Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Book, Forgiveness, Relationships, Spiritual Development

Spiritual Growth and Our Changing Understanding of the Divine

Below is an excerpt from my book, Authentic Freedom- Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy.  Authentic Freedom provides a comprehensive path and protocol for supporting our inner spiritual development, integrating the contemplative practices of the Judeo-Christian tradition with knowledge of the chakras.  Learn more HERE.

Buy it now on Amazon

 

In the beginning and middle stages of spiritual growth, it is helpful to perceive God as intimately personal and human-like and as something distinct from us.  At the same time, these personal images of God do not begin to touch the vast nature of our Divine Source.   Eventually, to truly embrace the fullness of the truth of Oneness, and of love as our true nature, we have to look beyond these personal images to something more infinite.  Looking to the deeper translation of the term Abwoon that Jesus so frequently used to address God, we begin to get a glimpse of the vastness of the Divine.

O Though from whom the breath of life flows and is present in all forms of vibration and light.           (Prayers of the Cosmos, Neil Douglas-Klotz)

It is difficult to grasp the transcendent, indwelling and infinite nature of God with our human mind, and so we have to reach beyond our minds to the lived experience in order to grasp this truth.  The writings attributed to John best express the fullness of this lived experience.  It is clear through these writings that the author had a deeply personal and experiential relationship with the I Am.  It is through this experience that the concept of God as love itself is most clearly articulated.

God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.  In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.  We love because God loved us first.       1 John 4: 16b – 19

As the author of John experienced, God is love.  Applying this expanded understanding to our existing relationship with God, it stands to reason that if God is love, it is in fact, love that created us.  As such, the love that is God lives in and through us.  In this way, not only are we loved, we are love itself.  Love is, in fact, our rightful inheritance, our true nature, our identity.  We are able to live out of this true nature when we remember that we are One with God and hence, one in love.

HOLY VIRTUE – Compassion

As we accept the truth that we are One in love with God we become content in the love that we are and we no longer feel compelled to seek that love outside of us.  This love-filled contentment invites us to explore the rewriting of our fairytales.  As we (the protagonist) come to know the love that is deep within ourselves, we exponentially increase our ability to live in the truth of this love.  Knowing that we are comprised of love, we no longer need to build defenses around ourselves, and the fortresses around our hearts begin to disintegrate and we find that we can trust ourselves and others.  Understanding that conditional love can never be a source of fulfillment, we no longer find ourselves compelled to seek the handsome prince or beautiful princess that will be able to give us our happily ever after.  Love, we remember, is who we are. As we grow in this confidence, we are able to go out into the world reflecting the love that we now know within ourselves.  It is here that we shall experience the truest expression of the virtue of compassion.  It is here that we shall find our happily ever after.

Authentic Freedom is also available as an online course, facilitated by Lauri Ann Lumby.  Learn more HERE. 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, detachment, Forgiveness

The Journey from Vengeance to Compassion

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

Jeremiah 20: 10-13

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, building the new world, Christ Consciousness, Empowerment, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Healing, Inspiration, self-actualization

No Reward for Being Good

A letter to all healers and change-makers

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

My Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Yesterday I was gifted with a startling realization – one that I believe applies to many (if not all) of the amazing women, men and children I know who are here to heal and change our world.  The roots of this lie within our childhoods, the roles we took on, our beliefs about those roles and how these beliefs have translated into our adult lives – specifically in our tendency to take the unique and special people we are and the gifts we bring to our world for granted and the physical manifestation (or rather, the lack thereof) of taking our gifts and ourselves for granted….which for many of us has translated into struggles over money. (UGH).

It begins in our childhood and in the roles we took on within our family of origin and then brought forth into our life experiences.  For many who become healers/changemakers, these childhood roles include: protector, peacemaker, mediator, “good girl/boy,” caretaker, approval seeker, the responsible one, etc.  These roles become so much a part of who we are that they are often taken for granted.  “Oh, that’s just how (insert your name here) is.”  While on one hand it simply is who we are and what we do and likely the result of the gifts we brought into this world, no one thinks anything of it. Never is there recognition or reward for the effort we put in (often internally) to assume these roles or the inherent gifts we were given that allowed us to take on these roles in the first place. Additionally, there is no acknowledgment for the gifts that come forth out of these roles, which for many include: courage, self-sufficiency, discipline, foresight, empathy, compassion, kindness, the desire to help and to serve, etc. What we take away from these lived experiences is the understanding that there is no reward for being good.  Even more devastating perhaps is the understanding that there is no value to who we are or what we do because “it is simply who and how we are.”

This understanding then follows us into our adult lives.  As we found our calling to be healers/changemakers and understand that this IS who we are and WHAT we came here to do, our past experiences color our beliefs and feelings around this.  If it is simply who and what we do and who and what we are has always been taken for granted, then what value/reward/recognition is there for the gifts we bring into the world to make the world a better place?  We see the manifestation of this is our struggles with money – in our struggles with charging for our services, for asking for an adequate exchange for sharing our gifts in the world, etc.  We also see it in the constant struggle of getting our names and our gifts and services out there…. It often seems as if what works for everyone else simply doesn’t work for us, making us wonder if we’re simply invisible!

When we take our gifts for granted, others do too.  When we fail to see our true magnificence, others will also fail to see it.  The remedy to all of this has already begun in the demon being named – the false belief that there is no reward for being good. The next step is believing in the unique gifts we bring to the world and that what we bring IS TRULY UNIQUE!  To help you/all of us with this, I share the following meditation:

Place yourself within your own body for a moment….go deep within yourself and REMEMBER.  Remember the magnificent gifts you brought into the world that allowed you to become the person you became in your family of origin – protector, peacemaker, mediator, etc. etc. etc.  Remember the gifts that already existed within you that allowed you to become who you became – courage, tenacity, patience, creativity, empathy, self-sufficiency, independence, responsible, deep listener, observer, rememberer, playful, entertaining, discipline, etc. etc. etc.  Remember that your mission and purpose were already present within you at the moment of your birth and reflect on how that mission and purpose was informed, developed, cultivated through your childhood experiences (good and bad).  Remember how your gifts are unique from those of your peers.  Remember how you were set apart as (or thought of yourself as) different.  Remember the moment you became aware of your calling and everything you have done to pursue and fulfill that calling.  Remember every training, every class, every experience that supported the development of your gifts and your calling.  Remember ALL THE HARD WORK and everything it took within you, every sacrifice you have made to get where you are today.  Recognize that you are unique in having pursued your calling!  Recognize what you had to leave behind in order to fulfill this calling.  Acknowledge all those who have had the opportunity to pursue their calling and were too afraid to continue.  Recognize the courage, tenacity, patience, faith, stubbornness that got you to where you are today.  SEE the brilliant star-like presence that lies within the center of your heart.  This is the Light of the Divine that dwells within you and which IS your soul’s calling.  See this light pulsing and glowing and shining forth into the world from within you.  Watch as it reaches out into the farthest reaches of space, bringing forth your light and love into the world.  As it reaches out into the world, observe as it draws toward you all those who are in need of your unique gifts – gifts only you can give them.  Watch as those who need your gifts reach toward you in acknowledgement and gratitude for your gifts and know in your heart that only you can fulfill this need within them.  FEEL the recognition of your gifts as seen through their eyes and FEEL the value of the gratitude they feel in receiving your gifts.  FEEL the value of who you are and what you bring into the world. FEEL the value of all your hard work, years of study and practice, etc.  KNOW that what you have is special and unique and that there are thousands, if not millions, clamoring for your gifts.  KNOW that as you believe in the value of your unique giftedness so too will the world.

As we commemorate the birth of love into the world in the person of Jesus who became Christ,  this is my prayer for you:  That in 2018 you REALIZE the magnificence that you are and experience the abundant reward in being good.

Merry Christmas,

Love,

Lauri

 

 

Posted in Forgiveness, Lessons, Spiritual Practices, Truth

The Truth Cannot Stay Hidden

This weekend, I had the profound confirmation of a theory to which I have long-subscribed – the theory that no matter how hard one tries, truth will not stay long hidden. Truth always finds its way to the light where it can be readily seen by those who have the eyes to see, bringing justice to situations where untruths otherwise prevailed.

In this particular case, I was well aware of these truths. Although the revelations of these truths would have provided me with much vindication, I had kept silent about these truths for the sake of others who might be hurt by them.  These truths had been the cause of much pain in my own life, truths that the human part of me wanted to shout to the world as a way of “getting back” at those who had hurt me.  Instead, I chose silence, knowing and trusting that these truths would eventually find their way to the light for those who needed to know in a time that was perfect for them.

justicepixabay

And this is exactly what happened. The truth came to light bringing healing and closure where neither were previously thought possible.  In addition, the way in which these truths came to light brought empowerment for those, who through their own observations had intuited these truths.  The revelation of these truths brought great validation for me in having taken the “high road” in choosing silence and trust over revenge. It also served as a great reminder that no matter how hard one works at disguising, denying or avoiding their truth, truth cannot be hidden for long and the deceiver will always give themselves away, if not directly then by slips of the tongue or getting caught in an outright lie.

This is the advice I offer to students and clients who are faced with similar situations of untruths – where harm has been done to them, and they want to take revenge on the “other” by telling everyone the truth. I say, “Wait.  The truth will win out in the end.  Those that need to know will find out if and when they need to.”  This weekend’s experience proved my theory true.

Choosing silence, trust, and a patient heart allows us to turn away from the human desire for revenge and toward forgiveness practices – those practices that free us from the resentment, hurt, sense of betrayal, anger and hatred that we might otherwise harbor against the other. Here we are able to free ourselves of the pain of the hurt while not causing harm to another.  Choosing this path gives us freedom.

As I also advise my students and clients, “Karma is a bitch.” While I do not believe in a punitive God, I do believe in (and the human part of me takes great comfort in) the law of cause and effect.  What you put out to the world will come back to you 100-fold.  If you (intentionally) cause harm to another, that harm will come back to you.  If you betray another, you will be betrayed.  If you are a liar, you will be deceived.  If you cheat, you will be cheated, etc. etc. etc.  There is comfort in knowing that we reap what we have sown and for those who sow deceit this is what they shall reap.  Truth, on the other hand, always wins.  Choose truth.

Posted in Authentic Freedom, church, Forgiveness, God, Jesus, Oneness with God

“God” Does Not Save

I am going to bet that a whole lot of people are going to be either offended or frightened by a blog that suggests that “God Doesn’t Save.” Bear with me here…..I promise there is a happy ending!  🙂

Yesterday while working through some specific areas of trauma – healing and releasing them through a protocol called “Brainspotting” (under the supervision of a licensed therapist!), I had a staggering realization:

God did not save me, rescue me or support me in the most traumatic experiences of my life:

God did not step in and save me from being raped.

God did not save me from years of emotional abuse.

God did not protect me against betrayal.

God did not step in when the self-appointed inquisition harassed me, wrote evil letters about me, lobbied our local priest and bishop against me.

God did not step in while the Church broke my heart and refused to stand up for me, defend me or have my back when I was challenged, harassed and abused by the fearful few.

God did not step in when I found I had no choice but to leave the Church.

God sat back and did nothing.

Even after I had given my heart, my soul, my mind, my very being to God, dedicated my life to God, I got nothing back. I got nothing but pain for all I had given to God.

“I gave it all to God and got nothing back.” THIS is the very definition of co-dependency.  We give, give, give, give and get nothing back.

THIS is the “God” most of us have been brought up to believe in. A “God” who is “out there,” separate and apart from us.  This is a “God” who needs our devotion, our time, our attention, our worship.  This is a “God” who is fickle – who gives to those who have pleased “HIM” and takes from those who don’t.  But even worse, this is a “God” who takes even, or perhaps especially, from those who give.

god-monty-python-holy-grail

This is the “God” who sacrificed his own son. This is the “God” who let his chosen one be condemned, ridiculed, and crucified on a cross…..why?  “For the forgiveness of humankind????”  Let’s be honest, this is a ridiculous kind of God!  What kind of God kills his own son?  I’ll tell you what kind of God – one who is made in the image of “man” kind – specifically the unholy masculine (not to be confused with the holy masculine) aspect of humankind.  This is a God who was created by patriarchal, hierarchical institutions for the sake of their own power and control – institutions who created a God who is to be feared so that they could use this fear to manipulate their followers – a God who looks more like fearful, vengeful, fickle, jealous, angry humans than the God that Jesus spoke about who is LOVE.

So, no, God does not save – at least not the God who is the “old man in the sky,” out there who wants us to bow down to HIM and then just maybe “HE” will give us what we need to survive.

“God” does not save…..but love does.

God did not save me from rape, but love did. Love supported me in my grieving.  Love guided me to help and support.  Love allowed me to forgive….most importantly, love allowed me to forgive myself.

God did not save me from years of emotional abuse. But love did.  Love allowed me to find healing and support.  And again, love allowed me to forgive.

God did not save me from the Church who broke my heart, but love did.

God did not rescue me from the hands of the fearful minority or from the priest and bishop who had been poisoned against me, but love did. Love allowed me to heal.  Love allowed me to create a new home for myself.  Love allowed me to stand in my own truth regardless of the condemnation.  Love allowed me to be obedient to love.  And love allowed me to forgive.

So while I gave and gave and gave to “God” and got nothing in return, LOVE was there all along, supporting, guiding, healing, transforming and bringing me safely to exactly where I need to be.

DSCF3146

This LOVE is not “out there” hanging out among the clouds or in some heaven light years away. This LOVE is not sitting on a throne of gold locked behind some pearly gates.  This LOVE is right here inside of me, and this LOVE is right there inside of you.  This is the LOVE that you are and the LOVE that Jesus came to know within himself and wanted everyone else to know.  This is the LOVE that is our true nature – that holds the knowledge of our life path, the path that will give our lives meaning and purpose.  This is the LOVE that tells us what is right and what is wrong, what is true for us and guides us toward that truth.  This is the LOVE that compels, guides, and leads us toward the many opportunities in our lives for growth, healing and transformation.  And this is the LOVE that helps us find our way through the devastating and painful experiences of the human condition to the new hope and new life that is on the other side of the disappointment and loss.  This is the LOVE that leads us toward those who will support us in this love and this is the LOVE that helps us to recognize them when they arrive.

LOVE is what saves, and if you choose to call this LOVE “God,” (or “Goddess”) then let it be so!

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Forgiveness, Jesus, Spiritual Practices

How “Praying for Our Enemies” Works

Among all of Jesus’ teachings, the most difficult is the one where he asks us to love and pray for our enemies:

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”

Matthew 5:44

How are we supposed to love our enemies and why on earth would we pray for them? The how is not so simple, but the why is:

As long as we are harboring anger, resentment, hatred, thoughts of retribution, wishes of ill-will toward those we perceive to have harmed us (or those we perceive to be a threat to us), we lock ourselves in a karmic loop of everything bad we are wishing for them. This karmic loop is based on a universal truth and a law of nature:

Everything we send forth into the world returns to us one-hundredfold.

Because the universe is inherently neutral, this is as true of negative feelings, emotions and perceptions as it is of positive.

In other words, it is CRITICAL to our own well-being that we pray for our enemies – specifically, that we pray for their positive well-being. The gift in praying for them in this way is that as we unlock ourselves from this karmic loop of badness, we are unlocking them, because as we have imprisoned ourselves by our hatred, we have created a prison for them as well.

prayingforenemies meme

Now for the love part: It dawns on me that perhaps we have been misinterpreting the “love” in this reading as being a heart-felt emotion of loving care and concern, like the love we have for our children or like the love God has for us.  Initially, when praying for our enemies, I don’t believe this is the love that was intended by this reading.  Instead, I believe Jesus was talking about “love” as an energy and as a verb.  In other words, when we are praying for our enemies, it is love that carries that prayer – or rather, the prayer itself is love.  In praying, we are intending, sending love to our enemies.  Maybe not our love (initially), but the love of God that moves through us in our prayer.  The actual heart-felt, loving care and concern kind of love, I believe comes later.  This love comes about through our prayerful effort and by the Grace of God.  As we pray for our enemies, the hatred, animosity, perceived harm, hurts, betrayals, fear, etc. is slowly (and sometimes quickly) healed.  As the layers of pain our released, that pain is replaced by love.  The more we pray, the more we are able to see our enemy in a different light – no longer separate and no longer a threat – but as another living, breathing, hurting, fearful human being in need of God’s love and healing.  Here is where love is revealed and how this commandment finds its fulfillment in and through us.

In the end, praying for our enemies is critical to our own wellbeing and as we pray for them, both of us are healed and released – freed to be the people God made us to be: loving, generous, compassionate, peaceful and kind.

If this is too difficult to believe, start praying for your enemies, after all, what have you got to lose? Pray for your enemies and see what happens!

 

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Forgiveness, Spiritual Practices

Taking Back Our Power through Forgiveness

ForgivenessPowerMEME

When you hear a message three times…..you’d better pay attention! For me, it was the reminder of the critical nature of forgiveness in freeing OURSELVES from past hurts and pain as we free others of the strands we hold of theirs.

This is not forgiveness in the traditional a sense as an intellectual exercise of “forgive and forget.” This is TRUE forgiveness which is a spiritual experience that comes about

Through our own effort and

Through a moment of PURE GRACE.

What these three wise teachers reminded me of is that for every negative feeling, thought, emotion we hold against another for ways in which we believe they have harmed us, we are giving away a piece of our power. At the same time, we imprison a piece of their power, for as long as we harbor anger, fear, resentment, etc. against them, they are not free to get on with their lives.  And neither are we.  It’s a tricky cycle of harboring and imprisoning that creates a undertow of energy drawing both parties into the depths, unable to move with what would normally be the effortless flow of the river.

Clearly, as reminded by my three teachers, it is time to TAKE BACK MY POWER through the spiritual practice of forgiveness.

In exercising a spiritual practice of forgiveness, there are two primary practices I turn to:

 

The Ho’oponopono prayer – the Hawaiian ritual of forgiveness. It is a ritual prayer we say to ourselves around an issue we want to release.  We might also say it toward the other person if that feel appropriate: The prayer goes something like this:

I’m sorry.

Please forgive me.

I love you.

Thank you.

 

The Aramaic Lord’s Prayer, specifically, praying and chanting the following line:

 

Washboqlan khaubayn(wakhtahayn) aykanna daph khnan shbwoqan

l’khayyabayn

 

Roughly translated, this phrase means:

Loose the cords of mistakes binding us, as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.

 

Forgiveness here is about letting go of our judgment of another’s actions.

As we release our judgment and let go of the negativity we are harboring, our power returns to us and we are more free to be the people God made us to be!

If you are interested in learning more spiritual practices for supporting your own power, come to Monday’s Superhero Gathering.  Click Here to learn more, or check out our free course:  Starting a Spiritual Practice.  Click on the image below to learn more! 

StartingSpiritualPracticeCourseLogo

 

 

 

 

Posted in About Lauri, Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Forgiveness, Freedom, guilt, Healing, Jesus, Lessons, manifestation, self-actualization, Spiritual Practices, teachers

There’s Nothing Noble or Courageous about Being Poor

beingpoormeme

I share my stories of personal growth and transformation because I learned long ago that as I heal these wounds in myself, similar wounds are somehow being healed in others…especially when I am courageous enough to share.

So….here goes another sharing….this one confessing a long-held jealousy and hatred of the rich – especially those who seem to bask in their privilege bragging, boasting, showing off all that their wealth provides (ala Kim Kardashian and Kanye West).

I am totally aware that this pattern of jealously is merely a projection of my resentment over “not being rich.” I also now understand that it has also been a reflection of the way in which I have rejected the part of me that longs for a life of comfort where my financial needs are all being met and in which I don’t have to worry where my next rent payment will come from.  Deeply imbedded in this rejection is a coping mechanism that I was only able to identify today – I had somehow, somewhere decided that there is something noble and courageous in being poor (I sense this somehow stems from my Catholic upbringing).  In spite of Jesus’ admonishment about it being more difficult for the rich to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven that it would be for a camel to fit into the eye of a needle (the explanation of which is a whole other blog entirely!), there is nothing noble or courageous about being poor!

My earliest recollection of “hating the rich” started with my grade school nemesis, who here shall remain unnamed. This nemesis was not initially an enemy, in fact, she was a friend (or so I thought).  She was the only one among my classmates who was obvious about what her parents possessed in the way of status, power, position and “wealth.”  Most of us didn’t care, (which is perhaps why she was so loud about it.) and it truly wasn’t her verbosity that soured our friendship….it was her cruelty. Somewhere, somehow, she decided I was her competition.  This envy then came through in duplicitous acts – being kind to me and inviting me to her parties, then being downright cruel to me every chance she got.  In my young mind, mean and rich must mean the rich are mean, right?

Then came “Jane P. Morgan” (name changed to protect the guilty).  “JP Morgan” was a sorority “sister.”  She was also “new rich.”  Every single day, she would descend the front staircase of the TriDelt house and loudly proclaim to anyone who was within earshot, an inventory of what she was wearing that day (or should I say “who”), and how much each item cost.  Her $700.00 Gucci shoes, $300.00 Coach purse, $300.00 Ellen Tracey skirt, and $400.00 Ralph Lauren sweater.  Nobody gave a crap what, who or the price of what she was wearing that day.  Because the seed of money-hate had already been planted in me, I self-righteously echoed the inventory of my own clothing choice for the day – My $30.00 Target knock-off Coach bag, my $5.00 vest and $7.00 skirt from Ragstock and my dad’s old Hanes T-shirt.  Upon reflection, I was as proud of my “Little Orphan Annie” wardrobe as JPM was of her designer fare.  Me thinks we both protesteth too much.

For 35 years, the ghosts of the nemesis and JPM have haunted me – hurling their taunts and jeers over all they have, reminding me of what I do not – Success. Fame.  Status.  Power.  Riches.  Wealth.  Money.  I have intermittently run from these ghosts and when I tire of running, returning their jeers with my own self-righteous poverty. When it isn’t the voice of the nemesis or JPM whispering in my ear, it is the Pepsodent smile of a certain disgustingly rich Christian minister, Kanye and Kim, “The Donald” and every other filthy rich individual who waves the banner of their wealth for all to see.  And when I grew tired of their whispering, I dug my heels even more deeply into my “noble” poverty.

Jesus was poor, right?! (or was he really?????? Scripture doesn’t really say).  The Church always lauded the blessings of the poor, the sick, the lame….they will be the first welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven.  If I want to be perfect, loved, welcome home by our “Heavenly Creator” it would be better if I were poor, right?  And then I look into the faces of the truly poor and decide that if they are to be fed, clothed, housed, it is best if I make do with only the bare essentials so that they may one day live.  If the rest of the world won’t take care of them, then Lauri Lumby needs to.  Right????

WRONG! And if I didn’t get this message the fourteenth time, God made sure this past weekend that I would get it!  After not just one….but three….encounters with my own resentment toward wealth, I had to ask myself a difficult question:

 

“How is my repulsion of the rich reflective of my own unhealed wounds around money?”

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OUCH. OUCH.  OUCH….and… OUCH!

 

Not just ouch……world spinning, bring me to my knees, full-blown panic attack OUCH!

(Karen Schmidt….are you listening? Thank you for being the first to TRULY see the source of my panic attacks!  I love you!)

 

Again, OUCH which brings me full-circle:

 

There is nothing courageous or noble about being poor! In fact, it sucks!  I’m damn tired of putting the burden of poverty on my own shoulders out of some misplaced wound (lie) about money and those who wield it.

Because here is something I know about the world….

Not every person who is rich is evil. In fact, many rich, kind, benevolent people come to mind:  JK Rowling, Kate Middleton, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Degeneres (aka “generous”), Meryl Streep, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie….all kinds of rich and famous people do amazingly loving and generous things with their money….money about which they make no boasts.

I also know that within everyone who boasts of their wealth, or shows off what they have, is a wound greater than any wound I could possible imagine. So for them I pray – for their fear, unhealed wounds, insecurities, lack of self-knowledge, etc. the same fear, unhealed wounds, insecurities and lack of self-knowledge that led me to judge the rich in the first place!

HELLO MIRROR!

I’m sorry. Please Forgive Me.  I love you.  Thank you!

And so it is…..AMEN!

When Lauri Ann Lumby isn’t being a self-righteous hag, she is helping others to identify and bring healing to the unhealed wounds within themselves – those wounds which are preventing them from being their most authentic, self-actualized and fulfilled selves.  Click here to learn more about what Lauri Ann Lumby provides through Authentic Freedom Academy. 

 

 

Posted in church, Forgiveness, Raised Catholic

Shining the Spotlight on Clergy Sexual Abuse

I was not sexually abused by a priest, but I know and have counseled many people who were.  I was not sexually abused by a priest, but I worked in the Church when the insidious legacy of priests sexually abusing children and having inappropriate relations with other vulnerable populations began to come to light.  I was also still working in the Church when the sexual abuse scandal exploded and other “sins of the institution” came to be known.

So, when I watched the recent Academy Award winning movie, Spotlight, which tells the story of the Boston Globe’s investigation into clergy sexual abuse, uncovering and then exposing the unconscionable cover up of hundreds of priests (249 in the Boston Diocese alone!) who had been sexually abusing children and the thousands of victims, I was already long-acquainted with the story, but was so deeply moved and startled by the true extent of the crime, I could hardly speak for days.  What I didn’t know, was that a dear friend, professionally a Lay Ecclesial Minister, was also watching the movie at the very same time, reliving her own experience of clergy sexual abuse and reflecting on her on-going path of healing.  Here is her response:

Original photograph by Kathy Walczyk
Original photograph by Kathy Walczyk

I watched the movie Spotlight five times. I cried every time. I cried because the reporters knocked on doors, they came in search of listening and learning. They came to give a voice to the voiceless. They opened doors of truth. In the middle of watching Spotlight for the fourth time, I wrote to thank them, the real reporters. I got a personal reply in six minutes. Six minutes!!!

I wish it were like this in the church. I wish the church had come knocking on doors in search of us, our story, listening with the intent of learning our needs, and inviting our voices. Greater dignity was lost in this lack.

And I wish all the walls of defense were not so high and the finger of blame would lower. I wish humility, responsibility, and a desire for mending and reconciling would replace what we have now.

I wish we could bring the sacred to conversations, uplift the holy in each other.

I wish the church could talk about the beautiful, sacredness of our sexuality, our life essence, and our lifeblood that is good, and is within every human. And I wish we could talk about how our desire for God, for wholeness is found through relationships with each other. I wish we could talk about how this same sensual spirit is creative and life giving. Without healthy dialogue of our human sexuality there will be no understanding of how sexual violence in holy places, by people wearing crosses, can affect one’s communion with God and with each other. Reconciling divisions will come when we can address this in a spiritual, caring way.

There is a better way.

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Read Kathy’s original post HERE.

Kathy’s artwork and poetry are currently on display as part of the “Co-Workers in the Vineyard” exhibition at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN.  Learn more HERE.

Kathy’s work will be displayed locally at The Norbertine Center for Spirituality in DePere September 1 – 30, 2016.  Watch the Norbertine Center’s website for details HERE. 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, church, Forgiveness, Healing, Jesus, Lessons, Mary Magdalene, Raised Catholic, Spiritual Practices, teachers

When Old Wounds Come Back to Haunt Us

After Monday’s global message about Building the New World, and yesterday’s call to resurrect the Magdalene and feminine principle with her, I’m turning to a more personal experience, and yet one to which I suspect you can relate and from which we can all learn.

The VOID MOON sucks! After the glow of love that filled our Soul’s at the Blood Moon eclipse, equinox gateway, the intensity of this week’s new moon and the fallout of a moon gone void have been INTENSE.  With the new moon, I had such intense energy within me I thought I might explode, only to meet the following day with DEPRESSION, GRIEF and overwhelming fear….all thanks to old wounds and deeply rooted fears that all decided to pay me a visit.  On the highest level, I know these fears are here to teach me and are only showing up now because they are ready to be healed.  This awareness, however, does not make the fears any less uncomfortable.

Interestingly, these wounds are intimately related to the topics I taught this week in my Authentic Freedom and Mary Magdalene courses, lending support to the idea that the world really is of our own making and for the purpose of our own, personal, evolution. So, here is what decided to show up this week asking for another layer of healing:

MONEY. OMFG! Not even going there!  I’ve been down this road so many times I see the demon and say, “YOU AGAIN!?  Aren’t we done with this dance yet?”  Then I turn to my spiritual practices, say my prayers, borrow from Peter to pay Paul if necessary and then move on.  Then I do the really DEEP work of finding out what is REALLY in the way because, as I keep discovering, it is rarely about MONEY.  Instead, it is about some other wound asking for healing….in the most recent case – the wound over not feeling supported, believing I have to do this all alone, the thought of which then makes me DAMN TIRED. What I really want to do is crawl into bed and sleep for a week, but instead, I see the wound and do my best to care for it, along with the pain in my lower back that always seems to accompany this fear.  If what has happened in the past proves to repeat itself, after tending to the wound and finding relief from this fear, money will once again start flowing toward me….not just away from me!

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REJECTION. Blech.  Yesterday is showed up LOUD AND PROUD in my old wounds over the Church.  Hearing firsthand what I have known for many years – people I know and once (and still) cared for saying all kinds of evil against me – evil that has reached all the way into the hierarchy of the Church where there is apparently a growing file with my name on it.  (Based on what I’ve heard, the file must be enormous!).  Part of me wants to ask, “Don’t you people have anything better to do with your time?”  The other part of me just sighs in resignation over the very real truth that both Jesus and Mary Magdalene were treated in the very same way by the institutions and people around them.  So, who am I to mourn over uninformed and hateful comments made against me “in Jesus’ name?”  Another part of me knows that the things being said against me are simply a reflection of the unhealed wound of rejection in those rejecting me and the extent to which I feel rejected by them is the degree to which they fear being rejected by God.

I weep for their fear and pray for their healing….but still it makes me sad.  Sad to know that there are those “out there” speaking evil against me and against the work I am doing in the world.  So I grieve.  I grieve the relationship with the Church I once enjoyed.  I grieve the loss of the dream.  I grieve the hole in my heart where these “friends” once lived.  I grieve for those who don’t even know me and who hold some sort of personal vendetta against me for the sake of their own self-righteousness.  I grieve for a hierarchy who doesn’t know me except through the lens of someone else’s fear.  I grieve for a Church who has lost another valuable resource and all other lost possibilities because of the wholesale exclusion of anything associated with my name.  And I grieve for myself – for the little girl who found her connection with God in the silent experience of the mass, the woman who found her calling through the words of her pastor, who found her formation in the arms of the Church and who wants nothing but to serve God through Jesus by helping the world to know what she has come to know through Jesus’ message of love – that we are all ONE and that we are ONE with each other through LOVE/God.

Mastery Work: Then, when I am done with my grieving, the true mastery work steps in. I see this all for what it really is – AN OPPORTUNITY TO HEAL MY OWN FEAR OF REJECTION!  It is not a coincidence that the “haters” are showing up now as I am about to step into something magnificent.  As I’m being given an opportunity to step even more fully into my Soul’s purpose, here are those rejecting me and me reacting to their rejection by feeling rejected.  The “mastery” work reminds me that everything showing up in our lives is here for our own evolution.  So those who are showing up reflecting back to me the fear of rejection are here as teachers, giving me an opportunity to see the wound that is not yet healed within me so that I can do the work of healing it so that I can take the next BOLD step toward the purpose of my Soul.  Thank you haters!  And here is the prayer that I will be employing to assist myself in healing the fear of rejection and in doing so, helping them find healing for theirs as well:

 

I’m sorry (to the part of my soul that is feeling rejected)

Please forgive me.

I love you.

Thank you.

 

 

Lauri Ann Lumby offers empowerment training for those who want to change their world. To learn more call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@authenticfreedom.love.