Posted in Initiation, self-actualization, spiritual awakening, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Formation

Spiritual Initiation: Standing at the Crossroads

The journey toward self-actualization is in fact, one spiritual initiation after another. Spiritual initiation takes place every time we are faced with an opportunity to remain in the perceived safety and security of what we have known or take another step toward the fulfillment of our life purpose.  The spiritual initiation is successful when we move through the fears and ego attachments that seek to keep us imprisoned within our small selves and away from the expansion we are driven toward by our Soul.  Some of these initiations are small and some are so significantly huge that we soon become aware that we are facing a major crossroad in our life.  It is at these crossroad moments that our spiritual practice becomes even more critical, as does our diligent attention to these practices.

spiritual initiation, crossroads, discernment, soul's purpose, journey of the soul, spiritual practice

Stephanie Azaria in Monday’s post in her column “Cosmic Consciousness” had the following to say about the crossroads:

“…a crossroad is a series of four very specific paths that are all equally available to us when we approach them from the observer’s perspective. We can send our conscious awareness down all four roads at the same time until the heart begins to resonate fully with one (or more) of these paths.  At that time we can take action to follow that road knowing it may or may not be permanent…..such is the way of the new world.  Nothing is permanent.”

A crossroads occurs when the life we have known has come to an end and the new life has not yet revealed itself. It is a time of spiritual initiation ripe with opportunity and danger.  At the crossroads, possibilities seem endless and many opportunities (or twinklings of opportunities) may present themselves.  At this stage, none of these possibilities are yet fully formed, so a decision (or even a discernment) cannot yet be made.  Some of these possibilities will die on the vine.  Some are not in our highest good or reflective of our soul’s purpose and therefore should not be pursued.  And some are just beginning to grow roots so are not yet strong enough to support our unfolding.  For these reasons, pursuing or chasing after possible opportunities prematurely will only end badly.  We will know that the opportunity is not yet ripe if in its pursuit we find it either drawing away, or find ourselves coming up against a brick wall. Instead of requiring effort, opportunities that are ripe and good for the soul will fall into our laps in a miraculous and effortless kind of way.

While the crossroads is ripe with possibility, it is also rife with danger. This is true for it is at the crossroads where we make our deals with the devil.  At the end of what has been, we are vulnerable and afraid. We have left behind (or are being asked to leave behind) what has been so as to replace it with something that is not yet known.  It is in our human nature to crave surety and to long for “the same.”  When we have neither of these creature comforts, we grow anxious, worried, and fretful.  Often, our first response is to bargain for the old life to be returned.  “Please let me go back to…….(insert relationship, job, home, etc. here)….at least I knew what to expect there.”  But our Soul desires nothing if not growth.  As such, as much as we might want to, we cannot return to that which has already died…or which no longer supports our growth.  (Well….actually we can…..we just end up with a zombie like life along with the constant shame of knowing we are living an unlived life…mind numbing substances and behaviors come in handy here as we try to escape our true feelings about the unlived life we have chosen).

After bargaining, we must now face the possibilities that lay before us. Some will be known.  Some will only be twinkles.  And MANY will be the paths which lead us only into the “devil’s trap.”  These are the paths which are ruled by fear and/or which tempt us through our ego attachments.  Those paths ruled by fear are the possibilities that are based in our unhealed and unresolved fears:  fears over money, time, acceptance by others, belonging, etc. etc. etc.  When we choose a path that is ruled by fear (I’m afraid that the path of my Soul won’t make me any money, so I’m going to find a path that insures at least a regular paycheck…..whether or not it has anything to do with my gifts, my mission or my purpose in this life…..), this is the devil’s trap.  The result of choosing this path will only be more fear and a deepening sense of imprisonment.  Those paths ruled by the ego are those which tempt us through our desire for fame, power, control and material wealth…..in other words, “the lifestyles of the rich and famous” – another of the devil’s games.  While fame may be an outcome of pursuing our Soul’s path, this will not be true for all, and the path of our Soul is never driven by our desire for fame. In the quest for the Soul, we must always check our ego at the door.

When we find ourselves at the crossroads or spiritual initiation we are vulnerable. We feel insecure and afraid.  The possibilities might seem overwhelming and our fears are running rampant.  The crossroads is the devil’s playground, but it is also the domain of our Soul.  At the crossroads, the Soul is seeking after and longing for its natural movement toward growth and it will not rest until the appropriate path for its growth reveals itself.  Until that happens, the Soul is restless….making us even more vulnerable to the “devil’s trap.”  At the crossroads, our spiritual practices become even more critical, along with our resilience in the face of temptation and our diligence in tending to these practices.  While at the crossroads we must not act, pursue, chase after or be tempted to make something happen.  Neither should we make any decision based in fear or arising out of the ego.  Instead, there is only ONE THING we can do when standing at the crossroads….and that is WAIT. Wait and watch.  Observe and discern.  And when the waiting and inaction become excruciating (which they will)….we wait some more.  For it is at the crossroad where we endure the greatest of all tests in our spiritual initiation …the test of whether we can wait long enough for the path of our Soul to arrive and the next stage of our life to begin.

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS is a trained spiritual director and spiritual counselor, transformational educator, ordained interfaith minister and published author. Lauri supports the spiritual awakening and self-actualization of humanity and does so through one-on-one mentoring, writing, online classes and workshops.  Contact Lauri at lauri@authenticfreedom.love to learn more.

Posted in self-actualization, spiritual awakening, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Formation

Spiritual Development – Surviving a Freefall

I define spiritual development as: the process through which we uncover the answer to the following questions:

  • Who am I?
  • Whose am I? (Where do I find peace and belonging?)
  • What are my gifts and how am I called to use them for the sake of my own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world?

At the moment of our spiritual awakening, we are given the choice to pursue the path of our spiritual development. Some choose this path.  Many do not. For those who choose the path of spiritual development….with self-actualization being the ultimate outcome, they soon discover that the journey of spiritual development is as much about letting go as it is about discovery.  In order to become our most authentic selves, we have to let go of that which is not authentically ours.  As such, the journey toward self-actualization includes many tiny (and sometimes HUGE) deaths.

I have recently been met with another one of those deaths. In my own journey of self-development and self-discovery, I have grown accustomed to these many deaths, but familiarity doesn’t always make it any more tolerable.  In fact, in many ways, knowing that death is upon us is more frightening than death taking us by surprise. The current death (which in truth is just another in a long line of current dyings) I am facing is the end of what I have known as my local professional life.  On Tuesday I taught my last local class.  While this has not been a financially lucrative endeavor for quite some time, and I knew this death was coming, the reality hit me like a storm.  With nothing yet to take its place, I have nothing to look forward to, nothing to plan or plan for, nothing to DO but stare into the empty void of a new life that has not yet been revealed.  Two weeks ago I felt like I was staring into the abyss.  Having faced the end, I find I am no longer staring, I am in full-on FREE FALL.  In a free fall, there is literally NOTHING to hang on to, nothing to cling to and nowhere to find a hand or foot hold.  Instead, we are only falling….or floating….or FLYING!

spiritual development, self actualization, freefalling, freel falling, spiritual awakening, defining spiritual development,

Having done nothing but support spiritual development for the past 25 years, my own and that of others, I know what to do and how to survive a free fall.

LET GO

There is literally nothing else to do. We cannot fight it.  When falling through the abyss we cannot turn around and go back from whence we came.  Without a new world in sight, there is nothing to work toward or work for.  We cannot MAKE ourselves crawl up through the gaping void to some safe place above us.  All we can do is FALL.  But, there are ways in which we can support ourselves in the falling:

During the freefall, we grieve.

We mourn the life that we are being asked to leave behind. We deny.  We bargain.  We become depressed and paralyzed (THANK YOU Netflix for 13 seasons of Supernatural to keep me entertained when I am otherwise immobile).  We grow angry.  We gnash our teeth.  We scream and shout and wail.  We weep.  We allow our bodies to grieve what has been so that we can be healed and freed of that life and made ready for something new.

During the freefall we pray.

(or whatever your language is for that). For me, it is asking and begging for support, to know that I am not alone.  My prayer includes gratitude for all the past life has given me and the support in knowing that a letting go so enormous means something equally huge is coming to take its place.  I pray for peace.  I pray for hope.  I pray for any tiny glimpses that might help me continue on.  In addition to prayer, I double up on my daily spiritual practice.  I meditate.  I read and reflect on scripture.  I journal.  I chant (or listen to mantra).

During the freefall we sleep.

When a dying occurs, our bodies, minds, and spirits are being rewired. It requires an enormous amount of psychic energy to let go of something that has been (especially when it is somehow related to our identity….which mine is) and to be made ready for the new. Sleep supports the release of what has been and the energetic preparation for what has not yet come to be.

During the freefall we remember.

This is the place for our life review. We reflect on what has been.  Any unresolved fears/compulsion/demons from that life make an appearance so that we have one more opportunity to bring them healing and transformation ensuring we are ready to enter into the new life when it comes.

During the freefall we do nothing.

This may be the most difficult part of the freefall. There is literally NOTHING we can do to hasten the departure from what has been and the entry into something new.  All we can “do” is BE.  And in our culture, being is really hard to do (not to mention all the twisted stares we get from people when we tell them all we “did” today was watch Netflix).  Doing, however, during this stage in the freefall produces NOTHING.  It simply reminds us of how NOT life-giving our old life had become and how ready we are for something new.

How have you supported yourself during the many dyings that have happened along your path of spiritual development?

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS provides spiritual direction and counseling for those on their spiritual journey.  To schedule a private session with Lauri email  lauri@authenticfreedom.love.

Check out our online programs in support of your spiritual development HERE. 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, self-actualization, spiritual awakening

Authentic Freedom – Our Mission

Authentic Freedom Academy supports the spiritual awakening and self-actualization of change agents. As a center for experiential education, we support the transformation of human consciousness through the integration of Western psychology and Western Spirituality, equipping students to be agents of positive, non-violent change in the world.

We accomplish this mission through:

  • writing and publishing
  • one-on-one mentoring (spiritual counseling)
  • local and online courses
  • on-going service to the community

 

Outer change begins with inner change.

Inner change begins with self-knowledge.

Self- Knowledge leads to self-actualization.

Self-actualized individuals, are inherently non-violent, cooperative and collaborative, and are naturally motivated to use their unique gifts in service to the betterment of the world.

 

Authentic Freedom™ is a trademarked protocol developed by Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, MATS, founder and director of Authentic Freedom Academy. Authentic Freedom™ integrates specific tools and practices of Western Psychology with those of Western Spirituality, resulting in a powerful process through which participants are supported in becoming self-actualized and are then empowered to share their unique giftedness in service to the betterment of the world.

Authentic Freedom has applications in:

  • Personal Development
  • Parenting
  • Relationship Support
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Business Management

As a tool for professionals in the fields of:

  • Counseling
  • Psychology
  • Ministry
  • Education
  • Spiritual Guidance/Spiritual Direction
  • Life-Coaching
  • Reiki, massage, acupuncture, and any other hands-on healing protocols

 

Specific Tools used in Authentic Freedom™:

  • Western, Eastern and Indigenous Mindfulness, Contemplation and Journey practices
  • The Spiritual Exercises and Rules of Discernment of St. Ignatius
  • Creativity Practices
  • The Myers-Briggs Personality Profile
  • The Enneagram Temperament Tool
  • The Spiritual/Personal Gifts Inventory
  • The Authentic Freedom™ protocol

 

HierarchyofPurpose

From Western Psychology, Authentic Freedom™ draws from:

  • Carl Jung’s creative imagination, archetype and shadow work
  • Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and theories of self-actualization
  • The humanistic theories and creativity practices of Carl and Natalie Rogers
  • The stages of spiritual development of James Fowler and John Westerhoff
  • Bill Plotkin’s development of the human Soul

From Western Spirituality, Authentic Freedom™ has its roots in the original teachings of Jesus* which were then formalized into the meditation, contemplation and service practices of Western Monasticism, specifically those favored in Benedictine, Franciscan, and Ignatian spirituality.

*The original teachings of Jesus are those rooted in the universal (and non-religious) call of love:

  • love of God (the God of your own understanding)
  • love of Self
  • love of Neighbor – recognizing that all of humanity is our neighbor

and then:

  • lived out through acts of compassion
  • working for justice

jesusabstractshutterstock

 

Enjoy the benefits of Authentic Freedom through:

One-on-one mentoring with Lauri Ann Lumby.

The Authentic Freedom Online Course:

Read the book and the companion user’s manual:

Buy it now on Amazon

Buy it now on Amazon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

or take the complete Authentic Freedom Leadership Training:

My Approach to Scripture: You will notice that scripture plays a predominant role in my writing and in most of my local and online courses. Please note that my approach to scripture is unlike any you have likely experienced before!  I do not approach scripture from a dogmatic or doctrinal perspective.  Neither do I use it as a way to instill fear or manipulate specific actions or behaviors.  Instead, I approach scripture as the ancients did – as a collection of stories which have the opportunity to reflect back to us aspects of ourselves.  In this way, scripture becomes a vehicle through which our highest self can speak to us – providing guidance, support, inspiration, nourishment and even healing.  When we pierce through the veil of other people’s interpretations and allow the Divine to speak to us personally and directly through these ancient texts, we discover the transformational power of The Word as it was originally intended – as a tool to guide and sustain us on the path of love.

 

lauriprofilecolorwebshot2013Contact Lauri Lumby today to find out how Authentic Freedom might be for you. lauri@authenticfreedom.love or (920) 230-1313.

Posted in Authentic Freedom, self-actualization, spiritual awakening, Spiritual Development

The Call of the Prophet and the Prophet’s Revenge

The call of the prophet is to change the world. As prophets we are gifted with the ability to see what in our world is in need of healing and transformation and how to support that transformation.  Prophets come in all shapes and sizes and walk among us within all sectors of our culture.  Prophets are right there underneath our noses, working for positive non-violent change in our homes, our schools, our medical facilities, our corporations, our government, and yes, even in the military.  As prophets we each have a unique calling specific to our circle of influence or area of expertise.  As Albert Nolan so astutely observed:

Prophets are people who speak out when others remain silent. They are watchful of the areas in need of reform in their own society, their own country, or their own religious institutions. True prophets are men and women who stand up and speak (or act) out about the practices of their own people and their own leaders – while others remain silent. True prophets are not part of the authority structure. Prophets are never appointed, ordained or anointed by the religious establishment. They experience a special calling that comes directly from God, and their message comes from their own personal experience of God. (Jesus Today – A Spirituality of Radical Freedom, Orbis Books, 2008, pp. 63-67)

The prophet’s call is to change the world. The challenge to being a prophet, however, is that as a voice for change with a vision of our future and how to get there, we disturb the status quo.  In order to make a change….we have to…..change.  And as I have learned, the human species is more afraid of change than they are of death (why else would a woman who is being regularly beaten by her husband stay?).  As such, the world’s response to the prophet is one of two things:

    • To make the prophet the enemy.
    • To ignore them all together.

If you are a prophet, you are familiar with these responses. I know I am.  What the local Catholic Church did to me in response to my request for reform (which really wasn’t reform at all…it was simply a request to return to the mission Jesus originally began which was to teach people how to love) was everything short of a literal burning at the stake.  (Cue Mel Brooks).  After leaving the Church my work continues to be met by our popular culture with mostly silence and blank stares.  I am not alone.  I know prophets in the fields of teaching, religion, medicine, the arts, government, etc. who have met with much of the same.  It is the prophet’s curse – that and a fair dose of existential rage over who does get heard in a culture based in fear, power, control, greed, gluttony, sloth, deception and corruption.

As a prophet, however, we do not live in that world. We cannot live in that world.  If we did we would die.  The prophet has no choice but to stand in the integrity of our gift, our call, our mission and our purpose.  When we stray from our truth, our calling, our path, when we try to sell out for the cultural norm, we are punished.  This punishment is not an act of Divine retribution, but the natural consequence of denying our gifts.

What is true for the prophet, however, is also true for all of humanity. Each and every person on this planet has been uniquely gifted to be a vessel through which the transformational power of Divine love is meant to be manifest in our world.  Every single person.  And yet, very few heed the true calling of their soul, dooming them forever to a life of quiet desperation  – in our modern world, selling out to the house, the car, the status, the fame, the power, the money.  While they may be successful based on societal standards, they are not fulfilled within.  Some are aware of this lack of fulfillment, many feel it but choose to numb it in any of the various ways in which our culture silences the voice of our inner truth – food, alcohol, sex, gambling, TV, the internet, drugs, constant doing and achieving.  All the while, writhing from within over the insatiable longing of their soul.

While I do not believe in Divine retribution, I do believe in karma. When we ignore the calling of our soul, we suffer.  While as a prophet I might find some measure of comfort or a righteous sense of justice over this truth, but I do not.  Instead it makes me sad.  While I might be tempted to seek a prophet’s revenge on those who choose to ignore the calling of their soul, I do not.  I only want them to be free.  While I might have the tools to help people find that freedom, I cannot make them drink.

Lauri Ann Lumby, self-actualization, spiritual awakening, prophet, call of the prophet, Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS supports you in your spiritual awakening and your journey toward self-actualization through her writing, online courses and one-on-one spiritual direction.

You can reach Lauri at lauri@authenticfreedom.love or by calling (920) 230-1313.

 

 

 

Posted in Being Human, Discernment, Inspiration, Mary Magdalene, self-actualization, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Direction

Existential Rage, Appropriation and Sheeple

Yesterday it hit me like a ton of bricks: Existential Rage – the energy of my mission, purpose and calling seeking its fulfillment coming up against the brick wall of perceived obstacles to its fulfillment.  It was another one of those days where I felt like a voice crying out in the wilderness speaking only to sand watching the gathering pool of blood at my feet from hitting my head against the impenetrable brick wall to being seen, heard and appreciated for my work.

Mary Magdalene, cultural appropriation, existential rage, self-actualization, spiritual awakening

I know my work has value. I know my work is important for the evolution of our species.  I know that those who find and make a commitment to the programs and services that I offer benefit greatly.  In fact, their lives are transformed, their wounds healed, and most importantly, they are empowered with tools that will continue to support them as they try to navigate this thing called life. Those who have worked with me one-on-one or taken my courses rave about the wonders that have occurred in their lives because of the work we have done.

So here I am, working out of a place of integrity, holding fast to my mission and purpose, standing firm in my education, experience, background and being very careful to stay in my lane (I am a white woman of Celtic and Scandinavian descent, raised Catholic, who completed her ministry and spiritual counseling training in the Catholic Church who has dedicated her life to the study of scripture, theology, developmental psychology, spirituality and contemplative meditation practices). While I have learned from other traditions and might recommend some of their practices (Tonglen, Ho’oponopono), I remain committed to Jesus and Mary Magdalene as my teachers and teach only that which arises out of this Judeo-(and sometimes Celtic) Christian Mystical platform.  Over the years I have developed a solid platform – Jesus as a teacher of self-actualization and Mary Magdalene as the one he ordained to carry on his mission after his death. This platform corresponds directly with the Jewish Kabbalah, and in fact, seems to be its fulfillment (more on that in the months to come).

So, why the existential rage? Because….here I am, staying in my own lane, presenting Mary Magdalene in the only way that is appropriate – within the context of her relationship with Jesus and her role in the (what we now call) Christian narrative barely making my way in the world while others are getting rich off the Magdalene name without the education, background, experience or credentials to do so.  Mary has been co-opted from the Christian narrative and turned into a commodity for others to exploit.

But it’s not just about Mary Magdalene. This existential rage I am feeling is about every single person I see getting rich off of other people’s vulnerability – placing themselves in a position of perceived authority and manipulating others through their insecurity and fears.  Those who enable instead of empower.  Those who lord their “knowledge” and “gifts” over others so as to make themselves rich.  The gurus, self-help experts, pastors, preachers, Ted Talk givers, “psychics” who gather flocks of obedient followers who cannot wait to be told what to do and how to live their lives. Those who are successful because they benefit from a culture made up of millions of people who have never been given the resources, tools or support to reason, discern or exercise their own truth.

Herein lays the root of my existential rage. My mission is to support people in their spiritual awakening and in their journey toward self-actualization.  Inherent within this journey is the invitation to discover our own truth, and to find the skills to reason, discern and exercise that truth.  This is what I believe Jesus did for his disciples– and Mary Magdalene with him.  But maybe the hard truth for me is the same truth Jesus and Mary Magdalene faced:  people do not want to wake up – they do not want to discover their own truth.  Because the truth is, when we unravel ourselves from the voice of the outside perceived authority, we are accountable to and responsible to no one but ourselves (and the authority within that I call God).  When we stand in our own truth, there is no one else to blame.  We are accountable to and responsible to ourselves.  Period.  On many days, it’s just easier to be told what to do, and then we can blame someone else when it doesn’t go well.

In a world made up of sheep, I sometimes wonder where is there a place for me?

 

 

Posted in self-actualization, spiritual awakening, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Formation, spiritual healing

Self-Actualization – The Journey of Finding Ourselves

Self-Actualization is the process of  finding ourselves. The purpose of the human experience is finding ourselves. I was recently asked to describe my mission and how my spiritual awakening and journey toward self-actualization informed that mission.  Here is my response:

Finding Ourselves

You ask me the question of mission. Concisely naming and identifying my mission has been the constant struggle of the past 20+ years.  My Authentic Freedom website currently says this:

Supporting the Spiritual Awakening and Self Actualization of Change Agents.

While this just sums it up and makes it “marketable” (according to SEO magic), it doesn’t even scratch the surface. As I suspect “concise” isn’t your desire, I will refrain from concise and provide for you, as per your inquiry, the whole kit and caboodle as I am best able at this time in my journey.

Lauri Ann Lumby, self-actualization, finding ourselves, finding meaning, finding purpose, personal mission

Emerging Church

I have known for a very long time, perhaps since first embarking upon my ministry training, that I am here to facilitate/support/catalyze change – specifically as it relates to what we have historically called “church.” My “reform” used to be a hope to change the Catholic Church, until I realized I was fighting a losing battle.  You can’t reform something that is already in its deathbed. The institution Paul established, based in fear, power and control, is in the process of its own implosion and what was never Jesus’ intention in the first place is coming to an end.  My job is to be part of planting the seeds, establishing the inspiration and perhaps some structure for the new “church” that will likely have NOTHING at all to do with church as we have known it.

Vocations

The so-called “vocations crisis” is at the heart of the institutional church’s death. In truth, there is NO vocations crisis, only a crisis in vision.  What the institutional Church cannot see is that every single person in their pews, and among those who have left, are called to be “priest.”  Every single person is uniquely gifted to find meaning and purpose in their life and are called to do so for the sake of their own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world.  THIS is their service to God.  This is their priesthood.  Every single person has an opportunity to be ordained into the unique way they are called to serve.  If this isn’t priesthood, I don’t know what is.  The Church, however, refuses to see this or to do anything about it- ignoring the deepest longing of our hearts which is in finding ourselves.

Spiritual Awakening, Self-Actualization and Stewardship

When I was still ministering in the Church, I had the opportunity to study the US Catholic Bishop’s pastoral letter on stewardship. The document stated that true stewardship only arises out of mature disciples, and then went on to describe how people become mature disciples by finding the answers to the following questions:

  • Who am I?
  • Whose am I?
  • What are my gifts and how am I called to use them?

In short, the journey toward becoming “mature disciples” is about finding ourselves. Then the Bishops left it there. People cannot become mature disciples unless they are given the resources and tools to so.  This is the work of spiritual formation and psychology.  The problem is that the Church refuses to provide these resources (even when they have the tools right in their own hands!!!!!!!)  and goes so far as to discourage people from pursuing the path that would lead them to spiritual and psychological maturity.  How can you expect people to plow the field, not give them the tools for doing so, and then punish them when they try to figure it out on their own?  It’s almost as if the Church really doesn’t want people to grow.  Again…..exactly why the Church is dying.

Doing Something About it

Spiritual Formation, Self-Actualization, Stewardship. Vocations. This is what I do.  I provide the resources and support for people who have awakened spiritually and who are searching for the answer to the above-mentioned life questions.  I provide resources and tools to support their exploration and their journey toward self-actualization.  I support them in naming and claiming their gifts, moving through the resistances to these gifts and then empowering into their own “priesthood” – whatever that might look for them personally.  (Side note – The work that I do could also be accomplished in the field of psychology, but again, as a patriarchal, hierarchical institution, they (with a few exceptions) too refuse to provide people with this kind of support.). Again, it all boils down to finding ourselves.

Healing

The bulk of this work of finding ourselves is about healing. In order to become self-actualized, we have to heal the wounds of our past. We need support in our grief.  We need release from trauma.  We need permission to acknowledge where we’ve been unacknowledged and heal those wounds so we can be free to be who we were meant to be.  We need to be supported in identifying and restoring the lost parts of ourselves.  We have to confront our shadow.  When people feel seen, and are able to heal the wounds of their past, they finally feel free to be who they are meant to be.

Jesus and Mary Magdalene

Jesus is my teacher and my beloved.  Mary is my teacher and myself.  It is through them that all I am and all I have brought into the world have come to be.  Not the Jesus of the Institutional Church – but the original Jesus – a Jewish man who came into his own self-actualization through his intimate relationship with the Divine (UNION) and who tried (mostly in vain) to teach his disciples, and anyone who would listen, the freedom he had come to know.  Mary – the one (along with John the Evangelist) who got it.  The one the Church rejected and in rejecting her all feminine power with her.

Lauri Ann Lumby

Thirteen letters in my name, born on the 13th day of the 13th month, the thirteen of the thirteen. Mary Magdalene was the 13th disciple.  Mary Magdalene was the 13th and leader of the community when Jesus left.  My whole life has been directed toward all of the above stated, and underneath it all has been my own journey toward self.  There is a part of my journey that beyond religion, spirituality, and psychology, is magic.  True magic.  Divine magic. This magical search began with Samantha Stevens and has led me along meandering paths, beginning with King Arthur, The Mists of Avalon, Wicca, Celtic magic and pre-Christian ritual practices. A significant part of this journey has been through the “shadow” aspects of magic – a fascination with vampires, werewolves, witches, Disney villains, demons.  While I used to cringe at the idea of demonic possession, I have learned of the dark forces that are present in our world (even if they are simply concentrated human fear), and the need to protect, but more importantly transform.  The path has led me to Hermetic alchemy (Thoth), Egyptian mysteries, and the Kabbalah – specifically Hebraic Kabbalah and the magic within it.  Magic with the sole purpose of UNION and which is never done to cause harm. Magic that heals and transforms.  This is not the en hoc est corpus meum of the Catholic priest, it is the magic that we all possess when we have transformed our self so as to be able to partner with the Divine in wielding love.

Confessions of a Catholic Witch

Recovering Catholics – 42.7 Million Strong!

Love.

This is ultimately what it all boils down to. One day in Shamanic practice, I asked the question of my Soul’s purpose.  The answer was so simple and yet so profound:

“Lauri, your purpose is love. To love and to be loved in return.”

To me, love is a verb. It is what/who I am called to be.  It is what I am called to do.  Period.  It is so simple.  And yet so profound.

Authentic Freedom Academy offers a full range of services, books and online courses in support of finding ourselves:  Spiritual Counseling with Lauri Ann Lumby, The Authentic Freedom Mastery Program, and Lauri’s foundational text Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy, to name a few.

 

 

Posted in Being Human, Enneagram, grief, Inspiration

Seeking the Inner Gem – from Perfectionist to the Muse

Practically Perfect in Every Way!

For the first 45 years of my life, I tried to be perfect.  Apparently the next 45 are about learning to be human.  My innate, inner perfectionist offers a sigh of resignation and frustration over this awareness.  SIGH.  While a student in the Commissioned Lay Ministry program I was introduced to a profound spiritual tool called The Enneagram.  Through the assessment and careful discernment with our program director, it was determined that I am a Type 1 on the Enneagram – the Perfectionist.  This fit in perfectly with the attitude I had embraced for my entire life up to that point – I had to be perfect.  As Mary Poppins (still my all-time favorite Disney movie!) would say, “Practically perfect in every way.”  This perfectionist manifested in every situation in my life, most especially in the world of emotions – as a perfectionist, emotions were not allowed – with one exception.

Resentment and Anger

While still living as a perfectionist, I only knew only two emotions – resentment and anger.  These were the only tools I had to deal with issues of loss, disappointment, rejection, transition and change.  When things didn’t go my way – rage.  When I felt rejected or undervalued – resentment.  When I experienced a loss – anger.  While these emotions in and of themselves are not bad, for a perfectionist who can only be perfect, these emotions presented an additional challenge – GUILT, SELF-LOATHING and SHAME.  One who is angry, resentful, rage-filled is not in any way perfect.  So, wags the finger of the inner critic shaming and blaming me for not being perfect.  ARGH!  It is a vicious cycle to be sure.  One thing I learned about the Type 1 on the Enneagram is that rage and anger become our ego-fixation.  Harboring, cultivating, nurturing resentment and anger creates a vicious downward spiral of separation (from self and others) and self-loathing.  BLECH

Waking up?

Somewhere along the line, I woke up.  Rather, the Universe woke me up in the form of a significant loss that happened in close proximity to a trauma and post-partum.  Suddenly, my anger and rage became the paralysis of depression.  I sought help through a therapist and my Spiritual Director and it became apparent that I had a lifetime of grief that needed to be processed, released and healed and that in order to process this grief, I would need to be present to my true feelings.  Suddenly, the Talbot’s attired, tied up tight, in control, master of my destiny Lauri toppled to the ground and a new Lauri had to be born…one that could be vulnerable, have feelings, experience pain, loss, disappointment.  Once this was identified, the dam burst and I was flooded with real life.  YIKES!

The Martyr and the Muse

In using the Enneagram as a tool for spiritual transformation, we learn about our Point of Disintegration and The Inner Gem.  Ironically, they are one and the same.  When the Perfectionist is deeply imbedded in our compulsion, we gravitate toward our point of disintegration – Type 4 on the Enneagram, here referred to as The Martyr.  The Martyr is the suffering, woeful, hopeless romantic.  “Oh woe is me, I am doomed, no one understands me and no one will ever love me.”  Over the course of my life as a perfectionist, I have become well acquainted with the Martyr.  The martyr feels EVERYTHING in spades – every slight, every criticism, every sideways glance, every perceived rejection as daggers to the heart.  We are mortally wounded (or so we think) by the slings and arrows of life.  Everything feels like an attack against us and our gifts.  What we don’t yet know, however, is that hidden within our Inner Moaning Myrtle, is the MUSE and that this is the Inner Gem we are invited to seek, discover, cultivate and embrace.  The Muse is he or she who FEELS the ups and downs of life, who experiences the fullness of emotions and who gives creative expression to these emotional life experiences so that others may be inspired, comforted, healed, challenged, empowered.  The difference between the Martyr and the Muse is that the Martyr is overcome by the emotions that they feel, the Muse is present to their essential quality of Equanimity  – able to journey through the peaks and valleys of the human experience gracefully and no worse for wear.

Still Learning

I am acutely aware of this dance between the martyr and the muse as I process a recent and significant loss.  On one hand, bombarded by the chaotic and unpredictable journey of grief, I feel compelled to crawl into a corner of victimhood – O Woe is Me….nobody loves me.  On the other hand, I am inspired to see what it looks like to allow myself to feel – to be present to the grief and to employ the gifts of my inner muse to give creative expression to that journey – perhaps with the intent of inspiring and supporting others one day.  At any rate, I still feel as if I am learning….trying to silence the inner voices of rejection and shame and simply be present to the loss.  To cry.  To rage.  To bargain.  To deny.  And to write to it all.  I’m hoping that in doing this, my Moaning Myrtle becomes magnificent, beautiful and inspiring like one of my favorite Type 4’s – Sarah McLachlan.  And as her songs have brought healing to my broken heart, maybe one day my poems will do the same for another.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dADn6KDS-s&feature=related

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Divine Revelation, temptation

The God’s Have Spoken

Last Friday, I put God and my God Squad on notice.  Yesterday, I got their response.  A Humbling reminder for one who claims to assist others on the path of spiritual growth and enlightenment.




The God’s Have Spoken!

Last Friday, I shared with you my Rantings on the Divine.  In essence, I told my God-Squad to “Step up or Step off!”  I was tired of being sick, tired of being afraid and tired of feeling helpless and without help and support from the Divine helpers that are supposed to be doing just that….HELPING!  I wasn’t sure what response, if any I would get to my teenage-like temper tantrum…..but I knew I needed to tell my Divine helpers how I was feeling.  Well…..here was their response as it was delivered to me in the middle of yoga class yesterday (Sunday) morning:

“Lauri, you know that everything will be alright.

(I had to admit that I DO know this…in the deepest place of truth inside my heart!)

The source of your anxiety and worry is the “how.”  You are worrying

about and seeking after the “how” everything will be ok.

Lauri, the “how” is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!

The “how” is our job, and we are working on it, all for your highest good

and for the highest good of your family.

So, relax in the knowledge that everything will be alright

and let us take care of the how.”

 

Well, there you have it!  I sure cannot argue with these words delivered directly to my mind and my heart by none other than the very God-Squad I gave notice to on Friday.  So, the Gods have spoken and I am listening (and humbled!)

 

A Teacher’s Irony

So, here is the irony.  As I received these words in the middle of yoga class yesterday, The Authentic Freedom principles that I received from this very God-squad and now share with my clients and students and will be revealed in detail in my upcoming book, Authentic Freedom- Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy (coming out this April!!!!!) came flooding into my awareness.  The seven spiritual fears, the core wound, the seven sacred truths all came rushing at me.  DUH!!!!!  I was shoulder deep in every one of the seven spiritual fears and had forgotten to go to the very tools that I teach and invite my students to utilize when they are in similar states of fear, despair, hopelessness.  Consider the teacher humbled!  Apparently, I still have much to learn (which is a good thing…because if I didn’t think I had more to learn, I probably shouldn’t be teaching anyone!!!!).

 

The Trickster

As I reflected on the Authentic Freedom principles and how I had been indulging the fears and the process through which I found comfort (by admitting I couldn’t do it alone and needed HELP!), I then heard the words of one of my teachers, Julie Tallard Johnson ringing in my ears. In her book, The Wheel of Initiation, Julie speaks of the role of the Trickster (temptation) in our journey of spiritual awakening.  The Trickster shows up as anxiety, fear, restlessness, guilt, despair, hopelessness, etc. and makes us think that things are bad when in fact they are REALLY REALLY GOOD!  The Trickster shows up to tempt us into indulging fear instead of recognizing the magnificence that is happening.  And, I love these words that Julie offers as a means of responding to the Trickster in our midst:

“Hello Trickster, and Thank you for being here.

You would not be showing up if something beautiful weren’t happening!”

 

So, I guess that means that something really, really, really magnificent must be happening in my life or the Trickster would not have shown up in such a fearful, desperate, hopeless guise.  So, Trickster, thank you for showing up to remind me of the truly beautiful things are happening and will continue to happen in my life!  And thank you to my God-Squad for stepping up to remind me that I am NOT alone!  And, thank you for my spiritual sisters who have been such an amazing source of support for me as I move through this stage of spiritual growth (you know who you are!).

 

What are the spiritual fears that confront you on your own spiritual path?

Who is your God-squad?  When is the last time you asked them for help?

What role has the Trickster played in your spiritual journey?

Who are your human sources of spiritual support and love?

 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

 

Posted in Jesus, teachers, Uncategorized

Jesus and Shaktipat

Shaktipat is a word in the Hindu tradition to represent spiritual awakening – in particular, spiritual awakening that is facilitated or initiated by a guru/teacher and conferred upon his or her students.  Did Jesus confer Shaktipat and can we still be recipients of this Divine energy today?

I am currently reading Where Are You Going? – A Guide to the Spiritual Journey by Swami Muktananda, now deceased guru of the Siddha Yoga tradition.  http://www.siddhayoga.org/  In this book, Swami Muktananda describes the highways and byways of the spiritual journey from the perspective of the Siddha Yoga tradition.  As I am reading this book, I’m seeing unfold before me all the parallels between the Hindu/Siddha Yoga tradition and the Jesus story.  Kundalini/Holy Spirit;  Meditation/Prayer; Mantra/Rosary and now today, Shaktipat and Jesus.

The Siddha Yoga tradition (which has its roots in Hinduism) defines Shaktipat as follows:

Spiritual awakening, or shaktipat, lies at the heart of the mystical journey. This infusion of energy from the spiritual master to the seeker brings about the awakening of the seeker’s own inherent spiritual power, called kundalini. Shaktipat is described by the yogic texts as an initiation that activates an inner unfolding of awareness that leads to progressively higher states of consciousness.   http://www.siddhayoga.org/

 

As I read about and seek to understand more fully the experience of Shaktipat, I cannot help but image that this is what it must have been like for Jesus’ own disciples.  Something in Jesus’ touch and/or presence startled them out of their normal everyday existence and awakened them to a higher path – the path to Oneness with God.  Many felt called to leave behind their former existence to follow Jesus and learned from him the path of spiritual awakening and enlightenment and many were healed of their spiritual fears and false perceptions – some through Jesus’ physical touch and some simply through being in the presence of this remarkable man.  The Jesus story certainly rings of Shaktipat to me.  

In the Siddha tradition, Shaktipat is conferred by a living guru within the lineage of the Siddha tradition.  Shaktipat is said to be conferred upon a seeker who is willing to receive it and can be received through touch or simply by being in the presence of the guru.  It is also said that Shaktipat can be received in the absence of the physical presence of the guru through desire and intention.  This is how Shaktipat is available to those who claim Jesus as their teacher and guru.  We no longer have the gift of the physical presence of Jesus among us, and yet this does not prevent those who follow Jesus from becoming spiritually awakened – all we need to do is desire to be awakened and be open to the spiritual lessons that will then unfold.  The gift in this spiritual awakening/Shaktipat, for those who claim Jesus as their guru is the same for those among the Siddha Yoga and Hindu traditions: 

Over time, through grace and our efforts in spiritual practice, the sense of separation from divinity drops away. We come to recognize the presence of God in ourselves and in the world around us. We experience the world as a play of God’s energy.   http://www.siddhayoga.org/

If this is true, why would we not all be open to receiving Shaktipat/Spiritual Awakening and celebrating our respective teachers through whom this has been made possible?  I for one, offer a profound prayer of gratitude for the experiences that startled me out of my normal everyday existence and set me upon the path of spiritual learning, growth and transformation…and I give the credit to Jesus, the Christ,  my personal guru (while thoroughly enjoying the teachings of all the great spiritual masters!) And I thank Swami Muktananda and Gurumayi Chidvilasananda of the Siddha Yoga traditions for giving me words  through which I have been able to more fully understand the experience.

Are you open to receiving Shaktipat/Spiritual Awakening?

Through what teacher do you desire to receive this awakening?

How can you be open to the unfolding spiritual path once this awakening has been facilitate?

 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries/YourSpiritualTruth

http://www.yourspiritualtruth.com