Posted in Inspiration, Jesus, Spiritual Formation

When Approaching Scripture – Perspective is Everything

…when it comes to scripture; there will always be disagreement – especially if we are looking for objective truth. But again, this was not Jesus’ goal; neither should it be our own. For the purpose of our spiritual growth and development, all we can look for is how scripture is reflecting or revealing our own truth.  Case in point, the scripture passage below can be taken any number of ways, depending on our point of view, or on the agenda of one who is interpreting this passage for us.  Let’s start with a single line:

“Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him.”

For some, this passage points to exclusivity. God will ONLY love those who keep Jesus’ word.  For others this passage speaks of reward and punishment.  IF we keep Jesus’ word (what word exactly are we to keep?), God will love us, implying that if we do not keep Jesus’ word, God will no longer love us.  This one tiny line from John’s gospel has been used for two millennia to establish so-called Christian privilege and to justify persecution, condemnation and even the wholesale slaughter of “non-believers.”  Is this really what Jesus meant in these words?  If we believe that Jesus’ overriding message was of Love and of a Divine parent who loves without condition, then no, Jesus could not have meant these words to privilege anyone or to deny anyone of the unconditional and unmerited love of God.  But human beings, through their limited perspective chose otherwise.

The above is an excerpt from my (dot) Love weekly message.  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 Inspiration, Lessons, Spiritual Development

Shhhhhh

Do you hear it? Me neither.  It is the deafening silence that occurs after the old has imploded upon itself, after that which is no longer life-giving has passed away in the fire of transformation, after all that remained of our old lives has turned to dust, and after we have been emptied of anything and everything that has been tested and shown to no longer support the life we were born to live.  This is the silence that happens after the old life has passed away and before the new is ready to be born.

Shhhhhhh. Remain still.  Refrain from trying to make things happen.  Cease from doing and tasking.  Resist the temptation to return to the old and familiar activities simply for the sake of creating movement.  The movement that once served is the movement now that will destroy.

Shhhhh. Be still.  Enter into the silence.  Be with the stillness.  Dive deeply into the discomfort of the unknown. Make friends with impatience, restlessness, longing, and boredom.  Surrender to the pain of death and the excruciating darkness of the unknown.

Shhhhh. Be still.  Be still.  Be still.  And listen.  It is in the silence you will hear the whispering of the new life as it is preparing to be born.

Shhhhhh.

 

Posted in Freedom, Inspiration, women

Abortion is Not the Issue

I have really been struggling as to how to respond the recent wave of violence being done to women as it relates to our reproductive rights. The U.S. Constitution is clear, and yet individual states (and insurance companies) have been slowly picking away at our access to choice.  Abortion has become the scapegoat in a centuries-long quest to deprive women of our natural born sovereignty over our own power.

The truth of the matter is that abortion is not the issue. The issue is a system of fear, power and control made to support the wealth of those in power while imprisoning the rest of humanity.  The abortion fight is merely a smoke screen for something far-more insidious and evil about which we should all be concerned.  But as long as we are having the abortion argument, we are distracted from the real matter at hand – the freedom and liberty of all human beings that are slowly being stripped away from us by the powerful few.

But let’s talk about abortion for a minute. Having been raised Catholic; I once proudly waved the pro-life banner.  That was until I realized that “pro-life” only meant anti-abortion as I watched so-called pro-lifers favor the death penalty and political positions that ignored the needs of the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the otherwise powerless. I have seen those same persons who vote for the pro-life candidate, vote against access to health care and empowerment programs for women, children and those suffering poverty.  These same pro-life voters continue to support the death of innocents both in our country and abroad by supporting war, ignoring the needs of the mentally ill and by refusing to step forward in rational conversations about reasonable gun policies.  They want to support the rights of the unborn child while ignoring the needs of that child after it is born.  This is not pro-life!

This is where I became pro-choice. How can we support the unborn child without caring about how it will survive after it has come to term?  How can we favor the unborn child over the millions of people in our world who are starving, homeless, and without access to adequate medical care?  And why is the unborn child of greater value than the mother who is asked to birth….and then provide for it? I’m not saying abortion is the ideal choice, I’m not sure I could make that choice if faced with an unplanned pregnancy.  For some, however, it may be the only choice when faced with a world that is adamant about bringing life to birth but completely unconcerned about the care of that life thereafter.

Abortion is not the issue. Abortion is a symptom of a system that has gone terribly awry.

Abortion would become rare and mostly unnecessary if we lived in a system that:

  • Provided quality sex education and access to affordable birth control so that unplanned pregnancies would become rare.
  • Guaranteed access to quality pre-natal, maternity and post-natal care.
  • Guaranteed access to affordable, quality healthcare.
  • Provided paid maternity and paternity leave in support of the mental, emotional and physical health of the family.
  • Ensured that the basic needs of the family were being met – food, clothing, safe housing, access to medical care, etc.

If the mother is unmarried or not in partnership with the father of the child:

  • Enforced paternal financial support of the unborn child and if the child is given over to the father for support, that he receive adequate financial support.
  • Access to education, gainful employment and quality childcare so the mother (or father) can work (if they have to…..and mostly likely they will).

But sadly, none of this is being done and the supports that have been there are quietly (sometimes not so quietly) being stripped away.

Women rarely choose abortion because they want to; they are forced into this choice by a system that does not support them or the child they are increasingly being forced to bear.  Putting laws in place to prohibit abortion will not stop abortion.  It will only make it more dangerous.  If we truly want to stop abortion, we need to work toward reforming the systems that put women (and men) in the position of having to make this choice in the first place.

(If you haven’t figured it out yet, there is an even more insidious reason for those in power wanting to prohibit abortion. It is not “to save a life.”  It is to keep more women and children poor and therefore dependent on the system that put them there in the first place. Grrrr)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in church, Inspiration

A Temple Not Built by Human Hands

For thousands of years, human beings have been building temples to their gods. From the humble beginnings of forest shrines, to the temples of the East, to the gargantuan medieval cathedrals and in more modern time, the mega-church complexes, human beings have designed and built external structures to house, to reflect, and to give worship to their gods.  In many belief systems the believers were required to offer sacrifice and worship within the walls of these temples so as to earn the favor of their god.  For some, neglect of these obligations is met with threats of eternal damnation.

These temples were built to represent an external god. God was either thought to be in the temple – either contained within its walls, within its tabernacle; or at the very least, it was only in the temple where god could be met.  The walls of the temple were meant to keep gods in and non-believers out.  Some belief systems have even created rules where those who don’t believe, or those within the faith who aren’t considered worthy because they have not completed the prescribed atonement rituals or sacrifice are not truly welcome.  Keeping gods in and the undeserving out.  All of this rooted in the belief that as human beings, we are separate from God.

Jesus taught otherwise. Raised Jewish, Jesus learned and followed the prescriptions of his faith.  He listened to the stories of his ancestors.  He studied the words of the prophets.  He memorized and followed the law.  He was a good Jewish boy doing what good Jewish boys do.  But, as the stories seem to imply, Jesus heard and experienced something beyond the surface layers of his Jewish faith.  He did not simply attend synagogue on Saturday to fulfill his Sabbath obligation.  It is likely that somewhere in his journey with his Jewish faith, he came upon the more mystical studies of his tradition.  Here he discovered a God that was not only in the temple.  He found a God that was not in a heaven light years away.  Likely through contemplation, meditation and prayer, and through the guidance of others who had come this way before him, he found a God who was not “out there” but dwelt deep within Jesus’ own being in a state he called “Oneness.”  Jesus discovered that the kingdom of God was not out there, but was within him in this state of Union where he experienced peace, contentment and bliss. John the Evangelist later called this experience Love.

For Jesus, the temple became something not outside of himself. Rather, he came to understand that he was the temple – that we are all the temple.  God is in us and we are the temple of that Divine Spirit.  The mystical traditions of Judaism (the Kabbalah) affirm this.  We know and understand this when we do the work Jesus did of healing ourselves of all that which seems to separate us from God – fears, false perceptions, ego attachments, old wounds, etc.  This is the work Jesus (likely) learned through his own Jewish faith, which he accomplished for himself and when he then went on to (try to) teach his disciples.  Some got it.  Some did not…..

 

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Learn the Kabbalistic principles practiced by Jesus through the Order of Melchizedek Training:

 

 

Posted in Inspiration, Order of Melchizedek

The Promise of New Life in the Darkness

After death is the promise of new life. This is the Easter message and the law that nature teaches us over and over and over again.  A seed it planted.  It germinates and grows.  It matures and bears fruit.  It dies, returning to the earth where it plants the seeds for the next life to begin.

Original drawing by Lauri Ann Lumby

So is the true of our human experience. Even our cells are continually involved in this eternal journey of birthing, growing, maturing, dying, and then being born again.

But this dying and rising is not limited to the growth of our cells. This is the eternal dance of our human experience – if we have the courage to surrender to the journey – especially when it all looks like death.  Like it felt for me on Monday.  Facing the end of our dreams, is one of those moments that feels like death.  For me, this death was palpable.  I felt like death.  I felt the weight of death.  I felt as if my body had become my own tomb made out of lead.

Then yesterday I woke up to the dawn of a new day. Rather, I woke up to the void – the place within the tomb where the life that once was lay in repose.  It was an apt position for the final session of a 5 year journey (for some, longer for others) I had been facilitating – learning as I go.  This was the final session of the Order of Melchizedek training that I have been piloting locally before making it wholly available online.  In this portion of the training we had been studying the Aleph Beis and its connection to the major arcana in the Tarot. Yesterday’s lesson (the final lesson) was on the Hebrew letter “Tav” and The World card in the tarot. You will have to take the class to understand how these two seemingly opposing systems are connected, but as a way to bring the course to a close, I facilitated a shamanic journey for those in attendance, while joining them in my own journey.

In my journey, I was led to every journey I had done before. I was brought to every location, every person, every being, every animal, etc. and in each scene, that which appeared to be outside of me was absorbed into me. All perceived division was absorbed into and became part of me. This absorption continued and continued and continued, until I saw that I had become a black hole. I was the black hole and I was in the black hole, drawing in and absorbing every single aspect of the life I have lived so far. It was all drawn inward toward the center of the black hole – a center that doesn’t really exist. The energies of my whole life were being drawn in and compressed – compressed to the point of nothingness and everything. The depths of the void filled with unlimited potential. All that has been was being compressed, transformed and was becoming “fuel” for the life of the black hole. What I then came to understand is that everything was being compressed – the old life was coming to an end, and was being used as fuel/compost for the new life/new world/new universe that will burst forth out of the other side of the black hole once maximum compression was reached.

Today I sit in the black hole. Nothing more to do. Nothing more to be. This world I have known is done. Complete. I am whole. I sit in the void as the new life is being born in secret. I will know it when it arrives. Until that time. I simply am – Lauri.

 

Posted in Being Human, Death, Inspiration

The Death of Our Dreams

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

The death of every dream.

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

“Death” by Robert M. Place

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

What dreams have died for you?

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

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

Posted in Inspiration

Empty Vessels

Empty Vessels

copyright Lauri Ann Lumby

  

“The empty space makes it useful” – Tao Te Ching Chapter 11

Mind open to knowing and understanding.

Eyes open to seeing.

Ears open to hearing.

Mouth open to speaking truth.

Heart open to loving.

Arms open to reaching and embracing.

Hands open to receiving and sharing.

Hips open to dancing.

Legs open to standing.

Feet open to moving.

Spaces between perceptions of form – holding the being.

and in the emptiness of this being –

All are One.

 

Lauri Ann Lumby, self-actualization, finding ourselves, finding meaning, finding purpose, personal missionLearn and explore with Lauri.  Learn more HERE.

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Empowerment, Inspiration, women

Dragons and Feminine Power

This week, we’ve been unraveling and debunking the patriarchal degradation of symbols of feminine power. We started the week with Eve and continued with the serpent.  Today, we tackle the dragon.

In biblical lore, the dragon is cast in the role of demon – devil, Lucifer, Satan, the Leviathan, the dragon who carries the Whore of Babylon and the one that threatens the woman standing “with the moon at her feet” and her newborn child. To the patriarchy, the dragon represents evil, temptation, sin, and the threat of eternal damnation. But why?  Why is the dragon cast in this role of death and destruction?

My sense is that this association between the dragon and temptation has more to do with the patriarchy’s fear of feminine power (their own feminine power) than it does with a literal demon seducing us into sin. When we look at the ancient cultures that preceded the warring patriarchal hoards, we see nothing but a benevolent relationship between dragon and human beings.  In Chinese culture, for example, the dragon represents abundance, wealth, and good fortune; and with its Yin counterpart, the phoenix, portrays the perfect harmony intended between male and female in intimate partnership – each supporting and elevating each other in their unique giftedness. Even in Chassidic Hebrew beliefs, especially in the mysticism of the Kabbalah, the dragon (as a serpent) is welcome as the inner force that awakens us, that carries our true power and which leads us toward embracing and harnessing that power so that we might fulfill our Soul’s mission.

Gnostic Tarot of the Saints by Robert M. Place Llewellyn Press

It is in Christianity where we see the most damning portrayals of the dragon – most notably the dragon that wishes to devour the holy child, thereby thwarting the Divine purpose of liberation. But here is something interesting, in Christian iconography, we see contrasting images of the dragon and its role in the human journey of transformation.   St. Michael the Archangel holds his sword aloft poised at the ready to pierce the dragon’s heart, thereby destroying the source of temptation.  St. Margaret, on the other hand, does not fear or resist the dragon when it swallows her, instead, she walks steadily through the perceived darkness, finding her way to the light and in doing so, discovering the untapped power within her to move through her fears so she could discover and live her truth.

There is a profound lesson in the story of St. Margaret for all of us – that which we perceive to be our demon, our dragon, our “darkness” is not there to destroy us, neither is it meant to be destroyed. Instead, the dragons in our lives are meant to be welcomed for it is in and through our challenges that we find our strength.

This is the secret power of the Divine feminine and that which the patriarchy has attempted to destroy – the power to stand in the darkness and through the darkness finding our way to the light – even if that means (most especially when it means) staring death itself in the face. As every true queen knows, the dragon is not to be destroyed. Instead, we are invited to meet it face to face, harness its power and let it carry us.

Posted in Inspiration, Spiritual Formation, spiritual healing

The Spiritual Life Review

At the juncture between what has been and what is coming into form, it is not uncommon to experience a “Life Review.” I have experienced the life review as a flood of memories and feelings of where I’ve been.  I think of it as the final purge before a new life is ready to begin.  The best response to a life review is to be with it – allowing the memories and emotions to flow through – without getting attached to or hung up on them, but simply allowing them to move through.  Sometimes there is an emotional release (rage, tears) that come through the life review – and that is also ok.  We need to feel our past in order to let it go.  The following is a poem I recently penned while experiencing my own spiritual life review:

Life Review

As the life review presents itself, I let it wash over me –

Feeling into where I’ve been

And where I am today.

A wholly different person.

Cleansed of my resentment, hatred and rage…

No longer fixated on changing a broken and dying world.

Secure in who I am –

a unique expression of God’s love in the world.

I am love.

Sent to bring forth a new world:

One built on love – not fear.

Knowing the journey begins within.

The change starts with me.

Healing myself of past

woundedness,

trauma,

perceived failure,

disappointment,

worry,

fear.

In forgiving my past, transforming shame into Love.

Witnessing all the ways I’ve been told I had to be

Anything other than me.

And letting that shit go!

Freeing myself of the patriarchal world’s definition and formula for success;

Knowing the only real success is in being myself –

Sensitive.

Vulnerable.

A little bit broken.

Resilient.

Courageous.

Generous.

Loving.

Kind.

One who finds meaning in the simplest things:

An autumn walk in the woods.

The scent of a baby’s head.

The quiet of winter mornings before dawn.

A warm cup of coffee.

The loving embrace of a friend.

The laughter of my children…

and who wishes only to be Love and to walk gently through this life.

 

 

Where have you experienced your own life-review? What tools have you used to support yourself in that review?  What were you able to glean from that experience?

Posted in detachment, Inspiration, Surrender

Wiping the Slate Clean

I have spent the past two weekends in DEEP CLEARING mode. Doing my year-end bookkeeping, deep cleaning my home, and yesterday I spent all day gathering and completing paperwork for a process that will free me from something that has held me prisoner for the past 7 (or s0) years.  It is time to be FREED from the past to make way for the new.  Beyond the material, this has also been a time of deep inner clearing – facing, identifying and healing wounds from the past, letting go of attachments to certain ideas, plans, fixations, etc. and listening deeply for what might still be cluttering my ego and which is yearning to be freed.  All of this has been for the purpose of making room for the new to step in.  As I have been diligently tending to the process of wiping the slate clean, I am finding the new peeking out from around the corner waiting to be seen.  I see you and I welcome you!

Wiping the slate clean is a process we are all invited into from time to time. When what has been is proving to be no longer life-giving, it is time to let it go.  When things from our past have become a burden or an obstacle to our forward movement, it is time to let them go!  When we are clinging to old hurts, betrayals, wounds, etc. we cannot move forward until we let them go.  The same is true of our ego attachments – attachments to fame, money, power, etc.  In order to fulfill the Divine plan for ourselves (our Soul’s plan), we first have to be cleared of anything and everything that is not in harmony with that plan.  It is time to wipe the slate clean.

But wiping the slate clean isn’t always easy. We have become comfortable and familiar with what has been.  Comfort, however, does not equal freedom.  And our Soul demands freedom!  Sometimes what our culture tells we “must do to be successful” is not in harmony with our Soul’s path so we must let that go, while facing the sure judgment of those who cling to the culture’s definition of success and how to get there.  Going against the flock is never easy – and yet in the path of the Soul it is almost always necessary!

Let me give you an example of this from my own journey. For years I’ve been told that I need to “be famous,” “be on Oprah,” or at the very least on Ellen.  In order to be successful, I need to take my show on the road – get out there and do all those big workshops famous people do (you know the ones you pay thousands of dollars to attend and then the only one getting paid is the promoter?).  I’ve had people promise to “make me famous” and that the key to my success will be travel.  Well, here’s the deal folks……after a bizarre virus in 2015, I cannot travel.  I cannot drive for more than an hour (sometimes 90 minutes) without becoming very ill.  It then takes several hours – sometimes days for my inner equilibrium to return. It isn’t car sickness.  It isn’t panic attacks.  No one seems to know what it is and even after 18 months of physical therapy for “vertigo” the symptoms are still the same.  There is no long distance driving travel in Lauri Lumby’s future.  But beyond this limitation that can certainly be worked around (hire a driver, fly, etc.) what my Soul has said to me VERY LOUDLY and quite succinctly is “BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED,” while showing me all the people right here in good ole Oshkosh, Wisconsin who are in need of my gifts.  And it’s time. It’s time to stop hiding in my home and get out into the community sharing my magic.  (something I am already doing on a daily basis informally….but now it’s time to do it more formally).

Wiping the slate clean requires that we diligently tend to all those things that are currently in the way of us pursuing and fulfilling the path of our Soul. As we recently explored in my Order of Melchizedek course, the plan our Soul has for us is far beyond what we could ever imagine for ourselves:

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.