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

Surviving Social Distancing

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

 

Loneliness

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

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

Grief

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

For more on dealing with grief, please click here.

Anxiety

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

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

Is it loneliness (which we addressed above)?

Is our anxiety related to grief?

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

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

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

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

Talk about a can of worms.

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

With love,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lauri

 

 

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Divine Revelation, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, order of the magdalene, self-actualization, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices

What is Magdalene Priestess Training?

Mary, The Magdalene is the only one identified to have completed the full course of Jesus’ teachings (“healed of seven demons”) and was initiated as co-equal partner and Beloved with Christ. It was to The Magdalene whom Jesus first revealed his resurrected/Christed Self and it was The Magdalene he commissioned to share the good news with the other disciples and to continue his work in his stead. As “The Magdalene” and designated “Apostle to the Apostles,” Mary was “the great tower,” shining the light of truth in a world separated by fear.

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The Order of the Magdalene continues this work in The Magdalene’s name so as to awaken the world to the truth of Mary’s role in Jesus’ ministry and life, and the higher truth of Jesus’ mission of LOVE which Mary alone understood, thereby restoring 2000 years of defamation at the hands of a patriarchal, hierarchical Church, further undoing the harm done to women specifically and the feminine in general. In restoring the Holy Feminine to the Jesus story, we also create the space in which the Holy Masculine can reclaim its place in our world, thereby supporting the world in the returning to its original nature in unity, harmony, peace and love.

Being a priestess of the Magdalene is about spreading the message of Mary’s true role in Jesus’ life and in the continuation of his work, but more importantly, it is about restoring the world to its original nature as LOVE.  As was true of Jesus’ disciples, priestesses of the Magdalene fulfill this mission in their own unique way, relevant to their own unique giftedness and the way they are called to share these gifts in the world in service to LOVE.  The ways in which current Magdalene priestesses are living out their call includes:

  • Counselors and Therapists
  • Holistic Healthcare providers
  • Artists
  • Writers
  • Wives and Mothers/Husbands and Fathers
  • Teachers
  • Professors
  • Philanthropists
  • Public Speakers
  • Shamanic Practitioners
  • Ordained Ministers and Officiants
  • Spiritual Directors
  • Massage Therapists
  • Hands-on Healers/Reiki/Acupressure/Healing Touch Therapy
  • Yoga Teachers
  • Meditation Teachers
  • Medical Doctors
  • Business Owners

Outer change begins with inner change.

Inner change begins with self-knowledge.

Self- Knowledge leads to self-actualization.

Self-actualized individuals, are inherently non-violent, cooperative and collaborative, and are naturally motivated to use their unique gifts in service to the betterment of the world.

magdalenecatacombpriscillarome

Magdalene Priestess Training supports you in:

  • Knowing who you are.
  • Discovering  your unique giftedness  and how the development and use of these gifts will provide for you a life of meaning and purpose.
  • Moving through the fears and unhealed wounds that might otherwise prevent you from using these gifts to their fullest.
  • Enjoying fulfillment in the use and sharing of your gifts for yourself, and for the sake of the betterment of the world.
  • Connecting with a like-minded community through which you will find validation and support for your own mission and purpose in this life.
  • Finding ongoing education and inspiration for the continued use of your gifts.

 

Magdalene Priestess Training integrates specific tools and practices of Western Psychology with those of Western Spirituality, resulting in a powerful process through which participants are supported in becoming self-actualized and are then empowered to share their unique giftedness in service to the betterment of the world.

Specific Tools used in Magdalene Priestess Training:

  • Western, Eastern and Indigenous Mindfulness, Contemplation and Journey practices
  • The Spiritual Exercises and Rules of Discernment of St. Ignatius
  • Creativity Practices
  • The Enneagram Temperament Tool
  • The Spiritual/Personal Gifts Inventory
  • The Authentic Freedom™ protocol

From Western Psychology, Magdalene Priestess Training draws from:

  • Carl Jung’s creative imagination, archetype and shadow work
  • Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and theories of self-actualization
  • The humanistic theories and creativity practices of Carl and Natalie Rogers
  • The stages of spiritual development of James Fowler and John Westerhoff
  • Bill Plotkin’s development of the human Soul

jesus

From Western Spirituality, The Magdalene Priestess Training has its roots in the original teachings of Jesus* which Mary, called Magdalene fully understood and which were then formalized into the meditation, contemplation and service practices of Western Monasticism, specifically those favored in Benedictine, Franciscan, and Ignatian spirituality.

*The original teachings of Jesus are those rooted in the universal (and non-religious) call of love:

  • love of The Divine (the God/dess of your own understanding)
  • love of Self
  • love of Neighbor – recognizing that all of humanity is our neighbor

and then:

  • lived out through acts of compassion
  • working for justice

 

If you are interested in learning more about the Magdalene Priestess Training, please contact Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, MATS at lauri@authenticfreedom.love or (920) 230-1313.

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Academy

Authentic Freedom Mastery Course

Authentic Freedom Mastery Course

September 2015 – June 2016

Choose from:

Mondays 6:30 – 8:30 pm or Tuesdays 9:00-11:00 am.

Created and Facilitated by Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, MATS

  • Learn powerful tools for self-awareness.
  • Practice proven mindfulness and creativity practices for personal empowerment.
  • Discover resources for identifying and moving through the fears which keep you from being the person God made you to be.

AfMasteryCourse

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, creativity, Freedom, Inspiration, Jesus, Lessons, self-actualization, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices, Surrender, Virtual Church

The Seed of Happiness

One of the ways that Authentic Freedom Academy supports self-actualization and personal empowerment is by providing nourishment and support for psycho-spiritual development.  The Authentic Freedom Virtual Church and accompanying Agape’ Meditation newsletter is one way we accomplish this goal.  Each week, subscribers receive access to the meditation newsletter and video lesson – centered on the non-dual teachings of Christ.  Below is a sample of what you might expect to receive as part of subscribing.  To learn more, go to our Virtual Church page and Subscribe! 

June 14, 2015 – Eleventh Sunday Ordinary Time

Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service

 

 Scripture Readings:

Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.” He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

MK 4: 26-34

 

Additional Readings:

EZ 16: 22-24

PS 92: 2-3, 13-15

2 Cor 5: 6-10

dandelion

 

We Know Not How

This week’s gospel speaks to us of the kingdom of God – its abundance and fruitfulness. The same could be said of ourselves and the fruitful outcome of our life’s journey – its purpose and how we are called to find fulfillment within ourselves and in service to the betterment of the world.

 

The seed provides the perfect metaphor for the journey of our Soul. The seed bears deep within itself – invisible to the eye – something that says what the seed will be when it grows up. A sunflower seed has no choice but to become a sunflower (or squirrel food). The same is true of an acorn, a wheat berry, an apple seed. The seed, when given the proper protection, nourishment, water and light, has no choice but to become that for which it was made. Once the seed is planted and the resources it needs provided, the seed simply becomes its purpose. This happens of its own accord – and not because someone “made it happen.”

 

This is also true for us. Deep within ourselves is something invisible, yet concrete, that says who God intended us to be when we come into our own ripeness. We, like the seed, need the proper environment, nourishment, safety, support, water and light, to become that for which we were made. Once this is provided (often by our own hand), and we are willing to plant the seeds to make this happen….it happens on its own. Again, not because we, or someone else, made it happen. Coming into our own fruitfulness is the natural consequence of giving ourselves what we need to not only survive, but also thrive.

 

What is the seed in you that is trying to be born?

What can you do to provide safety, nourishment and support (ie: boundaries) for your own becoming?

 

 

Spiritual Practices – The Seed Inside of Us

For this week’s meditation, you will need some relaxing (or energizing) music, two blank sheets of paper and some crayons.

 

Begin by setting up a work area. A place you can comfortably engage in meditative art. Have everything in the space that you will need to complete this meditation.

 

Put on the meditative (or energizing) music. (I like Violin Concerto in D Minor by Bach) Listen intently to the music, allowing yourself to feel its movement – the rising and falling of the music, tempo changes, listening for the individual instruments, etc. Allow the music to inspire your soul.

 

While you are feeling the music, imagine a seed. Be open to whatever seed presents itself to you.

 

With your paper and crayons. Draw that seed.

 

As you continue to listen to the music, reflect on the seed. What is significant about the seed you chose? Is it large, small? What does it produce? Is it abundant in its production (like the mustard seed) or does it produce something rare? Reflect on how you are like this seed.

 

After this portion of the reflection feels complete, on the second sheet of paper, draw a picture of yourself growing out of the seed. What are you becoming? Draw this.

 

Authentic Freedom

In Authentic Freedom, we focus our attention on the kingdom of God within us (Malkuthakh), and how it is known by a state of inner peace, contentment, compassion and joy. While we may not experience the fullness of the kingdom until after we depart this life, Jesus came to teach us how to experience the kingdom here and now.  One part of enjoying Malkuthakh is to become the person God made us to be. Each and every one of us is uniquely gifted and called by God to experience fulfillment in our lives through the use of our own unique gifts – both for our own enjoyment and in service to the betterment of our world. The work of this begins in childhood through the environment provided by our parents, teachers, ministers, etc. Yes, we sometimes have to undo that which was not supportive of our Soul’s development. As grown ups, however, we now have a choice. It is our responsibility, for the sake of our Soul and for the purpose of our own inner contentment, to create and uphold the environment in which our Soul’s purpose can finds its fruition. This begins by naming and claiming our needs and setting boundaries around these needs. In doing so, we are preparing the soil in which the seed of our Soul may take root and grow. Then it is our job to feed and water it. And finally, it is our task to GET OUT OF THE WAY and let our seed grow in the way and time that it needs to….all according to God’s plan.

 

How are you preparing and environment in which the seed of your Soul may take root and grow?

Fleur_de_Lis_Tattoo_by_ladyserenity2002

Posted in church, Jesus

So Over the Church Thing!

How do we as Church minister to those for whom Church has become irrelevant, to those who are seeking after and calling for a change in the way we do Church?  Can we be content as Pope Benedict XVI once suggested in an audience who is small yet obedient?  As one who has had the pulse of those who are seeking after change (innovators) and those who have already left (recoverings), I propose that we MUST minister to the needs of this audience because as much as the Institutional Church might be tempted to judge and condemn, it is the innovators and recoverings who hold the keys to the future of Church. 

So Over the Church Thing!

Seeking after, listening to and tending to the needs of the innovators and recoverings is a challenging thing because in truth, most of them are SO OVER the whole Church thing.  To them, the Church has become irrelevant because in their eyes, the Church assumed that salvation was the number one priority of all believers. For innovators and recoverings, salvation is the last thing on their minds. Concerns about a heavenly reward take a back seat when earth itself feels like hell!  When one cries out with their simple need to be loved, or asks for help in finding peace, or seeks assistance in discerning the direction of their lives and are met with silence, sooner or later they stop asking and find other ways to get their needs met.

Heavenly Reward or Heaven on Earth?

The old ways of being Church, with its emphasis on salvation and building the kingdom of God simply doesn’t work for innovators and recoverings. Instead, the Church needs to meet them where they are at – seeking after the fulfillment of some basic human needs:

  • The need to be loved
  • The need to find inner peace
  • The need to find meaning, purpose, connection and fulfillment

In tending to the basic needs of innovators and recoverings, it is helpful to understand where they are currently seeking after the fulfillment of these needs.  The needs that they were not getting fulfilled in Church are now being met in the secular world – in Mindfulness and Zen meditation groups, at the yoga studio or local gym, local coffee shop or music festival, in the voracious reading of spiritual, personal development and self-help books,  and in volunteering their time to the needs of the greater community.  Here they are finding tools for personal development, cultivating inner peace, finding community and serving others. This is what they are looking for and as Church, this is what we are called to offer to them – but again, in a way that differs dramatically from the way in which we have formerly been Church.

When Church is No Longer Relevant

In ministering to the needs of those for whom Church is no longer relevant, first we have to understand that they have been hurt – they left because they did not feel loved and accepted, and because their needs were not being heard, let alone met.  As such, doctrine and prostheletizing need to be set aside.    Then, we meet them where they are at – LITERALLY!  We show up to the yoga studio, hang out at satsangs and new age bookstores, schedule “office hours” at the local coffee shop, occasionally throw back a beer at the local music festival and give our time to Habitat for Humanity, Rotary and The Red Cross. And when we meet them where they are at, we approach them with one thing, and one thing only – unconditional love.  Meeting innovators and recoverings with unconditional love implies the following:

  • Treating them with unconditional positive regard
  • Listening intently to what they have to say (even if it challenges our closely held beliefs or ruffles our feathers)
  • Hold space for any grief that they may need to process from feeling hurt, disillusioned or betrayed by Church
  • Be open to understanding what their real needs might be so that we may tend to their needs
  • Be a vehicle of support through which they can find ways to get these needs met

When we meet innovators and recoverings in this way, we are doing exactly what Jesus asked us to do and while it looks nothing like how we have known Church to be, we are being Church in perhaps the most authentic way.  In fact, I seem to remember a certain carpenter from Nazareth who ministered in exactly the same way.

sacred-heart-jesus-chambers-featured-w480x300

Posted in Being Human, codependency, Empowerment, Healing, mental illness, Spiritual Practices

Anxiety, Depression and Panic Attacks

 

I am one who has experienced and suffered from depression, anxiety and panic attacks.  Compared to many, I would say that my panic attacks and even depression have been mild.  Anxiety, however, seems to have become my constant companion.  In the thirteen years of actively seeking healing, support, tools for dealing with and managing depression, anxiety and panic attacks, I have come to an interesting theory which I pose here as a question:

Are my anxiety, depression and panic attacks a result of suppressing and withholding my magic?

DSCF3164

I often think it is.  Another way I have described it when working with clients is that in many cases, anxiety, depression and anxiety seem to surface as a result of suppressing (not expressing) our truth.

The only thing I have to support my theory about the link between our magic/our truth and depression, anxiety and panic attacks is my own personal journey of healing along with the healing experienced by many of my clients as we have done the work of accessing their truth and empowering their ability to give voice to their truth.  Not willing to infringe on client confidentiality, I will use myself as an example.

Somewhere around 14 years ago, the universe fell in on me and a few years later, it fell in on me again.  Depression, anxiety and panic attacks surfaced in response to these events.  In the aftermath, I have worked diligently in search of the remedy to the subsequent symptoms of depression, anxiety and panic.  While I did resort to medication (for a duration of 18 months) after my panic attacks became a nightly event, the most profound and enduring remedy to anxiety, panic and depression has been doing the work of identifying my truth, my needs, my magic and finding ways to express them.  The work of identifying my truth, my needs and my magic has included:

  • unraveling from deeply held patterns of co-dependency
  • learning how to identify and work toward getting my needs met
  • grieving unhealed losses, identifying and transforming unhealthy behaviors and defense mechanisms
  • learning to discern the voice of truth from the voice of my fearful self and then acting on it
  • incorporating mindfulness based practices for managing anxiety as it arises
  • exploring my gifts, nurturing, cultivating and sharing them
  • making the decision to leave an unhealthy marriage (not without first trying to make it healthy)
  • learning how to set healthy boundaries
  • coming to know myself – warts and all and learning how to find the gift in all of it

As I learned to take care of myself, my own needs, my gifts, talents and passions and became more comfortable in sharing these with others, my symptoms of depression significantly decreased, anxiety became manageable and panic attacks were all but eliminated.

Along with these measures, I have taken a preventative approach by cultivating a daily spiritual practice and making dietary, exercise and wellness decisions which help to support physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing, all of which help decrease the incidence of anxiety, depression and panic.

I’m not saying these approaches are the be-all, end-all, cure-all, but coming to know our magic and sharing it freely in the world goes a long way in reducing incidences of anxiety, depression and panic.  If nothing else, it doesn’t hurt to try.

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Inspiration

Government Shutdown? It’s not over ’til it is over…and the end is up to us!

the-end

Well, the government shutdown has come to an end and the debt ceiling temporarily released.  Do not, however, let this band-aid approach to the issues fool you.  We are not out of hot water folks!  We are still plagued with the issues of a bi-partisan government, mostly controlled by special interest groups who have their own interests in mind, not the interest of the common good.  Our founding fathers established a representative government whose job was to work for the interest of the common good.  This model has been destroyed from the inside by the corporate greedy who have paid to put their puppets in office.  Granted, not all Senators or Congressmen are guilty of this, but the vast majority are, which leaves those with noble intentions powerless.

What does any of this have to do with the mission of birthing our Souls?  Quite frankly, it has everything to do with it.  When we remain silent to our own gifts, our call to be loving, compassionate and peaceful people, the structures outside of us reflect our own arrested development.  When we ignore the voice of our truth, suppress our uniquely creative gifts, deny the force within us that seeks fulfillment and joy, we enable a world where we are silenced, suppressed and oppressed, and we are vulnerable to the power structures which capitalize on the inner fears that keep us imprisoned.  In the end, we have no one to blame but ourselves for the current mess we are facing in our government, our economy, our medical structures, education, etc. etc. etc.  When our economy crashes, which is where things are heading,  and we are tempted to point fingers at the government officials and corporate power mongers, we might want to look in the mirror instead.  WE are the ones who put these people in power by remaining silent, by giving into the status quo instead of mustering up the courage to cultivate our own souls which in turn cultivates a culture with soul instead of the soulless culture we are now living in.  Yes, my words today might appear harsh to some, but desperate times calls for desperate measures.  What do YOU want to do about it?  Nothing will change and we will continue plummeting toward destruction until YOU do something about it.

1) Start with yourself.  Who are you and what do you want out of this life?  More importantly, what does your SOUL want? What are the fears standing in the way of birthing your soul?  Seek tools to help you move through these fears.  Finding peace within yourself contributes to a peaceful world.  Find a mindfulness practice that helps you to cultivate this inner state of peace.

2) Take time to listen to your Soul.  Hear what it has to say to you.  YOU have been uniquely gifted to find meaning, purpose and connection in your life and to work for the betterment of our world.  THE WORLD NEEDS YOU and your gifts.

3) Seek support.  Gather your friends.  Support each other’s dreams.  Empower the use of your unique gifts.  Enjoy the freedom of gifts unleashed and fulfillment realized.

4) LOOK for the people, organizations, communities you are called to serve.  Who needs your gifts?  How will the world be made better with your gifts?   Do what you are called to do.  Be who you are called to be.

5) AND  VOTE with your voice, your hands, your feet and most importantly, your heart.  What kind of world do you want to leave for your children?  A world controlled by fear and under the command of the greedy few or a world where we live in peaceful harmony, where the needs of the all are considered and fulfilled and where every single man, woman and child is honored as a sacred child of God?

The world that we live in is up to you.

Lauri Ann Lumby

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Book, Inspiration, Mystics, Spiritual Practices, Uncategorized, world changes

How to Change Ourselves so WE Can Change the World!

Yesterday, I responded to the current political debacle (the government shutdown) and complete failure of our government to do what WE hired them to do, by issuing an invitation, “If we want the world to change, WE need to change ourselves.”  In today’s blog, I remind us of how we can change ourselves so that we can see real and enduring change in the world.

changing ourselves/changing the world
changing ourselves/changing the world

Not Just Some Pie in the Sky Idealism!

The tools for personal change that I will share with you today are NOT just some pie in the sky idealism preached by vagrant prophets from far-off lands.  While the following tools have been tried, tested and proven to be effective by thousands of years of yoga practitioners, mystics and ascetics, we NOW have the proof of science to verify what contemplative men and women have known all along, mindfulness based practices:

  • decrease anxiety, fear and stress
  • increase physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing
  • decrease violent behaviors
  • help us to cultivate empathy and compassion – the building blocks of healthy communication and harmonious interpersonal relationships, and communities.

(If you need the science to convince you, simply Google Richie Davidson, Andrew Newberg, Jon Kabat-Zinn and Thich Nat Hahn.)

STEP ONE – Seek out a mindfulness practice that works for you! 

There are as many forms of mindfulness based practices as there are fish in the sea!  A Zen-inspired sit works for some, but not for all.  Mantra or Kirtan brings some to a state of inner quiet…but it isn’t for everyone.  A rosary or string of meditation beads may help some to focus, but others will need something more engaging.  Take comfort in knowing that if you haven’t yet found your meditation style, keep looking, there is sure to be one out there perfect for you.  Maybe it is something as simple as gardening, cooking or being in nature.  Some find running and aerobic exercise mindful.  And please disregard the ridiculous Western notion that mindfulness has a goal and that if you don’t experience a complete state of bliss any or every time you failed.  Your job is to simply SHOW UP.  And, the key to cultivating and maintaining a mindfulness practice is to find one that WORKS FOR YOU!  (For a wide variety of mindfulness based exercises, check out my book, Authentic Freedom – claiming a life of contentment and joyWhile the context is Christian Contemplative Prayer, the exercises are universal.)

STEP TWO-Identify and root out your fears

In conjunction with cultivating peace and love within us through mindfulness practices, the greatest gift we can give to ourselves in our journey toward change is to OVERCOME OUR FEARS!  FEAR is the number one obstacle to peace, contentment, love and joy!  Fear creates all the perceived separations favored by our wounded world:  prejudice, discrimination, racism, sexism, nationalism, etc.  Fear is also the root of all of our non-loving and self-centered behaviors – gluttony, lust, wrath, envy, greed, sloth and pride.  Fear causes us to seek outside of us for its remedy and makes us believe that happiness will be found in things, money, power, fame, status, power, control, other people, etc. etc. etc.  Fear also keeps us silent and ignorant of the truth that seeks to be known within us and that seeks to be expressed in the world.

STEP 2.5

In my book, Authentic Freedom, I reveal what I have come to know as the seven core fears that plague humanity, along with their resulting compulsions:

FEAR:  “There is not enough”

Compulsion:  Gluttony

FEAR:  “I have nothing to contribute to the betterment of the world”

Compulsion:  Lust

FEAR:  “I can’t” (be my most authentic self)

Compulsion:  Wrath

FEAR:  “I am not loved”

Compulsion:  Envy

FEAR: “I am not able to express my truth”

Compulsion:  Greed

FEAR:  “I do not know” (my truth, my path)

Compulsion:  Sloth

FEAR:  “I am alone/have to do it alone”

Compulsion:  Pride

You can start your journey of overcoming fear by NAMING the fears that are currently at work in your mind.  I have found that naming the fear is 99% of the journey…..like they say in classic horror books and movies, “Once you name the demon, it no longer has power over you.”  😉  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog where I will explore in more detail how we might move through the fears once they are named.

Lauri Ann Lumby

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Midlife Journey, Uncategorized

Midlife and Menopause – Befriending our Bodies

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 worldToday we explore the most obvious symptom of midlife – the physical changes which mark this stage of development and transition.

Midlife-Menopause-Befriending our Bodies
Midlife-Menopause-Befriending our Bodies

Midlife and Menopause – Hot Flashes and Erectile Dysfunction Anyone?

While the spiritual, mental and emotional challenges of midlife may be subtle and easily ignored by some….the physical changes are pretty dang obvious and for some, at least at the onset, disturbing.  Age is the great equalizer and that in the end, gravity wins – literally!  No matter how hard we work against them, some of the physical changes of midlife are inevitable and unavoidable.  Weight gain.  Moving body parts (mostly in a descending sort of fashion).  Hair loss.  New (and unwanted) hair growth.  Hot Flashes.  Fatigue.  Night Sweats.  The appearance of wrinkles, age spots, etc.  Greying hair.  Muscle loss.  Bone loss.  Erectile dysfunction.  Loss of libido.  Loss of lubrication.   The list goes on.   While there are measures we can take to delay or lessen their impact, many of the physical changes of midlife are inevitable and will win out in the end.  The key to surviving the physical changes in midlife, especially in our appearance-driven culture, is to learn to make peace with the changes in our bodies.

Midlife and Menopause – Self Love

Making peace with the changes in our bodies begins by treating ourselves to a healthy dose of SELF LOVE. There are things we can do to lessen the impact of the physical changes of midlife by taking care of ourselves – making healthy food choices, exercising in a way that feels good for us, having orgasms on a regular basis (YES…orgasms help produce the positive feeling emotions that counteract the negative-emotion producing hormones and inherent stress of the midlife change), taking good quality vitamin and herbal supplements, etc.  The other healthy choices we can make for ourselves during the midlife transition are to be diligent about managing and reducing stress (embrace a yoga or mindfulness practice), setting healthy boundaries around our needs and desires and cultivating healthy intimate friendships.  The more we care for and about ourselves, the less bothered we will be by the natural physical changes of midlife.  Sure…if you want to pluck those chin whiskers or take Viagra to enhance your sex life,…go for it.  But ultimately, the goal in the midlife transition is to make peace with our changing bodies and love it exactly as it is…..cellulite and all!

Midlife and Menopause – Humility

This brings me to the topic of humility.  If midlife is ultimately about moving from childbearing to birthing ourselves, and allowing the Soul (our uniquely creative gift to the world which gives up meaning, purpose and fulfillment) to be born, then the purpose of the physical changes of midlife is to conquer our arrogance, pride and self-condemnation and to cultivate humility.  There is nothing that the Soul hates more than pride….and if we are prideful about our appearance, or shameful about the changes that are taking place in our bodies, then the Soul has nowhere to go.  How can we generously and compassionately serve others if we are worried about those extra 10 pounds, greying hairs or sagging skin?  Our Soul is made out of love and love shines forth through our eyes and beyond the physical shell that holds it.  Ultimately, I believe that the physical changes of midlife are there to help us let go of our pride and/or self-condemnation and embrace humility and unconditional love for the person God made us to be so that we can offer unconditional love towards others.

How are you being invited to embrace your changing body?