Posted in Death, Initiation, self-actualization, shadow work, Spiritual Development

The Danger of Stopping at Ascension

Hint:  Ascension is NOT the path to our Wholeness! 

For the past number of years, we have been experiencing the great awakening of human consciousness.  This awakening has been given many names and equally as many faces.  Some call it the “New Age Movement” (for the record, there is nothing “New” about New Age. It is simply a rediscovery and reclaiming of what Mystics and Prophets have known all along).  Others call it Ascension.  Still others call it enlightenment. I’m sure there are other names, but we’ll leave it at that.  While there have been many positive aspects to this awakening, there is one ENORMOUS DANGER and pitfall which very few acknowledge and even more fall into:

The Danger of getting stuck at Ascension.

Below is an excerpt from my Authentic Freedom Weekly Lesson.  To subscribe and receive the full lesson click HERE. 

Ascension is NOT the path to our wholeness.  Ascension is not the goal.  Ascension is not the final outcome.  In fact, our human journey toward wholeness – where we are one with our Divine and Human selves – is not complete until we have moved past ascension and are willing to descend into the depths of our own, as well as the world’s darkness.  Descending is the profoundly challenging (and yet deeply liberating and rewarding) part of our journey toward wholeness where we come face to face with:

After we ascend and discover the ecstasy of our Union with the Divine (our higher and truest self), we have to bring that Union into embodiment.  The only way to embody our true and Divine Self is to let it come through us, bringing us face to face with all of who and what we are that is not in alignment with Love.  This is the work of the Shadow Worker and where our true gifts come to light.

For support with your shadow work, read my book, Authentic Freedom.  Available HERE. 

The truth about Descending is that we cannot “LaLa” the darkness away.  Neither can we avoid it by escaping into reverie.  We don’t change things by thinking the right thoughts, raising our vibration, eating “more highly vibrational foods,” or through thoughts and prayers. We have to do the messy, dirty, sometimes terrifying work of turning away from the light and toward the darkness.  This is the DEEP DIVE that has nothing to do with “Dark Night of the Soul” and everything to do with the BIRTH of our Soul.  Here, the fragmented and broken parts of our humanness are acknowledged, transformed, and then released so that only Love remains.  I will make no bones about this part:  the LOVE that we are is not some glittery, flowy, rainbow filled unicorn of light.  This is the LOVE that can withstand all that we are, all the world is, and everything life will hand us, without turning tail and running away.  This is the Love made up of fierce courage.  It is the Love of Mother Kali who cuts away all that is not supportive of our mission and purpose on this plane.  On a collective level, it is the Love of the Destroyer that burns down whatever stands in the way of our human evolution – even the Brazilian Rainforest if that is what it takes to

WAKE US UP

But again, here is the trick:  We do not arrive at our wholeness through “love and light.”  We get there by burning the f’cker down.  And the work starts and ends with ourselves!

If we are not willing to do the challenging work of facing and being with our darkness and our greatest fears, then we cannot be a source of Love and support for our dying world.  If we do not do this critically important work, choosing instead to escape into Ascension, then we will suffer the consequences.

While Ascending past the illusion of separation and finding our Union with Self is an important first step, avoiding the Descent will paralyze us with this one critical truth:

What we resist will persist!

As a friend of mine once observed, “God is a nag!”  I would translate that by saying that our True Self, our Soul is a heartless bitch!  She will hound us until our work is done.  The harder we work against Her, the more vicious She becomes. Choosing only Ascension, imprisons us in our darkness which then comes out sideways in:

  • Blaming.
  • Shaming.
  • Manipulating.
  • Passive Aggressive and .Bullying Behaviors.
  • And the king of all demons:  DENIAL.

When we are stuck in ascension, we are blind to our darkness (oh, we might see it, but we will do everything we can to “La La” it away).  We pretend it isn’t there.  We avoid anything that might have to do with death, disappointment, failure or inner conflict.  We pretend we know ourselves, when we really do not.  Our unhealed wounds come out sideways as we spin round and round in the drain of our inability to be completely and wholly accountable to and  responsible for ourselves.

The journey if descent is excruciating, but staying in ascension is even worse!  How would you like to spend an eternity in the game of pretend?  Pretty soon you can no longer remember the lies you have told yourself to stay in the light as your darkness overtakes you.

Sigh.

Here’s the really funny thing about this truth……Jesus knew it, and so did the Kabbalists who were likely his teachers.

Above is an excerpt from my Authentic Freedom Weekly Lesson.  To subscribe and receive the full lesson click HERE. 

 To learn more about the Kabbalistic roots of the Jesus movement, check out our Order of Melchizedek Alchemist Training.  

 

Posted in Death, mental illness, New Kids, New World

Our Kids Are STILL Not Alright

Sunday morning, another classmate of one of my children died by apparent suicide. Between my two children, this is 15 children who they know who died by their own hand.  To say this is tragic would be an understatement.  Our kids are not alright!  What follows is an excerpt from a previously published article.  Here I will no longer make excuses for who is “not at fault.”  Because as our children keep dying….WE ARE ALL TO BLAME.  Here’s why:

 

The single most problem, and the reason our kids are not alright is:       Our world.

 

Our world is a mess. Our world is a mess for all of us – and for some of us, it is just too much to bear.  Let’s look at the facts:

  1. For as long as our children have been alive, THE WORLD HAS BEEN AT WAR.

If it’s not a conflict or a war with a name, (Desert Storm, Iraqi, Afghanistan, Israel and Palestine, etc. etc. etc.) it is “the war on terrorism.” And the worst of all the terrorist attacks have been accomplished right here on our own soil by our own U.S. citizens.  The media does not help in this regard by triggering our fears through sensationalism.  As my son said, “Hundreds of people a year are shot in Chicago and no one cares, but as soon as one guy gets shot in Oshkosh, the whole world is in a state of panic.”  (This also points to media and racial bias which is a topic for another blog another day.)

For our children – the world does not feel safe.

  1. In the U.S. success is determined by external measurements like money, status, power and fame. And some of these measurements are literal – how much money you make, how many time you are Tweeted or your Facebook post gets “liked,” if you have your own reality show or not, and do you measure up to the current standards of “beauty.” For those who do not know their true selves and who have no way of knowing themselves except in comparison to others, success feels like an impossible goal – especially when they look at the TRUTH of our economic situation – which brings me to #2
  2. Education does not mean what it used to. In the old days, a high school education was enough to prepare you for a regular job with a decent rate of pay. Then, college became the necessary gateway to a career, a paycheck and economic security. Then, a master’s degree became the gateway, then a PhD. Now….none of this really matters – and our children know this. A college degree guarantees you nothing, or as a friend of mine told her daughter, “Do what you love because there won’t be any jobs for you after college anyway.” Bleak, but true. As much as politicians are touting the economic recovery and that the “recession is over,” this is not the truth.
  3. The world as we know it is dying. Our children know this and they know that they will be the ones who will be creating the new world. For some, this is just too overwhelming a task. Imagine, for a moment, that you are a player in the Hunger Games and the entire world (as you have known it) crumbles at your feet and you are left with the task of building the new world. While the endless possibilities and the excitement of building something new is enticing for some, for others, it is overwhelming and feels impossible and they shut down under the burden of the task.
  4. And finally…..our children are empaths. What this means is that not only are they feeling their own anxiety in the face of a world that is a mess, they are feeling EVERYONE ELSE’S anxiety. They feel the anxiety of their parents, their siblings, their classmates, their teachers, and the entire world around them. When there is a terrorist attack on the other side of the world, they feel it – maybe not consciously, but they feel it. When a weather system is moving through that will cause people anxiety, they know it – again, maybe not consciously, but they feel it. For those that don’t understand the gift of empathy and who don’t have tools for managing this gift, the emotions come out sideways – temper tantrums, disproportionate negative behavior, anxiety, depression – and you guessed it, suicide.

Today (8/19/19) as I write this, I don’t know what caused that young man to jump off the bridge to his death.  What I do know is that his death should not be in vain (my original post was in January of 2016….and literally nothing has changed to help our kids!.)  His death should be another wake up call for us as parents, teachers, and other adults.

Our children are not alright!

Photo credit: Hans Kretzmann @ Pixabay

 

Our children need our help. While we cannot change the outside world, there are things we can do to help our children, and in helping them, find help for ourselves in a messy and broken down world:

  1. Lead them to resources to help them manage anxiety. Resources that have been proven to help manage anxiety include: meditation, mindfulness, regular exercise, a healthy diet, adequate and deep sleep, creativity exercises, being in nature, being with others in healthy community interactions.
  2. Here’s a new one:  SUPPORT THEM IN GETTING THEIR BASIC NEEDS MET:  food, clothing, shelter, transportation and safety.  (Thank you Oshkosh Kids Foundation for taking the lead in doing this much needed work!!!!!)  
  3. Another new one:  TRAUMA INFORMED CARE.  Too many of our children are growing up in trauma….not only from the world in general, but in their immediate environment.  Unless treated, this trauma will come out sideways in anxiety, depression, panic attacks, inappropriate and often dangerous behaviors.  Beyond their basic needs, these kids need TRAUMA INTERVENTION and support.  A little mental-health care please!  PLEASE!  School advisers and counselors are not enough.  We need full-blown mental health clinics in our schools so our kids can have some support.  PLEASE!
  4. Support them in knowing their TRUE selves. Self-knowledge increases self-esteem, confidence, and the ability to be ok with our differences in a world of great diversity, and to weather the storm of other people’s judgements.
  5. Help them develop a different set of values. This starts with us. We need to stop valuing ourselves in terms of money, fame, status, power, and physical characteristics. What we are wearing, whose bag we are carrying and what car we are driving DOES NOT MATTER. These external measurements of “success” or “popularity” do not give us happiness. In fact, all they do is create more ANXIETY. If we want our children to be comfortable in a world that will NOT have the resources in which everyone can be a Kardashian, we have to help them find value in the internals – peace, contentment, joy, and fulfillment in knowing and exercising their gifts. We then need to give them tools for finding this inner peace which leads us back to items 1 and 2.
  6. Support them in their dreams. Our children see and know the new world. They see a world that is free from the separation with which we have defined the world. Instead of separation, they see only oneness. They do not comprehend the separation we keep placing between ourselves and others we view as different from us and they definitely do not comprehend the violence that arises out of these perceived separations. Our children do not see race, religion, sexual orientation, or even gender as barriers, they only see this as the miraculous and amazing diversity among human beings and they seek to know more and to honor these differences. Let’s get out of the way and let them do this, shall we!?
  7. Teach them what to do with Empathy.  Empaths are healers and those with this gift (all of our children) possess this gift because they are here to heal our dying world so that a healthier and happy world can emerge. Our children need to know what to do with these feelings and how to stop taking responsibility for everyone else’s pain. Interestingly, this also brings us back to items 1 and 2.

While we cannot change the world, we can change the world in which we are living and the journey starts within. Let us join together to help our children, and in helping our children, helping ourselves so that we can survive in a world in the midst of change and through our children’s dreams, help to support the birth of a new and better world. Then perhaps these children would not have died in vain.

 

Posted in Being Human, Death, Inspiration

The Death of Our Dreams

For the last several days (weeks, months, years) I have been experiencing a deep and pervasive sadness. This is a sorrow that I have been unable to give a name to; neither have I been able to identify its source.  Until now….. After giving myself the time and permission to sit with this sorrow, exploring its depths, its name was finally revealed:

The death of every dream.

As I sit at this place in my life, I am realizing the difficult truth – every dream I had once had for my life has died (ok, not every dream, only the ones born of ego). I am nowhere near where I thought I would be at 54 years old when I embarked upon this journey of self-fulfillment some 26 years ago.  I am not a best-selling author.  I’m not rich or famous.  I have not been successful is reforming the Catholic Church or in starting a new way of being church.  Neither am I speaking Jesus’ message of love before thousands.  And I have definitely not met and am not living my once-dreamed of “happily ever after” with the elusive “Mr. Kelly.”  Finally, not one of the “new age” or “new thought” promises of abundance and prosperity have found their fulfillment in my life.

“Death” by Robert M. Place

As it turns out, I am not living a single one of the “American dreams.” Even more disappointing I’m not even living one of my own dreams. But then again, who is?  How many people do you actually know who got everything they wished for?  Not too many I suspect.  In fact, I bet many who say they are living their dreams are lying, and if they are living their dreams, they are not likely happy for it.

I remember when my parents hit this stage of realizing many of their dreams have died. I watched two of my dearest friends face the death of their dreams when their perfectly healthy 21 year old son died. I have watched three other dear friends face a similar death with the loss of their beloved partners to brain cancer. And just this week, another friend’s dreams died with her son in a deadly car crash.  Every day, thousands, if not millions or people face the death of their dreams.  I am convinced that this is the path of the human experience.  We dream.  Our dreams die.  And on the other side of the dream is the life that was meant for us all along.

The ancients call this alchemy. Christians call this redemption.  Jesus called it “the kingdom of God.” Throughout scripture Jesus speaks on this topic of leaving our worldly dreams behind so that we might fulfill the calling of the Soul.  Over and over he turns the table on the societal conditioning and ego-filled dreams of riches and fame (he had to confront these temptations himself) and invites us instead into humility.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first. MT 19: 24-30

 

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Mark 8: 36

 

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? MT 16: 24-26

 

Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches—comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever. 1 John 2: 15-17

 

As Jesus continually pointed out to his disciples, the world’s ways are not God’s ways and the things of this world will not lead us to peace, contentment, or love. The kingdom of God that Jesus came to know within himself and then tried to show others how to attain, cannot be found through worldly gain or through what the world values as “success.”  Instead, it can only be found by moving past worldly aspirations and then emptying ourselves of any and all attachments we might have for worldly things – riches, fame, success through doing, accomplishments, goals, achievement, possessions, positions of power or status, etc. etc. etc.  Only when we are empty – completely empty – like Jesus was on the cross – are we able to find that Oneness that defies reason and understanding.  Only in setting aside the things of our ego can our Soul step forward, leading us to the life we were always meant to live before taking on all these attachments.

For myself, this means another layer of ego-death. Acknowledging the death of my dreams.  Sitting with the loss.  Allowing myself to grieve.  And then, walking on.  As I step out of the ash left by my dying dreams, I will enter into a new world.  No longer encumbered by the weight of these dreams, I will be free to receive the new life that is intended on the other side of this death. Kinda like enjoying my very own Easter.

What dreams have died for you?

How are you creating space for yourself to grieve the loss of those dreams?

How are you supporting yourself in being open to the new life that will come forth once you lay your dying dreams to rest?

Posted in Death, Spiritual Direction

Oh Death

Borrowing from a popular song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydrtF45-y-g) :

Let’s talk about death baby

Let’s talk about you and me

Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be

Let’s talk about death…..

As it has been said, there are two things that are certain in the human experience: change and death.  We have spoken at length about change, but we haven’t spent much time on the topic of death.  Death is certain and every day of our lives is a slow (or quick) march toward that death.  We cannot avoid it – our own death or the death of those we love and care about.  While death is certain, and could simply be viewed as an ordinary part of our human experience, it is also our greatest fear.

As we fear and resist change, so too do we resist and fear death. It may not be death specifically that we fear, but the inability to control, when, how and with how much pain (physical or otherwise) we experience death.  We also fear that which comes after death – if anything.  And perhaps more than the “if anything” we fear the possibility that this life might be all there is….that there is nothing waiting for us on the other side of death.  From a rational, objective, scientific perspective, we have no way to prove what there may or may not be after death.  What it there’s nothing!?

 

Every religious institution has its own beliefs about death and what comes thereafter. Some suggest that this life is all there is.  Others preach the ever-evolving wheel of karma and that we return to this life over and over and over until we have worked off that karma so as to earn enlightenment or nirvana.  Some suggest the purpose of the human journey is to grow spiritually and that we return until our eternal Soul has completed its growth.  Others suggest a place of eternal damnation.  Others suggest a place of eternal reward.  Some used to suggest there were places in between (limbo or purgatory), but both of these seem to have been eliminated in favor of heaven or hell.  Others believe in a hierarchical afterlife where only the very special chosen ones will receive the fullness of the heavenly reward.  The beliefs that human beings have developed around the idea of death are endless.  No matter which of these is true, we have no control over when death will come for us or how that death will happen (unless it is by our own hand)…..and this scares the hell out of most people.

Until it does not. In the Christian tradition, we are told that Jesus came so as to conquer death…..:

“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?  No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  John 3: 11-17

God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,  and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 2 Timothy 1: 9-10

 

…but what was the death that Jesus conquered? Jesus did die…(at least that’s what scripture and Christian doctrine tell us).  If Jesus brought eternal life, it is not an eternal life on this human plane.  Christianity then goes on to tells us that in his death Jesus guaranteed eternal life for “all who believe in him.”  But what about the rest of the world?  Are only Christians saved?  I very much doubt it. I personally believe we are all saved, but not in the way that has anything to do with a heavenly reward, or lack thereof.  Instead, it is not physical death and the “what comes after” that Jesus saves us from.  Instead, Jesus came to save us from that which prevents us from LIVING while we are right here, trying to get through this thing called life (Cue Prince).  Ironically, the way we make it through this human experience is to face down and move through this which we fear the most – namely death.

 

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Shamanic support for endings in your life.
Posted in Death, New World, Spiritual Direction, world changes

How to Survive Soul Death

The short answer to the question: “How do you survive soul death” is YOU DON’T. Soul death is what many are experiencing right now as we are facing the death of the world that we have known and the void between what we have known and what has not yet come into being.

Soul death can be recognized by:

  • Feeling as if you are weighted down
  • Life feels as if you are walking through wet cement
  • You feel heavy, depressed, unmotivated, paralyzed.
  • NOTHING seems to be happening in your outside world.
  • Inside you feel vacant and empty.
  • You feel the need to weep but you don’t know why.
  • It feels as if there is nothing to hang on to, nothing holding your attention or interest in this world.
  • You don’t want to die, but THIS doesn’t feel much like living.
  • You are SOUL WEARY. Exhausted.  Worn out.  Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
  • The spiritual practices that normally provide some measure of comfort feel empty and lifeless. They provide no relief.

Symptoms of soul death seem to be the common theme for sensitives at this point in our human evolution. The world we have known is dying (thank God) and we are in that void between what has been and what has not yet been brought forth into our lives and world.

There is no surviving soul death because death is the point. All that we have done, been, believed, been a part of in the old (patriarchal/hierarchical) world needs to come to an end.  We cannot leave the old world behind while clinging to what gave our lives meaning and purpose in that world.  Neither can we leave that world behind while clinging to the beliefs, structures, practices or habits that supported our survival in that world. It all needs to go.  It all needs to die. And that is terrifying.

Once we have allowed the death of all that has been, we enter INTO THE VOID! This is the state of complete emptiness where we know nothing and where WE ARE NOTHING.  This can be a frightening place – especially for those (like me) who seek after some measure of surety.  We long to have something to hold on to.  In the void, there is literally nothing, so there is nothing to hang on to.  Instead, our only option is to SURRENDER. Here, instead of resisting, we enter deeply into our soul death.  We allow ourselves to courageously face the darkness, the emptiness, the nothingness and to feel the deep pain of separation, knowing that this perceived separation is only an illusion for in the perceived darkness where it appears there is nothing, THERE IS EVERYTHING.  Everything that has ever come into form came into being from this place of emptiness.  In entering into the nothing we discover EVERYTHING.

Surviving soul death requires to us surrender to it….enter into it….be with and allow it. Survival comes in allowing the death and being with it every step of the way. Only then can the new life come into being.

Online course in support of those times of soul death. Click on image to learn more and register. Only $13.00!

 

Posted in Death, self-actualization, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Formation, spiritual healing, Spiritual Practices

Entering into the Darkness to Bring Forth the Light

Last Friday I hit the wall. I found myself overcome with the darkness of our world, despairing over that which causes me pain, confusion, frustration and deep sorrow.  As I shared my experience, I was surprised (not really) by the deafening silence when speaking of the darkness.  The only thing interrupting the silence was a post by one arguing for the light. “Keep your chin up……” they said.  At the time, I DID NOT want to keep my chin up, or look for the silver lining in the cloud.  I needed to wallow in the darkness – embracing the depth of sorrow, frustration and pain.  Not for the sake of self-flagellation, but for the purpose of transformation.

As a shadow worker, I have come to understand that the only way to transform the darkness, both within ourselves and in our world is to enter FULLY into the darkness.  It is only by entering into the darkness that we are able to bring forth the light.  While optimism has its place, there is a fine line between “the bright side of life” and repression.  As the Buddhists say, “what we resist will persist,” so why not embrace the darkness so we can hasten our journey toward the light?  Why wait around looking for the silver lining when the only way to the light is through the darkness?

darkness, dark into light, embracing the darkness, transformation, shadow worker, darkness and light are but one

Before I go on, I do want to thank one dear friend who shared her genuine concern that I had come to the edge of the cliff. For indeed I had…..just not the cliff she thought.  Instead, it was the cliff that my Soul Brother, Jared, invited me to jump off from, “Lauri, what would happen if you just allowed yourself to freefall?”  I thought I had been doing this, but apparently not enough.  So (after a two hour soul purging/transformation/healing chat with my Soul Brother) I let go AGAIN allowing myself to fall into the darkness and in falling into it, I fell through it.  I woke up this morning with a whole different attitude, and saw what had been in front of me the whole time.  Then while in yoga this morning, I was given the outline and kick in the pants I have needed for two years to finally get my Order of Melchizedek online training program off the ground.  (Official announcement coming soon!!!!)

The moral of the story is this: If you find yourself in the darkness, don’t run from it.  Embrace it.  As every shadow worker knows, on the other side of the dark (or within the darkness) is the light that has been there all along!

Or as the Psalmist said, “In you, darkness and light are but one.” (GO, there are so many ways to interpret that phrase!!!!)

PS Dear friends:  I promise if I have truly come to the end of my rope….I will definitely let you know!

Posted in Death, Jesus

Denying Death – Jesus’ and our own

Denying death seems to be the primary preoccupation of Western culture. Our religions reflect (or maybe inspired) this in their wholesale denial of Jesus’ death.  How can we stop denying death so that for once we might live?

As I was moderating and reflecting on the student discussions in my online Magdalene Priest and Priestess Training this morning, I began to wonder:

Have we ever really dealt with and appropriately acknowledged Jesus’ death?

Theologically, socially, collectively, I believe we have not. Very much in the same way that Western Culture collectively denies (or tries to deny) the very real truth that each and every one of us are on a slow (and in some cases hasty) march toward our inevitable death.

death, denying death, Jesus' death, God's will, death and dying, death

Jesus was whipped, tortured, and hung on a cross to die the slow and painful death of crucifixion – the most painful and torturously slow deaths reserved by the Romans for only the worst criminals. Jesus suffered and died while Mary Magdalene, his mother Mary, a few other female companions and (perhaps) John watched. While the aforementioned accompanied and did their best to offer prayer and words of support for their beloved Jesus, the rest of the disciples were hiding in the Upper Room – afraid that by their presence they too might suffer Jesus’ fate.

Jesus died because 1) death is the inevitable outcome of the human experience. And 2) because some human beings are jerks.

But nowhere in our Christian theology are the aforementioned given as reasons for Jesus’ death. Instead, we are given platitudes like:

It was God’s will.

Jesus died to atone for our sin.

Jesus was the sacrificial lamb.

Jesus died to save us.

He’s in a better place.

At least he’s no longer suffering.

Blah Blah Blah.

What kind of God kills his own son so that we might be free??????? A jerk of a God, that’s what I think.  My God (as Jesus said) is a God of “mercy not sacrifice.”  My God is the prodigal Father/Mother who is standing with open arms waiting for his/her children to come home to the love that they are – never judging or condemning her/his children for BEING HUMAN – making mistakes so they might grow, exploring the world so they might learn, venturing away so they may return.  The God of love that I have come to know in my relationship with Jesus wasn’t the cause of Jesus’ death, human beings were.

As such, it was NOT God’s will that Jesus would die. There was no atonement or sacrifice needed for the “sin” of being human.  Jesus died for one simple reason – because some human beings are jerks.  They were afraid of who he was and what he tried to teach….so they killed him.  Period.  Death, as we all know, is the natural consequence of the human journey – some just get there earlier than others.

BUT…in Western culture, we live in a constant refusal of death…and I sometimes wonder if the source of this denial is a projection of the male disciples’ guilt for not having the courage to be a source of support for their teacher and friend when he was dying. We demonize and try to delay aging.  We plasticize and paint the bodies of our dead to make it appear as if they are still living.  We separate ourselves from the process of decay and death.  We avoid those who are ill or dying.  Then we do everything we possibly can to numb ourselves so that we don’t have to face the inevitable outcome of our human experience – which is death.

When we can no longer deny death, but still need to hold it at arm’s length, we come up with platitudes to make ourselves feel better – the very same platitudes our religion has offered us in response to Jesus’ death: It was God’s will, he’s in a better place, at least she’s no longer suffering.  If we believe it was God’s will, etc. then we don’t truly have to acknowledge the very real pain of death and the loss we experience because of it, or the guilt of having (for now) survived it.  Denying death by holding it at arm’s length allows us to deny the very real fear we all experience in the face of our ultimate demise.

We live…..so that we might die.

I don’t believe there is anything morbid or defeatist in acknowledging this truth. The journey of life is the same as the journey toward death….and we make of it what we will.

Jesus made the most of the life he was given. Then human beings took it from him.

We are given the very same choice. We can make the most of the life we are given until human beings, disease, an accident, etc. take it from us. God knows when we will die, but God isn’t the one doing the killing.  It is a natural and inevitable consequence of the human experience and the quicker we embrace this truth, the more free we are to enjoy what life has to offer. In accepting death, the fear of it no longer has power over us.  Herein lies the path to our true freedom…the same path that Jesus discovered when he overcame his own bargaining, denial, anger, fear and sorrow over death…and in this we can truly say that Jesus died so that we too might live.

spiritual counseling, Lauri Ann Lumby, transformational counseling, empowerment, healing and transforming fears and unhealed woundsAs a trained Spiritual Director and Transformational Educator, Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS, provides support for those moving through the grieving process – whether it be the loss of a loved one or brought on by one of life’s many transitions.  Email Lauri today at lauri@authenticfreedom.love to learn more.

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Death, grief, Inspiration, Lessons, Spiritual Practices, Surrender

Big Endings Lead to Big Beginnings

 

Every day as part of my morning ritual, I pull one card from my Gnostic Tarot of the Saints deck (Robert M. Place 2001). For the past three mornings, I have pulled the Death card.  While the appearance of this card might strike fear in the hearts of many, I find the Death card to be a huge source of comfort.  Maybe it is due to my gifts as a shadow worker – a master in confronting and dealing with the parts of the human experience from which most would run.  More likely, it is because I understand that death is not death at all…it is simply the boundary between that which has (and likely needs to) come to an end and that which is waiting to be born.  As resurrection after death is the promise of Christian belief, so is it the promise of the tarot – in every death is the promise of new life – we need simply be open to receiving it.  Pulling the death card on three consecutive days suggests that the death one has just faced, or is currently facing is a HUGE one.  It also suggests that the new that is coming into being is equally as huge.

This must certainly be the case for me. As I have mentioned many times over, the past three years have been a DOOZIE!  Letting go.  Releasing.  Surrendering.  Letting go some more.  Complete surrender and supplication.  Many times in the past three years I have uttered the prayer, “WTF????!!!!”  My recent move has invited a HUGE release including many aspects of my work about which I had become comfortable.  Our new place is AMAZING and feels so much more like home and perfectly reflective of my vibe….and yet I find myself in the time between what has ended and what has not yet begun.  It is an insecure and uncertain time.  If the BIG MOVE and the BIG LETTING GO wasn’t enough, I recently went through an experience of something that seemed to be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, only to have it turn to dust in my hands.  This brought forth an ending I had never anticipated along with a grief proportionate to that ending.

With all of this, it is no surprise that the Death card should appear. Again, while the appearance of this card might strike fear in the hearts of many, I am finding profound comfort in the presence of Death.  Death is saying to me, “Lauri, what no longer serves has come to an end.  You have surrendered these unto Me and now you are free of them.  Completely free.  You will no longer be burdened by those things that no longer serve your highest good and which no longer support the mission you are called to fulfill.”  As Death so lovingly stated, I feel completely free of these things and utterly at peace.

This is not all that Death has to say, however. “Lauri, now is the time for rest. As Jesus rested in the tomb for three days and three nights, so too are you invited to rest.  Be with what has been and allow yourself to be healed and transformed from what in the past may have harmed you.  As a caterpillar in the chrysalis, allow yourself to be made new.  As it was true for Christ, as is true for the caterpillar, the new can only be made in the depths of the darkness.  The new is not of your making and requires no effort on your part as like the caterpillar, it is a work that arises out of the depths of your Soul, coming forth from your own Divine blueprint.  In this you need do nothing.  Simply be.  Wait.  Be patient.  Trust.  When it is time to come forth out of your tomb, you will know it and you will come forth into a whole new world, the likes of which you cannot even imagine.”

To this I say, “Thank you Death. I welcome you with open arms and surrender into promise of new life.”

Big endings lead to even bigger beginnings…and to this I say, “Bring it!”

 

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom Academy, Death, End of the World Prophecies, grief, Inspiration, New World, world changes

Will You Survive the Collapse?

As the Obamas bid their final farewells and we wait in anticipation for the next administration to take their place, there are many holding out hope that the new administration will usher in better days, making good on their promise to “Make America Great Again!” If they are able to make positive, life-giving change which is for the good of all Americans, I will be the first to shout “hurray!”  Unfortunately, this promised change is highly unlikely. As long as policy decisions are made on behalf of the 1%, by those whose pockets are being filled by the 1% (who have acquired their wealth through fear, power and control and who have done so on the backs of those they loathe (the poor, immigrants, people of color, Muslims)), nothing is going to change.  In fact, it will likely get worse – a lot worse!

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God Bless Donald Trump for believing he will have the power to restore our country to greatness, but he does not and will not have the power to do so. Why?  Because the President is not in charge.  There is a power much greater than our elected officials guiding policy – and we need only look as far as the failed Affordable Care Act to see how quickly great visions, intended to meet the needs of the collective, serve only to meet the selfish and greedy desires of the 1% (in this case, insurance and pharmaceutical companies).

The change that we are looking for will not come from the top. Positive, life-giving change, on behalf of the greater good, NEVER comes from the top because those on the top have too much to lose. Those of us on the bottom, however, have reached the point where we have literally nothing left to lose. Blood cannot be extracted from a turnip and with an economy based in debt there is no money to be gotten from those who are already so far in the hole they can barely see the light of day. So how, may I ask, does the incoming administration think they are going to pay for all these great programs, new jobs and walls they promise to build?  Print more money that is backed by nothing but air?  Good luck with that!

Instead of the change from the top many are looking for, what I suspect is coming our way is complete systemic collapse. And thank God! It is long past time that the world model based on fear, power and control, met its demise so that something more loving, kind, collaborative and unifying can take its place.  But first…the collapse.  How are we going to survive as the world we have known crumbles around us and the world we have been waiting to build has not yet found its legs?

We start by making a choice. We choose how we will respond to the world out there while making a choice in support of the world in here.

The world out there is that which is displayed in the media, which manipulates us through fear, which continually tells us we are not good enough, and then tempts us with “lifestyles of the beautiful, rich and famous.”  The world out there is reflected in the words and actions of our incoming president who perfectly reflects the shadow of our culture which we must now face – the shadow of racism, sexism, ageism, all matters of prejudice, scapegoating, white patriarchal and hierarchical privilege, greed, gluttony, lust (for power), arrogance, pride and wrath.  You name it, he embodies it…as do those he is gathering around him. (For the record….I’m not sure things would have been much better for Hillary….ultimately, both of them are puppets for the larger powers that govern policy).

How we going to respond to the world out there?  Are we going to allow it to manipulate us and throw us into terror?  Or are we going to recognize that what we are seeing out there is simply the old world dying.  The closer it comes to its own death, the louder, more extreme, more violent their tactics will be.  Our job is to see it for what it is, be conscious of how it might be triggering our own unhealed wounds, inner shadow and unacknowledged fears. Then we make our second choice: We go within.

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The change we all hope to see in our world will not begin from out there.  That change can only start from within.  THIS is how we will survive the collapse while being vehicles through which the new world is being born.

  • We will support ourselves in naming, claiming, and taking responsibility for our fears as they are triggered by the world out there in its death throes.
  • We will employ the resources we have for being present with, healing and moving through our fears.
  • We will gather in community with those of like-mind who also feel called to be a part of ushering in the new world.
  • And….we will be hospice to the dying world.

People will be afraid, very afraid.  The world they have been led to believe they could count on is in the midst of its own collapse. The structures they thought they could rely on for support will crumble at their feet.  If they have benefitted from the system of fear, power and control, what they have reaped will be torn from their grasp.

The world out there will need our help as they struggle to let go of what they have known in preparation for that which has not yet been revealed.

But, we can’t help them all. Many will cling to the old with their last dying breath.  Some will refuse to see the dying that is happening around them while clinging to the nostalgia of times long past.  Many will fear the work of going inward to the place of their grief as it might make them feel.  Some will prefer to believe that there is someone to blame and will seek ways to project that blame outward.  We can only be support for those who want our help.

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But first, we need to help ourselves:

  • Choose to recognize that the world out there is dying and that the fearful things we see out there are merely symptoms of its death.
  • Listen to the deep inner knowing of our hearts that remind us a new world is being born in the midst of the old world’s collapse.
  • Use the resources and tools we have for maintaining clarity, peace and hope in the midst of change.
  • Gather with like-minded folk who also know they are here to help usher in the new world while being hospice for the world that is dying.
  • Search your heart for how you are called to support those who are grieving the death of the old world.
  • Share your vision of the new world with anyone who cares to listen.
  • Be the love that you are and be that love in the world.

 

If you are living in the Oshkosh area, Authentic Freedom Academy provides many options in support of those who are here to help bring forth the new world while being hospice to the old as it is dying. Join us Monday evenings at 6:30 for our Weekly Service.

If you are outside the Oshkosh area, check out our online resources. Learn more HERE.

 

 

Posted in addictions, Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Academy, Being Human, codependency, Death, Empowerment

Power in Our Aloneness

The greatest fear in the human experience is not death, neither is it public speaking.  The greatest fear in the human experience is that we are alone – really, truly, alone; and in this aloneness, life has no meaning and no purpose.  This is our greatest fear because it is also our greatest truth.  At the end of the day, we are really, truly alone.  Death brings us face to face with this absolute truth.  When we release our final breath, there is no one – only ourselves and our hope that there is another to take us home – and the fear that this “other” is simply a lie we have told ourselves to make ourselves feel better.

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Day in and day out, this fear that we are alone, haunts us. While we may not acknowledge that this is the fear haunting us, or that we have any fear at all, believe me, it is there.  It is there is our restlessness, our boredom, our short attention spans, our search for something “out there” that will make us happy.  It is in our “retail therapy.” It is in our social media searching and trolling.  It is in our cultural addiction with reality TV (including the clown show that has become our election process).  It is in our food, alcohol, tobacco, drug addictions.  It is present in every single situation and experience where we think something “out there” will fulfill us and in the relentless search for that “something.” This fear that we are alone is in our longing and yearning for “the other” who will complete us – even when that “other” is given the name of “God.”

We spend nearly every minute of every day avoiding our fear of this aloneness by chasing after “that which we cannot name.” We are sure if we keep chasing we will eventually find it.  It’s in that check we’ve been waiting for, the mysterious windfall, the lottery jackpot.  It’s in the elusive soulmate who will bring perfection to our lives.  It is in the next great car, the bigger home, the job with the bigger paycheck.  It is in the victory of our chosen political candidate.

But guess what? The fear of being alone is NOT remedied through any of the above, because THERE IS NO CURE for our fear of being alone.  This fear is the consequence of the human condition and a fear we will always intimately know.

We came here to have a unique and individual experience which by its nature means we are separate and alone. Within this choice also exists the knowledge of our true nature – of a time before we chose separation.  It is the knowledge of our true nature that causes us to feel alone while at the same time it is calling us home.  It is an ache that will never cease as long as we continue being human.  While there is no remedy to the fear of being alone, there is an answer to all the relentless searching and avoiding we do by searching.  The answer is to stop running from this fear.  Stop looking “out there” for something that will fill the eternal vacancy inside.  The only way to calm (not remedy) this fear, is to BE WITH IT.

Being with our fear of being alone means just that. Be with it.  Turn away from all the external searching and turn within.  Go deep into our hearts where this longing resides.  Move past the ego attachments to fame, status, money, power, success and achievement. Move beyond the need to be right and for others to be wrong. Move past the restlessness, boredom, loneliness, impatience, and anxiousness.  Move past anxiety, depression and despair.  Beneath all of it is the DEEP ACHE, the indelible pain, the vivid realization that we are alone.  SIT with this fear.  Sit with this awareness.  Sit with the excruciating discomfort.  Simply be with all this pain is, has to say, and feels like for you.  FEEL IT.  Revel in it.  Bathe in it.  Know it to be a deeply intimate, true and cherished part of who you are.  KNOW that this ache is your Soul calling you home – NOT home to some “heavenly abode.”  Home to YOURSELF.  It is here in the deep well of your aloneness that you will find yourself.  And here, you will find your power.

 

The Authentic Freedom Mastery Program provides tools to help us navigate the fears of the human condition, moving us from fear into a deep and abiding love. Learn more about the Authentic Freedom Mastery Program HERE.  Check out the FREE preview course to see if Authentic Freedom is for you.

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