Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Relationships

How the “Unholy Masculine” is Killing Us.

I want to be clear, right from the start, this blog is NOT about men and it is not against men. This blog is about a characteristic and behavior pattern of Western culture that I have come to call “the unholy masculine.” Both women and men are guilty of embodying characteristics and engaging in behaviors consistent with the “unholy masculine,” and THIS is the cause of all that is wrong with Western culture and IT is killing us.

The unholy masculine can be defined as:

Behaviors and characteristics of power and control, ultimately motivated by fear.

The unholy masculine are all the ways in which we attempt to have power over ourselves and/or others through acts of coercion, bullying, manipulating through fear and insecurity (think advertising and the media), trying to “make things happen,” forcing outcomes, agendas, our own will, etc.

angrywomanpixabay

The unholy masculine ultimately arises in response to our wholesale rejection of all that we perceive in ourselves as weakness, vulnerability, imperfection, helplessness, powerlessness, etc. Often this rejection of self isn’t even known, but is instead projected onto others, resulting in behavior patterns where we reject “them” (think “the poor,” “the jobless and unemployed,” “homeless,” “disabled,” “sick,” etc.)  because of their “weakness” or “powerlessness”.  The irony is that when we are rejecting others for their “weakness” what we are really rejecting is the weak and vulnerable parts of ourselves, which we then mask with behaviors of power and control.

Let me tell you a little story to help illustrate the subtle and insidious nature of the unholy masculine, as I have experienced it within myself.

As a Type One on the Enneagram, the Perfectionist/Reformer, imperfection is not allowed – specifically, imperfection as I define it. Imperfection in my mind has been anything that has to do with my definition of weakness and includes such things as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, helplessness, neediness, illness.  Sadness, loneliness, and anger have also been included in the soup of what I had/have rejected in myself, and what I therefore rejected in others because I could not accept them in myself. In contrast to the weakness that was not allowed, what was allowed was my definition of perfect….which meant independent (self-sufficient), courageous, smart, strong, and accomplished – specifically accomplished.

If I was accomplishing tasks, achieving my goals, I was perfect and strong. Especially if I was accomplishing these goals in spite of my fears, my insecurities, my sadness, loneliness….and later…anxiety, depression, panic attacks and SHEER EXHAUSTION. For most of my life, I rejected these parts of myself so much that I didn’t even know they existed.  (My Chi Qong master once observed, “Lauri, I sometimes think the only way you are making it from day to day is simply by force of your own will.”  Yep…she had me pegged!)

Accomplishing arose out of Doing, therefore “doing” was “good” and “not doing” was bad. Enjoyment, for the simple sake of enjoyment was also not allowed – because enjoyment did not equal “doing.”  Besides, enjoyment is only allowed after the doing is done, and the “doing” is never done – there is always something else I could/should be doing to accomplish my goals and complete my tasks.

THIS is the UNHOLY MASCULINE – suppressing the parts of myself I had rejected by means of power and control, forcing myself to DO and ACCOMPLISH because this is what I perceived to be of value and what I believed it meant to be perfect.

angrymanpixabay

As it turns out, all of this “DOING” for the sake of “ACCOMPLISHING” was mostly done in opposition to what my Soul actually needed and wanted. On occasion, my Soul would let me know this by casting me into a pit of profound “weakness.”  In high school it was two bouts with mono, in college it was chronic migraines, in midlife, anxiety, depression and panic attacks.  Most recently, it started with a MASSIVE virus that turned into an ear infection leading to vertigo, which then led to anxiety and depression, even panic attacks– the effects of which I am still struggling with today (hint….”struggling” is another manifestation of the unholy masculine).

THIS is the UNHOLY MASCULINE….and I am not the only one guilty of this behavior. In fact, the Unholy Masculine is what is wrong with our culture and it is the Unholy Masculine that is killing us.

  • Every time we act in opposition to our Soul,.
  • Every time we FORCE ourselves or others to do something, through coercion, bullying, manipulating through fear or by triggering insecurities.
  • Every time we JUDGE parts of ourselves as weak, worthless, unworthy, imperfect, bad, and then reject these in ourselves.
  • When we project our judgment of ourselves or our rejection of ourselves onto others.
  • When we bully, intimidate, try to “make something happen,” force ourselves or others into situations that are in opposition to their Soul.
  • When life feels like a struggle, a fight, a war.
  • When our relationships feel like a struggle.
  • Every time we treat ourselves or others in ways that are non-loving or unkind…

We are engaging in the Unholy Masculine.

lovingchildrenpixabay

The key to healing ourselves and therefore our culture of the Unholy Masculine begins with identifying and learning to love all the parts of ourselves we had previously rejected:

  • Our perceived weakness (which often turn out to be our greatest gifts).
  • Our vulnerabilities.
  • Our needs, wants, desires.
  • Our past hurts and unhealed wounds.
  • Our losses, our sorrows and our grief.
  • Our aging, changing bodies.
  • The ways in which our looks don’t measure up to what Victoria’s Secret or GQ Magazine tells us is the ideal.
  • Our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual “illnesses”.
  • Our past traumas, and broken hearts.
  • Our emotions.
  • Our thoughts.
  • The unique way in which our Soul NEEDS to move about this world.

As we come to accept these in ourselves, we come to accept them in others, the result of which is loving behavior toward ourselves and loving behaviors toward others.

In this we transform the unholy masculine to the HOLY MASCULINE – providing, protecting and supporting through kind and loving acts, which is exactly what I am off to do for myself this day. Game of Thrones, Season 3, here I come!

 

 

Posted in Teenage Suicide

The Causes of Teenage Suicide

The topic of teenage suicide has been high on my list of concerns since the first of two suicides of girls my daughter’s age in the seventh grade. Six of my children’s peers have committed suicide in the same number of years.  When the national statistic for teenage suicide is 7 out of 100,000 students of the same age, the suicide rate in my daughter’s class alone is alarmingly high!  FIVE OUT OF 250!  As a parent, and a psychological and personal development professional, I am deeply concerned!  What is happening with our children and how can we help them?

Teenage suicide is an enormous topic and one that will not be solved through a single action (or blog in this case). But as a dear friend and respected colleague recently stated, our goal around the topic of teenage suicide should be ZERO TOLERANCE. None of our children should be left to believe that suicide is the only way out of whatever difficult situation is troubling them.  Preventing teen suicide and providing support for those who have lost a family member or friend to suicide requires the collaborative efforts of many people, social service, educational and government entities.  Before we can solve the problem of teenage suicide, however, we must first explore the underlying causes of suicide.

CausesofSuicideVisual

While this list is by no means exhaustive, it gives us a glimpse into many pieces of a complicated puzzle that when added up, might lead one to believe death is the only possible solution.

STRESS

Our teens are under an enormous amount of stress. Stress related to:

Relationships – peers, friends, family, cliques, boyfriends, girlfriends, breakups, heartbreak, unrequited love, divorce, etc.

Pressure to Achieve – school, pressure to do well in school, decisions about college and career, pressure from the media, friends, family, pressure to belong, pressure to conform, etc.

The World – as I mentioned in a previous blog, “Our Kids Are Not Alright!,” our world is a mess!  Our children have NEVER not known a world at war!  Our economic and political situations are the worst they’ve ever been.  The educational outlook (the reason for pursuing education post-high school) is grim.  Our children know that the promise of a “financially rewarding career” after college is a lie.  They are facing the very real possibility of not being able to afford college (tuition rates are at an all-time high), and that the only way to attend might be through student loans which will leave them forever indebted to the government and never able to buy their own home.  This is real folks!  And our children know it!

Stress untreated = more stress = apathy = anxiety = depression

 

GRIEF

Every death, change, disappointment, hurt feeling, divorce, physical move, school transfer, breakup, change in the status of friend relationships, etc. triggers grief. In our culture we don’t know how to do grief.  We don’t even know what grief is, let alone how to deal with it.  This is no different for our children.  They are grieving, they might not know they are grieving (or the symptoms of grief), and there are few there to help them (we can’t help them if we don’t know how to grieve ourselves!).

Grief untreated = anxiety and depression

ABUSE

Abuse is rampant in our society and many of our children are living in abusive situations – physical, emotional, mental, verbal, spiritual, sexual, being bullied or neglected. Whether they are being abused, or someone else in their home or close-knit circle of friends is, they suffer the effects of abuse.  On-going abuse can lead to PTSD, depression, anxiety, panic attacks and other “diagnosable” mental illnesses.

Abuse untreated = anxiety = depression = PTSD = panic attacks

 

POVERTY

While teenage suicide is not unique to any specific socio-economic category, poverty adds another dimension of stress– poverty, hunger, homelessness, poor nutrition, access to quality healthcare (or any healthcare for that matter), transient families, etc. all contribute additional stressors in an already difficult situation that might lead to believing death is ones best option.

Poverty = anxiety = isolation = depression = helplessness = hopelessness

 

LEARNING DISABILITIES, PROCESSING and SENSITIVITY ISSUES

According to the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), this category should fall under that of “mental illness.” I refuse to put learning and processing issues under this category as it would only reinforce the false perception that if we learn differently from what the Common Core says is the “norm” there is something “wrong” with us.  While some “learning disabilities” are readily identified and accommodations are able to be made (because this is mandated by the State or Federal government), most are not.  Dyslexia, for example, is one processing issue that often falls through the cracks.  This does not even begin to touch learning style differences and sensitivity issues.  HSP’s (highly sensitive people) are not identified in education, neither are accommodations made for them.  When our children learn by seeing or doing and teaching is not adapted to meet their needs, or accommodations are not offered to help them learn, they can’t learn.  And when they can’t learn, they cannot succeed in education.

Not learning=not achieving=not succeeding=feelings of failure=stress, depression, anxiety, etc.

 

MENTAL ILLNESS

See above! No wonder the number of children who are being treated for symptoms consistent with mental illness – depression, anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD, etc. is at an all-time high.  Our children are suffering and much of this remains unrecognized, unacknowledged and therefore, untreated.  Throw in access to healthcare (or rather, the lack thereof) and a culture that is incapable of processing grief and you have a MESS!  Our children need our help!

Depression    Anxiety    Panic Attacks    PTSD

SuicideMindmap

Preventing teenage suicide begins by treating it at its cause. When we go directly to the cause we effectively eliminate the issues that would lead one to believing death is the only answer.  While this approach ultimately means widespread systemic change, the resources are already here, if we know where to look and if we can figure out how to work together toward this common goal.  While we might not save every life, our goal should be to make teenage suicide rare, instead of what has already happened in Oshkosh where teenage suicide has become expected and almost normal.  This is wrong….way wrong, and as parents and professionals, it is our responsibility to do something about it!

.

Posted in grief

Education in Wisconsin – Budget Cuts, Grief and Anxiety

Today’s blog goes out to all those men and women who are educators in the state of Wisconsin, and specifically to all my friends who are on the faculty and staff at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh and the Oshkosh Area School District. All of these talented and hard-working men and women are suffering under the effects of recent legislative decisions, including a $250 million cut to the UW system. (Read the details HERE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/07/13/gov-scott-walker-savages-wisconsin-public-education-in-new-budget/). Many will lose their jobs. Those who are chosen to remain will still have a job, but likely with a lower rate of pay, significantly reduced benefits and an ever-increasing workload. Schools will have to do more with a LOT less and everyone is afraid.

wisconsin-347435_1280

I’m writing on this topic because I have been a part of several major institutions that have experienced similar traumas and I have seen the effects these kinds of losses have on an institution, most importantly, on its employees. While the administration may be skilled at making the difficult decisions about which programs need to go, where expenses can be reduced and where benefits can be shaved, they typically have no experience in addressing the “soft” issues of grief, anxiety and fear. This was recently confirmed for me when I offered my services as a grief and transitions expert to a local institution and was told (in so many words), “Thanks, we got this!” Based on the conversations I have had with various faculty and staff who related to me the deep grief they are feeling, the chaos that is unfolding, and the fear and anxiety that have now become part of the academic culture; No, you don’t “got this.”  The administration does not “got this” because, as is common in our culture, they have no knowledge of, or experience in dealing with grief or anxiety. Instead, they take the typical attitude of “get over it and move on.” This is NOT a helpful response to grief and anxiety especially when you desire productivity and effectiveness in your employees.

grief3

The analogy I like to use when addressing budget cuts such as those currently facing Wisconsin schools is that these cuts are akin to receiving a cancer diagnosis. For those who will be impacted by these cuts (not likely to be the person in charge), the greatest and unspoken fear is that of death. In this case, that they will be without a job or that the salary for the job they retain will be greatly reduced forcing them into financial hardship. The second fear is that they will not be valued for the work they are doing. When professors have to fundraise for their own programs and research, or do the work of three professors, this greatly devalues their gifts, along with the experience and passion they once brought to the job. When these fears and their resulting grief are not acknowledged and tended to, the anxiety, fear and grief begin to come out sideways. Morale decreases. Apathy sets in. Productivity decreases and company loyalty is all-but eliminated. Soon the institution suffers a mass exodus of its greatest assets – its teaching staff.

angst-802639_1280

Perhaps this is what the academic institutions want – a mass exodus of their greatest assets so as to make their job easier. If people leave (in droves) of their own volition, the institution doesn’t have to make the difficult decisions of who or what to cut. I must believe, however, that this is not what our academic institutions want. I want to give educational institutions the benefit of the doubt in believing they do want to retain their quality staff and provide a supportive environment, in a difficult time, for those who choose to remain. If, this is true, then educational institutions need to be providing sound grief and transition support for their employees, faculty and staff; including training on how to manage the inherent anxiety of these kinds of transitions.

campus-820878_1280

Grief support provides effective tools for moving through the faces of grief including: denial, bargaining, depression/apathy, anger and sorrow and provides resources in helping the grieving manage their anxiety. Grief support gives individuals the tools for identifying grief when it shows up and effective means for dealing with that grief. Supporting the grieving process and giving people tools for managing anxiety clears the ground for the new life that is waiting to emerge on the other side of the loss. In the case of education the new life that will emerge will be more creative, efficient and cost-effective ways of providing a quality education for people of all ages. The question facing Wisconsin schools is, do they want to arrive at this new life the hard way by denying and ignoring the grief, anxiety and fear; or through the easier path by tending to their grief?  Only time will tell.

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Inspiration, Oneness with God, world changes

Being Hospice to our (3D) selves as We are Dying

In Friday’s blog, I wrote about the new world that is in the process of being born through us. As this new 5D (non-dual) world is being birthed, our 3D (dualistic-minded) selves are in the process of dying. This dying-off process is presenting itself in symptoms similar to those we go through in our literal, physical deaths – physical pain, anxiety, restlessness, anger, sorrow….and a fair bit of bargaining and denial. As I was writing yesterday’s blog and speaking about how to tend to our dying selves, I saw a very clear image that I want to share and a practice I want to elaborate on as I believe it will prove helpful for all of us moving through this transition.

Use the Donate button on the right to help support Authentic Freedom Academy and all we freely offer including this blog!

What I saw was an image of my 3D (dualistic, fear-based) self, lying on a hospital bed. The bed was clothed in white and I was wearing a hospital gown. I was lying in the bed, dying. Beside the bed was my 5D (oneness and love-based) self, sitting on the edge of the bed holding my 3D self’s hand. My 5D self was providing comfort and support to my 3D self as it was releasing.

I saw in my mind’s eye all that my 3D self had done to get me to this place in my journey – the journey it had undertaken, the pain it had experienced, the fear it had known, the suffering it had embodied. I saw the lessons she has learned, the joys and the sorrows she had experienced. I saw her as a warrior who had fought a long and difficult battle – the journey she came here to do – to live in the world of duality so that she could have the fullness of the human experience. She came to have the fullness of the human experience for the purpose of transforming the human experience – to usher herself and all of humanity with her through 3D (dualistic) consciousness to a new way of being. I thanked her for a job well done, for completing her journey and to assure her that she has completed her task and that it is now ok to LET GO and surrender her body and spirit to the other world – the Source from which she came.

holdingdyinghands

I saw my 5D (oneness based) self sitting beside my 3D (duality based) self and holding space for her as she lay dying. I held her hand. I comforted her. I prayed with her. I comforted her in her fears (the 3D self fears death). I lay my hands on her in release and thanksgiving. As I held her in this place of loving support, she surrendered. She relaxed into the face of her death. She acknowledged the hard work she had undertaken and felt pride in a job well done. She felt as if she had fully accomplished what she had come here to do and that in this, she could surrender to death and in death, rest in peace. I held my 3D self as she surrendered into the peace of death and I held her as she released her last breath. As she released the final breath from her 3D body, I saw her spirit separate from her body and in its rising, the sky opened up and a brilliant light shone through as a multitude of angels and heavenly beings sang songs of great joy. Jesus and Mary Magdalene came forward, and the heavenly beings parted, revealing between them a gold-paved road that led off into eternity. Jesus and Mary took the hand of my 3D self and led her away from the duality in which she had been living to a place of reunion with her truest self which is not separate, but wholey (holy) and completely one with all that is.

As my 5D self sat in witness to this wonderous event, I felt only peace. I knew that I was not separate from my 3D self, but that in her reunion with all that is, she had become fully integrated within me. She and I are one and will never be separate.

The time of separation has ended for all of us. Our 3D selves have succeeded in their journey of duality so that we could all have the fullness of the human experience. And now that we know what it is like to be fully human, it is time for our Divine Nature step forward to integrate what we have learned as human beings so that we can do what we came here to do – transform the human experience from one of fear into one of love. First, we had to know what it is like to be human. Now it is time to show humanity what it is like to be gods!

Posted in Being Human, Divine Revelation, Inspiration, world changes

Birthing Something New – Fear of Change

We are in the midst of the most incredible journey involving all of humanity….all of creation in fact. We are in the midst of witnessing to and participating in CREATION as it is birthing something new. The new that is being born is both outside of us and within us, but is ultimately unfolding out of the depths of our own consciousness….and it is a wonder to behold.

Use donation button to the right as a way of supporting Authentic Freedom Academy and the services we freely offer, including this blog.

What is being born is nothing less than a NEW WORLD! A completely new world the likes of which we have NEVER experienced (not in our human incarnations anyway!). We are quite literally creating something out of nothing and doing so without a map, without a guide, without a blueprint and without a business or strategic plan. There can be no plan because what we are creating is not of this world, neither is it three-dimensional in its nature, therefore it cannot be seen or touched. Instead, what we are creating is of the fifth dimension where there is no discernable form because in the fifth dimension, all is one, unitive and harmonious – a far cry from the duality that defines the 3D world.

creativity720243_1280

So, how are we supposed to help this creation along if we can’t see or touch it and if there is no plan? This is exactly the point – there is NOTHING we can or should be doing. The new world is being born THROUGH us, not because of us or because of our efforts (more on this in a bit). Instead, it is our job to get out of the say (this is our part of the doing) and ALLOW the new world to be born. The challenging part of this process is that we CLING to what we know. We find perceived security in feeling as if we are in control and as if we have control. But the real truth of the new world being born is that WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL and the more we cling and the more we strive after control, the more difficult this journey will be for us. We know that we are clinging or trying to control things when we feel ANXIETY (or sheer panic which is often the case!). Anxiety and panic are signaling to us that we are clinging and trying to control and are an invitation to enter into some DEEP SELF CARE!

BE GENTLE WITH OURSELVES! The world is changing. It is changing through us. When anxiety, worry, fear, panic, compulsive planning, anticipatory thoughts, etc. plague us, this is an invitation to STOP. Ask ourselves the question, “What is my fear?” Then give loving care and reassurance to our 3D/fearful selves that this fear is simply the fear of CHANGE. NEW and magnificent things are coming. A world and a life far beyond our wildest dreams. And we are afraid of what this change might mean for us. Breathe into the fear and allow ourselves to feel it and to know that the fear is arising because something MAGNIFICENT is about to happen. Breathe into the fear and breath out love.   LOVE ourselves in the face of our fear. LOVE ourselves in the face of change. LOVE ourselves for wanting to cling and wanting to control. LOVE LOVE LOVE ourselves for being human and LOVE the 3D part of ourselves that knows it is dying. For this is our greatest fear. The 3D self (the one defined by separation, duality and fear) is in its final death throes and like a physical body that resists its physical death (even when the spirit is VERY willing), the 3D self is clinging to life. As they do in hospice care, administer a little spiritual Lorazepam as in the exercise above. Acknowledge that the 3D self is dying. Give it something for the anxiety (in this case loving care and the breathing exercise mentioned above), and sit beside it giving it comfort as it lets go of this life so as to be welcomed into the new.

sent

And then, as it the journey of physical death, let the spirit lead. In the depths of our soul, in the center of our hearts WE KNOW. We know where we are going. We know what is to come after the death of the 3D self and the 3D world. We know that what is coming after the life that we currently know is more magnificent then we could possibly imagine. Our hearts and our souls KNOW! If we need a blueprint or a plan, let this be it! Let our hearts be the guides and when the fearful mind steps in (which it will) love it in its fear then return our attention to our hearts. For our hearts know where it is taking us – “There’s no place like home.”

Ruby_slippers1

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Academy, Being Human, Empowerment, Lessons, mental illness, teachers, temptation

Panic Attacks – the Devil Inside (Part I)

Panic Attacks – the Devil Inside (Part I)

On Saturday, June 13th I had three full-blown panic attacks, the third so debilitating I was not able to drive myself and my son home from a shopping trip 30 miles from home.  As I mentioned in my blog on Monday, panic attacks suck…..or do they?  What if panic attacks are not here to harm or torture us, but are instead, here to teach us?  What if instead of judging them as harmful, rushing off to medicate them, or wanting to push them away, we welcomed them closer and allowed them to be our teacher?  What, you might ask, could a panic attack teach us other than, “life sucks and then you die?”  Let’s find out… 

panic

There is always more to the story…

As much as I hate having panic attacks, and they are terrifying while they are happening and every moment in between, for me, and I suspect many others who experience anxiety, depression and panic attacks (note:  the three are closely related), there is always more to the story.  Panic attacks don’t simply show up out of nowhere (though they sure seem like they do).  They always have deeper roots.  As I sat in the fog of the post-panic, post-Xanax hangover, I had ample opportunity to sort through all the potential precursors of panic (while trying not to get too much into old patterns of self-deprecation and negative self-judgment of thinking I did something wrong to bring on this panic and that there must be something wrong with me…).  In the search, I discovered there was a litany of potential “causes”:

Wine – ugh!  One tiny glass of wine the evening before (and as I noted had happened before every panic attack or near-panic I’ve had).  Wine=yeast=triggering my candida allergy.  Apparently there is a tie between candida and panic.  SIGH.  No more wine for me.

Keeping a lid on it!  Tending to a friend who received a medical treatment.  Helping another friend who received a cancer diagnosis.  Being present with a friend whose mother recently passed.  Lots of travel.  And just life in general.  Lots to carry.  Lots to hold.  Throw in some good old fashioned money fears…and….NOT TAKING CARE OF MYSELF in the midst of it all!  TONS of emotions were bottled up in me that needed to find a way out…..and boy did they!  (And let’s not forget the link between panic and past, unresolved trauma!)

STEPPING INTO MY GREATNESS!  The week leading up to the panic attack was a HUGE week for me.  I stepped into my new venture as Authentic Freedom Academy.  I put AFA out into the world.  I formed an affiliate program and sent out invites.  I completed the most recent Resurrecting the Magdalene course and ordained (yes, I said “ORDAINED!”) four women into The Order of the Magdalene/Christ. I received an important message about my beloved partner.  And finally…..through the support of some shamanic journey work, I rediscovered some very ancient methods of manifestation (ie: magic) and for bringing the new world into being.  Hint: “The Law of Attraction” is OUT (truth be told, it was never in for me anyway…more on that later).

Gethsemane

The link between panic and POWER

As much as we don’t want to admit it, there IS a link between panic and STANDING IN OUR POWER.  The way I understand it, the link between panic and power is two-fold:

Ignoring the voice of our Soul:

First, panic (and its precursor – anxiety) arises when we ignore, silence, suppress and repress our POWER, our truth, our gifts, our call, our purpose and our passions.  When we ignore the voice of our SOUL is will do everything in its power to get our attention.  The more we ignore the voice of the SOUL, the harder it works, sometimes having to resort to desperate measures to get our attention – even if it means panic.  This has definitely been the case for me.  When the truth is in my face again and again and again and I choose to ignore it, panic steps in.

Stepping into our power:

Panic attacks can also arise as a form of temptation.  The closer we get to our Soul’s purpose, God’s call for us in our life, the path of our highest Self, the harder the ego works to thwart us on our path.  Our Soul longs to be free – to have a life of fulfillment, expansiveness, meaning, peacefulness and love.  The ego wants SAME, status quo, what is old and familiar.  Think of Jesus in the desert and Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  In both instances, Jesus did battle with “Satan” over the path before him.  Heed the voice of fear and make himself equal to God (as was the discussion in the desert) or heed the voice of fear and recant his truth (that he was One with God but not necessarily equal)?  The ego does not want us to enjoy the path of our Soul or to embrace our gifts or our true power.  Instead, the ego wants us to remain small, in a place and situation that is familiar.  Toward that end, the ego will resort to all sorts of ministrations to keep us from our power – even panic attacks if it needs to.

Power and panic in proportion

I can think of two situations in particular (this weekend included) where a powerful moment of stepping into my power presented itself and panic stepped in.  In both situations, and army of support presented itself and I eventually figured out the true source of the panic – not in something I had done wrong, but in something I had done right!  Talk about empowering.  It is interesting to me to note that the degree to which we are stepping into our power is equal to the degree to which the ego fights to keep us from it.  From the degree of the panic attacks I experienced this weekend, I’m guessing I’m getting pretty dang close to the purpose of my soul and to the root of my true power.  How about you?

Stay tuned Panic Attacks, the Devil Inside Part II where we will learn how to embrace temptation (ie: panic attacks) as our teacher instead of our tormentor.

Authentic Freedom Academy provides resources and support for those wishing to heed the voice of their Soul – for those who know they are here for a reason, who want to know what that reason is, and who wish to contribute to the betterment of themselves and the world through their own unique giftedness.  Call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@autheticfreedomacademy.com to learn more.

Posted in Being Human, mental illness

Panic Attacks Suck! – A lesson in receiving

I am one of the (probably) millions who suffer with panic attack disorder.  And even though many might put me into this category, I’m not going to join with all the “think the right thoughts,” “La-La-Lightworker,” “New Age” people who will try to paint panic attacks in any other way……when you are having one, before you have one, after you have one and every moment in between there is one very stark and real truth….PANIC ATTACKS SUCK!  They suck. They suck.  They suck.  And they especially suck when you have one (or three….as was my case this past Saturday) while driving, most especially when you have one of your children in the car with you while you are having one.  And they REALLY suck when you have one when driving and are then unable to get yourself home and have to pray like hell that your sister-in-law is home and has nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon than drive 60 miles round trip to get my stranded (and at this point completely undone) ass and my son and my car home in one piece.  (Thank you dear sister in law and brother in law BTW!!!!).

panic

For those that don’t have panic attacks….try to imagine that you are dying….because that is exactly what panic attacks feel like.   For me anyway, it starts with a weird feeling in my belly….a stirring and a twirling that feel uncomfortable and disconcerting.  This is often accompanied by a burning pain in the middle of my lower back.  This stirring then starts rising up, first to my heart which then starts to pound, then my body starts to tremble, and then perhaps the worst part of it all, my vision starts to close in.  It is like someone is taking my field of vision and drawing the curtain inward toward the center of my forehead while at the same time the top of my head is opening.  As the panic rises, my field of vision closes and I’m sure that in just a moment I won’t be able to see and then I might pass out.  In a way, it feels like how one might feel when their soul is leaving their body and in a sense that is the very fear one experiences during a panic attack.  We are sure we are going to die.  It is the most terrifying feeling that in spite of all our efforts to control (through breathwork, visualization, talking ourselves down, etc.), it has control over us.  Once the panic attack is in motion….it will have its way with us…not the other way around.  There are no “thinking the right thoughts” when it comes to panic.  In the past, I have been able to head off a full-blown panic attack through the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Tonglen (breathing in the fear and breathing out love).  If I could get to the point of tears, the panic would usually subside.  Not this weekend however….nothing worked…not matter how hard I tried.  Instead, I was forced to surrender to the very real truth that I was not in control, that I could not get myself home (safely anyway) and that I had to pull over, let the panic take me, ASK FOR HELP and then allow myself to receive it – without shame.  Hah…good talk!

Surrender.     Not in Control.   Ask for Help.   Receive it.     Without shame!

As I write these words, I realize the lesson I had an opportunity to practice with this Saturday’s panic attacks.  For a type-A, overachiever, introverted, perfectionist…..these are the hardest pills to swallow:

I have to surrender to the fact that:

I am not in control.

I cannot do it by myself.

I sometimes have to ask for help.

Then be willing to receive it.

And…..be willing to receive it without shame.

 

The last of these might be the hardest.  As a spiritual director, I KNOW there is no shame in panic attacks.  But as a recovering perfectionist, I believe panic means that I am not perfect and that I have failed in some way.  As a spiritual director I KNOW that none of us should have to do it alone and that we thrive when we work as a team and support each other in our challenges.  As a perfectionist, I am sure I have to do it alone and that I can do it alone.  I’m great at offering help to others, but when it comes to asking for help….not so much.  And challenges?  Well….perfectionists have to be just that – perfect, which means there is no room for challenges and that challenges equal failure.  Finally there is the receiving part.  Asking for help and receiving it are two separate matters.  It’s one thing to be brought to ones knees such that asking for help is the only option.  It is another thing entirely to be able to receive that help without apologizing and/or getting into the self-flagellation game.  “Bad Dobby…Bad Dobby” is what it mostly looks like for me.  I would be more than happy to help another when asked and there are never any negative thoughts or feelings of being put out by another in distress…so why do such harm to myself when I ask for help?  Why can’t I be as loving to myself as I am to everyone else I know and come in contact with?  Why?

As I continue to recover from being brought to my knees by Saturday’s full-throttle panic attacks (recovery is usually a several day process for me), this is the invitation I am offering to myself:

Can I be as loving toward myself as I would be toward anyone else?

I’ll try this on, see what it looks like, and let you know.

Lauri Ann Lumby is the Founder and Director of Authentic Freedom Academy.  Lauri can be reached at (920) 230-1313 or lauri@authenticfreedom.love.

 

 

Posted in Being Human, codependency, Relationships

Second Most Common Reason Relationships Fail

Last week I wrote about the number one reason relationships fail.  (Read that post HERE). Today, I am writing about the second more common reason for relationship failure:

Unmanaged Anxiety

Anxiety is Normal!

First of all….anxiety is normal and we all have it!  Anxiety can be mild as in the case of “butterflies” before an important event or severe as in the case of a full-blown panic attack.  Anxiety can manifest in a simple case of nerves or escalate into emotional collapse or mental paralysis.  Anxiety has many faces and degrees of severity and it arises out of a multitude of situations.  Sometimes anxiety is situational and at other times, it arises out of unhealed emotional wounds or physical trauma, as is the case with PTSD.  Anxiety also acts as an alert system notifying us that there is something within us that wants to be known – our truth (ie. Kundalini Awakening, Ascension symptoms) our desire for a life of meaning, the longing for fulfilling work, needs that are not being met, etc.  Anxiety is normal.  We all have it, and anxiety, in and of itself, is not bad.  Instead, anxiety is there to help us understand something deeper that wants to be known.

stress

The Problem

The problem is that in our culture, we are not taught how to identify anxiety or what to do with it (except numb it through medication, alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping, etc.). Not knowing how to identify anxiety or what to do about it would not be so much of a problem if we only have ourselves to deal with.  As human beings, however, we live in community. If we are not identifying and managing our anxiety properly, it tends to come out sideways, doing damage to ourselves and the people around us (Where do you think wars come from???).

The Blame Game

The most common way that unmanaged anxiety “comes out sideways” is in what I call The Blame Game. When we have unidentified and unmanaged anxiety, the go-to place of this anxiety is most often projection.  We feel unease, but we haven’t taken the time (or don’t have the skills) to identify what we are feeling and why.  So, instead of taking responsibility for our own inner terrain, we are certain that the people around us are responsible for our unease (our husband, kids, roommate, parents, co-workers, etc.).  We blame them for our feelings, then we either lash out in anger or turn the unease inward and harbor resentment toward “the other” for making us feel this way.

Healing our Relationships

One step we can take toward healing our interpersonal relationships is to learn how to identify and manage our own anxiety.  When we take care of our inner terrain, we no longer have the need to make “the other” the enemy. Taking care of our anxiety facilitates honesty in relationships which thereby cultivates intimacy. Managing our anxiety also gives us the tools through which we can cultivate healthy communication with others who have also learned to manage their anxiety – making overall better relationships….period!

 

Need support in identifying and managing your anxiety? Call Lauri Ann Lumby (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com to schedule an appointment.

Or check out our upcoming e-course, Happily Ever After – from Co-dependency to the Fulfillment of Love which explores all the reasons relationships fail and provides tools through which healthier intimacy can be attained.

 

 

Posted in Being Human, mental illness

The Potentiality of Anxiety – Guest Writer, Aimee LaBree Hohn

I met Aimee LaBree Hohn while standing in the lunch line at the Presentation Center in Los Gatos, California while attending my first academic seminar with Sofia University.  Aimee looked down at my nametag and asked, “Are you Lumbee Indian?”  I was startled at her question as I thought no one but my daydreaming father knew of the legendary disappearing tribe with the characteristic grey eyes.  I responded, “No, but my dad wishes we were.”  She countered with, “Oh.  I have a friend in Minneapolis with the last name Lumby who says they are Lumbee Indian.”  Now I was really startled.  “If their last name is Lumby, we’re probably related.  Is it Scott or Annie?”  “No,” she said.  “Now I can’t remember his name…..Oh yeah, Patrick.”  “Um……” (I could hardly talk now as synchronicity was obviously hard at work) “That’s my brother.”  What are the odds of meeting someone 2000 miles from home who not only knows my brother, is dear friends with his wife AND now turns out to be my classmate?  Aimee and I have been great friends ever since and as it turns out, soul-sisters.  I’m so excited to be sharing Aimee’s wisdom as part of an on-going conversation about anxiety and its role in the unfolding of our Soul and our Soul’s purpose.  Thank you dear sister!  I love you!

 

Lynette Cook, Gemini Observatory
Lynette Cook, Gemini Observatory

po·ten·ti·al·i·ty (p?-t?n?sh?-?l??-t?)

  1. the state of being potential.
  2.  Inherent capacity for growth, development, or coming into existence.
  3. Something possessing such capacity.

 

I am honored to have been asked to share some writing by wonderful Lauri, a classmate, soul-sister, and inspiration. The other day, she sent us a blip from Lauren Gorgo’s website describing anxiety as an energetic mimic of high vibrational energy.

I am a highly anxious person. I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder at the age of 19. My strange little behaviors—like severe rumination about having AIDS at a non-sexually active 12 years old, and confessing to teachers that I had “damaged” school property with my fingernail—while entertaining, didn’t seem so strange anymore. It is a chemical imbalance (if we’re going with that theory). It was my growing spirituality and intuition that helped me garner tools to survive, and I was graced with some pretty powerful experiences that nudged me toward my path today. I bring my story with me every time I meet with a client and feel compassion for the anxious. It would be nice if that was the end of the story. Far from.

My anxiety takes different forms and rears its ugly head at random. Last year I had a sustained full-body panic attack that left me shaking, unable to catch my breath, crying, laughing, and tired for an entire week. This coincided with a trip I was on to a spiritual place during a turning point in my life. This triangulation was not lost on me. The anxiety was spurring me to make decisions, dammit! Make them NOW! Did I do this immediately? No—but that’s another story called “Don’t Be Afraid to Jump!” I’m working on it. Through talking with others, I realize that anxiety seems to be felt by everyone at increased levels lately. Vibrational shift, we’re hearing. This shift seems to be showing up through anxiety that has no obvious cause—more “Who am I and why am I here?” than the usual “I have to speak in front of these 100 people!” So, I reflected on Gorgo’s theory while driving the other day—a major channeling time for me.

I think she’s right. What came through is that anxiety may be a misinterpretation of energy reception; our brains trying to shut out perceived negative energy that is actually telling us specific things for our positive futures. I believe it is potentiality that we are feeling. I felt nervous energy wash over me as I got the following info about this potentiality:

We are given the seeds of change through the ideas we get; the nervous ticklings, the what-ifs. We are channeling! If we want to change jobs, we need to facilitate it. If we want to get healthy, we need to facilitate it. The time is now. Nervous energy holds unhatched and potential action. Our society teaches us to medicate this, not harness it; to see it as disorder and not creative material. When we are unable to process our ideas, or stifle them, we disrupt the flow from our Creator, our Universe.  What we process as “fear” is showing us the way to love. Even those “normal” anxious feelings are opening doors. What happens if instead of shutting down we honor the energetic message?

Anais Nin’s quote came to mind: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

We experience anxiety and pain when we attempt to stifle our blossoming.

External situations cannot control our emotions when we don’t allow them to. We fear the movement into our true purpose only because we are re-aligning and breaking old patterns. I have been experiencing this through shaking, shortness of breath, headaches, breakouts, sickness, anger. How are you experiencing it?

As we move towards and through the process, we must listen. We must remember to break patterns that don’t serve us anymore. For me, it is certain types of food. For others it may be certain behaviors. We dampen our energetic potential through the tools we use to numb ourselves. It anesthetizes energy and ekes away at the health that we need to create our path. When we crave these anesthetics we are craving the comfort of old patterns. Anxiety swells up to remind us. I imagine you can think of your patterns right now—those old fallbacks that seem to comfort us but actually cycle us into non-action. Remember, though, we must also be forgiving. Breaking the patterns can be like a mourning process. We leave behind rituals that do not serve our brighter future. Perhaps they protected us then, but today we let them go. . . Coffee, this is going to be a hard one.

What if there is more to it? Different types of anxiety? Anxiety also:

Propels us to ACT: Notifying us that something is wrong physically or emotionally that needs immediate attention. People, foods, chemicals, and environments affect us. Our bodies put up alarm bells–fight or flight.

Assures us of TRUST: We must allow decisions to flow. We get anxious if we can’t have the answers, NOW! We can’t dictate what will be, we can merely play our part in the Universal plan. This is a physical response to the dualistic ideas of “wrong” and “right” at any given time and anxiety reminds us to live in the grey area of not-knowing. I heard somewhere once that anxiety is our current fear of a previous result. We fear this negative result will play out again but we cannot know what will happen next!

Encourages us to PROTECT: We can pick up negative spiritual energy/entities. We can experience active or imprinted energies that hold current or historic emotions. For example, if I have an earthbound spirit in my area that holds addiction, sadness, or anxiety, I will react to this. Additionally, I will experience the energy of other humans if I don’t protect myself and hold awareness of how others’ emotions are affecting me. Energy is catching.

I have been sitting with this information to integrate it. It feels like a truth I forgot. My anxiety is particularly bad in the mornings, but lately I’ve noticed this: I slowly wake with hands subconsciously placed on my 3rd and 4th chakras. . . As if through comforting my body’s “anxious” energy, I am also holding power to facilitate change in my life, creative potential, and the love that flows from all of us as we bring our light and service into the world.

Aimee ProfileAimee V. LaBree Hohn is an educator, intuitive counselor, and lover of all things mysterious. She is a student of the paranormal and metaphysical with a background in History and Master’s degrees in Education and Transpersonal Studies (Psychology). She has taught internationally and locally on topics ranging from multicultural education to spirit effects on the human psyche. She utilizes her intuitive gifts, varied studies, and experience to assist others on their paths towards wellness and remembering their spiritual selves. More information about Aimee and her services can be found at www.intuitiveaim.com.

Posted in world changes

LOVE ACTIVATIONS!

Something amazing, intense and at least initially scary is happening in the Universe.  Starting the three days prior to the FULL MOON and continuing this week, a series of LOVE ACTIVATIONS are taking place.  For many, these love activations will feel like anxiety, hyper-sensitivity to sound, touch, smells, people, places, the outside, sunlight, etc.. (sadly, for some, the intensity of these activations and the anxiety they are producing will be projected out into the world through violence).  It will also feel INTENSE, like our bodies are filling up with energy and are about ready to EXPLODE.  For myself, I have felt all of the above, culminating in vertigo, panic attacks (and all the symptoms that accompany them), and migraine headaches.

Coping with these activations is not easy.  In fact, as mentioned above, for some, their reaction will be violence.  If we are aware, and paying attention, however, we have another choice in how to respond to this foreign energy…..because it is foreign while at the same time being VERY FAMILIAR.  LOVE is our original nature, but we have been so wrapped up in our egos, our false-self, our sense of separation and fear that we have forgotten what REAL LOVE feels like.  Additionally, our egos will fight tooth and nail to maintain their place of prominence within us and it knows that the arrival of LOVE means its ultimate demise.

HeldinLove

SO…….while I certainly don’t have all the answers, I am happy to share with you what seems to be working for me.

1) Hold an awareness that the energy we are feeling is LOVE trying to be embodied within us.

2) Intend to be open to not only receiving, but embodying this love.

3) Take time out of the chaos to hold that intention to receive and visualize your awareness moving from your head (where the panic starts) into your heart.

4) Hold your awareness in your heart space and allow the LOVE to fill it up….allowing it to EXPAND within you and BEYOND you out into the world.

5) If the love feels like too much to handle …. allow the love that you are receiving to flow through you into the world reaching out into all the places of fear and constriction.

6) And by all means…..BREATHE!

7) Once the Love is more fully embodied you might find that you have an excess of energy in your body……now is the time to MOVE.  Dance.  Do yoga.  SING. Tai Chi. etc. etc. etc.

 

Love to you as you enjoy the love activations!!!!