Tiramisu for Breakfast, Lunch…AND Dinner!

Once upon a time, in another era of my life I feasted on tiramisu for breakfast, lunch… AND dinner. Oh my! Was I on a continual sugar high.

  • I looked forward to the next delicious, but not nutritious meal.
  • I looked forward to the smooth, velvety and creamy cake escape.
  • I looked forward to being filled and fueled by emptiness.
  • I looked forward to the soothing feeling of contentment, even though it was fleeting and temporary.
  • I looked forward to getting it my way and getting away with something not socially acceptable. I was being bad, bad, bad. And nobody could stop me.
  • I looked forward to not thinking about proper meal planning. This was easy: go to Costco and get a large double pack tiramisu cake. Who needed fresh fruit, crunchy vegetables, brown rice…balance shmalance! I was on the indulgence train.
  • I looked forward to not having to face my feelings, emotions, reality, life, choices, relationships and ME!
  • Sugar had become my drug of choice.
  • Sugar had become my self-medicated means of managing life.
  • Sugar had become my feeling suppressant.
  • And, unlike cocaine, sugar was(is) socially acceptable and readily available. It is in everything – even salad dressing –  yes, let’s sprinkle some sugar on our kale and spinach.

Then by the Grace of God, that “Still Small (but very persistent and instant) Voice” within became  louder and more pronounced. The scale also had a word or two with me and gave me an unapproving look, as did my clothes which became much more snug.             I reached a point where I had little respect for me. I was also disappointed in myself for the lack of discipline and wise stewardship toward the Divine Gift of my Body.

Around that time I was receiving Reiki healing treatments.  During one such healing session I was lamenting, complaining and whining about certain patterns/paradigms of behavior on my  part, others’ toward me, and my inability to break thru. The Reiki practitioner suggested that I do a twenty one day food cleanse/fast of eating only healthy, whole, wholesome and nutritious food: Clean Food. She also said that fasting brings about miracles. She was right.

The lists below are a hybrid of the original suggestion by the Reiki practitioner, and  my modifications over the years as I have strived to eat healthy, whole, nutritious, nourishing, alive, and integrity food.

That meant that for twenty one days, I was to cut out:

  • white flour and/or yeast food
  • white rice (white flour and white rice have no nutritional value – they fill the void in the belly but do not nourish and fuel the body with wholesome nutrition)
  • white flour pasta
  • fast food
  • GMO food (GMO online definition: “The abbreviation for genetically modified organism. A GMO is an organism whose genome has been altered by the techniques of genetic engineering so that its DNA contains one or more genes not normally found there.”)  GMO food really messes with the biology of one’s body. I call it “chemical food”.
  • sugar, corn syrup, artificial sweetener
  • alcohol, caffeine, pop/soda
  • processed chocolate
  • processed, MSG, and/or preservative food
  • dairy, cheese, butter, ice-cream
  • lunch meat
  • pork
  • red meat
  • eggs
  • salad dressing (most have sugar)
  • mayonnaise, ketchup (sugar)
  • blue/green/yellow food coloring colored food
  • processed fruit juices

I was in shock and had thought to myself, “what was left to eat?”. My ego rebelled and tried to convince me that I would starve, be malnourished and possibly even DIE if I attempted this Eating Clean journey. Yes, the ego can get very melodramatic and scare us off before we even try.

It took me three months to mentally prepare, convince, and psych myself up for the fast/cleanse. It also helped that 2012 Easter Great Lent was approaching and that was a strong impetus. I felt like there would be others fasting and I would not be alone in denying goodies to myself. O woe was me!

The hardest part of the Eating Clean journey was deciding to do it. The mind debate  and the ego temper tantrums that revolt against any drastic change can create very dramatic life/death consequences and doomsday scenarios in the mind. I had to convince myself and my mind that I was not going to “die”. The adage of “don’t believe everything you think” was being whispered to me by Heavenly Angels, over and over and over and over. They are so patient and graceful with us.

Plus, a huge dollop of GRACE helped.

The first two weeks were extremely challenging. In those first two weeks I just kept focusing on what I was denying myself, what I was missing out on, and my food “hardships”. Yes, the ego loves to really highlight the struggle rather than shine a light on the good that will eventually ensue. However,  by day eighteen or so I was on a roll and liking it. I was beginning to feel good about myself and the journey I was on. Around that time I  heard in my Heart “I fasted for 40 days would you do 40 days for Me too”. Ah! Really Jesus! It was less of an invitation and more of a Divine Directive. Again, the inner resistance, but I did. It helped that I was journaling and mediating daily by this point. Ironically, as I got into the thirty plus days of the fast, my ego kicked in again but this time with a Tarzan complex. My ego thought let’s see if we an go more than forty days. We did. We went for forty four days!

In this Eating Clean journey I completely overhauled my food relationship and pantry. I discovered new food, a new way of eating, and as a result a new way of relating with my self and others. I felt stronger. I had more clarity. I was more emotionally balanced. I slept better too.

As my nourishment become wholesome, so did my life and relationships. As I dropped unhealthy food, so too did unhealthy relationships drop. As I dropped artificial food, so too did anything artificial drop from my life. The food that I could have on the twenty one day Eating Clean journey was as follows:

  • all the fruits and veggies I wanted (preferably organic)
  • a meal could include a whole head of broccoli or cauliflower  or another veggie of choice
  • brown rice as it takes out toxins
  • quinoa as it is a grain with high nutrients and protein, plus it grows in high altitudes and is a hardy grain. I needed to get my attitude into the higher altitudes and become more hardy. You are what you eat.
  • almond milk (non-sweetened kind)
  • brown rice crackers
  • quinoa crackers
  • rye crackers
  • brown rice or bean chips
  • wholesome rye bead
  • Ezekiel or Essene bread
  • extra virgin olive oil, balsamic or apple cider vinegar, fresh squeezed lemon juice as dressings or garnishing
  • humus
  • sparkling water/mineral water with lemon
  • kombucha (“GT” makes a high integrity kind – they are fanatics about keeping the energy clean and pure and wholesome in their distilleries. Also, the original scoby is traced back to a Buddhist nun. Now that is some Omsomeness! )
  • sweetener options: agave nectar,  pure honey
  • smoothies – live and wholesome ingredients
  • cacao powder: pure and non-alkaline or non-dutch processed
  • nut butters for protein
  • tart cherry concentrate to add to water or sparkling water
  • wild caught fish
  • chickens raised with respect (no hormones nor antibiotics and room to roam)

I have over the years modified the above list to include the following:

  • eggs from pasture raised chickens  (no hormones nor antibiotics, natural feed, and chickens who roam outdoors under the sun, chickens that can stretch their wings, chickens that can scratch the earth and feast on grass, worms, and bugs)
  • beef or buffalo that is raised with respect and in pastures (no hormones nor antibiotics, natural feed)
  • whole/fair trade food: In this way I am contributing in a small but significant manner to someone else in a different part of the world receiving a living wage/salary. I am contributing to their dignity and giving value to their work. Imagine if everyone did that.
  • ANIMAL FRIENDLY PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS and home cleaning products: Use products that do not test on animals. Products that are FREE of cruelty and meanness. Keep in mind that energy does get transferred into the products and then into the energy field of the user and their home.

I have observed that when I began to eat whole and real food that I did not need to eat as much. The food that I began eating was filled with nutrients and my body became satiated and nourished with less food. Thus, because of the greater quality in the food, the quantity of food that I ate was reduced significantly. I also stopped taking vitamins.

Initially when I began the Eating Clean journey I balked at the price or cost of food, especially the organic food. But then on the inside I heard a Voice say, “You are focusing on the wrong point. How much does it “cost” to fix a body  ailment in the conventional medicine route? How much agony and uneasiness is there in that journey because of unwise stewardship.” Got it. Point understood. Thank You!

Also, around that time in our church we had a visiting Priest from Haiti who was collecting money for the orphanages. He used to be a C-level executive before he got “the call”. I remember him saying that what was once his monthly expense report for travel, meals and entertainment, was now his whole annual salary for his mission work in Haiti. In his homily which centered around his journey and the conditions in the orphanages, for some reason he said, and I still remember it many years later, “Eat at Whole Foods. It is good/wholesome food. It is good for you” What! Really! Did I just hear that! Those words washed over me and took root in me.

After my cleanse was over I did allow myself an occasional treat of what I then called “junk food”. Over time I revised the term with a euphemism of “fun food”.  Today, I turn to  “fun food fixes” less and less, and if I do then it means I have some serious soul searching that I have been avoiding.

As I began eating whole food, my conversation and relationship with myself and others began being more Whole, Wholesome, Gentle, Graceful, and Real. I encountered other people, articles, and conversations  who were on a nutritional cleanse and that gave me a boost to continue on. I call them Divinely anointed and appointed conversations.

Thus, if you want a more simple, pure and nourishing life, start with how you nourish your body. You and your life are a reflection of what you eat!

God’s Good Graces and Delicious & Nutritious Food for You,                                Abundant Grace, Wisdom, & Love for the Journey,                                                                       Irena As I Am and Mudryk the Angel                                                                               July 13, 2018

 

Commit me Not

  • Unto the ages my Soul hath been bound 
  • From the springs of Life Eternal my Spirit could not be found

 

  • It was quite a conundrum to have awoken to
  • Neither forward nor backward could I make a move

 

  • It seemed I was destined to stay perpetually put
  • It seemed the chains would always be on my foot

 

  • But something from deep within my Soul 
  • This time round The Cosmic Wheel found its Light escape pinhole 

 

  • Bondage and heavy yokes were no longer acceptable 
  • This time round the The Cosmic Wheel it needed to be equitable 

 

  • But the commitments ran so deep and were oh so many
  • I could not shake them off even with money

 

  • Which way to turn I did not know
  • So on my bent knees before God even my bullish ego took a low low bow

 

  • In this moment of profound humility 
  • The Wisdom of Love whispered Its liberty

 

  • They told me it would be a long haul
  • Then They asked if I was up for this strenuous call 

 

  • They told me the journey would not be easy
  • Then They asked me if I wanted to sign a Trust Treaty 

 

  • I said, “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
  • Just please get me out of this in-finite mess!!!”

 

  • From that moment on I made a life long vow
  • To Love and Light my Soul I bound 

 

  • Earthly commitments now make me shiver
  • For I know not if I can deliver

 

  • Commit me not has become my new way
  • Flowing with Love gives me much sway

 

  • The yoke of Love is no burden at all
  • Truthfully it gives one peace, joy, love, prosperity, and liberty from being small

 

Grace in Abundance,                                                                                                    Irena As I Am and Mudryk the Soul Sentinel                                                                    July 10, 2018

Where Art Thou, O My Soul

  • I looked for you hither,
  • And  I looked for you tither. 

 

  • I scurried about in a panic-stricken slither,
  • As you waited quietly for me in my innards. 

 

  • You were not in the glitz, glamour, and shimmer,
  • Nor were you in my ego’s vigor.

 

  • You were not in the snap of a picture,
  • Nor were you in the polished figure.

 

  • You were not in the other and other and other,
  • Nor were you in the embrace of a lover.

 

  • Nonetheless, I rowed frantically up and down river,
  • My efforts getting bolder and bigger.

 

  • All the while, i did not hear you whisper,
  • That all i need do, is look in the i of the mirror.

 

  • And there you, my Soul, were delivered. 
  • Reunited once more we were, and i finally rested, exhausted and bewildered.

Irena As I Am                                                                                                         04/25/2018

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