Category: Nature

Loving the Earth

Loving the Earth

photoLoving the Earth: Creating a Conscious Relationship with Our Planet

A slight breezed carried my SUP board downriver as I stopped paddling to watch a pair of bald eagles drag their talons along the surface of the water. Nearby great egrets crowned cypress trees, their white plumage dazzling against the background of blue sky. A mullet splashed in the mud-tinted water of the Magnolia River and brought my attention back from sky to earth. As my gaze turned downward a brown pelican folded her wings, as if in prayer, and dropped from the sky close to my board. All around life expressed in a beautiful ballet of balance with this lone patron admiring the dance. Bliss seemed shared by all but perhaps it might be better named communion.

Osprey...image taken in Florida last winter

One never knows what will be the call that brings us to our heart’s work. While I loved nature since childhood, I never felt the commitment…the calling…to dedicate my life’s work to it until the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. It felt as if everything in life stopped so I could focus entirely on the Gulf Coast and the amazing life in our coastal ecosystems. During the first days of oil washing ashore I remember thinking the end of the world had arrived. How could this happen?

This should never happen anywhere on our beautiful planet...let's unite in love and compassion and create the world we want to live in and leave for generations to come.

It’s easier to believe everything is okay than to pay attention to what’s really happening. I shared my book containing oil spill images with a cousin the other day that lives in Pensacola and she was shocked to see the reality I documented. There are people who live in Gulf Shores who still believe it wasn’t bad…that there wasn’t oil mixed with dispersant and it wasn’t fizzing in tidal pools of tiny fish gasping to their last breath. I know because I saw it first hand and stood on the beach weeping for every life I saw pass.

simonelipscomb (18)The most difficult thing I have ever experienced was witnessing the spill and its effects on innocent life which included small children playing in oily waters…so polluted that the benzene burned my eyes and throat. Video and photographs in my library document everything I saw but they can never share the true experience of grief beyond anything I’ve known.

A friend and mentor reminded me, during the first year of the spill, that there was a reason I was being called to witness the horror even though I might not understand why. Over four years have passed and I am more convinced that the only way to heal our broken planet is to heal our relationship with It and to heal our relationship with each other. That means healing our own lives.

SimoneLipscomb (8)The only solution I have found is to practice love…love as compassion…love as respect…love in the purest form of opening to surrender, to service.

When wild animals make contact with me I always feel so joyful!

Love for the planet requires opening the self. When we risk the deep opening of human heart to planetary heart we know the elation of unspeakable joy, of the heart’s expanding in answer to beauty. We also know the experience of grief and heartbreak when places, wildlife and humans we love are destroyed or profoundly injured.

One of my favorite places to celebrate life is under the Salt Pier on the island of Bonaire

Celebrating the beauty of the Magnolia River and other places of natural beauty relieves the grief that comes from being aware of the trials our planet is experiencing. There is resilience in nature and my hope is we will practice better stewardship before a non-reversible tipping point is reached.

SimoneLipscomb (25)As I remain engaged with nature’s rhythms through simple, daily observation and intention, I am drawn more deeply into partnership with the Earth. If we collectively open our hearts to loving this sacred planet, we can create a bond with each other that will transform darkness and create positive, lasting change.

A Little More Kindness

A Little More Kindness

Journal entry from 8am this morning:

SimoneLipscomb (2)My hands are still damp, I’m still in my wetsuit, but I wanted to write while the emotions are still fresh.

I had just turned my solo morning meditation dive when in front of me glided a large spotted eagle ray. Her long, thin tail trailing behind–a thin, black line against the blue sea. Her face beautiful in its beak-like design, eyes watching me as I watched her.

She arched across my right side leaving the sand flats where she had fed and headed down the top of the reef. I stopped and witnessed her graceful beauty–the slow, steady beat of her wings underwater–and felt my heart open as it does when beauty such as this touches me softly with its unexplainable magic.

So close to this magnificent creature was I, our eyes connected and thus did our innermost being.

SimoneLipscomb (1)She swam on and I did, too, parting with joy and appreciation. As I slowly kicked back, away from the ray, I felt a renewed commitment to cultivate kindness and gentleness for all creatures and especially those who are innocent of the abuses humans perpetuate apon their homes.

Golden Crown of French Grunts

Golden Crown of French Grunts

SimoneLipscomb (1)I hung motionless in the turquoise water, silently witnessing a living, golden crown adorning a beautiful growth of elk horn coral in the white sand bottom. That’s how the Sea is….alive, moving, breathing as one with all Her creatures. The French grunts with their golden stripes schooled and moved as one being, swaying with the surge of the water column. I too moved only as the water moved me, hanging so peaceful in saltwater reverie.

That’s why I dive…Oneness. It’s never about how far I go or how long I stay underwater but only about the experience of being part of the underwater world, a witness to the immense capacity for life found in the Ocean.

SimoneLipscombI awoke to the sweet sounds of a warbler perched in the palm tree outside my window. In the dark, pre-dawn quietness–while most of the place is still sleeping–trills and warbles pierced the silence and brought me from the dreamtime. In that land between sleep and waking, the palm leaves rustled their staccato swishing and began the song of the dawn.

A faint glow called to the artist in me so I unpacked my camera, grabbed my tripod and headed to the water. As I stepped outside it felt like I was un-peeling another layer of civilization and properness and expectations from myself and entering into the elemental world of Bonaire that my soul answers to with opening…unfolding…deep breaths….unbounded gratitude.

SimoneLipscomb (2)Standing in soft, cool sand, sound again spoke to me in the tinkling of coral bits in the gentle surf, the wind gently whistling and tossing my hair, water swooshing and moving itself up to my feet. Music of the dawn, calling me to connect with elemental spirits of air, water, fire and earth. There is no other place that calls so strongly to my soul.

Later….a frog fish, master of camouflage presented himself to me. A large peacock flounder, another being perfectly capable of rending herself hidden on the reef, lay quietly waiting. A tiny, precious little moray eel, yellow and black and no longer than a few inches, caused rapturous joy to erupt from within. This life….this immense Ocean of life…is the lifeblood of Earth and I, a daughter of the sea, felt my heart singing hymns of worship.

SimoneLipscomb (9)Later still….I knelt at the clear, warm water’s edge seeking bits of sea glass. But really, truly I simply wanted to connect with the silence within myself as the saltwater caressed me, nurtured me and reminded me of fins and scales, and seaweed hair that are features that define me…mermaid….daughter of Poseidon…lover of the Sea.

SimoneLipscomb (8)Around my flowing, seaweed hair swims a crown of fish as I swim beside a grandmother sea turtle. There is no separation. There is only Oneness.


Inner Music

Inner Music

simonelipscomb (3)As I pulled out onto the dark highway, the delicate crescent moon hung directly over Venus. It appeared as if a gossamer thread connected the planet of love to the sliver of light. And then, within moments, wispy clouds obscured the planet and the moon appeared lonely in the immense pre-dawn sky.

I had awakened at 12.22am and spent hours wide awake with no apparent reason. Nothing was ticking through my mind but finally I surrendered and got up before the 4.30am alarm sounded. I made coffee and waited until nearly 5am to depart for my Sunday morning sea turtle patrol…my most favorite time of the week.

simonelipscomb (13)The white sand appeared blue as the first hint of light made its first tender caresses of the day. This is the time when softness and gentleness prevail. When we are gently invited to engage in life…to be present and awake.

simonelipscomb (31)As the sun claimed the day, light reflected in pastels that first appeared as a pale mist of color. This quickly changed as the intensity grew until the sand and tidal pools and waves changed to metallic pastels. Every sense became alive with color.

As I walked, three guitar fish got a gentle push back into the Gulf after getting trapped in tidal pools. Their eyes blinked at me as I wished them well and watched the tidal pool current take them back home, back into the Gulf. Go, go, go! Swim my friends!

simonelipscomb (42)If only I could express through words the feelings of sheer joy and exhilaration experienced. While seemingly shared only with a great blue heron, a few gulls and two or three sanderlings, and the guitar fish, it truly felt as if there was no separation of myself from the Universe. As if everything within me was pulsing in harmony with life. The sweetest sense of oneness continued for the nearly three hours spent on the shore.

simonelipscomb (16)Several days ago I had a dream and in the dream told a friend that I had always been able to hear music in my head and had come to accept it as normal for me rather than think I was crazy. This morning, this amazing saltwater morning, I heard music as my toes caressed the soft, cool sand. As I waded in shallow tidal pools it continued and as beautiful shells presented themselves to me, I heard it. And even now, as I sit reviewing images and reliving emotions, I hear the inner music, that vibrant chord activated when soul and nature interact to create inner harmony.

simonelipscomb (47)Venus is the planet of love, beauty, prosperity and harmony. It teaches us how to love and appreciate life and how to spread happiness and tenderness. It was coming into alignment with the Moon early this morning and had I slept later, I would have missed the magnificent sight of Venus hanging on a silver cord from the crescent moon…a sight that will continue to inspire me to listen to the music created when I allow the strings of my soul to be touched by Light, by Life.