Posted in Divine Revelation, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices

Is There Any Truth in Scripture?

In a word:  YES, but not in the way many religious institutions would have us believe.  While some (many) have used the Bible to manipulate the masses and to put forth their own hidden (or sometimes not so hidden) agendas, this is not how scripture proves relevant to us today.  I should probably qualify that statement….if our desire is for separation, then using the Bible to put forth dogma, justify separative actions, or to sell the story of a God who wants you to be wealthy, then that is how one will use the Bible.  If, however, our desire is for unity and for humanity to come together in harmony with one another, then we are required to approach scripture in a different way.

While the Bible is the inspired word of God (Truth, Love, The Divine, by whatever name you call the Source and Revelation of all that is), so too is every example of the written word.  As we become increasingly aware of the wisdom traditions and sacred writings of other cultures, we discover an abundantly flowing wellspring of wisdom.  As the Western world grows increasingly disenchanted with institutional Christianity and discovers the compassionate teachings of our friends in the East or from the Native people who were here before the European invasion, the temptation is to exchange the traditions in which we were raised for these “new age ideas.”  The problem is that there is nothing “new” about New Age, neither is there something unique in Buddhism, Hinduism, Zen, Paganism, or Native traditions that we cannot find in our own traditions.

This is where the rich tradition of Christian contemplative practices proves helpful.  (Note:  there is also nothing unique to the tradition of Christian contemplative practices, expressions of all the practices we call “Christian” can be found in the Jewish faith out of which Christianity emerged, and also within the spiritual practices of the cultures in which Judaism was immersed.) With these practices, we can approach scripture through the lens of inquiry and as a tool through which we can discover and discern our own truth.  In this way, scripture acts like a mirror, reflecting the guidance, insights, learning, comfort and healing we need in the present moment.  Whether we think of God as the Divine Source of all that is, or as a reflection of our highest self, when applying contemplative practices to scripture, “God” is providing us with what we need.  It is through these contemplative practices that we come to know the God of our own understanding while at the same time coming to know ourselves.  In this way, scripture is can be our teacher, our source of guidance and direction, our healer, our counselor and our comforter.

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Posted in Inspiration, Jesus, Spiritual Formation

When Approaching Scripture – Perspective is Everything

…when it comes to scripture; there will always be disagreement – especially if we are looking for objective truth. But again, this was not Jesus’ goal; neither should it be our own. For the purpose of our spiritual growth and development, all we can look for is how scripture is reflecting or revealing our own truth.  Case in point, the scripture passage below can be taken any number of ways, depending on our point of view, or on the agenda of one who is interpreting this passage for us.  Let’s start with a single line:

“Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him.”

For some, this passage points to exclusivity. God will ONLY love those who keep Jesus’ word.  For others this passage speaks of reward and punishment.  IF we keep Jesus’ word (what word exactly are we to keep?), God will love us, implying that if we do not keep Jesus’ word, God will no longer love us.  This one tiny line from John’s gospel has been used for two millennia to establish so-called Christian privilege and to justify persecution, condemnation and even the wholesale slaughter of “non-believers.”  Is this really what Jesus meant in these words?  If we believe that Jesus’ overriding message was of Love and of a Divine parent who loves without condition, then no, Jesus could not have meant these words to privilege anyone or to deny anyone of the unconditional and unmerited love of God.  But human beings, through their limited perspective chose otherwise.

The above is an excerpt from my (dot) Love weekly message.  Full content reserved for Plus, Premium and Premium-Plus Members. Click here to learn more on how you can become a member and enjoy the tools that have helped me in my own journey.  Find an example of what is available in the full content HERE.

Posted in Forgiveness, Lessons, Spiritual Practices, Truth

The Truth Cannot Stay Hidden

This weekend, I had the profound confirmation of a theory to which I have long-subscribed – the theory that no matter how hard one tries, truth will not stay long hidden. Truth always finds its way to the light where it can be readily seen by those who have the eyes to see, bringing justice to situations where untruths otherwise prevailed.

In this particular case, I was well aware of these truths. Although the revelations of these truths would have provided me with much vindication, I had kept silent about these truths for the sake of others who might be hurt by them.  These truths had been the cause of much pain in my own life, truths that the human part of me wanted to shout to the world as a way of “getting back” at those who had hurt me.  Instead, I chose silence, knowing and trusting that these truths would eventually find their way to the light for those who needed to know in a time that was perfect for them.

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And this is exactly what happened. The truth came to light bringing healing and closure where neither were previously thought possible.  In addition, the way in which these truths came to light brought empowerment for those, who through their own observations had intuited these truths.  The revelation of these truths brought great validation for me in having taken the “high road” in choosing silence and trust over revenge. It also served as a great reminder that no matter how hard one works at disguising, denying or avoiding their truth, truth cannot be hidden for long and the deceiver will always give themselves away, if not directly then by slips of the tongue or getting caught in an outright lie.

This is the advice I offer to students and clients who are faced with similar situations of untruths – where harm has been done to them, and they want to take revenge on the “other” by telling everyone the truth. I say, “Wait.  The truth will win out in the end.  Those that need to know will find out if and when they need to.”  This weekend’s experience proved my theory true.

Choosing silence, trust, and a patient heart allows us to turn away from the human desire for revenge and toward forgiveness practices – those practices that free us from the resentment, hurt, sense of betrayal, anger and hatred that we might otherwise harbor against the other. Here we are able to free ourselves of the pain of the hurt while not causing harm to another.  Choosing this path gives us freedom.

As I also advise my students and clients, “Karma is a bitch.” While I do not believe in a punitive God, I do believe in (and the human part of me takes great comfort in) the law of cause and effect.  What you put out to the world will come back to you 100-fold.  If you (intentionally) cause harm to another, that harm will come back to you.  If you betray another, you will be betrayed.  If you are a liar, you will be deceived.  If you cheat, you will be cheated, etc. etc. etc.  There is comfort in knowing that we reap what we have sown and for those who sow deceit this is what they shall reap.  Truth, on the other hand, always wins.  Choose truth.

Posted in Being Human, Divine Revelation, Empowerment, Inspiration

Poem of the Awakened (aka the Prophet’s Lament)

From today’s scripture readings:

The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
that I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
and I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.

Isaiah 50: 4-7

It seems Isaiah and I would have a lot to say to each other.  Here, is my

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Poem of the Awakened (aka The Prophet’s Lament)

Standing on the edge of fear,

Having chosen the path of my truth.

In service to love.

For my own sake

and for the betterment of the world.

Obstacles at every turn.

Adversaries whispering doubt in my ear.

Tempting me to turn away from

what only my heart can know.

A voice crying out in the wilderness

speaking only to sand?

Yet with each step forward…

every movement toward love…

every step in the direction of truth…

A sonic boom reverberates through the universe –

A tidal wave

transforming the darkness

to love instead of fear.

While few, in fact, have ears to hear,

The power of love is greater than the power of fear.

And truth wins out in the end.

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Freedom

Fear Begets Fear – Thoughts on the Upcoming Presidential Election

If there is one thing I have learned in 20 years of supporting women and men in becoming their most authentic, self-actualized self, it is that fear begets fear.  Most specifically, when we make decisions based in fear, we get more fear.  Our lives become smaller, more constricted, we suffer from unhappiness and a deep sense of being unfulfilled.  When we make decisions, instead, from a place of love, peace, contentment and truth….or when we wait for the decision to arrive that reflects these qualities, our experiences of love, peace, contentment and joy increase.  Our life takes on a sense of meaning and we feel fulfilled.

 

Fear + Fear = More fear.

Love + Truth = Contentment and peace

 

As this mathematical equation is true on an individual basis, so it is on the collective. It would be helpful to bear this in mind as we approach the 2016 presidential elections.

election 2016

When we choose a candidate who capitalizes on our fears, who paints a picture of fear, who attempts to create separation or capitalize on existing or growing systems of separation, then this is exactly what we will get – a country that is more polarized than it already was before, stepping out into a world creating more separation.

If, on, the other hand, we patiently wait for the candidate to step forth who will speak to us of truth, who seeks to bring us together instead of attempting to separate, who desires to support a political system and a world that works to build rather than tear down, who speaks about practical means of healing the separations in our country and in our world….then this is what we will get – a country that is able to come together as one, working together for the common good, and then doing the same as it goes out into the world.

As for myself, I haven’t yet decided who I want to vote for. Quite frankly, I’m not thrilled with any of our current options.  What I do know is that I will be making my decision based on love and truth, not on fear, because love and truth is what I want to see in our world, not more of the fear that has ruled for the past 5000 years.

(PS What holds true in electing a president, holds true for all elected officials.  Fear begets fear!  What kind of world do you want to live in – one that tears us apart through fear or one that brings us together as love?)

Eyes of the Prophet

The eyes of a prophet discerning Spirit.

Seeing beyond the veil that seems to masks the eyes of others.

Seeing the truth that stands not behind, not beside, not within,

But that which stands in front of the illusion,

“Here I am, this is who I am really, not the one she sees or that everyone else sees, this is my truth.”

Clear, radiant, glowing, joyful, at peace and content,

Though on her cheek, a tear of sadness

for the ones who dare not see, acknowledge or live in this truth.

She waits in patience for the vessel to be ready to let that light shine.

Seeing with eyes that see beyond the veil

Of lies kept hidden, secrets kept, betrayals, deceit,

Eyes shifting, gazing downward, revealing discomfort.

Seeing with eyes that know the truth behind the lies, the fear, the guilt, the shame,

All nurtured to keep deceit alive.

The prophet sees and knows.

Seeing with eyes that see beyond the veil of denial.

There is a map, a timeline, a vision

Of things to come if what is now in place continues to choose the way that is familiar,

“It will not end here….this shall be next.”

And it is.

Endings. Doors are closed.  And death.

Seeing and knowing this is what would be

If fear is chosen over love.

And yet, there is a light. And the light is love.

Seeing with eyes that see beyond the veil of despair,

Knowing that even in death there is the promise of new life,

If we but open our eyes and see.

 copyright Lauri Ann Lumby

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Academy, Divine Revelation, world changes

A Formula for Ending All Wars

This morning’s blog came through while teaching my Authentic Freedom Course.  Specifically, we were exploring the spiritual fear “I do not know” and the truth that off sets this fear – “That we do know our truth in our intimate connection with the mind of God.”  In other words, we DO know our truth when we remember that we are One with God/our Higher Self and that this truth is accessible and available to us when we are open to receiving it.  While meditating on the scripture assigned for this lesson (the story of Jesus healing the man born blind: John 9: 1-41), I arrived at the truth that, if known and embraced all of humanity, would end all violence and war. Here the truth is spoken as I received it,  from the perspective of the dirt that Jesus mixed with his own spit to restore sight to the man born blind:

The Dirt Speaks:

“For hundreds of years I’ve been sitting here listening to these men argue about what is of God and what is not; while all along I’ve known that there is nothing that is NOT of God.  As they trample over me, fighting over their perceived power, claiming themselves to be right and everyone else wrong, I have known there is no right and there is no wrong – at least not from God’s perspective.  For, you see, in God, there is no fear, so in God there is no “lack.”  But for these fearful men, all they see is lack.  And when they are afraid and only seeing lack, all they see is death – their own imminent demise.  So they bite, kick, scratch, bicker and fight over what they think will give them power over others so they will never know lack, thinking this will keep them safe from death.

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The irony in this is that if they would simply open their eyes and see – if even only looking toward the earth beneath their feet, they would see there is no lack and nothing to fear – so nothing to fight about!  Jesus knew this.  When his disciples showed their fear by asking him who had sinned that the man had been born blind, Jesus responded by scooping up the lowliest of all elements – a fist full of dirt.  Dirt, which here, in the temple grounds, is good only to be trampled on.  Then, Jesus made the dirt into mud, not from water from the well, but out of his own spit – an element and a gesture typically used to show scorn.  He then rubbed the mud into the man’s eyes, giving him sight.

Jesus knew.  In his knowing, he knew the earth to be abundant and that it provides all that humanity needs for food, clothing, shelter, and even healing.  The earth is abundant because there is nothing that is not of God, including the lowly dust of the temple grounds that have been trampled, spit on and shit on all these many years.  Jesus knew.

For those who have eyes to see…..let them see!

The Authentic Freedom Mastery Course, developed and facilitated by Lauri Ann Lumby is now available through correspondence and will soon be available as an ecourse.  To learn more, click HERE. 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, God, Inspiration, Lessons, Oneness with God, Spiritual Practices

The Secret Cure for All that Ails Us.

(If you missed my “Building the New World” report yesterday, read that HERE.)

“The secret cure to all that ails us,” isn’t much of a secret really. In fact, this “secret” is known by every great teacher that ever walked this earth (Jesus, the Buddha, Moses, Mohammad, Amma, Gandhi, The Dalai Lama, Thomas Merton, Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola, Julian of Norwich, Hildegard of Bingen, Paramahansa Yogananda, Black Elk, The Thirteen Grandmothers, etc. etc. etc. This “secret” that has been discovered by the most revered teachers of every culture is…..(drumroll please)………

ONENESS

 

The Dalai Lama speaks of this oneness in the context of compassion. The Buddha spoke of it as presence or essence. Moses knew it as the voice of God within him who guided him and his people. Teresa of Avila experienced it as ecstasy. St. Ignatius experienced it as consolation. Jesus spoke of it as being One with God and he experienced this Oneness as love. Every great teacher discovered this truth within themselves and then sought to teach others how to experience this Oneness and how this Oneness was the cure of all that taints the human experience – pain, anxiety, suffering and death. Experiencing and knowing Oneness allows us to transcend the inherent pain and suffering of the human condition and it is in this state of Oneness that we know “the peace that surpasses all understanding.”

It is one thing to speak about Oneness and to understand it in our minds. It is another thing entirely to have a personal, lived experience of this Oneness as I was reminded just this past week. While I have had many glimpses into this Oneness over the course of the past fifty years, enough so that I understand and can speak with authority about Oneness, not until this past week did I fully comprehend or even experience Oneness and never before had I experienced Oneness to the extent that it was in fact too much for me and I had to run away. After a week of processing, I’m happy to come back to this Oneness….but first the story of finding the cure.

The Journey to Oneness

My experience of Oneness happened in the context of a shamanic journey in which I was carried away in a dreamlike vision in search for the answer to a question that resided deep in the center of my Soul – the question about fully embodying the call of my Soul in this life. In the journey I was greeted by one of my spiritual guides/teachers who often accompanies me on shamanic journeys. He grabbed my hand and ran with me to the world in which I would journey. When we arrived in that world it was night. As we stepped across the threshold into the journey world, I beheld a multitude of beings flanking us on both sides. I sensed the beings as my teachers, spirit guides, angels, saints, ancestors, loved ones – all present in spirit form offering their support. In the blink of an eye, my guide turned into a jet-black dragon while also being present in human form to “drive” the dragon. He grabbed my hand and pulled me atop the dragon and off we flew into the night.

We flew up and up and up across the journey world – past landmarks and places I had experienced in previous journeys. We flew up and up and up, out of the atmosphere of the earth and toward the full (blood) moon. We flew toward and then past the moon and continued out into space, past all the known planets of our galaxy, out beyond our galaxy and toward the constellation of Orion. We flew past Orion and on to the star cluster of Sirius. We then flew past Sirius, deep, deep, deep into the center of our known Universe toward what scientists refer to as “The Galactic Core.” The Galactic Core is what is beliefed to be the center of the Universe and the theorized Source of the original “Big Bang.” It is also out of the Galactic Core that our current experience of Wave X has its origins. Holding tightly to my guide as we flew atop the black dragon, we flew closer and closer to the Galactic Core when I became aware of a rhythmic pulsing emanating from this core. Wave after wave after wave of vibrating and pulsing energy came at me from this core which I suddenly realized was a heartbeat. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom – resonating the steady heartbeat at the center of the Universe.

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God IS the Universe!  We are the Universe!

Then it hit me, this heartbeat which is thought to be the Source of all of creation and the origin of all that is known and unknown in our Universe is GOD. God has a heart and God’s heart resides in the center of our Universe and is the origin and source of all that is. Then my mind and vision began to expand – the Universe and all that is known and unknown in the Universe is the actual body of God and the galactic core is God’s heart – beating out a continuous and rhythmic pulsating vibration that I keenly identified as LOVE. Love. Love. Love. Love. – the steady heartbeat of the Universe/God that emanates from the center of all that is and which, in fact, is the cause and the source of all that is. Love. Love. Love. Love.

As I connected with this experience of God as the Universe and God’s beating heart as the galactic core of the universe and the center and source of all that is known and unknown in the universe – then my brain exploded. If God is the Universe and all that is….and we are part of all that is…..then we are part and parcel of God. If the Galactic Core is God’s beating heart than here on earth, we might be God’s big toe and each of us a pulsing cell within that toe. Equally, we might be God’s left eye – reflecting and refracting back to the Center of the Universe, to the beating galactic core of God’s heart all that God wants to see. In other words – if God is the Universe and we are part of the Universe then WE ARE ONE WITH GOD. And what we experience in this place of being One with God is LOVE. A love that is beyond what we can comprehend – a love that is all encompassing, embracing us in rapturous ecstasy. A love that destroys all that makes us small and elevates us to our original nature as ONE in LOVE. Living as love, out of love and for the purpose of love. Love. Love. Love.

 

THIS is the truth that sets us free. THIS is the cure to all that ails us. Love that made and flows steadily throughout the entire universe and beats steady and pure from the center of all that is. We are one with this love as part of the living universe and one with this love through our own beating hearts. Love is all there is. All there is is love. When we know this we know peace, contentment, joy and love. THIS is the reason for all our restlessness, boredom and longing – LOVE calling us home.

For support in finding this place of Oneness within yourself, check out my book, Authentic Freedom – claiming a life of contentment and joy (BUY IT HERE) or join us for the Authentic Freedom Mastery Course (Learn more HERE). 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in grief, Raised Catholic

The Cyclical Nature of Grief

Yesterday, and old grief was triggered in me, along with all the symptoms that have come along with this grief – deep sorrow, rage, hatred, anxiety, panic, trembling, emotional and intellectual paralysis, nausea, upset stomach, etc.  When I found I could not even give words to what I was feeling, I turned to my blog archives and found exactly the words I needed to hear – the words that clearly articulated my grief and the loss surrounding this grief.  In this I have been reminded of how grief continues to come back around seeking another layer of healing.  Thank you those who shall remain nameless for inviting me into another layer of healing and to the gift of God’s healing presence. 

The Church That Turned Away from Me

(originally posted on Good Friday, 2015)

Copyright 2015  Lauri Ann Lumby

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For the past eight years, I have been fasting from the Eucharist.  To one on the outside looking in, I might be accused of turning away from my Church.  The opposite in fact is true.  It is the Church that turned away from me.

As a Vatican II Catholic, raised in a Vatican II Church, I have had a unique experience of Catholicism, markedly different from the generations that went before me.  I never experienced the Latin mass or was drilled on the Baltimore Catechism.  I attended Saturday evening folk mass accompanied by Kumbaya’s, Up, Up with People, and To Be Alive! Fish on Friday was reserved for Lent.  Ecumenical dialogue was encouraged and instead of Heaven being the privilege of Catholics only, the pearly gates stood open to all who lived in love. I was brought up with a rock n’ roll Jesus Christ Superstar who in his humanness pleaded to be released while weeping tears of blood at Gethsemane and to whom we desired to “see more clearly, love more dearly and follow more nearly,” as he danced around us in rainbow striped suspenders, sporting a Superman t-shirt.  Speaking out on matters of social injustice and working for peace; feeding the poor, clothing the naked and setting captives free was the understood responsibility of every person sitting in the pew.  Divine retribution and punishment had been left on the editing floor of the Holy See – along with indulgences; and even the unbaptized had a place in God’s loving kingdom. The only God I knew was the God of love. Jesus came to know this love and taught us how to love and was set up as the model and example of how every Christian was called to live.  We were called to be Jesus’ hands and heart through the unique charisms gifted to us by God’s Holy Spirit (sometimes even spoken of as a woman!).

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This is the Church I grew up in and the Church that I deeply loved.  Strengthening this bond was the mass that provided sanctuary and support for my inherently contemplative nature. Gothic arches, painted statues and stained glass windows serenaded by artistic soul.  And the stand up, kneel down, bow and sit of Catholic choreography nourished my need for a spirituality that was as much physical as it was emotional and intellectual. Devotion to Mary satisfied my need for a Divine Mother and the saints became my superheroes.

If I love my Church so much, you may be wondering why I have been fasting from the Eucharist?  What went wrong?  In short, it seems I took what I learned about God, Jesus and our Christian call too literally:

  • I believe in an unconditionally loving God, a Son that is both fully human and fully divine; the call to follow Jesus as an example of how to live my life and to be and do as he would in the world.
  • I love God above all else, my neighbor as myself and I consider ALL of humankind to be my neighbor.
  • I judge not (lest I be judged).
  • I pray for my enemies.
  • I try to forgive 70 times 7 times.
  • I pray without ceasing.
  • I feed the hungry.
  • I clothe the naked.
  • I give sight to the blind.
  • I set captives free.
  • And, I heal the sick.

Oshkosh WI 2/9/11: Photo by Jeannette Merten.

In the end, it was the last three actions that caused my Church to turn away from me.

After eight years in Catholic school and an equal number of years in academic and professional education and formation as a lay minister and spiritual director, I was guided by God to study hands-on-healing and Eastern Energy Medicine (Reiki). Out of this training and experience, God guided me further to develop a protocol through which people found healing from the spiritual wounds that separated them from God’s love, thereby healing them of their sin.  Right in line with Jesus’ teachings, right!? Apparently not, because the practices that I had learned and successfully applied were not “explicitly handed down by the Magesterium.”  I was challenged and confronted, hateful emails and letters were sent. I was accused of every nature of evil. Local bishops, fueled by the fear of the vocal minority, challenged my work and eventually handed down a prohibition calling it “witchcraft and sorcery,” in spite of my attempts to reason with and explain things to them.  Through this, I endured, but when I was attacked by a newly-appointed  pastor for a course in “Christian Zen” that I was sponsoring, who claimed it to be “outside Catholic teaching” and who identified Eastern practices as “dangerous,” I broke.  My heart was broken and my resolve with it.  The Church I had loved and out of whose embrace I had come to know God’s love – the Church who had called me to continue the work of Jesus – had betrayed me.  My gifts, my call, the unique way I had come to know God was no longer welcome. More than that, my ministry had been condemned as “dangerous,” “witchcraft and sorcery”….some even called it, “the work of the devil.”

ChristianZen.jpgOn that fateful autumn day, I listened beyond the voice of the fearful priest, the self-appointed inquisition, and even the Vatican II teachings that provided space for the ecumenical nature of the work I was doing and the unifying discussions that might arise out of this work.  I listened instead to the still, small voice of God within.  God’s voice was not small that day.  God spoke directly and loudly to my heart, “Lauri, you are my beloved daughter.  I have placed my word within your heart.  I have anointed you to be my servant.  Who will you obey?  Man or Me?”

Of course I chose God.

With God and the echoing support of Peter and the Apostles who similarly responded to the Church who turned away from them, “We must obey God rather than man, (Act 5: 29)” I handed over my keys and walked away.  Buoyed by God’s eternal promise of freedom, I knew that I could more freely do the work God had called me to absent the on-going scrutiny of the Church and the fearful minority.

Some would suggest that in leaving the Church I have also left behind my faith.  The opposite, in fact is true.  My faith has remained intact, and in truth, has been fortified.  I start every morning in prayer and meditation over the daily scripture.  Jesus is my constant companion, teacher and guide. I discern daily the ways in which I am being called to continue Jesus’ work in the world. I have seen the clear evidence of God at work through me as I witness the profound healing experienced by those who have become part of my ministry, and I am continually amazed at how God works through me to bring people more and more deeply into love and more closely connected to their own gifts and vocational call in the world.  I see the power of faith at work as I witness the empowerment experienced by those who come to me for counsel, attend my classes, read my writing and partake in my weekly services; and with each passing day my faith is strengthened and affirmed.

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Regarding the Church, I wish I could say that like Lot, I never looked back.  I find, instead, that I am more like Lot’s wife, forever gazing back in profound longing – grieving the loss of my home, my sanctuary, my community, my Church.  Beyond my own grief, however, I weep for my Church.  I long for the Church that I had come to know – one that is firmly rooted in the truth of God’s unconditional love and acting as that love in the world.  I long for a Church that works for unity and empowerment of all humankind – regardless of their gender, beliefs, or sexual orientation.  I long for a Church that is willing to set down its wealth and its power and get in the trenches with those who need its help – the hungry, the poor, the imprisoned, the fearful, the wounded and the broken. I long for the Church that takes Jesus’ example seriously by being humble, giving the seats of honor to those without honor and washing the feet of strangers.  I yearn for a Church that supports people in becoming self-actualized, mature disciples – fostering the psycho-spiritual growth of men, women and children so that they can find the God they have forgotten in their hearts, discover their own unique giftedness and vocational call and become empowered in the fulfillment and use of these gifts in service to the betterment of the world.  I long for a Church that recognizes the earth as holy and sacred and works to be a steward for the gifts God gave us so that all of humanity may not only survive but thrive.  I cry out to the Church to work for justice – justice for all – not only for those who “are Catholic in good standing.”  My heart yearns for a Church that welcomes ALL people to its table – inviting all to know the unconditional and infinite love that is their truest nature. This is the Church that I once knew and I often wonder what happened to that Church – or if all along it had really just been a figment of my imagination.

 

 

Lauri Ann Lumby, MATP is a published author, ordained interfaith minister, spiritual director and teacher.  She ministers to a world-wide audience, most of whom were raised Catholic but who were also turned away by the Church.  Lauri lives in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  You can learn more about Lauri and her ministry at www.authenticfreedomacademy.com.

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.

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Academy, Being Human, Empowerment, Lessons, mental illness, teachers, temptation

Panic Attacks – the Devil Inside (Part I)

Panic Attacks – the Devil Inside (Part I)

On Saturday, June 13th I had three full-blown panic attacks, the third so debilitating I was not able to drive myself and my son home from a shopping trip 30 miles from home.  As I mentioned in my blog on Monday, panic attacks suck…..or do they?  What if panic attacks are not here to harm or torture us, but are instead, here to teach us?  What if instead of judging them as harmful, rushing off to medicate them, or wanting to push them away, we welcomed them closer and allowed them to be our teacher?  What, you might ask, could a panic attack teach us other than, “life sucks and then you die?”  Let’s find out… 

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There is always more to the story…

As much as I hate having panic attacks, and they are terrifying while they are happening and every moment in between, for me, and I suspect many others who experience anxiety, depression and panic attacks (note:  the three are closely related), there is always more to the story.  Panic attacks don’t simply show up out of nowhere (though they sure seem like they do).  They always have deeper roots.  As I sat in the fog of the post-panic, post-Xanax hangover, I had ample opportunity to sort through all the potential precursors of panic (while trying not to get too much into old patterns of self-deprecation and negative self-judgment of thinking I did something wrong to bring on this panic and that there must be something wrong with me…).  In the search, I discovered there was a litany of potential “causes”:

Wine – ugh!  One tiny glass of wine the evening before (and as I noted had happened before every panic attack or near-panic I’ve had).  Wine=yeast=triggering my candida allergy.  Apparently there is a tie between candida and panic.  SIGH.  No more wine for me.

Keeping a lid on it!  Tending to a friend who received a medical treatment.  Helping another friend who received a cancer diagnosis.  Being present with a friend whose mother recently passed.  Lots of travel.  And just life in general.  Lots to carry.  Lots to hold.  Throw in some good old fashioned money fears…and….NOT TAKING CARE OF MYSELF in the midst of it all!  TONS of emotions were bottled up in me that needed to find a way out…..and boy did they!  (And let’s not forget the link between panic and past, unresolved trauma!)

STEPPING INTO MY GREATNESS!  The week leading up to the panic attack was a HUGE week for me.  I stepped into my new venture as Authentic Freedom Academy.  I put AFA out into the world.  I formed an affiliate program and sent out invites.  I completed the most recent Resurrecting the Magdalene course and ordained (yes, I said “ORDAINED!”) four women into The Order of the Magdalene/Christ. I received an important message about my beloved partner.  And finally…..through the support of some shamanic journey work, I rediscovered some very ancient methods of manifestation (ie: magic) and for bringing the new world into being.  Hint: “The Law of Attraction” is OUT (truth be told, it was never in for me anyway…more on that later).

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The link between panic and POWER

As much as we don’t want to admit it, there IS a link between panic and STANDING IN OUR POWER.  The way I understand it, the link between panic and power is two-fold:

Ignoring the voice of our Soul:

First, panic (and its precursor – anxiety) arises when we ignore, silence, suppress and repress our POWER, our truth, our gifts, our call, our purpose and our passions.  When we ignore the voice of our SOUL is will do everything in its power to get our attention.  The more we ignore the voice of the SOUL, the harder it works, sometimes having to resort to desperate measures to get our attention – even if it means panic.  This has definitely been the case for me.  When the truth is in my face again and again and again and I choose to ignore it, panic steps in.

Stepping into our power:

Panic attacks can also arise as a form of temptation.  The closer we get to our Soul’s purpose, God’s call for us in our life, the path of our highest Self, the harder the ego works to thwart us on our path.  Our Soul longs to be free – to have a life of fulfillment, expansiveness, meaning, peacefulness and love.  The ego wants SAME, status quo, what is old and familiar.  Think of Jesus in the desert and Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  In both instances, Jesus did battle with “Satan” over the path before him.  Heed the voice of fear and make himself equal to God (as was the discussion in the desert) or heed the voice of fear and recant his truth (that he was One with God but not necessarily equal)?  The ego does not want us to enjoy the path of our Soul or to embrace our gifts or our true power.  Instead, the ego wants us to remain small, in a place and situation that is familiar.  Toward that end, the ego will resort to all sorts of ministrations to keep us from our power – even panic attacks if it needs to.

Power and panic in proportion

I can think of two situations in particular (this weekend included) where a powerful moment of stepping into my power presented itself and panic stepped in.  In both situations, and army of support presented itself and I eventually figured out the true source of the panic – not in something I had done wrong, but in something I had done right!  Talk about empowering.  It is interesting to me to note that the degree to which we are stepping into our power is equal to the degree to which the ego fights to keep us from it.  From the degree of the panic attacks I experienced this weekend, I’m guessing I’m getting pretty dang close to the purpose of my soul and to the root of my true power.  How about you?

Stay tuned Panic Attacks, the Devil Inside Part II where we will learn how to embrace temptation (ie: panic attacks) as our teacher instead of our tormentor.

Authentic Freedom Academy provides resources and support for those wishing to heed the voice of their Soul – for those who know they are here for a reason, who want to know what that reason is, and who wish to contribute to the betterment of themselves and the world through their own unique giftedness.  Call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@autheticfreedomacademy.com to learn more.