Posted in Authentic Freedom, building the new world, Choose Love Revolution, Empowerment, Freedom

Taking Back Our Power to Choose

Authentic Freedom

Taking Back Our Power to Choose

Register by clicking on the image above.

 

Online course created and facilitated by

 Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS

 

Nine lessons

Done at your own pace

Done in your own time

Moderated by Course Creator

Secret Facebook Group for Participants

 

Introductory Rate: $145.00

(through April 22, 2019)

(not including required text)

Register HERE.

 

 

Taking Back Our Power to Choose

For the past 5000 years our world has been imprisoned by those who benefit from a people afraid. For 5000 years, we have been conditioned by institutions that manipulate and control us through fear, guilt and shame.  Religious institutions, governments, corporations, banks, advertising, social media, education, health care, pharmaceutical companies and the insurance industry (to name a few) are all guilty of benefiting from a people afraid.  As has always been true of feudal societies, only a few truly benefit from a culture rooted in fear.  The rest are made to suffer while those who are manipulating us are getting rich at our expense.

 

It is time that we say NO MORE by taking back our power to choose.

Fear is a choice. But in order to have the freedom to choose otherwise, we have to unravel ourselves from the conditioning that has made us afraid. The fears that tell us:

 

  • There is not enough.
  • We are insignificant and have nothing of value to offer the world.
  • We cannot live as our most authentic selves.
  • We are not loved (or that love has to be earned or can be taken away).
  • We are not free to express our truth.
  • We do not know the truth.
  • We are alone.

 

When we stop believing in these fears by healing the conditioning that caused these fears in the first place, we are no longer vulnerable to manipulation and are free to choose love instead of fear. In choosing love, we are able to experience the peace, freedom and union spoken of by the ancients and which has been taught by the highest expression of every spiritual tradition on this planet.

 

Authentic Freedom gives you that power to choose by supporting you in identifying and then healing the fears that have kept you imprisoned by your cultural conditioning.

 

Register Here.

 

SCRIPTURE (gasp!) Please note that with great intention I use Judeo-Christian scripture as part of this course.  I do so ON PURPOSE because for many in our culture, scripture has been used against them.  Christianity (especially certain expressions of Christianity) have twisted Jesus’ message of love into one of hatred and fear.  It is my hope that by presenting scripture in a different way – not as a vehicle of manipulation and control – but as a vehicle through which you can find and become empowered in LOVE- we can not only be healed of our societal fears, but also of those which have been heaped upon us by institutional religion.

 

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATSLauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS  supports you in becoming a fully awakened and self-actualized human being by giving you the freedom to choose love in a world conditioned by fear.    Lauri does this through her trademarked protocol – Authentic Freedom which harnesses the knowledge and wisdom of the ancients and applies it in the modern world.  Here you will find fulfillment for the deepest longing of your Soul – to know and to be known.  Lauri is the owner of Authentic Freedom Academy and founder of the Temple of the Magdalene. She lives in Oshkosh, WI. You can learn more about Lauri, her writings, programs and services at Authentic Freedom (dot) Love. 

 

 

Posted in guilt, shame, Spiritual Direction

Christianity and Guilt

Exploring the role of guilt in the formation of the Christian religion

Since the time of its inception, Christianity has been a religion rife with conflict. One such conflict is the 2000 year old battle between the two sides of the Christian message – that which is based in fear and the other which is rooted in love.  Understanding the experiences out of which Christianity emerged, one has to wonder, is the religion of Christianity merely an expression of the unresolved guilt and shame experienced by the disciples who denied and abandoned Jesus at his greatest hour of need? When we look at the long dalliance between Christianity and guilt, one has to wonder.

Christianity and guilt, Christianity and shame, guilt, shame,

What follows is a “fictional” account of what may have happened:

Once upon a time, there was a bunch of fishermen who met this dude named Jesus. They thought this Jesus was pretty cool.  First he taught them a better way to fish, and then he showed them how to walk on water.  After the theatrics he taught them how to love. These fishermen thought Jesus was the next best thing after leavened bread – something that was a luxury for fishermen – because which one among them had time to wait for bread to rise?

Things were really cool with this Jesus guy. They got to travel.  Meet new people.  Hear amazing stories.  They got invited into the homes of those they never thought they’d be able to dine with.  They saw amazing things happen and miracles performed.  The sick were healed.  The blind were able to see.  And Jesus spoke in a way that made their heart feel warm and their soul feel at peace.

But then one day, people started to become angry over Jesus’ words. Angry words were exchanged and the next thing the fishermen knew, their buddy Jesus was hauled off to prison and brought before the Roman governor where he was tried for treason.  Treason?  (They also heard words like blasphemy….and other scary words).  Jesus was just trying to teach people how to love.  The fishermen were surprised, but mostly they were afraid.  If people came to know that Jesus was their friend, would they be imprisoned and tried too?  So they hid.

And they kept hiding. They heard that Jesus’ trial didn’t go well and that he had been sentenced to death.  Now they were really afraid.  So they kept hiding.  They hid all the while the women knocked on their door saying, “Come out.  Come with us.  We need to support our friend.  We need to be with him.  We need to offer our love and support.”  But the women’s pleas could not break through the fishermen’s fears.  So they continued to hide.

They hid after the women came and told them Jesus had been crucified and that he had died. They hid after the women came to tell them Jesus had been buried.  And they continued to hide until three days later, on the morning after the Sabbath when Mary Magdalene (Jesus’ favorite) knocked on the door and proclaimed that Jesus lived.  But even then, they only opened the door a crack, and then swiftly slammed it in Mary’s face.  “She must have lost her mind.  Jesus cannot have survived a crucifixion.  And ‘he has risen?’  What does that even mean?”

But then, Jesus himself showed up. He walked right through the closed and bolted door and showed them.  “See.  I have not died so as never to be seen or known again.  I am now with you, always, along with the Spirit who is with and in me.” Only then did the fishermen open the door to Mary Magdalene who stood there tapping her feet with her arms across her chest…saying with her eyes, “I told you so!” For a brief moment, the disciples hung their head in shame – first because they had not listened to the Magdalene, the one Jesus favored above them all; and secondly, because they had abandoned their friend at the time of his greatest need.  But just as quickly as the guilt and shame surfaced, they began to make their excuses.

Jesus listened to their bargaining and then began to remind them of all he had taught them about peace and love and how they could experience the kingdom of God right here in the midst of the human experience. Jesus continued to teach them, empowering them with the light of his Spirit so they might go forth and share the good news he had proclaimed:  “Turn your gaze only toward the Divine within, for here is where you will find the kingdom of God.”  (While the disciples were being tutored for the umpteenth time, Mary Magdalene and the other women were already about their mission of teaching people how to love.) Then Jesus told the disciples, “I must ascend,” and took off for good.  Now the disciples were on their own, so they did what Jesus told them to do, “go out and preach the good news.”

This would have been all fine and good except that the male disciples could not let go of that sense of guilt and shame over having abandoned their friend. The wound of shame festered and soon, they could only remember Jesus’ message through the lens of their unhealed shame.  As a result, they went forth preaching “the good news,” but soon it took on a new flavor.  This message was not the pure message of love Jesus had proclaimed and which Mary and the other women continued to share in the world.  Instead, the message became tainted by shame.  Instead of the overwhelmingly uplifting message of unconditional love, the love of God became conditional and wrapped in fear.  God was no longer the prodigal father of which Jesus spoke; instead he became a wrathful God making impossible demands on his children with the overarching and overwhelming threat of eternal punishment in a place called hell.  The cause of Jesus’ death became the sin of humanity.  Judas was Jesus’ betrayer and it was the Jews who killed him.  Women and sexual intercourse became the cause of original sin.  As the wound of shame continued to fester, the message of love became eclipsed to the point where it no longer remained.

But, while the disciples who retained the wound of shame preached a message tainted with fear, those who had no shame, because they had stood by the side of their beloved teacher and friend – Mary Magdalene, Mother Mary, Lazarus, Joseph of Arimathea, Martha, the other Marys, the youngest disciple (and Jesus’ own brother) John, and a few others taught a message of love. They went out into the world doing what Jesus taught them to do.  They began with showing people how to connect with the Divine within.  Then they supported them in coming to know that this connection – which felt like peace, love, contentment and joy – was their original nature and what Jesus called “the kingdom of God.”  Then they taught them how to connect with their own unique gifts and to hear the voice of the Divine which led them to their truth and to the purpose of their life path.  They gathered in community for meditation, contemplation and prayer.  They broke bread together and shared all things in common for the sake of the common good.  They went out into the world teaching, healing, supporting and empowering people – showing them how to be free by teaching them how to love.  In this expression, God was not to be feared but was instead, the source of unconditional and unmerited love. In this they came to know that there was indeed no separation – only love – and they lived in peace and walked softly upon the earth while diligently praying that their brothers and sisters might find healing and self-forgiveness for the guilt and shame they have been harboring for the past 2000 years.

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS provides support for your unhealed wounds of guilt and shame, including those experienced through institutional religion. She provides this support through one-on-one spiritual direction/counseling, her writing and online courses.  You may contact Lauri directly at lauri@authenticfreedom.love.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, God, Healing, Mary Magdalene, shame, Surrender

Those Demons in My Head

Today’s blog explores those stubborn, deep, elusive, hard to heal wounds and where we can go for healing and comfort. 

No Doubt!

Yesterday while driving my daughter to volleyball practice, a song popped up on my CD player that spoke loudly and clearly about one of my own elusive, stubborn, hard to heal wounds  And….I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.  The song was In My Head by No Doubt.  Here the Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB0sH2OpPzE  and a portion of the lyrics:

I try to think about rainbows
When it gets bad
You got to think about something
To keep from going mad
I try to think about big fat roses
When the ship starts going down
But my head is wicked jealous
Don’t want to talk about it right now

[Chorus:]
Long distance
Don’t talk about ex-girlfriends
Don’t talk about you with out me
Don’t talk about your past

In my head
It’s only in my head
In my head
It’s only in my head

To learn more about the seven core fears (demons) and how to heal them, read Authentic Freedom.  Buy it HERE!

Demons in Our Heads

When scripture tells us that Jesus healed Mary Magdalene of seven demons, Luke wasn’t talking about the dudes in red morph suits donning horns and carrying pitchforks.  He was also not talking about the demons that make our heads spin around and vomit pea soup.  Luke was talking about the perceptions and voices of fear that plague our human existence and keep us from living in the peace, love and joy that make up our original nature in Oneness with God.  These demons, I have found, vary in their strength and stubbornness.  Some we can heal simply by naming them.  Others take years or maybe even a lifetime to transcend.  Some, it seems, stay with us until we die.

To learn more about the seven core fears (demons) and how to heal them, read Authentic Freedom.  Buy it HERE!

Stubborn, Willful Demons

There are two demons in particular who have plagued me for as long as I can remember.  These two demons say, It’s my fault and There’s something wrong with me. I have worked really hard to find healing and release from these demons, but I find the healing elusive.  The worst part is that these demons work together, rarely alone, at torturing me and keeping me imprisoned behind a wall of shame.  And, these demons are really tricky because they come disguised as the virtue of Integrity.  As a person of integrity, I strive to say what I mean and mean what I say.  I also want to own my part in a challenge or struggle before confronting another party.  I want to be clean within myself before taking a challenge out into the playing field.  I work really hard not to blame others before examining the mirror of my own guilt.  See how tricky these demons are?  It is truly a good and virtuous person who owns their own stuff, who does their own work, who can accept their own responsibility.  True……to a point.  It is the demons job to make sure that I never escape from the cycle of self-examination, culpability and blame.  It was ultimately the work of these demons that kept me stuck in my childhood wounds, seven years too long in an unhealthy marriage and hesitant to hold the other person accountable for their part in the hurtful end of a relationship.  It must have been my fault because there must be something wrong with me.  BLECH!

To learn more about the seven core fears (demons) and how to heal them, read Authentic Freedom.  Buy it HERE!

If at First You Don’t Succeed

Try Try again!   Or when all else has fails, turn it over to God.  This is the point I have reached with these two demons.  I have tried and tried and tried to find healing of these fears.  I have employed every tool at my disposal, every weapon in my arsenal.  I have employed the Authentic Freedom principles, the Aramaic Lord’s Prayer, mantra, Tonglen, the Enneagram.  And still, these demons sing their evil songs in my head and perform their wicked dance, surrounding me in darkness like Rothbart, the evil swan demon of Black Swan fame.  Damn them!  Literally!  So last night while wrestling these demons in my head,  after trying and failing with rainbows and big fat roses,  I screamed out in defeat, “GOD TAKE THESE AWAY FROM ME!”  I’m done with these demons and done fighting and struggling with them.  Your turn God!  Of course God answered.  This morning, I opened up the scripture for today and here were God’s words to me:

The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.

In verdant pastures he gives me repose;

Beside restful waters he leads me, he refreshed my soul.

Even though I walk in the valley of darkness

I fear no evil, for you are at my side.

Psalm 23

There you have it.  Today, God has the final word.

Who are the elusive demons that you struggle with?

How have you sought healing from these voices of fear?

How are you invited to give it over to God?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in guilt, Inspiration

Battling Guilt Demons

Today’s blog explores the nature of guilt, how to recognize guilt at play and tools for vanquishing the guilt demons!  ARGH!

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Daughters

Back from my blogging sabbatical so that I could help with the needs of my parents after my dad’s kidney transplant.  YEAH RIGHT!  As the universe would have it, instead of going to Minneapolis as planned, I got sidelined by my dad’s (yes, you read that correctly) annual upper respiratory, sinus, allergy, cough, sickness.  Apparently my Spirit and my dad’s Spirit made an arrangement whereby I would take on his usual sickness so that he could be healthy for his kidney transplant (well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.).  So, instead of going to Minneapolis, I was told to stay home, and then I had to face SEVEN whole days with NO PLANS, no obligations, no projects, NO KIDS!   For a “J” on the Myers-Briggs SEVEN days with no plans is a sentence akin to an eternity in hell.  ARGH!!!!!!   If my head had been screwed on straight, I would have welcomed these seven days as an opportunity to retreat, reflect, write and play.  And I tried, I really tried to make these past seven days just that……and all would have gone just fine if it hadn’t been for those DARN guilt demons!  ARGH!!!!

Enter Sandman  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hUniy3kZYQ&feature=related   (click link for a little mood music!  :))

So, I’m trying to move through my seven day universe-imposed retreat, hoping to rest, reflect, play, create, write, and simply be.  And just as I thought I was getting into the swing of NO PLANS, NO KIDS…..enter SANDMAN…….aka  The Demons of Guilt.  It would have been ok if it had only been one demon…you know, the one that says, “You really should be doing something productive.”  Instead….it was guilt in LEGIONS!   Like a swarm of apocalyptic locusts, they fell upon me in legions whispering and taunting in my ears:

  • You are a bad mom for taking seven days away from your kids
  • Your a worse daughter for getting sick and missing your dad’s surgery and for not being there to help your mom!!!!!
  • You are lazy for doing nothing
  • Your business won’t grow and you won’t make any money if you don’t do something toward that effort
  • What good is it to take time to journal, pen poetry, write short stories…..that won’t make you any money
  • Skipping yoga again?????  Your yoga teacher will be angry or disappointed in you
  • You know you will go to hell for skipping mass on Thursday, or worse for sleeping through meditation
  • You slept until 9:30?   Shame shame shame
  • You should be cleaning your house, doing chores, getting caught up on household projects
  • The leaves aren’t going to rake themselves
  • How are you going to pay for Christmas if you take a week off of work?

Got the picture?????

Guilt and its Evil Disguises

But here is the worse part……I didn’t even know I was being beseiged by guilt.  What I felt instead was restlessness, impatience, irritation, frustration, maybe a little boredom and loneliness.  And mixed in with these feelings the sensation that there was something or someone out there causing me these feelings…..I wanted like heck to point my accusatory finger at that “person” or “thing” that was causing this disturbance of the normal peaceful contentment I strive to know in my day to day life and either exact punishment or extract that “thing” that was causing so much irritation.  It wasn’t until this afternoon that I recognized what I had been battling was guilt…..and I found out in the strangest of ways.  I won’t go into the gory details, but the words that showed up alerting me to guilt’s malicious attack were these:

  • You are a bad mom because your whole entire life does not revolve around your children’s interests.

ARRRGGGGGHHHHHHHH    There it is, that dang SHOULD voice…..the outside perceived authority that tries to tell us that our needs are of no value and that it is our job to make everyone else happy before even thinking of what we might need for ourselves.  YIKES!

Guilt’s Evil Intent

There it was.  Guilt in all its glory…..AGAIN….trying to keep me from the path of my highest good.  For in truth….this is guilt’s ONE and ONLY purpose.  As I tell my clients, guilt serves absolutely NO redeeming purpose.  Guilt is the litany of “shoulds” from a controlling and power-driven outside perceived authority (or worse yet, our own inner critic) that wants to keep us from knowing our truest self which is loving, joyful and content.  Guilt keeps us from naming and claiming our own needs and does so by trying to tell us it is our job to make other people happy.  So, now I stand in defiance, thumbing my nose at guilt, proclaiming my own needs:

  • to get well
  • to take care of myself when I’m sick
  • to take time out to simply be
  • to play
  • to play
  • to play (As a recovering perfectionist, I needs LOTS of reminders to play)
  • to allow someone to take care of my needs for a change
  • to enjoy the company of friends
  • to read, reflect, write, create
  • etc.

Now, I encourage you to do the same!!!!

How does guilt show up in your own life?

Where are you tempted to forgo tending to your own needs?

How does guilt disguise itself in your life?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Forgiveness, guilt

The Dreaded Life Review

In yesterday’s blog, I wrote on the topic of forgiveness and the on-going, figure eight shaped process we are invited to undergo in that journey.  In today’s blog, I explore more deeply the stage of forgiveness that includes what I call, “The Dreaded Life Review,” the time when our “life sins” show up and ask for our compassion.

 

 

What Happens When We Hurt Somebody?

As human beings, we are programmed to seek out connection and to work toward cultivating healthy, intimate, cooperative and collaborative relationships with our fellow human beings.  The root cause and destination of this search is our very survival.  We cannot continue as a species without the kind of intimate connections that lead to procreation, neither can we survive (very well) on our own.  Like wolves, we are pack animals and thrive when existing within cooperative community.  As such, in most human beings (sociopaths being the exception) there are certain biophysical and chemical reactions within the body that work toward ensuring this kind of intimate, cooperative connection.  When we stray from the path of harmonious connectivity and do or say or act in such a way as to harm already existing connections or in ways that might prevent harmonious connections, there is a feeling that arises.  This feeling arises to alert us to the fact that either we have done something to harm these fragile connections or that someone has done something to us that threatens healthy connectivity.  I call this feeling SHAME.  In other words, when we hurt someone, we feel shame.  When someone does something to hurt us (especially as it pertains to our own healthy boundaries), we feel shame.  This feeling arises naturally as a way to alert us to the potential danger of disconnect and to invite us to work toward restoring a healthy and harmonious connection (or to recognize where healthy, intimate connectivity is not possible or where danger, in fact, might be present).  The problem with shame is that instead of simply observing it as a signal, we internalize it and turn it into the destructive emotion of guilt – judging and punishing ourselves and judging and punishing others.

 

The Dreaded Life Review

When we internalize this benevolent and helpful inner signal, and turn it against ourselves in the form of judgment and guilt, then we get what I call “the dreaded life review.”  In this life review, we get to see and observe and remember…sometimes in excruciating detail, all the “sins” of our lives….all the ways in which we have consciously or unconsciously hurt or injured a fellow human being.  If we are judgmental and critical of self or tend toward self-loathing, this dreaded life review can be an exercise in self-flagellation and self-punishment.  “Woe is me, I am a sinner.  Woe is me, I am undeserving of love, forgiveness.  Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I’m gonna eat some worms……and I deserve it for how terrible I have been and continue to be.”  ARGH!!!!!  This little exercise in self-loathing is us pointing the finger of judgment and blame upon ourselves.  And if we are “God-fearing” people, we are sure to imagine that God is shaking HIS finger of blame at us and just waiting to hurl the fire and brimstone of eternal punishment our way.

 

God-fearing vs. God-loving

The good news is that the only one punishing us for our “sinful” behavior is ourselves.  We are the one pointing the finger of judgement and blame while God is simply there holding us and waiting for us to ask to be released from the judgment that we are so good at heaping upon ourselves.  Like the story Jesus told of the Prodigal Son, it was the son who judged himself for having chosen separation from his father.  The father, simply welcomed his son home with open arms and held a great celebration, never shaking the finger of judgment or blame.  If Jesus understood God to be like the father in the story, then isn’t this the God we too are invited to know?  I think so.

 

Healing the Life Review

So, when the dreaded life review rears its ugly head, and we are tempted to fall into the pit of self-loathing, there is one thing we must do…….FORGIVE ourselves.  We are invited to look at the places in our lives where we have injured the fragile, intimate human connections and offer them for release.  We are invited to examine the deeper fears and unhealed wounds that may have caused us to hurt another and lift that up for healing and release.  And we are invited to STOP judging, punishing and hurling fire and brimstone upon ourselves.  The good news is again, we are not alone in this as there is a benevolent, loving, compassionate Source that is just waiting for us to lift the guilt off ourselves and place it in God’s loving hands where it can be healed and released, freeing us to return to the healthy and life-giving process of forgiveness, absolution and reconciliation.

 

Where have you experienced the “dreaded life review?”

Where are you tempted to indulge in self-judgment, punishment and self-loathing?

Where are you being invited to give your self-judgment and guilt over for healing and release?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Forgiveness

The Figure Eight of Forgiveness

As we grow along the spiritual path, we realize how critical is the process of forgiveness to this journey.  Today’s blog explores the topic of forgiveness and how it looks a lot like a Figure 8 or an infinity symbol…depending on your perspective. 

Sometimes our Relationships Get Broken

I know I’m not telling you something you don’t already know.  Human relationships are challenging at best, and in our own state of brokenness and perceived separation, we often find our intimate and not-so-intimate relationships breaking down.  In these states of breaking down or breaking up of relationships, forgiveness shows up as the virtue that we are invited to embrace in the goal of bringing healing to these broken intimacies.  And, as you are well aware, the journey toward forgiveness can be long and arduous and mysterious at best.  Being the “Queen of Grudgeholding,” I certainly have no room to even begin to speak on this topic, but I will attempt to muddle through this in the hopes that I might actually learn something!

How Things Get Broken in the First Place

Well, this is a big duh!  How do our relationships get broken?  Because….someone got hurt.  Out of our own sense of separation and woundedness, we say and do things that hurt another person, and we act in ways that are non-loving, covetous, greedy, controlling, gluttonous, lazy and selfish.  We fail to listen to the people in our lives and to acknowledge their needs.  We fail to listen to ourselves, to our own needs and to ask for them to be met.  We lash out when we are afraid, anxious, scared.  We respond to others out of our own unhealed wounds and we project our past painful experiences onto others.  In a nutshell….WE ARE A MESS…..and we SUCK at being healthy, loving, intimate partners, collegues, friends and family members.  And….no matter how much inner work we have done or continue to do, it is our intimate human relationships that cause us the most trouble.  This is why FORGIVENESS is so important, critical and necessary.  Without forgiveness, I think we would just kill eachother off and be done with it (which I sometimes think we are doing as a species anyway).

The Signposts on the Forgiveness Path

Again, being the “Queen of Grudgeholding,” I’m not sure I really have anything to offer on this topic….but there are a few things I have seen that have helped me in the few and rare moments that I have tried to enter into the process of forgiveness.

1) When we perceive that someone has hurt us, or failed to honor one of our needs, we feel deeply hurt, and in immediate defense of that hurt and loss, RESENTMENT arises.

2) If you are like me, you rush toward that RESENTMENT, scoop it up, bring it  into your heart and caress, nurture, cultivate it like Gollum and the ring, chanting and moaning, “MY PRECIOUS,” harboring it close, and making it grow so as to protect yourself from further hurt or pain.  For you see…..we believe (falsely) that the resentment will protect us from the pain of separation and hurt, keep us safe from further hurt and that it will keep us strong, defensive, courageous.

3) At some point, we begin to realize that all the resentment is actually doing is keeping us from healthy intimacy and from knowing love…and from realizing the VERY PAINFUL human truth that in relationship….we will be hurt…..and we will hurt others.  It might just be the nature of the beast.

4) If we want to find healing of the pain of hurt and be open to knowing love and to cultivating healthy intimacy, then at some point, we need to accept the invitation to forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a Figure Eight

Once we decide that forgiveness might be the journey on which we want to embark, we are invited to further understand that forgiveness is everything BUT a linear path with a clear destination.  Instead, we are invited to recognize that forgiveness is more like a figure 8 or an infinity symbol, ever looping back and forth over itself in an on-going journey with ever deepening and widening layers.  And it might look something like this:

1) Examine the initial hurt (or hurts), acknowledge the resentment that arose, THEN….look deeper into the hurt, the loss the pain that is hiding behind the resentment.  THEN….GRIEVE IT!  Feel the hurt, feel the loss, feel the separation, then cry, weep, wail and moan.  Let it go.

2) Pray (remember, you are NOT alone in this process)

3)  Now look deeper still….what is YOUR role in the perceived hurt?  What was the deeper emotional wound or spiritual fear that was triggered through the experience – the fear of rejection, the fear that you are not good enough, etc. and where did those wounds come from?  What have you done to heal, release, etc the origin of those wounds (often coming from our childhood.)?

4) Pray some more

5)  Seek out resources to allow for the healing of those deeper wounds and the recent circumstances that triggered them (spiritual direction, counseling, self-help groups, recovery programs, etc.).

6) Pray again

7) Enter into a state of empathetic awareness.  Look at the person who you perceive to have hurt you and look at their deeper wounds.  What might have been the fear, false perception, childhood wound that caused their “hurtful” behavior toward you?  Can you hold them in compassion for their fears?  Can you allow empathetic awareness and compassion to open a space for forgiveness.

8) Pray some more

9) EXAMINE your SHAME.  When we are the recipient or the cause of separation in our intimate human relationships, SHAME naturally arises.  (some might use “guilt” to describe this state)  In this way, shame acts as a red flag alerting us to the fact that something has wounded our drive to pursue and cultivate healthy intimacy with other human beings (this is part of our survival drive).

10) Pray again

11) Open yourself to self-forgiveness, allowing yourself to be healed of the shame that arose out of this separation and brokenness in your relationship.

12) Pray some more

13) Allow for the possibility of forgiveness- of the person you perceive to have hurt you AND of yourself.

14) NOW…START THE WHOLE PROCESS OVER AGAIN….and AGAIN….and AGAIN  and PRAY SOME MORE!

There is a reason that Jesus said, “Forgive 70 times 7 times!”  I don’t think he was issuing a command, but making an observation of the long and arduous road to forgiveness.  And then, we are invited to remember that the moment of TRUE forgiveness is NOT  ours to accomplish, but comes mysteriously, unbidden and as a result of God’s grace and out of God’s infinite (ahem!) love.  Forgiveness is a Figure Eight!

Where are you being invited to enter into the process of forgiveness?

What are some of your deeper fears, unhealed wounds, that may be vulnerable to hurt in the context of relationship?

How can you allow the Divine to assist you in this process of forgiveness?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in church, guilt, Raised Catholic

Catholic Guilt (and any other religious guilt for that matter!)

The statistics cannot be denied.  My Blog traffic has QUADRUPLED since I revisited Catholic stuff.  HMMMM  Are Catholics searching?  Hurting?  Wondering?  Longing?   Maybe.  So, today’s blog addresses the topic of Catholic Guilt – or any other guilt for that matter that is imposed upon us from outside perceived authorities (ie: religious institutions). 

(to buy this t-shirt:   http://www.zazzle.com/recovering_catholic_tshirt-235262124334621639)

Don’t Get Me Wrong

I have said it before, and I will say it again.  I LOVE my Catholic faith.  I love the spiritual traditions, the rituals, the sacraments, the art and architecture, the lives of the saints, Catholic devotionals, the rosary, Mary, I can even throw a novena or two into the pot of things that I love about my Catholic upbringing….oh yea….and the Catholic school uniforms.  LOVED my uniform!  I love the amazing nuns and religious brothers that taught us (ok, with the exception of a few), and I have great respect for many of the priests who have led the various Catholic parishes in which I claimed membership.  These are the things that allow me to continue to claim my Catholic heritage and to even admit that as a grown up, I still consider myself to be Catholic even though there are certain teachings, rules, etc. that I no longer choose to observe.  If that makes me a “Cafeteria Catholic,” then so be it.

 

What the Institution Got Wrong (in my maybe not so humble opinion)

But here’s the problem.  Somewhere along the way, the Institution of the Catholic Church missed the WHOLE point of Jesus’ message – GOD IS LOVE.  Instead, here is the image of God that Catholics are taught (and other religions with them) and here is the image that keeps us chained in the cycle of guilt imposed upon us by the Institution:

God is a judging, condemning God whose approval we have to earn and who will deny us HIS love if we do not toe the line.

Yes, we have all heard the moral platitudes:  God is loving and forgiving.  If you seek God’s forgiveness, you will be forgiven.  If you confess your sins to the priest and receive absolution, you will be freed of your sins and made ready to join God in HIS glory. 

But here’s the problem….no one really believes this, and I’m not sure the Institution wants us to.  Instead, what is presented to us is a system of rules and regulations that we are supposed to follow and only if we follow these rules (as set forth by the Institution), AND confess our sins, AND receive the sacraments, AND perform certain acts of prayer and service in order to receive indulgences (YES….indulgences are still in full force…even today), AND NEVER miss Sunday mass, AND refrain from using birth control, AND vote pro-life, AND give 10% to the Church, AND never get divorced, etc. etc. etc.   only then can we have any hope of going to heaven after we die.  But even all of this might not be enough as the threat of purgatory is forever waved in our face.  No wonder Catholics feel guilty all the time.  Once you start to seek, ask the questions, explore, make other choices, there is someone waving the flag of “hell and damnation” in your face.  “Don’t question the Church…or you will go to hell.  Father knows best.  The ONLY truth is in the Catholic Church.  You’re not welcome here if you can’t obey our rules.”

 

Guilt is the Devil

So, what does this cycle of fear and guilt do to us?  It keeps us quiet, small, blindly obedient, afraid.  It keeps us firmly locked in the beginning stages of spiritual development where we do what we are told and believe it because it is what we were told to believe.  It keeps us from using the mind that God gave us to reason, discern and exercise truth.  It keeps us from ever becoming spiritually mature adults and from becoming the empowered, self-motivated apostles that the Institution claims they want us to be.  (For more on the stages of spiritual development, see the work of James Fowler:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fowler’s_stages_of_faith_development)  Fear, intimidation and guilt are the tools used by an Institution that does not want us to seek, to ask the tough questions, to challenge, to balance theology with reason, to hold the Institution accountable.  It is for this reason (among others) that I say GUILT IS THE DEVIL.  Used in this way, guilt does nothing but keep us from the truth that God would reveal to us on a deeply intimate and personal level.  So, my answer to Catholic guilt when it shows up, trying to keep me from asking the questions, challenging perceived and assumed authority, “GET BEHIND ME SATAN,” because I know that God is love…..we are loved without condition…..abundantly, freely, generously, and that there is nothing we could ever do that could separate us from the love of God….regardless of what the Institution might want us to believe.

 

Where do you struggle with Catholic (or other) guilt?

Where do you feel called to question, search, challenge the beliefs you were brought up with?

How might God be calling you to explore the truth within your own heart?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in guilt, shame

Shame and Guilt – What’s it? Who’s it?

Guilt and shame are two words that when uttered,  just might make your skin crawl.  What is the difference between guilt and shame and how do they act as sources of growth in our spiritual journey?


Divorce is never an easy thing and the journey is everything but easy and smooth.  For me, the last two months, especially have been difficult emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  In particular,  I find myself short of temper, hyper-sensitive, impatient, angry, resentful, needy and even a little bit paranoid.   The perfectionist in me is not ok with all these chaotic negative emotions and I feel bad for my husband and children who have had to bear the brunt of the pain within my own being that is finding its way out sideways through projection, impatience, etc.  It is in these moments that I am grateful for the supportive experts that I have welcome as sources of support as I move through this process.  Yesterday I met with one of those sources of support http://www.rhiannon-consciousvisions.com/ and as I shared with her (vented actually) all the things I have been feeling, she posed the following question to me: “Are you feeling guilty?”

Guilty?  Now, that came out of nowhere.  Why in the world would I feel guilty about any of this?  While my first inclination was to say, “No, of course I’m not feeling guilty….this is exactly what we are supposed to be doing and I know that in the end it will be for the highest good of all of us.”  But then, a tiny place within me whispered, “LIAR!”   So while I could not immediately own guilt in the context of this divorce, I knew it was something I needed to explore more fully…..so, explore I did and here is what I discovered:

GUILTI have to say off the bat that I have a problem with the word guilt.   I have come to embrace the idea of guilt as being nothing but a source of temptation – guilt (in my understanding) is something that comes from outside of us out of the mouth of perceived or self-appointed authorities simply for the sake of keeping us under control.  Guilt is the voice inside me that says, “You had better go to church on Sunday or God will punish you.”  It is also the voice that says, “It is your job to make sure everybody else’s needs are met – you must sacrifice your truth, your gifts, your needs for the sake of others – afterall, that is what a good wife and a good Christian would do.”  As I have grown spiritually, I have found these voices to be a source of sabatoge – keeping me from hearing, embracing and living the truth that the Divine would have me know and ignoring my own needs for support, boundaries, creative space, etc.   I have been heard to say to my students and clients, “Guilt is the Devil.”  And in the role of adversary, I have found this to be true.  Guilt does not help us, it harms us.

So, when Rhiannon invited me to explore the question of guilt, I had a hard time coming up with a response.  But then, as I sat with the question, I had a vision of another word, a word more powerful and devastating and it stepped out in-front of guilt and pushed it aside.  This word is SHAME.

SHAME – ouch! Shame, as I have come to understand it is the natural feeling that arises to tell us that we have done something to hurt another human being.  Shame is what alerts us to our boundaries being infringed upon, or tells us that we are being tempted to give away our power.  Shame has icky, sticky sensations all around it and as much as we like to push it aside, ignore it, deny that we ever feel shame, I firmly believe that the feeling of shame has been given to us as a profoundly helpful tool.

As human beings, we were created to be in community and to be in relationship.  While some of our species are authentically called to be alone, it is challenging to live or exist as a species in complete solitude.  In the call to be in community, we are most healthy when we work toward cultivating harmony, understanding, healthy communication, deep and authentic listening, and work toward looking upon and honoring each and every human being as the magnificent expression of the Divine that they/we are.  The problem is that most of the time we are operating out of our own fears and compulsions and these stand in the way of our ability to cultivate a healthy humanity.  But how do we know when we are sabatoging these goals?  The answer, I believe is SHAME.

Shame, I believe is an interior alarm system given to us by the Divine to alert us to the places where we are not succeeding in the call to live in community –  harmoniously.  When we intentionally or unintentionally hurt another being, we feel shame.  When we are hurt by another, we feel shame.  When we give our power away, we feel shame.  When someone tries to infringe on our own needs and boundaries, we feel shame.  When we ignore the voice of truth within or suppress our own unique magnificence, on some level we feel shame.  Shame is the feeling that guards our needs, our gifts, our magnificence, our safety, our truth.  When looked upon in this light, shame can serve as a remarkable tool for healing when we allow the feeling of shame to be a wakeup call to our own inability to honor our own magnificence or the magnificence of another.

So, when I invite the question of shame to enter into my consciousness, I am forced to humbly admit all those places within that are filled with shame in regards to my childhood, adult years, marriage, pending divorce, parenting, etc. etc. etc.   OUCH!  OUCH OUCH!  The good news is that while I may be tempted to indulge a little self-flagellation, I am more inclined to remember that it is only in naming the demon (this one being shame) that it can be healed and I find comfort in knowing that once the demon has been named 95% of the healing has already taken place. YEA!


What roles do guilt and shame play in your own life?

Is there shame that you are carrying within that is in need of healing and release?

How can you invite a new perspective on guilt and shame that invites your own healing?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries/YourSpiritualTruth

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Healing, Surrender, Uncategorized

Is it OK to DO NOTHING?

How do we find space and validation for doing nothing in our pragmatic, hard-working, Western culture?  Is it ok to do nothing?


After a week of perceived (notice I said perceived) setbacks I am feeling a little (actually A LOT) deflated.  The primary perceived setback is that I did not get the house I wanted and have been coveting since I first saw it online some 6 months ago.  🙁   I feel as if the rug has been pulled out from beneath me and that everything I thought I knew about this house and how it was supposed to be mine has been shattered.  I feel a little (no, a lot) like someone reached deep into my being, grabbed whatever inner source it is that gives me movement, breath, life-force, etc. and pulled it right out of my being, and all that remains is a shell of my former self, able to move, but only with an enormous amount of effort on my part.


All I want to do is find a cool, dark cave somewhere, crawl into the deepest, darkest corner of that cave, curl up in the fetal position and suck my thumb.  Sadly, there are no caves in Oshkosh that I am aware of, I gave up sucking my thumb long ago (and paid the price with 5 years of braces!) and there are those two things named Maggie and Wil who stare up at me with their loving eyes and remind me that I can’t just run away.   That being said, I still feel inclined to take to my cave – in whatever form that can take in the midst of the responsibilities of life and motherhood.


But then, as I entertain the idea of taking to my cave, I am confronted by the barrage of Western expectations.  I hear the mantras of our culture, “Pull up your bootstraps, kick the dust from your feet and move forward.”  “You should let this one go and start looking for another house.”  “Back to the drawing board.”  “You can’t do nothing, you need to be a productive member of society and productive members of society don’t do nothing!”  As I listen to the cacophony of “shoulds”, I feel the guilt within rising to take its place as agent and director of my life.  Contemplating the idea of doing nothing triggers that darn voice that shakes its finger at me and tells me what to do.  The good news is that I am mostly aware that the finger wagging, guilt ridden voice is not the voice of the higher self, but the voice of fear, manipulation and intimidation brought forth by the outside “authorities” to whom I am tempted to surrender my truth and my energy.

So, as I contemplate the deep desire within me to retreat to my cave, I am reminded of the profound wisdom that my friend Marcy shared with me so many years ago.  This wisdom that she shared was drawn from the wisdom literature that had been her own saving grace during times of struggle and deep spiritual growth.  The wisdom literature from which she drew this spiritual nugget is “A Course in Miracles.”  And these are the words she shared with me as channelled by Christ to the author of  the course:

YOU NEED DO NOTHING!


Startling words, don’t you think?  YOU NEED DO NOTHING.  A great meditation exercise is to state these words aloud several times, changing which word you put the emphasis on each time you read it:

YOU need do nothing

You NEED do nothing

You need DO nothing

You need do NOTHING

The deepest wisdom of these words is that there is nothing I need to do and nothing I can do BECAUSE there is a Divine Source that is doing what needs to be done….all for my highest good.  AND….in order for me to connect with the plan, course, direction of the Divine…I NEED DO NOTHING!  Here it is….permission to indulge my inner hermit and DO NOTHING.  I don’t need to start looking for another house, I don’t need to take time this weekend to execute my marketing plan, I don’t need to work on the manuscript submissions I have floating out there in the universe.  I CAN DO NOTHING!!!!   So, instead of pushing my square peg into the round hole of Western pragmatism and work, I can indulge my NEED to do nothing.  I can lay on the grass and suck my thumb if I want to.  I can take a nap, or two.  I can be extra indulgent and instead of WORKING, I can watch a movie, read a book, or simply sit and DO NOTHING!



So….nothing is exactly what I intend to do and I intend to do it well!  I welcome the cave and welcome the call of my inner hermit that needs to simply be so that the Divine plan can unfold unfettered by me!

How are you called to embrace “YOU NEED DO NOTHING” in your own life?

What are the obstacles within and seemingly outside yourself that prevent you from doing nothing?

Where can you carve out space in your life to do nothing and feel ok about it?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries/YourSpiritualTruth

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

While I am doing nothing, you can help me in my goal of achieving 200 subscribers to this blog by November 1, 2010.  Share this blog on your social networking sites.  Invite and encourage friends to subscribe.  IT IS FREE!  Pass the word!  Thanks!