Posted in creativity, Gifts of Contemplation, Spiritual Practices

Meditation for the Active Mind

Join us during Lent: Meditation for the Active and Creative Mind

Tuesdays 6:30 – 8:00 pm

February 24 – March 31, 2015

Facilitated by Lauri Lumby

1103 School Ave.  Oshkosh, WI

Fee: $150.00

  • Have you read or heard about all the benefits to meditation (decreased anxiety, lower stress, increasing wellbeing, increasing health, greater clarity of mind, increasing focus, etc.) but struggled to establish a practice?
  • Have you tried meditation and found it so challenging you gave up?
  • Have you become frustrated with your inability to find the silence promised in meditation?
  • Have you wanted to learn to meditate but don’t know where to begin?
  • Have you attended meditation gatherings only to become frustrated by what seems to look so easy to others but feels difficult to you?

You are NOT alone!

Mercedes Benz Ad Campaign 2011
Mercedes Benz Ad Campaign 2011

Meditation that is comprised of “sit down and be quiet” simply does NOT work for most people.  This is especially true for those with an active, creative or even restless mind.  Instead of diving directly into silence, we need something to first engage our active mind allowing it to unwind, thereby leaving space for silence to take root.

Join us in this six week class where you will learn six individual meditation practices geared toward engaging the active mind.  The goal will be for you to find one or two practices that work for you so that you can use it to establish a more regular meditation practice and enjoy the benefits of meditation that everyone is raving about!

To register for this course, call Lauri Lumby (920) 230-1313 or email  Class limited to 15, so register early.

Learn more about making meditation easy HERE.

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Book, Being Human, Christ Consciousness, Freedom, Gifts of Contemplation, Grace, guilt, Jesus, Lessons, Oneness with God, sin, Spiritual Practices, teachers, Virtual Church

Show Me the Way to Go Home

Through the metaphorical Adam, the human conditional was born, providing for us the (false) perception of separation and the sensation of having fallen from Grace. In birthing the human condition, we now know fear and suffering in contrast to the love and peace we knew “at home.”  Jesus (among other prophets) discovered the remedy to the human condition and through his teaching and example, shows us the way to go home. 


Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter for Sunday, November 23, 2014

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service

 But first:  a little humor!  🙂


Scripture Reading:

Brothers and sisters: Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through man, the resurrection of the dead came also through man. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.

1 Cor 15: 20-26, 28


Additional Readings:

Ez 34: 11-12, 15-17

Psalm 23

Mt: 25: 31-46


Jesus Shows Us the Way

“Since death came through man,

The resurrection of the dead came also through man.”

When the metaphorical Adam chose power over obedience to God, the human condition was born. Instead of the peace, love and joy experienced in our original state of Oneness with God, humans now knew fear – fear that then led to a whole host of fears and their resulting compulsions. Inside of our beings, in this place of perceived separation from God, we felt as if we had fallen from Grace. As a loving parent, understanding our need to explore and to learn, God allowed us this choice, knowing that in this choice, we would suffer and experience the burden of guilt for turning away from God. God, however, did not leave us abandoned, neither did God leave us to our own devices, instead, God sent prophet after prophet after prophet to help remind us of our original nature and to help us find our way home. The greatest of these prophets (in the Christian tradition), was Jesus. Jesus, in his own longing and search for God, found the remedy to the suffering of the human condition (the remedy didn’t alleviate the suffering, but provided a means to transcend it), and generously shared what he learned with others. Thankfully, some of his disciples remembered bits and pieces of what Jesus taught and others wrote it down. Through scripture, specifically a prayerful reading and reflection on scripture, we find glimpses of what Jesus taught and sparks of what he remembered. What is even more remarkable is that like the gurus before him and since, Jesus’ very spirit is accessible as a teacher and a guide to those who seek out and cultivate a deeply intimate and personal relationship with Jesus as the Christ. In this way, Jesus, himself, becomes our teacher – helping us to see the deeper truths beyond the words of scripture, leading us to other resources including human teachers who can guide us. We even find that Jesus can come to us himself to teach and guide us.

The “sin” of Adam allowed us to experience the human condition. Jesus helps us to find our way home.

How have you cultivated a personal relationship with Jesus?



Spiritual Practices – Inviting Jesus to be our Teacher



Look at the created image of Jesus above. Let it sink into your consciousness.

Close your eyes.

Imagine Jesus, as you saw him in the picture above, standing before you.

Rest with that image of Jesus standing before you. Remain in this visualization for 15 – 20 minutes.

Know that as Jesus stands before you, he is gazing back at you with unconditional love and acceptance.

Allow yourself to receive that love.

Be attentive to any thoughts, feelings, emotions that may arise as you imagine Jesus standing before you.

Record any thoughts, feelings, insights received, etc. in your journal or notebook.


Authentic Freedom

In Authentic Freedom, we acknowledge Jesus as our teacher and as the example of one who learned authentic freedom and taught it to others. Every story, parable, lesson, example that Jesus taught, can somehow be brought back to the core wound and the resulting fears explored through Authentic Freedom. Jesus, while experiencing the fullness of the human condition, found his way to freedom – a freedom, he discovered, was found only in God. This is the freedom we are called to discover, cultivate and embrace through Authentic Freedom. God is the remedy to the suffering of the human condition. Jesus showed/shows us the way.


What is the suffering you currently want to transcend or have healed?


How might Jesus invite you to turn toward God as a source of healing and support?

Authentic Freedom is available for purchase on Amazon.  Learn more HERE. 


Posted in church, Discernment, Gifts of Contemplation, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Oneness with God, Spiritual Practices, Truth, women

The Lost Treasures of Christianity

Sunday morning for my meditation practice, I decided to journey around a specific question that I am currently discerning.  What came through the journey ended up being much more for the world than for myself specifically.  As such, I am sharing it here.  The message is about the lost treasures of Christianity and our invitation to reclaim them.


Sleeping Jesus

In the journey, I entered into the world I go to when looking for answers.  Jesus met me there and as soon as I arrived, he collapsed to the ground and was in a deep, deep sleep,  I tried to wake him, shaking him, calling out his name.  I looked up and Mary Magdalene was sitting beside him with her hand on his shoulder.  She shook her head as if to say, “He will not be awakened.  I will stay with him here while you seek the answer to your question.”  So I reluctantly left, worried about why Jesus would be sleeping and unable to be awakened.

The Search

As I began my journey, I found myself in a dark and terrifying forest.  I felt myself surrounded by fear, evil creatures and terrifying spirits.  I wanted to run, but found I had to search.  I walked and walked and walked until I was drawn to the base of an ancient tree.  I was guided to dig.  I dug at the base of the tree and buried deep within the earth in a tangle of rotting wood was the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  I picked it up and next found myself scaling a rock wall – a ninety degree, sheer faced wall of a high cliff.  I climbed until I reached the top where I discovered an enormous bald eagle’s nest.  The mother eagle was there with her young and in her talon, she clutched a solid gold skeleton key.  She handed me the key, then took me up in her wings and flew me to the nearest ocean where she dropped me.  I swam to the deepest part of the ocean where a blue whale held out her fin to me.  She took me deeper into the sea and led me to an enormous oyster, wide open to reveal a glimmering pearl.  She instructed me to take the pearl.  I was now carrying the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a solid gold key and a glimmering pearl.  Whale swam me up to the surface of the sea and to the nearest beach.  On the beach, there were a myriad of couples making love.  “Sacred Sexuality” was the word that I heard.  Before I could blink, I immediately found myself in the center of a glorious, lush and vividly green garden.  In the center of the garden was one single rose in a soft and delicate shade of pink.  When I glanced down into my hands, I found the rose was there.  I then found myself guided to return to Mary Magdalene and Jesus.  I approached Jesus, still sleeping, with my treasures – his Sacred Heart, the solid gold key, the glimmering pearl, the rose and the term, sacred sexuality. As I placed the treasures before him, he awakened and looked up at me with a smile of gratitude.  He reached up and we embraced.  He then gently kissed me, took Mary Magdalene by the hand, and together they walked away.

The Lost Treasures

I exited the journey feeling confused and unsure what to make of what transpired.  I brought these questions into my prayer, and over the course of the day, the deeper meaning of the journey was revealed.

Jesus Asleep

A Jesus that is asleep and unable to be awakened represents what has happened to Jesus and his true message over the course of the past 2000 years.  The Jesus that walked this earth, who set captives free, gave sight to the blind, fed the hungry, clothed the naked, healed the sick, welcomed sinners, prayed, preached, judged not, loved without condition, and taught others to do the same has been put to sleep. Instead, we are left with a Jesus of someone else’s making.

The terrifying forest and the Sacred Heart

The terrifying forest represents the fears of man that have tainted Jesus’ message and twisted his word to meet someone else’s agenda for power and control.  The unconditional love that Jesus knew in God, came to know within himself and tried to share with others, represented by Jesus’ Sacred Heart has been buried and left for dead.

The solid gold key

The solid gold key is the key to the kingdom –  the authentic teachings of Jesus that showed human beings how to REMEMBER the love that they are in union with God.  It is in remembering this love – the love of God that dwells within them and seeks to be known through them – that human beings discover heaven on earth and understand Jesus’ reminder that the kingdom of God is here, in our very midst, if we but have eyes to see and ears to hear.

The glimmering pearl

The pearl represents wisdom.  Wisdom – knowledge and understanding arising out of a direct experience of God found in contemplation and prayer and and informed by observing the Presence and Action of God in the unfolding of the human condition.  Wisdom, the knowledge that compels obedience to God because through wisdom we know that God’s way is better than any way we could have chosen for ourselves – if we but take the time to listen and hear God’s guidance for our lives.

The Rose

The rose is the feminine principle and how it is manifest in the Divine Feminine in the Hebrew tradition, and lived out in the holy women of scripture.  In the Christian tradition, the feminine principle was lived out in the persons of Mother Mary, Martha, Mary of Bethany, Mary of Magdala, Salome, the Samaritan woman, the Syrophoenician woman, the woman caught in adultery, and many others and then quickly left behind in favor of the hierarchical and patriarchical.

Sacred Sexuality

The human body and sexuality – both created as sacred by God and demonized by fearful humans.  Supplanted, repressed, and coming out sideways in the Church in sins against the weak and the vulnerable – especially women and children.

Reclaiming the Treasures

It is time to reclaim the treasures of Christianity – unconditional love and compassion, the authentic and original teachings of Jesus, wisdom uncovered through contemplation and prayer and exercised through discernment, the feminine principle and sacred sexuality.  And when we reclaim these sacred treasures, the true Jesus will be awakened and not only the Church but the world will be made anew.



Posted in church, Discernment, Freedom, Gifts of Contemplation, Jesus, Raised Catholic, Virtual Church

Recovering Catholics – Making Our Own Path

I find that in week four of the Virtual Church experiment, I have to say a few words about being Catholic (yes, I still call myself Catholic).  I share this for the sake of others like me who would like nothing more than to be a fully active member of the Catholic Church, serving, working and ministering under her roof.  Sadly, for obvious reasons, this is no longer possible for me, neither is it for many men and women I have come to love dearly.  And for those I don’t know, my heart goes out to you in compassion as you find yourself unable to set foot inside a Catholic Church (whatever the reason might be).


Broken Hearts and Broken Dreams

Today, my heart is breaking after a week of deep shadow work which presented itself in many ways, including several conversations about Catholicism, being raised Catholic and the path that led me to claim my own ordination and launch a virtual church. I discovered that I am not alone in having a deep love for the Catholic Church, in being formed as a minister within that Church, and being unable to minister there.  In those with whom these conversations arose, the same mistake was made.  We found God through contemplative prayer and this contemplation led us to our truth.  Then…..we tried to live that truth.  This proved to be the final nail in the coffin.  The Church can’t have people running around living their truth.  Where is the order?  There might be chaos. This could mean anarchy! Cats and Dogs raining.  People having sex in the street.  Shocking!  Sigh!  When we learn to use the brain God gave us to reason, discern and exercise truth, often the truths God reveals to us step outside the rules of the institution (see this week’s meditation supplement for how Jesus got in trouble for using his brain!).  Then, we get in trouble (again, see this week’s readings, or attend this week’s virtual church service!)  This leads me to the question of vocations….because those with whom these conversations arose also have an authentic call to the priesthood…and like me, are unable to live it out within the embrace of the Catholic Church.

Vocations Crisis!!!????

The Church whines, moans and complains about a lack of vocations.  Lack of vocations my butt!!!!  The only thing that is lacking is an institution willing to open their hearts to God’s voice instead of the voice of the power they are deathly afraid to lose.  Oh my God…what would happen if priests were allowed to married? If women could be priests?  If gay men and women could openly live their orientation within the ordained priesthood instead of hiding it in the closet and watching it come out sideways!!!????  What you might have is a vibrant, thriving, dynamic, servant-leadership oriented Church with men and women serving beside each other as equals, working together to fulfill the mission of Christ.  Unfortunately, the Institution is too busy polishing their Italian leather shoes to see the droves of men and women standing at their gates waiting to serve God.  So….what are those authentically called to continue the mission of Christ in the world to do who don’t fit into the narrow single, “heterosexual” male, “celibate” definition of priesthood?    What are we to do?

Making our own path

We make our own path, (rather, we allow God to make one for us) that’s what we do.  For through our careful discernment we have learned that it is much easier to be disobedient to the Church than it is to disobey God.  Disobedience to the Church simply means being ostracized and deprived of the Eucharist.  Disobeying God leads to an inner agony, longing, anxiety and pain that one simply cannot describe.  But here’s the funny thing…..even in disobeying the Church so that we can be obedient to God there is an insatiable longing to be able to live God’s truth within the embrace of the Church.  How do we explain that?  It is simply grief, that we haven’t gotten over our Catholicism, as was once suggested to me?  I don’t think so!  What this says to me, is that this is indeed what God desires – that God desires for the Church to open their eyes, their minds and their hearts so that there can be room for all the ways in which we are ALL called to serve God through our own unique giftedness, our own unique passions and our own unique call – married, single, hetero, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered, lesbian, male and female and everything in between.  God doesn’t discriminate in God’s choice of servants, why should the Church?

In the Meantime

So, in the meantime, we live within the tension.  Live within the tension of being obedient to God’s call and knowing and trusting that God’s call is working in the hearts and minds of the Institution and that someday, others like us, female, married, openly gay, may someday be welcome as ordained ministers within the Catholic Church….but probably not in our lifetimes. (this new pope, however, might surprise us all!!!)

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Discernment, End of the World Prophecies, Gifts of Contemplation, Inspiration, Spiritual Practices, world changes

Walking the Talk

If you have been gifted with a vision of the New World and feel called to help bring the New World into fruition, this blog is for you.  I apologize ahead of time if my words seem a little harsh…..the time to sugarcoat the New World journey is over and it is time to speak some cold, hard truths.


Birthing the New World is Hard

First of all……please know that birthing the New World is no easy task.  In fact, it might be the most difficult thing we are yet to face as a species.  The Universe keeps giving us opportunities to learn the consequences of fear (WWI, WWII, Vietnam, The Gulf War, 911) and instead to choose love, but we keep getting it wrong and are then once again led down the pathway of fear and its ugly spawn named: gluttony, greed, lust, wrath, envy, sloth and pride, the worst of these being pride. And, this is a cycle that we have faced since eternity as reflected in the First Letter of John:

Do not love the world or the things of the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of God is not in them.  for all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from God but is from the world.  Yet the world and its enticement are passing away.  But whoever does the will of God remains forever.

1 John 2: 15-17

If we wish to be free of the ongoing cycle of fear, power and control, we need to stop choosing the governing body of the Old World, which is fear and instead, choose the governing body out of which the New World shall be born – which is LOVE.

Choosing Love

Choosing Love is way easier than what we might initially believe, but it requires us to stop talking about the glories of the New World and hoping it will suddenly fall into our laps.  Instead, we are invited to walk the talk by taking both a foundational as well as a symptomatic approach.

Foundational Approach

The foundational approach to choosing Love over fear requires us to

1) Sit down

2) Shut up

3) Listen

4) Be open to hearing and experiencing God/Truth/Love/Peace

5) Discern the voice of Love/Truth/God from the voice of the ego

5) Dare to believe and trust what we discern to be from God

6) Do what we are told

In theistic terms, it is about cultivating some sort of daily spiritual practice which allows us to take time to be quiet and listen to the voice of God/Truth within.  This spiritual practice can take any number of forms:  meditation, prayer, contemplation, painting, drawing, writing, cooking, gardening, singing, running, making love, or as one friend recently shared with me – watching reality TV.  The point is that we are doing something to connect with the Energy and Presence of LOVE/TRUTH – the love that holds us, comforts us, guides us and yes, sometimes DRIVES US CRAZY!  (I don’t know about you, but suddenly discovering “speaking in tongues” as a “gift” in my still emerging repertoire of  charisms is not something that gives me peace!)  Cultivating a daily spiritual practice builds the foundation, cultivates the soil and provides nourishment out of which Love/Truth/God can take root and grow within us.

Symptomatic Approach

The symptomatic approach to birthing the New World is about getting right with our sh.t!  One of the great hallmarks of the Old World is an on-going pattern of projection.  Instead of owning our own fears, healing our wounds, confronting our shadow (the parts of ourselves we reject, suppress or repress), we project them on to others making “them” the source of our pain, discontent and fear.  It often goes like this:

1) We have unnamed and unmanaged anxiety.

2) We have embraced a coping mechanism for dealing with this anxiety which includes anticipatory planning – rolling around and around in our minds all the possible scenarios which might cause us to feel discomfort and then we try to facilitate the scenario which seems most likely to calm our anxiety.

3) Our partner or spouse comes in and does something outside this “peaceful” scenario.  We feel anxious and disturbed and are sure it is the other’s fault for causing this pain.  When in fact, it is our anxiety, not theirs.


1) We have anxiety.

2) Instead of naming the anxiety, we decide it must be something in our environment which is causing this unease – maybe it is the color of the living room walls, maybe it is the size of our house, maybe it is our co-worker who seems to be more successful, perhaps it is the car in front of us who is driving too slow.

3) We make the “other” the enemy, then we obsess about the disturbance and formulate ways to make it better.

4) We try one of the ideas we thought up in our head.

5) Either the Universe falls in on us….or the anxiety quickly returns.  Now we are off looking for the next thing to “fix.”

Taking Care of our own Sh.t!

The symptomatic approach to creating an environment in which the New World can arise, challenges us to STOP making everyone else and everything else the enemy and to OWN OUR OWN SH.T! When we see ourselves making the other the enemy:

1) Sit with the icky feeling – anger, rage, frustration, impatience.

2) Acknowledge that there is something in this feeling that is YOURS!

3) Sit with the feeling and identify the FEAR which is driving the feeling – from Authentic Freedom, the fear might be one of the following:

  • There is not enough (time, money, love, sex, accomplishments, success, things, etc.)
  • That you have nothing to contribute to the world.
  • That you are unable to be the person God made you to be.
  • That you are not loved/love.
  • That you are not free to express your truth.
  • That you do not know your truth or your path.
  • That you are alone.  You have to do it alone.  And you CAN do it alone.

4) Once you have identified the fear/fears (99% of the work is naming the fear), invite God/Love/Truth to heal that fear.

5) Now, in your heart, ask “the other” for forgiveness – for the way in which you made them the enemy.

6) If appropriate, speak with the other about the process you just accomplished.  Owning our sh.t opens the door to authentic intimacy….something that will be a hallmark of the New World!

7) Then….move on.

Lauri Lumby is available for one-on-one mentoring, providing assistance for your own journey toward birthing the New World.  Call (920) 230-1313 or email to schedule your session.

Posted in Authentic Freedom, creativity, Discernment, Divine Revelation, Freedom, Gifts of Contemplation, Inspiration, Midlife Journey, Spiritual Practices, Surrender, Truth

Our Heart’s Desire

Our Heart’s Desire

Whether we admit it or not, each of us are in search of our heart’s desire – the quest of the Soul to fulfill its mission and to be the person God/dess made us to be.  Being the person God/dess made us to be leads us to a life that is fulfilling, joy-filled, rooted in contentment and peace, compassion and love.  For many of us, the search for our heart’s desire is most acute during midlife, mostly because up until now, we have suppressed this desire.  If midlife arrives and we have not yet obtained our heart’s desire, the Soul shows up to stir things up, making our lives messy enough that we begin to question, search and explore the origin of our seemingly insatiable restlessness, impatience, frustration, resentment and even rage.

Finding the Answer

The answer to the question, “What is my heart’s desire?  What is the mission of my Soul,” is not to be found outside of us, though that is where, for many of us, the search begins.  Neither is the answer to this question discovered in or through our intellect.  Nay……the answer to our heart’s desire is safely protected in the hands of God (Goddess, Higher Self, Higher Power, Presence, Essence, Bliss….whatever name you use to identify that which is beyond).  Only the Divine has knowledge of our highest self, of the purpose for which we were placed upon this big ball of mud, and the life that will make us feel fulfilled, joyful and content and through which we are called to serve the betterment of the world.  Only God knows who and what God made us to be.  That is, however, until we ask.  But simply asking is not enough, for once we ask, we have to listen, truly listen, then we have to BELIEVE and RESPOND.



Asking to know our heart’s desire, the mission of our soul is comprised of a simple formula:  SIT DOWN…..SHUT UP……LISTEN.  🙂  In other words, we find the answer to our heart’s desire through meditation, contemplation and prayer.  In order to hear the still, small, voice of God, we have to quiet our restless minds and our troubled hearts.  We need to be quiet and patiently wait for God to speak.  And when God speaks, we need to listen.


Listening for God’s voice involves the skills of discernment.  Discernment is the process through which we distinguish the voice of God from the voice of our ego/false self.  The voice of God is recognized in feelings of peaceful expansiveness.  The voice of the ego is cloaked in fear.  God speaks of love, contentment, fulfillment and joy (though our ego may respond in fear to God’s voice.).  The ego desires for us to remain in status quo – to remain content in the perceived surety of the known and familiar.  God calls us to grow and to change.


The greatest obstacle, once we have heard God’s voice, is doubt.  We wonder, “how can I know for certain that what I think I’m hearing is actually God or truth?”  The hard truth is that we don’t.  All we can do is try it on for size.  Believing God’s voice requires a leap of faith and what I have come to call, spiritual obedience.


As Mary said to the angel Gabriel, “Let it be done to me according to your word,”  this is the attitude we must embrace if we are to truly find our way to our heart’s desire and the fulfillment of Soul.  If we wish to know contentment, joy, love, compassion and freedom in our lives, we have to set aside the desires of the ego, and be open to the path of our highest good, which comes from God.  Spiritual obedience invites us to listen to the voice of God, trust it is God speaking and then act….sometimes with blind obedience.  Most often, we do not know the outcome of Divine directives, all we know is how we are being invited to act IN THE MOMENT.  We have to trust the direction given, and blindly adhere to this, having no attachment to the outcome, but knowing and trusting that it will lead us on the path of our highest good.  Mary, believed and trusted in the angel’s instructions and accepted the invitation of her Soul, knowing that it would be a controversial and difficult decision, but trusting it as the path of her highest good.  And thank God she did because otherwise we wouldn’t have Jesus – one of the greatest spiritual teachers to ever have walked this planet.  And speaking of spiritual obedience, Jesus was obedient, even to the point of death, so that we too would one day have the opportunity to know the truth that Jesus came to know and the truth that eventually got him killed.  Jesus refused to recant on his knowledge of his Oneness with God – the same state of Oneness he hoped we would one day also come to know.  We are invited, like Mary, to let our lives be done according to God’s word….not ours. And like Jesus, we are invited to strictly adhere to the truth that God would reveal to us, regardless of what the outside perceived authorities might want us to do.

No one said it was going to be easy

No, the path of our heart’s desire, the fulfillment of our Soul is not an easy path.  Accepting the path of the Soul sets us outside the fold and asks us to overcome not only our fears, but the very force of our Ego – that which we spent half a lifetime creating and clinging to.  If, however, we want to know peace, contentment, freedom, fulfillment and love within ourselves and if we want to help to serve the betterment of the world, our heart’s desire – the path of our Soul is the only choice.  “Let it be done to us according to God/dess’s word.”

Posted in creativity, Empowerment, Freedom, Gifts of Contemplation, Inspiration, Midlife Journey, Returning book, temptation

From Darkness into the Light

The journey of birthing our Soul – the unique way we are creatively and spiritually gifted to find meaning, purpose, connection and fulfillment – involves a significant amount of shadow work.  Through shadow work, we are called to bring what is in the darkness into the light – our fears, unhealed wounds and all the resistance that are currently standing as obstacles to the birth of our creativity and spiritual fulfillment.


The Unique Quality of Soul

SOUL is the unique way we are creatively gifted to find meaning, purpose and connection. Soul, when engaged, leaves us feeling fulfilled, content and whole.  As human beings, we are driven to become the person God/dess created us to be.  We are genetically, spiritually, creatively implanted with something invisible deep inside us that determines the unique and magnificent way we are creatively gifted to make the world a better place.  Like an acorn, when given the proper nourishment, support and protection, that has no choice but to grow into an oak, we too are driven to be who God/dess made us to be when given the proper nourishment, support and protection.  Also, like the acorn and the oak, part of our own cycle of growth includes spending time in the darkness and pushing our way through the soil/obstacles to our spiritual and creative germination, growth and eventual maturity.

Hiding in the Darkness

In the darkness where the acorn rests waiting for the right moment of ripeness when the sprouts of the oak begin to erupt out of the acorn shell in its journey toward becoming the oak, there is silence.  Hidden within our darkness is silence, but also lurking there are all of our fears, unhealed wounds and all the resistance of the false-self that does not want us to become our magnificently creatively gifted self.  Fears that say:

  • there is not enough time, money, safety, security, support, love, to tend to our gifts
  • that our gifts are insignificant and unimportant or that we don’t really have any gifts to speak of
  • I can’t be the person God/dess created us to be or that we are not free to express our truth (for fear of rejection)
  • that we will not be loved for sharing our gift
  • that we don’t know our gift or that we don’t know enough to tend to or share that gift and the fear that we are alone

Along with our fears are all of our unhealed wounds:

  • times we have been criticized or condemned for our gifts
  • rejected because of our uniqueness
  • told we are unimportant or don’t matter
  • made to feel as if our needs are without value or shamed for daring to ask for our needs to be met
  • times we have been betrayed, hurt, lied to, where love has been denied us or taken away

Finally, there is the voice of the false self clinging to what it knows, its false sense of security and surety for what is known and its desperate fear of change.

The Only Way Out is Through

In order to grow from an acorn to an oak, the acorn has to push forth through the acorn shell and its shoots have to reach out through the darkness of the soil toward the light of day.  The human journey of birthing the Soul is no different.  The only way for our Soul to emerge from the darkness where it hides into the light is through the soil of our fears, unhealed wounds and resistance.  In order for the Soul to begin the ascent from the darkness, we must confront every one of these fears, make peace with them, heal them where possible and move on through.  In the birth of the Soul, the only way out is through, and the greatest gift we can offer to the Soul that is trying to be born is PRESENCE.  When we have the courage to BE with our fears, sit with them and let them speak to us, they eventually find their release or simply step aside so we can walk on through as we move one step closer to the realization of our Soul and the fulfillment that is the gift in its realization.

SOUL is the unique way you are creatively gifted to find meaning, purpose and connection. Soul, when engaged, leaves you feeling fulfilled, content and whole.  My mission is to help you BIRTH YOUR SOUL.  To schedule a one-on-one mentoring session or to inquire about classes, workshops and retreats, call me at (920) 230-1313 or email

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Gifts of Contemplation, Healing, Initiation, Midlife Journey, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Practices

Spiritual Healing for our Addictions – Retreat Invitation

Dear Readers,

balanceI am writing to extend to you an invitation.  For the past 14 days, I have been engaged in a 30-day “in the world” spiritual healing retreat.  Through this self-imposed spiritual healing retreat, I am discovering profound insight and experiencing dramatic transformation while unraveling from a series of pesky compulsive behaviors (dare I say, addictions). Thanks in part to this spiritual healing retreat (with a healthy dose of GRACE), the world as I have known it and as I have defined it has literally shifted poles.  (Just check out my new website design to get an idea!)

I am inviting you, if you feel so called, to design a 30-day, “in the world” spiritual healing retreat of your own.  (I am calling this an “in the world” retreat because you aren’t going anywhere but staying present to your everyday life.) Here is how it works:

1) Identify your most pervasive compulsive behaviors/addictions (tv watching, eating, shopping, drinking for comfort, excessive worry, distractions such as Facebook, checking emails more than twice a day, etc.).

2) Meditate on the underlying emotions that may be driving these behaviors/addictions (loneliness, boredom, jealousy, impatience, resentment, hatred, grief, depressions, anxiety, etc.).

3) Choose for the next 30 days to avoid the compulsive behaviors/addictions and instead, to allow yourself to FEEL the underlying emotions.   Every time you feel compelled to indulge in one of your compulsive behaviors, choose instead to BE WITH and FEEL the underlying emotions.  Allow these emotions to speak to you.  They are there because they have something to say to you and are seeking your loving attention and care.  Allow yourself to be a loving attendant to these feelings and SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

4) Keep a journal/diary dedicated to this retreat.  Write what the underlying emotions are saying to you.  Record your thoughts and reflections on this.  Observe and record any changes that begin to happen in your life because you are tending to these underlying emotions instead of medicating them with your compulsive behaviors.

5) If you feel called to be in community with others through this journey, please join us on the “Contemplatives and Mystics” site on Facebook.  You will have to send a request to be invited, and once your request is activated, you will be able to share your thoughts, reflections, etc. from the retreat.  Please keep comments accepting and loving, affirming and positive.  We are here to support each other in the journey to our Soul’s birth.  🙂

6) If you find you need additional support as you move through this process or find things showing up that need additional care, please seek the support of a Spiritual Director, Therapist or Loving Friend.  (PS I am available as a source of professional support, but this is not intended as a solicitation…just a reminder).

If you decide to participate in this retreat, you can RSVP to this site in the comment section below. This serves two purposes

  • Stating your intention publicly makes it real and helps you to remain accountable.
  • Let’s other participants keep you in their loving prayers and support as you move through the retreat.

Thank you to those who say yes to this invitation….more importantly, YOUR SOUL says THANK YOU!  😉

Ok…..for those ready to dive in….On your mark…..get set……GO!

And, as one of my teachers always says, “May peace be your journey!”


Lauri Lumby, Midwife to your Soul

(920) 230-1313

Posted in Discernment, Gifts of Contemplation, God, Inspiration, Mystics

Listening to God – Guest Blogger Bill Tonnis

Today’s blog post comes from Bill Tonnis, musician, pastoral minister, hospital chaplain (in training) and contemplative.  Thank you Bill for pointing out the unexpected ways that God finds us and calls us to ourselves and to our purpose in this life.  See Bill’s bio below, but more importantly, check out Bill’s website for his music and to learn more about his journey! 

Listening to God

Bill Tonnis 001

Praying is something I did a lot of in my life…but it was all “one-way” praying as in ME doing all the talking and God doing all the listening. It wasn’t until I was quite miserable with how I had engineered my life that I actually listened to what God might have to say. It took a flood…literally…for me to shut up and listen. After covering the major flood of the Ohio River the entire first week of March in 1997 as a radio news journalist, I sank into my couch at home and in total exhaustion and misery from a lack of fulfillment I simply told God, “I give up.” It was in the silence of my surrender that I “heard” in my heart a voice that said, “Get your guitar.” This made no sense since I hadn’t even touched that guitar in ten years and had hardly played it since I was a teen. But the experience was so strong that I couldn’t deny it. Fast-forward 16 years later and I am: releasing my third album of original Contemporary Christian Music; have a web site and daily devotional on my blog titled “Today’s Contemplation; have completed a Masters Degree in Religious Studies; have become a youth minister and music minister; am halfway through Clinical Pastoral Education (chaplaincy training); and my whole life is built around “listening” to God speak to me in the silence.

It seems so counter-intuitive in our culture to simply sit in silence and listen. There is no “doing”…just “being.” I’m sure you’ve heard the clever line about us being human “beings” and not human “doings”…but there is a profound truth there. One of the major influences in my contemplative journey has been the Catholic Monk Thomas Merton. I found a kindred spirit to help lead me from following my “false self” to discovering my “true self.” Never mind that Merton has been dead for nearly 50 years. The words of his books spoke directly to my soul. Lectio Divina each morning followed by a quiet time of centering prayer made all the difference. While I have no idea what God has in store for me next…the inner peace and fulfillment I am finding in each moment makes the journey an exciting adventure. As I pursue God in the silence…my false self diminishes while my true self rises.

Bill Tonnis, formerly a radio journalist, now works as the Pastoral Associate for Outreach at Our Lady of the Visitation Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He shares his talent and testimony at schools, churches, meetings, conferences, youth groups and retreats. He has created a ministry presentation titled “Listen – Live – Give… Find Your Voice” focusing on how to live your calling and to be disciples for Christ.  In 2007, Bill Tonnis released his debut CD titled LISTEN TO YOUR HEART. His follow-up CD, titled LIVE TO LOVE was released in 2009. Then in 2013, Bill’s third album titled GIVE PRAISE AND THANKS was released. The songs on these projects represent a variety of musical styles, but the constant theme is that it is never too late to find YOUR voice…to become your “true self” and to help build the kingdom of God.

Posted in Gifts of Contemplation, Inspiration, Jesus, Mystics, Spiritual Practices

Just Sit! Guest Blogger Steve Makar

When gathering contributors for this series on mysticism and the contemplative life, I couldn’t NOT ask one of my dearest friends and trusted companions on the spiritual path.  Steve and I have journeyed together through the twists and turns of life including marriage, divorce, children (I am honored to be the godmother of his son), ministry and just plain stuff.  I am grateful for all the ways Steve has been a source of support for me in my life and ministry and he, along with the woman he loves, hold a very special place in my heart.  Thank you Steve for your characteristically Zen conciseness.  I admire how you can say in only a few words what it has taken me a lifetime to express!  I love you brother!

Just Sit: Reflections on the Contemplative Life, from a Male Perspective


Christian Zen integrates Zen Meditation with Christian Contemplation. In this practice, men and women are invited to “be still and listen” (Psalm 46). One form of stillness in Christian Zen is sitting meditation (zazen). For me, the diligent practice of zazen offers insight into why it is important for me to practice sitting meditation. It helps me to remember my true nature, and live accordingly.

What is this true nature or “Big Self?” Are there male and female dimensions of Big Self? My short answer: I do not know. I can, however, offer some reflections on the contemplative life from a male perspective.

The heart is of primary interest in my Christian Zen practice. It is the “hearts of men” that Jesus emphasized. Similarly, the “Heart Sutra” is a central teaching in Mahayana Buddhism. In the stillness of sitting meditation is a spaciousness that allows gratitude and compassion for my male experience.

As a son, my heart aches when I sit with the joys of spontaneous play; the adventurous exploration of the deep woods, and the carefree flow of an aimless day.

As a father, my heart aches when I sit with the love of my son, and reflect on the teaching that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only son” (John 3:16).

As a partner, my heart aches when I sit with the great souled desire for intimacy, and the mystery of solitude greeting solitude.

And when the ache within the aches becomes too great to bear, I let go and just sit. I let go of my need to win, and to be right, and to have more, and even to understand. As I let go, I return to the moment.

May you listen with loving attentiveness to the present moment. May you remain at peace, free from unnecessary suffering.

May you practice steady beginner’s mind, and see things as they are. May you awake to your true nature, and live accordingly.


Steve Makar has been a student and teacher of the integrative practice of Christian Zen for more than 10 years. With a PhD in accounting and international economics, he also integrates the solitude of research with the ministry of teaching. Steve is a father of a teenage son, and partner with the woman he loves.