Posted in Midlife Journey, Relationships

Midlife and Dark Night of the Relationship – Part 3

Part 3 of a series on the Dark Night of the Relationship, what it looks like, why it often shows up during midlife, and some resources to support you in moving through this critical stage of your intimate relationship.  Read Part 2 HERE   and Part 1 HERE.  Today I will share my own experience of the Dark Night.

dark night of the relationship

Causes of the Dark Night

To begin, I want to warn the reader that the Dark Night of the Relationship does not always end in a happier, healthier, reconciled relationship.  For many who identify this stage in their relationship, seek help and do the difficult work, the end result (and the hoped for result) may be a healthier, happier, loving, and mutually supportive relationship – renegotiated to meet the newly identified and claimed needs of both parties.  For those who do not identify this stage and do not seek support, the end result will either be divorce or silent misery.  For others who identify this stage and seek help and support, the most life-giving thing for all involved may be a termination of the relationship, this proved to be the case for me.

How we got there

I want to preface this sharing by saying there are things about my marriage that I will not share here.  I will also not throw my ex under the bus by presuming to know his side of the story.  As such, I can only speak from my own perspective and out of my own particular viewpoint.  That being said, hindsight is 20/20.  I can look back now, through the eyes of wisdom and experience and identify two primary issues that, from the beginning, doomed the outcome of our marriage.

1) I believe that both myself and my (now ex) husband were looking for someone to complete us.  As I mention in Part 1 of this series – relationships are doomed when established on this foundation.  For us, a clear pattern of co-dependency was established and when I began to seek help for these behaviors and began to retrieve the strands of my co-dependent behaviors, the shaky foundation upon which our marriage was built began to collapse.

2) We had nothing in common.  Yes, we shared a few similar core values and have similar philosophies of parenting (which we still do together quite well), but our day to day interests and passions could not have been more different.    Over time, and with some work and parenting decisions that were made, we ended up living two completely separate lives.  There was nothing shared, other than our children, to tie us to each other.  Further complicating this was the fact that we were so incompatible in certain areas that this tended to overshadow any connections that might have been able to be established.

Naming my part

With the co-dependency issues and lack of common interests, the foundation of our marriage was already on shaky ground.  Compounding this were the following issues that I brought into the marriage that exerted their influence, thereby undermining the potential success of our marriage (Of course, I was not alone in contributing to the end of our marriage, but I can only take responsibility for my part.):

  • Unhealed wounds from childhood
  • Unresolved issues of co-dependency
  • Not knowing how to name and claim my needs, set healthy boundaries
  • Inadequate tools for managing grief, anger, disappointment, loss, needs not being met
  • Inadequate tools for managing anxiety, stress, fear, loneliness
  • Issues of low self-esteem

Seeking Support

When the bottom began to fall out on a relationship that didn’t have much of a bottom to begin with, I sought help.  Through 10 years of therapy, spiritual direction and intense personal development, the final outcome was arrived at.  The horse that was our marriage was dead (and I accept my part in this death) and there was truly no way of renegotiating a relationship that could be healthy, let alone mutually loving and supportive, so we decided that divorce would be the most life-giving decision for both of us, and our children.

Divorce Sucks!

Yes, divorce sucks, and the journey has not been an easy one.  In fact, I do not wish divorce on anyone.  But, what I can say is that after three years of moving through this process – from decision to now, I am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.  Through on-going support and personal work, I feel more content, more whole, more confident in naming and claiming my needs, setting healthy boundaries, etc.  I have terrific tools for dealing with loss, disappointment, anxiety, sadness, fear and feelings of loneliness.  I know who I am and I know what I want.  And, I honestly believe our children are happier and healthier.  Yes they (we) grieved, and things aren’t always easy, but our children will never doubt that they are loved and cared for and that they will be supported in getting their needs met.

Dark Night Work

The moral of the story is that Dark Night work requires us to identify and transform the behaviors, attitudes, unhealed wounds that we brought into the relationship so that we are made whole and complete.  Only then can we meet at the negotiating table with our significant other (who has presumably also done their work) and determine the future course of the relationship.  For those who are able to negotiate their differences, find common ground and a shared desire to be together, the end result is a relationship better than what you ever could have imagined for yourself.  For those who choose to renegotiate through divorce, the promise is a healthier and happier self and tools through which they might be able to find mutual love, support and interdependence with another.  For those who don’t do the work, the outcome is continued unhappiness and pain.

Lauri Lumby is working with Ted Balser to bring Dark Night of the Relationship support to couples.  To learn more call Lauri at (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

Posted in Authentic Freedom

Become an Authentic Freedom Facilitator

Becoming an Authentic Freedom Facilitator provides a terrific complement to your existing skills as a counselor, life-coach, energy worker, massage therapist, holistic practitioner, medical doctor, psychologist, Reiki master, yoga instructor, meditation teacher, addictions counselor, spiritual director or ordained minister.  Authentic Freedom Facilitator training gives you additional tools for helping your clients, students and patients find meaning, purpose and connection in their lives.  More importantly, it gives you the tools for helping your clients move through the inner obstacles to a life of fulfillment and joy.

TeacherTraining

TeacherTrainingPage2

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Spiritual Direction

Spiritual Direction Lauri Style Part II

Are You:

  • Feeling Restless, Impatient, Unfulfilled?
  • Grieving  a loss (death, diagnosis, divorce, job change, unemployment, empty-nest)?
  • Facing a life transition?
  • Longing for connection or healthy intimacy?
  • Suffering anxiety, depression, panic, worry?
  • Searching for answers?
  • Seeking balance?
  • Learning to name and claim your needs?
  • Recovering from abuse, addictions, loss?
  • Yearning for clarity?
  • Healing from childhood wounds?
  • Desiring to know the Source of peace?
Lauri and her brother, Patrick
Lauri and her brother, Patrick

Lauri Lumby is a professional Spiritual Director in the Ignatian tradition, Lay Minister and  Reiki Master Practitioner.Lauri has developed, Authentic Freedom, an approach to Spiritual Direction that goes beyond traditional counseling, therapy or recovery work, supporting you in identifying and transcending the deeper fears that are the source of your  compulsive behaviors and unhealed wounds.

Through compassionate listening and attentive presence, Lauri supports you in enjoying a fulfilling life of contentment, love and joy.

Lauri is available for appointments in person, over the phone and via Skype. You can reach Lauri at (920) 230-1313 or lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation

Special Offer on Spiritual Direction

I know that these have been difficult times for many people, especially financially.  As such, I am offering a special reduced rate on my Spiritual Direction services at least through the end of August.  The special rate is $60.00 per hour and sessions are available in person, over the phone and via Skype.  To book a Spiritual Direction session, email me at lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com or call (920) 230-1313.  Below…..what the heck is Spiritual Direction anyway? (PS  I’m not a psychic!)

 

 

What is Spiritual Direction?

The ministry of Spiritual Direction is difficult to explain because it can take on so many different qualities.  It looks a little like therapy because there is a lot of talking involved and the topics that do come up might be the same as the topics you would bring to a therapy session:  grief, life transitions, seeking direction, relationship struggles, recovery, etc.  Spiritual Direction, however is dramatically different from therapy in its intention, direction and desired outcome.  The primary focus of Spiritual Direction is to help you get in touch with the voice of truth within yourself and to move through the obstacles to living that truth. 

Sounds pretty fancy and esoteric, right?  To put it into theistic terms (God), Spiritual Direction provides you with the tools to

  • Know God
  • Know yourself
  • Uncover your own unique giftedness and to find ways to live that out in the world

Ultimately, Spiritual Direction is NOT about talking.  It is about listening….and my job as a Spiritual Director is to help you learn to hear your own truth and to give you tools to move through the fears that may be blocking your ability to hear and live that truth.  To give you some examples, here are the things Spiritual Direction has helped me to hear and move toward embracing:

  • I heard the call to pursue training as a Lay Minister, Spiritual Director and Reiki Master Practitioner and Spiritual Direction helped me move through the fears that had previously kept me from these roles.
  • I came to understand that I had been gifted as a writer and was called to share my writing publicly (through this blog and through my published books)
  • Spiritual Direction gave me the tools to move through the fears and pain of being rejected by my church for standing in the call that God had given me (Reiki, Contemplative Practices, my books)
  • Spiritual Direction helped me to see that my marriage had come to an irreparable end and that divorce was necessary
  • Spiritual Direction helped me to release past resentments, hurts and betrayals that were blocking my ability to being open to healthy intimacy with friends, family, loved ones.
  • Spiritual Direction helped me to identify behaviors, perceptions, etc. that were keeping me from living a joyful and contented life.
  • Spiritual Direction helped me to find tools that have deepened my relationship with the Source of peace (that I call God), and have allowed me to experience more peace in my life.
  • Spiritual Direction helps me to receive Divine guidance more clearly with less confusion and doubt.
  • Spiritual Direction has helped me to listen, hear, receive, BELIEVE and live my truth more authentically and with less fear.

In a nutshell….Spiritual Direction is really cool……and the best part is that it is EMPOWERING!!!!  You are the one doing the work.  I am just standing as witness, helping you to hear the things that you can’t hear yourself.  In this way, the responsibility of Spiritual Direction ultimately lies with you….I am just the witness.  And while I have been accused of being able to “hear the truth beyond the words,” I am not psychic.  I’m just listening and helping you to do the same.

Shameless Self-Promotion

To learn more about Spiritual Direction, click on the following link: http://yourspiritualtruth.com/private-consutations/

And know that I provide Spiritual Direction in person, via phone and Skype.  If you are interested in exploring Spiritual Direction as something that may be helpful in your own journey, call me at (920) 230-1313 or email:  lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.   Thanks!

Posted in mental illness

Eradicating the Stigma of Mental Illness – Patti Jacobs Hein

Eradicating the Stigma of Mental Illness

Patti Jacobs Hein, MA, LPC

 

I’ve lived most of my adult life with the multi-layered burden of having two chronic mental illnesses.  I used to think of this as a big secret.  Now, I enjoy witnessing the expressions puzzled surprise leap into the faces of the people I tell.  Their eyes ask me, “How could you have a mental illness?  You look so normal.  Aren’t mental illnesses only found in those weak-of-character?  How can a successful, professional, educated woman be mentally ill?”  Fair question.  Under the right circumstances of just enough life stress, inadequate coping skills, and heredity, my brain was able to trigger the chemical imbalance that allowed my body to express intense angst and overwhelming despair out-of-context, disproportionate to the actual events of my daily life.

However, does it really matter how I became ill or which illnesses I have?  Is it even significant that I have any mental illness?  How come we are not as accepting of mental illnesses (and those who have them) as we are of other medical conditions?  We have been educated through research, self-help books, film, news stories, and even medication advertising.  We have heard testimonials from successful, and usually famous, people who have survived the impact of these illnesses on their lives.  Yet, the stigma remains.  What is left to do to destroy this attitude of shame?

My bias is that we need to talk about mental illness around the dinner table, over the backyard fence, at the water cooler, and anywhere else the topic may arise.  We need to talk about mental illness in normal tones, rather than furtive whispers.  We need to talk as if there is no shame in mental illness, because there is no shame in mental illness.  We need to talk of mental illness as if it were a physical, medical condition, because it is.  Mental illnesses are best described as neurobiological disorders, so let’s refer to them as such.

I rely on medications to balance my brain chemistry so that I can continue to be a productive, satisfied person.  I imagine that a person with diabetes or high blood pressure feels similarly about his or her medications.  Likewise, I imagine the person who has bronchitis, influenza, or even a headache would want to regain normalcy and health through some therapeutic intervention.  Yet, we continue to view people who have mental illnesses as things to be avoided and ashamed of, rather than as people who are simply ill.

Yes, I live with the burden and multi-layered blessing of having two neurobiological disorders.  Perhaps the incredulity in others’ response to my perspective of “blessing” only underscores the depth of stigma.  Think about the best way humans learn significant life lessons.  Through suffering and struggle we discover our strongest attributes, our greatest gifts.  The gifts I have received far outweigh the pain I endured.  I learned to access my best self to overpower the obstacles in my path.  This required my courage and determination, and I created my own success.  Now, I tell my “non-secret” in hopes of eradicating stigma.  I tell to liberate voices, to open eyes, to free experiences, and to encourage bravery in seeking needed treatment.

Join me by accepting this challenge.  Defy convention.  Ask questions.  Confront others’ attitudes. With courage and determination, anything is possible.  I know this from experience.

Author’s Note:  This article was originally written in 2001.  Since that time my illness devolved into a more severe form in 2005.  Then, through experiences that can only be explained (in my opinion) as a miracle, I was able to successfully titrate off all psychotropic medications in 2009.  This success is significant in that I had tried several times over the previous 20 years to get off medications, only to experience more severe symptoms.  I had finally gotten to a place of acceptance regarding my need for medications and a place of confidence-without-shame in accepting this reality, when my physician advised that I was “ready” to try one more time.  I have been medication-free and symptom-free since October 2009.  I share this final detail to offer hope to all who struggle: surviving is possible, recovery is possible, and thriving is within reach.

Jacobs Hein, MA, LPC, is  President & Professional Counselor for Thresholds, P.C. in Denver, Colorado

Posted in mental illness

Mental Health Week – John Backman

Today’s contribution to Mental Health week comes from John Backman.   As a blogger for Huffington Post Religion and an associate of an Episcopal monastery, John Backman writes extensively on spiritual topics, including contemplative practice and its ability to help us dialogue across divides. His new book, Why Can’t We Talk? Dialogue as a Habit of the Heart, will be published by SkyLight Paths Publishing this fall.  You can reach John through his website:  www.dialogueventure.com.  Thank you John for this poignant and forthright article! 

Beyond the Light Box and the Meds

This morning I made decaf. The day ahead will require a lot of energy but also some serious focus, and I don’t need to be any more wired than my brain already makes me.

The fact that I even think about this comes from decades of wrestling with anxiety and depression.

So much has been written about mental and emotional health. There are articles about meds and therapy, diet and exercise, meditation and sunlight and support from loved ones. A lot of it is very sound advice. Over the years, I have picked up a few additional insights that help me. Maybe they can help you or your loved one as well.

Life gets better—in a way

It’s not that the problems get easier. It’s that our ability to manage them gets better. When we first moved where we live now, I did what many of the natives do: went to the track for the horse racing. To understand what was happening, I learned to read the Daily Racing Form. Years later, when choosing investments for my retirement account, I realized I could use my Racing Form – reading skills to understand the stock tables.

It works like this with a lot of things. By fighting with your annoying siblings, you learn what you need to manage your annoying boss 10 years from now. By planning a birthday party, you learn things you can use to run a business. Everything in your life builds on everything else—whether you realize it or not—and suddenly you’ve got skills.

Become an expert in yourself

What gives you pleasure? What triggers your issues? What’s the one thing that calms you down no matter what? How do these things change over time? Are there people who accept you for who you are, and how can you reach them in a crisis? How does the weather on any given day interact with all of the above?

I’ve come to realize that TV commercials about depression meds actually trigger my depression. So I will never ask my doctor about [name of med here], because as soon as the commercial comes on, I switch it off. (Well, most of the time.) Same with the decaf: no way am I giving up coffee—it makes me happy—but the switch to decaf is a must if I’m going to manage my anxiety.

It would be easy to turn this into an exercise in anxiety: a rigid list of dos and don’ts and a ton of fear and struggle around keeping to it. But beyond a few don’ts to keep you safe (involving things like drugs, alcohol, or hurting yourself), it’s really about paying attention. You watch yourself go through life, and little by little you solve the puzzle of you. Do this for a while, and not only can you cope more easily, but you’re actually ahead of most everyone else out there.

This paying attention business helps in another way too. The more I paid attention to other people, the more I found out that my issues weren’t unique. In fact, tons of other people struggled with the same things I did. I learned, basically, that I wasn’t alone.

The world needs you

I know how stupid that sounds. This does not look like a world where one person can make a difference. The problems of this world are massive beyond belief.

Ironically, that’s why the world needs you. To keep the human species going, we need everyone. All hands on deck. And it’s not just a matter of quantity. You have something to offer that no one else has. Yes, that sounds stupid too. But consider. Maybe you have a unique way of thinking about the world. Maybe you can write, or create music, or invent things, or inspire people—or inspire certain kinds of people—in a way no one else can. The very fact that you’ve lived mental illness gives you something to contribute. Maybe you don’t know what it is you have to offer. That’s OK. It’s there.

In my teens and twenties, I couldn’t see a blessed thing I had to offer. Being depressed, I had many days when death seemed like the preferred alternative (there still are a few of those days). But now I have a wife and a child, and despite my protests to the contrary, they seem utterly convinced that they need me. Also, I find I can write, and my thinking runs along very unusual lines. So there’s something I can contribute.  I suspect no one else can contribute it. Maybe the world needs me too—my one person’s contribution.

The other thing here is, when I contribute it, it feels good beyond belief. I get depressed much less often now that I’m contributing it. You have it too. What is it for you? Ask yourself. Ask around. You’ll find it.

My journey is not close to over. I’m still learning to live with my issues. Some days I win; some days they win. Things are better, much better, than they used to be. I suspect what I’ve written here is not exactly comforting. I hope it’s something I consider more valuable: encouraging—as in giving you the courage to hang in there and find the life that’s waiting for you.

Posted in mental illness

Mental Health Week – My Story

On Sunday, May 13th, I am launching “Mental Health Week” on the Your Spiritual Truth blog.  In truth, it will more than likely become Mental Health month with the overwhelming response that I have gotten from readers.  An overwhelming number of submissions have been coming in which is FANTASTIC.  All stories of love, support, resources and guidance.  I welcome your contributions as the week(s) unfold! 

Ready, Set, Go

I thought it would be appropriate to launch Mental Health Week(s), by coming out of my own closet of mental illlness.  It’s not really much of a closet as I have been pretty upfront about my own struggles with depression and anxiety, but maybe haven’t shared the “whole” story. So….here we go.

Looking Back in Honesty

If I am really honest, depression has been a part of my life for a really long time – certainly since my teens.  I remember periods of feeling really blue and the “obsessive thoughts” and  “mind chatter” that often accompany depression have been my companions for as long as I can remember.  In fact, it wasn’t until I was taking Lexapro (much later in life) and the “mind chatter” was suddenly absent that I realized I even had that symptom and that it might somehow be connected with the unique brain chemistry that predisposes one to depression and/or anxiety disorders.  I also know today that the “vertigo” and “migraine” attack I had in 1985 was more than likely a panic attack that was mis-diagnosed.

The Ceiling Fell In

But it wasn’t until the spring of 2000 or 2001 (I cant’ remember the exact dates), that I became sidelined by the symptoms of depression.  I had suffered a significant loss; been in a traumatic, potentially life-threatening storm while traveling with my two children; experienced a devastating disappointment, I was probably experiencing some post-partum; and my father had a heart-attack – all within a very short period of time. In a time when I should have been basking in the delight of my children, all I could do was sit in the living room chair and watch.  Fortunately a good friend recognized my symptoms as depression.  She suggested counseling and homeopathy (she was a professional homeopathy practitioner).  I accepted both recommendations and added Spiritual Direction to the mix.  With the support of my homeopath, therapist and Spiritual Director, I moved through 30+ years of ungrieved losses and did a lot of healing and releasing all which served to alleviate many of the symptoms of depression.

The Walls Collapse

Enter panic attacks.  Somewhere around 7 years ago, I suffered my first “official” panic attack.  Under the stress of a marriage that was beginning to unravel, my husband’s travel schedule, health concerns around one of our children and while experimenting with a “cleansing” diet, the bottom fell out.  While driving to meet my husband for a weekend out of town, the world started closing in, my heart started pounding, I felt like I couldn’t breathe, my vision started to first get really small, then began to cloud over.  I didn’t know if I was having a heart attack, blood sugar crash or if I was dying.  If you have had a panic attack, you know how terrifying this is!  I pulled off the road as the symptoms “relaxed”.  Somehow got back on the highway, white knuckled it home and collapsed on the couch for what turned into a 3 day paralyzing migraine.  YUK!

The Power of Denial and Bargaining

Do you think I went to the doctor to investigate these symptoms?  No way!  I did not want to face the possibility of diagnosis.  “I could not possibly have had a panic attack.  Those are for my other people….not for me.  I’m perfect, put-together, impervious to mental illness, Lauri, right?!   And besides, I know a better way!”  So….I spent the next 2 1/2 years pursuing EVERY POSSIBLE remedy to these “symptoms” other than diagnosis and pharmaceuticals.  To make a REALLY LONG story short, these alternative methods provided much relief and gave me many tools that I have shared with others as potential sources of not only relief, but support.  But then, after returning from a 10 day pilgrimage to England, I began having panic attacks EVERY NIGHT at 2 am which woke me out of a dead sleep.  After two months of these nightly attacks, I said, “ENOUGH!”  I consulted my physician who released a heavy sigh of relief as she had been encouraging me to accept medical support for these symptoms since my first attack 2 years earlier.

Prayers to the Ancestors

My physician wrote out a prescription to the lowest dose possible of Lexapro and I went home with my little bottle in hand.  I was terrified.  I didn’t want to have a diagnosis.  I didn’t want to take drugs.  I didn’t want to be like my ancestors who had all suffered from depression and anxiety disorders most of whom either became housebound or took to drinking to manage their pain.  I remember sitting in my backyard with the bottle of Lexapro in my hand and praying, “God, please tell me what to do.”  The response was IMMEDIATE.  I suddenly saw before me generation upon generation of my ancestors. They looked at me with desperation in their eyes and collectively begged, “Please help us.”  With tears streaming down my cheeks, I silently opened the bottle of little white pills, took one out, placed it on my tongue and swallowed.

To Hell and Back

After I made it through the initial side effects of Lexapro, I found that it did seem to alleviate many of my symptoms.  I also realized that the “voices in my head” were suddenly absent.  This was the most pleasant surprise.  1) I never knew these voices weren’t “normal” In fact, I didn’t even know I had voices until they were gone. 2) There was an overwhelming sensation of peacefulness when not hounded by the constant chatter of worry, obsessive thoughts, planning, anticipating, etc. etc. etc.   (If you have these voices, you know what I mean.)  My brain was quiet for the first time in my life!  And the timing of all of this could not have been more perfect because now, the true unraveling of my marriage began.

Where Things Get Really Interesting

This is where things began to get REALLY interesting.  It became obvious to both my husband and me that we had been beating a dead horse and that perhaps we should just let the horse die.  We accepted divorce as the best option.  Then one day, I simply forgot to take my Lexapro.  Then the next day I forgot again.  On the third day I decided, “Let’s see what happens if I just don’t take my pills.” (PS, I’m NOT advocating that anyone do this without the guidance and support of your doctor!!!!!)  What happened was nothing.  No side effects.  No withdrawal.  (unlike when I had tried to wean myself).  No panic.  No depression.  That was two years ago.  Now….does that mean my depression is gone for good and I will never have another panic attack?  NO!!!!!  I still have situational depression.  I still experience anxiety and I have had a few situations of minor panic.  AND…..the voices are back.  BUT…..I am not paralyzed or sidelined by any of these symptoms and I have learned effective tools of self-care, meditation, yoga and mindfulness practices that have helped manage these symptoms.  And the most effective treatment I have found to date?  SPEAKING and WRITING my truth.  Does this mean I won’t need medication again in the future?  Who knows?  But for today, I am happy for the relief that medication, therapy, Spiritual Direction and complementary medicine have given me.  And I know that the journey through depression and anxiety is unique to each individual and to each life situation.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

The biggest lesson I have learned in all of this is that I AM NOT ALONE!  Mental illness, especially depression and anxiety are epidemic.  Nearly everyone I know has somehow been touched by mental illness.   And the good news is that today we have effective methods of diagnosis and treatment and most importantly SUPPORT!  So if you are suffering or know someone who is……please get help.  There are therapists, medical doctors, pastors, spiritual directors, teachers, alternative health practitioners out there who are willing and able to help.  And don’t be afraid to share your story with others…..you are not alone and you might just find that the person you share your story with needs your support too.

If you want to learn more about mental illness, check out the NAMI website:  http://www.nami.org/template.cfm?section=about_mental_illness

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Spiritual Direction, Uncategorized

What is Spiritual Direction Anyway?

In today’s blog, I explore the ministry of Spiritual Direction and try to explain what in many ways is unexplainable! 

Blank Stares and Psychic Accusations

I am always challenged when people ask me, “So Lauri, what is it that you do exactly?” When I explain that I am a Spiritual Director and Reiki Practitioner and that I teach classes in Spirituality for adults…..mostly I am met with a blank stare.  This blank stare is then followed by another question, “What is spiritual direction?”   UM…..UH….Sputter…..stammer….Doh!    I never know how to answer this question and when I do try to answer the question, I get questions about being psychic and/or doing psychic readings.  Um……sorry…..I’m not psychic and I don’t do “readings,” but I know people who are if you want me to give you their number.  🙂

What is Spiritual Direction?

The ministry of Spiritual Direction is difficult to explain because it can take on so many different qualities.  It looks a little like therapy because there is a lot of talking involved and the topics that do come up might be the same as the topics you would bring to a therapy session:  grief, life transitions, seeking direction, relationship struggles, recovery, etc.  Spiritual Direction, however is dramatically different from therapy in its intention, direction and desired outcome.  The primary focus of Spiritual Direction is to help you get in touch with the voice of truth within yourself and to move through the obstacles to living that truth.  Sounds pretty fancy and esoteric, right?  To put it into theistic terms (God), Spiritual Direction provides you with the tools to know God, to know yourself, to uncover your own unique giftedness and to find ways to live that out in the world.  Ultimately, Spiritual Direction is NOT about talking.  It is about listening….and my job as a Spiritual Director is to help you learn to hear your own truth and to give you tools to move through the fears that may be blocking your ability to hear and live that truth.  To give you some examples, here are the things Spiritual Direction has helped me to hear and move toward embracing:

  • I heard the call to pursue training as a Lay Minister, Spiritual Director and Reiki Master Practitioner and Spiritual Direction helped me move through the fears that had previously kept me from these roles.
  • I came to understand that I had been gifted as a writer and was called to share my writing publicly (through this blog and through my published books)
  • Spiritual Direction gave me the tools to move through the fears and pain of being rejected by my church for standing in the call that God had given me (Reiki, Contemplative Practices, my books)
  • Spiritual Direction helped me to see that my marriage had come to an irreparable end and that divorce was necessary
  • Spiritual Direction helped me to release past resentments, hurts and betrayals that were blocking my ability to being open to healthy intimacy with friends, family, loved ones.
  • Spiritual Direction helped me to identify behaviors, perceptions, etc. that were keeping me from living a joyful and contented life.
  • Spiritual Direction helped me to find tools that have deepened my relationship with the Source of peace (that I call God), and have allowed me to experience more peace in my life.
  • Spiritual Direction helps me to receive Divine guidance more clearly with less confusion and doubt.
  • Spiritual Direction has helped me to listen, hear, receive, BELIEVE and live my truth more authentically and with less fear.

In a nutshell….Spiritual Direction is really cool……and the best part is that it is EMPOWERING!!!!  You are the one doing the work.  I am just standing as witness, helping you to hear the things that you can’t hear yourself.  In this way, the responsibility of Spiritual Direction ultimately lies with you….I am just the witness.  And while I have been accused of being able to “hear the truth beyond the words,” I am not psychic.  I’m just listening and helping you to do the same.

Shameless Self-Promotion

To learn more about Spiritual Direction, click on the following link: http://yourspiritualtruth.com/private-consutations/

And know that I provide Spiritual Direction in person, via phone and Skype.  If you are interested in exploring Spiritual Direction as something that may be helpful in your own journey, call me at (920) 230-1313 or email:  lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.   Thanks!

What tools are you using to hear and live out your truth?

How do you hear Divine Guidance and choose to live that out?

What support do you have to move through the fears blocking your most authentic expression?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com