Posted in Authentic Freedom, Divine Masculine, men

Divine Masculine Course Bundle

Course Bundles are a terrific way to enjoy the courses you want at a discounted price. This bundle is specifically for the men in the crowd!  THREE powerful online courses for harnessing your Divinely ordained masculine strengths, while supporting you in naming, claiming and moving through any inner obstacles (fears or unhealed past wounds) that might be hindering your ability to live fully from your TRUE DIVINE giftedness.  When living from your Divine gifts, you will experience a life filled with meaning and purpose, fulfilling your own needs while being of service to the world.

Three online courses targeted to men for only

$279.00

(Over $100.00 in savings)

 

Course Bundle for Men includes:

 

The Hero’s Journey- Authentic Freedom for Men: Learn the seven core fears that prevent you from being your most powerful and fulfilled self, along with proven tools for moving through and conquering those fears.

Claiming Your Divine Masculine Power: The purpose of this course is to support you in claiming the Divine Masculine power that dwells within you. In this, we discard outmoded models of the masculine rooted in fear, power and control and wield the inherent masculine traits of compassionate and loving action, provision and protection that bring wholeness and balance to all.

Unleashing the Wild Divine Male with Gwyn ap Nudd: This course will be a guided vision-quest into the wilderness of shadow work. Through the archetype of Gwyn ap Nudd (Celtic Lord of the Underworld and God of the Hunt), you will be invited to identify and release all that stands in the way of your own Wild Divine masculinity – virile, potent, and a powerful activator of change.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Inspiration, men

A Love Letter to the Souls of Men

My dearest brothers,

I love you and I thank you.

This has been a difficult time in the ongoing journey of our human societal evolution and hurtful things have been said and done to both women and men. The terrible danger that arises when we cast the finger of blame is that those who are innocent suffer along with the guilty. Yes, some of your brothers are guilty – guilty of doing harm to women specifically, and guilty of doing harm to other populations who are vulnerable because of a culture that has been raised on the foundation of fear, power and control.

In honor of my first example of manhood – my father, Don Lumby. I love you dad!

But I know (we know) that NOT ALL MEN ARE GUILTY. In fact, the vast majority of men (at least among the men that I know well enough to make an assessment) would never think to do harm against women, children, or any other sector of our population who is not reaping the benefits of the power structure based in fear, power and control. Not only would you never think to cause harm to another – either intentionally or unintentionally, as it turns out you too are suffering from the current regime where the good and kind men are at risk of losing their man card for standing up on behalf of those who are suffering.  But even the treat of having your man card taken away has not dissuaded you from standing up against violence against women, children and other at-risk populations.  For this I thank you!

I also want you to know I love you! I love you for having the courage to step away from the herd by speaking truth to power.  I love you for defending the rights of those who are under your care and for those you do not know and may never meet.  I love you for using your Divinely masculine gifts of provision and protection to care for those you love and to support the needs of those who have not.  I love you for the example you set for the future generation of men – a model that supports equality among all genders, orientations, religion, race, nationality, etc. etc. etc. and a model that says “our world has value and in order to survive we must take care of our Blessed Mother Earth.”  I love you for the ways in which you empower your daughters to be the best they can possibly be in the world and supporting their dreams whatever those dreams might be.  I love you for treating your intimate partners with tenderness and for supporting them in the fulfillment of their dreams as they share in the fulfillment of yours.  I love you for having the courage to bare your soul – to risk being called “weak” because you might be afraid, worried, hurting or sad.  In this you are not weak, you are incredibly strong and I love you for your strength.

Thank you for being the warriors that you are – warriors that we desperately need at this time of volatile change. Thank you for coming forward as a voice against injustice and as a force for positive, non-violent change.  Thank you for being the great men you are – for having the courage to hold your guilty brothers accountable while standing proudly in your innocence!

I love you and I thank you for all you are doing to support healing and transformation in our world simply by your presence and for all little ways that you are making our world a better (not more violent) place.

 

All my love,

 

Lauri

Part Three of the Authentic Freedom Leadership Training for Men. Learn more by clicking on the image above.

 

Posted in men, New World, self-actualization, women, world changes

A Man Speaking Truth

A HUGE Thank you to Bob Russo, a loyal reader of this blog in whom I have found a kindred spirit and spiritual brother and friend. Below is Bob’s beautifully articulated response to my recent blogs inviting the men to speak to the ongoing question of gender roles and how we understand the flow of the masculine and feminine within us.  Bob beautifully speaks what I could only hope to have the words to say.  THANK YOU BOB!  Following Bob’s words is my own response (warning:  transparency and feeling alert):

From Bob:

Hi Lauri,

I have been meaning to respond to your article on “Inviting Men to Join Us”. So, it feels good to finally get around to it. I tried to post this on your blog but was unable to. Hope you had a relaxing Thanksgiving.

My response may come across as “politically incorrect”. But, my intention is not to be insensitive to anyone but speak from my heart. And, I don’t claim that what I am about to write is correct – but only as I have perceived things over the years.

IMO, both the feminine and male energies are being compromised by the current attitude that exists in America. The women’s movement in the early 1970s was an effort by women to gain recognition for the gifts they have and can contribute in a male-dominated society. It was a comprehensive effort by women to gain the recognition and equality as human beings that they deserve, and an effort to assert control over their own lives.

Unfortunately, this movement encouraged women to become more “masculine” in order to be accepted in a “man’s” world. And in so doing, many of the graceful feminine qualities that are uniquely part of a woman’s makeup have been significantly discounted. Some of the qualities that I am referring to are motherhood, nurturing, protection (of children), intuition, feelings, space, receptivity, inwardness, softness, communication, compassion, and so on. I’m not saying that these qualities are only in women, no. But, it is my belief that they are more pronounced in women than men.

Regarding men, the current attitude in our society as to what it means to “be a man” has undermined the male energy as well. Society often equates “manhood” with such qualities as aggressiveness, overwork, materialism, strong egos, and war. This has caused a lot of confusion and disruption for many men today who are trying to find their place in this chaotic world. What’s been lost in this definition of manhood are many of the positive inherent qualities in men such as protection (of the feminine and family), provider, warmth, giving, consistency, vision, clarity, activity, analytical, and so on. Again, most women share many of these qualities with men. But IMO, they are more naturally a part of a man’s makeup than a woman’s.

We are witnessing a breakdown of both the masculine and feminine energy in our society, and consequently a major collapse of the family unit. Women are no longer honored for being mothers or care givers, for example, but are given high strokes when they are CEOs of a large firm or working 12 hours a day along-side their male co-workers. And, men are no longer praised for being good providers and consistent in their lives but given strokes for being more feminine and passive, or at the opposite extreme, for being aggressive and survivors of war. No wonder we’re so confused and messed up. We can only deny our inherent nature for so long.

As you know, each of us is comprised of both feminine and male qualities. It is this integration that make us the unique person we are. We become a fully-functioning man or woman when these qualities exist within us in a balanced way. As a man, I need to know when to hit the gas or put on the brakes. My long-term vision in combination with my wife’s intuition have provided us with a reliable road map during our marriage. When the natural qualities of both sexes work together, good things happen. It’s that simple! But, when they are out-of-balance or one dominates the other, like we are witnessing today, suffering and war result.

Bob Russo

 

My response:

Bob, YES YES YES YES YES!  You eloquently articulate the feelings that are living in my heart, that have been part of my own lived experience and exist in my deep inner knowing.  Thank you for speaking what I could not find the words to express.  This is one of the many reasons I appreciate your presence so much in my life!  Thank you!

As for being “politically incorrect,” the world in which we are currently living is humanly incorrect and our politics simply support this incorrectness.  Our job as prophets is to shine the light on what is no longer working so that something new may come into being.  We need to speak our truth for this to occur….so speak away!!!!!!  (Besides, I don’t find your words to be politically incorrect in the least, in fact they reflect a politic we SHOULD be embracing – IMO).

At the risk of being “politically incorrect” myself, I want to speak to what you wrote from my own lived experience.  When you speak of the devaluing of what have traditionally been considered the inherent gifts and calling of women, I agree there seems to be a correlation of this devaluing to the women’s movement.  I have often said that while the women’s movement was necessary (critical, in fact), there has been a damaging effect on both women and men because of it – for exactly the reasons you stated.  In my own lived experience, I have really struggled with this.  My deepest drive is to love, nurture, care for, heal, support, build connections, teach and form – tasks we traditionally associate with the feminine.  I have lived this out professionally and most joyfully in my role as a mother.  But NEVER have these gifts been valued. Neither have the masculine traits that reside within me.

First, we live in a culture that doesn’t value the work I do.  I have been expected to do this work for free and criticized for daring to charge for the services “their priest gives them for free.” Because of the structure of our society, most people don’t see value in the inner work of coming to know themselves.  Instead they would rather spend their money on things.  When in the Church I was condemned for daring to think for myself, stand up for my truth and for not being silent and obedient (the expected feminine role).  In my marriage none of what I did in my role as mother, running a household, managing two businesses, taking care of the details of medical appointments, bookkeeping, etc. etc. etc. was valued – it was simply assumed that I would and should do it because it was my job as “the wife.”  When I asked for help I was told, “It doesn’t bother me.  If it bothers you, you do it.” While doing all of this I was also expected to be provider but the work I did outside of the home wasn’t a “real job,” and therefore had no value and neither did the money I brought home from that job.  To say that I felt resentment for not being valued would be an understatement. (I have a deep scar on my forehead showing the effects of resentment not tended to.)  Now as a divorced, single, working mother of two, I find I have to do all of it and quite frankly I am frickin EXHAUSTED.  I am finding I can’t do it all and I don’t want to do it all!!!!!

I know I am not alone in this.  The current structure of our society does not value the inherently feminine as you so eloquently described:  motherhood, nurturing, protection (of children), intuition, feelings, space, receptivity, inwardness, softness, communication, compassion, and so on.  Neither does our culture seem to value the masculine as it resides within women.  As a woman, I long for the feminine and for the traditionally masculine qualities I embody (courage, strength, risk taking, independence, etc.) to be valued.  At the same time, having to take on too much of the masculine qualities (provision, protection, etc.) is killing me.  It works against my nature.  It has caused me harm.  When I am too much in the driving, striving, trying to succeed mode, I become ill.  So I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place – longing to fulfill the feminine longings within me while exercising meaningful and fulfilling work in a healthy and balanced way that does not do harm to myself, while trying to provide for myself and my children.  UGH!  The cost of caring for myself in a disasterously dysfunctional and imbalanced world has been staggering.

And I feel for the men – for exactly the reasons you stated:

the current attitude in our society as to what it means to “be a man” has undermined the male energy as well. Society often equates “manhood” with such qualities as aggressiveness, overwork, materialism, strong egos, and war. This has caused a lot of confusion and disruption for many men today who are trying to find their place in this chaotic world. What’s been lost in this definition of manhood are many of the positive inherent qualities in men such as protection (of the feminine and family), provider, warmth, giving, consistency, vision, clarity, activity, analytical, and so on.

I have also seen the demonization of what we have been conditioned to think of as feminine in men – nurturing, caring, giving, healing, intuitive, etc.  I believe this demonizing has done great harm to men and caused them to ignore or suppress these traits as they find them within themselves.  I have seen the inner struggle this creates in men, especially in those who have been raised to be “manly men.”  This makes me sad.  We are clearly in need of a cultural overhaul…the likes of which we have never known!

As much as our culture wants us to believe we can and should be able to do it on our own…..WE CANNOT.  As much as our culture says that women and men should be able to do the same things and be equal in them, we cannot if we want to be healthy.  Looking at the current state of our culture we are anything but healthy.  We are doing a terrible disservice to ourselves and to each other in the values we have embraced as a culture and quite frankly, it is killing us.  Something’s got to give!

Or rather, everything’s got to give!  Every single way in which we have defined ourselves as a culture is currently up for evaluation – IMO, especially how we know ourselves.  I believe that in order to arrive at a healthier balance within our culture we first have to come to know ourselves.  As it relates to the masculine and feminine we need to come to know how those qualities are present within us and how those qualities are helping or harming us.  In order to do this we need to be REALLY HONEST with ourselves.  Are we (male or female) called to be provider and protector?  Are we (male or female) called to receive, allow, nurture, etc?  How are we called to do these things in a way that is healthy and supportive for ourselves and for those around us?  In this, it is not about male or female, masculine or feminine, it is about understanding what is unique within us as human beings, owning and valuing it…..both for ourselves and for others.  Maybe in doing this for ourselves we will begin to see the transformation in our culture that many of us long for.  And Oh My God…on some days it is sooo hard trying to live ahead of the curve.  😉

I know this doesn’t even scratch the tip of the iceberg of the healing we need in our culture and in our world……and THANK YOU Bob for your beautiful contribution to this conversation.  As ever it is unfolding.

 

Love,

Lauri

 

 

 

Posted in Beloved Partnership, building the new world, men, world changes

Inviting the Men to Join Us

Yesterday I wrote an article about Feminine Rage and the injustices that have been done to women at the hands of the current structure of our world which is rooted in fear, power and control.  While yesterday’s blog spoke on behalf of women, today I speak to (and hopefully for) the men.

Men, if you are not angered over the injustices that our world has heaped upon women (people of color, the disenfranchised, the sick, the poor, the elderly, etc.) then you should be. If not for the women, then you should be angry for your own sake. Because as much as women have suffered under the hands of a culture rooted in fear, power and control, so have you.  If you don’t believe me, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Where and how have you felt supported for your sensitive, vulnerable side?
  • Where have you been forbidden (or condemned) for expressing tender emotions – fear, sorrow, anxiety, love?
  • Where have you run from intimacy, fearing the vulnerability that comes with it?
  • Where have you been told to “stop crying,” or “boys don’t cry?”
  • Where have you been forced into situations of competition, violence, bullying and how did these experiences cause you discomfort?
  • How do you feel about picking up a gun and going off to war?
  • How do you feel about putting a gun in your son’s hand and sending him off to war?
  • Where do you feel pressure to drive, strive, succeed, achieve, and where do you feel as if your only value is based on how much money you make, what kind of car your drive or what neighborhood you live in?
  • Where have you been supported in exploring/cultivating your creative yearnings? Where have you been told, when entertaining your creative dreams, “There’s no money in that….”
  • Where have you experienced support and a vehicle for expressing all the inner areas of conflict within yourself?
  • Where have you been molested, assaulted, taken advantage of by one in a perceived position of power over you?

My dear, sweet men, you have a right to be angry about all the places in your life where you have been denied or felt as if you had to suppress your truth. The hierarchical/patriarchal/consumeristic/capitalistic world has done you as much harm as it has done to us – maybe more. As much as you have been told to “be tough,” “keep a stiff upper lip,” “be courageous and strong,” and that your value is dependent on what you have achieved (as it is measured in the terms of our society), this is not the whole of what it means to be a man.  While the Holy Masculine is about provision, protection, action and support, in order to experience wholeness, one also needs to experience the feeling of being supported, protected and provided for……and this is the role of the Divine Feminine.  This is the Holy Balance that our Creator intended and what we all long to experience in our world – if we are truly honest with ourselves and about the deepest longing in our hearts.

Men, this is what we as women long to be for you – the Divine Feminine to your Holy Masculine. As women, we have the potential for creating the space in which you might feel safe to lay down your sword and set aside your armor.  Where you are supported in feeling and expressing fear; where you are honored for your strength and your vulnerability.  Where you are uplifted, nourished, nurtured and restored so that you might go back out into the world to do the work you came here to do.  And while we do this for you, we long for you to do the same for us.

We are in this together….but we live in a world that seems to have forgotten this. Instead, we live in a world that has pitted men against women and women against men….and sadly, this is a world of our own making – not directly, but due to thousands of years of conditioning, and we are complicit in allowing it to continue.  Men are guilty for enjoying the benefits of male privilege, and women are guilty for allowing it while enjoying the benefits of powerlessness.  BUT it doesn’t need to be this way.  We have the power to change this, but we can only make this change TOGETHER.  Women acting alone cannot bring about a new paradigm of human partnership and collaboration without the men acting right here beside us.

So my dear sweet men, I offer you a question, an invitation and a question:

The Question:  What kind of world do you want to live in? One rooted in the Unholy Masculine defined by fear, power and control or one rooted in the Holy which honors and uplifts the unique giftedness among all human beings and draws from those gifts?

The Invitation:  If the world you would like to live in is not the world you are living in now, what would you like to do about it?

The Question: If you feel called to a more Holy expression of our world, who are the women you would like to stand beside in bringing this about?

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Midlife Journey, Relationships

Help for the Male Midlife Crisis

Today’s blog is fourth in a series on men and the unique way in which they experience the midlife crisis.  In yesterday’s blog, we explored the ONE CAUSE and ONE CURE for the male midlife crisis.  Today, we explore specific tools to help men in their journey through the midlife transition.  Ironically, these tools are similar to those which are helpful for women.  When the midlife crisis is navigated in the ways presented here, the outcome is the birth of the Soul – the uniquely creative way in which you have been gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in your life and through which you are called to contribute to the betterment of the world.

male midlife crisis

Fear

The NUMBER ONE obstacle to successfully navigating the midlife journey is FEAR.  This is true for men as well as women, but for men, this is especially problematic because of the patriarchal, hierarchical paradigm which tells them that they cannot be afraid and if they are, they had better not show it to anyone.  This is especially true of the fears that arise in midlife because many of these fears are connected to men’s fear of being vulnerable.  Whereas fear is shunned in the patriarchal paradigm, vulnerability is condemned.  Men are NOT allowed to be vulnerable.  The successful navigation of the male midlife journey includes learning how to identify, confront and transcend fear – especially the fears that are shielding your deepest, most intimate truths – and learning how to acknowledge vulnerability and then, God-forbid, ask for help.

Vulnerability

In a culture where men are supposed to be strong, confident, in-charge, have it all together, be successful, virile, athletic, etc. etc. etc., vulnerability is a “no-no.”  In this paradigm, vulnerability is either buried under a mountain of denial, or out-right rejected and demonized as something that needs to be eradicated.  As such, men often develop an antagonistic relationship with vulnerability, the reaction to which is often violence and rage which then gets projected outward.  The voice of the subconscious sounds something like this, “This does not feel good to me and makes me feel weak.  I cannot be weak, and I cannot be vulnerable, therefore this feeling must be someone else’s fault.”  Out of this silent voice then often comes raging, attempts at controlling the situation, temper tantrums, or the opposite, withdrawal and punishment by silence.   None of this does anything to address the underlying vulnerability, which then begins to fester, eventually leading to another outburst.  (Please note, women are equally guilty of this.)

The Only Way Out is Through

The only way out of the painful symptoms of midlife is through.  In order to successfully navigate this transition and enjoy its promised gifts, you have to learn how to listen for and hear the voice of your truth, and then have the courage to be vulnerable enough to be present to these truths – many of which might be painful.  Then, you have to find tools to help you heal from the buried truths of past hurts, disappointments, losses, abuse, failures, etc. Once you have begun to move through the wounds of your past, the voice of your Soul will begin to speak.  Through the whispered voice of your Soul, you will discover the uniquely creative way in which you were gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in your life – and how your Soul is calling you to enjoy the next stage of your life.  Then you are invited to seek tools through which you can transcend the fears that will now begin to arise in response to your Soul.  Your Soul wants you to be your most magnificent and authentic self.  Your ego, your false-self, however, wants you to remain in a place that is familiar and does not want you to disturb the status quo with dreams of magnificence and freedom.  As such, the ego will start the battle of your lifetime by throwing up every possible fearful excuse for why you can’t possibly have the dreams of your Soul.

Authentic Freedom

This is where Authentic Freedom comes in handy.  Authentic Freedom is a process that I have developed to help men and women identify the fears which are serving as obstacles to the birth of their Soul.  Through the process of Authentic Freedom, you are provided with effective tools for identifying and transcending these fears.  Stay tuned for the next blog which will outline the philosophy and practices of Authentic Freedom, thereby setting you on the road to living the life of your Soul – meaningful, fulfilled, abundant, contented, joyful and free.

Lauri Lumby mentors men and women through the midlife transition.  Call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth to set up an in-person, Skype or phone session. 

Posted in Being Human, Inspiration, Midlife Journey, Relationships

Solving the Male Midlife Crisis

Today’s blog is part three in a series on men and the midlife crisis.  You can read Part I here, and Part II here.  In today’s blog, I present my theory on the cause and cure for the male midlife crisis, which ironically, is the same cause and cure as solving the female midlife crisis.  🙂

male midlife crisis

The Cause

The cause of the male midlife crisis is ONE THING – the silenced voice of truth trying to be made known Ironically, this is the same cause for the female midlife crisis, but today, we’re giving men the stage.  It is also important to point out that the extent to which the midlife transition is painful, is the extent to which you have suppressed, ignored, repressed or silenced your truth. 

Contributing Factors

The reason the male truth has been silenced is two-fold:

1) Family Conditioning:  If you grew up in an environment where truth was not modeled or where your truth was silenced, ignored, criticized, condemned, or simply not allowed, then you develop coping mechanisms which continue to silence your truth.  You learned that truth was either a lie or unsafe, and you learned to ignore or suppress it.

2) The Patriarchical/hierarchical culture: While this cultural paradigm can benefit men this provides a double-edged sword.  There are certain expectations of men that arise out of this cultural paradigm (see PART II of this series for more on this) which disallow the wider expression of truth available to men.  Certain truths are either not allowed or are at the very least held as suspect within the patriarchal paradigm.  Additionally, the very roles that are held up as “male” within this paradigm disallow certain truths from even being acknowledged, let alone lived.  Most commonly, this arises in relation to work and relationship.

a) work:  The work challenge usually goes like this.  The man feels trapped in a job that he doesn’t love, possibly never really liked, but this is the job that provides for the needs of his family. The cultural paradigm tells him, “It is your job to provide for your family….and it doesn’t matter if you like it.” As a result, he feels trapped, imprisoned and probably secretly resentful (because remember, in a patriarchal culture, men are told not to feel).

b) relationship: The relationship piece looks like this.  While women have their common complaints against their male partners, men have their own list of complaints:

  • She doesn’t appreciate me
  • She doesn’t need me
  • She never wants to have sex
  • She’s always trying to control me
  • She’s always telling me what to do
  • She is always telling me how to do what I already know how to do
  • I work all day and then she wants me to help with the housework, kids, homework, etc. there is never time for me.
  • I hate my job but I can’t tell her this because we need the money
  • I feel stuck, trapped, stifled
  • I never get to do what I want to do
  • I feel like I have to beg to spend time with my friends, and then I feel punished when I do
  • She’s never satisfied, she’s always wanting more from me
  • When I get home from work, I just want to chill, and she always wants to talk, then she gets mad when I just want to be quiet

Sound familiar?  Now, before everyone gets their undies in a bundle, I will remind readers of this one VERY IMPORTANT TRUTH:

The extent to which another is unable to hear, understand, be present, open up to, spend time, be compassionate to YOU, is the extent to which they are unable to do these things for themselves. 

And this goes both ways!  If you are having trouble in your relationship – BOTH parties are to blame.  Both parties are responsible for disharmony, lack of communication, needs not being acknowledged and met, intimacy issues, inequitable distribution of labor, etc. etc. etc.  And both parties are responsible for unhappiness and dissatisfaction in your relationship.  If you want this to change, BOTH parties need to do something about it!

The Cure

The cure for the male (and female) midlife crisis is ONE THING – to be open to hearing the voice of your truth and doing something about it.  This is easier said than done, and sometimes dangerous.  Hearing the voice of your truth means first, that you have to take time (and the risk) to listen.  Secondly, it means that you need to have the courage to face what your truth has to say. Before you can get to the truth of our SOUL – the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in our lives, you have to move through a whole lot of painful truths:

  • Unhealed wounds, including past traumas which may include sexual abuse (1 in 6 men have reported being sexually abused before the age of 18…this does not account for the abuse that has gone unreported!)
  • Ungrieved disappointments and losses
  • Unacknowledged shame
  • Unmet needs

You also have to take responsibility for all the situations in your life where you have intentionally or unintentionally harmed another human being.  In addition, in order to get at your truth, you have to silence the voice of judgment ( including the voice that is attacking you for the physical changes that accompany midlife), condemnation, criticism, blame, as well as the voice of societal “shoulds.”  In a nutshell, in order to not only survive but thrive in the midlife crisis, you have to learn how to be vulnerable.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog in which you will have an opportunity to learn some tools to assist you through the midlife transition – specifically, the tools which will help you move through fears which might prevent you from listening to and heeding the voice of your truth.

Lauri Lumby mentors men and women in their movement through the midlife transition.  To set up a face-to-face, Skype or phone session, call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

Posted in Being Human, Midlife Journey, Relationships

In Defense of Men – but not letting them off the hook

In yesterday’s blog, I celebrated the gifts of men and the unique way in which they are possessing of these gifts for their own enjoyment, but more importantly, for the benefit of all.  Today I continue to focus on the midlife discussion on men and the unique way in which they experience this life transition and the ways in which their partners can be supportive of this process, while at the same time, holding men accountable for doing something to support themselves through this transition (other than having an affair or buying a sports car).

DikseeBelleDameSansMerci

The Complaints of Women

In the past twenty years of mentoring women (mostly) and men through their journey of birthing their Soul, I have heard an enormous amount of complaining from women about their frustrations with their (mostly male) partners.  While this discussion is not limited to men (lesbian partners are equally guilty of this), it will be the complaints against men that I will share here.  Here’s is what their female partners are saying:  “He doesn’t hear me.  He won’t spend time with me.  He’s too busy with work to care about what is going on at home.  He doesn’t understand me.  I want him to open up to me.  He doesn’t understand that when I say no to sex, it isn’t about him, I’m just so damn tired.”  Sound familiar?  For all the guys out there….before you throw your hands up in frustration and stomp off, refusing to read the rest of this blog….hang on….I’m about to cut you a break.

In Defense of Men

Ladies, here is something you need to know about your partners:

The extent to which they are unable to hear, understand, be present, open up to, spend time, be compassionate to YOU, is the extent to which they are unable to do these things for themselves. 

Most men are not jerks, and most men DO want to be able to be and do these things.  The problem is that we live in a culture that does not give men permission or teach them how to do these things for themselves let alone how to do them for another.  Of course many men are really good at all these things, but based on the complaints I hear from women, it sounds like many are not.  The good news is that this is in the process of changing, but we still have a long way to go.

The Male Dilemma

I believe that there is a deep longing in every man’s heart to be able to be vulnerable enough to open up to another person and to enjoy the same depth of intimacy that women often enjoy with each other and want from their men.  Unfortunately, the patriarchal, hierarchical cultural paradigm puts men between a rock and a hard place.  Instead of empowering men to hear the quiet whispering voice of their truth (which includes the voice of their REAL needs, their hidden hurts, their past wounds, and their unacknowledged shame), they are taught to listen to the patriarchal voices which say:

  • It’s your job to work.
  • It’s your job to protect and provide for your family.
  • It’s your job to make money.
  • It’s your job to compete.
  • It doesn’t matter if you like what you are doing, because what matters in the money and the work.
  • It’s your job to be in charge, the boss, to have power over those around you.
  • It’s your job to know it all.
  • It’s your job to know how to do everything.
  • Don’t ask for help.  Don’t show vulnerability. Don’t feel.  If bad things happen, get over it and move on.
  • It’s your job to be the best and in anything less than this, you have failed.
  • It’s your job to be a “manly” man.
  • It’s not ok to be afraid and even if you are, DO NOT admit it.
  • It’s your job to be strong in the midst of EVERYTHING.

Nowhere in this patriarchal formula is there room for the man’s TRUTH, how he really feels, what he really wants out of life, how he really wants to spend his time.  There is no room for the deep longing to know oneself and to be known.  There is no room for loss, disappointment, grief, failure, fear or pain.  And if a man dare to question his truth or say what he really needs, there is the every-imposing risk of losing his man-card.  And ladies, we are not helping!  Every time we step in and question the way our partner is doing something that is in his area of expertise, we just kicked him where it counts.  When we scold him in front of others for a mistake or failure, we have castrated him.  When we fail to appreciate him for the work he is doing to provide for and protect our families, we have insulted him.  When we mock his need for competition, achievement and to just plain be silly, we are emasculating him. We need to let our men be men, and get the heck out of their way.  That doesn’t mean, however, that as women we can’t model compassion, empathy, vulnerability, naming and claiming our needs, setting healthy boundaries and encourage our partners to do the same.  But, all our whining, complaining, scolding and chastising is not going to wake him up to the person he really wants to and is capable of being.  No, men typically have to find this on their own.

Men, you are not off the hook!

Before holding men accountable to their truth, I want to offer an enthusiastic CONGRATULATIONS to those who have learned to silence the voice of the imprisoning, patriarchal culture and have learned how to listen and heed their own voice.  Way to go for listening to your deeper needs and learning how to ask for them to be met.  High-five for coming to know your deepest vulnerabilities and another high five if you have found someone with whom you can freely share your vulnerability and for the support you have discovered in doing so.  The difficult truth, however, is that many of you had to have the rug pulled out from under your feet, or the ceiling fall in before you were willing and able to do this.  Maybe you lost the job of your dreams.  Perhaps you were diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness.  Maybe your wife left you.  Perhaps you had a devastating injury which changed the course of your life.  Maybe you lost everything and had to start anew.  Now, what would happen if instead of waiting for the bottom to fall out, you learned another way of being – one that transcends the patriarchal, hierarchical paradigm without undermining your inherent gifts as men?  Ultimately, I believe it is this call that is the cause of what we often refer to as the male midlife crisis, and the topic of which will be covered in my next blog.  Stay tuned for more…..

Posted in Being Human, Midlife Journey, Relationships

In Celebration of Men – and the midlife journey

Surviving Midlife is not just a concern for women, it is one for men as well.  As a white, heterosexual, female, I have hesitated to speak to the male journey as I am admittedly not one of them.  Instead, I have focused my blog on the issues women face during midlife.  But….women are not the only ones who suffer.  So….begging your forgiveness from the beginning….I am going to attempt to share what I have seen as important in the male journey through midlife.  All you male readers out there….PLEASE FEEL FREE to share your own comments and experience, because I’m just a girl who only sees it from the outside looking in.  🙂  In today’s blog, I want to celebrate the unique gifts of men.  Tomorrow, I will tend to some of the specific challenges men may face during midlife.

tristan-and-isolde-1912-john-duncan-1866-1945-scottish-symbolist-painter-tuttart-9

Patriarchal/Hierarchical Enculturation

To begin, I believe that one of the greatest disservices that has been done to human beings…..including men….is the enculturation of our patriarchal, hierarchical society.  While there are benefits for men in this current cultural paradigm, it provides a double-edged sword.  In a patriarchal, hierarchical society, certain expectations are put forth for men – to be providers, protectors, in charge, strong, manly, virile, sexually potent, to have all the answers, to be the best at whatever they do and to be more successful than those around them.  In a patriarchal, hierarchical society, men are told they cannot be sensitive, appreciate the arts, be sad, grieve, or feel.  If a man shows emotion he is often considered weak and if he shows sensitivity, it is assumed he is gay.  These are unfair assumptions to make regarding the male species who in fact need to have the freedom to be all these things in order to be happy, healthy and whole.

Women’s Lib and the Gifts of Men

The other thing that has happened, is that women’s lib, while doing amazing things for the rights and empowerment of women, have left men wondering about their role in the world.  Ultimately, I believe that we are in the midst of a HUGE societal shift in our definitions of gender roles and are moving beyond patriarchy and hierarchy into something that has yet to be revealed.  As such, we are currently living in the tension between what we have known and what we do not yet know.  As such, men (and women) currently spend much of their time being confused.   Who are we and how are we supposed to relate to each other?  One of the things we as “liberated” women are invited to do in this time of transition is to stop demonizing men and begin to recognize the inherent gifts and drives of men and how these gifts can serve as a source of support, not imprisonment.  Watching my 11 year younger brother grow up, reading the work of Dr, Ali Binazir, raising a son, and having the fantastic gift of close male friendships, have given me some insights into the unique and special gifts of men that I think we, as women, sometimes tend to forget.  These gifts include, but are not limited to:

  • The drive to be provider and protector.  To keep the people they love safe and to provide for their wellbeing
  • The need for competition
  • A deep sensitivity and warmth
  • A great curiosity and sense of adventure – always wanting to explore and try new things
  • The need for accomplishment
  • The need to be silly and ridiculous
  • The need to be able to do it – to confront a challenge and successfully conquer it
  • The need to be needed
  • The need to be recognized for what they are accomplishing
  • The powerful drive and need for sexual expression  – which for many is the only way they are safely (in our culture) able to experience intimacy, tenderness, and vulnerability

While women may certainly possess some of these gifts, it has been my experience that men possess these gifts in a unique and special way.  I have also observed, that when we, as women, set down our shields and put away our medieval flails, these unique gifts of men are here, not only for their enjoyment, but also for our benefit.  For example, there is nothing more enjoyable to me than to watch my son giggle and laugh at the latest, greatest, most ridiculous, gross-out video he discovered on YouTube.  There is nothing more satisfying than watching a man accomplish a task that I am either unable or unwilling to do for myself (like changing a tire or catching a bat that found its way into my house.).  Yes, I could certainly do these things for myself if I wanted, but I don’t.  And, by asking for help, I have the opportunity to allow myself to be vulnerable, and I get to observe the satisfaction a man experiences in helping another person. And finally, And there is nothing better than pure and simple chivalry – an open door, helping us on with our coat, assisting with carrying in the groceries.  Chivalry, by the way, was invented by men….not women.  Let’s not forget that!

Men are not the enemy

At the end of the day, men are not the enemy.  Instead, men have the potential to be terrific friends, generous and giving lovers, nurturing and supportive partners, fantastic providers and protectors and they have the ability to help us maintain our own sense of curiosity and adventure.  As women, if our male partners are not living up to these ideals, they are not always the ones to blame (more on that tomorrow), and it would serve our so-called battle of the sexes to exercise a little empathy and compassion as we all move through this treacherous time of gender role transition.  If we can pause for a bit and set down our weapons, we might just find that we all end up with happier, healthier, more loving and mutually supportive relationships.

Posted in Boundaries, codependency, Midlife Journey, Relationships

Dark Night of the Relationship – Undoing Co-Dependency

The purpose of the midlife and menopause journey is to birth our Soul – the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment and through which we are called to contribute to the betterment of our world.  In the process of birthing our Soul, we are invited to heal and sometimes release any inner, as well as outer obstacles to enjoying the life of Soul.  Our intimate relationships are not exempt from this invitation.  It is not a coincidence that the Dark Night of the Relationship often surfaces during midlife and even becomes the catalyst through which real transformation can begin to take place. In today’s blog, we explore the co-dependency that needs to be unraveled and undone.

dark night of the relationship

Damn, You Don’t Complete Me!

As I have mentioned before, many relationships entered into in our youth are established upon the illusion that the other person will complete us.  We look to the other to fill the emptiness and longing we feel inside.  Eventually, we realize that the other person is not completing us as disappointment and resentment rush in.   Now we have entered the dark night of the relationship.  We then begin to harbor blame, resentment and hatred against the other person for not being the fantasy we created in our mind.  It is this resentment that will eventually destroy our relationships unless we do something about it.

The Only Person Who Can Complete You is YOU!

Doing something about the resentment, many discover all the ways in which they have been socialized to seek outside of themselves for love and completion, along with all the ways in which they believe that love is something that has to be earned or that can be denied them.  What often arises out of these false perceptions is co-dependency.   If you are the one who has given away your power, hoping in return for completion and love, the invitation is to take your power back.  This means identifying all the ways in which you have remained silent, ignored or suppressed your needs or your truth, stayed in the background, forsaken your needs and tended to the needs of others at the expense of your own needs.

Welcome Perimenopause and Menopause

For women, compounding, hastening and perhaps even catalyzing this invitation to tend to ones own needs is the advent of menopause.  When women become aware (consciously or unconsciously) that their time for childbearing has come to an end, they begin to see their lives through a dramatically different lens.  During the vulnerable years of childbearing, and while the children are still tender, vulnerable little beings, a veil stands between a woman’s sight and truth.  All of the woman’s energy and attention is directed at the survival of the children.  Once the children become viable, and the woman knows she is done bearing children, the veil collapses.  Every personal need, creative drive, personal desire, wish, hope and dream that was placed on the shelf for the sake of the needs of the children and family come tumbling down.  And now, the woman’s inner drive is directed toward the rediscovery of her own truth, her own needs and the discovery of the vocation which will provide her fulfillment in the second half of her life.  Wife/Mom suddenly becomes a different person and the husband/children are left to wonder, “What the heck just happened?”  This is often when the threads of co-dependency begin to unravel and the rules of the household begin to change.  (please note that men have their own version of this midlife transition – as I understand it, it is a departure from the role of provider to the role of enjoyer…sadly our culture and our current expectations of gender roles does not do a good job of supporting this transition either!)

Undoing Co-Dependency

Whether it is the man or the woman who has been the partner bargaining their own needs for the illusion of completion and love, the process is the same.  Co-dependent behaviors are identified, and we begin the process of changing how we act and respond in our relationships.  We begin by identifying our own truth, our own needs, our own dreams, hopes and desires.  Then we begin to exercise these truths.  We name and claim our needs to those around us.  We set boundaries around our need for “ME” time.  We learn to say no to those things not supportive of our needs and we begin to make time for those things that are life-giving for us.  We stop rushing to the side of those around us every time they seem to be in distress, and we empower them to learn how to tend to their own needs.  We stop doing for others what they are capable of doing for themselves.

A Rude Awakening

For those who have been trained by our co-dependency to expect us to take care of them or to forsake our own needs for theirs, this is a time of RUDE AWAKENING!  We have trained our loved ones well, and now we are changing the rules.  The first response is often bewilderment which then turns into rebellion and often outright war!  “What do you mean you’re not going to make my breakfast?”  “But you’ve always picked out my clothes for me.”  “What good are art classes at your age?”  “You want to go back to school….for what!?”  “Why would you want time for yourself…don’t you love us?”  For those who have been trained to forsake their own needs for the needs of those they love, this can be a difficult transition as the demons of guilt whisper, and sometimes scream in our ears, “You are abandoning your family….they need you….this is your job…..”  In response to this, I will share with you a mantra that was once given to me by a great teacher:

The most loving thing you can do for those you love is to do what is most loving for yourself.

Every time you claim your own need, every time you set boundaries around your own time, every time you stop doing something for someone that they are capable of doing for themselves, you are teaching them how NOT to be co-dependent.  You are modeling for them healthy, interdependent behavior. And you are empowering them to be GROWN UPS!

Lauri Lumby mentors individuals and couples in their journey of birthing their Soul, which includes navigating the difficult transition of the dark night of the relationship.  To set up your own one-on-one session, call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

Posted in Midlife Journey

Midlife and Menopause – Revisioning Work

The purpose of a midlife crisis, perimenopause and menopause (from a spiritual perspective) is to move us beyond childbearing to birthing ourselves…and this is as true for men as it is for women.  During midlife and menopause, we are invited to leave behind the life we have known to make room for the new life that is trying to be born through us.  In birthing our new selves, we are birthing our Soul – the unique way we are creatively gifted to find meaning, purpose, connection and fulfillment in our lives and the way in which we find fulfillment by contributing to the betterment of our world. In birthing our Soul, we are also birthing a new vocation and in birthing our new vocation, we are required to revision work, what it means to us and how we want it to look in the second and third trimesters of our lives. 

Lauri in Santa Cruz, CA
Lauri in Santa Cruz, CA

Midlife and Menopause – Revisioning Work

While this is not true for everyone, the ideal outcome of the midlife process for men is a new relationship with work where work becomes less about being the “provider” and more about doing what they love.  For women, the midlife journey transitions them from being a caretaker of children and partners to tending to themselves – specifically their creative gifts, passions and dreams and finding a new vocation in this.  For women who did not choose, or were not gifted with motherhood, a shift in career from “work” to “passion” is the ideal outcome.  In order to be open to this life-giving transition, however, both men and women have to revision work, what work means to them and what they want it to look like in the second and third trimesters of their lives.

Midlife and Menopause – Letting work define us

For many, in order to revision work, we have to confront old and familiar attitudes about work.  For many, work comes to be how we are defined and how we find our validation.  We come to associate ourselves with what we do.  “Hi, I’m Lauri.  I am a counselor.”  “Hi, I’m John, I’m a financial planner.”  Unfortunately, we live in a society which supports this illusion – that we work, therefore we are.  The truth we learn in midlife, however, is that work is not who we are, it is simply what we do.  The other problem with work is that we also live in a culture which says, “In order to be recognized, validated, loved, you’d better be working and productive.”  Work then becomes a source of validation….if I’m working, I am good…if not, I’m being lazy or bad.  In midlife, we are invited to learn that none of this is true.  In fact, we discover that in order to be happy, healthy, fulfilled and whole, not only do we need meaningful work that engages our uniquely creative gift and in some way gives service to the world, we also need time to DO NOTHING!  The outcome of a healthy midlife transition is a balanced relationship between doing (something meaningful and fulfilling) and Being…..in other words, doing nothing!

 

How are you being invited to revision your relationship with work – finding something that is meaningful and fulfilling and enjoying a healthy balance between working and doing nothing?

 

Lauri Ann Lumby provides guidance and support for those undergoing the midlife transition.  To schedule your own personal, one-on-one mentoring session, call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.  Sessions are available in person, over the phone and via Skype.

 

P.S. Thank you Bob Russo for catching me in the act of simply BEING!  🙂