Self-Actualization is the process of finding ourselves. The purpose of the human experience is finding ourselves. I was recently asked to describe my mission and how my spiritual awakening and journey toward self-actualization informed that mission. Here is my response:
You ask me the question of mission. Concisely naming and identifying my mission has been the constant struggle of the past 20+ years. My Authentic Freedom website currently says this:
Supporting the Spiritual Awakening and Self Actualization of Change Agents.
While this just sums it up and makes it “marketable” (according to SEO magic), it doesn’t even scratch the surface. As I suspect “concise” isn’t your desire, I will refrain from concise and provide for you, as per your inquiry, the whole kit and caboodle as I am best able at this time in my journey.
I have known for a very long time, perhaps since first embarking upon my ministry training, that I am here to facilitate/support/catalyze change – specifically as it relates to what we have historically called “church.” My “reform” used to be a hope to change the Catholic Church, until I realized I was fighting a losing battle. You can’t reform something that is already in its deathbed. The institution Paul established, based in fear, power and control, is in the process of its own implosion and what was never Jesus’ intention in the first place is coming to an end. My job is to be part of planting the seeds, establishing the inspiration and perhaps some structure for the new “church” that will likely have NOTHING at all to do with church as we have known it.
The so-called “vocations crisis” is at the heart of the institutional church’s death. In truth, there is NO vocations crisis, only a crisis in vision. What the institutional Church cannot see is that every single person in their pews, and among those who have left, are called to be “priest.” Every single person is uniquely gifted to find meaning and purpose in their life and are called to do so for the sake of their own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world. THIS is their service to God. This is their priesthood. Every single person has an opportunity to be ordained into the unique way they are called to serve. If this isn’t priesthood, I don’t know what is. The Church, however, refuses to see this or to do anything about it- ignoring the deepest longing of our hearts which is in finding ourselves.
Spiritual Awakening, Self-Actualization and Stewardship
When I was still ministering in the Church, I had the opportunity to study the US Catholic Bishop’s pastoral letter on stewardship. The document stated that true stewardship only arises out of mature disciples, and then went on to describe how people become mature disciples by finding the answers to the following questions:
- Who am I?
- Whose am I?
- What are my gifts and how am I called to use them?
In short, the journey toward becoming “mature disciples” is about finding ourselves. Then the Bishops left it there. People cannot become mature disciples unless they are given the resources and tools to so. This is the work of spiritual formation and psychology. The problem is that the Church refuses to provide these resources (even when they have the tools right in their own hands!!!!!!!) and goes so far as to discourage people from pursuing the path that would lead them to spiritual and psychological maturity. How can you expect people to plow the field, not give them the tools for doing so, and then punish them when they try to figure it out on their own? It’s almost as if the Church really doesn’t want people to grow. Again…..exactly why the Church is dying.
Doing Something About it
Spiritual Formation, Self-Actualization, Stewardship. Vocations. This is what I do. I provide the resources and support for people who have awakened spiritually and who are searching for the answer to the above-mentioned life questions. I provide resources and tools to support their exploration and their journey toward self-actualization. I support them in naming and claiming their gifts, moving through the resistances to these gifts and then empowering into their own “priesthood” – whatever that might look for them personally. (Side note – The work that I do could also be accomplished in the field of psychology, but again, as a patriarchal, hierarchical institution, they (with a few exceptions) too refuse to provide people with this kind of support.). Again, it all boils down to finding ourselves.
The bulk of this work of finding ourselves is about healing. In order to become self-actualized, we have to heal the wounds of our past. We need support in our grief. We need release from trauma. We need permission to acknowledge where we’ve been unacknowledged and heal those wounds so we can be free to be who we were meant to be. We need to be supported in identifying and restoring the lost parts of ourselves. We have to confront our shadow. When people feel seen, and are able to heal the wounds of their past, they finally feel free to be who they are meant to be.
Jesus and Mary Magdalene
Jesus is my teacher and my beloved. Mary is my teacher and myself. It is through them that all I am and all I have brought into the world have come to be. Not the Jesus of the Institutional Church – but the original Jesus – a Jewish man who came into his own self-actualization through his intimate relationship with the Divine (UNION) and who tried (mostly in vain) to teach his disciples, and anyone who would listen, the freedom he had come to know. Mary – the one (along with John the Evangelist) who got it. The one the Church rejected and in rejecting her all feminine power with her.
Lauri Ann Lumby
Thirteen letters in my name, born on the 13th day of the 13th month, the thirteen of the thirteen. Mary Magdalene was the 13th disciple. Mary Magdalene was the 13th and leader of the community when Jesus left. My whole life has been directed toward all of the above stated, and underneath it all has been my own journey toward self. There is a part of my journey that beyond religion, spirituality, and psychology, is magic. True magic. Divine magic. This magical search began with Samantha Stevens and has led me along meandering paths, beginning with King Arthur, The Mists of Avalon, Wicca, Celtic magic and pre-Christian ritual practices. A significant part of this journey has been through the “shadow” aspects of magic – a fascination with vampires, werewolves, witches, Disney villains, demons. While I used to cringe at the idea of demonic possession, I have learned of the dark forces that are present in our world (even if they are simply concentrated human fear), and the need to protect, but more importantly transform. The path has led me to Hermetic alchemy (Thoth), Egyptian mysteries, and the Kabbalah – specifically Hebraic Kabbalah and the magic within it. Magic with the sole purpose of UNION and which is never done to cause harm. Magic that heals and transforms. This is not the en hoc est corpus meum of the Catholic priest, it is the magic that we all possess when we have transformed our self so as to be able to partner with the Divine in wielding love.
This is ultimately what it all boils down to. One day in Shamanic practice, I asked the question of my Soul’s purpose. The answer was so simple and yet so profound:
“Lauri, your purpose is love. To love and to be loved in return.”
To me, love is a verb. It is what/who I am called to be. It is what I am called to do. Period. It is so simple. And yet so profound.
Authentic Freedom Academy offers a full range of services, books and online courses in support of finding ourselves: Spiritual Counseling with Lauri Ann Lumby, The Authentic Freedom Mastery Program, and Lauri’s foundational text Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy, to name a few.