Category: EARTH

A Sensitive Heart

A Sensitive Heart

simonelipscomb“I have sea foam in my veins, for I understand the language of waves.” Le Testament d’Orphee is a movie I’ve never seen but this quote from it touches me deeply. It was quoted in an article I read this morning during my hammock time with my ginger cat, Stanley. It was a piece about sensitive souls…the traits and behaviors…the feelings. As I read it a mirror to my soul seemed to open. FINALLY! There are others out there. (Deep sigh).

IMG_0002My first memory of my inner life being at odds with the outer world was when I was about eight years old. My father and I were watching a movie about an old man who saved up hard-earned money to purchase a pane of glass for the only window in his shack. He installed it and it had only been in place for a brief time when his mule kicked a bucket that went crashing into the window–which shattered. The man beat the mule. I cried and my father laughed at me for crying. He asked why I was crying. For the mule, for being beaten, of course. It was then that I begin to learn that my sensitive heart was in for a rough ride.

The article states, “You absorb sensation the way a paintbrush grasps each color it touches on a palette. The ethereal beauty of a dandelion, the shift of a season, the climax of a song, or the scent of a certain fragrance can sometimes move you to tears…Basically this means if you are sensitive, you have the ability to see colors and feel energy the way others hear jet planes.” Victoria Erickson, the writer, goes on to quote research that says sensitive souls make up about 20% of the population. People who are super-sensitive have nervous systems that respond easily to stimuli which can be overwhelming and exhausting. “Sometimes your sensitivity makes life extraordinarily painful and you want to shut down and hide your raw self from the loud chaos that accompanies this earth’s continual rotation.”

Victoria lists six ways to stay balanced….create, enjoy the company of animals, seek out water, recognize what is only your energy and emotion (its easy to absorb other’s energy), surround yourself with people that understand your nature and nurture that connection, retreat, replenish and rejuvenate. Her advice was so good that I saved the article to my desktop so I can review regularly.

After I finished reading I sat in the hammock chair with my cat buddy and pondered the eye-opening information. There have been many times I have been laughed at, made fun of, and generally put-down because I am sensitive. And I know there are others who have experienced this treatment. When this happens we close down, little-by-little. Our experience of the world narrows as we deny the very ability we have that feeds and nurtures us.


When my daughter was born, I begin to reawaken to the part of myself I had closed off, lost even, through my childhood, adolescence and young adult life. Her arrival into my life was a catalyst that pushed me onto my spiritual path and steered me deeper into my heart. When she was born I suddenly knew what it was like to truly love someone.

Everything didn’t change overnight. It takes an immense amount of work to learn to stay open to the beauty around us and not close down when the rest of the world seems to not notice. There were many, many rocky years and times when the dichotomy, of what I knew to be my truth and what the world told me my truth was, was difficult to sort out. I carry many battle scars.

About eleven years ago I reached a very low point in my life when things literally fell apart around me. It was as if everything I cared for shattered and shifted and I was left feeling completely beaten down and also, oddly enough,  feeling incredibly open. At that time a man came into my life that helped nurture me so that I could put my life back together, in a more harmonious way. His was a sensitive heart, even though he didn’t like to admit it. The light he shined into my life helped me believe that I could be myself and live fully. At first he kidded me about talking to trees but before our relationship ended, I caught him talking to trees….although he would most likely deny that now.

I was blessed to have someone who believed in me, that stood beside me as I lifted myself out of the rubble of my life.

simonelipscomb (5)What does the world do to a sensitive heart? How do we survive the challenges, the fears, the chaos we encounter simply by living on this planet? This fragile beauty, this light within us can be so easily destroyed, snuffed out. The magnificence of a sensitive soul can be chased into hiding by the stresses of daily life. This, to me, is the greatest loss we all experience. When we lose our brothers and sisters whose sensitive hearts and souls bless this place, then truly we have lost great treasures. I know there are many whose light has been diminished or hidden by the stresses of life. May we reach out in understanding and love and stand with them as they work to find peace and wholeness.

When these lights go into hiding it’s not simply a personal loss, but a planetary loss. We need more people now than ever before who are in touch with their hearts and in communion with the beauty..and who are unafraid to show it. May we support each other always in finding and staying connected to our true selves.




simonelipscomb (1)The sky was completely dark and I thought it must be 9pm. Time to curl up with a good book. Alas, it was merely 7.30 and once again the realization of seasonal change…. and change in general…. came to mind and became my meditation as I sat in my hammock swing on the back porch and listened.

The moon shone timidly through the grandmother oak’s massive branches and leaves as she spread her protective embrace over my home. Stars twinkled, bashful and fleeting in their dance through the sky. Change.. movement… cycles… rhythms.

Earlier today, as I worked to complete a book a friend and I are creating together, I was writing my part of the introduction. As I listened to my heart’s message I realized I have come to a point where I am letting go of feeling personally responsible for affecting change in other’s behaviors, specifically respecting the planet and each other. It’s rather arrogant to assume I could have that affect on others anyway. But I take the care of this beautiful planet seriously and somehow felt I was supposed to write,  share photographs and teach others in order to create positive change in their actions. When change wasn’t forthcoming I felt a sense of failure.

simonelipscomb (8)Perhaps I thought that if people understood and grasped the depth of passion and love I have for the planet they would be inspired to love and care for it as well. It was rather unrealistic to think my actions could change other’s behaviors when I struggle at times to change my own behaviors. It’s sort of like thinking that loving and expressing your love for another person will make them love you….that never works no matter how deep and profound your love is for them. Maybe it was the head-banging-against-the-wall frustration that helped me awaken to how worn out I felt by taking on this unrealistic, unreasonable responsibility. (My inner psychotherapist is clapping her hands!)

I want to be at peace and feel open to love and compassion. I can’t have those qualities of mind, of life, if I’m ‘failing miserably’ at changing the world. I see what’s happening in governments, to wild land, to wildlife, to children, to humanity….If this is still happening I must be failing at my job. Honestly, a part of me really thought that way. And I wonder if others who love the planet, put their energy into creating positive change and wish for global healing share that feeling of failure when things seem not to change.

simonelipscomb (6)I realize now that the real reason I’m here on Earth is simply to express the love and gratitude within for this amazing planet with endless varieties of life and to be in Communion with It. By mistakenly thinking I could actually change other’s behaviors by my actions, I put myself under major-stress and took it very personally when people didn’t care–recycle, drive more fuel-efficient vehicles, buy less stuff, turn from greed, stop polluting, use solar energy, love each other, love animals and on and on the list goes. (Gulp….my inner psychotherapist is nodding her head).

As I was writing my part of the introduction to the new book I wrote: “Sacred Marriage with the Divine through nature, through life, is the only significant goal that remains in my life.”

Nahoch Nah Chich cave in Mexico
Nahoch Nah Chich cave in Mexico

Seeking a clearer connection with Spirit, being a clear channel through which this Force can flow, is my only desire. Gone now is the intent to change the world for that only created a life of constant frustration…although I still dream of a better world for all life. I wish only to change myself, to open to love and light that is abundant and available always, with every breath.

As I finished editing this post, an owl landed nearby and begin hooting. Seems I’m not the only one celebrating this shift in perspective, this clarity of focus. May each of us find our own dance….and if we’re really lucky, find others who will dance with us.


Patience….Faith…Hope for the Planet

Patience….Faith…Hope for the Planet

simonelipscomb (3) copy

On the spiritual path it is said that once you have had an awakening it is impossible to forget what you know. In other words…you can’t really go back to sleep and pretend you don’t know the truth…I think the same is true of our environmental and social ills. But then they too are part of our spiritual path are they not? It’s all the same journey, no matter what label we attach to it.

800_0234I happened upon a Bill Moyers interview with Wendell Berry that helped me breathe–it felt like I had been holding my breath for months.

Berry reminded us to do what we can and to be realistic…we’re not going to fix something quickly. We have to have patience. He talked of being in an emergency situation and how that is the most difficult time to have patience and yet, with our planetary situation, patience is called for….faith, he said, is another word for patience.

The take-away from the interview between Moyers and Berry was this: keep doing whatever you can and do it as often as you can. Now is not the time to give up.

simonelipscombIt’s not easy. It can feel like a very lonely, isolated existence. Yet whatever each of us feels ‘called’ to do to make a difference contributes to positive momentum and resolution. Maintaining balance while committing oneself to the task is challenging…beyond belief challenging. But the alternative is giving up and that’s simply not an option.

For me, the only thing left is faith…a glimmer of hope…and love. And the greatest of these is love. Ultimately I believe it is love that will lead us forward into a better way of living with each other and the planet.

Joanna Macy lead our group to greater understanding of how to help our planet and each other at Rowe, MA
Joanna Macy lead our group to greater understanding of how to help our planet and each other at Rowe, MA
What is the Earth Worth to You?

What is the Earth Worth to You?

graffitiA few days ago I visited a high school classroom where I presented a program on recycling. The teacher sponsors recycling for the high school but when I asked the students how many recycled in their home nobody raised a hand. I was shocked. Usually there are at least a few recyclers.

After completing the presentation I followed up with this question: What would it take for you to care enough to take action? Blank faces stared back at me. I asked again and one student said somebody would have to pay him.

It felt like the air was kicked out of me. These past few months of wondering what was the root of the problem of our planet and it comes down to my worst suspicions: Greed. Is it true that people are unwilling to take action, even something as basic and simple as recycling, unless there is something in it for them?

simonelipscomb (8)What they can’t see the payoff for being a good steward is having a healthy life, a healthier planet. A future.

In a blog post from Bill Moyers dated yesterday he wrote that top climate scientists recently reported that the time for us to act to correct the downward spiral of environmental health of the planet is very small. The study stated that unless we make major changes within a decade it’s basically an accelerating scenario of a planet unable to support life as we know it. The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) warns, in this report, of an alarming escalation of climate impacts (droughts, floods, storms) but also shows that preventing climate chaos is still a possibility.

If my suspicions about human nature are true, as the high school class modeled, the majority of citizens think only in terms of monetary gain, not planetary stewardship. Somehow people must began to see that their direct actions of caring for the planet is the only way we have a viable future. Why are humans unable to remove the blinders that keep them from seeing the truth about what’s happening on the planet? What will it take to create the shift in consciousness necessary to make a positive difference? Do they care?

Recycling is so easy. I can’t imagine why people will not make the effort. Every time I see an aluminum can being tossed in the garbage I think…. 95% of the energy it takes to make an aluminum can can be saved by recycling that one. Or paper….28% of landfill waste is paper and cardboard…recyclable.  According to a report I read last week, almost 33% of food in the USA is thrown in the garbage. One-third! Can you imagine?? That’s enough food to insure almost everyone in the country had a meal but instead it goes to the dump. Plastics account for 13% of landfill waste….all recyclable and yet filling our landfills with trash that will be around for hundreds of years….or worse…our oceans.

tarballsshellImagine explorers visiting our planet after humans have driven our species to extinction…finding plastic bottles littering beaches, roadways. Can you imagine the conclusions these explorers might come to by what they see left behind? When they see how we treated the very ‘thing’ that sustains life for us.

How do we get people to care?

How do we get people to invest in their future by caring for the planet?

What will it take to create a shift in consciousness?

5forearth2 2 copyI can only do what feels right for me and pray that enough of us will care, will love our planet and our children…and future children…to be responsible, caring stewards. I wonder if we could start by taking 5 minutes a day to sit in stillness, in quiet, and ask what we can do to make a positive difference. I wonder….can we give the earth just 5 minutes of our day to listen?



This is the Wound

This is the Wound

simonelipscomb (8)The  wound we all carry is that we feel separated from the cosmos.” This was Otto Rank’s conclusion.

Thomas Berry believed that it would take leaders with ‘shamanic personalities’–people that could bring about a deeper sense of the sacred–to heal this wound. There is no one career path that produces these leaders. They come from all walks of life and guide us to reconnect with Earth and the Cosmos in a sacred manner.

simonelipscombBack to the instinctual, back to feeling our hearts beat in unison with the Earth, with each other. Back to an understanding that all life is worthy of compassion, love, attention….care. People called to do this work often carry a wound  but often it is the wound of the larger community.

Out of the concrete and glass and artificial light into the sunlight and dirt and clear water reflecting the beauty of creation. Away from plastic boxes with fingers glued to keyboards into the dirt with fingers warm from soil and microbes enlivening our living planet.

simonelipscomb (1)Each of us has the capacity to transform our own lives and our planet by living the example. Conscious effort every day, every hour. Where does water from the faucet originate? What makes electricity that powers my computer  and air conditioner…coal, solar, wind, oil? Where does my garbage go? Where do recyclables go? Conscious connection, mindful connection of how our needs are met.

Thomas Berry wrote and taught about the ‘grand liturgy of the universe.’ He suggested the universe itself is a ritual and called us to participate in it. Be aware…be present with this beautiful functioning of life.

Black Elk said, “The human heart is a sanctuary at the center of which there is a little space, wherein the Great Spirit dwells, and this is the Eye of the Great Spirit.” Berry said that at the center of every heart lies the center of the universe. So our journey begins in our own heart where we find the Eye of the Great Spirit. When we come from this place of intention, all things are possible.

simonelipscomb (4)How did we get to this disconnect? Berry said we became enchanted with ourselves and our ability to control the functions of the planet. He said, “We have lost our capacity for communication with the natural world in its inner life, its spirit mode. We have become a death-dealing presence.”

The wound….the wound that each of us carries is the disconnect we have from the planet. The solution? Mindfulness. Conscious awareness. Knowing things like if the plankton in the ocean died most living beings on our planet would die. Knowing that the multitude of soil bacteria enable food to be produced and without them, all life would quickly die-off do to starvation. Knowing that we don’t have all the answers and that fascination with our ability to manipulate and control the environment will certainly lead to our downfall unless we wake up.

800_0234“The natural world itself is the primary economic reality, the primary educator, the primary governance, the primary healer, the primary presence of the sacred, the primary moral value. We finally realize that we are earthlings, that we are born our of the earth, that we have no future except within the larger Earth community.” When we understand what Berry wrote, we will begin to understand the wound and how to heal it.