Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Gifts of Contemplation, Healing, Initiation, Midlife Journey, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Practices

Spiritual Healing for our Addictions – Retreat Invitation

Dear Readers,

balanceI am writing to extend to you an invitation.  For the past 14 days, I have been engaged in a 30-day “in the world” spiritual healing retreat.  Through this self-imposed spiritual healing retreat, I am discovering profound insight and experiencing dramatic transformation while unraveling from a series of pesky compulsive behaviors (dare I say, addictions). Thanks in part to this spiritual healing retreat (with a healthy dose of GRACE), the world as I have known it and as I have defined it has literally shifted poles.  (Just check out my new website design to get an idea!)

I am inviting you, if you feel so called, to design a 30-day, “in the world” spiritual healing retreat of your own.  (I am calling this an “in the world” retreat because you aren’t going anywhere but staying present to your everyday life.) Here is how it works:

1) Identify your most pervasive compulsive behaviors/addictions (tv watching, eating, shopping, drinking for comfort, excessive worry, distractions such as Facebook, checking emails more than twice a day, etc.).

2) Meditate on the underlying emotions that may be driving these behaviors/addictions (loneliness, boredom, jealousy, impatience, resentment, hatred, grief, depressions, anxiety, etc.).

3) Choose for the next 30 days to avoid the compulsive behaviors/addictions and instead, to allow yourself to FEEL the underlying emotions.   Every time you feel compelled to indulge in one of your compulsive behaviors, choose instead to BE WITH and FEEL the underlying emotions.  Allow these emotions to speak to you.  They are there because they have something to say to you and are seeking your loving attention and care.  Allow yourself to be a loving attendant to these feelings and SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

4) Keep a journal/diary dedicated to this retreat.  Write what the underlying emotions are saying to you.  Record your thoughts and reflections on this.  Observe and record any changes that begin to happen in your life because you are tending to these underlying emotions instead of medicating them with your compulsive behaviors.

5) If you feel called to be in community with others through this journey, please join us on the “Contemplatives and Mystics” site on Facebook.  You will have to send a request to be invited, and once your request is activated, you will be able to share your thoughts, reflections, etc. from the retreat.  Please keep comments accepting and loving, affirming and positive.  We are here to support each other in the journey to our Soul’s birth.  🙂

6) If you find you need additional support as you move through this process or find things showing up that need additional care, please seek the support of a Spiritual Director, Therapist or Loving Friend.  (PS I am available as a source of professional support, but this is not intended as a solicitation…just a reminder).

If you decide to participate in this retreat, you can RSVP to this site in the comment section below. This serves two purposes

  • Stating your intention publicly makes it real and helps you to remain accountable.
  • Let’s other participants keep you in their loving prayers and support as you move through the retreat.

Thank you to those who say yes to this invitation….more importantly, YOUR SOUL says THANK YOU!  😉

Ok…..for those ready to dive in….On your mark…..get set……GO!

And, as one of my teachers always says, “May peace be your journey!”


Lauri Lumby, Midwife to your Soul

(920) 230-1313

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Enneagram, Lessons

Embracing Temperance

Today’s blog continues the discussion on “Holding the Tension,” specifically, how to create balance in our lives and not being driven by the sometimes chaotic drive of our emotions while still allowing ourselves to feel.

Hidden in the Cards

Yesterday unexpectedly became a LAURI DAY for me. I completed the tasks I had planned for the day by 10am and then I had nothing to do and no kids in the house to please.  So, I embraced this as a time to read, reflect, rest, ritualize.  One of the choices I made that fell into the ritualize and reflect quadrant was to pull a card from my inspirational card deck.  The card I pulled was TEMPERANCE.  Traditionally, we think of temperance from a material perspective – not overindulging, taking only what we need and nothing more, sharing with others.  In the past two years, I have had NO CHOICE but to live from a place of temperance materially.  So, the meaning of this card had to be mental, emotional or spiritual.  It turns out that for me, the invitation to embrace temperance covered all three.

Emotional Intelligence

A little background:  As a recovering perfectionist, a Type 1 on the Enneagram, emotional intelligence is something that I have had to learn.  When rooted in my compulsion (as most of us are until we begin the journey of self-awareness), I had to be perfect.  Perfect meant being Mary Poppins – not showing emotion, being impeccably dressed in Talbot’s conservativism, collars buttoned up tight, shoes laced up to the knees.  To the world, I had to be put together and unflappable.  The only threat to this unflappable Lauri was the on-going tide and swirling current of chaotic emotions that were tumbling around beneath my stoic exterior.  The only way I knew how to survive the chaos within was to IGNORE IT.  The problem with ignoring emotions is that our Inner Spirit, our Inner Truth needs to be experienced, needs to be made known and when we ignore who we really are, when we ignore our truth, we feel RESENTMENT and ANGER.  As such, these were the only two feelings I really knew and as a perfectionist, the WORST thing you can feel or be is angry.  Now throw some shame and guilt on top of that messy pile of emotions and all you get it YUK!

Learning by Feeling

In perfect universal timing, the following showed up in my email box this morning as a reminder of the journey toward emotional intelligence for the Perfectionist/Reformer/Type 1:

The overall keynote of Ones is objectivity.
Ones attempt to be objective, rational, and fair-minded and to be unmoved by
personal desires or private passions that would interfere with their obligation
to meet their own standards. Notice today when you are being overly objective.
(Understanding the Enneagram, 132)

As these words remind, part of my growth journey (and the journey for many) has been to let go of these standards of rigidity and embrace the swirling chaos of emotions that flows beneath the icy surface of my temperament.  Since the birth of my children, the journey toward emotional intelligence has been my focus (not necessarily by choice, mind you!) –  learning to FEEL, ACCEPT, BE OK with what I was feeling, when I was feeling it.  I had to learn to feel joy, happiness, love.  I also had to learn how to feel the pain of loss, disappointment, grief, betrayal.  And I had to learn the source of all the resentment that was locked up in my body and I had to be ok with anger. In contemporary terms, I had to embrace my inner Kat Von D.  Not a journey for the faint of heart…..but necessary and valuable.  I would say I’m maybe 75% along the path of emotional intelligence (if we can even measure this) and at this point, I can say it has been totally worth it.  I don’t think I’d be able to do the work I do or write what I write if I wasn’t comfortable with the sea of emotions that flow through my consciousness….and that I suspect flows through yours as well.

The Catch 22 and Temperance

But, there is a Catch 22 to this discovery and acceptance of our emotions.  That is the temptation to get swept up, carried away and controlled by our emotions.  When we are too attentive to our emotions, especially those that might be rooted in fear, it is difficult not to react to them.  For me, this reacting to my emotions presents itself through compulsive behaviors:  spending time on meaningless, non-productive activities rather than doing the tasks that really need my attention, spending too much time on emails, Facebook, chat sites, worrying and fretting about things over which I have no control, seeking for “surety and security” in an unsafe world.  This is where my self-appointed Board of Directors’ wisdom comes in handy:  HOLD THE TENSION.  (for more on that, see Monday’s blog!).  Instead of reacting to my fearful, anxiety-ridden, worrisome emotions, I am invited to SIT WITH THEM….FEEL THEM….ACCEPT THEM…EMBRACE THEM.  Instead of running to compulsive behaviors as a way to fix, eradicate or solve an emotion….I am asked to BE WITH the emotion and ALLOW IT.  This, I believe, is the definition of TEMPERANCE and a great reminder for me today as I face a weekend of non-activity.  There is nothing I have to do….fix….or heal.  I can simply be……happiness, joy, contentment, anxiety, worry, fear and all and everything will be ok.

How comfortable are you with your emotions?

Where do you find yourself tempted to react to your fear-based emotions?

How might you practice Temperance today?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

Posted in Being Human, Healing

The Fine Line between aVoidance, Vulnerability and Victim

Today we explore the tenderness of our human emotions and how we choose to respond to them.  Do we avoid, fall into the role of victim or are we able to be open to our vulnerability?

Exploring Defense Mechanisms

I had breakfast with a friend/colleague yesterday morning and she shared how much she enjoyed Wednesday’s blog on the Warrior.  We discussed the various defense mechanisms that we have at our disposal – the warrior, the perfectionist, the performer, the glutton, the miser, the suffering servant and the victim (just to name a few).  The victim became the point of conversation as we explored the ways that we as human beings deal with our tender emotions.

The energy of emotions

There are times in each and every one of our lives where we are struck by the tender human emotions of sadness, loneliness, rejection and loss.  These are the emotions that make us feel weak, vulnerable and sometimes afraid.  When these emotions arise within us, there is an energy to them that is palpable – we can feel it.  This is natural, healthy and a normal part of life.  Emotions are neither good nor bad…they simply are.  The problem is that for most of us, we were not given permission to feel these emotions, neither were we given effective tools for dealing with these soft and tender feelings.

Responding to our emotions

For those who were given permission and a safe place to feel these emotions, along with healthy tools for dealing with them, these tender emotions are just a part of life.  They are not threatening, dangerous or scary.  The ideal way to move through these tender emotions is exactly this  – to allow ourselves to acknowledge these feelings, give ourselves the time and space to be present to them and in doing so, this allows the emotion to move through us, finding healing and release.  This is how we can allow ourselves to be present to our inherent vulnerability as human beings.   Unfortunately, this healthy path is often the road less traveled.  Instead, we choose between one of two responses to this inherent vulnerability – either we avoid the emotion or we fall into victim.


Avoidance is when we ignore, repress, stuff the vulnerable feelings as they arise.  Typically, this is done by seeking out distractions that will keep us from having to pay attention to the feelings arising within us.  We find activities that will keep us from recognizing our deeper feelings – we watch tv, go to the bar, take on a video game, call a friend to gossip, go shopping etc.  While avoidance in the form of denial is a natural part of the grieving process, it only serves to delay the inevitable.  Eventually, we will need to acknowledge and deal with those tender emotions.  Unfortunately, the longer we avoid our sadness, our loneliness, rejection, etc, the bigger it gets.  So when we finally give ourselves permission or are forced into to doing so (because now we are depressed or suffering with anxiety attacks, panic or physical symptoms such as fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, etc.), those vulnerable emotions are bigger than they need to be.


Falling into victim could be considered the dark side of dealing with our human emotions.  Instead of acknowledging our tender emotions and allowing them to move through us, we grab onto them, draw us into ourselves and feed on them like a vampire on its victims.  Falling into the victim allows us to gather all the badness we are feeling to our selves, nurture the bad feelings and watch them grow.   Embracing the victim allows us to remain stuck and stranded in our pain and prevents from healing and moving forward.  Being the victim also allows us to avoid taking responsibility for the growth that could have occurred through the loss or to recognize and heal our own behaviors that may have contributed to the sadness, etc.  The victim is the one that says, “WOE IS ME…I AM DOOMED…Nobody loves me, everybody hates me …I’m gonna eat some worms.”  We all know this victim and quite frankly he/she is not very attractive.  But lest we be tempted to judge the victim, again we are invited to simply recognize her for who she is and hold her in her own vulnerability so that she can gain the courage she needs to let go of the emotions that are feeding her victimhood.

Moving is the answer

So I guess the fine line between aVoidance, Vulnerability and Victim lies in movement.  Avoidance and Victim allow us to stay stuck and prevent our healing from taking place.  Being open to our vulnerability, staying present to it and allowing it to move through us is how real healing can take place.

Who do you want to respond to your vulnerability?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries