Category: consumerism

Desire is the Parent of Fear

Desire is the Parent of Fear

Photograph by Jen Fraser
Photograph by Jen Fraser…Photoshop play by Simone

This was a morning of tears…intense tears welling up from the grief I carry within my heart for this planet…and all life here. Some days it nearly overwhelms me. I want to stand as a witness to what is happening but some days it is difficult. Thank goodness for small acts of kindness and love that I also bear witness to for these keep me sane, hopeful.

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…I drove by a large area that had been clear cut. Massive oaks, pines…lay in piles. I couldn’t help but scream, “ENOUGH! ENOUGH DESTRUCTION!” I’m not sure who I was screaming to…myself, the tree cutters, the developers…God?

…The other night I dreamed I was at a car dealer and kept saying, But I don’t need a new car. They kept wanting me to test drive this model or that one. I felt brainwashed and fought to stay conscious of the truth.

SimoneLipscomb (12)The biggest lie we are taught from the moment we take our first breath is that we don’t have enough. Or that the vehicle that gets a few miles on it must be replaced with a sparkling new model. Or the TV we have is four inches smaller than the new model which is also three inches thinner. Our clothes are the wrong style or the wrong color. Our hair is the wrong color. Our skin the wrong color……

SimoneLipscomb (3)Our entire society, economy, mental structure is based on making more money, having more stuff…more, more, more. The programming is so insidious that we aren’t aware that we are wired to participate in the steady but sure depletion of planetary resources. Like robots we march through our lives thinking we are not okay unless we have more stuff. We equate more with safety.

Sadly, the USA has become the model for the world in consumerism but this modus operandi comes with a great cost.

Our planet is a reflection of our mental hygiene...or lack of
Our planet is a reflection of our mental hygiene…or lack of

As a collective, our mental hygiene has gone to hell. Our emotional lives have become wastelands. We believe we are inherently flawed unless we live the ‘American dream.’ And so with our minds–our most powerful tool–we perpetuate a living hell of accumulating more stuff which creates debt and feelings of worthlessness brought about by the perpetual desire to have more stuff so that we are okay…we are safe. This mindset takes us deeper into a spiral of destruction in our personal lives and as a planetary family.

SimoneLipscomb (6)The good news is that because our minds are so powerful we have the ability to create different lives for ourselves. It supposedly takes 30 days to change a behavior. The first step is being aware of how our behaviors stem from our thoughts, our beliefs. This means we have to monitor our thoughts…what am I telling myself? That is the place to begin. Unraveling a lifetime of programming will take more than 30 days; however, the place to begin is at the beginning. Question every impulse to buy a new this…a new that. Do I need this or is this my programming creating this impulse?

SimoneLipscomb (15)It’s time to step out of the drama of the chaotic, consumer-driven world of greed and fear. When we take this step it is not a loss we will experience but a birth into a higher, more genuine quality of life. It is time to awaken from our slumber, to arise from our unconscious state and recognize our part in the destruction of our planet by supporting uncontrolled and profit-driven individuals and corporations who care for nothing but…more.

SimoneLipscomb (16)“Desire defeats its own end…desire is the parent of fear”*…when we understand this, we can release the desire for more and feel the grip of fear release the choke-hold it has on our lives. The place to begin is at the beginning.

*“Desire defeats its own ends, for it is the parent of fear.” These words were written by psychologist, teacher, artist and mystic Dion Fortune. 


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.



Curious about the SUP board, the juvenile says hello.
Curious about the SUP board, the juvenile says hello.

It is no secret to anyone who knows me that my best friends are finned or flippered, feathered or furred. My heart is touched by an encounter with wild dolphins or a gentle nuzzle of a manatee in ways that surpass any human connection. Maybe that’s why men I’ve shared my life with have moved on…never content to come second after my love of wild animals. Connection with all creatures wild is my Communion, a way to rise above the mundane and connect deeper, more fully with beings more evolved than humans. (Personal bias).

Today I received an early-morning call from a friend and she tearfully expressed her love of the woods surrounding her home was about to be logged, destroyed so the landowner could purchase a vehicle for his son. How can you put a price like that on a sacred woodland? When will humans learn that the planet is not a commodity to be pillaged, a land to rape for spoils but rather a sacred cathedral?

The mentality of profit at any cost is not a luxury we can afford any longer.

Joanna Macy’s teachings come to mind. She explains the necessary evolution from a life-taking society to a life-sustaining society. We are in a time of moving from a profit-at-any-cost world to a life-sustaining world. We are in the middle of the dissolution of the old way and are awakening to the reality of the mess we’re in economically, socially, environmentally. And within the mess, within the reality of how we have treated the planet and each other, we find positive change occurring. Many, many people are choosing to act from a place of responsibility, a place of compassion and love. We are waking up to the idea that it is possible to live in balance with respect for all life.

simonelipscomb (5)Wildlife reminds me of the connection we have to the whole. The manatees scarred by propellers remind me that humans still have a huge impact on fragile species, that we have done great harm to our planet. And when I see volunteers paddling their kayaks, overseeing interactions with these gentle beings and acting as protectors, hope is refueled.

While snorkeling recently, a juvenile manatee came to me and demanded my attention. My goal is passive observation, in or out of the water, but while filming them, one insisted on connecting face-to-face and drew me out from behind the camera. He swam in front of me, stopped and I felt his gentle spirit guiding me to remove the camera from between us and commune, one wild heart to another. I gently placed my hand aside his face and channeled as much love as I could to him and his kind. And I listened in silence to him.

In those moments we were one with each other. There was no me, no him. In that neutral stillness was birthed understanding. Deep, profound understanding.

simonelipscomb (4)As we parted, sobs wracked my body and soul for the trust demonstrated by a species so abused and wounded by humans. The future of this planet is in our hands. That is both frightening and empowering. What will we do to create a better world?  Will we do anything?

It can start with daily communion with the natural world. Let it show us our next step each day.

He checked out my dry suit, my fins, my snorkel, my camera...always learning more about humans, these little ones.
He checked out my dry suit, my fins, my snorkel, my camera…always learning more about humans, these little ones.
Whose Story is it Anyway?

Whose Story is it Anyway?

Geshe Thupten Dorjee

At the lunch table yesterday a discussion began… it actually continued from weeks ago. My friend Geshe Thupten Dorjee was describing teachings he is sharing with people to help them overcome challenges. He said that our suffering and pain comes from being unsatisfied and discontent. One reason is because we respond to things that happen in our lives with old behavior patterns.

An example he gave was of a hunter and a bear trap. If the hunter baits the trap the bear doesn’t have to step in it. The bear makes a choice to step into the trap or avoid it. Likewise, we make choices that either keep us trapped or give us freedom.

A few weeks ago our Voluntary Sustainability group was discussing the hook. I describe the hook as being dangled tauntingly by circumstances in our lives, especially in our relationships with other humans. We are so conditioned to respond in a certain way that we often bite the bait and the hook even when the consequences result in pain and suffering. And we know, even before biting the hook, that our behavior will create suffering in our lives….but we do it anyway.


Years ago a friend suggested I journal about my personal myth. I had no idea what she meant. My personal myth? But over the years I have come to understand that each of us has a story upon which we base our lives. Our story comes from society, family and teachers in our young lives but continues to grow as we become fixated on it and unable to break free from it. As a practicing psychotherapist, I witnessed some clients identify so strongly with labels and rigid personal stories that they found it almost impossible to find healing and wholeness. “I was an addict so …..” or “I was mistreated as a child so….” or “Nobody liked me in my family so…..”  All stories upon which their lives were tightly woven, too comfortable and familiar, even with suffering or agony, to rewrite.

Geshe-la gave the example of a medical doctor thinking that a fine car, huge home, country club membership and all the fluffy fixings were part of being a doctor, that those things defined what being a doctor means. Not that there is anything wrong with nice stuff, but creating a life story around a limiting societal belief gives a person little room to be fully able to bring their gifts and talents into this life, to experience freedom that comes from being authentic and real.

The Work That Reconnects with Joanna Macy
by Simone Lipscomb

This lunchtime discussion created an opportunity for me to reflect upon our relationship with Earth. What stories do we buy into? What information do we take as valid without question? How have we failed to challenge mega corporations who continue to rape the planet?  They tell us we need what they are producing but do we? Whose story is that?

We have a most amazing opportunity to rewrite the story of our relationship with the planet. Each day we can add a new chapter. This is a living story, an unfolding love story….or a murder mystery. It is our choice.

Manatee, Three Sister’s Springs
by Simone Lipscomb
“There are plenty of sea turtles” and other misconceptions

“There are plenty of sea turtles” and other misconceptions

I posted a photo of a sea turtle caught in a net on Facebook today and it had a link supporting TED’s or Turtle Excluding Devices. Two people connected with the commercial seafood industry cried out in anger saying shrimpers didn’t hurt sea turtles and they loved nature and besides (and I quote) “There are plenty of sea turtles.” After my blood pressure came back to normal and I got really depressed about nature’s continued destruction by humans I decided to do a little research.

First of all, all sea turtles that visit or live in US waters are on the endangered species list. National Marine Fisheries Service cites the following reasons: Destruction/alteration of nesting and foraging habitats (coastal development), incidental capture in commercial and recreational fisheries, entanglement in marine debris and vessel strikes. So while the shrimpers in the Gulf of Mexico may love nature, their nets do kill sea turtles and finned fish and other marine life that cannot escape. This is a known fact.

In 2011 more than 3500 threatened and endangered sea turtles washed up dead on the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts. Only 5 to 6% of dead turtles wash ashore…do the math on the total estimated number of sea turtles killed just last year.

Nets properly equipped with TED’s are proved to be 97% effective in releasing sea turtles. And this comes after trials and rebuilds on the equipment. Very few shrimpers voluntarily used TED’s so laws were put into practice to require some shrimpers to use TED’s.

According to the person that replied to my post, the government is lying about all this. He went on to say that coastal development hurt sea turtles as did other fishing boats who don’t use TED’s and he’s right on both accounts. But I  know of shrimpers that used to shoot sea turtles, years ago, because they would get in their nets. I actually even found one shot and dead on the beach many years ago. Times have changed for sure. Hopefully that kind of behavior is no longer practiced. Now, if someone does that and gets caught they go to prison and lose their boat.

We think that kind of atrocious behavior is in the past but actually on June 21st of this summer, a bottlenose dolphin was found with a screwdriver sticking in its head. It had been reported in Perdido Bay and was still alive but was later discovered dead. So much for humans acting appropriately. Even the fine of up to $100,000 and a year in jail doesn’t deter people who, for whatever reason, cannot temper their inclination for seriously stupid and cruel behavior.

I find myself overwhelmed with emotions of sadness, grief and anger at what we humans are doing to this planet and each other. There are people that care and there are people that refuse to accept responsibility for their behaviors and call it the Will of God if a species goes extinct. So…should we not have doctors and let the problem species of the planet die off? Then everything else would come into balance. Of course not. But oh for a magic pill that would help us all see how our behaviors, thoughts, intentions and actions are destroying the planet and each other.

When I found myself deep in dark emotions this afternoon, I lit and candle and said a prayer for understanding. A few minutes later, while folding clothes, I heard these words: Those that don’t care about the planet and are only concerned about how much wealth they can amass, want you to quit, to give up. They want everyone who is bringing awareness, practicing compassion and love–to wildlife, wild places, and people who are hurting–to give up. Don’t give them the satisfaction. Love deeply, have compassion for all life and continue with the Work.

I replied back to the gentleman and let him know I heard his frustration about developers getting away with anything because they have money. I understand and agree. I also agree that some commercial and recreational fishermen and women follow the rules and some don’t. What I suggested was a dialogue between fishermen and women and National Marine Fisheries and NOAA. Rather than fighting each other and both sides claiming the other is lying, find common ground. Start healthy, sane dialogues. Otherwise we are destined to repeat and perpetuate the same old dysfunctional way of being.