Posted in Being Human, Midlife Journey

Midlife and Another Existential Crisis

For many adults, midlife, perimenopause and menopause put everything into question.  We question our vocations, our place in the world, our relationships, our family of origin, our past, our present and our future.  It is also during midlife that many question their beliefs – who or what do we believe in and why?  Today, I share with you an essay I wrote during one of those times of questioning. This essay came out of a period of study in which I was deep in the midst of Indian and Buddhist philosophy, and quite frankly, tired of being told that the path to enlightenment was to sit down, shut up, quiet the mind and silence my passions. 

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Another Existential Crisis

I don’t know about you, but trying to attain enlightenment or striving for some sort of spiritual perfection only leaves me feeling anxious and assured of failure.   After beating my head bloody against the enlightenment door, I threw my hands up in surrender, sat down hard on my ass, with the cold steel door of enlightenment against my back, and quit.  In surrendering, in quitting, in ceasing to strive after enlightenment, I finally found peace.  Liberation came to me on that day when I realized that I am already Divine and that the reason I am here, the whole point of the human experience is just this – TO BE HUMAN!

So, if I’m here to be human (and maybe you are also here for this reason), why should I deny my passions, set aside my desires, sit down, shut up, quiet my mind?  Why do I have to be perfect, sinless, emotionless, bulletproof, impervious to pain? Instead, why not harness the creative energy God gave me?  Why not give voice to the words God wants the world to hear through me?  Why not dance, scream, shout out my anger, rage, wrath, sorrow, pain, despair, worry, depression, anxiety, panic and fear?  Why not poke the sleeping giant and set fire to a sleeping world?

God is the only God there is….why do we think we have to be him/her/it?  Can’t we just be the human beings God/dess made us to be and be happy with that?????  And where is the theology that allows us to be human?  Frankly, all I see in the world religions is a whole lot of teachers telling us we have to learn to be like God. I’m all for practices that help us to find inner peace, to cultivate empathy and compassion and which empower us to work for the betterment of the world.  And, if we came from God and are going back to God, aren’t we here to be something other than God?  And if we are here to be something other than God, then perhaps there is a place for our anger, impatience, passion, desire, lust, restlessness, etc. etc. etc.  So that being said…….

Where is the theology that doesn’t reject the way God/dess made us – unique expressions of the ever-living and ever-creating God, seeking to be known in the world?  Where is the theology that doesn’t ask us to deny, repress, suppress or transcend all of what makes us human?  Where is the theology that acknowledges that creation and growth come out of chaos, tension and pain?  Where is the theology that gives honor to the pains of birth instead of condemning them as a curse or as punishment for some mythological ancestor’s sin?  Where is the theology that honors as sacred the fecund, fetid, putrid, bloody, oozing condition of the human experience?  Where is the theology that sees passion and desire as God’s longing to be known and to be made known?  Where is the theology that allows us to be human in all the ways God wishes to experience the gift of being human? Where is the theology that doesn’t expect us to be God or that doesn’t set the drive for enlightenment as the supreme and ultimate task of our existence?  Where is the theology that acknowledges all that is good and holy and sacred in the human condition?   Where is the theology that recognizes that our origin is divinity and that we are here to simply be human?

Lauri Lumby mentors men and women in their journey of living as their true and most human self.  To schedule a one-on-one, phone or Skype session, call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

Posted in Spiritual Direction

What is Spiritual Direction?

What is the ministry of Spiritual Direction?  How might it help you  How might it help someone you know?  These are the questions explored in today’s blog.


Blank Stares

When people ask me what I do for a living and I tell them, “I am a Spiritual Director,” the typical response is a dull, blank stare.  One of the challenges to growing my business, but more importantly, to helping others, has been that very few people really know what Spiritual Direction is.  And, there is no Merriam-Webster definition to aid in the goal of helping people understand what Spiritual Direction is and how it might be of benefit to them or to someone they love.  So, I decided to enlist the aid of current and former clients and the following is a list of some of the benefits they have experienced through the process of Spiritual Direction:

  • Release shame and guilt
  • Gain the courage to live their truth
  • Heal their images of God
  • Find clarity in life decisions
  • Learn to trust the voice of truth within
  • Release grief
  • Heal losses
  • Learn that they are loved without condition
  • Discover that they are not alone
  • Find balance in their life
  • Relieve anxiety and stress
  • Find safe and healthy ways to express anger, sorrow, worry
  • Learn to name and claim their needs
  • Heal addictive and compulsive behaviors
  • Cultivate healthy, intimate relationships
  • Rediscover the inner Source of peace
  • Learn to name and release the obstacles to inner fulfillment

Confusing Services

One of the other challenges to helping people understand the ministry of Spiritual Direction is that there are a plethora of “helping” professions out there that might look and sound like Spiritual Direction, and might even be called Spiritual Direction, but they are not.  In response to this fact, I have come up with a definition of Spiritual Director that fits the tradition and model in which I was trained and helps to sort Spiritual Direction from other similar ministries:

Spiritual Director – Defined

A trained, professional Spiritual Director is someone who has been formally educated in theology, spirituality and spiritual practices specific to their particular belief system and who has been trained and tested in effective listening and counseling skills.  Spiritual Directors traditionally come out of the Monastic model of Christian spirituality, but are not limited by the beliefs or traditions of this model.  A truly effective Spiritual Director is able to meet people where they are at, regardless of their religious beliefs or practices and whether or not they come out of a theistic (belief in a personal God) perspective of the Divine.  At its best, Spiritual Direction transcends belief, practice and life circumstance.

In a nutshell

In a nutshell, my job as a Spiritual Director is to help you to uncover the truth that is within you and to give you tools through which you can freely live that truth.  If you want to know more peace, experience greater joy, live love more fully, have the freedom to name, claim, cultivate and share your gifts in the world, then you may find Spiritual Direction to be a helpful source of support.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

To schedule an appointment for Spiritual Direction, you can contact me at (920) 230-1313 or lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.  I am available for appointments face to face, over the phone and via Skype.  My fees are on a sliding scale and accessible to anyone!