Posted in Authentic Freedom, codependency, Empowerment, grief, Healing, Lessons, Spiritual Formation

My Purpose is Love

Finding the new life on the other side of the loss.

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2016 marks the end of a nine year cycle that began in 2007. For me, the theme of this cycle has been about endings – specifically, the end of my marriage and the end of my relationship with the Catholic Church.  Of course, both relationships will never truly be over as there are blood ties to both, but the process of the past nine years has been typical of the grieving process we must all face with every death/ending.  I have felt shock, denial, bargaining, depression, anger, hatred, fear and deep, deep, bone-deep/soul-deep sadness.  I have wandered back and forth between all faces of grief, finding my way through the losses, hoping and trusting (sometimes only hoping and pleading) that the excruciating pain was leading me toward some new life that I did not yet know, but is always promised on the other side of loss (if we believe the Easter promise).

To say these losses were excruciating would be an understatement. Both completely shattered and put into question what I believed my purpose to be on this planet.  I was certain that when I married it would be forever (ahhhh the naiveté of youth!).  I also believed that I would be forever content working in the Catholic Church and that the Church valued my gifts and the call that came with those gifts.  (hah!).

But then, I woke up. I woke up to the illusion of my marriage and my illusion of the Catholic Church.  I woke up, and it all began to fall apart.  Not because my former husband was in the wrong, not because the Church was wrong, but because I discovered what was right for me.  I saw the truth and could not bear living with the lie.  So, my relationship with both had to go.  And I can tell you this was the hardest letting go I have ever had to do.  But, this was only the beginning.

As I let go of one illusion, and then two, many, many, many more presented themselves and implored me for their release. The last two years, in particular, has been characterized by a letting go, the likes of which I have never known.  EVERTHING I thought I knew about myself, everything I had attached myself to, everything I hoped and dreamed of for myself and my children, EVERYTHING had to go.  Or rather, I had to be willing to let it go.  So I did….but not without some resistance.  And when I found myself clinging, the Universe made damn sure I let go, even if what I was clinging to had to be pried from my cold, dead, fingers.

As the end of this nine year cycle approaches I am conscious of all that I have let go and out of the debris of loss, a new life appears to be coming forth. It is a new life that I could never have imagined when this cycle started nine lifetimes ago.  This new life is as simple as it is profound – it is a new life defined by and recognized by one thing….and that is LOVE.

Out of the fear, the worry, anxiousness, hatred, rage, the desire for karmic retribution and some sort of Divine justice, deep bone chilling sadness, emptiness, loneliness, depression and all the ways I desperately wanted to wish and bargain it all away, LOVE is coming forth. Love of myself for who I am.  Love of the journey that brought me here.  Love for those who played their role with such perfection.  Love of all the ways in which I have grown and healed, and become a better version of myself because of the loss and all the ways in which I supported myself (and allowed myself to receive support) through this loss.  LOVE.

But not simply love as an inner experience or quality – LOVE as my own purpose and superpower! Because if there is one thing I have learned through this nine year cycle, every single time I wanted to hate, every time I wanted revenge, every time I wanted to harbor anger and resentment, my SOUL would not let me.  And oh, believe me, I have tried.  Over and over and over again, I was led to learn that LOVE was the only answer to all the pain.  LOVE was the only answer to my own desire to separate.  LOVE was the only remedy to my own inner sense of separation and the only path to FREEDOM.  If I truly wanted to be free, I had no other choice but to love – even when all I wanted to do was hate.  So love it was, love it is, and love it has become.

And now as I sit with this awareness of LOVE as the new life that came forth from two life-altering losses, and as this nine year comes to an end and we enter into a “10” year – a year of new beginnings, I wonder what else love will have me do.

Authentic Freedom is the process that I developed and then used to support myself through my waking up and the resulting loss.  Learn more about the Authentic Freedom Mastery Program through this FREE preview course.  Click on the icon below to register:

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Posted in Being Human, Death, End of the World Prophecies, Freedom, Inspiration, New World, world changes

Welcoming the Darkness

For many I know, including myself, this has been a very trying time. It has been a time of uncertainty, anxiety and fear.  The world “out there” is a disaster.  Natural disasters, pipeline explosions, terrorist bombings, the clown show we used to call our presidential elections, the stock(stark) market is just that….stark, and horror of all horrors, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are getting divorced.

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While the world “out there” grapples with its death, we are wrestling with our own. The death we are facing is not our literal physical death (though that is the struggle for many), it is the death of all that we have known and all that we thought we knew about ourselves.  The old world is dying and the way in which we have functioned in that old world is no longer useful.  More importantly, we cannot be who we were for a world that is no longer because we need to become who we ARE for the new world that is about to arise out of the rubble.

As we are facing the death of self, all our old fears, insecurities, wounds, past hurts, betrayals, etc. are showing themselves. They are showing themselves so as to be witnessed, felt, acknowledged and thanked (yes, I said “thanked”) so that they can MOVE ON.  In order to allow this transition, this “moving on,” we have to BE WITH our darkness.  We need to wallow in it.  We need to bathe in it.  We need to feel the excruciating pain of LACK so that we can finally LET IT GO.  This is not the time for “thinking different thoughts” so that we can rise beyond the SH.T and see it only as light.  This is a time to ACKNOWLEDGE the darkness and BE WITH IT.  Remember, “that which we resist will persist.”  It is the same with our darkness.  If we pretend it’s not there, deny it, ignore it, chant words of affirmation and goodness trying to make it light instead of the dark, dank, moldering, smoldering pile of crap it is, that pile of crap will simply get bigger.

Be with the darkness. Get really pissed off.  Rant, rave, vent, tear your hair out, rip your clothing, break some dishes, be angry.  You earned it!  You have paid long and hard for the work you came here to do.  You’ve suffered.  You’ve been poor.  You’ve been made an outcast, condemned as a witch, ridiculed for the love you came to be in the world.  Welcome the darkness you are feeling now.  Thank it for all it has taught you (compassion, understanding, the desire to help another, humility, mercy, tenderness, love).  And then, let it thank you in return as it departs, itself dying with the “out there” world, along with the role you have played for that dying world.

Then wait. Your new Self is waiting to be born, the Self that will usher you into the new world in which you will be living and your Divine purpose in that new world.

For further support in dark times, read my blog Light Workers, Shadow Workers and Middle-World Workers, and check out my new online course The Dark Goddess in the Bible (click on image below to learn more).

Click on image above to learn more and register
Click on image above to learn more and register

 

Posted in codependency, Relationships

Help for the 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.

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.

Again, I am no expert on this subject, and I hope that shedding light on the Dark Night of the Relationship as a necessary and important stage in the spiritual journey has provided comfort, support and affirmation for those who have experienced or may be facing this stage in their own committed relationship.  While the Dark Night of the Relationship is a painful part of our spiritual journey, the promise for those who survive it is a new life that is nurturing, supportive and free.

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 online course, “Happily Ever After.”  Click on the image below to learn more.   (P.S. It’s cheaper than counseling or a dating service!)

Register HERE
Register HERE
Posted in Midlife Journey, Relationships

Midlife Crisis and Affairs?

Midlife crisis and affairs????  I’m NOT touching that one with a ten-foot pole!  😉  All we need to know is that affairs are a symptom and not the cause.  If you or your partner is/has had an emotional or sexual affair, there are deeper issues afoot.  If you think the relationship has to end because of an affair – you are wrong.  Yes, there is betrayal and grief.  (For support with forgiveness practices, click HERE and follow the respective links.) And yes, you need to grieve and work toward releasing the betrayal….but the affair is not the cause of your relationship issues, the issues that led to the affair are the cause.  Confront these issues first, then see if the marriage needs to dissolve.

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For some couples, the affair becomes the catalyst that forces them to confront the unresolved issues in their relationship – communication issues, temperament differences, unmet needs, ungrieved losses and disappointments, etc.  Once these issues are resolved, some couples rediscover their love for each other and come together to negotiate a new and healthier relationship and both parties are better for the journey.

Of course, some couples are unable to resolve these issues and it becomes apparent that divorce is in the highest good for all involved.  Other couples discover that perhaps they never should have gotten married in the first place and are happy to part ways.  The moral of the story is that affairs (emotional, imaginal or sexual) sometimes happen.  Sometimes they end up facilitating healthy and positive change in a relationship.  Sometimes they are the harbinger of doom.  Either way…find out the root of the affair first, then decide what you want to do about it.

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.

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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 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 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.

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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

Posted in Being Human, Lessons, Spiritual Practices

Divorce, a Matter of Integrity? And…Cultivating Availability

Today’s blog explores the primary component of healthy relationship.  And Jesus’ teachings on divorce.

Scary Gospels

This past Sunday contains the set of scripture readings that I think every pastor must dread – those scary readings on divorce.  How can one speak to these readings from a place of integrity and compassion knowing that over 50% of the people you are preaching to have probably been through a divorce themselves?  Years ago, I heard one brilliant preacher (a woman, and a Catholic nun) respond to these readings with the following:

Sometimes divorce is  a matter of integrity.

Brilliant!  Let’s face it.   Divorce is real, it is often necessary and often it is in the highest good of all involved.  If this is so, how can we understand these readings on divorce, especially the words that have been attibuted to Jesus.  (Here’s the LINK to the readings if you want to read them for yourself.)  As I prayed with these scriptures, I discovered the answer, hidden in plain sight.

What God Has Joined Together

Here are the words from Sunday’s gospel that revealed the hidden answer:

…and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate.

As I read this, our goal in relationship is to be open to and take the time to discern if the relationship we are considering making permananent is indeed joined together by God.  If we believe that God’s desire is always for our highest good, then we can presume that this would be true in our intimate relationships as well.  God wants what is best for us and therefore, recognizes the person that would reflect that highest good for us and we in return for them.  The challenge is that we rarely (if ever) take the time to discern if the person we are with and considering making a permanent part of our life is indeed reflective of that highest good.  But how in the heck do we discern this in the first place considering the complexity of human relationships, fate, karma, etc.?  I believe there is a one-word answer to this question and that is AVAILABILITY.

Availability

We hear a lot in today’s writings on relationship about unavailable men and unavailable women and those who are prone to attracting these unavailable people into their lives.  This unavailability is the cause of most suffering and pain in relationship.  The remedy to this unavailability is to BECOME available and to SEEK availability in the other.  In my Agape’ Meditation Newsletter from last week, I said the following about availability and how it relates to Jesus’ thoughts on marriage:

A relationship joined together by God occurs between two people who 1) know themselves 2) know God and 3) who through knowledge of God and self know how to be available to the other.   While a relationship entered into during our youth may evolve into a relationship such as this, unless both parties do the work, this would indeed be rare. 

In this reading on divorce, Jesus challenges us to a new standard of marriage—one that is grounded in self-knowledge, mutual honor, respect and support and one that reflects the love God has for us and the love we know within ourselves.  A marriage such as this occurs between two people who are available to themselves first—knowing their gifts, their weaknesses, their passions and their joys and who are able to identify and claim their needs.  Availability to the other comes second in our willingness to be vulnerable, to seek inside for the cause of the human compulsions that sometimes cause us to hurt the other, the willingness to admit these weaknesses, ask for help and say we are sorry.  Above all, we love and honor each other in our humanness, support each other in our needs and work together for the common good.  Not all people are willing to do the work of being available to self, then available to the other.  It is here where divorce is of integrity.

The work of availability starts with us.  We have to first cultivate availability within ourselves before we can expect it from another and as we grow in availability, so increases the chances of us drawing available people into our lives.  And…this benefits us not only in our intimate partnerships, but in all of our relationships.  Below are some questions that you can ask yourself as you begin to cultivate or desire to deepen availability in your own life:

  • Are you taking time everyday to be available to self in connection with God (meditation, prayer, contemplation, any form of spiritual practice)?

  • Have you taken time to know yourself– your gifts, your weaknesses, your fears, your unhealed wounds (rejection, betrayal, loss, disappointment) your personal triggers for: anger, frustration, disappointment, impatience, lashing out?

  • How are you at honoring all that exists within you?  Do you love yourself without condition?

  • When you find yourself in a less than peaceful and loving state (when you are angry, frustrated, find yourself indulging in unhealthy or destructive behavior) how do you go about identifying its cause and seeking healing and release for that cause?

  • Do you know your needs and how are you at claiming them for yourself and for others?  How are you at setting healthy boundaries around your right to have your needs met?

  • When you are in relationship with another, how are you taking time to get to know them—their gifts, their weaknesses, their fears, their joys, passions, sorrows, vulnerabilities?

  • When you intentionally or inadvertently hurt another, how are you at taking time to identify the unhealed wound within yourself that caused this behavior?  How are you at working toward healing that wound?  How are you at admitting this vulnerability to the other and saying that you are sorry for your hurtful behavior?

Lauri Lumby

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Being Human, Inspiration, Spiritual Practices, temptation

Facing the Scariest Things

Sometimes there is no amount of healing, processing, meditation or prayer that will help us make it through the scariest things in life.  In these situations, the only thing we can do is JUMP IN and hope for the best.

The Supports that Help Most of the Time….but not Always

I have spent the past many years of my life helping people to live a more peaceful and fulfilling life.  Clients and students seek my support in helping them to identify the fears that are standing in the way of contentment and joy in their lives and for the tools to help them move through these fears.  While process work and spiritual practices go a long way in helping us to achieve the fulfillment of our desires;  there are some things that are just so scary that no amount of process work or meditation is going to help us move through them.  These are the situations in our lives when we have to jump in and do it regardless of how terrifying it might be.

Taking the Leap

Skydiving is one of those situations.  In preparation for a dive, skydivers learn about all the ways they could die and about all the precautions they must take to prevent otherwise certain death.  Regardless of all this learning and preparation, however, when you are staring out of the door of a plane and looking at the earth 10,000 feet below you, you are going to be terrified.  There are no meditation or mindfulness practices that are going to save you from the blood curdling fear that is now coursing through your veins.  The only answer to this fear…..is to jump.  And then, pray like heck that the parachute actually opens.

Applying for a Job

Applying for a job is like that.  We come to the door with our past experiences, humiliations, hopes, dreams, fears in hand.  And again, no  amount of processing, meditation or prayer is going to help us get to the door.  We have to leave our house.  Get in the car.  Put the key into the ignition.  Drive.  AND…get out of the car and apply for the job.

The Danger of Love

And perhaps the scariest of them all….falling in love.  We show up at the door of our new possibilities with the baggage of all our past relationships – our past hurts, betrayals, disappointments and all the ways in which our heart has been broken.  Beside that luggage is the valise which contains our hopes, our dreams, our expectations and our desires.  And beside that, the carry-on of all our human frailties, our imperfections, our compulsions and our fears.  In the face of new love, there is no amount of processing our past hurts, healing our old wounds or letting go of our attachment to outcomes that will ensure that this love will last, let alone work at all.  There is no amount of meditation or prayer that will insure that this love will be the perfect love.  instead, it is as the poet, David Whyte reminds, “Every love is an unrequited love.”  As such, we have no choice but to jump in.  Try it on.  See what happens.  Take a risk.  Knowing that in all likelihood, here too we will be hurt, betrayed, disappointed and that our heart will be broken – perhaps a million times.

With Risk Comes Reward

Whether contemplating skydiving, seeking a new job, leaving a marriage, trying a new relationship or becoming a parent the most dangerous temptation is to avoid these things all together.  We are tempted to allow the fears to prevent us from taking the risk.  When we avoid risks however, we also miss out on the rewards.  While all of these are the scariest things, the benefits are so enormous that regardless of how scary we all know them to be….we keep doing it.  We willingly jump out of planes for entertainment.  We have children.  We accept a new job.  We fall in love.  And the reason we do this is because on some level we know that the benefits far outweight the costs.  And with that I will leave you with a poem that I wrote about taking such a risk.

Be willing to have your heart broken by love.

Be courageous enough to love, knowing that:

You will be imperfect in it.

You will trip and you will fall.

You will disappoint and be disappointed.

Your heart will be broken

And you will break another’s heart.

But

For what other reason could you be here but to love

And to know love in return?

And finally, the YouTube link to my favorite song from my favorite movie about taking the risk:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgcIpKL86Jk

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Inspiration

God in Priest’s Clothing and other Miracles

In today’s blog I share with you the TRUTH of miracles and how many times they come when we least expect them and in the most unexpected packaging.

The Week in Miracles

This has been the week of miracles.  It all began with the meeting of my self-appointed Board of Directors and me getting out of my Catholic-agenda, ego-driven way to allow the Holy Spirit to breath universal life into my vision and my mission.  The next miracle came in the form of a BOOK – Alephby Paulo Coelho.  It is the story of an author who is stuck spiritually and professionally and his teacher “J” tells him to step out of his comfort zone and to take his show on the road.  BOING….right between the eyes I got that one.   The third miracle showed up as I was struggling to GET OUT of the COMPULSIVE grieving I was still being plagued with regarding the loss of love.  In swoops my angel and teacher, Julie Tallard Johnson with a link  to David Whyte’s upcoming release, When the Heart Breaks – a journey through requited and unrequited love.  When I read the liner notes, I started bawling and didn’t stop until I slept.  I wept, not only over the loss of love, but more so, over Julie’s gift of hearing the truth beyond my words and responding in generous compassion.  I felt humbled, grateful, held in love.  I love you Julie!  Then came the night of dreams……beautiful, magnificent, generous dreams of love.  I awakened with a HUGE layer of grief shed along with a newfound hope and the restoration of my belief that love is possible.

In Walks the Priest

Then came the priest.  I have not hidden the fact that my relationship with the Catholic Church has been troubling.  There are things I passionately adore about the tradition in which I was raised and there are things that tear at my heart and compel me to speak out in frustration and sometimes rage.  The greatest challenge since I left professional work in the Church has been to find my place in a Church that doesn’t seem to want me, but from which I can’t seem to leave.  (Yep, I see the pattern here!)   But, before I tell you the story of this priest, I have to share my history of how God, at major crossroads in my life always seems to send a priest.

God in Priest’s Clothing

I have had the fabulous experience of knowing many great and wonderful priests in my life.  Attending Catholic schools probably increased the probability of this…..but regardless, I am grateful for all the priests who have played a significant role in my life.  In particular – Fr. Jeff Vanden Heuvel for being the voice of God that called me into active ministry formation in the first place and the unknown priest who kept me on the path.  Back in 1990 something, upon Fr. Jeff’s invitation, I was attending training to become an RCIA facilitator for the Newman Center.  I was attending one of the lectures when one of those crossroads came up and slapped me in the face.  The lecturer began to tell us that if we had an RCIA candidate who was living with their boy/girl friend without being married, that we were to expel them from the program and deny them entrance into the Catholic Church.  Being the disobedient brat and sh…t disturber that I am, I immediately stood up and challenged the lecturer.  “Jesus said, ‘judge not lest ye be judged.  Who are we to judge another person’s behavior and therefore, who are we to deny them the sacraments?  Isn’t that God’s job…not ours?”  I was essentially told to sit down, shut up, and do what I was told.  I left the lecture certain that if this is what I was being asked to do, I could not continue this training and could not minister in a Church that insisted on denying the sacraments.  I was frightened, devastated and heart-broken.  “God, how can I do this with integrity when these rules go against every fiber of my being and against how I believe Jesus would respond?”  The answer came in the form of a priest.  As I was walking the path having my internal discussion with God, a man ran up to me on the path and tugged at my sleeve.  “Excuse me.  I was in that lecture with you and heard what you said.  I am a priest, so I could not respond in front of the group.  But I have to tell you, you are right and they are wrong.  It is not our place to judge and it certainly not our place to deny the sacraments.  We cannot know how God works in the hearts of people.  Honor what God has shown you in your heart and please don’t leave.  The Church needs more women like you.”  And then he ran off.  Needless to say, I continued my training and went on to lead the RCIA for eight years and used that formation to craft my own curriculum in Adult Spiritual Formation.

Yesterday’s Priest

Then came yesterday’s priest.  If this time in my life is not a crossroad, I don’t know what is!  It is not a secret the struggle the past two years have been between a divorce, trying to make a living in secular ministry, raising two kids through divorce, falling in love, having my heart-broken, and still trying to make a living in secular ministry.  Everyday I ask the question, “Is today the day I throw my hands up in surrender and get a ‘real’ job?”  This time,  the answer showed up in the form of a priest.  This priest shows up, sits down in my office and as soon as he sits down, I start to well up with tears.  I felt something BIG was about to happen.  For the next two hours we talked and shared and stumbled through our similar stories of adoration and frustration, trying to find our mutual places in a very human Church.  At the end of our time together, I felt as if we had both found affirmation, validation, support and a new companion on this strange journey of ministry.  I cannot say the graces that he received, but for me, I felt renewed, refreshed and strengthened enough to continue this ministerial journey in faith. I also received validation for a bold ministry step that has recently entered my bowl of discernment.  All in all, I felt gratitude and wonder at how God showed up today in priest’s clothing and I considered this to be nothing less than miraculous.

Who are the people who have been the voice of God for you in your own path?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com