Tag: gratitude

Blessings, Forgiveness and Endorphins

Blessings, Forgiveness and Endorphins

The workout pushed me to my limit and somehow I pushed through. As we began our final stretches the instructor reminded us to be mindful of our blessings. With my physical body exhausted and open, her words touched a deep place within and as I settled into this expanded physical experience my heart and mind followed. I felt a rush of gratitude that brought tears of relief, of joy. It wasn’t just the endorphins.

simonelipscombOver the past two nights I have awakened with a similar dream. Both involved a significant person in my life, a person that was a light in my life when I needed it most. And sadly, a person no longer in my life. The dreams showed me that he and I are much alike and without going into details, I found myself lighting a candle this morning with forgiveness for us both.

In this morning’s dream we sat together and I shared my sadness over leaving the beautiful wooded acres at our home in central North Carolina and our home in the mountains. I didn’t realize how much grief I carried over leaving the land there. We sat as friends, in my dream, and shared with each other. Such openness. Such beauty. Such calm acceptance.

simonelipscomb (2)Last night, prior to sleeping, I sat on my back porch in the hammock chair for hours just listening to the night sounds. Watching stars twinkle through oak leaves, allowing the drone of insects to put me in a sort of trance, listening to scurrying creatures in the courtyard…opening myself to the Earth and the Sky….feeling myself as part of this amazing Universe.  Breathing in the energies shared by the grandmother oak tree that spreads her massive arms protectively over my home, acknowledging with gratitude the gift of life…I rested and floated in my swing.

simonelipscomb (5)It’s been over a year and a half since I moved back to the Gulf Coast and I love it. But I hadn’t allowed myself to touch the grief of leaving the mountains, a place I had dreamed of living my entire life. In a sorting, clearing and organizing push during the past week, I pulled out a painting I created that depicts the view from my loft office in my mountain home. I had it stored until yesterday when I hung it in my office here. I am strong enough now to feel the grief of leaving the mountain and Etta’s beautiful acreage in central North Carolina and accept the nurturance freely given by the land in both of those places and here, under massive live oaks, near a slow-moving river.

800_1468The Earth Mother nurtures us at every stop we make in our lives. It is my hope that I can remain open to receive and with a joyful heart give back to that which sustains me. Grounded in forgiveness for all my mistakes and the mistakes of others I can state truthfully and freely, I feel blessed. And that’s not the endorphins talking.

A shout-out to Pure Barre Eastern Shore instructors. THANK YOU for everything you do for us! I am so grateful for you all!

Morning Courtyard Dance

Morning Courtyard Dance

simone (4)Warm air, heavy with the scent of jasmine, wrapped around me as I entered the courtyard. It had only been four days but during that short time so much had changed.

The wall of jasmine was the most obvious change as its delicious smell mixed with gardenia created a mood-altering experience through scent. And as much as I wanted to explore, communion with the river came first.

RIVER2 (3)Layers of humid air hung heavy over the water as my board sliced through the mirror-slick surface. My body longed for movement after traveling and sitting so much over the long weekend. I amped up the pace and had a great workout, during which I discovered the osprey babies I have been monitoring had hatched. Mama Osprey was feeding them as I paddled under their nest atop the high pole. This morning my river prayers were of thanksgiving for these new lives.

Upon returning home, I walked out to my garden and saw baby jalapeño peppers, baby tomatoes, and baby satsumas hanging green and full of potential. Growth was the theme of return to my beloved home.

After communing with my plant friends I turned on my favorite classical music in the speakers outside and glided around the courtyard greeting the beauty exploding everywhere. Such life!

simonelipscomb (2)The grandmother oak tree in the center stood watching and when I finished, she called to me. I laid my hands on her rough bark and felt her strength as I offered up a prayer of gratitude for the opportunity to celebrate the day with a morning courtyard dance.

Dawn in the Mist

Dawn in the Mist

simonelipscombThe cows were still asleep as I crept out to the fence to capture the mist of the gathering light. Being barely aware myself, there really weren’t  words or thoughts in my mind….just the undeniable feeling of gratitude.

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Of Light and Trees

Of Light and Trees

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Just after six this morning I raised the shade on my window. Heavy mist from the cow pond next door had first rays of light peeking through it and even though I complained, I threw on a jacket and pants, grabbed my camera and tripod and shoved my flip flops on my chilly feet. The cats were in disbelief that I exited the house prior to their feeding, prior to coffee or crossword puzzle or Facebook…I think they thought the world had ended and walked around in confused circles, tails aloft as if flipping me the proverbial cat ‘bird.’

simonelipscomb (22)But sunrise doesn’t wait on anyone. Light can’t be asked to pause while I grab coffee. Dawn comes and in order to witness it we must meet it, face to face.

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With temperatures in the fifties my toes didn’t complain that much and before long they were forgotten. First light always delights me and nearly as often frustrates me. Trying to get the exact right exposure with extreme light and shadow can be challenging. But what fun, what pleasure standing under live oak trees, their massive branches spreading overhead and surrounding me with their greatness.

simonelipscomb (29)New green of the spring illuminated with pre-dawn light nearly caused me to do back-flips. Instead I simply stood and whispered thank-yous.

simonelipscomb (8)And it made me remember a visit to Somerset several years ago. I waked before sunrise and strolled to Glastonbury Tor for a dawn visit. I wasn’t disappointed then either.

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A Wild Heart

A Wild Heart

Nothing is more vital than a wild heart. When we lose that, we’ve lost our connection to the untamed, the unruly….the undomesticated part of ourself. And when that happens, the planet suffers.

simone (7)Yesterday I met Sampson.

I walked into the conference room and high up on a shelf, he perched. At first I wasn’t sure if he was alive as I wasn’t expecting a bobcat to be…ummm…there. But he was very much alive.

simone (8)Sampson is a northern bobcat that was ‘owned’ by humans who had him declawed and kept as a pet. They ran into problems with his ‘wild’ behaviors and there were permitting issues so he was surrendered to a wildlife rescue group in Ft. Walton Beach who now provide a home for him. He doesn’t like to be outdoors but rather lives in the administrative part of their building.

Stanley Kubrick, my orange tabby companion
Stanley Kubrick, my orange tabby companion…can’t you see the 

resemblance When I looked into this beautiful bobcat’s eyes I immediately saw my orange cat Stanley reflected back through the thread of wildness that remains very present in Sampson. Only it was like Stanley with his superhero powers turned up to full force.

simone (10)There was no where to hide from his searching eyes. When they locked with mine I understood that his wild wisdom is still intact even though he lives indoors. It was a bit unnerving to have my own wildness, my own worthiness to be evaluated. It was as if I was exposed, open to his scrutiny with no tree or rock or pretense to hide behind. He nailed me.

simone (6)Sampson allowed me to photograph his greatness and then came down to my level and allowed me to stroke him and ‘love’ him. I was being accepted into his clan. And when I sat at the conference table, he jumped up and walked to me and head-butted or bunted my forehead when I lowered my head to his. Cats (domestic and wild) have facial pheromones that they deposit on other cats, people, objects as a way to mark something as safe. According to one vet, it is like leaving a signal of comfort and safety….trusting the person or environment.

As I reflect back on my interaction with this amazing animal I realize how grateful I am. To be accepted as a trustworthy friend, or a person of comfort and safety to a wild creature (especially one that has been removed from his natural environment by humans and ‘used’ as a pet) is a gift to me. Given the amount of damage humans do to wild animals and wild places, to find acceptance such as this makes my heart glad…and happy.

simone (11)What is needed on our part to find greater acceptance from wild hearts of the world? What must we do to find ourselves worthy to be accepted by the clan of wild beings that we, in the greater sense, have abandoned? How can we maintain our wildness, like Sampson, even when living in environments that can seem far away from wilderness?

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Whether a bobcat–ripped from his natural home as a baby–or a wild manatee, chooses to bring me into their clan, I am deeply grateful that I am deemed as acceptable, as a trustworthy friend and a human that brings comfort instead of pain and destruction….on some level do they know that I am a champion of their wild hearts?