Kasandra Ireland | 'What if it's easy?!'
By Jim Merriner
In some seasons, the short walk to the doors of Unity on the North Shore offers the lovely blossoms and fine fragrance of lavender. Did you know that lavender carries properties of relaxation and protection? In fact, the entire garden there was designed to help enable you to meet the Christ Spirit within.
The credit goes to Kasandra Ireland, a Master Gardener. Kasandra’s journey took her through a chronic illness and a career as an IT administrator and software trainer before reaching Unity principles. “Gradually I started going to church,” she says, “and then I found out that they (UNS) needed a gardener and I love gardening.”
She remembers, at age four, planting zinnias with her great-grandfather. During high school, her room resembled a greenhouse more than a bedroom.
But then adult responsibilities called. Married with a daughter, Kasandra had a full-time technology job with a non-profit religious organization. Although that faith group is famed for being open-minded and non-dogmatic, she felt that it was growing more evangelical and authoritarian.
For about five years in the early 2000s, Kasandra had a mysterious illness that would send her to bed for days. Doctors diagnosed her with at least nine different ailments “and a few other things I don’t remember now.”
She did her own research and one day stopped taking all her meds, all at once. She cautions others against taking such a risky step, “but I decided I’d rather live whatever life I had left away from doctors, needles, and hospitals.”
Sensitive to certain chemicals, she removed household cleaners and such toxins from her home and eventually regained, mostly, her health. During this time she studied to be a Master Gardener and resolved “to stop using harsh chemicals in my garden as well.”
Meanwhile, unfulfilled in her faith group, she “got up the nerve” to attend a Prosperity Plus class at Unity on the North Shore. In time, “It was very life-changing for me to begin to understand that my source of well-being is divine.” The unexpected next step: She volunteered to be a prayer chaplain.
In 2016, at the age of 60, Kasandra earned a degree in applied psychology and retired from her technology job. She already had picked up a certificate in permaculture (permanent+culture) design. Her first book, 7 Simple Steps to Non-Toxic Gardening: A Guide for the Overwhelmed, Eco-conscious, First-Time Gardener, was published in 2019. She is writing her next book about common edible plants.
Now living in a Downstate village (where her ex-husband is a neighbor and friend), Kasandra says, “One of the hardest things for me when I joined Unity was to let go of the need for authority figures. I needed to find the rudder, so to speak, within—to replace fear-based thoughts with loved-based ones.
“I grew up in an atmosphere of negativity with a voice that was always complaining so I used to base my self-worth on the opinions of others. Unity gave me the practice of gratitude, the ability to focus on what I love, and quiet that negative voice. Now when my mind starts going negative or looks at a task as difficult, I ask myself a question I learned in Prosperity Plus, ‘What if it’s easy?’. Now I can quiet that negative voice because Unity gives me the practice of gratitude, the ability to focus on what I love."