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”.

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.

That Porsche Guy

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, my eyes used to roam and scan a room for eligible bachelors, men without a round ring. One fine day, as I was pulling up to church for daily mass a Posrche wheeled in too. “Interesting”, I thought. As the driver got out, I thought, “very very, very interesting”. The driver was a handsome man, dressed in a stylish button up shirt semi-loosely hanging over his trendy jeans. “Oh my!”, I thought, “this is more than very very very interesting.” As usual, I played it cool, very very cool. I’m good at that. Naturally, I did not say anything to him. Why would I? If anything at all, I was even the more reserved. After all, I was there to pray. No distractions allowed. He on his part, remained in his world.

An automobile called Porsche. (Image from Motortrend.)

He was not a regular daily mass attendant but showed up fairly frequently. Each time I noticed him I  was impressed that someone who had the external appearance of wealth and success was also spending time with the Lord during the week, and not just on Sundays. I did “happen” to notice that his ring finger was bare.  When I spoke of him to my friend I referred to him as “That Porsche Guy”. I imagined his coming to church was to pray for or about  some big upcoming business deal he was working on. This was a period in my life when I had so many work projects on my plate that just the thought of getting involved with someone felt heavy and burdensome. Thus distance was perfect and ideal. But I did enjoy seeing him at mass and imagining what the rest of his life was like. That was enough for me. Any more time, energy, and effort would have buried me.

And then one day, everything changed. The plot twisted in a way, that I bet you, Dear Reader, – and I’m not the betting kind – probably would never guess. It was something, that I never could have thought up myself.  One day, he came came to church with three other people. This day he was wearing a wedding band and so was the beautiful woman who walked in with him. “Oh, I thought, he is married after all. I guess not everyone wears their band on a daily basis, I realized. Good thing I just kept the imaginary relationship to just imagination and sight.” But then, what I saw next made my Heart feel compassion, shame, humility, and tenderness toward the family, “That Porsche Guy’s” family. He and his wife had a beautiful daughter about age eight and a son who followed them in, in an electric wheel chair. It was evident by his mannerisms, face and hands that he had down syndrome. The son appeared to be in his early teens.

All through mass all I did was process my thoughts and feelings while sending the family compassionate energy. I thought about myself and observed myself and what my attitude had been toward him based on his outward presentation. Does anyone else out there do that – make a judgement call about a person based on how they look, what they are wearing, and the wheels they are driving? It did it not even dawn on me to scan the state of his Heart at the beginning. Had I done that I might have “seen” him differently. I would have gone from seeing him with my material eyes to that of the Heart vibe. Thus, here is where I began to judge and scold myself for being so “materialistically oriented”. I thought about what this non-experiential encounter had taught me about myself. This was shortly after my Heart had been awakened and I was working on seeing more with the eyes of my Heart. Clearly, I got a big red “F” on this assignment. More assignments and encounters were needed for the sharpening of my Heart Sight.

As the daily mass was carried on by the priest and congregants, my whole focus was on this family. Every time I glanced at the father, mother, daughter and son gathered there before the Lord, I could not even begin to fathom the joy, the love, and the daily struggles of every member. My Heart went out to them. I wished them strength for the journey and peace in their Hearts. I wished that an abundance of grace fill their path.

I wished that deep internal joy be an integral part of their daily lives. And now, about a decade later, I also thank them for their example of love in a family. I also am grateful for witnessing their togetherness and commitment to each other. Lastly, I learned much about myself based on my internal dialogue that was triggered by my initial sighting of him.

I realized that in my initial instantaneous assessment of him and the entirety of his being, I had reduced him down to an automobile breast plate. Um, does this qualify me as being superficial and materialistic? Two hands down, eyeball to eyeball honesty: YES! In writing this story, I thought more deeply about this topic: me and materialism. I realized that materialism is something that I both am attracted to and simultaneously repelled by.  I like it, yet I also shun it because I live very simply, borderline asceticism. Clutter of any kind is draining to me. I realized that I have a very complicated relationship with wealth and material goods. I realized that  I like nice things and enjoy the feeling of having and using something that is of value. I realized that when there is quality and integrity in a product it adds value and surety to my life. By surety I mean to say that quality in a product gives me peace of mind and the mind space to focus on other things, other than things.

It’s about finding that narrow path where one has the discipline to only have the things that one needs for peace, comfort, and ease in their life. On the flip side, it means saying “NO” to things that may be nice to have but would add undue stress and responsibility. It is about nourishing our lives with material things that add to our GDP – gross domestic (inner and outer) peace”, and not weigh it down to the point of them being burdensome. When one is at peace, one can be a person of great value to this planet.

It takes awareness, and self-observation in knowing what adds joy and value to our lives and what drains us of energy. It then takes practice, commitment, and discipline to remove or let go of the items that are distractions in our lives and that take away our joy and peace. But with Grace and humility toward the Holy Spirit’s Whisperings, anything is possible.

Lastly, we don’t even need to engage and encounter with each other to learn and grow from each other. Sometimes, just the presence of someone in a room can trigger a metanoia experience. Stay open, receptive, and responsive to the workings of the Holy Spirit in your thoughts, Heart, and life.

Abundant Grace, Humility, and Blessings,                                                                        Irena As I Am                                                                                                          02/26/2018


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

Spiritual Hoity-Toity

Pride is a very sneaky and clever intruder. It slithers in very covertly. One does not even recognize that one is at its mercy until hopefully just knee deep into it and not in way over their head. This is true in any area of our lives, even in and especially in the spiritual or awareness journey. It is called the “holier than thou” syndrome, or being a spiritual hoity-toity.

I first embarked on the spiritual journey in the late 1990’s (about 20 years ago) primarily out of necessity to “fix” myself, those around me (ha! was i in for a cold shower of awakening – more like a skinny dip in the Arctic Ocean) and my life. It was not based on a conscious choice to become a better huwom/man being. It was out of desperation. I was seeking a panacea tool, a magic wand that would make all the problems and  the problem people go away, while simultaneously materializing the perfect me, others, life, and material items that i deemed necessary for my joy, fulfillment, and ego gratification. Oh my dear word. Just look at that wish list. There was definitely going to be a lot of pruning in my journey, unbeknownst to me. I am grateful though that built into me, was the predisposition to turn toward God and prayer as a coping and healing mechanism, as opposed to say, drugs/alcohol, gambling, food, shopping, entertainment…  . Now, that’s not to say my coping mechanism was “holier than though”, but I think it was probably a more gentler way of coping and healing for me. And that is not to say, that at some level and at some point in time, I did not turn to external distractions or other external self-medicating activities, but the primary and central “go to relief pill” for me was prayer, religion, and eventually spirituality. In hindsight, it was an abundance of grace that turned my focus, attention, and energy in this direction. Also, my upbringing probably contributed much too. There was a heavy imprint in and on me toward prayer and religion.  They were the hub from which all other spokes of my life originated from and had revolved around.

As I began on this path of spirituality and awareness, I noticed that after a certain amount of spiritual “work”, eventually I would be blessed with an “aha” moment. In this aha moment a revelation would flood my being  and my understanding. It would either elate me as it brought me into a new paradigm of understating, or it would require even more work from me as it would ask me to make some drastic changes in my life. My initial response to the Divine request for change was either bartering, whining, and/or  debating with God. “Did You really say that?” or “Do You really want me to do that?” or “God, are You sure that is wise?” I would volley back and forth with God in my Heart and thoughts. The other two responses that God would get from me were either denial that I had heard God right, and lastly, procrastination. But eventually, I obeyed. Either way, it was all grace. I knew that, and I thanked God for it.  And, it took some time for me to recognize it, but another feeling would creep in very subtly: spiritual pride/arrogance, or feeling spiritually superior, or bowing at the spiritual hoity-toity god of awareness. It was the looking down upon others who were walking around in darkness in an area where I had been shown “the light” that spiritual hoity-toityism showed itself.

Now, is there anything more dangerous and arrogant than taking a Gift of Light and using it as a form of judgement against others or elevating oneself. Most certainly Jesus never did this. On the contrary He used His Gift of Light to enlighten, uplift, and liberate those who turned to Him. He was humble and merciful in that He did not hold it over others nor judge them, and He was powerful in that He used it to bring about the Kingdom of Love in these people’s Hearts, minds, relationships, and lives. For the most part, He practiced patience, compassion, and Love.

With each aha I had to remind myself that it did not come from me or was the result of all the work I did,  but rather it was all Grace and it was all a Gift.

Whenever, I forgot this and found myself thinking else wise, soon with time I would be shown just how little I really knew or how much farther I had yet to go. I was in for a humbling lesson. The person whom I would lay judgement upon would say or do something that astounded me in their Divine Wisdom. Or, that person would have another gift or talent that I would, oh my, confession time, envy. But yet again I was comparing myself. In one instance it was how high I stacked up against them, and in the other instance it was how high they stacked up against me. Comparison: same coin, different sides. Comparison is a sure way to a bloated or deflated ego. Neither feeling is Divinely Inspired. We are each on our own journey of Love and evolution. Everyone’s pace is perfect for them.

However, we do not live in a self-absorbed bubble of it’s just me and God in here. We were made for God and for each other. Our stories, used in the right light and way can serve as gifts for change for others. They can be catalysts for conversion. The sharing of our stories is a revelation of how God works with each one of us with the material of our present day life in order bless us with greater Love, should we choose to accept it. Thus one remedy that I have found in being useful in staying humble in whatever journey of ascension we are on is seeing everyone and everything as our teacher and we theirs. God works through everyone and everything. The key is having eyes that see, ears that hear, and an open mind and Heart for receiving the messages, and then the humility and courage in changing.

But blessed are your eyes because they see,                                                          and your ears because they hear.                                                                             (and your will that is humble, reverent, and obedient to God)                                       Matthew 13

Another remedy is sharing our stories of God’s Love. When we share how God has blessed and healed us, we bring hope to others. We bring hope and light into the darkness that may be holding others down, hostage, or frozen in fear. Hope is like a warm light that melts the ice berg of indecision or inaction. Hope is the light that makes the path less dark, or it can completely dispel the dark. Stories of God’s Love are Soul fuel for the journey.

Lastly, just like varying landscapes or shades of a rose, stories also offer us contrast. We see ourselves in others and others can see themselves in us. We are not then isolated in a tunnel experience thinking we are the only ones feeling this way. If we look at it in the right light or frame of mind, we can use the material of the story as inspiration for change, an example to strive forward, a call to help/action, and/or an invitation to pray for others or a cause. Stories show us just how much alike we all are. Stories keep us humble.

One of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit is Right Judgement. With Divine right judgement we can receive a spiritual gift and turn it into a blessing for ourselves and others. Spiritual Soul ahas are like holy bread for the Soul. They give nourishment. They sustain. They are Soul comfort food. They give us hope, faith, and strength for the journey. With Divine right judgement we can use our ahas as yeast to make even more wonderful bread – bread which feeds the Soul’s hunger for Love, Light, Truth, Wisdom, and Beauty. With Divine right judgment we can take an aha and multiply its blessing. Without Divine right judgement, a beautiful aha, if left to the mercy of the ego can turn into spiritual pride, hoarding or not sharing, and thus not feeding others with holy bread. Don’t do this. Share when Divinely inspired to do so. And share generously.

It’s all a Gift and may Divine right judgement direct your actions,                                          Irena As I Am

And Lead us With The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

I have been on my journey of deepening my intimacy with The Word and becoming more aware of the power of the Word since about 2004 or so – about 13 years now.
God SPOKE and crafted and created Creation with Their Words (Book of Genesis).
It is also written that “life and death are at the end/tip of the tongue”.
The tongue is a very powerful instrument which we are well advised to use it WISELY and for the good/blessing of ourselves and others.
Within this background,
and combined with spending a lot of time in understanding the power of affirmations
and then seeing the evidence with Dr. Masaru Emoto’s water study (see YouTube video),
I found myself
(almost restrained and refrained from deep within)
the last parts of the “Our Father” for a few years now – the part that the pope is talking about in the video below.

Lord's Prayer | ABC News December 8, 2017

Pope Francis wants to change the Lord’s Prayer line “lead us not into temptation” to “do not let us fall into temptation”. He fears the original suggests God can lead people to sin.

Posted by World News Now on Friday, December 8, 2017

The deep feeling that had come into my Heart was “why are you paying homage to what you don’t want – to the seducer and deceiver, to the one who sows doubt and fear, to the lier – and out loud too, with your voice, and with a group. Say instead what is good and Holy and how you do want to live”.
Thus, for the last few years, in this last part, and when in a group, 
I silently replace “that part” and instead ask for the
Gifts of the Holy Spirit:
I’ve also added,
The “I am not worthy” part bothers me a lot too. I just does not sit right, nor feel right. Worthiness and feeling worthy is a lifelong journey of acceptance of ourselves, and we need a lot of help, a lot of GRACE in feeling worthy. Thus, it does not feel right nor good to add with my spoken word and to speak these words over myself and in the presence of others. We all need the opposite affirmation and prayer – feeling worthy of all of God’s Love and Blessings so that we can be a blessing onto others.
What the pope is proposing is good,
but not enough.
This I deeply feel to the marrow of my bones.
I commend him for the courage he has had to even bring up the subject and I pray that The Holy                                                                                                                       Spirit of Truth
Spirit of Love
Spirit of Understanding                                                                                                      Spirit of Wisdom
overshadow him and all the Human Family.
When we change our language,
We change our vibration and reality,
Irena As I Am
They don’t tar, feather, and burn people
at the stake any more.
Do they?
It’s a fear that I’ve had to overcome in the past several years that I’ve been sharing on social media.
At one point I was so afraid of excommunication that I actually went to talk to a priest about it.
I was already pretty sure that I couldn’t be burnt at the stake – but it still did not stop me from looking over my shoulder every time I posted something dogmatically risqué.
It’s a past life thing, and I/we are healing that fear this time around.
I sat on the fence for about six years of the past life notion. It was not until I had my own past life answer sessions which helped me answer questions and understand my own patterns of behavior, that I embraced the concept.
Had I not, I would have stayed stuck. Instead, I received the gift of knowing what I/we needed to resolve and dissolve this time round. Otherwise, I would never have been freed.
In those six years of undecidedness, I read/listened to many books, had countless conversations, and attended numerous seminars in order to acquaint my self with this notion.
The UGCC (Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church), who is a bi-ritual priest, meaning that he can celebrate both the western Roman Mass and the eastern Divine Liturgy told me he was aware of only one case of excommunication in the UGCC. He said that there had been a group of monks in Western Ukraine who had decided on their own to excommunicate the Bishop of Rome (the pope), and then in his place they themselves amongst themselves voted in and ordained their own “pope”. Thus by virtue of
excommunicating the Roman pope, they had excommunicated themselves too.
Then after some time their new founded “vatican” was not working out so well, so they disbanded it and asked to rejoin the Vatican in Italy. I think (?) this was in the time of pope Benedict, and I don’t think leniency and clemency was in their favor.
This story made me chuckle,
My excommunication fear had not been unfounded, for I had found myself “excommunicated” in another area of my life.
It was because I spoke my truth which I had held inside for a very long time. Had I not spoken my truth, it would have eaten me up from the inside out and just left a hollow shell of a woman and an existence. Yes, it did set me free. Yes it took herculean courage to get it out. It took herculean strength to withstand the back lash. And then it took herculean humility to reconcile. Actuality it took ABUNDANT GRACE & Humility on all parties involved for reconciliation to take place.
(It also helped me that I went on a three day water fast – water only for nutritional intake – to break the spirit of pride and entitlement (to my anger) that had overshadowed me. Around the same time too, I had me a field trip to the ER (not related to the fasting). Sitting there, lying there, all vulnerable and scared, sure put things into perspective: instantaneous clarity.)
It is the Eucharist that had brought me back to the church when I had wondered off and away.
It is the Eucharist that keeps me in the church.
There is nothing more Holy, more powerful, and more grace filled than receiving the Eucharist.

Spring Cleaning

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, I was so disgusted with myself, my life, and where I had found myself in life, that I did something very rational:


If I could have, I would have thrown me out to, but then my Soul would have been fleshless. And thus, that was not an option.

It may seemed like I had a choice, but not really. The message I had been getting for over a year was consistent and persistent:

“He told them: “Take nothing for the journey— no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.”  Luke 9:3

“But! But! But!”, I protested throughout the year.                                                              “You can’t ask that of me. That’s not practical.”, I rebutted snuggly.                                   “You don’t really mean that literally. Do you?”, I appealed rationally.                                “Would you really ask such a thing of me?”, I challenged with a sprinkling of guilt.

But alas, the more that I opposed, the louder and stronger and more frequent the message flooded me from every which direction. The Luke passage kept hounding me, following me, popping up in all sorts of unusual places. I had no peace. The more that I demurred, the more They asked me to TRUST. It was a Holy blitzkrieg. I had no place to hide. They said that my eyes can only see this moment, whereas Their Eyes can see today, tomorrow, 10,000 tomorrows, and most importantly, into eternity. They said it would be good for my Soul. And so I acquiesced. I obeyed.

In hindsight, I now see that They had been preparing me and training me for a number of years for this epic Olympic event which I came to call Spring Cleaning. One of my first crown jewels They had asked me to give away was an old old hard copy of Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” that I had come across in a used book store. The book had been with me for over twenty years and followed me in each of my moves. I still remember the moment my eyes made contact with “Anna Karenina” and our lives meshed. Just looking at the book on my bookshelf game me immense joy and satisfaction. Some time later, the next item that needed letting go of was a $500 CDN burgundy fitted leather jacket gift which was  purchased at Danier. The leather was soft and supple. The cut was snug and smart and sexy. I felt and looked great in it. Then there was the purse: the $300 and some USD Dooney & Burke purse. I always made sure to carry it with the logo facing the world, making sure the world saw my value. Combine the purse and the jacket with my jewelry, shoes, and clothing, I was easily $2,000+ walking. I was worthy of love and respect. My material possessions proved it so. Or so I thought.

**BIG Side Note Here**                                                                                                           I am not condemning beautiful and finely tailored clothing and accessories.It was my attachment to them and how they made me feel on the outside-in, rather than from the inside-out. It was my relationship to them and with them that was unhealthy. These exterior items were part of the external montage of items that I had anchored my worth into, rather than developing my interior self-acceptance and self-value with and through God.  Beautifully designed, responsibly sourced, masterfully crafted, respectfully  manufactured, lovingly packaged, smartly labeled, efficiently distributed, accurately branded, cleverly marketed, and lovingly merchandised items are part of the cycle of life, people’s creativity, reflection of the period of time we are in, and a wonderful way of making a living. It’s just that for me, at that time in my life, they were my self-worth crutches upon which I leaned on heavily.

These external symbols did not give me deep inner peace and joy. Thus, I obeyed the request by The Holy Ones because up to that point in life I had obeyed the set-in-stone yet unwritten laws and glances and expectations of the tribe, the culture, the traditions and the religion. I had excelled in my earthly obeying. I was highly praised for my earthy obeying. On the outside, everything looked sugar plum perfect. Yet on the inside, I was drowning in misery and self-doubt. In this place of total confusion, I was open and willing to trying life differently. I was open to looking within for direction, guidance, and validation, rather than to external sources and voices.

In addition, They presented Luke 9:3 with such conviction, that I just KNEW deep within my being that They were right: no matter how illogical, impractical, or foolish a course of action it may have seemed to the common person.

They said,                                                                                                                             “Be grateful that We are giving you the choice to let go on your own.                          Some do not get this choice.                                                                                            Be grateful that you are parting with these things from your own free will and in a gentle manner.                                                                                                                       Some do not have it this way.                                                                                           Be grateful that is not a fire, flood, theft, storm, or an act of war that is removing these items from you.                                                                                                                Be grateful, for we can not put new wine into an old wineskin.                                         Be grateful because We are preparing you for new wine, a new life.”                              And the crown jewel of Their conviction was,

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19

They spoke. I listened and obeyed. I set out on my “As I Am” voyage with Their Word as my rudder and the wind to my sails. In about a month’s time, I did let go of everything, down to the q-tips and even my favorite pen. The only things remaining were a banked stash of cash, my transportation, glasses, a dental appliance, pictures, and documents. It was one of the scariest things I have done in my life. It was one of the most liberating things I have done in my life. They proved Themselves and Their Word as trustworthy to me. Their wisdom surpasses all understanding.

Trust the Flow of Life,                                                                                                    Irena As I Am