Well, the government shutdown has come to an end and the debt ceiling temporarily released. Do not, however, let this band-aid approach to the issues fool you. We are not out of hot water folks! We are still plagued with the issues of a bi-partisan government, mostly controlled by special interest groups who have their own interests in mind, not the interest of the common good. Our founding fathers established a representative government whose job was to work for the interest of the common good. This model has been destroyed from the inside by the corporate greedy who have paid to put their puppets in office. Granted, not all Senators or Congressmen are guilty of this, but the vast majority are, which leaves those with noble intentions powerless.
What does any of this have to do with the mission of birthing our Souls? Quite frankly, it has everything to do with it. When we remain silent to our own gifts, our call to be loving, compassionate and peaceful people, the structures outside of us reflect our own arrested development. When we ignore the voice of our truth, suppress our uniquely creative gifts, deny the force within us that seeks fulfillment and joy, we enable a world where we are silenced, suppressed and oppressed, and we are vulnerable to the power structures which capitalize on the inner fears that keep us imprisoned. In the end, we have no one to blame but ourselves for the current mess we are facing in our government, our economy, our medical structures, education, etc. etc. etc. When our economy crashes, which is where things are heading, and we are tempted to point fingers at the government officials and corporate power mongers, we might want to look in the mirror instead. WE are the ones who put these people in power by remaining silent, by giving into the status quo instead of mustering up the courage to cultivate our own souls which in turn cultivates a culture with soul instead of the soulless culture we are now living in. Yes, my words today might appear harsh to some, but desperate times calls for desperate measures. What do YOU want to do about it? Nothing will change and we will continue plummeting toward destruction until YOU do something about it.
1) Start with yourself. Who are you and what do you want out of this life? More importantly, what does your SOUL want? What are the fears standing in the way of birthing your soul? Seek tools to help you move through these fears. Finding peace within yourself contributes to a peaceful world. Find a mindfulness practice that helps you to cultivate this inner state of peace.
2) Take time to listen to your Soul. Hear what it has to say to you. YOU have been uniquely gifted to find meaning, purpose and connection in your life and to work for the betterment of our world. THE WORLD NEEDS YOU and your gifts.
3) Seek support. Gather your friends. Support each other’s dreams. Empower the use of your unique gifts. Enjoy the freedom of gifts unleashed and fulfillment realized.
4) LOOK for the people, organizations, communities you are called to serve. Who needs your gifts? How will the world be made better with your gifts? Do what you are called to do. Be who you are called to be.
5) AND VOTE with your voice, your hands, your feet and most importantly, your heart. What kind of world do you want to leave for your children? A world controlled by fear and under the command of the greedy few or a world where we live in peaceful harmony, where the needs of the all are considered and fulfilled and where every single man, woman and child is honored as a sacred child of God?
A message on the strange times we are in and on the hope of birthing a new world. I dedicate this to my children and the other young people who will ultimately bear the consequences of this current transition.
These are strange times with all the conflicts going on in our world, most obviously the failure of the US government to do its job, thereby forcing a shutdown. In addition to these outward signs, people have been sharing with me, personal feelings and experiences of disproportionate anxiety, depression, restlessness, impatience, anger, rage and the feeling as if their world is in a complete state of chaos and overwhelm. I heard it described as if we are riding a rollercoaster of unexpected and unpleasant (for many) happenings. The people who might call themselves sensitives, or just plain “spiritual” seem to be feeling all of this even more acutely. As spiritual people, we are compelled to wonder, “What does this all mean, what is the purpose in all of this and what can we learn?”
In a nutshell, what we are experiencing is the death throes of the hierarchical and patriarchal cultural and sociological paradigm in which we have been imprisoned for the past 5 – 10, 0000 years. If any of you have ever witnessed a death, you know what that looks like – extreme anxiety, depression, restlessness, bursts of anger and impatience, physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual discomfort. This is ultimately what we are experiencing both on an individual and collective level. Hierarchy and Patriarchy, and every structure built upon these models of leadership are coming to an end. And, those invested in these kinds of power structures are desperately clinging to the life they have known and are resisting the release of what has, up until now, given them the false sense of power and control. As the shields, which have carefully guarded government and corporate structures founded on corruption and greed, are falling away, the American people (and the world) is saying, “ENOUGH!” Our job, in the midst of this, is to let the old order self-destruct (which it is doing at a rapidly increasing rate) and be ready to step in to re-create a world that is based in something more life giving.
How to Manage the Dismantling
As I see it, there are two levels to this dismantling: 1) One that is personal and 2) one that is collective. Here is how we can support this dismantling, both within ourselves and within the world around us.
1) Personally: For each of us personally, the dismantling is about undoing the parts within us that are ruled and manipulated by fear. It is about identifying the parts of ourselves which are feeling anxious, depressed, restless, angry, sorrowful and which might even be experiencing these sensations physically. In short, our fearful/egoic self is dying, right along with the fearful/egoic parts of our culture. A portion of this personal dismantling also includes a life-review of sorts. All those unhealed wounds within us or things we have suppressed or ignored seem to be finding their way to the surface in order that they may be named, healed and released. The simple formula for participating in this dismantling is to imagine your fearful/egoic self as a separate individual. Visualize this part of you and HOLD IT in love and compassion. Thank it for enduring the suffering of the human condition and project thoughts of healing and release to all it has carried for you so that it may ascend to a place of peace.
2) Collectively: For the world, the dismantling is the same – allowing the fearful/egoic parts of our human community to die. And, the practice is the same. HOLD the world in love. THANK it for bearing the suffering it has born for the sake of our fear. Project thoughts of healing and release to the broken, fearful, hurting and wounded parts of our world so that they too might ascend to a peaceful place.
This part of my message is specific to those who have identified themselves as healers, lightworkers, lightwarriors, Indigos, Crystals, peacemakers, lovers, etc. Whatever name you call yourself, you have been aware of a special call within you to be a vessel of love and healing in this world. You have a special job. Because of the gifts you have been given, you are especially skilled in transforming fear into love, ignorance into wisdom, confusion into insight, hatred into compassion. You all have your own unique way of bringing love into the world, you are now called to step forward and do what you know you have been called to do. Additionally, I have heard many rumblings about the healers coming together. I’m not sure, exactly, what that means, but let that invitation ring in your heart and guide you toward what that might mean for you.
Way showers and Pioneers Get Ready
And, now is the time for the way showers and pioneers, the millenials, post-moderns, Gen-X’ers and Gen-y’ers to GET READY! As the outgoing power-hungry hoards have accused you of being “slackers,” (which we all know has never been true!) this is YOUR TIME to shine!!! You were born with the knowledge of what the new world needs to look like, and you were born with the vision, gifts and passions to make that happen. Of course, the old regime first needs to fall away. But GET READY….because the new world is YOUR world and will be crafted by your hands, your vision, your wisdom and most importantly, your compassion. You are the most loving and compassionate generation yet to be born on this planet and as the old world falls, you will be the ones bringing the new world to life! Get ready….your time is very, very near.
A Vision of the New World
Of course, no one can predict exactly what the new world will look like, especially since it will be the generations behind me (at 48) who will grow the roots of the new world. For my generation, we are merely the seed planters and the bridge. My sense is that the new world will look nothing like what we have previously known. The new world, will not be ruled by fear or power over, but by love and cooperative collaboration. Perceived separations will fall away and we will come to see how we are ONE, while honoring what is unique and special among us. We will learn to be STEWARDS of our planet, not rapists. We will honor the planet for the gifts it gives us and we will treat her with gentleness and kindness. We will learn to grow crops organically and without harmful and deadly chemicals, and we will see that there is enough to feed every mouth on this planet when we emphasize the growth of living foods. In a spirit of unity, we will ensure that every person is fed, housed, clothed, kept safe, provided with adequate medical care and a quality education. We will honor cultural differences, while finding the love between us. The world will be governed by peace, harmony, love and compassion. We will learn that when we come together in love, there is enough, all of our needs are met in abundance, we will find our own unique gifts and discover meaning and purpose in sharing these gifts for the on-going betterment of the world, we will find support for who we are, we will know love, the value of honoring our own truth as well as the truth of others, we will find direction in wisdom instead of fear and we will discover that we are never alone. Too big of an order? I don’t think so. In short, we will discover the kingdom of God among us and we will walk in peace.
My prayers and blessings to you as we witness the death of what has been, in anticipation of the birth of love.
Today’s blog concludes the discussion on the recent government shutdown. Examining our government’s (senators, congressmen and President Obama are all culpable in this mess!) complete failure at the job WE hired them to do, we acknowledge that if we want things to change, first we have to change ourselves. Yesterday’s blog examined the beginning stages of HOW we might begin to change and today’s blog concludes that discussion with a process for healing the fears that keep us imprisoned within ourselves and therefore by the powerful and wealthy few.
Suspend Your Disbelief
As my friend, Ted Balser (watch Monday for his debut column on this site, Ted and His Friends – Midlife Advice for the Slow White Male) often observes, “In order to grow and change, we must first suspend our disbelief.” This is especially true of the personal development process that helps us to transcend our fears so that we are no longer imprisoned within and no longer able to be manipulated and controlled by the underdeveloped, so-called powerful outside of us. True power comes from within and it is in naming and claiming this power that we find true, authentic, freedom. While we may not be able to find scientific proof to verify the truths that will secure our personal power, thereby allowing us to transcend our fears, thousands of years of spiritual teachings (across traditions) and indigeneous cultural practices uphold the validity of these truths.
Finding Our Power
In my book, Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy,I reveal, what I call, the seven core spiritual truths that we are invited to embrace in the process of ensuring our inner freedom and claiming our personal power, which when embraced, help us to transcend the seven core fears of the human condition (See yesterday’s blog for more on these fears). If we had grown up in a culture where sound, personal development practices had been cultivated since childhood, we might already hold these beliefs. Unfortunately, we live in a culture where human development only happens by accident…if at all, the result of which is collective arrested development (See Nature and the Human Soul by Bill Plotkin for more on this topic). Sadly, most of American culture (especially those in positions of perceived power) has not development emotionally, mentally, psychologically or spiritually past the age of 12. We do, however have the power to change this.
Transcending Fear through the Seven Spiritual Truths
Again, embracing these fears requires us to suspend our disbelief, thereby taking a leap of faith. In short, these truths cannot be measured through empirical studies, because in truth, these are truths that lay deep within us and have nothing to do with the outward circumstances of our lives. When we identify that a fear has arisen in us and then employ appropriate mindfulness based practices, the fear is transcended and we rest in the contentment of one of the following universal spiritual truths:
There is enough. All of my need are being abundantly met.
I am uniquely and creatively gifted to assist in making the world a better, more peaceful and more loving place.
I can be my most authentic self and there is nothing outside of me that can prevent me from doing this.
I am not only loved, but am the very nature of love itself.
I am free to hear, listen and give expression to my truth.
I know my truth and the path of my highest good and I will discover this in a time that is perfectly aligned with my own highest good.
I am not alone.
When we rest in the knowledge of these truths, we experience love, contentment and joy and we are able to become our most authentic and inwardly powerful self. In transcending our fears, we are changing ourselves which then empowers us to facilitate change in our world.
Lauri Ann Lumby works with people one-on-one in cultivating the practices of Authentic Freedom which empowers people to transcend their fears and to find a life of meaning, purpose and fulfillment through which they help to support the betterment of the world. To explore Authentic Freedom mentoring for yourself, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (920) 230-1313.
The tools for personal change that I will share with you today are NOT just some pie in the sky idealism preached by vagrant prophets from far-off lands. While the following tools have been tried, tested and proven to be effective by thousands of years of yoga practitioners, mystics and ascetics, we NOW have the proof of science to verify what contemplative men and women have known all along, mindfulness based practices:
decrease anxiety, fear and stress
increase physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing
decrease violent behaviors
help us to cultivate empathy and compassion – the building blocks of healthy communication and harmonious interpersonal relationships, and communities.
STEP ONE – Seek out a mindfulness practice that works for you!
There are as many forms of mindfulness based practices as there are fish in the sea! A Zen-inspired sit works for some, but not for all. Mantra or Kirtan brings some to a state of inner quiet…but it isn’t for everyone. A rosary or string of meditation beads may help some to focus, but others will need something more engaging. Take comfort in knowing that if you haven’t yet found your meditation style, keep looking, there is sure to be one out there perfect for you. Maybe it is something as simple as gardening, cooking or being in nature. Some find running and aerobic exercise mindful. And please disregard the ridiculous Western notion that mindfulness has a goal and that if you don’t experience a complete state of bliss any or every time you failed. Your job is to simply SHOW UP. And, the key to cultivating and maintaining a mindfulness practice is to find one that WORKS FOR YOU! (For a wide variety of mindfulness based exercises, check out my book, Authentic Freedom – claiming a life of contentment and joy. While the context is Christian Contemplative Prayer, the exercises are universal.)
STEP TWO-Identify and root out your fears
In conjunction with cultivating peace and love within us through mindfulness practices, the greatest gift we can give to ourselves in our journey toward change is to OVERCOME OUR FEARS! FEAR is the number one obstacle to peace, contentment, love and joy! Fear creates all the perceived separations favored by our wounded world: prejudice, discrimination, racism, sexism, nationalism, etc. Fear is also the root of all of our non-loving and self-centered behaviors – gluttony, lust, wrath, envy, greed, sloth and pride. Fear causes us to seek outside of us for its remedy and makes us believe that happiness will be found in things, money, power, fame, status, power, control, other people, etc. etc. etc. Fear also keeps us silent and ignorant of the truth that seeks to be known within us and that seeks to be expressed in the world.
In my book, Authentic Freedom, I reveal what I have come to know as the seven core fears that plague humanity, along with their resulting compulsions:
FEAR: “There is not enough”
FEAR: “I have nothing to contribute to the betterment of the world”
FEAR: “I can’t” (be my most authentic self)
FEAR: “I am not loved”
FEAR: “I am not able to express my truth”
FEAR: “I do not know” (my truth, my path)
FEAR: “I am alone/have to do it alone”
You can start your journey of overcoming fear by NAMING the fears that are currently at work in your mind. I have found that naming the fear is 99% of the journey…..like they say in classic horror books and movies, “Once you name the demon, it no longer has power over you.” 😉 Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog where I will explore in more detail how we might move through the fears once they are named.
Yesterday I discovered the limit of my tolerance for our inept, ineffective and corrupt government and responded through my blog with Government Shutdown? I Would Fire the Lot of You!” The failure of our Senators and Congressmen to do their jobs is appalling and the government shutdown is just the most recent in a long list of failures. (And, President Obama, as much as I support him, is not innocent in this.) Healthcare. Education. Corporate Greed. The Oil Cartel. Commercialism run rampant. Monsanto and their poisoning of our food stock. International Relations (or the lack thereof). The constant threat of war. Poverty. Hunger. Homelessness. Joblessness. Unemployment and Underemployment. The staggering about of debt. Do I need to go on? I don’t know about you, but I’m FED UP! I did not sign up for this and this is not the country I want to hand on to my children….if we don’t deserve better, they most certainly do!!!!! And, they know they deserve better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0gtzHJphVg
They Should All Be Fired!
Yes, if I were in charge, I would fire them all. But I’m not, and neither are you – in charge, that is. So, what the heck can we do about an impotent and corrupt government that is controlled, not by the constituents who voted for them, but by the lobbyists who funded their elections and continue to pad their pockets? Corporate greed funding a corrupt government while we are unemployed, homeless, hungry, made to fight wars we don’t believe in, without access to quality education, medical care or even FOOD for that matter. Our founding fathers must be turning over in their graves over the direction our government has turned. So, what DO we do?????
Yes, in theory, writing our senators and congressmen, signing petitions, marching in the streets (NON VIOLENTLY!!!), might have an impact on how our government responds. But, in truth, I haven’t seen much change even with the presence of the Occupy Movement. I’m not an expert in political theory, but I sense that one of the reasons we are not being heard is because the system our founding fathers created has crumbled at its core. The representative government envisioned by the original leaders of this country has been replaced by corporate greed. There is no representation as far as I can see, only self-serving motives by the powerful few. So, while we continue to use our voices to make our needs and opinions known, I believe that enduring and effective change will not take place until we heal the deeper cause(s) of our country’s (and the world’s) ills.
The Bad News/Good News
The bad news, that few, if any of us really want to admit, is that the corruption and greed of our government is, in truth, a reflection of our own corruption and greed. Yep……and….gulp! As a microcosm of the macrocosm, our government can only be as good as our collective worst. A government rooted in fear, power and control only arises out of a populace that is rooted in fear, power and control. As long as WE continue to allow fear to run our lives and to come out sideways in the compulsive behaviors of gluttony, lust, wrath, envy, greed, sloth and pride, this is what will be reflected in our government. And, as long as we cling to our fears, there will be those who will have the power to manipulate us through fear (HELLO media!!!!!). So….in order to change our government (and our world), we have to CHANGE OURSELVES. This is the good news. While we may not have the power to affect positive and enduring change from the top down, we DO have the power to affect change from the bottom up…..the bottom being the root of our own fears. When we stop being afraid, the powerful few will no longer have fear to use against us and what will arise out of the midst of us will be leaders for change – emotionally, mentally and psychologically mature women and men of compassion; working collaboratively toward justice, non-violence and peace; with a pluralistic and global eye. If we want our government and our world to change, it starts with US.
Watch tomorrow’s blog for how to identify our deepest fears and for effective tools for moving through, healing and releasing these fears.
I’m writing to you as a mother, business owner and concerned citizen. As a mother, I say, “You should be ashamed of yourselves.” How do grown (mostly) men cause the shutdown of our Federal Government and services? And all over your petty squabbles over ObamaCare? Really? Again, you should be ashamed of yourselves! If I were in charge, I would fire the lot of you! If I were your mother, you would all be grounded, your electronics taken away and you would be invited to write a sincere letter of apology to the American people. Then I would take you to the local homeless shelter and soup kitchen and show you how the rest of the world lives and invite you to remember who you were hired to serve.
As a business owner, skilled in business management, I would point out the obvious. Mr. President, while I voted for you and continue to uphold your leadership and policies, ObamaCare, while good in theory, will prove to be problematic, not only in its execution, but in its practice. Senators and Congressmen…..do you remember who you work for? You work for US….the American people, not the lobbyists who pad your pockets, most certainly NOT the Insurance and pharmaceutical companies who are sure to benefit from the “revisions” to ObamaCare you are working so hard to push through. YOU WORK FOR US! Do not forget that. If I were your business manager and you failed in your job, as you have failed today, I would fire the lot of you and start over. And my choice for your replacements would be required to fulfill the following requirements:
1) You will have experience working in the service industry. There is nothing better than pushing burgers, waiting tables and tending bar to teach one humility and compassion for the human condition and the reality of life in America.
2) You would be required to undergo sound psychological assessment to insure that you have an emotional intelligence past the age of 12. I need to know that you can play well with others, listen to opinions other than your own, hear the truth beyond what is being said, name and claim your needs and speak to others nicely without bullying and name calling. I also need to know that you can work for someone other than yourself and your own selfish pride. I want grown ups running my government, not spoiled, rotten children!
3) You will have had to experience life in the trenches – what it is like to be uninsurable, to have to pay for insurance out of ones own pocket, to have an unplanned pregnancy and not know how you are going to care for yourself and this child, to have been unemployed and forced to stand in line at the local unemployment office or to experience the humiliation of food stamps, to be faced with the rising costs of education and knowing the only way to attend college is through student loans, and then have to face the staggering debt required of a 4 year college degree. If you have not had these experiences, you would have to serve a pre-employment internship in which you are serving these people, so you can see the faces and learn the names of the people you have been hired to serve. As part of this internship, you would be required to spend time in the worst places in our country, where people live in poverty under the constant threat of violence so that you can see where REAL change needs to be accomplished!
4) You will have to undergo training in collaborative leadership and consensus based decision-making. Ultimately, serving in the Congress and US Senate is about finding the middle path through the perceived poles of bi-partisanship. If you cannot learn to work together for the common good, then you have no place in government. If you are only there to serve your own agenda, or the agenda of the lobbyists who pad your pocket, then you DEFINITELY have no place in government. I’m not really sure where you belong…I’m thinking there might be a special place in hell for those who succumb to this temptation.
5) I would outlaw all campaign advertising and fundraising. You would have to run for office by listening to what the people need and want and presenting your plan for how you hope to accomplish this….without the backing of lobbyists or benefactors who might have their own personal agendas in mind. Learn how to build a website. Write your own blog. Start a Facebook campaign. Get your friends together to help you distribute fliers, etc. In this way, you will have an idea of how most small businesses operate, and perhaps then you will have some compassion for how small business is negatively affected by your childish shenanigans!
As a concerned citizen, I implore you to get your shit together! People are losing money, wages, services as you continue your squabbles. More importantly, critical issues, those beyond ObamaCare, are being neglected while you argue. It is obvious that ObamaCare has some problems, even some not related to lobbyists’ private agendas. My suggestion would be that EVERYONE agree that ObamaCare needs an overhaul. Delay the launch. Take it off the table. Go back to the drawing board…..and LOCK the lobbyists out of the discussion. In revisioning ObamaCare, ask yourself ONE question:
1) How are we going to ensure access to quality healthcare for ALL Americans?