Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself, lays bare the complexity and beauty of the midlife pursuit of authenticity. Through poetry and prose, Lauri Ann Lumby reveals how creative expression leads to understanding, wisdom and fulfillment. With writing, drawing and reflection exercises, Returning becomes more than a confession, inviting you to plumb the depths of your soul for the magnificent treasures held within.
What reviewers are saying about Returning:
Returning; A Woman’s Midlife Journey to Herself lays bare the complexity and beauty of the feminine archetype. Author Lauri Lumby shares her own journey of naiveté, hope, disillusionment, longing, acceptance, wisdom, and empowerment with the courage and revelation only one who has been on this journey can muster. She dares readers to share in this fearless exploration with writing prompts that invite deep reflection and self-acknowledgment.
Phrases like, “My heart wants peace 300 year old oak peace” sing to the soul a song so ancient, we are compelled to respond. Lauri leads us into the shadows and shows us the light that comes from within. It is a triumphant journey, and an endless one.
Pick up Returning, a box of crayons, and a big, blank journal, and create a mid-life retreat for yourself. You will laugh and cry and feel deep gratitude for the guide you hold in your hands, and the one who lives deep in your heart.
Prudence Tippins, co-author of Two of Us Make a World and author of Faces of the Goddess
Lauri’s lucid talent for teaching and facilitation is combined with a personal poetic journey as a woman, and as a Christian woman, at a time when the church is in crisis, reaping the bleak harvest of its own male-dominated narrow-mindedness. Mid-life is psychologically all about inclusion in pursuit of authentic wholeness, and Lauri covers the ground with passionate honesty, inviting you to do the same both spiritually and creatively in your own voice. We need her !
—Jay Ramsay, author of The Poet in You and
Crucible of Love—the alchemy of passionate relationships
Lauri Lumby really delivers with Returning–A woman’s midlife journey to herself. She is fearless in laying out her own transformation and gives us a much needed guide from a woman’s perspective on how to navigate our own. Her refreshing approach with poetry and prose is deeply honest and you will find yourself following along gladly for a deeper understanding of yourself. Returning is intimate, rich and leaves no stone unturned when it comes to women in midlife. It couldn’t be better for anyone wanting to unravel the very best of who they are.
Ann A. Hartenbach, writer and poet, Where Blue Birds Fly-Poetry for Ascension
Lauri Lumby has a fire in her belly. You can call it the fire that ignites the Wild Woman Within. You can call it the fire that forges creativity. You can see it as the flame that burned above the heads of the Evangelists, spurring them on, inspired, to share their message of hope and love. You can see it as the fire of Creation Herself.
Lauri has identified this fire and she stokes it, invokes it, and is galvanized by its power. And like Prometheus, she has taken this fire and is – thank God – sharing it with all of us. She lays bare its power in our lives – the recklessness, the passion, the creation and destruction as it holds us all in its grasp.
Lauri’s voice resounds in me because it speaks to the hunger I feel, having been born and raised Catholic, only to watch my faith and devotion in an irreverent and irrelevant Church wither on the vine of lies and suppression. Lauri gives voice to the frustration I feel with the Church while singing tenderly the praises of Jesus and Saint Francis and the other pure, ignited souls, and I feel like a little lost lamb having found my flock within the folds of each poem. Her words comfort me, give me hope, validate my feelings, and strengthen my resolve that the fire that lives in me is pure and is given to me by The Source. Her words invite me to sing along, to reach within to find my own Authentic Self. I have found a spiritual home, a kindred Spirit, someone who embraces the good and, with mighty scorn, denounces the wrong that has been exacted upon women throughout history. Lauri is, like John the Baptist, The Voice who cries in the wilderness. Lauri is the voice of the wilderness itself, echoing what many religiously disenfranchised women today feel.
I rejoice in her celebration of Women and of Spirit, I revel in her candor, and embrace her strength and weaknesses which she lays bare for all to see, grappling with Fear, Forgiveness, Beauty, Abundance, Receiving, Giving, to name but a few, which is what Self is all about.
Nina Catanese, literary editor (http://launchpadmedia.com), writer and artist
Lauri Ann Lumby, author of Authentic Freedom: Claiming a Life of Contentment & Joy, continues to tackle the issues of authenticity in her newest publication Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself. Designed as not only a creative piece, but as an interactive workbook for the reader, Returning shows how artistic creation leads to understanding. Through her poetry and proposed assignments, she equips the reader with new tools to better understand their past, present, and future. Most importantly, though, she gives middle-aged women a space to create something that is for their pleasure.
Samantha Smith, author of “Robert Gauerke,” in
Operation Legacy; the Wartime experiences of Northeast Wisconsin’s Greatest Generation
Lauri Lumby’s book Returning – A woman’s midlife journey to herself offers a deep look into a reality that many might deny – that life is hard and demands our full attention if we are to live in a meaningful way. Perhaps some people can skim along the surface and find happiness in a simple, non-confrontational manner. Not this author! This collection of poetry and interactive writing is aimed deep. It is directed toward those of us whose challenges in life have exacted a toll on the emotional fabric of our humanity. Yet we are not looking for a scapegoat. We are looking for answers and are willing to take as many steps as necessary to find them. This is a book that could be taken on a solitary weekend retreat, at the end of which a woman would surely know herself much better. Or, it could be used on a daily basis for a season of self-exploration.
Dorothy Zerbe, musician and songwriter, Lands Where I Live, A Long Way To Go, Rooted and Free
In Returning, A Woman’s Midlife Journey To Herself, Lauri Ann Lumby shares her journey of self-love and spiritual exploration, with startling honesty. Lumby refers to the poems as unedited, saying “the last thing we need when writing to find ourselves is someone telling us our poetry is crap”. The poems are nonetheless fluid and flowing. Sometimes rhyming, sometimes not, they are always accessible and revealing– the outpouring of feelings and observations of a woman who is allowing herself to know how she feels about herself and her life. Subjects include the progression of a love affair from first love till separation, and the writer’s relationship with her body– years of trying to starve herself through to being happy with being a larger clothes’ size. At times I felt both the joy and discomfort of eavesdropping on personal thoughts.
If you are fed up of self help authors who give the impression that having found self-love or God, their life is now endlessly easy, you will be glad of this very honest account of a woman who shares her journey and invites us to make our own.
If you run any kind of writing group in which women are willing to explore how they truly feel about themselves and their lives, the writing exercises– many for each of the seven chapters–will be useful tools in sparking the creative expression of your group. The book would be relevant to those teaching therapeutic writing for well being.
Read it for its honesty. You will know yourself better through reference to the open sharing of another.
Katherine T. Owen, author of Be Love Beloved and It’s Ok to Believe.