Tag: conscious change

Going Deeper

Going Deeper

It seems the entire world has come together to help a group of Thai boys and their coach who are trapped in a flooded cave. Prayers without regard for religion, assistance without regard for invisible country borders…a true coming together without being thwarted by our differences.

So my question, dear humans, is this: why does it take a disaster such as this to bring us together?

This event is a teacher to us all. We can work together. We can set aside differences of color, belief, location, social status and learn how to work together on a D A I L Y basis…as we might say morning prayers or practice morning yoga. What if we added a simple practice each morning to show our willingness to love openly, freely and without condition.

That sounds easy. But what that involves is going deep into ourselves and excavating the beliefs we hold, the prejudices we practice and these aren’t always on the surface. Some of our biggest blocks to love are buried far down in our subconscious mind.

The metaphor of the cave has touched me deeply. Partly because I am a cave diver and partly because I have spent decades diving deep within myself to find clear water and space from which I can love more fully and more unconditionally.

A video from the beginning of yesterday’s rescues showed the technically difficult environment. The rescuers are climbing, diving, wading, swimming…whatever it takes to accomplish their mission.

Can you imagine how wonderful it was to see those first four boys emerge? The joy and excitement was a wave that wrapped around the entire planet. That’s what love can do.

And today, another four were rescued…another wave of love that surely must have touched even those not consciously aware of the source. What courage it takes to return through that difficult maze of dangerous passages knowing how exhausting and challenging physically and mentally it would be. But the reward…those precious children and their coach being brought into light once again…was worth it.

Most of us would never be able to perform such a rescue in the depths of the earth with rushing water and low oxygen levels and mud and steep climbs. But each of us are given the opportunity to learn to love without condition, to love without judgement….or prejudice….or religious bias…but the catch is this: we must be willing to explore our inner ‘cave’ or inner realm where all our hurts and pains are found, where we store the teachings taught to us regarding people different from us. Many people turn back when they hit inner blocks to love. The desire to feel ‘safe’ is many times stronger than the desire to clear away everything that keeps our true self from shining through.

So how does one make it through the scary parts of the journey?

I suspect that if any kids were able to survive nine days with little food or hope and remain calm enough to exit a flooded cave, it is these children. First, they had a coach with them–someone whose job it was to help them function as a team. And then, meditation is part of their upbringing and spiritual practice. Simply put….learning to calm the mind is a foundation they learn at an early age. I suspect their coach worked with them to practice their meditation skills as they awaited their fate. And in cave diving the most important ability, in my view, is knowing how to remain calm in stressful situations. More than anything, that skill will lead these children and their coach to safety.

Everyone involved in this operation is a teacher for the world. The kids and coach remind us to stay calm and use a daily practice to keep our minds stable and focused. The rescue cave divers give us such an incredible teaching about courage and love that is powerful and strong. The thousands of people involved in setting pipes and pumps, providing food and shelter for rescue workers, donating equipment, helping rig the cave, providing technical expertise….each of these individuals teach us that when we work together in love we can literally perform miracles. And the rest of us sending prayers, love, light and support through our focused minds are hearts…we, too are part of the team.

Are we willing to dive deep to learn to love?

I want to dedicate this post to Saman Gunan, who gave his life during this operation. Everyone doing this work knows the risks and they do it to help, to save lives….and for love.


(All photos from on-line images, except the one with watermark which was taken by the author in a cave in Mexico).

A Call to Opening

A Call to Opening

Amid the pain and suffering we are called to open our hearts and minds. Within the cloud of grief and sadness, the only thing that will save us is opening….allowing the emotions to flow through with the breath.

Breathing in I feel the pain and suffering of the world. Breathing out I see this moving through my heart and out into the world, now transformed into compassion, kindness, love.

Have the courage to look upon the face of what’s happening, to feel the emotions of grief, frustration, anger and let them move through the conscious intention of transforming through love.

Keep breathing. Keep opening. Keep loving.

Let our collective mantra be Go in Peace, Go in Compassion, Go in Kindness, Go in Love. Allow these words to move through our hearts out into the world…over and over and over.

Emotional Honesty

Emotional Honesty

Lately in meditation I have received the same message repeatedly….be emotionally honest. I’ve shrugged off the idea because who wants to hear it? I don’t even want to. But with the recent suicide of Anthony Bourdain I thought perhaps it’s exactly what people need to hear…so they wouldn’t feel alone in their pain.

For the past twelve years I have dedicated my life to documenting and sharing beauty…and destruction…of our beautiful planet. The Deepwater Horizon Disaster awakened me to get serious about the work and after a year spent documenting seven beaches along the Alabama coast I was an emotional wreck. I was angry and broken-hearted. I saw people turn away once the well was capped….and I thought that event would awaken humanity to rise up and be planetary stewards.

When people ‘went back to sleep’ I was so frustrated. So angry. Still brokenhearted.

In an effort to heal my brokenness, I attended a week-long intensive with Joanna Macy. She’s an eco-philosopher, Buddhist scholar and created a body of work called, The Work That Reconnects. I found, during that week of healing, a strong desire to document beauty. People don’t turn away from beauty…maybe that would help generate planetary stewardship.

I returned to North Carolina determined to continue the work in a bigger way….write more, create more books, take more photographs, travel to experience beauty and power of the planet and its wildlife. My energy went into opening my heart more, my mind more and listening deeper to Nature, the Ocean…to Life.

Good things have come of that but when people comment positively about the work and say, It’s so cool that the work supports you financially….well, I smile and say….It doesn’t.  Everything I have has gone into the work and I’ve made leaps of faith that would scare the strongest soul. I’ve never been ‘in’ the work to make money…but rather to give to the planet my heart, mind, talents. All of who I am and what I have is ear-marked for Mother Earth.

Living on the edge like this has allowed me to experience joy, wonder, gratitude, as well as fear and anxiety…society says, Play it safe, but my Path says, Leap.

Some might say I am reckless with financial resources because I don’t abide by the societal ‘rule’ of fear-based actions and penny-pinching until you die. I’m all-in. How could I hold back, selfishly guarding something that’s not really mine to begin with?

Over the past several months I’ve felt a strong desire to down-size and simplify my life to support my environmental educational/stewardship efforts. When I recently placed my home on the market I developed respiratory crud. As a person accustomed to being healthy and strong, the lengthy illness has tested my patience. Fears have arisen about health coinciding with fears about relocating with a dog and four cats and beginning work in an area that is calling to me….a new community, a new state…everything snowballed into a tangled ball of physical illness, emotional turmoil and spiritual distress.

Nobody promised the journey to wholeness would be easy, that the Path would demand anything less than my complete attention…not only to that which I am called to do but to my self as well. When we ignore the feelings they don’t go away. They build and get stronger.

Uncertainty about my health, home, move, environmental efforts grew. I needed something to help shift and open me.

Last week I joined an online book club with Joanna Macy and many others about her book, Active Hope. As I sat at my computer looking at faces looking back at me through computer screens… people that love and care for the planet….and listening to Joanna share, I felt such a sense of relief. I realized how very alone I have felt in this journey of dedicated work. Yes, there have been people in my life but I’ve never been truthful about the despair I feel for our planet. I keep it superficial because….maybe I felt a strong person makes a good leader. People aren’t always comfortable with emotions. I don’t think that anymore….I suspect powerful leaders are those who are emotionally honest and have the courage to share with others their experience of pain– that are willing to risk opening the heart to reveal truth. Anthony Bourdain’s suicide yesterday really spot-lighted that truth.

So here’s my emotional honesty….I feel despair about humanity’s destruction of our planet. The grief is so strong that I have ‘armored’ myself so I don’t feel grief….which cuts me off from the work and people willing to help. After documenting the oil spill I lost my ability to accept simple pleasures for a few years. My heart breaks every day when I see cruelty. I cannot pretend everything is okay in the world. And…I have a deep and abiding trust that Spirit is guiding me, even when I feel afraid. I am determined to heal whatever needs healing within myself to become whole…for with that wholeness comes the ability to channel more love and light into the world. I am passionately in love with this planet. She is my Beloved. Nothing comes before the work I feel called to do….nothing.

We are not alone. What would happen if we were collectively emotionally honest with each other? What if we didn’t hide our hearts but took the risk to open them?

A parting thought….Joanna said this the other night during our cyber meeting: “Let the strengths of that which we love pour through us as grace.” When we remember we have a dynamic relationship with that which calls us, we feel less alone. When we surrender and allow that strength to move through us we stay centered in our Higher Selves and let ego rest. Joanna also said, “Don’t be afraid of the suffering of your world.”

Let us not turn away from the suffering of our world or ourselves. May we listen with an open heart and mind and open ourselves to the strength of that which calls us.

Hero’s Journey

Hero’s Journey

I have never felt so much at home as I have within the walls of this house, within the embrace of these ancient grandmother oaks. This is where I traveled to come home to myself. This part of my journey was about reclaiming all of myself I had left behind–given away to people and places that no longer embraced the growing and expanding ‘me.’ This is the ground where all parts of my soul decided to return.

Beautiful Live Oak Tree in Courtyard

So now I can, with the deepest gratitude, release this place and step forward onto my path more fully than I’ve ever experienced…ready to move and shake the world a little more with light and love and transformation.

The container we choose….or that calls us…is an important part of our life experience. It’s the chalice that holds our lives as we negotiate the hero’s journey.

In this journey to wholeness we are called to adventure and face trials and tests. We experience dismemberment of our lives–our hopes and dreams–and wander in the desert of our own lives. We sacrifice things we have accumulated….material possessions but also emotions and thoughts that have possessed us. All of this is laid down with love, with gratitude, in order to clear the way for something ‘more.’ We are resurrected and become dancers of the world, masters of our inner world  and our outer lives. And then….then, my friends…we are able to fully embody the light within and do our good work in the world in miraculous ways.

Every threshold along the way offers choice: stay the same or step through and grow into the fullness of being…the fullness of living.

Entry Way

Home is the place that nurtures us, offers rest and rejuvenation. It is the place where roots go deep and drink deeply from the waters of life. For this amazing home, I give thanks and offer it to the next souls seeking peace and joy…and delight.


The Calling

The Calling

The Calling

Through the starlight whispers

Like soft falling snow

Your voice called me.

Particles of light

From some unknown

Home, I heard you.

Eons of time and space

Holding its hand,

An arrow pointing home.

Aching with love

My heart felt you stirring

Deep inside itself

Loggerhead Hatchling

Answer to an unspoken

Word, tears flowed from

My young eyes.

Compelled by the

Silent voice

I answered.

A journey begun,

A path to walk,

A calling.

~ Simone Lipscomb