Posted in Midlife Journey, Returning book, Uncategorized

Surviving Midlife – the Map Part 2

Midlife is the sometimes treacherous journey from childbearing to birthing ourselves.  Specifically, the goal of midlife is the birth of our Soul – the uniquely creative way in which we were gifted to find fulfillment, meaning and purpose and to contribute to the betterment of the world.  For women, midlife is associated with menopause and perimenopause and for men, the journey is not so affectionately (and not necessarily accurately) referred to as a “midlife crisis.”  What can we expect to happen as the midlife journey unfolds?  Today’s blog is part two of an attempt at beginning to answer that question.  (For Part One of this blog, click HERE.)

Man's hand pointing on street map

A Recap

In yesterday’s blog, we began the exploration of midlife and identified the following as points on the map along the journey of midlife:

Awakening, Birthing, Grieving ungrieved losses, shattering of illusions and attachments, and learning to hear the voice of our truth.  Today, we cover items 6-11. 

6) Support

During the midlife journey, we quickly learn that we cannot, nor should we, attempt this journey alone.  We find support in the company of professionals (therapists, counselors, spiritual directors), dear friends, family and the world of the unseens.  Midlife is also a time of sorting – finding out who our true friends are and releasing relationships that are not supportive of who we are or who we are called to be.  We might leave old friends behind, we might discover new friends, we might deepen long-standing relationships.  At midlife, we may find our circle of support grows smaller, but it will be more intimate, healthier and more loving.  We also find in midlife a new relationship with the unseens.  Whether we call it “God” or form relationships with angels, saints or spirit guides, we learn that invisible help is there if we look for it and we find value in seeking support from the world beyond.

7) Relationship Issues

This is a BIGGIE!  Our committed, intimate relationships cannot maintain status quo as we are going through the changes of midlife….and this is equally true for men as it is for women.  It is not a coincidence that it is often in midlife that couples go through the dark night of the relationship.  At the dark night, we realize that the relationship we entered into in our youth is no longer life-giving and is in need of healing, growth and transformation. If the relationship hopes to continue with any sense of fulfillment and happiness, both parties must be willing to grow in self-awareness, independence and self-sufficiency and they must be willing to renegotiate a new relationship post-midlife.  This is of course assuming both parties are even interested in staying together.  Some will discover through midlife that the people they are birthing are no longer compatible. Midlife is a treacherous time for relationships.

8) Redefining Love

Hand-in-hand with relationship issues is an evolving definition of love.  What is love?  What does love look like?  How do we show love and how do we need to be shown love (What is our love language)?  What do we want in a relationship?  These are all questions that we are invited to ask during the midlife journey and answers we are invited to bring to the table in renegotiating our intimate relationships.  We also learn in midlife (if we are doing our work), how to love more freely and more generously and above all….we learn how to forgive.

9) Befriending Self – Childhood Dreams

A huge part of midlife (if not the primary goal) is to befriend ourselves.  During midlife, we are invited to let go of the “shoulds” and set aside the person we made ourselves to be so that we could gain other people’s approval.  Instead, we are challenged to get to know who we really are, the person God made us to be.  We are compelled to seek out our true self and to find ways to embrace him/her and live it.  No longer will we apologize for who we are or change who we are to make someone else happy.  Part of discovering who we are is rediscovering our childhood dreams.  Hidden within our childhood passions, hopes and dreams are the clues to our truest self.  If we can remember who we were at age 7, we have a pretty good start at knowing who we were really made to be.

10) Befriending Self – making peace with our bodies

During midlife, our bodies are changing…..and are doing so in spite of our efforts to make it behave and act like it did when we were 20.  The physical changes of midlife, I think, are God’s reminder that we are not in charge!  Yes, we need to tend to our health, exercise and eat healthy foods, but our body will continue to do what it wants within those parameters.  Our job is to make peace with these changes and to surrender to that over which we have no control.  Wisdom in midlife comes when we make peace with our bodies and stop apologizing for it or for trying to make it behave.  Peace comes in midlife when we embrace the juicy, sensuous curves (PS  Susun Weed says that women who carry an extra 10 pounds during midlife have fewer “side effects” from menopause….hmmmm) that midlife throws us and enjoy the passion that wants to be made known through our freer bodies and even freer minds.

11) Befriending Self – the shadow

Finally, befriending self means making peace with all the parts of ourselves that we might be tempted to reject, condemn or ignore.  During midlife, wisdom and peace comes when we learn to be ok with our perceived imperfections and can acknowledge and even embrace our humanness.  We are meant to love ourselves….warts and all….and midlife is the perfect time to learn how to do this.   When we make peace with our demons, they no longer have power over us.  So…befriend your anger, resentment, vengeful nature, self-doubt, insecurities, webbed feet and crows feet… is all part of who you are and it is magnificent!

The good news is that all these tasks of midlife, as difficult as many of them are, are not in vain.  The journey of midlife has a purpose and a destination – a return to yourself, your gifts and your passion.  The midlife journey, when actively engaged, leads you to a life of purpose in service to yourself and to the world and one in which you find fulfillment, peace and joy!  Who wouldn’t want that?

For more on the midlife journey for women, read my book, Returning, or register for my upcoming course, “Surviving Midlife.” 

Posted in Midlife Journey, Returning book

Surviving Midlife Class – a preview

I am pleased to announce the launch of a new class, specifically for women between the ages of 35 and 70:  Surviving Midlife. This course provides a roadmap for women who are on the sometimes treacherous, always confusing journey of midlife (aka perimenopause and menopause).  This course is made possible through a partnership with Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Inc., Harmony Wellness Center and myself and proceeds will go to benefit the mission of the Christine Ann Center which “is committed to ending the cycle of violence by providing safety, support and advocacy to all abuse victims, as well as cultivating community awareness through collaborative education and prevention programs.”  Please see flier below for details. For more information or to register, contact Lauri Lumby at (920) 230-1313 or email





Posted in creativity, Mystics, Returning book

Guest Poet – Samantha Smith

In anticipation of the upcoming release party for my latest book, Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself, I am sharing a poem written by Samantha Smith.  Samantha Smith graduated from Lawrence University with a major in Gender Studies and minors in History and English. She is going on to pursue a degree in Public History from Loyola University Chicago this fall, and after that will attend Dominican University for a degree in Library and Information Science. Aside from her career interests in archival science, she enjoys sharing food and conversation with friends, writing poetry and prose, and creating visual art piecesThank you Sam for sharing your beautiful poetry and even more beautiful self with my readers!

Samantha Smith
Samantha Smith

The Line

I collect pictures with pinchers,

Waiting on sentiment, a lonely friend.

Skulls emerge,

Together brittle limbs carry weighted tragedy.

Sprains, inflammation, torn muscles ensue,

I try so hard to constantly carry you.

Your body dead and under,

I resurrect it in your dust-lined graves,

Sprinkled around the house, in every memory.

Forgiveness looms in the background,

I know a body’s there but I dare not turn around.

SOUL is the unique way you are creatively gifted to find meaning, purpose and connection. Soul, when engaged, leaves you feeling fulfilled, content and whole.  My mission is to help you BIRTH YOUR SOUL.  To schedule a one-on-one session or to learn more about how you might host a class, workshop or retreat, please contact me, Lauri Ann Lumby, at (920) 230-1313 or

Posted in Being Human, Returning book

Katherine T. Owen Reviews “Returning”

A heart-felt thank you to Katherine T. Owen, author of Be Loved Beloved, for her beautiful review of Returning – A Woman’s Midlife Journey to Herself.  You can learn more about Katherine through her website and through her bio (below.). 


In Returning, A Woman’s Midlife Journey To Herself, Lauri Ann Lumby shares her journey of self-love and spiritual exploration, with startling honesty.

Lumby refers to the poems as unedited, saying “the last thing we need when writing to find ourselves is someone telling us our poetry is crap”. The poems are nonetheless fluid and flowing. Sometimes rhyming, sometimes not, they are always accessible and revealing– the outpouring of feelings and observations of a woman who is allowing herself to know how she feels about herself and her life.

Subjects include the progression of a love affair from first love till separation, and the writer’s relationship with her body– years of trying to starve herself through to being happy with being a larger clothes’ size. At times I felt both the joy and discomfort of eavesdropping on personal thoughts.

If you are fed up of self help authors who give the impression that having found self-love or God, their life is now endlessly easy, you will be glad of this very honest account of a woman who shares her journey and invites us to make our own.

If you run any kind of writing group in which women are willing to explore how they truly feel about themselves and their lives, the writing exercises– many for each of the seven chapters–will be useful tools in sparking the creative expression of your group. The book would be relevant to those teaching therapeutic writing for well being.

Read it for its honesty. You will know yourself better through reference to the open sharing of another.

Katherine T Owen
– Every problem is an invitation to reconnect with Love.

Katherine T Owen spent fourteen years of her life bedbound with CFS/ME with little movement and little speech. Now she walks and talks again.

Katherine’s primary spiritual practices are those of love and forgiveness. Through these, she remembers and celebrates our Oneness with God and with each other. She is author of It’s OK to Believe– A Journey with Faith and Reason. Spiritual poems and prose take the reader on a thought-provoking journey to reconcile the questioning mind with belief in a God of love.

Also, the collection Be Loved Beloved. Katherine is a student of A Course In Miracles and a Christian mystic. Find out more about her journey at

Posted in Authentic Freedom, creativity, Midlife Journey, Raised Catholic, Returning book

Church of the In-Between

The midlife journey is about birthing our Soul – the unique way we are spiritually and creatively gifted to find meaning, purpose, fulfillment and connection in our lives, and the way in which we are called to share our gifts for the betterment of humanity.  Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself, chronicles the journey toward my own spiritual and creative fulfillment while providing creative tools through which you may do the same.  Today, I share with you a recent poem that surfaced in response to my own continued Returning and the unfolding answer of what it means to be priest in the post-modern world and beyond my own Catholic upbringing.


Priest to the Church of the In-Between

Priest to those in-between

in an in-between world

in an in-between time

A Church free of walls

Free of name

A name-less, face-less God, or no God at all.

Free of doctrine

Free of Creed.

A Church, not of my own making

 It making me according to its need.

Priest without collar or stole

privilege or power

chalice or blade.

Heart and arms open

Meeting where you are at

in the places in-between.

SOUL is the unique way you are creatively gifted to find meaning, purpose and connection. Soul, when engaged, leaves you feeling fulfilled, content and whole.  My mission is to help you BIRTH YOUR SOUL.  Lauri Ann Lumby (920) 230-1313

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

From Darkness into the Light

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


The Unique Quality of Soul

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

Hiding in the Darkness

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

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

Along with our fears are all of our unhealed wounds:

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

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

The Only Way Out is Through

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

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

Posted in Initiation, Midlife Journey, Returning book

Birthing Ourselves – my new favorite book

Today’s blog explores the midlife (for most anyway), journey of birthing the soul, becoming our true self, finding the unique gift within us which is our gift to the world and which gives us a sense of fulfillment, joy, meaning and purpose.  And…apparently I’m not the only one writing about it.


My New Favorite Book

It is one thing to write the intimate details of one’s personal life in your own book (Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself), but it is completely unnerving to find the intimate details of your life written in SOMEBODY else’s book!  This is what I discovered while reading Soulcraft by Bill Plotkin (it is an assigned reading for the PhD program I’m in).  In his book,  and he describes in detail the personal and spiritual journey that has consumed me for the past 12+ years and does so with uncanny accuracy.  Bill nails the midlife spiritual quest so well in fact that I am almost offended by how ordinary and predictable my own spiritual journey really has been.  I’m disappointed to learn that I’m not unique, neither am I special or gifted in the stages that have unfolded for me in this spiritual quest…in fact, I might even be called predictable.  SIGH!

Birthing of our Soul

In Soulcraft, Bill Plotkin defines the soul as “the essence of our particular individuality which reflects our unique and deepest personal characteristics, the core and enduring qualities that define our personhood, the true self, the “real me. (p. 25)”  Connecting with spirit, according to Bill, is the journey of ascent where we experience union, oneness, transcendence, where we find our connection with all that is, including God.  The journey to the soul, he observes, is a journey of DESCENT……in finding our soul, we dive deep into the darkest, wildest, most natural, gritty, sometimes despicable and fearful parts of who we are so that we might find our core essence….the uniquely gifted magnificent and spectacular self….the gift that is uniquely ours and that we are called to be and share in the world.  As Bill also observes, all are called to this journey, but few actually partake because the journey to the soul is messy, dirty, chaotic and unpredictable and it requires us to be shed of everything that stands opposed to the greatness we are called to bring into the world.  This spiritual, soul-delving journey is anything but pretty, but the rewards are greater than we could ever possibly imagine.

Soulcrafting as Returning

In the deep work of birthing our soul, we are in essence Returning to our truest nature.  And here is where Bill’s universe and mine collide.  My latest book, Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself, is about just this – delving into the depths of our being to find the hidden gem.  While my book is perhaps uniquely feminine, as Bill also observes, whether you are male or female, it is the feminine that we are called to unearth and embrace as we birth our soul.  And while I’m tempted to target Returning specifically toward women, Bill reminds that if men are uncomfortable with the feminine experience (which I’m afraid men might be in reading my book), it is due to their fear of their own unintegrated feminine, wild self.  HMMMMM  So perhaps my book is more universal than I think and that the spiritual process of birthing the soul which includes: awakening, shattering illusions, acknowledging guides, redefining work and love, becoming comfortable with our longing and heeding our return, is not just for women ages 30-70 going through midlife, menopause or perimenopause, but for anyone who has the courage, strength and stamina to endure the trials in order that they might find their reward.

Thank you Bill for an amazing book and a fabulous guide for the most important journey of our lives – the journey to ourselves.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

Posted in Midlife Journey, Returning book, Surrender, women

Women Birthing Ourselves – Guest poet, Sandi Carpenter

In support of the upcoming release of my book, Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself, I have invited fellow poets, writers and artists to share a work of their own that speaks to the journey of birthing themselves.  Birthing ourselves takes place for women between the ages of 30-70 and has been given all sorts of silly names:  midlife, menopause, perimenopause, hysteria and womb madness.  Today’s contribution comes from Sandi Carpenter. (see bio below, and learn more about Sandi on my Authentic Freedom Press page!)  Thank you Sandi for a beautiful piece about the journey of returning while letting go. 

Drops of Love

She moves about the garden Like a feather in the wind
Borne by gentle breeze of eve
Admiring her kin

Drops of love fall from her eyes
And sorrow fills her heart
For she knows what they do not
The time has come to part

All her life she had sustained them
Giving birth to every one
Each petal mirrored perfection
And radiance from the sun

With mission here now found complete
The heavens open wide
Overcome…she breathes one’s last
Eternally abide

Awakened by the warmth of morn
Their loss is felt with sorrow
Glistening now the drops she shed
Comforting memories for the morrow

copyright Sandi Carpenter

Sandi Carpenter
Sandi Carpenter

Sandi lives outside Clintonville, Wisconsin with her husband and over-sized rottweiller. She is mom to 4, step-mom to 4 and grandma to 12 (soon to be 13)!  She’s worked in the Printing/Publishing Industry for over 15 years and has been practicing Christouch for the past 3 years. In those three years she’s experienced the life-changing impact of working at a job, and serving others through a true calling.  She’s a down-to-earth small-town country girl who enjoys all kinds of music, sewing, gardening – at which she excels in growing all varieties of weeds. She loves a good campfire, which she often enjoys sitting around with her husband and a group of friends, and where she occasionally burns burgers on the open fire. In the spring you may find her calling turkeys from her blind in the woods, and in the fall she’ll be huddled up in the same spot hunting deer. Plus, on any given Friday night you may hear her in downtown Clintonville, channelling singers of all genres and eras while performing karaoke.

Sandi Carpenter   715-412-2398

Posted in Returning book, women

A Book for Women Ages 30-70

Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself is LIVE and AVAILABLE NOW!!!!!!  


Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself, lays bare the complexity and beauty of the midlife pursuit of authenticity.  Through poetry and prose, Lauri Ann Lumby reveals how creative expression leads to understanding, wisdom and fulfillment.  With writing, drawing and reflection exercises, Returning becomes more than a confession, inviting you to plumb the depths of your soul for the magnificent treasures held within.

Returning is for women between the ages of 30 and 70 who are no longer occupied with childbearing and are in the process of birthing themselves!  The trick, however, is that sometimes we don’t know that is what is happening to us…all we feel is the flood of emotions that accompany this stage in a woman’s development:  irritability, restlessness, impatience, sadness, anxiety, depression, physical aches and pains.  What we often don’t know is that all of these emotions are there to WAKE US UP!  It is time to stop being servant to others and start serving ourselves!  Midlife (peri-menopause, menopause) is a time of profound transformation, change and empowerment….if we choose to allow this.  It is also a time of retraining and renegotiating….retraining our partners and children to begin to take care of themselves and renegotiating agreements made in relationship.  During midlife….our truest, most authentic, most creative, most empowered, most courageous, most fun and frivolous parts of ourselves are trying to be known.

Returning is a resource to help women along this journey.  Through poetry and prose, along with CREATIVE exercises, you are empowered to WAKE UP, to let go of your illusions, to re-examine your relationship with love, longing and work….but most importantly, you are empowered to DREAM amazing dreams and to BECOME the most amazing version of yourself you can possibly imagine!  AND…you don’t have to do it alone!

Prudence Tippins has this to say about Returning:

Returning; A Woman’s Midlife Journey to Herself lays bare the complexity and beauty of the feminine archetype.  Author Lauri Lumby shares her own journey of naiveté, hope, disillusionment, longing, acceptance, wisdom, and empowerment with the courage and revelation only one who has been on this journey can muster.  She dares readers to share in this fearless exploration with writing prompts that invite deep reflection and self-acknowledgment.

Phrases like, ”My heart wants peace 300 year old oak peace” sing to the soul a song so ancient, we are compelled to respond.  Lauri leads us into the shadows and shows us the light that comes from within.  It is a triumphant journey, and an endless one.

Pick up Returning, a box of crayons, and a big, blank journal, and create a mid-life retreat for yourself.  You will laugh and cry and feel deep gratitude for the guide you hold in your hands, and the one who lives deep in your heart.

Prudence Tippins, co-author of Two of Us Make a World and author of Faces of the Goddess


Posted in Returning book, women

Returning – AVAILABLE NOW!!!!!

Drumroll please…………Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself is LIVE and available for purchase NOW.  Buy it HERE!   More than a confession, Returning provides inspiration, support and comfort for women navigating the dangerous waters of midlife.  For women between the ages of 30 and 70, who are looking for practical and FUN tools for inspiring your creativity as you are busy BIRTHING YOURSELF!!!!!   It is a spiritual journey, an emotional journey and a physical journey.  Poetry.  Essays.  Writing prompts.  Creativity prompts.  Bring your crayolas, an empty journal and a writing utensil.  But more importantly….make room for YOURSELF!  Forget menopause, perimenopause, this is time for your SACRED PAUSE!