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

Peace Wall

focal point                                                                                                                      ˈfōkəl ˌpoint/                                                                                                                         noun                                                                                                                                noun: focal point; plural noun: focal points

1 the point at which rays or waves meet after reflection or refraction, or the point from which diverging rays or waves appear to proceed.

2 the center of interest or activity or attention

3 the central or principal point of focus

The above definition is a compilation from online dictionaries.                                         The below picture is my focal point wall in my living room.

May there be peace within your walls and                                                           security within your citadels.                                                                                           Psalm 122

At one point in time this focal point wall contained something else. It contained this thing that had a measurement of 50” in diameter. It was black for the most part, until I powered it up. Then it lit up and projected images and emitted sounds and transferred all sorts of messages. Many of the images, sounds, and messages were good, but many were not. This thing had a mesmerizing and crippling quality about it. It was a master story teller. Once one sat in front of it, it was easy to turn into a blob and tune everything out: life, one’s problems, one’s joys, one’s surroundings, the people in one’s life, and most especially the Whispers of the Holy Spirit in one’s Heart. One’s complete and total focus of attention was being guided and directed by the spirit, intent, message, and  energy of the director of the show and its players. One becomes a message and energy sponge in front of this device. One is being formed, indoctrinated and herded down a certain mental and emotional path and paradigm. One can easily become its parrot. It is commonly called entertainment, but it can be more like containment.

At one point in my journey, my life revolved around what and when it was being broadcasted on this thing: I had to be home on a certain night at a certain time to watch a hockey game or a certain show. It was a supreme directive in my life – the hockey game schedule or an airing of a show. One particular story that I followed was “Ally McBeal” – way back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. My Heart rose and fell with each of her professional and personal trials, tribulations, and romances. In hindsight, I now see that it was easier to escape into the feelings of this fictional character, and/or the hockey game statistics, than to dive deep into my own Heart and feel the feelings I  had become so masterful at suppressing and oppressing. The Work of Love and Healing and Awareness require our total focus and a distancing from distractions.

Then there was the semi-reality show that I was fascinated by, that I could not get enough of, and that I was bewildered as to ‘how could they live like that’. Then and now I am embarrassed to admit that I liked this show so much, let alone that I even watched it.

Confession time.

It was called “The Girls Next Door”. It was based in Hugh Hefner’s Playboy mansion and it followed the day to day events of him and his three live-in girlfriends or “playmates”, who could have easily been his grand daughters. I could not fathom what they saw in him, how they could physically be romantically involved with him, or why they stayed with him, no matter how much money or fame was involved. ‘Did they love him?’ and ‘Did he love them?’ were questions swimming in my mind and Heart. This seemed like a modern day sultan and harem scenario which was completely normal and acceptable in certain biblical texts, like monogamy is today. Actually, like an asset portfolio is the current day barometer of one’s earthly financial wealth, the size of one’s harem was an indication of one’s power, wealth, and status. King Solomon is just one example.

Well, I did not see it then, but in hindsight, I now see the similarities of their life to mine. I now see what the allure of the show had been for me. I now see that the show had been a mirror for me and my life. For my life too had become a false production, a show for others, and especially for myself too.

However, as my life unfolded in ways I never could have imagined, I came to understand that love does not have age restrictions nor prescriptions. I came to understand that I had projected and super-imposed the feelings of my circumstances  onto this show and its cast. I also came to understand that our healing journey will take us into places, spaces, circumstances, experiences, and relationships that are beyond the mind’s comprehension or constructs.

Lastly, I came to realize that I had achieved the height of arrogance when watching this show, and that was to judge them as I sat smugly in my living room, living my “honorable and upstanding” life, or lie as I eventually came to see it. I had assumed they were doing it for the money and the fame, but how do I really know that for sure. I don’t. I had arrogantly assumed. Only God knows what is in the Heart of each person and why they truly do what they do. Each has their own unique healing journey. As the adage goes: “we do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Ooooh, ouch! A reality cold shower. Secretly, I think I also admired these young ladies for having the courage in being so open in publicly sharing their lives with Hugh. In hindsight, their mirror was my medicine back then and my reality check.

I am gathering that by now, you very well know that I am talking about television.

The television also televises news of the day in our community and from around the globe. I used to watch it religiously because I needed to know the who, what, why, where, and how status of our society and humanity. I needed to know the names of important people and places of hotspots. I need to be able to regurgitate the movers and shakers, the events that shape us, the accords signed, and the allegiances formed. I needed to appear informed and intelligent. I needed the artillery for quick witted and clever political and economic conversations and debates. I needed to ride and be a part of each new wave of elation and fear in the spectrums of politics, economics, war and peace, and sensational stories. I was an upstanding parrot of and for the news media.

I was well informed, thoroughly indoctrinated, and totally distracted. Really it was not that much different from alcoholism and yet completely socially acceptable. It took a lot of time and energy to keep myself mentally and emotionally in tip top shape with information. Over time this information came at me and all of us first from a garden hose, then a fire  hydrant, and now it is like the ocean all around us. We are swimming in it.  It is in the air that we breathe because it is in the airwaves – tv, radio, world wide web, and wifi.

We are now literally swimming and breathing in information that is being broadcast through the airwaves.

I came to realize that I was entertaining myself AND distancing myself from myself and my life. I came to realize that it was intellectual pride. I came to realize that I was engaged in “much ado about nothing” as Shakespeare put it.

Now, I am not saying that world events are “nothing”, what I am saying is that I now see it all as futile and spiritually fruitless. Had I been a top government official like Condoleezza Rice or Benazir Bhutto, it would have been imperative for me to be in the know. But I came to realize that all my energy and all the conversations/debates produced ZERO CHANGE on either the local, national, or global levels. Thus, what was the point of it for me other than entertainment.

However, the person I could change, was ME. And thus, I gradually began disassociating myself with the news, a lot of which is fear mongering. As a consequence or blessing, I no longer know immediately who are the new federal judges or what are the latest utterances of the Federal Reserve Chairperson. I no longer ride the economic forecast rollercoaster of the thought/fear du jour and the myriad of financial fortune or doomsday tellers. I have however spent enormous amounts of energy in nurturing a relationship with the most powerful of them all, God.

This has kept me well occupied.

Lastly there are the commercials. Some of them are light and funny, and, entraining and informative. But then there are those that use fear and doubt to nudge people into doing business with them: for instance attorneys and pharmaceutical companies. I wonder how many hypochondriacs have self-diagnosed themselves into a self-fulfilling prophecy of physical ailments? Rather than planting positive and expansive seeds into people’s psyches, some commercials plant seeds of doubt and fear.

Be mindful. Be aware. Be wise. Be selective.

On the other hand,                                                                                                       There are movies, documentaries, special interest, educational and spiritual programming that are good and beneficial. The broadcasting and entrainment industry is a clean industry employing many and a wonderful medium of sharing gifts, talents, inspirational stories, and joy. It’s not all bad nor is it all good. It’s a matter of how we use the “tool” and if we are masters of it, or is it our master.

My spiritual journey has been such that it was asked of me to “let it go”, let the tv go. This I did in February of 2014 – almost four years now as today is January 2018. It may not be for everyone, but it was so for me.

The first six months I was in drama and noise withdrawal. The silence was so loud and so pronounced that I wanted to run from its screams, run from its messages, and most important of all, hide from its Truth. I was in agony. I did not know what to do with myself. I was agitated. I did not know how to distract myself. I did not know how to numb my awakened hearing senses. Similar to someone who experiences a substance withdrawal, I had the shakes, shivers, and anxiety, figuratively speaking, of noise and drama withdrawal.

Truth will do that to you.                                                                                                      It will make you really uncomfortable.                                                                                  It will make you squirm in your seat and in your energy.

The next six months were easier. And now it is a way of life for me. Now whenever I am in someone’s home and the tv is on or loud, it bothers me. The noise is agitating and it disturbs the peace from within it. The noise is an energy drain. I experience it as noise pollution.

In 2016, for a few months I did have a Netflix subscription which I watched on my lap top. I enjoyed it. But after a few months I needed to update my laptop operating system in order to continue watching Netflix. I did’t want to do that because another program that I was using was not compatible with the new operating system. And thus, I took it as a sign to let Netflix go. And so I did. I do however go to the library and take out DVD videos/movies. Some of them I watch (on my laptop) and some I return without watching. They are on standby should I need a mini mental vacation.

Occasionally I will go to the movies if I feel really drawn to one. But, some of the previews can be so dark and violent that I have to close my eyes, plug my ears, put my head down, and hum so as to block out that stuff, that energy. I pray for those making such stuff and for those watching/absorbing such stuff. There you go, becoming more and more sensitive (empath) has its blessings but it also has its challenges. The key is for each one of us to recognize and honor where we are on our spiritual path of evolution.

Not having a tv now for almost four years has given me the time and space for reflecting, reading, journaling, meditating, healing, listening, feeling, creating, processing, discerning, expressing, letting go, cleaning, simplifying and most important of all, growing closer with Love. I may one day be moved to have it again, or not. I now see the home space as

sacred space, a holy temple. I now see that we need be very conscious in what we bring into and allow in our sacred space: the space or the walls within our mind (thoughts), Heart, relationships, and life.

May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.                                                                                 Psalm 122

May there be peace within your walls,                                                                            May abundant grace grant you the courage to bring only peace within your “walls”,       and                                                                                                                                   let go gently, peacefully, lovingly, in a timely basis of that which is not in alignment with Peace,                                                                                                                               Irena As I Am