Posted in Authentic Freedom, Healing, Inspiration, spiritual awakening, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices

Staying Sane in an Insane World

Staying sane in an insane world is about tools, practice and support. Below are my thoughts on staying sane along with resources and support for doing so:

It’s getting pretty crazy out there! Just yesterday I posted two comments on Facebook, one about not knowing what to believe, or if there is anything to believe in the media and an outright call to the universe:  “Mothership take me away!”  No matter where you lie within the spectrum of the perceived separation dividing our nation and the world, you must be feeling it.  Anxiety.  Fear.  Depression.  Despair.  Frustration.  Impatience.  Anger.  Powerlessness.  Perhaps even a sense of hatred.  It seems that no matter where we turn, there is another news article, news show, advertisement, etc. that is attempting to trigger our fears, anxieties, insecurities, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. interfering with our desire for staying sane.

The good news is that while we might feel pretty powerless in a world that seems to be imploding upon itself, we are not! We have the resources within us for staying sane in an otherwise insane world – we just need someone to help us discover, cultivate and then activate these resources.  THIS is what I have spent the past 25 years mastering and what I would like to share with you now:

REMEMBER your original nature is contentment and peace. If you don’t know or remember this:

Develop or deepen a daily spiritual/meditation/contemplative/prayer practice. If you don’t currently have a practice or need getting started, take my FREE online course Starting a Spiritual Practice.  Learn more and register HERE.

The Greatest Obstacle to remaining in a state of peace is our unhealed wounds and unacknowledged anxiety and fears. To learn how to identify and then heal and transform these wounds and fears:

Read my book Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joyor better yet, take the online course.  Learn more and register for the course HERE.

REMEMBER you are not alone. There are people out there who have learned how to stay sane in an otherwise insane world. Reach out to them for guidance and support:

As a trained Spiritual Director, I have spent the past 20 years supporting people in finding their way through the tangled web of life….supporting them in identifying and healing unhealed wounds and unacknowledged fears and freeing them from the inner obstacles to enjoying a peaceful and fulfilling life. Learn more about my Spiritual Direction/Counseling services HERE. 

Take Action! If there is something you don’t like about our world, DO something about it. If you want more peace, then work for peace.  If you see injustices being done, speak or act out against these injustices.

Join the LOVE WARRIOR movement.  Become an agent of non-violent social change in a community of people trying to do the same.  Learn more and join HERE.

 

Love and Peace to you!

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS

 

Posted in Freedom, Lessons, Spiritual Practices, temptation

When Life Gives You Lemons – Pray

Today’s blog explores the value and importance of spiritual practices – prayer, meditation, contemplation, etc. in dealing with the on-going challenges of the human condition. 

 

 

Life Stinks and then you Die

Ok, not really….but it sure feels like that on some days!  The human condition is hard.  And from day-to-day we face the challenges of the living in this world:  disappointment, fear, doubt, loss, etc.  These little (and sometimes ENORMOUS) challenges are not there as some sort of punishment for bad behavior or because we have angered a jealous “God,” but simply because it is part of being human.  As they say, “Sh..t  happens.”

When Life Gives You Lemons

But what are we supposed to do when sh..t happens?  When we are paying the bills and wonder, “Where did all my money go?” or “How am I going to pay for that?”  When we receive an unfavorable medical diagnosis or find out someone we love is dying?  What happens when we lose our job or find ourselves underemployed? What about when our children are hurting and turn their pain against us?  What about when we fail an important exam or lose out on a job we really wanted?  What about when we hurt someone we love or are hurt by someone we care about? What happens when our best-laid plans fail or when we are in an accident or become ill or our house burns to the ground?

Temptation to Indulge Fear

For me, when these challenges of the human condition show up, the first place I go is to fear.  Fear there won’t be enough money.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of the pain of loss.  Afraid I won’t be able to control it or have control over it.  Afraid I will fail.  Afraid I won’t be able to handle it.  Afraid of being hurt.  Afraid of fear itself.  If I give enough attention to these fears, I soon find myself in the downward spiral of panic, overwhelm and eventually shutdown, or I give into the fear and find myself making rash and panicked decisions that will eventually prove to be detrimental, if not disastrous.  Sound familiar?

Choosing Something Other than Fear

Fortunately, through many years of learning (often through trial and error), I have found that there is another, more life-giving response to these lemons.  And in the learning of this other choice, I have found a powerful and important lesson:  NEVER MAKE A DECISION OR A CHOICE OUT OF FEAR!!!!!   While life’s challenges, losses, struggles may be inviting new opportunities or choices in our path, making that decision or choice out of fear NEVER leads to a positive outcome.  When we choose fear, that is what we get…MORE fear…or at best, a life that is small, constricted, limiting.  And, I know this is not God’s wish for us.  Instead, God desires and compels us toward expansion, limitlessness, inner abundance, contentment, peace, love and joy….in a word – FREEDOM!  Fear is limiting.  FREEDOM is not!

Making Lemonade

So, when we find ourselves faced with the pain, loss, struggles, challenges, disappointments of the human condition, we have a choice.  We can indulge the naturally arising fears and tumble into the abyss of constriction, pain, limitations, paralysis, depression, despair, hopelessness…….OR  we can choose something else.  For me, I have found one TRIED AND TRUE remedy to these fears and to the temptation to indulge these fears. The tried and true remedy, is PRAYER.  And prayer, (in the way that I define it anyway) is ANYTHING that helps us to find that place of peaceful calm and clarity within.  For me prayer encompasses all that I use in the way of my daily spiritual practice:  mantra chant, silent meditation, journalling.  For others, prayer might be their morning run, listening to music, cleaning, cooking, painting, singing, dancing, yoga, chi qong, tai chi, drawing, sculpting, throwing a pot, sipping their favorite dark roast coffee, the rosary, scripture, attending mass.  Any and everything that helps us to find that place of silence within where God can speak to us and we can be open to listening is prayer.  So when we find ourselves challenged by life and tempted by the fears that arise out of these challenges, the invitation is to set time aside and pray.  It is in the prayer that we will find comfort for our fears and the life-giving, expansive and supportive responses to life’s challenges.  And here, in this place of peaceful clarity and expansiveness is where we find the most delicious lemonade from the lemons that life gives us!

What is your typical response to life’s challenges?

How are you being invited to choose something other than fear?

What are the spiritual practices that can help support you in this goal?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Inspiration

Comfort in Times of Despair

When we feel lost, afraid, despairing, we are reminded that we are never alone and that there is a Divine Source whose eternal promise is new life.

Thus says the Lord:

Lo, I am about to create a new heavens and a new earth;

The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind.

instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create.

For I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight.

Isaiah 65


 

The Israelites in Exile

The above words from the book of the prophet Isaiah were God’s words to the Israelite people during their time of exile in Babylon.  Jerusalem had been conquered, the temple destroyed and the people of Israel taken into captivity and exiled to Babylon.  This was a time of great despair for the people of Israel, second only perhaps to the Holocaust of World War II.  In the midst of this despair, God sent the prophet Isaiah to bring encouragement, support and a vision of hope to the Hebrew people.  Through this experience, the Israelites were invited to trust in God, to cling to hope and to seek new ways of relating to God apart from what they had known in Jerusalem.

 

A Message of Hope for us

Isaiah’s message is a message of hope for us as well.  There are times in all of our lives where we feel lost, without hope, despairing, alone and afraid.  There are times when the things that had formerly been a source of support, guidance, security suddenly fall away and we are left there wondering, “now what?”  It is during these times that we are invited, like the Hebrew people, to trust in God, to cling to hope, to be open to new ways of relating to God and to be open to new forms of support, guidance and security.  We are invited to trust that God is making all things new and that on the other side of the despair is happiness and rejoicing.

 

A personal example

As I meander through the bramble filled path of divorce, I find great comfort in these words.  All that has previously been a source of support, security, structure for me is gone.  My routines have been disrupted, the natural order of my day dismantled, the physical sources of support are gone, the financial sources evaporated.  All that I thought I knew about myself, the people in my life, my hopes, my dreams, my visions are all now put to question.  And….I am left here  wondering, “now what?”  There are times when despair feels like the only possibility.  But then, when I turned to this morning’s scripture, here were these amazing words, and once again, I find that hope is possible.  So, call me a crazy dreamer, but I do find comfort in these words.  I do know that in the end, God is creating a new earth for me and for my children.  I do know that there is a higher purpose to this divorce and that magnificent things are coming to pass.

 

How can these words from Isaiah be a source of comfort for you in times of challenge and despair?

 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Being Human

Ranting on the Divine

So, what does one do on the path of Spiritual Growth when it feels like you’ve tried everything, nothing is working and impatience and frustration have taken over?  What does one do when despair is knocking on the door and you are tempted to throw in the towel?????   Maybe it is time for a good old fashion “take-down match” with God.



I Hit the Wall

I admit it, I am human.  While I accompany others in their own journey of spiritual growth and healing, teach classes in spiritual practices that help us navigate the path of our lives and encourage others to seek, cultivate and share their spiritual gifts in the world, I am apparently not immune to my own struggles along this path.  This week has proven to be a WTF week.  Here’s the rundown:

  • I’m on week 9 of a sometimes debilitating upper respiratory virus complete with gargantuan coughing spells, asthma symptoms, body aches, exhaustion, congestion, etc. etc. etc.   I’ve been to the doctor twice and to an alternative health care practitioner and TRIED EVERYTHING.   I”M SICK AND TIRED OF BEING SICK AND TIRED!
  • The divorce that started last April has DONE NOTHING.  No movement.  It feels like it is hanging in mid-air, just hanging up there taunting me.
  • Some things have happened in my personal life (that I will keep close to my heart) that have kicked my emotional ass.
  • The flow of abundance has STOPPED.  No, not just stopped, it has gone completely in reverse.  I stand here helpless as I watch the financial security I need to move forward in my life dart and run, then taunt and tease me, while the seeming financial security we have enjoyed flows right down the toilet, taking all of us with it.
  • As I’m trying to grow my business, writing this blog, working with marketing experts, etc. I watch it slowing and stagnating, making me question…..have I gotten this wrong all along?  Am I really supposed to be doing this?
  • When I attempt to explore complementary financial options, the universe closes (no, SLAMS) the door in my face.

WTF???????

Trying the Usual Tools

So, as this has all been unfolding, I have done what I teach others to do.  I have prayed, meditated, tried journaling, engaged in movement meditation, etc. etc. etc.  I have employed every spiritual tool at my disposal to be open to receiving the Divine direction, comfort, support, etc. that I know is there.  And here are the answers that I am getting:

  • You are on the right path
  • You are doing the right thing
  • Everything is in perfect Divine timing
  • Be patient
  • Trust
  • You are being taken care of
  • All your needs are being met
  • You do not need to get “another job”, you are doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing and the financial support is coming.

Again, WTF??????

Ranting at the Divine

Normally, I find comfort, affirmation, peacefulness in the answers that I have been getting in my prayer.  Yesterday, not so much.  Not so much, in fact, that I had a panic attack on the way to a business meeting.  Panic attack?????  While I have a history of depression and panic attack, I have not had one in over three years.   Ok, God, you want to play rough…..get ready, because I have had it!!!!!  So, here is what I did.  Last night, just before drifting off to sleep, I lined ’em up.  I called them all in – God, Jesus, Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, Michael the Archangel, Joan of Arc, Hildegard of Bingen, St. Bernadette, St. Francis and Clare, Theresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Melchezidek, Krishna, Radha, the Buddha, all my ancestors….and anyone else I could name and I gave them what-for:

“Alright, I’ve had it!!!!!!   You guys show up and tell me I’m supposed to be a vessel of God’s healing love in the world.  You download a curriculum of Spiritual Formation into my mind and ask me to teach it.  You give me the Christouch system of natural healing and you ask me to teach that.  You lead me to all these amazing teachers, tools, opportunities to learn, to grow and to heal and you ask me to in turn share these with others.  You lead me to writing teachers and ask me to write…books and this blog.  You tell me all my needs will be met as I freely and openly share these gifts and tools with others.  I’ve done everything you have asked of me.  I have followed all the trails you have set out for me.  I have calmly (ok, not always) accepted all the challenges that have come with following these trails.  I have tended the ground, planted and watered the seeds, obediently accepted every invitation you have offered me.  Now, what have you given me in return?   Sickness.  Heartache.  Financial struggles.  Stagnation.  Now, I need your help!!!!!!  (I pleaded)  I can’t do this alone!  ( I begged)  Here’s the deal…..Either you step up to the plate and start doing what Divine helpers are supposed to be doing – HELPING!!!!!…..or….step off!”

Then I clapped the dust off my hands, stomped the dirt off my feet, turned and walked away.  I’ll let you know if they bother to answer!

When have you wanted to enter into a take-down match with God?

What tools do you have at your disposal for moments of overwhelm, despair, fear?

Are you ok with getting angry with God and giving God what-for?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com