You Owe It to Me God

For most of my life I had written memos and directives to God.  They  had contained instructions to God as to how God should best bless me and those around me, handle any pickles or pickled situations I had swum into and gotten myself off-course, and the time frame within which God should wiggle his nose and make these things happen or disappear. That translated into, yesterday! But I would graciously settle for NOW! After all, I had followed God’s laws/commandments/fast days, went to church on a regular basis, adhered to tradition to the minutest of details and was a “nice person”.

“So you see God, with all due respect, you owe it to me!” had been my implicit attitude.  Yes, pride can take on so many different shapes, forms and woman-i-festations, especially under the guise of humility, piety, and religiosity. It can also be oh so subtle that we do not even recognize it. I was using emotional guilt and emotional hostage taking into womanipulating God into my way.

In hindsight I am gathering that God, the Cherubin, the Serafim, the Angels and Archangels and all the Saints and Elevated Souls looked at these memos with a  mixture of feelings:

1) We have a lot of work to do on this sojourner. Which god and pride shall we pry out of her tight white knuckled fists first?

2) If she only knew that if We gave her what she wanted that would be like giving a Porche to a sixteen year old who just received a freshly minted learner’s driver’s license. She would crash and burn. She is not mentally nor emotionally mature enough for this path at this point in her life and it is not the best one suited for her.

3) Let Us gently steer her toward first listening to Us and becoming aware of Our Way, rather than her constantly and incessantly babbling the same request to us. Let Us teach her stillness, silence, and trust, and expand her spiritual horizons. Then she will be open, receptive, able to decipher and responsive to the Divine Promptings and insights in her Heart.

4) Lastly, she is living in her mind and through her ego. Her religion is the “letter of the law”. Let us steer her into her Heart and Soul. Let her live in the Spirit of Love and the Flow of her Soul and then use her Mind/Ego to navigate in the world.

The irony of the situation was that when I had been flooding heaven with my memos and agendas, my mind had felt very good, justified, and like things were on-course. I had felt that my one/five/ten year plans had been very doable and achievable because of how things “looked” on the outside to the eye/i. Yet for some unbeknownst reason to me, my Heart had not had nor known peace. There had always been a constant slight agitation and uneasiness in my Heart. I had done my best to silence or distract these small whispering and mightly ploughed on with my agenda, even though there were road blocks, pitfalls and boulders in my way.

Finally I had gotten so exasperated, frustrated, hopeless and broken that I finally said, “ok God, what am I not seeing here, what am I not understanding here, what are YOU trying to tell me and what is YOUR plan?”. I ended my one way communication pattern with God and began to listen to and read the memos that Heaven had been sending to me for years. Imagine that, listening to the One who made me: the beginning of humility and humbleness. I finally took my tight grip off of the steering wheel and threw the map out the window! They took me off of the paved highway onto dirt roads and  eventually into the wilderness of life, into the depths of my Heart, and into the expanse of my Soul.

Oh how I wondered as I wandered.

Prior to that I would only go down a certain path if my mind had calculated its success probability as very high, regardless of the uneasy feeling in my belly. In this new approach/paradigm the pendulum had swung completely to the other side: my gut has become my navigator. Often times I had felt fear, I did it anyway. My mind screamed at me pointing out  the illogicality of the path. I proceeded anyway. With Grace and with each fear quieted my trust in God grew. I became in awe of how things worked out in everyone’s favor when I let God navigate.

I have come to accept that I am on a need to know basis. Heaven sends me my coordinates one step at a time and gives me an inkling of where They are taking me.

In hindsight what I once thought had been my greatest curses, I now view as my greatest blessings. I now thank God for the unanswered prayers just as much as I do for the answered ones.

Lastly, life is so much easier since I have handed the reigns over to God. My job is no longer to figure out how to make/force things to happen. My job is now to show up and do the job at hand. In doing so I’ve learned that God has so much more faith in me, than I ever would have dared dreamed of having faith in me.

Go ahead, trust God with your path. God has the master-plan and map for your best life.

Abundant Divine Wisdom, Grace, Clarity, Courage, Discernment, Right Judgement, Actions, and Love,                                                                                                        Irena As I Am


Thou Shalt Respect The Free Will of Others

Once upon a time, a long long time ago I was super peed off that others did not respect my free will and kept imposing upon me and pressuring me into what they wanted of me. Oh my Word! Did I have a lot to learn. As it turns out, I was doing the same thing to others. Life was mirroring back to me my tendencies. I saw this flaw clearly in others. I saw the speck in their eye. But I sure missed the plank in my eye/i that was protruding out of me so much so that I was almost walking lop sided. I too had become masterful at subtle coercion. I liked it when I could steer others in my direction, but I sure hated it when others steered me in their direction with a look, a tone, a hint, a gift, a compliment, an implied comment. I could administer the medicine but I did not like it being administered to me.

That is until Mudryk, my feline sojourn companion really showed me just how disrespectful, wrong, and hurtful such behavior is. Some many years back, I was about to head out to Holy Trinity Monastery in St. David, AZ for a silent retreat. I love that place. It is holy ground. And its holiness has brought me and others many insights, shifts, comfort, and profound healing. It is an oasis in the desert for the Body, Mind, Heart, and Spirit. It is a resting and refreshing place in the journey of life.

The gates and the hostility of the Monastery are open to all peoples and all faiths.

The chapel at the Monastery with the bell on top.

It has about 150 acres and there is much space to roam both with the feet and the mind. I thought that it would be wonderful for Mudryk to have a change in scenery and experience the sights and sounds of the monastery. I asked him if he wanted to come. He sent me a clear and strong “NO” message. He said that he preferred staying at home and going about his routine and his business as he saw it best. He also said that the three hour car ride is very stressful on him.

I heard that but I did not listen. I imposed upon him. Because I knew best. And oh how very sorry I was.

When Mudryk and i became conjoined i was well on my “as i am” journey – being in alignment with the Will of God instead of people’s expectations, and being a God pleaser instead of a people pleaser. I also wanted others to respect me “as i am” as opposed to them respecting me only if I was “as they wanted me to be”. At this point of my journey, I knew that if I wanted the Gift of Respect from others, I first needed to offer that gift to myself, and others. Then I will see and feel the same respect in my life. That is the Law of Karma. That is the Supreme Law of the Universe. God respects our free will. God lets us choose even though God sees that our choices may not always be the best for us. It is an insoluble offense in Cosmic Consciousness to impose our will or pressure someone into doing something or being someone outside of what they would choose for themselves, outside of who God made them to be. Always remember that. Always live that so that you may have a more peaceful and graceful journey yourself.

Even though i knew all of this, i still went the bad way. i understood this concept intellectually. i knew this concept experientially, but it was not until i felt it gutturally that I really “got it”. It became visceral. It became part of my flesh.

Just like on a few previous retreats, I forced him to come with me to the Monastery. The three hour auto ride was very stressful on him. His breathing was heavy and at times he panted. He kept roaming thru the vehicle trying to find a place to calm down. Most of the time he ended up on my shoulders, nudged up against the seat, with his head and front legs hanging over my arm. He did not look comfortable nor feel at peace. I kept thinking that he will overlook my transgression once we got to the Monastery where he could go on his own exploratory adventure. I kept thinking that he would be grateful to me after we arrived for forcing him against his will to join me on my retreat, my calling, my journey. That’s how I justified my transgression. That’s how I condoned that the ends would justify the means.

Upon our arrival early in the afternoon I took him to our room so that he knew where “home” was. The Monastery calls it St. Bernard Hermitage. I call it, “the house on the hill”. It is a duplex situated on the downward slope of a hill. At the top of the hill is the chapel with the cross as it’s crown. In between our house on the hill are the cemetery, a portion of the stations of the cross, and a pond. It is very comforting and soothing to me when I look out the window or sit on the porch that I can see and be so close to the Tabernacle where He resides. When the chapel bell is rung signifying prayer time, it is like heaven’s chimes beckoning me to His Holy Presence – a taste of heaven here on earth. Furthermore, in the pond outside our door there lives a bull frog. When he bellows his deep throated bass song to the Universe the lyrics of “Redeemer” by Nicole C. Mullen flow through my Thoughts and Heart: “All of creation testifies ~ This life within me cries ~ I know my redeemer lives”. I AM in heaven.

St. Bernard Hermitage, or as I like to call it, “the house on the hill”.

Mudryk on the porch overlooking the pond where the bull frog lives with the chapel in the background.

The first thing that Mudryk did was lie on the floor and breathe. Then he sought some comfort by going into his “cave” to get grounded and get away form me. In this instance the cave was the small space underneath the La-Z-Boy recliner. I let him be while I settled in myself too. When I would peer underneath and ask him to come out, he would not even look at me, let alone listen to my plea. Eventually he did come out of is cave and went out to roam and explore the grounds. I was relieved. At times we go on walks together with him leading the way. At times we meet up as we are each on our own journey. The retreat had begun and I myself went out to commune with Nature and with God.

The sun was beginning to lean toward the horizon, and dusk was approaching. Mudryk had not come home yet. Worry was beginning to creep into my thoughts and Heart. I went out looking for him calling his name. He usually shows up and appears when I call out to him. This time though, no Mudryk. I searched and searched and searched. Then I felt or thought about the culvert underneath the gravel road that was nearby. There he was crouched in the center with his back to me and not wanting to look at me nor come toward me. I tried calling him with my sweet voice. I begged. I pleaded. I cried. I tried telling him how much I loved him. I thought about using my angry and authoritative voice, but then decided against it. After all, he was in the right and in this scene he was the one in control. The tables had turned. He was the dominant one now. He had me in the palm of his paw.

The culvert where Mudryk hid out for a day and a half to boycott me because of my transgression.

“I know”, I thought, I will lure him out with treats. He loves treats. He gets them as often as he wants and as many as he wants. At “home home” I have them lined up in the bottom cupboard. He points with his nose to signify to me which he fancies at the moment. Then he eats them out of the palm of my hand. He has done a magnificent job in training me in how he wants to be loved. I gladly comply. Sometimes I think he has more treats than normal food. Perhaps all of life is a treat to him. I got up off of the dusty ground and went to get his treat bag. I came back to the culvert and enticed him by shaking the treat bag. He barely nudged a whisker. I kept at it. On and on and on. By this time, the sun had gone down and it was getting darker by the moment. He did get up, he did come closer to the opening, but not within arm’s reach. He was still hurting from my imposing.

As the earth kept rotating, it was officially night. The land was dark. By this time my voice was getting frantic for him to come out and come home. The Monastery is in the desert and in the wilderness. There are all sorts of larger creatures that come out at night looking for nourishment. And I was helpless. Eventually in the night it dawned upon me to just let him be. This was not his first trip to the Monastery and he knew his way around. He knew where our home was. He knew I would leave the window slightly open for him. I told him I loved him and left.

Back in the room, I had a lot of work to do. I had to pray pray pray for his safety and reflect upon what I had done.

When our lives, Spirit’s, and Hearts conjoined I had a really hard Heart wrenching decision to make. Was I going to keep him indoors at all times, or let him out and explore. Phoenicians had told me all sorts of stories about the wildlife in the city of Phoenix and advised me to keep him indoors. But in the depths of my Being I received another message. He was a Gift from God to me and I to him. He is in God’s hands. Let him live in accordance with his Heart and his Soul. Even though his Heart and Soul are in a feline body, he also has his own journey of growth and evolution here on earth. This almost set me into panic mode as I myself had seen coyotes in our neighborhood. As he was growing up I did my best to teach him to “stay away from the streets and moving vehicles”. I observed that he himself was very aware of his surroundings and that he knew the importance of being alert. Because he loves the outdoors so much, it would not have been a life for him if I kept him indoors. It would nave been and offense against him, his Heart, his Spirit, his life’s purpose and the Universe had I not let him go out and kept him cooped up on the inside. Just like me, he too needs the freedom to be, to grow, to breathe, to explore, to live his life. My job was to love him, let him love me, and let him live in accordance with the whisperings of the Holy Spirit in his Heart, and  to praypraypraypraypray that he makes wise choices and that the Angels watch over him and keep him safe. Nevertheless, every time he goes out the door, I send him off with a blessing and a prayer.

Thus, this contract between his Soul and mine came flooding back to me as I headed back to the hermitage for the night. My Heart was heavy with worry, deep regret over my decision to force him to come, and sorrow at the grief I caused him. All I could do was send him love from my Heart to his and praypraypray that he would be all right and that he would come home soon through the open window I left for him.

It was a semi-sleepless night. Every time I awoke I checked to see if he had come back. He had not. The more time passed the more somber I became as I reflected at what I had done unto him. The sun arose and still no Mudryk. I dressed and rushed out to the culvert, and there he was where I last saw him last night. I greeted him with elation and treats, but he just stayed squatting on the ground looking at me with those eyes. Those eyes told me he was still feeling betrayed, imposed upon and disrespected. I heard those thoughts. I felt those feelings wash over me. I who loved him so, was the one responsible for his pain and sorrow. Knowing and feeling this was like swallowing a twirling double edged dagger and have it burrow into my Heart and Being. Every time I breathed it tore more flesh. I was feeling my offense against Mudryk and the Cosmos.

I apologized and was sorry to him like never before, but still he did not budge.
All day he did not come out. All day I simmered my regret and offense.

Day two, and once more around 6:00 pm the sun set over the horizon, night two, and Mudryk was still in the culvert. By now, I knew better – no cooing. I went to the culvert, looked inside, told him I loved him and that I was deeply sorry, and went to our room.

And then at around 10:00 pm a miracle. He came in through the window, and spoke a “meaow” like I had never heard before. It was a humble, reconciliatory, and loving “meaow” – a peace offering. I on my part ran to him and hugged him like I had never hugged him before. I showered him with kisses and held him close to my Heart and apologized like I had never before. I learned my lesson. He had been my teacher. His boycott of me imbued my Spirit and my Heart with the Cosmic Law of Free Will.

Mudryk leading the way on one of our walks.

By the Grace of God, i pray that i always have the humility and reverence toward others and their free will of choice.

In reality it looked like i adopted Mudryk. But in truth, he chose me. His soul recognized mine from previous journeys. We already knew each other and were reuniting once again. He is and has been one of my greatest, gentlest, and most loving teachers.

Abundant Grace, Wisdom, and Blessings,
Irena As I Am & Mudryk, The Wise One

Is Christianity Really Monotheistic

Is Christianity really a monotheistic religion? That is the question that has been swirling around in my mind for quite some time now and not giving me peace. Not my Heart though, my Heart is at peace about my relationship with the Divine in its many forms, manifestations and expressions. It’s just that my mind needs a definitive, cut and dry, black and white definition. It needs a tidy answer and not one with loopholes and variations.

Christ Himself spoke about and to Abba, the Father. He also spoke about the Holy Spirit or the Ruach Elohim or The Spirit/Wind/Breath of God. Jesus, Yeshua also said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.” John 11:25. There are the three, the Trinity. One body, different parts. I get it. I accept it. And, I live it.



Theotokos (God Bearer) / Mother Mary

Having been born into the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic faith/religion, (Ukrainian = national church of the Rus/Ukrainian peoples, Greco-Catholic = orthodox faith originating from Constantinople which is in communion with the bishop of Rome, the pope), and having been a very ardent participant in it for most of my life there are other entities to whom I/we had prayed to. One of them is the Theotokos, Mary, the God Bearer. Yes, I know that technically we don’t “pray to her, but ask her to petition the Son, her Son, our Son, the Son of Man/Woman” just like she did at the wedding of Cana and He listened and responded by turning water into wine.This is an explanation and maybe even a justification for reaching out to her and praying to/through her with the Rejoice*/Hail Mary.

It is very comforting at times reaching out to a feminine version of the Divine. It is as though sometimes in life we need the gentle, loving, and nurturing embrace of a Divine Mother. On earth we came through a masculine and feminine, a mother and father. Both provided a different kind of support and comfort. It is balanced between the male which is analytical and strong with female which is feeling and gentle. Both of these qualities and energies are in each one of us. Thus, why would they also not been the Divine Realm in whose “image and likeness”, Book of Genesis we are made.

Now, I am primarily a practicing Roman Catholic. When I made the switch I felt I was turning my back and being unfaithful and adulterous to my “mother church” and my spiritual mother. But it was she who kept pushing me out of her nest and every time I went back, she made it very uncomfortable and uneasy for me. She said, “Go. Leave. There is nothing for you here. Spread your wings. Grow spiritually. Savor, learn, and nourish yourself with other faiths, traditions, and understandings of the Divine.” I did, even though it broke my Heart and tore it to pieces to do so. But mother knew best. She was right. In hindsight I realize now that I worshipped her and her traditions more than I worshiped the Divine. My religion had become my golden calf. Had she not pushed me out of the nest, I never wold have fallen in love with the Divine. My love affair would have remained with religion, the earthly vessel to the Divine, instead of the Divine Themselves.



In both the catholic and orthodox faiths there are saints. Whatever your quest, query or quiver may be, “there’s a saint for that”. The technical term is “venerating” the saints as opposed to “praying to” the saints. Serious saint followers are ardent around saint relics and objects. It is a sight to behold – much significance and power is projected onto the items. Or maybe, subconsciously it is a practice in raising and attuning the vibration of one’s own energy to that of the saint.

I myself have at times have called upon and called in the Spirit and energy of certain saints. Growing up, Saint  Nicholas was one who was near and dear to me. I sang to him a lot. But I’m not so sure that I listened to him. At that point in my life, it was one way communication with the Divine. I had not learned how to listen yet. Then there was a period in my life when I was in a serious battle, a battle for the essence of my life, and Saint Joan of Arc and I, it felt as though we were One. Her strong, bold, courageous, determined and single minded trust in The Voice and Its message of ‘we can beat the odds and drive out the long-standing invaders’ energy was all around me, within me, and running through me. I do not think any of these saint connections were conscious choices but something that rose up from within me.



In both the Hebrew and Christian texts there are stories and accounts of Angels. We each have been assigned a guardian angel or two. There are rote prayers to angels which we recite either at bedtime or in the morning.

Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here; Watch over me throughout the night, keep me safe within your sight.


Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide.

A times I find great comfort in reciting these prayers, either in my Heart or out loud. In my journey of delving into the Divine realm, I learned that just like with saints, there are angels for different needs in our lives, and that there are different levels of Angels. Now, I call upon specific angels for specific assistance.

I’ve also learned how to look out for their signs and methods of communication. They may use numbers, feathers, pennies/change on the street, songs, feelings, dreams, persistent thoughts, coincidences… to get our attention and direct our steps.

Angels are always in our midst. All we need to do is ask for assistance.

Icons & Statutes 

I like having visual aids and reminders in our house of the Divine Realm. I like seeing Them and being surrounded by them. They are reminders to me that I am never alone on either the earthly or the spiritual realms, regardless if a person is next to me or not. They raise my thoughts to the heavenly realm and remind me to “take the higher road” in my thoughts, attitudes, speech and actions. I do not think that I worship the icons and statues, but they do assist me in my worship.

Mother Mary, or The Theotokos, The God Bearer

The Fourth Commandment 

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20 (NIV)

Every religion and every faith and even the way of spirituality has Divine “tools” and customs – even the Shamans. If the Divine is Spirit, then any and all Divine writings, paintings, statutes, traditions, trinkets, amulets, talismans are technically in violation of the Fourth Commandment. The Spirit is always flowing and always in a graceful dance with the Divine leading The Way without the need of any props or objects. Thus, are we all not in violation of the Fourth Commandment? Will we all be summed to the jurisdiction of the Divine Supreme Court of the Fourth Commandment? If God is Spirit then any material representation is a “no-no”.


Divine Hedonist or Divine Expressionist 

And yet, I do it. I bet you do too. Even atheists do it when they attach a certain meaning toward  any object  – even if that object is themselves or their intellect. We use the objects and traditions as a vehicle or a tool for worship, focus, grounding, centeredness.

I know this is taking it to the extreme. I am a purist though. I like to swing with the pendulum to both sides. It is in these extremes that I then can find my “just right” middle of the way.

By turing to all these different God “forms”, am I on course or am I off course? Am I being a Divine hedonist by indulging in all these Divine Expressions? Why don’t I just pray to God? Period. Or, are all these Divine forms nuances of that which is non-explainable, non-shapeable, but rather EXPERIENTIAL. In our life path and journey we encounter variety in everything. In life we need to be both fixed and malleable. Just like in relationships, cooking, painting a wall, or fixing a lawnmower, we need a variety of tools with which to approach the situation and get the job done, with Love.

Perhaps the fourth commandment may be all right with us having Divine “props” for our human nature. Perhaps the fourth commandment is telling us to not let anything that is earthly come in-between our relationship with God, be it work, relationships, hobbies, goals, ideals, religion, spirituality, tradition, and even objects.

Perhaps, at this stage of my journey, I am playing with the notion that Christianity may not be a monotheistic religion. Or maybe I am just not at the stage of my development, where my practice of Divine Worship is monotheistic. The road ahead will tell.

And on that note, let us remember what God said in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make wo/man in our image, after our likeness”.

Abundant Wisdom for All,                                                                                             Irena As I Am                                                                                                      03/12/2018

*Rejoice/Hail NOTE:                                                                                                        The term “hail” was a greeting used by Roman soldiers. The more accurate translation of the Angle Gabriel’s greeting to Mary is “REJOICE”.

We Are Messed Up

His name is Maverick. He is a dog. He lives with his human companion in our neighborhood. I think about him quite often even though I have had only several brief encounters with him in the past five or so months. Normally, most dogs when out on a walk are very friendly and looking to be lavishly loved upon by any willing passer by. But not Maverick. Every time I have come across him he growls viscously, bares his teeth, charges at me, and barks like he means it. It is not an honorary “I’m doing my job” dog bark, but rather, he barks like he wants to sink his teeth into some flesh. He barks like his life depended on his bark warding others off.

After a couple of these encounters, before I knew his name, I asked Maverick’s human companion who had a tight grip on his leash, whether Maverick was friendly or not.

The man holding the leash replied,                                                                                 “We just got back from Iraq from a tour of duty.                                                           We’re messed up.”

“Oh. Dear God”, I thought. And, I was so caught off guard by that TRUTH and the depth of its emotional repercussions, that I did not know how to reply. I think I said something that I hope that they both realize that they are in a different place and space, that they find peace and calm, and that they realize they are in peace and calm.

Then, as they went their way and I mine, and we passed by each other within a few feet, I FELT them. I felt their emotional struggles, their pain, and their fears: the fear, stress, and strain of always being “on guard”, the constant fear that their safety is never a sure thing, the fear of watching every step, the fear of not knowing if the ground below is safe to step on (IED -improvised explosive device), the fear of who or what may be around the corner, the fear that at any moment a  bullet may come from any direction, the fear that everyone they meet may be “out to get them”, the fear they may be killed and not live to tomorrow. Even though they were out of Iraq, Iraq was still not out of them. Iraq was still in their mental framework. The constant hyper-vigilance was still in their system and aura.

The Bunker Effect                                                                                                            A couple of years ago I attended a one day seminar with Rob Bell and Elizabeth Gilbert*, author of “Eat, Pray, Love” and “Magic (and other books too) at Los Angles’ Wanderlust. At one point a lady in the audience spoke about a period of about 10 years in her life  where there was much chaos and tumultuousness. However, she was now in a peaceful and calm place, but because for such a long time she was always on edge and tense waiting for “the other shoe to drop” that she could not relax and calm down. She was still always on edge. Rob Bell called this “The Bunker Effect”. The war is over on the outside, but on the inside the person is still in hyper-vigilant mode. Then he gave her some tips on how to relax, calm down, and settle into this new reality of peace.

The Soldier and Maverick were in this phase of healing The Bunker Effect, or as is commonly known PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder. That’s just part of the emotional exchange/download that I felt or experienced when we passed by each other. There were also all the images that they had seen and that had been imprinted on their Beings. The images of poverty, abuse, bombed out buildings and streets, and children and people with scars, wounds, and missing limbs. The images and experiences of their cohorts – some of which may have not come back. All of this, and more I am gathering was in their being, their sphere, their aura.

As we passed each other, I did not  actually “think” all those above things, it is only now in writing about the encounters that I am conceptualizing/articulating the flooding of emotions I felt  upon passing by them. In the most recent encounter I was heading toward my vehicle when I came upon them and that is when The Soldier told me why Maverick was so vigilant and constantly on offense mode. We spoke for not even a minute before they went on their way, but as I sat behind the steering wheel, the effect of that brief encounter triggered a flood of tears out me. I sat and cried until the tears stopped flowing. I have learned it is much better and healthier to let the flow of tears take their natural course as opposed to opposing and suppressing them.

Here Come the Tears                                                                                                        I cried and cried and cried. I cried with them. I cried for them. I cried for the soldiers, civilians, birds and animals. I cried for all of humanity. I cried for peace. And, I cried for myself. My tears were my prayer and my offering. My tears were my urgent plea for greater Grace and Healing  in the Minds and Hearts of suffering men and women. My tears were for the softening of Hearts and the opening of Minds. As I write this, again i am crying for Maverick, The Soldier, All, The Birds and Animals, and me. The suffering of one is the suffering of all (and vice versa too). Thanks to them, I soaked several tissues.

This is one soldier and one dog on their new path of healing their past journey and memories. As I begin to extrapolate this couple to all the soldiers, dogs, civilians, animals around the world that are or have experienced such trauma in their lives it overwhelms me. If I harp on it too long, it paralyzes me emotionally. This is why I can no longer read or watch the news. I had asked for the Gift of Feeling, since for a large portion of my life I suppressed and oppressed my feelings, and I received that Gift, abundantly. Little did I know that in The Gift of Feeling it not only attuned me to me, but to the Oneness of us All. With everything there are two sides of the coin, a blessing side and a side of responsibility in living with and managing the blessing.

I also saw and felt the bond and closeness between Maverick and The Soldier. I felt the deep love and trust they had for and toward each other. I saw how Maverick, who was an Iraqi native and was found and trained and served with and then brought to the USA by The Soldier, was wholeheartedly devoted to protecting his friend, family, and companion. I saw how The Soldier was fond of Maverick and that the canine’s presence was soothing and comforting to him.

They kept each other safe, sane, together and composed as best as they could. Their love gave warmth and comfort to their Hearts and lives. This side of their relationship was a Gift to behold.

And then I thought, maybe they are my mirrors. “They say” everything and everyone are a reflection of some accept of ourselves. My fears do not revolve around actual bombs, bullets, snipers, IEDs, and ambushes. But there was a long period in my life where I too had been in constant hyper-vigilant mode. We all have those periods where “We’re Messed Up” or where we come out of “The Bunker”. Then a new season comes in and it then takes an enormous amount of awareness, humility, and energy to let go of one season and embrace the next. Alone, this is not possible. With Grace and with The Gift of Others whom God places in out lives, this is very possible and doable. All we need do is invoke God’s Wisdom and Grace in each and every day, hour, moment  of our lives.

May God grant us all the Grace and Humility in being present and trusting to and in each season.

God Bless You,                                                                                                                  Irena As I Am                                                                                                           03/08/2018

*NOTE about Elizabeth Gilbert                                                                                           In the weeks and days leading up to this seminar, I really really really wanted to see Elizabeth Gilbert in person, outside of the seminar. And lo and behold it came to pass. It was outside the restroom. I walked out of the restroom and there she was in the hallway waiting in line. I knew the Universe set this up for the two of us. We had a brief chat and then exchanged a warm hug**. Her books have had a profound effect of my life and thus, seeing her in person and expressing my gratitude was a Gift beyond joy.

**NOTE NOTE about hug with Elizabeth Gilbert                                                                  The chat was going really really well and we were connecting, Soul to Soul, and then my ego stepped in and asked if I could take a picture with the two of us. At that point she closed up and the conversation ended very shortly after that.  Ah!

Not Too Thrilled About It

Confession that is. Or, as it is now called, reconciliation. But I still go anyway because my Soul yearns for it, needs it, and nudges me toward it. Sometimes the nudges are gentle, and sometimes they are persistent, imploring, and demanding. Either way, the Whisperings of the Holy Spirit in my Heart can be like a bear for me to go and bare my soul to a man whose vocation is the priesthood. And when I do go, afterwards, a deep inner and profound peace both descends upon me and rises up from within me.

Yes, I know that technically I don’t need an “intermediary” between me and God. I know I can speak with God on my own and present to God how I could have done better or how I have “missed the mark” (sin definition). I know I can whisper it to God in a quiet moment when I am reflecting upon my day. I know I can speak it out loud while praying privately, driving, walking, or stretching my body. I know I can even yell it out loud, and I have, if it is a particularly disturbing feeling. I know I can cry it out of me when I am feeling profoundly moved by my shortcomings. I know I can journal it out of me and lay it down on paper which came from a  tree. I know I can then light a candle and burn away my indiscretions and turn them into a burnt offering.

I have done all these things, and more.                                                                           But it is not the same as an in person confession with a priest.

The entrance to that Sacred Space and Place where one bares their soul and relieves their conscience: a confessional.

These days, where things are more in the open, one has the option of a face to face confession (door with a window), or if one prefers there is the private confession where one is in a separate room with a privacy screen between the priest/confessor and the confessed. It is all a matter of personal preference and the promptings of the Holy Spirit in one’s Heart.

I have also worked with a variety of healers and healing modalities – reiki, hypnotherapy, reflexology, polarity/cranial, EFT/tapping, acupuncture, kundalini yoga, numerology, intuitive healers, books/CDs, angel cards, shamans – where we have worked on and through my blocks and misconceptions. I am eternally grateful to and for all the healers that have helped me identify, move through, process and heal my lower karma. The transformations have been miraculous and eternally altering. The healers have been Heaven sent. Without them i never would have made the progress i did. But it never felt quite complete. It always felt like there was one more piece, one more element missing in the completion and closure in the healing journey of a certain issue. I always felt like I had to bring it to Jesus through one of His anointed, appointed, and ordained representatives, a Priest at confession. When I do and after I do, it is like I am “washed clean”. My being, my Heart, my spirit, my whole essence feel lighter. It literally and figuratively feels like tones of weight are lifted off of my shoulders. I walk with less heavy weight on me and in me.

It is an unloading in a Holy Space and Place. Time is non-present and eternal in a confession/reconciliation. All of time is there and none of time is there. The ground, the earth, the building where the “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7, take place is blessed and holy with the tabernacle holding the Holy of Holies near by, The Eucharist. Yes, I know all of earth is blessed and holy for it is God’s Creation, but just like Sedona, AZ has its vortices of intensified energy, certain sites are appointed as extra special or holy because of their intended purpose. “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20. Thus too when people, priests, bishops gather, bless and proclaim a certain piece of land or building as a place of worship it holds that energy of its blessings, intentions, and the sum of all the worship energy that has taken place there. By taking the time, energy, and effort in our lives to go present ourselves before a priest in a tabernacle designated for the offering of our guilt, shame, fear, shortcomings, anger, frustration, helplessness, hopelessness, sorrows, pain, unworthiness, struggles… one is partaking in a sacred act of humility before God. One lays their ego down before God. One acknowledges their human frailty before God. One asks for the Grace to continue on with even deeper Grace, Wisdom, wholeness, and holiness.

Just like doing yoga at home is not the same as practicing yoga in a class with a guide/teacher/instructor, so too is a “home made” confession/reconciliation not quite the same as one in a church/office with a priest. Just like watching a ballet performance or sporting event at home on tv, or listening to a symphony on the radio, is not the same as being at the event in person, so too with the bearing of one’s burdens before the Lord is a much more profound and healing experience when done in person before a priest. Just like Jesus’ lineage is traced back to King David, the lineage of the priesthood is a vocation that through apostolic succession flows back to and from Christ, Jesus. Just like Jesus worked with the humanness of his apostles and disciples (male and female), so too does He work with and through the humanness of His current day priests and priestesses (Anglican Church). The words spoken in the Holy Space and Place of a confessional or reconciliation room, I have found for me have been mirrors, guide posts, soothing and calming, sometimes provoking (opened up another area for healing), and always liberating. It is one of God’s wonderful Gifts which bring us closer to God, in greater alignment to God, and deeper holiness and wholeness with God.

There have been periods in my life where I have gone once a week to confession and sometimes even more – after a Daily Mass, private office confessions, and once even on a bench under a tree. Had it not been for these confessions, I would still be stuck in some metal mental state of confinement. With each confession, a bar or two or more would melt away in my mind and opened me up to a life yoke of greater Light and Love.

A times I have seen these encounters as confessions and other times as reconciliations. In the confession paradigm is when I know I have fallen short and transgressed against, God, myself, and my neighbor –  all one and the same as we are all one of the same Source.  Confession is when I feel have done something offensive –  a sin of commission. I have been at the mercy of my ego, my lower self. On the other hand, I feel that I am in reconciliation  when I know that there is a different way of being and of living, but it is still vague and in vapor form for me. It is when God is asking another version of me to rise up but I am either afraid or unaware of the Divine Truth and thus am fumbling around in the darkness, or stalling.  This is omission and I am asking for Grace to help me reconcile myself to God’s version of me. Just like we reconcile our checking accounts to that of the bank, so too I feel I am reconciling myself to God’s best account of me.

These days one has two ways that one can partake in the Holy Sacrament of Confession / Reconciliation. There is the traditional confessional booth where the confessor, priest / priestess is in one room and the confessed, me or you in another room with a privacy screen in-between the two.  Or, there is the new way in which the confessor and confessee sit in the same room facing each other. The latter takes a whole lotta more gumption, or Grace. I’ve done both versions, including office and impromptu out door confessions. The Holy Spirit will let you know which is best for you in each circumstance. I have spoken my confessions from my Mind and Heart as in the Flow of the moment. I have also spent much time reflecting upon what I would like to bring to Jesus and thus have written out my confession and then read it to the confessor. Again, the Holy Spirit directs each encounter and healing session.

If you have not been to confession at all, why not try it this lent, before Resurrection Celebration (Easter) and see what it does to your Heart, Mind, Spirit, and body. A lighter conscience will lighten the body and help you move forward in life. If it has been some time since you have  been to confession, perhaps this article is your sign and “nudge” that it is time. It is a very humbling act. It is also very rewarding and liberating.  It will help you breathe easier and be more relaxed.

Abundant Grace , Wisdom, Humility, and Peace,                                                          Irena As I Am                                                                                                      03/05/2018

Born 100 Years Too Late, Not

Once upon a time, a very very long time ago, in the era of my teen years, I had this unsettling feeling that I was out of time and out of place. I enjoyed living in the modern world, the modern era, the modern way of life, but I had this deep yearning from within for simplicity. This yearning for simplicity had its vision imprinted on me, and even though I could not see it, I felt it had to do with the earth and with animals. My natural inclination was to conceptualize and name this feeling. It was the word “FARM”. We need to give names and shapes to the vapors that are within us. Just like our Soul needs our body to navigate this world, so too with the Divine Whisperings in our Heart. These Divine Whisperings start at the ethers, and hopefully with our cooperation culminate by becoming form in the material world. These Divine Whisperings, when heeded take us through the syllabus of our life’s lesson plans, growth, and evolution.

Even though I had this feeling and this urge, I did nothing about it. It was a time in my life when I had deeply discounted my feelings and their relevance to the quality of my life. They were just there, but it was my mind that had ruled supremely and definitively. ‘Who needed feelings anyway?’, was how I lived my life. Oh my Word! How did I make it through that period my life? Very stubbornly! Today, I would honor that feeling and visit a farm, spend some time on a farm, and maybe even live on a farm. Nevertheless, I am quite certain now that somewhere from deep within me a radio feeling frequency signal was being emitted that said F •A •R •M. I should also point out that the first eight years of my life were spent on a farm. They were glorious years indeed. Eve though I did nothing about this                F •A •R •M desire, The Heavenly Realm was busy organizing and arranging my path toward F •A •R •M experiences. It was through the F •A •R •M experiences that I received joy, clarity, and eventual peace.

The first lesson on the F •A •R •M syllabus was a young gentleman whom I had met at a dance. He was an “aggie”, an undergrad student in the Faculty of Agriculture and was slated to take over his father’s farm, who had inherited it from his father. The farm was an entire section, or six hundred and forty acres.  It was both a cattle ranch and a harvesting farm.  That was a chunk of land and a chunk of responsibility.

I on the other hand was a business student who was going down the accounting path, because my mind told me that was the safe and logical way. People always needed and paid for accountants. Had I followed my Heart, I would have chosen a marketing major instead. I had also been drawn to psychology and considered it, but commerce had the strongest pull. Ironically, after I graduated and because of the economy, it took a while for me to find an apprenticeship  job in the accounting industry. Meanwhile, one summer break I had apprenticed as a marketing director with a restauranteur who had four Italian restaurants/lounges in the city. He was so pleased with the events and their success that I had planned and executed, that he had offered me a job once I graduated one year later. What did I say, “NO”. Why? Two very logical reasons: one, I wanted a professional accounting designation because I wanted the prestige of having “letters after my name”, and two, I was very rigid and had blinders on. As it turned out, a couple of years down the line, I had a falling out with the accounting path. Oh my Word! Lord have mercy on my stubbornness and please gently  remove my blinders. Amen and Thank You. Meanwhile, others had strongly urged me to go down the education path because of its stability and long summer vacations. That did sound appealing, but partly (well honestly, mostly) out of rebellion, i negated that path, because I wanted to choose and not be told which way to go! So there! There is that ego again. Another family member suggested I consider psychiatry, but the thought of being in school for years with all those science classes just did not sit well with me. In hindsight, all these paths and vocations amalgamated and have been developed, either in personal study, the situations I found myself in, or me eventually listening to my Heart and following my bliss.

Back to the aggie undergrad bachelor and the dance. We danced. We went out a few times. He was sweet, gentle, and kind. Then Easter break came along and he went back to his family and the farm which was a couple of hundred kilometers away.  But on Eater morning when I opened the front door I was de-lighted, surprised, and frightened. There was a box of chocolates, a stuffed bunny, and a sweet card with sweet words. He and everything was so sweet and gentle. Looking at these gifts, holding these gifts, feeling these gifts, eating the chocolates, and reading the words, did something to me. Even though I was not aware of this consciously, some deep part of me felt his intentions and his envisioning me as his his wife, co-cattle-rancher, and harvesting the land partner. It is like my deeper and subconscious self said, “we are taking over from here”, and I immediately shut down and distanced my self from him. It was not a conscious decision, it was me acquiescing to something greater than me and my logic. In hindsight my deep inside vision was not in alignment with his vision and our journey ended immediately. But I still was not at total peace on the inside that F •A •R •M was not the path for me. It was not yet a closed case nor a completed syllabus. Thus, I received another F •A •R •M Gift.

The next experience on the F •A •R •M course syllabus was something I never could have dreamed up of myself. I got a summer job at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village in central Alberta whose website describes it as “an open-air museum where costumed role-players recreate the life of early Ukrainian pioneers that settled in east central Alberta from 1892-1930” ( Various original  buildings (farm houses, churches, stables, granaries, school houses, blacksmith shop, town shops) have been transported to and restored at the museum site. The role players represent the actual personages of the buildings. I was “randomly assigned” the role  Mrs. Anytsia Slemko, a woman married to a farmer by the name of Hrytz Slemko circa 1910. They had six children. They lived in a one room  wood and clay house with a thatched roof, a dirt floor, a clay oven, a wood burning stove, and a table like bed padded with a straw mattress upon which everyone slept together, all eight people. Great care was taken to recreate authenticity, and historical accuracy and integrity –  down to the black lace up ankle boots, long black wool skirt which showed just a little bit of the ankle, white plain bloomers, white button up blouse, and a head kerchief which all the married women wore.

For five to six days a week from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm I was a role playing married farm wife with six children – there was a role playing husband, but no children though – living in a clay house with no electricity, indoor plumbing, or a bathroom. We did have two real cows, several pigs and a small garden. We were literally transported back about one hundred years. Beyond amazing was this setup! I had a pretend husband. I hauled water in. I cooked on a wood burning oven. I made bread in the clay oven. And, once a week, on Saturday’s usually so that the house would be fresh and clean for the Lord’s Day, I made a manure mixture (cow manure mixed with water) in  a bucket and then spread the potion with a broom over the clay floor in the house. It kept the dust down and believe it or not, the flies out. I loved watching people’s faces, especially the children when they saw or heard of this ritual. Sometimes, I even asked the visitors if they would like to go with me to pick out the best cow manure pies! A common question that many visitors would ask with a wink was how we had the time and privacy to “make” six children if everyone slept together on the same bed in a one room house. We would pretend blush, be very shy about it, grin, and say something vague about meeting in the barn or that I would stay longer when I carried lunch and water out to Mr. Slemko on the field. Everyone would chuckle. It was clean and simple education and entertainment. Some would ask about my formal education, and I would reply back in very broken English that “Skul not for woman. Woman have house, children, husband, farm to take care of. No time for skul. Too much work learn to read. Husband read.”

Me as Mrs. Anytsia Slemko outside my/her one room for living clay house with a thatched roof. (Upon the entryway there was a cold room for food storage.)

Since the open air museum was about a half hour ride outside the city, the Alberta Government provided vans for group transportation. Our van had a Hawaiian Day theme. For the privacy of others, I covered people’s faces.

Even tough I had alternate husbands, there was one in particular who stands out in my memory and with whom I had “interesting” dynamics. He was an “authentic” Ukrainian, and not the second, third, or fourth generation watered down assimilated kind. He was a “real” Ukrainian. He was a veterinarian in Ukraine and had just emigrated to Canada. This was his first job and a way to acclimate before he took his Canadian veterinary certification exams. He was about ten years older than I and he teased me, a lot. He took the role playing to the extreme and would often say, “Wife make me some pyrohy. Wife, I want borscht for lunch. Woman, there is no water in the house. Go fetch me some water.” Or, “Woman sweep the house.” Oh & arrgh! This would send my blood curdling since I had been a flaming feminist at that time. So much so that when a gentleman/stranger opened the door for me, I would purposefully not go through that door, but open myself the other double door, go through it, and say to him, “This is the eighties/nineties, us women can do it ourselves.” Oh my! Lord have mercy, times three, on me and all those kind souls that I had been so cruel to.

One time this teasing “husband’s” comments sent me into such a huffy puffy inner dirt devil storm that I huffed, puffed, and stomped out of “our” little clay one room house with only two windows**. I fumed down the gravel road, raising the dust behind me and  not knowing where in particular I was going. Anywhere where he was not. Coincidentally enough, I found myself in one of the many churches that are on the grounds. I walked in and the church was empty. I had God and God’s Ear all to my self. I vented to God. I told God just how unreasonable, chauvinistically pretentious, and demanding my pretend husband was. After I calmed down, God said to “Go back. Your life lesson and semester are not over yet.” I listened to God. I obeyed God. I made peace with my pretend husband. I completed my role as Mrs. Anytsia Slemko to summer’s end.

I wanted the F •A •R •M life. I wanted life one hundred years back. I got what I wanted, and I realized didn’t like it. After the aggie gentleman encounter and the summer job as Mrs. Anytsia Slemko circa 1910, I was at peace on the inside that the Universe had indeed not made a mistake by letting me incarnate in the wrong era. Nothing was off course. Everything was on course. All was well. Now I could relax, be at peace, and fully embody my present place and state in life. How great and wonderful is that. It was a Gift beyond measure.

May you too find peace and joy in your journey of growth.                                          Abundant blessings,                                                                                                         Irena As I Am


**NOTE**                                                                                                                        The reason the house had only one window which faced west for sunlight and warmth was that in their former homeland of Rus, current day Ukraine and under the Austro-Hungarian Empire there was a tax on windows. The more widows a house had, the higher the taxes. The new immigrants, not yet fully knowing the British laws of Western Canada thought the same taxation rules applied and thus minimized the number of windows. Governments are so creative when it comes to taxation.


24 hours: no food, no water. The result, major detachments.

Want to get on the fast track to spirituality, then go on a fast? Fasting will turbo charge your spiritual progression in ways unimaginable. When you progress and deepen spiritually, all other aspects of your life benefit.

The most obvious, common, and traditional association to fasting is food. All the religious paths embody it, promote it and encourage it. On this practice the religions are all unified. The duration of the fast can be anywhere from a day, to a week, to a month, to forty days. If one marries religion with spirituality then the fast can be extended to a quarter (three months) or longer, or even a lifetime. When flowing and aligning with the Divine Spirit, then one listens and responds, or joyfully and lovingly obeys the ebbs and flows of one’s path/energy as it is riding on Love’s Current. A this point one rises from the letter of the law to the Spirit of Love. The letter of the law prescribes how to fast, when to fast, and when to stop. This religious approach to fasting is like spiritual training wheels. Since life requires much energy and time to keep up and stay up, most people do not have the time nor energy to devote to spiritual learning and practices. Thus, the religious calendars and holy days are very beneficial and act as an aid or guideline for followers to incorporate into their lives. But it also creates a unified force or unified field when all the participants are focusing their mental, emotional and physical energy unto fasting, unto something greater than themselves. It is like a world love-in joined together by the outflow of all the Heart Intentions. Since “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” and when members of a religious group fast throughout the world, it raises the spirituality frequency of Love, Light, and Healing of the entire planet. Whether we practice a certain religion or not, we all benefit when the Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists… fast as a community. Everything is energy and energy raised through prayer, meditation, or fasting, affects everyone, positively.  There have been scientific studies that have measured and recorded a lightening up and healing of the earth during such events. Fasting within a religious group is a commonality bond that builds community and unity with its members.

The fasting from food/beverages can take on many forms. It can be as simple as not eating or drinking the “indulgent” food or beverages: i.e. sweets, candy, chocolate, cake, dessert, ice-cream, alcohol, coffee. Another and more involved level of fasting is when we abstain from a certain food group: i.e. anything made with traditional white flour (no nutritional value), sugar (sometimes referred to as “the cocaine of the masses”), processed food (which has zero nutritional value), high fructose corn syrup, dairy, meat. The terms vegan and vegetarian are the vernacular terms and practices that have grown in popularity and population as people are taking it upon themselves to deepen their  personal relationship with themselves and the Divine. As personal spirituality, development/growth, and  self-help have grown in popularity so has information, products, food, and services related to supporting the masses on their inner and outer journey. As the masses are taking back their personal power, they are thinking for themselves and acting in alignment with their Hearts. As the masses are taking personal responsibility and accountability for their thoughts, attitudes, feelings, words, actions and how they spend their time, they are strengthening their channel, communication, trust, and chord to the Divine Realm. These people are called “mystics out of monasteries” (term used by Carolyn Myss) . They are living (eating, reading, speaking, watching, entertainment, hobbies) and eating clean because they feel compelled to do so and because they know that their actions not only affect them, but the whole world. Many and inconspicuous are the mystics out of monasteries.

Just like in sports, in fasting too there are the extremes. One such extreme fast is that of no food and  no water for 24 hours, or sundown to sundown – modeled after the Jewish Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement fast. Another is where one only drinks water, and that is their only form and source of nutrition and hydration for one day, three days, or seven days (and some even go longer). These require mental preparation in advance of the fast as the mind will RESIST and SCREAM  as to why this is not possible, plausible, nor a good idea. It is easy to fall prey and victim to one’s mind when preparing for these fasts. It is easy to quit before even trying when such thoughts flood one’s being. This mental preparation stage is an integral part of the fast for the success and completion of the fast.

I have done many times the “Yom Kippur” fast of no water/food/beverages for twenty four hours. Only once thus far have I done and been called to do the three day water only fast. What I have discovered is that by following through and completing these fasts is that afterwards I feel much lighter with my attitude and outlook. I feel stronger. I feel like I can trust myself. I am self-trustworthy. I feel like I can rely on me to keep my word to me. Thus, I respect myself. In addition, after each fast or cleanse, I have noticed that by my detaching or abstaining from food temporarily, my ego is humbled and subdued, and I detach on the inside from something that no longer is of Divine Service. In this widow of the taming of the ego or opening myself up to Divine grace and humility, an unhealthy or shadow emotion, notion, or attitude is released. Or said another way, I am freed from a notion, emotion, thought pattern, or attitude that has been unhealthy, a lower vibration, a stronghold, or had a stranglehold on me. It is a shift to a higher gear of Light and Love. It is truly miraculous.  And then when I do return to food again, I see it with different eyes, I am more grateful for it and have a greater joy in eating it.

Outside of the above two extremes there are more gentler options such as juicing, cleanses, oil pulling, detoxing, herbal teas, and one fruit food for x days. The juicing can be done exclusively for day(s), or as a single meal cleanse/detox. I’ve heard of people eating one fruit only, such as  bananas or watermelon for a number of days. Herbal teas made for a specific purpose are powerful when sipped with focus, intention and feeling. Oil pulling cleans the mouth – and a clean mouth affects the entire body. It should be done twice a year for forty days each time. In between these bi-annual cleanses, one can do it several times a week. The Master Cleanse is a favorite of mine. I have done it off an on for about twelve years. The duration has varied from one day to fourteen days. Each time I am in awe as to how many internal “masters”  or task masters, I am  liberated from. Lastly, the other favorite is the Liver & Gall Bladder Cleanse. This one tunes up the gall bladder by gently and naturally pushing through and passing out the stones. It resets the digestive system and intestines by emptying them out completely. In Chinese medicine the gall bladder is associated with anger. Stones are seen as the hardening of built up anger. Thus, by passing the stones, one is releasing the anger from one’s body. Oooh yes, get that toxicity out out out!

In addition to the traditional understanding and practice of fasting which revolves around food and using the body as the vehicle toward purification through abstinence, we can also think of fasting as an inner abstinence: For instance, try fasting from

1) Shadow Attitude

2) Complaining

3) Gossiping

4) Criticizing

5) Noise

6) Jumping to Negative Conclusions

Easy. Right. Watch you, your life and your situations change when you are Divinely called, decide, and commit to a practice of fasting. It is work, but it is well worth it and the dividends are amazing in improving your quality of life, both inner and outer.

Sometimes, when people face a major health issue they make radical nutritional and lifestyle choices. Don’t let this be your impetus for clean living and eating, choose it on your own accord.

May Abundant Grace and Wisdom guide you,                                                              Irena As I Am                                                                                                      02/12/2018


“We don’t believe in transubstantiation. We only believe that the bread and grape juice are symbols of Jesus’ Body and Blood.”, said the former catholic young man turned Mormon, to me right before a Mormon Sunday worship service.

I can still picture him in my mind some nine years later. There I am in a Church of Latter Day Saints trying to look as inconspicuous as possible, trying to blend into the crowd and the back pew which was placed against the back wall. I chose the back pew against the back wall so that I could easily back out if I need to, inconspicuously. (In front of the back pew was the walkway to the formation of pews facing the altar.) But when one enters into a Mormon church one enters into a house of welcoming and curious hospitality. Blend in I did not, no matter how hard I had tried, and several people greeted and welcomed me as they walked past me to their pews. But this one particular young man, who I now see as a Divine Messenger, a prophet really, did more than just greet me, he asked questions and he engaged me in a conversation. He wanted to know my faith background. I on the other hand just wanted to be left alone so that I could observe, absorb, and experience. He was intruding on my solitude and contemplation.

Reluctantly, I gave him my faith elevator speech;

I grew up in the UGCC (Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church). She is a national church whose origin is from Constantinople – “We no longer knew whether we were in heaven or on earth” is what the emissaries who went “shopping” for a religion reported to Prince Volodymyr The Great of Kyvian Rus (current day Ukraine) circa 987 AD. She is the orthodox faith with her own patriarch. And, she is in communion with Rome and the Bishop of Rome (the pope).

I also told him that I was done with religion, the church, the patriarchy, the rigid rules, the use of fear to control. I had stopped going to church. But, I told him that I was bored on Sunday mornings and wanted to go out and explore and see how other people saw, experienced and worshiped God. I was curious. And with those statements, I wanted to set a strong boundary and short circuit any potential recruitment into any church organization. I was just passing time and sampling God on a Sunday morning.

My attitude, my tone, my demeanor, my energy projected: Done.Done.Done. I was now free to choose as I want. To live as I want. With no one to tell me nor judge me on what constitutes good behavior. I was untethered. I had flown the coop. I was cage free, but not yet free range. The last thing I needed and wanted was church membership.

Then he said something that was like a curve ball from the Universe,

“I am a former catholic. My wife and I are now Mormons. We also distribute and receive Communion, but we don’t believe in transubstantiation. We only believe that the bread and grape juice are symbols of Jesus’ Body and Blood.”

“What did you just say? What is transub-WHAT?-stantiation?”, I thought and said. I had never heard that term before.

I now see his words as prophetic. He was a prophet. God spoke to me through him. Those words changed the trajectory that I was on.

A this point I was only about two months into my free-wheelin’ religion-free lifestyle. I had kicked the habit. I was two months clean. This meant, no church on Sunday’s, no belonging to any organized religion. No religious and no patriarchal associations, affiliations, accreditations for me, thank you very much. Done.Done.Done with having them judge me and dictate to me how I was to live my life, which was in complete shambles, shrivels, and tatters because I had followed the protocol. Because I had followed the rules, the written, the spoken and the loudest and strongest of them all, the unspoken and unwritten rules, laws, duties, musts, and obligations. It was a heavy yoke which shut down any whisperings of The Holy Spirit. The rule of law superseded the Spirit of the Law of Love. I also visited the Unitarians, variety of New Age gatherings, SWIHA (Southwest Institute of Healing Arts), Lutherans, Baptists… other non-denominational Christian churches, Scientologists, private Light & Love worship gatherings, Shaman ceremonies, unofficial and self-proclaimed catholic services, and awareness centers. I was on a spiritual quest to sample the different flavors of God. I was tired of eating the same spiritual food. It had lost its flavor and sustenance.

He replied that, “Transsubstantiation means the belief that the bread and wine turn into the actual Body and Blood of Christ.”

“Oh.” was my highly intellectual response. And then I was saved from furthering the conversation by the beginning of the Sunday service.  Grace is so merciful at times.

But he got me thinking in ways I had never thought before. In all the years and decades of going to church and receiving Communion this was the common belief. It was just like common law: because everyone did it, everyone believed it, and everyone subscribed to it. This common belief had become an implied belief in me. But it was an unexamined belief. Did I believe it with the entirety of my mind, Heart, and Being? Or, did I believe it because I was programmed that way? Initially my response to my self was “I don’t know”, but I was open to discovering it for myself. I was open to taking the journey of examination of conscience and beliefs.

My answer soon came to me within a relatively short period of time. I found myself thinking very often about a nearby chapel in whose center was the Eucharist. I found myself DRAWN, like a magnet to this chapel. I found myself spending time in this Eucharistic Adoration chapel in the presence of the Eucharist. It was as though He was the moon and I was the tide. He beckoned. I responded, with all my cells.

Eventually my life would revolve around Him, The Eucharist. He became the Sun around which the orbit of my life revolved around. Prior to that, my life had revolved around people, customs, expectations, and pleasing them all. He had become the filter through which I would mold myself and my life. Or rather, He molded me in His image, and continues to do so. It is and will be a lifelong journey. Now my job had become to please him.

Eventually, I needed to spend time with Him every day and I needed His nourishment in my Soul and body every day. Eventually, I began attending daily Mass, more or less on a daily basis. But this time I attended because of the deep joy it gave me and not because of an obligation I was fulfilling. Eventually, He told me to “don’t throw out the baby with the dirty bath water or the dirty diaper” when I pointed out to Him all the hypocrisy I saw in the church. He said to instead focus on the good, focus on the Him, focus on the sacraments, focus on community,  focus on the love and healing, and He will take care of the hypocrisy. That was His job, not mine. He will do the pruning of the vine and I am to partake in the fruit of the vine.

See, no matter where you wander and where you go, Love & Grace are always with you in the Flow. Trust the journey. Trust the process.

Trust and respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in your Heart,                            Irena As I Am                                                                                                           01/30/2018

Fulfillment Time

Beloved, do not let this one thing escape your notice:                                                   With the Lord a day is like a thousand years,                                                                  and a thousand years are like a day.                                                                                   2 Peter 3:8

Have you ever received a Divine vision, a Divine promise and be thoroughly excited about it? You begin doing the work toward making that Divinely inspired vision an earthly reality. You are faithful to the doing the work for a few weeks or months or even years, but nothing happens or the outer reality does not align with the inner knowing and you lose faith, hope, and the steam to keep going. You begin to wonder if what has been your motivating factor was really a Divine inspiration or a wacky tangent you’ve been on for days/weeks/months/years. You begin to doubt yourself and your path. You begin to question your choices. You being to reassess your direction. You wonder if your wandering was just one big waste of time.

Can I get a witness? Yes. me. I’ll witness.

If there is one thing that I have learned in the past fifteen or twenty years since I’ve began my journey of awareness and trying to live in Divine Alignment is that God’s time frame is very different from my human time frame. What I think should take three to six months, God may think that five years is the just the right amount of time to bring something into fruition. I may think I am ready for a new season in my life and look up to the Heavens and say “bring it on God”, “I’ve got my ducks in a row”, “I. AM. READY.”. But sometimes it seems like God is dilly dallying or off on vacation. Sometimes it seems like God may have changed His mind about our initial conversation and agreement. After all, Amazon or FedEx sometimes seem to do a better job of “delivering on time” than God does. Isn’t God the ultimate fulfillment center of them all? Doesn’t He have a magic wand that can make things appear and disappear? Doesn’t God have a multitude of Angels at His beck and call eagerly awaiting to get the nod from Him to come down here to earth and move obstacles out of the way for us, instantaneously?

So then why doesn’t He? Why does He make us wait? Why does He seem to change the longing in our Hearts and have us take a different direction?

There is an adage about how God answers prayers: God answers prayers in three ways. Yes. Not yet. I have a better plan for you.

Like everyone else, I’ve experienced both answered prayers and unanswered prayers. When I get a “yes”, when a prayer is answered I am elated, grateful, humbled, and feeling set apart and pretty good about myself, life, and God. It gives me fuel for the journey. It is an affirmation from God that I am on the “right path”. It emboldens me to keep going and keep trusting the whisperings of the Holy Spirit within my Heart. It helps me see and know just how powerful and amazing God is. It humbles me. Lastly, an answered prayer deepens my gratitude toward God and then it presents the question of how do I express my gratitude and be generous with my many blessings. Very often, God soon presents someone or a situation where the blessing that I just received could be put to service. It is in these moments that I pray for the eyes that see, ears that hear, and a willing, humble, and generous Heart to do what is asked of me. In times when I have been open and sharing, the blessings are multiplied for all. In times when I have been greedy and hoarding my blessings, I have withheld, from others, God, and myself. In contracting my Heart or generosity, the world around me contracted as well. Thus, in receiving we have a Divine responsibility in giving and sharing. In receiving, we are the channel for delivering Divine abundance to others. In receiving we complete the cycle by giving, as Divinely inspired to do so, and not as driven by our ego or external pressures.

However, when a long-standing prayer is unanswered I can get deflated, frustrated, humbled, dejected, feeling set aside, forgotten, and my faith, hope, and trust in God may even begin to wane.  I also begin to doubt myself and my abilities. I begin to wonder if I am wandering aimlessly and if I discerned Divine Directives correctly. When I doubt or the path seems foggy, it seems like on the highway of life I get off at every exit and rest stop to check, double check, and sometimes even do a U turn and head back in the direction I came from. I am testing the path, feeling the path while doubting the path. Are the signs telling me to keep going forward or to go back or go sideways? Does it feel better this way or that way? Does it make more sense to make a change or stay put? These thoughts, feelings, and the array of actions can lead to confusion or even greater fogginess. They can stir up the dust around us even more thus taking it even longer for us to see The Way. In times like these it is VITAL that we stop and listen, that we pray, meditate, journal, or change our routine or scenery. Sometimes, the answer presents itself when we stop being frantic in looking for it. This is when God says “not yet”.

In the “not yet” answer, patience is our saving grace. In the “not yet” answer, we are asked to just relax into the journey and InJoy the journey: InJoy the waiting and the anticipation. It is like when a baby is conceived, it is not born immediately or the next day. The conception of the baby is the promise of a new child, but the birth and reality of a baby is a “not yet”. It takes nine months of gestation. It takes time for the baby to fully develop so that they will be fully equipped for their earthly journey. It also takes time for the parents, family, and friends to fully absorb and also grow into the idea of a newborn baby entering and becoming a part of their lives. It takes time for the parents to prepare, not just with setting up the nursery,  buying clothes, toys and developmental items, but also thinking about how they will raise their chid.  While the baby is growing physically in the womb, the parents are growing mentally, emotionally, and relationally into this new role, responsibility, and joy that Love has brought them. They too are in their own gestation period of the parenthood journey. Sometimes, an answered prayer is like this. The seed of the promise has been planted into our Hearts, but we are not yet ready or mature enough into receiving it immediately. In our wait time, in our gestation period, we need to be wise and do our due diligence in preparing for the upcoming blessing. When the blessing does arrive, we have matured and can handle the answered prayer. And, just like a newborn, an answered prayer is a blessing and a responsibility.

The hardest of them all is the “I have a better plan for you” response to a prayer. In this scenario there will most likely be much pruning, especially if we have an attitude of

‘this is what i want and only what i want and nothing else will do’. 

Oh my!

This is a sure mentality for setting oneself up for  a lot of frustration, heartache, wallowing, self-pity, and even anger toward God. There was a point in my life where “i wanted a baby”. It was the next logical step in my and our journey. It made sense. It was the normal course of married life. Others expected it and hinted at it by quoting  Genesis 9:7 of “go forth and multiply”. I, we, did everything “right”. Years passed and nothing happened. This “wanting” of mine always hovered around me and my life like a dark cloud. The onset of each menstrual cycle was like getting onto a roller coaster ride of hope and anticipation. It was also a downward spiral of despair and desperation since it meant no conception this month. Medically, we were both fine. A few years into this journey, I even had a laparoscopy procedure through my belly so that the obgyn could get a better look at my uterus. I kept the op report for many years. It said that my uterus was “pristine” and “should” conceive. The doctor and others  said you just need to “keep trying” at the “right time”.

By this time the “keep trying” had become a chore, a task, a duty, an obligation. Upon hearing the results of the laparoscopy my Heart both rose in elation and sunk in despair and questioning. I was relieved that all was well on the inside, and simultaneously, I was devastated because some part me understood that it was not meant to be. It was a deep knowing that we were not meant to conceive and bring a child into this world. Even though I “knew” this deep down inside, in my stubborn taurus nature I still forged ahead with the “keep trying” attitude. I ignored and shut down what I did not want to face. I had my own agenda.

In my stubbornness of “wanting what i want”, I brought the misery onto myself.  I thought God had completely abandoned me. I took consolance in reading about Sarah (and Abraham) or about Rachael (and Jacob) in the Hebrew texts. I put on a brave face when people asked if we had any children or when we were planning having children. Then there was the “you are not getting any younger you know” comment that was like a spear into the Heart. I bargained with God. I also pointed out to Him how women on the streets and addicts were giving birth and here i was a “good clean person”, a regular church goer too with a “husband and a home”, and God wasn’t delivering to me. How dare He not!?! How dare He “curse” me so!?!  Why?Why.Why?Why God are You being so cruel and mean to me!

Oh my! Oh my! Has anyone else out there tried to use emotional manipulation, emotional hostage taking, guilt tripping, or bully tactics to get God to answer a prayer?

There were one or two lone voices who said that “maybe God has a different plan for you”. To these comments, I would figuratively close my Heart and ears to and sing “la-la-la-la-la” so as to drown them out. It was easier for me to continue with my agenda rather than stop, ask and listen to what God was saying. Now, many years later, what I thought was my greatest “god-curse”, I now see as one of my greatest Divine Blessings. I now see that I wasted a whole lotta energy being self-absorbed rather than doing the work of listening and changing.

Thus this is why I now pray for Divine Humility. With this Grace, I ask that I “get on board” with God’s plan sooner rather than later. I also ask for the Divine Wisdom where instead of asking “why”, the better question is “what”. What do I need to see? What changes do I need to make? What is the Divine Way? What notion or emotion do I need to let go of? And do this journey of metanoia peacefully, gracefully, gently, graciously, gratefully, humbly, calmly, patiently, lovingly, and in a timely manner. Amen.

Things take time. We need time. Life takes time. Have patience with yourself and the process. Have the grace and humility to align with God’s Way. There is always so much more going on behind the scenes than the eye and i can see.

Abundant Divine Wisdom, Grace, Humility and Obedience,                                           Irena As I Am

Who’s In Your Head?

Who is in your head? Whose voices are running amuck in your thoughts? Who has the most prime and the most pristine real estate in the world,

the thoughts in your mind which govern your life.                                                                 

Do you know who is pressing your buttons and determining your actions or reactions? Are you aware of who installed the operating system (thought pattern/paradigm) of  your mind? Do you question the source, origin, validity, and relevance of your thoughts and actions or reactions? Have you ever audited your thoughts to determine if they are reliable and/or if there are any fraudulent thoughts? Have you ever tested other thoughts to determine if there is a better way of doing things, of living life – a way that is more peaceful, calm, joyful, relaxed, pleasant, efficient, healthy, prosperous, powerful, loving, and wise –  a more Truthful and Divinely Aligned way of living?

If not,                                                                                                                                  it may be time to call in your thought auditor and do a thorough analysis of who and what makes you tick. We upgrade our clothing, shoes, hair, style, look, technology, home decor, vehicles, and the operating systems on our technology… . Well I say to you, it may be time for a thought operating system upgrade. It may time to upgrade the software (thoughts) operating you in your head.

Runaway thoughts can cause runaway actions. Runaway actions can lead to a runaway life. But, thoughts which have a Divine Origin lead one to more Divinely Aligned actions and life.

There was a point in my life where I realized, a Gift of Grace, that I was in auto-pilot mode. I felt like I was sitting in the pilot’s seat with my hands on the wheel of the plane of my life, but my course, my flight path and responses to the external weather conditions/stimuli were already pre-set, pre-programmed. I began feeling that I was a rubber stamp pilot. I began getting a sense that I was a minion. I began realizing that my choices and responses were robotic, and not organic or mine. I began seeing myself as a clone. I felt like rather than a pilot I was more like a drone at the mercy of some central command somewhere other than in me, or from God.

But before I came into this awareness, I remember a story a wise lady told me in the mid 1990s. Why she told me this story I don’t know. Maybe she saw me being at the mercy of the voices in my head and the voices of expectations of others. But unbeknownst to me, this story would surface to the forefront of my thoughts at very frequent intervals for many years and then later  serve as an impetus for my doing a thorough thought inventory and overhaul of my thought system. The story is about a mother teaching her daughter how to bake a ham.

A mother and her teenage daughter are in the kitchen. The mother is teaching her young impressionable teenage daughter how to bake a ham. She tells her daughter to slice off the two ends of the large ham, place the center piece into one roaster pan, place the two end pieces into  another roaster pan, and then bake them separately, one after the other.

The daughter pauses and thinks for a moment. 

Then she asks her mother why they cut off the ends and why not just bake the entire ham as a whole. The mother looks puzzled for a moment and says that she does not know why but that is how her mother taught her.                                                                              Oh my!                                                                                                                           The daughter then says that they should ask grandmother why she did this. They called grandmother and asked her why she taught her daughter to cut off the ends of the ham and bake them separately. The GrandMother  replied saying that is how  her mother  did it and so that is how she taught her daughter to do it. It’s a family generational thing.         Oh my!                                                                                                                           The grand daughter then asked the grandmother why the GreatGrandMother did it this way. The grandmother laughed and said, it was because her mother , the GreatGrandMother had a small wood burning stove and oven  into which would fit only a small roaster. The entire ham could not fit into her small oven so she cut off the ends and roasted them separately. She also said that because our ovens are big enough now we really don’t need to do that any more.                                                                              Oh my! Oh my!                                                                                                          

Naturally, I laughed and laughed when I heard this story. The mother and daughter, living in modern times were being silly and unpractical for living and for doing things according to the circumstances of their ancestors who lived in a very different time and age, in the age of the horse and buggy. But my laughter was not just at them, it was also at me! For in time I would come to realize that I too had been following in the footsteps of my ancestors. I was trying to live a twenty first century city life but much of my thought DNA or thought genetic/energetic  programming was that of my agrarian ancestors from eastern Europe, or western what was then called Rus or today, Ukraine. In addition, I was also smitten with the modern day: movie stars, sports figures, magazine adds, movie themes/messages, songs/rock & roll, political figures, religious influences, tv shows and commercials, the books I was reading, friends, and the general pop culture. All these voices in my head were a thought soup made of ingredients from other peoples lives and thoughts. My identity had become a melting pot and a patchwork quilt of my ancestors’ belief system, my life experience,  and the ocean of external messages. I had become a parrot, a chameleon, a projection of others’ expectations, a cookie cutter mold cookie, a robot. And the result of my chasing or basing my life on others’ thoughts, rather than turning to Divine Guidance, was mass confusion and a sense of helplessness.

*SIDE NOTE*                                                                                                                   I’m not saying that my emotional and mental DNA from my ancestors and external stimuli was all “bad” or totally irrelevant to my life today. What I am saying is that in order for us to love and live in the present moment in alignment with the Divine Flow of our lives, we need to pause, reflect, and discern whether our thoughts and responses are Divinely Inspired or societally pre-programed. Our best life is when we are in obedience to God, to Love. This is how Samuel put it:

Obedience is better than sacrifice, and                                                                submission than the fat of rams.                                                                                             1 Samuel 15

I find it interesting and reassuring that no matter how distant or close we are to listening and responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our Hearts, the Holy Spirit is always surrounding us with Her living and loving Wisdom and Guidance. All we need to do is pay attention and respond. It is that simple. In addison to the ham story, the other notion that the Holy Spirit blessed me with is introducing me to the concept of generational curses and generational blessings. Generational curses can last up to the third/fourth generation and are the result of the fallout or distancing from God or living apart from God. But, here is the wonderful news, generational blessings last up to 1,000 generations.

The Lord came down in a cloud and stood with him there and proclaimed the name, “Lord.” So the Lord passed before him and proclaimed: The Lord, the Lord, a God gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love and fidelity, continuing his love for a thousand generations, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin; yet not declaring the guilty guiltless, but bringing punishment for their parents’ wickedness on children and children’s children to the third and fourth generation! Moses at once knelt and bowed down to the ground.                                                                                                    Exodus 34: 5-8 (NABRE)


Know, then, that the Lord, your God, is God: the faithful God who keeps covenant mercy to the thousandth generation toward those who love him and keep his commandments, Deuteronomy: 7:9 (NABRE)

Little did I know then, but these two themes would become a major work assignment given to me by the Holy Spirit, my guide and my Counselor in the University of Life. The Holy Spirit invited me into the journey of pruning my thoughts and responses so that they became more aligned with Her Holy Promptings and Divine Wisdom rather than the pre-programming life and external stimuli had installed. My “yes” response was based on two feelings; one was desperation and the other was hope. I was desperately confused as to who I was and I was profoundly hopeful in discovering who I would be and what life would be like if I partnered up with the Holy Spirit. This decision and the journey of pruning and discovering was not a shazam moment of transformation. I was not in one moment one person with one set of beliefs and in the next moment a completely unrecognizable person with another set of beliefs and responses. No, it has been and continues being a life long journey. It requires patience, trust, and complete fidelity to God’s Word in my Heart.

I initially began the transformation journey as a rebel and warrioress. Saint Joan of Arc and I were the best of pals. She was my inspiration. We convened often. But, that mode took a lot of energy and drama. It took its toll on me. My journey has humbled me and humbled me and humbled me…  . And when I thought the humbling was done, there was yet another round of humbling. Thus, in time I have made peace and parted ways with my inner warrioress energy, and instead adapted and grown into the gentle peace pilgrim journey. I like it that way now. I went from a raging river to a gently flowing channel.

I made my relationship with God my most important relation+ship. I made listening to and responding to the Voice of the Holy Spirit my priority. I made pleasing God my choice and my service of love. The result: the voices in my head have quieted down and I am continually awed as to the wonderful ways of God.

It was all Grace. It was all a Gift.                                                                                     And continues to be.                                                                                                     irena as i am