Tag: conscious change

Back In, Buddy

Back In, Buddy

_TSL1657My fist pounded the sandy bottom of the deep Ocean as a huge wave of energy arose within me: I am here! Come to me! This message went out to the illusive and slippery ideas and opportunities I have been pursuing. Deep peace, first experienced when the Mother Humpback and her baby floated just feet below me last year in the Atlantic Ocean, returned. Oh, this is peace, I remembered.

Gradually, waking awareness returned as I surfaced from the deep meditation. Finally, I got it! For months I have been ‘hearing’ to be still and listen to the silence but monkey mind has tossed me around like a feather in a hurricane. What is the best way to activate monkey mind? Ask it to be still….to listen. NOOOOO!!!! It screams!

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This image was taken while visiting St. Kitts. The monkeys would sit and scream at each other and race to get rum drinks left by beach-goers who abandoned their drinks while swimming.

In my personal journey the quest over the past few months has been to listen for clues regarding the next step in my life’s work. The wonderful mind took the assignment like a monkey running for unattended rum drinks on the beach at St. Kitts. Daily meditations, until this morning, yielded the awareness that stillness and silence was an open invitation for monkey mind to run screaming. During meditations and daily life, my mind was still searching and pursuing the what-when-how of life with crazy intensity. Where was the stillness? The silence?

SimoneLipscombThe past two days were almost unbearable with my mind digging up fears with amazing ability. This morning as I sat down to meditate I simply said…ENOUGH! I lit the candles, cleared the space and set the intention. Since last March I have focused my meditations on the Ocean and a particular humpback whale I connected with. This morning, like many over the past months, she took me deep into blue water and showed me a large, simple pearl on the Ocean floor. My mind took off running but the whale mother called my focus back to the pearl. “Stop chasing after ideas and sit still,” she beckoned. I followed her direction and let go.

_TSL1690It’s time to stop letting my mind chase ideas, directions, possibilities. It is time to be still and quiet and open.

I imagined pulling on a large cord that is connected to a gong…the kind that sounds when someone arrives home to a large estate or manor. I….am….here! No longer will I chase after anything. This is me. I am here. By claiming integration of myself I create space for the Universe to fill life with everything needed.

On the way out the door to yoga I grabbed a banana to honor the incredible monkey mind that has worked so very hard. When I arrived at class Augusta announced the theme of our practice would be Coming Home to Ourselves. That’s how the Universe works. When I awakened this morning I thought about skipping class, so much had monkey mind worn on me this week. Thankfully the breakthrough in meditation opened the door to the next step. And yoga practice opened the door to embodying the truth of coming home to myself.

FullSizeRender 3As Buddy Hobbs, my puppy friend, and I walked through the beautiful live oak forest in the nearby state park this afternoon, I realized how Buddy’s puppy energy is like my monkey mind. Working to teach him how to follow instructions, to listen, to settle into his body is exactly what I’m doing to train my outrageous mind. Admittedly, he’s a much better student than my unruly mind at times. As we walked under moss-draped branches I began giving him a command… “Back in” with the intention of helping him come back into himself rather than pull against the leash. Come back in your body, Buddy. And as I said, “Back in” I made sure I was fully at home in my body….with mind centered and present. And….he got it! Come back, Buddy. Embody yourself. I suppose I was saying it as much to myself as I was to my canine kid.

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A Most Amazing Year

A Most Amazing Year

SimoneLipscombThis year brought me back to myself. That’s the short of it. Expanded the year’s summary includes rainbows of epic number and proportions, manatee rescues and encounters, humpback whales, whale sharks, sea lions, Dominican Republic-Silverbank, Bonaire, Mid-Riff Islands-Sea of Cortez, La Paz-Sea of Cortez, morning sea turtle nest patrol. It was a year packed full of Ocean and the intention of bridging humans and nature.

DSC_8937I recently read through the journal I kept while anchored 80 miles offshore for a week with humpback whales and noted that I was finally in my body, fully present with myself. That’s what the Ocean and its creatures do for me.

The past few months I’ve reflected on my work and life and what’s next. After taking the time to pause and listen deeply it’s clear that the ‘next step’ is simply deepening the work I’ve been doing and allowing it to expand with my complete attention and commitment.

IMG_1729Friends have shared powerful words with me lately that have touched deep places within me. Two in particular stand out.

Marianne Williamson said this: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world.” And Donna Faulds said, “Do you value your reasons for staying small more than the light shining through the open door?”

_TSL7226On Day Four of the New Year Yoga Challenge my teacher, Augusta, began class with the poem by Donna Faulds. This stayed in my consciousness as we progressed through the class: “Why wait for your awakening?…..Would you hold back when the Beloved beckons?” At one point we were stepping and opening forward and backward into balance poses. As I breathed in and stepped forward it felt as if I was meeting Light and Breath and the quote echoed in my heart, “Would you hold back when the Beloved beckons?” Then the music changed and the song, Marry Me, by Train began to play.

Tears flowed. I don’t pretend to understand the Great Mystery and can only share my experience. Today it felt as if an invitation to step toward It was extended and with every breath, every step and move into balance I said ‘yes‘ to the Sacred Marriage that happens when we are willing to partner with our Higher Self, our truest self…the Divine part of ourselves.

SimoneLipscomb (2)A couple months ago I was in a yoga class being taught by Sean Johnson and he posed a question for us to ponder in Child’s Pose at the beginning: What do you wish to manifest in your life? To be my true self completely, I whispered as tears rolled down my cheeks onto my mat.

_TSL7177As this year winds to a close it’s clear that the theme for me has been coming home to myself. Thanks to manatees, humpback whales, whale sharks, sea lions and friends, this has become a reality.

_TSL6631We were asked to set a one-word intention for the year at the beginning of today’s yoga class. Mine? Light. LIGHT! This new year is all about Light….Laughter and Love.

_TSL4724With gratitude and an open, humble heart I offer my thanks to all who gifted me with wisdom and support: the mother humpback whale who showed me pure peace, the deepest peace I could scarcely imagine; whale sharks whose gentle nature and grace was amplified through their gigantic forms; playful sea lions who reminded me to be outrageously open to fun; Magnolia manatee whose strong spirit strengthened me; the baby manatee and mother who embraced me–literally; friends who brought hours…days…of laughter in La Paz; the dream-team-last-kids-in-the-whale-shark-playground in Bahia de Los Angeles; yoga friends; neighbors; mom for loving my kitties so I could travel; those who supported my new book, Manatee Mindfulness; music friends; and for those mysterious friends whose invisible presence lifts me up….with a grateful heart I bow to you. May all of you and all beings be filled with peace and love.

SimoneLipscomb (15)Happy 2016!

Addendum

Dream January 1st, 2016….4.45am: Amid a scene of judgment and confusion I stepped away and saw light beams coming from everything. They were coming from people, animals, plants and me. Yes, my friends, it’s gonna be a year of Light. Namaste.

Selfie at Sunrise, La Paz, Sea of Cortez
Selfie at Sunrise, La Paz, Sea of Cortez
Reflecting on Bigness

Reflecting on Bigness

DSC_8569“Dance with their bigness,” my friend reminded me. He was referring to a humpback whale trip that is coming up for me in February. I told him how committing to the trip was difficult due to the cost involved but that in meditation, when making the final decision to go or not go, I got a very clear message: look around this meditation space…the entire room is built around humpback energy. Remember the positive change they created in your life and trust your journey.

SimoneLipscomb (4)Allowing my mind to drift back to the first of this year, I thought of the rainbow that filled the sky as I pulled up to Follow That Dream Blvd last year on my way to photograph manatees as I was actually speaking into my voice recorder about following my heart’s calling and the dreams of my life. That one moment defined my entire year. What are the odds of all that coming together at one intersection?

Los Islotes ShotBut isn’t life a series of intersections filled with opportunities and ‘chance’ meetings that change our lives?

Last September I met a friend that helped me find my joy, my laughter. Not long ago he sent a quote that was very helpful to revisit –Marianne Williamson’s writing about our deepest fear is that we are powerful and it is our light that most frightens us…we are children of God and playing small doesn’t serve the world…as we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others. He reminded me again recently that I am on the right path with my creative work…something I have been questioning.

It feels like a time of major change coming in my life and I haven’t really known how to proceed. I’ve been evaluating the work I do and wondering if I’m heading in the ‘right’ direction. This questioning of direction has been ‘up’ for months.

With friends sending me messages of encouragement and reminding me to step into my bigness, to dance the big dance with humpbacks, I decided to read my journal from the humpback trip this past March. The answers I’ve been searching for are written in it, by my hand.

DSC_8937“Rainbow Thursday…

I awakened at 5-ish and went upstairs by 5.30. I sat high on the boat awaiting the dawn. A dark rain cloud was due east so the sun had a difficult time illuminating the sky. A wall of rain began to move toward the boat so I was driven down to the 1st level which is covered but still open.

The rain came…its loud shuuuuuuu sound was beautiful music on the ocean’s surface. I looked out, past the small boats tied behind the mother ship and saw a tail lob…and another…and another and then a baby fluke appeared beside the mother and joined the tail slapping but only occasionally as the baby’s tail was weaker than mamas.

I just said to another passenger…’There has to be a rainbow with the rain and sunrise’ and suddenly a brilliant rainbow appeared in the sky, arched over the whales and the calf breached. And more tail lobbing….

Brilliant rainbow, mother and baby whale, ocean…breaching into the rainbow. Really? Was it really happening?

After the other early-risers–who had witnessed this mind-blowing moment–wandered away, I stepped down on the dive platform so I could see the full arch of the rainbow. The mother and baby were still there but calmer now, coming up to breathe and then resting.

As I stood level with the Ocean, saltwater washing over my feet, I felt the immensity of this vision. Not just the vision of this incredible experience but the vision that guided me here…to this place….to this life.

I felt support of my spiritual family so powerfully…guides, teachers, friends, family…my higher self. The words I heard in my mind were, “Your work is supported, your life is guided. This is the promise–you will always have our support.”

As I sit here writing this, remnants of the rainbow still touch the Ocean and the whale is exhaling with her baby. Their breath-mist carries soft, pastel colors into the sky…the rainbow of their breath…symbol of promise.

I reflect back to the trip to Crystal River and talking into my voice recorder about following my dreams, the intense rainbow over my shoulder and Follow That Dream Blvd, meeting Rich and Deb from Australia and him encouraging me to be with humpbacks…and to come to Tonga to visit his whale research center….and the overwhelming push to get on a waiting list for a humpback trip to the Dominican Republic and within a month having a spot on a trip…this trip.

Mom and baby are still there….at the end of the rainbow. With certainty I know that I am guided, supported and loved beyond anything I can imagine….and I am grateful.” 

DSC_8024In this evening’s meditation the recent messages of supportive friends echoed in my mind. I envisioned myself dancing the big dance with humpback whales and realized they called me home to my Self. They have been calling me for many years and at the beginning of this year, I listened. And my life was changed.

Another friend and I were chatting a couple weeks ago and he clarified a struggle I’ve been having. He said, “Simone, you’ve been trying to figure out the next step in your path using your mind, your intellect. You are more fully committing to the work of your heart so the intellect cannot make sense of it or give you answers. This is a time when to answer the question, what’s next, you must use your heart…allow it to speak and guide you.”

_TSL6508As I reflect on this year and prepare for the next trip around the sun, it is clear I am doing the work of my heart. There isn’t another direction I need to go. The change needed is to simply respect and value the work I do and put all of myself into the vision that has led me thus far. It’s time to step into my bigness.

SimoneLipscomb (157)Let us hold our dreams and the dreams of others as sacred. Let us step together into our bigness and dance with wild abandon into being fully alive.

 

 

Crossroads….Thirty Years

Crossroads….Thirty Years

IMG_2282Thirty years ago I stepped onto a conscious path of personal development. That sounds so neat and clean. In reality, my life fell apart into an ugly, beautiful mess.

IMG_2297Thanksgiving 1985….it seems like a life-time ago when everything I knew fell apart. When I made the decision to grow into my potential everything I knew as familiar and safe fell away and I stepped off into the Void, into the Abyss. Some call it the spiritual warriors empty-handed leap into the Unknown. Whatever the label, it was scary.

IMG_2320I was 25 years old, had a 6 month old daughter who was my life, my world and the ground upon which I stood literally fell apart. It was the most difficult time of my life for I had to make the choice to grow into my potential or…not. It was terrifying. But I took the leap anyway.

IMG_2323Thirty years of hard work, pain, joy…letting go…letting go….letting go. Surrender. Every time I thought there was nothing more to surrender, something else within me would rise up that I had to release. Personal growth, clearing the personality-self, is not work for the faint of heart. Scuba diving, cave diving, traveling alone to remote places is nothing compared to facing the scary monsters within that can thwart or paralyze.

Details of the trials and challenges remain in memory but no longer haunt me. There are regrets that center around not being able to balance relationships with the intense growth taking place within and I get to practice self-forgiveness as the years unfold.

IMG_2303Once a person commits to personal growth and healing, there is no switch that can turn off what we learn. There were many, many days where I would pray to forget what I had learned so I could return to an unconscious state and just be happy….but was I really happy in ignorance? Digging deep unearthed a lot of treasures and debris.

The birth of my daughter was an awakening and she was the inspiration to dig deep and embody light and love as best I could, even if it meant being apart from her….the most difficult experience of my life repeated many times as we parted when she was with her father.

This Thanksgiving marked thirty years of stepping onto a conscious path and it found me with her, at her home in Michigan with her husband and dog child. I cannot think of a more profound place to mark this time than with her, my beautiful daughter.

IMG_2333I walked out into 23 degree pre-sunrise temperatures on the frosty grass and enjoyed the beauty of stillness and color. The pond was icy and reflected the colorful clouds creating a lovely meditation. The railroad tracks beckoned me so I walked up the hill to the crossing and watched deer cross the tracks toward the sunrise.

IMG_2330In the quiet beauty of the day, I saw myself at a crossroads. Every direction is filled with beauty and potential. The journey continues with every step as I gather the wisdom cultivated along the way….trust life, surrender thoughts and behaviors that keep love from flourishing, keep an open heart, forgive myself and others constantly, be fearless in expressing the creative impulses within, celebrate beauty.

 

Breathe for the World

Breathe for the World

SimoneLipscomb (3)Tears rolled down my face as we sat sounding Om* for the World but especially for Paris. That simple word united our focus, our minds and hearts, as we began our yoga practice. Still feeling raw from news of the attacks, I surrendered to the breath and the opening of the heart that comes with breathing…in……..out……….in……….out.

SimoneLipscombThe week had already been difficult for various reasons. Thursday my thoughts focused on an elder in my extended family, a family to which I once belonged. His birthday was coming around Thanksgiving….how old this year? 95? 96? I wondered how he was and sent him a heart hug. Friday morning an email arrived with the news that he had transitioned to the next stage of his journey and had left this earthly realm.

SimoneLipscomb (4)My heart opened to his family, my former family, and all day I thought of them. It’s difficult to know how to express love and grief in situations such as this. Love doesn’t go away because relationships change.

Then late last night social media began distributing the news of the attacks on Paris. More terrorism, more fear. More opportunities to hate. And more opportunities to love.

800_1569Gathering with my yoga community to practice this morning, we joined together and opened our hearts to help generate love and compassion. With each breath, each posture we were guided by our teacher to open more, create more space within ourselves and to give it away to the world. We dedicated our practice to love, the love generated from open hearts, open minds.

As the tears flowed I dedicated my practice to Paris and to Charles Cooke and to his family…breathing love and compassion to all. And even to those whose fear turned to hatred strong enough to commit such violence. Every posture a prayer for peace, a prayer of love.

DSC_8569I no longer felt helpless but rather empowered to help change the fabric we each and all create. We exist in an on-going collective creative dance. The key is to be mindful of exactly what we are creating….monitoring our thoughts, behaviors…our speech.

_TSL7712When my grandfather passed from this world during Hurricane Katrina I envisioned him helping those dying cross over. When Daddy-O passed this week and the Paris attacks happened, I envisioned him helping those whose lives ended so suddenly and violently. Both men were in their 90’s and both had faith based in love. They leave behind a legacy of love.

800_1368May each of us cultivate love and compassion with every inhalation and with every exhalation send it out to the world. With our mindfulness, let us breathe for the world.

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*While there are many possible origins and explanations for what Om means, I think of it as the sound of the Universe. When we hold this word in song, we allow the sound of the Universe to breathe through us.

Thank you Augusta Kantra for providing the container for a practice of love and compassion.