Tag: Gulf of Mexico

Soul Walk Through the Threshold

Soul Walk Through the Threshold

The gull had swallowed a baited fish hook and was dragging ‘invisible’ fishing line behind her. Looking back over her shoulder she kept puzzling over the line that followed her wherever she went. When she walked or even when she flew away to another place, it followed her…haunted her and eventually, it would kill her.

The morning began with a dream that awakened me long before sunrise. In the dream I was traveling to the mountains and a young woman was present. I invited her to ride. She needed to come along for some reason so we rode in silence and arrived at a music fest somewhere in the mountains. Some people I knew were singing on stage and I was invited to sing with them and asked her to join. I said, just be yourself and let light shine through you.We sang together and later, I saw a video of myself–in the dream–and couldn’t believe how my face was pure light, as if I was channeling pure light through my singing and by simply being myself. Later we sat at a table with musicians I know and she was there with me. The fellowship was amazing.

After awakening from such a powerful dream, I remembered that my house didn’t sell, my possessions were boxed up and I was still living a nightmare. I wrote in my journal, October snow drifts around my heart. Frozen tears slide from hollow eyes. I only know the pain of loss. Where is the sun to melt this grief?

I needed sunrise.

Rather than ride my bicycle, I decided to do a long pre-dawn walk on the beach and try to leave behind the insanity of the past week where mere days before closing the deal fell apart and left me and three other families with our homes boxed and ready or worse, one family had already vacated their home. To say it had been a shitty week is like saying the ocean can be tumultuous during a storm.

When I arrived at the beach I said aloud: I am leaving all that behind. Please tell me what I need to know, I am listening.

I stopped and did a live video on social media of the intense line of orange reflecting off of the smooth sand, saturated with moisture. I saw how the turbulence washed away shells and left a smooth surface where light reflected was even more beautiful than the light itself. I said, My hope is that I can be swept clean and light can reflect off of me and through me this day and every day. Setting that intention was powerful medicine as the experience unfolded.

As I walked alone yet surrounded by beauty, I stopped and turned and spoke these words to the Gulf of Mexico: Show me what you want me to know about myself.

Immediately a dolphin popped up offshore and I began to smile. Remember who you are…you are Dolphin Woman.Throughout my life dolphins have been such powerful companions and teachers. I wrote an entire chapter of a book on amazing encounters with dolphins.

So on I walked appreciating the beauty and finally stopped to simply sit on the sand and listen to the waves and await the sunrise. Sometimes it seems to take forever for the sun to peek over the horizon.

A dolphin leaped out of the water just as the tip of the sun slid above the horizon. I couldn’t make that up in my wildest imagination. As the words WOW!!were coming out of my mouth the sun rose. That WOWturned into OH MY GOD! You wanted that first glimpse of sun!

After such a stunning display of dolphin magic I decided to continue on after a pause to watch a blue crab await breakfast in a tidal pool.  My mind tried to interject thoughts about the past week and I simply said, Nope. Not now.Then I would repeat the question, What do you want me to see and hear?

In my mind’s eye I saw a red thread that seemed attached to me and heard, I cannot run away from myself…and this is my pattern….over and over again….learned very early in my life. Abandon myself to please others or to decrease fear or for whatever reason a child learns to abdicate her power in order to survive….or an adult does the same thing. Bargain with life, I’ll trade ‘me’ for safety and security. I will deny myself to be loved. I will leave myself rather than risk being who I am and be rejected. I need to take myself with me where ever I go, where ever I live. Don’t leave without taking myself with me.

I kept walking after making a few notes on my phone. There was some unmistakable soul guidance coming through and I wanted to piece it together later.

A great blue heron was standing in the rising light of the sun. The beauty was stunning and I felt a thawing of the frozen tears and October snow that has been heavy on me over the past week.

I reached a turning point, literally, and headed back letting the sun push me along with the increasing heat of the day. As I neared the exit point the gull with the fishing line was in my path…on the wide, wide beach it was right in front of me. After such a great walk, what is this insanity?

With a focus on calming my energy in hope that the gull would allow me to approach it and take it to receive help, I stopped. The gull refused to allow me to get close, even when I knelt on the sand telling it on the inner to please allow me to help it. It would walk and the ‘invisible’ fishing line followed scaring it. The hook most likely was baited on the fishing pier and the gull caught it and the fisherman cut the line rather than deal with helping the bird. That story was crystal clear. The fact that the bird flew away rather than allow me to help it was clarity that it would die with that hook imbedded in its gut…unless it took the risk to stop and allow someone to help.

So I left the beach upset that the bird would have a very painful death. I sat in my car writing about the walk and the bird and returned home with a huge question mark over my head…why did the walk end like that?

Buddy and I went for a walk around the neighborhood and as I was walking I thought, right about now we’d be in Montgomery with the moving truck following behind. A tinge of sadness arose but then I heard, But wouldn’t it have been sad to leave myself behind?

I stopped walking and smiled. Oh, yes indeed. I needed to see that pattern of leaving myself so that where ever I am I can include my self…be myself…embrace myself. Never allow any part of me to be left. Every bit of pain and suffering was worth it to remember my Self.

Once inside I was just about to begin writing about the walks when my phone rang. My friend Rose was calling to check on me. She is an expert listener and has helped me piece together my life over the past year…and especially the past two weeks as I was pushed to find a home in North Carolina and then pack my house…and then…well….have the deal come smashing down a few days before moving. So she’s been an anchor to me and a most amazing listener.

I began telling Rose about the walk and how it ended with the weird experience of the gull. She immediately pointed out that the thread I saw that was following me through my life was reflected by the gull who literally had a thread of line attached to a hook swallowed.

My energy field lit up like a light-bulb. That gull was my teacher reminding me that if I continued to swallow hooks, ways I have left myself behind, I would also die a slow and painful inner death. And isn’t that what we do when we abandon ourselves? We suffer soul loss that affects us increasingly through our lives.

The gull was the weaver of the entire story….of my life. I reflected on how I have compromised myself, changed to fit in, worked places that do not reflect my ethics, accommodated others so their feelings are not hurt, made myself feel less than others to build them up, to belong no matter what….and the way out of these patterns of self-abandonment was to stop and recognize the pattern and when I move and where ever I go take all of me with myself. Stop running from who I am. Shine like the singer I was channeling light through an open heart.

What would it be like to open myself so completely, to allow the turbulence to wash over me so I could be a clearer, brighter reflection of Light?

This ‘move’ is about moving into a New Paradigm of self-acceptance and staying present with myself…my true Self…no matter what. It’s about connecting with Dolphin Medicine, that place of Oneness I have experienced so many times with my cetacean brothers and sisters. It’s about being part of the pod who accept me for who I am, not for who they want me to be. It’s about freeing myself to shine and connect with Light and be a channel for that brilliance to come through an open heart. It’s about being in a place that calls me with such power I cannot help but go…no matter what.

How sad it was to see the Gull that swallowed the bait and hook; however, it was the Gull that tied the story of my life together. And Rose reflected that truth to me. It is with the utmost respect and gratitude that I say thank you Gull…thank you Rose.

My walk this morning was a Soul Walk. This is how the Soul speaks….dolphins leaping into the rising sun, glistening reflections of Light…animals that appear illustrating the very ‘thing’ I just heard in my head…friends that call and help piece it all together in a brilliant story of birth, life, death and rebirth.

All the suffering and pain of the past week, the past three years…oh, honestly the 59 years in this life…led me to that walk on the beach. What a powerful gift that resulted.

Today, October 5th, 2019, I was given my Soul Story. I was given a rebirth into my true identity. I am Dolphin Woman, Medicine Woman, Shapeshifter, Pod Member…embracing myself, bringing along that young part of me that’s afraid, inviting her on stage to sing with me and be herself.

The Soul is always giving us glimpses of our truth if we will simply stop and listen and look. Today I was given the gift of my Self after a very long and dark journey.

Let the turbulence wash over me so I can reflect the Light. May I sing my song with such joy that I become a flame of Light.

The dolphin literally leaped and brought up the sun for me and thawed my frozen and aching heart. She reminded me of my true identity.

This Threshold I’ve been standing at for three years…or 59 years…or lifetimes….this Threshold was successfully crossed today. Let the celebration begin!

 

Earth Day Notes from the Oil Spill

Earth Day Notes from the Oil Spill

I started a new painting today and when I opened my work table drawer found a notebook filled with writing from when I documented the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010. I thought about typing them all out but felt images of the scribbles might be more powerful for those interested. It brought many tears as I read it. Some pages are note included as there are personal names and phone numbers of people I met. This is a sampling of the notes that helped me write many blog posts. Hard to believe it has been 9 years….and what has changed?

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You can find videos of my daily documentation of the oil spill on my YouTube channel. There are also MANY beautiful nature videos. Just visit YouTube and search Simone Lipscomb.

The Underlying Current

The Underlying Current

“The spirit of Walter Anderson thanks you.” This comment, while I was documenting the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010, meant more than any other. It fueled me to keep going when the fumes, death and poisoning of sea creatures weighed me down with unbearable grief.

Part of mural from The Little Room, by Walter Inglis Anderson

Having a background as a state park naturalist and lover of the natural world, Walter Inglis Anderson’s words, drawings and paintings inspired me to connect deeply with elements of nature–not just animals, land and sea, but spatially through geometries of light and shadow.

Decades since his book, The Horn Island Logs, was published I have written and photographed many wondrous places and creatures in nature but more importantly, I have interacted with mountains, coasts, humpback whales, dolphins, sea lions, waterfalls, trees…I connect with much more than form, on a deep level.

I’m not concerned with only the technical aspects of a good photograph. I want to connect with the essence behind form. When I am in nature…underwater or in a forest….I simply show up and ask to be shown the light behind the physical manifestation. I have no agenda other than to be an observer wherever I find myself…with a camera, notepad or stripped of anything but my heart and mind to receive whatever gift is offered.

A while ago someone sent me information about an application for an exhibit at Walter Anderson Museum of Art. I’m not one to apply for exhibits and competitions, but the intention of the exhibit spoke to me so I applied. The subject was the human connection to water and I knew the exact image I would submit.

A small group of us were on a photography trip to Bimini to photograph  a friendly, resident pod of spotted dolphins. At some point during one of our days with the pod I stopped, as is often the case, to drink in the beauty of color, light and form. My friend Susan was preparing to photograph approaching dolphins. The reflections and light were surreal and I lifted my heavy, underwater housing and fired off one shot. The dolphins were so fast and Susan was swimming fast so there was one chance to capture what I felt as I communed with the sea and Her creatures.

That shot now hangs in the Water, Water exhibit at Walter Anderson Museum of Art (WAMA).

I was excited for it to be chosen yet it felt almost destined. Even as I applied I fully expected that image to be part of the exhibit…very unlike my usual low expectations. But the real magic for me was when I delivered the print.

Mural painting by Walter Inglis Anderson in Community Center, Ocean Springs, MS

When I dropped off the print,  Bea–one of the museum employees– invited me to look around. I went to the Community Center, attached to the museum, that was filled with a mural painted by Walter Anderson many years ago. It was as if the spirit of Walter swept around me and I begin remembering how deeply his work influenced me over 30 years ago, when I first viewed the room.

Mural painting by Walter Inglis Anderson, Community Center in Ocean Springs, MS

Tears filled my eyes as a part of me seemed to slip back into full embodiment of this life, this present moment where my art somehow interacted with his art and a circle was closed…like everything finally made sense.

Mural painting by Walter Anderson, The Little Room

During the two-night opening of the exhibit I listened as John Anderson, Walter’s son, shared about his relationship with his father and about his dad’s work. I was taken to a greater understanding of myself as I listened and was able to chat with John and share how his dad’s work influenced me.

John said his dad was shunned, a sort of outcast in the Ocean Springs community because he isolated himself and lived on Horn Island. It resonated with me. So deeply am I connected to nature and the energy behind it all that I rarely feel as if I fit in with this consumer-driven world. I could happily spend my days and nights exploring woodlands and shores, climbing trails on mountains…so profoundly does solitude appeal to me. It’s only in the quiet and solitary ways of observance that I feel home in my skin.

Another new exhibit at WAMA focuses on Walter as Artist, Naturalist & Mystic. Yes! was the only word that came to mind as I reflected on my own life.

I remembered a morning surrounded by humpback whales in the pre-dawn darkness anchored 90 miles off the Dominican Republic. Fishy exhalations of the whales were illuminated in the moonlight and kissed my skin as they drifted in the warm air. As I did morning yoga the whales came closer and closer to the boat. I felt myself open to the Universe, ocean and whales–there was no separation, only perfect communion.  Since then I have known that communion to be as sacred and holy as any experience. It is my touchstone to purpose and presence here on this magnificent Ocean Planet.

There was no conscious memory of how Walter Anderson influenced me, but as I reflect back after viewing his murals and sketches from Horn island, it was as if he was a silent mentor riding an underlying current with me on the journey with whales, dolphins, sea lions, manatees. It is like he has been encouraging me simply from his audacity to do what called him to life.

Who knows how this life journey works. Something guided a friend (can’t remember who) to send me information on the exhibit. And the entire process brought me full circle to a place where I felt the spirit of Walter Anderson saying, “Well done.”

Mural painting by Walter Inglis Anderson in The Little Room

To have such deep love for the planet and all Her creatures and witness the destruction of so much is nearly unbearable. I only hope my work–through words, images, painting–helps connect human animals to that which they are part of–even if they have forgotten. May we all remember…and fall back in love with that from which we come.

Unaware my friend ‘Auntie’ Eydie was taking my photo, the unposed, pure love of his work shines through…in The Little Room.
The Next Chapter

The Next Chapter

Life seems to divide itself into geographic chapters for me. Choosing to live in an area gives me amazing experiences of connection to land and water, wildlife and people. Nearly a year ago I made the decision to end the chapter at the Gulf Coast of Alabama and begin another chapter, in another place.

Front View

While here I was fortunate enough to purchase a home that was built in a live oak forest. It has been a most amazing place to live, move and have my being. Barred owls are frequent visitors as are hawks. Just yesterday, after working on a short video, two hawks landed outside my office window in the grandmother oak tree and were loudly conversing in hawk-speak. It was amazing! Occasionally I see a fox and last summer, just after putting my home for sale, a mother fox and baby were seen just in front of my home. She spotted me and picked up her baby and carried it to their new den. A sign that time was drawing near for me to live in a new den.

The first month I moved into my home I found out about the sea turtle volunteer program so spent every summer involved in the magical life cycle of sea turtles. Also, early in this chapter, I became involved with volunteer work with the Manatee Sighting Network and that led to an amazing community rescue with Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Sea World a few years ago.

It’s not an easy decision to begin a new chapter. I get set in patterns and ways, comfortable in the predictable and immersed in the beauty of strong and beautiful trees and cow neighbors….I seem to be drawn to places with nearby cows. My dog Buddy even has one that licks his nose…that’s how friendly the angus are to us.

Front View

It took me a while to make the decision to move. I’ve never had a home so perfectly fit me and come to life so much with decorating and highlighting the magnificent architectural design. It’s an incredible southern cottage filled with charm. And I do have some family here. But my daughter lives two days drive from here and honestly, I’d like to be closer to her and my son-in-law. But not Michigan-close–where they live–but within a day’s drive.

So I considered various places, even thought about the Florida Springs area, but ultimately felt the call of Mother Earth and Her mountains. So once my home sells, I will be headed northeast. I guess that’s why I kept my snowshoes, snow pants and other winter gear. The Appalachian Mountains are calling me home. Admittedly, when I lived there before, it was the happiest I had ever been. The Asheville area is such an open-minded place that is inclusive of all….and that’s amazing to experience. And then….there are the mountains and waterfalls.

Fenced Courtyard at Rear

I am ready but the timing is up to the Universe. My home is for sale and awaits the perfect new owners…a person or people who will love the land here, the trees, the river access. My wish is that whoever lives here will experience the same unbounded love for the home and place I have felt…and known. It’s not easy closing this chapter but I am excited to start a new one and excited for whoever chooses to live here.

The Art of Nature

The Art of Nature

I stood in awe as waves crashed in shallow waters. Their foamy beauty rose and crested and curled as the momentum carried them into powerful, moving forms of art.

The wind was strong, in fact sometimes so strong I had to brace myself. I had to use care to protect my camera from blowing sea spray and rain but I couldn’t leave, such was the magnetism of the constantly-changing art formations.

Standing on the pier gave the perfect view of waves close-up and in the distance. Sometimes I would focus on a single wave and track its birth, growth and death. It was like I was shown some mystery of nature as the process continued again and again and the details of it froze in my photograph frames.

Long sets of waves captured my attention as well and the relationship of swells was revealed as I watched, mesmerized by the intense display. The energy was so strong I finally had to leave because I was exhausted from standing in strong winds that seemed to strip me of gravity.

I wasn’t alone on the pier as other people stood along the rails transfixed by the large waves. I think we all need to experience something larger than ourselves. In a strange way it made me feel more at ease, more at home in my own skin to witness something so much bigger and stronger than me.

I wonder if we don’t need more experiences with nature where we understand that in the end, nature will always have the last ‘word.’ We need the perspective that we aren’t in control, that we have to live with conditions around us. It’s very humbling and I suspect most humans in our culture could use a little less ego and a lot more humility.

Yesterday and this morning along the Alabama Gulf Coast it was beautiful to witness the power of nature’s art. It is a different story for all those in the main path of the storm. My heart goes out to all life forms who are still experiencing suffering and loss as I write this.

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It’s unusual to see a major hurricane make landfall during the day. Perhaps we needed to witness the fury and power and realize that as we contribute to warming the atmosphere through fossil fuels, we are part of the problem that feeds huge storms such as this.