Posted in Midlife Journey

Surviving Midlife Online Course

Surviving Midlife – guidance and support for women through the sometimes treacherous journey from childbirth to birthing themselves. 

Somewhere between the ages of 35 and 45, (and which continues until our death) women begin the process of the midlife journey – a process through which they move beyond childbearing to birthing themselves. For many, the advent of this transition comes in the form of a rude awakening, personal crisis or tragedy and continues through volatile physical and emotional changes which seem at once to be disconcerting and confusing. The purpose of the midlife journey is to knock women out of the comfort of status quo and into the passion, meaning and purpose that will define their lives beyond motherhood. Like childbirth, the midlife journey can be dangerous and fraught with pain, but like the birth of a child, can produce a gift beyond measure and miraculous to behold.

Click on the image to learn more and register for this online course.

Common signs that you might be in the midst of the midlife transition: 

Experiences of:

  • Restlessness
  • Boredom
  • Loneliness
  • Longing
  • Discontent
  • Impatience, anger, rage
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Physical and emotional changes
  • Grief
  • Sadness

The purpose and goal of the midlife transition is to clear out all the inner and outer obstacles and make way for the birth of our Soul – the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to find meaning and purpose in our life and to contribute to the betterment of the world, then it is time to put on our big girl and big boy panties! Only the truly brave and courageous will succeed in their goal. The rest, will be doomed to a life of quiet desperation, – just sayin! (not that there is anything wrong with making that choice).

Click HERE to read some additional articles on midlife.

The purpose of this course, Surviving Midlife,  is to support you in your midlife journey.  This course supports you through the midlife awakening and on the labyrinthine journey through the twists and turns of unraveling from the past toward returning to and reclaiming your Soul.  Here you will discover you Soul’s purpose for the second half of life, a purpose that is meaningful, fulfilling, joyful and content.

12 self-paced, online lessons. 

Lesson One: Awakening

Lesson Two: Confronting Fears

Lesson Three: Unraveling the Past

Lesson Four: Finding Support

Lesson Five: Illusions Shattered

Lesson Six:  Seeking the Voice of Truth

Lesson Seven: Dark Night of the Relationship

Lesson Eight: Befriending Our Bodies

Lesson Nine: Hiding in the Shadows

Lesson Ten:  Childhood Dreams

Lesson Eleven: Birthing our Soul

Lesson Twelve: Returning

Learn more and register HERE.

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

Surviving Midlife – New online course!

Surviving Midlife – guidance and support for women through the sometimes treacherous journey from childbirth to birthing themselves.

12 self-paced online lessons with instructor guidance and support.

Only $66.00!!!!

Click on image to learn more and register
Click on image to learn more and register

Somewhere between the ages of 35 and 45, (and which continues until our death) women begin the process of the midlife journey – a process through which they move beyond childbearing to birthing themselves.  For many, the advent of this transition comes in the form of a rude awakening, personal crisis or tragedy and continues through volatile physical and emotional changes which seem at once to be disconcerting and confusing.  The purpose of the midlife journey is to knock women out of the comfort of status quo and into the passion, meaning and purpose that will define their lives beyond motherhood.  Like childbirth, the midlife journey can be dangerous and fraught with pain, but like the birth of a child, can produce a gift beyond measure and miraculous to behold.

Common signs that you might be in the midst of the midlife transition:

Experiences of:

  • Restlessness
  • Boredom
  • Loneliness
  • Longing
  • Discontent
  • Impatience, anger,  rage
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Physical and emotional changes
  • Grief
  • Sadness

The purpose and goal of the midlife transition is to clear out all the inner and outer obstacles and make way for the birth of our Soul – the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to find meaning and purpose in our life and to contribute to the betterment of the world, then it is time to put on our big girl and big boy panties!  Only the truly brave and courageous will succeed in their goal.  The rest, will be doomed to a life of quiet desperation,  – just sayin! (not that there is anything wrong with making that choice).

mapofmidlifeimageonly

The purpose of this course is to support you in your midlife journey. This course supports you through the midlife awakening and on the labyrinthine journey through the twists and turns of unraveling from the past toward returning to and reclaiming your Soul. Here you will discover you Soul’s purpose for the second half of life, a purpose that is meaningful, fulfilling, joyful and content.

Lesson One: Awakening

Lesson Two: Confronting Fears

Lesson Three: Unraveling the Past

Lesson Four: Finding Support

Lesson Five: Illusions Shattered

Lesson Six: Seeking the Voice of Truth

Lesson Seven: Dark Night of the Relationship

Lesson Eight: Befriending Our Bodies

Lesson Nine: Hiding in the Shadows

Lesson Ten: Childhood Dreams

Lesson Eleven: Birthing our Soul

Lesson Twelve: Returning

Click on image to learn more and register
Click on image to learn more and register

Posted in Beloved Partnership, Boundaries, codependency, Relationships

You Don’t Complete Me!

Damn, You Don’t Complete Me!

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!

If you are interested in unraveling from past patterns of co-dependency check out our relationship course, Happily Ever After.  Click on image below to learn more.

Register HERE
Register HERE
Posted in Midlife Journey

Surviving Midlife – A Map

Back by popular demand, this fall I will be facilitating my Surviving Midlife class.  Somewhere between the ages of 33 and 40, women begin the (often treacherous) journey from childbirth to birthing themselves.  Surviving Midlife provides support in understanding the many stages of transition on undertakes during midlife and offers tools to help women through that process.  If you are interested in learning more about the upcoming Surviving Midlife class, click HERE.  And, see the image below which will give you an idea of some of the topics we will be covering.

MapofMidlifeimageonly

To learn more or to register for the class, contact Lauri Lumby (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@ntd.net

Posted in Midlife Journey

The Midlife Transition – I haven’t forgotten!

Somewhere between the ages of 35 and 45, (and which continues until our death) women begin the process of the midlife journey – a process through which they move beyond childbearing to birthing themselves.  For many, the advent of this transition comes in the form of a rude awakening, personal crisis or tragedy and continues through volatile physical and emotional changes which seem at once to be disconcerting and confusing.  The purpose of the midlife journey is to knock women out of the comfort of status quo and into the passion, meaning and purpose that will define their lives beyond motherhood.  Like childbirth, the midlife journey can be dangerous and fraught with pain, but like the birth of a child, can produce a gift beyond measure and miraculous to behold.

The Joy of Midlife
The Joy of Midlife

Common signs that you might be in the midst of the midlife transition:

Experiences of:

  • Restlessness
  • Boredom
  • Loneliness
  • Longing
  • Discontent
  • Impatience, anger,  rage
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Physical and emotional changes
  • Grief
  • Sadness

If you are looking for guidance or support through the midlife transitions, contact Lauri at (920) 230-1313 or lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

 

Let’s Not Forget the Men!

Admittedly, most of my midlife experience has been with women.  Men, however, are not immune to the sometimes treacherous journey of midlife.  Like women, men’s midlife journey is about seeking a greater level of creative fulfillment beyond what they have known in their career, in parenting or in their intimate relationships.  The destination for men and women is ultimately the same – a fuller expression of SOUL – the uniquely creative way in which they were gifted to find meaning, purpose, connection, fulfillment and through which they are called to contribute to the betterment of the world.

 

Posted in Being Human, Boundaries, Inspiration, men, Midlife Journey, Relationships, women

Calling the Good Men!

Today’s blog was supposed to be Part II of a rant…..but I’m not feeling very ranty.  Instead, I’m feeling a deep love and appreciation for the men of our world and instead of calling them out for the sin of White Male Privilege, I am using this forum to invite the GOOD MEN to don their Superhero capes, or sport their swords and shields and STAND UP in defense of those who are suffering under the current cultural paradigm which hurts them as much as it hurts us!  

Goodmen

For the Love of Men

I absolutely adore men. I am one of those girls who always felt at home in the company of boys and later men. I (mostly) get men.  I appreciate their interests and sense of humor.  I love the unique gifts they bring to the world.  Many of my closest friends are male, not to mention the three most important men in my life – my father, my brother, and my son.  MOST men that I know are generous, kind, loving, thoughtful, supportive, providers for their loved ones and families and not only value, but honor women for their uniqueness and as their equals.  That being said, even the men I love most have benefitted from white male privilege and while they might not be actively participating in it, they are being affected by it and in a very sad sense, they are somewhat responsible if they are doing nothing to change the face of male privilege, especially the practices which make women and people of color victims of this privilege.  Today’s blog, specifically addresses some of the ways in which women suffer under this paradigm.  And as much as we (as women) fight, kick, scream and cry for things to change, sadly, nothing about this is going to shift until those in privilege – THE MEN, stand up and do something about it.

White Male Privilege

White Male Privilege is the current cultural paradigm which values male over female, white over any other race, masculine ways of doing things over feminine, masculine structures, logical thought processes and ways of doing over feminine systems, feeling creative processes and ways of being, hierarchy over cooperation.  etc.  White Male Privilege…or as my business partner, work-husband, and personal Boy-Wonder, Ted would say, “The Plight of the Slow White Male,”  keeps us in a system where women are still only earning $0.73 for every dollar earned by a man and where there is a complete lack of recognition, honor or pay for women who are tending the home, raising the children, preparing the meals, etc. etc. etc.   White Male Privilege is most acutely obvious in Institutional structures – churches, corporations, academia, etc. where the highest levels of leadership are owned by men and if not by men, by women who had to be like men to get there.  Women suffer under this paradigm, but so do men.  White Male Privilege puts an awful lot of pressure on men (and women who have had to become like men) to perform, achieve, and conquer, often at the expense of their deeper needs for nurturing, intimacy and time to simply be. For the purpose of today’s blog, however, I am inviting us all to recognize that if we are unhappy with the effects of White Male Privilege, it is the GOOD MEN who will have to STAND UP, SPEAK UP and do something about it.  So, Good Men, as you are donning your superhero capes, here are a few of my hot-button issues (now here comes the rant!  🙂 ).  And if you would like to know where else you might help, ask your wife, your girlfriend and your sisters, they might have some ideas.  🙂

  • “Blurred Lines”  Really?????  Here’s the deal……NO MEANS NO, and a drugged, drunk woman who does not have the capacity to argue is still saying no.  As a survivor of rape, I feel as if the only just punishment due a man who rapes a woman (or a child, or another man) is castration….but I’ll let the courts decide that one.  But instead of working to stop rape,  old white men are busy making laws that are further blurring the lines around what is defined as rape and how rape is tried and punished.  Unless the woman has fully consented, is willingly participating and enjoying the action….then it is rape….period.

Good Men, we need your help in changing the culture of rape and the policies that that blur the lines around what we define as rape and how rape is punished.

  • Birth Control – again….old white men making decisions about our bodies, our decisions to become mothers and how we want to do this.  Shouldn’t this be the woman’s decision or at least made within the privacy of an intimate, committed relationship?

Good men, we need your help with this!  Your female partners need access to medical services and medications that keep unplanned pregnancies rare and sex safe.  I’m thinking you have an interest in this as well!  🙂

  • Abstinence Education?  Are you frickin kidding me??????  Old, white men again.  Keep your legs crossed kids, and don’t have sex.  But if you do….it is the girl who is to blame, because boys are just sowing their wild oats.  I call FOUL!  Kids are having sex.  And some of them are children (under the age of 13).  The sooner we ADMIT this, the sooner we will work our tails off to provide education about contraception and prevention of STD’s.  There is a reason that Amsterdam has the lowest infant mortality and teenage pregnancy rate in THE WORLD!  It is because they acknowledge that their kids are having sex and they are giving them what they need to keep sex safe and prevent unplanned pregnancies.

Good men, we need your help with this.  I’m not saying we should condone sexual activity among our youth….I’m just saying let’s be real about it!  Keep our kids safe and unplanned pregnancies rare!!!!

  • Periods are gross – again, old white men in the guise of pharmaceutical companies providing pills that “stop your period.”  Ahem……women, we were meant to bleed.  It is natural and healthy.  Artificially preventing our natural cycle could have devastating and lasting effects.  Don’t trust what you see on TV or read in the magazine!  Belly up to the “Feminine Hygiene” isle and OWN your Red Tent time.

Good men, we need your help.  Support your female partners, daughters and friends in being comfortable with their bodies and all the functions thereof.  Speak out against campaigns that encourage women to stop these necessary biological functions.  Your voice matters here.

  • Menopause is a disease and something that requires medical (and psychological) attention and medication: Again, old white men deciding that the aging process is BAD (because is somehow negatively impacts their ability to be in control or to have great sex, or God forbid….learn to be open to emotional intimacy and vulnerability!!!!!).  The hormonal changes of perimenopause and menopause serve the benevolent purpose of birthing the uniquely creative life of a woman beyond that of motherhood.  It is through perimenopause and menopause that women really come into their true power and when embraced….we are a force to be reckoned with.  This is not the time to seek out estrogen replacement or bio-identical hormones to calm our mood swings, ease our tempers, erase our wrinkles or so we can remain “juicy” down there….it is the time to ROAR, SHOUT, SCREAM, all the gifts we have been suppressing so that the people around us would be “happy.”

Good men, if you are supportive, loving, understanding and encouraging of your female partners  through this process….I promise that you will have your reward – a happier, healthier, more fulfilled partner who might just want to rock your world.  🙂

The Bigger Truth Here

Now, everyone take a breath.  There is a profound lesson to remember here and on which will save all of us – women and men were BOTH created in the image and likeness of God and are at once equal and unique.  If we want a better world, we are going to have to learn how to uphold our equality while honoring the unique gifts that we bring to the table – the feminine ability to be generous, to allow and receive, to work toward harmony, to encourage collaboration, consensus and peace; and the masculine traits of working toward goals, striving for accomplishment and making things happen….and that these gifts are not entirely defined by gender!!!!!  And if you think we have a long way to go in our country…think about other parts of the world where women can’t even get an education, learn to read and write, hold a job, vote, etc. etc. etc.  Our work has just begun baby!

And to the Good Men:  THANK YOU.  Thank you for having the courage to acknowledge white male privilege and to see where it hurts not only those you love, but yourself as well.  And THANK YOU for doing your part to help change this paradigm so that we can work together in creating a world rooted in love, honor and respect for all and where peace and harmony reign!

Lauri Lumby, known as Wonder Woman to some, is just a voice crying out in the wilderness, hoping to make the world a more loving, peaceful place.  Thank you for adding your voice to the cause of love. 🙂

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 Being Human, Midlife Journey

Midlife and Another Existential Crisis

For many adults, midlife, perimenopause and menopause put everything into question.  We question our vocations, our place in the world, our relationships, our family of origin, our past, our present and our future.  It is also during midlife that many question their beliefs – who or what do we believe in and why?  Today, I share with you an essay I wrote during one of those times of questioning. This essay came out of a period of study in which I was deep in the midst of Indian and Buddhist philosophy, and quite frankly, tired of being told that the path to enlightenment was to sit down, shut up, quiet the mind and silence my passions. 

redsonja

Another Existential Crisis

I don’t know about you, but trying to attain enlightenment or striving for some sort of spiritual perfection only leaves me feeling anxious and assured of failure.   After beating my head bloody against the enlightenment door, I threw my hands up in surrender, sat down hard on my ass, with the cold steel door of enlightenment against my back, and quit.  In surrendering, in quitting, in ceasing to strive after enlightenment, I finally found peace.  Liberation came to me on that day when I realized that I am already Divine and that the reason I am here, the whole point of the human experience is just this – TO BE HUMAN!

So, if I’m here to be human (and maybe you are also here for this reason), why should I deny my passions, set aside my desires, sit down, shut up, quiet my mind?  Why do I have to be perfect, sinless, emotionless, bulletproof, impervious to pain? Instead, why not harness the creative energy God gave me?  Why not give voice to the words God wants the world to hear through me?  Why not dance, scream, shout out my anger, rage, wrath, sorrow, pain, despair, worry, depression, anxiety, panic and fear?  Why not poke the sleeping giant and set fire to a sleeping world?

God is the only God there is….why do we think we have to be him/her/it?  Can’t we just be the human beings God/dess made us to be and be happy with that?????  And where is the theology that allows us to be human?  Frankly, all I see in the world religions is a whole lot of teachers telling us we have to learn to be like God. I’m all for practices that help us to find inner peace, to cultivate empathy and compassion and which empower us to work for the betterment of the world.  And, if we came from God and are going back to God, aren’t we here to be something other than God?  And if we are here to be something other than God, then perhaps there is a place for our anger, impatience, passion, desire, lust, restlessness, etc. etc. etc.  So that being said…….

Where is the theology that doesn’t reject the way God/dess made us – unique expressions of the ever-living and ever-creating God, seeking to be known in the world?  Where is the theology that doesn’t ask us to deny, repress, suppress or transcend all of what makes us human?  Where is the theology that acknowledges that creation and growth come out of chaos, tension and pain?  Where is the theology that gives honor to the pains of birth instead of condemning them as a curse or as punishment for some mythological ancestor’s sin?  Where is the theology that honors as sacred the fecund, fetid, putrid, bloody, oozing condition of the human experience?  Where is the theology that sees passion and desire as God’s longing to be known and to be made known?  Where is the theology that allows us to be human in all the ways God wishes to experience the gift of being human? Where is the theology that doesn’t expect us to be God or that doesn’t set the drive for enlightenment as the supreme and ultimate task of our existence?  Where is the theology that acknowledges all that is good and holy and sacred in the human condition?   Where is the theology that recognizes that our origin is divinity and that we are here to simply be human?

Lauri Lumby mentors men and women in their journey of living as their true and most human self.  To schedule a one-on-one, phone or Skype session, call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

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

The Courage to Be Vulnerable

As human beings, we are hardwired to seek companionship and intimacy.  Like wolves, lions, deer and buffalo, as a species, our survival is dependent on our ability to work together.  Beyond mere survival, however, we thrive when we learn to work together in mutually supportive, peaceful and harmonious ways and in ways that seek to work for the individual as well as the common good.  During midlife and in the birth of the Soul, this drive becomes even more urgent as we realize the finite nature of our existence and are forced to confront and make peace with the places where loving, harmonious connections were not supported.  In order to move through this delicate period of transition, we discover that the most valuable quality we can cultivate within ourselves, is the courage to be vulnerable. Today’s blog addresses this courage.

courage to be vulnerable

OUCH!

In a recent discussion with a colleague and business partner, I was reminded of the pain of vulnerability and the courage it takes to become the people God/dess made us to be. We were enjoying a deep conversation about life when the innocent question was posed, “Lauri, how did you get to where you are today?”  I paused, looking for the right response to his question, then I heard myself saying, “It started when the universe fell in on me.”  Then I told the story that began thirteen years ago and is still unfolding today.  I realized at one point in telling the story how truly uncomfortable I was telling this tale.  I’ve told the story a million times in my writing, but rarely within the intimacy of a one-on-one, face-to-face, conversation.  In telling the story, I was no longer Lauri “the teacher, minister, healer, writer, published author, leader,” I was the Lauri that is wounded, vulnerable, terrified, and alone.  I was reminded of how difficult it is to be this Lauri and was grateful when the doorbell rang so that this topic could be put back on the shelf.

The Courage to Be Vulnerable

But the conversation isn’t over.  In fact, it is just beginning.  If we wish to allow for the birth of our Soul – the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in our lives and the way in which we are called to contribute to the betterment of the world – then the most important thing we can  do for ourselves is to learn how to be vulnerable.  In the Western culture, it is most often during midlife (menopause and perimenopause) that our Soul begins to exert its pressure on us as it seeks to be known and realized in our lives.  In birthing our Soul, we have to confront all the painful things of our past – name them, process them, heal, and release or transform them.  In confronting the pain of our past, we are acknowledging our humanness – that we are imperfect and flawed – that we suffer and that sometimes we are the cause of suffering.  In confronting our past, we are also invited to cultivate forgiveness – forgiveness of our own imperfections and forgiveness of the flaws and imperfections of others.  In order to confront our past and cultivate forgiveness, we have to be vulnerable – we have to set down the illusion of how we want others to see us, release the mask of who we want to believe we are, and set down the shield of our counterfeit strength.  Instead, we have to stand naked before ourselves, and naked before the world as human beings – afraid, vulnerable, weak and often feeling alone.

Vulnerability and True Courage

It is in learning to be vulnerable, in admitting our humanness, that we discover authentic courage.  Authentic courage comes out of our willingness to be vulnerable – not only to ourselves, but more importantly, with another.  When we can set down the shields of counterfeit strength and stand naked before one another, we find true intimacy – the kind of intimacy that God/dess offers to us, desires from us and envisions as possible within the human race. It is only in true intimacy where we discover the seeds of the compassionate love, mutual honor and respect, and harmonious interdependence that we were created to experience and make manifest in the world.  And it is only in cultivating this kind of harmonious interdependence that, as a species, we can ever hope to move beyond mere survival (which we are barely accomplishing at this point in our evolution) into the thriving enthusiasm and joy that God/dess intends for us to know.

Lauri Lumby supports women and men in their search for authentic courage through one-on-one mentoring. To learn more or set up your own session, call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.  

Posted in Midlife Journey, Relationships

Midlife and Dark Night of the Relationship – Part 3

Part 3 of a series on the Dark Night of the Relationship, what it looks like, why it often shows up during midlife, and some resources to support you in moving through this critical stage of your intimate relationship.  Read Part 2 HERE   and Part 1 HERE.  Today I will share my own experience of the Dark Night.

dark night of the relationship

Causes of the Dark Night

To begin, I want to warn the reader that the Dark Night of the Relationship does not always end in a happier, healthier, reconciled relationship.  For many who identify this stage in their relationship, seek help and do the difficult work, the end result (and the hoped for result) may be a healthier, happier, loving, and mutually supportive relationship – renegotiated to meet the newly identified and claimed needs of both parties.  For those who do not identify this stage and do not seek support, the end result will either be divorce or silent misery.  For others who identify this stage and seek help and support, the most life-giving thing for all involved may be a termination of the relationship, this proved to be the case for me.

How we got there

I want to preface this sharing by saying there are things about my marriage that I will not share here.  I will also not throw my ex under the bus by presuming to know his side of the story.  As such, I can only speak from my own perspective and out of my own particular viewpoint.  That being said, hindsight is 20/20.  I can look back now, through the eyes of wisdom and experience and identify two primary issues that, from the beginning, doomed the outcome of our marriage.

1) I believe that both myself and my (now ex) husband were looking for someone to complete us.  As I mention in Part 1 of this series – relationships are doomed when established on this foundation.  For us, a clear pattern of co-dependency was established and when I began to seek help for these behaviors and began to retrieve the strands of my co-dependent behaviors, the shaky foundation upon which our marriage was built began to collapse.

2) We had nothing in common.  Yes, we shared a few similar core values and have similar philosophies of parenting (which we still do together quite well), but our day to day interests and passions could not have been more different.    Over time, and with some work and parenting decisions that were made, we ended up living two completely separate lives.  There was nothing shared, other than our children, to tie us to each other.  Further complicating this was the fact that we were so incompatible in certain areas that this tended to overshadow any connections that might have been able to be established.

Naming my part

With the co-dependency issues and lack of common interests, the foundation of our marriage was already on shaky ground.  Compounding this were the following issues that I brought into the marriage that exerted their influence, thereby undermining the potential success of our marriage (Of course, I was not alone in contributing to the end of our marriage, but I can only take responsibility for my part.):

  • Unhealed wounds from childhood
  • Unresolved issues of co-dependency
  • Not knowing how to name and claim my needs, set healthy boundaries
  • Inadequate tools for managing grief, anger, disappointment, loss, needs not being met
  • Inadequate tools for managing anxiety, stress, fear, loneliness
  • Issues of low self-esteem

Seeking Support

When the bottom began to fall out on a relationship that didn’t have much of a bottom to begin with, I sought help.  Through 10 years of therapy, spiritual direction and intense personal development, the final outcome was arrived at.  The horse that was our marriage was dead (and I accept my part in this death) and there was truly no way of renegotiating a relationship that could be healthy, let alone mutually loving and supportive, so we decided that divorce would be the most life-giving decision for both of us, and our children.

Divorce Sucks!

Yes, divorce sucks, and the journey has not been an easy one.  In fact, I do not wish divorce on anyone.  But, what I can say is that after three years of moving through this process – from decision to now, I am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.  Through on-going support and personal work, I feel more content, more whole, more confident in naming and claiming my needs, setting healthy boundaries, etc.  I have terrific tools for dealing with loss, disappointment, anxiety, sadness, fear and feelings of loneliness.  I know who I am and I know what I want.  And, I honestly believe our children are happier and healthier.  Yes they (we) grieved, and things aren’t always easy, but our children will never doubt that they are loved and cared for and that they will be supported in getting their needs met.

Dark Night Work

The moral of the story is that Dark Night work requires us to identify and transform the behaviors, attitudes, unhealed wounds that we brought into the relationship so that we are made whole and complete.  Only then can we meet at the negotiating table with our significant other (who has presumably also done their work) and determine the future course of the relationship.  For those who are able to negotiate their differences, find common ground and a shared desire to be together, the end result is a relationship better than what you ever could have imagined for yourself.  For those who choose to renegotiate through divorce, the promise is a healthier and happier self and tools through which they might be able to find mutual love, support and interdependence with another.  For those who don’t do the work, the outcome is continued unhappiness and pain.

Lauri Lumby is working with Ted Balser to bring Dark Night of the Relationship support to couples.  To learn more call Lauri at (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.