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.