Posted in Jesus

Following our Longing

In this second Sunday of Advent, we look to Jesus as one who followed his longing to its Source and there he found peace.  He then followed that longing back out into the world where he found meaning, purpose and fulfillment.  Jesus then taught us how to do the same.

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Listen to yesterday’s Sunday Empowerment Service HERE.

Music for the meditation that we shared HERE. 

Posted in Authentic Freedom

Authentic Freedom Updates – Sunday Service and Crowdfunding

Sunday Service Recording

In case you missed it, below is the link to this past Sunday’s spiritual service.  The theme this week was “Beloved Partnership,” exploring the kind of love we are intended to enjoy as human beings.  It might not be what you think!  🙂

Listen to the service HERE.

Crowdfunding Update! 

I am super excited and incredibly grateful for the donations that have already been made toward our house-buying campaign, “Help Us Buy Our Home!”    With very little effort, $1800.00 have already been raised toward our final goal of $110,000.  Thank you to those who have already contributed and thank you to those who are yet to contribute.  We also welcome your help.  Go to the home page of our campaign HERE , cut and paste the link and post on your social networking sites:  Facebook, Twitter, Link’d In, etc.  along with a quick note about how Authentic Freedom Academy and our services have benefitted you and why you believe this is a worthy cause.  As my friend Ted says, “Please and Thank you!”  Now for a visual on the update:

CrowdfundingGoals

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Healing, Spiritual Practices

A Special Gift from Authentic Freedom

I’ve just arrived home from Muse Camp and am still in re-entry mode.  I did, however, still manage to facilitate the Authentic Freedom Sunday Service yesterday morning.  Below is a recording of yesterday’s service, featuring a guided chakra meditation for healing and wholeness.  Save a copy for yourself and use it often to heal your fears, release old wounds and enjoy spiritual, emotional, mental and physical restoration!  35 minutes in total! 

https://youtu.be/L_IQs22zIvc

CalmKundalini

Posted in Freedom, Healing

Authentic Freedom Sunday Service Audio Recording

Below is the link to today’s Authentic Freedom Sunday Service.  The theme today is healing the inner fears, unhealed wounds, false perceptions, etc. that prevent us from knowing and being the Divine Expression of Love that we are!

Please note the service ends at the 20 minutes mark on the video.  I’m still learning how to upload and format audio files to video format.  Thank you for your patience and understanding!  🙂

Here is the link:  https://youtu.be/dziSrxf00rM

To learn more about our Sunday Services go here:  http://authenticfreedom.love/sunday-service/

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Lessons, Spiritual Practices, Virtual Church

Sunday Service – The Price of Freedom

On Sunday, August 23, 2015, we hosted our second Sunday Service at Inner Sun Yoga Studio, Oshkosh.  It was a stormy, rainy morning and we appreciated the opportunity to gather together to share in a common desire to be vessels through which love, peace and harmony are made real in our world and to participate in tearing down the walls of perceived separation between us.  Here is the audio recording of the teaching portion of our gathering:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iNNlfqLB94

Please join us this coming Sunday, August 30, 2015 for our weekly Sunday Service.  The theme this week is healing the fears within us that lead us to our compulsive behaviors (greed, sloth, pride, envy, etc.).  We will be using the principles and practices of Authentic Freedom to facilitate this learning!  Looking forward to journeying with you on Sunday!

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Posted in Authentic Freedom, church

A New (Original) Way of Being Church

This past Sunday, I suddenly realized that I am DOING what I came here to do, and what I have KNOWN for a very long time was my mission and purpose on this planet – to bring forth a new/original paradigm for being Priest in a new/original paradigm for being Church. I sit in awe-filled wonder over the fact that I have arrived and that I am HERE doing what I have been trying for twenty years to do. Here it is, right in front of me. It’s been here all along, but now it seems it has wholly (holy) and completely arrived.

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What I thought was the final piece of the puzzle (the Sunday Service which is launching this Sunday, August 16th 8:00 am at Inner Sun Yoga Studio), was it, but it seems there was more. It’s not enough to simply show up on Sunday morning and facilitate a worship/prayer service, being Church and being Priest is about being a vessel of God’s love through the overall care and wellbeing of those in your community. Part of that care is to provide opportunities for your community’s psycho/spiritual nourishment, growth and development which I am already providing via Authentic Freedom Academy. Part of the responsibility of a priest is pastoral counseling and support which I provide as a Spiritual Director. Part of the job of a priest is to be a vehicle through which God’s healing is more fully present to individuals – which I provide through Reiki, Spiritual Direction, etc. Another task of a priest is sacrament – rites and rituals that bring people together in community and which help them to consciously connect with God’s grace. This I have had an opportunity to do through the weddings, ordinations and other rites of passage I have facilitated. This past Sunday, I had an opportunity to witness how the sacramental part of this task is even more present for me than I originally thought and how it is unfolding in a way that reflects the manifestation of a new/original paradigm of priesthood and a new/original paradigm of being church in the world.

This past Sunday, the sacramental part of being “priest” and being “church” presented itself in what would traditionally be called “anointing of the sick.” I was intuitively led to offer this service to a client who had been recently diagnosed with cancer and who is facing surgery this week (today as a matter of fact, please keep her and her family in your prayers). As I sat with my client and her family in a “make it up as we go along” service I realized that THIS is the new/original model of priesthood and church. There were no rubrics to follow, only the guidance and prompting of the Holy Spirit and the immediate needs of the family. We prayed. We shared in ritual. The family told stories, hugs and tears. We read from a sacred text chosen by my client. We sang a song that held great meaning for the family and that uplifted everyone with humor. The service ended with my client offering cake and coffee (if that isn’t communion, I don’t know what is!). It was perfect. It was sublime. It was AWE-some! As I sat in reflection of this experience, all I could do was feel humbled and in awe over whatever it was that allowed me to be witness to this sacred experience.

This is what it means to be priest. This is what it means to be church. No rubrics. No doctrine. No collar or special robes. No golden vessels or special laws. Only rapt attention to the immediate needs of those before us – their need for healing, comfort, nourishment and support in a way that honors their own unique beliefs and personal experiences of the Divine. I am humbled and in awe over twenty years of holding onto a vision, believing when everyone else (sometimes me included) thought I was insane, only to suddenly realize it is here – a new/original way of being priest and of being church in a world desperately in need of both.

If you live in the Oshkosh area, please join us this Sunday for our first Sunday Service. 8:00 am (doors open at 7:40) at Inner Sun Yoga Studio. Learn more HERE.

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom Academy, church

A Home for the Spiritually Homeless

This coming Sunday, August 16, 2015, Authentic Freedom Academy is launching its Sunday Service (8:00 – 8:45 am at Inner Sun Yoga Studio in Oshkosh). People have been asking me what to expect from the Sunday Service, what it is about and what it might look and feel like. To be completely honest, I’m not really sure. What I believe will happen is that the Sunday Service will create itself based on the needs of those in attendance and that over time, it will find rhythm and form. Until then, all I can do is show up with the intention of the Sunday Service which is to:

Provide a home for those who might otherwise feel spiritually homeless:

  • Those who might identify themselves as “spiritual but not religious.”
  • Those who have become disenfranchised or disillusioned by traditional experiences of “church.”
  • Those who have searched for a spiritual home but who are yet to find something that fits.
  • Those who long for spiritual companionship and community that is welcoming and accepting.
  • Those who long for spiritual community that is more about bringing people and beliefs together than building separation.
  • Those who long for a spiritual community that welcomes diversity of all kinds, including beliefs.
  • Those who yearn for spiritual community that encourages questioning as a critical component in authentic psycho-spiritual development.
  • Those who want to be engaged and empowered not merely talked at or left to feel powerless.
  • Those who want to be treated with honor and respect for the intelligent adults they are.
  • Those who long to make the world a better place, and who believe their spiritual development to be an integral component in fulfilling this desire.

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If you want to know more about the nuts and bolts of what Sunday might look like, here is what I know so far:

  • Bring the kids! All ages are welcome and I hope to provide opportunities for children to move and feel engaged!
  • There will be coffee and hot water for tea which you are welcome to bring into the service!
  • There will be nametags and a sign-up sheet so you can receive information on future programs, services, offerings, etc.
  • The yoga studio has plenty of pillows and blankets for floor sitting. (If the floor isn’t comfortable for you the studio has a few chairs or feel free to bring your own.)
  • There will be a free will donation basket.  Thank you in advance for your generous support.
  • We will start promptly at 8 and open with some sort of prayer of welcome, preparation and setting of our intention.
  • I will play a song to set the tone for the day’s theme.
  • I will share a reading from sacred wisdom literature (most commonly scripture from the Judeo-Christian tradition as this is my background, and I will include readings from other traditions when inspired to do so.)
  • A short lesson on applying the reading to our own lives, especially from the perspective of unity consciousness (Oneness).
  • We will share in a period of contemplative meditation drawing from Hebrew, Christian, Yogic, Buddhist and Indigenous traditions.
  • We will take time to share our prayer intentions and close with either a song or silence as we hold our intentions in prayer and prepare to go back out into the world.

If any or all of this calls to you, please join us this Sunday at 8 am (prompt). Doors will open at 7:40. Dress is casual (I will be in my yoga clothes, hair up and probably no makeup!). And if you feel so called, stay for 9:00 yoga with Priscilla (this class has become my church!). Inner Sun Yoga studio is on the corner of 8th Ave. and Oregon, across from Kossels. Parking and entrance are behind the building.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom Academy, church, Mystics, Spiritual Formation

Not That There’s Anything Wrong with That (Church that is!)

In Monday’s blog, I made it clear that the Authentic Freedom Academy Sunday Service is NOT Church. Today I want to make it equally clear, “Not that there is anything wrong with it (Church, that is).” Church, as we have (mostly) experienced it in the West, is a beneficial human practice which speaks deeply and profoundly to the needs of some. This traditional model of Church provides for a specific human need – it declares certainty in what is at best, an uncertain world. In the human condition there is suffering. Poverty, hunger, disease and death are all very real parts of the human experience. Good things happen to bad people and bad people often seem to be rewarded for their evils. All of these realities of the human experience create anxiety, worry and fear in even the most courageous and daring of human beings. In the face of all this uncertainty – the Church provides comfort in promises of a peaceful future in the afterworld – for those able and willing to fulfill the conditions necessary for acceptance into this heavenly abode. If you follow these rules, obey these commandments, live according to the regulations of the outside perceived authority, then you will be happy in the afterlife. For many, this provides great peace.

This model of Church that we have mostly known in the West is not the only way in which Westerners have experienced Church…it is just the one that gets the most attention. This model of Church that seems to get the most attention is the orthodox (concerned about doctrine, dogma, rules, enforcing rules, priest as intercessor) and exoteric (outward directed) model of Church whose greatest concern is the hereafter.

 

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While the exoteric model of Church has gained prominence, developing alongside the orthodox Church, is the contemplative/mystical church (notice the lower case “c”) and its concern with personal relationship, direct knowing, personal growth and development; and whose deepest concern is experiencing heaven on earth. This is the church experienced by Francis and Clare of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Ignatius of Loyola, Hildegard of Bingen – and many more. This is the model of church that historically been “in” the Church, but not “of” the Church. While ultimately under the jurisdiction of the papal hierarchy, these models of church have developed outside the influence of orthodoxy, guided by its founders’ intimate and personal relationship with Christ.

If the Authentic Freedom Academy Sunday Service is accused of being anything like church, it would be the latter – contemplative, mystical, concerned with personal relationship, direct knowing, personal growth and whose deepest concern is experiencing heaven on earth. In an uncertain world, with an equally uncertain future the only choice we have is to make the best of what we’ve been given and this is what Jesus originally taught. Jesus taught his disciples to actively seek peace in the midst of the only thing that is certain in the human condition – uncertainty. In the human condition we experience it all – love and hate, elation and pain, joy and suffering. Why not turn to tried and true methods for navigating the ever-changing landscape of our human experience, tools that help us find peace in the midst of suffering, comfort in the face of pain, love in the face of hate? This is what Jesus taught and what he intended his disciples to teach after him. If there is any kind of church that Authentic Freedom Academy might be called to emulate, it is this one.

Posted in Authentic Freedom Academy, church, Discernment, Empowerment, God, self-actualization, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices, Truth

Not Church

It seems the final piece of an ever-evolving puzzle has found its way into place. Starting Sunday, August 16, 2015, I will be adding a Sunday service to the offerings of Authentic Freedom Academy. This addition came about through no effort of my own. Instead, it literally fell into my lap. In truth, I had given up on the idea of a Sunday Service of sorts as I have tried this over and over and over again in many different forms and all had come to a screeching halt. In actuality, I had given up on the idea. So when the invitation came through the words of my yoga teacher/friend, I was shocked and surprised…..AND….it was the easiest yes I’ve ever said in my life….which is why I know the invitation, while offered through the person of my yoga teacher, actually came from God.

This is the piece of my Soul’s purpose that was missing (there’s one more piece that is missing…I’ll save that for another day). Funny thing is I didn’t even know it was missing. Sr. Shawn knew though when she offered me the following words when I met with her to discuss my call to priesthood, “Lauri, don’t neglect the part about priestly vocation that involves public worship.” “Yeah right,” I thought. “I won’t be doing that. Been there. Done that. Failed at that. No need to step into that hot mess again.” HMMMMM…..it seems Shawn knew something I did not know. Public….something or other…..is part of the puzzle….and it’s an important part.

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BUT…..IT’S NOT CHURCH – at least not in the way that Church has been experienced for the majority of the past 2000 years. Church, as most Westerners have experienced it, has been about an outside perceived authority (usually a man) claiming to be earth’s representation of Christ, telling people they have been rejected by God and then telling them all the things they have to do to earn back God’s approval so that if they are lucky, they might be allowed into heaven after they die. If they fail to earn God’s approval (by not following the rules set forth by the Church), then they will be doomed to an eternity in hell.

Um….yeah…..Authentic Freedom Academy, including our Sunday Services is nothing like that. Instead, we leave authority where authority lies – in your own intimate connection with the Divine Source within. Our job then, is to give you tools for nurturing and cultivating that relationship with your own inner Source of truth, guidance, peace, compassion, forgiveness, etc. along with tools for distinguishing the voice of truth (aka God, the Heart) from the voice of the mind (aka ego, adversary, etc.). And then, we provide the support and encouragement you need to heed the voice of truth and then live out that truth for the sake of your own fulfillment and sense of purpose in the world…..ultimately in service to the betterment of the world.

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Authentic Freedom Academy, including our Sunday service is ultimately about empowerment – empowering you to be the fullest expression of your Fully Divine and Fully Human self that is possible. Our goal is to support you in the journey of your own self-actualization where you are free to experience a life of meaning and purpose that provides you witl the inner contentment that comes with a fulfilling life experience. We accomplish this through various means:

  • One-on-One mentoring (Spiritual Direction)
  • Hand-on-healing
  • Classes
  • Writing and Publishing

And now……

  • Sunday Service

Whereas the former offerings emphasize education and empowerment, the Sunday service will focus on nourishment. Nourishment through music, ancient wisdom writings (scripture), an inspirational lesson, chant, mantra, meditation and prayer…..all in the company of a loving, supportive community where all are welcome.

To learn more about our upcoming Sunday Services, click HERE.