Category: conscious change

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

The grooves of brain coral remind me of the chemical grooves worn into our brains by the stories we repeat to ourselves, the stories we re-live over and over again.
The grooves of brain coral remind me of the chemical grooves worn into our brains by the stories we repeat to ourselves, the stories we re-live over and over again.

The brain is an amazing organ upon which we depend for survival. It’s like the movie director of the body giving directions that enable us to move, breathe, think…the list seems endless. Chemicals in the brain transmit thoughts and create neural grooves, like grooves in a record album, and the more we practice the thoughts associated with a particular groove, the deeper it becomes.

Take the Reticular Activating System (RAS). It’s a small part of the brain that acts like a filter between the conscious and subconscious mind. It takes instructions from the conscious mind and passes them along to the unconscious mind. And here’s the amazing part: It cannot distinguish between real and synthetic reality. It believes whatever message you give it.

By repeating the same, old stories to ourselves, we stay stuck in the traumatic event, unable to create a better life.
By repeating the same, old stories to ourselves, we stay stuck in the traumatic event, unable to create a better life.

For instance, if you had a bad experience in your past that was very traumatic and created a deep scar on your life, you focus on the event and think about it for years creating messages you continue to send to your subconscious mind. If your spouse was unfaithful and your relationship dissolved and you lost everything, this negative experience replays over and over in your mind. When you have other relationships, your conscious mind tells your subconscious mind the story associated with your relationship experience. If you haven’t healed those old messages, then your mind creates scenarios where you believe your current partner is doing the same thing as the original partner who was unfaithful. You begin to act as if it’s happening again, your behavior becomes suspicious, you withdraw and the current spouse is clueless as to why you are angry, upset and blaming for no reason. The end result? Your relationship ends and your storyline is reinforced.

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BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill…I documented this for a year while I lived in North Carolina. It took me a very long time to free myself from this trauma.

Or perhaps you have an experience of an environmental disaster and witness, first-hand, the death, destruction and devastation caused by such an event. Your mind creates a negative experience and communicates daily messages through your RAS in your brain. The result? Depression, anxiety, frustration, anger and the message of gloom and doom.

We can apply this to each of our lives in many situations. What is the message we are telling ourselves? What are we creating by telling ourselves the same stories? Without judgment we can look at our self-talk and the thoughts we dwell on and begin to unravel the tales we tell ourselves, the stories that can make us leave life, give up hope and withdraw into our own self-created hell.

We chain ourselves to past trauma when we continue to tell ourselves the same story.
We chain ourselves to past trauma when we continue to tell ourselves the same story.

Quite simply put, whatever we think about, picture in our minds, repeatedly on a daily basis and put emotional energy into is what we experience. We might have been victims of a tragic event or illness, but how we choose to move forward from those events becomes vital to the quality of our lives and the possibility of a bright future.

When we live stuck in the past, reality is overshadowed by the event that happened in the past. The tragic event becomes bigger than real life.
When we live stuck in the past, reality is overshadowed by the event that happened in the past. The tragic event becomes bigger than real life.

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote of the evolution of consciousness in three levels described as the Camel, Lion and Child. The camel is sleepy, self-satisfied and dull and lives on delusion, thinking he’s everything, the ultimate but is so concerned with other’s opinions that has hardly any energy of his own.

Coming from the Camel is the Lion. Nietzsche wrote that once we realize we’ve been missing life, we begin to say ‘no’ to the demands of others and we don’t allow ourselves to be used. We find ourselves alone, by choice, proud and roaring in our truth. But he reminds us that this isn’t the end.

SimoneLipscomb (15)The Child emerges from the Lion as innocent and true to his or her own being. Moving from the depression and sleepy state of the Camel to the rebellious Lion, the Child finally emerges as spontaneous and centered, whole.

_TSL3955When we dare to become aware of the stories we tell ourselves, we can become full expressions of our most authentic selves. There’s no need to repeat the same stories of our wounded past or expect that those who love us will repeat the same behaviors that created the wounds. And on a macrocosmic level, if we dare to stop repeating the same stories and envision a planet of health, peace and love…well, anything is possible. It’s time to become aware of the stories we tell ourselves….and create new ones.

Leaping Off the Cliff

Leaping Off the Cliff

SimoneLipscombToday I wrote a friend, “I feel a nudge to fly off the cliff….my toes are hanging over the edge and I’m looking back…looking down at a faraway salt water Ocean realm….and a blue sky in front of me….and so I stand…trembling a little…excited….and grateful.”

SimoneLipscomb (2)It feels as if I’m at a huge turning point in my life that seems to have appeared suddenly but in truth it has been in process for decades. It began when I made a decision to clear out anything keeping me from doing whatever my ‘mission’ was. Sounds funny now but as a 25 year old, it was serious stuff.

SimoneLipscombLittle did I know my journey would take me through really rough times. The more I resisted inner change, the harder it became. There came a point where everything fell apart. I lost basically everything. It was a true dark time in my life. But it was a time where I was able to clear out inner debris as well. I released fears and other crippling emotions as I worked on healing. As the darkness cleared, light was exposed.

SimoneLipscomb (21)The more I surrendered to my path, the clearer the direction became. Looking back I can see those turning points and the narrowing of direction clearly but at the time it was pretty intense. Support came for my work in many forms. My first book was published by an indie company. Making ten percent in royalties on my first book, after all the work, prompted me to publish my next two books. Another book co-authored was picked up by another indie house in Kentucky. Another book was co-authored and done in E-format. That may sound exciting and it is satisfying, but being a writer and photographer has yet to create a supportive income. But thankfully the support has come in other forms as I continue to surrender to the direction of my heart.

SimoneLipscombRecently another narrowing of focus and intention occurred through a series of events that I wrote about in an earlier blog. Now that I’m on the other side of the decision-making process it’s a bit scary. Other financial commitments arise as I further the work of my heart….marine education, volunteer researcher, underwater photography at a more professional level, more writing and publishing of books on marine animals. I went away for a week and came home with a list of things that will be the next steps in my life. And amazingly, support has begun to arrive for this next phase of my work. I feel grateful for the direction and the support.

SimoneLipscomb (2)I lit my candles this morning, after a unsettled night of wrestling fear and anxiety about the upcoming opportunities and projects. I asked to be given a specific sign….”Show me if I am going in the right direction.” Late this afternoon I had two signs happen within minutes of each other. Why do I need signs? Because I dream big at times and wonder if I’m sane. And yes…that’s a joke but I want to be headed in the direction that is true to my path of service. So yes, I asked for confirmation that the direction was correct. It’s like, “Yes I know I had all of those amazing events happen a couple weeks ago but was it real? Can I trust that I correctly interpreted the experiences? Can life be that amazing?”

SimoneLipscomb (24)Yes. It can be. And yes, I’m taking the leap. I haven’t worked this hard on my life’s path to suddenly give up because a bit of fear arose. I’m standing on that cliff. I’m looking around and down. I lift my arms and realize they are wings. A warm breeze rushes past. I rise and glide over the ocean. The direction is clear. It’s a fine day for flying.

******

There have been so many people that have been part of the warm breeze that lifts me up.  The depth of support grows and adds strength to the wind. To each of you, I am deeply grateful.

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Reflections

Reflections

SimoneLipscomb (22)I sit drinking hot tea while listening to bowhead whale song. It touches that place in me where wildness resides, where instinctual wisdom is present. Deep, deep in the inner waters that remain still, untouched by external chaos, global destruction, and consistent attempts by humanoids to pave over anything if it creates profit, I find peace.

This week has been profoundly healing, immensely wonderful. It has been a time of coming home to myself and refocusing my life’s work. And it all came about because I followed my intuition and opened my heart to doors that are open and waiting for me to walk through.

SimoneLipscomb (21)The 30A Songwriters Festival in Santa Rosa Beach gave me a nudge to make my yearly pilgrimage to visit manatees in south central Florida. Since I’d already be two hours in that direction I decided to go. But this time rather than arrange everything in advance, I allowed the entire trip to be fluid.

In the interim of trip planning and the festival, our area of Magnolia River had a manatee rescue by Sea World so I decided to ask Sea World if I could visit our gal while she is in rehab. Wouldn’t it be neat to see her and be able to report back to our community?

SimoneLipscomb (86)All plans remained open. I hadn’t received a response from Sea World but decided to leave a day early anyway and simply head south. When I weighed the two departure dates it was obvious which day would be best. And it made all the difference.

As I neared Crystal River a huge rainbow appeared. The arch was steep, a circle of rainbow light over my left shoulder. I stopped at a traffic signal and glanced at the name of the street: Follow Your Dream Parkway. At that point I knew the trip took a deep dive to other levels of experience–the realm where spirit resides.

SimoneLipscomb (97)I signed up for the early boat trip on the way down and was one of only four people on the trip. A true rarity in Crystal River during peak manatee  season. Also on the trip was a marine biologist from Australia. As we talked it felt as if we knew each other and were picking up where we left off at some other time and place. He is pursuing a PhD in Marine Education so our conversation was immediately on track to expanding ideas and sharing concern and grief over the status of our Ocean.

SimoneLipscomb (74)While the water was murky when we arrived at the site, it was for a good reason. Manatees were so thick in Three Sister’s Springs I refused to enter. They were stacked on top of each other sleeping. It’s illegal to swim over a sleeping manatee so the only option was to quietly exit without entering the main area of the springs. Well…my only option. It’s more important to allow them rest and quiet than for me to get a photograph. When I enter their realm it is with a sense of respect and awe….reverence. Their world is a cathedral, a holy place. I listen to their whistles and squeaks as holy choruses that strike deep chords of harmony within my soul.

SimoneLipscomb (8)The following day Rich, the marine biologist, and his wife Deb and their beautiful two year old daughter and I hired a guide in Homosassa to take us out on the water. While the water is greener there, the experience of absolute quiet with no other humans in the area was amazing. We all share a deep respect for wild animals and simply laid still in the water, away from each other, and allowed any curious animal a safe, respectful encounter with us.

SimoneLipscomb (2)Immediately after entering the water I had a large animal swim under me and start rolling around on the bottom. With each roll he would stop and glance at me and pause while I took video and still photographs. I could feel ripples of love and light flowing out from my heart as I remained motionless, an observer in awe.

SimoneLipscomb (14)Two juveniles played around me, coming to my camera housing and butting noses on it. They would get hungry or miss mama and would squeak and swim off to find her. I remained floating where I was and in a few minutes they would return. With the limited visibility, it was as if a phantom gradually appeared from the green depths and slowly changed from verdant algae tint to gray as it approached.

SimoneLipscomb (26)After a couple hours of floating and relaxing in the watery bliss, I grew cold. As I was thinking of heading back to the boat a very large mother manatee swam up behind me and rested her head on my left shoulder. Behind her, a juvenile rested her head on mama’s back. I glanced back and couldn’t believe the image I saw. Tears of wonder and joy flow even now as I reflect on this encounter. In stillness I laid on the water’s surface and marveled at the love I felt, prompted by this rare encounter…one of the most sacred moments in my life.

SimoneLipscomb (18)On this trip I experienced large manatees swimming up to me and laying beside me, snuggling for lack of a better word. We floated side-by-side in stillness. I dared not move as I didn’t want to kick or in any way disturb them. So in stillness, in depths of silence, I was one with animals that weighed 1000 pounds more than me. There was no separation of spirit, of love. They taught me to go deeper, deeper into myself to find that place of stillness and quiet where perfect peace abides.

SimoneLipscomb (94)I struggle about writing and sharing these experiences as I don’t want to suggest that everyone has experiences such as this. I don’t want to create even more masses of humanity descending upon these endangered animals. But for those who are quiet and still and are passive observers of these magnificent animals…they can change your consciousness, alter your perception, bring out the best that resides within you. But it only comes on their terms. You must act as a manatee….move slowly, float calmly…observe life gently…open your heart.

Rich and I were discussing manatee behaviors after our trip to Homosassa. He mentioned that as soon as he wanted to ‘manipulate’ the encounter…by wanting the light to be this way or the animal to be in a certain place….the animals that had been with him left. He didn’t move but his thoughts changed. Surrender to the encounter, let go of what ‘you’ want and magic happens. Very keen observation on his part. And how true for life.

SimoneLipscomb (25)Since we cannot stay underwater forever, the real benefit of experiences such as these is how they create lasting change within us. After years of observing people observing manatees I am more convinced than ever before that these animals are incredibly sensitive to not only human behavior, but human thoughts and emotions as well.

Yesterday I observed two permitted photographers — #1 and #12 (professional photographers apply for a permit through USFW) harass a mother and juvenile in the springs. The mother moved three times to try and find a place to sleep and rest with her calf and the photographers followed and continued their pushy behaviors. They may have images of manatees but they will never understand the spirit of these beautiful animals, never grasp their own arrogant and aggressive behaviors as being the exact opposite of how these creatures live and move and have their being in the water.

Photograph by Richard Wylie...THANK YOU!!
Photograph of me with a juvenile manatee…. by Richard Wylie…THANK YOU!!

I take away from these days with manatees a simple yet profound realization: Open heart, open doors. As I keep my heart open, the open doors will be made known. I will feel my way to them through an open heart.

Everything is getting clear on the path before me and with gratitude for the teachings they offered, I wish my manatee friends safe journeys through the waterways of life.

SimoneLipscomb (20)As I reflect on the week I remember the rainbow arching over my left shoulder, Follow Your Dream Parkway and the mother manatee and juvenile that rested on my left shoulder. The meaning isn’t lost on me. The visceral connection of the teaching is working deep within me. I remember the mother taking my right hand off of the camera housing with her flipper and holding my hand within her flippers and then directing it to her heart.  How can I not experience long-lasting and powerful change after this?

******

SimoneLipscomb (11)And yes…Sea World called and I got to visit Magnolia in her med pool. She is recovering nicely and being treated for deep propeller wounds along with other manatees who are injured. The rescue and rehab program at Sea World is simply amazing. Simply. Amazing!

 

 

Dancing in the Fire…Part 2

Dancing in the Fire…Part 2

 

Collage/Self-portrait by Simone Lipscomb
Collage…Self-portrait by Simone Lipscomb

A couple days ago the idea of self-transformation, dance, and opening the heart prompted me to write a post. Evidently the idea is still growing in my consciousness.

This morning brought a beautiful dream. In it my mentor from England was directing a play and I was playing the role of a young queen dressed in a lovely, lace gown. My role in the play was two-fold. First, I shared two beautiful floral arrangements with the audience and secondly, I performed a transformative dance. While there was a male partner in the dream, he was simply there as an ‘unknown’ support as I danced.

The setting was outdoors and surrounded by the green of nature, I allowed my heart to direct the dance. I leaned backwards and felt my heart opening to heaven and felt complete oneness with nature, Spirit…with who I am. This dance…this dream…was a dance of surrender and opening.

Hours later, after a day of contemplation, cycling and creative fun, I still feel the power of the dream and the surrender of allowing love to move through my heart in sacred dance. May each moment be a beautiful dance of love and may the fire of transformation burn brightly for us all.

 

 

 

Artist of the Spirit

Artist of the Spirit

simonelipscombA long time ago I had a teacher ask me to write my personal myth. I wrote about what I did and what my dreams were but knew that didn’t fulfill the assignment. I didn’t quite understand the idea.

Over the years I’ve come to grasp the concept a little better. Each of us has a story. We create our story with awareness or without awareness. With awareness we weave our story with truth and love and without awareness we create a personal myth based on lies.

simonelipscomb (4)The personal myth or story is the internal dialogue we repeat over and over in our minds. The chatter, the busy-talk, the mantra on permanent replay that is the white noise of our lives. The problem with the story is that most of the time it is a distortion. Until we can clearly listen, it quite literally is the old trick of putting short micro-second clips or subliminal messages in movies that create within viewers the urge to buy popcorn and soda at movie theaters. That’s illegal these days. But clearly nobody has outlawed the story we tell ourselves about our own lives. Too bad.

Since we don’t have advocates for truth-busting our internal dialogues, how can we excise the pervasive messages that keep us stuck? It takes practice to tune in to the internal narrator that bombards us with propaganda. You might have heard your internal storyteller whispering your story in the first person.

simonelipscomb (6)“I can’t do this.” “I’m not strong enough.” “Why do I think people will buy my books or photographs?” “There’s nobody out there for me.” “Nobody cares about the planet.” “Corporations rule the world so why should I bother? My voice is too small.” “I don’t need his or her help.”

The list my internal storyteller (tyrant) tells me is endless and on constant replay. Yet that voice is so soft I must be very diligent in listening. Otherwise, the dialogue becomes habitual and my life yields a perfect mirror of the near-silent lies.

simonelipscomb (7)I’ve been able to trace my core myth to my toddler years. One specific experience remains vivid because it became such a family story. I was riding my tricycle under my grandparents carport and came to the end of the concrete. My uncle asked if I needed help turning my trike. I stopped, stood up and replied, “Nope,” as I grabbed the metal bar and seat, lifted it and turned it around and continued peddling.

In today’s meditation I reflected back on that moment and how my basic myth is ‘I don’t need anyone.’ I saw my core personal myth is based on this huge lie. As the realization grew, patterns of behavior became evident and I saw how I have created my life on that foundational belief.

The crazy part of this story is there is nothing I want more than a good partnership, a true love. What I desire most will never come to be until I change my story, alter the internal dialogue that is the foundation of what I believe about my life.

It takes courage to listen and become aware of our story. The courage part is necessary because we will discover darkness woven into what we believe about ourselves. And others. We all can fall prey to the inner tyrant–that ranting storyteller who weaves very negative tales.

simonelipscomb (3)So how do we create a story that is true? First, we simply listen. Carefully and without judgement, listen to what is repeating in our minds. And most importantly, if the internal voice goes against us, puts us down or reinforces those negative beliefs we have about ourselves, then stop believing what it’s saying. “Truth survives skepticism but lies don’t.”*

I’m weary of the inner tyrant narrating my story. I see glimpses of the truth as I open my heart and mind. It’s not easy but freedom comes when we create a personal myth based on love rather than lies.  All of us have the capacity to be an artist of the spirit.

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*Several years ago I read the Don Miguel Ruiz book, The Voice of Knowledge. I was recently guided to re-read it. For a deeper exploration into uncovering personal myth I suggest reading his book. 

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