Posted in Healing, self-actualization, shadow work

Betrayal

In the journey of self-actualization and coming into our wholeness, old wounds often resurface so that another layer of healing and transformation may occur.  Journaling and writing poetry are two of the ways I support myself in processing these wounds – in this case, the wound of betrayal.  What are the tools you have used to heal from the many ways in which life has betrayed you?

Betrayal

Betrayal seems to me the most excruciating of all pain,

Perhaps more painful even than death.

For in death at least there is closure.

And we can bury our dead.

(Isn’t death, after all, a betrayer and a betrayal?

Perhaps betrayal IS the pain in death, more so even than the loss.)

 

But in betrayal, the betrayer becomes a living specter reminding us of our failure.

How could I not have known?

How did I not see it sooner?

Why did I put up with this for so long?

But alas, we likely knew and saw from the very beginning –

The signs and the red flags –

Heralds of truth we chose to ignore

for the sake of counterfeit love,

a relationship of convenience…

a means to an end.

 

Or because this was the only kind of love we had ever known.

 

The betrayer – forever taunting us in their ability to go on.

While holding our beating and dripping heart in their hands –

as a trophy.

 

Pride the betrayer’s sin.

Believing themselves above the laws of human kindness,

Above reproach

Ever justified in their righteousness.

Using our vulnerability as a weapon –

The soul we bared against us.

A cruelty beyond imagining.

Intentional.

 

No apologies.

No seeking after forgiveness.

In betrayal, the pure of heart are left to suffer

while the betrayer rides off triumphantly

seeking after another one to betray.

 

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Posted in Healing, Inspiration

Cease from Blaming. Look to the Cause.

“It’s Donald Trump.”  “It’s guns.”  “It’s video games.”  It’s mental illness.”

Here we go, pointing the finger of blame at all those things outside of us that must be the reason a young white man killed 26 and wounded 20 in a shooting spree in El Paso.  Here we are, entering into the human knee-jerk reaction to violence – “it must be someone or something’s fault.”  Pointing the finger of blame does one of two things:

  • Places the burden of blame “out there” on someone else’s shoulder.
  • Gives us the illusion of innocence which allows us to go about our day.
  • Allows us to mask our grief and fear with self-righteousness.
  • Allows us to turn away from the event because if it is someone else’s fault, then someone else is responsible for fixing it.

Pointing the finger of blame does nothing to heal the problem.  Neither does it do the critical work of identifying the TRUE CAUSE of violence in our world.  The true cause has nothing to do with Donald Trump or any other politicians. It has nothing to do with guns or the NRA.  It certainly has nothing to do with video games.  And while mental illness has been a contributing factor in some of our nation’s mass shootings, when someone drives 9 hours and walks into a Wal-Mart wearing noise cancelling headphones and carrying an AK-47, he knows exactly what he is about to do and why.  Hatred is not a mental illness.

The truth is that WE ARE ALL TO BLAME for the hatred and violence that now seem to rule our nation.  As scripture says, “We reap what we sow,” – what do we think will happen when we have done everything to create separation in our world and nothing to bring us together?  But even then, we need to cease from blaming and instead look deep within ourselves for the cause and then work toward its cure.

As long as we are looking outside of ourselves or pointing the finger of blame, the violence in our world will continue.  The cause of violence is not outside of us, it is within. It is within us in our unacknowledged fears, unhealed wounds, unresolved traumas and in every single place within where we have forgotten that we are love.

The true cause of the violence and hatred in our world, and the cause of every other “sin” is the false perception of separation.  This false perception of separation is the core wound of humanity.  It is the primal fear that we first experienced when we were expelled from our mothers’ wombs and it is the fear that grows every single time we feel rejected, betrayed, unheard or unseen.  When our needs are not being met or when we are not supported in getting those needs met, we feel this fear.  When we suffer our first loss, we feel this fear.  When we experience trauma or abuse, we feel this fear.  This is the nature of the human condition.  Some have the tools for moving through and healing this fear.  Most do not.  We become resilient in the face of this core wound of humanity when we grow up in an environment where we feel safe and loved.  Many in our world do not have the benefit of experiencing this kind of love.  As a result, many (most) of humanity are the walking wounded – trying to make it through this life while burdened by the ongoing feeling of separation and fear. This is what breeds the violence in our world.  People.  Guns.  Video Games, etc. are merely vehicles through which these unhealed fears find their expression.  If we want to end violence, we first have to heal our fears.

Authentic Freedom Academy is here to support us in learning how to choose love in a world conditioned by fear.  We do this by providing education and training in identifying and then healing the fears that might otherwise cause us to act in non-loving ways toward our world, toward others and toward ourselves.  Learn more HERE.

 

Posted in Healing, Inspiration

Longing to be Loved

The deepest longing of the human heart is to be loved – specifically to be loved, accepted and valued for who we are and for the unique gifts we offer this world. One would think that this would be the easiest thing to accomplish – especially considering that we have an unconditionally loving God and parents who love us – right?  (I’ll let you answer that one yourself!)

The degree to which we know ourselves as loved, accepted and valued for who we are and for the unique gifts we offer this world is directly proportional to the love we are shown in the early years of our life. For many, if not most, the love that we are shown in these formative years is limited at best.

For most, the first experience of love comes from our parents. While our parents are undoubtedly doing the best they can, they are only able to show love to the degree it was first shown to them. If they were abused as a child, criticized or condemned, or led in any way to believe they were anything less than love, the love they are able to show will be limited by these past experiences.  This is true unless before (or during) their experience of being a parent they acknowledge the ways in which they experienced the limitations of love and healed the resulting wounds, thereby freeing them to show even more loving acceptance of their children because they now love and accept themselves. Additionally, every person has their own love language and their own unique temperament and the combination of these embodied by our parents might not be the language we need to hear to know we are loved.  Finally, our parents are a product of their conditioning and what society said at the time was “good parenting.”  (ie:  it isn’t all our parents’ fault!)

The same is true of our “god.” If the religion in which we were raised preaches a god of infinite love and then crafts rituals and practices which reinforce that love, then we are golden!  Here we know of a god who is loving and kind, generous and merciful and the tribe to which we belong treats us as such.  For many, if not most, this has not been the case.  Instead, the talk of god has been confusing mix of love and punishment, mercy and retribution, praise and shame, etc.   This leaves us feeling anxious and confused and wondering where we sit with that which we call “God,” and the people who preach this “God.”

The same is true of our culture. We feel loved, supported and valued for who we are and for the unique gifts we bring to the world when we are raised in a culture that values diversity and then provides the necessary support in which the seeds of our gifts might mature and bear fruit.  For most, this has not been our cultural experience.  Instead, we are expected to conform to a culture that needs us to fit into tight little boxes where we can be controlled, all the while feeling rejected for who we truly are and the authentic gifts we have to bring to this world.

The same is true of our friends, co-workers, peers, etc. etc. etc. We will only experience the feeling of being loved, honored, supported and valued to the extent that they feel this love themselves.  Sigh!

With all of this collective woundedness, where does this leave us? This leaves us among the several billion human beings longing to know love.  This is the collective wound of the human experience – the gaping wound of emptiness and longing where love is meant to dwell. But, we need not remain in this place of wounded emptiness and longing.  Fortunately, there are those who have gone before us who have successfully found their way through the labyrinthine journey that leads to love.  By following their example and adhering to their guidance, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain….

Full content reserved for Plus, Premium and Premium-Plus Members. Click here to learn more on how you can become a member and enjoy the tools that have helped me in my own journey.  Find an example of what is available in the full content HERE.

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Healing, Reiki

The Benefits of Using Authentic Freedom with Reiki

Reiki is one of many modalities of energy medicine incorporating hands-on-healing or the laying on of hands for the purpose of supporting the body in returning to its natural state of wellbeing. With knowledge of the Authentic Freedom process, a Reiki practitioner can greatly enhance the benefits of a traditional treatment, both for their client and for themselves.

Reiki, hands on healing, laying on of hands, Reiki and Authentic Freedom,

How Reiki Works

Using light, non-invasive touch in conjunction with the energy centers of the body (chakras), Reiki supports the body in releasing blocks to wellness and in returning to its natural state of energetic balance, thereby supporting the body in returning to its natural state of wellbeing. When the life force energy (Ki) is flowing freely, the body will reflect this in healthy vitality. Stagnation in the life force energy manifests in illness and disease.  Knowledge of the chakras, along with their physical correspondences assist the Reiki practitioner in identifying where the body’s Ki (life force energy) is not flowing so they may further assist their clients in releasing these blocks. Reiki works not only on the physical, but also on the emotional, mental and spiritual level – acknowledging that the source of many states of dis-ease is related to issues on these deeper levels of experience.  In traditional Usui Reiki training, the practitioner is taught the standard protocol for hands-on-healing with the invitation to know and trust that whatever healing is appropriate for the client’s highest good will be taken care of on any of the aforementioned levels.

Read my response to the Catholic Bishops’ prohibition against Reiki HERE.

Integrating Authentic Freedom with Reiki

Authentic Freedom adds an additional layer to the support a Reiki practitioner may offer their clients. Authentic Freedom provides knowledge and tools for working with clients on the deepest spiritual level – most often the truest source of emotional, mental and physical imbalance.  By supporting clients on the spiritual level the practitioner is going straight to the source of dis-ease.  Additionally, knowledge of the Authentic Freedom philosophy provides the practitioner with tools they are able to share with their client which the client may then employ for on-going healing and support.  This approach saves time and effort in the healing process while supporting the client in the experience of enduring change.

How Authentic Freedom Enhances Reiki

Using the seven chakras as a point of reference, Authentic Freedom has identified the seven spiritual fears/wounds which are at the heart of many (if not most) emotional, mental and physical states of dis-ease. When a Reiki practitioner is able to support their client in tracing back their physical, emotional or mental symptoms to the corresponding spiritual fear/wound, awareness takes place and the first layer of healing is accomplished.  Identifying the true source of imbalance (or as I call it, “naming the demon”) is the first step in authentic healing.  From that point, the Reiki practitioner supports their client in letting go of this fear through hands-on-healing.  With Authentic Freedom, however, the healing doesn’t end with the table treatment.  Authentic Freedom includes a wide variety of mindfulness, meditation and creativity practices which the Reiki practitioner may prescribe for their client so that they may continue and deepen the healing on their own.

Incorporating Authentic Freedom with Reiki accelerates the healing process by getting to the deepest source of imbalances while providing the practitioner and the client with tools for on-going and enduring healing and support.

To learn more about the Authentic Freedom process, read my book Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy or enjoy the benefit of personal instruction in this protocol through my online course.

Posted in Divine Masculine, Healing

Healing the Wounded Masculine

Healing the Wounded Masculine

For three nights in a row I have had dreams about the wounded masculine – specifically the wounded masculine within me. As the ancients have said, when things come in threes, it is a clear message from Spirit. In this case, it is an invitation to recognize and then heal the wounded masculine within me and in doing so, providing an invitation, support, guidance and direction for others in doing the same.

wounded masculine, distorted masculine, holy masculine, healing the wounded masculine, patriarchy, divine masculine

The Dreams

As is most always the case, dreams speak to us in the language of symbols. The dreams that came through for me are no different.  All of the dreams featured myself and a “lover.”  In each of the dreams, “the lover” was wounded, injured or broken in some way.  The first was a transgender male who had just had “bottom” surgery and was still in extreme pain in his newly attached “masculine” power center.  In the second dream, “the lover” was excruciatingly attractive, but was imprisoned by addiction.  The lover in the third dream was physically paralyzed from the waist down.  In every dream, I was the woman (feminine) trying to love the wounded male into wholeness – or at the very least to let him know that even in his brokenness, he was loved. As every dream interpreter would suggest, “the lovers” in the dream also represent aspects of myself – specifically the distorted masculine qualities I have taken on trying to make it in a world ruled by a distorted aspect of the masculine and driven by fear, power and control.  The wounded masculine in the dream represents how taking on these distorted masculine qualities have done damage to my soul.

How the Distorted (Unholy) Masculine has done me (us) harm

When we live in a culture ruled by fear, power and control, we are shown that the only way to succeed, to get your needs met, is through striving, driving, forcing, and cajoling. Achievement becomes our goal and is defined by external means.  In Western culture, achievement is measured by money, material possessions and fame.  If we become rich and famous, or better yet, get our own reality show, we have made it.  We have achieved the goal of Western society.  What we are not told, however, is that the striving, driving, forcing and cajoling that it takes to “make it” in a culture driven by fear, power and control, is killing us.  Perhaps not those who have “made it,” but the rest of us who are “forced” to live according to these means of “achievement” are dying.  And if those who have “made” it aren’t dying on the outside, they are dying on the inside for selling their Soul to the highest bidder.  The proof of this dying (the wounded masculine) is present all around us – from the destruction of our environment to increasing poverty to the rampant increase in stress related disease to increasing violence related to gun deaths, suicide and war.  The wounded masculine within all of us is screaming to be seen so we can begin to do the work of healing.

The Wounded Masculine in Me

As a woman working in a world ruled by the distorted masculine (or what some are now calling toxic masculinity), I have been told that the key to success is hard work and that the harder I work the more successful I will become. I have been told that my success is measured by how much money I make and how famous I become.  I have been told that if I am struggling financially, or if my books aren’t best sellers, it is because I have not worked hard enough and that if I want more money or renown, I simply need to work more.  I’ve also been told by the distorted masculine in the “new thought” communities that my success is dependent on my thoughts.  That if I think good thoughts (and the right thoughts) then I will have everything I want in the way of money and success.  And if I have not yet achieved my financial goals, or I am struggling financially it is because I’m thinking the wrong thoughts or not working hard enough at thinking right thoughts.  There are those who say “God wants you to be rich and famous” and if I’m not yet rich and famous it is because I haven’t done enough for God (or put enough money in the collection basket).  I’ve been given formulas, strategic plans, marketing plans from so-called business experts who say the answer is to blog more, network more, send out more fliers, hold more classes, offer more free stuff, do more promotions, write more classes, write more classes on “this topic,” do more podcasts, offer more videos, do seminars, get my own TedTalk, offer more workshops and retreats, travel more, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.  Everyone has an answer to how to “build my success” but here’s the thing:

I’ve done everything the world (based in fear, power and control which measures success in money, material possessions and fame) has told me to do and it is killing me! Not only is it killing me, it has produced nothing.  I’m not rich (on many days I’m just trying to keep a roof over my head) and I’m certainly not famous.

Yes, I’ve published some books, I have a few internet “followers” and a small community of students and clients, but none of this came as a result of driving, striving, forcing or cajoling. None of this came by following someone’s “formula for success.”  Instead, it came from following the promptings of my Soul which have absolutely nothing to do with “working harder” and everything to do with magic – or what some might call love.

Healing the Wounded Masculine in all of us

While some might find joy in driving, striving, forcing and cajoling (none of which should be confused with the Spirit-driven quest to fulfill the purpose of our Soul which sometimes looks like “hard work”), I suspect that the vast majority of humanity, like me, is suffering under the current “formula for success.” In order to heal our suffering, we have to go against the cultural norm, turning away from the voice of the distorted masculine that says “work harder, work more” and turning toward the voice of our Soul.  The voice of our Soul is that which speaks to us in the quiet places within when the mind is at rest, communicating to us the formula for “true success” – that which provides the resources, the inspiration and the drive for fulfilling our Soul’s purpose.  Our Soul’s purpose is made up of the unique way in which we have been gifted to find meaning in our lives and through which we find fulfillment in sharing these gifts for ourselves and for the sake of the betterment of the world.

Harnessing the Holy Masculine

While the process of listening to the voice of the Soul arises out of the Holy Feminine within us, the Holy Masculine puts the Soul’s guidance into action. The inner masculine supports the desires of the Soul, protecting it from outside (and inner) interference, and providing all the Soul needs to come into its fulfillment. The way in which the Holy Feminine reveals the path of the Soul and in which the Holy Masculine tends to the unfolding of the soul differs from one to another, but for me, this is what it looks like –

In listening to the Holy Feminine:

  1. I have come to understand that my Soul’s purpose is love.
  2. The unique way I have been called to be that love in the world is to support the spiritual awakening and self-actualization of humanity.
  3. I live out that calling through my unique gifts of vision (prophecy), empathy, discernment, encouragement (counseling), teaching, writing, leadership and healing.
  4. In order to serve humanity in this capacity, I need to tend to the needs of my Soul, specifically, the need for: solitude, daily meditation and prayer, nourishment (for both my physical body and my soul), exercise, family, healthy loving and mutually supportive friendships, spiritual community.

What does this look like on a daily basis? This is the work of the Holy Masculine:

  • Dedication to my daily (twice daily) spiritual practice.
  • Yoga
  • Walks in nature
  • Time for reading and learning
  • Time for writing
  • Honoring my need for solitude
  • Preparing nourishing and enjoyable meals for myself and my family
  • “Be” time with my children
  • Time with friends
  • Remaining active in the wider community
  • And in the midst of this, my Holy Child calls for play!

Now here’s the funny thing, when I am diligent in tending to the needs of my soul (the masculine quality of provision and support), those things by which we measure “success” in our Western world (money, notoriety) take care of themselves. When I put my needs first, what I need in order to survive in this world (for me that equals: paying students and clients, book sales) simply shows up.  Not because I worked hard or followed some “proven formula for success,” but simply because I took care of myself.

This is the magic of the Holy Masculine – when we allow “him” to provide, support and  protect the needs of the Soul (an act of profound self-love), the rest simply falls into place.

 

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Healing, Inspiration, spiritual awakening, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices

Staying Sane in an Insane World

Staying sane in an insane world is about tools, practice and support. Below are my thoughts on staying sane along with resources and support for doing so:

It’s getting pretty crazy out there! Just yesterday I posted two comments on Facebook, one about not knowing what to believe, or if there is anything to believe in the media and an outright call to the universe:  “Mothership take me away!”  No matter where you lie within the spectrum of the perceived separation dividing our nation and the world, you must be feeling it.  Anxiety.  Fear.  Depression.  Despair.  Frustration.  Impatience.  Anger.  Powerlessness.  Perhaps even a sense of hatred.  It seems that no matter where we turn, there is another news article, news show, advertisement, etc. that is attempting to trigger our fears, anxieties, insecurities, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. interfering with our desire for staying sane.

The good news is that while we might feel pretty powerless in a world that seems to be imploding upon itself, we are not! We have the resources within us for staying sane in an otherwise insane world – we just need someone to help us discover, cultivate and then activate these resources.  THIS is what I have spent the past 25 years mastering and what I would like to share with you now:

REMEMBER your original nature is contentment and peace. If you don’t know or remember this:

Develop or deepen a daily spiritual/meditation/contemplative/prayer practice. If you don’t currently have a practice or need getting started, take my FREE online course Starting a Spiritual Practice.  Learn more and register HERE.

The Greatest Obstacle to remaining in a state of peace is our unhealed wounds and unacknowledged anxiety and fears. To learn how to identify and then heal and transform these wounds and fears:

Read my book Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joyor better yet, take the online course.  Learn more and register for the course HERE.

REMEMBER you are not alone. There are people out there who have learned how to stay sane in an otherwise insane world. Reach out to them for guidance and support:

As a trained Spiritual Director, I have spent the past 20 years supporting people in finding their way through the tangled web of life….supporting them in identifying and healing unhealed wounds and unacknowledged fears and freeing them from the inner obstacles to enjoying a peaceful and fulfilling life. Learn more about my Spiritual Direction/Counseling services HERE. 

Take Action! If there is something you don’t like about our world, DO something about it. If you want more peace, then work for peace.  If you see injustices being done, speak or act out against these injustices.

Join the LOVE WARRIOR movement.  Become an agent of non-violent social change in a community of people trying to do the same.  Learn more and join HERE.

 

Love and Peace to you!

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Healing

Ending Violence by Healing Our Emotional Wounds

Before having a discussion about ending violence, we need to explore and then do the courageous work of healing the emotional wounds that cause violence in the first place. Unfortunately violence has become so much a part of American culture that we hardly even think about it until a horribly violent act takes place, such as the recent school shooting in Florida. When these events take place, we should be taking a closer look at the problem of violence in our culture.  Most commonly, however, we are so wrapped up in our own reactionary and often violent responses to the crisis that we cannot see the forest through the trees.  We point the finger of blame, hoping to ease our newly ignited sense of fear and powerlessness, instead of tending to the matter at hand which is the wounds and unacknowledged fears that are the real cause of the violence. Including the shooting in Florida, every violent or non-loving act ever committed by a human being happens as a result of an unhealed emotional wound or the fear caused by that wound. If we hope to put an end to violence, we first have to heal these wounds.

Every single human being suffers from unhealed emotional wounds and the fears that arose in response to these wounds. Whether the emotional wounding was obvious as in the case of physical, sexual, verbal or mental abuse, or more subtle, we have all felt the sharp sting of rejection, disappointment, loss, abandonment, betrayal, failure, of not being heard, of not having our needs met, of feeling insignificant, unimportant or that we have nothing to contribute to our world.  We have all suffered trauma, whether it be the simple trauma that accompanies our birth, or something more dramatic as one might experience in battle.  If we haven’t already, we will all at one time have to face death.  We cannot exist as a human being and not experience some sort of emotional wounding.  When this emotional wounding goes unrecognized or unhealed, it acts like a tightly coiled spring waiting for something….anything….that might set it off.  Not unlike trauma, when our unhealed emotional wounds or their resulting fears are triggered, we experience one of three reactions:  fight, flight or freeze.  When our response is fight – we are doing violence to another.  When it is freeze or flight, we are doing violence to ourselves, which may then end up causing violence to another. In order to heal these violent responses triggered by our emotional wounds, we first need to do the work of naming, claiming and then healing these wounds.

Observation

The first step toward healing our emotional wounds is observation. Through observation, we identify when we are reacting in violent or non-loving ways toward ourselves of others.  Once we have identified the behavior, we can look deeper into what might be the unhealed emotional wound or fear at the cause of the behavior.

Physical Sensations

As a culture we have a very low emotional intelligence. As a result, it might initially be difficult to identify the emotional wound at the root of our violent or non-loving behaviors.  This is where our bodies come in handy. Our physical body will tell us where we are carrying the wound or fear that is being triggered.  Knowledge of the chakra system can then help us to identify, based on the location of the physical sensations, what fear or unhealed emotional wound is being triggered.  For example, in doing a body scan, you might locate a sense of constriction in your lower abdomen.  Perhaps this is related to the emotional wound of shame, or the fear that there is something wrong with you.  (See by book or online course Authentic Freedom for a detailed explanation of  this process). Once you have identified the emotional wound/fear, then you can do the work of healing it.

Healing Practices

There is no medication (other than classical homeopathy) for the healing of emotional wounds or their resulting fears. Talk therapy might prove helpful.  I have also seen phenomenal results from PTSD treatment protocols such as EMDR and Brainspotting.  For normal, everyday emotional wounds, however, there is nothing more effective that a sound mindfulness or spiritual practice.  Practices like mantra, centering prayer, Tonglen, the Ho’oponopono practice, shamanic journey work, and others have all proven effective in healing and releasing emotional wounds and their resulting fears.  (For more on these practices, see again, my book or online course Authentic Freedom). Vigorous physical activity can also prove helpful in healing and releasing emotional wounds as can a good solid cry.  The bottom line with healing emotional wounding is movement.  Anything that we can do to move the emotional pain up and out of our bodies will prove helpful in healing our wounding so that we can put an end to the violence we are doing to ourselves, or might be unwittingly doing to another.

If you are interested in becoming a master at healing emotional wounds, please take a look at our Authentic Freedom Mastery Program.  Free Preview course HERE:

authentic freedom mastery, spiritual awakening, self-actualization, change agents, Christian psychology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, building the new world, Healing, Spiritual Direction

School Shootings – Had Enough Yet?

School Shootings: Had enough of innocent children and their teachers dying yet?  I know I have!

school shootings, gun control, school violence,

The Dilemma

From a friend who suffered the trauma of school lockdown as a nearby school was being attacked:

18 school shootings in 45 days… My heart is breaking that this is the “New Normal”. I can’t even imagine what these Florida parents are going through… Only a little, not even close. Pray, my friends, pray for the students, parents, teachers and the shooter. Yes, the shooter. And his family. Encourage your kids that “if you see, hear something… Say something”. Honestly, I don’t even know where I was trying to go with all of this. Just that I’m scared. I’m scared for the future of our kids. What do we do? What can we do, as parents, students, teachers, law enforcement to prevent this? Dang it… 17 people died today. For no dang reason. …

Yesterday from one of the teachers:

“We did everything that we were supposed to do. Broward County Schools has prepared us for this situation and still to have so many casualties … for me, it’s very emotional because I feel today like our government, our country has failed us and failed our kids and didn’t keep us safe.”

It sure seems that this is the “new normal,” and that indeed our government, even our country has failed us.  It is insane, incomprehensible, completely beyond sense or reason.  How have we had 18 school shootings in 45 days and absolutely nothing is being done to stop the insanity.

The Cause

I can tell you why – because the problem goes way beyond anything that we might want to point at as the “cause.”  The cause is not gun laws (or lack thereof), inadequate mental health attention and funding, bad parenting, lack of safety, protection or precautions in our schools.  While all of the aforementioned might contribute to the vulnerability of our schools to attack, in truth, they are only symptoms – symptoms of a system (or systems) that have failed.  But again, the failed systems are not the problem.  Failed systems all have one thing in common – broken people.  Healthy people don’t make broken systems. Broken people make broken systems.  In the same way that we cannot heal a brain tumor by giving the patient an aspirin for their headache, we cannot heal a broken system by treating the symptoms.  To heal a broken system, we have to first heal the people who made it.

In other words, the systems we want to point our fingers toward as the cause of school shootings (and every other human act of violence for that matter) are not the problem.  The problem is all the broken people who created and now make up these systems.  If we want the systems to change, we have to heal the people who made them.    Oh…..and those people who made these systems are you and me!

The Solution

Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” This could never be more relevant as it is right now.  If we want to see true, authentic, enduring change in our world, it has to start with us.  In the most basic sense, these school shootings are merely a reflection of all that is broken in our culture (and in our world).  In order to heal what is broken, we have to identify the cause. The place we search for that cause is deep within ourselves.  What in the school shooters is present within ourselves?  Loneliness?  Isolation?  Feelings of being rejected?  Depression?  Hatred?  Prejudice?  Unmanaged anxiety?  Depression?  Devastating loss?  A feeling of not belonging?  What is it in the policy makers we want to hate that is present within ourselves?  Denial?  Greed?  Arrogance?  Gluttony?  Sloth?  Judgment?  Insecurity?  What is in the overburdened, underfunded and understaffed mental health system that is present within us?  The list goes on and on.  What we might judge as “wrong” or “broken” in these systems is also broken in us.  In order to heal/change the former, we have to first heal ourselves.  As Jesus said,

“Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.”  (Matthew 7: 3-4)

If not for yourself, please do it for the children! 

If we truly want to see non-violent, enduring and effective change in our world, we first have to change ourselves.  As we heal what is broken within us, we can then be a source of support for others who also want to be healed.  The rest, then, simply takes care of itself.  Healthy, whole individuals create healthy, harmonious, effectively working systems.  If this alone doesn’t make you want to seek healing…..then at least do it for the children. Please don’t let any more of them die because of a mess that someone else (we) created!

Authentic Freedom Academy provides a wide range of programs and services in support of your healing.  Changing the world begins by changing ourselves!  

 

Posted in church, Healing, Raised Catholic

Recovering Catholics – 42.7 Million Strong

The Second Largest Religious Denomination

A few years back, I learned that the second largest religious denomination in the United States (reported by PEW Research, second only to the Roman Catholic Church), is made up of non-practicing Catholics.  I sat down and did the math and the number of people who still call themselves Catholic, but who no longer attend mass on a regular basis is 42.7 million!  That is a HUGE number of people.  If you are reading this blog, you are likely one of those 42.7 million, or perhaps you were raised Catholic and no longer call yourself Catholic, so we can simply add you to this number and we might find that there are in fact 85.4 million Recovering Catholics in the United States. If that were the case, we would outnumber the active Roman Catholic population!!!

StMaryOshkoshaltar

Who Cares?

You might ask yourself, “Who cares?”  Why is this significant information?  What does this prove to anybody, if anything?  Well, it means something to me.  And here’s why:

1) There are a significant number of men and women in the United States that had a particular religious experience growing up which formed them (for better or worse) and which contributed to who they are today.

2) This unique religious experience of being raised Catholic probably continues to inform them (again, for better or worse).

3) This unique religious experience of being raised Catholic becomes part of the marrow, blood and bones of one raised in this tradition and cannot be exorcised no matter how your current religious experience has changed (if, indeed it has).

4) For those who are no longer practicing Catholics, there is a unique form of grief that comes with the separation from Catholicism (whatever the reason for that separation), and there is a unique form of longing that cannot be quenched.

5) There is a unique set of needs residing within the hearts of Recovering Catholics, that for the most part, are not being met.  We cannot get these needs met in another religious institution.  We cannot go to the Catholic Church to get these needs met.  We cannot meet these needs on our own.

6) I am here to help the 42.7 million (or more) Recovering Catholics get those needs met.

 

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What are those needs?

I see the needs of Recovering Catholics as the following (and if you see more, please let me know what they are…..and I will see how I can help!):

1) Grief Support:  Catholics leave for a multitude of reasons, most boiling down to the fact that the truth God revealed to them is in conflict with the doctrine of the Church – teachings on contraception, homosexuality, vocations, divorce, remarriage, etc. etc.  Some leave because they have been directly harmed by a representative of the Church – sexually abused by a priest, physically or verbally abused by a teacher, counselor or lay minister, given incorrect information about Church teachings that made them feel unwelcome (like a certain family member who was told they were no longer welcome to come to communion simply because of a divorce).  No matter the reason, when we leave a community in which we were one time a member, even if the parting is our own decision (kind of), there is grief.  Recovering Catholics need support for the grief they experience in leaving the Institution behind, or in being asked to leave.

2) Resolution: Many Catholics (especially in the past), who left or were asked to leave, were asked to leave based on faulty information.  A representative of the Church misinterpreted the doctrine, or interpreted it to fit their own personal agenda.  For these people, the healing is helped when they learn the faulty nature of the information.  Yes, this will certainly stir anger, but for some, it opens the door to their return….something many are ultimately longing for.  Recovering Catholics might not seek this resolution from a priest, so I can be that bridge….if this is what they need.

3) Longing:  In my generation and the generations that follow, the number one reason I have heard for people leaving is because in the Catholic Church, their needs were not being met.  Specifically, the desire to:

Know themselves.

Know God.

Find Inner Peace.

Know their Gifts and how they are called to use them.

Find meaning and purpose in their lives.

The Catholic Church, most often, attempts to meet these needs through religious formation – the dissemination of doctrine, or doesn’t even go so far as that and simply stands in the belief that providing you with an opportunity to attend mass and receive the sacraments is enough.   Unfortunately, this is an intelligent and wise population of men and women who are looking for something more than to have their heads filled with rules and regulations, history and traditions.  And for many, the mass is not relevant (or the homily given at mass isn’t relevant).  They want DEPTH!  They want something that has meaning and relevance in their own lives and which allows them to know God personally, not just through someone else’s interpretation.  In short, what they are looking for, but don’t have the words for, is Spiritual Formation – something the Church has not done a good job of making available to the men and women in the pews. Spiritual Formation just happens to be one of my areas of expertise!

4) Validation: Recovering Catholics also desire validation….and they deserve it!  They have been formed to use the brain God gave them to reason, discern and exercise truth.  And, many, if not most, grew up in a culture that lost its trust in authority.  They/we have come to question authority and to not blindly follow simply because we were told.  Instead, authority has to be earned and our own reasoning minds need to be validated.  We need to be given credit for having a brain and an intelligent thought and the freedom to challenge and question what we are being told.  In the Institutional Church, questioning is often discouraged or outwardly condemned.  What the Institution has forgotten is that the most important stage in faith development is the questioning and searching stage.  If the Church really wants mature disciples, this stage needs to be honored.  If the Institution will not welcome these questions, I am happy to do so!  I’m excited to see how your questions will help you grow….and me as well!  🙂

If you are a recovering Catholic and looking for support, I am here for you.  Call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@authenticfreedom.love to find out more. 

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

No Reward for Being Good

A letter to all healers and change-makers

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

My Dear Sisters and Brothers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merry Christmas,

Love,

Lauri