This is for all those I know who are way beyond the co-dependency currently favored in the western relationship model. We are no longer looking for completion – we are looking for mutual honor, respect and an equal partnership of shared and complementary gifts. We are looking for Beloved Partnership and Self-actualized Love.
I don’t care how much money you make,
What car you drive or where you live.
I want to know your Soul.
But for me to know your Soul,
You must know it first:
Have you died and lived a thousand deaths?
Tell me how your life has brought you to your knees.
What did you learn about yourself in the process?
Who have you found yourself to be on the other side of lying prostrate?
Have you walked through the fires of hell
and made friends with your demons?
How do you treat the broken and fragile things of this world?
Are you friends with your own vulnerability?
Is there room in your heart and your actions
For foreigners and immigrants?
The mentally ill and disabled?
The aging and the ailing?
The homeless, abused, neglected, forgotten and ignored?
Those who struggle day to day just to survive?
Is there room in your heart for “they?”
How are you walking kindly and gently upon this earth?
Can you see the earth as another living thing in need of our love?
Are you moved to tears by both the beauty and the horrors of our world?
Can you laugh at yourself?
Are you strong in the face of danger and
Weak in the Presence of Love?
Are you able to be alone…and quiet…and still?
Do you find comfort in silence and inspiration in song?
Can you hold space for one who is breaking –
Especially when the broken one is You?
Copyright Lauri Ann Lumby
For support in your journey of love – moving beyond “You Complete Me” to “Beloved Partnership, read and entertain the activities in my book:
The deeper we move into our inner spiritual work, the more we become aware of the subtle temptations of the ego – especially those we would never have thought of as ego-attachments because our cultural conditioning tells us these are good and benevolent traits. For me, this has come more and more fully to light over the past 10 days – a time that has been deeply transformational albeit painful. The ego-attachment that presented itself to me (which admittedly has been presenting itself over the past many years in all its many guises) is that of SAVIOR.
What has hit me upside the head in the most painful and glorious way is the long-standing pattern within me of wanting to and believing I was capable of changing the world (or for that matter, changing anything or anyone around me.). I falsely believed that partially by my efforts, the world would/could become a kinder, gentler place. You know, kinda like Jesus. But the trick is that even Jesus was unable to change the world. By Jesus’ efforts, the world did not become kinder or gentler. Some might even argue that because of the acts done in Jesus’ name, the world became more violent. If the so-called savior of the Christian religion was unable to change a broken world, how could I believe my efforts would prove any more fruitful? As it turns out, they have not.
The threads of this savior-complex in me are long and deep. They reach back across time and generations and are tangled and intertwined with centuries of societal conditioning – the deception that says, “humanity can be saved and it’s your job to do it.” For 53 year I have believed this lie and given my heart and my soul to trying to “save” the people around me while also trying to save the world. I wholly admit that part of (maybe all of) my need to “save” is a projection of constantly feeling unsafe in this violent and fearful world. Instead of finding a way to make myself feel safe, I have turned my efforts outward. Ignoring my own safety needs, I have tried to save (help) others. Time and time and time again this has ended in failure.
As it turns out, it is not my job to save others. It is my job to save myself. I think of this in terms of The Titanic: “If the ship is sinking, the only one you can save is yourself.” (Unless you’re a mother with children, then you definitely risk your own life to save theirs.)
Coming to this awareness, confronting it and letting this attachment go has been excruciating. I’ve raged. I’ve wept. I’ve felt paralyzed by grief. At the same time, a profound liberation is taking place. IT IS NOT MY JOB TO SAVE THE WORLD! And I cannot help those who are unwilling to help themselves. All I can do is uncover what I need to feel safe, fulfilled, joyful, supported and loved in an otherwise broken and violent world, and bring these things into my life (including all the resources and tools I share here). In making and allowing this choice this is what I’ve discovered:
Freed of the burden of savior, space is made available for pure enjoyment, true freedom, and abundant and fulfilling love. Here, I AM enough!
Co-dependency has been defined in many ways. At the most basic level, co-dependency is based on the false premise that it is our job to make other people happy and that if we do not, they will no longer love us. After our spiritual awakening and as we move toward self-actualization, we come to recognize the patterns of co-dependency that are prevalent in our lives and are invited to heal these patterns.
There are a wide range of behaviors that fit within the cycle of co-dependency and we are all affected in different ways proportionate to our conditioning. Below are a few examples of co-dependent behaviors and attitudes. Healing begins by identifying what of these behaviors are present within us:
• An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the happiness of others.
• Taking care of the needs of others before taking care of ourselves.
• A tendency to do more than our share, all of the time.
• A sense of guilt when asserting ourselves.
• Difficulty in setting boundaries.
• A disproportionate need for approval and recognition.
Recognizing the Causes of Co-Dependency
After identifying patterns of co-dependency, it is often helpful to understand what causes these behaviors. First and foremost is the understanding that co-dependency is learned. We are not born co-dependent, it is a pattern of behavior that is taught to us by our culture first, then our parents, teachers, ministers and peers. We are trained to be co-dependent by the societal expectations that it is our job to make other people happy, that somehow their unhappiness is our fault, and that another person’s needs are of more value than our own. From the perspective of spiritual healing, the root cause of co-dependency is the false believe that love exists outside of us and that we have to earn this love and that if we do not make others (mom, dad, God, our teachers, etc.) happy that they will withdraw their love from us.
Co-Dependency Takes Two
Co-dependency always happens between two (or more) people. There is the “triggerer” and the “triggered.” The triggerer acts in a way that tugs at another, prompting them to react to the other person’s actions. An example might be a partner who reacts in violent ways to not getting their way – perhaps a project they are working on isn’t going their way and they start screaming and yelling out of frustration. The triggered then reacts – running to the “rescue” of the triggerer, in attempt to “fix it” so their partner can be happy. Another example might be a peer who remarks negatively about the way you dress which prompts you to change your whole style in an attempt to gain that peer’s approval.
Acknowledge When We Are Triggered
The triggering that drives us toward co-dependent behaviors is subtle. In the early stages of healing from co-dependency, this triggering is often unrecognizable. We don’t see it because it is so familiar. The cycle of co-dependency has become a part of how we function. Healing co-dependency requires that we recognize when we are triggered to reach out to another in an effort to make them happy or to gain approval. For many, this “reaching out” is experienced in a very physical way, such as in a sensation in the center of one’s gut that feels like energy pulling at and away from them. Others might feel it as a constriction in the neck or shoulder muscles. The way the trigger is experienced is unique from individual to individual and the path to healing co-dependency begins by identifying how these sensations are felt in our own bodies and then acknowledging when these sensations are being triggered.
Standing in Your Own Power
When we feel the physical sensation of being triggered, the next step is to STOP that energy from leaving our body and pulling us toward the person we are tempted to “make happy.” This step is the sheer force of will that allows us to STAY PUT instead of running to another’s rescue or after another person’s approval. Standing in our own power also helps us to recognize that we are not the cause of another person’s unhappiness. One practice that has proven helpful is the mantra, “It’s their stuff, not mine.” When we feel triggered by another’s behavior, instead of following the thread of co-dependency, we stand still, holding our energy into ourselves while chanting this mantra. This helps us to put a halt to this pattern of co-dependency, leaving the other party responsible for their own happiness – where this responsibility lies in the first place.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
The above are five steps toward healing co-dependency. To truly be free of this conditioned behavior, we have to follow the above steps over and over and over again. As in all things, practice makes perfect and the more we tend to our own journey of healing co-dependency, the more we are truly free of these debilitating practices.
For further support in healing from co-dependency, consider a private session with Lauri Ann Lumby. Email email@example.com to schedule your session. Also check out Lauri’s book Happily Ever After – The Transformational Journey from “you complete me” to Beloved Partnership. Available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.
It is said that “the truth shall set you free.” I have continued to find this to be true. But knowing that in expressing our truth we shall find freedom and actually expressing our truth are two different things, especially when expressing those truths leaves you naked and vulnerable in the face of an often cold and cruel world. But, it is also said, “No pain, no gain.” So……here goes.
I have a truth that I have carefully guarded and kept very close to my heart, revealing this secret to only a select few. The truth is that I am called to Beloved Partnership.
What I have come to understand is that being called to Beloved Partnership is a Divine calling and one that cannot be fulfilled until we are reunited with our other half. Being a Beloved Partner differs from co-dependency in that it is not about looking for someone to complete us. Instead, it is about a shared energy that compels both to seek after their own wholeness, spiritually igniting each other in mutual and shared growth until they reach the point when they are meant to come together in Divine and Holy Partnership – the kind of partnership that is Divinely ordained and which no one can tear asunder.
I am a Beloved Partner and on some level, I have known this my whole life. Since my earliest memory, I have known what my Beloved feels like. I have felt/known his presence around me. I have heard him calling me and have experienced the promise of our union. I have looked for him and thought I had found him in others, only and always learning that “this is not him.” (That is not to say there hasn’t been value in all the relationships that in the end proved not to be my Twin.)
Until 2004-ish, my Beloved has only been known to me in the energy of promise and potential. I had an idea in my head and a sense of what should be, but nothing concrete to base it on. Then came the vision that CHANGED MY LIFE. In short – I SAW HIM! I saw him and I felt him. More importantly, I experienced what it feels like to be in his presence and to have him look into my eyes. The experience was one of pure adoration and love – the likes of which I had never experienced before.
For 13 years, I have carried this experience with me, allowing it to guide and direct my life. It started with looking for this love outside of me. When these efforts proved fruitless, I sought this love in God which then brought me into myself. I have diligently tended to the unhealed wounds and unacknowledged fears within me that have been blocking my ability to know the love that I am as a child of the Divine – all the while feeling and knowing the presence of “My Beloved” in this journey with me.
Doesn’t that sound lovely? I see/feel the experience of being adored. It compels me on a profound journey of personal growth. It helps to lead me in the direction of my life purpose. But….the truth is that the journey of Beloved Partnership SUCKS! It sucks BAD….and here’s why.
Think of it this way. How many people do you know who are happy and content in a “just ok” relationship because it feels safe, secure, known, etc. Alternatively, how many people do you know who are happy just dating and sleeping around – enjoying the play of a casual relationship without any of the responsibility? Beloved Partners cannot do any of these thing! None of these paths have been an option for me and when I have tried, I have gotten my ass handed to me. With the calling of a Beloved Partnership, I have learned I can be content with nothing but this.
Here then is the rub: For one called to Beloved Partnership, until that partnership is realized, there will always be a feeling of discontent, a deep feeling that there is something very wrong with our lives, and our Divine calling will not be completely fulfilled. When the Divine calling is not fulfilled, we are left with a nagging feeling of frustration, impatience, even anger and resentment of that something that is missing from our lives.
Here is the other rub: there is literally NOTHING we can do about what is “wrong” with our lives. Oh yes, there are all kinds of books and courses on how to “call in the one,” but in my experience none of these work. Yes, we can prepare a space for our Beloved. Yes, we can do the critical work of healing our woundedness and becoming whole within ourselves. We can go out there and try on different relationship experiences. But at the end of the day, the arrival of our Beloved, as it is Divine ordained, is simply a matter of Divine timing. In the meantime, we are left with an aching pain of vacancy in the center of our Soul where the knowledge of our calling to Beloved Partnership resides, along with the pain of knowing that until we are united there will be a critical part of our Soul’s purpose that cannot be fulfilled.
While there is nothing we can do to make reunion with our Beloved happen, we can create a space in our lives by working on our own journey toward wholeness. My book, Happily Ever After, is one resource to help support you in this task.
I am so honored and excited to be part of this on-going dialogue with Tom Clute. Please join us in exploring the advent of the Divine Masculine! Thank you Tom for your perspective and for accomplishing and embodying the Divine Masculine and for providing this model and example for all of us! Click HERE to listen to the discussion.
The Dark Night of a Relationship is an important stage in any long-standing, committed relationship. This is a stage that no one tells us about, neither would we believe it could happen to us as we stand doe-eyed awaiting the celebratory nuptials. The Dark Night of the Relationship is real, it is necessary and when committed and aware, some relationships will survive it. Some will not have the knowledge, patience, trust or stamina to survive. And some will find after the stage of the Dark Night that the relationship should not continue and termination or divorce is a necessary and supportive option. The following is my current best understanding of this necessary stage in a committed relationship.
1) We meet someone and fall in love. We see the other party and the relationship through the eyes of idealization. One or both parties are still carrying around with them the unhealed wounds of their past and are probably looking for the other party to be their source of fulfillment and satisfaction, ie: “you complete me.”
2) One or both parties begin to feel restless and the blinders of the early stage of the relationship begin to fall away. We begin to see each others’ wounds, strange behaviors, etc. We enter into a stage of disillusionment, frustration maybe even anger.
3) If we are open, we might realize that part of the source of frustration is our own unhealed wounds and we might begin to do the work of healing our old wounds and work toward the realization of our own deeper truth. If we are lucky, our partner has a similar realization and begins to do their own work as well. This is the stage in which one or both parties does the work of shedding the ego and the false self (the person they brought into the marriage) so that their true self can emerge. The old self has to die so that the new self can be born.
4) At some stage in the process (whether or not both parties are working toward their own healing), the realization is made that the marriage or relationship is not what it used to be. Both, or one party has now changed and the relationship has to change as well. This is the dark night of the marriage. The marriage that was (or the illusion of the marriage) has to die so that a new marriage can emerge. The marriage based on the ego-filled self cannot survive the newly born self-realized individuals. This stage, like any other death, is a time of grief, sorrow, bargaining, denial and rage. NOTE: This is an especially difficult stage if only one of the parties in the relationship are doing their work of self-actualization, especially when it is revealed that for the self-actualizing party, divorce is a life-giving and supportive choice. Divorce in this stage is often met by resistance, surprise and anger on the part of the un-realized individual.
5) Now….here is the delicate part of this process. If the couple steps into this stage of the process with open communication, patience, courage and faith, and enter into it with no attachment to outcome….the new life of the relationship may emerge. Unfortunately, most people bail before even trying to take this step. Now, the trickiest part to this stage is to accept the possibility that continuing in a committed relationship may no longer be in the highest good of the individual parties. After the dark night of the marriage, after honest renegotiation of who we are as individuals and who we want to be as a couple, we might realize that staying in a committed relationship is no longer mutually supportive and life-giving. At this point, the couple ends their commitment and move on as individuals from a place of loving acceptance and compassionate support of each other as they go along their individual journeys. In this place, divorce can be a beautiful ritual of supportive release.
6) Some marriages, after completing the process of the dark night, may discover that it is in the highest good of both parties to remain as a committed couple and enter into the process of allowing a new marriage to emerge. The old marriage has died and the couple allows themselves to be open to a new marriage. In this stage, an attitude of openness and detachment are necessary. We are not creating this new marriage on our own, but allowing the universe to present to us the kind of marriage that will be mutually supportive and life-giving. We allow ourselves to be free of ego in allowing this new relationship to emerge.
If you are looking for support through the Dark Night of a Relationship, or looking to build a happier and healthier relationship after a breakup or divorce, check out my new book, Happily Ever After – the Transformational Journey from “you complete me” to Beloved Partnership, available in print and Kindle versions at Amazon.com. (Click on image below to learn more).
In the twenty-plus years I have been counseling individuals and couples, I have identified the number one reason relationships fail:
Looking for the other person to complete us.
In the recovery world, co-dependency is limited to addictive/compulsive patterns of enabling. Here, co-dependency is expanded to include any behaviors, attitudes and relationship dynamics which are rooted in the search for another person to complete us. Co-dependency arises out of a deep inner longing that says, “I am not enough,” making us feel incomplete, fractured and fragmented. In an effort to quell this longing, we look for “the other” who will complete us. We find someone who we believe might complete us, and for a time (as long as we are in the infatuation stage of the relationship), they might. Eventually, however, the longing returns (because we never healed the true source of the longing), the fantasies we have created about our partner fall and we begin to see them for who they really are – fractured and imperfect just like we are. Resentment sets in and trouble begins.
Search for the Other vs. Search for Ourselves
When we are searching outside of ourselves for someone to complete us, it is because we do not know ourselves. The longing that drives this search for “the other” in reality, has nothing to do with “the other.” Instead, this longing is really the longing to know ourselves. Until we know otherwise, or until the bottom falls out (whichever comes first), the longing to know ourselves disguises itself in the longing for another to complete us. We are never fulfilled in our relationships, however, until we turn this longing for “the other” inward and start doing the work of coming to know ourselves. In coming to know ourselves, we discover our own unique gifts, our passions, what gives us joy and makes us feel complete – WITHIN OURSELVES. When we know ourselves, we no longer look for someone to complete us, instead, we wait for another complete person with whom we can enjoy the journey of life in a mutually supportive, interdependent relationship where both are honored as sacred and holy and where the two work together to support the needs of each other in service to the betterment of the world.
For support in moving away from patterns of co-dependency, looking for another to complete you, check out my new book:
Happily Ever After – the Transformational Journey from “You Complete Me” to Beloved Partnership presents a new model for intimate partnership along with the process for getting there. Happily Ever After recognizes that as long as we are looking outside of ourselves for completion our relationships are doomed to fail – supporting the belief that the healthy, fulfilling and enduring love we all long for is built upon the foundation of two individuals who are complete within themselves and who have chosen to come together as equals in mutual love and support. Interdependence, rather than co-dependency is the goal of this book and the outcome of this process.
Through personal narrative, informative dialogue, poetry, mindfulness practices, and creativity exercises; you will be invited to deconstruct existing and former patterns of co-dependency while building the foundation upon which you can find happiness and fulfillment within while preparing for the possibility of healthy interdependency with another – what is here called beloved partnership. Once you are complete within yourself, you will settle for nothing less.
Testimonials from Course Participants:
I embarked on the journey of the “Happily Ever After” course, with the gifted and inspirational tour guide; Lauri Ann Lumby. This process of reflections, creative exercises and self discovery revealed the power we have within to discover our own true source of happiness, fulfillment and peace so that then we can create a foundation for a healthy, mutually loving and supportive partnership. R. M. Oshkosh, WI
Lauri’s Happily Ever After course is an essential tool for emotional well-being. I’ve benefitted greatly by learning who I am, what my needs are, and how to prevent myself from falling back into unhealthy codependent relationships. Everyone can benefit from Lauri’s guidance. You’re going to learn so much about yourself along the way!” K.B. Appleton, WI
I feel this course allowed me to bring even more awareness to the benefit of really being your own beloved first and foremost. With the thoughtful questions and exercises- building on chapter to chapter – it allowed patterns to be brought to the surface for awareness and healing. I also gained insight into what I am really looking for in a relationship and what I am about as a woman. This course also complimented a wonderful relationship I have with the utmost Beloved-God which only looks for what is in the best for my highest good. .No more settling! L. J. Larsen, WI
Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, MATS has been known as mother, daughter, sister, friend, wife, lover, student, teacher, counselor, minister, healer, writer, poet, heretic, witch, professional shit-disturber, heretic, and blasphemer. After more than fifty years of asking the question, “Who am I?” Lauri has come to the realization that she is just plain Lauri, and that on any given day, she can be whomever she wants to be. Lauri is the author of the Song of the Beloved – the Gospel According to Mary Magdalene, Returning – A Woman’s Midlife Journey to Herself,Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy and Christouch – a Christ-centered Approach to Energy Medicine through Hands-on Healing.She is also the owner of Authentic Freedom Academy in Oshkosh, Wisconsin where she lives with her two amazing children. You can learn more about Lauri, her professional services and workshops at www.authenticfreedomacademy.com.
Jerry Maguire lies. This movie has provided the single most damaging phrase to our hope for intimate partnership – “You complete me.” When we are looking outside of ourselves for someone else to complete us, we are indulging the compulsion of co-dependency. Co-dependency arises out of the false perception that love, satisfaction and fulfillment exist outside of us which then causes us to seek in another that which we falsely believe we do not possess within ourselves. Co-dependency tells us that love has to be earned or can be taken away which then results in behaviors that cause us either to be manipulative in our search for love or vulnerable to the manipulations of another. I would argue that co-dependency, along with unmanaged anxiety, are the two most common destroyers of intimate human relationships.
Jerry Maguire is not alone, however, in supporting the long-standing culture of co-dependency predominating the West. Traditional fairytales with their happily ever after endings are another common culprit. While all too many have learned that happily ever after isn’t always so happy, traditional fairytales are still the foundational myths upon which we establish our hopes and dreams of intimate partnership. The difficult truth is that as long as we are looking outside of ourselves for completion, or basing our hopes on fairytale dreams, our relationships are doomed to fail. When we are looking outside of ourselves for someone to complete us, we will never truly be satisfied and will fail in our search for a fulfilling and enduring love. The true source of fulfillment can only come from within.
My Happily Ever After online course is based on this premise and therefore presents a different model of intimate partnership. The healthy, fulfilling and enduring love we all long for is built upon the foundation of two individuals who are complete within themselves and who have chosen to come together as equals in mutual support. Interdependence is the goal of this course (and yet to be published book) and of the process into which you will be invited.
Through personal narrative, informative dialogue, poetry, mindfulness practices, and creativity exercises; you will be invited to deconstruct existing and former patterns of co-dependency, by identifying and healing the inner wounds which have caused you to indulge in co-dependent behaviors in the first place. Utilizing the familiar structure of traditional fairytales as a roadmap, you will then learn the skills necessary for building the foundation upon which you can find happiness and fulfillment within while preparing for the possibility of healthy interdependency with another.
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:
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.