DAMN IT. All these years I’ve been serving (internally anyway) the wrong kind of GOD!!!!! In my head I know better….and my work reflects that. But internally, I’ve been serving the GOD of someone else’s making. ARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!
Hi. My name is Lauri. I’m a recovering perfectionist.
Trying to be perfect
Maybe that’s all you need to know…..but maybe not. For as long as I can remember, I have tried to be perfect. The perfect daughter. Perfect student. Perfect pianist. Perfect dancer. Perfect friend. Perfect wife. Perfect mother. I’m not sure if I was born this way or if it is a product of my conditioning or a little of both. The Enneagram suggests we are born with our “Type.” There is no doubt that I am a Type 1 on the Enneagram and that I undoubtedly look at myself, the world and my life experiences through the lens of this question: “How could this be better?” So there’s that.
I am also acutely aware of how my early life experiences along with my Catholic upbringing fostered the critical nature of this lens. Little messages along the way which have said I’m not good enough, there is something wrong with me, the way I’m doing things is wrong, what my Soul needs and wants is not in line with what society expects from me….and worst of all…..the ongoing message of a jealous God examining my every move and like Santa Claus, keeping a record of all the bad I’ve done in my life – bad for which there will be some sort of punishment – if not in this life, then certainly in the next.
But I’m not bad!
But here’s the thing. I’m not bad. I’ve never done anything bad. Yes, in the normal stages of childhood development I fought with my siblings and was likely mean to them at times. Yes, I became angry at my parents and sometimes grumbled against their guidance. Yes, in college and early adulthood I made the usual “mistakes.” But ultimately, I’ve never done anything to intentionally harm another or to do damage in this world.
So if I’m not bad and I’ve never done anything bad, then why have I spent a lifetime feeling so bad? Feeling as if there is something wrong with me? In response to this deep inner feeling of wrongness, I have done a WHOLE LOT OF WORK. Healing the pain from past abuse. Healing trauma. Undoing negative conditioning. Reclaiming all the parts of myself that I locked away deep in my subconscious because it might not be “acceptable” in this world. I have opened Pandora’s Box and have welcomed every single demon therein – meeting it, listening to its fears and concerns and supporting the healing and transformation of all my old wounds so that I might not only feel better about myself, but so I might also feel better about this world and my place in it.
This week while reading the comments of the women and men in my Magdalene Priestess Training I realized there was one final demon to tackle.
My favorite Moses scene is when he throws the tablets to the ground in disgust, rage and disappointment over his people. This is me everyday! And yet, I’m just as guilty of confusion, doubt, and running after distractions and shiny objects (hello Facebook). UGH! We are excruciatingly human – and isn’t that the point!? God loves us no matter how dense we can be at times….and this is THE GOOD NEWS. We are utterly ok exactly as we are in this and every other moment. God doesn’t care. This is a lesson about Unconditional Love I am still trying to learn. God doesn’t care if I enjoy a glass of wine. God doesn’t care if I’m depressed and unmotivated. God doesn’t care if some days I just don’t give a fuck. God doesn’t care that on some days I despise the human race. Because God knows WHO I AM and in the center of all my human frailty there is Love. Just plain Love. And Love is who I am even when (maybe especially when) I am excruciatingly human!
That demon’s name is “GOD”
Now, before you get your undies in a twist, let me explain. The GOD who I am calling a demon, is not God – but is instead, the god of someone else’s making. This is not the God who Jesus spoke of who loves without condition. This is the GOD made up by a hierarchical and patriarchal system who rules by fear, power and control. This is the GOD who was created to make us feel bad about ourselves, to plant seeds of doubt, confusion and pain in us …. all so that this hierarchical system might control us. Because here’s the thing – if we believe in a GOD who is always judging us, who is measuring our humanness against us and who is waiting to punish us for that evil, then we will always be afraid. We will feel badly about ourselves and can therefore be easily manipulated. You see, when GOD’s love can be taken away, if we have to earn that love, if we will be punished for angering this GOD, then we will do anything to gain the approval of this GOD – a GOD that ultimately has nothing to do with God, and everything to do with humans that want us to look toward them as the ultimate authority so we will do what they tell us; and humans who wants our money. Notice- the Church is not the only creator of this GOD. Oh no….they are co-conspirators with every other hierarchical institution which has arisen out of a desire to have power and control over the masses.
The Demon isn’t only in the Church
Oh, and for the record…..a whole lot of “New Age,” “Ascension” and “Prosperity Gospel” people also preach this kind of GOD. You know…the GOD who will only reward us if we “think the right thoughts.” The GOD who isn’t actually a GOD but is in fact ourselves – because WE are GOD and our life is created by what and how we think. If we think the right thoughts we will get what we want because WE are GOD. And if we think the wrong thoughts, then we can expect the consequences of these thoughts because we are GOD and we made it happen. And if what we have in our lives is not what we want (if we are poor, struggling with illness, experiencing difficulty in our lives) it is because this GOD who is US is punishing us for thinking the wrong thoughts and the solution to changing what we do not want in our lives is to simply think better thoughts. Or perform magic spells. Or do the right ritual. Or light a candle. Oh wait….there’s more. We also need to be PERFECT. If our life isn’t what we want it to be it is because there is some wound in the way and if we clear that wound (fear, compulsion, etc.) then our external life will magically change. Ourselves disguised as a demon disguised as GOD.
(For the record, I’m all in favor of healing our wounds….it is what I do best……but healing our inner wounds is NO GUARANTEE of a change in our external lives. Jesus never promised EXTERNAL abundance – only the abundance we know within when we are free. #authenticfreedom).
THIS is the demon GOD that remains at the bottom of my Pandora’s Box. The GOD that says I’m not good enough. That I will never be good enough. That no matter how hard I work to heal my past wounds, fears, etc. I will never be free because this GOD is looking over my shoulder waiting to hand out reward and punishment. The GOD that has me believing that my life experience will change if I can just figure out what about me is soooooo wrong and heal that one thing so that everything will be good again. DAMN IT. All these years I’ve been serving (internally anyway) the wrong kind of GOD!!!!! In my head I know better….and my work reflects that. But internally, I’ve been serving the GOD of someone else’s making. ARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!
NO MORE! Today, I reclaim my RIGHT TO BE HUMAN. Excruciatingly human! Jesus spoke of a God who loves without condition. A God who made me exactly as I am – for a reason and a purpose – and THIS creation is PERFECT. I am already loved by God. I don’t have to earn God’s love and it cannot be taken away. I was LOVED into being and I am LOVE itself – and this version of love swears like a sailor, enjoys a glass of wine at the end of the day, on some days despises the human race, becomes impatient with ignorance and intolerance, grows enraged in the face of injustice, is at times judgmental and self-righteous and is sure that my way is right – or at least better; who loves deeply, burns passionately, gives generously – even if sometimes out of a “need to help or to feel loved,” who hates certain individuals and harbors resentment like Gollum harbors the ring. Sometimes I’m depressed and unmotivated. Other days I’m a workaholic. I have anxiety, suffer with migraines and sometimes have panic attacks. Like Denis Leary sings, sometimes I’m an Asshole but I can also be one of the kindest people you will ever know. This is me in all my excruciating humanness exactly like God made me and there is nothing wrong with me and nothing wrong with how I am living my life. And the parts of my external life which I wish would change (Gawd I’m tired of always having to worry about money and how my next bill will be paid) have absolutely nothing to do with something I have yet to heal, or some thought I need to correct. SHIT JUST HAPPENS. This is life. And God has nothing to do with it and neither do we. We are here to be human – excruciatingly human and maybe somewhere in that humanness we have the opportunity to discover that in addition to being human we are also LOVE.
In our quest to be rational, independent, self-sufficient human beings, there is one thing we continue to forget:
WE ARE NOT ALONE!
We are not alone. And, we cannot do it alone. When we believe otherwise, we are suffering from the compulsion of pride. Forgetting the central truth of the human experience – we allow ourselves to suffer alone. Most specifically, we forget that we have a Divine Parent we can turn to for help; and for those of us who call Jesus our teacher and our guide, we can always turn to Christ; and if we are of a Catholic disposition, Mother Mary and the Saints provide additional support.
We are not alone. And yet we continually struggle in remembering this truth. We think we can do it ourselves. We believe we have to do it ourselves….and our culture supports this false believe. We are conditioned to believe we are responsible for our lives and our livelihood. If we are suffering it is our fault. If we are poor it is because we haven’t worked hard enough. If we are ill, it is a punishment from God or karma. Everywhere we turn we are told to do it ourselves, don’t ask for help, be self-sufficient, “you are the creator of your life.”
To that final comment: No, we are not! Contrary to all “New Age” beliefs, we are not the creator of our lives. God is. More specifically, our life is an unfolding of God expressing God’s self in and through us. It is a co-creation….NOT a “ME” creation. Our life is a partnership with the Divine and when we remember this truth, life simply unfolds and all that is happening is Grace…even if what is happening is difficult. The “difficult” is there for the purpose of our learning and inner growth and through this learning we come to know more about ourselves and in coming to know ourselves we come to know God.
But there are those days….those days when we feel as if we have handled all we can handle, done all that we can do, faced all the demons we could face, fought all the battles we could fight. There are those days we have done everything we can think of to make it through the challenge before us (these days never happen when things are flowing in a positive direction). We have named our demons and worked on healing them. We have identified our triggers and worked on releasing their source. We have chanted, prayed, meditated on scripture, and spoken in tongues, and still the challenge remains…or rather, our unrest related to the challenge.
This is when we are invited to remember….
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Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him.
Sirach 15: 17
Every single moment of every single day, we choose the world we are living in. There is nothing “new” about this choice. New Agers and those from the New Thought, Starseed and Ascension communities in their foundational message about choice are simply echoing the wisdom of the ancients. Moses was given the key to this truth. Isaiah and Jeremiah gave the Israelites this choice. Jesus made this choice and taught his female and male disciples how to do the same. Mary Magdalene made this choice and became witness to the risen Christ. St. Francis of Assisi made this choice and transformed the Church as did Teresa of Avila, Julian of Norwich and Hildegard of Bingen. Meister Eckhart made this choice as did Gandhi, Mother Theresa and the Dalai Lama.
We choose the world we are living in and that choice is as simple as choosing between love and fear. This choice between love and fear then produces the way in which we perceive, approach and live in our world – are we choosing life or death, good or evil? Again, it all boils down to one simple choice – love or fear.
When we choose love over fear, we soon discover:
- There is nothing to fear.
- There is no reason to hate.
- We have no enemies.
- The world is beautiful and peaceful.
- People are inherently kind to one another.
- Instead of fearing those who differ from us, we become curious and long to get to know them.
- We come together in communion instead of building walls between us.
- We see possibility instead of defeat.
- We see endings as new beginnings.
It really is this simple.
My choice is for love. What are you going to choose?
Lauri Ann Lumby serves as a source of support for those longing to choose love over fear. Lauri supports you in making this choice through one-on-0ne mentoring and through her local and online courses, specifically, the Authentic Freedom Mastery program. Learn more about Lauri HERE, and check out the Authentic Freedom Mastery program HERE.
Welcome First-World Version 2.0
In the recent past, I have had several in-depth conversations with people who are concerned over manufacturing jobs leaving our country. One even questioned if in this mass-exodus the United States would cease to be a first-world country and would revert into third-world status. As these concerns were raised, I opened myself up to a Divine answer to these quandaries and immediately saw before me a new world in the process of being born. What I saw was a new world that is beyond first-world and something I am choosing to call “First World Version 2.0”.
The Industrial Revolution and its gifts
The industrial revolution created rapid growth in the Western world and ushered in the distinction between first, second and third world status. With the advent of industry, Western culture emerged and thrived (or so we have said), while developing countries lagged behind. The industrial age supported advancing technology and assembly-line based manufacturing allowed us to meet the growing needs of Western society. Technology advanced and manufacturing advanced along with it. Soon, we could produce everything the world would need to survive. The industrial revolution provided people with jobs, a regular wage which provided some with sense of security and eventually employee benefits such as insurance, paid time off, vacation, retirement plans, etc. were created to support the illusion of security.
The Insidious Side of Industry
While industry has provided workers with some measure of perceived surety, there is an insidious side to modern industry. Industry’s primary concern is not for its workers. Instead, it is driven to provide wealth for the corporation owners. A little known fact about industry is that when production met the common needs, industry moguls sought out how to create more demand (where none previously existed). Advertising then was born which purposefully manipulates people through their deeper seated insecurities, compelling them to believe they need things they don’t, causing them to spend more money. This has created a vicious cycle of misplaced needs, fear, work, spending, more fear, more work. In the end…..nothing is ever enough.
What We Left Behind
While the industrial age has provided us with many benefits and has supported our advancement in technology, there are many things that we left behind. Previous to industry, people worked to provide for their own needs through their own unique talents and abilities. Some farmed. Some were craftsmen. Some were teachers. Some provided medical care and support. Some served the households of the landowners. Some governed the land. Some maintained peace. Others upheld the law and presided over questions of the law. Some were artisans, musicians, storytellers, poets, writers, builders. And in all of this, people had time for leisure. I’m not saying things were perfect – many went without, and not everyone was fed. But really, the same is true today. With all the so-called advances we have made, poverty and violence in our country are at an all-time high. Many go without. Some go hungry. Many are without basic healthcare. Education is floundering. Racism, sexism, orientationism, prejudice, discrimination and ignorance still reign. And more than anything else – the vast majority of those living in our culture – no matter how much wealth they possess – are completely unfulfilled and despairing over a life that has no meaning.
The New World Already Being Born!
In short, the industrial age has been both a blessing and a curse to Western civilization. It has facilitated our growth and development and brought us to where we are today, but as we all can see (though many are still in denial and some are still clinging to the perceived surety industry provides), the industrial age is over (in our country anyway).
The good news is that as our manufacturing jobs flood toward developing countries (Mexico, China, India, etc.), something new has already taken its place. We just need to open our eyes a bit (and let go of our attachment to industry) to see it. If we can’t see it, we need only look to the youth (millennials and beyond) because they are already living in the new age that many of us have been too blind to see. The new world that is in the midst of being born and is already being enjoyed by our youth, has moved us beyond the industrial age into a world that is comprised of the perfect marriage between information, technology, creativity, entrepreneurialship, old world knowledge and craftsmanship, and (let us not forget!!!) leisure. It is a world that combines the best of the old world with all the advantages and benefits of the information/technology age.
Clinging to the Old or Welcoming the New?
While a radical shift in paradigm will be required to fully enjoy the new world (returning to a simpler life with fewer “things” and less attention to extravagance and things we don’t really need), it is already here and filled with blessings beyond imagining. As long as we are clinging to what we have known, as defined by the industrial age, we will miss it, or at the very least, suffer because of it. If we open our hands and hearts and release what we have known and be open to the new…..amazing things will begin to happen. We will find enjoyment in our lives. We will find fulfillment in what creatively nourishes us. We will grow closer in the more intimate connections that will be required in the new world. We will return to the wonders of nature and begin to care for our world. We might even learn how to take better care of those who are not able to care for themselves.
First World Version 2.0
While it will be a struggle for some, it is time to step beyond the industrial age and welcome in the new world, not one that plunges us into third-world status, but one that moves us beyond even the first world into First World Version 2.0, where we find fulfillment in our work, are educated and nourished through increasing access to knowledge, where creativity is actively engaged, where we are closer to the earth and to one another. Who is with me?
Superhero Report – July 28, 2014
Our Relationship with Mood-Altering Substances
It is not something we like to admit, but the New Superheroes have often had trouble with mood-altering substances. Whether it is caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, a whole host of illegal substances or ones that have been prescribed by our doctors for ADD, anxiety, stress, depression, or panic attack, certain ascetic meditation practices, television, video games, the internet – the New Superheroes are likely to have (or had) some sort of habitual relationship with one or several of the above. There is a sound explanation for the attractiveness of these substances and to the way in which we are almost irresistibly drawn toward them and why they can so easily become addictive. There are also some simple practices we can engage in which can render these substances unnecessary. (Note: if you have an addiction, please seek out the support of your local 12-Step recovery program.)
The question of why we are drawn to mood-altering substances has a many-layered response:
1) We remember our true nature and our original home and we want to go home!
On an unconscious and often conscious level, Superheroes remember what “heaven” feels like. We also know our “true self” is not of this earth, but that we are pure, spiritual beings. Mood-altering substances stimulate the brow and crown chakras and give us an experience of being “home.”
2) We were given a vision of what the earth is supposed to be like, and this is not it.
Until we know how, we often resist this human form and are looking for ways to ESCAPE. The earth we are currently residing in is the not the vision of earth that was planted into our hearts and that we are here to make real. Again, mood-altering substances give us an experience similar to being home, thereby allowing us, at least temporarily, to escape the painful human condition.
3) The false belief that spiritual is better than human.
This is a biggie – especially among certain members of the New Age, Ascension, and Lightworker communities. We are NOT here to be spiritual, we are not here to ascend the limitations of our humanness, we are not here to sprinkle fairies and stardust upon the world singing songs of light and love and perfection, believing that if we think good thoughts all will be well and we will have everything we want. No, we are not here to do these things – not at the expense of being HUMAN anyway. WE ARE HERE TO BE HUMAN. PERIOD. We are ALREADY fully Divine. We came here to experience being human AND to bring our already perfect Divine nature fully into this experience. Rather than Ascension, the journey of the New Superhero (and the rest of the world with us), is actually INCARNATION – transcending the illusions of duality and becoming BOTH fully Divine AND fully Human. We already know the Divine part….let’s figure out how to be human! (ahem….I know a pretty cool dude who lived about 2000 years ago in and around Palestine/Israel who came here to do the same.)
As strangers in a strange land, we often have the experience of not fitting in, of being judged for being weird or strange. People don’t understand us, or the vision we carry in our hearts and the drive to make it real. When we feel rejected by those around us, and sometimes even by those we love, we take it personally. This rejection becomes internalized as shame. Mood-altering substances are a great way to numb the pain of this shame.
Just ask Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, being a Superhero is lonely business. Until they discovered each other and formed the Justice League, these Superheroes were out there on their own trying to make the world a better place and feeling very alone. The same is true of us. We often feel alone in the world with few who understand our unique temperaments, gifts and call. Mood altering substances help us to numb the pain of feeling alone and misunderstood.
Again, if our relationship with mood-altering substances has reached the level of addiction, then it is time to seek help. 12-Step recovery programs are a great way to get support in stopping the use of the substance and Authentic Freedom helps to identify and heal the inner fears/wounds which led us to the compulsive behavior in the first place. If our relationship to mood-altering substances is less problematic but we still find ourselves drawn to them, the following practices may prove helpful.
Tonglen is a Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice which incorporates visualization and breathwork for the intention of transforming painful emotions. For the Superheroes, applying Tonglen to feelings of loneliness and shame can prove effective. Here is the practice in short:
- Identify the feeling you want to work with (shame, loneliness)
- Call that feeling up in your body.
- Identify where in your body you feel it.
- Breathe INTO that place in your body, while feeling the emotion (shame, loneliness).
- While breathing into that place, follow your breath with your mind.
- Now breathe out love, following the love with your breath as you imagine it flowing out of you from the place of the painful emotion.
- Continue with this practice until you feel something change – perhaps the emotion shifts to something else, maybe you begin to weep.
Embodiment is a practice that I discovered while struggling with an overactive and fretful mind. The intention of this practice is to REMEMBER that we are here to have a HUMAN experience – no matter what we remember about our “heaven home” or our true nature as spiritual beings. Embodiment allows us to set aside the false belief that spiritual is better than human and gives us the tools for bringing our, already perfect, Divine selves FULLY into the human experience. When our spirit is fully incarnate in our bodies, we feel safe and secure and are less likely to be tempted to FLEE. It is not, however, until we INCARNATE that we feel safe in our human selves, so let’s get to incarnating, shall we???
- Close your eyes and draw your awareness deep into your body.
- See if you can identify the distinction between your spiritual and human self. (Note, the spiritual self, until we are incarnate, tends to hang out in the upper chakras, especially our head, or even somewhere outside and above us.)
- Conscious of the distinction between your spiritual and human self, bring your consciousness deep into your body.
- Imagine the Earth beneath you as hands reaching up to hold, support, protect, and nourish you.
- Feel the sense of safety in resting in this supportive space.
- Imagine your HUMAN self as supported by the Earth and receiving its nourishment from the Earth.
- As you begin to feel the safety of humanness, imagine that your human self is like a chalice – an empty vessel waiting for your Spirit to be poured into it.
- From this place of security, observe as your Spirit willingly pours itself into the safe home of your human chalice. You are not pushing, forcing or pulling it in, it willingly enters in the knowledge that the Human form is safe.
- Returning to the awareness of your human form, FEEL the sensation of being fully human and safe in this experience, while completely filled by your Divine Spiritual nature. Feel the wholeness and completeness of this experience. As you sit in this feeling of safety, you become aware of all illusions of separation melting away. Your Spirit and your Human natures are now one – no longer separate or distinct from each other, but ONE.
Embodiment eliminates the temptation to FLEE because when we INCARNATE, we find that WE ARE HOME and that there is a home for us in the human condition and that with our embodiment, it looks a whole lot like the heaven we remember and the heaven we were sent to make real upon this earth. 🙂 In this experience, we know that HEAVEN IS REAL and it is right here, within and among us.
Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come,
Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed,
And no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or ‘ look, there it is.’
For behold, the kingdom of God is within (and among) you.”
Luke 17: 20-21
Yesterday I spoke with the 8 millionth person who spoke of their frustrations over:
- Not fitting in
- Not feeling understood
- Being judged for being a troublemaker
- Condemned for not “toeing the line” and for not being satisfied with status quo
- Ridiculed for being different, strange, bizarre, for having crazy and wild ideas
- Chastised for listening to the world and for listening to what the world really needs and God-forbid, for trying to do something about it!
Sound familiar? If so, you might be a changemaker, a prophet, a pioneer, a madwoman, a madman, a mystic, or my favorite word, “Sh.t-disturber!” WE (because I am all of these), are here for one reason, and one reason only….to make the world a better place!!!! Whether you call it the Age of Aquarius, Ascension, The New Age, the Rapture, the End of the World (as we know it), it is upon us. And, there are people in every field of specialization (mine just happens to be spirituality and human development), who have been specifically planted within their respective fields to disturb the sh.t. Some of us are in education, others in medicine, others in government, some in the commercial sphere.
Looked upon with suspicion
If you are one of these changemakers, you know who you are. Why….because everyone hates you…or at the very least, they look upon you with suspicion. “What crazy idea is Lauri going to come up with today that is going to shake the foundations of what we currently know about the field in which we are currently operating?!!???” More importantly, “What is Lauri going to suggest that will challenge us to change the way we currently operate in the world?” More even than death, we as humans fear change. So anyone presumptuous enough to suggest that what is currently being done is less than ideal or might be in need of change is THE ENEMY!
Why we are needed
But, the world is changing….or it least it had better, or it will die. As a species, we cannot continue to operate under the current paradigm of power-over, rule through manipulation and fear, take take take, pollute pollute pollute, destroy destroy destroy. If we continue on our current trajectory, we will destroy ourselves. This is why we changemakers have been planted on this earth. We are the ones who have been made ready to help humanity into its next stage of existence. In our respective fields of expertise, we know what needs to be done. We see how the world can be better and we have the vision, skills, knowledge and experience to implement the processes and structures that will be necessary for the creation of a peaceful, harmonious world. In fact, we’ve already tested our visions and our ideas in the microcosm. The next step is to bring them into the macrocosm. The world is readying for our “big entrance.” In the meantime, we are at the sidelines holding the vision of a more loving world and maybe even praying it into reality.
Support for the Changemakers
What do we do, in the meantime, to deal with the naysayers? That answer is simple:
- Stop looking for affirmation and validation from the existing structures and the people attached to these structures. They will never accept you as long as you challenge the status quo – no matter how dysfunctional the status quo might be.
- Trust what you know. Speak your truth, stand in your truth, stop apologizing for your truth, no matter how crazy others think your ideas might be.
- Find others like you! You are not alone! There are a million+ changemakers waiting to be made known. Get to know some. Connect on my Authentic Freedom Facebook page. Send a prayer out to the Universe that you find others like you…..if you do this you will find each other….I promise.
Our Big Entrance
Our big entrance is coming. The current paradigm is crumbling and every action it takes is only hastening its demise. Meanwhile, a collective desire for change is gathering and about to hit critical mass. And while I used to believe a complete collapse would be necessary before real change could happen, I no longer believe this to be true. Enough changemakers have been holding the vision of a more peaceful loving world and we are ready. We have what is needed to guide the world into its next stage of evolution and the world is crying out to us for help. Our job right now is to hold tight, hold the vision, sent out positive thoughts and prayers and wait. Our time is coming and it is almost here. And when it finally arrives, there will be no mistaking its invitation and we will willing accept and step across the threshold into a beautiful new world.
Today’s blog continues the discussion about the 42.7 million people who still identify themselves as Catholic, yet no longer participate in the Church. Today’s discussion explores where they might be and includes those who were raised Catholic but no longer identify themselves as such. PS I’m probably going to get a little “up in my ego” on this one……so I acknowledge this ahead of time. I’m still human afterall. 🙂
Why They Left and Where They Went
The last two blogs explored the why’s of the Catholic exodus: change in priest, Church teachings, bad liturgy, sex abuse scandals, told they weren’t welcome, etc. Today I will share with you my theories on where the Catholics went.
Evangelical, Congregational and Unitarian Churches
It has been my observation that when Catholics leave, they don’t normally trade Catholicism for something that looks similar such as Anglican, Lutheran or Methodist. While I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule, Catholics who are liturgy inclined, are more likely to seek out a worship experience different from what they have known. For those who are in search of vibrant worship, uplifting music, motivational preaching and who want to know more about scripture, they might find themselves drawn to Evangelical and Non-Denominational Christian churches. The Congregational Churches draw the Catholics looking for community. And for those Catholics who are kind of done with the whole “God” thing, and are looking for something more embracing of all practices and beliefs, the Unitarian church might do it for them.
If You Want to Learn More About Scripture and how to Know Yourself and God through Scripture, click HERE.
Did you just fall out of your chair? It is really true……the majority of people I know who are currently practicing Wicca were raised Catholic. And if you know anything about Wicca, it is an easy transition from Catholicism to Wicca for many reasons, not the least of which is polytheism. As much as the Institution would quake in its shoes to hear me say this, Catholicism is about as polytheistic as it gets. No, the teachings and theology of the Catholic Church are not polytheistic – professing One God (oops….in three!). 🙂 But let’s get real, in practice, Catholics worship many “gods”. Yes, these “gods” are cleverly disguised as “Mary and the Saints” but who do we think we are fooling? I know, I know, we aren’t worshipping Mary and the Saints and we really do only believe in ONE God, but our practice of honoring the Communion of Saints and having altars to our favorite saints, wearing their medals, hanging their pictures in our home, saying novenas to them, etc. etc. etc. is no different than the practices we judge as polytheistic from our Wicca or Hindu or Pagan brothers and sisters. So let’s pull the splinter of the true cross out of our eye before we yank the broomstick out of our Wicca brother and sister’s eyes. The other reasons Catholics gravitate toward Wicca are rituals and sabbats. Wicca rituals look a lot like ours and their holidays…..well, let’s just be really honest here and admit that we stole our holidays from THEM! Check your history books if you don’t believe me!
For many Catholics, their true heart resides in contemplation. The problem is, they don’t know it and the Church hasn’t done a good job of helping them identify or find this within their own faith. So…….for many of these Catholics, the restlessness that drives all of us to our truth, causes them to seek the remedy to this restlessness and for many, instead of finding the remedy within the rich tradition of Christian Contemplation, find it in the contemplative practices and philosophies of Buddhism. Here, they find the DIRECT EXPERIENCE of God, (known in peace, contentment, love and joy) that they found elusive in their experience of Catholicism. Buddhism is also an easy resting place for those who have had trouble with the negative images of God sometimes propogated by the Church. In Buddhism, there is no sense of a “personal” God. Instead, it is described as Essence or Presence – something transcendent, but not separate from us, something that is part of us and it our truest self, highest self, truest nature. HMMMMM…..sounds a little like Jesus’ teachings on Oneness. 🙂
If You are Interested in Learning More About Christian Contemplation and Jesus’ Teachings on Oneness, click HERE.
Yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Qong
One HUGE thing that has been neglected in Catholicism is the spiritual nature of our physical bodies. Our bodies house our Spirit and are therefore sacred, holy, amazing. In its attempt to demonize physicality, the body has all but been neglected or worse yet, effectively destroyed. Yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Qong, Dance, SEX, allow us to rediscover the intimate relationship between physical movement and God. Yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Qong, etc. allow Catholics to fill an ENORMOUS gap in their religious/spiritual experience. Sadly, the Institution hasn’t been very supportive of these practices and in some cases have tried to dissuade Catholics from participating. If you have found yoga to be supportive in your search for inner peace and your priest tells you it is evil, how are you going to respond? Hmmmm…..I’m thinking some might decide to leave, especially if their experience of Church isn’t providing them with the same kind of spiritual fulfillment. Just sayin’!
New Age Groups, gatherings, on-line communities
Several years ago the Vatican published a document on the New Age Movement. In short, they don’t like it and in the document condemn many of what they are calling “New Age” practices (Eastern meditation practices, hands-on healing, yoga, meditation, among other things). The New Age Movement is drawing many Catholics away from the Church because it meets the needs that are not being met in the Church. DUH! And this is where I get to do a little of my own pontificating……What would happen if instead of condemning the New Age Movement, the Vatican took the time to explore WHAT in the New Age Movement was drawing Catholics and offer these things in their own communities. Because I’m here to tell you that whatever we are finding in the New Age Movement exists within our Catholic Tradition. It is just that nobody bothered to teach us and show us how we could get the very same needs met within our own Church.
If you are interested in learning more about the connection between “new age” energy medicine and Jesus, click HERE.
Isolated and Alone
This is the group of non-practicing Catholics for whom I feel the deepest level of grief. These are the folks who were told they weren’t welcome or felt as if they were not accepted by their Church and who have been unable (or unwilling) to find supportive and accepting community elsewhere. So, they sit home, alone and unfed. This makes me sad.
If you were raised Catholic and no longer attend mass, why not?
What spiritual and communal needs are you finding satisfied outside the Catholic Church and where are you finding them met?
Authentic Freedom Ministries
Today’s blog is about the power of observation and having the courage to see the truth as it unfolds right before our eyes. In other words, making use of our prophetic gifts AND using these prophetic gifts to see what is happening in the world around us and making way for something new.
“Prophets are people who speak out when others remain silent. They are watchful of the areas in need of reform in their own society, their own country, or their own religious institutions. True prophets are not part of the authority structure. Prophets are never appointed, ordained or anointed by the religious establishment. They experience a special calling that comes directly from God, and their message comes from their own personal experience of God. Any attempts to practice the same spirituality of Jesus would entail learning how to speak out boldly as he did – and face the consequences.” – Jesus Today -a Spirituality of Radical Freedom by Fr. Albert Nolan, OSD
According to Fr. Nolan’s definition above, I am a prophet. No, I do not own a scrying mirror or a crystal ball and I do not use divination tools in order that I might predict the future. I don’t need them. I am, as Fr. Nolan describes, a different kind of prophet. A prophet, as is referred to in scripture, is someone who has eyes wide open and who through observation of the sign of the times, can identify where things are going and what is likely to take place. My friends, and the people to whom I have ministered can attest to the fact that I have these gifts. I know that these are gifts given to me by God and at 47 years old, I can no longer hide these gifts under a bushel basket. Apparently it is my job to see the truth and help others to see it as well.
The World, She is a Changin’
You do not need to be a prophet to see that the world around us is changing. Climate and weather patterns are shifting. The world economies are collapsing. In our country, healthcare, education, government, corporations are struggling. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is disappearing. In my own little area of expertise – God and Church stuff……the Catholic Church has become the forebearer of the demise of everything rooted in the patriarchical, hierarchical model, boldly leading the way as the Vatican clings to nostalgia and distractions as a way to respond to their fear over the loss of power and control.
The Age of the Holy Spirit
To put it in theistic language, I believe that what we are observing is the advent of The Age of the Holy Spirit. Joachim de Fiore (1135 C.E. – 1202 C.E.) used this term when he foretold an era: when mankind was to come in direct contact with God, reaching the total freedom preached by the Christian message. The Kingdom of the Holy Spirit, a new dispensation of universal love, would proceed from the Gospel of Christ, but transcend the letter of it. In this new Age the ecclesiastical organization would be replaced and the Order of the Just would rule the Church. According to Joachim, only in this third Age will it be possible to really understand the words of God in its deepest meanings, and not merely literally. In other words, the laity will become empowered to know God PERSONALLY and to discern the law of God that resides within their own hearts. No longer would we have need of a hierarchical, patriarchal institution to guide or interceded for us. The need for an intermediary will pass away because our relationship with God through Christ would be direct (that does not, however, mean that we would no longer benefit from gathering in community…we are supported, held accountable and remain humble when we gather in community.)
Applying this to the World At Large
Now, let’s apply this Age of the Holy Spirit concept to what is happening in the world at-large. The way I see it, all those things that have been built upon fear, power and control, all those institutions rooted in a top-down, power-over model are quickly falling away….and they fall quicker every day! Why? Because as a species, we have come to understand that this model is no longer working (if it ever really did) and we are ready for SOMETHING NEW! What is that something new? We don’t yet know because it has not yet fully emerged. I sense the old might need to completely implode upon itself before the new will fully come into being……but there are signs of good things afoot (just open your eyes and look around for those things that are rooted in love, working toward compassion and justice, striving for collaboration and harmony, based in understanding and acceptance.) And here is a just a little glimpse of the “New World” as I see it and a song that describes it!
Authentic Freedom Ministries
Letting go, shedding, releasing,’tis the season.
A Common Theme
While I tend to take so-called prophecies with a grain of salt, knowing that ultimately, we determine how we respond to the changes in our lives and in our world, I cannot ignore that every “spiritual” “new age” “ascension” “new earth” blog that I subscribe to seems to be saying the same thing. More importantly, I cannot refute the cold hard truth that my own life seems to be following these “prophecies” to a T. For me, the past several months have been a time of shedding, releasing, revisiting, reassessing, reevaluating, doors closing, opportunities elusive, and this is exactly what these sites say is supposed to be happening. Then, when I look around at my spiritual companions and friends, it seems their lives too are reflecting the same process of release and letting go. The frustration is that while all this letting go and door closing is happening, the new and open doors have not yet revealed themselves. The response to this frustration is a collective ARGH followed by the sheer terror of “NOW WHAT?” and “How am I going to pay my bills?” YIKES.
Not another one!
Just when I thought I had let go of everything that I could let go of, the Universe provided one more opportunity. “Thank you sir, may I have another?” Seriously, I’m kinda done being stripped of everything I care about, that has provided a source of support, structure, predictability, security, etc. and that I wanted to give my energy to. Apparently I’m not done yet (but God, I hope this is the final shedding and I sure hope those new doors start opening soon!)
Support and Encouragement from the Great Beyond
The funny thing is I knew this one was coming. I had saw the warning signs and felt the energy changing around it, and when I brought these awarenesses to prayer the answer was, “Release it with love.” I then turned to one of my inspirational card decks and pulled the Purgatory card, and this is what it read:
The emotional ups and downs you are experiencing are part of a healing process through which all that no longer serves you is being transformed and released. Though it might not seem like it, this is a positive time for you. Trust in the process. All you surrender will automatically be healed or replaced with something more suitable.
Sigh. I guess what I really wanted to do in writing this post is to share these words with those of you who may be going through a similar process of letting go and releasing. All that you surrender will be healed or replaced with something more suitable.
Authentic Freedom Ministries