As I mentioned in last week’s blog, the past six months have been a time of profound release. God doesn’t speak to me in literal words, but the Divine guidance (in so many words) was clear: “Be ready and willing to let go of EVERYTHING. You are being emptied so that you can be filled with something far greater than you could ever imagine for yourself.”
I can assure you the emptying was not (and still isn’t) pretty. There was anger, frustration, impatience, lots of temper tantrums and grief….oceans of grief…and sometimes these oceans were tears of joy or relief. I believe I have cried more in the past three months (especially) than I have in my entire life up until now. What a powerful time!
Gratefully, I was not required to do this letting go alone or absent of support. Instead, there were innumerable times in which I experienced the clear and visible hand of God at work and in which I felt upheld by God’s grace….from the glimpses of my “new life” that would sometimes peek in, to the mini inspirations for changes to my website, branding, etc., to the host of angels I saw surrounding, supporting, protecting, and celebrating me, to the tiny group of Magdalenes who showed up for formation and ordination so that the world might be changed, to the many human hands who offered a listening ear, healing touch, and loving presence.
In all of this, I still had no idea what was coming forth or what this “new life” might look like that was being born through me in the letting go. All I could do was remain in the PRESENT MOMENT, listening, receiving, waiting, acting when necessary….TRUSTING that God knows what God is doing while quaking in my boots over my complete lack of control over this unfolding. I was clearly NOT IN CHARGE…..something invisible was doing the work THROUGH ME and I was to simply allow it.
So, I rebranded my business “Authentic Freedom Academy”
I changed the look to be less about me and more about something like Hogwarts.
My hard drive crashed and destroyed my ability to create video services (no matter how hard and how many times, in how many ways and for how many dollars, I tried to restore this function) which made me examine the bigger message here.
I launched a networking group.
I created new ways to promote my services to different audiences.
I clearly heard the courses that will be made available in 2015/2016 and scheduled these courses.
I claimed and launched the “Order of the Magdalene/Christ.”
AND THEN……two weeks ago an invitation was extended to me that brought all of the above together and presented the fruits of all this letting go and receiving. My teacher, friend and colleague from the yoga studio where I practice asked me, “Lauri, what would you think about offering a Sunday service at the studio before the 9 am yoga class?”
The answer was an easy YES – perhaps the easiest YES I have ever felt come out of me. It was a YES so easy and RIGHT that I felt everything awaken in me and ground at the same time. All my cells lined up in celebration and in DEEP knowing that the answer to this question was a BIG FAT YES YES YES YES YES!
And then I saw it. What is being born through me in all this letting go and receiving is exactly what I set out to create 13 years ago……a NEW/ORIGINAL way of being CHURCH.
Be assured, I’m not going to call it church (because of all that brings up for people), but it is exactly what I have envisioned and held within my heart for (at least) 13 years:
A place where people can gather in community to be nourished by the Divine word, and supported in Divine presence through contemplation and prayer, integrating the treasures of both Western and Eastern spiritualities.
A place where people can be supported in their individual journey of self-actualization – discovering their own unique giftedness and how they are called to share these gifts and passions for their own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world.
A place where people can find support for the challenges of the human condition – death, divorce, job loss, medical diagnoses, parenting, grief, etc. etc. etc.
A place where people can mark the beginnings and endings of life in a way that is rooted in love and honoring of their inherent greatness (instead of cloaked in ideas of sin, punishment, shame).
A place that honors LOVE and UNITY above all – recognizing that all are One with God in LOVE and LOVE and ONENESS are the cures for all that is ailing in our world.
There it was – clear as day and exactly as I imagined it would be 13 years ago – except WAY EASIER. No more fighting old models of Church. No more arguing against the old regime. No more feelings of defensiveness or a need to do battle. Instead – a clean, clear, sure rightness about my mission and purpose – free of my old attachments, unhealed wounds, fears, false perceptions, judgments, etc. Simply free and open and standing as truth in its own right.
So there it is: Authentic Freedom Academy
In coming full circle, back to the original dream, and the one that truthfully never left my heart, I understand why Sarah laughed. (Sarah spent her whole life dreaming of a child until she eventually had to give up the dream as she had reached hold age. Then one day, the Lord sent a messenger to tell Sarah that in nine months she would bear a son. And then, Sarah laughed. I imagine she laughed even harder when God’s message turned out to be true.)