Posted in grief, Raised Catholic

The Cyclical Nature of Grief

Yesterday, and old grief was triggered in me, along with all the symptoms that have come along with this grief – deep sorrow, rage, hatred, anxiety, panic, trembling, emotional and intellectual paralysis, nausea, upset stomach, etc.  When I found I could not even give words to what I was feeling, I turned to my blog archives and found exactly the words I needed to hear – the words that clearly articulated my grief and the loss surrounding this grief.  In this I have been reminded of how grief continues to come back around seeking another layer of healing.  Thank you those who shall remain nameless for inviting me into another layer of healing and to the gift of God’s healing presence. 

The Church That Turned Away from Me

(originally posted on Good Friday, 2015)

Copyright 2015  Lauri Ann Lumby

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For the past eight years, I have been fasting from the Eucharist.  To one on the outside looking in, I might be accused of turning away from my Church.  The opposite in fact is true.  It is the Church that turned away from me.

As a Vatican II Catholic, raised in a Vatican II Church, I have had a unique experience of Catholicism, markedly different from the generations that went before me.  I never experienced the Latin mass or was drilled on the Baltimore Catechism.  I attended Saturday evening folk mass accompanied by Kumbaya’s, Up, Up with People, and To Be Alive! Fish on Friday was reserved for Lent.  Ecumenical dialogue was encouraged and instead of Heaven being the privilege of Catholics only, the pearly gates stood open to all who lived in love. I was brought up with a rock n’ roll Jesus Christ Superstar who in his humanness pleaded to be released while weeping tears of blood at Gethsemane and to whom we desired to “see more clearly, love more dearly and follow more nearly,” as he danced around us in rainbow striped suspenders, sporting a Superman t-shirt.  Speaking out on matters of social injustice and working for peace; feeding the poor, clothing the naked and setting captives free was the understood responsibility of every person sitting in the pew.  Divine retribution and punishment had been left on the editing floor of the Holy See – along with indulgences; and even the unbaptized had a place in God’s loving kingdom. The only God I knew was the God of love. Jesus came to know this love and taught us how to love and was set up as the model and example of how every Christian was called to live.  We were called to be Jesus’ hands and heart through the unique charisms gifted to us by God’s Holy Spirit (sometimes even spoken of as a woman!).

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This is the Church I grew up in and the Church that I deeply loved.  Strengthening this bond was the mass that provided sanctuary and support for my inherently contemplative nature. Gothic arches, painted statues and stained glass windows serenaded by artistic soul.  And the stand up, kneel down, bow and sit of Catholic choreography nourished my need for a spirituality that was as much physical as it was emotional and intellectual. Devotion to Mary satisfied my need for a Divine Mother and the saints became my superheroes.

If I love my Church so much, you may be wondering why I have been fasting from the Eucharist?  What went wrong?  In short, it seems I took what I learned about God, Jesus and our Christian call too literally:

  • I believe in an unconditionally loving God, a Son that is both fully human and fully divine; the call to follow Jesus as an example of how to live my life and to be and do as he would in the world.
  • I love God above all else, my neighbor as myself and I consider ALL of humankind to be my neighbor.
  • I judge not (lest I be judged).
  • I pray for my enemies.
  • I try to forgive 70 times 7 times.
  • I pray without ceasing.
  • I feed the hungry.
  • I clothe the naked.
  • I give sight to the blind.
  • I set captives free.
  • And, I heal the sick.

Oshkosh WI 2/9/11: Photo by Jeannette Merten.

In the end, it was the last three actions that caused my Church to turn away from me.

After eight years in Catholic school and an equal number of years in academic and professional education and formation as a lay minister and spiritual director, I was guided by God to study hands-on-healing and Eastern Energy Medicine (Reiki). Out of this training and experience, God guided me further to develop a protocol through which people found healing from the spiritual wounds that separated them from God’s love, thereby healing them of their sin.  Right in line with Jesus’ teachings, right!? Apparently not, because the practices that I had learned and successfully applied were not “explicitly handed down by the Magesterium.”  I was challenged and confronted, hateful emails and letters were sent. I was accused of every nature of evil. Local bishops, fueled by the fear of the vocal minority, challenged my work and eventually handed down a prohibition calling it “witchcraft and sorcery,” in spite of my attempts to reason with and explain things to them.  Through this, I endured, but when I was attacked by a newly-appointed  pastor for a course in “Christian Zen” that I was sponsoring, who claimed it to be “outside Catholic teaching” and who identified Eastern practices as “dangerous,” I broke.  My heart was broken and my resolve with it.  The Church I had loved and out of whose embrace I had come to know God’s love – the Church who had called me to continue the work of Jesus – had betrayed me.  My gifts, my call, the unique way I had come to know God was no longer welcome. More than that, my ministry had been condemned as “dangerous,” “witchcraft and sorcery”….some even called it, “the work of the devil.”

ChristianZen.jpgOn that fateful autumn day, I listened beyond the voice of the fearful priest, the self-appointed inquisition, and even the Vatican II teachings that provided space for the ecumenical nature of the work I was doing and the unifying discussions that might arise out of this work.  I listened instead to the still, small voice of God within.  God’s voice was not small that day.  God spoke directly and loudly to my heart, “Lauri, you are my beloved daughter.  I have placed my word within your heart.  I have anointed you to be my servant.  Who will you obey?  Man or Me?”

Of course I chose God.

With God and the echoing support of Peter and the Apostles who similarly responded to the Church who turned away from them, “We must obey God rather than man, (Act 5: 29)” I handed over my keys and walked away.  Buoyed by God’s eternal promise of freedom, I knew that I could more freely do the work God had called me to absent the on-going scrutiny of the Church and the fearful minority.

Some would suggest that in leaving the Church I have also left behind my faith.  The opposite, in fact is true.  My faith has remained intact, and in truth, has been fortified.  I start every morning in prayer and meditation over the daily scripture.  Jesus is my constant companion, teacher and guide. I discern daily the ways in which I am being called to continue Jesus’ work in the world. I have seen the clear evidence of God at work through me as I witness the profound healing experienced by those who have become part of my ministry, and I am continually amazed at how God works through me to bring people more and more deeply into love and more closely connected to their own gifts and vocational call in the world.  I see the power of faith at work as I witness the empowerment experienced by those who come to me for counsel, attend my classes, read my writing and partake in my weekly services; and with each passing day my faith is strengthened and affirmed.

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Regarding the Church, I wish I could say that like Lot, I never looked back.  I find, instead, that I am more like Lot’s wife, forever gazing back in profound longing – grieving the loss of my home, my sanctuary, my community, my Church.  Beyond my own grief, however, I weep for my Church.  I long for the Church that I had come to know – one that is firmly rooted in the truth of God’s unconditional love and acting as that love in the world.  I long for a Church that works for unity and empowerment of all humankind – regardless of their gender, beliefs, or sexual orientation.  I long for a Church that is willing to set down its wealth and its power and get in the trenches with those who need its help – the hungry, the poor, the imprisoned, the fearful, the wounded and the broken. I long for the Church that takes Jesus’ example seriously by being humble, giving the seats of honor to those without honor and washing the feet of strangers.  I yearn for a Church that supports people in becoming self-actualized, mature disciples – fostering the psycho-spiritual growth of men, women and children so that they can find the God they have forgotten in their hearts, discover their own unique giftedness and vocational call and become empowered in the fulfillment and use of these gifts in service to the betterment of the world.  I long for a Church that recognizes the earth as holy and sacred and works to be a steward for the gifts God gave us so that all of humanity may not only survive but thrive.  I cry out to the Church to work for justice – justice for all – not only for those who “are Catholic in good standing.”  My heart yearns for a Church that welcomes ALL people to its table – inviting all to know the unconditional and infinite love that is their truest nature. This is the Church that I once knew and I often wonder what happened to that Church – or if all along it had really just been a figment of my imagination.

 

 

Lauri Ann Lumby, MATP is a published author, ordained interfaith minister, spiritual director and teacher.  She ministers to a world-wide audience, most of whom were raised Catholic but who were also turned away by the Church.  Lauri lives in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  You can learn more about Lauri and her ministry at www.authenticfreedomacademy.com.

Posted in Authentic Freedom Academy, church, Discernment, Empowerment, God, self-actualization, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices, Truth

Not Church

It seems the final piece of an ever-evolving puzzle has found its way into place. Starting Sunday, August 16, 2015, I will be adding a Sunday service to the offerings of Authentic Freedom Academy. This addition came about through no effort of my own. Instead, it literally fell into my lap. In truth, I had given up on the idea of a Sunday Service of sorts as I have tried this over and over and over again in many different forms and all had come to a screeching halt. In actuality, I had given up on the idea. So when the invitation came through the words of my yoga teacher/friend, I was shocked and surprised…..AND….it was the easiest yes I’ve ever said in my life….which is why I know the invitation, while offered through the person of my yoga teacher, actually came from God.

This is the piece of my Soul’s purpose that was missing (there’s one more piece that is missing…I’ll save that for another day). Funny thing is I didn’t even know it was missing. Sr. Shawn knew though when she offered me the following words when I met with her to discuss my call to priesthood, “Lauri, don’t neglect the part about priestly vocation that involves public worship.” “Yeah right,” I thought. “I won’t be doing that. Been there. Done that. Failed at that. No need to step into that hot mess again.” HMMMMM…..it seems Shawn knew something I did not know. Public….something or other…..is part of the puzzle….and it’s an important part.

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BUT…..IT’S NOT CHURCH – at least not in the way that Church has been experienced for the majority of the past 2000 years. Church, as most Westerners have experienced it, has been about an outside perceived authority (usually a man) claiming to be earth’s representation of Christ, telling people they have been rejected by God and then telling them all the things they have to do to earn back God’s approval so that if they are lucky, they might be allowed into heaven after they die. If they fail to earn God’s approval (by not following the rules set forth by the Church), then they will be doomed to an eternity in hell.

Um….yeah…..Authentic Freedom Academy, including our Sunday Services is nothing like that. Instead, we leave authority where authority lies – in your own intimate connection with the Divine Source within. Our job then, is to give you tools for nurturing and cultivating that relationship with your own inner Source of truth, guidance, peace, compassion, forgiveness, etc. along with tools for distinguishing the voice of truth (aka God, the Heart) from the voice of the mind (aka ego, adversary, etc.). And then, we provide the support and encouragement you need to heed the voice of truth and then live out that truth for the sake of your own fulfillment and sense of purpose in the world…..ultimately in service to the betterment of the world.

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Authentic Freedom Academy, including our Sunday service is ultimately about empowerment – empowering you to be the fullest expression of your Fully Divine and Fully Human self that is possible. Our goal is to support you in the journey of your own self-actualization where you are free to experience a life of meaning and purpose that provides you witl the inner contentment that comes with a fulfilling life experience. We accomplish this through various means:

  • One-on-One mentoring (Spiritual Direction)
  • Hand-on-healing
  • Classes
  • Writing and Publishing

And now……

  • Sunday Service

Whereas the former offerings emphasize education and empowerment, the Sunday service will focus on nourishment. Nourishment through music, ancient wisdom writings (scripture), an inspirational lesson, chant, mantra, meditation and prayer…..all in the company of a loving, supportive community where all are welcome.

To learn more about our upcoming Sunday Services, click HERE.

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Academy, church, Discernment, Divine Revelation, manifestation, self-actualization, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices

Full Circle and the Fulfillment of a Dream

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, the past six months have been a time of profound release.  God doesn’t speak to me in literal words, but the Divine guidance (in so many words) was clear:  “Be ready and willing to let go of EVERYTHING.  You are being emptied so that you can be filled with something far greater than you could ever imagine for yourself.”

I can assure you the emptying was not (and still isn’t) pretty.  There was anger, frustration, impatience, lots of temper tantrums and grief….oceans of grief…and sometimes these oceans were tears of joy or relief.  I believe I have cried more in the past three months (especially) than I have in my entire life up until now.  What a powerful time!

Gratefully, I was not required to do this letting go alone or absent of support.  Instead, there were innumerable times in which I experienced the clear and visible hand of God at work and in which I felt upheld by God’s grace….from the glimpses of my “new life” that would sometimes peek in, to the mini inspirations for changes to my website, branding, etc., to the host of angels I saw surrounding, supporting, protecting, and celebrating me, to the tiny group of Magdalenes who showed up for formation and ordination so that the world might be changed, to the many human hands who offered a listening ear, healing touch, and loving presence.

In all of this, I still had no idea what was coming forth or what this “new life” might look like that was being born through me in the letting go.  All I could do was remain in the PRESENT MOMENT, listening, receiving, waiting, acting when necessary….TRUSTING that God knows what God is doing while quaking in my boots over my complete lack of control over this unfolding.  I was clearly NOT IN CHARGE…..something invisible was doing the work THROUGH ME and I was to simply allow it.

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So, I rebranded my business “Authentic Freedom Academy”

I changed the look to be less about me and more about something like Hogwarts.

My hard drive crashed and destroyed my ability to create video services (no matter how hard and how many times, in how many ways and for how many dollars, I tried to restore this function) which made me examine the bigger message here.

I launched a networking group.

I created new ways to promote my services to different audiences.

I clearly heard the courses that will be made available in 2015/2016 and scheduled these courses.

I claimed and launched the “Order of the Magdalene/Christ.”

AND THEN……two weeks ago an invitation was extended to me that brought all of the above together and presented the fruits of all this letting go and receiving.  My teacher, friend and colleague from the yoga studio where I practice asked me, “Lauri, what would you think about offering a Sunday service at the studio before the 9 am yoga class?”

The answer was an easy YES – perhaps the easiest YES I have ever felt come out of me.  It was a YES so easy and RIGHT that I felt everything awaken in me and ground at the same time.  All my cells lined up in celebration and in DEEP knowing that the answer to this question was a BIG FAT YES YES YES YES YES!

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And then I saw it.  What is being born through me in all this letting go and receiving is exactly what I set out to create 13 years ago……a NEW/ORIGINAL way of being CHURCH.

Be assured, I’m not going to call it church (because of all that brings up for people), but it is exactly what I have envisioned and held within my heart for (at least) 13 years:

A place where people can gather in community to be nourished by the Divine word, and supported in Divine presence through contemplation and prayer, integrating the treasures of both Western and Eastern spiritualities.

A place where people can be supported in their individual journey of self-actualization – discovering their own unique giftedness and how they are called to share these gifts and passions for their own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world.

A place where people can find support for the challenges of the human condition – death, divorce, job loss, medical diagnoses, parenting, grief, etc. etc. etc.

A place where people can mark the beginnings and endings of life in a way that is rooted in love and honoring of their inherent greatness (instead of cloaked in ideas of sin, punishment, shame).

A place that honors LOVE and UNITY above all  – recognizing that all are One with God in LOVE and LOVE and ONENESS are the cures for all that is ailing in our world.

There it was – clear as day and exactly as I imagined it would be 13 years ago – except WAY EASIER.  No more fighting old models of Church.  No more arguing against the old regime.  No more feelings of defensiveness or a need to do battle.  Instead – a clean, clear, sure rightness about my mission and purpose – free of my old attachments, unhealed wounds, fears, false perceptions, judgments, etc.  Simply free and open and standing as truth in its own right.

So there it is:  Authentic Freedom Academy

Sunday Service

Authentic Freedom Mastery Course (aka Superheroes)

Order of the Magdalene/Christ

Spiritual/Life/Spiritual Entrepreneurial/Beloved Partnership Counseling

Hands-on-Healing

Rites of Passage

Supporting others on similar paths (SWIM, Affiliates, AF Teachers)

 

In coming full circle, back to the original dream, and the one that truthfully never left my heart, I understand why Sarah laughed.  (Sarah spent her whole life dreaming of a child until she eventually had to give up the dream as she had reached hold age.  Then one day, the Lord sent a messenger to tell Sarah that in nine months she would bear a son.  And then, Sarah laughed. I imagine she laughed even harder when God’s message turned out to be true.)

 

 

 

Posted in 6D, Discernment, Spiritual Practices, Superheroes, Truth

The Voice of our Truth vs. our Ego – Discernment

In this week’s Superhero Academy gatherings, we continued our exploration of 6D consciousness and Divine Manifestation by learning about the critical skill of discernment.

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Discernment is defined as the process through which we distinguish the voice of God/Truth/Higher Self/Love from the voice of our False Self/Ego/Adversary.

 

Discernment is the process we use to determine if the guidance we are accessing through our meditation practices is indeed coming from Source or if it is simply our ego at work trying to keep us small.

 

Discernment requires that we arrive at some foundational agreements:

 

The full Superhero Report is available by subscription only.  To read more, subscribe HERE:

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Posted in Authentic Freedom, creativity, Discernment, Empowerment, Jesus, Spiritual Practices, Truth, Virtual Church

The Consequence of Denying our Gifts and our Call

When we deny the gifts God has given us and the call to be a vessel of God’s love, peace, joy, healing, etc. in the world, we suffer – not because God is punishing us, but as a natural consequence of denying our gifts, our truth and our call.  In this week’s Agape meditation newsletter, supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church, find support for overcoming the fears that keep you from living your truth.

 

Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter

For Sunday, November 16, 2014

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service

 

Scripture Reading:

Jesus told his disciples this parable: “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one– to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'”

MT 25: 14-30

 

Additional Readings:

PV 31: 10-13, 19-20, 30-31

PS 128: 1-5

1 Thess 5: 1-6

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The Consequence of Ignoring our Gifts

“For to everyone who has, more will be given … but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

Once upon a time, there was a young woman from, Bingen, a town along the Rhine. She was given the gift of hearing and knowing the voice of God. Hildegard was her name. Frightened of this voice that asked her to write about God, about God’s healing gifts, about God’s kingdom and most importantly, about God’s love, she held this voice at bay. The voice continued to pursue her while she begged for its silence. The voice, however, would not be silenced. Refusing to act upon the voice’s request, Hildegard began to experience excruciating pain in her head along with blinding and flashing lights. The priests and doctors knew not how to alleviate her pain. She took to bed, and there she remained for months at a time. In her convalescence, the voices continued. Finally, she relented, asking for paper, quill and ink, and began to record what she heard and saw. Immediately, her pain and the blinding lights ceased. (To learn more about St. Hildegard of Bingen, check out this Wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hildegard_of_Bingen).

St. Hildegard of Bingen provides the perfect example of what happens when we ignore or deny the gifts God has given us. Her illness was not punishment for denying her gifts and her call, but instead, are the natural consequence of ignoring the voice of God (in her case literally), within us.

Each and every one of us has been uniquely gifted by God and is uniquely called to be a vessel through which God’s love, peace, joy, healing, contentment, guidance and truth are to be revealed in the world. When we take the time to discover, cultivate and eventually share these gifts, we know peace, contentment, fulfillment and joy. When we ignore, suppress, repress, deny these gifts and their call, we experience anxiousness, discontent, frustration, anger, sorrow, and even mental and physical pain – again, not as punishment but as a natural consequence for denying the voice of God within us.

How have you taken time to discover, cultivate and share the gifts God has given you?

How have you suppressed, denied, ignored, repressed the gifts and the call God has given you? What have been the consequences of ignoring God’s voice?

Spiritual Practices – Connecting with Gift

In this week’s spiritual practice, we acknowledge the sacral chakra (the energy center located in the center of our lower abdomen) as the center of creativity. The awareness and call of our creative gifts are housed in this energy center. In this practice, you will engage the “laying on of hands” as a practice for creating a safe space in which your gifts may emerge so that you may begin (or continue) the work of nurturing and cultivating these gifts.

Sit in silence, or with meditative music playing in the background.

Rub your hands together vigorously to stimulate the flow of energy and to create warmth.

Rest your hands, palm down, on your lower abdomen.

Breathe as you keep your hands on your abdomen.

Maintain an intention of safety, openness and allowing as you continue to breathe while resting your hands on your abdomen.

Imagine that you are creating space for your gifts to reveal themselves to you.

Be attentive to any thoughts, feelings, images, emotions that may arise as you continue to hold your hands on your abdomen.

Continue this practice for 20-30 minutes.

Record any thoughts, feelings, insights received, etc. in your journal or notebook.

 

Authentic Freedom

In Authentic Freedom, we acknowledge fear as the obstacle to living as our most authentic self – the person that God made us to be in the fullness of our human potential. The second spiritual fear – I will not be able to bring forth life that will persist is the specific fear that prevents us from identifying, cultivating and eventually sharing our most authentic self. Through Authentic Freedom, we are reminded of the sacred truth – that each of us is uniquely and creatively gifted by God to be God’s love (peace, joy, guidance, healing, etc.) in the world and that when we discover, cultivate and share this giftedness (in service to the betterment of the world), we experience peace, contentment and fulfillment and the world, in turn, becomes a better place.

 

In short – what are you waiting for?

Lauri Ann Lumby provides support in helping you to awaken to your gifts and your call, and provides the tools through which you can nurture and be empowered in sharing these gifts.  Contact Lauri for a private session (920) 230-1313 or lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com

 

Posted in Discernment, Lessons, Superheroes, Uncategorized

The Power of Resistance

Superhero Academy: We are here to heal and change the world!

In this week’s Superhero Academy gatherings, the topic was RESISTANCE – all the inner forces that work toward keeping us from knowing and living our most authentic truth, from identifying and harnessing our Superpowers and from experiencing the life of meaning and purpose that was intended. Superman had kryptonite, we have resistance.

RESISTANCE

Resistance is a powerful force which comes up more and more strongly the closer we get to our life’s purpose. In recent weeks, the Superheroes accomplished a great deal of work around the quest for their Superpowers and the uniquely creative way in which they are gifted to find meaning and purpose in their lives and to contribute to the betterment of the world.  Not surprisingly, moving closer to the awareness and harnessing of these gifts has unleashed the (not so) ugly face of RESISTANCE.

Coyote Trickster
Coyote Trickster

Recognizing Resistance

As we discovered in this week’s Superhero Academy gatherings, resistance can be both direct and subtle in nature. An easy and direct one – you are printing off a story that has to go out in today’s mail for a writing contest and your printer runs out of ink.  RESISTANCE.  A subtle one- you do a meditation to access awareness of a dream you are being invited to pursue.  An image shows up and you push it away as “it can’t be that.”  RESISTANCE!  Or you are attempting to access guidance for your life and you hear the word beloved and you take it to mean God instead of the flesh and blood love that is trying to come into your life.  RESISTANCE!

Defining Resistance

Ultimately, resistance is anything that makes us question, doubt, deny, avoid, ignore, suppress, repress, our gifts and our call. Resistance is the ego/false-self trying to keep us from the path of freedom, expansiveness, joy, fulfillment, meaning, love, that we were meant to enjoy.  Inwardly, resistance shows up in anxiety, confusion, despair, depression, fear, worry, THE NEED TO KNOW.  Outwardly, it shows up in procrastination, avoidance, denial, bargaining (I will get to my gift AFTER I clean the house, pay the bills, feed the family, finish school, rake the yard, make enough money for retirement, feel safe and secure, retire from my paying job, qualify for social security, etc. etc. etc..)  Outwardly, resistance also shows up in external situations that really do block our path – equipment going down, running out of ink, losing our journal, a computer virus, etc. etc. etc.  All of these are subconscious ways in which we resist our gifts and our path.

Support during Resistance

This week the Superheroes focused on identifying resistance. Next week we will work on specific strategies for moving through resistance.  In the meantime, it is important to know that RESISTANCE IS NORMAL…..in fact, it is a GOOD thing because it means we are getting closer to the life of our dreams!  When resistance shows up, we have the opportunity to say:

“Hello resistance, the fact that you are here means

that something MAGNIFICENT is about to happen!”

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Body/Mind/Spirit connection, Discernment, Divine Revelation, Truth, Virtual Church

What is “Of God” and What is Not

This week’s Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service is LIVE.  The theme this week is discernment – opening to God’s truth for us and knowing how to determine if something is God’s truth or not.  Specifically, we explore the way God shows us truth through sensations in our physical bodies.  Participate in this week’s service HERE.

Posted in Authentic Freedom, sin, Spiritual Practices, The Seven Deadly Compulsions, Virtual Church

The Deadly Compulsion of Sloth – Virtual Church Supplement

The theme of this week’s Authentic Freedom Virtual Church meditation newsletter is the spiritual compulsion of sloth.  When engaging in sloth, we refuse to use the brain God gave us to reason, discern and exercise truth.  Learn more below:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Twenty-sixth Sunday Ordinary Time

 

Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service

 

 

Scripture Reading:

 

R/ (6a) Remember your mercies, O Lord. Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior. R/ Remember your mercies, O Lord. Remember that your compassion, O LORD, and your love are from of old. The sins of my youth and my frailties remember not; in your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O LORD. R/ Remember your mercies, O Lord. Good and upright is the LORD; thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, and teaches the humble his way. R/ Remember your mercies, O Lord.

 

Ps 25: 4-5, 8-9, 10, 14

 

Additional Readings:

 

Ez 18: 25-28

Phil 2: 1-11

Mt 21: 28-32

 

God is our Teacher

 

If we desire a life of peace and contentment where we experience meaning and our life has a sense of purpose, then we need go no further than to God. God is our teacher when we allow ourselves to turn from our own desires to control, to think we know the answers and to strive after what we want. God, on the other hand, knows what we need and knows the path that would be in our highest good – that which leads us to meaning, purpose and fulfillment. The answers are not in our minds, but are in the intimate connection between ourselves and God.

 

When are you tempted to believe you know what is best for you.

 

When are you tempted to strive after what you want instead of asking God for what you need?

 

Where are you turning to God for guidance and direction in your life?

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Practices – Turning to God for Answers

 

Lectio-Divina is a spiritual practice through which we allow ourselves to be open to God’s nourishment, support, guidance and inspiration in our lives. You are invited to apply Lectio-Divina to the above scripture as a way of opening yourself to God.

 

READ the above scripture slowly and prayerfully, looking for a word that jumps out at you. Receive that word or phrase as God’s guidance for you today.

 

MEDITATE on that word or phrase. Chew on it. Take it in. Reflect on what God might be saying to you through this word or phrase.

 

RESPOND to God’s guidance. Through either speaking or writing, express your thoughts and feelings about God’s guidance.

 

BE WITH your meditation experience. Either rest in silence and allow the meditation experience to find a deeper root within you, or carry it with you as you go about your day, allowing it to further inform your life.

 

 

 

Authentic Freedom

 

Sloth is the spiritual compulsion through which we refuse to use the brain God gave us to reason, discern and exercise truth. Sloth arises out of the fear that we do not know our truth or our path and that we do not have access to knowledge of this truth. Sloth causes us to defer to outside perceived authorities/institutions for decisions in our lives and through sloth we are disempowered. Authentic Freedom reminds us that God alone is the foremost source of authority and that we have access to knowledge of our truth and our path through our intimate connection with God. To access knowledge of our truth and our path, we need only turn to God. believe what God is revealing to us, and then act accordingly. The key is remembering that God reveals our truth to us in the time that is in our highest good….and remembering that God’s time is not always our time.

 

Where are you tempted to defer to outside perceived authorities for guidance and direction?

 

When you do turn to God for guidance, what prevents you from acting on that guidance?

 

How can you risk believing what God is revealing to you for the sake of contentment and joy in your life?

 

 

Posted in Discernment, Superheroes

Superhero Report – Shamanic Journey

shaman

Dear Superheroes,

We had a small group last night and it was just what they needed. We participated in a Shamanic Journey through which those in attendance had an opportunity to meet their “Power Animal.”  The Power Animal will later prove to be helpful in discerning Superpowers.

 

If you were unable to make last night’s session, know that you will have another chance. Next Monday, September 29th, we will do another journey.  Those who already met their Power Animal will take the next step by asking their Power Animal a question for discernment.  Those who have not met their  Power Animal, will take their first journey to do so.

 

Looking forward to seeing you all next Monday, September 29th at 6:30 for the Superhero Academy. Please note that a second weekly Superhero Gathering will begin on Tuesdays 9 am – 11 am starting October 7th.  Please share this with others you know who might be available and interested in a daytime gathering.  Please also note that if you have children at home, they are more than welcome to come along.

 

Love,

Lauri

To learn more about the Superhero Academy, click HERE. 

Posted in Agape Project, Discernment, Spiritual Practices, Virtual Church

Discernment – Virtual Church Meditation Supplement

Agape Meditation Newsletter – Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church for Sunday, July 27, 2014

Seventeenth Sunday Ordinary Time

 

Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service

 

Scripture Reading:

The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” Solomon answered: “O LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed my father David; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act. I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?” The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request. So God said to him: “Because you have asked for this— not for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies, but for understanding so that you may know what is right— I do as you requested. I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one to equal you.”Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying:

1 Kings 3: 5, 7-12

 

Additional Readings:

 

Ps 119: 57, 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130

Rom 8: 28-30

Mt 13: 44-52

 

 

Discernment

Discernment is the process through which we distinguish the voice of God from the voice of our false self/ego. In order to enter into discernment, however, like Solomon, we have to acknowledge our humanness and the limitations we have in knowing the path of our highest good. Embracing the position of humility, we acknowledge that we cannot know what is best for ourselves, or in Solomon’s case, what is best for others. When we set aside our own ego, God can step in to guide us. Our job then is to listen, believe and then act. When we act according to Divine guidance, our path unfolds towards our highest good and does so effortlessly. Everything that we need falls into our laps and when it is time to act, we know this beyond the shadow of a doubt. Careful discernment gives us clarity and always leads us along the path of love.

How are you invited to recognize the limitations of your own decision-making and turn instead toward God in discernment?

 

Spiritual Practices – Discernment of Spirits

St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote exhaustively on the topic of discernment. He spoke of discernment as distinguishing good spirits from evil spirits, and described the difference in very physical terms. Ignatius observed a physical and emotional movement or feeling that arose in connection with these spirits. He also used the terms desolation and consolation as the accompanying experience in the face of these contrasting spirits – desolation accompanying evil spirits and consolation accompanying good spirits. The path of our highest good, the path ordained by God provides us with consolation. The path of the ego/false self leaves us in desolation.

This week’s spiritual practice will be an exercise in active contemplation. Throughout the coming week, pay attention to your experiences. As you are moving through your day and making decisions about what to do and where to go, pay attention to your feelings. Also look back on the experiences of the week and observe what you are feeling. Are there situations which leave you with a feeling of desolation – as if you are drained, lifeless, depressed, anxious, feeling constricted or limited? What experiences in contrast leave you feeling fulfilled, energized, peaceful, serene, joyful? Simply pay attention and at the end of the week, make an inventory. What felt life-giving, what felt life-sucking? Simply by paying attention, you have begun the process of discernment.

 

Authentic Freedom

Authentic Freedom is defined as an inner experience of expansiveness, peacefulness, joy, contentment, which leads you toward fulfillment and love. Authentic Freedom is God’s desire for us and the exact life situation which will leave us with this experience is unique to each and every one of us. While there is no pre-destination, God does know the path that is in our highest good and wants to help lead us there. It is through the process of discernment that we come to know what the path is that God knows is in our highest good and which will lead us toward Authentic Freedom. And even when the human experience steps in and interrupts our path, God works it for the good and helps us to find healing and comfort, and when we ask, sets us back on the path.

Where are you experiencing Authentic Freedom in your life? If you are not, how can you begin that process?