Tag: humanity

Willing to Shine

Willing to Shine

Steady rain from tropical storm Cindy bouncing off windows overlooking Dog River provided the background rhythm as the radiant soul known as Paula Boggs began to sing and share the powerful songs of social significance. As I sat listening, watching, one thing was unmistakable–she is willing to shine.

Paula Boggs, website photograph

Witnessing the powerful music and ability she had to open and allow light to pour through her was exactly the Medicine I needed to get back on track with my work. It’s far too easy to become distracted by the ills of our world, to become discouraged by the assaults on our precious Earth Mother and Her many children….two legged, four legged, finned, winged and even those that crawl. Where is safety? Where is sanity?

One of my most favorite quotes comes from Helen Keller. “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

Hiding our light, our gifts…holding back…allows darkness to strengthen the grip on our lives and the wellbeing of our beloved planetary home. Choosing to ‘play it safe’ and keep our voices silent, our brushes dry, our pens empty is a very sad loss for all life.

Many of us have been shocked to feel hate arise within as we witness the mistreatment of people and animals, see freedoms assaulted and watch as the planet is essentially raped for profit. Let us not allow the perpetrators of violence and abuse cause us to hate; rather, let our anger fuel positive actions of change. Hate keeps us stuck in the same destructive cycle. Hate keeps us victims.

Now is the time for all of us to allow ourselves to shine freely. Holding tightly to our gifts robs the planet of much-needed healing. I don’t think one or two or ten people will save the planet. I believe that every person holds a piece of the solution and only through engaged and active sharing of our gifts will we move from darkness into light.

What does your heart long to do? What does your soul call you to? There is no better time to unleash your light on the world. Be willing to shine.

 

You Open Me

You Open Me

The Gulf has been calling me lately and so my cycling mornings have included a visit to Her as the sun rises over the sugar-white sand dunes. This morning on my journey to Her, a song came on my playlist that took me deeper into the magic of the morning.

“So sublime, this meeting, you and I. So beautiful that sparkle in your eye.” Just as I passed a freshwater canal leading to the big lake in the state park the sparkle of the Divine reflected off of the water’s surface. I stopped to take in the moment and breathe deeply with Her.

“I see you. You see me. Makes me realize how tragically rare and wonderful is this scene. I treasure this moment however long. It’s teaching me maybe I don’t need to be so strong….You open me….You open me….You open me.”

As I continued listening and humming along, my heart opened and tears came. How precious is this moment….this time in relationship with Mother Earth, the physical expression of the Divine. I broke open. The thought came, we never really know how much we love someone until they are gone from our lives. And then…we never really know how much we love this planet until it begins to die….bit by beautiful bit.

Over the boardwalk my tires thumped until I reached the beach. Metallic turquoise water and soft, pink skies reached out to me and I laughed out loud at the sacred beauty.

“I love that you are a being, magically. It’s so lonely sometimes being me. It’s what we all wish for and need. So precious this moment, to be seen….devastatingly beautiful….humanity.  You open me…you open me…..you open me.”

I pushed the replay button and stood feeling the cool air kissing me as the music played. “I treasure this moment however long. It’s teaching me maybe I don’t need to be so strong.” And as I sang along, two dolphins appeared within a few feet of the shoreline.  I walked my bike on the soft sand to the water’s edge and stood laughing with unbounded joy as the dolphins continued feeding a bit further offshore.

As I clapped and sang my gratitude they jumped completely out of the water three times. “You open me…you open me…you open me. Sita ram….sita ram….sita ram.”

Sita ram is a mantra that invokes the energy of the divine couple, a perfect balance of masculine and feminine energy, a balance of the left and right sides of the brain. As I stood watching the dolphins swim west, I found deep calm and balance as I opened to Mother Ocean, Mother Earth and the sacred dance we share.

You Open Me…a lovely song by Jim Beckwith performed by him and Hans Christian that helps me open to the magnificent beauty of our Ocean Planet….and the light that shines through all willing to be a channel.

Yes, You!

Yes, You!

_TSL6602I have struggled for a very long time with acknowledging the value of the work coming through me. People say, “Wow…love your work!” and I’m like….What work? 

Over the past ten years I haven’t held a regular job…you know where I punch a clock and sit at a desk and fade until Friday. Since young adulthood I promised that if circumstance allowed, I would give myself completely to the work that wanted to come through me. I would do it and forgo the ‘security’ of a regular paycheck. And then it happened.

Simone Lipscomb 6352A land sale gave me the opportunity and I leapt into the Unknown, following up on that promise. Yet I have struggled with the value of the efforts put forth. There’s not a lot of financial payoff and so I find myself stumbling with it at times. But not always. There are moments of complete clarity and I release the fear and ego’s cynical voice and surrender…and walk forward….fly forward on wings of light.

We are so conditioned in our culture to assign value to work based on money. It has been a struggle to continue creating books, photographs and paintings, not because I don’t want to but I wonder….am I wasting resources by following my wild heart? Many other questions arise that lead me to doubt the Vision that calls me forward in perfect trust and love. Sometimes there’s doubt. Other times….those wings of light grow bigger.

Simone Lipscomb 6354Today a story popped up on my Facebook feed from my friend Christiane Pelmas. She so eloquently writes about value of who we are and what we bring to this wounded world. Here’s a bit of what she shared:

“How do we become people who perceive a greater story unfolding, of which we are an inextricable part? In order to see the web of wholeness and healing, we must have the capacity to acknowledge our value. If we cannot, or do not, acknowledge our value, we walk around like the living dead…..We all must know our value, our important and humble place in the order of things. We must know that we matter to a larger story. If we do not acknowledge that we matter, we throw a wrench in the whole extraordinary process, that relies, so very simply, on the fact that all things exists, and thrive, in healthy relation and relevance to each other.” Christiane Pelmas.

_TSL6139The next time you wonder if you make a difference on this planet, stop and know….You! Yes, YOU! are part of the greater whole and like Christiane reminds us, “we thrive in healthy relation and relevance to each other.”

YES!

 

What We Do Matters

What We Do Matters

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Recently I came across a book by Boyd Norton entitled, Conservation Photography Handbook: How to Save the World One Photo at at Time. Dr. Jane Goodall endorsed the book saying, “Boyd Norton inspires you to take action with your camera to save wilderness and wildlife everywhere.” His life’s work is impressive and he gives good tips. But it was the title that really grabbed me….How to Save the World One Photo at a Time.

In a time of increased pressure from over-fishing and pollution…noise, plastic, chemicals, excessive nutrients, raw sewerage…the Ocean struggles. All life within it struggles. And with an estimated 70% of the planet’s oxygen produced by phytoplankton, it’s not that much of a stretch to see that all planetary life dependent on oxygen to survive will be negatively impacted if the Ocean systems fail. Plain speak? Human life is in danger as much as any life connected to the sea.

As an Ocean lover, a person dedicated to working for the sea, it’s really difficult to know what to do on a daily basis. The path of science wasn’t my calling. It was the call of the relationship with the salt water and her life that lit the fire of passion within my heart…relationship to beauty and the intense desire to translate this beauty and the emotion it stirs within me to others. How does the life of an artist lend itself to saving whales or manatees or phytoplankton?

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Reaper with her calf (left)

Today I submitted images of humpback whale flukes I took in February to the Center for Coastal Studies, an organization that protects whales. They shared with the North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalog. I was able to share photographs of Reaper, a female humpback, and her calf with these organizations. I found out that Reaper summers in the Gulf of Maine. From metadata on my photographs I could give dates and times seen.

Reaper's calf breaching
Reaper’s calf breaching

That might not feel like much of a big deal to some folks but for me, a woman driven nearly insane witnessing the struggles all life faces due to human carelessness, this was a big deal. It felt as if my work adds to the efforts of these scientists who work to protect whales. It felt like something I did mattered.

Grocery list and notes about whale photos...my desk is a creative cauldron
Grocery list and notes about whale photos…my desk is a creative cauldron

One of my yoga teachers shared a Jack Kornfield quote with me recently. “It is not given to us to know how our life will affect the world. What is given to us is to tend the intentions of our heart and to plant beautiful seeds with our deeds. Do not doubt that your good actions will bear fruit, and that change for the better can be born from your life. May our actions be a product of our wisdom and compassion even when the immediate result is uncertain or not visible.”

It’s nice when those good intentions of the heart find a home, make a difference.

SimoneLipscomb (25)When I helped organize the rescue of Magnolia, our wayward Alabama manatee, it showed me what a few people can do to create a crowd of folks willing to help. Following her story from rescue, through rehab at Sea World Orlando, to release at Three Sisters Springs was an experience that changed my life and encouraged me to keep doing the work of my heart.

Mother and Calf Bliss
Mother and Calf Bliss

Everyone isn’t called to the Ocean to swim with whales or manatees or sharks. Some may find their heart’s work in schools or in inner cities, working as a nurse or physician, a computer programmer, a scientist….or by sharing music, painting, prose and poetry with the world. Each of us brings a special gift by simply opening our hearts and following our passion. We create a kaleidoscope of beauty, each bit of it necessary for healing and wholeness.

Reaper with a massive tail breach
Reaper with a massive tail breach

What we do matters.

This is Why I Cried

This is Why I Cried

IMG_3140Driving to the state park to walk with Buddy, I was listening to the Eagles Long Road Home. Glenn Frey is gone? He wasn’t a personal friend but the music of the Eagles was the soundtrack of my youth. Peaceful, Easy Feeling is probably my favorite of their earlier songs and brings back the innocence of younger days. The song that spoke to me this morning was one from their more recent work and tears flowed as it played….”I’m not gonna say a word. I know I can’t change your mind. You know where you need to go. I know I’ll be left behind. I won’t hold you back, I won’t stand in your way. If you need to make a new start…But I still wanna know when my arms let you go…what do I do with my heart.” I was sitting in my husband’s blue truck when I first heard this song and realized our relationship was slipping away. Nearly four years have passed since I last saw him and when this song plays that memory rushes in.

800_1368But it wasn’t just a love song and music from my young adult years that touched me the past few days. David Bowie died of cancer. Then Alan Rickman (Snape…Harry Potter). But Eva Saulitis died, too. She was a marine biologist that documented the decline of an transient orca population in Alaska that has never produced a surviving calf since the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. As Krista Langlois said, “Her own life and those of the orcas were spiraling into the sea together.” Eva died of cancer. Bowie died of cancer. Rickman….and countless others whose name we will never know died of cancer….are dying of cancer. Epidemic?

Photograph Summer 2010...Shell Oil
Photograph Summer 2010…Shell Oil…Courtesy BP 

Recently President Obama said he was forming a new initiative to cure cancer. I appreciate your work Mr. President but it’s not a cure we need…it’s prevention. It’s cleaning our polluted waters and sky. We are poisoning the planet and therefore we are poisoning ourselves. Orcas are at the very top of the food chain and therefore consume the highest level of toxins. It’s the same with humans.

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

Times like this morning, when death and planetary challenges seem so evident, are a knock on my inner door. When I was a teenager we knew fossil fuels were problematic yet nothing changed. We were told to turn off lights back in the 1970’s to conserve energy but solar and wind development took a back seat for decades. There have been improvements…remember Erie Canal being so polluted it caught on fire? Thankfully the EPA tightened restrictions on much of the industrial processes.

Gulf State Park Summer 2010
Gulf State Park Summer 2010

Given all this…how can anyone suggest lessening EPA standards and regulations? We know that corporate industry will do anything to save money, to make more profit. Deregulation would increase already polluted waters and land and air. Why is this even a political battle? Anyone with an active, healthy brain can easily see the link between cancer and human-created environmental pollution and toxins. How could anyone who cares about their health or the health of children vote for candidates who lobby against the environment?

_TSL1690My heart breaks over pollution and toxins that are killing our wildlife….killing us. Take that Eagles song and sing it to our Earth Mother and all life on this sacred planet…”Tell me you’re not leavin’ now, Tell me you’re not leavin’…..Tell me that you’re gonna stay, Please say you’ll stay with me, baby….For this and this alone I pray, Fall down on my knees and pray…I’ll do anything. Yes, I would to save what we have, To keep you by my side…I’ll love you ’til death do us part….But what do I do, what do I do when I’m still missing you? What do I do…what do I do with my heart?”

SimoneLipscomb (1)Innocent no longer….the carefree days of youth have passed. The loss we face is much greater than a lover or music icon or actor or even a diligent marine biologist. We are at the brink of losing much more than we can even imagine. This is why my heart breaks. This is why I cried today.