Tag: humanity

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.

 

Love…Fierce, Strong Love

Love…Fierce, Strong Love

_TSL3872On Saturday I was stopped at a traffic signal at a major intersection in a small town and several individuals with Bibles and signs reading: Fear God…The Wrath of God Cometh, were standing and screaming at vehicles. It was a bit intense but luckily I was listening to music…a chant invoking Love. I just kept on singing and envisioned Love coming through me and touching every one of the angry people screaming their message. It felt as if my car filled with Light as my heart remained open. I saw Light and Love touching all, no matter what they were doing or who they were. And it went beyond that moment to all humans, animals, places. Love has no boundaries. It knows no strangers. It was so amazing to feel that Love isn’t conditional…what a relief!

To quote I Corinthians 13: “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keep no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice, but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance.”

_TSL3955As I sang and danced in my car, it wasn’t an act of defying those on the corners, screaming their message. I wanted to know what it felt like to keep my heart open without judgement and allow them to coexist peacefully. At one point, at this rather long red light, I glanced over with a smile and one of the young guys was watching me and I knew he felt it for he wasn’t screaming and his face didn’t show anger. He just stood there, open…questioning.

SimoneLipscomb (2)Love is powerful. There is nothing more powerful than Love. Love is fierce. When did we forget this? Why is it so scary?

SimoneLipscomb (1)Be Fierce….Look trouble in the eye. Let it see your courage and strength. Stand firm in yourself, grounded in love. Feel your bigness, know your truth. Face fear, chase fear. Be fierce.”*

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*Quote from my new book, Manatee Mindfulness. It’s a book about mindfulness filled with images of wildlife and available on my website or from me personally. Check it out! 

 

 

 

 

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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