Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Healing, Inspiration, Mystics

The Mystic’s Conundrum

The Mystic’s Conundrum

Copyright Lauri Ann Lumby

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Once we have seen the face of God,

Everything by comparison pales.

The whole world lacks luster

Melancholy defining the human condition.

Longing replacing enjoyment

Ever yearning our heart’s return.

“Why can’t it be like that all the time?”

We achingly wonder,

Comparing earth to heaven

Forgetting that it is for earth that we are here,

And to heaven that we shall return,

Understanding why the ancients said,

“You cannot see the face of God and live.”

For life no longer feels like living.

But when we cease the comparison,

Understanding

That the glimpse of God was only a glimpse,

A gift that’s rarely given,

And one most will never know,

We begin

Remembering why we are here:

To love the human condition,

Accepting it for what it is – painful, despairing, filled with hatred, violence,

 suffering and loss.

Allowing ourselves to be with what we otherwise want to reject,

believing “this cannot be God.”

HERE is where we find God,

No longer distant, rare or separate,

But right here in the midst of the human condition

For HERE, there is nothing that is not God.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlZ71ggvQ74

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, creativity, Empowerment, Freedom, Inspiration, Jesus

Falling in Love with Ourselves

Whether it is the midlife journey, the ascension journey or the just plain human journey, it seems to me that the goal is really one and the same.  The goal, is to fall in love with ourselves.

hearts

Falling in love with ourselves, is referenced in one of my favorite prayers from one of my favorite teachers, Jesus of Nazareth:

That the world may know that you love them even as you loved me. (JN 17: 23)

Jesus’ prayer for his disciples and his prayer for us was that we would know within ourselves the depth of Love that he had come to know in, from and through God.  The Greek word used to describe the kind of Love that Jesus taught is agape’ which is an unmerited, unconditional, adoring, glorifying, all-encompassing sort of Love.  This is the Love that God is and the Love that Jesus came to know in his experiences of and with God and the Love that allowed Jesus to become the fullest expression of the person God made him to be.  When we allow ourselves to know and be this Love, the same will be true for us.  In knowing the fullness of God’s Love and the fullness of God’s love within us, we uncover the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in our lives and the way in which we are called to reveal God’s love in the world. In short, knowing the fullness of God’s love empowers us to fall in love with ourselves.

Falling in love with ourselves begins with a process of self-inquiry.  Who am I?  What are my gifts?  What are my passions?  What are my fears?  In what ways have I been wounded in my past?  What are my compulsions (non-loving or unhealthy behaviors)?  What are the parts of myself I prefer to keep hidden from others?  What are the parts of myself I reject?  What are the unrealized parts of myself? What are my unfulfilled hopes, dreams, desires, wishes, fantasies?  What is my darkness?  What is my light?  What is life-giving to me?  What drains me?   Where am I inspired?  Where do I find myself discouraged?  Falling in love with ourselves means getting to know ALL the parts of ourselves….bringing it all into the light so that it can be seen.  And then, it means LOVING it all.

Falling in love with ourselves means that we learn to love all that we are – warts and all.  Falling in love with myself, for example, has been about learning to love my depression, learning to accept my anxiety, learning to appreciate the lessons I have learned through panic attacks, learning to love my childhood for all the challenges and gifts it has brought me, learning to see where I was loved and adored and seeing the growth that came out of situations where I perceived myself as being rejected or condemned.  Learning to love myself has meant learning to love my anger, my sorrow, my sensitivity, my hatred, my desire for revenge and to stop judging myself for being human.  Learning to love myself has meant understanding and appreciating the gifts of being introverted and accepting and learning to tend to the fragile state of my physical health.

Falling in love with ourselves has another word, and that word is JOY.  Joy is the quality that God intended for us to know and to have in this human experience.  Joy is what is manifest as we come to love ourselves more and more.  Joy in all that we are given.  Joy in all that we experience.  Joy flowing out of us as we live and move and have our being.  Joy in the sorrow and joy in the joy as reflected in the words of another great teacher:

Darkness and Light are but one. (Psalm 139)

Falling in love with ourselves is about knowing that all that we are is perfect in the eyes of God and seeing this perfection in ourselves.

How are you being invited to love yourself?

Posted in detachment, grief, Lessons, Surrender

Election Results

Made you look!  Today’s blog only has a little bit to do with the results of the presidential election and much more to do with how to maintain peace in the midst of what we might not want.

Obama Wins

As a bleeding-heart, liberal, democrat, I am pleased with the results of yesterday’s presidential election.  At least 40% of the US population and over 50% of the House of Representatives are not, however,  happy with these results.  With the make-up of Democrats vs. Republicans in the House and the Senate, President Obama will once again have his work cut out for him.  Posing an even bigger challenge will be the fact that many of our political leaders are no longer working with the best interests of the collective in mind, but instead work for the special interest groups and lobbyists that pad their pockets and fund their elections.  While Barack Obama has succeeded in winning this race, he might once again face a losing battle in accomplishing anything of meaning or value to the American people as policy change gets thwarted by bi-partisan politics.  Regardless of what may or may not happen in the forty-eight months ahead, today, there are many people who will be disappointed, frustrated and angry over the results of yesterday’s elections and even more who will be frustrated, angry and disappointed over the inability of our current form of government to affect positive change that is truly for the good of the people.  But, as I suggested in my August 12th blog, Elections and a Disturbance in the Force, the results of yesterday’s elections has nothing to bear on our ability to move forward with our lives enjoying peace, contentment, love and joy.

Timely Wisdom

I found confirmation of this truth while enjoying my morning meditation.  As usual, I begin by reading the daily scripture readings, then continue by listening to and sometimes singing sacred chant, ending in silence with maybe a little journaling to round things off.  In the first scripture reading, Paul had this to say to the Philippians:

Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.

Philippians 2

These words certainly apply to our response to yesterday’s election results – if we are not happy about the results, let’s not grumble about it, complain, throw stones, cast dispersions…instead….let’s move on and look toward how we can make the best of the situation.  For those happy with the results and who will become later frustrated by that battles that are sure to continue between parties and interest groups, again, let us not grumble, complain, throw stones, cast dispersions…instead….let’s move on and make the best of the situation.

Applying this to our everyday lives

The results of yesterday’s elections and the path ahead are but a drop of water in the pond of challenges that we face in our everyday lives.  What happens in Washington truly has little to bear on the day-to-day struggles that we face – death, job loss, illness, aging, unemployment, underemployment, divorce, heartbreak, children growing up and moving away, business failure, unfulfilling jobs and relationships, injuries, physical, emotional, mental, verbal and sexual abuse, assault, natural disasters, crop failures, etc. etc. etc.  No matter what happens in Washington, we will still face these challenges.  People we love will die.  We will find ourselves in unfulfilling and seemingly meaningless jobs.  We will age and experience illness.  Our businesses will fail.  Our hearts will be broken.  While it is appropriate and important to grieve these losses and disappointments, it is equally important to remember that the end result of healthy grief is ACCEPTANCE. It is in grieving the loss and finding acceptance that we once again know peace.  This peace is what Paul is inviting us to enjoy in the reading above.  Political races are lost. We don’t always get what we want.  We become frustrated when our efforts fall short.  Bad things happen to good people.  And…..in the midst of all of this is the promise of peace. As Paul says, this peace is found not in the grumbling, complaining or questioning, but is instead found in acceptance of what is and in trusting that this too is in the highest good, no matter what it might look like right now.

Lauri Lumby

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Discernment, Mary Magdalene, Spiritual Practices

Saying Yes To What God Gives Me, Again

Today’s blog explores the topic of discernment – the process through which we determine God’s direction for our life – the direction that is in our highest good.

Now What?  Part 3

As I continue this process of discernment – trying to determine God’s direction for my life, I am reminded of a powerful mantra given to me by my Spiritual Director about this exact time last year.  The mantra is:

Say Yes To What God Gives Me

I have found this mantra to be a powerful tool of discernment, as well as acceptance and surrender.  As I sit in the gap following professional challenges and observe that certain professional doors may be closing and not yet knowing what the doors are that will be (or already are) opening, this mantra has become especially helpful and important.  In the past several weeks, God has given me:

  • Time away from professional obligations
  • Time to heal
  • Time to take a personal retreat and professional sabbatical
  • A place to retreat to and a friend to retreat with
  • Loving and supportive family and friends
  • The financial resources to be able to take this time away
  • Generous parents

As I slowly move out of the cave of retreat and make a gentle re-entry into the professional world, I am grateful for the things that God is now giving me:

  • A 12 week teaching contract facilitated by enthusiastic and supportive students.
  • A smattering of paying clients
  • Subscribers to Agape’
  • An enthusiastic editor
  • A terrific graphic designer
  • An offer from a client to design the interior of my next book
  • A trade client who is also a magnificent portrait artist who is hard at work on the portrait that will be the cover of my next book.
  • Time to write

As I gaze over the spectrum of what the Universe is giving me, the answer to “Ok, Now What?”  seems pretty clear:  FINISH THAT NOVEL!  You have the time, the resources, etc.  Of course the part of me that craves financial security is totally freaking out about this, but the direction seems pretty obvious….and the invitation is to TRUST, forge ahead and GET ER DONE!  So, I take a deep breath, say yes to what the Universe is giving me and step into the abyss of the unknown to write, edit, write some more and hand my novel over to the designers that will make it beautiful and the publishing vehicle that will make it available to the world.  YAY!

PS

So, just a little preview:  The book is about Mary Magdalene (duh!) and her personal experience with Jesus (duh again!).

Putting it into practice

If you are facing a period of “Now what?” in your own life, or are simply restless and seeking new direction, this little discernment tool and mantra might prove to be helpful.

  • Ask the questions (now what?  Who do you want me to be?  What do you want me to do?)
  • Observe those things in your life that are no longer life-giving and be willing to let them go.
  • Watch for the things that do give you life.
  • Be attentive to the things the Universe seems to simply drop into your lap (even if you don’t initially think you want them…..like for me, three weeks with no paying clients)
  • Say yes to what the Universe gives you – again even if you don’t initially think you want them (like a closed or closing door)
  • TRUST that the Universe only has your highest good in mind
  • Surrender to what is
  • TRUST that the Universe will provide for your needs as you say yes to what you are being given.
  • ALLOW yourself to be carried into your new life…..if it is God-directed, excruciating effort will not be necessary.  (another thing to watch for as validation of your God-directed path).

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Inspiration, teachers

Something About Mary

As we move along the path of spiritual growth, toward awakening and enlightentment, two very important lessons present themselves:  surrender and trust.  Today, on the feast of the Assumption of Mary, we acknowledge Mary, the Mother of Jesus as a woman who not only learned, but lived these truths.

 

Catholic Feast Days

In the Catholic tradition in which I was raised, today, August 15th is celebrated as the Feast of the Assumption of Mary.  This is one of those feast days that has always confounded me and in the 21st century, it is a feast that directly confronts scientific possibility.  On this day, the Catholic Church recognizes the “belief” that Mary did not die a human death, but was raised, body and soul into heaven.  As any non-Catholic would argue, there is absolutely NO scriptural evidence to to support the feast day that is celebrated today.  I acknowledge this to be true, and….that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, or that the feast cannot be a metaphor for something that was really cool that happened to Mary and was witnessed and simply didn’t make the cut into the book we now call the Bible.  I’m not going to argue with those that hold to the literal interpretation of scripture, neither am I going to argue with the Vatican and the importance they place on Big T Tradition. (A Catholic thing that supports certain dogma and doctrine by saying it is part of the “tradition” of the Church but perhaps not supported by scripture.)  So, whether we believe it the literal truth of the assumption, or simply set it aside as one of “the Catholic things,” we cannot argue that Mary was a pretty cool chick and worthy of honor and respect by whatever name we call it!

 

Something about Mary

Being raised Catholic, Mary held a central role in my religious upbringing.  As an adult, she has held an equally central role in my journey of spiritual healing, growth, evolution.  Here are somethings about Mary that I think are really cool, that inspire me, guide me and give me hope:

Mary was a woman of Prayer: She had to be.  I can only understand the story of the Annunciation (when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and invited her to be the Christ bearer.) in the context of contemplation and prayer.  One would have to already have a firmly established spiritual practice and devotion to God to be able to 1) Hear, see, experience God’s messenger.  2) Be present to the invitation 3) SAY YES!

Mary was a woman of Courage: Again, she had to be!  How could a girl of 13 or 14 not only have an angelic encounter and survive it, but say yes to an invitation that in her culture could have gotten her killed.  Do you know the penalty in first century Palestine for being unmarried and pregnant (actually, the penalty in some areas of the Middle East is still the same today)?  DEATH BY STONING!  Mary said yes, had to somehow tell her parents and then hope that she wouldn’t be killed.  YIKES!  Oh yea, then she had to (rather her parents had to), tell the man to whom she was betrothed.  His right under the law?  To have her killed for her infidelity and for breaking their marriage contract.  COURAGE!

Mary was a woman of faith What did Mary have to keep her going through the encounter with the angel to the birth of her child?  FAITH!  She had to trust that if this invitation was indeed Divinely directed, that all would be well, that she would be safe, protected, kept from harm and that the child would come to birth and that together, they would be safe.  This whole plan defied human logic, and societal customs and norms, and yet, Mary said yes.  She had faith in her God and her faith was proved to be well grounded – she was not killed, Joseph married her anyway, and Jesus was born into the world.

Mary’s faith moved beyond faith into surrender and acceptance. This is where Mary is elevated in my mind to some place of Divine Christing herself.  1) She had to travel miles from the safety and comfort of her family to have her baby born in the most uncomfortable of surroundings.  2) They had to flee their homeland to escape persecution by the king. 3) She heard from prophets in the temple of the things her son would do and was told they would “pierce her to the heart.”  4) She had to watch her son follow an equally strange and “God-inspired” path.  5) She had to stand in watch as her son was brutally executed.  Mary had to allow her heart to be broken…probably a million times…as she gave witness to the fulfillment of the “yes” that she said to bringing Jesus into the world.  She had to trust that no matter how bad it looked, that all would be serving some sort of higher purpose…and she had to trust that her son knew what he was doing, but beyond that, that God knew what God was doing.  She had to trust that her “yes” was not in vain…even if she did not see the results in her lifetime.  In the end, Mary is just cool!

How can Mary be a source of inspiration for you on your own spiritual path?

How have your spiritual practices, faith, courage and acceptance provided assistance for you in your own journey?

How are YOU being invited to be a vessel through which God’s love can be birthed into the world?????

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com