Posted in Authentic Freedom, Empowerment, Healing, mental illness, Spiritual Direction, Truth

Beyond Psychotherapy – Authentic Freedom Mentoring

Today’s blog explores the important question:  What in the world does Lauri Lumby do and why should I care?  Or another way to look at it: “How might Authentic Freedom Mentoring benefit you?”

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Speaking with Dragons

Saturday evening I was working with a newly acquainted soul-sister on a creative project for my upcoming Fabulous Fifty.  She was inquiring about what exactly I do for a living.  As I muddled through the description, these words flew out of my mouth and gave her goosebumps from head to toe – confirmation of a truth being spoken.  Here is what I said:

If I had to boil it all down, the work I do is all about supporting individuals in becoming self-actualized. 

We then discussed how this is the work that people really need and is rarely offered…this is the deep stuff that goes beyond recovery programs, psycho-therapy, talk-therapy, behavioral counseling, life-coaching, or any of the traditional professional or self-help approaches.  This is also the kind of work that ENDURES.***  Getting to the root of our behavioral, attitudinal, mental, emotional, compulsive, addictive issues and healing them at their SOURCE.  Doing this work doesn’t provide just a temporary fix that will crumble at the appearance of our first trigger -no….it goes to the cause of the pattern and heals it, making the pattern no longer necessary.  As we heal the causes of our mental, behavioral and emotional (and even physical) distress, we draw closer and closer to the person God made us to be – happy, healthy, joyful, content and enjoying a life of meaning and fulfillment.  In the process, we are birthing our SOUL – or as Abraham Maslow called it – we are becoming self-actualized!

What is SOUL and why does it matter? 

SOUL is our true self.  SOUL is who we were born to be and who we came into the world being.  SOUL is the uniquely creative way in which we were born to find meaning and purpose in our lives and through which we find fulfillment within ourselves and  in service to the betterment of the world.  SOUL is what we are here for but somewhere along the line, life happened and interrupted our SOUL.  Authentic Freedom mentoring helps you to identify those experiences outside of you and those feelings and beliefs inside of you that have blocked the knowledge and manifestation of your SOUL.  Authentic Freedom mentoring helps you to heal and transform the deep, inner spiritual wounds that arose out of these experiences and beliefs so that your SOUL is free to emerge.  Think of it like a sunflower seed – deep inside the seed, beneath the shell is the tender, vulnerable meat of the seed that will eventually emerge out of the seed and become the sunflower.  The shell is LIFE – the tough, outer crust that developed around the seed to protect it and which has to be shed in order for the seed to grow.  Authentic Freedom mentoring supports you in shedding that shell so that your true self can emerge and be nurtured in becoming the fullness of who you were meant to be.

Lauri Lumby is available for Authentic Freedom mentoring in person, over the phone and via Skype.  To schedule an appointment, email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com or call (920) 230-1313. 

***Note:  Authentic Freedom mentoring is not a replacement for psychiatric care where medical treatment is appropriate and necessary in treating specific diagnoses of mental illness.

Posted in addictions, Authentic Freedom, shame, Spiritual Practices, Superheroes, world changes

Superheroes and our Relationship with Mood-Altering Substances

Superhero Report – July 28, 2014

Our Relationship with Mood-Altering Substances

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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.)

4) Shame

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.

5) Loneliness

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.

 

1)Tonglen 

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.

2) Embodiment

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

 

Posted in Healing, Inspiration

Recovering from Abuse

In the twenty years that I have been in the ministry of spiritual direction/spiritual counseling, I have journeyed with many men and women who have survived abusive relationships, including being married to a narcissist.  This essay is for you! 

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Consequences

 

Nobody warns you of the consequences of being married to an abuser.  The price, I have learned, is nothing less than your Soul.  The voice of your inner truth – silenced.  Your hopes and dreams, snuffed out.  All the things that make your heart sing, torn from your grasp and crushed under a steel-toed boot.  No regard for your hopes and dreams, your needs falling on deaf ears. In the home that you share, there is no room for you, your dreams, your needs, your aesthetics. Instead, the abuser somehow takes up ALL THE SPACE.

The abuser doesn’t care about what you want, who you are, what you might need to thrive, let alone survive –   the consideration only of themselves and how you might serve them.  A trophy, housekeeper, business manager, bookkeeper, accountant, cook, parent to their children (so they don’t have to parent), sex toy, all under the guise of “loving support,” with nothing there for you. Your dreams, desires, hopes, needs are unimportant you know, as you are only there to serve them.  But never, not once, is there a word of gratitude or kindness.  Instead, you’re too fat, you’re ugly, frigid and asexual, the house isn’t clean enough, the yard not pretty enough, your clothes aren’t right, your beliefs and dreams are stupid, and how dare you ask for a teenie tiny crumb of anything for yourself and if you dare to ask, you can bet you will be punished.

There really ought to be a diagnosis in the DSM: “survivor of being married to an abuser,” so that there can be some sort of coverage for recovery work and supplemental income while you try to get your life back together – for recovery from these kinds of relationships is akin to trying to survive while walking on the sun.

Posted in addictions, Authentic Freedom

New Year’s Resolutions – from addiction to recovery

Dear Readers,

Today, as an example of resolutions gone RIGHT, I am sharing with you a blog posted today by one of my clients, Brian Hayford.  It is with Brian’s permission that I share this blog here today and I do so with great pride and admiration of the VERY HARD WORK Brian has accomplished in the past year and with great humility for having been a part of Brian’s amazing journey from opiate addiction to recovery.  Congratulations Brian and KEEP UP the hard work!  Since completing an in-patient stint at Hazelden, Brian continues to work the 12-Steps, has worked through and continues to work the Authentic Freedom process, rediscovered Martial Arts as a vehicle for building strength and self-empowerment, and is in the process of rediscovering the person he lost through addiction.

Brian is a talented writer (as you will see) and artist.  He has a keen sense of justice and has an innate sensitivity to the struggles of the human condition through which he is called to help facilitate the birth of a new and better world.  I for one am grateful for Brian’s passion and vision and trust that as he stays on the recovery path, his unique participation in this vision will be revealed.

You can read Brian’s story here:  http://www.bubblews.com/news/1941482-what-a-ride-looking-back-on-my-2013-lots-of-lesson-learned-finally

Posted in addictions, codependency, guilt, shame, The Seven Deadly Compulsions

Partners of Sex Addicts Part II

Today’s blog is the final of a four-part series on sex addiction.  Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s blog focused on identifying sex addiction and understanding some of its possible causes.  Thursday’s began the discussion on how partners of sex addicts are effected by the addiction and today’s blog continues that discussion, exploring possible resources for assisting partners of sex addicts in their own journey of healing. 

Co-Addiction?

Many experts in the field of sex addiction refer to the relationship between a sex addict and their partner as co-addiction.  Drawing from 12-step recovery programs, the partner of a sex addict is held accountable for their role in enabling the addiction through denial, preoccupation, enabling or rescuing, taking excessive responsibility, and trying to (or wishing they could) control the addict’s behaviors.  In order for one to identify sexual addiction in their partner, they also have to acknowledge their own role in the cycle of addiction.  Denial is perhaps the greatest obstacle to the addict and their partner in stopping the cycle of addiction.  For the partner of the addict, excessive responsibility is perhaps the second obstacle.  Partners of addicts come to believe that the dissatisfaction, restlessness and irritability of the addict is somehow their fault and often work to try to “make the addict happy” by engaging in sexual activities that make them uncomfortable or looking the other way when the addict seeks to satisfy their need through pornography, excessive masturbation, sex-sites, other partners, etc.  For those who choose to remain in a relationship with a sex addict (who is still engaging in addictive behaviors), unraveling themselves from their role as enabler is critical.  In order to keep one’s self safe, the partner of a sex addict must stop taking responsibility, feeling guilty for the addict’s unhappiness and for excusing their sexual acting out.  If the addict remains in denial and refuses treatment for their addiction, the partner may eventually determine that the relationship is no longer viable and may decide to leave.  (For more on working together to recover from sex addiction, please read, Mending a Shattered Heart, edited by Stefanie Carnes, PhD.

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For those who leave

For those who choose to leave a relationship with a sex addict, acknowledging their co-addictive behavior will be an important step in healing from the co-addictive relationship and for establishing a ground upon which healthy intimacy may one day be possible.  In the beginning stages of having left a sex addict, however, I believe that attention first needs to be given to grief * and shame**. First, the partner needs strategies, room and time to grieve the loss of the relationship they at one time hoped to have with the addict (before they knew of the addiction).  What also needs to be addressed is the deep well of shame experienced by a partner of a sex addict.  Shame from having been in the relationship in the first place.  Shame over their co-addictive behaviors (denial, bargaining, over responsibility, etc.).  Shame from all the ways in which they were told they failed the addict.  Then somewhere along the line, the partner of a sex addict needs to pick up all the shreds of their own desire and sexual self-confidence which were destroyed in the course of the relationship and put those back together.  In grieving the loss of the hoped-for relationship, healing the deep well of shame, reassembling one’s self-confidence and desire, and addressing any co-addictive behaviors provides the foundation upon which the former partner of a sex addict may enter into a meaningful, healthy and intimate love relationship – the kind that was, sadly, not possible with the addict.

* To learn more about the grieving process, click HERE. 

** To learn more about releasing shame, click HERE.

If you are a partner of a sex addict, please seek out help and support through counseling, psychotherapy or a local 12-Step group well versed in the subtleties of sex addiction. For additional support, check out Mending a Shattered Heart – a Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts, edited by Stefanie Carnes, PhD.

 

Posted in addictions, codependency, guilt, Healing, Relationships, shame

For Partners of Sex Addicts Part I

Today’s blog is part three in a series on sex addiction.  Parts One and Two explored the ways in which one might identify sex addiction in one’s self or one’s partner and possible causes and suggested supports for healing sex addiction.  In today’s blog, I hope to provide partners (and former partners) of sex addicts with some support – specifically validation for the devastating effects of being in relationship with a sex addict.  In tomorrow’s blog, I will explore possible supports in helping the partner heal from having been in relationship with a sex addict.

Sex addiction confused as love

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, for as long as sex addicts are indulging their addiction, sex addicts are incapable of experiencing or participating in true intimacy. This truth has devastating effects on any and every relationship into which the sex addict enters. As Stephanie Carnes, states, “Sex addiction thrives in secrecy, (Mending a shattered heart, 2009, p. 9)” and addicts will go to any length to protect their double life.” Whether engaging in compulsive fantasizing, pornography, sex sites, prostitution and/or masturbation, addicts accomplish this in secret and their partners are often none the wiser.  Additionally, many sex addicts are masters as presenting themselves as simply “passionate” and pride themselves is being masterful “lovers,” luring potential partners in with their exceptional “skills.”  Soon, however, the partner begins to see that no matter what they do or how they do it (sexually), it is never enough, neither is it good enough, because nothing can compare with the fantasies cooked up in an addicts mind or with the intensity and danger of what they might be viewing through pornography or experiencing on sex-sites.  As the partner of an addict eventually learns, the partner’s need for sexual stimulation has nothing to do with love and instead of helping to facilitate intimacy, actually destroys it.

Sex Addiction is Still in the Closet

One of the challenges with sex addiction is that in most circles, it remains in the closet.  Sex addiction is not discussed publicly and neither has it attained the recognition and acknowledgement of other addictions such as drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc.  For some, sex addiction is considered a joke – something that was cooked up by some fundamentalist, repressed, suppressed, uptight religious folks trying to keep us from having great sex.  The accessibility and mainstreaming of pornography, does not help in this regard. As such, sex addiction is difficult to identify, especially for the partner of a sex addict, who maybe never witnesses the behavior itself, but only the before and after-effects.

Effects Experienced by Partners of Sex Addicts

Before: The before effects of sex addiction are most easily recognized by feelings of withdrawal such as irritability or restlessness on the part of the addict when unable to act out sexually, which escalates until they get their fix. The partner feels the tension of these feelings and often becomes the target – being blamed by the addict for these feelings (you aren’t servicing me enough or in the ways that I want). Often, not knowing any better, the partner believes it must be their fault.  Shame and guilt step in and the partner often feels pressured to play their part in helping the addict “feel better,” often agreeing to sexual behaviors that actually make them feel uncomfortable.

After: The after-effects are also comprised of shame and guilt because no matter what the partner does or how, it will never be right for the addict.  For the addict, sex becomes a bottomless pit of need that can never be met, and in the mind of the addict, their partner becomes the person “responsible” for their dissatisfaction.  Until they know otherwise, the partner often takes on the responsibility for the addict’s unhappiness, frequently entering into the cycle of addiction with the addict – trying everything within their means to make the addict happy and having to face the shame of continued failure.  Eventually, the partner may shut down sexually and cut off any connection they may have to their own sexual needs and desires, unable to face the continual shame of failure and humiliation.  Compounding this shame is the addict’s blaming and shaming behaviors toward the partner.  Because of their inability to “please” them, addicts often accuse their partners of being “frigid, repressed, uptight,” or even “asexual.” Sadly, partners begin to believe these lies and end up losing any self-esteem they might have had in regards to sexual intimacy and desirability. These feelings of shame are compounded when the sex addict turns away from the partner toward masturbation, pornography, sex sites or other partners in search of a “better” fix.

Shame

Ultimately, what is created within the partner of a sex addict is a deep well of shame – shame over not being able to please their partner, shame for agreeing to sex acts they might feel uncomfortable with, shame over wondering what is wrong with them and shame over wondering if there is something wrong with their partner in a culture that often glorifies sex addiction and in a partner who might still be in denial.  When recovering from a relationship with a sex addict, healing this shame is the primary and most critical task.  In tomorrow’s blog we will explore strategies for healing yourself from a relationship with a sex addict.

If you are a partner of a sex addict, please seek out help and support through counseling, psychotherapy or a local 12-Step group well versed in the subtleties of sex addiction. For additional support, check out Mending a Shattered Heart – a Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts, edited by Stephanie Carnes, PhD.

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Posted in addictions, Body/Mind/Spirit connection, guilt, Healing, shame, sin, The Seven Deadly Compulsions

Sex Addiction – Causes and Compassion

In yesterday’s blog, we explored the subject of sexual addiction and ways to identify this behavior in ourselves or our loved ones so that we might seek out help.  In today’s blog, we will examine some of the possible causes of sex addiction, specifically the deeper emotional and spiritual wounds what are ultimately seeking healing.

Causes of Sexual Addiction

As is the case with other addictions, there are no cut and dried formulas in their cause.  There are, however, some reported similarities between sex addicts which warrant examination:

  • Sex addicts often come from dysfunctional families
  • Many report a past history of having been physically, verbally or emotionally abused
  • 82% of sex addicts reported having been sexually abused as children
  • 80% reported substance abuse as present within their family of origin
  • Many report parents as distant, uncaring and rigid
  • It is theorized that abnormalities in brain chemistry may predispose a person to addictive behaviors, including sex addiction

(Source:  Herkov, M. (extracted 2013). What causes sexual addiction? www.psychcentral.com.)

Behavior modification

As discussed in yesterday’s blog, sex addiction is recognized in compulsive, uncontrollable behaviors most often driven by anxiety.  Addiction language speaks of this anxiety as the “emotional trigger.”    Learning effective methods for dealing with this anxiety or confronting the specific emotional trigger goes a long way in supporting recovery and healing in sex addicts and allows the addict to create new and healthier ways of responding to these triggers.  It has been my experience, however, that in many (if not most) cases, the addictive behavior ultimately has nothing to do with the behavior itself (ie: fantasizing, masturbation, use of pornography, etc.), and simple behavior modification, while necessary, is not enough to facilitate long-term recovery, and more importantly, does not help the addict learn how to cultivate and enjoy healthy, loving, intimacy. For as long as they are indulging their addiction, sex addicts are incapable of experiencing or participating in true intimacy.

Sex Addiction and Need

Instead, sex addiction has much more to do with deeper, unhealed spiritual and emotional wounds that are seeking to be made known so that they may be healed.  Sex addiction, contrary to the belief of many addicts (and their partners), is not about love or intimacy.  Sex addiction isn’t even really about sex.  Sex addiction is about seeking the remedy to a deep, inner, often unnamed pain.  As mentioned above, many sex addicts report having been emotionally, mentally, verbally, physically and even sexually abused as children.  For sex addicts, sexual behaviors (including fantasizing) allowed them to disassociate from the on-going trauma and provided temporary relief from the pain.  In order to facilitate enduring recovery, the addict needs to acknowledge this pain and identify the needs that were left unmet in their childhood.  Some of these needs might include:

  • The need to feel safe and that their needs for food, clothing, and shelter were being met
  • The need to feel of value and as if they had something significant to contribute
  • The need to feel supported in being and living as their most authentic self
  • The need to feel unconditionally loved
  • The need to feel free to express their needs and their truth
  • The need to know their truth and their path
  • The need to feel as if they were not alone

As the addict works on healing these deeper unmet needs and unacknowledged childhood wounds,  learns strategies for getting these needs met and tending to themselves in adulthood, while developing healthy interventions for managing anxiety, the addictive behaviors become less and less necessary.  Addressing these deeper wounds then provides the foundation upon which the addict can begin to cultivate what they have been missing all along – healthy, loving intimacy.

If you believe that you or your partner is suffering from sex addiction, please seek help and support through counseling, psychotherapy or 12-step recovery groups tailored to the needs of sex addicts.

To learn more about sex addiction, check out Out of the Shadowsby Patrick J. Carnes, PhD.

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Posted in Authentic Freedom, Spiritual Formation

Psychological and Spiritual Development

Through my ministries as a Spiritual Director in the Ignatian tradition, a Lay Minister and a Reiki Master Practitioner,  I have developed Authentic Freedom, a formal curriculum for the Psychological and Spiritual Formation of adults.  Rooted in the Western Contemplative tradition, Authentic Freedom has a universal application that speaks to people across a broad spectrum of religious beliefs and practices.

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Transcending dogma, Authentic Freedom  reveals the powerful and life-changing message at the heart of Jesus’ teachings and the universal truths at the core of every religion, making this curriculum relevant to a modern audience.  Authentic Freedom provides effective tools through which participants are able to grow in their relationship with God (the God of their understanding) and with themselves, begin the process of gifts discernment, identify and transcend the inner obstacles to naming and sharing those gifts so that they can freely and openly sharing their gifts in the world for the betterment of all.

Authentic Freedom is comprised of four courses:

  • Called to Freedom
  • Authentic Freedom
  • Deepening Freedom
  • Living in Freedom

With applications for spirituality, religion, psychology, counseling, recovery, movement therapies, meditation and mindfulness, holistic wellness and ecumenism, Authentic Freedom appeals to a wide audience with a diversity of interests.

It is my hope to create a network of teaching centers where the Authentic Freedom curriculum is being offered.  As such, I have created a diverse spectrum of offerings through which Authentic Freedom can be shared in the world:

1) Local courses

2) On-line courses (Click HERE for upcoming online offerings)

3) Authentic Freedom facilitator training (Click HERE for information)

4) And finally, I am in the process of contacting retreat and wellness centers who might be potential centers through which Authentic Freedom can be made available.  My goal is to find people within those centers who could be trained as Authentic Freedom facilitators and share this curriculum with their unique audiencee.

If you think you may be interested in taking an Authentic Freedom class, becoming a facilitator or if you know of retreat or wellness centers who may be potential centers for learning, please contact me at (920) 230-1313  or lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

Thank you.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Body/Mind/Spirit connection, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices

Ignoring the Spiritual Hampers Recovery

Today’s blog explores how the spiritual is often overlooked, even shunned by some of the helping professions and why this hampers our road to healing and recovery.

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Faith-based vs. Spiritual

I was recently contacted by an organization looking for a presenter for a support group of individuals in various stages of recovery from trauma.  The concern was raised that my work is “faith based” and the organization is not allowed to discuss or implement any “faith based” materials.  Sadly, many in the helping professions are still operating with the misconception that faith and spirituality are the same.  As such, many people are prevented from receiving the healing and support they need when facing recovery from trauma, addictions, co-dependency, abuse, rape, incest, chronic illness, etc. etc. etc.  because the spiritual is never addressed.  While the physical might be addressed through medical treatment, lifestyle changes or medication and the emotional and mental might be dealt with through therapy or recovery programs, the spiritual often gets left on the shelf because using the “God” word might offend…or because the person receiving treatment has been so harmed by someone else’s use of the “God” word, that they cannot be open to anything that might resemble “God.”  The end result is that healing is hampered and full recovery thwarted.

God is Bigger than the Boogieman

In my world, God is way bigger than any lame human attempt to define.  As such, I do not have a problem with the “God” word.  Unfortunately, this is not true for all.  While in MY world, our spiritual self cannot be divorced from God (because I truly believe them to be one and the same)…..that does NOT mean that “God” (by someone else’s definition) HAS to be part of the spiritual approach to healing!  In fact, we would do well to come up with a new definition of SPIRITUAL that doesn’t use the GOD-word so that the spiritual no longer offends and so that people can get the help they really need to heal.

Toward a New Defintion of Spiritual

With the help of my self-appointed board of directors, I have come up with a new definition of the SPIRITUAL that speaks to the universal search….but doesn’t include the “God” word:

The spiritual is that which compels us to search for and obtain:

  • meaning
  • purpose
  • connection

And when accomplished, we are contented and fulfilled.

Spiritual Wounding

We are wounded spiritually by anything that threatens, hampers, harms, thwarts or causes us to doubt or question this search for meaning, purpose and connection and by anything that hinders our feelings of contentment or fulfillment.  Anytime we are made to feel unsafe, insecure, afraid or threatened, our spiritual self is wounded and retreats.  Anytime we are made to feel “less than”, a part of our spiritual self shrivels up.  When we feel betrayed or experience a disappointment or loss, the hope that is inherent in our spiritual self deflates.  When we are ill and unable to function at our normal capacity, our spiritual self grows restless and impatient and if not tended to, eventually grows tired and despairing. Anytime we experience a loss, a trauma, a diagnosis, a disappointment or a tragedy, it is perhaps our spiritual self which suffers the most….and yet, it is the part that is either last to get addressed or altogether forgotten.

The Greatest Irony

The greatest irony in our quest to ignore the spiritual is that if we could address the spiritual FIRST….we might not even need to address the emotional, mental or physical, because the deepest wounding lies at the spiritual. If we can do the work of allowing the spiritual to find healing, the emotional, mental and physical often take care of themselves.  What would happen, for example,  if instead of having surgery for back pain we acknowledged all the places in our life where we were punished for asking for our needs to be met and all the places we were told that our needs did not matter? And what would happen if we allowed ourselves to feel the frustration in the face of these obstacles to getting our needs met and then released these wounds through tears?   What would happen if instead of numbing our anxiety through anti-depressants, we recognized all the places in our lives where we were told we were unimportant or not of value or that someone else’s wants were more important than ours, and then grieved the pain we carry in our hearts over all these nonloving messages?  What would happen if instead of having knee surgery, we started to name and claim our own needs or became more open to movement and change in our lives?  What if instead of medicating our “fretful mind” we searched our lives for all the places we felt unsafe and began to recognize how we had turned to anticipatory thoughts to try to create a “safe” and “predicatable” world, then wrote a letter releasing all of the anger, fear, frustration, sorrow, we experienced in those places of danger, and then burned the letter in a ritual of release?

Reclaiming the Spiritual

I’m not saying that addressing the spiritual will cure all disease or unrest in our lives, but it goes a long way toward healing us where we really need to be healed – in our hearts.  As such, my challenge to those of us in the helping professions is to reclaim the spiritual and open the door through which profound and enduring healing can take place.  While we can separate the religious, we are never separate from the spiritual…it is an integral part of our journey toward wholeness and like our body, mind and emotions, it is part of our very nature and not something to be ignored.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom

http://yourspiritualtruth.com