Category: EGO

What Love Can Do

What Love Can Do

simonelipscomb (9)

Lately I’ve been asking the question, How can we really make a difference? Actually, for several months now I’ve been walking with this prayer in my heart and mind. I breathe it in the morning….walk with it during the day….rest my head on my pillow at night with this koan echoing through my spirit.

SimoneLipscombDocumenting the Gulf Oil Spill broke my heart and mind open. It brought me to my knees in the truest sense because I saw how everything precious and sacred can be taken away by careless human acts and ongoing choices and behaviors that are centered on profit…at any cost. After struggling with emotions of anger, grief, frustration, helplessness and more I connected with Joanna Macy‘s work and traveled to spend a week with her and others committed to creating positive change in our world. Without hesitation I can say that the week spent in Massachusetts helped me climb out of the emotional hole that I fell into witnessing first hand the oil spill.

Once among the living, however, my sense of direction faded. I realized I could no longer approach my work with anger or frustration because what I felt so strongly was love…for the planet, for creatures, for humans. I couldn’t bombard people with the horrific images that had filled my nightmares any longer. I didn’t want to be in denial about what is happening in our world but focusing on the terrible seemed only to perpetuate more of it. I felt that people were grieving the destruction of life, even if they weren’t consciously aware of it. And perhaps seeing beauty would inspire them to engage, encourage them to care a little more.

Water captivates me and my favorite images center around water...waterfalls...big water...underwater.

The theme of beauty and more specifically, focusing on beauty, became the answer I began to hear each time I asked the question, What can I do to make a difference? Yet that answer didn’t give me complete satisfaction or a sense of true direction. It was a start though.

Many more months have passed and the question still pulls me to deeper understanding. It seems quite simple but how difficult it can be to live the answer I received: Love. Love is the answer I’ve been hearing lately.

It sounds cliche. It sounds so ’60’s. Yet as I’ve explored and read….listened deeply to my core…it’s that simple.

Standing in love doesn’t mean we are powerless or squishy. Sometimes love looks powerful and strong. Other times it is enfolding, soft. It seems we are at a point of powerful change in our world. It takes radical courage to live from Love for most of what is modeled in our world is power-over, squishing the competition, winning at any cost….more…more…more. To observe this way of being and step away from it, to stand centered in love and compassion is radical. And yet history  has proven that power for power’s sake never works.

Or moments of intense stillness and inner quiet.

In some philosophies there is a diagram that is helpful. In it two lines intersect. One runs up and down and is considered to represent Spirit. The other crosses it and is representative of the physical path. In the center, at the intersection where Spirit and physical meet, is the point of becoming. It’s the place where we can, in a physical experience, balance our life with the qualities of Spirit, of Love.

Wendell Berry states, “Love isn’t a feeling. It’s a practice.” He also said, “What leads to peace is not violence but peaceableness.” This leads me to conclude that what leads to love isn’t hate…it’s love.

800_1019If we really want to change the world for the better, our first task then is to clear all obstacles within ourselves that keep us from truly knowing love. This means letting go of judgment of self and others, letting go of hate of self and others. Selfishness, ego…all must go as we open our hearts to the absolute power of love. When we do this, when we have such radical courage, we will see what love can do.

Thread of the Soul’s Path

Thread of the Soul’s Path

simonelipscomb (7)A person dear to my heart made a decision years ago that many people were against. He chose to do it anyway but changed his mind a few months into his choice, most likely due to pressure from those of us who didn’t like it. A couple years later he again chose to take the path he had started down before and he has stayed with it. Courage to follow a thread of your soul’s path is vital once you make the decision to do it. It may not make sense to anyone but you, yet if  your soul is calling you, the only thing that makes sense is to listen and do it.

I was one of those silently objecting and questioning my friend’s decision. A war zone? The Middle East? Fear kept me from being able to fully support his path even though I did verbally. In reality I didn’t understand it. And today I feel baffled as to why I couldn’t see how perfect this was for him. He loved his former job and when he retired he was unsatisfied. He has a strong belief in serving country and community and has a fascination with war movies and planes. It totally makes sense now as I reflect from a distance. He is in his element. Who am I, who is anyone to judge his choice….a path to which his soul lead him? It seems like a no-brainer.

How can we ever see what is right for another person? Every person has his or her unique connection to their soul. It’s a sacred contract between soul, body, and mind. Nobody has a right to interfere in that or doubt that wisdom. And yet we do it often. Why? Perhaps it makes us uncomfortable to see someone take risks. Or maybe it takes them away from us or we think it is dangerous. If a person gets hurt or dies doing what their soul called them to do then how is that wrong? We get so invested in deciding what is right for people we care about we forget that we don’t have a say in something that is between them and God.

Several years ago I inherited property and felt a very strong intuition to sell it. The choice was very unpopular with some who thought I should hold out to get more money, as the real estate market was ballooning. I listened to my inner voice, trusted it and sold the property at what I considered a fair price. Then the market bottomed out. Had I waited….well, that’s a story I don’t even want to consider. It took a lot of courage to tread a path for which others did not approve. But my life has been a series of these kinds of leaps of faith that are not always popular with others.

simonelipscomb (8)Why is it we believe we know what’s best for others? Why do we form judgements about choices others make? What keeps us from being unconditionally supportive of our friends, spouses, children about the paths they choose? Fear? Yes, but based in what? I believe it goes beyond fear to that dreaded culprit–ego. The ego believes it knows what’s best for everyone. And we all know that E G O really means…Edging God Out. Too often we want to be the guiding voice for others, negating their need and ability to figure it out on their own. (If they ask for our advice…then different story).

If I trust the Divine to speak to my heart then I can and must offer that same acknowledgement to everyone in my life. To do otherwise is to come from my own darkness…from judgement, opinion. Who can truly know the heart of another? Those words, “Trust me, I know what I’m doing…have a little faith in me,” ring in my mind today and I know I made a big mistake by not tossing my fear and ego out and trusting. Big mistake.

When we ask to grow and open ourselves to light and love, the light illuminates our darkness and we face it, clear it and awaken or we deny it and continue to wonder why everyone else is so screwed up. (Smile) When light shines within us and the veil is pulled away from our eyes we can see clearly, truly. Today I forgive myself for my inability to understand and trust. I celebrate the clarity that has arisen. I ask those whom I have judged or not trusted to forgive my mistakes. I make this promise to all friends and loved ones and all beings….I honor your path and the choices you make and accept them even if I don’t understand. I trust your connection with the Divine and your ability to clearly see the thread of your soul’s path as it invites you to give it a tug.

And….I celebrate your journey.