Posted in Spiritual Direction

Do Not Fear the Darkness of Life

It has been said that courage is not the absence of fear, but is instead the ability to move forward in spite of our fear. THIS is the lesson and meaning of life and what Jesus came to teach us.  This courage is what we commemorate and give honor to in our Good Friday observance and what we are invited to embrace in our own lives.  Whether we profess Jesus, Mohammed, Moses, the Buddha, Amma, Anandamayima, the 13 Grandmothers, Spider Woman, Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene or any other formerly living human as our teacher, the lesson is the same:

Do not fear the darkness of life. Instead, let it lead you to freedom.

In every spiritual tradition, the invitation is the same – FREEDOM. Some describe this freedom as salvation.  Others speak of it as presence, bliss, oneness, unity, peace, or love.  No matter what word is used to describe this freedom, the sentiment is the same.  We are here to remember the freedom we once knew and will once again know and we are here to remember this freedom right here in the midst of our human experience.

Like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. One of my favorite scenes from the life of Jesus.  Here he wrestled with his doubts and his fears.  Because of his foresight and wisdom, he had a sense of where his path was heading.  He knew there were those threatened by his presence and that if people truly believed what Jesus had come to know, many would lose their perceived place of power and privilege.  Jesus knew they plotted to kill him.  He was afraid.  Terrified.  And in this, he wondered if God really had his back.  Had he simply made it all up or was what had been revealed to him really true?  Jesus fought hard with these fears and doubts.  He was tempted to chuck it all and return to a normal human life.  Instead, through the agony of prayer, he found peace.  He discovered resolve.  He harnessed the deep well of courage within him to face his greatest fears – suffering and death.

But Jesus’ struggle didn’t end in the Garden. His fears surfaced over and over and over as he took one step at a time on the road to Calvary.  When accused.  While on trial.  When he was whipped and beaten.  When the soldiers placed the crown of throne on his head.  When we was given the cross to carry through the city of Jerusalem and up the winding road to Golgotha.  As people mocked and ridiculed him, spit on him, called his names.  When he fell.  When he stumbled.  Every step of the way rose up another fear.  Jesus did not overcome his fears, he walked through them. He faced them.  He bore them.  And he walked.  One step at a time.  As the executioners nailed his body to the cross.  As the cross was lifted and his body sunk under its own weight, crushing his lungs.  Terrified.  Feeling abandoned and betrayed.  Suffering the excruciating death of crucifixion.  Jesus was afraid.  In pain.  Suffering.  In his suffering he turned to God and this is where he found his courage.  Where he found his acceptance and peace.

Hopefully none of us will have to face the death of crucifixion, but fear, suffering, and death are all consequences of the human condition. We cannot escape it.  We will all experience suffering.  We will all face challenge and difficulty.  We will all experience loss, betrayal, and death.  This is the human condition and this is why the Jesus story is so important – for all of us.  In the crucifixion narrative and the events leading up to it, Jesus shows us how to face the darkness of life.  He shows us how to find our way through our fears (he never promises the elimination of fear) and most importantly, how to walk on in spite of our fears.

 

What darkness are you currently facing?

How are you being invited to be with your fears and in being with them finding the courage to walk on?

 

Authentic Freedom is a protocol inspired by Jesus which shows us how to face and move through our fears in our own journey toward freedom.  Learn more HERE.

Posted in Authentic Freedom, self-actualization

Strong of Heart

The tagline on my website now reads, “Self-Mastery for the Strong of Heart.” As my own work continues to evolve, so does my understanding of what I do and who I am here to serve.  Or rather, how I am called to support others by sharing the tools that came through me in support of my own journey of “self-mastery.”  (Trust me, I’m not there yet!  I’m not sure anyone is truly a “master” and if they have to say they are, it most certainly means they are not!)

Back to the matter at hand……What does strong of heart mean? I really grappled with this one because why use so many words when we have words like courageous and brave? The answer to this is simple.  Both courageous and brave have been used in our culture to our detriment.  When we speak of one who is courageous or brave, the implication is that they are free from fear.  This is not courage or bravery, it is stupidity, foolishness, or psychosis.  In the face of danger or the unknown, one should be afraid.  Additionally, when one is acknowledged as courageous or brave, rarely is their fear or vulnerability recognized.  Instead, all we hear about are their daring acts of bravery and their victory in the face of certain defeat.

It saddens me that our societal conditioning has done such a disservice to these words, most especially courageous, which from its Latin roots could be more accurately understood as “full of heart.” Brene Brown (I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame) says it well:

“In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.”

But unlike Brene, I could not bring myself to use the word courage to describe those who are willing and able to do the tough work required in the journey of self-mastery. While still imperfect, strong of heart more fully grasps the inner resources needed in the journey toward self-mastery…

Full content reserved for Plus and Premium Members. Click here to learn more on how you can become a member and enjoy the tools that have helped me in my own journey.

Posted in Empowerment, Inspiration

The Number One Cause of Violence in Our World

Before I answer the question about the number one cause of violence in our world, let me ask you a question:  Have you had enough of the violence yet? If your answer is YES, then please read on.  If you are excited about continuing the cycle of violence in our world by contemplating retaliation and retribution, then don’t bother reading this blog, you won’t get it anyway.  Today’s blog is for those who have ears to hear and for those who have hearts that yearn for an end to the violence and who want to play a role in bringing this violence to an end….once and for all! 

Short Answer: The number one cause of violence in our world is rage over a world that is too small, and feeling powerless to change it.

imprisonedpixabay

Longer Answer: This is not about a world that is literally too small – as in size, shape, volume, etc. Neither is this about a world that doesn’t have enough resources to feed, clothe and house every single human being on this planet (because we DO have enough resources).  This isn’t even about the systems of distribution that have failed in their duty to care for even the simplest needs of the beings on this planet.

No, this is about a deep inner knowing of the SOUL that the lives we are living are WAY TOO SMALL!

Even Longer Answer: The Soul knows who we are, the reason we were put on this planet and the mission we are here to accomplish.  Throughout our life, the Soul tries to communicate this truth to us and draws into our presence opportunities to nurture, cultivate and ultimately live out this call.  The problem is that we don’t know how to listen and the world doesn’t know how to support us in the fulfillment of our Soul’s mission.  When we feel thwarted in the fulfillment of our Soul, RAGE erupts and if we don’t have proper tools for processing our deep-seated anger at not being able to fulfill our Soul’s duty, we either do violence to ourselves or to others.

Perhaps the violence we do to ourselves is internal through all the voices that tell us:

  • You have nothing significant to contribute to this world.
  • Who are you do think you can do/be/…xyz?
  • Good girls/good boys don’t do that.
  • Your family, friends, tribe, church, won’t understand/love you if you choose this path.
  • If you follow the path of your Soul, something in your life will have to change.

Maybe the violence we do to ourselves is the cultivating of resentment, or the suppression, repression, wholesale rejection of our anger – the very voice that is trying to help us understand our Soul’s calling.

The violence we do to others has many faces:

  • Seething resentment
  • Blame
  • Cultivating inner anger or hatred.
  • Making someone else the cause of our world being too small.
  • Physical, emotional, mental, sexual acts of violence.

When enough individuals are unsupported in the fulfillment of their Soul’s purpose, the rage that we hold within us individually becomes a collective rage where pretty much everyone on the planet is pissed off because their Soul is being ignored.  Yes, we have all sorts of coping mechanisms that self-medicate the pain of a meaningless and unfulfilling life (consumerism, materialism, money, power, achievement, fame, status, drugs, alcohol, sex, war after war after war after war), but there are not enough of any of these things, especially war, to satisfy the ache of a soul unfulfilled.  Until we tend to the deeper call of the Soul, we will never be satisfied and will be forever looking outside of ourselves for the satisfaction of that longing.  When we find that none of those things satisfy, we either turn toward more violence, or we WAKE UP and turn within to the ONLY source of the satisfaction that we seek.  This is as true for the young, dark-skinned men who turn to terrorism, hoping it will satisfy a life unfulfilled, as it is for the pasty white guys gathering piles of wealth as the rest of the world is starving.

moneypixabay

Longest Answer: Our world is a mess and it is a mess because for lifetimes, we have not supported ourselves or each other in the QUEST FOR OUR SOUL.  Instead, we have turned to outside perceived authority as the author of our lives and have allowed them to create structures while crafting rules, regulations, expectations, etc. that tell us who we are and the roles we will play in THEIR games.  (hmmmmm…..sounds like Hunger Games).  We have followed their rules because, quite frankly, it is easier.  It is way easier to do what we are told and to follow the 10 rules for “happiness” than it is to take the time to BE STILL and listen for the voice of our Soul.  It is also easier to follow the herd of sheeple than it is to follow our own inner voice and calling.  Listening to the voice of our Soul takes work and it takes, COURAGE.  This is not a journey for the faint of heart, especially in a society that mostly wants us to follow the rules – or at the very least, to follow the crowd.  “Don’t rock the boat.”  “Don’t disturb the status quo.”  “Don’t question, challenge, turn away from what WE want you to hear, know, do.”  These commands are then followed up with the biggest threat in their arsenal – “Do what we tell you or LEAVE.”  And in some places, “leave” means “die”….literally.

sheeppixabay

The Solution: As much as we would like to cure the world of its violence, the solution to the problem will not be exacted on a global scale (yet).  Instead, it starts with ONE person – YOU deciding to make a CHANGE.

  1. It starts by turning away from the violence in the world – turn off the TV. Stop watching Fox News. Don’t read (or believe) the newspapers. Find sources of information that are not influenced by the institution of violence and propaganda. If you aren’t sure which ones those are….LISTEN TO YOUR GUT! Your intuition will guide you. (Turning away from the violence doesn’t mean we aren’t informed. Neither does it mean we don’t care, or pray, or hope for a different outcome. We are just choosing not to participate, not to add to it, and not to allow it to harm or influence us toward fear or violence).
  2. The second step is all about SELF CARE! Turn into your SOUL. Listen as it tries to communicate truth to you, your mission, your gifts, your purpose and your call. Learn how to manage your anxiety, anger, frustration, impatience, sense of powerlessness. Find support in overcoming your fears and resistance to your SOUL and in moving through the societal constructs that week to keep you from the path of your SOUL. Find support for living the path of your SOUL. (PS THIS is what I do for a living….if you want support call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@authenticfreedom.love.)
  3. Find community. You are NOT ALONE in the desire to be free of a world of violence and to live in a world where all people are supported in finding wholeness, meaning, purpose, fulfillment, peace, love, and joy. Find others like you who have had enough of the violence and who are willing to do the HARD WORK of extracting yourself from the herd of mindless sheeple blindly following the voice of fear and who desire instead, to create a new wave – a wave of love that will one day grow large enough to wash the world clean of fear and restore it to the world of love that it was meant to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Midlife Journey, Relationships

The Courage to Be Vulnerable

As human beings, we are hardwired to seek companionship and intimacy.  Like wolves, lions, deer and buffalo, as a species, our survival is dependent on our ability to work together.  Beyond mere survival, however, we thrive when we learn to work together in mutually supportive, peaceful and harmonious ways and in ways that seek to work for the individual as well as the common good.  During midlife and in the birth of the Soul, this drive becomes even more urgent as we realize the finite nature of our existence and are forced to confront and make peace with the places where loving, harmonious connections were not supported.  In order to move through this delicate period of transition, we discover that the most valuable quality we can cultivate within ourselves, is the courage to be vulnerable. Today’s blog addresses this courage.

courage to be vulnerable

OUCH!

In a recent discussion with a colleague and business partner, I was reminded of the pain of vulnerability and the courage it takes to become the people God/dess made us to be. We were enjoying a deep conversation about life when the innocent question was posed, “Lauri, how did you get to where you are today?”  I paused, looking for the right response to his question, then I heard myself saying, “It started when the universe fell in on me.”  Then I told the story that began thirteen years ago and is still unfolding today.  I realized at one point in telling the story how truly uncomfortable I was telling this tale.  I’ve told the story a million times in my writing, but rarely within the intimacy of a one-on-one, face-to-face, conversation.  In telling the story, I was no longer Lauri “the teacher, minister, healer, writer, published author, leader,” I was the Lauri that is wounded, vulnerable, terrified, and alone.  I was reminded of how difficult it is to be this Lauri and was grateful when the doorbell rang so that this topic could be put back on the shelf.

The Courage to Be Vulnerable

But the conversation isn’t over.  In fact, it is just beginning.  If we wish to allow for the birth of our Soul – 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 contribute to the betterment of the world – then the most important thing we can  do for ourselves is to learn how to be vulnerable.  In the Western culture, it is most often during midlife (menopause and perimenopause) that our Soul begins to exert its pressure on us as it seeks to be known and realized in our lives.  In birthing our Soul, we have to confront all the painful things of our past – name them, process them, heal, and release or transform them.  In confronting the pain of our past, we are acknowledging our humanness – that we are imperfect and flawed – that we suffer and that sometimes we are the cause of suffering.  In confronting our past, we are also invited to cultivate forgiveness – forgiveness of our own imperfections and forgiveness of the flaws and imperfections of others.  In order to confront our past and cultivate forgiveness, we have to be vulnerable – we have to set down the illusion of how we want others to see us, release the mask of who we want to believe we are, and set down the shield of our counterfeit strength.  Instead, we have to stand naked before ourselves, and naked before the world as human beings – afraid, vulnerable, weak and often feeling alone.

Vulnerability and True Courage

It is in learning to be vulnerable, in admitting our humanness, that we discover authentic courage.  Authentic courage comes out of our willingness to be vulnerable – not only to ourselves, but more importantly, with another.  When we can set down the shields of counterfeit strength and stand naked before one another, we find true intimacy – the kind of intimacy that God/dess offers to us, desires from us and envisions as possible within the human race. It is only in true intimacy where we discover the seeds of the compassionate love, mutual honor and respect, and harmonious interdependence that we were created to experience and make manifest in the world.  And it is only in cultivating this kind of harmonious interdependence that, as a species, we can ever hope to move beyond mere survival (which we are barely accomplishing at this point in our evolution) into the thriving enthusiasm and joy that God/dess intends for us to know.

Lauri Lumby supports women and men in their search for authentic courage through one-on-one mentoring. To learn more or set up your own session, call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.  

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Empowerment, Midlife Journey

Midlife – Time to Put on your Big Girl and Big Boy Panties!

If the purpose and goal of the midlife transition is to clear out all the inner and outer obstacles and make way for the birth of our Soul – the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to find meaning and purpose in our life and to contribute to the betterment of the world, then it is time to put on our big girl and big boy panties!  Only the truly brave and courageous will succeed in their goal.  The rest, will be doomed to a life of quiet desperation,  – just sayin! (not that there is anything wrong with making that choice).

put on your big girl panties!
put on your big girl panties!

It is Your Choice

The midlife (including perimenopause and menopause) journey is ultimately about choice.  Do we want to spend the second two-thirds of our life discontent, restless, bored, unfulfilled, anxious, worried, depressed and lonely?  I don’t know about you, but I want more out of my life.

  • I want the authentic freedom that is my birthright, my Divine inheritance.
  • I want to experience what the ancients might call “the kingdom of God” or “heaven on earth.”
  • I want work that is meaningful.
  • I want to identify, cultivate and find purpose in my creative gifts.
  • I want meaningful, healthy, intimate friendships.
  • I want a mutually supportive, nurturing and respectful love with a shared sense of purpose.
  • I want to know peace in a world that might seem chaotic.
  • I want to experience contentment, love and joy with the time that God has given me.

I don’t think this is too much to ask, and all the ancient masters tell us that this is what life is supposed to be.  The problem, however, is that many don’t believe they deserve a life better than the one they have found themselves in and even more don’t believe they have a choice in the matter.  Well guess what?  THEY ARE WRONG.  We all have a choice about what we want to do with our lives, more importantly, we do get to choose what we feel about it.  In order to choose something different, however, we have to have COURAGE.

Confronting what we swept under the rug

In order to accomplish the midlife task of birthing our Soul, we have to confront everything that we have spent the past 30-50 some years sweeping under the rug. We have to confront EVERY unhealed wound.  For some, this might mean acknowledging that wounding actually took place.  Until we are ready to confront hurt, betrayal, disappointment, loss and even abuse, we sometimes have to ignore (suppress or repress) that is even took place.  As we approach midlife, our Soul conspires to free us from these hurts and begins to kick the rug under which these things have been swept.   When the debris of our past is unleashed upon us, it can, at first, feel traumatic, but the intention is not to harm us or make us crazy, it is to help us heal and release the things of the past so that our true self can emerge.  When the debris is freed, we have a choice, we can seek support and assistance with confronting these issues, or we can try, once again, to sweep them under the rug.  The courageous seek support and find healing.  The fearful simply create more stress and anxiety for themselves through all the effort it takes to keep their truth under the rug.

Time to put on our big girl and big boy panties!

The other thing that happens in midlife is related to life changes.  For many, their current life contains reflections of the Soul, but in midlife, the Soul wants more.  As the Soul begins to emerge, it shakes up the perceived security of our lives and challenges the status quo.  In order to allow our Soul its fullest expression, we may have to change the structure of our lives and be ready to let go of what is no longer supportive of the Soul to welcome a life that we do not yet know.  This is scary.  But again, the courageous meet this invitation head on and work through all the inner fears and resistance to change, thereby allowing the birth of the Soul.  Others, run the other way.  At the end of the day, if we really want to embrace a life that is fulfilling, content, loving, peaceful and joyful and on which has meaning and purpose and helps to contribute to the betterment of the world, we have to put on our big girl and big boy panties and embrace the Courage that God gave us to succeed in this task.  And if we think we do not have courage – this is where we are VERY wrong.  Courage is an inner quality that we all possess.  We decide if we want to use it or not.

Lauri Lumby works with people one-on-one in identifying and clearing the obstacles to the birth of their soul.  To set up your own personal phone or Skype session, call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

Posted in Faith, Gifts of Contemplation, Inspiration, Mystics

Mystics and Superheroes

Mystics (or contemplatives, whatever name you call them) are the real-life version of a superhero.  In today’s blog, we explore the innate superhero powers of mystics and how this makes them better than even Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman or Iron Man.

Superheroes

Mystics

For the past week or so, I’ve been exploring the gift, the call and the journey of the mystic (aka contemplative).  We’ve explored their loneliness, their longing, their mission, their commitment and their call.  Today, I want to explore the greatest strength of the mystic and why I consider them to be the honest-to-god/dess, real-life version of a Superhero.  Superheroes are walking among us and they are housed in the body, mind, spirit and work of the modern-day mystic.

Superheroes

We know who the superheroes are.  BatmanWonder Woman.  Bat Girl. Iron Man. Superman Spiderman.  The Hulk.  Captain America.  Catwoman (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen Dark Knight Rising!)  and one for the kids:  The Powerpuff Girls.  🙂  In the immortal words of Mighty Mouse, superheroes “have come to save the day.”  Superheroes have been gifted with magical powers and/or magical gadgets which allow them to save the world from evil.  Superheroes are cool.  Superheroes rock.  And they have really cool costumes!  But, without their costumes, gadgets and magical powers, superheroes are just ordinary people with names like Bruce Wayne, Diana Prince, Barbara Gordon, Tony Stark, Clark Kent, Peter Parker, Bruce (David) Banner, Steve Rogers and Selina Kyle.

Mystics vs. Superheroes

The difference between mystics and superheroes is that mystics don’t need costumes or gadgets, and their powers aren’t what one might call “magical.”  Mystics weren’t bitten by a radioactive spider, neither do they hail from the Isle of Amazon, and they certainly don’t have the magical crystal which births the Fortress of Solitude where they find guidance and direction from their deceased alien parents.  Instead, the mystic’s magic resides within the innate gifts that they were given at their birth, gifts that could be the possession of each and every human being, should they choose to use them.  But, like superheroes, the mystic’s innate gifts are given so that they might …save the day!

The Mystic’s secret weapon and super power

Mystic’s, while gifted in unique, individual and amazing ways to bring saving into the world, all have ONE GIFT in common.  It is this one gift that allows the mystic to be present to the human condition in such a way as to be a source of support, healing and inspiration for the world.  If I could choose one superhero movie to portray the mystic’s gift, I would choose the most recent Batman release – Dark Knight Rises.    But, it is not outfitted as Batman with all the padding and bionic supports that portrays the mystic’s gift, (warning spoiler alert) it is in the foreign prison where a very human Bruce Wayne, crippled and broken rebuilds his body and his mind, then works and works and works to escape “Hell on Earth,” the inescapable prison and succeeds through a literal leap of faith.  A very human Bruce Wayne used the most important super power of the mystic to accomplish his escape that that power is COURAGE and its sidekick, FAITH.

Courage and Faith

Courage and faith are the innate super powers born into every mystic because the mystic’s job is to dive deeply into the grit and grime of the human experience.  If one is to accomplish the mystic’s mission of saving the world, one needs to be willing to walk into the horrors and struggles of the human condition, one must be willing to experience one’s own pain and to be able to be present for others in their pain.  In this job of saving the day, the mystic has to walk into terrifying situations, to take dangerous leaps of faith and TRUST that all will be well.  And….as every mystic can attest….in the end, it always is.  And if the outcome of the path is likely to be death, the mystic also knows and proves that even in death, there is always new life.  (ahem….another Dark Knight Rises reference. 😉 )

Posted in Inspiration, Midlife Journey, Relationships, Returning book

Poetry and Art Part II

Continuing the marriage between poetry and art, today I have another selection of Catherine E. Case’s amazing work…accompanied by a poetry selection from my upcoming book, Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself. 

Mary Was Afraid by Catherine E. Case
Mary Was Afraid by Catherine E. Case

To Try Love Again

Be willing to have your heart broken by love.
Be courageous enough to love knowing:
You will be imperfect in it.
You will trip
And you will fall.
You will disappoint
And be disappointed.
He will break your heart
And you will break his
And together, find healing through forgiveness.
For what other reason could you be here than to love and to know love in
return?
And only those with a courageous heart—one that’s been broken a million
times
Are daring enough
To
Try
Love
Again.

Catherine E. CaseCatherine Case holds an MFA, an MA and a BFA, with an emphasis in graphic design, drawing and illustration. In addition to the aforementioned, she has at multiple locations throughout the United States, served as Academic Department Chair, Exhibition Judge, Gallery Director, Guest Artist and Guest Speaker. A Professor of fine and graphic arts for over two decades, and Business Owner in the field of design for over thirty years, her awards, grants and publications are numerous.  Catherine exhibits her continuously evolving fine art in solo, group and juried exhibitions, in addition to having solid gallery representation.  Catherine can be reached at catherinecase@me.com

Posted in Inspiration, Spiritual Practices

When the Heart Speaks

Today’s blog explores journaling as a spiritual practice and what can happen when we let our body speak.

Journaling as a Spiritual Practice

When people ask me when I knew I was a writer, I have to scratch my head in confusion.  When was I never NOT a writer would perhaps be a better question.  I don’t think I have never NOT been a writer, and my writing passion and gift began to emerge more and more fully the more I gave myself over to the spiritual practice of journaling.  I was first invited to practice journaling in a high school Theology class ( I attended Catholic schools) and when in the Pastoral Ministry training program, journaling was one of the requirments of supervision.  I came to discover that God spoke to me most loudly and most plainly through my pen….and so I wrote, I wrote and I wrote:  scripture reflections, ponderings, etc.  I did the majority of my personal, inner processing through my pen and when things were really bad, poetry bled forth onto my page in shades of deep indigo (I ONLY write in blue ink….specifically Papermate medium point).  I have discovered guidance, comfort, healing and insight through my pen.  As such, journaling is an important part of my daily spiritual practice.   (For more on journaling as a spiritual practice, check out Spiritual Journaling by Julie Tallard Johnson.)

Writing Prompts

Yesterday, in search of some spiritual and creative inspiration, I turned to The I-Ching for Writers by Sarah Jane Sloane.  I flipped through the pages to find my “reading” for the day and received this writing prompt:  Write a one-page monologue as spoken to you by the part of your body that hurts. I asked my body, “Ok, who wants to speak today?”  My heart quickly stepped forward, “I am hurting and I would like to speak.”  “Darn it!” I thought.  “I am sick to death of hearing from my mangled and beaten heart.”  I sighed in resignation and handed over my pen….and boy am I glad I did.  Yesterday, this is what my heart had to say:

When the Heart Speaks:

Yes Lauri, I am hurting and bruised; but I am not broken.  I’m really more resilient than you give me credit for.  Do you think I’m really going to be shattered beyond repair for the reasons you think I might be?  Not hardly!  In truth, it is your ego that is hurting, not your heart.  I am strong beyond imagining…..which means you are strong beyond imagining.  Keep in mind that “heart” is the root of your word, “courage” and you my dear, are courageous beyond compare BECAUSE you are strong of heart.  This is how God made you because God foresaw the life that would unfold before you and the courage you would need to persevere.  It requires great courage to move through the challenges that have been placed before you and to lead the charge toward mental, emotional and spiritual freedom.  It takes enormous courage to leave behind what one knows, to turn the finger of blame into self-awareness and accountability and to name and claim not only woundedness and fear but to identify ones gifts and boldly share them in the world.  But more than all of this, it takes enourmous courage to love – and this you have done well.  You have loved generously, freely, without condition while still maintaining appropriate boundaries and remaining true to yourself.    I am not broken, weakened or blocked.  I will not fail you or betray you for in you I am strong and with every courageous act, I become stronger.  Too strong to be brought down by disappointment.  Too strong to be destroyed by misplaced blame.  Too strong to be intimidated by another’s unclaimed and projected fears.  I am strong in you because you are strong and in this there is nothing to fear.

How might journaling be a helpful practice in your own spiritual journey?

What part of you is hurting and might like to speak through your pen?

What would your heart have to say to you today?

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

Posted in Inspiration

Inspiration from the Masters

Today, I share with you a poem by the great Sufi Master, Hafiz.  I invite you to read and reflect on the invitation this poem offers to establish very clear boundaries in our lives around what supports us and what does not.  Thank you Hafiz and for those who have protected his words.

We Have Not Come To Take Prisoners

Hafiz

We have not come here to take prisoners,

But to surrender ever more deeply

To freedom and joy.

 

We have not come into this exquisite world

To hold ourselves hostage from love.

 

Run my dear,

From anything

That may not strengthen

Your precious budding wings.

 

Run like hell my dear,

From annyone likely

To put a sharp knife

Into the sacred, tender vision

of your beautiful heart.

 

We have a duty to befriend

Those aspects of obedience

That stand outside of our house

And shout to our reason

“O please, O please,

come out and play.”

 

For we have not come here to take prisoners

or to confine our wondrous spirits,

But to experience ever and ever more deeply

Our divine courage, freedom and

Light!

 

 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries/YourSpiritualTruth

http://yourspiritualtruth.com