Posted in self-actualization, spiritual awakening, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Formation

Spiritual Development – Surviving a Freefall

I define spiritual development as: the process through which we uncover the answer to the following questions:

  • Who am I?
  • Whose am I? (Where do I find peace and belonging?)
  • What are my gifts and how am I called to use them for the sake of my own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world?

At the moment of our spiritual awakening, we are given the choice to pursue the path of our spiritual development. Some choose this path.  Many do not. For those who choose the path of spiritual development….with self-actualization being the ultimate outcome, they soon discover that the journey of spiritual development is as much about letting go as it is about discovery.  In order to become our most authentic selves, we have to let go of that which is not authentically ours.  As such, the journey toward self-actualization includes many tiny (and sometimes HUGE) deaths.

I have recently been met with another one of those deaths. In my own journey of self-development and self-discovery, I have grown accustomed to these many deaths, but familiarity doesn’t always make it any more tolerable.  In fact, in many ways, knowing that death is upon us is more frightening than death taking us by surprise. The current death (which in truth is just another in a long line of current dyings) I am facing is the end of what I have known as my local professional life.  On Tuesday I taught my last local class.  While this has not been a financially lucrative endeavor for quite some time, and I knew this death was coming, the reality hit me like a storm.  With nothing yet to take its place, I have nothing to look forward to, nothing to plan or plan for, nothing to DO but stare into the empty void of a new life that has not yet been revealed.  Two weeks ago I felt like I was staring into the abyss.  Having faced the end, I find I am no longer staring, I am in full-on FREE FALL.  In a free fall, there is literally NOTHING to hang on to, nothing to cling to and nowhere to find a hand or foot hold.  Instead, we are only falling….or floating….or FLYING!

spiritual development, self actualization, freefalling, freel falling, spiritual awakening, defining spiritual development,

Having done nothing but support spiritual development for the past 25 years, my own and that of others, I know what to do and how to survive a free fall.

LET GO

There is literally nothing else to do. We cannot fight it.  When falling through the abyss we cannot turn around and go back from whence we came.  Without a new world in sight, there is nothing to work toward or work for.  We cannot MAKE ourselves crawl up through the gaping void to some safe place above us.  All we can do is FALL.  But, there are ways in which we can support ourselves in the falling:

During the freefall, we grieve.

We mourn the life that we are being asked to leave behind. We deny.  We bargain.  We become depressed and paralyzed (THANK YOU Netflix for 13 seasons of Supernatural to keep me entertained when I am otherwise immobile).  We grow angry.  We gnash our teeth.  We scream and shout and wail.  We weep.  We allow our bodies to grieve what has been so that we can be healed and freed of that life and made ready for something new.

During the freefall we pray.

(or whatever your language is for that). For me, it is asking and begging for support, to know that I am not alone.  My prayer includes gratitude for all the past life has given me and the support in knowing that a letting go so enormous means something equally huge is coming to take its place.  I pray for peace.  I pray for hope.  I pray for any tiny glimpses that might help me continue on.  In addition to prayer, I double up on my daily spiritual practice.  I meditate.  I read and reflect on scripture.  I journal.  I chant (or listen to mantra).

During the freefall we sleep.

When a dying occurs, our bodies, minds, and spirits are being rewired. It requires an enormous amount of psychic energy to let go of something that has been (especially when it is somehow related to our identity….which mine is) and to be made ready for the new. Sleep supports the release of what has been and the energetic preparation for what has not yet come to be.

During the freefall we remember.

This is the place for our life review. We reflect on what has been.  Any unresolved fears/compulsion/demons from that life make an appearance so that we have one more opportunity to bring them healing and transformation ensuring we are ready to enter into the new life when it comes.

During the freefall we do nothing.

This may be the most difficult part of the freefall. There is literally NOTHING we can do to hasten the departure from what has been and the entry into something new.  All we can “do” is BE.  And in our culture, being is really hard to do (not to mention all the twisted stares we get from people when we tell them all we “did” today was watch Netflix).  Doing, however, during this stage in the freefall produces NOTHING.  It simply reminds us of how NOT life-giving our old life had become and how ready we are for something new.

How have you supported yourself during the many dyings that have happened along your path of spiritual development?

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS provides spiritual direction and counseling for those on their spiritual journey.  To schedule a private session with Lauri email  lauri@authenticfreedom.love.

Check out our online programs in support of your spiritual development HERE. 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Inspiration, Lessons, Surrender

Radical Surrender Leading to Freedom

 

As we celebrate the first of July and the new moon in Capricorn that marks this day, I breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy a day (weekend) of pause after a six-month intensive of radical surrender.  The past six months have been a DOOZIE!

As we entered the beginning of 2015, I heard quite clearly the Divine invitation to LET GO.  I KNEW with every fiber of my being that I was being cleared of everything that was not supportive of the purpose for which I was placed in this world.  I KNEW it would be a time of letting go and releasing.  I just had no idea what I was being asked to let go of….or for what I was letting it go.  There was no carrot at the end of the stick calling me forth – just SHEER BLIND FAITH that if I was being invited into such radical surrender that there must be something amazing at the end of the journey.

hands open

Letting go

And let me tell you, looking back on the past six months, the letting go was ENORMOUS and far greater than I ever thought possible.  I was invited to be willing to let go of EVERYTHING – and that meant EVERYTHING.  I knew the invitation didn’t necessarily mean I would have to let go of everything – but that I must be WILLING to do so.  Thankfully, the things most important to me (my children, my friends, my family) still remain, but the things I was asked to release – if you had asked me to do so a year ago, I might have (would have) said no.  At this point in my journey, however, I had grown weary of clinging, exhausted from the effort of trying and beyond frustrated with all the failed efforts.  I no longer cared what God wanted from me….I just wanted to serve in whatever way I was being called….even if that meant giving up everything I had come to believe about myself and my call in this life.  I placed myself and my life in God’s hands and said – “Here.  Take all of it.  Take what you need to take from me.  I give up.  I surrender.  It’s all yours.  And if somewhere along the line there is something I need to know…let me know.”

The amazing thing about radical surrender, is that yes, many, many, many things fall away; but as they are falling away (if we are willing) we are able to see how silly our attachment to those things has been.  We see how truly unnecessary these things are to our lives – especially when we see how they have hindered our ability to love.  And, as we are letting go, we are not left empty.  Instead, we are being cleared and emptied so that we can be filled – filled with what God wants for and of us – not what our tiny little minds think we want for ourselves.  For example, some of the things my mind thought would be good for me,  God thought better of it and invited me to let these things go:

  • My long-held desire to reform the Catholic Church (I let that one go a LONG time ago).
  • My desire to have my novel become a best-seller.
  • My wish to become a famous and best-selling author.
  • My attachment to the vision of myself as a writer, artist and rockstar.
  • My desire to reach a global audience and to become the next Marianne Williamson.
  • My desire for a specific annual income.
  • My desire to become an internet sensation and to launch a global academy.
  • My vision of traveling the world speaking to packed houses on topics of self-actualization and world change (the funny thing about panic attacks is that global travel no longer sounds like such a great idea!).

A Better Plan

Instead, God said, “Lauri, let these things go.  You are already exactly where you need to be.  Remember the medicine of mouse (my power animal) – small things making a big impact! Your audience is right here in your own backyard.  Stop seeking outside for what you already have here.  Plant yourself here.  Get more involved in the community and watch your efforts bear fruit.”

mouse

Who knew?  So I suddenly find myself seeing all the ways I can connect with the larger community.  I suddenly see all the people who already know me and are aware of what I do and the good it brings to the community.  Opportunities are suddenly falling into my lap that are reflective of my gifts and supportive of my needs.  Again…who knew?????

Radical surrender is not an easy task and I am grateful to have some breathing room as I rest after so much letting go.  But as I am learning, surrender is totally worth it when the reward is greater than what we ever could have imagined for ourselves!  (More on that later this week!)

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, creativity, Empowerment, Freedom, Inspiration, Jesus

Falling in Love with Ourselves

Whether it is the midlife journey, the ascension journey or the just plain human journey, it seems to me that the goal is really one and the same.  The goal, is to fall in love with ourselves.

hearts

Falling in love with ourselves, is referenced in one of my favorite prayers from one of my favorite teachers, Jesus of Nazareth:

That the world may know that you love them even as you loved me. (JN 17: 23)

Jesus’ prayer for his disciples and his prayer for us was that we would know within ourselves the depth of Love that he had come to know in, from and through God.  The Greek word used to describe the kind of Love that Jesus taught is agape’ which is an unmerited, unconditional, adoring, glorifying, all-encompassing sort of Love.  This is the Love that God is and the Love that Jesus came to know in his experiences of and with God and the Love that allowed Jesus to become the fullest expression of the person God made him to be.  When we allow ourselves to know and be this Love, the same will be true for us.  In knowing the fullness of God’s Love and the fullness of God’s love within us, we uncover the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in our lives and the way in which we are called to reveal God’s love in the world. In short, knowing the fullness of God’s love empowers us to fall in love with ourselves.

Falling in love with ourselves begins with a process of self-inquiry.  Who am I?  What are my gifts?  What are my passions?  What are my fears?  In what ways have I been wounded in my past?  What are my compulsions (non-loving or unhealthy behaviors)?  What are the parts of myself I prefer to keep hidden from others?  What are the parts of myself I reject?  What are the unrealized parts of myself? What are my unfulfilled hopes, dreams, desires, wishes, fantasies?  What is my darkness?  What is my light?  What is life-giving to me?  What drains me?   Where am I inspired?  Where do I find myself discouraged?  Falling in love with ourselves means getting to know ALL the parts of ourselves….bringing it all into the light so that it can be seen.  And then, it means LOVING it all.

Falling in love with ourselves means that we learn to love all that we are – warts and all.  Falling in love with myself, for example, has been about learning to love my depression, learning to accept my anxiety, learning to appreciate the lessons I have learned through panic attacks, learning to love my childhood for all the challenges and gifts it has brought me, learning to see where I was loved and adored and seeing the growth that came out of situations where I perceived myself as being rejected or condemned.  Learning to love myself has meant learning to love my anger, my sorrow, my sensitivity, my hatred, my desire for revenge and to stop judging myself for being human.  Learning to love myself has meant understanding and appreciating the gifts of being introverted and accepting and learning to tend to the fragile state of my physical health.

Falling in love with ourselves has another word, and that word is JOY.  Joy is the quality that God intended for us to know and to have in this human experience.  Joy is what is manifest as we come to love ourselves more and more.  Joy in all that we are given.  Joy in all that we experience.  Joy flowing out of us as we live and move and have our being.  Joy in the sorrow and joy in the joy as reflected in the words of another great teacher:

Darkness and Light are but one. (Psalm 139)

Falling in love with ourselves is about knowing that all that we are is perfect in the eyes of God and seeing this perfection in ourselves.

How are you being invited to love yourself?

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human

It’s Time to Ramble On…..Authentic Freedom and Divorce

In the spiritual journey, there comes a time when we are called upon to stand in our own truth….whatever the cost.  For me, the time is now as I face the unfolding process of divorce.  It is the Authentic Freedom process that has provided the courage and strength that has brought me to this place and will continue to carry me through the next stage(s).


Writing Danger

There is a terrible danger in writing spiritual books.  (Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy is being released in April!!!!).  At some point, the Universe/God is going to expect you to put what you have written into practice.  If you are going to be so bold as to write on spiritual topics, then you’d better be ready to walk the talk.  I can tell you that this has never been more true for me than RIGHT NOW!  As this (now nine month) divorce process has been unfolding there have been many times that I have wondered what possessed me to write this dang book in the first place.  Every time that I have been afraid, frustrated, angry, grieving, the Universe taunts me by waving my book in my face and saying, “Lauri, here are the answers to all your frustrations!  You wrote about it.  Now do it!”  ARGH!!!!!

It’s Time to Ramble On

So, now I find myself in a very important transition stage in this divorce.  My husband and I filed for divorce on Monday and now I am making preparations to move.  The immortal words of Robert Plant have been ringing in my ears as I prepare for this next step:

Leaves are falling all around, It’s time I was on my way.
Thanks to you, I’m much obliged for such a pleasant stay.
But now it’s time for me to go. The autumn moon lights my way.

Got no time to for spreadin’ roots, The time has come to be gone.
And to’ our health we drank a thousand times, it’s time to Ramble On.

(Here’s the YouTube clip for this song:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DW5ZLyY9w0Y )


God’s plan, not mine

The challenge in this step is that it is not happening the way I had planned.  I had planned that at this point I would have a secure financial foundation, a booming business and a home to move my children to.  Instead, I find myself in a transitory stage and having to rely on the hospitality and generosity of friends until the financial foundation presents itself to allow for part 2 of my dream.  As I have moved through the past nine months and into this next stage, I have been plagued by the very fears that I present the remedies to in my Authentic Freedom classes and now book:

  • There is not enough
  • I have nothing significant to contribute to the world
  • I can’t live and be as my most authentic self
  • I am not loved
  • I am not free to express my truth
  • I do not know (my truth, my path, etc.)
  • I am alone

While I sometimes snarl at God when I am in the place of these fears, I am also profoundly grateful for the spiritual practices that have allowed me to survive this journey to this point.  And while I have shaken my fist at God and threatened to fire my God-Squad, I also know that this is part of being human and that God can take that as part of my spiritual practice as well.  And, while my ego thinks it is in charge and knows what is best for me, I am comforted in knowing that there is a Spirit/God that really DOES know what is in my highest good and while I WANT to have my own home, the Universe is providing me with something even better – A PLACE TO HEAL.

The Gift of Authentic Freedom

So, as I enter into this next step in the process, I have no idea where the money is going to come from.  I have no idea how my book will be received.  I have no idea what I will be doing professionally.  I have no idea where I will end up living (after the hospitality of friends).  I wonder if there will be another love relationship.  I wonder if I know anything at all or if I have ever known anything.  But what I do know is that I have a place to live.  I have been invited to take some time to heal.  I have friends and family who love and care for me (and the feeling it mutual).  I have amazing children who I love dearly.  AND I AM NOT ALONE – along with all this support is a loving God who knows what is in my highest good and reveals the opportunities in which I am able to receive it.  In the end, I guess that is all I really need.

Where have you come face to face with the fears listed above?

What spiritual practices have helped you to transcend, heal, give release to these fears?

Where are you being invited to be open to God’s plan and not your own?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

 

Posted in New World, world changes

Mercy for the Dying World

The world as we have known it is dying.  After 5000+ years of patriarchal reign, the world built on fear, power and control is imploding upon itself.   The symptoms of this death are everywhere to be seen by those who have eyes to see – increasing prejudice, hatred and divisiveness, a rapidly growing gap between those who have and those who have not, increasing violence, rampant corruption, greed, gluttony, over consumption and the most obvious of all symptoms – the revelation of deceit.  The veil has been torn away and we are able to see clearly all the lies we’ve been told and the deceptions that have been played – all for the sake of power and control. Playing out on a global scale, the world as we have known it is dying and the death the symptoms of this death are evident in every single hierarchical institution created by man – religion, government, corporations, banking, healthcare, and education.

While the dying out of the old system is global, it is playing out in our own little worlds as well. In the tiny little town of Oshkosh, Wisconsin where I reside, for example, the death of the current educational system is happening in real time. Underfunded and over-challenged, our tiny little community is trying to figure out how to get blood from a turnip and (as always) it will be the vulnerable among us who will suffer.  Those with means will always find a way to coerce an outcome favorable to them and have the available resources for navigating change.  The same is not true for the poor or for the otherwise vulnerable (powerless) in our community.  As a social justice advocate, I find myself in the throes of “the battle” while simultaneously understanding that what we are experiencing in Oshkosh is simply a microcosm of the macrocosm and another symptom of a dying world.  We can do our best to support the needs of the vulnerable (ie: protect our children and the teachers who are trying to serve them), but we cannot prevent the system’s inevitable death.

Yes.  Death is inevitable.  By its design, the systems of fear, power and control that rule our world are unsustainable and after 5000 years, we have reached that point of critical mass.  It is time for the house of cards to fall – and falling it is.  If you want to see the fall playing out in real time, just watch a few minutes of the impeachment hearings (rolling my eyeballs out of my head!). Our dying systems cannot be saved.  As is true of all life forms, there comes a point where death is not only inevitable, it becomes an act of mercy.

In the face of these deaths, mercy is our calling.  We can be witness to the dying world, but we cannot save it.  Any attempts to do so would only prolong the suffering. We can be hospice for the dying – offering comfort, counsel, a listening ear and a compassionate heart as the dying struggle through their fears and their attachment to what has been.  We can also be hope for the dying – offering a vision of a new world that is not yet known. We can be promise for the dying – assuring them that in every death is the promise of new life.  Our final act of mercy will be sitting vigil with the dying institutions while those who are here to build the new world are finally free to complete the task they came here to perform, no longer hindered by the weight of a dying world.

 

 

Posted in End of the World Prophecies, New World, world changes

It’s Loathsome and Hideous, Yet I Can’t Look Away

It’s Loathsome and Hideous, Yet I Can’t Look Away

These immortal words from the TV series Seinfeld, perfectly sum up the times we are in and the greatest temptation for those of us who are here to build the new world.

We live in a time when everything around us seems to be in conflict.  Everything we thought we knew about our world and the perceived security it claimed to provide is falling around us.  In the U.S. we have become a nation divided within a world divided….and we seem to somehow be the cause of that global division.  The world around us no longer makes sense – if it ever did, and the people around us have most definitely stopped making sense.  (cue David Byrne)

We are living in one of the most magnificent times in the history of human beings – both from the perspective of devastation and from the place of promise.  The shadows have all come out to play.  That which we have ignored, denied, shoved under the rug – have all made themselves loudly known.  Racism.  Sexism.  Classism. Privilege.  Nationalism.  The sins of unbridled Capitalism. The sexual crimes of men in power. The sins of the power elite (who is really the cause of global and domestic terrorism?????  Hmmmmm???)  The nature of the beast is as hideous as it is captivating.  As veil upon veil upon veil gets torn away and the views become increasingly disturbing, one is tempted to want to go into battle, or simply collapse in despair.  To some, there is no hope as the truths of our world prove to be increasingly horrific.  The world “out there” has become like a runaway train or a 40-car pileup – it is terrifying to behold, and yet we cannot look away.

The greatest temptation as we view the world hurling itself toward its own destruction is to rush in to try to save it.  But we cannot.  Neither should we try.  The world built on fear, power and control is imploding upon itself and THANK GODDESS!  It is long past time for the world of fear, power and control ruled by rich white men to come to its natural end.  Unbridled pride, gluttony, greed, vengeance, jealousy (competition), hatred and ignorance are and have proven themselves to be unsustainable to anyone other than those who are holding the gold.  What the gold-bearers have not yet realized, however, is that in destroying the world they will inevitably be destroying themselves.  (But maybe, they are that selfish and that short-sighted.)

The truth that is coming to bear is that an unsustainable system will eventually collapse upon itself.  This is EXACTLY what we are currently witnessing in our world, and there is nothing we can do to stop it.  Its life has come to its natural end, making room for a new world to be born out of the ash. For that new world to be born, we need to STOP engaging with the old and dying world.  We need to allow the shriveled, whimpering Voldemort to die his own peaceful death.

In other words, “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”  As the dying world continues to vie for our attention, we are distracted from the purpose we came here to fulfill.  We are not here to save the dying world.  We are here to build something new.  That something new is happening right here in our very midst (look at what the young people are doing) and we are each here to play our own role in the creation of something new.  When we engage in or with the dying world, try to make sense of what is happening “out there” or try to convince others of our cause, we are distracted from the task we came here to complete.  We cannot build our new world when drawn in by the moans of the dying world, neither can we care for ourselves when administering aid to that which cannot be saved.  As harsh as this may sound, it is our job to let it die, and if that means covering our ears to the death wails and covering our eyes to the death and devastation, then so be it.  (This does not mean we cease from doing our part to care for the casualties of a world at war with itself.  It is still our job to advocate for the voiceless and to support the needs of the choiceless.  Let love be your guide.) Like a spoiled rotten child, the dying world will do everything in its power to keep us in their drama.  Just say no.

Discipline.  Persistence.  Tenacity. Let these words be our mantra as we do everything in our power to keep ourselves free of the magnetic drama of the world destroying itself so that we can tend to what we are really here for – to build a WHOLE (rooted in union, harmony, peace, collaboration, compassion and love) new world.

For support in building your own new world, check out Lauri’s formation program, The Order of the Magdalene Priesthood Training. This program supports you in coming to know your own unique giftedness, your Soul’s purpose and teaches you how to identify and transcend the fears that might otherwise prevent you from fulfilling that purpose.  Learn more HERE. 

Posted in self-actualization

Emptying Some More

There are many times throughout our journey home to ourselves (self-actualization) where our lives are completely re-aligned.  This re-alignment begins on the day we are born in the moment we are expelled from the comfort of our mother’s womb into the cold, often cruel, world.  No longer are all our needs continually met unbidden, we have to make people aware of our needs with no words to express them.  As we find our way through infancy and childhood, every moment is a re-alignment – a constant exploration and learning of how to be and who to be in this world.  The re-alignments continue as we graduate childhood and become students, when we move from the routine of grade school into the hormone infested chaos of middle school, and from there into the segmented atmosphere of high school – defined by social groups and activities.  From there we move to the job world or college, to love and marriage, parenthood, etc. etc. etc.  At certain steps along the journey a complete overhaul is required.

Finding our way home to ourselves is no different. The past several years for me has been one letting go and emptying after another.  Just as I think I have emptied enough, the Universe presents another opportunity/invitation/command.  (It’s really more of a command.  I have discovered in this journey toward Self that we really don’t have a choice.  If we are serious about our commitment to Self/Soul, freewill isn’t really an option.  It’s more of a do or die.)  I find that I am facing another one of these commands.

When I proclaimed to the world my commitment to my monastic self, I thought (how silly of me) “Ok we’re good.”  I figured it was simply a matter of living into the monastic-ish lifestyle that has been beckoning me.  Hah!  Just as we think we have things figured out, God/Goddess laughs.  Instead, I find that not only am I living into the question of what a monastic life looks like to me, I am also witnessing the further falling away of everything I thought myself to be and every role/offering I thought I had to share with the world.   For the past several months, my students have been falling away left and right. I have few clients to speak of.  The membership options I launched on my site are not thriving in the way I hoped they would.  Etc. etc. etc.

To add insult to injury, as a normally prolific writer and creator, my creative inspiration seems to be dried up.  I have four creative projects staring me in the face – one with somewhat of a deadline.  They are all standing there looking at me waiting for some movement but I got nothin.  Zilch.  Nadda.  Nothin.  Not one spark of inspiration to get these things done and bring them into fruition.  Nothin.

Old Lauri would have worried and fretted about the “looming deadlines” and the (seemingly) ever-decreasing income stream.  Even more, I would have worried about having nothing “to do.”  Instead, I know this is simply more of the movement toward Self.  As Jesus modeled for us and the ancient mystics further demonstrated, the intent and purpose of the spiritual journey is to be made empty so that we might be filled by God.  The journey home to ourselves, is ultimately about returning to Source – God, Love, Truth, Ain-Sof (No-thing), the Void, Allah, Brahma, Sophia, Shekinah, Abba, Amma,  – whatever name/image/form/formlessness you want to give it.  The human journey is all about Source calling us home to our true nature which can only be accomplished in an emptying of ourselves.

At this point in my journey I know better than to resist the call of the Soul.  Those things that are falling away are doing so to create space for something even more amazing, life-giving and fulfilling.  I have absolutely no idea what that might be, but I am open to receive and getting out of my own way so the Divine can make its home in me.