Tag: humanity

Be the Light

Be the Light

SimoneLipscomb (8)“The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.” My pen scribbled notes as I watched the video of Jim Carey giving the commencement address at a college. His entire speech focused on letting go of the armor that we use to set boundaries and allowing the light to shine through our form. “The peace we’re after lies beyond personality, beyond effort, disguise. Risk being seen in all of your glory.” He reminded….we are the light that shines through us, nothing more.

SimoneLipscomb (6)It felt as if a bell was ringing with each sentence of insight he shared. How much effort do we put into creating a persona? Designer clothes, make-up, shoes that cost more than some worker’s weekly wages. Rather than relaxing and allowing the light to shine through us we tend to create a false self that feeds ego. We’re all guilty of it in varying degrees. And as we do this, it takes us further from our truth.

SimoneLipscomb (2)“Ego says I can’t stop until I’ve left an indelible mark on this earth,” Carey stated. I paused the video and breathed in that statement. While our intentions might be good, all the striving and pushing to make ‘the mark’ distracts us by the angst created. The definition of angst according to Siri? “An acute feeling of anxiety; usually reserved for philosophical anxiety about the world or about personal freedom.” Yep, angst….created by striving and pushing to ‘make something of ourselves.’

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Will Kimbrough, a prolific songwriter and performer, shares his light….

This doesn’t mean we sit on our rear ends and wait for the Universe to shower us with everything for which we’ve ever dreamed. We let the Universe know what we want, work toward it while letting go of how it comes to pass…according to Carey. “Your job is not to figure out how it’s going to happen but to open the door in your head and so when it opens in real life you just walk through it.”

SimoneLipscomb (16)And lastly: “Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world.” If we play into ego’s game then working to fit in, find our niche, make that big difference in the world relates, at the core, to fitting in with the crowd. Yet again, when we act from this mindset, we shut down our beauty, our gifts and talents…our light.

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Sugarcane Jane, Anthony & Savana Lee Crawford, create beautiful music, have a family and share their beauty with the world.

It’s not easy being different, dancing to the beat of your own drum. It makes many people very uncomfortable. It takes courage and a strong belief that who we are is valuable…just because…not because we act a certain way or say the right thing or dress in $400 shoes or wear a designer label.

SimoneLipscomb (9)The challenge offered is to make a choice between love and fear. Dare to be the wondrous light you are and follow the flow of talent, interest, skill that you have within yourself. The funny thing is this–you will indeed make a mark on the world without making that your intention…just because you are being your authentic self.

SimoneLipscombBe the Light. And as Carey said, “Don’t let fear turn you against your playful heart!”

Two Days Before Earth Day

Two Days Before Earth Day

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Curacao…a beautiful island in the southern Caribbean

Two days before Earth Day four years ago I was underwater. The strong taste of petroleum filled my mouth with every inhale. I signaled my dive buddies to surface under the star-filled night sky. Their air was fine. I didn’t know the source of the weird taste so we submerged but I stayed rather shallow and kept the dive brief.

I remember surfacing and turning back to look over my shoulder into the dark Ocean. A wind swept across the water and I felt a chill that shook my core. It was a very ominous way to end a dive.

simonelipscomb (15)A few days later I was sitting in the Atlanta airport after the flight from Curacao and saw the footage showing Deepwater Horizon in flames. When I am in the Caribbean I unplug as much as possible so had missed the news coverage of the explosion until I was almost back to Asheville. As I sat in disbelief on the vinyl-covered seat, clarity came and I knew it was time to go home.

Years ago I had promised the Gulf that I would help but didn’t know how. I heard a very distinct reply on the inner…You will know when it’s time to come home. The summons had been given. It was time.

I tracked the oil after arriving back to my mountain home and timed my arrival on the Alabama Coast, my birth place, a few days before the brown goo arrived. I wanted to document the unspoiled marshes and shores. I could sense the menace approaching but could do nothing except be a witness.

I remember one day I had been to Fort Morgan and was driving back to my mom’s on Bon Secour Bay. I stopped by a marsh and took photographs of large, orange boom in Mobile Bay. When I got back in the car I lost it. I mean really, really lost it. I started sobbing and screaming….how could we do this to our planet? It was as if I was experiencing a panic attack for our planet. I thought that I was witnessing the beginning of the end of life as we knew it.

One day as I walked the trail to the beach at Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge, I crested the top of the trail on the dune and saw before me a crime scene. Big blobs of smelly, brown goo were scattered all along the beach. I called the 800 number to report it and stayed for what seemed hours until somebody came to document it. Tearfully I sat on the sand and not knowing what to do I started singing to the Gulf of Mexico….I prayed and asked forgiveness for all humans. But mostly I grieved. My tears fell among crude oil staining the beach.

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When the oil first came ashore it was marked with driftwood and gloves…I couldn’t help but enjoy the message this glove was giving.

simonelipscomb (13)One week each month for the first year I returned to the Gulf of Mexico and documented seven areas of beach beginning at Fort Morgan and going to Fort Pickens, Florida. I remember a day in early July when I was standing at a tidal pool watching a little fish gasp in the grip of death as the bubbling crude oil, dispersant and salt water suffocated her. I was pretty close to the end of my coping skills. After days of breathing the benzene-ridden air, dealing with heat and the horrors of what I was witnessing I literally almost lost my shit, so to speak, watching that fish die.

simonelipscomb (9)Standing with tears flowing and sobbing I heard someone call my name. It jerked me out of the spiral of grief and I saw my friend Sherry, who I hadn’t seen in years, coming toward me. She gave me a big hug and we stood for a moment. I believe God or Mother Earth…or both… sent her to me that day. She was working on a clean-up crew and just ‘happened’ to be there.

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simonelipscomb (7)My spiritual practice of meditation helped me make it through that year. My friend and teacher from England pulled me aside at a workshop almost a year after the spill and asked how I was doing. I told her how difficult it was to witness such needless destruction. She told me that there was a reason I was witnessing it and to stand firm in my love of the planet. Many friends from all over the world followed my blog posts and sent support to the Gulf and all life within and around it. If my actions could bring the truth to a few people, it was worth it.

simonelipscomb (8)The process of personal healing has been long after that year. The journey back to wholeness led me to return home permanently to the Gulf Coast. While I haven’t really understood what my role here is now, I have enjoyed each moment spent with sea turtle hatchlings, manatees, ospreys, eagles….the salt marshes and river. The very things that broke my heart and spirit have been my healers.

simonelipscomb (17)Much of what I shared during the spill and cleanup was what was happening on the beaches. The personal struggle was small compared to the ecosystem and the community of relationships within it. Yet humans, too, are a part of the community of nature. We are deeply engaged in the cycle of life whether we acknowledge it or not.

simonelipscomb (23)A week with Joanna Macy in Rowe, Massachusetts, allowed a group of thirty of us, working to make a positive difference on the planet, have a safe place to facilitate our healing and help us understand the process that is happening globally. Perhaps the most important lesson learned that week was that all of us are needed to, step-by-step, be midwives to the Great Awakening or as Joanna calls it, The Great Turning.

simonelipscomb (18)We cannot afford the luxury of turning our eyes away from the horrendous abuses humans do to the planet, to animals, to each other. We are all connected…we are one family of life surviving on a living planet.

A kid's book I created to explain the oil spill in a simple, understandable way to all ages.
A kid’s book I created to explain the oil spill in a simple, understandable way to all ages.

This Earth Day, let us remember our connection to our magnificent planet…the Ocean, sea turtles, dolphins, whales, otters, rivers, osprey, eagles, the kid across the street, the massive oak trees and the tiniest flower. We are One.

simonelipscomb (21)The taste of petroleum in my regulator on the dive in Curacao couldn’t be explained. On an energetic level I believe I connected with the disaster happening in the Gulf of Mexico while I was in Curacao, in the southernmost island of the Caribbean. It showed me, without doubt, that I am connected to the Ocean…the One Ocean…and to all life. And so are you my friends

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To order my kid’s book on the oil spill or other books….please CLICK THIS LINK or visit Coastal Art Center in Orange Beach, AL or Page and Palette in Fairhope, AL.

Light of the Soul

Light of the Soul

SimoneLipscomb (4)Seeing the light of a person’s soul is one of the most profound experiences I’ve ever known. He had a wide open heart and unbounded love shining forth for me and I had an open heart and mind to receive it. To know love as given through an open heart can be rare, but it need not be.

While it wasn’t a forever relationship for me, the love generated from it lives on strongly in my heart. And I continue to be grateful.

SimoneLipscomb (9)As humans we have moments of allowing our light to shine and other moments when fear takes over and creates a cloak around the light. It can be scary to be open if others are changing around us. When life events create change, the temptation is to withdraw and not risk being open, not risk being vulnerable. That’s when all our filters kick in and we see the world through our wounds instead of with the eyes of spirit. Every person alive has most likely experienced this.

SimoneLipscombLast week a three hour lunch with a friend produced pages of notes as we bounced ideas off of each other about how to make a difference, how to be a positive force. One of us chewed food while the other spoke…all the while the chewer listened and allowed inspiration to come forth. Then we switched roles. Both of us have experienced frustration in our life’s path and the direction we feel guided. What came from that meeting was the simple idea of allowing love to move through us and open the way. An answer for all?

SimoneLipscomb (1)I find that when I become fearful, I get tense. As I tense my body, my thoughts follow and I feel smaller. And then…love is struggling to shine through the tiny cracks of space left open in my heart. But when I relax my body, my mind relaxes and then my heart opens and there is room for love. Or maybe the mind is first…or maybe the heart. But somehow the mind, body and spirit all work together to create an expansive and open heart. Or one that is shut down. The choice is ours.

As I have worked to move forward in life, I have struggled to understand why my heart keeps returning to that relationship. After months of no contact, my heart still feels the love. Clarity arrived as I finally realized that seeing the light of his soul changed my life for the better. Knowing the light of another’s heart was profound and I’ll not settle for anything less in relationship. But I also understand that maintaing that kind of openness takes a lot of work. And it begins with me. To find others whose hearts are open requires that mine be open. And it requires that I am willing to be vulnerable.

SimoneLipscomb (11)Each of us has the capacity to allow our light to shine. We have choice. When we live more open to love, love becomes the reality, the expectation…the way of being. As we are grounded in love, determined to stay open, we must be disciplined for it is easy to close down, to hide. But love is what will sustain us..not our fears or our anger. Love generates both urgency and patience. As we intend to live love, love changes our reality.

I have tried anger and frustration and impatience. I have tried to force change…but none of that ever works. Only through softening…and opening…and embracing light and love has my life shifted, has my vision cleared.

SimoneLipscomb (2)Love has known me. Light of another’s soul has touched me. That isn’t something I want to forget…ever. This is how we are designed to live.

May we collectively shed the cloaks of anger, hatred, frustration, hurt…. the past….and be willing to show the light of the soul to all.

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Bring in the Light

Bring in the Light

photo copy 6I awakened this morning thinking of the Solstice…yesterday’s Solstice. Geez…I didn’t even mark the event, I thought but then quickly realized that I had climbed 177 steps toward the light in a tight spiral. Upwards I climbed with my daughter and son-in-law until we were almost inside the many-prismed glass sculpture that housed the light of the Pensacola Lighthouse.

photoWe had just visited the Naval Aviation Museum with my mom and decided to stop at the lighthouse and make the climb. Mom waited for us in the gift shop as we made our way up and up, winding tighter circles in the brick structure built in 1859. The wrought iron steps were chilly on my bare feet as I abided by the climbing rules and carried my flip flops rather than risk tripping on the steep stairway.

As we climbed I thought of the lighthouse keepers from years past whose jobs were vital to the safety of those traveling by ships. Before there was GPS, LORAN and other modern navigation tools, there were only charts, stars, sextants and lighthouses to keep sailors on course. The lights were illuminated by a lamp fueled with oil or kerosene instead of electricity. The rotating element was introduced in 1790’s houses and the Argand parabolic reflector system introduced in the early 1800’s. Electricity and carbide or acetylene gas began replacing kerosence around the turn of the 20th century. At that time the lamp could be automatically lit at nightfall and extinguished at dawn, eliminating the need for a keeper to climb the stairs carrying fuel and tending it during the long hours of the night.

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I tried to imagine how gallons of fuel might have been carried up the steep, tight stairway and marveled at the dedication required for those keepers all over the world whose job it was to bring light to all who needed it. As I reflect on the Solstice and the season of light, I ask this question: Are we any less in need of Light today?

photoWalking through the Naval Aviation Museum I noticed the machines of war…planes, aircraft carriers, markings on the sides of ships and planes denoting how many enemy planes, ships and other targets were destroyed. I felt such sadness that through the long history of humanity we still have not evolved beyond war. Success is still measured by some people and governments by the number of enemies we destroy. We continue to live based in fear. Fear that if we don’t destroy others, we will be destroyed.

In the spiritual tradition in which I was raised, I learned that Light entered the world through the birth of a man, a messiah, a Light that taught us to move from the Old Testament ways of an eye-for-an-eye to lives lived with compassion and love. But I ask….where is  love when decisions in our lives are based only in fear, in retaliation, in one-upping, and taking out (in one way or other) those who don’t believe like we do…dress like we do….worship like we do…look like we do.

photo copy 5By making the commitment to climb steadily toward the Light we reach greater understanding by seeing from a higher perspective. No longer operating from fear, we are able to see with new eyes, with open hearts.

We have spent far too long living with the mind-set of fear. Now is the time to bring in the Light.

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Change

Change

simonelipscomb (1)The sky was completely dark and I thought it must be 9pm. Time to curl up with a good book. Alas, it was merely 7.30 and once again the realization of seasonal change…. and change in general…. came to mind and became my meditation as I sat in my hammock swing on the back porch and listened.

The moon shone timidly through the grandmother oak’s massive branches and leaves as she spread her protective embrace over my home. Stars twinkled, bashful and fleeting in their dance through the sky. Change.. movement… cycles… rhythms.

Earlier today, as I worked to complete a book a friend and I are creating together, I was writing my part of the introduction. As I listened to my heart’s message I realized I have come to a point where I am letting go of feeling personally responsible for affecting change in other’s behaviors, specifically respecting the planet and each other. It’s rather arrogant to assume I could have that affect on others anyway. But I take the care of this beautiful planet seriously and somehow felt I was supposed to write,  share photographs and teach others in order to create positive change in their actions. When change wasn’t forthcoming I felt a sense of failure.

simonelipscomb (8)Perhaps I thought that if people understood and grasped the depth of passion and love I have for the planet they would be inspired to love and care for it as well. It was rather unrealistic to think my actions could change other’s behaviors when I struggle at times to change my own behaviors. It’s sort of like thinking that loving and expressing your love for another person will make them love you….that never works no matter how deep and profound your love is for them. Maybe it was the head-banging-against-the-wall frustration that helped me awaken to how worn out I felt by taking on this unrealistic, unreasonable responsibility. (My inner psychotherapist is clapping her hands!)

I want to be at peace and feel open to love and compassion. I can’t have those qualities of mind, of life, if I’m ‘failing miserably’ at changing the world. I see what’s happening in governments, to wild land, to wildlife, to children, to humanity….If this is still happening I must be failing at my job. Honestly, a part of me really thought that way. And I wonder if others who love the planet, put their energy into creating positive change and wish for global healing share that feeling of failure when things seem not to change.

simonelipscomb (6)I realize now that the real reason I’m here on Earth is simply to express the love and gratitude within for this amazing planet with endless varieties of life and to be in Communion with It. By mistakenly thinking I could actually change other’s behaviors by my actions, I put myself under major-stress and took it very personally when people didn’t care–recycle, drive more fuel-efficient vehicles, buy less stuff, turn from greed, stop polluting, use solar energy, love each other, love animals and on and on the list goes. (Gulp….my inner psychotherapist is nodding her head).

As I was writing my part of the introduction to the new book I wrote: “Sacred Marriage with the Divine through nature, through life, is the only significant goal that remains in my life.”

Nahoch Nah Chich cave in Mexico
Nahoch Nah Chich cave in Mexico

Seeking a clearer connection with Spirit, being a clear channel through which this Force can flow, is my only desire. Gone now is the intent to change the world for that only created a life of constant frustration…although I still dream of a better world for all life. I wish only to change myself, to open to love and light that is abundant and available always, with every breath.

As I finished editing this post, an owl landed nearby and begin hooting. Seems I’m not the only one celebrating this shift in perspective, this clarity of focus. May each of us find our own dance….and if we’re really lucky, find others who will dance with us.