Posted in Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Monastic Living, Mystics

Today My Heart is Troubled

Today my heart is troubled.  I have dedicated my life to the work of Love, inspired by the life and teachings of Jesus and further embodied through Mary, the Magdalene. As I have studied scripture and brought these stories deep into my prayer, what has become increasingly clear is that Love is Jesus’ only message and that his life’s work was to help people free themselves from the inner and outer obstacles to living that Love.  Mary, given the honored title of “Magdalene” was ordained to continue this specific work in Jesus’ stead.

Being called into, accepting, and upholding the mission begun by Jesus and continued through Mary, has been no easy task. Oh yes, it has been a great joy and I am humbled to do this work.  Still, it is hard. To fulfill this work, I have been brought deep into the transformational tools that have, indeed, been “hidden in plain sight.”  I have resurrected these tools and reformulated them into something that can be understood by a modern audience.

Before sharing these tools, however, I had to master them myself – a mastering that continues.  These are the tools that invite us to look deep into our own souls to confront all within us that is serving as an obstacle to Love.  Love of self.  Love of (what some might call) God.  Love of others.  Love of creation.  While looking within, these tools also invite us to look outside of ourselves – at all those things in our lives, our actions, our behaviors, our choices, that are keeping us from living in the freedom and peace of Love.  In letting go of, and healing and transforming the wounds that cause these non-loving attachments in the first place, we are freed to not only know, but live and embody the Love about which Jesus and Mary Magdalene spoke and to which they dedicated and lost their lives.

No, this work is not easy, but I find I can do no other.  It is what I was made for and every single experience in my life has pointed me (or dragged me kicking and screaming) to this work. I do it gladly and am humbled and in awe of all those who have found their way to this work and who have had the courage to stick with it.  No one said the path of Love was easy!

And yet, what troubles my heart greatly, and frequently, are all the ways in which humanity continues to seek the easy path to Love.  The path that is lined with shiny objects and empty promises.  The path that is more about profit than prophet. The path that uses the names of Jesus or Mary Magdalene to further a political, divisive, or capitalistic agenda.

The most heartbreaking part of this is that these are the entities that garner the most attention and gather the largest audience.  Prosperity gospel churches filled to the brim, appealing to the privileged masses by justifying their privilege and condemning those who have less, preaching the falsehood against which Jesus himself spoke: “God favors His chosen ones.”   Alternatively, are those capitalizing on the Magdalene by harnessing her already mistaken history as “prostitute and whore,” and using it to further their own agenda.  I think more lies have been written about the Magdalene today than can ever be found in scripture.

The vulnerable and human part of me feels jealous over those who have become famous and rich in the pandering of their shiny objects, while I continue to be, “the world’s best kept secret” (as many of my friends, clients and students have called me). When I step beyond my jealousy, I know that like the Magdalene, I have chosen the simple life and that I much prefer invisibility.  There is (authentic) power in being unknown.  And sometimes the unhealed parts of my heart feel hurt over what sometimes feels like rejection.

The other piece that troubles my heart today is the same piece with which Jesus and Mary themselves struggled – a humanity unable and unwilling to hear, embrace, and live the truth of Love.  As I am certain Jesus and Mary came to understand, humanity will never change.  It will only and always be the few and the very brave who will hear the message and do the difficult work of living Love while the masses will continue on their merry way, ignorant to the harm they are doing to themselves, others and the world by living in ways contrary to Love.  Humanity will always find a way to justify their selfish and non-loving beliefs and actions because it is much easier to look the other way than to be a source of support for those who might be struggling.  It is also much easier to cast a finger of judgment on those who are suffering than to look into the mirror as to how our own actions or behaviors might be contributing to that suffering.  Like Jesus who was left with only a few who truly understood and went on to live out his message of Love, I know that my efforts will only reach the hearts of a few.  For these I will always continue, and on some days it is just really hard.

Original Art by Lauri Ann Lumby

Vulnerably yours,

Lauri

Posted in Monastic Living, spiritual gifts

Within is the Goal

Authentic Freedom Academy Sacred Living Series

Part 1

 

Today, I begin a series of reflections in support of a growing trend, dare I say calling, that I have been experiencing in my own life, while also witnessing it in the lives of others.  This growing trend is a deep, inner calling for (what I am choosing to call):

Sacred Living

While the expression of sacred living is showing itself in ways as diverse as the humanity out of which it is emerging, the calling is the same.  A deep desire to go within and to choose a way of living and being that is reflective of the stillness we find there.  That which drives this calling harkens back to Jesus’ own words to his disciples:

Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he said in reply, “The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or ‘There it is.’  For behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”  Luke 17: 20-21

 This, is indeed, one of Jesus’ greatest messages to humanity.  That which we seek can never be found outside of us but can only be found within.

What is it that we seek in the human condition?  When we look beyond what we have been taught to seek after (approval, money, power, popularity, success, etc.) the answer is simple.  What we are all truly seeking is peace.  While the fullness of that peace may not be found until we have departed the human experience, Jesus reminds us that we can have the peace, right here, right now, and that this peace can only be found within.

Sacred living is both the pursuit and fulfillment of that search for peace.  When we know inner peace, we want to live in ways that support and are reflective of that peace.  Sacred living is the name I’ve given to that choice.

Sacred living is what I have seen specifically emerging from within the members of this (Authentic Freedom) community.  Women and men seeking a quieter, gentler, more authentic way of being, while detaching from the “values” that have been imposed upon us by our culture.  While some might be tempted to believe that it is the dysfunction of our culture that has driven us inward, I am more inclined to believe that the calling for sacred living comes from within and is at once a charism (spiritual gift) and a true vocational calling.

The call to sacred living is no less urgent or Divinely-driven than the call to ordination, matrimony, or vowed religious life.  It is simply a vocational calling that has not been given the credit, attention, encouragement or support it deserves. What sets sacred living apart from the aforementioned divine callings, is that it is happening outside of any specific institution and it is coming forth in human beings of all natures and walks of life.  One need not be single, celibate, or even accept a vow of poverty to be called to and embrace the calling to sacred living.  Instead, sacred living can be embraced and lived out from whatever state we find ourselves in our lives – married, single, with children, without children, working, retired, being of simple or prosperous means.  The externals of our lives have no bearing on our calling or ability to live sacredly.  Instead, we need only say yes to the calling and live it.

In the coming weeks, I will be offering reflections, encouragement and support for the calling of sacred living.  I invite you to share your own experiences of this calling and to share how you are living it out.  You can do that through the discussion area at the bottom of this page.  Thank you for hearing the call to sacred living and for choosing to live that out!

 

Click on the icon below to enjoy more of the sacred living series and to receive all the other Authentic Freedom Community Member benefits:

 

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Posted in Monastic Living, self-actualization

Welcome to My Monastic Life

My whole life I have been restless – longing and searching for more.  Typically, that “more” meant something other than what I was currently experiencing.  My mom recently reminded me that I was always looking for that next opportunity, next goal, next degree, next job, next relationship.  I was rarely, if ever, satisfied with what was right in front of me, I was always looking for that “something new” that must be right around the corner.  This searching did not arise out of boredom with the status quo – in fact, as one who thrives on order and routine, status quo has always provided me with a sense of comfort.  But still, my heart was restless.  Where was that satisfaction that my Soul longed for and relentlessly searched after?

The good news is that my searching has not been in vain.  Everything I have explored, searched after, studied, discerned, discarded or applied has been food for the searching.  Every place I landed (albeit temporarily) showed me a part of my Soul and provided me with tools which have proven, not only helpful but life-giving in the great search.  What I had begun to suspect a few years back and which I have now come to understand fully, it was not anything outside of me for which I was searching.

This whole entire time I was only searching for one thing and that one thing is MYSELF.

Nimue – original art by Lauri Ann Lumby

Lauri Ann Lumby.  Thriving in order and routine.  An Introvert who likes people and who cherishes intimate friendships.  Creative yet also logical and reasoning.  Outwardly appearing aloof while harboring deep, deep, deep feelings. Highly, highly, highly intuitive (some might even suggest psychic). Hungry for knowledge – specifically of a spiritual nature.  Enjoys a quiet, gentle, ease-filled flow to life.  Repelled by conflict or competition.  Enforcing hard-core boundaries for the sake of self-care.  Recoils from entanglements and anything smelling of co-dependency or manipulation.  A vessel of kindness and support, insight and wisdom.  Yearning for a world where we can all just get along and where people can remember that we are all one.

This is me.  I have also learned (something I’ve actually known all along) that knowing myself isn’t enough.  What this search has also led me to understand is what MYSELF needs to thrive.  It is not and has never been what our culture keeps trying to sell us – work hard, get a job, make lots of money, buy lots of things, invest your money, save your money, buy cool things with your money, be famous.  You can imagine the inner conflict I’ve been feeling all these years with the world and my Soul constantly fighting for my attention.

No more.  Now I get it and I am living it.  I have set down my conditioned desire for wealth, power, fame and success (as it is defined in our capitalistic culture).  Instead, I am embracing what my Soul needs – a monastic kind of life. But what does that mean in 2019 for a 54 year old divorced mother of two?  The answer to this question has come from living INTO the question – asking my Soul what it needs from moment to moment and doing my best to deliver.

Yesterday, I had the perfect monastic kind of day – one that filled my Soul!  It looked like this:

  • 6 am wake up.
  • Meditation
  • Breakfast and coffee
  • Check emails and Facebook for messages.
  • Upload two additional lessons to my Order of Melchizedek Level 6 training.
  • Draw.
  • Make a healthy, nourishing lunch.
  • Get a massage.
  • Come home, do dishes and clean for my evening class.
  • Shower.
  • Draw some more while enjoying coffee and a few Fig cookies.
  • Eat a light dinner.
  • Prep my class.
  • Transfer money from my Paypal account (yay….I love getting paid to “do nothing”) into my checking.
  • Pay a couple bills.
  • Meditate for 20 minutes
  • Welcome my guests for a 6:30 class.
  • Watch Dark Crystal on Netflix while enjoying a glass of wine.
  • 9:00 bedtime.

 

Easy day.  Easy flow.  The perfect blend of being and doing and only “doing” that which came forth out of my being.  Hurray!

Today is much of the same.  The only difference will be grocery shopping, a stop at the bank and my job at the ballet studio (chop wood and carry water while also getting my necessary outside of my home people interaction).

In embracing my monastic spirit and making a commitment to it in my daily life, I am indeed finding “heaven on earth.”  Yes there will still be conflict.  Yes, there will still be anxiety and stress.  Yes, I am spending a fair amount of my time alone – which actually fits my temperament.  No, my life is not complicit with what a capitalistic culture requires of us.  No, I don’t have any of the things our culture says we must have.  I don’t own a home.  I don’t have any savings or investments.  I own the simple furnishings and artwork (much of it I have done myself) that are in my home.  Much of what I own came to me second-hand, including the clothes on my back.  It is a simple life.  It is counter cultural.  And it is founded on and established in one thing:

My relationship with MYSELF and my relationship with that which some call “God.” 

 

Everything else springs forth out of and revolves around this simple goal – to be One within Myself and therefore One with God and One with everything that is.

It is here that we find true contentment and peace.

 

If the monastic life speaks to your Soul’s yearning, follow my daily posts on Facebook and Instagram.  If you are looking for connection with others walking a similar path, consider becoming a member of our growing community. All are welcome.