Posted in Being Human, Lessons, Spiritual Practices

Back to the Wheel

As I continue my journey through The Wheel of Initiation by Julie Tallard Johnson, I am more and more in awe over what a powerful tool this is for spiritual growth, healing and transformation.  Today I am humbled to share with you the most recent revelations on the wheel.

The Pain Story and Related Agreements

As I have previously shared, the pain story that I am currently working through with the Wheel is I feel rejected. Along with this pain story are a wide assortment of agreements that I have embraced to support this perceived rejection that are calling for healing and release.  Just to name a few:

  • I have to be right and therefore others have to be wrong
  • If I am perfect, I will be loved
  • Everyone has to love me, if they don’t then I have to hate them

I know, messed up, right?

In My Face!

Recently, my pain story was served up to me in the form of an atomic explosion.  I won’t bore you with the details, but after the dust settled, the universe showed me my part of the explosion and has invited me to face my own inner demons and take responsibility for them.  UGH!  Here is what I had to own:

  • When I feel as if my needs are not being met, and someone else is the perceived obstacle to me getting my needs met, I cultivate and harbor resentment toward that person.
  • When I feel as if another has rejected me, I cultivate and harbor hatred toward that person.
  • Because I don’t want to be alone in my pain and because I have agreed that I have to be right….I often find my inner victim sharing with others “how I’ve been wronged, slighted, insulted, rejected, etc.”  That way, I get to be right and the person who I perceive to have hurt me gets to be wrong.

Dang.  I hate it when I’m standing there in righteous indignation, valiantly waving my flag of victory (more like victimhood!) and the universe taps me on the shoulder and then holds up the mirror.  So after the fallout of the nuclear explosion, I find myself humbled and admittedly, a little shamed.  I could probably handle it if the only person I hurt were myself when I go to these defense mechanisms and agreements, but in truth, it is through these actions that many other people have been hurt.  In fact, there might be a trail of carnage behind me if I am totally honest with the role resentment, hatred and maligning has played in my 46 years on this big ball of mud.  That sucks!

What to Do?

So, now that the universe has made me look into the mirror of truth, what do I do about it?

  • I own the truth of what the mirror has shown me – the way in which I have used resentment, hatred and slander to protect myself from perceived rejection.
  • Acknowledge the agreements I have made around this pain story.
  • Make amends with the people I have hurt through these defense mechanisms.
  • Return to my intention:  I receive everything as love and explore how I can apply this intention to the most recent conflict.
  • I sense there might be a place for some recapitulation in this experience as well.  (See Julie’s book for a detailed discussion of this spiritual practice.)
  • Work on forgiving myself, lest I fall again into my pain story!  (Cultivating shame is simply another way I get to stay in my pain story).


So, I stand here humbled by these recent happenings, AND, I am grateful for the benevolent universe that DOES NOT let me rest for long in self-righteousness.  I am also grateful, again, for the process outlined in the Wheel of Initiation for helping me to name, claim and be open to healing my pain story and any other unhealed wounds around it.

What is your pain story?

Where have you recently come face to face with it?

What are the tools you have used to heal and give release to your pain story and its resulting agreements?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

Posted in Lessons, Spiritual Practices

It is None of Your Business

In today’s blog, I will explore worry, compulsive planning and the need to fix other people’s stuff as obstacles to our own journey of awakening, spiritual growth and enlightenment.

It is none of your business!

There seems to be a theme emerging as I move through this stage of my own personal growth and transformation.  As I have been moving through this process of divorce and its accompanying professional and spiritual transformations, the words that keep showing up for me are:

It is none of your business!

What is peculiar is that these words keep showing up and they are showing up in seemingly unrelated areas.  If you read yesterday’s blog, you know that these words showed up on Sunday as God and my God Squad offered their response to my spiritual temper tantrum that effectively put them all on notice.  When I wonder how everything will work out, their unanimous response was, “Lauri, it is none of your business.” This was also the answer nearly one year ago when it was revealed to me in a very clear and obvious way that my husband of nearly 15 years and I needed to divorce.  I asked the powers that be, “How am I going to make a living and support my family?”  The loud and clear response (in a little more colorful language), “It is none of your damn business.”


The Inner Planner

My friend, Karen accuses me of having a freak brain.  I remember really weird things and can seemingly pull trivial data out of thin air.  Accompanying this “gift” is the ability to think of more than one thing at a time.  I know science suggests that this is impossible, but I can attest to the fact that I can indeed think of at least two if not three things at once.  While this may be a gift in some ways, it also proves to be a curse because my brain is rarely quiet.  The curse is that a fair share of the busy activity of my brain is planning.  On some level, my brain is constantly planning, what I’m going to do, how I’m going to do it and while it is at it, it seeks to find the answers and solutions to all of my life challenges.  Another word for this constant inner planning might be worry. I suspect that this constant inner planning and figuring is some sort of attempt to feel safe and secure in an otherwise insecure world.  The Divine is reminding me in the words, “It is none of your business,” to be content in the unknowing and trust that the universe has a higher plan….one far better than what I could ever create for myself.

The Inner Fixer

The other area where “It is none of your business” was recently revealed to me through my work with Julie Tallard Johnson and her Wheel of Initiation. One of things we are invited to let go of in the Wheel is our compulsion to carry another person’s shadow.  What this means is that instead of tending to our own junk, we spend time judging others and in some cases, trying to “fix” the things within them that we deem broken.  I am raising my hand in admittance of my guilt in this area!  I have spent a large portion of my life observing the brokenness of others (especially family members) and planning how they can fix their brokenness and then offering my “expertise” and assistance in helping them fix their problems.  Julie would remind me that all this energy spent in trying to fix another is energy taken away from my ability to embrace my highest truth and my greatest joy.  It is also energy taken away from the only person I can truly fix….and that is ME!  The more time I spend trying to fix others, the less time I have to enjoy my gifts and my passions….my purpose in this world.  The mantra Julie offers when we come face to face with this temptation to carry and try to fix the shadow of another is “It is none of my business.” Yep, there is definitely a theme going on!  So, here’s a great song to remind us:   “It’s none of your business!”

Where do you find yourself tempted to plan, fix things, figure it out?

How much time do you spend in worry?

Where are you guilty of carrying the shadow of another or trying to fix another?

How might, “It is none of your business” be a helpful reminder for you?


Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries


Posted in About Lauri, church, Raised Catholic

“I receive everything as love, even perceived rejection by my Church”

In today’s blog, I place my experiences of “being rejected” by the local Catholic Church into the Wheel of Initiation where I am invited to look upon this perceived rejection from the perspective of my chosen intention:  I receive everything as love.

The Wheel and my Pain Story

Again, I find myself standing in the middle of the Wheel of Initiation.  Reflecting on last week’s blogs on my relationships with the Catholic Church and recent events that have invited me to fast from the Eucharist, I acknowledge the invitation to bring this into the wheel.  (See Julie Tallard Johnson’s book, The Wheel of Initiation for more on this.)  Through the wheel, I am invited to look at these experiences of feeling persecuted, judged, condemned, ridiculed and rejected and how it relates to the pain story that has presented itself for healing.  When I first entered into the wheel, the pain story that presented itself for healing is the perception that I am rejected. I was invited to acknowledge and examine all the places in my life where I have perceived myself as being rejected and how that has negatively colored my life experiences.  This pain story could not be more obvious than in my recent experiences with the local Catholic Church.  The more I grew spiritually, the more I began to discover, cultivate, embrace and express the truths, the gifts and the call that God had revealed to me, the louder the voices of “rejection” became.  (See last Friday’s blog for the details)  I took these voices of challenge and condemnation as a personal rejection.  As I mentioned last week, my heart was broken.

My Pain Story and the related Agreements

In the Wheel of Initiation, we are not only invited to name our pain story (I am rejected), we are also invited to name and give release to the agreements we have made around this pain story.  For me, these agreements include:

  • It is my job to make other people happy
  • In order for me to be right, others have to be wrong
  • It is my job the not only carry the shadow of another, it is also my job to heal it
  • If I am perfect, they will love me
  • Others have to like me

As it relates to the Catholic Church and my perception of being rejected, I am invited to examine these agreements and how they are related to my pain story.  I have to say that this is pretty obvious.  I am right, and the local self-appointed inquisition is wrong.  It is my job to carry and cure the shadow of the Catholic Church (good luck with that one!).  I need everyone to like me.  If they don’t like me, then I am rejected.  If I have to be right and they are wrong, then I get to reject them before they can reject me.  And…it goes on and on and on.  The good news is that thanks to Julie and her interpretation of the wheel….I now have another choice.  Instead of perceiving all these experiences as rejection, I am invited to re-examine these experiences through my chosen intention:  I receive everything as love.

I receive everything as love.

I know that this is definitely a work in progress and that the fullness of my healing around rejection will be a lifetime process…at the same time, I have to start somewhere.  Today, I am invited to explore my experiences with the Catholic Church through a new lens – the lens of love.  So…here goes.

1) There is no right and wrong.  I am standing in my truth, while those I perceive as being the self-appointed inquisition are standing in their truth. My truth does not make them “wrong”, their truth does not make me “wrong.”

2)  It is not my job to carry the shadow (wounds) of the Catholic Church, neither is it my job to fix it (this is something I have spent a great deal of time thinking I was supposed to do).

3)  Just because someone else’s truth differs from mine does not mean I am rejected

Ok…that is a good start….but, how do I receive all these experiences as love?  Well, here is my first attempt to conceptualize this:

  • I am now more free to cultivate, nurture and share my gifts.
  • Stepping outside the institution of the Catholic Church has allowed me to more fully stand in the truths that God has revealed to me.
  • My prayer life has deepened exponentially since stepping outside the institution.
  • I am now able to share my gifts and my call with a wider (perhaps more receptive) audience.
  • It feels much more life-giving to have the freedom to explore my own truth, stand in that truth and freely share it with others.
  • I am free to explore new forms of worship that may speak even more deeply to my heart (ie:  Kirtan/chant, body prayer, etc.)
  • Because of these experiences, I was invited (forced actually) to cultivate an private spiritual practice and to tend this even more diligently than before.  Through this, I have learned that I am called much more deeply to contemplation than to public worship.
  • I have found new forms of community that deeply resonate with the truths that I have discovered within myself and been called to embrace.
  • One of the greatest gifts that have come out of these experiences was the opportunity to learn of and embrace my own call to the Mystical Church.   (Albert Nolan speaks of the Mystical Churchin his book, Jesus Today.  The Mystical Church carries the spiritual traditions of the Christian traditions and has been honored by those in monastic communities and is rooted in knowing God through personal experience.  According to Nolan, this is a “Church” that grew up alongside the Institutional Church whose path to God is in knowing God through doctrine and Church law.)

I know this is just the beginning, but as I come to reflect on those experiences that I had previously received as rejection through the lens of love, I feel a deep and profound healing taking place.  And for this, I am grateful.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

Posted in Healing, Initiation, Lessons

Continuing the Wheel of Initiation

Week Two of the Wheel of Initiation, the book and the process by one of my teachers, Julie Tallard Johnson.  Ending agreements, releasing my pain story and continuing to integrate my intention as part of my own process of spiritual growth and enlightenment.

Ending Agreements

This has been a fantastic voyage moving through Julie Tallard Johnson’s book, Wheel of Initiation – Practices for Releasing Your Inner Light.  While I have read and moved through many books on spiritual growth and transformation, and now written my own (Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy being released this April!), Julie’s book has provided a depth and some fresh insights that I needed at this point in my journey.  One of those depth pieces is the invitation to end agreements that support our pain story. As I shared last week, my pain story is rejection. Here are a few of the agreements that I have discovered support my pain story:

  • I don’t trust myself  – my dreams, visions, hopes, decisions, etc.
  • I have to be perfect in order to be accepted and loved
  • It is my job to make ________ happy so that they will accept me
  • I have to carry the shadow of __________ so that they will accept me
  • It is my job to save, cure, help __________ because if I do, they will accept me
  • There is a right answer and a wrong answer and if I get the wrong answer, I will be rejected

These agreements and other like them keep me imprisoned by my own fear of rejection.  In the Wheel of Initiation, we are invited to let go of these agreements so that we can allow our pain story to be healed, thus embodying more and more fully the intention that presented itself to me as I entered into the Wheel.  My intention?  I receive everything as love.

The Power of Observation

What I have been reminded of in the Wheel is that as I state this intention, life will present to me an abundant number of opportunities to put this intention into practice.  And has it ever!!!!!!!   Every day, I find myself confronted by opportunity after opportunity to make a choice – do I continue to choose my pain story or do I embrace my new intention?  What has helped me in this process is again something that Julie promotes: observation! Instead of reacting to life’s circumstances, we are invited in the Wheel to simply observe.  Watch and Listen.  Where is my pain story being triggered and where can I choose a different agreement?

Recognizing the Pain Story

When I find myself in a situation where I could choose my pain story, it is pretty obvious – I start feeling anxious, closed in, I begin to feel small, my mind begins to race and I doubt myself.  I feel a tug from somewhere deep inside me that seems to be drawing my own power and energy out of me as I am tempted to give it away to somebody else.  This tug I can actually feel on the physical level.  All these have served as red flags to me that my pain story and its supporting agreements are being triggered.  So, instead of my normal reactionary stance to these flags, I have decided to stop, observe and wait.  Then, I take some time for myself to reflect:

  • How is this related to my pain story?
  • What are the agreements I’ve made in this situation, with this person, that support my pain story?
  • How am I being invited to release these agreements?
  • How can I now receive this situation instead as love?

A Work in Progress

Yes, I am a teacher of spiritual things.  I have written my own book on spiritual transformation and facilitate a process of spiritual growth and transformation for adults.  And….I am still a work in progress.  Happy to learn.  Happy to grow.  Happy to be in the company of other teachers who help me to continue to heal so that in turn, I can be a more open vessel through which Divine love can be revealed in the world.  So, Thanks Julie, I’m having a great time working the Wheel!

What is your pain story?

What are the agreements that support this story?

How are you being invited to release these agreements?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

Posted in Uncategorized

Guest Blogger – Julie Tallard Johnson

I want to introduce you to our guest blogger today, author Julie Tallard Johnson.  Julie is a licensed psychologist and published author.  Her latest book, The Wheel of Initiation, is available through Inner Traditions and at  BUY IT TODAY!  Click on this link: to read Julie’s most recent blog post, Eat, Pray, Disappointment