Plan B – Basement Window

I think the statute of limitations has run out, so I truly believe the story below will not get me arrested!

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, when I was just a lass, a high school and university student lass, I liked getting together with my friends and having fun. This was in the ancient era of no cellphones for communication, but rather all voices traveled through land based wiring. Even that is a mystery to me – people are super smart. Whenever gatherings were planned  and events organized, it was pretty much a sure thing. Unlike today where there is play by play texting of the status of one’s prep time, departure time, enroute time, and arrival time  – that’s a lot of energy, just try trusting instead – in those days, showing up was a given. Everyone trusted in everyone else’s ability and responsibility to actually show up. It was definitive. 

ALCB: Albert Liquor Control Board

Our gatherings were simple. We’d get together, play board games, barbecue , spend time at a lake or park, listen to music, watch movies at home on the latest technology, the high-tech vcr, play street and ice hockey, tag football – the merciful kind with four downs, baseball, soccer, soccer baseball, or just simply catch. Since my best friend was a tom boy with many brothers, she taught me how to throw a football or baseball “like a boy” – the kind where you put your shoulder into the throw, and not just the arm. This way you got more torque, more control, and more precision.  Plus you looked much cooler too. We were very proud of that accomplishment. And best of all, we would talk, laugh, tell jokes, tell stories and just be with each other. Since the legal drinking age was eighteen, in the early high school years, someone always had an older brother or sister who would bootleg it for us until one of us could official do it ourselves. Of course there were those with fake driver’s licenses – I don’t recall how they got them now, but if they got up the gumption they would use these passes to go through the checkout counter at the only place one could purchase those non-heavenly spirits, the ALCB store – Alberta Liquor Control Board. 

Yes, at that time and in those days, the government was in sole custody of dispensing Spirit altering liquids. Yes, getting drunk, or entering into this altered inebriated sate was also a major goal for the weekend. We were teenagers in the eighties. That was considered cool and fun. 

By the Grace of God, our group was shielded from street drugs entering our domain. There were those who could get access to it, and one time a few of us did try “shrooms”. Theses were dried mushrooms wrapped in tin foil that were supposed to do “something” to you. We ate them and nothing happened. There was a lot of drama around getting them, talking about what they would do to us, and being afraid of the consequences should we be caught. By the Grace of God, we stuck to “only” alcohol. It served us fine enough. Now however, I see and understand alcohol from a very deeper and different energetic perspective. The spirit of its energy is that it muddies our purity and the channel through which a Deep Divine Connection is established and maintained. Think of it as a pipeline/tube from your head, your crown chakra going up to the Heavens. Alcohol (and other substances) muddy, pollute, and dirty this pipeline to the point where very little or no Light can get through. Alcohol (and other Spirit altering substances) cut off, block, clog your Light & Love connection and flow. It is like a backed up sink where water can not flow. When I became aware of this, I stopped putting this low frequency substance into my body in February 2008 – ten years now. Not only that, but I felt dehydrated and sluggish for days. I thought, “Why am I doing this to myself. Why am I harming myself so?”. The spiritual aspect and the physical repercussions are why I stopped drinking alcohol. But in my teens and early twenties, it was fun watching this alter ego arise out of  myself  and others. I had been a “happy and giddy” drunk. But then in my thirties when I began the clean journey and I wanted to know me, “as i am”, and I wanted the courage to come from within, from God, and not from an external substance.

RULE BENDER

I, having been born in former socialistic Yugoslavia, current day Bosna i Hercegovina was straddling two worlds, that of the open skies of the west and that of old world Europe. My friends had relatively lenient parents and almost always received the green light when they asked to go places and do things. I, on the other hand received a mixture of green and red lights. Going out on a school night was forbidden  and there were no weekend camping trips allowed. I obeyed, for the most part. But I looked at my friends, they had stories of get togethers which I had missed out on and they seemed like they were fine and balanced. To me it did not seem that the extra gatherings “corrupted them”, nor did it affect their grades. I began to feel more and more like I was missing out on fun in my teenage years, “the best years of my life”. I reasoned thus; the rules began to feel like an injustice; the rules began to feel very constricting; the rules began to feel like they had no strong logical substance to uphold them. What to do? What to do? I had tried negotiating from different angles on many occasions, but it was futile. I knew that I really really really wanted to be at some of these gatherings. 

CODE WORD: Plan B – Basement Window

The question was, “How?”. I know now not how I got the idea but the concept of the “basement window”  came to me. Aha! Lightbulb moment! I could sneak in and out of the basement window! Brilliant! All I needed was a ride though. Taking the car too would have been too much of a risk. I was already sneaking out, should I be caught I didn’t want to be grounded for life had I taken the burgundy Pontiac wood side paneled station wagon without permission. Since I had done a fair amount of driving others, someone was always willing to pick me up.

Sometimes, when I got a call that there was an event, I would not even bother asking for permission. I would just tell them “Plan B”. They knew what that meant and they knew what time to pick me up, usually around 10:00 pm – 12:00 am. This always gave my friends a good laugh and it sent my Heart rate beating higher and louder. I did what I needed to do in order to have the experiences that I wanted. All of our bedrooms were upstairs and certain stairs creaked! I would hug and kiss everyone goodnight around 9:00 pm and then go to my room, waiting patiently. I would go through my bedtime routine and actually go to bed in my pajamas. Then, at the appointed hour, I would get dressed, stuff the bed with extra pillows so that if by chance someone would check up on me it would appear as though I was asleep, and pray the Hail Mary as I tip toed down the stairs to the main floor and then to the basement. 

As fate prearranged it, a large chest height freezer was propped up against one of the windows. See, The Universe was fully supporting me in my deviancy. It was an affirmation! It was an easy climb through procedure. Freedom awaited me on the other side of the glass panel. It was a portal to fun! I was always as quiet as a church mouse. When I reached the waiting get away car, there was always much laughter and joy. And off we would go on our fellowship adventure making memories.

GRAND LARCENY 

On one such outing, there were four of us. And it had been a double misdemeanor because it was a school night! Oh Lord have mercy! We had no particular plan of what we would do so we just drove around in a Chrysler Le Baron for a while. We drove all the way form the north end, through downtown, to the south side which is where our high school was located. The streets were empty. All of humanity was sleeping. They had real responsibilities to show up to the next day. We on the other hand, were carefree high school kids. We got bored as there was no action going on. Then someone came up with the idea that we should “decorate” our front school yard with “borrowed” lawn art. And thus our grand larceny adventure began. 

The hatchback was perfect. We “collected or borrowed” from sleeping neighbor’s front lawns a myriad of items: for sale signs, plastic sunflower windmills and it seemed ink flamingos were in abundance. We also “borrowed” city construction signs. We rationalized that people who go on treasure hunt parties “borrow” things all the time and we were just making our own treasure hunt list. 

We made several trips and drop offs until the lawn looked just right. Showing up to school the next day and keeping mum about it was both exhilarating, fun, and a let down. We loved the buzz it had created and wanted to claim and receive the accolades, but that would not have been wise. We stayed low and under the radar. Instead, it was thought that the outgoing grade twelve class had been the masterminds and executioners of this grand scheme. No one even suspected that it was the bold act of the grade eleven class. To our joy it showed up in the back pages of our year book.

Our night of booty collection.

Our grand adventure was captured on film and printed on paper. We did good! 

That basement window, although unconventional had been my portal to good friends, good times, and wonderful memories. The opportunity presented itself to me through my thoughts and now, in hindsight I know I would have regretted NOT doing it. Said in the affirmative, I’m glad I took the chance, risked possible reprimand, and did do it. I did no harm to others, other than the few missing flamingos and other articles. On the contrary, it almost seemed like The Universe “conspired in my flavor” by setting me up for success: the freezer step stool, the size of the window, easy screen removal, and kind and generous friends. 

Rules are good. We need rules for a smoothly and respectfully functioning society. But if they become oppressive, heavy, and joy stealers, well then… THINK FOR YOURSELF.

By the Grace of God, think for yourself,                                                                           Irena As I Am                                                                                                      04/17/2018

Perhaps, this too was a test sent from the University of Life. It was a prep exam for one of the biggest rules I would break many years down in my life: the breaking and retreating of my marriage vows.

But that is another story…for another day.

Gracious Host

In mid January of this Anno Domini year of 2018 I was walking in a parking lot toward my vehicle when my attention and line of sight was drawn downward to a slip of paper on the asphalt. I saw that it was a fortune cookie message. “Oooh”, I thought, “A delightful message from the Cosmos. Just for me!”, and I gleefully picked it up. 

It read: You will be the guest of a gracious host within the month.

“I like it and I’ll take it.”, were my immediate reactions. In the top right hand corner I dated my fortunate message and put it in a little compartment next to my steering wheel. Meanwhile my mind began envisioning an elegant evening gala. I and other women were dressed in beautiful sequenced gowns and the men were sharply and neatly suited up in tuxedoes. In the background there was a live quartet playing soft classical music. The stars were sparkling as we engaged in meaningful conversation and I sipped sparkling mineral water, accented with a sprig of mint and a splash of cranberry juice. (Alcohol is “against my religion” – my “personal religion” – that is unless there is a super extra ordinary event. Then I will issue myself a temporary dispensation and have a sip or two. In the last ten years there have been only two such extra ordinary events. I like my crown chakra open to the Divine Flow and my thoughts crystal clear.) The meal was clean, delicious, and nutritious … my imagination kept building a beautiful event with this “gracious host” as I drove home.

Life went on it’s normal, peaceful, and calm on-course and I forgot about the fortune cookie message. That is, until Ash Wednesday. On St. Valentine’s Day I received ashes on my forehead as I replied in the affirmative that i am and i would “turn away form sin, and live and love the Gospel”. 

The next morning I was burnin’ burnin’ burnin’ up. 

Those ashes still had some live cinders in them and they lit me up with a fever. The fever completely halted me and grounded me. Life stopped. Everything that seemed important yesterday and needed to be done today, vaporized into nothingness, meaninglessness and irrelevancy. For the next three days and three nights sleep became the new agenda and put itself on the top of the list. All I wanted to do and all I had the energy to do was sleep sleep sleep, and sleep some more. In the day i slept on the couch and at night i slept in bed. I awoke in the dark in soaked pajamas as my body released all kinds of nitty gritty energy. The past was vaporizing.

Even my stomach got into the game with some of its own action by regurgitating an attempt at a meal.  This I had not done in at least a decade or more. At first I was baffled as to why I had gotten so feverish. I could not even recall the last time I was in such circumstances: ten, fifteen years? What had brought it on? Where did I “go wrong” in taking care of myself to be served a fever?  It took about a week for me to feel strong enough to leave the house. Thus, being physically and energetically immobilized, I had a lot of time to think. And think I did. Being the optimist that I am, and always looking for the silver lining, deep down inside I knew that there was a Gift in this situation.

I recalled how a medical intuitive once had told me that when we complete a healing journey on the inside, that is when the body then develops “symptoms” on the outside to release or expel that energy from the body. Thus, I began to review in my thoughts all the lessons, all the encounters, all the shifts, all the trials, all the emotions, all the setbacks, all the failures, and all the victories that had been on my path and that I did not back away from. I embraced them. I embodied them. I wrestled with them. I danced and sang with them. I loved them dearly and at times cried bitterly too. And then, I moved on because that  was part of the Cosmic Plan, part of the Divine Design of my Soul’s earthly sojourn. Whew, no wonder I was exhausted. Just thinking about it made me feel tired. I realized then that this fever was a Gift. It was my Graduation Gift wrapped in a package that allowed me to REST, recap, and bring closure to a large segment of my journey. 

Fire is purifying and the fever did just that. It burnt away all the remnants of the bygone battlefield. It purified my body, spirit, and memories. It left behind the ashes of a skin/identity that was no longer needed nor necessary for the new journey and the new era. Now that I think about it, the involuntary regurgitation of food was like the old way of ingesting, processing, digesting, absorbing, and releasing was also being “thrown up”. It was a symbolic cleanse and parting of ways of the old way and making room for the new way. All that sleep gave rest, calmed me down, and reset my system.

I also had developed a cough. I KNOW that whenever symptoms arise around the throat, that my throat chakra is not fully open or not being used as it should be. My voice had become small and meek. I KNEW that I needed to once again give voice to that which was within. I KNEW that I needed to use my voice, lest my voice be lost. I knew and know that a lot needs to be said through the voice. And in time, it will be. 

Toward the end of February, I once again found that fortune cookie slip in my vehicle. When I read it I laughed and laughed and laughed. I laughed because of the disparity between what my vision had been of the “gracious host” and what the Cosmos actually delivered. There was a huge disparity. However, in hindsight, I am now BEYOND GRATEFUL for the feverish “gracious host” that really did show up. The host did fire me up so as to de-light me temporarily and put me out of commission in order to in-light me for the next segment of the journey. 

Life is a Gift – and sometimes we need to expand your vision and shift our focus so that we see the Gift. “Let those who have ears, hear (and those who have eyes, see – with their Heart, and Soul).”, Jesus.

Abundant Grace, Wisdom, Humility, and Strength,                                                        Irena As I Am

A Beggar and A Slave

Quite frequently in the Bible the passage about not being “slaves” and the healing of “beggars on mats” pops out at me. For a long time I dismissed these passages and messages about liberty and instantaneous healings from immobility as irrelevant and not pertaining to me. After all, on the surface I was not behind prison bars, nor was I sitting on a mat for cripples on the street corner with my hand out asking for alms. So plain of sight obvious – right? Well if there is one thing that I have learned about the Words in the Bible is that sometimes I need to approach them literally, while other times figuratively. 

This week, by the Grace of God I had one of those profound “aha” moments where it dawned on me how the above two topics did relate to me and were meant for me. I was shown just how much of a beggar and a slave I had been. In my healing journey I have noticed a pattern. The awareness of an unhealthy situation and the labeling of it, is half of the remedy. The other half requires effort on my part. I then need to implement and adopt permanently the newfound pearls of wisdom in my thoughts, actions, and life. The good news is that when we commit and ask for Divine Assistance, They always show up and help. 

LIFE OUTSIDE THE GARDEN

Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try, life outside The Garden of Eden is predicated on conditions – including love. There is the condition of gravity – we, trees, mountains, ants, buildings all stick to the earth because of gravity. It keeps us and everything grounded and from floating away into the eternal ethers. There is the condition of the flesh – our Soul needs the body vehicle for its earthen journey. Although the Soul is clean, pure, and holy, the condition of the body needs almost constant care, attention, and cleaning. Upkeep takes time, energy, and work. It is not enough to wash our face, comb our hair, and brush our teeth once, it has to be done at least a couple of times a day. In the realm of our Spirit, we constantly need to nourish it with hope, faith, and prayer to keep its energy balanced, strong and focused on Trust.

unCONDITIONAL LOVE

So too it is with human relationships. No matter how hard we try, there is always a condition on our love or on others’ love for us. The complete opposite would be the love that God gives us and offers us, TOTAL ACCEPTANCE always, in all ways and in every moment of who i am and as i am – the brilliance and especially the shadows. We all adore and admire the beauty of the rose, but do we give thanks to her thorns or the fertilizer/manure it took and takes to keep her blooming gracefully. We tend to overlook or dismiss the messy and smelly parts of the journey and focus on the final and closing act of the blooming soft petals. 

How many of us have the capacity to offer total acceptance to another – no matter what they do, how they behave, and the attitude they exude. I have tried it many times over, and it is just not in me. I do not have the capacity nor depth of graciousness for that kind of love. I have tried to keep “turning the other cheek” over and over and over again and again for years upon years. I thought I was holy in doing that. On the outside it may have appeared so. For my ego it was a bolster, but for my Heart it was a blister. For my Soul it was purification, but for my Spirit it was petrification. On the one hand I saw my self as a victim, but in truth, I was a voluntary martyr. In this there was pride too – “just look at me and the immense cross that i am carrying” was written all over me. The invisible sign on my forehead read “o woe is me – can i get a pity pence please”. But I was not aware of this subtle victim pride mentality back then. I was doing the best that I could with the love and level of awareness I was at. 

LOVE FOR AN ENSLAVED BEGGAR, AN INDENTURED SERVANT

In this period of my life, I thought that God’s love was predicated on my “turning the other cheek”. I knew others loved me because I was conforming and contorting myself to their projection of me. I thought I loved me. But then, I just could not take the pain anymore of being an indentured love martyr. The chains of earthly love became too heavy to bear. Thus, slowly and gradually by the Grace of God and much trepidation, I began to shift and change in my awareness, attitude, and resolve. It is said that “good fences make good neighbors” and thus I began building my wall, brick by brick, day by day, encounter by encounter. 

I began to set boundaries of what was and was not acceptable and respectable behavior toward me. I saw and felt the waves of disapproval toward me. I was no longer being praised but rather reprimanded. I began to wonder if I loved this new version of me since others were no too happy about it. But the most terrifying question of all was “did God love and approve this new version of me”. At that time I had equated human expectations and conditions of love and approval with Divine Love. It was a long and treacherous journey that freed me from this mentality. And, I am discovering there is always another subtle layer. I am on a journey of discovering and allowing God’s Love. It keeps amazing me pleasantly. 

LIBERTY

By the Grace of God, I discovered that I do not need to beg for Divine Love and Acceptance. Conversely, it is a Gift which liberates and gives life to the Spirit. I also realized that it was my misconstrued paradigm of what human love and Divine Love require that kept me enslaved in unhealthy ways of being and relating. I realized that the respect that I give to myself and to others, is the respect that I receive from the Universe. Karma, or “do unto others”, or the energy and vibe we put out, does truly come back to us. I have also realized and am continually discovering that the Divine version of Love is sometimes completely different from the human construction of love requirements. Love is not for rent. Love is the deed endowed on our Souls. Love is our Soul’s Essence. Embracing and embodying this Divine Love is really scary, and ultimately liberating. It takes a lot of courage and Grace to deconstruct or unsubscribe from the human love laws. 

The real Gift I am realizing is that this concept of discovering and living Divine Love is not limited to our relationship with others – this is just the beginning. It extends to our relationship with God, ourselves, our body, feelings, image, finances (income, investing, spending (needs and joys), and sharing), contribution, leisure time and fun activities. The adage of “how we do anything is how we do everything” is also very applicable to love received and love offered. 

As I have expanded my notion of love and accepting love, I have also expanded my giving of love too. It no longer is from a place of duty, obligation, must, or a should. I do my best to give what God is asking of me and to set the boundaries that are healthy and necessary for my well being. My journey went from the Law of Rule, from stone tablets  to the Spirit of Love, to the tender Heart. My journey continues expanding in this space of eternal potential. 

LAWS FOR SMOOTH FLOW 

I do understand that we need basic rules of behavior toward one another so that we are all “on the same page” of what is and what is not acceptable. Just like traffic laws keep traffic flowing smoothly, so too do we need a basic framework of respect and dignity for one another. This framework is a guide for every day smooth living in a society. Ultimately though, discern and let the Spirit of Love flow out of your Soul and into the Universe. This is true Divine Alignment. This is the ultimate service to God. This is what gives Joy to the Heart, life to the body, and Love to self and others. This to me is the ultimate pursuit or journey of life, liberty, prosperity, and joy. 

Now when I come across the passages about being freed from bondage and being chained to an almsgiving mat, I ask the Holy Spirit to show me how and where I can release human constructs and get my self with into greater Divine Alignment. By myself this is impossible, but by humility and abundant Grace, I KNOW i am assured victory.

God is God, and only God can offer total and complete Love and Acceptance. We as sojourners on our healing and wholeness earthen journey do not have this capacity. As we work on becoming more whole we need to ensure our safety and integrity by employing the Gift of Right Judgement from the Holy Spirit. With this Gift we know how vulnerable we can be or how closed off we need to be in order to be safe in each encounter.

Abundant Divine Wisdom, Humility, Strength, Grace & Love,                                         Irena As I Am                                                                                                      04/10/2018

Just Admit It and Feel It

I am the queen of positivity, optimism, hope, and rainbows. It could be the storm of the decade outside, but on the inside i choose to look for and focus on the blessings, the gifts, the joys, and the lesson. Deep down on the inside, I know the storm is only temporary and it WILL pass.

I don’t know if I was born this way, learned this way, or by virtue of necessity adopted this way. Maybe it is a combination of all three, and whole lotta Grace. But I do know that it has served me well in life. It has helped me get through some very dark days, months, and even years with minimum emotional collateral damage. When a curve ball has come my way in life and knocked me to my knees or put my face in the mud, over the years I have developed a tried and true program for catching my breath, getting backup, and living again.

ADMITTANCE                                                                                                               The initial response may be to “fight it”, resist it, deny it, run from it, numb oneself, or self-medicate. These coping tools work, but they are only temporary feel good band aid solutions. They do not actually address nor get to the root of the problem. It is like pulling the weed leaves while leaving the root in tact. It is a feeble cover it up. Pretend there is a tiger in the room and you throw a blanket over her, she is still there whether you see her or not. No matter how masterful you become at distracting yourself from her presence, you still always KNOW that she is near and ready to pounce. Your Heart can not rest in peace.

This denial phase can be anywhere from days to months to years. I’ve realized it takes more work, more energy, more stress, more drama, more of one’s life force in the long run to deny what is, than to actually face it, label it, feel it, and then work or Flow through it. You are stronger and braver than you think you are. You CAN handle feeling the feelings. The denial of them actually piles on more pain, more messiness, and the prolonging of the issue. The feeling of feelings actually makes you stronger and braver. It also builds your awareness and self-respect muscles. The admittance of the situation and one’s true feelings, I KNOW are half of the healing and wholeness journey. 

FEEL THE SHOCK, THE FEELINGS, and THE REALITY OF THE SITUATION       How does one actually feel when they have been suppressing and denying their feeling from arising? The first step it to STOP. Stop ignoring them. Stop running from them. Stop distracting yourself from them. Just stand still, be still, lay still. They are actually a Gift. By opening this Gift up and taking it out of the box (your being, Spirit, Heart) and working or playing with them, you will actually transmute them into something beautiful. By being still, feeling them, and letting them Flow, they don’t build up on the inside and boil over on the outside. Feeling them is the pressure relief and release valve. It is your saving Grace. Once they are released, you are less at their mercy and their charge. You then can focus your energy on the solution.

DIAGNOSIS                                                                                                                   The best way that I know how to address a situation is to name it, label it, or give it a diagnosis. When we have an accurate understanding and no longer dealing with vagueness, we then can proceed with clarity and confidence. We know which mental and emotional work or therapy to seek out. At this point, the remedies seem to come out of the Universe’s woodwork and present themselves on our path. 

HEALING and PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY                                                               In this stage of healing, Grace and Humility are essential. We need to try different approaches and need to be open to approaching things differently. That is why prayer, mediation, journaling, and a trusted and wise advisor are some of the best Gifts we can receive. By turning to God, our healing can be gentler, more graceful, and in a timely manner.

It is vital that one also take personal responsibility in the situation.  During the healing phase there will be many temptations or little quizzes that test or resolve and commitment to living a more aware and whole life. It can be easy to revert into old patters of thinking or habit. You thought you needed Grace in the healing phase, you need it even more in the new path so that you stay on the whole and holy path.  And if you do stumble and revert to your old ways, be gentle with yourself. Get up, or if need be, crawl forward until you get the strength to stand up and run again.

With God, anything is possible and any journey completable. Just do you best and keep turning to God for strength and guidance.

Abundant Blessings,
Irena As I Am                                                                                                      04/07/2018

Are We There Yet

Destination addiction. That is/was me. Get in the car. Drive for three to five hours, straight. No stops along the way – unless absolutely necessary. We’ll rest or sight see when we “get there”. This is my natural tendency. This my type A personality way of driving, and alas, living too. There is an adage that says, ‘how we do anything, is how we do everything’. I can be very driven, very focused, very single minded, very much the one who has blinders on. For me, life is a marathon sprinting race, every day. There are things that need to be done, goals accomplished, and lists checked off. Productivity is king. These may be the signs and symptoms of a run-a-way ego, or being obsessive compulsive. I am either all in or a no-show. There is no middle ground for me. 

There has to be order: my paper clips are organized according to size, towels stacked neatly with the folded edge toward the outside because it looks neater that way, schedule/routine adhered to, and the bed made with military precision. 

DEEP WATERS                                                                                                               The plus side of being wired or programmed this way is that I do get things done. I can rely on me, and so can others too. When I embark on a new path, I go way into the deep end. The shallow waters offer me no growth or richness of flavor.  I embrace each journey or experience with the entirety of my being. I pour all of me into it. I open up all of me to it. As a result, the experience flows deep into my psyche and forever remolds me. I love living on the edge and in the deep waters. It makes me feel alive and whole.

PEACE WITHIN OUR WALLS                                                                                            To my defense, for a really long time there was much messiness, chaos, and turbulence in my life: or said another way, enormous upheaval and change. Thus, having order within our house gave me a sense of control and comfort. There may have been a storm raging outside, but inside the walls of our house, peace, calm, and order reigned supreme. The routine and tidiness balanced me and strengthened me. The order was a rock I could lean on for assuredness and support. During this period, I had dubbed myself as “The Queen of Clean”. The clean theme did not just embody our house. It became a mantra for everything, for all of life: clean thinking, reading, watching, speaking, communicating, entertainment, eating – especially eating, household products, personal/body care products, spirituality, money, and relationships.  

FLIP FLOP                                                                                                       Nevertheless, at times I can be slower than a turtle out on a Sunday stroll. With really important decisions, I mull and mull and mull. At times, I have frustrated others and myself too with how long it takes me to make a decision or take action. Some people “do”, then figure it out along the way. Me, I am an analyzer and thinker. I think things through inside and out before I even put my toe in the water. I look to others who have walked the path and see what their experience has been like. I then try to place myself in that position and see how it would “feel” for me. I feel things through before proceeding. I meditate on it, pray about, and/or journal it through. I leave no stone unturned. Then, I may or may not proceed, but I have done my due diligence, my homework. 

At times, I will  completely put on pause my type A approach and dive deep into the type B way of living. At times, I will temporarily park the type A personality and disable it by pulling the spark plugs out while I do nothing for a day or two or three. This is a time for just being and no doing. I call these pajama hibernating days. This is a time for reflecting, observing, or feeling. It is a time when my Spirit catches up, processes, digests, purges and/or integrates all of life’s happening. Conversely, it can also be a time when the Spirit imparts a new direction within me. 

MESSINESS ALLOWED                                                                                               There came a point in time, when I became aware that I had become at the mercy of my schedule and routine, even though it had brought me great comfort. I realized I needed to mix things up a bit. I did that by not making our bed for a couple of weeks. It took GREAT RESTRAINT on my part to just let it be “messy”. I also began allowing myself “fun food” – things like chips, cake, ice-cream, and donuts. This however, can be a slippery slope though. I find that I feel and live much better when the fun food is kept to a bare minimum. Thus, I have reverted back to my mantra of “delicious and nutritious” food, which for me stands for clean, in its original/alive form, and as much organic as possible. Lastly, I am  proud to say that recently I co-mingled my paper clips. It was a scary. It took a lot of courage, but I did it and lived to tell about it. It did not send me into emotional overload, and the paperclips seem to like each others’ company. 

BALANCE                                                                                                                           I am now at a point where I am working on having a more balanced way of approaching life. I am practicing incorporating all three of my ethereal essences: Mind, Heart, Spirit/Soul. This earthly “trinity” are all important and necessary. Now, i am practicing on attuning to the Flow of the Spirit, using my feelings as a radar, and employing the mind as the mechanism. I am in the neophyte stage, but so far I like it, a lot. I am both “there and here”.

“Each day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” Matsuo Basho

Blessings, Wisdom, and Grace in Abundance,                                                              Irena As I Am                                                                                                            04/03/2018

Why Such Brutality in Love

If God is a God of Love, then,

  • Why did Jesus have to experience such brutality?
  • Why did  Jesus have to go through the torturous and humiliating passion?
  • Why did Jesus have to die a death of agony through the crucifixion?
  • Why was Love so brutish to Love Themselves?
  • Why did Love not just find a more gentle and loving way of demonstrating Their love to us and for us? After all, anything and everything is possible with God.
  • Why did Love choose The Way it did for our salvation?
  • Why did Love not just go from the Letter of the Law to the Law of Love in a more “humane” Way?
  • If God is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and eternal, why not just “offer” it to us as a Gift, like so many other Gifts that are given to us?
  • Why put Themselves through such agony?
  • Why does this Gift have to come dripping with blood, skin lacerations, humiliation and ridicule, a crown of thorns, spikes through the flesh, and eventual death through asphyxiation?

God breathed life into Adam by blowing Their Breath into Adam’s lung. And then, God took away Their Life by denying that very same Breath to Themselves in a torturous manner. WhyWhyWhyWhy?

When I have asked others, the answers have varied but the most standard reply has been “love”. I get it. But it still does not silence and give peace to my “why”.

Whenever I ask God the “Why?” question, I always get the same response: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth…tell Me if you understand such things.” Job 38 (For the full Chapter of God’s questions/statements to Job’s “Why?” question, see below this article.) This response always lets me know gently that i am way out of my league in even asking the “Why?” question. Its natural implication is that i TRUST and keep going. Sometimes, on the rare occasion or in time, the “why” is shown to me. I have realized that with God, I am on a “need to know basis”.

Annually, when we celebrate The Passion in Holy Week, it almost feels like we keep reinforcing and reigniting the brutality by going there, being there, and partaking in it. It almost feels sadistic. And yet, as I reflect over my life’s journey, I have felt a deep connection to the various  people in the Holy Week events. Yes, I have felt that I have been the victim, the allower, the betrayer, the observer, the one who would not stand up to the crowd, the accuser, the plotter, the warner, the mocker, the nail driver, the cross carrier assistant, the self-righteous one, and,  the weeper and wailer, oh yes, very much the weeper and wailer.

And yet, simultaneously, in my journey, Holy Week, with all its brutality and eventual Resurrection has been comforting and healing. By associating with the various roles, it has helped me process my thoughts and emotions in my journey. Crying silently in public, in church with others as nonactive, silent, non-aware witnesses is reassuring. Seeing others cry is bonding. It takes great courage being so vulnerable in public. I see them in a different light. I see more of their Hearts and not just their external persona and projection. This is a wonderful and Grace filled moment.

However, as of the past few years, my perception is and has been shifting. As i am, and have been embracing the concept that The Soul chooses or is Divinely assigned certain lessons for growth and evolution, i am now realizing that “the victim” outlook is no longer fitting. i have now even reached a point to where i am GRATEFUL for the “thorns, scouragings, mockery, and betrayal” in my journey. I now see that these experiences actually SERVED me because they purified me and humbled me. Although, it certainly did not feel like it when in the midst of the lesson. They helped me get a better grip of my ego/pride. They helped me reign in my wild and untamed ego. They helped me get closer to God like i had never imaged i could. Now, is that not a wonderful Gift.

And then, the Resurrection. Oh! That glorious Resurrection. Being in a sanctuary full of like minded Minds, Hearts, Spirits, and Voices all singing, praising, and worshiping, is a holy gathering. It is heaven on earth.  The unity and the focused energy strengthens my faith, my hope, and my resolve for the journey. I learn from others and grow stronger through their example of faith. Onward seems not only possible, but inevitable. It is like the Light in our individual Spirits and Souls gets brighter and recharged when it is near others praying, worshiping, and reverencing God. This is a beautiful Gift. For this i am beyond grateful.

Will i ever in this earthen journey understand why Jesus’ last few hours were so heart wrenching? Probably not. i am quite certain that most likely i will find out upon reuniting with Him in full Spirit. Until then, i keep on trusting and taking the next step in my faith journey.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 1 Corinthians 1

Abundant Wisdom, Love, Blessings, and Trust,                                                             Irena As I Am                                                                                                      03/31/2018

 

The Book of Job, Chapter 38, NIV

The Lord Speaks

1Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:

2“Who is this that obscures my plans

with words without knowledge?

3Brace yourself like a man;

I will question you,

and you shall answer me.

4“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?

Tell me, if you understand.

5Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!

Who stretched a measuring line across it?

6On what were its footings set,

or who laid its cornerstone—

7while the morning stars sang together

and all the angelsa shouted for joy?

8“Who shut up the sea behind doors

when it burst forth from the womb,

9when I made the clouds its garment

and wrapped it in thick darkness,

10when I fixed limits for it

and set its doors and bars in place,

11when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;

here is where your proud waves halt’?

12“Have you ever given orders to the morning,

or shown the dawn its place,

13that it might take the earth by the edges

and shake the wicked out of it?

14The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;

its features stand out like those of a garment.

15The wicked are denied their light,

and their upraised arm is broken.

16“Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea

or walked in the recesses of the deep?

17Have the gates of death been shown to you?

Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?

18Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?

Tell me, if you know all this.

19“What is the way to the abode of light?

And where does darkness reside?

20Can you take them to their places?

Do you know the paths to their dwellings?

21Surely you know, for you were already born!

You have lived so many years!

22“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow

or seen the storehouses of the hail,

23which I reserve for times of trouble,

for days of war and battle?

24What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,

or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?

25Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,

and a path for the thunderstorm,

26to water a land where no one lives,

an uninhabited desert,

27to satisfy a desolate wasteland

and make it sprout with grass?

28Does the rain have a father?

Who fathers the drops of dew?

29From whose womb comes the ice?

Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens

30when the waters become hard as stone,

when the surface of the deep is frozen?

31“Can you bind the chainsb of the Pleiades?

Can you loosen Orion’s belt?

32Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasonsc

or lead out the Beard with its cubs?

33Do you know the laws of the heavens?

Can you set up God’se dominion over the earth?

34“Can you raise your voice to the clouds

and cover yourself with a flood of water?

35Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?

Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?

36Who gives the ibis wisdomf

or gives the rooster understanding?g

37Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?

Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens

38when the dust becomes hard

and the clods of earth stick together?

39“Do you hunt the prey for the lioness

and satisfy the hunger of the lions

40when they crouch in their dens

or lie in wait in a thicket?

41Who provides food for the raven

when its young cry out to God

and wander about for lack of food?Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Can you tell me?

Eight Stages of Anger

Anger. It is a subject not discussed very much, nor do we like to admit to it, especially to ourselves that we are angry. But it is still there not matter how much we try to ignore it or distract ourselves from it. Just like toxic waste buried in barrels into the ground that eventually seeps into the water and causes a chain event of lethal deaths, so too does unaddressed anger. It can take on a variety of forms: passive aggressive, cynicism/criticism, channeled into obsessive behavior such as work/working out/hobbies/shopping/gambling/addictions, self destructive behavior, and lastly taking it out on others.

Since I have been one who has had difficulty in using my voice to set boundaries or let someone know when they have been hurtful, I had become masterful at being passive aggressive. From early on I was taught not to speak back to authority figures nor elders. They were always right and always had the right of way. Always and in always. Being a girl, society also told me that we were “sugar and spice and everything nice”. Thus girls were not supposed to get angry, just like boys were not supposed to cry. These adages and paradigms of restricting expression are cruel. They prevent a person from being a fully expressed human being and processing normal life emotion in a healthy manner. It is confinement of the Spirit. It is like caging up the Spirit. It is putting the Spirit in a straitjacket.

When a person is continually stuffing down, suppressing, and oppressing their anger or tears, eventually, just like a volcano, it reaches a boiling over point. Hopefully at this point, one has the presence of mind and the humility of ego to reach out for help and heal in a safe and gentle manner.

Boiling Over Point (Image credit: CNN)

Until I learn or learned how to use my voice to set boundaries or let people know that their words or actions have caused me deep pain, I was one who kept “turning the other cheek”, stuffing it down, and using passive aggressive means as forms of coping. In hindsight, I now see a pattern.

1. Awareness of Anger or Justified Anger

Just like Jesus was righteously angry at the exploitation of pilgrims at the temple, so too are there times in our lives when others have truly caused us hurt, pain, loss, suffering. When we become aware of anger, a feeling of indignation begins to rise up: part of it is at the other, and of part of it can also be at ourselves for allowing it. At this point it is wise not to act or react because at this point we can be at the mercy of our emotion. This can be dangerous and can be like pouring gasoline on the fire/heat of the moment.  At the awareness point, it is wise to take a deep breath, step away, process the anger, then dialogue with the other. Depending on your expert level of awareness and ego refinement, the step away moment can be a few seconds or a few months/years.

2. Payback: The Silent Treatment  

In my novice years of anger management, or rather anger suppression, the only way I knew how to let the other person know that they had hurt me was to withhold my “love/attention/me” from them. I used the silent treatment until I felt they had “suffered enough” for their misdeed.

3. Space for Healing 

On the flip side, I also now see that this silent treatment period was a also a period of healing. Since I did not know how to communicate my feelings of betrayal or dialogue about it calmly, I needed the space and time to process, heal, and forgive.

4. Personal Responsibility 

When we are slighted we can feel like victims or like life is happing to us, rather than for us and because of us. Being in victim mode or having that mentality is an invitation for more misdeeds against one’s self. We keep recreating the same scenarios and slights. The people and places may change, but the same transactions keep repeating themselves. At this point we need to do some deep Soul dives, self reflections, and recognize how we have contributed to or even invited such personal affronts.

5. Rewire our Thinking and Behaving 

Upon taking personal responsibility for how others treat us, we then have the work of rewiring our minds of what respect looks and feels like to us, how we communicate our boundaries in a graceful and effective manner, and lastly behaving in such a way that invites respect from the self and others. This stage takes a lot of work and a lot of effort. But I have found that when we are working on a new self-evolution project, the Universe sends us MANY and abundant opportunities for practice and growth.

6. Forgive 

It is so very easy to stew and to marinate in our anger or silent treatment or acting out. If we are not careful we can stay in this phase for months, years, or even decades. Lord have mercy! If we are not careful, our pride and self-justification or self-righteousness can build a house on our anger, rather than just temporarily pitch a tent upon it. The healing time is a time where we build faith in ourselves, life, and the other(s) again. This is a time when we become strong and whole whole again. Forgiveness is a decision. It is work. It is a Gift we give to ourselves and all of humanity. We are the ones who benefit the most from forgiving because our journey becomes lighter and more joyful.

7. Move on. Love, trust again AND maintain healthy boundaries or communicate what is and is not appropriate. 

After healing and forgiveness we live again. But this time, we take and employ our newfound personal responsibility, self-respect, voice, strength, and communication skills for a healthy and joyful life.

8. Gratitude 

The final step in forgiveness is when we look back and see just how much we have grown, learned, evolved, become stronger and a more complete and whole person. At this point we realize that the slights and hurts were a Gift as they helped us transform. They were for our benefit and refinement. We even get to a point where we are grateful to the person(s) for the lessons and grown that their slight brought to us, if we do the work of forgiveness. It can be done with and abundance of Grace and Humility.

Anger is an indication that something is not right. It is a warning light. It is an invitation into healing when we step into it and embrace its lesson. Let yourself express your anger in a safe and healthy environment that does not hurt another. Do not judge yourself when you are purging yourself of these dark emotions. Always keep in mind, you are not these dark emotions, they are just the byproduct of a challenging experience.

Forgiveness is Beauty.

Ask, invite, beseech Divine help in your forgiveness journey. Do the work They present to you. You will be in awe and wonder at all the miracles along the way.

Abundant Grace, Wisdom, Healing, Humility, and Forgiveness,                                      Irena As I Am                                                                                                       03/27/2018

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

 

A Very Smart Mouse in the House

Mudryk, apart from being The Great, is also one very stealthy, yet gentle hunter. A few nights ago it was around 10:30 pm, the time when the human species is settling down to rest and the feline race is out and about exploring, hunting and adventuring.

I had already had my conversation with God, along with my quiet or listening  time (meditation) and was slowly beginning to drift into the dream world, when I heard and felt Mudryk’s excited prancing. Whenever I hear this, I know  he has brought me a prize, a gift. The only way to find out was to turn the light on and see what was my present was this time.

And lo and behold, it was a beautiful Mouse. What was I to do, but join in on the excitement. I’m sure the Mouse felt very differently.

He skittered here and there and Sir Mudryk followed him everywhere. Sometimes he would watch the Mouse and sometimes he would prance on him, gently. The mouse was fully intact.

Meanwhile, I showered praises upon my thoughtful feline friend. I told him what an amazing hunter he was. I told him that I was so very proud of him. I told him “Thank You Thank You Thank You”. And, when the cat-mouse dance took rest periods, I gave him heartfelt deep rub downs, scratched him behind his ears and at the base of his spine. Oh he loved it so. He exuded such contentment.  He knows he is loved, accepted, and cherished.

Meanwhile, I was fully aware and conscious of the Mouse’s predicament and the loud thumping of his Heart. I felt his deep desire for LIFE and his family. I felt his angst. I felt his being frazzled. And, I felt his calling out for MERCY from me. Oh, this life outside The Garden of Eden can at times simultaneously be so heart wrenching and joyful. Such an oxymoron of feelings.

At one point, all got quiet. We were in the bedroom and Mudryk had lost sight of him; this being  a very unusual occurrence. I knew that Mr. Mouse had not left the bedroom because I had not seen him leave and also because I knew Mudryk would have been right on top of him. Since I keep a meticulously clean house, there is no clutter for him to dive into. Hmmm, we had ourselves a mystery. Should we wait till the morning or should we press on.

The patience of a feline hunter.

I thought to myself, Mudryk had not forewarned me that he had planned a party. Thus, I had not prepared for an overnight houseguest – I had no cheese in the fridge (dairy and I have for the most part parted ways) – and that would make me such an inhospitable hostess – oh my! The word would get around in the mouse community – I looked at Mudryk and said, “we’ve got to solve this mystery”.

He was elated that I wanted to keep playing. So, we moved the bed – nothing. We looked behind the door – empty. We looked under the dresser – no Mr. Mouse. I began to think that maybe he had tele transported – “Beam me up Scotty”. It’s possible. Then, we moved the nightstand and voila! there was Mr. Mouse, clinging onto a lamp wire and using the wall and night stand as support. Now this is “James Bond” mouse cleverness.

Have mercy on me! Help me please!

Since, Mudryk is a gentle hunter, Mr. Mouse was not visibly hurt and the chase ensued, in full throttle. I realized that I needed to take charge of the situation, otherwise there would be multiple overtimes and half times.

So, I called a huddle and with a very authoritative voice said: “Mr. Mouse, this is the game plan: I am going to get a towel and wrap you in it. Rest assured you will be safe as I will use it to escort you safely into your natural outdoor domain which is from where Mudryk brought him from. Mr. Mudryk, let’s guide our guest into the towel shuttle. Ok. Got the play, everyone. Game on!”

Now since, this is the first time I had called such a huddle, there was a bit of a scuddle in our first down. Quite a mess actually as each player went hither and tither, no where near the proposed game plan. But hey, this is the first time we all came together as a team. It’s to be expected. Finally, the clock was ticking and it was third down. Play it safe or go for the Hail Mary pass. Yep, the Hail Mary pass it was.

Come out, come out Mr. Mouse

I forgot to mention that I was wearing a warm long purple housecoat. Somehow in the scurry of the Hail Mary pass, I ended up on my knees and the bottom of my housecoat was spread on the floor. Next thing I know it, Mr. Mouse runs onto my house coat, the part that was spread on the floor.

Time. Stood. Still.

I looked down in disbelief and a deeper part of me took over my mind and knew this was a gift of an opportunity not to be passed over. I gently wrapped Mr. Mouse into the bottom part of my housecoat. I was elated! He did listen after all! He did trust me.

After a deep breath, I got up and walked outside and gently let him out on the ground. He scurried away in joy! I blessed him and asked the Angels to watch over him and his family for the rest of their lives, so that they may live happily every after in blissful joy.

The End.

Mudryk and 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
03/16/2018