Posted in mental illness, Midlife Journey, Returning book, women

Midlife is not a pathology

And other myths they tell us about middle age, peri-menopause, menopause, midlife crisis.  This one is for women, but maybe the men in our lives would benefit from knowing too that their women are NOT going crazy…..we are just trying to be born

Returningcoverversion1

Waiting rooms and clinics

Psychology, counseling and doctors’ offices are full of women between the ages of 30 and 70 who are looking for relief of symptoms that are uncomfortable and that someone (including their inner critic) told them were bad:  anxiety, depression, panic, hot flashes, death chills, tremors, headaches, belly aches, body aches and the dreaded of all dreaded symptoms :  MOOD SWINGS.  Often (but fortunately not always) the Western medical system’s response to these symptoms is to support the myth that because we are experiencing these symptoms, there is something wrong with us – something worthy of medication, hospitalization and sometimes invasive surgeries to remove the offending female parts.

Scalpel please

Then there is the whole array of physical changes that take place in the bodies of women over 30 – lines begin to appear on our faces, our hair begins to grey, body parts start to move and our bodies begin to soften.  Again, someone told us that these changes are BAD and that as these changes unfold, we become less and less desirable by the day.  The Western response – CUT COLOR LIFT SUCK DYE.  (or should I say “die?”)  And again, we place ourselves under the knife in order that the offending part(s) might be removed, stuffed, uplifted, sucked out.

Birthing Ourselves

What someone forgot to tell us is that midlife IS NOT a pathology.  These symptoms that we are experiencing are not bad, neither do they signal that something is wrong with us.  Instead, what these symptoms are letting us know is that there is something VERY RIGHT going on and something that promises to bring us something incredibly wonderful.   The something wonderful that these symptoms are bringing us to is OURSELF!  Midlife is the process through which the hormones in our bodies shift from their focus on birthing babies to the very sacred process of BIRTHING OURSELVES!

Making friends with our emotions

One of the reasons we are so uncomfortable with the midlife journey and are therefore tempted to treat it as a pathology, is because we are so dang uncomfortable with our emotions.  As women, we have been socialized to believe that in order to be loved, we have to be pleasing, gentle, kind, agreeable, cooperative, submissive, quiet and peaceful.  During the childbearing years, the special mix of hormones in our body create a veil.  This veil holds our truth in check and allows us to set our own hopes, dreams, visions, passions and needs on the shelf where they gather dust waiting for everyone else’s needs to be met.  The catch is that our truth is not really being held at bay, it is just gathering resentment for being silenced and our hopes and dreams that are gathering dust are seething in frustration and impatience because they know that the needs of others will never be fully satisfied.  So when our children are viable and the hormonal mix begins to shift, the veil tumbles to the ground and the shelf holding our dreams collapses.  In this upheaval, all the emotions that we have held at bay suddenly come crashing in.  Let me introduce you to:  rage, crying jags, sorrow and depression.  Our initial response is to try to contain these feelings, to shove them down, to shut them up.  As we try to put the lid on the volcano of emotions that are trying to erupt, they wreak havoc with our innards:  depression, anxiety, panic attacks, hot flashes, death chills, tremors, migraines, acid reflux, heart palpitations, vertigo, etc. etc. etc.  The harder we resist these feelings, the harder they work to get our attention.  And as my Buddhist friends say, “What we resists persists.”  When these emotions begin to come to the surface, if we desire to remain sane and healthy, we need to make friends with them.  Here is a little poem I wrote in support of befriending my emotions:

The Fire Within

There is a fire within that calls to me.

A primordial fire –  the burning bush that blazes but does not consume.

It is the fire of inspiration.

The fire that calls us forth, pushing us on.

Beginning as a spark.

Growing as it is fed.

Dying if not nourishment given.

Possessing a hunger that cannot be quenched.

Ever-desiring nourishment.

It hungers for

PASSION

JOY

LOVE

 

It yearns for time alone to

REFLECT

PRAY

CREATE

 

Requiring and understanding the cleansing power of tears,

the purgative power of anger,

the replenishing power of mourning.

 

This fire – the Spirit within us.

Tend her well.

Precious and necessary for survival.

Preserve and tend her well

As she thrives, so shall you! 

Support

In my upcoming book, Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself, I share my own journey of befriending my emotions in the process of BIRTHING MYSELF while giving you tools to do the same.  Our emotions want to be known so that they can reveal for us the SELF that is trying to be born in us – the truth that is trying to be known and to be made known.  The SELF that is trying to be born is made up of our dreams, our passions, our creativity, our sensuality, our hopes and visions.  And…this SELF is not quiet.  She is bold, flashy, loud, obvious, insistent, confident, sensual, passionate, sometimes naughty….she is all the parts of ourselves that we have kept silently hidden away….and SHE WANTS TO BE MADE KNOWN.  The good news is that most often, SHE does not need to be medicated or surgically removed….she just wants to take off her shoes and DANCE UPON THIS EARTH, and she does not wish to dance alone.  So…let’s dance, shall we?

copyright 2013  Lauri Ann Lumby

Posted in creativity, Inspiration, Midlife Journey, Returning book

Book Release, Coming Soon!

The final edits have been done.  The pdf uploaded to CreateSpace.  Now we’re only waiting for the final details on the back cover.  Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself, is just about ready for release!  Stay tuned for official release dates and where you can get your own copy!

Returningcoverversion1Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself, lays bare the complexity and beauty of the midlife pursuit of authenticity.  Through poetry and prose, Lauri Ann Lumby reveals how creative expression leads to understanding, wisdom and fulfillment.  With writing, drawing and reflection exercises, Returning becomes more than a confession, inviting you to plumb the depths of your soul for the magnificent treasures held within.

Coming Soon!

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prudencetippinsReturning; A Woman’s Midlife Journey to Herself lays bare the complexity and beauty of the feminine archetype.  Author Lauri Lumby shares her own journey of naiveté, hope, disillusionment, longing, acceptance, wisdom, and empowerment with the courage and revelation only one who has been on this journey can muster.  She dares readers to share in this fearless exploration with writing prompts that invite deep reflection and self-acknowledgment.

Phrases like, ”My heart wants peace 300 year old oak peace” sing to the soul a song so ancient, we are compelled to respond.  Lauri leads us into the shadows and shows us the light that comes from within.  It is a triumphant journey, and an endless one.

Pick up Returning, a box of crayons, and a big, blank journal, and create a mid-life retreat for yourself.  You will laugh and cry and feel deep gratitude for the guide you hold in your hands, and the one who lives deep in your heart.

Prudence Tippins, co-author of Two of Us Make a World and author of Faces of the Goddess

JayaussieLauri’s lucid talent for teaching and facilitation is combined with a personal poetic journey as a woman, and as a Christian woman, at a time when the church is in crisis, reaping the bleak harvest of its own male-dominated narrow-mindedness. Mid-life is psychologically all about inclusion in pursuit of authentic wholeness, and Lauri covers the ground with passionate honesty, inviting you to do the same both spiritually and creatively in your own voice. We need her !

—Jay Ramsay, author of The Poet in You and

Crucible of Love—the alchemy of passionate relationships

AnnHartenbachLauri  Lumby really delivers with Returning–A woman’s midlife journey to herself.  She is fearless in laying out her own transformation and gives us a much needed guide from a woman’s perspective on how to navigate our own. Her refreshing approach with poetry and prose is deeply honest and you will find yourself following along gladly for a deeper understanding of yourself. Returning is intimate, rich and leaves no stone unturned when it comes to women in midlife. It couldn’t be better for anyone wanting to unravel the very best of who they are.

Ann A. Hartenbach, writer and poet, Where Blue Birds Fly-Poetry for Ascension 

Nina.jpegLauri Lumby has a fire in her belly. You can call it the fire that ignites the Wild Woman Within. You can call it the fire that forges creativity. You can see it as the flame that burned above the heads of the Evangelists, spurring them on, inspired, to share their message of hope and love. You can see it as the fire of Creation Herself.

Lauri has identified this fire and she stokes it, invokes it, and is galvanized by its power. And like Prometheus, she has taken this fire and is – thank God – sharing it with all of us. She lays bare its power in our lives – the recklessness, the passion, the creation and destruction as it holds us all in its grasp.

Lauri’s voice resounds in me because it speaks to the hunger I feel, having been born and raised Catholic, only to watch my faith and devotion in an irreverent and irrelevant Church wither on the vine of lies and suppression. Lauri gives voice to the frustration I feel with the Church while singing tenderly the praises of Jesus and Saint Francis and the other pure, ignited souls, and I feel like a little lost lamb having found my flock within the folds of each poem. Her words comfort me, give me hope, validate my feelings, and strengthen my resolve that the fire that lives in me is pure and is given to me by The Source. Her words invite me to sing along, to reach within to find my own Authentic Self. I have found a spiritual home, a kindred Spirit, someone who embraces the good and, with mighty scorn, denounces the wrong that has been exacted upon women throughout history. Lauri is, like John the Baptist, The Voice who cries in the wilderness. Lauri is the voice of the wilderness itself, echoing what many religiously disenfranchised women today feel.

I rejoice in her celebration of Women and of Spirit, I revel in her candor, and embrace her strength and weaknesses which she lays bare for all to see, grappling with Fear, Forgiveness, Beauty, Abundance, Receiving, Giving, to name but a few, which is what Self is all about.

Nina Catanese, literary editor (http://launchpadmedia.com), writer and artist

SamSmithLauri Ann Lumby, author of Authentic Freedom: Claiming a Life of Contentment & Joy, continues to tackle the issues of authenticity in her newest publication Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself. Designed as not only a creative piece, but as an interactive workbook for the reader, Returning shows how artistic creation leads to understanding. Through her poetry and proposed assignments, she equips the reader with new tools to better understand their past, present, and future. Most importantly, though, she gives middle-aged women a space to create something that is for their pleasure.

Samantha Smith, author of “Robert Gauerke,” in

Operation Legacy; the Wartime experiences of Northeast Wisconsin’s Greatest Generation

DorothyZerbeLauri Lumby’s book Returning – A woman’s midlife journey to herself offers a deep look into a reality that many might deny – that life is hard and demands our full attention if we are to live in a meaningful way. Perhaps some people can skim along the surface and find happiness in a simple, non-confrontational manner. Not this author! This collection of poetry and interactive writing is aimed deep. It is directed toward those of us whose challenges in life have exacted a toll on the emotional fabric of our humanity. Yet we are not looking for a scapegoat. We are looking for answers and are willing to take as many steps as necessary to find them. This is a book that could be taken on a solitary weekend retreat, at the end of which a woman would surely know herself much better. Or, it could be used on a daily basis for a season of self-exploration.

Dorothy Zerbe, musician and songwriter, Lands Where I Live, A Long Way To Go,

Rooted and Free

Posted in Midlife Journey, Returning book

Returning – A Woman’s Midlife Journey to Herself

Here it is folks…..the first review and literary commentary on my upcoming book, Returning – AWoman’s Midlife Journey to Herself. Thank you Samantha Smith for your beautiful and challenging words!  Here, I offer your words uncensored and unedited!  You rock! 

Windows to the Soul by Catherine E. Case
Windows to the Soul by Catherine E. Case

Book Review:

Lauri Ann Lumby’s Returning: A woman’s midlife journey to herself

Lauri Ann Lumby, author of Authentic Freedom: Claiming a Life of Contentment & Joy, continues to tackle the issues of authenticity in her newest publication Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself. Designed as not only a creative piece, but as an interactive workbook for the reader, Returning shows how artistic creation leads to understanding. Through her poetry and proposed assignments, she equips the reader with new tools to better understand their past, present, and future. Most importantly, though, she gives middle-aged women a space to create something that is for their pleasure.

Western culture’s deeply seeded connection to patriarchy and capitalism, exploits women as unworthy sexual objects, fails to acknowledge their autonomy, and devalues their choices. Lumby’s text nurtures a woman’s worth, and through her guidance, the reader may explore her potential. Her text allows women an opportunity to reclaim their life, their power to choose, and their intersected, beautifully messy, identities.

I felt encouraged to explore my life’s present moment as a twentysomething. There is something unexplainable about the act of returning life to middle-aged women, and it is something I cannot relate to. I felt called to not only reclaim my life now, but to create spaces for middle-age women to be in my life. There is a need in Western culture, to not only identify the socialization of young and old women, but also middle-age women. Lumby’s book participates in a larger conversation about socialization, and seeks to breakdown cultural structures that perpetually victimize women.

One issue that Lumby touches on at multiple points in Returning is motherhood. From an early age, girls are socialized to fulfill cultural models of maternity. Western culture’s expressions of mothering and parenting are deeply complicated and at times hypocritical. A woman is expected to work as a mother, yet in the capitalist structure she remains unpaid, and her work not is not considered in the nation’s Gross National Product. Lumby’s exercises allow women to meditate on the idea of motherhood, what it meant to them, what it means now, what society means it to be, and what the woman herself sees it as for her. Lumby gives women a space to dissect multi-layered issues that middle-aged women face, like motherhood. In the space she gives women, she allows them to experience a full-range of emotions, and that perhaps is the best gift of all.

In addition to creating a space of reclamation, Lumby creates a space for feeling. Within emotional, physical, psychological, sexual, and spiritual awakenings come feeling. Western culture projects rationality, and does not give people a space to process their feelings at their pace. Capitalist production suggests that people need to constantly produce something to be successful. Lumby’s book gives the reader a space to feel at their pace, and reminds them that their true success is self-guided and self-proclaimed. There is a space inside each reader that Western culture did not tarnish with subliminal messages and socialization, and it is in that space that Lumby believes the reader will find creation, potential, and worth. There is nothing like standing in your own truth, and that is what Lumby encourages her readers to do.

Samantha Smith, author of “Robert Gauerke,” in Operation Legacy; the Wartime experiences of Northeast Wisconsin’s Greatest Generation, edited by Scott Delsart & Andrew MacDonald (2010)