Category: Eco-Spirituality

The New Normal

The New Normal

_TSL2010How do major awakenings, experiences of cosmic consciousness and expansion translate to every day life? This has been my burning question since the last humpback whale week.

It happens when we have meaningful experiences that change our lives. It might be something big like humpback whales floating 15 feet from us or something as simple as seeing a mother bird care for her young. Something out of the ordinary changes us.

SimoneLipscomb (8)Often the positive change or spark of awakening is difficult to integrate into daily life. We still have to clean the cat box, put fuel in the car, decide what to have for dinner when we’d rather stay in that space of bliss and cosmic Oneness. Of course. Who wouldn’t?

For decades I’ve tried to figure out how to integrate peak experiences into my life. The last week with humpbacks was so profound that my quest to gain wisdom on the integration process accelerated.

Last week major moments of awareness came (In the End…It’s Love) and today, during and hours after Augusta’s yoga class, integration came.

Cosmic Whale-2
Last week the image of a vast cosmos within emerged from the work I was doing to keep my heart open. It was as if a the Universe was within me–stars and planets and space.  Today that vision returned and it reminded me of the night sky over the ocean with silver whale breath illuminated by the moon. It was as if I was becoming the vastness, becoming the cosmos. I felt the magnitude of that week opening to the present moment. The thread that connected the peak experience with the every day one was staying open to love, keeping my heart open.

_TSL4572The mind revolts when we really focus on opening the heart. Fears, objections, warnings arise. But if by some touch of grace we can keep the intention of opening the heart as our goal and just keep practicing without collapsing into fear, we will eventually burn away the dross and be left with the pure gold of a healed, open, loving heart. This sacred alchemy not only transforms our lives, it transforms the world around us.

_TSL3955Peak experiences can become the new normal. An open heart can open our lives in ways we never dared dream.



Sweet is the Light

Sweet is the Light

_TSL3846On this Mother’s Day I am especially grateful to loggerhead sea turtle mothers who give me incentive to awaken before dawn, drive to the beach and walk along the Gulf just before, during and after sunrise. It gives me opportunities to photograph pure, rich color.

_TSL3886There are a very few moments in which to capture the richest, most precious light. Between the pre-dawn gray and post-dawn white there is a sweetness where color bursts forth from the water, earth and sky and everything the sacred sunrise kisses. The muted, soft pastels are transformed momentarily into rich colors of incredible depth. Then the harshness of daylight washes them into a faded expression of what they once were reminding me of the impermanence of life.

_TSL3929Ambitious architects from the day before provided a perfect surface for the perfect light to illuminate and I arrived at their castle at the perfect moment, when the light was at its richest. Some times things work out exactly as you would hope.

_TSL3925There were no sea turtle tracks on the section of beach I patrol but that’s only part of the reason I volunteer. I go for the sunrise because sweet is the light.



In the End…It’s Love

In the End…It’s Love

IMG_4233It was chilly–50 degrees. The sun was not yet peeking over the horizon; however, the pink hues glowing softly in the eastern sky proclaimed sunrise was very near.

The sound of cleats snapping into pedals….metal-on-metal…sounded harsh as the bird song welcoming the day was interrupted.

IMG_4241Freedom! That’s what cycling in perfect conditions feels like to me. Gliding past shades of green coming alive in the ever-brightening day.

IMG_4248Music from my iPod took me deeper inside as I pedaled toward dawn. Almost immediately tears came…for the beauty…for the wounds….for the healing. On and on I pedaled, tears streaming down my cheeks as I greeted rabbits enjoying breakfast along the trail.

_TSL1859Giving my mind and thoughts a break and simply allowing the emotions to surface, clarity emerged. The same openness I felt while practicing yoga with humpback whales a couple months ago was back. Oh, bliss! Those starlit, full-moon pre-dawn encounters with the cosmos, with humpback whales exhaling so close I could see their clouds of breath glowing silver in the moonlight….that week of cosmic consciousness, of open-hearted connection with the Universe vibrated through me again. Sweet life….finally.

_TSL1975It’s been difficult adjusting to life after that week and it seemed the experience was fading more with each day. But I think I found the secret….and I’m willing to share it.

IMG_4230Several days ago someone I treasure popped into my consciousness. I haven’t seen him in over four years but there he was, strong in my mind and heart. This happens from time-to-time and I am never very graceful with it. My mind likes to take over and point out everything wrong with me and him and talk me out of opening my heart so I don’t feel the loss as much, so the grief isn’t so biting. It likes to keep score and list the many ways we both screwed up the very special love we had, how we allowed our unhealed wounds to drive a wedge between us. And so, my mind generally talks me out of opening my heart and that’s that. And I return to the numbness.

IMG_4219But this time was different. Yoga classes are really helping me open my heart and be unafraid to keep it open. So Monday morning I awakened early and took the question of what do I do about these feelings of love toward this man? into meditation. The answer I got was to allow love to move through my heart and let go of ego and see the unconditional, perfect love that is at the core of each of us…and keep my heart open. Not easy because the mind wants to figure everything out and understand it so I don’t have to feel the loss.

Then I went to yoga and Augusta led a heart-opening class that had me begging for child’s pose so I could just pause and weep. But I didn’t collapse into it…I simply allowed the love to flow…along with tears…and kept moving…kept going….kept feeling.

IMG_4246So this week has been challenging. My mind has battled to get out its pen and paper and list the ways we failed each other, the ways fear stopped us from going deeper. But my heart has stepped forward in courage and remained open. Not in a grasping, clinging, demanding way….just open. Which led me to a deep place of cosmic unity. Ahhhh……it’s a sweet place.

This is not just about ‘him.’ As I keep my heart open the unconditional love I feel blossoms into every aspect of my life. I’m not sure its possible to be open-hearted about everything but one person or one issue. I think the language of the heart is quite simple….love or not? Open or closed? If I can courageously keep my heart open about this great loss, imagine how the opening will affect everything.

IMG_4249Today nature reached out and surrounded me with a safe place to simply ride the emotions which led me to the place of cosmic oneness that the whales showed me. This is the place I want to be…not for one relationship but for all relationships…with humans, animals, plants, waters, lands and with my self. This is the secret to maintaining cosmic unity or oneness….keep the heart open to love with courage and without the mind trying to understand. This is a leap of faith into the Unknown…the Spiritual Warrior’s Empty-Handed Leap into the Void. By willing to have an open heart and love others unconditionally, the connection to the Universe is also kept open.

IMG_4216We can view opening, healing within the context of relationship with others but it always comes back to the relationship we have with our self, with the Universe. Love is love is love. In the end…it’s always love that brings healing, that leads us home.


Working Together

Working Together

IMG_4121-2“Sea turtle nesting season has begun?” the gentleman asked. “Yes. Today’s the first day and isn’t it lovely,” I replied. We conversed a few moments and then he walked east, I walked west and each of us continued our tasks. He with his trash bag and pick-up stick to aid in his cleaning the beach, me  looking for sea turtle tracks with my camera and green Share the Beach shirt that identifies me as a sea turtle volunteer.

_TSL3768What a glorious morning. Not just because of the soft sunrise, gentle breeze and waves pushing on to the shore. For the first time in four years there were no tents, chairs, fishing rods or other entanglement hazards (for wildlife) left on the beach. The new effort by the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach has turned progressively trashed beaches into place that felt welcoming to humans and wildlife. Leave Only Footprints!

_TSL3742As I continued my walk, looking for sea turtle tracks near the wrack line, I thought how wonderful it felt to have so many groups and individuals on board to help our beaches and the wildlife that inhabits them. The US Fish & Wildlife Service, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, volunteers who walk all Alabama coastline from May 1st to September 1st, individuals who use their morning stroll to clean up debris left or washed in by the tide. It takes all of us working together to make it work.

_TSL3754The dunes are building with sea oats that the city planted a couple years ago. These small plants are anchors for small dunes to build in front of the primary dune line. People are working together. It felt like balance returning to our beaches.

This is good news. This is what it takes to make positive change….working together.