Posted in Being Human, Death, Forgiveness, grief

Permission NOT to be Enlightened when Grieving

Perfectionist and the quest for enlightenment

As a recovering perfectionist, the quest for “enlightenment” (ahem….perfection) has been high on my list of desired accomplishments. I’m nowhere near attaining that goal, but it is still on my wish list. Enlightened people are perfect you see….calm, cool, responsible, unflappable. Enlightened people have a high set of standards and they live by them.  Enlightened people are kind, thoughtful, forgiving, loving, generous, humble and patient.  All this is true of enlightened people…….except when they are grieving.  Here is how I learned this important truth.

Divine Irony

God is funny…..or, as my daughter says, “He just thinks he is.”  Just days before my aunt was rushed to the hospital and eventually gave in to the complications of COPD, I had embraced a forgiveness practice.  With a combination of the Ho’oponopono prayer and my own method of “praying for and loving my enemies,”  I was intentionally searching my consciousness for people toward whom I was still harboring resentment for past hurts, and surrounding other people who annoyed me or tempted my ire with love.  I was doing a pretty good job maintaining my practice and I was feeling really good about the love it seemed I was cultivating.  Then my aunt died and all hell broke loose.  Pretty soon I was ranting and raving over past hurts and casting dispersions toward anyone who ticked me off.  I found myself frequently rattling off the curse I have in the past saved for only the worst of the worst….”f….those f’ing…..f’ers.” (Yes….those on the quest for enlightenment use the F-word.) 🙂

frustration

Permission to be human

As I’ve been witnessing my own regression, there were a few moments in which I was tempted to judge my behavior as bad, corrupt, imperfect and punish myself through self-condemnation and self- loathing.  Instead, I decided that when we are grieving, we all get a “Get out of jail free” card.  When grieving, we are allowed to be as human as we need to be to process the grief.  If in the midst of grieving the loss of my aunt I need to hate a few people, then so be it.  If I need to go on a rant about everything or nothing in particular, that is ok.  If I need to crawl into a ball on the floor and suck my thumb or pull out a full-on 2-year old temper tantrum, then more power to me.  And…..more power to you when you need to do the same.  When we are grieving, we don’t need to be enlightened, or perfect, or patient, or pleasant, or accommodating, or anything we don’t want to be.  When we are grieving, we have permission to be human…..to be vulnerable, afraid, anxious, worried, sorrowful, hurting, damaged, wounded, depressed, angry, hateful, etc. etc. etc.  And….thank God/dess, because when we are busy trying to be perfect, it is awful hard for us to receive the help, and love, and support of those who are here to comfort us in our grief.  If it were not for our humanness, we would not be able to receive the loving care of another human being which is one of the primary needs in our process of healing. And those who want to help us heal would not be able to share their gift of loving compassion.  When grieving, perfection and enlightenment can wait, we have grieving to do so that we can find healing and the new life on the other side of the loss.  When we have found a little healing, then we can return to the quest for perfection…or enlightenment…or ascension…..or whatever you want to call it…..or we can just go on being human.

 

Posted in Being Human, Lessons, shame

Hate Hangover – getting to know our shadow

Today’s blog explores the relationship between our soul’s purpose and its direct opposite, our soul shadow.  In the human journey, the goal is to bring both into the light so that they may be fully integrated, bringing us into the realization of our greatest potential.

Soul’s Purpose

One day I asked God what my soul’s purpose was and this was God’s immediate answer:

Love

My job is to know the love that I am and to be this love in the world.  Additionally, my job is to be open to knowing the love that others are and to receive that love openly and humbly.  Since receiving this revelation, I have directed my work and my life toward being love and toward helping others remember the love that they are.  This “work” takes many forms from the professional work that I get “paid” to do, to simply being love in every encounter where love is possible.

Soul’s shadow

hatred

Now before you get all excited about “Oh yeah…..another story of some la-la lightworker who flits and floats around being love to everyone she meets…smiling and floating around on gossamer wings sprinkling love dust all over the world, perfect in every way, never experiencing the reality of humanness, never thinking bad thoughts or doing bad things, some holier-than thou airy-fairy-new age hippie leftover”  WRONG!  Wrong!  Wrong!  Because on the opposite side of all this love…..the love I’m trying to remember within myself and trying to help others remember is a HUGE BALL OF HATE!  This HATE is so huge that it startles me when it shows up and I am frightened by its power and the way it consumes me in spite of my efforts to love and to be the “perfect” loving and forgiving angel I want to be.  (ok, I admit, maybe I don’t really want to be so perfect….in fact since perfectionism is one of my demons, I’m pretty sure that striving for perfection is self-destructive rather than supportive of personal growth.)  I digress…..

The Soul’s Integration

The goal of the human journey, is NOT to be perfect.  As much as the strive toward perfect is my demon, it is yours and the rest of humanity with us.  In fact, the more we try to be “perfect” (ie:  always loving in every thing and every way), the more our shadow will try to get our attention.  And the harder we push our shadow away (in my case, hatred), the harder it will work to be known, and if we continue to ignore it, it will start coming out sideways in really unhealthy and self-destructive behaviors, or it will come out sideways in equally self-destructive self-numbing and self-medicating behaviors which might mask the shadow, but at the same time, it is masking the light aspects of our soul.

Darkness and Light are But One

Psalm 139 reminds us that “darkness and light are but one.”  What this saying is that in what we are tempted to judge as darkness or light are neither- instead, they are simply what is and that from the Divine perspective, there is no judgment.  In other words, even those things which we might judge as negative (hatred), can serve a benevolent purpose.  I know for myself, hatred has sometimes served to motivate me to set boundaries, to speak in situations where I might have been tempted to remain silent, to act where I might have chose to not act.  I also know that hatred has sometimes shown up as a way to affirm or validate something that I believed about another person or to remind me to uphold appropriate boundaries where I might have been tempted to relax the boundaries I set in a particular relationship.  I also know that hatred has often shown up in situations that are completely outside of my control which then gives me an opportunity to invite a deeper level of letting go and surrender.  Hatred, in a nutshell, keeps me humble and reminds me of how truly human I am and not to get tempted into believing I am all-love and all- that because in truth- I’m not.

Getting to know the shadow

We all know who our shadow is…..it is the part of ourselves we try to deny, try to hide from the world.  You know your shadow…..now create some space to let it speak to you.  What is it trying to communicate?  How are you trying to hide it?  How do you reject it?  How might it serve a benevolent rather than malevolent purpose?  How might your shadow actually be serving your highest good?

And just for fun…..here are a few videos to help you connect with your shadow (WARNING:  strong language and content!!!!!)

NIN  – The Hand that Feeds

Marilyn Manson – mObscene

Marilyn Manson – Fight Song

Disturbed – Voices

Lauri Lumby offers one-on-one mentoring, couples’ mentoring, courses and workshops which help you to identify and integrate your gifts as well as your shadow so that you can live more fully as your most authentic self, experiencing joy, contentment and fulfillment in a life which has meaning and purpose.  Call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth to learn more.

Posted in Midlife Journey

Midlife and Menopause – Confronting our Shadow

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 worldOne of the tasks we must complete in the journey of midlife and menopause is to confront our shadow – all of the parts of ourselves we have rejected or kept hidden and bring them to the light.  Today’s blog is about confronting the shadow.

midlife-menopause-shadow

Disney’s Maleficent, coming in 2014.  (I can’t wait!!!!!)

Midlife and Menopause – Bats in the House

Last night, in the middle of a terrific phone conversation with one of my friends, I heard my children screaming.  Then I heard pounding footsteps on the stairs and my son burst into my room, interrupting my conversation with, “Mom….holy sh..t…..there is a bat in the house!!!!”  I offered my friend a quick goodbye and went to investigate.  I calmed down the screaming kids and then we went in search of the bat.  We found him…..HUGE, furry and black….flying back and forth across my sons bedroom.  Now we were all screaming.  🙂  I tried to be brave and found some butterfly nets and an album cover hoping to catch and release the bat, but its erratic flight and the fear of being bit overpowered my courage.  So….I cashed in one of my princess cards, called my neighbor and he calmly and valiantly caught and released the bat.  (Thank you Jason!)   This morning, as I meditated on the spiritual meaning of bats, I was reminded about the midlife journey through the shadow.

Midlife and Menopause – Confronting the Shadow

“The Shadow” has been defined in a variety of ways, depending on what school of psychology or philosophy one subscribes to.  I think of the shadow as all the parts of ourselves that we have not brought to the light.  Using this definition, shadow consists of all of the parts of ourselves we keep hidden away, the parts of ourselves we reject and the parts of ourselves we repress and are perhaps not even conscious of.  Shadow can also be made up of the counterparts to our gifts – underdeveloped skills that if cultivated might help to bring better balance into our lives.  Let me give you some examples.

1) As an Intuitive/Feeler (on the Myers-Briggs personality profile), the sensate/thinker could be considered as an aspect of my shadow – inviting me to balance intuition with facts, figures and evidence, feelings with logic and reason.

2) Anger and Rage make up part of my shadow – emotions I feared and rejected as a child and therefore rejected within myself….it wasn’t ok to be angry.  In midlife, I have had to make friends with anger and find an appropriate way to process it in my life.

3) Perfectionism – as a recovering perfectionist, imperfection is my shadow.  I reject the parts of myself that are imperfect – depression, anxiety, panic attacks, the part of me that harbors resentment, the part of me that wants vengeance, the part of me that is tempted to be bad.  In midlife, I have had to confront these perceived imperfections and again…make friends with them.

4) Other unsavory qualities…..during times of overwhelming stress, certain behaviors and hidden characteristics showed up in me and I was SHOCKED to see how I responded.  These were things I judged others as doing…but would “never do this” myself.  Well…..guess what?  I did.  More imperfections to make peace with.

5) The shadow can also be a bit fun…..like my secret obsession with tattoos, Kat Von D and Disney villains.  All of these show up as glimpses of parts of my soul that want to be more fully integrated in my everyday life.  I want to be a rockstar, wear leather and have my whole body tattooed…..but I don’t because it is only part of me….not all of who I am.  🙂

Midlife and Menopause – the Gift in the Shadow

The gift in uncovering and more fully integrating our shadow is that we become more whole, more fully integrated, we experience greater contentment with ourselves and we might be happier and have more fun.  By integrating our shadow, we also have more energy to do what we love because we have stopped using up all our psychic energy keeping our shadow at bay. Bringing the shadow into the light and allowing it room to roam frees us to explore and enjoy our creative gifts and be of better service to the world.

What does your shadow consist of?

Lauri Ann Lumby provides guidance and support for those traversing the midlife journey through one-on-one mentoring, workshops and classes.  For more information, contact Lauri at (920) 230-1313 or lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

Posted in Inspiration, Oneness with God

God as Me

Just a reminder:  this blog is only possible because of your generous donations.  If you have found what you read here to be nourishing, supportive, inspiring, etc. please consider making a donation.  This will insure that you will continue to receive this blog, and that others may also benefit.  Thank you!


 

EAT PRAY LOVE

This weekend I finally watched the Elizabeth Gilbert bio-epic, Eat, Pray, Love. I’ll be honest with you, I was resistant to seeing this movie and decided not to see it during its theater run.  I enjoyed the book but my judgmental self found Elizabeth Gilbert to be a little self-absorbed while my envious self sure wished someone would give me the money to take a year off after a divorce to travel the world to eat, pray and fall helplessly in love! Really! (BTW, If there are any philanthropists or publishers out there who want to give me a lump sum to take a year off after my divorce, I’ll be happy to accept it! 🙂  )  So, in spite of my previous resistance, I decided to suspend judgment and give Elizabeth Gilbert a second chance.  Not only was I pleasantly surprised, I truly enjoyed the movie.  Ok, it wasn’t Kundun or Amelie, but it proved to be a pleasant way to spend the evening, made me laugh, cry and provided a few spiritual gems along the way.   And, I just might watch it a second time.

 

Spiritual Gems

There were several spiritual gems of wisdom that spoke to me in watching Eat, Pray, Love. My favorite one (for today anyway) is this quote from the film spoken by Julia Roberts as Elizabeth Gilbert:

“God dwells within me, as me.”

Now just sit with that for a moment.  God dwells within you, as you!  For me, this is a profound statement.  Over the years, I have realized more and more profoundly the truth of our Oneness with God.   It is this truth that the greatest spiritual teachers have come to realize within themselves and in turn it is to this truth that they point us.  Jesus, Mohammed, Moses, the Buddha, Krishna, etc, etc, etc, all came to embrace and embody this truth.  We, in turn, are invited to do the same.  We are also invited to remember that through this Oneness, God dwells in us and seeks to live through us.  Big concepts, I know.  

 

God dwells as me!

But here’s the rub.  I can totally get the idea of Oneness with God.  I can also attempt to grasp the idea of God living in and through us.  But, God dwells as me? When I heard these words in the movie this weekend, it felt like somebody kicked down all the doors and windows of my perfectionism and let the sun shine in!  I’ve been moving through this idea of embracing Oneness with God as an invitation to conquer all my fears, compulsions, errors, faults, mistakes, etc. etc. etc.  I’ve been moving through this thinking, “In order to embrace this idea of Oneness with God, I have to rid myself of all the “bad” things within me.”  For me, that means getting rid of all the things I judge as faulty within me – negative emotions, depression, anger, rage, judgment, hatred, prejudice, impatience, frustration, sorrow, confusion, etc. etc. etc.  Going at it from this perspective has allowed me to continue to indulge my inner perfectionist – the one that thinks I have to be perfect in order to be loved and to be happy.  The idea of God dwelling within me, as me is giving me pause to consider another path.

 

Embracing me as me

What if God is seeking to live in and through me JUST AS I AM TODAY????  What if ALL THAT I AM is enough for God?  What if I could stop my relentless search for perfection and simply rest in me today?  What if this relentless search for perfection has been the obstacle to the peace that is my original nature as One with God?  HHHMMM  My head is spinning with the thought – God dwells within me as me – exactly as I am in this moment….and God just might be ok with that?  Now the question is, can I be?

 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries/Your Spiritual Truth

http://yourspiritualtruth.com