Posted in Initiation, self-actualization, shame, sin, spiritual awakening

Eve’s Serpent – the Voice of the Soul

When Eve appeared to me in the early hours of Saturday morning, she arrived with her companion. This companion, I was told, represented the tools of her trade.

If Eve’s true nature is that of Awakener,

then the tools of her trade are all the ways in which the Soul seeks to be known.

In scriptural literature, this companion was given the form of the serpent and has been cast into the role of demon for luring the original humans into disobedience, thereby causing the “original sin” which forever cast human beings into a life of suffering.

The story of humanity’s “fall” is a myth. Plain and simple, it is a story which attempts to explain the nature of the human condition, while also acknowledging a deep, ancient memory of something more. It is unfortunate that when forming its doctrine, the Christian church chose to use this story as a weapon against humanity – shaming us into believing there is something inherently disordered about us and that life was about seeking approval and forgiveness for “sins” that are not even our own.  Even Jesus, it seemed, could not undo the cause of this “original sin.”  Sigh!

Let’s return to the serpent. In yesterday’s lesson, I spoke of the true nature of Eve as a metaphor for the human calling to awaken – to awaken out of our fearful nature and into the truth of our Soul.  This is what Eve metaphorically did when she chose to eat of the tree of knowledge – her eyes were open and now she could see as the “gods” and was given the ability to reason, discern and exercise her truth.  But before she could awaken, Eve had to hear the voice of her Soul.  The serpent represents that voice.

As I have described in many lessons in both my local and online courses:

Soul is the uniquely creative way in which you have been gifted to find meaning and purpose in your life and the way in which you are called to find fulfillment in service to the betterment of the world. Soul is our true self – the part of us that knows our gift and our call, and is that which compels us to seek out, discover, cultivate and nurture these gifts and this call, empowering us to share our gifts in service to the world.

-Lauri Ann Lumby

 

It is the voice of the Soul that we are here to hear and abide. It is only in listening to the voice of our Soul that we are able to fulfill our purpose for being on this human plane.  It is through the Soul that we are able to discover our unique giftedness, nurture and cultivate these gifts and then find out how we are called to share these gifts – first for the sake of our own fulfillment and second in service to the betterment of the world.  This is why we are here and it is the gentle (and sometimes forceful) whisperings of the Soul that set us forth on that journey.

The Serpent is that voice. The ancients knew this and honored the serpent as the image of the human journey toward self-actualization.  The serpent was representative of knowledge and wisdom and called humanity into its fullness.  It was only the patriarchy who stripped the serpent of its rightful place as teacher and guide – because in order to rule, authority had to be placed outside of us and in the hands of the hierarchy.  With the serpent, authority resides within – as is attested by all the ancient traditions that use the serpent as the symbol of humanity’s journey of awakening to Soul and bringing that Soul into form – the Kabbalah, the Chakra system, the Kundalini of the Yoga traditions, the ancient alchemical symbol of the caduceus – and even Moses’ staff.

The serpent has long been a symbol for human awakening and a representation of the voice and force of the Soul. Isn’t it time we reclaim it as such?

 

For support in awakening to and fulfilling the path of your Soul, check out our Magdalene Priestess Training and the Authentic Freedom Leadership Training for Men.

 

Posted in guilt, shame, Spiritual Direction

Christianity and Guilt

Exploring the role of guilt in the formation of the Christian religion

Since the time of its inception, Christianity has been a religion rife with conflict. One such conflict is the 2000 year old battle between the two sides of the Christian message – that which is based in fear and the other which is rooted in love.  Understanding the experiences out of which Christianity emerged, one has to wonder, is the religion of Christianity merely an expression of the unresolved guilt and shame experienced by the disciples who denied and abandoned Jesus at his greatest hour of need? When we look at the long dalliance between Christianity and guilt, one has to wonder.

Christianity and guilt, Christianity and shame, guilt, shame,

What follows is a “fictional” account of what may have happened:

Once upon a time, there was a bunch of fishermen who met this dude named Jesus. They thought this Jesus was pretty cool.  First he taught them a better way to fish, and then he showed them how to walk on water.  After the theatrics he taught them how to love. These fishermen thought Jesus was the next best thing after leavened bread – something that was a luxury for fishermen – because which one among them had time to wait for bread to rise?

Things were really cool with this Jesus guy. They got to travel.  Meet new people.  Hear amazing stories.  They got invited into the homes of those they never thought they’d be able to dine with.  They saw amazing things happen and miracles performed.  The sick were healed.  The blind were able to see.  And Jesus spoke in a way that made their heart feel warm and their soul feel at peace.

But then one day, people started to become angry over Jesus’ words. Angry words were exchanged and the next thing the fishermen knew, their buddy Jesus was hauled off to prison and brought before the Roman governor where he was tried for treason.  Treason?  (They also heard words like blasphemy….and other scary words).  Jesus was just trying to teach people how to love.  The fishermen were surprised, but mostly they were afraid.  If people came to know that Jesus was their friend, would they be imprisoned and tried too?  So they hid.

And they kept hiding. They heard that Jesus’ trial didn’t go well and that he had been sentenced to death.  Now they were really afraid.  So they kept hiding.  They hid all the while the women knocked on their door saying, “Come out.  Come with us.  We need to support our friend.  We need to be with him.  We need to offer our love and support.”  But the women’s pleas could not break through the fishermen’s fears.  So they continued to hide.

They hid after the women came and told them Jesus had been crucified and that he had died. They hid after the women came to tell them Jesus had been buried.  And they continued to hide until three days later, on the morning after the Sabbath when Mary Magdalene (Jesus’ favorite) knocked on the door and proclaimed that Jesus lived.  But even then, they only opened the door a crack, and then swiftly slammed it in Mary’s face.  “She must have lost her mind.  Jesus cannot have survived a crucifixion.  And ‘he has risen?’  What does that even mean?”

But then, Jesus himself showed up. He walked right through the closed and bolted door and showed them.  “See.  I have not died so as never to be seen or known again.  I am now with you, always, along with the Spirit who is with and in me.” Only then did the fishermen open the door to Mary Magdalene who stood there tapping her feet with her arms across her chest…saying with her eyes, “I told you so!” For a brief moment, the disciples hung their head in shame – first because they had not listened to the Magdalene, the one Jesus favored above them all; and secondly, because they had abandoned their friend at the time of his greatest need.  But just as quickly as the guilt and shame surfaced, they began to make their excuses.

Jesus listened to their bargaining and then began to remind them of all he had taught them about peace and love and how they could experience the kingdom of God right here in the midst of the human experience. Jesus continued to teach them, empowering them with the light of his Spirit so they might go forth and share the good news he had proclaimed:  “Turn your gaze only toward the Divine within, for here is where you will find the kingdom of God.”  (While the disciples were being tutored for the umpteenth time, Mary Magdalene and the other women were already about their mission of teaching people how to love.) Then Jesus told the disciples, “I must ascend,” and took off for good.  Now the disciples were on their own, so they did what Jesus told them to do, “go out and preach the good news.”

This would have been all fine and good except that the male disciples could not let go of that sense of guilt and shame over having abandoned their friend. The wound of shame festered and soon, they could only remember Jesus’ message through the lens of their unhealed shame.  As a result, they went forth preaching “the good news,” but soon it took on a new flavor.  This message was not the pure message of love Jesus had proclaimed and which Mary and the other women continued to share in the world.  Instead, the message became tainted by shame.  Instead of the overwhelmingly uplifting message of unconditional love, the love of God became conditional and wrapped in fear.  God was no longer the prodigal father of which Jesus spoke; instead he became a wrathful God making impossible demands on his children with the overarching and overwhelming threat of eternal punishment in a place called hell.  The cause of Jesus’ death became the sin of humanity.  Judas was Jesus’ betrayer and it was the Jews who killed him.  Women and sexual intercourse became the cause of original sin.  As the wound of shame continued to fester, the message of love became eclipsed to the point where it no longer remained.

But, while the disciples who retained the wound of shame preached a message tainted with fear, those who had no shame, because they had stood by the side of their beloved teacher and friend – Mary Magdalene, Mother Mary, Lazarus, Joseph of Arimathea, Martha, the other Marys, the youngest disciple (and Jesus’ own brother) John, and a few others taught a message of love. They went out into the world doing what Jesus taught them to do.  They began with showing people how to connect with the Divine within.  Then they supported them in coming to know that this connection – which felt like peace, love, contentment and joy – was their original nature and what Jesus called “the kingdom of God.”  Then they taught them how to connect with their own unique gifts and to hear the voice of the Divine which led them to their truth and to the purpose of their life path.  They gathered in community for meditation, contemplation and prayer.  They broke bread together and shared all things in common for the sake of the common good.  They went out into the world teaching, healing, supporting and empowering people – showing them how to be free by teaching them how to love.  In this expression, God was not to be feared but was instead, the source of unconditional and unmerited love. In this they came to know that there was indeed no separation – only love – and they lived in peace and walked softly upon the earth while diligently praying that their brothers and sisters might find healing and self-forgiveness for the guilt and shame they have been harboring for the past 2000 years.

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS provides support for your unhealed wounds of guilt and shame, including those experienced through institutional religion. She provides this support through one-on-one spiritual direction/counseling, her writing and online courses.  You may contact Lauri directly at lauri@authenticfreedomacademy.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Lessons, men, shame

ZERO Tolerance – what is wrong now WAS wrong then!

As the news began to pour in over the allegations of sexual misconduct by Matt Lauer and then Garrison Keillor, social media just as quickly filled with questions of disbelief.  I agree that we should all be innocent until proven guilty….but what I found to be most disturbing were the statements defending two “great men” who could not possibly have done what they were accused of.  Comments like, “well, if this is something that happened 10 years ago and is just surfacing now….maybe it isn’t so bad…or “so what if it was just a little tap on the ass….boys will be boys…”  I found myself dumbfounded by the comments seeming to defend or question the allegations brought forth against these men because 1) they seemed so nice, 2) everybody loves them, and 3) what we think of as wrong now wasn’t wrong then…..

Or was it?

What we think of as wrong now (sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, inappropriate touch, sexual assault, rape) was wrong then…..we were simply too afraid or too ashamed to say or do anything about it.

Like when I suffered sexual assault in college.  I never told anyone because 1) I was sure it was my fault in some way (isn’t that what we’ve been taught), 2) I was afraid, 3) I was ashamed. 4) I knew that with the rape culture at the University of Iowa being what it was in 1983, no one would do anything about it anyway and 5) Because I certainly didn’t want to go on trial.

I suspect the reasons I chose not to speak are the same for every single woman, child and man who has been sexually harassed, assaulted or raped and chose not to tell. Or maybe they did and were told, “Shhhhh….that’s just how Uncle Larry is. Forget about it and move on.”  Or “Boys will be boys.”  Or, “We don’t tell the family secret.” Or “But Father Henry is such a nice man.” Or “It must have been something you were wearing.” Or “Maybe you shouldn’t have drunk so much death punch…..”  Etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.  Followed closely by….NOTHING BEING DONE… except more shame heaped upon the victim.

I will say it again:  what we consider to be wrong now was wrong then and has been wrong throughout history.  Unless we are a sociopath, our deep inner sense of right and wrong tells us this is true.  It has never been right or appropriate for ANYONE to treat another human being as a sex object to be used for their own pleasure, most especially when the user is in a position of power or authority – no matter how much your parents, drill sergeant, football coach, boss or friends told you it was alright!  NEVER! Yes, we can deny the truth away all we want, or try to justify it because of the culture we are/were living in, but abusing another human being has never, ever, ever been right. PERIOD!

And it certainly doesn’t’ matter how many years have passed since the incident happened.  The victim is still suffering. It doesn’t matter how many years has passed since Father Henry made an altar boy perform fellatio on him, or when Matt Lauer acted in sexually inappropriate ways with female colleagues, assistants, fans; or when Donald Trump spoke in demeaning, sexual ways toward women……it was still wrong and it is appropriate that it should come to light and they be held accountable for what they have done. This is called justice. (Yes, there is a place for healing and forgiveness in all this….but for that to take place, the perpetrator needs to acknowledge their wrongdoing, make amends and do the hard work of healing whatever is unhealed within them that would cause them to inflict harm upon another in the first place.)

I also don’t buy the “but he seemed so nice” defense.  What the hell do we know about media-made, so-called celebrities?  THEY ARE ACTING!  Not only that but as is true for all of us, we tend to put our best face forward.  Just think of Bill Cosby, Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy…..men in the spotlight who everyone thought was “so nice” when in fact they were men in positions of power who used their power to manipulate and use women for their sexual pleasure.  I don’t care how nice they are in every other circle of their life…if they have used women in this way, it is wrong.  PERIOD.

Before we move toward defending those accused of sexual misconduct….think for a moment of what it is like for the women (men, children) who are the recipients of these unwanted sexual advances…..as one who has been there, this is what it is like…..

Every time a man (or it could just as likely be a woman) makes an inappropriate gesture, touches us without our consent in a sexual or sexually suggestive way, uses sexual or demeaning words to describe us or speak to us, pats our butt, grabs our breast, thrusts their pelvis toward us, grinds up on our leg, grabs our hand and places it on his sexual area, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. a tiny little part of us shrivels up and dies.  A part of our soul recoils in disgust and then shame.  Because of the way in which our culture has normalized these behaviors we think we can’t say or do anything about it….and if we do say or do something about it, it is likely someone will roll their eyes at us or accuse us of “being too sensitive” or “not taking a joke.”  But every time we remain silent, we lose a little more of our power until eventually there is nothing left.

This is why we can no longer remain silent and why we must call for zero tolerance in matters of sexual misconduct or violence….and this goes as much for the women as it goes for the men.  Sadly women are not innocent in this.  For every man who uses a woman as a sex object there is a woman who uses her sexuality to manipulate and control men.  This also is wrong.  And that my friends, is a topic for another blog….

 

 

 

Posted in Empowerment, Freedom, Inspiration, priestess training, self-actualization, shame

Being a Catalyst

The Plight of the Sh.t-Disturber

I recently posted an article To See or Not to See – That is the Question, exploring the gift of spiritual sight.  There is one challenge with this gift I neglected to mention:

The ability to see all the way to people’s (and organizations’) truest and most authentic selves and the potential that lay within them for a meaningful, purposeful and fulfilling life.

I see who they are meant to be behind all the masks they show to the world along who they came into this world to be behind all the unhealed wounds and unacknowledged fears that keep them imprisoned in an unfulfilling, unrewarding life.

Along with this ability, is the very real experience that happens when I see someone in this way – they begin to wake up. The very fact that I can see them….really see them, stirs something within them that knows they are not living as their most authentic self, that they are not being who they came into this world to be.  Call it guilt, or shame, or a feeling we don’t yet have a word for – something stirs in them – a kind of discomfort that they somehow recognize came from me, through me or because of me.  Some people are excited to feel this experience of awakening and are glad for being seen so they can begin to acknowledge and unleash their true selves.  Others – not so much.  Not everyone wants to be seen and certainly not everyone wants to do the REALLY HARD work of becoming their true selves.  For the former, I am a welcome source of support.  For the latter, I often become the enemy.

I will wholeheartedly admit that the latter experience has been a source of pain for me. This has been especially true in close relationships as well as in EVERY SINGLE work or academic institution I have been connected with.  I show up and sh.t starts happening.  The lies, the falsehoods, deceptions, misguided motivations, compulsions and attachments all begin to show themselves.  While this is happening, I’m being shown all the resources of support that would benefit their healing and the realization of their truest most authentic self.  I suggest these supports which are either met with blank stares and deaf ears or outright condemnation and rejection.  At this point, the relationship is now in question and I am either forced to leave or I decide to leave on my own.  It is difficult, if not impossible, to remain in a place where our gifts are not welcome.  At this point all I can do is sit and watch as the house of cards they have built for and around themselves comes tumbling down.

The opposite, however, is true of those who are excited and grateful to be seen and who want to pursue a purposeful and fulfilling life reflective of their own unique gifts and passions. These are the people and institutions in whom my gifts find their fulfillment, resulting in a co-creative dynamic of receptivity and openness where they are liberated from the inner wounds and fears which might otherwise keep them from living as their most authentic selves.  It is a beautiful thing to behold and it is because of these people that I continue to do what I do in spite of those who want to hate me for my gifts.  (PS  They don’t really hate me, they hate themselves for refusing their own truth.)

The Temple of the Magdalene Priest/ess Program (for men and women) is designed to help you identify and unleash your truth and your true Divine power.  Learn more by clicking on the image below:

 

 

 

Posted in codependency, Forgiveness, Healing, shame, Spiritual Practices, Superheroes

The Fear of Rejection – Superhero Report

Superhero Report for the Week of October 26, 2014 

At this week’s Superhero Academy gatherings (Monday 6:30 – 8:30 and Tuesday 9-11 am), we discussed rejection – specifically, the fear of. In everyday life, and especially in claiming and engaging our Superhero gifts, we experience rejection.  In claiming our Superpowers, cultivating, and sharing them, we serve as a reflection to the rest of humanity of their unrealized potential.  This reflection serves to poke at their unrealized parts, which then initiates one of two reactions – the desire to stay and learn or the compulsion to run like hell. Second perhaps only to death, we fear our greatness.  Only the courageous and persistent and those willing to let go of the life they have known are able to realize their Superhero potential.  And when we do, it often ticks people off.  It is this fear of rejection that most often stands in the way of our ability to claim, cultivate and share our Superpowers. As a result, dealing with the fear of rejection is one of the final frontiers in the journey toward being a Superhero.

brokenopen

The fear of rejection ultimately arises out of the parts of ourselves that have forgotten we are love. In Authentic Freedom, I offer a formal process through which one is able to heal these areas of forgetfulness, returning us to our original wholeness.  I recently discovered there is a shortcut.  This shortcut is Ho-oponopono – the Hawaiian ritual of forgiveness.  At this week’s Superhero Academy, we learned and put this ritual in practice, specifically as a way of tending toward those places within us where we are resistant to our Superpowers.  Specifically related to the claiming and sharing of our Divine call and the use of our Superpowers (spiritual gifts), here is how it works:

  • Close your eyes and sit or rest in silence.
  • Bring to mind a gift, an invitation, a call that has revealed itself to you – perhaps it’s an idea or a dream you have always wanted to pursue but haven’t yet.
  • As you think about this gift, etc. become aware of any areas of constriction that arise in your body – feelings of tightness, tension.
  • Be aware of any emotions, thoughts, images that arise, or the voice of doubt, condemnation, judgment telling you all the reasons you should not or cannot pursue this dream.
  • Recognize that voice of resistance, doubt, etc. as a part of yourself that has forgotten it is love.
  • Silently or aloud, say/pray to that part of yourself the Ho’oponopono prayer formula:

I’m sorry.

Please forgive me.

I love you.

Thank you.

  • Continue this prayer until you feel the resistance in you change, relax or release.

 

In short, the Ho’oponopono prayer recognizes that we are doing harm to ourselves when we deny our Soul its call, its purpose. As such, saying I’m sorry, etc. is our highest self offering unconditional love and healing to the part of us that is afraid and feeling unloved.

In the coming week, try this formula in every situation where you feel resistant to your dreams and see what happens!

 

 

Posted in addictions, Authentic Freedom, shame, Spiritual Practices, Superheroes, world changes

Superheroes and our Relationship with Mood-Altering Substances

Superhero Report – July 28, 2014

Our Relationship with Mood-Altering Substances

DSCF3163

 

It is not something we like to admit, but the New Superheroes have often had trouble with mood-altering substances.  Whether it is caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, a whole host of illegal substances or ones that have been prescribed by our doctors for ADD, anxiety, stress, depression, or panic attack, certain ascetic meditation practices, television, video games, the internet – the New Superheroes are likely to have (or had) some sort of habitual relationship with one or several of the above.  There is a sound explanation for the attractiveness of these substances and to the way in which we are almost irresistibly drawn toward them and why they can so easily become addictive.  There are also some simple practices we can engage in which can render these substances unnecessary.  (Note: if you have an addiction, please seek out the support of your local 12-Step recovery program.)

 

The question of why we are drawn to mood-altering substances has a many-layered response:

 

1) We remember our true nature and our original home and we want to go home!

On an unconscious and often conscious level, Superheroes remember what “heaven” feels like. We also know our “true self” is not of this earth, but that we are pure, spiritual beings. Mood-altering substances stimulate the brow and crown chakras and give us an experience of being “home.”

2) We were given a vision of what the earth is supposed to be like, and this is not it.

Until we know how, we often resist this human form and are looking for ways to ESCAPE. The earth we are currently residing in is the not the vision of earth that was planted into our hearts and that we are here to make real. Again, mood-altering substances give us an experience similar to being home, thereby allowing us, at least temporarily, to escape the painful human condition.

3) The false belief that spiritual is better than human.

This is a biggie – especially among certain members of the New Age, Ascension, and Lightworker communities. We are NOT here to be spiritual, we are not here to ascend the limitations of our humanness, we are not here to sprinkle fairies and stardust upon the world singing songs of light and love and perfection, believing that if we think good thoughts all will be well and we will have everything we want. No, we are not here to do these things – not at the expense of being HUMAN anyway. WE ARE HERE TO BE HUMAN. PERIOD. We are ALREADY fully Divine. We came here to experience being human AND to bring our already perfect Divine nature fully into this experience. Rather than Ascension, the journey of the New Superhero (and the rest of the world with us), is actually INCARNATION – transcending the illusions of duality and becoming BOTH fully Divine AND fully Human. We already know the Divine part….let’s figure out how to be human! (ahem….I know a pretty cool dude who lived about 2000 years ago in and around Palestine/Israel who came here to do the same.)

4) Shame

As strangers in a strange land, we often have the experience of not fitting in, of being judged for being weird or strange. People don’t understand us, or the vision we carry in our hearts and the drive to make it real. When we feel rejected by those around us, and sometimes even by those we love, we take it personally. This rejection becomes internalized as shame. Mood-altering substances are a great way to numb the pain of this shame.

5) Loneliness

Just ask Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, being a Superhero is lonely business. Until they discovered each other and formed the Justice League, these Superheroes were out there on their own trying to make the world a better place and feeling very alone. The same is true of us. We often feel alone in the world with few who understand our unique temperaments, gifts and call. Mood altering substances help us to numb the pain of feeling alone and misunderstood.

Again, if our relationship with mood-altering substances has reached the level of addiction, then it is time to seek help.  12-Step recovery programs are a great way to get support in stopping the use of the substance and Authentic Freedom helps to identify and heal the inner fears/wounds which led us to the compulsive behavior in the first place.  If our relationship to mood-altering substances is less problematic but we still find ourselves drawn to them, the following practices may prove helpful.

 

1)Tonglen 

Tonglen is a Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice which incorporates visualization and breathwork for the intention of transforming painful emotions. For the Superheroes, applying Tonglen to feelings of loneliness and shame can prove effective. Here is the practice in short:

  • Identify the feeling you want to work with (shame, loneliness)
  • Call that feeling up in your body.
  • Identify where in your body you feel it.
  • Breathe INTO that place in your body, while feeling the emotion (shame, loneliness).
  • While breathing into that place, follow your breath with your mind.
  • Now breathe out love, following the love with your breath as you imagine it flowing out of you from the place of the painful emotion.
  • Continue with this practice until you feel something change – perhaps the emotion shifts to something else, maybe you begin to weep.

2) Embodiment

Embodiment is a practice that I discovered while struggling with an overactive and fretful mind.  The intention of this practice is to REMEMBER that we are here to have a HUMAN experience – no matter what we remember about our “heaven home” or our true nature as spiritual beings.  Embodiment allows us to set aside the false belief that spiritual is better than human and gives us the tools for bringing our, already perfect, Divine selves FULLY into the human experience.  When our spirit is fully incarnate in our bodies, we feel safe and secure and are less likely to be tempted to FLEE.  It is not, however, until we INCARNATE that we feel safe in our human selves, so let’s get to incarnating, shall we???

 

  • Close your eyes and draw your awareness deep into your body.
  • See if you can identify the distinction between your spiritual and human self. (Note, the spiritual self, until we are incarnate, tends to hang out in the upper chakras, especially our head, or even somewhere outside and above us.)
  • Conscious of the distinction between your spiritual and human self, bring your consciousness deep into your body.
  • Imagine the Earth beneath you as hands reaching up to hold, support, protect, and nourish you.
  • Feel the sense of safety in resting in this supportive space.
  • Imagine your HUMAN self as supported by the Earth and receiving its nourishment from the Earth.
  • As you begin to feel the safety of humanness, imagine that your human self is like a chalice – an empty vessel waiting for your Spirit to be poured into it.
  • From this place of security, observe as your Spirit willingly pours itself into the safe home of your human chalice. You are not pushing, forcing or pulling it in, it willingly enters in the knowledge that the Human form is safe.
  • Returning to the awareness of your human form, FEEL the sensation of being fully human and safe in this experience, while completely filled by your Divine Spiritual nature. Feel the wholeness and completeness of this experience. As you sit in this feeling of safety, you become aware of all illusions of separation melting away. Your Spirit and your Human natures are now one – no longer separate or distinct from each other, but ONE.

 

Embodiment eliminates the temptation to FLEE because when we INCARNATE, we find that WE ARE HOME and that there is a home for us in the human condition and that with our embodiment, it looks a whole lot like the heaven we remember and the heaven we were sent to make real upon this earth. 🙂  In this experience, we know that HEAVEN IS REAL and it is right here, within and among us.

 

Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come,

Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed,

And no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or ‘ look, there it is.’

For behold, the kingdom of God is within (and among) you.”

 

Luke 17: 20-21

 

Posted in Being Human, Lessons, shame

Hate Hangover – getting to know our shadow

Today’s blog explores the relationship between our soul’s purpose and its direct opposite, our soul shadow.  In the human journey, the goal is to bring both into the light so that they may be fully integrated, bringing us into the realization of our greatest potential.

Soul’s Purpose

One day I asked God what my soul’s purpose was and this was God’s immediate answer:

Love

My job is to know the love that I am and to be this love in the world.  Additionally, my job is to be open to knowing the love that others are and to receive that love openly and humbly.  Since receiving this revelation, I have directed my work and my life toward being love and toward helping others remember the love that they are.  This “work” takes many forms from the professional work that I get “paid” to do, to simply being love in every encounter where love is possible.

Soul’s shadow

hatred

Now before you get all excited about “Oh yeah…..another story of some la-la lightworker who flits and floats around being love to everyone she meets…smiling and floating around on gossamer wings sprinkling love dust all over the world, perfect in every way, never experiencing the reality of humanness, never thinking bad thoughts or doing bad things, some holier-than thou airy-fairy-new age hippie leftover”  WRONG!  Wrong!  Wrong!  Because on the opposite side of all this love…..the love I’m trying to remember within myself and trying to help others remember is a HUGE BALL OF HATE!  This HATE is so huge that it startles me when it shows up and I am frightened by its power and the way it consumes me in spite of my efforts to love and to be the “perfect” loving and forgiving angel I want to be.  (ok, I admit, maybe I don’t really want to be so perfect….in fact since perfectionism is one of my demons, I’m pretty sure that striving for perfection is self-destructive rather than supportive of personal growth.)  I digress…..

The Soul’s Integration

The goal of the human journey, is NOT to be perfect.  As much as the strive toward perfect is my demon, it is yours and the rest of humanity with us.  In fact, the more we try to be “perfect” (ie:  always loving in every thing and every way), the more our shadow will try to get our attention.  And the harder we push our shadow away (in my case, hatred), the harder it will work to be known, and if we continue to ignore it, it will start coming out sideways in really unhealthy and self-destructive behaviors, or it will come out sideways in equally self-destructive self-numbing and self-medicating behaviors which might mask the shadow, but at the same time, it is masking the light aspects of our soul.

Darkness and Light are But One

Psalm 139 reminds us that “darkness and light are but one.”  What this saying is that in what we are tempted to judge as darkness or light are neither- instead, they are simply what is and that from the Divine perspective, there is no judgment.  In other words, even those things which we might judge as negative (hatred), can serve a benevolent purpose.  I know for myself, hatred has sometimes served to motivate me to set boundaries, to speak in situations where I might have been tempted to remain silent, to act where I might have chose to not act.  I also know that hatred has sometimes shown up as a way to affirm or validate something that I believed about another person or to remind me to uphold appropriate boundaries where I might have been tempted to relax the boundaries I set in a particular relationship.  I also know that hatred has often shown up in situations that are completely outside of my control which then gives me an opportunity to invite a deeper level of letting go and surrender.  Hatred, in a nutshell, keeps me humble and reminds me of how truly human I am and not to get tempted into believing I am all-love and all- that because in truth- I’m not.

Getting to know the shadow

We all know who our shadow is…..it is the part of ourselves we try to deny, try to hide from the world.  You know your shadow…..now create some space to let it speak to you.  What is it trying to communicate?  How are you trying to hide it?  How do you reject it?  How might it serve a benevolent rather than malevolent purpose?  How might your shadow actually be serving your highest good?

And just for fun…..here are a few videos to help you connect with your shadow (WARNING:  strong language and content!!!!!)

NIN  – The Hand that Feeds

Marilyn Manson – mObscene

Marilyn Manson – Fight Song

Disturbed – Voices

Lauri Lumby offers one-on-one mentoring, couples’ mentoring, courses and workshops which help you to identify and integrate your gifts as well as your shadow so that you can live more fully as your most authentic self, experiencing joy, contentment and fulfillment in a life which has meaning and purpose.  Call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth to learn more.

Posted in addictions, codependency, guilt, shame, The Seven Deadly Compulsions

Partners of Sex Addicts Part II

Today’s blog is the final of a four-part series on sex addiction.  Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s blog focused on identifying sex addiction and understanding some of its possible causes.  Thursday’s began the discussion on how partners of sex addicts are effected by the addiction and today’s blog continues that discussion, exploring possible resources for assisting partners of sex addicts in their own journey of healing. 

Co-Addiction?

Many experts in the field of sex addiction refer to the relationship between a sex addict and their partner as co-addiction.  Drawing from 12-step recovery programs, the partner of a sex addict is held accountable for their role in enabling the addiction through denial, preoccupation, enabling or rescuing, taking excessive responsibility, and trying to (or wishing they could) control the addict’s behaviors.  In order for one to identify sexual addiction in their partner, they also have to acknowledge their own role in the cycle of addiction.  Denial is perhaps the greatest obstacle to the addict and their partner in stopping the cycle of addiction.  For the partner of the addict, excessive responsibility is perhaps the second obstacle.  Partners of addicts come to believe that the dissatisfaction, restlessness and irritability of the addict is somehow their fault and often work to try to “make the addict happy” by engaging in sexual activities that make them uncomfortable or looking the other way when the addict seeks to satisfy their need through pornography, excessive masturbation, sex-sites, other partners, etc.  For those who choose to remain in a relationship with a sex addict (who is still engaging in addictive behaviors), unraveling themselves from their role as enabler is critical.  In order to keep one’s self safe, the partner of a sex addict must stop taking responsibility, feeling guilty for the addict’s unhappiness and for excusing their sexual acting out.  If the addict remains in denial and refuses treatment for their addiction, the partner may eventually determine that the relationship is no longer viable and may decide to leave.  (For more on working together to recover from sex addiction, please read, Mending a Shattered Heart, edited by Stefanie Carnes, PhD.

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For those who leave

For those who choose to leave a relationship with a sex addict, acknowledging their co-addictive behavior will be an important step in healing from the co-addictive relationship and for establishing a ground upon which healthy intimacy may one day be possible.  In the beginning stages of having left a sex addict, however, I believe that attention first needs to be given to grief * and shame**. First, the partner needs strategies, room and time to grieve the loss of the relationship they at one time hoped to have with the addict (before they knew of the addiction).  What also needs to be addressed is the deep well of shame experienced by a partner of a sex addict.  Shame from having been in the relationship in the first place.  Shame over their co-addictive behaviors (denial, bargaining, over responsibility, etc.).  Shame from all the ways in which they were told they failed the addict.  Then somewhere along the line, the partner of a sex addict needs to pick up all the shreds of their own desire and sexual self-confidence which were destroyed in the course of the relationship and put those back together.  In grieving the loss of the hoped-for relationship, healing the deep well of shame, reassembling one’s self-confidence and desire, and addressing any co-addictive behaviors provides the foundation upon which the former partner of a sex addict may enter into a meaningful, healthy and intimate love relationship – the kind that was, sadly, not possible with the addict.

* To learn more about the grieving process, click HERE. 

** To learn more about releasing shame, click HERE.

If you are a partner of a sex addict, please seek out help and support through counseling, psychotherapy or a local 12-Step group well versed in the subtleties of sex addiction. For additional support, check out Mending a Shattered Heart – a Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts, edited by Stefanie Carnes, PhD.

 

Posted in addictions, codependency, guilt, Healing, Relationships, shame

For Partners of Sex Addicts Part I

Today’s blog is part three in a series on sex addiction.  Parts One and Two explored the ways in which one might identify sex addiction in one’s self or one’s partner and possible causes and suggested supports for healing sex addiction.  In today’s blog, I hope to provide partners (and former partners) of sex addicts with some support – specifically validation for the devastating effects of being in relationship with a sex addict.  In tomorrow’s blog, I will explore possible supports in helping the partner heal from having been in relationship with a sex addict.

Sex addiction confused as love

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, for as long as sex addicts are indulging their addiction, sex addicts are incapable of experiencing or participating in true intimacy. This truth has devastating effects on any and every relationship into which the sex addict enters. As Stephanie Carnes, states, “Sex addiction thrives in secrecy, (Mending a shattered heart, 2009, p. 9)” and addicts will go to any length to protect their double life.” Whether engaging in compulsive fantasizing, pornography, sex sites, prostitution and/or masturbation, addicts accomplish this in secret and their partners are often none the wiser.  Additionally, many sex addicts are masters as presenting themselves as simply “passionate” and pride themselves is being masterful “lovers,” luring potential partners in with their exceptional “skills.”  Soon, however, the partner begins to see that no matter what they do or how they do it (sexually), it is never enough, neither is it good enough, because nothing can compare with the fantasies cooked up in an addicts mind or with the intensity and danger of what they might be viewing through pornography or experiencing on sex-sites.  As the partner of an addict eventually learns, the partner’s need for sexual stimulation has nothing to do with love and instead of helping to facilitate intimacy, actually destroys it.

Sex Addiction is Still in the Closet

One of the challenges with sex addiction is that in most circles, it remains in the closet.  Sex addiction is not discussed publicly and neither has it attained the recognition and acknowledgement of other addictions such as drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc.  For some, sex addiction is considered a joke – something that was cooked up by some fundamentalist, repressed, suppressed, uptight religious folks trying to keep us from having great sex.  The accessibility and mainstreaming of pornography, does not help in this regard. As such, sex addiction is difficult to identify, especially for the partner of a sex addict, who maybe never witnesses the behavior itself, but only the before and after-effects.

Effects Experienced by Partners of Sex Addicts

Before: The before effects of sex addiction are most easily recognized by feelings of withdrawal such as irritability or restlessness on the part of the addict when unable to act out sexually, which escalates until they get their fix. The partner feels the tension of these feelings and often becomes the target – being blamed by the addict for these feelings (you aren’t servicing me enough or in the ways that I want). Often, not knowing any better, the partner believes it must be their fault.  Shame and guilt step in and the partner often feels pressured to play their part in helping the addict “feel better,” often agreeing to sexual behaviors that actually make them feel uncomfortable.

After: The after-effects are also comprised of shame and guilt because no matter what the partner does or how, it will never be right for the addict.  For the addict, sex becomes a bottomless pit of need that can never be met, and in the mind of the addict, their partner becomes the person “responsible” for their dissatisfaction.  Until they know otherwise, the partner often takes on the responsibility for the addict’s unhappiness, frequently entering into the cycle of addiction with the addict – trying everything within their means to make the addict happy and having to face the shame of continued failure.  Eventually, the partner may shut down sexually and cut off any connection they may have to their own sexual needs and desires, unable to face the continual shame of failure and humiliation.  Compounding this shame is the addict’s blaming and shaming behaviors toward the partner.  Because of their inability to “please” them, addicts often accuse their partners of being “frigid, repressed, uptight,” or even “asexual.” Sadly, partners begin to believe these lies and end up losing any self-esteem they might have had in regards to sexual intimacy and desirability. These feelings of shame are compounded when the sex addict turns away from the partner toward masturbation, pornography, sex sites or other partners in search of a “better” fix.

Shame

Ultimately, what is created within the partner of a sex addict is a deep well of shame – shame over not being able to please their partner, shame for agreeing to sex acts they might feel uncomfortable with, shame over wondering what is wrong with them and shame over wondering if there is something wrong with their partner in a culture that often glorifies sex addiction and in a partner who might still be in denial.  When recovering from a relationship with a sex addict, healing this shame is the primary and most critical task.  In tomorrow’s blog we will explore strategies for healing yourself from a relationship with a sex addict.

If you are a partner of a sex addict, please seek out help and support through counseling, psychotherapy or a local 12-Step group well versed in the subtleties of sex addiction. For additional support, check out Mending a Shattered Heart – a Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts, edited by Stephanie Carnes, PhD.

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Posted in addictions, Body/Mind/Spirit connection, guilt, Healing, shame, sin, The Seven Deadly Compulsions

Sex Addiction – Causes and Compassion

In yesterday’s blog, we explored the subject of sexual addiction and ways to identify this behavior in ourselves or our loved ones so that we might seek out help.  In today’s blog, we will examine some of the possible causes of sex addiction, specifically the deeper emotional and spiritual wounds what are ultimately seeking healing.

Causes of Sexual Addiction

As is the case with other addictions, there are no cut and dried formulas in their cause.  There are, however, some reported similarities between sex addicts which warrant examination:

  • Sex addicts often come from dysfunctional families
  • Many report a past history of having been physically, verbally or emotionally abused
  • 82% of sex addicts reported having been sexually abused as children
  • 80% reported substance abuse as present within their family of origin
  • Many report parents as distant, uncaring and rigid
  • It is theorized that abnormalities in brain chemistry may predispose a person to addictive behaviors, including sex addiction

(Source:  Herkov, M. (extracted 2013). What causes sexual addiction? www.psychcentral.com.)

Behavior modification

As discussed in yesterday’s blog, sex addiction is recognized in compulsive, uncontrollable behaviors most often driven by anxiety.  Addiction language speaks of this anxiety as the “emotional trigger.”    Learning effective methods for dealing with this anxiety or confronting the specific emotional trigger goes a long way in supporting recovery and healing in sex addicts and allows the addict to create new and healthier ways of responding to these triggers.  It has been my experience, however, that in many (if not most) cases, the addictive behavior ultimately has nothing to do with the behavior itself (ie: fantasizing, masturbation, use of pornography, etc.), and simple behavior modification, while necessary, is not enough to facilitate long-term recovery, and more importantly, does not help the addict learn how to cultivate and enjoy healthy, loving, intimacy. For as long as they are indulging their addiction, sex addicts are incapable of experiencing or participating in true intimacy.

Sex Addiction and Need

Instead, sex addiction has much more to do with deeper, unhealed spiritual and emotional wounds that are seeking to be made known so that they may be healed.  Sex addiction, contrary to the belief of many addicts (and their partners), is not about love or intimacy.  Sex addiction isn’t even really about sex.  Sex addiction is about seeking the remedy to a deep, inner, often unnamed pain.  As mentioned above, many sex addicts report having been emotionally, mentally, verbally, physically and even sexually abused as children.  For sex addicts, sexual behaviors (including fantasizing) allowed them to disassociate from the on-going trauma and provided temporary relief from the pain.  In order to facilitate enduring recovery, the addict needs to acknowledge this pain and identify the needs that were left unmet in their childhood.  Some of these needs might include:

  • The need to feel safe and that their needs for food, clothing, and shelter were being met
  • The need to feel of value and as if they had something significant to contribute
  • The need to feel supported in being and living as their most authentic self
  • The need to feel unconditionally loved
  • The need to feel free to express their needs and their truth
  • The need to know their truth and their path
  • The need to feel as if they were not alone

As the addict works on healing these deeper unmet needs and unacknowledged childhood wounds,  learns strategies for getting these needs met and tending to themselves in adulthood, while developing healthy interventions for managing anxiety, the addictive behaviors become less and less necessary.  Addressing these deeper wounds then provides the foundation upon which the addict can begin to cultivate what they have been missing all along – healthy, loving intimacy.

If you believe that you or your partner is suffering from sex addiction, please seek help and support through counseling, psychotherapy or 12-step recovery groups tailored to the needs of sex addicts.

To learn more about sex addiction, check out Out of the Shadowsby Patrick J. Carnes, PhD.

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