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

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