Posted in Inspiration

Reporting from the Void

As I write this at 7:45 am central time on Thursday, April 9th, I am somewhere around 3 weeks into a self-appointed VOID practice.  But who really knows how long for when residing in the VOID we kind of lose all sense of timing.  What day is it?  How long has this Covid-19 thing been happening?  When did I commit myself to a VOID practice?

My VOID practice looks like this…same as it ever was….same as it ever was….only more of what I’ve been doing for the last several years as I was laid off from my side-gig due to the Covid-19 shutdown requirements.  There will likely not be a side-gig for me to return to after all is said and done, as I suspect my TRUE GIFTS will be in high demand once we emerge from our collective cocoons.

For the past 3ish weeks, I have spent my days in meditation, prayer, journaling, yoga, enjoying nature (when the weather cooperates – I DO live in Wisconsin!), reading for education, reading for enjoyment, enjoying the simple pleasures of being home – housework, laundry, groceries, preparing meals, etc., sleeping more, watching a few amazing shows on Netflix and Prime and checking in with family and friends as to how they are doing under house arrest.  I seem to be having one meltdown a week.  Other than that, this VOID time has been pure, unadulterated bliss.  My SOUL was made for this my Spirit loves this.

What has made this VOID practice even sweeter has been to UNPLUG from social media.  Other than the necessary business-related posts, I’ve really tried to stay out of the fray.  I check in from time to time only to be reminded of why I decided to abstain from Facebook (especially) during my commitment to the VOID.  Too much misinformation, too much fear, too many conspiracy theories, and not enough reason or discernment.

As the world is losing its shit, I’m sitting at home enjoying the peace and quiet and wondering what our world will look like on the other side of this.  More specifically, I am excited about what MY world will look like as people begin to awaken out of the collective sleep that got us here in the first place.  But that’s forward thinking and there is no room for that in the VOID.

Instead, all I can do is decide what MY WORLD looks like NOW.  So far, I am really loving it. And I CHOSE THIS.  Instead of indulging in fear, I am choosing peace.  When the meltdowns surface (my reactions to the world’s fearful reactions and the pain many are experiencing during this time), I go even deeper within to transform the cause of the meltdown.  I am choosing SIMPLE.  My life was already pretty simple, but I’m embracing an even deeper level of simplicity.  There are no bestsellers I need to pen while resting in the VOID, neither is the world ready for any new online classes I might dream up at this time.  No.  NOW is a time to simply be with what is and STAY THERE.

And here is the most amazing thing (something a colleague has promised me for years is the natural consequence of DOING only what our SOUL needs and wants)…..I’m technically not working at all other than facilitating the FREE meditations I’m sharing on FB Live and the weekly service that is available to members of Authentic Freedom, many of whom don’t pay a dime for these services because they have completed one or several of my training programs.  (Please check out my FREE meditations and weekly services on YouTube) And yet, the support for me to live and share my gifts is magically coming in.  From unexpected and grateful places, the support keeps rolling in.  Perhaps this is the fruits of 26 years of hard work, or (more likely) the magnetic response to the energy I am creating by simply being and working in the VOID.  (BEING in the VOID doesn’t mean that nothing is being done.  It simply means that what is being done is deep, subtle and mostly invisible).

Thank you to those who have shown up as support during this VOID time – financially, emotionally and spiritually.  And thank you especially to my “Doomsday Team” (you know who you are) for being there when I hit the wall and for allowing me to be there for you when you are doing the same.  We are in this together!

Big LOVE to all of you who are finding your way through your own version of VOID time.  Wouldn’t it be marvelous if after the social distancing requirements are lifted we all decided to carve out more time in our lives to SIMPLY BE!?

 

Love,

Lauri Ann Lumby, self-actualization, finding ourselves, finding meaning, finding purpose, personal mission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lauri

 

Posted in Being Human, building the new world, grief, Spiritual Practices, world changes

Surviving Social Distancing

As an introvert, social distancing is one of my superpowers.  I have honed and perfected this craft, while moving through all the challenges of being apart.  In this article I share what I have learned about the loneliness, grief and anxiety that come with being apart.

 

Loneliness

I have often felt that loneliness might be the core wound of the human experience.  Rooted in that first moment of separation from the cozy and safe room in our mother’s womb, we are forever yearning for our return.  We long to feel connected with another and to feel safe within that connection.  As most have come to discover, however, even our human connections do not fulfill the depth of longing we feel to be reunited with that which cannot be named.  We are forever seeking the satisfaction to that longing.  Existential loneliness is the angst we feel in the depth of that longing.  Loneliness is the universal human emptiness that is only further compounded during times of social distancing when we don’t even have our superficial relationships to distract us.  The key to dealing with loneliness is to face it.  As I learned during a 30 day loneliness practice, our loneliness has much to teach us about ourselves.  Here is the practice I employed to arrive at a place of being comfortable in being alone without feeling lonely:

Loneliness Practice: For this practice you will need a notebook or journal to record all that your loneliness wants you to know about yourself.  Set aside 10-20 minutes each day to simply SIT with your loneliness.  While sitting, close your eyes and bring your awareness into your body.  Move your awareness until you find your loneliness.  Focus your attention on your loneliness and FEEL it.  REALLY feel it.  Dive deep into the pit of loneliness and then give it a face.  Envision your loneliness in a form (mine takes the shape of the Little Match Girl from Hans Christian Anderson’s tale).  Once your loneliness takes a form, let it speak to you.  What does your loneliness want to tell you about yourself?  Most likely, it will show you past pains and hurts that are asking to be healed and released.  It may also show you your fears.  As these pains, hurts, fears, etc. come forward, acknowledge them.  See them.  Hold them in love.  Then let the pass.  Once they have passed, they have been released from your being and you are healed.  Continue with this process until it feels complete.  Then record your experience in your journal, along with any thoughts or reflections that might surface in your writing.  Note that your loneliness may also show you hopes and dreams that you have not yet fulfilled, or parts of yourself you have rejected or not allowed to come into being.  As these come forth, they are showing you the things you are now invited to explore or begin to make a part of your life.  DO IT.

Grief

As we are collectively experiencing social distancing, our routines are changing.  The things we used to do every day are no longer available (yoga class, the YMCA for workouts, the library, etc.).  Maybe our work situation has also changed (I know mine has).  With this change in routine, it is natural to experience grief.  Sadly, our culture does not give enough credit to grief – period – let alone the grief we experience in the simple face of change.  Change = Grief.  When grieving we will experience every face of grief:  Shock. Denial. Bargaining. Depression. Anger. Sorrow. Acceptance. Angst and restlessness will also be faces of this grief in the face of a change in routine.  Similar to loneliness, the best thing we can do with our grief is to BE WITH IT.  Identify which stage of grief you are experiencing and FEEL IT deeply.  Allow yourself to be in denial – to pretend this will all soon go away.  Indulge in your bargaining (which might look like restlessness).  Pace the floor.  Wring your hands.  When feel depressed, wallow in it.  Take a nap.  Allow paralysis to take you.  When rage hits you, let it out – in a safe way!  Dance it out.  Go for a run.  Grab a swimming noodle and whack the shit out of the basement or tile floor.  When you are sad, weep.  And if you find yourself stuck in depression, find a way to get angry (I listen to heavy metal music – my favorite being the group Disturbed).  Anger pushes through the depression and allows us to get at the true issue which is our sorrow over the loss of routine.

For more on dealing with grief, please click here.

Anxiety

Fear is a big one! There is so much anxiety around the Covid-19 virus itself, not to mention the anxiety that surfaces in the face of social distancing.  I will try to limit the anxiety discussion here to that experienced in the face of social distancing.

The key to anxiety is to first uncover its cause.  What is triggering our anxiety?

Is it loneliness (which we addressed above)?

Is our anxiety related to grief?

We may experience anxiety related to our finances or our everyday concerns:  How will we pay our bills if our work hours are reduced?  Who will care for my child when childcare centers have closed and I still have to work?  Where will I get toilet paper?  What if I run out of food?  What if I get sick?  Who will care for me?

We might also experience anxiety as it relates to boundaries.  If we are cooped up in our homes with our partners and children or roommates, we are bound to get on each other’s nerves.

Our anxiety may surface due to the news or social media.  There is a lot of fear out there and much of is unfounded.

We may also find that the anxiety being stirred in the face of current events is triggering old anxieties and unhealed wounds.

Talk about a can of worms.

 

The first step in managing anxiety is to understand that it is normal and biological.  This means that anxiety is not our fault.  It is simply a biological response to something triggering our fear.  Sometimes the fear is justified (being chased by zombies).  Sometimes it is a mis-fire.  (when we look more closely and discover what we thought was a snake is only a stick).  Excitement can also look like anxiety for those who are struggling with anxiety or panic disorders.

If you are being treated for anxiety or panic disorders, continue with your treatment plan, while employing some of the techniques I will share with you here.

 

            Meditation and Mindfulness Practices have time and time again proven to be effective in rewiring the part of the brain that governs anxiety and panic.  Through regular and diligent practice, the anxiety center of the brain (the amygdala) learns a new response to triggers, allowing the mind to act out of reason instead of panic in the face of non-life threatening fears.  Diligent and regular practice also builds a sturdy foundation of inner calm which reduces the incidence of being triggered by fear. To learn more about the many ways that you can practice mindfulness, take my online course Starting a Spiritual Practice which is available for FREE through the month of March.   Click on the image below to register and receive the free pricing.

If you are interested in the science behind Mindfulness and Meditation – email me your contact information with “Meditation Paper” as the subject, and I will send you a FREE copy of an academic paper I wrote on the topic which includes a list of verifiable resources.  My email is lauri@authenticfreedom.love.

Other practices that support us in managing our anxiety: yoga or any meditative movement practice, dance, exercise, eating well, creative projects, gardening, being outside, going for a walk and talking with our friends.  Since we may not have an opportunity to gather face-to-face, do the old fashioned thing of picking up the phone and giving your friend a call.  I just reached out to two of my friends for support as together we face what we do not yet know or understand.

As I am here for my friends, I am also here for you.  Watch this site for ongoing support as we move through the Covid-19 event, and please reach out for additional support if you need it.  One-on-one support.  Online classes.  Our online community. Books and more.

 

Holding you all in big love as we support each other through this life-changing event!

 

With love,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lauri

 

 

 

 

Posted in shadow work, spiritual gifts, spiritual healing

The Invisible Work of the Empath

The purpose of today’s blog is to provide encouragement, support and permission for those who have been gifted with the calling of Empath (and in some cases, Priestess of Death).  The work of an empath can be lonely and thankless as the work we are doing is primarily invisible.  It is for this reason that I want you to know you are not alone, that the sensations you are feeling are real and that they have purpose and meaning.  Our world would be a much darker, scarier place were it not for the Empaths doing their difficult work of feeling and transforming.

 

Feeling

Feeling is the number one task of the empath, and likely the first sensation we are aware of that is pointing us toward our gifts.  As empaths, we FEEL everything around us.  We feel other people’s feelings and emotions.  We feel the energy of a space.  We feel the energy of another person’s intentions.  We can feel if someone is being authentic or if they are a liar.  We can feel the energy of our community and the energy of the world.  We can feel weather patterns, impending storms and the oncoming of natural disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, etc.).  We can feel if there is conflict happening or about to happen somewhere in our world and we can feel ahead of time when a tragedy is about to strike (as in the incident in Oshkosh last week).

 

Transforming

Sometimes we are feeling for the simple sake of feeling.  If we know the energy of a space or a person, we can use that knowledge to set boundaries where necessary.  The gift of empath is like having our own personal barometer so we can know if a person or a space is “safe” for us.  In most cases, however, we feel so that we might respond.  In some cases, our response is conscious.  We may become aware of a feeling of sorrow in a family member or friend and we might reach out in support.  We may know that a group of people are grieving, and we might take time out to pray for them.  In other cases, our response is unconscious.   A specific example of this from my own life is the feelings and sensations my body processed while I was in graduate school and the university I was attending was going through a crisis.  I didn’t yet understand my calling as an empath and every time I attended our semi-annual seminars, I became sick and depressed.  Twice I became seriously physically ill.  What I didn’t understand then, but I understand now is that my body was processing and transforming the trauma, grief and fear that was being experienced by students, faculty and staff at the university.

 

Hepa-Vacs of the Human World

As empaths our primary job is to take into our own bodies, the emotions and feelings that others are unable to process themselves so that they can be processed and transformed through our bodies.  We are like the Hepa-Vac of the human world. We take in the fear and pain that is around us and through our spiritual gifts, they are healed and transformed.  The more aware we are of our gifts and the more conscious we are of the work we are doing, the less we experience our gifts as negative and the less we suffer any negative effects from the work we are doing.  (For example, if I’d known in grad school what I know now, I would have been purposefully doing my empath work and would not have become physically ill).

 

Time and Attention

The calling of the empath requires time and attention.  This is perhaps the greatest challenge for us in a world that does not acknowledge or recognize our gifts.  Whether the world knows it or not, we are doing it a HUGE favor in the use (as if we even have a choice) of our gifts.  The greatest gift we can give to ourselves and to our world is to take time out for our gifts.  If/when we feel the overwhelming grief of those around us, or become aware of the anxiety of impending tragedy, it behooves us to STOP what we are doing so that those feelings can move into and through us.  We can stop and pray or sending healing intentions – even if we don’t know what we are praying for.  With the incident that occurred in Oshkosh last week, I immediately responded to my body’s demand for prayer, meditation and for healing.

 

A Thankless Job

Whether the world sees it or not, our calling as empaths is critical to the healing and transformation of our world.  While our culture does not acknowledge nor compensate us for our gifts, the sharing of our gifts is critical. Think of what our world would be like if we weren’t doing our job of healing and transforming the negative things of our world.  This is where faith comes in.  While we are taking time out for the use of our gifts, we have to trust that as we are engaged in our Divine calling, our humanly needs are being met.  While compensation may not come through our community, we will be rewarded in other ways because as we give, so shall we receive.

 

For ongoing support in the development and use of your gifts, check out our membership offerings.  Learn more HERE.

If you feel called to make a donation to Lauri Ann Lumby for the empath work she has been doing, click HERE. 

 

 

 

Posted in Monastic Living, self-actualization

Welcome to My Monastic Life

My whole life I have been restless – longing and searching for more.  Typically, that “more” meant something other than what I was currently experiencing.  My mom recently reminded me that I was always looking for that next opportunity, next goal, next degree, next job, next relationship.  I was rarely, if ever, satisfied with what was right in front of me, I was always looking for that “something new” that must be right around the corner.  This searching did not arise out of boredom with the status quo – in fact, as one who thrives on order and routine, status quo has always provided me with a sense of comfort.  But still, my heart was restless.  Where was that satisfaction that my Soul longed for and relentlessly searched after?

The good news is that my searching has not been in vain.  Everything I have explored, searched after, studied, discerned, discarded or applied has been food for the searching.  Every place I landed (albeit temporarily) showed me a part of my Soul and provided me with tools which have proven, not only helpful but life-giving in the great search.  What I had begun to suspect a few years back and which I have now come to understand fully, it was not anything outside of me for which I was searching.

This whole entire time I was only searching for one thing and that one thing is MYSELF.

Nimue – original art by Lauri Ann Lumby

Lauri Ann Lumby.  Thriving in order and routine.  An Introvert who likes people and who cherishes intimate friendships.  Creative yet also logical and reasoning.  Outwardly appearing aloof while harboring deep, deep, deep feelings. Highly, highly, highly intuitive (some might even suggest psychic). Hungry for knowledge – specifically of a spiritual nature.  Enjoys a quiet, gentle, ease-filled flow to life.  Repelled by conflict or competition.  Enforcing hard-core boundaries for the sake of self-care.  Recoils from entanglements and anything smelling of co-dependency or manipulation.  A vessel of kindness and support, insight and wisdom.  Yearning for a world where we can all just get along and where people can remember that we are all one.

This is me.  I have also learned (something I’ve actually known all along) that knowing myself isn’t enough.  What this search has also led me to understand is what MYSELF needs to thrive.  It is not and has never been what our culture keeps trying to sell us – work hard, get a job, make lots of money, buy lots of things, invest your money, save your money, buy cool things with your money, be famous.  You can imagine the inner conflict I’ve been feeling all these years with the world and my Soul constantly fighting for my attention.

No more.  Now I get it and I am living it.  I have set down my conditioned desire for wealth, power, fame and success (as it is defined in our capitalistic culture).  Instead, I am embracing what my Soul needs – a monastic kind of life. But what does that mean in 2019 for a 54 year old divorced mother of two?  The answer to this question has come from living INTO the question – asking my Soul what it needs from moment to moment and doing my best to deliver.

Yesterday, I had the perfect monastic kind of day – one that filled my Soul!  It looked like this:

  • 6 am wake up.
  • Meditation
  • Breakfast and coffee
  • Check emails and Facebook for messages.
  • Upload two additional lessons to my Order of Melchizedek Level 6 training.
  • Draw.
  • Make a healthy, nourishing lunch.
  • Get a massage.
  • Come home, do dishes and clean for my evening class.
  • Shower.
  • Draw some more while enjoying coffee and a few Fig cookies.
  • Eat a light dinner.
  • Prep my class.
  • Transfer money from my Paypal account (yay….I love getting paid to “do nothing”) into my checking.
  • Pay a couple bills.
  • Meditate for 20 minutes
  • Welcome my guests for a 6:30 class.
  • Watch Dark Crystal on Netflix while enjoying a glass of wine.
  • 9:00 bedtime.

 

Easy day.  Easy flow.  The perfect blend of being and doing and only “doing” that which came forth out of my being.  Hurray!

Today is much of the same.  The only difference will be grocery shopping, a stop at the bank and my job at the ballet studio (chop wood and carry water while also getting my necessary outside of my home people interaction).

In embracing my monastic spirit and making a commitment to it in my daily life, I am indeed finding “heaven on earth.”  Yes there will still be conflict.  Yes, there will still be anxiety and stress.  Yes, I am spending a fair amount of my time alone – which actually fits my temperament.  No, my life is not complicit with what a capitalistic culture requires of us.  No, I don’t have any of the things our culture says we must have.  I don’t own a home.  I don’t have any savings or investments.  I own the simple furnishings and artwork (much of it I have done myself) that are in my home.  Much of what I own came to me second-hand, including the clothes on my back.  It is a simple life.  It is counter cultural.  And it is founded on and established in one thing:

My relationship with MYSELF and my relationship with that which some call “God.” 

 

Everything else springs forth out of and revolves around this simple goal – to be One within Myself and therefore One with God and One with everything that is.

It is here that we find true contentment and peace.

 

If the monastic life speaks to your Soul’s yearning, follow my daily posts on Facebook and Instagram.  If you are looking for connection with others walking a similar path, consider becoming a member of our growing community. All are welcome.

Posted in self-actualization, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Formation

#ChoosingLove Online Courses for Your Self-Care

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS, founder and director of Authentic Freedom Academy, offers stand alone, online and e-courses along with complete online training programs.

You can find a full listing of Lauri’s courses by clicking the image below:

Authentic Freedom Academy

Or see individual course listings below:

 

Meditation and Prayer

meditation, creative mind, active mind, meditation practices

 

 

 

 

Life Stages

mother wound, mothers and daughters, healing the mother wound, healing, inner child, childhood woundsmidlife, menopause, perimenopause, midlife crisis

 

 

 

 

Healing Religious Wounds

Healing Our Religious WoundsDiscovering the Goddess through Biblical Women

 

 

 

 

Guided Meditations

 

 

 

 

Shadow Work

gwyn ap nudd, celtic god, Lord of the Underworld, Welsh god, shadow work, shadow, initiationSpiritual Healing - Healing Demons

Posted in Spiritual Practices

Meditation for the Creative and Active Mind – New Online Course

10 meditation practices for engaging the creative and active mind while experiencing the benefits of an ongoing meditation practice. 

Click in image to learn more and register. Only $12..99

Meditation has proved to be the single-most valuable commitment I have made in my life.  For over 20 years, I have rarely missed my daily meditation practice because of all the benefits it has brought me.  That being said, meditation is not easy….especially for those like myself who have creative and active minds.  The way Western culture has embraced meditation practices – especially those from the East, has not helped.  In the West, meditation has been misinterpreted to mean “silence,” with “success in attaining silence” as being the goal.  This is a distortion of what meditation really is and serves as an obstacle to many who wish to enjoy the benefits of meditation but who are not able to because they cannot obtain silence.

The purpose of this course is to support you in finding a meditation practice that works WITH your creative and active mind rather than against.  For as the Buddhist saying goes, “What we resist will persist.”  Meditation is not meant to work against our natural inclinations toward creativity and thought, but to work with our minds so that we can connect with the peace and creative inspiration that dwells within.

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS is an author, teacher, priestess, healer and prophet. She is the author of the highly-anticipated, Song of the Beloved – the Gospel According to Mary Magdalene and Authentic Freedom, both of which reveal the hidden teachings of Jesus as revealed through his most devoted student, co-equal minister and beloved partner, Mary Magdalene. For over twenty years, Lauri has researched, studied and put into practice these hidden teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition and discovered within them rich and effective tools for facilitating self-awareness and self-actualization. These teachings and practices prove that beyond the doctrine resides the truth that unites all people – the truth of Oneness in Love. As a priestess of the Magdalene/Christ, Lauri shares these teachings through her on-line and local courses, one-on-one mentoring, writing and publishing.

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 www.authenticfreedomacademy.com.

As it relates to this course, Lauri Ann Lumby is a practiced meditator who has had an on-going daily practice since 1994.

Learn more and register HERE.

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Jesus, Oneness with God, self-actualization, Spiritual Formation, Truth

We are all Gods – When the Divine Within Reveals Itself

 

I said, ‘You are “gods”;     you are all expressions (children/creations) of the Most High.

Psalm 82: 6

 

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’.  If Abwoon called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of Abwoon came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— what about the one whom the Creator set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am the Creator’s Son’?  Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Creator. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Creator is in me, and I in the Creator.” 39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.

John 10: 34-39

 

Since the inception of Authentic Freedom in 2003, I have been teaching what Jesus taught – that we are ONE with God in love and that remembering this Oneness is the balm that heals us and restores us to inner peace in the face of the challenges and struggles of the human experience.  Authentic Freedom was developed as a process and a protocol for inner alchemy – returning to this original state of Oneness, thereby bringing us into wholeness within ourselves and achieving what alchemists would call  the philosopher’s stone, what psychologists refer to as “self-actualization” and what the religious recognize as “mature faith or mature spiritual development.”  Here we know who we are, we know our unique giftedness and we are empowered to share these gifts for the sake of our own fulfillment and in support of the betterment of the world.

AuthenticFreedomcover

It is one thing to know that we are one with God.  It is another thing to KNOW that we are one with God.  The former is an intellectual knowing, the latter is an embodied knowing recognized in the felt sense of this ONENESS which is further known by a deep state of inner peace, wholeness, and love.  One is centered in the mind.  The other, is a true KNOWING  -centered in the heart and felt in the entire body.  Here one is grounded, whole, complete, content, unflappable.  THIS is the “kingdom of God” that Jesus often referred to and the GOAL of our human experience – to be fully human while KNOWING this state of unflappable contentment.  Jesus knew this. The Dalai Lama knows this.  Amma knows this.  We too are invited to know this.

For twenty-three years, after first getting a glimpse of this Oneness with God, I have practiced the HOW. I have meditated, entered into contemplation and deep reflection, read and studied scripture.  I have practiced movement meditation (Chi Qong and Yoga).  I have listened to meditative music, practiced journaling and meditative drawing.  I have voraciously read every book I could get my hands on describing the spiritual journey, inner alchemy, the psychology of transformation, etc. etc. etc.  I have DONE IT ALL.  After (and while) doing, I created a curriculum and taught.  And then I wrote a few books.  In this journey, I learned of Jesus’ oneness teachings and built the foundation of all my practices, courses and writings on this teaching.  I knew I was One with God, and in the course of this work have gotten glimpses and fleeting experiences of this Oneness.  But I didn’t truly KNOW it.

Now I do. (at least for now, because the Irish in me knows that this KNOWING might very well be a moving target and a fleeting sensation….but for now, it feels really good and in truth, quite stable.)

My experience of getting to this place of KNOWING I am One with God and that the Divine dwells within me as ME has been no easy task! It has been very much as Jesus described, like trying to fit a camel through the eye of a needle!  In order to fit through that needle’s eye, I have had to let go of EVERYTHING I have built my life upon,  EVERYTHING I thought I knew about myself, EVERTHING which has felt, if not safe and secure, at least familiar.  In this process, I have had to let go of dreams of fame, riches (or just plain financial stability for that matter!), notoriety, the illusion of good health, perfection, self-righteousness, pride.  I have been made to let go of century-old grudges, forgive those undeserving of forgiveness, and made to learn how to love my enemy.  I lost my health and entered into a 6 month process of healing and then surrendering to medical support that I have spent 16 years trying to avoid.  Currently, portions of my business are dying and I’m losing the home I have come to love and am forced to find lodgings elsewhere – something I’m finding is no easy task for a family of 3 in a university town.  In short, I have been pushed to the place of having to LET GO of EVERYTHING I have come to know about myself, my vocation and my day-to-day life.  I have also had to ask for help in more ways than I have ever had to ask before.

letgopixabay

This has been my journey for the past 19 months. Letting go.  Letting go.  And letting go some more.  Emptying.  Emptying.  Emptying.  All the while HOPING that this emptying was taking place so that something amazing could come in.  I had no idea that this something amazing might be God.

Then it happened. First in a dream.  Sunday night/Monday morning I had a crazy dream.  In the dream were all the animal totems who had previously come to me in dreams, visions, meditation – wolf, panther, owl, bat and dragon.  At first the dream was about the externals, but the more I meditated, the more I realized the totems were all aspects of my own inner gifts – wolf  = magic, safety and security and the support of the pack.  Panther = my own inner strength and power to protect and defend myself.  Owl represents my own inner wisdom and gifts of seeing and hearing.  Bat is the part of me comfortable and secure in working in the shadows – in confronting and transforming fear, darkness, that which we suppress and repress.  Dragon is my Soul’s power and the inner force that carries me.

Then, yesterday morning, while meditating on Jeremiah:

“For I am with you, to deliver and rescue you, says the Lord. I will free you from the hand of the wicked, and rescue you from the grasp of the violent.”

I pleaded with God that this would be so….that God would rescue me from the pain I have been experiencing as the letting go continues.  Suddenly, while allowing myself to “hear” the God out-there say these words to me, the God out there was no longer out there.  Instead, the voice of comfort came from within me – originating in the place somewhere in the center of my heart, but feeling as if it was coming from my whole being.  And, I no longer saw God as “the old man in the sky,” instead “God” was ME – a bigger, more substantial, whole, confident, content, secure, complete, version of ME.  In this experience, I felt whole, complete, as if I was suddenly my whole and true self – I was Me and it was MYSELF who is the source of peace and comfort within me.  No longer is the source of comfort “out there” in some fickle god who “giveth and then taketh away.”  God is ME within MYSELF but even more than simply being within, God is ME.

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Now I understand and KNOW the ONENESS about which Jesus spoke. God is me and I am God.

But this ONENESS is not just for me. As the Psalmist and Jesus both say above, what is true for me is also true for you, for we are all God – God in me and God in you.  God is me and God is you.

How are you invited to KNOW the God that is you?

 

 

Posted in End of the World Prophecies, Inspiration, New Kids, New World, world changes

Our Kids Are Not Alright!

This week, another one of my daughter’s classmates committed suicide. This young woman is the fifth in a graduating class of 200-some students to commit suicide.  Something here is wrong.  Very wrong.

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I want to begin by presenting what is NOT wrong. The problem is not the school(s).  Oshkosh schools are some of the best in the nation and while our governor keeps whittling away at our budget and other resources that support quality education, our schools have risen above the chaos and are providing the best possible education with the few resources that are left.  In addition, Oshkosh North, the school my children attend, offers a wide range of programs and services to help support their diverse population, many of which have been funded through grants and private donations. The community, teachers, staff and administration have advocated for our students beyond what the budgets would normally provide.

As a subparagraph of the problem not being the school – the problem is not bullying, neither is it a lack of support or counseling services for troubled students. The local schools have an extremely stringent anti-bullying policy and all ranges of diversity are not only honored, but advocated for.  Every school has counselors and social workers on staff who are there to support and advocate on students’ behalf.  The problem is not lack of support.

The problem is not a lack of suicide or mental illness awareness or support. While this may have been somewhat the case with the first two suicides, since that time, efforts, resources, advocacy has been RAMPED UP to educate parents, students, and the community on the challenges of mental illness and the signs of a child or adult in distress.  In addition, there are trained professionals in the community who work specifically to educate the public and to support families on suicide and to support families with a child or adult who is at-risk and to support families who have experienced a death due to suicide.

Finally, the problem is not the parents. I know the parents of some of these children and I can tell you, beyond the shadow of a doubt, these parents have done absolutely everything they could for their children.  They loved them.  They did the best they could to keep their children safe.  They got their children help when help was needed.  They got help for themselves when they were at a loss over how to further help their child.

The problem is not the schools, peers, the lack of mental illness awareness, or the parents.

The problem, and the reason our kids are not alright is:       Our world.

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Our world is a mess. Our world is a mess for all of us – and for some of us, it is just too much to bear.  Let’s look at the facts:

  1. For as long as our children have been alive, THE WORLD HAS BEEN AT WAR.

If it’s not a conflict or a war with a name, (Desert Storm, Iraqi, Afghanistan, Israel and Palestine, etc. etc. etc.) it is “the war on terrorism.” And the worst of all the terrorist attacks have been accomplished right here on our own soil by our own U.S. citizens.  The media does not help in this regard by triggering our fears through sensationalism.  As my son said, “Hundreds of people a year are shot in Chicago and no one cares, but as soon as one guy gets shot in Oshkosh, the whole world is in a state of panic.”  (This also points to media and racial bias which is a topic for another blog another day.)

For our children – the world does not feel safe.

  1. In the U.S. success is determined by external measurements like money, status, power and fame. And some of these measurements are literal – how much money you make, how many time you are Tweeted or your Facebook post gets “liked,” if you have your own reality show or not, and do you measure up to the current standards of “beauty.” For those who do not know their true selves and who have no way of knowing themselves except in comparison to others, success feels like an impossible goal – especially when they look at the TRUTH of our economic situation – which brings me to #3
  2. Education does not mean what it used to. In the old days, a high school education was enough to prepare you for a regular job with a decent rate of pay. Then, college became the necessary gateway to a career, a paycheck and economic security. Then, a master’s degree became the gateway, then a PhD. Now….none of this really matters – and our children know this. A college degree guarantees you nothing, or as a friend of mine told her daughter, “Do what you love because there won’t be any jobs for you after college anyway.” Bleak, but true. As much as politicians are touting the economic recovery and that the “recession is over,” this is not the truth.
  3. The world as we know it is dying. Our children know this and they know that they will be the ones who will be creating the new world. For some, this is just too overwhelming a task. Imagine, for a moment, that you are a player in the Hunger Games and the entire world (as you have known it) crumbles at your feet and you are left with the task of building the new world. While the endless possibilities and the excitement of building something new is enticing for some, for others, it is overwhelming and feels impossible and they shut down under the burden of the task.
  4. And finally….this is the whoo whoo part…..our children are empaths. What this means is that not only are they feeling their own anxiety in the face of a world that is a mess, they are feeling EVERYONE ELSE’S anxiety. They feel the anxiety of their parents, their siblings, their classmates, their teachers, and the entire world around them. When there is a terrorist attack on the other side of the world, they feel it – maybe not consciously, but they feel it. When a weather system is moving through that will cause people anxiety, they know it – again, maybe not consciously, but they feel it. For those that don’t understand the gift of empathy and who don’t have tools for managing this gift, the emotions come out sideways – temper tantrums, disproportionate negative behavior, anxiety, depression – and you guessed it, suicide.

Which brings me full-circle. I don’t know what caused that young woman to jump off the bridge into a freezing and raging river to her death.  What I do know is that her death should not be in vain.  Her death should be another wake up call for us as parents, teachers, and other adults.

Our children are not alright!

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Our children need our help. While we cannot change the outside world, there are things we can do to help our children, and in helping them, find help for ourselves in a messy and broken down world:

  1. Lead them to resources to help them manage anxiety. Resources that have been proven to help manage anxiety include: meditation, mindfulness, regular exercise, a healthy diet, adequate and deep sleep, creativity exercises, being in nature, being with others in healthy community interactions.
  2. Support them in knowing their TRUE selves. Self-knowledge increases self-esteem, confidence, and the ability to be ok with our differences in a world of great diversity, and to weather the storm of other people’s judgements.
  3. Help them develop a different set of values. This starts with us. We need to stop valuing ourselves in terms of money, fame, status, power, and physical characteristics. What we are wearing, whose bag we are carrying and what car we are driving DOES NOT MATTER. These external measurements of “success” or “popularity” do not give us happiness. In fact, all they do is create more ANXIETY. If we want our children to be comfortable in a world that will NOT have the resources in which everyone can be a Kardashian, we have to help them find value in the internals – peace, contentment, joy, and fulfillment in knowing and exercising their gifts. We then need to give them tools for finding this inner peace which leads us back to items 1 and 2.
  4. Support them in their dreams. Our children see and know the new world. They see a world that is free from the separation with which we have defined the world. Instead of separation, they see only oneness. They do not comprehend the separation we keep placing between ourselves and others we view as different from us and they definitely do not comprehend the violence that arises out of these perceived separations. Our children do not see race, religion, sexual orientation, or even gender as barriers, they only see this as the miraculous and amazing diversity among human beings and they seek to know more and to honor these differences. Let’s get out of the way and let them do this, shall we!?
  5. Teach them what to do with Empathy.  Empaths are healers and those with this gift (all of our children) possess this gift because they are here to heal our dying world so that a healthier and happy world can emerge. Our children need to know what to do with these feelings and how to stop taking responsibility for everyone else’s pain. Interestingly, this also brings us back to items 1 and 2.

While we cannot change the world, we can change the world in which we are living and the journey starts within. Let us join together to help our children, and in helping our children, helping ourselves so that we can survive in a world in the midst of change and through our children’s dreams, help to support the birth of a new and better world. Then perhaps these children would not have died in vain.

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Authentic Freedom Academy provides empowerment training for those who want to change their world, which starts by changing the world within.

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom Academy, church

A Home for the Spiritually Homeless

This coming Sunday, August 16, 2015, Authentic Freedom Academy is launching its Sunday Service (8:00 – 8:45 am at Inner Sun Yoga Studio in Oshkosh). People have been asking me what to expect from the Sunday Service, what it is about and what it might look and feel like. To be completely honest, I’m not really sure. What I believe will happen is that the Sunday Service will create itself based on the needs of those in attendance and that over time, it will find rhythm and form. Until then, all I can do is show up with the intention of the Sunday Service which is to:

Provide a home for those who might otherwise feel spiritually homeless:

  • Those who might identify themselves as “spiritual but not religious.”
  • Those who have become disenfranchised or disillusioned by traditional experiences of “church.”
  • Those who have searched for a spiritual home but who are yet to find something that fits.
  • Those who long for spiritual companionship and community that is welcoming and accepting.
  • Those who long for spiritual community that is more about bringing people and beliefs together than building separation.
  • Those who long for a spiritual community that welcomes diversity of all kinds, including beliefs.
  • Those who yearn for spiritual community that encourages questioning as a critical component in authentic psycho-spiritual development.
  • Those who want to be engaged and empowered not merely talked at or left to feel powerless.
  • Those who want to be treated with honor and respect for the intelligent adults they are.
  • Those who long to make the world a better place, and who believe their spiritual development to be an integral component in fulfilling this desire.

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If you want to know more about the nuts and bolts of what Sunday might look like, here is what I know so far:

  • Bring the kids! All ages are welcome and I hope to provide opportunities for children to move and feel engaged!
  • There will be coffee and hot water for tea which you are welcome to bring into the service!
  • There will be nametags and a sign-up sheet so you can receive information on future programs, services, offerings, etc.
  • The yoga studio has plenty of pillows and blankets for floor sitting. (If the floor isn’t comfortable for you the studio has a few chairs or feel free to bring your own.)
  • There will be a free will donation basket.  Thank you in advance for your generous support.
  • We will start promptly at 8 and open with some sort of prayer of welcome, preparation and setting of our intention.
  • I will play a song to set the tone for the day’s theme.
  • I will share a reading from sacred wisdom literature (most commonly scripture from the Judeo-Christian tradition as this is my background, and I will include readings from other traditions when inspired to do so.)
  • A short lesson on applying the reading to our own lives, especially from the perspective of unity consciousness (Oneness).
  • We will share in a period of contemplative meditation drawing from Hebrew, Christian, Yogic, Buddhist and Indigenous traditions.
  • We will take time to share our prayer intentions and close with either a song or silence as we hold our intentions in prayer and prepare to go back out into the world.

If any or all of this calls to you, please join us this Sunday at 8 am (prompt). Doors will open at 7:40. Dress is casual (I will be in my yoga clothes, hair up and probably no makeup!). And if you feel so called, stay for 9:00 yoga with Priscilla (this class has become my church!). Inner Sun Yoga studio is on the corner of 8th Ave. and Oregon, across from Kossels. Parking and entrance are behind the building.