Category: EARTH

Earth Celebration

Earth Celebration

SimoneLipscomb (17)Today is the day we set aside to celebrate our beautiful planet…Earth….Gaia….Mother Earth…Pachamama…The Blue Planet. I’m sitting here in my little motel room in High Springs, Florida, with the door wide open as twilight arrives. I am reflecting on the day with a smiling heart. I feel all tingly and it’s not from excess Nitrogen after cave diving. I feel alive and connected to this living being that is my Mother.

I started the day at Cave Country Dive Shop getting my tanks topped off. James was so speedy that there was extra time to play at the springs taking photographs before I met my side mount instructor and fellow Earth-lover.

SimoneLipscomb (31)To say it was a glorious morning is not doing justice to the absolute beauty of the early morning time along the Sante Fe River with the last lingering mist evaporating as brilliant sun illuminated tender, spring, verdant leaves. Clear turquoise water glistened like an aquamarine gemstone. There was no other humans so my morning meditation was spent in sweet connection with Her. Whispered phrases of gratitude wafted from my lips into the water…the misty air…the rocks…the sun.

photoAnd then it was time to meet up with Jill at the entrance to Ginnie Springs.  We did two wonderful cave dives into the Ginnie cave through the eye. At the end of the first dive we peeked into the river-flooded Ear entrance and saw the dark tea-colored water swirling above the crack in the Earth. A mighty sight! We then exited through our entry point, the Eye.

Both dives were as sweet as any I have done at Ginnie Springs. Jill models such a respectful and calm attitude of love for the cave. Witnessing her connection was powerful and it changed me in ways I don’t realize yet.

We shared a nice lunch and chatted about wildlife and turtles. Mostly turtles. Appropriate since Earth is also known as Turtle Island, a turtle floating in space…and we were celebrating Earth Day.

SimoneLipscomb (12)After returning to my cozy little room and hanging my gear to dry I walked across the street to the dive shop to settle my tab. On the way back I noticed a little shop I’ve seen for the ten years I’ve been coming to High Springs. High Springs Emporium is a rock and crystal shop…and so much more. I wandered in and spent an hour visiting with the owner. I felt the connection between Gaia and me strengthen and grow fuller as I stood among Her crystals, rocks, bowls of crystal that vibrated my bones…and my soul. It was the perfect ending to a joy-filled day…the proverbial icing on the cake.

SimoneLipscomb (5)For the past seven years I have dedicated my life to helping our water planet and haven’t known if I was making a difference or simply deluding myself. Today, as I waded into the clear spring water with my camera, ripples erupted from my feet and slowly spread across the large spring. A smile erupted as I realized that ripples from what each one of us does makes a difference….positive or negative. To give up, to stop trying is not an option. When your heart calls you…when you love deeply and profoundly you never, ever give up.

photo 2And so begins the next step of my journey with this water planet, my Mother. May my life be a love song to Her and may I sing it until I draw my last breath…hopefully many years from now. Tears flow as my heart opens to beautiful Pachamama, my Water Mama. My Path begins to open in ways I have never dreamed possible…I feel it.

SimoneLipscomb (33)With deep gratitude for this Earth Day spent with Jill and the turtles and fish…and the baby flounder who did a back flip for me…and the cave….the magnificent cave that welcomed me as Her own and cradled me within Her dark walls as I navigated my rebirth.

May each of us realize the potential to make positive change by our actions and dedicate ourselves to it.

Simone cave diving in Mexico. Photo by Ed Jackson
Simone cave diving in Mexico. Photo by Ed Jackson

I love you Mother Earth…I know your heartbeat…your amniotic fluids…your powerful embrace. I am yours.






A Personal Odyssey

A Personal Odyssey

photo 7As I floated in the fresh, blue-tinted spring water I gazed into a sea of green leaves outlined by cerulean sky. Reflecting back into the cave I had just exited with my friend, I smiled and whispered words of gratitude. Underwater caves always create some sense of magic and wonder within me and today was no different. Except it was my birthday. And I had the strangest sense that today would be an epic journey… something akin to Homer’s Odyssey.

photo 1There had already been two very strange encounters followed by a truly magnificent cave dive. First, I was visiting three black and white horses after checking in at the dive site and decided to do a selfie with them in the background. I love horses and they had seemed nice enough. But as soon as I turned around one of the horses literally attacked me and bit me hard on the back of my head and neck.

Horse attacking me...happened to catch it with my he bit my head and neck...
Horse attacking me…happened to catch it with my camera…as he bit my head and neck…

Then, less than an hour later I was hooking my side mount tanks onto my harness in the water and from out of the woods walked a father and his seven year old daughter. He was carrying a long mermaid tail that, once donned, made her an amazing mer-child. She swam in the spring and frolicked and brought beautiful energy to us before the dive.

And so as I laid upon the water, stretching and reflecting, the story of the Odyssey came into my consciousness and the day unfolded as an epic journey home, just like Homer wrote about in his tale about Odysseus’ journey home after the fall of Troy. Interestingly enough it was the Trojan War and the ruse of the Trojan horse that led to the destruction of Troy. So the horse attack this morning set the stage for my own Odyssey.

After a delicious lunch with my friend Pam I departed High Springs, Florida to continue my journey home. As I left the town behind, two huge wild turkeys were on the side of the road. I remembered a line from the movie, O Brother Where Art Thou. “You will see many strange and wondrous things on your journey.” And the drive home seemed like a series of strange and wonderful things.

It's okay to stop and rest in a storm....
It’s okay to stop and rest in a storm….

I experienced a flood of water with a storm that was probably the hardest rain I’ve ever driven in. I saw an 18 wheeler trailer on fire alongside I-10. A random peacock was wandering along the highway and later a huge hawk was seen diving with talons extended just about to grab dinner. And finally the sunset was perhaps the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.

Taken with my phone....nowhere to stop and set up my Nikon...
Taken with my phone….nowhere to stop and set up my Nikon...

Layers of clouds in spirals, wisps, puffy shapes with multitudes of pinks, oranges, grays, blue extended all around me and as I approached Pensacola Bay it was like a symphony of color and shapes surrounded me. The colors were like music. I could hear them, so loudly were they displaying.

photo 3Beautiful wisdom was gifted to me through this series of events, this epic journey home. The horses reminded me that there have been those in my life who appeared supportive and loving yet behind my back were very damaging to me. Like the Trojan Horse that led to the downfall of Troy, there are those who were not as they seemed.

Several years ago in a flight from Miami to Bonaire, the whirling propellers put me into a sort of trance as I flew over the Ocean and I saw a beautiful mermaid with a brilliant emerald tail and knew that she and I were one. I saw that part of me that is intimately connected to water. The young mer-child today reminded me to reclaim that sense of wonder and reclaim my deep connection to water that is the heart of my life.

The dive into Mother Earth…many levels of learning here but mainly I saw that persistence and inner strength can take me into places of magic and help me connect deeper with our water planet. Her beauty will be revealed as I avail myself to doors that open.

The wild turkeys signified abundance, blessings and new beginnings. Native wisdom associates wild turkeys with sacrifice of the ego for Higher Purpose so that in giving one is more open to receive. It reminds me of an email I got as I was in the middle of this journey home. My side mount instructor reminded me that my invitation to commune with the Earth (when I took other folks messages of love into the cave for the Earth) opened Her arms and I was ready to receive. Surrendering the ego, opening the heart, giving…and the return is profound.

The flooding rain hit as I entered Tallahassee so I simply stopped, sat at a Starbucks and waited out the storm. There is nothing in life that says I have to fight the storms that come. It’s okay to rest and observe and be ready to move forward when all is calm.

photo 6Sometimes parts of life are no longer necessary or even healthy. The fire of the 18 wheeler reminded me of this truth. Don’t cling…let go of the past. No more holding on to anything or anyone gone from my life.  The peacock is another symbol for the Phoenix which is the mythical bird that rises from the ashes of it’s own death. Let the past die…let the ego die and be reborn into the fullness of the Higher Self. (Got it).

The hawk reminds me to use my fierce passion for life and bring it to everything I do. Hold nothing back.

Time to step into life with everything I am....
Time to step into life with everything I am….

Finally, the sunset had me dancing in my seat. It truly sang with color and it had an alchemical effect on me. As it peaked over Pensacola Bay I glanced back over my shoulder and saw a flock of white birds reflecting the colors of the sky on their wings against a darkening sky beyond them. They reminded me that no matter where life takes me, if I stay connected to Spirit I will bring the reflection of Love and Compassion with me to infuse the space around me with magic…harmony…love….compassion.

What an incredible Odyssey this day has gifted to me. A perfect way to begin another trip around the sun.


Time for another trip around the sun....
Time for another trip around the sun….


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. 


Everyday Miracles

Everyday Miracles

The moist, warm earth yielded easily as my fingers pushed into it to create a home for each new plant…kale, mustard, brussel sprouts, cilantro and oregano. Nearby neighbors of broccoli, rosemary and strawberries welcomed the new garden dwellers.

simonelipscomb (20)I’m not much of a vegetable gardener but rather find flowers to be my ‘thing.’ But there’s a yearning within me to make the connection between earth and food so I grow a few veggies and some fruit. The energetic connection of soil, sunlight, water, plant and human is alchemical. To think that my body is nourished by plants grown in my yard, under my care is really quite miraculous. I’d rather consume the colors of flowers…they delight me so….but thus far I haven’t learned to survive on flower power.

Osprey...image taken in Florida last winter
Osprey…image taken in Florida last winter

It was a wild day on the river. Turkey buzzards covered boathouses and trees far upriver…and then gathered in great numbers and rode thermals. The osprey couple was mating as I paddled past them. I cheered them on. The great blue heron couple has a nest in the same pine tree as last year. Pelicans continue to hunt far upriver for fish…come to think of it I haven’t seen many fish lately.

Some kind soul must have heard me last Sunday morning using a hand saw to cut a tunnel through the downed tree over the river…heard me grunting, possibly spouting a few colorful words…have you ever sawed standing up on a paddle board?? Much to my delight someone had cut a proper stand-up passage through the downed maple tree with a chain saw. That was a great surprise.

1796451_10152251956134214_1100857510_nIt was another great afternoon of music at The Frog Pond. Guitar deliciousness…oh, MY! Bill Kirchen, Will Kimbrough, Webb Wilder, Corky Hughes, Grayson Capps and Luther Womble. Lovely music and folks.

SimoneLipscomb (3)In reflecting back on the past few days it feels really good to see spring coming and colder weather backing off a bit. Wildlife is dancing with the season and I’m finding my way to have more contact with nature, to practice cherishing the earth and all things wild as a daily spiritual practice. Life goes on and somehow I find my place in it…and feel such gratitude for everyday miracles.

Eagles, Sandhill Cranes….Abundant Beauty

Eagles, Sandhill Cranes….Abundant Beauty

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Pelican flying nearby

It was a most glorious day here along the Alabama Gulf Coast. Sun was abundant and the temperature may have reached 70 degrees. This is my favorite time of year here and makes up for those humid, 90 degree summer days.

After an early morning Pure Barre workout followed by hedge clipping from a ten foot ladder, I wasn’t sure about SUP boarding today but even after the yard work and intense workout, I simply couldn’t miss some river time.

photo copyI hadn’t planned to paddle hard given that I felt my workout needs were met for the day, but the wind–blowing upriver–caused me to dig deep from the beginning and so I resigned myself to finishing the day with another intense workout.

Just past the bridge an osprey sat silhouetted in a tall pine tree. At the corner before Devil’s Hole, two brown pelicans floated along the surface.  Even though I gave them a wide berth they flew off a bit grumpily. As I paddled past the beach at Devil’s Hole, the tree with the heron nest caught my eye as a huge bird moved. The juvenile bald eagle from two days ago was still hanging around. Sweet! This was exciting. Perhaps he or she will be making the river home.

photoDownriver I paddled, digging against the wind but not complaining. Pelicans were floating and fishing on both sides of the river as it widened. When I got to Bemis Bay an abundance of the large diving birds were feasting on my juvenile mullet friends. I was so caught up in watching the pelicans that I nearly missed two bald eagles flying together, touching, grabbing talons briefly and then flying away. Did I just see that? I was in nature-rapture.

photo copy 4Continuing my downriver paddle I came across another bald eagle in solo flight and one more off in the distance. I felt as if I was in a shamanic journey and a new spirit animal was coming to befriend me. I stopped paddling and stood laughing hysterically. What else could I do? It was beyond my ability to take in, to even believe.

Then I looked up, toward the sun, and there was a huge gathering of large birds riding the thermals over the river. No matter how much I paddled, I never got as close as I wanted to. They were very high and gliding air currents in large circles. White wing feathers glistened in the brilliant light and were visible against the blue sky. Sandhill cranes in migration. I have seen this in Florida before but never here.

photo copy 7Could my ability to take-in more beauty expand any more? Then SPLASH! A pelican landed maybe fifteen feet from my board. When I glanced back he was swallowing a fish. Then on a few more minutes and a huge mullet landed less than a board length away from my board after making a big leap.

Great egrets, shining white in their fine feathers, crowned several of the cypress trees as they sat observing the river happenings. I drifted under them on my way back upriver as the breeze gently pushed me.

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Pelicans perched at the no wake zone.

I sit now, reflecting on the abundance of life and extraordinary experiences that happened during my paddle. When I got back to the wide area of the river we call Bemis Bay, I knelt down and watched the two eagles play…or whatever they were doing. Not that many years ago this would not have been possible but thanks to reintroduction efforts, the bald eagle is beginning to thrive here. And come to think of it, so am I.

Thanks for reading. Comment and/or share as you wish. May your day be filled with abundant beauty.