Posted in Authentic Freedom, creativity, Empowerment, Freedom, Inspiration, Jesus

Falling in Love with Ourselves

Whether it is the midlife journey, the ascension journey or the just plain human journey, it seems to me that the goal is really one and the same.  The goal, is to fall in love with ourselves.

hearts

Falling in love with ourselves, is referenced in one of my favorite prayers from one of my favorite teachers, Jesus of Nazareth:

That the world may know that you love them even as you loved me. (JN 17: 23)

Jesus’ prayer for his disciples and his prayer for us was that we would know within ourselves the depth of Love that he had come to know in, from and through God.  The Greek word used to describe the kind of Love that Jesus taught is agape’ which is an unmerited, unconditional, adoring, glorifying, all-encompassing sort of Love.  This is the Love that God is and the Love that Jesus came to know in his experiences of and with God and the Love that allowed Jesus to become the fullest expression of the person God made him to be.  When we allow ourselves to know and be this Love, the same will be true for us.  In knowing the fullness of God’s Love and the fullness of God’s love within us, we uncover the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in our lives and the way in which we are called to reveal God’s love in the world. In short, knowing the fullness of God’s love empowers us to fall in love with ourselves.

Falling in love with ourselves begins with a process of self-inquiry.  Who am I?  What are my gifts?  What are my passions?  What are my fears?  In what ways have I been wounded in my past?  What are my compulsions (non-loving or unhealthy behaviors)?  What are the parts of myself I prefer to keep hidden from others?  What are the parts of myself I reject?  What are the unrealized parts of myself? What are my unfulfilled hopes, dreams, desires, wishes, fantasies?  What is my darkness?  What is my light?  What is life-giving to me?  What drains me?   Where am I inspired?  Where do I find myself discouraged?  Falling in love with ourselves means getting to know ALL the parts of ourselves….bringing it all into the light so that it can be seen.  And then, it means LOVING it all.

Falling in love with ourselves means that we learn to love all that we are – warts and all.  Falling in love with myself, for example, has been about learning to love my depression, learning to accept my anxiety, learning to appreciate the lessons I have learned through panic attacks, learning to love my childhood for all the challenges and gifts it has brought me, learning to see where I was loved and adored and seeing the growth that came out of situations where I perceived myself as being rejected or condemned.  Learning to love myself has meant learning to love my anger, my sorrow, my sensitivity, my hatred, my desire for revenge and to stop judging myself for being human.  Learning to love myself has meant understanding and appreciating the gifts of being introverted and accepting and learning to tend to the fragile state of my physical health.

Falling in love with ourselves has another word, and that word is JOY.  Joy is the quality that God intended for us to know and to have in this human experience.  Joy is what is manifest as we come to love ourselves more and more.  Joy in all that we are given.  Joy in all that we experience.  Joy flowing out of us as we live and move and have our being.  Joy in the sorrow and joy in the joy as reflected in the words of another great teacher:

Darkness and Light are but one. (Psalm 139)

Falling in love with ourselves is about knowing that all that we are is perfect in the eyes of God and seeing this perfection in ourselves.

How are you being invited to love yourself?

Posted in Being Human, creativity, Holy Spirit, Inspiration, women

Curly Haired Women are Rarely Well-Behaved

Exploring the genetic gift/curse of curly hair and its likely connection to creativity and an inability to conform (aka behave).  🙂    The spiritual journey toward embracing how God made us and who Goddess made us to be…creative, passionate, pioneers.

Laurias Kat

Marsha Brady is the Devil

Marsha….Marsha….Marsha…..the immortal lament of Jan Brady and all other curly haired women who grew up in the 70’s when long, luxurious, straight hair was held up as next to godliness and if your hair was anything less than stick straight, you were condemned to giving over at least half of your life to trying to make your hair behave (aka straight).  I personally lost years of my life to blowing my wavy hair straight and then finishing it off with 20 gallons of Aqua Net hoping to keep it that way and then praying like hell for no humidity and bargaining away my unborn children in exchange for the absence of rain.

A Child of the 70’s

Being a child of the 70’s, I spent a fair part of my life trying to control the unruly nature of my curly hair.  Blow drying, curling irons, straightening irons were necessary accessories for curly haired women in a straight haired world (things haven’t changed much…have they!!!???).  This was all fine and good, I learned, until I dared to try a short haircut, modeled after one of my 1970’s idols….Dorothy Hamill.  What stylists did not know in 1978 is that the “Hamill Camel” DOES NOT WORK ON CURLY HAIR…so I was forced to suffer the agony and humiliation of two years of horrible ugliness as I waited for a bad decision to grow out.  “Women with straight hair do not have to go through this,” I thought to myself as I watched the middle school princesses walk down the hall with beautifully straight hair and well-behaving feathered bangs.  SIGH.  So, not only was Marsha Brady the devil, now so were Dorothy Hamill and Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith!  Curse you straight haired women!

With Age Comes Wisdom

It took me many years but I eventually learned to embrace and maybe even love my curly hair.  With stylists that know what to do and products that assist (Psst:  My favorite curly hair products are Ouidad and Paul Mitchell), I can now wear my hair in ringlets like God/dess intended.  That does not mean that I don’t occasionally get caught up in a wild hair, especially during the doldrums of winter, and pull out a flat iron for that sleek Jennifer Aniston look.  Once spring is here, however, all bets are off and my hair it at the mercy of the 90+% humidity characteristic of the Midwest.  There are some interesting lessons I have learned, however, about curly hair, curly haired women (and men) and what seems like a genetic predisposition to misbehaving.  Somewhere in that curly haired gene, I believe, is a equally defiant gene that says, “I WILL NOT….and CANNOT CONFORM!”   (kind of like our hair!)

Medussa

Myths, Wives tales and Nursery Rhymes

Remember this little ditty that was perhaps read to you at bedtime:

There once was a little girl

with a little curl

right in the middle of her forehead.

and when she was good, she was very, very good.

And when she was bad, she was horrid.

Yep.  I remember it too.  Along with something about “the devil’s curly hair” and the tendency toward curly hair among witches and evil goddesses.  In particular, I think of Medusa with her curling hair of snakes and eyes that when caught in your gaze, turned you to stone.  Myths, fairytales, nursery rhymes, legends all seem to suggest that curly hair is something to scorn, or at the very least, worthy of caution.  Curly haired women are dangerous.  Curly haired women are naughty.  Curly haired women are bad.  What I have learned in observing the lives of other women (and men) I know with the gift of curly hair, its seems there is some truth in these tales of old.  But, dangerous is simply a matter of perspective.  Curly haired women are only dangerous to those who cling to the status quo, who do not like change, who fear creativity, who run from emotion or  shun passion.  For like our hair, curly haired women tend not to be ones who will be obedient to the status quo or to some outside perceived authority.  Curly haired women (like our hair) cannot be controlled, neither can we be contained.  We don’t like being told what to do because (like our hair) we have a mind and a purpose, a direction and truth all our own.  So, yes, curly haired women are to be feared if you prefer to live within the tightly held constrictions of societal norms, expectations and standards; but to those who enjoy a life of freedom, a life where they feel supported in the pursuit of their wildest hair ideas, then curly haired women are not a danger, but a precious gift.  So, today I offer a toast to all the curly haired women out there for their courage, creativity, ingenuity, foresight and tenacity and another to the brave souls who are the grateful recipients of our magnificent gifts!

Lauri& Sasha

SOUL is the unique way you are creatively gifted to find meaning, purpose and connection. Soul, when engaged, leaves you feeling fulfilled, content and whole.  My mission is to help you BIRTH YOUR SOUL.  You can contact Lauri Ann Lumby, “Midwife to your Soul” at (920) 230-1313 or lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in creativity, Freedom, God

I Create Therefore I Am

Exploring “made in the image of God” and “be fruitful and multiply.”  Our innate drive toward creativity is what makes us uniquely human and is as much a part of, if not the purpose of, our spiritual journey.  God.  Creativity.  Spiritual Journey.  Healing.

taking care

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning….

In the beginning….God created……..human beings and made US in God’s image.  And then God told us to “be fruitful and multiply.”  As I have been contemplating creativity and our innately and uniquely human, spiritual drive to create, these words from Genesis have been running through my mind.  What does it mean to be created in God’s image and what does God mean in commanding us to be fruitful and multiply (beyond the obvious)?

A Very Good Place to Start…

In our self-centered egoness, we have mistakenly agreed that being made in God’s image means that we LOOK like God and that God looks like us…..case in point:

god-monty-python-holy-grail

I’m not going into all the reasons why this kind of thinking is wrong or the trouble it has gotten us into, and if you are a regular reader of this blog, I know you get it.  Suffice it to say, we have spent way more time creating God in our image than letting God reveal God’s self to us in all the infinite ways in which God wants to be known (including through us!).  I have come to understand that “being made in the image of God” has nothing to do with LOOKS.  Instead, it has everything to do with the invisible, intangible, infinite, omnipresent ways in which God creates, re-creates, imagines, dreams and seeks to be known in, around, and through us.  Beyond anything else, it seems as if God is not just “The Creator” as some modern theologians have redubbed “HIM” but is the very act of CREATING itself.  Or as Mary Daly once put it, “God is a verb.”  So, if God’s purpose is fulfilled in the CREATING and we are made in God’s image…..than perhaps CREATING has something to do with our own spiritual search for meaning, purpose, connection and fulfillment.  HMMMMM

When You Read You Begin with A B C…

No, we are NOT the only species on this planet who are driven to create.  Bees created hives.  Ants, anthills.  Birds, nests.   etc. etc. etc.  Like other species, one aspect of our creative drive is toward that which supports our survival – building homes, fashioning clothing, hunting and gathering, preparing meals, etc.  Unlike most other species, however, as human beings, our drive toward creating goes beyond mere survival.  We don’t simply build, fashion, gather or prepare just to meet the basic requirements of survival.  Indeed, we take our survival needs and push beyond these limits to create homes of beauty, clothing that is flattering and appealing, gardens that inspire and nurture, meals that are not just sufficient, but pleasing to the palate.  And then beyond our survival needs, we create simply to create.  We paint, draw, write, sculpt, compose, sing, dance, perform, act, entertain, etc. etc. etc.  Acts of creation that move beyond mere utilitarian survival are what make us uniquely human.

When you sing you begin with Do Re Mi…

Created in God’s image, we are made to create, but more importantly, I believe that the drive to create is actually God seeking to be known in the world THROUGH us.  God creates and continues to create and we are one of the vessels through which God wants God’s creation to be knowing in the world.  And who are we to say no to God?  If God wants to be known in the world through my writing, parenting, loving, mentoring, teaching….then who am I to say no?  And….WHO ARE YOU to say “no” to God’s creative spirit seeking to be known through YOU?  God is the inspiration and the muse and we are the artists.

Do a Deer, a Female Deer…

Since we are all plagued with the longing for meaning, purpose and connection in our life and we all seek to find fulfillment, the really good news is that the key to finding this meaning, purpose, connection and fulfillment is in BEING CREATIVE.  When we create, we are fulfilled…why?  BECAUSE GOD IS FULFILLED through our creating.  And until we connect with, nurture, cultivate and share our unique creativity in the world, we will feel restless, bored, lonely, impatient, frustrated, alone and unfulfilled because we are NOT doing what God made us to do….to be creative and to do so with enthusiasm and vigor.  Because, God told us…at the beginning…that our one task on this earth is to BE FRUITFUL and MULTIPLY.  And this is not just about babies….it is about being prolific in CREATING as God made us to BE.   So, my invitation to you today is to BE FRUITFUL and MULTIPLY….name, claim, cultivate, nurture your creative gifts, then by all means….SHARE THEM with others as God made you to do!

lauriprofilecolorwebshot2013SOUL is the unique way you are creatively gifted to find meaning, purpose and connection. Soul, when engaged, leaves you feeling fulfilled, content and whole.  My mission is to help you BIRTH YOUR SOUL. You can contact me at (920) 230-1313 or lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com to find out more about one-on-one mentoring, classes, workshops and retreats with Lauri Ann Lumby, Midwife to your Soul.

Posted in Initiation, Midlife Journey, Returning book

Birthing Ourselves – my new favorite book

Today’s blog explores the midlife (for most anyway), journey of birthing the soul, becoming our true self, finding the unique gift within us which is our gift to the world and which gives us a sense of fulfillment, joy, meaning and purpose.  And…apparently I’m not the only one writing about it.

soulcraft

My New Favorite Book

It is one thing to write the intimate details of one’s personal life in your own book (Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself), but it is completely unnerving to find the intimate details of your life written in SOMEBODY else’s book!  This is what I discovered while reading Soulcraft by Bill Plotkin (it is an assigned reading for the PhD program I’m in).  In his book,  and he describes in detail the personal and spiritual journey that has consumed me for the past 12+ years and does so with uncanny accuracy.  Bill nails the midlife spiritual quest so well in fact that I am almost offended by how ordinary and predictable my own spiritual journey really has been.  I’m disappointed to learn that I’m not unique, neither am I special or gifted in the stages that have unfolded for me in this spiritual quest…in fact, I might even be called predictable.  SIGH!

Birthing of our Soul

In Soulcraft, Bill Plotkin defines the soul as “the essence of our particular individuality which reflects our unique and deepest personal characteristics, the core and enduring qualities that define our personhood, the true self, the “real me. (p. 25)”  Connecting with spirit, according to Bill, is the journey of ascent where we experience union, oneness, transcendence, where we find our connection with all that is, including God.  The journey to the soul, he observes, is a journey of DESCENT……in finding our soul, we dive deep into the darkest, wildest, most natural, gritty, sometimes despicable and fearful parts of who we are so that we might find our core essence….the uniquely gifted magnificent and spectacular self….the gift that is uniquely ours and that we are called to be and share in the world.  As Bill also observes, all are called to this journey, but few actually partake because the journey to the soul is messy, dirty, chaotic and unpredictable and it requires us to be shed of everything that stands opposed to the greatness we are called to bring into the world.  This spiritual, soul-delving journey is anything but pretty, but the rewards are greater than we could ever possibly imagine.

Soulcrafting as Returning

In the deep work of birthing our soul, we are in essence Returning to our truest nature.  And here is where Bill’s universe and mine collide.  My latest book, Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself, is about just this – delving into the depths of our being to find the hidden gem.  While my book is perhaps uniquely feminine, as Bill also observes, whether you are male or female, it is the feminine that we are called to unearth and embrace as we birth our soul.  And while I’m tempted to target Returning specifically toward women, Bill reminds that if men are uncomfortable with the feminine experience (which I’m afraid men might be in reading my book), it is due to their fear of their own unintegrated feminine, wild self.  HMMMMM  So perhaps my book is more universal than I think and that the spiritual process of birthing the soul which includes: awakening, shattering illusions, acknowledging guides, redefining work and love, becoming comfortable with our longing and heeding our return, is not just for women ages 30-70 going through midlife, menopause or perimenopause, but for anyone who has the courage, strength and stamina to endure the trials in order that they might find their reward.

Thank you Bill for an amazing book and a fabulous guide for the most important journey of our lives – the journey to ourselves.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Gifts of Contemplation, Inspiration, Mystics

Seeking the Beloved – Guest Blogger Bob Russo

Today’s blog comes from reader, Bob Russo.  Raised Catholic and bothered with a soul that is discontent, Bob has found peace in the contemplative journey and the life of a mystic.  Thank you Bob for your inspiring words and humble witness.  (See Bob’s personal bio below)

BobRusso

Where does one begin to discuss a spiritual journey that from the “outside” has no particular appearance or definition?   I lead an ordinary life – going to work – doing stuff around the house – calling friends – viewing old Westerns with my wife – and watching an occasional football or baseball game.   As a youth, I played a lot of baseball.  Sports saved me, especially as a young boy with a lot of nervous energy.

But, behind the outer appearance has always been a soul discontent with “ordinary” reality – or a life experienced only within the confines of the ego or condition self.  From an early age, I sought quiet time alone – often sitting in church after school (I attended 12 years of Catholic School), not so much to pray, but to be still and listen to my surroundings.  I could hear the sparrows chirping in the distance and the peace they brought to my heart.

But, the real “kicker” began on a high school camping trip in the Sierra Nevada in 1970.  One evening, I slipped away from camp alone to view the vast expanse of the starry universe.  This was my first experience seeing space with such clarity – having been raised in the city.  While viewing, I felt a sense of “nothingness” – that all the so-called problems of life were just insignificant compared to the vastness of life that we really are!  I felt a kinship and oneness with this great universe of ours.  And, I felt an immense sense of relief of having to be “somebody” to be “something”.  The experience was short-lived but had a lasting impression on me.  I was 16 years old at the time.

All through these early years, I was a practicing Catholic – attending Mass regularly, going to confession, etc.  The Church was instrumental in laying a foundation for my spiritual life.  It gave roots to this tree that would spring forth into uncharted territory.

While living in Montana in 1974, and after having read the Gospel of John, I began to develop an interest in contemplative spirituality.   I felt this longing to experience God directly instead of just talking about the Divine.  At the time, there was no mystical tradition available to lay Catholics.  So, like many others from my generation, I sought the experience of God through Eastern mysticism, which was gaining much popularity in the West by the late 60s and early 70s.

In the winter of 1975, I decided to experiment with peyote as a means of reaching a state of altered conscious awareness.  With my good friend, Carl, on a sunny Saturday winter morning in Missoula, we decided to do our peyote experiment.  We took a small dose and then went for a walk through town in the fresh snow to enjoy the adventure.

Around 3 hours later, something happened to me.  It was as though my internal dialogue and “ego” consciousness were placed on hold.   I felt completely in the present moment with an open heart.  I felt a kinship with people I would see and the mountains around me.   I felt immense love for life – all was love!

After that experience, I had faith that this experience of love, brotherhood, and oneness could be found through the inner path to God – through deep prayer and meditation.  And, consequently, this has been my path to this day – although it has taken various forms and stages.

It has been a path of joy and equally so a path of tears, dryness, and longing.   I have had periods of deep questioning asking myself, “does God even exist and is this spiritual stuff just another big joke?”  “And, what do I know about any of this spiritual stuff anyway?”  The answer that came to me brought with it a sigh of relief – absolutely nothing – there is nothing to try and figure out!!

But, even during the “dark night” periods, I have felt this inner calling to continue with spiritual practice.  I have learned to forget about any “goals” and just show up –whether in meditation or present to outer life!  And, certainly, don’t take it all too seriously!

If I were to draw a conclusion on the contemplative life it would be that the journey is the path and destination all rolled into one.   Often times, the wounds in my life have been the gateway to further insights or what Father Richard Rohr refers to as “falling upward”.   It’s in those moments that the opportunity is given to let-go of the control switch and surrender to the unknown and to God.  This requires tremendous courage, which I have failed to embark upon on so many occasions.  But, rest assured, there is always another opportunity waiting in the “on-deck circle”!

And so, the longing continues and yet it is a welcomed sign today as opposed to something to attempt to get rid of.   In the past, I often wanted a teacher, technique or practice that would make that pain subside.  But perhaps the Sufis have it right in this regard – that longing is a gift that fuels us to our Beloved in the heart.  And, in this longing is an unexpected gift or signature from God reminding us of an agreement we made with him or her a long time ago?

And so the journey continues ….

Bob Russo has been a student of Eastern and Western contemplative practice since 1974.  He enjoys quiet time in Nature along with hiking, gardening, and an occasion day in the surf.  He has been happily married to his wife, Valerie, for 31 years.  Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, he currently resides in Murrieta California.  He has recently been influenced by the writings and Men’s Rite of Passage program of Fr. Richard Rohr and the Sufi teachings as presented by Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee.

Posted in Uncategorized

Finding What We Need Within

As we grow spiritually, we are invited to turn our gaze from the outside world and draw it inward…letting go of our temptation to seek fulfillment, peace, love and joy outside of ourselves and remembering that the Source of all that we seek is within. 

 

Out there….out there…out there

In our human journey, we are continually looking outside of ourselves for the things we need:  direction, guidance, love, fulfillment, satisfaction, peace, joy, abundance, etc.  When we want to know what we should do with our lives, we ask our friends, co-workers, family members, trusted advisors, “What do you think?”  We consult the advise of professionals and experts and even so-called experts, “What do you think?”  We look for the sign along the road, the flashing lights, the lightening bolt, the symbolic animal or coincidence that tell us what we are supposed to be doing.  When we want love, we seek the person outside of us that we think will make us happy.  When we want fulfillment, we seek “the perfect” job.  When we want money, we look outside of us for the thing that will give us what we need.  While there is a time and a place for those things outside of us …. a time when the exterior conditions and experiences and people in our lives do act as a vehicle of Divine guidance, support, fulfillment, love, etc…..it is the relentless search outside of us that gets us into trouble.

Big Remedy for Big Trouble

What this relentless outside search does to us is create and solidify an inner terrain of fear, anxiety and worry.  When we are constantly looking outside of ourselves for the answers, direction, fulfillment, validation, etc. we are forgetting that the only true source of peace is our intimate connection with what some might call “God.”  Whether you think of it as “God”, “Higher Power”, “Higher Self”, “True Self”, or some other name, there is a Source of guidance and fulfillment that resides deep within us.  Connecting with this inner Source of peace is how we find contentment, joy, love, guidance and it is in connecting with this inner Source that our lives take on meaning, flow and a sense of effortlessness.  While our outside search may provide some information, it is the inner journey that gives us the truest, surest, most profound guidance and fulfillment.

Coming Home

So, next time you find yourself on that relentless outside search for answers, guidance, fulfillment, money, time, love, etc. and you find the anxiety and worry within you rising in response to this relentless search….STOP.  BREATHE.  PRAY.  Take all the energy that you have been directing outward and point it toward yourself.  Point it toward your own heart, toward that peaceful, loving, joyfilled place within where God dwells.  Then, REST in that peaceful connection that what some might call God and WAIT.  It will be out of this peaceful connection that everything you need will show itself – guidance, abundance, opportunities to nurture and share your gifts, love, empowerment and most importantly….PEACE.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Being Human, grief, Healing

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

As we move and grow along our spiritual path, we are invited to examine and release for healing all those things inside of us that we want to put on somebody else – shame, blame, guilt, anger, frustration, impatience, distrust, etc.  When we are tempted to project our stuff “out there” we are invited to hold up the mirror and truthfully acknowledge our own unhealed wounds.

 

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Biggest Jerk of All?

Ahem….after a weekend buried in the world of projections, I can tell you the answer to that question is:  ME!  Me! Me! Me!  I am the biggest jerk as I look back on a weekend of impatience, frustration, doubt, fear, anger, sadness, compulsive behaviors and obsessions.  In this I am forced to humbly admit my humanness – which for a recovering perfectionist is not the easiest thing to do!  ARGH!!!!!  Yelling at my kids.  Spending hours in obsessive worry.  Stomping around the house and grumbling about all the things “they” did to me.  Wanting to run screaming after people I decided in my head had hurt me, ignored me, rejected me.  All my demons were out in full force and I was not a happy camper, and neither were the poor souls who had to share my living space (material and virtual!).  Did I say, ARGH?  So, sorry kids and other innocent bystanders…..I was a JERK and now I understand why.

Looking into the Mirror

So this morning, after a weekend of yuk….I returned to my daily spiritual practice.  I listened to a little Kirtan (sacred chant) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqXQCfKFB_o , then sat in meditation.  It was in this space of quiet repose that the universe decided to give me the gift of a clean mirror in which to gaze.  And there is was….I saw in vivid technicolor the source of my jerk-ness.  Then I wacked myself in the head with a big, “DUH!”  Of course, this weekend I moved the rest of my belongings out of my former husband’s home and into my new home….and it was not easy…..among other things, we had to move a 100 year old upright concert grand piano.  (Thank you by the way to the three strong men who lent their muscle, time and patience to moving that beast!!!!!).  Physical objects aside, the move was not easy for a plethora of other reasons:  Loss, sadness, grief, finality and a sense of closure….then mix that in with the grief and all its shining faces that decided to resurface in this time of transition.  DUH!  Of course I was a jerk….the grief came home to roost and instead of acknowledging the fears and resulting emotions that would be stirred up by this grief: insecurity, doubt, mistrust, sadness, loss, anger, resentment, etc. etc. etc.  I found myself projecting it outward….my kids were being brats, not listening, tearing up the house, friends weren’t giving me the attention I wanted in spite of all my attempts at getting their attention, I wasn’t getting what I wanted and when I wanted it, etc. etc. etc.   In short…..instead of acknowledging the unhealed wounds of my own grief, I had to decide that EVERYONE ELSE….was being a jerk and must somehow be rejecting and ignoring me.  POOR LAURI!

Polishing that Mirror

The reminder I received this morning is a terrific lesson for all of us who are trying to be conscious about our spiritual growth and healing.  When we find ourselves frustrated, angry, impatient, jealous, covetous, greedy, clingy, obsessive, possessive toward others, it might be a good time to pick up our own mirror and take a GOOD HARD LOOK.  What is the real source of these feelings?   What fear, wound, attachment, false perception within ourselves is kicking and screaming and trying to get our attention?  What loss, disappointment, insecurity, fear, etc. is asking for our loving, healing, compassionate attention?  When we turn our gaze away from our projections and look inward, chances are there is something inside asking for healing.  Can we then be loving enough toward ourselves (and others) and allow that wound to be named and given over for healing?  I think when we give ourselves permission to do this, the outward projections naturally take care of themselves.  In other words, “they” aren’t the jerks, we are for not tending to our own wounded hearts.

Where do you find yourself projecting blame, guilt, shame, anger, impatience, etc. towards others as a way to settle your own unhealed hurts?

How are you being invited to look more deeply within for the unhealed wounds that might be in need of healing?

How can you be loving and kind toward yourself in your own times of sorrow, grief and loss?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Raised Catholic

Apparently it is Catholic Week

Apparently it is Catholic week at Authentic Freedom/Your Spiritual Truth.  So, in the spirit of the last few blogs, I am re-running my letter to my Catholic brothers and sisters…..support for those seeking fulfillment in their spiritual journey.

 


While Authentic Freedom Ministries is open to people of  all spiritual traditions, I have come to realize that of the women and men who  seek my services, 95% of them were raised Catholic.  I have not  actively pursued this audience, yet I cannot ignore these statistics.  When  asked what has brought them here, these are the answers most commonly  offered:

  • I love my faith, but feel like something is  missing.
  • I yearn for a personal relationship with  God.
  • I’m struggling with some of the teachings of  the Church.
  • I have been wounded by the  Church.
  • I feel disenfranchised by an Institution that  does not honor me for who I am as a woman, gay, divorced, co-habitating, a  single parent, called to a priesthood that does not welcome  me…
  • I left the Church years ago and have not yet  found a spiritual home, I’ve looked elsewhere, but even there, something seems  to be missing.

If these issues speak to your  heart, know that you are welcome to come and explore your spiritual journey in a  safe and sacred space where you will be honored for who you are and for where  you are in your journey.

A letter to my Catholic brothers and sisters:

“At the sight of the crowds,  Jesus’ heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and  abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd…

Go rather to the  lost sheep of Israel.  As you go, make the proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of God is  at hand.’  Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out  demons.”

The above scripture passage has become the  foundation and intention of the work of service I do in the world. As I reflect  more deeply on this invitation, it has revealed to me the audience that I have  been called to feed and I can no longer ignore the fact that  95% of the women  and men who have sought my services have been raised Catholic.  This is not due  to any specific effort on my part.  This is purely coincidence (or  God-cidence!)!

As I reflect on this reality, I have come to  recognize some common denominators in those who come to me for Spiritual  Direction, Reiki or to participate in the programs that I offer.  The most  common characteristic among these men and women is that they are free thinkers,  and seeking to find a place where their questions, thoughts, reflections, doubts  and explorations can be honored as sacred.  They are seeking a safe place where  they will not feel judged or condemned for their questions or for the truths  that they have discerned within themselves and the life choices they have  made.   These are folks looking for tools to help them know God personally and  to learn how to discern God’s guidance in their lives. These are men and women  who love much of what they experienced in the Catholic Church, but are looking  for something more.  What this something more might be, most of them do not  know.  This is what they are seeking….that “something more” that cannot be  named.  They have sought this something more inside the Institution and feel  they have not found it.  They are enlivened when they discover that the  “something more” is deep within themselves and is the Source of peace, joy and  love that we call God.

Many of the people who have found benefit in the  work of Authentic Freedom Ministries have felt disenfranchised by the  Institution- most commonly because they do not feel the questions they have and  truths they have discerned are honored by the Church – women and married men  called to be priest, victims of abuse who were turned away or ignored, women and  men who seek equality within a decidedly hierarchical and male Institution, gay  men and women, those who have experienced divorce, single parents, women who  have suffered the tragedy of abortion, men and women in abusive relationships,  people who have been told their truth is heretical because “it is not explicitly  handed down by the magesterium”.  These are the people I have come to call “the  lost sheep of Rome,”    These are the people who are looking to be honored and  loved for who they are and to know that there is a place where their truth is  honored as sacred.  They are seeking to be freed of the guilt-ridden, fear based  paradigm many of them experienced in their Catholic upbringing.

To all of these aforementioned men and women, I  have tried to provide a safe and sacred space in which they can freely and  openly seek to know the Divine within and in knowing God, to know the truth of  themselves.  To the best of my ability, and admitting my own attachments to ego,  I seek to provide tools that honor people where they are at and to empower them  to live out that truth.  I am grateful for the many opportunities in which I  have witnessed deep transformation, healing and empowerment in those who have  sought companionship and witness through the Spiritual Direction, Reiki and  program offerings Authentic Freedom Ministries provides.

I am truly grateful for my own formation within  the Catholic faith, eight years of Catholic school, seven years of post-graduate  study in Catholic theology and spirituality and ten years of employment within  the Institution of the Catholic Church.  I look to Jesus as the model of human  empowerment.  He came to reveal the truth of Oneness in God’s love and to show  us how to live that out.  I look to Jesus the Christ as teacher, friend,  companion, guide, counselor and beloved.  I look to Jesus’ life and teachings as  a model for how I too am called to live.  I honor Jesus as being both fully  Divine and fully Human and as one who had realized the fullness of this truth. I  have a passionate love of the spiritual, liturgical, social justice and  scriptural traditions of my faith.  I am deeply moved by the sacred art and  architecture and am inspired by the men and women who make up the communion of  saints.  I would not be the person I am today without this formation.

At the same time, I cannot deny the  transformation that is being called forth and has been ushered in through the  work of the Holy Spirit at the Vatican II Council.  The reforms of Vatican II  have barely begun, and Vatican II was just the tip of the iceberg.  God is  calling forth a new vision of Church, and we are being called to participate in  its revelation.  As God said to Moses, “I have witnessed the  affliction of my people and have heard their cries of complaint, so I know well  that they are suffering.  Therefore, I have come down to rescue them from the  land of slavery, into a good and gracious land, a land flowing with milk and  honey.”  (Exodus 3: 7-8a) Perhaps these are God’s words for us as  well as we embark on our own journey toward freedom into a new life that has not  yet been revealed.  As the owner of Authentic Freedom Ministries, I humbly offer  the space in which discernment of what this new life may be can be safely and  freely explored individually and in sacred community.

In humble service,

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://www.authenticfreedom.net

Posted in Gifts of Contemplation, Lessons, Surrender

The Mystery of Allowing

One of the things we learn on the spiritual path is the invitation to non-work.  Today’s blog explores this counter-cultural movement and how is solidifies our call to live a peaceful life.

 

Making Things Happen

I know I don’t have to tell you this….but we live in a culture that expects us to “DO.”  We live in a capitalistic society and one of the primary tennents of this model is that those who “get” got there because of their hardwork and diligence.  The implication of this is that if someone doesn’t have, or seems to be lacking in material goods and wealth it is because “they didn’t do,” and there tends to be a cynicism and lack of compassion toward “those people.”  Well guess what…..Capitalism is a lie!  (I know, a pretty bold statement for 7:30 in the morning!).  I’m not ignoring the value of hard work and diligence, but sometimes we don’t “get” JUST BECAUSE.  Some people work their butt off and have nothing to show for it….and not because they are wasting their money on frivolities.  This is the downside to capitalism….work does not always mean “get” and while the rich get richer, it is always at the expense of other people in that society…someone always loses.  This awareness, however, does not detract from the expectations and pressures of our society for “doing.”  We are expected to make things happen, to work toward our dreams, to be diligent in manifesting what “we want.”  The assumption is that we are the SOLE source of manifestation in our lives, that we know what is best and that we are the ONLY ones that can make it happen.  Guess, what?  God has another plan!

God’s Plan of NON-Doing

There is no other way for me to explain this than to be direct.  God (higher self, the Divine, Higher power…whatever you want to call it!!!!!) KNOWS what is in our highest good and wants us to know it and wants us to receive it.  And guess what?  There is NOTHING we need to DO to make it happen.  Ok, that’s not quite true.  We need to do two things, which ironically aren’t “doing” at all…but are forms of “being”:

  • Be open to receiving the knowledge of what is in our highest good….we do this through diligent attention to our spiritual practice.
  • Be open to RECEIVING what is in our highest good – we do this by saying “yes”

The Magic of Allowing

When we diligently tend to our spiritual practice (prayer, meditation, yoga, chanting, mindfulness, etc.) and when we are open to recognizing that we might not know what is in our highest good and surrender our own will to that of our Higher Self, then magical things begin to happen:  The perfect job falls into your lap, the inspiration for your next novel shows up, you meet someone in a very unexpected way, the solutions to a problem you have been facing reveals itself.  I call these the “God nuggets,” little moments and items of grace that simply show up and all we have to do is say “yes.”  This is the magical mystery of allowing…and other than paying attention, we did nothing to “make it happen.”  Oh yeah, we did do one other thing….WE GOT OUT OF THE WAY!

What do you have to show for all the “doing” in your life?  How’s that working for you?  How’s that working for others?

Where can you employ less “doing” and more “being”?

What are you being invited to allow?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

 

Posted in Healing, Lessons

“I Receive Everything as Love” – Revisiting the Wheel

In her book, The Wheel of Initiation, Julie Tallard Johnson invites the reader to get in touch with their “pain story,” the agreements that we have embraced in support of this pain story and work toward naming and claiming and embodying the intention that will help to facilitate healing and release of that pain story, and assist us in our path of spiritual growth.  Today’s blog explores and opportunity to revisit the Wheel and the gifts that it provides.

 

 

Rejection

As I have shared in the past, I have been working through the Wheel of Initiation as outlined in Julie Tallard Johnson’s book of the same name.  The pain story that revealed itself to me as the one in search of healing is “rejection.”  I learned through this process that rejection has been the lens through which I frequently view my life.  Integrating the practices presented in Julie’s book with the practices of Authentic Freedom, I have come a long way in recognizing when this story rears its ugly head and have done much work toward allowing this pain story to be healed and released.  Apparently I’m not done yet.

 

Sparing You the Details

I will spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say that the old, familiar pain story recently made its appearance…not once…but three times.  UM….probably time to pay attention.  Three significant situations that could easily have been viewed as some form of rejection, and three situations that opened up the door for my inner victim to feel wounded, betrayed, hurt, deceived, rejected.  The good news is that I am still human and have allowed space for my victim to be sad, to feel alone, to lick her wounds, to scream and to cry (all important parts of the grieving process).  The even better news is that because of the work I have done on the pain story and my fear of rejection (Chapter 6 of  Authentic Freedom), my inner victim did not have to retreat into days, weeks, and/or months of cultivated self-loathing.  Instead, I have tools I can turn to that allow the rejection to be transformed into love.

 

The Trick and the Question

The intention that I have been invited to embrace as a tool for healing the pain story of rejection is “I receive everything as love.”  What I have learned about employing this intention is that it is a bit of a trick.  It is about shifting my perspective and asking a question.  The question is, “Where is the love in this?”  Now, I’m not going to lie to you and say that I discovered through this work that the three situations were really not about rejection at all…but it was only my perception that made it about rejection.  They were ALL THREE really and truly situations of someone saying “no” to me….I was not welcomed, I was not wanted, I was turned down and set aside.  It is how I internalize these three situations that determines if “I am rejected” or if I can instead receive these “rejections” as love.  That is the trick!  Do I allow the “rejection” to reach deep into me and destroy me (as I would have done in the past) or do I look at the situations from a different vantage point and see that what I might perceive as rejection is really and truly about love.  HHHMMM   It does require a bit of spiritual gymnastics….but this tactic really does work. 

 

Receiving and Believing in the Love

So, when I look at these situations from the vantage point of love, a whole new picture begins to emerge.  It is no longer about personal rejection, instead doors are open to seeing all kinds of hidden truths: another person’s pain story, validation of my own intuitive knowings, a reflection of what no longer supports the love I know myself to be, an invitation to leave behind what is no longer life-giving and supportive and permission to move toward something that is more in harmony with who I know myself to be today.  The love, I found, is hidden behind the mask that I would initially perceive as rejection.  Then here is the really cool part, when approached in this way, the “rejection” is transformed and becomes an affirming, nurturing, supportive gift that says, “See how far you have come….here is the way to love and thank you to persons X, Y and Z that showed you the path to more and more fully embracing your truth and more and more freely embracing the love and healthy intimacy you know to be true in your own heart”.  Now that is one cool trick!

What is your relationship with rejection?

How might you begin to perceive rejection in another way?

What are the gifts that past “rejection” have given you?

 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com