Posted in church, Mary Magdalene, order of the magdalene, priestess training

The Magdalene Priesthood – In the World

When I first launched the Order of the Magdalene Priesthood Training, I thought it had to do with building a “new church.” I thought it would be the training ground for women and men to come into their fullness and be ordained as priests and priestesses as was originally modeled in the Church.  Very quickly, I learned this was not to be the case and it seems I am learning this truth more and more every day. What is most interesting about this unfolding, however, is that it is turning out exactly according to what I have been saying all along about ordination in the institutional church:

There is no shortage of vocations. There is only a shortage of vision.

For the past many years, the institutional Church has complained about a vocation shortage. In the Catholic Church, especially, there aren’t enough men coming forward as candidates for priesthood.  This is a fact. The Church’s response to this has been to close parishes and to make a single priest responsible for multiple parishes. (Note, there is also a HUGE shortage in people attending church, but that is a whole other story.)

When I was still working in the Church, I would argue, “There is no shortage of vocations. Those who are called are sitting right here in the pews, we simply need to empower them to identify, cultivate and then use their unique gifts.  When we do this, we will never have to ask for the ministries of church to be fulfilled, people will willingly and enthusiastically come forward offering to share their gifts.”  My words fell on deaf ears, but with the Magdalene Priesthood, I am finding the fulfillment of these words.

In the Magdalene Priesthood we are doing just what I described to our priest (and anyone else who would listen) all those years ago. Through the Magdalene Priesthood training (for women and men), participants are given the resources and support they need to:

  • Discover their unique giftedness.
  • Cultivate these gifts.
  • Move through the fears, resistance and societal conditioning that might otherwise hinder them in the use of their gifts.
  • Be empowered in the use of these gifts 1) for the sake of their own fulfillment and 2) in service to the betterment of the world.

In short, the Magdalene Priesthood training supports participants in coming to know themselves and then empowers them to live that truth fully in the world. The end result is a community of self-empowered women and men who are living their unique gifts fully in the world and doing so in a way that is unique to them. With the Magdalene Priesthood, members are living these gifts IN THE WORLD. Graduates of the Magdalene Priesthood are living these gifts in a multitude of ways:

  • Accountants.
  • Massage Therapists.
  • Yoga Instructors.
  • Dance Educators.
  • Teachers.
  • Mothers.
  • Dental Assistants.
  • Office Managers
  • Physicians.
  • Professors.
  • Fathers.
  • Business Owners.
  • Registered Nurses.
  • Clerical Support.
  • Government Employees.

Participants and graduates of the Magdalene Priesthood Training are women and men from all walks of life. We are not locked away in an ivory tower or sequestered in a monastery.  Instead, we are IN THE WORLD doing every day jobs (even I am working part time as Office Manager for a local arts academy).  The difference is that we are no longer bringing our broken, wounded, fragmented selves to these jobs, we are bringing our WHOLE selves and in doing so, transforming the work we are doing, our workplace and even the people around us.  In completing the work of the Magdalene Priesthood Training, we are bringing the fullness of love into the very heart of where it is needed the most – in our broken and fragmented world.

This is what Mary Magdalene did. This is what Jesus did before her.  Jesus was not “in” the temple.  He was not a priest of the temple.  He, like any other rabbi, sometimes spoke within the temple grounds and at synagogue, but he was not a priest in the clerical sense of the word.  He served at table – but over ordinary meals.  He performed ritual – but they were not the rituals in the temple – they were the homey, earthy rituals that were part of everyday Jewish life.  The same was likely true of Mary Magdalene.  She was a woman of the world, ministering IN the world through her own unique calling and her own unique gifts – not in a temple, not in a church, but in the midst of the people wherever and however she was called.

Learn more about the Magdalene Priesthood Training by clicking on the icon below:

Posted in church, Discernment, Empowerment, Freedom, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Raised Catholic, world changes

Priest in a Post-Modern World

Yesterday, I began the discussion on charisms by asking the question, “What is your magic?”  In the next several posts, we will be exploring spiritual gifts (as they are defined by the Catholic faith in which I was raised), ultimately with the hope of giving you some tools to assist you in your own discernment.  What is your magic?  Today, I am going to press pause on that exploration to share a bit about my own discernment around this question and the answer that keeps showing up – and one I most often believe I can do nothing about.  With the assistance of today’s blog, I hope to change that!

LauriPriest

So…here it is.  I am called to be a priest and have been given every charism to fulfill this vocation.  I am a fantastic presider (I just officiated my brother’s wedding and was confirmed in this gift).  It has been reflected to me that when proclaiming the Word, people are moved and that I’m an adequate preacher.  I have been given the gift of healing through the ministry of hands-on-healing and spiritual direction.  I have been given the gifts of faith, leadership, pastoring, teaching, knowledge, and wisdom.  I have even learned to accept voluntary poverty and celibacy(ahem…not by my choice!).  I know that I have been a source of encouragement and many have reflected on my most obvious charism which is discernment of spirits.  Oh yeah, and I seem to know how to write and am rarely without inspiration in this regard.  So……God gave me all the gifts to be not just an adequate priest, but an amazing one!  Unfortunately, God put me in a place where I have been unable to respond to this call.  In the Catholic Church in which I was raised and where my heart still remains, there is no place for women called to the priesthood.  So, the question is, how is one supposed to respond to that call to be priest when the Church they love cannot accept their gifts (even if I am no longer worshipping there….and that is a whole other story)?

Sure, I could change teams and seek ordination through another faith, but that does not resonate with my truth because even bigger than my issues with Catholicism are my issues with patriarchal, hierarchical institutions.  No, I’m not some rabid, militant feminist who hates men.  In fact, I adore men.  However, I am deeply troubled by the separation, power, control and manipulation through fear that has been promulgated by many (if not most) patriarchal, hierarchical institutions.  And, I don’t believe there is one church, corporation, educational institution, medical, government institution that is not guilty of using their hierarchical, patriarchal power to uplift themselves while keeping others small.  It is primarily for this reason that I do not bargain away my Roman Catholic upbringing for another hierarchical, patriarchal institution, none of which have anything to do with what, I believe, Jesus had in mind.

So, how does one respond to their call to be priest when the faith they grew up in won’t take them and when they can’t support any other institution founded on the same hierarchical, patriarchal sin as the one they came from?  Ultimately, this strikes me as a post-modern question.  The old guard is dying and the new is yet to be revealed.   This is a time ripe with opportunity, but fraught with danger and anxiety.  How will we tend to the grieving in the face of the death of the old?  What will the new world look like?   How will we tend to the spiritual, pastoral, religious and communal needs of a culture beyond hierarchy and patriarchy?  What will this look like?  In the meantime, what do we do?  For me, the answer can only be this:

  • Continue to preach (through this blog and other opportunities).
  • Continue to heal (through spiritual direction and hands-on-healing).
  • Continue to preside (through weddings, naming ceremonies, funerals, etc).
  • Continue to teach, counsel and lead.
  • Continue to use my gifts of discernment to help guide myself and others.
  • Continue to be open to sharing the gifts of prophecy when they emerge.
  • Continue being priest in all the ways that I know how and in all the ways in which I am free to do so.

Now, let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord.  Thanks be to God!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvFUw9HvRf8

Posted in Inspiration, Midlife Journey

Ted and His Friends – Midlife Wisdom from a Slow White Male

Dear Bloggers,

For the past many weeks, I have been blogging about the midlife and menopause journey, all the while, knowing that I only have one small perspective on this journey.  As a divorced, white, college educated, middle class American woman, I can only speak from this perspective.  I have been very much aware that what is missing in this discussion is the masculine voice.  As such, I have invited my dear friend and mentor, Ted Balser to share his insights on the midlife journey (and beyond) from the male perspective. 

See Ted’s current bio below, but let me tell you a little bit about Ted from my perspective.  What I have learned about Ted Balser is that he is 1 part Albert Einstein, 1 part Thomas Edison and 1 part Tommy Chong.  Ted is a creative and intellectual genius with a heart as wide as the sun who generously shares his time and resources with women, children, the jobless and anyone else who needs a listening ear, a compassionate heart and a helping hand.  At the ripe, young age of 72, Ted has seen his fair share of challenges and tragedies and has learned and grown through them.  I am grateful for the day that Ted showed up in my life with his pile of binders, career search files, spiritual hand-outs and laminated inspirational quotes and saved me from succumbing to the pressure of finding a “real job.”  Ted made a commitment to me on that day which he has enthusiastically upheld, “Lauri, we will leave no stone unturned until you are able to do what you love and make a living doing it.”  We’re still working on the “making a living part,” and I am forever grateful for Ted’s enduring love and support!  Thank you Ted!  I love you! 

So….without further ado…..I introduce you to Ted Balser, his words and his wisdom:

Ted Balser
Ted Balser

Ted and His Friends – We must suspend our disbelief

 

Who am I?  I am a slow white male, the easy definition for which is “the buck stops here.”  Because, for the rest of the world, the 78 cents stops here. This fact begs the question, why can’t we all make the same amount of pay for the same job? (See AAUW research on this social injustice!)

Allow me to continue to introduce myself. I have several causes that I quite literally wear on my sleeve:  Live United, Suicide Prevention, Live Strong, Cancer Survivors, Prevention of Childhood Abuse, Breast Cancer Awareness, Mental Health Awareness, and Alzheimer Awareness. And there is one cause that I wear in my heart – a cause which is really three-in-one.  It goes like this: Every Woman Counts, Every Mother Counts, and Every Child Counts. I feel it is my responsibility as a slow white male to assist with their lives on a daily basis.

I have developed a mantra to help me with the how part of my responsibilities, both to myself and to my chosen causes.  As a slow white male, my mantra goes like this and takes the form of a mathematical formula:

V+ M+ G 1 + G 2 + C to the third power = J over the number 168

V = vision – the vision to provide an environment where people can be successful. This vision requires a listening attitude.

M = mission – my personal mission in this life is to have fun. Fun is a common theme for me, and I feel that none of us can be successful without having fun.  Unfortunately, this is something many, if not most have forgotten.  Can you name, for example, the 7 dwarfs?  If you forgot one, I bet it is Happy.  He is the one we too often forget.

G1= My first goal, which is to share.  Sharing is not hard to do. Didn’t John the Evangelist say that if we have two coats that we should share one with someone who doesn’t?

G2 = Learning, my second goal. I make it a point to learn something new every day. It is simple.  If you haven’t learned something new today, get out a map out a find out the population of Omro. As of the 2010 census it was 3517!  And of course, if you have a bible on your bed stand, open it, read any page, and learn something new.

C = Caring.  Caring to the third power.  Caring first for myself.  If you are in an airplane and you need the oxygen mask, you are always instructed to put yours on first before assisting others with theirs. The second type of caring is to care for the person(s) who listens and does not judge. These are your true friends. Take care of them by listening and not judging them as well. Caring to third power is to care for the group you are with at the time.  People need to know they are cared for before they will care about you or your causes.

A life driven by commitment to a vision, mission and goals that in some way reflect caring for self and others results is J/168J = JOY and 168 is the number of hours in a week.  And who would not want that – a fulfilling life with meaning and purpose that gives you joy 168 hours a week?  This is what I strive to attain in my own life and my hope and challenge for you!

If you don’t yet have a cause you care about, you are welcome to join one of mine, or find what it is that gives you passion and keep on keeping on.

May peace be our journey!

Ted and his friends. 

Ted Balser:  Explorer, Strategist, and Problem-Solver.

Ted claims he’s never worked a day in his life, but his resume will tell you otherwise.  Ted was named Alumni Relationship Specialist for the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh in July of 2007.  Prior to that, he was the director of Career Services for eleven years, and the assistant director of Residence Life in charge of Operations and Facilities Management for twelve years.

His professional experiences and educational background are diverse:  He managed his own family business, was the director of Auxiliary Services and Student Union at St. Norbert College, and was the program advisor and University Center Supervisor at Northern Illinois University.

Ted’s most significant job has been Sunday School teacher for twenty years, including ten years teaching high school students.  Through working in this role, he has learned about the conflicts that people, especially young people, encounter in their journeys of discovering identity and preparing for college.   

Posted in Midlife Journey

Midlife and Menopause – Revisioning Work

The purpose of a midlife crisis, perimenopause and menopause (from a spiritual perspective) is to move us beyond childbearing to birthing ourselves…and this is as true for men as it is for women.  During midlife and menopause, we are invited to leave behind the life we have known to make room for the new life that is trying to be born through us.  In birthing our new selves, we are birthing our Soul – the unique way we are creatively gifted to find meaning, purpose, connection and fulfillment in our lives and the way in which we find fulfillment by contributing to the betterment of our world. In birthing our Soul, we are also birthing a new vocation and in birthing our new vocation, we are required to revision work, what it means to us and how we want it to look in the second and third trimesters of our lives. 

Lauri in Santa Cruz, CA
Lauri in Santa Cruz, CA

Midlife and Menopause – Revisioning Work

While this is not true for everyone, the ideal outcome of the midlife process for men is a new relationship with work where work becomes less about being the “provider” and more about doing what they love.  For women, the midlife journey transitions them from being a caretaker of children and partners to tending to themselves – specifically their creative gifts, passions and dreams and finding a new vocation in this.  For women who did not choose, or were not gifted with motherhood, a shift in career from “work” to “passion” is the ideal outcome.  In order to be open to this life-giving transition, however, both men and women have to revision work, what work means to them and what they want it to look like in the second and third trimesters of their lives.

Midlife and Menopause – Letting work define us

For many, in order to revision work, we have to confront old and familiar attitudes about work.  For many, work comes to be how we are defined and how we find our validation.  We come to associate ourselves with what we do.  “Hi, I’m Lauri.  I am a counselor.”  “Hi, I’m John, I’m a financial planner.”  Unfortunately, we live in a society which supports this illusion – that we work, therefore we are.  The truth we learn in midlife, however, is that work is not who we are, it is simply what we do.  The other problem with work is that we also live in a culture which says, “In order to be recognized, validated, loved, you’d better be working and productive.”  Work then becomes a source of validation….if I’m working, I am good…if not, I’m being lazy or bad.  In midlife, we are invited to learn that none of this is true.  In fact, we discover that in order to be happy, healthy, fulfilled and whole, not only do we need meaningful work that engages our uniquely creative gift and in some way gives service to the world, we also need time to DO NOTHING!  The outcome of a healthy midlife transition is a balanced relationship between doing (something meaningful and fulfilling) and Being…..in other words, doing nothing!

 

How are you being invited to revision your relationship with work – finding something that is meaningful and fulfilling and enjoying a healthy balance between working and doing nothing?

 

Lauri Ann Lumby provides guidance and support for those undergoing the midlife transition.  To schedule your own personal, one-on-one mentoring session, call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.  Sessions are available in person, over the phone and via Skype.

 

P.S. Thank you Bob Russo for catching me in the act of simply BEING!  🙂

Posted in Being Human, Freedom, Inspiration, Lessons, Spiritual Practices

Loneliness

Today’s blog explores loneliness – the addictions and compulsions we indulge to either run from or avoid the spiritual pain of loneliness – the ultimate spiritual purpose of loneliness and how we can find its cure. (hint….the cure is in listening to what loneliness REALLY has to say to us!)

loneliness

Loneliness – the scourge of Western society

I sometimes think loneliness is the greatest scourge of Western society.  Having lost our tribal connections, often separated from family and friends, we feel alone and adrift.  Even more problematic, however, is our loss of connection with OURSELVES.  This sense of separation from self (and others) is then experienced as a deep ache, an excruciating longing – often described as a “hole in the soul” that says, “I feel like there is something missing. Unaware of the true source and purpose of this aching loneliness, we seek outside ourselves for “the thing” that will fill this empty hole – or at the very least, ease the pain of longing.  It is the outward search for the remedy to this pain which is the cause of all our compulsive, addictive, unhealthy behaviors and all the “isms” that plague our society.  We drink, drug, eat, shop, consume, waste, abuse, acquire, collect, hoard, manipulate, control – all in an effort to avoid or numb the pang of loneliness.  What would happen if instead of running from or trying to medicate our loneliness we stopped and listened to what our loneliness is trying to say to us?  If we were brave enough to endure the pain of loneliness, for just a moment, and let our loneliness speak, what would s/he say?

Lauri Lumby provides support for your search for meaning, purpose and connection.  To set up a one-on-one, private session, call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com

Loneliness Speaks:

Why do you run from me?  Why do you hide from my presence?  Why do you grasp after fleeting and temporary things like food, drink, drugs, meaningless sex, empty relationships, material possessions, wealth, status and power as a way to avoid my calling or silence the sound of my voice?  My task is not to harm.  My mission is not to cause pain.  My job is not to imprison.  Rather, my cause is to heal.  My hope to liberate.  My vocation, you see,  is only in compassionate and loving service to your SOUL.  The loneliness that you feel is none other than the voice of your soul CALLING YOU HOME – calling you home to all the places within yourself where you feel separate – most importantly from yourself – your true self – the person God made you to be with all your gifts and passions SHINING and EMPLOYED for your fulfillment and for the benefit of humankind. 

When you run from me, you are running from yourself.  When you numb or silence me, you are imprisoning yourself.  But….the Soul is persistent and will continue to seek your presence through loneliness, restlessness, impatience and pain until you PAY ATTENTION.  So, next time you feel the pang of loneliness, I implore you not to run or numb but STOP.  Pause for a moment and FEEL THE PAIN of loneliness.  Then, give me your attention.  Listen to where I am calling you.  Seek the guidance of my voice.  And say yes to your Soul CALLING YOU HOME.  In giving me your attention, by listening to my voice you will hear your truth as it reveals your gifts, stirs up your passions and compels you to nurture and cultivate these gifts so that you will one day be empowered to make these gifts a priority in your life giving you the fulfillment you long for and in the meantime, benefitting the world.  You were made for this purpose and your Soul will not rest until you fulfill its call….or forever be plagued with the pain of longing, loneliness, restlessness and discontent.

 

How will you respond to your loneliness?

Lauri Lumby provides support for your search for meaning, purpose and connection.  To set up a one-on-one, private session, call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com. 

 

Posted in church, Jesus, Raised Catholic

The Call of Francis (Saint, Pope, otherwise!)

Last night as I was proofing the manuscript for my upcoming book, Returning- a woman’s midlife journey to herself, I stumbled across the following poem.  I wrote this as a reflection on my connection with St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, and as my response to my own spiritual and vocational call.  Reading it last night, I realized that it could just as well be a letter to the newly elected pope, also called, Francis, and my hope for how he might lead the bedraggled Catholic church.  So, Pope Francis, if you are listening, this one’s for you!  (PS  It is for all the rest of us too!)

 

francis

The call of St. Francis, tried and true,

“’Tis time to build the church anew,

A church in Spirit and in Grace,

Christ residing in every face.

The corruption of old has begun to unfold.

The Spirit crashing through the hold.

Power, greed, corruption and sin,

It’s time, our work is about to begin.”

Regarding in awe, the Church torn asunder.

Is the Spirit at work?  We’re invited to wonder.

Secrets held dear, throughout the years,

Covering up the trail of tears.

“You’ve missed the point,” the Spirit cries.

The Church too busy believing their lies.

Jesus’ message seems pretty clear,

“Love God and neighbor as yourself my dears.”

God’s in their minds, not in their hearts.

Only practicing Catholics, our neighbors for starts.

And you, well, you’re created in sin,

so just where is this love to begin?

Let’s start, “In the beginning,” Genesis One and Two,

“It is good,” God says of you!

Not born in sin as Augustine preached

but born in love, joy and peace.

“Jesus loves me, this I know,

for the bible tells me so.”

We are invited to believe this children’s song,

Yet sometimes the Church tells us it’s wrong.

True faith, you see, when push comes to shove:

The extent to which we believe in God’s love.

And when we believe this promise true,

There’s only one thing left to do:

to share that love with everyone,

for this the mission of Christ was begun.

Posted in Discernment

Prophet and Teacher

Today’s blog discusses the process of discernment, specificially as it relates to purpose, vocation and call.  How do we know the way in which we are uniquely gifted to reveal God in the world?

Calling it Quits?

The first half of 2012 has been a DOOZY!  Starting with three professional situations that pulled the rug out from beneath my feet leaving me breathless and wondering if I should simply close up shop and go get a job at Target.  Fortunately, I knew better than to make any hasty decisions and entered into this as a time of healing and prayerful discernment.  It has not been an easy process as my normal sources of income dried up and I was forced to REALLY TRUST that God would provide for my needs – which God has in strange, mysterious, unexpected, and sometimes really uncomfortable ways.  I offer a profound prayer of thanksgiving while at the same time not wishing this kind of radical trust on anyone!  There have been many times in the past six months when I have wondered why I do the work that I do and if anyone really gives a damn (that’s my inner martyr speaking).  More specifically, after struggling for 8 years to make a living in this crazy non-descript world of Contemplative Progressive Catholic Christian something or other, I have had to ask if making a living is even possible which then brings me back to the Target idea.  (FYI…..I’m not ready to give up just yet…….there is something brewing in my big iron pot that might just blow the lid off my world and your world too!   More on that soon!)

Double Double Toil and Trouble

As I have been processing the events of earlier this year and watching my normal sources of income disappear, I have placed all of this into the black cauldron of discernment.  I have allowed these observations, along with any other ideas, insights, thoughts, dreams, hopes, guidance, suggestions, etc. etc. etc. that want to get stirred in my pot for examination, scrutiny, questioning, contemplation and prayer.  As the cauldron has been bubbling, certain things have simply evaporated away as untruths, some are still sitting in the “I don’t know yet” part of the soup and a few have risen to the top as clear and true. One of the ways in which I identify the “clear and true” things is the ease with which they have come forth and the ease of energy within me to give myself to it.

The Clear and the True

In yesterday’s blog, Behold I Make All Things New, I revealed one of those things that have surfaced as “clear and true” – the gift and call to be prophet.  There are two other items that presented themselves this summer that have proved to be absolutely effortless, complete with all of the practical supports I needed to accomplish these tasks.  The first of these is around the novel I am hoping to complete this summer and publish this fall:  Song of the Beloved – a memoire of Mary called Magdalene.  The second is about teaching.  With virtually no effort on my part, I have had the opportunity to share my Living in Freedom class with an amazing group of people who have found healing, insight and understanding about themselves through the work they have done in this class.  YAY!

Which Brings me Back to Teaching!!!!!

Teaching, it seems, is the core and the connecting thread and perhaps the ONE purpose, vocation, call that has been trying to get my attention all along.  (actually, it has never really lost my attention, I was just busy thinking of myself as a healer or the next great Anne Rice or J.K. Rowlings to really see it clearly.)  When I examine all the work that I do:  spiritual direction, reiki, writing, leading prayer, they really all point to and arise out of teaching.  And what am I teaching?  In a nutshell, I hope that I am teaching people to REMEMBER the LOVE that they are.  Because at the end of the day, this is all we really want and all we really need.  As I sit with this clearer and truer picture of “Lauri as teacher,” my heart starts to sing and all kinds of really cool ideas spring forth about how I might better accomplish this vocation (through God of course!) in a way that meets a larger audience.  Maybe I can skip the red shirt and khaki pants afterall!

Where is God inviting you into discernment?

What is occupying your revolving door?

What is seeking to be discarded and what is rising to the top as “clear and true”?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Discernment, Spiritual Direction

Why Spiritual Direction Matters

Today’s blog explores the value of a little-known ministry called Spiritual Direction. (Ahem….I am one of those who provide this little known service!  And, I’m dang good at it! )  🙂

Horror of Horrors

Yesterday I received an email inquiry about Reiki from a young man who was interested in learning more and who thought he might be called to learn and share this healing protocol.  He then told me that he was also in formation to become a Catholic priest.  I explained to him the Catholic Church’s current thoughts on Reiki (not favorable), and referred him to the articles I had already written on the topic.  I then invited him to bring these questions and discernment to his Spiritual Director to determine which call was greater – that to do Reiki or to become a Catholic priest, because in the end, he would have to make a choice between the two.  His response?  “I don’t have a Spiritual Director and there isn’t one available in our Church.”  My response?  ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Not Surprised

In truth, I was not at all surprised by this young man’s response.  I know that this is not always the case, but it has been my observation that the ministry of Spiritual Direction is sadly lacking in priestly discernment and formation and I believe this is one of the reasons the priesthood is in such a mess.  And let’s take the priests off the hook for a moment……the lack of Spiritual Direction is not just a problem in the formation of Catholic priests……I believe it is sorely lacking in our world in general.  So, in the priests’ defense, they are not the only ones NOT GETTING support, assistance, help in discerning the voice of God in their lives from the voice of the ego (which comes to us out of our fears, unhealed wounds, attachments, etc.).

What the Heck is Spiritual Direction Anyway?

Spiritual Direction is the ministry that assists us in distinguishing the Presence and Voice of God in our lives vs. our false-self and ego.  With the help of a trained Spiritual Director (ie: me), we are able to unravel the confusing and distracting voice of the ego with its roots in our fears, our ego-attachments and our unhealed wounds so that we can get the the voice of God/our Highest Self that is buried deep within.  In my own personal journey working with the amazing men and women who have been my Spiritual Directors, these are some of the benefits I have experienced:

  • The ability to identify and give over for healing many of my unhealed wounds, unresolved fears
  • Learning and honing my skills in meditation and contemplation
  • Support in moving through and grieving the losses and disappointments in my life
  • Support in identifying God’s plan and direction for my life
  • Help in distinguishing the voice of my ego from the voice of God
  • An objective listener who isn’t trying to fix things, but who helps me to uncover my own hidden truths
  • Discovery of my creative gifts and support in nurturing, cultivating and sharing these gifts
  • A shoulder to cry on or an ear to rant to when I need it
  • The voice of wisdom – I can’t tell you how many “God-nuggets” have come forth out of the mouths of my Spiritual Directors, pieces of wisdom that I have gone on to live by such as:

1) Say Yes to what God gives you

2) The most loving thing you can do for those you love is to do what is most loving for yourself

3) You are here to have a human experience….not to be God!

4) What would happen if you received everything as love instead of as rejection?

5) God’s path is life-giving not life-sucking.

In short, a Spiritual Director’s job is not to tell us what to do or to teach us how to change our behaviors or overcome our addictions.  A Spiritual Director’s job is to be an objective and attentive listener and in doing so, to help us hear the voice of our own truth (ie. the voice of God) and who gives us the tools to unbind ourselves from the fears that keep us imprisoned in our falsehoods so that we can freely and generously live our truth in the world.

Back to the Seminarian

This brings me back to the seminarian.  With the support of a Spiritual Director, this young man would have the opportunity to determine if Reiki is indeed a Divine call for him and if so, how he is being called to live that out.  He would also be given the tools to determine if he is really called to the Catholic priesthood.  If it seemed the call to do Reiki as well as the call to priesthood were both authentically coming from God, then he would be given tools to explore how he could live out both of those calls with integrity……which might mean seeking ordination outside the Catholic Church in an institution that doesn’t label Reiki as witchcraft and sorcery (more on that topic another day!).  And this brings me to my final word on Spiritual Direction – the number one job of a Spiritual Director, more than anything else is unbiased objectivity – and that is not something that will likely be found in the vocations director of your local diocese – just sayin’!

Shameless Self-Promotion

If Spiritual Direction sounds like a service that might benefit you, I am available for both phone and Skype sessions.  You can reach me at lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com or (920) 230-1313 to set up an appointment.  Please also note that my fees are on a sliding scale basis.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Discernment, Divine Revelation

Testing God

Part II of exploring the path of Spiritual Discernment.  How do we determine if our life-decisions are God-directed of Ego/Self-directed?  In a word…..PEACE.

 

 

An invitation to discernment

As I mentioned in Saturday’s blog, I had a money awakening that I now suspect might have  nothing to do with money….and everything to do about being invited into a life-direction that will seriously expand not only the naming and claiming of my gifts, but may be inviting me into stepping more fully into something God(or my ego…we’re not done discerning yet!) has been dangling in my face for YEARS!  This discernment began with fear and was followed by several days of anxiousness, compulsive thinking and “planning.”  “What am I supposed to do with this?”  I wondered.  It finally became clear that maybe the money panic was nothing more than a red flag waving and presenting an opportunity to enter into serious discernment about certain professional/vocational choices.  As such, I am TRYING to remain calm and allow God’s plan to clearly reveal itself.  Ha….easier said than done!

 

Overwhelmed by anxiety

In spite of my best efforts to remain calm, patient,  and surrender to the process of spiritual discernment, I found myself overwhelmed by anxiety.  Money anxiety.  Work anxiety.  Parenting anxiety.  Relationship anxiety….the normal things.  Then of course this anxiety expanded into every aspect of my life:  the over-abundance of weeds in the garden, the grease that needs to be cleaned off the stove hood, windows that need caulking, the shower curtain that is disgusting with mineral deposits and mold.  ARGH!!!!!!   Come on already!  But then something really strange happened this morning during my daily meditation period.  While my brain is flying off into all the directions my anxious thoughts could carry me, it suddenly shifted into thoughts of this “new” opportunity.  My anxiety and restlessness relaxed and my brain became quiet as images, thoughts, processes, structures, presented themselves related to the piece I am currently discerning.  It was as if I was being presented with the foundations and roadmap of what this direction might look like (if I determine it to be authentically God-directed and decide to say “yes” to this path).  And as I sat in meditation and allowed these thoughts and images to present themselves, I found myself falling into a state of deep and peaceful calm, and all the afore-mentioned obsessive worries simply fell away.  HMMMMM…..is this a clue along the discernment path?

God = Peace

St. Paul says it really well when it comes to testing whether something is “of God” or not.  In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul says it this way:  “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”  “Freedom” as it is used in the context of discernment means – peace, love, joy, mercy, compassion, expansiveness.  These are the qualities we are invited to look for when scrutinizing opportunities to determine if they are authentically God-driven or instead, something coming out of our own egos or fears.  Peace, I have found, is the final test.  Does a certain path give you peace?  If so, it may be from God.  Now, peace does not mean that we are free of the anxiety that comes out of resistance.  Resistance is the ego fighting against the path of our highest good.  Resistance is the voice within me that offered the initial response to this opportunity of:  “No way.  No how.  You must be nuts!  Pick someone else.  I won’t do it!”  But, when I sit with this morning’s meditation and the deep peace that presented itself in the face of the “foundation and structure” of this possible path, I have no choice but to consider that it may authentically be coming from God and may in truth be the path of my highest good.

 

Fools rush in

And….having made rash decisions in regards to this vocational choice in the past, I know better than to make my decision today.  The good news is that God is patient and that through experience, I know that there is more testing yet to be done.  So, I continue in this path of discernment, open to what God may continue to reveal, placing today’s meditation in the discernment bucket and pray for clarity of discernment and the courage to say “yes” if indeed this proves to be “of God.”

Where have you found freedom (peace, joy, love, expansiveness) in your own journey?

How do you test your life opportunities to determine if they are coming from God or out of your own ego?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com