Posted in Beloved Partnership, happily ever after, Relationships

Dark Night of the Relationship

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.

couplefightingpixabay

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).

Click on image above to purchase on Amazon.com
Click on image above to purchase on Amazon.com
Posted in codependency, happily ever after, Relationships

Happily Ever After: my latest book available now!

Buy it Now! 

Click on image above to purchase on Amazon.com
Click on image above to purchase on Amazon.com

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.

 

From the book’s introduction:

If you asked me to describe in one phrase what this book is about, I would say, “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, causing 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 resulting 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.

Happily Ever After – the Transformational Journey from “You Complete Me” to Beloved Partnership 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, rather than co-dependency is the goal of this book and of the process into which you will be invited.

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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

lauricurtsie2Lauri 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.

Posted in Boundaries, codependency, Midlife Journey, Relationships

Dark Night of the Relationship – Undoing Co-Dependency

The purpose of the midlife and menopause journey is to birth our Soul – the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment and through which we are called to contribute to the betterment of our world.  In the process of birthing our Soul, we are invited to heal and sometimes release any inner, as well as outer obstacles to enjoying the life of Soul.  Our intimate relationships are not exempt from this invitation.  It is not a coincidence that the Dark Night of the Relationship often surfaces during midlife and even becomes the catalyst through which real transformation can begin to take place. In today’s blog, we explore the co-dependency that needs to be unraveled and undone.

dark night of the relationship

Damn, You Don’t Complete Me!

As I have mentioned before, many relationships entered into in our youth are established upon the illusion that the other person will complete us.  We look to the other to fill the emptiness and longing we feel inside.  Eventually, we realize that the other person is not completing us as disappointment and resentment rush in.   Now we have entered the dark night of the relationship.  We then begin to harbor blame, resentment and hatred against the other person for not being the fantasy we created in our mind.  It is this resentment that will eventually destroy our relationships unless we do something about it.

The Only Person Who Can Complete You is YOU!

Doing something about the resentment, many discover all the ways in which they have been socialized to seek outside of themselves for love and completion, along with all the ways in which they believe that love is something that has to be earned or that can be denied them.  What often arises out of these false perceptions is co-dependency.   If you are the one who has given away your power, hoping in return for completion and love, the invitation is to take your power back.  This means identifying all the ways in which you have remained silent, ignored or suppressed your needs or your truth, stayed in the background, forsaken your needs and tended to the needs of others at the expense of your own needs.

Welcome Perimenopause and Menopause

For women, compounding, hastening and perhaps even catalyzing this invitation to tend to ones own needs is the advent of menopause.  When women become aware (consciously or unconsciously) that their time for childbearing has come to an end, they begin to see their lives through a dramatically different lens.  During the vulnerable years of childbearing, and while the children are still tender, vulnerable little beings, a veil stands between a woman’s sight and truth.  All of the woman’s energy and attention is directed at the survival of the children.  Once the children become viable, and the woman knows she is done bearing children, the veil collapses.  Every personal need, creative drive, personal desire, wish, hope and dream that was placed on the shelf for the sake of the needs of the children and family come tumbling down.  And now, the woman’s inner drive is directed toward the rediscovery of her own truth, her own needs and the discovery of the vocation which will provide her fulfillment in the second half of her life.  Wife/Mom suddenly becomes a different person and the husband/children are left to wonder, “What the heck just happened?”  This is often when the threads of co-dependency begin to unravel and the rules of the household begin to change.  (please note that men have their own version of this midlife transition – as I understand it, it is a departure from the role of provider to the role of enjoyer…sadly our culture and our current expectations of gender roles does not do a good job of supporting this transition either!)

Undoing Co-Dependency

Whether it is the man or the woman who has been the partner bargaining their own needs for the illusion of completion and love, the process is the same.  Co-dependent behaviors are identified, and we begin the process of changing how we act and respond in our relationships.  We begin by identifying our own truth, our own needs, our own dreams, hopes and desires.  Then we begin to exercise these truths.  We name and claim our needs to those around us.  We set boundaries around our need for “ME” time.  We learn to say no to those things not supportive of our needs and we begin to make time for those things that are life-giving for us.  We stop rushing to the side of those around us every time they seem to be in distress, and we empower them to learn how to tend to their own needs.  We stop doing for others what they are capable of doing for themselves.

A Rude Awakening

For those who have been trained by our co-dependency to expect us to take care of them or to forsake our own needs for theirs, this is a time of RUDE AWAKENING!  We have trained our loved ones well, and now we are changing the rules.  The first response is often bewilderment which then turns into rebellion and often outright war!  “What do you mean you’re not going to make my breakfast?”  “But you’ve always picked out my clothes for me.”  “What good are art classes at your age?”  “You want to go back to school….for what!?”  “Why would you want time for yourself…don’t you love us?”  For those who have been trained to forsake their own needs for the needs of those they love, this can be a difficult transition as the demons of guilt whisper, and sometimes scream in our ears, “You are abandoning your family….they need you….this is your job…..”  In response to this, I will share with you a mantra that was once given to me by a great teacher:

The most loving thing you can do for those you love is to do what is most loving for yourself.

Every time you claim your own need, every time you set boundaries around your own time, every time you stop doing something for someone that they are capable of doing for themselves, you are teaching them how NOT to be co-dependent.  You are modeling for them healthy, interdependent behavior. And you are empowering them to be GROWN UPS!

Lauri Lumby mentors individuals and couples in their journey of birthing their Soul, which includes navigating the difficult transition of the dark night of the relationship.  To set up your own one-on-one session, call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

Posted in Midlife Journey, Relationships

Midlife and Dark Night of the Relationship – Part 3

Part 3 of a series on the Dark Night of the Relationship, what it looks like, why it often shows up during midlife, and some resources to support you in moving through this critical stage of your intimate relationship.  Read Part 2 HERE   and Part 1 HERE.  Today I will share my own experience of the Dark Night.

dark night of the relationship

Causes of the Dark Night

To begin, I want to warn the reader that the Dark Night of the Relationship does not always end in a happier, healthier, reconciled relationship.  For many who identify this stage in their relationship, seek help and do the difficult work, the end result (and the hoped for result) may be a healthier, happier, loving, and mutually supportive relationship – renegotiated to meet the newly identified and claimed needs of both parties.  For those who do not identify this stage and do not seek support, the end result will either be divorce or silent misery.  For others who identify this stage and seek help and support, the most life-giving thing for all involved may be a termination of the relationship, this proved to be the case for me.

How we got there

I want to preface this sharing by saying there are things about my marriage that I will not share here.  I will also not throw my ex under the bus by presuming to know his side of the story.  As such, I can only speak from my own perspective and out of my own particular viewpoint.  That being said, hindsight is 20/20.  I can look back now, through the eyes of wisdom and experience and identify two primary issues that, from the beginning, doomed the outcome of our marriage.

1) I believe that both myself and my (now ex) husband were looking for someone to complete us.  As I mention in Part 1 of this series – relationships are doomed when established on this foundation.  For us, a clear pattern of co-dependency was established and when I began to seek help for these behaviors and began to retrieve the strands of my co-dependent behaviors, the shaky foundation upon which our marriage was built began to collapse.

2) We had nothing in common.  Yes, we shared a few similar core values and have similar philosophies of parenting (which we still do together quite well), but our day to day interests and passions could not have been more different.    Over time, and with some work and parenting decisions that were made, we ended up living two completely separate lives.  There was nothing shared, other than our children, to tie us to each other.  Further complicating this was the fact that we were so incompatible in certain areas that this tended to overshadow any connections that might have been able to be established.

Naming my part

With the co-dependency issues and lack of common interests, the foundation of our marriage was already on shaky ground.  Compounding this were the following issues that I brought into the marriage that exerted their influence, thereby undermining the potential success of our marriage (Of course, I was not alone in contributing to the end of our marriage, but I can only take responsibility for my part.):

  • Unhealed wounds from childhood
  • Unresolved issues of co-dependency
  • Not knowing how to name and claim my needs, set healthy boundaries
  • Inadequate tools for managing grief, anger, disappointment, loss, needs not being met
  • Inadequate tools for managing anxiety, stress, fear, loneliness
  • Issues of low self-esteem

Seeking Support

When the bottom began to fall out on a relationship that didn’t have much of a bottom to begin with, I sought help.  Through 10 years of therapy, spiritual direction and intense personal development, the final outcome was arrived at.  The horse that was our marriage was dead (and I accept my part in this death) and there was truly no way of renegotiating a relationship that could be healthy, let alone mutually loving and supportive, so we decided that divorce would be the most life-giving decision for both of us, and our children.

Divorce Sucks!

Yes, divorce sucks, and the journey has not been an easy one.  In fact, I do not wish divorce on anyone.  But, what I can say is that after three years of moving through this process – from decision to now, I am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.  Through on-going support and personal work, I feel more content, more whole, more confident in naming and claiming my needs, setting healthy boundaries, etc.  I have terrific tools for dealing with loss, disappointment, anxiety, sadness, fear and feelings of loneliness.  I know who I am and I know what I want.  And, I honestly believe our children are happier and healthier.  Yes they (we) grieved, and things aren’t always easy, but our children will never doubt that they are loved and cared for and that they will be supported in getting their needs met.

Dark Night Work

The moral of the story is that Dark Night work requires us to identify and transform the behaviors, attitudes, unhealed wounds that we brought into the relationship so that we are made whole and complete.  Only then can we meet at the negotiating table with our significant other (who has presumably also done their work) and determine the future course of the relationship.  For those who are able to negotiate their differences, find common ground and a shared desire to be together, the end result is a relationship better than what you ever could have imagined for yourself.  For those who choose to renegotiate through divorce, the promise is a healthier and happier self and tools through which they might be able to find mutual love, support and interdependence with another.  For those who don’t do the work, the outcome is continued unhappiness and pain.

Lauri Lumby is working with Ted Balser to bring Dark Night of the Relationship support to couples.  To learn more call Lauri at (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

Posted in Midlife Journey, Relationships

Midlife and the Dark Night of the Relationship – Part 2

The purpose of the midlife and menopause journey is to birth our Soul – the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment and through which we are called to contribute to the betterment of our world.  In the process of birthing our Soul, we are invited to heal and sometime release any inner, as well as outer obstacles to enjoying the life of Soul.  Our intimate relationships are not exempt from this invitation.  It is not a coincidence that the Dark Night of the Relationship often surfaces during midlife and even becomes the catalyst through which real transformation can begin to take place.  For the next few days, we will be exploring the Dark Night of the Relationship, its signs, symptoms and characteristics and where to get help during this critical stage of transition.  Click HERE to learn more about Dark Night couples’ mentoring.

dark night of the relationship

The Second Worst Movie Line in History

In yesterday’s blog, I called out the worst movie line in history (“You complete me”) as being the origin of relationship issues.  Coming in as a close second is the famous line from the 1970 movie, “Love Story” starring Ryan O’Neil and Ali McGraw (I know, no one under the age of 40 even knows what I’m talking about!), which boldly states, “Love means never having to say I’m sorry.”  WRONG!!!!!  What I have observed is that authentic love, especially love which is directed at cultivating healthy relationships, is all about learning to say we are sorry….and meaning it!  In fact, I contend that the health of our relationships is dependent upon our ability to acknowledge our failures, take responsibility for them, apologize when appropriate, make amends and then learn new behaviors. Every single relationship, without exception, is made up of two imperfect human beings with their own fears, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, unhealed wounds and emotional baggage.  As such, it is guaranteed that sometime in the relationship, if not often, we will mess up.  We will say or do something that will hurt, disappoint or harm the other, and they will do the same in return.  If we move through our relationship believing the “Love Story” lie, and never apologize for the ways in which we have failed, then all we are doing is creating an environment in which resentment will take root, fester and grow.

Resentment – The First Horseman of the Apocalypse

John M. Gottman in his book, Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work,  calls resentment one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  Resentment, especially harbored resentment, is one of the key destroyers of relationship.  Resentment is a natural response to our needs not being met or feeling as if we are not free to express how we are really feeling in our relationship.  When resentment surfaces, it is our job to acknowledge its presence and inquire within about what need is not being met or what truth is not being spoken.  If it is about our significant other (and it usually is), then our job is to speak up.  Unfortunately, many of us were taught to ignore the voice of our truth, or to suppress our needs, so instead of opening our mouths, we clam up and resentment begins to take root within us, it festers, it grows, we feed it with ruminating thoughts and eventually it turns into outright hatred.  Not a recipe for success in the goal of healthy intimacy!

Love Means Saying We are Sorry

If we have been hurt, disappointed, wounded, by our partner, it is our job to say so and it is their job to take responsibility for their actions and to say they are sorry.  And, this goes both ways.  If we have hurt our partner, it is our job to take responsibility for our actions, apologize and make amends.  Please note, it is also our job to find out why we were hurt.  Is it because our partner’s behaviors triggered unhealed wounds from our childhood?  Did we misunderstand their words or actions?  Did we project our own unrealized self into the situation?  Missteps in relationships are usually owned by both parties equally….it is our job to own what is ours, make amends and it is their part to do the same.  And that is a whole other topic for discussion.  🙂

A Quick Note on Abuse

Please note:  if you are in an abusive relationship and have been “trained” that it is unsafe to name and claim your needs or express your truth, the rules here are a little different.  If you believe your emotional, mental or physical health will be in jeopardy for speaking your truth, then PLEASE GET HELP.  Seek outside support through the local domestic abuse shelter/services or find a counselor who has experience with abuse.  You are not alone.  You need not suffer in silence.  There are resources to help you understand abuse and be freed from it.

Lauri Lumby collaborates with Ted Balser to provide Dark Night of the Relationship mentoring.  Contact Lauri at (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com to find out more.  

Posted in Midlife Journey, Relationships

Midlife and the Dark Night of the Relationship – Part 1

The purpose of the midlife and menopause journey is to birth our Soul – the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment and through which we are called to contribute to the betterment of our world.  In the process of birthing our Soul, we are invited to heal and sometime release any inner, as well as outer obstacles to enjoying the life of Soul.  Our intimate relationships are not exempt from this invitation.  It is not a coincidence that the Dark Night of the Relationship often surfaces during midlife and even becomes the catalyst through which real transformation can begin to take place.  For the next few days, we will be exploring the Dark Night of the Relationship, its signs, symptoms and characteristics and where to get help during this critical stage of transition.  Click HERE to learn more about Dark Night couples’ mentoring.

dark night of the relationship

Dark Night of the Relationship

The Dark Night of the Relationship is a term that I created to describe the dramatic realization of relationship issues that often surfaces during midlife.  The Dark Night of the Relationship can take on many qualities and characteristics, and all point to a significant turning point in a relationship, of which the end result, for many, is divorce.  While there are many contributing factors to the Dark Night of the Relationship, including years of issues ignored and swept under the rug, in my experience, there is one core cause for marriages arriving at this juncture in their development.

You Complete Me!

In my opinion, the single worst and most destructive movie line in history is, “You complete me,” from Jerry MacGuire.  When we enter into a relationship hoping for the other person to fill the emptiness in our soul or to provide us with something that we feel that we are missing, the relationship is immediately doomed…or at the very least, to suffer.  When we believe it is the other person’s job to complete us, or visa versa, we are entering into a contract of co-dependency, and insuring disappointment, frustration and eventually failure.  There is nothing and no one outside of us that can provide for us what we are missing within ourselves.  If we are lacking courage, strength, creative expression, excitement, fun, peace, joy, hope, balance, fulfillment, meaning or purpose, and are expecting the other person to provide that for us, or at least to provide the opportunity for us to live vicariously through them, our relationship is doomed.  Soon, we will be disappointed, angry and resentful toward the other for not giving us what we need, because ultimately, no matter what they do or how they do it, even if they possess these qualities, they cannot provide them for us.  We long for the things we do not have within ourselves, because our Soul has ignited the flame of longing so that we would seek, discover and cultivate these qualities within ourselves. And the Soul knows the difference between authentic inner strength, for example, and counterfeit strength or strength we are trying to “get” from someone else.  So if our relationships are founded on the hope that the other person will complete us (as most relationships of our youth are), then we can pretty much expect the Dark Night to rear its ugly head – at least by the time we are forty, if not sooner.

How have your relationships been reflective of the hope for the other to complete you?

Lauri Lumby collaborates with Ted Balser to provide Dark Night of the Relationship mentoring and support for couples.  Contact Lauri at (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com to learn more. 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Midlife Journey, Relationships

Authentic Freedom – Thoughts on Love

When I look at the search words people are using to find my blog, Authentic Freedom, Dark Night, Twin Flame and Soulmate are four frequently appearing keywords and phrases.  As such, I thought it a good idea to address these topics and see how they might relate to the current discussion thread on midlife and menopause. 

authentic-freedom-love
authentic-freedom-love

Authentic Freedom and Love

In my book, Authentic Freedom – claiming a life of contentment and joy, I confront our Western ideas of love.  Specifically, I address envy as the compulsion related to our unhealthy attitudes and choices around love.  Envy comes out of the fear that we are not  loved and that someone out there will make us feel loved.  Through envy, we believe someone else will make us feel whole, complete, content and loved.  Hello Jerry McGuire!

Love and Co-Dependency

For many (if not most) of us, the love relationships of our youth reflect these beliefs about love. We believe we will find our happily ever after when we find that PERFECT partner.  We eventually learn that the person on whom we have projected our unrealized self is not perfect after all and if we are honest with ourselves, we realize that the things we sought in the other are really qualities we need to discover and cultivate within ourselves.  This realization ushers in the dark night of the relationship. It is at this stage that the relationship either dissolves, or one or both parties begin the process of self-discovery.  If both parties decide to do this work, there is a possibility that they could re-create their love relationship, firmly rooted in mutual self-love and interdependence.  For couples that never acknowledge the dark night or where only one decides to do the work, the relationship is probably doomed or at the very least will seethe in the silent misery of discontent.

Love and Soulmates

The most common idea of a soulmate is the one perfect person with whom we will find our happily ever after.  This definition of soulmate originates in the deadly compulsion of envy and is rooted in our fear that we are not loved.  I prefer to define soulmate in a much broader and perhaps healthier sense.  I think of soulmates as those persons with whom we feel a soul-connection – those people we meet and feel an immediate affinity with….those with whom we might share a common purpose, passion or even vocation.  I  think of a soulmate as part of our soul family – those persons with whom we agreed to connect so as to accomplish our work in the world.  As such, we might have many soulmates.

Love and Twin Flames

Transcending romantic ideas of love, a Twin Flame love exists between two individuals who have come to realize the love that they are as individuals and are therefore not looking for the other person to complete them.  Twin Flames are recognized in a shared passion and vocation, they tend to have common interests and share a similar way of seeing and being in the world.  Twin Flames, in a sense, seem to share a single soul and are here to accomplish a very important mission which they both feel and which is more fully awakened in each other’s presence.  When Twin Flames come together, there is a recognition beyond that of mere soulmates because, when we behold our Twin Flame, we are seeing ourselves.   In Twin Flame relationships, 1+1 = INFINITY – an infinity felt by both parties in an awesome, almost wordless kind of way.  (I recently had a glimpse of this love while in meditation and it quite literally took my breath away – I could not breathe, I could not react, all I could do was sit in silent wonder over the strength and power of this love.  If I had entered fully into it, it would have brought me to tears….or even collapse.)  Twin Flames often speak of having had a sense of “the other” along with a deep longing to be reunited with “the other,” – a longing that may at first have come out of a sense of lack, but after they have done the work of self-love, this longing is more of an awareness of the presence of the other.  When the Twin Flames come together, this longing finds it fulfillment….but not in a codependent kind of way.   In coming together, Twin Flames reflect the abundant and infinite love of God.  Twin Flames intimately know the love of God and are called to live and reflect that love in the world and in their presence, the world is awakened and transformed in exponential ways.  The coming together of Twin Flames causes a ripple of love in the universe that quite literally, turns the world to love.  (Twin Flame relationships are not, however, free from conflict. While they have come to remember the love they are, Twin Flames are still human and as such, will experience the normal range of relationship conflicts….they will just be better equipped to negotiate healthy resolutions to conflict. )  Historical examples of Twin Flame love might include Jesus and Mary Magdalene, Krishna and Radha, Francis and Clare of Assisi, Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross, John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Love, Midlife and Menopause

How does any of this pertain to the midlife/menopause journey?  It is most often during midlife that we are confronted by our unhealed illusions around love and are invited to remember the love that we are so that we can do the work of creating life-giving, mutually loving and interdependent relationships that then serve to help us change the world.  That’s how!  🙂

Lauri Ann Lumby mentors individuals and couples in the birth of their soul – the way in which they are uniquely and creatively gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment and which they are called to share in service to the betterment of the world.  You can contact Lauri at (920) 230-1313 or lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com to set up your own mentoring session. 

Posted in Midlife Journey

Midlife and Menopause – Mentoring

The purpose of a midlife crisis, perimenopause and menopause (from a spiritual perspective) is to move us beyond childbearing to birthing ourselves…and this is as true for men as it is for women.  During midlife and menopause, we are invited to leave behind the life we have known to make room for the new life that is trying to be born through us.  In birthing our new selves, we are birthing our Soul – the unique way we are creatively gifted to find meaning, purpose, connection and fulfillment in our lives and the way in which we find fulfillment by contributing to the betterment of our world.

Midlife and Menopause – One-on-One Mentoring

As a spiritual director with over twenty years of experience, I have accompanied hundreds of men and women in the birth of their Soul.  (See Testimonials HERE) The vast majority of this work has happened for people during the often treacherous time of the midlife transition and has included everything from grief counseling to job loss, divorce, medical diagnoses, empty nest and just plain feelings of discontent.  The typical indicators/symptoms of midlife are:

Restlessness

  • Boredom
  • Loneliness
  • Longing
  • Discontent
  • Impatience
  • Anger
  • Rage
  • Relationship Issues (including the Dark Night of the Relationship)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic Attacks
  • Physical Changes (including weight gain, illnesses and sexual dysfunction)
  • Grief
  • Sorrow

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, there might be something medically going on, and if you are over 30 you might just as well be experiencing the midlife transition.  If you are looking for guidance and support through the midlife transition, call me at (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com to set up your own face-to-face, phone or Skype consultation.

Midlife Map

lauriprofilebwwebshot2013Lauri Ann Lumby is a writer, poet and published author with over twenty years of experience assisting men and women in the achievement of their greatest potential.  For more information, click HERE.

Posted in Relationships

You Don’t Complete Me

Relationships.  Co-Dependency.  Conflict in Relationship.  Unfulfilled Dreams.  Handsome Prince.  Damsel in Distress.  Why looking for something outside us to fill our own emptiness never works out.

angrycoupleclipart

Envy

In Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy, I reveal envy as the fifth deadly compulsion and define envy as the actions that come out of our fear that we are not loved – that love has to be earned and that love can be withheld or taken away.  On an even more general level, envy is looking outside of ourselves for the person who will fill the emptiness we feel inside.  Until we have done some serious self-awareness and healing work, most of our intimate relationships are born out of this envy.

What Drew Me To Him/Her…

Relationships born out of envy start out like this:  What drew me to him was his confidence, his creativity, her acceptance, her understanding, his stability, his drive, her advocacy, her strength.  While these are all nobel qualities, quite often, what draws us to another are the qualities that we wish we had within ourselves, the qualities that we feel we are lacking in some way.  While this, in and of itself, is not a bad thing,  unless we are doing the work to cultivate these “missing” qualities within ourselves, that which initially led us to love will eventually lead us to hell.

Enter the Dark Night

When we are drawn to someone because of qualities that we feel we are lacking within ourselves, the secret hope is that in connecting with that person, we will “get” some of their confidence, kindness, creativity, strength, stability, tenderness, etc. etc. etc.  The problem, however, is that we cannot “get” these qualities from another person…we can only nurture and cultivate them within ourselves.  Until we know this, however, we are compelled to seek this “getting” from the other.  This seeking to “get” is the path to hell.  After the infatuation wears off and reality sets in, we realize that the person we are with is human, flawed, imperfect, just like we are AND, no matter how hard we try, THEY are not making us feel confident, secure, creative, etc.  Because we cannot get these qualities from the other, we eventually find ourselves feeling unfulfilled, frustrated, angry, impatient, depressed.  Most often, we then project this unfulfilled inner state on to our partner and BLAME them for making us feel like crap.  It’s their fault that we are unhappy, unfulfilled, weak, sorrowful, depressed, anxious, shy, etc. etc. etc.  As we are blaming them for our unfulfilled inner state, we then start engaging in all sorts of relationship killers:  criticism, complaining, contempt, resentment, withdrawal, defensiveness, etc.  Now we are DEEP into the Dark Night of the Relationship.

Completing Ourselves

The Dark Night of the Relationship occurs when reality collides with the illusion that the person “out there” is going to complete us…or make us feel whole.  The Dark Night is a painful and challenging time because by the time we reach this place, a mountain of resentment, hurt, even betrayal has taken place.  When faced with the Dark Night, many couples are tempted to cut and run.  But for those who are courageous, bold and daring, there are miraculous treasures in moving THROUGH the Dark Night instead of running from it.  It is in moving through the Dark Night that the real work begins.  Here, we stop blaming the other for not being who we thought them to be and start doing the work of completing ourselves, and they in return.  Only when we are on the other side, having taken responsibility for our own inner sense of lack; healed our unhealed wounds; identified and cultivated our gifts and our passions; come to know ourselves and what we really want in a relationship; found wholeness within; and forgiven our partners and ourselves; can we enter into a relationship whole and without need.  Now we invite our partner to join us because we WANT them in our lives, not because we NEED them.

For assistance navigating the Dark Night of your Relationship, contact Lauri at (920) 230-1313 or lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com

Lauri Lumby

http://yourspiritualtruth.com