Posted in Weekly Lesson

The Rocks and Stones are Singing

Last week I promised a piece on “the new monasticism.”  That piece will have to wait as our normal lesson is being interrupted by this special message from our sponsor – the Divine – within, without, and all around.  Especially within you and me….AND as we are to now understand, the whole entire universe.  In […]

Posted in church, Healing, Raised Catholic

Recovering Catholics – 42.7 Million Strong

The Second Largest Religious Denomination

A few years back, I learned that the second largest religious denomination in the United States (reported by PEW Research, second only to the Roman Catholic Church), is made up of non-practicing Catholics.  I sat down and did the math and the number of people who still call themselves Catholic, but who no longer attend mass on a regular basis is 42.7 million!  That is a HUGE number of people.  If you are reading this blog, you are likely one of those 42.7 million, or perhaps you were raised Catholic and no longer call yourself Catholic, so we can simply add you to this number and we might find that there are in fact 85.4 million Recovering Catholics in the United States. If that were the case, we would outnumber the active Roman Catholic population!!!

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Who Cares?

You might ask yourself, “Who cares?”  Why is this significant information?  What does this prove to anybody, if anything?  Well, it means something to me.  And here’s why:

1) There are a significant number of men and women in the United States that had a particular religious experience growing up which formed them (for better or worse) and which contributed to who they are today.

2) This unique religious experience of being raised Catholic probably continues to inform them (again, for better or worse).

3) This unique religious experience of being raised Catholic becomes part of the marrow, blood and bones of one raised in this tradition and cannot be exorcised no matter how your current religious experience has changed (if, indeed it has).

4) For those who are no longer practicing Catholics, there is a unique form of grief that comes with the separation from Catholicism (whatever the reason for that separation), and there is a unique form of longing that cannot be quenched.

5) There is a unique set of needs residing within the hearts of Recovering Catholics, that for the most part, are not being met.  We cannot get these needs met in another religious institution.  We cannot go to the Catholic Church to get these needs met.  We cannot meet these needs on our own.

6) I am here to help the 42.7 million (or more) Recovering Catholics get those needs met.

 

Click on this image to register.

What are those needs?

I see the needs of Recovering Catholics as the following (and if you see more, please let me know what they are…..and I will see how I can help!):

1) Grief Support:  Catholics leave for a multitude of reasons, most boiling down to the fact that the truth God revealed to them is in conflict with the doctrine of the Church – teachings on contraception, homosexuality, vocations, divorce, remarriage, etc. etc.  Some leave because they have been directly harmed by a representative of the Church – sexually abused by a priest, physically or verbally abused by a teacher, counselor or lay minister, given incorrect information about Church teachings that made them feel unwelcome (like a certain family member who was told they were no longer welcome to come to communion simply because of a divorce).  No matter the reason, when we leave a community in which we were one time a member, even if the parting is our own decision (kind of), there is grief.  Recovering Catholics need support for the grief they experience in leaving the Institution behind, or in being asked to leave.

2) Resolution: Many Catholics (especially in the past), who left or were asked to leave, were asked to leave based on faulty information.  A representative of the Church misinterpreted the doctrine, or interpreted it to fit their own personal agenda.  For these people, the healing is helped when they learn the faulty nature of the information.  Yes, this will certainly stir anger, but for some, it opens the door to their return….something many are ultimately longing for.  Recovering Catholics might not seek this resolution from a priest, so I can be that bridge….if this is what they need.

3) Longing:  In my generation and the generations that follow, the number one reason I have heard for people leaving is because in the Catholic Church, their needs were not being met.  Specifically, the desire to:

Know themselves.

Know God.

Find Inner Peace.

Know their Gifts and how they are called to use them.

Find meaning and purpose in their lives.

The Catholic Church, most often, attempts to meet these needs through religious formation – the dissemination of doctrine, or doesn’t even go so far as that and simply stands in the belief that providing you with an opportunity to attend mass and receive the sacraments is enough.   Unfortunately, this is an intelligent and wise population of men and women who are looking for something more than to have their heads filled with rules and regulations, history and traditions.  And for many, the mass is not relevant (or the homily given at mass isn’t relevant).  They want DEPTH!  They want something that has meaning and relevance in their own lives and which allows them to know God personally, not just through someone else’s interpretation.  In short, what they are looking for, but don’t have the words for, is Spiritual Formation – something the Church has not done a good job of making available to the men and women in the pews. Spiritual Formation just happens to be one of my areas of expertise!

4) Validation: Recovering Catholics also desire validation….and they deserve it!  They have been formed to use the brain God gave them to reason, discern and exercise truth.  And, many, if not most, grew up in a culture that lost its trust in authority.  They/we have come to question authority and to not blindly follow simply because we were told.  Instead, authority has to be earned and our own reasoning minds need to be validated.  We need to be given credit for having a brain and an intelligent thought and the freedom to challenge and question what we are being told.  In the Institutional Church, questioning is often discouraged or outwardly condemned.  What the Institution has forgotten is that the most important stage in faith development is the questioning and searching stage.  If the Church really wants mature disciples, this stage needs to be honored.  If the Institution will not welcome these questions, I am happy to do so!  I’m excited to see how your questions will help you grow….and me as well!  🙂

If you are a recovering Catholic and looking for support, I am here for you.  Call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@authenticfreedom.love to find out more. 

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Posted in addictions, Authentic Freedom, Boundaries, codependency, detachment, Empowerment, Healing

Heal Yourselves! Lessons on Detachment

It is said, “The good Lord helps those who help themselves.”

The key here is “help themselves.” The Lord (or whatever name you give to the transcendent aspect of the Divine that is said to be a source of guidance and support) cannot help those who refuse to take responsibility for their own lives, their own patterns of dysfunctional behavior, their own woundedness and their own fears.

The same can be said for us. When we reach out as a source of loving support for others, we can only help those who are willing to help themselves.  We cannot help those who are unable or unwilling to identify their own patterns of dysfunctional or compulsive behaviors (including behaviors of gluttony, addiction, victimhood, martyrdom, rage, power and control, envy or jealousy, sloth or pride); and we cannot help those who are unwilling to do the work of identifying the unhealed woundedness or fears that are in fact the cause of their dysfunctional behaviors and the unfortunate life situations their behaviors get them into.

What we can do is provide a listening ear and a compassionate heart. We can be a presence of unconditional abiding love.  We can educate, inform and direct them toward resources that might help them (including ourselves if we have the proper resources).  The rest is up to them.

As it is also said, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.”

Whether or not those we hope to help refuse to drink from the well of support we lead them to is completely out of our control. Even if we could make them “drink” that doesn’t mean they will actually do the hard and often painful work of taking responsibility for what ails them.  This is where the subtle and necessary practice of detachment comes in. When we have offered all we are able in the form of guidance and support and when those we hope to help refuse to help themselves, there is nothing left for us to do but walk away.  For the sake of our own wellbeing, we cannot allow ourselves to take another person’s decisions personally; neither can we lose a minute of sleep over it.  As one teacher says, “their decisions are none of my business.”  Detachment is the ability to be a loving source of support while also having no attachment to what the other person decides to do with our offer of support. If they receive the support and take appropriate action, then they are well on their way to healing.  If they refuse the support and continue in their dysfunction, it is now on them.

As the Lord helps those who help themselves, it is also true for us. We can only help those who are willing to help themselves.

The Authentic Freedom Mastery Course empowers us with the ability to identify our gifts, along with our compulsive and dysfunctional patters of behavior and then provides tools for helping us to heal these patterns ourselves.  Learn more by clicking the image below:

 

Posted in Empowerment, Inspiration

The Number One Cause of Violence in Our World

Before I answer the question about the number one cause of violence in our world, let me ask you a question:  Have you had enough of the violence yet? If your answer is YES, then please read on.  If you are excited about continuing the cycle of violence in our world by contemplating retaliation and retribution, then don’t bother reading this blog, you won’t get it anyway.  Today’s blog is for those who have ears to hear and for those who have hearts that yearn for an end to the violence and who want to play a role in bringing this violence to an end….once and for all! 

Short Answer: The number one cause of violence in our world is rage over a world that is too small, and feeling powerless to change it.

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Longer Answer: This is not about a world that is literally too small – as in size, shape, volume, etc. Neither is this about a world that doesn’t have enough resources to feed, clothe and house every single human being on this planet (because we DO have enough resources).  This isn’t even about the systems of distribution that have failed in their duty to care for even the simplest needs of the beings on this planet.

No, this is about a deep inner knowing of the SOUL that the lives we are living are WAY TOO SMALL!

Even Longer Answer: The Soul knows who we are, the reason we were put on this planet and the mission we are here to accomplish.  Throughout our life, the Soul tries to communicate this truth to us and draws into our presence opportunities to nurture, cultivate and ultimately live out this call.  The problem is that we don’t know how to listen and the world doesn’t know how to support us in the fulfillment of our Soul’s mission.  When we feel thwarted in the fulfillment of our Soul, RAGE erupts and if we don’t have proper tools for processing our deep-seated anger at not being able to fulfill our Soul’s duty, we either do violence to ourselves or to others.

Perhaps the violence we do to ourselves is internal through all the voices that tell us:

  • You have nothing significant to contribute to this world.
  • Who are you do think you can do/be/…xyz?
  • Good girls/good boys don’t do that.
  • Your family, friends, tribe, church, won’t understand/love you if you choose this path.
  • If you follow the path of your Soul, something in your life will have to change.

Maybe the violence we do to ourselves is the cultivating of resentment, or the suppression, repression, wholesale rejection of our anger – the very voice that is trying to help us understand our Soul’s calling.

The violence we do to others has many faces:

  • Seething resentment
  • Blame
  • Cultivating inner anger or hatred.
  • Making someone else the cause of our world being too small.
  • Physical, emotional, mental, sexual acts of violence.

When enough individuals are unsupported in the fulfillment of their Soul’s purpose, the rage that we hold within us individually becomes a collective rage where pretty much everyone on the planet is pissed off because their Soul is being ignored.  Yes, we have all sorts of coping mechanisms that self-medicate the pain of a meaningless and unfulfilling life (consumerism, materialism, money, power, achievement, fame, status, drugs, alcohol, sex, war after war after war after war), but there are not enough of any of these things, especially war, to satisfy the ache of a soul unfulfilled.  Until we tend to the deeper call of the Soul, we will never be satisfied and will be forever looking outside of ourselves for the satisfaction of that longing.  When we find that none of those things satisfy, we either turn toward more violence, or we WAKE UP and turn within to the ONLY source of the satisfaction that we seek.  This is as true for the young, dark-skinned men who turn to terrorism, hoping it will satisfy a life unfulfilled, as it is for the pasty white guys gathering piles of wealth as the rest of the world is starving.

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Longest Answer: Our world is a mess and it is a mess because for lifetimes, we have not supported ourselves or each other in the QUEST FOR OUR SOUL.  Instead, we have turned to outside perceived authority as the author of our lives and have allowed them to create structures while crafting rules, regulations, expectations, etc. that tell us who we are and the roles we will play in THEIR games.  (hmmmmm…..sounds like Hunger Games).  We have followed their rules because, quite frankly, it is easier.  It is way easier to do what we are told and to follow the 10 rules for “happiness” than it is to take the time to BE STILL and listen for the voice of our Soul.  It is also easier to follow the herd of sheeple than it is to follow our own inner voice and calling.  Listening to the voice of our Soul takes work and it takes, COURAGE.  This is not a journey for the faint of heart, especially in a society that mostly wants us to follow the rules – or at the very least, to follow the crowd.  “Don’t rock the boat.”  “Don’t disturb the status quo.”  “Don’t question, challenge, turn away from what WE want you to hear, know, do.”  These commands are then followed up with the biggest threat in their arsenal – “Do what we tell you or LEAVE.”  And in some places, “leave” means “die”….literally.

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The Solution: As much as we would like to cure the world of its violence, the solution to the problem will not be exacted on a global scale (yet).  Instead, it starts with ONE person – YOU deciding to make a CHANGE.

  1. It starts by turning away from the violence in the world – turn off the TV. Stop watching Fox News. Don’t read (or believe) the newspapers. Find sources of information that are not influenced by the institution of violence and propaganda. If you aren’t sure which ones those are….LISTEN TO YOUR GUT! Your intuition will guide you. (Turning away from the violence doesn’t mean we aren’t informed. Neither does it mean we don’t care, or pray, or hope for a different outcome. We are just choosing not to participate, not to add to it, and not to allow it to harm or influence us toward fear or violence).
  2. The second step is all about SELF CARE! Turn into your SOUL. Listen as it tries to communicate truth to you, your mission, your gifts, your purpose and your call. Learn how to manage your anxiety, anger, frustration, impatience, sense of powerlessness. Find support in overcoming your fears and resistance to your SOUL and in moving through the societal constructs that week to keep you from the path of your SOUL. Find support for living the path of your SOUL. (PS THIS is what I do for a living….if you want support call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@authenticfreedom.love.)
  3. Find community. You are NOT ALONE in the desire to be free of a world of violence and to live in a world where all people are supported in finding wholeness, meaning, purpose, fulfillment, peace, love, and joy. Find others like you who have had enough of the violence and who are willing to do the HARD WORK of extracting yourself from the herd of mindless sheeple blindly following the voice of fear and who desire instead, to create a new wave – a wave of love that will one day grow large enough to wash the world clean of fear and restore it to the world of love that it was meant to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, church, Forgiveness, Healing, Jesus, Lessons, Mary Magdalene, Raised Catholic, Spiritual Practices, teachers

When Old Wounds Come Back to Haunt Us

After Monday’s global message about Building the New World, and yesterday’s call to resurrect the Magdalene and feminine principle with her, I’m turning to a more personal experience, and yet one to which I suspect you can relate and from which we can all learn.

The VOID MOON sucks! After the glow of love that filled our Soul’s at the Blood Moon eclipse, equinox gateway, the intensity of this week’s new moon and the fallout of a moon gone void have been INTENSE.  With the new moon, I had such intense energy within me I thought I might explode, only to meet the following day with DEPRESSION, GRIEF and overwhelming fear….all thanks to old wounds and deeply rooted fears that all decided to pay me a visit.  On the highest level, I know these fears are here to teach me and are only showing up now because they are ready to be healed.  This awareness, however, does not make the fears any less uncomfortable.

Interestingly, these wounds are intimately related to the topics I taught this week in my Authentic Freedom and Mary Magdalene courses, lending support to the idea that the world really is of our own making and for the purpose of our own, personal, evolution. So, here is what decided to show up this week asking for another layer of healing:

MONEY. OMFG! Not even going there!  I’ve been down this road so many times I see the demon and say, “YOU AGAIN!?  Aren’t we done with this dance yet?”  Then I turn to my spiritual practices, say my prayers, borrow from Peter to pay Paul if necessary and then move on.  Then I do the really DEEP work of finding out what is REALLY in the way because, as I keep discovering, it is rarely about MONEY.  Instead, it is about some other wound asking for healing….in the most recent case – the wound over not feeling supported, believing I have to do this all alone, the thought of which then makes me DAMN TIRED. What I really want to do is crawl into bed and sleep for a week, but instead, I see the wound and do my best to care for it, along with the pain in my lower back that always seems to accompany this fear.  If what has happened in the past proves to repeat itself, after tending to the wound and finding relief from this fear, money will once again start flowing toward me….not just away from me!

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REJECTION. Blech.  Yesterday is showed up LOUD AND PROUD in my old wounds over the Church.  Hearing firsthand what I have known for many years – people I know and once (and still) cared for saying all kinds of evil against me – evil that has reached all the way into the hierarchy of the Church where there is apparently a growing file with my name on it.  (Based on what I’ve heard, the file must be enormous!).  Part of me wants to ask, “Don’t you people have anything better to do with your time?”  The other part of me just sighs in resignation over the very real truth that both Jesus and Mary Magdalene were treated in the very same way by the institutions and people around them.  So, who am I to mourn over uninformed and hateful comments made against me “in Jesus’ name?”  Another part of me knows that the things being said against me are simply a reflection of the unhealed wound of rejection in those rejecting me and the extent to which I feel rejected by them is the degree to which they fear being rejected by God.

I weep for their fear and pray for their healing….but still it makes me sad.  Sad to know that there are those “out there” speaking evil against me and against the work I am doing in the world.  So I grieve.  I grieve the relationship with the Church I once enjoyed.  I grieve the loss of the dream.  I grieve the hole in my heart where these “friends” once lived.  I grieve for those who don’t even know me and who hold some sort of personal vendetta against me for the sake of their own self-righteousness.  I grieve for a hierarchy who doesn’t know me except through the lens of someone else’s fear.  I grieve for a Church who has lost another valuable resource and all other lost possibilities because of the wholesale exclusion of anything associated with my name.  And I grieve for myself – for the little girl who found her connection with God in the silent experience of the mass, the woman who found her calling through the words of her pastor, who found her formation in the arms of the Church and who wants nothing but to serve God through Jesus by helping the world to know what she has come to know through Jesus’ message of love – that we are all ONE and that we are ONE with each other through LOVE/God.

Mastery Work: Then, when I am done with my grieving, the true mastery work steps in. I see this all for what it really is – AN OPPORTUNITY TO HEAL MY OWN FEAR OF REJECTION!  It is not a coincidence that the “haters” are showing up now as I am about to step into something magnificent.  As I’m being given an opportunity to step even more fully into my Soul’s purpose, here are those rejecting me and me reacting to their rejection by feeling rejected.  The “mastery” work reminds me that everything showing up in our lives is here for our own evolution.  So those who are showing up reflecting back to me the fear of rejection are here as teachers, giving me an opportunity to see the wound that is not yet healed within me so that I can do the work of healing it so that I can take the next BOLD step toward the purpose of my Soul.  Thank you haters!  And here is the prayer that I will be employing to assist myself in healing the fear of rejection and in doing so, helping them find healing for theirs as well:

 

I’m sorry (to the part of my soul that is feeling rejected)

Please forgive me.

I love you.

Thank you.

 

 

Lauri Ann Lumby offers empowerment training for those who want to change their world. To learn more call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@authenticfreedom.love.

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Academy, church, Discernment, Divine Revelation, manifestation, self-actualization, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices

Full Circle and the Fulfillment of a Dream

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, the past six months have been a time of profound release.  God doesn’t speak to me in literal words, but the Divine guidance (in so many words) was clear:  “Be ready and willing to let go of EVERYTHING.  You are being emptied so that you can be filled with something far greater than you could ever imagine for yourself.”

I can assure you the emptying was not (and still isn’t) pretty.  There was anger, frustration, impatience, lots of temper tantrums and grief….oceans of grief…and sometimes these oceans were tears of joy or relief.  I believe I have cried more in the past three months (especially) than I have in my entire life up until now.  What a powerful time!

Gratefully, I was not required to do this letting go alone or absent of support.  Instead, there were innumerable times in which I experienced the clear and visible hand of God at work and in which I felt upheld by God’s grace….from the glimpses of my “new life” that would sometimes peek in, to the mini inspirations for changes to my website, branding, etc., to the host of angels I saw surrounding, supporting, protecting, and celebrating me, to the tiny group of Magdalenes who showed up for formation and ordination so that the world might be changed, to the many human hands who offered a listening ear, healing touch, and loving presence.

In all of this, I still had no idea what was coming forth or what this “new life” might look like that was being born through me in the letting go.  All I could do was remain in the PRESENT MOMENT, listening, receiving, waiting, acting when necessary….TRUSTING that God knows what God is doing while quaking in my boots over my complete lack of control over this unfolding.  I was clearly NOT IN CHARGE…..something invisible was doing the work THROUGH ME and I was to simply allow it.

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So, I rebranded my business “Authentic Freedom Academy”

I changed the look to be less about me and more about something like Hogwarts.

My hard drive crashed and destroyed my ability to create video services (no matter how hard and how many times, in how many ways and for how many dollars, I tried to restore this function) which made me examine the bigger message here.

I launched a networking group.

I created new ways to promote my services to different audiences.

I clearly heard the courses that will be made available in 2015/2016 and scheduled these courses.

I claimed and launched the “Order of the Magdalene/Christ.”

AND THEN……two weeks ago an invitation was extended to me that brought all of the above together and presented the fruits of all this letting go and receiving.  My teacher, friend and colleague from the yoga studio where I practice asked me, “Lauri, what would you think about offering a Sunday service at the studio before the 9 am yoga class?”

The answer was an easy YES – perhaps the easiest YES I have ever felt come out of me.  It was a YES so easy and RIGHT that I felt everything awaken in me and ground at the same time.  All my cells lined up in celebration and in DEEP knowing that the answer to this question was a BIG FAT YES YES YES YES YES!

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And then I saw it.  What is being born through me in all this letting go and receiving is exactly what I set out to create 13 years ago……a NEW/ORIGINAL way of being CHURCH.

Be assured, I’m not going to call it church (because of all that brings up for people), but it is exactly what I have envisioned and held within my heart for (at least) 13 years:

A place where people can gather in community to be nourished by the Divine word, and supported in Divine presence through contemplation and prayer, integrating the treasures of both Western and Eastern spiritualities.

A place where people can be supported in their individual journey of self-actualization – discovering their own unique giftedness and how they are called to share these gifts and passions for their own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world.

A place where people can find support for the challenges of the human condition – death, divorce, job loss, medical diagnoses, parenting, grief, etc. etc. etc.

A place where people can mark the beginnings and endings of life in a way that is rooted in love and honoring of their inherent greatness (instead of cloaked in ideas of sin, punishment, shame).

A place that honors LOVE and UNITY above all  – recognizing that all are One with God in LOVE and LOVE and ONENESS are the cures for all that is ailing in our world.

There it was – clear as day and exactly as I imagined it would be 13 years ago – except WAY EASIER.  No more fighting old models of Church.  No more arguing against the old regime.  No more feelings of defensiveness or a need to do battle.  Instead – a clean, clear, sure rightness about my mission and purpose – free of my old attachments, unhealed wounds, fears, false perceptions, judgments, etc.  Simply free and open and standing as truth in its own right.

So there it is:  Authentic Freedom Academy

Sunday Service

Authentic Freedom Mastery Course (aka Superheroes)

Order of the Magdalene/Christ

Spiritual/Life/Spiritual Entrepreneurial/Beloved Partnership Counseling

Hands-on-Healing

Rites of Passage

Supporting others on similar paths (SWIM, Affiliates, AF Teachers)

 

In coming full circle, back to the original dream, and the one that truthfully never left my heart, I understand why Sarah laughed.  (Sarah spent her whole life dreaming of a child until she eventually had to give up the dream as she had reached hold age.  Then one day, the Lord sent a messenger to tell Sarah that in nine months she would bear a son.  And then, Sarah laughed. I imagine she laughed even harder when God’s message turned out to be true.)

 

 

 

Posted in church, Healing, Raised Catholic

Recovering Catholics – 42.7 Million Strong

The Second Largest Religious Denomination

A few years back, I learned that the second largest religious denomination in the United States (reported by PEW Research, second only to the Roman Catholic Church), is made up of non-practicing Catholics.  I sat down and did the math and the number of people who still call themselves Catholic, but who no longer attend mass on a regular basis is 42.7 million!  That is a HUGE number of people.  If you are reading this blog, you are likely one of those 42.7 million, or perhaps you were raised Catholic and no longer call yourself Catholic, so we can simply add you to this number and we might find that there are in fact 85.4 million Recovering Catholics in the United States. If that were the case, we would outnumber the active Roman Catholic population!!!

StMaryOshkoshaltar

Who Cares?

You might ask yourself, “Who cares?”  Why is this significant information?  What does this prove to anybody, if anything?  Well, it means something to me.  And here’s why:

1) There are a significant number of men and women in the United States that had a particular religious experience growing up which formed them (for better or worse) and which contributed to who they are today.

2) This unique religious experience of being raised Catholic probably continues to inform them (again, for better or worse).

3) This unique religious experience of being raised Catholic becomes part of the marrow, blood and bones of one raised in this tradition and cannot be exorcised no matter how your current religious experience has changed (if, indeed it has).

4) For those who are no longer practicing Catholics, there is a unique form of grief that comes with the separation from Catholicism (whatever the reason for that separation), and there is a unique form of longing that cannot be quenched.

5) There is a unique set of needs residing within the hearts of Recovering Catholics, that for the most part, are not being met.  We cannot get these needs met in another religious institution.  We cannot go to the Catholic Church to get these needs met.  We cannot meet these needs on our own.

6) I am here to help the 42.7 million (or more) Recovering Catholics get those needs met.

 

Click on this image to register.

What are those needs?

I see the needs of Recovering Catholics as the following (and if you see more, please let me know what they are…..and I will see how I can help!):

1) Grief Support:  Catholics leave for a multitude of reasons, most boiling down to the fact that the truth God revealed to them is in conflict with the doctrine of the Church – teachings on contraception, homosexuality, vocations, divorce, remarriage, etc. etc.  Some leave because they have been directly harmed by a representative of the Church – sexually abused by a priest, physically or verbally abused by a teacher, counselor or lay minister, given incorrect information about Church teachings that made them feel unwelcome (like a certain family member who was told they were no longer welcome to come to communion simply because of a divorce).  No matter the reason, when we leave a community in which we were one time a member, even if the parting is our own decision (kind of), there is grief.  Recovering Catholics need support for the grief they experience in leaving the Institution behind, or in being asked to leave.

2) Resolution: Many Catholics (especially in the past), who left or were asked to leave, were asked to leave based on faulty information.  A representative of the Church misinterpreted the doctrine, or interpreted it to fit their own personal agenda.  For these people, the healing is helped when they learn the faulty nature of the information.  Yes, this will certainly stir anger, but for some, it opens the door to their return….something many are ultimately longing for.  Recovering Catholics might not seek this resolution from a priest, so I can be that bridge….if this is what they need.

3) Longing:  In my generation and the generations that follow, the number one reason I have heard for people leaving is because in the Catholic Church, their needs were not being met.  Specifically, the desire to:

Know themselves.

Know God.

Find Inner Peace.

Know their Gifts and how they are called to use them.

Find meaning and purpose in their lives.

The Catholic Church, most often, attempts to meet these needs through religious formation – the dissemination of doctrine, or doesn’t even go so far as that and simply stands in the belief that providing you with an opportunity to attend mass and receive the sacraments is enough.   Unfortunately, this is an intelligent and wise population of men and women who are looking for something more than to have their heads filled with rules and regulations, history and traditions.  And for many, the mass is not relevant (or the homily given at mass isn’t relevant).  They want DEPTH!  They want something that has meaning and relevance in their own lives and which allows them to know God personally, not just through someone else’s interpretation.  In short, what they are looking for, but don’t have the words for, is Spiritual Formation – something the Church has not done a good job of making available to the men and women in the pews. Spiritual Formation just happens to be one of my areas of expertise!

4) Validation: Recovering Catholics also desire validation….and they deserve it!  They have been formed to use the brain God gave them to reason, discern and exercise truth.  And, many, if not most, grew up in a culture that lost its trust in authority.  They/we have come to question authority and to not blindly follow simply because we were told.  Instead, authority has to be earned and our own reasoning minds need to be validated.  We need to be given credit for having a brain and an intelligent thought and the freedom to challenge and question what we are being told.  In the Institutional Church, questioning is often discouraged or outwardly condemned.  What the Institution has forgotten is that the most important stage in faith development is the questioning and searching stage.  If the Church really wants mature disciples, this stage needs to be honored.  If the Institution will not welcome these questions, I am happy to do so!  I’m excited to see how your questions will help you grow….and me as well!  🙂

If you are a recovering Catholic and looking for support, I am here for you.  Call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@authenticfreedom.love to find out more. 

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Posted in creativity, Empowerment, teachers

Everyone Needs a Fairy Godmother

In the journey of birthing our Soul – the way in which we are uniquely, creatively and spiritually gifted to contribute to the betterment of the world and in doing so, finding meaning, purpose, connection and fulfillment – we often get in our own way.  Hindered by our fears, insecurities, compulsions, addictions and false perceptions, we stumble and sometimes fall.  It is during these times of struggle that it is important to know that we need not accomplish this journey alone.  We all need guidance, help and support from those who have taken the journey before us.

Mary-Poppins-mv01

Fairy Godmothers, Good Fairies and Mary Poppins

Fairytales and children’s stories are rich in their ability to reveal to us deeper and higher truths.  Like every good myth, fairytales reveal the deeper truths of the human condition, specifically, the journey toward birthing our Soul.  Every fairytale is in some way a representation of the hero’s journey, as Joseph Campbell would call it.  One valuable truth often portrayed in fairytales is that we do not need to accomplish the journey toward our creative and spiritual potential alone.  Instead, there are helpers available to assist us, maybe even magically, in accomplishing  our goal.  Cinderella had her Fairy Godmother.  Pinocchio, the Blue Fairy.  Snow White, the seven dwarves.  Briar Rose (aka Princess Aurora) had the three fairies. Dorothy had the Good Witch of the North. And the Banks children had (my personal favorite) Mary Poppins.  What is common among these helpers is a sort of higher knowledge and wisdom, mixed in with a little bit of magic.

Spoons full of sugar and bibbity bobbity boo!

The gift in these magical helpers is their ability to see beyond the fears, illusions, addictions, compulsions and insecurities of those they are helping.  Glinda knew that Dorothy had within herself the ability to return.  The Blue Fairy saw the real boy hidden beneath the rigidity of Pinocchio’s fears.  Mary Poppins saw the love and compassion beneath the Banks’ attachment to work and the longing for attention beneath Jane and Michael’s mischief.  Magical helpers are there to see the truth beyond the illusion and to hear the truth beyond the words so that they can help us to identify what is really standing in the way of our creative and spiritual fulfillment.  Then, it is their job to provide for us the resources and tools which will shake us from our attachment to the status quo, help us through our fears and restore us to the path of our Soul.  To us, these resources and tools are no less magical than a spoon full of sugar and bibbity bobbity boo!

Today’s Magical Helpers

The Fairy Godmothers and Mary Poppins of the real world are those people who show up in our lives as a source of wisdom and support as we seek the remedy to our restlessness, longing, impatience and frustration.  Spiritual Directors, Therapists, Life Coaches, Creative Mentors, etc. are all there to help us find our way to our Soul, magical helpers who help us to identify the inner obstacles, unhealed wounds, unresolved fears, false perceptions and attachments that are keeping us from the creative fulfillment that God/dess intended for us to have, and who are then there to provide us with the tools and resources for releasing, healing and moving past those inner obstacles.  The greatest gift in working with these magical helpers is that if they are good, really good, we discover our own greatness and our own unique brand of magic which we are then called to share with others – thereby making us the next generation of Fairy Godmothers and Mary Poppins’.

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.  For support in this journey, call me at (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Spiritual Direction

Our Greatest Desire and Deepest Fear

Today’s blog explores the greatest desire of human beings, which is at the same time our deepest fear. 

My looking ripens things and they come toward me, to meet and be met.

– Rilke

Our Greatest Desire and our Deepest Fear

The deepest desire of the human heart is TO BE KNOWN….to be seen for who we are, to be understood, honored and accepted.  This is also our greatest fear….because if we are known…..truly known…then others will not only see how amazing we are, they will also see our fears, our vulnerabilities, the parts of ourselves that we reject and shun.  But, perhaps worse than our perceived human frailties, if we are truly known, especially for our amazing giftedness, then someone (ps that someone might be ourselves) might expect us to live up to that greatness…we might have to show up to our gifts, our call and our purpose.  As Marianne Williamson once said, the thought of this terrifies us:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”

It is for this reason that deep, personal work such as Spiritual Direction, requires an enormous amount of courage.  Working with a Spiritual Director (by whatever name they call themselves) places us in the vulnerable position of being seen and of having someone hold us accountable for what is seen – both our greatness and the parts of ourselves we might prefer to sweep under the rug.

You Can Run But You Can’t Hide

I have seen this time and time again with clients, family and friends.  Because of the gifts I have been given, I can’t help but see the truth beyond the words and for some strange reason, the people around me can’t help but be awakened to the deeper truths about themselves.  Unfortunately, this revelation doesn’t always go well.  Some are not ready to face, acknowledge, accept, explore, cultivate or embrace their deepest truths.  So to those people, I sometimes become the enemy….for no particular reason except for the discomfort they feel within themselves as the truth within them struggles to find its way out…and a discomfort they are unwilling or unable to acknowledge.  They just know that when they are around me (or read something I’ve written or hear something I say that strikes an unresolved fear, hurt, disappointment in them), they feel badly, so they either lash out or run…or both.  I have come to sense these departures and to accept them as a matter of Divine timing.  One thing I do know, however, is that you can run, but you can’t hide.  Our truth will HOUND us until we acknowledge it, learn to accept it and embrace it.  However, for some, the fear of the unknown world to which their truth might lead, loses out to what is comfortable, predictable and familiar.  Having walked toward my truth through the hellfires of my own fears, I can’t fault anyone for choosing the perceived surety of familiar.

Relief in Being Known

For others, the revelation of their truth provides a sustaining moment of profound relief and empowerment.  The pressure of holding back the part of ourself that seeks to be known in the world, is like holding back a volcano.  The pressure keeps building until we feel like we are going to explode.  Sometimes this pressure is only known by our inner feelings of discontent, anxiousness, depression and despair.  When someone is able to recognize our truth and does so with honor, the pressure is relieved and we are freed to be the person God made us to be.  The revelation of this truth is exhilarating, motivating, liberating and empowering.  We are pushed forward, knowing that someone else knows our truth, loves us for it and supports us in our efforts toward living that truth.

lauriwebshot1The Purpose of Spiritual Direction

It is this unconditional love, honor and support that is the purpose of Spiritual Direction.  A good Spiritual Director will hold us in our fear, support us in moving toward our truth, challenge us to name, claim and cultivate our truth, and will hold us accountable not only to that truth, but also to the vulnerabilities that surface in the face of that truth.  Most importantly, a good Spiritual Director does all these things gently, tenderly and with great compassion.  The job of a Spiritual Director is to create a safe place in which you can be known.

Lauri Lumby is a Professional Spiritual Director in the Ignatian Tradition.  Lauri is available for Spiritual Direction in person, over the phone and via Skype.  To contact Lauri call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.