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 Initiation, self-actualization, spiritual awakening, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Formation

Spiritual Initiation: Standing at the Crossroads

The journey toward self-actualization is in fact, one spiritual initiation after another. Spiritual initiation takes place every time we are faced with an opportunity to remain in the perceived safety and security of what we have known or take another step toward the fulfillment of our life purpose.  The spiritual initiation is successful when we move through the fears and ego attachments that seek to keep us imprisoned within our small selves and away from the expansion we are driven toward by our Soul.  Some of these initiations are small and some are so significantly huge that we soon become aware that we are facing a major crossroad in our life.  It is at these crossroad moments that our spiritual practice becomes even more critical, as does our diligent attention to these practices.

spiritual initiation, crossroads, discernment, soul's purpose, journey of the soul, spiritual practice

Stephanie Azaria in Monday’s post in her column “Cosmic Consciousness” had the following to say about the crossroads:

“…a crossroad is a series of four very specific paths that are all equally available to us when we approach them from the observer’s perspective. We can send our conscious awareness down all four roads at the same time until the heart begins to resonate fully with one (or more) of these paths.  At that time we can take action to follow that road knowing it may or may not be permanent…..such is the way of the new world.  Nothing is permanent.”

A crossroads occurs when the life we have known has come to an end and the new life has not yet revealed itself. It is a time of spiritual initiation ripe with opportunity and danger.  At the crossroads, possibilities seem endless and many opportunities (or twinklings of opportunities) may present themselves.  At this stage, none of these possibilities are yet fully formed, so a decision (or even a discernment) cannot yet be made.  Some of these possibilities will die on the vine.  Some are not in our highest good or reflective of our soul’s purpose and therefore should not be pursued.  And some are just beginning to grow roots so are not yet strong enough to support our unfolding.  For these reasons, pursuing or chasing after possible opportunities prematurely will only end badly.  We will know that the opportunity is not yet ripe if in its pursuit we find it either drawing away, or find ourselves coming up against a brick wall. Instead of requiring effort, opportunities that are ripe and good for the soul will fall into our laps in a miraculous and effortless kind of way.

While the crossroads is ripe with possibility, it is also rife with danger. This is true for it is at the crossroads where we make our deals with the devil.  At the end of what has been, we are vulnerable and afraid. We have left behind (or are being asked to leave behind) what has been so as to replace it with something that is not yet known.  It is in our human nature to crave surety and to long for “the same.”  When we have neither of these creature comforts, we grow anxious, worried, and fretful.  Often, our first response is to bargain for the old life to be returned.  “Please let me go back to…….(insert relationship, job, home, etc. here)….at least I knew what to expect there.”  But our Soul desires nothing if not growth.  As such, as much as we might want to, we cannot return to that which has already died…or which no longer supports our growth.  (Well….actually we can…..we just end up with a zombie like life along with the constant shame of knowing we are living an unlived life…mind numbing substances and behaviors come in handy here as we try to escape our true feelings about the unlived life we have chosen).

After bargaining, we must now face the possibilities that lay before us. Some will be known.  Some will only be twinkles.  And MANY will be the paths which lead us only into the “devil’s trap.”  These are the paths which are ruled by fear and/or which tempt us through our ego attachments.  Those paths ruled by fear are the possibilities that are based in our unhealed and unresolved fears:  fears over money, time, acceptance by others, belonging, etc. etc. etc.  When we choose a path that is ruled by fear (I’m afraid that the path of my Soul won’t make me any money, so I’m going to find a path that insures at least a regular paycheck…..whether or not it has anything to do with my gifts, my mission or my purpose in this life…..), this is the devil’s trap.  The result of choosing this path will only be more fear and a deepening sense of imprisonment.  Those paths ruled by the ego are those which tempt us through our desire for fame, power, control and material wealth…..in other words, “the lifestyles of the rich and famous” – another of the devil’s games.  While fame may be an outcome of pursuing our Soul’s path, this will not be true for all, and the path of our Soul is never driven by our desire for fame. In the quest for the Soul, we must always check our ego at the door.

When we find ourselves at the crossroads or spiritual initiation we are vulnerable. We feel insecure and afraid.  The possibilities might seem overwhelming and our fears are running rampant.  The crossroads is the devil’s playground, but it is also the domain of our Soul.  At the crossroads, the Soul is seeking after and longing for its natural movement toward growth and it will not rest until the appropriate path for its growth reveals itself.  Until that happens, the Soul is restless….making us even more vulnerable to the “devil’s trap.”  At the crossroads, our spiritual practices become even more critical, along with our resilience in the face of temptation and our diligence in tending to these practices.  While at the crossroads we must not act, pursue, chase after or be tempted to make something happen.  Neither should we make any decision based in fear or arising out of the ego.  Instead, there is only ONE THING we can do when standing at the crossroads….and that is WAIT. Wait and watch.  Observe and discern.  And when the waiting and inaction become excruciating (which they will)….we wait some more.  For it is at the crossroad where we endure the greatest of all tests in our spiritual initiation …the test of whether we can wait long enough for the path of our Soul to arrive and the next stage of our life to begin.

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS is a trained spiritual director and spiritual counselor, transformational educator, ordained interfaith minister and published author. Lauri supports the spiritual awakening and self-actualization of humanity and does so through one-on-one mentoring, writing, online classes and workshops.  Contact Lauri at lauri@authenticfreedom.love to learn more.

Posted in self-actualization, spiritual awakening, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Formation

Spiritual Development – Surviving a Freefall

I define spiritual development as: the process through which we uncover the answer to the following questions:

  • Who am I?
  • Whose am I? (Where do I find peace and belonging?)
  • What are my gifts and how am I called to use them for the sake of my own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world?

At the moment of our spiritual awakening, we are given the choice to pursue the path of our spiritual development. Some choose this path.  Many do not. For those who choose the path of spiritual development….with self-actualization being the ultimate outcome, they soon discover that the journey of spiritual development is as much about letting go as it is about discovery.  In order to become our most authentic selves, we have to let go of that which is not authentically ours.  As such, the journey toward self-actualization includes many tiny (and sometimes HUGE) deaths.

I have recently been met with another one of those deaths. In my own journey of self-development and self-discovery, I have grown accustomed to these many deaths, but familiarity doesn’t always make it any more tolerable.  In fact, in many ways, knowing that death is upon us is more frightening than death taking us by surprise. The current death (which in truth is just another in a long line of current dyings) I am facing is the end of what I have known as my local professional life.  On Tuesday I taught my last local class.  While this has not been a financially lucrative endeavor for quite some time, and I knew this death was coming, the reality hit me like a storm.  With nothing yet to take its place, I have nothing to look forward to, nothing to plan or plan for, nothing to DO but stare into the empty void of a new life that has not yet been revealed.  Two weeks ago I felt like I was staring into the abyss.  Having faced the end, I find I am no longer staring, I am in full-on FREE FALL.  In a free fall, there is literally NOTHING to hang on to, nothing to cling to and nowhere to find a hand or foot hold.  Instead, we are only falling….or floating….or FLYING!

spiritual development, self actualization, freefalling, freel falling, spiritual awakening, defining spiritual development,

Having done nothing but support spiritual development for the past 25 years, my own and that of others, I know what to do and how to survive a free fall.

LET GO

There is literally nothing else to do. We cannot fight it.  When falling through the abyss we cannot turn around and go back from whence we came.  Without a new world in sight, there is nothing to work toward or work for.  We cannot MAKE ourselves crawl up through the gaping void to some safe place above us.  All we can do is FALL.  But, there are ways in which we can support ourselves in the falling:

During the freefall, we grieve.

We mourn the life that we are being asked to leave behind. We deny.  We bargain.  We become depressed and paralyzed (THANK YOU Netflix for 13 seasons of Supernatural to keep me entertained when I am otherwise immobile).  We grow angry.  We gnash our teeth.  We scream and shout and wail.  We weep.  We allow our bodies to grieve what has been so that we can be healed and freed of that life and made ready for something new.

During the freefall we pray.

(or whatever your language is for that). For me, it is asking and begging for support, to know that I am not alone.  My prayer includes gratitude for all the past life has given me and the support in knowing that a letting go so enormous means something equally huge is coming to take its place.  I pray for peace.  I pray for hope.  I pray for any tiny glimpses that might help me continue on.  In addition to prayer, I double up on my daily spiritual practice.  I meditate.  I read and reflect on scripture.  I journal.  I chant (or listen to mantra).

During the freefall we sleep.

When a dying occurs, our bodies, minds, and spirits are being rewired. It requires an enormous amount of psychic energy to let go of something that has been (especially when it is somehow related to our identity….which mine is) and to be made ready for the new. Sleep supports the release of what has been and the energetic preparation for what has not yet come to be.

During the freefall we remember.

This is the place for our life review. We reflect on what has been.  Any unresolved fears/compulsion/demons from that life make an appearance so that we have one more opportunity to bring them healing and transformation ensuring we are ready to enter into the new life when it comes.

During the freefall we do nothing.

This may be the most difficult part of the freefall. There is literally NOTHING we can do to hasten the departure from what has been and the entry into something new.  All we can “do” is BE.  And in our culture, being is really hard to do (not to mention all the twisted stares we get from people when we tell them all we “did” today was watch Netflix).  Doing, however, during this stage in the freefall produces NOTHING.  It simply reminds us of how NOT life-giving our old life had become and how ready we are for something new.

How have you supported yourself during the many dyings that have happened along your path of spiritual development?

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS provides spiritual direction and counseling for those on their spiritual journey.  To schedule a private session with Lauri email  lauri@authenticfreedom.love.

Check out our online programs in support of your spiritual development HERE. 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, self-actualization, spiritual awakening

Authentic Freedom – Our Mission

Authentic Freedom Academy supports the spiritual awakening and self-actualization of change agents. As a center for experiential education, we support the transformation of human consciousness through the integration of Western psychology and Western Spirituality, equipping students to be agents of positive, non-violent change in the world.

We accomplish this mission through:

  • writing and publishing
  • one-on-one mentoring (spiritual counseling)
  • local and online courses
  • on-going service to the community

 

Outer change begins with inner change.

Inner change begins with self-knowledge.

Self- Knowledge leads to self-actualization.

Self-actualized individuals, are inherently non-violent, cooperative and collaborative, and are naturally motivated to use their unique gifts in service to the betterment of the world.

 

Authentic Freedom™ is a trademarked protocol developed by Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, MATS, founder and director of Authentic Freedom Academy. Authentic Freedom™ integrates specific tools and practices of Western Psychology with those of Western Spirituality, resulting in a powerful process through which participants are supported in becoming self-actualized and are then empowered to share their unique giftedness in service to the betterment of the world.

Authentic Freedom has applications in:

  • Personal Development
  • Parenting
  • Relationship Support
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Business Management

As a tool for professionals in the fields of:

  • Counseling
  • Psychology
  • Ministry
  • Education
  • Spiritual Guidance/Spiritual Direction
  • Life-Coaching
  • Reiki, massage, acupuncture, and any other hands-on healing protocols

 

Specific Tools used in Authentic Freedom™:

  • Western, Eastern and Indigenous Mindfulness, Contemplation and Journey practices
  • The Spiritual Exercises and Rules of Discernment of St. Ignatius
  • Creativity Practices
  • The Myers-Briggs Personality Profile
  • The Enneagram Temperament Tool
  • The Spiritual/Personal Gifts Inventory
  • The Authentic Freedom™ protocol

 

HierarchyofPurpose

From Western Psychology, Authentic Freedom™ draws from:

  • Carl Jung’s creative imagination, archetype and shadow work
  • Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and theories of self-actualization
  • The humanistic theories and creativity practices of Carl and Natalie Rogers
  • The stages of spiritual development of James Fowler and John Westerhoff
  • Bill Plotkin’s development of the human Soul

From Western Spirituality, Authentic Freedom™ has its roots in the original teachings of Jesus* which were then formalized into the meditation, contemplation and service practices of Western Monasticism, specifically those favored in Benedictine, Franciscan, and Ignatian spirituality.

*The original teachings of Jesus are those rooted in the universal (and non-religious) call of love:

  • love of God (the God of your own understanding)
  • love of Self
  • love of Neighbor – recognizing that all of humanity is our neighbor

and then:

  • lived out through acts of compassion
  • working for justice

jesusabstractshutterstock

 

Enjoy the benefits of Authentic Freedom through:

One-on-one mentoring with Lauri Ann Lumby.

The Authentic Freedom Online Course:

Read the book and the companion user’s manual:

Buy it now on Amazon

Buy it now on Amazon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

or take the complete Authentic Freedom Leadership Training:

My Approach to Scripture: You will notice that scripture plays a predominant role in my writing and in most of my local and online courses. Please note that my approach to scripture is unlike any you have likely experienced before!  I do not approach scripture from a dogmatic or doctrinal perspective.  Neither do I use it as a way to instill fear or manipulate specific actions or behaviors.  Instead, I approach scripture as the ancients did – as a collection of stories which have the opportunity to reflect back to us aspects of ourselves.  In this way, scripture becomes a vehicle through which our highest self can speak to us – providing guidance, support, inspiration, nourishment and even healing.  When we pierce through the veil of other people’s interpretations and allow the Divine to speak to us personally and directly through these ancient texts, we discover the transformational power of The Word as it was originally intended – as a tool to guide and sustain us on the path of love.

 

lauriprofilecolorwebshot2013Contact Lauri Lumby today to find out how Authentic Freedom might be for you. lauri@authenticfreedom.love or (920) 230-1313.

Posted in Authentic Freedom, self-actualization, spiritual awakening, Spiritual Development

The Call of the Prophet and the Prophet’s Revenge

The call of the prophet is to change the world. As prophets we are gifted with the ability to see what in our world is in need of healing and transformation and how to support that transformation.  Prophets come in all shapes and sizes and walk among us within all sectors of our culture.  Prophets are right there underneath our noses, working for positive non-violent change in our homes, our schools, our medical facilities, our corporations, our government, and yes, even in the military.  As prophets we each have a unique calling specific to our circle of influence or area of expertise.  As Albert Nolan so astutely observed:

Prophets are people who speak out when others remain silent. They are watchful of the areas in need of reform in their own society, their own country, or their own religious institutions. True prophets are men and women who stand up and speak (or act) out about the practices of their own people and their own leaders – while others remain silent. True prophets are not part of the authority structure. Prophets are never appointed, ordained or anointed by the religious establishment. They experience a special calling that comes directly from God, and their message comes from their own personal experience of God. (Jesus Today – A Spirituality of Radical Freedom, Orbis Books, 2008, pp. 63-67)

The prophet’s call is to change the world. The challenge to being a prophet, however, is that as a voice for change with a vision of our future and how to get there, we disturb the status quo.  In order to make a change….we have to…..change.  And as I have learned, the human species is more afraid of change than they are of death (why else would a woman who is being regularly beaten by her husband stay?).  As such, the world’s response to the prophet is one of two things:

    • To make the prophet the enemy.
    • To ignore them all together.

If you are a prophet, you are familiar with these responses. I know I am.  What the local Catholic Church did to me in response to my request for reform (which really wasn’t reform at all…it was simply a request to return to the mission Jesus originally began which was to teach people how to love) was everything short of a literal burning at the stake.  (Cue Mel Brooks).  After leaving the Church my work continues to be met by our popular culture with mostly silence and blank stares.  I am not alone.  I know prophets in the fields of teaching, religion, medicine, the arts, government, etc. who have met with much of the same.  It is the prophet’s curse – that and a fair dose of existential rage over who does get heard in a culture based in fear, power, control, greed, gluttony, sloth, deception and corruption.

As a prophet, however, we do not live in that world. We cannot live in that world.  If we did we would die.  The prophet has no choice but to stand in the integrity of our gift, our call, our mission and our purpose.  When we stray from our truth, our calling, our path, when we try to sell out for the cultural norm, we are punished.  This punishment is not an act of Divine retribution, but the natural consequence of denying our gifts.

What is true for the prophet, however, is also true for all of humanity. Each and every person on this planet has been uniquely gifted to be a vessel through which the transformational power of Divine love is meant to be manifest in our world.  Every single person.  And yet, very few heed the true calling of their soul, dooming them forever to a life of quiet desperation  – in our modern world, selling out to the house, the car, the status, the fame, the power, the money.  While they may be successful based on societal standards, they are not fulfilled within.  Some are aware of this lack of fulfillment, many feel it but choose to numb it in any of the various ways in which our culture silences the voice of our inner truth – food, alcohol, sex, gambling, TV, the internet, drugs, constant doing and achieving.  All the while, writhing from within over the insatiable longing of their soul.

While I do not believe in Divine retribution, I do believe in karma. When we ignore the calling of our soul, we suffer.  While as a prophet I might find some measure of comfort or a righteous sense of justice over this truth, but I do not.  Instead it makes me sad.  While I might be tempted to seek a prophet’s revenge on those who choose to ignore the calling of their soul, I do not.  I only want them to be free.  While I might have the tools to help people find that freedom, I cannot make them drink.

Lauri Ann Lumby, self-actualization, spiritual awakening, prophet, call of the prophet, Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS supports you in your spiritual awakening and your journey toward self-actualization through her writing, online courses and one-on-one spiritual direction.

You can reach Lauri at lauri@authenticfreedom.love or by calling (920) 230-1313.

 

 

 

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

Staying Sane in an Insane World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Love and Peace to you!

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS

 

Posted in self-actualization, spiritual awakening, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Formation, spiritual healing

Self-Actualization – The Journey of Finding Ourselves

Self-Actualization is the process of  finding ourselves. The purpose of the human experience is finding ourselves. I was recently asked to describe my mission and how my spiritual awakening and journey toward self-actualization informed that mission.  Here is my response:

Finding Ourselves

You ask me the question of mission. Concisely naming and identifying my mission has been the constant struggle of the past 20+ years.  My Authentic Freedom website currently says this:

Supporting the Spiritual Awakening and Self Actualization of Change Agents.

While this just sums it up and makes it “marketable” (according to SEO magic), it doesn’t even scratch the surface. As I suspect “concise” isn’t your desire, I will refrain from concise and provide for you, as per your inquiry, the whole kit and caboodle as I am best able at this time in my journey.

Lauri Ann Lumby, self-actualization, finding ourselves, finding meaning, finding purpose, personal mission

Emerging Church

I have known for a very long time, perhaps since first embarking upon my ministry training, that I am here to facilitate/support/catalyze change – specifically as it relates to what we have historically called “church.” My “reform” used to be a hope to change the Catholic Church, until I realized I was fighting a losing battle.  You can’t reform something that is already in its deathbed. The institution Paul established, based in fear, power and control, is in the process of its own implosion and what was never Jesus’ intention in the first place is coming to an end.  My job is to be part of planting the seeds, establishing the inspiration and perhaps some structure for the new “church” that will likely have NOTHING at all to do with church as we have known it.

Vocations

The so-called “vocations crisis” is at the heart of the institutional church’s death. In truth, there is NO vocations crisis, only a crisis in vision.  What the institutional Church cannot see is that every single person in their pews, and among those who have left, are called to be “priest.”  Every single person is uniquely gifted to find meaning and purpose in their life and are called to do so for the sake of their own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world.  THIS is their service to God.  This is their priesthood.  Every single person has an opportunity to be ordained into the unique way they are called to serve.  If this isn’t priesthood, I don’t know what is.  The Church, however, refuses to see this or to do anything about it- ignoring the deepest longing of our hearts which is in finding ourselves.

Spiritual Awakening, Self-Actualization and Stewardship

When I was still ministering in the Church, I had the opportunity to study the US Catholic Bishop’s pastoral letter on stewardship. The document stated that true stewardship only arises out of mature disciples, and then went on to describe how people become mature disciples by finding the answers to the following questions:

  • Who am I?
  • Whose am I?
  • What are my gifts and how am I called to use them?

In short, the journey toward becoming “mature disciples” is about finding ourselves. Then the Bishops left it there. People cannot become mature disciples unless they are given the resources and tools to so.  This is the work of spiritual formation and psychology.  The problem is that the Church refuses to provide these resources (even when they have the tools right in their own hands!!!!!!!)  and goes so far as to discourage people from pursuing the path that would lead them to spiritual and psychological maturity.  How can you expect people to plow the field, not give them the tools for doing so, and then punish them when they try to figure it out on their own?  It’s almost as if the Church really doesn’t want people to grow.  Again…..exactly why the Church is dying.

Doing Something About it

Spiritual Formation, Self-Actualization, Stewardship. Vocations. This is what I do.  I provide the resources and support for people who have awakened spiritually and who are searching for the answer to the above-mentioned life questions.  I provide resources and tools to support their exploration and their journey toward self-actualization.  I support them in naming and claiming their gifts, moving through the resistances to these gifts and then empowering into their own “priesthood” – whatever that might look for them personally.  (Side note – The work that I do could also be accomplished in the field of psychology, but again, as a patriarchal, hierarchical institution, they (with a few exceptions) too refuse to provide people with this kind of support.). Again, it all boils down to finding ourselves.

Healing

The bulk of this work of finding ourselves is about healing. In order to become self-actualized, we have to heal the wounds of our past. We need support in our grief.  We need release from trauma.  We need permission to acknowledge where we’ve been unacknowledged and heal those wounds so we can be free to be who we were meant to be.  We need to be supported in identifying and restoring the lost parts of ourselves.  We have to confront our shadow.  When people feel seen, and are able to heal the wounds of their past, they finally feel free to be who they are meant to be.

Jesus and Mary Magdalene

Jesus is my teacher and my beloved.  Mary is my teacher and myself.  It is through them that all I am and all I have brought into the world have come to be.  Not the Jesus of the Institutional Church – but the original Jesus – a Jewish man who came into his own self-actualization through his intimate relationship with the Divine (UNION) and who tried (mostly in vain) to teach his disciples, and anyone who would listen, the freedom he had come to know.  Mary – the one (along with John the Evangelist) who got it.  The one the Church rejected and in rejecting her all feminine power with her.

Lauri Ann Lumby

Thirteen letters in my name, born on the 13th day of the 13th month, the thirteen of the thirteen. Mary Magdalene was the 13th disciple.  Mary Magdalene was the 13th and leader of the community when Jesus left.  My whole life has been directed toward all of the above stated, and underneath it all has been my own journey toward self.  There is a part of my journey that beyond religion, spirituality, and psychology, is magic.  True magic.  Divine magic. This magical search began with Samantha Stevens and has led me along meandering paths, beginning with King Arthur, The Mists of Avalon, Wicca, Celtic magic and pre-Christian ritual practices. A significant part of this journey has been through the “shadow” aspects of magic – a fascination with vampires, werewolves, witches, Disney villains, demons.  While I used to cringe at the idea of demonic possession, I have learned of the dark forces that are present in our world (even if they are simply concentrated human fear), and the need to protect, but more importantly transform.  The path has led me to Hermetic alchemy (Thoth), Egyptian mysteries, and the Kabbalah – specifically Hebraic Kabbalah and the magic within it.  Magic with the sole purpose of UNION and which is never done to cause harm. Magic that heals and transforms.  This is not the en hoc est corpus meum of the Catholic priest, it is the magic that we all possess when we have transformed our self so as to be able to partner with the Divine in wielding love.

Confessions of a Catholic Witch

Recovering Catholics – 42.7 Million Strong!

Love.

This is ultimately what it all boils down to. One day in Shamanic practice, I asked the question of my Soul’s purpose.  The answer was so simple and yet so profound:

“Lauri, your purpose is love. To love and to be loved in return.”

To me, love is a verb. It is what/who I am called to be.  It is what I am called to do.  Period.  It is so simple.  And yet so profound.

Authentic Freedom Academy offers a full range of services, books and online courses in support of finding ourselves:  Spiritual Counseling with Lauri Ann Lumby, The Authentic Freedom Mastery Program, and Lauri’s foundational text Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy, to name a few.

 

 

Posted in Discernment, self-actualization, spiritual awakening, Spiritual Development, spiritual gifts

The Call of the Prophet and its Curse

The call of the prophet and the gift of prophecy is one of the spiritual gifts that is explored in my work of supporting the spiritual awakening and self-actualization of change agents.  Discerning our gifts and how we are called to use those gifts makes up a significant part of that process.   As one who has this gift, I can attest to the gift as well as the curse of possessing and sharing this gift.

Defining the Prophet’s Gift

In my online course, What is Your Magic, I offer the following definition of a prophet as described by Albert Nolan, a Dominican priest in his book, Jesus Today – a Spirituality of Radical Freedom (Orbis Books, 2008):

Prophets are people who speak out when others remain silent. They are watchful of the areas in need of reform in their own society, their own country, or their own religious institutions. True prophets are men and women who stand up and speak (or act) out about the practices of their own people and their own leaders – while others remain silent. True prophets are not part of the authority structure. Prophets are never appointed, ordained or anointed by the religious establishment. They experience a special calling that comes directly from God, and their message comes from their own personal experience of God. (pp. 63-67)

prophet, the gift of prophecy, speaking the truth, bearing the truth, fulfilling the prophet's call, Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene fulfilling her calling as Prophet

In my experience one who possesses the gift of prophecy has the ability to:

See

For the prophet, seeing goes beyond what can be perceived through mere physical vision.  One with the gift of prophecy has the ability to see the truth beyond the material.  Here we are able to see…..really see.  The prophet sees what is before them, while also seeing the subtle inter-weavings of all that is around what they are able to see.  Prophets are able to see the connections, what led to what they are seeing and what will continue to unfold from what they are seeing unless significant change takes place.  The seeing of the prophet includes material things, human actions and interactions, the energy and emotion of what they are seeing.  A prophet can identify what is “of the good,” and what is not.

Read

In their ability to see, prophets can also read.  This most commonly presents itself in the ability to read people – to see beyond the mask that every person put out into the world, beyond the projection of what people want others to think or believe about them.  The prophet sees the truth. We see all that people are trying to hide from the world….but we also see their gifts.  We see the potential within every human being and how the masks they were are blocking the fulfillment of that potential.  The most challenging aspect of this ability in the prophet is that while most are not consciously aware of the fact that they are being SEEN, unconsciously they do.  For those whose “survival” depends on their ability to be seen in a certain light, the prophet becomes “the enemy,” not because of something they’ve done, but for who they are.  This is one of the curses of the gift of prophecy.

Hear

In addition to seeing the truth beyond the illusion, prophets hear the truth beyond the words.  Regardless of the chosen words or their intention, the prophet hears what people are really saying.  If someone says, “It’s a great day,” but truly feels elsewise, the prophet will know it.  The prophet hears the truth beyond every subtle deception for under the gaze of the prophet no one can hide.  Again, this sometimes proves to be one of the challenges for the prophet.

Feel

Like a Geiger counter or seismic graph, prophets have the ability to feel.  We feel the energy of the world and its movement.  We feel the energy within and embodied by every person or situation we meet.  We can feel whether the energy is of expansion and love, moving in the direction of “the good,” or if it is the energy of fear and constriction moving toward harm.  We feel it and we know it.

Discern

Discernment is perhaps the greatest gift of the prophet and one cannot be a prophet without first possessing and honing this gift.  Discernment is the process through which we determine (in everything we encounter) what is “of God” and what is not.  Through discernment we are able to identify what is based in fear, power, deceit, or control, and what is rooted in love.  Anything that is not “of love” is not “of God” and it is the prophet’s job to make that fact known to the world.

For additional reading on the gift of prophecy check out these articles: 

The Poem of the Awakened

Spiritual Direction – Lauri Style

Carrying the Magdalene Wound

Being a Catalyst

The Prophet’s Curse

Herein lays the challenge of being a prophet and the curse that is inherent in the gift.  A prophet has no purpose in only seeing, reading, hearing, feeling and discerning.  The purpose of the gift of prophecy is to heal and change the world.  The world cannot be changed if what the prophet knows is not spoken.  The prophet must speak what they see, read, hear, feel and discern (subtlety is allowed).  The problem is that more often than not, those to whom the prophet is called to speak “Can’t handle the truth.”  Acknowledging the truth would require change and if there is one thing human beings fear more than death, it is change.  As a result, this often leaves the prophet as simply another “voice crying out in the wilderness…” and in my experience, “speaking only to sand.”

 

Discover and be supported in your own unique giftedness through our online course What’s Your Magic, or enjoy this course as part of the Authentic Freedom Mastery or Magdalene Priestess Trainings. 

 

Posted in self-actualization, spiritual awakening

Five Signs of a Spiritual Awakening

Spiritual Awakening

is the beginning of our journey toward self actualization. Beyond the drive for survival and continuation of the species, the drive to become self actualized is perhaps our greatest drive. While the whispering of this drive may be present even before we are fully conscious, it begins in earnest at the threshold of our spiritual awakening.  Below are five signs that you are at the threshold of or deep in the midst of your spiritual awakening:

Dissatisfaction:

Unless we are fortunate enough to have discovered the path of our Soul early in life, somewhere around the time of our first Saturn return (between the ages of 26- 28), we will find ourselves dissatisfied with the current trajectory of our life. None of what we thought would make us “happy” – education, job, relationships, family, possessions, etc. – seems to be making us happy.  Instead, we suddenly find ourselves questioning our choices, wondering why we spent all that time, money, etc. in pursuit of something that now only leaves us dissatisfied.  This is the beginning of our spiritual awakening – awakening to the truth that the choices we have made so far are not providing the satisfaction we had hoped and dreamed for. (PS The second stage of this spiritual awakening takes place during midlife….a topic for another blog!)

Restlessness:

Along with dissatisfaction comes restlessness. The human drive toward self-actualization is comprised of a palpable energy, something akin to the drive to procreate.  It is a drive that if not directed toward its ultimate goal will leave us feeling restless, wondering where and into what to put this energy.  It is because of this restlessness that many begin their search, but instead of seeking within, the search often gets directed outside of us in the search for that “thing” (status, power, money, fame, material possessions, etc.) that might put an end to the restlessness.  Until we learn to direct this restlessness inward, we will continue to feel restless and dissatisfied.

Frustrated:

Until satisfied, the human drive toward self-actualization will leave us feeling frustrated, even angry and filled with rage. Not unlike our biological need to procreate in order that the species may continue, the drive to become self-actualized is inwardly motivated and marks the beginning of our spiritual awakening.  When this drive is suppressed, ignored, repressed or resisted in any way, we are left feeling frustrated and unfulfilled.  The only satisfaction to the drive toward self-actualization is to pursue it.

Depression:

The greatest longing of the human soul that has entered its spiritual awakening is self-knowledge. We long to know ourselves, our unique giftedness, and how we are called to use these gifts for the sake of our own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world.  When this longing goes unheeded or unfulfilled, a little part of us “dies.”  The longer we ignore this longing and suppress the frustration that marks the awakening of this longing, the more a part of our soul “dies.”  It is here that depression will emerge in response to a calling that has gone unheeded.

Anxiety:

In the process of our spiritual awakening and in the journey toward self-actualization, anxiety plays many roles. Anxiety plays a critical role in the process of discernment – helping us to know the path of our Soul vs. the path of the false self.  Anxiety alerts us to relationships, situations and experiences that might endanger our Soul’s path.  Anxiety arises to alert us to unacknowledged fears or unhealed wounds that might need to be addressed in our journey of spiritual awakening.  Contrary to reason, anxiety also shows up when we are taking a step in the direction of our self-actualization.  If there is one thing that is certain in the journey of our spiritual awakening – it is change.  And if there is one thing humans fear more than death, it is change.

Watch the Anxiety, Depression and Panic Attack video blog.

If you are experiencing dissatisfaction, restlessness, frustration, depression or anxiety, you might be in the midst of a spiritual awakening. Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS supports individuals in their spiritual awakening through spiritual counseling, online courses and writing.  To learn more about Lauri’s online courses click HERE.  To schedule a private spiritual counseling session email lauri directly at lauri (at) authenticfreedomacademy (dot) com.