Posted in grief, world changes

Mass Shootings – Today I’m Just Tired

Yesterday we heard news of our 251st, 252nd and 253rd mass shootings.  I don’t need to rehash the details here…..we all know – angry, hateful men with automatic weapons unloading their hatred on crowds of innocent people. People who are innocent in our minds, but guilty in the minds of the murderers for simply being born a certain race, religion, sexual orientation – or whatever other reason these domestic terrorists choose them as their victims.

And terrorists are exactly who and what they are.  As our nation claims to be fighting terrorism worldwide, the real terrorism is right here within our own borders, and the terrorists are U.S. citizens – the vast majority of them White. Men.

I could get into the politics of all this, or bring up questions about the second amendment.  I could go on and on about the socio-political, psychological roots of domestic terrorism.  I could talk about toxic masculinity.  I could bring up the fear, hatred, ignorance, etc. that causes one man to hate another.  I could discuss the stresses of our culture and the fear and anxiety that cause young men to kill others.  I could pull out the millions of threads that are at the heart of violence and hatred in America…

But quite frankly, I’m too f’ing tired.

 

Yesterday afternoon, I sat on my patio and cried.  I wept for every single thing that is wrong with our country and every single thing that has created the environment where 253 mass shootings can take place within a 215 day period.  I wept for the victims and their families.  I wept for the universal feeling of helplessness where literally the best we can come up with is “thoughts and prayers.”

What are we to do in the face of such a deep, pervasive, systemic issue?  Gun control isn’t the only answer.  And quite frankly, it might not be the answer.  If someone in this country wants to get ahold of a killing weapon, whether they are legal or not, they will find a way to get one.  (“The Troubles” in Ireland are a not too distant memory to remind us of how easy it is to get killing machines in a nation where guns are illegal.)

Even more pointedly, shooting people with guns has really nothing to do with guns.  It has to do with everything else that creates so much fear or hatred in another human being that they want to kill.  It has to do with everything that creates an environment that supports murder as the appropriate outlet.  It has to do with everything that deprives human beings of the ability to be formed into healthy, whole individuals with effective tools for managing their anxiety….and everything to do with a culture that supports separation over compassion and love.

In my heart and in my mind, it is our culture that is to blame – a narcissistic, self-centered, materialistic, consumeristic, individualistic, racist, sexist culture where “every man is for himself.” 

We have done this to ourselves.  We have created the culture and the environment in which it is possible to have 253 mass shootings in 215 days.  Seriously……WTF?

I’m tired.  Just tired.   And if you are reading this, I bet you are too.

Like many I know, I’m at a loss for what to do or how to respond.  The best I can do is pray (I do believe in the power of AUTHENTIC prayer) and choose NOT to live in that world.  I can make the choice for love, but until those who are part of the pervasive American culture choose otherwise, we will only have more of the same.

Today I’m tired and I’m sad for a world that continues to choose hatred over love, separation over connection, ignorance over understanding and fear over compassion.

I’m just tired.

 

 

 

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, detachment, grief, Inspiration, Surrender

Saying Goodbye

A week ago Tuesday, I awoke to the voice of (I’m not sure who – Spirit, The Mother, God, My Higher Self) speaking these words to me:

Say Goodbye.

How appropriate these words are as I face the end of an era. The life as I have known it has drawn to a close and all that defined that life has come to an end.  Or rather, the purpose of that era has drawn to a close.  I am tempted to point to church stuff, changing the world, Mary Magdalene, etc. as being the purpose of the past nearly 20 years, but in truth, the deeper purpose seems to have been for one thing and one thing only –

My own healing.

While the externals that gave expression to the past 20 years has been about God, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Church stuff, wanting to heal and change the world, creating a space in which people can find support in their own spiritual exploration and journey toward self-actualization……at the core of all of it has been my own healing. Every book I have written, every course that I have created came first out of my own personal experience of being open to the Universe giving me what I needed to find healing and in receiving this healing, discovering MYSELF. I then took what I found to be supportive and formed it into a structure that could be shared with others for the sake of their own journey of healing from their past so as to discover themselves. Looking at the lives of those I’ve supported, I have to say I think I’ve done a pretty good job (PS I’m pretty sure this piece is NOT coming to an end).

As this era comes to a close and is ritualized by a literal physical move (from the home we have enjoyed for the past 6 ½ years), I’m letting it all go. I’ve grieved through this transition.  I’ve said goodbye to cherished objects, personal labels, dreams of riches and fame, attachments to outcomes and even the hope of a specific kind of love and the dream of a regular life with a regular job.  I’ve grieved the loss of the home we have loved and in which not only myself, but my children have found healing.  I’ve grieved the loss of a routine that I’ve known.  And most importantly, I’ve grieved the loss of the familiar life in which I’ve lived which has been defined mostly by isolation, illness, depression, poverty and loss (bahbye!).

I do not know what is waiting for me on the other side of this transition, but I am grateful for what has been and open to the opportunities that will present themselves in this letting go. I figure if the Universe is inviting me into this depth of emptying, something ENORMOUS must be coming to fill its place.

To whatever that is I say “Hello.”

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in End of the World Prophecies, grief, Mystics, world changes

How I Know Where We’re Headed

  • -Because I’ve Been Here Before!

On Sunday this week, I posted my blog with the challenging question: Will You Survive the Collapse? It is not uncommon, after sending words like that into the ethers that people ask me, “How can you claim to know this?  How do you know?”  The unscientific response is, “I just know.”  But there is also a response based in science – specifically the science of applied knowledge gained through experience: I’ve been here before.

Now, I’m not talking about some whoo-whoo past life memory. I’m talking about experiences I’ve had in this life.  The experience is this:  nearly every single  company/institution I worked for, or with, went through some sort of cataclysmic change. Indeed, with this, you might call me the harbinger of doom.  But really, their collapse was not my fault.  I just happened to be there to witness it’s unfolding and the resulting collapse.  I was also there to be hospice to the dying and to remain, as long as I could stand it, as some other form was trying to be born.

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It happened waaaayyyy back in the day when I worked for AT&T. It happened when I worked for St. Mary Resort in Glacier Park, Montana. It happened with a local company who went through a massive downsizing.  It happened during my employment with the Catholic Church – not once, but five times, not including the cataclysmic change that happened under the reign of Joseph Ratzinger (aka Pope Benedict XVI).  And it happened with the University where I did my graduate studies.

In every situation, the pattern was the same:

A time of great hope and expansion struck fear in the hearts of those ill-prepared for change, which then inspired a longing for the nostalgia of some idealized past, quickly followed by a dramatic pulling back that ultimately led to the death of what had been known.

Each. And. Every. Time.

This is exactly what is happening in our culture today – only on a much larger scale. Not everyone sees this, as it requires Eagle Vision to see how we have come to this…and where we are likely headed.  Fortunately, Eagle Vision is one of my gifts.

We have experienced profound and dramatic changes in our culture – just in my lifetime:

  • Manufacturing has been replaced by information and technology.
  • Our definition of family and the family web has profoundly changed.
  • Our cultural awareness of diversity has greatly expanded.
  • We have become more mobile and our communication is now global.
  • Our economy has shifted from local to national and now global.
  • We have access to more information than any generation previous to ours.

As these expansions are happening, we are also finding that we can no longer trust those institutions we used to rely on for guidance and support. This includes the many institutions, with whom we used to place our trust, who are now in the midst of their own collapse:

  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Banking and Finance
  • Government
  • Religion
  • Corporations
  • The Military
  • The Economy

With all of this expansion, and the dramatic change that is accompanying this expansion, those ill-equipped or uncomfortable with change, have pulled back. They are retreating into the nostalgia of some idealized past where everyone was “happy, safe, housed and fed” – a past that has existed only in their imagination. With this, we are witnessing an upsurge in ‘isms – sexism, racism, orientationism, nationalism, beliefism, etc. etc. etc.  Instead of taking responsibility for the anxiety being experienced in the face of change, fingers are being pointed and entire populations scapegoated as the “enemy.”

All of this is how I know where we are headed. I have been here before.  I also know what it takes to survive and move through cataclysmic change as I have accompanied hundreds through similar change.

  1. Be honest. Acknowledge the death that is happening and the fear that accompanies death.
  2. Be hospice to the dying. Support people in acknowledging their fear and the grief that is arising in the face of the loss.  Provide them with support in moving through the fears and the accompanying faces of grief (shock, denial, bargaining, depression, anger, sorrow).  In being hospice, DO NOT INSULT those who are grieving with frivolous distractions (for example, the “joy in the workplace” initiative recently launched by the administration of an institution who shall not be named which is facing its own collapse.  “Scared that your job might be eliminated?  Join us at noon and learn how to make a potholder.” WHAT!?) Instead, be with them WHEREVER they are in their grieving process.  (PS Institution who shall not be named.  I’m still here offering my services in change and grief management because from what I can see and what I’m hearing from your employees, clearly, “you don’t got this!”)
  3. Give them something to hope in.  With every death comes the promise of new life – for those who have the courage to believe and the willingness to see the glimpses of the new life that is arising out of the ash of the old.  Point out those glimmers of new life and encourage others to support that new life.

The demise of what we have known is already happening and will soon be accelerating. I know this because I have been here before.  If I am proved wrong, I will be the first to admit I was wrong and shout hurray at the glorious revival of western culture.  In the meantime, I’m here if you want to talk about your fears, process your grief, and gather the support which will help you move through the death to the new life that will, indeed happen, and is already happening.

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Lauri Ann Lumby holds a Master’s Degree in Transpersonal Psychology and is a trained Spiritual Counselor and Educator. She is available for one-on-one sessions and has created a wide variety of online courses to help support you through the death of the old world and the birthing of the new. Call (920) 230-1313 to schedule an appointment or email lauri@authenticfreedom.love.

 

 

 

 

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 Authentic Freedom, codependency, Empowerment, grief, Healing, Lessons, Spiritual Formation

My Purpose is Love

Finding the new life on the other side of the loss.

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2016 marks the end of a nine year cycle that began in 2007. For me, the theme of this cycle has been about endings – specifically, the end of my marriage and the end of my relationship with the Catholic Church.  Of course, both relationships will never truly be over as there are blood ties to both, but the process of the past nine years has been typical of the grieving process we must all face with every death/ending.  I have felt shock, denial, bargaining, depression, anger, hatred, fear and deep, deep, bone-deep/soul-deep sadness.  I have wandered back and forth between all faces of grief, finding my way through the losses, hoping and trusting (sometimes only hoping and pleading) that the excruciating pain was leading me toward some new life that I did not yet know, but is always promised on the other side of loss (if we believe the Easter promise).

To say these losses were excruciating would be an understatement. Both completely shattered and put into question what I believed my purpose to be on this planet.  I was certain that when I married it would be forever (ahhhh the naiveté of youth!).  I also believed that I would be forever content working in the Catholic Church and that the Church valued my gifts and the call that came with those gifts.  (hah!).

But then, I woke up. I woke up to the illusion of my marriage and my illusion of the Catholic Church.  I woke up, and it all began to fall apart.  Not because my former husband was in the wrong, not because the Church was wrong, but because I discovered what was right for me.  I saw the truth and could not bear living with the lie.  So, my relationship with both had to go.  And I can tell you this was the hardest letting go I have ever had to do.  But, this was only the beginning.

As I let go of one illusion, and then two, many, many, many more presented themselves and implored me for their release. The last two years, in particular, has been characterized by a letting go, the likes of which I have never known.  EVERTHING I thought I knew about myself, everything I had attached myself to, everything I hoped and dreamed of for myself and my children, EVERYTHING had to go.  Or rather, I had to be willing to let it go.  So I did….but not without some resistance.  And when I found myself clinging, the Universe made damn sure I let go, even if what I was clinging to had to be pried from my cold, dead, fingers.

As the end of this nine year cycle approaches I am conscious of all that I have let go and out of the debris of loss, a new life appears to be coming forth. It is a new life that I could never have imagined when this cycle started nine lifetimes ago.  This new life is as simple as it is profound – it is a new life defined by and recognized by one thing….and that is LOVE.

Out of the fear, the worry, anxiousness, hatred, rage, the desire for karmic retribution and some sort of Divine justice, deep bone chilling sadness, emptiness, loneliness, depression and all the ways I desperately wanted to wish and bargain it all away, LOVE is coming forth. Love of myself for who I am.  Love of the journey that brought me here.  Love for those who played their role with such perfection.  Love of all the ways in which I have grown and healed, and become a better version of myself because of the loss and all the ways in which I supported myself (and allowed myself to receive support) through this loss.  LOVE.

But not simply love as an inner experience or quality – LOVE as my own purpose and superpower! Because if there is one thing I have learned through this nine year cycle, every single time I wanted to hate, every time I wanted revenge, every time I wanted to harbor anger and resentment, my SOUL would not let me.  And oh, believe me, I have tried.  Over and over and over again, I was led to learn that LOVE was the only answer to all the pain.  LOVE was the only answer to my own desire to separate.  LOVE was the only remedy to my own inner sense of separation and the only path to FREEDOM.  If I truly wanted to be free, I had no other choice but to love – even when all I wanted to do was hate.  So love it was, love it is, and love it has become.

And now as I sit with this awareness of LOVE as the new life that came forth from two life-altering losses, and as this nine year comes to an end and we enter into a “10” year – a year of new beginnings, I wonder what else love will have me do.

Authentic Freedom is the process that I developed and then used to support myself through my waking up and the resulting loss.  Learn more about the Authentic Freedom Mastery Program through this FREE preview course.  Click on the icon below to register:

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Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Divine Revelation, God, grief, Inspiration, Jesus

We Are Our Own Saviors (or God Does Not Save Part II)

(Read Part I HERE).

It is an interesting thing when you suddenly realize that the “God” you were taught to believe in, put all your faith in and to whom you have devoted your life was never there for you. For me, this is a realization and an awakening that has been a long time coming, so when it showed up, I knew what to do with it.  I simply let the realization be and allowed the “old man in the sky God” to die.  With this death, I have allowed myself to be present to the grieving (rage, sorrow, mind-numbing paralysis, depression) as a “New” God is being born within me.

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But here’s the funny thing…..there is no “New” God being born in me, instead, it is the LOVE that has always been present within me, guiding me, supporting me, protecting me, comforting me, healing me, and loving me….taking center stage. This LOVE has always been there, whispering truth to me and showing me the way.

This LOVE is the “kingdom of God” that Jesus spoke of as residing “within and among you.” The “God” that Jesus knew was the LOVE that dwelled within him.  This “God” was also the LOVE that dwells within every human being.  This “God” is also the LOVE that made up and encompassed all of creation.  This is the LOVE that Jesus wanted all of us to know.

From a Genesis perspective, I think of it as: “God was (or is)” (spirit, source, energy, etc.) and then “God Became.” The Spark that is God split into a gazillion pieces and became everything we see in creation, including ourselves.  Jesus knew this “God” as “Love” and this “Love” is what dwells within us and IS us in our becoming.  I know, it’s a little mind-blowing….especially if all we ever knew before was the God “out there.”  But when we really think about it, we already know this God who is LOVE that dwells within us.  Let me offer a few examples of this knowing from my own life:

  • This LOVE told me who I could trust and who to be wary of.
  • This LOVE told me (tells me) when people are lying….it also tells me when I’m lying to myself.
  • This LOVE tells me when I am venturing down the wrong path, and it tells me through bodily sensations of unease and sometimes even guilt.
  • This LOVE told me NOT to get into the car of the strange man who offered to give me a ride as I was walking to the bus stop as a teenager.
  • This LOVE picked my foot off the gas pedal and slammed it down on the brake just in time to miss a van barreling through a red light at 60mph, saving myself and my children from sure death.
  • This LOVE helped me to recognize the educational opportunities that would support my Soul’s purpose.
  • This LOVE helps me to recognize the personal and professional opportunities consistent with my Soul’s purpose and gives me the courage and tenacity to pursue them.
  • This LOVE helps me to recognize those who will be my friends, supportive business colleagues and resources in support of my Soul’s purpose.

 

In short, this LOVE is ME trying to be ME – the ME that the “God spark” within me decided it wanted to be in deciding to be ME. This LOVE knows why it came here and who it came to be through me and it supports me in knowing and finding all I need to experience in order to be ME.  This LOVE also lets me know when I am entering into experiences that will not be supportive of the ME I came here to be.

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What is true for me is also true for you. We all KNOW this LOVE that is within us and we all hear the voice of this LOVE trying to support us in being who we came here to be.  We know this LOVE in the tiny whispering voice of our intuition.  We know this LOVE in those moments of deep inner knowing that guides us.  This LOVE communicates to us through our dreams and our imagination.  This LOVE helps us to recognize books, movies, TV shows that will feed us and which will bore us to death.  The key to knowing this LOVE is to PAY ATTENTION…..and TRUST.  It turns out, unlike the “old man in the sky God” who may or may not keep us safe or protect us from harm, LOVE will never lead us astray.  And when the consequences of the human condition (disappointment, loss, suffering and death) show up at our door, LOVE helps us find our way through, supports us in our healing, and helps us to find the new life on the other side of the loss.

It is through this LOVE that we find we are our own saviors and that in fact, there is nothing from which we need saving. The LOVE that dwells in us is simply here to be LOVE and to be that LOVE more and more each day.  When we embrace this truth we realize that all there is is love and that love is all there is.  Salvation comes when we realize this truth.

 

Posted in grief, Raised Catholic

The Cyclical Nature of Grief

Yesterday, and old grief was triggered in me, along with all the symptoms that have come along with this grief – deep sorrow, rage, hatred, anxiety, panic, trembling, emotional and intellectual paralysis, nausea, upset stomach, etc.  When I found I could not even give words to what I was feeling, I turned to my blog archives and found exactly the words I needed to hear – the words that clearly articulated my grief and the loss surrounding this grief.  In this I have been reminded of how grief continues to come back around seeking another layer of healing.  Thank you those who shall remain nameless for inviting me into another layer of healing and to the gift of God’s healing presence. 

The Church That Turned Away from Me

(originally posted on Good Friday, 2015)

Copyright 2015  Lauri Ann Lumby

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For the past eight years, I have been fasting from the Eucharist.  To one on the outside looking in, I might be accused of turning away from my Church.  The opposite in fact is true.  It is the Church that turned away from me.

As a Vatican II Catholic, raised in a Vatican II Church, I have had a unique experience of Catholicism, markedly different from the generations that went before me.  I never experienced the Latin mass or was drilled on the Baltimore Catechism.  I attended Saturday evening folk mass accompanied by Kumbaya’s, Up, Up with People, and To Be Alive! Fish on Friday was reserved for Lent.  Ecumenical dialogue was encouraged and instead of Heaven being the privilege of Catholics only, the pearly gates stood open to all who lived in love. I was brought up with a rock n’ roll Jesus Christ Superstar who in his humanness pleaded to be released while weeping tears of blood at Gethsemane and to whom we desired to “see more clearly, love more dearly and follow more nearly,” as he danced around us in rainbow striped suspenders, sporting a Superman t-shirt.  Speaking out on matters of social injustice and working for peace; feeding the poor, clothing the naked and setting captives free was the understood responsibility of every person sitting in the pew.  Divine retribution and punishment had been left on the editing floor of the Holy See – along with indulgences; and even the unbaptized had a place in God’s loving kingdom. The only God I knew was the God of love. Jesus came to know this love and taught us how to love and was set up as the model and example of how every Christian was called to live.  We were called to be Jesus’ hands and heart through the unique charisms gifted to us by God’s Holy Spirit (sometimes even spoken of as a woman!).

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This is the Church I grew up in and the Church that I deeply loved.  Strengthening this bond was the mass that provided sanctuary and support for my inherently contemplative nature. Gothic arches, painted statues and stained glass windows serenaded by artistic soul.  And the stand up, kneel down, bow and sit of Catholic choreography nourished my need for a spirituality that was as much physical as it was emotional and intellectual. Devotion to Mary satisfied my need for a Divine Mother and the saints became my superheroes.

If I love my Church so much, you may be wondering why I have been fasting from the Eucharist?  What went wrong?  In short, it seems I took what I learned about God, Jesus and our Christian call too literally:

  • I believe in an unconditionally loving God, a Son that is both fully human and fully divine; the call to follow Jesus as an example of how to live my life and to be and do as he would in the world.
  • I love God above all else, my neighbor as myself and I consider ALL of humankind to be my neighbor.
  • I judge not (lest I be judged).
  • I pray for my enemies.
  • I try to forgive 70 times 7 times.
  • I pray without ceasing.
  • I feed the hungry.
  • I clothe the naked.
  • I give sight to the blind.
  • I set captives free.
  • And, I heal the sick.

Oshkosh WI 2/9/11: Photo by Jeannette Merten.

In the end, it was the last three actions that caused my Church to turn away from me.

After eight years in Catholic school and an equal number of years in academic and professional education and formation as a lay minister and spiritual director, I was guided by God to study hands-on-healing and Eastern Energy Medicine (Reiki). Out of this training and experience, God guided me further to develop a protocol through which people found healing from the spiritual wounds that separated them from God’s love, thereby healing them of their sin.  Right in line with Jesus’ teachings, right!? Apparently not, because the practices that I had learned and successfully applied were not “explicitly handed down by the Magesterium.”  I was challenged and confronted, hateful emails and letters were sent. I was accused of every nature of evil. Local bishops, fueled by the fear of the vocal minority, challenged my work and eventually handed down a prohibition calling it “witchcraft and sorcery,” in spite of my attempts to reason with and explain things to them.  Through this, I endured, but when I was attacked by a newly-appointed  pastor for a course in “Christian Zen” that I was sponsoring, who claimed it to be “outside Catholic teaching” and who identified Eastern practices as “dangerous,” I broke.  My heart was broken and my resolve with it.  The Church I had loved and out of whose embrace I had come to know God’s love – the Church who had called me to continue the work of Jesus – had betrayed me.  My gifts, my call, the unique way I had come to know God was no longer welcome. More than that, my ministry had been condemned as “dangerous,” “witchcraft and sorcery”….some even called it, “the work of the devil.”

ChristianZen.jpgOn that fateful autumn day, I listened beyond the voice of the fearful priest, the self-appointed inquisition, and even the Vatican II teachings that provided space for the ecumenical nature of the work I was doing and the unifying discussions that might arise out of this work.  I listened instead to the still, small voice of God within.  God’s voice was not small that day.  God spoke directly and loudly to my heart, “Lauri, you are my beloved daughter.  I have placed my word within your heart.  I have anointed you to be my servant.  Who will you obey?  Man or Me?”

Of course I chose God.

With God and the echoing support of Peter and the Apostles who similarly responded to the Church who turned away from them, “We must obey God rather than man, (Act 5: 29)” I handed over my keys and walked away.  Buoyed by God’s eternal promise of freedom, I knew that I could more freely do the work God had called me to absent the on-going scrutiny of the Church and the fearful minority.

Some would suggest that in leaving the Church I have also left behind my faith.  The opposite, in fact is true.  My faith has remained intact, and in truth, has been fortified.  I start every morning in prayer and meditation over the daily scripture.  Jesus is my constant companion, teacher and guide. I discern daily the ways in which I am being called to continue Jesus’ work in the world. I have seen the clear evidence of God at work through me as I witness the profound healing experienced by those who have become part of my ministry, and I am continually amazed at how God works through me to bring people more and more deeply into love and more closely connected to their own gifts and vocational call in the world.  I see the power of faith at work as I witness the empowerment experienced by those who come to me for counsel, attend my classes, read my writing and partake in my weekly services; and with each passing day my faith is strengthened and affirmed.

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Regarding the Church, I wish I could say that like Lot, I never looked back.  I find, instead, that I am more like Lot’s wife, forever gazing back in profound longing – grieving the loss of my home, my sanctuary, my community, my Church.  Beyond my own grief, however, I weep for my Church.  I long for the Church that I had come to know – one that is firmly rooted in the truth of God’s unconditional love and acting as that love in the world.  I long for a Church that works for unity and empowerment of all humankind – regardless of their gender, beliefs, or sexual orientation.  I long for a Church that is willing to set down its wealth and its power and get in the trenches with those who need its help – the hungry, the poor, the imprisoned, the fearful, the wounded and the broken. I long for the Church that takes Jesus’ example seriously by being humble, giving the seats of honor to those without honor and washing the feet of strangers.  I yearn for a Church that supports people in becoming self-actualized, mature disciples – fostering the psycho-spiritual growth of men, women and children so that they can find the God they have forgotten in their hearts, discover their own unique giftedness and vocational call and become empowered in the fulfillment and use of these gifts in service to the betterment of the world.  I long for a Church that recognizes the earth as holy and sacred and works to be a steward for the gifts God gave us so that all of humanity may not only survive but thrive.  I cry out to the Church to work for justice – justice for all – not only for those who “are Catholic in good standing.”  My heart yearns for a Church that welcomes ALL people to its table – inviting all to know the unconditional and infinite love that is their truest nature. This is the Church that I once knew and I often wonder what happened to that Church – or if all along it had really just been a figment of my imagination.

 

 

Lauri Ann Lumby, MATP is a published author, ordained interfaith minister, spiritual director and teacher.  She ministers to a world-wide audience, most of whom were raised Catholic but who were also turned away by the Church.  Lauri lives in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  You can learn more about Lauri and her ministry at www.authenticfreedomacademy.com.

Posted in grief

Education in Wisconsin – Budget Cuts, Grief and Anxiety

Today’s blog goes out to all those men and women who are educators in the state of Wisconsin, and specifically to all my friends who are on the faculty and staff at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh and the Oshkosh Area School District. All of these talented and hard-working men and women are suffering under the effects of recent legislative decisions, including a $250 million cut to the UW system. (Read the details HERE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/07/13/gov-scott-walker-savages-wisconsin-public-education-in-new-budget/). Many will lose their jobs. Those who are chosen to remain will still have a job, but likely with a lower rate of pay, significantly reduced benefits and an ever-increasing workload. Schools will have to do more with a LOT less and everyone is afraid.

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I’m writing on this topic because I have been a part of several major institutions that have experienced similar traumas and I have seen the effects these kinds of losses have on an institution, most importantly, on its employees. While the administration may be skilled at making the difficult decisions about which programs need to go, where expenses can be reduced and where benefits can be shaved, they typically have no experience in addressing the “soft” issues of grief, anxiety and fear. This was recently confirmed for me when I offered my services as a grief and transitions expert to a local institution and was told (in so many words), “Thanks, we got this!” Based on the conversations I have had with various faculty and staff who related to me the deep grief they are feeling, the chaos that is unfolding, and the fear and anxiety that have now become part of the academic culture; No, you don’t “got this.”  The administration does not “got this” because, as is common in our culture, they have no knowledge of, or experience in dealing with grief or anxiety. Instead, they take the typical attitude of “get over it and move on.” This is NOT a helpful response to grief and anxiety especially when you desire productivity and effectiveness in your employees.

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The analogy I like to use when addressing budget cuts such as those currently facing Wisconsin schools is that these cuts are akin to receiving a cancer diagnosis. For those who will be impacted by these cuts (not likely to be the person in charge), the greatest and unspoken fear is that of death. In this case, that they will be without a job or that the salary for the job they retain will be greatly reduced forcing them into financial hardship. The second fear is that they will not be valued for the work they are doing. When professors have to fundraise for their own programs and research, or do the work of three professors, this greatly devalues their gifts, along with the experience and passion they once brought to the job. When these fears and their resulting grief are not acknowledged and tended to, the anxiety, fear and grief begin to come out sideways. Morale decreases. Apathy sets in. Productivity decreases and company loyalty is all-but eliminated. Soon the institution suffers a mass exodus of its greatest assets – its teaching staff.

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Perhaps this is what the academic institutions want – a mass exodus of their greatest assets so as to make their job easier. If people leave (in droves) of their own volition, the institution doesn’t have to make the difficult decisions of who or what to cut. I must believe, however, that this is not what our academic institutions want. I want to give educational institutions the benefit of the doubt in believing they do want to retain their quality staff and provide a supportive environment, in a difficult time, for those who choose to remain. If, this is true, then educational institutions need to be providing sound grief and transition support for their employees, faculty and staff; including training on how to manage the inherent anxiety of these kinds of transitions.

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Grief support provides effective tools for moving through the faces of grief including: denial, bargaining, depression/apathy, anger and sorrow and provides resources in helping the grieving manage their anxiety. Grief support gives individuals the tools for identifying grief when it shows up and effective means for dealing with that grief. Supporting the grieving process and giving people tools for managing anxiety clears the ground for the new life that is waiting to emerge on the other side of the loss. In the case of education the new life that will emerge will be more creative, efficient and cost-effective ways of providing a quality education for people of all ages. The question facing Wisconsin schools is, do they want to arrive at this new life the hard way by denying and ignoring the grief, anxiety and fear; or through the easier path by tending to their grief?  Only time will tell.

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Body/Mind/Spirit connection, Empowerment, grief, Spiritual Direction

Before Psychotherapy

Today’s blog explores the ancient mentoring practices that preceded modern-day psychotherapy, still exist today and in many ways are more effective than traditional therapy.

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Life before Freud

I know it is hard to believe, but psychology was not born with Sigmund Freud.  Neither did it only come to exist thanks in part to Greek philosophers.  I know this is what is what academia teaches as the roots of psychology, but there have been psychologists throughout human history – perhaps as far back as our human origins.  Before Freud, however, these remarkable women and men were not called psychologists, instead, they were called such things as spiritual director, teacher, abbott, abbess, priestess, priest, elder, medicine woman, medicine man, guru, oracle, and shaman.  Throughout human history there have been powerful women and men gifted and then trained to assist people in becoming their truest self and helping individuals to find healing and transformation from their inner ills.  Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, worry, grief, loss, vocational discernment, even physical maladies were tended to through these wise and gifted teachers.  These women and men held places of honor within their communities and their needs were provided for by the community in exchange for the generous sharing of their gifts.

What Happened?

In a person – Descartes.  With his masterful separation of God from reason and matter, mystery was divorced from science – so much so that anything of mystery came to be set aside or disregarded as something only for the ignorant and foolish.  With near surgical precision, the transcendent was excised from the treatment of the human person and in the Western world, the spiritual director, shaman, medicine woman and man lost their place and psychotherapy stepped in.

It All Comes Back Around

Not anymore.  People have grown frustrated with the limitations of traditional psychotherapy – and the medical model in general.  People are tired of being reduced to something that must be “scientifically verifiable.”  Women and men are looking for depth, meaning, fulfillment and wholeness and this can only be accomplished by reconnecting with mystery. While there is still an important place in our world for traditional psychotherapy, many are searching for more.

Authentic Freedom Mentoring

This is where Authentic Freedom mentoring comes in.  As a trained spiritual director and Reiki master, I have honed the necessary skills for leading people through the mystery and for empowering them to become self-actualized.  In doing this work, many of the everyday issues of anxiety, depression, panic attack, the effects of trauma and grief, are healed and released so that the individual is free to be their original self – the person God made them to be.  As there is no talk of God or mystery in traditional psychotherapy, this might not be the path for all – but it is an effective path for many – even those who consider themselves to be atheist – for even in atheism – the mystery remains.

Lauri Lumby is available for one-on-one mentoring over the phone, via Skype  and in person. To schedule a session call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com. 

Click HERE to learn about being trained as an Authentic Freedom Facilitator or Mentor.