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