Tag: healing

Are You the Hundredth Monkey?

Are You the Hundredth Monkey?

I was staying in a cottage in northern England when the news came in. He won the election. I collapsed into a heap on the kitchen floor and wept as wildlife and wild places entered my vision and flooded my heart with grief. I knew what he would do, what he’s always done in business. Ruthless, reckless development and profit at any cost. NO! I cried.

As I wept I felt a Presence touch my shoulder and say, Go to the Stone Circle. My friend and I were only a mile or so away from Castlerigg Standing Stone Circle. She was in her room asleep after staying up late to check on the election results. I quickly ran up to my bedroom and got dressed in layers…it was November and snowy. Within a few minutes I was out the door and defrosting the windshield.

I arrived at the Circle before anyone else. I entered and walked clockwise around the huge circle and came to what I came to call the Priest Stone. I knelt there and placed my hands on it and wept and cried out…WHY!?!?! Then I listened.

What I heard as clearly as if someone was standing there talking was this: This will speed up the awakening process. Do not despair. He will be used to awaken the masses to action. As I knelt I began praying and then singing….help us, help wildlife, help wild places.

Those paying attention knew this would be bad. And actually it’s worse than I ever imagined. And yet, in the end I suspect the guidance was correct. He will unite us, even though it appears quite the opposite.

There’s a theory called the Hundredth Monkey Effect. Basically there was a group of monkeys on an island and they learned to wash sweet potatoes. Once a critical mass of monkeys learned to wash sweet potatoes on the island, the behavior instantly spread across the water to monkeys on a nearby island. This was a study that has been popularized with the idea that once enough people awaken, there will be a massive awakening that happens spontaneously.

This idea answers those that say their efforts cannot make a difference, that we are too far gone, that humans can’t change. For many years I have suspected that the only way this great awakening will happen is for individuals to take responsibility for their own healing, to clean up their inner worlds. This light will be reflected to the outer world and when enough people do this…BAM!

I’m not saying it’s going to be a magical cure if there is a massive awakening of consciousness. But the cure can be found within that awakening….by all of us working together to heal our lives, support others who wish to heal and then collectively we can hold a space for planetary healing.

I know…I know. It sounds a little fluffy but know this, the work of self-change changes the world around us. Not from outside us, but from within us. Each of us is an important part of the whole and when we begin to see ourselves connected to all life, then real change can begin to take root and grow.

After documenting the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill for a year, I was completely burned out. After spending a week with Joanna Macy in workshop and healing space, I had a vision. I imagined myself standing in the board room of BP. I looked around the room at all the people in suits and made eye contact with them and said,  You are my brother, you are my sister. I consume fuel, use plastic, enjoy air conditioning and heat…as a consumer I am part of the problem…but I can also be part of the solution.

If you embark on the journey of self-change it is guaranteed to be the most challenging journey you ever undertake but it is also the most rewarding, the most freeing. Don’t give up on yourself because you, my friend, just might be the hundredth monkey.

Letting Go of Hope

Letting Go of Hope

It’s a relief to give up hope. Then I can focus on the here and now. I think Catherine Ingram wrote this in her article, Facing Extinction. Or maybe that’s what I thought while reading it. Or perhaps it was Dahr Jamail in his book, The End of Ice. It felt as if I was finally letting go of something very heavy and when I gave myself permission, it was freeing.

Nearly ten years ago, after documenting the BP Deepwater Horizon for a year, I was emotionally spent, exhausted and had no ability to allow joy or pleasure into my life…how could I while Nature was suffering so? I spent a week with Joanna Macy which helped me heal the deep wounds generated by what I witnessed.

While my eyes and throat burned with the smell of hot diesel fumes erupting from the Gulf of Mexico, people living only a few blocks off the beaches refused to believe the beaches were heavily oiled. That taught me how denial works in the human psyche. Something so unimaginable and painful is perhaps simply unacceptable in the human mind. As soon as the well was sealed, the attention of the masses was off to the next media circus leaving me angry and in disbelief. How did this not wake up the entire world, I fretted.

Since that time of photographing, writing and videoing seven areas along the Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast for a year, I have struggled with trying to maintain hope…that people will wake up and care and do something!

One of my mentors told me during the year I worked at the Gulf that there was a reason I was being asked to witness such devastation. I knew then I had never witnessed anything so traumatic. Watching sea creatures die on a daily basis, birds suffering, beaches heavily oiled while humans walked in bathing suits or frolicked in oiled waters was a living nightmare where reality was warped. Two worlds collided every day as cleanup workers dodged beach-goers and families let their children run and play in the toxic water.

So yes, I know crazy. I know denial. I know grief.

After working on the oil spill I decided to start documenting beauty and began writing about encounters with humpback whales, dolphins, manatees, sea lions…the Ocean itself and other sacred places. Surely, I reasoned, this will help people see the preciousness of our planet and maybe it will encourage them to action as protectors and champions. “This is what we risk losing!!!” I seemed to shout through my prose about my whale friends or the dolphin who seemed to adopt me into her pod or the adorable sea lion pup who played hide and seek with me.

I was still in a place of hope.

In the last decade, the reality of just how bad the climate crisis is has escalated. I thought the grief I felt over the oil spill was intense. Now, every day the grief deepens and yet, thanks to Joanna, I refuse to turn away from that which saddens me. As Dahr Jamail wrote in his new book, “I am committed in my bones to being with the Earth, no matter what, to the end.”

And the grief many of us are experiencing is anticipatory grief. We know what we are losing every day and we know the outlook is very grim. Catherine Ingram wrote, “For those of us who cannot look away, we carry the anticipatory grief for those who cannot bear to look.”

Why am I here? Why did I come to the planet at this time? I suspect, if we have a choice, it was intentional. The deep love I feel for this water planet and all life here is worth being here as a witness to the beauty and kindness and compassion….the capacity of humans for greatness. And yet with that capacity comes the other side of human behaviors that are selfish and plow through life with the profit-at-any-cost mindset.

I suspect that many of us who came here at this time did so to offer our love and compassion in a time where that is greatly needed. As empaths it’s not easy to do because we feel it all….not only human grief but that of all life. I don’t think we would have come if we didn’t have something to offer.

Over the past couple of years a major shift in my work has been taking place. I have had clear guidance that one phase is ending and another is beginning. It feels like a bell is ringing in my soul, calling me to step forward and begin. It’s like the first 59 years of my life was about laying the foundation and now, the deeper work begins.

I know that I can’t be in a passive role any longer. I cannot ignore the sound of the bell calling me to work and gradually the vision is getting clearer.

My own inner work has taken me into deeper relationship with Nature. Without a doubt, the healthy way forward is to expand our individual and collective connection with Nature. As part of my work I will be offering opportunities for individuals and groups. There will be multiple opportunities for Deepening with Nature…a regular, outdoor circle to build community; day retreats; weekend retreats; sacred travels and individual consultations. This will be enhanced by my move back to the mountains of North Carolina.

We must re-learn how to listen to Nature and slow down to fine-tune our ability to hear our own heart’s voice. Dahr Jamail wrote it perfectly, “Grief is something I move through, to territory on the other side. This means falling in love with the Earth in a way I never thought possible. it also means opening to the innate intelligence of the heart. I am grieving and yet I have never felt more alive.”

I am releasing the dark visions of the future so I can remain present and be of service to this planet and those wishing to deepen their relationship to Her. I will use every talent I have to be present with all life here, whether it is connecting with a whale in the ocean or holding space for someone to feel their grief.

Dahr poses this question that I pass along: “How shall I use this precious time?”

 

 

 

Other Side of the Threshold

Other Side of the Threshold

On the other side of the threshold lies unlimited possibility. I see an endless sky filled with stars and a single, brilliantly huge star leading the way home—hovering like a diamond in the night sky over mountains calling me home. The embrace of those ancient mountains calls me hometo myself…to frolic in my own freedom.

On the other side of the threshold lives the truth of my being in this world. No longer chained or imprisoned by the push for always something more I can do, be, create I relax in the infinite wisdom that I am…enough. Right now. There is no need to strive for anything more….ever. It’s all here now. I am. Here. Now.

On the other side of the threshold is a different way of being in the world where I no longer feel guilty for resting or sitting in nature with no goal or pen or paper or camera. I am free to meld into the woods, into rock, into the very mountains themselves and simply listen to what they wish to teach me.

On the other side of the threshold is recognized Oneness with all life…from the tiniest grain of sand, to the mightiest humpback whale….from the homeless young man to the executive of a corporation….from the saint to the sinner and despot.

Unbridled compassion for self and others awaits me; tender kindness for all life anticipates my arrival; beauty and grace prepare a place for me….as I step through….

Now.

_______

All photographs copyright Simone Lipscomb.

Love Letter to Mother Earth

Love Letter to Mother Earth

Love Letter to Mother Earth

I love you baby bald eagle whose soon-to-be magnificent head now peers shakily over the edge of that giant nest looking out into the great vastness of this wonderful world.

I love you gnarled live oak tree whose branches, though twisted and broken, still reach for the heavens.

I love you magnificent Mind of Humpback Whales that gazed into my soul through one of your embodied masters.

I love you matriarch of the spotted dolphin tribe who befriended me, claimed me as a daughter and encouraged me to swim hard to keep up with the pod.

I love you slithering baby cottonmouth who warned me kindly to stay away and give a wide berth to your infinite bigness.

I love you Appalachian Mountains whose strength reminds me of the earth within my bones.

I love you Atlantic wave that telepathically warned me before arriving and slamming onto rocks that you were coming…you gave me time…to climb, to live, to celebrate life and Ireland every day.

I love you wild wind that tries to push my bicycle over as I pedal…you crazy wind that brings out curses, laughter, shrieks and childlike joy.

I love you shimmering stars that kissed my mind as I lay on the edge of Ireland feeling the thundering roar of waves through rocky cliff.

I love you ancient stones circled at Castlerigg that took me to an ancient time of initiation into the Blue Snake Clan.

I love you misty, fishy whale breath that drifted over salt water in moonlight and reminded me who I am.

I love you Ocean whose deep indigo draws me deeper and deeper into Communion.

I love you Mother Earth as my heart breaks more each day at what your human children do to you and all life upon you.

Thank you.

 

Wild and Whole

Wild and Whole

Late this afternoon Buddy and I went for a walk in the woods of the state park near where we live. It was a survival move. A passive aggressive man decided to unload on me earlier. And you know, my wild women sisters, when a passive aggressive man starts pointing fingers at us, he’s struggling with taking responsibility for his own mess. So we have to take care of ourselves and get back to the wild places in nature that can reflect the purity of the wild places within us.

On the way to our regular walking trail I had a dark, familiar energy arise that felt very self-abusive. I hadn’t felt that way in a while so I immediately paid attention and it brought amazing clarity as I tugged at it.

When people wish to control others but wish to be nice about it, they twist and turn their words to try and pry under our boundaries. If they can just plant a tiny seed of their passive aggression within us, we take it from there and turn the knife ourselves. I saw clearly today how that works energetically. They know they cannot be outright aggressive but if they are passively aggressive….well, then their work is simple….that is until they meet a wild woman.

Today, as we walked the trails and watched wild deer watching us, I also looked inward and saw how I used to allow other’s passive aggression to work its way quietly into me and rattle me, make me doubt myself, make me hate parts of myself, and make me not want to even exist, so intense was the pain. I think women are especially prone to do this as we allow ourselves to become domesticated and controlled by receiving ‘silent’ aggression and then using it to destroy ourselves.

Why? To be loved….to have security….to have attention…to feel safe….to be noticed….to advance our careers…to not have to deal with our own wounds…the list is endless but perhaps the saddest of all is we are willing to take in another’s passive aggression because we believe that’s all we deserve.

Later today, in meditation, I sat with this and realized it’s a chronic problem women have faced for how long?…from the beginning? Passive aggressiveness is a lazy person’s way to get what they want–control. And the need to control is based in fear. The insidious part is that we destroy ourselves….yes, sisters. We do it to ourselves by taking that tiny little seed of someone else’s quiet aggression and become the assassin. We are the hired hit-man for our own execution.

We have been conditioned and domesticated to the point that we are not even aware it’s happening. We just gradually know that we feel less engaged, more depressed, sadder and our self-talk becomes darker and more abusive. We lose friendship with ourselves and rightly so. Who wants to be friends with a bully?

After a while we begin to think we are crazy, wrong, at fault. We doubt the truth. We doubt our truth because we have swallowed the bitter seed of passive aggression and turned against ourselves. When we do this, we lose the essence of ourselves. We lose that beautiful, wild, free, amazing woman. We give our power to the aggressor and become depleted.

As I connected with that strong, powerful wild woman within me, she was able to help me see that this isn’t an isolated case of one woman struggling to keep her power. No, my sisters, this is a global issue women deal with all over the planet. It’s in families, the workplace, politics, churches, schools…everywhere.

Aggression is masculine energy warped and mutated and it can come from anyone. In my particular life it has come mostly from men, thus the reference to males. But the process is the same for anyone who uses aggression or receives it. It’s a dance of power.

Perhaps the idea of passive aggression is unfamiliar with some readers. Think of a person writing an inflammatory letter where they are subversively threatening you and then at the end writing God Bless…but you know that what they really mean is F#%k You! When that happened today I burst out laughing. I know what you really mean mister. I hear you loud and clear. Now hear this…you can’t have my power. You can’t control me with your ‘polite’ aggression.

Dear sisters….and brothers. Let us stop the nonsense of aggression and take responsibility for our own lives so we don’t have to try and conquer or steal others power so we don’t feel afraid. And women….wild women…take the time to notice if you allow other’s seeds of ‘polite’ aggression to become the method you use to abdicate your beautiful, shiny, fierce power…your life force.

If you are blaming anyone else for your misery it’s time to take a walk in the woods, on the wild side of yourself, and take full responsibility for your life…whether you are the aggressor or the willing recipient of ‘polite’ aggression. We heal our lives when we say, NO MORE! to any power struggles and live fully in our own, beautiful, wild nature.

I return to nature to re-charge, to reconnect with myself. I am a part of nature. We are nature. I always feel better in the woods or underwater, but especially need to connect with the pure essence of wildness when facing abusive human interactions–whether coming from another person or I am perpetrating them on myself.