Tag: conscious change

Moving Beyond Fear

Moving Beyond Fear

SimoneLipscomb (11)As is the usual case when cycling, I went into a meditative state and allowed the miles, humidity, heat, green tunnel of the trail and my mind to meld. Thoughts and ideas surfaced and I began to tug on a string of thoughts on fear.

We see fear daily…people carrying guns openly into schools and grocery stores; people destroying the Ocean, land, wildlife and human health to grab more money, more profit at any cost; humans lashing out at others because they look different, practice a different religion, live in a different country, come from a different culture; killing snakes, huge granddaddy alligators, rhinos, lions, whales, dolphins…an endless list.

SimoneLipscomb (15)So how does all of this relate to fear?

Many years ago I read the statement: What is not love is fear (ACIM). This statement has bounced around in my mind and heart for over thirty years and each time I chew on it, it seems more true. Here’s a short list of other ideas on this:

1. “There is no fear where love exists. Rather, perfect love banishes fear, for fear involves punishment and the person who lives in fear has not been perfected in love.” I John 4.18 (ISV)

2. “When you don’t choose love you choose fear. To transcend fear, we must move somewhere else emotionally; we must move into love.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross & David Kessler

3. “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” John Lennon

SimoneLipscomb (12)4. “Love is the only antidote to fear.” John O’Donohue

5. “Fearlessness is not only possible, it is the ultimate joy. When you touch non-fear, you are free.” Thich Nhat Hanh

6. “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” Plato

7. “Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.” Marianne Williamson
8. “Hate is the consequence of fear; we fear something before we hate it.” Cyril Connolly
SimoneLipscomb (3)
I grew up shooting guns in a family with guns and still enjoy shooting my pistols at the range, so please don’t mistake me as a person that is anti-gun; however, I can only draw one conclusion from grown men wanting to open carry semi-automatic rifles into grocery stores and schools–they are afraid. Sadly, much of the fear is created in their own mind. A few weeks ago an image blazed through social media of men wearing their semi-automatic rifles into a grocery stores…really? Is it that scary to purchase ice cream these days? Or veggies? Has the beer aisle been invaded by prohibitionists? Open carrying your big guns in schools? Doesn’t that only generate more fear…especially in the children who are trying to focus on learning? (Sigh). As I pedaled the only conclusion I came to was…they are afraid.
SimoneLipscomb (4)The mega-corporations that trash our planet and all life on it…aren’t they fearful of not having enough? The profit-at-any-cost mentality has at its roots a fear of not having enough money…or power.

SimoneLipscomb (4)Fishermen that call manatees ‘speed-bumps’ and lobby to have them de-listed from the endangered species list are, at the foundation, afraid that they won’t get to the fish quick enough, that somebody else will get more than them, that an animal as gentle and sweet as manatee should, God forbid, have rights to live in their own watery realm safely.

There are some that physically attack others who are different. Think of women that have been abused, gay individuals who have been tortured, black people, Native Americans…what could possibly be at the basis of the horrendous acts of violence? If you pull the thread long enough, fear is at the foundation. Fear of losing control of another you consider ‘property,’ or fear of your own sexuality, or fear that individuals with different colored skin will ‘take-over.’

Every scenario I pondered as I pedaled, came to one basic foundational cause: fear.

SimoneLipscomb (81)So what is the answer? How can we collective move past this to stop the violence born of fear?

As is often the case when pondering a lingering question, I found a random movie on Netflix. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’s basic storyline is a comet is going to hit the earth and it’s the story of how people deal with an impending global disaster. I noticed three ways people dealt with it: 1) Violence and anarchy; 2) Survivalist mode; 3) Love and peace.

We are living at a time when some humans alive now could see the end of civilization as we know it. There are countless ways this is progressing so there’s no need to go into those. But how we choose to deal with these stressful times is the same as the movie: 1) More violence against the earth and each other; 2) Defensive/survivalist actions; 3) Love and peace.

At the end of the movie the female lead character whispers to the male lead, Steve Carrell, “I thought we would end up saving each other.” He replies, “We did.” The comet hits and everything turns to light.

SimoneLipscomb (3)Isn’t that the answer? Love each other, love life, and we transform into light. We save each other.

Perhaps the only way we will make true, lasting, planetary change is to move beyond fear and find a way for love to blossom. Each of us…individually…can excavate the fears within our own hearts and minds. If we are serious about creating a better world, the change begins within ourselves.

photo 6“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” Rumi.

 

Journey of an Inch

Journey of an Inch

We chain ourselves to past trauma when we continue to tell ourselves the same story.

The past couple of weeks have been difficult. And this past week….it felt like a storm of physical, mental, and emotional chaos.

On the flight back from Bonaire I was exposed to some respiratory bug so I’ve been recovering from that while packing for a dive trip. Seems a bit silly but it’s paid for and what the heck? It may become a snorkeling trip for me. Then old emotional wounds opened up and have been knocking me around a bit. And then of course, my mind has been in ‘monkey-mind’ mode during this entire time. Difficult? It’s relative, depending on who you are, but yes…difficult, challenging, exhausting. Yep.

_TSL3955I called a friend of mine and chatted with her about it and felt better afterwards. Then I ran across information on the New Moon in Cancer and how Pluto and Uranus were at odds and it felt like a lightbulb went off over my head illuminating the darkness of the past couple of weeks. Whether you, kind reader, believe in such science or not, it caught my attention.

After looking at several sites on the internet, the following theme was consistent: “Dive deep within to uncover the hidden pearls of self-love and compassion. While the seas of change threaten to bring us under, we must find our flow and ride the currents to new shores. Pluto staring down Mars-Mercury in opposition, a deluge of all that’s been stuffed down, and that’s felt too intense, even dangerous to express….Purging of core, compressed soul contents which can feel like a devastating tsunami of feelings and raw emotion….all this with the promise that riding out the emotional tidal wave will re-vitalize because we’re reclaiming energy and dimensions of our souls. And then there’s Uranus in Aries…shocking events that potential fire us up to take leaps of faith forward. Also a time of deep truths coming to the surface for individuals and institutions.”

Yep. Can I get an amen?!

_TSL2301Exhausted, emotionally drained and sleep-deprieved while recovering from a bug has created a ripe situation for surrender. Just letting go, resting and watching it all bubble-up, unfold and move. What else could I do?

The past two nights presented a turning point with a series of dreams. Two themes were present: reconciliation and love. I dreamed of coming back together in peace and harmony with a loved one and then I dreamed of walking with friends along a river. One of my friends was a songwriter and was working on a song. I got the lyrics from his notepad (is that wrong to do in a dream?).

The moon sees me through silken light
She bathes my soul and makes me bright
I become a star when she’s done with me
She heals my soul and sets me free
The blessed moon and the deep blue sea

SimoneLipscomb (1)I greeted the morning feeling better after waking up several times during the night an jotting down the dreams. Even tired from lack of sleep, I felt stronger energetically. My subconscious is working very, very hard to heal the wounds, to make them right within myself. And it’s showing me the connection to the moon, the sea and the Cosmos, which is always very healing.

During today’s meditation I heard to relax and go with the flow, to go deep into the Silence and allow my deepest, inner silence to connect with the Silence of the Universe. I also heard to play more and take things less seriously and keep an open heart. Everything is shaking inside me and feels like it’s falling apart but I heard to simply observe it with detachment and to let go, let things fall apart. And overall, the message was one of Harmony. Listen to my heart, play, be in the silence and be soft and receptive…Joy is just around the corner.

This poem of Wendell Berry’s came up on my Facebook page this morning and it seems appropriate. It sums up the experience of the past two weeks.

SimoneLipscomb (14)A Spiritual Journey

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,
no matter how long,
but only by a spiritual journey, 
a journey of one inch,
very arduous and humbling and joyful,
by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,
and learn to be at home.

~ Wendell Berry ~

 

 

I See the Light in You

I See the Light in You

SimoneLipscomb (5) The mind is a powerful tool. Many times we forget how our thoughts, especially thoughts charged with emotion, can affect our lives and the lives of others. If we pause and simply monitor our thoughts we might be surprised at how much negativity we put out into the world.

SimoneLipscomb (9)Usually it’s subtle. It’s not the angry rants that lie just beneath the surface, sending out energy that is harmful. Those are relatively easy to see. It’s those very subtle thoughts that lie in the shadows, avoiding conscious attention yet almost imperceivably going out into the world to cause harm.

SimoneLipscomb (4)During the Gulf Oil Spill I discovered that I had very serious hatred of BP and Halliburton. As I walked the miles of oil-coated beaches, my eyes and nose burning from crude oil chemicals and dispersant, I seethed in anger and rage. Finally, I stopped and realized how harmful this was to my own well-being and realized the energy I was putting out into the world was incredibly harmful and offered no solution to the problem.

So one day in meditation, I imagined a huge table. Executives from BP and Halliburton were seated around it and I saw myself there with them. I looked each person in the eye and said, “You are my brother” or “You are my sister.” I saw that they were human, capable of mistakes. It brought much-needed peace to me.

SimoneLipscomb (10)As I monitor my thoughts, I seek those subtle, sneaky bits of messages that tend to repeat in my mind and especially look for those charged with emotion. It’s amazing what can be found lurking in the shadows of our minds. Oddly enough, we might discover that our emotionally-charged, negative thoughts about others help to create the situation in which we feel wounded.

Given this realization, what can we do?

The great hurdle is realizing our own role in creating the situation. One way to promote healing is to offer the simple practice of seeing light in others.

SimoneLipscomb (15)

For example, as I worked out on the elliptical trainer today I listened to meditative music and imagined myself telling someone from my past what I admired about them. I reflected to them their beauty. Thirty minutes was spent directing positive energy toward this person. It felt as if a window was being washed, so the person could be seen clearly.

SimoneLipscomb (7)Hours later, asI sat to do my daily mediation, I had in my hand a fossilized whale ear bone this person had given me. As I went to stand up I put pressure on the stone and it broke. How can I fossilized bone that turned to stone break? It felt like a significant and great mystery was being shown. Perhaps things we think are hardened like stone need to break open so the wounds can heal.

SimoneLipscombSeeing the light in others is not always easy. In the relentless assaults on Mother Earth and all Her creatures it is especially difficult to find light in the perpetrators. Yet if we can’t imagine there is light in the darkest heart, how can we ever have hope?

SimoneLipscomb (2)To those whom we love the most, we must forgive ourselves when we project negative opinions to them and be a mirror that shines the bright light of their highest self to them. And we must have the courage to see the light within ourselves, which is perhaps the most difficult task of all.

 

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

The grooves of brain coral remind me of the chemical grooves worn into our brains by the stories we repeat to ourselves, the stories we re-live over and over again.
The grooves of brain coral remind me of the chemical grooves worn into our brains by the stories we repeat to ourselves, the stories we re-live over and over again.

The brain is an amazing organ upon which we depend for survival. It’s like the movie director of the body giving directions that enable us to move, breathe, think…the list seems endless. Chemicals in the brain transmit thoughts and create neural grooves, like grooves in a record album, and the more we practice the thoughts associated with a particular groove, the deeper it becomes.

Take the Reticular Activating System (RAS). It’s a small part of the brain that acts like a filter between the conscious and subconscious mind. It takes instructions from the conscious mind and passes them along to the unconscious mind. And here’s the amazing part: It cannot distinguish between real and synthetic reality. It believes whatever message you give it.

By repeating the same, old stories to ourselves, we stay stuck in the traumatic event, unable to create a better life.
By repeating the same, old stories to ourselves, we stay stuck in the traumatic event, unable to create a better life.

For instance, if you had a bad experience in your past that was very traumatic and created a deep scar on your life, you focus on the event and think about it for years creating messages you continue to send to your subconscious mind. If your spouse was unfaithful and your relationship dissolved and you lost everything, this negative experience replays over and over in your mind. When you have other relationships, your conscious mind tells your subconscious mind the story associated with your relationship experience. If you haven’t healed those old messages, then your mind creates scenarios where you believe your current partner is doing the same thing as the original partner who was unfaithful. You begin to act as if it’s happening again, your behavior becomes suspicious, you withdraw and the current spouse is clueless as to why you are angry, upset and blaming for no reason. The end result? Your relationship ends and your storyline is reinforced.

SimoneLipscomb (23)
BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill…I documented this for a year while I lived in North Carolina. It took me a very long time to free myself from this trauma.

Or perhaps you have an experience of an environmental disaster and witness, first-hand, the death, destruction and devastation caused by such an event. Your mind creates a negative experience and communicates daily messages through your RAS in your brain. The result? Depression, anxiety, frustration, anger and the message of gloom and doom.

We can apply this to each of our lives in many situations. What is the message we are telling ourselves? What are we creating by telling ourselves the same stories? Without judgment we can look at our self-talk and the thoughts we dwell on and begin to unravel the tales we tell ourselves, the stories that can make us leave life, give up hope and withdraw into our own self-created hell.

We chain ourselves to past trauma when we continue to tell ourselves the same story.
We chain ourselves to past trauma when we continue to tell ourselves the same story.

Quite simply put, whatever we think about, picture in our minds, repeatedly on a daily basis and put emotional energy into is what we experience. We might have been victims of a tragic event or illness, but how we choose to move forward from those events becomes vital to the quality of our lives and the possibility of a bright future.

When we live stuck in the past, reality is overshadowed by the event that happened in the past. The tragic event becomes bigger than real life.
When we live stuck in the past, reality is overshadowed by the event that happened in the past. The tragic event becomes bigger than real life.

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote of the evolution of consciousness in three levels described as the Camel, Lion and Child. The camel is sleepy, self-satisfied and dull and lives on delusion, thinking he’s everything, the ultimate but is so concerned with other’s opinions that has hardly any energy of his own.

Coming from the Camel is the Lion. Nietzsche wrote that once we realize we’ve been missing life, we begin to say ‘no’ to the demands of others and we don’t allow ourselves to be used. We find ourselves alone, by choice, proud and roaring in our truth. But he reminds us that this isn’t the end.

SimoneLipscomb (15)The Child emerges from the Lion as innocent and true to his or her own being. Moving from the depression and sleepy state of the Camel to the rebellious Lion, the Child finally emerges as spontaneous and centered, whole.

_TSL3955When we dare to become aware of the stories we tell ourselves, we can become full expressions of our most authentic selves. There’s no need to repeat the same stories of our wounded past or expect that those who love us will repeat the same behaviors that created the wounds. And on a macrocosmic level, if we dare to stop repeating the same stories and envision a planet of health, peace and love…well, anything is possible. It’s time to become aware of the stories we tell ourselves….and create new ones.

Five Years Later

Five Years Later

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Summer 2010
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Summer 2010

I stood on the shore of the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, early summer 2010 with tears streaming down my face. I had just called the hotline to report oil on the pristine, sugar-white sand. I thought that finally people would awaken and forge a new path of care and love for this Ocean planet. Five years have passed and the fervor to find and extract oil, at any cost, has escalated. And there are more spills worldwide, more toxic wastes generated by fracking operations and more earthquakes near fracking zones. The Atlantic coast is being opened to offshore drilling. The Arctic is open for drilling. Politicians are systematically trying to dismantle protected areas in states and federal lands.

Gulf of Mexico today
Gulf of Mexico today

As I sit on the sandy, Gulf beach watching the chocolate-colored waves, at least there is no benzene smell or globs of fizzing crude oil washing ashore. The dark water is from recent heavy rains. The salt breeze carries the smell of incense, an offering to the spirits of this magnificent body of water. I ask for forgiveness on behalf of all humans.

Common Loon resting on the beach this afternoon
Common Loon resting on the beach this afternoon

I reflect on John Muir’s life, one that was dedicated to preserving sacred places of unparalleled natural beauty and the success that came from his unrelenting love of nature. He saw the Divine in nature and viewed it as a direct reflection of God. Places like Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon, Mt. Rainer, Petrified Forest are a small sample of areas Muir helped preserve. He petitioned Congress for a National Park bill and in 1890 it passed.

Photograph Summer 2010...Shell Oil
Photograph Summer 2010…Shell Oil

“The radiance in some places is so great as to be fairly dazzling, keen lance rays of every color flashing, sparkling in glorious abundance, joining the plants in their fine, brave beauty-work–every crystal, every flower a window opening into heaven, a mirror reflecting the Creator.” John Muir.

Photograph Summer 2010 Gulf State Park Pier
Photograph Summer 2010 Gulf State Park Pier

“Keep close to Nature’s heart, yourself and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean from the earth-stains of this sordid, gold-seeking crowd in God’s pure air….Don’t lose your freedom and your love of the Earth as God made it.” John Muir.

Photograph I took Summer 2010. It reminds me of a woman's body and so I call it the Rape of Mother Earth
Photograph I took Summer 2010. It reminds me of a woman’s body and so I call it the Rape of Mother Earth

Lately, as I’ve read about seemingly endless assaults on nature and attempts to sell it to the highest bidder for fossil fuel and about sonar testing that deafens cetaceans, sentencing them to death, I have become increasingly disturbed. The grief and despair I felt during the year I documented the oil disaster has been touched and the wound opened again and again.

Photography taken Summer 2010 Orange Beach, Alabama
Photograph taken Summer 2010 Orange Beach, Alabama

I wrote this in August 2010:

“This morning I sat weeping for the birds, oysters, shrimp, crabs….for us all. As I breathed in the stillness of the dawn I felt sadness that we have collectively created such imbalance on this beautiful planet. Inhaling, exhaling…pausing to touch the grief within me….how did it get so messed up?

We have become so dependent on practices that destroy our world, there is no easy way to stop them. The oil industry is woven into the fabric of life in Louisiana along with the Gulf’s bounty. Maybe the problem began when we considered only what could be produced from the Gulf.

But it goes beyond the Gulf Oil Spill Crisis–way beyond to the collective intention to consume, to conquer without regard for what it does to the planet that, quite literally, gives us life. Where did this short-sighted way of thinking begin?

I weep for our ignorance and the destruction it keeps in motion. I weep for political polarization that puts power on a pedestal over compassion and caring. We are lost in fighting battles that pull us apart and weaken us.

When will we stop and breathe together in silence? When we will awaken from our slumber and join hands to work to save our planet, to save ourselves?”

Common Loon friend that shared the beach with me today as I reflected on the past five years
Common Loon friend that shared the beach with me today as I reflected on the past five years

Today, almost five years later, the same questions still haunt my mind every day. When will we stop and breathe together in silence? When we will awaken from our slumber and join hands to work to save our planet, to save ourselves?

Yet there is hope for there are still people who care, who love Nature and understand that humans are part of it, not above it. There are many who understand the necessity for living in balance and who grasp that the mindset of ‘more at any cost’ is no longer a valid way to successfully exist. We sell our own souls when we auction nature to the highest bidder.

Photograph from Summer 2010
Photograph from Summer 2010

So how can we stay positive? Hopeful? By reaching out to each other in love and by treading as gently as possible on this sacred Ocean planet. And practicing simple, yet collectively powerful steps such as these: turn off lights not in use; don’t use disposable plastic bottles; use water sparingly; adjust the thermostat two degrees and save energy and money; recycle; re-use; opt out of the mindset that new electronics must be purchased each time a new version is released; get by with less ‘stuff,’ buy locally-grown foods’ celebrate the beauty of nature each day; participate in efforts to make a positive difference.

Photograph today at Gulf State Park. During the oil disaster this area was saturated with fizzing, oily sludge
Photograph today at Gulf State Park. During the oil disaster this area was saturated with fizzing, oily sludge

Now is not the time to give up. Now is the time to celebrate beauty found in nature and in human hearts everywhere.