Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Academy

Expanding Our Offerings – Coming Soon!

Here is a sneak peek of what we are hard at work creating and making available soon!  A huge shout out to Kim at Leadas.love for the backend work.  Watch this blog and your emails for the big REVEAL! 

Authentic Freedom (dot) Love is a community of women and men who are responding to the calling of their Soul to discover their own unique giftedness and how they are called to find fulfillment in these gifts while being supported and empowered in the use of these gifts in service to the betterment of the world.

We are here because we long for a more loving, more compassionate, more tolerant, more accepting and gentler world where the needs of all are met for the common good and where all of humankind can once again live in harmony, peace and understanding.

If you have found yourself here, you are either just beginning to hear the rumblings of your Soul, or have already come to know that you are among those who are being hospice to the dying world while midwifing the new world that is coming into form and are looking for people of like-mind with whom you can share this challenging and exciting calling!

We are changemakers, wayshowers, sh.t-disturbers, mystics and rebels. And here we are safe to question, explore, discover, be empowered and supported for our own unique giftedness and for how we are called to exercise these gifts in our world.

Authentic Freedom (dot) Love supports you through:

Education

On-Going Spiritual Formation

Social Network/Community (coming soon!)

Individualized Support

Empowerment

Publishing

 

Authentic Freedom is the life-work of Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS who created the Authentic Freedom protocol which supports women, men and children in overcoming the unhealed wounds, fears, and societal conditioning which might otherwise prevent them from being their most authentic self – the person they were born to be and whom their Soul is calling them to be!

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS
Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS

 

The Order of the Magdalene Priesthood Training and the Order of Melchizedek Training programs are our flagship offerings – for the serious student who is interested in being supported in their journey of self-actualization and vocational empowerment.

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Academy

Authentic Freedom is Becoming a Learning Community

Authentic Freedom is becoming a learning community.

In addition to my blog, my books, and online courses, the “new” offerings will include:

  • A weekly Authentic Freedom lesson
  • A social network (something like Facebook right on my own website!!!!!)
  • A monthly teachers circle

These offerings will be available through paid membership tiers running from $13.00 – $22.50 per month.  All but the social network option are already available but will now be streamlined and easier to access with a more purposeful vision.. Watch this site for updates and announcements on how to join!

The social network option will allow us to GET OFF FACEBOOK!  Hurray!  This will insure greater privacy and a more secure community of women and men who are serious about their inner work and who want to connect and build community on that level.  I am really looking forward to launching this option (SOON!).

If you have any questions, or need additional information, please let me know.  In the meantime, I welcome your prayers of support as I continue through the internal and external symptoms related to “upleveling.”  It has been doozie!  “Hello Trickster, the fact that you are here tells me something magnificent is happening!”

Authentic Freedom (dot) Love is a 25 year labor of love (blood, sweat, tears, heartache, ecstasy, fulfillment and joy) which began with my own search for meaning and fulfillment. Beginning with my Catholic upbringing and from there through nearly every spiritual tradition known to us today, the meandering path of my journey has brought me to one universal truth:

LOVE

Through this journey, I have discovered and been called to develop tools which supported me in coming to know this love and through this love, coming to know my unique giftedness and how I am called to find meaning and purpose in my life through the engagement and use of these gifts – first for my own fulfillment and then in service to the betterment of our world.

The mission of Authentic Freedom (dot) Love is to support you in doing the same.

Through our many offerings, we support you in coming to know LOVE and how to choose this LOVE over our culture’s fear-based conditioning. In addition, you have the opportunity to discover your own unique giftedness and how you are called to find fulfillment in these gifts and to feel supported and empowered in the use of these gifts in service to the betterment of the world.

Education

On-Going Spiritual Formation

Social Network/Community (coming soon!)

Individualized Support

Empowerment

Publishing

 

 Learn more about our philosophy of education HERE. 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Discernment

Seeing through a Lens Clearly

As I ready for an enormous expansion of my work in the world, I find myself tempted by the ghosts of my past. Insecurities I thought I had healed.  Unfounded worries and fears.  Afraid it will not produce the fruits I am hoping for (by fruits I mean gathering and forming a community while supporting members of that community in coming to their own wholeness).  While sitting in meditation this morning I was confronted with an unexpected ghost….one I definitely thought I was done with:

PROFESSIONAL JEALOUSY!

(Ugh!  Lauri Lumby being excruciatingly human again!) At first, I was tempted to condemn myself for still hanging on to this old demon. The demon that makes me cringe every time I am compared to someone doing “similar” work.  Or when I see someone I judge as undeserving getting ANOTHER publishing contract.  These thoughts have made me feel so petty, jealous, and like such a baby.  “Lauri get over it!  Who cares that ___________ keeps publishing books which all say the same old crap!?   Who cares that _____________ is Oprah’s flavor of the week!  Who cares that _________________ has absolutely no education or experience in this field and yet keeps getting publishing deals and speaking engagements on the topic?!”

But then, in my meditation it hit me! There are many authors with whom I do not have these kinds of reactions or feelings.  Instead, I celebrate every time they publish a new work or book another speaking engagement or public interview.  Bill Plotkin, JK Rowling,  Cynthia Bourgeault, Jean Yves-LeLoup, Barbara Marx Hubbard (who sadly recently passed), Rabbi Michael Munk, Tau Malachi, Mary Sharrat, Maggie Stiefvater, Dennis William Hauck, are all authors whose work I cannot get enough of and I hold a party every time they publish a new work.  My demon of “professional jealousy” does not show up at all for a single one of these authors.  This realization made me pause.  Why do I have (what I have interpreted as) professional jealousy over some authors but not for all?

If I had to identify ONE THING that all of the authors above have in common…..it would be INTEGRITY. They write within their own field of expertise.  They ARE experts in their field.  They are writing from their heart and their soul.  They are not writing with the intention of appealing to the masses (though for some their work does).  Instead, they are writing what THEY want to read.  Their works are intelligent and wise.  They are impeccable with their word and they are staying in their own lane.  And most of all, they are not trying to blow smoke up anyone’s ass!

Then it hit me. What I have been judging as professional jealousy isn’t jealousy at all!  Instead, it is ME seeing through a lens clearly.  What I have called jealousy is actually my superpower of discernment seeing what is truth and what is falsehood.  What I have called jealousy is simply my ability to read people and their truer intentions.  I’m seeing the person behind the persona.  The truth behind the lies.  The reality behind the illusion.  The capitalistic drive that tempts people to leave their integrity behind in favor of a big fat check and the possibility of fame.

Now, before you call me an asshole with a capital A (which sometimes I am which is why Denis Leary and I are friends!), I am also aware that what I am seeing in my discernment is ONLY FOR ME! What is true for me is not necessarily true for others.  We are all on our own path and if the words of _______________ speak to you, then cool!  Their work just doesn’t speak to me.  I want grit.  I want depth.  I want to be challenged in my growth.  I want to grow.  I want to learn.  I want to expand my knowledge in the areas of my passion – human development and spirituality.  And I want to be entertained (Thank you Maggie Stiefvater!.).  I also recognize that as human beings we are all at different stages in our journey and that we all need resources that reflect our current stage of development.  I mean, let’s be real…..I had a book of Tau Malachi’s on my shelf for 10 years before I could read it!!!!  The same is true of my copy of the Sefir Yetzirah.

I’m just glad that as I ready for this next stage of expansion, I can now set aside my own self-judgment over what I’ve been calling professional jealousy and OWN my ability to see through a lens clearly.

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Empowerment

Unraveling from Outside Perceived Authority

When they (the temple police) had brought them, they had them stand before the (religious) council. The high priest questioned them, saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this (Jesus’) name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.”

Acts 5: 27-29

BOOM! In one sentence, the apostles make it clear who it is we are truly called to “obey.” We are not called to obey human authority – only God.  But here is where it gets dodgy. Whose God and whose interpretation of God are we to obey?  That answer is also clear, but we have to dig a little to find it.

Let’s go back to Jesus. In Jesus’ world, there were two authorities – the Romans who created and enforced the civil laws and the authorities in the temple who created and enforced the religious law.  There was also a third “authority” – that which arose out of Jesus’ cultural conditioning – things like prejudice against women, people of other beliefs, homosexuality, etc.   Jesus, however, obeyed none of these. As his ministry expanded (or rather, his understanding of his ministry) he obeyed them even less (see MT 15: 21-28 for an example of this). Even as a child, Jesus displayed a tendency toward obedience only to God:

Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business? But they did not understand what he said to them.   Luke 2: 41-50

Paul spoke of Jesus’ obedience in this way:

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.

Phil 2: 5-8

Jesus obeyed God….period. And we are invited to do the same.  Yet we live in a culture that tells us otherwise.  Instead, we are taught from a very early age, all of the outside authorities we are meant to obey – our parents, our teachers, our peer group, our priest, our religion, our boss, the rules of the corporation for whom we work (written and unwritten), the laws of our community, state and nation, and the worst of all of them – advertising!  Many of those who are placed in positions of outside authority are good people with our best interests in mind.  Some are using their power to manipulate and control others for their own selfish gain. Some rules made by these outside authorities no longer make sense in an evolving world.  Some still make sense, but maybe no longer within the context in which they were formed.

But when we have been conditioned to look outside of ourselves for guidance and direction, how are we to know what is God speaking to us and what is the outside perceived authority? Again, Paul provides a clue:

Full content reserved for Plus, Premium and Premium-Plus Members. Click here to learn more on how you can become a member and enjoy the tools that have helped me in my own journey.  Find an example of what is available in the full content HERE.

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, detachment, Forgiveness

The Journey from Vengeance to Compassion

I hear the whisperings of many:
“Terror on every side!
Denounce! let us denounce him!”
All those who were my friends
are on the watch for any misstep of mine.
“Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail,
and take our vengeance on him.”
But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion:
my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.
In their failure they will be put to utter shame,
to lasting, unforgettable confusion.
O LORD of hosts, you who test the just,
who probe mind and heart,
Let me witness the vengeance you take on them,
for to you I have entrusted my cause.
Sing to the LORD,
praise the LORD,
For he has rescued the life of the poor
from the power of the wicked!

Jeremiah 20: 10-13

 

I must humbly admit I sympathize with Jeremiah in his rant against his enemies and his desire to see vengeance meted upon them. In the many years I have had to deal with those who “hate me” I have gone from praying for their suffering and basking in satisfaction as I watch karma enacting its justice upon them to where I am today – still finding some satisfaction in karma (I’m still human!) but mostly having compassion for the suffering they continue to choose while I (mostly) live in peace. Not a peace born out of satisfaction for karmic retribution, but my own peace in knowing the Love that I am in God and doing my best to live from that Love.

The peace that I now know is the fruit of 25 years of diligent attention to my spiritual practice. This is a practice that goes beyond sitting in silence and includes unwavering accountability to everything within me that might otherwise infringe upon my ability to know Love. This unwavering accountability has nothing to do with freeing myself from “sin” out of a fear of Divine retribution. Instead, it is an acknowledgment that I have wounds from my past, social conditioning and fears that have kept me from knowing God’s love – not because God’s love is being withheld, but because these wounds, etc. prevented me from feeling and knowing the Love that has been here all along.

In knowing this Love, I feel whole and complete within myself. When I waver from this feeling of wholeness, I tend to the wound that is still asking for healing. Now, this is where I’m going to lean a bit in Jeremiah’s direction in describing in contrast the inner life of my “enemies.” For the record, I no longer consider these people my enemies, but I know that to them, I am the enemy. I am the enemy because I dare to question, challenge, and confront the doctrine they cling to – a doctrine they cling to mostly out of fear of God’s punishment.

These are those I have come to refer to as “the self-appointed inquisition” who for years harassed me, tried to sabotage my work, spread rumors against me, called the contemplative practices I teach “the work of the devil,” called my healing work “sorcery and witchcraft” and wrote letters of complaint to the local bishop so much that I understand the file on me is enormous and that I have been officially blackballed in the local diocese. To them, my work is “dangerous.” And, I guess it is. I invite people to use the brain God gave them to reason, discern and exercise their truth and to challenge anything cloaked in fear.

In the past, I was heartbroken by the action of these people – many of whom I thought were my friends. I was traumatized when a group of them came to one of my classes and turned it into an inquisition. I was further traumatized by the local chancellor who harassed me about a class I was teaching on the Aramaic Lord’s prayer. I was profoundly insulted and disappointed when the same chancellor promised to let me speak on behalf of Reiki – arrived 45 minutes late to our meeting and then issued the Reiki prohibition (which he always intended to issue) the very next day. I found myself writhing in anger, hatred and confusion of how these so-called Christians were treating me. I felt like a victim to their constant harassment.

Then the harassment stopped. Not because the self-appointed inquisition ceased their relentless inquiry and reporting on everything Lauri Lumby – but because I no longer care. Not caring is not a defense mechanism born out of fatigue. Instead, “not caring” is the detachment born out of Love. The more I have come to know the Love that I am, the less I am triggered by other people’s fear. The more I know God’s Love, the less I care about what other people think of me or my work. And in this I have peace – a peace my “enemies” will likely never know.

This is where my dreams of vengeance turn to compassion. Today when I see or hear from my “enemies” I no longer see their cruelty, I see their fear. I see a fear born out of shame – shame for who God made them (it’s not ok to be gay in the Catholic Church), shame for past actions for which they have never forgiven themselves, shame out of secrets that might destroy ones place in society, shame out of something so deeply suppressed that the only thing that can come through is prideful self-righteous. As it relates to the officials of the Church who have made me their enemy, I see fear, shame and in some an arrogant quest for power – using fear, deceit and manipulation to acquire that so-called power. For all of these I now bear compassion knowing that they will never know the peace I know in coming to know the Love that I am as God’s beloved daughter – the same love available to all of us if only we have the courage to heal the fears that keep us from knowing this Love.

Support yourself in healing the fears that keep you from knowing the Love that you are.  Discounted pricing through April 30, 2019.  Click on the image below to learn more and to register. 

 

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, building the new world, Choose Love Revolution, Empowerment, Freedom

Taking Back Our Power to Choose

Authentic Freedom

Taking Back Our Power to Choose

Register by clicking on the image above.

 

Online course created and facilitated by

 Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS

 

Nine lessons

Done at your own pace

Done in your own time

Moderated by Course Creator

Secret Facebook Group for Participants

 

Introductory Rate: $145.00

(through April 22, 2019)

(not including required text)

Register HERE.

 

 

Taking Back Our Power to Choose

For the past 5000 years our world has been imprisoned by those who benefit from a people afraid. For 5000 years, we have been conditioned by institutions that manipulate and control us through fear, guilt and shame.  Religious institutions, governments, corporations, banks, advertising, social media, education, health care, pharmaceutical companies and the insurance industry (to name a few) are all guilty of benefiting from a people afraid.  As has always been true of feudal societies, only a few truly benefit from a culture rooted in fear.  The rest are made to suffer while those who are manipulating us are getting rich at our expense.

 

It is time that we say NO MORE by taking back our power to choose.

Fear is a choice. But in order to have the freedom to choose otherwise, we have to unravel ourselves from the conditioning that has made us afraid. The fears that tell us:

 

  • There is not enough.
  • We are insignificant and have nothing of value to offer the world.
  • We cannot live as our most authentic selves.
  • We are not loved (or that love has to be earned or can be taken away).
  • We are not free to express our truth.
  • We do not know the truth.
  • We are alone.

 

When we stop believing in these fears by healing the conditioning that caused these fears in the first place, we are no longer vulnerable to manipulation and are free to choose love instead of fear. In choosing love, we are able to experience the peace, freedom and union spoken of by the ancients and which has been taught by the highest expression of every spiritual tradition on this planet.

 

Authentic Freedom gives you that power to choose by supporting you in identifying and then healing the fears that have kept you imprisoned by your cultural conditioning.

 

Register Here.

 

SCRIPTURE (gasp!) Please note that with great intention I use Judeo-Christian scripture as part of this course.  I do so ON PURPOSE because for many in our culture, scripture has been used against them.  Christianity (especially certain expressions of Christianity) have twisted Jesus’ message of love into one of hatred and fear.  It is my hope that by presenting scripture in a different way – not as a vehicle of manipulation and control – but as a vehicle through which you can find and become empowered in LOVE- we can not only be healed of our societal fears, but also of those which have been heaped upon us by institutional religion.

 

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATSLauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS  supports you in becoming a fully awakened and self-actualized human being by giving you the freedom to choose love in a world conditioned by fear.    Lauri does this through her trademarked protocol – Authentic Freedom which harnesses the knowledge and wisdom of the ancients and applies it in the modern world.  Here you will find fulfillment for the deepest longing of your Soul – to know and to be known.  Lauri is the owner of Authentic Freedom Academy and founder of the Temple of the Magdalene. She lives in Oshkosh, WI. You can learn more about Lauri, her writings, programs and services at Authentic Freedom (dot) Love. 

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, God

Reclaiming My Right to Be Excruciatingly Human!

DAMN IT. All these years I’ve been serving (internally anyway) the wrong kind of GOD!!!!!  In my head I know better….and my work reflects that.  But internally, I’ve been serving the GOD of someone else’s making.  ARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!

Hi. My name is Lauri.  I’m a recovering perfectionist.

Trying to be perfect

Maybe that’s all you need to know…..but maybe not. For as long as I can remember, I have tried to be perfect.  The perfect daughter.  Perfect student.  Perfect pianist.  Perfect dancer.  Perfect friend.  Perfect wife.  Perfect mother.  I’m not sure if I was born this way or if it is a product of my conditioning or a little of both.  The Enneagram suggests we are born with our “Type.”  There is no doubt that I am a Type 1 on the Enneagram and that I undoubtedly look at myself, the world and my life experiences through the lens of this question: “How could this be better?”  So there’s that.

I am also acutely aware of how my early life experiences along with my Catholic upbringing fostered the critical nature of this lens. Little messages along the way which have said I’m not good enough, there is something wrong with me, the way I’m doing things is wrong, what my Soul needs and wants is not in line with what society expects from me….and worst of all…..the ongoing message of a jealous God examining my every move and like Santa Claus, keeping a record of all the bad I’ve done in my life – bad for which there will be some sort of punishment – if not in this life, then certainly in the next.

But I’m not bad!

But here’s the thing. I’m not bad.  I’ve never done anything bad.  Yes, in the normal stages of childhood development I fought with my siblings and was likely mean to them at times.  Yes, I became angry at my parents and sometimes grumbled against their guidance.  Yes, in college and early adulthood I made the usual “mistakes.”  But ultimately, I’ve never done anything to intentionally harm another or to do damage in this world.

So if I’m not bad and I’ve never done anything bad, then why have I spent a lifetime feeling so bad? Feeling as if there is something wrong with me?  In response to this deep inner feeling of wrongness, I have done a WHOLE LOT OF WORK.  Healing the pain from past abuse.  Healing trauma.  Undoing negative conditioning.  Reclaiming all the parts of myself that I locked away deep in my subconscious because it might not be “acceptable” in this world.  I have opened Pandora’s Box and have welcomed every single demon therein – meeting it, listening to its fears and concerns and supporting the healing and transformation of all my old wounds so that I might not only feel better about myself, but so I might also feel better about this world and my place in it.

This week while reading the comments of the women and men in my Magdalene Priestess Training I realized there was one final demon to tackle.

My favorite Moses scene is when he throws the tablets to the ground in disgust, rage and disappointment over his people.  This is me everyday!  And yet, I’m just as guilty of confusion, doubt, and running after distractions and shiny objects (hello Facebook).  UGH!  We are excruciatingly human – and isn’t that the point!?  God loves us no matter how dense we can be at times….and this is THE GOOD NEWS.  We are utterly ok exactly as we are in this and every other moment. God doesn’t care.  This is a lesson about Unconditional Love I am still trying to learn.  God doesn’t care if I enjoy a glass of wine.  God doesn’t care if I’m depressed and unmotivated.  God doesn’t care if some days I just don’t give a fuck.  God doesn’t care that on some days I despise the human race.  Because God knows WHO I AM and in the center of all my human frailty there is Love.  Just plain Love.  And Love is who I am even when (maybe especially when) I am excruciatingly human!  

That demon’s name is “GOD”

Now, before you get your undies in a twist, let me explain.  The GOD who I am calling a demon, is not God – but is instead, the god of someone else’s making.  This is not the God who Jesus spoke of who loves without condition.  This is the GOD made up by a hierarchical and patriarchal system who rules by fear, power and control.  This is the GOD who was created to make us feel bad about ourselves, to plant seeds of doubt, confusion and pain in us …. all so that this hierarchical system might control us.  Because here’s the thing – if we believe in a GOD who is always judging us, who is measuring our humanness against us and who is waiting to punish us for that evil, then we will always be afraid.  We will feel badly about ourselves and can therefore be easily manipulated.  You see, when GOD’s love can be taken away, if we have to earn that love, if we will be punished for angering this GOD, then we will do anything to gain the approval of this GOD – a GOD that ultimately has nothing to do with God, and everything to do with humans that want us to look toward them as the ultimate authority so we will do what they tell us; and humans who wants our money.  Notice- the Church is not the only creator of this GOD.  Oh no….they are co-conspirators with every other hierarchical institution which has arisen out of a desire to have power and control over the masses.

The Demon isn’t only in the Church

Oh, and for the record…..a whole lot of “New Age,” “Ascension” and “Prosperity Gospel” people also preach this kind of GOD. You know…the GOD who will only reward us if we “think the right thoughts.”  The GOD who isn’t actually a GOD but is in fact ourselves – because WE are GOD and our life is created by what and how we think.  If we think the right thoughts we will get what we want because WE are GOD.  And if we think the wrong thoughts, then we can expect the consequences of these thoughts because we are GOD and we made it happen.  And if what we have in our lives is not what we want (if we are poor, struggling with illness, experiencing difficulty in our lives) it is because this GOD who is US is punishing us for thinking the wrong thoughts and the solution to changing what we do not want in our lives is to simply think better thoughts.  Or perform magic spells.  Or do the right ritual.  Or light a candle.  Oh wait….there’s more.  We also need to be PERFECT.  If our life isn’t what we want it to be it is because there is some wound in the way and if we clear that wound (fear, compulsion, etc.) then our external life will magically change. Ourselves disguised as a demon disguised as GOD.

(For the record, I’m all in favor of healing our wounds….it is what I do best……but healing our inner wounds is NO GUARANTEE of a change in our external lives.  Jesus never promised EXTERNAL abundance – only the abundance we know within when we are free.  #authenticfreedom). 

THIS is the demon GOD that remains at the bottom of my Pandora’s Box. The GOD that says I’m not good enough.  That I will never be good enough.  That no matter how hard I work to heal my past wounds, fears, etc. I will never be free because this GOD is looking over my shoulder waiting to hand out reward and punishment.  The GOD that has me believing that my life experience will change if I can just figure out what about me is soooooo wrong and heal that one thing so that everything will be good again. DAMN IT.  All these years I’ve been serving (internally anyway) the wrong kind of GOD!!!!!  In my head I know better….and my work reflects that.  But internally, I’ve been serving the GOD of someone else’s making.  ARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!

NO MORE! Today, I reclaim my RIGHT TO BE HUMAN. Excruciatingly human! Jesus spoke of a God who loves without condition.  A God who made me exactly as I am – for a reason and a purpose – and THIS creation is PERFECT.  I am already loved by God.  I don’t have to earn God’s love and it cannot be taken away.  I was LOVED into being and I am LOVE itself – and this version of love swears like a sailor, enjoys a glass of wine at the end of the day, on some days despises the human race, becomes impatient with ignorance and intolerance, grows enraged in the face of injustice, is at times judgmental and self-righteous and is sure that my way is right – or at least better; who loves deeply, burns passionately, gives generously – even if sometimes out of a “need to help or to feel loved,” who hates certain individuals and harbors resentment like Gollum harbors the ring.  Sometimes I’m depressed and unmotivated.  Other days I’m a workaholic.  I have anxiety, suffer with migraines and sometimes have panic attacks.  Like Denis Leary sings, sometimes I’m an Asshole but I can also be one of the kindest people you will ever know.  This is me in all my excruciating humanness exactly like God made me and there is nothing wrong with me and nothing wrong with how I am living my life.  And the parts of my external life which I wish would change (Gawd I’m tired of always having to worry about money and how my next bill will be paid) have absolutely nothing to do with something I have yet to heal, or some thought I need to correct.  SHIT JUST HAPPENS.  This is life.  And God has nothing to do with it and neither do we.  We are here to be human – excruciatingly human and maybe somewhere in that humanness we have the opportunity to discover that in addition to being human we are also LOVE.

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Oneness with God

Where is the Kingdom of God?

For anyone raised in a traditional Christian household, Heaven is considered to be the Kingdom of God and what we spend our lives trying to attain. If we are good enough -follow the Ten Commandments, do what Jesus told us to do, be like Jesus, then maybe – only maybe – we might get to go to heaven when we die.  Heaven is the place of eternal peace, somewhere “up there” (in the clouds or something) where we get to see those who died before us and hang out with the angels and saints.  But if we aren’t good enough, we will be cast into the fiery pits of hell where we will suffer for all of eternity.

This threat of eternal damnation is the weapon used by institutional religion to mold us into a people afraid. We are afraid of the jealous, wrathful God whose love we have to earn and which can just as quickly be taken away.  We are afraid for all the ways in which God will punish us in this life when we misbehave.  We are conditioned to believe that every moment of suffering and pain is God’s way of punishing us for things we don’t even know we did.  I mean – for real – this version of God has been punishing all of humanity since the beginning of time for Adam and Eve’s disobedience.  We’re being punished for something we didn’t even do!

This is how institutional religion gains its control – by putting us in an ever-anxious place of fear and trepidation – looking over our shoulder for any wrong we might have done, shaming ourselves over that misdeed, and then doing everything we can to make ourselves right with God. We go to mass. Give money to the church.  Fast. Abstain from life’s pleasures.  Oh wait…..it sound’s an awful lot like Lent – the 40 days set aside in the Church calendar in which we are expected to make ourselves right with God.

But here’s my question – if we believe in the God that Jesus taught – the one of unconditional love and mercy – then where and how could we ever have gone wrong with God? The answer is that we cannot.  God loves us no matter what.  At least that’s what Jesus said.  Jesus spoke of a God who loves without condition; who seeks mercy not sacrifice; and who is forever standing at the gate with arms wide open waiting to welcome our return.  And there is no question about our return!  There is no other place that we can go after we have completed this human experiment but back to the Source from which we came.  That Source is God. At least that is what we’ve been told.

BUT we don’t have to wait until we die to be in the presence of eternal love. Even in the perceived separation of the human experience, we are never separate from God. Jesus said so!

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Posted in Authentic Freedom, detachment, Lessons

Freedom in Not Knowing

Many moons ago, I thought I knew. I thought I knew and understood the workings of the world.  I believed in God.  Jesus was my teacher.  I wasn’t really sure about the whole thing about hell, but I definitely believed in heaven.  I thought there was a distinct line between right and wrong and that life functioned in absolutes (kind of but not really….which is why I kept getting in trouble with the priests.) I believed that Jesus lived, died and rose from the dead.  I even believed that the “fullness of redemption” was in the Catholic Church (how silly of me!).

As I grew and began to explore my beliefs, my theology, my spirituality, myself, my beliefs began to change.  I no longer believed in a place called hell. I still believed in heaven, but longed for something more in this life. (Why did we have to die to meet God face to face?) While my beliefs were changing, I continued to cling to the idea that what I believed was absolutely true – at least for me.  At this stage in my journey I was ok with others believing differently, but I still thought it was my job to convince some of my beliefs (especially the Institution of the Catholic Church), and that in some (many) cases there were some things that were just inherently wrong and that I knew what was right. (Again, how silly of me!)

Then, life taught me otherwise. Now, at the ripe young age of 54, I KNOW NOTHING.  I don’t know a thing about (that which we call) God.  I don’t truly know anything about Jesus – he sounds like he could have been a cool dude, but what evidence do we have that he was even real (so says the scientist in me)? I don’t know if there is a heaven – or a hell for that matter.  I don’t even know if I’m real or if this is all just a dream!

I don’t know…..and I’m totally ok with that! I don’t need to know, because if there is one thing I have learned in this life, NOTHING is certain.  Nothing. Not even my own discernment, sense of right and wrong, or my “calling” to serve the cause of love.  I don’t even know if my own beliefs are true as it is quite possible that everything I think I know I simply made up to make myself feel better.  And, I’m totally ok with that too.

Why? Because it does not matter. I no longer care what is real or not, what is truth or not because I am no longer clinging to the need to know in a world that is anything but predictable or even definable. I know nothing.  And that’s ok.  I’m also totally ok with whatever you want to believe and I have no need to convince you otherwise.

There is freedom in not knowing. I no longer need to convince.  I no longer need to change things.  I no longer need to stand on my soapbox waiting for “the other” to agree with my ideas, philosophies, or beliefs.  I am ok with being me and I’m ok with you being you.  And if you need to be “right” – that is ok too.  It is a natural human desire to want to KNOW – to be able to define, explain, make sense of the human condition and to be sure that our own knowledge is right.  Knowing gives us a perceived sense of safety and surety in a world that is everything but.  Knowing that at any minute Jupiter might tumble out of its orbit, pummel to earth and destroy us all makes us seek after something to hang on to – our beliefs, our philosophies, our theologies.  We need what we think we know to be right because it makes us feel “safe” in an otherwise unsafe world.

But knowledge is an illusion. At the most basic core of who we are – WE DO NOT KNOW.  We don’t know a single thing!  When we understand this about life – realizing that life is uncertain and then become content in that uncertainty – we find peace.  When we are no longer seeking after truth or clinging to our need to be right, we are free.  We can let go and stop worrying about everyone else and what they do or do not believe.  We are free to be ourselves. At the end of the day, this is (my belief) what we are here for…..or not.  The choice is up to you!

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Posted in Authentic Freedom, Empowerment, Inspiration, women

Dragons and Feminine Power

This week, we’ve been unraveling and debunking the patriarchal degradation of symbols of feminine power. We started the week with Eve and continued with the serpent.  Today, we tackle the dragon.

In biblical lore, the dragon is cast in the role of demon – devil, Lucifer, Satan, the Leviathan, the dragon who carries the Whore of Babylon and the one that threatens the woman standing “with the moon at her feet” and her newborn child. To the patriarchy, the dragon represents evil, temptation, sin, and the threat of eternal damnation. But why?  Why is the dragon cast in this role of death and destruction?

My sense is that this association between the dragon and temptation has more to do with the patriarchy’s fear of feminine power (their own feminine power) than it does with a literal demon seducing us into sin. When we look at the ancient cultures that preceded the warring patriarchal hoards, we see nothing but a benevolent relationship between dragon and human beings.  In Chinese culture, for example, the dragon represents abundance, wealth, and good fortune; and with its Yin counterpart, the phoenix, portrays the perfect harmony intended between male and female in intimate partnership – each supporting and elevating each other in their unique giftedness. Even in Chassidic Hebrew beliefs, especially in the mysticism of the Kabbalah, the dragon (as a serpent) is welcome as the inner force that awakens us, that carries our true power and which leads us toward embracing and harnessing that power so that we might fulfill our Soul’s mission.

Gnostic Tarot of the Saints by Robert M. Place Llewellyn Press

It is in Christianity where we see the most damning portrayals of the dragon – most notably the dragon that wishes to devour the holy child, thereby thwarting the Divine purpose of liberation. But here is something interesting, in Christian iconography, we see contrasting images of the dragon and its role in the human journey of transformation.   St. Michael the Archangel holds his sword aloft poised at the ready to pierce the dragon’s heart, thereby destroying the source of temptation.  St. Margaret, on the other hand, does not fear or resist the dragon when it swallows her, instead, she walks steadily through the perceived darkness, finding her way to the light and in doing so, discovering the untapped power within her to move through her fears so she could discover and live her truth.

There is a profound lesson in the story of St. Margaret for all of us – that which we perceive to be our demon, our dragon, our “darkness” is not there to destroy us, neither is it meant to be destroyed. Instead, the dragons in our lives are meant to be welcomed for it is in and through our challenges that we find our strength.

This is the secret power of the Divine feminine and that which the patriarchy has attempted to destroy – the power to stand in the darkness and through the darkness finding our way to the light – even if that means (most especially when it means) staring death itself in the face. As every true queen knows, the dragon is not to be destroyed. Instead, we are invited to meet it face to face, harness its power and let it carry us.