Posted in Boundaries, building the new world, Relationships, self-actualization, world changes

Boundaries While Under House Arrest

As an introvert, there is nothing I like better than being home.  Also, as an introvert, my preference is to be in my home alone.  There is nothing that frustrates me more than other people in my home getting on my nerves!  While I love the four days a week my children are here, I breathe a sigh of relief when they head to their dad’s so I can enjoy a few days home alone.  My home is my sanctuary and my refuge from an otherwise chaotic and noisy world.

ENTER PANDEMIC!

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, now we have no choice (if we have a spouse and/or children at home) but to share our space with others.  You think its bad when we all have activities and places we can go to outside the home?  What will things look like when we now have no place to go but to stay sequestered in our homes?  You’re right – WE WILL BE GETTING ON EACH OTHER’S NERVES.  Being stranded in our homes with nowhere to go is likely to bring out the worst in all of us.  We will be bored, restless, bored, did I say bored, and we will likely be feeling anxious about how long this will go on and how we will be paying our bills during this time of shut down.  Then there is the eternal worry about whether or not we can find toilet paper.  (rolling my eyeballs out of my head!)

Surviving House-Arrest

Here are a few tips to help us not kill each other as we are forced to share space:

  • OWN YOUR FEELINGS! You may be feeling anxious, worried, afraid, restless, bored, sad, depressed, paralyzed, or any other sort of uncomfortable feeling.  When we have the feelings and do not acknowledge and then tend to them, they tend to come out sideways.  It is more likely that we will lose our temper with our families over our own anxiety than because they did something wrong.  If you are feeling any of the aforementioned feelings, give yourself a time-out and tend to them.  If you need support in managing these feelings, do a quick search on my website and there is likely an article to help you through the pain.
  • HIDE WHEN YOU NEED TO! When in close quarters, it is natural to feel stifled or infringed upon.  When you are feeling the pressure of other people’s needs or simply because they are there, give yourself a time-out.  Go to your room.  Go for a walk.  Drive to the nearest nature preserve and enjoy some nature.  Do whatever you need to do to get away and train your family to allow it while also giving them permission to do the same.
  • SUPPORT YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS IN DOING #1 and #2. It has to start somewhere.  If you model these boundaries with your family members, you are also giving them the example to do this for themselves.  Some members of the family may not yet have the emotional intelligence to identify their feelings.  If they are acting out, it is more likely they are feeling one of the above feelings or need to give themselves a time-out.  Help them do this. As an introvert, I have spent my children’s lifetimes training them in these practices and now at ages 20 and 22 they get it.  They are good with their own self-care, and if not, I gently remind them.
  • GET COMFORTABLE WITH SIMPLY BEING. This is a tough one in a world that has trained us only for DOING.  Likely one of the reasons we are experiencing this pandemic is to remind us the value of BEING. Get comfortable with DOING NOTHING.  Resist the temptation to filling your time with activity (trust me, we will soon run out of activities to do).  Read a book.  Sit in silence.  Grab a coloring book and color (even if it’s old ones left over from when your kids were little).  Listen to music.  Take a walk in nature.  Or just do nothing.  Help your family members learn how to do the same.  Maybe even schedule (if you are a person who thrives on routine like I do) DOWN time for your family.  Time when everyone can retreat to their own spaces and just be quiet.
  • GET TO KNOW YOUR FAMILY. Yeah, we all know each other, but do we REALLY know each other?  Do you know your partner or children’s temperaments?  Do you know their preferences?  What is their number on the Enneagram or their Myers-Briggs personality type?  How do they get their energy? How do they process information?  What is their learning style?  Are they intuitive or a thinker?  Extroverted or Introverted?  Knowing these things about ourselves and our loved ones helps us to understand and support them in meeting their needs.  For example, I know that my son is more extroverted than I am and that he thrives on trying new things.  He is easily bored and needs regular physical and competitive outlets.  Knowing this about him has helped me to support him in getting what he needs.  My daughter on the other hand, is routine driven, introverted and slow to make change.  She is adaptable but doesn’t like surprises. These are all bits of knowledge that will help us manage social=distancing, the shutting down of our normal activities and being home together under one roof.

If you are in need of specific support for any one of the above, I am available.  Just email me at lauri@authenticfreedom.love and tell me how you are struggling. From that I will recommend some resources that might be of further and more specific support, including my own online courses, one-on-one mentoring and online community.

 

Hang in there.  You are not alone.  We are all in this together!

 

With love,

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS

Authentic Freedom Academy

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Boundaries, Inspiration, Lessons, Oneness with God, Spiritual Practices, teachers, temptation

Confronting the Adversary

Depriving the Devil of His Power

Today’s teaching is about how to handle the “Devil” when he comes to call.  Here I will use a recent personal experience to illustrate how to confront the adversary, thereby depriving him of his power while restoring ourselves to our natural state of peace.  

When I mention the devil, I’m not referring to the dude in the red tights with horns and a pitchfork. Here I’m speaking about Satan, the name used in scripture to represent the inner adversary – the energy within us that comes forth in our lives to tempt us away from the path of our truth and who does so through our ego attachments, unhealed wounds and unacknowledged fears. Satan most often shows up within us in our fears, self-doubts and insecurities, but because we are One, Satan sometimes shows up through the actions of another who plays the role of the Adversary so as to show us what is in need of healing within us.

The Adversary can show up at any time in our lives, but “he” shows up more forcefully as we are preparing to or are in the midst of stepping more fully into our truth. The closer we get to our truth and to fulfilling the Divine purpose for our lives, the harder the Adversary works against us.  In this regard, the Adversary is something to be welcomed as he is in fact signaling that we are on the right path and he is giving us the opportunity to strengthen our resolve and grow in resiliency.  In this sense, the Adversary is our friend because he gives us an opportunity to see him for who he is, identify the inner fear that he is triggering within us and then move through and heal those fears so that we are even more free to live out our Divine purpose. In the personal experience of the Adversary that I am about to share, I have decided to receive him as a friend, as a sign that I am on the right path and in this I can thank him for reflecting back to me the fears that are still in need of healing as I move forward in my path.

Here’s how my experience of the Adversary showed up to me this morning:

As I mentioned earlier this week, I have entered into a professional collaboration with Kayla Burger of DesignLife. She recently featured some of my work in her video blog on anxiety, depression and panic attacks.  Kayla and I have arrived at a similar approach to dealing with these conditions in our own lives and have generously shared this approach with others as a complement to traditional methods of treatment.

In response to this video blog and my sharing of it, the following comment was posted:

Kayla was kind enough to delete the post, recognizing it as evidence of spite. She then shared the information with me and I immediately knew from whom the comment originated. My first reaction was to feel hurt.  Then I felt angry.  I chose not to reach out to the individual who wrote the comment as I knew it wouldn’t do any good.  While I know I did nothing wrong, they have formed their opinion.  I have hundreds of satisfied students and clients, and the opinion of one has no bearing on the experience of hundreds. Furthermore, I strongly believe that the truth stands on its own and wins out in the end.

In spite of deciding all of this, I still felt disturbed so I put my own tools into practice, recognizing this comment as the work of the Adversary. The timing of the Adversary’s arrival is quite interesting as Confronting the Adversary was the very topic of my Order of Melchizedek training course yesterday.  Also interesting is that the past week has been a huge time of expansion for me with the collaboration with DesignLife, the Feast of the Magdalene Summit and the upcoming Wild Woman Renaissance Summit that I will participate in on August 1st.  Expansion.  Expansion.  Expansion.  No wonder the Devil came a callin’!

In choosing to post these comments on Kayla’s site, this person played the role of the Adversary – triggering and reflecting back to me the fears that are not yet healed in me – the fear of rejection, or being seen as a fraud – both reflective of my own personal need to be seen as good, helpful and loveable. In spewing their wrath, this person has unwittingly helped me to see my unhealed fears and has provided me with an opportunity to do the work I know how to do to bring healing and release to these fears. They also helped me to see that I am indeed on the right path or the Adversary wouldn’t have shown up so forcefully.  Applying all I know about the Adversary I am now restored to peace and in this, I actually find myself grateful for the person who posted these comments on Kayla’s site.

Thank you dear friend for accepting the calling of the Adversary and in doing so, helping me to recognize and heal some fears. Know that I am grateful and as I am accepting the task of healing that you have set before me, I am holding you in love.  I wish you peace.

 

 

Posted in addictions, Authentic Freedom, Boundaries, codependency, detachment, Empowerment, Healing

Heal Yourselves! Lessons on Detachment

It is said, “The good Lord helps those who help themselves.”

The key here is “help themselves.” The Lord (or whatever name you give to the transcendent aspect of the Divine that is said to be a source of guidance and support) cannot help those who refuse to take responsibility for their own lives, their own patterns of dysfunctional behavior, their own woundedness and their own fears.

The same can be said for us. When we reach out as a source of loving support for others, we can only help those who are willing to help themselves.  We cannot help those who are unable or unwilling to identify their own patterns of dysfunctional or compulsive behaviors (including behaviors of gluttony, addiction, victimhood, martyrdom, rage, power and control, envy or jealousy, sloth or pride); and we cannot help those who are unwilling to do the work of identifying the unhealed woundedness or fears that are in fact the cause of their dysfunctional behaviors and the unfortunate life situations their behaviors get them into.

What we can do is provide a listening ear and a compassionate heart. We can be a presence of unconditional abiding love.  We can educate, inform and direct them toward resources that might help them (including ourselves if we have the proper resources).  The rest is up to them.

As it is also said, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.”

Whether or not those we hope to help refuse to drink from the well of support we lead them to is completely out of our control. Even if we could make them “drink” that doesn’t mean they will actually do the hard and often painful work of taking responsibility for what ails them.  This is where the subtle and necessary practice of detachment comes in. When we have offered all we are able in the form of guidance and support and when those we hope to help refuse to help themselves, there is nothing left for us to do but walk away.  For the sake of our own wellbeing, we cannot allow ourselves to take another person’s decisions personally; neither can we lose a minute of sleep over it.  As one teacher says, “their decisions are none of my business.”  Detachment is the ability to be a loving source of support while also having no attachment to what the other person decides to do with our offer of support. If they receive the support and take appropriate action, then they are well on their way to healing.  If they refuse the support and continue in their dysfunction, it is now on them.

As the Lord helps those who help themselves, it is also true for us. We can only help those who are willing to help themselves.

The Authentic Freedom Mastery Course empowers us with the ability to identify our gifts, along with our compulsive and dysfunctional patters of behavior and then provides tools for helping us to heal these patterns ourselves.  Learn more by clicking the image below:

 

Posted in Beloved Partnership, Boundaries, codependency, Relationships

You Don’t Complete Me!

Damn, You Don’t Complete Me!

Many relationships entered into in our youth are established upon the illusion that the other person will complete us.  We look to the other to fill the emptiness and longing we feel inside.  Eventually, we realize that the other person is not completing us as disappointment and resentment rush in.   Now we have entered the dark night of the relationship.  We then begin to harbor blame, resentment and hatred against the other person for not being the fantasy we created in our mind.  It is this resentment that will eventually destroy our relationships unless we do something about it.

The Only Person Who Can Complete You is YOU!

Doing something about the resentment, many discover all the ways in which they have been socialized to seek outside of themselves for love and completion, along with all the ways in which they believe that love is something that has to be earned or that can be denied them.  What often arises out of these false perceptions is co-dependency.   If you are the one who has given away your power, hoping in return for completion and love, the invitation is to take your power back.  This means identifying all the ways in which you have remained silent, ignored or suppressed your needs or your truth, stayed in the background, forsaken your needs and tended to the needs of others at the expense of your own needs.

Welcome Perimenopause and Menopause

For women, compounding, hastening and perhaps even catalyzing this invitation to tend to ones own needs is the advent of menopause.  When women become aware (consciously or unconsciously) that their time for childbearing has come to an end, they begin to see their lives through a dramatically different lens.  During the vulnerable years of childbearing, and while the children are still tender, vulnerable little beings, a veil stands between a woman’s sight and truth.  All of the woman’s energy and attention is directed at the survival of the children.  Once the children become viable, and the woman knows she is done bearing children, the veil collapses.  Every personal need, creative drive, personal desire, wish, hope and dream that was placed on the shelf for the sake of the needs of the children and family come tumbling down.  And now, the woman’s inner drive is directed toward the rediscovery of her own truth, her own needs and the discovery of the vocation which will provide her fulfillment in the second half of her life.  Wife/Mom suddenly becomes a different person and the husband/children are left to wonder, “What the heck just happened?”  This is often when the threads of co-dependency begin to unravel and the rules of the household begin to change.  (please note that men have their own version of this midlife transition – as I understand it, it is a departure from the role of provider to the role of enjoyer…sadly our culture and our current expectations of gender roles does not do a good job of supporting this transition either!)

Undoing Co-Dependency

Whether it is the man or the woman who has been the partner bargaining their own needs for the illusion of completion and love, the process is the same.  Co-dependent behaviors are identified, and we begin the process of changing how we act and respond in our relationships.  We begin by identifying our own truth, our own needs, our own dreams, hopes and desires.  Then we begin to exercise these truths.  We name and claim our needs to those around us.  We set boundaries around our need for “ME” time.  We learn to say no to those things not supportive of our needs and we begin to make time for those things that are life-giving for us.  We stop rushing to the side of those around us every time they seem to be in distress, and we empower them to learn how to tend to their own needs.  We stop doing for others what they are capable of doing for themselves.

A Rude Awakening

For those who have been trained by our co-dependency to expect us to take care of them or to forsake our own needs for theirs, this is a time of RUDE AWAKENING!  We have trained our loved ones well, and now we are changing the rules.  The first response is often bewilderment which then turns into rebellion and often outright war!  “What do you mean you’re not going to make my breakfast?”  “But you’ve always picked out my clothes for me.”  “What good are art classes at your age?”  “You want to go back to school….for what!?”  “Why would you want time for yourself…don’t you love us?”  For those who have been trained to forsake their own needs for the needs of those they love, this can be a difficult transition as the demons of guilt whisper, and sometimes scream in our ears, “You are abandoning your family….they need you….this is your job…..”  In response to this, I will share with you a mantra that was once given to me by a great teacher:

The most loving thing you can do for those you love is to do what is most loving for yourself.

Every time you claim your own need, every time you set boundaries around your own time, every time you stop doing something for someone that they are capable of doing for themselves, you are teaching them how NOT to be co-dependent.  You are modeling for them healthy, interdependent behavior. And you are empowering them to be GROWN UPS!

If you are interested in unraveling from past patterns of co-dependency check out our relationship course, Happily Ever After.  Click on image below to learn more.

Register HERE
Register HERE
Posted in Boundaries, codependency, Lessons, Relationships

Not My Fault

At the end of the day, all we really want as human beings is to know that we are love(d).  We will go to any lengths to insure that we are love(d) – including taking on the fears and unhealed wounds of another.  Today’s blog is about releasing ourselves from the burden of other people’s fear.

notmyfault

Natural Order

Contrary to the way our conflict and war-torn world might make us believe, human beings are naturally inclined to seek out harmony.   In fact, we are hardwired with a biological alert system which signals when we are involved in interactions that are not in support of harmony.  Human beings are also naturally inclined toward loving and peaceful actions.  It is only when we are afraid that these natural inclinations toward loving and peaceful actions in support of harmonious and loving human relations are thwarted.  The challenge is that until we learn how, we are mostly unaware of our fears.  When unaware of our own inner anxiety and fear, and without the tools to identify the source of these fears and strategies for coping with them, or even transcending them, our fears tend to come out sideways.

Fear Coming Out Sideways

In most cases, fear that is unacknowledged and unmanaged comes out sideways, typically in the form of blame.  We experience a state of unease and unaware of how to handle anxiety, we determine that it must be someone else’s fault.  I’m feeling anxious about a work deadline, but instead of identifying and working with my anxiety, I decide the unease is my boss’ fault for being such a hard-ass. Finances are a little tight and I feel anxious about this, but instead of identifying and managing my own anxiety, I lose my temper with my child when they show me they have outgrown all their clothes.  I feel burdened and stressed out by the tasks needed to get ready for my daughter’s graduation party.  My husband gets called in to work and I bite his head off.  It’s my boss’ fault, it is my child’s fault, it’s my husband’s fault.  Nope….it is nobody’s fault.  We simply feel anxious and we don’t know what to do with it.

Here’s Where it Gets Messy

It would be one thing if all we had to do was manage our own anxiety, but we are pack animals and live and work in proximity with other human beings.  Here is where things get messy.  Until OTHERS know better, they are just as likely to put their fears on us.  And until we are secure in the love that we are, we are likely to accept the blame for their fears in an effort to win their love.  We know when we are the one who is being blamed for someone else’s fear, because that biological alert system goes off and (until we know better), we feel shame, which we often quickly cover up with defensive anger.  This feeling of shame then triggers our fear of rejection. Somehow, somewhere, by some strange act of nature (or conditioning), we are SURE we are at fault – their anger, sadness, distress, etc. etc. etc. must somehow be our responsibility.  THEN we do everything we can do to please the other person in an attempt to earn back the love we are sure has now been denied us, including picking up their fear, etc. and carry it around, doing grave danger to ourselves either through self-punishing thoughts and behaviors or defensive rage.  The trick is, it is really not our fault, and the other person does not have the power to deny us of the love that is the very nature of our being.

It’s Not Our Fault

Unfortunately, the “it is not our fault” piece can’t happen until we get a handle on our own anxiety.  We can’t point out the splinter in our brother’s eye until we remove the plank from our own.  Once we understand how to identify and work with our own anxiety, then we can address the projected blame of others.  When another tries to make us responsible for their own anxiety, the first step is to do an inventory – did we actually do something wrong?  Did we make a mistake?  Did we inadvertently cause harm?  If so….immediately take responsibility for it, apologize if necessary, forgive ourselves, them move on.  If we have not done anything wrong, then the next step is to purge ourselves of the shame ignited by the other person’s fear and the resulting fear of rejection.  If we did nothing wrong….then it is not our fault, and it is not our job to carry around shame, neither is it our job to chase the other person around trying to make them happy.  Their anxiety, is their responsibility and their responsibility alone and love has nothing to do with it.  We may choose to be a source of support in helping them learn to manage their anxiety (when appropriate), but it is not our job to make them happy.  We need to be very clear on this piece.  In spite of the natural human inclination toward harmony and the resulting desire to be love(d), it is not our job to make other people happy, neither is it helpful for us to accept responsibility for their fears and other unhealed wounds.  In fact, this dynamic of projected blame and accepting this blame is a distortion of humanity’s natural desire for harmony and our natural propensity to love.  In truth, authentic harmony is not arrived at until we each take responsibility for our own fears, learn how to manage or heal them, and stop projecting them on to others.  Imagine what the world would be like if we all learned to manage our own fears, including the fear of rejection, and stopped taking on the burden of other people’s fears.

 

Posted in Being Human, Boundaries, Inspiration, women

Strong Intelligent Independent Successful Woman Syndrome

Today’s post is addressing the plight of strong, intelligent, independent, successful women.  Because we are all these things, we often feel very alone and getting others to understand we still need help and support can be a challenge.

 

wonderwomanshield

A New Diagnosis for the DSM

I am proposing a new diagnosis for the DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manual).  That new diagnosis is “Strong Intelligent, Independent, Successful Woman Syndrome.”  The symptoms of this syndrome include:

  • Loneliness
  • Anxiety
  • Spontaneous sadness
  • Headaches
  • Neck, shoulder and lower back pain
  • Creaky knees
  • Difficulty getting others to understand you need help

SIISWS is common among women who have worked hard to be successful in a man’s world (in case you are in denial, white, male privilege still reigns supreme in our society), and/or who have crawled out of adversity to make a life for themselves.  These are women who possess inner strength, tenacity, perseverance, courage, intelligence and who have a vision of what they want and who they are called to be and who have worked their butt off to get there.  You know these women.  You might be one of these women.  These women are a force to be reckoned with because they have moved through the challenges life has handed them and have moved through the inner fears, anxieties, and self-doubts that might have paralyzed others.  “We shall overcome,” might be thought of as their common mantra.  These women are strong, independent, intelligent and successful because of their own hard work and because of the inner and outer resources they have found along the way. It isn’t easy being one of these women, however, and this is the cause of the syndrome.

Strong Intelligent Independent Successful Woman Syndrome

SIISW’s are tired.  Tired from always having to be strong.  Tired from the burden of always having to overcome – fears, anxiety, self-doubt, societal structures, beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions that stand as obstacles to their empowerment.  SIISW’s are sore.  Sore from carrying the burden of the tasks they have chosen, from climbing over obstacles, up hills, over and through mountains to accomplish their goals.  Sore from sometimes being the only one in the room up for the challenge.  Sore from carrying what others are not able to carry.  And SIISW’s are lonely.  Lonely because they appear to be confident, self-assured, autonomous and capable.  “You got this,” is what others believe of the SIISW.  SIISW’s are also lonely because, in truth, others are intimidated by them – women who are afraid to harness their own inner strength and men who are threatened by the strength and power of successful women.

Seeking for a Cause

The cause of Strong Intelligent Independent Successful Woman Syndrome is the weaponry that women have to take on in order to become SIISW’s.  SIISW’s need both a sword and a shield.  A sword to cut through fears, inner and outer obstacles, and self-doubt in order to accomplish their tasks.  A shield to protect themselves from the adversities of their past, the criticism and condemnation of others and the volley of sticks and stones hurled toward them as they fight their way to achievement, and the relationships lost because others are either unable to keep up, or become jealous and turn away.  In picking up these weapons, SIISW’s sometimes forget to lay them down, and forgetting to lay them down, neglect the deep vulnerability that drove their quest in the first place.  That is, however, until the vulnerability begins to wake up, seeking to remind the SIISW that they are still human and in need of human companionship, comfort and support.

The Way to a Cure

The cure for Strong Intelligent Independent Successful Woman Syndrome lies both within the woman and her closest friends and companions, but it starts with her.  SIISW’s need to remember they are human.  SIISW’s need to create space in their lives where they can be present to and become comfortable with their vulnerability. They need to acknowledge their fears, their insecurities, the defense mechanisms they’ve developed in order to become a successful woman in a man’s world.  They need to acknowledge their longing, their disappointments, losses and failures and grieve them.  They need to make a home for their loneliness.  They need to acknowledge their needs – especially those they cannot fulfill on their own, or that they just don’t want to accomplish on their own (I use my princess card for these….changing tires, snow blowing my driveway, bagging groceries, etc.)?  And once the SIISW has become comfortable with the vulnerability within, they need to be even more vulnerable and begin to ask others for help.  They need to ask their friends for help, invite their loved ones in as sources of support, seek professional support when these services are needed.  And…..they have to keep asking because quite frankly, those around them don’t really believe they need help, “You got this,” is most likely their first response.

How You Can Help

If you have a SIISW in your life, you can help them overcome Strong Intelligent Independent Successful Woman Syndrome.  First, by recognizing the symptoms and second by offering support.  Step in, even if they have not asked, and offer support.  BE the shoulder they can cry on.  Offer to take one of the burdens off their hands.  And when they say, “no, I got this,” take it off their hands anyway.  Reach out and invite them to join you for something fun.  SIISW’s are really bad at making room for fun…..be the one who helps them let go of the “work” and simply enjoy life.  Listen to their needs and offer to help them get their needs met.  Rub their overburdened shoulders, knees and feet.  Take the shield and sword from their hands, pulling it from their dead fingers if you need to, and then simply hold them – because after all the work of holding up themselves and the rest of the world, what SIISW’s need most of all…..is to be held.

 

 

Posted in Being Human, Boundaries, Inspiration, men, Midlife Journey, Relationships, women

Calling the Good Men!

Today’s blog was supposed to be Part II of a rant…..but I’m not feeling very ranty.  Instead, I’m feeling a deep love and appreciation for the men of our world and instead of calling them out for the sin of White Male Privilege, I am using this forum to invite the GOOD MEN to don their Superhero capes, or sport their swords and shields and STAND UP in defense of those who are suffering under the current cultural paradigm which hurts them as much as it hurts us!  

Goodmen

For the Love of Men

I absolutely adore men. I am one of those girls who always felt at home in the company of boys and later men. I (mostly) get men.  I appreciate their interests and sense of humor.  I love the unique gifts they bring to the world.  Many of my closest friends are male, not to mention the three most important men in my life – my father, my brother, and my son.  MOST men that I know are generous, kind, loving, thoughtful, supportive, providers for their loved ones and families and not only value, but honor women for their uniqueness and as their equals.  That being said, even the men I love most have benefitted from white male privilege and while they might not be actively participating in it, they are being affected by it and in a very sad sense, they are somewhat responsible if they are doing nothing to change the face of male privilege, especially the practices which make women and people of color victims of this privilege.  Today’s blog, specifically addresses some of the ways in which women suffer under this paradigm.  And as much as we (as women) fight, kick, scream and cry for things to change, sadly, nothing about this is going to shift until those in privilege – THE MEN, stand up and do something about it.

White Male Privilege

White Male Privilege is the current cultural paradigm which values male over female, white over any other race, masculine ways of doing things over feminine, masculine structures, logical thought processes and ways of doing over feminine systems, feeling creative processes and ways of being, hierarchy over cooperation.  etc.  White Male Privilege…or as my business partner, work-husband, and personal Boy-Wonder, Ted would say, “The Plight of the Slow White Male,”  keeps us in a system where women are still only earning $0.73 for every dollar earned by a man and where there is a complete lack of recognition, honor or pay for women who are tending the home, raising the children, preparing the meals, etc. etc. etc.   White Male Privilege is most acutely obvious in Institutional structures – churches, corporations, academia, etc. where the highest levels of leadership are owned by men and if not by men, by women who had to be like men to get there.  Women suffer under this paradigm, but so do men.  White Male Privilege puts an awful lot of pressure on men (and women who have had to become like men) to perform, achieve, and conquer, often at the expense of their deeper needs for nurturing, intimacy and time to simply be. For the purpose of today’s blog, however, I am inviting us all to recognize that if we are unhappy with the effects of White Male Privilege, it is the GOOD MEN who will have to STAND UP, SPEAK UP and do something about it.  So, Good Men, as you are donning your superhero capes, here are a few of my hot-button issues (now here comes the rant!  🙂 ).  And if you would like to know where else you might help, ask your wife, your girlfriend and your sisters, they might have some ideas.  🙂

  • “Blurred Lines”  Really?????  Here’s the deal……NO MEANS NO, and a drugged, drunk woman who does not have the capacity to argue is still saying no.  As a survivor of rape, I feel as if the only just punishment due a man who rapes a woman (or a child, or another man) is castration….but I’ll let the courts decide that one.  But instead of working to stop rape,  old white men are busy making laws that are further blurring the lines around what is defined as rape and how rape is tried and punished.  Unless the woman has fully consented, is willingly participating and enjoying the action….then it is rape….period.

Good Men, we need your help in changing the culture of rape and the policies that that blur the lines around what we define as rape and how rape is punished.

  • Birth Control – again….old white men making decisions about our bodies, our decisions to become mothers and how we want to do this.  Shouldn’t this be the woman’s decision or at least made within the privacy of an intimate, committed relationship?

Good men, we need your help with this!  Your female partners need access to medical services and medications that keep unplanned pregnancies rare and sex safe.  I’m thinking you have an interest in this as well!  🙂

  • Abstinence Education?  Are you frickin kidding me??????  Old, white men again.  Keep your legs crossed kids, and don’t have sex.  But if you do….it is the girl who is to blame, because boys are just sowing their wild oats.  I call FOUL!  Kids are having sex.  And some of them are children (under the age of 13).  The sooner we ADMIT this, the sooner we will work our tails off to provide education about contraception and prevention of STD’s.  There is a reason that Amsterdam has the lowest infant mortality and teenage pregnancy rate in THE WORLD!  It is because they acknowledge that their kids are having sex and they are giving them what they need to keep sex safe and prevent unplanned pregnancies.

Good men, we need your help with this.  I’m not saying we should condone sexual activity among our youth….I’m just saying let’s be real about it!  Keep our kids safe and unplanned pregnancies rare!!!!

  • Periods are gross – again, old white men in the guise of pharmaceutical companies providing pills that “stop your period.”  Ahem……women, we were meant to bleed.  It is natural and healthy.  Artificially preventing our natural cycle could have devastating and lasting effects.  Don’t trust what you see on TV or read in the magazine!  Belly up to the “Feminine Hygiene” isle and OWN your Red Tent time.

Good men, we need your help.  Support your female partners, daughters and friends in being comfortable with their bodies and all the functions thereof.  Speak out against campaigns that encourage women to stop these necessary biological functions.  Your voice matters here.

  • Menopause is a disease and something that requires medical (and psychological) attention and medication: Again, old white men deciding that the aging process is BAD (because is somehow negatively impacts their ability to be in control or to have great sex, or God forbid….learn to be open to emotional intimacy and vulnerability!!!!!).  The hormonal changes of perimenopause and menopause serve the benevolent purpose of birthing the uniquely creative life of a woman beyond that of motherhood.  It is through perimenopause and menopause that women really come into their true power and when embraced….we are a force to be reckoned with.  This is not the time to seek out estrogen replacement or bio-identical hormones to calm our mood swings, ease our tempers, erase our wrinkles or so we can remain “juicy” down there….it is the time to ROAR, SHOUT, SCREAM, all the gifts we have been suppressing so that the people around us would be “happy.”

Good men, if you are supportive, loving, understanding and encouraging of your female partners  through this process….I promise that you will have your reward – a happier, healthier, more fulfilled partner who might just want to rock your world.  🙂

The Bigger Truth Here

Now, everyone take a breath.  There is a profound lesson to remember here and on which will save all of us – women and men were BOTH created in the image and likeness of God and are at once equal and unique.  If we want a better world, we are going to have to learn how to uphold our equality while honoring the unique gifts that we bring to the table – the feminine ability to be generous, to allow and receive, to work toward harmony, to encourage collaboration, consensus and peace; and the masculine traits of working toward goals, striving for accomplishment and making things happen….and that these gifts are not entirely defined by gender!!!!!  And if you think we have a long way to go in our country…think about other parts of the world where women can’t even get an education, learn to read and write, hold a job, vote, etc. etc. etc.  Our work has just begun baby!

And to the Good Men:  THANK YOU.  Thank you for having the courage to acknowledge white male privilege and to see where it hurts not only those you love, but yourself as well.  And THANK YOU for doing your part to help change this paradigm so that we can work together in creating a world rooted in love, honor and respect for all and where peace and harmony reign!

Lauri Lumby, known as Wonder Woman to some, is just a voice crying out in the wilderness, hoping to make the world a more loving, peaceful place.  Thank you for adding your voice to the cause of love. 🙂

Posted in Boundaries, codependency, Midlife Journey, Relationships

Dark Night of the Relationship – Undoing Co-Dependency

The purpose of the midlife and menopause journey is to birth our Soul – the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment and through which we are called to contribute to the betterment of our world.  In the process of birthing our Soul, we are invited to heal and sometimes release any inner, as well as outer obstacles to enjoying the life of Soul.  Our intimate relationships are not exempt from this invitation.  It is not a coincidence that the Dark Night of the Relationship often surfaces during midlife and even becomes the catalyst through which real transformation can begin to take place. In today’s blog, we explore the co-dependency that needs to be unraveled and undone.

dark night of the relationship

Damn, You Don’t Complete Me!

As I have mentioned before, many relationships entered into in our youth are established upon the illusion that the other person will complete us.  We look to the other to fill the emptiness and longing we feel inside.  Eventually, we realize that the other person is not completing us as disappointment and resentment rush in.   Now we have entered the dark night of the relationship.  We then begin to harbor blame, resentment and hatred against the other person for not being the fantasy we created in our mind.  It is this resentment that will eventually destroy our relationships unless we do something about it.

The Only Person Who Can Complete You is YOU!

Doing something about the resentment, many discover all the ways in which they have been socialized to seek outside of themselves for love and completion, along with all the ways in which they believe that love is something that has to be earned or that can be denied them.  What often arises out of these false perceptions is co-dependency.   If you are the one who has given away your power, hoping in return for completion and love, the invitation is to take your power back.  This means identifying all the ways in which you have remained silent, ignored or suppressed your needs or your truth, stayed in the background, forsaken your needs and tended to the needs of others at the expense of your own needs.

Welcome Perimenopause and Menopause

For women, compounding, hastening and perhaps even catalyzing this invitation to tend to ones own needs is the advent of menopause.  When women become aware (consciously or unconsciously) that their time for childbearing has come to an end, they begin to see their lives through a dramatically different lens.  During the vulnerable years of childbearing, and while the children are still tender, vulnerable little beings, a veil stands between a woman’s sight and truth.  All of the woman’s energy and attention is directed at the survival of the children.  Once the children become viable, and the woman knows she is done bearing children, the veil collapses.  Every personal need, creative drive, personal desire, wish, hope and dream that was placed on the shelf for the sake of the needs of the children and family come tumbling down.  And now, the woman’s inner drive is directed toward the rediscovery of her own truth, her own needs and the discovery of the vocation which will provide her fulfillment in the second half of her life.  Wife/Mom suddenly becomes a different person and the husband/children are left to wonder, “What the heck just happened?”  This is often when the threads of co-dependency begin to unravel and the rules of the household begin to change.  (please note that men have their own version of this midlife transition – as I understand it, it is a departure from the role of provider to the role of enjoyer…sadly our culture and our current expectations of gender roles does not do a good job of supporting this transition either!)

Undoing Co-Dependency

Whether it is the man or the woman who has been the partner bargaining their own needs for the illusion of completion and love, the process is the same.  Co-dependent behaviors are identified, and we begin the process of changing how we act and respond in our relationships.  We begin by identifying our own truth, our own needs, our own dreams, hopes and desires.  Then we begin to exercise these truths.  We name and claim our needs to those around us.  We set boundaries around our need for “ME” time.  We learn to say no to those things not supportive of our needs and we begin to make time for those things that are life-giving for us.  We stop rushing to the side of those around us every time they seem to be in distress, and we empower them to learn how to tend to their own needs.  We stop doing for others what they are capable of doing for themselves.

A Rude Awakening

For those who have been trained by our co-dependency to expect us to take care of them or to forsake our own needs for theirs, this is a time of RUDE AWAKENING!  We have trained our loved ones well, and now we are changing the rules.  The first response is often bewilderment which then turns into rebellion and often outright war!  “What do you mean you’re not going to make my breakfast?”  “But you’ve always picked out my clothes for me.”  “What good are art classes at your age?”  “You want to go back to school….for what!?”  “Why would you want time for yourself…don’t you love us?”  For those who have been trained to forsake their own needs for the needs of those they love, this can be a difficult transition as the demons of guilt whisper, and sometimes scream in our ears, “You are abandoning your family….they need you….this is your job…..”  In response to this, I will share with you a mantra that was once given to me by a great teacher:

The most loving thing you can do for those you love is to do what is most loving for yourself.

Every time you claim your own need, every time you set boundaries around your own time, every time you stop doing something for someone that they are capable of doing for themselves, you are teaching them how NOT to be co-dependent.  You are modeling for them healthy, interdependent behavior. And you are empowering them to be GROWN UPS!

Lauri Lumby mentors individuals and couples in their journey of birthing their Soul, which includes navigating the difficult transition of the dark night of the relationship.  To set up your own one-on-one session, call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

Posted in Boundaries, Lessons

Little Mermaid Part 2 – Being heard!

Today’s blog explores an on-going struggle.  When we gather enough courage to name, claim, cultivate and freely share our truth, our voice, our needs, desires, passions, hopes, etc.  how do we respond when those with whom we wish to share our voice cannot or will not hear us?

 

 

As I penned Wednesday’s blog about Ariel and giving up our voices (our truth, our dreams, our hopes, our passions) for “love”, I had no idea that the receiving function of this dynamic would come at me full boar and slam me into the ground. 

On Wednesday, we were challenged to shift the socialization that makes us believe we have to “shut up and put up” or deny our voice in order to gain “the handsome prince.”  Instead, we were invited to name, claim, cultivate  and generously share our truth, our voice, our dreams, hopes, needs, desires, passions, etc. with the world around us.  I was soon reminded that the universe nevers lets our lessons be incomplete as I was given an opportunity to name and claim my truth, which I did, and discovered that it is all fine and good to name, claim and share our truth….but perhaps the even bigger challenge is getting people to hear our truth.

Without going into all the gory details, suffice it to say that I came face to face with one of those people in my life that no matter how hard I try; no matter how clearly I attempt to name and claim my truth and establish my needs and boundaries – THEY CANNOT HEAR ME.  I found myself completely overwhelmed with frustration and rage as I tried to communicate my needs in the situation only to be met with a blank stare.  Have you ever had one of those situations where you are trying to be heard and the unhearing is so bad that you feel completely insane and begin to wonder if perhaps you are crazy for thinking this truth should be heard, wondering if the truth is even valid and then thinking perhaps the “receiver” is the one that really knows what is right?  Then your mind goes blank, you feel paralyzed and you cannot even begin to defend yourself, speak or argue because the insanity of it all has caused a complete and total system meltdown?  This is how I felt.  The only thing I found I could offer as a response was to go to bed.  I know, pathetic, right?  So, here is the question – what in the heck does one do in these situations?

What do we do when we know our truth and work toward sharing it and the people with whom we want to share these truths cannot hear it or refuse to honor it?  This is a challenging question, because in reality, there will ALWAYS be people who cannot hear or accept our truths.  There will always be people whose ears, hearts and minds will be closed to the truths we feel called to voice in the world.  This is equally true of boundaries…..because naming and claiming our needs and asking for them to be met are equally a part of this discovery and sharing of truth journey.  So…what are we to do with those who cannot hear our truth?

Unfortunately, there is no black and white answer to this quandary.   As we grow as human beings, one of the things we come to understand more and more fully is our own truth, our needs, our gifts, our desires and our passions and we grow in our ability to nurture and share these truths.  Even in a culture where we are socialized to suppress these truths for the sake of “love” or for the sake of another’s needs, if we are tending to our own inner journey….we cannot help but come face to face with our own deepest truths at some point in the process.  When we do, we are invited to own it and stand in it.  AND…..when we do this, ( as my friend Kathy L. states, ) we become “shit disturbers.”  Standing in our truth disturbs the status quo.  Standing in our truth breaks and alters the rules.  Standing in our truth forces change in our intimate and professional relationships.  Some relationships are able to withstand this change.  Some are not. 

So, when we come face to face with those who cannot hear our truth, I guess the answer is

1) try to re-negotiate the relationship (if it is one worth keeping)

2) If the relationship cannot be renegotiated decide if it is one you can accept as is….or

3) Leave it behind.

And take comfort in knowing that as we grow in our ability to name and claim our truths, new relationships will come into our lives that are supportive of our truth, that do honor our boundaries and where each party is interested in being a source of mutual support, compassion, love, etc. for one another.

  • What relationships in your life are supportive of your needs, your truth, your gifts and your dreams?
  • What relationships are not?
  • Which relationships need to be re-negotiated?
  • Which ones are calling to be left behind?
  • What new relationships are coming into your life that ARE open to hearing, honoring and valuing your truth?

 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries/Your Spiritual Truth

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

 

Posted in Boundaries, Lessons

Giving Away Our Voice for Love – Curse you Ariel!

Continuing the journey through the Disney Princesses….we take a walk (swim) with Ariel, or The Little Mermaid.  Is the handsome prince really worth the cost of our own voice?  HHHMMM   I think not!

 

 

I’m just going to say right off the bat….Ariel is a twit!  I mean really, giving away her prize possession, her voice (get ready for the metaphor!) for the possibility that the prince might fall in love with her.  Come on already!  Where was women’s lib when Disney ventured down this path???!!!!  So, I guess when it comes to Disney Princesses, the story of the Little Mermaid has a reverse message?  I know she gets the prince in the end….and frankly, I cannot recall how this feat takes place as I’m still reeling from the fact that she gave away her voice to do it. 

Ok…so in case you aren’t familiar with the story.  Ariel, the Little Mermaid, is the daughter of the sea king (Tritan?).  She is bored to tears with sea life.  She becomes enamored with humans through her exploration of shipwrecks and longs to walk among men.  One fateful day during a terrible storm she rescues one of these humans and falls madly in love with him.  She deposits him safely ashore then hurries back to the sea so she will not die.  Then Ariel strikes a bargain with the evil sea witch, Ursula, where she bargains her voice (her prize possession, for she is known for her beautiful singing voice) for legs.  The deal is, she gets to keep her legs and Ursula will return her voice should Ariel convince the prince to fall in love with her (and I think he has to kiss her).  Should Ariel fail in her quest, she would lose her human legs, be without her voice forever and will be cast back into the sea.  (In the original Hans Christian Anderson version, if the Little Mermaid should fail in her quest, she would become seafoam, and be neither human nor mermaid). 

 

Here’s the YouTube clip from the scene where Ariel gives her voice to Ursula.  (hint: this should scare you!): http://www.youtube.com/user/AbbieSinger91#p/a/u/2/Fjn3VAerXk0

So, am I to understand this correctly, is Disney really trying to tell us that in order to have love, we must give away our voice???!!!  Just for the sake of impact – ask yourself the question again – In order to have love, must we give away our voice?  Listen carefully……..did you feel it?  I thought so.  There is a tiny place within that constricts in pain at the thought of this question….but more importantly…..I think it constricts because on some level either we believe this to be true….or we have in the past.  So….here is the painful self reflection:

  • How many times have you denied your own truth or flat out given away your voice hoping that it would earn you the love (honor, respect) of another?
  • Where have you suppressed your deepest truths (gifts, passions, desires, needs, wants) out of the fear that you might be rejected for sharing your truths?
  • Where have you set aside your own needs, desires, hopes, because you did not want to make waves, because someone else’s needs were more important than yours, because you were afraid to share your needs? 

So, maybe Disney isn’t telling us that we have to give away our voices to be loved, but is simply observing a sad and unfortunate state of conditioning.  Sadly, many of us have been conditioned to believe that we need to hide or suppress our truths and our gifts.  We have been conditioned to believe that we have to put on a different face than our own in order to be loved.  We have been conditioned to believe that our job is to meet everyone else’s needs before we can worry about our own…or even worse, that our needs don’t matter, that our truths are invalid or that our gifts are unimportant.  LIES LIES LIES

So, this is what I am here to tell you.  (I’m putting my cheerleader hat on here) NEVER give away your voice.  NEVER suppress your truth.  NEVER dishonor your own needs, passions, desires, dreams.  NEVER NEVER NEVER do this out of some crazy idea that you have to do this in order to be loved, honored, respected, valued, affirmed, etc.  Your truth is your most sacred gift.  Your voice is your most beautiful tool.  Name it.  Claim it.  Honor it.  Cultivate and nurture it.  AND…..freely and openly express it in the world.  This is what God made you for!  The truth that God gave to you is the way that the Divine seeks to more fully reveal love, compassion, joy, beauty, mercy, peace, ecstasy and wonder in the world. 

And if that little cheerleading moment wasn’t enough….watch the movie, The Hours with Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Julianna Moore to see the consquence of suppressing our truth. 

And a final note….I do need to let Disney off the hook just a bit….they did pen one magnificent ditty for their version of The Little Mermaid:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBa9QlzEWA4

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries/Your Spiritual Truth

http://yourspiritualtruth.com