in them. I may not be there physically but the sisters are in my mind everyday. What does this mean? Is it good or bad? They are doing something new. The Roman Church is have a "year of consecrated life." I have qualms about that. But because of it, the sisters started wearing traditional habits on Sundays. It is yet one more example of why I don't belong there. I go running on Sundays, not sit around in my habit.

I can completely write volumes about my universal non-special concept of God. I've lost my vehemence to do so.

So back to silence. Listening to the quiet Voice for God and doing nothing.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving Day 9

So sad. Everything is ready for going back to work tomorrow. I finished off my vacation with a 16.6 mile jog on Seabrook trails. It was a warm Texas day. I enjoyed the heat.

For my vacation (9 days), I got 156.x miles and 42 total hours of workout (includes cross training).

I had a moment of healing today. Might be difficult to explain. Think about the Catholic Church as an institution which brain washes people to believe what the hierarchy says. Now think of a religious order as a super cult contained within this brainwashing organization. Think of the "formation" process used on aspirants as 24/7 brainwashing.

That is what I've been trying to heal from for the past 11 years. See, before the monastery, I got along well with other people around me. I had friends. I went to coffee with other ladies and enjoyed their company. Post monastery, I've felt that everything about other people is wrong.

Today, I went to a ladies AA meeting (I usually go to this meeting), and I listened to a lady celebrating 25 years talk from the podium. And then I listened to several others talk about themselves. Suddenly, looking at all the nice ladies in the room, for the first time since leaving the convent, I thought, "What if the nuns were wrong?" I thought, well maybe I can heal from monastic "formation."

Then, coming home, I looked on the sister's FB page and saw that they now have these traditional habits. They look horrible. People on the outside of a convent don't know what is going on inside. It is a mystery, but the mystique makes the holy appearance. Wearing a black habit or saying prayers all day doesn't make a person special to God.

Any AA can confirm that spiritual awakenings occur with regularity among AA members. We are so blessed to see spiritual awakenings happen and experience them our selves. Nothing is more holy.

I sure hope that I soon heal from my monastic brain washing and that I will be able to enjoy the company of the people around me without judging them.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving Day 8

I have one more day tomorrow. Then back to work.

Today was a hermit day. I didn't talk to anyone at all. I may have seen a person or two when out walking, but no interaction. Oh wait, I saw a number of men putting lights on their houses. A car or two passed me also. Tomorrow, when I go to the other park, I'll probably say hi to a person or two.

Today I did 3 workouts. A cross training circuit of 7 activities: bike, elliptical, step platform, durability, nordic track, versa climber and rowing. Then I walked 8.35 miles in 2 hours. Then, later, I rode the elliptical for 36 min plus free weights and core for 28 minutes.

One more day. So far this vacation, I've completed 139+ miles and 38+ hours. Is this just training? I don't know. It is what I do every weekend and how I plan to spend my life after full time job is done.

Today, my resentments were not there at all. I let go of everything.

While riding my elliptical, I was starting to take stock of 2014:
A new car. A new computer. My work phone was upgraded to an iphone so I am now apple ID'd. Plowing through Plotinus' Enneads. Continuing student of A Course in Miracles. Still in Texas. Still a process safety engineer. Gave my first talk at a symposium. Still sober. Still vegetarian. Still not a church goer, voter or TV watcher. No movies. No sexual partner or even any friendships really; although one man insisted that the AA group was indeed my family. Two half marathons. One 25k race. Two full marathons (Calgary and Utah). One 50k ultra so far. One virtual race, in which I finished 200 miles and won $200. No surgeries. Numerous books read, miles run, weights lifted. Daily spiritual practice. People hated and loved. Numerous people smiled at. Numerous crock pots of beans and steamers of rice. Numerous peanut butter sandwiches and apples. Bills and taxes paid. Starship Baytown invented.

I need to go deeper. What really happened? That list is just the superficial.

Life itself still alive.

For the Record

Whenever I have days off from work, I also have the idea that somewhere in the silence and miles, a spiritual break through will occur.

Something at least note worthy did happen this morning. A few weeks ago, I read Sam Harris' book "Waking Up." It annoyed me when he has long explanations about "...this self is nowhere to be found..." or "...the self does not survive scrutiny...the feeling of being a thinker of thoughts inside one's head..." or "...look closely for what you are calling "I", and the feeling of being a separate self will disappear..."

I finally realized my confusion this morning. What Mr Harris calls "I" is what A Course in Miracles calls ego. What Mr Harris finds beyond the "I" is what A Course in Miracle calls Self.

I need to stop beating myself up with other people's techniques and experiences. Because, yes in fact, I am able to look between the thoughts. The fact that there is no emotion or objective sense of enlightenment is what makes it real. The problem is that the stream of thoughts called ego doesn't approve and can't use the silence. My ego most emphatically wants an objective and be able to lay a claim, "I did this," or "I am that." A Course in Miracles explains all this. I now understand that Mr Harris is saying the same but in words from his experience.

I realize that my frustration is an ego function. The Self between the thoughts never cared about this. It was my ego who read other's experiences of enlightenment and judged itself less than for not having had such a wonderful experience. My ego says that God doesn't love me because I can't point to some fabulously engaging emotional experience called enlightenment. I have endless difficulties with this ego; but any moment of silence produces calm. Living from the calm is what ACIM teaches.

Is my intuition my Self speaking? Is there a Spirit which is not Self? Personally, I believe that if there is a Self, then there is a Creator. ACIM gives the Spirit as a communication medium. Obviously, many books are written on this subject. What matters to me is intuitive thoughts.

For any who thought I missed Thanksgiving Day 7, I'll just mention that I had a nice jog outside in the park. I went to an AA meeting. I had another nice workout indoors which included strength training. Today, I will do an indoor workout. My feet and legs feel good, but I also feel like keeping them that way. Cross training, development of durability, will be most important for the next 7 months; or indeed for the next 30 years.

For any who wondered about what I said regarding philosophy studies and writing essays. The "teacher" replied that he got tired of grading student essays and has stopped doing it. So it won't be learning to write essays that sharpens my thinking. Maybe that was never necessary since it was really the unproductive Silence that I need more.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Day 6

Don't you think it is funny that someone who doesn't participate in Thanksgiving has 9 days of blogs entitled Thanksgiving? Today is THE actual day. I have 9 days of gratitude because it is so precious that I ever get a week off work.

Today I was clearly tired from my 30 miles yesterday. Nothing was damaged so I went for an 11.2 mile, 3 hour walk. That went really well. I was pleased with the walking speed and that nothing felt injured. But also, I couldn't jog at all. No bounce in my steps. So, I know what day 2 of my 55 hour multi-day race will feel like.

I've had extra time today to think about a potential project. A few days ago, I thought about the word "essay." It struck me as a technical term and a specific type of highly thoughtful writing. I wondered if learning more about how to write an essay and then applying my mind to the practice could improve my thinking. By improve I mean depth I guess. I'd like to think with more depth and wisdom. Reading Plotinus has shown me what depth could be. The engineer in me thinks of this idea as a solvable problem. It doesn't require God or enlightenment. Just study, do the work, learn, succeed.

I found an online philosophy course. Mainly, you study written materials and then write an essay on one of the questions. You can then submit the essay and have a mentor critique it.

In relation to Thanksgiving, I've noticed that the topic of working in soup kitchens is a dogma for a good thing to do. Helping others is often touted as making something good out of your life. I think for me, training my thinking would be a way to add value to my life. Writing a good essay, even if unrecognized, would be a metaphysical triumph.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Day 5

I did it!

I had the alarm set for 5:30 and I easily got up. If you make it out of bed, your chances of a long run go way up. I already had all my drinks mixed and in the fridge. So after spiritual study, I went to the park. Got started a 6:47. Finished about 2:25 which includes the pit stops. Time moving forward was 7h14min for 30 miles.

Laps went really well being 11 minutes each. Overall, I had numerous short stops and lost about 3 minutes per hour or so. I was chilly at first but warmed up very nice. Totally clear day with a breeze. Some boys were playing in the park most of the day. After about 6 hours, they tried to play a trick on me, but I had already seen them do that to a car so I called them on it. They laughed and one of them gave me a thumbs up. I was sort of honored to be thought worthy of a shenanigan. Then a little while later, Mr Thumbs Up came over on his bicycle and talked to me. He said I reminded them of Forest Gump and they thought I must be breaking a world's record for jogging.

I can survive 30 miles on gatorade, accelerade, soy milk, mountain dew, fig bars and apples. Only blister problem on the big toes. Heel and knee did really well and I wasn't wearing any tape on the knee.

To be honest, it is pretty freak'n awesome that I have the mental fortitude to do 40 laps by myself. But it seemed to go by pretty fast. 

Honestly, I've been dreaming of this accomplishment since about March when I signed up for the 55 hour race. Its huge that I did it.

Here is my aid station parked at the library:

Here is what 30 miles looks like on fitbit:

There will be no alarm clock tomorrow; but I will do some walking just to show myself I can.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Day 4

Well, rest day. I slept in and then lolly gagged buying running shoes at an early black Friday sale. I also was musing about whether it would be possible to get a philosophy degree on-line. I found an interesting philosophy page which discussed the writing of essays. Reminds me that this blog is very bad in regards to organized thought. I had a nice spiritual study and then made it to the trail at 10:20.

My ACIM lesson was, "I am in danger nowhere in the world." I wasn't really clicking with this lesson until I sat quietly. Then it came to me: I am always wrapped in Love's embrace." And this is what I took with me to the trail. Today, I remembered my garmin and everything. I decided to go to a small loop and be sure to measure it. Yes, it is 0.75 miles. So this loop will be my mental training loop for the 55 hour race over New Years.

Today, I was clearly not interested in long hours of miles. I was thinking alot about my pacing and timing for the 55 hour race. I decided that a good experiment would be for me to try at least one day, if not two days, of 40 laps on this 0.75 mile loop. I thought tomorrow and Thursday would be good. So I kept today short, just 2 hours.

Consequently, the groceries, the car wash, the AA meeting and the house cleaning got done. The AA meeting was about drinking and holidays. I kept quiet since I don't want to discuss my particular outlook on holiday activities. As a general rule, for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is assumed that you must participate. If you have no family then you should join another gathering or volunteer at a soup kitchen. If you don't participate then you are not grateful. Christmas is worse. You must participate in the "reason for the season" or you are a scrooge and ungrateful to God.

My radical plan for Thanksgiving is to walk around a park 40 times.

Also, I started a new book on the philosophy of Dune. It is an easy read and interesting. Combined with Plotinus and my general yearning for depth of thought and spirituality, I again muse about the nature of life. Do I think at all? I see that my mind is often caught up in resentments. I can think about something else whenever I realize I need to. That is a practice of solitude.

I first heard of "solitaries" about 2 years before entering the monastery. After leaving the monastery, I continued to pursue solitude. I don't know what I will find here. I don't know if only gaining solitude on nights and weekends is enough. I stand outside the tribe. This is my contemplation.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Day 3

I got up when the alarm went off. Very good.

Then, I was studying Plotinus' Ennead 6.1.x. And this is what is interesting for me about Plotinus. I have Bachelor's and Master's degrees in engineering, but no where in my studies did philosophy appear. So when Plotinus starts a topic like "Existents" I am fascinated. I'm not sure about the spirituality of it, but certainly it teaches me to think deeper.

I'm not here going to teach philosophy. But here is an interesting sentence. Yes, I had to read before and will read more after. But it is a gem which doesn't seem to occur elsewhere in my contemplation: "Supposing we grant that all things known as substances are homogeneous as possessing something denied to the other genera, what precisely is this something, this individuality, this subject which is never a predicate, this thing not present in any thing as in a subject, this thing which does not owe its essential character to any other thing, as a quality takes character from a body and a quantity from a substance, as time is related to motion and motion to the moved?"

And then I went to the park for running. First off, while I had a full hydropak, I forgot the bag with the garmin and the hats/glasses. I had another hat and glasses in the car and decided to do a loop I knew the length of. I had no idea how long I'd go. I guess at most until the hydropak ran out. I ran a 2.5 mile loop from the gazebo to Pine Gully and back. It was a beautiful day. I got to look at Galveston Bay every loop. I saw smoke coming from something, but nothing in the news about it. I'm still blowing my nose alot from my cold last week.

Most interesting for contemplation. An old man and woman. She with a scooter walker. On it was a folding chair. Then were very slowly walking from the parking lot. I think I passed them 3 times; until the forth time, they had stopped and put the chair for him at the boardwalk. She was sitting on the scooter walker. It was a nice sunny place with a nice view. It brought to mind that essential quality of the life force which is present in some humans, causing them to bother to creep out to that location and sit down.

I ended up with 20.6 miles in 5 hours.

Then I came home to shower and eat. I lay on the bed resting and reading for a short while. But, felt fine to go run an errand, eat again and then walk on the treadmill another 90 minutes.

Why do I bother with all this exercise? I'm training my mind to keep going.

What is unfortunate is I need to find time to wash my car; perhaps on Wednesday when it is supposed to be warm.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving Day 2

I slept late today since I didn't set an alarm. A little tougher to work in so many hours of workout if you sleep through a couple of hour of it. Then before going running, I decided to take care of a small administrative matter for work. Then, not knowing how long I wanted to run, I had to mix up drinks and fill bottles before being ready. So pretty late getting to the park.

But wow, what a fantastic day. Totally sunny breezy and not that hot. Well, 80F is not that hot for Texas. I got in 4 hours / 17.4 miles.

My Course in Miracles lesson was: "This day belongs to God. It is my gift to Him." I had my mind tuned to this lesson during most of my run.

I had to stop because of time and running out of drinks and because the beans in the crock pot at home needed to be turned off. I make beans every Sunday in the crock pot. I love a bowl of fresh beans.

After a brief rest, I went to an AA meeting. This didn't turn out that well. A lady was there with her baby. And the activities around playing with the baby got too distracting for me to pay attention to the speakers. So I moved to the other side of the room. I suppose this upset the mother. So she packed up and left. I'm sorry she did that just because I didn't want to watch her baby so I moved. Oh well.

Now of course, it is time for me to manage my mind. This is now a Course in Miracles moment. Do I listen to my brain yell at me about how guilty I am or do I give this to Jesus and look beyond to the heart of Christ. I glanced at tomorrow's Lesson: "Today I will judge nothing that occurs." Perfect for right now.

The TED radio hour was on quiet. A guy on there didn't speak for 17 years. And he walked around the world. He did communicate with signs. Not speaking is not the same as silence.

My ego yells at me and at the world almost all the time; unless I'm engaged deeply in my work, reading a good book, or actively managing my thoughts including silencing them. Tomorrow's lesson is perfect for talking back to my brain and stopping it's yelling.

At least half of my spiritual practice is related to dealing with the yelling mind.

This evening, I did another elliptical workout and a free weight workout.

Just a little over 5 hours today. What am I doing? Well, to complete any of my upcoming endurance events, it is enough to walk jog 20 or so miles and then walk for another 10 or 20 miles. So, having one long walk jog in the morning and following that with cross training in the afternoon fills the bill without undue pounding on the legs. I feel energized at the end of the day instead of exhausted.

My goal tomorrow is merely to get out of bed at the alarm. After that, something will happen and there will be time.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thanksgiving Day 1

I have 9 days off work. I don't have any plans exactly. That is, I am not driving to any races. I don't celebrate holidays so no TG gathering. In fact, Thanksgiving is almost the mother of all worst cases for a vegetarian. Billions of turkeys slaughtered so Americans can overeat one more day. Drink to much and fight with eachother. Then take naps in front of the TV where a football game is on.

No thanks. I'll stay alone.

I've been reading some books on the environment and tribal outlook that Jesus must have been born and raised in. And about how Paul most certainly had a brand of Christianity very different than Jesus. The book I've been reading most recently is well written. But I realized this morning that I don't need any more information on that topic. I put it aside and wondered what I should do.

The idea of Plotinus came into my mind. I hadn't finished the Enneads. I had been much edified by Plotinus philosophy. So I got the book out and started where I left off.

Plotinus Ennead 5.9.7: "Knowledge in the reasoning soul is on the one side concerned with objects of sense, though indeed this can scarcely be called knowledge and is better indicated as opinion or surface-knowing; it is of later origin than the objects since it is a reflection from them: but on the other hand there is the knowledge handling the intellectual objects and this is the authentic knowledge; it enters the reasoning soul from the Intellectual-Principle and has no dealing with anything in sense. Being true knowledge it actually is everything of which it takes cognisance; it carries as its own content the intellectual act and the intellectual object since it carries the Intellectual-Principle which actually is the primals and is always self-present and is in its nature an Act, never by any want forced to seek, never acquiring or traversing the remote- for all such experience belongs to soul- but always self-gathered, the very Being of the collective total, not an extern creating things by the act of knowing them.

Not by its thinking God does God come to be; not by its thinking Movement does Movement arise. Hence it is an error to call the Ideas intellections in the sense that, upon an intellectual act in this Principle, one such Idea or another is made to exist or exists. No: the object of this intellection must exist before the intellective act [must be the very content not the creation of the Intellectual-Principle]. How else could that Principle come to know it: certainly not [as an external] by luck or by haphazard search."

I must have read this 10 times. But something clicked in my mind which I can hardly explain. For a few moments, I had an entire understanding of God and oneness. It was awesome.

So then I went out for a short jog. I hadn't planned much today. It was supposed to rain, and I am getting over the sniffles, so I didn't think I'd do much. I had a delightful slow jog of 7 miles for 90 minutes. The morning was very fresh. I loved it.

Coming home, I changed clothes and headed out to an AA meeting. I have 29 years of sobriety but still think AA meetings are fantastic. I am so grateful for my lovely attitude.

When I got home, I started workout number 2. This was an indoor cross training workout. 15 minutes on exercise bike. 15 min on elliptical. 15 min galloping sideways back and forth on the step platform. 15 min on the Nordic Track. 15 min on the Versa Climber. 45 minutes durability. Durability means something like circuit training employing weights and 2 floors. At the bottom of the stairs, I did one arm squat lift bends with a 20 lb kettle bell and pushups. On the second floor I did tricep dips and heel raises. I carried 2 x 10 lb olympic plates each time I went up or down the stairs. I don't know how many circuits I did in 45 minutes. I finished off with 15 min of rowing.

I'm sure those durability workouts, and cross training in general, will be my life saver when it comes to doing a 6 day expedition in Utah next summer.

Then I ate and read a book for a little. Then I walked uphill on the treadmill for another 90 minutes.

Here is what all that looks like according to fitbit:

The chart shows calories instead of steps because rowing and biking don't give any steps.5.5 hours today.

Is this training necessary? No, of course not. I just like it.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Family of Answers

I understand gratitude. I don't understand the slaughter of billions of turkeys for gratitude. I don't understand the horrible circumstances in which those turkeys are grown; or the tremendous resources that go into their lives.

And even the poor show up at the kitchen and expect a feast.

There are questions which require a family of answers, not just a short sound bite. And I can't usually explain all the facets of anything all at once since I don't carry all the information in my buffer memory. 

Why are you a vegetarian?
Why do you think the Bible is not true?
Why do you not agree with denominational Christianity or that "Jesus is the son of God?"
Why don't you vote?
Why don't you celebrate holidays?
Why don't you watch TV?
Why don't you fix your hair? (Really?)
Why are you single?
Why don't you develop friendships?
Why don't you drink?
What do you mean by "not participate in society?"
Why do you spend so much time alone?
....the list goes on....

I am in a strange circumstance: success. I had an out-of-the-blue idea which I "sold" to the manager of our plant, who then asked me to sell it to his leadership team. And now, having been adopted, it has gone public in a plant of 800 employees, 1,000 contractors and massive quantities of dangerous substances. The purpose of the idea is employee engagement; which should above all else provide better safety as we work to produce products.

But for me, at this point, it would be usual for me to say something egotistical which over steps my bounds as a low level employee playing with the big boys for once. I end up ashamed of myself though maybe no one else noticed what happened. I want to continue to be guided by Spirit/ intuition/ love; not false ambitions or the getting drive.

The getting drive.
The getting drive.
More for me.
Somebody reward me.
Somebody make me important.
The small self.

Defeat of the small self is a good reason to do endless laps. Such a useless activity, but it draws my mind into endless quiet. Voluntary poverty of ego. Downward mobility of recognition.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thanksgiving Pre-lude

Meng Hu wrote this, quoting Heidegger: "...the West, steeped in reason and logic, can only use thought to try to go beyond thought. And this can only be accomplished by the solitary individual."

It is the start of the holiday season. Today for instance, there is a Thanksgiving lunch downstairs. I am sitting upstairs in my cubicle eating an apple. I cannot bring myself to participate in holidays. It is a moral or ethical discrepancy. That is, I think the way we do holidays is wrong, so I don't do them.

I don't believe the Bible is in some way more sacred than many other writings. But on the other hand, I still quote it from time to time to explain myself. For instance, Romans 12.2 says, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." This resembles the idea of "Renunciate" (Sannyasa). Apart from society, my mind is renewed.

When I threw all my possessions under a Good Will truck and joined a monastery, I renounced the world. I've not ever been able to take the world back completely. I waver in some areas. Other areas, I have a strict conviction: this I will not do.

But it is hard for me to discuss any of this and certainly I've never been able to explain to anyone why I don't do some things and when. Usually, when I do talk about myself, people don't understand and make up some story that I don't agree with. But then I seem incapable of clearly explaining the inner rationale. In some cases, it is just an ongoing process. Also, I find as time goes on, that while my renunciation and spiritual practice are important to me, I have no need to attract anyone else into the ideas. As the years go by since I left the monastery and religion, I find that I am less vehement about my beliefs and so less inclined to discuss them with anyone.

Sometimes I worry that the theme of my life is disappearing. The theme which began at the age of 22 to know God. And then the extension of the theme I found at about age 38 to "Shamelessly follow Jesus and live a life of prayer." Who and what I think of Jesus is not a denominational Christian belief. But the desire to that life is still in me. It seems I went through a string of activities designed to open inner doors to know God more. But since the results are not conscious, I cannot point to them.

It is just that I know they are there.

This brings me back to Thanksgiving. I am taking the week off work. I really really look forward to the solitude. Somehow, listening to silence is what I must do. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Worst Case RATS

My Vision Quest is an endurance event. The challenge is two fold: running plus camping. The race web page shortened the 4th run by 9 miles to 43 miles and still gives 20 hours to finish. Now my focus is on the second run of 39 miles. Can I finish that before the cut off of 12.5 hours? I looked at results of previous years. Some people did come very close to the cut off.

Here are the results of one female who looks like she might be comparable to me on day 1, 3 and 5. My day 4 will be 9 miles less than hers but I'll still have 20 hours to do it.

I know from my 50k race on an easy course 2 weeks ago that I could have put in another 8 miles in a little over 2 hours if I started to only walk. So given that day 2 of RATS has some climbing, I estimate: 7 + 2.5 = 9.5 hours. That leaves a 3 hour difficulty factor.

I think I can.

It is important to me think I can because during the event, I'll have the physical challenges. Believing in my self is paramount.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Duplex Circuit

One reason why I don't want to move anytime soon is the duplex I live in. Besides being completely paid for, it is Texas big and 2 stories. Since my house is also filled with exercise equipment and weights, I like to set up cross training circuits for a variety.

My circuits contain carrying a 10 lb olympic plate in each hand and walking up and down the stairs. Tonight I added the following. At the top of the stairs, I did 5 shoulder presses with a bar bell. At the bottom, using living room and bedroom, I did pushups with a burpee jump, side to side along a step platform and 5 in one TRX movements. I also did all this with ankle weights.

Basically, I spent 46 minutes walking up stairs with the weights, shoulder presses, down staris with the weights, 3 pushups with the jump, 3 laps on the step platform, 3 rounds of 5 on the TRX, back to the step platform, back to the pushups, repeat.

Then, I did 5 way core exercises and 5 way leg lifts.

This sort of cross training is good. Going up and down stairs is the only hill in Houston.

I have a case of DOMs from my 20 mile walk yesterday!

Training Agenda

Most people have a training plan, what exercises and runs they'll do that week. I don't. Usually, I do what I feel like and have time for.

However, I do have a spiritual training agenda. Here is this week:
Love, which created me, is what I am.
Now will I seek and find the peace of God.
Father I will but to remember you.
Be in my mind, my Father, through the day.
I give my life to God to guide today.
(ACIM lessons 229-233)

And anything that happens to me is framed by what I am reading in the Text, which happens to be chapter 7.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


I had a good weekend. Saturday I jog/walked 22 miles. I was going a bit faster than ultra pace but also carrying lots of water for weight. This speed annoyed one of my tendons in my left heel. Sunday is ultra walking day. When I do a race longer that 50k, you can bet there will be lots of power walking. So today, I walked 20 miles. I felt really good and no problems at all from feet or legs. No compression today and no tape on my knee. I did really well and I felt good.

So, my best ultra pace, for going all day is just under 4 mph. Think about it. Get your mind around a hundred miles of walking.

A year ago, my doctor released me from my boot and scooter and I took my first few steps on my foot since surgery 6 weeks earlier. God that hurt. A half a mile took me 18 minutes and it hurt like hell. Today was essentially pain free.

Why do I do this? I don't know, but after I get out beyond 15 miles, it is hard to get me to stop. I usually stop when I run out of water. Today I stopped because I forgot to lower the crock pot temperature before I left the house and figured I shouldn't leave it more than 5 hours.

Gift: I was looking at the Desert RATS web page. They have been working on it. It looks like the longest day is not 43 miles. That is down from 52. I can envision completing 42 miles on day 4, in 20 hours including some climbing. I had assumed I'd DNF 52 miles. But 43 is within my capability.

Gift: I had prayed according to A Course in Miracles to see a person differently. That person is now one of the site leaders who will work closely with me on my new project. I hadn't thought he was at all interested but it seems he really is very enthusiastic. So I do get to see him in a new context.

Gift: I got an e-mail from my brother this week. It is the first time in decades he has initiated contact. Usually it is me that e-mails him; and sometimes don't hear back for days.

I've been considering my spiritual journey. It seems that as I get better mentally, the high points of emotion no longer occur in conjunction with spiritual insight. Like silence really is silence. Not silence plus ecstasy. I realize that for many years my spirituality has been aimed at "better than." That is, as I left the monastery, I had to feel as good as or be better than the nuns. And this translated into an arrogant attitude towards the ordinary citizens who are far too busy with living to worry about God more than once a week.

A few days ago, I was reading an introduction to the work book for A Course in Miracles. It said that the first part was for undoing of thoughts and beliefs. The second part was for building a new spiritual belief system. I've always had trouble with the second part. So I started it again. It has alot less words. I'm going to give it a good chance.

See my life is changing. Last week was good evidence. I sold a tremendous idea to the manager of a large chemical park (800 employees plus 1000 contractors). Then I sold the idea to his top staff. It is a pinnacle for me in terms of self worth, getting out of self, feeling engaged. But also, expanding an idea by giving it away, being in a holy relationship. These are Course in Miracles concepts and it is cool to see them framed this way. My illusion is changing, healing, swinging into a happy dream. I am committed to staying at this site out of joy not money. That is hugely significant for me.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Lesson 226

Today's ACIM Lesson:
Lesson 226 "My home awaits me. I will hasten there.

If I so choose, I can depart this world entirely. It is not death which makes this possible, but it is change of mind about the purpose of the world. If I believe it has a value as I see it now, so will it still remain for me. But if I see no value in the world as I behold it, nothing that I want to keep as mine or search for as a goal, it will depart from me. For I have not sought for illusions to replace the truth.

Father, my home awaits my glad return. Your Arms are open and I hear Your Voice. What need have I to linger in a place of vain desires and of shattered dreams, when Heaven can so easily be mine?"

What I read in the ACIM text this morning:

"Be vigilant only for God and for His Kingdom....
The third step, then, is a statement of what you want to believe, and entails a willingness to relinquish everything else. The Holy Spirit will enable you to take this step, if you follow Him. Your vigilance is the sign that you want Him to guide you. Vigilance does require effort, but only until you learn that effort itself is unnecessary. You have exerted great effort to preserve what you made because it was not true. Therefore, you must now turn your effort against it. Only this can cancel out the need for effort, and call upon the being which you both have and are. This recognition is wholly without effort since it is already true and needs no protection. It is in the perfect safety of God. Therefore, inclusion is total and creation is without limit."

I had a great 20 minutes on the elliptical and then a great 3.1 mile run outside. Then I went to work. In my inbox were 2 e-mails from 2 vice presidents thanking me for my "impact" at their meeting yesterday.

The part in the text above allowed me to go to work today with a mind set on service to my higher power, not on getting. Yesterday, at the meeting with 25 executives, I gave away an idea. It was an out-of-the-blue radical idea. But I had the courage to put send it to one of the VPs a few weeks ago and he got excited. Yesterday, I sprang it on the others and they got excited. This is exactly what ACIM means that ideas expand when given. And giving and receiving are the same.

Today as well, I had in mind that I wanted to help a colleague instead of fight with him. In wanting to collaborate, I was feeling inclusion not separation. In this way, the ego is defeated and the Spirit has been followed. The mindset of inclusion approaches the ACIM principle of "forgiveness" since one is now looking beyond this world into the reality of the oneness of creation.

This can only be a wonderful way to live. I am happy for having inner peace today.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

This Week in the Life of an Ultramarathoner

Monday started with a relief. What ever is wrong with my front tooth, it can't be found on an x-ray. Then I had a pleasant drive to College Station Texas. And I gave a well received professional presentation wearing a $700 suit.

Then I went to San Antonio and ran a 50k endurance run. That is, 31 miles; an ultra-marathon. I signed up for this race because I wanted to see what shape I would be in at the end. I haven't run that far in a long time. I have a 55 hour event coming up over NYE, so I wanted to see how I would feel after a 31 mile race. And being in a race, I was more sure about finishing it. I wanted to see if I could then do more walking since a 55 hour race would still have much more time and the potential to walk 100 miles in the 55 hours.

And there is the crux of the matter: quitting. For the first 2 hours of the event, my brain was fighting me, trying to come up with some way to quit and also save face. I wasn't even in real pain, just feeling like quitting. The race was 10 laps of 3.1 miles each (out and back). After one lap, I had a rational thought: I know how to laps. I do them every weekend. 10 laps is not that bad. Then I got it up to 6 laps. After that, I thought, "only 4 more." Then later I thought, "less than 2 hours." Then, one more lap. In the last lap Christopher Cross arose in my brain and I ran like the wind. Then I was done: 7 hours and 7 min not counting pit stops.

I asked my friend, "Why do we do this?"

It is not real clear, except for a few moments of real prayer I had during this race. The prayer occurred when I was in the moment. I was just taking these steps right here.

The drive home was pretty easy considering the time of day. Tough to get out of San Antonio, drive about 85 mph to Houston, tough to get through Houston.

I started ultra-marathoning for the sake of self transcendence. Then I waffled around with wanting to do 100 miles or something. Then I thought I'll do a massive number of marathons. Then I returned to the laps. The 55 hour run is laps. I should be right in my element.

I will not worry about doing more than 50k in any of my training. And I will continue to walk alot, along with my cross training. That is best for the 55 hour run. I will stay entered in Desert RATS. That race is too much for me, but I don't have to do every mile to experience a week of camping and more that 100 miles of desert meditation.

Thursday evening, I clicked "withdraw" from the internal job board for my company. I've decided to stay in Texas and accept whatever comes. I want to engage in the place where I am now.

I feel different about my home now. Driving down NASA Blvd this morning I thought about Carmel-by-the-sea and Seabrook (where I live). Seabrook is not Carmel, but it has feature I need like a nearby trail system and affordable housing and employment. There is a nice AA group. It is a good place to continue my spiritual studies.

My legs are ok for doing more miles today, but I don't need to push them. So I got groceries and washed the car as my workout.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I Never Was

This morning, doing my spiritual study and prayer, I seemed to get an intuitive thought. I was asking for guidance regarding a person in my life. I don't like the way that person is in my life; but also, I don't want to spend the next 10 or 15 years resenting that person. In some small way, I see some type of resentment associated with all people in my life.

I am a single person. I have a good salary. I should be able to arrange my life the way I want it right?

The intuitive thought that came to me this morning was: My life is not my own.

Really. In a spiritual sense, I am not an I. When I seek God, surrender to some higher consciousness, my life becomes not my own. I belong to Spirit.

I am at peace when I let go this way. I stop fighting. Anything that used to bug me seems to not matter. I am more focused on giving my time and energy to everyone.

Yesterday I was discussing our company split with a colleague. I mentioned that I would probably stay in Texas because I was doing well at this plant, the cost of living in Houston is low, and "Texas is not THAT bad." He looked straight at me and said, "We come here for the job."

I came here for the job. "I-that-never-was" is just here.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

My Bread is Buttered on the Texas Side

Gah! I've lived in Texas 3 years. I think you can get in to Texas but you can't get out. And I suppose there is nothing wrong with that.

Today I ran 21 miles in Seabrook averaging 13.4 min/mile despite doing 4x1s. That is 4.5 miles per hour since I know a stop to talk was included in that time. Now all summer in Houston, in ungodly heat and humidity, I was barely able to crack 4 miles per hour, and couldn't really stay out 5 hours. Now, the first somewhat cool day with a stiff breeze, I'm so much better. Heat training is worth it.

Yesterday, a pack of bicycles went down a road just as I was coming to the crossing. Someone said "there's Laura." Another one said, "Hi Laura!" Who were these mystery people? Today, I saw my neighbors walking in the park. Another couple I see running in the park every week told me how much they admired me. Another guy asked me if I was an ultra runner. Apparently I look like the real thing.

On Friday, I had a chat with N. He wants me to come back to work for him. I probably will. See, my company is selling the part of the business in Texas. The exact group I currently work for is disappearing. So, I would move across the fence and go to work in the group I was in last year. And, forget moving back to Kansas with some other part of the company. N. is the side of my bread with butter on it.

Another thing. I had a creative moment which yielded a innovative idea. I sent the idea to the plant manager. I didn't hear anything from him. Then I saw him last week and asked him about it. He hadn't seen it in his in-box. 2 more days and I get an e-mail saying he loves it; and lets do some more brain storming. This plant manager is in the "for sale" part of the company.

I have done well with all of my work for the "for sale" part of the plant. My skills are valued. Not so much with the other part of the company.

All these bits of anecdotal evidence add up to: Texas has been good to me. It is the side of the bread where my butter is.

In the spiritual part of my life, the butter is on the Course in Miracles side. What I am saying is that there are spiritual truths which are found in many spiritual traditions; but the way they are explained and taught in the Text and Workbook for A Course in Miracles is the way I've found success. Anyone who has had a massive revelatory, emotionally invasive spiritual experience still has to work on making meaning out of it for the rest of their life. Their big moment disappears into the daily distracted life. They still put their pants on one leg at a time. They pick up their bag of racks and continue down the road.

My revelatory experiences have not been massive as far as I can discern when I read someone else's story. But mine are in fact daily. Everyday, especially during my morning study of the ACIM text, I completely understand Oneness. And I can find Oneness during the day too. Like out running today, I was able to grant Inner Joyful Eternity to any person I thought of. I knew that Reality is Joy. No doubt or argument was present. That is truly a spiritual experience.

I hate shopping. If I could get everything from and never go in a store, I would. Well, I am giving a talk at a symposium next week. I need a suit. A suit can't be bought on-line. I've been procrastinating because I hate shopping and I hate all the traffic near the mall. Yesterday, I finally bit the bullet and did the chore. I finished my run early, showered, drove to Dillard's, asked directions to the lady's suit department, stopped the first associate I could and explained what I wanted. In particular, I hate women's pants that are low cut. The damn things always feel like they are falling off and a shirt won't stay tucked in. I don't actually know how women are supposed to dress anyway.

Actually, when I finally decide to go an buy something, I also plan to accomplish the mission in one trip without any fooling around. I buy cars that way too.

Well, very quickly, the lady found a pair of pants that fit perfectly. I got the whole suit and 2 shirts for $700. I didn't care how much, only that it fit and I looked ok. I made sure the lady thought the shirt was ok. It helps alot that if you go in a store around here and say you are an engineer, they ask if you are an astronaut; so the clothes they show you are not a bunch of girly nonsense. Well, they asked me if I was an astronaut anyway; and I didn't say no.

I'm a fake astronaut but a real engineer and ultra runner. Texas immigrant.Embodied Inner Joyful Eternity.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Consciousness Itself

Most people think that running is about training for a race or a time goal in a particular race. They think of how dreadful all that running is. My adventure into ultra-running came about as an extension of meditation; a way to discover consciousness beyond daily striving.

A hot humid day in Houston, after about 3 hours of jog walk produces mindlessness.

I love A Course in Miracles because it is a text book. As I read it and practice it's lessons, a Teacher enters my consciousness. I don't need to travel to India or even around the United States. I receive inner peace right here. I "look beyond" right now.

My only mistake, seemingly, is not having the great emotional experience that others write about in their books. This experience distinguishes them from all others and seems to once again produce separation. It is my inner job to let this go.

I once was in a monastery and a Benedictine novice for 4 years. Within 3 days of my monastic profession, invitations printed and sent, altar flower arrangements in the cooler, I was suddenly kicked out. At the moment of being told to leave, I spontaneously (out of the blue) visualized a white bird suddenly having a golden ankle chain cut and it flew free into a blue sky.

When I want freedom at any time today, I think, "Eternal Silence lives It's life in me. Stately Quiet Love has set me free." I suppose I am able to fall down in adoration before Stately Quiet. It is here that I am free.

I had a dream during my final retreat in the monastery. I dreamed that I was dust mopping the long hallway near the Novitiate. I finished my cleaning work and then I was sitting outside on a rock, looking up at a starry sky, waiting. "Love is the predominant form of existence," is the word that I heard in this dream.

All this is important now since the same thing is happening. My universe is changing. The waves of emotion tied to thoughts about appearances and perceptions attempt to take me away. I must sit in quiet calm right now.

I can see how my life is merely a love affair of joy and Joy.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Modern Life

The new veggie burger with plant blood...  ewwww! As an ethical vegetarian, the last thing I want is something bloody looking that tastes like meat.

The pill that reduces the effect of alcohol, so you don't drink as much. This product misses the point of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is a spiritual disease.

Continued to read "Waking Up" by Harris this morning. There was a bit on neuro-science. I have read about 4 books on neuro-philosophy, I finally get how there could be a consciousness which is unknown to the verbalizing left brain. I'm supported in my understanding that my brain is not consciousness. I'm glad the inklings I get from the quiet consciousness doesn't have to be tied to religion or to some massive emotional experience called "enlightenment." In fact, after at least 30 years of study and practice, I think it is a working part of my everyday life.

I can observe my left brain activity. Like, I am supposed to go to  department meeting next week. We were all asked to take a personality test (similar to Myers Briggs). I didn't want to cooperate. I hate those Myers Briggs labels. But I decided it wouldn't hurt to take the test and not report the findings. Then I saw the result. I clearly felt my decision change through the doorway of pride. I liked what the result said about me. I was proud. So I reported the information.

Wow! I think that is the first time I could so clearly see an ego decision.

What is more important though is that reading Waking Up, I now understand why I feel conflicted and confused about what I really want to do with my life: career and societal involvement vs silence and contemplation. I understand how it is that with my ego yelling negative information, I still do the ethical and nice thing. Self restraint does not come from my ego.

This week, because of my struggles over work, I was gifted with a new skill. When I feel upset, I notice my ego yelling at me about justified up-set-ness; and I kept asking why? The answer to "Why?" from the ego seems to be silence. I've not been that capable before.

It has been a week since I was forced to get an Apple ID and join the iphone world. I find that I use the phone the same as I did my BlackBerry: mostly to read work e-mails.

Running is fantastic. Houston is still freaking hot.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Self Transcendence

This morning, I read the opening pages of "Waking Up" by Sam Harris, noted atheist. It was yet one more description of enlightenment; that experience of self transcendence which causes people to know the love behind the world. In his case it was caused by the drug ecstasy.

I have read many such stories of enlightenment experiences and tried the techniques.

Of myself I can do nothing. I can only sit quietly. I realize I have had glimpses of love and the vastness of the universe; but they are subtle compared to the enlightenment experiences described by others. But I can't take the drugs, fast enough days, undergo monastic profession, run far enough, have a brain injury or even reach a deep enough despair.

Of myself I can do nothing. My spiritual path is the one of the tortoise not the hare. Whatever I wish for, I cannot change this. I can't take the drugs. I can only love what is here in my daily life. My self transcendence happens to be a conscious action. It is not dramatically emotional and this is the main difference between me and the so called enlightened. I didn't get a main event. I got my life here and now. I got a decision, a choice of thinking now. I got a choice of perception here and now.

It has been more than 30 years since the moment I stood in the Jaffa Gate in the old city of Jerusalem and considered God for the first time. Since that time, I have grown in conscious contact with a power greater than my small self. THIS!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Surrender and do better

One way to get through a day is to remember "I am a worn and no man." (see the 7th degree of humility) Remembering this, I survived 4 years in a monastery where I was in fact below all other precious but annoying little nuns.

Rule of Benedict, Chapter 7: On Humility

The seventh degree of humility
is that he consider himself lower and of less account
than anyone else,
and this not only in verbal protestation
but also with the most heartfelt inner conviction,
humbling himself and saying with the Prophet,
"But I am a worm and no man,
the scorn of men and the outcast of the people" (Ps. 21[22]:7).
"After being exalted, I have been humbled
and covered with confusion" (Pa. 87:16).
And again,
"It is good for me that You have humbled me,
that I may learn Your commandments" (Ps. 118[119]:71).

Another way to get through a day come through the 3rd step of AA: "Father, I offer myself to you, to do with me and build with me as thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self that I may better do thy will. Take away my difficulties that victory over them may bear witness to the will, thy love and thy way of life. May I at last abandon myself utterly to you."

Another way is a daily phrase from A Course in Miracles. From the Manual for Teachers: "The name of Jesus stands for love beyond this world. Jesus is the Word of God. The Word of God is the Atonement." or also,
"I am here only to be truly helpful. I am here to represent Him who sent me. I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me. I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me. I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal." (text 2.V)

"Into thy hands I commend my spirit."

What I am saying is that if I abandon my ego, turn my will and my life over to God, I do better. Otherwise, I am a stressed out worrisome mess every day. If I practice downward mobility in a hierarchical sense, that is, stop trying to protect and defend but merely serve, I do better mentally and emotionally. I may or may not do better financially, but that is not the point.

Now I will go to the park and run laps.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Prayer of the Heart

From the ACIM Manual for Teachers 21: "Strictly speaking, words play no part at all in healing. The motivating factor is prayer, or asking. What you ask for you receive. But this refers to the prayer of the heart, not to the words you use in praying. ...The prayer for things of this world will bring experiences of this world. If the prayer of the heart asks for this, this will be given because this will be received. It is impossible that the prayer of the heart remain unanswered in the perception of the one who asks. If he asks for the impossible, if he wants what does not exist or seeks for illusions in his heart, all this becomes his own. The power of his decision offers it to him as he requests. Herein lie hell and Heaven. The sleeping Son of God has but this power left to him. It is enough. His words do not matter. Only the Word of God has any meaning, because it symbolizes that which has no human symbols at all. The Holy Spirit alone understands what this Word stands for. And this, too, is enough." (bolding mine)

Other books have been written about the prayer of the heart. I had quite forgotten this phrase. I had heard it first in the Forest of Peace, my first monastic home in Oklahoma.

The phrase cause me to sink in silence into my heart, some layer of consciousness deeper/ different than ordinary daily consciousness. What sort of experiences am I asking for in my heart? I feel the energy of certain images and I know what I was seeking positively or negatively. I can change the negative associations to feel positive too. I realized that the positive interpretations are truly my heart and my negative interpretations are my ego. The ego is so easily over-ridden in this activity.

Anyone who attains enough conscious awareness to over ride the ego's shabby sense of self and hateful outlook on everything can have a happy life. I can have a happy day.

And so I went running, on a very glorious day of coolness here on the Gulf Coast. I was nodding to the other runners and thinking about my spirituality. I thought about what sort of energy seems to come from my heart and drive my life. I thought this must be the prayer of my heart. Then I thought about the Great Rays mentioned in the Course in Miracles text. I've always thought of them as coming from some point above in the heavens. But suddenly, I realized,the Great Rays come from within. And everybody is emitting the Great Rays. And knowing this a seeing it with eyes of the heart, I surely know what is meant by "forgiveness" in A Course in Miracles.

Jogging around Seabrook was delightful today. It caused me to wonder if I should not go to the company I work for and tell them I want to stay here; to go ahead and move my office across the fenceline to the new company.

Friday, October 3, 2014


ACIM Manual for Teachers 20: "His Will is wholly without opposite." To which I add another phrase from the ACIM text (citation not available): "Turn you to the stately calm within."

Say very well during exercise and drive to work:
His Will is wholly without opposite.
Turn you to the Stately Calm within.

I have had a big week. Despite the issue at work, where the company is splitting, I did get a new work computer and new work iphone. It is my first entry into Apple products. In some sense, I have joined the world. But I still don't want to join FB or watch TV. The IT tech was amazed I don't have itunes on my computer. I used "selfie" mode for the first time.

I also got my flu shot this week; and donated to National Public Radio.

It might be cooling off in Texas!

I am so optimistic about my running that I was surfing this morning. A year ago, I was one week out of surgery and still with 5 weeks of non-weight bearing. Today, I was running uphill on my treadmill at 5 mph. That is so awesome.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Embrace Limbo

My company has decided to sell the division which is located across the fence from where I am currently  sitting. I am in an engineering services division, but all my current work is for the division located across the fence. So it is quite possible I will be moved across the fence and work for un-named new company in the future. Or maybe some other opportunity will present itself. Meeting in Germany this week as executives decide how to divvy things up.

In the mean time, it will be a few months before any final decisions are made. And anyway, I am still me with my own particular outlook on work in general. The VP of the division I work for has a cubicle near mine. And every time he gets on the phone, he has to walk into the small conference room next to my cubicle in order to talk privately. Lately, that has happened alot. Frequently, he starts talking before he gets in the conference room. This activity is distracting for me, who is going to be waiting months while guys like him try to decide to do with "us", the engineers working here. Managers continue to whisper amongst themselves. People say, "Aren't you sorry you ever came here?" Um, yeah.

I know the VP-ish activities are more about their own finances than anything. Capitalism and satisfying share holders is the whole cause here. In today's world, companies serve stock holders not communities or people. Should they? In the long run, they will figure out that they should.

For myself, I continue to drift in limbo. It causes me to shrink in. I have to focus on today and what is in front of me right now. It doesn't mean that if an idea surfaces which is a future idea I wouldn't act on it. But I must focus on what I can do and not what I can't do.

I also realize my dirty little secret is very alive in my consciousness. I work for money not for career advancement. I seek technical expertise not managerial expertise. I need to keep my mind busy with challenging work; while earning enough money to run my life. Moving up the ladder at any company is pretty much out of the question. It is more a matter of service.

In fact, service matters a great deal to me. Service is where my mentality at work overlaps with my spiritual life.I embrace that I decided for God and it has produced a strange limbo in this world. I have a growing outlook of this world as an ego project and that there is no place for me in it.. Job or no job, I am in limbo. I cannot produce goals because service today is the only possibility.

Tension occurs however between the ego wanting something to happen now; and my rational consciousness which wants to serve now. Very difficult to stay on track. Some would say I am trying to dis my human-ness. I think human-ness is an excuse for living littleness instead of living magnificence. Choosing spirit, I become less confused.

How may I best serve You. Thy will not mine be done.

ACIM text 2.V:
I am here only to be truly helpful.
I am here to represent Him Who sent me.
I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me.
I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me.
I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.

All my life is really about is "Decide for God" (Manual for Teachers 14) right now. Then, allow God to direct my thinking. And ask for this every time I notice I am thinking what God would not have thought. Worldly limbo is a preparation for God consciousness. Embrace it.

It IS a sacred journey. No other thing about it.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Consciousness and Insanity

From A Course in Miracles, Manual for Teachers 4: "They are sure they are beloved and must be safe. Joy goes with gentleness as surely as grief attends attack. God’s teachers trust in Him. And they are sure His Teacher goes before them, making sure no harm can come to them. They hold His gifts and follow in His way, because God’s Voice directs them in all things. Joy is their song of thanks. And Christ looks down on them in thanks as well. His need of them is just as great as theirs of Him."

Expressed there is what most of us want: safety and being needed. Most of us also add ambition to the formula. Thus ensues competition and attack. Or maybe the men also compete for a woman.

I like the idea of joy being a song of gratitude, I can make that choice right now. Gratitude for the sense of Presence and willingness to turn to Spirit for mental and emotional comfort right now.

I slept late today. It is cooler in Texas now so getting up early for running is not so important. My first thoughts were on how easy it is to forget God. In my world at the moment is a tremendous amount of mental flak related to the split in my company and the uncertainty of where I'll be assigned. But none of that matters if I am employed by God and only here to serve Him.

But honestly, I am not that evolved. Fear producing hatred permeates my brain. My mind is aware of this. In awareness and consciousness, I can direct my thinking. Yes, it is a discipline and an effort to remain in observance. But just letting my thoughts spiral out of control is terrible. First awareness of my thoughts which separates me from them. In my choice, I also employ whatever is a higher consciousness (God, Spirit, Jesus) and ask Him to direct my thinking. And usually some peaceful thought comes along, some thought of trust and reliance on God. And then I am fine. 

This spiritual way of life is pie in the sky for many. Without it, I am hopelessly insane and probably would not be sober.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Transition Transformation

This morning I was reading in A Course in Miracles Manual for Teachers 4.II.A and came up with this:

Tranquility (Inner Peace) = honest learning + consistency of thought + full transfer

I am facing a re-framing of my work life, an upheaval seemingly from "them". But you know, as I type, a new meaning to my Jerusalem experience of 35 years ago surfaces: it was the beginning of spiritual learning for me in this life. And I have been very consistent in that activity ever since.

Trust is the first trait of God's teachers. Then follows honesty, tolerance, gentleness, joy, defenselessness, generosity, patience, faithfulness and openmindedness. And ACIM offers explanations for each of these which differ somewhat from generally accepted connotations, Christianity, and even New Age pseudo-Buddhist preaching.

Wow, I am beyond pseudo-Buddhism! Totally cool!

I am still a runner. I am still an athlete; spiritual and physical and professional engineer. Even now, it is time for a short jog.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014


Today I ran 5.7 miles in the Seabrook area. I did it at just slightly under the 5 mph pace. My achilles did not hurt at all. Such a miracle a year from surgery.

Saturday, I was in this location and doing what these people are doing: running a marathon.

It is the long way home.

I ran a fantastic race; 12 min miles on average for 26.7 miles. The extra distance is because I didn't run the tangents of the course hence I ran more than 26.2, a marathon. During the race, I had to think about my body; how are it's knees and heels. This leads to thinking about my training situation in Houston and my training situation as a 56 year old. It turns out that training in the Houston heat is very slow, but when you do run a race in a drier climate, you ARE trained.

While I was running, I heard someone mention the inner person. To look for the inner person. This alone provides my reason for being here. I began to think about the inner person of the Clydesdale runner; and then about young obese Americans in general.

But as I got to 20 miles in 4 hours, an hour faster than any of my training runs, I entered the race mentally. I decided that my body was good and I would not give up. I kept my pace for the next 6 miles.

Keep it Simple. Let the Universe be in charge. Just do the miles. It is looks downhill, be careful. Don't give up on the uphills.

This weekend, running a marathon, I got to escape my real life for a few days.

United Airlines did a fantastic job. I worried all weekend about my Denver connection for the trip home. It only allowed 30 min and I feared they would give my seat away. But I came in on time, got my bag from the gate checck, walked 20 gates to the next airplane and walked on during the announcement saying I must be on board. I flew on a 787 Dreamliner. That is a nice plane.

My company is in a turmoil as the parent company has decided to IPO our division. I think most of us will have jobs, just not with our current company. We don't like that but who knows if it will turn out good or bad and for whom.

I continue to frame my life in A Course in Miracles. Company or no company, airlines on time or late, I simply must frame my life in ACIM. Right now I am reading chapter 4.II and I offer some statements about ego as described by ACIM:

  • Undermining the ego’s thought system
  • always evaluates itself in relation to other egos
  • continually preoccupied with the belief in scarcity
  • “Self-esteem” in ego terms means nothing more than that the ego has deluded itself into accepting its reality, and is therefore temporarily less predatory.
  •  always vulnerable to stress, a term which refers to any perceived threat to the ego’s existence
  • The ego literally lives by comparisons. 
  •  The ego’s ceaseless attempts to gain the spirit’s acknowledgement and thus establish its own existence are useless. Spirit in its knowledge is unaware of the ego.
  • While the ego is equally unaware of spirit, it does perceive itself as being rejected by something greater than itself.
  • The so-called “battle for survival” is only the ego’s struggle to preserve itself
  • The ego cannot survive without judgement
  •  Who is the “you” who are living in this world?

"The ego must offer you some sort of reward for maintaining this belief. All it can offer is a sense of temporary existence, which begins with its own beginning and ends with its own ending. It tells you this life is your existence because it is its own. Against this sense of temporary existence spirit offers you the knowledge of permanence and unshakeable being. No one who has experienced the revelation of this can ever fully believe in the ego again. How can its meager offering to you prevail against the glorious gift of God?"

Continually deflating my ego in order to experience my own spiritual inheritance is why I study ACIM. This is valuable to me.