Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 - Its A Wrap

2015 was good to me in every aspect of my life.



To finish it off, I'll say this: How many 57 year olds do you know that can't decide if they are marathoners or ultra-marathoners?

I start the new year tomorrow with a marathon.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 Holiday Musings

2015 is not over. Already, I've run more than 3,000 miles this year. That is more than the Race
Across the US (from Santa Monica to the Empire State Building).



Its not my biggest mileage year ever; but one of the best in several years. This goes with 11 full marathons and 4 half marathons finished. I had really good fun at the Miracle Match Marathon in Waco, The Woodlands Marathon, The Irving Marathon, The Fort Worth Marathon and the Houston Running Festival marathon. I wasn't thrilled with The Galveston Marathon, the Seabrook Lucky Trails marathon or The Maryville Marathon.

This year I got to spend 2 nights at the convent where I used to be an inmate.

This year, I was promoted to Subject Matter Expert at work. It was sort of like being named franchise player. Somehow, our work group and 2 very new people and 2 sort of new people and 2 who are experts. Our company was spun off from its parent this year. We have a new completely new name.

This year I: started making all my own bread, all my own peanut butter, grinding my own coffee, making my own beans. So I don't participate in the commercialization of these products. I'm looking for more ways to remove myself from aspects of the grid.

Like, I didn't and won't see Star Wars. I haven't seen a movie in more than 15 years. I don't own a TV. There are many other ways I don't participate in society. I keep hoping this will free my mind to think outside the bell curve of American thinking, and reduce my overall stress since I am not aware of propaganda the media broadcasts. As if broadcasting was a net that didn't catch me.

This year, I celebrated 30 years of sobriety. I am incredibly thankful to have lived a sober life. I think of the decades of misery I've been spared and gratitude fills me.

I realized the truth of why I am single. I think I knew it; but it was too easy to blame men for thinking I'm not very attractive. But this year, 2 guys wanted to get to know me better. The second one was a nice guy I know well and would get along with. But when he asked me out, I was not at all thrilled. I experienced terror. Terror of having someone in my life. I am so not a care taker. I don't relate to being a wife or even a feminine person at all. The result of any relationship is that I decide I can't have that person around and in my way; so I push them out, and that hurts. So I don't get involved at all.

As I explored this terror, I realized that I am married to 2 ideas which leave very little room for another person. One is the idea of metaphysics, which takes a large amount of alone time to study and meditate. The other is the idea of athlete. Not only do I run but I cross train and lift weights and eat only certain things. I really don't want to be continuously adjusting my life and my space for another person.

I look back on 2014 as a horrible emotional year. Menopause was continuing to kick my butt. I look back on 2015 as a successful and fun year. I did well.

Well,  am almost 57. My biggest challenge appears to be training new engineers at work. I plan to continue to pursue ultra-marathoning later in the year. In the mean time, between now and April, I'm signed up for 8 races.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Houston Running Festival

It is totally worth mentioning: I ran a marathon today.

Not just finishing, but RACING.

See, during the past month or so, as I ran 2 half marathons, I discovered that I can 100% run a half marathon at around 10 minute miles without having problems with one of my knees. Early in November, before the 2 half marathons, I ran the Fort Worth marathon by running the first 8.5 miles and then switching to 7x1s (7 minutes run and one minute walk). I did well finishing in 5h04min. That was the best I've done since 2011.

Today, the weather was cold (to me) at 39F to start. Since I live near Galveston Bay, I almost never experience temps less than 55F. But it was clear skies without much wind. I thought my time would be a little slow as I knew I'd have to stop to shed clothing layers. The race course is a 2 mile paved bike path, where I could easily drop a jacket at the car.

I was cold to start so I ran very fast to warm up. I felt comfortable and got about 6 miles done the first hour. I decided to keep running that pace for the first 13 miles, then start the 7x1s. I held a good pace and finished the half in 2h15. Then I started the walk breaks. The walking did help so when I was running, I continued to run fast. I finished in 4h44min.

OMG! I since my surgery in 2013, I never thought I'd ever again break 5 hours in a marathon. Something magical was happening today. I had the energy and my right ACL did no let out one peep. I don't think I was in a zone. I was just running comfortable for me. Nothing was bothering me and the legs had the energy so I let them go.

So fantastic.

Here is how I looked after finishing.



I guess all the cross training; and shorter faster training runs is working. Also, it is winter.

I love being an athlete.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Happiness - 2

I can't believe how happy I am today. I'm still happy about yesterday and my speedy half marathon. But I am also happy about today.

I started off with an 82 min run outside in the rain. Then, after some lunch, I did 140 minutes of additional workout on my machines, 1363 calories. (machines = ex-bike, elliptical, Nordic Track, Versa Climber and rowing). And I did some core exercises in between each machine.

In between running and machine changes, I baked a loaf of bread, finished off making beans in the crock pot, bought stuff online.

Now, I'm finally eating some of the beans.

I love how I feel right now.

Running Happiness

I went in a half marathon yesterday. It was on wide dirt trails in a park. I didn't go there planning to race, but every race causes me to run faster than I normally would.

At first, I was following a lady who I've seen at other races. I think she is my age. I know she is faster than me. After awhile I had to let her go. I knew I couldn't sustain her pace for 13 miles. Not that much later, I passed her when she was walking.

For about the first 7 miles, the footing was good and I kept to a nearly 6 mph pace. Then, we entered an area where there was some mud, the footing was uneven and leaves were hiding trip hazards. I had to slow down some and pray not to trip. But I still found that I really wanted to run fast. But, my knee was having some glitches due to the uneven footing. It was a balancing act.

I did what I could and finally made it out of the treachery onto better trails. I crossed the finish line in 2:18, which was 10:25 pace according to my Garmin. I told the RD I was over the age of 50. He immediately said, "You are the first Master's woman," and handed me an award. I was so thrilled. Here is my picture with the award.




Then, I started walking to my car. I was talking to a nice looking man who was also walking. He said he was 58. I mentioned I was the Masters winner. We discussed why it was that we were still doing this even though we are "old". It is funny to think of "mature" people still competing and being happy about age group awards.

I really loved the experience of "hell bent for leather" I had in the treacherous part of the course. My concentration was fully on the trail in front of me and how fast could I go.

In a month, I'll be 57. I love that I'm still doing races at age 57.

This morning, I had time to sleep in and then ponder. I love fast races. In contrast, I still want to do a ultra endurance event. I asked myself the question again: which one? Today the answer came. Some days I run fast and short, and glory in the speed. Other days, I go slow and long and wander down dark corridors of pain and failure. I need to do both some of the time.

Today is a very rainy day. Since it is also chilly, I think I will put on a rain suit and go slow outside for a little bit.

Next Saturday is a full marathon. I can't wait to see how that works out.

Friday, December 11, 2015

No News Blog

I usually wait to blog until I have some great thing to say. I have no fantastic thing that l've done or that has happened.

Except.....

I'm sitting in an airport at peace. I heard a very quiet thought, "I love being alive."

I don't think I've ever thought that before.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Because It Is the Truth

The Inner Shift, A Course in Miracles Text 21.VIII

I first read the Course in Miracles Text in 2007. I'm now on my 9th reading. I've done the workbook more than once. Frequently, I suddenly understand something I didn't "get" on previous readings. The Text is like a gold mine, with nuggets of golden inspiration available for the digging every time.

This morning I "got" one.

Yesterday, I had a happy day at work. I was happy because no one got on my nerves. I thanked Higher Power for that. This morning, reading the ACIM text, it occurred to me: I  want to be happy to feel better, not because it is the Truth.

Ahhhhh! That is what the Text is saying. Desire happiness, joy, Relationship with Higher Power, because it is the truth; not to feel better. Cuz, if you desire it for Truth, no matter what happens you are happy with HP's Will for you. You're not in it for your small self.

Yesterday I worked out per my usual twice a day. No I didn't rest from my 10 day vacation. I just reverted to my usual work day routine. Exercise is a way of life. Daily workouts are a way of life. I just do them.

Now, I need to get over to the elliptical and do one now.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Vacation Day 10

Today I wasn't sure again what I wanted to do. So I went for a run outside while I decided. The purpose of the run was just to run until I needed a pit stop, then I would go home for that. Mission accomplished. Then, I grabbed the nathan and headed outside with no idea where I really wanted to go or at what speed. I wandered over to Clear Creek again and did laps by the lake.

Today, I logged 13.55 miles.

Total for my 10 day vacation: 150 miles, and a total of 39 hours spent either running or other cross training and strength.

Today was a loss mentally. See, I can't decide what I really like the most. But one of the choices, ultra-marathons, I fail at. I succeed at either marathons or half marathons with at least 2 weeks between races. But part of my brain wants to enter a 48 hour race in March. Another part wants to do 2 marathons in a weekend. Another part wants to do a 50 mile race in 3 weeks. Another part wants to keep working on strength and speed.

Gahhh!

I'm almost 57 years old. How many 57 year olds do you know who are conflicted about what race they want to go in?

Holiday shopping? Ha! Running shoes and a slant board for sit-ups.

I love being an athlete.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Vacation - day 8, day 9 am

Yesterday I slept the latest yet, until 8:30. Surprise!

I hadn't planned on doing big miles yesterday. In fact, wasn't sure what I would do. But, after the spiritual reading, I had decided to go to El Lago first for a real run. But as I went out the door, I noticed my Nathan was on my back. Surprise!

Well, since I had hydration, I decided on a new thing. I went thru El Lago and out along NASA to Clear Lake park. For a long time, I've noticed a bike path near the lake that just might have a small hill. So yesterday was my day to check it out.

I planned to run easy laps there for however long I felt like it. But on the first lap, I got a surprise. This:



OMG! Way too wonderful! So, I ended up combining circuit training with my laps. I would run 2 laps, 0.8 miles, then do a 9 station circuit. Repeat 7 times. Then I headed home.

So, I felt so happy about this. All excited about a new way to do strength and also to combine it with running. My happiness helped me see that perhaps I really do like shorter faster harder; more than slower longer painful. So excited about total fitness, even if I am nearly 57 years old.

Like, the pictures of me in a marathon show me smiling. The pictures of me in an ultra marathon show me dying.

Later in the evening, I rode my elliptical for 45 minutes.

Late at night, I entered a half marathon, just an hour before the price increase. It was funny. I had been upstairs, laying in bed reading. I thought I would come down stairs to check for a discount code for this race I knew about. No discount code. But the price for the half was reasonable and was going to increase that night. The medals looked swell. I know the park and the RD. I wanted to try another fast race. Before I know it: click!

This morning, I made it out of bed when the alarm went off at 6 am. After the spiritual reading, I went to Meador park for fast running. I did 8.5 miles at 10:14 min/mile pace; then slowed up and finished a 10:34 miles total. That was very good.

I'll probably do another indoor work out later.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Run-cation day 7

Yesterday, I ran two whole laps of the Seabrook trails. If you go around the outside of all 3 parks, Meador/ Pine Gully/ Friendship, you get 8.8 miles per lap. This is the first time I've done the complete circuit twice. Usually, I run more laps of a smaller loop.

That got me up to 88 miles in 6 days.

Today, I got out of bed whenever. For spiritual study, I read both some of A Course in Miracles and some of Brunton. I had planned to just walk today and I was going to do it in Brummerhop park. But, I started off with a full hour of running in El Lago so I could take my first pit stop at home. Then, I loaded up my Nathan and went across the street to Brummerhop park. I did 40 laps of Brummerhop. So the total for the day was 19 miles. For 7 days: 107 miles and 27 hours (includes cross training).

Of course, I spend all this time thinking. Today, my mind traveled back and forth between this world and not-this-world. When I was being conscious, I directed my thoughts toward the World Idea, seeking and listening to something bigger than myself. When I was not watching, my mind was busy trying not to hate someone at work, and rationalizing / fictionalizing why I don't participate in holidays.

Today is a holiday in the US. I don't participate in it. I am ethically and morally against this day's activities, so I don't participate.

This does not mean I am ungrateful. In fact, I'm grateful every day for a number of spiritual gifts.

My loops around Brummerhop are very small. Obviously, it is not an adventure run. It is a run designed on purpose to be nothing but time on the feet; and plenty of space to work on the mind. Today, after 38 laps (which came after a 4.8 mile run), at about mile 18.5 on the day, I finally got the answer to why I spend my vacation running, and not doing something exciting. It is because I actually am nobody, even nobody special. At that thought, I became peaceful and happy. Any resentment I have is suddenly released as I took the lower place in society.

I am always happier when, from my heart, I believe that I am nobody. Perfect.

Vacation - 5

Wow, it is so rare that I get 5 days off work. I can hardly understand that I still have 5 more days. Each day has been sort of like: in bed until about 7:30, spiritual reading and meditation for about 2 hours, errand, exercise for 3.5 hours, eat, lay on bed reading, maybe additional work around the house, meditation, lay in bed reading, lights out and sleep about 10.

Today, after 4 days of long distance running, I decided to do something different today. So, after getting up, I put on my jeans. After the spiritual reading, I made my quarterly trip to Home Depot (only over spent by $50, but I needed a new power screw driver). Then, instead of running, I did cross training in my house.

15 min ex-bike
17 min elliptical
25 min durability (put on ankle weights, rotate between step platform, mini-trampoline, trx sprinters, stairs carrying weights, shoulder press, kettlebell swings)
15 min nordic track
15 min versa climber
15 min rowing
90 min walking uphill on the treadmill

For spiritual reading, I've been switching back and forth between Paul Brunton and A Course in Miracles. I decided while running yesterday that A Course in Miracles is much for helpful in actually changing my thinking and increasing my overall consciousness than Brunton.

This morning I thought about spiritual gifts I've received over the past 40 years.
- The gift of wanting to know God and pursuing Him daily
- Sobriety using spiritual tools
- Meditation
- Benedictine listening
- 4 years in a radically different world ( monastery )
- Return to the world without being of it
- Incredible prosperity
- Ongoing desire to improve / heal my reactions to others
- A Course in Miracles

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Cocoon

I had a lovely time outside today. After my run, I came home. No contact with other people today. Also, I've mostly been reading all afternoon and evening.

Is that okay?

The word cocoon came to mind. Perhaps in retreat, I am healing and transforming. That's the point of my solitude. It is a spiritual cocoon. The ego part of my consciousness is reading, but truly my soul is listening to a higher Voice.

Vacation Day 3

I slept amazingly well again. A cold front came across Texas and for the Gulf Coast, it is really cold. Yesterday: AC. Today: heat.

I am putting 4 Course in Miracles lessons into my mind for the next few days:
-This day I choose to spend in perfect peace.
-God is the only goal I have today.
-Let me remember what my purpose is.
-Let me remember that my goal is God; overlooking all little senseless aims.

These are easy enough to remember and to return my thoughts to them. In these vacation days, with nothing on the schedule, I can devote my time to spiritual lessons. I can devote my mind to remembering Spirit.

The above thoughts were in my mind during my run today. As a result, my mind was not on any resentments. When I saw a dog with owner, I didn't hate all dog owners for leaving dog poop on the trail. I had a new thought: the hate is optional. I am also gaining perspective on work colleagues; what can and cannot happen and how we can relate to each other.

My mind was peaceful for 3.5 hours of walk/jog. I felt good today. I could have done more, but I'm saving miles for 7 more days. So far this vacation: 46 miles.

This is part of the Seabrook trail:



I did my chores which was vacuuming part of my house and setting up the electronic cat repellent in the back yard. I looked at picture of a snow storm in Chicago. Sure I am glad I live on the Gulf Coast.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Epiphanies

Whenever I have several days off work, time to be alone with my thoughts, I hope for an inspiration, a new thought.

In my life, there have been several thoughts which have driven me to life changing action. When I was 22, I stood near the Jaffa Gate in old Jerusalem watching some Hassidic Jews. I thought, "There might be something to this God thing." When I came home, I started to study the Bible and pursue religion.

Years later, and many changes, the shootings at Columbine High in Colorado occurred. Listening to a radio interview of one of the boys that lived, who was the boyfriend of one of the girls who was shot, I heard him read her diary from the night before. Jesus Christ mattered to her. I decided to "shamelessly follow Jesus." That is the second important thought of my life. It was soon followed by the question, "How do I shamelessly follow Jesus?" And the intuitive answer was, "Live a life of prayer." These thoughts led me into the monastery.

The thought "Shamelessly follow Jesus" also led me away from the Church several years later.

But first, I had thought number 3. Right before making my first monastic profession, I found myself in crisis for 4 days. It is a long story, but the nun leadership was deciding to kick me out. During the crisis, I had a dream in which I received, "Love is the predominant mode of existence." And then when they actually told me to leave, I asked God why I had to be the one to leave. The intuitive answer, "Because you can. You can live in the world and still practice my presence."

"Love is the predominant mode of existence" is perhaps the last important thought I have had. It stays with me and provides those moments of knowing it truth in my waking consciousness.

In the 12 years since leaving the monastery, my life has gone here and there. I came to Texas on negative vibes. It wasn't inspired by some intuitive message.  Now I am here in Texas. My life is stable and well funded.

I fear it lacks inspiration. My epiphany of this evening was to remember how these other epiphanies drove my life into new territory; and to notice how I haven't had one for awhile. This is especially annoying because my dream of enlightenment through ultra-marathoning isn't going to work. All the methods of enlightenment which I have tried didn't bring what I was looking for. I'm not going to take drugs or have a stroke.

Never mind. I realize that what my ego thinks is enlightenment is only a dopamine induced ecstasy.

Am I too old to have a powerful intuitive thought? Do I shut them off because I make too much money? Have I not done enough with the previous thoughts?

In my silence and solitude, I pray for an intuitive thought. I will begin to watch for the building of an inner power.

I need to understand: How may I best serve You?

Is this the end of the line? I am impatient God. Or Self. Or Jesus. Or whatever I want to call You. Is being a successful engineer all you really want me to do?

Vacation - 2

Yesterday I began vacation for 10 days. The whole plan is to sleep run and eat; with a few chores and pay a few bills.

Each day begins with a long period of spiritual reading and meditation. Each day ends with a repeat of spiritual reading and meditation.

Yesterday I had a wonderful sunny run on trails, 13.2 miles. But my legs were a bit tired still from last week's race. I also rode my elliptical for 40 mins and did 100 crunches.

Today, it was raining earlier in the morning. So I did a fast 55 min run on roads, getting drenched at the end, 4.8 miles. Then after an AA meeting, I went back out for some slow miles. It was not raining and still quite warm. I got in 10.8 miles. Faster than yesterday and my legs felt fine. I plan to do some trx work later.

Yesterday, a woman asked me what I was training for. Really, nothing. The miles are good for me mentally. I love strapping on my Nathan hydro-pak and just spending time doing miles.

The state of my life is a good topic for me during these days of vacation. Actually, since I am a solitary, I contemplate my life. I look for patterns in the spirituality. At this time, my outer world cannot ask for more. At work, I was recently promoted into the top position I would ever desire to attain: Subject Matter Expert. Money is fine. House is fine. Houston is fine.

So again, I turn inward to spirit and ask for knowledge, relationship and truth.

Today while I was running, I was able to get the feeling that everything is love. Thanks Spirit for letting me know this.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Non-race Report





This happy picture is from my awesome half marathon last week. It was a great race.

I am signed up for another race this weekend; but I just cancelled my hotel reservation. I am going to DNS. Just because I don't feel like doing another full marathon again this week. I don't feel like driving across Texas and staying in a hotel, getting up at 4am, getting to a rainy/ windy startline by 6:30 am. And then, the long drive back either.

I don't have the energy.

Instead, I'll be sleeping in the next 10 days and jogging in Seabrook; with plenty of time for spiritual reading and reflection. Not wearing myself out.

It is the right thing to do.

Yes, $100 race fee will go to the charity and I won't have anything to show for it.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Lesson 185

Just plowing my way through the ACIM workbook I arrive at, "I want the peace of God."

If I know I mean it then there is nothing more to say.

Well in the workbook, there is two more pages of explanation.

To say the words is nothing. To mean them is everything.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

La Porte Half Marathon

The second leg of my November race tri-fecta happened today.

2,000 people and a bridge.



I've been feeling good lately. And today I thought, well, it is only a half marathon. I started off running with the crowd, passing those walkers and other slow pokes who should have started further back in the crowd. While we had a big wide road to run on, it was still crowded most of the race.

During the first 5 miles, I was near 11 min miles. Then we head up and over the bridge, around a marina and back over the bridge. When we get down the steepest par of the bridge, there is about 3 miles to go. I was around 10:30 minutes per mile pace (average for the race) at that point.

It being "only" a half marathon, I decided to burn it in. I had about one more mile of gradual down hill and then 2 miles of flat. It was the first time in ages I have allowed myself to run full out for any distance at all. I had a mantra in my mind and I didn't think of anything else. My mantra was, "Father all power comes from you all-one."

In a race this big, I knew full well that there would be no age group award. But it the last 3 miles I thought: run your own race.  I kept my form straight and put the pedal to the medal, all fears of injury aside.

I finished in 2h16min. That is the fastest half marathon I've run in years. It felt good. Now, several hours later, I'm also sure I didn't hurt anything. And this despite that I ran 12 miles yesterday.

It is strange to me now to compare my body for different type of races. In the past month I've done a real slow ultra marathon, a very decent full marathon and today this very speedy half marathon. Today, running fast with only a mantra in my consciousness was more spiritually mesmerizing than the hours going at slow pace in the ultra.

Physically, I'm more successful at faster shorter races, like a full marathon, than I am trudging through an ultra. What I wanted in ultras, meditation, seems best obtained on slow training runs in the Seabrook trails. I also meditate by sitting. But I am never successful at the ultra marathon. I get into pain and decide to quit; perhaps wisely so as I've never irreparably injured myself. As a means of spiritual enlightenment, it is not working.

I am closer to admitting who and what I really am.

I have been trying to decide whether to enter a double marathon (2 marathons in 2 days) in February, or go in a bigger race which would be either one full marathon or one half marathon. It is very difficult for me to let go of the multi-day race, but I would have more fun and be happier going in the bigger race. The double marathon would be very small and on a very boring lap type course. Blisters would occur. It is such a small race that it has low quality swag and pretty expensive. But it IS a double. I want to do a double close to home so I can decide if I want to go in any more ultras. But I fail at ultras.

I really am a marathoner. I should just do it.

Next weekend, I'm going in another full marathon.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Lesson 183

I found so much comfort in this lesson last night and this morning. It soothed both my ego and my soul and made peace inside my being.

Yesterday I was stressed out at work. I felt reactive emotionally and pushing back. Then, in the evening I felt bad anything had happened. I did my evening exercise, then read the lesson and took my inventory and meditated.

I slept good. I did not obsess about work or any person in the night. I woke up a little before the alarm and got up. I did the same spiritual activities again. I realized how my main conflict is with myself.

For my life, I've struggled to be more calm inside. Do others struggle or is there something wrong with my wiring? No, I think most people are either unconscious, or not involved with mental self improvement through spiritual / meditative techniques. Most people are too distracted with activities to address the depth of the issue. I live a solitary life with lots of silence, no TV or other outside input. This makes me sensitive to times when my ego/ emotions are stirred up. Then it is my job to get the swirling upsetness to settle into peace. That is my spiritual life at its core.

So I went for a very nice run this morning and ordered pictures from my last marathon. Today at work, I am successfully accomplishing work; and staying out of anyone's face.  Peaceful I am.

Here is the whole of Lesson 183.

LESSON 183
I call upon God’s Name and on my own.
1 God’s Name is holy, but no holier than yours. To call upon His Name is but to call upon your own. A father gives his son his name, and thus identifies the son with him. His brothers share his name, and thus are they united in a bond to which they turn for their identity. Your Father’s Name reminds you who you are, even within a world that does not know; even though you have not remembered it.
2 God’s Name can not be heard without response, nor said without an echo in the mind that calls you to remember. Say His Name, and you invite the angels to surround the ground on which you stand, and sing to you as they spread out their wings to keep you safe, and shelter you from every worldly thought that would intrude upon your holiness.
3 Repeat God’s Name, and all the world responds by laying down illusions. Every dream the world holds dear has suddenly gone by, and where it seemed to stand you find a star; a miracle of grace. The sick arise, healed of their sickly thoughts. The blind can see; the deaf can hear. The sorrowful cast off their mourning, and the tears of pain are dried as happy laughter comes to bless the world.
4 Repeat the Name of God, and little names have lost their meaning. No temptation but becomes a nameless and unwanted thing before God’s Name. Repeat His Name, and see how easily you will forget the names of all the gods you valued. They have lost the name of god you gave them. They become anonymous and valueless to you, although before you let the Name of God replace their little names, you stood before them worshipfully, naming them as gods.
5 Repeat the Name of God, and call upon your Self, Whose Name is His. Repeat His Name, and all the tiny, nameless things on earth slip into right perspective. Those who call upon the Name of God can not mistake the nameless for the Name, nor sin for grace, nor bodies for the holy Son of God. And should you join a brother as you sit with him in silence, and repeat God’s Name along with him within your quiet mind, you have established there an altar which reaches to God Himself and to His Son.
6 Practice but this today; repeat God’s Name slowly again and still again. Become oblivious to every name but His. Hear nothing else. Let all your thoughts become anchored on this. No other word we use except at the beginning, when we say today’s idea but once. And then God’s Name becomes our only thought, our only word, the only thing that occupies our minds, the only wish we have, the only sound with any meaning, and the only Name of everything that we desire to see; of everything that we would call our own.
7 Thus do we give an invitation which can never be refused. And God will come, and answer it Himself. Think not He hears the little prayers of those who call on Him with names of idols cherished by the world. They cannot reach Him thus. He cannot hear requests that He be not Himself, or that His Son receive another name than His.
8 Repeat God’s Name, and you acknowledge Him as sole Creator of reality. And you acknowledge also that His Son is part of Him, creating in His Name. Sit silently, and let His Name become the all-encompassing idea that holds your mind completely. Let all thoughts be still except this one. And to all other thoughts respond with this, and see God’s Name replace the thousand little names you gave your thoughts, not realizing that there is one Name for all there is, and all that there will be.
9 Today you can achieve a state in which you will experience the gift of grace. You can escape all bondage of the world, and give the world the same release you found. You can remember what the world forgot, and offer it your own remembering. You can accept today the part you play in its salvation, and your own as well. And both can be accomplished perfectly.
10 Turn to the Name of God for your release, and it is given you. No prayer but this is necessary, for it holds them all within it. Words are insignificant, and all requests unneeded when God’s Son calls on his Father’s Name. His Father’s Thoughts become his own. He makes his claim to all his Father gave, is giving still, and will forever give. He calls on Him to let all things he thought he made be nameless now, and in their place the holy Name of God becomes his judgement of their worthlessness.
11 All little things are silent. Little sounds are soundless now. The little things of earth have disappeared. The universe consists of nothing but the Son of God, who calls upon his Father. And his Father’s Voice gives answer in his Father’s holy Name. In this eternal, still relationship, in which communication far transcends all words, and yet exceeds in depth and height whatever words could possibly convey, is peace eternal. In our Father’s Name, we would experience this peace today. And in His Name, it shall be given us.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Fort Worth Marathon....

... and Bill Wilson retreat.

I originally signed up for this race because they give out cool belt buckles for medals. And because I seem unable to not sign up for races. Winter is racing season in Texas; and marthoners come out in all their glory. Many of the same faces are there every week. Yup- as many marathons as physically possible.

Logistically, everything went well. I made it out of and back into Houston despite rain and closed freeways. Traffic is the most important topic in Houston; avoiding it that is. I encountered no traffic in Fort Worth, but traffic is an important topic there too. I expected it to be a bigger race; only about 300 were entered in the marathon.

Logistically, everything associated with the race itself went perfect. Nice aid stations. Easy packet pickup. Plenty of parking at the start.

My hotel was nice too. Nothing broken. The air conditioning was quiet.

So I get into Fort Worth and my hotel. I have with me a new book: "My Name is Bill." A biography of Bill Wilson, the co-founder of AA. Very interesting details about Bill; his family background, his life hurdles and finally the AA years. It was interesting to me to see how Bill's personal emotional problems fit in to the writing of the 12 steps. then it was interesting to me to see how my own emotional problems fit in with that frame work. I have of course been working the steps for 30 years, but this gave me a fresh perspective on how I feel about it.

And then, since I'd get tired of laying on the bed and reading, I'd get up and pace back and forth in the hotel room reading pages 62-63 of the Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous out loud to myself and refreshing my memorization; which pages are about selfishness and self centeredness and turning your life over to your Creator.

I haven't drank for 30 years. I don't really remember what alcoholic craving was like. I do remember succumbing to it. I remember buying alcohol day after day. I remember trying to hide the gin from myself on the top shelf of my pantry. I remember that when I felt too drunk, I'd put my finger down my throat to throw up.... and then drink some more.

It was good to take the time out to think about all this.

Then on Sunday, I was up before the alarm to go to the marathon. I was there early so I continued to read my book in the car. At 30 min before the race, I got in line at the porta-potties. Then got back in the car; it was a tiny bit chilly. Just before the start, I got out of the car, walked about 50 feet to the start and shivered for about 10 min. Then we were off.

The course for this race is almost all on bike path; so traffic was not a worry. I ran 100% for the first 8.5 miles at about 11 min per mile pace. Then I started running 7 min and walking 1 min for the rest of the race. I got to talk to several people along the way and greet a some I hadn't seen for awhile.

I spent a good deal of time noticing the difference in how my body feels when I am doing a fast marathon vs a slow ultra marathon. I had the option of pushing myself at the end of the marathon because I had a certain end point. With a 24 hour race, I'm always conserving because I don't know how long I'll keep it up. Also, I get less blisters with a running marathon than I do with walking an ultra (an issue I don't know how to solve).  I am extremely pleased with my 5:04 time. It averages out to about 11:45 per mile. I'm happy with that because I train much easier than I race.

The belt buckle looks cool. Unfortunately, it is not properly designed to be used as a belt buckle. Rats! I really wanted a marathon belt buckle to wear. Now I have two that can't be worn.

Any results from all my AA pondering? Well, I did real well with a personality issue at work today. That is progress. I'll take it. Concentrating on turning my life over to a higher power and remembering that "of myself I am nothing" always works to make my relationships better. For that I am grateful; and I did thank whatever higher power there is as I drove home today.

I'll post pictures when they come out.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Rainy Sunday

Today, I spent 3.5 hours running in the rain. It actually went pretty good.

I've been mulling over my week in Germany and the German colleagues. Also one American colleague. Concerning the Germans, I have concluded: there is not much I can do to change the world. But alot I can do to make Baytown Texas a safe plant. Regarding my American colleague: I say in my soul, How may I best serve you? If I serve my colleague in my mind and heart, all will be well with the universe. I pray for _____. I pray for her health, her prosperity and her happiness. I pray that everything I want for myself be given to her.

And go on my way, unburdened by my own ego.


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Zons, Germany


I spent the week in the little town pictured above, Zons. That view is that I saw on my runs along the Rhine river. Yes, a whirlwind trip to Germany. 5 nights, all expenses paid by work. Well, one of the nights was spent on an airplane and another in the Frankfurt airport Sheraton.  So only 3 nights in this quaint town. Meetings all of the days and dinners at night. That Frankfurt airport is huge when you count the train station and all the shops.

Lufthansa business class is better than United. I got to think of my parents who flew Lufthansa to European ski trips 50 years ago. They used to steal the glasses. I listened to talks by German colleagues. I came away realizing the politics of our company are complicated and affect how I do my job. I have to keep to my simple outlook: I don't understand the politics so just produce work product. 

Metaphysically speaking, I can't figure out why I was there. I can't even say it was a big success for work. This afternoon, when I was meditating, I said to the Holy Spirit, "ok, I did what you assigned me to do. What do I get?" I was hoping for an inspirational moment during the trip. 

Speaking of inspiration, I seem to be in a dry period. It was a relief to get back to Paul Brunton this morning. His writing does lift me up; but I didn't lug any of his books on the trip. 

I left Houston in the remnants of Patricia; pouring rain and flooding. Now, on my return, we still have pouring rain and flooding. I did do a fast 76 min run outside today. It may have been raining but it was also 78F, so who cares if I was wet. I did my afternoon workout on the machines inside. I hope the rain is not too bad tomorrow. I'd like to go over to the park.



Friday, October 23, 2015

Lesson 153

Part of the text says, "Be still a moment, and in silence think how holy is your purpose, how secure you rest, untouchable within its light."

So beautiful and even I can feel the power of that idea. I can't put my purpose into words but I can rest in it.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Lesson 152

"The power of decision is my own. .. Then will we wait in silence, giving up all self-deceptions, as we humbly ask our Self that he reveal himself to us."

I've been feeling better this week; in the early morning spiritual session. I wonder if my working the 12 Steps during my endurance run changed me, healed me. And do I now start the day a little higher on the emotional scale? I've decided yes. The power of decision is about creating my own reality.

It wasn't that I met a mileage goal, but that I spent 9 hours in spiritual mode.

Brunton today: Its (spirituality) proper business is to rescue man from mechanical and unintelligent activity and put him on a path to a deliberately wise life.

Inward ignorance or inward happiness? What is your decision? I mistake transient sense gratification for true happiness. Deliberate wisdom. Very interesting. Speaks to my journey out of unconscious living.

So I went running and it was fantastic.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Lesson 140 - Self Respect

Bits of the ACIM text:

Let my interfering thoughts be laid aside.
Be still and listen to the truth.
My mind holds only what I think with God.

Now 2 days after my ultra run and I want to go running, but one toe is still painful. Rats!

Brunton says, "Even if a man fails to win at business, he will grandly win his own self respect." That is the person who practices spiritual principles. That helps me because I just realized, I can't like myself just as I am. I mean, I don't have the ability. My ego is just too petty. Sadly I have no inner self respect. I continually measure myself against others. People pleasing is all I have. Despite years of personal inventory, I've not so clearly realized this.

As soon as I got out of bed this morning, I had to work on my toe. The blister is not infected but it is still a raw hunk of flesh. Now I will shamble over to my elliptical and gently work out.

As I did my elliptical, I though about my small self who is my worldly consciousness; and that elusive Higher Self, not ordinary consciousness. I thought about a line in a book: he is like a person who has lost his legs. He never grows new ones. I thought about how some parents give their children an innate sense of self worth.

When it comes to self worth, I was never given it and won't grow it either.  In the world, I am successful, but never feel it as an innate sense, only if a dopamine reward went with it. No wonder I find relations with other people so frightening. I'm so dependent on their reactions.

As I rode my elliptical, I was glad for this realization. It also led to another realization. Now that I know I have no self respect, I can peacefully go on with life. Psychotherapists try to coach their patients into building self esteem. I say, forget it. Just go on. Oh gee, I don't have legs. Well, just go on. I'm screwed. Oh, ok, fine. Just go on.

On the other hand, it is evidence of a Higher Self, or I'd not be able to say, Just go on.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

12 Step Endurance Practice

Yesterday I went in an ultra marathon. I know my limitations. I try to prevent the big toe blisters which chronically occur. I tape my knee so the ACL does not get tweaked. I know that if the blisters get too bad, I'll quit.

But it is the mental game which is not only the point of a timed endurance event, but the most difficult part. I don't mind quitting when my big toes are destroyed. I do need to keep going if my only problem is fatigue. Leg fatigue always happens, but it is not the end of the game.

So, I wanted to avoid premature quitting. I needed a way to keep my mind healthy.

I tried something totally new. I made myself a little book. I wrote down sayings from a 12 Step book, one page for each step. I would study and ponder one step for 4 laps (approximately an hour). This way, my goal is to ponder the steps and not pay too much attention too how I feel. Remember, these steps are taken in the context of an ultra marathon, and my life's day to day struggles; not an alcoholic obsession.

Somehow, the endurance run became my spiritual adviser. It spoke to me of character defects I didn't really see. So the result is a new understanding of myself and an end to some of the habitual hatefulness.

6:15, I arrive at the park. It is dark still. I unload my chair, little table, cooler, bag of food, bag of extra gear. I pick up my number and chip.

6:45, we have a little meeting where the race director explains every thing. This race has about 50 people. I see a woman who I met at another race. I talk to her. At the Habanero run in August, I had suffered from severe dehydration and had to sit by the side of the trail for a long time until I could stand without getting dizzy. She had stopped her race to watch me. That was very nice. I asked her if she finished. Yes she did; but it took 11 hours to finish that 50k. Oh my. I don't think I could have done that regardless of dehydration.

7 am, off we go onto a one mile out and back course. It is a nice park and it turns out that I like seeing all the racers, so I don't mind out and back. But clearly, this type of race offers no challenge but the inner challenge.

I step up to the plate with Step 1: "who cares to admit complete defeat?"  Wow, how do I start a race with that? But really, such a thought smacks my ego right at the start. I get rid of any expectations of what "I" think "I" will do. Right from the start, I accept that my ego will be defeated. No grandiosity. No glory. No bragging rights.

"...unless he has accepted his devastating weakness and all its consequences..." The toes are my devastating weakness. The eventual pain of toes and legs which will force me to quit are my devastating weakness. I am powerless. It is only a matter of when. My ego hates quitting.

"... no amount of human will power..." Well, this caused me to think about the normal approach to ultra marathons which is successful for most people. They decide that they will finish the race no matter what. And they do, come injury or whatever, they finish. I've never done this. And now, my Step 1 has told me that no amount of human will power will do it. Other people can do it, but it doesn't work for me. In other words, I can't. I agree.

4 laps done in just under an hour. On to Step 2: "Having reduced us to a state of absolute helplessness, you now declare that none but a higher power ...." Really? Only a higher power will get me through this race. New thinking for me in the context of a ultra marathon.

" ...all you need is a truly open mind..."  I looked at my mind. How closed is it? I could see some places where it was closed.

"...I had only to cease fighting..." I fight alot in many areas of my life, but regarding this race here and now, what am I fighting? Shoes, food, heat, race management, other people, the rough patches of pavement, porta-potties... This concept turned out useful a bit later when it was very hot and I decided to walk instead of fighting the heat. At the end of step 2, two hours into the race, I thought I might like to eat one of my sandwiches and some fruit, only to realize that those things had been forgotten at home. I'd have to eat course food. Rats! I'm not in control.

"...road blocks of indifference, fancied self-sufficiency, prejudice and defiance..." All  of these ideas have application in life and in a race. But my theme for the day seemed to be realizing that self reliance would not work for me.

"...provided we place humility first...we received the gift of faith..." Now I had to think about my pride and gain humility. My pride causes me to go too fast in the early part of a race because I want to be done at a certain time. Or I look at the other lady who is my age and I want to beat her. Or the fat person. Or the guy talking too much. Or...  God, my head is full of crap.

"...we had substituted negative for positive thinking...this trait had been an ego feeding proposition..." Now this really hit me. I suddenly saw my whole pattern of thinking, for the past 11 years since leaving the monastery, as negative and how that fed my ego. Amazing. I've never seen this before. The race is my spiritual adviser.

"...at no time had we asked what God's will was for us." Here, I had to realize my race goals and plans were mine, not God's. And then throw up the silent prayer of wonderment, "What are Your goals for me?" Remember I forgot my food? Well, now, the Race Director and his plans for the aid station became the higher power and God's will for me.

Completing 8 laps, I moved on to Step 3: "...cut away the self will that has blocked the entry of God" My self will.... hummmm. I had an inner niggle related to self will blocking God, or Higher Self if you please. That enlightenment which many others get always comes at a moment of defeating self will.

" ... instinct and logic always seek to bolster egotism, and so frustrate spiritual development" Oh yes, another sudden revelation of how "I", logic and instinct, was bolstering egotism. And it is egotism which is causing all my unhappiness and hatefulness in life.

"...dependence on a higher power is really a way of gaining true independence of spirit." I really would like independence of spirit.

"...some problems refuse to be solved by all the sheer personal determination and courage he can muster" Well, here I am, My own courage is not going to finish this race.

"It is when we try to conform our will with God's that we begin to use it rightly" True, but do I do this? Not really.

Now, about 3 hours into the race. A guy from work shows up. I am truly surprised. He had called me one day last week and in the course of the conversation, I had mentioned I was going in this race. I only vaguely mentioned where it was. And I was joking about him coming. But he did come! And he was there for quite awhile. He walked some with me and he went off to practice his Frisbee.

I went on to Step 4, now with this guy from work as part of the mix: "...total inability to form a true partnership with another human being...we have no once sought to be a worker among workers...of true brotherhood we had small comprehension..." Here is this guy from work who has driven 40 miles to this race. I would never have done that. But he did. Why has he done it? I really don't know. I do know that being "just one of the engineers" is very hard for me. He takes my picture.



"...discover a chink in the walls my ego has built..."  I imagine myself as behind an ego wall and I can't really see any chinks. But as I mentally decide to inspect the wall closely, maybe a small chink can be found. The main thing is that I realize it is a wall. All the metaphysical teaching of A Course in Miracles and Paul Brunton and Eckhart Tolle and Plotinus speak of the separation caused by the ego. Step 5 of the 12 Steps is meant to take down the wall and put you on The Broad Highway.

"...pride, leading to self-justification, always spurred by conscious or unconscious fears..." Now, I suddenly realize how much of my thinking is self justification. I am continually silently telling stories to various people about why I have failed them. Now I see it is self-justification. Now I see it was pride and that behind pride is fear. If I can only become conscious of the fear.

"...all the faulty foundation of my life will have to be torn out and built anew on bedrock..." The race is doing this, step by step, mile by mile.

"...why do I lack the ability to accept conditions I cannot change?" I need to let go of my plans and go along with the conditions of this race. I wish I could accept conditions at work.

Now it is 4 hours into the race and I'm at Step 5: "humility...a clear recognition of who and what we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be." Back to humility as a concept for an ultra marathoner.

"we began to suspect how much trouble self delusion had been causing us." Self delusion is another metaphysical proposition: that the world we see is an ego world and not the Real World. I accept self delusion and feel a slight inner nudge; but can't attache any conscious realization.

"...that mysterious barrier we could neither surmount nor understand..." Yes, I again inspect the ego wall. I see that it is there. I see I have no plans to change it.

"...the steps all deflate our egos..."  I knew this. I also know for it now. I am beginning to suffer as the miles pile up. It is getting warmer.

"...things which really bother and burn us..."  Again I look inside. I haven't lately really tried to define the categories of situations which really bother and burn me. Certain things are my hot buttons. But I haven't tried to define the ego aspects and say consciously that this ego button bothers and burns me. And, now in the race, the idea is too slippery.

Now it is five hours and 20 miles into the race. My toes hurt and I am upset because they shouldn't. Something is very wrong. I run marathons without toe tape and don't have so much problems. Now, I have taped the toes and am in serious difficulty after only 20 miles. The tape is taking up space in the toe box. The tape job is not good. And, it is hot.

Step 6: "...who doesn't like to feel superior..."  I can again identify a habitual trait within me. I can feel superior to certain other people on the course; or worse, the fat people having bar-b-q and not exercising at all. But then I also know those people I scorn will also stay out there longer than me and go farther because they are willing to slow down and shuffle forward regardless. Or the bar-b-q people are being kind to one another and enjoying family.  I'll decide that the pain is enough and quit.

"Self righteous anger can be enjoyable..."  I again identify a habitual trait within me. I think about this more in terms of my work relationships. Its bad.

"we take satisfaction from the fact that many people annoy us, for it brings a comfortable feeling of superiority." My thoughts go to conversations I typically have with others, especially related to those slow drivers.

"abandon our limited objectives and move towards God's will for us..." Now, I arrive at the race itself. I have limited objectives. Is it possible that God has a further limit? This part comes true when I get to 26 miles. I can pick up a medal for 26 miles. The next medal is 50 miles. If I go past 26 miles but not to 50, then I have nothing to show for it.

I had planned to walk and jog for 30 miles, then switch shoes and walk only. But my toes are bad. It is hot. ok, I need to change myself and accept where I am at. The steps are making this possible. At 24 miles, I change the shoes and decide to walk. I say to myself, "I am used to going for 10 miles walks in these shoes. I will forget the previous 24 miles and now start a new 10 mile walk."

And on to Step 7: "the attainment of greater humility is the foundation principle of each of AAs 12 Steps" No kidding. This was the 7th hour of the race. If, I made it through 4 laps, I'd be at 28 miles, an ultra marathon. My legs were in pain but not the injury kind of pain. My toes were bad. It was hot. I'm out long past a normal training run. I'm approaching a marathon, when normally the race would be over. Yes, the race is kicking my butt; and my ego is insisting that this should not be. But it is. Accept it. I am under performing according to my ego.

"without humility, they cannot live to much useful purpose or in adversity summon the faith that can meet any emergency" Well, I see that self will cannot help me in THIS emergency; or any other I realize. Never has.

"character building and spiritual values had to come first" The race is causing me to build character; mainly as I face the weakness of my pride and ego. Mainly as I face my personal physical shortcomings. Short  fat toes get blisters no matter what. Shoes just don't fit them.

"we never thought of making honesty, tolerance and true love of man and God the daily basis of living" Yes, but how do you do that? I don't have the ability to not be egotistical. I mainly live by instincts: selfishly protect my self. But yet, there are many instances where I help someone else even though my ego has just told me not to. How do I become the person which is always helpful and not have to fight with self all the time?

"For just so long as we were convinced that we could live exclusively by our own strength and intelligence, for just that long was a working faith in a higher power impossible" I am beginning to realize my ability to focus on spirituality is failing. I'm hot and tired and in pain and higher thinking isn't happening.

"the process of gaining a new perspective was unbelievable painful" This only told me that I am in pain at that moment. If I was gaining a new perspective, it was certainly through the pain.

During the 7th step, 26 miles came and went. I passed the point of getting another medal since I didn't think I'd make it to 50 miles. Now, for the first time ever, I am doing miles for no gain. that is new. There won't be a material reward for what I am doing. I don't know the answer to why I do ultra marathons. The answer is somewhere out there in the miles and in the time.

I just passed my 50th lifetime marathon. One of the guys decides he will walk this lap with me. He says that the course is long. That his garmin just went past 27 miles even though we just past 26 miles. This is when I remember this is my 50th. I tell him and lift my hands in the air. We talk for this lap and it goes pretty fast. Then he quits.

7th Step Prayer: "My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength as I go out from here to do your bidding"

Step 8, 8th hour: ".... develop the best possible relations with every human being we know..." I don't try to do this. Now, at this moment of the race, I can't even figure this out. I'm ok with these people here. I'm not really able to want to fix my work life right at the moment. I am hot. My toes hurt.

"... Very deep, sometimes quite forgotten, damaging emotional conflicts persist below the level of consciousness..."  Slippery again. I know I came from a bad family. I know the emotional problems are there. I can't do more right at the moment.

"...what happens when we wallow in depression, self-pity oozing from every pore..." I do this. My only hope is that when I return to work next week, I will become conscious of when this is happening. Right now in the race, I can't realize that I feel sorry for myself. Everyone else here hurts too. I know I am going to quit but they will keep going, no matter how slow, someone will be doing it. If I was unconscious of self-pity, I might quit and hate myself but not know why. Today, I will quit eventually, but not out of unconscious self-pity.

9th hour, 32 miles complete, Step 9: "...we should try to be absolutely sure that we are not delaying because we are afraid. For the readiness to take the full consequences of our past acts, and to take responsibility for the well-being of others at the same time, is the very spirit of step nine." This isn't helping me at all. I can't focus on it.

I changed my shoes after 32 miles. Now I am wearing shoes that have the toe box cut out. I decide to see how bad my toes hurt. I consider that if I quit, I won't finish the 12 Steps. My toes hurt even without anything touching them.

But here's what happened. Near the end of lap 33, I pull into the shade. Suddenly I think, "If there is a traffic jam on I45, you might as well stay here at the race." Suddenly, my race is to be decided by Houston traffic. I can't help myself. The iphone comes out and Houston Transtar app is opened. No traffic. 100 feet later, I am asking for the 26 mile medal and handing in my chip. Game over.

Last night, I could barely hobble around the house. I stayed in bed about 10 hours. This morning I feel quite good. Definitely, 33 miles is not as bad as 50 miles. I'm glad.

The major difference between this race and other similar events? While I did go a few more miles before quitting, and I didn't quit in hatefulness. I think that at other times, I have quit in seething hatefulness and self-justification. This time I quit with a peaceful mind and good attitude. So I quit at the proper time, but my ego was not involved. this is called serenity and I am grateful for it. Thank you 12 Steps.

Another part of the 12 Step program is the Serenity Prayer. This prayer did not occur to me yesterday but it does now as I reflect on the race. I got serenity yesterday. Serenity was the outcome.

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Onward to life's next lesson.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Decision Made

Tomorrow, at the endurance run, I hope to do 50 laps. That is my goal.

Sandwiches are made. Fruit prepared. Drinks made. Clothing bag packed. Toes taped. Knees taped. Shoes laid out. Chair in car. Hydro pak prepped with gels and bars. Head light, check. 2Toms laid by shoes. Extra blister pads in bag. Sun glasses. Lap counter. Hats. Red Bull. Strawberry Protein drink. Long sleeves for the night. Spiritual notes ready.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ultra Preparation

I am signed up for a 24 hour endurance run on Saturday. It is one of the one mile loop affairs which provides a very friendly environment. Nothing to trip over.

The main challenge, other than blisters, is mental. Why am I out here? What am I doing this for? Do I really care if I get 50 miles or 100k? Why not stop now?

I signed up for 24 hours because I didn't know what I wanted to do. If I tried for 50 miles, it would take more than 12 hours. I essentially purchased 24 hours of time on a course. I get to do what I want with it.

I've always seen these looped, timed races as self transcendence events. True enough that every one of them has been an experience for me. Usually some type of injury takes me out. I can't predict thats what will happen this time. They give out medals for a marathon so I might stop there. When I make it a long ways, it is usually because I forgot time. I entered a state where I wasn't noticing. I just suddenly look up and see I have 49 laps and wonder how that happened.

Then I prayed to my higher consciousness. And I got a brain storm. What if I planned a mental strategy for each hour? Hey, the 12 Steps! A step for each hour. That would draw me on, give me a goal. Go up to 12 and back down.

My last ultra was in December. I did 45 miles. I want to experience that feeling again.

But to get there, I need to over come mental lethargy. If I sit here in my house right now and think about spending 14 - 15 hours on my feet, it doesn't excite me. Where would the patience come from?

12 hours of time. 12 hours available for God. 12 hours for personal discovery.


I have figured out my shoes, including one pair with no toes for use after the inevitable blisters come (even with taped toes sometimes). I have some protein drinks. I have a head light. I have a chair. I have some vegan burger patties and Ezekiel English muffins for sandwiches.

The weather will be HOT!  (Houston is only cold one day a year).

What I don't think I have is patience. So instead, I have 12 Steps. In this way, if I make it past 26 miles, I believe I was enabled by my higher power. It wasn't me. I'm happy to put the credit some where else.

After 50 miles, my body feels horribly bad. But mentally, I am sky high. Can't wait to do it again.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Healing

I slept amazingly well last night. I woke up feeling healed.

This morning, Brunton gave me this related to his definition of philosophy: It is nameless. But because there is only one way to deal with it honestly-- the way of utter silence, speechless when in contact with other humans, perfectly still when in the secrecy of a closed room...

And then I closed my eyes for a practice of no-thought. I felt my ego begin to offer, one after another, things I should be upset about. And I thought that my emotions were a seething volcano or huge cauldron getting ready to blow up. And suddenly I received the ability to step back from the emotions and see them as a pot on the stove. I could watch them but not be them. I could add cold water to calm them or turn down the gas fire under them. And I was that Self with is not the self.

How long does this last? Have I taken a step further into inner peace?

Well I can only surrender and accept the higher purpose, my role assigned by that Self.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Lesson 135

It is Sunday. I slept in. No hurry. Nothing that needs to be done. The miles got done yesterday; though more will be done today.

I am at first astounded by Lesson 135. Part of it is, "A healed mind does not plan. It carries out the plans that it receives through listening to wisdom not its own. " There is a whole 5 pages describing letting go.

I mix my thinking. The thought that I frequently have: why did God make me? A sinful question to ask for sure. People blame me. I should be making something of my life myself. But engaging the world is exactly the opposite of what I am doing.

Brunton gives me "intuitive perception and mystical insight." Indeed if I silence my thoughts then I feel better and get good ideas.

And so I went for a 12 mile walk. I experienced all of my frustration at being a human, all my seeming life failures, all my hatred of others. No, it was not an enlightening walk at all. Yes, I kept changing the channel to silence. Yes, I lost consciousness and went back to reviewing my life. This is exactly Now for me. No, I didn't at all sense a higher consciousness as I might usually.

I think I am stressed out. I mainly want the other people to go away. I wish I didn't have to go to work and deal with problems.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Lesson 132

"I loose the world from all I thought it was."

Merely rest. Let your mind in quiet be changed.

My wish is to find the divine presence, deep in my heart's stillness.

Sounds so simple. Today I am getting over the emotional backwash of yesterday. A day in a room with many other personalities pulling and pushing. My own dirt is stirred up. Now it needs to settle. Solitude and meditation and exercise and waiting are my tools. Help from some inner consciousness.

I hate this feeling of injury to my psyche. I feel sullied and defeated. Yet I must go out again today. Participation is expected of me.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Miles

Another 60 + mile week. Another 30+ mile weekend.

Last night, I wondered why I do this. I did 18 miles on Saturday. Why did I know that more miles would be done on Sunday. Yes I go in races, but my miles are not really viewed as training. Just what I do.

I don't have an answer. Perhaps to wonder about the Egrets. Perhaps to say hi to Clara and Frank. Sometimes, just before I go outside, I dream of endlessness. Sometimes I experience endlessness.

I just hope I'm still doing miles 20 years from now.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

To Be a Sage

Somehow, at an early age, I got the dream that I could become enlightened and be a wise person. And I've been chasing that dream for decades.

The notebooks of Paul Brunton came into my life within the past 6 years. A Course in Miracles within the past 10 years. Many other spiritual books along the way. This morning I read in Bunton, "Whoever keeps on reflecting with intense concentration and wholehearted absorption will discover It's Reality." Today's ACIM lesson is, "Beyond this world there is a world I want."

I continue my spiritual activities day after day. The dream continues because I feed it.

Unlikely that an American upper middle class child of an alcoholic could achieve this dream. Its not the American dream. I'm also attempting enlightenment without drugs, traumatic brain injury, tropical disease, fasting for 30 days, climbing Everest, running 100 miles, living in silence and solitude, etc.

Now to go jogging.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Lesson 127

Before I say anything about the lesson, here is a lovely thing. Garrison Keeler sings a song which I think is an Elvis song. "Take my hand. Take my whole life too. For I can't help falling in love with you." This morning I found myself singing that to my higher consciousness.

I don't want to die a human animal. I wish my ego was more giving and less fearful. I wish I could sleep more and run more.

Lesson 127 gives us this: Love is the Heart of God and of us. With that, my mind opens and expands. Maybe I can have a good day.

Paul Brunton distinguishes between now and Eternal Now. Ekhart Tolle didn't make this clear; and I read his book twice. The Eternal Now is in the 4th dimension. I can glimpse it. I can know it. But it doesn't provide a permanent escape from this world.

Lesson 127 is quite long, but here is a small part of it: "

Seek not within the world to find your Self. Love is not found in darkness and in death. Yet it is perfectly apparent to the eyes that see and ears that hear love’s Voice. Today we practice making free your mind of all the laws you think you must obey; of all the limits under which you live, and all the changes that you think are part of human destiny. Today we take the largest single step this course requests in your advance towards its established goal.
7 If you achieve the faintest glimmering of what love means today, you have advanced in distance without measure and in time beyond the count of years to your release. Let us together, then, be glad to give some time to God today, and understand there is no better use for time than this."

Highlights and underlines are mine. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Purpose

Today is lesson 125 in A Course in Miracles. I read this: "...you have a special purpose for today; in quiet to receive the Word of God."

I felt it settle in and I believed. It also explains the solitude in which I live.

Then I started my exercise. First, 10 min on the Versa Climber. Then a fantastic 31 min run outside. I was going faster than I have for several months with no twinges in any part of my legs. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Lesson 124

"Today...We can fail in nothing. Everything we touch takes on a shining light."

I prepare to sally forth into the melay of work. I read that quote and my mind was inspired. I felt it. Let the rain come down.

Stop and listen. I just realized that I need humility today; be a servant. Sudden gratitude. On my inner knees I ask, "How may I best serve You. Thy will not mine be done."

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Gratitude

The Course in Miracles lesson today talked about giving God a day of gratitude. And, the lesson helpfully listed a number of non-material things I should be grateful for. This lesson got mixed in with some other reading from Brunton on Grace.

I thought about gratitude during the next 4.5 hours of my 20 mile run.

Most people are grateful for material world things. Like, dear God, I'm so happy I'm a first world person so I have plenty of food, a house and relative safety. Or, thank you God for my healthy children. I also am happy I live in the first world; but I don't think that is God. I refuse to think God makes some people live in terrible circumstances.

I don't know if I should thank God for my spiritual life. I'm not able to point to any evidence that God did anything. I can only assume that certain intuitive thoughts are truly Spirit. That is how I choose to believe, but I can't prove that to anyone.

God or no God, the one thing I am totally and from the bottom of my heart and in every cell of my being grateful for is Sobriety. I love love love that I have had a sober adult life, 30 years.

Anyway, my ego is ignorant of Grace. My spirit  is silent. I believe Love is the predominant mode of existence.

This week, only 14.9 hours of workout and 56+ miles due to 2 days off for a cold.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

My Soul

This morning at the end of my spiritual study, sitting on the can, I thought, "My soul, you are a lovely soul."

This might be the first time I've had that thought. It was a genuine return of love to the higher from the lower. Then I went for a run. During the run, I thought, "Maybe that was my higher consciousness speaking to me." Maybe it works both ways. For once, I realize I might not be pissed off at my soul for making me a human. Maybe for once, I am ready to accept the love of the higher consciousness.

My run this morning was good. My cold has subsided and the coughing is less. I haven't mentioned what else. On Tuesday at work, I was walking down a hallway when I felt a sudden pain in my right groin. Serious stabbing pain. Then, it was intermittent the rest of the day and the next day. Thursday, I wore an elastic around my upper thigh and that prevented the pain. Yesterday and today, I ran with the thigh wrapped and haven't felt the pain. So, I somehow pulled my groin while walking. Weird.

Just when I want to ramp up the training for a 24 hour race, I get a cold and a groin pull. I want to go outside for a walk even now, but it is still hot here on the Gulf Coast. Maybe I will anyway.

I had another revelation yesterday. I have worked with a certain boss now for 4 years. I now act like myself around him. That is a miracle. I have spent my life acting the way I thought other people want me to act because I don't want to step on their toes. I now am natural with this person. That is a great gift.

Yes! I just walked 10 miles.