Posted in Midlife Journey, Returning book

Returning: Another Review

Thank you to poet, author, psychotherapist and healer, Jay Ramsay for his beautiful review of my soon to be released book:  Returning – A Woman’s Midlife Journey to Herself.  And just a little personal note about Jay, his book, Crucible of Love, was instrumental in my own search for authenticity within relationship.  His book The Poet in You provide a structure through which I could nurture my inner poet.  And his book Gita awakened me to my own longing for intimate, honest and enduring connection.  Thank you Jay!

Jay Ramsay
Jay Ramsay

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

Jay Ramsay, author of The Poet in You (O Books, 2009) and Crucible of Love—the alchemy of passionate relationships (O Books, 2004/2012)

Posted in Initiation, mental illness

Mental Health Week – Jay Ramsay

Today’s contribution to Mental Health week comes from poet, author, psychotherapist and healer, Jay Ramsay.  I first came to know Jay through his book, Crucible of Love, and later, Jay was kind enough to read and write a review for my book Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy.  You can learn more about Jay through his website:  http://www.jayramsay.co.uk/.  Thank you Jay for this beautiful piece of poetic prose and for being a dear friend and companion on this wild and crazy journey! 

Strange Days of the Soul

God must, in some way or other, make room for himself, hollowing us out and emptying us, if he is finally to penetrate into us. And in order to assimilate us in him, he must break the molecules of our being so as to re-cast and re-model us. The function of death is to provide entrance into our inmost selves. It will make us undergo the required dissociation. It will put us into the state organically needed if the divine fire is to descend upon us. And in that way its fatal power to decompose and dissolve will be harnessed to the, most sublime operations of life. What was by nature empty and void, a return to bits and pieces can, in any human existence, become fullness and unity in God. —Teilhard du Chardin, Le Milieu Divin (Collins, 1960) As the saying goes, ‘it is terrible to fall into the hands of the Living God’. In our terms, it is the sudden fate of the ego to find itself out of the driving seat, and plunged into another world of air that is the Self—the one we may find in us who is really there.

My spiritual emergency was a breakdown of seven months during 1989. The run-up to this period was fairly classic: over-exertion, and ego assertion, to the point of burn out. The year previous (my 30th) I’d had seven books of poetry published in a year, and had organized a South Bank launch for my anthology Transformation1. I’d been aware of needing to stop, needing a break, and had been invited down to Tuesley Manor by Viscountess Bronwen Astor, an inspired Christian whose philanthropy extended to making over part of her grounds and a house called The Quarry to retreatants of various kinds, lay and religious. Tuesley Valley, originally a pagan site named after the god Tue, is a potent pocket of land just south of Godalming: one of Nature’s healing places which, like Culbone near Porlock in North Somerset, has a primeval depth. I decided to come as I thought for a month. My plan was to have some space and catch up with my writing without some unwanted pressures, and the hassle of London traffic. One month became seven as my plan fell to pieces. I was basically exhausted but resisting the invitation to let go, not wanting to waste precious time in this unique location. However every attempt to write rose up only to fall flat, grey and lifeless. I felt as if I was sitting in a fog, or rather, something more subtle and insidious, a kind of obstruction in the air that prevented me from making any progress. Slowly, repeated failure became panic as something else, something far more potent, began to take place. This became located in the Christian experience leading up to Easter and then beyond, into the light of the summer. Essentially, this was crucifixion-the death of the ego, and resurrection-the birth of the transpersonal self. At the time it was like hell, a limbo without flames. Some of the intensity of what happened was also no doubt fanned by solitude, long hours alone under the eaves of a large country house where there was no escape. It was as if God was outside all the windows looking in; somehow I knew my number was up.

Perhaps this vaguely paranoid state indicates a kind of displaced self/’Self-’witnessing; certainly it was my ego’s fearful perspective of change, which I came to express in the poetry I did manage to write2. It was also a deeply physical experience as well as being emotional (depression and anxiety). A number of rebirthing sessions with Bronwen, who had trained with Leonard Orr, greatly aided and deepened the process (‘It is dark and the air breaks in freezing waves’); my body responded in a gestalt like way (‘As your hands rise, frozen, half-raised—fingers splayed’), and it was after one of these that I had one of several distinctly emergent experiences. An early evening experience of deepening depression had once again become panic. I withdrew upstairs and sat in an armchair in my room as the light faded outside, simultaneously anxious and furious at this suspension of faculties, willing some final breakthrough to happen. Nothing happened. At least for some minutes. Then I noticed I couldn’t move. My body became as if liquid, deliquescent. I went to lift up my arm and nothing happened. Then the sensation of heat began to appear on my forehead, like fingers gently pressing there— but very hot fingers. There was no avoiding them. The light deepened outside, the lit candle flickered. The heat on my forehead became like a disk of sustained warmth. Then slowly it began to fade; and my power of movement returned.

Because of my work with the theme of Apocalypse, I had been looking at the Book of Revelation. I found myself walking over it and opening it at random. The sentence stared out at me: And the servants of God shall be sealed in the foreheads. The rest is in the poem ‘surrender’, prior to and after this, one of several numinous happenings that became my path, both inside, and outside as I worked in the wild valley garden to clear the length of stream. How did I get through this—especially when it continued to seem so open-ended ? There was a fundamental paradox for me throughout between will (making an effort) and surrender (letting go, handing over). I realize now that in some way they were the polarities of the dynamic process I was in, but I couldn’t get my head around that at the time. Certainly, I learnt to surrender—hence the title of the poem. I learnt to become more Taoist about it, going with the flow. Also I was seriously trying to ‘read the signs’ so regarding as a creative process however (seemingly) impossible, was also very important.

Finally, and as mysteriously a third thing emerged beyond will and surrender and that was intuition, and choice. And in early September, unfinished as the sentence was, I decided: enough. Time to return to London, my patient partner, and the world—or at least my more hermit-like version of it. Somehow the time was right. And as I sat gazing out of the window of my attic room on that last morning at the woodpigeons flying in and out of the still full-leaved trees beyond the stream, wondering what it had all been about or for, a voice quite distinctly in my ears said ‘You had to fail in order to heal’. That was my final lesson, one I am still learning. But as I sat a month later in my little garden shed studio in Kew, working on a long poem, I had a sensation I’d never had before; of a well of strength beneath me and inside me, a well that has never run dry. For then on too, my relationship with poetry as an exclusive discipline changed, and I began to see my work was about people, not just my literary achievement. I began writing my 18 month correspondence course Chrysalis—the poet in you3 , and my one to one work with people began, entering into the journey of psychospiritual therapy4 and healing. ‘And all these things shall be added unto you’. Jay Ramsay

1 Transformation—the poetry of spiritual consciousness, with an Afterword by Sir George Trevelyan (Rivelin Grapheme Press, 1988). Some copies remaining from JR/Chrysalis.

2. Strange Days (Stride Publications as Taxus Press, 1989). Enquiries: RML@stridebooks. co.uk

3. for further details please see www.lotusfoundation.org.uk or call 01453-759436 4. psychosynthesis, The London Institute, Hendon, NW4: 0208-202-4525

Posted in Healing, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Author Tour: Jay Ramsay

I first met Jay Ramsay through his book, Crucible of Love   which I found on the library shelf at Chalice Well in Glastonbury, England where I was staying while on pilgrimage.  I devoured Jay’s book and found that his perspectives on love deeply resonated with me.  I took copious notes and found that some of his quotes ended up in my own book, Authentic Freedom.  When it was time to seek out author endorsements for my book, Jay was a natural choice.  He generously agreed and since then we have become friends.  I have found in Jay not only a friend but a teacher and a mentor and most importantly, a spiritual brother.  I am honored and gifted to know him as would be anyone who might find themselves in his company as either a student, client, companion or friend.  Jay’s “professional bio” is noted below….but without further ado….some of his AMAZING poetry!!!!!    Thank you Jay for being part of this week’s Author Tour!

Poetry selections from Jay Ramsay’s book: Gita – a dialogue of love and freedom

– 46

Your silence is my guide

the centre I need to find

and the one place where I know

the feeling is right.

painful as it may be

and where emotion breaks free

and is everywhere exposed

boiling over, unsafe

this is the placeless place

of loneliness and aching…

Breathe back, soothe yourself in

at home with myself again

the only way I can find you

where we meet, in truth, within.

– 147

But before you can

I have to be ready

returned to myself

in all I am

knowing that I am

You within

above, below

Love within

without needing anyone,

not even you…

Then you can come close

without fear of drowning

your body knowing

this man is whole.

-148

And raging frustrated

the fire rising

is this returning

of potency, deep within

goaded by you, this

impossible situation

your resistance

your refusal to let us be

an absolute measure

of this inner alchemy;

your self-preservation

a higher intention

as secretly revealing

your destiny.

 Jay Ramsay is an internationally recognized poet and author of over 30 books including Crucible of Love, The Poet in You and Gita – a dialogue of love and freedom.  As a psychotherapist, Jay’s speciality is to help his clients uncover and express their true feelings, emotionally and creatively, and to find ways of translating that authenticity into action. He works with people of all backgrounds and at all stages of our life journey. Jay has 15 years in private practice, and has been accredited with UKCP and APP since 2004. Jay also works energetically as an experienced spiritual healer and is a full healer member of the National Federation of Spiritual Healers (MNFSH, since 1998).  Jay lives in Stroud, England and can be reached through his website:  http://www.jayramsay.co.uk/index.html

Posted in creativity, Discernment, Inspiration

Listening to our Soul

Within each of us resides the voice of truth…the voice of “God,” the voice of the “Higher Self,” whatever you want to call it.  It is the voice that leads us to our truth, our destiny, to expansiveness and love.  It is the Voice of the Soul

http://www.amybrownart.com/

Switching Gears

I has been a busy week at the Lumby house.  Clients.  Preparation for the January birth.  And, my kids have been here for 8 straight days, going on 11 as their father enjoys a week of retreat after a busy art season.  (Their father is a really talented artist…check out his site: http://www.scotschmidt.net)  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love being busy, making preparations and I especially love soaking up the presence of my children (even when they are fighting over the lamp that is causing a glare in Wil’s tv vision. )   And, I suddenly realized this morning that my Extrovert is spent and my inner Introvert is SCREAMING for attention, nurturing and pampering.  Not only that, but the truest voice of my soul – my writer, poet and artist is moaning out of sheer neglect.  As I listen to the voices of my soul, I hear a clear command:  “Time to switch gears.”  So, instead of indulging my normal Thursday morning ritual of sharing mass with the amazing retired nuns at the local Franciscan convent, I will be tending my soul.  I will drag out my Sarah McLaughlin CD’s and by myself, allow her angelic voice carry my soul to where it needs to be to muse, be inspired, create and write.  My introvert will be happy as will my inner muse.  YAY!

An Invitation

My invitation for you today is to do the same.  What is your SOUL saying to you?  How have your nurtured or neglected the voice within that speaks from your heart and speaks to your heart? The voice that leads you to inspiration, comfort, expansiveness, indulgence?  What is your soul asking of you?  Time?  Attention?  To simply be heard?  The good news is that the first step is an easy one…and that is to simply listen.  Pause for a moment and REALLY listen.  What does your heart want?  What does your joy want?  What does your comfort want?  What does your soul LONG for?  And the second step….DO IT!

And if that isn’t enough, listen to this song and watch the video and if that doesn’t inspire you…call me and we’ll set up an appointment for some emergency intervention for your soul!!!!!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UgPeBjHIjE&feature=fvst

Have an A-Musing day!

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com