Category: Aggression

Bring in the Light

Bring in the Light

photo copy 6I awakened this morning thinking of the Solstice…yesterday’s Solstice. Geez…I didn’t even mark the event, I thought but then quickly realized that I had climbed 177 steps toward the light in a tight spiral. Upwards I climbed with my daughter and son-in-law until we were almost inside the many-prismed glass sculpture that housed the light of the Pensacola Lighthouse.

photoWe had just visited the Naval Aviation Museum with my mom and decided to stop at the lighthouse and make the climb. Mom waited for us in the gift shop as we made our way up and up, winding tighter circles in the brick structure built in 1859. The wrought iron steps were chilly on my bare feet as I abided by the climbing rules and carried my flip flops rather than risk tripping on the steep stairway.

As we climbed I thought of the lighthouse keepers from years past whose jobs were vital to the safety of those traveling by ships. Before there was GPS, LORAN and other modern navigation tools, there were only charts, stars, sextants and lighthouses to keep sailors on course. The lights were illuminated by a lamp fueled with oil or kerosene instead of electricity. The rotating element was introduced in 1790’s houses and the Argand parabolic reflector system introduced in the early 1800’s. Electricity and carbide or acetylene gas began replacing kerosence around the turn of the 20th century. At that time the lamp could be automatically lit at nightfall and extinguished at dawn, eliminating the need for a keeper to climb the stairs carrying fuel and tending it during the long hours of the night.

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I tried to imagine how gallons of fuel might have been carried up the steep, tight stairway and marveled at the dedication required for those keepers all over the world whose job it was to bring light to all who needed it. As I reflect on the Solstice and the season of light, I ask this question: Are we any less in need of Light today?

photoWalking through the Naval Aviation Museum I noticed the machines of war…planes, aircraft carriers, markings on the sides of ships and planes denoting how many enemy planes, ships and other targets were destroyed. I felt such sadness that through the long history of humanity we still have not evolved beyond war. Success is still measured by some people and governments by the number of enemies we destroy. We continue to live based in fear. Fear that if we don’t destroy others, we will be destroyed.

In the spiritual tradition in which I was raised, I learned that Light entered the world through the birth of a man, a messiah, a Light that taught us to move from the Old Testament ways of an eye-for-an-eye to lives lived with compassion and love. But I ask….where is  love when decisions in our lives are based only in fear, in retaliation, in one-upping, and taking out (in one way or other) those who don’t believe like we do…dress like we do….worship like we do…look like we do.

photo copy 5By making the commitment to climb steadily toward the Light we reach greater understanding by seeing from a higher perspective. No longer operating from fear, we are able to see with new eyes, with open hearts.

We have spent far too long living with the mind-set of fear. Now is the time to bring in the Light.




I Choose Love

I Choose Love

simonelipscombThe past week’s meditations have been about connecting with animals…wildlife and domesticated. It has been challenging. Once we determine to be aware of what is happening in our world, we can never go back and forget. I discovered this while documenting the oil spill in 2010.

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Necropsy of young dolphin whose tail had been entangled in fishing line.

Ignoring news was my way to deal with the multitude of sins humanity commits against the planet. But when the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill occurred, I felt called to action. Ignoring was no longer an option. But it came with a cost. My life was changed and not in a good way. Once the blinders are off, there’s no going back into forgetfulness. No returning to blissful ignorance.

Fishing line discarded with embedded in sea gull's mouth/throat
Fishing line discarded with hook…now embedded in sea gull’s mouth/throat

So this week of meditating on animals has only served to remind me (as IF I needed reminding) of how humans perpetuate such darkness by our actions. Lack of compassion when killing for food, using fishing practices that harm sea turtles and marine mammals, not recognizing the spark of Spirit within all life….how can we do this and think it’s okay?

Northern Gannet being cleaned of oil in 2010. BP Deepwater Horizon spill.
Northern Gannet being cleaned of oil in 2010. BP Deepwater Horizon spill.

There are excuses for all behaviors we practice. Haven’t we heard them all? Sacrifice the land to drill for oil with fracking procedures. Pollute the rivers because it’s cheaper. Deafen dolphins, whales and other sea creatures just to test sonar. Is anyone else just fed up? The grief I carry within is so vast, so deep I truly feel paralyzed at times by it. I look in the mirror and am ashamed that I am human…part of a species bent on destruction and selfish greed…profit at any cost.

simonelipscomb (7)Joanna Macy teaches us to stay with our grief for it will fuel us to make positive changes. Right now…and for the past several months….grief has simply clobbered me. And I’m not writing to generate sympathy for myself…not at all. But it is time to simply be totally truthful  about what it feels like to be a human engaged in the planetary process…at least from my heart and mind.

simonelipscomb (4)I’m tired of pretending it will all be okay or things will magically get better. I am weary of humans ignoring responsibilities we have to clean up our messes and to stop doing destructive practices to our planet, each other…wildlife…domestic life.

simonelipscomb (3)I am crying out for an end to our closed hearts and an opening to love…to spiritual love that binds us to each other and all life. Living like we have been living is fast becoming an obsolete option. We have seen what living with closed hearts does to each other and the planet…ALL life on the planet. I refuse to live like that any longer. At the risk of standing alone I choose love. I choose an open heart!

800_1019I choose love. No matter the consequences. I choose love.

Pivotal Point…Dear Mr. President

Pivotal Point…Dear Mr. President

Sunset over mountains in North Carolina
Sunset over mountains in North Carolina

I wrote a friend of mine a few days ago a heartfelt message summed up in one line to him–“I am so gravely concerned that our government is being duped into a war with Syria.” This blog post is not a political statement but rather a deeply spiritual message to our President and leaders of all governments.

First, years ago our government was certain there were WMD (weapons of mass destruction). They were convinced. They were positive. Sure. It was only after the fact that they and we discovered this wasn’t the case. There was a knee-jerk reaction and left-over hard feelings for an attack on our country’s citizens that most likely instigated a most costly war. I am so hopeful that we learned from this and will not repeat it. The same rhetoric heard those many years ago is what I’m hearing again.

Dear Mr. President and all world leaders, this is a time to step back and take a breath. It is not a time for knee-jerk reactions. If we engage in war against another Middle Eastern country the ramifications are sure to shake the world. I say this with no military intelligence but from a simple, heart-felt love for humanity and all life on the planet.

Unreasonable actions will never be made right by unreasonable actions. This is a time we must learn from past mistakes, not repeat them. We no longer have the luxury of repeating past boggles thinking the outcome will be different. At some point we must approach such atrocities with something other than violence. Haven’t we seen that more violence is NEVER the way to make long-lasting, positive change?

My soul weeps for the cruelty we bestow upon each other, upon animals, plants…the planet. I so long for leaders that will take us beyond the eye-for-an-eye mentality into a new and better way. I beg our leaders to stop and consider that they might be biting the proverbial hook, baited with the use of chemical weapons. It screams of ‘set-up’ but then I know nothing of politics.

Dr. President Obama, members of Congress, leaders in all countries, I beg you to ignore this ‘hook’ and put your most excellent problem-solvers to the task to find a better way. Rise above the violence to a creative solution that will change the world for the better. You have the potential to use this pivotal point to catapult the world into a new way of relating and being. Thank you.

Radical Joy for Hard Times

Radical Joy for Hard Times

A few years ago I spent a week with Joanna Macy and a wonderful group of folks working together to understand what’s happening to our planet and how we can help during this difficult time. The workshop was awesome but it was the extended relationships that have continued to give me hope and inspiration. One such connection was a woman who started an annual event called, The Global Earth Exchange.

swan roomEach year people all over the planet go to wounded places to make beauty and affirm that we love and appreciate them. No matter what happened to these places, we still love and respect them. And celebrate them.

Today I met with two of my friends on part of our sea turtle nesting patrol beach. We created a sea turtle from found objects on the beach and shared the joy of coming together with like-minded people to celebrate sea turtles and community-building!!

simonelipscombFor me personally, this past week has been emotionally brutal as I dared to touch the grief and frustration about how humans continue to abuse the planet, each other and all species. As we were building the sea turtle I felt our love and connection to each other, to sea turtles and the greater community of humanity coming together to celebrate and spread joy.

simonelipscomb (1)It was a powerful reminder that as long as two or more gather…and connect with others….and hold joy and love and peace in our hearts we can make a difference. This is a time for radical joy, a time for working hard to heal ourselves and each other…and our precious, sacred Mother Earth.

Check out photographs and stories from the Global Earth Exchange here. Thanks Trebbe!!

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When Technology Outgrows Conscience

When Technology Outgrows Conscience

simonelipscomb (6)In my cross-training efforts the elliptical trainer provides an opportunity to catch up on TED talks. While I whirl and sweat I watch videos from these amazing talks and recently I’ve been viewing those related to oceans.

I watched three today and each one nurtured a perplexing subject that has been surfacing in my mind over the past few years. Today I heard a clear question whispered from the ethers: Is it really good to discover new sources of life and potential material wealth when human consciousness has not evolved at the same pace as technological development?

Shark caught and left to die on the beach. I asked the fisherman why he allowed the shark to die...'because they are dangerous' he said.
Shark caught and left to die on the beach. I asked the fisherman why he allowed the shark to die…’because they are dangerous’ he said.

As a species on the planet, we appear to be more at war with it than stewards of it. This is evidenced by the conflicts we wage on each other in our neighborhoods, in oil fields, in mountains hiding gold and other valuable metals, in our oceans. Exploitation is still the collective mindset of our species.

Machinery at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge trying to remove a large, sunken mat of oil during the BP Oil Spill
Machinery at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge trying to remove a large, sunken mat of oil during the BP Oil Spill

Billions of dollars are spent on cancer research yet we haven’t understood and acted on the realization that what we are doing to the water, air, food sources are all contributing to the increase of cancer. The toxins we dump onto and into our planet are killing us and all life. But we, as a whole, stick to the mindset that more is better and profit at any cost is acceptable. The disconnect is clearly destroying us.

We have tried to conquer, control, manipulate our oceans, soil, energy resources and have failed with this mindset. Only when we apply principles of cooperation and respect toward each other, the planet, animals, plants, air, water do we create opportunity for balance and plenty for all.

Our group from a week with Joanna Macy, our mentor who teaches how to stay sane while working to help the planet
Our group from a week with Joanna Macy, our mentor who teaches how to stay sane while working to help the planet

My hope is that before we discover marvelous, new, wondrous places, resources and animals to exploit that we step back, take many breaths and allow our sense of ethics and conscience to catch up with technology that we use daily to destroy the very thing that gives us physical life. It is time for us to learn a heart-centered approach to living and allow the blossoming of love within us to guide us rather than our ego-driven and self-centered desires.

simonelipscomb (5)When we collectively can reach across the self-created constructs that divide us related to race, religion, politics, and more then perhaps we will be ready to care for new and marvelous discoveries on our planet. Until then, let us cultivate responsible stewardship and unconditional love.