Posted in God, Inspiration

Insatiable Longing

Contemplatives, mystics, wondering wanderers….this blog’s for you.  Continuing the exploration of the experience and call of the modern-day mystic.



God touches us with a touch that is Emptiness and empties us.

– Thomas Merton

Longing, Longing, insatiable longing

Sigh.  As I reflect on the insatiable longing that plagues the mystic’s heart, I feel the tongues of longing flickering around my spirit…taunting me, haunting me, tempting me into the downward spiral of despair.  The longing of the mystic begins with an emptiness that seeks to be filled.   This longing is then marked by a hunger that says, “it’s not enough, it’s never enough,” and a  restless anxiousness that urges, “Look here, look there..hurry up, it’s over here”  only to find it is not here, not there, not any “where,” and to experience within, among, around and at the end of the search, (until we know the true source of the longing) only disappointment and frustration.

Excruciating pain

Many, after seeking and finding disappointment, simply shake it off and move on.  Not the mystic.  The mystic feels the pain of disappointment, frustration, loss, as if their heart has been torn in two…as if their very soul has been ripped from their spirit.  The pain of the mystic is EXCRUCIATING…..devastating….often leading to despair.  And the pain that the mystic feels is not solely their own, for the call (some might say burden) of the mystic is to carry the world in its suffering and pain.  The mystic feels so that others might feel.  The mystic longs so that others may long.  The mystic searches so that others might seek.

Pain with purpose

The pain of the mystic, however, is not without purpose.  The job of the mystic is two-fold:

1) To seek until the longing is fulfilled

2) To inspire others in that same search

The emptiness and longing planted within the mystic’s heart is the same restlessness and longing experienced by others, but the difference is that the mystic has no choice but to seek its remedy.  It’s as if a force within them provokes, urges, pushes, prods, until the mystic heeds its call.  Then once the mystic has set their foot along the path, the longing fuels this search.  And in their seeking and losing, searching and missing, searching and not finding, the mystic reveals the path to others.  But it is only in finding the true remedy for their search that the mystic has fulfilled their purpose and in doing so, revealing the purpose for others.

The remedy to the longing

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”  

– Augustine of Hippo

I could not have said it any better!  St. Augustine, in his Confessions, clearly and heart-wrenchingly states, at once, the purpose and remedy to the mystic’s longing.  In a word:  GOD.  The longing that is planted in the mystic’s heart is no less than God calling us home.  The tongues of fire that flicker about our ears and fuel our restless hearts are quite simply God desiring to be known.  And for the mystic, when we come to know God, we come to know ourselves.


The prescription for this longing, for this insatiable hunger and desire, for this restless search is to BE WITH GOD.  For some, this might mean meditation, contemplation and prayer.  For others, being with God might mean creative pursuits, hard physical labor (or exercise), fulfilling work.  It doesn’t matter how we get there, but that we find the practice, the activity, the thing that helps us to remember God in the felt experience of love, peace, fulfillment and joy, and that we find a way to share that love with others.


At the end of the hallway of closed and locked doors

One Lone Door stands open

and there he is, bathed in light

Beckoning my return.

– Lauri Lumby (from my soon to be released book, Returning)

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Spiritual Direction

Spiritual Direction Lauri Style Part II

Are You:

  • Feeling Restless, Impatient, Unfulfilled?
  • Grieving  a loss (death, diagnosis, divorce, job change, unemployment, empty-nest)?
  • Facing a life transition?
  • Longing for connection or healthy intimacy?
  • Suffering anxiety, depression, panic, worry?
  • Searching for answers?
  • Seeking balance?
  • Learning to name and claim your needs?
  • Recovering from abuse, addictions, loss?
  • Yearning for clarity?
  • Healing from childhood wounds?
  • Desiring to know the Source of peace?
Lauri and her brother, Patrick
Lauri and her brother, Patrick

Lauri Lumby is a professional Spiritual Director in the Ignatian tradition, Lay Minister and  Reiki Master Practitioner.Lauri has developed, Authentic Freedom, an approach to Spiritual Direction that goes beyond traditional counseling, therapy or recovery work, supporting you in identifying and transcending the deeper fears that are the source of your  compulsive behaviors and unhealed wounds.

Through compassionate listening and attentive presence, Lauri supports you in enjoying a fulfilling life of contentment, love and joy.

Lauri is available for appointments in person, over the phone and via Skype. You can reach Lauri at (920) 230-1313 or

Posted in Inspiration, Jesus, Spiritual Formation

Jesus Out with the Bathwater?

Today’s blog explores the searching stage of spiritual development and how for many Christians, Jesus gets lost along the way…..but more importantly, why Jesus is still relevant and why we don’t need to set him aside in our quest for spiritual fulfillment.

Questioning, Asking, Challenging our childhood beliefs

I believe that the searching stage of spiritual development is absolutely critical to becoming spiritually and emotionally mature adults (and all the experts on spiritual growth like Fowler and Maslow, etc. agree with me).   The searching stage of spiritual development is when we start asking the questions, challenging dogma, doctrine, rules, wanting to find reason in mystery and wanting to believe in something that we can believe in because it resonates with me, not just because I am told to do it.  The searching stage is when we start looking both within and outside the religions of our youth for that which speaks to our heart, that which nourishes and feeds us and that which might have a bit of reason added to it.  Searching is healthy, necessary and exciting and eventually leads us to spiritual fulfillment and ultimately to our life purpose and mission.  If we don’t search, we are doomed to be a pew potato, doing what we are told and believing what we believe because someone told us to.  And for any churchs out there reading this blog, you really want your members to be more than blindly obedient – mature disciples give and serve WITHOUT being asked because it flows naturally out of who they are and who they have become.

Ripe with Opportunity, Ripe with Dangers

As the symbol of the ouroborus suggests, this time of searching is ripe with opportunities and ripe with dangers.  The opportunities are there to learn and to grow, to mature and evolve.  The dangers, however, require a stout and courageous heart.  Sometimes in the searching, we find that the religion of our youth no longer fits who we truly are.  This is only a danger, however, if we are unduly attached to our childhood religion (which many of us are) or to the approval of our tribe (parents, clergy, members of the community, etc.).  The greatest danger, however, in this searching phase of spiritual growth, however, is really the danger to the religious institutions to which we had been affiliated.  It is for this reason that most religious institutions DO NOT provide the tools, the permission, the processes by which members can effectively searched.  They are afraid that if we search, we will no longer be obedient, and that we might leave.  And people are……in droves.  (What would happen if our religious institutions actually gave us permission, tools and proceeses for the searching stage of spiritual development?  Might we be grateful for their support, openness and acceptance and find a way to make the faith of our childhood our own?????  HMMMMMM  I wonder!!!)   For men and women raised in Christian traditions, however, there is an even more catastrophic danger in this searching stage and a frequent casualty that makes me really sad.

How Jesus Got Dumped

The catastrophic danger and resulting casualty that I am referring to is the loss of Jesus.  There are so many people I know who were raised in Christian traditions, start their searching stage of spiritual development (largely without the support of their church), find fulfillment and meaning in practices from the East (yoga, zen meditation, tai chi, etc.) or in the rituals of Wicca or Native American spirituality,  and decide that Jesus is no longer relevant and might even be ridiculous.  This makes me really sad!  Why do we have to throw Jesus out with the bathwater?  Even though the religion of our youth may no longer speak to us or we have found fulfillment in other traditions and practices, that doesn’t mean that Jesus wasn’t a profound teacher, healer and spiritual leader.  Just because our religions have often twisted Jesus’ teachings to further their power agendas doesn’t mean his teachings are not relevant to our spiritual growth and development.

Bringing Jesus Back

People might think me insane, but I think it is time to bring Jesus back!  To restore him to his rightful place as teacher, healer, prophet, spiritual leader, way-shower.  Bringing Jesus back does not mean we have to believe he’s the messiah, was raised from the dead,  or even the Son of God… just means that we can look beyond the constructs of doctrine and institutional manipulations and see the man for who he really was – a man of purpose who tried to teach us how to love.  I know it is really cool these days to give honor to the Buddha, the Hindu dieties, Pagan gods and goddesses, (which all deserve their place of honor) but do we dare to make it cool to also give honor to Jesus?  I’m going to try it for awhile and see what happens.  Wanna join me?

How is Jesus relevant in your own journey?

What parts of the Jesus message ring as true for you?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries