Posted in End of the World Prophecies, Inspiration, New Kids, New World, world changes

Our Kids Are Not Alright!

This week, another one of my daughter’s classmates committed suicide. This young woman is the fifth in a graduating class of 200-some students to commit suicide.  Something here is wrong.  Very wrong.

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I want to begin by presenting what is NOT wrong. The problem is not the school(s).  Oshkosh schools are some of the best in the nation and while our governor keeps whittling away at our budget and other resources that support quality education, our schools have risen above the chaos and are providing the best possible education with the few resources that are left.  In addition, Oshkosh North, the school my children attend, offers a wide range of programs and services to help support their diverse population, many of which have been funded through grants and private donations. The community, teachers, staff and administration have advocated for our students beyond what the budgets would normally provide.

As a subparagraph of the problem not being the school – the problem is not bullying, neither is it a lack of support or counseling services for troubled students. The local schools have an extremely stringent anti-bullying policy and all ranges of diversity are not only honored, but advocated for.  Every school has counselors and social workers on staff who are there to support and advocate on students’ behalf.  The problem is not lack of support.

The problem is not a lack of suicide or mental illness awareness or support. While this may have been somewhat the case with the first two suicides, since that time, efforts, resources, advocacy has been RAMPED UP to educate parents, students, and the community on the challenges of mental illness and the signs of a child or adult in distress.  In addition, there are trained professionals in the community who work specifically to educate the public and to support families on suicide and to support families with a child or adult who is at-risk and to support families who have experienced a death due to suicide.

Finally, the problem is not the parents. I know the parents of some of these children and I can tell you, beyond the shadow of a doubt, these parents have done absolutely everything they could for their children.  They loved them.  They did the best they could to keep their children safe.  They got their children help when help was needed.  They got help for themselves when they were at a loss over how to further help their child.

The problem is not the schools, peers, the lack of mental illness awareness, or the parents.

The problem, and the reason our kids are not alright is:       Our world.

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Our world is a mess. Our world is a mess for all of us – and for some of us, it is just too much to bear.  Let’s look at the facts:

  1. For as long as our children have been alive, THE WORLD HAS BEEN AT WAR.

If it’s not a conflict or a war with a name, (Desert Storm, Iraqi, Afghanistan, Israel and Palestine, etc. etc. etc.) it is “the war on terrorism.” And the worst of all the terrorist attacks have been accomplished right here on our own soil by our own U.S. citizens.  The media does not help in this regard by triggering our fears through sensationalism.  As my son said, “Hundreds of people a year are shot in Chicago and no one cares, but as soon as one guy gets shot in Oshkosh, the whole world is in a state of panic.”  (This also points to media and racial bias which is a topic for another blog another day.)

For our children – the world does not feel safe.

  1. In the U.S. success is determined by external measurements like money, status, power and fame. And some of these measurements are literal – how much money you make, how many time you are Tweeted or your Facebook post gets “liked,” if you have your own reality show or not, and do you measure up to the current standards of “beauty.” For those who do not know their true selves and who have no way of knowing themselves except in comparison to others, success feels like an impossible goal – especially when they look at the TRUTH of our economic situation – which brings me to #3
  2. Education does not mean what it used to. In the old days, a high school education was enough to prepare you for a regular job with a decent rate of pay. Then, college became the necessary gateway to a career, a paycheck and economic security. Then, a master’s degree became the gateway, then a PhD. Now….none of this really matters – and our children know this. A college degree guarantees you nothing, or as a friend of mine told her daughter, “Do what you love because there won’t be any jobs for you after college anyway.” Bleak, but true. As much as politicians are touting the economic recovery and that the “recession is over,” this is not the truth.
  3. The world as we know it is dying. Our children know this and they know that they will be the ones who will be creating the new world. For some, this is just too overwhelming a task. Imagine, for a moment, that you are a player in the Hunger Games and the entire world (as you have known it) crumbles at your feet and you are left with the task of building the new world. While the endless possibilities and the excitement of building something new is enticing for some, for others, it is overwhelming and feels impossible and they shut down under the burden of the task.
  4. And finally….this is the whoo whoo part…..our children are empaths. What this means is that not only are they feeling their own anxiety in the face of a world that is a mess, they are feeling EVERYONE ELSE’S anxiety. They feel the anxiety of their parents, their siblings, their classmates, their teachers, and the entire world around them. When there is a terrorist attack on the other side of the world, they feel it – maybe not consciously, but they feel it. When a weather system is moving through that will cause people anxiety, they know it – again, maybe not consciously, but they feel it. For those that don’t understand the gift of empathy and who don’t have tools for managing this gift, the emotions come out sideways – temper tantrums, disproportionate negative behavior, anxiety, depression – and you guessed it, suicide.

Which brings me full-circle. I don’t know what caused that young woman to jump off the bridge into a freezing and raging river to her death.  What I do know is that her death should not be in vain.  Her death should be another wake up call for us as parents, teachers, and other adults.

Our children are not alright!

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Our children need our help. While we cannot change the outside world, there are things we can do to help our children, and in helping them, find help for ourselves in a messy and broken down world:

  1. Lead them to resources to help them manage anxiety. Resources that have been proven to help manage anxiety include: meditation, mindfulness, regular exercise, a healthy diet, adequate and deep sleep, creativity exercises, being in nature, being with others in healthy community interactions.
  2. Support them in knowing their TRUE selves. Self-knowledge increases self-esteem, confidence, and the ability to be ok with our differences in a world of great diversity, and to weather the storm of other people’s judgements.
  3. Help them develop a different set of values. This starts with us. We need to stop valuing ourselves in terms of money, fame, status, power, and physical characteristics. What we are wearing, whose bag we are carrying and what car we are driving DOES NOT MATTER. These external measurements of “success” or “popularity” do not give us happiness. In fact, all they do is create more ANXIETY. If we want our children to be comfortable in a world that will NOT have the resources in which everyone can be a Kardashian, we have to help them find value in the internals – peace, contentment, joy, and fulfillment in knowing and exercising their gifts. We then need to give them tools for finding this inner peace which leads us back to items 1 and 2.
  4. Support them in their dreams. Our children see and know the new world. They see a world that is free from the separation with which we have defined the world. Instead of separation, they see only oneness. They do not comprehend the separation we keep placing between ourselves and others we view as different from us and they definitely do not comprehend the violence that arises out of these perceived separations. Our children do not see race, religion, sexual orientation, or even gender as barriers, they only see this as the miraculous and amazing diversity among human beings and they seek to know more and to honor these differences. Let’s get out of the way and let them do this, shall we!?
  5. Teach them what to do with Empathy.  Empaths are healers and those with this gift (all of our children) possess this gift because they are here to heal our dying world so that a healthier and happy world can emerge. Our children need to know what to do with these feelings and how to stop taking responsibility for everyone else’s pain. Interestingly, this also brings us back to items 1 and 2.

While we cannot change the world, we can change the world in which we are living and the journey starts within. Let us join together to help our children, and in helping our children, helping ourselves so that we can survive in a world in the midst of change and through our children’s dreams, help to support the birth of a new and better world. Then perhaps these children would not have died in vain.

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Authentic Freedom Academy provides empowerment training for those who want to change their world, which starts by changing the world within.

 

Posted in Empowerment, Enneagram, Freedom

Living in Freedom Class


It has been a LONG time coming…..I am excited to announce that I will be offering my Living in Freedom class starting May 19th! (see flier attached.) This is your personal invitation!
Many of you have heard me rave about the Enneagram, and what a powerful tool it is for self-discovery, personal growth and transformation. It is through the Enneagram that I learned of my compulsion of perfectionism and its underlying passion of anger. It has been working with the Enneagram that I have learned to identify the triggers which feed this inner dissatisfaction and resentment so that I might calm these triggers while cultivating a greater sense of contentment within. Working with the Enneagram has helped me to feel more whole, more content, more at peace and to find productive ways to channel the inherent giftedness (and dissatisfaction) of being a Reformer (Type 1 on the Enneagram). I have used the Enneagram with clients and students for the past 12 years with terrific results.

In this course, Living in Freedom, I use ancient wisdom literature to unfold the nine temperament types of the Enneagram. I then present mindfulness and creativity exercises as tools through which we are able to fully integrate the lessons of the Enneagram, while providing effective practices that you can use beyond this course to deepen your own inner journey toward self-actualization…..the place we are compelled to go in our search for meaning, purpose, contentment and joy!

I am giving you first “dibs” at the course as I will be limiting registration to 12 participants. Also….please do not let the “ancient wisdom literature” (Judeo-Christian scripture) dissuade you. As many of you know, my approach with scripture has NOTHING to do with dogma…..and everything to do with finding your own truth beyond the words. 🙂

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

Guest Blogger – Author, Meagan McCrary

Today’s guest blogger is certified yoga instructor, journalist and author, Meagan McCrary.  Meagan’s most recent release, Pick Your Yoga Practice, provides an introduction into the history of yoga and an overview of the variety of yoga disciplines which have evolved in the last century, primarily in the West.  (Watch a future blog for my review of Meagan’s book.)  Today’s blog is an excerpt from her book.

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YOGA ON AND OFF THE MAT

An Excerpt from Pick Your Yoga Practice by Meagan McCrary

Very few students begin practicing yoga with overt spiritual ambitions. They simply want to feel and move better in their body. However, it doesn’t matter whether or not your initial intentions are purely physical. What’s important is that you’re in your body, consciously moving and breathing, establishing a stronger mind-body connection, and cultivating a little self-awareness. Intentionally or not, you begin a process of personal growth and transformation just by practicing yoga. You might even say that yoga is for the people who are open to change, and the ones who want to stay exactly the same don’t stay with yoga for very long. Your yoga practice will shift you in some way on some level, if not on all levels. In addition to helping the body gain strength and flexibility, a steady practice helps build concentration, create emotional balance, and cultivate positive qualities, such as compassion, patience, joy, and confidence.

During class you will experience profound moments of stillness, even if only for a few seconds at a time. The full yogic breathing helps quiet the analytical mind, which never seems to stop weighing options and considering consequences, finally allowing the intuitive mind to have a voice. The internal awareness and mental clarity cultivated in yoga help you realize certain things about yourself and your life. Over time you become skilled at recognizing that which no longer serves you — the relationships, default tendencies, reactions and other thought patterns, and roles that don’t contribute to your overall happiness.

In fact, your yoga practice will typically have an interesting way of creeping into your life off the mat as you become more aware of how you feel and increasingly conscious of the choices you make. Yoga doesn’t require you to change your lifestyle overnight or conform to any outside standards, but you naturally begin to gravitate toward feeling better, making better decisions and choices in your eating and lifestyle habits (and no, that doesn’t mean you have to become a vegetarian to practice yoga).

You may also notice that your yoga practice is a microcosm for your life. The way you are on your mat — how you respond to challenges, handle disappointment, and relate to yourself, how present you are, how willing you are to try new things — is the way you’ll be off your mat as well. In yoga, you get to “practice” being the way you want to be in a safe, contained environment. (After all, yoga practice is just that, practice.)

Therefore, when you are practicing, attitude is everything, as it is in life in general. To begin with, your overriding intention for practicing must be rooted in something more meaningful than external appearances or physical achievements, or your asana practice runs the risk of becoming just another outlet for ego gratification, and you’ve missed the bigger, overriding message of yoga. That means your intention for practicing doesn’t necessarily have to be god-consciousness or Self-realization (although that’s a good intention) but rather can and perhaps should be something personal, whether that is to feel better overall, learn more about yourself or foster self-acceptance, become a better mother or spouse, be more present or experience more joy, cultivate more peace, clarity, or ease in your life, whatever — something more meaningful than having a tight bum or being able to do the splits. Wanting to achieve an advanced posture isn’t wrong; in fact, the desire can increase your dedication and drive. However, it shouldn’t be your only reason for practicing. What if you never nail the pose? Then what? Without a higher intention, it’s easy to become defeated.

Yoga is in the business of self-acceptance and exploration, which by definition can have no expectations. Sometimes you’ll step onto the mat only to discover your body isn’t on board to practice at the level you were hoping it was. And that’s okay. In fact it’s better than okay; you get to practice listening to your body and doing what’s best for you in the moment. Yoga gives you permission to give yourself a break.

Of course, in a class setting it’s easy to become caught up in comparing (joy’s most brutal thief). As easy as it is to compare yourself to others and feel less than, it’s just as easy to compare yourself and feel more than, or somehow superior, when you can “outperform” the other students in class. As you advance in your asana practice, it’s crucial to remain humble with an open attitude and a beginner’s mind. With a beginner’s mind, you enter each yoga posture with the excitement and eagerness of a first-time practitioner, gently exploring new ways of aligning or moving your body in and out of the postures.

webMeaganheadshotMeagan McCrary is a Los Angeles based yoga teacher and the author of Pick Your Yoga Practice. She teaches for Equinox Sports Clubs, works one-on-one with some of the entertainment industries leading professionals, and holds workshops and retreats nationally and internationally.  Visit her online at http://www.meaganmccrary.com.   

Excerpted from the book Pick Your Yoga Practice © 2013 by Meagan McCrary. Printed with permission of New World Library www.newworldlibrary.com

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Initiation, Spiritual Formation

Tested in Fire

Once we step onto the path of awakening, enlightenment, spiritual growth, consciousness, self-awareness (or whatever you want to call it), we are forever changed.  And, it is not a journey for the faint of heart!

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Who will endure the day of his coming?

Who can stand when he appears?

For he is like the refiner’s fire,

or like the fuller’s lye.

He will sit refining and purifying silver,

And he will purify the sons of Levi,

Refining them like gold or like silver…

Malachi 3: 3-4a

Defining the “God Path”

Some people call it the path of enlightenment, others awakening, others being saved, others consciousness, others self-awareness.  I call it the God Path.  When we heed the restlessness and longing in our soul and begin the search for its remedy, we are on the God Path.  For most, the search for the remedy to this inner restlessness, longing and impatience begins outside … looking for the perfect job, partner, house, STUFF, that will quell this longing.  Eventually, we find that the external search produces NOTHING or worse, more longing and restlessness.  At some point, some give up and surrender to a life of quiet desperation.  The courageous, however, continue the search which eventually leads them WITHIN…to the only place where that longing might be satisfied.  I call this the God Path because it is God (consciousness, higher self, highest truth, Presence, Being) that we find within.  And it is God who is the source of our longing…..calling us HOME.

The God Path Requires ENDURANCE

As the prophet Malachi observed, the God Path is not for the faint of heart and requires a tremendous amount of endurance.   Endurance is required because on the God Path, every fear, ego-attachment, false perception reveals itself and asks for our attention so that it can be healed, transcended and released.  If money is one of our attachments, it will show up.  If we cling to power, status or fame, it will be IN OUR FACE.  If we do not believe we are worthy of love, our unworthiness will show up again and again and again until we remember that we are already LOVE, that love does not have to be earned, neither does it have to be taken away. If we have forgotten that we are uniquely gifted to reveal God in the world and if we have withheld these gifts from the world, we will be confronted by anxiety, depression, rage.  If we have harbored resentment toward another, forgiveness will elude us.  Again and again and again our fears and attachments will show themselves so that we can face them and do the work of moving through them so that we can be the WHOLE person God created us to be.

Help Along the Path

Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy provides tools to help you along the God Path.  It does so by illuminating the seven core fears that you will face along the path and presenting tools to help you heal and transcend these fears.  Through Authetic Freedom, we discover that forewarned is forearmed and we enter into the God Path armed with the resources we need to confront the fears, ego attachments and false perceptions as they present themselves to us.  Authentic Freedom presents the same tools used by our greatest spiritual teachers in their own journey along the God Path – Jesus, Moses, The Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed and others.

Personal Support

Because the God Path requires endurance and will test us like gold tested in fire, it is  helpful to have a personal guide along the path.  This personal guidance is the role of a Spiritual Director.  It is a Spiritual Director’s job to be a source of support for us along the path, to provide encouragement and also an objective presence to help us to see those things that may be lurking in the darkness – our unresolved ego attachments, the way we project our fears and attachments on to others, our resistance to the path that God may be laying out for us.  It is the responsibility of a Spiritual Director to help us hear the truth beyond our words and to see the light that is shining where we might see only darkness.  The role of a Spiritual Director is at once listener, coach and spiritual butt-kicker.

Rewarded for our Endurance

While the journey is not easy, the rewards are terrific.  For those who choose the God path and stick with it, there is fulfillment, contentment, love, joy and peace and the ability to endure the ups and downs of the human condition without being destroyed.  The God path provides for us the tools to transcend the fears, false perceptions and suffering of the human condition and to find the peace that resides in the midst of it all.  In choosing the God path, we find that heaven, nirvana, the kingdom of God is RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW and not on some planet light years away.

For support along the God Path, contact Lauri Lumby at (920) 230-1313 or lauri@yourspiritualtruth.  Or click on Services to learn more.

Posted in Being Human, Lessons

Introverts and Perfectionists

Today’s blog is about process…specifically, the unique processing timeline of an introvert…..compounded by the standard of integrity embraced by the perfectionist.  And….I know I’m not the only one like this out there!  🙂  If you think you might be an introvert, or know someone who is…you might want to read this…..and if you think you might be a perfectionist…or know of someone who is.

 

 

To Thine Own Self Be True

As we mature and grow spiritually (and emotionally), we come to understand more fully who we are – what makes us tick, how we move through the world, our values, how we process life, what we need in the way of help and support, etc.   For me, there are two significant nuggets of self-knowledge that have proven to be critical in my ability to stay healthy and grounded in the human experience.

1)  is the knowledge that contrary to popular opinion…..I AM AN INTROVERT.  While I have learned to be outgoing and have taken the time to cultivate many acquaintances and friendships, I really find my most life-giving experiences in either being alone or in the context of one-on-one, intimate and personal experiences.

2) I am a perfectionist (in recovery…but a perfectionist, nonetheless)

Coming to understand these two things about myself has given me remarkable tools, but even more importantly, affirmation and validation for the unique ways that I process, or move through, the challenges of the human condition.  For those who do not live within the unique giftedness of the perfectionistic introvert, these methods of process can stir up feelings of impatience, frustration and even anger.  Introverted perfectionists move VERY SLOWLY in their process…and with good reason – for ourselves and for the good of those around us.

 

Integrity and the Perfectionist

Being a perfectionist can be a huge pain in not only our own butts, but the butts of those around us.  Until self-awareness, healing and integration takes place, the perfectionist can be self-righteous, morally rigid, judgemental, condemning, critical.  (ok, these can still linger….even after an enormous amount of healing!)  I have been frequently known to climb up on my soapbox of some social, religious, political issue and pontificate about what “should” be done….because of course I am perfect and I know better!  Once the layers of unhealed wounds and the rigid armor of self-defense is relaxed, however, the perfectionist can see that ultimately what drives us – both motivations and compulsions – is the desire to stand in integrity.  Standing in integrity means to discover, name, claim and stand firmly in our own truth….and to do so from a place of impecibility…..in other words….we strive to know our sh..t  and to clearly differentiate that from our fears, projections, etc.  That way, we can stand in “this is mine” and “this is yours” and step out of our temptation to blame, shame, condemn, etc.  Doing this allows the perfectionist the inner peace and contentment that frequently eludes us.  When we can unravel ourselves from judgment of self and others, this is where we find peace.  The challenge to this goal of integrity, however, is that it is VERY SLOW….and the perfectionist must often journey through the dark and dangerous forest of our fears and compulsions before getting to the clarity on the other side.  The journey can get pretty ugly…but the destination is MAGNIFICENT – clear, free from judgment and peacefully content.

 

Now Throw in the Introvert

As I just stated above, the perfectionists journey toward integrity is one that can be arduous and slow.  Now….mix in the temperment of the introvert.  Now you have molasses on a cold, winter day.  SLOW SLOW SLOW.  Introverts need TIME to process.  Introverts need TIME to get in touch with what they are really feeling.  Introverts need time to be present to these feels and discover their deeper roots.  Introverts need time to find the quiet…both outside and inside of them that will give them the TIME they need to hear their deepest truths, uncover guidance and direction…and they need time to say yes to this guidance and to discover the proper vehicle through which they can travel that path.  Introverts need TIME!

 

Help for Ourselves and the People in Our Lives

Why does any of this matter?  Because….we live in an extroverted world that wants everything NOW.  We want resolution.  We want closure.  We want commitment.  We want immediate gratification. We want surety of knowledge and direction.  We want it and we want it now.  Well guess what….for the perfectionistic introvert….this will NEVER be the case!  This is helpful knowledge if we are a perfectionistic introvert because it gives us permission to honor our own uniquely SLOW process and to not give into the impatience and pressure of an extroverted culture.  This is also helpful knowledge for us to share with those around us (those that will listen anyway), because if our temperments differ (which they will), tension will arise due to these differences.  When we are able to clearly name the needs unique to our temperment and allow those around us to name theirs, then we can negotiate a space in which we can each be present to our own unique process and give honor and respect to the other while we negotiate the bumpy terrain of interpersonal communication.   So, for those introverted perfectionists out there…..I invite you to name and claim your needs for time…..patience…..and still more time and to be ok doing so.  And, know that you are NOT alone!  And to the extroverts who are in relationship with an introvert…..BREATHE!  🙂

How do you process the challenges of your life?

Where are you being invited to name and claim your need for process time?

How might your interpersonal relationships benefit from your own emerging self-knowledge?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Lessons, Surrender

Saying Yes to What God Gives Me II

As we move through our journey of spiritual growth toward self-awakening and enlightentment, one of the lessons we are invited to embrace along the path is the lesson of surrender.  Today’s blog explores the invitation to surrender to what the universe puts in our path, or as I say, “Saying Yes to What God Gives Me.”

 

PUSH

Here I am, back from a week in Lumbyland.  Dad’s surgery has been postponed until September, so the kids (my two, plus one) and I embraced a week of Minneapolis and Lake Lumby activities.  We returned on Thursday EXHAUSTED and a little sick of eachother. We retreated to our respective corners and now it is Monday….I should be bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to get back to work….RIGHT?????   WRONG!  Apparently the Universe has other plans.  In the past, I would have pushed through this energy of “something other than what I had planned in my pragmatic, goal-orientted mind” and forged ahead with what I WANT.  One of my teachers refers to this tendency as “PUSH.”  The good news is that I have learned (mostly the hard way), that pushing against the Universe does nothing but give you a headache and a big pile of failed attempts.  When we push against the flow of the Universe, the flow of our highest path, our highest good, we get nothing but YUCK.  So, this morning, I throw my hands up in surrender and accept what the Universe has planned for this week.

 

Trusting in Highest Good

This invitation to surrender is one of the hardest things for us to do, especially in our Western, capitalistic, hierarchical, patriarchical, pragmatic, goal-oriented society.  We are taught to set a goal and work our tails off until it happens…OR we won’t get the money we need to live, to buy the stuff that society says we should have, or the investments necessary to rest from all this work when we finally get to the finish line – retirement.  Ha!  This mindset is founded upon two primary fears – There is not enough, and I am alone (in other words, I have to do it!).  In my book, Authentic Freedom, I explore these fears in depth and present the remedies to healing these fears.  For today, suffice it to say that these fears are both LIES and that there is another mindset that we are invited to embrace if we want to have peace and joy in our lives.  Embracing this other mindset is founded upon a basic truth that our Western society doesn’t want us to know:  There is a higher order that is always at work for our highest good.  Gulp!  Breathe!  Breathe again.  I know, pretty radical stuff……the question is, can we believe it?  Can we actually take the risk in believing that there is a benevolent something that is always working for our highest good and seeks to reveal that highest good to us and lead us toward it?  Can we?

 

A Rose by Any Other Name

Now, what do we call that something?  I call it “God.”  Some might call it “Higher Self.”  Others might call it “The Universe.”  And others, “So-Hum.”  And know that when I say “God” I’m not talking about the old man in the sky God…I’m talking about that something that transcends all human descriptions, definitions or attempts to describe.  It is that something that continues to reveal itself through all of creation, including ourselves.  It is the energy that informs, moves, animates all of reality and is the Source of all that is and ever will be.  What it is exactly, I do not know….but I know it is really cool, filled with love and light and darkness and draws us, leads us, empowers us, compels us to seek, to know and to become the most magnificent vision of ourselves that we could ever imagine…rooted in love, joy, compassion, bliss and peace.  Cool, right? 

 

Saying Yes

So, if we can really take that risk and attempt to embrace the belief that there is a benevolent something that is always at work for our highest good, then we can surrender.  We can resist our temptation to cling to the fears that tend to put us into PUSH mode and believe that we can simply relax into the flow of the universe and allow that flow to carry us to exactly where we need to be.  AHHHHHH!  It seems that for me, instead of a heavy push toward money making projects and activities, I’m being invited to something else.  All the work is done that can be done (for now) on my creative projects and these are now in the hands of other support people.  Instead, it seems I am being invited to surrender to a week of re-entry.  And to this I reply, “Universe (Calgon), take me away.” 

 

Where are you tempted to engage PUSH energy?

Do you believe in a benevolent “something” always at work for your higher good?

Where are you being invited to surrender?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in About Lauri, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices

Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Call on me! I know the answer!

Today’s blog explores the current state of organized religion in its decline, the resulting grief and the solution to the spiritually starving people!

The Problem

Five years ago I had the opportunity to participate in a salon discussion hosted by the Wisconsin Council of Churches.  In attendance were fifty men and women representing fifty different religious denominations.  My two colleagues and I were the sole representatives of the Roman Catholic persuasion.  In the eight hours that we were together, all fifty participants agreed with these unanimous observations:

  • Organized religion as we have known it is dying
  • People are starving for spiritual nourishment

Seeking a Solution

After coming to this consensus, the challenge now was, “How do we respond to these truths?”  Again, the response was unanimous (well, almost):

  • Doh!  (of the Homer Simpson variety)

In other words, the vast majority of the participants, facilitator included, had no idea whatsoever as to how to respond to the real truth of what was happening in their churches. They did not know how to respond to the death and they did not know how to respond to the hunger.  Ok, the answer to the death is an easy one:  grief counseling!  The answer to the hunger is a little more complicated!

Ooh!  Ooh!  Ooh!  Pick me!

This is where I wanted to jump up and down like Horshack from the 70’s sitcom, Welcome Back Kotter, with my arm up in the air and scream, “Pick me!  Pick me!  Pick me!  I know the answer to this question!!!!!!!    You see, for the past 17+ years, I have been providing an effective response to this reality.  In a nutshell, the answer is:

  • Spiritual Formation

Now before you go all, “I don’t want to hear about a bunch of religious crap!”  Spiritual Formation has nothing to do with religion!!!!!  While Spiritual Formation can be effectively accomplished within the setting of religious institutions, (hint hint….struggling churches) in truth, it transcends religion as well as beliefs.  Spiritual Formation is about YOU!  Spiritual Formation is the process through which we come to know ourselves more fully and in coming to know ourselves, coming to know that which some call “God.”  Through sound Spiritual Formation we come to recognize the things within us that prevent us from freely and openly living as our most authentic selves – men and women of compassion, peace and joy.  We find tools for effectively healing and giving release to these inner blocks.  We grow in understanding of our own unique giftedness and we find ways to share these gifts in the world.  Sound Spiritual Formation provides us with the tools we need  for establishing a foundation of contentment, joy, fulfillment and wholeness in our lives.  This is what people UNIVERSALLY hunger for.

Spiritual Formation in the Christian Context

The good news is that effective tools for sound Spiritual Formation have been part of the Christian tradition for 2000+ years.  (ANOTHER NOTE:  Spiritual Formation IS NOT the Catechism or any other vehicle for imparting doctrine!!!!!)  These tools have been cultivated and preserved primarily by the men and women in Christian religious orders (Franciscans, Benedictines, Dominicans, etc).  The challenge is that these tools have not been readily available to lay people (those of us who sit in the pews) and even more challenging is that these tools were set aside by the Protestant churches as part of the Protestant Reformation.  While work has begun to rediscover and reclaim these tools, few have found an effective way to disseminate this information to churches and/or their people.

Ooh!  Ooh!  Ooh!

Ok, so I don’t mean to brag……but I know how to do this!  And, I know how to do this effectively.  Between the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation ie: adult confirmation) program that I facilitated at the Catholic Campus Ministry in Oshkosh for 8 years and the curriculum that I have developed in Spiritual Formation for Adults that I now share in the “secular” world, I know how to do this!  So…..to all those churches out there who are looking for an effective way to feed the spiritual hunger of their people….PICK ME!  (nothing wrong with a little shameless self-promotion, right!?)  And for those who are no longer affiliated with an organized church but are still hungering for spiritual nourishment…..HERE I AM!

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

Oshkosh, WI

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

PS  If you want to learn more about the programs and services in Spiritual Formation that I offer, click on the corresponding tabs on my website!  Spiritual Formation can be accomplished one-on-one and in a group or retreat setting. Or, call me or email to learn more!  (920) 230-1313 lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com