Posted in Divine Revelation, Forgiveness, Healing, Jesus, Lessons, Oneness with God, Spiritual Practices

Magic Crystals, Life Reviews, and Spiritual Growth

Miracles

I love when the Universe (aka God/dess) gives us exactly what we need.  This week, when struggling with particular areas of “stuckness” in my life, three miracles happened. In the first miracle, a crystal was returned to me (that I had forgotten I had lent out) that has miraculous powers to UNSTICK stuck situations.  I have used it in the past and shared it with friends, all with spectacular results. The second miracle was that the crystal was returned to me just prior to the August Super Moon (full).  The full moon is traditionally a time for meditating and stating intentions around things in our life we would like to let go of or be freed from.  Saturday morning, with crystal in hand, I lit a candle and stated my intention to be freed/unstuck from these specific areas of stuckness.  As I was meditating, the crystal LITERALLY jumped in my hand.  It scared the heck out of me.  I told you it was a powerful crystal!  The third miracle happened through a life-review.  While in yoga, meditating, just going about my day, memories of situations arose in which I had experienced conflict with another human being.  Supporting this life review were conversations with my children and a few friends which brought up certain persons of interest, along with memories of how I had felt hurt by these individuals and the grudges I was still holding toward them.  This life review went on for one full day and during yoga on Sunday morning, I could not silence the review and the accompanying feelings of resentment.  Until somewhere in the middle of a sun salutation, I heard the words, “Love your enemy and pray for them.”

Anorthoclase crystal from Mt. Erebus in Antarctica
Anorthoclase crystal

God Always Answers our Prayers

So, here I am thinking the answer to my full moon intention is going to come in physical form, when in fact, what is CAUSING the stuckness that I am perceiving as material is actually spiritual in nature.  Specifically, the source of my stuckness is my perfectionistic harboring of resentment. In this, I also became acutely aware of all the situations in my life where I prevent the flow of love toward another human being – toward my abusive neighbor, for example, toward my ex-husband when I harbor negative thoughts, toward others who I perceive as potentially harmful or dangerous, toward those with whom I feel the need to set or maintain certain boundaries, toward those I suspect will reject me, and toward those who have condemned me.  In all these situations, I am aware of the inner posturing of defense and a withholding of love.  So here, rather quickly I might add, is the fulfillment of my full moon intention.  LOVE MY ENEMY and PRAY FOR THEM…..and then I will be unstuck!

Loving my enemy

In the spirit of the command to love my enemy and pray for them, this is exactly what I am doing.  When I am aware of the inner constriction that happens when I am defending against a perceived enemy, judging or condemning them, I am shifting my awareness from constricting to holding them in love.  When I have negative thoughts, feel hatred or resentment toward another, I turn that around and send them love instead.  Additionally, I have been purposefully bringing to mind those with whom I have had conflict and harbored resentment, and I am holding them in love and sending them prayers of love.  Interestingly, this very sentiment of loving one’s enemy was expressed by Jesus in is second-to last words on the cross, “Father forgive them, they know not what they are doing.”  Only after expressing these sentiments was Jesus ready to surrender himself to death, “Into your hands I commend my spirit.”  Is this true for us as well…..is forgiveness the final obstacle to living in oneness with God on this earth?  Hmmmm….I wonder.

Posted in Midlife Journey, Relationships

Midlife and the Dark Night of the Relationship – Part 2

The purpose of the midlife and menopause journey is to birth our Soul – the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment and through which we are called to contribute to the betterment of our world.  In the process of birthing our Soul, we are invited to heal and sometime release any inner, as well as outer obstacles to enjoying the life of Soul.  Our intimate relationships are not exempt from this invitation.  It is not a coincidence that the Dark Night of the Relationship often surfaces during midlife and even becomes the catalyst through which real transformation can begin to take place.  For the next few days, we will be exploring the Dark Night of the Relationship, its signs, symptoms and characteristics and where to get help during this critical stage of transition.  Click HERE to learn more about Dark Night couples’ mentoring.

dark night of the relationship

The Second Worst Movie Line in History

In yesterday’s blog, I called out the worst movie line in history (“You complete me”) as being the origin of relationship issues.  Coming in as a close second is the famous line from the 1970 movie, “Love Story” starring Ryan O’Neil and Ali McGraw (I know, no one under the age of 40 even knows what I’m talking about!), which boldly states, “Love means never having to say I’m sorry.”  WRONG!!!!!  What I have observed is that authentic love, especially love which is directed at cultivating healthy relationships, is all about learning to say we are sorry….and meaning it!  In fact, I contend that the health of our relationships is dependent upon our ability to acknowledge our failures, take responsibility for them, apologize when appropriate, make amends and then learn new behaviors. Every single relationship, without exception, is made up of two imperfect human beings with their own fears, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, unhealed wounds and emotional baggage.  As such, it is guaranteed that sometime in the relationship, if not often, we will mess up.  We will say or do something that will hurt, disappoint or harm the other, and they will do the same in return.  If we move through our relationship believing the “Love Story” lie, and never apologize for the ways in which we have failed, then all we are doing is creating an environment in which resentment will take root, fester and grow.

Resentment – The First Horseman of the Apocalypse

John M. Gottman in his book, Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work,  calls resentment one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  Resentment, especially harbored resentment, is one of the key destroyers of relationship.  Resentment is a natural response to our needs not being met or feeling as if we are not free to express how we are really feeling in our relationship.  When resentment surfaces, it is our job to acknowledge its presence and inquire within about what need is not being met or what truth is not being spoken.  If it is about our significant other (and it usually is), then our job is to speak up.  Unfortunately, many of us were taught to ignore the voice of our truth, or to suppress our needs, so instead of opening our mouths, we clam up and resentment begins to take root within us, it festers, it grows, we feed it with ruminating thoughts and eventually it turns into outright hatred.  Not a recipe for success in the goal of healthy intimacy!

Love Means Saying We are Sorry

If we have been hurt, disappointed, wounded, by our partner, it is our job to say so and it is their job to take responsibility for their actions and to say they are sorry.  And, this goes both ways.  If we have hurt our partner, it is our job to take responsibility for our actions, apologize and make amends.  Please note, it is also our job to find out why we were hurt.  Is it because our partner’s behaviors triggered unhealed wounds from our childhood?  Did we misunderstand their words or actions?  Did we project our own unrealized self into the situation?  Missteps in relationships are usually owned by both parties equally….it is our job to own what is ours, make amends and it is their part to do the same.  And that is a whole other topic for discussion.  🙂

A Quick Note on Abuse

Please note:  if you are in an abusive relationship and have been “trained” that it is unsafe to name and claim your needs or express your truth, the rules here are a little different.  If you believe your emotional, mental or physical health will be in jeopardy for speaking your truth, then PLEASE GET HELP.  Seek outside support through the local domestic abuse shelter/services or find a counselor who has experience with abuse.  You are not alone.  You need not suffer in silence.  There are resources to help you understand abuse and be freed from it.

Lauri Lumby collaborates with Ted Balser to provide Dark Night of the Relationship mentoring.  Contact Lauri at (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com to find out more.  

Posted in Midlife Journey

Midlife and Menopause – Dealing with Resentment

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 worldDuring the midlife journey, we are invited to confront the obstacles to our Soul’s birth, those things that stand in the way of our ability to find meaning, peace and fulfillment.  Today, we explore the RESENTMENT as an obstacle to our path.

midlife-menopause-resentment
midlife-menopause-resentment

 

Midlife and Menopause – Dealing with Resentment

John M. Gottman, in his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, calls resentment one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  Resentment, he points out, is the great relationship destroyer and at the heart of most relationship conflicts.  I would argue that this is true not only in our marriages or intimate partnerships, but that resentment is the great destroyer of all human relationships.  Like Gollum with his “Precious,” we grab resentment, harbor and cultivate it until the darkness overtakes us and everything around us.  Resentment is toxic, it poisons us, it keeps us from the noble qualities of compassion and forgiveness, it steels us against opportunities for love and it obscures the loving and peaceful truth of who we are and who God/dess calls us to be.  In the midlife journey, harboring resentment keeps us trapped in our past and imprisons us in our fears and compulsions, thereby blocking the way to the freedom of knowing and sharing our gifts and the meaning and purpose that our gifts offer, not only to us, but to the world.

Resentment – what is it really?

In order to move forward in our midlife journey, we have to confront our relationship with resentment.  The challenge is that few of us have been taught about the true nature of resentment and its purpose in our lives.  Instead, we feel it, we harbor it and it imprisons us.  I had the great fortune of a teacher who taught me the meaning and purpose of resentment and I wish to share it with you here today in the hopes of helping along your own midlife path. Resentment, I was taught, is simply a bio-chemical response to our needs not being met.  That is it.  Resentment, is simply an alarm, a flashing light, a billboard, trying to alert us that one of our needs is not being met.  When we understand resentment in this way, we can now choose a different response.  Instead of feeling resentment and then harboring it, we can feel resentment and simply take notice:

I’m feeling resentment, so there must be a need here that is not being met. 

Then, we might ask ourselves a question:

What is the need here that is not being met?

Once we identify what that need might be, then we have the opportunity to name and claim that need:

Honey, when you said this, I experienced resentment arising in me, which means that I have a need that is not being met here.  I have stopped to ask myself what that need might be and this is it………….  Now, I’m identifying this need and inviting us to work together toward getting this need met. 

Now we’re having a conversation and not getting stonewalled behind the prison of resentment.  In midlife, we are invited to learn how to deal with resentment and to work toward naming and claiming the needs that resentment helps us to know are not being met.  I know, easier said than done…..but if we want to know peace in the second half of our lives, we have to start somewhere.  🙂

What role has resentment played in your life?

How has resentment been an obstacle to inner peace?

How has resentment been harmful to your intimate relationships?

For help and support in the midlife transition, I offer one-on-one mentoring, classes and workshops.  To learn more, call me at (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

Posted in Being Human, Forgiveness

Forgiveness Again????!!!!

Let’s talk about forgiveness.

Jesus_world_christian_clipart

December’s Theme

The theme for December, according to the Powerpath School of Shamanism is FORGIVENESS.  Whether it is truly through astrological influences or simply through the power of suggestion, I have a hard time denying that this may indeed be the spiritual lesson we are being given an opportunity to practice this month.  As all my old demons come home to roost, I am forced to acknowledge that my own forgiveness work is not done yet…..and as my friend Derek reminded me yesterday, “Jesus did tell us to forgive seventy times seven times.”  I’m not sure Jesus was as much teaching us to keep on forgiving as he was acknowledging how dang hard forgiveness can be for us!  So…..let’s talk about forgiveness.

Forgive and Forget?

Forgive?  YES.  Forget?  NOT!  What happens when we forget history?  IT REPEATS ITSELF.  So….set aside your grandmother’s burdensome mantra about forgetting…..Instead……..forgive….and set new boundaries.  Don’t step back into the hornet’s nest knowing that you will only get stung once again.  And if you need to….shake the dust off your feet and walk away.

YOU have the Power to Forgive.

Yes and no….but mostly NO!  Yes, we have a task in the process of forgiveness.  Our job is to intend to forgive, to be present to the process, to own our stuff in whatever the conflict was, to accept responsibility and to apologize and make amends where necessary.  The true moment of forgiveness, however, is not ours to ordain.  True forgiveness happens in a moment of GRACE and we will recognize it when we are FREE of the inner burdens wrapped around the issue:  resentment, anger, sorrow, obsessive thoughts, harbored or cultivated resentment, the need to seek vengeance or to wish harm (or KARMA) on the other person.  FORGIVENESS is about your own inner freedom….nothing more.  And….forgiveness has NOTHING to do with the other person’s participation or even awareness.  They can remain mad as hell at us or ignorant of the hurt we are experiencing and we can still experience the freedom of forgiveness.  Which brings me to another point…

Obstacles to Forgiveness

These are the things that stand in the way of our ability to receive the Grace of forgiveness:

  • RESENTMENT: Resentment is the armour we gather around ourselves to protect us from the pain of hurt, harm, disappointment, betrayal.  Resentment gives us a false sense of strength and allows us to HATE the other person for what they have done to us.
  • SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS: I’m right….they are wrong.  Again…..provides us with a false sense of strength….armouring us from the hurt.
  • ATTACHMENT to THEIR APOLOGY: May or may not happen.  As long as we are waiting for the other party to apologize for their role in the conflict, the Grace of forgiveness will not be received.  Some will never be able to set down their shield of pride long enough to say, “I’m sorry for having hurt you.”  Even if the hurting was unintentional.  And some….just don’t know they hurt you in the first place.
  • ATTACHMENT to THEM ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY: This kind of goes along with the apology thing.  Some will never accept responsibility for their part in the conflict.  Some are not interested or capable of doing the deep inner work that is necessary in owning their part in a conflict…..even if the hurt was unintentional.

Forgiveness – Best Practices

At the end of the day….forgiveness is a spiritual thing.  It is something that is accomplished beyond us, through us and often in spite of us.  To put it in theistic language:  The Grace of forgiveness belongs to God.  As such, it is ultimately through our spiritual practice that we open to the Grace of forgiveness.  I have found two simple practices that make us available to receiving forgiveness:

  • Tonglen – I address Tonglen in detail in my blog about TRUTH.  (click link to read directions on Tonglen)
  • Mantra – Mantra is a form of meditation/prayer by which we repeat a phrase over and over and over, allowing it to bring us to a peaceful and relaxed state.  The added benefit to mantra is that it has the power to change us by the sounds and meanings of the sacred phrase we are repeating.  My favorite mantra for forgiveness is from the Aramaic Lord’s Prayer: (to hear the whole Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic, click HERE.)

Washboqlan khaubayn (wakhtahayn) aykanna daph khnan shbwoqan l’khayyabayn

Which translated means:  Loose the cords of mistakes binding us, as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.

The Final Word

At the end of the day, forgiveness is about releasing our judgment of another person’s actions……hence the difficulty of forgiveness.  It is our judgment of other’s actions that causes the separation that makes forgiveness necessary in the first place.  And…it is through forgiveness that we are re-conciled……restored to our original nature as ONE with each other, with ourselves, with God and with all creation.  And it is here that we shall once again know peace.

How are you being invited to enter into a process of forgiveness?

Lauri Lumby

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Being Human, Healing, Lessons

Transformation through Pain

Today’s blog explores the spiritual practice of presence – specifically how the simple act of being present to our pain can bring profound healing, growth and transformation.  In this case, “No pain, no gain” is a true statement.

 

Avoid the Pain

I recently had a really interesting experience where I found myself simply being observer to my journey, instead of my normal role of victim.  It was a situation where something very innocent was said to me  – something that in and of itself was harmless enough, but of course, my inner victim wanted to make it a threat, a source of danger, another incident where I got to be the victim and someone else the enemy.  It was so strange to watch, like a slow motion replay, how my inner self responded to this “innocent something.”  As the words left the other person’s lips, I clearly saw a daggar coming through the air and stabbing me in the heart.  I felt my being recoil in pain and then sink into the pit of martyrdom and depression.  I withdrew.  I became silent.  I shut down.  This chosen response remained until later in that same day when I suddenly decided that the “other” had to be the enemy.  I quickly made up in my mind all kinds of scenarios where I was convinced this person was bad, didn’t like me, was rejecting me and how I would decide to not like them in return.  Then I went into fear.  I went into that place in my mind where I make up stories about what my future needs to look like, might look like, is supposed to look like.  And then again, depression, rejection, anger and pain.  By the end of the day, I was exhausted from being battered about by my inner thought demons.  My typical response to this kind of reaction is to push away the pain, the hurt, the perceived rejection and I usually do this by harboring resentment, anger, rage.  I was surprised, however, to find that something else all together began to unfold.

Pull the Plank from your own eye…sister!

Instead of gathering around myself the cloak of protective anger and resentment, I found myself simply being present.  I let myself feel the hurt of perceived rejection.  I allowed myself to be present to the impatience and frustration of not having “my plans fulfilled.”  Instead, I simply sat with the question – what does this mean?  And when I allowed myself to be present to this question, several answers began to be revealed.  First I saw the “innocent words” and had to admit that I had entertained these thoughts myself on some level and that all they were doing were reflecting my own fears around the particular subject.  Then I saw the way that I cling to perceived surety, concrete plans, a “secure” and “predictable” future…..of my own making, of course.  Following the clinging, I saw my intuitive knowledge around this subject and the sudden fear, “What if I was wrong?”  Then I was acutely aware of two pretty big fears that I have struggled with for as long as I could remember:  ok….actually it was three fears:

  • The fear of rejection (of not being loved, accepted, understood, etc.)
  • The fear of not being right
  • The fear of not knowing my future (ie: the need for security, surety, concrete plans)

When I identified these three fears, something amazing began to happen.  Instead of running from these fears, pushing them away, ignoring them or bargaining with them, I decided to sit with these fears and see what happened.

Making Friends with our Fears

After turning the finger of blame that I was waving toward the innocent “other” back toward myself, I was able to identify the fears that caused me to hear a simply innocent comment as something potentially hurtful.  Instead of stomping away in anger or retreating into the dark coccoon of depression, I decided to sit with my fears.  Instead of pushing them away, bargaining with them or denying them, I allowed myself to be present.  I allowed myself to FEEL the fear of rejection.  I allowed myself to EXPERIENCE the fear of being wrong.  I sat with the little girl inside of me that wants everything to be safe, predictable, planned out and HER WAY.  And then, I breathed!  I breathed these fears into myself and allowed myself to be present to them.  Then here was the miracle…….they all went away.  I saw the fear of rejection evaporate into thin air.  I heard the voice of my truth reminding me of what I know to be true  for now.  And the little girl stopped clinging to the illusion of perceived surety while she sank into the arms of God and let God carry her to where she needed to be….trusting that all would be well.

How might you become more aware of your own defensive reactions to perceived hurts, etc.?

How do you run from or avoid the pain of loss, disappointment, not being in control, etc?

How might you be present to the pain and allow the possibility of healing and transformation?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Forgiveness

The Figure Eight of Forgiveness

As we grow along the spiritual path, we realize how critical is the process of forgiveness to this journey.  Today’s blog explores the topic of forgiveness and how it looks a lot like a Figure 8 or an infinity symbol…depending on your perspective. 

Sometimes our Relationships Get Broken

I know I’m not telling you something you don’t already know.  Human relationships are challenging at best, and in our own state of brokenness and perceived separation, we often find our intimate and not-so-intimate relationships breaking down.  In these states of breaking down or breaking up of relationships, forgiveness shows up as the virtue that we are invited to embrace in the goal of bringing healing to these broken intimacies.  And, as you are well aware, the journey toward forgiveness can be long and arduous and mysterious at best.  Being the “Queen of Grudgeholding,” I certainly have no room to even begin to speak on this topic, but I will attempt to muddle through this in the hopes that I might actually learn something!

How Things Get Broken in the First Place

Well, this is a big duh!  How do our relationships get broken?  Because….someone got hurt.  Out of our own sense of separation and woundedness, we say and do things that hurt another person, and we act in ways that are non-loving, covetous, greedy, controlling, gluttonous, lazy and selfish.  We fail to listen to the people in our lives and to acknowledge their needs.  We fail to listen to ourselves, to our own needs and to ask for them to be met.  We lash out when we are afraid, anxious, scared.  We respond to others out of our own unhealed wounds and we project our past painful experiences onto others.  In a nutshell….WE ARE A MESS…..and we SUCK at being healthy, loving, intimate partners, collegues, friends and family members.  And….no matter how much inner work we have done or continue to do, it is our intimate human relationships that cause us the most trouble.  This is why FORGIVENESS is so important, critical and necessary.  Without forgiveness, I think we would just kill eachother off and be done with it (which I sometimes think we are doing as a species anyway).

The Signposts on the Forgiveness Path

Again, being the “Queen of Grudgeholding,” I’m not sure I really have anything to offer on this topic….but there are a few things I have seen that have helped me in the few and rare moments that I have tried to enter into the process of forgiveness.

1) When we perceive that someone has hurt us, or failed to honor one of our needs, we feel deeply hurt, and in immediate defense of that hurt and loss, RESENTMENT arises.

2) If you are like me, you rush toward that RESENTMENT, scoop it up, bring it  into your heart and caress, nurture, cultivate it like Gollum and the ring, chanting and moaning, “MY PRECIOUS,” harboring it close, and making it grow so as to protect yourself from further hurt or pain.  For you see…..we believe (falsely) that the resentment will protect us from the pain of separation and hurt, keep us safe from further hurt and that it will keep us strong, defensive, courageous.

3) At some point, we begin to realize that all the resentment is actually doing is keeping us from healthy intimacy and from knowing love…and from realizing the VERY PAINFUL human truth that in relationship….we will be hurt…..and we will hurt others.  It might just be the nature of the beast.

4) If we want to find healing of the pain of hurt and be open to knowing love and to cultivating healthy intimacy, then at some point, we need to accept the invitation to forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a Figure Eight

Once we decide that forgiveness might be the journey on which we want to embark, we are invited to further understand that forgiveness is everything BUT a linear path with a clear destination.  Instead, we are invited to recognize that forgiveness is more like a figure 8 or an infinity symbol, ever looping back and forth over itself in an on-going journey with ever deepening and widening layers.  And it might look something like this:

1) Examine the initial hurt (or hurts), acknowledge the resentment that arose, THEN….look deeper into the hurt, the loss the pain that is hiding behind the resentment.  THEN….GRIEVE IT!  Feel the hurt, feel the loss, feel the separation, then cry, weep, wail and moan.  Let it go.

2) Pray (remember, you are NOT alone in this process)

3)  Now look deeper still….what is YOUR role in the perceived hurt?  What was the deeper emotional wound or spiritual fear that was triggered through the experience – the fear of rejection, the fear that you are not good enough, etc. and where did those wounds come from?  What have you done to heal, release, etc the origin of those wounds (often coming from our childhood.)?

4) Pray some more

5)  Seek out resources to allow for the healing of those deeper wounds and the recent circumstances that triggered them (spiritual direction, counseling, self-help groups, recovery programs, etc.).

6) Pray again

7) Enter into a state of empathetic awareness.  Look at the person who you perceive to have hurt you and look at their deeper wounds.  What might have been the fear, false perception, childhood wound that caused their “hurtful” behavior toward you?  Can you hold them in compassion for their fears?  Can you allow empathetic awareness and compassion to open a space for forgiveness.

8) Pray some more

9) EXAMINE your SHAME.  When we are the recipient or the cause of separation in our intimate human relationships, SHAME naturally arises.  (some might use “guilt” to describe this state)  In this way, shame acts as a red flag alerting us to the fact that something has wounded our drive to pursue and cultivate healthy intimacy with other human beings (this is part of our survival drive).

10) Pray again

11) Open yourself to self-forgiveness, allowing yourself to be healed of the shame that arose out of this separation and brokenness in your relationship.

12) Pray some more

13) Allow for the possibility of forgiveness- of the person you perceive to have hurt you AND of yourself.

14) NOW…START THE WHOLE PROCESS OVER AGAIN….and AGAIN….and AGAIN  and PRAY SOME MORE!

There is a reason that Jesus said, “Forgive 70 times 7 times!”  I don’t think he was issuing a command, but making an observation of the long and arduous road to forgiveness.  And then, we are invited to remember that the moment of TRUE forgiveness is NOT  ours to accomplish, but comes mysteriously, unbidden and as a result of God’s grace and out of God’s infinite (ahem!) love.  Forgiveness is a Figure Eight!

Where are you being invited to enter into the process of forgiveness?

What are some of your deeper fears, unhealed wounds, that may be vulnerable to hurt in the context of relationship?

How can you allow the Divine to assist you in this process of forgiveness?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Lessons, teachers

Wisdom from my Therapist about Resentment

A short blog on the virtues of resentment – as told to me by my therapist.

Yes, I see a therapist…..and I am not ashamed to admit it!  One of the greatest bits of wisdom handed down to us Lumby kids by our mother came in the form of the following mantra:

“Never be afraid to get professional help if you need it.”

In sharing this wisdom with us, my mother broke down all the societal walls that tell us we have to do it on our own or that there is some kind of shame in asking for help.  I have embraced this wisdom and have gathered a system of support for myself that has includes a professional therapist, a trained Spiritual Director and a variety of alternative medicine practitioners.  Through the help and support of these trained professionals, along with my biological family and my spiritual family here in Oshkosh, I have grown, found healing and transformation and been empowered to more and more freely live my most authentic truth.  So today, I give honor to my therapist who shared a crucial piece of information with me in our session this past Tuesday.

This piece of information has to do with RESENTMENT.  Resentment is a skill that I have MASTERED!  I learned this skill through the example of my maternal ancestors – Irish Catholics who have absolutely perfected the fine art of cultivating resentment and grudge-holding.  Even my aunt Nona who went to daily mass, prayed the rosary three times a day and said novena after novena for all the lowly Baker/McMahon progeny who were in need of Divine intervention bore grudges.  This was evidenced by her thoughts on the hand-shake of peace during the mass, “I’ll be damned if I’m going to shake so and so’s hand during church after what she said to me in 1924!” 

When I think of the role resentment has played in my own life, I see images of myself in Gollum fashion, stroking “my precious,” descending deeper and deeper into the obsessive pit of darkness, knowing the damage the resentment was doing to me….feeling guilt and shame about it, but feeling so addicted to the strange power I felt in cultivating resentment that I could not give it up.  Resentment had become my drug…..or so I thought.

I was sharing my struggle and thoughts about resentment with my therapist, feeling shame and guilt over the relationships I felt I had damaged through the cultivation of this compulsion.  Then my therapist turned the tables on me.  She asked me if I had ever given myself permission to see the gift in resentment?  WHAT?  GIFT?  I had always been taught and had actually taught myself that resentment is unhealthy, destructive, harmful, damning, etc. etc. etc.  RESENTMENT A GIFT?  I’m still trying to process this invitation, but here is how my therapist presented it to me:

“Resentment is a gift.  Resentment is a natural emotion that surfaces to alert us that OUR NEEDS ARE NOT BEING MET. How can you begin to use resentment as a red flag that is waving to alert you to danger – to your needs not being met, and in doing so, how can you respond to resentment in another way?” 

WHOA!  Resentment as a gift?  Resentment as an alarm?  Resentment as a source of support and help in our journey?  I have to give a lot more thought to this idea….but I can tell you that what this thought has done is help me to let go of some of my shame around my past use of resentment.  And after giving myself permission to do a hasty life-review around my  experiences with resentment, I have to say that my therapist is DEAD ON CORRECT!  Everytime resentment has shown up in my life, it is directly related to my needs being either completely ignored or discounted.  HHHMMM  Now what do to with this new information?  Time will tell!

What role has resentment played in your own life?

Can you see a connection between your needs not being met and the surfacing of resentment?

If resentment is a kind of alarm system within us, how can we choose to respond to it in a healthy and productive way?

 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries/Yourspiritualtruth

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

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Posted in Forgiveness

Forgiveness is God’s Work

Today I explore the topic of forgiveness and ask the question….whose job is it really?



Each day that I come to my yoga mat at Inner Sun Yoga Studio in Oshkosh, we are invited to silently state an intention for our yoga practice.  Perhaps our intention is something for ourselves, a prayer of sorts, or maybe it is an intention for somebody else, or for the world at large.  I love this part of the practice because it reminds me that yoga (for me anyway) is prayer through movement and in participating in this movement, good things are being made manifest in my own life and in the lives of others.  I am grateful for Deb and the other teachers at Inner Sun for inviting us into this practice.


One day last week when Deb invited us to silently state our intention for our yoga practice, I closed my eyes and holding my hands in prayer position, began to explore the inner recesses of my mind for the intention of the day.  I was surprised by what showed up because I can most certainly say that this was not an intention of my own making.  As I was flipping through the cerebral file cabinet, there suddenly appeared, floating through conscious space the word FORGIVE! “Forgive” had quietly pushed its way past the files of other potential intentions and now stood up loud and proud, front and center, not willing to be ignored.  “Really?”  I asked.  “Yep!  FORGIVE,” is what she said.


Now, as a card-carrying Irish Catholic, forgiveness has never been an easy task.  Like my ancestors before me, I have made the cultivation of resentment and the harboring of ill-will an artform.  In developing this artform, I can now  completely understand why a dear Irish woman of my acquaintance (who is now deceased and who by the way is a second-generation immigrant), contributed funds, until the day of her death to the IRA.  For her entire life, she harbored ill-will against the British with whom she has never even had direct contact, but who have “done harm” (in her words) to her family of origin.   I can honestly say that I have never felt compelled to fund military interests due to my harbored resentments, but I know the power of those feelings and how they may drive you to do strange and irrational things.

So, when the invitation arrived to accept forgiveness as my intention for my yoga practice, I heard my ego scream at the top of her lungs, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.”  To make matters worse, along with the invitation to FORGIVE, came the image of the person to whom I was to direct this forgiveness.  With this awareness, my ego screamed even louder.  The good news is that no matter how much my ego thinks she is in charge…..SHE IS NOT!  Following close upon the heels of my ego came the still small voice of the true self.  Peeking around the giant of my ego, the small and vulnerable true self whispered in humility, “I can’t forgive this person.  They have hurt me too much.  I do not have it in me to accept this task.”   Then she offered a prayerful plea to the Divine, “God, I know that I do not have the power within me to forgive this person.  As such, I give it back to you.”  I then saw the small, wounded part of myself gather the intention for forgiveness into her hands and give it to God.  It was only in surrendering this invitation to FORGIVE into the hands of the Divine that I was able to agree to this intention and hold it in my mind and my heart during my yoga practice, knowing that God could accomplish what I alone could not.

This experience provided me with a powerful lesson.  There are intentions in our lives that we are invited to accept so that we can grow spiritually and sometimes these intentions are beyond our capability.  Forgiveness is often one of those intentions that are simply too difficult to accomplish on our own.  It is here that the awareness of a loving, caring and nurturing Divine Source becomes helpful.  When we surrender our journey into the hands of the Divine……ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.  So today, I offer the intention of Forgiveness and surrender all those past hurts, betrayals, disappointments, etc. into the hands of God and trust that God will work forgiveness on my behalf.


  • What are you being invited to Forgive?
  • What invitations to forgiveness are beyond your personal capabilities?
  • What intentions are you being invited to surrender to the Divine for assistance and accomplishment?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries/YourSpiritualTruth

http://yourspiritualtruth.com