Posted in Empowerment, Lessons, temptation

Fear Proportionate to Goodness

What would happen if we acknowledge some forms of anxiety as a signal that we are indeed on the right path?

Anxiety by the Cartload

Anxiety and fear are part of our everyday lives.  Sometimes, anxiety and fear show up as a survival instinct to keep us from harm.  Sometimes anxiety appears to alert us to a truth that we have not yet acknowledged.  And sometimes, anxiety shows up by the cartload as an unexpected ally – the signal flare that we are indeed on the right path and had better keep going!  Today’s blog explores this latter form of fear.

Coyotes and the War of Art

Julie Tallard Johnson in her book, Wheel of Initiation, Julie refers to this kind of fear as the Coyote Trickster.  The trickster shows up as anxiety, fear, worry and ridiculous life situations that try to deter us from our chosen path.  The stronger the trickster and the greater the fear, the closer we are to achieving our goal and the greater the goal itself.  The arrival of the trickster heralds the goodness of our path and how closely it reflects our highest truth and our soul’s purpose.  As Julie points out, our natural inclination is to run from the Coyote, to resist its presence.  Instead, we are invited to welcome it as a sign that something really good is about to happen.   Author, Steven Pressfield wrote an entire book on the role that fear places in trying to block us from our creative life path.  The War of Art is a must-read for anyone who seeks fulfillment in their lives and desires to overcome the blocks to that fulfillment.

Get Behind Me Satan

Satan is a Hebrew word that means obstacle or adversary.  While the Western inclination is to place this adversary outside of us, often depicted as the man donning the red morph suit, carrying a pitchfork with horns on his head, the traditional Hebrew perspective would suggest otherwise.  Instead, the adversary/obstacle dwells within us in all the fears, worries, anxieties that arise trying to keep us from the path of our highest good.  Again, the more persistent or the greater the anxiety, the closer we are to our own path of goodness.  Big fear = Big Goodness!  The question is, what do we do with Satan/the adversary/obstacle when it arrives?

Just Keep Walking

When we are experiencing anxiety and acknowledge that it might be a herald of something amazing happening, the invitation is to WELCOME it!  When we acknowledge the presence of this fear and recognize its higher purpose, it no longer has the power to stop us or to deter us in our path.  Instead, we bow to the adversary, acknowledge its presence and its role, thank it for showing up and then say, “GET THEE BEHIND ME!”  A story from the Catholic tradition that I appreciate in relation to Satan’s role in heralding the goodness of our path is the story of St. Margaret.  As the story goes, Margaret is swallowed up by a demon and undertakes a journey to free herself from the demon’s bowels.  Armed with persistence and her sword in hand, (because all good saints carry their own sword!) she fights her way to freedom, slaying the demon along the way.  The invitation for us is the same as it was for Margaret:  When we find ourself in the demon’s grip, take our sword in hand, face that demon, acknowledge it as a herald of our truth and the amazing things that are about to happen in our lives, slay that demon and then…….CONTINUE ON OUR PATH.

When have you experienced anxiety or fear that are in fact heralds of your path of goodness?

What tools do you use to move through these obstacles and fears?

What is the amazing goodness that is trying to be born in your own life?

copyright 2012

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

Posted in Inspiration, teachers

When the Saints Go Marching In!

Happy All Saints’ Day!!!!!!!    The one Catholic “Holy Day of Obligation” I actually remember.  🙂  Today’s blog talks about saints and how we can be inspired by their lives. 

Saints and Superheros

As I have mentioned in this blog time and time again….I was a WEIRD kid. (Ok, and a WEIRD adult!).  I liked going to mass.  I loved wearing a uniform to school. (nearly 12 years of Catholic schools).  And some of my favorite books to check out from the library?  You got it….books on saints!  As a young girl growing up Catholic, I found the saints to be a terrific source of inspiration, comfort and in some cases, protection (ie:  Michael the Archangel….oh yea, because in the Catholic Church, angels are also saints!)  Saints were cool!  Saints rocked!  To me, saints, were the Superheros of the Catholic pantheon.  In fact, saints probably ranked right up there with Batman (POW….SMASH….KAPOW), Superman and WonderWoman (the GREATEST Superhero of them all!!!!  What girl doesn’t want those red go-go boots and a truth-telling lasso!?) and as a child anyway, I’m not sure I really knew the difference between a saint and a superhero, because that was kind of how they were presented to us.  Saints could to anything…..especially since now they were up in heaven where their only job was to help little old us!

Taking Saints off their Pedestal

While I still believe in Superheros and think Saints are really cool, I do have a more realistic and adult view on the saints of the Catholic Church.  Ok, some of them are just plain made-up.  Many are co-opted pagan gods and goddesses. And most are real human beings who tried to live a godly life….some successfully, some not so much.  And many of them would be labeled not just mystical, but maybe even a bit insane in our modern world (check out St. Francis….the dude was a little nutty!).  But at the end of the day, the saints are still really cool in my mind…made up or not and there are lessons we can learn from the saints and inspirations we can gain.  Not only that, but many of the saints can provide a source of validation for our own insane love of God and relentless search for contentment and peace.

Litany of the Saints

So, here is my tongue-in-cheek litany to some of my favorite saints, giving honor to the inspiration they provide for me on a daily basis:

St. Francis – For being crazy enough in love with God to believe in talking crucifixes and for rebuilding God’s church in a time when the church was greatly in need of reform!

Joan of Arc – For weighing the same as a duck and for being willing to burn for it.  (If you get that reference, let me know!  :))

Teresa of Avila – For being living proof that tantra is permitted in the Catholic Church.  😉

John of the Cross – For allowing his words to transcend his grumpy-ass demeanor!

Hildegard of Bingen – Mystic, composer, artist, visionary, preacher, confessor, physician, herbalist, founder of monestaries, witch.  She did it all… a time when other women were getting burned for these things.

Maria Goretti – Ok, this one is serious.  She was raped and forgave the man who caused her injury and eventual death.  To a 12 year old girl, she showed me that forgiveness was possible even under the most heinous circumstances.

Clare of Assisi – For recognizing that a monstrance is really a terrific superhero weapon that apparently has the power to stop wars.  Maybe if we had more women waving monstrances, our world would be a more peaceful place!

Mary Magdalene – DUH!  If you don’t know why she rocks to me by now, you haven’t been reading this blog! 😉

Mother Mary – She said yes!

Ignatius of Loyola – Another serious one….sort of… is because of St. Ignatius that I even have a job!  It is through his tools that I learned to pray and how to be a source of support for others in their spiritual journey.  Most importantly, he taught me that I DO NOT need to stop daydreaming and that Sr. Mary-John-Thomas was wrong….God is in my daydreams!

And just for fun, here is my favorite Litany of the Saints for your listening pleasure:

Who are your favorite saints and why?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries